My preparedness philosophy revolves around the idea that at any given point in time, you are no more than 72 hours from a complete and total collapse. This may seem extreme, but let me give a historical context.
The most recent example is Afghanistan. We spent years training their new military and they fell within 72 hours. I know what you’re thinking, “But they were at war”. Yes, the tribal areas were, but in Kabul, life was pretty much normal. 72 hours later, it was overrun and widespread violence is on-going.
For a better example, let’s examine life in Gori, Georgia on August 8th, 2008. Life was normal, the power was on, water was flowing, and everyone was working. Sure, there was an autonomous zone to their north, but those issues never interrupted the daily routine in Gori, a modern western city with a lively nightlife. 72 hours later, there was no power or water, the police were retreating from Russian armor and infantry, and ethnic Russian militias were operating in the city. The city was receiving constant shelling and severe air attacks, despite the city not being defended by the Georgian Army. 72 hours.
In the Ukraine in 2014, protestors gathered daily in the capitol to protest the President and his alleged ties to Russia (boy, doesn’t that sound familiar?). For the rest of the country, though, it was business as usual. In fact, in Kyiv, outside of a 12 block area, life went on as normal. On the 19th, more protestors arrived including the Right Sektor, whose flag bears a striking resemblance to ANTIFA’s (because they have the same funding).
Between the 19th and 22nd, 130 people were killed, including 18 police officers. Again, this 72 hour period affected only a few blocks of the capitol city, but in the end, the government had been overthrown. 72 hours.
Now, the first 72 hour period was bad enough, and life in the capitol had seen a complete collapse from a modern western city to a complete war zone in just 72 hours, but it wasn’t over. In the countryside, people woke up on the 22nd realizing that the government had been overthrown by force. These groups quickly formed their own militias and declared their independence. Immediately, fighting broke out and Russian forces invaded.
In another 72 hours, the rest of the Ukraine devolved from a modern western society into a war zone without consistent power or water, and it’s residents having to flee from fighting and dodge enemy checkpoints. It remains in conflict to this day. An entire province was annexed directly into Russia proper.
These are extreme examples, but we see the same thing here during social unrest or natural disasters. Within 72 hours of the George Floyd incident, Minneapolis and several other cities were in complete “Without Rule of Law” situations. After Hurricane Katrina, in less than 72 hours, New Orleans became a total WROL zone complete with gang Warlords and federal gun confiscations, as well as forced relocations.
The Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack was another great example. Residents of the affected area found that within 72 hours, there was no gasoline to get to work or the grocery store, or anywhere. This led to food shortages and unrest. Had it gone on any longer, full on civil disorder would have resulted.
As people interested in preparedness, we need to understand this dynamic and be prepared to go from normal operations to full WROL operations in less than 72 hours at any given moment. There may not be time to prepare later. We tend to put things off, but we need to be ready.
The first two things to go in a crisis will be communications and fuel, and if the power is out, they’ll both go at the same time. Have a radio communications plan (license free is great for local comms) and a plan to get gas or refuel from stored supplies. Two important items are a good handheld radio and a siphon pump.
Ensure that all your bags are packed and ready, with seasonably appropriate items. Keep a 14 day supply of PORTABLE food, as you may need to leave. Always keep a method to procure and purify water with you, as water is too bulky to store and too heavy to carry.
Remember always that the most important rule learned from 20th century conflict is the “movement is life”. If you tie yourself to one location, it may become your grave. While bugging in is a good plan for some, never be so tied to that idea that you sacrifice yourself. Bug in until you have to bug out, then bug out.
In fact, it’s so important that the Ultimate Tactical Handbook advises it:
Gather up your belongings to leave the land, you who live under siege.
The number one fitness thing anyone in preparedness can do is WALK. Start walking, TODAY. After getting used to walking, start carrying a load. I don’t mean put weights in a backpack, I mean start rucking carrying the gear you will need. This, more than any other fitness activity, will get your body prepared.
I hope this discussion has opened your eyes to the 72 Hour principle and the need to always be ready for a crisis with no warning. It can happen fast, and we tend to deny that it is happening. Be ready.
Give portions to seven or even to eight,
for you don’t know what disaster may happen on earth.
We are hard at work on Volume 3 of Tactical Wisdom, Defensive Operations. This Volume will be a bit thicker with more graphics and concepts, as we work from the basics to more advanced concepts.
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Donation – August 2021
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