“Honey, I think we’re out of toilet paper”
– Your Spouse

You’re like most of your peers. By the objective standards of the law, you qualify as a good person. You don’t rob banks, or shoplift, or kidnap. The most trouble you’ve seen in the last 10 years are a pair of speeding tickets and a slightly guilty feeling in your stomach that you took too many tax deductions.

Or, you could be squeaky clean. I mean shiny sparkly. You don’t miss a Sunday of church. You have never looked at an Internet site full of naked people. You take your family to Disney every few years. You have parental locks on the television. You respect authority, and in turn condemn anyone who doesn’t.�

Convincing you that the brutal basic human instincts still lie within your DNA will be difficult, but not impossible. In this crisis scenario everything is possible, including turning your overly righteous and judgmental butt into a logical and sensible survivor that will look past the unthinkable, barbaric actions of the masses, someone that will see yourself and family as priority number one.�

Believe it or not I used to be the most law-abiding person around. I feared authority, and did everything I was told. I respected all laws, and tried to stay out of trouble. Circumstances change. People change. You will change.�

You yell: “I would never!” How many times have I heard that? Remember the first time you watched a news broadcast during Christmas, you know the one, where the rare toy gets released, the one that all the kids want? The department store only had 60 cabbage patch dolls, and there are 500 people outside. The doors opened, and chaos ensued. Mothers pushed and shoved, Fathers cursed and threatened. Kids were trampled.�
It was Christmas, and this was a toy for God’s sake. These are your neighbors in action.�

Maybe that was an isolated incident. Did you watch the home run king Barry Bonds as he hit those last five shots deep into the stands? Each ball was worth thousands, and when each landed, the crowds went berserk. They punched, kicked, screamed. People bled. People went to jail. This was about the chance, just the chance, to sell the ball on Ebay.�
These are your friends banging on your door.�

When the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake took place, the looting started within seconds.�
When Katrina hit, the looting didn’t stop for weeks. Even the police were taking things from the stores.�

You may be a good person, bordering on saint hood. You may be so perfect that it is difficult to gaze on you directly. Your sense of righteousness may be the size of a city bus, but you are still human. Humans in a survival situation act in very similar and predictable ways.�

Imagine just for a second, that you’ve been wrongly accused of some minor crime and are thrown in a jail cell. You’re getting hungry, and the jailer opens the mail slot at the bottom of your door. He shoves a sandwich through, and a dirty glass of water.�

You’re not really a sandwich person. To make things worse, it’s a Spam sandwich, with spicy mustard. You hate both Spam and spicy mustard. You just sit and stare at it. Now pretend that the jailer isn’t coming back for a few days.�

After a while, that sandwich starts looking better and better. You are like a vampire. You hunger, you thirst. You fight it, but your mind starts playing tricks on you. Unless you are the most stubborn and overly dignified person on earth, or maybe British, you will eat the sandwich. Your instinct will override all other bias, all protests, and all objections.�

Now, imagine one more thing. Pretend that your life depended on it. Pretend that your family’s life depends on you breaking the rules. Deny it all you want. The quicker you accept that you are a part of the masses, the faster you can stay ahead of them.�

To be clear, I am not officially endorsing the looting process. In a perfect world, authorities would distribute resources evenly. In some places this might actually happen. In most they will not. People will have to fend for themselves. The criminal element will act first. The people with injured or sick family members will move second. Those with younger families will follow that.�

Let’s take a look at will probably happen to an average strip-mall over the first few days of a power outage.�

0-24 hours: This scenario assumes that there is loss of power only with no hint of why or when it will return. At first the power outage is seen as a curious anomaly. Everyone is on stand by. Order is contained. Routine burglaries see an increase. Some outlying liquor stores are robbed, as well as some smaller stores that sell small, expensive electronics such as phones and portable music players. Hospitals automatically switch over to backup generators, with a limited amount of fuel. Their clock is ticking. Most of the gas stations close. Large amounts of local law enforcement are allocated to traffic control. A number of intersections have officer’s running lights with LED batons. Grocery stores pack what they can in ice, and close their doors. Some smaller shops attempt to stay open with calculators. Convenience stores along major roads begin to raise prices on popular items.�

