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From the Library

This week’s selection is a trilogy of novels by SM Stirling, the author of the Dies The Fire/Emberverse series that I’ve mentioned a number of times on this blog. This alternate series starts with Island in the Sea of Time.

In it, the island of Nantucket is shipped back to 1250BC. Conveniently, a USCG training ship, the Eagle, is sent back as well, since it was inside the boundary that was transported back.

The value of the series, is it discusses the experiences of the Nantucketers, as they discover they’ve been tossed back into a world they can barely imagine, and have to figure out how to make use of the different personalities, skill sets, and limited materials and equipment they have available to them. Over the course of the three books, they manage to rebuild Nantucket’s historical fishing and shipping industry, go from a small hobby-level engineering setup in one dude’s garage, to an international manufacturing capability, fight several international conflicts with the powers of the era, deal with traitors-turned-emperors in Mycenae (Greece), and more.

From their initial visit to Alba (Britain), to sailing expeditions around the globe for discovery, the series does a good job of exploring some of the possibilities that we may be facing as the hegemony continues to degrade, and things collapse around us, even as other parts of the world maintain some semblance of civilization.

I recommend the series, both for a great preparedness thought exercise (what issues did the Islanders have to deal with that you’ve not even considered?), and because it’s an entertaining read. Stirling really is a phenomenal storyteller.

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Campfire Chat

There weren’t many comments that warranted inclusion here, so there’s a couple from emails.

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I live in NW MT, where griz and mountain lions are common.  We had a griz attack a few weeks ago, stopped by two shooters with .357 and .44 mag.  I had a mountain lion on property two weeks ago, which I frightened away with a round from my G17 (which I thankfully had on me).  Our game warden warned us to upgrade from our daily carry 9mm with the lion and bear risk in mind, and to switch from hollow points to cast bullets.  Do you have a recommendation for a handgun with the big predator threat in mind?

I had one very close encounter with a grizzly sow, at about 15 yards, who happened to have a very curious cub. I was armed with a .357 at the time, and all I remember thinking was, “This is a fucking pop gun! She’s not even gonna notice if I shoot her with this thing!”

I’ve spent a LOT of time in grizzly country, and seen a lot of grizzlies. That’s the only time I ever felt like I NEEDED my gun to deal with the situation. Of course, that was also the first time I’d ever actually seen a grizzly, outside of a zoo, and I ended up not needing to shoot her. I remain convinced that my charming personality and stunning good looks made her decide I wasn’t a threat to her baby.

So….my advice on a handgun recommendation in grizzly country is, “Carry a rifle.” Seriously. Even if it’s a little 16” .30-30. In addition to that however, I will mention something that a very experienced Alaskan outfitter told me once, “The key to stopping a griz is stopping their heart. Carry whatever you want, but make sure it’s got enough ass behind it to penetrate to the heart itself.” One of the things I discussed in Guerrilla Gunfighter 2: Preparedness Rifle and Carbine, is the fact that, where I live, 5.56 will kill anything I might need to shoot, from people to animals large and small. Since I don’t suspect in a grid-down scenario, most people are not going to be “hunting,” so much as shooting opportunistically, when it comes to wild game, I believe a general purpose rifle, that covers as many of your needs as possible is a good bet for your primary carbine or rifle. Because of my location, my M4—conveniently—fills that bill. If I still lived in the Rockies, I’d probably carry my M1A or an AR10/M110 (and, yes, I do occasionally switch out the M4 for the .30-30 or the 12-gauge slug gun, as discussed in the book.

As for cougars? Meh. I’ve seen six or seven cougars, total, in my life, and only one of them did I see long enough to shoot (To be clear, I’ve never “hunted” cougars. The one I shot was a favor for a neighbor, when he found it in his barnyard). I shot that one with a .22, and managed to kill her (if you’re gonna do that, I recommend being REALLY good at fast snap shots on moving targets. There ain’t gonna be no “double taps” or “rapid fire strings.” They move way too fast. I shot her, and then had to find her, track her visually, shoot again, etc.)

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I have been trolling your site as well as others for some time scanning for insights as well as a touchstone that not everyone alive is retarded and drinking the pay ops cool-aid, so again, thank you. I have a particular issue that I feel you may have some insights into. I am prior service and currently overseas working in the ‘Stans. Along with this lifestyle comes the lack of a clan or even strong ties to return to other than prior service clan that are scattered to the corners of the globe. I am contemplating a plot of land to start to develop roots in but being overseas you can understand that this proves difficult. My question is, in my position how would you proceed as I will literally be starting from scratch? I have been scouting areas in Montana, Wyoming, Texas (where my vehicle, firearms and items reside) and parts of upstate New York. Each one provides its own unique set of issues. While several have significant tax advantages they also offer unique agricultural and environmental challenges. Perhaps I’m overthinking this and just need to pull the trigger on something or maybe I should be looking into something else entirely…Honestly any advice would be beneficial.

Dude, that’s a tough one, honestly.

How old are you? Where is your family? Parents still alive? Grandparents? Got cousins and shit? Siblings? Even if you don’t get along with them, there’s a kinship tie there. Do you still talk to any old school chums? Get along with them?

One of the conversations I had—repeatedly—with people, when I told them I was moving back to where I grew up in the South occurred when they asked if any of my people were preppers with training? I would point out that, no, not for the most part. Certainly none were on a level where I would want to go into a gunfight with them. But, as I also pointed out…I was more worried about having people I could trust. Give me a dude I know I can trust, and I can teach him to shoot, move, and communicate. Teaching those skills is a lot easier than building the kind of relationships we’re talking about…

So, recognizing that it may not fit your situation, without knowing the specifics of your situation, I would be concerned less with possible tax havens, and more with getting back to rebuilding relationships with people I already knew, and had relationships with. Granted, some of them may have turned out to be shitheads in the ensuing years, but I bet not….and certainly not all of them.

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I’m reading GG v2, and noticed that you have a M1A!

Please note: I am NOT asking what rifle to replace my AR 15 with.  🙂

But IF one wanted a semi auto 308, is the M1A the way to go?

For the love of all the gods of my ancestors and yours, no!!!!

Now, I love my M1A (don’t tell anybody, though!), and I dig shooting it, and I’ve even used it for my deer rifle (once. It was way too much of a pain-in-the-ass, compared to a .30-30 or my M4).

If you feel like you NEED a .308, I’d suggest an AR10/SR25/XM110 clone. That having been said, I am going to build an XM110 next year, but I’m doing it in 6.5 Creedmore, which is what I’d actually suggest if you feel like you NEED an intermediate-long range gun.

That having been said, my M1A is the Springfield Squad-Scout, and I really do get a kick out of shooting it. Practical issues aside, there is something very nostalgic about shooting a rifle made of wood and iron, still. Maybe it’s a result of my misspent youth, reading Soldier of Fortune, Gung-Ho, New Breed, American Survival Guide, and all the other “mercenary” and survivalist magazines back in the ‘80s?


 

I have been told is a no go for me, as there so little sun during the winter in NW MT.  Did you get enough juice out of PV when you lived in ID?

Yes, and No. We weren’t off-grid the entire time we lived in Idaho, which was most of a decade. But, for the times we were off-grid, we did get enough, even in winter.

That having been said, there’s a very important qualifier in your question….”Did YOU get enough juice out of PV…?” WE did. We also didn’t use the battery bank for anything, at that time, except to charge a single cell-phone, to run a radio receiver a couple hours in the evenings, and for lighting. That takes a VERY small amount of electrical power…. So, it really depends on what you’re planning on running on the system. There are a lot of folks in both NW Montana, and in N Idaho, that are using Solar though….

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I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. I’m 55, have lived a sedentary lifestyle for quite awhile and it shows. Your constant harping on PT finally got through my thick skull and started eating (a little) better, riding my bike, and a little over a month ago I talked my wife into letting me get a weight set and rack so I can work out – and I have been, kind of to my surprise. So I’ve got the PT part down – finally, at least so far.

The problem is I’m not a brave person. Kind of a chicken-shit to be honest. I read the article by Matt Larsen that you talked about last Monday. In your opinion, is courage/fear control something that can be learned? If so, can you recommend some resources, either types of training or mental exercises?

“We become what we do, regularly.”

I do believe it is possible. How do you go about it? That I’m not so sure of, but I would start with intentionally putting yourself in situations that make you physically and/or mentally uncomfortable. I’m deathly afraid of heights. So, I joined the Army to jump out of airplanes and helicopters. I also rock climb and rappel. Now, I’m still scared shitless of heights….but I manage to deal with it, without completely losing my shit.

So, find something that makes you uncomfortable—or scared—and just do it. Use whatever tools you need, before hand, to build yourself up mentally for it, for now, but just commit to doing it.

