Not all of us have a prepper group now or are planning on joining or becoming part of one. I personally am not looking to be part of a group now, I look to my community as my “group” and while there is no community out there that is perfect, even if you have a group, if your community goes to crap you probably wont last. Now I don;t want to disparage J.W. Rawles and his Patriot Franchise, many of us, myself included were introduced to prepping early on by his novels, and as much criticism as he gets for his literary ability, I love Patriots and have read it about 4 times. That being said his story is just that in my opinion, a story.
In Patriots we see a small group of folks holding up in the mountains of Idaho, while that may be possible for most of us it probably isn’t, more than likely if any of us have a retreat or home we plan to bug in at, its near other people. Where there are other people there can be problems. All of this has been a set up to get your mind in the place I’m talking about.
If you find yourself in a SHTF scenario, no one knows what it will actually look like, it could be bad, or REALLY bad. However it could be bad in one place and horrifying in others, it all depends. Depending on what you are encountering where you are it may or may not make sense to join a group if it is even possible. Humans tend to congregate together, especially in bad times, however bad folks tend to congregate and flourish with other bad folks and the likewise for the other side, however this is also not a exact rule. So what should you look for in a group, good and bad to help you make a decision.
- Before I ever approached a group I would shadow them, out of sight. Watch what they do, how they treat each other, especially how the “leader” treats everyone. Watch how and where they get their supplies. Do they trade? Do they scavenge? Do they steal from others? If stealing and murdering don’t raise any flags with you, then maybe you do belong with them.
- See if they have older people and young ones in the group. If they do not then they are either heartless or pragmatic. You will have to decide if you are ok with that, turning away anyone that isn’t an asset, even if it means their death. If they do have some older folks and young ones with them, you will have to decide whether they might be “too open” and will put you at risk being that they will put the well being of the group at risk over helping anyone in need. I’m making no value judgements either way, just notifying you of your options.
- After watching them for awhile, if you decide to approach them, then do so but in the daylight, cautiously. Walk in like you would want someone to walk in on you if they had nothing but the best intentions.
- Let them know that you are looking to join a group, ask to talk to the leader and or the group to discuss it. Let them know what skills you have, what you can bring to the table, that you will bring more than you will take.
- Ask them how long they have been together: Its important to know either way, and either way it could be good or bad. If they had all been together a long time it could mean they are very tight and loyal, however it could also mean it will be very hard to crack into a group that has been through a lot together. If they are all relatively new and have just gotten together it could mean you can get stitched in easily, it could also mean there are some bad elements in the group that haven’t been found out yet.
- Where they came from: If they have been in the same rough area for a long time it means they have some sort of system or stockpile that has kept them there for the whole period of time. If they have been traveling for a long time, it probably means they don’t have anything secure there, but it also means they are very resourceful if they’ve survived that long and that far.
- What their long term plan is: Do they have a end destination, a place where they want to settle down. Do they have a end goal? Looking for a place to settle down, plant some crops and make new little community?
- What are their policies on dealing with raiders/criminals? Have they run afoul of any semi-law along the way? Its important to know how they deal with people they catch stealing or attack them. To strict and at all sadistic and you may be dealing with some psychos, too lenient and you may be teaming up with some folks who might get you killed.
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