October 23, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Finding Like Minded People To Group With

From the beginning of time, humans have sought out each other to form community. “God did not make man to be alone”, “there is safety in numbers”, “it takes a village to raise a child” and countless other adages, quips, sayings and so forth exist about this topic. They all boil down to the same core point; we need other people for protection, to provide the things that we are unable to provide and for comradery just to name a few.

The goal of this article is to take a look at why you may want to consider forming a group, how we can find some likeminded people now, some things to consider before opening up your group to others, and some governing principles you may want to consider.
 
 
The Myth of Self-Reliance

While I think being self-reliant is a noble goal and that we should strive to be as self-sufficient and self-reliant as we can be, it is my belief that it is impossible to be truly independent of anyone else for all but the extremely wealthy.

Consider every item you’ve purchased over the last year; clothing, food, energy, paper goods, gasoline, self-defense items, entertainment. How many of those things did you have to rely on someone else to provide?

If someone owns acreage with a large garden, fruit trees and livestock and can grow all the food needed to feed themselves and their livestock, they have some of the biggest issues solved. Say they have enough solar panels to provide for all of their electricity and wood for heat. You might correctly assume that they are self-reliant.

Are they able to provide all of the labor needed to manage that property? How will they provide clothing? What if they need medical attention? Pay for taxes? All of these things mean they need to depend on others. If they produce a surplus from their land, both in terms of livestock and crops, they could sell that surplus to pay for some of these things, but then they would be dependent on people to purchase from them.
 
 
Where, oh Where, Oh Where Can They Be?

I am frequently asked, “where can one find likeminded people nearby, to get to know and possibly form a group with?” Here is every idea I have! I am hoping others add to it in the comment section.

Here is the most realistic answer, and one you might not like; your backyard. Through my church, I have been blessed to meet several other prepper’s, some of whom I’ve become close friends with. However, my church is 20 miles away and some of those close friends live even further than that! In a major survival event, the chances that we’ll be able to group up are low.

I’m not completely discounting the idea of forming long distance MAG’s (Mutual Aid Group). However, in the majority of small to medium scenarios, those that live near you, while possibly not as likeminded as we would prefer, are far more available.

Take these recent riots in Ferguson, MO. If one lived in Ferguson, they could have talked with their neighbors and agreed to watch over each other’s property. They could be from completely different political spectrums, but in that situation, an agreement could probably have been made for added vigilance. Now they might frown on what your response is if thugs try getting into one of your homes, but you don’t have to agree on every aspect to agree to look out for each other and keep each other alerted.

How can you introduce the subject of preparedness or an agreement to have each other’s backs? As with anytime you talk to others about preparedness, speak in generalities and don’t let on to how prepared you are.

This isn’t a one size fits all question. If you don’t know your neighbors well, consider getting to know them first. You might find out they are not the kind of people you want to be grouped with, or you might find they are the perfect prepping neighbor!

Social media isn’t going away, and it can be a great tool. You could create a facebook group and invite all of your neighbors. There is, however, an alternative, specifically created for this called Nextdoor.com. It is a social networking site for neighbors; you can find out more Nextdoor.com here.

Another way you could build relationships within your community is by having a block party/potluck. Everyone could bring a different side dish and their own main dish and you could grill.

One solid way to gauge someone’s level of interest or acceptance of prepping is through gardening, sharing your extra produce. Conversations about the extra veggies can lead to the reasons you grow them, which can lead to conversations on preserving, which can lead to conversations on having some extra food around. While they might not have a garden, you could offer to teach them how to can, freeze and otherwise store veggies they might buy at the local farmers market.

You could gauge someone’s willingness for an agreement to watch each other’s backs by their interest in a neighborhood watch. You could provide the neighborhood crime statistics from the local police department. If people aren’t interested, you’ve planted a seed. If things start to fall apart, they’ll probably be much more interested, and you’ve already laid the groundwork.
 
 
What Kind of People Should You Group With?

I think you should group with people that are as likeminded as possible. You might think I would say only Christian, but I have met some great non-believers, and have met some Christians that I don’t care to spend another minute with this side of heaven. To be ideal for me, it would be a group of preparedness-minded believers in Christ, because I think that could have a lot of upside. More on this later.

There are preppers from all walks of life. There are extremists from both sides of the spectrum. There are actually the stereotypical Rambo-wannabe-survivalists, and there are pot growing, tree hugging hippies. To me the term “Preppers” means anyone who prepares. So, if you’re forming a group or looking to join one, make sure they are truly your type of preppers.
 
 
Not In Your Area

Let’s say that you, for whatever reason, really want to look for people outside of your neighborhood to group up with. If you’re seeking them out online, you’ve probably already determined they are at least preparedness-minded. If they’re smart, they won’t divulge how well prepared and neither will you. I, personally, would be hesitant to trust someone who is a completely open book unless they’ve got a good reason to be. If you’re looking to join with them, anyone else they’ve been an open book with is now a liability to you. On the other hand, someone who is vague and cannot or will not answer direct questions that don’t reveal their complete level of preparedness should raise some concern as well.

I suppose there are different reasons to look for someone to join with that lives outside of one’s area. For the sake of this article, my reason is to have a remote bug out location. Before I would consider meeting in person, I would get to know them as best as I could online. If you meet on a forum, search through their old forum posts. If you meet on facebook, look through their old postings. Spend some time getting to know them via email.

Before you go in person, make sure their situation is what they claim it to be. If you have the address, doing a satellite map search will show you the approximate terrain but won’t show you the exact boundaries of the land they own. If they claimed it to be on a lake and the lake is five miles away, that would be a hint that something isn’t right.

Here are some resources I have found that can aid in finding likeminded people. I am not endorsing any of them, and if you decide to use them, please use caution.

ArkHaven Ministries: Acts Model Christian Community.

PrepperLink: Social media outlet for preppers.

AbleHaven: Social network for wandering families.

PrepperGroups.com Blog and forum

American Preppers Network One of the largest forums with the goals of connecting people in your area.

Meet Up Not just for prepping, but a great way to connect with those near you interested in various topics.

Other ways to connect with prepper’s is by conversation on facebook and twitter. I haven’t been a regular to any forums in years but I know there are some very high quality ones out there.

If you have a suggestion please post it in the comment or via email to Chris {at} preparedchristian [dot] net and I will add it to this list.
 
 
Interview Potential Members

I would really treat a meeting with potential group members as a job interview. You don’t need to know how many beans they’ve got but knowing what got them interested, when they started, if their family is on board, what they would do if money was no object are pertinent questions. Ask questions about them and their preparedness journey; how they handle conflict, what benefits they see in a group, what potential conflicts they might see, etc. Ask questions that matter to your group. If you think it is important that every child learn to shoot and every adult carries a firearm, you might want to see if that is a problem as well.

My all-time favorite prepper fiction book is Lights Out. I think this is probably the most realistic depiction of how things would unfold in a large scale event. One of the things I liked is that the group of neighbors in Lights Out have limited space but realize they need to bring in other people. They decide to bring in people that complement their skills sets.

If you decide to form a group with others, it might be a good idea to do the same. If you’re an avid hunter with all the gear one could possibly need but have no idea how to grow a carrot, someone with gardening experience might be a good idea. More than a few people have contacted me or written a comment that they would really like to join a group. The best advice I can give you is to know various skills.

Your physical condition and the equipment you bring to the table could matter. If things go sideways and I form a group, if an elderly person who has gardened all their life and knows what will grow in this area, how to propagate, how to store excess, etc. is looking to join, in my opinion, they are just as valuable as a 25 year old man who is in great shape and is willing to work. I’m simplifying this because it would really depend on what holes my group had but you get the idea.
 
 
Leadership and Conflict Resolution

If your group consists of more than a couple families, coming up with some form of leadership might be a good idea. I mentioned before that in my ideal group it would be like minded Christian preppers and I would add “that I get along with”. The reason for this is that we are given a leadership model in the book of Act’s; a group of people chosen to be the head, all looking to Christ for Guidance. Acts doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the workings of this group but I would imagine they spent time together to discuss important topics, each giving their take on the subject. I imagine they prayed together, seeking Gods will on important topics. We’re told they rolled bones to decide who would join as a Disciple; this tells me that even they had a hard time now and then knowing His will. We’re also told they delegated some lower responsibilities to other trusted people.

We’re given a good guide as to what the standard should be for the leadership council. To me, the same standards suggested for an Elder in 1st Timothy 3:2-7 and Acts 6:3 make good sense;

“So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.

He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.

He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.

For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.

Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.”

Act’s 6:3

“And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.”

I don’t know that I would say being a man was a qualification, but I think the same standards should apply to women who want to be in the leadership role.

If your group is formed the group decides who will be in charge, I would make sure there is a contract of sorts in place; something that places some checks and balances on the leader and offers protection to everyone.

I think that no matter what leadership route you take, a contract is a good idea. On it, have an agreement that no one will sue anyone for any reason; deal with your strife internally.

Jesus gave us the model for this in Mathew 18:15-17:

”If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Even if you join with a group not using a Christian model, deal with your “stuff” internally. If someone wrongs you and refuses to make it right, there is mediation. If they break the law and we are living in a time where the rule of law stands, have them arrested. If we are WROL, take it to the leadership head and deal with it internally.

I hope I have been able to give you some things to consider and some resources to use to find others. If you have any, please add them to the comments.

 
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Protecting Your Neighborhood

Protecting Your Neighborhood

There were a couple of comments to a recent article about how to handle guard duty. This is something I have given some thought to, so I thought I would share it with you. There was some talk of how things have been handled in various prepper fiction books. I enjoy them and have gotten several ideas from them, but on this topic many of them are just that, fiction.

Let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you’re probably someone who is in tune with the fragility of the systems holding society together. This lends to you probably being apt to see things going sideways sooner than many, which probably means you’ll not find many people willing to help keep watch, at least in the beginning. Many of the prepper fiction books also have a force that repels Joe and his merry band of Dirtbags. You’ll also probably have few people who know how to stand watch, or who have the gear to do so.

These challenges don’t mean that we shouldn’t try. It just means we need to take an honest look at what is actually possible with where things are now and what the actual potential of our circumstances are.

 
Neighborhood Watch

Any neighborhood can start a neighborhood watch now. I think these are often made up of people who are open minded, knowing that bad things can happen near them. These are the people who will probably be the most willing to agree to stand watch or participate in guard duty when things go bad. There are several websites that can help you get started with a watch. Police departments are often willing to come and speak to your group as well.
 

Guard Duty or Standing Watch

I believe these are two different things. To me guard duty is someone armed to defend a position and watch duty is someone who keeps watch for danger and reports it. I think we would all like to have a mix of both but the truth is, the best we might be able to do is get a neighbor or two to join us in keeping watch and reporting anything hinky to the other families who’ve joined in keeping watch.

 
Guard Duty

A posted guard is a visible deterrent. In a short term situation, a guard post could be a car parked sideways blocking the flow of traffic. This gives the guard or guard’s concealment and a little cover behind the engine block. If a guard is posted to prevent passage of people into your neighborhood, they should only let people through who can have someone from inside the neighborhood come to the guard post and vouch for them.

I would have to place three of these types of positions in a “T” formation to limit traffic for a few blocks. As you can guess, this could limit the flow of traffic but would take between three and six vehicles, and people to guard each location. I would not just put this type of guard post up on my own. I would get a consensus with others in the neighborhood first.

In a prolonged situation, it might be a good idea to have a hardened location to offer more cover. This could be done by removing the tires from the vehicles, and filling the cars with dirt. The tires could then be used to build berms filled with dirt in other locations.
 
Standing Watch

As I said above, to me, a watch is just that; someone who watches. There are a few different types of watches. A posted watch is someone who is in a set location and reports activity. A roving watch is either someone who roams between posted watches, or just walks a set path.

It is very possible that in the beginning of a situation, there will not be much interest in having a neighborhood watch. It might just be you and your spouse taking turns in case the need to defend your home or bug out arises.

A person on watch generally doesn’t want to bring attention to their position. Therefore, keep sound and light discipline. Don’t have anything that smells different than what is expected. For instance if you are cold and drink a hot cup of cider, the smell can give you away. Light from a flashlight can help you see but is also a dead giveaway of your location. If you use a red lens or color a clear lens with a red marker, it doesn’t provide quite as much light, but is much harder to see at a distance. It also has the benefit of not taking away your natural night vision.

A roving watch can obviously be more visible. They can be used to keep an eye out for things going on between locations. They can also be relief for posted watches who need to take a break.

 
Reality

The reality is, your watch might just be you and your spouse or maybe another family or two. If it’s just you and your spouse, keep watches to 4 or so hours. If there are more families, rotate the watches to give people an uninterrupted night sleep as often as possible.

While we don’t want to be forced to flee, the goal of having a watch posted might be to give enough time for you to do so safely without engaging an armed force. Because of this, have a fallback plan in place, a designated place where people should meet if needed.

 
Ideally

I think the more time that passes by, or the worse things get, the more people will open their eyes and be willing to join in the watch. When this happens, consider using the buddy system. Each guard post has multiple people, as well as the roving watch.

A command center stocked with coffee or other caffeinated beverages to assist the sleepy and help those taking a break refresh is a good idea as well. This could be the garage of someone in a central location.

If you have this many people, there should be training on how to stand a watch and on firearms if they’ll be carrying them.

 
Communications

You’ve probably seen the FRS radios that advertise 30+ miles, which is only in a flat open area. The real range in the average suburban house is probably closer to a mile or two, and even then things can be static. A second option might be DB, which would be more than sufficient in these ranges, but is more expensive. Yet another option would be MURS radio. These also have motion sensors, which can trigger an alarm at the base of the radio. None of these options require a permit to operate.
One idea I’ve come up with is using air horns for alarms. If you have three guard posts, define them one, two and three. If a situation develops at a guard post, they could let one blast for post one, two for the second post and so on. This could let everyone know there is a situation and where.
 
Rules of Engagement

The rules of what to do in various situations should be clear. If it’s just your family, you might want the person on watch to simply wake everyone else. If you have a guard posted at an entrance into your neighborhood, it should be clearly defined what to do when people demand that you let them in, as well as what to do when someone brandishes a firearm or makes threats.
 

Gear

You’re just not going to have enough gear for everyone. You can buy some extra affordable items now. You’ll need to make a judgment call if you share your firearms with others who stand guard duty or a watch.

I recommend having some less than lethal options available. You can buy a large can of pepper spray that is meant to deal with crowds. I’ve seen paint balls adapted to shoot pepper spray as well.

 
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Communicating During an Emergency

Today’s article was guest written by Lee Flynn.

 

Communicating During an Emergency

Whether it is a big natural disaster, or a terrorist attack, or even something that is not of national significance, the chances are that we will all face some kind of serious emergency at some point in our lifetimes. And in recent years, it seems as though such occurrences are becoming more and more likely. One of the biggest problems that people face, when hit with such emergencies, is that it becomes difficult to contact the people who they love. Whenever there is a disaster, such as the tornado in Oklahoma, or the bombings at the Boston marathon, cell phone service is often jammed, due to the sheer amount of people who are trying to contact their loved ones. And that is if you are lucky enough to even have a phone still intact, with which you can call people. For this reason, there are special preparations that need to be made in the case of an emergency. Here is a guide to communicating during an emergency.

 

General Tips

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put together some guidelines to follow when trying to communicate during an emergency. Some of the most important tips are as follows:

  • Limit your phone calls, especially non-emergency ones, to free up space on the network and conserve battery power.
  • When you do call, keep it brief.
  • Try texting rather than calling, you may find that it goes through more easily.
  • Try other messaging services, such as email.
  • Keep your phone well charged, and keep back-up batteries if necessary.
  • Try to stay in the same place while you are placing a phone call.
  • Listen for emergency alerts on a radio if the power is out.
  • Designate a person who is out of the area to be your family’s emergency contact, so that everyone in your family knows who to contact should you get separated.

 

Making Emergency Calls

You may be injured, trapped, or witness other kinds of emergencies that require assistance from emergency services. The FCC also has instructions for making such phone calls. Some suggestions include having a backup form of communication in case the power is out, and listening for emergency alerts on the radio and on television. It also offers instructions for calling 911 in emergency situations. Authorities often learn about big emergencies through 911 calls, so don’t hesitate to call, even if you think that many other people might be doing the same.

 

Make a Plan

The Federal Emergency Management Association also offers emergency preparation advice, through its website ready.gov. On here, they stress the importance of making a plan that all of your family can learn and follow. This includes an emergency communication plan, and a meeting point for if you get separated. This should allow for emergencies that may occur when you are all at home, as well as emergencies that might happen when you are in different places, such as school, work, daycare, sporting events, commuting, or faith organizations. Ready.gov has a downloadable plan on its website, and recommends that you send it to all of your family and friends, keep a copy in your car and with your food storage, and practice a few times until you all know it well.

 
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Nine Meals from Anarchy; a Food Stamp Melt Down

Nine Meals from Anarchy; a Food Stamp Melt Down

“Nine Meals from Anarchy” is an expression coined by Lord Cameron of Dillington, a farmer from England who was speaking about Britain’s food supply. I believe he is absolutely correct! In modern society when the populace hasn’t eaten, whether because there was no food or it was too expensive for them to buy, civil unrest ensues.

Disclaimer: I don’t touch on politics often and sometimes get complaints when I do. I am going to get into politics today as I believe our governmental practices could have a direct impact on the populace. If you disagree, that’s fine, but keep the discussion civil please. I will tie this back into preparedness.

Over the weekend there was a problem with the EBT (think food stamps) system that was not showing the amount allowed to spend, thus leading to allowing unlimited purchases. Once discovered, the EBT system was temporarily brought down. There were two Walmart’s in Louisiana that decided to let people make purchases anyway. This resulted in crowds so large that one Police Chief said the store was so packed, it was worse than any black Friday. Many shelves were stripped bare. Once the system came up, it was obviously discovered that people were abusing the system. There were other stores that didn’t allow purchases to be made and many shoppers took to social media threatening to riot.

Civil unrest related to food is nothing new. Many of you will remember the world-wide food riots in 2008, but we can go all the way back to Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793). She was the queen of France who said “Well, let them eat cake,” when told that her people did not have bread to eat.
 
 
What is the Real Problem?

The problem is so much bigger than a computer glitch and the temporary shutdown of the EBT system. It is my opinion that we have a large portion of the population that has become takers. We have over 47,000,000 people on food stamps, which is over 1/6th of our population. These are people who CANNOT feed themselves without government assistance. I have no problem with people who have fallen on hard times and need the assistance. My parents had to use it when I was a child, welfare and food stamps are the only reason we were able to eat at times.

Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of people who are cheating the system. With a quick internet search you can find ways to game the system and claim benefits that they should just not have. There are also people who live off of government assistance as a way of life, instead of assistance during a rough time.
 
 
Cloward-Piven Strategy

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were professors at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Their strategy was to overload the American welfare system by having it be so large that it would lead to a crisis that would put an end to the welfare system, replacing it with a socialist guaranteed annual income. These radicals and others like them have ties to and are friends with President Obama.

We now we have over 47 million people collecting food stamps, over 12 million on welfare and roughly 5.5 million collecting unemployment. Government handing out “Obama phones”, giving subsidies for childcare to people who are not working and on and on. With the policies of this President, we are approaching that tipping point faster than ever before.
 
 
EBT Being Defunded?

On 10-15-2013 I got an alert from AlertsUSA that said:

“USDA: States told to withhold foodstamp / EBT payments for Nov due to funding lapse. If directive holds expect dangerous societal impact, partic in urban areas.”

Since I had planned on publishing this article today, I asked my contact if he has any more info. He sent me the following link; Foodstamp Program Shutdown Imminent? The article is worth reading and the video from a local Utah Newscast is worth watching. For those with limited time, I’ll summarize.

The Crossroads Urban Center in Utah obtained a memo from the USDA (the memo can be seen by following the link). Among other things, the memo states:

“understanding the operational issues and constraints that States face, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing States to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to State electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”

Essentially, because of the government shutdown, the USDA is recommending that states not fund the food stamps systems.

With this in mind, remember what I said about Cloward and Piven. It makes a person wonder if the government shutdown isn’t just a means to an end.
 
 
What Does This Mean for You?

There have been a few hiccups related to food stamps in the last few years, as well as threats of rioting. Violence, in varying degrees, has broken out each time. What kept these threats and minor violence from breaking into utter chaos and anarchy? Nine meals.

When people who have been led to believe that their government owes them money for food, rent, childcare, cell phones and other related things, and that money is either reduced, or doesn’t come for a week or two, watch out! This is purely speculation on my part, but I believe that this could lead to widespread rioting and looting after just after a few days. If you live in an area with even a moderate percentage of the population on the government teat, pay attention to stories like this in your area and have a bug out plan.

I firmly believe that a prepper should guard the fact that they prepare, as well as what they have in their preps. I have no problems if hard times fall and you feel compelled to share with others, but as I have previously written, Jesus told us to give in secret. This way, if you feel God leading you to share, you can, but it honors God and not you.

 
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Introducing the Prepared Christian Forum

I am happy to announce the Prepared Christian Forum!  Here are a few quick announcements about it.

I pray that God builds this into a community of Prepared Christians helping one another on our preparedness journey.  I have a pretty extensive forum list.  If you see something I missed, please let me know in the Tech Support forum.

In an effort to keep the spammers at bay, I am requiring all applicants to verify their account by clicking a link that is emailed to them.  Their account will then be placed into a pool waiting for me to activate.  For now, I am the only administrator.  I will be activating accounts as fast as I can, but please be patient if I don’t get to it right away.  If your account has not been activated in 24 hours, you can email me and I will look into it.   My email is chris @ preparedchristian.net

 

Forum Rules

Here are the forum rules.  They are also posted in the forum.  I want this forum to be a family friendly place.  I don’t foresee many problems.  I also don’t think that just because this is a Christian-themed forum, we’re all going to get along perfectly.  All I ask is that you treat one another with respect, and remember that we serve the same King and are accountable to Him.

  1. While I do believe and support freedom of speech, comments made on this forum are not subject to it. This is a privately owned forum, owned by a Christian man with family values. This does not mean that you must be a Christian to comment. However, your comments must be suitable for a family audience. If there is anything posted that I believe is not in line with that, I will remove it at my discretion.
  2. Posts, usernames and/or signatures may not include any offensive or derogatory content.
  3. Profanity is not allowed and profanity filters are in place.
  4. As this is a Christian based forum, discussion of Christianity and the Bible are allowed.  However, this site isn’t denominational.  It’s about preparing the body of Christ, not arguing over who is in it.   Bashing of denominations will not be tolerated.
  5. Discussion of politics is not allowed.  However, you are allowed to discuss specific actions by Politian’s and/or legislation that may relate to preparedness or that may threaten liberty.
  6. Racism is not allowed.  I understand there might be times when there is a need to discuss ethnic groups.  When doing so, do so without being derogatory or racist.
  7. Posted pictures must be rated no higher than PG.  Anything that shows more flesh than that will be removed.  If you continually post inappropriate pictures after being given a warning, you will be banned.
  8. Posting pictures that are of a gory or violent nature should be rated no higher than PG as well.
  9. Discussion or advocacy of illegal activity is not allowed.
  10. Attacking another poster is not allowed.  You can strongly disagree with one another, but model Christ’s behavior and do so in love. You can disagree with a message but do not attack the messenger.
  11. Starting a thread with nothing more than a title and a link is not allowed.
  12. When posting copyrighted material you may post an excerpt and a link, but not the entire article.
  13. Posts are not actively monitored for the contents of posted messages and I am not responsible for any messages posted. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact me immediately by using the “Report Post” icon at the bottom of each message posted. I have the ability to remove objectionable messages and will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if I determine that removal is necessary.
  14. The messages express the view of the author, not necessarily of Prepared Christian.
  15. Advertising your business or attempting to generate business or the advertising of other forums or blogs is not allowed without prior approval from Chris Ray.

 

Get to Know One Another

I have added a few different places where we can come together as a community.  There is a men’s and women’s section, a place for prayer requests and praise reports.  I have also added a section for finding people that live in your general area.

 

Thank You

I have added a feature that gives readers the ability to “thank” a poster by clicking a little “thumbs up” icon that says thanks.

 

Iron Sharpens Iron

I have a special section for other preparedness bloggers.  My thinking here is that iron sharpens iron.  This will be a place where we can share helpful information, pray for each other and for our readers.  If you are a preparedness blogger and are interested, please send me an email and include your forum name and a link to your blog.  I will send you the password for the forum.  If you know any bloggers who might be interested, please let them know.

 

With that said, head over the Prepared Christian Forum, create your account so I can activate it and then swing into the New Member Welcome Area and introduce yourself.

Preserving God’s Word

Bible

 

JP, a faithful reader, recently sent me an email that I thought was such a good idea I wanted to share it with all of you.  One of the things I have in my preps is a case of Bibles that I got at a good price a few years ago.  My thinking is that if there is a prolonged time of hardship, people will be hungry for God’s Word.  I want to be prepared to listen, talk and to give them a Bible to take home with them.

 

It seems JP has the same idea, as he recently sent me the following email:

 

“Chris, I’ve been meaning to share this with you. There is one thing most folks don’t think of when prepping and I encourage it every time I get a chance. Of all the things we seal and store for future use God’s word is usually not one of them.

A year or so back I called around to find some inexpensive bibles. I wanted to buy a hundred or more to put in storage. Well I found out after talking with some folks that ran a bulk bible warehouse that the copies I wanted for $2.00 a piece were not meant for years of use or storage. The paper and ink used for those cheap bibles would fade and the pages would discolor due to changes in humidity or high moisture levels.

The guy I talked to explained this to me and laughingly suggested that the bibles would have to be kept very dry, vacuum sealed and kept airtight or I would have to spend a lot more money on the bibles and get some really good ones. Getting really good ones meant I couldn’t afford to buy very many and I wanted lots.

When times get hard people will cry out to God and they will want to know what His word has to say. As Christians we should be ready to help those in need. But I’m afraid we just can’t take in every person in need. So we should be able to give them some food and water along with a copy of God’s word, present the gospel to them and pray with them, then bid them farewell and God’s blessings upon them.

So Mylar is not just for food products here is what one of my sealed $2.00 bibles looks like. I really like watching people try to figure out what’s in it. If you look really close you can barely see the letters “Holy Bible” in the Mylar.”

 

I asked JP which site he used and he let me know it was Bible Surplus.com.  I looked around and they have some Bibles for less than $60 for a case of 48.

I haven’t tested this to make sure, but I think one could fit 4-6 Bibles in a one gallon Mylar bag, add 1 300cc oxygen absorber and you have preserved God’s Word for future use.

I want to thank JP for another great idea.

 

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Guest Post: Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns

Today we are blessed by an excellent article written by Todd Walker, the Survival Sherpa, he has allowed me to post it here to help fill in some gaps while I go through the process of moving. Todd is the Owner/Editor of Survival Sherpa, please bless him by heading to his site and soaking up some of the great information he has on it, you can read the original article here.

 

Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns

Can we prepare for all the unknown unknowns?

 

No matter how meticulous you might be at creating your list of lists, how much stuff you’ve squirreled away, or how sharply you’ve honed your survival skills, you can’t prepare for the unknown unknowns. That’s why neighboring matters.

If you get 10 survivalists in a room, you’ll get eleven different opinions on how to build community. In this installment of my Individual Preparedness Plan series, we’ll discuss what should be on top of every person’s preparedness priority list: Neighboring.

In the wake of Sandy’s unwelcome and devastating visit, I’ve noticed a pungent theme of superiority in tweets and posts from some (thankfully not all) “preppers”: “When will sheeple learn” and “We don’t look so crazy now, do we.” Way to go. Pat yourself on the back. This kind of attitude only reinforces the many negative stereotype of preppers being lunatics with a gun and superiority complex.

Please don’t take this as a bash session on fellow preppers. I’m just wondering what our motives are for prepping. We’re all in it for ourselves to some degree. Individualism. Self-reliance. Independence. Preparedness. Back-to-basics. Sustainability. These are all noble pursuits. What about those closest to us – geographically, not on social media sites? That nameless neighbor I wave to when checking my mail. He’s only two doors down. The older couple that I politely say hello to as they walk past while I’m running the neighborhood streets. I don’t know their names or situations.

I often wonder how these nameless folks would respond to a natural disaster or extended SHTF scenario. What makes my middle class neighborhood different from those affected by Hurricane Sandy? Not a thing. Human nature is the same in New Jersey as it is here or in Timbuktu. We all need food, water, shelter, and neighbors… unless you live in an isolate cabin or cave in the hinter-boonies with wild animals as companionship. Then disregard this. For everyone else, your friends in the neighborhood could be your most valuable prep.

Got milk? No. Borrow it from your neighbor across the street. Uh, folks just don’t do that anymore. How about when a tornado rips through your town? Or an ice storm cripples the grid power? In these events, you’re forced to meet your neighbors. Most times, previously unknown faces show up from down the street with a chainsaw to plow through your fallen tree-lined driveway. It’s what humans do. We’re social animals. Too often we assume the worst about human nature while stocking the wood heater in our bunkers or sitting in our machine gun nests. Discounting and overlooking real relationships with tangible people living close to us will hamstring even those most prepared.

Many hands make light work. I don’t know who gets credit for that wise saying, but it’s true. Friends that you can trust, and can trust you, is more valuable than all the stuff we’re told to pack in our bug out bags, pantries, and gun vaults. Trusted friends are anchors of preparedness. Neighbors can be our wildcard.

Isolation is intentional. So is neighboring. It takes effort. Which means more than pressing the “Like”, “Follow”, or “Friend” button for virtual friends thousands of miles from our computer. It’s not likely that they’ll be available to pull your broken body from the rubble that use to be you home. They know you as an avatar on their screen. Face to face friends are outside your house. They live next door and down the street.

Our best hope of surviving catastrophe on a personal, local level is friends and neighbors. Daniel Aldrich, a political scientist living in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hit, tells his story and study of response to natural disasters.

He had just moved to New Orleans. Late one August night, there was a knock on the door.

“It was a neighbor who knew that we had no idea of the realities of the Gulf Coast life,” said Aldrich, who is now a political scientist at Purdue University in Indiana. He “knocked on our door very late at night, around midnight on Saturday night, and said, ‘Look, you’ve got small kids — you should really leave.’ “

The knock on the door was to prove prophetic. It changed the course of Aldrich’s research and, in turn, is changing the way many experts now think about disaster preparedness.

Officials in New Orleans that Saturday night had not yet ordered an evacuation, but Aldrich trusted the neighbor who knocked on his door. He bundled his family into a car and drove to Houston.

“Without that information we never would’ve left,” Aldrich said. I think we would’ve been trapped.”

“Really, at the end of the day, the people who will save you, and the people who will help you,” he added, “they’re usually neighbors.”

 

Force multiplier

Family, friends, and neighbors help rebuild and restore order better than large organizations, government or otherwise. The more value-adding neighbors you have, (and not all will be “preppers”) the more hands, legs, minds, and overall resources become available. I sold my pickup truck this year to cover shortages in our family income when Dirt Road Girl could no longer work due to cancer. One of my neighbors gave a standing offer for me to use his spare truck for any hauling duty that might come up. He and his wife have been so supportive to our family in our personal SHTF scenario. From meals, prayers, dog sitting, and just plain old neighborly stuff, they’re not just neighbors, they’re friends now.

 

How many friends are enough?

Jesus had an intimate social circle of twelve friends and 3 closer than the rest. This number of face-to-face, close friends is about all mere humans can really manage. Any higher and we begin to spread ourselves thin. Keep in mind that this group is your real, trusted friends. See Dunbar’s Number for more thoughts on manageable social group sizing. Dunbar theorizes that 150 is the mean group size for people. Of course, physical proximity to each other would either raise or lower that number. A lot of social grooming is required for this size group to stay intact. I can only count on one hand the number of intimate friendships I have. I think that’s healthy. From there my circle expands to close friends, friends, and acquaintances.

 

OpSec. What about it?

We live in a global age. I’m shocked, and very thankful, to see people read this blog from countries around the world. Information is at the touch of a finger. Friends, however, are local. What about OpSec (operational security)? I don’t divulge the full scope of my preparedness plans with every person on the street. That’s stupid. I do have a small group of trusted friends that would run to my aid in the event of an emergency. They know I’d do the same for them. We’ve been there, done that. This type of friend is one that knows you, likes you, loves you warts and all. Their not just fans cheering you on safely from the stadium seats. They’re on the playing field with us. They know our plans and are a part of our plans.

Building relationships with neighbors is mutually beneficial. The quality of life quotient increases. The neighborhood value rises. Not in monetary value necessarily, but in mutual survivability. Again, many hands make light work. No one person can prepare for the unknown unknowns.

Neighboring has opened doors by just waving. Last week DRG was fetching our trash can from the side of the road. One of our neighbors walked by and struck up a conversation. He brought up concerns about what might bring chaos to our quite little community. He and DRG talked about topics like personal defense, basic preparedness items, and safety in our neighborhood. Practical stuff, not political or conspiracy theory related.

 

Practical preparation through neighboring

Here are a few not-so-pushy ways to do this stuff. I guess you could canvas door to door. But you don’t want to come across as annoying.

  • Give. You’ve got carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or computer skills. Offer to help a neighbor. This opens a door for mutual and reciprocal giving.
  • Attend community meetings. Local farmers markets, festivals, concerts, school meetings are all attended by neighbors and friends.
  • Yard sales. If you’re into bargains, this old hat for you. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with people. Plus you’ll likely find useful stuff for your preparations. Two weeks ago I scored a box of candles and mason jars from an older lady two streets down in our neighborhood. I let her know that I where I live when I introduced myself. The transaction went very smoothly and I made a new friend.
  • Baking/Smoking/Brewing. DRG makes killer sausage balls. She prepares a few plates every Christmas and delivers the trays to neighbors. I share smoked Boston butts with a few as well. My back door neighbor samples my home-brewed beer.
  • Ask for help – without being needy. That’s the only ice breaker needed to move from acquaintance to friend sometimes.
  • Be a connector. Refer people needing stuff to people with stuff or skills.
  • Trade garden produce. One year I had a bumper crop of tomatoes, while my next door neighbor produced more peppers than he could eat or cared to store. We traded through out the summer.
  • Barter network. If there’s a local barter network already established in your town, get involved and add value.
  • Clubs of interest. Hunting, fishing, golf, knitting, or canning. Ask a neighbor to go learn a new skill together.

Hopefully these tips will motivate us to get out of the house, network, and meet folks. Have you met your neighbor? Maybe your he/she knows that unknown unknown.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

Protecting Yourself and Your Property After a Disaster

Scenario:  Jerusalem has been devastated by war and is in ruins.  It’s walls have been broken down and it’s gates burned by fire.  Nehemiah, King Artaxerxes’ cup bearer, has received permission from the king to go to Jerusalem and rebuild it.  Their enemies have plotted to catch them unaware, kill them and stop their work.  Nehemiah has discovered this and decides:

Neh 4:16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 4:17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 4:18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. 4:19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 4:20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” 4:21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 4:22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.” 4:23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

In every medium to large scale natural disaster there are people who come to the area to loot.  There is a second group of people; “disaster tourists”.  These are people who want to go to the disaster area to see, in person, what they have seen on TV.  One of these is obviously a criminal but the other isn’t as nefarious, at least not on purpose.

 

Looters

These dirtbags pray on the misfortune of others during what might be the worst time in their life.  I have heard of people both sneaking around and stealing items that have been relocated by the event, as well as people dressing up, pretending to be representatives from utility companies.  I have also heard reports of items gone missing once a restoration company is hired, the home owner believing their contractor’s employees stole from them.

I think the default tactic most people go to is “I’ll guard my house, gun in hand”.  This may be an option in some circumstances, but it might not always be.  Imagine if there is massive destruction and, God forbid, your home is destroyed.   Your family is okay and has relocated to a nearby shelter on the night of the destruction.  You have nothing but the clothes on your backs.  When you attempt to go back to your home the next day, there is a police officer parked on the road leading into your neighborhood.  He will not let anyone enter without proof of residence.  Remember, I said you only have the clothes on your back?  This scenario is a very good reason to have a copy of the important documents stored away from your home.

Now let’s say there is a smaller amount of damage but still too much for you to feel comfortable letting your family stay there.  Would you put them up in a hotel room and guard the house alone?  Remember, after Hurricane Sandy, there were many people who didn’t have power for over a week.  While that might not be a stressor for some of you, do you want to put your family in a position not only be without power, but possibly face looters and other dirtbags?  Not to mention, whatever destruction is in the area, such as flooding, debris from destroyed homes and businesses, etc.

If the damage in your area is minimal and the biggest problem is lack of power, you might choose to stick it out and guard your home.  If so, the following are some things to keep in mind.  There is safety in numbers.  You might choose to form a group with other neighbors who have stayed behind, forming a neighborhood watch.  Have a 2-4 hour shift from sundown to sunup every night, rotating people so everyone gets enough rest.  If possible, I would want two; one stationery and one roving watch.  If there is trouble, the stationery watch would alert the others.  Having two-way communication would be a huge plus.  Another option for the roving watch is to carry an air horn, giving three blasts if they find trouble, everyone heading for the source of the noise.  I realize this gives away the element of surprise, but if it’s all you have, it is better than nothing.

I’m not a big fan of the “Looters will be shot” signs.  Why tip your hand?  It might also invite Joe Dirtbag to use overwhelming force.  Whereas, before, he might have just snuck around to see what he could steal, now he expects trouble.  He might just shoot you and take what he wants.  On a side note, this is also the reason I don’t open carry.

Nehemiah expected trouble from his enemies.  He also knew that with the limited resources he would need a citizen army, which meant each person would pull double duty as guard and laborer.  He told those who lived outside the gate to stay inside to help stand guard.  They slept in their clothes so they could act immediately.

If we had a modern day example, I think it could look something like this; each family is armed and prepared to defend their home and their neighborhood.  There is a neighborhood watch that had a stationery watch and, depending on the size of the neighborhood, either one or multiple roving watches.  You might think this is overkill, but Nehemiah’s enemies didn’t defeat him.  They could see they were ready for battle by the ever-present sword or spear, with plenty of people on the lookout.  This isn’t to say that everyone has to be armed.  The presence of people will often deter Mr. Dirtbag and company.

 

Disaster Tourists

As I said, these people aren’t nefarious on purpose, but they can be harmful unintentionally.   If you read the Fox News story on “disaster tourists”, you’ll see that the home owners said the gawker traffic was much higher earlier in the week.  If the roads are in bad shape, there might only be a few routes to use and they are congesting them.

One of the people interviewed for the Fox News article said she felt violated.  I can understand that, I wouldn’t like it very much if people wanted to come and “tour” one of the worst events in my life.

The disaster tourists also can be a means for Joe Dirtbag and friends to blend in to case the neighborhood for later looting.  This would be the reason that police are often posted near entrances and refuse entry to anyone who cannot prove residency.  If law enforcement is stretched too thin, you could always do this yourself.  Most folks will understand if you tell them only residents who can prove residency are allowed in.  Keep in mind that you have no legal ground to stop anyone who demands entry, even if they cannot prove where they live.  You could ask if they know someone in the neighborhood and find that person to vouch for them.  You could also have someone follow them to their “home”, to see if they do, in fact, live where they say they live.

Going back to Nehemiah, having people who take turns working on cleanup and standing guard/watch is a great idea here as well.  While the tourists might not mean you harm, keeping tabs on those not helping to “rebuild the wall” is still a good idea.

Do you have any other ways to protect oneself and property after an event, from looters and disaster tourists?

 

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Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

It’s been almost a week since Hurricane Sandy reached the East Coast.  There are still millions affected in her wake.  Because there are so many still affected, I hesitate to write this, but I think there are lessons to be learned that will have more of an impact now, since this is still a current event.

 

Losing it all

Sometimes there are events like hurricanes and tornadoes that are so big, no matter how prepared you are, you lose everything you own.  In these events only having a cache of supplies at a location away from your home would still be useful.  You could have an agreement with a friend or relative to each store some supplies at the others home.  You could also rent a small storage unit.  This would ensure you have clothes, copies of important documents and possibly even some food or other preparations.

 

Looting and lawlessness

Looting is a very large problem.  One resident is quoted saying ‘It’s like the Wild West’.  The article goes on to say, “With little police presence on the storm-ravaged streets, many residents of the peninsula have been forced to take their protection into their own hands, arming themselves with guns, baseball bats and even bows and arrows to ward off thugs seeking to loot their homes.”

I have mentioned a few times in the past that defending and protecting your family and possibly your neighborhood may fall on you and your neighbor’s shoulders.  This hurricane is an excellent reminder.  There were also reports of people dressing like Con Ed workers and a Red Cross worker to gain access to restricted areas to loot.

Here is an article from the New York Times called In New York’s Public Housing, Fear Creeps In With the Dark.  It explains that people who live in areas of New York that are without power fear the dark, because of the crimes committed in it.  This isn’t just when the sun goes down, but also in windowless stairways and the like.  What I took away from that article wasn’t just that the dark was to be feared, but how the blackout brought citizens together and bonded them into a community.

“In the meantime, heroes emerged among public housing residents, with those well prepared and able helping those who were not.”

And

“There’s a sense of community,” said Darryl MacCullum, 24, who lives at the Jacob Riis Houses in the East Village, where the tidal surge had, for a time, ringed the buildings like moats. “Neighbors I usually don’t talk to, I talk to now.”

The residents cooked for each other, eager to not waste food that was thawing fast. At the Red Hook Houses on Wednesday night, there was an impromptu outdoor barbecue for 25 people, with hamburgers, frankfurters and ribs sizzling on grills. “

In times of crisis police and other emergency services are pushed to their limit. I was told in CERT that there are 300 civilians for every first responder.  Because of this we need to be prepared to meet our five basic human needs.

 

Those Unprepared to Last a Week

As I stated above, there are some events that you just cannot prepare for.  When there is a direct hit, you lose everything.  This section is not directed at those people.  It is aimed at those who did not heed the call to evacuate and were ill prepared to last the aftermath of the hurricane.  In this article from ABC News, people were pleading for help just three days after the hurricane.  They were asking their elected officials for clothing, food, water and gas.  Below is a video of the reporter showing how people were dumpster diving to get food to eat.

 

 

I’m not sharing any of this to put down the ill prepared, but to show how truly ill prepared so many people are and also to show how quickly people will begin to panic because of their lack of resources.

 

Gas Shortages and Rationing

There have been multiple reports of lines of people over a mile long waiting to get gasoline. Here is a report from a CBS New York affiliate stating “Drivers Waiting For 6 Hours At Midtown Gas Station”. In New Jersey Governor Christie Orders Odd-Even Rationing System For Filling Up Gas Tanks.

“Residents with license plates ending in an odd number can make gas purchases on odd-numbered days of the month Residents with plates ending in an even number will be able to buy gas on even-numbered days, the governor said.”

Imagine only being able to purchase gas on even days and then having to wait in line for six hours to get it. I have said before that our economy runs on oil, but for many of these people the fuel also runs their refrigerator and gives them a means to charge their cell phones to communicate with the outside world.

 

Government Incompetence

There were many complaints after Hurricane Katrina about the government’s poor response.  Many people are not aware that the federal government has to be invited in by state government and that is what caused the delay.  You would think there would have been a better response to Hurricane Sandy, but in many ways there hasn’t been.

The New York City Marathon saw many police officers, large generators, food and water diverted to it instead of to the relief effort. As of this morning they canceled the marathon, but the generators sat unused.

FEMA has a policy called “Lean forward” that calls for advanced staging of supplies.  Here is a report that says “FEMA failed to have any meaningful supplies of bottled water — or any other supplies”.

This goes to show that even when the government means well they are often incompetent.  The larger an enterprise of any kind is, the more ineffective they can become.  Often the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing, or what either should be doing.

 

My Take:

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re fairly well prepared to last at least a week.  This hurricane should be a wake-up call for many, to have a minimum level of preparedness to meet their five basic human needs.  But there have been many wake-up calls in our recent past that were not heeded.  Because of this, there will be plenty of chances in the future for those of us who are better prepared to be the heroes mentioned above and to be light to the world.

 

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Rising Crime and Limited Law Enforcement

A note before today’s article: Camping Survival has really stepped up to the plate and given me 3 1000’ spools of paracord to give away. I will be picking the second random winner this afternoon and the last none Monday October 29th. If you want to enter the drawing you have until then. If you have already entered that entry will just be carried over for the new giveaway’s so no need to reenter. If you didn’t enter then send one in for the new drawings.
My email is: chris (at) preparedchristian.net

Again, my many thanks to Camping Survival for supporting the Prepared Christian community!


 

 

Rising Crime and Limited Law Enforcement

 

Mike from Mass sent me an email with a very interesting article.  This is a subject I have touched on before but I want to take a deeper look at it with you today.  The article entitled Armed posse patrols timber land in sheriff’s place is about a rural county in Oregon that has had its Sheriff’s Department shrunken to 3 deputies who patrol for eight hours a day, five days a week due to budget cuts.  Because of this and rising crime, some residents have taken to different forms of assisting the Sheriff.  One of these forms, as the title explains, has been forming armed posse’s to patrol the county.

The reason I want to take a deeper look at this is because I think many of us can relate to a statement made by Sam Nichols in the article, which states:

“I believe in standing up for myself rather than waiting for the government to do something for me,”

I think this is something we will see more of for a variety of reasons.  For instance, in Oakland California, police will no longer respond to certain crimes, which is similar to the circumstances that are in the article; because of cuts, police and sheriff departments are limited in their patrols.  I also think that because of impending economic slowness we will see a rise in crime, as can be seen in this story from USA Today; Violent crime rises sharply, reversing trend.  I think we will see an uptick in crime from people who’re hungry and looking for ways to make ends meet.  I’m not justifying it, just explaining that we will see a different percentage of the population committing crime.

 

Formation of a Posse

A posse is essentially made up of unpaid civilians who assist local law enforcement.  I think there are two ways to go about forming one.  The first is what the Citizens Against Crime did in the story from Oregon that is mentioned above.  From the sounds of the story, they patrol armed with little or no formal training and report crimes to the Sheriff’s Department.

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson is quoted saying:

“They need to really understand there are consequences that can be very costly, physically as well as legally,” he said, explaining that volunteers could get sued or shot if they pull a gun on someone or make a false arrest.

“Most of them haven’t had what I feel is an adequate level of training to do that they do,” he said. “But if they serve as eyes and ears and only report what they see to law enforcement, I think they can keep themselves at a safe level.”

The Sheriff brings up some excellent points, but we shouldn’t necessarily let that keep citizens from forming a posse in times when, for whatever reason, local law enforcement is unable to meet the needs of the community.

An approach that I think is better is one that the Pinal County Sheriff from Arizona did by forming armed anti-smuggling volunteer posse.  The county has a large problem with Mexican cartels trafficking in drugs and humans, so the Sheriff formed a posse to help “bring the heavy hand of enforcement to those who think they can smuggle drugs or humans”.

From the article:

“According to a news release from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the ASP will provide “surveillance and intelligence support to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Regional SWAT during tactical operations they perform against the Mexican Drug Cartels in western Pinal County.”…

“ASP members are required to pass a full background investigation, and will be trained on Pinal Sheriff’s Office Policy and Procedures, the news release stated. The armed posse members will be required to take quarterly training and qualifications. The members will receive tactical training before any operations.”

This Sheriff saw a need and a potential resource and took the time to make sure he was using people without a criminal record (that is not to say that the men from Oregon might have a criminal background).  He trained them and they undergo quarterly training which is as much as some police departments require.

A posse is usually formed for a short time and with a specific task.  I think an ongoing force is more in line with what the original militia was created to do; to augment local law enforcement with armed, trained civilians who have their own rank and command structure.

 

While We Have the Rule of Law

In this time while we still have the rule of law, we are not the sole means of law enforcement.  You may decide to join a posse or militia to assist local law enforcement.  The following are some things to keep in mind.

 

Citizen’s Arrest

I’m sure everyone reading this has heard of making a citizen’s arrest, but do you know what making one entails?  I am not a lawyer or giving legal advice.  These comments should be viewed as information, not law.  Many states allow a citizen to make an arrest for felonies committed in their presence.  You are allowed the use of reasonable force to subdue the felon until the police arrive.  You do not need to read them their rights.  That’s the job of the police officers who will file the police report.  If you are mistaken and the suspected felon did not, in fact, commit a felon, or you used too much force, you may open yourself up to a lawsuit or to facing charges and jail time yourself.   Here is an article from the Art of Manliness called How to Make a Citizens Arrest that goes deeper into the subject.

 

Buddy System

The buddy system is something I learned of in the Navy.  It means that you never go anywhere alone; always go with at least one buddy.  I can tell you from personal experience that using the buddy system saved me a few times.  There really is safety in numbers.

 

Communication

Being able to provide accurate, minute by minute information with instant and reliable communication is vital.  If you’re a part of a Sheriff sponsored posse, you will most likely be given a radio and trained in how to use it.  If you form a posse or militia with some other concerned citizens, one of the first things you should look into is communication.

 

Know Your Role

I honestly don’t know if a posse formed by a sheriff would provide the same umbrella of protection to its members that the sheriff and deputies would have.  If you form a posse with other citizens you are just that, a citizen.  You might be well advised to take the advice of the sheriff from Oregon :

“If they serve as eyes and ears and only report what they see to law enforcement, I think they can keep themselves at a safe level.”

 

Being Armed

If you have been a reader of this site for a while, you know I am a strong supporter of the second amendment.  I believe it is the responsibility of each citizen to be able to protect themselves.  With that being said, you need to think long and hard and pray about taking a firearm with you if you are going to put yourself in a situation where you’re essentially looking for trouble for the purpose of reporting it.

If George Zimmerman from Florida wouldn’t have had his firearm with him when he saw Trayvon Martin, he may have been less likely to follow and confront him and may have just called police.  Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t.  I’m saying you need to understand the ramifications of your decision.  If you are looking for criminals for the purpose of reporting them to police and are armed, there is the potential for gunplay because you brought a firearm.

Carrying a gun may also give a little extra courage to some, but just because you put on a cape doesn’t mean you can fly.  If you are level headed, can legally own and carry a firearm and are trained in its use, then move forward with caution.

I also think that if you carry a firearm, whether it is just for conceal and carry, or as an armed member of a posse, you should have other means to defend yourself.  When I carry, I have pepper spray, a flashlight that can be used as a striking implement and am trained in an Israeli based form of Real World Self-Defense called Haganah.  If I was patrolling, I would also carry either a larger flashlight or an asp to use for striking.  If you only have a hammer in the tool box, you see every problem as a nail.  I like to have as many options as I can legally.

 

Without the Rule of Law

I really hope and pray we never see a time when we no longer have the rule of law.  I think it would take an unlikely event such as an EMP or other far-reaching event to remove the rule of law.  Even though I believe it is unlikely we will see a time when there is no law enforcement to enforce the rule of law, I still think we have to be aware of it.  How will it affect us in the area we live?  How will we respond?

All of the things listed in the section “While We Have the Rule of Law” will still apply, with the exception of maybe citizen’s arrest.  If there is no law enforcement to retrieve the felon from you, you must think now about what you might do if you witness a felony.

There have been many of these types of situations discussed in several survival fiction books such as Lights Out or One Second After.  These and others have helped me think through some of the possible situations we may face without the rule of law.

 

What Will You Do?

Have you thought about whether or not you would ever join a posse to help enforce the law?  Would it matter if it was created and trained by the sheriff?  Have you thought about how life may be different without the rule of law and what you might do?

 

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