For most, middle-class folks, I think the three things most accessible are going to be the three that I found worked really well for me, as I was coming up: 1) join a boxing gym. Not a “cardio boxing gym.” Find an actual boxing gym, preferably one training amateur and pro fighters, and go join (in my experience, the more Hispanics there are in the gym, the better the boxing gym is….wait, was that racist? Who cares. It’s true). Nothing will get you over your fear of interpersonal conflict faster than getting punched in the face a bunch of times by some pissed-off 16-year old Mexican kid four weight classes lighter than you (I get my ass beat regularly by the teenage Mexican kids at our gym. It’s not fun, but it is humbling). 2) If a boxing gym isn’t possible, find a good MMA gym. You’ll still probably get the opportunity to do some legit full-contact boxing and kickboxing, but more importantly, getting smothered under some big bastard, who’s got 40# of weight advantage crushing your lungs, while he’s simultaneously choking the shit out of you with his arms, is, well…fear provoking….learning to just breathe, and relax, and work through that, is extremely useful in overcoming fear, in my experience. “Shit, it can’t be worse than that fat fucker sitting on my chest choking me!” 3) Go skydiving. Seriously. I’m not telling you to become a skydiver (I’m not. I’ve skydived, but I’m not a skydiver. I fucking hate jumping. I hated jumping in the Army too.), but we are naturally wired to be terrified of heights. Developing the ability to overcome that inherent terror, is—I firmly believe—the single best thing that ever happened to me, as far as overcoming fear in any venue. You’ll never be “not scared,” no matter how many jumps you do (and if you do lose your fear, you need to stop jumping, right-the-fuck-then, because it means you’re about to do something really stupid). I’ve talked to guys with thousands of jumps logged, going back decades. Every one of them told me, “Fuck yes, I’m still scared when I go up. The day I’m not scared is the day I quit.” That’s not because they’re adrenaline junkies—well, not entirely—but because they recognize that, if they lose that fear, they’re gonna get lazy, and end up doing something stupid.

As far as individual exercises, meh. Different shit works for different people.

For me, I just start cracking jokes, and making myself laugh. Seriously. I figure, if I’m laughing, I’m not crying, right? Beyond that, “tactical breathing” is all the rage these days, for controlling the autonomic stress reaction. I learned it from my granddad when I was a kid, and then again when I was in the military, although my granddad taught it differently.

The contemporary method, at its most basic, is to simply breathe in through your nose, for a four-count (I use, “one thousand and one, one thousand and two, etc”….). Then, hold it for a four-count. Release for a four-count. Whether you need to hold the pause on the exhalation is debatable, depending on who you ask. I do, because it’s how I was originally taught, but I was also originally taught to hold a seven-count, not a four-count….The longer count, to me, seems to force you to calm the fuck down a little quicker. Your mileage may vary.

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One of the things we’re talking about, on the Patreon Page today, is dealing with people showing up at your “retreat” location, looking for a place of refuge. It’s interesting to me that people are so quick to jump on the “I prepared for my immediate family. They should have had more foresight!” wagon. Sure, it’s true, they should have, but….they didn’t.

We have developed our farm as a place for multiple families to show up. Some of them have helped build our facility, and continue to do so, either with actual building help and guidance when needed, or they are the “clan-of-choice” that also comes out and trains regularly, because we all know holding the place is going to be critical.

Most of the people I expect to show up though, are those friends and family members who have said—regardless of how they try to pass it off as a joke–”Well, when the SHTF, we’re coming to your house!” Unlike most people I read and talk to, my response is always, “Well, we’re counting on it!”

After all, we’re gonna need more bodies. Whether that’s for security purposes, of putting someone in a LP/OP, with a trained buddy, or because somebody gonna hav’ to hoe d’ peas, is irrelevant. I’m certainly not going to turn my own kin away, regardless of how “silly” they may think I am, right now.

Someone sent me a biblical quote about this very topic the other day. While I’m not a Christian, I know a lot of the readers are, so it might give y’all something to meditate on….

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” –1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (KJV)

Now, again, I’m not a Christian, a fact I’ve never hidden, so it could be argued that this is something akin to “the Devil quoting Scripture,” or that I don’t understand the context, but I would counter with, “it’s pretty fucking blatant what is being said.” Fortunately, I’m a historian, so I understand the context better than most modern Christians do. And, since I am a historian, I know how to look for secondary sources for references. If you’re looking for something to get past the initial light reading, “Oh, but it says ‘especially for their own house!’” you need to understand the construction of the “familias” in that era, wherein it was not just Dad, Mom, 2.5 kids, and the pets. It was the extended family. It was, to use the Old English phrase I used in Forging the Hero, kith-and-kin.

Here’s an additional reference discussing it: Ellicot’s Commentary. If you read the commentary for the entire chapter of 1 Timothy 5, you’ll see that Paul was discussing a lot more in this letter, than just the modern nuclear family…..

So, what are you doing to prepare for the extended clan to show up? Still wanna focus on “stuff,” or should you be focusing more on “skills” that can be used to multiply the stuff? I know my answer….

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One of the things I’m doing on the Patreon page, for second tier subscribers, is going through some of my old journals, and writing commentary on some of the entries in there. This requires an explanation. I don’t record “Dear Diary, today, I did this and this and that. We went to here and there and there. I had a wonderful day.” Instead, my journals are records of my training practice, as well as ideas that come into my head for related topics. Mostly though, my journals are where I take notes on what I’ve read. Found an interesting quote in a book I’m reading? Write it down, so I can think about it later.

So, for first tier subscribers, you’ll be getting the next installment in the Survival Retreat discussion this week. For second tier subscribers, you’ll be getting the second installment in the series about actually integrating some combatives training into your training. This week is about practicing not getting knocked the fuck out…You’ll also be getting an article, much like the campfire chats, where I’ll share a quote from my journal, preparedness related, and then discuss it.

If you’re not on the Patreon page, and you’ve read this far, what are you waiting for? It’s a couple bucks a month. How long have you been reading this blog? Did you get a couple dollars a month worth of value out of it? I appreciate the support. More importantly, my wife appreciates the support. She keeps telling me about her garden seeds orders for next spring…..

From the Library

Building the Timber Frame House: The Revival of a Forgotten Craft by Ted Benson

I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, that I built our house myself (with a little help lifting the heavy shit from our clan-of-choice. With the exception of one timber, which we lifted with my neighbor’s tractor, we didn’t use heavy equipment to lift any of the beams in the house…and for the record, lifting a green 18ft 6×8 timber, 30 feet into the air, is sketchy as fuck!). I also had no real construction experience prior to that project.

So, how did I go about it? I ordered and read every single book on timber framing that I could find, that had been published in the last fifty years, in English (and several in German!).

This book was the single most useful reference I had at my disposal. In fact, I’ve now owned three copies, because two copies stayed on the job site while I was working, and ended up destroyed; it was that useful.

Obviously, not everyone has any interest in building a timber frame house (And, honestly, if your heart is not 110% set on it, I don’t recommend it! It’s a lot of work). But, it’s a pretty quick, simple way to put up a stout outbuilding, including emergency housing, if you keep it simple (don’t use oversized timbers like I did, for aesthetic reasons….). I am firmly convinced that, with the aid of this book, and the tools that Mr. Benson recommends, ANYBODY with the physical ability to use the tools in question, could walk into their woodlot, and build a small timber frame house in less than a summer. If you practiced your joinery cutting first, and got it dialed in, you could do it in less than a month.

Every single cut and joint you’re going to need is clearly illustrated with quality pen-and-ink illustrations. The science and math is covered for determining what your beam sizes need to be, but in terms that even laymen (like me!) can actually grasp. There’s even some different building plans in the back of the book, for different size projects.

The only potential drawback to this book is something I discovered after I had built our house. Some of the joints that Mr Benson recommends, while they work (my house is two stories tall, and has withstood 90MPH winds already…) well, are NOT the same joints that were used historically in the eastern US and in Europe. Now, if you’re doing historical restorations, that’s an issue. If you’re building a storage shed for your prepper supplies, or you’re putting up some small cabins for “bug out location” housing for your people to live in when SHTF, that’s just not a deal killer. Interestingly, nobody has EVER noticed the ahistorical joints in my house that came from Benson’s book (the only fucked up joint that HAS been noticed is one I designed, trying to simplify things. It didn’t work worth a fuck, and I ended up having to scab that joint, after we got the wall stood…and standing the wall got REALLY scary when we heard my joint cracking, just as we got a couple thousand pounds of timbers to head height….

 

Recommended

Campfire Chats

I don’t have a “From the Library” article this week. My mother was finally released from 24/7 care last week, so I got to go home for the first time in over a month. Between taking care of some missing orders that my helper fucked up, and taking care of things on the farm that had been neglected, and finally spending some quality time with my wife and kids, all together, I simply didn’t have time to get any reading done, really. Sorry.

Patreon subscribers, your articles are posted as well.

First tier subscribers, you’ve got the third part in the retreat facility article series up. Second tier subscribers, you’ve got an article on combatives training, and some key ways to incorporate it into your training. You’ve also got a soft skills article on thinking outside the box, in which I take on Climate Change, as well. It’s a topic (the outside the box thinking part), I’ve been working on in my personal journal, and discussing those issues with second tier subscribers is something I’m going to try and do regularly. You also have a third article, in which I discuss some current events that are on everyone’s minds.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, but haven’t subscribed to Patreon, I urge you to do it. It’s a couple bucks a month, and consider what value you’ve gotten from my efforts here over the years. Now, recognize that I’m getting paid to write those articles…how much more in-depth are they going to be, do you think? How much more valuable are they going to be, when neither I, nor you, have to worry about the random Internet trolls interfering in the conversation?

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One of the things that gets overlooked a lot, by preppers and survivalists—especially those without military combat arms experience—is that there is a vast, vast difference between a “patrol pack” and a “get home bag” or a “bug out bag.”

Building your “tactical patrol bag” based on a “bug out bag” list, is retarded. At the same time, looking at what I carried in my ruck as say, a young Ranger private, for a “bug out bag” is not going to work out at all, especially when I factor in that I now have a wife and kids to deal with as well.

Make sure you understand the difference between the mission requirements of a patrol, bugging out for who knows where, and getting home from work. Then, decide which type of bag you need, and what it needs to contain. That article is coming up soon on Patreon.

