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Seasonal Changeover

As we approach Mid-May, the weather is getting warmer. On Monday, I decided to do a seasonal changeover on all of my bags. As I was finishing, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all my thinking and methodology.

By now, you should all have ordered a copy of the Base Line Training Manual, where I describe each of the bags, but in case you haven’t here’s a review. You should have a Vehicle Bag (always kept in the car), a Get Home Bag, an EDC/Patrol Bag, and a Full Ruck. You can order the book here, where I fully describe each bag’s contents:

For the Vehicle Bag, I removed a heavy fleece liner for my field jacket and replaced it with a lighter weight jacket, as the temperature won’t be as cold at night as it has been. I left the GoreTex outer layer in the bag. The GoreTex in this bag is plain black, so that it’s more Gray Man. I double checked the contents of the survival kits, to be sure that they were still fully stocked. I also checked all the expiration dates on food in the bag, and double checked the batteries in the lights.

I keep two full US 2 quart canteens in the back of my SUV in case of emergency and the seasonal change over is a great time to replace the water in them.

In the Get Home Bag, I swapped out a hoodie for a long sleeve t-shirt. This lets me retain the ability to change appearance quickly, yet not be too warm for movement. I also replaced a knit cap with a baseball cap for quick profile changes. I double-checked and re-stocked the first aid kit. I also checked all batteries in this bag.

I made similar changes in the EDC/Patrol bag. In this one, however, I left a watch-cap in it for night-time warmth. I took out heavy winter gloves and left lightweight liner gloves in their place. I double-checked the dates on the MRE’s and verified that the first aid kit was complete. I keep an extra Swedish M84 canteen on the side of this bag, so I rotated the water in the canteen.

Solid Tactical Wisdom

The Full Ruck had some more serious changes. I took out the full sleeping bag, since it’s now warm enough to just use a Ranger-Roll. I took out the heavy-weight snivel gear (long underwear for you non-Marines) and replaced it with silk-weight Under-Armor gear. I replaced the two sets of camouflage uniforms in the Ruck as well. Since I live in Michigan, the browns and tans of USMC Desert MARPAT and British Desert DPM worked perfectly for fall and winter. Now that the foliage has grown back, I put in two sets of USMC MARPAT Woodland and one set of All-Terrain Tiger (I had room after removing the sleeping bag for an extra set). I left the UMSC “Wooly-Pully” sweater in the Ruck just in case.

I doubled checked the dates on the MRE’s in the Full Ruck, and also inventoried the camp gear in it. I added a 10mm black yoga mat to the outside of my Ruck on the opposite side as my backpacking tent for use as a sleeping pad.

The final check of the Full Ruck was to attach the Patrol Bag and wear both to test the weight and make sure it was still balanced, not too heavy, and that it was still quiet.

You should conduct a changeover like this at least every six months, and preferably every season. An emergency is not the time to find out if you gear is still all set or seasonally appropriate. Preparing your bags is an ongoing exercise, not a one-time event.

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Civil Defense Manual – Vol 1

Get This Book

It’s been said that the measure of a man’s intelligence is often how much he agrees with you. I felt that way as I read Volume 1 of Jack Lawson’s Civil Defense Manual. I’ll put link down below. Since he agrees almost completely with me, the man is clearly a GENIUS.

You’d think as an author writing books about preparedness and community defense, I’d be some sort of all-knowing expert, but the truth is, I realize that I’m not. I frequently seek other sources like Clay Martin’s outstanding books, Max Velocity’s material, and even some fiction with great tips in them, like Mark Sibley’s Mongol Moon (links to all these on the Recommendations page). The reason I do this comes from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 11:14

The Civil Defense Manual is a hefty 2-volume set, and while it’s written by Jack Lawson, several experts contributed to the work, including some of my friends and advisors. People like Matt Bracken (EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com), Mike Shelby of ForwardObserver.com, and NC Scout for radio knowledge, among several others.

Today, I’ll be talking about Volume 1, and in a week or so, I’ll review Volume 2.

The “TL;DR” on this is: BUY THIS SET. The set is well worth the price.

Volume 1 deals with how to establish you own “Neighborhood Protection Plan”, to involve your neighbors in defending your area from events beginning at a Crisis Event through a Prolonged Crisis Event, and up to a Total Collapse of Society. The book walks you through the process from an initial meeting through operating your security group during a full collapse/WROL situation.

This is not an “overview” and “general concepts” book. This is a nuts-and-bolts complete operations manual. It discusses the roles and duties of every position you’ll need, the gear you’ll need, the people you’ll need, and how to organize your defense, right down to running an Entry Control Point, which I’ve discussed here and will be running in my next book.

We don’t agree 100% on every tactical step, but we do agree on the concepts and need for each of these things. For example, my Entry Control Point plan, based on my Marine Corps experience is slightly different than Jack’s experience in Africa, but the concept and layout is generally the same.

I’ll admit it, the medical gear lists in the Civil Defense Manual are more comprehensive than mine in the Baseline Training Manual, and I made a bunch of changes. The book also discusses learning and using homeopathic treatments. That’s vital, because while modern medicine looks down their nose at them, they are what kept us alive for millennia before modern medicine.

The book lists recommendations for steps to be taken in what the author terms “Crisis” events, like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, which are more likely than a complete societal breakdown. It also offers guidance for activating your security plan when the issues caused by the Crisis, like a power outage and food shortage, cause a “Prolonged Crisis”. That sure sounds my operating theory on preparing for second and third order effects, doesn’t it?

There is an entire food section in this manual that agrees entirely with my philosophy on food production, rather than food storage, and it discusses several real-world methods for storing and preserving food, while listing many additional resources. The key teaching, however, is the same as mine; work on developing the ability to PRODUCE food.

Where the manual excels is in discussing the day-to-day security operations that will consume nearly all of your time in a Prolonged Crisis or Total Collapse (sound familiar?). As I pointed out in both of my books, local security is the number one thing you’ll be doing in a WROL situation. Just like I do, Lawson recommends sending out patrols and establishing OP’s.

With the events in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa still fresh in our minds, this book set becomes even more vital. As I said, events in South Africa and the general world climate forced me to switch my next planned book to community defense operations, and this book is right on the same page.

There is a great chapter on weapon standardization, which I wholly endorse. If your group has 6 guys, each with rifles of different and unique calibers, you can’t resupply each other, let alone find additional ammunition in your 243 Nighthawk Super-Magnum. Your team should all use a standard caliber, and it should be something common like 5.56mm, 7.62X39, or 7.62×51. Those rifle calibers will be (pardon my pun) just laying around on the the ground, while that 300 Blackout might not be.

The same goes for pistol calibers. 9mm and 40 caliber will be widely available, but that 50 AE for your Desert Eagle might be a bit rare. I’ll even begrudging admit that Fudd-Special, A/K/A 45 ACP, will also be easy to find, usually still in the 7 round magazines on the broken hips of old guys who fell down while trying to draw their “PIECE”. (I’m looking at you, Mark Sibley).

The communications chapter also touched on something I overlooked regarding buying FRS/GMRS radio and standardizing the brand of those across your team. You need to buy the book to find out why. The book also discusses how to keep comms running without a grid and how to extend your network’s range.

All in all, this is a great book and I highly recommend adding it to your library. I would also recommend getting it ring-bound for ease of use. It’s in a large format and large print, because when you need it, electricity won’t be there for you to read by and large print is easier to see in the dark.

You can find it here:

CIVIL DEFENSE MANUAL Vols. I & II

I’ll review Volume 2 as soon as I finish reading it.

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Can We Use CB?

Yes, We Can

Remember the 70s? Ok, me neither. But, I do remember that my Dad used to have a CB radio. So did all of my uncles and all of their friends. Back then, everyone had to have a license. CB was so wildly popular that movies were made about it and an entire Pop Culture rose up around it, complete with it’s own lexicon and lifestyle.

Then, cellular phones arrived. Radio enthusiasts drifted away from CB and into the Amateur bands as more interesting parts of the radio frequency spectrum were opened to civilian use. The popularity of CB waned and it nearly died. Nearly.

Today, CB is still very popular in the transportation sector, with truck drivers still using the traditional Channel 19 for the majority of their conversations. The intelligence you can gather just from Channel 19 is a good enough reason to have a CB included in your preparedness supplies. The fact that it no longer requires a license is another plus.

Listening to truck drivers, you will hear about road conditions, accidents, police activity, and weather. Maintaining a listening watch on Channel 19 is good start to a Signals Intelligence program and you’ll be surprised at all the information you will gather.

That brings us to today’s Tactical Wisdom, from Matthew:

Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Matthew 11:15

Yes, I know Matthew was talking about listening to God, but it applies. You have ears to hear, and listening to communications is a great way to gather information.

CB is a great medium for preparedness, as long as it is part of a larger communications plan. For example, CB is HF, which means that it is very susceptible to interference and doesn’t penetrate structures very well, so it would not be a good medium in an urban area. However, range will increase when traveling outside an urban area.

As far as range, CB is limited to 4 watts, whether vehicle mounted, base station, or handheld. In open terrain, range is typically 4-5 miles, with about 1 mile being common in urban areas.

SSB or “Single Side Band” is an operating mode that pushes all the energy to either the upper or lower end of the frequency, allowing you to get better range. SSB can typically get up to 3 times the normal range. Any vehicle CB radio you get should have SSB capability. I use the Bearcat 980, linked below.

The features you want in a vehicle or base station CB are SSB operation and a scan function. In a WROL situation, having a CB scanning all frequencies will result in you developing great information, and that’s without even broadcasting.

Consider this: If the internet and cell phones go down, thousands and thousands of people will dust off old CB units stored in garages and start trying to find others and share information. Tap into that.

Another consideration is that the AMRRON Channel 3 Project covers CB. Monitor CB channel 3 at the top of every hour to listen for calls from other preparedness-minded people. You can also reach others for information and assistance that way. Anyone who is aware of the Channel 3 Project is someone who would be willing to render aid or assistance to another preparedness group.

Channel 3 Project

My recommendation is to use CB radio for your group when moving in a vehicle convoy. CB is uniquely positioned for exactly this use. Your team members will each have their own VHF/UHF radio, while each vehicle will have an SSB-capable CB for convoy operations. I recommend always using SSB, for security purposes. No, it’s not secure, but it will prevent anyone who doesn’t have an SSB-capable radio from receiving you. It’s a numbers game.

Each vehicle should also have a CB handheld unit. The reason is that if you approach something like a bridge, or other chokepoint, you can send out a small foot team to recon the chokepoint. They will use their VHF/UHF radios to communicate with each other, but will call back to the convoy on the handheld.

The only issue with this is that handhelds that operate SSB are virtually non-existent, so you would have to make sure to switch to regular AM mode for this. After checking the obstacle, the foot team would adopt a security posture and wait for the vehicles to move up to them.

As far as handhelds, the Midland 75-822 is an excellent option because it allows you to scan and add 5 memory channels for quick access. It also receives the NOAA weather channels, but I doubt those will see much traffic post-WROL. When buying any handheld CB, immediately buy a longer and better antenna (research on the inter-webs).

A lot of concerns I hear from people are that “just anyone can use it”. That’s true, but virtually no one is. I drove around Metro Detroit the other day scanning. I heard highway traffic on 19, as expected, and local truck yard operations on 7, 14, and 30. That’s 4 channels, out of 40. That leaves 36 other channels with NO TRAFFIC. In a WROL situation, those truck yards won’t be running. I imagine outside of a major metro area, there will be even less traffic.

Every once in a while, you’ll find some weirdo who just rambles on, taking up the airwaves. Now, it’s just an annoyance. Post-WROL, though, those types won’t be around very long to be a problem. For now, make a note of their areas and channels, and just plan around them.

To recap, CB radios should absolutely be a part of your communication plan, at the very least as a medium to gather information.

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The Defense Production Act

FBI Seizing Masks in New Jersey

The Defense Production Act is something that the preparedness community overlooks, and it can come back to bite us in this age of social media surveillance and Big Brother.

Passed in 1950, the original intent of the Defense Production Act was to ensure that in the event of another all-out war (most likely at that time with the USSR), the US Defense Department would be able to function, and get the supplies it needed. Seem innocuous and benevolent enough, right?

Well, fast forward to 2020, when people were panicking in regards to the new Coronovirus Pandemic. Masks and gloves were in short supply and President Donald Trump invoked the DPA.

Now, when the President issues a declaration that they are invoking the DPA, a few things happen that can DIRECTLY impact us, as people into preparedness. The President can declare certain items as “critical to national defense”. In this case it was masks, ventilators, and gloves.

The first thing done under the DPA this time around was the immediate forcing of General Motors to switch their production on a few lines from cars to ventilators. I know, the media said that GM decided to “assist”. They made that decision when the government ORDERED THEM TO. Remember that.

Next, it told 3M that they had to issue a Force Majeure notice to cancel all mask sales that were not to the United States. 3M resisted, maintaining that they had plenty of production to meet all orders. Within 24 hours, on April 3, a ship bound for Germany was boarded and 200,000 masks from 3M were seized and re-directed to the US. 3M immediately denied that the masks were 3M masks, but Attorney General Barr said that they were.

But, what does any of this have to do with preparedness? Well, let’s continue…

The next thing done was that the Attorney General established a “Hoarding Task Force”. Under 50 USC 4512, “Hoarding of Designated Scarce Materials”, you can be arrested and imprisoned for 1 year or fined $10,000 for having any quantity “in excess of reasonable person or home consumption” OR “for sale in excess of market value”. It’s important to note the word “OR”.

While the AG announced “dozens” of hoarding investigations, only one arrest was made public. A man had lawfully purchased 192,00 N95 masks, 130,000 surgical masks, and 598,000 pairs of gloves. The FBI declared him a “hoarder” and arrested him on April 2, seizing the masks. They issued a statement that he was going to sell them “above market value” as a price gouger, but it’s important to note that market value was skyrocketing anyway, because of the market. They never produced any proof of their claim.

This important to us because the President can declare any “commodity” scarce and critical. Food is a commodity. This means that they can seize your food preps if the local FEMA manager decides that you have an amount in excess of reasonable personal or home use.

Imagine, in an emergency, you’ve loaded up your car with a few months of food, and several extra cans of gas. As you are leaving the city with riots behind you, you pull up to a joint State Police/Homeland Security checkpoint (yes, that’s a real thing). The Troopers call over the DHS guys, and they decide that your food and gas stocks are “in excess of personal or home use”. How’s that going to work out?

We have seen over the last few weeks a drama play out about the federal government scouring social media for “vaccine mis-information”. How hard would it be to look for photos or discussions about food storage, food supplies, or food preparation? If you’ve talked about these things, you may have put your supplies at risk. I highly recommend using OPSEC here.

Here’s a piece of Tactical Wisdom that applies:

Divide your portions to seven, or even to eight,

For you do not know what disaster may come upon the Land.

Ecclesiates 11:2

Spread your supplies out among several locations, so that if one is seized or revealed, you aren’t giving up everything. This is reinforced also in 1 Kings 18:4, when Obediah hid 100 priests with food & water, split between 2 caves. While he was forced to reveal one group, the other half survived.

The most important thing is that for them to determine how much you have stored up, they have to either execute a search or ask you. If only 1/8th of your supplies are found on a search, they can’t declare you a hoarder. They would need to get you to incriminate yourself. Refuse to answer their questions, as is your right under the 5th Amendment, even in an emergency. Refuse to cooperate with a search as well, your actions in showing them the “hidden wall of cans” is admissible and you can’t be compelled to do it. No, Feds, I’m not saying I have a wall of cans.

Another important distinction is that they can also declare items listed on the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) as critical, and also subject to seizure. Those include things like handheld GPS units and radios. How many radios are needed for personal/home use? That’s a very subjective question and the FEMA manager gets to decide. I can tell you that they will say that you need ZERO GPS units for home use, since your house hasn’t moved.

Gas Station Lines

While the DPA specifically prohibits the President from rationing gasoline (widely unpopular during WW2), it does specifically allow the President to “allocate energy use”. In other words, the President can decide that residential areas don’t get electricity or gasoline at all. It’s not rationing if you can’t get it at all.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “This is all far-fetched, no President would order the limiting of gasoline to civilians”. Sure, and the government would never order you to remain in your homes unless you had a specific, approved reason to go out either. There is literally no basis for governments at any level to order businesses to just close, yet they did. These items at least have a solid basis in law.

The important side note is that effective January 3, 2016, and re-authorized on Jan 3, 2017, the President (Obama at the time) delegated the authority to make all decisions after an initial declaration, to FEMA. FEMA once ordered the confiscation of guns door to door, so they would certainly order the restriction of gasoline sales. Get a siphon pump.

I certainly don’t mean this to be alarmist, but it’s an issue that anyone involved in preparedness needs to consider and plan for to reduce their risk. After all, preparedness is nothing more than managing our risk.

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Wake Up Call: South Africa

KwaZulu Natal

The current situation in South Africa should be a learning tool for anyone interested in preparedness. The state of KwaZulu Natal is in a true Without-Rule-Of-Law situation.

But first, here’s the Tactical Wisdom that applies here:

 “then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.  Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.

Ezekiel 33:4-5

Sure, they’ll tell you that as of earlier today 1,470 people were arrested for looting. The truth is that during the early morning hours, while the rioters were sleeping off another night of looting and destruction, the South African Police Service (SAPS) made a sweep and arrested people for “possession of looted items”. That’s not the same thing.

Essentially, based upon multiple reports, there is a period of semi-lawfulness early in the day, before the rioters get up, when the police try and re-establish control. As the days wear on, the rioters push the police back off the streets and more looting occurs.

The truth heard from a few private security companies is even worse. At night, police are showing up at their facilities begging for ammunition. Does your current preparedness plan account for “mutual-aid ammo”? It would be very easy on it’s face to tell the police to pound sand, you need your ammo. But, what will happen when you need the police? They will remember that you refused to help them.

Another lesson for us in preparedness is the involvement of the SAPS in the rioting. Several citizen groups have manned their own checkpoints and have discovered and detained several SAPS officers with cars full of stolen merchandise.

There have been several incidences of men in SAPS uniforms raiding homes or robbing people at check points.

Lesson: In a WROL situation, a badge and a uniform mean NOTHING. Do not rely on outward appearances. If you find yourself in a true WROL situation, understand that police may not be police. Don’t let them in by virtue of the uniform alone.

You should also apply this lesson to checkpoints, as I mentioned in the Baseline Training Manual, and avoid them. At best, the police may confiscate your stuff under the Defense Production Act (we’ll cover that in an article over the weekend). At worse, it’s not really an authorized checkpoint and you’ll be robbed or killed. Avoid them at every opportunity.

Another issue is that now 1,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition that was in the custody of the SAPS has gone missing. I would assume that it was taken by SAPS members to defend their homes, but that’s really just the best-case scenario. The worst case is that looters took it.

The lesson from this is that you need to consider what types of arms and ammunition is available to looters in your local area for your own situational awareness. Plot gun stores, police stations, and guard & reserve armories. Those will be places to avoid in a crisis event and something to be aware of. You might be thinking that an armory is well guarded. It isn’t. There are indeed physical security standards for arms rooms, but as a former Military Policeman I know that those standards include the words “Chicken Wire”, so it’s not exactly impenetrable.

Something else we’re learning from first hand reports is that the amount of ammunition you need is “MORE”. One of the security companies, who donated ammo to the police to keep the station from being overrun, arranged for aerial resupply by bush plane, which is common in South Africa, by having them land a plane full of ammunition on a farm. Once the ammo was landed, the security team mounted a support column and went to the police station to help defend it.

The lesson there is exactly as I spell it out in my two books: Secure your family and supplies FIRST. Then, if you are able and can spare the fighting bodies, a stand should be made to attempt to assist in restoring LAWFUL order.

Yes, I said LAWFUL. Here in the United States, that means the CONSTITUTION, not necessarily the government.

Reading social media posts details farm and suburban life during a WROL situation. Many are reporting that the men and boys are manning 18 hour shifts on checkpoints or static observation posts to defend farms or neighborhoods. They are averaging 5 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights. Loss of life, while the official count is at 91, is massive. That 91 is deaths at the hospital….most aren’t making it that far.

The lesson for us is again exactly what I’ve been teaching. In a WROL situation, most of your time will be spent pulling security and working defense, while also searching for food. To do this, you need arms, ammunition, and optics, to include night vision.

The first commodity to vanish was gasoline, followed almost immediately by food. The lesson here is that at the first hint of unrest, fill all vehicles and gas cans. If you got it and didn’t need it, you’ll use it eventually, but if you waited, you might never get it.

Another big lesson learned is the need for pre-planned communications. Having radios and a defense group all already set up with common frequencies will help.

What we are seeing in South Africa is small, 8-10 man neighborhood security teams. Those teams are banding together into larger units as needed. That’s the perfect model, rather than trying to build a larger organization. People can buy into defending their neighborhood, and then joining the next neighborhood over in setting up a roadblock to turn looters away. Asking people from 20-30 miles away to do it won’t get the same commitment or agreement.

It doesn’t matter what the initial spark was that touched off the violence (the arrest of former President Zuma), what matters are the immediate effects, and the second and third order effects. Simmering racial tensions, political disputes, and class conflicts all flew to the surface and got acted upon the minute that the SAPS lost control. There is huge lesson there for us as this nation is a powder keg awaiting a spark.

I frequently say that you are never more than 72 hours from a total collapse. The last 72 hours in KwaZulu Natal prove that point.

Watch the events in the Republic of South Africa and take notes. Adjust your preparedness to the lessons being paid for in blood in Africa.

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Field Observations

Urban Observation Post

As part of preparedness, information gathering is vital. If you simply gather supplies, but not information on all of the possible actors in our current potential civil conflict, you are not really prepared. Situational Awareness is a key part of that.

So many in preparedness, especially in rural areas, write off groups like BLM, ANTIFA, and others as disorganized amateurs, playing at civil war. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and thinking otherwise is DANGEROUS.

On the other side of coin, these same people elevate Proud Boys to some exalted status, when the Proud Boys are really not much more than a street gang of thugs. No need to leave me a comment disagreeing, I base this on SOLID EVIDENCE and personal observation.

If you truly support rights and individual freedom, you have to hold everyone to the same standard. That’s my position. Both groups have a right to free speech. Neither group has a right to intimidate or threaten the other into silence or deny the other the right to peaceably assemble. That’s where both groups go astray.

I support everyone on both sides being able to peaceably assemble and speak. The issue is the word “peaceably” assemble. If you show up with the intention of assaulting the other side or intimidating them, no matter which side you are on, YOU are the problem.

However, the biggest problem, and where a new civil war will start, is when BOTH SIDES show up only to intimidate or assault each other.

That was the issue at the event I observed this weekend. ANTIFA and their associates showed up to prevent the Proud Boys from holding a flag waving event. You can’t prevent others from exercising the same rights you demand. We’ve also seen Proud Boys do the same to them. Wrong on both sides.

So, since I wasn’t a fan of either group, I decided that the best thing I could do for my own situational awareness was to go to the area, stay back, and gather information on both groups.

Radio listening is a super power. Having a handheld programmed to scan things like GMRS/FRS/MURS and business band frequencies is vital. When I saw what appeared to be a militia group member following ANTIFA folks, and taking pictures of license plates, I quickly scanned radio frequencies, to see if I could pick up anything.

Almost immediately, I got the ANTIFA/BLM main channel. They have fully evolved as far as radio procedures and communications security and I was surprised. When I first began monitoring protest groups, they were using a single channel at every event, and people were using their own names. Now, they had multiple channels assigned for security, intelligence, and medical. They were using call signs rather than names. They had learned.

Note that I mentioned an intelligence team. The intelligence team walks around the area looking for surveillance, police, militia groups, and Proud Boys. The Intel Teams are not dressed like everyone else. They even use drones.

Their intelligence team identified at least seven different people watching them (I wasn’t one of them). Let me show you how they identified them:

Not Gray Man

The exact same way I did. Militia groups and others, when trying to gather information, try to be “Gray Man”, but this guy (Sorry, Michigan Home Guard) has no idea what he’s doing. I spotted him because if you look at his back, he’s wearing a level IIIA or level IV vest UNDER A T-SHIRT. You can’t do that. It was very obvious that he was conducting surveillance.

Another tell for me, as a professional surveillance operator in the corporate world, is that as soon as the ANTIFA members left their vehicle, he rushed over and grabbed their license plate. If he had waited, conducting an SLLS (Stop/Look/Listen/Smell), which I discuss in Fieldcraft (my second book), he would have detected the OTHER ANTIFA who stayed behind in a car and saw him grab a photo of the car. Had this been a kinetic environment, their security element would have taken him out.

His choice of clothing, while appearing to be fairly neutral, was not exactly Gray Man. As I mention in Fieldcraft, you need to consider what you are doing on a particular day before deciding on your Gray Man apparel. For instance, when to trying to not be detected near ANTIFA, anything camouflage, even cargo shorts (we all know how I feel about them anyway), was a red flag for them. Given the environment, khaki shorts would have been better. Also, as he walked, he tried too hard to look nonchalant, and his movements, when viewed from afar, looked mechanical and unnatural. Just relax.

As far as his vest, he got spotted because he was being melodramatic. Yes, there were armed members of the Michigan Defense League present, but they weren’t about to just start shooting people. If you are conducting surveillance or gathering information, NEVER wear a vest. If you feel like you must, wear concealable soft body armor, not full kit and try to hide it.

I know, he had it “just in case”. If that’s the case, leave it in your trunk, ready to throw on. When I operate inside a crowd, whether left wing or right, I never wear a vest and am never armed. It marks you out and only raises the risk level. If you’re there to gather information, gather information, don’t be ready to fight a battle.

The biggest takeaway is that ANTIFA/BLM and their affiliated groups are developing and training. They have a highly evolved security and intelligence apparatus that needs to be respected, but so many don’t.

Set up at least one radio as a scanner for SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) as I mention in the Base Line Training Manual. This will enable you to gather information. In a WROL situation, that radio should be continuously scanning. Anyone approaching your location using radios should send you into an alert status.

Stop underestimating the opposition, and be very careful of the indicators that you exhibit that will call you out to them. This applies to your parked car as well. I always park a very long distance out and walk in, but if you have a car with a bunch of flags and gun manufacturer stickers, you are asking for them to copy down your license plate. Where your car is registered to is PUBLIC INFORMATION.

I hope this information helps you understand the situation better and that it gives you a few ideas.

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But, Are You Ready?

The Collapse

A couple of weeks ago, I posed the question “how ready are you at any given moment”. Since then, things have gotten progressively worse in this country and we’re now seeing armed groups openly preparing for conflict and having armed confrontations with police. They’ve been resolved peacefully so far, but that won’t last.

Regardless of your political leanings, if you don’t think we’re sitting on a powder keg, headed for a violent conflict, you are either not paying attention or relying on hope. Neither is a good strategy.

With all of this going on, what can we do? First, we must assess if we are truly ready, or not.

That reminds me of a piece of Tactical Wisdom:

Therefore be ready, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Matthew 25:13

Just as applicable today.

We all have piles and cases and bags of gear, but what state is it in? What could you actually walk out the door with in 5 minutes? 30 minutes? 3 hours?

It’s one thing to gather supplies, it’s quite another to have them in a ready to move format or to be able to find a particular piece of gear. Many people into preparedness have so much stuff, that they wouldn’t be able to find a particular piece of kit if they needed it RIGHT NOW.

If you’ve read my books, you’ll know that I don’t advocate giant food or gear stashes. I advocate having the skills and gear to PRODUCE food and be MOBILE, if needed. Having giant stashes means that if you are forced to flee, you have to decide what to take. And face it, even if you plan to bug in, you may very well be forced to move by local conditions.

With this in mind, I thought I would share my system, and hopefully it will help some of you.

My first bag is the Patrol/EDC bag. The bag in the photo above is actually my Get Home Bag, but it’s the same size. The is the “Walking out the door right now bag”. This bag contains the essentials to live and survive in the field for 72 hours.

In it, I have a poncho that can be used as a shelter, like a tarp. It also has a ranger roll (a poncho liner wrapped in another poncho) for sleeping. It has a few other survival items, and a radio attached. It also has enough food for 3 days. With this bag I could survive for about 3 days, as long as I also took my Belt Kit.

Yes, we all have a chest rig or belt kit, but how do you keep it stored? Mine has all the pouches full and ready, with full magazines, my bayonet/combat knife sheathed on it, and both canteens full at all times. Each canteen pouch also has purification tablets and there is a Sawyer Mini on the belt kit. I can resupply water indefinitely.

If you don’t have at least these two sets, the Patrol/EDC bag and the Belt/Chest Rig Kit fully stocked and ready to go on a moment’s notice, then you aren’t “ready”. You’re a hoarder, not a prepper. (Lighten up, it’s a joke)

The next bag is the “Full Ruck”. With about 30 minutes notice, I can have this pack ready with about 7 days worth of food, which I could stretch out to 14 if I had to. The remainder of the pack is fully ready to go.

In this one I keep a couple of USMC tarps, that could be made into a fairly large tent, along with stakes and cordage. It also has a couple of sets of camouflage utilities, a hygiene kit, and cooking gear. I keep this bag full and ready, and the only thing I’d need to add is outerwear and food.

The reason I use the ILBE system is because the Assault Pack, which I use for my Patrol/EDC bag, attaches directly to the main ruck, and can be made into one large system. I could sustain myself indefinitely with this system and a firearm.

These concepts are explained in my first book, The Base Line Training Manual, available here under the “Books” tab. How to actually move and set up a secure site is in my second book, Fieldcraft, also available here.

Take the time, be READY, instead of just “PREPARING”.

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The Current Environment

Members of the Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, march in Philadelphia, on July 03, 2021.

The current environment is dangerous, and getting more so every day. We are seeing more signs of division and potential Balkanization, and, by their actions, it would seem that government at all levels is doing everything they can to make that happen.

Before we get too deep into the evidence and what we can do to prepare for it, let’s remind everyone of our favorite piece of Tactical Wisdom:

First, in Philadelphia, a group called Patriot Front marched and clashed with ANTIFA counter-protestors. Patriot Front is a newer group that allegedly espouses White Supremacy, so at first glance, one would say who cares if they got beat up. But, groups like Patriot Front signal growing division and potential actual civil conflict. Vile white supremacist groups are the natural outgrowth of Critical Race Theory. If you constantly vilify one group, it will band together and act out in mutual defense.

On the other side of the coin, 11 members of the Moorish American Arms were arrested for weapons violations in a blatant overreach of state authority in Massachusetts. No one has really explained what illegal activity led to the police contact, but both the police and the Moors acted silly, driving the tension up. The point of telling this tale is that here is another racially-based separatist group, preparing for violent conflict, again upping the risk of a civil conflict.

Notably, in the Philadelphia case, the police were absent, allowing the two groups to fight it out in the streets for hours, increasing the risk of conflict. In the Massachusetts case, the group was being non-violent, and we saw police engage in questionable enforcement tactics, which increased the risk of a violent encounter.

Is there a pattern of government action or non-action, that is leading to increased risk of civil conflict in the US? This is not a conspiracy theory website, and I’ve debunked a few, but the question needs to be asked.

On the west coast, we saw citizens lawfully protest at the Wi Spa, against them allowing a biological male to expose himself to young girls inside their facility. That is inherently lawful activity. ANTIFA militants showed up and conducted multiple felony assaults, unarmed robberies, and at least one arson. The only person seen arrested was a man who, while being assaulted by ANTIFA, struck an ANTIFA attacker with his water bottle to stop the attack.

This response seems to indicate, again, that the lawlessness is tolerated, but resisting the lawlessness is not.

