Four Greatest Kinetic Threats to Preppers – Forward Observer Shop

Four Greatest Kinetic Threats to Preppers

This article outlines what I see as the four greatest kinetic threats to preppers.  By kinetic, I mean physical threats of force.  This list doesn’t include dehydration, starvation, illness or natural disasters.

1. Your neighbors.  Not only are your neighbors your greatest counterintelligence threat – that is, the threat that will turn you in for owning stockpiles of weapons or food – but they’re also your greatest physical threat.  We’re already seeing a concerted effort by government to identify ‘preppers’ and gun owners.  I imagine a day will come where it could be illegal to stockpile anything.  Your neighbors likely know, if they don’t know you personally, what you have or may have, and if turning you in meant their survival, then they’re the critical threat living beside you.  Secondly, if we experience a SHTF event that brought the grid down, or stopped the transportation of fuel or food, then not only are your neighbors in the greatest proximity but they also may be in the greatest need.  For all the talk of the Golden Hordes (not to diminish that threat), your neighbors are potentially the most dangerous because they know the terrain and could most easily band together to create a more imminent and dangerous threat.

2. Criminals & Gangs.  Organized and disorganized crime is likely to wreak havoc in many communities during a national or regional emergency.  What’s worse is the tactical dilemma some of these threats will bring.  Fourth generation warfare, tribal warfare and civil unrest create plenty of tactical dilemmas – what do you do with the stranger who presents no immediate threat?  Is it morally sound to kill all strangers around your home during a post-SHTF emergency because they could be a threat?  If you don’t consider that stranger an enemy combatant, say they’re just walking down the road and see you or your house, and you don’t shoot them, then what do you do with them?  What if other prepeprs in the area report surveillance before an attack?  Or what will you do if this individual asks for food to feed his family?  What if he shows up with his small children? Do you provide them food and confirm his suspicions that you have food to spare, or do you turn away small children, potentially considered morally reprehensible?  A soft heart may be moral, but it could also be fatal.  (In this case, a few tents and a community garden away from your community may present one solution.) Additionally, there may be shoot/don’t shoot situations in which people will needlessly lose their lives out of hesitation or fear.

3. The Golden Horde.  The Golden Horde were Mongols who ravaged central Asia, including Russia and northern China, in their expansion, hopping from village to village, farm to farm pillaging and taking captives and slaves for trade.  I was once told that the city of Atlanta’s emergency management plan was to turn all arteries into Atlanta outbound during an emergency.  That evacuation of Atlanta would mean millions of urban dwellers essentially invading suburbs and surrounding rural farms out of lack of anywhere else to go.  It really goes without saying that without food and water, these millions of people – around 5.5 million in the Atlanta-Metro area – are going to be wholly dependent on Americans who live within 100 miles of downtown.  Cities like New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and other large cities are likely going to be the same.  If fuel is so scare or so costly that food doesn’t get into the cities, if potable water becomes unavailable, if the grid goes down for hours or days or longer, then hundreds of thousands or more of these people simply won’t stay in the city.  They will be in the yards or homes of suburbanites or surrounding farms.

4. Your own government.  Whether it’s the latent threat of gun confiscation (through lawfare on a case by case basis), EPA regulations against fuel and woodstoves, or search and seizure of raw milk and other farm products, your state and federal government poses a risk of a kinetic threat.  Under the government of tomorrow, it’s not entirely inconceivable that known preppers are targeted by law enforcement or political leaders because of the availability of water, food or medicine.  If shiny badges confer special rights today, then what’s to stop them from requisitioning supplies during tomorrow’s emergency because their need is greater?

Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. Though a well written, and thought provoking(I honestly did not consider farmer Dave, my neighbor, a possible threat) article, where is the meat? Identifying the problem is just part of the loop. I would like to see some possible solutions, beyond shoot the stranger. The twnt city, and garden, away from me is a start, but can you go deeper?

  2. This article is spot on.

    Having lived through the Katrina debacle in Baton Rouge LA, I can tell you that when masses of refugees arrive in your AO, it sucks.

    stores and gas stations depelted, traffic, lines of people, strangers walking through your neighborhood asking for food, often thuggish looking strangers descended from Africans but that was Louisiana. Can’t speak to other parts of the country, except that once the incident was finished, the quality of life in BR was never going to be the same.

    I bugged out in 2006 to a rural area with lower population density, better demographics, forested areas, well water, and some ability to surivive outside the JIT system as needed. It won’t be easy but it is possible.

    I agree with the neighbors bit too. I have some here, who are quite capable and resourceful (unlike my former suburban neighbors) but who refuse to store anything.

    One said to me, a former .mil/marine guy, that “if food stops I’ll just shoot a deer”.

    While there are large numbers of deer, turkey, and other smaller animals around, my belief is that most of those will be harvested in the first month, as this being a rural area, most men have rifles and know how to hunt at some level.

    Once those deer, squirrels, rabbits and turkeys are gone, then what?

    This guy refused to consider anything. I like him as a friend, but given his training, skills, and attitude, I feel like when his kids get hungry, he’s going to be a threat to my family rather than an ally.

    That’s hard to deal with and it is something that sometimes keeps me up at night, thinking of ways to avoid a possible confrontation.

    Good post sir!


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