Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

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Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Hatch » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:17 pm

This is something I've been giving a lot of thought to lately, and I'd be interested to see if others have similar concerns and have come up with ideas or solutions.

Let me establish the background: I live in a small (100 homes) upper middle-class neighborhood in a suburban community on the outskirts of a major city in the Southeast. The average home price in my neighborhood is around $300k, and most of the people in my neighborhood are professionals of some sort or another. It's a family neighborhood, the vast majority having one or more children.

The one problematic statistic of the neighborhood however, is the large percentage of... well... assholes. There's just no better way to put it. There are tons of assholes that live around me. If you've ever read "Lights Out" by Half Fast, imagine a neighborhood with not one Jon Olsen, but 40. Except that they probably don't have a bunch of MREs stockpiled in their house.

These neighbors are back-biting each other in the best of times, squabbling over the most mundane, ridiculous things. A homeowner leaves their trash can by the street too long, and their neighbor sends an angry letter to the HOA demanding "immediate action." Or the other homeowner who has developed a conspiracy theory that their neighbor next door is sneaking out at night and spraying weed killer on their azalea bushes. Add in a little actual controversy, like whether or not to install speed bumps in the neighborhood, and it's an all out firestorm of neighborhood politics.

If the SHTF, I think the outcome in my neighborhood would be a lot like that old Twilight Zone episode where there's a blackout on Maple Street and the neighbors all violently turn against each other in a matter of hours.

So, given that background, say the world experienced a major SHTF episode, such that the lights and water are out, the grocery stores are shut down, the gas pumps are empty, and what government remains is too busy trying to pick up the pieces with both thumbs jammed up its collective ass, to be of any real help to the people on the ground. These neighbors, at each other's throats in the best of times, are now without electricity, water, food, or fuel.

And then there's me and Mrs. Hatch. We've got food. We've got water. We've got a generator and fuel to run it. We've got gardens and a greenhouse. We have weapons and ammo. We've centered our preps on the basis of bugging in.

So, how do you deal with bugging in at a location that is surrounded by a native population that is unfriendly at best, hostile at worst, and unprepared in its entirety?

We don't associate with most of the people in the neighborhood (for obvious reasons), and so it is not known by our neighbors that we have the resources we do. But it's pretty hard to completely muffle the sound of a running generator or stifle the smell of a cooking fire. I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility to imagine that at some point I might be faced with an angry mob at my door demanding what they see as their "fair share."

In a perfect world, we'd all live in neighborhoods with reasonable people that you could talk to about being prepared, and that you could work with in times of disaster for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately, it just doesn't always work out that way.

So is this a concern for anyone else, or am I alone in my suburban hell?

Thanks.

--Hatch
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Mr. Warren Peace » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:30 pm

hatch..

i'm about 30 miles n of you, and sometimes i say.. "BAAAAAh" if you need a local zs buddy let me know.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by daviddulee » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:45 pm

My reply is not meant to be some snarky remark, please keep that in mind.

I would give moving a very hard look.

Easier said than done, I realize. You sound like you have a nice house and have put energy into maintaining a greenhouse and a garden. If you neighbors could manage to be civil, or at least not raging asses, it sounds like it would be a nice place.

It sucks when elements outside your control conspire to make your life suck. There isn't much you can do to resolve the situation and it doesn't look like you can count on your neighbors to grow the hell up.

It would be a pain to have to move. It would suck more to have an emergency and have to worry about the jackass neighbors deciding to take out their pent up aggression on you and your wife. It sounds like they are the types who could become confrontational enough to escalate a situation to a mob scene if they get annoyed that you are prepared and they are hungry.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by quazi » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:57 pm

Just keep trying to keep your preps secret, although they'll likely find out eventually.

Maybe you could construct some sort of secret hidden closet to keep most of your supplies in, and keep some decoy supplies somewhere else. That way they might think they got all of your stuff, but you really still have most of it.