One last tale, before we go. In Mt Laurel, New Jersey, protestors surrounded the house of a man that locals claim used a racial slur against a neighbor. They didn’t allege anything more than words. Over 100 people surrounded his house and demanded he come out, throwing objects and threatening him. When the police arrived, they arrested HIM for harassment. His house was surrounded by a threatening mob, and he was arrested. After the police left, predictably, his house was vandalized by the mob, with the police watching.

I know it’s easier to arrest him, than the mob, but his words, while vile, are PROTECTED. When the police start arresting people to appease the mob, we’ve lost this place.

We’re not going to draw conclusions here, because this is a preparedness site, and we’re into intelligence sharing. These responses are all facts, not opinions.

Before we get into preparedness actions you can take, I want to share a piece of Tactical Wisdom with any law enforcement officers who happen across this article. Heed it well:

If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Numbers 30:2

Now, the Oath sworn by all military personnel and law enforcement officers contains a pledge to uphold the Constitution. The 14th Amendment guarantees Equal Protection to all, even if you don’t like their ideology, the words they say, the color of their skin, or the group they belong to. Heed it.

As far as preparedness, you need to ensure that you have a solid communications plan with all of your loved ones, that doesn’t rely solely on cell phones or the internet. We recommend radios of whatever type you prefer. Getting an Amateur or GMRS license are good ideas, but if you don’t want to, then FRS, MURS, and CB are available to all without a license. CB has gotten a bad rap, but it’s virtually empty out there for anyone to use. I recommend a good SSB type, like the Bearcat 980 SSB.

One of the most important preparedness actions you can take is to sign up for the ForwardObserver service at http://www.forwardobserver.com. It’s where I get most of my intelligence and they do also offer a free service, however, the paid service is worth EVERY PENNY.

Keep your vehicle prepared. Keep the gas tank full and keep a change of clothes/shoes in the car. Water and non-perishable foods are also good ideas. Don’t put political or firearms related stickers on your car, they invite damage…Be Gray.

In this environment, you should always have a “Get Home Bag” in the car, as discussed in the Base Line Training Manual.

The most important lesson you need to take from these events is that the police cannot be relied on to protect you, and you cannot rely on the law either. In other words, we have been seeing for a year people arrested for lawful self-defense and attackers not being arrested. This is further evidence that government forces exist to protect ITSELF, nothing more. Do not rely on anyone but yourself.

We have submitted Volume 2, Fieldcraft, for publishing. It should be available on Amazon later in the week. I will be putting a link here also for ordering signed copies, but understand that it may take me a few days to get the Author Copies in to send out. For those that already ordered a Volume 2, they will go out the same day they come in.

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Make A Decision

Moorish American Arms

Overnight, a group calling itself the Moorish American Arms was stopped while refueling vehicles on the freeway in Massachusetts. This led to a standoff in which 11 men were arrested.

Because it was a black supremacist Muslim group, many applauded the MA State Police. I hold a different position, because until this group breaks the law, they have the same rights the rest of us do. For the record, 18 USC 926A makes their actions last night as far as firearms transport LEGAL, despite what Massachusetts law says.

If you truly think that the Constitution is inviolable, then you have to believe it is that way for people you don’t like. You can’t demand your Second Amendment right, while also cheering on police violating that same right for the Moorish American Arms. You can’t demand your right to march with firearms, and at the same time say that Black Lives Matter shouldn’t be able to.

But that’s not the point of this preparedness article. Bear with me. The point is that they were on their way to train for a coming struggle.

Othal Wallace

A week ago, Othal Wallace shot a Daytona officer in the face. Wallace belongs to the NFAC and espouses the same Moorish/Black Hebrew Israelite ideology that the Moorish American Arms group did. Wallace’s case is significant, because the New Black Panthers and the NFAC hid him in a network of safe houses and transportation assets until he was caught.

As I write this, ANTIFA is outside the Wi Spa, assaulting people with impunity for protesting against a man who exposed himself to children. The police are just standing by watching. When one Asian man resisted an assault and used lawful self-defense, the police swooped in and hauled him away.

Also this week, the US Army soldier who shot Garrett Foster last year is charged with homicide, despite it being a clear-cut case of self defense.

So, what’s the point of all this? The point is that we all need to make a decision. Most people interested in preparedness, are also interested in self-defense. The two go hand-in-hand.

You have to decide right now if you are willing to risk your freedom, your job, and your 401k in defense of yourself or others. We are seeing the unequal application of the law and you need to consider this.

This stems from a discussion I had earlier today on Twitter where a guy said that we’ve already lost and we just have to adjust our lives. Adjust our lives to what? Allowing a lawless mob to assault and rob us? Allowing the police to abdicate their responsibility and let the mob rule? I’m sorry, I just can’t do that. I swore an Oath.

A piece of preparedness that no one considers is this exact thing. Are you prepared to stand by your principles and do what is right, no matter the consequences? If the consequences are too great for you, then you are not into preparedness at all, and you might as well stop pretending and just surrender.

The other decision is that if you are going to support rights, you have to support them for all. Even an extremist group that is opposed to your existence. Until they ACTUALLY break the law, we should be supporting their exercise of the same rights that you demand.

Also, if every other group around you is preparing for war, shouldn’t you?

But, what can we as people into preparedness do?

First, practice Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu. You can’t be drawn into a situation if you aren’t there. Remember our ultimate goal….Survival.

Second, buy and wear a body camera. The same guy said, “If we have to wear a camera everywhere we go, then we’ve already lost”. First, not wearing a camera isn’t going to stop them from attacking, so that response makes no sense. Second, these groups selectively edit video, so you need to have your own unedited video. And lastly, just like a first aid kit, if you intend to carry a firearm, you should carry a camera in case you need to use the firearm. Video is the best evidence you can have.

I guess the biggest takeaway from this rant of mine is that just because you don’t want a civil conflict in the US, that doesn’t mean one isn’t happening anyway. Pretending it’s not coming is not preparedness. We prepare for the worst case. Complete surrender won’t end the random street violence, it will EMBOLDEN it.

You don’t have to pick a side and fight, but you do have to realize that it is indeed happening and can affect your preparedness. It can affect your family, whether you want it to or not. Someone intent on harming you isn’t going to stop just because you don’t fight back.

You got into preparedness for a reason, ACT LIKE IT. Here’s a quote from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook to reinforce this:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1 Corninthians 16:13

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Urban Recon Pre Event

Urban OP

There is no doubt that we are in a pre-conflict stage in the US at this point. No one wants a conflict (except apparently the far left extremists and maybe some extreme far-right ones). But, what can we in the center do to prepare ourselves for civil unrest, intentional damage to the power grid, or a complete collapse?

We can plan. We can prepare. We can scout out our local area for ways in which we can either escape, hide, or gather food and water to survive.

Before I get into the details of an urban recon I did the other day, let me share an Ultimate Tactical Handbook story. In 1 Samuel 19, David, a leader in the Military, wasn’t trusted by the King (Man, does that sound familiar, or what), so the king sent agents to put David’s house under surveillance, with the goal of branding David as an extremist and killing him, much like we are seeing right now. But David and his wife had planned. She let him out a window by rope and hid a dummy in his bed.

By the time the agents (think FBI/DHS) raided their house, David was long gone.

There is a lesson in that story. Have an escape plan.

I recently also told the modern story of the Jewish woman from Lod, who got along great with her Muslim neighbors, right up until the night there was a riot, and her “friends” immediately pointed out her house to the rioters as where “the Jews live”, and she barely escaped with her life.

Keep your preparations secret and have a plan.

To that end, I conducted a recon this week to find a way to traverse a suburban business district that I would need to get past to get home. The area is very built up and highly populated, but in a crisis, the main road or near the front of the businesses is not where I would want to be.

I began by walking the alley way and parking lots one block behind the main road. What I found was a series of small lots with a waist high masonry decorative border. While it’s nice to look at now, it’s cover from incoming fire in a crisis, and if needed, I could high crawl or just lay down behind it. As an added bonus, every so often, it had an open spot, which would allow me to observe or fire from below the top of the wall. My second book, Fieldcraft, which is due out in just a few days, talks about exactly this.

Trail System

Behind another block, I found a foot trail system. That would be a much safer way to traverse the business district than walking straight down the road. I do recommend not walking directly on the path, but just off it.

Beside the trail was a river, and along it there were wild grapes and blackberries growing. Fruits growing also mean rabbits and other game animals. This one trail system could sustain me if needed.

Move Below Ground

In it, I also found a manhole cover with all of the bolts removed. Also in the new book, I discuss that the miles and miles of storm systems are an effective way of moving without being detected in an urban environment. Just don’t be in the storm sewer in the rain. You just need tools to open things like this outlet:

FREEDOM

A good item for traversing trail systems in an urban area is a tactical walking stick. It is sturdy metal and could be used to lift the manhole cover. Mine has attachments for a knife blade, a spear point, a screwdriver, and saw blade. It also has a compass, a whistle, and fire steel. It doubles as a striking weapon nicely.

I have this exact one – HIGHLY Recommend

Many of these trail systems have been long forgotten and are overgrown, but to me thats a feature, not a bug. This particular one had several sets of stairs leading back up to the business district. For me, these would be great places to slip up and observe local activity & conditions, if I felt the need, before dropping back down onto the trail.

This is invisible from the top.

The lesson to be learned is get out NOW, while it’s relatively safe and wander a bit, finding alternate foot routes through congested areas, in case you eventually need them. The time to start scouting is not once an incident happens.

For me, this was scouting for a ‘Get Home Route’. It’s a significant distance from where I live, but this is the most congested local area I’d have to traverse if I had to walk home in an emergency. It only made sense to scout out it during a relatively safe period, before I had to do it for real.

I hope this gives you a few ideas.

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The Right Way to Prep

I-94 in Detroit Yesterday

Frequently, I harp on two points. The first is to not prepare for a specific event, but to prepare for the second and third order effects of ANY event. The second point I harp on is to have more than method of escape planned.

Friday night, when I went to bed, there was a moderate thunderstorm on-going, but no real threats. When I woke up just a couple of hours later (I went bed at 2:30 AM and got up at 6 AM), the entire metro area was flooded. My subdivision sits on a hill, so my house was secure, but the end of the subdivision entrance was under at least 3 feet of water.

Michigan Avenue, the major west suburban trunkline for those who don’t live here, was under 4 feet of water at the crucial I-275 junction.

The Metro Detroit freeways are actually cut down below the surface of the City, because it seemed easier than building up. That was a mistake. Below is a picture of I-94. The water was so deep, even hours later, that the Michigan State Police sent Dive Teams out go underwater and check fully submerged cars for dead bodies. It was that bad.

I-94

This is the very reason I discuss preparing for second and third order effects. The flood was a first order effect. The second order effects were blocked roadways and water everywhere. The third order effects were the inability to resupply food, get to work, and cascading cell phone failures. Those are the things you need prepare for, rather than just saying “I’m preparing for a flood”.

If you prepare for the second and third order effects, it doesn’t matter what the event that occurs; you’ll be ready. The problem in preparing exclusively for, say a Chinese Invasion, is that all your preparations won’t necessarily help in the current event. Having all kinds of night vision, ammo, and tripwires will not help you one bit if you are trapped behind a flood.

However, having food, water, and battery-operated lighting will help you no matter what event you face. That’s the goal we should be striving for. The right was to prep is to prepare for second and third order effects. In this event, I had radio contact with others who could help, even if the phones went fully down.

From my sub entrance

If your emergency plans only involve bugging out by vehicle, your entire plan is out the window in a flood situation. Keep in mind, also, that flooding can be secondary to other events. An earthquake can cause flooding. A power grid attack that takes down power will result in mass flooding at the first storm due to storm drain pumps not working. The lesson here is to always have alternate escape plans, like foot routes out of the area.

The entire philosophy of preparing for second & third order effects is fully described in Volume 1 of the Tactical Wisdom Series, The Base Line Training Manual.

I decided to use the flood as a readiness test (Since I was clearly not going anywhere), so I began a foot movement towards a local trailhead that leads out of the area. Along the way, I encountered a local man, who was removing a manhole cover, and placing his vehicle over it. He explained that he does this to help with water flow into the sewer and letting the air bubbles flow out, allowing faster drainage. I took a quick note, because he had completely drained the street around him quickly by doing this. He placed his vehicle over it for safety.

I quickly realized that my first route out was impassable due to water, but my second foot route would be high and dry, because it’s the railroad bed, that intersects with a power line, which then intersects with the same trail system. Use the PACE concept: Primary/Alternate/Contingency/Emergency in planning routes. I have 4 vehicle and 4 routes out pre-planned. Testing during an actual flood validated that my plan was viable, despite a setback from the primary route.

I hope this helps you plan and triggers your thinking.

We have finished the writing and are now editing Volume 2, Fieldcraft. We are hoping for a weekend launch or early next week. The cover is being done by our graphic design contractor as I write.

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Tactical History – Ziklag

This is an epic battle story and a classic study of tactics that directly applies to us as people interested in preparedness. It highlights some pieces of Tactical Wisdom that are vital to our plans for a WROL situation, and happens to be a pretty cool story.

If anyone wants to follow along, the full tale can be found in 1 Samuel 27-30.

For a little historical context, before he became King of Israel, David was much like us. He joined his Nation’s army and fought for them, killing one of it’s great enemies. But, much like the purge we are seeing in our military and the targeting of our veteran’s, as soon as the war was over, the King turned on David, labeled him an extremist and hunted him down.

In fact, drawing yet another parallel to today, the King invited him into the palace, then tried to kill him, and sent agents to raid his house, but he escaped out a window.

David was then branded as a rebel, a resistance fighter. He eventually formed his own militia and they spent their avoiding the government agents, while still protecting their country. Does that sound familiar?

Presented for No Reason Whatsoever

Today’s story begins when David has founded a private military company with his 600 men. They are called “mercenaries” in 1 Samuel 27, but their job was securing the borders for the Phillistine King. King Achish named David his “bodyguard for life”.

King Achish decides to go to war against Israel, and David accompanies him. Here, we see some parallels to today that we have to face. David does NOT want to fight against his own country, but he feels he needs to be near the fighting to try and slow down the decline. David loved his Nation, but the leader had turned from the path of the country and was imposing his own will on the people, rather than following tradition. Does that sound familiar?

Hey, you – buy my book

At this point, David knew that the leadership had to go, but he didn’t want to destroy the Nation. Here are the truths we know and need to consider:

  1. It’s possible to love your Nation, but know that the leadership is leading it to destruction.
  2. When that happens, you have to consider what is worse….the short term pain of action, or the long term consequence of doing nothing.
  3. Readiness is key – David kept his 600 men ready by training and engaging in operations that didn’t directly oppose his nation, but kept his Warriors on the edge they needed.
  4. Avoiding conflict can help, but it won’t solve it – David and his force spent 3-4 years before these events evading and avoiding contact with government forces. Nothing improved.

Back to the tale at hand…

As the Phillistine (Palestinian) forces began to invade Israel (a lot of that going on even today), they brought their entire army out, leaving no one behind. The other generals were freaked out by an Israelite private military company in their midst, and they were so worried that they demanded the King send David home.

So the King went to David and said “Listen, I know you’ve served me well, fighting a counter-insurgency on my borders, but I can’t have a radical like you around.” And he sent David home. David and his Warriors were livid. They had fought in two different wars successfully, and were now being branded as extremists, and a security risk. They turned around and headed home.

Lessons here:

  1. Alienating trained and effective warriors who have served you well is DANGEROUS.
  2. If David and his men weren’t radicalized yet, their treatment by the new government certainly did radicalize them. (Hmm….)

As the men neared their compound, they found it burning. Everything they had left behind was stolen, including their wives and children. A few more towns nearby had also been sacked and they received information that it was the people they had been fighting before. David and his men took off in pursuit. Of course, David first asked God for guidance, and God told him to go, essentially saying “What are you waiting for?”

  1. Leaving your rear area unguarded and your base of operations undefended will lead to disaster EVERY SINGLE TIME.
  2. The way of life at the time is how we envision WROL life to be. Our base of operations will be where our food is produced, our livestock will be, and where are our families will be. It must be guarded.
Clay’s Ideas Can Help

David and his men gave pursuit, but carrying their supplies was wearing them out and slowing them down. David detailed 200 of his men to stay with the supplies, while the other 400 rushed ahead.

Soon, they found a straggler from the enemy force wandering in the desert. They fed him and asked for information. It turned out that he was a slave who had escaped. In exchange for protection and food, the slave led them to the enemy camp.

David and his men assaulted the camp and after a 2 day battle, they had destroyed most of the enemy force, and the rest was fleeing headlong back to Egypt. They had rescued all their family members, and gained not only their own property back, but the raiding force’s extra supplies and plunder from other towns.

On the way back, they met up with the logistical tail, and David’s 400 didn’t want to share to any of the plunder or extra supplies with the 200 that guarded the supply trains. David pointed out that the entire chain of events was a lesson. That lesson was that guarding your supply chain was every bit as vital as winning the battle against the enemy and he ordered that the security troops be given a full share.

Lessons in the end:

  1. You cannot succeed without securing your logistics.
  2. Supplies need to be guarded by a substantial force.
  3. Security is the most important task.
  4. Never leave your base (and food and families) undefended by an effective force.
  5. Attempt to gather intelligence from everyone you meet (the wandering slave).

I hope this history lesson and the few lessons from it help you prepare and put you on the right path. Stories like this are where the entire idea of Tactical Wisdom was born.

The most important lesson here is that Warriors who love their Nation and fought for it should never be neglected or treated as extremists. They can love their Nation and hate it’s leadership. That never leads to a good place.

The other lesson is that we need to focus on securing our families and supplies first, then worry about other objectives, which is a concept I mention in both of the Tactical Wisdom books.

We are down to only 2 chapters left to write in Volume 2, Fieldcraft. As always, if you’d like to help us finish production, please donate below.

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New Gear Reviews

Gear is Fun

We all like getting new gear. I’m no different, even though I stress having skills over gear, I do like new stuff. This week, I went into the field & tried out a few new items.

First, let me point out that I bought this gear myself. The manufacturers don’t even know I’m reviewing it. I’m not one of these mega channels that gets free stuff to try out and I have never accepted a payment to give a good review. I give you my opinion. Now, I may put an Amazon affiliate link in here, and I get a few pennies from that, but not much. And I would never recommend or link to something I don’t approve of.

The first item is called a “Siege Stove” it’s available at http://www.siegestoves.com. The kit I bought has base cross members and top cross members. You can use the base with any kind of metal can, and the base has spikes for making holes in the can (instructions are included), but they recommend using an Ikea “Ordnung” silverware basket. Since I have an Ikea literally down the road, I invested the $3.49 for a large one. When put it together it looks like this:

Siege Stove

The base allows air movement underneath and the holes let air in, creating a jet fire situation. You can use any type of fuel inside, but what I like about it is that you can just use wood. I made a wood fire inside it very easily.

Easy Fire-Making

I was a bit skeptical about how long it would take, but I put a canteen cup of water on the stove and it came to a rolling boil in 6 minutes. The fire shot up and burned hot inside the Ikea container. When I was done, putting it out was quick and easy. As long as you bury or conceal the ash some other way, this fire leaves no signature that you were ever there. It’s worth noting that I did this over leaves, and not one leaf below it for singed or burnt.

Fast Boil

There are only two drawbacks. The first is that you have to wait for it to cool before stuffing it back in your pack, but it cools rather quickly. The other is that the cup, the cross members, and the can all get covered in soot. I used leaves to wipe off most of it. I suppose that in a WROL situation, you could use that for face camouflage.

I recommend buying at least a set of the cross members. The make a full, flat-folding stove that is still on my wish list.

The next new item is a radio. Specifically the Radioddity GA-510. The radio is marketed as a 10 watt, long range radio and marketed as “not a Baofeng”. My first impression is that “it most certainly IS a Baofeng”. Just slapping on an easier menu and new nameplate doesn’t mean it didn’t roll out of the same factory with the same software.

The reception is better than on a standard Baofeng, although I never use stock antennas. I used a Nagoya 701C antenna. I am pulling in the local Wal-Mart handhelds from 3.5 miles away on the 8 inch antenna. The speaker is higher quality and thus presents better sound.

As far as it’s claims, it’s power output is very similar to the BF-F9. It actually puts out around 8 or 8.5 watts on high power. What’s important to remember about range is that watts of output isn’t the only factor. A properly tuned antenna, geography, and height relative to the horizon all play into it.

The scan feature is much faster than it is on a standard Baofeng, but is still far slower than a conventional scanner.

It does feel a lot more solid and rugged, and they have removed the silly flashlight that you would never use. It’s a little odd in that the antenna is on the right side, but that’s no big deal. The menu system is much easier to use.

The main drawback for my use is the lack of the ability to turn the backlight off. You can reduce the amount of time that it stays on, but for a tactical radio, I much prefer the ability to turn it off completely.

All in all, it’s not a bad radio, but if you already have an 8 watt Baofeng, you aren’t gaining much by upgrading.

The last new piece of gear I got is the SOG Powerlock EOD. I love mutli-tools and I may even be addicted. This one feels absolutely solid. It has all the standard tools, but this one has a 1/4 drive for use with sockets.

The biggest feature I got it for was the built-in blasting cap crimper. As conditions deteriorate, you never know when you might need to crimp a blasting cap onto some det-cord, so this is good to have. In all seriousness, I spend a lot of time crimping cable connections for cameras, and this feature is great.

My only issue with it is that the tool is slightly smaller than the case, so it may rattle a bit.

I highly recommend it.

Last night, I finished the “Basic Urban Skills” chapter in Fieldcraft and tonight we’re working on Land Navigation. We should be completely done and ready to send for approval by the end of next week.

If you’d to help us produce this book, please scroll down and donate below. To buy a book, go to the “Books” page.

Fire Preparedness

House Fire

We prepare for all sorts of situations, and presently most of us are worried about a potential hack taking down the electrical grid or some type of mass civil disorder, right up to a potential second civil war. You know I frequently talk about second and third order effects, and the potential for a fire without fire department support is a third order effect.

We all need to consider fire-fighting preparations, particularly those who intend to bug in and remain in their urban homes. You can take all kinds of fire prevention precautions, but if a civil disturbance comes along, one Molotov cocktail through a window puts an end to prevention.

Even the Ultimate Tactical Handbook warns about fire:

“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?

Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”

Isaiah 33:14b

For civil disorder preparedness, you can attach wire mesh to 2×4’s (who can afford those??), to be mounted over the outside of your windows in high risk periods. This would prevent thrown objects from entering the windows. Also, just keeping your yard clear of combustibles is vital. Have you considered how you store the gasoline for your lawnmower? That, too, needs to be secured.

Certainly, the old adage about filling all tubs and sinks with water applies here. Additionally, you could stage buckets throughout the house full of water, as well as staging fire extinguishers.

For that matter, you should consider having a fire extinguisher in each car for general preparedness anyway. I came across a car fire just the other day, and having an extinguisher can be a great help.

Smoke inhalation is a cause of many fire deaths. A full respirator can help reduce the damage, for short periods. Having one on hand is not a bad idea. Even an NBC surplus mask can help.

Check all your first aid kits and make sure that they all contain burn treatment options. It’s frequently overlooked and if the fire and rescue teams are overwhelmed, you will need to treat these injuries yourself. Having proper burn supplies can help prevent secondary injuries and infections as well.

Burn Treatment Dressings

As long as you have water service, have your outdoor hose attached and ready. An adjustable nozzle with a fog setting is helpful.

Consider buying at least one fire blanket. They have become very affordable and it could be staged in your kitchen for daily preparedness, and staged where you need it in the event of civil disorder, like whatever room you’re in. Keeping one in your car is never a bad idea either.

Understand where all of your shutoff’s are for your house as well. Being able to quickly shut off the electricity and gas service can keep a bad situation from getting worse. If service becomes sporadic, turn off at least the gas, to reduce the risk of explosion.

Staging shovels and axes for fire fighting is a good idea as well.

If a neighbor’s house catches fire, immediately begin wetting down your house to prevent it from spreading. If you have more than one adult, one of you could assist the neighbor with evacuation, while the other wets down the outside and roof of your house.

In a full collapse, your entire neighborhood will need to develop a neighborhood fire-fighting plan, because one fire can wipe out the whole neighborhood, and if the fire department can’t come or will be significantly delayed, you’ll need to do something. That’s exactly the way it was throughout the world until relatively recently; everyone in town banded together to fight a fire.

Keep in mind also that you will need to maintain a separate fire-fighting water supply that is not used for anything else. Consider also staging some outside around the house. Seriously, you can never have too many buckets or barrels of water around, can you?

To recap, no matter what your are preparing for, fire is going to be a serious threat if there is no fire department responding and you need to plan for it. You also need to develop a neighborhood response plan.

Book Series Update

We are down to the final 3-4 chapters of TW-02 Fieldcraft. They are longer chapters, but the plan is to have them written by the end of the week. Then editing will wrap up a few days after that. If you’d like to help us finish up production, please consider donating below.

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Donation – June 2021

Donation to book project

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Latex/Nitrile Glove Training

Last night, I had a conversation with a long-time corrections officer and he mentioned training to shoot in Nitrile or Latex gloves, due to the current pandemic and other scenarios. Anyone who has ever tried to accomplish anything in nitrile/latex gloves instantly knows what the issues will be.

For context, the source I spoke to used to transport sick or injured inmates from the State Prison of Southern Michigan (coincidentally the largest walled prison in the world) to a local hospital. During the entire transport they wore nitrile gloves, which made every task a degree of difficulty harder. This included not just firearms, but car keys, driving, handcuff manipulation, radio use, everything.

Training in leather gloves isn’t the same…latex and nitrile gloves aren’t as smooth as leather and will try to grab everything.

Why should we train in nitrile/latex gloves? The answer is in the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Therefore keep watch,

because you do not know the day or the hour.

Matthew 25:13

That’s right, we don’t know when a situation is going to occur.

For our purposes, imagine we are shopping, and an active shooter occurs. As you spring into action to treat a casualty, with your gloves on, the shooter re-appears. Securing a proper grip and drawing the gun is already going to a problem. The gloves, unlike leather gloves, are going to try and grip everything, maybe entangling with clothing. The grip will feel different, and it’s important that we train on this.

These kinds of gloves will cause an inability to properly feel and manipulate both the pistol grip and your holster for a clean draw. Conducting dry fire drills wearing nitrile/latex gloves on the draw and safety manipulation can help.

There is chance that the shot will break early, because you won’t feel the movement like you normally would, and, on the back end, you may not normally feel the trigger reset, leading to excessive trigger movement. Again, some dry fire and live fire training can help.

Another big issue is the potential for the gloves to be caught in the slide or slide release mechanism, or caught while changing magazines. Training at the range will help reduce this, but the chance exists. Imagine trying to clear a malfunction that involves a small piece of latex trapped somewhere in the slide.

That brings us to another point, the gloves getting caught and jammed in the mechanism while clearing a malfunction. Of particular concern is when trying to clear a stovepipe by sweeping the hand down the slide. Dry training is again the answer, but it can still happen.

You also will need to train on manipulating magazines from the pouch or pocket while wearing gloves. If you don’t think this is an issue, put on a nitrile glove and try to put your hand fully in your pocket. It’s HARD because the glove grips on both sides.

For that matter, you need to practice opening zippers, snaps, and pouches on all your gear, particularly your first aid gear, while wearing latex/nitrile gloves, because it’s entirely different. A good training idea is to spend half a day wearing the gloves while doing daily tasks. It will be very enlightening.

As I always point out, buying the gloves (gear) isn’t enough. You need to develop skill in using that gear. I assure you that when facing the active shooter closing on you while you are in gloves treating a casualty is NOT the time to “figure it out”.

The US Military makes trainees shoot while wearing full NBC gear (gloves and mask) for this very reason. You should, too.

Volume 2 of the Tactical Wisdom Series is coming along nicely, and should be available soon. The book will cover Fieldcraft, or the skills needed to move in the field safely and to live in the field. It is NOT the same as Bushcraft, because Fieldcraft views it from a tactical standpoint. The skill sets are complementary to each other.

If you’d to help us produce the book, please consider donating below.

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Donation – June 2021

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The Three Blade Rule

I frequently talk about the Three Blade Rule, and I thought I would take a few minutes to explain my methodology on this, and explain my own EDC tools that I use to fit this.

What does the Ultimate Tactical Handbook say about this? I’m glad you asked:

If you don’t have a sword,

Sell your cloak and buy one.

Luke 22:36

The Three Blade Rule is that at all times, you should have three bladed tools available. A pocket folding-knife, a fixed-blade knife, and a multi-tool. If you have access to all three of these, there aren’t too many issues you can’t solve. On a daily carry basis, the fixed-blade knife may cause some carry issues, but a little research can help here.

The first blade is a pocket folding-knife. There are literally thousands of options on the market, and each person needs to make their own decision. Before you buy one, research your local knife and weapons laws. Some states limit blade length or type. Be sure to fully read the law, because there are many misconceptions floating around. For example, in Michigan, the general perception is that you can’t carry a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches. While 3 inches is mentioned in the law, the law specifies that it’s only unlawful if you have “unlawful intent”. Self defense is lawful, and so is “general utility”.

Michigan’s law also only bans concealed carry of knives greater than 3 inches, so fixed blade knives can be carried openly on your belt or the outside of a backpack.

My personal choices for Every Day Carry (EDC) are Gerber knives or the CRKT M-16.

CRKT M-16

The second blade you need is a quality multi-tool. Notice I said “quality”. There are many types and brands out there, but I personally recommend sticking to either Gerber, Leatherman, or SOG tools. They are consistently the highest quality tools on the market.

When selecting one, you want one with tools that you will actually use. A couple of screwdrivers, a knife blade, a can opener, and scissors, as well as the plier ends are good bare minimums. I generally carry 2 daily. I have a Gerber Diesel on my belt next to my flashlight (check out the cool holster below), and a Gerber Suspension (smaller version) on my EDC bag.

I carry a more serious one in my Patrol Bag. There I have an SOG PowerLock EOD, complete with a blasting cap crimper. It has 18 tools on it and is very sturdy. I particularly like the 1/4 inch socket drive to attach other things to.

I love this. Never know when you might need to crimp a blasting cap.

The final option you need is some type of fixed-blade knife. I know, a lot of employers won’t let you carry one into work, so at least have on available in the truck of your car. I generally keep one in a backpack in the trunk. Research your local knife laws here.

Again, there are so many great options, and you’ll have to make your own decisions, but quality knives are worth it. A high quality knife that you are going to bet your life on is worth the $100-$300 (or more ) that you pay. You can buy them cheaper (in fact Gerber and Glock have good bargain options), but they are generally not worth it. A Gerber fixed-blade is anywhere from $50-150. Ka-Bars, worth their weight in gold, are $120-$250. If your budget doesn’t allow that, the Glock Field Knife is an excellent knife available for under $50. The point is, get SOMETHING that you can keep available.

If you have all of these tools, you can manage most survival and everyday tasks. But…this only works if they are with you at all times. You can certainly keep a folding knife and a multi-tool with you at all times without any issues, and as long as the fixed blade is available, you are in good shape.

A final reminder about self defense:

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house

His possession are safe.

Luke 11:21

I have a couple of quick updates for you all. First, you can now buy the Base Line Training Manual on this site, by clicking “Books” on the menu. Second, we anticipate Tactical Wisdom Volume 2, Fieldcraft, to be finished in the next few weeks. Lastly, we finalized that Volume 3 of the Tactical Wisdom Series will be “Personal Defense”, focusing on unarmed defense skills, use of a knife for self defense, use of a stick for self defense, and cold firearms combatives (using a firearm as a blunt weapon).

As always, if you’d like to support our mission here, please consider donating below.

