First of all, let me say that Mr. N.H., who wrote The Frog in a Slowly Heating Pot, is a skilled writer; he provided a very picturesque, succinct, and articulate article. More importantly, the experience he shared was dynamic and highly educational. It was not some far-fetched, improbable scenario, but a very common and probable one, and the lessons he learned can be a blessing to many, it seems.
Yes, we have questioned the story’s authenticity, but upon close examination I cannot find anything that would prove it to be fictitious based on internal evidence. If it is fictitious, the author has committed a grave offense, with significant legal ramifications, since he entered it in a non-fiction contest. However, unless evidence is forth-coming, we will consider it to be his best effort at sharing his actual experience, including some numb-skullery that anyone would be prone to. The one item we can’t quite reconcile is the day-count. It seems he missed a day somewhere. However, this would be an easy thing to get mixed up about, and I doubt he kept a diary during the events.
I’ve looked into his story and researched it a bit to identify a likely location that fits his story. The basic timeline of his story looks like:
- First storm– two days before Second Storm
- 2nd Day– It’s cold; he’s checking on neighbors, et cetera.
- 3rd Day– He heard first vehicles and went to town; he saw the sign in bank window; neighbors’ relatives arrive
- 6th Day– Town trip, man wanting ride; pumps smashed, bank window broken, “NO GAS”
- 7th Day– City trip, Home Depot incident, which prompts reorganization
- 12th or 13th Day?–the raid
- 13th or 14th Day?–the military comes by. End of story.
They took the warning! The earlier ice storm gave them a taste, the second one hit with vengeance, and they were prudent enough to go to their refuge.
“The same voice that warned Lot to leave Sodom bids us, ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean.’ Those who obey this warning will find a refuge.” Country Living, pg. 6.
Those who fail to take the warning will come up to the crisis unprepared, like the five foolish virgins of Matthew 25. Training cannot be transferred in an instant. Skill cannot be transferred. Like food, it must be grown. This requires time and effort. True education is a lifestyle. If you don’t have it, get out of the way of those who do, and pick up all you can as you go.
They had a farm to go to! Very few people do. Also, they were better equipped than their close neighbors. Peter and Wendy had relatives willing to take them in.
Yet, they were not very well prepared. Food ran out in a few days. (It seems that they were not growing and storing the bulk of their own food year by year. This may be understandable, since they live in the city five days a week.) If they had been fully immersed in the agricultural cycle, with grain in dry storage, potatoes, carrots, beets, apples, et cetera in the cellar and home-canned foods stored that were harvested in season, they certainly would not have run out in two weeks, even with more than twice as many mouths in the house.
They were dependent on a generator for water. Without it, they would have been melting snow and ice. John and Carol would have been doing it on a campfire. Depending on an outdoor fire for melting snow, when you do not have firewood stored, is not nice, especially when your house is a walk-in freezer!
The big hazard with engine-powered generators is mentioned– noise. A solar system solves this, to the relief of everyone’s nerves. It also reduces the consumption of fuel. It too can fail, but it is better in most ways. Solar systems can be stolen too, but they are easier to hide than noisy generators. (Unless the thieves have aerial observation abilities.)
“We have lots of wood… fuel… food.” Everyone seems to think that. Reality is, when the world grinds to a halt and you need to feed a small town from your own store and make a bunch of adjustments that require unusual parts and pieces, nobody has “lots” of anything. Often, we have lots of what we don’t need. However, the saying goes: For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the knight was lost, for want of a knight the battle was lost, for want of a battle the kingdom was lost. So, a kingdom was lost, all for want of a nail.
We are totally dependent upon God to supply countless details over which we have no control. Yet, He requires us to do all in our power to foresee needs and provide for them, and He often steps in and supplies our lack in ways that we would never expect or imagine.
No mention is made of chainsaws, but I’d guess they had some. This would save a huge amount of time. However, the hand tools are absolutely vital, just as we need buckets in case the plumbing quits.
“The neighborhood was full of fairly self-sufficient farmers.” Wonderful! However, John and Carol didn’t seem well equipped. They had no wood stove! Were they able to winterize their plumbing before it froze and broke? Hopefully they were the exception to the rule and were the ones less-ready than most.
