Archive for Stuff You Should Know

The Last Word on Respirators

The Last Word on Respirators

By James, C. Junes EMT/CHCM

There should be no confusion about N95 respirators providing protection against Covid-19 infection. If worn properly and consistently, they prevent inspiration and expiration of the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes Covid-19, end of story, full stop. This is not my opinion, it is my “expert” opinion.  Unlike most of the internet gurus and purveyors of conspiracy theories, I actually have qualifications and training related to respiratory protection. I have certificated training from both OSHA and the American Society of Safety Engineers. I specified, fit tested and trained people for respiratory protection from N95 respirators, through full-face filter respirators and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus as a Safety Manager for a major chemical company. I also trained in appropriate biological respiratory protection as an EMT.

The N95 Respirator

These are true respirators not just masks. When worn according to the instruction on the box they provide very effective protection against airborne pathogens, toxic dust particles, soot, and toxic mist droplets. They also provide effective protection against inhalation of radioactive dust particles. They do not provide protection against poison gasses such as chlorine, ammonia or carbon monoxide.  Unless you anticipate a poison gas attack or a chemical spill scenario, an N95 is all you need. They are cheap and easy to have with you.  While they are classified as “disposable” they can be decontaminated with exposure too UV light including sunlight.  They should be stored in plastic bags when not on use.

The reason that the CDC and other agencies did not emphasize N95 respirators at the start of the pandemic is because (1) they wanted to hoard enough for medical professional and (2) there was already a shortage because China had bought up huge quantities before letting the world know about Covid-19.  You saw everyone in China wearing N95 masks back in March. China’s draconian mandating of wearing mask brought the pandemic under control much faster than in other countries.  While I would not advocate such a mandate in a free country, that should have been a strong recommendation for Americans from the start*. I had about twenty-five N95’s at home in January and managed to buy one more box of twenty in late March. N95 respirators are the gold standard for use by medical professionals who are exposed to airborne pathogen all day that should tell you all you need to know.

Some people claim that they can’t breathe while wearing these respirators. Unless you have a very serious respiratory illness, this is mainly psychological. I trained employees who wore these masks continuously for hours of hard work in hot conditions. At 79-years of age I wear N95’s throughout full workouts at the fitness center.

Face Masks

  Since the professionals and smart survivors had already grabbed up the available N95’s a number of alternative masks came into use. Common blue surgical mask are designed to prevent pathogens from the mouth and nose of surgeons and other ER and OR personnel from infecting patients who are in an otherwise sterile environment.  They are not intended as “respiratory protection’ but provide limited protection against inspiration of pathogens.  Some versions have a double-layer that provides better protection. Soft cloth mask in various designs seem to be the most popular choice.  If worn tightly against the face, these should be good enough for protection against coughs, and breaths carrying at virus. Those with a double layer of cloth are best

Bandannas and Neck Gators

In my books I recommend carrying a bandanna as an “everyday carry” items for use as a bandage, tourniquet, and last resort respirator, but it is no substitute for an N95 or even a good cloth face mask. Neck gators are also inadequate.  The best I can say for them is that they are BTN (better than nothing) in an emergency. They may meet the letter of the “face mask required” regulation, but you are fooling yourself if you think they are as effective as cloth masks or true respiratory.

Gas Masks and Half-Face Filter Respirators

  While these devices are effective, they are bulky, uncomfortable and difficult to fit properly, while offering no more effective protection than the light weight N95 respirators.  Gas masks are for gas!  Unless you live down wind of a hazardous chemical facility they are a waste of money.

Conclusion

  Respiratory protection is a very effective way to avoid contracting Coved-19, and any other airborne pathogen.  N95 respirators are the best choice for respiratory protection, but cloth masks and surgical masks are certainly better than no protection when N95’s are unavailable.  As the pandemic subsides, I will be restocking my survival supplies with N95 respirators. So should you.

*If the government had prohibited the wearing of masks or respirators, I would have defied that order, because it’s just smart survival practice to wear them.

Ten Major Threats to Survival 2021 and Beyond

Live Free periodically analyzes political, technological, environmental, and economic data to establish the most probable threats to life and freedom. There are a few new ones since the last update in 2011.   YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED  

Threat Matrix 2021 and Beyond

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

As a Certified Hazard Control Manager and experienced student of emergency preparedness methodology, I have written dozens of articles about how to anticipate and prepare for a variety of disaster situations ranging from being lost in the wilderness to being affected by a large scale natural or man-made disaster.  I usually take a broader view of disasters than most writers.  A disaster is defined by how it affects you and your family.  If your house burns down from a misplaced candle or a massive wildfire, it’s still a disaster for you.  If you die from a personal ailment or from a pandemic pathogen, you are still dead.  Thus, I include home safety, and health issues in most of my threat matrix articles, and I will continue to advocate for good home safety and personal health maintenance as the foundation of survival preparedness.  In this article I will focus on the more traditional definition of “disaster”, a wide spread event that has absolute and unfavorable effects on the general population and infrastructure.  In comparison to personal disasters where you have more prevention, rescue and recovery potential, these disasters are usually beyond your control to prevent, and you cannot be dependent on external help.  My “top ten” probable disasters for this century, based on probability and potential harm are listed below.  Note that some are large-scale, cataclysmic events, while others are trends and developments happening now. It is also important to keep in mind that all of these situations negatively affect the probability and the severity of the others.

  1. Pandemic #2, #3 ---

There is no mathematical or logical reason that precludes the probability of another type of pandemic in the next few years. The chances of a pandemic in 2021 are exactly the same as they were in 2019.  The same issues of population density, migration and travel that existed before 2020 will exist as we go into the future decades. Unless or until war or pandemic actually reduces the population by a very significant percentage, the threat will remain and grow. No doubt, terrorists and extremists will have noted the effectiveness of this pandemic on America and the West and may work to deliberately develop and distribute even more virulent and deadly pathogens.  While we will be more vigilant and better prepared for future pandemics in the near future, apathy and the demands of other priorities will inevitably degrade preparedness over the coming years.  Other pathogens may have entirely different pathologies and require different methods of control and treatment, rendering stocks of equipment from the coronavirus useless.   The wise survivor will restock and double stock as if the next pandemic is just around the corner.

  1. Mass Civil Disorder

A certain level of civil disorder were experienced as the pandemic of 2020 progressed.  It was difficult to manage and slow the spread of the disease while hold together the economy. Fear and frustration was often exploited by political agitators, criminals and even foreign influences to create division and encourage destructive acts. The internet and social-media facilitated hate and conspiracy theories when reason and analysis were most needed.  While the police and fire departments were still able to function, many of their members were debilitated and even killed by the virus.  The stress of putting their own families at risk to protect the general public did cause some disruptions and reduction in their capability, but it could be much worse in the future.  The anti-police rhetoric and misguided political actions immediately resulted in dramatic increases in violent crime in New York, Chicago and other cities, and the massive economic cost of the pandemic is bound to negatively affect the budgets for police and fire protection in every town and city.  Most locations will be hard-pressed to maintain public safety services and equipment after the pandemic, much less improve them to meet future challenges.  Trained employees at municipal water, power and sanitary facilities were also affected and in some cases threatened to walk-off the jobs if not given extra pay and protection.  The food supply chain sputtered and showed signs of failure as transportation, packing and retail employees became ill due to increased exposure.  The failure of one or more survival critical services to high-density urban and suburban regions for more than a few days would lead to panic, looting and general lawlessness.  Civil disorder in one or two major cities could be controlled by the reallocation of resources and the National Guard, but the spread of civil disorder throughout the country would leave citizen lives and property totally unprotected.  The damage could leave most regions devastated to the level of the third world.  Such a scenario is more likely now than it was just a year ago, so the survivor must not only be able to survive without help, they must also be able to protect their own lives, freedom, and property against malevolent and violent elements.

