Category Archives: Basic Skills

Defense Perspective on Forming an ‘Instant Team’

Once again, H/T to WRSA.  Long, but very fruitful reading, IOW, worth the time.  Emphasis mine.  The book is worth buying; lots of good tips.  Please add your thoughts on alternatives/options in the comments.  I recommend getting the book, “Concrete Jungle,” by the author, Clay Martin.  You can get it here.  Lastly, I, along with my fellow NCO’s on active duty had occassional chances to be provided training by Green Berets dropping in (literally) from time to time at our training location.  When given that opportunity, we jumped at the chance and spent all the allotted time taking notes, asking questions, and paying rapt attention to these fine soldiers.  It made us much, much better at what we did in Air Base Ground Defense.  Getting this book would classify as one of those, ‘opportunities.’

Off The Reservation

Concrete Jungle .pdf

Caveats- This isn’t a finished work, but I felt compelled to help my people. It was also not written directly with these riots in mind. But it will work for them too. It also likely isn’t going to unfuck all of your problems tonight. But it is going to give you some things to think about, while you try to survive till the morning light. Last, there will no doubt be revisions from this to a finished product. But we don’t have time for that shit right now. Strongly recommend you read this, read my columns on guns, and then go talk to your neighbors. No one is coming to save you. Government has shown itself impotent, and all the cards left  are in your hands. If we fail, if we cede our cities to gangs of vandals and looters, our nation is over. I, for one, refuse to live on my knees, and I hope you do too. Even if it means dying on our feet.


Savages on the warpath- dealing with rioters

One of the major problems an urban survivor can face is a riot. Riots are springing up with more and more frequency, as well as more violence and destruction as cities adopt new softer policies towards them. More so than at any other time in our history, you may find yourself very much all alone as politicians choose to stand down police. It is not without precedent already to have mob violence so widespread that all the cops are already tied up. And unfortunately for you, the city fathers probably care more about Wells Fargo than they do about your apartment.

If you took the previous advice about building a network of allies, this is going to be a lot easier to deal with. Plug in your people as outlined in this chapter where they fit. But for overall defensive strategy, we will build out the plan like you didn’t. A storm of mob violence can take you buy surprise, and maybe you haven’t had time to organize yet. As Rummy said, “You go to war with the army you’ve got.”

So lets say the Orcs are streaming out of Mordor, and you only friends are Becky and Bob that were focused on brunch until nine seconds ago. What are you going to do? Step one, is go find out who is willing to help you defend the neighborhood. You aren’t going to stop a wave of locusts alone. Go door to door, and get a crew together. Bring everyone to a central meeting spot, and figure out what you have for weapons.

Unlike a lot of what I have preached, this defensive plan is very weapons centric. If you don’t have firearms, I absolutely do not recommend a defense in the streets. Melee weapons, in this context, are absolutely no substitute. Riot cops can and do push around a much larger force, using only clubs and shields. But only because they have trained to act as a single organism, like a phalanx of old. And they are still backed up by guns, something worth noting. If as a smaller and untrained force you attempt the same, you are likely to get routed. If you have introduced weapons to the fight, and your side breaks and runs, you are very likely to die. The howling mob will tear you limb from limb, blood lust fueled by the sight of your retreat.

So guns are important. If you have none of them, you are in deep shit. In this case, I highly recommend that you and your team collapse to one house or apartment. You could also conceivably hold the entrance to your building, if construction favors the defender. In certain cases, melee weapons could actually carry the day. How?

With edged weapons, one man can in fact hold a doorway. If you are in a solid building, and have nothing but a spear or sword, you may be able to do enough damage to turn the crowd back. Ten or so of you could conceivably protect a single house, if you use the proper tactics.

We just saw in Dallas a shop owner with a sword get beat to death by a crowd. May he rest in peace, and I mean this in no way to speak ill of the dead. But he made two massive mistakes, though his heart was in the right place. First, he waded into the mob, meeting it head on. Which is how he got hit in the back of the head, knock to the ground, and stomped to death. Don’t do that, unless you happen to be a Peloponnesian War re-enactor, and are backed up by a shield wall.

The second thing he did wrong was how he employed his weapon. He swung it. A mistake that any of us could easily make. Humans are hardwired to slash and hack, as that is our most common usage of the blade. Think about how you use a knife in the kitchen, or even butchering an animal. You cut and slice, rarely if ever do you stab. But a stab or thrust is the preferred offense of spear or sword, for a number of reasons. This is why Roman Legions worked so hard to drill stabbing motions into their soldiers.

First, a stab is harder to dodge. The arc required for a swing means you have a chance to get out of the way. A straight line attack is not only faster, but harder to step out of. Not to mention, it offers very little chance of being disarmed. You can step inside of a swing, or let it pass by you and counter strike. Two feet of razor sharp steel offers almost nothing to grab in a linear attack.

Second, a stabbing attack is more lethal. Slash wounds can look horrific, but even being opened up neck to hip is something you can survive. Especially if it is shallow. Stabbing wounds that hit vital areas, not so much. Have you ever wondered why European sword technology went from broad slashing sabers to thin, pointy rapiers? Its because against un armored opponents, the rapier is actually more deadly. Something the size of you pinky finger, stabbed into your chest wall, is very likely to kill you. Three inches of penetration is usually enough to hit anything vital. It might not look like much, but it is absolutely deadly.

So while I don’t recommend holding a doorway alone as option one, it will work. If you have absolutely no other choice, it can be done. Thrusting weapons, preferably with a good reach, can get it done. Situation dependent, you may be able to get multiple stabbing implements to work, like both sides of a gate or door. Not a lot of people are willingly going to try and push through a wall of blades.

The weapon of choice? Basically any sword made for stabbing would be my preferred option. Ironically enough a Roman Gladius, or a katana would work. A spear would be my next choice, with a 3-4 foot handle. In a pinch, a sharpened shovel or broomstick is fine. If you are making things up, the ideal is a small, deep penetration. A smaller pointy end usually means lighter, better balanced, and therefore faster in movement. A boar spear is fine, but a stabby bit closer to a javelin is better.

Other than that, what can you do? Think siege tactics. If a ground force is attacking, your house or building is holding the high ground. Bricks and molotovs work better with gravity assisting you. Not to mention, it allows you to get more of your people in the fight. Mobs don’t generally bring guns either, which levels the playing field significantly. Construction once again favors the defender. Can your spearmen hold the lobby? Sure. But what would help? How about 5 floors above you with boiling oil on the stove. Anything that would have worked in the middle ages is fair game here.

Now how about if you do have some firearms? That changes the calculus significantly. With some guns and the will, you may very well be able to defend your entire block.

Once again, we must admit that just one firearm isn’t going to turn the tide. You need some help, but the odds do go up in your favor with modern weaponry. This is going to allow you to build a defense in depth, in a manner that favors your survival.

Projecting strength is a big part of how you are going to play this. Riots are basically a version of tribal warfare. Mostly it consists of a lot of noise and posturing, complete with razing easy targets. To combat this, you have to not look like an easy target.

Fortify the entry points to your selected area of defense. Cars aren’t great for actually stopping entry, but they can be used to look serious. I recommend a V shaped barrier at the front and rear of your block. This is easier to emplace and remove than a line of them, and offers better protection from ramming. The top of the V should be nearly engine block to engine block, with a three foot gap in between. The gap gives you somewhere to stand, and funnels the opposing forces into a predictable spot. If you let them, they will start jumping over the barrier. But humans tend to follow the path of least resistance, so they will generally flow the way you want to start.

Up front, you want some strength. A gun or two if you have it, though at least one needs to be back. Showing the capability to deal damage is important. With a bit of luck, this acts as deterrent enough. But don’t gamble on that alone.

The most important person in this plan isn’t at the front of the line. He is back, preferably elevated, and with a very clear view of the defensive position. This man needs to have a heart of stone. He is what is going to save you if things go south.

A designated marksman in the rear is essentially German sniper doctrine from the Great War. While other nations employed snipers primarily in the space between opposing forces, the Germans held them in the rear. This gave them a free hand to protect forward German forces. And it works the same for you.

We live in an age of cameras, and the legality of when you can open fire is extremely murky. Not to mention that for many of you, this is going to be your first time being put to the test. So it is entirely possible that you will let the mob get to close, and they will make a grab for the hardware. In such a situation, especially without training and experience, you are probably going to lose. Even getting a few rounds off isn’t going to be enough to turn the tide back.

If this happens, your rear deployed marksman absolutely must save you. If he doesn’t, all is lost. You will die. You bring a gun to the fight, and get it taken from you, I absolutely assure you they will kill you. Your friendly sniper must be capable of cleaning the locusts off you, so that you can get your tools back in the fight.

If it does turn into a firefight, you need to be over the top with violence of action. A mob could actually more than likely overpower even a trained, equipped infantry squad. IF, and only IF, it could single minded decide to do so. Fortunately, it can’t. Rioters aren’t disciplined soldiers. They are full of fight chemicals, and may rush into the breech even against stupid odds. You have to turn those into fear chemicals, as fast as you can. Break the mobs will on the anvil of superior firepower, and it will disintegrate. Hurt them bad enough, quickly enough, and they will be incapable of reforming.

A gun or two on the rooftops also helps you cover all the avenues of approach. What is to prevent the mob from just bypassing your street, and coming through backyard? Eyes in the sky. It isn’t fool proof, but it helps with economy of force.

What else? Razor wire if you can find it. Lots and lots of fire extinguishers. A riot is like a force of nature. It will eventually blow itself out. You just have to be prepared to stand fast long enough for that to happen.


Our nation seems divided today in a way that it hasn’t since the 1860’s, though they did try pretty hard in the 1960’s. We are sitting on powder keg, with half of the involved parties chain smoking, and the other half asking for a light. Things have the potential to get really ugly, really fast, and after that happens is not the time to open this book. To borrow a proverb from the Chinese, the best time to learn how to survive is 5 years ago. And the second best time is right now.

