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Defending Your Elysium

Will the hardscrabblers disrupt or overrun your Elysium?  Bug In or Out locations will likely be susceptible to infiltration or harassment once it is discovered that people are in residence meaning supplies may be available for pilfering, or outright theft.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to

It’s a SHTF scenario that must be considered in the planning process as you prep for social disorder, or a disaster either natural or otherwise.  Defense is paramount.

The Elysium Concept

The futuristic version of this Greek inspired paradise can be viewed in a fictional format in the movie Elysium starring Matt Survival SHTFDamon and Jodie Foster.  Portrayed in the year 2159 it is not just another after Earth saga.  It’s a decent Sci Fi movie, if just for entertainment.  I personally like their acting, just not their politics.  And, oh, by the way the movie has been a general flop at the box office.

Critics have tried (thus unsuccessfully) to add political drama to the film as a reflection of our current social ills with healthcare upheavals, class warfare, and the super rich separating themselves from us minions.   Imagine that comparison.

Elysium was originally described by Homer in the Odyssey as a paradise free from worry, disease, the ills of nature and doldrums of society.  I think it particularly interesting, albeit clever when a writer, playwright, or director “discovers” such an idea and applies it to a modern or futuristic venue.  If you see the film, you will easily be able to connect the dots to what could very well happen to our world somewhere in the future.  Technologies and special effects aside of course.  At least for now that is.

It may be a stretch to think of our SHTF Bug locations as an Elysium, but then if there is a total breakdown, then our refuges will be our harbors of content at whatever level of life subsistence we can create and maintain.  It’s the mindset that is as equally important as having sufficient supplies and defense capabilities.  After all without the psychological preparedness all else is a wasted effort.


Yes, this is a real word and not one coined by Hollywood to make a movie.  Definitions for hardscrabble include (1) a place of SHTFBlog.combarren or barely arable soil, (2) getting a meager living from poor soil, or (3) marked by poverty.  Synonyms include dead, desolate, impoverished, infertile, poor, stark, unproductive and waste.  Just think of the City of Detroit.

The term might fit nicely during a SHTF.  Remember Katrina in New Orleans seeing bans of storm ravaged looters carrying TVs, electronics, furniture, and shopping carts full of stuff they had liberated from retail establishments during the aftermath of the storm.  I guess hurricanes blow away all evidence of common decency at the same time.

These hardscrabblers are going to be the ones that will try to breach your Elysium.  Keep in perspective too, that not all of these people were already that way.  Hardships, starvation, deprivation, loss of life means, housing, family, communications, and all else “normal” tends to negatively impact even otherwise good people including neighbors, colleagues and relatives.

Just imagine how all those that were already common thugs, thieves, criminals, misfits, psychos, and degenerates will act then.  Though they may be initially disorganized (since work has never been on their agendas), they do know full well how to get what they want and generally it isn’t going to be pretty.  So, what do you do?

The Premise of Awareness-Defense

Like most prep leaning folks, I am not by any means entirely proficient at self-defense.  For this I highly recommend hands on SHTF Teotwawki Doomsday Prepperstraining and lots of practice.  This may be techniques of hand-to-hand defensive actions to the effective use of various weapons from knives, to firearms, to monkey wrenches, or chairs.  It also should include security set ups, profiling a secure domain, and parameter defensive measures.

For purposes here, individual self-defense is not my focus.  My goal in self-defense is not to let the hardscrabblers get that close in the first place, but then that is just a goal.  The realities of a SHTF dictate that the unusual is likely to occur, so I am thinking here of a wider view of defense measures.

The subtitle of this section implies one of the most critical aspects of maintaining Bug-In or But-Out defense.  That is at all times to remain vigilant as to the awareness of everything going on around you and further out to a reasonable perimeter of the property.

Your safety does not end at the curb or property line.  If the in town or rural located Bug-In is your current residential home then you must plan to set up a system of monitoring what is going on within 360 degrees of your hide.  This includes the primary house, outbuildings, equipment shed, garage, fences, and such.  Everything must be watched for potential threats of intrusion.  Essentially this is true for Bug-Out locations as well, so make equal application to that option.

Jointly shared apartment complexes, duplexes, or condo communities have their own sets of issues, concerns, and problems. SHTF Much more assessment and planning will be needed to survive when threats are just a wall of sheet-rock away.

This can be dicey if one assumes the electrical power is down.  Perimeter security devices then will be useless.  Electric fences will not function.  You could post battery operated trail cameras in certain places, but those have to be checked often and viewed on powered devices.  Even then, any identified threat has likely already gotten you.  It may help identify curious neighbors or other snoops though.  Live transmitted video is an option as well at least until the power finally goes south.

More mechanical alarms could be used such as hanging cans and bottles from wire lines or on fences, but they have to be able to be heard should there be a disturbance.  Get creative about such things.  Maybe a couple of good German Sheppard’s around the place can help keep an eye and nose on things.  Dogs do scare people.  If intruders shoot the dogs, then at least you maybe will hear the shots.

Constant or regular human monitoring can be problematic, too, as likely labor distribution is already going to be stretched to the max.  You could build foxholes, or other hides around the property as posts from which to watch critical property entry points.  I am not sure if the ROI (return on investment) of time doing this would really make a huge difference.

Optical observations ought to be a regular activity.  Plan on securing two or more quality binoculars for watching distances around the property.  Have a set with you as you stroll around the place or when outside doing other necessary jobs.  They are better devices for observation than a rifle-scope and only take a second to deploy.

The Art of Deception

Perhaps in a Bug-In location your presence can be hidden from outsiders, but that is easier said than done.  Even one little leak of TEOTWAWKI Bug In Locationlight from a sole candle at night can expose you.

Moving around inside silently all the time is not exactly realistic either.  Work has to be done including cooking, so noises, moving shadows, and even smells can reveal your occupancy.  When movements have to be made, post an observer to alert insiders of anything going on outside.

In planning your Bug-Out location you have more options to work on plans to hide your place and keep it hidden.  I keep reflecting back on the movie Children of Men starring Clive Owen when he visited his friend’s hidden homestead in the forest, the owner character portrayed by Michael Caine.

It was well hidden off a traveled back roads highway, but was none-the-less located by the authority thugs.  Still the general idea prevails and presents some useful thoughts on creating a hideout location that is naturally camouflaged.

The Catch-22 being that the further you reside away from the mainstream in your hideout, the further hid you are likely to be from some necessary access to vital support as time bears on.  Unless your SHTF Bug-Out is totally self-sufficient, then you will eventually have to emerge to seek out help, medical assistance or a way to resupply critical consumables.

Even Eustace, from History Channel’s Mountain Men, has to emerge from his Carolina Mountain homestead on occasion.  They just never show how he obtains gasoline for the chainsaws, seeds for the garden, nails, tools, flour, cloth to sew clothing or many other things he obviously has to have to live, though he is extremely self-proficient.  He could probably hold out a lot longer than most of us.

So, whatever your Elysium turns out to be, you want it protected from invasion.  For even the little savings and stocks of supplies you may have and worked hard to acquire, others deemed less fortunate will want it.  For even in Zombieland we may find that pink marshmallow cakes are far from an ample replacement for the real thing………Twinkies.

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