  1. Economic Collapse

The health of an economy is determined by its productivity.  When the people are able to produce what is needed and purchase what they need we have a stable economy.  Even before the pandemic the world economy was a house of cards, only sustained by automation and economic manipulation. The stability of national economies can be measured by the national debt vs the nations productivity (GDP). Here are some examples China has a 1.6 trillion dollar debt with a 297 percent debt vs GDP gap. The US has a whopping 25 trillion dollar debt* with a 106.2 percent GDP gap. Japan has a 12.2 trillion dollar debt against a 237 percent gap. Simply put the world owes more than it can pay and does not have the natural resources to support seven-billion people in anything like health and comfort.  Automation has made simple labor less and less valuable and shifted wealth and power to a smaller and smaller number of nations and individuals. While the pandemic practically stopped the production of real produced wealth, trillions dollars in paper wealth were printed and distributed. Less than nine-percent of the worlds wealth exists in any solid (gold, paper) form the remaining ninety-one percent is just ones and zero in computers that has value only as long as people believe it has value.  Ultimately the gap (canyon) between our economic illusion and economic reality must lead to a very traumatic adjustment.  Sustained depression, massive losses, draconian taxation, high inflation rates, wealth confiscation, and totalitarian government may arise.  Gold, diamonds and currency will be worthless, while hard goods and necessities will be the only true currency.  Unfortunately: those who have made themselves self-reliant and in possession of needed supplies will be targets of hatred by the public and persecution by the state.  Ultimately: only strong networks and alliances among self-reliance practitioners and responsible citizens will suffice to preserve life, freedom and property against   annihilation.

*The US debt to China is 4.3 Trillion dollars alone

  1. Climate Change

Regardless of the cause, climate change is a reality that must be faced and survived throughout the coming decades. All ten of the worst weather related catastrophes in US history have occurred since 1992 with a steadily increasing frequency and severity. In addition to creating droughts, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and violent storms, it will exacerbate international conflicts, famines, mass migrations and economic problems throughout the world. The already weakened economies’ of most nations will render it impossible to cope with these disasters.  As a result the world’s capacity to support the current and future populations will continue to decline. We can anticipate living in a more meteorologically violent and unpredictable world while we cope with other threats. The survivor must shift life styles and priorities to meet this evolving situation over decades, while also being better prepared to survive more frequent storms, floods, and other local and regional disasters.  The ability to evacuate is particularly important for these kinds of threats.

  1. Nuclear War

While there was a briefed relaxation of the potential for a nuclear exchange after the fall of the Soviet Union, that potential has returned, and is even greater today than it was in the 1980’s. Today’s nuclear delivery systems include hypersonic cruise missiles, stealth drones, hypersonic reentry warheads, and multiple warhead ballistic missiles. The new Chinese Dong-feng 41 missile has a range of 9,400 miles and speed of 25 times the speed of sound.  The new weapons are unstoppable and can reach any point in the US within thirty-minutes of launch. Current estimates are that China has 280 warheads, Russia has 6,850, and the US has 6,450, and it only takes one to start Armageddon.  In addition, we have India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, France and Great Brittan in possession of nuclear weapons that could be accidentally or deliberately detonated or stolen by terrorists. Famines, pandemics, disputes over dwindling resources, and general political instability could easily result in an escalating nuclear exchange. While blast sheltering may be impractical, the ability to evacuate and to detect and survive fallout are still important survival skills.  Any significant nuclear exchange would trigger all of the other listed disasters.

  1. Famine

California, one of the world richest food producing areas, has lost over 30 percent of its cropland due to the ongoing drought.  The major aquafers that supply the water for crops in Africa, India and the American Midwest are drying up. Food shortages brought riots to Africa in 2010-2011 and food shortages had a part in the disastrous “Arab Spring” movement that eventually generated ISIS.   At this point the earth hosts over 7.3 billion people and this number will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 with the global demand for food rising by 50 percent above current levels. America loses one-percent or more of farmland to development annually. By the end of the twenty-first century (if we get there) the population will top 15 billion. To imagine that food production will ever be able to keep up with this demand is preposterous.  We cannot even feed the current population in many countries. China’s experiment with food production in Africa has been a total failure. Back in the 1990’s when the Soviet Union collapsed and stopped subsidizing North Korean agriculture over one-million Koreans died within a few years and they continue to die now. The whole world agricultural capacity is fragile and dependent on cheap water, cheap fertilizers (mostly based on petroleum) and cheap fuel to run massive machinery.  All of these elements are at or near the breaking point.  The pandemic clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of the food distribution system throughout the world. There can be no doubt that the issue of food supplies will become the major political, economic, military, and survival issue in the coming decades.  Despotic states and criminal black-market cartels may use food as a weapon to subjugate populations and facilitate oppression.  The ability to feed one’s self and one’s family is the foundation of survival and freedom.

  1. Artificial Intelligence Domination

This threat was not seriously on my radar until recently, but must be considered as a threat to human life and freedom as we know it.  While computers were first thought to be the means to save us time and improve our lives and social opportunities, the technology has been used to waste our time and prevent intelligent, and productive social interaction. Technology is (intentionally or unintentionally) destroying human society and replacing it with a virtual society controlled by programs and logarithms. China leads the world in thought control and total surveillance of society through facial recognition, intelligent drones, and cameras everywhere, but they are exporting this technology to western nations on a massive scale.  I like to call people who have a Pavlovian need to respond to their phone or a text and go about with their smart phone on 24/7 “oblivions” who live in a virtual would rather than the real one around them.  It is interesting, and perhaps frightening to note that according to scientific studies human intelligence has been in decline for several decades, while computer power has recently surpassed that of the human brain. Moore’s law states that computer power doubles every 18 to 24 months. Artificial intelligence now engages in so-called “deep learnings” and acts on its own initiatives without human direction.  Computers learn and improve exponentially while the human brain improves only linearly. The human brain calculates a bit slower than the speed of light, while quantum computers calculate at thousands of times the speed of light*. Do the math. See the future.

* Due to something called “quantum-entanglement” it is actually possible to calculate and communicate faster than the speed of light.

