Tribal Think

by Erich

The following article has been contributed by Michael Lemieux, a combat vet and former Special Forces Intelligence Analyst (please see below the article for a full bio)

Prepping is More Than Just Amassing Stuff

Preparing for the unexpected (prepping) is more than just amassing stuff. It is also about understanding the dynamics and fluidity of what will/may happen in a given scenario. As I have said, and heard others say, “Every plan works great up to your engagement with the enemy.” Unfortunately the adversary, man or nature, is not playing by your plan book or your expectations of how they should behave and the plan will divert very quickly.

Most of us try to imagine what could happen in our locality and then extrapolate from that what things we would need and what training we lack and take appropriate steps to mitigate those shortfalls.

But are we thinking beyond our own “things?”

Face it; there are few families that can provide a competent medic, medical supplies for physical and dental requirements, armory, ammunition, food supplies, power equipment, 24 hour guard/security, and livestock management, gardening/farming and so on. For most of us just managing an inventory is a massive undertaking that requires constant vigilance.

I haven’t even mentioned the mountains of reference material, tools, equipment (both hand and powered), and training required individually and as a family. Just the art of silent communication, arm and hand signals, or some other communication system to facilitate working as a team is nearly extinct outside of combat units.

In a grid down or “without rule of law” (WROL) scenario, how well would you be able to defend what you have accumulated? How many people are in your household, do you plan to “bug out” to a retreat or looking to “bug in” and hunker down at home, you have to be able to defend your property in either case 24/7.

A Potential Real-World Example

Some will say they live in a quiet neighborhood with good people and they would not be a threat. Perhaps, but let’s try this scenario:

A massive solar event has caused a global power outage; it will be months before power is restored. Weeks go by with virtually no outside help and food is running scarce.

Gangs and groups of people have started roaming further and further outside their own areas looking for food, and whatever else they can find.

Many of your neighbors know that you were a prepper and you probably have food in your house. Even if you have been quite about your prepping they may have noticed some of the things you have been doing and suspect you are “one of them.”

Two weeks into the disaster a neighbor is looking at his weakened family and crying children who are hungry and literally starving to death in front of him. And now that the water is no longer flowing and all their supplies have run out, he is becoming desperate to keep his family alive.

He has the family shotgun at his side and he will take it with him when he goes to your house to ask for help. But he has made up his mind; he will feed his family whether you agree to help him or not.

So, in this scenario, do you agree to help? How much? How often? Let’s say you agree to give a little food, water, and medicine. Now you have confirmed you have supplies. He will be back again. What if one of the other neighbors sees you giving food to him? Will they want some too?

You can see how this can quickly escalate. And these are not even the “bad guys.”

So how do you defend your home? How many ways can someone enter your house? Doors and windows, regardless of what floor they are on, are all easy ways to enter a home. Can you cover all of them with just your family and for how long? And if you have security running all the time how can you get anything else done. We all know that we cannot be at a heighten state of security awareness while trying to cook dinner or work chores that must be done.

The average family of 5 may consist of a husband and wife and 3 children. My family, for instance, is my wife and I and two sons and a daughter. If we have two people on “guard duty” or lookout the most we could effectively cover is two sides of the building. Yes we could roam back and forth to each cover two sides. But in doing so we are also telegraphing that we have stuff here we are guarding and drawing more attention. And human nature always kicks in with a nature break every few hours, you have to sleep, you have to eat and we all need down time to break the tension.

You can quickly see that in a 24/7 self-protection scenario things could get very taxing very quick.

I have heard others say they could build a safe room with all their supplies and no one can get in. Really? How long would your safe room/bunker last with the house burning down around you sucking the life giving oxygen from the room. Flames would not need to touch you but the lack of air would have the same effect. Which brings up the next weakness of a “bunkered” situation – even if you bunker is below ground with a bomb proof door you still need to swap air with the outside and all it takes is a green brush fire lit under you fresh air intake and your bunker is now a smoke filled tomb.

Don’t get me wrong I love a good bunker but ones with secondary and preferably tertiary egress routes leading to concealed exits beyond the immediate vicinity of what is going on topside. The problem with these are that they are very, very expensive, and not going to happen if your renting or living in an apartment and in most cities if you try to dig a hole in your own yard the city code enforcement officer is there asking to see permits and plans that must first be approved.