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As one who has spent a great deal of time in nature, both in the Army and as a rural resident, what do you recommend for dealing with natures annoyances. Just asking for a friend who may have come home with a boatload of ticks, chiggers, and poison ivy.

Well, ticks, I just pluck off. I’ve read that a tick needs to be bit down for 24 hours before any pathogen transfer, such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, happens. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that I’ve pulled tens of thousands of ticks off myself, over the course of my life, and have never suffered anything from them. Chiggers, I don’t wear shorts in the brush, and I wash with soap and water. Same with poison ivy.

In other words, I just don’t worry too much about it, to be honest. I’ve never had a problem with any of those. I know what poison ivy and poison oak look like, and I pay attention to what is around me, so I’ve never “walked into a pile of poison ivy” for example. I’ve certainly never wiped my ass with it.

I’ve had chiggers before. They itch, badly. I wash the site with good soap, and then try my damnedest not to scratch the itch (to be clear, I usually fail). Eventually they go away, and I just suffer in the meantime.

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do you have any info on the up coming food shortages do to the bad weather this year.

Not specifically. I suspect it will impact far and wide, but then, I’d have expected it to do so already, with commodities futures speculation, so who knows?

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Have you read Fry the Brain by John West? I thought it pretty good, definitely enlightening to learn the various techniques of insurgent urban snipers. I thought the part about the troubles in Ireland was particularly good–particularly the use of auxiliaries and teams of specialists to defeat sophisticated forensics of the British. The part on remote operated rifles was interesting too–meshing into a discussion on drones that you alluded to in your other post. Anyway, I saw it was on Ellfritz’s reading list.

Similarly, opinions on Resistance to Tyranny by Martino, if you’ve read it?

I’ve read both, and have them on my bookshelves. I don’t recall having an issue with either one, but it’s been a few years since I read them, so I’d probably have to go back and re-read them to comment specifically on anything.

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Your comment about the Townsend videos struck a chord. I do French and Indian War and Revolutionary War events in the southeast. The best video I saw, in my opinion, was on the process of making Mead.

I haven’t watched the Mead video, but that’s because I’ve been making mead for a number of years now, despite being a non-drinker (it’s usually a big hit at holidays though, with our clan). I don’t know that there’s any of their videos that I’ve gone, “Meh. That sucked!” though. Most of their cooking videos make me want to force my wife to try them though.

I’ve wanted to get involved in 18th century reenacting since I was a kid, and my stepdad came home with a grocery sack of Muzzle Blasts and Backwoodsman magazines, he found at a garage sale, and I devoured them all in a weekend. Unfortunately, the last thing I need is another expensive hobby. So, I incorporate those elements of it that make sense, in light of my lifestyle, when I can. I really do “need” a flintlock muzzleloader though….

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Last week you discussed whether or not you would encourage your son to join the military. I have grappled with that same question. I have four young sons ( young enough that the point of joining a United States military may be moot by the time they are old enough). I am already teaching them the distinctions between warriors and soldiers. I was an NCO in a light infantry unit in Iraq back when Baghdad was the wild west and I have found the experience that I gained there to be invaluable. Not only tactically but the ability to see a mans true value, to be able to distinguish who can be counted on when shit gets real. I credit the shared suffering of life in an infantry unit with opening my eyes to the realities and necessity of a barbarian tribal outlook. I guess my question is, absent the gravity of actual combat experience do you think its possible to develop young men into competent warriors/to teach them the necessity of coming together as a team? Could you elaborate on how you would develop and initiate young men into your tribe’s mannerbund? How would you approach replicating the gravity of the decisions made in combat and the lessons learned?

Short answer? Yes.

The fact is, modern military forces, as we know them, are a recent phenomenon in the human experience. While it is certainly simpler to achieve the status of “warrior” in terms of physical skills and mindset, in the military, in today’s western society, it is not a requirement to achieving those things, and in fact, may be detrimental in some ways, even if the experience is in the SOF world. One of the things I’ve had to grapple with, albeit to a lesser degree than if my experience had been limited to say, the 82d or 101st, is correlating my experience and knowledge, to the situation I am in now.

As a general thing, I can’t comment on the specifics you questioned. One, because whatever methods we use are specific to our needs, and second because we don’t actually have specific methods that can really be articulated, without a lot of thought and introspection to recognize what they are.

I will say, specific to the “warrior” question, all of my children box, and do jitz, and shoot. All of my children do PT, including running and climbing and lifting and carrying heavy things. All of my children—and the children of the clan, to a lesser degree—hear “harden the fuck up, and quit crying” regularly, when they suffer minor physical aches and pains. Psychological stuff, like their grandpa dying, we encourage crying, to deal with grief, but we’re also very matter-of-fact about those things. Death shouldn’t be foreign, which it is for way too many Americans. Actual physical injury, like a broken bone or something? I’m not going to get pissed at my kid for crying when they break a bone, but I’m not about to let them scream incoherently about it either.

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I noticed a match safe in your ‘junk on the bunk’ posts.  Have you come across a good brand of matches that are NOT storm proof?  The storm proof ones leave a nasty taste when I light my pipe (same reason I don’t carry a zippo).
Not really. The matches we have at the house, that aren’t hurricane matches, are the cheap boxes of matches you can buy at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. I suppose you could go really old-school, and use a flint and steel, with a piece of char cloth?

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Too often, whether I am discussing things with people, face-to-face, or I am reading a “prepper porn” novel, the assumption is made that a “grid down” event is going to cause the same level of cataclysm, everywhere. This is the psychological opposing equal of the bright, progressive, globalist future, where everyone will have three cars, computer implants, a supercomputer cellphone, synthetic food, produced out of the cellphone, and a nice crackerbox house in the suburbs.

While such a collapse, theoretically at least, could possibly, conceivably, happen, via some sort of deux ex machina, black swan type of scenario, the fact is 5000 years of recorded history, pretty clearly illustrates that it probably isn’t likely. What is far more likely is the “decline and fall of Rome” Part Deux, that we are witnessing.

As the federal regime loses more and more legitimacy in the eyes of the populace, people look to local solutions and leaders, both official and unofficial, to provide them guidance. An example of the increasing loss of federal legitimacy can be seen in the bipartisan response to the alleged suicide of accused child sex trafficker, and political affiliate Jeffrey Epstein the other day.

Now, a child molester, knowing without a doubt that he is getting a lifetime worth of convictions, committing suicide? Absolutely possible. Even common. He was pulled off suicide watch, apparently within the normal SOP of the facility, and even on suicide watch, people routinely manage to off themselves with some regularity.

Did he kill himself, or was he murdered? Fuck if I know. I wasn’t there. I wouldn’t even bother to guess, or worry about it, because it doesn’t affect me, a single solitary bit.

What I do find interesting however, is the fact that, even within the political class, there is a lot of discussion about the possibility—probability—of his death having been a murder, via a conspiracy. While I’ve seen theories put forth that POTUS was behind it, the far more common theory, even from the Left side of the faux spectrum, is that it was at the behest of the Deep State generally, and the Clintons specifically. Now, I would expect that from most conservatives, and even libertarians (who, really, in my experience, do tend to be Conservatives that wanna smoke pot), but when aggressively Leftist liberals are spouting that, it is pretty clear that the legitimacy of the federal government, in the eyes of the people, is increasingly illegitimate.

What does that have to do with collapse though? It doesn’t happen the same way, everywhere. Even in something as “universally cataclysmic” as a CME or EMP, different people are going to have different resulting impacts, and as a result, different communities are going to have differing impacts. The same, certainly, applies to the far more likely (since it’s already happening), collapse of American imperial hegemony around the globe.

Just because employment in your area is available, and there’s housing, doesn’t mean that is true elsewhere, even a county or two away. Roads in my area are, for the most part, remarkably good. We have a pretty good tax base, and the industry in the area demands good roads for shipping, and so their employees stay happy. On the other hand, if I drive a county away, to the Interstate, I see a road that looks fit for the Third World, and the surface streets are even worse. Does that mean the collapse is on us? Or, does that mean, since I’ve got good roads, the collapse is not going to happen?

Don’t assume that what works in one context—my mountain top, rural farm, for example—isn’t going to work somewhere else. What is necessary somewhere else—like a large urban inner-city—isn’t even going to be necessary here. When we look at situationally contextual planning considerations, we need to take into consideration, not only what our environmental needs are, but what the likely impacts of various collapse scenarios are going to be.

As an example, in a total economic collapse, so beloved of prepper porn authors, where trucks aren’t running, and people are starving, or living off stored rice, how likely is it that Joel Salatin’s community is going to have a lot of starving people? Not very. They may have issues with securing the produce, but they’re not going to have a problem with having food.

Portland, Oregon, for all of its problems, has a gravity-fed municipal water system. While there may be issues with some of the high-rises downtown, most of municipal Portland isn’t going to have an issue with water procurement. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to have a lot of problems (evidenced by the fact they already do), but that’s something they probably don’t have to worry too much about.

Think about context. Always.

From the Library

Tactical Firearms Training Secrets by David Morris

I came across this a few weeks ago, when my buddy Greg Ellifritz mentioned it in an article on his Active Response Training blog. Greg had some good things to say about it, so I checked it out. It’s been a couple weeks now, since I read it, and having had time to digest it, I’ve got to say I was underwhelmed.