  1. Cyber Attack, EMP, Grid Failure

Cyber warfare has been in progress between the nations of the world for several decades.  Since America is the richest and most cyber dependent nation in the world, it is the major target for all types of cyber-attacks.  Targets for cyber-attacks include the electrical power grid, power generation systems, water distribution facilities, sewer systems, medical facilities, police and fire protection agencies, the military, and the financial infrastructure.  Artificially intelligent viruses can be programed to travel through the internet, lie in wait and then destroy a system or systems at a given time. Yes, they can be there right now hidden in programs. As with real viruses, computer viruses can be accidentally created and unleashed as well. Such viruses can bypass safety systems to destroy generators, oil refineries, nuclear facilities, water pumps and hospital equipment.  An attack on railroad, or air traffic control systems could result in significant death and destruction. Most of the world’s wealth exists as data in computers that could just disappear. Backup systems and air-gapped systems provide some protection, but recent events have demonstrated how these safeguards can be bypassed. Experts estimate that if the electrical grid in the United States was down for ten to twelve months ninety-percent of the population would die from the various affects.

Electromagnetic pulses (EMP) can destroy computers and other electronic devices, if unprotected. A large scale EMP could even disable vehicles, aircraft and municipal service systems. Nuclear weapons generate powerful EMP’s.  Solar events can generate EMP’s powerful enough to damage power grids, communication systems and unprotected electronic devices. The military has developed drones and portable devices that can target specific areas with powerful EMPs.  Terrorists can probably create EMT weapons as well.  The United States, Russia and China are in a race to create the first true quantum computer.  Such a computer would make all military and financial computers instantly obsolete and unlock every security system.  While an ordinary “super computer” could take many years to try every possible combination of words, letters and numbers in any potential password combination, a quantum computer could try hundreds of billions of combinations in a few minutes.

Cyberwarfare, along with economic warfare, disinformation through social media, drug importation, and political agitation are all part of the asymmetric warfare campaigns being waged against free societies throughout the world.  The individual must avoid dependency on personal digital systems and on the infrastructure that depends on them.  Backup data to isolated storage, keep hard copies, and keep electronic devices in faraday cages when possible.

  1. Revolution and Civil War

The United States Government is the oldest and most stable government in the world today.  All of the governments of Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle-East have fallen and risen several times while the USA has stood and prospered.  While many Americans attribute this to our values and the genius of our Constitution there are other factors that have historically contributed to our stability.

  • America maintained strong values of community, responsibility, self-reliance and patriotism regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. We were all Americans first.
  • While there were natural inequities in wealth distribution they were not nearly as extreme as they are today. A large, contented and socially responsible middle class still existed.
  • America and Americans were not subject to the constant divisive and toxic effects of the internet and social media.

None of these stabilizing factors are true today. Multi-ethnic societies are inherently unstable.  There is no longer an unlimited amount of real-estate, resources or jobs to absorbed even internal population growth.  We are involved with and influenced by divisive and confusing foreign involvements and intrigues. Today’s American is more self-centered, dependency-oriented and less involved in community than any previous generation.  The decades of centralized, big government have replaced responsibility with demanding, demonstrating and blame finding.  The gap between the poor and the ultra-wealthy is disgraceful and growing. The internet now facilitates division rather than unity, conflict rather than discussion and even violence in place of the political process.  Respect for the law and for American values has all but disappeared in many regions.  These are harbingers of future revolutionary developments. Armed demonstrations against the pandemic lockdowns and anti-gun legislation is a harbinger of future revolts. The growing sanctuary movement where counties*, and whole states are prepared to defy higher authorities is an indicator of massive discontent and defiance. There is a growing number of religious, racial and political elements that are quietly preparing for such a catastrophe.  There is a line in an old movie* about South American revolutions.  The General storms into the presidential palace proclaiming “El Presidente, the rebels are in the suburbs!” to which the dictator says “the rebels are always in the suburbs”. We are becoming more like one of these “Banana Republics”

 

* In Virginia 91 out of the 95 counties passed resolution defying the states gun laws.

 

  1. Terrorist attacks

While the number of terrorist attacks has temporarily declined, the effects of potential terrorist attacks continues. The cost of “the war on terror” and the massive security measures throughout society has drained hundreds of billions from the national economies that could have been used to rebuild our infrastructure, and reduce our national dept. The terrorists won and continue to win as they affect our lives and our national economy.  We can be certain that the recent pandemic has provided terrorist with another weapon to disseminate fear and confusion. Economic challenges will impact the poor and minority communities making them susceptible to radicalization and extremist activities.  Economic decline can necessitate cuts in military spending, and the budgets for police and fire protection that may provide opportunities for extremist groups to better organize and plan activities.  Criminal gangs and cartels should be included as terrorists, and can be expected to grow in power and audacity as law-and-order weakens.  In third world nations the gangs and cartels are the true government, controlling the black-market, and offering safety for a price. Only a vigilant, prepared and armed population can prevent the rise of terror and crime in the future

Conclusion

   The possibility of a world-wide disaster can no-longer be in doubt, as one of the above disasters has already occurred and several others are developing as we speak.  Each threat scenario affects the probability and potential severity of the others.  Some of the above threats occur suddenly, while others develop insidiously over the years. At this point only the most foolish would ignore these threats and fail to make a concerted effort to avoid, mitigate and survive their effects. While it is difficult to predict which one will happen next or in what order such events could occur, but we must all recognize the fragility of our civilization and necessity of constant vigilance and dedicated preparedness.

Three New Free Publication PDFs

We recently updated our well known Preparedness Overview flyer that we distribute at our meetings and presentations.  anyone is welcome to reprint this as a public service.

The Special Edition of American Survivor is distributed free at preparedness expos and events as a sample of our membership newsletter.  American Survivor is the oldest and most respected survival/preparedness publication in the USA, and has been especially accurate in predicting the  pandemic, civil unrest, severe weather and economic decline in recent times.  More importantly it has provided information on how to prepare for and survive these and other challenges now and in the future. Online members have access to over seventy back issues of American Survivor as well as each new issue as it is published. Members can also opt for hard-copy mailing.

Recent articles in American Survivor included: Revolution and Civil War (July 2020), Is America Headed for Another Revolution? (Jan/Feb. 219), and Decent Into Chaos (Jan/Feb 2015). Unfortunately these articles were far more accurate than we would have guessed. As a result, it may be timely to publish a modified version of the chapter in my recent book devoted to "Military Skills for the Survivalist". Note: the book is 150 Survival Secrets, by James C. Jones from Skyhorse  publishing of NY and covers many controversial and challenging survival subjects.

Preparedness Overview Flyer, 12-10

AmericanSurvivorSPECIAL,3-15

MILITARY SKILLS for SURVIVAL,12-18

THE LONG ROAD AHEAD

The Long Road Ahead

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

My childhood experiences make me predisposed to detect and expect survival challenges, and my career as a Hazard Control Manager provide me with the training, tools and experience to anticipate threats to safety and survival.  In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, I can foresee further challenges in the months and years ahead, and while I hope that the optimistic predictions of politicians come true, I am obligated to share the following observations.

