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ConSigCor
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Wise words from JWR.

quote:

The Mythical Group Retreat: Survival Preparations are Not Like Car Detailing

By James Wesley Rawles | April 18, 2017 |

The mainstream media has recently featured many articles about multi-millionaires buying opulent shelter spaces marketed by companies like The Survival Condo Project and Terra Vivos Reportedly, these swank leased shelter spaces are being gobbled up by the rich and famous. (Important Caveat: Those are just two well-publicized examples among many similar ventures, and I’m not criticizing them, per se. I have serious doubts about the efficacy of all such leased retreat space ventures, if and when things fall apart.)

Survival preparations are not like buying a service, such as car detailing or house painting. You can’t just “have it done” by someone else and expect to actually survive a major disaster to see full restoration of normal day-to-day life. You need to learn these skills for yourself. You need to construct things for yourself, tailor them to your own family’s particular needs, and then maintain them yourself. The most crucial skills can’t be learned by just reading a book or by watching a video. You need to truly learn these tasks by performing them and, in some cases, developing the muscle memory to match. Unless you are willing to get your hands dirty and honestly learn by doing, then you are just fooling yourself. In essence: True preparedness is a do-it yourself (DIY) proposition. Again, you can’t just “have it done”.

Furthermore, you need to be the one who is in control of your own family’s retreat. If you enter into a service contract, then you are trusting someone else to complete the construction and then someday actually allow you access to your leased millionaire bunker space. After the Rule of Law evaporates, that might never happen. I suspect that many of these big ventures are catering to folks who are overly trusting or downright naïve.

What happens if you arrive at the 11th hour to a prepared shelter that is not under your own control? Just consider the hypotheticals of a true TEOTWAWKI event. Unless you arrive at that “secure bunker” quite early, then there is a distinct possibility that human nature will kick in and your “guaranteed pre-paid space” will be occupied by someone else. By whom? What if it’s occupied by someone more aggressive who shoves his way in or by someone who bribes their way in for their unexpectedly large entourage, or what if it’s even occupied by someone who is simply allowed in by a paid gatekeeper who caves in to the strong emotions of his familial bonds. If you end up as the proverbial “third guy in line”, then you might find the gate locked and the door firmly barred when you arrive. For a fictional example, see the plight of Yuri Karpov– the Russian trillionaire in the movie 2012. Those much-touted “layers of security” might work against anyone who arrives after the facility reaches its capacity (even a “full vested shareholder”). Never underestimate the corrupting influence of human nature, especially in times of utter chaos. To back up a bit, it is crucial that you understand the difference between sole ownership of a piece of property versus just renting or leasing it.

Understanding the essentials of genuine ownership of any property, whether it is something as small as a car or something as large as a ten section Texas cattle ranch, all comes down to four factors:

Title
Control
Use
The Ability and Right to Dispose or Convey

Without controlling all four of those factors, you don’t fully own anything. This was eloquently described in an old John Birch Society documentary film titled Overview of America, written and narrated by John F. McManus.

Let’s go through those factors as described by McManus, point by point:

Title

First, is the factor of title. If you don’t hold title to something, then you don’t fully own it. This is like leasing an automobile but not holding the “Pink Slip” in your own name. Sure, you may be allowed to drive it, but you don’t really own it. It belongs to someone else.

Control

Second is control. This factor harkens back to the old saying: “Possession is nine tenths of the law.” Let’s continue with the analogy of an automobile. Let’s say that you hold title to a car. But you lent it out, and it is currently being driven and garaged by your nephew, Freddie, who took it with him when he enrolled in college out of state, and he has both sets of keys to the car. So is that car yours? Legally, perhaps, but not unless you retain or regain control of it. Often, people have to resort to lengthy and expensive court battles to regain control of property.

Use

Thirdly is use, which is closely associated with control, but the two terms are not completely synonymous. In the analogy of the car that you loaned to Freddie, as long as that car is garaged out of state, then you have neither the control nor the use of it. Control is represented by the garage. Use is represented by the car keys.

