Why is it when there’s a disaster of some kind people rush down to the store and steal a T.V. set? I can understand a father or mother breaking into a store to get food or formula for their kids, but breaking in and stealing a DVD player after the hurricane hits or while the city burns from civil unrest? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every person steals stuff or even that it happens during every SHTF event. But it does happen frequently enough that we should give it some thought.
There can be a strong temptation after a disaster to do things you normally wouldn’t do if everything was normal. Some people will resort to looting for things they don’t need in order to survive the emergency as mentioned above. And it’s not just poor people either, there have been cases of middle-class folks who have resorted to looting just because everybody else was doing it. Just because the crowd is doing something doesn’t mean you have to follow along. Regardless of the temptation chances are good that you will get caught and will have to suffer the consequences later.
It’s unfortunate that in times of disaster some people will choose this as a time to prey on the weak. During Katrina there were reports of women being raped. In other cases in the Middle East women reporters have been raped by large groups of men during riots. Again, this doesn’t happen every time, but when there’s a period of time WROL (Without Rule of Law) the bad and the stupid come out of the woodwork and do illegal things.
In some instances there have been examples of people who get others to their looting for them. Don’t fall prey to one of these “criminal masterminds.” Keep your situational awareness and stay out of trouble.
Many times a community will come together to help each other out. This is a good thing when it happens and it’s by far the best way for a community to repair and rebuild after a disaster. At other times communities become self destructive and riot, loot, and resort to other sorts of crime.
The Psychology of Looting
Why do people loot? Why get caught up in the frenzy of doing what everybody else is doing?
Some psychologists call this deindividuation, which means you give up your personal identity and values when you join in with a group like this. You might think you’ll never fall prey to this kind of thing, but I can attest having been in the service that it is a powerful thing to overcome. At times the group you’re with may want to do something that they normally wouldn’t do as individuals, but as a group they act outside their normal value range. It depends on the circumstances of course and if you’re ever in a riot or other even where there may be looting or other things going on stop and analyze the situation before getting involved in something you might regret later.
When To Break the Law
As a general rule of thumb and to keep things simple – don’t. Don’t break the law. As bad as the situation might seem in the moment the event always ends and you will eventually be held accountable. If you break the law will you get away with it? Maybe, maybe not. Is it really worth it to try?
Many times during looting events people come running out of an electronics store and someone is standing outside filming it. Pretty soon that footage is up on Facebook or other social media and someone recognizes your mug carrying that new Blu Ray player. Not exactly something needed in order to survive a flood is it? Next thing you know, you’re in front of the judge paying the price. Remember that old movie Baretta? “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” (Don’t do it.)
The only time I would take something from a store without paying would be under dire conditions. If during a SHTF event my family didn’t have food and water and I didn’t have access to any, then – if possible – I would take something from a store if it was abandoned. The police are far less likely to shoot you for taking some diapers and a gallon of milk than a big screen tv or a shotgun. Many cops have watched people take grocery items and turned the other way, don’t’ forget they are people too. Cops are just like the rest of us in that they have families to support and care for. Hell, chances are good some cops have even taken some grocery items themselves as most of them aren’t preppers either.
Try not to get involved in things you have no control over. For example, if there’s people shooting on the next block, stay away. You’re far more useful to your family alive than dead and when bullets are flying there are no guarantees about anything. An old staff sergeant in my unit used to say, “It’s not the bullet with your name on it that you have to worry about. It’s the one that says, ‘To whom it may concern’ you have to watch out for.” – Wisdom from an old combat vet.
There are no acceptable times to loot for “stuff” during an SHTF event. It might be you need to take some food and water and if you have to, so be it. Cops are far less likely to ding you for that. Indeed there are reports and video of cops standing around watching people take things from grocery stores during emergencies because they understood the people’s need to eat and drink fresh water.
Keep in mind that unless it’s a TEOTWAWKI event with no hope of rebuilding civilization you don’t want to go breaking the law. WROL might exist for awhile, but human kind always seem to have a way of bringing order from chaos, and if you’ve picked up a bad reputation it will be a lot harder for you to fit into a new society.
People have long memories and it would be far better to do what you know is morally right in any given situation and be remembered as that guy or gal that did the right thing, the hard thing, when the chips were down.
There are too many armchair preppers out there. Those guys with no preps, but plenty of guns to take whatever they need during the big disaster. Those are the guys that people will remember as the bad guy, the one that needs dealing with in a harsh manner. You can try and be the lone wolf and you might even get away with it for awhile, but in the end it’s usually better to have some friends who have got your back when the chips are down.
Sound off, people!
I realize that Natural News is closely aligned with Infowars and people on this site will go wild. However, they did post an interesting article.
Thanks. I’m glad you put this out there for the community to chew on.
I had an interesting discussion with a knowledgable survivalist recently. Up until a particular moment in the conversation I viewed him and his group as assets to know when the SHTF. But after that moment I locked in the potential that he might now be in the shoot-on-sight category.
Basically he outlined his very simple plan to take anything and everything at the barrel of a gun. Any resistance would be ended immediately. Anyone appearing as a threat or challenge, even from a distance would be sniped. No slack. No exceptions. No remorse.
