WELCOME ALL SUBSCRIBERS to Volume 8 of Author Raymond Dean White's Newsletter.
Regarding the Short Stories Set in the World of The Dying Time:
I've had quite a bit of feedback on the idea and you readers seem to be evenly split. Most of you who are against the idea are worried it will delay the release of Book 3. Those of you who are for the idea just want more tales set in The Dying Time Universe. So far the tales I've started have actually spurred my creativity and helped me with the development of the third book in the trilogy.
That said I am not happy with the overall progress I'm making. I'd hoped to have a rough draft finished by the end of August and I'm almost certainly going to miss that deadline. Sometimes life gets in the way of our fondest ambitions.
Therefore I've decided to hold off on doing the short stories until I am comfortable with my progress on this final book in the trilogy.
Speaking of which, most of you already know I am holding a Name Book 3 Contest to get your suggestions for both the title and the cover art. The winner gets a character named after them in Book 3. You can choose if you want your character to be a good guy or bad guy. Due to a very limited response the contest winner will be announced either late this summer or early fall to allow for other entrantries.
I am also open to suggestion regarding plot development and in particular the best and most just way to get rid of Joseph Scarlatti.
Feel free to email me direct or use the contact link on my website.
New subscribers who have missed previous editions of my Newsletter can find the past volumes on my website www.RaymondDeanWhite.com by clicking the Newsletter link.
After The Dying Time (Book Two in The Dying Time Trilogy) is now available.
The Dying Time: Impact is still available for only $1.99 and thanks to many of you it's getting some great five star reviews.
I've hit a snag with the CreateSpace (print versions) of the books but hope to have them resolved shortly. This delay is mostly due to my own ineptitude at figuring out how to do a table of contents correctly in CreateSpace format. ARRRGH!
But I will get it. I will.
And now for more of that Prepper content I've been delivering to you. This is an excerpt from a non-fiction book I'm working on titled:
BUGGING IN: WHAT TO DO WHEN TSHTF and YOU LIVE IN SUBURBIA by Raymond Dean White
Mutual Assistance Groups (MAG’s)
I really should have written this section earlier and placed it more toward the beginning of the book because even really nice, good people can and will do nasty, mean, stupid things when their children are starving. In short, they will kill you and take what you have. But if you don’t have any hunting or military experience, or if, like me, you were in a branch of the Navy that didn’t require firearms training, what are you to do?
There are some excellent courses taught by the NRA and if you are not familiar with firearms that is the best way to become acquainted with them. Their emphasis is on safety and yours should be, because a firearm handled in an unsafe manner is an accident waiting to happen.
I was fortunate in this regard, having been raised in a family that hunted and fished and shot regularly and taught me all about firearm safety.
But before we jump right in to firearms let’s back up a minute, because the ability to shoot someone and the willingness to do so is NOT what security preparedness is all about. While it may become necessary to do so that is not your goal. In fact, your goal is to never have to fire a shot. Don’t misunderstand me. You need to be able and prepared to kill should the situation warrant it, but your goal is to avoid those situations if at all possible.
That means a discussion about security does not begin at home defense. It encompasses your entire neighborhood. If you wait until the bad guys are kicking down your door you will be left with no other option than a gunfight in a house with your family in it--and as I’ve said, that’s something you want to avoid.
Securing your neighborhood may be as simple as getting together with your neighbors, scheduling and mounting roving patrols, with fixed sentry posts at street entrances. Or, if society has disintegrated enough, it may involve barricading those streets and manning guard posts 24/7/365.
What your neighbors get for this is access to some of your food and some of your power if they don’t have any. Wheel their refrigerators into your garage and plug them into to your solar charged battery array for thirty minutes every four hours or so and it will keep their perishables from spoiling. Yeah, it’s inconvenient for them to have to come to your house to get at some of their food but so what. Life is now tough and it’s even tougher if you don’t cooperate and form a mutual assistance group.
Much of what I’ve read on the Internet or even in books on survival claims you should go all hermit, seal yourself off from everyone not in your immediate family and play turtle or ostrich--pick one. This ignores the obvious fact that your neighbors, your kid’s friends and probably even your postman and meter reader already know about your preparations. So when the sh*t hits the fan and they have nothing and you have what they need where do you think they’ll head?
