How Prepping and the Golden Rule CAN Co-Exist

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Any Amy. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


During this past summer the uneasy knots in my stomach kept growing and ultimately transformed into what felt like a massive “nesting” urge, which led to my plunge into prepping. I’m way behind most of you, but I’ve been gaining significant ground each week. I do have some advantages, like being a health professional and having grown up as a tomboy, but I’ve still got a long road ahead before I can reach at least my baseline comfort zone.

I’ve been reading myriad articles posted on various prepper sites, both extremist and more middle-of-the-road sites, for the lack of better terms. Unfortunately, one common theme appears to prevail – the philosophy that preppers should under no circumstances help the unprepared, who in essence deserve to be punished for their lavish lifestyles and lack of foresight. I do understand many of the reasons behind this belief as well as the very real and purported risks associated with not following it. But I don’t believe it has to be an all or nothing proposition. Consider this – what if, during said SHTF catastrophe, all of your preps were destroyed and you were left with nothing? Or what if it was your elderly grandmother who needed assistance in another town; would you still agree with her prepper neighbor who chose, when she knocked on his door, to shoot first and ask questions later?

I know, I know… a lot of you will reply by saying that YOU have multiple stashes of preps, so there is no possibility that you’d ever lose everything. Well, that may be true (albeit unlikely) in your case but not in everyone’s. We all can’t afford bunkers and remote cabins to (attempt to) escape to. Besides, what about your unprepared elderly grandmother or (fill in the blank) other relative or friend? Or have you completely given up on non-prepper society, including blood relatives?

What I find incredibly amusing is the number of prepper articles or blog postings that reference certain fables or even Bible passages in a truly pitiful attempt to justify the position of not helping others. Ah, yes, the story of the ant and the grasshopper. Fine. Whatever. I’ve seen it a dozen or more times in the past few months. And then there are those who claim to be Christians and who pull statements from the Bible and use them out of context. Very convenient. Are you trying to convince others or yourselves that it really “is” acceptable not to help others? What happened to things like the Golden Rule? What about, for those who profess to be Christians, what Christ considers to be the second greatest commandment – to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:31, Leviticus 19:18)? Do you find such concepts too difficult, contradictory, or troublesome to incorporate into a prepper mindset? Or do you simply prefer to pick and choose what you think supports the way you believe and ignore the rest? Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and you know it.

what about your unprepared elderly grandmother or (fill in the blank) other relative or friend?

Many prepper articles and advertisements proclaim, “…we’re all in this together!” (while trying to sell you more outlandish gear that is “guaranteed” to be the absolute one thing to have that will save your life). Yeah, right, we’re all in this together… that is until the SHTF, and then it is every person for himself or herself; you are seriously on your own; don’t come knocking on my door! These statements of supposed collaboration are so ludicrous that they just crack me up. I don’t believe for a second that any seller profiting from preppers is in this “with me”… other than to try to get as much money out of me as possible prior to the SHTF event. I’ll even admit that I idiotically purchased two of these products, which both turned out to be defective or useless pieces of junk resulting in my returning them for refunds. Real friends, real teammates, and real partners don’t sell you crap so they can make a buck, so don’t believe for one minute that these sellers give one damn hoot about where your ass ends up when the SHTF. They won’t hesitate to shoot you, too, given the chance.

And in an article just recently (11/1/16) published on this very site, a seemingly well-meaning prepper stated that “…it’s not your job to feed and clothe your neighbors or your community.” Hmmmm, really? I wonder if she ever read in the Bible about feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick, or providing a drink to the thirsty? Everything you did not do for those in need, likewise you did not do for Christ (Matthew 25:40-45). Yes, it is your responsibility and mine to care for our neighbors, contrary to popular belief, regardless of whether or not you like them or approve of their lifestyles.

What if all your preps are destroyed?
What if all your preps are destroyed?

