There are many aspects of Prepping that we think of from a tactical perspective as being information we wouldn’t want to share with everyone. You don’t usually want to advertise to the world that you are a prepper in the first place because conventional wisdom would say you have supplies that others could want in a crisis scenario. To that end we discuss concepts like OPSEC or operational security – being those practices we employ to keep our supplies and activities on the down low. There is no sense telling your neighbors what you have and advertising your stash of prepping supplies if you ever expect to hang on to them in a crisis. At least without putting up a fight to keep them to yourself.
We also cover the concept of becoming the Grey man, or the Grey neighbor in some cases as I call it; intentionally trying to blend in to your surroundings so as not to draw attention to your physical appearance. By looking more like the people you are around, you stick out less and should be viewed as less of a target by people intent on doing you harm. This can be after a disaster where your neighbors are hungry and dirty and you should be but aren’t because you prepared. It won’t take long for them to get tired of looking at your clean happy face before they will want to storm your castle and take what is rightly theirs “for the common good”.
Practicing good OPSEC as much as you can and implementing grey man concepts are just a few ways we can avoid drawing unwanted attention, but there are other ways that preppers make themselves targets – possibly without realizing it. I wanted to talk about a few ways I think you can telegraph you are a prepper that you might want to consider. Some of these will be obvious, but you might not have thought of a few.
Dress and Appearance
This is probably one area where I make the most mistakes myself and you may not have considered how what you wear makes you a target. For men primarily, especially preppers we tend to like our camo. That makes perfect sense some times of the year. Heck, in some areas camouflage is perfectly acceptable church attire, but in others it puts you in a bucket. It is one thing to have a camo jacket or hoodie on but it is another thing entirely to have the whole GI Joe outfit on when you are out at the mall. This will definitely draw attention to you. Unless you are active duty, I would reconsider going anywhere but to the woods or your local taxidermist in a lot of camo.
Tactical pants are one of the biggest giveaways that you could be carrying concealed. Pair something like 5.11 Tactical pants (which I own and love!) with some mil-spec boots and a large un-tucked shirt like the guy below and you have the recipe for disaster. Potentially. This outfit is lovingly referred to as the “Shoot me first” outfit. At the gun range, this is not a big deal is it? At your daughter’s recital – to anyone who knows what they are looking for it could single you out as a target.
Molon Labe T-shirts and tattoos. I am a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate and I have nothing against tattoos either, but if you wear these proudly (and conspicuously), you could make yourself a target. I completely understand freedom of expression and this isn’t an argument about political beliefs, only the information you are sharing about yourself that could be used against you. Look at the guy’s tattoo below. Do you think you would think of him differently if you ran into him on the street and you saw that tattoo? Do you think a bad guy or cop might think the same thing?
How you decorate your vehicles
I was going to write a post a long time ago titled, “What does your bumper say about you?” The gist of it is that some people go to absurd lengths to showcase their beliefs. By absurd I mean there isn’t an inch of free space on the back of the car and you have to believe that seeing out the back window is a challenge.
This is a free country and you should be able to put whatever you want on your car, but… Unless you want the police or anyone watching you to know your capabilities or recreational hobbies, why would you advertise it? There is a distinction between freedom of expression and saying something that could get you killed. Everyone should have the right to say what they want, but it could be used against you.
Everyone has seen the sign below, but do you think it stops robberies? Do you think this sign would make anyone think twice about breaking in? It does make them think you have weapons on site that they could now either plan for or want to steal. You are advertising that you have guns to everyone and that could come back to haunt you someday. What if there are gun confiscations? What if neighbors get a reward for reporting suspicious people and that crazy lady down the street calls the cops on you because she thinks you might be a terrorist and she “knows that you have guns”? Is that out of the realm of possibility? Maybe, but would you consider that it might be better if you don’t advertise what you have?
Facebook is the central clearing house for photographs and meme’s about gun rights. It is also the place that some people choose to put photographs of all their weapons on their page. I don’t know why anyone would do this if they didn’t want someone to try and take them. Who is that someone? We don’t really know but again, by advertising what you have, you are helping out anyone who has plans for you that you don’t know.
“Let em come”, you say.”I want them to know that I don’t care what they think” “They should know who they are dealing with” and that is my point. If you don’t care that everyone knows in advance what they are dealing with when they confront you then by all means, go right ahead and pose in your fruit of the looms with your arsenal. Look like a walking advertisement for your favorite movie.
I think it is better to be more subdued, leave them guessing. If someone is coming for me I don’t want them to know what I have or am capable of.
The often quoted Sun Tzu says it pretty well:
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
He was talking about guerrilla operations but I think the concept applies here. Is it better to confuse and deceive your enemy or show him your cards? Isn’t OPSEC and the Grey man all about deception in the larger sense in an effort to keep yourself safer? Could these not apply to other areas of your life as well?
What do you think?
P.S. I know the title image has the target on the front. Finding good photos is hard…