To circumvent what could be a truly serious, and possibly life-threatening event, you need to take the initiative and talk to them before TSHTF and come up with a plan to deal with the situation.
Note: The first step is NOT to be that nut from down the street always ranting about the end of the world as we know it. It’s to form a neighborhood watch program if your neighborhood doesn’t already have one. If it does, cool, join. This allows you to meet your neighbors in a non-threatening way, get to know them, and feel them out slowly about preparedness.
“Are you a gardener?”
“Cool, so am I. How long have you been at it?” OR
“I have some really great tomatoes coming along. Got anything you’d like to swap?” OR
“Man, that last power outage lasted entirely too long for my tastes so I got a generator. Have you done anything like that?”
You are, in a friendly, non-threatening way, trying to determine who has what skills and knowledge that can be useful when bad things happen. That old lady. Betty, down the street may be too frail to garden but she lived through the Great Depression so she knows how. Besides she knits. Earl, her husband led a rifle squad in WWII. He may be too old for active combat but he could teach tactics. Harry across the way was an electrician’s mate in the Navy and still knows how to wire things properly. Gordon is a bit curmudgeonly but he’s a retired doctor and his wife Anne was a trauma RN for thirty years. Ginny teaches elementary school and her husband, Tom, is a trucker with a vast knowledge of regional supply warehouses. Yolanda is a cook at a local Denny’s so she knows a thing or two about preparing bulk meals if you have to form a community kitchen. Her son, Terrell, is young, healthy, athletic and hires himself out doing odd jobs to help his mom out.
Who knew??? You didn’t, until you took the time to get to know them.
Or you can throw a block party. Print up some flyers and distribute them. When people are over at your place I guarantee you your aquaponics system, chickens and rabbits and possibly even your solar system will attract questions. This leads naturally to discussions and amusing anecdotes about your flock and opens the door to more serious talks. Go slowly. It’s not polite to scare the neighbors with doomsday talk when you first meet them. Let them get to know you are a good, normal guy first. You can always scare the crap out of them later.
When people see my setup they often ask me flat out if I’m a Prepper.
“Sure,” I say. “I have car insurance, health insurance and life insurance. This is my emergency situation insurance. Besides, I enjoy gardening and interacting with the chickens and rabbits. The kids love them too.” Well, I’d be saying that last part if my wife and I still had any kids at home. If you have kids you know they’ll love the animals.
Now, in my case I also have a natural lead in. When people ask me what I do--and that question comes up at any gathering--I say, “I’m a writer. Currently I’m writing a non-fiction book on how to prepare for emergencies, but I’ve also written apocalyptic fiction novels.” Sometimes this leads to more questions and an interesting discussion and sometimes people make the sign of the cross with their fingers at me (like I was a vampire) and flee as soon as good manners will allow.
Once you’ve met with folks a few times and they seem comfortable with your quirky “preparedness thing” it’s time to start with the “what if” questions.
“What if another hurricane takes out our power supply and messes up food and heating oil deliveries?”
“What if the power goes out and it doesn’t look like it’s going to come back on in the foreseeable future?”
“What if our economy collapses?”
“What if there’s a pandemic?”
Pick a disaster, any disaster. Those discussions will inform you whom you want in your MAG.
Another good, if slightly weird, way to get to know folks better AFTER you’ve gotten to know them first is to have them over for a game night and play “Conflicted.” This is a card game that pre-supposes a SHTF scenario and offers questions based on a variety of possible settings you might find yourself and your family in. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and the questions are tough. But as Plato himself said.
“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
I tried to get permission to reprint a couple of questions so you can see for yourself what “Conflicted” entails but I never heard back from them.
So my recommendation is to go to their website and check it out for yourself. Here’s the link.
The point to all this is you cannot go it alone and expect to survive, much less protect your family while doing so. There truly is strength in numbers so you will have to form a mutual assistance group (MAG) to have a chance. After all, gangs, who have already learned this lesson, will be quick to take advantage of any societal collapse and they already ARE organized. And as for the cops…
Consider this. You are a cop, soldier, doctor or power plant technician. Do you abandon your family and go to work? Or do you stay home, or go home to them to protect them? All decent people believe in duty and honor, but to whom do you owe your first duty?
