You know Joe Blow. One day, Joe Blow says “Hey, a buddy of yours from a while back called me looking for you. He said he was your roommate in college. I gave him your [number/address/email].”
Joe Blow has no idea if that guy was really your roommate or your girlfriend’s crazy ex-boyfriend. And he handed him your personal info.
Don’t be that guy.
From time to time, someone will ask me if I know someone who has a particular gun or similar item for sale. I’ll say yes and they’ll ask for that person’s contact info. I never give out anyone’s personal info. Instead, I’ll tell the person to give me their info and I’ll pass it along to the other person and they can make contact if they are interested. In this manner no one’s personal info is ever out of control. The buyer controls whether they pass on their info or not, the seller’s info is never out in the open unless the seller chooses to contact the buyer, and little ‘ol me is the cutout. You may notice, at this point, I have the contact info for both parties. True. But…I only have it because both parties willfully provided it to me.
Folks like you and I have a lot of reasons to be private. We have stashes of..well… lotsa stuff .. that makes us high-value targets for everyone ranging from neighborhoodlums to cops looking for a quick boost to their stats (or egos). Unfortunately, ‘networking’ is tough to do when you have to worry about the risk of every potential new contact.This is why it is so hard to meet other like-minded individuals. It’s also why, in my experience, your most likely candidate for a new survivalist buddy is probably someone you already know.
I don’t hang around with anti-gun people, leftists, socialists, morons (“But I repeat myself” – M. Twain), statists, and that sort of ilk. So, whom I hang out with is, naturally, probably going to fall into that set of people who do share my interests. After that, it’s a Venn diagram of ‘likes guns, personal freedom, fiscally conservative, well-read, intelligent’ and a few other features. Point being, the choices you’ve made for the last several years (or decades) about who you hang out with have probably already naturally landed you in a pool of people that have a much higher than average likelihood of being like-minded individuals.
But all it takes is one mistake to undo a lot of plans. “Hey, you’re a survivalist? I am too! Show me your gun collection!” is not the smart way to do things. And it goes past that… maybe this person is exactly the sort of person who want to bring into your private world of freeze drieds and silver coins. But what about their friends? What about their spouse? What about their blabber mouth kids? Or their brother with the meth habit and need to sell other peoples expensive gear to fund it? What about the people who intersect their life?
It’s a challenge to try and juggle the need for security and avoidance of risk with the desire to expand your network a bit. Most of the time we humans are social critters and as much as we may like to think we don’t need other people, it is kinda nice to have someone you can talk to and do this sort of stuff with.
I started this post with an example of how many people betray other peoples privacy. Anytime you meet anyone, survivalist or not, you have to keep in mind that whatever information they choose to share with you is between the two of you unless explicitly stated otherwise. “Hey, can you give me Joe Blows phone number?”, “No, but if you give me yours I’ll ask him to call you.” That sort of thing. It’s a balancing act because you don’t want to be rude, and you don’t want to call the other person out on being nosy, but privacy matters.
I get this on the blog once in a while. Someone will email me and ask if I can give them someone’s email address or somesuch. No. Never. I’ll pass your contact info to them but that’s as far as it goes.
It isn’t always this awkward though. My friend whom I eventually figured out was on the same page eventually introduced me to his friend who also had the same inclinations we did. Since I trusted my friend, and my friend trusted his friend, there was already a high level of trust in place. (And this is, in fact, how it works in the mob when you want to meet someone.)
So the thought for today is that privacy is paramount. And trust comes slowly but when it does come it is worth maintaining. Sadly, the corollary to that is that once trust is broken you have to disengage and disconnect immediately and irrevocably. And that can be a major pain in the ass if you’ve trusted someone with the location of the Batcave. So…always protect your own privacy but be just as vigilant with the privacy of others. In this way we’ll all prosper and have better experiences with each other.