We have a unique problem in the United States, which us Veterans have lamented many times as our hands were tied by clueless bureaucratic masters. We have protected our civilian population so well since 1941, that most of them have no idea how the world actually works. That often, might does make right. That sometimes you have no good options. And most importantly, that not only do bad things happen to good people, it happens to them on an alarmingly regular basis.

We haven’t had actual dark times here since the last of the Indian Wars, which still didn’t affect anyone outside of the frontier. It has made our population soft and weak, which will have a cascading effect of systems failure at the first sign of real trouble.

As a retired Green Beret, I feel a certain moral obligation to help those that want to help themselves, which is what this book is about. Like a return on investment for your tax dollars. I don’t have all the answers, but I can at least say my opinion is tempered by real world experience both spotting unrest, and surviving it to tell the tale.

Speaking collectively for my brethren, like the Royal I, I/we have a unique insight gifted to us by the GWOT conflict. Fighting in both theaters involved shifting alliances of multiple factions, even amongst the alleged “government troops.” Not dying in your sleep was often a matter of reading the tea leaves correctly. Running our own intelligence networks for two decades has also given us an uncanny ability to smell the fire coming, long before you can see the flames. On a personal note, I have seen more than a few cities burn. Some of those times I was holding the matches, and at least one of them I had nothing to do with, but they all yielded lessons.

Aside from correctly predicting when things are about to go pear shaped, we have learned some very important things about staying alive, which I am sharing with you in this volume. The Concrete Jungle is an unforgiving environment, with its own unique problems and solutions. It is best to enter that arena as prepared as you can be. If we call this book the diamond stone, all I need you to do is be the steel.

I would also like to caveat up front that I hope I’m wrong. Nobody in this world appreciates the little things more than us Veterans. Like air conditioning, and having our garbage picked up on Tuesday, and not catching random sniper fire. For those of us that have seen the horrors of war, we don’t ever wish to see them here. But we also aren’t stupid, and we’ve already proven we don’t back down from a fight. Not ever.

So strap in and hold on to your ass, time to go for a ride.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Not the Guns.

It is a uniquely American problem to think first that we can buy our way out of trouble. Every prepper forum or survival site in the country has a section devoted to hardware that is twice the size of its nearest competition. For many people, a survival plan stops and ends at mountain of guns and ammo. A few then branch out to big ticket escape vehicles and elaborately stocked provisions. The truly big baller class endlessly prattle on about bug out locations, usually a cabin/fortress in the mountains, self contained and off the grid. But I have bad news. Your Visa card isn’t going to save you. You are going to actually need to do hard stuff, not just go on a camo clad multi year Black Friday shopping spree.

Now maybe I made a classic mistake in grabbing audience attention, and this book is now a permanent resident of your bottom shelf. Maybe I should have started with how to use a CARVER matrix ( Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, Effect and Recognizability) for blowing up bridges, or 37 recipes for dragons breath shotgun shells. Hell, maybe I’m just mad I didn’t start selling water filters in the 90’s, instead of enlisting. But if you stop and think for a second, you’re going to realize that I’m right.

I’ll give you two competing examples. First is the army of Saudi Arabia, especially the commando high speed units. They have more whiz bang toys than you or I have ever had. From the ultra Gucci uniforms, to the finest German scopes, no expense is spared. And they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. Example two is our own Vietnam era MACV/SOG troops. The equipment they used is laughable by modern standards, from radios to rifles. Yet they carved a path of destruction and bodies across that green hell battlefield completely out of proportion to their numbers. Even in their 80’s now, I wouldn’t want to tangle with them. I’m betting it hurts to get a walker shoved up your ass sideways, and would prefer to skip first hand experience.

If step number one isn’t a trip to the gun shop with all your money, gold coins and silverware, what is? Glad you asked. You already completed step one by recognizing trouble is brewing, which is probably why you bought this book. Even if you are only here as an apocalypse voyeur, some part of you knows, mayhem is in the forecast.

Now on to step two, which is arguably the most important thing you are going to do to ensure your survival. It runs counter to the common wisdom, for a variety of reasons. But it is what actually matters. You need to engage with your neighbors, and start building an alliance of local help.

Woah, hold the phone! You mean actually talk to real life human beings? Yes, I do. You are going to need to engage in some of that old fashioned, face to face conversation stuff we did back in the old days. For many of you, this is going to be the most difficult phase. We have all been conditioned to use our smart phones for everything, it isn’t uncommon to see people texting each other at the same table anymore. For you young people, it is entirely possible you don’t even know how to have an “ in real life” conversation. Other flavors of preppers are going to have a different issue with this, sticking the paranoia genie back in the bottle.

For reasons I can’t fathom, many in the survival movements will have an intimate conversation with internet strangers about every detail of their plan, but will clam up like a mafia courier the second it comes to real people. Which makes absolutely no sense. You have no idea who you are talking to on the internet, no matter how carefully you check. The like minded person you are talking to about “how to shoot down dem gubbmint’ black helicopters with a deer rifle” may very well be a federal agent, recording it all in a chat log. You don’t know who anyone actually is in digital land. Even if they are a famous member of “the movement”, you have no idea what their real motivation is. Alex Jones could have his own FBI badge for all you know.

Now I am not saying divulge all your secrets to the UPS guy and post up a list of your supplies in the town square. We will talk about OPSEC a little further on, but let’s just say in short, that would be an invitation to get killed and robbed. But you are going to need other people, for a variety of reasons. Lots of the prepper minded like to live a fantasy of them against the world, one extremely well armed man prevailing against all odds. That is Walter Mitty delusion at it’s finest, real life doesn’t work that way. I lay the blame for this at the feet of 80’s action movies, followed closely by the popular fiction class I call “ Navy SEAL turned Secret Service guy/Calvin Klein model saves the day, because he is smarter than the entire US Government put together.”

The problem with the lone action hero trope is that it is no way rooted in the realm of possibilities. Yes, one man can overcome incredible odds, and it does occasionally happen. Alvin York for instance. But the baddest war hero to ever walk the earth would succumb to sufficient numbers. The reason we recognize with medals and awe the occasional one guy lop sided win, is because it is so rare. Let me put an image in your mind, to illustrate the point. In a fight to the death, we have pitted Chuck Liddel in his prime, against a certain number of rabid toddlers. Closed room, so escape isn’t an option. Can Chuck prevail against one? Of course, without breaking a sweat. How about 20? Sure, the odds are still on his side. How about 10,000? Not a chance. Not only is that 300,000 pounds of rabid toddler, the sheer mass of which would crush any human. But I doubt even a professional fighter has the cardio to throw 10,000 punches or kicks in a row.

So numbers help. They aren’t all important, but at a certain tipping point they do make the difference. As Stalin was fond of saying, “Quantity has a quality all its own.” But that isn’t the only reason to need friends in the fight.

I’m a pretty well qualified soldier, and I have seen some of that fancy combat all the kids are getting into these days. But how well can even someone with my resume do all the tasks necessary for combat? Keep in mind, I did this full time for 20 years, and was paid very well to do so. And part of the weekly task on an SF team is cross training, dedicated time for the team specialist to teach other team members his job skills. After a decade and half, the Medic is still a better medic than me. The Engineer is still better at being an engineer. Just because I can slap on a tourniquet and stick in a chest tube, does not mean I can take the Medics place, at least by choice. He spent time not only at a specialized school learning medicine while I was learning to talk to satellites, but practicing his craft for years and years.

At the heart of this is another Hollywood trope, the super ninja that can do everything. James Bond speaks 9 languages, gunfights like Wyatt Earp, beats down professional fighters, and drives like Mario Andretti after a bump of coke. How long, in real terms, would it take one human being to master all those skills? There are just not enough hours in the day. You can find some humans with incredibly diverse skill sets, but they are beyond rare. And at the level you might expect from movies, they don’t exist.

Don’t feel bad. Growing up in the military, I expected CIA dudes to be Jason Bourne come to life. Turns out, not so much. In fact, they suck so bad at gunfighter skills that they outsource that to….. Army dudes. Or ex-Army dudes, same thing. Real life experience shows over and over again, none of us have the cranial capacity to be everything at once.

So you are going to need other people to help provide skills you don’t have, for a start. It isn’t the only reason, but it is a damn good one. This is so high on the list, we actually cover it in detail in another chapter, building your ODA from scratch.

While those are all good and practical, the biggest motivator for you to engage your neighbors is a bit more subversive. This involves a little bit of a tangent into story time, but it is relevant to the subject at hand.

Part of the reason I wrote this book, and you should read it, has to do directly with my background in Army Special Forces, i.e. my time as a Green Beret. On this particular subject, it pays to listen to a Green Beret over any other supposed expert in the field. Because of the primary mission of a Special Forces Group, and I specify the actual US Army Special Forces Group (Airborne). Not the broadly stated any service “ Special Force” unit, commonly known now as SOF ( Special Operations Forces.) Special Forces in colloquial terms can mean Rangers, Force Recon, Omega Force, the SAS/ SBS, SEAL Team 11.5, or whatever the Air Force calls its guys this week. In technical terms, not to take anything away from those other ninjas, the Army has units actual named Special Forces. And we wear a funny green hat, hence our unit nick name, Green Berets.

Of the 5 primary missions of Special Forces (SF), 2 are absolutely unique to us across the US Military. Those are UW ( Unconventional Warfare), and FID ( Foreign Internal Defense). UW, in layman’s terms, means how to start an insurgency and manage a guerrilla war. FID is the opposite side of the coin, it is how to assist a friendly government and keep it from being toppled by an insurgency, while destroying a guerrilla army someone else built.