I mean, it’s all well and good for Richard Lovelace in his 1649 poem “To Lucasta, Going to the Warres” to say “I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more,” but he wasn’t facing an imminent threat to Lucasta.
Nothing about surviving a SHTF event will be pleasant. You won’t be able to get as clean as you like. You won’t be able to eat as much as you like. You will be doing a lot of brutally hard work you don’t like and you may well have to kill or be killed. Reality will suck and unless you form a good, strong group and a well thought out plan you and yours won’t make it.
A Layered Defense
The Outer Awareness Layer
The reason I’m starting out talking about a layered defense is because military tacticians agree that is the strongest defense. Actually some maintain the best defense is a good offense but by virtue of you having staked out a neighborhood as your own you are on defense whether you like it or not.
So, imagine an onion with all its layers each one smaller than the last until you reach the core. That is what your defense will look like. The outermost layer we’ll call the Outer Awareness Layer. Ideally this will extend for at least a half a mile in every direction from your neighborhood. Realistically, unless you have a series of small drones you can fly to observe the area, this layer is defined by how far away you can see or hear from an elevated position, say sandbagged emplacements up on the roofs of homes on the perimeter of your neighborhood. The type of terrain in your neighborhood will determine how many of these posts you will need to build and man.
The idea here is to keep your eyes and ears open and be alert to any potential threat moving toward your neighborhood.
As I mentioned earlier the ideal way to do this would be with small drones but there area a couple of problems with that. First, drones can be heard and followed back to you. If the power is out and if vehicles aren’t running (as with an EMP) you will be surprised at how quiet your surroundings are and how far a machine noise will carry.
Second, drones cut both ways so if you see one that doesn’t belong to you inside your perimeter, shoot it down and get ready.
Your forward observation posts up on the roofs should be equipped with binoculars, night vision and parabolic microphones to spy and eavesdrop on anyone approaching as well as two way radios to broadcast alerts if needed.
You will need to work out communication procedures in advance between these observation posts and your patrols and your command center.
You can also manage this outermost defense layer by active patrolling but that could depend upon how people living in those nearby areas react to armed men and women wandering down their streets. You don’t want to be mistaken for looters.
So again, if you can communicate with enough of them to assure the safety of your patrols then proceed. Otherwise stick to doing overwatch from high points.
The next layer in is your Neighborhood Perimeter. I’d define this as a line that begins across the street from any road, sidewalk, hiking trail, utility easement or any other access point and surrounds your entire neighborhood. On your side of the street I’d post lots of signs that say, “Private Property: Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again” or words to that effect.
This is basic Psyops and you can feel free to vary the message. Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be buried alive. Or Survivors will be fed to the dogs.
You might consider another sign that says, “If you can read this you are in my crosshairs. Leave now.”
The purpose of this layer is to dissuade anyone from entering your turf. It is also to observe and report on anyone approaching. Some of them, after all might be coming for peaceful purposes.
It is important to design this layer so that barricades are set back say half a block inside your neighborhood so as to channel attackers into kill boxes. I know that sounds cold but if they are attacking you, you have no other option but to kill them. If anyone in your group has experience building IED’s this is the place for them. Setting off a car bomb or improvised claymore, followed my massed firepower, could break their attack and send them reeling.
Most enemies will take the path of least resistance and channel themselves into kill boxes for you. But anyone with smarts or military training, and trust me, eventually you will come up against someone like this, will simply scale or breach fences and flow into your area by avoiding choke points and barricades. They will also very likely attack you from two or more directions so your observation posts and sentries must by disciplined enough to hold their positions under fire and neither run away to hide or run to help the position under immediate attack. It’s all too likely the first attack will be a feint to draw all your defenders to one area so the real attack meets minimal resistance.
One thing for you to know about firefights is that “spray and pray” is a lot more common than aimed shots. The reason is simple self-preservation. Unless you are a sniper shooting from a hide, exposing yourself for long enough to take a carefully aimed shot means giving the enemy time to focus their fire on you. And while it’s one thing to tell your friends and neighbors to try to take out any enemy they see giving orders (shoot the officers and sergeants first--good tactics) it’s another thing entirely to brave enemy fire long enough to be successful at it.
