> Revised January 2023 < This is the third revision of this article and series. In late 2022 and early 2023 I did extensive updating and editing on this series of articles. It is of great importance that we understand who we are dealing with after a disaster or grid-down event…and I am talking of a TEOTWAWKI as well. If we fail to understand who people really are, who they are inside, and what they are capable of…well, we are at their mercy. And human nature in extremely tough times can be ruthless…and fatal. Educate yourself on the personality types referred to in this series of articles. Be watchful and careful, humans by nature want to trust…and the bad guys know this…and know how to play you.

Post disaster personality types.Have you ever given much thought to the type of people there will be walking around after an emergency or disaster occurs?

I have wondered that…a lot. And, over the last 40 years through my work as a first responder I have seen them first hand. I’ve also worked with them as fellow responders so I know them generally and individually.

Then again, have you ever thought much about what label to put on people after a “grid-down” event? Yup, right again, I have. And that is the point of this series of posts – What kind of people will there be after “grid-down”, which will be notably different than those after a more simple emergency or disaster.

Oh, you are not comfortable putting a label on people? So, you don’t believe in Situational Awareness (SA)?

Observing people and assessing their threat level is a key aspect of SA; then label them accordingly is just plain commonsense. Then once properly identified, acting accordingly could well keep you and your family alive. So you are not really judging people, you are assessing, the best you can, their potential behavior and the impact that potential behavior could have on you and your family.

Maybe a more fair question would be…Can how people act now influence/predict how they will act after grid-down? Is there some way to predict or identify who they “will be” or “might be” based on who they are now?

Based on what I’ve seen firsthand I have put a lot of thought into this unique phenomena and how it might affect survival post-grid down. I mean, come on, the biggest risk you will face after a “grid-down” will be the threat, or risk, of violence. But violence will come primarily from people. So you have to understand people to understand their potential for violence.

I believe the “types” of people will breakdown into a short list of categories:

  • sheep
  • shepherds
  • predators (wolves)
  • sheepdogs
  • owners/masters
  • herding dogs
  • mass murderers (added in January 2023)

The trick is trying to figure out which category people fit into and who is the most dangerous…both now and in the future. Based on that challenge I did a little reflection on my experience with emergencies and disasters and how people, victims and responders, acted during those events. Then I compared it back to what I knew of them before the emergency or disaster. That way I think I can make some general assumptions of what people are like now and project/guesstimate what kind of people they may become, or how they will act, after grid-down. Remember, this is all in general terms about people generally speaking…and solely my opinion.

Let me describe what I think are the personality attributes of people after grid-down:

Sheep – 

These are the folks are easily identified, they are the folks who are basically lost, unprepared, having no clue what to do, but overall, decent folks.  Or they may be folks that are prepared in many ways but not prone to be leaders, they are submissive in Most people are sheep.nature, and they are inclined to avoid conflict. Either way, they will be seeking assistance, direction, and leadership…they will actively seek out opportunities to be followers. They will start out benignly and humbly requesting help of any kind and will wait for someone to take care of them and their family. They will not be able to take care of themselves and will panic easily, they will be easily driven by fear and misinformation.

They will also be easily manipulated and controlled. They will have a breaking point, there is no doubt about that. But by then, the majority of them will be mostly useless (unless constantly led and fed) and of little threat or danger.

A small percentage of this group will become dangerous and must be considered as such in direct proportion to their capability to be so. Capability example: access to, and ability to use, weapons. Their greatest weakness will be Normalcy Bias.  Many will be useful, they may be good people who just didn’t have it together in terms of preparedness…or unable to be leaders in their own right.  These sheep can become productive resources in the right group setting with strong and constant leadership. In such a setting some/many may be mostly seen as “high maintenance” individuals.

Predators (wolves) –

These folks are also easy to spot. They will typically be armed, assertive, demanding, and dangerous. They will prey on anyone that they can dominate, or who they can overwhelm by surprise, numbers, or superior Predators / Wolves will prey upon sheep.power. They will have no scruples, morals, or ethical base. They will simply feel entitled to what others have that they themselves lack, or simply want. They will have no reservation to humiliate, hurt, maim, or kill other people. At first they will act fairly independently but will quickly form gangs/packs/tribes with a clear hierarchy that is strictly and violently enforced.

Some wolves will have true predatory skills while others will be purely “posers” and “wannabes” trying to act the part of a predator. The later will be quickly crushed by those who are prepared and capable of resisting, and the “wannabes” who survivor will probably assimilated by the true predators.

