Friday, February 23, 2018

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction

Tim's Note: The following article is by Shane Copper for Physicians for Civil Defense. I am reprinting it here with permission in accordance with the terms of the copyright notice found at the end of this article. All links have been left intact..

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction 

By Shane Connor for Physicians for Civil Defense


Toshiharu Kano, third generation Japanese-American, author of Passport to Hiroshima reminded us recently;

"I am the last, closest to ground zero (800 meters from hypocenter), living survivor of Hiroshima atomic bomb of August 1945. Many of the tens of thousands of victims there tragically perished from an unfamiliarity of how to protect themselves from the unique effects of a nuclear bomb's flash, blast and radiation. As a US citizen living in middle America today I see a hauntingly similar vulnerability growing among the general public here ever since Civil Defense was discontinued after the Reagan Cold War era. The 'Good News About Nuclear Destruction' is that if all Americans were trained again in the Civil Defense basics of what to do and not do if nuclear weapons were ever unleashed again, we could instantly make all nukes 90% less lethal. Ideally, while I'd like to see a world free of nuclear weapons someday, in the meantime we should all embrace rejuvenating public Civil Defense to greatly minimize their lethality."

What possible 'good news' could there ever be about nuclear destruction coming to America, whether it is Dirty Bombs, Terrorist Nukes, or ICBM's from afar? 

In a word, they are all survivable for the vast majority of American families, IF they know what to do beforehand and have made even the most modest of preparations. 

Tragically, though, most Americans today won't give much credence to this good news, much less seek out such vital life-saving instruction, as they have been jaded by our culture's pervasive myths of nuclear un-survivability

Most people think that if nukes go off then everybody is going to die, or it'll be so bad they'll wish they had. That's why you hear such absurd comments as; "If it happens, I hope I'm at ground zero and go quickly."

This defeatist attitude was born as the disarmament movement ridiculed any competing alternatives to their ban-the-bomb agenda, like Civil Defense. The activists wanted all to think there was no surviving any nukes, disarmament was your only hope. The sound Civil Defense strategies of the 50's, 60's and 70's have been derided as being largely ineffective, or at worst a cruel joke. Since the supposed end of the Cold War in the 80's, most Americans saw neither a need to prepare, nor believed that preparation would do any good. Today, with growing prospects of nuclear terrorism, and nuclear saber rattling from rogue nations, we see emerging among the public either paralyzing fear or irrational denial. People can't even begin to envision effective preparations for ever surviving a nuclear attack. They think it totally futile, bordering on lunacy, to even try.

Ironically, the disarmament activists legacy, regardless their noble intent, has rendered millions of Americans even more vulnerable to perishing from nukes in the future.

The biggest surprise for most Americans, from the first flash of a nuke being unleashed, is that they will still be here, though ill-equipped to survive for long, if they don't know what to do, and not do, beforehand from that very first second of the initial flash onward.

For instance, many could readily survive the delayed blast wave via the old 'Duck & Cover' tactic, and that is very good news, IF they knew to do it quick as the flash appeared. Unfortunately, most don't, and even fewer know how to later survive the coming radioactive fallout which could eventually kill many times more than the blast. However, there is still more good news possible, as well over 90% of those potential casualties from fallout are avoidable, too, IF the public was pre-trained through an aggressive national Civil Defense educational program. Simple measures taken immediately after a nuclear detonation, by a pre-trained public, can prevent agonizing death and injury from radiation exposure.

The National Planning Scenario #1, an originally confidential internal 2004 study by the Department of Homeland Security, examined the effects of a terrorist nuke detonated in Washington, D.C.. They discovered that a 10 kiloton nuke, about 2/3rds the size of the Hiroshima bomb, detonated at ground level, would result in about 15,000 immediate deaths, and another 15,000 casualties from the blast, thermal flash and initial radiation release.1 As horrific as that is, and even without 'Duck & Cover', the surprising revelation here is that over 99% of the residents in the DC area will have just witnessed and survived their first nuclear explosion. Clearly, the good news is most people would survive that initial blast.