If you spend enough time at the range you can learn to aim and fire very quickly (snap shots) but most people will never take the time to master their firearm that way. And getting other members of your group together for training can be difficult as well. I never said this would be easy, but if you go to the range together and then do paintball training exercises once in awhile you will be miles ahead of most of your enemies.
The Fallback Perimeter
Now, since you have all the goodies, solar system, live food storage systems and it’s unlikely anyone else in your group has as many, your home should be fortified and the next layer--a Fallback Perimeter--should be established in a ring around your house that is at least 100 to 200 feet in diameter. Any home in this perimeter should also be fortified.
Aside from fencing, earth bermed or downed trees or even unusable cars can be used to barricade and fortify this area. At this point everyone in your group will have fallen back to battle stations within this perimeter. Any last ditch measures you have such as electrifying fences or pipe bombs should be used now.
For the homes themselves here are a few tips to help them survive an attack. Nail, glue or screw 2x4’s around the frames of your windows and attach heavy gauge 2x3” wire to the wood. Use fence post staples or telephone wire staples like the cable guy uses. By placing the wire barrier outside your windows rocks or Molotov cocktails will bounce off instead of shattering your windowpanes. Also, if you slide a window open the wire openings make it easy to shoot at your enemies.
Heavy gauge storm doors that can be dead-bolted from the inside and require a key to unlock from the outside are also a very good idea. To turn them into more effective, bullet resistant barricades line them with a couple of layers of ¾” plywood.
Home Wall Perimeter
If your house is old and has no insulation in the exterior walls cut an opening and pour pea gravel in between the exterior wall studs. This won’t stop all small arms fire but it’s much better than nothing. Stack sandbags two or three layers deep along the insides of your exterior walls. That plus pea gravel inside your walls should stop most small arms rounds. This defensive layer is the exterior of your house and we’ll call it the Home Wall Perimeter. It’s the last layer and frankly if they’ve made it this far you’re in deep doo-doo.
One thing in your favor is they are unlikely to use fire against you to try to burn you out because they want your food, water and other supplies.
There is another layer you could add. That would be a Safe room/Storm shelter room, but if you’ve had to retreat to this far you’ve lost your allies and pretty much everything else and if you don’t have an escape hatch all your enemies will have to do is wait you out. In fact, even before retreating to defend your Home Wall Perimeter you might be better off bugging out and rendezvousing with the remnants of your allies at an Emergency Gathering Point you’ve pre-selected in case of such a dire circumstance. This is especially true if you’ve cached emergency supplies outside your neighborhood.
Now, most of the above is based on your community being attacked by one or more well-armed, well-trained groups that are large enough to take you down. The good news is that it will take some time for such groups to get organized and make their way to your area. I’m not saying such a group will come for you, just that they could.
Far more likely will be isolated small family groups who try to beg or steal supplies from you.
Now, I’ve gone rather far afield here with talk of layered defense military tactics and you should take what I say with a large grain of salt since I’m not an expert. I’m throwing out ideas here that you should research further, the main one being you NEED a group effort to survive.
In a SHTF situation you will join up with your family first, and in fact, even if you haven’t formed a mutual assistance group, it is probable one would grow up around you more or less organically as others in your neighborhood realized they needed to band together to survive. Here’s a link with more tips on how to fortify your home.
Let’s just talk about you and your family for a few minutes here. The best home defense alarm you can have is a big dog. A deep, threatening bark or growl will send almost anyone who isn’t flat out nuts on his way seeking an easier target. Any dog, except a quiet one, is better than none. Yappy little mutts won’t deter an armed, or possibly just a starving invader, but they sure will send a burglar who depends on stealth on his way.
Cameras, professional alarm systems, motion detectors and perimeter lighting, tells prospective burglars to go for easier pickings. Organized marauders, on the other hand, upon seeing that kind of security are more likely to think, “Hey, they’ve got stuff we want.” Since I’ve already covered the whole organized attack thing I won’t repeat myself.
What if you are surprised by armed home invaders? This is sort of a personal and limited SHTF scenario. Probably the best course of action--unless you are armed and ready BEFORE they come through your door--is to cooperate, no matter how demeaning and humiliating that may be. If you do so they might just let you and your family live and survival IS the name of the game. If you lose it and attack armed men with your bare hands they will kill you and then probably kill your family to avoid leaving witnesses.