If this is getting annoyingly theological for you, how about we switch gears and take a look at the show “The Walking Dead,” of which I am a serious fan. Have we not just seen demonstrated in Season 6 and the beginning of Season 7 the idea that people can, and do, change? Look at how both Morgan and Carol have changed. And then there is Daryl, who keeps saying in retrospect that he “should have killed” so-and-so, but then he goes on repeatedly trying to save people episode after episode. Yes, I realize it’s a television show, not real life. No joke. (I don’t waste much time watching mindless television anyhow.) But people can change. So who are you to say that your neighbor can’t change, too? Do you think that being a prepper gives you the right to judge another human being’s ability (or lack thereof) to change and therefore possibly condemn that person to death? Who suddenly made you judge, jury, and executioner? I’m not talking about giving up the safety and welfare of your family. I’m suggesting you plan – yes, PLAN – to include helping others in your prepping. If you’re smart enough to prep, then you’re most certainly savvy enough to figure out how to do this. And if you choose not to, then you will be held accountable, one way or another, for failing to not at least try to help your neighbor in need… and this goes beyond simply trying to convince them to prepare in advance.

I am not inexperienced enough to claim to understand the situation of every person out there who might read this. But I can tell you that my family is not wealthy. My family doesn’t take vacations or go to the movies or drive fancy cars or have a bunker or cabin to escape to. But our meager preparations do include provisions for others. It can be done without breaking OPSEC or exposing your family to danger. Take a recent article published elsewhere about what one person learned from a “redneck neighbor.” I was deeply moved by that article. The redneck neighbor had over 20 emergency kits for his neighbors… the same neighbors who constantly rolled their eyes at him, looked down on him, and ridiculed him. I don’t know if the kits were expensive store-bought kits or homemade kits, but what does it matter? He still believed in caring for his neighbors and had invested in substantial supplies to help them when they inevitably came knocking on his door seeking help in a crisis. Who is the Christian in that article? Who is the one person who followed the Golden Rule despite being mocked? Can you not see it? Who do you want to be?

Do you really want to be the last person standing after TEOTWAWKI? Do you honestly want to sit there and watch your neighbor’s kids starve or die miserably painful deaths from disease outbreaks? Do you want your neighbors’ blood on your hands and your conscience? I’ve read that some preppers are looking forward to having a “short” SHTF event in order to wake everyone else up. Let me tell you, I doubt we’re in for anything short unless you are talking about a local flood. In the meantime, I challenge you to find a way to prep for those outside your four walls. And if you aren’t a Christian, at least remember the Golden Rule. Find a way to implement it. If you don’t, you will be held accountable for your actions or inactions, one way or another… when society/rule of law is restored, or upon your own death, or just by plain old Karma. Yeah, what comes around goes around.

Do you need a couple of ideas to get the juices flowing? Okay, here are a few simple ones, without exposing your personal stash during the early stages of a crisis:

1) Build some rough, homemade emergency kits… not the expensive, prepper-style buckets. Start with a small plastic grocery bag from your local store. Add a book of matches (preferably obtained from a local establishment) and a few small tea light candles OR a dollar-store-type of flashlight. Throw in some cans of caffeine-free soda or small bottles of water. Include a couple of pop-top cans of low-sodium store-brand soups or ravioli and/or pop-top cans of generic tuna or chicken, all of which can be picked up for next to nothing when your store (or Wally World) has discounts, coupons, or buy-one-get-one-free offers. Top it off with a couple of granola bars, fruit strips, applesauce cups, or maybe one or two sealed pouches from a box of Pop-Tarts™ or something similar. Don’t forget to include a plastic-wrapped set of disposable utensils leftover from having purchased take-out or delivery food, especially if the person isn’t familiar to you.

Have these little “kits” easily accessible in a closet somewhere near the front door, but don’t just go run and grab one to hand out to every visitor like it’s freaking Halloween. Allow the person to remain outside, behind your locked door while someone else is watching them (from a window or wherever), and then act as if you are taking a little time to bag up a few items. Bang around in the kitchen pantry a little bit before coming back to the door. Apologize that this is all you can afford to share, as you, too, are strapped for necessities. Also be sure that each plastic bag “kit” does not contain the identical contents. Make 5 kits or a dozen kits – whatever works for your situation and budget. Perhaps reserve them only for people you know so that you don’t have to risk opening your door to complete strangers.