However, that study also soberly determined that as many as another 250,000 people could soon be at risk from lethal doses of radiation from the fallout drifting downwind towards them after the blast. (Another study, released in August 2006 by the Rand Corporation, looked at a terrorist 10 kiloton nuke arriving in a cargo container and being exploded in the Port of Long Beach, California. Over 150,000 people were estimated to be at risk downwind from fallout, again many more than from the initial blast itself.2

The good news here, that these much larger casualty numbers from radioactive fallout are largely avoidable, too, only applies to those pre-trained beforehand by a Civil Defense program in what they need to do before it arrives.

Today, lacking any meaningful Civil Defense program, millions of American families continue to be at risk and could perish needlessly for lack of essential knowledge that used to be taught at the grade school level.

The public at large, businesses and all our children's schools, urgently need to be instructed in Civil Defense basics again. Like how most can save themselves by immediately employing the 'Duck & Cover' tactic, rather than just allowing an impulsive rush to the nearest windows to see what that 'bright flash' was across town, just-in-time to be shredded by the glass imploding inward from that delayed shock wave blast.

Most also don't know, even when caught in the open, just lying flat, reduces by eight-fold the chances of being hit by debris from that brief, three second, tornado strength shock wave blast that, like lightning & thunder, could be delayed arriving anywhere from a couple seconds to 2 minutes after that initial flash.

Remember the February, 2013 Chelyabinsk Russia meteor air burst? 1,500 people were injured, most from the delayed shock wave exploding inward the window glass they were anxiously scanning the winter sky through trying to see what/where the bright flash was earlier. "A fourth-grade teacher in Chelyabinsk, Yulia Karbysheva, was hailed as a hero after saving 44 children from imploding window glass cuts. Despite not knowing the origin of the intense flash of light, Karbysheva thought it prudent to take precautionary measures by ordering her students to stay away from the room's windows and to perform a duck and cover maneuver. Karbysheva, who remained standing, was seriously lacerated when the blast arrived and window glass severed a tendon in one of her arms; however, none of her students, whom she ordered to hide under their desks, suffered cuts." 3

'Duck & Cover', while under appreciated by most Americans, has long been known as a simple and effective shock wave blast life-saver, even as early as Hiroshima (15 KT) and Nagasaki (22 KT).
"According to the 1946 book Hiroshima, in the days between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in Japan, one Hiroshima policeman went to Nagasaki to teach police about ducking after the atomic flash. As a result of this timely warning, not a single Nagasaki policeman died in the initial blast. Unfortunately, the general population was not warned of the heat/blast danger following an atomic flash because of the bomb's unknown nature. Many people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki died while searching the skies for the source of the brilliant flash." 4

Robert Trumbull - the New York Times Pacific and Asia war correspondent, 1941-79 who had been in Iwo Jima - documented more double-bombing survivors in his 1957 book Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Personal Experiences of Nine Men who Lived Through Both Atomic Bombings5. Two of their experiences and their ages on 9 August 1945: 