  • There is no logical or statistical reason to expect that another epidemic or other disaster is less likely to occur next year or in a few years. In fact a weakened infrastructure and economy makes further disasters more probable.
  • While the effects of the lockdown and distancing combined with the warmer weather may reduce the spread of the virus through the summer months, the virus isn’t going away. Cooler weather combined with public apathy is bound to result in a resurgence   of the epidemic later in the year.  Better testing and better preparedness will help, but the number of infected persons who can spread the virus will be much greater in September than it was at the beginning of the outbreak, so a fast jump in cases could result.  The CDC has warned that the potential second wave could be “far more deadly” that the first. The effects of a second lockdown in winter could be truly catastrophic.
  • As of May the US had about 900,000 known cases of Covid-19 and 52,000 resulting deaths. Extending those rates through the summer could give us 2,000,000. Cases and 100,000. Deaths. Adding the expected winter bump could bring us to 4,000,000 cases and over 150,000 deaths, a truly horrific possibility.
  • The promise of a vaccine in twelve to eighteen months may be overly optimistic. There still is no vaccine for SARS, MERS, Avian Flue, or Ebola and they have been around for many years. Early results indicate that those who have recovered from Covid-19 may not be immune to future infection. This virus could be around for several more years or indefinitely
  • I totally agree that the economy cannot sustain a full lockdown for an indefinite period of time, but as a trained industrial hygienist and EMT I totally agree that expanded human contact will cost thousands of American lives. We absolutely have the right to gather, assemble, and work, but we absolutely have the patriotic duty to voluntarily observe distancing and other precautions to protect ourselves, our families and our fellow Americans. Don’t do it because of orders, do it because you care about others.
  • As expected the Russians and the Chinese are actively using social media to promote confusing and divisive narratives and conspiracy theories to weaken and divided America and deflect blame. The Chinese laugh while we point fingers at each other and argue about social distancing and whose fault the pandemic is. It’s the fault of China and the Chinese Communist Party, end of story.  We can expect the Democratic Party to focus attacks on Republicans for the spread of the virus and imply that they could do better. Of course it’s always easy to play political games with 20/20 hindsight and no actual involvement in the crisis.  Again: no one will be blaming the Chinese.
  • At this point our whole infrastructure, economy and society is unstable and weakened to the point where another major event such as a terrorist attack, cyber-attack, or political upheaval could result in the collapse of western civilization. Our enemies know this.
  • In late April the Chicago Police had to break up over one thousand incidents of mass assemblages of youths on the streets. While there were only a few arrests and minor resistance, this was in cool weather after only a few weeks of the lockdown. What will happen when the weather gets hot and the lockdown has continued for several months?  We can anticipate that gangs, agitators and opportunists will try to incite violence and looting on a massive scale. This was as we predicted, but the police misconduct incident served as a detonator.  The massive street demonstrations were as much about pent-up lock-down fatigue as it was about the police issue.  We can now expect a continuation of street protests and violence around the conventions and elections.  All of this will perpetuate and spread the virus.

When and if it’s Over

   The German psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) stated that “The most intense conflicts if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed”.  He was describing the dangerous false sense of security and tendency towards apathy and denial that is a part of human nature. In the aftermath of this pandemic we will be in uncharted territory with a devastated economy, a chaotic political and social infrastructure and all of the remaining threats such as terrorism, war, revolution, natural disasters, and famine still in place.  While the tendency may be to rejoice and relax, the necessity must be to be vigilant and rededicated to preparedness, survival education and self-reliance.  American life and freedom cannot survive another massive calamity if the public is unaware, unorganized and unprepared

We Saw This Coming and More

The following paragraph is from my article titled “Human Extinction” published in American Survivor newsletter in September of 2018*.  The point of the article was that we have over seven billion people on a planet that scientists calculate can only support about five billion people, and that nature and human nature would inevitably start to correct this imbalance through a number of catastrophic trends and event, one of which would be pandemics.  I also demonstrated how each disaster would cause a cascade effect that would create additional and worsening disasters.  Many readers felt that I was going too far with such grime analyses, but I am cursed with the necessity of logic over wishful thinking.

 

Impending Epidemics

The horrible reality is that epidemics, wars and famine are the most likely way that the population will be reduced.  The population density, migration and travel have set the stage for a world-wide epidemic that could kill millions or even billions. The source could be a deliberate act, a laboratory accident or simply a natural mutation of an existing pathogen. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization) agree that it is not a matter of if, but when this happens. When this occurs it will crash the already fragile economy, cause the infrastructure (police, fire, medical, sanitation, food delivery, electrical power and water pumping) in many cities to shut down for lack of personnel. Civil disorder and outright revolution may follow. The reduced population might or might not be able to recover civilization.

And here we are!

MEMBERS ONLY PUBLICATIONS POSTED

The new May/June PANDEMIC SPECIAL ISSUE of American Survivor has been posted as a PDF to the Members Only/American Survivor page for paid members.  

Also:  the new Live Free USA Members Handbook PDF has been posted to the Members Only/Special Publications page.  This is a 62 page document that includes information about Live Free's mission, operations, history and organization as well as practical survival and preparedness articles from over fifty years of experience as America's first and best survival preparedness education organization.  The contents is listed below.

Section One Membership

  1. History of Live Free USA
  2. Members Pledge
  3. Ten Foundations of Membership
  4. Bylaws Abridged and Explained
  5. The Live Free Shield (logo)
  6. The Live Free Motto
  7. The Brotherhood of the Survival Pack
  8. The Order of the Firewatch
  9. We Are Survivalists
  10. Personal Declaration of Independence
  11. Organizing a Survival Team
  12. Live Free Chapters and Affiliated Groups

Section Two Survival and Preparedness

  1. Preparedness Overview
  2. The Ten Principles of Survival
  3. Personal Preparedness Scoresheet
  4. Home Safety Checklist
  5. Eight Medical Skills
  6. Everyday Carry Items List
  7. Bedside Drawer List
  8. Surviving the First Seventy-two Hours
  9. Home Survival Gear List
  10. Vehicle Emergency Gear List
  11. Outdoor Survival Pack List
  12. Get Home Bag List
  13. Evacuation Pack List
  14. Bugout/Survival Pack List

A printed version will be available later this year.

SURVIVING A PANDEMIC NOW AND NEXT TIME

PANDEMICS!

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

A world-wide pandemic has been one of the survival challenges addressed in numerous articles in this publication over the past several decades. I will not review all of the information and disinformation related to this specific pandemic event, but must assure readers that it will not be the last. Overpopulation, urbanization and massive international travel virtually guarantee new pandemics within the next decade or two.  I will remind all that scientists calculate the earth capacity to support civilized human population at around four-billion, while we have over seven-billion.  At some point nature and human nature will begin to put the brakes on population growth and probably reduce it significantly.  In fact some studies predicted that the population at the end of the twenty-first century may be close to what it was at the start of the twentieth-century. Pandemics, famines, shortages, and conflicts are inevitable. Our interlocked centralized systems create a domino effect that has been clearly demonstrated during the Coronavirus pandemic event.  Even while the actual number of infections and deaths was far below that of the common flu, panic has generated a stock market crisis, and even some violence and looting. At this writing it is difficult to anticipate the full impact of this current pandemic, but I will enumerate the potential for this or for the next pandemic.

