A picture’s worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
Yeah….I want to join THOSE guys….not.
Our very good friend, JC Dodge, has a post about, “Perception vs. Subtance” that attempts to convince survivalists, preppers, and those forming NPT’s of the folly of trying to look similar to active duty military down to rank innsignia. Following that, the Virginia Freeman’s Society address the same subject from a slightly different perspective, but the point is only underscored and rightfully calls for all of us to get a bit more critical of ourselves.
Many, many, many groups of preppers, survivalists, and NPTs are, now, today, spending a great amount of money on looking really ‘dangerous’ by emulating the way various active duty military and contract organizations are dressed and armed (as much as possible, anyway).
This is a mistake. The reasons are many, and can be found easily, but the primary reason is that emulating by appearance an active duty organization, when one is not, violates internationally agreed upon ‘laws of war’, and should SHTF, one can find themselves in a world of hurt just for wearing a rank, or a patch, or a particular camouflage pattern. Go: research, and find out.
DTG is also adding its voice to the growing chorus of trainers that are eschewing the more ‘dynamic’ clothing choices for plain old earth tones. In fact, we’ve been doing it for a number of years now (since 2012, if memory serves). We were happy to find that JC Dodge and us had coincidentally chosen the same type of clothing for about the same reasons, and have continued to beat that drum since we made the choice. DTG had been doing the multi cam thing well before the US military adopted it. It was a good pattern, worked pretty well, and we flat out liked it. Then, when the US military pretty much decided the same thing, as frustrating as it was, we had to acknowledge that we could be viewed as attempting to emulate something we are not, and bring down a world of hurt on ourselves and families. So, we had to change our choices.
We’ve got a huge mix now: Obsolete Woodland, British DPM, Coyote Brown, ASAT (All Season All Terrain (civilian hunting pattern)), assorted pieces (never worn together) of MC, etc. And here’s the great thing: The mix and match works!
In this picture of an active group, at 100 meters, who do you think they could be mistaken as? While imitation is sometimes called the most sincere form of flattery, the end result might not be so good. At least these guys seem to do their PT, or are at least not observably obese. Plain fact: Any prepper, NPT member, or survivalist that isn’t doing their level best to get into decent shape and shed unnecessary poundage to reduce what JC calls, “the Mobile Food Storage Unit,” isn’t doing themselves, their family, or their NPT or other group any good whatsoever. In fact, you’re limiting the growth of your group, because the perception (and perception is sometimes reality) is that you’re only a ‘wannabe’ and are most likely a clown. If that offends you, there’s a butthurt form somewhere on the blog…search for it, find it, and fill it out. Send it to us so we can process it. Or, ask yourself why you’re offended, and then take action to become more capable.
Then there’s the patch thing. Sure, I still have a couple patches from my active duty days that I’ll wear on one or another item of clothing, but I earned those. I don’t need to have 15 different morale patches and neither do you! It serves no purpose other than to attract attention and provide some sort of self-gratification by advertising who you are, what you think, and so on. That is why we do not have a ‘DTG NPT’ patch or whatever for students who complete various courses of instruction. It’s great advertising, sure, but it is also a ‘tell’ to anyone meaning you harm. It’s better, in our opinion, to keep the knowledge of what you know and where you’ve trained to yourself, and if you’re spreading the word to your friends, family, or NPT members, word of mouth is best.
That’s where ‘substance’ comes in. Folks, we’ve got to be able to DO the tasks we read and write about. Specifically, the BASICS. Like basic marksmanship. Or fieldcraft. Or land navigation. Or humping our ‘heavy on purpose’ ruck during training. True story: I had a guy once in my NPT organization that carried a Mosin Nagant full sized rifle. He loved it. It was all he could afford, and that was fine. However, we had a standard that each member had to score a 125 on the AQT (shot at 25 and 100 meters) before being allowed to do ANYTHING more advanced with firearms. He never once qualified minimally, and would suggest that we do thousand yard firing or fire from moving vehicles. Of course, he didn’t last long, especially when he was told that before he did anything exotic, he needed to qualify, and qualify well, and finally left after filling out a ‘butt hurt’ form. The major issue with the guy was that he was doing things for the wrong reason: He wasn’t in it for skill mastery; he was in it for self-gratification and the sensation of doing, ‘neat shit.’
And that’s where a lot of the problem lies in the NPT/survivalist training world: Too much ‘hoorah’ thrill seeking and not enough ‘nose to the grindstone’ time in study and practice to learn what you need, especially the ‘boring crap.’ Take first aid or communications. A lot less exciting than putting rounds down range on reactive targets, and that’s a fact. However, being skilled in first aid and communications is arguably as important as being good with your personal defense carbine or pistol.
So, let’s start working more on substance, and when we are substantive in our capabilities, the perception will change, and you’ll find your NPT start to grow. Get out and do some PT….and grab a ruck while you’re at it.