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, 29, Mitsubishi ship designer who died in 2010, aged 93 (Trumbull pp. 28 and 109): "'Suddenly there was a flash like the lighting of a huge magnesium flare,' Yamaguchi recalls. The young ship designer was so well drilled in air-raid precaution techniques that he reacted automatically. He flung his hands to his head, covering his eyes with his fingers and stopping his ears with his two thumbs. Simultaneously he dropped to the ground, face down. ... 'As I prostrated myself, there came a terrific explosion' ... [The left side of his face and arm facing the fireball were burned, and he returned to Nagasaki, experiencing the second nuclear explosion on the sixth-floor of the headquarters office of Mitsubishi.] Spelling out the danger of flying glass, he urged them to keep windows open during an air-raid alert, and at the instant of the flash to seize at once upon any shelter available ... the second A-bomb confirmed young Yamaguchi's words, exploding in a huge ball of fire about a mile away. Yamaguchi's lecture [just an hour earlier!] ... was not lost upon his colleagues. With the young designer's words still fresh in their minds, they leaped for the cover of desks and tables. 'As a result,' said Yamaguchi, 'my section staff suffered the least in that building. In other sections there was a heavy toll of serious injuries from flying glass'."
Masao Komatsu, 40, was hit by falling beam in a Hiroshima warehouse and was on board a train in Nagasaki when the bomb fell (Trumbull, p101): "...the interior of the coach was bathed in a stark, white light. Komatsu immediately dived for the floor. 'Get down!' he screamed at the other passengers. Some recovered sufficiently from the daze of the blinding light to react promptly to his warning. Seconds later came the deafening crack of the blast, and a shock wave that splintered all the windows on both sides of the train. The passengers who had not dived under the seats were slashed mercilessly from waist to head by glass flying at bullet speed."
While terrorist nukes would likely be smaller than the Hiroshima (15 KT) bomb, in a modern super power conflict today, the nukes would be larger, most in the 100 KT to 500 KT range. The unsurvivable 'ground zero' lethal zone of a 500 KT nuke airburst, would extend out to about 2.2 miles. The blast wave would arrive at that 2.2 mile marker about eight seconds after the flash and then continue on causing death or injury from there out to about 9 miles. Putting at grave risk then an additional over 15 times more souls than were already lost within that unsurvivable 2.2 mile ground zero radius. That's IF they don't know to 'Duck & Cover' in those 8 to 20+ seconds after the flash and before the blast wave arrived. In other words, with 'Duck & Cover' taught to and employed by all, there could be over 15 times fewer casualties from that blast wave!6
Clearly, prompt 'Duck & Cover', upon any bright flash suddenly appearing, is lifesaving good news everyone should be taught!

They need to also be taught, after the blast, attempting to outrun that downwind drift of the fallout is strongly discouraged. It only works if wind direction, speed, and distance from ground zero is known and assures plenty enough time to escape exposure in the open well before the fallout would arrive along their, likely clogged, route. They must also be taught, sheltering-in-place is usually the better option, as the radioactive fallout loses 90% of its lethal intensity in the first seven hours and 99% of it in two days. For those requiring sheltering from fallout, the majority would only need two or three days of full-time hunkering down, not weeks on end, before safely joining an evacuation, if even still necessary then.

That's more good news as an effective expedient fallout shelter can easily be improvised at home, school or work quickly, but, again, only IF the public had been trained beforehand in how to do so, as was begun in the 50's, 60's & 70's with our national Civil Defense program.
Unfortunately, our government today is doing little to promote nuclear preparedness and Civil Defense instruction among the general public. Regrettably, most of our politicians, like the public, are still captive to the same illusions that training and preparation of the public are ineffective and futile against a nuclear threat.

Bush administration Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, demonstrated this attitude in 2005 when he responded to the following question in USA Today;7
Q: In the last four years, the most horrific scenario - a nuclear attack - may be the least discussed. If there were to be a nuclear attack tomorrow by terrorists on an American city, how would it be handled?

A: In the area of a nuclear bomb, it's prevention, prevention, prevention. If a nuclear bomb goes off, you are not going to be able to protect against it. There's no city strong enough infrastructure-wise to withstand such a hit. No matter how you approach it, there'd be a huge loss of life. 

Mr. Chertoff failed to grasp that most of that "huge loss of life" could be avoided if those in the blast zone and downwind knew what to do beforehand. He only acknowledges that the infrastructure will be severely compromised -- too few first-responders responding. Civil Defense pre-training of the public is clearly the only hope for those in the blast zone and later in the fallout path. Of course, the government should try and prevent it happening first, but the answer he should have given to that question is; "preparation, preparation, preparation" of the public via training beforehand, for when prevention by the government might fail.

The Obama administration also failed to grasp that the single greatest force multiplier to reducing potential casualties, and greatly enhancing the effectiveness of first-responders, is a pre-trained public so that there will be far fewer casualties to later deal with. Spending millions to train and equip first-responders is good and necessary, but having millions fewer victims, by having also educated and trained the public beforehand, too, would be many magnitudes more effective in saving lives. Maybe the Trump administration will do better, but time is short.

