While working on my newest book I updated my recommended book list that will be included as an appendix to the book. I have attached it as a PDF below.
While working on my newest book I updated my recommended book list that will be included as an appendix to the book. I have attached it as a PDF below.
Prepping in the UK
The following article is reprinted with permission from The Real Survivalists at https://therealsurvivalists.com A British survivalist website. Be aware that survivalism is now and always has been an international movement. After all, what can be more universal than the need to protect one’s self and one’s family from harm? Live Free USA operated as Live Free International for a while back in the late 1980’s. We had members in Britain, France, Australia, Belgium and a few other countries. Back then we were united by the universal concern of nuclear Armageddon. In the post-Cold War era there was a period of denial and confusion that decimated the survivalist movement for a decade. The concerns for survival and freedom today are different, but no less serious, and survivalism is again a world-wide movement facilitated by the internet. While Live Free “USA” focusses on those concerns that are unique to us, we need to reach out and network beyond our borders as well. Perhaps there is a place for a new Live Free International or International Survivalist Union in the future?
Prepping in the UK
Prepping in the UK is becoming more of a common occurrence. With all of the goings on in the world, it is probably not much of a surprise that more and more people are becoming involved in Prepping in the UK.
Prepping in the UK can be a controversial subject. Many people will see prepping as something only paranoid people do. This is not a fair summary. Most UK Preppers have regular full time jobs, are everyday people who just want the best for their family. They see prepping as an insurance policy against whatever may come their way.
What is Prepping in the UK?
Prepping is a term used to describe preparing to survive multiple forms of life changing events. These events could be a very personal emergency such as job loss, house fire etc. or they could be world changing events such as weather phenomena, illness epidemic and similar. The level to which you prepare is based on how likely you think the event is to happen. Prepping in the UK involves creating a supply of everything you need to sustain life should one of these events occur. This usually means storing enough food and water to keep you alive for a set period of time and enough equipment to top up your supply once your initial one runs out. It is not just about physical supplies either. Many UK Preppers have a vast knowledge of basic survival skills such as fire lighting, shelter building, hunting etc. First aid and medical skills tend to be key skills that UK Preppers are proficient at.
Why do people prep?
This is a tough question to answer as all Preppers have their own individual reasons for starting to prepare for the worst. Some will start prepping as a result of all of the negative stories in the media surrounding terrorism, nuclear weapons etc. Others will start because of personal concerns about their local area regarding safety and preparedness. And other Preppers begin as a natural progression from their interest in survival and bushcraft.
Each person who has started Prepping in the UK will have their own reasons for prepping. Whatever the reason, this is certainly an interest that is growing.
Prepping in the UK vs Prepping in America
A lot of people will see shows like Doomsday Preppers which is filmed in America and think that all Preppers are the same. American Prepping can be very different to Prepping in the UK. For example, quite a few American Preppers will have a selection of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. They believe they need this to protect themselves should the worst happen. Other American Preppers have vast supplies in underground bunkers and are almost excited at the prospect of the Apocalypse. While this isn’t the case for all American Preppers, it tends to be this persona that is shown on this type of TV show. Prepping in the UK tends to be a bit more reserved.
UK Preppers tend to have food and water supplies, first aid and medical gear and a selection of useful survival tools. Weapons are harder to own in the UK so maybe that is why Preppers here do not usually store too many. However it could be that the attitude towards weapons is very different in the UK. Guns and knives are mostly seen as tools here opposed to weapons so we have a different outlook on them when it comes to Prepping.
How do I start Prepping?
Prepping is a very personal thing. A huge supply of tools is not needed before you can call yourself one. You could argue that having a life insurance policy makes you a Prepper. You are making sure your family is looked after should the worst happen to you. This is effectively prepping.
Being a Prepper is all about doing a realistic assessment of the events that could happen to you. Once you have a list of possible events and consequences, you can then start preparing for each one. You do not need to spend huge amounts of money on the latest survival kits and equipment wither. Prepping is about being adaptable and creative with the tools you have available so you can start prepping today if you feel the need to!
Go to https://therealsurvivalists.com the site has a lot of good information and a bit of a different perspective.
