Suck It Up, Buttercup
Because of several severe and concurrent illnesses, and advancing age, my income is no exaggeration, nearly noth’n. It is waaay below the poverty line, perhaps $3,000 per year with half of that going towards prepping. And so, I must live like a neo-pioneer. I do not receive a check from any source. In my book, no goobermint, is good goobermint, and dependence on any government is a trap, a trap that I would easily qualify for. I live as folks imagine they might have to live during a collapse, and in perhaps tougher circumstances than they can imagine, because of factors, such as, the combination of age, disabilities, and the resulting poverty. If the Lord had not been faithful, my story would be different. It is a matter of perspective: ”I cried, because I had no shoes, but then I met an man without feet”. Embrace the ‘suck’, and get it done. Soon we’ll be learning the hard way, if we do not learn it now. Soon, no check will be in the mail, and no one will care, not even family, but only the Lord. If I can get through it, then so can you.
Fortunately, as I’ve grown older, the Lord is restoring my health. No doctor could heal me. In fact, I’ve been blessed by this experience, as I am living both in the future, and the present. Therefore I have learned what is truly necessary to survive, both in terms of what is actually essential stuff, what is essential knowledge, and the essential skills one should acquire. I am living it, and have grown stronger as a result of it. And because I’ve been unable to work over these many years on a regular basis, I’ve had the time to learn and do. In stark contrast, my neighbors who have literally millions to spend on preps, have their priorities messed up. I am here to help. They not only confuse wealth preservation with life preservation, but will not take the time to learn and do. As a result, I am better prepared than most wealthy individuals, even though I am on a shoestring budget, that does not include the money enough for shoestrings.
Nope, ‘stuff ain’t enough’. Of course, I’ve done all I can to help others and the community wake up and prepare, and all at no charge, but you just can’t fix stupid. Here in the woods of Montana, there is also a very independent nature, and little sense of community. This stubborn streak is just as it had been, back in the logging days. Knowing this, I’ve focused on my Area of Operations (AO). The folks way out here are a bit different, and they are beginning to understand what must be done. They are finally developing a sense of community, and the correct mindset. Mindset is everything. It is more important than stuff. Yet they will also be lacking in terms of organization, and key resources that planners can provide, at the very least, in part. Of course, there is much more to talk about, but time and the money required to get it done is waning. Hopefully, these three key elements discussed, which go beyond the scope of most prepping efforts, to provide focus on the larger picture and problem. What if I lost most of my stuff, but got this part right? Might I survive despite the lack of stuff? Or maybe the question should be, what is the right stuff?! Hence the title and theme of the article.
Security will be job one
It ain’t what you got, but what you can keep, even if it is only the bare essentials. In a collapse, people will escaping the cities, and then roving gangs will be the initial threats. Because peppers typically lack the needed manpower to run a 24/7 security op during the highest threat conditions, a small community is necessary.
Since we are part of an aging demographic, we should develop a defense plan that works to our strengths. As the state of Montana is full of lifelong hunters with high-powered scoped rifles, we have an existing capability that will be used extensively, but not exclusively. A team of long-range riflemen can be an awesome force to contend with. Coordinated long-distance fire that uses interlocking fields of fire could be devastating. A long-range precision rifle provides fire superiority over most other forms of shoulder-fired weapons. Start by reading Sun Tzu. But more importantly, learn the small unit tactics that are applicable, given our lack of physical ability. Learn how to deny, disrupt, channelize, or funnel up and put the enemy in a box. Learn how to use a layered defense to wear them out. If I am too old to contend with those who are adept at maneuver warfare, then I will not attempt to defend my place on that battlefield. Rather, I will develop a battlefield that works for me, a crippled-up old one-eyed fat man.
