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Preparing vs. Scavanging vs. Other Things

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by 10brokenpromises, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. First and foremost let me make it as clear as I can: I am NOT a predator, I am NOT a thief and I have zero tolerance for either.

    We who see what we feel is the writing on the wall should be doing everything in our power to become self sufficient as part of our plan to prepare for the worst. None of us are islands, however as evidenced by @BTPost and his lovely wife @alaskachick. When it came down to brass tacks, local support would have come in very handy (I am very glad the lights are still on and @BTPost is able to get the additional care he needs). Realistically we will need a MAG of some sort which could help us not have to cross the line I'm referencing below.

    My question is around the "tipping point". If there is a long term, truly catastrophic event and us crazy preppers are on our own for an extended time, when do we start the process of scavanging? More importantly, when does it become okay to take something that would have historically been considered stealing?

    Let me explain why this came to mind and again, I am no fan of theft, I'm really not.

    I was on a walk the other day and walked past a gas station. Mounted to one of the uprights, actually mounted to each upright holding up the roof, was a fire extinguisher. Now, I think we can all agree that today, right now, it's just flat theft and illegal and immoral to go take that fire extinguisher to add it to your preps. If there is a three day blackout or things are down for a week due to a snowstorm, same situation. It's theft. However, when the lights go off and it's going to be dark for a while, when does it transition from theft to scavanging?

    Sure, I understand that each situation is unique and we "can't know until we know", and please don't come back with depends. I didn't ask about adult underpants. If it depends, what does it depend on? If that fire extinguisher is still there six months into a situation (unrealistic I know but work with me) and the gas station isn't being protected as a bug in location, is it fair game?

    I think we could all rationalize, at some point post event, that we'd be putting it to better use and/or saving it for an actual fire emergency but when do we make that switch from "No, I'm not a thief. I'm not a predator. I'm not the guy/gal who prepped 1 million rounds of 5.56 and another half million of 7.62 so that I can murder and plunder," to "It's been left. Nobody else is using it and it's no longer being protected. It may very well go to waste if I don't take it now"?
    Tully Mars and Motomom34 like this.
  2. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    So, do you think the criticalness of gaining possession of something is a dimension which changes the distinction between scavenging and theft? For example a mostly ransacked and cleared out pet store still has a few bottles of fish antibiotics laying on the floor and your daughter has a raging infection. It may certainly make an acquisition understandable or justifiable in many people's minds but does it change the distinction between the two?
  3. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Theft takes place in the heart, not the action!
    Unless one is a true sociopath (rare), we all have a conscious ability to distinguish right from wrong.
    Looting is wrong, but survival scavenging in a true situation, is survival.
    Murder is wrong!
    Self defense and protecting ones property and family, is not, even if another loses their life over it.
    They had made the Moral choice to do what they do and the outcome is a direct result of that choice!
    I lived in LA during the King Riots, Those people trying to pull whites out of their vehicle and beat them down (Many more cases than the Reginald Denny incident) would have been bouncing off my truck like butterflies! Vehicular Homicide? or Self Defense? Again that takes place in the Heart not the action.
  4. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    An IOU note still works down here, It's a matter of honor and binding.
    Witch Doctor 01, tulianr, KAS and 9 others like this.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    @10brokenpromises I know exactly what you are saying. And it has crossed my mind. I also am not a thief but.... I notice those DOT road signs panels that run on solar. If SHTF those panels won't matter but sitting there would be a small solar panel and battery. Would that make a difference between me living and dying no but it is something that could be scavenged and used.

    Question: Pandemic hits- some people bug out leaving the neighborhood, a few stayed. House are empty, no way to know if the true owners will ever return. A Dr & wife drive up with supplies looking for shelter, would you allow them to stay in one of the empty homes? You have no right to loan out or make decisions on other peoples property but do you turn people that could offer aid or do you allow the people to seek shelter in the empty homes?
    tulianr, KAS and 10brokenpromises like this.
  6. @Airtime - not particularly and I'm not coming at this with an agenda and hoping everyone pats me on the head and agrees with some pre-conceived notion. I saw how well that worked out for theojysofliving (deliberately not calling him in here). I'm asking a question to get other people's input. At some point we may all be put into a situation where we have to make that call. What would I do? When would I do it? If it finally came down to it and I ended up making the call, do I strip the place to the walls or only take what I need?