AMERICAN SURVIVOR NEWSLETTER DIRECTORY
Live Free USA started publishing a survival and self-reliance newsletter in the early 1970’s. The original mimeographed issues and the later off-set printed issues remain in binders, but most of the more recent digitally produced issues are converted to PDF files and are available to on-line members on the “Members Only/American Survivor” section of our website. The newsletter was originally titled “Directions” and then “New Directions” finally to be “American Survivor” in 2007. Over the years there have been significant format changes and four different editors and creators. In the 1980’s we published a 16-page issue every month, as support dwindled in the late 1990’s we got out only few issues each year. After the events of 9/11 we settled on six issues/per year off 10-pages. We added two more pages a few years ago. While the cost postage and printing have increased we have kept the membership/subscription rate to a mere $20.00 annually*. This list only includes the digital issues, so there are a few hundred issues containing at least five hundred well written and illustrated articles that would need to be scanned or converted (any volunteers?)** in order to save them for the future. Since we have no office or archives all of this will be lost eventually. I have some issues of age that may prevent my doing more than one or two more years at this job. If we do not get a new editor and some more supporters American Survivor and Live Free USA may only survive in hyperspace. I have listed only the major articles in each issue, not the Live Free news items, product reviews or book reviews unless the review contained how-to information. While I wrote many of the articles myself there are many great contributing writers that we are and have been fortunate to have.
Much of the material in my articles was rewritten and included in my three books available from Skyhorse Publishing of New York, they are “Advanced Survival”, “The Book of Total Survival”, and “150 Secrets of Survival” from various authors the early days of Live Free. Many of these are illustrated.
In addition to all of the listed issues on the website, there are two books available to members in the members only/publications page. Choices for Survival is a primarily devoted to the philosophical and psychological aspects of survival and freedom. Publishers were not interested in this a few years ago because they preferred “how-to” material. The Best of American Survivor is a compilation of great articles from issues prior to 2008. There is also a collection of scanned “Survivalist Papers” dating back to the late 1970’s. There is a treasure trove of information and ideas there.
The List is ten pages long so please open the attached PDF.
*Only members who join on-line via our website can access the back issues and other publications
** Anyone interested in scanning and/or republishing these issues, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is America Headed for Another Revolution?
By James C. Jones
It has been 242-years since the original American Revolution. The Civil War was a geopolitical split rather than a systemic revolution. There was certainly a lot of “revolutionary” activity during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but these movements were limited to a small segment of the population. During these decades the vast majority of the population still shared a set of common values in a stable economy. The “Greatest Generation” that had recently made America great and defeated brutal and dictatorial aggressors was the dominant and stable force in American society at that time. The radical communist and anarchist forces that seemed to define those decades literally and figuratively, burned themselves out. However, many of these extremists and their divisive ideologies infiltrated our institutions and society. A recent issue of Smithsonian magazine headlined 1968 “The Year That Shattered America” and contained a series of articles about the events and movements of those times. While those times may not have actually “shattered” America, they left a collection of cracks that have grown and expanded to this day.
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 American attribute this to our values and the genius of our Constitution there are other factors that have historically contributed to our stability.
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.
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”
Effects of Revolutions
With the notable exception of the American Revolution, very few revolutions have ever turned out the way the revolutionaries expected or hoped for. Ask the Cuban’s or the Russians, or anyone from South America or the Middle East. While they may start out with high ideals, they usually are co-opted by the most ambitious and brutal participants to create a more corrupt and oppressive state than the one it replaced. There is an old joke that says that the first thing a successful revolutionary leader must do is kill all of the revolutionaries. If a revolution fails it justifies greater oppression and brutality by the state.
In short: revolution is not a good idea if it can be avoided.
Precursors of Revolution
While conditions appear to be relatively stable as of this date, historically revolutions tend to erupt without much warning when a combination of long simmering disagreements and discontent are ignited. A few precursors that could set the stage for revolution-like developments include:
It is difficult to predict what kind of events will transpire between now and the 2020 elections, but chaos and conflict seem inevitable. It seems doubtful that ether side will accept the results of an election without active resistance. It is highly possible that there will be more than two parties and that we could have a president and legislature elected without a majority mandate. Instead of complacent inaction, survivalists should be taking this opportunity to focus on preparing for the hazards of 2019 and 2020.
Surviving a Revolution
Surviving during a revolution can be a tricky business. You have to cope with the effects of the violence on your basic safety and security while trying to stay on the right side or neutral in the conflict. Sustained revolutionary activities may result in a breakdown in law-and-order, sabotage or cessation of services such as running water, food deliveries, fire protection and medical care. The fundamental preparedness procedures that permit you to shelter in place or evacuate remain paramount, but defensive and even paramilitary equipment and preparations take on increased importance. The choices of survival tactics will depend on your political, economic and geographic environment at the time of any uprising. A few possibilities include:
Keeping your mouth shut, your eyes open and your powder dry is always a good maxim for surviving such turbulent times.