The Importance of a Tribe

So in the real world where you and I live we have to rely on one another. A trusted group of friends and acquaintances that can make up your tribe can and most likely will be the difference between life and death.

Some of your tribe members may not even know they are part of your tribe; they are your intelligence gathering folks, bartering partners, and possibly alternative transportation needs. They may be a neighbor that works at the police department or other city department that can feed information as to what the city is hearing outside the neighborhood.


Get a ham radio and get licensed; during times of disaster they are sometimes the only ones that have up to date information. Make friends on air in the four cardinal directions, write down their call signs and when the flag goes up start calling and find out what is happening. Many times, like the move of weather across the landscape, you may be able to get a warning of trouble before it arrives.

Don’t overlook local hams either; yes they are close but if two cities to the north hams are telling of bad guys coming south and you have a ham friend to the north of the city you live in you can get updates of movements that can directly affect your planning and decision making.

Get Comfortable Now

You will also need to build a tribe that is personal; I mean sleep in the same room, brush your teeth and pee in the same toilet personal.

4-5 families can group together to fortify a single family home with a decent odds of survival. But you have to start now, get together weekly, assign tasks and responsibilities, train together, plan together, plan down to actual sleep arraignments, and get to know one another like family.

With additional people come additional requirements; increased meal requirements, waste disposal, water usage, medical requirements, etc. But the tribe also comes with a force of arms and the deterrence of multiple eyes and ears holding multiple firearms. This is much more of a deterrence than mom and dad and a few kids asking bad guys to leave them alone.

A Contingency Plan

Though we don’t like to think about it; our best laid plans may not work out, so we must have a contingency.

One contingency may be to fall back to one of the other tribe member’s house (if reasonable) and set up a secondary site. Have some supplies hidden away for just such a contingency and live to fight another day. Alternatively, establish a bug out location that you can pre-stash supplies and tents, etc. to go to if you must abandon your primary spot. Abandoning a losing battle to save the lives of your loved ones is better than dying to hold on to the things you may have.

It is always advisable to have GOOD bags (Get Out Of Dodge) that have food, water, clothes, emergency equipment, small tent, sleeping bag, etc. for each member. If the vehicle is still running, great, if not, each member should be able to pack their own gear. Pre-stage as much as possible and update often to be sure you are ready. After the emergency hits is not the time to start.

No Man is an Island

desert-islandWe have all heard the adage that no man is an island – this is never as true as when you are trying to survive a disaster and especially when you are caring for loved ones who cannot defend themselves.

I have over 20 years of military experience; I have been to more third world countries than I care to count. I have seen the ugliness that is war, have been shot at, and have shot at others trying to kill me and my brothers in arms. I can tell you from firsthand experience that there is no animal more fierce and more inhumane than a ruthless enemy of the human species when they think there is no law or power to stop them.

The most passive and meek gentlemen can turn vicious and deadly when faced with starvation of his wife and especially his children.

Yet we must retain our humanity in such situations and help where we can with the understanding that we can only share our excess and that any attack on us would be met with deadly force. In time that generosity may prove to create an ally that provides you intelligence or skills which can save your life.

Gear and supplies are important, but they’re not enough. It’s a community, your tribe, that will make all the difference when your family’s life is in the balance.

Michael LeMieux was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1956 and graduated from Weber State University in Utah with a degree in Computer Science. He served in both the US Navy and US Army (Active duty and National Guard) and trained in multiple intelligence disciplines and was a qualified paratrooper. He served with the 19th Special Forces Group, while in the National Guard, as a Special Forces tactical intelligence analyst. He served tours in Kuwait and Afghanistan where he received the Purple Heart for injuries received in combat.

Mr. LeMieux left military duty at the end of 2005 after being medically discharged with over 19 years of combined military experience. He currently works as an intelligence contractor to the US government and owns a small Firearms Repair business called Raven Head Arms.

He has traveled around the world living in 14 States of the Union including Hawaii, and visited (for various lengths of time) in Spain, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, Scotland, Pakistan, Mauritius, Somalia, Diego Garcia, Australia, Philippines, England, Italy, Germany, and Puerto Rico.

