Let's peer into the future...
I am the leader of a band of 8-to-12 looters. It varies. There are more of us in the summer months. I have some basic military training. We move from place to place like locusts devouring everything in our path. My group is armed with light weapons and can develop and follow simple plans of attack. We take what we want by force of arms. We prefer none of our victims survive because that could cause problems for us in the future. You are a target.
It has been six months since the grid went down. Me and the other eight current members of my party have settled into what may be a long grinding existence. The every day tasks of growing and gathering have now become routine. The news from the outside is extremely limited but I don’t really miss it much. Life is simple but physically demanding. Killing people is now second nature.
Although things may seem stable I need to keep my team focused and alert. This is my first and most important layer of defense. I hold an immediate reaction drill once per week. Keep things simple. Practice a specific response to such threats as injury, fire, attack and evacuation. Despite the challenges I must maintain contact with those around me for vital clues that trouble is brewing. Regularly monitoring the radio will be critical in providing an early warning of trouble keeping in mind that the information I get from them may not always be reliable.
While I have been farming I have been learning the best tactics to employ to seize your property and your goods. I have been refining them since we hit the road right after the lights went out. I have conducted eight “hits” so far and have been successful seven times.
Intelligence gathering and target selection is critical to my success. Targets include those who have large quantities of fuel, food and other valuable supplies. If you have a working vehicle you're as good as dead. My posse is constantly questioning anyone and everyone we contact searching for our next victim. Anyone who has ever had knowledge, even second hand, of your preparations is someone of interest to me. I may approach them directly or indirectly. If anyone knows something I will find out about it. Who seems well-fed? Who still has transportation? Who has lights? Who was prepared? Where are they exactly? Somebody talks, either in person or on the radio. They always do.
We search for victims night and day. During the day we are listening for the sounds of machinery, cars, tractors, gunfire or generators. Day or night without a lot of wind those sounds can carry for miles. At night I look for any sort of light. Even a small flash indicates somebody with electricity and that means a rich target. I always have somebody listening to the scanner for any news, leads or insecure chatter.
Operational Security is an important concept for my entire group to understand and maintain. If somebody outside my circle doesn’t have a real need to know about my plans, preparations or procedures then they shouldn’t know period. I've developed a cover story and live it like it was a bulletproof vest. During events I need to blend in with the surrounding environment. I carefully observe noise (such as generators and other engines) and light discipline especially at night. If I need to test fire weapons I do it in one sequence to avoid a prolonged noise signature.
Once I find and target you, reconnaissance of your retreat is my next step. Only a fool would try to rush in and try to overwhelm a group of “survivalists”. We had a bad experience with that during our second hit. Now we spend at least a day or two trying to size up a large opportunity and the best way to take it down. I will observe your home activity from a nearby-concealed position. I will get an idea of your numbers, weapons, routines and so much more by careful surreptitious observation. If your group seems alert, I will try and trigger a false alarm with a dog or child to watch your reaction to a threat. That helps me know how you respond, where you are strong and how to attack. I may also obtain a topographical map of the area to identify likely avenues of approach and potential escape routes you will try to use. I may coerce your neighbors into uncovering a weak spot or access point or other important intelligence. I also have a Bearcat handheld scanner. I will be listening for any insecure chatter from your radios, if you have any.
Regular patrols at irregular intervals focused on likely observation points and avenues of approach could keep me at bay but you don't know that. You could put down sand or other soft soil in key choke points as a way of “recording” if anyone has recently traveled through the land but you don't bother. Dogs, with their advanced sense of hearing and smell are able to detect and alert you to intruders well in advance of any human but you've eaten all the dogs already. Motion sensing IR video cameras as a part of a security plan could play a part in your layered defense as long as you have power, but you don't. A 24 hour manned observation point equipped with high quality optical tools is a must. It should be fortified and if possible concealed. It should have a weapon capable of reaching to the edges of your vision but intruders are rare and you don't bother. Seismic intrusion devices, night vision and thermal imaging are phenomenal force multiplying tools. They can give you critical intelligence and warning. I have them, you don't. Understand though that they are not fool proof and I can often neutralize them if I know you have them but again, you don't.
These tools and techniques provide me with reaction time. They insure my success.
Don’t underestimate me.
It'll be the last thing you do.