Here's a list that may change the way you look at prepper supplies...
Keep your personal business as a commodity trader off the radar of the general public. If things get bleak in your region, and stores have closed or run low on resources, you become a likely target of a robbery if word gets around the neighborhood that you have supplies to trade.
It's probably best that the public at large has no idea that you are sitting on a number of commodities. As a rule, never let on to anyone you deal with just how much you have, always giving the impression that you don't have much at all. Finally, attempt to swear anyone you talk with to secrecy because "you don't want to give the impression to the public that you have a few things due to the likelihood of a robbery." It's an honest answer and it's one that most people should be in agreement with.
It all comes down to this, as much as possible, only trade and work with people you believe you can trust. That's still not a guarantee but it helps limit your risk.
Further down you'll learn how a rifle may actually be the weapon that saves your life (and how to use it accordingly) and how handguns can fail you and potentially cost you your life in the end.
The longer time passes, the more these items are likely to become in high demand and also relative scarcity.
You don't even have to get your hands dirty if that's not your thing. With enough commodities, you can put local teens and others to work butchering game and preparing meat for long term storage or the upcoming winter.
Where are these released inmates going to get food? Where are they going to get supplies? Where are they going to get transportation? Many will turn to crime. It's all some of them know. Some may be hundreds of miles from the nearest family member ... you can only imagine how this can create a spiral of crime out in the countryside where some of our nation's prisons are located (if you're paying attention). And these are the low risk inmates that are let loose I'm talking about.
One plan for releasing low risk inmates may be to bus them across county or state lines by the hundreds and then let them go. Then it's "someone else's problem" could go the thinking of some prison officials.
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Then they'll load up prison buses and prison suburbans and simply drive themselves out and potentially raid the first town they come to; some will end up in a fire fight with National Guard troops when they encounter a road block several miles down the interstate; if these prisoners are now dressed like prison guards the National Guard troops could end up ambushed and losing their lives, vehicles, uniforms and weapons, having had no news by radio of a mass prison escape. How can they get news if the power grid goes down and their two-way radios are out of range? The National Guard has no idea what is about to drive up on them.
Have you taken the time to figure out where prisons in your region of the country are located? Does it even matter when prison officials may make the decision to bus "low risk" inmates across county or state lines and then simply let them go?
Night vision devices are going to become in high demand, yet they will be hard to come by because not many people have any kind of night vision device. In the modern world, who needs one? But that first night without electricity, and those nagging fears that someone could be prowling outside your home intent on doing your family harm and taking everything you have in a robbery, makes a night vision device likely to be a desired commodity.
Due to prices starting in the low hundreds of dollars and going up from there for more advanced versions including military grade headsets, night vision devices have a lot of trading power and personal use on top of that.
Essentially, America, the U.K., Canada, Australia and other Western nations following a collapse are looking at life a lot like life in third world countries in the modern day. Several of these countries are crawling with armed gangs, militants, as well as citizens fed up with crime, forming community watch groups and security forces in an effort to fight back and protect their communities and children. This is common in a number of places within modern day Mexico where in fact several community groups have formed, in a way becoming vigilantes. According to reports, they have succeeded in many ways at chasing out crooks and helping save lives.
Whether you're part of a community watch group, or not, body armor enhances a persons ability to survive gunfire and thus is likely to be a commodity in demand with high worth in a post-collapse world.
Here's another item that will be a needed commodity in a land without government or local police. Fears of rampant crime make rolls of barbed wire and razor wire items that most of your neighbors are likely to feel safer with if they can use around their home and property. Barbed wire can be used as a perimeter defense, with razor wire being used for protection closer to where you actually live and sleep.
When using barbed wire around your property, don't forget to include steel fence posts (T-posts) and set in a straight line; industry specs say to space your posts 8-12 feet apart as a general rule; though 10-12 feet apart is typically sufficient for a 5-6 wire barbed fence.
