Archive for the 'Featured' Category



The Admixture Of Military And Law Enforcement

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 14 hours ago

My son Daniel did a combat tour of Fallujah in 2007, but his other deployment with the Marine Corps was a MEU to the Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf (which both he and I think is a horrible way to throw away money if we’re never going to use the Marine Corps for anything on these MEUs except for humanitarian missions – but that’s another topic).

As the pre-deployment workup for this MEU, the Battalion underwent extensive training in evidence collection protocol and procedures.  At the time I dismissed this as an aberration and thought no more of it.  Then the Washington Post recently had this article, and it made me think again.

When U.S. Special Operations forces raided several houses in the Iraqi city of Ramadi in March 2006, two Army Rangers were killed when gunfire erupted on the ground floor of one home. A third member of the team was knocked unconscious and shredded by ball bearings when a teenage insurgent detonated a suicide vest.

In a review of the nighttime strike for a relative of one of the dead Rangers, military officials sketched out the sequence of events using small dots to chart the soldiers’ movements. Who, the relative asked, was this man — the one represented by a blue dot and nearly killed by the suicide bomber?

After some hesi­ta­tion, the military briefers answered with three letters: FBI.

The FBI’s transformation from a crime-fighting agency to a counterterrorism organization in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been well documented. Less widely known has been the bureau’s role in secret operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations around the world.

With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States. The bureau’s agents, in turn, could preserve evidence and maintain a chain of custody should any suspect be transferred to the United States for trial.

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… FBI agents were regularly involved in shootings — sometimes fighting side by side with the military to hold off insurgent assaults.

“It wasn’t weekly but it wouldn’t be uncommon to see one a month,” he said. “It’s amazing that never happened, that we never lost anybody.”

Others considered it a natural evolution for the FBI — and one consistent with its mission.

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In 2005, all of the HRT members in Iraq began to work under JSOC. At one point, up to 12 agents were operating in the country, nearly a tenth of the unit’s shooters.

It’s been routine to watch every little Podunk Hollow across America acquire MRAPs, and we’ve all seen the horrible result of the militarizaton of police in America with SWAT raids.  With former military snipers going to work for federal law enforcement agencies and former military in general finding work with law enforcement across America (which both Daniel and I think is a horrible idea), there may as well never have been a law such as the Posse Comitatus Act.  We have virtual military enforcing law and warring against citizens of America as we speak.

But this level of admixture is a new feature (to those of us who weren’t part of JSOC).  The professional military has welcomed both law enforcement officers and law enforcement protocol and procedures into its ranks.

The implications of this are perhaps enormous.  Quiet Man at WRSA points out that there are formal Army field manuals and doctrine and training documents for site exploitation, and remarks that “virtually everything they do will be ‘”joint” in the agency sense.”  Yes, and in the intra-agency sense as well.  The military is looking more like law enforcement, and law enforcement is looking more like the military.  For those who have been watching, this is likely not accidental, and is an evolution that is at one and the same time both immoral and lawless.  This admixture of law enforcement and military is probably irreversible and this fact will prove to be determinative as a catalyst in coming events.

The Totalitarians Among Us

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Victor Davis Hanson observes:

In short, Obama will always poll around 45 percent. That core support is his lasting legacy. In a mere five years, by the vast expansion of federal spending, by the demonizing rhetoric of his partisan bully pulpit, and by executive orders and bizarre appointments, Obama has so divided the nation that he has created a permanent constituency that will never care as much about what he does as it cares about what he says and represents.

For elite rich liberals, whose money and privilege exempt them from the consequences of Obama’s policies, and their own ideology, he will always be their totem. He is iconic of their own progressivism and proof of their racial liberalism, and thus allows them to go on enjoying their privilege, without guilt and without worrying too much about how they got it or whether they might lose it.

For the vast new millions on federal disability insurance, food stamps, and other entitlements, Obama is their lifeline to government support.

These are pregnant paragraphs indeed, but perhaps Hanson doesn’t want to consider where his own observations take us.  The problem has exacerbated under Obama to be sure, but the real problem runs far deeper than him or his cronies.

Obama is the leader du jour of the elitist collectivists, and they have specific designs for the hard workers in America (here referred to as middle class).

“The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’” a motto that Sacramento has internalized to a man.

But for much of the entitlement state, the middle class is necessary for their own existence.  Corporations rely on the wealth of the middle class in order to hire illegal aliens to do work.  They don’t pay them enough to provide for their medical care, so the middle class provides it in insurance premiums thus ensuring that when the aliens show up at the emergency rooms all across America for treatment, the hospitals don’t go bankrupt.  Food stamps, welfare and other forms of government handouts rely on the wealth of the middle class.  Thus having low paid workers in America from foreign countries is a form of corporate welfare.  It enriches the executives and board members.

Members of boards of directors sit on multiple boards, voting policy into action, traveling from one board meeting to another, and ensuring that their friends receive membership on some influential board as well.  They travel in the same circles, ride on the same yachts, fly on the same chartered jets and drink the same expensive wine as the politicians.  The politicians ensure that the corporate welfare continues by implementing policy to support it at the national level.

But if there is an entitled class in the upper echelon of society who requires redistribution of middle class wealth, the inner cities of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Atlanta grow no produce, make no product, and exist by funneling wealth from the suburbs and rural areas of America to their own coffers.  As much as one half of America pays no federal income taxes, and yet this (i.e., welfare and food stamps) is referred to as “slavery” by well intentioned people who want to see the impoverished become self supporting.

Slavery it is not, when food, medical care, housing and education is handed to you for free, while you have the opportunity to work yourself out of the inner city into a better future.  The slaves are the ones who suffer taxation – theft by the power of a badge and gun – in order to fund all of those benefits.

Finally, there are those who work to ensure that the system continues unabated – the police and all manner of federal law enforcement agencies.  While the police typically see themselves as sacrificing for the sake of the people, the effete, entitled, elitist sophisticates see them as Neanderthals.  Brutish and evil, but a necessary evil if the state is to function to maintain two classes of people.  Oftentimes – though not always – the police do their bidding.  The ridiculous war on drugs has few supporters within the elite establishment, but it has served to militarize the police, and that’s a positive thing to them.  SWAT teams may make people think about the likeness of America to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, but the elite don’t want any hint of rebellion among the ranks.  Better to overdo things and make sure than to honor the rights of the ordinary folk.

So it’s a collection of bastard groups that has designs on the middle class, and its allies sometimes agree on very little.  These groups (and many more I haven’t named) have only one thing in common: The wealth and subjugation of the middle class.  This is such a strong bond that it unites people who would otherwise hate each other.

Take careful note that the problem doesn’t just reside within the beltway of Washington, D.C.  The federal Leviathan would be powerless without the will of the people, without the agents and police to keep them in power, without the judges to sign their arrest and home-invasion warrants, without the money coming in from the workers like you and me, and without willing dupes in the counties and states who implement their laws.

You see, workers for the NSA, DOJ, DEA, EPA, DOE, and ATF, local, county, state and federal police, workers for all manner of state and county agencies, tax agents for the state and federal government, government accountants and lawyers, DHS workers, child welfare and other meddling agents, and on and on the list goes, all require your wealth and need for the host to stay alive.  They are empowered by the collective, and yet they need the collective to survive.  No one should be surprised over the notion that one half of the country is collectivist.

The totalitarians are among us.  That’s why after watching New York and Connecticut implode over gun confiscations and new gun laws, as strange as it may sound, Alabama has folks just like them.  So does South Carolina.  But also just like parasitical beings, the parasites are unconcerned about the potential death of the host.

With multiplication of the parasites the host cannot survive, but that doesn’t stop the parasites.  First comes the draining of resources, but usually soon comes disabling of the host defenses.  Gun control is an easy way to ensure compliance with the parasites while the middle class is drained dry.

Eventually the host becomes very sick and perishes.  Confiscations of IRAs and 401Ks (and nationalization of other forms of wealth) are inevitable.  That the parasites no longer have a host isn’t in the calculus.  Parasites have no conscience and do not plan ahead.  But we can and should plan ahead and see the current sickness for what it is.  It is an existential battle for life as we know it.  The parasites – the totalitarians and their allies – are among us, and the host has precious little time left.

UPDATE: See Senator Larry Martin, South Carolina, for one of our local totalitarians.

The Foundation Of Liberty

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Preliminaries

WRSA gives us a proposed formulation for the basis of liberty.

1) We believe and act upon the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

2) Government, to the extent that it is even necessary, must be effectively and eternally constrained, lest it turn once again into tyranny.

3) We believe that it is each individual’s duty and responsibility to provide all necessary support for oneself and one’s family.

4) Beyond the limitations imposed by traditional laws against murder, robbery, theft, rape, and assault, rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

5) Being essential to the protection and support of ourselves, our families, and our country, no restrictions upon speech, self-defense, arms-bearing, association, worship, private property, parental authority, or the privacy of one’s affairs and writings shall be permitted or tolerated.

This isn’t a bad start, and it’s certainly a daunting task to construct a philosophy for the governance of mankind in a short essay.  I should point out that I think that number (3) is woefully incomplete, and that in order to “act upon the principles of the Declaration of Independence,” it’s necessary properly to understand the foundations of the American revolution, what motivated those men, and why as John Adams observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (which quote demolishes silly and uneducated objections like the citing the Treaty of Tripoli as counterevidence since it was politics done spuriously in order to allay the fears of a Mohammedan government).

The comments to the article are more interesting than the article itself.  Wombat remarks:

It is the most lazily appealing avenue to attribute the failing of society to the things we dislike.  We can all play the guessing game but in some cases the facts are plain. America has been brought to its knees under the watch of an indisputable Christian majority, so if you want to blame it on the godless heathens be aware. That dog doesn’t hunt.

And ghostsniper remarks:

America is a concept not a gender.Straighten up your act Ed.

A concept is incapable of *honoring* anything.*We* didn’t murder babies.

And later:

… the next time they show up around here I’m gonna turn the hounds of hell loose on them.

And then later:

Faithers *believe* because they have no capacity to do otherwise.

They have maxed out the capability of their thought process.

Like trying to reason with children.

Perhaps we ought to resist the temptation to hurl insults at ghostsniper that he wouldn’t comprehend (such as “Why don’t you try to reason with Professor Alvin Plantinga concerning his Warrant: The Current Debate, to see if you can keep up, or perhaps inquire of my personal friend Hans Halvorson, also a Christian, concerning his views on Quantum Theory or Superentangled States, or perhaps converse with my Christian friend Nolan Hertel concerning his views on the age of the earth).  Perhaps it may be more appropriate to observe that he has accidentally stumbled upon a relevant nugget of truth.  Are belief systems epistemically incorrigible?

With Professor Plantinga, I assert that they are (within certain boundary conditions such as absent the actions of a Sovereign God to change hearts and minds).  My belief Christian belief system is incorrigible, but so is his whether he knows it or not.  And when I say “system” I mean certain things and not others.

To assert a basis for liberty without the context of a world view is vacuous and without compelling force.  We’ll deal with this shortly.

The American Revolution: Analysis & Commentary

Before we can understand where America stands and how to construct a foundation for liberty, we must understand the American experiment at its core because it is the only revolution that has succeeded in supplying the freedom necessary for life, prosperity and peace.

R. J. Rushdoony remarks in “The Nature of the American System” (page 2):

Two causes stand out clearly as basic to the break between the Colonies and George III.  The first cause was the religious issue.  John Adams cited the attempt of parliament to force the establishment of the Church of England on the colonies as responsible, “as much as any other cause,” for the break.  “The objection was not merely to the office of a Bishop, though even that was dreaded, but to the authority of parliament, on which it must be founded.”  We can agree with Bridenbaugh that “It is indeed high time that we repossess the important historical truth that religion was a fundamental cause of the American revolution.”

Does this mean that the American revolution was irreligious or anti-religious?  Not even nearly.  Turning to my former professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Douglas Kelly, in “The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World” (page 120 – 126):

In terms of population alone, a high percentage of the pre-revolutionary colonies were of Puritan-Calvinist background.  There were about three million persons in the thirteen original colonies in 1776, and perhaps as many as two-thirds of these came from some kind of Calvinist or Puritan connection.

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… by 1776, nine of the thirteen original colonies had an “established church” (generally congregational in New England, Anglican in New York, Virginia and South Carolina, “Protestant” in North Carolina, with religious freedom in Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia) … While this did not necessarily mean that a majority of the inhabitants of these colonies were necessarily committed Christian believers, it does indicate the lingering influence of the Calvinist concept of a Christian-based civil polity as an example to a world in need of reform.

Returning to Rushdoony (page 2):

Every colony had its own form of Christian establishment or settlement.  Every one was a kind of Christian republic.  It was to them a monstrous idea … for an alien body, parliament, to impose an establishment on them.  The colonies were by nature and history Christian … to read the Constitution as the charter for a secular state is to misread history, and to misread it radically.  The Constitution was designed to perpetrate a Christian order.