There were a couple of basic drills in it that were okay, but they were the same general drills available in most references and classes. A lot of the material in the book however, relied on obsolete research data that has been refuted by more recent research. I haven’t, to the best of my knowledge, read any of Mr. Morris’ other work, but this one left me unimpressed. It’s probably legitimately a solid reference for new shooters, or those new to combative shooting, but there was a whole lot that I came across that was just wrong. I can’t recommend it.

(That having been said, keep in mind, I’ve written a book on combative pistol shooting and training, so I may be unreliably biased.)

Defensive Tactics by Loren Christensen

A reader sent me a copy of this, and asked me to venture an opinion on it. I’ve read a lot of Christensen’s books, over the last couple of decades. I was pretty impressed with most of what I read from him, at least until he partnered up with Grossman.

That having been said, there’s nothing inherently WRONG with the techniques and methods described in this book. As team defensive tactics, for controlling suspects, there’s a lot of validity to them, in my experience and observation. That having been said, the inherent problem with a lot of LE DT methods, is they tend to be predicated on the idea that a cop isn’t supposed to be getting into a wrasslin’ match with a suspect all by his lonesome. Like most DT, the ones taught here work best—most efficiently and effectively against someone who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, isn’t particularly motivated, and/or has his reflexes and physical attributes impaired. They also work best—most efficiently and effectively—when there are two or three dudes wrasslin’ one dude to the ground, to put him in cuffs.

Meh.

Combative Shotgun by Mike Boyle

I’ve long acknowledged that I’m not a shotgun guy, by choice. A few years ago, I took the time to do a deep-dive into the shotgun, and gained a moderate level of ability with it. I’ve spent more time since then, incorporating it into my ongoing practice regimen, in order to improve the skill I have, and to increase it.

The last book on the shotgun I read—and the only other one on my shelves currently—is Mas Ayoob’s Stressfire II. That having been said, as I explained in this week’s article for $5 Patreon subscribers, the shotgun is not a really complex weapon to operate. There’s not a lot of specialized knowledge in running one. The biggest issue is ammunition management and keeping the beast fed. Mr. Boyle’s book, as is to be expected (I don’t know him, but we have mutual friends), is a solid look at the current applications of the shotgun in the anti-personnel role. Recommended.

Campfire Chat

(Patreon Subscribers, first articles are posted! First tier folks, you’ve got the second installment in last week’s Retreat Facility article. Second tier folks, an article on the scattergun, including useful training drills to work on.)

I keep seeing people on social media, discussing the active shooters in Texas and Ohio this weekend, expressing shock that in an entire Texas Wal-Mart, there was apparently nobody carrying a gun, that was willing to maneuver against and engage the shooter. There are a number of issues with this disbelief. First of all is the fact that something less than 5% of Texans actually have concealed carry permits (I believe, IIRC, they are CHLs in Texas). Added to this is the well-known fact that the vast majority of CCW/CHL permittees don’t actually bother carrying their pistols, as a regular thing. They tend to only carry “when I’m going somewhere I might need it!” ignoring the fact that you’re probably better off not going those places in the first place, if it can be avoided.

More important, is the issue that guns are not fucking magical talismans. Having a gun—even assuming you are actually dedicated enough to carry it—doesn’t suddenly give you the ability to do wondrous feats of heroism. There’s an article going around, from the Washington Post, back in March of ‘18, by Matt Larsen, of Modern Army Combatives fame, and LTC John Spencer. It’s titled “A Gun Won’t Give You the Guts to Run Towards Danger.”

This is a critically important reality that too many in the “tactical” and “preparedness” neighborhoods of the gun community don’t grasp. As the authors point out in the article, being issued an M4 or an M16 doesn’t make a soldier into a meat-eating gunfighter. It takes experience facing fear, and working through that fear.

The thing is, you see, as humans, we have this instinct for survival built into us. Some things are intuitively scary to us, because of evolutionary developments: things that go bump in the night, growls in the night, heights, etc. All of these intuitive fears are easy to understand, hard to overcome. I’m an experienced paratrooper, skydiver, and rock climber. Nevertheless, I still get nervous in high, exposed places. I’m not even a particularly great rock climber or skydiver, but I know enough to realize that even the very best athletes in these fields are still frightened by the possibility for death and or bodily harm in the pursuit of their activities. What makes it possible for them to overcome that fear is not a lack of it, but familiarity with the sensation, in those circumstances.

We need to build the same type of familiarity with potential situations we might face, if we are going to be able to overcome fear in a shooting situation we might find ourselves involved in. The biggest of these is simple fear and discomfort about interpersonal violence. The vast, vast majority of modern Americans have never even been punched in the face. To think that you are suddenly going to go from “I’ve never even been in a fistfight!” to “I’m gonna smoke check a motherfucker!” is beyond hubris. It’s fucking retarded.

Beyond that simple issue, we have the issue of normalcy bias and accepting that “this is actually happening. Right here. Right now. Shit.” I’ve been in a number of situations, as a private citizen, over the last several years (I’ve been in a number of situations as a private citizen, over the course of my life, actually, but I’m focusing on these) that a lot of people, when those scenarios are described to them, find shocking. Some of these, like pulling my rifle in a road-rage incident, as described in Guerrilla Gunfighter I, and thus precluding the need to shoot him, are relatively easy to fathom. After all, road rage incidents occur every day, all over the country. Others though, like the time, also described in that book, and in The Reluctant Partisan II, when we forced a car off the road, after watching a man thrown from the vehicle, and I pulled my pistol on the driver, until she exited the vehicle, are less common. These are not uncommon because they happen infrequently, but because most people have their heads so far up their asses, that they don’t realize what they’re seeing, and if they do recognize that something “strange” is happening, they rationalize it away as something else.

It is critical that, not only do we learn to acknowledge that this shit does happen, every day, and can happen to us, we’re not going to be prepared for it when it does happen, regardless of how courageous we “think” we are, and how well armed we are. Courage isn’t manufactured into the gun. You’ve got to provide that on your own.

The other thing that the media makes it really easy to overlook is, while it is certainly true that a mass shooting is traumatic to the victims and their families, the reality is that far, far more people are killed each year, in one-on-one violence, than all the victims of mass shootings added together. There are individual cities (not just counting Chicago either!), where the monthly murder rate exceeds the total victim count in every mass murder in the last decade. They really are a Black Swan event for most of us.

That having been acknowledged though, while the vast majority of gun owners aren’t going to train to be able to effectively negate an active-shooter event, with their EDC gun, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t. I posit that I’m not particularly gifted as a shooter. I work hard to get to the level of ability I have, and if I slack off, I lose that ability in a hurry. I’m really not that special. But…if I can develop the ability to make an on-demand head shot, at 50 yards, in less than 2 seconds, from the holster, anybody can.

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A question for you about building legitimacy in your community. Currently I’m 27 and I’m trying to get members of my church to take looking out for each other more seriously, as in not really using outside sources for labor or expertise. The problem I’m running into is that I think my lack of having a bachelor’s degree or higher is holding me from being taken seriously in a way, as my church as a whole is extremely well educated. I’m considering pursuing an engineering degree in the spring on a part-time basis, even if only for personal development as my employer would pay for it, but I have to wonder if I’m wasting my efforts in terms of building regard for my opinion.
I already lift, run, ruck, do calisthenics and dry fire daily, shoot twice a week, and am starting BJJ early next month, but it seems like I’m treated as a well-meaning, but ultimately misguided youngster. My question is if I should devote the time and effort into formalized education in order to have legitimate accreditation to my name, which will also be potentially useful, or if I should not waste my time and to simply pursue more practical avenues to building community resilience.

My first response would be to point out that, without knowing the community in your church, I can’t comment authoritatively on what would increase your opinion’s worth in their minds. I certainly wouldn’t go out and get a degree, just for that reason. If you’re getting the degree because of personal improvement, by all means, but not just as a means to improve your standing within your church community. If my employer was going to pay for a degree, I’d focus on a degree in something with more long-term benefit to my interests (of course, that might be your interest, and you didn’t specify what kind of engineering degree you were looking at).

Instead, I would focus on listening to the needs of the community around me, and then working to assist in fulfilling those needs. “Oh,” says Mrs. Smith, “I really need to find a plumber to come clear the sink drain. Mr. Smith did it while he was alive, but now that I’m a widow…” Cool. Show up the next day, with the appropriate tools, and tell Mrs. Smith that you’re there to clear that kitchen sink drain. Then do it. You do this five or six times, and people will start looking to you for helping with little things like that. Set the example. If someone needs something big, and it’s going to cost some money, by all means, let them pay for the materials, assuming they can afford it, but, if it comes down to insisting on paying you, charge them less than anyone else would. Make sure you vocalize WHY you’re doing those things. “Oh, Mrs. Smith, it’s no big deal. It’s what we do for our neighbors/church brethren/etc.”

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Warwolf was a great book–got me interested in making a couple lead-weighted clubs for one thing. I also read a book I saw you mention before, War Before Civilization, that seems to attest to the effectiveness of clubs given the amount of skull fractures evident in historical battle and massacre sites.

I suspect there’s going to be a great demand for the ability to deal with threats, at close ranges, without the noise of gunfire, in the coming years. I spend a lot of time working contact range weapons into my repertoire of skills, for this reason.

