In Whom Do You Trust? The Value of a Thorough Background Check

September 17, 2012


Can you trust this face after TEOTWAWKI?

The following article has been contributed by a fellow blogger named Jane. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of

When it hits the fan, what matters most might not be what supplies you have, but what allies you surround yourself with. The family unit is our most integral and unbreakable bond, but people without blood ties nevertheless have come together throughout history to make common cause.

Who Has Your Back?

So who has your back? On some very important level, though it’s not the whole story, we are all our brothers’ keepers. After TEOTWAWKI, unless (and even if) the situation is as horrible as that portrayed in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, I imagine that people will again be there for each other, that social units will re-evolve out of necessity, just as they have in all the darkest hours of history. Brotherhoods will be forged out of safety, convenience, shared ideologies, and the fundamental urge for community.

Too often we conceive of survivalism as an endeavor for solitary hermits, but I don’t think that would be the true face of a post-catastrophe world, at least not for long. There’s a clear survival advantage to working in teams, as we learn from family, military life, and the history of nations. Division of labor is a fundamental even for bees, and certainly for humans. Being able to delegate tasks according to ability (though it may be wise to train each person enough to take over any task if necessary) allows for a kind of flexibility and efficiency that solo operators will ever be able to attain.

At the same time, while we must be able to trust others to thrive in this world, we must also know where that trust ends. Trust is not granted without being earned. As President Reagan was famously fond of saying about his negotiations with the Soviet Union, we must “trust, but verify.”

Assembling a Team

So how do you assemble a team of people you have verified enough to trust? Entering into partnerships with other preppers is not a bad idea. Forming voluntary alliances reinforced by time spent together and sworn to mutual protection: this could be a key to survival after SHTF. But such partners should go into this arrangement with both eyes open. Perhaps you should consider agreeing to have background checks run on each other.

Given the paranoia occasionally attendant to this lifestyle, that might have raised a few eyebrows, I’m sure. But hear me out. You don’t have to be as thorough as the CIA or FBI, or even hire a private eye. The kind of background check major companies run on employees often merely involves a look through publicly available documents. These can include criminal records, credit history, property ownership, past employment, etc. Knowing everything about each other lays the groundwork for a clear-eyed, honest alignment of interests.

For another thing: don’t you want to know what someone out there looking into you would find? There’s a reason companies pay hackers to test their electronic defenses, why political candidates are vetted even by their own campaigns: better for you to know your weaknesses before the enemy does.

With knowledge of the best companies and tactics, Jane Smith provides vital information and tips at blogs such as Email her your thoughts or concerns at

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