If you're creative you're likely to find multiple ways to run several rolls of barbed wire in ways that make your home "look" secure. Just the act of using barbed wire in fact can detour a number of crooks as barbed wire tends to make users look a bit more prepared for home security. Razor wire amps it up even more. Remember, most crooks are looking for an easy target with limited risk. Spying your security defenses from afar may detour most but the boldest criminals (you'll need to be ready for them as well; more on that below).
If you have a second barbed wire fence installed closer to your home, you can consider keeping security dogs behind it. This keeps your security dogs behind the inner fence (where they can still be seen and be a deterrent) and far away from the outer fence and possibly being shot or poisoned by crooks who could be prowling nearby.
Barbed wire isn't a guarantee that you'll keep away prowlers. For the most part, barbed wire is just a "show" of security. By using it, you are hoping that prowlers decide that you may be armed and dangerous as well. Razor wire is a much better choice if you really want to send a message to crooks that you take home security seriously. Use it around common entry points, namely porches, doors and windows, and even on the inside of window frames (as long as any children in your home understand it's not to be messed with. If you have pets or livestock, be aware that razor wire can slice them in life threatening ways and needs to be a consideration if or when used around animals.)
As reports of violent crime circulate through many regions following a collapse, there is likely going to be a huge desire in the general population for home security and any number of fortifications that help make a home, property, and entire neighborhood more secure. We don't condone drug lords in any way but do recognize that their dangerous line of work calls for seriously beefed up security, and in many instances, this does help them stay protected (though not always).
That brings us to steel.
Having various shapes and thicknesses of steel allows a person to fortify and bulletproof key doors and windows as well as enclose "diy" guard posts, where, if you have the means, a look out can be posted and yet be protected from most gun fire by arranging and setting in place various sizes and shapes of steel.
Some military grade weapons have the ability to put bullets through steel, which, in this case either means more steel is needed or, even better, an early awareness that the crooks outside your gates at that particular moment are about to use some heavy weapons stolen from a local army base and capable of serious destruction.
Don't try to hold your ground and instead have an escape plan for "abandoning ship" and getting out of 'dodge. Working with outlying neighbors and having a community watch group constantly on alert may be the only notice you have that a dangerous gang is approaching with military grade weapons.
Easy places to get steel - Surprisingly, steel is used in many applications all around our cities and roadways. If you walk up and take it today, that's theft. However, if there's a catastrophic disaster and we lose the government and local infrastructure, now you're simply scavenging for resources -- that's survival.
- You'll find large pieces of heavy steel, sometimes slotted (sometimes round, sometimes rectangular) resting over sewers, storm drains, gas station sumps, car wash sumps, and the list goes on. Typically a "manhole cover hook" is all you'll need to remove one of these from where it sits; the largest ones you may come across may call for two people and two manhole cover hooks.
- If you find anything bolted, you'll want a high powered impact gun (cordless drill) with a set of large sockets. Also consider carrying a large pipe wrench during your steel collecting for those bolts bigger than any sockets you're carrying.
- Some of these bolts may be extremely tight and have been set in place for years; a key survival tool for scavenging steel will be a "handle extender" for your wrench. A handle extender adds more length to the handle of your pipe wrench and it works by using the lever principle to magnify the force you are applying, and you now need less force to get the task done.
Collect steel from boneyards - A "boneyard" is slang for metal scrap that businesses (typically located in industrial areas) collect over the years and then store in a specific area on site (if you ask, they may let you take a few pieces of their boneyard free of charge). Sometimes this steel is from large parts taken from various machines; some may be from farming equipment; some may be from construction, trucking, and the list goes on. (Some of the best bullet blocking pieces of steel may be plow attachments from tractors, trucks, and bulldozers, weighing of course several hundred pounds, so you are going to need a machine of your own to collect these or even purchase beforehand in the modern day.)
- You can also find 55 gallon steel drums with open heads at most industrial sites, dump out any contents (don't mess with drums that have hazardous waste labels), and then refill these drums with dirt, using these as bullet blockers around the outside of your home and any look out posts you have in mind.