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CAS, though limited, is now within reach of any homeowner –> drones. No, you’re not going to get the kind of support that a Warthog can provide, but it’s better than not having one at all.
Check out the vids where they were armed with grenades and dropped them into the open hatches of tanks in Syria. I think Youtube even has videos where kids have mounted guns to them. Of course, I’m not advocating doing anything illegal, I’m just pointing out what others have done..
Plus, in surviellance mode, they can push out your security perimeter whether it’s static (homestead) or mobile (flying ahead of your convoy giving you advancted warning of roadblocks, etc.) They can also deliver small packages (repeaters, etc.) to terrain/locations not easily accessible or of high-risk to humans. Have a tech guy/gal on your team?

I’m going to discuss the application of drones for security applications later in the series, for sure.

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So you don’t recommend joining up for combat arms experience? Is there a private equivalent or something?

Not unless it is something you are specifically interested in doing. A lot of the combat arms experience isn’t going to be particularly relevant, even in a total grid-down TEOTWAWKI scenario, and the stuff that is relevant, like shooting well, and even basic small-unit tactics, is available in the civilian private sector. More importantly, the way it’s taught will probably be more relevant to private sector needs. There’s not a lot of point to learning to execute a platoon-sized takedown of a village, as a private. You’re not going to have a platoon, and as a private, you’re not going to have enough to do with the planning to really understand what is involved anyway.

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In regards to the mountaintop vs CAS, modernity does pose some daunting challenges. Historically you would want walls and other static defenses, but good luck these days with shaped charges/ IEDs, even in a Mad-Max grid down yadda yadda. I don’t know what the answer here is, if anyone does.

I suspect there is a place for walls and static defenses, but most of that depends on the METT-TC analysis. We are incorporating some static barriers, but they are extremely limited.

 

You mentioned areas that would become hostile to certain demographics without rule of law; Besides a willingness to perform extreme violence, what is your plan since your family isn’t Christian? I too grew up and live in the South, let’s not kid ourselves on the potential for sectarian violence.

1) We don’t flaunt the fact that we’re not of the Book. It’s not a secret, but we don’t throw it in people’s faces either. 2) Our people know, and don’t care. Our shared values, customs, and traditions, are still there, despite the lack of a shared religion. So, in the end, we rely on the security of kith-and-kin.

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How would you advise I get friends and family to become more preparedness-minded? They’re all right-of-center politically, but I think the relative peace and a (albeit ineffectual) Trump presidency has made them complacent.

I can’t get half the concealed carriers to actually carry their pistol, and forget about a tourniquet or flashlight. I also can’t get 95% of them to even consider going for a ham license. I just know they’ll be panic-buying ammo and talking about SHTF when the next Democrat inevitably gets in the WH. How can I get through to these people to prepare NOW?

The only advice I can offer is to keep doing the good work. Set the example. Point out to people examples of what is important, and offer guidance when they are ready. Mostly, set an example by being prepared for an “uncertain” future, while also being successful in the now.

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In the process of sitting with my mother, I had some access to Internet, and was watching some YouTube videos the other night. If you’re not watching the videos from Jas. Townsend and Sons, under the YT channel name “Townsend,” you’re doing yourself a disservice. They are a company out of Ohio that sells historical reenactor gear for the 17th and 18th centuries. One of their videos that I watched (I watched a LOT of them), was on laundering clothes in the 18th century. I learned a useful trick for cleaning wool….

Apparently (I haven’t used this yet), you can make a paste out of diatamaceous earth (DE) and a small bit of water. Rub that onto a stain or soiled spot on your wool garment, without grinding it into the fiber. Then, let it dry. Shake out the garment, or brush off the DE, and it should have pulled out the soil. Certainly worth a try, and I will be using it, this winter.

I’m also going to try their method for salting pork in the coming months, and I suspect I will make some potted meat, in the form of breakfast sausage. I’ve seen the idea before, but like a lot of topics, it sort of went in one ear, cogitated around in my brain for a few minutes, then got shoved out the other ear by some new idea or concept coming in.

The Survival Retreat Facility: Design Planning Considerations in Theory and Practice, Part One

US Army Special Forces, like the rest of the US military, has a set of doctrine regarding the establishment, maintenance, protection, and even closure, of tactical facilities, under field conditions. In current SF doctrine, those facilities are referred to as “Special Forces Tactical Facilities.” These can range from a small, partially developed patrol base for the ODA, all the way up to an SFOB (Special Forces Operating Base), or what used to be called an “A-Camp.”

Doctrinally, the role of the SF TACFAC is “to support special operations and function as a tactical and operational base.” That is, they serve as a defensive base for the operational detachment, a base for projecting offensive force outwards, and as a center for developing, improving, and maintaining relationships with the local national populace and host-nation forces.

Over time, the TACFAC helps provide for establishment, restoration, and improvements of many local HN community and government services and systems. These essential support systems for the TACFAC and surrounding HN communities are best captured by the acronym SWEAT-MSS (security, water, electricity, administration, trash, medical, sewage, and shelter). Eventually, the SF TACFAC will be returned to the control of the HN government through a relief-in-place (RIP).

Taking our holistic, Permaculture view of preparedness, that seems an awful lot like what our retreat locations—whether you are in a rural, suburban, or urban environment—should be, doesn’t it? After all, if we’ve realized that the idea of Ma, Pa, and the kids, all by their lonesomes, with a year’s supply of beans, bullets, and band-aids, is not such a sustainable plan after all (and, seriously, if you haven’t realized it yet….it’s really not), then we know we need “community,” either in the form of a close-knit group of friends and family—kith-and-kin—or a trusted, small village or neighborhood of people with shared values.

Whether you’re looking at the kith-and-kin clan model, or the village defense model, as your solution, one of the most-often cited “problems” that preppers and survivalists face is the lack of fellow travelers on the path to preparedness. On the other hand, if you have even just four or five people—nuclear family members, best buds, or siblings/cousins, etc—who are doing their best to prepare, and you have a location that can be secured with some effort, you can begin the development of a retreat that will double as your very own UW TACFAC, when the time comes to up the security game.

In the appropriate field manuals (the Special Forces Tactical Facilities manual is a distribution restricted document, with distribution limited to US government agencies and their contractors, with distribution to JFKSWCS students from foreign countries on a case-by-case basis), the defensive purposes of the SF TACFAC are listed as:

–deter and defeat enemy attacks.

–achieve economy of force (by which they mean, require the least amount of personnel possible to defend the facility, releasing more available personnel for offensive operations).

–retain control of key terrain, including human terrain in the form of the local populace.

–protect the populace, critical assets, and infrastructure.

–develop intelligence, particularly local intelligence.

Since those same purposes are pertinent to the discussion of our survival retreat locations, we can see that, when combined with a modified version of the SWEAT-MSS acronym, this provides us a pretty solid basis for consideration of needs for the survival retreat.

After all, we need to be able to use our survival retreat to:

–deter and defeat attacks by hostile outside elements. Depending on collapse scenario, these outside elements could fit a number of different descriptions, ranging from unorganized, starving or near-starving refugees, to paramilitary bands with varying levels of organization and training, to local government forces trying to requisition materials and supplies “for the common good,” to federal or foreign regular military occupation forces.

–since we are definitely limited in manpower, both initially, and via replacements, we certainly need to ensure that we can develop a retreat defense program that will achieve economy-of-force. Growing, gathering, and otherwise harvesting food, repairing, replacing, and/or adding on to infrastructure such as buildings for housing, storage, and more will deplete our available manpower pool, as will other priorities-of-work, ranging from food production and preparation, cleaning and maintenance, medical care, and even childcare and education. Despite these competing demands for manpower effort, we cannot afford, in a post-grid environment, to ignore the demands of 24/7 360-degree security. This means we are going to require a plan and design that allows us to achieve maximum economy-of-force, in order to allow us to provide that security, from the beginning, throughout the process of expanding and strengthening the facility, and recruiting, training, and initiating additional personnel.

–by developing a secure facility, that still allows us to interact with the local populace in a positive manner, we can maintain beneficial relations with that populace. We may not need—or want—to “control” the local human terrain, but we need to, at least, maintain the ability to control that populace in regards to their ability to cause problems for us. Additionally, by selecting the location for our retreat proactively, with security at the forefront of the considerations, we can leverage the location and design of the facility to maintain control over surrounding areas, tactically and operationally, through control of key terrain features.

As an example, although there are some very definite potential shortcomings to locating our farm on top of the mountain in our area—and acknowledging the fact that, in a world with close-air support (CAS), a mountaintop is not necessarily “the key terrain feature,”–in any post-grid/collapse scenario that doesn’t involve a hostile element that possesses CAS assets, being on top of the mountain really does work as a key terrain feature, since it allows for greater observation of the surrounding areas, and makes it significantly harder for dismounted or ground vehicle mounted hostile forces to attack our location effectively.

–Our survival retreat obviously needs to help us protect the populace of our immediate community. That’s why we have a survival retreat, whether it’s a modern, isolated rural survival “doomstead,” an urban tenement building, or a subdivision in the ‘burbs. Additionally, if we design it right, and plan our operations within the retreat area properly, it can be far more effective at protecting critical infrastructure (solar power systems, water catchment systems, housing buildings, etc) and assets (water wells, stock ponds, gardens, fields, livestock, vehicles, and more).

–Finally, a well-established retreat location, with a community of people who are known and liked and trusted by the local surrounding community members, has a far better chance of successfully gathering accurate, actionable intelligence information, via neighborhood gossip and informants, than the weirdo family with the doomstead, that refers to their neighbors as “sheeple,” and weirds everyone out by walking around town open-carrying firearms, while talking about government conspiracies and how ZOG is coming to put us in underground concentration camps.

