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Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Motomom34, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    This is a great article. I find that with my neighbors and us, we do help each other when the need arrives. During storms or emergencies, we connect but often we will go for months without talking. I often joke that we all go into hibernation in the winter and only chat during the summer months when we are all out and about. I like this list because it gives me the nudge I need to connect with my neighbors in all ways. The author of the article makes great points as to why we should be neighborly. Preppers are isolationist but preppers cannot prepare for everything so being neighborly (which is an attitude of the past on many levels) may be your saving grace.

    I have posted the article in its original entirety because the TOC of Survival Sherpa allows for that.

    Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns
    Posted on November 17, 2012 by Survival Sherpa
    by Todd Walker

    Are you prepare for all the unknown unknowns?

    No matter how meticulous you might be at creating your list of lists, how much stuff you’ve squirreled away, or how sharply you’ve honed your survival skills, you can’t fully prepare for the unknown unknowns. That’s why neighboring matters.

    If you get 10 survivalists in a room, you’ll get eleven different opinions on how to build community. In this installment of my Individual Preparedness Plan series, we’ll discuss what should be on top of every person’s preparedness priority list: Neighboring.

    In the wake of Sandy’s unwelcome and devastating visit, I’ve noticed a pungent smell of superiority online from some (thankfully not all) “preppers”: “When will sheeple learn” and “We don’t look so crazy now, do we.” The back-patting party was furious in some cases. This kind of attitude and behavior only reinforces the negative stereotypical view of preppers being lunatics with guns and a superiority complex.

    This got me wondering what our motives are in the preparedness community. We’re all in it for ourselves to some degree. Rugged individualism, self-reliance, independence, preparedness, back-to-basics, and sustainability are all noble pursuits. But what about those closest to us – geographically, not on social media sites? That nameless neighbor I wave to when checking my mail. He’s only two doors down. The older couple that I politely say hello to as they walk past while I’m on a run. I don’t know their names or situations, just that they live in my neighborhood.

    Know Thy Neighbor
    I often wonder how these nameless faces would respond to a natural disaster or extended SHTF scenario. What makes my middle class neighborhood different from those affected by Hurricane Sandy? Not a thing. Human nature is the same in New Jersey as it is in Georgia. We all need food, water, shelter, and neighbors… unless you live in an isolated cabin or cave in the hinter-boonies with wild animals as companionship. Then disregard this. For everyone else, your neighbors may unknowingly be your most valuable asset.

    Got milk? No. Borrow it from your neighbor across the street. Uh, folks just don’t do that anymore. How about when a tornado rips through your town? Or an ice storm cripples the grid power? In these events, you realize a name goes with that passing face you wave to who now revs a chainsaw to saw through your driveway of fallen trees. When things go sideways, it’s what most (not all) humans do. Failure to build real relationships with real people will hamstring even those ‘super‘ preppers.

    Intentional Neighboring
    Isolation is intentional. So is neighboring. Which means more than pressing the “Like”, “Follow”, or “Friend” button for virtual friends thousands of miles from your computer. They won’t be able to pull your broken body from the rubble. They know you as an avatar on their screen. Real neighbors talk to you over your fence or share a drink around the backyard fire pit.

    Our best hope of surviving catastrophe on a personal, local level is friends and neighbors. Daniel Aldrich, a political scientist living in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hit, tells his story and study of response to natural disasters.

    He had just moved to New Orleans. Late one August night, there was a knock on the door.

    “It was a neighbor who knew that we had no idea of the realities of the Gulf Coast life,” said Aldrich, who is now a political scientist at Purdue University in Indiana. He “knocked on our door very late at night, around midnight on Saturday night, and said, ‘Look, you’ve got small kids — you should really leave.’ ”

    The knock on the door was to prove prophetic. It changed the course of Aldrich’s research and, in turn, is changing the way many experts now think about disaster preparedness.

    Officials in New Orleans that Saturday night had not yet ordered an evacuation, but Aldrich trusted the neighbor who knocked on his door. He bundled his family into a car and drove to Houston.

    “Without that information we never would’ve left,” Aldrich said. I think we would’ve been trapped.”

    “Really, at the end of the day, the people who will save you, and the people who will help you,” he added, “they’re usually neighbors.”

    Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns
    Tikka, chelloveck, GrayGhost and 3 others like this.
  2. TailorMadeHell

    TailorMadeHell Lurking Shadow Creature

    My neighbors would be the horde out to take whatever. Not many worth getting to know on that level. Courteous hello or nice weather is all I'm willing to gamble.
  3. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    Even in an RV community, that is a good idea. I already have a small group that I trust to have my back, and I've got theirs.
    I have been shooting with 5 of them, and taught one of their wives how to handle her S&W 9mm. I will be taking her out for more practice time with her 9mm sometime this week.
    chelloveck, Ganado, Motomom34 and 2 others like this.
  4. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

    I'm not clear on the concept: Making nice with neighbors while at the same time one of the goals of prepping is to live in a place as far from people as possible. The two ideas are mutually exclusive.

    If for whatever the reason you do live near others and are prepping, then you also have a conflict of interest: Recruiting neighbors means blowing your OPSEC. And keeping your OPSEC means there may be helpful neighbors out there you don't know about.