  • Hospitals and medical facilities will be overwhelmed leaving those who need care for other medical emergencies to suffer or even die.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and clinics will be hot-beds for transmission of the pathogen, and will be abandoned or quarantined.
  • Those requiring life sustaining care or medications may be unable to obtain it.
  • Medications, respirators, and cleaning supplies will be unavailable.
  • The shortages of respirators and protective clothing for workers in the chemical, medical and construction trades will result in layoffs and unemployment and the unavailability of products.
  • Vital services will be affected as medical personnel, firefighters, and police become ill or stay home to protect their families.
  • Delivery of groceries may be slow as drivers are affected by the illness.
  • Business will close and the stock market will fall into recession.

If the pandemic is sustained and the mortality rate is high

  • The stock market will crash
  • Stores and warehouses will be looted
  • Civil disorder may break out in urban areas.
  • Garbage pickup, water pump maintenance and electrical grid maintenance may be affected by employee absences and civil disorder.
  • Political unrest and oppression may develop.

Not all of the above effects may develop this time, but must be anticipated and prepared for.  Of course the chances of another pandemic occurring in a few years after this one are exactly the same as they were before this one, so preparedness is just as important going forward.

Epidemics and pandemics can also be the secondary result of civil unrest, the breakdown of sanitation services, shortages and economic chaos. Even a cyber-attack, electromagnetic pulse, or grid failure could lead to a pandemic and of course there is the potential for a deliberate distribution of pathogens by terrorists or hostile nations.   With that in mind let’s review viral diseases in general and some of the methods for prevention and treatment of viral diseases.

Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and are made up of a material with an exterior protein. Viruses cannot make their own protein like most other cells, and therefore are dependent on a host for survival. Each virus targets a specific body organ such as the lungs, liver or even the blood.  Viruses are not affected by antibiotics.  The best protection against viruses is a strong immune system and good personal hygiene.  While some viruses such as measles, rubella, mumps, and smallpox and polio are preventable through vaccination other are not.  Vaccinations for various forms of flu and pneumonia are only partially effective. The following is only a partial list of the most common viruses.

  • Influenza
  • Chickenpox
  • HIV
  • Ebola
  • Polio
  • Mumps
  • Hepatitis
  • Shingles
  • Lyme disease
  • Smallpox
  • Measles
  • Herpes
  • Some types of colds

Viruses can be transmitted from contact with infected animals such as birds, pigs, bats, rodents, dogs, horses. Other viruses can be transmitted from animal bites, and insect bites such as tics, flies, mosquitos and lice.  Human transmission can result from skin contact, oral contact, and sexual contact and close respiratory contact, such as coughing.  Viruses can survive in air for as long as three hours and on surfaces for two-to-three days to infect others who touch them.

Vitamins for Prevention and Treatment

It has been found that low levels of Vitamin D3 resulted in increased vulnerability to cold and flu. A strong correlation has been found between those with TB, and hepatitis C., and Vitamin D3 deficiencies. Vitamin D3 helps the body make an antibiotic protein called cathelicidin that is known to kill viruses, fungi, parasites and bacteria.  During flu season (during an epidemic) it is recommended to take 50,000 IU daily for the first 5-days and then 5,000 to 10.000 daily the thereafter

More than thirty clinical studies have confirmed the antiviral effects of Vitamin C against a wide range of flu viruses.  Vitamin C inactivates the virus while strengthening the immune systems ability to resist the virus.  The general recommendation is 10.000 mg orally, daily, but some stronger viruses’ (like Corona) may require intravenous doses as high as 100,000 to 150,000 mg.  If IV vitamin C is not available a gradual increase of oral Vitamin C up to 50,000 mg may be possible before bowel tolerance is reached.

Herbal Remedies

A variety of studies have shown that some herbal remedies are effective against some viruses.  Elderberry can be effective against influenza A and B.  Astragulus root is effective against the Coxsackie B virus. Licorice root has been use to treat hepatitis C and HIV.  Olive leaf has been proven effective in the treatment of flu, colds, hepatitis C, malaria, Gonorrhea, and tuberculosis.

Other foods that may be effective in prevention and treatment of viral infections include:

  • Wild blueberries
  • Sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Coconut oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turmeric
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Red clover

Non-Viral Infections

It is important to keep in mind that while most epidemic pathogens are viral, and not affected by antibiotics, but other non-viral pathogens such as Streptococcus, Salmonella, E Coli, Tuberculosis, Cholera , and Bubonic plague may beset the infected victim who may have a weakened immune system, be undernourished, or  exposed to poor sanitation.  For this reason antibiotics should still be kept available.  Antibiotics are available from pet supply stores, fish supply stores, and survival supply outlets.  These are exactly the same products as are prescribed for humans, but at a much lower price, without any prescription required. It is advisable to maintain a supply of these, but they are not to be used for viral infections.

Self-prescribed and obtained antibiotics should be used only when no other alternative is available and serious infections and diseases are evident or imminent.  Antibiotics are most effective against various types of plague pathogens that could be the primary source of an epidemic and against many secondary infections common in disasters    Dosages information can be obtained from the internet, the Merck Manual and are based on the type of disease and patient. Yes, in some cases the survivor may be forced to guess and err on the side of more.  Adult dosages of most antibiotics range from 250 mg to 500 mg every 6 to 10 hours.  Dosage decreases with child ages.

Penicillin is the first antibiotic that was developed in 1928.  It is also the longest over-used and some bacteria have become resistant to it.  Penicillin is generally effective against common Staphylococcus and streptococcus infections as well as Clostridium and Listeria genera.  These common bacterial infections would be anticipated in open wounds and contaminated water and food during a long-running disaster.  About 10% of the population may be allergic to penicillin.

Amoxicillin is effective in treating ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, skin infections, urinary tract infections and other types of bacterial infections.  It also is used for some kinds of stomach infections. It has been used effectively for people exposed to anthrax.  Its effectiveness against pneumonia and skin infections make it an essential survival medication, since these infections are most common in disasters and nuclear events. Amoxicillin should not be given to those who are allergic to penicillin.

Cephalexin is effective against infections of the middle ear, bones, joints, skin and urinary tract. It can also be used against certain kinds of pneumonia and strep throat. Cephalexin is not effective against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus known as MRSA.

 

The bottles of antibiotics above were purchased from BUDK  at www.BUDK.COM or call 800-543-5061.  Each bottle contains 30 x 250 mg tablets. Penicillin costs $16.99, Amoxicillin costs $12.99 and the Cephalexin cost $14.99.

