Let us divide all the people in your area into groups.
Group number one are those who think that nothing bad is going to happen, and even if it does, the government (or their parents) will take care of them. These may be referred to as ‘sheeple’. If you don’t get the term, it is a contraction of ‘sheep people’ and refers to the complete lack of common sense and self preservation endemic in sheep. You know, cows can be turned loose (sometimes on government land 🙂 and thrive, but sheep need a shepherd constantly with them. If something bad does happen, and the government does not take care of things, then a significant portion of this group will tend to riot and loot. Individually, they may not be excessively dangerous, but in groups they can be a problem.
Group number two are those who think something bad is going to happen, and if it does, they plan to prey on ‘everyone else’. Some may even be looking forward to the disaster. Their preparations tend to be weapons, and their training tends to be in raiding skills and tactics. This group has great potential to be a danger to you.
Group number three are those who think something bad is going to happen, and they plan to have short term supplies and immediately needed skills. If the problem lasts long term, some of these people may turn into raiders and might even be pretty good at it. For long term problems, this group has potential to be a danger to you.
The last group are those who think something bad is going to happen, and plan to have long term supplies, and learn the skills of a completely different lifestyle. Hopefully, this group includes you. Again, some of these people may turn to raiding if their preparations are inadequate or something unexpected happens to them. Some may not.
Perhaps you can see a pattern here. Let us say that you have prepared for an event, and it happens, and the government cannot handle things adequately or in a timely enough manner. An awful lot of the people around you will be in desperate circumstances, and a significant number of them will be coming ‘to you’ to satisfy their needs (or wants). And it is quite unlikely that you can have enough guns and ammo, enough fortifications, even enough people to keep them from overrunning you, either through superior firepower and tactics, or just plain numbers.
Also, consider the number of skills necessary for a complete change in lifestyle. If you spent every moment of every day learning stuff, you still probably will find yourself inadequately trained or practiced in some areas.
It should be obvious that to optimize your chances of survival, one of your ‘preps’ should be a group of like minded-people. More people with supplies means that any holes you have can be covered by Fred’s stock, and any holes in Fred’s supplies can be covered by something you are overstocked on. The bigger the group, the more likely this philosophy will pull you all through. Plus, if a group goes to buy stuff, their ability to get a better price is enhanced. More people with skills means the chance that you have access to a skill you do not have, or do not have adequately yet is much greater. And more people ‘behind the guns’ means your ability to fend off attackers is increased.
People in your group should be equally committed, with a common mindset. People who have decided to be raiders probably should not be teamed with people who consider that immoral and are not willing to engage in that activity. It would seem that someone who won’t do it should not benefit from delegating someone else to do it. Someone with three years of supplies may want to be very careful of a person with three days worth. That may not be a ‘deal-breaker’ if a person with many years of prepping finds a dedicated and motivated new-comer. In general, you want to be sure that everyone in the group is willing and able to ‘pull their weight’.
Also, in most cases the people should be ‘close by’. If the horrible event happens, having the perfect partner 500 miles away may not do you any good. Even 50 miles could very well be a problem. Five miles may be somewhat useful. Really, right next door is the best place for a partner.
So how to find the group members? That is indeed the question, since secrecy is an important part of your preps. If ‘everyone’ knows you’ve got preps, you might as well post a Quik-Mart sign outside your place. Perhaps a good place to start out is the Mormon church; they are perhaps the most organized group of preppers. You don’t need to subscribe to their religious beliefs as long as your survival beliefs mesh well. Are there stores which tend to be patronized by preppers? Perhaps a bulletin board there or friendship with an employee can provide leads. Your friends and family, of course, may not only provide leads from among their acquaintances, but may be ripe to be ‘converted’ themselves. Online searches and even Craig’s List may provide leads, with adequate safeguards.
But remember, that the best location is next door. Your neighbors. If you know them well, then perhaps slip it into the conversation. “Boy, I’m worried that xxxx will happen. I wonder what I can do to make it through something like that.” If they seem interested, you can then ‘make plans’ with them. As you see how they follow up, you can bring them further ‘into the fold’.
What if you don’t know them well? Really? Why not? In that case, perhaps set up a ‘block party’. Maybe even have a short presentation on ‘something you are thinking about and would like their thoughts on’.
Anybody have any other suggestions?