Ways to decide… Friend or Foe?


I posed a question on my Facebook asking…”What should I talk on?”  There were a few responses but the thing that got some great conversation going was a reply…”How to form friendships or greet people after the collapse.”  Funny thing was this morphed into a conversation about defenses.


The original topic suggestion was excellent but also the questions to it that followed raised some good points.  So this week let’s talk about keeping up our defenses and vetting others after SHTF.


First off let’s talk about exactly checklistwhat it means to be “vetted”, vetted in its simplest terms, means to be checked out.  Ideally, we would choose to do this before a problem arises, but there is always going to be the inevitability of needing to do so after.  For one reason or another, someone will arrive and wish to stay with your group.


questionSo now you have decided that a person might be worthy of allowing to remain with your group or at your location.  How will you investigate their honesty and keep your group safe in the process.  There are a few things I might recommend to help determine if the person(s) are genuine and safe.  How can you determine this if a person is not the obvious foe?  What if they are a spy for a gang of thieves or worse? The most ideal way to know is if there is a trusted member of the group that can vouch for them, but if this is not the case, some ideas might be.

  • First thing to consider is how much access will you give them? Consider this, if they are looking for intel, why offer it right up?  Have an area that is separate and has no access to the logistical information or supplies.  Away from food stores and the communications, separate from all the sensitive information.
  • During this time, have someone befriend them. Settle in a trusted member of the group into the separate area, looking like they are in the same position to see if they can gather any inadvertent information on them.
  • Utilize “Disinformation” … This is sharing with them false information, giving them information you want them to have. Like having them work in an area you call “under guarded” acting as though they are helping to beef it up.  When in reality it is exactly where you would want an intruder to pass…This puts you in control

All of these things can help in vetting someone, but they are not always foolproof and you may very well find yourself facing down an invading force.


In keeping up our defenses we must consider not only the old stand-by…Grandpa’s shotgun behind the door but some non-lethal alternatives.  Ways that we can make our location less appealing to the “would be” intruder.  While not taking out potential friendlies.  Many talk of the “Lone Wolf” mindset, which brings to mind images of the movie Jeremiah Johnson… but even he had a few trusted people that he would trade with and enjoy a bit of company from time to time.  So… how do we keep up our defenses while still forming alliances and friendships post SHTF?


Some things to do would be to make your place less appealing, and how can we do this?

  • Try planting thorny bushes under windows this will discourage those who might try to come through a window.
  • Window coverings, use them…Do not let the intruder see if there is anything inside they want
  • Trash, watch what you advertise…are you telling others you have lots of canned goods?
  • Lighting…maybe power is out, look for Solar powered exterior lighting to help illuminate areas where someone can hide.
  • Reinforcements… use extra locks, pieces of wood to keep windows and doors from opening.
  • Common Sense…this is the number one thing you can do, use common sense. OPSEC



One thing that was brought up in the conversation is that most people will likely just want what you have.  So how do we keep them at bay, while still trying to move forward with some kind of civility?  Community is, I think going to still be very important and in many ways crucial, so how do we decide if a person is friendly or not while still maintaining our defenses?


What about the grey area?  That time post incident when we are not sure if there is still Rule of Law (ROL), how can we protect ourselves short term, while considering legal ramifications of defenses? A few things to think about, but once you get going I bet you can add many more to the list.

  • Non-lethal guns, BB Gun, Pellet Gun or Airsoft Rifle and even Paintball Gun can leave nice welts. These may discourage some but many that are determined might need more of a deterrent.
  • Pepper spray (homemade) or Wasp spray, these will make a person very uncomfortable and there are recipes on YouTube (click here)
  • Sling shot or Wrist rocket (be careful with these as they can be lethal) but using rock salt would give an intruder a nice sting.
  • The old trick of the aerosol flame thrower…simply…a lighter and any aerosol propelled flammable product like hairspray, brake or carburetor cleaner.
  • Super Soaker or other high powered squirt gun. (WHAT?!?!?!?) you got it… what if we filled these with, ammonia or gasoline? They now become a very effective deterrent.


There are many good reasons to be part of a group or even form one post collapse, these might be anything from sharing labor and defenses to simply maintaining a feeling of community and normalcy.  No matter the reasons it is imperative that we remain vigilant in keeping watch


Part of being prepared is to maintain OPSEC (which is another post all together) but it is worthy of repeating.  Don’t share your preps on the internet or show it to your neighbors or advertise it in your trash.  Keep a low profile on these things and keep your preps securely hidden.  Don’t tell others what you have stored or where your BOL is (unless they will be joining you).  Bad times can make good people do bad things.

DJ Cooper

If you would like to listen to one of my past shows talking exactly on this listen here.

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