It was a situation of no phones, no Internet, no power, no banks, and NO MONEY. Only the cash in hand worked. There was no bank-by-mail either, most likely, because only the more central post offices probably have trucks coming and going, and there’d be no rural delivery for a while. So, cash in hand is what works in these kind of situations.
“NO GAS.” Apparently, there was still gas in the tanks on the third day, in the small town, but it was gone by the sixth day.
In the small town, in three days, people had gone from taping up signs to breaking windows.
Most likely, by the sixth day, the big city had most of its power, phone, and deliveries back in operation again. News reports would seem to indicate that a large portion of service was restored within 24-48 hours, but rural areas would usually be slower to recover. They tend to have lots of little overhead wires.
“The small warning signs were not heeded; they were ignored as pitiable acts by a few lunatics.” “He kept saying, ‘Civilization is not over!’”
“Small warning signs.” We might say “straws in the wind” for those in tornado country, or “burnt bark and twigs falling” for those in forest fire country. “Coming events cast their shadows before.” The Desire of Ages, pg. 636.
They knew people were desperate. They had seen the vandalism. He had seen someone attempting to steal his generator, way out in the farming district, and escaped losing the source of power and running water only by the grace of God and the wise bravery of the dogs.
This “frog factor” is what got them into the mess at Home Depot. If they had been aware, they wouldn’t have gotten close enough to the crowd to hear what was going on. Thankfully, he wasn’t paralyzed when the mob attacked the truck!
The incident at Home Depot got their attention, but the seed of the next incident– one that could have cost them everything– had been planted the day before, closer to home.
If they had been better provisioned and aware, they would probably have never ventured into town at all during this period. However, they would not have seen, first-hand, the danger of venturing, and we would not have this lesson to study.
The coming of the desperadoes could have ended in disaster. However, God gave the author and his group wisdom to prepare some limited defenses and then allowed only the form of attack that these defenses were able to bear. At the same time, He showed them how easily they might have been harmed, and that He approved their diligence.
The Lord helped them recognize danger early enough to mobilize the full defensive force. He gave them wise words, miraculously wise, and He put fear in the hearts of the assailants. He preserved everyone from injury.
How did that guy who asked for a ride, find their house? Did he recognize Mr. H? We don’t know. However, if the license plate on their truck was connected to the physical address of the farm, this would do it. It seems that this fellow was in strange territory, but he had accurate directions to the address. Did he have access to the records lodged with the Department of Motor Vehicles? Was he an off-duty policeman? Did he have a GPS, or a map? We don’t know. Whatever the case, he saw that they had a load of supplies.
After the experience at Home Depot, the men of the house did what every man should do. “Let every man be wide awake for himself, and try to save his family. Let him gird himself for the work. God will reveal from point to point what to do next.” Country Living, pg. 6. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3, 27:12.
“Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.” Nehemiah 4:22.
It appears that one of the three families had a cold house. It is also obvious that it is easier to guard one house effectively, than three houses. So, moving crucial supplies and valuables to a single location, where all can join in the security effort, is wise. Actually, combining three households into one may be an ideal concentration of force.
In this case, yes, it was four families. It made for a total of 11 people that we know about. (Apparently, Peter and Wendy had at least one son.) The fourth family contributed mainly their labor and a reluctant mindset; yet, it was a blessing that they could escape the city, and I’m sure it changed their lives for the better.
“Someone was always awake and alert.” “We patrolled day and night.” In order to do this effectively, it is necessary to have at least three people. Four is better, allowing four two-hour shifts through the night, with two-hour naps staggered through the day, if all is ideal. If only two people try to maintain around-the-clock guard duty, it will be hard to do much else other than besides eating and sleeping. While lone persons can try to stay alert 24/7, they will sleep by fits and starts, and their overall well-being will suffer.
In the arrangements made in this story, the patrolman routinely checked the other two houses. It almost sounds like these three homes were at “the end of the road”, because the patrol trails did not cross the road? If they had needed to cross a through-road, that point would have been a weak link in their security, making the patrol obvious to through-traffic. Or, maybe they were all on the same side of the road?
“So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.” Nehemiah 4:23.
“The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.” Nehemiah 4:19, 20.