All predators will be dangerous regardless of their current weapon status. If lacking weapons they will use cunning, deception, and subterfuge to gain any weaponry they may need or want. Or lacking that level of finesse…they will simply take weaponry by any means available.

For the most part the wolves’ greatest weakness will be their Competency Bias. That will not be true for the upper level apex predators (Tier 1) that will have skills, experience, knowledge, and intelligence. Hence, they will actually be competent…and deadly…true apex predators.

Sheepdogs –

These are folks who will be prepared for emergencies and disasters…and see themselves as protectors of others. Although their level of preparedness will probably vary widely from minimal preparations to multiple-years worth of supplies and appropriate defensive gear.  Some may only have their skills vs. supplies & gear but will Sheep dog guarding and defending the flock of sheep.quickly assume the role of sheepdog because of their inherent desire and self-perception. These folks will be honest of heart and have a true desire to help and protect the sheep.

The “help” may manifest itself in feeding, medical assistance, or training. While sheepdogs may be reluctant to share their supply of food, they will probably step up when sheep need to be protected, but, they may not risk all for others.

However, sheepdogs have been known to attack large packs of predators even when highly out numbered; and have been known giving their lives to protect the lives of their flock.

Sheepdogs will likely be neighbors and community members that have a strong sense of family, community, Sheep dogs don't tolerate predators.and duty. They will most likely be Christians and feel a God-given calling to help take care of and protect people.

Sheepdogs will be highly drawn to shepherds and allow themselves to be led by those shepherds that they truly trust. Sheepdogs will be naturally opposed to owner/masters and will rebel against them. Sheepdogs will generally be tolerant of herding dogs to a point. Sheepdogs will tend to feel that they can change a herding dog into a sheepdog with enough work and being a good example.  However, should a herding dog show too much aggression towards the flock, a sheepdog will not hesitate to attack a herding dog to defend the flock…or the shepherd.

Herding Dogs –

While actual herding dogs might be appear superficially to be sheepdogs, there is a significant difference. Sheepdogs live, eat, and sleep with the sheep; they are part of the flock.  And when necessity calls…sheepdogs will sacrifice themselves for the flock’s protection.

Herding dogs work for the sheep’s Herding dogs are controlled predators NOT sheep dogs.owner/master and respond to their master’s commands. Those commands are given for a specific intention…to strictly to control the flock of sheep. Herding dogs circle the sheep and move them by acting much as a predator would; which in-turn makes the sheep respond to the non-verbal body language of the herding dog (i.e. threat of violence).

A herding dog is actually a predator who is so highly trained that they won’t kill sheep (normally) but will not hesitate to “nip” (i.e. light bite) the back legs of the sheep. Herding dogs are Herding dogs are controlled predators NOT sheep dogs.also known for a game called “sheep tag.”  Herding dogs will run among the sheep biting them and then run off.  To them, sheep are little more than “chew toys.”

Herding dogs are not known for protecting a flock, they are there to control the flocks movement and behavior. And they don’t respond to the needs of the flock and rarely repel approaching predators on their own. They only respond to commands given to them by their master/owner.

Herding dogs will view sheepdogs with contempt and disgust. Herding dogs will see sheepdogs as beneath them in status. Herding dogs will view sheepdogs as lacking skills & intelligence and not living up to their potential.

Herding dogs and sheepdogs will be natural opposites and will have open conflict with one another if the situation presents itself. Herding dogs may/can change allegiance from a flock to a violent pack of predators given certain circumstances.  Should an owner/master not provide enough incentive (or strong enough leadership), a herding dog could be easily persuaded to join a predator pack that promises greater rewards. Should the right set of circumstances present itself, a herding dog could betray an entire flock to a predator pack. A herding dog sees sheep as just another animal or toy, beneath them in status and not truly worthy of anything other than to be controlled.  They have virtually no allegiance to the sheep other than as a means to gain rewards from the owner/master.

Shepherds –

These folks will be few and far between.  They are of high moral and ethical character. They will be leaders of Shepherd watching over his flock.sheep. They will also be the leaders of sheepdogs. They may have the ability to change some herding dogs into sheepdogs, but that will rarely occur due to the natural instincts and desires of herding dogs. Shepherds will understand predators but not hate them. Shepherds will protect the flock from predators to the point of freely giving their lives but not hate predators.

