The Night I Became a Community Organizer, by Sergeant Dad

We started “Prepping” the day I was issued my DD-214 from the 2nd Marine Air Wing back in 1970. Even way back then the writing was on the wall if you cared enough to take a hard look and pay attention.   The VietNam War was pulling this country apart. “So you don’t believe, we’re on the Eve of Destruction?” We swallowed John Prine’s antidote, hook, line and sinker.

“Blow up your TV, throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own.”

Homesteading here in central Missouri, we home birthed 6 strong kids, 3 boys, 3 girls on 25 acres of Missouri River hills and creek bottom. We planted an orchard, blasted out a well, used the rocks to build the root cellar. Farmed with mules, cut and skidded 150 saw logs off the hills. Set up and ran a small sawmill. Built a house from scratch. Built a business relining chimney’s and selling wood stoves. Inch by inch, row by row, we were just living the Dream. When 9-11-01 hit, the storm clouds started piling dark and deep. They were not at all interested in re-enlisting a 53 year old Marine Corps veteran, pissed and looking to dish out some payback but they are always ready to enlist an 18 year old Eagle Scout. In 2006, three months into his first deployment, our youngest son was killed in action by IED on night patrol outside Fallujah Iraq.

A downward, deep “dark night of the soul” ensued. Oh yes, the enemy can smell your pain like blood in the water. The real challenge is to not feel sorry for yourself, Old Nick can really work with that one. Our faith has been sorely tested but has stood fast. When this POTUS was elected in 2008, the slippery slope got steeper. The feeling of being in a slow motion train derailment intensified. Our preps became more focused and urgent. The result of the 2012 Reelection hit me with the finality of the coffin lid being shut on the land that I love, have served and as a family, we have sacrificed so greatly for. Every day the News lands with the thud of a coffin nail being driven home. I came to truly dread the daily Drudge Report  but then, this is a lot like watching the Hindenberg go down. “Oh, the Humanity”.  I’m getting to be a cynical, bitter man. Up late one night, cleaning my weapons and listening to the radio, I made a call and managed to get hold of George Noory on Coast to Coast AM, talking live with his guest, Jim Marrs from Texas. I despaired of the fact that although we were pretty well dug in, had our chain water pump, had our grain, beans, 15 grandkids to worry over, choke points on the road and clear field of fire in front of the house, what were we going to do when some bedraggled family and staving kids showed up straggling down our gravel road? Jim gave me some good, hard advice that I have taken to heart. Reach out to your neighbors, get it together, circle the wagons, work up a plan. Support a local Church to distribute charity. James Rawles has alluded to all this in his novels but it took Jim Marrs to “slap me upside the head” at 1:45 am.

So, then and there I decided to come out of the closet, overcome our self imposed isolation and make a positive, pre-emptive strike. Face it, most of us are private people, we’ve come keep this all to ourselves for some very good reasons.

My proposition to you is this, it is getting dark quick and the storm is rising. Its time to make like Peter and step out of the boat. My cousin Paul is an Army EOD Tech, career FBI, and retired Head of Missouri Emergency Management. Cousin Paul’s Executive Summary of our collective situation is that: “We are so sc**wed”. We conspired to rent the hall and sponsor an open meeting at the local community building. We called it “Jamestown Prepares”  and  set out some simple flyers. We are located close enough to the New Madrid Fault to pay serious attention, we get randomly visited with Joplin sized Tornado swarms out of Oklahoma and I almost forgot the fun for all when the Missouri River busts it banks and cuts the state in half. Last winter we all lost power for a week when 2+ Ft. of snow came on the heels of a bad winter ice storm. No power at the gas station, dead of winter, and the roads are paralyzed. 

From a small country town of 362 Souls, the room filled up with 65 people. Cousin Paul started with a good, standard issue, FEMA Style, Power Point Presentation on Family Emergency Preparedness, passing out your tax dollar paid, slick FEMA brochures with the checklists and suggested 7 day supplies. Well received and timely, but now it’s my turn at bat.