So how did this religious-based opposition to the decrees of George III play out in the colonies?  Returning one final time to Doug Kelly (page 121).

Their experience in Presbyterian polity – with its doctrine of the headship of Christ over the church, the two-powers doctrine giving the church and state equal standing (so that the church’s power is not seen as flowing from the state), and the consequent right of the people to civil resistance in accordance with higher divine law – was a major ingredient in the development of the American approach to church-state relations and the underlying questions of law, authority, order and rights.

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It was largely from the congregation polity of these New England puritans that there came the American concept and practice of government by covenant – that is to say: constitutional structure, limited by divine law and based on the consent of the people, with a lasting right in the people to resist tyranny.

Take note that we aren’t asserting that every man must be a Christian for a fundamentally Christian society to obtain.  We are asserting that the polity and laws must follow the basic tenants of Christianity.  This is what obtained in Colonial America and what formulated the basis for the American revolution.

Furthermore, notice that while the revolution was largely religious in nature, it wasn’t a rebellion against religion.  It was a rebellion against the idea that a centralized, dislocated power would impose its will on them, especially in terms of religious polity and laws.  Finally, note that the Calvinian idea of covenant underlies the principles of the American revolution.

It wasn’t a war of rabblerousers, troublemakers or hoodlums.  It was a revolt against a centralized power based on the idea that that power had broken covenant with God and with them, and only thus did they have the right to replace that power.  Power is best located nearest the people where they can hold rulers accountable, a fundamental formulation in the rights of states (or Colonies) early in the days of the republic.

Personal Observations & Conclusions

I’ll now address other, related issues and questions based on the discussion above.

America as a Christian Nation

As to the notion that “America has been brought to its knees under the watch of an indisputable Christian majority,” there is nothing indisputable in that assertion and I do indeed dispute that there is currently or has even recently been a Christian majority.  That statement could have been [correctly] made at the founding of the country, but not now an any meaningful sense.

I can assert that I am the king of Siam, but that doesn’t make it so.  That’s the failure of the ridiculous term “co-religionists,” which means nothing except that the person using the term is a coward (or perhaps just ignorant if we are gracious to him).

Going to church doesn’t make one a Christian.  Asserting so doesn’t make one a Christian.  Pretending so doesn’t make one a Christian.  Doing public “good” doesn’t make one a Christian.  Claiming to do things in the name of Christ doesn’t make one a Christian (Matthew 7:23).  Being a Christian involves a change of heart and mind by the work of a sovereign God who isn’t Himself moved or swayed by the words of man.

America as a Christian nation means more than just the majority of people having been raised within Christian families, professing Christianity and practicing Biblical law in their lives.  It involves Christian polity and public law – implementing rules for how men behave towards one another that is pleasing to God.  That existed at the time of our founding.  We have left that formulation, and thus have we perished as a nation.

The Requirement for a Clash of World Views

The pragmatists recommend keeping politics and religion away from the dinner table at the holidays.  Conversely, my son Joseph recent did a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, and was pleasantly surprised at the almost reflexive tendency to openly discuss world view and religious persuasion over the dinner table.

America has largely lost the ability to think deep thoughts (and cannot even keep up with folks in the DR) because so much of the country reflexively gets sauced and watches idiotic nighttime sitcoms rather than engaging in reading, discussion, learning and challenging each other – no, not talk show challenging, but serious methodological challenges to the logical order and consistency of world views.

The reference to “natural laws” and what nature may teach us is quaint and amusing, but philosophically outdated and meaningless.  Nature confers upon us nothing, and certainly not rights of any sort.  What may be obvious to us is contrary to the pronouncements of others who look at the same “nature.”  To John Dewey, John Stuart Mill and in more drastic form the communists, whatever works the best and achieves the greatest good for the greatest number is “good” (whatever that means).

But under this rubric many men and women have perished, a fact that is acceptable to the communists.  Under this rubric many millions of unborn infants in America have also perished, a fact that is wholly acceptable to the pragmatists and utilitarians.  The tribes in Ethiopia engaged in the practice of killing healthy baby boys whose top teeth came in before his bottom teeth.

America has for a long time found acceptable the idea of theft through taxation and inflation (both of which steal wealth), because that’s what the majority say.  If one turns to “nature” for values, whatever that means, perhaps the best source for ethics and morality would be watching male lions kill the cubs of females so that they come into estrus, or watching other animals as they steal kills.  Again to emphasize the point, nature cannot reveal a system of laws and turning to natural law means that you haven’t thought things through.

For those who have taken courses in apologetics or philosophy (and also for those who haven’t), a world view requires a system of categories working together, including metaphysics, ontology, ethics, epistemology, and so forth.  All of it is usually seen to be based on epistemology, as that category of philosophy describes and explains your source of truth.

It also requires that you posit your presuppositions beforehand.  Arguing that you want “reason” instead of “faith” belies ignorance (and the failure to take courses in math and philosophy).  Recalling the advice of Gordon H. Clark, you need to take a class in geometry.  All logic is governed by rules of deduction, but based on presupposition, axiomatic irreducibles.  If it can be demonstrated it is a pronouncement of your syllogism, not a presupposition.

With the right presuppositions you can demonstrate that the moon is made of green cheese.  You must state yours, and we get to examine them, along with your syllogisms.  What is your source of truth?  You see, these things are necessary before your system can amount to anything.  Otherwise, you’re an infant trying to read a calculus textbook.

Politics is ethics.  It is part of a larger system of philosophy, and it cannot be posited in a vacuum without being void of compelling argument.  You must explain how you know what you know in order for us to judge it, and all of your system must show itself to be consistent with the rest.  This is what philosopher Gordon H. Clark shows so well in “Religion, Reason and Revelation.”

More specifically, in the first chapter Clark shows that the proper way to compare and contrast world views is just that, i.e., religion cannot be separated from other world views because it posits a person (or trinity of persons) from whom revelation flows.  From the utilitarian and instrumentalist, to the communist and anarchist, every man has a god, whether it is himself, his desires, the so-called needs of the many, the utility of ideas, or whatever.  Separating world views based on whether there is such a thing as revelation suffers the logical fate of begging the question because the definition poses that which has been assumed rather than demonstrated.  It’s best for you just to queue up your world view, and for me to queue up mine, and let them fight it out.  We’ll see which one is most consistent and compelling.  Unless, of course, you would rather watch night time sitcoms rather than consider philosophical questions?

The Success of the American Revolution

The American revolution was wrought in substantial measure by men who were willing to lose everything for the sake of what was right, good and what they perceived as holy.  No other revolution has accomplished what it did, especially the French revolution which was a product of the enlightenment.

America has diminished because it has rejected the theories upon which it was built.  But it will ever be that way with no source of truth.  As another professor mine observed, “Statism, in all of its forms, is the logical result of autonomous man attempting to govern himself” (C. Gregg Singer, “From Rationalism to Irrationality,” page 411).

Because of the philosophical problem of the one and the many, man’s attempts to fix his problems will invariably land him in anarchy or totalitarianism (see Rousas J. Rushdoony, “The One and the Many”).  References to pronouncements that I may make because of my world view (e.g., murder is sinful, theft shouldn’t be tolerated, the state is accountable to both God and the people, etc.) are allowed for you even if I find it amusing, but take note that you are borrowing from my world view rather than finishing your own.

To the degree that you don’t develop and complete your world view you are inhibiting conversation because you cannot hold up your end of the bargain to engage in the so-called clash of world views.  And to the degree that you develop a world view that is a recapitulation of one that has gone before, yours will end in totalitarianism.  I guarantee it.  If you argue that you haven’t read all of the philosophy or history text books, you’re arguing for laziness as an excuse.  I’m unimpressed.  I’m sorry that you’re intellectually lazy, but I can’t help you with that.

Finally, to the extent that you are looking for or trying to develop a foundation for liberty that ignores the religious elements of the American revolution, you’re being dishonest.  Our founders were men of character, faith, and fight.  Being men of fight and leaving the character and faith to someone else is a poor substitute for the foundation of liberty in America.  It means that we who do that are not even in the same league as our founders.  It also means that we will fail at our goals and initiatives – I guarantee it.  But if our beliefs are incorrigible, those who are merely fighters (without character or faith) may even be unable to diagnose this malady.  Beware of such men.

Individual and Corporate Accountability, and The Death of Nations and Men

I said earlier that proposition #3 was incomplete.  I have explained that the expectation is not and was never for the state to provide for the needs of the needy.  The state has more and more taken this role to itself as the church and family have left the scene (and as we have allowed the state to usurp God’s authority).  Likewise, when nation-states allow national sins to occur (like abortion), at times in history God’s judgment encircles the entire nation.  He holds people accountable corporately, not just individually.  This is demonstrated all through the Holy Scriptures.  If you haven’t read them, I cannot help you because you’re arguing for laziness again.

And while we may agree that taxation is theft by the power of a badge and gun, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t to provide for the needy (see the admonition of Paul and James concerning widows and orphans).  Families may not always be able to assist because they may not exist.  In such instances, the church and other families show the national character by the care they give widows and orphans.  And again note that I didn’t place the role of support on the state.  I placed it squarely where God does – families and churches, with all institutions accountable to God, including our governors and lawmakers.

For those who have been in any way engaged in dependent care, you have become aware of what I already know.  The elderly cannot care for themselves – or at least, they are much less able to care for themselves than are we.  We can collect our guns, ammunition, gold, tactical gear and food stuffs, but the reality is that there is a short window of time in life where that means anything.

I may carry weapons from room to room with me when I make my way around the house, and carry them on my way about my business on a daily basis.  But one day soon, my life and yours will be snuffed out.  We will perish from the face of the earth, along with any memory of us.  The very small segment of the world that knew we existed will forget us.  Then we will face judgment in front of our creator.

That day, our mouths will be closed.  We will not speak.  There will be no defense.  Christ will be our advocate, or we will be told to depart.  No amount of guns and ammunition will be able to change things.  Before that day we will be as helpless as the other elderly for whom God has made us accountable – unable even to move at times, much less provide for ourselves.  We will be dependent upon other men in life, and God’s judgment in death.

Take care that your world view is sufficiently humble.  You won’t be “unleashing the hounds of hell” on anyone.  You will soon be old and feeble, and then you will die.  “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  Understand that whatever designs you have for your family and your nation depends upon the favor of a sovereign God, and not your own “wisdom.”  No basis for liberty that ensconces sin or ignores the demands of a sovereign God (whether theft by taxation, abortion, or whatever) will ever succeed.  “Do homage to the Son that He not become angry and you perish in the way” (Psalm 2:12).

And thus no one who reads this article will have the excuse that he has never heard this.

Preppers Prepare, Preppers Beware!

BY Herschel Smith
5 months ago

Preppers have been in the news lately.  Since there is increasing interest in this topic, CNN recently had a fairly extensive article on the “doomsday prepper convention.”

More and more Americans are spending money to get ready for an uncertain future — gathering food, water, tools, and skills to help them weather anything from a hurricane to a pandemic. Contrary to images of deluded or gun-obsessed “lone wolves,” many preppers are average consumers reacting to concrete worries, and their way of thinking is spreading, fueling an emerging lifestyle trend. That lifestyle is generating demand for a broad spectrum of products offering survival — or even comfort — when large-scale systems go down.

An array of preparedness expos and conferences have cropped up around the country to serve this emerging and fast-changing market. To get a closer look, I visited Life Changes, Be Ready!, or LCBR, a new expo that held its second event on the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd, in Lakeland, Fla. LCBR gave an immediate sense of one big way that the preparedness crowd isn’t marginal at all – economically. The show floor was packed with a dizzying array of small businesses and products that defied stereotypical “prepper” classification — not just ammunition and crossbows and camping gear, but also seed banks, beehives, financial planning, and acupressure.

According to many of the entrepreneurs on the floor, business is trending upwards. John Egger of Self Reliance Strategies has been producing and selling prepackaged seed banks for nearly four years and sees his market expanding. “It’s definitely picking up. It’s not just country people anymore. We really cater to a suburban market … We call it suburban homesteading.” You can see this broadening of the market in the range of price points, from the $5,600 portable solar charging stations flogged by Alternative Energy, Inc., to the $649 “Stomp Supreme” field medic kit offered by Doom and Bloom, LLC. (“This is the one recommended for people expecting civil unrest.”) Clearly, LCBR’s vendors saw a crowd ready to drop major cash today to assuage their worries about tomorrow.

There are still uncertainties in the preparedness market, some driven by ideology, according to Charley Hogwood of Personal Readiness Education Programs. “All last year it was up and up and up. But after the [presidential] election, it flattened out.” Hogwood thinks that some in the market were overwrought over doomsday scenarios surrounding the reelection of Barack Obama. “Last year, I heard 100 different conspiracy theories” about what a second Obama presidency might mean. But when the election wasn’t followed by martial law and FEMA camps, both the rhetoric and the market cooled off a bit. “I rarely hear the crazy theories now. Now everyone’s worried mainly about the collapse of the dollar,” says Hogwood, referring to widespread prepper fears of hyperinflation triggered by the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing.

