The cautionary tale that is the rather spectacular collapse of Venezuela continues. Were you aware that Venezuela banned guns for private citizens a mere four years ago, in 2012? Although the country was already in trouble, it seems like that was the beginning of the end.

Under the reign of Hugo Chavez, the government introduced a law that banned personal purchases of firearms and ammunition in an attempt to “improve security and cut crime." The law was designed to keep guns in the hands of only police, military, and some security companies.

At the time, Chavez’s government said that “the ultimate aim is to disarm all civilians.” Shortly after the law passed, Chavez lost a battle to cancer, and bus driver Nicolas Maduro became the new president.

Maduro invested $47 million in “disarmament centers” in 2014, where citizens could turn in their firearms without fear of repercussions. This was at about the same time as the government declared that prepping was illegal and those “hoarding” could be detained on criminal charges and when the country instituted a fingerprint registry for purchasing groceries so that they could ensure people only purchased what they were allotted.

But Who Does Disarmament Really Protect?

Does a gun ban actually reduce crime? Is the reduction of crime truly the motive behind disarmament? Or is disarmament actually an effort to make it more difficult for those who object to subjugation to fight back?

It’s interesting to note that nearly all repressive regimes take away the means for the citizens to stand up for their rights. Right before the proverbial S hit the F in Venezuela, guns were taken away from the general public. It was then a slippery slope into chaos as the government failed, socialism itself failed, and the country collapsed.

However, now that the people are ready to revolt against Maduro’s government, they no longer have the means to do so. It’s suicide for unarmed people to fight the well-armed military, something that the government undoubtedly counted on when Venezuela banned guns, disarming the populace.

Meanwhile In America

There are some unnerving parallels we can draw to the disarmament of Venezuela and the plans for America.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is adamantly anti-gun. Her own website has a long list of the anti-gun measures she has supported. Make no mistake, if she gets the magical president’s pen, there will be anti-gun Executive Orders. She could also be the person responsible for choosing Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s empty seat, which will not bode well for the next challenge to the Second Amendment heard by the highest court in the land.

If you’re wondering how this relates to Venezuela, it’s simple.

Our ship here in the US is sinking.

Our economy is in the toilet. We may be watching a premonition of our future down there in South America, with riots at the grocery store. With abject poverty. With the third world medical care.

And if the wrong person is making Executive Orders and appointing Supreme Court Justices, gun owners could be targeted.

The American government doesn’t really represent the American people anymore. Do you feel that your wishes are taken into consideration when corrupt politicians benefit from big corporations against the desires of their constituents?  Our system is broken, and every day we lose rights, incrementally.

The Second Amendment is not in place so people can go hunting for deer. Thomas Jefferson summed it up. “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

If you’re watching Venezuela, you understand why you need to be armed.

There are many lessons you can learn from analyzing the fall of Venezuela, like what items they have run out of that you should be stocking up on. You should be buying long-term food, stocking up on medical needs, and preparing for a down-grid scenario.

But as the country descends into chaos, you must also see how it got there. An armed society is a polite society. You’re seeing via the news report what happens to a disarmed society.

There’s a distinct pattern when society breaks down, and as our society becomes more desperate, poverty-stricken, and lacking of moral compass, this trend will become more obvious. Note that the “lacking of moral compass” part doesn’t just refer to the thugs rioting and looting, but also to a certain sector of cops who think that their badges give them permission to behave like street thugs, too.

Here’s the pattern:

  • An outrage occurs.
  • Good people react and protest the outrage.
  • Those perpetrating the outrage try to quell the protest because they don’t think that the outrage was actually outrageous.  (And whether it was or not can fluctuate – in some cases, force is necessitated, but in more and more cases, it is flagrantly gratuitous.)
  • Others react to the quelling and join the protest.
  • A mob mentality erupts. Thugs say, “Hey, it’s a free for all. I’m gonna get some Doritos and while I’m at it, beat the crap out of some folks for fun.”
  • All hell breaks loose.
  • The military gets called in.
  • Cities burn, neighborhoods get destroyed, and no one in the area is safe.
  • Cops act preemptively, out of fear, and for a time, there is no rule of law.
  • If you happen to be stuck there, know this: you’re completely on your own.

Tess Pennington wrote about societal breakdowns in more detail – read her excellent article for more information on these predictable scenarios. In an event like this, you can try to call 911, but most likely, the police aren’t going to be coming to save you. You will be completely on your own. Will you be an unarmed, yet law-abiding citizen, hoping to somehow fend off the criminals who must have missed the memo to turn in their firearms? Good luck with that.

Here are 3 reasons why preppers need to be armed.

The thing that I believe it’s important to remember here is that if you have stacked your supplies to the rafters but refused to plan for defending your home and family, you’ve basically just made them bait should a desperate situation arise.

Just in case you think that chaos and violence only happen in places like Venezuela, where they’re undergoing a full-on collapse, the following examples are all from America.

