Executive orders and confiscation

So this executive order has been making the rounds of the preparedness blogosphere.  It’s a bit of a read to slog through, but, accurately or not, it is  being seen as another case of ‘.gov coming to take your stuff’. Honestly, I haven’t read it all the way through yet but thats okay because this post isn’t about this particular bit of news, but rather about the notion behind it…that .gov can and willcome to take your stuff someday during a crisis.

Can .gov actually do that? Well, the answer is one of those “Yeah, but….” things.

In recent history I’ve only read anecdotal records of such things happening. During Katrina, there was the famous case of the the cops forcibly taking away a womans pistol. There were also reports of people driving to the disaster scene with supplies for family and firends, getting stopped at police roadblocks/checkpoints, and having those supplies confiscated for distribution/use by the authorities. Stories like these are always hard to prove, and it’s only through amazing fortune that there’s video of that poor woman getting roughed up by the cops.

Before Katrina, I’d read about some incidents back east in Massachusetts where a blizzard event prompted some local authorites to commandeer peoples 4WD vehicles. As I read it, the vehicles were returned some time later but in various states of condition.

What is interesting is that all the instances I’ve read of this sort of thing involve local governments, municipal and state, pulling these sorts of shenanigans. This would seem coutner to what I would have expected since local .gov is usually more accountable since theyre ripping off the people who are their neighbors. I suppose it’s easy for a guy who is part-time mayor of a town to get it into his head that he’s got some sort of ‘lifeboat captain’ authority and demand that folks turn over their stuff for the good of the public, but when it’s all over he better do some fancy talking to justify it.

This isn’t to say that .gov doesn’t do this sort of thing from time to time. Eminent domain is the classic example of .gov seizing your stuff, and although it used to be they could only do that in the name of public development projects like roads and that sort of thing, they can now seize it to be turned over to a private interest if it will bring in more tax money than what you were doing with it.

Theres an old saying that when youre robbing Peter to pay Paul, you can usually count on Paul being pretty cool with that. Same thing applies here…when .gov takes from the prepared to give to the unprepared, the unprepared aren’t going to squawk too much about it. (Heck, isn’t that how income taxes and the Earned Income Credit work?) When your neighbors are hungry and sitting in the cold and the dark, theyre not going to be too concerned about your civil liberties if it means the local armed police (or other agency) will give them  your food and fuel because youre “hoarding”.

The notion of enforcers of .gov authority, be it local cops or the regional FEMA boss, knocking on your door and demanding your food and ammo has been a staple of preparedness fiction for about as long as the stuff has been written, but in actual practice it seems to hardly ever happen. Does that mean its something that doesnt bear being thought about as we stockpile our fortified homes?  Well, it would probably be a good idea not to put too many eggs in one basket. And, of course, they cant confiscate what they don’t know about so opsec is always a good idea.

With preparedness going more and more mainstream it wouldn’t be a stretch to work out some conspiracy theory that .gov is making plans to snatch everyones preps. I think it would be an amazing tactical and logistical nightmare to try that sort of thing on a national scale but I think it’s been shown to work on smaller, regional, local scales.

So, I guess the moral of the story here is to stay off of the local radar so when the sheriff and his buddies are going down their list your name isnt on it, and to not keep all the ggs in one basket.

13 thoughts on “Executive orders and confiscation

  1. So the stories you hear about confiscation of 4WD vehicles are true. The guy I work for lives in upstate New York and is an alderman. He has had his 4WD vehicle confiscated each major snow storm – roughly every two or three years. And never returned. He’s been paid for them of course (at the usual government rate of pennies on the dollar using insurance and/or bluebook values) but usually not even enough to pay off the loans on the vehicles. He’s given up on 4WD cars and now drives a mini-van.

    Gold confiscation is something that is talked about. I’ve got a cousin who is a K-street lawyer and his sole job for almost four years now has been to update the FDR gold confiscation laws and present the updates to a congressional committee to be told to do it again. So even if we say it can’t happen here its being prepared for right now.

    As to the ability of the .gov types to seize your private property — yes the ability is there in legal (though I would argue unlawful) finery. I’ve got a former FEMA regional director working for me right now and one of the things they would do would be to keep track of major stores of supplies in the region so that in the aftermath of an event they could (with proper pieces of paper to leave for “payment”) seize and use the supplies.

    In the aftermath of Katrina one of my neighbors who works as an independent trucker did have his load of campers seized by FEMA. What was stupid was he was under contract by RKB to deliver the campers to a work camp in souther Alabama that was being used to house displaced (from company quarters) oil field workers.