Other than that, I'd invest in some good fences, fire extinguishers, and whatever defensive landscaping you can get away with. Maybe some of those foxlabs CS grenades and a couple gas masks are in order.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by The Highwayman » Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:08 pm

Unfortunately, I'd say it's a real toss up for you. On the one hand, I have seen groups of folks that have had histories of bad blood and confrontations, band together and act very maturely and help each other get through some tough times. However, on the other hand, I have seen moreso those who would act like asses during normal, every day living, turn exponentially worse, when the times turn tough. The biggest problem is, you really can't predict one way or the other what will happen until you're knee-deep in the shit.

I would also recommend you seriously think about a move. I mean, even though a major SHTF event may not be the most likely thing to happen anytime soon, you never know for sure. Even if it never occurs, do you really want to continue to live in such an environment? That kind of shit has a way of becoming contagious, if you know what I mean. That's the major reason my wife and I decided to move to north FL from south FL a couple of years ago. It was getting to the point where everyone you'd encounter on a given day, was totally stressed out, pissed off, and mad at the world. More often than not, after being around folks like this all day, I'd start to "inherit" some of these same feelings by the end of each day. It got to be waaaaaay too much for us.

Now we live in a really rural area, where we know and like the only other two families living within a half mile or so of us, and constantly have folks that we don't even know wave at us driving down the road. Not to mention that for the $$$ we spent on a 3 bed 2 bath 1600 sf house on about 11,000 sf of property, we now own a 4 bed 2 bath 2300 sf house, on 2 and 1/2 acres! Nothing like living out in the sticks to lower the blood pressure, either! :D

Hope it works out for you man....
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by ruger49 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:34 pm

One good thing going for you is folks like this don't own guns. If they do it just a night stand gun that they have fired
maybe once when it was first bought. I myself could maybe turn people away but having to turn away thier kids..
I don't think I have that in me.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by phil_in_cs » Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:12 pm

This is America; people move all the time. Home prices are low now, which works for you and against you at the same time.... Loans for people with good credit are easy to get and low now too.

I moved twice to get to a secure location, and if this one becomes unsecure, I will move before TSHTF to get to a better one.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Maeklos » Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:32 pm

In all honesty, it sounds like your neighborhood is not one to worry about. If there's one thing that assholes like that love, it's beaurocracy. So, when SHTF scenarios pop up, they're the ones that are going to be making calls to "important people" (or, at least people they think are important) or heading up to town hall or a local police station to make sure "things get set right". This will give you valuable breathing time during those first few hours after an emergency situation becomes public knowledge to make and take your own preparations, whether it's to button down or bug out. When those bung grubbers get back from doing whatever it is they're doing, one of two things will happen: they will remain at home and ignore all the bad things that are happening and believe that the government will put everything right before dinner time (I call this the Republi - er, um, to quote Aliens - Burke response) OR they will join the screaming masses trying to get out of the place, convinced that the entire world is going to crush them because someone else screwed something up somewhere (which I call the Democr - um - Hudson response).

Either case, take a lesson from Corporal Hicks - Dust off and nuke the place from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Or, um, do what you're going to do and ignore the assholes around you. The universe hates assholes - that's why everyone only has one. Ultimately, all assholes are self-centered (who's ever heard of a lopsided asshole?), so they'll ignore whatever it is that YOU are doing. So make sure to get it done before everything falls apart. Because when everything falls apart, that's when all the assholes get left hanging out. And then they're screwed.

So....that's my fitty cent.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Abacus » Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:51 pm

I'm not seeing the problem here. Your plan is to bug in. You have preps. Does your Bug In Plan involve your neighbors? If it did, you need a new plan.

I am a suburbanite also. I've got a garden and a pretty substantial workshop. We're also bugging in, tons of preps. Lots of pantry space and a hidden room for the weapons and ammo.In the entirety of my BIP, nowhere does making friends enter into it. I mean really, what's the worst that they could do to you? They want to yell at me, let 'em. Throw things at my house, fine, it's hardened.

