Survival UK Forums

Full Version: Rethinking the Grey Man
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Recent events are making me think that to be truly 'grey', the prepper actually needs to be nore of a chameleon. I realize the current situation is nothing like a SHTF event (or at least not yet!) but the build-up could be similar, and it's struck me how very public and open the whole thing has been. Instead of just walking past without taking notice, people have suddenly become much, much more interested in their neighbours.

Some of this interest is hostile. I chose to blend in by clapping the NHS along with most of the people on my road, but was shocked by the suspicion with which many were regarding those households who did NOT join in. Even at social distance I could see the black looks being cast at the silent houses, and hear someone saying 'I bet they're hoarders'. If the situation had degenerated, these houses would have been the first target for looting.

Some of the interest is just kindness - a natural extension of the feeling of 'we're all in it together'. No-one can blame this instinct, but as an NHS Responder phone volunteer I came across two cases where households who might have been naturally reclusive from choice were being named to us as places we ought to phone or visit 'to check they're okay'. I should stress that the Responders did not do this - the rule is only to go where we're invited - but it was quite clear neighbours were doing a lot of banging on doors where it might have been very unwelcome.

I might have thought this problem was only a result of having to spend lockdown in a fairly built-up area (large village), but it turned out to be the same at my real house in the country. My neighbour there phoned me on the mobile because (not knowing I was down south) they were all getting worried at my non-appearance and wanted to check I was all right. Our house there is relatively isolated, but I hadn't made allowances for the fact that in the North people are much friendlier. Actually this has helped me, as my very kind neighbours kept my garden watered all through the first months until I could get back up to look after it myself.

All of this has clarified my idea of the 'grey man' - that to be truly invisible we need to blend in. It's meant that for me to step back, I've had to step forward - hence the volunteering, the clapping, and even some lending of supplies. Because I gave my neighbour my 'spare' bag of strong bread flour, no-one thinks I'm a prepper, and no-one thinks I've got anything else hidden away. On the contrary - when I helped another neighbour register for help on the vulnerable list, the first thing she did when her food parcel arrived was bring me round some pasta and tinned tomatoes because she didn't eat them and 'thought I might need it'.

How do other members feel about this? Am I the only one who was surprised by the way the public reacted to all this, or has your experience been different? I know we're not really into Major Event territory yet, but I think what we're seeing might be a good indication of how things might go in the early stages of a big one, and would be very interested to hear your thoughts.
Lou, I always seen the grey man as blending in. So what you are saying makes sense.

I am seen as a bit of a rebel in my street. I don't clap like a performing seal especially as there was no fish. I do appreciate the front line workers in the NHS though although I think the NHS needs destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up.

The general public are as thick as three short planks. IQs and thinking capability have declined over the last few decades and people can hold two conflict items of data in their head at the same time and believe them without any issues. I love watching them tear each other apart.

It can't go on. More and more people are taking the red pill and waking up. America is leading the way as usual so it will be interesting seeing how it goes there. My money is on a civil war.
That's interesting, SD, and I don't disagree - but in a way that really clarifies the question. Which is more important - our principles, or our survival?

Like you, I'm a rebel, as I suspect most of the members are. But is it a good idea to let ourselves be SEEN as rebels? I don't like doing circus tricks either, but if blending in makes it safer to live undetected as a prepper, then I'll clap like any seal while dancing up and down on a stripey beach ball.

For me, survival and secrecy go very closely together. If the SHTF really does happen, I think it'll be safer to be that nice but dull woman who'll help out if she can (but mostly can't), than to be the oddball who keeps herself to herself and is hiding goodness know what stores inside her secretive walls.

I suspect this makes you a better person than I am!
There are going to be a lot of desperate people , out of work and bills to pay, children to feed and clothe and keep warm and a roof to shelter under , todays unemployment figures , although staggering .....are just the start of what’s coming and at speed the like we have never seen before .

I do not see many of us acting out the grey man particularly well .....it would be extremely dangerous to go out and about .....although we would have to put up the pretence of being just as f..led as everyone else ....but very necessary to blend in .......we have seen some of these desperate types with real short fuses already .....the financial impact will increase month on month from here on in .....we have seen nothing yet folks .
I agree, SS. Once an event escalates, I think there'll effectively be a mob so desperate they won't care who you are and what you do - all they'll want is any food or drugs you might have. How we cope with THAT stage is really what we're all prepping for.

I guess the 'grey man' bit is really for the early stages, when at least I think it'll buy us time. Blending in now makes sure we're not the first target - we might be the 20th, but that gives us time to bug out or sort our defences, depending on what our plan might be.

In fact, I don't think it's just about blending in, but also about deflecting resentment. Anyone who looks rich, comfortable or well provided for is definitely going to be a target - of hate, as much as desperation.