2) If you prefer to focus on one aspect, consider choosing water/fluid. Assume your neighbors just might have a few cans or boxes of food on their pantry shelves. If a neighbor comes looking for help, give them a 2 liter bottle of caffeine-free generic soda. It will provide some calories as well as fluid without promoting dehydration.

Again, you don’t have to go overboard, but it is essential to try to help in any small way, while being safe, particularly during the beginning of a crisis. You may even end up making a new friend or ally. But if things drag on, there will eventually come a time when you will have nothing left to give out without the risk of compromising your family. At that point you (hopefully) can simply commiserate with your neighbors and perhaps try to figure out the closest Red Cross or other water/food-distribution site. This is somewhere a person from your household absolutely must visit along with the rest of your neighbors, so as not to raise suspicions. Bring along some empty containers to fill with water in case there are no water bottles, a cardboard box to carry any food, and a backpack with extra room that also contains your hidden EDC (Every Day Carry). Preferably go in a small group with other neighbors rather than alone. Be certain to carry additional concealed weapons for protection.

3) Another option could be to select a specific neighbor to help, such as an elderly person who lives alone or a single-parent household where your kids know their kids. Take a small care package of whatever water, food, and lighting items you can to that person or family and see how they are doing. You can even explain to that person or family that you had time to fill up a couple of leftover 2 liter soda bottles with water before the taps ran dry and that luckily you’d just been to the grocery store the night before. Then if anyone else comes to your door looking for assistance, you can explain you shared what little you had with one neighbor already or simply say you have nothing available.

4) Anonymously donating food, water, and/or other supplies to a nearby charity or church at the very beginning of a crisis can be another way to keep your family protected. If someone comes looking for assistance, you can point them in the direction of the known charity or church or elsewhere without having to directly give out any assistance.

5) Or after you’ve implemented your family’s SHTF emergency plan, consider trying to knock on the doors of (or call, if possible) at least 2-5 of your closest neighbors, who you at least know by name, and alert them to the emergency, in case they are unaware. You might even casually suggest that you heard on the radio that people should fill up everything available (buckets, tubs, sinks, pots, bowls, pitchers, etc.) with water while they can, just in case, and to send someone else from their house (if available) to the store to purchase bottled water and/or food, assuming the roads aren’t already flooded with cars, etc. Doing this simple, proactive step might save you from having quite as many people knocking on your door looking for assistance. It may also win you some allies. Of course, it could go the other way and send those same people looking to you for aid if they fail to follow your suggestions; but I believe in an actual SHTF situation, there will be sufficient evidence (such as non-functional cars & cell phones, widespread power outages, mass confusion, lack of communication, etc.) that even the most reluctant person would try to do anything possible to protect themselves.

Obviously, none of these suggestions is foolproof nor are they appropriate for everyone. These are just some ideas. Do what you can or come up with another suggestion to share with others in the comments below. Not helping anyone at all (outside of your family or group) is simply not a realistic option unless you plain don’t care whether or not you gain the world but lose your soul. We will need others – including those who are different from us – to rebuild society once the event ends.

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Joe
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Joe

Keep some caches well away from your safe areas.

Direct unprepared idiots to them.

EgbertThrockmorton1
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EgbertThrockmorton1

We have lost count of the numbers of times our “neighbors”, have said in church meetings, and social events that OUR home is THIER fall back position, IF, they cannot go to a prepared family member’s home close by. While that “sounds” flattering, it is a very real threat to OUR well-being and personal safety WE have planned, prepared and personally sacrificed for. So, we’ve been QUIETLY when appropriate, been mentioning that we have been using our preps to stave off a personal financial “crisis”, and those same people have altogether stopped mentioning THIER “plans”, for mooching from us. Interesting… Read more »

Any Amy
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Any Amy

Very smart way to turn the table and squelch their plans, but how on earth did your neighbors know THAT much info about your preparations? Was there a lack of OPSEC up front?