Michael now lives in Nebraska with his wife, two of his three children, and grandchild. His hobbies include shooting, wood-working, writing, amateur inventor and scuba diving when he can find the time.

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Comment by Bill
2015-09-19 14:58:03

what criteria would you advise someone use when determining who would be a good fit for your “tribe”? in our area, we have made one attempt to form a group based around people that we knew socially and through our church and thought this would make a good common ground for the group. it did not work out that way. there was universal interest in preparing for disasters, but many were insisting that they would find themselves morally unable to turn aside people in need, even at the cost of their own families and lives. we have since parted ways as a tribe although the other relationships remain intact. how best to broach the beliefs that we hold without offending or coming across as some nut job?

Comment by Just Thinking...
2015-09-19 16:22:42

First –
Thank you for your service, and this article.

The ‘Tribal’ or ‘Community’ mindset is rarely or not even discussed by many in the prepping community. But this mindset is ultimately required (as per your article) for families or extended families to survive. It is very difficult to do otherwise. Eventually, even the ‘lone’ prepper has to find some semblance of community.

There are several visual examples available for anyone wishing to study or research on this topic, albeit in the form of entertainment – which is not a definitive resource, but may help to understand the context of this subject. There are several TV show that come to mind as well as some movies.

But a good example of how this mindset can be applied is to watch the TV series ‘Jericho’. Based on nuclear events that happen all over the U.S., it shows what happens to a fictional mid-western town called Jericho during this difficult time. It showed human nature at it best and worst, and how a town had to come together (as a ‘Tribe’ or ‘Community’) or die. It ran for 2 seasons and should be available commercially or even free on the internet.

Comment by Brad
2015-09-19 16:26:32

You guys are all nut jobs. I particularly disturbed by pepper’s that are also church goers. It really is the ultimate display of your lack of faith. Its one thing to be semi-prepared for a disaster, but this survivalist culture takes it well beyond that. I really can’t see Jesus with a bug out bag on his back and a shot gun in one hand and a glock in the other. I don’t see Jesus barricading his front door to keep out the other desperate people looking for food. This is not how the world will end. This is an industry fear-driven scenario. The bible clearly explains what will happen. There will be earth quakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters as the earth “travails like a woman in labor”, but it says that when the end comes, that people will be working, getting married, and living their normal lives, just like in the times of Noah before the great flood. God has other plans for us, and its not going to come down to a scenario like “the road” where people are hunting each other and everyone is starving. Its also not going to be taken over by zombies. Most of the end times prophesies are already come. Massive die-offs, bodies of water turning red, natural disaster, a rise in knowledge etc. Did you know that human knowledge used to double every 100 year’s, and now its every 12 years, and that by 2040 it will be every 24 hours? The time for Jesus’s return is almost here. Instead of being ready to kill people, you should make your soul ready. You guys should be soul pepper’s.
One thing I can tell you… and remember these words; when a peace treaty is made with Israel to allow the Jews to perform the daily sacrifice, that will signal the great tribulation. The Jews are already underway in their efforts to rebuild the temple and the first students are graduating in 2016 that will be trained to perform these rituals. Its all happening as we speak. So when this treaty is made, and If you’re still here at that time, it will be exactly one week later that this same leader that made the peace treaty, will enter the temple and declare himself to be God, but it will be Satan, the great dragon, and from there, the whole world is going to shit. There’s nothing you can do to survive that. No amount of prepping will get you through that. EVERYONE will be given the choice at that time to accept the mark of his name or die. There will be no escaping, and there will be no bunkers or hidden retreats where people will be able to hide from his wrath. I really don’t want to be around in those times, which is why I’ve “prepped” to be taken upon Jesus’ return. Put down your guns and pick up a bible. Put your faith in Jesus, not in your Mossberg.

Comment by Bill
2015-09-19 17:04:28

considering that the Bible also states that no man will know the time or the day of His second coming, you seem rather definitive with a timeline. I would question anyone using the Bible to further a personal agenda, be they layman or the Pope himself….

Comment by Bill
2015-09-19 17:37:53

as much as i enjoy theological debates, this site in general and this article in particular are not appropriate venues for such. therefore i will cease to engage in any further discussions on the subject out of respect for the site operator and the efforts that he has put into this to benefit others.

i will reiterate my requests for methods of evaluating and approaching others to combine survival efforts.

