OPSEC and the Dangers of People You Thought Were Like-Minded,
by R.S.O. in Arizona
Operational Security (OPSEC) has been around since the first Stone Age battles were fought. In an effort to provide the element of surprise and in order to keep what one had only those that need to know where told. I have always considered my friends and/or people I associate with and of what I considered similar moral fortitude worthy of my trust when it came to discussion of prepping. However I have recently discovered that not everyone is of the same mindset.
First a little back ground on me. I moved out at 18 and went on to higher education like many. I worked part time retail jobs and went to school then I was in a motorcycle accident and couldn’t get thing back on track. I joined the U.S. Army and served 2-1/2 years as an Airborne Infantryman (11B1P) and unit Armorer. After an Honorable medical discharge, I moved home and after two months living with mom and dad and not being able to find a job. I worked in the retail firearms industry for some very big names for more than eight years.
I then followed my dream of a career in Law Enforcement where I have been for the last five years. This is not your typical OPSEC that we are talking about. You know where you don’t let the boxes from your favorite long term storage company or the new big screen television stick out of the trash can. This is OPSEC regarding people you invite into your home. Whether they are family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, business professionals you deal with on a regular basis people you share common hobbies with and that may seem to have the same ethical way of thinking. The people who given the opportunity do the right thing do the right thing in our non-state of emergency day to day life. They buy the homeless person a burger, help the little old lady put the gallon of milk in her car, are in a job that is for the benefit of society, they may be Doctors, Law Enforcement, Military, or Fire Fighters. You know the types people who help people in their day to day lives.
I was recently told by an individual that I held to a higher standard than most people in the community, that he and another person on my list of Friends that I thought were like minded and trusted confidants were Prepping. You can imagine the joy these two individuals are well respected in the community that I participate in and many of my friends participate in. The first is a Sales representative for an international firearms company (Mr. Gun) and the other is a Successful business owner (Mr. Business). Names withheld for OPSEC and they are after all still friends, however they may never know what hides behind door number 1 at my house or where my family and I will end up if the Schumer does Hit the Fan. As I’m sitting in the office of Mr. Business and we are discussing our two biggest common interest shooting sports and guns. He drops the bomb that he and Mr. Gun are Prepping for when “The Stuff Hits The Fan.” At this point I’m thinking alright I have just added two very important people to my pool of resources and possibly to my group should anything happen.
I may also point out that both are in my opinion and in the opinion of many exceptional well trained, practiced, and experienced with engaging multiple threats at close distance with a handgun. Mr. Gun is also very capable with a rifle and shotgun at distance. Then he says those dreaded words “we are making notes of people we know who are Prepping and we will just go to their place and take what we need.” I had to use every ounce of strength in my person to keep my jaw from hitting the floor and letting my secret be known. These two have told me that if I ever need anything just ask and if they could they would. In fact Mr. Gun loaned me $50 no questions asked which was paid back after my lunch break. We worked together for more than years. Chances are they have a good idea what I have for defense and my capabilities. “Wow!”, right?
Here we have two respected individuals that I have known for over 12 years talking about just taking what they need/want from their own friends. Then my mind goes into overdrive what have I told them, what do they know, what if they come to my house will my kids just open the door for them. Heck my kids call Mr. Business “Uncle.” How do I tell them not to tell them what we have or what we are doing to Prepare.
I now have to figure out a way to tell my family that some of the trusted people in our lives are not to be trusted when TSHTF and that we really don’t know who these people are. I also now have to figure a way to have my kids go about as nothing has changed when we are around these two individuals. Sounds like just a bad day right? Well it gets worse I’m at work later the same week and talking with one of my partners we are discussing firearms, as they pertain to our current profession and which ones we like.
He starts talking about the television show Preppers and how he thinks it’s a good idea so he’s trying to stalk up on ammo but with the current state of things it’s difficult. Again I start to get that happy felling of finding another like-minded person. Then the conversation from earlier that week flashes to the front of my mind. So I tell him I have about 400 rounds of this so I can practice for re-qualification later this year and 100 rounds of that just to have around and a few .22 LR around. I seriously down played the amount on purpose trying to feel the waters. Then he comes out and says he just wants enough so he can go take more ammo and food from other people he knows that are stalking up. What did I just hear this is a guy I work with, a guy I trust my life with on a daily basis. I think to myself maybe I didn’t hear him correctly so I asked if he had any food set aside like they do in the show. The answer I was hoping for did not come he just stated that he would eat what he had and when that ran out just go and take it for people who told him they were prepping or those that he thought may have extra.
He was adamant that he would take it by force if need be. At this point I am about to fall out of my chair here is a person who is supposed to uphold the law talking about taking other peoples life for food. While discussing how my inventory was going and that I am close to a goal anther co-worker entered the area we were working in and started asking questions because we were looking at some new tactical gear for our personal use luckily the gear could have been for work also. I was fending off the probing questions with great flair. Here is how the conversation went and a few example questions from that day:
Question 1: Are you guys preppers? Answer 1. I Look at my partner with the OPSEC look and ask in reply: “What is that?”
Question 2: “You know like the television show ‘Preppers’ on National Geographic.” My reply: “Never heard of it. I will have to check it out.”
Question 3: :”Do you have any food stored? My reply: “I went to the store last night and bought steak for dinner is that what you mean?
Question 4: “No. You know, like stored water? My reply: “I have a 10,000 gallon swimming pool, will that work”? “Yes that should be good.”
Needless to say I felt bad about misleading hi. He sounds genuine but with my recent let down of learning that close personal friends and having no real way other than sarcasm and a poor attempt at wit to try and weed out the true prepper from the fisherman looking for the next Honey Hole to add to his list of house to hit when things get bad. I may get back with him and do some probing of my own. He has no skills that are of benefit to me or my group but that won’t stop me from making an ally.
I am now stuck with the dilemma of how to weed out the people who seem to be of the same mindset from the people who are of the same mindset. The question of how to let my kids know that it’s ok to trust Mr. and Mrs. Soandso right now but when things go south they are not to be trusted ways heavy on me and I have yet to do it. Telling them that they only want our food and don’t care how we survive after they take it is going to be difficult.
The fishers need to be turned be careful in how you approached this. Take time, pray, and talk to others that it will effect if these people come knocking when TSHTF. If you don’t think you can turn them don’t give them a reason to come to your door.
Thought for the day. They may be lifelong friends but are they friends for a long life? Be careful divulging to people you trust they may just be the ones coming to take what you have when the chips are down and TSHTF. If they want your help, help. Be cautious when the probing questions start get good information take some time turn it around and ask them questions make it seem as if they just planted the prepper seed, when the time is right and your sure OPSEC is good let them in to your little secret. As always stay alert and Prepare for the Worst and Pray for the Best.