Has Your Family Decided How To Deal With Looters?

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Survival Diva here with an important preparedness question for everyone. Has your family or group come to an agreement about how to deal with a looter? If not, then you should put a plan into place without delay! Hesitation will cost you precious time that may put you and your loved ones at risk.

 The issue was brought home for me when I first moved to my wilderness cabin years ago. At the time, my brother and sister-in-law and several others in our group had arrived for a working weekend to help install insulation and drywall in a shed I’d purchased that would store one years food storage for the 23 people in our group.

The food had already been transferred from the house I’d sold in town to the guest bedroom in my new-to-me cabin, which had formed a comical mountain of jumbled grocery bags filled with canned goods, baking supplies and spices that literally reached the guest rooms windowsills. The rest of bulk food supplies stored in 5-gallon buckets and miscellaneous survival goods crowded the cabin to the point it was difficult to walk in the cramped spaces while we rushed to get the storage shed ready for use.

Once our job of hanging insulation and drywall was done, my sister-in-law and I got busy sorting out the canned goods and spices in preparation for filling the storage shelves several others in the group were building.

Waist deep in grocery bags, sorting through the mountain of food, it dawned on me to ask my sister-in-law a question I should have asked years ago. “I have a question for you. Let’s say SHTF and we were all living here at the cabin. It’s late in the afternoon, and you hear a commotion out at that shed,” I said, pointing through the guest bedroom window to the shed in question. We could both hear hammering as work on the storage shelves progressed that would hug the walls of the shed, which was music to my ears. “Anyway, when you  look out the window to inspect, a crazed man is busy taking a crow bar to the chain securing the shed. It’s clear he plans to steal the food and whatever else he can grab. It’s up to you to act. What would you do?” I asked.

My sister-in law had hunted in the past, she can handle herself with firearms, and she is a proficient marksman,  but I’d never heard her express an interest in safety matters. Suddenly, I was more than a little interested in her reaction…because it had just occurred to me that we may have a BIG security issue. We had never discussed what we would do if ever we came under attack. There had been no discussion and no agreement as to how we would proceed as a group. I had just always assumed we would defend our supplies without question, because to do otherwise would jeopardize our survival.

 I had made a risky assumption, that based upon my sister-in-law’s reply, could prove fatal.

After putting the bag she was sorting through down, her expression as she looked towards me was one of confusion. “I don’t really know what I’d do,” she finally said.

Okay, that wasn’t good…not at all, was my thought. I would’ve thought her reaction would be to warn him to get off the property at the very least. ‘I don’t know’ revealed a critical flaw in our survival quotient. But I wasn’t willing to give up just yet.

Okay, let’s say this same guy that was going at the shed with a crowbar had a gun tucked into the waistband of his pants. What would you do then?”

She gave me another confused look as she thought over the question. This time her reply took longer. “I don’t know what I’d do.”

I really wasn’t liking the sound of this….not one bit. Suddenly, I had thoughts of the adults in our group having a heated debate over whether or not to use force (lethal or otherwise) to defend our supplies while under attack–we wouldn’t have the luxury to debate! Besides food, many critical preparedness items were in that shed; a tree felling ax, a 2-man cross saw, a $1,600 frost-free manual hand pump for the well that hadn’t been installed yet, all of the manual tools we would need if the grid went down, and more…. Yet, given what I was hearing, we weren’t on the same page with regards to our approach on how to handle a looter.

I’m a glass half-full sorta gal, so I tried for one more, sure-to-generate a correct answer question. “Okay, so this guy with the crowbar is going at the doors of the shed and gaining ground. AND he has a .357 Magnum stuck into the back of his waist band. When he turns towards you, his hair is wild and matted and his eyes are crazed. Another words this guy is basically a Charles Manson clone and he has just reached for his gun. What would you do then?” I asked, hopeful to hear what I needed to hear.

This time a frustrated look was shot in my direction before she answered. “I really don’t know,” she said.

It was official. As a group we had a big problem. Later that night I presented the same question to one of the men in the group and his reply was “I’d drop him.”

Just for clarification, I asked, “So, would you fire a warning shot over his head first?”

His answer didn’t come with any hesitation, “A warning shot would give him time to grab for his gun. I’d drop him.”

The consensus couldn’t be more different. On the one hand there was an “I don’t know”. On the other, it was “I’d drop him”.