While I still regard revolution or revolution-like development as unlikely and undesirable, I can no longer exclude them from the list of “potential” survival threats. My study of history and observation of recent past and current events suggests that our nation is much less stable than in past decades. If the current trends of divisiveness, violence and discontentment continue the specter of revolutionary activities and even the fall of our way of life must be recognized. Responsible citizens must resist the temptation to be guided and motivated by media and internet divisive rhetoric and exhortations. We must do all we can to support responsible law enforcement, and community based volunteer organizations. But we must also plan and prepare to survive the effects of any kind of civil disorder, sabotage, crime and even revolution that may lie ahead.
LIVING FREE and GUN RIGHTS
By James C. Jones, EMT, CHCM and president of Live Free USA
Ultimately, gun rights are about the right to life and freedom. There is no point in talking about emergency preparedness, survival and self-reliance for an unarmed population.
Live Free USA began as a shooting club in the late 1960s. By the 1970s guns and gun ownership was under such assault that being a “gun club” in Chicago was impossible. It is probably impossible for any of our readers now to comprehend the level of harassment, persecutions, prosecution and prohibitions imposed on us in those times. It seemed inevitable that we would be forced to use muzzle loaders and cross-bows in defense of our lives and our freedoms. The NRA at that time was not a political force and liberals ran rough-shod over the constitution and anyone who sought to exercise the second amendment rights. Live Free broadened our activities to include survival education and civil-defense while keeping our gun related activity’s underground. The acceptability of shooting sports, concealed-carry and military-style rifles today has been achieved through decades of struggle. Since there are many great gun-rights advocacy groups today, Live Free focuses on our core survival and self-reliance mission, but remembering that the capacity for armed defense and resistance is an essential part of survival and self-reliance, I will enumerate some of our positions related to the issue of so-called military-style rifles that have been so maligned in recent weeks.
The ownership of so-called, military-style rifles with high-capacity magazines has nothing to do with hunting or sports shooting. It’s about citizens maintaining the potential to resist foreign or domestic subjugation and oppression. This does not imply that owners of such weapons are revolutionary, extremists or members of formal militias. They consciously or subconsciously accept the reality that the freedom and security of their families and future generations depends on maintaining the balance of force between the state and the people. Owners of these weapons have the upmost respect for the laws and the government, but they do so by choice and responsibility, not by fear and submission.
The major difference between the way American citizens think and the way subjects of other countries think originates from the fact that most other peoples were granted their liberties by the state and still believe that power flows from the state, while Americans fought for their freedoms and know that they are the ultimate source of freedoms and authority. This difference in origins creates an instinctual propensity to be armed or have access to arms that is not shared by citizens of other nations. It is no coincident that America has the oldest government on the planet and the most individual freedoms.
Ultimately: the right to keep and bear arms” is an extension of the human right to self-protection that exists regardless of written laws. It follows that one must have the means to exercise that right. One cannot be expected to defend oneself against an armed assailant or an oppressive despot with anything less than what that assailant or oppressor may have. We could not exercise the right to free speech if we were limited to old printing presses while the government controlled the mass media and the internet. We could not exercise freedom of religion if it was limited to only ancient texts and methods. So we cannot effectively exercise the right to keep and bear arms if we are limited to anything less than the best and most modern equipment.
The constitution does not say “hunting being a necessity”, it does not say “the ability to resist crime being important” it says “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. There is no ambiguity in this sentence. The second amendment is about military-style arms. We are guaranteed the right to own, keep and bear military-style arms by the constitution. The term “regulated” in the eighteens century was defined as well managed or well-maintained, but not regulated by law as the word is used today. The final four words “shall not be infringed” specifically prohibits any form of taxation or governmental action that interferes with this essential right. The founders did use the generic term ”arms” even though the contemporary “arms” were muzzle-loading muskets and swords. In fact they were referring to the “military-style” weapons of that time, but these were intelligent, forward thinking man who anticipated advancements and certainly wanted future citizens to “keep and bear” arms that would be equal to those of criminals, invaders and would-be tyrants of the future.