    I'm not proposing an answer (I don't have one). I'm just making the observation.
    Tikka and kellory like this.
  5. GOG

    GOG Monkey++

    Point well made.
  6. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I think if doom strings out like in Venezuela and it takes years as the country is slowly dying then knowing your neighbors would be a good thing. I have people in my neighborhood that are artsy and peace people but come to find out they are truly Libertarians. I was surprised. I would have pegged them for screaming liberals. IMO I think it is real good to get to know folks during the minor issues and just general everyday because then you will know who you can call during the big emergencies.
    GrayGhost and Gray Wolf like this.
  7. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    I think that anyone who figures that they can make it on their own had better figure again. Even the early mountain men had to have their rendezvous where they could sell the pelts and restock on supplies. Without community, when your stock of goods runs out, you are going to be reduced to the most primitive lifestyle, and are subject to be taken out of the picture by even the most minor of mishaps. Small communities can pool their skills and resources, and that adds strength and resilience to all community members.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Motomom34 and GOG like this.
  9. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Winter snow storm? My buddy down the street plows my drive. And a fair bunch of others along the way to my house.
    I in turn, shovel out mail boxes and walks from drive to front door for a bunch of them.

    County road commission fails to grade our moonscape dirt road. Eventually someone with a tractor and a box blade takes his kids out for an evening drive.

    Ice storms, sever thunderstorms and tornadoes? Yep, bunches of us with pickups and chainsaws have the roads open with hours as opposed to days.

    We check in on the older folks, widows and such to see if they need anything from time to time. Especially after weather events. Know someone just got home from the hospital? Stop by and see if there is anything they need help with.

    Maybe you might wind up fixing a small plumbing issue like a leaky kitchen drain, reglazing a side door window, or just taking out the trash. It's good to help because maybe another time, it might be you that needs some assistance.

    Yep fences make good neighbors but so does a few minutes of your time.

    I guess I didn't read that requirement. If prepping is to live as far away as possible from other people. I guess I should stop prepping.
    Living without interaction with other people. I guess the two options would be :
    Become a hermit
    Commit a terrible crime and wind up in solitary.

    What is the sense in living w/o human interaction. I mean, Yes I like talking to myself but when the other me start the ad-hominin attacks, I'm just beside myself.

    I'll prep and be part of a community of my choosing and making.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2016
  10. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    Well said, @VisuTrac.
  11. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    This is my little ca-bon I'm working on now at BOL#4
    I'm buying an additional 5 acres next to the ten I own.
    I'm surrounded by 1500/1600 acres, However any local with a snoopy nose can ease in on me to see what I have or doing.
    I do occasionally send a few rounds down thru the woods just too say Hello and let em' know I ain't scared too shoot just for fun and giggles
    At least 3 acres will be a fishing pond, Couple of acres for a garden, Fruit trees etc. Will be putting in a chicken pen, Perhaps a few rabbit's.
    So far I've been able to hold off the coyotes and locals.
    I'm told that I'm related to half the people for the next 15 miles North and West.
    I'll work at working things out with the local's.

    Ganado, chelloveck, Yard Dart and 2 others like this.
  12. zombierspndr

    zombierspndr Monkey

    Most of my neighbors/their families have been here long enough to have known my great grandparents. I fear the day that they're all gone and their kids have sold the family farm to urban dwellers that want to play(very poorly) at being country folk. :(
    GOG, Gator 45/70 and chelloveck like this.
  13. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    Two sets of neighbors - those who I have in town and those at the BOL. Most BOL types also have homes in a city, although at least one is selling shortly and moving to the BOL full time. Some already live there full time. Most are on 40 acre or larger parcels and all have their own wells with solar. We're not talking a large number of people.

    My in-town neighbors, for the most part, don't talk or associate. My wife and I been living next door to one lady for 9 years and we've only begun to have over-the-wall conversations in the last month or so. Another neighbor does talk, and talk, and talk.... One other (family) neighbor we know barely by face recognition. The rest of them we couldn't tell from Adam. The only good thing is that at least 4 of them within a three quarter-mile radius or so are FFL holders. Should probably get to know at least one of them - they're a pleasant reminder that this ain't New York or California.

    I don't have a lot of time (but have a lot of work) when I'm at the BOL, and grumble a bit when invited to come over to a BOL neighbor for dinner or just an extended chat even though they're very much like-minded people. I quickly remind myself just how important it is to forge and maintain alliances there. So some of the work on my own place must wait.
    GOG and chelloveck like this.
  14. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus


    Sometimes inconvenient sociability pays dividends down the track...consider it an investment in trust building and confidence testing. The down side is that there is often an expectation of reciprocity...offering char grilled road kill may just avoid future return invitations.



    just leave the lid in the middle of the road kill tapas.

    Edit: I'm not recommending armadillo, unless you want to dispose of your neighbours completely....I understand that they carry some really nasty parasites, that may survive not very well cooked carcasses.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  15. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Actually it is vital that one knows their neighbors and what to expect out of them when the SHTF.
    GOG likes this.
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