Clearly, as a group, we needed to be on the same page BEFORE trouble showed up. Without a uniform agreement, I imagined a major dispute occurring within the group while this crazy person wielding a .357 magnum threatened the safety and survival of everyone in the group; with one person in the group calling out a warning, another insisting on sending a warning shot over the looters head, while another thought it prudent to dispatch the looter altogether.

The clear solution was to agree upon a plan BEFORE a problem arose, so that as a group, we would better be able to insure our safety. We did just that over the next few weeks along with practice drills, so we were able to test our cohesiveness as a group, our reaction time, and our effectiveness. Gone was the   hesitation that could have proved deadly and in its place was teamwork that included a safety plan for the elderly and the children in the group which placed them as far from the range of fire as possible.

The same strategy should be in place for all emergencies: earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, or a nuclear event. Practicing as a group will improve your odds for survival and keep everyone working as a team!

(David’s note:  This is pretty important…if you find yourself in a situation where you must defend yourself from a violent attack, your goal and mindset must be to stop the threat.  Not to “kill”, “drop”, or do any other verb to the attacker.  Your goal is to stop the threat.  There are times where the only way to stop a threat and keep from being violently attacked is to use force that could end up being lethal, but the GOAL is to stop the threat.  It would be smart for you to incorporate this verbiage into your thought process and any future conversations concerning self-defense.)

Do you have a safety plan in place for a societal collapse when looters come calling? How about people begging for food/water/supplies?  Have you run practice drills to make sure there aren’t any fatal flaws in your plan? Please share your thoughts and experience by commenting below.

Chapter 15 of Implant is now available. You can Click Here to continue reading.

And remember, if you haven’t done so already, check out DryFireTrainingCards.com for special BOGO grand opening deals!

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva


  1. Seth Quinn says:

    Yes, I am a Christian and no I will not back down from a person or persons whom want to do bodily harm to my family, crew or friends!!! Yes, in a WROL or SHTF situation we prefer to use a cease & desist command. This does not mean we are sheeple or hungry wolves, just sheep dogs doing our jobs. Yes, guard duty is a pain in the rear and will get old very fast but the alternative is too short of an early warning system with probable negative consequences.
    I have a neighbor with a walk in gun safe, over 120 firearms of various descriptions. Plenty of ammo. This makes him feel like he is safe. I feel he is a target. He use to reload & I would not want to be the fireman putting out the fire at his house. He wants to move everything to our compound just under 3 miles away. The problem is his wife is legally blind & his children are ultra liberals and mostly desk jockeys. He & his wife are welcome but I have not been able to determine if the remaining 16 persons [men, women & children] would be a fit. Our crew is down to 9 from a high of 33 capable individuals.
    Life goes on and each day has enough challenges of its’ own. I am so glad that God is in control, it gives me pause every time I think of his love for us!

  2. Seth Quinn says:

    ok all things considered, you said multiple families were on site. There was no mention of bodily harm being committed by the burglar. If someone encounters an armed individual with a crow bar[weapon] trying to break into your shed, storage room. Then a cease and desist order is acceptable while keeping said individual covered with one or more firearms. Shooting to kill w/o strong warning is just plain wrong. Is this individual definitely alone or are there others in wait close bye & armed to the teeth; unknown. THUS ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION! if subject threatens in any way I would then shoot to kill and take up a tactical position immediately. This is just my opinion & MOP

    • Seth Q;

      Your protocol is fine in a normal world, but if we are in a true SHTF scenario, there just won’t be any LEOs or judges available to either apprehend said individual or to obtain a cease-and-desist order from. We all will need to reorient our morals and ethics if we find ourselves in a truly barbaric scenario. What might be nice in today’s world may lead to our own death in a truly desperate world where there are no laws or police or judges and juries. WE will have to be all of the above.

      Let me repeat. We all will need to reorient our morals and ethics if we find ourselves in a truly barbaric scenario. This MUST be firmly implanted in all of our minds! Otherwise, be prepared to grab your knees, tuck you head between them and kiss your sweet behind goodby because that most certainly is what will happen.

    • If you leave him alive, what’s to say he won’t come back, “better prepared”..?

  3. In the scenario you put forward this individual has already attacked your compound. The theft would preclude me from trusting this person so adding him to the group would be very unlikely.

    A lot would depend on the situation outside the compound. In a WROL with roaming gangs I would be concerned that the information he gathered might be sold as a payment for membership into one of these groups.

    I have planned on a certain amount of charity. Someone who knocks on the door and needs a meal will be given something to eat. In the Great Depression it was common for those who could to provide a meal for someone passing through. This food was often paid for by some for of work such as chopping wood or other chores.

