I’ll admit, if you identify yourself as a survivalist people are going to look at you funny. However, that’s not the only reason to keep your preparedness lifestyle quiet.
My wife accepts my lifestyle, although she doesn’t participate in nor encourage it. To some small degree, she mocks me as being paranoid. (I’m only paranoid if they’re not really out to get me. ;)) She recently found out that I had acquired a small amount of precious metals several years ago. She quickly managed to tell her friends about it over dinner, leading to the inevitable questions of “Do you think the world is going to end?” followed by statements like “Well if it does, we’re just coming to your house.” The wife managed to work in something about having enough food for everyone before I politely shut the conversation down.
My wife, bless her charitable heart, doesn’t seem to understand that I’m preparing to support she and myself in the event of extended emergency – not she and I, her 8 closest friends, their husbands, children, parents, pets, cousins, neighbors, and fourth grade school teachers. A primary part of that understanding, which I have overlooked with her, is what the military terms Operational Security or OPSEC. By concealing the fact that we are not totally dependent on the infrastructure of grocery stores, banks, power and water companies, and public services, we avoid having acquaintances show up on our doorstep expecting to be taken in and provided for.
Beyond that, we have no control over with whom her friends share information. If such information makes the rounds, at some point an unknown element might show up, covertly or overtly, to try to steal from us. While we have plans in place to deal with such an event, a course of avoidance and privacy would have been preferrable.
OpSec doesn’t just apply to gossipy wives – it applies in regards to neighbors who might see you move certain items (like safes, gun cases, crates of ammo, water barrels, cases of MREs or freeze dried food) into your home, landlords and service or delivery people working in your home who may see piles of military surplus gear and get suspicious, or coworkers who notice your web browsing habits and worry about your “unhealthy” interest in firearms.
Play your cards close to your vest. Keep your head down, your mouth closed and your eyes open. Blend into the population, and don’t give anyone a reason to think you any different from them. Your safety may depend upon it.