Now I am not just trying to talk smack here, with the inter-service rivalry, my guys are cool and everyone else sucks bit. Far from it. In fact, if I had to place a wager on who I think is the best the in US military on average, I would pick the Air Force SOF. Hat tip TACP/JTAC’s, you win this round. That would be if I was selecting the most well rounded force, and judging them across the spectrum of combat missions. They do have weaknesses. At certain tasks, like CQB, they would be last on the list of choices. The Army, Navy, and USMC all make better gunfighters, in terms of personal weapons skills. And they should, that is among their primary missions. You aren’t going to let the TACP be number one man through the smoking hole after breach. That isn’t his job. But pound for pound, I stand by them as the best all around at real combat skills. Most of which don’t apply to surviving the type of conflict this book was written to address.

FID/ UW skills are not sexy, they are never going to make a movie about them. Probably most of the reason they aren’t part of the SEAL ( Pronounced Squeel, for the noise they make when they run out of tanning lotion) mission set is exactly that. But they do work, and they work in most cases better than some ill conceived commando raid bullshit.

UW simplified goes a little something like this. Aforementioned non gunfighter Agency dude, using the skills he has, identifies an enemy nation, ripe for the overthrow. Usually meaning factions already exist trying to do just that. He phones the appropriate people to have an SF Team or Teams give it a push. SF shows up by whatever means- HALO drop, scuba insert, or more likely the regional equivalent of a Greyhound bus- the less sexy, the better. SF guys assess the factions, talk over grievances, break bread, and hand out bags of money as needed. It takes time, and a lot of running of the mouth, but they are looking for specific things. What motivates this opposition faction, or that one? Who is both most likely to win, and then likely to be a good long term ally for our national interest? What is the acceptable balance of those two things, if one faction isn’t best at both criteria? What do they need to succeed, and are we willing to pay it? Then, and only then, do you get down to the work of teaching illiterate peasants how to zero a rifle and conduct a combined arms assault. Ground work first. Then you build an army. Then you use that army, and hope your own government doesn’t pull the rug out from under you mid stroke.

Reaching back to the formation of Special Forces in the 50’s, this has proven to be an extremely successful model. Across decades, it has worked from one side of the planet to the other, often in places and conflicts American’s have never heard of. That is another bit of the beauty. Done properly, the entire enterprise is deniable. The newly crowned Emperor of Kerflakistan isn’t going to publicly credit the Great Satan, any more than we are going to admit we did the heavy lifting. Job done, everyone goes their separate ways, and sweep any messy bits under the carpet.

And while the job is unique in the US military to SF, that doesn’t mean other countries haven’t created similar units. The British and the Russians are good at it, and have been for a long time. The whole bit with Crimea’s annexation by Russia is a good example. If that was organic, so is a burger from McDonalds. The Quds force from Iran is fantastic at this method, and the Chinese are actively perfecting the craft as we speak.

What does this have to do with your survival strategy? A lot. In fact, most of your survival strategy should be modeled from FID, unless you think the government is the bad guys, in which case it should be modeled on UW. Aside from the part about being overwhelmed by sheer numbers, it also helps you understand what is going on.

Generally speaking, survival is a regional issue. Not to say the causes of the crisis can’t start far away, they can. And it does pay to at least observe national and global news, looking for potential cataclysms. But your actual day to day concerns are local, and that doesn’t change as a national or international crisis unfolds. I live in the Pacific Northwest. There is literally not one thing that could happen in NYC tomorrow that directly affects me right now. Do I want to know if they have an Ebola outbreak, or get nuked off the planet? Yes I do. And that will dictate some of the steps I need to take in the near future. But whatever ripples their problems create, I will still need to deal with them on the local level.

So much like an SF guy would do in a foreign nation, you need to work on building your own intelligence network. Let’s throw in a caveat, as we live in the digital age. Can’t you just read the local news or use the internet? I don’t recommend it, not as a sole source of information. Not even a little. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I don’t think you should be either. But while I don’t wear a tinfoil hat everyday, I do keep one in the closet for special occasions. And I would ask you this- what major news scoop, in the last 30 years, was picked up by a news station first? Not one. And in a major crisis, how hard do you think it would be to censer all the media outlets that exist? Not very. More importantly, signs slip through the cracks with media outlets. They are looking for the big story, because that gets the big reads. To properly gauge any situation, you need to look at a great deal of factors, not just the big ones.

Who knows about local travel habits, and if there has been either an influx of people going coming in or leaving? How about the local gas station attendant? Or the manager of a local motel. Who knows if shipping is on time, and the supply chain unbroken? How about a local grocery store or Wal-Mart manager. Who has on the ground eyes at a regional level, and might have seen anomalies close enough to affect you soon? How about your local truck driver, especially if he runs the same route daily or weekly. A wealth of information exists, but it rarely falls into the hands of someone that can use all of it. That is among the first things you need to change.

All these bits of knowledge are available, you just have to find a way to get them. And this leads us to the idea of actually talking to human beings. Internet chat boards, news sights, and the like can best be equated to SIGINT, or signals intelligence. Signals intelligence can be faked, and it can be drowned out with white noise. Talking to people is HUMINT, or human intelligence, and it requires some skills to sift through as well.

Some HUMINT skills can’t be taught, they can only be gained through experience. Humans sometimes lie, and they sometimes exaggerate. While this can be intentional for deception, more often it is merely to impress you, or tell a better story. How can you tell? First, life experience. The more you talk to humans, while trying to sift for facts, the more you will pick up on these trends. If you don’t know how to spot bullshit, you need to start learning. Obvious tells include inconsistency in facts when asked about details, changes in speech pattern at relevant points that should be seared in memory, and entirely to much badassery on the part of the story teller. This isn’t to say exaggerators should be cut from your network, but their information should always be suspect. One good way to start learning these skills is to read up on police interrogation methods, in addition to practice before you need it.

The absolute best method for sifting information is having multiple sources in the same arena, and comparing the data they give you. I’m not going to dive deep on handling assets, because Uncle Sugar might decide to smack my pee pee if I do. But much of what is alleged to be “deep, dark, espionage secrets” is actually just common sense. If you have three truck drivers that work in a similar area, and the information one them is feeding you is way off track of the others, what can you discern? First, one of them might be feeding you horse pucky. Second, the other two may be plants working against you, feeding you mis-information. Welcome to the forest of mirrors.

All well and good, if you already have a network. But I’m assuming you don’t. How are you going to fix that? Very carefully, and very slowly. Things like this aren’t built overnight, and if you push hard, you are just going to draw attention to yourself. To correctly build a network of informants, you need to understand it is a long haul. And some of your best informants won’t even realize they are giving you the goods. As previously mentioned, this is an unnatural act for most of us, talking to strangers with the intent of gleaning information. It also goes against the grain if you have been prepping in secret, hiding canned beans in floor boards and the like. But there is a right and a wrong way. Let’s look at the wrong way first-

Starbucks Barista- “ Welcome to Starbucks, may I help you?”

You ( palms sweating, whispering conspiratorially)-“ Yes. I will have a Carmel Macchiato. Also, would you like to act as an informant for my militia, keeping us posted on the comings and goings of shifty eyed new arrivals. We can’t afford to pay you, but you will be remembered when the revolution starts. Play your cards right, and you may even become concubine to his Holiness The Warlord Steve, Master and Commander of the Plains of Nebraska.”

Starbucks Barista- “ …..” ( Stares in horror while simultaneously pressing the 911 panic button under the counter.)

Obviously there are a lot of things wrong with that scenario, but which one should have stuck out first? Starbucks. Have you ever seen a slow one? You have zero chance of recruiting a source in a fast paced environment. So save the sales pitch for someone that isn’t your UPS driver or equivalent. At least while they are at work. A UPS driver would be a great asset, if you land him off the clock.

I suggest you start with what the military calls a confidence target, one that is easy to land. Two quick examples are the gas station attendant at a non busy hour, or clerk at a local corner store. Taking the gas station attendant, how do you break the ice?

You- “ Good Morning Jimmy” ( You know his name, because you come here all the time. You learned his name from his name tag on visit one, and called him by his name on the 5 subsequent visits. Establishing a layer of familiarity.)

Gas Station Attendant Jimmy- “ Good Morning Bill. Coffee, and the usual?”

You- “ Coffee for sure. By the way, you’re low on Irish Cream. About that usual, I’m not so sure. I think the new folks in town are buying up all the winners.” ( You have spent a couple bucks establishing a routine, for exactly this moment. Now, one of two things is true. Either you know the area is having an influx of new people, and are both confirming that data, and setting Jimmy up for the pitch. Or you are fishing in the dark, to see if Jimmy will tell you lots of new people are around. Jimmy will have one of two answers, both of which you should be prepared to handle. Because you rehearsed both bits, in case.)

Jimmy- “ New people, that’s rich. All I see is people leaving town. Half my normal customers tanked up last week, headed for the hills. Weird, right?” ( This takes you to decision tree 1.)

You- feigning light laughter- “ I know right? Hell, I’m starting to feel like this is an episode of the twilight zone. Ya know, a fella could really start to wonder at times like this. You know, I don’t scare easy, but things are getting down right spooky. A man can’t be to careful these days. Actually, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind keeping some tabs, just between us…….”

What if Jimmy has a different answer? Glad you asked.

Jimmy- “ Crazy isn’t it? People fleeing California, and probably bringing their problems with them. I don’t like the way they show up here, flush with cash from selling that McMansion in the hills, pushing us all to the side….”

Oh man, bingo! Not only have you confirmed data, but you have learned Jimmy’s disdain for the new people. That sets him up for an entirely different pitch. But just like a deal the Devil would make, not too much up front now.