The federal government needs to launch a national mass media, business supported, and school based effort, superseding our most ambitious public awareness campaigns like for AIDs, drug abuse, drunk driving, anti-smoking, etc. The effort should percolate down to every level of our society. Let's be clear - we are talking about the potential to save, or lose needlessly, many times more lives than those saved by all these other noble efforts combined!

Instead, Homeland Security continues with a focus primarily on...

#1 - Interdiction - Catching nuclear materials and terrorists beforehand and...

#2 - Continuity of Government (COG) and casualty response afterwards for when #1 fails
While the vital key component continues to be largely ignored...

#3 - Continuity of the Public while it's happening - via proven mass media Civil Defense training beforehand that would make the survival difference then for the vast majority of Americans affected by a nuclear event and on their own from that first initial flash & blast and through those critical first couple days of the highest radiation threat, before government response has arrived in force. 

This deadly oversight will persist until those crippling myths of nuclear un-survivability are banished by the good news that a trained and prepared public can, and ultimately has to, save themselves. More training of the public beforehand means less body bags required afterwards, it's that simple.

The tragic After Action Reports (AAR's), of an American city nuked today, would glaringly reveal then that the overwhelming majority of victims had perished needlessly for lack of this basic, easy to learn & employ, life-saving knowledge.

Re-launching Civil Defense training is an issue we hope & pray will come to the forefront on the political stage, with both parties vying to outdo each other proposing national Civil Defense public educational programs. We are not asking billions for provisioned public fallout shelters for all, like what already awaits many of our politicians. We are just asking for a comprehensive mass media, business, and school based re-release of the proven practical strategies of Civil Defense instruction, a modernized version of what we used to have here, and that had been embraced by the Chinese, Russians, Swiss and Israeli's.

There is no greater, nor more legitimate, primary responsibility of any government than to protect its citizens. And, no greater condemnation awaits that government that fails to, risking millions then perishing needlessly. We all need to demand renewed public Civil Defense training and the media needs to spotlight it by questioning officials and politicians, until the government corrects this easily avoidable, but fatal vulnerability.

In the meantime, though, don't wait around for the government to instruct and prepare your own family and community. Educate yourself today and begin establishing your own family nuclear survival preparations by reading the free nuke prep primer...

Then, post links to, or pass copies of, this 'Good News' article to friends, neighbors, relatives, fellow workers, churches and community organizations with a brief note attached saying simply: "We hope/pray we never need this, but just-in-case, keep it handy!" Few nowadays will find that approach alarmist and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how many are truly grateful.

Everyone should also forward copies to their local, state and federal elected representatives, as well as your own communities first-responders and local media, all to help spread this good news that's liberating American families from their paralyzing and potentially fatal myths of nuclear un-survivability!

Bottom Line: We could easily reduce by 90% the lethality of all Chinese, Russian, N Korean and Iranian missiles, and any terrorist nukes, too, quick as the public is trained up in blast & fallout Civil Defense basics again. And, that is very good news!

The mission of Physicians for Civil Defense is to save lives of first responders and the general public
in the event of disasters, especially terrorist attacks using dirty bombs or nuclear weapons.
If you'd like to help with tax-deductible contributions to expand our "Good News About Nuclear Destruction..."
billboard outreach across America, or find out how to do it in your own community as a public service,
contact Physicians for Civil Defense. 7/17/2014 Press Release here.
Together, we could save millions of American families from needlessly perishing in a future nuclear disaster!

Everyone is invited to copy, post, print, and distribute 'THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!' article anywhere, as long as they do so without charging anything for it. It must be reproduced in entirety, including this notice, and not be altered or edited. Easy print PDF version To contact the author with comments, e-mail: Shane Connor

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Prepper? Survivalist? What's the Difference?

