Excellent posting. You hit the nail on the head. I don't believe we should be hunkered down in a bunker watching the world blow up while we indulge in banana chips. (although in my case it would be lobster bisque, I love lobster bisque)
1) What is the answer? If we get to close to the coming choas it will engulf us and we will not survive.
[The answer to that is simple. "Look before you leap." You are gonna know that there is hell to pay if you move the wrong way. If things are too risky don't even go anywhere. Let things die down and cool off. Charity begins at home. If you have your clan on the mountain with you it might be good to make sure of their security. And if you go down the mountainside who are you going to see? Do you know anyone down at the bottom? And if you could use something from the bottom of the mountain why don't you already have it? If the trip to the bottom is going to happen one way or another, do you have anyone capable of scouting the terrain? Stay away from where you don't belong. Eat your food and relax as much as you can. Times will get tough sooner than later. If chaos rules the world, stay out of the world. Let the chaos settle down to something managable.
From earlier writings I assume that your retreat on the mountain is pretty much self contained. You must have water and at least a decent place to put in a garden. Stay put. But don't get "starved" off the mountain. Don't wait until it is a life or death matter for you to decide to go down. I would say that a medical emergency would be your most compelling reason to go down. You got a doctor or a nurse in your clan? Most other things you should have in storage at your retreat. Get a hand cranked radio and listen for any news that might be broadcast. But your scout option might be your best bet.]
2) Your writings on charity are clear but will you expand on your ideas
on how far charity should go?
[Charity should go the limit if it is a case of real human need and not some rip-off. There are a lot of despicable people who will let you and yours work your tails off and make them a living. Don't fall into that trap. But if there comes a family that will work and contribute to the effort of staying alive, let them come among you. You should already have your line of questioning figured out among your men. Every one of you should be able to ask the questions that need to be answered. Don't be bashful and shy. Lay it out on the table and let the cards fall where they may. Just don't kill yourself to save someone else who might eat your food supply down to the nubs. Charity begins at home. I would tighten my belt over my big belly for someone decent if need be. You must make your own decision. But what goes around comes around. Reason and logic must prevail. And who the hell would come up to your place anyhow? Should be rather isolated up there. I've walked timber in that area and I wear a parachute in case I fall. Not really, but those are some damn steep mountains. I can't see you being bothered unless you run up on someone really desparate.]
3) What about the children? Could you pass a hungry chilld by? Could I?
[Children are a thing that grips a mans heart. But children can be used as decoys. If a lone child wanderd into your camp I would have my scouts go IMMEDIATELY to check out the country side. Freebooters know every trick in the book. They know every string that will tug at our heart. Keep close watch in the event of a child wandering in. I would take care of the child if things turned out okay. But I would not show the kid a damn thing about my storage. The kid would hear nothing but misery from me until I got a better handle on the situation. Question the child extensively. Has to be done. It's the life of you and your clan if it is a trick and it works.]
4) How are we going to tell a refurgee from a freebooter carrying a concealed weapon with a family as cover?
[Again, you must have questions already in mind. What is this person doing on the mountain anyway? Why would they come up there? Listen to what they say very carefully. Be very prayerful in your hearing of their story. Carrying a concealed weapon is not a major crime in hard times. If it bothers you then tell them you want to hold the gun for few days until you get to know them a little better. If there are six guys with all kinds of potent firearms standing around you should not get too much of an argument. If there is an argument then that person may need to go on his way. Or he may need to die right there and be buried. He could be a spy for a gang of freebooters. People will do all sorts of mischief to separate good people from their food and shelter. If you get much resistance from a stranger then tell him to get the hell out. Or, like I said, shoot him and bury him. If parts of the country are glowing in the dark you don't need a ball-buster in the camp. You must protect you and yours first. You have a group because you are fortunate. Keep the group safe and secure.]
Finally our cabin is half way up a mountainside with a three mile dirt road that is deeply rutted and impassable during the best of times in anything but a 4wd. It is straight's out of the "Grapes of Wrath".
[So much the better. Fix the roof and put in a new stove pipe. The shabbier it looks the less interest you will arouse. If you have a barn and maybe some other outbuildings then fix them on the inside to be livable for your people. You might keep a shed for "guests".]
5) Am I obliged to come down and help the flatlanders?
[How many flatlanders came to help you with your place? If you go down to flatland will you run into a mob of people who can run you over and do as they please? If you come in all fat and sassy and they are all starving, your ass could be in a world of trouble. And they will most likely have guns too. Move very slowly when considering helping the flatlanders.]
6) I mean am I obliged to come down and try to help stop the killing and raping and robbing when it is none of my kith or kin in danger?
[Yes. It's your duty to stop that kind of behavior. But only if your people are safe and secure. To leave your women and children and go help others may be the dumbest thing you ever did. The bad guys may have not bothered you because they had easier pickin's on the flatland. But they will know where you are and if you are down the mountain they know there ain't much left up there to fight. The bad guys are just not much different than the rest of humanity. They will take the easiest road they can find. If they hear you are all armed to the teeth then they will look for easier prey. Simple as that.
The method of war says you don't attack unless you have a numerical advantage of at least 5 to 1 on a dug in and armed opponenet. Attacking is a lot different than defending. Much different. Are your people trained to attack as a unit? Has even one of them ever killed a man? Do they know even rudimentary squad tactics? Do they know anything as simple as advance and cover? Can they break a line of attack and turn it into a flanking movement? This kind of stuff is what attacking is all about. Just simple infantry tactics. But if you don't know it, you can suffer horrible casualties. And you might get lucky and find them all drunk and laying in the road. I would say that something BETWEEN full scale alert and laying drunk in the road is what you will find.
I would try to help people who are being assaulted by savages, if I could. But it is risky business. All plans seem to go out the door when the first shot it fired. That is why attacking forces like to have 5 to 1 superiority when they make their move. Combat is a thing that can shake a man to the core of his being. Seeing the blood of one of your best friends on the whole planet vaporize in the air right next to you is an earth shaking experience. You won't forget it. It is best to follow Dragon's advice and keep your eyes on the ridgeline and your nose into the wind. Avoid combat as much as possible. You will live longer and so may your friends. But help who you can.