Archive for MyBlog

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.

 

CORONAVIRUS: A Wake Up Call

CORONAVIRUS: A WAKE UP CALL

 By James C. Jones, EMT, CHCM

Back in 2013  I published an article titled “Viruses Double Trouble for Civilization” in which I pointed out the similar side-effects of a biological virus epidemic and a wide-spread computer virus or cyberattack. My main point was that the psychological, sociological and economic effects of ether one would be more catastrophic than the immediate effect of the biological or technological virus itself. While the full extent and impact of the Coronavirus outbreak has yet to be determined it is already obvious that my original predictions were accurate.  The US and world stock markets are tumbling, oil stock prices have tanked, and the world’s second largest economy has virtual shutdown. China, being a totalitarian, communist, dictatorship has initiated total control of information disseminated on social media and arrested those who disseminate views critical of the government’s response.  Chines resistance organizations claim that the infection and death tolls are being greatly under reported. Foreign Corporations doing business in China or investing there are rethinking their “global economy” operations as there supply chains are broken. Even if this epidemic is controlled, the effects on the global political and economic community will be immense. The Coronavirus has several aspects that are ideal for ether a natural or man-made epidemic pathogen.

  • It is new and there are no known cures or vaccinations on-hand or in the pipeline.
  • It spreads from person to person though the air, although it is not known how close contact must be or if it remains on surfaces for any length of time.
  • It can be spread from a person who has not yet exhibited symptoms and therefor can contact hundreds of people before the carrier become aware that they are ill.

While authorities reassure the public that this virus is less dangerous than the “ordinary flu”, there drastic measures indicate fear, if not panic. N95 facemasks* are sold out and rationed in China and are in high demand throughout the US. All of Chinas neighbors have closed their border, including even North Korea. In the US, participation in large social and sports gatherings has already started to show decline. While this particular outbreak may or may not result in the catastrophic effects of postulated in my original article (below), it will certainly impact the economic and political climate in many ways. The general disaster preparedness and self-reliance steps advocated by Live Free USA together with the ability to stay home without outside contact for from thirty to sixty days must be attained, and maintained by every responsible family.

Original Text from Our 2013 Article

Virus is a derivative of the Latin word for poison.  This is an accurate description of what its electronic and biological forms can do to life and life as we know it.

Introduction

Even if we put aside the obvious threats of a changing climate, crumbling economy and the decline in food, water and energy supplies, there are two major and highly probable disasters that could end civilization as we know it even as we struggle with these other issues. Both of these threats come from destructive entities known as viruses.  The first danger is from the more traditional biological virus that has plagued (pun intended) civilization for centuries. The second is the more recent term “computer virus” that has very recent origins, but is no less of a threat.  These threats are greatly compounded by the highly populated, centralized and technologically depended society that only developed in the latter half of the 20th century.

Biological Viruses

For the purposes of this discussion we will include viruses and bacterial forms of infectious disease.

Probability and Sources

Most epidemiologists and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) state that it is just a matter of when not if a massive, worldwide epidemic occurs.  Based on the actions of governmental agencies in planning and stockpiling medications, this is their worst fear.  The combination of population densities and world travel guarantee that any virulent and potent biological agent will spread and be out of control before it is even detected.  The sudden emergence and rapid spread of the Zika virus is indicative of this potential. Plagues in medieval Europe and Asia killed from one to two thirds of the populations before the thinned population and surviving immune systems burned them out.  Modern medications and sanitation systems have reduced the occurrences and severity of plagues for the past few centuries, but these very defenses’ have created the probability of truly widespread and disastrous epidemics in our time.  The combination of an over-populated world located mainly in over concentrated cities and decades of being over protected with disinfectants and over medicated with antibiotics leaves us like a growth medium in a Petri dish with weakened immune systems Any new virus will find a “target rich environment” in today’s populations.  Modern mass transportation means that every one of us comes into contact with the biological residue left by hundreds and thousands of people.  Potential illness and death fly from Europe and Africa, take the buses and the train, ride the elevator and waist on shopping carts, door handles and products.  Of course most of these biological agents are harmless or cause only minor illnesses, but sooner or later (probably sooner) one of them will not be so harmless.  There are millions of unknown viruses and mutations that have not been recognized, much less prepared for that could take root.  Medical laboratories are continuing to experiment with various biological agents in their efforts to cure or treat existing diseases.  Many of these altered viruses would find the human body with no defenses if accidentally released.  Smallpox (Variola Major) was declared “eradicated” in 1980 and inoculations ended, but there are small stocks of the virus kept by the Russians and the US.  There may still be other hidden reserves. We now have a population with no immunities. An accidental release of such material or the deliberate spread of them by some unstable employees could end life as we know it or even life period.  And of course there are the rogue nations and terrorists who already have a variety of potent biological agents available.  Tuberculosis is still common in the third world nations and is highly contagious. Massive refuge populations are now flowing from those places to Europe and America. Many of these people may be carriers.  When you consider the above   realities, it is truly a miracle the biological “big one” has not struck already.  Being involved in the Emergency Medical Systems and community response planning for urban areas, I can tell you that the plans won’t work and they know it.

Impact and Effect

The obvious impact of a wide spread epidemic would be the disablement and deaths of millions or hundreds of millions of people.  Even if we assume a “best case” epidemic of say ten to twenty percent fatalities and fifty to sixty percent disabilities of two to six weeks duration the civilization still collapses and millions more die as a result of violence, starvation, cold, heat, and of other diseases.   Because of our highly dependent and technologically sensitive world, the lack of people to sustain critical systems would quickly demolish order and safety.  No one to respond to fires or police calls.  No-one to keep sanitation pumps, water pumps and electrical systems running.  No-one to deliver food, medications or fuel.  No-one to keep the virtual money in the banking and financial systems from evaporating.  They will all be sick, dead or at least home protecting their own families.