The missus of a right by a few does not justify the prohibition of that right to others. Trading freedom and responsibility for safety is the poorest bargain a people can make. Ask the Russians, or the Chines, or the North Koreans or the Mexicans or anyone from a hundred oppressed, depressed and crime-ridden nations that we do not want to live in. The loss of lives caused by a few evil and mentally-ill individuals is truly tragic, but cannot justify turning our back on the freedoms that were bought with the lives and sacrifices of generations of veterans. Yes, they died for the second amendment as well as our other freedoms and surrendering any of those freedoms is a betrayal of their sacrifices.
In a world spiraling towards increasing political strife, civil disorder, street crime, economic instability, potential epidemics, increasingly severe disasters and terrorist activities, only the most irresponsible and pacified citizen can fail to see their duty to be prepared to meet violent situations in the future. While the anti-gun movement may be lead (or mislead) by the youth, it is those between the ages of 15 and 25 that may most regret no having access to military-style weapon and ammunition just a few decades in the furfure. In fact one may want to consider purchasing additional such arms and ammunition to be stored and distributed in the future to the next generations that may desperately need them.
In Short: Any action that limits the access to modern, effective military-style firearms to law abiding citizens of the United States is specifically unconstitutional, philosophically un-American, and functional dangerous to the future of life and freedom for us all.
LIVE FREE USA 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Looking back and Looking Ahead, by James C. Jones, Founder and President
Most significant organizations are formally created with the involvement and support of financially stable, business and professional founders. Live Free USA evolved from a group of poor city kids who liked to go camping. We have established the year nineteen-sixty-eight as the formal start of Live Free USA because that’s about when we started practicing, advocating and educating for survival and self-reliance. The organization started as an NRA affiliated shooting sports club and expanded into other outdoor sports including rock climbing, caving, river rafting, primitive camping and archery. The potential for injuries and the need for first aid and safety training brought us to focus on survival related issues. Membership was primarily limited to the South-side of Chicago in the 1960's and the draconian gun laws and vehement anti-gun sentiments (much greater than today) made operations as a “gun club’ unsustainable so we evolved into a “sports club” but continued to do shooting activities out of town. The political turbulence of the late 1960's combined with the growing threats of the Cold War drew the organization into the broader aspects of emergency preparedness and self-reliance while we continued to conduct outdoor survival training as well. We also began to attract membership beyond the Chicago area. At this time we started publishing our survival newsletter. Originally titled “Directions” and mimeographed it became todays “American Survivor” a respected source of survival information for over 40-years.
In the late 1960's we started doing annual training programs at Tippecanoe River State Park in norther Indiana. The park offered cabins and a huge training area for a reasonable price. This event evolved it what became the annual “Camp Independence” survival education event. We first rented just one cabin, but by the late 1970's we were renting the entire, 50 building facility including dining halls, shelters, an infirmary, showers and housing for hundreds of participants. We were able to conduct combination indoor and outdoor training programs, drills and scenarios that were beyond anything being done today by any survival organization. Camp Independence continued until 2015 when the Indiana Department of Resources elected to close the facilities. This was a major blow to our training programs, since no equivalent facilities existed. It is sad to note that the reason for closure was primarily that very few groups used it. The organizations that had previously held events and gatherings there have either disbanded or become less willing to cope without heat, AC and lights. To many folks Tippecanoe and Live Free were synonyms.
We really hoped to develop our own version of the facilities at Tippecanoe River State Park in the 1970's. We started selling shares of our “land fund” and doing car washes to raise money to buy some land. Against all odds, we managed to get sufficient funds to purchase 20-acres of beautiful wooded property in Wisconsin. We set up a camp area, rifle range, and other facilities and eventually acquired an adjoining 20- acres. We called it “The American Survival Center” (I still have the sign), but a combination of events forced us to sell it off in the mid 80's. One of the reasons that we do the paperwork to maintain our current not-for-profit, tax deductible status is the hope that we might receive a contribution, bequest or grant that would revive the dream of a true “American Survival Center.” Certainly there is a greater need than ever for such a facility with so many camp facilities closing.
The 1980's brought Live Free USA into the national and even international spotlight. We noted that the media was suddenly interested in “survivalists” but had been attracted to extreme political and religious groups who may have been practicing survival skills, but were not (in our view) real survivalists. Having been at it for two decades, we were far ahead of others in actual practices. For several years we worked to promote the true philosophies and practices of survivalism. Media helicopters landed at Tippecanoe and at the American Survival Center. We did dozens of interviews for radio, TV and major publications. We even talked on the BBC and Dutch TV. I was privileged to speak at the American Society for Civil Defense on two occasions. Through this publicity we built up a national membership and even some international members. We still had to manage with our very limited number of overworked volunteers and no significant financial support, and this severely limited our ability to build on our success or expand our programs. The cover of the 1986 issue of American Survival Guide was dedicated to Live Free USA's years of service. Live Free’s reputation, core group and missions were all established in the 1980's, but the preparedness movement almost collapsed in the early 1990's.