What if neither of those things happen, and Jimmy just acts indifferent to your lack of scratch ticket purchase? Then you leave and try again another day. If a couple of reels don’t work, then you move on to a new gas station. And you keep going until you have your network filled out. You might end up with five coffee’s and a dozen $1 scratch tickets every Tuesday morning, but that is the price of doing business.

Networking, for lack of a better term, is also good for a great many things besides just intelligence. In survival terms, it is also important for supplies. That doesn’t matter much right now, while the economy is still humming, and the American Express still works. But what about when things fall apart? Would you rather be friends with the local grocer, guarding his deliver trucks against the howling mob for a can of baked beans? Or trying to elbow through the howling mob upfront, desperate to trade your last remaining items of value for that same can of baked beans? When things get tough, people turn tribal, and they do it fast. Much better to be someone they knew from the previous life, than a strange face showing up asking for favors.

I want to interject a couple of things here at the end, guiding principles for dealing with humans in general. Number one is, don’t be a user. You need to have something to barter with in most all of these situations, with the possible exception of the people that just like to talk. And you are still giving them a sounding board, which is what most of them want anyway. What I’m saying is, don’t start washing the local grocer’s car every Sunday, hoping he will remember you when the trouble starts. You are always going to get further with a genuine relationship, and those are hard to fake.

Number two is, don’t promise something you can’t deliver. This was a principle we always tried to stick too, even overseas with dirt worshiping heathens. It is bad for business, and should only be done as an absolute last resort. Not only will you permanently lose an ally, but you might go far enough to make a bitter enemy. If things go pear shaped, you will have plenty of enemies without making extras unnecessarily.

Number three relates directly to number two. Don’t think short term. It is easy to cut all kinds of deals, back stab as needed, and flee into the sunset with your weeks rations. But what happens when the sun comes up on day 8? You should be laying a ground work for a sustainable relationship, because you never know how long a crisis will last. Don’t burn bridges with anyone if you can avoid it, and at least try and leave the pylons if you can’t. Crow may be on the menu, as you can never fully anticipate who will have a resource you need to survive the night.

In closing this chapter out, I want to leave you with a story. Not a cool war story, but a good story nonetheless. And a lot more relevant to where you sit today.

A few years ago, I was driving across the country with my soon to be wife. I lived on the East Coast at the time, and skipping over the mushy stuff, I had made a snap decision to move to Idaho. The last day of said road trip, one of my soon to be step daughters decided to runaway from her father’s house, which greatly upset soon to be wife. So I did what people like me do. I set out to solve the problem.

Two weeks later, and many trailer parks kicked over, I had her back in custody. No small feat, the kid can run. There were a lot of strange looks from the extended family, and no small amount of pats on the back. But only one person asked the right question. How, exactly, had I run this teenager down, in a city where the number of people I knew, I could count on one hand? I didn’t have the knowledge available to find Red Lobster, much less a run away with a deep network. For good measure, I was still pretty recently retired from the Army, and I looked like an absolute psycho. I had 10 inch Mohawk, I’m 6’2”, and I’m built like a linebacker. Not exactly subtle.

I succeeded because I know how to not only build networks, but infiltrate and destroy them. Within a few days, I had informants in every neighborhood on the bad side of town. I used a lot of carrot, and a little bit of stick when needed. At a total price of a 6 pack of Rolling Rock and a few packs of smokes, I bought all the information necessary to piece it together. And I succeeded where many natives had in the past failed. The lesson here is directly tied to your survival strategy. The scary guy isn’t the one that is willing to shoot you. Those are a dime a dozen in any conflict, as well as among any criminal element. The actual scary guy is the one that can find you, no matter where you try to hide. Information is power.


Chapter 2

Common Sense Planning, aka the sky isn’t falling. Yet.

There is a reason you picked up this book, and I doubt it was idle curiosity. Maybe you started seeing glitches in the Matrix, and you are questioning the future stability of our nation. Maybe you had bad experience recently, like owning a pharmacy in Ferguson, Missouri. Maybe you have seen a natural disaster strike, and the feral humans that come after. Whatever that reason is, it is time to start taking control of your life.

I foresee more political violence on our horizon, which tends to be centralized to major cities, which I why I wrote this book. You may disagree with that hypothesis, and have one of your own. But regardless of complete economic collapse, foreign invasion, or zombie apocalypse, I have good news. The planning is the same for all of them.

The military teaches all kinds of whiz bang planning methods, most famously MDMP, or the military decision making process. It has dozen of steps, dozens more sub-steps, along with a matrix of weighted values, ending with a mathematical certainty of the right choices. I could write an entire 600 page book just on it, and it would join the tombs of others covering the same material. But I have bad news. The entire process is nonsense, and a waste of your time.

The worst thing the Army ever did was attempt the “cookbook” method for WW2, and stick with it afterward. This institutional cancer has slowly eaten its way into all the military branches, turning what should be a simple process into a time consuming, paper work intensive nightmare. The concept is this, and it was first applied to training- If you build a step by step process, and then force all the steps to be taken, the end result is always the same. For bumping up the huge numbers needed for WW2, it didn’t do a horrible job, at tasks like set up a mortar, or assemble an anti tank gun. But the same process applied to planning is foolish.

Let me put it this way, when it comes to military planning, as it has “evolved”. The operations order for the invasion of Normandy, the largest amphibious landing the world has ever seen, was 14 pages long. For a modern soldier, late in the GWOT, raiding a purse snatchers house required 120 power point slides. I’m going to go on the record as saying that is not an improvement.

So we will be putting aside any talk of consulting DOD publications. Besides, your planning needs to be a bit more vague anyway. At least your overall strategic plan. Later we will get to some more specific planning, to cover things like escape routes. But for now, you need to be thinking big picture. You, nor I, have an exact template for how the crisis is going to unfold. Therefore, a more generalized plan is in order. One thing to always remember though, as it relates to planning. As we say in the business, no plan survives contact, intact. Broken down, that means you should never be so married to your plan that you can’t adapt. If conditions change so much that your initial plan is useless, only a fool would stick to it.

We have established that your urban dwelling environment is going to face crisis, so what do you need to do first? The conventional wisdom is that you need to purchase a bug out location, stocked to the ceiling with provisions and armaments. It needs to be off the grid, large enough to accommodate you and 25 friends, complete with thousands of gallons of fuel storage, spare parts for your car, and horses for when those run out. It needs to be far from population centers, in an environment that supports sustainment farming, yet cold enough to keep refugees from beating down your door. At least one of said friends should live in the location full time, to keep bandits from taking over in your absence.

And if you have that, dear readers, you are doing awesome. But it is outside the realm of possibility for most of us, me included. I am in fact writing this while living in the city, and my bug out location consists of my quarter acre backyard. Just in raw monetary terms, you might as well add surplus F-15 fighter jets to the above list, given most of our disposable income. That is to say, it isn’t going to happen.

It would also be cool to max out your Visa card on ammo and night vision goggles the week before the crisis hits, catching that last UPS delivery and sticking Citi Bank with the bill as we descend into Mad Max world, laughing all the way at any thought of your credit score. But that is a lot like saying it would be cool to buy Apple stock in 1986. If you think you are going to get that lucky, just go buy a lottery ticket and be done. The reality is, all of us need to live like the sky isn’t falling, in case it doesn’t. By the time you are willing to go all in on the chips with whatever credit you have, that credit is likely to already be useless. You might also want to think about the price of generators on January 1st, 2000, after the Y2K scare. More than one person bet the farm on that one, and was never sadder to see the sun come up.

You need to prepare in a sustainable manner not only for your financial health, but for your sanity. If you get all spun up and start fortifying the house with sandbags, you run the risk of ending up in the asylum. So let’s all take a deep breath and think this through.

In a side step from the usual prepping manuals, the first thing you need to look at is money. This is the equivalent of looking at logistics from a military view, since you are effectively buying your own logistics train. As Napoleon said, “ Amateurs discuss tactics. Rank amateurs discuss grand strategy. The professionals discuss logistics.” Money directly affects what you can lay in for bad times, and that is way the cards fall.

The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of coins you can drop on your survival. It is easy to get all emotional and say “ ALL OF THEM! NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT!”, immediately followed by a second mortgage on your house. Don’t do that. Just like finance 101, you need to add up your bills, then see what is left over. That is your operational budget. Maybe you can increase it by cutting excess spending on frivolous crap, and I recommend you do. Dining out and beers with the boys all add up, and you may wish you spent that on bullets later. But at the end of the day, you have a finite amount of money to spend.

Once you have your budget in order, it is time to decide what you need to have on hand when the natives turn restless. The categories go something like this:







-Escape hatch

So which one is most important? It really depends on you. A mountain of ammo in your living room is useless when there isn’t a can of Spaghetti-O’s within 50 miles. A similar mountain of beans and rice is useless if you can’t defend it from the Mongolian horde tearing down your front door. The truth is, you need a balanced approach. You need all those things, but the order is situation dependent.

Weapons get their own chapter later, so I won’t go to much into it here. But to my mind, priority one is a gun. ( Provided you live in a nation where that is possible. I guess a pike or sword if you can’t?) Whatever gun that may be, if you own just one right now, it is enough. I would sleep very well in any city having a single shot 20 gauge and a box of shells. It wouldn’t be my ideal, but it would be enough to rest easy and prioritize my needs.

If I have been so negative about hardware up till now, why I am preaching the one gun so hard? Simple. Survival types like to talk about how long you can survive without this or that, in an extreme case. You can go weeks without food, and days without water, etc. Well there is a number for how long you can go in a gun fight without a gun, and that answer is zero seconds. If you can’t defend yourself, the rest of the stuff is a moot point. Defense first, always.