24-48 hours: Assuming the emergency broadcast system hasn’t been activated, burglaries involving luxury items increase dramatically as criminals realize alarm systems are down and the backup power supplies have been exhausted. Confused individuals drive around town, looking for any store to be open. There are small gatherings outside of supermarkets. This is the critical point where state and local authorities dictate the actions of the population. If the emergency broadcast system is running, and instructions are given over major radio stations, it will buy a few days for protection to be put in place. For our scenario we will imagine that any available National Guard troops have been dispatched to other locations. Your town has to depend only on local law enforcement for security.�

By design, local law enforcement is not equipped to deal with martial law. Their first priority, like at Katrina and Los Angeles, is to protect human life. SWAT teams are few and far between. Your average sheriff or traffic officer is not going to spend their days firing rounds into angry mob. They just aren’t equipped for this type of situation.�

By the end of the second day, people will start becoming resolved on their next course of action. They will want solutions from the authorities, and the authorities won’t have the best answers. We are waiting for the state or federal government to issue instructions. This waiting doesn’t feed your children. There are people around you who have run out of diapers, soap, and toilet paper. Toilet paper!�

48-72 hours: The resolutions will manifest as day breaks. At first light, friends and neighbors will again start gathering in front of the larger supermarkets. They will start congregating in front of Costco and Sam’s club. The things they need are in the darkened stores. Supplies are just sitting there. The registers don’t work, so the items can’t be paid for. The aisles are very dim, so it isn’t safe to shop. The general population won’t care. The only thing sitting between them and the things that power their comfort zone is a single law enforcement unit.�

The bold individuals will approach the lone officer, friendly at first, asking questions about when the store might be open, casually suggesting ideas about letting a few people in, taking names and phone numbers so that the store can be reimbursed later. Those sales pitches will start to get old after the first few dozen times. The officer will use the radio occasionally, to show the growing crowd there is backup if needed.�

Unfortunately, this scene is being played out all over town, and there is no backup to send. The police and sheriff units are stretched too thin, and the officer knows it. Hour by hour the crowd gets more agitated. The strain is starting to show. By midday, his / her hand is constantly at rest on their sidearm, and with good reason. Then, a loud, desperate voice from the crowd demands that the people be let through to get what they need. Threats come from the masses. The corresponding threat of reprisal by the officer is impotent. After all, how many people can they arrest and still protect the store?�

The situation is not a stalemate. The officer will lose. Even if the officer has civilian friends that come to their aid, they will get pushed aside or fall. The reason is simple. Law and order can only function as long as the public is at relative peace with itself. The population’s needs must be met, and those needs are insatiable. A bullhorn can’t compete with the yelling of hundreds.�

72+ hours: The officer stops responding to questions. Only the mob is yelling now. A sound comes over the police radio. One of the stores at the other side of town has just been overtaken by a large group of people. The police chief orders all units to pull away from what they’re doing and converge on that particular supermarket. The chief’s logic is flawed. He can only save one store with the manpower he has, and it is already being overrun. They will lose the store, people will be arrested, and officers potentially injured. All the while the rest of the town is being taken apart.�

The lone officer gets into the car and drives away quickly, siren blaring. The crowd doesn’t even wait until the police unit is out of earshot before smashing through the grocery store glass. Within 60 seconds there is already fighting in the aisles. Within an hour, that same store will hear gunfire.�

This scene will have different variations of tempo, but the theme is constant. It will happen. The general population is not very different from man’s best friend. Your family dog is loyal. It hunts with you; it plays with your children and licks your face. If it is not fed, given enough time, your dog will turn on you as food.�

You could easily be one of the mob, but you’re better than that. You’re smarter than that. The mob runs off of pure instinct. Collectively, their decisions are childish, brutal, and reckless. The only way to beat the mob is to become your own animal, one that is more cunning, logical, and level headed.�

In order to be one step ahead, the group mentality needs to be understood. Once you have the knowledge, and can predict what a mob will do before hand, Everything will play out like a well-executed crime movie. All eyes are looking in one direction, but you and what you need to do, will be somewhere else. Somewhere secret.�

Most people are creatures of habit. We take the same route to work, even though multiple streets are available to us. We watch the same television shows each week, have lunch at the same group of restaurants, use the same ATM, and most important to this topic: We shop at the same grocery store, month after month.�

The community mentality runs on simple rules, and survives on a very primitive mindset. We are out of food. Where do we get more food? I shop there. We need to go there. Where are you going to get food? I am going there. I am going there as well. Let’s both go there, to get food.�

You’d think we just learned to walk upright, heading out of our caves to kill a mammoth. It just gets worse from here. Food store closed. Dark. Locked. Lots of glass. We don’t need to use door. Angry person with gun in front of store. We will wait.�

The sentences may play out a little better than that, but not much. Some may think of other stores, only to find a different group of people, and the same law enforcement units. The clever people will do the math and deduce that with that amount of people in front of the store, no one is getting out with a cart full of anything. There aren’t enough goods in the aisles for that. They will start thinking of the obvious alternatives; the most obvious being the bulk food outlets.�

There is one thing about following the mob mindset. If you’ve thought of it, others have to. Of course, Costco! People will be slapping their heads by the hundreds. There is way more food and supplies there. We need to hit that place! Let’s go!�

You should have stayed at the grocery store. Costco is a literal fortress compared to the average supermarket. Have you ever been parked outside a Costco and just stared at it? It’s a stone and metal warehouse, with giant rolling steel doors. The small doors are steel too, with windows too small to squeeze through.�

Yes, it is filled literally to the ceiling with every kind of supply you could think of. Forget for a moment about how solid the building is. Another problem is that all these great supplies are in the middle of a giant room with few windows, and no light. Throw in the fact that you will have about 1000 people sitting outside it trying to find a way in. Do you have a plan of getting a large amount of food out of this building? Here are a few bad ideas to consider.�

Attempt 1. You force open a smaller door on the back loading dock with pry bars and portable drills. A bottleneck is now created. You would need armed guards to keep people out while you went in, filling a flatbed cart with everything you could in about 10 minutes. Word spreads through the crowd in the front, and hundreds of people flock to the back to see if they can get in on it. You get the cart back to the door, and try to load up your truck for the escape. If you were smart you pull the guards off the door and let people flood in, distracting them from your getaway. For this you need at least five people, armed, who you can trust, and who are willing to open fire if things get ugly. This will be difficult with a group. If you don’t have the manpower, then the bulk food store isn’t a valid target. It doesn’t matter how many firearms you carry by yourself, there are some things a single person can’t do.�

Attempt 2: You get a backhoe or front loader and just plow through one of the front steel doors. Once down, you set up armed guards to keep people from getting in, and use the same plan of attack from before. The same amount of people are required, plus you need the bulldozer, which you don’t have. Because of the large opening, there is a good chance that warning shots will need to be fired if you expect to keep other people out of the area.�

Attempt 3: You wait until someone else breaches an entrance, and then try to find what you can. This is called a “hot loot” situation, and is only recommended as a last resort.�

“Hot loot” refers to an area that is either 1. Being looted by two or more people at the same time, or 2. Being looted, even though there are defenses present. Stores that are being mobbed are hot loot zones. Stores that are being protected by owners are also Hot Loot zones. Homes with owners inside are a hot loot area.�

These areas are dangerous, because they are filled with unpredictable people. You don’t know if the person next to you wants that same 5-pound container of peanuts. If they go for it, what are you going to do? Grab it back? Hit them? Start shooting? Hot loot zones are chaotic, full of noise and panic. Adrenalin is up, and everyone is moving quickly, because the faster you move, the faster you can pick up things. It’s like a giant game of musical chairs, but you don’t know where the chairs are, everyone has guns, and if you can’t find a chair when the music stops, you starve.�

