Disaster Survival: When is it OK to Steal?

Disaster Survival: When is it OK to Steal?


Disaster Survival: Pitting Reality Against Morality

It's easy to sit on a moral high horse while times are good. But when disasters strike, there's a guarantee that theft will follow.

It's not always career criminals smashing and grabbing. Sometimes it's people in tough situations getting critical supplies using the only option available. There's a fine line between “looting” and “scavenging for necessities.” Where you fall on it will depend on how you answer this question: When is it OK to steal?

To put this into context, Living Ready asked readers on its Facebook page to think about the following scenario:

It's been three weeks since your utilities went out following a major disaster. Your water supplies are almost gone, and your family is literally dying of thirst. You know your neighbor has more than enough water stockpiled in a nearby garage. You know you could sneak in and take some with anyone noticing. Would you steal water for your family?

Disaster Survival: Is It Ever OK to Steal?

The responses went in a surprising direction. The consensus was that bartering should be the first course of action. Using skills learned ahead of time to purify water was also referenced. It goes to show how important it is to be educated about survival situations before they happen.

“No, I would not steal my neighbor's water. I have many skills. I have plenty of other stockpiled goods. And if my neighbor was attempting to cut me off from water on purpose and flat out refused to share or trade, I'M STILL NOT STEALING OR TAKING HIS WATER. If there's no local water and I cannot drill into the aquifer, then it is time to migrate. But I will tell every thirsty migrant I pass along the way about my ex-neighbor's easily accessible stockpile of water…and the newly empty home next to him.” – William Major

“Steal, no. I would, however, offer to trade him something, whether it be useful items, labor to turn his yard into a garden, or taking a few security watch shifts at his house so he can get some things done or get some sleep. And if he refused any of those things, I'd be heading out to the nearest water source – no matter how far or difficult it was.” – Carrie Bartkowiak

“No. Stealing is not the way to gain an ally, but to ensure they are an enemy. Ask, trade, beg or find some way to work together.” – Jeff Tremblay

“Get some sillcock wrenches for your urban bug out bag, you can tap exterior water outlets on commercial buildings. Also learn how to collect and purify water using charcoal and sand filters. Better then stealing!” – Regis Johnson

“If it was a matter of life or death – yes! Then I would have enough to live on for a few days while I search out for water for my family.” – Deborah L. Earl

“If it's okay to steal water from him, then it is OK to steal everything else he has. May as well just kill him, too. If it's for my family, that makes it OK, doesn't it? And people wonder whats wrong with our society. Sheesh.” – Darrel Gill

“Until it happens, people can say ‘I wouldn't,' ‘I can't' or ‘that's wrong.' But look at how emotional parents gets over something stupid. Now add in stress, fatigue, anger, frustration and hunger. Then watch the morals and society fade away.” – Rusty Mallett

What would you do in that situation? Leave a comment below.


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