Reason #1: Those who are desperate, unprepared, and feel entitled to be cared for

Remember Black Friday?  People climbed all over each other for cheap electronics. Fist fights erupted over vegetable steamers. People were ready to throw down and do battle for sale items.

I’d hazard a guess that folks who spend time and money fighting over electronics are not the kind of people who prep. That means that these are the people who will be hungry in a long-term disaster.  Look at those people, stampeding to get to a sale on things that they don’t actually need to survive. Their inhibitions are loosened because those around them are behaving in the same way.

You have to look at the psychology of this. People can justify pretty much anything when they or their children are starving. And I can understand that to a large degree – who could stand to watch their babies suffering?  But if someone can devolve to the above degree just to because everyone else is doing it, the chaos we saw above is only a tiny sample of what could come if people were truly hungry.

Do you really feel like you could prepare them one meal and they’d go away politely? Do you really think that reason and a polite but firm conversation will be sufficient to make them go away? It only takes one person to start the charge against you in a tense scenario, and when that happens, unless you take swift and shocking action, the others will follow, and your retreat will be overcome. Sort of like when the walkers overtook the prison after the fence got knocked down on The Walking Dead.

Reason #2: Those who are planning to take the supplies of others

But wait, there’s something even worse out there than the hungry unprepared. There are the folks who have built an entire preparedness plan around taking the things that other preppers have stored. Remember this guy from another episode of Doomsday Preppers?

If you aren’t ready for people like this, your survival retreat is a soft, easy target. These people are not nice, but desperate. Their entire survival plan hinges on taking what someone else has amassed using superior force. This yahoo (who was subsequently arrested after his appearance on Doomsday Preppers) blatantly explains his plan, and I can guarantee that he is not alone. He’s just the one dumb enough to announce it on national television.

These are the types of people who are only careful about breaking the law because they don’t want to be caught. If a situation arises in which being caught and thrown in prison is unlikely, it will be a free-for-all. Morals and ethics won’t stop them, because they don’t have any. The only thing capable of stopping people like that is people who are able and ready to defend their homes

Reason #3: Those who loot and pillage because, doggone it, they like it

Finally, there are those who simply enjoy mayhem.

Some people are just waiting for the opportunity to behave in this fashion. They enjoy destroying things and venting their anger on any person who has “more” than they do. They’d love to act like that every single day, but they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives in jail. But when a verdict gets rolled out, when a storm takes out the power, when a disaster strikes, they delight in the chance to rob, pillage, loot, and burn.  Who can forget the day before Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, when thugs were coordinating looting rampages via Twitter?

Here was the scene in Ferguson, Missouri. These are definitely not folks out fulfilling needs.

I remember learning about “sublimation” in a high school psychology class.

Sublimation is a defense mechanism that allows us to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form. For example, a person experiencing extreme anger might take up kickboxing as a means of venting frustration. Freud believed that sublimation was a sign of maturity that allows people to function normally in socially acceptable ways. (source)

If you believe Freud’s theory, then it’s easy to see that many people look for an excuse to revert to their true natures.  In a situation where “everyone” is doing something, they are able to cast off their normal control of their impulses without much fear of reprisal. The number of looters and thugs far outstrips the number of arrests going on in Baltimore, so there’s a very good chance that someone swept up in that mentality can go burn somebody else’s home or business and completely get away with it.

These are the people who burned down their own neighborhoods after the verdict in Ferguson. And what businesses were left untouched? The ones for which the owners stood out front, armed, to defend their property.

You owe it to your family to be ready to protect them.

What if the world as we know it ended? What if there wasn’t food in the grocery stores? What if there was no longer any such thing as EBT, for those who have made a career out of milking the system? What if the police and military finally threw their hands up in the air, gave up, and went home to protect their own families?  What if the scenes on social media from Venezuela become the scenes from America? Who’s going to keep your family safe then?

You are.

You have to realize that at any point in time, you could find yourself on your own, without backup from 911.

Whether civil unrest is right outside your door.

Whether a group of thugs decides to invade your home to rob and/or terrorize you.

Whether the world we know goes down, via an EMP that takes out the grid,  civil war, economic collapse, or a breakdown in the national transportation network.

The only person you can rely on to protect your family is yourself.

You can stockpile until you have a decade of supplies put back, but if you can’t defend it, you don’t actually own it. You only have it because no one has bothered taking it away from you yet.  You have what you have based on the goodwill of others, who are stronger, greater in number, and better armed.

Take a long hard look at the threats you face during civil unrest, and develop a plan for protecting your retreat. Wherever you live, whatever your situation, you need to plan as though 911 does not exist. Whether riots are occurring in the streets or not, in the seconds during which the lives of your family hang in the balance, you are completely on your own.

In some situations, it won’t stop with the destruction of your property. You may have to defend your home. And for this, you MUST BE ARMED.