Pretty sad, and telling, that they’ve offered no help or even sympathy for your “financial crisis.” I guess you can tell who your real friends are. 🙁

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

your story smacks of bullshit…

BobW
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BobW

Sounds like a church I wouldn’t want to be a part of.

Willing to mooch, but when times are good, unwilling to see if they can help.

christopher
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christopher

Prepping and the Golden Rule CAN Co-Exist-……..Prepping can, but STHF & golden rule can’t,,,,,,,,2 different things.. its like oil & water. wont mix. I don’t believe for a second that any seller profiting from preppers is in this “with me”… other than to try to get as much money out of me as possible prior to the SHTF event.!”………. if you dont want their product, then dont buy it. did you expect them to give it away for free? its called capitalism. pick and choose what you want, if you want it. they never said they will come to your… Read more »

W4L
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W4L

What Christopher said, pretty well.
Some folk think that after some catastrophic event well all just be walkin about, passing out bread, fish, and wine. When you’ll really be hunkered down hoping someone doesn’t try to kill you for a can of spaghetti Os. A lot of dreaming goin on.

Any Amy
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Any Amy

“Some folk think that after some catastrophic event well all just be walkin about, passing out bread, fish, and wine.” I guess that is aimed at me. To clarify — no, I don’t believe that for a second. I am highly armed and ready to defend what we have done to prepare and protect our family. Our house has been fortified. Etc, etc. But I don’t plan on turning away my neighbor. Truly, there is a lot of dreaming going on. If anyone plans to act like the so-called “prepper/survivalist” family in National Geographic’s “American Blackout”, there are gonna be… Read more »

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

chris, you are a total dick

christopher
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christopher

wow.. such a intelligent reply… look, here is how i see it. everybody has their own view. trashing others preppers views when you write article sounds like being the “d**k” , as you call it, to me. if your a new prepper and your starting out by trashing half the other preppers, i dont think that is the way to go. if you feel you want to give your supplies to every tom d**k & harry go ahead. but dont bash those of us that dont feel that way. i think you live in a fantasy land if you think… Read more »

R. Ann
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R. Ann

I don’t have any problem with proposals about how it’s possible to help others, or even positing that it’s morally or logistically right to do so. I don’t typically enjoy being looped in under one heading – almost any heading – and I’m not sure an insulting/assault-counterassault tact was the best way to try to convince anybody, whether they feel the same or not. Typically when you’re trying to change minds or present something different, no matter who or what to topic or audience, you’re already presenting something that’s going to get SOMEBODY’s loss aversion going by challenging their status… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

My take on it: This entire article could have been put forth in a much more direct, and much less scolding/lecturing manner. As it stands now, it strikes me as a vaguely hysterical rant laced with bombastic phrases like “Do you want their blood on your hands???,” “judge, jury and executioner” and the like. Overuse of hyperbole tends to turn people off. If you want to put forth an idea, going the route of lecturing, shaming and insulting is generally not the best way in the world to do so. Now: because the author harped on the “God guilt trip”… Read more »

Any Amy
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Any Amy

“Scripture spoke of helping those who COULD NOT help themselves (widows, orphans), not those who WOULD not.” Uh, Nope. You might want to go to http://www.BibleGateway.com and actually read a few of the scriptures I cited. “Feeding the hungry and giving a drink to someone who was thirty” does NOT include any exclusionary criteria such as the person/recipient couldn’t: (1) have been previously wealthy and made poor choices to end up in their current situation (and if you can’t understand that, try re-reading the parable of the prodigal son who was accepted back after squandering his inheritance), (2) be of… Read more »

merryinfidel
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merryinfidel

My primary responsibility is to take care of my family. Period. I can’t save the world and I’m not gonna try. If you are foolish enough to give food to your neighbor, within hours the entire neighborhood will know about it and the “Entitlement” crowd will be knocking on your door. If there was a safe way to help others (especially children) I wouldn’t hesitate. But there ISN’T! If you help someone and word gets out that you have supplies (and it will get out), then you just signed your families death warrant. The Lord helps those who help themselves… Read more »

Any Amy
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Any Amy

“The Lord helps those who help themselves” is nowhere in the Bible and is a common half-truth cliche spouted off in our culture, even among people who claim to be Christians. Please refer to the book, “Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say” by Adam Hamilton, 2016 ( https://www.amazon.com/Half-Truths-Themselves-Things-Doesnt/dp/1501813870/ ).

