Long-Term Survival Planning: Making and Enforcing Community Laws

Posted on: March 23, 2016

[The following is an excerpt from Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide.]

While many of the laws on the books will likely continue to stand, for convenience if nothing else, some will need to be changed and others created anew. For example, stealing an apple from the grocery store today will net you probably nothing more than a ticket for shoplifting. You’d pay a small fine and be on your way. Stealing food in a post-collapse world, though, might be considered a capital offense.

Further, the penalties currently enforced today might not be feasible. How would you go about imprisoning someone for a few months, let alone a year or more? How could you levy a fine when money has no real value any longer? While the first inclination might be to banish those who are found guilty of committing the serious crimes, that might not end up being in the community’s best interests. Should you decide to remove someone from the community and cut them loose outside the gates, as it were, what you’ve done is take someone who knows the inner workings of the community intimately and placed them in a position where they can reveal that information to those who would do your community harm. In fact, the removed individual might even feel rather motivated to do exactly that.

Is the solution resorting to capital punishment? I don’t know, maybe. Certainly for the most egregious crimes, such as rape, murder, child molestation, something needs to be done to ensure the individual doesn’t do it again. Remember too that punishment serves as a deterrent to those who consider committing similar crimes. Therefore, while it sounds barbaric, perhaps a viable solution might be some form of corporal punishment.

Another option for consideration would be forced labor in the fields or something. However, you then run the risk of those workers already doing such tasks as feeling their roles within the community are so bad, participation is considered punishment for others.

It also bears noting that the enforcement of laws should not be done by the same people who are creating the laws. In other words, members of the leadership committee should refrain from being actively involved in the corporal punishment, if that’s the route your community decides to take. As we talked about earlier, the security element or group within the community serves two roles – defending from threats outside the community as well as enforcing the laws within. If the population of the community allows, the ideal would be for these two groups to be somewhat separate. An analogy would be to have a sheriff’s department for the law enforcement and a National Guard for handling outside threats. With that said, in our current society, the law enforcement agencies do not truly get involved with the punishment phase. While many county jails are overseen by the sheriff’s department, the deputies making arrests are not the same individuals working within the jail. This division of duties is important to preserve the impartiality of those creating and those enforcing the laws.

When it comes to enacting new laws, great care should be taken in how they are written as well as communicated. Personally, I’ve always felt that if an average third grade student cannot understand the law as it is written, it should be reevaluated. In other words, while asking an experienced attorney to assist with crafting a new law would be a great idea, he or she should be instructed to use terminology that is commonly understood and free of what we might call “legalese.”

As for communicating new laws, if possible they should be posted in one or more areas that are easily accessible to the community members as well as discussed in town meetings.

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