 

Conclusions

While the full effects of the current Coronavirus have yet to be determined, we can anticipate that epidemics and pandemics will be part of the threat-matrix that modern, responsible citizens must prepare for.  Government agencies and the health system will never be fully able to anticipate and react to new pathogens, before they spread and affect the general population.  High population densities, combined with global travel, and immigration guarantee even more lethal outbreaks in the future. Ultimately the individual citizen, family and group must take strong independent preparatory and preventive action to survive the direct effects (illness) of an epidemic, but also the greater secondary effects on the economy and society.  A few key preparedness and preventive actions are listed below

  • The ability to isolate yourself from human contact to from 30 to 60 days is the most important and effective way to prevent exposure. This requires that you have sufficient water, food, fuel, medications and other critical supplies in advance.  This is sufficient for the any immediate and passing emergency, but an extended and more lethal event could result in the need for far more well developed and equipped survival and evacuation capacities.
  • Maintain general health, weight and exercise greatly improves your chances of surviving any illness. Poor eating habits, lack of exercises, smoking, and neglected health maintenance is an invitation to infections.
  • Always have plenty of N95 respirators, hand sanitizer, bleach, and disinfectants on hand.
  • Good hygiene including frequent hand washing, and avoidance of touching your face is important.
  • Frequently clean all frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, railings, table tops with a household disinfectant.
  • When away from home, clean hands before and after touching shopping carts, door handles, fire arms, money, and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • Have a clean handkerchief to cover your mouth when you cough. Carrying a N95 folding respirator is advisable, as you could be caught in a closed space or in proximity to coughers.
  • Avoid anyone who has flu-like symptoms or any location (e.g. schools, nursing homes, hospitals) where virus may be more prevalent.
  • Avoid large gatherings and close proximity to groups period.
  • At the first sign of flu-like symptoms seek medical help. Get tested and take aggressive treatment.  The sooner treatment begins the greater your survival chances will be.
  • Support your immune system with supplemental doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 as mentioned above.

 

THE COMING AGE OF CIVIL DISORDER

As we enter the year 2020 we can anticipate further political chaos and agitation on the streets of America. It is difficult to predict how violent or widespread civil disorder will be, but it is something most should be prepared for.  Even those living in rural areas can be affected by the economic and social impact of any breakdown in law and order in their region.   The article below was published in Live Free's newsletter last year.  For more detailed survival information on a wide range of topics, we hope you will join. 

Surviving the Coming Age of Civil Disorder

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

We live in an unstable and increasingly unsafe society.  While a sense of normalcy and safety still prevails the indications of societal disintegration and impending social chaos abound.  The sheer multiplicity of negative trends and events constantly weakens our capacity to maintain order and safety.

Increasingly frequent natural and manmade disasters drain our economy and overstretch our emergency response resources. The following list of challenges and trends should convince any responsible citizen that a dark-age of civil chaos and general lawlessness lies ahead.

  • The ongoing condemnation and persecution of police and emergency responders will continue to limit their ability to protect the public. Law enforcement officers must be more cautious and hesitant to pursue, detain and subdue suspects. In turn, criminals are more likely to flee, resist or employ weapons against the police.
  • Disparagement of the police and disrespect for the law has emboldened criminals of all types. Carjacking’s, street robberies, bank robberies, theft from parked vehicles, burglaries, shoplifting, and other crimes are becoming more rampant each year. The courts often release such criminals on the suspects own recognizant or home monitoring while awaiting trial and then hands down probation or reduced sentences.
  • Even so-called “gun crimes” by repeat felons are often given a proverbial “slap on the wrist” punishments or early releases from short prison sentences.
  • Smash and grab crimes where multiple criminals use sledgehammers or stolen vehicles to smash through windows or even walls to access valuables and escape before police arrive are more and more frequent in every urban and suburban region.
  • Violent crimes against the elderly and even the disabled are popular activities for the criminal class today.
  • Drive-by shootings and vehicle-to-vehicle shootouts on our expressways is an increasing trend.
  • The ongoing opioid epidemic added to the long-existing drug crisis in America and the world drives more people into the criminal world of gangs, violence and desperation.
  • Extremists and mentally deranged are increasingly turning to various forms of violence acts.
  • The internet and social-media facilitates flash-mob crimes where dozens of people suddenly overwhelm a store, grab merchandise and then flee before anyone can react. The internet has also made fencing stolen goods much easier and more profitable than before.
  • Virtually every social and political issue now generates a demonstration that ties up police resources, disrupts business, blocks traffic and often results in violence or even outright riots and looting. There are whole organizations devoted to supporting any kind of civil disorder and several secretive, national groups that are focused on initiating violence at any type of demonstration.
  • The budgets for law enforcement, fire departments, court systems and detention centers are inadequate in most urban areas and will continue to decline in the coming decades. Raising taxes causes law abiding tax payer to flee as does increased crime rates. This leaves only the poorer residents and welfare recipients who pay little or no taxes at all.  Most urban areas are caught in a death spiral of rising taxes, crime, and declining revenues.  This can only lead to instability and potential massive violence.
  • The recent 2016 election cycle provided a glimpse of the social/political instability and division. The internet and the mass-media continues to amplify division and support extreme viewpoints as we approach the 2018 and the 2020 elections.  The various sides are already gearing up for a contentious and possibly violent confrontations on many issues. No-matter what the results of these elections may be, we can anticipate violent demonstrations, active resistance and even revolutionary activities that exceed those of the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.

While some of these trends have marked previous times in American history and one or two of them alone could not be expected to generate a general collapse of law-and-order in our society, if continued, the combined effects of these trends may well lead to an unprecedented level of chaos and violence within the next few years. The period of violence and civil disorder generated by the combination of issues and agitation in the late 1960s and early 1970s offers some valuable lessons and examples.  I living in Chicago during these times, I witnessed the causations and effects of the violent events of those times.  The civil-rights movement, the anti-Viet Nam War movement and several other social/political movement were coopted by communists, and special interest groups with dark agendas.  Certainly the Soviet Union financed the more violent groups in order to weaken the United States.  Big financial interests benefited from massive real-estate displacements and public housing developments.  Government agencies grew stronger and more intrusive. So-called revolutionary groups abounded with shooting, looting and bombing culminating in the great riots that destroyed whole communities and initiated a trend towards disrespect, division and crime that continues to this day. At that time America still had a solid middle class and a foundation of shared conservative values that was sufficient to check the slide toward outright revolution and disaster.  The “greatest generation” of citizens who had built America and defeated tyrants and aggressors in World War Two were the dominant population then. Regrettably, today’s population lacks these unifying values and shared sense of responsibility.

The riots and demonstrations of the 1960s and 1970s were contained within the inner-cities and to downtown and government facilities.  While I lived in Chicago during these times and I certainly knew enough to avoid going downtown or through certain areas, life went on as normal for the great majority. Crime and looting did not spill-over into adjoining communities or suburbs.  Although there was real concern that these disruptions could generate a true revolution America was far too strong and unified and these movements eventually (literally and figuratively) burned themselves out.  They did however implant ideas, trends and cultures that have continued to weaken, destabilize and divide American society as we face a new age of internal conflict.

Previously, the dominant social force in America has been conservative, self-reliant, America values that were resistant to any “isum” or extremist views.  This central, law-abiding mass tended to dampen any tendency towards violence.  Unfortunately the dominant tendencies today are dependency oriented, self-centered and disrespectful of society and other individuals. The media and the internet can easily foment nation-wide discontent leading to violence that would affect every community.