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Donation – June 2021

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My Morning – A Preparedness Tale

Solid Tactical Wisdom

Earlier this week, I mentioned that you need to take yourself from Condition Yellow to Condition Orange. I had an incident occur this morning where that condition kept a workplace violence threat from expanding into actual violence. I want to share the story, not for accolades, I get paid to do this, but to point out how you need to raise your awareness.

I’m a security consultant, specializing in fraud investigations and personal protection for executives and media figures. Today, one of my clients needed some on-site security reviews done at several retail locations. OK, I’ll take the easy money, too, it spends just as well as the hard job money.

I did all of my morning situational awareness tasks. I checked the Book of Face pages of the local protest groups and main agitators, and saw no threats. I checked out the daily “Early Warning” update from Forward Observer (www.forwardobserver.com) and the only thing for Detroit wasn’t until the evening. Cool.

As I checked my schedule, I noticed that I was headed to a suburb that is well known for it’s violence and it’s racial tensions with literally everyone. I also knew that I had never been to this store before. There was a note that the local District Manager may need my help with “an issue” there. All of these factors put me at Condition ORANGE, rather than my normal Condition Yellow.

Color Codes

As I arrived, I noticed two local police cars tucked in behind the building next door. Another indicator of trouble.

As soon as I stepped in, I looked for doors. In addition to the door behind me, there was an emergency exit at the rear of the building and a door to an office section. I needed to go to the counter to introduce myself and show an authorization letter, but because of the Condition Orange status, rather than walking directly to the counter and standing right next to the one door I didn’t know what was behind, I stepped over against the wall, facing the unknown door, and had the two other doors in my peripheral vision.

Note that this analysis happened automatically after a long career and took less than 3 seconds.

As I handed the manager my letter and began to explain why I was there, the office door burst open and a male yelled “Imma blow you the fuck out, bitch”. Now, if you live anywhere but Detroit, that might mean make fun of you. In Detroit, it’s a threat to shoot you. The District Manager saw me as she was talking to 911 and she shouted to me that in the office he had threatened to blow her brains out.

He attempted to go behind the counter, and since I didn’t know what he had there and I didn’t want him between me and the two women employees, I prevented him from doing that and put myself between him and the women. I “escorted” (draw whatever conclusions you wish) him to the local officers rushing in from where they had been waiting for him to leave.

Did he have a gun? No. But could he have? Yes. Could this incident have gone much, much worse if I had merely been in Condition Yellow, or God forbid, WHITE? Absolutely. I would have been within arms reach if I had gone to the counter like most people.

It made me think…what if the nice elderly couple who came in just after the incident had been there when he busted out of the office, threatening to shoot people?

We need to be in Condition ORANGE from here on out. Orange enabled me to go immediately to RED without any delay or hesitation. If I’d been in White, I would have gone immediately to Black. Was I surprised? Yes, but, my awareness to potential danger allowed me to skip the freeze response and immediately present myself to this guy as a prepared and skilled male, of not insignificant size, ready to fight if that’s what he choose. That alone is most likely what prevented this situation from getting any worse.

This Condition Orange doesn’t just cover physical violence. No one in Puerto Rico yesterday expected the power to suddenly go out when the power plant suffered an “unexpected explosion and fire” (are there expected ones?), yet it happened. No one ever expects to be in an active shooter situation, but if you are and you don’t have a first aid kit nearby, you’re in trouble.

In his outstanding book, Mongol Moon, Mark Sibley has a character who is an old Marine (probably based on me) who is very much into preparedness. However, when the power goes out from an EMP blast, the guy is in his upstairs office, which has no flashlight. Well, a tragedy occurs and all his preparations are for nothing (read the book to find out) because he wasn’t ready AT THAT MOMENT.

Great Book

We in the preparedness community are always preparing for something, but are you PREPARED? You should be prepared for ANYTHING that could happen today. Regardless of your reason for preparing, you should be ready to respond TODAY, RIGHT NOW.

SOLID WISDOM

We seem to believe that there will always be some lead time, some advance warning. The very nature of emergencies dictates that there most likely won’t be.

That’s where the idea for the Tactical Wisdom Series came from. A series of topic-specific book that bring you to state of readiness to react RIGHT NOW. The current volume, Base Line Training Manual is designed to get you to a base-line for any situation.

The second volume, Fieldcraft, will enable you to be able to move in an environment with armed bad people nearby and no law enforcement to help you, as well as how to move and live in the field if you had to. No matter how you envision things, you WILL want to avoid being shot. One guy said “I don’t want to play soldier-boy, I just want to be prepared”. Well, you don’t get to pick the situation, so you had BETTER be ready to play soldier-boy, if that turns out to be the game. You can’t play checkers while the other person plays Monopoly.

As a side note: No matter what causes the WROL situation, it ALWAYS ends in “playing soldier-boy”. Not wanting or not being able to fight back when the fight comes to you ends in you being either a slave or dead. After Katrina, there were open gun battles all over the place. The looters and rioters don’t care what you want to do.

Anyway, I hope this tale from today helps spark your thinking and moves you to ORANGE.

As always, if you’d like to support our work & help produce the Tactical Wisdom Series, please consider a donation.

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Donation – June 2021

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Condition Orange

Cooper’s Color Codes

If you read my book or have followed this blog for any appreciable amount of time, you know I talk about Cooper’s Color Codes and remaining in Condition Yellow as much as possible. Today, I’m saying that if you aren’t in Condition Orange when interacting with others outside your household, you aren’t safe.

Monday night, I was listening to Nick August’s “Boomer Crypto Jazz Hour” (don’t ask me, I didn’t name it) and for “Mil-Spec Monday”, he had on “Skip Collapsitarian” (not his real name), who I’ve been on a few shows with and consider a knowledgeable friend. Not that Nick isn’t either, but I digress. Skip mentioned that in our current environment, if you aren’t already in Condition Orange, you are in danger and at risk.

I decided to spend a couple of days researching the points Skip and Nick made, and then make a decision. For the record, you can find them both on Twitter: @thenickaugust and @thefreerifleman.

I reviewed some information from Forward Observer (www.forwardobserver.com), and if you aren’t a member there, you aren’t really prepared. Mike and his team produce a daily intelligence brief and get it into your email by 9 am every day reviewing all of the risks that are facing us today, including some information on planned protests and insurgency information.

Tactical Wisdom

The first thing that jumped out at me on Forward Observer was the announcement by Portland ANITFA that they wanted to “Make Portland Little Beirut Again”. This is a reference to 1991, when there were violent clashes with police related to a visit by George HW Bush (I served on his detail in Grand Rapids once and met him in the middle of the night). FO also has a copy of an internal ANTIFA document calling for a summer more violent than last year. I coupled that with the fact that just a few weeks ago, we had ANTIFA running armed checkpoints, stopping vehicles at gunpoint all over the country, with some ending in violence in Portland and Seattle.

Another note from FO was that it has now been officially declared that a crude oil train derailment in December was sabotage, most likely by ANTIFA.

A check of the internet showed a woman assaulted completely at random, apparently for the color of her skin, while pumping gas, and another woman violently assaulted by an Amazon driver for asking about a package, apparently also for the color of her skin, since the driver was shouting about white privilege. Nearly everyday, we are seeing random racially motivated attacks.

This is NOT a political statement, it’s an objective review of available data. You need to increase your risk level and act accordingly.

Over the weekend, Matt Bracken reminded us all of the event last summer where a veteran’s farm equipment was set on fire and his livestock killed by unknown parties, but ANTIFA claimed responsibility. That incident prompted Clay Martin to write Prairie Fire, one of our favorites….in fact, Amazon recommends it when you buy my book.

These incidents should tell you that the situation in America is in a downward spiral. There will not be a “magic moment” where things just suddenly go back to normal. Agitators on both the left and the right are ramping up their rhetoric every single day. Us in the center, who just want to survive, have no choice but to take notice and prepare accordingly.

I’ve had some in the preparedness community accuse me of fear-mongering or vilifying the left. I’m not, I’m objectively reporting the facts and giving preparedness advice based on those facts. I’m sorry if the fact is that one side is doing most of the violence and it’s not the one the media & government warns about. I can’t help that.

Pretending that this isn’t happening won’t help anyone. Neither will trying to “stay under the radar” or “going along to get along”. If you think it will, I recommend watching Doctor Zhivago.

This bring us to today’s Tactical Wisdom, which I’ve shared before:

then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.

Ezekiel 33:4

Try to warn people, but if they don’t listen, it’s on them. Do what you can to help your family and your tribe.

But what can we do? With the threat of more and more damaging cyber attacks and random but targeted violence, we can do a few things:

  1. Develop a personal protection plan that may include a firearm and other options.
  2. ENSURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE A FULLY STOCKED FIRST AID KIT WITH YOU.
  3. Keep your vehicles topped off every day. Our friends in the East learned this lesson the hard way when hackers shut off the fuel supply.
  4. Buy and freeze extra meat products. The hack is over, but the supply chain issues that were already in place before the hack have not been resolved and are in fact worse now.
  5. In light of the cell phone and internet outages this week, update your communication plans and keep a UHF/VHF or CB/HF radio with you at all times with planned contacts.
  6. Subscribe to the Forward Observer service (it’s cheap and no, Mike doesn’t give me a penny, I just believe in it) at http://www.forwardobserver.com.
  7. Check open sources like Facebook and Twitter for planned protest activity every day.
  8. Keep a Get Home Bag and a change of clothes in your car at all times.
  9. Increase your alert level to Orange.

If you’d like to help us produce great content and our second book, Fieldcraft, please donate to our blog.

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Donation – TW – June 2021

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Communications Protocols

Comms Planning

Nearly everyone I talk to in preparedness says that they have communications gear, and a solid plan for their group to communicate in the event of a disaster, whether natural or manmade. That sounds good, but then when I ask to see their radio, they are stumped. “What do you mean?”. I reply “Where is your radio, right now?”. They say at home, or “with my gear”.

It’s good to have radios, but if your plan doesn’t include having them with you RIGHT NOW, your plan may not matter one bit. No matter the situation, the first or second thing to happen will be phone systems either collapsing or being overwhelmed. Having radios to communicate immediately will be crucial.

In addition to having the radios and having them available, you’ll need certain radio protocols established ahead of the event. The way to do this is to establish a set of Signal Operating Instructions (SOI) or Communications-Electronics Operating Instructions (CEOI) for your entire team and to TRAIN on them.

This holds true to my philosophy that skills are more important than gear. I honestly can’t tell you the number of people at events who bought a radio, but never programmed it or never learned enough to understand how to make your radio perform better. They just went online, read a couple of blogs, watched 2 or 3 YouTube videos, bought a radio and then declared themselves prepared. That’s dangerous and will leave you out of the loop on day one.

My Newest Radio

As a result, our first piece to the SOI is that we need to make sure that everyone is working from the exact same programming. Even if you input the same frequencies, if you don’t have the same selective calling settings (sometimes called privacy codes – they aren’t private), you won’t hear each other. Have a communications team leader, preferably a licensed amateur radio operator, who ensures that everyone has the right radio settings.

The second piece of your SOI is that you must mandate that people keep their radios with them, at least in their vehicles, and preferably on their person, every single day. With the current hacking epidemic, it’s only a matter of time until someone takes down either electrical power or cell phone grids. You can store a small handheld without the antenna attached in your laptop bag, Get Home Bag, or purse. If you need help, it’s better than nothing.

Your SOI should address ways to make crisis communications more understandable. For example, shouting on the radio is never going to come across well, so don’t allow it. Make sure that people know to speak ACROSS the microphone, not directly into it to prevent hissing “S” sound and pops on other letters.

You will need call signs and other protocols. Each person can have their own call signs, or teams can have their own (Security/Medical/Communications/Command) group call signs. I know it’s cool to assign everyone some sort of ultra-cool guy tacti-cool call sign like WARHAMMER or something, but under stress, it will be easier to call people by group, like “Medical” or “Security”, rather than names, when operating out of a fixed location.

The same thing goes with vehicle movement. As people are assigned to vehicles, it will be hard to remember which vehicle “CHAOS” or “WARHAMMER” are sitting in. It’s better to go with “Lead” or “Trail”, etc, as vehicle call signs. Medical and Supply can be others. Alternatively, you can randomly assign colors to each vehicle as call signs (BLUE/RED/YELLOW).

When working in executive protection, most people just use call signs related to their role, rather than their assigned personal call signs. For example, one of the groups I work with has assigned me the call sign “Guapo”, for some reason that I’m certain has nothing to do with my good looks, but when we are moving with the client, I’m generally called “ADVANCE”, because that’s my team role and they want it clear who the message is for (me and anyone else on the Advance team). The point is, you may have a personal call sign, but may also need to respond to assignment-related call signs.

Select several practical frequencies for your team to use. Even if your team is small, you will need more than one channel. What if you discover as you enter a new area, you hear someone else using your frequency? You need an alternate. I generally select license free channels like FRS or MURS, because, despite what my Amateur Radio friends say, my team communications are generally very short range, and I don’t envision having to worry about local kids playing on radios in a disaster/attack situation. FRS channels also allow your team members with less monetary resources to be able to communicate.

Channel 3 Project

The Channel 3 Project of AMRRON also needs to be incorporated into your SOI. The program is monitoring FRS 3, CB 3, MURS 3, and 146.420 at the top of every hour. The premise is that anyone seeking help or information can call out on those channels and find like-minded people for help. Don’t use those channels for any other communications for your team. Any time you are in a static location, someone should be monitoring Channel 3 of any of those systems.

A lot of people spend a lot of time talking about radio security and encryption. The honest truth is that you are NEVER going to be able to buy a radio that the NSA can’t break the encryption on, so stop worrying about it. Understand how radios work instead, and minimize risk that way. Radios are inherently short range, so don’t worry about being monitored from a distance. Use the lowest power setting possible, only raising it when someone can’t hear you. Learn how to quickly change power levels on your specific radio. Never use full names or addresses on the radio.

Develop some method of authentication, or a way to know that the person you are talking to is really on your side. You could have daily password, or a challenge/authentication system, but you need something. A duress code is also a good idea (a word said over the are that alerts that you are under duress/at gunpoint/etc). If you have one person (your comms leader) join AMRRON and get their SOI, they have an excellent authentication method that works on a national level, enabling you to verify that unknown voices are indeed like-minded.

Understand that the opposition is out buying the same radios you are, and they are using theirs EVERY SINGLE DAY at these protests, so they are more experienced. Have a plan to monitor for opposing groups using radios near your location. People communicating by radio near your bug out location is almost never a good thing and always a cause for concern.

While holding radio-specific training sessions is good, the better way is to incorporate radios into EVERY training event.

Establish “brevity codes” or names for locations and activities that only your team knows. That way, you can coordinate meetings or events, without worrying about eavesdropping. If we all know that “Gather at Firefly” means that we all meet in a particular location, no on else will know where that is. It should go without saying that the code word for the location should never hint at where it is. For example you wouldn’t say “playground” if you wanted everyone to meet at a park or school parking lot.

There is a lot that goes into establishing team communications and that all needs to be done BEFORE any event occurs. Get to work.

We are around halfway done with Volume 2 of Tactical Wisdom, Fieldcraft. If you’d like to help us produce that, please donate below.

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Donation – June 2021

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How Ready Are You?

Kenosha Riots

If there is one thing this last year should have taught us all, is that things can change in a matter of moments. Kenosha was the best example. People were having a normal Sunday night with barbecues and family dinners, and within one hour they were living in a war-torn hell-scape. Fires burned everywhere, law enforcement was gone, and fire/EMS service very limited. Sitting on your porch was dangerous. It stayed that way for over a week.

The prudent see danger & take refuge,

but the simple keep going & pay the penalty.

Proverbs 27:12

That’s solid advice from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook, and there is danger today.

Ever since George Floyd, was killed, every police shooting, whether justified or not, draws a hostile crowd. In fact, as we are seeing RIGHT NOW in Minneapolis, the facts don’t matter. The dead man even bragged that he was going to shoot at police. He did, was shot, and they still claim it was racism and unjustified, and are burning things down & looting.

People are encountering armed illegal checkpoints by revolutionary communists in various parts of the country, with no police presence. Those same groups are calling for armed revolution. At the same time, far right people are whispering about a military coup being possible this summer (it isn’t).

That brought me to todays topic, how ready are you at any given moment? In the preparedness community, everyone talks about how ready they are because they have 37 years of food stores, 20K rounds of ammunition, and 16 guns, but how ready are you REALLY at any given moment? And, if you had to run, how are you carrying all that?

First, let’s talk about being DRESSED. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but do you get up and get dressed, even on your days off? What if your neighbor’s wife was pounding on your door, because her husband was having a heart attack and you were still in your Superman Boxers? Or a neighbors house was on fire and they were stuck inside? I know it seems silly, but the next time you’re in the grocery store, look around you. Notice how many people are in pajamas and slippers. We used to be a society where no one would ever consider leaving the house like that. What if they got into a car accident, or ran out of gas, while dressed like that? Not helpful. Don’t be those people.

They lost because of the shorts.

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know exactly how I feel about shorts on adult men, but have you considered how many people wear flip flops or sandals? Yes, they are comfy, but what if you had to stop and help someone at a car fire in them? (I choose car fire because I came upon a car fire the other day). These are truly elements of our preparedness. You don’t want to walk home from a car accident 15 miles in flip flops.

On a more serious note, at the beginning of the pandemic, we all started carrying a bit more gear, and kept our awareness up. By the end of month 3, we were a bit fatigued, and we started to streamline our everyday carry. Now, we’re back to having our home stockpile, for the most part. I know a lot of you, like me, aren’t, but a majority are.

Taking it a step further, do you carry a ‘Get Home Bag’ in your car or keep one at work? Why not? In our modern society, it’s not unusual to work 40 miles or more from home. What if you couldn’t drive for whatever reason, and had to walk it? Do you have a change of clothes, for those who work in more formal clothes? What about shoes or boots?

Going even farther, how prepared are you on a business trip? I used to travel by air every week all over the country. Now, I won’t accept any assignment that I can’t drive to. I know that some of you don’t have a choice, but consider it. You may very well be the most well-stocked prepper at home, but what if you are 800 miles or more away when an event happens?

I remember on 9/11 the struggles in trying to get all of the senior leadership at my employer at the time back to where they needed to be, since planes were grounded and no one knew when they would resume flights. Most of them had been at a meeting in Minneapolis (that should tell you who the employer was), and we needed them back in their home markets. Rental cars sold out in under an hour. That was 20 years ago. Imagine it now. I myself had just gotten home from Utah literally hours before.

Flying with full preparedness supplies is not really an option, due to the costs involved. So what can you do? How prepared are you really, every day? I choose now to drive and have for many years, because I want to be able to bring the supplies I want and have the ability to leave, preferably in my vehicle, without being at the mercy of mass transit.

I recommend as we enter this new summer of renewed protests, increased tensions, open talk of civil war and planned coups, that you seriously consider your DAILY preparedness for ANY EVENT, not just your overall preparedness. All those supplies at home or your bug out location do you no good if you don’t survive to get to them.

First, build a ‘Get Home Bag’. This is a bag with basic supplies to enable you to get home from anywhere if you have to leave your vehicle. Advice and lists for building one can be found in my book, Base Line Training Manual, available here: https://amzn.to/3ciohgU

Second, build or buy a quality First Aid Kit. I personally have several. I have a Solatac PTK (www.solatac.com) in my Get Home Bag, and a larger kit from Kilo 5 Supply (https://www.kilo5.com/) in my vehicle. The Kilo 5 IFAK is well stocked, well thought-out, and in a quality pouch that I keep attached to my vehicle emergency kit.

Have basic supplies in your vehicle, like a change of clothes/shoes, some food, and some water. You don’t know when you might need it.

Carry emergency communication gear, like VHF/UHF radios, with you everywhere. The MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) is VHF and doesn’t require a license. Your group or loved ones could plan on using one of those channels in an emergency.

My Favorite

At the end of all this rambling, the important takeaway is this: Every day, BE READY. Be honest with yourself, most days you really aren’t. Have the supplies and gear AVAILABLE when you need it, not stored away somewhere you can’t get to.

Afterthought: If, once you finally get back to your home, it would take you 8-12 hours to load up those supplies to move to a back-up location, are you really ready?

Be ready, always.

If you’d like to help us produce our second book, Fieldcraft, please donate below.

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Misconceptions are Dangerous

This kid didn’t want to be in a war, either.

The other day, I shared an article of mine that appeared over at http://www.survivalblog.com (great website by James Wesley Rawles, BTW). In that article, I discussed some training exercises that are listed in my Base Line Training Manual, available at the Amazon affiliate link below. The exercises involved conducting safe movement, avoiding others, and setting a secure campsite for yourself in a post-WROL (Without Rule of Law) situation. This is, not coincidentally, the topic of Tactical Wisdom Volume 2, Fieldcraft.

Base Line Training Manual Link (I may make a penny or two)

The point I made in the article was that you will need to do things in a secure and somewhat “militant” way, in order to prevent others from preying on you in a post-WROL situation.

A guy on the Book of Faces read it, and in true “Fudd” fashion, left a scathing reply that “This is where you lost me. I want to be prepared, not be a soldier-boy.”. He said that, as if you could be prepared without becoming somewhat of a “soldier-boy”. Our friend must have skipped over the part where I pointed out that the best way to avoid fighting and being robbed in a post-WROL situation is to NOT LET OTHERS SEE YOU. Most of you know that I frequently say that our role is SURVIVAL, not COMBAT.

This lead to a little soul-searching, because maybe I was wrong. I did a little research, starting of course with this gem from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Gather up your belongings to leave the land,

All you who live under siege.

Jeremiah 10:17

That verse is the foundation of Chapter 9 of the Base Line Training Manual & it is SOLID ADVICE. A WROL situation is indeed living under siege and you need to be able to quickly and quietly move out and remain undetected at a moment’s notice.

Among the best examples of what a Without Rule of Law situation in America would look like is found in the Balkan Conflict. The basis for the wars and revolutions there is the same thing we are facing now, ethnic groups and political factions at each other’s throats and willing to use violence to fight each other.

Yugoslavia was a modern western nation, with a functioning economy and very diverse ethnic makeup. The even exported one of the most popular cars at the time, the Yugo. Sarajevo had just hosted the Olympics. This was not some backwater country.

First, they had political protests because of alleged police brutality against minorities. Then, they had contested elections, followed immediately by groups setting up “autonomous zones”. Once the protests and autonomous zones overwhelmed law enforcement to the point that they couldn’t respond, open warfare, banditry, and ethnic cleansing began, and killed tens of thousands. Does any of that sound familiar?

The nation of Yugoslavia never recovered and does not exist any longer. Several new nations exist in her place.

We Have a Responsibility

After years of warfare, NATO forcibly intervened and stopped at least the ethnic-based killing and set up safe zones. Do you think any nation has the capability to forcibly put forces inside the US to “enforce domestic peace” on us? In other words, once a WROL situation begins in the US, it will be absolutely unstoppable. Bad actor nations around the globe will then be free to do whatever we’ve held them back from.

When you read about daily life in the Balkans during this time, it was exactly what most of us think. If you even had water or electricity, it was very intermittent. Hungry people attacked long time neighbors over food. Even walking out to get water or gather firewood required taking a team of people for security reasons, to prevent being attacked or robbed.

Checkpoints didn’t mean law and order; they were a means of ethnic cleansing and robbery. Various forces, factions, and criminal groups set up checkpoints to seize food & water, identify people from targeted ethnic groups, or to generally harass the civilians in an area. They were something to be avoided, by using stealth and field skills, you know, like a “soldier-boy”.

Life on the farm isn’t what our friend from above pictured either. Soldiers, bandits, or just hungry people raided farms frequently. You had the choice of defending your farm, or fleeing to hide. There was no “I’ll just stay here and let them take food, I’ll grow more”. These groups KILLED the people they came across, no questions asked, no remorse.

We know from witness accounts that if people went out for food or water, they carried a bag, like the Patrol/EDC bag I discuss in my book, because they might have to evade a warring party, local thugs, or roving bandits and had no idea when they would be able to get home.

Read More Here

So, the point is, those who think that they can just store a little extra food, set aside some water, and just be left alone are NOT actually preparing. They are setting themselves up for failure, which I hate to see. They are planning with this idyllic idea that it’ll be like Little House on the Prairie. You can’t change their minds, so stop trying. Just understand that preparedness is different than that.

I liken it to the “Militant Farmer” concept of the American Frontiersman. He pushed out past civilization, banded together with his neighbors and lived off the land. BUT, he also understood that there were Native War Parties, parties of soldiers from France, Spain, and other places raiding farms, and generally bandits on the road. He maintained a standard of “Skill At Arms” as it was called back then, by training with his neighbors.

They ran joint patrols. They worked together to staff observation posts overlooking the “avenues of approach” and “key terrain” (if you don’t already know what these are, my Fieldcraft manual will help you). They set up “bug out” plans to all flee into the woods together for safety if a larger armed party approached, which is what my article was about, and they could only know about these approaching parties by setting up the OPs and watching the roads. They didn’t rely on the government, nor did they hope for the good will of others.

If you think that just food and water, or having a farm and maybe a gun is preparedness, you are relying on the good will of strangers.

What keeps our society from falling apart right now, under the tension we currently have? Fear of a law enforcement response; that’s all. What will happen the minute that goes away? For an example, as states around the country are announcing that they will no longer prosecute shoplifting, what’s happening? Shoplifting is SKYROCKETING. As law enforcement disengages in the larger cities, what is happening to the murder and robbery rates? Skyrocketing. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Lastly, don’t think living in a rural area removes this risk. It just pushes it farther down the calendar, and not by much. Once Rule of Law completely vanishes, the cities will burn out in under 3 months. Where will all the refugees and bandits go? Into the countryside, seeking opportunity and victims.

We’re not trying to be all doom and gloom, but we have to see things as they are and as they will be, not how we want them to be or would prefer.

Thanks for listening and I hope this pushes a few more people to get realistic in their preparations and more importantly, their training.

As always, if you’d like to help us produce more content and books, please donate below (we haven’t gotten any royalty checks yet).

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Our Collapse

Elizabeth City, NC

Everyone has a different opinion of what a collapse will look like, and that spurs a lot of conversations. Hollywood has given us a false sense of what a societal collapse looks like. In the movies, it’s a sudden event where we go from order to chaos in less than a day.

What if, in actuality, the collapse is a slow slide into anarchy? Let’s look at some events, then discuss a little history.

In the last 24 hours, the western suburbs of Detroit have seen four homicides. That’s practically unheard of. In the quiet city of Livonia, at 5:20 AM, a man was crossing a major intersection, when he encountered 2 other men. Without warning, one of them stabbed the man, killing him. In Inkster, events began when a woman was shot. Once she was taken to the hospital and the police cleared the scene, the shooter returned to the exact same scene and killed her husband. A few hours later, two men were killed and two others wounded in a shooting at a basketball court a couple of blocks away.

In Elizabeth City, NC, where protests against a police shooting are ongoing, a vehicle was stopped at an intersection, and protestors surrounded the vehicle and beat on it. The driver drove through the protestors. The video is clear, and there were no major injuries, but the driver is under arrest for several felony charges and the prosecutor is considering hate crime enhancements. Now, I don’t know anything about the driver, but the video shows clearly that the crowd initiated contact and struck the vehicle, so it appears to have been self defense. Again, you can no longer rely on traditional self defense laws.

Earlier today, as events began at George Floyd Plaza, where police are no longer allowed to patrol, over 30 shots were fired in an exchange of gunfire and at least one man was wounded.

We are seeing protests and armed roadblocks by revolutionary communist groups every single day in various areas.

A similar situation

The Yugoslav Wars, which ran from 1991 to 2001, began from large scale ethnic tensions. Slobodan Milosevic was elected on a platform denouncing the abuse and brutality of the largely ethnic Albanian police against ethnic Serbians. His speeches denouncing the police fanned the flames of ethnic tension. Does this sound familiar?

As the first large-scale ethnic clashes began, the Yugoslav National Army was deployed in an attempt to preserve the larger nation. This deployment of federal troops only made the situation worse, and caused the creation of several “autonomous zones” protected by local ethnic militias. Again, does this sound familiar?

Once the zones were created, ethnic warfare began and each individual ethnic group tried to either force out or completely eliminate the other ethnicities from their enclaves. It took the intervention of NATO forces to stop the killing on a large scale.

In the end, the nation of Yugoslavia was no more and there were six independent nations left in its place, based on ethnicity. There are still clashes and ethnic violence, and most infrastructure is destroyed. Electricity and water service are inconsistent at best.

When we look at our current situation, and compare it to the most relevant historical example, it’s clear that we are already within a slow-moving societal collapse. We are seeing widespread political violence. We are seeing ethnic-based attacks. We see police refusing to engage with armed militias, who are openly running illegal roadblocks.

Tactical Wisdom

From a preparedness standpoint, what can we do?

First, remember that our main concern is survival and avoiding the main conflict. Staying out of it costs you nothing.

Second, pay attention to planned events around you. Monitor social media and local news outlets, looking for planned events. Knowing where events are planned can help you avoid them. You can set up a Google alert using local protest group hashtags, and let Big Tech do the heavy lifting.

Third, understand that protests can happen anywhere with no warning. Earlier today, I met with another guy over lunch and discussed the situation in Detroit. I told him that the part of town he was headed to later with his family was probably low risk. He got there and found a protest ongoing literally right where we discussed. Out of nowhere. Have a plan to practice “Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu” and get out of the area. Consider buying and wearing a body camera.

Fourth, remember that if you find yourself trapped in a protest and surrounded, the best thing to do is just go along with their demands to raise your fist. You can’t rely on police protection, and if you resist them with lawful self-defense, it’s highly likely that you are going to be the one arrested. You CANNOT rely on our system to protect you. It means nothing if you shout black lives matter, and are then able to leave the protest safely. Swallow your pride. As the Ultimate Tactical Handbook says:

Pride goes before destruction,

A haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Finally, look out for your tribe. You will a network to survive a Without Rule of Law situation. In the meantime, build that team and check in with each other. Exchange contact information. Establish communication plans and check in times. When this thing kicks off, you won’t have time to make plans on the fly.

We are at the one month anniversary of the publication of Tactical Wisdom Volume 1, the Base Line Training Manual (available below – click the photo) and we’ve sold just under 300 copies. We are currently just short of halfway through preparing Volume 2, Fieldcraft, which covers individual movement, field skills, observation, and other basic outdoor/tactical field skills. Remember, skills are better than stuff. If you’d like to help us produce the book and this site, please consider a donation below.

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Fieldcraft

In their training manual on Fieldcraft, the Canadian Forces define Fieldcraft like this:

“Fieldcraft is made up of the individual skills and techniques used by soldiers in the field, which include movement, use of ground and camouflage in conditions of reduced visibility.  These skills and techniques enable soldiers to maintain their own security while gaining advantage over the enemy.”

                        -Fieldcraft, Canadian National Defense

In a preparedness sense, it’s something we overlook a lot. Sure, groups get together and train, but what do they train on when they get together? Shooting. First Aid. But never something as simple as how to walk to quietly in the woods or in a team formation.

Be honest with yourselves, when is the last time you practiced low crawling 100 meters? Back crawling under a fence? How about the proper method of crossing a wall?

The truth of the matter is we don’t train in these areas. There are a number of reasons for this. The biggest reason is that everyone thinks that reading the Warrior Skills Handbook or FM 7-8 (Infantry Rifle Platoon & Squad) is enough. It isn’t. You don’t learn physical skills by reading.

Low Crawl

Another reason is “I learned that back in boot camp”. You sure did. When was the last time you tried to do it, though? The low crawl uses some very specific muscle groups that you don’t use every day. Like any physical skill, the minute you don’t train on it, the muscles get weaker.

