Archive for Live Free USA News

MAY/JUNE Issue of American Survivor Just Posted

We  just posted the downloadable PDF file for the May/June issue of American Survivor.  Articles include Nuclear Blast Effects, How to Keep the Sheep (sheep-like people) Safe, Survival Crops, product reviews and more. Members who join on-line can not only get their current issues from the Members Only/American Survivor page, they can download dozens of back-issues going back to 2010.  Membership is just $20.00 per year.  The same as in the 1980,s 

Sign Up Now for Camp Independence 2018


We have some great classes set for Camp Independence 2018. Camp Independence started in 1968 as the first preparedness “meetup” training event in America.  It was conducted annually at Tippecanoe River State Park in north central Indian until 2015 when the Indiana Department of Natural Resources closed the group camp facilities there.  We have secured a new location at Camp To-Pe-Nee-Bee just south of Michigan City off Highway 421.  Between Interstates 94 and 80/90.

Current classes scheduled include: outdoor survival skills, unarmed self-defense, archery, wild edible plants, survival packs, survival equipment, shelter building, fire craft, emergency first aid, disaster survival skills, survival equipment demonstrations and more. Classes will be both indoor instructions and outdoor field programs.

Participation in all classes is just $20.00 per person or $40.00 per family.  This includes a free campsite for Friday and Saturday nights.  This is a fully developed facility with sanitation, water, electricity and plenty of room.  As always’ we are charging just enough to cover our costs and all of our instructors are working for free.  Most events like this cost from $50.00 to $150.00 per person.

The main event is on May 19th, from 9:00 AM till dusk, but you can come in and camp Friday evening and stay over Saturday night.  Go to our events section for further details.

Nov./Dec Issue of American Survivor Just Posted

We just posted the PDF file for the November/December issue of American Survivor to the Members Only / American Survivor page.  This issue has a great article on surviving a nuclear event along with a lot of other great information.  Members can download over 50 back issues with articles on all aspects of survival and preparedness.   American Survivor is the oldest survival and preparedness publication in the USA and often has more actual information than expensive magazines that are full of advertisements and oversize illustrations.  Our dues are still only $20.00 per year or $50.00 for three years. That has not changed since the 80s!

Live Free 49th Annual Meeting Report

The following is a summation from the agenda and the “State of Live Free” report at the 49th Annual Meeting held at Cabela’s Conference Center in Hammond IN, on Sunday March 19th, 2017. The meeting was called to order at 1:14 PM and the following reports and activities were conducted.
• The income for the year 2016 was $10,337.58, about $1,000.00 less than in 2015. The Expenses in 2016 totaled 11,344.80. This was over $1,500.00 more than we spent in 2015. The shortfall in income was attributed to not having a Camp Independence event in 2016. The higher expenses resulted from building up the book inventory to cover multiple gun shows and expos and camp ground reservations for events to take place in 2017. Membership dues brought in $3,450.00 and book sales earned $4,206.70. Very little was brought in from events and programs and contributions was a paltry $118.00. The large inventory of books and prepaid event facilities are assets that balance against the reduction in cash on hand. In 2016 Live Free USA conducted multiple survival education courses, exhibited at six preparedness expositions and six gun shows. We had more meetings and committee meeting than any previous year and added several new chapters. While several major survival and preparedness magazines have ceased publication Live Fre USA continues to publish and distribute American Survivor. Our newsletter is proud to be the oldest continuously published preparedness publication in America.
• Beth Duensing reported that plans for Camp Independence 2017 are progressing well. She is recruiting vendors and exhibitors for the event that will be conducted at Camp ToPeNeeBee just south of Michigan City IN. on September 8th and 9th. Those who wish to register or be vendors should contact her at: Jim Jones is establishing the schedule of speakers and classes. Contact him at if you want to be a presenter.
• Tom Garza is the new Chapter Development and Support Coordinator. He discussed several plans for increasing the number of Live Free USA chapters and making chapters stronger. He indicated that there will be a full set of instructions on how to create, build and sustain a chapter in the coming months and some discounted pricing on survival equipment and training available for chapter members as well. Contact Tom at
• Larry Chisausky reported on the progress of the Survival Medics Group. They are continuing to meet and expand while planning to put on a major educational program at Camp Independence. The group may also sponsor another Survival Medics course next fall. Anyone interested in the medics group can contact Larry at
• A new Safety and Security group was initiated to provide security and access control at Live Free events and study home and personal defense issues as well. More information on this team will be available soon.
• The President, Recording Secretary and one director were up for election to three-year terms. Jim Jones was reelected as President, but stated that he only intends to hold that office for one or two years. Mark Smith was reelected as Recording Secretary. Tom Garza was elected to fill an open directorship. There were no proposed amendments or proposals to increase the number of directors this year.
• A small committee consisting of three of the founding members and a few veteran members was designated to start planning for Live Free’s 50th Anniversary celebration next year. There will be a dinner, special presentations and exhibits. We hope to have outside guests and publicity for this event. Anyone interested in helping please contact Jim Jones at
The meeting adjourned at 3:28 PM, but committee meeting and conferences continued until well after 4:00 PM