Communication is vital to all warriors. Nehemiah proves this. By far, the most crucial communication is pointed out by Paul in connection with the Christian’s armor: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication.” Ephesians 6:18
Nehemiah’s entire expedition and work centered in prayer. He had a secure, instant, reliable communication with his Captain, but he also used other methods to communicate with humanity.
Military has always used several types of signals. First of all, they’ve used silent visual signals. (Hand signals, flags, and lights would be in this category.) Second, they’ve used auditory signals. Whistles can be heard effectively in spite of gunfire, voices, or other noise. The trumpet, or siren, carries well over long distances and is of long enough duration to get one’s attention. Africa is famed for its “jungle telegraph”– drums. Third, the running messenger has been used.
In the story, the family had baby monitors that they were able to use to communicate. I don’t know what kind, or how they worked, but at least the patrolman could communicate with the people at the house. Two-way radios would be better than one-way. Some baby monitors do offer two-way communication. It appears that shortness of range may be a main downside to the baby monitor. However, it might be offset by low power consumption, in some cases.
Today, for a few dollars, FRS radios can be had. Substantially better is the Baofeng VHF-UHF hand-held radio–also very inexpensive. It is excellent for Ham radio applications, and can be used in conjuction with public emergency service and business radios if necessary. It can be used as a 125-channel scanner.
If you have no license for Amateur Radio or otherwise, stick to the five frequencies of the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), and the low-power, narrow-band setting. This should keep you legal, while allowing you to communicate for several miles. (With a good antenna, 30 miles is common, line-of-sight.) It is also legal to use MURS for business communication.
The Baofengs are totally capable of communicating with FRS and GMRS 12radios (including the analog [CTCSS] and digital [CDCSS] privacy codes) if needed, in an emergency. NOTE: Privacy codes do not give you any protection from eaves-droppers. They only make it so you can’t hear unless the person talking has set their radio to transmit the specific code you have selected. Then, that code will activate your receiver. (This is seful if there is too much irrelevant radio traffic from unrelated parties that irritates or desensitizes the person who is responsible for monitoring.)
If you need to obfuscate your radio communication from local thugs, it would be good to set up a military style system of codes and frequency shifts. With Ham radio equipment (such as the Baofeng or others), you can work split-beat (using two channels, so if one channel is found, only a one-sided conversation will be heard by the listener), as well as selecting from thousands of frequencies. However, this requires organization and training.
Another reason why the Baofeng radios are good is that the lithium-ion battery system and charging system are high quality. This is very important when it is necessary to keep the radios running day and night, day after day. By contrast, FRS radios tend to gobble up disposable batteries, and often do poorly with rechargeable batteries. So, if you have one Baofeng (or a scanner) for the base station, it can listen all the time, and hear the FRS units talking. Then if someone at the base station needs to respond, the operator can pick up an FRS radio and use it briefly, saving a lot of batteries compared to leaving the FRS radio on all the time for monitoring.
- Extra batteries. For the Baofeng, get at least one or two spares per radio.
- A small inverter that will run the battery charger from a 12-volt power source, such as the lighter plug in a vehicle.
- External antenna. For off-road/wilderness use and at home, get a Slim-Jim antenna. (It can be hung from a tree, a pole, or a piece of PVC pipe.) For use on a vehicle, get a magnetic mount-type antenna. Be sure to get the proper adapter to connect the antenna (which usually has a PL259 connector) to the tiny SMA connector on the radio. A good external antenna will greatly increase the effectiveness of the radio, compared to the “rubber duck”. (The antenna for the 150 MHz band seems to work well with the 450 MHz band also.)
- Earbud with attached microphone. (You don’t want a noisy radio speaker blaring out at the worst possible moment, betraying your presence. If the radio is under your coat, you can communicate by pushing the little button on the wire that hangs along your neck, instead of having to fish the radio out from under stuff.)
CB radios are okay, too, if all the channels aren’t too cluttered by foul-mouthed truckers. However, they are rather obsolete, except for use by truckers.
All-Arm! Yes, this is what “alarm” means, and when violence breaks out, all must arm. “Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.” “…half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons [body armor]… every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.” Nehemiah 4:16-18.