Another problem emerges as people in your group come together from different training backgrounds. Different services do things differently. One persons idea of a low crawl is actually a high crawl (we’re looking at you, Air Force peeps).

What we are doing at Tactical Wisdom is developing a common training manual, that your team can all train from, standardizing several basic individual movement techniques. We are drawing the best techniques from the US Army, the USMC, the Canadian Forces, the British Armed Forces, and the ANZAC’s and putting them in one manual.

Our Fieldcraft Manual will cover Survival mindset, individual movement techniques, some basic team movement, observations skills, how to set up a secure and sanitary overnight location, how to analyze terrain, basic urban tactics (including limited gray man skills), individual fighting positions, and other “fieldcraft” skills for your team or for you individually to train on. The ultimate in gray man is to never be seen at all, and fieldcraft helps with that.

Why is it important that everyone on your team know the same individual movement techniques? Well, imagine that you are moving and trying to avoid contact and you send someone to check out the other side of a wall. If they haven’t learned the proper way, they’ll alert anyone around to your presence. Also, if I tell someone to low crawl, but they actually high crawl, they are at risk of being seen, or even of being hit by friendly fire if you are suppressing over their heads.

A standardized manual for your team’s training is the answer. Even without the manual, just getting together and training regularly on the same technique will help.

Fieldcraft is also about how to establish a secure overnight position. It will do you no good to spend you day evading other groups in a WROL situation, only to have a sloppy campsite at night and get wiped out when someone stumbles into the site and you aren’t prepared. The answer is training.

Fieldcraft involves other skills, like field sanitation. If you don’t properly set up your overnight site, you can contaminate your site. This will lead to illness and in a WROL situation, that can be deadly. When was the last time your preparedness group discussed field sanitation?

“But if I’m bugging in, why would I want to study fieldcraft?”. No matter how you envision the WROL situation, there will be times when you need to leave your own perimeter. You may have to get water or food. You will certainly want to patrol the local area, so that you can detect threats before they are at your front door.

There may even come a time when the safest course is for you to bug out temporarily with your gear, to avoid contact. You may leave for a few days until a threat group leaves the area.

The next time your group gets together, spend some time on individual movement techniques and movement as a team. Practice setting up observation posts and fighting positions. Practice getting into a hasty ambush position in case someone was following you.

These skills will be infinitely more important than shooting skills or the CQB that everyone loves to train on. Yes, you need those skills, but these skills will be used every single day, and we don’t train on them on now. Start working on it.

Tactical Wisdom

As the above quote from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook shows, even Nehemiah used Fieldcraft. He had half of his people working, and the other half pulling security duty. Thousands of years old, but still solid preparedness advice today. In fact, every modern Western Military force still uses Nehemiah’s standard.

Check out http://www.survivalblog.com for a lot of great survival information. I’m a regular contributor over there as well, and I have a few articles scheduled there in the next few days.

As always, if you’d like to help us produce more great content, including helping us produce the Fieldcraft Manual to assist with your group training, please donate.

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Radio Testing

Yaesu Radio

I frequently talk about the need to test your gear and your skills, but when is the last time you tested your preparedness radios? I’m not talking to the Amateur Radio guys, they do it everyday. I’m talking to YOU, yes YOU, the guy who has the radios in a box somewhere.

So often we buy a piece of gear, check that item off our list, then set it in storage, where it sits forever. This becomes a real problem for radios, which will be one of the first things we’ll need in a real preparedness situation.

As a Without Rule of Law situation develops, communications infrastructure will be among the first things to go down. Whether from a dedicated attack, a loss of electrical power, or just from overuse, communications will be down. Radios will be a great way to both communicate and develop information.

First, for communicating with your team, radios are vital. We decided to do a vehicle movement radio test this week, to ensure that we could indeed use them in the highly urbanized environment of Detroit.

The test was simple, a two vehicle movement directly around the northern and western edges of Detroit. This is an important test, because you may have a set of radios that work great at your bug-out location in rural farmland, but they will operate very differently in an urban environment. For those of us who live in a city and intend to meet up with others before moving out, this kind of testing is vital.

The equipment we tested were just handhelds, and we used them in the UHF range, on FRS frequencies, as no license is required. Now, before I have about 15 of my beloved Amateur Radio friends chime in about all the reasons why FRS is terrible, that’s not the point. I wanted to test simplex UHF hand-held to hand-held. The specific frequency wasn’t the point. We will be testing VHF range in the MURS band next week.

I would NEVER use these in the FRS range. EVER.

What we found was that on surface streets, we got about a mile of range, but on Metro Detroit freeways, it dropped to 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. The reason is the nature of Detroit’s highways. They are dug down into the ground in large ditches, almost tunnel-like, which are fairly unfriendly to hand-held radios without a repeater. Especially when said radios have their antennas locked inside the metal cage of the car.

I know, my Amateur Radio friends are going to leave comments about using a repeater, but the point of the test is to test for WROL/SHTF communications WITHOUT grid power, which will generally mean no repeaters. You absolutely need to know what kind of range your intra-team radios will get just running simplex (radio-to-radio).

What this tells me is that my team needs to invest in vehicle radios. I know, HAM friends, but you can’t broadcast in those frequency ranges at 25 or 50 watts. In a WROL situation, the FCC is the least of our worries, my friends. I use a vehicle radio daily for protection/investigations work, and they can indeed punch the range up. But remember, it’s not always a function of power. If you’re sitting in the basement of a parking garage (happens in the investigation & protection field more than you think), it won’t matter how many watts of power you slam into the concrete and steel, the signal isn’t getting out.

I’ve used one of these for years.

Another option to use for your team’s vehicles is the old, tried & true CB radio, as long as it has SSB capability. Again, Amateur Radio people look down their nose, but aside from Channel 19, this system is empty now. It will be even more empty once the trucks stop moving. It doesn’t require a license and is wide open. You can get very good range on a properly tuned CB radio, particularly with SSB.

A good option is that each vehicle in your group have a CB radio, and each person have a handheld VHF/UHF radio. With this system, vehicle-to-vehicle comms could be on the CB, and if you need to dismount a team on foot to investigate a danger area, they could communicate with each other on the VHF/UHF frequency, while the vehicles monitor that channel and talk amongst each other on CB. You need a multi-tiered approach.

He who answers before listening,

That is his folly & his shame.

Proverbs 18:13

That advice from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook is even more vital in a WROL situation. It means that we need to LISTEN to the radio more than talk.

In a WROL situation, traditional news sources and communication methods will be gone. Ever since the radio was invented, Amateur Radio has been used to communicate news and information across the world. Amateur stations will be broadcasting about local conditions, and sharing what information they have. Your group will need to tap into that incredible information source, even if it’s just to listen.

Great Resource

Having a licensed Amateur Radio Operator on your team will allow you to communicate with these stations, some from around the world. However, you don’t need a license to LISTEN and GATHER information. All you need is a radio that receives a wide range of AM/FM/Shortwave, and Medium Wave frequencies. Just turn on the radio, scan, and start gathering information. Just make sure it has SSB capability.

To recap, you need to test all of you radio gear under real-world circumstances. You can’t just use them on weekend campouts once a year and consider it good enough. Get out and run actual drills. I actually participated twice with a local…organization, we’ll call it…where they practiced running intelligence gathering foot patrols, once downtown and once in the suburbs, to test their hand-held radio gear. It was a great time, and everyone learned what changes they needed to make to their radio gear.

Having an option to extend the range of your vehicle communications is vital, because trying to use handheld radios with the antenna trapped inside the metal box of your car isn’t going to do very well.

Lastly, having an option to at least listen to shortwave and amateur radio broadcasts will be absolutely vital in a WROL situation, so you need to develop that option.

These topics are all covered in our Base Line Training Manual, available at Amazon, like the items above (I may make a small affiliate commission on those links). We are hard at work on Volume 2 of the Tactical Wisdom Series, Fieldcraft. Fieldcraft will discuss the skills needed to effectively move and live in the field, both in an urban and a rural setting. As usual, if you’d like to help support our efforts to produce content and training materials, please donate below.

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Is Israel a Preview?

Lod, Israel

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.

See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

Matthew 24:6

As I sit here watching the situation unfold in Israel, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a preview of things to come here. Now, I’m not referring to the rocket attacks by an external party, but the other thing that the US media isn’t covering, because it paints their darlings the poor, oppressed Palestinians in a bad light. The ethnic riots.

The Mayor of the city of Lod, after a night of violent rioting by Arab citizens targeting Jewish citizens, declared that he had lost control of the city and that a civil war was raging there. He compared the ethnic attacks to the Kristallnacht event in Nazi Germany.

I know that it sounds extreme, but BBC spoke to a woman named Michal Abraham, who lives in Lod. Her family lives in a mixed-ethnicity neighborhood, as most of Lod does. Her family and their Arab Muslim neighbors got along just fine, and worked together to see each other be successful, before the rioting. As soon as the angry mob got on their block, though, the Arab neighbors ran to the agitators and quickly pointed out where the Abraham family lived and where their cars were parked. Both of their cars were destroyed by fire during the night. Abraham reported that despite multiple calls, the police and fire departments never showed up.

Destroyed Vehicle in Lod

Is there a preparedness lesson there? There sure is. However nice your neighbors are today, they may be VERY different when the mob gets to your block. In our current environment, they may point out that you had a certain political sign in your yard or you normally fly a US flag, in an attempt to make the mob attack any house but their own.

Post-WROL, they may point out that you are the only person in the neighborhood not losing weight, and that they never see you go out foraging for food. That will at the very least get the hungry mob knocking on your door. They will be looking for your cool 10 year food supply, to “re-distribute” it.

Another point of concern is that Netanyahu is considering authorizing the use of “administrative detention” by executive order. This is an arrest without charge or court authority of people who, based on history and social media activity, “may” commit a crime at some later time. Yes, may at a later time. There is evidentiary standard to meet and no time limit on the detention.

You may think, “but we have a Constitution that guarantees due process”. We also have Extreme Risk Protection Orders that set aside the Constitution that the President wants to make national. Think about how people who attended the January 6th event are being treated (beaten by corrections staff and solitary confinement for TRESPASSING charges), and the rhetoric of Attorney General Garland. We aren’t that far off.

The root of the problem is an entire generation of ethnic Arabs growing up & being told by the media, their teachers, and religious leaders that they can’t succeed because of another ethnic group. Does that sound familiar? It’s the exact same as Critical Race Theory. The only possible end result of this type of education is violence.

Buy This Book!

Take, for example, the claims that the West Bank and Gaza are “occupied” by Israel. They are not. They are part of Israel and have been since it’s founding. You can’t “occupy” territory that is already yours. We see the same terminology used here when BLM claims that police “occupy” their neighborhoods.

The West Bank and Gaza have become autonomous zones by force. A general uprising led to Hamas and Hezbollah seizing that territory during riots and then declaring it “autonomous”. That’s exactly what we are seeing with the Seattle CHAZ, the Minneapolis George Floyd Zone, and the attempted Zones in both Atlanta and Detroit. Israel is just farther along the path than we are.

America is on a trajectory towards the same path as Israel, and to a large extent, the Balkans. We are headed for more racial & ethnic strife as we approach “George Floyd Week” (May 22-29), and we risk an actual civil war and Balkanization.

What can we do, as preparedness-minded people? We can ensure that we have a 2 week supply of portable food & water, we can remain aware, keep our cars filled with gas, and have a plan to avoid the conflict however we can. Ensure that you have a meeting plan for your loved ones and preparedness group, as well as a communications plan.

Most importantly, we can stop pretending that this isn’t happening. If you look at the root causes, the situation in Israel is EXACTLY the same path that we are on.

Prepare and train like it.

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Self Defense is Over

Plano, TX

Everyone said, “Wait until they come to Texas! The cops here won’t play that”. Then they came to Texas, and the cops protected BLM/ANTIFA. “But that was Austin”, they all said.

Then they went to Plano, Texas. There, BLM/ANTIFA blocked traffic. One motorist, pictured above, got angry and walked to the front, demanding that the crowd unblock the road. He was threatened and yelled at.

He said “Where are the cops?” Then, he found a police officer and demanded that the officer clear the road. It’s worth noting that the man was legally in the right. As a motorist, he had every right to drive down the road. BLM/ANTIFA had NO RIGHT to block traffic.

Crowd Closing In

So what did the Plano officer do? Warn the man to get back in his car and shut up. As the man started to walk away, the crowd closed in on him, and when he told them to get back, a man in the crowd pulled a firearm on the man, in full view of the police officer.

Gun Drawn

Again, the officer ordered the man to return to his vehicle and took NO ACTION on the felony assault committed directly in front of him.

The person who drew the gun cannot claim self defense, as they were part of a crowd facing one man, they were not where they had a legal right to be (you have no right to block traffic), and they were not the innocent victim of attack (If you are committing a crime, you cannot use self defense).

I personally had a similar situation occur in Lansing, Michigan a few months back, when ANTIFA was attacking a man in the crowd. When I waded in and told ANTIFA to let the victim up, one of them drew an expandable baton on me and ordered me to back up. I told him that I was not backing up and he threatened to strike me in the head with the baton, while we were standing right next to a Michigan State Trooper. I demanded the Trooper take action on the felony assault occurring right in front of him and he said that he could not. The police aren’t coming to help you.

During the same week, we saw multiple armed confrontations in Portland. In one, ANTIFA set up an illegal armed checkpoint, manned with vehicles blocking the road and several people with long guns.

As you can see, the red pickup was boxed in from the front by a red Jeep. He was approached from all sides by armed personnel and he exited the vehicle, demanding that they move. They kept ordering him back into his vehicle at gunpoint, which they had no legal right to do.

At one point, a male armed with a long gun shoved the man, knocking him down. As he was on the ground and surrounded by armed men, the subject drew his handgun and got up. He was immediately jumped by the crowd and his gun was stolen. The crowd, which was illegally blocking traffic, had no right to assault the man or to disarm him.

So, what did the Portland Police Bureau do? Nothing, because they weren’t there and didn’t arrive until much later.

What does this mean for us, as people into preparedness? It means that you cannot rely on the police to help you and you cannot rely on the law to protect you if you resist the BLM/ANTIFA mob.

Tactical Wisdom on Self Defense

Our best defense is to practice the martial art of Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu and avoid these situations. As I’ve recommended before, monitor Facebook and Twitter feeds of known activist groups in your area so that you can be aware of planned actions, so that you can avoid being trapped in one.

If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself trapped in a protest, the best thing you can do is pull your car to the side, lock it, and leave on foot. Have a “Get Home Bag” in your car, always ready to go. You can’t rely on just sitting in the car, because people have been violently pulled from cars and beaten. If you are absolutely trapped and they demand that you make some sort of display, like raising the fist or shouting black lives matter, the safest route is just do it. It doesn’t mean you believe in it, just make it through the incident.

I recommend, once again, buying and wearing some type of wearable body camera. I have a couple always with me, and if things look like they may go bad, I start recording. Don’t rely on using your phone, that ties up your hands and you may need to make a phone call.

Even if it’s obvious that the police are there, make a phone call to 911 and get it on their recorded lines that you are being unlawfully stopped at a roadblock and fear for you life because there are armed people outside your car. It could be a crucial piece of evidence later on.

Keep some type of notebook and pen with you. I always keep a tactical pen, so that I can use it to defend myself as well. You can document exactly whats happening or right after an incident while it’s still fresh in your mind. Don’t underestimate the value of this.

The biggest takeaway that you need from this situation is to be aware that the police aren’t going to help you and that traditional self defense laws are not necessarily going to be applied to protest cases.

Remain aware, and always have a plan to leave, on foot if needed, should a protest develop.

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Team Training Ideas

Whenever existing prepper groups train as a group, one of two things happen. They either spend the entire weekend shooting and doing unrealistic tactics like practicing urban combat, or it just becomes a family camping trip, where a good time is had, but no actual training occurs.

As the law & order situation in the US continues to deteriorate at an increasing rate, you and your team can’t afford to waste valuable training time with unfocused training or training on things that actually won’t be used. Let’s begin there.

Let’s talk first about things we WON’T actually be doing:

  1. Conducting building clearing: While this is always fun training, it’s not very practical from a preparedness standpoint. Your objective is DEFENSE, not OFFENSE. If you need to force entry to one of your own buildings and re-take it, you’ve already lost and it’s time to move.
  2. Doing “camp-out” things: If you are living in a campsite in a WROL situation, you won’t be sitting around bonfires and singing camp songs, because those compromise your security and attract mouths to feed or fend off.
  3. Doing a lot of shooting: While possessing firearm skills is important, you shouldn’t be preparing to fight pitched battles, except as an absolute last resort.
Tactical Wisdom from Luke

Now that we’ve covered that, what’s a better use of our limited training time?

  1. Individual and team movement skills: In a WROL situation, you will spend a lot of time MOVING on foot. Knowing techniques to do that quietly, safely, and securely, both at the individual and team level, will be a great help. Like any physical skills, they are lost without practice. Tactical Wisdom Volume 2, “Fieldcraft” will cover these techniques in detail.
  2. Site Security: When you are in a static location, whether you are bugging in, at your bug out location, or at a temporary campsite, you will need people conducting security tasks, like manning an observation/listening post, manning an Entry Control Point, or just keeping watch over their own sector.
  3. Vehicle Movement: With any luck, you’ll be able to move as group in vehicles, rather than just solely on foot. Secure vehicle movement and convoy operations are a very specific skill set that require training and practice.
Convoy Ops

As discussed in my Base Line Training Manual, a great way to incorporate all of these things is in a weekend readiness exercise with your group.

First, you should plan on an overall scenario for the weekend. It doesn’t matter what it is, just make it something realistic, not far-fetched. It could be as simple as saying the power has been out for a few days and local riots are occurring, so the group is planning to temporarily bug out until the rioting ends.

Set a time and location for the group to meet. This could be a public park or something similar, but make sure it’s large enough to stage all the vehicles. As team members arrive, don’t let them just hang out and talk, like a regular camping trip. Immediately stage vehicles into a convoy for movement, and have the vehicle crews form a perimeter, watching outboard. We are going for real-world training.

Once everyone has arrived, conduct a radio check and move out, using an actual emergency route, rather than just driving the freeway. In an emergency, the freeway will attract bad people and traffic. Maintain radio disciple as the team travels, maintaining good distance between vehicles.

The parking area you arrive at should be some distance from where you are going to camp, to allow for foot movement and you would never just camp right next to your vehicles anyway. As you arrive, have half the vehicle crews pull security, while the other half unloads, then switch.

From there, move out on foot, in a good formation, and ruck tactically to the planned camp location. Ensure that the site is good, then have the team occupy the site, but do so securely. First, establish security sectors for each sub unit, and have them move to their own areas. Next, set up a watch schedule and ensure everyone sticks to it.

Pslams are full of Wisdom…

Ensure that everything done is done with TRAINING in mind. Have half the team eat while the other half pulls security, then switch. Do that same with setting up sleeping positions or tents.

In the morning, take down the tents or sleeping gear first, as you would in a real situation. Then have everyone eat, and conduct whatever training your have planned. You could do first aid in the morning, which is often overlooked, and then patrolling in the afternoon, which is more foot movement.

Use the same evening and morning routine, rounding out the weekend by having everyone move back to the vehicles tactically, and moving back to the original meeting area as a convoy.

As you can see, you can fit a lot of real-world training into a weekend, have fun with it, and keep it realistic with just a small amount of planning. This type of event is discussed in my Base Line Training Manual, available at the link below.

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Be safe, be aware, and get training.

Could It Happen Here?

A common pushback I get is “Yeah, but a without rule of law situation would never happen in the United States.” We’re going to talk about that, address some vulnerabilities, and discuss whether or not we are already in a WROL situation.

Blackout

In October of 2017, the Commission to Assess the Threat of an EMP Attack, released their findings to Congress. In it, they stated that a single nuclear device detonated at high altitude would cause 90% of the US population to die within one year. They estimated that local grocery store food stocks would be depleted in 3 days, and within 30 days, food at regional warehouses would spoil without electricity.

Our society is tied too closely to electricity for us to not consider the effects of a widespread power outage. While I mentioned the EMP assessment, it wouldn’t have to be an EMP attack by a nation-state. Domestic Violent Extremist groups, Islamic terror groups, and rogue nations have all indicated a desire to damage the US electrical grid.

We saw smaller scale grid failure in Texas this winter that caused widespread damage, some loss of life, and some localized law & order issues. Imagine it on a national scale. Imagine also that without grid power, most people would have no idea what was happening, and if help was coming, causing even more panic.

So, the short answer is yes, it can happen here. A loss of the electrical grid would cause a WROL situation rather quickly.

A feature of modern ethnic conflicts, from the Balkans to Georgia and the Ukraine, is the use of food, electricity, and water as a weapon. When one group see that another has those things and they don’t, rather than work together for the betterment of all, the groups attacks the other group’s resources.

Do you think we’re far from that here?

WROL

A Without Rule of Law situation doesn’t have to come from a disaster or an attack, either.

Currently, we are watching the degradation of self-defense laws, and the refusal of prosecutorial authorities to prosecute law breakers in the name of “social justice”. This is EXACTLY how you get an ethnic conflict. It was the direct cause of the Balkan Conflict and subsequent wars of secession and ethnic cleansing.

Just today, we saw men charged with federal hate crimes for shooting a burglar who had been trying to take their gun. Say what you want about the case and the rocket scientists who chased him down, but at the time the gun was fired, it was indeed lawful self defense. Last week, we saw a US Army sergeant charged with assault for trying to prevent an assault on his wife.

Time and again, we are seeing violent and destructive rioters being released without prosecutions. We are seeing police refuse to engage with looters and rioters, to avoid being the next viral video sensation.

And, we are seeing the immediate vilification of any police shooting, despite evidence that there was no other logical option.

These all contribute to a declining state of law and order and a greater risk of a WROL situation in the US.

But, what can we do? I’m glad you asked. Before I give you some practical steps, let me give you some advice from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook. My man Nehemiah faced a WROL situation and was completely surrounded by people waiting for an excuse to attack him. Here’s what he did:

Neither I nor my brothers, nor my men, nor the guards with me

took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

Nehemiah 4:23

That’s pretty solid advice. Since he knew the enemy was about, he made sure that his entire crew was fully ready, fully armed, and ready to defend, no matter what they were doing. Let’s start there.

  1. Make a personal defense plan, whether that involves a firearm or not is up to you, and then follow it EVERY SINGLE DAY. In this environment, you don’t know when things will go bad.
  2. Ensure that you always have a first aid kit (I recommend a PTK from http://www.solatac.com).
  3. Adjust your defensive mindset to realize that you may have to choose to retreat, despite what the law says. We have seen people charged for things that are not crimes, but lawful self defense.
  4. Swallow you pride. I know, raising the fist isn’t in my nature either, but in the current legal climate, you can’t rely on the police or a jury. We know that the Chauvin jury was motivated by fear of the mob.
  5. Even though I got negative comments for it before, I still recommend making your vehicle and house “gray man”. Remove political signage and gun-related things from your car and clothing. There is no need to force yourself into a confrontation. No one is asking you to change your beliefs, just be smart about the current legal climate.
  6. Lastly, and most importantly, understand that this is going to get WORSE, rather than better. It’s coming to a head and some action will have to be taken to either restore law & order in America, or devolve completely into anarchy. Sadly, they both will have the exact same short term result of making conflict more likely.

I hope that this article has given you some ideas and maybe been a bit of food for thought.

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Lessons from “The Road”

The Road

I watch a lot of the “Prepper” movies, to see how realistic they are, and to see how the principles I discuss would have helped the heroes in the movie.  SPOILER ALERT…if you haven’t seen “The Road”, with Vigo Mortensen, there are a few spoilers in here, but I’ll try to limit them.

Before we get started, I wanted to announce that my first book, “The Base Line Training Manual” is out and available on Amazon in both eBook and paperback.  I personally recommend paperback, because it’s designed to be a pocket reference.  We’re already working on book two, “Fieldcraft”.  These two books will cover all the issues we discuss here.

First, the movie is fairly good, but the back and forth between flashbacks and current time gets a little confusing.  It was fairly realistic, but it was definitely not perfect in it’s depiction.

The first lesson is that when we see the flashback scenes, the “Man” (Vigo) was caught up in a normalcy bias before being forced to flee, and the belief that things would “work out” or somehow “get better”, while the “Woman” was a realist.  Understand that in a WROL situation hoping for things to get better is not a successful strategy.  Never be so tied to a location that you can’t walk out on virtually no notice.

Next, throughout the movie, they kept approaching houses, barns, and vehicles for shelter.  Before approaching these structures, they usually hid their supplies before approaching on foot.  That’s a great tactic and is certainly always a good idea. 

The problem is that by approaching structures meant for humans, you will frequently encounter humans.  In a WROL/Collapse scenario, that’s something to be avoided if you can do it.  While the movie showed him using binoculars to scope locations before approaching, it was always a quick peek.  I realize that it’s a movie, but if we are going to approach a structure like that, we would be better served by establishing a concealed observation post and watching the structure for at least a few HOURS beforehand. 

In the movie, sure enough, nearly every time that they entered a structure like that, other humans, nearly always intent on harm, found them in short order.

Avoid areas where other humans will gather if you are trying to remain undetected, which will usually be our goal.

                                             The prudent see danger and take refuge;

But the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Proverbs 22:3

Another issue is that they frequently traveled and camped along roads.  As I’ve pointed out before, roads and trails are what military units call “natural lines of drift”, and along with rivers and cleared areas, mean places that people like refugees will gather and travel.  Traveling via any of these lines of drift increases the chance of an encounter.

Shopping Carts Are Not Ideal

A better way is to “hand-rail” them.  Move in cover along the feature, so that you can follow it, without using it.  Yes, it would be much easier traveling on the road, especially with a shopping cart, like they had, but we aren’t looking for easy, we’re looking for safe.

They frequently camped inside vehicles directly on the road, which in a WROL situation is DANGEROUS.  Sure enough, a large armed force came rolling up the road one morning and they had to run and hide.  Because they had left their cart right next to the vehicle they slept in, the bad guys took all their gear, leaving them with two empty backpacks and they had to start over.


Gather up your belongings to leave the land,

You who live under siege.

Jeremiah 10:17

As I point out on this blog and in my book, before settling in for the night, you should hide your gear, except for what you are sleeping in.  Your backpack should remain packed, except for what you are using as shelter while you sleep.  That way, if you have to run, you leave behind a bare minimum of gear.  If your main supplies had been stashed, you could come back later and retrieve them.

The other point I regularly make is that you should always move about 100 meters away from your main line of march before setting up a camp.  This way, if you were near the road, people on the road wouldn’t see you and anyone following you wouldn’t stumble into the camp.

Who Sleeps in a Car by a Tunnel?

Another point I took issue with in the movie was that they had a fire every single night.  Fires should only be used before dark, unless you are CERTAIN that you are in a secure location.

At one point, they encounter a fully stocked, but vacant underground shelter.  They occupied it, and the Man made sure to camouflage the entrances, particularly the emergency exit hatch.  The issue is that they became complacent, staying there longer that they should have, and sure enough, someone found them. 

I will stand at my watch

And station myself on the ramparts.

Habakkuk 2:1

The issue wasn’t with being found; that’s a given in that it was a manmade structure, and we’ve already discussed that risk, it’s that they were caught by surprise, because they neglected security.  In a WROL situation, you must be obsessive about security.  It must become a state of mind.  You must always consider how other people might approach your position, and then address the risk.

At another point, the Man left the Boy for a bit, and the Boy was supposed to keep watch.  Sure enough, he fell asleep and a thief came along, and stole all of their gear.  As I said before, in a WROL situation, security is a matter of life and death.

As the movie comes to a close, you find that the Man and the Boy have been followed the entire way by another group.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to occasionally check to see if you are being followed.  Making a 90 degree turn, moving 30 meters off your route and setting up a hasty ambush watching the area you just traveled is a simple and secure way to see if you are being followed. 

Fortunately for the Boy, the party following them was friendly, and not hostile.

Sometimes it’s fun to watch these movies and consider how you would have done it and how the characters could have improved.

Sure, the mistakes they made are intentional, so that’s not a boring movie of two people camping, but some people watch these and conflate them with real-world applications.

I hope these ideas help you in your planning.

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Let’s Talk Self Defense

Stillwater, MN

Just when you thought this place couldn’t get any crazier, the last 2 weeks have thrown us for an even bigger loop.  Today, we’re going to talk about the declining self-defense situation, the revelation of the lie that this was all about George Floyd, I’ll offer some practical tips, and throw out a few items of Tactical Wisdom.

First, the only thing left to do on the book is the cover and then we’ll go live.  The Tactical Wisdom Series will begin with the “Base Line Training Manual”, in a convenient pocket size to carry with you while training.  Further volumes are rapidly being developed to move you beyond the Base Line.  This first book is a set of bare-minimum standards for gear and training, and then we’ll add on as we move forward.  It will be available on Amazon.  As usual, if you’d like to contribute a few coins to the production, use the donate link at the bottom.

 On Tuesday, we all saw the video of a police officer arriving and a young lady attempt to murder someone in his presence.  He immediately engaged, killing the attacker.  And the world went absolutely insane.  Thankfully, he was wearing a body camera and the footage should fully exonerate him.

King James Threat

Meanwhile, LeBron James directly threatened the life of the officer.  Now, I know, he claims that he was just talking about court accountability when he said “YOU’RE NEXT”, but millions hang on every word he utters as if he’s a leader.  Someone is going to take action, because King James told him to.

The entire situation reminds me of a situation in southeast Michigan last year, as all this nonsense was starting.  A couple was out to dinner and got into an altercation with a couple of black females, and the wife drew her lawfully carried firearm to defend herself and extricate themselves.  The world went nuts, drawing national attention, demanding that the couple both be arrested.

When the video first came out, I said “wait…there’s a lot more to this story”.  Sure enough, after a few days, the police released the rest of the video and it showed that the black women instigated the entire contact and tried to prevent the couple from leaving, thereby making the self-defense lawful.

Last week, we saw the selectively edited video of the Staff Sergeant ordering the young man off his property and the young trying to walk on it anyway.  Again, the police responded, took no action because the Sergeant’s actions were lawful defense of his property, but because of the mob madness, the Sheriff ordered him arrested.

So this brings us to my first piece of advice, and one I’ve mentioned before.  Buy a small, wearable camera, today, and keep it with you.  Having your own video is vital.  No, don’t rely on your cell phone, because that ties up your hands.  I have the one below, it looks like a pen in your pocket and activates with a tap.  It takes high quality video and places a date/time stamp on the video.

Buy This

If you carry a firearm for personal defense, spending $40-$50 on a wearable camera is vital legal self defense.  It should be with you if your gun is with you, just like a first aid kit should be.  If you never use it, good.  But if you need it, and don’t have it, you could be putting yourself at the mercy of the mob, who may edit their video.

A couple of weeks ago, ANTIFA surrounded a house in Lansing, Michigan, and this weekend they surrounded the Sergeant’s house.  Wouldn’t a body worn camera, showing what is happening from your perspective, help you defend your actions in court, if you were forced to take action?  Wouldn’t it have helped the McCloskey’s?

Immediately after getting the verdict they demanded on the Chauvin case, BLM & ANTIFA revealed that getting the conviction was the first step, and only a complete and total abolition of the criminal justice system will do. They’re winning; have you considered what life will be like if you cannot call the police for help and there are no penalties for criminal acts?

We saw on Tuesday night the crowds returning to the habit of rushing restaurants and harassing guests.  The police follow along, not to protect you, but in all honesty, to arrest anyone who disagrees.  If you don’t believe me, just go review the video; it’s happened time and again.