Now if you just happen to have a cocked and ready 12 gauge shotgun in your hands then blow them away. The “Castle Doctrine” should keep you from being prosecuted so long as you don’t shoot any of them in the back as they flee.
Unless a really big event happens and by that I mean an EMP, a large asteroid strike, or possibly a supervolcano blowing it’s top, it is unlikely that civilization will collapse overnight. It is much more likely to be a steady decline into chaos.
That means in most cases food will continue to be delivered to local stores, water supplies will function as will medical, police and fire services. The government may set up relocation centers and provide food, water and shelter on at least a temporary basis. In order to feed all the refugees at their camps the government may even exercise their authority under the National Defense Authorization Act and declare preppers and anyone else with more than a seven day supply of food hoarders and seize their supplies for redistribution. While I personally think this provision of the act violates fourth amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure that belief and five bucks will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
If troops are going through your neighborhood like locusts and you have a death wish, fire on them. Otherwise hide as much as you can before they get there and leave them the hell alone. You and your group cannot win against trained troops.
The long and short of my point here is that in most cases you will still be able to purchase food, water, utilities and maybe even guns and ammo, at least for awhile. That's possibly the best argument I have for stockpiling some gold, silver and jewelry. Even if cash becomes totally worthless (Weimar Republic after WWI, Argentina twice in the past twenty years) gold, sliver and jewelry will always retain some value for trade.
Take a pandemic or economic collapse as an example. Civilization will continue to function and may never fully collapse. Sure, chaos and armed looters may run rampant in inner cities, but for the most part if you need a doctor you’ll probably be able to find one. Be happy. Your preps will help you and yours to survive in much better condition than most and eventually, unless I’m wrong and global warming kills us all before Isis can get around to it, living conditions will improve. Society will normalize, though perhaps not at the level of largesse previously enjoyed by most of us in the U.S.
Arms for Home Defense
In my opinion the best home defense weapon is a short-barreled, 12 gauge, pump action shotgun, loaded with a combination of double ought shot and number 6 shot. Some folks would say an autoloader would be better but that snick-clack sound of a shotgun being racked is a powerful deterrent in its own right. Also, an automatic can jam--an occurrence exceedingly rare in pump action guns.
The great thing about shotguns is you don’t have to be a great shot to be effective. The spread will insure a hit at close range unless you are a complete trigger-jerking klutz. You, of course, are no such thing. You’ve been to the range and learned how to control your shotgun and you’ve fired enough rounds through it to have learned how not to flinch.
Second best is a pistol loaded with hollow-point ammunition. I leave the caliber of the pistol up to you. It’s whatever fits best in your hand and allows you to shoot most accurately. I prefer a .38 caliber revolver (never jams) backed up by a 9 or 10 mm semi-auto. But that is just my own opinion and preference.
The important thing is the load. Hollow-point ammo is the only thing you want to use in suburbia since you don’t want your rounds going through your target and the house next door, only to kill some innocent a block away.
A rifle is probably the worst home defense weapon you can have. They are difficult to maneuver in close spaces and their full metal jacket loads can punch through your target and carry a long ways. Again, hollow-point rounds can mitigate this concern. Not only are they unlikely to exit your enemy and kill an innocent, but they have tremendous shock (impact) power and do an impressive amount of damage. Their weakness is they aren’t much on penetration so if your enemy is wearing body armor you’ll have to go for head or groin shots.
While I maintain a rifle isn’t the best weapon for home defense it is perfect for hunting large or small game out in the country, or for fending off attackers at some distance from your house.
All the guns in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you run out of ammunition. To that end it’s a good idea to take up reloading and learn how to load your own ammo. This requires developing several skill sets--first and foremost being attention to detail. Remember that ammunition is designed to explode. An under charged round can jam in your gun barrel and if you don’t notice that happened the next round can give you a very nasty surprise. An over charged round can damage your receiver assembly and could cost you an eye or worse.
You will need to learn what type of gunpowder to use as well as how much, what kind of primers, how to clean up your brass cartridges for reuse, how to know if your brass cases need trimmed and several other things.
Fortunately, for the technical details of powder and primer there is a book every reloader needs. The Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook is often called the reloader’s bible. Get it and use it. Do NOT rely on your memory. Here’s a link.