I am only one-eyed, because I will be looking through a scope from a range from whence an enemy can not effectively return fire. I will use surprise and treachery to enhance proven military tactics. My rifles are old, yet brutally accurate, just as accurate as the finest and most obscenely expensive precision rifles now available for sale. My most accurate rifle cost me $250. Its barrel was made in 1905, yet it is pristine, with less 100 rounds fired through it when purchased. Thank you, Lord! A $500 turret scope took the rifle to a higher level. I’ve been loading for 6.5×55 for 30 years. The now widely-touted 6.5 Creedmore is only a slight improvement. And because of the high pressures, a 6.5 Creedmore barrel will lose its fine accuracy in less than 2,000 rounds. If you do not already have a precision rifle, then get one in .308 Winchester and feed it Federal Match ammunition. It could be the best tool in the toolbox. And in my book, it is the best answer to a huge problem. I sold my last silver to buy a ton of powder to load for my 6.5×55 Swede and other rifles, at bargain prices. By God’s providence, this was when there was no powder and primers for sale in stores. I traded wealth preservation for life preservation. And now I can keep many precision riflemen shooting, whatever they shoot.
For a defense, if we can learn at least one move really well, then make it simple enough for ‘stupid’. It should to be ‘stupid simple’, and well-drilled. A dedicated security team can coordinate with a larger reserve. We can use online sources to stuff our brains full of classroom knowledge that can accelerate our ability to apply it in the real world. Do not be intimated by a strange new topic, but also do not become overwhelmed by it. Bite on only what you can chew, and chew on that really well. Then take another bite.
I was once turned off by infantry tactics, but now I’m confident and enjoy them. Southern Prepper One does the best job of translating military tactics to that which can be used by preppers. To take it to a higher level, I suggest Brent0331, also on YouTube. For extreme long-range rifle basics, look up TiborasaurusRex on YouTube, and view his outstanding 94-part series on extreme long-range rifles. Even if we can only accurately and consistently shoot out to only 300 yards, then we may have the enemy beat. Most shooters — civilian, military, and police — are only proficient to 200 yards.
It is beyond the scope of this short article to delve further into the topic of tactics. I only point the reader in the right direction. I also recommend Jack Lawson’s book, The Civil Defense Manual, available for purchase at civildefensemanual.com. It is inexpensive for what it provides. It is a guide that others will need to read to help assist the community defense effort. Hopefully, they will agree to adhere to its principles.
No Food, No Fight
Initially, we can survive and defend our stuff during a famine using our supplies, but only for a while. We must produce food to replenish, and augment long-term food storage. While the Inter-Mountain West and the Rocky Mountains are lacking in good soil and long, and hot, rain-drenched summers, we do have an abundance of water almost everywhere, and plenty of big game.
Even though there is a lack of good soil, there is plenty of river bottomland that has arable soil, and more can be made. Because few have solar power well pumps, there will be little water to grow food with. The answer to this problem is the Dankoff Slow Pump that I’ve written about in SurvivalBlog. In low-lift situations it can irrigate land adjacent to the shore that is no more than 50 feet higher in elevation with great ease, drawing no more than 3 amps @ 12 Volts DC. It is capable of much more, as well. Without batteries, the Dankoff #1303 pump can deliver up to 1,000 gallons per day using only two 100 watts panels, one facing East, and one West. If the pump produces more than its rated output, then put duct tape over one cell of each panel until output is reduced to less than the pump’s rated maximum water output. Ideally, a pump controller should be used, but we can also limit the output by reducing the power supplied to the pump, or use a battery as it’s power source. Otherwise, the pump head service life will be diminished.
The pump is also portable, and can be moved to a neighboring property where a cistern can be filled. Or it can pump up to 450 feet in elevation (Mod. 1308), or several miles on more level ground. It is also ideal for a community garden, where river bottom land is irrigated. It can also be run off the battery bank of a large PV system, 24/7, producing up to 3,600 gallons every 24 hours. Roughly 300 gallons or less per acre of potatoes is required. One pump running 24 hours per day off a small 400 watt PV system, can irrigate 12 acres. That much acreage is enough to feed 20 to 30 families. That would be a sizable community garden. One could sell a spare AR, buy this pump, and feed an army. It is said that amateurs talk tactics, but professionals talk logistics. It may be so. But what about hunting?