Okay, so you have your grandfather’s pocket derringer, consider yourself held over. How do you fill in the rest of your needs? I suggest a list, with incremental milestones in each category. And again, much of it depends on your specific needs. Do you live in Seattle? Do you own a mop bucket? Cool, water storage is way down the list for you. Oh, you live in Phoenix, and its July? Water is probably number one. Your diabetic? Screw food and water, your first priority is an extra months supply of insulin.

With the incremental plan, you at least end up with something in each category. Just like the castle surrounded by a Ranger Company and staffed with bikini girls we mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, we all have an ideal load out. But odds are it is a long way off. Best to have a little of everything, than a best in class of one, and none of the others.

Lets break it down like this. You have $200 to spend per month on your list. That is laughable to some, and a high bar for others. Work with what you have. You also have a hand cannon and two boxes of fifty bullets, so that is taken care of for the moment. How do you spend it?

First, you need to think about how much stuff you need. That needs to be balanced with how much space you have. As a city dweller, space might mean a tiny apartment, or it might mean a house with two car garage. If you have very little storage space, you are either going to have to get creative, or make do with less. Let’s look at the ideal numbers first.

Weapons- ah ha! That gets its own chapter later. I suggest reading it before enacting this plan.

Training- Training is the one box that is never fully filled. I was a professional soldier and mercenary for two decades, and I’m still learning. Depending on your skill set, this might be a very high priority. Let’s say you have a decent weapon, but you have no idea how to use it. A $100 class at your local indoor range will do wonders for you. It won’t make you a gunfighter, but it will make you capable of hitting the broadside of a barn. At least if you are standing inside the barn when called upon to do so. If you are already weapons capable, this could be a primitive cooking class. Or a six month paramedic course. The sky is the limit. The inherent problem, however, is that the better the training, the more it costs in both time and money. Speaking for the gunfighter skills at least, good training will cost you $350-$500 a day. Figure a minimum of 7 days to become competent, and this adds up. For now, take the $100 local class, and worry about the rest later.

Equipment- It is easy to go down the rabbit hole on this one, because equipment is a broad category. For your initial stages, it mostly doesn’t matter. If you have a hand cannon, it is limited to a holster for now, and that is just in case you need to run tomorrow. A sling if you possess but a long gun. Throw in a decent pocket knife, and you are good enough for the moment.

Food- Obviously, this one is actually important. If you are a young, healthy, single person, yes, you can survive for weeks without food. It won’t be fun, but you will make it. That is not true of small children. They might survive, but the damage done to their brains and bodies by malnutrition is terrifying to contemplate. So food needs to be on the list, regardless of your status. For urban dwellers, I suggest a 3 month supply, all of it non-perishable. The internet and other survival books are chocked full of excellent storage ideas, and low cost calorie solutions. I can’t do it better than them, it isn’t my area of expertise. But I do stand by 3 months. If the supply trucks to your city aren’t running again by then, it is time to leave. And 3 months, supplemented by even occasional resupply, can easily stretch to 6 months or a year.

Water- Water is hugely important for both hygiene and drinking. I cannot stress the importance of water enough. It is, however, one of the last things I would expect to lose in a city. If the water is cut off for even a short period in a modern city, it will be time to leave, hell or high water. While unorthodox sources do exist in any urban environment, most places they don’t exist in sufficient quantity to prevent a complete catastrophe. If a metro area lost water completely and unexpectedly, I don’t expect most people have thought through the worst case scenario. This isn’t like LA going on water rationing, or Johannesburg saying they will be out of water in two months. Both of those scenarios imply forethought, and at least some government countermeasures. If we are talking the tap just shut off, and stayed off, that is an entirely different ball of wax. Figure the stores would run out of bottles on day one, and most people have zero in storage. Let’s also assume that if the water is out, the power is out, a pretty safe bet. How long before people started dropping dead in a southern city, if it was summer time? How many people in St. Louis would try and drink the river water, and how many of them would have the sense to boil it first? How many people, the city over, would know how to dig a slit trench, or at least use a bucket for waste? And how long before those same people started just dumping waste in the streets? A water crisis, at the extreme, could rapidly lead to a body crisis, beyond the ability of any government to fix. That would lead to a disease epidemic, and a cascading spiral of sickness and pestilence. Time to get out, by any means necessary. That takes things from a minor survival hassle to an abandon ship moment. Given all that, I recommend 7 days of water on hand, at a gallon per person per day. If you live in an extremely hot environment, double that.

Medical- This category is hugely important, but often forgotten. No one likes to think about getting chewed up, it doesn’t fit with our hero fantasy. We are going to gun down all the bad guys, without a scratch on us. Maybe a flesh wound that heals itself in the third act, but certainly nothing serious. Well, more wet blanket time. If you are in any kind of combat, people are going to get hurt. You are going to get hurt. You, or your people, are going to get shot. Having spent time engaged in urban combat, it isn’t a question of if, it’s a question of when. You have to be prepared to deal with this as part of the plan. We will detail medical more in depth in a later chapter, but it needs to start with two tourniquets per person. One is for you, and only you, your emergency lifeline. The other is for patching up friends. From a place like Activity Group, these are going to be about $36 apiece. Adds up quick if you have a family. The second thing in medical you can start doing, right now, is thinking about small items. Hand sanitizer and soap are huge. Prior to WW2, disease and infection did more killing than anything else in wars. All of them, ancient Greece to Gettysburg. Neosporin is cheap, and very helpful at keeping small wounds from becoming a serious problem. Medical tape and gauze solve a wide variety of problems. Don’t go crazy, but allocate some funds for certain.

Escape Hatch- Your city may not be survivable. Another dose of harsh reality. The disaster you are issued may be so bad, Bear Grylls and a team of SAS commandos wouldn’t have a chance. And if that is the case, you need to do the only logical thing. Get the hell out of Dodge! If you are just now considering the possibility of unrest, you need to figure out an exit strategy. For now it can be simple, since we will cover it in depth later. Do you have a car? If you do, what from your residence is both actually important, and will fit in that car. Next question applies if you have a car or not. Do you have a backpack, sturdy enough to hold at least bits from all of the above categories? If not, you need to find a second hand sporting goods store, stat. Anything with a name brand and not threadbare will do for the moment. Chuck some food and water inside, along with a sweater and socks. Keep it under 30 pounds. Cool, problem solved. Mostly. We will detail this up later.

Last but not least, you need paper maps, with a copy for each adult and an extra in the car, and a lensatic compass to match. Your base plan should cover an exit route in at least two different cardinal directions, by car and by foot. Get to work.

That was down and dirty, but it does cover your bases. Lets call that one the 3000 word survival plan. It isn’t perfect, but it will hold you for a short while. And now we can get down to the serious thinking. Grown up decisions and long term planning take time, and more brain power. No one expects you to enact a full conversion to the Cult of Survival overnight. But we do expect you to attend regular meetings.

Readiness for Immediate Action…


The Hinge Of Fate In The North Woods — The Combat Death Of ...

Taken from Rule #2 of Roger’s Rangers Standing Orders:

“Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute’s warning.”

Interpreted for today, in this time, “tries men’s’ souls…”

“Have your rifle clean as a whistle and properly lubricated; your hatchet and field knife sharp, five standard capacity magazines, and be ready to respond to an attack with no notice.”

Obviously, the interpretation above is not a ‘field operation’ exhortation – rather the absolute minimum you may need for an immediate response, that, should you survive, you can always get the field kit and put it on.

Times do change, but not the spirit of readiness; not the discipline to be able to respond to an attack on you or your neighbors’ home or family.

Don’t be a sheep meekly led to the slaughter bleating in protest – if someone comes to kill you, kill ’em first.

And one more – Rule #19:  “Let the enemy come till he’s almost close enough to touch, then let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.”

For today’s world:  “Don’t let them know you’re onto their approach; stay silent – let them get confident.  When they’re close enough, suppress them with your fire, and if any are left, go out and finish them with your hatchet.”


Sipsey Street Irregulars: December 2012

Re-Re-Re Post: Stoicism: Necessary Development for the NPT Leader and Member


Reposted by request.

On Stoicism

To develop the essential trait of Stoicism, the first thing you must do intellectually is to rid yourself of ‘moral relativism’ and embrace some absolutes when it comes to the moral code that you will operate under.  A good way to do that is to understand and begin to apply Stoicism in your own beliefs and daily life. Here’s a good link from Wikipedia to give you a general overview of what Stoicism is (if it’s new to you):

Basic Tenets

The Stoics provided a unified account of the world, consisting of formal logic, non-dualistic physics and naturalistic ethics. Of these, they emphasized ethics as the main focus of human knowledge [this would be what ‘honor’ is built upon – ed], though their logical theories were to be of more interest for many later philosophers.

Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand the universal reason (logos). A primary aspect of Stoicism involves improving the individual’s ethical and moral well-being: “Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.”[6] This principle also applies to the realm of interpersonal relationships; “to be free from anger, envy, and jealousy,”[7] and to accept even slaves as “equals of other men, because all alike are sons of God.”[8]

The Stoic ethic espouses a deterministic perspective; in regards to those who lack Stoic virtue, Cleanthes once opined that the wicked man is “like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes.”[6] A Stoic of virtue, by contrast, would amend his will to suit the world and remain, in the words of Epictetus, “sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy,”[7] thus positing a “completely autonomous” individual will, and at the same time a universe that is “a rigidly deterministic single whole.”

Stoicism became the foremost popular philosophy among the educated elite in the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire,[9] to the point where, in the words of Gilbert Murray “nearly all the successors of Alexander […] professed themselves Stoics.”

Why do NPT leaders and members need to become more Stoic?

