Letter Re: Cemeteries as G.O.O.D. Overnight Bivouacs?

Mr. Rawles,
I completed reading your novel “Patriots”, I just finished reading Rawles On Retreats and Relocation, I’m about to read the “SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog” book and I’m going to order the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course. I do have a couple of questions:

When one would be Bugging Out, or in route to a retreat, I was thinking about having a cemetery to rest in, they are generally isolated, either on the edge of town or even in the countryside. There is plenty of good cover there like hiding behind headstones and maybe taking shelter in a mausoleum. There again, I am not saying looting or vandalizing them just using their cover for a short time, overnight thing. I have obtained a map of some of the surrounding area where I live, been to a dozen or so cemeteries. Most have good cover, shade and some are close to creeks. It was my thought that even if one was on foot providing that he has done his homework could travel from cemetery to cemetery using something there for shelter. Which leads me to my second question: If I was not comfortable having a drop off point (storage unit) along the way to the retreat, would it be advisable, with the consent of the “group” maybe to “”bury”” something along the way, at an older cemetery or maybe even go as far as buying a grave plot or mausoleum to store G.O.O.D. packs or supplies in? I have searched the Blog and found nothing pertaining to cemetery rest stops and was wondering your take, maybe myself of other readers could take this advise to heart. Always Preparing, – G.D.

JWR Replies: That idea has some merit. Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t thought about buying a mausoleum space. I suppose that Sarah Connor would be proud of your ingenuity!

There are, however, some significant drawbacks to your idea of an overnight stay, especially if you plan to be there at all during daylight:

1.) Most cemeteries are private property and hence are considered “roust vagrants by SOP” zones for local law enforcement, when they patrol. Even cemeteries that are on public property are usually protected from interlopers by numerous ordinances.

2.) Sextons keep a closer eye on graveyards than most people realize. They watch for anything that is out of place.

3.) Rows of headstones only provide limited cover. Because they are laid out in rows, they afford little or no cover from flanking attackers. This, BTW, might be what happened to the World War I aviator Frank Luke, who was an acquaintance of my grandfather, Ernest Rawles.When Luke was shot down during WWI, he attempted to defend himself with a pistol, against a squad of German soldiers that were armed with rifles. According to some conflicting reports, he died in a graveyard near Murvaux, France.

This sad incident, BTW, also illustrates two important precepts of gunfighting: 1.) Superior skills can be overcome by superior numbers, and 2.) A handgun is just a backup weapon–merely a tool that you can hopefully use to “fight your way back to your rifle.” There is a famous old saying, that was later popularized by the movie The Untouchables: “Never bring a knife to a gunfight.” My corollary is: “Never bring a pistol to a rifle fight.” Coincidentally, Luke’s five final aerial victories and his death on the ground the same day will be well-documented in a book that will soon be released “The Stand: The Final Flight of Lt. Frank Luke, Jr.”.) Even though 90 years have gone by, the conflicting stories about Luke’s death are still being debated.