Welcome Dismal Swamp Preppers (VA)


Dismal Swamp Preppers (Norfolk VA Region)

Contact: Tim and Carol McCann

Description:  We are a small but active group of friends that are working together to learn from each other, teach each other, and be able to depend on each other if times get rough. Our focus is on building community, providing both classroom style and hands-on training, and generally learning self-sufficiency while sharing. A good portion of the classes are based on group input and sharing.

Our Motto is:  Survive. Thrive. Help Others. Help Yourself. No matter what your goal is in the prepping process, this site will help you connect with others of a like mind.

Our past meetings have been classes on the following:

  • Medicinal Herbs and Spices - Growing, Blending, Using
  • Organic Gardening
  • Security - Standing in Place versus Bugging Out / Protecting your family and property
  • Essential Oils for Health Support and First Aid
  • Food Preservation Methods, Old and New
  • Storage Prep, the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Wrong

Future Classes may include:

  • Preserving with salt
  • Making Pemmican
  • EMP - Prepping for survival and recovery
  • Energy Alternatives
  • Seed Harvesting - How to know when they are ripe, how to harvest, how to preserve, how to tell if the seeds are hybrid or viable
  • Non-Electric early perimeter warnings
  • Barter
  • Ham Radio for Communication
  • Small Engine Maintenance and Repair
  • Water, Water Everywhere class we had in January



The Dying Voices of Survival & Preparedness

The Dying Voices of Preparedness

Will American Survivor be the last preparedness

and survival publication in print?

I was just informed that Backwoods Home magazine will cease publication. This is yet another casualty of blogs, U-tube and free internet content. Backwoods Home was a philosophically a survival magazine, but had a severely limited range. Being published in the Oregon back-country, there was a lot about cabin building, goat raising and jam making and not much about urban and suburban survival concerns. That limited its appeal to less than 10-percent of the population. The cost of paper publication printing and mailing against electronic publication is rapidly reducing the number and size of existing survival and preparedness publications. Even the NRA’s National Rifleman and National Geographic’s magazines are down to less than half of their previous number of pages. Recently Harris Publications ceased publishing Survivors Edge (Harris went entirely out of business), Survivalist magazine and Prepper and Shooter magazines’ have also stopped publication. There are still a number of survival/preparedness magazines published occasionally under various titles found on newsstand shelves. Bugout magazine is still in print as a subscription magazine as is Self-Reliance and Mother Earth News. More alarming is the declining number of good survival and preparedness books being printed. Live Free USA buys survival related books from out-off-print book dealers to sell at expositions, meetings and gun shows. Many of these books are not being reprinted again and are now permanently out-of-print,.
It is unfortunate to see this casualty-rate among printed publications. In my opinion, blogs, posts, email letters and websites lack the quality, depth and sustainability of magazines, newsletters and books.
American Survivor was originally published as “Directions” and then “New Directions” by Live Free starting in the early 1970’s The first issues were actually mimeographed. We are the oldest established and surviving survival/preparedness publication in America. We have survived because (1) we are not trying to make a profit and do not need to make a living at it and (2) we have been dedicated to the cause through its ups-and-downs for decades. At one point in the 1990’s we were down to about 55-issues. Back in the 1980’s we put out a 16-page issue every month. Today we distribute about 500 printed copies ever-other month, but many more are downloaded off the website. I have also found that people have kept back issues from our earliest times in binders. I am reluctant to go to an email only distribution of American Survivor for several reasons.
• About 30% of our members never provide an email address and would probably not renew at all.
• Email publications dump into an ocean of on-line publications, most of-which few have time to find, download and print or read. Personally, I have no time to read 90% of my incoming email and I never download any forwarded stuff.
• Existing email survival magazines seem to be focused on profit and selling stuff to readers, rather than in-depth material.
• Postage and printing are still affordable enough to mail these issues as long as we have help with assembly and stamping.
The real issue is continuity. Most of our writers are well past 60 and volunteers for editing, assembling and managing are harder and harder to find. In the past we have had a number of other editor’s take over, but quit after a year or two after changing the format or running consistently late issues. Recovery and rebuilding then made more work for me. This is why I hang on to this simple format and basic content. We have hundreds of articles in stock and we could even expand the size and circulation if we had others to handle editing, production and mailing. Meanwhile, I will hang on for a few more years if necessary.
Other survival and preparedness publications in my archives are;
• Preparedness Journal: this was a low-budget magazine that was published for a few years late 1990’s focused on the Y2K issue.
• Practical Survival: Published in the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s
• Survive: a slick, well-illustrated magazine published by the same folks that publish Soldier of Fortune magazine. Published from the early 1980’s to the mid 1990’s
• Survive Tomorrow: A multi-page newsletter that was numbered to be placed in a binder. This was published through the 1980,s
• Survival News: A basic newsletter published out of Riverside IL in the 1980s
• Australasian Survivor: Published by the Aussies in the mid 1980’s
• American Survival Guide: Published From the early 1980’s through the early 1990’s. This was by-far the widest-read and longest-running survival preparedness publication in America. They featured several articles about Live Free USA including our 25th anniversary recognition with yours-truly on the cover, repelling down a cliff.
The above publications ceased distribution because there was a significant decline in interest and support for survival and preparedness immediately after the end of the Cold War. Most survival organizations dissolved and Live Free USA had to drastically reduce publications and activities to survive through this period. Only our loyal, hard-core members and mission dedication kept us going.