    • Survival Diva says:


      Helping others when they come to the door, rather than attempt to steal, is what our group has decided to do. It does open up the possibility that they may go tell others and some who show up could be trouble. That’s a chance we’ve decided to take–but with limits. Should they be a group of rough looking men sporting gang tattoos…nope! A family or an individual in need…yep.

      The movie Places In The Heart with Sally Fields does an AWESOME job of portraying how people survived during the depression, including a man who shows up at her farm and stays, working as a laborer for lodging and food.

      • Diva;

        Also, back in the Great Depression (before Obama), a lot of men traveled from place to place by hopping on trains, jumping off at various places for one reason or another. These gents were referred to as hobos, and it was common knowledge among them as to where they could find a handout. Thus, if a (let’s assume decent looking) hobo stopped at your place asking for food and was offered a meal, this information was then passed on to his fellow hobos as he hopped aboard the next passing train. Sometimes they would even place a “secret” mark on your mailbox, etc, to make it easier for their fellow hobos to find the place. This, obviously, was most common within a day’s walking distance from a railroad, but could occur even further away.

        This happened to us when I was in early grade school in central Ohio. The big difference between then and an impending SHTF now is that there was a code of ethics back then, and there was not wide-spread starvation (vs hunger). In an actual starvation situation, all bets are off. Ethics will be damned and lives will be at stake. Theirs or yours.

        • Survival Diva says:

          Bob R,

          This is the toughest aspect of prepping. Many of us wouldn’t hesitate to offer help…but since we’ve become an “entitlement” society and where honor is harder to find, helping becomes riskier. I know of several folks who plan to give food anonymously to the community to keep off the radar, but for that to work, there has to be a community SHTF plan in place.

          • Diva;

            Giving food anonymously still does not address the issue of the “folks” who show up on your property to take from you what you have stored. I think we all have feelings of altruism, but this will not be a commensurate feeling when SHTF and people are actually starving and have found where you live. Unfortunately. If/when this happens, I think that we all will have to make a snap decision on what to do and how best to handle the situation, for both the best short term and long term for our families and ourselves. Some will make the right decision. Others won’t. And, being honest, I don’t know what the “right” decision will be until/unless I have to make it and then live or die with the consequences.

          • Survival Diva says:

            Bob R,
            My weakness is going to be families with children. I can’t imagine turning them away. I’ve solved the problem, at least partially, by moving to the deep-deep wilderness, and for back-up, I won’t be the one to make the decision. I’ve opted out of making that determination because of that weakness. It’s the best I’ve come up with so far. You’re so right about having to make snap decisions. As for thieves, I won’t have any problem stopping them, no matter what that entails.

        • Hey Bob,

          Excellent point. I even go into modern hobo codes in the SurviveInPlace

      • I have another movie suggestion…..no Pollyanna here; The Road

      • Couldn’t you just scare him away? Say a remote controlled recording of vicious dogs barking in the shed?

        • Mary;

          We’re talking about a grid-down, SHTF situation where there is no electricity to power either your remote control or the recording of the dogs barking. Picture yourself 150 years ago before electricity. Also, without electricity, there is no way to contact the police. And even if you did somehow (smoke signals, semiphore?), they would be unable to get to you due to lack of gasoline, etc. Now how would you handle the situation?

      • Don’t depend on Hollywood Movies.
        All of my friends in Idaho, who are Idaho natives are already survivalists, they have survival skills from years of experience living in a Wilderness setting. If someone is breaking into your shed in the Idaho Wilderness, you better have a solution and fast, because it it not likely to be one of your neighbors.

  4. I go back to my original comment from yesterday. “The key is that your supplies are OUTSIDE the building in which you live. If they were INSIDE your home, then it’s clear that an attempt to get to your supplies is equivalent to a home invasion. In which case there is NO warning shot. It’s shoot to protect your life and in doing so, you are also protecting your supplies.”

    Bottom line is that what happens to the thief OUTSIDE your house/home can get murky real quick. What happens to the intruder INSIDE your house/home is much more clear. Notice the different words – thief vs intruder. Their intent is the same, but their location and eventual outcome are different. And that is what makes the difference between life and death for the bad guy.

    If at all possible, keep the supplies that you can’t do without inside your house/home.

    • Bob – in a SHTF situation taking/stealing your supplies is tantmount to threatening your life. Diva has stocked up better than most of us but if someone was breaking into my garage to steal the food for my children, well, they come first and I don’t want him giving intell to another group. A civilized knock on the door may get a bowl of soup.