Shepherds will naturally draw sheepdogs to them. Sheepdogs will see the positive leadership traits and “goodness” in a shepherd and want to serve him while concurrently following their instinct of protecting the flock. The sheepdog will see that a shepherd frees them up to concentrate on what they do best – protection.

Shepherds will “serve” their flock. The will make decisions that are in the best interest of the flock and not for The Good Shepherdthe gain of the shepherd himself…or for the exclusive benefit of sheepdogs.

Shepherds will be those folks who will gain close-knit followings of sheep and sheepdogs who are committed to not just surviving, but thriving as a group and as individuals.

Some herding dogs will be drawn to shepherds but will rebel against the nature of the shepherd’s leadership, preferring to control the sheep vs. lead the sheep. For those of us that are believers, we have a great example in “The Good Shepherd” referred to in the scriptures.

Owner/masters –

These folks will be those that have a sense of entitlement to leadership. They will feel it is their right, even their duty, to lead sheep…or everyone for that matter. They will voice that they are doing their best to protect the sheep from harm and danger but their true intentions will simply be to control and manipulate…then benefit from the work and sacrifice of others.

They will make decisions primarily serving their own agenda and gain. Any benefit to the flock will be secondary, incidental, even accidental. However, the owner/master will take great efforts to make the appearance of what they do is completely for the benefit of the flock.

When pushed owner/masters will be ruthless with all members of the flock, including sheepdogs. They will have no trouble sacrificing flock members or sheepdogs for their own gain or protection.

Owner/masters normally will be “pretty boys” who talk good, look good, act good, and smell good…and the like. They will use flowery and/or passionate speeches and quote learned men; they may even use scripture verses to justify what they do. But all they do will be for their own benefit and advancement.

Owner/masters will readily identify herding dogs and elevate the perceived status of herding dogs to control the flock…ruthlessly if they have to. They will reward herding dogs with special privileges such as praise, recognition, food, liberties, and sexual partners. They will provide herding dogs with higher quality food, tools, weapons, and living accommodations.Justifying it by declaring it keeps them strong and ready to defend.

Additionally, the owner/master will provide a sense of “purpose” to the herding dogs. They will touch the herding dog’s sense of duty and work ethic. They will manipulate the herding dog to think they are as noble as a sheepdog, and even superior.

An owner/master will naturally not like sheepdogs; they will see them as competition for leadership. But they will keep that feeling/view hidden from others. They will see in sheepdogs everything that they, as owner/masters, are not. They will try and change sheepdogs into herding dogs. If that is not possible they will try and ostracize them. Should that fail, the owner/master will use whatever means necessary to remove the sheepdogs from the flock. And that will include an owner/master killing the sheepdog should the sheepdog be seen as a big enough threat by the owner/master.

The greatest threat to an owner/master is the shepherd. It is a prime example of the “evil” of an owner/master vs the “good” of a shepherd. Owner/masters will work to destroy shepherds.

So there are the basics of how I see people will fall into the basic post-disaster caste system. I have seen it on smaller-scale disasters (i.e. hurricanes, floods, wildfires, etc.) over the last 40 years or so and I have no reason to believe anything different would happen after a major “grid-down” experience. Actually, I think the likelihood of this caste system occurring increases in direct proportion to the scale of the disaster. And my research of history has lent credence to my view.

There is one additional group of people but I will cover that group in an entirely stand-alone additional article just prior to me publishing the revised summary article in this series.

So what do you do with this information? Where is the value? What does it all mean?

It makes the difference between life and death in all probability. Yeah, potentially that dramatic.

I wrote a series on Situational Awareness (SA) and this information on post-disaster types of people is directly related to good SA. If you don’t know what kind of people to expect then you are likely to get sucked into a bad situation or worse.  In the next post I will cover how to identify the different post-disaster personalities

Next Article in this Series >

All Articles in this Series –

Related Articles –



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5 thoughts on “POST-DISASTER PERSONALITIES : Part 1 – Who are they?

  1. Pingback: Then they came for… (part #2 of 3) | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  2. Pingback: POST-DISASTER PERSONALITIES : Part 5 – Warning & Summary | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  3. Pingback: POST-DISASTER PERSONALITIES : Mass Murderers Part 4 (new) | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  4. Pingback: POST-DISASTER PERSONALITIES : Part 3 – The Hybrids | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  5. Pingback: POST-DISASTER PERSONALITIES : Part 2 – How to Identify Them In Today’s World | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

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