Of course, when we look at the SWEAT-MSS acronym however, there are some important missing factors, because our context is not a clone of the situation of a SFODA deploying to East Assholistan, with the knowledge and approval of the local HN government, and a supply train that enjoys air and naval superiority for the constant, regular resupply of critical support items, ranging from ammunition and ordnance, to food, water, and replacement clothing.

To really plan and develop an effective survival retreat, just like planning and developing an SF TACFAC, requires an accurate estimate of the situation, including analysis of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time, and civil considerations (METT-TC), as well as those factors essential to security of the facility, including an accurate OAKOC assessment (Observation and Fields of Fire, Avenues of Approach, Key Terrain Features, Obstacles, and Cover and Concealment). These are, of course, integrally synergistic issues that influence and impact each other (for a thorough discussion of mission-planning, including both METT-TC and OAKOC, including how they interrelate, see Volume One of The Reluctant Partisan!).

In SF doctrine, a SF TACFAC may be developed by breaking new ground, and building up from bare dirt, or by using an existing facility that may need less improvements to be functional. The same considerations that help the detachment determine which of these is more contextually accurate for their situation, can be useful—with a couple of minor modifications—to the survival retreat:

–Is the AO permissive, uncertain, or hostile? This applies, in our context, both right now, and in the future, assuming a loss of government security force availability. There are neighborhoods—and even entire rural villages—in the USA today that are perfectly fine and safe for pretty much anyone to move into, that will be completely untenable for certain demographic groups, as soon as the police quit answering the phones. At the same time, there are environments that, right now, would be hostile to legitimate, effective preparedness planning and preparation, but because of the lack of prepared neighbors in the surrounding community, would be the very definition of permissive for anyone capable of protecting themselves, and maybe even providing protection for neighbors who need such assistance.

–Is the facility to be located in an urban, suburban, or rural location? Building from scratch is considerably more feasible on undeveloped or under-developed rural land, than in a suburban or urban environment. At the same time, while you might be having a brand-new house built in the suburbs, HOA covenants, building code enforcement, and nosy neighbors may prevent your ability—or even willingness—to incorporate much in the way of effective preparedness security options in the building plan, while purchasing an already extant structure, even in a heavily-urban neighborhood, may actually facilitate “remodeling” that allows for the addition of these options, out of sight of outside observers.

An example of this could range from the purchase of a small apartment complex, and remodeling it for protection, before leasing the apartments to select friends and family, to the purchase of a building or complex in an industrial or light-industrial area, and turning it into a defensible outpost (while I’ve actually heard of people doing both of these, and personally know a guy who did the warehouse thing, I can’t imagine being remotely interested in this option myself, so don’t expect much commentary on that side of things, from me).

–Is the potential facility logistically sustainable? An isolated, rural retreat, in much of the vaunted “American Redoubt” is logistically sustainable…for as long as you have rice and beans stored for. There are significant portions of the Redoubt that are not particularly amenable to small-scale vegetable gardening, without extensive external inputs. Other parts of the region are amenable to it, with extensive Permaculture-type development work to prepare the location for sustainable growing. That’s not to say that retreating to the Redoubt is a bad idea…as long as you have considered the logistical sustainability of your retreat, in accordance with your concept of what the future will look like…and assuming you turn out to be correct.

At the same time, while an urban or suburban retreat location may seem untenable, it IS possible to survive a complete collapse, for multiple years and even multiple decades, in urban areas. As I discussed in Volume Two of The Reluctant Partisan, the populations of two different urban cities, that are often used as textbook examples of the the hellishness of urban areas in collapses, Mogadishu, Somalia, and Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovenia, both actually increased in population during their collapse years (and, remember, Sarajevo was under siege and regular bombardment by artillery during that time frame, while Somalia was ruled by warring gangs, armed with automatic weapons, RPGs, and mortars!). Logistically, support may come from outside the urban area, either through smuggling or open trade agreements (one example of trade items in a US collapse might include stripping building materials and supplies from abandoned buildings, for trade to rural communities outside the urban area, in trade for food), or it may be internal, through the use of intensive urban gardening and permaculture practices. Utility logistics may be easier to develop in an urban area, during a collapse. Solar panels and inverters are in wide use in most urban areas on commercial buildings these days, and there are a lot more forklifts (forklift batteries are a popular choice for off-grid electrical systems) in urban warehouse districts than in the boondocks. Hell, setting your PV system up now, and getting used to it, without drawing attention to yourself, would be a hell of a lot easier in an “abandoned” warehouse in a city, than it is even on my remote rural location!

–Is the local security situation adequate? What is the local defense and protection situation? Is the local constabulary, whether municipal police department, rural sheriff’s department, or unofficial “gang” enforcement, actually adequate to prevent, or at least, reduce the chances of criminal predation now? Is the local constabulary corrupt? If they are corrupt, can they be coerced or bribed to leave you alone? Do you have the resources to achieve either of those routes?

Is there a local militia or community-defense organization that you can join, or at least coordinate with? Are there are other preparedness groups that you can coordinate mutual assistance pacts with? Do those preparedness groups, militia, or community-defense organizations demonstrate a level of training and ability that makes them worth coordinating with, or are they so apparently inept that they might as well not even exist, and you can basically ignore them as an organized potential threat?

–Is it possible for your organization to conduct Civil Affairs (CA) or Psychological Operations (PSYOP) on demographic groups in the local area to modify, change, or block threats from human terrain factors? Does your group have the knowledge, training, motivation, to plan, execute, and assess the effectiveness of these operations, if you do attempt them? Do you have access to people with those abilities? Can those people be recruited, or even temporarily hired, to conduct those operations?

In addition to the SFODs that will occupy the SF TACFAC (it may be occupied by ODAs, ODBs, or even larger elements, the SF TACFAC, may also house interpreters and other friendly force personnel on either a permanent or temporary basis, ranging from other US or multinational military, interagency, or contractor personnel, HN personnel in the form of military, constabulary, or civilian government, or irregular forces, whether local or third-nation (TN), working with the SFOD. To plan a proper TACFAC operation, the detachment must take into account both the size of these elements, how long they may need to be housed, and any cultural considerations related to those groups, when developing their TACFAC.

Similarly, when developing our retreat facilities, we need to recognize that, just because “our group” only comprises a half-dozen married couples, only half of which have teenage children, that may not be the entirety of the population of the retreat, once things get “sporting.” Elderly parents, adult cousins or siblings, and juvenile extended family members, as well as extended friends, or even bypassers who turn out to have potentially useful skills should all be considered as potential “Well, we can manage one more person, because they’re extremely dear to me!” additions.

It’s popular, and easy right now, to say, “Fuck those people! They should’ve contributed to the preps, if they wanted to show up!” But, when the rubber meets the road, if you tell your wife, “Hey, honey, sorry, but you knew your Mom and Dad, Sister, and nephews were not going to be allowed to come here when SHTF!” you’re as likely to end up with your wife and kids leaving to find their way with Grammy and Poppy, or with an 8” Chef’s knife buried in your chest one night, as you are to hear your wife say, “Yeah, you’re right, honey. Fuck my Mom and Dad!”

If you tell the wife of your best buddy that no, she can’t bring her adult sister and four nephews along, after her brother-in-law was killed in a riot, you might get your way, but you’re probably going to lose your buddy, his wife, and all the additional security they represent, as well.

This means, in a nutshell, that when planning, you need to make sure that you’ve got room, and materials, to help house and provide sustenance for, additional, unplanned personnel. The “traditional” prepper plan for that, of course, was to stockpile a couple cases of Mosin-Nagants or SKS, and some cheap surplus LBE for those people, and just tell them they better show up with a couple buckets of food, and camping gear.

I’ve always had a couple of issues with that approach, even when I was a kid, reading about it. First of all, if someone shows up without a firearm, am I really going to hand them a rifle? Do they even know how to safely handle a firearm? Sure, I can train them, but to really teach them, it’s going to take some time. That training time is going to take away from other essential tasks they need to be doing, like putting seed in the ground to grow some more food, and getting some weatherproof, environmentally appropriate shelter up.

Our farm is big enough that, with good planning and organization, we can maintain and expand our food-production capabilities, and still provide comfortable, housing, in a village format, for all of our “clan-of-choice.” We’re also surrounded by unused, and/or underused, open land. Some is cow pasture that is in use, other is forest or pasture that is not in use. My plan has long been (and I’ve discussed this with other SF veterans in the preparedness community), when the expected “unexpected” folks arrive (anyone who is family is always welcome, even if we don’t honestly believe they have the ability or wisdom to make it here, in time), without a pot to piss in, is to hand them a tarp shelter, a small bucket of seeds, a hoe, shovel, and rake, a breeding pair of rabbits, a couple of laying hens, and a marked out space of ground. For home defense, they will be handed a spear and a plywood shield. They will be shown how to fabricate a shelter out of the tarp, and then given instruction on how to use a bucket for a composting toilet, how to plant their seeds, and how to care for their new livestock. Finally, they will receive a welcome briefing: “Welcome to the farm. We (the farm, including the clan-of-choice that helped build this), get 10% of whatever you produce for five years, then 5% thereafter. You owe us two days a week for the first month for training, and then two days a month for security duties, and one day a week for community work efforts.”

If they don’t like that? Well, there’s the road. We gave them a chance. This idea though, that I’m going to hand some knucklehead that’s never even fired a gun, a rifle and ammunition, without first teaching them to use it properly, as part of a team, under stress, strikes me as preposterous, under the circumstances. Sure, as an SF guy, I might be working with local Gs, without time to “train” them up to my standards, but if they fuck up and kill one of us, it’s just the ODA. If someone in my post-grid community fucks up and kills one of us, it might very well be one of my kids….