The reason we must develop stoic philosophy is because we have answered a calling that encompasses the responsibility to make life and death decisions that will be based upon intrinsic values, no matter if the person in question has good or evil values.  Therefore, the NPT leader or member striving to improve himself, his values, and his moral code, must rely on logic, reason, and nature’s God (or, for those who are Christian, the moral tenets described in the Bible, both old and new Testaments).  Here’s an example of a stoically inspired Christian axiom:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Note the lack of emotion.  No blaming, no anger, only acceptance of what is.  If we develop that ability to remain calm in the face of what should not be (like a SHTF situation) and accept it as ‘what is’, we are much more able to clearly make decisions for ourselves and our team as well as our families.  We can much more quickly get inside the OODA loop of OPFOR, gain the initiative, and come out the other side of the conflict alive.

Emotionally infused reasoning must be strictly controlled and relegated to a far corner of the NCO’s mind when dealing with decisions affecting the lives of his men.  That includes the training, discipline, and even interaction in social settings with his men because this is what sets the stage for the men to follow the NPT Leader into battle.  The more senior leaders are no less required to do this, because the NPT subordinate leaders follows the senior leader.

Here’s an excerpt from a very long article on Stoicism.  Feel free to read the whole thing if you have the time or inclination.  I have emphasized various points that apply to the NPT leaders.

Properly studied and applied, Stoic philosophy delivers profound insights into the complexity of military life and offers, in the words of the former US Navy SEAL commando, Richard Marcinko, “a spiritual and moral gyroscope” for members of the profession of arms. As Marcinko puts it in his important 1997 memoir, Rogue Warrior:

it is my unshakeable belief that when . . . two intrinsic values—the total acceptance of death as a natural condition of life, and the total acceptance of an absolute moral code—are combined, the Warrior becomes invincible.

In recent years, the most prominent and systematic advocate of military Stoicism has been the distinguished US naval officer, Medal of Honor recipient and 1992 Vice-Presidential contender, Vice-Admiral James Bond Stockdale, who died in 2005. Stockdale’s 1995 book, “Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot,” is one of the finest introductions to Stoicism and its meaning for the profession of arms. Stockdale’s personal embrace of Stoicism helped him to survive seven and a half years of systematic torture and solitary confinement from 1965 until 1972 as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese in the dreaded “Hanoi Hilton”. More than any other warrior-scholar in the English-speaking West, Stockdale disseminated the value of Stoic philosophy within the US and allied military establishments. In particular, he did much to elevate the writings of the Stoic slave-philosopher Epictetus over those of Marcus Aurelius by turning the former’s Stoic teachings from the Enchiridion into what Stockdale called “a manual for combat officers”. In the pages of the Enchiridion, Stockdale says, “I had found the proper philosophy for the military arts as I practiced them. The Roman Stoics coined the formula Vivere militare—‘Life is being a soldier’.”

[This is more important to you, the NPT leader, because you have chosen to be, literally, a ‘citizen-soldier’ as it were, for the duration of any contingency when joining your NPT.]

What are the central tenets of Stoicism and how do they fit into the cosmology of the twenty-first-century military professional? As a philosophy Stoicism teaches that life is unfair and that there is no moral economy in the world. Martyrs and honest men may die poor; swindlers and dishonest men may die rich. In this respect, the fate of Job, God’s good servant, and of Shakespeare’s King Lear, the devoted father, are reminders of what we must endure from a life that fits the Stoic creed. The spirit of Stoicism as an unrelenting struggle for virtuous character in a world devoid of fairness is hauntingly captured by the Greek poet Aeschylus: “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop on the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

[This is why training must be under, as much as possible, adverse and arduous conditions.  Making it easy for your team only guarantees their failure when under fire.  THAT fact is why, during all Train the Trainer courses, for example, we make it physically uncomfortable, and we throw ‘audibles’ and change up plans in the order of training and hope for rain.  Through shared suffering in a controlled environment men will learn to develop honor and become beholden to each other as well as something larger than themselves.]

In the Stoic catechism there is no such category as “victimhood” because there is no moral economy outside of the workings of our inner selves. Stoicism is thus about empowerment by perception—a cultivation of an invincibility of the will through minimizing personal vulnerability by a mixture of Socratic self-examination and an emphasis on control of the emotions. Stoicism teaches concentration on what individuals can control, what Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations called the “inner citadel” of the soul. Stoicism’s four great teachings may be summarized as the quest for virtue as representing the sole human good; the understanding that external goods do not amount to human happiness; the belief that a good life strives to control emotions to enhance reason; and the conviction that virtue consists in knowing what is in one’s control and what is not. Now, go back up to Marchinko’s quote and understand that you must accept death as part of life. Your death, my death, your NPT’s death.  Really understand that.  Chew on that for a bit.  Then, if you don’t have an absolute moral code, start on it today.  Talk with your NPT members. Really discuss this issue.

If you do have an absolute moral code started, or at least have the foundations laid, then build on it.  If you’d like, in the comments section, we can also discuss why an absolute is important.  No grey areas. Lastly, here’s something that very long article on the moral lessons and choices Stoicism gives us that can be applied to the NPT leader and member:

A Stoic Guide for Military Professionals

How can the demanding personal philosophy of Stoicism work within a Western military profession that is assailed by the prevailing postmodern cults of moral relativism, victimhood and shallow celebrity? In this realm, one can only proceed by selecting enduring moral lessons and choices from the annals of Western philosophy, literature and history that assist in arming the inner selves of uniformed officers as they undertake the process of professional military education. Accordingly, this article summarizes eight moral lessons and seven moral choices that are used in “Captains of the Soul: A Stoic Guide for Military Professionals”, a fifteen-tenet document that I issue every year to those army, navy and air force officers whom I am privileged to teach at the Australian Command and Staff College in Canberra.

Eight Moral Lessons from Stoicism

The first lesson in “Captains of the Soul” concerns the need to develop an understanding of the meaning of a human life that assails us from three directions—the body, the external world, and our relationships. The lesson is drawn from the works of Epictetus and Seneca and emphasizes that life will often resemble a storm-tossed sea, not a tranquil ocean, and that one should seek to live according to moral purpose. Epictetus sums up our parlous condition with precision in his Enchiridion: Life: Duration: momentary. Nature: changeable. Perception: dim. Condition of Body: decaying. Soul: spinning around. Fortune: unpredictable. Lasting fame: uncertain. Sum Up: The body and its parts are a river, the soul a stream and a mist, life is warfare and a journey far from home, lasting reputation is oblivion. For many Stoics, good living is symbolized by Hercules’s meeting with the two Goddesses, Arête (Virtue) and Hedone (Pleasure) each of whom offered him a different path in life. Arête offered Hercules an arduous path with much pain, labor and tumult but also a life adorned with true meaning, moral purpose and enduring honor. In contrast, Hedone offered Hercules a pleasurable path of sensual ease, repose and sumptuous living but an existence without lasting significance. Hercules wisely chose Arête and a life of struggle but one defined by righteous action, fidelity, honor and decency.

The second lesson reflects on how a military professional should face his day and draws upon the writings in Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. The latter, composed in the campaign tent in innumerable frontier wars against German barbarians, have an obvious resonance for those in the profession of arms. For the great Roman soldier-emperor, daily moral life is about honorable action irrespective of the circumstances that an individual must face and, to this end, he offers the following sage advice: When you wake up in the morning tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they cannot tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own … And so, none of them can hurt me; no one can implicate me in ugliness.

The third lesson imparts the central tenet of Stoicism, namely knowing what one can control and what one cannot control. It urges the military professional to take to heart Epictetus’s advice to the effect that we always have a choice about the contents and character of our inner lives and that trying to control or to change what we cannot only results in anguish and torment. As Epictetus puts it: the things within our power are naturally at our disposal, free from any restraint or hindrance; but those things outside our power are weak, dependent, or determined by the whims and actions of others.

The fourth lesson deals with how happiness can only be found within and again makes use of Epictetus’s writings—this time in the form of his teaching that freedom is the only worthy goal in life and that “happiness depends on three things, all of which are within your power: your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas”.

The fifth lesson argues that events do not necessarily hurt us but our views of them can. Taking its inspiration from various works of Seneca, Cicero, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, it urges the use of reason to ensure correct perception, since we cannot always choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them. At this point “Captains of the Soul” analyses the Stoic teaching that death is everyone’s fate and should not be unduly feared. As Marcus Aurelius observes, “it is a useful help toward contempt of death to pass in review of those who have tenaciously stuck to life”. The discussion of the Stoic view of death as a natural part of life is reinforced by a recounting of Somerset Maugham’s 1933 fable, “Appointment in Samarra”, about the Arab servant, who in the market of Baghdad encounters the shrouded figure of Death. When Death beckons to him the servant, terror-stricken, entreats his master to lend him a fast horse so that he can ride to Samarra in order to escape his fate. The master agrees and, following the servant’s departure goes down to the market himself. Encountering Death, the master says, “My servant is young and healthy. Why did you beckon to him?” to which Death replies, “I did not beckon. Mine was a gesture of surprise. I did not expect to see him this afternoon in Baghdad, because he and I have an appointment tonight in Samarra.”

The sixth lesson upholds the great Stoic truth that character matters more than reputation. Here “Captains of the Soul” uses Howard Spring’s 1940 novel Fame is the Spur to tell the tale of the rise of an idealistic British working-class politician, Hamer Radshaw, who in pursuit of high office is corrupted, renouncing every principle he ever espoused and every person who ever placed faith in him. Making a cavalry sabre his honour symbol, he gradually allows its blade to lie dormant in its scabbard. At the end of his life, resplendent with accumulated honours and a peerage, he tries to remove the sword but it has rusted in the scabbard—a metaphor for a career in which Bradshaw’s soul has rusted in his body and his moral principles have withered in the face of unrelenting personal ambition.

The seventh lesson is that in the Stoic world, effective leadership and good conduct are always dependent on a conscious decision to renounce self-conceit and arrogance because both inhibit rational thinking. As Epictetus puts it, conceit represents “an iron gate that admits no new knowledge, no expansive possibilities, nor constructive ideas” and leads only to a dishonorable life of self-interest.