None of these reactions surprise me, but they do sadden me.

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

not period. you can’t save the world ALONE. but you CAN do some good and contribute to it’s salvation..kinda how things work in general.

BobW
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BobW

You seem to have missed the Infidel’s point. Once word gets out, there is no hiding what you do, or even might have. I suppose a few folks would offer to work for some food, but realistically, you’ll have a front yard full of empty hands, willing to do whatever it takes to feed their kids.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Exactly.

Mike Lashewitz
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Mike Lashewitz

I love the golden rule because it is simple common sense during peaceful times when starvation and cannibalism are not rampant. AND as long as the EBT continues and the WIC Cards are valid and the cash from the cash cow keeps flowing it is all fine and dandy. However I will sit here and consider if you have never starved, if you have never seen your children starve you would not understand prey-ing on each other, However if you live in the Ghetto you would see no problem stealing and killing your neighbors if they have more than you.… Read more »

Any Amy
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Any Amy

Yeah, the Golden Rule is simple, but difficult to follow. Sort of like the edict to “love your neighbor as I have loved you.” Kinda makes you think. I like your use of a lot of “IF” statements… thank you for not automatically assuming I had never experienced certain things. I appreciate that. Because I have seen/been through things firsthand, as a civilian, that many people could never fathom. Not claiming to have been through more/bigger/worse… just some really bad stuff that curls your toes and turns you inside out and makes you get death threats. Children treated worse than… Read more »

Mike Lashewitz
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Mike Lashewitz

Excellent observation! Now is not the time to rest but to hammer on making sure the criminal are exposed and processed.

Leftcoastlarry
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Leftcoastlarry

SIT TIGHT, live right. Oh my…you’ve stepped right in it. Remember that cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, when the SHTF, the Captain was one of the first guys off. How about Flight 90, the plane that crashed in the Potomac. A passenger, Arland Williams saved many lives before dying. When the SHTF — everything changes — and the sad fact is the vast majority of people don’t handle change well? Some preppers, despite their every intention and all the plans they’ve made, will not bug out. Other preppers won’t stick around long enough to save anyone but themselves (better have… Read more »

Any Amy
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Any Amy

Leftcoastlarry — I knew precisely what I was walking into. Eyes wide open. I came prepared wearing my big girl panties, chest-high fishing waders, and heavy-duty boots.

Be Prepared, but don’t forget your neighbors, whether your plan is to bug in or bug out.

Huples
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Huples

I’m an atheist but I see the value in helping others in a short term shtf. Why not as long as there no sign I’m prepping. Those goody bags will be remembered long after the ice storm and if a bad shtf hits your home is going to get ransacked. The old lady is dead anyhow in the long term if she is not a prepper. Those orphans can work for their lodgings. Overall I’m reminded of others who have better ideas for opsec and helping out. Made me chuckle you are handing out food at all in shtf in… Read more »

Any Amy
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Any Amy

Already have a seed stash. Plus we preserve our own seeds from our small suburban garden of heirloom veggies. Try planting various colors of leaf lettuce around your mailbox instead of other useless greenery. Most people won’t have a clue what it is, except for some of the “oldtimers” and some people from other countries who lived by subsistence farming. A very sweet, ancient Asian man was taking his daily walk in out neighborhood one day and paused by our mailbox. He reached down and ran his hand through our lush leaf lettuce planted there and smiled a huge smile… Read more »

merryinfidel
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merryinfidel

And your point is?

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

refer to the book and figure out the point.