Hogwood, friendly and round-faced, reflected the resolute averageness that permeated the show. He snorted derisively at conspiracy theorists, and also acknowledged some of the ironies of a preparedness trade show. “Sometimes it’s like a toy store, and people buy stuff because they like it.” But in a real survival situation, “the more you know, the less you have to carry. A lot of people don’t know much and think they can buy their way out of it.” He sees some of the extremism surrounding the prepping industry as hype, maybe even fearmongering. “It’s so much more fun to worry about martial law than a hurricane. People like zombies as a marketing tool.”

But there are horrible reports that show the bottom feeders of society.

Nuclear war. Volcanic eruption. Terrorist attack.

Though the scenarios of how an apocalyptic event would paralyze or destroy society varies, a group of like-minded individuals in East Pierce County believes a good defense is the best way to prepare for doomsday.

And some believe a good offense is even better.

“We’re not in it to stockpile. We’re in it to take what you have and there’s nothing you can do to stop us,” Tyler Smith says. “We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”

Smith, 29, is the leader of Spartan Survival. The group has more than 80 dues-paying members. Smith founded the organization in 2005 to train and prepare others on survivalism.

Analysis & Commentary

There is another report of a family that, readying for nuclear war, builds underground tunnels from 18 recycled school buses — with enough supplies for 500 people — and buries them under a foot and a half of concrete.  Some of the terrifying scenarios for preppers include dirty bombs and a rising sea from global warming.

I am not a prepper by practice, although I tinker a bit in weapons, ammunition and wilderness survival.  But I do have a number of suggestions for preppers to assist them in spending their money efficiently and avoiding the more dangerous situations they seem to choose for themselves and their families.

My reaction to this round of doomsday preppers is about the same as last time.  NatGeo seems to find some of the weirdest folks to do this special, making preppers appear to be crackpots and neglecting to cover some of the more normal people involved in this loosely connected and loosely coupled group.

On the other hand, there are some seriously confused people involved in the movement, and there are a number of misconceptions that need to be set right.  On one episode a year or more ago, some poor lady (a former LEO) who lived near a commercial nuclear reactor wanted to be prepared in the event of an explosion and nuclear fallout from this reactor.  In the same vein, many prepper web sites feature so-called “anti-radiation pills” for protection from, I suppose, nuclear war, “fallout” from nuclear accidents and according to one report, dirty bombs.

So that preppers can stop worrying over at least one subset of concerns, let me state unequivocally and without reservation that commercial nuclear reactors don’t explode like nuclear bombs.  Folks, if I may lapse into pointy-head mode for a moment, by requirement of the code of federal regulations, American commercial nuclear reactors must be designed with an overall negative power coefficient.  This means that the combination of void, Doppler and moderator feedback must shut down the reactor in situations of unintended power increase.  It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the simplest way I know to explain it for those of you not involved in the field of nuclear engineering.

The Russian RBMK reactor (e.g., Chernobyl) was designed as a loosely coupled graphite moderated reactor where the coolant was a neutron poison, not the moderator.  Thus it has a positive void coefficient and overall positive power coefficient.  Even so, the accident at Chernobyl was still a rapid power excursion leading to a steam explosion that destroyed the reactor systems and containment.  So it wasn’t a nuclear explosion, but it was a catastrophe.  Russian reactors, however, are under no such design requirement as U.S. nuclear reactors.  Furthermore, the there was no hard containment design for Chernobyl.

The U.S. had a Chernobyl, i.e., Three Mile Island.  There was essentially no dose to the public because of the slow progression of the accident and the hard containment design.  The most hazard to which you can expose your family in a commercial nuclear reactor accident is to put yourself on the road trying to escape it along with all of the other fear mongers who believe that a nuclear reactor can explode.  Stay home.

Next, and listen to me very closely on this one, there is no such thing as an anti-radiation pill.  These web sites are selling Potassium Iodide tablets.  Their design is to saturate the thyroid gland with stable iodine, thus preventing radioactive iodine from seeking this organ if it has been released and is available for intake or uptake.  But the thyroid isn’t the only target organ for radioactive fission products, and iodine isn’t the only fission product.  Cesium, strontium and the actinides are bone seekers, and in fact a perusal of Federal Guidance Report No. 11 will show that there are a whole host of potential pathways of exposure to radioactive effluents.

Furthermore, Potassium Iodide has potential side effects, and before you saturate your thyroid gland because you are afraid of nuclear power or some other nuclear event, take note that you’ve been warned.  Finally, the concept of dirty bombs is unfortunate because it appeals to the fear of the unseen and misunderstood.  It isn’t possible to disperse nuclear contaminants far enough to be more effective than conventional explosives unless the device deploys inside a confined space with forced ventilation.

Furthermore, if there is a general lack of technical understanding in prepper designs for amelioration of nuclear events, I’m equally concerned about the structures and domiciles that are being built.  Folks, most of you are not registered professional engineers, and you aren’t having registered PEs do the designs of these buildings and tunnels and other things.  For a primer on exactly what happens when an engineer designs something and a contractor does it his own way instead of following the plans, see the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse.  An awful lot of money is being spent on plans that may or may not be safe, effective or necessary.

But of course, that’s exactly what the con artists and shysters want.  They want to take your money.  But it’s your job to keep your money, or at least, not give it away to unscrupulous people who don’t care about you.  So what do you really need?  Do you need a home in the forest or desert or somewhere else in the American redoubt?  Do you need tactical training?  Do you need more money, or gold and silver?

I don’t have an answer, but I do.  I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do in any specific situation, but I think that the answer to the questions above is to take tomorrow on as an opportunity to be more prepared than you were today, in whatever endeavor you work and live, whatever your station in life.  And I think it’s wrong for anyone to tell you what you should believe that you need, except to have means of self defense and defense of your family.

Like many of my readers, I couldn’t conjure up faith in the soon-to-collapse Keynesian, dept-based economic system if my life depended on it.

But concerning Mr. Tyler Smith, preppers shouldn’t ever be associated with people like that.  First of all, he is a liar.  He cannot possibly deliver on his promises of taking things from other people.  Second, it shows a dark underbelly, not just of preppers, but of mankind in general.

I recall having a conversation with my son Daniel, my former Marine, some time around his combat tour of Iraq.  The backdrop is that Colonel William Mullen had shown me his pre-deployment PowerPoint presentation to the Battalion, and I took particular notice of the last slide or two.  Essentially, Colonel Mullen had issued die-in-place orders to the Battalion.  The orders were never to surrender to the enemy.  It would only hamper the efforts of the Battalion, unnecessarily tie up resources attempting to locate you, and put your family through agony.

There are things worse than death, I recall telling Daniel.  For instance, dying without honor or for me, having denied my Lord.  So if I ever face death for my Christianity, I hope to recite the Apostle’s Creed as loudly as I can until a 7.62X39 rips through my skull.  If that sounds gruesome, I would remind readers that none of us get out of this alive.  We will all perish, and the only question is how.  Rather than planning to steal from others in an apocalypse or other disaster, the goal of all of us should be to work in order to have something for those in need (Ephesians 4:28).

If you want to live a more sustainable life style, there are guideposts and examples to follow, but it’s hard and serious labor, and there is no room for gimmicks or con artists.  And there is certainly no room for thieves, ne’er-do-wells or thugs who threaten to take the means to protect or feed your family.  Preppers should continue to prepare, as should everyone.  But preppers need to beware of shysters, wicked men who bring threats, and doing things that actually end up making their family less safe than if they hadn’t prepared at all.  A man who threatens to take what you have (and wants to teach you to do the same) is no different than the one who will sell you an expensive shelter in the case of an “explosion” from an American commercial nuclear reactor (that will never happen).  They’re both con artists.  Beware of con artists.

In closing:

…We are not given to know all the ripples our words and deeds might produce. In this as in all things, God is good. What man could bear to live with the knowledge that his lightest utterances would disrupt the entire future of Man? It’s for the best that we deem ourselves, and our effects, finite. I wouldn’t want to be able to see too far ahead; it would distract me from what I must do today.

But in reflecting on the above exchange, and the one before it, it occurs to me that the one and only predictable thing in life is its end: we shall all die. At the Particular Judgment, when I must answer to God for my deeds in life, a verdict will be rendered from which there is no appeal. It will be clear to me from the absolute self-knowledge conferred by one’s entrance to eternity that it could be no other way, and all I will be able to say is So it is.

May God bless and keep you all (quote via WRSA).

Bilderberg, The New American Century And The Rise Of Intelligence

BY Herschel Smith
7 months ago

We’ve seen how the Department of Homeland Security has pressed for biometric identification of American citizens, and how American police have adopted COIN tactics, techniques and procedures in the policing of America, including more than seventy federal agencies.  These are cogs in a larger machine.  In an event that went completed ignored in the Main Stream Media (ignored, not missed), Wikileaks recently released 249 important documents on global intelligence contractors.

Today, Wednesday 4 September 2013 at 1600 UTC, WikiLeaks released ‘Spy Files #3′ – 249 documents from 92 global intelligence contractors. These documents reveal how, as the intelligence world has privatised, US, EU and developing world intelligence agencies have rushed into spending millions on next-generation mass surveillance technology to target communities, groups and whole populations.

WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange stated: “WikiLeaks’ Spy Files #3 is part of our ongoing commitment to shining a light on the secretive mass surveillance industry. This publication doubles the WikiLeaks Spy Files database. The WikiLeaks Spy Files form a valuable resource for journalists and citizens alike, detailing and explaining how secretive state intelligence agencies are merging with the corporate world in their bid to harvest all human electronic communication.”

WikiLeaks’ Counter Intelligence Unit has been tracking the trackers. The WLCIU has collected data on the movements of key players in the surveillance contractor industry, including senior employees of Gamma, Hacking Team and others as they travel through Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and other countries.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ publisher, stated: “The WikiLeaks Counter Intelligence Unit operates to defend WikiLeaks’ assets, staff and sources, and, more broadly, to counter threats against investigative journalism and the public’s right to know.”

Documents in Spy Files #3 include sensitive sales brochures and presentations used to woo state intelligence agencies into buying mass surveillance services and technologies. Spy Files #3 also includes contracts and deployment documents, detailing specifics on how certain systems are installed and operated.

Internet spying technologies now being sold on the intelligence market include detecting encrypted and obfuscated internet usage such as Skype, BitTorrent, VPN, SSH and SSL. The documents reveal how contractors work with intelligence and policing agencies to obtain decryption keys.

The documents also detail bulk interception methods for voice, SMS, MMS, email, fax and satellite phone communications. The released documents also show intelligence contractors selling the ability to analyse web and mobile interceptions in real-time.

Analysis & Commentary

An important reddit comment follows this up.

Would you like to know more?

Revolution in Military Affairs

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_in_Military_Affairs

Former DoD analyst Franklin Spinney

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_C._Spinney

“At the core of the RMA is a radical hypothesis that would cause Sun Tzu, Clausewitz and George Patton to roll over in their graves. That is, that technology will transform the fog and friction of combat – the uncertainty, fear, chaos, imperfect information which is a natural product of a clash between opposing wills – into clear, friction-free, predictable, mechanistic interaction.”

Project for the New American Century

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

In its “Preface”, in highlighted boxes, Rebuilding America’s Defenses states that it aims to:

ESTABLISH FOUR CORE MISSIONS for the U.S. military:

  1. Defend the American homeland;
  2. Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
  3. Perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
  4. Transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs”;

CONTROL THE NEW “INTERNATIONAL COMMONS” OF SPACE AND “CYBERSPACE”

Section V of Rebuilding America’s Defenses, entitled “Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force”, includes the sentence: “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor” (51).[15]

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities. ”

-Zbigniew Brzezinski, geopolitician, former US National Security Advisor, and member of the Bilderberg Group. Quote lifted from his book “Between Two Ages”

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbigniew_Brzezinski

It’s a brave new world that the rulers envision, no doubt.  No more conventional warfare, not even fourth generation warfare since the rulers know what we’re doing, who we are, where we are, what assets we have, to whom we’re connected, and how to stop “trouble-making” before it gets started.  Iraq was a laboratory for stability operations, and the story about the “snake-eaters” using a synthesis of organic intelligence, signals intelligence and smart analysis and finding the bad guys in order to end the insurgency only plays into the hands of the collectivists.  But can it really work like this?

The narrative about the “snake eaters” bringing an end to the campaign in Iraq is greatly overblown.  It was primarily the U.S. Marines who brought stability to the Anbar Province, and it was the hard work of thousands of Soldiers in the balance of Iraq that brought the modicum of success that we had in Iraq, for what end I don’t really know.