Today’s more homogenous communities make it far more probable that any general uprisings will spill into adjoining communities than was true in the 60s and 70s.  Shopping centers in more affluent and “safe” communities will not likely be spared.  Gangs and bands of criminals will not be hesitant to roam widely as police are over-occupied or driven away. This is already evident in the kinds of crime-waves being experienced in most suburban areas now.

Today criminals use google earth to locate affluent homes and shopping centers now and will be able to use this tool along with social-media to organize raids and looting.  No area will be immune to attack during any future outbreak.

Having made my case that law-and-order is already breaking down and could easily degenerate into wide-spread and long-term chaos, let’s consider what steps the responsible citizen can take to survive, avoid or escape from violence ravaged areas.

The survival challenges will differ depending on your location, but there will be no “safe zones”.  Violence and war tends to flow in various ways, so that one part of a town may be ravaged to ruination while another is relatively untouched.  Even in places like Berlin during World War Two or modern day Bagdad there were/are areas relatively untouched and nearly normal, but no-one can assume that their home or community will be spared.  We can predict that some kinds of areas will be more dangerous than others and have different challenges that will require differing preparations and responses. Let’s call them “red zones”, “orange zones” and “yellow zones”.

Red Zones would be inner city, high population density and high value commercial centers where crime rates are already high, gangs have established a solid footing and any disruption to police protection, utilities or support can quickly flash into uncontrollable violence, looting, fires and crime.  The police barley maintain control of such regions today and would be virtually helpless against a general collapse.

  • Avoidance and prevention: obviously moving to a safer area will improve survivability, but many citizens have economic, family and social responsibilities that effect our choice of locations. If moving is not an option, then getting involved and working to build a stronger, safer and more stable community is the only way to avoid being caught-up in a societal disaster?  Take action now if you can.
  • Preparation and planning: Preparation and planning: Being able to stay off the streets is critical. Having enough food, water, medications and other necessities to ride-out a crisis is your first step to survival in most situations. Red zone residents must give more attention to active defense and the possibility that escape and evacuation will be an unavoidable necessity in their preparation and planning.  Bug-out bags and weapons are a necessity.  Consider discussing mutual defense and aid plans with your neighbors and relatives in advance.
  • Active and passive defense: Once civil disorder erupts in your area, you will be forced to take up an armed defensive posture. Blocking doors and windows, establishing a 24/7 watch schedule and having loaded firearms and extra ammunition is justified in such situations.  You should also move all flammables and combustibles away from windows and have plenty of large fire extinguisher on hand as arson and Molotov -cocktails are a favorite tool of insurgents. Do not fire on anyone unless they have initiated action against your home.  Don’t do anything to attract attention.
  • Evacuation and escape: In many cases escape from a riot-torn area may be your best and only option. While it may be difficult to abandon your home before you are forced to do so, waiting until you are surrounded and under assault may be too late. Early evacuation may permit you to take more with you and use your vehicle, whereas fleeing at the last-minute may mean doing so on-foot while leaving most of your valuables behind.  You may also want to consider how to hide, secure or even burry items that you cannot take with you to minimized losses if your home is looted or burned.

Orange Zones would usually be communities adjoining the Red Zones, suburbs of major cities, and medium sized towns.  Such areas will have gang presents and local criminals that will seize on opportunities. They have active contacts with the larger Red Zone political extremists and criminal gangs and could facilitate their entry into these communities.  The police forces in such areas are often undermanned, but are dedicated to defending their home towns.

  • Avoidance and prevention: You need to analyze the level of risk you face in such areas. Are your neighbor’s responsible citizens or potential threats?  Are you in or near a major commercial center or roadway that will attract looters and criminals? Are there signs of gang presents, drug use and high crime already appearing in your community?   Even a relatively peaceful community may turn into a Red Zone if civil disorder last for more than a few days. Plan accordingly.  Many smaller town and suburban communities have volunteer police auxiliaries and emergency organizations.  It would be beneficial to join and support these groups to strengthen the community and enhance your level of training and awareness.
  • Active and passive defense: Assaults and looting is more likely to be hit-and-miss and off-and-on in these areas. Roaming gangs and opportunistic criminals rather than massive mobs will be the main threat.  A well prepared and well-armed citizen may be able to avoid, discourage or drive-off these aggressors. Fences and hedges can help delay or channel assaults away from your home.  Keeping your garage clear enough to actually contain your vehicle out of site is a major advantage.  You must still have a 24/7 watch plan and a well thought out plan for stopping an assault and home invasion by multiple criminals. How close are the adjoining buildings?  Could there occupation by hostile people or their catching fire threaten your safety?  Be prepared to deal with these possibilities.
  • Evacuation and escape: While sheltering-in-place is more desirable than evacuation into or through hostile regions, it may still be a forced necessity.  The same principles and tactics for Red Zone evacuations apply, but more routs and options may be available. Think “what if”.

Yellow Zones can be defined as remote small towns and semi-rural areas, away from main highways and commercial centers. While it is unlikely that such locations would initially be the sites of riots or looting they might not be immune to locally generated crimes and acts of violence by individuals and small groups. Drug gangs and extremist groups of all kinds have infiltrated even seemingly peaceful communities. Radicals and criminals are far more mobile than they were decades ago, and isolated and complacent communities could be tempting targets. Such areas often have just a few law enforcement officers who are ill-equipped to handle such threats.

  • Avoidance and prevention: Any extended period of civil disorder could result increased, opportunistic criminal activities and roaming gangs endangering residents of outlying communities. Organized community and town defense is a realistic option for such locations. Consider the most likely routs and directions from which threats could appear and de prepared to discourage and reroute potentially dangerous individuals and groups. Organized 24/7 community patrols and response plans will go a long-way in preventing problems.
  • Preparation and planning: Generally, being self-reliant and prepared to get by without outside supplies and services for weeks or months will be the main requirement. Community supplies and neighbors helping neighbors is important
  • Active and passive defense: Even in the most peaceful communities there are some individuals who will make trouble or commit crimes of opportunity when they think they can get away with it. Identify them in advance if possible. Be vigilant and prepared to deal with attempted robberies, home invasions and other crimes.  A 24/7 watch is advisable when possible.
  • Evacuation and escape: If the chaos has reached the point where even small towns and rural areas are unable to maintain public safety things are truly disastrous.  It’s good to have a preplanned place to go and safe route to get there, just in case. At that level of emergency the survival camp and militia-like resistance may be necessary to recover order.

Conclusions

While there are far too many factors in-play to predict when a period of general civil; disorder will develop or how severe and long-lasting such an event will be it seems more likely than not that significant upheavals lie within the next five to ten years or less.  It is also apparent that such developments will impact most communities and that existing law enforcement and emergency response agencies may be inadequate to maintain order, protect the public and prevent looting and property damage. The responsible citizen should be prepared to cope with the challenges of home defense, self-defense, property protection, and if necessary evacuation through hostile surroundings.  Since such situations could also interrupt food supplies, water and electrical services, and access to medical care, the citizen must stock up and build basic survival capabilities as well.  The possibility of massive and enduring periods of civil disorder must be added to the already long list of potential survival challenges that the responsible American citizen of this century must prepare to face unaided if necessary.