Pushing a cart is a waste of time. The store is dark, flashlights the only way to see anything. You get to a section you were thinking of, and it’s been cleaned out. You can’t carry enough. Did you bring a backpack? Some people a few rows over start fighting, and a gun goes off. People scream, some run. The smart ones stay. You go into that row and have to step over a body to see if there’s any more beef jerky. This isn’t where you should be. Someone shines a flashlight at your backpack, then into your eyes. You hear the cocking of a weapon.�

You are better than this, more clever. The last thing you need is to be spending your time running around dark hallways fighting for scraps. Look, listen and learn. The mob is like a swarm of angry bees, moving as a single unit, like a virus, consuming everything it touches. It is something to be feared. It is also something that can be manipulated.�

The best thing, what you and your family need, is a “cold loot” situation. A place that isn’t either a primary or secondary target. A place that is so far ahead of the mob that they can only wish they thought of it first. Cold loot refers to a stash of supplies that can be acquired alone, or with a group you trust. There is no competition here. It can be emptied at your leisure. It is ahead of the curve. When the tentacles of the mob finally reach it, they will find only empty shelves. More importantly, they will not find you. Imagine yourself blending in with the mob. Feel what they feel. See what they see. They are a blunt instrument looking for resources. All their targets, every single one of them, will be a hot loot situation. Every stash they find will be by definition, a danger zone. Understand their primary and secondary targets.�

Week 1: Mob Primary Targets�

Grocery stores – The lifeblood of any community. They contain food, water, batteries, and toilet paper; everything needed to keep an average household operational.�

Pharmacies – non-perishable food, water, batteries, toilet paper, enough to keep an average household operational.�

Bulk food stores – Food, water, batteries, toilet paper. Everything needed to keep an average household operational, and it’s in large, easily transportable amounts.�

Convenience stores – Non-perishable food, water, batteries, enough to keep an average household operational.�

The first week of the outage is an orgy of acquiring consumption materials. The grocery stores will be bare, emptied in a frenzy of consumer madness. The adjoining pharmacies will be hit almost simultaneously. As discussed earlier, the bulk food stores will be the biggest challenge, and most likely produce the highest amount of casualties because of the higher concentration of people combined with a collision of well-laid plans. Some people will try to drive into the store, others will try to access some of the food and supplies placed 20 feet above the floor. Forklifts will tip over. Lots of people will make mistakes.�

There are huge stashes of basic supplies in a bulk food store; enough to last well organized group years if rationed well. There will be more than one group that will make a play for it. There will be in store skirmishes. Can you imagine what it would be like to be an average family walking into that giant dark place? There is a gun battle raging in one corner of the warehouse, and all the while supplies that could keep them alive for months are within an arms reach.�

The only good thing to say about convenience stores is that each one is so small; a single vehicle would be able to empty out the entire place in less than 30 minutes. It could be done with twenty garbage bags and vehicle headlights to illuminate the store. The process would be relatively painless. Either you’re there alone, or you’ve missed your window. Note that many convenience stores are franchise owned, which means the owners / employees will probably just move in and live off the inventory.�

Week 2: Mob Secondary targets�

Gas stations – Some non-perishable food, some water, batteries. Enough to keep an average household alive.�

Restaurants – Some canned food, some water, and misc items. Enough to keep an average household alive.�

Hardware stores – Some non-perishable food, some water, misc items. Enough to keep an average household alive.�

Specialty shops – Some non-perishable food, some water, misc items. Enough to keep an average household alive.�

Sporting good stores – Some non-perishable food, misc items, including firearms. Can supplement household supplies.�

As the primary targets are being depleted, first level alternative stores become more attractive to the mob. Even the smallest gas station carries a substantial supply of candy and chips. Restaurants vary in the different types of canned food, but the rule of thumb is, the better the restaurant, the better the stash. Note that a large share of restaurants have alcoholic beverages (tradeable) as well. Fast food franchises still suck in the apocalypse, with the majority of their supplies coming in large cans of sauces and a huge amount of perishable frozen food that will become useless once thawed.�

Hardware stores carry a large supply of batteries The smart looters will ignore the shelves, and go into the back stockrooms where everything is packed into large boxes. Some sporting good shops will carry not only camping gear and power bars, but also a generous supply of non-military firearms. The mob will have some trouble with acquiring these weapons. Security devices for guns have gotten better over the years. Some firearms contain a special lock that covers the entire trigger section. It can only be unlocked with a key. The average person cannot make the gun function without the aid of power tools. The other, more popular option for securing store firearms is to run a long steel cable between all the triggers. This can be severed easily with a set of bolt cutters.�

Week 3: The first sweep�
By week three, there will be some organized groups using trucks. They will be searching business to business, looking for anything consumable. They will find the water cooler bottles, the vending machines, and the factory cafeterias. If the groups have anyone efficient running the operation, they will go from location to location until the truck is filled, and then head back to a rally point. Running the sweeps during the day will make it easier to find things, save battery time, and make it easier to coordinate personnel. Night sweeps are risky. In a dark world, headlights can be seen for miles away. Ambushes will be frequent. Some of the smaller teams might work at night with minimal lighting in order to avoid the larger groups. The successful ones will be fast, mobile, and have the ability to work with smaller lights, or even night vision.�

Week 4: Leftovers�
By the end of the first month, all the visible targets will have been exhausted. All stores and shops that contain supplies that can be seen from the street will be gone. Soda machines will have been forced open. Specialty shops with small amounts of candy next to the register. All office refrigerators containing non-perishable liquids, all the snacks in Blockbuster, every candle at Williams Sonoma. The camping sections of any hardware store will be decimated. Every can of food in the hotel kitchens will be gone. The juice bar at the local spa will be bare.�

The only things left now are misc items hidden away in all the drawers, cabinets, and cupboards within office buildings. If your coworkers are as consistent as mine, there still is quite a bit to be had. God bless us, for there is food in almost every cubicle. It will just take more energy to find it.�

The general mob finally runs out of motivation at this point. Their wave crests here. The shopping spree is over. The looting of commercial and corporate America has come to and end. Unfortunately, some of the smaller, more hardcore groups are still alive. If they are to survive, they can only do so by taking on the homeowners. Personal residences are the final targets. The predators are forced to try their luck against the everyday citizen. This is the unknown scenario which even government models have a hard time predicting. Is the house that is being raided occupied? Will the owners fight back? Are there casualties? When do the looters give up?�

When it comes to long-term predictions, there has been much debate in the survival world. Some think that it will develop into a “Thunder dome” scenario, where limited trade is restored. Some think that larger groups will venture out of the city, hoping to find a better outpost. Their purpose seems aimless. Yours is not. You still have hope; have faith that the government who used to be in charge will return to help their population to restore order. This is what you can cling to, and with some organization, can create a protective bubble that can keep those who you care about safe.�

You now have a rough blueprint of targets that a garden-variety town mob will take to secure resources. Do you see the pattern? Have you figured out the trends, and what you could do to take advantage of this?�

The mob attacks the obvious, and keeps hitting it until the resource is exhausted. They then move to the next big thing that sticks out. In short, the mob is a bunch of slack jawed mouth breathers who couldn’t make a good decision if their life depended on it. You’re much better off without them.�

Your window lies in the small gaps that the mob overlooks. Your chance is hidden between the huge waves of chaos these people create. The timelines mentioned above will have some variance, but it will give you the chance to get what you need, without the added pressure of looking over your shoulder.�

Your edge, your angle, is a cold loot target that only you know. Forget the mobs first choices. They are the choices for the masses. All their focus will be the immediate three targets closest to their homes. Take the easier path. Sieze your chance and hit a well thought out cold loot target.�

The target chosen could be anything from a secondary mob choice, or something special you came up with on your own. If your decision is well thought out, there won’t be any law enforcement or lights. Look for a back service entrance or loading dock, something that faces away from the street. Expect the unexpected. Employees of this establishment, especially kids, will come up with the idea to hit their own store shortly, and may move on it. Have at least one backup selection, and maybe two.�

To get an idea of what you should look for; be overly observant the next time you are driving through town. Look for some interesting stores. Here’s what I mean: Pick a supermarket or any good-sized grocery store. Now look right across the street and see what’s there. Maybe there’s a convenience mart, coffee shop, radio shack, or a restaurant, all with service entrances that are not visible from the grocery store parking lot. This is the place where your knuckle dragging adversaries will be. The restaurant has canned food. Radio shack has equipment. The coffee shop has bottled everything. The decision is yours.�

This is your sweet spot. You won’t need much motivation. The crowds making that incredible ruckus should get your blood pumping. Go at night, and bring the smallest portable light sources you have. Did you have your tools prepared? Are you ready to make the score that could buy your family weeks or months that they need until help arrives?�

You’re not ready yet? C’mon, let’s get the tools, pack your bags, and get psyched! This is the moment of truth, the all or nothing night of your life! Are you going alone or bringing a friend to help you keep your nerve? Look over your gear once more:�

Looting equipment: (Optional)�

1. Nylon or leather bags. Try to find a balance between weight and strength. Standard travel luggage is a bad idea, and don’t even think about using something with roller wheels! Those damn things are loud enough on a perfectly smooth airport concrete, and you want to roll this thing down a mile of city grade asphalt? Backpacks aren’t terrible; just make sure you leave them mostly unbuckled for a quick getaway. The size of the bag will work itself out naturally. If you choose one that’s too large, and notice that after it’s filled that you can’t lift it, then you are holding the proof that you’ve made a bad decision. Take some stuff out and try again.�

2. Entry tool. These can be more valuable than weapons. Good examples are crowbars, pry bars, bolt cutters, the sturdier the better. They are all heavy steel, and you need to lug them to the location. That’s bad. The flip side is you can either bring them back with you on the first trip, or leave them until the last trip. The crow bar and pry bar are used to wedge into door jams, in order to force them open, breaking the lock. The bolt cutter is to punch through steel cable, padlocks, or chain link fences. When it comes to bolt cutters I recommend anything over 36 inches in length. That size will sever most steel barriers. A sledge hammer is effective and breaking most straight locks, but can be somewhat difficult to lug around.�

3. Light source. Don’t grab your giant flashlight. This is supposed to be a covert operation. The only reason you’re bringing any light at all is to see what is being stuffed into the bag. Penlights are a good first choice, unless you have night vision goggles. If you are wealthy and crazy enough to own these, then you’re way ahead of the game. You should already have a solid plan of your own. Use your lights only if you are unsure of the terrain. If there is an obstacle in your way, light it up and check it out before trying to hurdle it.�

4. Be Defensive. You run into trouble, you have to look at the odds before making a move. One person? Size them up fight club style, and decide if they can be bargained with, or will it turn into a skirmish? Did you see two or more people? You may have to cut and run, even if they’re younger and smaller. If you are thinking about taking on one of them, the other may be running for help. There is no honor among thieves.�

5. Distraction device (optional)�

Head out at dark, not dusk. You don’t want anyone in your immediate vicinity following you. If you know the area well enough, then try to travel without any light. Walk down the middle of the street if you have to. Walk quickly, but quietly. This new world has some long stretches of silent streets. No need to give yourself away. If you consider yourself adept on a mountain bike, then you could save some travel time. Note that large bags will throw off your balance, especially when filled. The extra weight will make it harder to start and stop, but you will be able to outrun people on foot.�

Take small detours to avoid any other people you hear up ahead, and remember where they were for the return trip home. Anyone that has a bonfire going will work to your benefit. The light from the fire resets their night vision, making it almost impossible for them to see at any distance in the dark. Don’t take the long way around just to avoid a fire.�

When you arrive at the entrance of the store, force it open as quickly as possible, but use some stealth. If you need to hammer in a window, wrap the hammer in cloth to muffle the sound. If the back door needs to be worked over with a pry bar for a few minutes, take a break every once in a while to check your surroundings. If it’s going to take 15 minutes, you may want to consider a distraction.�

Distraction techniques: Sometimes, it is like the movies. Distractions are used in warfare, but are called diversions. There are times where you need to divert your opponent’s attention to something else. Use the environment around you, and try to keep it simple. If it’s dark, use something that involves light. If it’s quiet, create something that makes a lot of noise. A few examples:�

Fire is your friend. Despite what your parents have told you, it’s ok to play with fire. We are moths to the flame. We sit around campfires and stare into the glow. We watch apartment buildings burn. In a world without electric lights, fires become a magnet, the bug zapper of the apocalypse. People will gather around and stare at a burning house like it was a giant beach bonfire, and why not? There are no fire trucks to put it out.�

Don’t get fancy. Find some flammable liquid. It can be gasoline, paint thinner, lamp oil, a strong alcohol. Locate a wood structure, preferably with smaller pieces. Set the blaze quickly, and then head over to your cold loot target. The fire doesn’t have to start big; a little goes a long way.�

Car alarms. Did you ever think you would see the day you would welcome the sound of a car alarm? Find some vehicles a few hundred yards away from the store you want to get into. Hit them hard with a blunt object. If the car / truck doesn’t start making noise after a few whacks, move to the next. Once the alarm goes off, high tail it out of there and get to work.�

Once the distraction is set, you enter the coffee shop, or specialty store, or whatever you have chosen. Use your lights sparingly. Even if you use the front door as an entrance, try to use the back door as an exit. Fill up the bag with what you can comfortably carry, then calmly walk out and start heading home. If you are wearing a watch, start keeping track of how long it takes you per trip.�

Rinse and Repeat:�
When you do get back to home base, check your watch again, and see how many more times you can hit this store before the sun comes up. As the sky starts to get lighter, you are done. I mean it. Stop. Take inventory of what you now have, get some rest, and if you’re up to it, begin again the next night.�

If the plan goes wrong:�
Sometimes, you can’t just go home. You are on your third trip back, and there are some people following you. If you’re lucky, they won’t know the area as well as you do. They are tailing you, waiting to see where you will crash for the night. Do not under any circumstances lead them to your home and family. If your bag is heavy, look for a quick place to stash it. Hide it in some bushes, underneath a car, some place that you can get back to in the daytime. As soon as you ditch the bag, move faster, take an unusual corner. Don’t panic, just lose them, anyway you see fit. If you think you can set up a quick ambush and scare them off, then do that. If you have to fight, then fight.�

Danger Zones:�

“Extreme hot loot zones”, only recommended for groups of 10 or more people.�

In every state, there are manufacturing facilities. Taking the odds into consideration, most of these places will be making and storing products like distributor cap parts, plastic vomit, or lawn furniture. These companies will only be useful for supplies you can get out of the cafeteria, vending machines, or office drawers.�

Then there are the gold mines, the warehouses that have literally lifetimes of supplies. They include things like, a Campbell’s soup factory, a Nabisco plant, a grocery store distribution center, a Wal-Mart shipping hub. Do not try to approach these places alone, or even in small groups. The logistics are too large for you. Imagine a Costco, only 10 times as big, with everything needing a forklift to move, in pitch-blackness. Now imagine all the employees that work there, day after day, who will approach this facility within 24 hours.�

Any employee with keys to the main gate will fill a truck by the end of the second day. After that, anyone working in the immediate industrial park will try to get some groups together and take their shot. After that, the public will catch wind of it, and things will start to get crazy.�

These factories and warehouses are normally located in industrial zones, which are some distance away from residential areas. Using a car or truck is a good idea. A tractor-trailer rig is better, with a large group of people to guard it. A well-armed group could get in and get out without too much trouble, and it could be done quickly if someone knew how to run a forklift.�

Some brave souls may move some of the supplies into a more secure part of the building, and just try to live at the warehouse. That would be a 24/7 job, constantly patrolling the area. With enough troops it could be possible. These specialized stashes are rare, and shouldn’t be considered a viable option for most people. Military or law enforcement groups have the best chance of securing these, for whatever purpose they see fit.�

Tip: There are only a few places that should be considered “too dangerous” to approach. One example would be small gun shops run by private owners. Most firearm stores are like this. They only sell firearms and firearm related products. Some of their employees carry side arms during normal business hours. When the power goes out, they are instructed to immediately go to the store and stand guard. This store has a lot to lose. These owners will shoot first, and ask questions of your body later. They have more guns than you do, and enough ammunition to start a small war. You can’t bargain with them, and sure as hell can’t out gun them. Go away, and never think of it again. Some of your heavily armed pawnshops also fit into this category, although they aren’t as dangerous in an extended fight because of their limited supply of ammunition.�

One other dangerous location is any privately owned army/navy surplus store. Some of these places carry firearms on site. The owners of these shops are survival oriented. They will be armed, and they are already convinced anyone approaching the store is a looter.�

The Mormon supply house:�

Weeks after the power goes out, when all the stores, factories, and vending machines have been licked clean, there will be house to house skirmishes. The supplies acquired from these poorly organized neighborhood battles almost don’t seem worth it, because the average family won’t have much of a stockpile.�

Well that is, except for the Mormon families living outside of Utah. I don’t want to pick on the Mormons, I really don’t. I’d like to think of myself as treating everyone equally. I’d like to state officially that I don’t have anything against the Mormon faith. Freedom of religion is a right in this country. I happen to respect that this religious group practices what they preach and prepares for their version of Armageddon. Great job! You have at least a year’s supply of food for every member of your family, and weeks after the power has gone out; some of your neighbors just remembered that little nugget of information. For you, it’s time to start sleeping with one eye open!�

Unfortunately, this version of the grasshopper and the ant doesn’t end well. Outside of Utah there are way more grasshoppers and the ants don’t have nearly enough guns to keep them out.�

To be fair, I’m going to give help to both sides; I don’t want to play favorites.�

If you are a practicing Mormon living outside of Utah, you should consider upgrading your security. This means more fire extinguishers, bigger rifles, and more ammunition. You may want to have a safe room built, one that can withstand fire. There should be some walls in certain areas of your home with steel plating or heavy stone. Bomb shelters are an excellent fall back position. Shoot first and shoot often. Keeping your opponent off guard and off balance is important. Have faith that the neighbors will lose their nerve and go away!�

If you are living in a large neighborhood and are planning on attacking a Mormon house: You had better be ready for a drawn out fight. These families have God in their hearts, and will not give up willingly. Luckily for you, unless a few families have banded together, you’re probably looking at three guns or less coming at you. The best way to breach the house is to back a car into a living room wall at about 20-30 miles per hour. Note I said back in you monkey. Why would you drive in nose first and wreck your engine? Think people! Back the car / truck through the wall, then drive forward, exposing the hole. There is your access point.�

Yes, you could just burn the house down. The drawbacks are that it takes almost 24 hours before you can even begin to start sifting through the wreckage, and you’ll have to move that out of the way to get to the basement. The smoke won’t affect any canned goods, but the heat might. If they are storing fuel in the basement, then all bets are off, and there may not be anything to salvage. Better stick with the car idea.�

Also note that a gun battle in your neighborhood will draw huge amounts of attention, even blocks away. If or when you are victorious, and start carrying out all that hard fought cache of supplies, you will now have become the new Mormons. You also are walking around the street holding food and water instead of weapons. I hope for your sake that God is on your side now.

Written by Mark Sargent