The Ability and Rights to Dispose or Convey

The last factor is “the ability and right to dispose or convey”. Again, let’s use the analogy of a car. If you are making payments to a bank on a car, then it isn’t truly yours until after it is paid off. The right to sell or give away any piece of property is often tangled or “clouded” by debt obligations.

Think through those factors. Now consider the incongruity of the phrase: “Time Share Condo Ownership.” Ha! Parenthetically, I should mention that I once had a consulting client who mentioned his time share in Hot Springs, Arkansas and how he considered it his “back-up retreat location”. Talk about wishful thinking!

Without all four factors of ownership, you are not the true owner of anything. If, with those four factors in mind, you then evaluate a leased or shared shelter or retreat space and compare that to a privately-owned retreat property that you occupy year-round, there is a vast difference! Please give serious, prayerful, well-reasoned consideration before entering into any agreement with anyone for a “safe place” venture that your family’s safety depends on!

In my many years of retreat consulting to preppers and survivalists of all income levels, I’ve witnessed several group retreat ventures fall apart. My advice on this is: Beware of any retreat venture where there is “shared” or “common” property. At the very least, this can lead to the classic Tragedy of the Commons. At worst, it can end with ruined family fortunes and a lot of expensive lawyers involved. In my experience, it is best that each nuclear family hold separate title to contiguous parcels where each family builds their own residence on each parcel. This arrangement maximizes the advantages of mutual security but minimizes the risk of false expectations, failed promises to put in a share of work, and unfulfilled promises to pitch in on shared expenses.

If a retreat truly belongs to you, then you only have to worry about human nature in the confines of your own family. Beyond that, you have a situation with far too many variables and factors that can quickly get beyond your control when the Schumer Hits the Fan. – JWR



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"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

Posts: 14903 | From: A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC | Registered: Oct 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
Breacher
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There are budget and social constraints to these situations and the issue on leases and time shares is that they are in fact, a purchase.

The temporary nature of that purchase is reflected in the lease terms, but then so is the right or lack right to sublet and that's where access is either granted, denied, or disputed.

Retreats need certain resources that Mr Rawles implies but speaks around, and two assumptions come to mind, and dare I say it's the natural classism that an Army Intelligence officer is going to retain after service: reliable family members, and a family support level of income base. A.K.A middle class or better, which also goes to military pay structures which are anything but self sufficient or sustainable.

In the rest of the real world, you don't rate more pay because you got hitched and spawned kids, and then there is the issue of either strong personalities in the family who are not into prepping, or weak personalities who will go along but aren't really into it.

Kinda hard to meet those "family values" standards when you have only moderate wealth accumulation and income. For example, in the culture I come from, if you don't have family wealth and support, you don't get married. If you don't have family to support, you won't rate a healthy salary anywhere in that culture. Heck, my own mother ran a credit check on my dad before even agreeing to date him.

A really big factor on this is also reputation, and what stories come out of any of those places. Granted, the predatory groups can make plays on those bunkers, but rolling up those little cabin homesteads, there is not a valid simulation anywhere that shows those as very survivable in the face of a large scale attack. In fact, even small groups can get predatory with them. The common play though, is an adversarial whisper campaign around town, some local official types declare open season on the social outcast, and they get looted and exiled or killed. Don't forget, in the year after the destruction of the Branch Davidians, there were billboards put up supporting the BATF in Texas.

I found that in small town USA in my adult life, the smiles and handshakes last only as long as the padding in my wallet does.

One of the big issues with giving full ownership to shareholders in a retreat area is that they can then sell that to someone who is going to be predatory to the rest of the residents or a detriment in some other way. I have seen that in functionally Ungoverned parts of Northern California where meth lab operators upstream of pot farmers were dumping leftover chemicals. Then you have the dirt common local theif scavenger types, some of who are NOT the bottom of the local food chain. Imagine the nightmare stories when it's the tow truck / junkyard / chop shop operator who is the leader of the local motorcycle club and his brother is the Sheriff and his wife's best friend is married to the district attorney.