If shooting or slashing tires isn't an option, then good ol' fashioned spike strips concealed in the dirt or roadway can also help take a few trucks out of commission. Using spike strips, you won't get every vehicle in a convoy but you may get several if you do this right. The trick is disguising them in several places within a short distance of each other.
Hiding spike strips: How do you hide spike strips on a road? That involves a lot of dirt and water spread into a thick mud, leaves and brush spread over the road also help. As a truck convoy makes it's approach, first it sees brush and leaves, then streaks of mud and dirt ... if nothing else out of the ordinary, the convoy is likely to continue on down the road in your direction; several yards down the road increase the amount of brush, leaves, and mud, and this is where a spike strip can be hidden. That spike strip can be something as simple as a sheet of plywood with several dozen long nails sticking up out of the bottom.
After the first two or three trucks have flat tires, the rest of the convoy may come to a stop. Several may attempt to now drive around the stopped vehicles, using the shoulders directly to the right and left. Here's a great place to have additional spike strips hidden, dug into the soil a few inches down so that the tops of the nails can be covered with a thin layer of leaves and every spike strip is effectively camouflaged.
It's a technique that comes with no guarantees but if things work in your favor, several of those trucks could end up with flat tires and not enough spares to go around.
- Gasoline has a short shelf life and must be treated with fuel stabilizers. There have been vast improvements in storage abilities for gasoline in recent years. A product used by many to store fuel is called STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer and can give your gasoline up to a 24 month shelf life (otherwise you're looking at approximately 90 days).
- An alternative to treating your gasoline is to rotate your stocks every 90 days by filling your vehicles with it currently, and then refilling your containers at a local gas station (go one town over if you don't want any local residents to notice you on these trips for refills.)
- If your vehicles run on diesel, you have an advantage vs gasoline because diesel stores longer without any additives needed. If you're serious about fuel storage, there is more to know and I suggest you do your research so you know just what you're getting into and how to do it safely and correctly.
- If you live in a region prone to natural disasters, consider storing your fuel containers in larger drums; that way if your fuel containers are knocked around, any spilled fuel is caught in that secondary container. You should have a secondary container for any and all stored chemicals, paints, etc.
- Keep all fuel stored away from sunlight and any spark or ignition sources, and especially keep well ventilated. That warning especially includes empty (but used) gas cans that have previously had gasoline in them. Gas vapors can build up in near empty containers and explode if those vapors encounter an ignition source. Large numbers of standard plastic fuel containers have been sold without "flame arrestors" making them more prone to explosion risk. Steel fuel containers with flame arrestors are a better choice for long term fuel storage (bright red cans can safely be spray painted with dull brown or green colors, a necessary step for a post-collapse world).
- In a world without city water and sewer, backyard latrines and military style trenches are likely to be common place when it comes to waste disposal; these areas can make excellent places to disguise fuel storage depots. In a worst case scenario, a hand winch and long chain can be used to raise and lower a steel drum filled with gasoline, kept hidden within a "lagoon" of sewer and gray water. It's not pretty, but if it keeps thieves from prowling around at night and discovering your stocks of fuel then it has done the job.
What kind of labor could you trade for? How about property fortifications ... you can put your hired hands to work putting up a security fence using the lumber you have stockpiled (as well as that barbed wire and razor wire) so that your property in the end looks more like a military fort from the days of America's early pioneers rather than just another defenseless home with a welcome mat on the doorstep for violent criminals.
A fuel powered generator creates the electricity and the battery bank stores the electricity for use at a later time, including periodic low-watt usage for extended use of power (that means you don't actually run a generator on a regular basis; only at an optimal time for charging that battery bank).
By stockpiling a few generators, several 12 volt deep cycle batteries, and rolls of #2 battery cable, crimps, and crimping tools -- this gives you something truly desired to barter with post-collapse. If you've learned how to wire a battery bank, that gives you a simple skill you can teach others how to do for themselves and others.