He outlined his plan to me with pride, and even now viewed me as a likely source of excellent preps of whose burden he would be happy to relieve me.
From a few degrees away, I have now encountered several more individuals and another group that shares a similar plan.
So the gangs of bad guys won’t be forming when it goes dark because they have already formed. Like terrorist cells, they’re just waiting for the call.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep…
Obviously, in a SHTF event, you and your prepper group should be prepared to shoot any these individuals and any members of their group on sight, or perhaps even hunt them down preemptively: any rats planning to play when the cat goes away for good automatically forfeit their rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, and should be exterminated for the vermin they are.
Out these guys please. ……names……we in the grey, willing to help others in bad times need to know who are civilized and who are not.
I think this statement really sums it up!!
“WROL might exist for awhile, but human kind always seem to have a way of bringing order from chaos, and if you’ve picked up a bad reputation it will be a lot harder for you to fit into a new society.”
I won’t fit in anyway, most likely. one problem is that so much is “against the law” now. we are all more or less outlaws. (but it’s OK, I have a good moll, and she has a good getaway car. now all we need is a better hideout)
The problem with always obeying the law is that laws are made by, and for the benefit of the ‘elite’. SO, if you’re not up in the financial clouds, you’re in the dirt, usually getting dumped on! When to break the law, when you have to! Obviously, morons stealing TV’s, DVD’s, and other non-essentials during diasters/emergencies (or any other time) are just that: MORONS!!! If they truly think they can take whatever they want at gun point; guess what, they won’t survive long because many of their intended ‘victims’ will be armed as well. There are a lot of ex-military people out there (including me), and most of us won’t be ‘soft’ targets! If your neighbors don’t ‘prep’ for themselves, too bad, I and others like me have no real obligation to wipe their lazy asses for them, we looked ahead and prepared and none of us can afford to feed their entire community, especially long-term, no matter its size! As far as getting diapers and a gallon of milk from an ‘abandoned’ store after SHTF, there won’t be any goods left, that’s why it’s been abandoned! Worried about having a bad reputation afterward, at least that means you survived, maybe even thrived, that sounds good to me! Good Luck!
Food, water and medical supplies (i.e. insulin) I can understand. Liquor and tobacco – okay, those are literally trade goods and for some people, lack of those items in their will REALLY be a handicap.
But electronics – high end clothing – thats looting, for me.
There is a concept in law called “defense (or justification) of necessity”. NY jury instructions basically set it out:
Under our law, conduct which would otherwise constitute
an offense is justifiable and not criminal when such conduct is
necessary as an emergency measure to avoid an imminent
public or private injury which is about to occur by reason of a
situation occasioned or developed through no fault of the
actor. That imminent public or private injury must be of such
gravity that, according to ordinary standards of intelligence and morality, the desirability and urgency of avoiding such injury clearly outweigh the desirability of avoiding the injury sought to be prevented by the statute defining the charged crime(s).
Thus, taking water or food might be justifiable; taking medicine might be justifiable; running off with an Ipad wouldn’t be justifiable.
That’s interesting, Chilichef – I didn’t know that.
Bottom line is to be prepared at all times to avoid needing to go into an area where looting might be occurring. My biggest concern is that I need to travel through that area to get home or retrieve my family. A scene from World War Z comes to mind.
Those people stealing electronic goods are idiots and probably have been criminals their whole lives, but they will be the most dangerous of zombies, because they have been practicing.
Texas does have a similar law as well Jarhead. I will see if I can find it and link it.
That’s why I am glad I am a farmer and former military. That is all you need to know.
When should you break the law? When there’s no more law to break; meaning that you’re not really breaking it anymore.
In the event of anarchy following civilization’s collapse, old government licenses and titles no longer apply, and anything you can carry to which no one has a recognizable claim is yours for the taking. Just remember that in this situation, the only property you have is that which you can immediately defend through concealment or violence. Anything else you had on paper before civilization fell apart, such as a vacation home or valuables in a safety deposit box or off-site storage, is likewise forfeit to whomever finds and claims it first.
Also, unless you’re a metallurgist and really need a lot of copper wire or something, taking electronics and other luxuries of civilization indicates you don’t really believe civilization has collapsed yet, and therefore the laws you are breaking are still in effect though their enforcement has been delayed. That makes you nothing but a petty criminal, regardless of when civilization returns to your area.
BREAKING THE LAW WHEN SHFT. DEAR ME. THEY WOULD LIKE US TO BE NICE LITTLE ROBOTS FALL IN LINE. BUT I LEARNED IN THE ARMY ( THE U.S.ARMY) NEVER GIVE IN NEVER GIVE UP AND NEVER BETRAY YOUR BROTHER IN ARMS. IF THE MAKE WEAPONS ILLEGAL THEN BECOME ILLEGAL. IF THEY TAKE OUR FREEDOMS AWAY THEN I BECOME A FREEDOM FIGHTER . JUST BECAUSE THEY SAY SO DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT NOR A L LAW TO OBEY. MY ANCESTRY FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR AND THE REVELATION WAR. I AM A NAM VET AND WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE DARK. STAND FOR SOMETHING , STAND UP AND FIGHT ARE LAY DOWN AND DIE.