I've been here for two years. I try to avoid my neighbors. I don't talk to my neighbors, and when I run into one, I pretend like I don't speak english.The first interaction I had with one was him threatening to beat me with the shovel he had in his hands. Not exactly what you look for in a team.

Everywhere you go, there's always an asshole. You can also be confident that sometimes that asshole is yourself :). My idea is to be the healthy, well-fed, defended asshole that they envy.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Trioxin » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:24 pm

When the shit hits the fan, I say fuck em.
They step on your property, shoot first ask questions later.
I know that sounds childish, but you must reap what one sows.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by MosinMe » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:37 pm

If I bugged in I'd only have enough food/water to last two weeks for 3 people at best.

But I agree with Trioxin.

I would have my 30-30 lever gun on my person at all times ready to defend my supplies.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by BobtheBreaker » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:41 pm

As long as you have more bullets than neighbors, the problem will resolve itself.

I know that sounds harsh and draconian, and probably teeters on the very edge of inappropriate. However, you live in Flo-ree-da, they passed that sweet lethal force legislation recently and it exists to protect you.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Hatch » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:46 pm

Thanks for the replies, some of the feedback is pretty... interesting. Tear gas. Hadn't thought of that, but I know a place where I can get some.

RE: Moving: Yes, that is an option and I've not completely discounted it, but I've put a considerable investment in this home, and part of me just doesn't like the idea of being run off my land by rudeness and stupidity. Plus, there's that old saying about the devil you know and the devil you don't. So, I guess I'm just looking for some constructive ways to mitigate potential conflicts with the unprepared masses post-SHTF.

Jvandenhaus: No, my bug in plan does not involve my neighbors (as in, provide for them or require their assistance), but I think that to simply dismiss as irrelevant the potential impact to my plans posed by the several hundred people in my immediate vicinity, would probably be amiss. At some point, I will have to deal with them, positively or negatively, and so I'm trying to factor that into my planning. What's the worst that they could do? They could put me in a position where I am forced to take extreme and irreversible action. That's not a position in which I want to find myself, without having put some forethought into it. Hence this topic.

Regarding your example of the neighbor with the shovel, how will you deal with him should he come calling one night in the PAW looking for food for his wife and child? Do you turn him away? Maybe he comes back with his shovel, demanding the food. You show him a gun. Maybe he comes back the next time with a gun himself, and you're forced to kill him. Now, the wife and child come begging for food. You turn them away, but they won't leave. Do you shoot them, too? At this point, you might ask yourself - how could I have avoided this situation, before it had escalated to this level? That's the angle from which I'm coming at this problem.

Trioxin and others: I tend to look at violence as a tool of last resort, to be used after I have exhausted my other options. This isn't out of some moral or humanitarian concern, but because violent solutions tend to be irreversible and short-lived, and they often come with lasting complications.

MosinMe: We have stocked supplies to last us the better part of a year, and the means to extend that period further with gardening and small game hunting. I'm pretty confident that I could outlast all of my neighbors and solve the problem through attrition, if I could avoid extreme conflicts with them.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the input.

--Hatch
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by donjulio » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:46 pm

I doubt that the situation would escalate to the point of using deadly force on your neighbors (which we should probably stop discussing). If some of your neighbors became interested in the sound of your generator, or started wondering why you were not freaking out like everyone else, I'm sure they would lose intrest when they realize that you are now defending a fortified position and not allowing anyone on your property.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Hatch » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:08 am

donjulio wrote:I doubt that the situation would escalate to the point of using deadly force on your neighbors (which we should probably stop discussing). If some of your neighbors became interested in the sound of your generator, or started wondering why you were not freaking out like everyone else, I'm sure they would lose intrest when they realize that you are now defending a fortified position and not allowing anyone on your property.
The entire point of this discussion is to devise solutions that don't involve the use of deadly force. "Just shoot them" is a simple, but ultimately unproductive solution.

Regarding the neighbors' level of interest, hunger will make a person go to extremes that they would not normally consider. And not just their own hunger. What level of desperate action might a father take to acquire food for his starving child?