The resulting desperation and shortages will have the cities in flames and the streets like war zones within weeks.  The effects of failed water systems and sanitation (human waste and garbage) will initiate diseases like Cholera, Typhus, Malaria, and a host of other viral and bacterial infections.

* N95 Dust Mist masks are effective protection against most airborne pathogens when worn properly. They are available at most pharmacies and hardware stores.  Live Free USA has constantly recommended them as “every day carry” (pocket or purse) items and stocking a dozen or more at home.

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.

Constitutional Sanctuaries for Citizens

Sanctuary for Citizens

By James C. Jones, EMT/CHCM

While the term “sanctuary cities” has been used to describe municipalities that have chosen not to cooperate with the Immigration and Control and Enforcement agency (ICE) in the enforcement of America’s laws, the term sanctuary and the now established concept of defiance of federal laws by local governments may be essential to defending legal citizens against unconstitutional violations of their civil and constitutional rights. Most of the candidates running for the presidency in 2020 are strong advocates of gun confiscation and socialist (anti self-reliance) legislation. Draconian gun-laws and other oppressive actions must be anticipated at the state and national levels within the next one or two years. While effective individual and small-group resistance to such unconstitutional and un-American activities has little chance of success, there is a real potential for effective and successful resistance on the local, county and state levels, through American sanctuary resolutions and legislation. In states where so-called “Red Flag” laws have been enacted most of the rural and many of the suburban police departments are simply refusing to enforce them. Some towns and counties have official declared themselves to be “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” in defiance of these laws. Many police officers in urban areas are “pro-gun rights” and the great majority of suburban, small-town and rural police officers are second amendment supporters. They are not going to be knocking down doors and serving warrants on their neighbors and law abiding citizens. They are not going to be welcoming or cooperating with invading federal agents who come to confiscate property and criminalize their friends and relatives. How the federal government would react to massive defiance is difficult to estimate, but the more wide-spread and organized the Constitutional Sanctuary movement is, the more likely they will back-down, without actual violent confrontations. Before the federal government enacts unconstitutional legislation, constitutional sanctuary towns, counties and states need to be declared and well established as a deterrent or the basses for national resistance. The establishment of scores of sanctuary states, thousands fs sanctuary counties, and hundreds of thousands of sanctuary towns will not only serve to protect the second amendment, but would be a revolutionary power shift away from centralized authority and back to local and state level autonomy. The first American Revolution started when the British acted to confiscate local armaments. The people understood that once they had lost control of their personal, and locally owned weapons, the British could enact and enforce any laws and taxes that they chose with impunity. Today’s elitist, and socialist look down on local governments and despise individualism and self-reliance, but by going after the guns they may be (as the British did in 1776) enabling a unified and dare I say, revolutionary response in the form of a massive establishment of sanctuary territories supported by law-abiding and responsible citizens who want nothing more than to have their constitutional and human rights respected.
An American Constitutional Sanctuary movement could and should be established. This could be an official organization or a cooperative effort by multiple pro-freedom organizations. A few of the activities that such a movement could and should initiate would include:
• Establishing networks between sanctuary and pro sanctuary towns, counties and organization.
• Initiating petition drives to encourage states, counties and municipalities to establish pro-sanctuary declarations or legislation.
• Sponsoring email campaigns to encourage candidates at all levels to sponsor and support sanctuary legislation and declarations.
• Creating publicity campaigns to support the constitutional sanctuary concept and candidates
• As anti-freedom legislation becomes more imminent, demonstrations and even civil-disobedience could be necessary.
While to specter of gun confiscation, higher taxation, regulation and centralization should be disheartening to those of us who value our rights to self-reliance, the impending struggle offers the opportunity to unite, energize and win. While a sanctuary is generally defined as a place of refuge it can also serve a basis for resistance and victory. .
The author would propose that Live Free USA official declare its support for all constitutional sanctuaries and enact a formal declaration at the next Annual Meeting.

Survival Lists

While preparing my next book for  Skyhorse  Publishing, I found it necessary to review all of the survival equipment and all of the lists for various kits and packs. I have created new lists for:

  • What to have in your pockets
  • What to have in a Get Home Bag
  • What to have in an Evacuation Pack
  • What to have in vehicle
  • What to have in an outdoor survival kit.
  • What to have at home
  • What to have in your Bug Out Bag

I also discuses hybrid survival packs and caches

SurvivalLists8-08

Live Free and Gun Rights

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.   

Fifty Years of Live Free USA

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.

  • We started without any support or sponsorships at all and the members themselves could not afford much in the way of contributions until much later.
  • We had no lawyers, accountant’s businessmen, or other professionals to help us build the organization. Most groups have a lot of pro-bono help.  Most groups have members taking care of the website, tax documents and other issues, we do not.
  • We have no sponsors or significant donations and have never received any kinds of grants.
  • Telling folks that they need to prepare for some bad times is not necessarily popular. Unless there has been a recent disaster or serious scare event interest and support drops.
  • Although we are classified as a “public charity” by the IRS we don’t get any of the support that a group like the Red Cross or Boy Scouts will receive. In fact we get less than $100.00 per year in contributions even though we conduct our education programs for free.
  • Other than memberships and a few book sales we have no solid financial support system.
  • When membership increases and/or activities multiply, the same few volunteers get overloaded and we are forced to reduce operations when we should be increasing them.
  • We have no actual headquarters, office or training facility from which to efficiently expand operations and house a staff. Only a major grant or contribution will address this issue.
  • We have a lot of training equipment and supplies and there are some bequests that may come to Live Free in the years to come, but the equipment may need to be disposed of if they are not going to be used, and the organization must still exist for the bequests to be made in the future.

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.