Advise your trading partners to use their generator(s) strategically - Any generator use will require a strategy for doing so in a way that no one within ear distance in your neighborhood can hear it running. Remember, if the wrong group of people hear you have a generator, they are going to hear dinner bells and likely to pay you a visit at some point in an attempt to take everything you have by force, and possibly even take your life. Quieter models and ways to dampen the noise or disguise the noise are essentials to using one of these post collapse.
A lack of local police and government is likely to bring out the worst in people who are currently kept in check by fear of judicial consequences. They will be after food, water, generators, propane tanks, guns, ammo, motorbikes, 4x4 trucks, and fuel ... the worst of the worst will be after women and children.
While it's good to be charitable and help your neighbors, it should be in a way that minimizes any chance that local thieves will find out who you are and that you have supplies to be had.
Regarding that security force you put to work, the fact is, many military men and women and law enforcement can make excellent security for a post collapse community. Hopefully you all share the same goals: Safety, protecting families, and keeping out crime.
There are definitely more palatable food choices out there than MRES but when supplies for food run thin and people are hungry those MRES are going to be well received by many. If you can afford freeze dried food in bulk, that is another way to go and should already be a part of most people's preps, both as commodities and to also help feed your own family. However, those skilled with canning, bottling, and curing foods have a leg up on most readers. That is a lot of time and effort though, so for the purpose of stockpiling commodities, the MRES and freeze dried food may be a better choice in the end.
This is where a rifle comes into the picture. There's nothing scary about a rifle. Older, responsible children can be taught to shoot rifles and can even become good shots at long distances. A .22 is a great rifle to start with (though it comes with a shorter range and a lot less power) and then move up from there to bigger rifles for more power at greater distances. Rifles use a lot less ammunition than fully automatic rifles, and this encourages shooters to place better aimed shots, rather than just spraying in the general direction of a target.
Just be sure these are raiders and not just some lost travelers or children looking for help one day. Part of being a responsible rifle owner is always being certain of what you're shooting at; a good scope is like a good pair of binoculars, allowing you to keep your gun trained on a target until it gets close enough for you to see key details and identifying features.
You'll need a night vision scope, mentioned previously, to defend against a late evening or early morning raid. Like it or not, under the cover of darkness and even into the early morning hours is when better trained criminals and raiders are likely to strike. If you don't see them coming first, you could lose everything, including your lives.
Why a rifle? If all you have are handguns for self defense, you will be forced to come out of cover and get closer to your targets for your shots to have a greater chance of being effective, which brings more risk to you of being shot first and lives being lost.
On the other hand, with a rifle you can shoot while crouched in the shadows, staying several yards back -- even a hundred yards or more (more powerful rifles up to 1,000 yards); even your children can help put up a defense if you've done a good job preparing them for the day they have to hold down the fort or property from local raiders.
Rifle ports and steel - Remember that steel mentioned above? With some good fortifications in place, local raiders can approach with fully automatic rifles, yet that steel can keep you protected while also allowing you to still keep visibility on approaching targets, especially if you have steel set up in such a way that you leave small eye openings where you can see out, but your targets can't see you. If you have a port (small opening for your rifle) you can shoot from, there's actually no need to leave that cover at all; with a rifle and that steel protection, you can take down raiders who are armed with fully automatic rifles from a safe distance before they can get close enough for those weapons they're carrying to do any serious damage.
That's the goal anyway if the day ever comes you have to protect your family by taking a stand from your property against approaching raiders.
You can shoot out tires from a distance and flatten their convoy. If those pick-up trucks are carrying exterior steel fuel tanks in back you can put a hole in their fuel tank and send them running.
You can shoot the cigar out of a raider's hand who has possibly killed more people, including women and children, in the past few weeks then you'd ever want to know.
Who knows? Just maybe God will give your bullet a gentle nudge so it misses that cigar and takes the raider's head off instead.
Is it murder? Or is it justice? Well, was it murder when David killed Goliath?
Not in God's eyes. The Phillistines were ruthless killers.
God was sending them a message.