  5. Clark Coleman says:

    Just scare off the intruder. Then he comes back in the middle of the night and sets the cabin on fire. You can talk about perimeter security all you want, but unless you have night shift sentries in your group, you really don’t want armed looters around who know where your supplies are. Night shift sentry is a job that will get old and unpopular very fast.

  6. While one doesn’t want to just kill everything on sight, if you just disarm this individual and send them packing, IMHO, there’s nothing to prevent them from rounding up a larger group to come and take your stuff. He knows you have something worth protecting so the ruse is up. A flaw in preparation, in this scenario, is that he got to the shed in the first place. Once he got to the shed your only choice was to plant him unless you wanted to feed another mouth.

  7. Joseph L M says:

    Your article bring up all kinds of emotions do I kill or not , it a tuff one. In my situation ,I have 12 people to care for, many would be dead with in weeks if the SHTF . I would size up the situation and see if he has friends hiding near by and how well armed they were. If he looks like a kid or young man – desperate , starving , sick I would dis-arm him . I would try to size him up to see if he would be a asset or a future problem. My property is well fortified , if it a person that I can add to my group , my group is stronger and I don’t have to kill him. He might have skills that will help my group to survive , if he can learn skills from the group and form trust all the better. When the SHTF hits , what if it a child or a family with children. Shoot them all or throw them a can of beans and say leave. I read the comments and understand the Rambo attitudes in the prepper world . Kill would be last on my list.

    • Catherine Haugh says:

      1st) I have food for several days in each of several areas of my house, just in case they get something I may still have food for me.
      2nd) I would have disguised the shed to look like a chicken coop, with a few roaming chickens – fenced area. a ramp to a fake door to make it look like a coop and a hiden lock on the actual entrence. Hopefuly they would grab a few chickens and not investage the “coop”.

  8. Gramma Lynne says:

    Would someone help me out here, please? I’m seeing some anachronymns that I’m not familiar with. While I understand “S(stuff)HTF” and “TEOTWAWKI”, I’m at a loss when ronbo mentions “DEFCON 2 status” and Walter speaks of “a disaster/WROL scenario”.


    • WROL = Without Rule Of Law – a situation without any law enforcement, or law enforcement being so far away that it’s irrelevant.

    • Gramma — from a Grandpa. Do what I do and google the acronyms. DEFCON 2 means a high level of imminent danger (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON) whereas WROL means Without Rule of Law = lawlesness. Doing my own searches helps me to learn. SHTF is the most important to know because that covers most of what we are talking about on this forum.

    • DEFCON-2 come from the national defense condition of readiness. DEFCON-5 is the lowest level of readiness DEFCON-1 is all out war.

    • Gramma Lynne says:

      To Red, “Grandpa” Bob R and Caribou ~
      Thanks so much for your replies! Each one of you adds a little to my understanding.
      Because I am elderly (72) and live alone I don’t want to say too much about my situation and preparations. Suffice it to say I’m farther along than most, but not where I’d like to be. This forum with Mr. Morris and the Survival Diva has been helpful and informative for me.
      Thanks again – and may God bless your socks off!

      • Gramma;

        Not to worry about your age. My wife and I are both 70, so we’re not far behind you! I know that I’m no longer in good enough physical shape to engage in hand-to-hand combat, but I can, and do, still shoot straight and can think straight. I don’t think that, short of being confined to an institution, we are ever too old to start prepping for what all of us believe is right around the corner. We do what we can with our limited physical and financial resources. None of us will ever be prepared for every danger that may be creeping our way. We just need to prioritize what are the most likely scenarios for our particular location and family circumstances and then prepare for those situation. For example, we live in central Ohio (Go BUCKS!) and we have not prepared for a hurricane or an earthquake. However, we do have long-term food and medical supplies, unlimited access to fresh water and sewage disposal, alternative ways to cook the food, and plenty of “Love Lead” to “reach out and touch someone”, if necessary.

  9. Lots of opinions to handle this, but JoAnne is correct…. “If someone were to threaten my survival or my families survival, I would stop them. Why sacrifice to prepare yourself, just to have someone else take it and you are left with nothing. ” We are all on this site because we are preppers. I will expand on the quote some more to be clear. “I would stop them” means kill…..let’s just say it. When you are shooting to stop, you are shooting to kill. No more threat, no worrying about a return visit or retaliation. If times are as bad as we think they might be with no rule of law….there will be no assistance from police or authorities and we will be handling “business” ourselves and most likely disposing of the decendant discreetly. If times are not that bad and you want to call it in (after an “incident”) just know your secret refuge is over and you may be in court (Zimmerman style perhaps.) Only you can weigh what you are actually willing to do, so think ahead.