2020 FORESIGHT, The potential chaos in the coming year

The article below appeared in an earlier edition of our American Survivor newsletter.  Social/political conflict can be considered as much of a survival threat as other disaster conditions.  While we cannot predict how events will unfold in the new year, we can be sure that some forms of chaos will develop, that could result in a variety of survival challenges.  Watch our site for further articles, or --- better yet, join and and get access to all of our information.  Stay safe. 

20/20 Foresight

The Potential for Chaos and Conflict in 2020

While the election of Donald Trump seems to have put support for the self-reliance and survivalist movement into a state of extreme apathy, we are approaching a period of social and political conflict and chaos that could endanger every American’s survival, freedom and right to be self-reliant.  While attendance at preparedness expos is down, every survival periodical (except this one) publication has ceased, and membership in preparedness organizations is declining, none of the serious dangers to survival and freedom have actually diminished.  The economy has improved, but the national debt and other economic issues remain as a time-bomb.  The rest of the world is in an economic and political death-spiral, sending hordes of desperate people fleeing into the remaining few free and safe nations. The frequency and severity of natural disasters continue to increase.  Crime and various forms of terrorism are no less prevalent.  While a conservative, pro-freedom administration is certainly to the advantage of self-reliant citizens, most survival threats are beyond the control of government agencies.  Furthermore: we must anticipate a powerful and possibly violent counter-attack against freedom and self-reliance as the elections of 2020 approach. Special interests and extremists are gearing up for a life-or-death struggle to take back control and impose their agendas on the American public.  We can also be assured that whichever side wins the elections in 2020, the other side will not accept the results.  We can expect massive demonstrations, sabotage, domestic terrorism, economic disruption, and even massive civil disorder and possibly armed combat situations.  The wise survivalist or prepper should be taking advantage of this short period of calm to maximize preparations and organization instead of apathetic procrastination.

  We are already seeing terms like “resistance” and even “revolution” on demonstration signs and in social-media posts. We are also aware of growing militant groups at both ends of the political spectrum, some with definable objectives and values and others simply seeking chaos and power. The following is an examination of the options for a world-be survivor depending on how events develop before, during and after the 2020 elections.

  • Resistance: The political left currently uses the term “resistance” to stir-up support for demonstrations against a variety of political actions or for various legislation. As in the 60s, racism and economic inequality are often used as excuses for violence and destruction in the streets.  Of course true resistance movements such as those used against the Nazis in World War Two or the Soviet Occupations throughout the Cold War involved sabotage, assassinations and raids.  Resistance is by definition a counteraction to the existing regime.  So, whoever feels that they are the losers in 2020 are likely to take resistance to a new level in a sustained campaign.
  • Counter Resistance: While we see counter demonstrations on some issue, the major counter resistance groups have focused on financial support for candidates and conservative causes. If a robust and violent resistance develops after the election we could see the rise of “Home Guard” and “Militia” groups as a counter to crime and civil disorder.
  • Revolutionary Action: Both the extreme left and the extreme right contain armed and trained elements. Gangs might align themselves with left leaning revolutionaries while elements of the military and police might be inclined to support rightwing insurgencies. Such a development is highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility. Actual armed conflict and a breakdown of law-and-order could develop and spread. Urban areas could turn into battle grounds. States could even secede.
  • Counter Revolution: If one side is actively trying to overthrow the elected or established regime then actions to resist such an insurgency are counterrevolutionaries. If a revolutionary force has already succeeded in some kind of coup or overthrow by whatever means, then the immediate efforts to prevent the establishment of that regime is counterrevolutionary.

Whether a group or movement is a “resistance”, “counter resistance” “revolution” or “counter revolution”   can depend on ones point of view and the propaganda value of the term.  Depending on how events in the next few years develop, many of us could intentionally or unintentionally find ourselves in one of these categories. Maintaining neutrality may be difficult to maintain.

  • Active Neutrality: Even in the most popular revolutions and resistance movements only a fraction of the population is actively involved.  Most just want to survive the conflict while others may wait until they can see how things develop before committing to even minimal support of either side.  Active neutrality may be best summed up in the slogan “Don’t Tread On Me”, but The very act of defending your home and family may force you into a resistance or revolutionary position. When your community or your associates are swept into the conflict, they may take a “with us or against us” attitude.  Neutrality will be particularly hard to maintain.  Active neutrality means taking your own side, alone against both sides.
  • Passive Neutrality: It may be possible to simply keep a low profile and avoid contact and commitment throughout a conflict. If you reside in a low density or rural population and have no vested interest in the situation, this may be your first option.  Of course this requires being able to survive the economic disruptions, grid dysfunction, and other challenges until order is restored.

Any involvement in these options should be positive on morally justifiable.  Destruction of property, looting, vandalism, disruption of public services (e.g. food, power, transportation, etc.) must be avoided. It is wrong and will only alienate the public that you need for support. Violence of any kind must be defensive and justifiable. Responsible resistance or revolution could include:

  • Active crime prevention when law and order systems are ineffective
  • Property protection against illegal seizures, looting, and vandalism.
  • Protection of schools, churches, business and political events.
  • Border protection if the border defenses have broken down
  • Support of the military and police as needed
  • Providing medical aid and support for victims of political violence
  • Active publicity for your side, including radio, internet and print.

Conclusion

Given to polarization and rhetoric in today’s society, it is difficult to imagine a peaceful election and post-election scenario for two thousand twenty. The current apathy and inactivity within the survivalist and prepper movement is unjustified and a prelude to socioeconomic disruptions in a few years. The wise citizen should be stocking-up, organizing, training and preparing for social and political conflict in addition to the existing threats of natural disasters, economic instability, terrorism and war that continue unabated.   Even if one is able to avoid direct participation in any conflict, the effect on one’s safety, property and liberty will be survival challenges for many citizens.

Nuclear Event Survival Article

With all of the tension around North Korea, I thought it would be a good time to update and republish an article about nuclear survival. Back in the 60s-80s Live Free did a lot of nuclear war survival training and we helped several Civil Defense organizations. In fact, I spoke at the American Society For Civil Defense convention in Las Vegas. I had to follow Edward Teller (inventor of the H-bomb) on the speaking schedule. Since the end of the Cold War nuclear survival has been ignored, but there are many scenarios for limited and semi-limited nuclear exchanges. While we have a lot of other more probable and even more catastrophic hazards today, nuclear weapons remain part of the treat matrix. Because this article is long and illustrated I have included it here as a PDF file

NUCLEAR EVENTSURVIVAL,12-14

Survival for Children & Adolescents

This article covers the survival challenges of children and adolescents from the survivalist viewpoint.  A slightly modified version will appear in a future issue of American Survivor, but it is a subject of such importance that we decided to post it in advance.  We hope that our readers and our chapter groups will make this a subject for discussion and action.

Children AdolescentSurvival,10-16