Friday, May 1, 2015

Planning Your Survival Strategy Part1:

Everyone wants to be Tactical or Tacti-Cool but no one wants to be Strategic. What does it mean to be strategic anyway? Strategy is plan to reach a specific long term goal, by meeting various other goals. Most people think of strategy in the terms of warfare or strategy games but, strategy also plays an important role in starting & running a business as well. So lets treat this much like a game of chess, you begin by prioritizing options based on odds of success (odds and options) and you plan out your moves in accordance.

Lets start you plan with one question... What are you preparing for?

The answer isn't important, because it doesn't matter. You may think "What the is he talking about?" when you read that but lets keep things simple. Our society and infrastructure is based on key elements and if anything that breaks down those key elements creates a crisis event, otherwise known as the proverbial "Shit hitting the fan." Those key elements are;
1) Transportation
2) Energy/Fuel
3) Communication/information
4) Rule of Law/Societal Order
5) Basic Resource Availability

Knock down one and you might knock down all of them. In the past we travelled by horse back and cooked with wood, using oil to light our homes. Transportation advancements like the intercontinental rail road and wire telegraphs allowed people to travel safer and information to be transferred at a faster rate. Advancements in cars, computers, aircraft and in other areas have exploded everything but one key element Rule of Law/Societal Order. Societal Order is maintained under those other four elements. A breakdown in order can also occur when it appears the rule of law is invalidated by the appearance of corruption. The purpose of the Rule of Law is not ideological but purely function, to create order where in a society functions.
Yeah the image sucks but it serves its purpose...
Order can collapse on itself through corruption and when it does it can knock out the other elements. Transportation isn't just about people moving about but the movement of resources, without the basic resources other elements collapse as order breaks down. Energy (this incudes fuel) is required to transport resources and people to maintain social order and the rule of law. Communication is a key element to keeping transportation, energy & resources following through a society and social order functioning. It doesn't matter if an EMP, a nuclear war, hurricane, earthquake or economic collapse breaks down one or more of these elements, as prepper you need to prepare to lack one or all of these elements.

So lets get to basic planning... How do we prepare for breakdown in Social Order and a lack of transportation, energy, available resources and communication? One word by becoming self-sufficient and using alternative means to do so. Lets get something straight most preppers are urban and sub-urban types, people in rural communities often lack having these things so readily available. So rural people have more then 1 way to light, heat their homes, cook, travel, acquire food, fuel and medical treatment, communication with their family and friends and so on. Once you have a general understanding of how to make up for a lack of supply and support in one of these areas, the reason(s) for the deficiency can be addressed.

So what are alternative means of maintaining Social Order?
  • Uniform Social Code based on belief structures (i.e. religion, culture, etc.)
  • Local Community Organizations (Neighborhood or Town Committees, Militias, Volunteer Organizations)
  • An Armed Community: Simple logic if people can defend themselves criminals will pass them over for easier targets, why else do gunmen shoot up schools and churches (gun free zones) but never attack a police station or hunting club?
  • Sense of Community as a Social Environment: There was a time when people got out and met their neighbors, today TV and internet make it easier to be entertained in our homes. Internet allows us to communicate with people across he world with similar views and interests to our own, so we talk to our neighbors less and know less of our community or the people within. Now Preppers fear the hordes of "zombies" coming for their supplies and keep it all a Secret under the idea of OpSec.
  • Guard Dogs & Simple Non-Electronic Alarms: I have an interesting story about my "guard cat" (another time perhaps) but my neighbor's dog bars when anyone comes near his house at night. This means the same dog barks when anyone comes near my house at night. This kind of community alarm deters night time burglary. So do neighbors looking out for each other, a uniform social code... 
So what do we need to do to help maintain social order? Become involved in local groups and clubs, churches and so on to develop a simple uniform social code. We can become involved in a local community organization to help organize people in a crisis to organize the community. We can be armed, I suggest everyone own at least one, rifle, shotgun and pistol. We can get to know and associate with our neighbors in and outside of local organizations develop both a report and a reputation within our local community. All of this can be used to help maintain social order if the Rule of Law breaks down.

How cheaply can you get these three weapons? (examples)
Handgun: Hi-Point C-9 9mm $189 or Hi-Point CF-380 380ACP $151
Rifle: Savage Mark II F Rifle .22LR $229.99 or
Browning A-Bolt III Composite Stalker Rifle .270, 30-06, 7mm Magnum or .300 Winchester $519.99
Shotgun: Maverick Model 88 Pump Shotgun 12 gauge $206 or
Remington 870 Express Shotgun 12 gauge $367

Rifle Shotgun Combo: Rossi Youth MP Combo Gun .410 or .22LR $199

Totals: $586.99 to $1,075.99
Totals using Rossi .410/22LR Combo Gun: $350 to $388
Firearms serve 2 primary uses, acquiring food and self-defense.
Bows and Crossbows can of course be used as well.
You don't need to dump $1,000 on one AR15 style rifle.

What are alternative means of Transportation?
  • Animals: horses, mules and ponies we all know but I have a cousin who used to ride a bull. We all have forgotten the Ox Cart in the US.
  • Motorcycles, Mopeds and ATVs: Just because a car or truck can't get through doesn't mean a smaller, less computerized vehicles can't be used. Roads might be impassable but what about hiking and off road trails. This includes electric cars and motorcycles.
  • Boats & Rafts: If waterways are available or you have access to a coast you can make use water travel, in the case of roads being cut off after a crisis event.
  • Bicycles, Tricycles and Peddle Cars: EMP Proof and doesn't need gasoline, you can pack more on them then just yourself.
  • Walking & Hiking: Finally you can walk out or hiking out and well that means you need to practice backpacking and get used to act of walking out.
In China, they carry a great deal on their tricycles, so yes you can get your preps out on one of these.

