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.

Karambit Knife

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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15 thoughts on “Defending Your Elysium”

  1. A very interesting read,makes you think about what you can do to further protect your home or BOL.It may not be a bad idea to start measuring your windows for plywood or black out curtians and to secure your doors(check out the BARICADE on the computer)

  2. Obtaining binoculars for use in observing things is an excellent idea. I recommend 7×50's as that particular combination of magnification and objective lens size is more effective at night than most others. If those strike you as being too bulky there are a wide variety of compact binoculars on the market that can do reasonably well. The bottom line being that any binoculars, even a cheap set of "opera glasses", are better than no binoculars.

    I also concur that you do not want to use your rifle scope for the purpose of general observation. People might think you were intending to attack them (or others) when all you were trying to do was simply check them out.

    I was raised in south Florida, and one of the things that I occasionally saw advertized back then [early Cretaceous 🙂 ] were "Rolladen Shutters" (might have it spelled wrong). They were an alternative to other varieties of shutters that could be used to protect your windows from damage by hurricane force winds and the objects they would pick up. These shutters worked like a roll up garage door and could be raised or lowered to any extent you wanted, potentially covering the entire window. They were both windproof (within reason) and light tight.

    • Mini – I put those roller shades on my townhouse in Seattle back in the day. Just the lower level. They were awesome. Very hard plastic and they locked down into place. I remember the guy who installed them, he thought I was nuts. He said he mostly put them on houses facing the coast. I told him I was preparing for urban unrest. He just looked at me like "Ok bro, whatever you want." ……Ah yes, you are only crazy until something happens.

  3. Seen this idea on another site and I thought it was brilliant. Insurance against overrun. Get a dozen or so empty vodka bottles, fill them with rubbing alcohol. Leave them where someone overrunning your location would find them. A couple days later just head back in and clear out the bodies. If it doesn't kill them all, it will certainly knock down the numbers making it more feasible to take the property back.

  4. For those short on perimeter security options, a can half-full of rocks and balanced on a door knob makes a pretty good lookout and will certainly wake you up if the knob is tampered with. Hopefully the hardscrabblers haven't made it that far, but multiple layers of defense and alerts are best.

    Don't forget when concealing your hide, it might be beneficial to make it appear as though your home is already looted. Some old electronics (crappy stereo, VCR, old lamps, etc) scattered about with some trash paper and spent food containers in the front and side yards would give passers-by the impression that your Elysium has already been looted and taken and most likely has nothing of value left inside.

  5. It is also possible to put 2x4s with big 4inch nails sticking up just inside your windows and doors, Charles Bronson did this in his early vigilante movies or you can put them in strategic places around your property, you would have to be careful about not letting family pets etc get hurt or injured, another option is to put a dead carcass near entrance to your hide out…….the smell will put anyone of !

  6. Post a sign like mine, Viet Nam era booby traps, you guess what kind and how many!That will make them think of how to approach your property

  7. This is one of the issues that I have the most concern with in a SHTF situation. If bugging-in, how do you defend your home against a sizeable roaming gang going house to house? And if you are able to hold them off, how do you defend against an "if I can't have it, neither can you" mindset when they toss cocktails at your roof?

    • I would surround my BOL with many different kinds of lethal traps. The simplest would be a wooden spike pit, covered with brush. When trespassers fall into those or other traps, they will make a lot of noise, before they die, which would alert us and most-likely scare other intruders. Huge gangs should be systematically eliminated before they reach your BOL (if they're coming in your direction). Sniping and well-placed, home-made explosives should do the trick. Or you could use biological warfare. Just contaminate food with lethal bacteria and leave them along their path, for them to discover and consume.

    • dert i live on a farm but the house is right on the road so i went and put adobe style house in the back cause graas can burn but not dirt

  8. Make sure you pick them off before they get close enough to toss one on your roof.Take your 22 and shoot the cocktail before he throws it watch him run around on fire, good for a grin or two.The main thing is to keep calm, cooler heads will prevail.

  9. I would surround my BOL with many different kinds of lethal traps. The simplest would be a wooden spike pit, covered with brush. When trespassers fall into those or other traps, they will make a lot of noise, before they die, which would alert us and most-likely scare other intruders.

  10. Really good read. I am new to prepping and survivalism and am loving all the great information i am learning both in this article and on this site.


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