I'm looking at this problem not from the perspective of deterrence through demonstration of force, but of avoidance or deflection, if that's possible. Admittedly, it may not be.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by BobtheBreaker » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:18 am

Raptors thread on Katrina talks a lot about keeping a low profile including the specific topic of keeping a generator quiet.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Apollo-11 » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:38 am

I got a stupid question. Do you have homeowners associations meetings? Does everybody show up? Maybe you could _underhandedly_ introduce these people to self-reliance and disaster preparedness. Then after you've done that, make sure that they know that they are on their own and you are not going to provide for their needs if they didn't prep.

Sometimes a little leadership goes a long ways.

Either that or build a 20 foot tall concrete fence with a moat around it. With gators.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Beanhead » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:19 am

Hatch, I would like to propose a different solution. Be a leader. Be your neighborhoods Mark Turner to their John Olsons. (In reality, I doubt their as bad as John Olson, I mean, he's a murdering, back biting, raping, maniacal sociopath in that story, your neighbors sound like busybodies.)

Think about it this way, your neighbors have Azalias, and are considering the possibility that other neighbors are poisoning them at night? That says to me that your neighbors have gardening skills and paranoia, both of which are nessecary for the paw, amiright? Maybe they just need somewhere better to focus their paranoia than on their nieghbors. In a paw, there would be plenty of outside enemies, hell, there are plenty of outside enemies now. People love to hate outsiders, make your neighborhood a community, and repel the stinky masses!

You said in your OP that you have a HOA and that it's very active. Why not use that to your advantage? Get involved, get elected, get to be known as a problem solver and a leader with a fair hand, people will look to you to show them how to better resolve issues, rather than having nasty letters sent because the trash cans stayed out a day past garbage day. The fact that you have a HOA is a good thing and it sounds like they want to solve problems, so go show them a better way, show them how to focus on real problems. If their nitpicking small bullshit, maybe your neighborhood doesn't have any real problems, isn't that a good thing? If gov't isn't working, then you have no one to blame but yourself. ( in this case govt being HOA)

So you have some preps that your neighbors might want to covet? Work out a bartering system for use of you genny, help people start plants in your greenhouse, give them drinking water,(like mark turner did in "Lights Out!") SHOW them how to do this for themselves. These people aren't your enemies, they aren't wild packs of MZBs, they are your neighbors. they are the people that will pick up a gun and help defend you if you play your cards right, or burn you alive like a hatch-kabob in your own house if you piss them off. If you are antisocial and standoffish, then you are facilitating the latter, mmmmmm hatch-kabobs.

I think the point of the story "Lights Out!" is to teach people how to come together as a community and to teach people how to lead. Leadership takes time, trust, and hardwork, so take a que from the book and go lead your community.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by AmirMortal » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:22 am

Apollo-11 wrote:I got a stupid question. Do you have homeowners associations meetings? Does everybody show up? Maybe you could _underhandedly_ introduce these people to self-reliance and disaster preparedness. Then after you've done that, make sure that they know that they are on their own and you are not going to provide for their needs if they didn't prep.

Sometimes a little leadership goes a long ways.

Either that or build a 20 foot tall concrete fence with a moat around it. With gators.
+1

Personally, I'd move to a location with no HOA. I hate those, and I think they breed the exact situation you're in. There are a lot of valid points in this thread, avoiding violence is usually best.

If you do introduce the prep thing, you can encourage "hurricane preparedness", a valid concern. Food, water, duct tape, batteries, etc. the standard stuff, to get the ball rolling. Try to get your neighbors to get genies. Sounds like an affluent Burb, if professionally installed you can get some pretty spiffy options, and make it all high tech. Computer controls, etc.

You might even encourage them to "establish an evacuation plan well in advance".

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Mayetra » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:30 am

Apollo-11 wrote:I got a stupid question. Do you have homeowners associations meetings? Does everybody show up? Maybe you could _underhandedly_ introduce these people to self-reliance and disaster preparedness. Then after you've done that, make sure that they know that they are on their own and you are not going to provide for their needs if they didn't prep.