The next piece of advice comes as result of seeing the mob returning to the restaurant harassment.  Every time you go somewhere, stop and locate every possible exit in the building and remain aware of where they are in relation to you.  If the mob enters one door, go out another.  In the current climate, Don’t -Be-There-Jitsu is a good option.  I can’t star in their next viral video if I’m not there.

When a strong man, fully armed,

Guards his own house, his possessions are safe.

Luke 11:21

Now, last week I said make yourself and your house Gray Man, and I got a comment that someone said he’d never do that and I was wrong to even suggest it.  Fair enough; I’m not a leftist who tells people that their OPINION is wrong.  However, for all the things this guy said he’d do to ANTIFA, I have yet to see him out there with me and my associates when we are out among ANTIFA, counteracting them by gathering intelligence, protecting speakers at events, and getting information out to you all.   I meant my Oath, and I’m taking action.  

We also saw on Tuesday a large number of cars getting trapped inside the protests that developed the evening that the verdict was read, and this one is really silly.  I can’t imagine why on earth anyone was anywhere near the Hennepin County Government Center once deliberations began.  We even saw the crowd attempt to stop and forcibly remove a truck driver from his truck.

From a preparedness perspective, pay attention to local news.  The minute they announced deliberations, I would have been canceling anything that I had to do downtown.  I live in Detroit and as soon as I heard that the verdict was going to be announced, I packed up what I was doing and headed to the homestead, so that if things went sideways, I wasn’t trapped in a public place or on the roads.

Learn your local protest groups and monitor their social media plans.  This can keep you from getting caught up in a planned protest.

Arrested for self-defense

The last issue is one that I already discussed, but once again, we need to have in the front of our minds. A man, trying to get home, encountered a BLM roadblock at the end of his street.  He got out of the car, and got shoved.  When he pushed back, he was detained by the police.  

In all honesty, the police are afraid of the negative backlash of resisting the mob.  Here in Metro Detroit, I’ve seen suburban departments turn around and drive away when they see a BLM march.

The prudent see danger & take refuge,

But the simple keep going & pay the price.

Proverbs 22:3

When this happened, someone replied to me on Twitter, saying “That’s Stillwater, Minnesota, that’s not going to go well for BLM”.  Yes, it did.  The police prevented the local people from resisting BLM, so it went just fine.  People keep thinking these are normal times, AND THEY ARE NOT.  A violent Marxist revolution is underway, and you need to realize that.

I was asked what I would have done, and I honestly would have driven around the roadblock, on lawns if needed, and into my driveway. As long as I didn’t damage any property, I doubt any action would be taken. We are not living in normal times.

For us, from a preparedness perspective, it’s time to realize that for the most part, the Without Rule of Law situation that we have been preparing for is HERE, it’s just not at scale, yet.  With racial tensions at an all time high, an impending Russian invasion of the Ukraine, and open conflict brewing between Iran and Israel, we don’t have much time left in this strange twilight.

Stillwater

Up your awareness, keep a body camera on you, and remain totally aware of your surroundings.  This place can go from the weird semi-normality we’re in to full-WROL in a matter of minutes and you will have to start with what you have.  Make sure that what you have will enable you to get back to the rest of your supplies.

Understand that the self defense climate has changed. Knowing and acting within the law is no longer enough to prevent you from being arrested. Be careful, and wear a camera to document everything.

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Skill: Civil Disturbance Planning

As civil disturbances are increasing and we approach the deliberations phase of the Derek Chauvin trial, I thought it would be a good time to discuss civil disturbance planning.  There are things you can do to reduce the impact of civil disturbances on your life.

First, let’s come to an agreement that politics plays NO role in planning for civil disturbances.  In fact, as we learn from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook, not even the rioters agree on the reason for the protests:

The assembly was in confusion:

Some were shouting one thing, some another.

Acts 19:32

When groups come together for a protest and it turns violent, there is no reasoning with them, so don’t even try.  Attempting to reason with them is how people get hurt.

The best thing we can do, is make our homes and ourselves as anonymous as possible.  That’s right, not just Gray Man, but Gray HOUSE.

Not a Gray Man

First, don’t wear clothing that broadcasts your political beliefs for either side.  I’m not saying give up your ideology, I’m saying don’t be so vocal or apparent that you make yourself a target needlessly.  Our goal is SURVIVAL.  On a side note, I gather a lot of information by attending protests and counter-protests in gray man gear and it’s all helpful.    Try your best to be nondescript.  Guys:  Wearing your tacti-cool pants (I have a large collection) and your Blackhawk shirt (I have a stupid number of these because they’re ridiculously comfortable) with  your Under Armour boots is NOT Gray Man in the least.  It has it’s place, but this isn’t it.

Second, let’s address the house situation.  If there are protests in your area, remove your flags and any political signage.  Again, we aren’t doing this out of fear, but practicality.  We’ve seen time and again that they target houses displaying these things.  For the record, many times a homeowner has been arrested for lawfully asserting their right to defend their home.  You CANNOT count on the police to help you.  Here are two stories from just last week:

  1. A man gets informed of a guy in his neighborhood inappropriately touching women.  He approaches the male, asks him to leave the area, and tells him to not approach his house.  The male approaches the house and the homeowner pushes the male off his property.  The homeowner and his wife make a police report and the police leave.  A short time later, a highly-edited video goes viral, and under public pressure, the Sheriff sends deputies to arrest the male for his lawful self-defense.  A crowd then surrounded the man’s home.
  2. A man in Minnesota went to turn onto his own block and encountered a Black Lives Matter roadblock.  He got out of the car, and told them he lived on the block and they told him to go away, and pushed him.  When he pushed back, the police, who had been sitting a few car lengths away, swooped in and arrested him.
There are great recommendations in this book for securing your home.

So, then, what’s the answer?  I can’t answer that for YOU.  We each have to make our own plans.

When it comes to mass unrest, we really have two choices:

  1. Leave the area.
  2. Bunker down at home.

As a general rule, we all know that I advocate the martial art of “Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu”, of which I’m Grand Master.  You can’t be targeted and trapped if you aren’t there when it happens. 

This also applies to not going to counter-protest.  As my friend, South African Author Charles Marais puts it: “Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people at stupid hours and do stupid things”.

Great Book on Shotguns

If you decide to leave the area before anything happens, you can just come back after a few days if nothing bad happens.  The opposite is not true.  If you stay home, and things get bad, you may not be able to leave the area after trouble begins.

In the COVID era of “work from home”, a good majority of us can leave and work from a remote location with no issues.  Some of us can’t and may not be able to leave for other reasons.

If you have to stay, there are some steps you can take at home in addition to taking down flags and signs.

  1. Ensure that all fire extinguishers are up to date & fully charged.
  2. Buy an extra fire extinguisher or two.
  3. If your yard if fenced, close the gates.  I know it’s not a positive bar to entry, but under the law, if they have to open a gate, they’ve committed burglary and you are now on much safer legal ground.  Open gates could be construed by courts as “invitation”.
  4. Ensure that all exterior lighting is functional.
  5. If you have a camera system, ensure that it is recording and functioning.
  6. Close and lock all out buildings (garages/sheds/etc.).
  7. Close and lock the door from the adjoining garage into the house.
  8. Keep all windows closed and locked.
  9. Keep all doors closed and locked.
  10. Keep a garden hose hooked up to the water supply in case there are fires set nearby.  It’s better to get out and wet down your house before a fire spreads than to be searching for the house in the shed as your house burns.
  11. Secure all tools in a shed or garage.
  12. Remove any toys or yard decorations that normally sit in the yard.  They could become projectiles.

Gather up your belongings to leave the land,

You who live under siege.

Jeremiah 10:17

Jeremiah laid down some seriously good tactical advice, didn’t he?  If you are remaining home, don’t be so tied to it that you can’t run away if you have to.

Have a bag packed with essential supplies and clothing to leave if you absolutely have to; as we said before, you can always come back.  Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if you have to.

Before the later part of the week gets here, plan 3 or 4 routes out of your area by vehicle, and 3 or 4 routes on foot.  It will only take an hour or so and could well save your life.  Make sure that your routes avoid major roads, areas where rioters will gather (shopping areas, government facilities, and hospitals), and provide some degree of safety.

Understand this:  There is no shame in not fighting on their terms.  We aren’t saying NEVER fight, but you should choose the time and place, not anyone else.  A mass riot against one family is a losing proposition, and we all know that riots are very real danger right now.

That’s the same reason that we recommend if you get caught in a spontaneous protest and they demand that you raise the fist or chant some slogan, go ahead and do it.  It means nothing and being attacked by a mob isn’t a virtue.  It’s a different thing if they demand kneeling, and that’s your own decision to make – I know mine.

Understand also that assuming that this will all just go away is deadly.  It’s not going away, and eventually, as a nation, we’ll have to do something to put an end to it, but it’s going to worse before it gets better.  By making ourselves and our homes not stand out, we’re preserving our ability to fight back later.

When making these preparations, also take a look at your vehicle.  The gun stickers, Trump stickers, Thin Blue Line Stickers, and giant American flag on the tailgate all make you a target.  ANTIFA has been known to follow people home or run license plates.  Either remove that stuff, cover it, or park your vehicle so that it can’t be seen from the street.

We are in for a rough couple of weeks, so prepare and be safe.

UPDATE:  The last step of the book is being finished, the cover design.  It should be up on Amazon very soon.  If you’d like to help us with that project, donate below.

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Normalcy Bias – Again

Read it

I know, I talk about this a lot.  You want to know why?  Because people still have a normalcy bias.

But first, an update.  The first book in our Training Manual Series, The Base Line Training Manual is being edited and will be wrapped up in the next few days.  If you’d like to help support that, please donate at the bottom of page.

Normalcy Bias is the tendency to believe that unusual events are not actually happening.  Let’s talk about some objective facts and then we’ll analyze them.

Police Shootings/Rioting

This week, there have been riots in various cities throughout the US because of the Duante Wright case.  There has been violence and widespread damage and losses.  The level of conflict has not gone down, and there are planned protests for the foreseeable future.

Fiery, but mostly peaceful

Yesterday, news came out of police shooting in Chicago that happened last month of a 13 year old.  There are already protests being planned throughout the weekend over this shooting.

The reality is that protests are expanding, so the risk level is high.  The protesters, based on personal observation, are shouting about it being a “REVOLUTION”, not protests.

In Dallas, where a BLM supporter once killed 5 police officers, last night an armed BLM militia seized a shopping mall.

In Michigan, there are protests planned throughout the state all weekend.

Derek Chauvin Trial

The Chauvin trial will be ending Monday and sent for deliberations.  This is going to lead to more rioting either way.  Yes, either way.  First, if he’s acquitted, we all know what will happen, and the case has fallen apart.  Second, if he’s found guilty, it will be seen as proving that police are just attacking minorities, leading to rioting.

Law Enforcement/Prosecutorial Response

In Minnesota, we saw that police weren’t able to respond anywhere but the police station.

Prosecutors across the country are stating that they will no longer prosecute certain crimes, and are dropping all charges against rioters.  We are even seeing people charged with murder being offered some type of diversion (SF and DC), in the name of social justice. Coincidentally, in both of these cases, the victims were Asian, #StopAsianHate, right?

At the same time, we are seeing police take action against anyone who defends themselves against these actions.

In South Carolina, residents approached an Army Sergeant who lived in a neighborhood and told him about a suspicious man in the neighborhood who had put his hands down a girls pants.  When the sergeant told the man to leave, the man tried to approach the sergeant’s wife on their property, & the sergeant pushed the man away and told him to leave.  The Richland County Sheriff ordered his deputies to arrest the sergeant, who was completely within his rights.

The next night, a massive crowd surrounded the sergeant’s house, threatening him, standing on his lawn, and NOT ONE ARREST WAS MADE.

Mass Shootings

Yet another mass shooting occurred last night.

World Economic Forum

Without drifting off into conspiracy facts, the WEF famously predicted the COVID 19 pandemic about 3 months before it started.

They are now predicting a massive cyber attack that disrupts the electrical grid.

ANTIFA Intelligence

Last week, I reported that ANTIFA is seeking more violent protests and an actual violent revolution, ending in the abolition of the United States.

So what?

What does this mean for us in preparedness?

This environment is absolutely unsustainable.  When people know that they won’t be prosecuted for violence and damage done during protests or in some cases, at all, violence escalates.  Last year we saw cities with 600% increases in violent crime.

The potential for riots worse than last year’s George Floyd riots is at 100%.  We are seeing the hardcore Pacific Northwest rioters being embedded with groups throughout the country.

We are ALREADY in a societal collapse, and these events will just hasten it, along with accelerationist groups agitating it.

Regardless of your views on the events leading to the protests, you need to take action to prepare for them.

The most important takeaway: IT’S NOT GOING TO GET BETTER, IT’S GOING TO GET WORSE.

As people into preparedness, we need to take the same actions we took before, and remain highly aware:

  1. Identify your local protest groups and monitor their social media to be aware of where planned protests are taking place.  I keep this in a notebook indexed by date.
  2. Keep your car full of gas – When a riot is declared, the local government usually orders that the sale of gasoline be stopped to prevent arson.  You also don’t want to run out of gas while trying to escape a riot zone.
  3. Have a weeks worth of food & water at a minimum in the house, most of which is non-perishable.
  4. Carry and maintain a first aid kit, EVERYWHERE YOU GO.
  5. Keep a “Get Home Bag” with essential supplies in your car.  I recommend keeping a change of clothing in the car as well, if you wear business clothes to work or a uniform.  A good pair of boots is a good thing to keep in the car as well.
  6. Have a Communications Plan – Know where the people you care about are going to be over the next few days.  Have a plan for if communications go down.  We are currently seeing that inside the protest areas, so many people are on their phones that the systems are overloaded.  If you plan on using radios, keep them with you.
  7. Decide now what you will do to defend yourself and make your plans.  I’ll offer no advice here, you make your own decisions.
  8. Ensure that your fire extinguishers are fully charged and accessible. If you don’t have one in the car, put one there.
  9. Never be so tied to a location that you can’t walk out the door on minimal notice.  You can leave before things get really bad and then come back, but if you wait too long, you may never get out.
  10. STOP THINKING THAT THIS IS JUST GOING TO GO AWAY.

Let me leave you with one quote from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Since they heard the sound of the trumpet

But did not heed the warning,

Their blood will be on their own head.

If they had heeded the warning,

They would have saved themselves.

Ezekiel 33:5

Be ready, be safe.

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Lessons From Brooklyn Center

NYT Photo

Last night, a police shooting sparked spontaneous and immediate rioting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. This area is part of the Minneapolis metro area, where the George Floyd/Chauvin trial is taking place.

Just like Kenosha last year, things devolved almost instantly from calm to lawlessness, so I wanted to discuss some learnings from that, some tactical evolution by the rioters, and some immediate actions we can all take.

Understand, we are NOT taking sides or discussing the right or wrong of the police actions, but as people into preparedness, we have to examine the tactics of the rioters, the tactics of the police response, and what these things mean for self-sufficiency.

Immediate Response

At the original scene, we saw the police allow property damage without intervention. There were two police vehicles less than 30 feet from a police line that the police allowed to be destroyed without attempting to arrest anyone at all.

The only time police action was taken was when subjects attempted to harm them. In one well-shared video, a man raised a chunk of concrete to throw and was immediately hit in the chest with a bean bag round.

From a preparedness standpoint, we need to understand that if the police aren’t going to protect their own vehicles, they certainly aren’t going to protect your car or other property. You are responsible for your own security.

Police Vehicle Destroyed

Understand also that traffic stops, which is how this initiated, can happen ANYWHERE. A lot of people think these incidents only happen “downtown” or in a rough area, but traffic stops occur everywhere and that’s where the initial protest will be.

It’s also important to note, as I pointed out last week, that ANTIFA takes advantage of these incidents, and they are calling for MORE violent protests and to move the protests from commercial areas into suburban neighborhoods.

Police Station Incident

After the police left the initial scene, the crowd descended on the local police station. At the local police station, there was an hours-long fight between the police and the protestors, with hundreds of protestors surrounding the station and throwing fireworks and projectiles at the police. There were also multiple incidences of gunfire.

As I point out regularly, you should have every police station plotted on your Area Study. In a protest situation, you need to avoid them at all costs. If you have to pass one on the way home, it’s vital to have a plan that avoids that area. If you live near one, have a plan to be able to leave quickly or secure your location in the event of a protest.

Another important point to remember is that if hundreds of police are defending the stations, the criminals know that the rest of the city has little or no coverage and your risk of crime goes up, which leads to the next incident.

At the police station, several protestors approached and threatened people who recording or live streaming. In Detroit, over the weekend, a live streamer was threatened, attacked, and robbed of his camera for filming.

Shopping Center Incident

Once the protestors knew that the police were tied up defending the station, they went to a major retail strip center and looted literally everything. They began with a Little Ceasars, then hit clothing stores, auto stores, cell phone stores, Walmart, and a few liquor stores and gas stations.

Here we saw an evolution in protest tactics in response to a change in police tactics. Livestream channel “Live on Patrol” is a police officer from that area who livestreams his patrols, and I think that’s where the protestors learned what the police were doing.

Patrol cars just drove through the area with their sirens and lights on, trying to scare the looters off. As they drove though, officers would call out over their radios, which are recorded, every license plate number that they saw, obviously for later prosecution.

The protestors almost immediately then removed their license plates.

The lesson for us is, if we find ourselves in a protest situation, any vehicle without a license plate is probably up to no good.

I can attest to this because on the day after the 2020 election, I was out front of the TCF Center in Metro Detroit, working a protection detail for a media figure. I watched a van pull off the road, and the occupants remove the license plates. Then then made two passes, apparently picking out victims. I pointed out the traffic violation of no plates to the DPD tactical officers and they stopped the car, finding impact weapons in the back.

Shopping Center

At the shopping center, we also saw no enforcement activity by the police whatsoever. They did attempt to limit looting with announcements over their loudspeakers, but they didn’t attempt to arrest looters for the first few hours.

For us, the lesson is that, once again, the police will not be stopping to help you. You are responsible for your own safety. The side effect will also be that medical services will not be coming in an un-secure environment, so your first aid kit and skills will be vital.

Some of these businesses were open when it happened, and the rioting began so fast, that it’s conceivable that people were trapped at work, and had to figure out how to escape the area. This is why I say you need a get home bag and a change of clothes in your car, if your work clothing would draw attention to you. A full face mask and a hat can help avoid attention (it’s so crazy that wearing a full mask is now the way to not stand out).

Rioting Spreads

As night fell, riots spread to both downtown Minneapolis and St Paul. Many more businesses were looted, and there was at least one vehicle ramming by a large vehicle into a police vehicle. Gunfire at police and between protest groups was rampant.

Listening to radio traffic, there were multiple incidents of people in upper-level apartments, being trapped while rioters looted and set fire to ground floor businesses. Police weren’t arriving on these calls until about 30-40 minutes after the calls. We’re fortunate that there wasn’t more life lost.

Overall Learnings

First, we can’t predict when the next protest will happen. You need to keep a “get-home” bag and maybe a change of clothes/footwear in vehicle at all times. I also recommend keeping your vehicle fueled up. In an area where riots are happening , one of the first executive orders issued by the local or state government is stopping the sale of gasoline to stop fires.

If you watched the events unfold, you may have noticed that all of the video as constantly buffering and low quality. That’s because of all of the people using the phone network in that area. Have an alternate communications plan, like radios, and have them available at all times.

Not to beat the drum on this, but the police will not be there to help you. Not only will they be tied up handling the public disorder, but ask yourself how willing you would be, given the riot just started by doing your job, to jump in and start arresting people? You wouldn’t be.

I recommend keeping a small, concealable, body-worn camera with you at all times. You can clip it on a record without making it look like you are wearing a camera. I have a few, one of which looks like a pen, and the others are just pocket-clip cameras. These are for your legal self defense, in case you need to defend yourself. Keep these charged and maybe attached to your Get Home bag. I have the one shown below attached to the chest strap of my Get Home bag. It records video and audio, as well as providing a date/time stamp.

My Body Camera

Another issue to pay attention to is that your elected leaders may indeed make the situation worse. While the protest was only localized at the crime scene, the Governor of Minnesota issued a statement condemning another black man’s “life taken” by the police. I’m sure he didn’t intent it to, but the Governor’s statement appeared to JUSTIFY the rioting, and shortly after, the looting began.

Be prepared, be ready, and be safe.

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Gathering OSINT

OSINT

A great opportunity for preparedness is the ability to gather and analyze information, so that you can make informed decisions based upon that information.  In the military realm, that’s called gathering intelligence.  When the information is gathered from information freely available, it’s called “Open Source” intelligence or “OSINT”.

In the beginning, OSINT wasn’t considered as important as other methods, because it consisted mainly of seeking out newspaper articles or academic thesis papers.  The arrival of the internet and the explosion of social media has now thrust OSINT to the forefront of intelligence gathering, and there is an entire multi-million dollar industry centered around the gathering of OSINT.

One of the first steps you should do in preparedness, is conduct an area study.  Area studies rely heavily on OSINT.  For example, most local police departments post crime data maps on the internet.  Using that to study crime trends is OSINT.  

Another OSINT tool is researching your local news website archives for gang, drug, or criminal stories in your area.

Check local, county, and state government websites and you’ll be amazed at how much OSINT information is available from land use to court records to voter registrations, governments are putting more and more information in the public realm, as long as you know how to find it.

Social media is where the OSINT gold is, for day-to-day information gathering.  Individuals and groups post an insane amount of activity about their daily lives and plans for anyone to see.  We all have that one friend or relative, you know who you are, who posts every minute detail of their life on social media.

It’s important, from a security standpoint, to understand where social media came from and it’s original (and, if we’re honest, current) purpose.  The Defense Advance Research Projects Activity began Project LIFELOG in 2003, which sought to gather and store all of a persons activities, relationships, movements, travels, credit card purchases, phone calls, and emails, so that they could predict future behavior or build a picture of anyone.  They claim to have shut the project down in 2004, citing a libertarian backlash, but do you think that really happened?  Ask yourself, when did social media begin?

The Bird is always listening

All that happened was they moved the project from the public sector to the private sector.  This allows them to have third parties collect the data, which they then buy.

My friend Sam Culper at www.forwardobserver.com coined a phrase once during a podcast that has stuck with me:  “We should farm social media, but never plant”.  What this means is that while we are using Social Media to gather OSINT, we should be incredibly careful about what we post, or allow others to post about us.  

The Ultimate Tactical Handbook of Life also says this same thing:

Buy the truth and do not sell it.

Proverbs 23:23a

For our purposes of being prepared in our current environment of protests and unrest, how can we use OSINT to our advantage?  Well, groups organize protests on social media.  Learn what groups are most active in your area and begin daily monitoring of their planned events.   Knowing that a protest is planned in your area could alter your daily plans.

Another area is gathering OSINT for longer term planning and preparedness.   A membership at Forward Observer (I get nothing for this from Sam, other than his thanks) will get you a daily email with information on planned protest activity and potential world conflict flare-ups.  It’s well worth the minimal cost.

Another way to gather to gather long term intelligence is gathering information that groups put out.  Knowing what they are doing long term can help you plan.

Again, our Ultimate Tactical Handbook has advice:

By their fruit you will recognize them. 

Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:16

In other words, people will tell you what they are going to do.

In my research, I came across an e-zine titled “Anarchy In The Burbs”, put out by a collective of left wing protest groups in California.  This crossed my desk because national-level organizers are pushing the manual as a how-to for the rest of the country. 

Here are a few takeaways for our preparedness, that we only got through OSINT by reading their material:

  • They complain that last year’s protest were NOT VIOLENT ENOUGH.  That’s right.  
  • They state that non-violence accomplishes nothing, because no one listens unless there is violence.
  • They admit that they made a mistake in targeting downtown areas and economically depressed areas, as these areas don’t contain the people the want to target.
  • They want to adopt the right-wing tactic of car caravans, because they can disrupt a larger area at one time.
  • They want to take the fight to the suburbs, where people live, and target shopping centers and warehouses.  
    • The targeting of warehouses, either with strikes or arson, they feel, will slow the movement of goods and raise the impact.
  • They feel that suburbs also have fewer law enforcement resources like armored vehicles and helicopters to counter them.
  • Rather than joining large groups, the manual suggests organizing in smaller, trust-based groups to prevent law enforcement infiltration.  These smaller groups can then band together for larger actions.
  • One central theme throughout is to never submit to mediation or negotiation.  They intend to stage a violent insurgency resulting in the complete abolition of government.  They do not want reforms.
  • They are encouraging increasingly violent attacks, rather than just protests.
  • They point out that “democrats” are not far left enough and should be treated the same as right-wing people.
  • They are seeking safe houses for militants to stay in when pursued.
  • They are becoming obsessed with security and demand their members stop recording on their phones or live-streaming.
  • They recommend people commit acts of sabotage, roadblocks, squatting in businesses, and other violent direct actions

There is a lot more in the document, but the point is that without gathering the information, you wouldn’t know that an even worse summer of violence is being planned, regardless of the outcome of the Chauvin trial.

The best thing you can be doing now is gathering OSINT on the agitators and groups in your area; not so that you can take action against them, but so that you can be aware of their plans and thereby avoid getting caught up in any of it.

Stay safe by staying informed and staying away.

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Protest Season – Again

Lansing Police Protest

As the weather warms up, protest season is on us once more. We can expect more frequent protests, and potentially even worse ones than last year. In this article, we’re going to cover some lessons learned, discuss some events from this weekend, and talk about how to prepare for protests.

First, we need to understand the risks. The far left did not want Joe Biden to win the election, and the far right also did not. We are seeing a lot of cross-over now, as I’ll document below with my observations, where we can begin to see both sides come together, and not in a good way.

We are approaching the anniversary of the George Floyd incident, and the trial is on-going. The prosecution is facing an uphill battle to get any convictions out of it, and we will probably see unrest either way. An acquittal will be seen as allowing police brutality, and a conviction will be seen as proving that police are intentionally attacking black folks. There is no “winning” situation here.

So, let’s allow that to be our first preparedness lesson: Regardless of the outcome, there will be violent protests. There will also be increasingly confrontational protests against the government by both sides. There is no magic pill, and there is no return to normality.

In addition, we are also seeing increasing signs that vaccination will be required to travel and participate in commerce, which will lead to mass noncompliance and protest activity, some of which is turning violent in other countries.

The second lesson is borne out by my observations in Lansing this weekend: The police will not be intervening to protect you. We have seen time and again police just following and monitoring crowds. In Lansing, Michigan this weekend, police followed the marchers but vanished as three different groups of armed protestors surrounded City Hall and Police Headquarters, with armed protestors literally standing in front of the Governor’s office. The city police were not present at all.

Unknown Armed Group Outside Governor’s Office

Before we move into some counter-measures and preparedness steps, let’s talk about observations.

First, protest activity isn’t inherently bad. Injustice must be opposed by everyone. The problem develops when protests turn into harassment or forced behavior modification. This happens in issues of race, which is where we are.

What do I mean by harassment and forced behavior modifications? I mean that if you are protesting police brutality, like we all should, then you shouldn’t be destroying a restaurant, or forcing it’s patrons to raise a fist to keep from being attacked. Surrounding people’s houses for their political views has nothing at all to do with your stated goal of ending police brutality.

Militia Rear Guard

As an example, this weekend, while observing protests in Lansing, Michigan, I was following an unknown armed militia group of about 20-25 people moving down the street. I stopped and spoke to a police sergeant (letting him know who I was and what I was doing lest I be lumped in with these guys). Within seconds of me walking away from the officer, a nice lady in a Jeep pulls up and asks me what is going on ahead. When I explained that BLM & ANTIFA had a planned rally, she immediately began to tell me that this armed group wasn’t ANTIFA but was clearly some type of Proud Boys group (wearing not one PB logo? Nope). At that point, I knew she was with ANTIFA so I tried to disengage. She tried claiming to be law enforcement, but sputtered when I asked to see credentials. I stepped away and immediately, the armed group turned to look at me, because she was obviously on the radio with them or they were monitoring her frequency.

As I began my break-contact drill, ANTIFA counter-surveillance guys wearing Iron Front logo patches started coming out of various college buildings. I was able to break contact and change my outward appearance, so that was simple, but they clearly wanted to have a conversation with me.

First lesson from that story: They are really upping their counter-surveillance and security game, and they are willing to openly confront you, while armed. The designation of counter-surveillance is important. We need to be doing more of the same. Their ultimate goal, based on my own radio intercepts, was to try and identify via license plate anyone they are suspicious of. Then, they show up at the house, and we’ve all seen those videos; harassment and the home owner is either assaulted or arrested for defending their home..

The counter-measure is to know how to run a surveillance-detection run or SDR. An SDR is a seemingly random wandering, allowing you to see if you are being followed. Entering a business and immediately exiting again, or using windows to see reflections behind help you spot surveillance. If you keep seeing the same people wandering just as aimlessly as you, they’re probably following you.

Then, you need an anti-surveillance plan. This is an active attempt to elude identified surveillance, without letting them know that you did it intentionally. This requires pre-planning and knowing the area you are operating in. Knowing what alleys lead where, knowing where parking garages are, and what businesses and buildings are interconnected. Parking garages are great because you can literally hop a wall to exit one, avoiding exits that may be watched.

Another lesson from this is one I’ve discussed many times – A gray man needs to be able to instantly change his profile to appear as a completely different person in just seconds. You can carry a packable jacket, a different hat, glasses, different face mask, and even a cover for your backpack and completely emerge as a different person. You could even change your walk. You could carry a roll-up duffel bag in your backpack, and completely swap them.

Once I broke contact using anti-surveillance (college campuses are great for this) and changed profile, I took a longer route back to the actual protest site. I knew that my profile change worked because I saw the woman in the Jeep drive by me a few times and she never gave me a second glance.

Once back there, I observed the protest. What I saw were three different armed groups. There were some New Black Panther Party folks armed with pistols, a few guys in body armor that said “BLM” on the back with long rifles, and then there was this new militia. What was odd that I noticed was that this new militia stayed back, and ANTIFA had placed a row of their own security between the protest and the militia with shields.

I felt that this indicated distrust, which is never good between different armed groups. Journalist Ford Fisher interviewed the militia, who didn’t identify themselves, and they said that they were there to support BLM, but weren’t directly engaged because of “politics”. Take from that what you will, but the security team following them were clearly wearing ANTIFA Iron Front patches. It’s entirely possible that ANTIFA was following them because they didn’t know who they are, but they all turned when she got on the radio. It’s an unknown, and it increases all of our risk.

This is an example of un-easy truces and joint operations between the far-left and far-right. Neither trusts each other or the government. This leaves us in the middle in a dangerous spot.

The last lesson learned is that all of the groups had personnel using our old friend, Baofeng radio. With a little work, it would be easy to scan and determine what frequencies they were using. A lot of people think they should report them to the FCC for using unapproved radios on GMRS/FRS, which is what I’ve heard them using, but I have few issues with that. First, it will accomplish nothing unless the FCC is standing right there, ready to listen in and deal with it. Second, and most important, it’s always best to just determine their frequencies used and listen in, to better counter-act any aggressive act (like surveillance) or gather information.

For preparedness purposes, we need to develop the capability to intercept their communications. No license is required to listen and you can gather good information. Program in the GMRS/FRS channels, and the “stock” Baofeng BF-888 frequencies, and you’ll find them. I use a “quad-watch” vehicle radio for this, usually sitting on high ground at the top of a parking structure.

With all of this ongoing, what can we, as people into preparedness do to protect ourselves?

