The New Survivalist
Disaster Preparedness and Self-Reliance

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Chapter 10:
Protection or Self-Defense

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." —Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria, Criminologist

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." —Thomas Jefferson

Defending Yourself and Your Family After a Disaster

Disasters often bring out the best in people. Unfortunately they also brings out the worst. After any disaster, whether local or widespread, there will be individuals intent upon creating mischief. Lawlessness and disorder frequently become the rule of the day. While some individuals are lending their neighbors a helping hand, others will be helping themselves. There will be looting, stealing and an increase in acts of violence. Gang violence will become more common, even among individuals who formerly took no part in gangs. The police will be overwhelmed, so the responsibility will fall on the individual to provide protection for self and family.

Even a well-armed individual will be unable to hold out long if there is a violent gang intent upon taking his or her possessions. Your chances for survival will increase substantially if you are able to ban together with your neighbors for your mutual defense. In our cities these days it is unfortunate that neighbors can sometimes live side-by-side for years without getting to know each other. As we will see in the chapter dealing with the social aspects of survival, I recommend that you get to know your neighbors and befriend as many as you can. Don't wait until a disaster occurs. Do it now! Some day your life may depend on it.

After a disaster the police may have their hands full in more ways than one. History has shown that during any emergency there will be individuals in law enforcement who will abuse their authority. In the months following hurricane Katrina, 200 New Orleans police officers were disciplined for various offenses, including looting, which were committed during the chaos that enveloped the city after the hurricane. Four police officers were indicted for first degree murder of unarmed individuals, including a 40-year-old retarded man who was shot five times in the back. Three other officers were charged with attempted murder. Two committed suicide.

I do not mean to imply that all police are bad. The vast majority are well-intentioned law abiding citizens who will risk their lives in order to protect others. But there are always individuals in the police force who will commit all sorts of crimes when the opportunity arises, and there is no better opportunity than when chaos is widespread. There will also be police officials who will think that they need and deserve your supplies more than you do, and will therefore commandeer them for their official or personal use. It will behoove you to lay low, keeping your activities and provisions a secret from the police. In fact, keeping your supplies a secret from everyone except your most immediate family is always a good idea.

"The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."


Amendment two of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But there is a wide range of opinions these days regarding personal possession of firearms. Regardless of your opinion, if there are individuals intent upon doing you harm, and the police are unable to help you, your chances of survival will improve if you are armed. Are you willing to risk the welfare of your family to the whims of a marauding gang, or will you take steps to protect the ones you love?

This is obviously not an area where overkill is desirable. You would not want to kill or severely injure someone unless it was absolutely necessary. So I believe that your first line of defense should be pepper spray or mace, or perhaps a Taser or stun gun. Everyone in your family should at least carry pepper spray during dangerous times. They should also practice using it. Pepper spray alone may be sufficient to drive off a lone individual who is not too intent upon having your possessions. After all, he will probably reason that there will be an easier target down the street, and he will probably be right. A Taser or stun gun will be an even better deterrent.

If you can avoid it you will not want to get close enough to an offender to use a stun gun or pepper spray. A BB gun or powerful air-soft gun that shoots plastic BB's might prove to be another handy deterrent. It could allow you to take care of problems from a greater distance than that required to use your stun gun or pepper spray, and again without doing too much harm. A BB will sting but it is not likely to pierce the skin. Avoid shooting at the face or head, unless your intent is to do some damage. Perhaps someone is stealing fruit from your trees. If a verbal warning doesn't work, the sting of a BB on their leg or back might convince them that you are serious. If the BB doesn't work, most likely the sound of a shotgun fired into the air will do the job nicely.

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so." —Adolph Hitler, April 11, 1942.

Unless you are an experienced gun owner, I do not recommend that you purchase a firearm unless you also take a firearms or hunter's safety class. Check at any location where guns or hunting licenses are sold for information on the classes in your area. Everyone in your family who is old enough to hunt or use a firearm should also take the class. Then you should take your firearms to a practice range and become proficient with their use. Always keep your guns and ammunition locked up and out of the reach of children.

Your survival supplies should include, not only the weapons mentioned above, but plenty of ammunition as well. During a prolonged emergency, ammunition might also serve as a useful item for barter, so don't fail to stock up.

Intruder Alerts

If you have an intruder alarm in your home you will want to have a reliable battery back-up that will work even when the electricity is off for an extended period of time. If you do not have such a system a very effective yet inexpensive alternative is to install wireless, battery operated Sonic Alarms above each door and vulnerable window.

Intruder Alerts

These small self-contained alarms can be purchased in packages of four or more.

Sonic alarm

Sonic alarms are easily installed with the self-stick tape backing included on each unit. When the door is opened a magnetic switch activates the device which emits an ear-piercing sound that is sure to startle any intruder and awaken everyone in the house. Most intruders will immediately flee the scene when they hear such an alarm so you will probably never see them or have to confront them. If you do have to confront them it will be on your terms, with your weapon in hand, which is far better than being awakened in your bed with a gun at your head or a knife at your throat!

Action Step 16: Protection Check Lists

In Action Step 6 you created a "Get" list and a "Do" list for protection. Turn to that page now. In the "Get" column begin making a list of the items that you would like to acquire to meet your protection needs during an emergency. Continue on the back side of the page if necessary. In the right column under "Do" begin making a list of the things that you would like to accomplish. When you acquire an item or accomplish a task check it off your list. As you think of additional items add them to your lists.


Signing up for a mixed martial arts class is a great idea. If you know how to disarm and incapacitate an attacker, it might prevent you from having to shoot him and deal with the legal hassles that will likely follow. Pictured above left is "Survival Doc" with his Kajukenbo instructor after having just passed his yellow belt test.

Below is a sample "GET" list of items that you may want to acquire and a sample "DO" list of things that you might want to accomplish to help you prepare for your protection needs during an emergency. Use these lists to help you formulate your own check lists:

Printer Friendly List Printer Friendly List
    Protection "GET" Check List:
  1. [  ] Pepper spray or Mace for each adult family member
  2. [  ] Taser or stun gun
  3. [  ] Intruder alarms
  4. [  ] Firearms
  5. [  ] Extra ammunition
  6. [  ] Etc.
    Protection "DO" Check List:
  1. [  ] Install deadbolt locks on all outside doors
  2. [  ] Make sure house is secure at all points of possible entry
  3. [  ] Install intruder alarms
  4. [  ] Enroll each adult family member in a firearms safety class
  5. [  ] Practice using peppers spray or Mace. (Don't practice on a real person!)
  6. [  ] Visit local firearms practice range and become proficient with the use of our firearms
  7. [  ] Sign up for a martial arts class.
  8. [  ] Etc.



    "Survival Doc, I just returned from the Appleseed rifle shooting course in Danville, IL. Thanks to your video about your experieence with Applesed, I clicked the link you provided on Wednesday last week; called the name on the website on Thursday and was lucky enough to attend the course that Saturday and Sunday. I drove 210 miles to get there, but it was well worth it. I had to bring my dog, and the people at Appleseed were so gracious. I was able to tie him up out of harms way, but close enough that I could see and hear him. I have never shot any type of gun in my life. In fact, I was afraid to even touch a gun. Thanks to their excellent training I am a good shot and now feel comfortable safely handling, loading and shooting a rifle."

    Check it out:

Continue to Chapter 11: Communication

Recommended Reading:

Are You Defenseless Without A Firearm?


Recommended Products:

Continue to Chapter 11: Communication

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