  10. Everyone should read FerFal’s book “the modern survivalist”, because he actually went through an economic collapse most of us are worried about. 2001 Argentina. Life won’t stop, WROL won’t last long, people won’t hunker down for years, they will have to go to work, and there money won’t buy as much. In most states if you shoot someone stealing your stuff you will still go to jail.

    • many states have castle doctrine laws. texas and florida are two, and there are many more. in texas you may use lethal force to stop anyone on your property who may be a threat to your life, or who are stealing property of which you have no reasonable expectation of recovering. this doctrine may even be extended to your neighbors by requesting that they guard your property in your absence. this doctrine applies now, and would most definitely apply in a wrol situation.

      • Smoky;

        In Ohio, we also have the Castle Doctrine, but the intruder must be in the building in which you live. Just creeping around on your property, or even stealing stuff from your barn, shed or detached garage, are not grounds for lethal force. The person must be inside your house, and the threat or perceived threat of deadly force or major bodily harm must be present. Then, and only then, can you plug the bad guy. Oh, and it’s not a good idea to plug him in the back (that’s perceived as the bad guy being in retreat), or if you drop him outside your door, don’t attempt to drag his sorry body back inside. It’s called tampering with evidence.

  11. Soylent Green says:

    Well, what if I ‘stop the threat’ by yelling at him to leave, and he does? What happens after I’ve just alerted him that I have things in the shed worth protecting? Will he come back with more of his friends than I have determined to take it? Or will he just walk off into the woods and pot shot me later? No matter HOW MANY supplies you have, are you REALLY prepared to protect them (and yourself and family) in a post SHTF scenario if your responses are still back in pre SHTF society?

    • Salty Marine says:

      You can’t kill someone because they might come back or think there is something valuable to steal. Theft in its self is not a legal reason to take life. Escalation from theft to attack is a reason. Any actions you take (specially murder because that is what it will be) will eventually have to be dealt with after order returns. To answer your question about readiness…I am absolutely ready for SHTF. Escalation in disorder will decide if it’s time to break out the artillery and go to war in my own backyard.

  12. Salty Marine says:

    I see lots of people saying fire a warning shot. This is flat out wrong. My background: served 6 yrs in the USMC (combat unit), have twice come within a hair of having to defend my family with lethal force in the cavilian world and have maintaied constant fire arms training since my discharge (life member to Front Sight). No law enforcement officer or professional instructor will ever tell you to fire a warning shot. Your response should be STOP OR I WILL SHOOT. If he runs then the law does not permitted you to shoot. If he draws his weapon or charges at you (a crow bar can be considered a lethal weapon) you shoot him twice in the chest to stop the attack. If there is a failure to stop you shoot him once in the head. As soon as you fire a warning shot you have established a lethal situation and can go to jail for simply pulling the trigger as a life threatening situation HAD NOT been established yet. Warning shots are never recomended.

  13. Charles Klauder says:

    This is a good conversation to consider. Each person or group needs to think this through before hand for sure. I would suggest that for the Christian the high road is to lay down your life rather than take the life of anther human. On the other hand we are charged with protecting those who are weak.

    But the real question for the Christian is where is your treasure. If it is in your barn or this life then you need to spend some quality time reading the words of Jesus. Prepare and be wise as serpents but gentle as doves.

    • Soylent Green says:

      I would suggest that you save yourself time, expense and trouble and not prepare to do anything other than die, if that’s what you choose to do. MY God opposes evil and in MY Bible he helps His people fight it.

      • That was an excellent reply Soylent Green. I guess I have a macaub sense of humor, but I couldn’t stop laughing.

    • Plissken says:

      Exodus 22:2
      “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.

    • Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” There is a time and a place.

  14. Say What? says:

    What scares me, more than anything else, is the not knowing how our neighbors/family are going to handle themselves when the rubber meets the road. Yah, we have some very cool neighbors, well educated, they know what’s going on in this world. The family is aware, but still haven’t don a lot to prepare. They can all talk a mean game, but nothing has happened…YET!!! When the critical moment arrives, we’re going to see things/do things we NEVER thought we’d have to do. Instinct….listen to your gut. As sorry as you’re going to feel for those that did nothing, to prepare….use common sense. Turning your back on folks you know are decent, good people is going to be very difficult, but if you begin to hand out to one family/friend….get ready for the rest to show up.