A buddy of mine asked me what the difference is between a prepper and a survivalist. I admit it is a good question, and one with no obvious answer since there are no official definitions. Within the prepper and survivalist community, the two terms are often used interchangeably, though prepper is the more popular term (but survivalist has been around longer). So, is there a difference? If so, what is the difference? And, why does it matter?

In my mind, the word survivalist conjures up a hard -core image of a man dressed in camouflage holding a gun, determined to protect his family from approaching danger.

On the other hand, the word prepper conjures up a somewhat softer image of a woman stuffing her pantry full of food, and maybe planting a vegetable garden out back, in order to take care of her  family during bad times.

Survivalist conjures to my mind guns & ammo, tanto knives, BDUs, MREs. goats, surgical kits, chain saws, military survival manuals, and books by folks such as Mel Tappan and James Wesley, Rawles

Prepper conjures up images of food storage, gardens, canning, chickens, first aid kits, hoes & shovels, sewing kits, and books like Back to Basics and Emergency Food Storage.

Of course, both sets of images are right and needed. Preparedness and survivalism are about all the above, and more.  However, obviously to my mind there is a qualitative difference between the two terms.  Though there are a lot of similarities between the two, I think the difference is in their primary motivations.

Survivalists are primarily motivated by a desire to survive long-term and highly disruptive events, whereas preppers are primarily motivated by a desire to prepare for shorter-term and less disruptive events.

Survivalists primarily focus on and plan towards surviving events such as political and economic collapse, severe pandemics, EMP & CME events, civil unrest, martial law, police state tactics, civil war, invasion, and even nuclear war.

Preppers primarily focus on and plan towards surviving events such as an unexpected job loss, local epidemics, a winter storm or hurricane which knocks out power for a week, ordinary crime, and the next recession. 

Both can and do look to surviving all sorts of events - long and short, major and minor. But their primary focus and efforts are different, in my opinion. This doesn't make either one right or wrong. Just different.  As for me, I lean towards the survivalist side. And the more I examine the world, the more I lean that way.

Why do the definitions matter? It matters when it comes to communicating with people. Understanding their expectations, and yours, can prevent misunderstandings and hostility. Let me explain:

I've written many, many articles over the years. Some of my articles are "soft," fitting the prepper profile, while others are more "hard-core" fitting the survivalist profile. With my more soft articles, prepper-types (as defined in this article) tend to love them and comment very favorably. On the other hand, survivlist-types often criticize those articles as "too basic," and the advice given as "not going far enough." I've even been called "naive" for some of the softer suggestions I've made.

On the other hand, with my more hard-core articles and advice, I have often upset, angered, and even offended many prepper-types. They accuse me of being "unrealistic" & "too harsh," and the advice given as "going too far." I've even been called "paranoid."

It would behoove everyone, including myself, to remember these differences in dealing with others. Not everyone is on the same page with their goals, motivations, and concerns. And that is okay. We don't have to always agree.       

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Best Advice for Preppers Stuck in the City/Suburbs

During and after any societal collapse, a productive homestead in a rural part of the country far away from any mega-cities will be a much safer and better  place to live than the large cities and their suburbs. But, many preppers complain that they are "stuck" living where they are at now and simply cannot move to a small town or rural area.* What can they do? 

My best advice for people stuck living in the city or suburbs: Connect with trustworthy, like-minded people near you and together start preparing and planning for difficult times. This concept is often called a mutual assistance group, or MAG, and can be as formal or as informal as you want it to be.

Working on a project (such as prepping) with other people provides for a certain amount of mutual encouragement and accountability, enabling you to stay on track. It allows all parties to draw on different experiences and skill sets. You can make and split bulk purchases, reducing costs for all involved. You can also split the costs of certain purchases for which your group only needs one - such as a ham radio. If the group is successful, at some point you may even consider going in together to buy a few acres of rural property to use as a bug-out retreat. 