The Chicago police department cannot even stop gang violence in their own city, and the Governor is considering the use of National Guard troops to quell the violence.  It won’t work, and I seriously doubt that such troops would even be under arming orders, any more than the National Guard sent to the Southern border were under arming orders.

There is another intersection of this paradigm with collectivist intentions.  In order to find money for redistribution to the masses, they need to gut the military.  Notwithstanding the ongoing debate in our community over a standing army, the point is that the collectivists are going after money, and before they target 401Ks and IRAs, they willl use defense dollars in their designs for control.  It’s easier for them that way.

But this is all well and good for the rulers until the bullets start flying.  Obamacare was and continues to be a big deal.  Confiscation of 401Ks and IRAs might be the event that pushes typical Americans over the edge.  Watching the death of loved ones due to decisions by government death panels (while their wealth goes to funding the medical care of illegal aliens) might be another.

In the end, the hives the government has created (like Chicago) don’t work because they undermine values and the organic family unit.  Whatever the final straw, if the government cannot control violence in the very hives that they’ve created, they certainly can’t accomplish that in suburbia America, where fences, yard dogs and guns every fifty yards would make the hedgerows in Normany look like inviting terrain.

To be sure, the degree of electronic control over Americans makes the situation hard, and the government knows almost everything about us.  But for the Bilderberg group and the elitist rulers, I have a suggestion.  Try a test case in which you announce gun and wealth confiscations, and send one of the many federal policing agencies up Highway 276 in South Carolina, through Marietta, and turn left on Highway 11.  Within a few minutes make a turn to the right towards Jocassee Gorges, and start your confiscations up in those hills.  My bet is that the your vehicles will be blown to smithereens.  If you do make it up the road, it’s likely that they boys with scoped, bolt action hunting rifles will make life very difficult for you.  With all due respect to the tactical trainers (which training is very good and necessary, I’m sure), there won’t be small unit maneuver warfare.  No one will ever see the boys hiding behind the trees.  They won’t go on the run as a lone wolf because you won’t ever know they were involved in anything.  The best planning, the best troops and the best equipment couldn’t handle an insurgency in America – if one ever develops.

Or try to do confiscations in Murphy, North Carolina, or any one of a multitude of places in Idaho or Montana.  To be reminded of the value of a good rifleman, I strongly recommend an article in the most recent American Rifleman magazine (October 2013).  Sometimes this publication becomes annoying with its advertizing and product reviews.  But occasionally the magazine crafts a winner, and this one is meets the criteria.

The article is entitled “Where will we bury them all?,” and in my paper copy it begins on page 95.  It’s the story about the communist invasion of Finnland in 1939, and the value of basic combat rifles and good fieldcraft.  It summarizes:

The winter war proved a costly victory for the Soviets.  The Red Army lost approximately 126,875 dead or missing, 264,908 wounded and appriximately 5,600 captured.  In addition, they lost about 2,268 armored vehicles.  The Finns suffered greatly to preserve their freedom.  In the four months of combat, Finnish losses numbered approximately 26,662 dead and more than 39,000 wounded.  A tiny nation of riflemen had held off the communist Red giant.

It would be easy to conclude that the 50% of America which is still working is on a direct collision course with the elitist rulers.  It would be just as easy for the collectivists to conclude that biometrics, numbers, cards, decryption, cameras and aggressive policing will enable their designs.  The former conclusion seems more likely every day.  The later conclusion seems dangerous for the collectivists.

Of course, everything in this article is for educational purposes only.

Counterinsurgency Cops

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 2 weeks ago

CBS 60 Minutes recently did an absolutely fawning review of a police department in Springfield, Massachusetts, who claims to have implemented counterinsurgency tactics (hereafter COIN – Lesley Stahl incorrectly calls it a strategy, when it is more correctly a set of tactics, techniques and procedures).  You can watch the segment on your own time, but it’s worth pointing out that 60 Minutes didn’t do anything earth-shattering in this segment.  This is a fairly well known and well rehearsed report from 2012, and it is here that we will turn our attention.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) – It’s a story CBS 3 has been following - the success of a state and Springfield police initiative in the city’s North End.

Law enforcement and residents say it’s transforming their neighborhood and cutting crime by 68 percent.

“I wish every hotspot community could use it, it has changed the lives of people here,” said Jose Claudio, director of the New North Citizens Council.

Claudio has lived in arguably the city’s most dangerous neighborhood for more than 40 years.

But he and many others aren’t giving up on it.

“This is our city, this is our neighborhood, we need to all work together,” he said.

After a particularly violent week that claimed three lives in the fall of 2009, police and residents were finally fed up with the violence.

“It was, it was a wake-up call for all of us,” said state police Trooper Michael Cutone.

Cutone took a lesson from his time in the Army Special Forces in Iraq and applied them to the streets in the North End.

“Gang members and drug dealers operate very similar to insurgents…by paralyzing the community and instilling fear in the community,” Cutone said.

But it’s more than just locking people up.

“It starts with every neighbor, it starts with every resident of Springfield,” said Claudio.

Claudio invites people he knows involved in the community to weekly meetings. Community and religious leaders and Springfield and state police meet there to talk about recent arrests, complaints and programs that are helping teens.

Issues brought up at Thursday’s meeting led state police to a home on Washburn Street, where a group of kids has allegedly been terrorizing one family.

Cutone says all too often this neighborhood swallows young kids up into a world of fear and abuse.

And most of the time gangs are seen as the only way out.

“It’s very difficult for that young person to say ‘no’ and they get sucked into the gang, so we have to have a counter-message, and one of those counter-messages is Joseph Mendoza,” Cutone said.

CBS 3 first introduced you to Pfc. Joseph Mendoza last week just days after he had graduated from Marine Corp boot camp.

Since seeing his story as a North End kid staying out of trouble and succeeding, families have approached his mom on how they can do the same.

“First young man from this community to go to the student trooper program, a year later from that joins the Marine Corp,” said Cutone.

But his story is not the only one of hope and survival coming out of this neighborhood.

Some of the people that go to the weekly meetings have done time, learned the hard way and are now paying it forward in various ways.

“It’s very humbling and rewarding at the same time,” Cutone said.

Claudio says he knows that once this group continues to scrape away the crime, the people of the North End can turn a corner.

“If everybody takes that pride and makes it happen, this city will be the comeback city,” Claudio said.

C-3 policing is catching the attention of law enforcement all over the nation.

Since seeing its benefits, police from California and North Carolina have visited Springfield to learn about it.

Police in Paterson, New Jersey, have learned about the COIN approach allegedly used in Springfield, and are reaching out to their police department to obtain mentoring to adopt those same tactics.

Analysis & Commentary

The 60 Minutes report is more remarkable for what it doesn’t say concerning the application of COIN in America.  This didn’t begin in a vacuum.  The theoretical underpinnings for this approach have been in the developmental stages for a long time.

The so-called war on drugs was the casus belli for the militarization of the local police forces in the U.S., although it took time to effect the evolution far and wide.  Near the end of the campaign in Iraq, the favorite think tank of the left, the RAND Corporation, published a report in 2009 entitled Does The United States Need A New Police Force For Stability Operations?  In it, Seth Jones, et. al., conclude:

Weighing all considerations, the researchers concluded that the best option would be a 6,000-person hybrid force headquartered in the U.S. Marshals Service. The personnel in reserve status could be employed in state and local police forces so they would be able to exercise police functions in a civilian population daily and could be called up as needed.

The Marshals Service was deemed to have many of the requisite skills. However, its training and management capabilities would need to be expanded to take on this large mission, and it would have to recruit additional personnel as well. The annual cost, $637 million, is reasonable given the capability it buys. The cost savings in relieving military forces of these duties could be greater than required to create the SPF.

The Military Police option was attractive for a number of reasons, especially its capacity, training, and logistical capabilities, but its inability to engage in policing activities when not deployed was a major stumbling block. The Posse Comitatus Act precludes military personnel from exercising police functions in a civilian setting, and legislative relief might be difficult to get.

Not to be outdone or left behind, the military establishment has weighed in with papers advocating the use of U.S. troops for a similar mission on American soil.  One example, causing me forever to lose any respect for Small Wars Journal, was entitled Full Spectrum Operations In The Homeland: A Vision Of The Future, and SWJ followed this up later with Political Violence Prevention: Profiling Domestic Terrorists.  The former paper advocated the use of U.S. military troops for stability operations in America, while the later paper advocated the use of human terrain systems for profiling “domestic terrorists” (I discussed these papers here).

Just to ensure that we all knew that the full force of the think tanks was behind this effort, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point published Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far Right (via Western Rifle Shooters Association).  Several observations may be made at this point.  First, while the seeds for military operations on American soil by police and/or U.S. troops had been planted long ago, watching war occur for a decade across our television screens caused a change in those whose predilections would point them in the direction of waring on American soil.

This is how it is to be done, it was easy to conclude.  Social science with a gun: community involvement, town meetings, law enforcement knowledge of everyone all of the time, biometrics to track people (and especially men of military age), door kicking and killing as punitive measures, all sanctioned by the authorities and fully approved.  A new mission.  No longer will we merely perform constabulary duties.  We must rebuild our cities, bring stability, and ensure that the centralized planners work with the military leaders to guide us all.  The example has been set, and we’ve watched it unfold before our eyes for ten years.  It has been paraded across our television screens for years, and now we know how to do it.

Second, in order to effect this revised mission, they must have the same tactics, same military hardware, and the same doctrine.  Police involving the community sounds warm and acceptable to the uninitiated, but it has a dark underbelly.  The carrot and stick approach requires that they perform as COIN troops, as forces of occupation, to enforce their will.  War is, after all is said and done, the use of violence to enforce your will.

And this history of COIN in America has indeed been violent, partly because of the paradigm which guides the mission.  I know something about the mission because my son is a former Marine and conducted operations in Fallujah in 2007.  He performed counter-sniper operations, cleared rooms with an M4, cleared rooms with his Squad Automatic Weapon, performed satellite patrols, and operated an M2 aboard a helicopter targeting insurgents as they crossed over the Euphrates River into Fallujah after checkpoints had locked down the city.  Marine Corps 2/6 went into Fallujah hard in the summer of 2007, but there’s an interesting instance that demonstrates how SWAT teams operate in America.

The Marines had control of Fallujah, but on rare ocassion special operations would roll through the city on their way to Ramadi after bad actors.  On one such occasion when my son and one other Marine were coupled with Iraqi Police in one precinct, U.S. special operations based in Baghdad sped through his AO.  He stopped them, and emphatically stated, “If you ever speed through my AO like that again in an unmarked vehicle, without uniforms and insignia, I’ll light you up like a f****** Christmas tree and laugh while you bleed out.  You inform me the next time you’re in my AO.”

After that SO and the Marine Corps in Fallujah had a clear understanding and there were no more problems.  But special operations desires anonymity, all of the time.  I am unpersuaded that this is primarily for OPSEC or protection of families, since there is no anonymity for conventional Army or Marines.  But SWAT teams have taken on the same tactics in America, wearing hoods, prohibiting photography, and generally refusing to divulge their identities.

Hood1

Hood2

In Chicago SWAT Raid Gone Terribly Wrong, we discussed a case in which the Chicago SWAT team raided a wrong address, hurling profanity at the family, pointing weapons at children, and demanding that one eleven month old show his hands.  I later filed a FOIA request to find out the identities of the officers, and the request was denied.  To have divulged the identities of the officers would not comport with the paradigm of special operations.  But the problem runs deeper, and while we could run through the litany of dilemmas brought by the militarization of police in America, we’ll discuss it is three headings.

While SWAT teams have adopted the tactics of the military, they aren’t trained like the military.  One prime example of this is the death of Mr. Eurie Stamps.  Mr. Stamps was innocent of any wrongdoing.  The police of Framingham, MA., forcibly entered his home and forced him into the prone position on the floor.  One officer who had his finger on the trigger of his weapon stumbled over Mr. Stamps and discharged his firearm into the completely compliant Mr. Stamps, killing him.  My son has been trained to overcome the sympathetic muscle reflex to pull the trigger of his weapon if he stumbles, but SWAT teams have not been through such training, and will never sustain the pressure, get the training or be required to have such skills and abilities.

Max Velocity sums up the situation very well in his discussion of the horrible situation in which the head of a household finds himself in a SWAT raid.

Realizing that this is a Law Enforcement raid, you decline to open fire. The stack comes in through the door. If you decline to fight, you better drop that weapon before they see it, or they will riddle you with bullets. At this point, you are putting your trust in the restraint of the HIT team. They now own you, your house and your family. Remember, they are poorly trained and afraid. They want to go home at the end of their shift. Your safety is not really their concern, only as far as any liability goes. If they kill or injure anyone, they will cover it up and get away with it. You are encouraged to pursue these actions within the system of the courts, but there will never be any satisfaction to be had there. The courts are corrupt and stacked towards the HIT team.