The operative law here is, “All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:52. If a person initiates violence against the peaceable and innocent, the attacker will die violently, sooner or later. If a person makes a violent assault and is killed by the defenders as the result, it is his own fault, Exodus 22:2. If an unjust man succeeds in his injustice, God is the eternal guardian of justice and the defender of the oppressed, and at the right time, full punishment will be executed. Jesus reminded His disciples of this as they watched Him submit to be murdered– to save all who will accept Him as king. It was equally a threat to all who fail to believe and repent.
Martin Luther declared, “He who has the greatest faith is he who is most able to protect.” Christ protected His disciples completely, even while surrendering Himself to be murdered. He had faith enough to obey His Father and also faith enough to know that He could call 60,000+ angels to rescue Him with a devastating show of destructive force. He had faith to do the right thing at the right time. Peter was self-confident and unprepared, and he did the wrong thing at an inappropriate time. Unlike the men of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32), Peter did not understand the time or what to do, but Christ mercifully righted the wrong, and left the case for our learning.
You may not have a gun. Oh well. You may not have a sword, spear, or bow and arrows, but you do have weapons! They are still viable today, even after the invention of gunpowder and the hydrogen bomb. The question is, are you spiritually, intellectually, and physically trained to use them rightly? Or have you been disarmed before the battle by a slave’s theology and philosophy?
If so, study the example of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the length and breadth of Scripture. He is the proto-typical warrior who fought the first battle in heaven, when a slick-tongued passive rebel refused to leave. He is the Captain of Yahweh’s armies, and He can be your Captain if you enlist in His ranks. Go visit Abraham– the father of the faithful, and get some training along with the rest of his household. He will command you after him, to do judgment and justice. Go to David, the shepherd of Israel, the man after God’s own heart, who will teach you to use the staff, the sling, and the bow, and teach you the importance of having modern steel weapons, while trusting in God alone (Psalm 44). Paul will rightly divide between “physical” and “carnal,” and teach you what authority is and who the Author is. Go to the history of God’s people in all ages, and get some “reality therapy”. Talk to Ziska, Procopius, Janavel, Arnaud, Adolfus, and countless others who knew the rules of Providence. Be sure to find history that has not been censored by pacifists, who cannot afford for their boys to know the truth, and must blank out vast portions. George Whitefield rightly described the doctrines of non-resistance and passive obedience to evil as “abominations of the whore of Babylon.” This statement was deeply rooted in the experience of two centuries. These doctrines are unbiblical and accrue to the benefit of evil.
In the story, everyone had weapons– baseball bats, axes, kitchen knives, et cetera. However, the firearms were obviously the most prized. That is what bagged the deer, that is what the watchman carried, and that is what was kept in the kitchen in case the other defenses failed. When the raid happened, the rifle (a .22?) still remained in the kitchen. Six or so defenders armed themselves, and only one had the shotgun.
Of the four households, it seems that only the author’s family had any firearms? Most farmers have at least a .22 or shotgun for pest control. If they don’t, it is unlikely that they are bowmen or skilled enough to make a sling useful. They could throw rocks and sticks, but so can the mob. Bows and arrows are more expensive, require more training, and tend to be less effective in return, than firearms. Whatever the availability or choice of weapons, the preparation must be made before the emergency. Foresight required.
“And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Luke 22:35, 36.
When our situation suddenly changes, we find that our needs change. For the disciples, life as they knew it was just about to end forever. Therefore, it was wise for them to batten down the hatches and pull themselves together. Note that they weren’t advised to get new shoes or better clothes, although these could be good. They weren’t advised to get a backpack or extra food. They were advised to be certain that every man had a sword.
“And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” Luke 22:38. In our story, they had two guns. It was enough for the present necessity, but as for the disciples, the end of the world had not arrived yet. The days of trouble, with an increasing threat of criminal treachery and violence, were only beginning. They were in this for the long haul, as we are.
“Canadian gun control laws were no longer seen as a blessing.”
At least the raiders didn’t seem to be loaded down with firearms. And quite frankly, under these circumstance, if all four gunless defenders of the barricade had had bows and arrows, in addition to their hatchets, hoes, or who knows what else, it would have rendered them formidable indeed, at least until the mob did the same.
There is no benefit to be gained from unjust laws, such as those to which the Canadians and many of their neighbors to the south cling, as slaves hugging the security of their fetters. “Job security,” “medical security,” “police protection,” “compulsory education” (protection from freedom to learn) are all what causes people to feel so secure that they can’t think or move.