Many skill sets need to be learned by all group members (examples: basic first aid & CPR, self-defense). But you can assign certain advanced or specialized tasks to certain members. "Sam & Emily, you'll be our medics so you need to get advanced first aid and medical training. John, you'll be our ham radio operator and communications expert, so get the equipment and training. Bill, you have the only pick-up truck in the group, so you need to get a hand truck and dolly and be available to group members for hauling. Mary, since you're already into sewing, you'll be the group's seamstress so make sure you have plenty of supplies to repair our clothing after the SHTF."  You get the idea.  

You should also plan how you will provide mutual aid to each other both during a disaster and after. Plan for both natural disasters and man-made disasters. Write down these plans and expectations to prevent misunderstandings. 

Who should be in your network? Well, I did say trustworthy, like-minded people near you. You're not looking for folks with certain skill sets (worry about skills later). Rather, you're looking for folks who share similar worldviews, concerns, and goals. Start meeting people and talking to them. Look first to those already around you - your neighbors, fellow church-members, friends, co-workers, and so forth. Look for clues as to their attitudes and mindset. The guy at work with a NRA sticker on his pick-up might be a good prospect. Your neighbor who still has the "Hillary For President" bumper sticker on his Toyota Prius, probably not. Once you pick out a prospect, start feeling them out. Mention watching a hunting show, or a rerun of Dual Survivor, or something similar, and see how they react. Negative reactions, move on. Positive reactions, keep the conversations going. It may take several conversations as both parties feel each other out before building enough trust to get into preparedness and survival topics. 

Religion and politics do make a difference. Someone diametrically opposed to your views on these topics will make a poor fit for your group. Have discussions on these topics early on. Believe me, you'll quickly figure out if they are incompatible with you. 

I also suggest that you need people who are physically near your location. Transportation with be difficult when the SHTF, and become even more difficult post-collapse as gasoline runs out and infrastructure breaks down. Absolute best is someone who lives within eye-shot  of your location. Next is someone within reasonable walking distance of your place. And expand outwards from there.

* I don't want to insult anyone, but we all sometimes need a swift kick in the pants: I put "stuck" in quotes because what most people really mean when they say they are "stuck" in the city or suburbs is that they simply aren't willing to make the necessary sacrifices to move, or otherwise don't really want to change their current lifestyle. In most cases, being "stuck" due to some reason supposedly out of their control (financial, career, family, health, etc.) is actually an excuse they use to justify doing what they want to do instead of what they know should do.  If you are "stuck" in the city or suburbs, I urge you to honestly examine your own motivations, but I warn you that such a self-examination can be quite difficult and uncomfortable. 

Of Interest: Country Land (Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin). This 32-page booklet is filled with useful information and tips on finding, evaluating, and buying rural property. Emphasis is placed on understanding a property's soil and water, which, next to location, will be the most important factors for most preppers to consider. This booklet was last updated in 1988, so don't expect any tips on hunting for land via the Internet, but for only $4 it is money well-spent for anyone ready to find their own homestead.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Post-Collapse Charity

When it comes to charity in any SHTF/post-collapse world, there are two main schools of thought. In this article, I will examine both schools of thought, and then give my opinion of how to handle charity, pot-collapse.

Option 1)  No Charity - Take Care of Your Own

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." -- 1 Timothy 5:8 (HCSB)

Those of the "No Charity" school point out that it is a matter of security. You don't want your home or retreat to be overrun by refugees or looters, which is exactly what would happen once word gets out that you plenty of food and other stuff. Better to act like you are just another one of the starving masses, with nothing worth taking. 

Many of the "No Charity" folks also point out that you really don't have any excess to give out to hose in need. In truth, you don't know how long the collapse will be, or what your future needs will be. Your first priority must be your family/group, and you may actually end up needing that "excess" that you gave away.

Option 2)  Be Charitable - Help Those in Need

"Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" -- 1 Timothy 6:18

"But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" -- 1 John 3:17

Those of the "Be Charitable" school point to a multitude of passages where the Bible teaches us, commands us, to be charitable and generous towards others, especially those in need - the poor, the homeless, and so forth. Furthermore, they say that being charitable can be done safely without endangering your family, or taking an unreasonable risk of running out of food and supplies too soon. This is particularly true if you plan ahead to be charitable, and know exactly how much you can give, to whom you will give, and how you will do so. 