Paladin Press Interviews James C. Jones

Paladin Press’s Interview with James C. Jones


My latest book titled “The Live Free Book of Total Survival” is due to come out from Paladin Press this winter.  The publishers are making it the featured book for their next on-line and printed catalogue and wanted to include an interview with me as part of the promotion.  The publisher’s questions turned out to be very provocative and provided an opportunity to share some opinions and historic perspective with the readers.  Paladin had to edit the answers a bit to fit their space.  I have include the entire unedited interview questions and answers along with two additional commentaries that I hope you all will find informative.

  1. How long have you been involved in the self-reliance movement? How did you get involved?

   I had a challenging childhood that forced me to be self-reliant and independent at a very early age.  I don’t remember not having some kind of survival pack. Living poor on the Southside of Chicago gave me my urban survival training and my outdoor activities that included, rock-climbing, caving, rafting and primitive camping provided the rest. Survival/self-reliance as a movement started in the background of the social and political upheavals of the 1960.  I helped organize Live Free USA in the late 1960s.  The organization evolved from an outdoor survival club to a general survival and preparedness education group. That is now a tax-deductible, not-for-profit corporation. Their website is at

  1. In that time, have the essential principles changed, or simply their applications?

  Certainly the principles of personal and family self-reliance and independence have not changed, but the acceptance of the need for preparedness and sustainable self-reliance has change dramatically.

  In the 1960s through the 1980s the general public felt that they lived in a fairly secure world threatened by one singe danger (nuclear war) that might or might not happen. This made various form of denial the prevalent mindset.  Survivalists were regarded as paranoid or even dangerous.  I did a lot of TV, radio and print interviews trying to explain that we were just responsible citizens that made everyone safer. The movement as such was a small outlying subculture at that time.

  In the later 1990s the threat matrix of economic decline, political instability, depletion of resources, terrorism, epidemics, civil disorder, unemployment, shortages, natural disasters, effectively destroyed the public’s sense of safety and confidence.  These were disasters that were happening to them or their neighbors now.  Denial became much harder to sustain and preparedness and self-reliance offered real advantages and benefits.  This is why the movement is growing, evolving and becoming a mainstream force for the future.

  1. What is the biggest obstacle to people adopting a more self-reliant lifestyle?

   I get that question often when I do presentation for community groups and preparedness expositions.  The biggest obstacle is just getting started and letting go of dependency and vulnerability. People are often overwhelmed by needing so much knowledge and supplies.  I tell them to go home and fill some clean containers with water, buy some candles and start designating canned-goods for emergency use only.  It’s a start.  Set a budget and a list of preparedness improvement goals. Do something. Do it now. Keep getting better.  Of course I have handouts and references to help them

  1. How do you organize all the essential knowledge a person needs to be self-reliant and survive emergencies in 10 principles—or, actually, 11 principles?

 The ten principles are distilled from a variety of sources, observations and experiences.  They could be expanded or compressed, but ten is a manageable number to organize and communicate the mental and philosophical foundations of a survivor in times of crisis as well as daily life. Of course that eleventh principle “Never Give Up” is often the most important.  

  1.         What is the first step that you would advise a person to take in the quest for emergency preparedness?

If you are reading this and hopefully reading my book, you have already taken the most important step.  You have left denial and started to take control and responsibility for your own future in a hazardous world.  One of my personal mantras is “happen to things before they happen to you”   Of course things will happen to you, but if you are happening and proactive and mission oriented, these happenings will not stop you.