BobW
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BobW

Look, vocalpatriot, if you didn’t want people disagreeing with the mrs, you shouldn’t have encouraged her to post the article.

It takes tougher skin to present an article online to pursuers of a specific subject.

Any Amy
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Any Amy

To clarify, I am not related to vocalpatriot, just for the record. (No offense, vocalpatriot… just wanting to keep the record straight!) And I have no problem with people disagreeing with my take on things.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

To lecture people about how they don’t really know Scripture and are wrong for not giving to everyone who puts a hand out, apparently. That same comment keeps getting cut and pasted.

Linda Messer
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Linda Messer

My thoughts are similar to another article I read. When the SHTF, if you go out and share a small amount (bottle of water, maybe a can of food) with some neighbors, under the guise of seeing how they are doing. At the same time, tell them about saving water and tell them how to be safe. Maybe, even mention that you wished you had prepare for such an emergency. Then hopefully, later they will think that you have been so helpful and have already shared what you have and maybe they will look elsewhere. I do agree to go… Read more »

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

if and when the shtf, it will not be as expected.
we live in a civil manner now, we must stay civil in bad times, too.
There is NO reason to shun folks because they don’t get why they need to prepare.
We will never restore this country with an attitude of “me first, screw everyone else”.
This country was built on the backs of people who
worked hard and sacrificed everything for each other.
And that is the only way we survive…together.

christopher
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christopher

Must stay civil in bad times? what does that mean? do you think 3/4 of the population will be civil when their starving? tell me, how many are you willing to help? 1? 5? 100? what is your point of stopping? Most of us that are in the country have been independent for years. I am not saying help no one. I am not saying not work with others. Each prepper will have to pick and choose who and when and IF. it may be after all the rioting has stopped. but if you choose to help strangers where will… Read more »

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

No, I don’t think even 9/10th will remain civil. But I will. I will assist the old lady across the street, etc.. but don’t think that means i wont plant a round in your ass if you try to do me or mine any harm. if you tell your neighbor “screw you” straight away, you will have a target on your ass. If you say instead “let’s work on finding what we need” he’ll more likely have your back as you have his…

BobW
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BobW

Actually, you have most of that backwards. This country was built by rugged individualists who staked their own claim, worked their own land, tended their own animals to provide for their families. They didn’t build their farms, and grow their crops so you could plunk your family down on their property and share in their successes. That didn’t come about until the 1960s. Later (industrial revolution) it was built by the rich on the backs of the poor. They didn’t go to work to enrich the Rockefellers, Getty’s, and Ford’s. They went to work so they could hopefully bring home… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Agreed, 100%. Rose colored glasses make for a very tinted view of the world.

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

crap colored glasses do too.

vocalpatriot
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vocalpatriot

True, but my point is the whole barn raising attitude.
Folks were indeed individualists to a point.
They weren’t solid loners either.
They also went out of their way to help each other…
not look for others to help them…i get that..
I’m saying just don’t turn your back on folks because they weren’t raised with your understanding…
many will learn (painfully) and then get on to the reality…
those are the folks you want to help.
Just because they don’t see it does not mean they are against it…
I’m not wearing rose colored glasses, just being duty minded,
there is a difference.

BobW
Guest
BobW

Honestly this is a curious position to take. There are millions of variables few adequately factor into their preparations. Giving stuff away, especially early on is foolish. There are more than 320 million people in just my country. I can’t recall the estimates, but I would venture a guess that fewer than 2% have a years worth of food, water, hygiene and other items stocked in their pantry. If something big happens, you won’t know it happened until a bit later. Dumping your pantry to help neighbors who did nothing to prepare puts the home team at risk. The risk… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

You need to re-read my reply to the article instead of (a) presuming I don’t know Scripture and (b) presuming I am passing judgement on others in a blanket fashion. My statement was made and then the criteria given – those who willingly chose not to prepare or do anything to help themselves.

Perhaps lecture less and read more, yourself, for a start, while talking about those who “claim” to be Christians.