Oh yea, and they just shot and killed your beloved family pet as they made entry.

Remember: It is very important to note that any danger created by the HIT raid is unnecessary and purely created by the actions of the HIT itself. The very methods they use are creating danger, in particular for the home occupants. The HIT is liable, pure and simple, for their unnecessary militarized actions. Any threat to “officer safety” is greatly overborne by the threat to civilian victim safety, and entirely avoidable by the use of civilized methods, as opposed to the current thuggery.

What to expect? If you are not killed immediately, you will have weapons pointed at you. You wife and kids will be rousted out of bed, the family dogs killed and laying around thrashing in front of them. Rifle barrels will be pointed at your family. Death is only a twitchy trigger finger away. You and your wife will be screamed at, cussed at, thrown to the ground and restrained. If you argue you will be tasered and beaten if not shot, until you ‘stop resisting.’ Anyone in your house who is slow to react, such as a handicapped adult looking relative or child, or an ornery old WWII veteran from the Greatest Generation, risks being shot and killed for not immediately complying with orders.

The HIT team now owns your house and your family. They will tear it apart looking for whatever it is they are looking for, even if it is the wrong address. Your kids will be segregated until a social worker arrives to take custody of them. They are now wards of the state until you are freed. You property will be torn up. You will be cussed at and threatened by HIT team guys looking like military in their full gear. They will take all your legally owned firearms and you will never see them again.

They are afraid, trigger happy, generally untrained to perform these functions, and poorly led.  In fact, SWAT teams in America will never rise to the level of control, discipline, leadership and training in special operations or the U.S. Marines.

Even if SWAT teams were trained like the military, their actions violate the fourth amendment of the U.S. constitution.  This is true even if they obtain bench warrants for said operations (although oftentimes they do not).  They operate with virtual impunity since their actions have judicial approval.  In other words, they can generally find a judge who will sign anything.  Without judicial approval for these tactics they would cease to exist, and thus the problem has its cancer deep into the fabric of the establishment.  Judges are usually very well know and deeply influential in their communities anyway, and they not only know about these tactics, they approve of them, both implicitly and explicitly.  The brutality with which the occupants of a home are treated is seen as collateral damage in a society that needs to be controlled with the application of force.

The application of force isn’t discriminatory.  The Pittsburgh SWAT dragged a ten year old out of the bathtub and made him stand naked next to his four year old sister at gunpoint.  The Detroit police were all in a tizzy over an art gallery.

The moment the assault rifles surrounded her, Angie Wong was standing in a leafy art-gallery courtyard with her boyfriend, a lawyer named Paul Kaiser. It was just past 2 A.M., in May, 2008. Wong was twenty-two years old and was dressed for an evening out, in crisp white jeans, a white top, and tall heels that made it difficult not to wobble. The couple had stopped by a regular event hosted by the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), a red brick gallery with the aim of “turning Detroit into a model city,” and arrived to find a tipsy, jubilant scene: inside, gallerygoers were looking at art and dancing to a d.j …

Only then did masked figures with guns storm the crowd, shouting, “Get on the fucking ground! Get down, get down!”   Some forty Detroit police officers dressed in commando gear ordered the gallery attendees to line up on their knees, then took their car keys and confiscated their vehicles, largely on the grounds that the gallery lacked the proper permits for dancing and drinking.

A naked ten year old in a bathtub, dancing and drinking at an art gallery … these are the things occupying the SWAT teams of America. In the case of Brian Terry’s death, border agents initially fired bean bags at the killers.  Yet bean bags were precisely what killed a 95 year old innocent man in Park Forrest (via Mike Vanderboegh).

The old man, described by a family member as “wobbly” on his feet, had refused medical attention. The paramedics were called. They brought in the Park Forest police.

First they tased him, but that didn’t work. So they fired a shotgun, hitting him in the stomach with a bean-bag round. Wrana was struck with such force that he bled to death internally, according to the Cook County medical examiner.

“The Japanese military couldn’t get him at the age he was touchable, in a uniform in the war. It took 70 years later for the Park Forest police to do the job,” Wrana’s family attorney, Nicholas Grapsas, a former prosecutor, said in an interview with me Thursday

Illegal Mexicans bent on killing, or a 95 year old veteran of WWII who had done no wrong.  Eh … what’s the difference?  Actually, the irony of these two cases is quite sad.  In the one situation that should garner our support for militarized policing – the border – the authorities are prevented from acting in a manner which would secure the border.  Illegal aliens are (a) promising votes for the Democrats, and (b) workers for Archer-Daniels-Midland and Monsanto as they scarf up family run farms, which they despise, while the American ratepayer and taxpayer foots the bill for medical care, uninsured motorist coverage, welfare and food stamps.  Illegal aliens are loved by the big corporations in light of the corporate welfare that we all pay, and an economic disaster for the balance of Americans.  The border is easy enough to secure, and remains open because the elite and powerful in both parties want it to be open.  So a better way to state this problem may not be that the use of force isn’t discriminating, but that it is discriminating according to the wishes of the power brokers in America.

Finally, the COIN narrative is false.  For those who are interested in the details of my assertions, see the category The Anbar Narrative.  This is a subject that Professor and Colonel Gian Gentile (of West Point) and I have discussed in detail together – that is, the Petraeus narrative is a happy story made for the masses who do not understand warfare.  Petraeus, it is said, stopped being brutal, befriended the people, brought peace to their neighborhoods, listened to the town leaders, and placed his folk in harm’s way in order to make the people safer and thus win hearts and minds.  Winning hearts and minds means that they give up the insurgents, and presto, counterinsurgency made easy.

But there is nothing easy about it, it didn’t exactly happen that way, and in the end more than a thousand Marines perished in the Anbar Province and more than 4000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines perished in Iraq.  Afghanistan was the campaign led by the social planners rather than a war fought by the NCOs and their men.  Thus we lost in Afghanistan.  Many tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and others perished in Iraq, and the scene on the street and in the countryside was brutal, bloody and awful.  The belief that the COIN narrative can be applied in America or any place else by coupling with the community is a myth, at least as far as that narrative has been told to America.

The police cannot apply such a paradigm in the hopes of ameliorating social and cultural problems, because the police and armed forces cannot change the soul of mankind.

Summary and Conclusion

The evolution of militarized police in America has its doctrinal roots long ago, but has seen an acceleration during the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The mission has evolved to one of COIN and stability operations, but this is a mission too far for constables.  No constabulary operation or operations can possibly bring cultural change to a community.  Thus the police have become occupational forces, without the training, discipline or leadership of the military, but with veritable impunity and complete judicial approval for their actions.

The use of force is indiscriminate, and armed invasion teams are being used to enforce trivial warrants that at one time would have been enforced by uniformed officers acting wisely and with restraint.  In many cases the innocent suffer, and animals are routinely shot as a potential threat before any other actions occur.  The police will always paint a happy face on their community involvement, but it’s corollary - de facto legalized home invasions by occupational forces – is the dark underbelly for which they anticipate and expect treatment as heroes, much like military troops returning from a hard deployment.

A man’s home is his castle and he has a God-given right to defend it, and thus armed invasion teams, state sanctioned or not and in all but the most extreme circumstances like situations with hostages, are evil and the men who perpetrate them are deeply sinful.  These raids violate constitutional protections, but the judiciary is in bed with the executive branch rather than acting as a balance and counterweight to it.  Judicial approval for these tactics is complete and comprehensive.

Max Velocity has another excellent article where he discusses for us the only possible solutions.  Submit or resist.  Resistance may and probably will mean that you resist alone.  But submission may be equally dangerous, as armed teams acting as LEOs have become a favorite tactic of crime gangs.  Submission may mean that you’re dropping your weapon only to learn that those invading your home intend to rape your wife and kill you and your children.  The health and safety of your family may be at stake, and in fact, the very health and future of the republic.  Choose wisely.  But remember as you choose, the same establishment who would send armed invasion teams to shatter the safety of your home would prefer that you not have weapons.  It makes their job much easier.

Update: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention, and welcome Instapundit readers.

Thanks to Western Rifle Shooters Association for the attention.  WRSA has some worthy ideas for confronting local leadership to ascertain where they stand on these issues.  All politics is local – or at least, it should be.

Thanks to Mike Vanderboegh for the attention.

Thanks to David Codrea for the attention.  David has some salient ideas on hood-wearing shooters.

Other reading:

Max Velocity Tactical, The Home Invasion Dilemma – Discussion & Scenarios

Max Velocity Tactical, Solutions – Followup To The Home Invasion Dilemma

Jack Minor, WND Reports On SWAT Raids On The Innocent

Prior:

Son, Will You Fire On American Citizens?

Police Arrest Man For Filming Raid, Then Shoot His Dog In Front Of Him

Yet Another Wrong Home SWAT Raid

You Have No Right To Invade My Home Or Kill My Beasts

SWAT Team Rams Wrong Man’s Car

The Hazards Of A Militarized Police Force

Another Wrong-Home SWAT Raid

Apparent No-Basis Raid In Kansas

Chicago SWAT Raid Gone Terribly Wrong

Jack Booted SWAT Raids

Police Officers Never Intentionally Pointed Guns At A Sleeping Toddler

Arkansas Town Unleashes SWAT To Patrols Streets

Ogden SWAT Team Raids Wrong Home

Yet Another SWAT Team Raid On The Wrong Home

SWAT Team Terrorizes Family In Wrong Home Raid

What Does A SWAT Team And Eight Children Have In Common?

SWAT Raids A Snake Shooting

SWAT-Capades

Continuing SWAT Raids Errors And Pranks

DEA SWAT Raid And Ninth Circuit Ruling

ATF SWAT Failure

D.C. Police Bullies

One Police Officer Dead And Five Wounded From No-Knock Raid

Judges Siding With SWAT Tactics

The Moral Case Against SWAT Raids

Department Of Education SWAT Raid On Kenneth Wright

The Jose Guerena Raid: A Demonstration Of Tactical Incompetence

Living In The Field Part II

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 3 weeks ago

I had promised to follow up my Living In The Field with Part 2.  Beginning with tents and tarps, weight mitigation gets very expensive, and then even with big money there are detriments to living in a tent.  When I wake in the morning regardless of the outside temperature (although it’s worse in the cold), the inside of the tent is soaked with condensation.  This cannot be avoided, even with the mesh at the top of the tent that allows it to “breath.”

This is a feature of every tent I have ever owned.  Furthermore, in the rain the entire system gets soaked, including the floor, and it’s a mess to put inside a backpack, potentially developing mildew and adding to the weight of your backpack until it’s dry.  As I explained in What Happens If Your Bugout Gun Breaks, there is another option.

The most useful form of covering for me has been a 12′ X 12′ piece of vapor barrier I obtained from a housing contractor.  I used Gorilla tape and grommets from Lowe’s to toughen up the edges and make it amenable to use with trekking poles.  In order to assist with runoff of rain, I made sure to put a grommet in the very middle of the tarp.  I simply find a tree and make use of 550 cord to lift the middle of the tarp above the sides.  It folds up tight and very quickly, and you’re back on the trail without much fuss.

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Find a friend who is a housing contractor, get some vapor barrier, and purchase $15 worth of parts from Lowe’s to make this tarp.  It’s the best one I have ever had, and it just takes some time to prepare it.

Speaking of trekking wet, I have done this so many times I wouldn’t be able to count them.  I spoke to this in the first article.  I made clear that it you’re out in the woods in a driving rain, you’re going to get wet.  Period.  There is no way to avoid it.  But in order to set the framework for this point I’ll let someone with more authority than I have make the point for me.

From David Miller on Awol on the Appalachian Trail:

I’ve been playing a game with my rain jacket.  The cold rain is no match for the heat that I am generating, so I get completely wet from sweat anyway.  I loosen my shoulder straps so I can worm out of the sleevesof the sauna suit one arm at a time while walking and without taking my pack off.  It takes a few minutes, but I’m covering ground.  About the time I finish, the rain picks up again, and I have to wiggle back in, still walking.  I must’ve done this eight times … I wake to the sound of thunder and rain on the tin roof of the NOC bunkhouse.  I hit the train about 10:30 after abandoning the fantasy that the rain would go away.  The walk from NOC is the longest continuous uphill so far, going from 1723 feet to 4750 feet in six miles.  The downside of dropping into towns is the climb out.  The trail is a stream.  Rain comes down in a heavy, continuous barrage.  My defenses – a hooded rain jacket, gaiters, and Gore-Tex pants and shoes – only hold for about two hours.  My shirt, pants and socks are all wet … The rain continues, and shows no signs of letting up.  I get chills once I stop walking, so I have some hot food and jump into my sleeping bag with wet clothes, testing the theory that body heat dries them out.  8 am: It’s been raining for more than 24 hours.  Sleeping in wet clothes is good for the clothes but bad for the sleeping bag … and even with a rain cover my pack slowly absorbs water from the space between me and the pack.