I recently rolled out to survey one of those "town for sale" situations in Tiller Oregon, and took lots of pictures, posted reports and opinions, and offered to coordinate Marke since there was interest in establishing it as a planned community. As it was, not too many people took my effort seriously, either on the wealthy side or the piss broke side. That said, personally, I scoped out a bunch of places and opportunities for bugout and relocate options.

That's where the "survival condo corporate management" and their hired security force of outside mercenaries needs to be available for play, and pooling resources to hire that is what makes economic sense. I know personally, providing safe, secure and reliable service to wealthy people who are willing to pay for it is a better bet for me than swearing oaths of mutual aid at the trailer park and expecting it to pay off when I actually need the help. Been there done that.

[ 04-23-2017, 11:42 PM: Message edited by: Breacher ]

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Life liberty, and the pursuit of those who threaten them.

Trump: not the president America needs, but the president America deserves.

Posts: 6705 | From: Western States | Registered: Sep 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
ConSigCor
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I have to agree with this.

quote:
Beware of any retreat venture where there is “shared” or “common” property.

...it is best that each nuclear family hold separate title to contiguous parcels where each family builds their own residence on each parcel. This arrangement maximizes the advantages of mutual security but minimizes the risk of false expectations, failed promises to put in a share of work, and unfulfilled promises to pitch in on shared expenses.

If a retreat truly belongs to you, then you only have to worry about human nature in the confines of your own family. Beyond that, you have a situation with far too many variables and factors that can quickly get beyond your control when the Schumer Hits the Fan. – JWR

That's the way it's always been done in my A/O. If you find anyone willing to "share" common stuff it's usually a freeloader who's only interested in taking your stuff.

There are at least 3 separate family based groups in my immediate area. These groups are made up of immediate family members, long time close friends and vetted "good" neighbors. While these 3 groups are autonomous they all agree on matters of mutual aid to defend the community. In every case, they checked out the area before moving, then each family buys and builds their own homestead. Everyone is within a half mile radius of the primary retreat. They outer edge of the group is no more than 2 miles away. Everyone has off grid radio comms.

The only things we "share" are certain pieces of heavy equipment. We barter and trade amongst ourselves. Produce for work, work for work etc. If someone needs something done, we all pitch in to make it happen. Each family team has a specialty...for example one has a lot of farm equipment, another a sawmill and logging equipment, another machine shop, welding and mechanic tools. If I need a tractor, I go see the farmer. If he needs a tractor repaired, he comes to see me.

--------------------
"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

Posts: 14903 | From: A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC | Registered: Oct 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
airforce
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The Amish have been working like that for centuries. It sure seems to be working pretty well for them.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Posts: 16841 | From: Tulsa | Registered: Jan 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
Breacher
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It's entirely normal to pitch in with people and share stuff, borrow stuff or have stuff borrowed from you. As long as everybody get their stuff back it should all be cool.

If it's a survival situation or gearing up for one and peripheral can't or won't pitch in together and act as a family in a lot of ways, then that's definitely not the people to get involved with a survival retreat on.

Likewise, if your family won't do that or fly with it, then there comes a time to make some very sober decisions about how seriously you are going to take it and where that investment goes.

It's a given that for every serious survivalist in these things, there are going to be a few "passengers", but the real survivalists are the ones most likely to carry the day and you deal with the "passengers" on a case by case basis.

One of those issues with contiguous parcels is that parcel subdivisions are not always possible or practical in a lot of areas. That's especially true in a lot of the areas where survival retreats are getting built and you need some control over who your close neighbors will be.

In that sense, it is definitely a danger point if "the family" suddenly doesn't like you or recruited your efforts on false pretext, or contrives excuses to rob you. The old Masonic and guild networks in Europe along with the Jews of Europe had to contend with that sort of thing all of the time. Non Muslims living in places governed by Sharia law have to deal with it.

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Life liberty, and the pursuit of those who threaten them.

Trump: not the president America needs, but the president America deserves.

Posts: 6705 | From: Western States | Registered: Sep 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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