  15. Most of you are using TV reality to make your decisions. Let the bad guy go and they won’t come back. Just like in TV, they bad guy will continue to come back until they get what they want. It’s good for a TV series, but not for real life. If you have an armed individual trying to take your life saving supplies and you scare them away, what makes you think they won’t come back with more armed people? Bring the bad guy into your group because they might have skills you need? Would you bring a thief or possible killer into your home because they can fix a stopped drain? Firing a warning shot might just get you into a gun battle. Chasing them off just gives them another day to try it again or worse start picking you off one by one. The answer is to eliminate the threat permanently. Ask yourself why are you armed? That should tell you why they are armed. You can’t be nice or politically correct when it comes to survival. When the SHTF the only law is to survive. You have to decide if you want to be the victim or the victor.

    Let me give you one more situation that might clarify what you should do and why. A bear is trying to break into your food supply. Do you fire a warning shot and hope he doesn’t come back? Do you just wound him and hope he doesn’t come back. Do you shoot him and know the threat has been eliminated? You answer will determine if you keep your supplies and possibly your life.

    • Bill Mottinger says:

      Survival = Survive! Even if the bear is “unarmed” at a distance, it is Meat!
      A survival cache means continued existence and any threat of loss to what sustains life should elicit the response, Stop The Threat! God gave us minds to help us survive, not to be politically correct. He created sheepdogs with the instincts to protect against threats to the sheep, etc. Only sheep would welcome disguised wolves into their fold! Survival = Survive!!!

    • Good points.
      Unfortunately, TV and movies have given barbaric ideas, …and mindsets,… to individuals and groups not normally smart enough to come up with them on their own.

  16. Discussions of how to deal with criminals in a disaster/WROL scenario always fascinates me. The purpose of most laws are, essentially, to protect the haves from the have-nots. If the SHTF the have-not population will suddenly explode, and combined with a (real or perceived) need of the have-nots to acquire, and the haves to defend, the necessities of life makes it a very dangerous situation if the two groups should meet. One of the reasons I find the topic so interesting is the definitions of what constitutes “looting” versus “scavenging” that is often discussed in preparedness blogs. As the owner of 3 different properties that might be tempting targets for the have-nots, especially so in a SHTF situation, I’ve given a lot of thought how to respond.

    Personally, I wouldn’t call a person with a crowbar and a firearm as described in the article a looter, more like an armed burglar. Breaking and entering into an unoccupied structure is a misdemeanor in most if not all states, but doing so while in possesion of a deadly weapon makes it a felony. Whether the crime being committed is a misdemeanor or a felony would be the prime consideration on how I’d respond to the threat. The next greatest consideration for me would be the clothes worn, the gear carried, and the manner of their approach. Do they appear haggard, or reasonably well kempt? Are they wearing street clothing with a slung hunting rifle, or military gear with a AK/AR in the ready position? Did they approach normally during the day, or in a sneaky/clandestine manner after dark? I personally see a greater threat, and would be more apt to shoot, a scavenging prepper than a starving looter.

    • Robby777 says:

      Remember – No matter what – He/she/it is after your supplies. In a WROL situation you have to be the law. Just be sure it’s a really SHTF situation – not a temporary disruption. Desperate times means desperate measures. This includes a garden or orchard. Food & water will be in short supply.
      A survivalist is just that – he survives ! Killing is a last resort. in any case.

  17. I don’t think intruders should be killed. just restrained as they may have a skill or something valuable to offer that the rest of the group doesn’t. they should first be restrained and then find their intentions out and what skills they have to offer. this is where binders to make handcuffs come in handy same thing they carry in the millatary.

  18. wandamurline says:

    In my training class, it is always to stop the threat….not necessarily to kill the threat. I would not kill anyone who was not a threat to me and my family….families who did not prepare and have nothing and who are not violent, but need something to eat is a really hard one for me. I do know that, in today’s society, if you only “stop” the threat, then you have the perpetrator suing you….sometimes, I think it is a lose/lose situation. Of course, if the world has gone ballistic, the police and others will be defending their own families, and you will have to decide which scenario fits your needs…stop or kill.

  19. The situation above is not what worries me. What worries me are the neighbors, family and friends that despite repeated warnings have not prepared. In a week they’d be starving. Although hidden from the outside, my self sustaining farm has been impossible to keep secret from them and I’ve heard many quip; “If something happens, we’re all coming to your place”.

