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Could be a tough question.. Looting vs Salvaging vs Scavenging

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  • Could be a tough question.. Looting vs Salvaging vs Scavenging


    Assuming SHTF has happened, where is the line between looting and scavenging?

    Think of all the possible scenarios and situations, The scale can go from one extreme side to the other, and the extremes are the easy ones to figure out. But what about the grey fuzzy areas in the middle?

    Say an EMP takes out everything electronic and its far worse than we ever imagined. Any car with a computer chip has just been converted to a paperweight and the roads are littered with empty vehicles. Within a day after the event, cars are abandoned and people are walking home, probably to never return.

    Homes that sit empty for weeks or months where the occupants left for vacation or possibly died off somehow.

    You need something, a resource you're missing for some reason. Where's the line between stealing or looting vs salvaging or scavenging?


  • #2
    First we are preppers, so we should have our own supplies to start with. Next going with your scenario, after several days of a home / building being abandoned, I would investigate and look for supplies. If I found any, I would make a list of everything I found and was taking. Then I would add these supplies to the back end of my supplies. I would focus on my stuff and leave the other supplies until and if I ran out of my supplies. That should give the previous owner plenty of time to return, if they are going to be able to return. It would be crazy to leave the stuff behind for somebody less honest than me to take. There will be people that scavenge from day one, simply because they did not prepare. It would be a shame if somebody walked week to get home, only to find out his supplies had been taken. My plan allows folks time to get home, if they are going to be able to get home, and still have their supplies returned to them. The difference between scavenging and looting is be prepared to return the items if the previous owner returns.
    It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war!

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    • #3
      It depends on the type of event, but given your scenario I would say after 30 days of WROL I will scavenge for what I need from abandoned homes/buildings without guilt.

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      • #4
        Just read some Jerry D Young stories.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tmttactical View Post
          First we are preppers, so we should have our own supplies to start with. Next going with your scenario, after several days of a home / building being abandoned, I would investigate and look for supplies. If I found any, I would make a list of everything I found and was taking. Then I would add these supplies to the back end of my supplies. I would focus on my stuff and leave the other supplies until and if I ran out of my supplies. That should give the previous owner plenty of time to return, if they are going to be able to return. It would be crazy to leave the stuff behind for somebody less honest than me to take. There will be people that scavenge from day one, simply because they did not prepare. It would be a shame if somebody walked week to get home, only to find out his supplies had been taken. My plan allows folks time to get home, if they are going to be able to get home, and still have their supplies returned to them. The difference between scavenging and looting is be prepared to return the items if the previous owner returns.

          tmt, it is not nice to think about it, but I believe that when ot would be cleat the good days are over, people will turn into monsters very quickly. So we might be preppers, which could make us calm for first few days, but very soon we would struggle to defend our supplies and after 30 days, there might be not much to scavenge.
          Surely, I will not run to my neighbours houses with gun (remember less than 3% people own a gun in my country) and steal their food, but I would most probably break in few local shops and grab as much stuff as I can, and also search for abandoned trucks nearby, as they might be full of valuable supplies and usually are not the first tought for looters.

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          • #6
            Most southern states after Katrina 95 happened changed state laws allowing people to take items needed from stores after a major disaster. We are talking food, water, items for cooking shelter and clothing. This does not mean 65 inch K4 TV's!!!!

            Yes most people do not prepare for most disasters.

            When I go into the store in May and buy 4 cases of toilet paper, all I have to say is "Hurricane supplies" and all you get is a nod of the head. Now if I try that with 2000 rounds of shotgun ammo, and say "Dove season" people will give you a dirty look!

            Done it been there!!!!!!!

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            • #7
              There is no real difference in scavenging and looting.
              It's a silly word game, since both are "stealing".

              Don't attempt to rationalize it to make yourself feel good about it, and don't be upset when someone wants to "scavenge" your stuff if you think it's acceptable.

              The OP has stated on other sites he wouldn't hesitate to shoot to kill if he even thought someone was going to take something of his. He's also mentioned shooting LEO's.

