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    How to Avoid Becoming a Target After the SHTF

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    How to Avoid Becoming a Target After the SHTF

    As the saying goes, we are nine meals away from anarchy. In short, it means that after three days without new supplies, most cities would be completely out of food and gas. At that point, people will be desperate—and dangerous. Imagine if the taps run dry, too.

    In desperate times, people do desperate things. How will you handle that? If people know you have the things they need (food to feed their family, ammo to protect them, medication to heal them), you will become a target.

    So, in an SHTF scenario, how do you avoid become a target? It's all in how you conduct yourself.

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    Play the Middle of the Herd

    There is really one concept to understand if you want to avoid becoming a target after the SHTF. That concept is becoming a master of playing the middle. The middle of the pack mentality is pretty simple to understand.

    When the world around you is full of predators and you are part of the herd—which you will be unless you are extremely isolated—then you want to be in the middle of the herd. You do not want to be the weakest or the injured member of the herd because they get picked off. And you don’t want to be the biggest and the baddest in the herd because then you stand out.

    You wanna be nestled somewhere in the middle. The middle means you are likely to go unnoticed, and that is exactly what you are after. So, how do we take that principle from a herd of ungulates and apply it to an SHTF neighborhood in America?

    There are many things you can do to position yourself in the middle of the herd.


    If you have a lot of emergency food, you don't want everyone to know about it, and you don't want to appear full and satisfied if the people around you are starving and suffering. You could either ration yoru food, or you could fast and eat one meal per day.

    In that way, you will stay lean and hungry at times. You might consider fasting once or twice a week so you can feel that hunger that everyone around you is feeling. It will help you relate, and it will keep you from becoming a target.

    Gray Man Theory

    I wouldn’t recommend avoiding interactions altogether, but there will be situations where you do not want to interact with people and just live out that middle of the herd mentality. When you are trying to blend in, there is no better mentality then that of the gray man.

    This gray man theory is often misunderstood. I have seen many people take this quite literally and start buying gray baseball hats and t-shirts as though the color itself is what will make a person go unnoticed.

    The truth is that the Gray Man Theory requires that you understand what’s going on in the world around you. What are the people doing? What pace are they moving? How are they dressed? Where are they going?

    To be an effective gray man, you don't need a certain color shirt. Rather, you need to mimic the movements of the crowd. Again, you will become one of the herd. This is a great technique if you are leaving the safety of your community in SHTF, and you want to go unnoticed.

    Related: 10 Gray Man Tips to Help You Blend in During a Crisis

    Build a Circle, But Not Too Big

    You might think that being alone and not talking to anyone after the SHTF is the best way to avoid becoming a target, but as I mentioned, you want to avoid being unique and noticeable. That means that you should have a small circle of people that you talk to regularly.

    The best case scenario is that you have a block of neighbors that are all working together to survive, and that becomes your circle. These people can vouch for you, and they can back you up if need be. They are people you can work with.

    While you want to have that circle of allies, you do not want that circle to get too big. It will be hard to know and trust a very large circle, and after the SHTF, trust will be important. Keep a small, tight circle so you are not singled out for being isolated. People will make assumptions if they never hear from you or see you.

    However, avoid spreading your name and face around to a much larger group of people as that will only get you noticed by the wrong kinds of people. Better that you do not exist to the larger world.

    Hide Your Food, Inside and Out

    The trickiest part about being a prepper after the SHTF is having the resources everyone wants but not having enough for everyone. You will want to help the people around you, but you also have to make sure you don't starve yourself or your family.

    When it comes to food, you can never let anyone know just how much food you have, and one of the best ways to do that is to hide your food. If you invite people into your home, you do not want them to see or find your food.

    A wrong turn to the bathroom might take them to a backroom that is stocked to the ceiling with food storage. Then your secret is out. Storing food in multiple rooms and even outside is a much better plan.

    Survival food caches can be as simple as a 5-pound bag of rice, 2 pounds of black beans,and some seasonings all stored inside a length of PVC pipe and buried somewhere on your property.

    The point is to not keep all of your food in one place and to keep it hidden so you don't become a target.

    Be Careful with Generators and Lights

    Having a gas generator is the best way to get the lights back on when they go out. However, gas generators are loud, and lights are bright. If no one else has power, then you are going to stand out like a sore thumb with your generator thumping away and your house lit up in the dark of night when no streetlights are on.

    While it might seem like you have done the right thing by preparing for this catastrophe with a generator, you need to be very careful how you manage it. One of the best ways to become a target after the SHTF is to show everyone that you have something desirable that they want.

    When you run a generator, you have many things:

    • Gas
    • Generator
    • Electricity
    • Climate control
    • Light

    These will all be appealing in an SHTF scenario, and people will hear that generator from a long way away. So be very careful about what you show the world and the noise you make, too.

    Have Worth

    You can also be noticed if you're no help to anyone. Remember this! If you bring nothing to the people around you, that will also bring attention. What if you are pushing a low-grade neighborhood security and you don’t have a firearm or any experience using one? Or you don’t know how to operate your radio and are always falling asleep on your shift?

    You are going to be noticed for all the wrong reasons. You might be pushed out by the people of your own group.


    If you really want to avoid becoming a target after the SHTF, you need to stick to the middle of the herd mentality. You cannot be the strongest or the weakest. Remember, there is always someone stronger who will look at you as an opportunity or a challenge.

    The weakest always fall victim to the predators. So, you cannot be there either.

    However, by being a viable member of the herd and being involved to some degree, you can become just what you are today: a regular person doing life. That life will be filled with much more risk, but you will still strive to be just another member of the fallen society, and not someone who will become a target.

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