    • Survival Diva says:


      You and I are in a similar situation. Yours because you have a farm, which although you mention is hidden, your neighbors know is there. Mine is because I am an author of a preparedness book and articles. Hard as we may try to stay under the radar, it isn’t completely possible to do so. I have often heard those terrible words “I know where I’ll go if a crisis happens”. The best I could figure is work with my neighbors and community…without announcing my background because many are still clueless as far as I can tell.

    • Say What? says:

      That’s scary!! So, they see you getting your sh*t together, yet they plan on coming to you when the SHTF? Tell them, “Under no uncertain terms are you going to come here, seeking food, etc…especially when you’ve witnessed ME, doing what’s supposed to be done to prepare.” I’d have to make it real clear to them, “it ain’t gonna happen….if you aren’t prepared, I’m sorry.” That really irritates me, to read how they plan on leaning on you. Idiots!!!

  20. First of all, that stranger should never have been able to get that close to the cabin. In a SHTF scenario, perimeter sec. should have been established. Had an intruder been allowed to get in that close, he would need to be dispatched and from that moment on, the grp. would need to be on DEFCON 2 status being on the look out for any accomplices of the intruder. No further discussion needed on the topic!

    • Survival Diva says:


      I agree with your assessment and after that initial awakening, we began to make the necessary changes to the property–much of it learned though Dave’s Lesson plans and also learning from the forum.

    • Razor wire or barbed wire can be a time consuming deterrent. An Air HOrn can be a very effective deterrent, and alerting the neighborhood of a problem. Also a couple strays could be handy as watch dogs, and you would not be attached to their survival like a pet. Most burglars will just go somewhere easier if there are too many issues to deal with.

  21. To me, it’s clear. If my critical supplies were outside of the building in which I was living, I’d fire one warning shot. If the intruder turned and started towards me or took other aggressive action, I’d drop him in self defense. The key is that your supplies are OUTSIDE the building in which you live. If they were INSIDE your home, then it’s clear that an attempt to get to your supplies is equivalent to a home invasion. In which case there is NO warning shot. It’s shoot to protect your life and in doing so, you are also protecting your supplies.

  22. First of all I never would put all my food & other valuable items in a shed, or in one single place of any type. Secondly, before anyone joined my group, they would have answered the shoot or not to shoot question to my satisfaction. Most of my group is former military, LEO and FD.

    • Survival Diva says:


      Because of the initial upset, food and preparedness supplies are now split up; some of it in the cabin (it’s small, 900 sq. ft.) and some is buried in food caches both near and away from the property.

      • Hmmmmm, 23 people, 900 sq. ft.? God Bless your optimism!

        • Survival Diva says:


          You’re spot on! There are now 2 guest cabins with sleeping lofts. It’ll cut down on the inevitable stress of being in close quarters for long periods of time, but they don’t have electric (oil lamps will have to do) and neither are heated except for small wood stoves that’ll be used for heating and cooking (cast iron Dutch ovens) when the time comes. It’s not perfect…but it’s a far cry from what was there on the property when I bought it.

          • In what state is your property located? I am trying to determine which state is best to relocate to or perhaps even go overseas.

          • Survival Diva says:


            It’s in Northern Idaho. Overseas worried me because of politics that lately have made Americans out be the bad guy…whether we deserve it or not.

  23. My first step would be to visually search the surrounding area to see who is covering
    Charlie’s back. A rifle hiding in the woods will be a more critical threat than that .357.
    Clearing sight lines around your residence should be a priority, use some creative
    landscaping to remove areas where looters can hide/sneak up on you.

  24. As an ex-Marine (VietNam era) and one who has had to shoot in self-defense (civilian life), I appreciate your encouraging readers to mentally role-play their actions in SHTF scenarios. But, like many of your readers, as I am now a Commandment-keeping disciple of Yeshua of Nazareth (pagan alias, “Jesus Christ”), many of the “options’ which were available to me in “good conscience” in my prior life are not there any longer. In short, the use of lethal force in defense of property is indefensible for anyone who claims to be a “Christian”, period.
    It gives me ZERO pleasure in declaring this, but it is essential for all such people to further consider whether their worldly goods are worth their eternal salvation. This is why preparation is so important, to us perhaps even more so than to unbelievers: our very best hope is to remain “off the radar” and undetected by such marauders, and to trust in our Lord for the end times deliverance he promises. And I DON’T mean a “Pre-Trib Rapture”!