Although Live Free USA never considered nuclear war as the only or even primary survival and preparedness motivation, the public jumped to the conclusion that the fall of the Soviet Union was the beginning of the age of peace and security. All of the survival magazines soon ceased publication and all of the other survival organizations evaporated. Without magazines to advertise in we dwindled down to a small number of loyal national members and a hardcore group locally. We still held Camp Independence at Tippecanoe and got out our newsletter sporadically. In short, Live Free went into a survival mode of conserving resources and maintaining our local core membership. By the late 1990's support for preparedness and survivalist began to revive as terrorism, economic instability, natural disaster, epidemics and other obvious challenges began to be recognized by the public. Variations of survivalist such as the “prepper” movement and the “homesteading” movement began to emerge. At the same time the internet provided a new avenue for Live Free to outreach, network, promote and organize. The dawn of the Twenty-First Century brought with it multiple natural and man-made disasters combined with a matrix of potential survival challenges that established preparedness and survival education as a major requirement for the public. Some new preparedness magazines were in publication, and preparedness expositions were being held throughout the country.
The early part of this century has seen Live Free reestablish itself as the leading organization for survival and preparedness. While members can join on-line through our website at AmericanSurvivor.org, we still provide hard-copy mailings to all those who prefer that method. Our American Survivor newsletter remains the only continuously published survival publication from the 1970's and Live Free USA has been advertised in most national survival magazines in recent years. We have several active chapters and conduct multiple training events annually. Live Free USA and Live Free chapter groups have exhibited and presented at dozens of preparedness expositions. Unlike the 1980's when Live Free was the major focus of media attention and the public actually joined and participated in organized groups, today the internet fragments and dilutes the public’s attention on any one group and the public tends to prefer virtual rather than real involvement. Hard-copy publications are often replaced by a video or blog. There are literally thousands of survival websites and hundreds of survival and preparedness (for profit) suppliers and trainers. This has made it difficult for Live Free to grow as it did in the 80's, but we are an important part of the growing movement.
This organization started with a number of handicaps that most organizations don’t have.
When I retired from my day job a few years ago I determined to give a final push to get Live Free to a point of sustainable growth and solid operation. I traveled to many preparedness expositions, wrote for many magazines and put aside some personal priorities in favor of building Live Free. We have had some notable successes, but I am disappointed that we have not attracted more young leadership and outside financial support. Illnesses and age among our core members has begun to seriously degrade our operations. Developments in the next 12 to 24 months will determine the future of the organization. Live Free USA is the only tax-deductible, not-for-profit organization in the United States (maybe the world) dedicated to healing people prepare for survival situations and become more self-reliant. Certainly, there has never been a greater need for what we do, yet our existence is in jeopardy.
I welcome everyone's suggestions and participation as we go forward. Please consider attending our 50th Annual Meeting on March 24th at 1:00 PM in Cabela's Conference Center in Hammond IN.
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
More Surprises and the Spiral.
The Subject of our July/August issue was “Surprise Disaster”. Does four major hurricanes and two major earthquakes in the same region in the same month qualify? Other recent American Survivor headline topics included “Severe Weather”, and “Descent into Chios”. We seem to be right on target with our materials. I was looking at a 1970s copy of our newsletter and the headline was “The Coming Age of Terrorism”. Prophetic. Too bad that so few people read our publications.
The recent multiple disasters verifies our predictions about a disaster to catastrophe spiral. There is no such thing as recovery once the magnitude and quantity of disaster outpaces the resources and economies of the civilization. The emergency management agencies were exhausted. The Red Cross was forced to recruit literately off the street to get help. The public’s ability to provide contributions dwindled as each new demand occurred. State and national governments were forced further into debt. Housing prices are predicted to rise as material and labor goes towards replacing home instead of building new ones. Puerto Rico’s utility companies had already field for bankruptcy before the hurricanes struck. All of the funds from “recovery” and response must come from infrastructure improvements, security and safety agencies and from maintenance of the very systems that protect us from the next disaster. This spiral of more disasters, less capability and a weakening economy is unlikely to take us to a safe and prosperous future.
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.
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.
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 www.AmericanSurvivor.org
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.