This image comes from presented here as an example of what most preppers think they can load on a bike.

 What about alternative means of Energy and Fuel?
  • Gas Generators: Gas generators need fuel but can make a great short term power source in or after a crisis event. The issue is fuel for the power. 
  • Solar, Water & Wind Generators: Solar doesn't require fuel nor do wind or hydro-electric generators but require batteries and converters to run electronic devices. Basic devices without a lot of circuitry like light bulbs, heating filaments & such can be used even with an EMP.
  • Manual Operated Generators: Bicycle and hand crank generators can be bought or made and require you to manually rotate a magnet over a copper or other metal coil to generate electricity. A converter is needed to convert the direct current into alternating current for most electronics but charging a battery for lighting is another easy enough.
  • Cooking & Heating Fuels: Using cooking & heating fuels to include coal, wood and oil is an important buffer. Many people do not realize the same grease that comes from cooking meat can be saved and used as a cooking or heating oil.
  • Candles & Lamps: Using and making candles and lamps, as well as fuel for such is a skill one should develop to help with cooking, lighting and heating without normal services due to a crisis event. 
Here is an example of a home made Bicycle Generator from YouTube:

 What about alternative means of Communication?
  • CB, Walkie-Talkie & HAM Radios: Without cell phones or a power grid to power cell towers and land lines, citizen band radios and handhelds as well as HAM radio may be an available alternative. Many Preppers consider this already.
  • Message Delivery/Curriers: Before the US Postal Service many people depended on couriers, hired to deliver messages and merchants travelling between settlements to deliver messages. Some people included messages sent by family who travelled to other towns. In a post crisis world, which might only last weeks or months, you could send a letter with someone travelling to check on their family headed in a direction. 
  • Alarm Bells & Community Message Boards: Another old pioneer and pre-TV & radio means of communication was using church bells to signal an emergency and a community message board (where online message boards get their name) that allowed anyone to post a public notice. In the inner city, graffiti acts as a kind of public message board to those who know how to read it.
  • Community Meetings: Just getting together within your community and talking, passing along information via verbal discussion. One should be cautious of rumors & misinformation but that is true in all communication with other people.
  • LAN Networks: Even if the internet is down, a wi-fi system can support a local area network between computers. Provided one has power, one can send messages to another person computer provided they are networked together and as I have been told over greater distances uses a CB or HAM radio.
  • Smoke Signals & Flares: Signal fires and smoke have been used to send messages over a great distance. In a post crisis event, burning an old tire and using a blanket to create breaks in the smoke (yes, like "indian smoke signals") can be used to send Morse Code. It can also be used to signal people within area, in a flooded area or stranded in a blizzard, that black smoke from an old tire can signal your location. We all know flares are used to signal people a sea but its been used in The Walking Dead.
  • Morse Code, International Maritime Flag Signal & Semaphore: Used with lights, bangs on a object like a gong or with hand flags and road flares, these signaling codes are used send messages over a great distance.
Morse Code:

International Maritime Flag Signal:

Admittedly, I don't know any of these either, haven't used Morse Code since I was kid but, I'm learning them as part of survival preparations.

 What about alternative means of Basic Resources?
  • Farming: Farming growing crops and raising live stock admittedly is something many people consider. In many third-world nations, their middle class rely on low consumption animals like goats for meat, milk and making cheese or yogurt and gardening to buffer their food stuffs. These can be used by Americans without a lot of land at their disposal for cows. Most Americans are aware of rabbit starvation (where the lean meat of rabbit lack essential fatty acids and consumption actually burns more calories then it provides) which makes squirrel a better animal to farm for meat then rabbits.
  • Gardening: Growing crops is fine but lacking those essential fatty acids and oils, you can lose calories. However, you can get pretty good carbohydrates (a source of calories) out of potatoes, sweet potatoes, basic vitamins out of green beans and protein from pinto or dried beans. An herb garden can also add flavor and plants that are useful as medical herbs.
  • Hunting & Fishing: Hunting and fishing are always something someone suggests. Trapping of course falls in the hunting category since you have to find a location where your target animal is likely to travel to set a trap. However, how long until other with a similar idea deplete natural resources in the area? One can hunt and drive animals to an enclosed area to "farm" them such as Boar, Deer, Squirrels and catch fish from rivers and creeks to stock a pond. Table scraps can be used to feed the fish, depending on breed as well as natural plants and algae, some of which you can eat yourself.
  • Trade & Barter: Trade and bartering for supplies is also possible but just remember that ounce of gold that trades of over $2,000 you are carrying now could only be worth 3 potatoes & jar of pickles to someone who has food and little interest in gold. Barter requires skills and/or items to trade in exchange for other items or skills. Here things like tobacco, alcohol, bio-diesel, charging batteries, first aid and medical herbs, cooking spices, gun powder, archery equipment, ammo, guns, bicycles and several others explained in a Poorman's Guide to Prepping all have value and depending on a person's needs can more value then money.
  • Canning, Curing & Storing: Storing food is a common act of Preparation, but few people know how to can food themselves. Canning food can be used to store food from your garden and curing a means of storing meat.
  • Collecting & Filtering Water: Having a alternate means of collecting water, such as collecting rain water, well water and so on can provide off grid water you a) don't have to pay for (everyone needs water so that's a barter item, if you want to be an asshole) and b) it is sustainable, meaning you aren't dependent on someone else to provide like the utility company.
Assess Possible Threats to said Key Elements:
This will be covered in Part 2, once you realize you can subsist without depending on others to provide you those key elements and have prepared yourself to provide those elements on your own, you only need to look at possible case for those elements to de disrupted.

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