When I write about SHTF world and interactions between people in that time, I always emphasize that you cannot trust in people any more. There are many examples why in my course.
Your neighbour that had been always nice to you in normal times is simply not same guy when SHTF, because now he may have hard time to keep his family fed, and comparing to his family you are nothing.
So simply trust no one outside your group.
Your group matters, you need people who you can trust, people that you can put your life in their hands. It is your group of people that you are preparing with for the time when SHTF.
Loyalty is one thing that you need to “grow”, and it needs time to grow, that is why it makes sense to have prepared your group before SHTF, it may be slow process, and you need to be sure what kind of people you have there.
My SHTF experience was very bad from the perspective of what I saw when it comes to loyalty.
When you have big number of unprepared folks thrown in really hard situation like war, you can see all kind of examples, mostly bad one.
Yes, I saw people betraying their friends, or even families. Sometimes for the few more hours of life.
Sometimes even for food.
But I have seen also people getting killed trying to save their families, sometimes they were almost sure that they going to get killed.
My old school friend get killed at the beginning of the war simply because he did not wanted to leave his wife under the ruins of collapsed house, he was trying to save her until the moment when rest of the building collapsed and kill them both.
And I already mention people trying to help friends or family members who get shot and wounded from sniper fire, only to get themselves killed from the same sniper.
Once I was pass out from the explosion (detonation) and my relative drag me to safety, while shells were still exploding.
You need to know what kind of people you have with you when it comes to loyalty.
Before you expect loyalty, ask yourself, are you loyal?
What kind of man you are? Do you have feeling of belonging to the group and what that group mean to you?
Of course there is your family or your friends inside the group, but what kind of the things you are ready to do for them? Do not expect more from them if you are not ready to do similar for them.
What keeps your group together?
There s few answers to that, fear can keep group together, or temporary circumstances too can keep it together when SHTF, but both of those examples will keep it together on very short run, and be sure that group not going to function good.
If members of the group are loyal to each other group will function much better, loyalty will be thing that keeps it together when things get tough. Creating a shared goal, idea and identity everyone feels part of, is another way to create more loyalty. You want as much things to be loyal to as possible. Patriots are examples of people loyal to something bigger.
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
I would slightly modify the quote for survival groups and add “loyalty to the group and cause” and not the government. Some of us also do not feel loyal to country anymore because most important ideas and values that country was build upon have been lost long time ago. Just look in your group who is loyal to something. These people can be loyal to your cause or group as well if they want to.
Just try to be realistic when it comes to the loyalty of the people in your group. They are people, not machines. Do not ask from them impossible things.
Everybody has a breaking point. It is important to know EXACTLY where (or when) that breaking point is in every man. Observe people and see where their limits are in low risk situations.
Expect some weird things when people get to that breaking point. You may be surprised when you find out that some “tough” guys have much lower breaking point than you expected. When people break they often forget to put group interest first and just think about themselves. So a loyal weaker person can be much more worth than tough guy who is very selfish.
Point is to understand loyalty ends somewhere for most people. Try to find out that breaking point today BEFORE the SHTF so you can know what to expect.
Vision, goal and causes in your survival group
I saw some groups turn to gangs simply because it was easiest thing to do and took not much effort besides lack of compassion for others. There was no shared cause, vision or goal. Just selfish people who want to survive. Same groups often fell apart because of internal fighting.
In other words what makes group of survivalists different from the simple group of scavengers and thieves? Vision, goals or a cause.
While one group is simply going to use the opportunity of lack of law to do nasty things, other group will try to survive in order to make some sense in all of that chaos. In short you MUST have goal or cause however strange that can sound. Our simple shared cause was to keep our family save. Very simple. I went out and risked my life every day for people back at our place. Think now about shared cause or goal when you are with other families or friends in survival group.
For someone it may be trying to survive in order to build better society afterwards, for other trying to teach folks good things. Do not ever let your group get lost without cause or vision of better tomorrow. A cause or vision can carry group like picture of a loved one you look at when you are held hostage.
A cause can be simply to survive to tell others how it was back then. In this sense I found another cause years after, writing here today.