I once heard a very interesting, if not somewhat grim, outlook on interpersonal conflict from a soldier I served with. Roughly remembered, it goes something like this: “All things being equal, tactical advantage goes to he who cares the least about what he cares about the most.”

I imagine this has to be the mindset of some social predators. The idea that not having loved ones in your life, or being so self-absorbed that you’re willing to cast them aside on a whim to serve your own desires and impulses, could be perceived as a type of “advantage” or “freedom” to act against others.

I’d like to think that most of you reading this can see past the shallow logic of such a mindset and have hit paydirt by understanding the long-term survival benefits of embracing a family/tribe lifestyle. Every person you fold into your survival family (whether they be blood relatives or not) is a potential opportunity to complement your own knowledge, skillsets, strengths, and abilities. As RECOIL OFFGRID alumni Ed Calderon says, “Take the time to invest in people.”

While many of us see ourselves as protectors of our immediate family unit, I’d also posit the idea that the best way to fulfill that role is by teaching every capable member of your group to protect themselves. I recently had a discussion with my significant other that led to this nugget of truth: One of the greatest acts of love we can show our family is to enable them to be more self-sufficient and … frankly … more dangerous to those who might see them as marks.

I say all that to say this: Do not fall into the trap of seeing your family, household, or circle-of-loved-ones as a liability, or as a weakness to be exploited by someone who lacks those relationships in their own life. See them for their full potential, not just as good people who enrich your existence, but as allies, assets, or teammates to rely on in these uncertain times. To that end, we dedicated this issue to promoting skills and knowledge specifically relevant to the protection of family and household. From Forrest Cooper’s real-time article on the “Porch Vikings” of post-George Floyd Minneapolis and Patrick McCarthy’s recap of this year’s virtual Protector’s Symposium, to Jason Squires’ overview of “Good Samaritan” laws and the next part in Neal Olshan’s series on Criminal Profiling, we wanted to provide a coffee table book for everyone in your network that touches on some valuable lessons for group-based survival. We also included articles on covert escape tools, armor carriers, and gun belts to help you and your tribe make informed decisions on how to outfit yourselves to squeeze every advantage from your gear.

Regardless of whether your survival network is your family, coworkers, or bowling league buddies, make sure you stock up on the gear and, more importantly, the knowledge to be ready for whatever the future may hold. If you invest in your people, they’ll likely prove to be your biggest strength, making the tough times a little softer and a little safer.

[Editor's Note: This first appeared in OFFGRID #42.]

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