192: Does Prepping Make You a Target?

192: Does Prepping Make You a Target?

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In a recent post/episode, 186: It’s Time to Do Something Else, I talked about the importance of sharing what you’re doing in your life (instead of getting sucked into the news/memes/recycled content). While I received a lot of positive feedback from that post, some folks had questions and concerns. Some worried that other people would think sharing their successful self-reliance projects online would be seen as bragging. I addressed that recently in 190: Does Sharing Your Self-Reliance Success Equal Showing Off?

Others, however, were concerned that sharing all the awesome self-reliance things they were doing would make them a target if “things went south” or it all “hit the fan”.

Today, I’d like to give my buck fifty about that.

Do you share what you do?

It probably seems weird for me to address this topic, since the entire reason you’re reading this right now is because I share what I do. You might be thinking, “well, of course you’re going to share what you’re doing. It’s your business to do that.”

And while that’s true, let’s be clear. I’m not giving you an inch by inch description of what I’ve got in every room in every building on my property. As with everything, brains, boundaries, and balance are key. But am I paranoid about sharing things I’m doing here on the homestead?

No. And here are six reasons why.

1. It’s part of teaching.

It’s pretty hard to teach other people anything about self-reliance if you’re not willing to share a bit about what you’re doing yourself. In order to teach people, I have to put myself out there with things I’m doing.

I remember realizing this a while back when I ran a firearms website. In talking with women about their quest to become more comfortable with carrying a firearm, I realized I was outing myself as someone who carried a firearm. Obviously brains, boundaries, and balance apply here with how much you share, but I had to be okay with people knowing why I could teach the things I taught.

If you want to help people know more about the lifestyle you lead, you have to be okay with that lifestyle being out there in some way. Otherwise… why would people trust you enough to learn from you?

2. Assumptions

If it goes south and it all hits the fan, I don’t think I’ll be a target simply because I shared online how full my freezer is. I would be more likely to be a target because people can see I live on a working farm. 

Even if I never talked about what I’m doing here, there are people who would assume that I have stuff because of where I live. Because of who I’m married to. Because I like to go to the range. Because of all sorts of things they’ve picked up about me. People will paint a picture of who I am and assume a lot of things about me and might come raid my home anyway.

3. Proximity.

I hear a lot of people say, “I won’t share that online because some random stranger or shirttail relative is going to show up and try to take my stuff.” The way I see it, if *it* hits the fan or the grid goes down, do you know who I have to worry about most? My neighbors. People who live near me. People who might know I just butchered a pig because they heard the pig being dispatched.

If I need to worry about who is going to clean me out if SHTF, it’s the people who live closest to me and then any of my localish family and friends who snap.

For people who are trying really hard to hide what they are doing, consider there are people living in urban areas who can’t hide what they’re doing. Everyone knows they have a garden and some rabbits and they watch them come home with food grade buckets and haul them into their basement.

You can’t always hide what you’re doing from those who are closest to you. Now does that mean you should broadcast it to the world? That’s your choice. But not posting it on the internet doesn’t mean there aren’t people who know what you’re doing anyway.

4. The Reality of Stress/Anger/Desperation

If it all goes south and it all hits the fan, I don’t think I will be a target simply because I’ve shared how much I’ve been canning. I would be more likely to be a target just because I happen to be the next house in line that the desperate person shows up at.

If SHTF, people will react in all sorts of different ways. And the mainstream will not react like people who listen to this podcast. There are people in this audience who will not react like they think people in this audience will. I want to remind you of an episode I did last September (166: The SHTF Thing We’re Not Talking About) where I talked about our hunting trip and a lot of people suddenly going to the woods, and us dealing with some folks who weren’t very nice.

We have in our head what “going nuts” or “being scared” or “wanting people’s stuff” is going to look like. And we don’t really know what that looks like until it happens.

My two cents is this: I don’t think people are going to come after me because I’ve posted stuff. I think they’re going to come after me regardless of what I’ve posted. That person that lives down the street from you is not going to come after you because they know you have a bunch of canned goods in your basement. If things get bad and things are rough and people are stressed out, angry, depressed, scared, and desperate, that person is going to come after you to SEE if you have anything. Ramen. Butter. Spaghetti sauce. Chicken nuggets. An overripe banana. A loaf of bread. Some water. Some fuel. Some wood.

People go nuts in different ways when they get stressed out or desperate. If things get bad enough like what some of y’all are fantasizing about? All bets are off. The rules don’t apply. And people will go after other people for all sorts of reasons.

5. Are people really paying attention?

I don’t worry about it because I just don’t think people are paying THAT much attention to what I’m doing. Sure, I tell them about the little grocery store I’m building in my basement, but ten seconds after that, they hear about fifteen other things from fifteen other people. And they forget what I’ve said.

Most the people who are reading/listening/watching my stuff are people who want to learn. They aren’t people who are trying to figure out what I have.

Now, if I had a stalker or someone who was making me feel uncomfortable, that would be something completely different. If I had a neighbor who was side-eyeing me and watching me with binoculars every time I unloaded my truck, that would be a different situation. 

Most of the world has no clue who I am. Most of the world has no clue who lives at this farm, and if we were to get hit, I honestly believe it would be because we just happened to be the next house that got hit when someone who was really desperate for stuff happened to go looking.

6. How You Handle Yourself Says A Lot

Do I think talking about what you’re doing as a homesteader or a prepper or someone who is independent or someone who is into self reliance will make you a target if the SHTF?

I think we’re looking at it wrong.

I think the fact that you’re breathing and walking upright and happen to be local to someone who is desperate will make you a target. Even if you keep everything you have a secret and the SHTF, people will figure it out eventually. You’re not starving. You’re not desperate. You’re not scowling and walking around at your wits end.

People who are will want to know why you’re not.

If you’re worried about it…

If you’re really worried that people are watching and they’re gonna come after you, then your issue isn’t whether or not you’re talking about what you’re doing, your issue is learning to defend yourself when SHTF.

If you’re worried about it, figure out how to protect yourself. 

There’s also something kinda weird about thinking that people will specifically target the preppers. Aren’t the preppers the ones who have all the guns and the ammo?

And that’s why, if people had some kind of choice about who they were going to bother or rob for supplies in a SHTF situation, I wouldn’t be going after the people who have come out as “preppers”.

Because y’all, most of them aren’t just storing food. They’re storing other stuff too, and they generally know how to use it.

Think about other people in this podcasting/self-reliance space. I know that Nicole (Living Free in Tennessee) and Jack (The Survival Podcast) and John (Special Operations Equipment) are probably pretty stocked up and good to go. Am I gonna go after them if I want stuff?

Hell no. Absolutely not. Who would?

Share. Don’t share. It’s up to you.

If you’re worried about people coming to take your stuff or bothering you because they know you’ve got all the things, it’s your choice to just stop talking about that. But please don’t assume that not talking about it is going to somehow prevent people from showing up to beg from you.

Sometimes desperate or crazy or angry people just go to the next house in line.

With that framework, I’m going to continue to teach people what I know about self-reliance, share some of the things we’re doing here at the homestead, and keep my head on a swivel.

You do what you think is best in your own situation.

— Amy Dingmann, 3-8-22

LINKS MENTIONED IN EPISODE 192

ReThink Rural: 7 Homesteading Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Ken Eash: The Constructive Liberty Podcast

Kean Eash: Teen Catalyst Podcast

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