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Doctrinally, a SF TACFAC has “three broad phases of development,” which are “initial, temporary, and permanent, whether in a rural or urban environment.” Because of this, the TACFAC can be classified by phase and by environment, such as initial/rural or temporary/urban. The transformation of the TACFAC through these phases, if it happens, is mission-driven, and it is possible—and often the case—to begin a TACFAC at a higher level than initial (bare dirt) phase. An example of this can be seen in the rent/lease of already established, walled compounds in Afghanistan, for the establishment of temporary and permanent TACFACs in an already defensible, habitable place. In these cases, some of the basic sustainment and support systems are already in place. “Therefore, development of a specific TACFAC may begin at the temporary (intermediate) or even permanent (well-developed) phase.” With the obvious exception of the above-cited Afghanistan example, this will more generally be the case in urban TACFACs than in rural ones. This was often the case in Iraq, for example, when captured Iraqi Baath Party government buildings were commandeered for the use of SF elements as TACFACs. This is because, as mentioned previously in this article, urban areas often already contain numerous suitable existing structures, and are more likely to have some forms of the requisite support infrastructure.

In a post-grid environment, here in the States however, while it is still possible to start a retreat on the bare ground of raw or reclaimed land, which would constitute the Initial phase, most often, even rural retreats are going to to begin with some buildings and infrastructure support already in place. Additionally, in the post-grid environment, the supporting infrastructure available in an urban environment may or may not be functioning (there are cities where the water and sewage utilities are gravity-fed, for example, meaning that, as long as your building facilities work, you’ll still have the ability to utilize municipal utilities, even without the power grid functioning).

Like SF units, which may operate in environments as varied as the deserts and urban megalopolises of Iraq, to the mountains of Afghanistan, or the jungles of Latin America or SE Asia, preppers may need to establish retreat locations in a variety of different environments. Because of this, a facility may be further classified by specific environmental conditions, such as rural/desert or rural/jungle. A retreat facility in the Red Desert of Wyoming will look as different from a retreat facility in urban Portland, Oregon, as a SF TACFAC in Afghanistan does from a SF TACFAC in the Phillipine jungle.

This, of course, ties into the Permaculture principles, and working within the limits of the local environment. A SF TACFAC in Iraq looks different than a SF TACFAC in the Phillipine jungle, because the environments are different, so even though they fill the same needs, function remarkably similar, and have similar support system requirements, they will still be different, driven by the differences in the surrounding environment.

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The essential support systems of the SF TACFAC, as we established at the beginning of this article, are doctrinally captured by the acronym SWEAT-MSS. These support systems are also critical to the retreat facility. Unfortunately, they alone are not adequate for support of the retreat facility, simply because the logistical chain enjoyed by the SF unit, is not something we are likely to have in the post-grid environment. Nevertheless, it makes sense to start with the SWEAT-MSS foundation, and expand on it to cover those elements not covered, but still essential to our contextual requirements.

In both the SF doctrine, and for our contextual requirements, “Security” is listed first. This is not because the typical “III%4LIFE” gun-crazy prepper in his multi-cam jammies, with his “North Idaho Sniper Rifle” SKS, with Tapco furniture, and 45x Tasco scope has the right idea. Instead, it is because, having every other logistical infrastructure support requirement dialed in, to perfection, but not being able to secure it adequately, simply means we’ve built something really nice for some roving warlord’s band to come and take from us. This is the biggest issue with the resilience/preparedness side of the typical Permaculture advocate. They’re all about building resilient, durable, sustainable facilities that could allow them to survive and thrive, and build a stronger community around them, post-grid….but they can’t wrap their head around the idea that they might need to smoke-check some fuckers if they want to keep it, and see it utilized in a manner in accordance with their principles.

While developing security requires an estimate of the situation, and the situation will change as you develop the retreat facility, you still need to start with a security plan for what you have now, and that requires having an estimate of the current situation.

While Administration, doctrinally, mostly refers to the daily administrative and logistical considerations of training HN forces, out of the SF TACFAC, for our purposes, we’re going to utilize that category to subdivide and cover many of the other essential administrative and logistical considerations of keeping ourselves and the retreat community functioning. This will include, most importantly, coverage of the Rule of 3s, and how we will maintain survivability for the populace within the retreat facility, as well as how we can begin expanding our sphere of influence outside of the retreat facility, to support infrastructure recovery and repair, development, and protection. The importance of doing this is often overlooked in preparedness circles, but cannot be overemphasized, from a preparedness perspective, if for no other reason than the goodwill it produces in the surrounding local populace will go a long way to increasing our survivability, through allowing us to build rapport, and develop mutually beneficial relationships with the surrounding populace, allowing them to provide logistical support, intelligence information support, and even security support. This development, in essence, allows us to develop the local populace surrounding the retreat facility, into our auxiliary.

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SF doctrine utilizes an analytical tool called a Critical Nodes Matrix (CNM) as a planning guide to aid the SFOD in not only establishing an SF TACFAC, but in improving an already existing one. The CNM “identifies the environment and different development phases,” and cross-references those with the SWEAT-MSS requirements. It allows the team to analyze the specific requirements across the essential support systems, to identify critical requirements throughout the phases of the facility development. Through this process, it is possible to develop a logical progression of needs betweens the different phases.

While SFOD generally require nonorganic support to properly run a TACFAC and to allow them to properly function at full operational capacity, the retreat facility may be forced to rely solely on organic support for both internal operations and external operations. In either case however, a CNM can help identify existing shortfalls and gaps in personnel, equipment, and materials needed to establish or improve a facility. By identifying these shortfalls early, during the analysis process, before shit falls apart, we can increase the chances of successfully planning for and locating those needs, while they are still available. This may range from personnel needs like vehicle or small-engine mechanics, and medical personnel—or even extra gunslingers for security—to operational and equipment needs ranging from “Hey, we’re gonna need a LOT more ammunition, and we need to put together a large-scale reloading facility on-site, with appropriate components,” to “we only have enough antibiotics to treat forecast injuries for a dozen people, but we expect to have three dozen people living and working on-site within six weeks of grid-down! We either need to source a lot more antibiotics, we need all of our medically-trained personality to start looking at local plant-based antibiotic alternatives, we need to set up a lab to produce penicillin from scratch, or we better prepare on massive casualties from stupid shit like chronic dysentery!”

Ultimately, properly used, the CNM can facilitate proper development of a retreat facility plan and development, through the development of primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency (PACE) plans. For example, if an existing critical node in the SWEAT-MSS model fails, anywhere within the matrix, the previous critical node can be used as a substitute. An example of this actually occurred on our farm recently. Our initial phase sewage management plan was the simple bucket composting toilet system. Our permanent plan is a low-water use flush composting toilet system. The temporary (intermediate) phase plan was the use of a self-contained flush containment toilet, like those available for RVs, with small internally-contained catchment that could be dumped less frequently than the bucket.

Unfortunately, about two weeks after transitioning to the temporary plan, while developing the planning, and gathering the material needs for the permanent plan, we suffered a failure of then temporary system. To whit, the wife decided it stank to high heaven, and the piston pump flush system actually didn’t produce adequate water flow to reliably flush toilet tissue and feces. About 50% of the time, you’d have to dump extra water into the toilet, via a small pitcher, to gain adequate flow to complete the flushing process. This meant either A) we could stick with the temporary, completely inadequate plan, B) we could accelerate the development of the permanent plan, which would have thrown other planning into disarray (like a rebuild of the bathroom addition that needs to occur first, and that we don’t currently have the funding to achieve anyway), or C) we could revert to the temporary plan of using the bucket composting toilet method. Pretty easy choice, and it was a no-brainer, since it was the CNM default fall-back, anyway. Additionally, because we had already used that method for well over two years, we knew it worked, well (in fact, really the only reason we are planning on the flush composting system is because I’m lazy (well, busy anyway), and don’t want to have to carry the bucket out regularly. It would be easier to just have the compost flush automatically into a vermicompost bin, and the water drain into a separate containment system for fertilizer use. By all accounts I have found, this ends up meaning you can actually utilize the humanure compost sooner, and you don’t ever have to empty the containment system unless you need the compost, or simply want to use the compost.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to discuss the development of a rural retreat facility, in the form of our farm. This works particularly well for a couple of reasons. First of all, unlike a lot of preppers, even in rural retreats, we started with raw land, in the form of reclaimed pasture that is now a mixture of second-growth hardwood forest, young scrub forest, and meadows with brambles and shrubbery developing. We did not have a single functional structure anywhere on the land when we purchased it.

Second, it works well because while it has a small unit developing the facility (my wife, myself, and our children), we do have the ability to occasionally augment our workforce through recruitment of members of the clan-of-choice, and the plan is to develop it in a manner that will allow for a much larger permanent party population. Finally, it has—literally—gone through all three phases of the development process.

Like the SF ODA initially occupying a TACFAC site, our major concerns during the initial phase were basic survival needs: security, water, sanitation, food, and electrical power (to operate tools and communications devices).

Housing was rudimentary. We weren’t so primitive as to be living out of our rucksacks, or even in a tent like a GP Medium, but we started out with a “portable building” cabin, that we knew was temporary and short-term, so we didn’t need to do a lot of improvement on the temporary housing. Because of that fact, much of our environmental planning, even in the cabin, was “primitive.” We relied on a very small woodstove, sleeping bags, and sleep pads on the floor. We cooked on a two-burner camp stove, and our refrigerator was an ice chest. Like the initial phase of the SF TACFAC, for the initial phase of the rural retreat facilities, tends to be pretty barren and primitive.