When I first got started reloading my wife, bless her, got me a single stage Lee press that I used for years for our pistol rounds. Now, I’ve upgraded to a Dillon 550 B that my brother in law said is the best. Opinions vary of course but I really like it. With dies for each caliber and the Lyman book I reload several different rifle and pistol calibers.
Some folks eventually lean how to cast their own bullets and make their own gunpowder. I’m not there yet but I can see the value in learning such skills, especially if the catastrophe goes on long enough for you to run out of ammo.
My last backup gun is a blackpowder rifle. It’s a beauty that is so well balanced when I throw it to my shoulder I’m almost always dead on target. I used to shoot it quite a bit at Mountain Man Rendezvous in Colorado, but haven’t done much with it for years. It is kept clean and serviceable and I’ve stocked supplies (primers, black powder, patches and bullets among other things) so I can use it if all else fails.
Of course, next to gun safety, the single most important skill you can develop is accuracy. If you are a beginner there are several courses offered by the NRA to teach you how to shoot. You’ll learn things like proper sight alignment, breathing and trigger squeeze control. They will also teach you all about gun safety--things like never point a weapon at anything you aren’t prepared to shoot, always assume every gun is loaded, keep you finger off the trigger until you are ready to squeeze it. After that, accuracy is all about practice.
Being a boy who was raised around guns and hunting I always loved shooting. To me “gun control” really does mean hitting what you aim at. To that end it’s good to get out to the range frequently.
You will find a stable base to shoot your rifle from handy. Some ranges provide them but you can always use a sandbag or two. If your rifle has a bipod all the better.
I was raised using iron sights but now that I’m an old fart they aren’t much use to me except at pistol ranges of 10-25 yards. Now I use scopes or holographic red/green dot sights.
One tool I haven’t picked up yet is a good spotting scope. Often times you can’t see where your bullet hit the target through your riflescope so a spotting scope saves you the hassle of having to walk downrange to see where you hit. You’ll do that a lot when sighting in a new gun or a new scope and to do so you have to call out to everyone else on the firing line to hold fire while you take your walk. Do that often enough and you can irritate the folks you are shooting with. Better to get a spotting scope and use it.
I’ve taken to using so called Reactive Targets. That means when you shoot them they scream and bleed, NOT. What they actually do is reveal a different, contrasting color around the hole you just put in the target so it’s much, much easier to spot where you hit.
Knives & Machetes
I think every human being should carry a knife. They are one of the most useful tools ever invented and so long as you have one you are never completely defenseless. As a child most boys had pocketknives. We carried them to school and I never even heard of someone using one to threaten anyone else. Knives weren’t toys and we were taught to respect them.
Nowadays, of course, carrying a sheath or pocketknife isn’t considered normal and, in fact would get a kid at school expelled. Too bad. Also back East few folks openly carry knives. Out west I see a lot of folks carrying sheath knives. Here in rural Arizona a lot of folks carry guns too.
Anyhow, a knife is an excellent close quarters self-defense weapon if you know how to use it. Again, the size of the blade and the knife depends upon what fits your hand. Since I’m no expert in this subject here’s a link to the U.S. Marine Corps Close Combat Manual, Chapter 3, Hand-Held Weapons.
I am not going to get into bow and arrow, crossbow, slingshots, baseball bats, crowbars, other clubs, staves, or mantraps and other booby traps. Google this stuff if it interests you. Such weapons have proven themselves in combat but require skill and dedication to learn to use effectively. The thing to remember is that anything can be a weapon so use your imagination.
Okay, okay, a few quick words about bows and arrows, crossbows and slingshots. If an emergency situation goes on long enough--let’s say for years--pretty much everyone will run out of ammo and unless they have access to the chemicals required to manufacture smokeless gunpowder…well, you get the drift.
I used to be proficient with a bow and a slingshot and one of these days (soon) I’ll get a decent compound bow as well as a recurve, some arrows, a crossbow and bolts and extra strings and a good quality slingshot. They would be terrific for knocking over small game as they are mostly silent. But let’s not forget that such weapons were used in warfare for a really long time and such times could come again.
Then it’s back to setting up targets and practicing to become accomplished.
OPSEC & COMSEC
You have to violate communications security (COMSEC) to form a mutual assistance group. No way around it. People are terrible at mind reading so if you don’t talk to them about forming a group one won’t be formed until after TSHTF and that’s problematic at best.