    I don't know the answer to that question but I do know that if push comes to shove I will do whatever it takes to survive while also doing whatever it takes to maintain my humanity. Would I kill someone out of hand to get what they have if they refused to share with me? No, I don't think I would. Would I defend myself even to the death of the other individual if it was a life and death situation? Absolutely. I'd do that now so I don't see how the change in situation would matter. Would I then loot the body? Most likely. Would I kill them in "self defense" to justify looting the body? Again, I doubt it. I would love to say, categorically, absolutely not and deep down I feel like that's the case but I've lived long enough to learn "never say never". That having been said, there are lines I truly don't believe I would cross.

    @Motomom34 - That was basically the point of the original post. I'm not trying to get people to admit they have flexible morals or that the flexibility would increase in a post-event world. I'm trying to get input into how other people think and what they believe they would do and, hopefully, defend that position to help each of us think about how we might (or would) act and/or react.

    Would I love to be a part of a MAG that has 5k acres in a southern climate that had a long growing season, manufacturing capabilities (small scale) and a bunch of like minded people that we could just hole up with and ride out the storm or try to start over with? Absolutely. I don't live there now though and if the ball drops tomorrow afternoon, everyone who isn't in that ideal situation is going to start encountering those types of decisions and questions. None of us can completely prepare for everything and even if we have all that we think we need for a short or even medium length event, we will eventually run out of "stuff".

    Hence the question: When does looting become scavanging.

    @Gopherman - I agree, in principle, with your assertion, but only to a point. The act is, in my opinion, absolutely part of the equation and cannot be completely isolated or removed. If you take something that isn't yours and it belongs to someone else (as opposed to not yours but not anyone elses either), at the very least it is legally stealing. At what point does it no longer belong to someone else? When they abandon it with no intention to return? When they put a sign on the door that says "come one, come all, take what you need"? When they die? Again, no preconceived notion here, asking an honest question and one I don't know the answer to. I'm serious when I say this came to me on a walk a couple of days ago. I looked over and saw the fire extinguisher and imagined: I was one of very few left in the neighborhood, no cars on the road, walked past this point several times over the last several days/weeks/months and that fire extinguisher has been there the whole time. Nobody at the gas station, nobody in any of the buildings or businesses around it. Do I take the "resource" because it's clearly been abandoned and it would be a good prep. I still haven't answered that question for myself and have realized that it isn't just about the fire extinguisher.

    @Gator 45/70 - I like the IOU idea, especially if there's a chance in the world that I could pay it back. I don't like it in that I most likely can't, so I won't and that makes me a liar because an IOU that you either can't or won't redeem is worse than a bad check. I'm not on a high horse here but I like to think my "morals", whatever that means, are better than knowingly taking advantage of another.
  7. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    The concept I was raised with was that it's easier to behave a certain way if you've already thought about the possible situation and decided how you are going to handle it. The case I'm speaking of was one of moral...okay, sexual situations...as in "decide ahead of time what you will and won't do and then do your best to stay out of situations where you get tested, but know ahead of time how you will react".

    I grew up in a religion that...frowned on fooling around before marriage. Think about possible situations, decide how you will act and then you won't be all panicky if the situation presents itself. That and avoid even the appearance of impropriety but that's a completely different issue.
  8. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    I think one does what they need to do to survive... at a point. The reason we do what we do, prepare, is to be able to sustain a prolonged outage without resupply or help from the .gov'rs that may be operational, or others that may potentially be a threat. Once you hit a point in time, using your resources, knowledge gained by Intel, discussions or what you have heard over the radio.... and so on.... at that point you will be able to make an educated decision on the morality of scavenging.

    Even at that point, I think one would error on the side of caution, and try to make contact with survivors prior to knocking down the door that is locked. I guarantee that if someone in my AO came a poking around my backdoor trying to force entry.... they would be sent away aggressively, maybe very aggressively. ;) You come back around with the same attitude another time, I will be taking what you have, because you have stopped sucking air.
    Just saying....
  9. whynot

    whynot Monkey++

    Simple.... Bunk here Dr & Mrs, treat it like you own it and we will figure something out if Fred the neighbor ever returns....I think we will all be able to tell the difference between looting and scavenging when the time comes. (Primarily by the lack of organized law & order). If the mini mart was looted weeks ago the tanks are dry and the population is gone; I think you will be okay taking the fire extinguisher. :)

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
    Sojourn and Motomom34 like this.
  10. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    at the end of the day if you didnt pay for it , it aint yours ... if you take it with out permission its stealing ...
    You do what u think is wright and dont worry about what anyone else thinks...