              I don't suspect he will last long in a real SHTF though,
              Someone else will enjoy all his preparations.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tmttactical View Post
                First we are preppers, so we should have our own supplies to start with. Next going with your scenario, after several days of a home / building being abandoned, I would investigate and look for supplies. If I found any, I would make a list of everything I found and was taking. Then I would add these supplies to the back end of my supplies. I would focus on my stuff and leave the other supplies until and if I ran out of my supplies. That should give the previous owner plenty of time to return, if they are going to be able to return. It would be crazy to leave the stuff behind for somebody less honest than me to take. There will be people that scavenge from day one, simply because they did not prepare. It would be a shame if somebody walked week to get home, only to find out his supplies had been taken. My plan allows folks time to get home, if they are going to be able to get home, and still have their supplies returned to them. The difference between scavenging and looting is be prepared to return the items if the previous owner returns.
                But that only works if the items being taken are not consumables and assumes a very black and white situation. See below

                Originally posted by SonofLiberty View Post
                It depends on the type of event, but given your scenario I would say after 30 days of WROL I will scavenge for what I need from abandoned homes/buildings without guilt.
                I think we can all agree that no matter how much prepping one does, there is bound to be something that we need later down the road.

                Lets look at something a bit more in the gray area.

                Hypothetical 1)
                There's a 200 acre field next to me. The farmer who plants it is somewhere around 90 years old now. While he owns the land, he lives about 10 miles away. There's an old barn on the property that's falling apart and a couple silo's that are going to topple over any day, but no home. Along with that, he has a pile of rocks that must be 150 yards long, 15 feet wide and at least 8 feet high in some places. These rocks vary in size from about 4 inches to huge 3 foot boulders. I keep imagining the kinds of things that could be built with that many rocks to work with.

                At what point would most folks think its acceptable to go take those rocks? Immediately? After 30 days if he doesn't show up? 6 months later when half the population is dead or starving? 3 years when the world has gone Mad Max? Never, because he might show up one day?

                Hypothetical 2)
                You're taking a drive in your SHTF buggy.. You know, the one you outfitted with the high tech armor, put a SAW on top, and runs on lithium ion batteries at 60mph? You're traveling down the road in your local area and you pass one of those combination hardware/grocery stores. The doors are kicked in, parking lot is littered with garbage, windows all broken out, a couple of rotting bodies near the door.. But it seems that no one was interested in the PVC pipe fittings or the plastic tubing, or the bins with nuts and bolts in them.. Can't really eat that kind of stuff...

                Take it immediately? 30 days? 6 months? Wait until everything has gone Mad Max?


                I've been reading a lot of books lately and some of the fanciful scenarios presented do raise some ethical questions. When you have choices, ethics are usually easy to figure out, but in a SHTF world, its not always so simple.

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                • #9
                  Hypothetical #1: Have you talked to him about the rocks? Maybe you could have them now?
                  Hypothetical #2 Doors already kicked in? Clear the area and I would grab the PVC now if I really needed it.

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                  • #10
                    I've been reading a lot of books lately and some of the fanciful scenarios presented do raise some ethical questions.
                    I've always said most of your ideas are right out of Jerry D Young stories.
                    You won't have to worry about surviving "SHTF".

                    Someone will take you out early to get all the stuff you buy. ;)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SonofLiberty View Post
                      Hypothetical #1: Have you talked to him about the rocks? Maybe you could have them now?
                      Hypothetical #2 Doors already kicked in? Clear the area and I would grab the PVC now if I really needed it.
                      Na, don't even know how to contact the guy.. Heck, I'm not even sure if he's still alive.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Murphy View Post

                        Na, don't even know how to contact the guy.. Heck, I'm not even sure if he's still alive.
                        Tax records..........they are online.
                        One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sourdough View Post

                          Tax records..........they are online.
                          Ya, but what am I going to say? "Hi Mr Farmer, I live next to your rock pile. Can I take your rocks if the world comes to an end?"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Murphy View Post

                            Ya, but what am I going to say? "Hi Mr Farmer, I live next to your rock pile. Can I take your rocks if the world comes to an end?"
                            I live next to your rock pile. Are you using them for anything? Would you mind if I used some for a few upcoming projects?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SonofLiberty View Post

                              I live next to your rock pile. Are you using them for anything? Would you mind if I used some for a few upcoming projects?
                              That approach is problematic for me on several levels. Its most likely a geography thing and may not apply to every area.

                              One of the things I've learned throughout my life is to never ask a neighbor to give me something of commercial or marketable value for free. It can be offensive to some folks.
                              Around my parts, rocks are sold at landscape supply places by the ton. They're even sold on craigslist. They have value, and his rock pile is probably worth around $10K - $20K judging by its size. There's probably enough rocks there to build a 5000 sqft two story home with a 3 car garage, and still have half the pile left over.

                              I could offer to purchase them, but then I'd be offering to buy a bunch of rocks I really don't need so long as I'm not expecting anyone to be shooting at my home.

                              In a SHTF situation, the commercial value of those rocks goes to near zero since transportation and marketing are no longer applicable. This is why I brought them up as an example.

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