    • Sorry to disagree there Bob, but when Christ told his disciples to take up swords to protect themselves from thieves and murderers, it wasn’t to go out and scare them with. If an intruder in a SHTF scenario is about to take your ability to survive, that’s classified as murder. Especially, if he’s well aware that he’s stealing from the inhabitants in the cabin, commune or whatever. It’s one thing to steal but if he’s armed and knowing that the owners are in the area, he needs to pay the ultimate price. Again, as I previously stated; a grp’s perimeter sec. should have been established in the first place, negating the need to outright kill intruders in the wire. If doing their job, the perimeter sec. can deter anyone from continuing with well placed warning shots that would keep the integrity of the grp’s compound, cabin, etc.

      • Well said, ronbo. Bob Hamrick seems to have an incorrect view of what the scriptures teach. I find so many believers today think Christianity is a pacifist religion. English betrays us as the word “kill” is too broad and the word “murder” is too narrow for the original Hebrew word. A better translation would be “unjustly kill”. Just killing is defined in scripture, and includes self defence and theft of property if the latter would require or result in the death of the rightful owner.

    • Jesus loves you- go to the church of your choice and wait. (I live in a city, so I would use a silenced pistol- one shot to immobilize him, the second shot to ‘make sure’- then, I would toss him into the neighbour’s back yard).

    • Anthony says:

      I have a question for you, if you please. Is it okay, in your opinion, for a Christian to use lethal force if what that person is protecting will determine whether or not they survive? How about others, such as family, will survive. I have made up my mind a long time ago, but let’s say I’m curious as to your thought processes. Everyone should have made that decision before the time comes.

    • Bob,

      While I appreciate your faith, I think you kind of missed the point here. This is a discussion on survival, not on religious beliefs. Maybe I am wrong but I will reply to your post based on how I interpret the article.

      In this scenario, we are not just considering using lethal force to defend worldly possessions on any given day. This is a SHTF scenario where a looter is attempting to rob you of food stores, not just a few tools here and there.

      In a SHTF type scenario, it is safe to assume that you cant just say “oh well, that guy just got a bunch of our food stores but at least he didn’t see us and no one was hurt” and then run to the grocery store to re-stock. In this scenario, supplies are probably scarce to the general public as stores have already been looted no doubt so its now each man for himself. While I don’t condone lethal force if not necessary, I would definitely fire a warning shot or, if need, shoot the intruder and disable him. Lets say you do scare him off and the state of the world is dire. Now you have an intruder that knows where your stores are and knows your armed. Now, people do desperate things in desperate times so now this intruder knows if he wants your food to survive, he will need to bring more help and weapons and will probably not be afraid to use lethal force against you and your family.

      Of course, this is all worst case scenario stuff, but that is what preparedness is all about, right? To think that God will provide is something bad like this happens is Naive and you will get yourself or your family hurt. I would rather think that God gave me the tools and knowledge to survive and I will use it to the extent necessary.

      • Bob, I agree with you. No one wants to kill someone just to protect food and supplies. I am the only one in my family that has spent several years gathering supplies for everyone in my family, including my great-grandchildren. If someone were to threaten my survival or my families survival, I would stop them. Why sacrifice to prepare yourself, just to have someone else take it and you are left with nothing. Do you think someone else will take care of you and yours?

      • Shooting to disable someone might be considered inhumane since medical help would no doubt be nonexistent and dying of “lead-poisoning” is slow and painful. Do him a favor and kill him fast. I’d probably be dumb enough to holler at him first and warn him off and go from there depending on what he does. The smartest thing to do would be to remove the threat so there would not be a possibility of him returning with reinforcements. Guess you have to judge each situation as it arises and pray for wisdom.

    • What do then make of Matthew 10:34?

    • I seem to remember the scriptures talking about the man being responsible for his family and being an infidel if he does not protecta nd provide for them. We need to be clear that the someone breaking into your shed right now is not a killing offense because we can replace and resupply and such now. If we were in a Yugoslavia situation where there is no order or stores or commerce for a couple years. Every pail of food is going to be important. I’m a believer and if it means I must kill someone attacking my ability to feed my children, then they have made the choice for me. My wife and children come first to a stranger or thief. My two cents.

  25. Great post. False bravado is prevalent but common sense is often a second choice. Actions have consequences…even in SHTF scenarios.

    My answer would be…in the first sense of safety…shoot to protect.

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