Those of us who live in the East don’t need to be told what NOC stands for.  I’ve been there many times.  My experiences have been much the same.  The coldest, most driving rain I ever experienced was at Jones Gap in the mountains of S.C. in December of 2012 (this competes with one experience at Cold Mountain in much the same conditions).  My poncho was absolutely waterproof, and yet at the end of my trek into the gap I was soaked to the bone from my own sweat.  That was the only time I have ever been in the wilderness and unable to get a fire going (partly because of poor planning).  Fortunately I had dry clothing and an Isobutane stove – and the tarp described above to keep me dry.

I hate to get all engineer on you, but in terms of mass transfer, unless there is a driving force or a differential in conditions, there won’t be any evaporation of your sweat.  The notion of “breathable” rain gear is ridiculous.  Regardless of whether the weave of the fabric can allow the water droplets from sweat to pass through, if the air on the other side is saturated (and when it’s raining it’s 100% relative humidity), there is no physical force to move the droplets through the fabric.  Breath-ability is nice for other kinds of parkas (when it’s not raining), but the holy grail of hiking dry in the rain is fantasy to experienced backpackers.  It just doesn’t happen that way.

Regarding coats and jackets, my favorite one has been the Mountain Hardwear Exposure II Parka.  I like it for the heavier fabric and especially for the hip length design with a drawstring around the midriff.  It has a snow skirt that zips to keep snow out (and for that reason it has been a favorite of ski patrol in the Western states), and the skirt helps to keep wind out where waist length parkas tend to suck in wind at the bottom.

The parka is good for rain for about two hours, and wind forever.  Of course, as with all functional and well designed products, this parka has been discontinued.  Mountain Hardwear has opted to focus on the city crowd who wants sleek, light parkas for walking back and forth from the parking deck to the office.  Years ago there was the 60/40 parka that had a cult following.  I was part of that cult.  Sierra Designs discontinued it (what did I tell you above about functional gear being discontinued?), but it’s available today, just for a very elevated price.

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My daughter models my Mountain Hardwear Exposure II Parka.  It’s a bit big for her.  That’s her jeep.  I have a truck.

I think I spoke to head cover in the previous article, but I’ll mention it again.  Ball cap style cover is fine for most conditions, but always needed whether from protection from the sun or warmth.  In winter I like my soft hat.  The one below drops in the back and provides warmth for my neck.  This has served me fine down to temperatures in the single digits and heavy wind.

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Mountain Hardwear hat, warmth in low temperatures and heavy winds.  I am generally a proponent of good gear, and Mountain Hardwear makes most of it very well.

I don’t think I said enough about weight in the previous article, and I said nothing about backpacks.  I have seen a number of so-called 3-day rucks, and frankly I’m unimpressed with all of them.  They are not tall enough to put the weight up high and provide meaning to having hip straps.

For a backpack to be any good it needs to be designed to couple with your body as a system, placing the weight on the hips (with the hip straps) rather than the shoulders, thus setting the center of gravity for the weight you’re carrying on your back over the legs rather than throwing your upper torso off balance.

Most 3-day rucks have hips straps, but are short enough that the hip straps wrap around the belly, providing no support at all for the weight.  It looks ridiculous and doesn’t supply any benefit.  If the backpack doesn’t place the weight on your hips, it’s worthless and will eventually hurt you.  Your spine isn’t designed for the compressive forces of humping a ruck around in the field with heavy weight being borne on your shoulders.

Folks who thru-hike the AT learn to shave micro-ounces off of their load.  They will carry a children’s toothbrush because it weighs less than an adult toothbrush.  With enough days in the field anyone begins to think the same way.  I like fixed blade knives, but they weigh too much for me to believe that they are the only option.  I use a tactical / utility folder with a serrated edge.  This tool can cut, chop, or stab.  Also, large fixed blade knives get in the way of my body movements, especially if I’m traversing steep terrain (which I usually am).

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My Ka-Bar Tactical Folder.  The soft sheath is suitable for attachment to molle straps.

A word about water purification.  Other than removal of turbidity and use of a ceramic filter I am not a fan of other means of purification such as tablets (although I know that some people use them regularly in the field), as there is a health effect on the thyroid of overdose of iodine.  Filtering removes protozoa (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) and Bacteria (e.g., E. Coli), but not viruses.  Boiling removes all problems.  So does bleach.

Treating Water with a 5-6 Percent Liquid Chlorine Bleach Solution

Volume of Water to be Treated Treating Clear/Cloudy Water:
Bleach Solution to Add
Treating Cloudy, Very Cold, or Surface Water: Bleach Solution to Add
1 quart/1 liter 3 drops 5 drops
1/2 gallon/2 quarts/2 liters 5 drops 10 drops
1 gallon 1/8 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon
5 gallons  1/2 teaspoon 1 teaspoon
10 gallons 1 teaspoon 2 teaspoons

There are good reviews of water filtration equipment, and I recommend that you study the literature and see what you would like to try.

Water is very heavy (1 g/cc), and carrying it exhausting, so backpackers and hikers look for ways not to carry it on their backs.  Speaking of weight, the heaviest component of any kit in a tactical situation will be a weapon and ammunition (stainless steel has a density of 7.94 g/cc, brass has a density of 8.7 g/cc, and lead has a density of 11.34 g/cc).

I have a bag of 1600 rounds sitting near me at the moment, and for those of us who are weightlifters, it’s way heavier than a 45 pound York plate.  You’re not going to hoist that bag of ammunition on your back and traipse around the field with it very far.  Multiple guns and excessive ammunition aren’t going to be a feature of long term operation in the field.

And back to water, I passed an AT thru-hiker in Damascus, Virginia, last summer, and asked him what he was doing for water.  He had tried filtration for several weeks, but now he said when he sees water he “face-plants” in the water.  No filtration, no tablets.  Thus far, no problems.

I think he is risking extreme sickness, but I do understand adjustment to the various things in the local water.  From the age of 14 – 21 I worked at a Christian camp in the mountains of S.C. (summers and weekends) shoveling gravel, digging ditches, driving tractors and trucks, baling hay, driving jeeps, training and doctoring quarter horses, and doing maintenance.  We drank untreated local reservoir water, and when anyone new came to work with us they were usually sick for about two weeks.  We all got accustomed to it, adjusting our bodies to the source of water.

Speaking of this camp, there is one more thing I wanted to mention.  We hunted rattlesnakes and copperheads because otherwise we would lose horses to snake bites (they would be out of commission for a while if they lived).  I have been bitten by a Copperhead before.  In the hospital they used a syringe the likes of which I have never seen before, and the shot in my hip took about a minute to get all of the antivenin into my system.

My dog has also been bitten by a Copperhead, and her paw swelled up the size of a softball.  There was no treatment given to her except antibiotics.  Animals tend to do better than humans with snake bites, but if she hadn’t been 82 pounds she probably would have died.

At the time of my dog being bitten I did some research into antivenin and its cost.  It’s very expensive, and it’s formulated by injecting livestock with small doses of venom, usually in Mexico, and extracting the blood products after some period of time.  It has to be refrigerated and has a shelf life, and some outdoors outfitters have a stock available because snake bite it such a high risk (e.g., rafting companies for the New River or Ocoee River, for example, both of which I’ve been down).

Giving it to humans is risky because the blood products can carry stray bovine proteins that can be harmful to humans (because of poor QA in Mexico).  It’s only administered because the snake bite risk is higher than the risk of harm from the antivenin.  Dogs aren’t considered important enough to administer antivenin.  They’re on their own, as we are if we are bitten in the field without immediate medical care.  If you’re a couple of days hike from help, or if you’re solo backpacking and get bitten, you’re going to lose appendages, and you will possibly perish.  A Copperhead bite means amputation.  A Rattlesnake bite means death.  Be wary near water.

And continuing to harp on the issue of weight, this report from China is interesting.

A man from Sichuan Province recently made Chinese headlines for using several “bug-out backpacks” following the April 20 earthquake in Ya’an.

Li Yonggang, a 39-year-old freelance worker from Tianquan County, was interviewed by Southern Metropolis Daily.

After the magnitude-7 quake hit, Li ran out of the house wearing only his underwear, according to the report. He went back inside to get dressed, and brought out a large pack weighing nearly 55 pounds. He had prepared another four bugout bags for everyone in his family, except his baby son–his wife, mother, and two daughters each had their own pack.

Li’s bag was the biggest; the smallest belonged to his 6-year-old daughter, and only weighed 11 pounds. The packs contained tents, sleeping bags, clothes, food, a compass, gloves, headlamps, and even surgical suture kit, the Daily reported.

Li took the big backpack to his father-in-law’s home, and set up three tents.

“I’m completely self-sufficient. I don’t burden anyone,” Li told Southern Metropolis Daily.

Li said that his family did not have to worry about lack of food, as the packs contained dry crackers, army-style cans, and tablets to purify water. He had also hidden 220 pounds of vacuum-packed rice in his house. Six days after the quake, he still had not asked local authorities for any food supplies.

Li’s parents were born in the 1940’s in China and experienced horrifying famine in the years 1959-1961. “Many people died of starvation during the three-years of famine. At least two relatives told me how that they had to eat human flesh from dead bodies to survive the famine,” he told the Daily.

After Li experienced the Wenchuan earthquake five years ago, he was haunted by his parent’s experiences and determined to try to protect his family. Li began learning about survival.

He purchased the necessary supplies, prepared the five backpacks, and rented three cabins in the countryside for his children to use as survival practice sites.

After the latest earthquake, Li told the Daily that he learned a few lessons. “I had too many cans. In case of a real emergency, we wouldn’t be able to walk far with that much baggage.”

Weight is everything, but it isn’t more important than making sure that you have a plan, gear and weapons, even if it’s all imperfect.

Prior:

Living In The Field

Surviving The Apocalypse: Thinking Strategically Rather Than Tactically

Tactical Considerations For The Lone Wolf

Towards A New America

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

Nonprofit Quarterly recently carried a commentary on Lindsey Graham and his comments on AR-15s that took a detour into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Rick Cohen’s thoughts make for interesting reading.

Our impression of American behavior during disasters has been that people generally pull together, that adversity brings out the best in us. Sure, we know that people do very bad things, but the press often notes how people also go out of their way to help and protect their neighbors. In fact, that feeling of mutuality was what we thought undergirded the nonprofit sector in a democratic society.

It must be that we fell for some Panglossian view of America, if we are to believe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, Graham grilled Attorney General Eric Holder about the proposed ban on assault weapons. We haven’t seen the news reports that verify what Graham says happened—or sort of happened—to spark his support for carrying around military-style assault weapons:

“Can you imagine a circumstance where an AR-15 would be a better defense tool than, say, a double-barrel shotgun? Let me give you an example, that you have (sic) an lawless environment, where you have an natural disaster or some catastrophic event — and those things unfortunately do happen, and law and order breaks down because the police can’t travel, there’s no communication. And there are armed gangs roaming around neighborhoods. Can you imagine a situation where your home happens to be in the crosshairs of this group that a better self-defense weapon may be a semiautomatic AR-15 vs. a double-barrel shotgun?

I’m afraid that world does exist. It existed in New Orleans, to some extent up in Long Island [after Hurricane Sandy], it could exist tomorrow if there’s a cyber attack against [the] country and the power grid goes down and the dams are released and chemical plants are — discharges.

What I’m saying is if my family was in the crosshairs of gangs that were roaming around neighborhoods in New Orleans or any other location, the deterrent effect of an AR-15 to protect my family, I think, is greater than a double-barrel shotgun.”

As far as we can tell, Graham must be referencing a gang of white vigilantes in New Orleans’ Algiers Point neighborhood who, armed with shotguns and assault weapons, allegedly opened fire on African Americans “with impunity” after Hurricane Katrina; the militia was reportedly on the lookout for anyone who “didn’t belong” in the neighborhood, as reported by ProPublica and The Nation. If so, maybe Graham’s fears would have more of a basis in reality if he looked a little more like Holder and was facing a white militia armed with AR-15s.

It is in vogue to tell this revisionist history of Katrina.  We’ll deal with this shortly, but before we do that and in order to set the stage for our response, we will now be the ones to take a detour into another crisis to watch how a nation behaved.  We’ll address AR-15s, catastrophies and totalitarian governments, but for now let’s briefly revisit the fall of the Berlin wall, the role of one church, and the actions of the East Gernam Army.

OathKeepers has an interview with Lt. Colonel Gunter Spens, in which he describes the fact that the East German Army simply refused to obey orders to stop the protests at the wall and stayed on base.   True enough for part of the story, and as much as I admire Oath Keepers, it isn’t as simple as this and there is more to the story.  This is the church that brought down the wall.

In the GDR, atheism was the norm. Churches like St. Nikolai were spied on but allowed to remain open.

“In the GDR, the church provided the only free space,” Fuhrer said in an interview with Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. “Everything that could not be discussed in public could be discussed in church, and in this way the church represented a unique spiritual and physical space in which people were free.”