Electric power may be provided by small commercial 5KW generators, like those assigned to many SFODs. Alternatively, as we’ve discussed in these pages, a solar generator may be a more resilient option. While a solar generator, whether manufactured or self-built may be more expensive than a cheap, big box store 5KW generator, it will also last incredibly longer, and the maintenance and operational costs very quickly even that cost out, since you don’t need to replace fuel.

Our planning for the initial phase development indicated our electrical needs were relatively limited. We needed—wanted—to be able to operate a few lights, a small television and DVD player, and charge laptops, cellphones and two-way radios. Equally critical for our needs however, was the ability to run power tools. While we were able to run the household needs on a single 210W solar panel, an inexpensive PWM inverter, and an auto parts store inverter, with three little 100amp hour deep-cycle batteries, the start-up draw alone for even the smaller power tools was too much for the inverter, and would have drawn the battery bank down too quickly as well. This required the use of a 5KW generator initially. These were quickly replaced in the temporary phase by the use of 20V battery powered power tools, although some tools still require the use of the generator. In the event the batteries for these tools are lost, or die, and are irreplaceable by a quick, albeit expensive trip to Lowe’s, the reversion to the use of the generator for power tools, and the use of manual hand tools.

Basic comforts, such as indoor plumbing and running water, typically are nonexistent.” Many rural retreat facilities have the same issue, of course. In such cases, many contemporary preppers rely on hauling potable water from town or a neighbor’s house (we actually did this for a number of years when I was a kid, because the well water was so sulfur and iron laden). The doctrinal—and better—option, is to ensure a reliable fresh water source in close proximity. Our farm has three year-round, spring-fed ponds on it. With a little filtration and/or treatment, we have a fundamentally unlimited source of fresh water. An additional source of course, that we developed very early in our initial phase development, and still utilize in the temporary (and, yes, even into the permanent phase) phase, was rainwater catchment and storage. This can range from the food-grade 55-gallon drum we used in the small cabin, to the doubled and connected 275-gallon IBC totes we currently use (and are an exceedingly common solution for off-grid living), or a more permanent solution in the use of larger plastic containment solutions, or even ferro-concrete, underground cisterns.

While the SFOD may utilize slit trenches and cat holes in the initial phase, for those of us with wives and children, the use of traditional outhouses is one, slightly more realistic option, or the even more function-stacking (there’s that Permaculture thing again….) composting toilet that can provide safe, sanitary waste disposal, as well as feed for soil and plants in the garden and orchards.

So, we’ve covered “water,” “electricity,” “sewage,” and “shelter,” of the SWEAT-MSS acronym. That, of course, leaves us with “security and protection,” “trash,” “medical,” and “administrative” issues.

Burning trash is actually legally verboten in our area, although that doesn’t stop anybody from actually doing so. The problem of course, with burning trash, is that not everything we produce as refuse, is burnable. Our system, for the initial and temporary phases, has been multifaceted. Step one is to sort household trash. What is burnable gets burned, of course, while recyclables get taken to the recycling center (the value of which is, of course, questionable at best. Between “recyclables” that cannot actually be recycled, and the preponderance of “recycling” companies to actually ship materials off-shore to other countries for recycling, where they are conveniently dumped in the ocean, the value of “recycling” is—at best—questionable.

On the other hand, if we don’t do that, we either have to send it to the landfill, or establish a landfill dump on the farm. While that may be the only practical solution in a post-grid environment, it’s not something I’m interested in doing until I cannot avoid it. The better option, of course, is to do everything you can to reduce household trash, and to make your best effort to limit what is produced to burnable items, as much as possible.

Most yard, farm, and construction debris is far easier to dispose of effectively, of course. Organic materials, such as wood and fibers, can be composted or burned, and most other materials, such as surplus or used fencing, nails, buckets, and etc, can be set aside, and stored for re-use.

In the SF TACFAC, most medical needs are, of course, going to taken care of by the ODA’s 18Ds, with the availability of an HLZ (Helicopter Landing Zone) for transport of casualties via CASEVAC helicopters, as a back-up. Of course, most of us aren’t Deltas, and even fewer of us have military CASEVAC birds on call.

For most preppers, even in rural retreat facilities, the primary medical resource for emergencies is still medical insurance and the Emergency Department (ED) of the closest hospital, with lesser medical issues taken care of by a Primary Care Provider (PCP)/Family Physician, and home care out of a first-aid kit, by Ma or Pa. The problem from a preparedness perspective, of course, is that, post-grid, that ED is not going to be much of an option, and the PCP may not even be available. Instead, we will be relying on our own medical training—or the medical training of others in the community. This could range from the ideal of an experienced MD, or a former 18D or USAF PJ (to be clear, nobody in our clan-of-choice is any of these, more’s the pity…so, if you’re an 18D and are reading this, and looking for a community…) to a RN, paramedic, EMT, former combat medic, or the local midwife, or someone like me who was nothing but a knuckle-dragging gunslinger, with an interest in trauma medicine, and took advantage of the Deltas, to keep boned up on Combat Lifesaver and TC3 skills.

In our extended group of folks, we have a MD (pediatric), a chiropractor, several nurses, a few other advanced care providers of various sorts, and lots of country moms and grannies, with decades of experience doctoring farm injuries, in lieu of an expensive hospital visit. Of course, with children in the equation, if I said, “We don’t go to the ED or Doctor, because we don’t have health insurance, and that shit is expensive.” Fortunately, I don’t have to, because, as I noted above, we have a pediatric doctor in the extended clan…

With the loss to a heart defect of our first son, of course, any and all subsequent pregnancies have been “high risk,” so my wife has gone for prenatal care, but beyond that, for she and I, all of our medical care thus far, has been at home. Much of that has been possible, because of safety practices, that have prevented any occurrence of serious injury, of course. In a post-grid environment, where the ED and our PCP (which we do also have, although we pay cash for care, when necessary), may not be available, when injuries do occur, I’m afraid our pediatrician is going to be dramatically overworked, between taking care of most serious injuries, and having to pass on her expertise to apprentices. However, the use of good safety practices around the facility will alleviate that somewhat.

A number of studies I’ve read have pretty convincingly concluded that, at least in the short-term grid down experiences we’ve witnessed in this country, and in a number of longer, failed-state, grid-down scenarios in other countries, the single most common reasons for needing medical attention are a) lack of hygiene, leading to pathogen transfer creating disease vectors, and b) injuries from working with basic equipment that people are unfamiliar with, in the performance of tasks they are not educated in the performance of. This could range from a middle-class, suburban accountant suddenly forced to chop firewood with an axe or a chainsaw, causing massive injury to himself or bystanders with the tools, to people making common mistakes, even amongst experienced practitioners, like rolling a tractor or UTV over themselves. So, for the medical planning issues of the retreat facility, perhaps the single most important medical planning we can do is good hygiene practices (Thank you, germ-theory of disease transmission! Ha! Can’t take that knowledge away from us, can you Mr. Apocalypse!?), and the use of proper education and PPE around tool-centric tasks.

Administrative, as we discussed is a very broad area, of course, ranging from food production and preparation, to the stockpiling, storage, and disbursement of equipment and tools ranging from garden tools, construction tools and materials, PPE, and temporary shelter options for newcomers.

Finally, of course, although it’s the most important, as we discussed, is the security planning issue. In the current environment, our security planning is not vastly different from what it will be post-grid, although we have less people actually on the facility to participate in that aspect. During the initial occupation of the initial phase SF TACFAC, security is larger provided via the implementation of a 24 hour security plan, just as in a patrol base, and the use of short-duration security patrols in the immediate vicinity. As the TACFAC develops, of course, security planning progresses as well, with greater protective measures being put into place. “These measures include longer patrols, listening posts (LP), observation posts (OP), and additional wire around the facility perimeter. After basic security is established initial construction projects—such as inner and outer perimeter barriers—are built. Early projects may be hampered by the limited equipment and material assets carried by the SF unit.

Without giving too much away, the only “wire emplacements” we have on our farm are perimeter and interior fencing, that we use as the inner foundation for the development of hedges. We have a gate that we do keep closed, and the property is posted. More important is the very large protection dog that, at 200# and jet black in color, scares the living fuck out of even our own people when he comes barreling up to them in the dark. Ultimately though, the dog is a “speed bump,” in the security planning. All he’s got to do is alert me to something not being “right,” and then slow down the threat long enough for me to gun up and slip out the back door to maneuver around. More important than even the dog however, in the current environment, is simply having the reputation of a guy who knows what he is about, and will not tolerate misdeeds. That can’t be gained from talking about what a bad-ass you are, of course. It has to be developed by example.

While there are probably a half-dozen neighbors who have a rough idea of what my professional background is, most don’t. The ones that do didn’t hear it from me, but from family friends who knew about it before I even moved back to the area. Those neighbors that don’t know my background however, do know that we train weekly, and I train daily. The local ne’er-do-wells, in other words, have to make a risk-benefit analysis, and it just doesn’t pencil out for them.

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So, there is a “brief” introduction to some of the SF doctrine relevant to retreat design theory, and some practical, contextually useful examples of that theory being put to use. In the next installment of this article series, which will be posted on the Patreon Page next week, we will discuss the actual planning and design process for SF TACFACs, and how that can be modified for our requirements.