  1. Start information gathering – These groups organize protests on Facebook and Twitter. Find your local groups and start monitoring their planned events.
  2. Keep a change of clothes n your car. If you come out of work and find a spontaneous protest, changing your clothes from obvious affiliations (work uniforms, business dress) can allow you to blend in and avoid harassment.
  3. Learn that it’s OK to not engage. Don’t get into arguments with them. Here’s a Tactical Wisdom quote from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook to help: “Don’t have anything to do with stupid & foolish arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” 2 Timothy 2:23
  4. Conduct a surveillance detection run in high threat environments before returning to your vehicle.
  5. Have an ‘anti-surveillance’ plan.
  6. If demanded to raise a fist, raise a fist. It means nothing and beats a trip to the emergency room.
  7. Develop unarmed self defense skills, such as escapes from holds and grabs.
  8. Be prepared to leave your vehicle where it is parked and leave the area, even if it’s on foot, if a protest near your home or work becomes volatile.
  9. Develop the capability to monitor potentially hostile radio traffic.
  10. Be very careful in answering questions for strangers in times of protest. As I learned, they could be scoping you out for targeting and if you express the wrong view, they can get a swarm on you fast.
  11. Learn to identify and distinguish affinity group insignia, like the ANTIFA flags, 3% flags, Iron Front, BLM, New Black Panthers, etc.
  12. Understand that this situation is REAL & DANGEROUS – I see so many writing these groups off as kooks, or untrained. That may have been true at one time, but they are organized, are training, are fanatical, and are committed. Those things are dangerous in combination.

In the end, it all comes down to our favorite piece of Tactical Wisdom from the Bible:

The prudent see danger & take refuge;

but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Proverbs 22:3

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Skill – Overnight Positions

Camp Site

In the world of preparedness, we gather camping gear, and prepare for “bugging out” with all our cool-guy gear, food, and supplies, but have we considered that camping in a Without Rule of Law situation will be DANGEROUS?  Security will become crucial.

Military forces the world over have been camping in dangerous situations for thousands of years, and have perfected it to an art form.  There is no need to re-invent the wheel, so we’ll borrow our skills from them.

This topic will be fleshed out more in the upcoming Tactical Wisdom book series, in our Field Skills Series.  This is will be a small preview.

We won’t necessarily be camping in squad sized formations, so we will begin with the smallest of options, the Lay-Up Position or LUP.  This is a temporary halt position that could also be used for overnight camping, or over-day if you are moving at night.  A LUP could also be described as a “hide”.

The first thing that we need to do, no matter what our movement purpose or type of camping we’re doing, is checking to make sure that we aren’t being followed.   In a WROL situation, someone may have seen you and wants to follow you and see where you are camping to either steal your gear or worse.

Hasty Ambush

Once you have reached the area you want to stay in, step off away from the direction you had been moving, walk a little ways back down the trail, a set up a “hasty ambush”, watching the route you just walked down.  Watch this area for 30-60 minutes to make sure you aren’t being followed or tracked.  Don’t shorten this time frame, because a good tracking party would be 30-60 minutes behind you to keep from from being seen.

Never camp or rest directly on the route you are taking for this reason.  When establishing a LUP, or “Patrol Base” for a larger group, move 50-100 meters away from the route you have been taking at right angles to it.  Find suitable ground there.

But Moses said, “Please do not leave us.

You know where we should camp in the wilderness,

And you can be our eyes.”

Numbers 10:31

Unlike traditional camping, suitable ground isn’t a large open space with a fire ring.  We are looking for an area with no signs of human activity, meaning no people pass through there.   It should be well-concealed from any paths or roadways, and offer good views of any ways to approach it.  It only needs to be large enough for whatever you are using to sleep in.

Let’s discuss that aspect.  There is a tendency among people to buy the largest and most spacious tent.  For our purposes, that’s more than we need.  If we are moving to a more-permanent bug-out location or conducting security patrolling, we only need a 2-3 man backpacking tent, or just even just a camouflage tarp/poncho.

We could just lay out a sleeping bag or a “Ranger-Roll” (poncho liner attached to a poncho), and maybe set a tarp up over it, yet still low to the ground.  

Whatever you choose, our campsite only needs to be large enough to hold it, not massive. 

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re assuming that we’re either patrolling or traveling fast, and are therefore just throwing a tarp over our sleeping bag or just using a sleeping bag.  

Remember, elaborate camp set ups will need to be taken down in the morning, even if you intend to stay in the same location all day.  The reason for this is that if you are detected or approached, you need to be able move out or hide, without leaving anything behind.  Resist the temptation to turn your LUP into a “Glamping” extravaganza.

You should have a “contact” plan prearranged each time you stop, so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event someone either walks into your camp and attacks it.  It can be as simple as meeting 100 meters away from the camp to regroup.

In the first set up, we are just talking about two people.  This would be the same if it was two adults, traveling with children.  We are talking about two people of an age that they are contributing to site security.

If you have two people, they would set up with their heads facing in opposite directions, so that each, if they sat up or rolled over, could cover one-half the perimeter, allowing 360 degree coverage with no movement.  Any children could be placed between them.

When the team is moved up to 4 people, all of them should sleep with their feet in the center, heads facing outboard, each in a different direction.  This way, by rolling onto the stomach, each can cover 1/4 of the perimeter.

But what about 3 people?  Arrange them in a triangle, head to feet.  Each could then cover 1/3 of the perimeter.  The point is to always be considering security.

If the LUP is used only for a short day-time halt, they take the same orientations, facing outboard, with the rucksack on the ground, and them sitting, leaning on the rucksack/backpack or laying behind it using it as a weapons rest.

When discussing security at night, a 2-man team would probably get their security from the small footprint of 2 people and remoteness of the LUP location.

For a 4 person or larger team, each person could take a turn on sentry duty, but rather than getting up and moving to sentry post, they would just sit up where they are sleeping, and scan all 360 degrees.

In a WROL situation, security cannot be stressed enough.  There will be desperate people out and our society already is on edge, imagine it after 3 weeks of no electricity.

A side note on security is that twilight, both evening and morning, are the most dangerous times, because the dark ground and light sky make it hard to see and distinguish shapes.  Everyone should be awake and 100% alert, watching their sectors during twilight, both times a day.

To recap, pick a remote site that you can see anyone approaching, arrange yourselves for security, and assign security shifts if you have more than 3 people.  Also, keep the site small, and minimalist, so that you can dismantle it silently and quickly.

Practice setting up and taking down your camp silently, and once you’ve mastered that, start practicing it at night.

I’ll close with some reminders from Roger’s Rangers, first written during the French and Indian War (1759):

  • When we march, we keep moving until dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.
  • When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.
  • Every night, you’ll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.
  • Don’t sleep beyond dawn.  Dawn’s when the French & the Indians attack.
  • If somebody’s trailing you, make a circle, come back on your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.

You may notice that these are all the same principles that are discussed above.  Only our tools have become more modern, the basic skills have remained the same for hundreds of years.

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Are We Already in a Collapse?

Salem Arrest

Boy, has it been a rough ten days, or what?

We’ve had two mass shootings, a murder on video in Washington DC, and several violent protests.  We’re going to discuss what that means for us, as people into preparedness, and what we can do to further prepare for the situation we are in.

First, we, as preparedness-minded people, need to understand that we are no longer preparing for some event in the future, we are in indeed in slow-moving collapse.  Nearly every day, we have less law & order, and more shortages.  The Chauvin Trial will only make things worse.

Some cities in America, because of the one-two punch of COVID lockdowns and the George Floyd incident, have seen massive increases in violent crimes, such as homicide and armed robbery, while at the same time we are seeing police officers across the nation disengage.  There are thousands of troops in Washington DC for some unclear reasons.  There are indicators that the economy teeters on the edge, while we have a single ship that has brought a complete stop to our global supply chain, apparently.

Chinese Carrier

At the same time, international bad actors are increasing their aggressiveness in the face of apparent American weakness and withdrawal.

The first thing we want to discuss is our social media society and the problems it causes.

We saw in Boulder a man live-streaming an active shooter on his phone, while asking his viewers to call 911, rather than hanging up his own phone.  While he was not being shot at himself, we see on his video that he comes across three different victims, yet he never once stopped to check on them or offer aid.  I guarantee you that some of them died of exsanguination (blood loss) because no one tried to help.

Later in the week, in Washington DC, we see a man who is apparently able bodied enough to run several blocks, live-stream a carjacking.  When the video begins, the victim is alive and fighting with the suspects for his car.  Rather than help, the man makes a video as the fight goes on, eventually ending in a crash, wherein the victim died.  

We have to learn from this.  We prepare, I would hope, not just for own survival, but in all honesty for the survival of civilization.  Standing by while others die, or worse, are MURDERED in front of us, is NOT what we should encourage.

I made some comments about this on Twitter and many people argued, “But I don’t want to get involved” or “I might get sued”.  We’ve already lost if this is indeed our attitude.

But, what can we do?  The Ultimate Tactical Handbook offers some help:

Rescue those being led away to death;

Hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

Proverbs 24:11

We must, when we encounter these situations, help whenever we can.  I’m not saying run in and engage the attacker (although, being honest, I would), I’m saying in the shooting example, go to the victims and attempt to help, if you can.  Even being with someone who is obviously dying, and letting them know the they are not alone is preferable to just filming it.  Have some humanity.

In the robbery situation, I certainly think that the intervention of other people would have caused the 13 & 15 year old suspects to at least leave the scene.  In the end, after the crash, you see everyone rushing to help the suspects, but no one even gave a second look to the man dying on the sidewalk.  Again, even holding his hand and telling him you are there would have been the human thing to do.  Videotaping his death is NOT.

So, lesson one, when we encounter a situation in which we can help, we should.  Stay within our abilities, but take action.  Every state has Good Samaritan laws which shield you from liability when rendering first aid, and you should understand your state’s self-defense and citizen’s arrest laws.  I’m not advocate trying to arrest people, I’m saying that those laws, however, protect you from liability if you use force to intervene and restrain someone committing a felony in your presence.  

You may be surprised about how much the law authorizes you to do, since citizen’s arrest laws were generally written in a time when all men in society would have intervened and crime wasn’t excused as it is now.  In Michigan, for example, you can pursue a felony suspect, and break into private property and drag them out, even as a private citizen.  

Lesson two is to be prepared, not for some future event, but EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Whenever I am in public, I have my backpack with it’s bulletproof panel available.  I have at least a personal first aid kit on my person, and a larger first aid kit in my car to help others.  Really, if you carry a firearm for personal defense, you should have a first aid kit available.  Tourniquets are lifesavers.

In keeping with lesson two as well, you should have your family or group communication plan in place at all times. You should have some type of emergency check-in system in place that goes into effect immediately and without needing additional preparation when an event happens.  For example, if radios are your emergency plan, it does you no good to leave them at home because “I’m not planning on having an emergency”.

Our next vignette to illustrate a lesson comes from Salem, Oregon last night.  There was a Pro-America car cruise past the Capitol, and ANTIFA showed up to counter-protest.  The Salem Police and Oregon State Police were all present for this entire episode.

A man was driving by, when ANTIFA smashed the window on his truck.  He stopped, got out, and began to inspect the damage.  ANTIFA began to crowd him, ordering him to get back in his vehicle.  When he persisted in inspecting the damage to his car, one ANTIFA subject, in clear view of the Salem police, sprayed the man with bear spray.  

Knowing that a violent and aggressive crowd was closing in on him, having just been the victim of a felony assault, and now unable to see clearly, he drew his personal defense firearm, charged it, and pointed it at the ground, loudly ordering the crowd to STAY BACK.  

At this point, the Salem Police apparently recovered from their temporary blindness and rushed into action, ordering the man to the ground at gunpoint and taking him into custody.  For defending himself from ANTIFA.

Based on this story, lesson three is that no one else is coming to help you, and authorities may in fact oppose you.  In this case, we know that the Pacific Northwest has surrendered to the violent Socialist Revolution.  However, in the Boulder situation, and in every active shooter, the police will NOT be stopping to aid you, they’ll be rushing directly to engage the shooter, so you will be responsible for your own treatment or the treatment of loved ones.

In the DC carjacking, there were a number of National Guard troops, all of whom are trained in first aid in US Army boot camp, who offered NO AID to the man dying on the ground.  NO citizen came to his aid either during the robbery or subsequent accident.  You are on your own.

We need to build our own communities of mutual aid groups to help each other and be prepared to defend ourselves and resolve our own emergencies.  If a major event were to happen, no help would be coming.

As I said a few weeks ago, we prepare to be self-sufficient.  These situations illustrate it all the more. 

As international tensions increase, and domestic tensions increase as we approach the George Floyd trial and anniversary, we need to prepared for communications disruption, supply chain disruptions, and mass civil disorder. 

We are indeed already in a collapse, and it’s only going to get worse.

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Medicinal Preparation

I’ve already repeatedly explained the need for first aid training and gear, but the yesterday, I had a discussion about the need to prepare as far as medications. It’s an area that is often overlooked.

It’s such an issue, that I’ve included the topic in the first volume of the Tactical Wisdom Training Manual Series, “The Base Line Training Manual”, which is in the final stages of creation.

Even the Ultimate Tactical Handbook predicted a world where medicine would be scarce:

There is none to uphold your cause,

No medicine for your wound, no healing for you.

Jerremiah 30:13

The following is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released Base Line Training Manual:

When preparing for a WROL situation, a big area that is commonly overlooked is medications, both OTC and prescription.

We are so conditioned to getting sick, then either dropping by the pharmacy to pick up cold medicine or visiting the doctor, that we overlook it.

We’re going to cover a list of OTC medications that you should have stocked, but we’re going to begin with a discussion of how to stockpile prescriptions.

The best way to prepare in this area is to get healthy and get fit, which will increase your resistance to all kinds of illnesses and decrease your reliance on medications.

However, there are some strategies to build up a supply of prescription medications.

First, most insurance programs will let you refill at 25 days, when it’s written for every 30 days.  If you purchased every 25 days for one year, you’d have an extra 60 day supply built up.

Second, a lot of insurance programs allow you to buy a 90 day supply by mail order.  Do that as often as you can and you’ll also build up a supply.

Third, talk to your doctor ask for “samples” of your medications.  Doctors are given good sized supplies of samples by pharmaceutical companies that they can hand out.  If the doctor gives you samples, put those in your stockpile, rather than using them before your prescription.

Store all medications in a cool, dry place, without extreme variations in temperature.

As far as expiration dates, there is evidence that medications retain about 90% of their potency for at least 5 years beyond their expiration date, and many times much longer.  However, liquids are NOT as stable. Make your own decisions here.

Here’s a list of OTC items that you should have:

  1. Hand Sanitizer:  At least 60% alcohol
  2. Ibuprofen:  Motrin/Advil
  3. Naproxen: Aleve – Longer lasting pain relief.
  4. Aspirin:  In addition to pain relief, it is a blood thinner.
  5. Acetaminophen:  Tylenol – It’s the only pain reliever that isn’t an anti-inflammatory and is better on the stomach.  You can alternate Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen every 2 hours if needed.
  6. Diphenhydramine: Benadryl – In addition to it’s life-saving antihistamine properties, Benadryl can be used as a sleep aid.
  7. Loperamide:  Imodium – Anti-Diarrheal medication can save your life in a WROL situation as diarrhea causes dehydration.  Changes in diet will lead to stomach issues.
  8. Laxatives:  Again, changes in diet in a WROL situation will cause stomach issues.
  9. Pseudoephedrine:  Sudafed – An excellent decongestant, but stockpiling it has been made difficult as it is so controlled, despite being OTC.  You need to be careful in building a stockpile, because you could get labelled as meth dealer.
  10. Fexofenadine HCl: Allegra – another antihistamine for allergies.
  11. Meclizine:  Dramamine – This is a motion sickness treatment, which can be used to treat nausea/vomiting.  It also helps with anxiety.
  12. Hydrocortisone:  For wound treatment
  13. Bacitracin:  For wound treatment

Build up supplies of these, but also resist the temptation to use OTC medications on a daily basis, because your body builds a resistance and reduces the efficacy.

Finally, let’s discuss Amoxycillin.  There is an on-going debate about whether or not fish antibiotics can be used by humans or not.  The answer is “it depends”.  If you buy it in capsules, then yes.  There are some powders that are mixed with things meant to help fish only, but if you buy the capsules, they are quite literally the exact same capsule.

To illustrate this, I did an experiment.  I went and purchased the fish capsules, and compared them to pharmacy-supplied prescription Amoxycillin that we had on hand.  They were the exact same capsule.  Again, make your own decision, as it’s your body.

I hope that this excerpt from the Base Line Training Manual has helped and given you some ideas.

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Active Shooter Response

In light of the events of the last week, I felt compelled to talk about Active Shooter Response.  Ironically, I teach in-person classes for groups & businesses on this, and yet have never written about it.  Well, let’s do that now.

The  first and biggest step you can do to prepare yourself for an active shooter is BUY A FIRST AID KIT.  You know I advocate it as a vital piece of preparedness kit, and it’s literally the biggest lifesaver you can have.

Understand that during an Active Shooter, law enforcement will NOT be stopping to treat your wounds and medics will NOT be entering the scene.  I listened to the audio from yesterday’s shooting, and even the shot officer laid on the ground, in the line of fire, for an hour, while the other officers engaged the suspect (or suspects, depending on who you listen to) in a running gun battle.

YOU are the only person who can save you.  If you are shot, the first thing you need to do is to treat your own gunshot.  A First Aid Kit in your car doesn’t help you in this case.  You need a small, portable “blow-out” kit that you can carry with you.  It needs some type of trauma dressing, duct tape, and a tourniquet at a bare minimum.  

Solatac PTK

My personal favorite is a Solatac PTK, available at www.solatac.com. It has a SWAT-T Tourniquet/Pressure Dressing, an ABD pad, gauze, Celox hemostatic agent, Kerlex gauze for wound packing to stop bleeding, medical tape, Gorilla Tape, and gloves.  It comes in a resealable plastic pouch and it fits in a cargo pocket or your purse/bag.  I generally carry one in my left cargo pocket, as does everyone I work with.  If you work with others, you should all carry your aid kit in the same place, so that your team-mates can treat your wounds with your kit.

Immediately get a first aid kit and carry it with you EVERYWHERE, even if you never do anything else preparedness related.

When I teach classes, I use the Department of Homeland Security’s “Run/Hide/Fight” protocol, which we’re going to cover briefly here, although it’s not exactly what I personally would do.  We’ll talk about that in the end.

DHS Standards

My personal philosophy comes from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Rescue those being led away to death;

Hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

Proverbs 24:11

Let’s talk about Run/Hide/Fight first.

Awareness is first.  Be aware that no one went into the grocery store, planning on a criminal attack happening.  That sounds silly, but people every day decide not to carry a first aid kit, or a knife, or a gun, saying “well, I’m not planning on anything happening”.  Here’s an actual conversation I once had:

Her: Why do you have a tourniquet in your laptop bag?

Me: In case I get shot.  What’s your plan in case you get shot?

Her: I don’t plan on getting shot.

Me: No one ever PLANS on getting shot.

CAT Tourniquet

Whenever you approach a business, glance inside before entering, and then look around again, as soon as you enter.  Take a second to analyze the scene – Note who is where, listen for sounds, look for emergency exit signs.

This sounds overly simplistic – but look to see if any one is laying on the ground.  In the video yesterday, the live-streamer was surprised to notice a body practically at his feet, and then had to have someone point out a second one, despite it laying in the middle of an open floor.  I know, it sounds silly, but your mind has a normalcy bias, and you need to train it to look for anomalies or it will miss them.

Let me say this again:  LOOK FOR EMERGENCY EXITS.  You may need to run out one on no notice and if you haven’t identified them, you’ll default to the door you came in.  In the Aurora shooting, many victims walked past emergency exits to go out the door they came in, where the shooter was standing.

This analysis helps us with the first leg of the Run/Hide/Fight paradigm.  If you haven’t identified all possible exits, you can’t effectively run.  Running towards the shooter is a bad idea, yet we see people do it all the time.  Why?  Because of normalcy bias and a failure to look around. They run out the exit they alway use.  Break that mental training with visualization and awareness.

When in doubt, run away from the sound of the gunfire, but don’t run blindly.  Consider the US military chant “I’m up, he sees me, I’m down”, to time your running bounds.  Identify where your are running to, make a short run, stop behind cover, and re-assess.  You may start moving in one direction, then realize that there is no way out that way or that the shooter has moved.

Learn to identify the difference between COVER and CONCEALMENT.  Concealment will hide you from the observation of the shooter, cover will actually stop bullets.  Almost nothing that you encounter inside a house or a business will act as cover.  

Think in three dimensions as well.  There may be an exit on a higher floor, or a lower floor.  A good hiding place may be in those locations as well. 

If you can’t run out of a location, find a good hiding spot.  This should be a place that has only one door, and possibly a window for a secondary escape route.  Once you are hidden with the door secured, first make sure your phone is on SILENT, and then call 911 to report your location.  

Many people think “I don’t want to call 911 and tie up the lines and people are probably already letting them know what’s happening”.  While that is all true, consider what will happen if the police come into that room during an armed battle and see people hiding.  Call 911, report the location and what you are wearing, then WAIT.  It will take the police a long time to clear the building and they will get to you when they can.

If you can’t run, and the shooter finds where you are hiding, you have a choice to make…You can fight, or you can die.  Fight means using what ever is at your disposal to attack the shooter.  Notice I didn’t say resist or defend yourself.  That’s intentional.  

We need to get away from the concept that an Active Shooter should be handled like any other crime; it’s really not the same.  It’s combat.  The person generally doesn’t have a goal other than killing, so treat it as such.  If a person is moving through a building, randomly killing people, no court in this nation is going to hold you accountable if you shoot him without warning or without giving him a chance to kill you first.  

If you have a firearm, use it, without warning.  If you have a knife, a pipe, or a fire extinguisher, use it.  Make no mistake, in an Active Shooter situation, you are fighting for your life.

Go out and get some type of empty hand self-defense training as a last resort.  In addition to the skills, it develops self-confidence and a fighting spirit.  Stick fighting training is good for training in the use of improvised weapons.

Develop the mindset that not only will you “survive”, but that you will win.  Surviving covers a wide range of possible endings, winning only one.  Study after study has proven that mindset is the most important factor in survival.

Visualize potential Active Shooter scenarios that you could possibly face.  Your mind will search its internal database of past experience when confronted with an emergency, and it doesn’t know the difference between something you’ve actually done or something you’ve visualized.

What if I’m with my family?  Then you need to take care of and ensure the safety of your entire family.  Your approach may need an adjustment.  Children may not be able to move as fast or as securely as you, and they may not be able to open some doors.  Understand also that in these situations, children aren’t the best hiders, because they will likely be crying or screaming.

Personally, I know that waiting for police to resolve the situation always leads to more casualties, so I’d advance to contact and try to resolve the situation myself.  I may die in the attempt, but I personally couldn’t live with myself if I allowed to people to be killed when I had the ability to take action.

Greater love has no one than this:

To lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13

That seems like some good advice.

In that regard, don’t stop to treat the other wounded unless the police have already arrived.  There is no medicine in a gunfight, and if you are too busy treating the wounded, the shooter may just decide to shoot you.  Maintain your own first aid kit unless you are wounded.

Using yesterday’s case, if I was there while the police were engaging the suspect, I would have helped by trying to treat the wounded officer or other wounded victims.  Some surely died from blood loss due to the length of the incident.  In my car, I always carry a larger first aid kit, that would allow me to treat a few wounded, and any responding medical units would appreciate the help.  You can certainly at least slap pressure dressings on active bleeds as a stop-gap measure. 

Once, while assisting at the scene of a multiple vehicle accident that happened in front of us, I remember the first medics running up to where I was treating a bad bleed.  The medics looked at what I was doing and said “Can you hold that situation down while we check on everyone else?”  They were happy for the help.  

Make the decision right now that you will NOT be a victim of circumstances and rely on others to protect you.  Be aware, buy an aid kit, and always be ready.

Preparedness is the key to survival. 

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More Communications Issues

RADIO

As we head further into what appears to be a decline, communications will be even more vital.  We have become so reliant on our modern ability to immediately communicate with everyone else instantaneously, that the loss of that ability could be devastating.

A few issues have come up since my last article on Communications, so I decided to discuss a couple of new developments, address a few frequent comments, and provide a couple of more ideas.

Twitter Nazis

The biggest update is in tech tyranny.  The social media companies, which if we’re honest, we absolutely rely on, are shutting people down left and right for wrong-think, and the federal authorities are also taking social media comments out of context in order to justify sketchy, at best, search and arrest warrants.  In light of that, before we jump into the topics, let me give you a quick piece of Tactical Wisdom from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Set a guard over my mouth,Lord;

Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Psalm 141:3

Be very careful of what you put on social media, and on overly relying on it for organizing your preparedness group.  I know of groups that lost their entire membership list, communications channels, and everything else in the post January 6th purge. 

So, then, what are we left with?  Secure email and messaging platforms, like I discussed last week, are available now, but in a Without Rule of Law situation, they will be gone.   The answer is radio, and that’s where our updates fall.

The Anarchist Radio Relay League

I have reported since last spring that ANTIFA has been using FRS and GMRS channels on Baofeng radios at protests and “direct actions” to coordinate their security, medical, and counter-intelligence operations.

Recently, they published a guide called the “The Anarchist Radio Relay League”, providing basic information for ANTIFA radio operations.  It calls for them expanding their radio use into FRS/GMRS/CB as well as Amateur Radio.

For our discussion today though, there is a security warning from it.  Their guide advises that most licensed amateur radio operators are “old white men” who tend towards being conservative.  The author then provides the website for searching radio call signs, and advises ANTIFA people to gather information on amateur licensees for “community self-defense”:  In other words, targeting licensed amateur radio operators.  Be aware of this.

The guide also recommends that if an ANTIFA person gets a license, they use a family member’s address or a PO Box.  Before I get a bunch of replies about that being illegal, so is rioting; they just don’t care.

They also discuss establishing their own MESH networks for secure communications between their own groups, as well as setting up long range radio relay networks for sharing intelligence information.

The point of sharing this is to break everyone’s bias that ANTIFA is some bunch of weak loser clowns that would be defeated in less than a day, if it ever came to that.  That’s the prevailing attitude.

They are committed socialists and anarchists who have been on the streets fighting for almost a year straight.  They sent personnel to fight in Syria, Turkey, and The Ukraine to gain actual combat experience and training to bring back to them.  They already have well-established secure communications protocols that allow them to generate crowds quickly.

They have also shown that they don’t care whether you are right-leaning, or left-leaning.  If you aren’t a committed Anarcho-Communist, they will fight against you.  Prepare accordingly.

Comms SS

FCC Advisories/FAQ’s

Just before the January 6th incident (I refuse to call it anything more than that), the FCC put out an advisory against using the radio for unlawful activities, and against “speaking in code”.  

These were meant entirely to discourage people from using radios while exercising their rights.

Remember, most FCC violations are fairly “open to interpretation”.  For example, if I tell my friend to “meet me at the corner store”, rather than saying “At the Speedway at Ford Rd and Harrison”, I could be construed as having spoken in code.  Also, how does one define “harmful interference”?

Yes, the case would probably be tossed out, but in the meantime, they arrested you, seized the “offending equipment”, and cost you thousands in legal fees.

Yet another FCC concern for those in preparedness is in their FAQ section of their website about FCC Agents and searches.  An FCC Amateur Radio license means that you agree to allow an FCC Agent access to “inspect” your equipment “without delay” at any time.  The FAQ spells out clearly that even a delay of seconds (for example, to put on pants) is a violation.  

The other issue it arises post-January 6th, is that of Task Force operations.  Let me explain:

The government is thinks that you may be engaged in that dangerous behavior of honoring the US Constitution.  They notice your FCC license and then bring in an FCC Agent.  They decide to “inspect your equipment”.  Now, the website says that they aren’t allowed to search drawers and cabinets, just inspect the radio, but in this case, the agent brought along a DHS/FBI/ATF partner for “security”.  They notice that you have a “Come & Take It” flag in your living room, and they noticed a “Don’t Tread on Me” patch on your jacket while inspecting the radio. They thank you, and come back in the middle of the night with a “Domestic Extremist” warrant.

They are getting no-knock search warrants based on less information than that in this current environment.

Amateur Radio is a fantastic thing that contributes a lot to society and is a great hobby.  I don’t personally have a license, and have no intentions of getting one, because I am only listening for gathering information.  I presented those two issues to help you make an informed decision on whether or not to pursue a license.  Each of us has to make up our own minds about how much government intrusion we will allow.

WROL Radio Operations

Now, I know, I’ll get some comments and emails from my readers who are hard-core Amateur Radio operators, castigating me for my comments and saying that you should always get government permission for everything you do.  I won’t disagree.  If I ever broadcast on my radios for other than work-related use on my employer’s licensed channels, I would reluctantly get one.  However, since my only purpose is having the capability for a WROL situation, I don’t feel the need to invite additional government oversight into my life.  

Without Rule of Law means exactly that; the rule of law has broken down to the point where law enforcement is incapable of response and you are completely on your own.  Many say that we’ll never get to that point in the US, but I say that in some areas we are already there.

There are currently autonomous zones in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and Bellingham.  Watch YouTube video of the police trying to investigate a homicide in the George Floyd Autonomous Zone in Minneapolis…they were driven off by armed insurgents.  Spin it however you want, but there was an armed confrontation and the police were outgunned and left.  The same thing happened with multiple shootings in the CHOP/CHAZ area. The citizens living there are in a WROL situation.

In a WROL situation, such as Post-Katrina, or mid-riot, the FCC will be the least of our worries and some low-powered communications between a security team securing a neighborhood will be the least of their worries as well.

“But what about….”

Here we are going to give radio tactics, tips, and procedures, while addressing a lot of the questions I get.  

First, I am NOT a lawyer and this is NOT to be construed as legal advice.  You must make your own decisions in an EMERGENCY SITUATION, where protection of life takes priority over everything else.