Just Thinking: I have watched that series, and enjoyed it (at least the first season) I have also found good psychological studies in the Walking Dead series, where they did not get to choose who they would team up with necessarily, but were trying to make the best of what they had available to them. seeing the conflicts and the efforts to resolve them were fascinating to watch. i could have passed on the mild gore but…..

Comment by Ben
2015-09-19 17:44:48

Thank you Michael for this article and for your service.
I also don’t want to engage in a theological debate either but I have to reply to this comment.

Ezekiel 38:7
7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.

Luke 22:8
8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.

Luke 12:47
47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

Mark 10:40
40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

2 Timothy 2:21
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

I stopped looking after these five. There are so many.

For someone who calls themselves a ‘Christian’ you are very combative, condescending and downright rude in you comments. Your Bible and mine must be completely different. Mine constantly talks about preparation. Preparing to receive Christ but also to help His children all around us. Mine talks about increasing our talents so that we have the means to help and protect others. Mine talks about having faith in God but also working/preparing as if it all relies on us. If you are scrounging for every last mouthful of food or water you can’t be a blessing to others. You can’t act as a servant of God because you are only worried about your current needs. God will not protect you if you aren’t willing to protect yourself.
You say that these things can’t happen. Look at what is happening all around us in the world. Open your eyes to events that have happened in recent history and are happening today. People are being slaughtered, enslaved, pillaged, and decimated and that is just in the Middle East and Africa today!! People are starving and having to protect their hard earned assets and that is happening in China/North Korea today!! There are thousands of these CURRENT situations that I could write about but I hope that you get the picture.
It really is foolish to think that these catastrophes cannot happen to us. They have and will happen to us as society grows ever more proud, wicked and pushes God away.
I truly hope that you reconsider your myopic approach to coming days and take this commentator’s advice and be a blessing to others rather than being a mooch. If not for yourself then hopefully for your children/dependents. If not, please don’t come looking for us when this time is upon you. You probably better start praying for Manna.

Comment by Lone wolf
2015-09-19 18:39:24

Praverbs22:3 a prudent man sees danger and takes precautions I think that discribes most of us however your down fall will be none of you can see eye to eye on anything everybody thinks they know more than anyone else most of you don’t know how to play nice so much for having a tribe so many of you have this unwarranted fear mongering your like rats hiding in the shadows you can’t do it with just 4 are 5 people won’t work I don’t care how good you are and your scared to death about letting anyone in your circle! !

Comment by Angela
2015-09-19 20:24:47

Thank you so much for your service and your excellent article. You are absolutely correct and I will pass this information on to my family. I personally do not fear for the future but I do want to be prepared for the inevitable. Again, thank you for your wisdom and sharing it to those that will hear.

Comment by webrat55
2015-09-23 14:33:35

Yea…ok, as a Christain, I understand what your saying. But…you are missing the very point of the whole idea of prepping. While we await our Lords return, there are going to be times that try our souls…and our ability to thrive. Katrina…? Would you have given this same speach to them? If you had…and they heeded your mis-guided advice/admonishment, they would have died…and many did….who perished? Those who did not prepare. So…. While we wait for the ‘End of Days….we need to be able to live until then.
Rethink your own advice…maybe, just maybe you will be around to witness the amazing days ahead. No matter how scary…it’s still going to be amazing to witness.
I have friends (few) and familie who just shake their heads at me….like you shake yours, and I get a bit testy and tell them straight up….Do Not…..NOT…COME KNOCKING ON MY DOOR after I’ve been pleading with you for years to prepare.
They laugh. Ok….haha…hoho…but I’m gonna tell you…I told you so. Then I’m going to rack one and tell you to be on your way.
So…. You get it yet? No…? Tsk…tsk….

Comment by Stonewall jackson
2015-10-05 17:00:40

Christians have bought in to the deception that is promoted by all the TV preachers. “We American christians are too good to suffer, God is obligated to bless, protect, and passing us.” People need to seriously turn the tv off and read their bible and church history. The bible speaks much of preparedness and persecution. For centuries in Europe any Christian who wasn’t a Catholic was tortured, killed, burned, and that was the nice things. Wake up and look around you, things are going to get a whole lot worse before the Lord returns.

2020-09-14 11:26:17

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