Defending Yourself in SHTF: Now What

smoking shotgun

Every SHTF scenario may be different, in some Police may be around, in others there may be no police and in this post I will try to outline some things you should take into consideration for both.

So lets say….the world has gone down the tubes, crime, even in your small community has gone up; there have been many break ins and a few violent assaults upon those traveling along the road within the country. 

Long after midnight you hear something break in your garage and you jump up to investigate; upon opening the backdoor you hear the sound of gravel under a boot nearby followed by a shot that lands in the door frame next to you.  You return fire and hit the man who shot you, a engine starts up on the opposite side of the garage and takes off, you fire a few rounds at the vehicle but it keeps going and its taillights disappear over the horizon.

Most prepper novels end there, perhaps they mention a burial, but that’s about it, the only case where this was mentioned that I can think of is a situation that happened in the LIGHTS OUT by David Crawford.

What will happen now? You have  dead body and a pool of blood on your property, what do you do?





If Law Enforcement is present in whatever way is possible call them and have them come to your property.

However one needs to take a few things into account.


Are the Law Enforcement in your area still reliable and trustworthy?

In SHTF law enforcement may become their own gang or they may be corrupted in other ways by other people, either way if they are not reliable, while it may seem strange, your best course of action could be to not tell anyone.  If LE in your area is corrupted what may happen is they may just outright lie and say you committed murder if you are not a well loved member of the community; this could give them a reason to ‘confiscate’ all that you have since you are now a soon to be convicted murderer.  As with many other corrupt LE around the world they may just use this as an opportunity to shake you down for a payoff, or take anything you have that’s worth taking to ‘keep their mouths shut’ etc.

You may end up needing to just bury the body as well as document what happened, which i will explain in the section below about what to do if no LE is present in the area.

This article by Massad Ayoob, a veteran Police Officer and Tactical genius is geared towards what to do after a shooting now, in pre-SHTF times but many of the suggestions could apply to SHTF times when talking to LE after a shooting.  Its worth a read regardless.






This is a very real scenario, things may have gotten so bad that the LE in the area has just disbanded due to lack of funding and/or the Police may have just gone home to protect their own families.

If LE is not present in your area you will want to document this shooting as best you can.

In your preps stick away a few disposable cameras, notepads and pencils (I mentioned it an article prior).  With these you will be able to document as best you can what happened and be able to use them to defend your shooting if you decide to tell authorities after law is restored and/or if you are ever accused of murder in that scenario.

  • Take pictures of the scene from all angles, show where you were standing in relation to the shooter, as well as from the shooter to where you were.  Take detailed photos of the body and where the rounds hit them as well as if any rounds from the bad guy hit your house or anything else document that.  In the scenario I put down at the beginning take a picture of you standing where you were when the rounds hit to illustrate how close they were and also this will help to show they were aimed at you with the intent to kill.
  • If you don’t have a camera, sketch as best you can the scene where the shooting took place and where you both were.  This is not so much as to be used in evidence, but to make sure you remember all the details.  Even post SHTF some a-hole prosecutor could try to slip you up in your account of what happened, this helps to make sure you stick to the facts.
  • Recover any of the bad guys rounds that may be stuck in places around your property and put them in a plastic bag, as well as hold onto their weapon (if analysis can be used to determine what rounds were fired from what gun.  Take pictures of the assailant with his gun.
  • Hold onto the gun for later evidence if possible.
  • Collect witness statements if any.  If neighbors saw anything, even just the car leaving the scene, your wifes recollection and written testimony that you were both in bed when you head the noise, etc.  Also write down minute by minute in full, full, full detail, your account of what happened.
  • Take photos of any identification of the person, if they have them on them.



Another thing to take into account, jumping back to scenario where LE is present, and this is illustrated in the Book LIGHTS OUT that I mentioned earlier, if LE comes and you have all your ducks in a row and they believe you, they may still follow protocol for shootings and confiscate your weapon for ‘later use as evidence’ etc.  What this means is, you may…if you used your primary home defense weapon…tell them you used a less useful weapon you may own.