My Thoughts

Both schools of thought on post-collapse charity make valid points. The Bible does instruct us that we are first and foremost responsible for taking care of our own. The Bible also instructs us that we are to be charitable and generous to others in need - even strangers. It is, in my opinion, a matter of balance. We must strive to rise to God's standards and do both to the best of our ability. But, how do we balance the needs of our family with the needs of strangers? This balance will be made especially difficult in the dire and unpredictable nature of a collapse.

Plan Ahead for Charity

The key is to plan ahead. You won't be able to figure out the best balance after-the-fact, when fear and other emotions will run wild.

In my planning, I  am not expecting massive hordes from the cities (see my myth of the golden horde article). Most people will die in the cities, waiting (and looting & rioting) for the government to show up to help them (learned helplessness). Or they will die while trying to escape the city. Frankly, I don't expect the vast majority to make it 20 miles out of the city before dying or being killed.* A few city folks will make it out, of course, but not the hordes of most preppers' nightmares.For similar reasons, I don't expect far flung relatives to show up at my door. My cousin and his family, who live in Chicago, will never make it to my home in North Carolina during a collapse, even if they wanted to come here. 

Instead, I expect we will be dealing with local folks (friends, neighbors, acquaintances) needing help, and maybe the occasional refugee. Those folks can be dangerous, since desperate people do desperate things, and we should be ready to deal with that danger. However, I think most will simply be pitiful. 

Ideas For Providing Charity

Church-based Charity - A church I attended many years ago had a small room where they stored old coats & jackets, blankets, canned and dried food, baby supplies, and other similar things. These were then given to the homeless or other people in need that would show up at the church from time-to-time asking for help. Your church could do something similar - storing supplies that could be distributed to needy folks in an emergency. Worried about break-ins or looters showing up at the church? Your church could come up with a plan to provide security at the church during a crisis. An added benefit of this is the church would then be able to act as a headquarters and communications hub for the entire congregation, or even as a temporary shelter for members.
Cache-based Charity - An idea I heard recently from Viking Preparedness (Pastor Joe Fox), is to set up a number of caches a couple of miles away from your home or retreat. When refuges show up, give them a map to the cache, along with a warning that you have no more supplies to share and will treat them as looters if they show up at your home a second time.With some supplies, your threat, and a couple of miles distance from your home, the refuges will likely continue onward rather than continuing to bother you. 

Supplies-for-Work - When a neighbor shows up at your place needing food or other supplies, offer them a job! "Split this wood, and I'll give you a bag of food." "Spend two hours weeding my garden, and I'll give you a bottle of aspirin." Or whatever. There will be lots of projects on your homestead needing to be done. Trading supplies for work will be of benefit to both parties. You might even be able to hire the right refuge or two to work on your homestead and help with security in exchange for room and board. Of course, be careful who you hire on, but not all refugees are bad guys. 

Give-a-Bag / Don't Come Back - Fill up a number of tote bags with some food, a couple of bottles of water, some matches, and a small first aid kit (the kind you can get at Wal-mart for a buck in the travel-size rack), and maybe even a Gospel of John. When refuges show up, give them a bag with a warning that you don't have much, and will not give them any more under any circumstances. Let them know you're armed and vigilant, and if they come back, you'll be forced to treat them as looters. 

A Final Note

Remember, we're talking about helping needy neighbors and true refugees, not gangs of armed thugs trying to take your stuff. You need to have a security plan in place to deal with looters and bandits with extreme prejudice. But neighbors and refugees you can deal with generously but firmly.  

* Do you really expect those folks who can't get around Wal-mart without an electric shopping cart to be able to hike out to your homestead? Most people are fat, unhealthy, out-of-shape, and totally unprepared to bug-out. Besides, by the time they realize that they need to get out, gas will be completely gone and the roads and Interstates will be undrivable parking lots.