“Folks, Cousin Paul’s is the optimistic one. I’m thinking we are in for some very rough sledding and it’s high time we get ready. If you plot the trajectories of all the big things we worry about, there’s an undeniable tipping point coming closer by the day.  We can argue about when it happens, how hard and how long this goes on, but I’m thinking an Argentine economic crisis (1999–2002) at an absolute minimum, and that’s only if we’re lucky, so then I bark out: 

“Brace for Impact” Do I have your attention? There’s a few nervous looks around, nobody laughs”. Lined up on tables down one side of the room I have a taste of the basic’s. Water filter and chlorine bleach, Survival garden seed packs, Tattler canning lids. The Sam’s Club FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, a plastic-sealed brick of .22s, vacuum packed noodles, salt, canned olive oil, A 5 gallon bucket of dry ice evacuated Turkey wheat. An ear of open pollinated corn. A Corona hand crank grain mill, a field surgical kit, sutures, a gallon jug of Povidone Iodine Solution from the feed store, a jar of homemade Sugar-dine. KIO3 Iodine pills, Vitamin C. and Neosporin. A Dakota Alert motion sensor, base station and hand held radio. CB base station, hand held FRS/GMRS walkie talkies, Shortwave, and micro Ham radios, Harbor Freight Solar Panels and your new best friends, the rechargeable AA battery, solar recharger and LED head band light. You get the picture.

I went right on down the line, broke down the Why, Where and How and moved on to the next. You could hear the gears turning and see the tumblers falling in place. These are as good a people as you will find anywhere and have never forgotten or left their roots far behind. We had good mix of farmer’s, veteran’s, volunteer firemen, our local Banker, a retired Army full bird Colonel, and some home school Mommies. All of them some where along the road and awake enough to show up at this odd, community meeting. Although they were specifically invited, sadly missing were our town’s mayor, any local law enforcement or our “on the payroll” County Emergency Management Officer. Our local Sheriffs are really spread too thin to be effective and most government apparatchiks operate under a deep fog of “Normalcy Bias”. There were many more questions and lingering conversations. I collected 56 email address’s and promised more information to come. We had to turn out the lights to run them out of there. In a couple day’s I put out an email thank you, a page full of pertinent web links and notice of the next meeting. 26 folks showed up noon on a Saturday to plot the next steps. We agreed to and have set another open invite, steering meeting and a general community meeting in 30 day’s on “Communications” presented by a couple of retired military Comm guy’s to lay out the start of our CB radio network. Requested high on the agenda will be an Extension Service presentation on canning and food preservation. We created a private Yahoo group for a local “party line” and threw it out there. It’s just starting to come to life with posts for excess garden produce, needed equipment, etc. This is the starting point I hoped it could be. I’m starting to feel a bit better. 

There are large sections of this country we will sadly have to watch go down in flames (Lord, Have Mercy). Not everybody can run to the hills but you don’t have to face it alone or go down without a fight. When we were planning this, a fellow traveler warned me not to pop my head up and draw attention to myself. 

“Get thee behind me, Satan”. Apparently, “They” already know everything about everybody and in the crunch, your neighbors will quickly figure out who you are and what you’ve got that they don’t. My Pop was in the Navy in World War II, he boxed competitively and taught his boy’s, no matter what the odd’s are, you’ll never be more than a punching bag unless you’re willing drop your guard and throw a well placed, timely punch. Its time we throw a punch and reach out to our neighbors. You may be surprised by the response. People stop me at the post office and thank me for getting things rolling. If you ever get in a room full of guitars, pluck a G string. All of the G strings in the room will vibrate. That’s called a sympathetic vibration. You are not alone in your intuition and sense of impending doom. I am convinced there are millions of us located at some point along this road back to sanity. A timely nudge will be all it takes to get many folks off dead center, some encouragement and affirmation provides needed momentum for everyone.

So, I’m asking you: do you really want to be alone in your skinny little trench when the poop hits the prop?  The “Powers and Principalities” we face would really just as soon have us all frightened and fragmented, and, in fact rely on it. I would have you consider that the next logical step in your survival preparations is to reach out to those with ears to hear. There’s strength in numbers and like the Old Man warned us long time ago, “Boy’s, if we don’t hang together, they’ll hang us separately”.

Now is the time to fix your eyes on Jesus, throw your leg over the side of the boat and put one foot in front of the other.
Pray for Mercy, Pray for Grace, and don’t hide your light under a basket.