Second, I’m only advocating TTP’s (Tactics/Techniques/Procedures) for a WROL situation, not today’s environment.  In other words, if the rule of law has collapsed, why would I continue to hamstring my safety by following rules that no longer apply?  (That’s actually lesson 1…)

BaoFeng Two Way…

  1. “It’s illegal to use Baofeng Radios on FRS/GMRS frequencies”:  Yes, that’s absolutely true.  They are programmable from the front face, broadcast at more than 0.5 watts, and have detachable antennas.  ANTIFA is doing it every single day in downtown Detroit, which has an FCC presence.  Not one arrest has been made.  It is illegal to TRANSMIT, but in a WROL situation, this is not a concern.  Go ahead and use them.
  2. “But everyone uses FRS/GMRS and there are always neighborhood kids playing on them”:  That is a fact and they are widely available.  I recommend listening on the FRS/GMRS frequencies now, to determine which channels are NOT being used, and then incorporate those in to your plans.  Humans are lazy, and usually won’t change the channel.  A side note to this is that post-WROL situation, the kids won’t be out playing on the radios anymore.
  3. “I would use MURS for emergency comms, but local businesses can use them”: Again, they are indeed using them TODAY.  Post-WROL, I wouldn’t worry too much about the local Victoria’s Secret or Dick’s Sporting Goods running day-to-day operations on MURS.  Remember, we aren’t honestly talking about running a 50 mile radius network here; we’re talking about a secure perimeter and some light patrolling/safety communications, as well as some communication with other groups NEARBY.
  4. “But you need a license to talk to other Amateur Radio Operators at great distances for news”:  That’s correct; but not if I just want to LISTEN.  You can buy a $150.00 SSB receiver like the County Comm GP-5/SSB, and listen to news and amateur broadcasts from all over the world.  A side benefit of gathering by listening is that no one can “Direction-Find” your location if you aren’t broadcasting.  If I need to get information out to others, I have others in my short-to-medium range network that can transmit whatever I want them to share, and, again, if it’s a complete WROL situation, I’ll just get the information out.
  5. “But Baofengs are unsecure and easy to DF”:  I’ve got news for you…every radio is easy to “Direction Find”, because you are, at some point, broadcasting.  I counter this with the fact that even at it’s highest power (7-8 watts), a Baofeng isn’t for long-haul secure comms, it’s for local communications, like intra-team communications.  I’m not running a revolution on it, unlike ANTIFA, I’m protecting my group and my family.  At best, you’ll get a few miles in VHF/UHF, and if some opposition is already that close, I’m way behind the 8 ball & secure radios aren’t going to help me.
  6. “But you can’t talk in code”:  That is indeed a violation.  Every group of friends has a group of names for the places they frequent.  If you don’t, you should.  Also, broadcasting that the group is going meet at the planned rally point isn’t a code, it’s a statement of fact.  Having a preplanned set of “Signal Operating Instructions” helps.  The AMRRON offers one to it’s members.  Also, codes are perfectly acceptable, as long as the intent isn’t to be “deceptive”; for example, ARRL Q codes are fine, as well as ARRL Radiogram codes.
  7. “Bro, CB is so lame and 1980s”:  This is a feature, not a bug.  The fact that only truckers and a few random weirdos are using CB means that you have 40 (or 120 with SSB) channels, available for use in the HF Spectrum, which has far better range over open ground.  I certainly recommend incorporating a CB radio, if for nothing else than over-the road convoy operations.  A side note to this is that in the event of a major situation, there will be a huge number of people who will dust off old stored CB’s in an attempt to make any kind of contact, these are sources of information.  I have a vehicle mounted SSB CB, and a standard 40 channel hand-held, with an extra vehicle-mountable antenna.  They are good extra tools to have.  ANTIFA is also suggesting it’s members use CB, because of the lack of licensing.
  8. “But Amateur Radio guys don’t like anyone”:  This is untrue and they are a very helpful bunch, willing to help new licensees learn.  That being said, there are a lot of KAREN’s among Amateur Radio; chose your mentors carefully.  If I encounter a radio Karen post-WROL, I will invite them to feel free to report me to the non-existent FCC.
  9. “I have no idea what frequencies to monitor”:  The Channel 3 Project of AMRRON helps.  Monitor channel 3 FRS/MURS/CB at the top of every hour.
Channel 3 Project

I hope that answering these has given you a few ideas or helped in your planning. 

Amateur Radio is a great hobby and there is a world of information and learning available.

CB SSB

Set up a radio communications plan for your group, including frequencies, and be ready before anything happens.

Skill – Navigation/Hand-Railing

In a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, your ability to navigate will become vital.  Even if you plan on sheltering in place, you’ll need to go out for things, and traditional methods can put you at risk.

We’ve become too reliant on the convenience of GPS.  Even outdoorsman now over-rely on it.  It’s a great tool and we’ll discuss a couple of ways to still use it in a WROL situation, but we need other methods, because of the following two main risks:

  1. GPS Relies on Ground Stations – If the ground stations loose grid power, the satellites will lose their exact fix on their location and begin to drift, but still reporting out their original location.  It will become unreliable over time.
  2. GPS can be “Shut Off” selectively – As we saw during the 2020 Virginia Second Amendment protests, the United States Government has the ability to shut down the entire system in a geographical area.  Users reported GPS outages in about a 200 mile radius, and the US Navy stated that they “just happened” to be doing an exercise in which they disabled GPS that “coincided” with the protest.

Another risk of GPS over-reliance is that many people have stopped buying handheld units, preferring instead to use their cell phone as a GPS.  If the power is down, cell service will go down, and with it your ability to download mapping.  

The easiest one of these to fix is the need of a mobile network to download mapping.  Most services allow you to download at least a small local area to your device to use when off-line.  A service like Sygic, which I use, allows you to download any mapping you want and have the storage space for, so that you can use your phone as a GPS off-line.

The other two can only be solved by the use of paper maps and compasses.  It’s a vital outdoor and preparedness skill, and one you really should have.  Buy and obtain as detailed of local maps as you can.  If you live in a city, street level maps are vital and in rural areas, a combination of street maps and topographical maps are needed.

My Compass

What if I don’t have a map and compass?  Well, the Ultimate Tactical Handbook has some guidance on that situation:

The wise listen & add to their learning,

And let the discerning get guidance.

Proverbs 1:5

A map is guidance, but so is our next skill:

There is a skill that will enable you to still have a good idea of where you are going, even without a compass and a map.  Following roads or terrain features can ensure that you stay on a particular route.

The problem is that these are known militarily as “natural lines of drift”, or areas in which humans will be moving.  In a WROL situation, other people mean risk.  There will be others moving along every road, path, electrical transmission line, river, and railroad.  

Let’s take rivers as our example.  Every major city in the world is on a river.  This is because, for all of human history, we’ve been drawn to sources of fresh water, and rivers made a way to conduct trade, as well obtain food and water.  Ancient hunting tribes followed rivers because game was drawn to the water as well.

Building on that in a modern setting, people will be drawn to walk away from danger along natural pathways, like rivers, highways, roads, railways, utility cleared corridors, and the like.

Hand Rails

In order to avoid encountering other people, the US military trains patrols to do what is known as “hand railing”.  Hand Railing refers to moving along a terrain feature, whether man-made or natural, by always keeping it in sight, while not actually using the feature for movement.

You can follow the path of a highway by remaining in the concealment of woods along the highway, but 100-200 meters to the side.  Even in farmland, you’ll see ditches or wood-rows traversing the fields, that would allow you to remain safely concealed while moving.

In using highways to hand rail, it helps to understand how the interstate highway system operates to help navigate.  There are two different systems, the US Highways and US Interstates.  The rules are listed here:

  1. North-South Routes: On US Highways, they are numbered with odd numbers, beginning in the east, and getting higher as you move west.  Interstates are also odd numbers, but with the lowest in the west, and the highest in the east.
  2. East-West Routes:  On US Highways, they are numbered with even numbers, beginning in the north, and getting higher as you move south.  Interstates are also even numbers, but with the lowest in the south, and the highest in the north.
  3. Spur Routes:  A spur is shorter section off of the main highway, with a number in front of the two-digit main route.

As you can see, by knowing these rules and hand railing the highway, you can indeed navigate fairly well.

However, when traveling in more remote areas, you may have to hand-rail a terrain feature like a river or a railroad (maybe a power line).  Avoid the temptation to travel directly along the feature, as you will surely encounter other people, some of whom will have bad intentions or just be very desperate.  

Danger Area Hand Rail

You can also hand-rail to avoid danger areas.  Let’s say you are hand-railing the freeway, and come to a large area of farm land.  You can travel around the farmland, hand-railing it’s edge, until you get past it, allowing you to resume hand-railing the freeway along your route.

When conducting hand railing, avoid also the temptation to camp along the same path you are hand railing on.  For instance, if you are moving 100 meters west of a river, just keeping it in sight, when it comes time to camp, move another 50-100 meters away from the river before camping.  

The reasoning is simple.  What if another group is traveling directly along the river (or whatever other feature you’re hand railing) and they decide to camp?  Rather than camp directly in danger on the feature, they’ll also want to move a distance away from it to camp, and could have blundered right into your location.

Don’t under-estimate your need to be secure in a WROL situation.  You can’t possibly know the intentions or attitudes of any group you encounter, so the best strategy is to avoid contact altogether.  Hand-railing and then moving another distance away to sleep is safer.

The same hand-railing rule applies to trails.  Throughout most metro areas there are urban trail systems.  In a WROL situation, people will flock to these for a number of reasons; to leave the area, look for firewood, set up camp, hunt, etc.  Get out on these systems now and look for hand rail opportunities.  

The one closest to where I live has very small game trails just off both sides, because the wildlife is trying to avoid the humans on the walking trails.  I’ve done lots of experimentation and people on the trails never look too deep into the woods.  You could hand rail the walking trail the entire way, and just take a knee anytime you saw someone else on the trail below.

But what about urban movement?  If you’ve chosen to shelter in place, there will still be reasons you’ll need to venture out, and there will definitely be other people about, some of whom are dangerous.  Is there a way to navigate in the city to avoid contact?  There are several.

First, learn the local basic layout.  For example, in Metro Detroit, the “mile” roads (8 Mile, etc) tell you far north of Michigan Avenue (in the City) or Cherry Hill (west suburbs) you are.  The major roads are one mile apart both north-south and east-west.    You need to know the basic layout in your area.

Next, learn where there are usable alleyways and where rail lines or power lines go through.  These will be good terrain features to use, just remember to hand rail them rather than walking directly on them.  In an urban environment, you won’t be able to move 100 meters off the feature, but can follow a woodline next to it, rather than walking in the open.

But what about the suburban sprawl without alleys or train tracks?  There will always be power lines, but sometimes that isn’t enough and you’ll need to use the roads.  In this situation, we’ll take advantage of human nature & laziness to be safe.  

In a neighborhood, people will be looking for other people either walking in the road or on the sidewalk.  This leaves you three options:

  1. Backyards:  This is the preferred option, but fences could make travel dangerous, as could being in the backyard of a house that is occupied.  
  2. Drains:  Most maps identify urban drains, which are man-made creeks generally running between two subdivisions, leading to a larger creek or river.  They make great urban movement channels.
  3. Front Yards:  Probably the most realistic option in a WROL situation is to transit a neighborhood by walking through the yards halfway between the houses and the sidewalk.  Human nature would not be looking there for people.  If you spotted someone farther down the street, you could hide between houses until they passed or switch to backyards.

Transiting neighborhoods have no good options, these are just the three that are most secure.  Before someone leaves a comment about what would happen if I did that in their yard, understand that we aren’t talking about TODAY, we are talking about a WROL situation.  In that scenario, I’d be fine with someone walking through my yard, as long as they kept on going, and so would you.

If you live in an urban area, get out and walk now.  Learn the routes into and out of the neighborhood on foot.  We discuss doing this study in the soon-to-be released Base Line Training Manual, our first in a series of preparedness training books.

Get and practice hand railing at your local trail system and develop the skill.  Study your local maps to find drains, rail systems, and power lines that you can use, then get out and take a look at them, visualizing how you make the movement in a safe and concealed manner.

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Personal Security in the Digital Age

Cell phones and the internet were supposed to make our lives easier, less complicated, and more efficient.  It was supposed to usher in an era where our effectiveness was going to give us more free time and less stress.

Do you feel like that’s what happened?

With the prevalence of cell phones, “free” search services, “free” email, and social media, we are sharing far more information about ourselves than we ever actually consider.  The services offer this to you “free” as a convenience to make your daily life easier, but in all reality, YOU are their product.

Surveillance capitalism is massive industry.  We are allowing them to produce a product without the need to pay for the raw materials, because our movements and activity are the product.

Businesses sell the information on your movements and that’s where your ads turn up on your phone.  More nefariously, information aggregators compile incredibly detailed reports on your activity that certain groups can buy (like police, private investigators, and corporate security).  

We’re going to talk about a few of these systems, but first, let’s do what we should always do and check the Ultimate Tactical Handbook for Guidance:

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;

He who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 13:3

Who cares?  Why should I care?  Many people say “If I’m not doing anything wrong, why should I care?”.  January 6th and it’s aftermath is why you should care.

Before I move forward, to my assigned FBI/NSA surveillance specialist:  You already know I wasn’t anywhere near there, and I completely disagree with those who breached the building.  We cool?  Cool.

However, in the aftermath of the January 6th event, we are finding that cell phone companies, social media companies, banks, hotels, and airlines are all turning over data on the movements of ANYONE who was in the Capitol Region on that day.  That’s right, EVERYONE.  The FBI is then sifting through that data and deciding who to pursue.

Again, I know what you’re thinking….”But, so what?  If I was in town and didn’t do anything, I’ll just tell them that”.   People who weren’t involved in any way are being stopped at security checkpoints at airports and borders, just because they were in the Washington DC area that day.

The point is that in the United States, you aren’t required to explain your movements to the government.  These records that they are getting “voluntarily handed over” from banks should require a search warrant and notification to you that the data has been handed over, except in highly unusual cases.

So, how do you protect your information?

Understand that the only way to completely eliminate the gathering of information is to not have a cell phone at all.  Let’s dispel a few myths, before moving on to countermeasures.

First, turning off location tracking or putting your phone in “airplane mode” doesn’t stop location reporting.  The phone still tracks it’s physical location and reports that data as soon as the phone is reconnected.  As long as the antenna can make contact with the sky, it will gather and report location data as soon as it can, no matter what settings you have.  You just might not see the data, but I assure you it’s still tracked.

Using a “burner phone” does NOT help.  Unless you’re willing to commit a federal crime by lying when you sign the phone up for service, you’re not doing yourself any favors.  The PATRIOT Act requires you to enter ID data to get any phone service.  Additionally, regardless of how low-tech a phone appears, under the guise of “safety”, even burner phones have location tracking.  

Let’s say you succeed in entering false information.  That burner phone will still be tracking location information EVEN WHEN TURNED OFF.  That phone will be reporting it’s location at least part of the day at the same location as your regular phone.  Also, anyone you contact with the phone probably has your burner number stored under your real name on their phone.  Great work, James Bond.

Next, Signal is NOT secure, as the Oath Keepers are learning to their dismay.  The Israelis announced months ago that they could read Signal messages, and if Israel can, you know the US Government can.

All Seeing Google

Lastly, your phone is always listening.  So is your Alexa or Google Home device.  I know, I know, “but they said that’s untrue”, right?  Ask yourself this…How does it know when you say “Hey Google/Siri/Alexa”?  Because it’s always listening.  There are multiple criminal cases where the recordings have been used, despite the device allegedly having not been listening.

So, what can we do?

First, stop being instantly available.  If you are going somewhere you don’t want to be tracked, leave the phone at home.  You can put it inside a faraday cage in your car, but understand that it will record the exact location where it lost the signal, so a better choice is to just leave it at home.

Next, Don’t over-share on social media.  So many people are eager to narrate their lives, and that’s fine if that’s your thing, but understand that the data is used to sell information on your travels, and you don’t know who it’s sold to.  Also, in our current political climate, people are being targeted and arrested for social media posts. 

Did you now that the Bible predicted the Twitter Censorship?  Check this out from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:

Do not curse the King, even in your thought;

Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;

For a bird of the air may carry your voice,

And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

Ecclesiates 10:20

Little did we know that the bird was a little blue Twitter bird.  Isn’t that a completely prophetic piece of wisdom?

Don’t invite technological spying into every aspect of your life.  It’s frustrating when I hear people who claim to be into preparedness talk about their Alexa or Google Home, or their Ring cameras.  We’ve already discussed the risk with the first two, but when you agree to hook up your Ring cameras to their servers, you no longer have exclusive rights to your security video.  

If you doubt me, check out the app NextDoor.  They regularly post about their “partnerships” with Ring and local police departments to “make your neighborhood safe”.  Additionally, Ring allows the police access to your cameras recordings, for “on-going investigations”.  

Again, I’m sure people will say, “but I’m not doing anything wrong”.  Well, in our current environment, where police are getting no-knock warrants based on anonymous complaints, do you want to risk the police being able to watch two weeks worth of activity on your camera system, documenting the comings and goings at your house?  Why not secure the data by just keeping your security system local?  Yes, it’s convenient to check your cameras from home, but you could do that on your own home network by setting up private & secure remote access rather than signing over your right to privacy.

Stop using “free” services that sell your data.  As an example, Duck Duck Go is supported by advertising and doesn’t sell or track your search data.

Have you opened up your mail client like Gmail and had it have a list of “suggested responses” to an email?  Ask yourself why.   Because they’re reading your emails and using that data to sell targeted ads.  Because of my line of work, I get a lot of email that is confidential, so I don’t want Google reading it.

Rather than using a service like Gmail, I use ProtonMail, who encrypts all mail and is subject to Swiss privacy laws, doesn’t read it, and doesn’t store any of your mail.  Only you have your encryption key.  There are other services similar out there, check out mail clients before installing them.  I know ProtonMail is secure, so that’s why I use it.

Don’t use “free” mapping services like Google Maps and Apple Maps, either.  I purchased and installed Sygic GPS, which allows me to download entire state maps to the phone and update them regularly, allowing my searches to be done “offline” and only on my local device.  As a side note, if the communications grid is down, this will allow me to still use my phone as a GPS since the satellites are in space and the map data is completely on my phone already.

Opt out of all “data sharing” and “error reporting” services on your phone.  Resist the temptation to allow your phone to always to be searching for free wifi.  These services all are part of the surveillance capitalism, and they can say that you “opted in” to sharing your data.

To recap, guard your information and be very selective about what data you share.  Understand that the majority of modern search warrants rely on social media postings that people thought were innocuous, such as location tagging or old photos.  Don’t take advantage of every single convenience, because they come at a price.

Be very careful of what you say online, as our once revered First Amendment freedoms are becoming more and more eroded every day.

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Why We Prepare

Anti-Preparedness Propaganda

What is the reason that we prepare?  What is our ultimate justification for what we’re doing?

If you watch “Doomsday Preppers” or some other show on TV, the answer would seem to be that it’s because we’re crazy.  They selected people and edited the clips to make them look crazy, which led to years of people laughing at preparedness.

This last year has changed the public perception of preparedness.

So, then, why do we do it?  

The ultimate reason, when you break it down completely, is FREEDOM.  We prepare so that we are SELF RELIANT and don’t have to trust anyone else to come to our rescue.  The evidence is clear in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the midwest floods, and the Texas weather outages, that the government is going ride over the hill to save you about an hour after you’ve already died.

How does this view of being self-reliant match up with the Ultimate Tactical Handbook?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves

Be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Seems clear: Be self-reliant.  You are your own rescuer, protector, and provider.

When you look at the riots over the spring and summer of 2020, you will realize that the police are not coming to protect you.  In fact, the Supreme Court case of Castle Rock v Gonzales says they have no duty to protect you.  In Portland, when both the far right and the far left faced off in the streets, the Portland Police Bureau admitted that they were not capable of protecting the city when the two factions fought each other.  This will be more common in 2021, so be prepared to fend for yourself.

When people in New Orleans relied on the government to come to their rescue, they found that rather than feeding everyone, the government’s first response was to go door-to-door and seize 551 firearms, all of which were lawfully owned.  Then they forcibly relocated people to the SuperDome, where they were actually at greater risk.  There was a shortage of food & water at the SuperDome, and crime was rampant inside.  

So, again, relying on ourselves is good, but not merely good enough.  

Let’s say I lived in New Orleans, and I had stored up 120 days of food and water, I had secured my house, obtained personal protection firearms, and had my own generator.  Sounds prepared, right?

Well, on day 4, while I was getting ready to make lunch, our good friend General Russell Honore and his troops arrived at my house and demanded entry.  They flashed emergency orders, and seized my firearms for “security & safekeeping”, then declared that they were seizing my food and generator under the emergency order.  They then put me and my family in a truck and drove us to the SuperDome.

Did my preparedness help?

Inside the SuperDome, food and water began to run out and the National Guard began to ration it.  Recovered bodies from the surrounding area began to pile up, and in an emergency, live people plus a lot of dead bodies equals illness.  Three people died inside the SuperDome from various causes.  Does that sound like people you should rely on?

What does this mean for preparedness folks who live in a city and plan on “bugging in”?  I can’t answer that for YOU, but for me, if I had remained in the city, and the government showed up, I’d follow Galations 5:1 and not let myself be burdened with a yoke of slavery.  Relying on someone else to feed, house, and protect you is SLAVERY.

The best advice I can give is to have a plan that allows you to either hide yourself and your gear effectively, or a plan that allows you to leave undetected in a hurry.  The best of both worlds is to have hidden most of your supplies and have the means to leave quickly and hide for a day or two, until you can come back safely.

In Clay Martin’s excellent book on urban preparedness, Concrete Jungle, he describes how to do these things, and I highly recommend it (see link below).

A book you need

If you plan on bugging in, you need to start NOW on Operational Security (OPSEC).  Telling the world all about your preparations will make you a target.  Many people think “My neighbors won’t take my stuff” or “My Facebook friends would never steal from me”.  Those people underestimate the power of hunger.  Hungry people, or people with children on the edge of starvation, will act very differently than they do now.  They may show up and demand food, or band together and take food.

OPSEC

Even worse, when the troops take them to a relocation camp, and offer them extra food in exchange for reporting “hoarders” or “people hiding guns”, people WILL report you, if they know.  

In preparedness, I see lots of people talking about how, after an event, when bugging in, they’ll fortify their house.  A fortified house looks like a fortified house.  When hungry people, or people intent on looting, see a fortified house, they think “there’s good stuff in there”.  It’s far better to make your house look unoccupied or unremarkable in any way.

I know, folks like us love to fly our American flag right next to the “Come and Take It” flag.  We are already seeing ANTIFA target houses flying either of those flags, so what do you think will happen post-event?  Oh, you’ll take it down then, after the event and when the WROL situation exists?  

What if I told you that the left is already preparing for mass violence, and recording addresses they suspect?  THEY ARE.

This last weekend, the Young Social Democrat Association had booths set up in Washington state.  There was literature on the tables about setting up “Community Emergency Response Teams”.  These teams would be comprised of armed personnel for “community self-defense” as well as medics.  Do you think you’re part of the community they’ll defend?  

It’s interesting that they avoided using the term “militia”, but an armed “community self defense” group is INDEED a militia.  

They told these groups to form and begin establishing “safe houses” and gathering information.  By gathering information, they mean identifying anyone who isn’t a radical socialist for “redistribution”.  Make no mistake, their preparedness plan is to seize your supplies and redistribute them to each other.  They are already forcibly taking over neighborhoods and buildings, and we aren’t even fully into a WROL situation.

Keep your bug-in location as low-key as possible, and if a WROL situation develops, take the same position as The Rooftop Koreans did, and be ready to defend your stuff.  

OK, so they’re not on a Rooftop, but they ARE Korean.

During the LA Riots of 1992, the Korean business community suffered the most loses.  Over 2,300 businesses owned by Koreans were destroyed (half of all property damage).  When they realized that the police wouldn’t be able to get help to them for over a week, the Rooftop Koreans banded together, armed themselves and began manning the roofs of their business.  For several days they exchanged gunfire with looters, but they didn’t lose anymore buildings.  Not a single Korean was charged with a crime.

Rooftop Korean is the dialect I speak.

Keep your preparations low key, have a way to hide them, and retain your ability to move out quickly, even if it’s only temporarily.  Retain also the ability to defend yourself.  

Operational Security means making sure that only the people who need to know are aware of your plans.  This applies to every area of life, not just preparedness.  Americans put a ridiculous amount of information on social media for everyone to see.  People brag about leaving for a two-week vacation, not realizing the OPSEC error in telling people that your home is now unoccupied and you are out of the country.

Make sure you keep your circle of people who know your preparedness plans small.  If you join a mutual aid group (see, I didn’t say militia or community self defense team), keep the group small.  You need enough people in your group to be able to band together and defend each other, but not so many that a full leadership organization is required.  Once you set up some type of large hierarchy, the potential exists for one person to force others to give things up.

Remember our goal, self-reliance and individual freedom.

But, every group needs leader, so what do we do?  We take a lesson from the military organizations of 1700s.  In the 1700s, and most of the 1800s, military units elected their officers.  In a small, 4-5 family mutual aid organization, that’s a simple and effective way to handle it.

In a WROL situation, there won’t be any “lone wolf” people after 30 days.  Find a group of like minded people and organize now.

I hope this helped you remember why we prepare, and gave you some ideas for be self-reliant.  Most importantly, I hope it inspired you to remember that we ARE a free people, and the government doesn’t really have the authority to tell us where we can go and how many of us can gather at once.

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What’s Really Happening?

DC Emergency Service Ribbon

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you will know that I’m a big proponent of reading indicators. For those into preparedness, you need to be paying attention, regardless of which side of the political aisle you are on. The rhetoric and actions being taken are increasing the risk of domestic conflict within the United States, and you need to be prepared for it.

The United States Army National Guard Bureau is authorizing the issuance of a “DC Emergency Support Ribbon” for any National Guard soldier deployed to Washington DC after the January 6th incident. This is a BIG indicator.

To understand why, you have to understand how the US military issues ribbons and medals. Typically, particularly for the National Guard, in a deployment during a short term emergency like this would result in the issuance of a “Presidential Unit Citation” for each unit, allowing them to wear a PUC ribbon.

The other way in which ribbons are assigned is what we call “campaign ribbons”. Service in wartime, during a particular campaign, or push to accomplish some goal in a theater, would result in a campaign ribbon for someone who was there during the campaign. As an example, we currently issue Iraq and Afghanistan GWOT campaign ribbons. This ribbon seems to be like a campaign ribbon, and may well be the first campaign ribbon in the Second Civil War.

I know, at this point it’s claimed that this is a “local” award, but it’s being reviewed as a Federal-Level ribbon.

That’s the first indicator.

The second is the phrase “deadly January 6th insurrection”. Any time you see the events of January 6th described, it’s written like this word for word regardless of which outlet published it. This should tell you that you have no free press, but I digress.

Have you ever heard the phrase “deadly BLM/ANTIFA insurrection” to describe the events of the late spring and summer of 2020? An insurrection is defined as revolting against civil authority. The burning of police stations & courthouses, ambushes and bombings, and looting certainly meet that definition.

If the press was objective, they would realize that if you called the summer “protests”, and they were more violent and destructive than the January 6th incident, then you have to either call both protests, or both insurrections.

So then, it’s clear that the use of different terms is designed only to inflame and shape opinions. Protests are inherently virtuous and Constitutionally protected, whereas insurrections are inherently violent, evil, and unlawful.

The only death from violence on January 6th was when the US Capitol Police shot & killed an unarmed protestor. The other 3 protestor deaths were from health issues, not the event, and Officer Sicknick died from a stroke, not from an attack. Contrast that with the number of deaths from the summer protests.

The National Guard deployment has already been extended twice, and officially is supposed to end in two months, but the recommendation of blatantly racist General Honore, who is in charge of such things, is that they remain indefinitely.

They keep bringing up the specter of “right wing extremist violence”, even though they have presented no evidence of it whatsoever. This comes as every single night ANTIFA/BLM in Washington state are in an active insurgency, attacking businesses, assaulting police, and setting fire to government buildings. The media ignores the active insurgency.

Gather up your belongings to leave the land,

you who live under siege.

Jeremiah 10:17

As the passage from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook illustrates, be prepared. Tough times are ahead for all of us, regardless of politics. Have a plan, have gear ready.

Many take issue with the use of the term insurgency, but read the definition above. The conditions on the ground in Portland & Seattle meet that definition.

Again, we must ask WHY? Why the intentional ignoring of the on-going Marxist insurgency, while at the same time pushing the narrative without any evidence that we are on the edge of a violent assault by right-wing extremists?

Because even the Democrat Party knows that they aren’t far left enough and they can’t put the ANTIFA/BLM genie back in the bottle. They know that as we hit the anniversary of the Breonna Taylor & George Floyd incidents, there will be widespread violence again, and it’s better to blame it on “right wing extremists” attacking “mostly peaceful” protests.

Early in the summer, a BAMN activist handed me this document while I was undercover conducting surveillance at a protest in Detroit. It laid out that the goal was a violent revolution, and that they didn’t want Joe Biden as President either.

They know that a violent conflict is coming, and they want to frame it properly, to get the populace on the proper side.

Look at the treatment of those arrested on each side. BLM/ANTIFA protestors routinely have charges dropped, even for throwing firebombs. They are frequently released after only a few hours. For the January 6th event, people are being held for months in pre-trial confinement for misdemeanor crimes. Before you say, “but it’s the Capitol”, no one arrested for unlawfully being inside the Capitol or interfering with police during the Kavanaugh hearing (the same charge was used) was held longer than a few hours.

Another indicator is the continued comparisons to Pearl Harbor or 9/11 for the January 6th event. Both of those incidents led to actual wars.

Don’t get me wrong…There are some right wing extremist groups out there, but if we are truly honest with ourselves, they are over-run by federal law enforcement agencies to catch the extremists, so they aren’t really a threat.

I’m not saying either side is wrong or right. Protesting police violence is not inherently bad, and neither is demanding election integrity & transparency.

My point is that the rhetoric of the media is increasing the risk of violence and civil disorder, rather than reducing it.

Pay attention to the indicators and be prepared.

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Skill – Route Planning

I originally wrote this for Survival Blog, and the skills are critical in analyzing your routes and options for getting away from your immediate area in a Without Rule of Law situation.

But first, let’s see what the Ultimate Tactical Handbook has to say about this:

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

and be steadfast in all your ways.

Proverbs 4:26

Everyone has a plan to “Get Out of Dodge” in an emergency. As I teach my self defense and firearms classes, I ask people about theirs and they all say, “I’d head up to my cabin” or “I’ll head out west”. The problem is, have you actually considered how you will leave the immediate area of your home or work? Most of the people I hear begin their plan ambiguously. They say, just simply, “I’d leave town”, but they have never done any reconnaissance or real-life consideration of their route.

As humans, we are creatures of habit. If I want to leave my house in Metro Detroit and head to my cabin, I just jump on the freeway two blocks from home and take it most of the way, right? Well, on a normal weekend, without any unrest or an emergency, that’s very simple.

These basic plans fall apart once we consider the effects of a large civil disturbance, a disaster, or simply a large-scale long-term blackout. With the increasing trend of protesters blocking the freeways and major streets, these issues must be taken into consideration.

As the crisis unfolds, people will take to the streets in many ways. Protesters who may be out, people seeking to re-unite with family members, looters, people seeking supplies, and people trying to leave the area will all clog the roads. Authorities will attempt to retain control by establishing traffic control points and roadblocks. Roads and highways may also have been damaged.

When planning routes, a simple and thorough process needs to be used. The process begins with locating four different routes to use in the event one is blocked. A map study is a method to predict where issues may arise. You must drive these routes (conduct reconnaissance) to determine where the problems areas are and how to avoid them. Safe havens and supply stops (or absence thereof) must be planned. Final coordination with others at your destination is also needed. We will address these areas in this article.

Planning needs to begin with a map study. While GPS technology is convenient and should certainly be planned for, the failure of batteries or other components can happen, so beginning with an old-fashioned map and compass is an important fail-safe. Analyze the map and select routes out of the area that are non-traditional. Sure, the highway is the fastest way out of the area, but the other 400,000 people fleeing the area also know that. I recommend the acronym PACE to remind you to have four routes or plans for everything. Primary, Alternate, Contingent, and Emergency.

As you are studying the map, think from the perspective of the local law enforcement agency trying to maintain order. Decide where Traffic Control Points (TCP) would be placed to best control traffic. Decide what government buildings will either be heavily protected or draw protesters/refugees. Make your routes to avoid these areas. Mark grocery stores and gas stations on the map, and avoid these areas. They will be magnets for looters or just desperate people. Mark and avoid all hospitals, again, during a crisis; these will be busy areas and present a risk.

I have designed my routes to use only secondary roads. While larger traffic arteries move faster under ideal circumstances, they will be at a standstill and will attract the most law enforcement, protest, and refugee attention as well. Ensure that the secondary roads you use don’t traverse high-crime areas.

After selecting at least three routes using only secondary roads, select as your Emergency route something completely out of the box. As an example, I live two blocks from the start of a walking trail that leads all the way through the south side of my city and avoids all major intersections. The trail is wide enough for a vehicle and the reconnaissance showed it’s usable with special equipment (bolt cutters). It also connects with a private dirt road along the power lines that are used to check the transmission lines. This gives me yet another route option in a different direction that also avoids major intersections.

