Joining an Unofficial Community
If you’ve read through the previous three options, you’ve probably accepted the problems with simply moving to a ‘good’ area, and the limitations of buying into a bunker service. You likely have also recognized that it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to find enough good people to create your own community from scratch.
So, like many other people, you might decide to join forces with other people who are already in some form of existing community structure. It is common to find such people and groups through prepper websites and forums.
We’ve had people in this situation tell us confidently of their plans, and we’ve kept in touch with them to see how it goes for them. We want to learn as much as we can about as much as possible, and so are always interested to know of successful prepper communities out there. We need to work together, because by doing so, we have a much greater chance of succeeding.
But, as we’ve kept in touch with such people, it seems that more often than not, such arrangements have ended up in acrimony, argument, possibly litigation, and definitely disappointment. Why is this?
Before we answer the question, we should explain. We’re not saying that you too would unavoidably have such negative experiences, and we’re setting out the challenges as we see them here in the hope that if you go into such a situation with an understanding of the issues, you can do a better job of creating a win-win arrangement with such a group. So we’re not trying to be negative, we’re trying to equip you with the knowledge you need to succeed.
So, with that as background, can we first state the obvious. If a person says on a forum ‘I’ve a huge supply of prep materials, and am looking for people to share it with’ then all of a sudden the whole world wants to be their friend. We’ve known people to say almost exactly that, and to end up trucking the multiple container loads of supplies they’ve accumulated, halfway across the country to a group of people they’ve never before met, and only became acquainted with through a website (and, yes, it ended most unpleasantly).
Secondly, these groupings and arrangements tend to be casual and informal, with no legal binding contract or any other formal documents recording the group’s constitution, aims, objectives, and who owns what or any of the other essential financial understandings.
Now, as much as many people dislike attorneys, the truth is that attorneys fill a vital role in helping record formal agreements and ensuring that all parties to an arrangement understand in great careful detail what the arrangement covers, and how all sorts of future ‘what if’ possible scenarios would be handled. The agreement records their mutual understanding to prevent present or future misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and forgetfulness.
Look at all the paperwork you have to fill out if you rent a power tool for half a day, or a rental car for a full day. You might not bother to read it, but it is all there for a reason, and it has slowly grown more complex over time as loopholes and omissions have been discovered, and as special situations have arisen that weren’t already specified in the agreement.
The same is true if you rent/lease a house, either as landlord or as tenant. There’s a whole bunch of stuff to protect both parties, and to ensure that both landlord and tenant understand their respective obligations and undertakings.
But although our lives are filled with lengthy contracts and legalese, some of us, when planning for an extreme future situation full of grave issues and consequences are happy to do it with nothing more than a handshake, and maybe not even that, and with not just one other person, but with a group of other people, some of whom they’ve never even met before.
Is that prudent and sensible? Or is it a disaster waiting to happen? While it is possible we don’t hear so much from people who have successfully created informal communities with semi-strangers, our experience and our expectation both suggest that this is very short-sighted.
We’ve met people who boldly say ‘my word is my bond, as simple as that. If I meet a person who tries to tie me up in legalese, I know they are up to no good. Relationships are based on trust, not legalese, and if you’re not willing to trust me, then we have nothing in common.’
That’s a great sentiment, but there’s a flipside to it. If the person’s word is their bond, and if they are trustworthy, what possible objection could they have to recording all the details of their agreement with you, writing it down on paper, so there’s no problem or misunderstanding in the future?
Furthermore, if they are so aggressively pig-headed as to refuse to record their agreement in writing, how easy will they be to work with in the future?
If a person refuses to commit an agreement to writing, you don’t have an agreement at all. You have a disaster waiting to happen.
Oh – one more thing. All the problems we’ve heard about – these have happened during ‘the good times’ at present. Imagine how many more problems and misunderstandings would arise WTSHTF!
By all means get together with a group of strangers, but if you do so, you need to formally document every aspect of your undertakings, understandings, obligations and expectations.
We suspect the more detail you go into with some of these groups, the more red flags and alarm bells you’ll become aware of. But, there’s a positive element to this as well. If you do a thorough ‘due diligence’ research effort with the group, and if all issues are specified and positively resolved, you then can positively move forward with them and not suffer any second thoughts or ‘buyer’s remorse’ as you do so.
While some groups seem predatory in nature, and other groups seem wildly unrealistic, there are also some bona fide groups out there, and if you happen to come across one of them, you might be very fortunate indeed if you can persuade them to accept you as a member of their community.