We’re not real capital-p Preppers here — when five pills a day keep you alive and mobile, TEOTWAWKI is quite literally Doomsday, or the gateway to it, so our maximum use-by date is maybe D+365 at best, But we do believe in small-p preparedness, You’re unlikely to see a New Ice Age, or Waterworld, or the desertification of the American breadbasket, or Nuclear World War, in your lifetime. Those are all calamitous events, but they’re very unlikely.
Don’t even start us on the zombies.
On the other hand you are very likely to experience several days without electric power, or potable water supplies; or undergo an extreme weather event: fire, flood, drought, blizzard. Each of these milder events can be calamitous in itself in not prepared for, and there is a near certainty of one or more of them coming to visit you in your lifetime.
Between the grim spectre of possibility on the one hand and the dead-certainty of mild disruption on the other, there are a number of intermediate events that may happen. These events happen rarely, have “always happened to other people” so far, and are rare enough that they make the news in some fashion when they do. The LA Rodney King riots, the collapse of the New Orleans PD during Hurricane Katrina, or the more recent Ferguson, MO riots come to mind.
It’s also at least possible that the engines of the government will turn on the people. There are strong tendencies inherent in government to do this; look at the various Federal law enforcement agencies that have been redefining mere political disagreement with the party in power as criminality. This doesn’t weaken the political opponents, paradoxically; they harden up and draw recruits. What it does weaken is public respect for the LE agencies. And this causes the agencies to know they were right about the opposition, and round and round it goes.
So it’s not inconceivable that you might find yourself alone, or with a few friends, in a hostile environment. To that end, it’s wise to study the techniques of intelligence operators and underground movements.
A lot of good, thoughtful, and generally doctrinally sound material that would help you in this direction is posted at Forward Observer Magazine. They’ve also just started a podcast, which covers a variety of things. The first podcast is mostly about source or agent handling,, and it’s accompanied by these notes, which on the real page link to documents, mostly:
Radio Free Redoubt
IntelNews.org – How Mossad Recruits Palestinian Sources
Declassified CIA Report on Economic Espionage/American Personality Traits (PDF)
Funny how things go. When we were taught these things, we were taught that the motivators of spies were MICE: Money, Ideology, Compromise, and Ego. Working these kinds of things we added R ourselves — Revenge — and it’s part of the official acronym now. (So what’s “E”? We’re not telling. Go to the link and read the podcast or download the document).
Here’s a relevant bite of tradecraft from open sources. The Soviet espionage organs used to always set a compromise hook into even the pre-motivated ideological and monetary spies that were their bread and butter (ideology spies early, money spies late in the Cold War). That’s a good and valuable technique, and they made it as simple as making the guy sign for his payments. Bingo, Mr Spy, now you’re compromised and they can expose you and destroy your life at any moment. In other words, they own your ass. Having this pocket blackmail material gave the agent handler a solid tool in case his agents ever got cold feet. He usually never had to do so. Just the knowledge that he could was enough for the agent to check his own behavior.
Culper covers a lot in the podcast, fast. (This is not one of those things where you’re waiting for the guy’s tortoise mind to catch up to his hare mouth). That means that it might be confusing if you haven’t been exposed to it. Maybe what we need is Khan Academy style tradecraft bites?