In the early 1980s, Fuhrer began holding weekly prayers for peace.

Every Monday, worshippers recited the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. Few came at first, but attendance grew as the Soviet Union began opening to the West.

The prayer service, Fuhrer said, “was something very special in East Germany. Here a critical mass grew under the roof of the church — young people, Christians and non-Christians, and later, those who wanted to leave (East Germany) joined us and sought refuge here.”

As a college student in those years, Sylke Schumann was one of the hundreds, then thousands, who joined the vigils in the sanctuary at St. Nikolai and then marched in the streets holding candles and calling for change.

“Seeing all these people gather in this place … from week to week and more and more people gathering, you had the feeling this time really the government had to listen to you,” Schumann said.

In October 1989, on the 40th anniversary of the GDR, the government cracked down.

Protesters in Leipzig were beaten and arrested. Two days later, St. Nikolai Church was full to overflowing for the weekly vigil. When it was over, 70,000 people marched through the city as armed soldiers looked on, but did nothing.

And even this report doesn’t tell the whole story.  I was a member of a church during this time that received regular (underground) reports from East German churches about the events of that era.  When society has rejected God and embraced totalitarianism, the men can become lovers of power or drunkards and whore chasers.   Not all men do, but many succumb to this fate.

But oftentimes the women – mothers and grandmothers who want their children to be raised with a sense of morality and the knowledge of God – toe the line.  Secretly they teach their children.  Their children learn to love their mothers and the instruction, and like ticking time bombs that explode later in life, that instruction proves determinative.

And toe the line the women did.  The crowds were heavily populated with mothers and grandmothers, and the boys who populated the East German Army remembered their instruction.  They wouldn’t discharge their weapons at their own blood, and whether it was the instruction in underground churches or the simple fact that the boys wouldn’t kill their mothers or mothers of colleagues, no rounds were fired.  It had little to do with orders to stay in garrison.  If the East German Army had deployed (as some of them did), they would simply have watched as the wall fell without a shot.

Now, let’s return to the issue of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.  Except for the horrible racist, Aryan gangs who abused the black folk, it was a veritable Shangri La indeed.  Except for the white folk everyone would have gotten along just swimmingly.  White Aryan gangs in the middle of New Orleans.  You simply can’t make this up.

Except that this isn’t reality.  Revisionist doesn’t even begin to describe that view.  That view is an outright fabrication and falsehood.  A more accurate and honest accounting shows how rough the time was.

In the City of Vultures, a New Zealander is one of the few remaining police officers who has stayed behind to protect the helpless.

James Gourlie, 30, formerly of Christchurch, is one of six officers who have remained out of a district force of 200.

“This is my district. I will not abandon my district, my county, my workmates or these people,” he told the Herald On Sunday last night.

Mr Gourlie was speaking while preparing for another night patrol from the Hampton Inn, which he and fellow officers took over after their police station was overrun. For its single entrance, and the war zone outside, they have dubbed the hotel “The Fortress”.

It’s been six days and five nights of lawlessness since Hurricane Katrina hit. In the vacuum left by Katrina, anarchy has reigned. Human vultures have preyed on the helpless, pillaging homes and shops, committing murder and rape.

The decision to stay while hundreds of fellow officers fled has left them bitter. Mr Gourlie returned after getting his American wife Jennifer out of New Orleans.

When one fellow officer and friend pulled out for Texas on Friday, taking two automatic rifles and a shotgun, he earned his colleagues’ anger.

“They’re preserving their lives but they’re risking their friends,” said Mr Gourlie, of the “cowards” who have left. “You know what the New Zealand and Australian way is – and that ain’t the Anzac way. You sacrifice yourself for your mates.”

There are incidents every day involving weapons, although Mr Gourlie is thankful he has not yet had to shoot anyone. The times the officers have intervened, those desperate for help have wept and offered thanks.

A fellow officer was killed after warning looters away from a store. A looter pushed a gun against his head and pulled the trigger. “It was heartbreaking to see this police officer lying on his back, blood pouring out of his head.”

There are gangs of armed thugs in the convention centre. One young hood the officers pulled up was carrying a civilian version of a military M-16 rifle.

“There’s shooting. The thugs inside, they have come outside. They are running up and down, disturbing people with impunity. They know we can’t cross the road and engage them because we don’t know where their cohorts are. We are so vastly outnumbered, especially at night,” said Mr Gourlie.

There has also been murder and rape. In one awful case, a 15-year-old girl had suffered both, her body stuffed into an oven with her throat slit.

“I would expect something like this in a war zone in the Middle East. You’d be stupid not to be afraid. It’s how you face it that counts.”

The gangs in the centre have now destroyed the generators, and last night was the first Katrina’s survivors have spent without light. “That’s one of the reasons why people are so afraid today.”

I am certainly no admirer of Lindsey Graham.  His criticism of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul over their filibuster was petulant, and his friendship with John McCain shows that he wants to stay in power rather than hold government accountable.  But from the mouth of the unexpected sometimes comes wisdom, even if by accident.

Unfortunately like the author says, Ameica is indeed like this concerning violence and danger, even if his intended target – white gangs – is a fabrication of his imagination.  And during this period of peril for the citizens of New Orleans did the National Guard keep order?  No, to their everlasting shame they spent their time confiscating weapons from law abiding citizens.

And yet, the National Guard had no evidence that New Orleans wouldn’t devolve into something like the L.A. riots, leaving people helpless and defenseless.

America as we have know it is dead.  It is no more.  The cities are violent and the government totalitarian.  America is more bifurcated than it has ever been in history.  Ninety million people are out of the labor force, and something approaching half of America pays no income tax.  Keynesian economics has failed like a star burning out.  The first medium size city has gone bankrupt, taking with it nearly one billion dollars in pensions for state workers.  Note that this doesn’t include Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment payments, welfare, social security or any other federal program.  One billion dollars – just on state pensions, just with one medium size city.

While the states are going down, the federal government is working hard at making itself more totalitarian than before.

The ATF doesn’t just want a huge database to reveal everything about you with a few keywords. It wants one that can find out who you know. And it won’t even try to friend you on Facebook first.

According to a recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bureau is looking to buy a “massive online data repository system” for its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII). The system is intended to operate for at least five years, and be able to process automated searches of individuals, and “find connection points between two or more individuals” by linking together “structured and unstructured data.”

Primarily, the ATF states it wants the database to speed-up criminal investigations. Instead of requiring an analyst to manually search around for your personal information, the database should “obtain exact matches from partial source data searches” such as social security numbers (or even just a fragment of one), vehicle serial codes, age range, “phonetic name spelling,” or a general area where your address is located. Input that data, and out comes your identity, while the computer automatically establishes connections you have with others.

Many other specific requirements are also to be expected for a federal law enforcement agency: searching names, phone numbers, “nationwide utility data” and reverse phone searches. The data will then be collected to help out during investigations and provide “relevant information and intelligence products.”

To do this and similar things they are spending the wealth of your children and children’s children.  Ben Bernanke is trying ever so hard to keep hyperinflation under control and interest rates low in order to keep the deficit from exploding, but sooner or later America’s unfunded liabilities will come due and no amount fiat money will suffice.  Fractional reserve banking will prove to people when hard times hit that their money doesn’t exist and cannot be withdrawn from their accounts.  It’s just a waiting game, because the system cannot be saved.

The American experiment – subtended by wealth redistribution, race baiting, totalitarianism and the creation of taker class that leeches off of workers – is over.  It has been replaced by Fabian socialism.  But all is not lost.  America will be reborn in a different form.  Hard times are approaching, and there are some salient and hard questions that are a function of those hard times.

Will police, soldiers and Marines raise their weapons against American civilians?  The Louisiana National Guard did.  To each and every officer, soldier and Marine I tell you, you’d better not.  God will condemn you for it.  Your orders must be legal and moral to require your fealty, and notwithstanding the [il]legality of such an order, it would be immoral.  Will you confiscate weapons if so ordered?  You’d better not – God will condemn you for it.  Each man lives his appointed days, and then he will face judgment.  Do not face God having removed means of legitimate protection of the family.  And do not face God having been the stooge for a tyrant.  It matters little how long you live.  It matters much how you live, and how you perish.

To parents, you must teach your children and instill in them a reverence for and love of liberty.  Even for the old among us, you may very well end up training the very men who would otherwise be your tyrants, but who will remember their upbringing instead.  Mothers and grandmothers, you essentially saved the day in East Germany.  Don’t underestimate your role.  Teaching the children is the most important job on earth.

Men, don’t be naive.  God apparently granted a special dispensation to East Germany for a bloodless coup.  It won’t happen that way anywhere else.  The National Guard in many states has already shown that they will assist totalitarianism.  The race riots in Los Angeles were nothing compared to what it will be like in the event of an economic collapse in America.

Teach the children.  Defend the family.  It isn’t just a right, it’s your God-given duty.  And never, ever relinquish your weapons.  That would be as immoral as the actions of totalitarians in confiscation.  You shall not cooperate with the totalitarians and be approved by God.  Never give up.  God is on your side.

Welcome To Amerika!

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

The Obama administration is planning never before seen intrusions into the private affairs of U.S. citizens.

The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

This will split our fiber backbone signals and dump every 1 and 0 that transverses it into government computers.  Every detail of life of all citizens is now subject to inspection and assessment by government overlords who can and will make decisions as to so-called “terrorist activity,” which could be al Qaeda or perhaps unorganized militia who prepare for any threat against the U.S., foreign or domestic.

This knowledge should be coupled with another stunning intrusion into our God-given rights we learned about today.  Bob Owens has a report for us.

Chuck Schumer’s S. 374, the Orwellian “Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act of 2013,” has been an empty shell… until he slipped in Amendment ALB13180 (PDF) today, which shows the “teeth” of the bill.  It is an extremely aggressive attempt to destroy the Second Amendment by isolating and criminalizing extremely common behaviors among gun owners.

Doubt me?

Take a looking at a sampling of what it Sebastian notes it would outlaw:

  • If you leave home for more than 7 days and leave anyone at home, that becomes a felony illegal transfer. 5 years in prison for each of you.
  • if you take a friend shooting and allow him to fire your gun, that is a felony illegal transfer. 5 years in prison for each of you.
  • If you have a gun lost or stolen and don’t report it within 24 hours, you’ve committed a felony. 5 years in prison.
  • If you lend a gun to someone for to try out at the range, provide a loaner for a student in training, let your son shoot a rifle you purchased while hunting, or provide a gun to a woman for self-defense, you’ve committed a felony. 5 years in prison for each of you.

Bob ends his assessment with the following almost desperate interdiction.

It’s inching closer.

May God have mercy on us all.

See also reaction at WRSA.  It’s possible, of course, to forestall such an eventuality, even if unlikely.  For example, the states who are currently considering or have passed laws against enforcement of federal gun laws could actually take their state laws seriously.

If such a federal law were to pass, a state could decide to confiscate and immediately destroy all form 4473s in all FFLs in their state, and warn FFLs to contact state police if any ATF agents enter their premises.  State police could arrest any federal agents who attempted to enforce federal gun laws and place them into the general prisoner population in state penitentiaries.  Threats to arrest state police or stop these actions could be met with National Guard troops to further effectuate the arrest of federal agents and enforce a cease and desist action to all federal employees, including federal judges who moved against such actions.

But this would have to happen all across the nation for it to be effective, and I find it unlikely that a governor would take these actions, regardless of the posturing that we currently see by the states.  The concept of States’ rights has fallen too hard and too far, and federalism has lost its appeal in the U.S.

Short of something like this, I am becoming increasingly pessimistic about a possible recovery of our national character.  When the people demand cradle to grave security and overwatch, the state responds with cradle to grave demand for omniscience for itself and cradle to grave compliance by the people.  It’s a deal with the devil for our soul, and America has made it a long time ago.

If this sounds judgmental, then I plead guilty.  Based on religious doctrine, which the epistemologists might call strongly held truth value, or incorrigible beliefs, I hold that gun control is evil.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

Gun control is like control over everything else.  The key word here is control.  It is at one and the same time a function of wicked rulers and a benchmark, or barometer or gauge, to measure their wickedness.  God doesn’t cede or relinquish rule over His creation for mankind, and totalitarian governance usurps the authority He demands over the actions of mankind.  God will not be mocked – He does the mocking.

God sits in the heavens and laughs and scoffs at the designs of man (Psalm 2:4).  Here is a warning to totalitarian rulers.  “Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way.”  Judgment will come, here or in the hereafter, and perhaps sooner and more unexpectedly than you think.

The only explanation for Senator Schumer’s totalitarian dictates is that he believes that Americans will go along with it.  To be sure, there are many who will … who will take measure of the situation and decide that they value peace and security over measurements of right and wrong.