    So yeah, keep it off the radar, practice OPSEC, and be prepared to defend what you have.

  2. I know where the Local authorities live and where their kids go to school. I don’t think I’ll have a problem.

  3. .gov has done it in the past. of course we were at war at the time. my grandfather had to give the gov 70% of any wood he harvested for lumber to build his house in 1944. same went for crops and cattle. if you wanted to by items like rubber tires, oil, anything the army might need, you had to have ration coupons. no coupons no sugar, flour, coffee etc. i wish i knew what has scared them so badly that they will openly gut the constitution this way. its like they are prepping for intergalactic warfare or something.

  4. One topic that I’m not seeing in this discussion is your own neighbors and neighborhood. If the situation is such that the local authorities are just trying to keep up with the really bad stuff and your subdivison or small neighborhood is cut off for a week or longer, I would be concerned about everyone trying to “band together.” Now, I do feel I would help out where I could for my neighbors, but I would still be cautious about putting everything I have into a group “basket”.

    A few years back we hosted the neighborhood Christmas party and I had to block off one section of the basement because I didn’t need any nosy neighbors poking around in the house and seeing what I have down there. The hidden piece of tape I had on the door indicated that no one did go in. It was nice to see that everyone did respect our privacy.

    Just another tib-bit to think about.

  5. At this point I’m really afraid to comment any further. Just read on Jim Rawles’ blog that the FBI has been attaching cookies to sites like his, so Adios Commander Zero, it’s been an honor knowing you. (If you are able please erase my email adress from you computer-God Bless

  6. 4 wheel drives were seized in the blizzard of ’78 in Ct. They were returned months later. My neighbor had a brand new one, it came back needing a new transmission and tires.
    He never could get to the bottom of who had, it was considered “totaled” by his insurance company.
    The check was for half of what he paid for it.
    So, he bought clunkers that barely ran, ooh he had a brand new jeep registered out of State. He drove that until Winter, then went to Fla, and took the bus back and drove clunkers.

  7. 4 wheel drives were seized in the blizzard of ’78 in Ct. They were returned months later. My neighbor had a brand new one, it came back needing a new transmission and tires.
    He never could get to the bottom of who had, it was considered “totaled” by his insurance company.
    The check was for half of what he paid for it.
    So, he bought clunkers that barely ran, ooh he had a brand new jeep registered out of State. He drove that until Winter, then went to Fla, and took the bus back and drove clunkers.

  8. 4 wheel drives were seized in the blizzard of ’78 in Ct. They were returned months later. My neighbor had a brand new one, it came back needing a new transmission and tires.
    He never could get to the bottom of who had, it was considered “totaled” by his insurance company.
    The check was for half of what he paid for it.
    So, he bought clunkers that barely ran, ooh he had a brand new jeep registered out of State. He drove that until Winter, then went to Fla, and took the bus back and drove clunkers.

  9. 4 wheel drives were seized in the blizzard of ’78 in Ct. They were returned months later. My neighbor had a brand new one, it came back needing a new transmission and tires.
    He never could get to the bottom of who had, it was considered “totaled” by his insurance company.
    The check was for half of what he paid for it.
    So, he bought clunkers that barely ran, ooh he had a brand new jeep registered out of State. He drove that until Winter, then went to Fla, and took the bus back and drove clunkers.

  10. There was a fellow ( a blogger, TJIC ) last year who had his weapons seized without due process up in the communist state of MA by the “local” government.

    I think if we look beyond the “they’re coming to get my stuff” thinking, we’ll see that this is really a shortcut to NATIONALIZE whole companies and whole industries including those held by foreign enitieis. Sure they’ll grab individual caches of supplies when it suits them, but the most bang for the buck is the factories and companies.

  11. I’m, so, not worried about this. Governments have all sorts of plans, directives, orders. That one’s probably an update of one that’s been on the books for 50 years and has never been used.

    This is just people looking for a reason to freak out about ’cause there’s a scary black man in the White House…

    Katrina was a royal cluster fuck and shows you what can happen when disaster hits a place that’s already fairly lawless, corrupt, and has been collapsing for 20 years.

    Where I’m at isn’t lawless, corrupt, or collapsing and has well thought out and funded disaster plans as is most of America.

    We’ve had plenty of disasters after Katrina and people didn’t get their stuff taken away, martial law wasn’t declared, and no one was shipped off to (nonexistent) FEMA re-education camps.

  12. Michael, you ever here of the term head in the sand? This has to be one of the freshest comments I have heard in a while:”Where I’m at isn’t lawless, corrupt, or collapsing and has well thought out and funded disaster plans as is most of America”

    Seriously?

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