  1. How important is the mental component of survival?

The mental attitude is pretty much the whole game in survival.  I do a lot of studying of past disasters and human behavior.  Often the only reason some people died was there inability to move from denial through deliberation and on to decision and action.  They often had the knowledge and means to survive, but not the spirit and will to act. People who have experienced disaster or hard times have been shocked into being natural survivors.  Others usually need training and determination.  This is why I developed the ten principles program.

  1. In the early days of the survivalist movement, Americans feared the doomsday scenario of the Russians bombing us. What is the biggest fear of most Americans today?

 I think I answered most of this in question number-two, but the real issue is that this combination of developing and potential threats are all connected so that only one or two of them happening will trigger many of the others.  For example: a cyber-attack or EMP would start an economic collapse that would generate civil disorder that would shut down the grid and create epidemics.  Any one leads to the others. No matter what you are concerned most about, you need to prepare for them all and maybe even all together.

  1. How has your experience as an EMT and Industrial Safety Manager informed your survival practices?

 I started working at a rather large chemical plant back in the 60s.  I guess my survival thinking led me to making safety improvements.  This lead to a lot of certifications, promotions and awards.  I did a lot of hazard analysis, incident investigation, emergency planning and accident prevention work.  I was able to apply survival ideas to industrial safety and industrial safety science techniques to survival.  This gave me a unique approach to both.  Some of my ten principles and many of my articles were inspired by my safety management experiences and observations.  I also became an EMT, Certified Hazard Control Manager and HAZMAT Technician. All that added to my background.

  1. Are preppers different than survivalists?

   We were doing what we do before the term “survivalist” became popular, then in the 90s it was “preppers”.  I like the term “self-reliance practitioner”, but it’s not as catchy.  My problem with “prepping” is that it is defensive.  You are prepping for a particular thing or things to survive and recover.  Not good enough.  Survivalists live the philosophy and think differently.  We apply survival principles to everyday life and assume that the expected disasters and the unexpected disasters will happen and that we will deal with them and retain our values and freedoms. Survival is more than just staying alive.

  1. A lot of what you include in this book seems like smart advice for ordinary, day-to-day life and not just for crises. Do you see a strong connection between those who have successful lives and those who survive extraordinary challenges?

I find it amazing that most people and families muddle along, without defined missions and goals.  I am a big advocate of a mission centered life.  How do we know what success will look like if we never established the objective.  Your survival and preparedness program should be built on the idea of perusing your mission and reaching your goals in-spite of the challenges and disasters that you may encounter.  Don’t just survive it. Own it.  I came to realize that the application of my ten principles had actually work for me and others even though they were not defined at the time.  Yes, these are sound principles to live by on a day-to-day basis.  Those I know who have had a lot of trouble and “bad luck” inevitably violated one or more of the principles.

Added Qs and As 

  The following questions were not included in the interview, but add my personal views of our future.

  1. How do you see the future of the preparedness, survival and sustainable living movement in the coming decades?

   This is now a mainstream movement and will be a major factor in how Americans survive, adapt and endure thorough the challenges and disasters that they will face.  The younger generation must embrace self-reliance, responsibility and independence or be dragged into a very dark future

  1. What are you hopes for Live Free USA in the years ahead?

  I devoted a significant part of my life into building the organization and its relevance and future importance is just now becoming imperative.  I can only hope that others will step forward and take it to the next level.  The movement needs a not-for-profit, advocacy and support organization to unite and network the various groups and elements in our common cause. Certainly the enemies of self-reliance and personal independence are well organized, united and well financed.  We need to be also.



SEPT/OCT 2016 Issue of American Survivor Availble

We just added the Printable PDF of the September/October issue of American Survivor to the Members Only section of the website. On line members get the most recent issues as they are published before the US Mail issues go out.  They also can download 52 back issues.  You must join on line to get access to these issues.  Joining by mail or on paper forms does not generate a user name and password.  Members who join on line do have the option of providing a mailing address for some hard-copy materials.

Two Live Free Chapters in Tennessee

Two Live Free Chapters in Tennessee
We are happy to welcome the “Tennessee Scouts” Live Free USA chapter to our family. This chapter is located in Silver Point TN east of Nashville. They are planning on doing regular meetings and camp events in the near future. They join the established “Middle Tennessee” chapter near Nashville as Live Free’s presence grows throughout the state. We invite members in Tennessee to contact the Tennessee Scouts at: and the Middle Tennessee Chapter at

Northwest Chicago Group Revival!

The leader of the Northwest Chicago Area Live Free Chapter moved away a while back and no-one stepped up to replace him.  As a result the group has been inactive (but not forgotten) for many months.  We now have a few folks restarting things in that area and we look forward to a resumption of the great meetings and classes that were previously held.  Live Free has considerable resources to boost this effort.  If you would like to be included in the new Northwest Chicago Live Free programs and help get it going contact: or call: 815-814-0336