But there are many who will not go along with such laws.  They will not allow themselves or their children or their friends or loved ones to be imprisoned for failing to take their weapons to a public armory when they go on trips, or loaning a rifle to their son to learn to shoot at the range.

We have covered this ground before.  Bob reacted the way he did because he understands in a way that the totalitarians and wicked rulers in Washington do not.  These measures will not stand.  They will fall, one way or the other.

Will our wicked rulers turn back before it’s too late?  Only God knows, but only time will tell us.  Here is a final warning: do not cross lines from which there is no return.

In the mean time, this isn’t your father’s country.  Welcome to Amerika!

UPDATE: Thanks to David Codrea for the attention.

Surviving The Apocalypse: Thinking Strategically Rather Than Tactically

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

In this article I have three objectives.  First I want to discuss what would happen to a lone wolf fighter if he tried to be effective without aid and assistance.  Next, I want to distinguish between thinking tactically and strategically concerning survival.  Finally, I want to describe things that might catalyze the need to invoke such plans, from rogue, illegitimate groups to patriots who will not relinquish their second amendment rights, regardless of the consequences.

In Tactical Considerations For The Lone Wolf we saw how good tacticians can provide broad outlines for tactics, equipment and knowledge of procedures for small unit maneuver, and can enable a lone wolf fighter to be effective for a short period of time.  But I said, and still hold true, that this is a bad paradigm for operations, and represents tactical rather than strategic thinking.

The lone wolf fighter faces a daunting set of problems.  From a small child, between riding and training horses, working, camping, hiking, shooting and hunting, I have spent thousands of days and nights in the wilderness.  I have experienced some or a lot of what I am going to describe, and seen others experience the balance of it (or in extreme cases, I simply know of people to whom this has happened or know that it can happen).

Within a couple of days of being in the wilderness, your personal stench is merely disgusting.  By the end of the first week, the putrid, toxic paste that develops around the groins of men becomes a risk to health and safety and can cause serious diseases.  Within another week your feet develop a cocktail of fungal infections, and within another week the skin begins to fall off of them.

Around this time sores develop across your entire body, and the clothing you wear and carry, from underwear to socks, to pants and shirts, to boots and sleeping bags, is fit for nothing but putting into a pit and burning.  Listen carefully.  You cannot carry enough baby wipes to prevent this process from occurring.  You can only slow it down.

In the winter, the cold will sap the energy and even the life out of your body.  It is even difficult to maintain proper hygiene in harsh weather like this.  I have been backpacking in such cold weather than my toothbrush froze into a solid block of ice between the time I pulled it out of the river and the time it reached my mouth.  Without proper dental hygiene, various dental diseases can develop, and these can be debilitating to anyone, much less someone in the wilderness.

In the heat the problems only multiply.  Dehydration is a constant concern, and the time it takes to boil water is precious, if you are able to get a fire going or carry an isobutane canister.  Rarely, there is a Godsend like fresh, naturally-filtered water.

Our Nalgene bottles are sitting under moss at the bottom of a steep rock face collecting potable water.  My 80 pound Doberman Heidi is drinking.  I almost lost her that weekend at Jones Gap.  She almost went down a waterfall, and my son Josh managed to catch her collar with his trekking pole.

I have also been backpacking in such a downpour that nothing would burn, and it would have taken a gallon of gasoline to achieve a fire that lasted for longer than ten minutes.  Assuming that you can find a potable water supply at all times, food presents yet another problem.  You simply cannot carry enough freeze dried food to meet your needs.  There are no Gunny Sergeants ordering up coffee in the morning and rations all day as long as you are in the field doing training.  There is no training.  This will be for real.  The lack of food energy is debilitating, and eventually deadly.

In the summer heat, there are snakes.  I have been bitten by a Copperhead before, as has my dog.  A Rattlesnake bite almost always involves loss of limbs, and in the field without medical attention, would be deadly.

My XDm .45, Ka-Bar folder, sleeping bag and one man tent.  The tent is barely big enough for Heidi and me.  I probably need a good, small two-man tent.

Ticks bring tick-borne diseases, and they can be deadly.  After every summer backpacking trip, I and my sons strip and search each other for ticks (or I have my wife do it, but it must be done soon from the field).  Lack of a partner to perform this inspection can be deadly.  Eventually without showers, washing, and proper hygiene, the body can get lice or scabies.  Without Ivermectin this is untreatable in the wilderness.  Marines will routinely shave their entire bodies of hair before deployment in order to avoid lice, but without this possibility in the wilderness in the absence of water and other sanitation, lice will be hard to avoid.

There are the very rare cases of those who become beached on a deserted island and live long enough to tell their story, or survive on the open ocean by drinking turtle blood.  But in the main, you simply cannot last for long as a lone wolf fighter, and if you think so, you’re delusional and like to nurture fantasies.  You can stay out for several days, but eventually you and your family must ensconce somewhere.  It might be in your neighborhood, it might be in the mountains or wilderness somewhere else, or it might be with multiple families.  But you cannot stay lone wolf for long.

In Tactical Considerations For The Lone Wolf we discussed standing down a SWAT team on your front porch, ready to breech.  This is a highly controversial issue, and there are those who will perish defending their second amendment rights, or more correctly, God-given rights.  They will choose to perish in their own home during an armed standoff with governmental forces.

But it must be remembered that those who advocate such measures are thinking tactically.  The SWAT team is also thinking tactically.  But the SWAT team reports to supervisors, and those supervisors report to managers, and they are all thinking strategically.  A thousands deaths at the hands of SWAT teams means only one thing.  Losses.  That is a losing strategy.

I’m not advocating against this sort of approach, so much as I’m observing reality.  I’m not saying that it should not happen this way, so much as I’m saying that it won’t happen this way.  The first bloody corpse dragged from a home invasion by government forces hunting for firearms will be the occasion for some deep soul searching by millions of firearms owners across the country.  This may happen sooner, when confiscatory plans are announced.

Americans are generally very adaptable.  Turning for a moment to a warning I had about foreign terrorists in the country, I observed that there are deep vulnerabilities in our infrastructure.

The most vulnerable structure, system or component for large scale coal plants is the main step up transformer – that component that handles electricity at 230 or 500 kV.  They are one of a kind components, and no two are exactly alike.  They are so huge and so heavy that they must be transported to the site via special designed rail cars intended only for them, and only about three of these exist in the U.S.

They are no longer fabricated in the U.S., much the same as other large scale steel fabrication.  It’s manufacture has primarily gone overseas.  These step up transformers must be ordered years in advance of their installation.  Some utilities are part of a consortium to keep one of these transformers available for multiple coal units, hoping that more will not be needed at any one time.  In industrial engineering terms, the warehouse min-max for these components is a fine line.

On any given day with the right timing, several well trained, dedicated, well armed fighters would be able to force their way on to utility property, fire missiles or lay explosives at the transformer, destroy it, and perhaps even go to the next given the security for coal plants.  Next in line along the transmission system are other important transformers, not as important as the main step up transformers, but still important, that would also be vulnerable to attack.  With the transmission system in chaos and completely isolated due to protective relaying, and with the coal units that supply the majority of the electricity to the nation incapable of providing that power for years due to the wait for step up transformers, whole cites, heavy industry, and homes and businesses would be left in the dark for a protracted period of time, all over the nation.

Bob Owens takes this down the grid to the next components.

They don’t understand asymmetrical warfare in the slightest, much less how it would be waged here. Let me give you just one small example of how a lone wolves or small teams can strike well beyond their size against a near defenseless leviathan.

After the Dot Com bubble burst in the early 2000s, I took a job in upstate New York for a subcontractor of Central Hudson Gas and Electric. I was part of a crew sent out to map electrical transmission line power poles and towers via GPS, check the tower footings for integrity, check the best routes for access, etc.

It meant I rode quads (ATVs) through mountains, swamps, forests, neighborhoods and farms all over southern New York, in winter’s icy chill and blowing snow, and in summer’s melting heat. It was exhausting work, often in beautiful scenery.

We probably averaged 20 miles of line a day, and that over the course of the contract I easily rode a thousand miles. I can tell you stories of flipping quads, sinking quads, going down a mountain without brakes, almost hitting deer at top speed, and parking on the remains of an electrocuted bear, but that isn’t really what I remember most about the job.

No, what I remember most about the job were the days we spent up near the Rondout Reservoir. What I remember in specific was discovering how powerless the government was to protect key utilities.

[ ... ]

Substations like the one above could be accessed not just from surface roads, but from access trails under the power lines by people with UTVs, ATVs, and motorcycles.

Just like the residential transformers in your neighborhood, the transformers in substations are cooled with a form of mineral oil. If someone decides to blast a transformer at its base as prepper Bryan Smith did, and the oil drains out, then the transformer either burns out catastrophically, or if the utility is lucky, a software routine notices the problem and shuts the substation (or at least the affected portion) down. The power must then be rerouted through the remaining grid until that transformer can be replaced and any other resulting damage can be repaired.

Were an angry group of disenfranchised citizens to target in a strategic manner the substations leading to a city or geographic area—say, Albany, for example—they could put the area in the dark for as long as it took to bring the substations back online. Were they committed enough, and spread their attacks out over a wide enough area, perhaps mixing in a few tens of dozens of the residential transformers found every few hundred yards along city streets, they could overwhelm the utility companies ability to repair the damage being caused or law enforcement’s ability to stop them. The government could perhaps assign a soldier or cop for every transformer, substation and switch, but they’d run out of men long before they ran out of things they need guarded.

It’s even more vulnerable than Bob hints.  The utilities in America don’t belong to the government (except for TVA), and the government isn’t duty bound to protect them.  They are private assets.  Even if the government could protect those assets (and they can’t), they wouldn’t.

If the DHS had a trillion rounds of .40 pistol ammunition it wouldn’t matter.  With America in the dark for two years, confiscation of weapons would be the last thing on the minds of law enforcement (that is, the LEOs who left their families alone and without protection in order to come to work).

And there you go.  Smart New Yorkers who don’t want to watch their friends perish on their doorsteps might choose to act strategically rather than tactically.  And that brings in a whole host of issues that need our attention.

When such a scenario occurs, are you prepared?  Do you have a place to ensconce your family?  Do you have the weapons and ammunition that you need?  Do you have means to make potable water?  Do you have freeze dried and canned food?  Do you have means to generate power when you need to, to plant seeds for crops, or provide covering and clothing to stay warm?  Are you allied with like-minded families who will assist each other in dealing with a scenario like this?

The questions run deeper than you think.  I sat across from the dinner table with a very dear friend of many years a few days ago, and heard him lament the fact that they hadn’t been able to afford to purchase firearms for family protection.  This family operates on a thin budget.

My thinking began: “Do I give him my .45, no, that’s my premier personal defense weapon … do I give him my .40, no, I have that one because it’s the same caliber as Josh’s gun … do I give him my .357 wheel gun, no, that’s the best CQB weapon ever invented my mankind … I cannot give him my rifles … ” and so on, and so forth.

Should I go buy a relatively inexpensive polymer frame semi-auto handgun and some ammunition in order to be able to assist friends and loved ones in their time of need?  We need to think through these issues.  Are you a diabetic?  Do you have the insulin you need for a protracted period of time?  Are there other medications you need?

And it might not take firearm confiscation to pull off catalyzing a scenario such as this.  Mr. Obama has created an America that is as bifurcated as it has been in more than 100 years.  More than 40 million people are on food stamps.  This roll is growing at more than 11,000 per day.  We owe so many trillions in unfunded liabilities that we will never be able to meet our commitments.

Ben Bernanke, the most notorious Keynesian economist in history, has clearly said that his printing money like he was drunk will not recover employment.  Translation: Keynesian economics is failing, and I am admitting it to the Senate today.  Yet I will keep doing what I’m doing.

Even states that think they are rejecting Obamacare because of opting out of the plan aren’t really opting out.  I know these things because my daughter is a Nurse and lives in this world.  She knows that the smaller hospitals will cease to exist.  They will be driven out of business.

The larger ones will stay in business, but they will bear the brunt of the penalties.  The penalties that America doesn’t yet know about involve penalties for treating and releasing homeless people, only to have to re-admit them later, or any of a large group of things that cause the hospital to have to pay the federal government money.  Obamacare will get its way, and we will all pay the price for it even if we opt out of participation.  States have no say-so, regardless of what the talking heads are telling you.

If you think that the austerity measures in Greece caused a backlash, wait until we implement them in America.  And we will, after hyperinflation hits, price controls are put into place, the supply of goods dries up and your money is worthless.  Gangs will roam the streets looking for anything they can take, the elderly may as well have targets on their backs, and the apocalypse will be upon us.  The government won’t be able to do anything about it.  The government will have caused it.

Are you ready?  Have you thought through the salient questions?  I haven’t thought through all of them either, and we all have some soul-searching to do.

As always, everything I have said in this article has been for educational purposes only.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Codrea for the attention.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to Western Rifle Shooters Association for the attention.  Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention.


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