    Keep it simple....
    Tully Mars, Motomom34 and HK_User like this.
  11. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    @KAS it would be nice to keep it simple but I think if society breaks down, simple will be a memory.
  12. Sojourn

    Sojourn Monkey

    And that is the crux of the issue, when do you know if society has broken down and it is every person for themselves? I think it is a matter of good intelligence and communications ability to find out the status of the world/country and your immediate AO. Once you have that information, it does not make the situation simple, just more understanding of what you need to do, to survive.
    tulianr and Motomom34 like this.
  13. Stealth Camper

    Stealth Camper wild foodie

    I think scavenging is done out of necessity more than anything else. One of the benefits of prepping supplies ahead of time is that it allows you to avoid these situations of moral complexity... at least for a while. But when it really gets to down to it, you would pretty much do anything to ensure the survival of you and yours. Would I take medicine from a store if my child needed it to survive? Yep. Would I take a deer even though it might mean less meat on somebody else's table? More than likely. It happens for somebody every season. I abhor theft and violence, and I would do everything in my power to maintain the moral high ground but the survival instinct drives human beings to do desperate things. To believe a person would rather let their family die then steal a loaf of bread just seems unrealistic. At least to me it does. Lets hope we never ever have to test our own values to that extreme.
  14. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    no it can be simple but we as people overthink and make it difficult....
    but it seems to me more people are worried about being judged and what other people think then surving...
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Simple is what surviving is all about.

    Simple proved to me, after joining the Mil, that your learned family morality was worth more than all the academics' high brow think tank discussions.

    Keep a straight back, lead a straight life and the rest is simple.
    Gator 45/70, KAS, kellory and 2 others like this.
  16. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    For me, it is pretty plain.
    We prep now to be "ready" for what may come. I'm not Burt, nor do we have all that I'd like. I feel we do have enough to weather an event longer than most sheeple and many "preppers". Everything runs out-even preps. When we get to that point, I will do what I need to do to continue our survival. By that I mean if something/place is obviously abandoned, has been so for quite some time, I will take what I need, period. To me its no different than finding an axe or something at an empty campsite in the woods-finders keepers. At the risk of being laughed at, that's one thing I do like about the show "The Walking Dead." I think it does give a bit of an insight to the way people may react to a long term crisis. We have no intention whatsoever to take from anyone that is alive and trying to stay that way-unless they are trying to do that to us, then all bets are off... I also don't subscribe to the "We don't take/use anything from looters" line of thought. To me that's just plain stupid. If we are attacked and survive the attack, you can bet yer biffy we'll take and use EVERYTHING the attackers had..

    and MotoMom, I have heard the thought about the solar road signs from several different places over the years-and yes I know where the county/state keep theirs;)
    Mountainman, Motomom34 and DarkLight like this.
  17. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    If I have to scroung something from one of my long departed neighbors or even a local store I'm leaving an IOU, a person may have to lower his or her standards, However do it with good intentions and maintain a certain degree of honor in what your doing.
    I have the training and means to catch and eat what's in a ditch if nessary. Crawfish, frogs, turtles, nutria. All of these live near me....and then there's the packs of dogs that may or maynot be safe from me? Chances are I'll put on a few pounds.
    oldawg, KAS, Tully Mars and 3 others like this.
  18. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I would be nothing for me to paddle the banks in a pirogue and take a dozen duck's by jump shooting, This is from this morning. The ducks are against the Roo-zo's

    1-21-15 049.JPG
    Motomom34 likes this.
  19. kellory

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

    Game laws would be the first laws ignored, should there truly be a collapse. And if .gov becomes my enemy, I would loot the bodies without a second thought, including the "body" of my country.
    Friends and neighbors would be a different matter. Honor is for the honorable. IOUs would be used, and repaid in some way.
    Tully Mars, DarkLight and Gator 45/70 like this.
  20. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    u aint goona leave dem seapigeons there are ya?
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