The eighth and final lesson in “Captains of the Soul” concerns the question of where the line of goodness may be found in life. Here the emphasis is upon Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous book The Gulag Archipelago, in which the author reaches a Stoic consciousness about the essential individual nature of good and evil and the power of personal revelation. As Solzhenitsyn writes: It was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between classes nor between political parties but right through every human heart, through all human hearts. And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say … ‘Bless you, prison, for having been in my life.

Seven Moral Choices from Stoicism

The second section of “Captains of the Soul” then goes on to deal with seven Stoic moral choices—all drawn from literature and history—that will, in the course of time and experience, face all military professionals.

The first of these choices is about deciding the kind of officer you want to be and is drawn from Anton Myrer’s acclaimed 1968 novel about the American profession of arms between the First World War and the beginnings of Vietnam, Once an Eagle, in which two officer archetypes are contrasted. The first archetype is the dutiful and Stoic Sam Damon, a moral warrior dedicated to pursuing the profession of arms and to the proposition that the real enemy of the soldier is the beast in man. The second archetype is the Epicurean but brilliantly cynical careerist Courtney Massengale, an officer of silken talent and of many social connections, but whose moral compass is as corrupt as that of Oscar Wilde’s Lord Henry Wotton. As Damon and Massengale rise to become rival American generals their careers are brought into stark contrast. Damon is no match for the ambitious Massengale in the Washington political world of the US Army staff which eventually determines success; Massengale, however, cannot match the moral decency and professional military skill of the Stoic Damon. The book becomes a meditation on the moral choices involved in military officership and on the dangers that the Massengales of this world pose to the Damons. Indeed, the book takes its very title from Aeschylus’s lines:

So in the Libyan fable it is told That once an eagle stricken with a dart, Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft, “With our own feathers, not by other’s hands, Are we now smitten.”

The second moral choice highlighted in “Captains of the Soul” deals with how the substance of officership is a choice between a quest for status and a search for achievement. It takes as its model the tempestuous career of a brilliant strategist, US Air Force Colonel John Boyd—a man often called “the American Sun Tzu” following his invention of the famous OODA decision-cycle (observe, orientate, decide, act). Boyd’s career was idealistic, idiosyncratic and intellectual; a triumph of perseverance over adversity, the spirit of which is conveyed in his 1974 “to be or to do” speech delivered to his subordinates in the Pentagon: “There are two career paths in front of you, and you have to choose which path you will follow. One path leads to promotions, titles and positions of distinction. To achieve success down that path, you have to conduct yourself a certain way. You must go along with the system … The other path leads to doing things that are truly significant for the Air Force, but you may have to cross swords with the party line on occasion. You can’t go down both paths, you have to choose. Do you want to be a man of distinction or do you want to do things that really influence the shape of the Air Force? To be or to do, that is the question.”

“Captains of the Soul” then presents the third moral choice: the vital need to resist the corrosive influence of bureaucratization on the Stoic warrior spirit. The true combat officer must always keep his intellect focused on the art of war and not upon bureaucratic politics. The example here is drawn from Emmanuel Wald’s 1992 book, The Decline of Israeli National Security since 1967, in which General Israel Tal describes how bureaucratisation and conformity work to destroy the creative imagination that is fundamental to future generals: Officers at the rank of captain or major, naive and full of youthful enthusiasm, believe they will be judged by their achievements. If these officers do not grasp that it is forbidden to damage bureaucratic harmony they will quickly be dropped from the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] system … If they are able to last in an organisation which, by its very nature, enslaves and constrains the thinker, then they will eventually reach the rank of general. By then, of course, not much can be expected from them in terms of creative thinking.

The fourth moral choice deals with the proposition that no individual can be neutral in a moral crisis, and looks at the 1930s “wilderness years” of Winston Churchill when, with Stoic grandeur, he waged a lonely crusade, warning the British people about the mortal threat that growing Nazi power posed to Western civilisation. Churchill’s book The Gathering Storm is instructive, for in this volume of his history of the Second World War, the great statesman writes of the danger of a moral compromise contrived through appeasement with evil, observing: it is my purpose as one who lived and acted in those days … to show how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous, how the councils of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger … and how the middle course, adopted from desires for safety and a quiet life, may be found to lead direct to the bull’s-eye of disaster.

The fifth choice in “Captains of the Soul” revolves around the necessity for a military professional always to make the best of adversity. As Douglas MacArthur once pointed out, suffering is one of the combat soldier’s closest companions. In this respect, the anonymous Soldier’s Prayer from the American Civil War, a prayer that was found scraped on the walls of the dreaded Confederate military prison, Andersonville, by Union troops in 1865, repays reading as a Stoic testament:

We asked for strength that we might achieve; God made us weak that we might obey. We asked for health that we might do great things; He gave us infirmity that we might do better things. We asked for riches that we might be happy; We were given poverty that we might be wise. We asked for power that we might have the praise of men; We were given weakness that we might feel the need of God. We asked for all things that we might enjoy life; We were given life that we might enjoy all things. We received nothing that we asked for But all that we hoped for And our prayers were answered. We were most blessed.

The sixth moral choice is about the terrible price that may be required when choosing to act out of conscience and principle. This section of “Captains of the Soul” explores the moral decision-making of those German Army officers who joined the abortive July 20, 1944, plot to kill Hitler, as recounted in such books as Sir John Wheeler-Bennett’s The Nemesis of Power: The German Army in Politics, 1918–1945 and Joachim Fest’s Plotting to Kill Hitler: The German Resistance to Hitler, 1933–1945. The focus is on the actions of Brigadier General Henning von Tresckow who, along with Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, was the noblest spirit behind the 1944 conspiracy. The two men viewed Hitler as the arch-enemy of both Germany and the world. Following the failure of the assassination attempt, von Tresckow prepared to commit suicide with a grenade in order to deny the SS the opportunity to torture him to reveal the names of other conspirators. As this young general, a devout and cultured German patriot, left his headquarters to take his own life, he turned to his adjutant and said with Stoic poignancy: When, in a few hours, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify in good conscience what I did in the struggle against Hitler. God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found and I hope God will not destroy Germany. None of us can bewail his own death; those who consented to join our circle put on the robe of Nessus. A human being’s moral integrity begins when he is prepared to sacrifice his life for his convictions.

The seventh and final moral choice in “Captains of the Soul” concerns the nature of courage as a conscious choice to submit oneself to the spirit of endurance and is drawn from the 1959 book Man’s Search for Meaning, by the Austrian humanist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, and from the writing of the distinguished American war correspondent and novelist Glendon Swarthout. Frankl reminds us, in true Stoic tradition, that every individual facing danger and adversity has at his disposal the key to courageous endurance in the form of “the last of human freedoms�only at the sacrifice of his own life. His journey has seen him discover the reservoirs of an enduring bravery that he feared he did not possess, and allows him to fulfil a sworn duty to five apparently courageous, but in reality morally unworthy comrades.

UPDATE: Winter is Coming! – Time to Make Sure Your Rifle is Prepared

Originally posted 13 Dec 13; follow up re-post on 30 Nov 15 and then again on 4 Nov 2016.

And now again, FOUR YEARS LATER!   Why?  This is a subject worth reviewing every single year, ‘lest we forget’ and find out the hard way.

It’s that time again.  Contrary to what some say, your rifle (and your sidearm AND your magazines) needs to be prepared not only for hot weather, but for cold weather also.  It’s not that difficult or time consuming to do, and the dividends will be superb, in that the rifle, pistol, and mags will work when you need them.

Make sure you strip your the rifle and/or pistol; disassemble the magazines, and wipe off any excess lube (grease) or oil so that only a slight film remains.  The reason is simple:  In very, very cold temperatures, excess lube or oil can freeze and cause a malfunction when you need your rifle, pistol or magazine to function flawlessly most.  Virtually dry weapons and magzaines are happy in the winter.

If you’re the “maintenance averse” type of person, and you’re shooting an AR platform, consider the ‘Fail Zero’ Bolt Carrier Group, which can be found here:


Here’s the product description from their site:

“This Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) comes fully assembled and ready to drop into most mil spec M16, M4 or AR15 upper receivers.  All critical parts are coated with EXO Nickel Boron technology that provides permanent dry lubricity, extreme durability and increases both wear and corrosion resistance.  Our patented Nickel Boron coating will reduce friction and improve the overall performance of your rifle.

Nickel Boron treated parts include:

  • Bolt & Extractor (5.56/.223 compatible)
  • Bolt Carrier
  • Extractor
  • Cam Pin
  • Carrier Key
  • Firing Pin”

DTG staff have been using these for well over a 2  8 years now, and they perform flawlessly in hot, warm, cool, or cold weather.  They’re spendy at $230 each, price has come down quite a bit at $159 for a complete FA or Semi BCG, and you’re certainly getting a deal but, and as with everything else, you get what you pay for.  Snap one or two up while you can, especially in light of the precipice society stands on the brink of…

If you’re not a 5.56 fan, check out their offerings for other calibers in the AR family.

When I do add lubrication in the winter (which is rarely), all I use is Gunzilla on both the upper and the BCG when cleaning, leaving a light coating when finished (meaning wiped off almost completely).  My bottom line? It works first time, every time, and I don’t need to carry a gallon of CLP in my gear when not operating in winter.  A side note on Gunzilla is that it is are superb rust inhibitors.  So much so that we coat our knife blades and tomahawk edges with it as well.

Once your rifle has been winterized, make sure you go to the range and confirm your zero on a very, very cold day and note the change in point of impact between temperature ranges.  You will most likely have to adjust your length of pull, depending on the outer garments you’re wearing.

For those of you who have M1A type rifles, make sure you wipe all the grease out of the bolt raceways and off the top of the hammer, the top of the inside of the receiver, the bolt lug (you can leave the bolt roller alone, though) and generally leave only a very, very light coating.  It would also behoove you to clean the gas tube and piston.

Let us know in the comments other things you do to winterize your platform or winter shooting tips.

Re-Post – Because this Reference is Essential!! Available for Order Now! Jack Lawson’s “Civil Defense Manual, Volumes 1 & 2

You’ve got yours and a spare, right?

Times being what they are, this is your opportunity to hedge against the on-coming communist ‘purge’ of the USA.

This is your ‘go to’ manual for protecting your community and training your neighbors! I think these are going to go like hot cakes – so order yours today!!

Order here.  Make SURE you check out the table of contents!!

The definitive guide to preparedness and civil defense for homes and neighborhoods.  Two volumes comprising 950 pages of detailed information from authoritative sources.

Jack Lawson, pseudonym of the writer, served in the United States Air Force as a missile guidance and SAFO nuclear arming controls electronics technician and was later a member of a Foreign Legion rapid response anti-terrorist unit during an anti-Communist guerilla war in Africa.

He was trained by British Commonwealth SAS and Israeli commando instructors and took part in counter insurgency operations and commando raids on Communist training camps in a number of African countries. While there he became a bodyguard for a farmer’s cooperative association in his off-duty time.

Jack is an Honorary Member of a U.S. Army Special Forces Association Chapter and for seven years served on one of the largest metropolitan police department Review Boards in the country. As a member of that Review Board, he judged the justification of Officer Involved Shootings and use of deadly force incidents.

He was also a consultant to the Officer in charge of the United States Marine Corps evaluation of Fire Force procedures for heliborne vertical envelopment anti-terrorist tactics.

Pre-Election Ordering Lull

If you think ammo, magazines, AR’s and pistols are hard to get now, wait until after the election!  Especially if Biden wins.  Should President Trump be re-elected, the threats from the Left (all lumped together as they’re all one degree of communist or another), the last of the ‘late sleepers’ and ‘OH CRAP! I don’t have enough _________________ (fill in the blank) are going to descent like locusts on the current stores which are just now making a comeback.

If there’s anything you really think you need, today would be the time to order.  Not tomorrow, today.  Weekends give people time to think and reflect….and then panic about buying things.

No complaining when on November 4th, you decide you want a couple cases of ammo and there’s NONE to be had…..just sayin’…..

Beretta OEM 17 round magazines are $24 each on gunbroker.

Glock 19, 17 and 21 magazines range from $12 (Magpul 15 rd – G19). $15 (Magpul 17rd – G17), and $20 for a Glock factory 13rd magazine.

AR mags – Palmetto has them for $11.99 – D&H Aluminum.  Don’t know about the free shipping threshold.  Usually it’s $100, so take it from there.

I know as of yesterday, had IMI 62gr M855 for .66 per round in 500 round cases, limited to 2 per purchase.  Just checked them at 1045L EDT, and they still have some.  You might want to check it out.

So, the panic hasn’t started just yet – good opportunity to get a few extra magazines – remember, they’re expendable, and without a good mag, you’ve got a single shot pistol, or a nice paperweight.

And while you’re relaxing this weekend, you may wish to duplex a few magazines following Bracken’s advice/example if you haven’t already done so.

The above is GREAT for carrying an extra 6 pistol mags.  Very discreet under your jacket; you can also release the cover and use the hook and loop to secure the magazines if you wish.   6 extra mags just gives one peace of mind.

Get your supplies while the getting is good.

Election Day T-9 Checklist Status

High Alert Double Check Label

In the run up to and after the election, there have been many predictions of, and promises by the Left to commit acts of extreme violence on US suburbs, towns, villages, and citizens who vote for President Trump.

In that light, here’s a few things you might want to do in case things get a little tense:

  • Top off your vehicle’s and generator’s fuel tanks.
  • Top off your pantry and stored water supply.
  • Check all your defense tools for proper function; same with mags.
  • Load extra mags; include in ‘get home bag.’
  • Check to make sure you have your local AO maps in your ‘get home bag.’
  • For cross country/map, make sure you have 2 compasses that read the same when placed near each other (one main/one spare).
  • Check and replace batteries on all such powered equipment such as:  Head lamps, radios (scanning, listening, and transmitting), optics and flashlights in the house.
  • Check your temporary heat source producing items for fuel (both electric and propane) and function.
  • Review emergency egress plans out of your house with your family in case of close up trouble.
  • Check fire extinguishers (one of the big threats is to burn down people’s homes).

I’m sure you can add more, but you get the idea.  Doing these things now will provide peace of mind the minute something goes down near you.

Last Window of Opportunity to Prep for November…

H/T Wirecutter.

For all of your friends and families stuck in a Hamster Wheel called, ‘The Normalcy Bias’, this is really the last 2 weeks of ‘normal’ if the Left does go ‘high and right.’  Certainly this is not an ‘in stone’ list, but it’s a start, and can easily be modified based on the AO and circumstances.

For your friends/family/acquaintances that come screaming when it hits the fan, you can say, “Hey, you were warned a LOT!” and then give them a sandwich and send them on their way with instructions not to return until the crisis is over.  Cold?  No.  Practical?  Yes.  I’m betting you don’t have enough supplies to take care of the steady stream of relatives who aren’t prepped and your family as well.

As with everything, YMMV.

How to get a head start on preparing for post-election civil unrest

Only fourteen days until America’s watershed election. Some of you may be concerned that your family has not made adequate preparations for the probable civil unrest ahead.  Not to worry: here are some bare-bones suggestion that will ensure that you and your loved ones will have the basics needed for some short-term supply chain shortages.

These are suggestions that I have personally purchased for my family and our extended family.

Shop for these items at three or four different stores.  You don’t want folks to notice two or three shopping carts overflowing with obvious prep supplies.  It’s time to stay under the radar.

Water is life.  Have on hand two gallons of water a day per person for 14 days.  Do this first.

Here are the “must have” items that you will need before November 3.

  • A two-month supply of your prescription medications and your over-the counter medications.
  • 20 AA and 20 AAA batteries.
  • Two good flashlights per person plus extra batteries
  • 20 Bic lighters.
  • 25 candles. 
  • Two portable radios plus extra batteries
  • 3 rolls of Duck Tape
  • 2 extra tarps.
  • 200 feet of 550 lb. paracord.
  • An everyday carry knife for each person
  • A professional bleed/trauma first aid kit
  • 2–3 bottles unscented household bleach

This week, fill up your vehicles with gas, and don’t let them go under three fourths full.  Check the spare tire and buy a couple quarts of oil.  Also fill up your propane tanks.

Check to see that your cell phones’ OS and your cell phone apps are updated.

Make two copies of all your important documents and send the copies to family or friends out of state for safekeeping.

For this food section, I have attempted to generally balance the total calories — 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fats.  Your mileage may vary.  Buy items that you like to eat already; avoid items that you have never tried.

Rice: 25 pounds total            

Dried Black Beans: 1- 4- or 5-pound bag

Dried Pinto Beans: 1- 4- or 5-pound bag

Dried Garbanzo Beans: 1- 4- or 5-pound bag

Dried Kidney Beans: 1- 4- or 5-pound bag

Dried Lentils: 1- 4- or 5-pound bag

All Purpose Flour (unbleached): 1- 10-pound bag per person

Yeast: 2 ounces per person

Rolled Oats: 10 pounds

Corn Bread Mix: 4 packages

Muffin Mix: 4 packages

Canned Tuna: 60 oz. total

Canned Pink Salmon: 36 oz. total

Spam or Beef Stew: 12 cans

Chili and Beans: 12 cans

Powdered Milk: 4 cups reconstituted per day per person

Powdered Hot Cocoa Mix: 2 cups reconstituted per day per person

Olive Oil: 1- 51 oz. bottle

Canola Oil: 1- 48 oz. bottle

Mayonnaise: 2- 20 oz. jars

Peanut Butter: 2- 48 oz. jars

Jam/Jelly/Honey: 3–4 large jars

Salt: 1- 26 oz. Morton Salt

Brown Sugar: 1- 32 oz. envelope

White Sugar: 1- 4- or 5-pound bag

Assorted Nuts: 1- 2.5 pound jar

Families will need to supplement this list with fresh protein, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit as available.  You could also add canned fruit, canned vegetables, coffee, tea, crackers, coffee creamer, condiments, chocolate, and spices to this shopping list, budget willing.  With the above items you can bake bread, make tortillas with rice and beans, PB&Js and tuna sandwiches, and have some milk with every meal.

If there is only minor civil unrest, and the post-election transition is a relatively smooth process, you may choose to keep these food items for an additional six months as insurance against earthquakes or floods.  You may then decide to either slowly incorporate them into your weekly menus or donate some of these items to your local food bank.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with having enough water in your canteen…”


You don’t want to get there when the shelves look like this….

Grocery stores in Chicago are in crisis - Business Insider

Jack Lawson Interview on “Civil Defense Manual”

H/T to Matt Bracken on Gab.  Great Interview!!

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Go here and get your copies!  Yes, COPIES!  Two volumes, 930 pages. Best $100 you’ll spend!!


Apropos of Nothing Whatsoever….

Y’all got yerselves an ammo rationing plan worked out, right? You know, so you can intersperse live fire with dry fire while not putting a huge dent in your supply? As we know, shooting is a perishable skill, so while we do our dry fire, disassembly/reassembly drills, parts inspection, and other light maintenance, we need to work out a way where we get live fire in as well.

One way, with an AR, is to shoot a 22 adapter. Lots lets expensive, and it puts lead down range, albeit not a lot of lead, but still, it’s fun, and is a solid way to train noobs on marksmanship fundamentals….