Meat On The Hoof
Small elk herds still exist here, and deer and turkey are currently a nuisance. As Florida has an excess of gators, we have an excess of Grizzly bears that habitually raid our chicken coops, and destroy tool sheds, hoping to dig out a smelly packrat. The entrance of a root cellar should be built like a fort. Inland male Griz, are on average 400 to 600 pounds, and are leaner, and thus meaner than the coastal Brown Bear. And black bears are fatter than pigs around here. I had a potentially record-setting 8 footer that must have weighed 500 pounds. The local Fish and Game officer was impressed. It was literally obese, even though it was taken in the spring! I used a flat shovel to scoop off the fat from inside the hide. Of course, I jarred up the bear grease, because rendered bear fat is fine enough to lube an AK, or to oil boots. It is good for everything. While big game is currently plentiful in remote parts, it will quickly be hunted down and become scarce faster than during the Great Depression. And hunting will become a dangerous activity, as competing hunters would simply take your kill. Small scale, homestead-sized farms will be a necessity, yet few have solar power water pumps, or gravity-fed water supplies. No water, no life!
A community garden can bring a community together to help each other, and give them common ground to defend. Those with hoes and shovels can quickly trade for rifles, and join a defense. Overwatch can be provided, day and night. Within a perimeter or not, a large community garden (an Ag Op) can provide an open field of fire. In a worst-case scenario, when it is too dangerous to operate a checkpoint, and faced with a determined gang who are conducting raids, a team of dedicated riflemen capable of 300 meter plus ranges, can convince most to turn around and leave. An abatis can deter most everything else and put gangs on foot and slow the attack.
Radio communication is essential as it can provide early warning, and a means to coordinate a defense. I got my first pair of Motorola handhelds in 1968. I’ve also been a police dispatcher. I learned about radio via the Viking ‘sink or swim’ method that is also called ‘on the job training’. Avoid an ‘on the job training’ situation if possible. One may sink, instead of swim.
Multi-layered, very low power nets can be the community phone system. 2 Meter radio will be central for a larger community, but plan to use FRS/GMRS and CB for the majority. MURS is a good choice for a dedicated security team. And we could get creative, and go beyond there. Brushbeater.org can bring one up to speed on guerilla radio techniques. I would also use directional antennas for distances that exceed 3 miles from a base station. It ain’t rocket science, but it is essential knowledge and experience, that should be developed together. Learn how to build antennas. There will be enough radios, but not enough antennas to put those radios into action. And antennas also can be broken, or fail due to corrosion.
Folks around here are getting serious and ‘radioing up’. In the last two months, I have sold four homemade slim jim type antennas, and programmed radios. I used the opportunity to create 5 low-power radio nets that work together, or separately, and showed them how it could work. Owning a radio is not enough. Few actually know how to operate a Baofeng, even those with Amateur Radio technician’s license. I, and many others have written on this topic, but it should be mentioned. Radio communications is the third, and essential component necessary for a successful defense, and could be a part of developing small local ‘island’ economy.
This all renders down to this question: We might feed ourselves, but could we defend ourselves? I could go on, but the details of a comprehensive plan (Use P.A.C.E.) must ultimately be provided by you. The reader must fill in the details, as needed, to fit into your operations and your particular AO. Community is absolutely necessary for a robust and sustainable security operation. Without it, all the stuff we’ve got could be lost. Harness your community in any way possible. A man’s real wealth should be judged by the company he keeps, not the stuff that he has, or that he may or may not be able to keep.
At all times, keep in remembrance…. ‘that without loyalty, you ain’t got nothing’. I learned this from a defector from Soviet Poland. I was there to see it in person while touring through the USSR. Fortunately, I was not there to see what happened during the systematic genocide that was the Communist purge as it was depicted in The Chekist, free on YouTube. Don’t miss viewing that one. This shows what they are fixing to do to us and would do to us today, if they could. This version is the censored version.
Many folks would also benefit from a movie called The Last Valley, (1972, Micheal Caine) also free on YouTube.
Another good movie for the occasion is Defiance. There is much to be learned from history. Get the right stuff.