Sometimes a little leadership goes a long ways.
I would agree with Apollo-11. Is there a natural disaster that could potentially threaten your area (Like where I'm at in Florida it would be Hurricanes and Tornados)? Perhaps bring up the idea of passing out flyers with information on them to help the community prepare, as a way to get the ball rolling. Sure they are *ssholes but even if they prep a little bit than it might not be a bad thing. It always sucks trying to convince people to prep for disasters because most people have an "it can't happen to me" attitude, but then again, the more people you can reach, the better. If enough people show an interest, maybe even "community teams" - Example: Bob, Joe and Larry all volunteer to be on the "Tree Cutting Team" While Susy and Mary will help watch the kids in the neighborhood after a storm, etc. Hopefully, you'd be able to get people interested in prepping without tipping off what supplies you have. Also, you never know, amoung the jerks there may be a few other secret preppers who are thinking the same thing you are and will be more happy to encourage others in the neighborhood to prep any SHTF situations that might arise.

May

I would also suggest possibly having your supplies broken up and hidden. Be prepared to fortify your home and if all else fails, maybe moving could be an option.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Hatch » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:12 am

Apollo-11 wrote:I got a stupid question. Do you have homeowners associations meetings? Does everybody show up? Maybe you could _underhandedly_ introduce these people to self-reliance and disaster preparedness. Then after you've done that, make sure that they know that they are on their own and you are not going to provide for their needs if they didn't prep.

Sometimes a little leadership goes a long ways.

Either that or build a 20 foot tall concrete fence with a moat around it. With gators.
Yeah, here's the thing... I'm on the HOA Board of Directors. Been on the Board for five long years. That's how I know exactly what kind of people I'm dealing with, because I hear it almost every day. At one point about a year ago, I got this burst of optimism and started putting together a "Neighborhood Preparedness Committee" to address disaster preparedness from a neighborhood level and try to do exactly what you are describing. Let's put it this way, it's hard to have a committee with just one person, it makes for a very boring meeting. You cannot lead them that will not follow.
Beanhead wrote:A bunch of very optimistic stuff.

And I hope that works for you. But, you just don't understand the kind of people I'm talking about here. You're going to have to take my word on this.

Also, just FYI: while I may have used "Lights Out" to illustrate a point, I don't recommend it as a serious guide to PAW survival. In my opinion, as a story it is at times very entertaining, but I found it to be myopic and optimistic in the extreme. So, we can probably dispense with any further suggestions that lean heavily on premises contained within that novel.

I do appreciate the discussion, and I'm not trying to be argumentative. I'm just trying to save people the trouble of writing about organizing the people in my neighborhood, because that is in fact, a lost cause. And if it seems like we've eliminated the two easiest answers (organize the neighborhood to prepare, or move) and there aren't any other obvious solutions, well... I came up with the two easy answers on my own. :D I posted the thread because I was stumped on a better solution.

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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Beanhead » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:29 am

Hatch wrote:
Beanhead wrote:A bunch of very optimistic stuff
Hahahaha, I lol'd hard. Yeah, I guess I was vomiting sunshine and rainbows there, sorry, I drank a lot Mountain Dew tonight.

Well, I guess you could always try a bullwhip to get their asses in step.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Apollo-11 » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:31 am

Well then, be discreet in the good times. In the bad times, be prepared to... ahem... show some good boundaries. You are not the police, you are not the Red Cross. You tried to get them to prep, now they must lie in the bed that they made for themselves.
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Re: Bugging in when your neighborhood is full of ***holes

Post by Psyko5616 » Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:39 am

Sorry man. Educating your neighbors seemed like the most progressive, practical, functional and fruitful idea, pretty sure that without moving it is your best bet. You may have to come at it from mulitiple angles before it strikes one of them, but when you get of them behind you they can help too, and maybe they'll have some insight into the mind of an asshole, or maybe they can get someone who has that insight. Good luck, but I honestly think those are your options before having to rely on their flight reaction and avoiding violence. Persistance in education.

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