I’m sure I’ll receive another barrage of email wishing me and my children dead by our own guns. (It always amazes me how people who swear vehemently that they’re against violence can send me those letters that fervently hope for bloody and terrifying deaths for us.) Some people are so terrified of self-defense tools that the very idea of using one causes veritable spasms of cognitive dissonance and denial.

Those very same people will tell you that they’ve survived riots or unrest and never had to have a gun or shoot anyone.

And do you know what?

Chances are, you won’t have to unholster your weapon. But this is a plan based on pure luck and the goodwill of others. Survival favors the prepared. I do not base my preparations for my family on the hope for good luck and nice people.

Firearms are an equalizer. A small woman can defend herself from multiple large intruders with a firearm if she’s had some training and knows how to use it properly. But put a kitchen knife in her hand against those same intruders, and her odds decrease exponentially.

You are your own first responder.

If the situation does escalate and the lives of you and your loved ones are in danger, there is no substitute for meeting force with force. You may not wish to engage, but sometimes there’s no time to escape. Sometimes there’s no place to escape to. In these situations, you won’t be able to talk your way out of it, hide from it, or throw dishes at the intruders to fight them off.

When you need help in seconds, the police are only minutes away. By the time they arrive during a collapse scenario, your family will be dead, raped, or kidnapped, and your supplies will be long gone.

If you plan to survive a scenario of civil unrest or a Mad Max society meltdown, you are going to have to accept that  preppers need guns. This doesn’t mean that you want to hurt someone. It means that you intend to keep your loved ones safe by any means necessary.

Here are a few tips to prepare a home defense plan.

Your plan has to be unique to your situation. Be sure when making your plan to take into consideration things like: the layout of your property, your family, and their skill sets, your comfort with firearms, your neighbors – the list of variables goes on and on

Here are some specifics to help you begin planning.

Know how to use your firearm. Whatever your choice of weapon, practice, practice, practice. A weapon you don’t know how to use is more dangerous than having no weapon at all.  You have to spend time at the range. It’s a must. During a stressful, frightening situation, you will be relying on muscle memory, so make sure the muscles are well trained.  I’m not a firearms instructor, so I can’t recommend “the best gun” for preppers. The guns I chose for my rural property aren’t necessarily the same ones I’d choose if I lived in Suburbia. Every situation is different, and your firearm choice should reflect that. (Here’ssome advice from someone who knows a lot more about weapons than I do to help you with that decision.)

Make sure your children are familiar with the rules of gun safety. Of course, it should go without saying that you will have pre-emptively taught your children the rules of gun safety so that no horrifying accidents occur. In fact, it’s my fervent hope that any child old enough to do so has been taught to safely and effectively use a firearm themselves. Knowledge is safety.

Spend time making a plan unique to your situation. You need to prepare your battlespace and make plans for defending it. Those plans will be different based on your experience and that of people in your family or group. For example, a family of preppers in the suburbs would  most likely have a very different plan than a group of former military guys protecting a compound.

Don’t rely on 911. If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  First responders may be tied up, and in some cases, the cops are not always your friends.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some officers joined in the crime sprees, and others stomped all over the 2nd Amendment and confiscated people’s legal firearms at a time when they needed them the most.

Be armed and keep your firearm on your person.  When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation over a nice cup of tea.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force. Be sure to keep your firearm on your person during this type of situation, because there won’t be time to go get it from your gun safe. Don’t even go to the kitchen to get a snack without it. Home invasions go down in seconds, and you have to be constantly ready.

Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members. If the worst happens and your home is breached, you need to have a room into which family members can escape.  This room needs to have a heavy exterior door instead of a regular hollow core interior door. There should be communications devices in the room so that the person can call for help, as well as a reliable weapon to be used in the unlikely event that the safe room is breached. The family members should be instructed not to come out of that room FOR ANY REASON until you give them the all clear or help has arrived. You can learn more about building a safe room HERE.  Focus the tips for creating a safe room in an apartment to put it together more quickly.

Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.  Your property is not worth your life. Be wise enough to know if you’re getting into a fight that you can’t win.

Civilization is just a veneer.

Only four short years ago, the people of Venezuela were armed. Look at how the situation has devolved since then. People are starving. They are burning muggers alive. Doctors are doing surgeries in the blood of previous patients.

The argument could be made for the chicken or the egg, but regardless, I’d certainly feel a lot better in a chaotic place like that if I was armed to the teeth.

So many times, when interviewed after a disaster, people talk about being “shocked” at the behavior of others.  Their level of cognitive dissonance has lulled them into thinking that we’re safe and that we live in a civilized country.  They are unwilling to accept that civilization is only a glossy veneer, even when the evidence of that is right in front of them, aiming a gun at their faces, lighting their homes on fire, or raping their daughters.

They refuse to arm themselves and prepare for an uncivilized future.

Accept it now, and you’ll be a lot better off when the SHTF.

Article reposted with permission from The Organic Prepper

Pick up Daisy's new book The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months to help with your prepping needs.

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