Once you have selected the routes, drive them to validate the selections. Watch for bridges that can easily be blocked, high-crime neighborhoods, grocery stores and gas stations to be avoided, as well as police and fire stations to be avoided. Ensure that the route doesn’t have special hazards that aren’t visible on the map, like narrow streets easily blocked with on-street parking and one-way areas. Avoid routes that lead through subdivisions with a lot of cul-de-sacs. Make sure there is always a way out of any congested area along these routes. Drive them both in daylight and darkness. My personal plan involves leaving between 3 and 4 AM (slowest human reaction times), and so I have done recon on my routes during that time frame. The reason is that if you drive through a neighborhood during daytime, you won’t have a feel for how many cars are parked on the street at night. A lot of on-street parking at night creates a zone where attackers can ambush you (using the vehicles for cover) and can make it very easy to box you in by having a vehicle come at you while a second ones pulls up behind you. With cars on both sides, this is a no-win scenario. Continue to drive the routes on a regular basis to ensure that you are aware of any new issues, like construction, changes in traffic flow, and any new businesses that need to be avoided.

After selecting the routes from your home out of the immediate area, next select routes from workplace. However, your work is now double because you will need to select routes from work to home, as well as routes from work directly out of the immediate area. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but prior planning makes emergency response that much easier. Use the same process of map study and recon to select the routes. It will make you more secure as well, because taking multiple routes to and from work keeps you safe anyway. The reason for having both destinations is that the level of emergency may dictate an immediate departure from the area without a stop at home. Also, the location of the situation may be between your workplace and home.

Once we have our routes out of the immediate area planned and vetted, it’s time to analyze routes from the area to your “Get Out Of Dodge” location. Again, start with the map and select four routes. When picking out a map, purchase a state Atlas/Gazetteer type, rather than a DOT fold-out map. The reason is that the average citizen is going to use routes on a fold-out map, and the Atlas type shows many good roads that aren’t listed on the state highway map. I chose routes that avoid any city and looked for farmland or very small villages. These small towns will likely have a locally-owned and operated gas station or store that may remain open for emergency supplies, but I wouldn’t count on it. If you must cross interstates, look for crossings under them away from interchanges. Traffic control points are likely to be up at on and off ramps and traffic may be forced off right into your path.

It’s very tempting, once you are away from an urban area, to try and transition to an interstate or other freeway. Don’t fall into this trap. These highways are designated as “limited-access” and their actual purpose is to facilitate the movement of government vehicles in an emergency. They have on and off ramps not for travel convenience but for the ability to “seal off” all non-essential traffic. As they are fenced on both sides usually with a ditch on both sides before the fences, there are very easy to block, trapping you.

Once the routes from your original location to your hide-away have been selected and recon done, it’s time to turn your attention to final coordination with others at your hide-away or “Get Out Of Dodge” location. Even if it’s only you there, there are some steps that will need to be taken for safety. Once you get close to the location, don’t plan to drive straight in, even if it’s just you and your family. Plan and select a hidden location near your final destination where you can stop your vehicle and conceal it briefly and walk in on foot. It would do you no good to have made a great escape plan, executed it flawlessly, then blunder into your hide-away to find it already seized by others who may be unfriendly.

If it’s a single-family property, set up tell-tales to determine if anyone has been on the access road or driveway. These can be as simple as a string or branch left across the road. Walk in, using a covered and concealed route and observe to ensure that no one has taken over your hide-away. Once you have determined that it’s secure, bring in your vehicle and execute your security plans.

If it’s a multi-family situation (like mine), have a plan agreed upon by all and allow no deviation. Our plan consists of stopping the vehicle short of the location and making radio call (don’t rely on cell phones). Once radio contact is established, an all-clear pass phrase is given. Even though the pass phrase is given, a radio stays with the vehicle and another radio-equipped person walks in on foot to visually verify the situation. Only after all steps are verified is the vehicle then called in.

Once all the routes have been planned and verified, continue to review and update your plan regularly. Once a month is a good idea, but once a quarter is a minimum. I live in an area with serious seasonal changes, so updates will be needed in the event of winter snow, spring floods, et cetera.

The final step is the development of a “travel security SOP”. By this I mean a set of procedures to ensure your safety and security while on the move. First, as harsh as it sounds, consider that you will not stop to render aid to others. This is a personal choice, but many ambush scenarios begin with staging someone needing assistance or the person who truly needs help may have just been ambushed by others. Try to send help using a radio or other communications, but stopping should not be part of the plan. Understand that whatever disputes or conflicts you encounter, they are not your fight and you will either continue straight through or avoid them. Another consideration is security at relief breaks. A trip that may have taken three hours on a normal weekend may take 10-12 hours or even longer. One person should always be posted as security with the vehicle, and no one should go out of the other’s sight. If you are traveling alone, decide upon safe locations and procedure ahead of time (like driving off the main route and out of sight first).

Keep the vehicle fueled and have snacks stocked in it at all times, along with plenty of water to eliminate the need for stops.

Also, ensure that you bring along maps and a compass, just in case you need to change the plan on the fly, based upon the conditions you encounter. If a road is blocked or impassable, having a paper map to quickly make changes is vital. The navigator (person designated ahead of time) should follow your progress on the map diligently, so that if an emergency change must be made, valuable minutes won’t be wasted trying to figure out where you are on the map.

Most plans involve leaving the immediate area, but don’t consider planning how that will be done. Following the steps in this article will help you establish a secure plan that has options in the event of an emergency. The more plans you have ahead of time, the less stress you will encounter when it’s time to get out of dodge. In an emergency, it’s time to move, not time to plan. Movement is life.

The US Issue Poncho – Swiss Army Knife of Shelter

When considering what gear to buy, one of the things that everyone should have is a US military poncho.   As we’re going to discuss, it’s the Swiss Army knife of shelter gear, and has many uses. As the passage above from the Ultimate Tactical handbook says, it’s a refuge, a shelter, and a shade.

The style has been largely unchanged since the Vietnam War, and for good reason.  It’s well-designed and versatile as it is.

Before we get started, let me give you a caution…don’t buy a “military-type” or “US-Style” poncho, they aren’t the same thing.  Find a true surplus poncho and get that, rather than a cheap imitation.  The water-proofing just isn’t the same and they frequently aren’t as big as a US Poncho.

First, the poncho can be used as designed, and it works well.  It’s big enough to be worn over a backpack/rucksack and has a hood.  The loose nature will also cover any other gear you are wearing.  When paired with US Issue gore-tex pants, it’s a solid set of rain gear.

The poncho can be used as a shelter, and that’s its secondary use.  There area grommets on all sides for tying off the shelter to trees or staking it down.  Before using it as a shelter, or a tarp, make sure you securely tie off the hood.  

Once you get a poncho, get out into the field and practice setting up various types of shelters using it, the most basic two being a lean-to and an A-Frame.  The time to learn isn’t during an emergency.

To make an A-Frame:

  • Select two trees and tie a piece of cordage between them.  This will become the center ridge-line of your shelter.  Don’t make it too high, remember we are trying to remain concealed.
  • Lay the poncho over the ridge-line with equal amounts of material on each side.
  • Pull the sides out and stake them down, so that they are tight.  You can either stake the shelter directly into the ground, or use cordage to suspend them above the ground, for ventilation.
  • Make sure you leave enough room for your gear to be inside and out of the weather, and enough room for “self-administration”, like changing clothes or washing.
A Frame

To make a Lean-To:

  • Select two trees and tie a piece of cordage between them.  For a lean-to, this should be higher than on an A-Frame, but only as high as you need.
  • Stake down the rear directly into the ground.
  • You can fold in the excess from the sides if you have extra material, and use your gear to hold it down, creating a windbreak, if necessary.

The poncho can also be used a tarp in the field.  If you are using a small backpacking tent as a shelter, and you want to leave your gear outside, you can cover your gear with the poncho, again, being sure that the poncho hood is tied off.

The poncho can be used just as a tarp to cover other areas, rather than as your sleeping shelter.  The best thing is that the poncho has double-sided snaps, allowing you to snap multiple ponchos together and make a larger shelter.

In the field, you could use this to cover a fighting position/observation post or even a hunting blind, to set up a meeting/dining area, or really any other use.

You can suspend it between trees over your tent for additional rain protection (or, since it’s woodland camouflage, protection from observation).

The “Ranger Roll” is a tried and true item that actual field veterans swear by.  This is a US military poncho and poncho liner tied together.  The poncho liner comes with strings attached to tie through the grommets on a standard US poncho.  When tied together, this makes a good moderate weather sleeping bag.  You can either keep the two separate and attach them each night, or keep them separate so that you can use the poncho during the day.

You can insert a casualty reflective blanket between the two for early spring and late fall, and if you also add a US issue wool blanket in the middle, it becomes a four season solution.

My personal set up is to have two US ponchos, one in a ranger roll and the second on the belt for use as needed as either a poncho, or as a tarp shelter.  If needed, I can attach the two together.

An Option

The US Military Issue poncho is truly the Swiss Army knife of field shelter.  You can wear it to keep you dry, you can make a ranger roll sleeping bag, you can use it as a tent, and it has double sided snaps so that you can attach several together to make a larger shelter.  As an added bonus, it comes in the ubiquitous woodland camouflage pattern.

And, for prepping on a budget, if you aren’t wearing camouflage and suddenly need to, due to circumstances you encounter and you want to avoid contact, you can throw the poncho on over your clothes, wearing the hood and you are now in full camouflage.  Everyone should own at least one.

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Discretion Is The Better Part of Valor

Discretion is the better part of valor is actually a variation of the original quote.  The original quote is from the character Falstaff in the play “King Henry the Fourth, Part One” by William Shakespeare.  What Falstaff actually said was “Caution is preferable to rash bravery”.  

This sure is an exact definition of my philosophy for preparedness.  Many people in this field seem to be preparing not actually for long term survival, but to perform as some type of light infantry. 

For me, while the ability to provide my own security and to defend myself is important, the ability to AVOID trouble seems to be more important.  “Caution is preferable to rash bravery”.

Max Rockatansky

It’s easy, with the prevalence of mass media productions like The Book of Eli, and the Mad Max series of movies, to envision yourselves as a band of righteous warriors, traveling the post-apocalyptic wasteland, righting wrongs in a world gone mad, but it’s not very realistic. 

Eli

It is indeed important, when preparing for a Without Rule of Law situation, that you are capable, as part of a group, to conduct limited dismounted operations to defend yourselves and your larger area, but it shouldn’t be the main focus.

To illustrate, I’m going to go with a tried & true example that is very near and dear to my heart:  The United States Marines Corps.  

In the Marine Corps, the Force Reconnaissance Companies are world-renowned as the best long range recon operators in the world.  They can slip in and out of areas completely undetected and gather whatever information they need.

If they are detected and make contact, make no mistake, they are absolutely among the last people on earth you want to fight, and they’ll give better than they get.

But the point of this comparison is that if they make contact and have to fight, things have gone very wrong.  Their role, by nature of the size of the teams they operate in, is NOT to engage in combat, but to avoid all contact while gathering information.  Because they operate in 6 man elements, they would rather risk a failed mission than to rush into a situation that they have a limited understanding of.

This is what makes it directly applicable to our discussion.  In a WROL environment, you will be operating in small groups, protecting your local community.  It is far better to detect problems when they are a long way off, like Marine Recon, than when they are on your front door. 

It’s also why developing the ability to process information into actionable intelligence is a vital skill to learn.  You can begin down this path by checking out the training courses at www.forwardobserver.com.  An area study is good place to start.

Discretion involves having the judgement to know when not jumping into a situation is the best idea.  As an example, let me give you a story that I share during my concealed pistol classes.

Two police officers pull up on an altercation in progress at a traffic light.  What they see is a man and a woman in the middle of the street, fighting over a purse.  The officers jump out, run up, and take the man down.  He resists, telling them they’ve got it all wrong.  Once they get him into cuffs, his wife runs up and informs them that her husband had been wrestling with the woman who had just snatched her purse, who has now vanished with the purse.  Discretion is the better part of valor.

The officers acted immediately on partial information and an assumption, that led to actually helping a criminal complete their crime.  “Caution is preferable to rash bravery”.

It’s important to understand that rushing headlong into things may not always be the best idea.  

A secondary piece of this is using our discretion on what information we share.  Too many of us over-share information on our preparations and our plans.  

In our current environment, where anyone to the right of Mao Tse-Tung is called a right wing extremist, your plans “to resist FEMA relocation” during a crisis could easily be reported as “anti-government views”.  Pointing out that Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison all had “anti-government views” only paints a larger target on you, no matter how true it is.

Keeping your plans and thoughts private and off social media may seem like giving up your right to free speech, but read some of the indictments that the FBI is publishing.  Social media posts are the main evidence being used to target people right now.  In fact, several people were just indicted for evidence tampering for deleting their own Facebook private messages (see below).  

Yes, really.

Membership in any kind of mutual aid group or the dreaded M word that is mentioned in the Second Amendment, which I shall not utter here is enough now for a search warrant.  

I know what you’re thinking….”If I’ve done nothing wrong, why do I care?”.  Let’s discuss the tale of Duncan Lemp.

Lemp posted several photos online of him with his firearms.  An anonymous source reported to his local police that Lemp owned illegal “assault” firearms and was a member of a “3 Percenter” group.  That was enough information to obtain a no-knock warrant.  During the execution of the warrant, police claim that Lemp grabbed a rifle and they shot and killed him.  His girlfriend and family maintain that he was shot and killed while sleeping.

It’s worth noting that the raid occurred at 4:30 AM, and the only notice Lemp had that anything was happening was when his bedroom window was shattered by a police baton as they entered.

When the police, pursuant to the search warrant, inspected and researched every firearm in the house, they determined that there was no crime and that the guns were all lawfully owned.  Let me say that again:  After killing a man in the execution of their search, they found that he had not committed a crime and the basis for the entire encounter was FALSE.

The entire ordeal was based upon someone seeing his social media posts.  This is bad enough, but the story doesn’t end there.

Despite this happening in March, the police still haven’t released any body cam footage of the raid.  They did however release a series of text messages and social media private messages where he discussed fortifying his house in case “the police decide to raid me for exercising my rights”.  In one, he even told his mother that he was worried that the police might kill him, despite him having done nothing wrong.

The police point to these as evidence of their need to have executed a no-knock warrant, because of the risk that a man who had NOT BROKEN THE LAW posed because he was worried about police over-stepping their authority.  On a side note, I guess Lemp’s concerns were valid.

Think that through…the police were worried that Lemp would resist them, even though they had NO CRIMINAL OFFENSE to arrest him for.  I’ll point out that in America, you are supposed to have probable cause that a crime was committed before getting a search warrant.  Search warrants were never supposed to be issued, as they frequently are now, to see if you have committed a crime.  The police are supposed to show that it’s LIKELY that you have committed a crime and that evidence is LIKELY to exist at a particular location.  Anonymous sources aren’t enough.

The entire situation could have been resolved by just knocking on the door, explaining the complaint to Lemp, and arranging an inspection through an attorney.  But, in our “everyone is a dangerous extremist” society, the 4:30 AM raid is the more likely approach and the more likely outcome.

In another FBI indictment, they state that attending firearms training, which many of us post about on social media, was evidence of “right wing extremism”.

This is presented as evidence of a crime.

You can avoid this by not sharing too much information online.  The vast majority of the rocket scientists who went into the Capitol have been arrested because they decided to either livestream their criminal activity or post selfies of them doing stupid things inside the building.  It’s worth noting that I made a public announcement that if you were going anywhere near Washington DC that day, you should not take a phone with you for just this reason (by the way, Feds, my phone was ON the entire day and I was in Michigan all day).

Kyle Rittenhouse Did Nothing Wrong

I know, this is easier said than done.  As I’m writing this, I’m serving out a 12 hour Twitter suspension for daring to tweet 5 letters.  Yes, really.  The letters, which is all I typed, are “KRDNW”.  Yes, it does stand for “Kyle Rittenhouse Did Nothing Wrong”, but expressing that opinion is, according to the Twitter overlords, “glorifying violence”.  I wonder how many rappers they kicked off Twitter for their music videos glorifying violence, but I digress. 

I’ll leave you with another piece of Tactical Wisdom, from the Ultimate Tactical handbook:

Discretion will protect you,

And understanding will guard you.

Proverbs 2:11

Be cautions, learn to develop & analyze information before rushing headlong into situations, and guard your own information.

Be safe.

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Lessons Learned – SNOW-POCALYPSE 2021

As I write this, we are in the midst of a preparedness situation throughout large parts of the country, and in Texas, the S has most certainly Hit The Fan.  No, not that “S”, the SNOW “S”.

An arctic vortex has driven snow and freezing temperatures across most of the nation in the last 24-36 hours and the cold is expected to remain all week.  This is a situation where REAL preparedness skills and awareness could have saved lives and made things more comfortable for some of the affected population.

The low temperatures and an entirely predictable “natural gas shortage” has a led to no power and no heat in large parts of the country, raising the risk.  People with generators are having a hard time locating open gas stations to buy gas, and people are sleeping in their running cars, which is DANGEROUS, especially in heavy snow, as snow can block your tailpipe, causing carbon monoxide poisoning quickly.

We are seeing a large scale FAILURE TO PREPARE highlighted by this.

What?  You mean preparedness isn’t just buying an AR platform rifle in every single hard-to-find weird caliber and a whole bunch of ammo?  I feel robbed.  That’s all anyone ever told me I’d need.  I was fully “prepared” like most of the YouTube guys told me to be…prepared to have an entirely unrealistic & hypothetical discussion on terminal ballistics and how much damage my special-but-impossible-to-find-after-a-collapse ammo will do to ballistic gel (despite there never having been a single attack on a human perpetrated by ballistic gel).

As I was scrolling Twitter, I saw lots of outrage at the power outages, blaming the power company, the government, and in more than a few cases, the Chinese.    

The fact of the matter is that if you are wholly unprepared for a power outage, the only person you can be angry at is YOU.  The lack of personal responsibility is the problem in America today.

I say this all the time…

One guy, who has a small baby at home, complained that his power had been out for 8 hours and he didn’t know how he was going to keep the baby warm and WHY DOESN’T SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING?!?!?!?

Seriously?  As a father, the safety of your child is YOUR responsibility and relying on “someone” to provide for you is juvenile.  As the father of a small child, you should consider that the power goes out for all kinds of reasons.  Sure, it’s colder than normal in Texas, but if you didn’t consider buying a few extra baby blankets, that’s on YOU.

ACT LIKE MEN – Says so right in the Bible

Ok, so the first lesson learned is that YOU are responsible for providing for yourself and your family, no one else.  That’s why you have a job, that’s why you do everything that you do.  

The next lesson, is in information gathering.  I know, you’re thinking, WHAT???  Yes, information gathering.  Military intelligence briefings always begin with the weather forecast for the next 72 hours.  Simply paying attention to a weather forecast can actually save your life.  If you lived in a warm climate, and saw that the temperature was forecast to go very low for your area, and that you were about to get snow, which your area has no ability to deal with, shouldn’t that prompt you to take some action to prepare?

Pay attention to the next 72 hour forecast.  No, not an extended 2 week outlook.  A 2 week outlook is a GUESS.  You can’t accurately predict weather beyond the next 48 hours, and the extra 24 hours is an EDUCATED guess.  Ask any meteorologist and they’ll agree with this assessment.  Think back to your own life history and ask yourself, how many times has a completely unexpected weather event happened?  Quite often.

Here’s an example…My extended forecast says that by next Monday, Metro Detroit will be back in the high 30s.  If I relied on that, and failed to shovel my driveway, what would happen when the temperature stays low or we get more snow?  Nothing good.  Next 72.

Once you’ve gathered the forecast information, if it’s something unusual, consider what the worst case scenario is.  In this case, it’s exactly what we’re seeing today….power outages at the same time that heating gas has run short, and the roads are impassable.  If you had thought this out BEFORE the event, you could have taken steps to mitigate the worst case.

You would then decide that to prepare for the worst case, you would need to do the following BEFORE the storm hit:

  • Fill all cars with gas.
  • Get some extra gas in cans.
  • Buy enough food to last 2 weeks.
  • Buy more water.
  • Obtain a generator or batteries.
  • Ensure all battery-operated lights and radios work.
  • Secure power inverters to charge devices without grid power.
  • Secure blankets or additional heating methods (I have BOXES of hand & body warmers).
  • Stock up on any needed medications, both prescription & OTC.
  • As roads will be impassable, double check all first aid kits.
  • Ensure that vehicle emergency gear is stocked in the cars.
  • Have a plan to secure your family, as law enforcement/fire service may be unavailable.

Just these few steps could have made life easier for everyone involved.  If you did all of this, and the worst case didn’t happen, you will still use everything that you bought.  You’ll use the gas normally, you’ll eat the food (and not have to shop for an extra week).  You can always use water. 

Consider your pets as well.  Have things to keep them warm, and ensure that they have food.  When planning your emergency water needs, understand that they need a lot of water as well.

If you read the list again, you’ll realize that those basic steps prepare you really for any emergency.

This brings me to another lesson learned….As I scrolled Twitter, I engaged with some of the people who were complaining about the situation, asking them what steps they had taken to prepare.  The most common answer as, “Well, I live here, so cold isn’t what I prepared for” or “I had prepared for a Chinese invasion/Hurricane/earthquake/reptilian overlords revealing themselves”. Those are fancy ways to say “NOTHING AT ALL”.

Never prepare for a specific event, prepare for the effects of that event.  I frequently remind people on this blog to analyze what the second and third order effects of situations are, and THOSE are the situations you prepare for.

Take any of the examples above and you’ll see that no power & no heat in the middle of winter could certainly be a second or third order effect of any scenario & therefore if you prepared for that, you would have been ready.

Have you ever watched any of the Prepper shows on TV?  I swear that they seek out the most backwards, unintelligent, and conspiracy-driven people to feature on purpose, to make preppers look crazy.

Truth

However, if you get past whatever doomsday scenario they present as their reason for preparing, you’ll see that they all end up taking similar steps, such as stacking food to the rafters, securing a supply of water, gathering first aid supplies, and seeing to their own security.  All of those steps are because the second & third effects of everything is you needing to survive without reliance on grid power, gas service, food/water supply, or law enforcement protection.  

You should be preparing with this idea in mind, rather than your specific plan to repel the Chinese airborne troops allegedly crossing Lake Superior in rowboats or the Russian paratroopers landing at Calumet High School during the history class.

As far as the “But I live in a warm place” comments…Being prepared also means being prepared to move.  You may live in a warm climate but need to evacuate to a cooler climate.  Have basic cold weather gear.  

For example, you don’t plan on living in a house that’s on fire do you?  But you have at least one fire extinguisher in your house don’t you?  And why?  In case that unlikely event happens.  The concept is exactly the same.

So to recap, here are the lessons:

  1. You are the only person responsible for your preparedness.
  2. Gather all the information you can on any threat, in this case the weather.
  3. Having general emergency preparedness helps in any situation.
  4. Prepare for the worst case and anything less than that is easy.
  5. Prepare not for specific events, but for the effects of events.
  6. Don’t just prepare for high-probability events, low-probability events kill, too, usually because you weren’t ready for them.

I hope this helps you.  

My biggest lesson learned in the Snow-Pocalypse of 2021:  That a large Australian Shepherd playing in the snow piles doesn’t really “help” you shovel the driveway, no matter how much she tells you she is helping.

Her Royal Highness Princess Lucinda MacKenzie Fluffy-Bottom

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A Preparedness Story – Gathering Information

You can a learn a lot by reading.  If you’re into preparedness, I’m sure you have a stack of books with practical skills in it, I know I do.

I read the entire Gray Man series by Mark Greaney (www.markgreaneybooks.com if you’re interested), and a few other good pieces of fiction, like Mongol Moon by Mark Sibley (available at amazon.com/Mongol-Moon-Mark-Sibley) that have some good pieces of Tactical Wisdom in them.

However, the Ultimate Tactical Handbook (the Bible) has tons of practical, real-life advice and Tactical Wisdom, and that’s why it’s the basis for this blog.

For example, the story of David is full of action, adventure, spy drama, assassination plots, and even an anti-government militia movement.  Yes, really.

Today, we’re going to discuss a story out of 1 Samuel 23, and the lessons learned about being prepared, staying alive by avoiding contact, gathering (and protecting) information, and using terrain to your advantage.  I bet you didn’t know that anyone of that was in there.  You’re not alone.

Most people, when you ask them if they’ve heard of David, will mention him being a King, killing a giant, and something about a woman on a rooftop.  That’s the extent most people get from just listening at church.  A friend of mine, when I relayed a tactical truth and adventure story about Joshua,  said “Is there some secret section of the Bible that you get this from?”.  Nope, you just have to get outside of conventional teachings and really read.

King David

So, to set the stage, David was a warrior who eventually (yes, after killing a giant) became a senior officer in the military.  However, the King, Saul, began to distrust David and launched a purge of his military, pushing out those he thought were disloyal, including David.

Doesn’t that sound EXACTLY like the environment we’re in today?  Veterans and active military staff being put on “watch lists” or being booted because they aren’t loyal enough to “The Party”?  That’s why the story I’m about to tell you resonated so well.

Secretary “Purge” Austin

Earlier, David had fled, and then found about 600 other men who were also disaffected and tired of the oppressive government at the time.  David organized them into an effective fighting force, and fought off Phillistine invaders, despite their treatment by their own government, upholding their oaths.

As we begin 1 Samuel 23, these men are still honoring their oaths, while being hunted and persecuted by the government they used to serve.  Sound like anything familiar to you?

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Let’s go through the story and a discuss the Tactical Wisdom found inside.

David and his group were inside a city that they had just defended from raiders.  When Saul and the government troops learned where they were, they immediately started to head for the city.  The people of the city, despite having just been liberated by David’s troops, immediately informed the King. David heard that the King’s forces were headed his way.  That’s where the first piece of Tactical Wisdom comes from:

So David & his men, about 600 in number,

Left Keilah & kept moving from place to place…

1 Samuel 23:13a

When he knew that remaining in place was going to bring him into direct conflict with a superior force, he chose avoidance over direct conflict.  Notice I said AVOIDANCE and not SUBMISSION.

He continued to lead his men, and they continued to speak out about their issues.

From a preparedness standpoint, if you learn that a large group is headed toward your location, take what you can with you and leave the area, until they are gone.  Your goal is survival, not making a last stand against the forces of evil at the Alamo.  In order to do that, you need to remain always aware, always gathering information on threats, and have your supplies and gear always in a ready-to-move state.

For example, anyone who has served in a combat arms unit knows that anything you take out of your ruck/pack, goes back in immediately after you use it.  You stay packed.  You don’t unpack everything, then leave it out overnight, packing back up in the morning.  That way, if you have to leave on a moment’s notice, you can take everything with you, rather than having to leave things behind.

In a crisis, the ability to move is life, and you should retain that ability at all times.  Remember, you can always come back to a location. Never be so tied to a location that you can’t leave.

My favorite Viking Warrior, Uhtred Ragnarson (The Last Kingdom) puts it this way:  “A warrior can only die one time, so he shouldn’t do it foolishly; he should make it count.”

Uthred Ragnarson

After Saul and his forces realized that David and his militia of anti-government extremists (see what I did there) had fled, he set out to try and gather information on their location.  Saul didn’t want to waste resources chasing around random sightings, so here we find the next piece of Tactical Wisdom:

…Go & get more information.

Find out where David usually goes & who has seen him there.”

1 Samuel 23:21b

We can look at Saul’s instructions two ways:

  • Always be in the information gathering business.  Alway seek to understand what your opposition is doing, and who is moving where.
  • Understand that, on the other side of the coin, your opposition is trying to gather information on you, and take steps to minimize what information you give out freely for them to gather (SOCIAL MEDIA).

Understand that information is more valuable than anything else, especially in a crisis.  Information can be anything from the weather forecast to movements of large groups, depending on the situation you find yourself in.  

In a true WROL or SHTF situation, without news or social media feeds, you’ll have to rely on your own information gathering skills, but the good news is that we’ve possessed these skills for as long as man has walked this earth.  Get out and patrol your local area.  Talk to people.  Go to places where people gather, like a market, and just LISTEN.  Ask questions. Set up Observation Posts.

The key lesson is to always be seeking information, while at the same time guarding your own information tightly.  We all like to get on the internet boards and chat with like-minded people, but are you sure of everyone in “Ultra-Cool-Guy Super-Prepared-Prepper” group on Facebook?  By sharing how many rounds of ammo and how many cans of food you have stored, you’re making yourself a target.

An example is people showing off their “hidden can storage” ideas.  While it’s very helpful, you’re also telling people where to search in your house after they’ve killed you for your food.  I know, you’re going to say there isn’t anyone like that in MY group.  You’re right, there isn’t TODAY.  But after 3 weeks with no power, and the kids haven’t eaten in 6 days, you’d be surprised at what people will do.  Guard your plans from prying eyes.

Once Saul began gathering information, he sent out another request to his spies, which is another piece of Tactical Wisdom:

Find out about all the hiding places he uses

And come back to me with definite information.

1 Samuel 23:23a

Again, this applies to not sharing your plans with the general public.  Keep the people who know all of your preparations and plans to the smallest number possible.   The time to do this is NOW, as well as when a crisis happens.  

The other side of this piece is that when you get a piece of information, confirm it, like Saul instructed (“Come back to me with definite information”).  Gathering and acting on false information is a waste of time.

Even worse, it could all be a set up, if you don’t confirm it.  Imagine you’re in a WROL situation, and your bug out location is secure, real solid.  Someone knows that, so they plant some false information, which causes you to leave your location to go act on it.  Now, your cool stash is less well-defended.  Confirm information before acting on it.

Here’s an example from the COVID lockdowns.  When the lockdowns began, rumors were flying about military checkpoints and roadblocks.  What would have happened if you decided to max out your credit cards in a final buying rush, only to find out there were no roadblocks, the restrictions weren’t as bad as the rumors said, and you’d be locked down without work for 10 months, needing that available credit for other uses?  Many people did just that.

Tactically, seek to confirm all information, and understand that someone will always be working to confirm information on you, as well, so work to guard against it.

Getting back to our story, Saul nailed down the location of David and his militia of anti-government extremists (yes, I’m doing it again) and began to close in on him.  David got wind of it, through his own information collection means, and immediately took flight:

Saul was going along one side of the mountain, 

And David & his men were on the other side, 

Hurrying to get away from Saul.

1 Samuel 23:26

There is a lot of good Tactical Wisdom in this one.  Let’s break it down.

First, as mentioned before, never be so tied to a location, especially in a WROL situation, that you can’t get up and move at a moments notice.  Yes, we make plans to defend ourselves, but we do that so that we can SURVIVE, not be killed in a fight we can’t win.

Second, always be gathering information, patrolling, and watching, so that you aren’t surprised and so that you can avoid negative situations.  

Third, David kept a terrain feature between him and the opposing force, denying them the ability to engage and destroy David’s smaller force.  Learn to use terrain to your advantage.  

Again, David used the terrain to AVOID a fight.  Remember our ultimate goal is NOT to fight a guerrilla war, it’s long-term survival.  We’ll fight if we must, but on our terms, not the other side’s.

Lastly, it’s important to note that it says “hurrying” and not “rushing”.  When trying to avoid contact, the tendency is to move faster than you really should.  Faster movement is louder and movement draws the eye.  Move quickly, but without rushing.  Rushing also causes you to move faster than you can realistically secure.  Move at rate where you can still stop and hide if you encounter another potentially hostile party. In a WROL situation, every party is potentially hostile.  

Avoidance is better than a fight, but if I have no choice other than to fight, I’d rather do the ambush, than be ambushed, and rushing will run you right into an ambush.

This brings us to the end of this tale.  I know, it’s like a Lord of The Rings movie, ending right in the middle of a chase scene, right?  To find out what happens next, check out my older post titled “Tactics – David in the Desert of Ziph”.

I hope this adventure story and analysis helps you plan and prepare.

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