As an example, I had a potential problem with that with online shopping. I've been aware for a long time that while online groceries won't survive long into an Event, in the early period of shortages they'll be a lifeline over which people will fight tooth and nail. For that reason I took the prepping precaution of registering years ago with no fewer than four companies, and have divided my shopping among them ever since - thus ensuring 'loyalty access' in times of increased demand. This, of course, is exactly what happened, and while most people were scrabbling round desperately to get 'slots', I had deliveries all through the early stages, until my 'vulnerable status' ensured them through the rest. All well and good - but I could see almost immediately the resentment in the eyes of neighbours who couldn't get deliveries, and the way they watched every bag going in with narrowed and envious eyes. This was dangerous, so what I did was take orders from my neighbours, asking them if they wanted anything addded to the delivery for themselves. I was already doing this for my elderly and very vulnerable next-door neighbours, so nobody felt patronised and everyone was suddenly grateful and happy. Of course the supermarket often hadn't got what they wanted (flour, cornflour, sanitiser, loo roll etc) but they knew I tried, and the shortages also made it clear to them that I too was going without. That danger has passed now, but if the situation had really deteriorated then I think I did well to defuse what could have been a nasty situation.

None of us know how it'll play out in reality, but I think I'm basically a bit of a coward and will take every precaution I possibly can - just in case!
I agree with the postings here. Being a natural maverick myself, I find it difficult to go along with the crowd when all instincts are saying "Run like hell, this isn't safe!" I too "adopted" a few vulnerable neighbours and provided spare eggs and offers to get what was needed. I live in a fen village where there are now a lot of incomers, and so far all they have done is moan about, well.... everything. It's difficult to shrug and sympathise that it is hard times for everyone, but I do get the feeling that a lot of the incomers would be the first ones to break ranks if things get really tough. People are already feeling the pinch - I think this is true of most places to some degree, but in rural areas where work is harder to find then people turn to their wits to bring in the money. We currently have a spate of dog-napping going on, and it is purely for money because pups are desirable assets. Not nice. Tempers are getting shorter.
(11 August 2020, 14:13)Little Lou Wrote: [ -> ]That's interesting, SD, and I don't disagree - but in a way that really clarifies the question. Which is more important - our principles, or our survival?

Little Lou,

It has to be our survival. My principles can only be upheld if I am alive. This is the reason that people can be blackmailed.

I am helpful up to a point with tools etc but I won't help with foodstuffs, the shops are open 24Hrs and I've never been called on for medical gear it depends who it is and what the injury is whether I would help or not. That is an area of concern.

They know I'm a rebel but not that I prep.
(12 August 2020, 20:13)MaryN Wrote: [ -> ]It's difficult to shrug and sympathise that it is hard times for everyone, but I do get the feeling that a lot of the incomers would be the first ones to break ranks if things get really tough.

Yes, I'm afraid I agree. Technically I'm an 'incomer' myself up north, but because I came from there initially and still have family in the area I've been lucky enough to escape the label - and can see for myself the difference it makes to people's attitudes. One little example: my farming friends sell eggs from a little Honesty Box outside the main gate, and just before lockdown when the shortages were starting to grip I witnessed an actual physical tussle between two women for the last eggs in the box. My friend knew them both, and just said sadly 'Incomers. They don't get how it works round here.'

(12 August 2020, 20:13)MaryN Wrote: [ -> ]People are already feeling the pinch - I think this is true of most places to some degree, but in rural areas where work is harder to find then people turn to their wits to bring in the money. We currently have a spate of dog-napping going on, and it is purely for money because pups are desirable assets. Not nice. Tempers are getting shorter.

Again, I think you're spot on. True, burglaries are increasing massively in my village down south, but that's the work of professional criminals who couldn't break in anywhere during lockdown. Now for the first time I'm seeing low level crime up north as well - theft of vegetables from allotments, break-ins to garden sheds - the kind of thing done by desperate amateurs who are really feeling the pinch.
If it's like this now, how will it be when things get really serious?
(13 August 2020, 15:53)Skean Dhude Wrote: [ -> ]They know I'm a rebel but not that I prep.
You hit the nail on the head here. Of course you're right, but what's scaring me is that people no longer seem to care about the difference. It took about 2 seconds between one neighbour saying 'Look at them, no respect' about a household which failed to clap the NHS, to another saying 'I bet they're hoarders'. There is absolutely no connection between the two things, but we seem to be turning into a dystopian society where merely to be 'different' is to be the enemy. It's a kind of 'you're either with us or against us' writ large.

I think what they're really bothered by is the existence of independent thought - and that is really frightening.
I don't have that where I live. I do have them clapping but they don't see non clappers as the enemy. Just ungrateful. I've had several discussions usually culminating in me pointing out how a relative died through a NHS cock up where nothing was done. People are easy led. that covers both directions.