The best and only COMSEC rule is this. If the person or group you are in touch with doesn’t need to know, keep your mouth shut. This is going to be extremely hard if you have teenagers who like to Tweet and use other social media to broadcast their entire lives to the world at large but you have to make them understand the life and death nature of preparing for really bad emergencies.
This isn’t some hurricane left you without power during an ice storm for three weeks. That’s bad enough but everyone in those situations knows help from outside is coming eventually. This is more like a situation where society has deteriorated far enough armed gangs are looting neighborhoods and neither the cops nor the National Guard is around to stop them. If your teeny bopper blabbed to anyone about your preps it could result in you and your family being killed. However you do it, get it through their heads that some secrets are meant to be kept.
Operational Security, or OPSEC, is about keeping your enemies from discovering how you will operate after TSHTF. Who will be in command, set guard schedules, see that patrols are well supplied and what routes they take? Other items you don’t want those who pose a threat to you to know include: what kinds of food your MAG has and in what amounts and where is it stored; how many members of your group have military training and where is the weakest link in your defense perimeter? Put yourself in the head of those who would harm you or steal from you. Any information that would help them achieve their goals is part of your OPSEC.
Understanding operational security and teaching it to others is one of a leader’s most valuable skills. Getting it through some people’s hard heads without resorting to using a 2 x 4 is one of a leader’s most trying tasks. There is no blueprint for how to do this successfully outside of a military organization--and in an emailed, highly connected internet world even they have problems with it.
There are only three options to be even remotely secure after TSHTF. The first is to run--or bug out to a pre-determined and supposedly safer locale. The second is the bug in and be able to demonstrate enough strength that predators choose easier targets, which is basically what this book is about. The only other security option you have is hiding, which isn’t going to work for long in suburbia. It might work for a week or two but even if you are a master of camouflage this strategy will not keep you safe for long.
Here’s how hiding would possibly work. No lights or electric appliances used at any time. Nothing says loot this place like lights being on when no one else has them. Blackout curtains might work and are certainly better than nothing. Also, no power tools because the sound of them will SCREAM in a silent world. No cooking of fresh meats. Cooking odors will attract two-legged predators and then your cover is blown. You can probably get away with cooking dehydrated or freeze-dried meals since it only involves boiling water and they don’t produce much smell. Finally, you have to make your house look like it does not have anything of value left in it. That means making it look like it’s already been looted.
Let’s say you go whole hog on your camouflage. You break out some windows and kick in your front door (and leave it open). You scatter some personal belongings around your yard--an old computer with the hard drive removed, a bag of cat litter with a hole in it, trash that basically says anything of value has already been removed from this place. You start a fire and scorch the outside of the front of your house (being careful not to let that little bit of smoke and mirrors get out of hand). If your car is running you drain the tank, lift the hood and remove the battery to store in a less visible location--and leave the hood up. You put the car up on blocks, take off the tires and hide them out back. Pop the trunk and take out anything of value. Raise your garage door and leave it open. That way even your car looks like it’s already been stripped.
The end result is your place looks wrecked and most, if not all, looters will pass it by without a second glance.
This will be intensely stressful. Not only are you deliberately wrecking your home and car but you’re sleeping or standing watches with your front door wide open.
Your personal sh*t will hit the fan when one looter more curious or more desperate than the others decides, what the hell, let’s take a look through this dump and see if anybody missed anything. You will be discovered and overrun.
So if you choose to hide, understand that it is a very short-term option. You will have to move and when you do you will be damned unlikely to find safe haven in the country. Those spots will have been taken by those who bugged out in the first few days. Your options will be limited to finding a strong mutual assistance group, probably still in town, which is willing to take you in.
For that to happen you must possess goods and/or skills they need. Which brings us to next month’s topic: skills and bartering.
See you next month--and I would definitely appreciate any feedback you can give me on either Bugging In or my Dying Time Trilogy or how to improve my website.
I AM NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY OF THESE BUSINESSES IN ANY CAPACITY OTHER THAN THAT OF CUSTOMER. I OFFER THESE RECOMMENDATIONS BASED EITHER ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE PRODUCTS OR MY HAVING RESEARCHED THEM EXHAUSTIVELY. USE MY RECOMMENDATIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK.