Guns for Neighbors: The Ultimate Neighborhood Watch Program

In a short essay written by former Navy SEAL and apocalyptic novelist Matthew Bracken entitled “Arm Thy Neighbor,” it is recommended that homeowners concerned about self-defense and a potential collapsing economy consider buying a few extra guns and ammunition to pass around the neighborhood when the time comes. Bracken openly admits that his advice may not be appreciated by all: “I can hear you saying, ‘What is Bracken talking about? If that foolish grasshopper of a neighbor didn’t bother about his security when guns were readily available, why should I worry about him now? Besides, he may even be an anti-gun liberal, so the hell with him!’” Despite negative comments and naysayers, Bracken makes some good points that should be diligently thought over.

First, Bracken says, former anti-gun liberals will quickly change their tune when the war for survival comes to their doorstep.

When violence explodes during an economic collapse, millions of new conservatives will be created from former left-wingers. And besides philosophically anti-gun liberals, many folks simply grow up in families where guns are not present and reach adulthood having never touched a firearm. But no matter why they don’t own firearms, when the ultra-violence breaks out your neighbors down the street will deserve a way to defend themselves from criminal predation. Simple charity, Christian or otherwise, suggests that we should not leave the elderly couple, the widow or the single mom with young children defenseless against evildoers bent on rape, robbery or murder.

Second, Bracken makes the practical point that a gun and some ammo given out in advance with a sufficient amount of training will make you appear as a trusted leader when and if things get bad. He writes: “Training a non-shooter in the safe operation of firearms also shows your own overall knowledge of security issues. This demonstrated firearms proficiency will stand you in good stead when your leadership skills and tactical knowledge may benefit your overall neighborhood security posture.”

Third, more guns mean multiple fields of fire. Once looters and thieves realize that many homes in a neighborhood are in possession of firearms, ammo, and the willingness to use them, the word will get around. Bracken says: “Consider why tiny Switzerland has never been invaded by its much more powerful and often bellicose neighbors. It’s not because of the Alps. It’s because the Swiss have a strong tradition of armed self-defense at every level.”

Finally, arming your neighbors can help to “provide you with a critical early warning of imminent danger when [a neighbor] fires it in self-defense.” This is a key tactical point that should not be taken lightly. “Forewarned is forearmed,” Bracken says, “even if the warning is a rapid series of pistol shots heard from up the street at oh-dark-thirty.” Either way, he says, it would obviously be preferable “to hear defiant shots than helpless screams.”

Bracken’s advice is certainly not without its critics, many of which seem to think that his essay is naïve. Perhaps, but what he says makes good sense and should certainly be thought over before being completely dismissed. If the bottom falls out and mass chaos ensues, it will definitely be better to be armed with your neighbors than to be armed without them.