For me if i used my 870 or AR-15, i would not be apt to give that up in a SHTF scenario, so I just might claim it was my Hi point 9mm pistol that did the deed and not my high end self defense weapon.  While this is just educational discourse, of course, you can see why this may make some sense to do. Besides they probably cant do any wound testing or send it to CSI at the moment, so unless it is a shotgun sized hole in their chest, you can probably get by with that.


Lastly, document where you buried the body, to not draw attention to yourself I probably wouldn’t put up a grave marker, etc. But I would note it down in the photos and write some sort of map to the location (near big oak by the creek, 10 paces to the West, etc.).  For care and burial of a body, you can check out my post on how a TEOTWAWKI funeral.


*Of course the disclaimer is that you should always notify the police of any incident of this sort, this was merealy a hypothetical discourse on a dystopian scenario and should be taken in the educational purpose only spirit it is intended as.  And as always dont be a dumbass and do something like not notify the police in present ‘normal’ times, that’s a quick ticket to life in prison.*





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  1. Ask a dozen people and get a dozen different answers. Location, prior experiences with LE (good or bad), the exact nature of the SHTF event, and a thousand other considerations might all affect your decisions.

    No pics, collecting evidence, or witness statements here, let the police do their own investigating. Better if there’s only one side of the story told anyway. Your “evidence collection” could be viewed as evidence tampering/destruction, and reason for them to investigate further when they wouldn’t have otherwise. Anything you said when asking witnesses for statements, or their impression of your mannerisms, (lack of) remorse, or anything they *thought* you said is admissible too. For me, out in the woods, upper middle class, no criminal history; “I heard noises and went to investigate, when he turned toward me I saw the gun in his hand and he was starting to raise it. I had to stop him before he killed me.”. Nothing more, until I talked to an attorney anyway. Is it appropriate here to mention (real or toy) drop guns?

    Anyway, as for the body, I think I’d write my phone or driver’s license number on a piece of paper and stick it in his pocket, then wrap the body in a tarp and haul it out to the corner. Securing the tarp so it’s obvious a body is inside might dissuade other criminals. Try to call the police everyday, keep a written log, “6/3/2014 – 8am. Tried to call the police, no dial tone”. Repeat.

    • Great Northern Prepper says:

      I specifically noted that evidence collection etc. should be conducted when no LE are present or when they might be completely corrupted and the legal system isnt functional, so no lawyer will be able to help you.

      The idea about calling police repeatedly over time is smart.

  2. Like I said, ask a dozen people.. If the police are corrupt and the legal system isn’t functioning then they’ll do what they want, and your evidence wouldn’t matter anyway. They could shoot you on the spot and claim you resisted arrest, or maybe you just committed suicide in the jail cell. Maybe I’m not understanding that part.

    I was thinking more along the lines of a temporary WROL situation, where it’s reasonable to assume our justice system will return at some point. Police will investigate later, and if they believe you may have committed a crime they’ll turn over all the evidence to the prosecutor, who decides whether to charge you or not. What if one of the witnesses says something in their statement that contradicts your side of the story? Or what if they change their story later, or say they felt coerced/threatened by you to make that particular statement? What if one or more of witnesses should die before the police can even question them, or the evidence you collected and kept safe would have been destroyed (fire, flood, or whatever) if you hadn’t collected it? If they don’t have evidence, they don’t have a case against you. I wouldn’t hand them a box of evidence. You don’t have to prove your innocence, they have to prove your guilt.

    • Great Northern Prepper says:

      I didnt necessarily say you should just hand them the box of evidence and go to the local magistrate and turn yourself in once they are back up and running, chances are you are among many many folks involved in this type of situation. I wouldn’t say anything, if questions are asked then you answer, if they try to ramrod you in a prosecution you can try and use that evidence you collected in your defense. If you dont want to collect any evidence dont, however in the end i feel that you will be better off having that for a rainy day vs them (if we are talking about a corrupt or hostile group in LE) just saying “he did it in cold blood”.

      We have been talking about 1 particular situation, no cops when it happens and they are corrupt and or have it out for you for some reason.

      If that is the case then they are just going to say you did it, you murdered him, and all you will have in your defense is your word. With the evidence, sure the scenarios you listed could come to pass, however in the end are you not better off with it? and if not, then just dont bring it up. You will either be screwed over either way, however perhaps you can swing public opinion with the evidence you have vs just your word.

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