When I moved to the mountains I came with my family and dogs and knew nobody, which was a less than optimal situation. While some might subscribe to the lone wolf concept I realize that I cannot be all things, know all things and quite honestly have to sleep sometime. Friendships must be established with key components being trust and mutual respect. Yet there are layers, or a hieracrchy that exists within my new circle in that not everyone gets full access as they are role players. On one end of the scale you might have someone who comes over and shares a meal with my family, discusses preps and checks out my guns (and I could do the same at his place). On the other end might be someone I train with and could call in a time of need but would definitley not have the level of access as the other individual.
When dealing with people I think it’s important to vet them, or rather gain an understanding of where they stand on issues and what they bring to the table. Even things like personality play a factor, are we compatable and can we work as a team. I do this by sometimes offering up bits of info to start a conversation, or maybe I let them work it from their end. Regardless here are some of the topics I like to work through.
Practical Preparedness: This is important as I need someone to be grounded and practical, are you working towards the threats we face here in our community or are you busy digging that bunker for when the bombs start dropping. I met with one guy who was obsessed with nuclear fallout and EMP’s, while those are certainlly in play I think a more probable scenario would be getting snowed in or working out of a bad fire.
Freedoms: Thoughts on carrying a gun for protection, property ownership, the use and reach of government at the local and higher levels.
Skills: Maybe they are a general contractor or just super handy, in the medical field / LEO / engineer / some other sort of trade. In other words do we have skills that can mesh in order to boost our overall effectiveness, or are they a cubicle type with no real expertise in anything at all. Not saying there can be a use there but skills are a very important factor.
Consistency: What are they like over time and multiple interactions. I’m looking for consistency and depth, a surface player who is limited in scope is not someone I’m interested in.
Comfortable with Ambiguity: This is probably the hardest to evaluate but the most important. Are they comfortable in situations that could be considered gray areas, not necessarily breaking the law but interactions / scenarios which test one’s mental agility. It’s easy to ride around with pro (insert politician) stickers, NRA, 2A all over the windshield on one linear plane of thought. “I am who I am and think what I think and everyone else be damned because the only right answers are those I subscribe to etc…” Those folks have a use but are almost as bad as the other end of the spectrum, if you know what I mean. Mental agility and being able to operate in and around ambiguous situations are not things most are able to do because it pulls them outside of their comfort zone.
The Bottom Line
Develop relationships, know who you can trust and how you can best place them on your own hierarchy list. Do you eventually give them complete access and vice versa or are they held at a distance yet still part of the team? What methods or gates have you put in place in order to work this process? This is next level preparedness, not just stacking ammunition to the roof and slapping a Molon Labe sticker on the back windshield.