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Traveling to Your Safe Haven During a WROL Event- Part 1, by E.P.


This article will provide general guidance and a few specific examples on getting your team to your safe haven destination during a “Without Rule of Law” (WROL) event in one piece. I am an engineer and a lawyer by trade. In my 20+ years of prepping, I have come across few fellow preppers with a well thought out plan for traveling to their bug out location during a WROL event.

I have an important note at the outset. With respect to all of the comments below, it is assumed a WROL event has occurred. Most of us are well on their way to acquiring enough ammunition, firearms, food, water, medical supplies, et cetera for facing a WROL event. On the other hand, preparing the group for moving to the safe location seems to be one of the last issues addressed.

Anything That Attempts to Interfere With Mission Should Be Considered Hostile

Why is this assumption important? It’s important because some of the suggestions will force you and your team to think outside the box and challenge how you perceive and interact with authority figures and governmental entities when all hell breaks loose. Simply put, during a WROL event anyone or anything that attempts to interfere with your mission, making it to the safe haven, should be considered hostile. Only you and your group can decide how best to respond to hostile intent in a WROL condition.

Issue 1: How Do You Know a WROL Has Occurred?

You and your group will only set out to your WROL-safe location when a WROL event takes place. Should a WROL event occur, don’t expect the local or national news services to provide a “WROL alert”. It won’t happen. As such, your group must decide what constitutes a WROL event well before the same occurs.

Identify WROL Event, Put Together a Plan

Events such as severe regional weather disasters, wide spread civil unrest, economic collapse, and firearm confiscations are reasonable examples of a possible WROL situation. Your group leadership should identify the events that will trigger a move to the safe location well in advance of any actual travel. Put together a communication plan that provides each member with a notification that a group-defined WROL event has occurred and that all members are expected to move to the safe location within a designated number of days. I will discuss travel-related communications and strategy in more detail below.

Governmental Emergency and Disaster Declarations

Pay particular attention to news reports of potential governmental emergency and/or disaster declarations. Why? Because at each level– local, state and federal– any existing government, whether fully functional or not, will have, and may exert, statute-based draconian authority to restrict travel, take private property, and jail citizens once such a declaration has been made. If you attempt to travel to the safe location after such a declaration, you run a higher risk of the facing the use of force against your team along your planned route(s).

Summary of Issue 1

A summary of Issue 1 actions for your group follows:

  1. Agree to what constitutes a WROL event,
  2. Pay attention to the type of actions that lead to such events (news discussions related to emergency declarations, for example),
  3. Have a WROL event notification plan in place,
  4. Communicate the WROL event designation to your team, and
  5. Get on the road early.

Issue 2: Switching Mindsets, Accomplish the Mission and Rules of Engagement

Once a WROL event takes place, the normal rules governing societal conduct change. Prior to taking to the road, you and your group should have already discussed in detail the types of situations you are likely to face during a WROL event.

How will your group respond? Are all members in agreement as to the current mission (traveling to the safe-location) and the group’s rules of engagement should you face the use of force by an opposing group or individuals?

Your group’s travel-related mission might be to get all members to the safe-location within the allotted time period. Make sure everyone understands this simple idea and acknowledges the same.

Mission Statement, Verbally Agree in Presence of All Other Members

One suggestion is to draft a mission statement. Have each member read and verbally agree to the mission statement in the presence of all other members. It will be easier to ensure future compliance if every member can point to a non-compliant individual’s prior assent to the mission statement.

Related:  How I Sued My Neighbor and Won- Part 2, by A.E.

Why would a member seek to stray from the mission statement? By definition, during a true WROL event, the group could face any number of potential life-threatening situations, most unplanned.

Should the team detour to help a non-member? Should the group comply with a roadblock?

If all members are on board with the mission statement it is less likely one or more members will balk at taking the correct action, action that will benefit the group as a whole in accomplishing the mission, which is to make it to a safe haven.

Each Member Must Have Knowledge of Travel Plans and Agree to SOPs and ROEs

Before setting out each member must have a working knowledge of the travel plans. These travel plans should be set out by the leadership team as a listing of standard operating procedures (SOPs). We’ll discuss SOPs in the next section.

In addition to SOPs, whether for travel or otherwise, the leadership team must also define and communicate the rules of engagement (ROE) for the travel mission. As with the mission statement, the ROE must be fully understood and agreed to by the membership as a whole.

Rules of Engagement

For the most part, the ROE will define how the group and individual members react to hostile situations, whether to use deadly force or something less. Most typically an ROE related to traveling during difficult conditions will set out when and how to respond with both less than deadly force and deadly force when confronted by a life-threatening situation. It is absolutely critical that each member understands that, as a group, a WROL event has been declared and that the group’s ultimate success and survival depends on meeting threatening situations with appropriate force.

As stated above, a good rule of thumb is that anyone or anything that attempts to stop your group should be considered hostile. How will the group respond to hostile intent? What constitutes appropriate force? We can thank our military planners for providing many examples.

Good Starting Point on ROE For Group Discussion

The following ROE may be a good starting point for any group discussion.

Threats of Death of Serious Bodily Harm

Our team members will protect themselves from threats of death or serious bodily harm. Deadly force may be used to defend your life, the life of another team member, or the life of persons in areas under membership control. Team members are authorized to use deadly force in self-defense when:

  • Fired upon.
  • Armed elements, mobs, and/or rioters threaten human life.
  • There is a clear demonstration of hostile intent in your presence.
  • Hostile intent of opposing forces can be determined by group leaders or individual members, if their leaders are not present. Hostile intent is the threat of imminent use of force against team members or other persons in those areas under the control of the membership. Factors you may consider include:
    • Weapons: Are they present? What types?
    • Size of the opposing force.
    • If weapons are present, the manner in which they are displayed; that is, are they being aimed? Are the weapons part of a firing position?
    • How did the opposing force respond to the group?
    • How does the force act toward unarmed civilians?
    • Other aggressive actions (roadblocks and attempting to pull over a team vehicle are examples).
Hostile Intent

Members may use deadly force if fired upon or if they encounter opposing forces which evidence a hostile intent. (See above for the definition of hostile intent.) Non-deadly force or a show of force should be used, if the security of the group is not compromised by doing so. A graduated show of force includes:

  • An order to disband or disperse.
  • Show of force/threat of force by team members that is greater than the force threatened by the opposing force.
  • Warning shots aimed to prevent harm to either innocent civilians or the opposing force.
  • Other means of non-deadly force.

If a show of force does not cause the opposing force to abandon its hostile intent, consider if deadly force is appropriate. 1

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Detailed or Simple ROE

The ROE can be very detailed or it can be simple. A simplified group travel-related ROE will assist with comprehension and, ultimately, adherence so that everyone knows what to expect. Again, it is critical that the group discusses, fully understands, and agrees to all SOPs (discussed below) and the ROE. No one wants to begin the process of deliberating what to do or how to respond during a hostile situation. This gets people hurt and, possibly, killed. Decide well beforehand when the group will respond with deadly force, and non-deadly force, and stick to that plan (ROE).

Summary of Issue 2

A summary of Issue 2 actions for your group follows:

  1. Have a WROL mindset,
  2. Team leadership should draft and share a travel mission statement,
  3. Team leadership should draft and share mission-related rules of engagement (ROE),
  4. Members should read and openly agree to the mission statement and ROE, and
  5. ROE governs how the team will react to hostile intent (when to use non-deadly and deadly force).

Tomorrow, we will continue this article series by beginning to discuss traveling by vehicle. Traveling during an WROL event will be difficult, even in a vehicle.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

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Round 77 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.



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