Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reposting In Light Of Baltimore. And A Link From Matt Bracken.

In light of what is going on in Baltimore, I offer this repost.

A Review Of "A Failure Of Civility"

I had read about this book in passing about a year ago and had downloaded the excerpt of it to read at length. I remember about how impressed I was about the length of the excerpt. Most free excerpts from authors only contain a chapter or two at most. The excerpt for A Failure of Civility (AFOC) was right around 80 pages in length. The two authors care that their information and knowledge is shared with as many people as possible.

A while back the Defensive Training Group had some copies available for purchase. I snapped one up right away.

Immediately I noticed the larger sized font and short paragraphs. The short paragraphs allow for concise, focused thoughts and ideas and the large font can be read under a flashlight or by firelight if necessary. For even more focus, there are gray stand out boxes that will explore a thought or define a term in more depth.

However, the items that really stuck out to me is the use of stories, both real and imagined, of what life is like under the conditions of AFOC. Stories from the Balkans (Selco's account, cities in the grip of rioting here in the states, and then imagined scenarios to drive home a point were perfect in grabbing the reader's attention and impart necessary knowledge.

Underlying it all was the idea that "bugging out" is not going to work for the vast majority of people. Instead, to tactically understand your neighborhood and develop the relationships to create an underpinning for the creation of Neighborhood Protection Plans (NPPs) and Neighborhood Protection Teams (NPTs) is the key to surviving. These are not "militias" or civilian "SWAT" teams, these are the grouping of neighbors who take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting their neighborhood.

The authors are unblinking in their portrayal of that possible reality. They list 22 possible Catastrophic Events that would change life as we know it that they believe could happen in our lifetime: financial collapse, war, EMP, cyber warfare, natural disasters, and so forth. No zombie apocalypse here. Yet the effects on everyday life for the survivors of such are listed. Common diseases that are minor today could be fatal in a AFOC situation. Many of things that happen behind closed doors today would be done in possible full view of others. The mental and psychological planning and preparing for these kinds of events is just as important as the physical preparations.

The book is really focused more on the suburban survivor of these kinds of events. There are interesting chapters on surviving in a multi-storied buildings. Having lived on an edge of a large city for the last several years, I can really appreciate the direction the authors have taken with this book.

Right now the Defensive Training Group is out of copies, but keep checking back on the link above to check for availability.

Matt Bracken posted this article back in September of 2012. It has stuck with me since then. The skirmishing in Baltimore brought back to the forefront of my mind.

The illustration above is utilized by Mr. Bracken to map the meta-terrain of a 2nd civil war in America. Again, study the modern examples of the Spanish Civil War and the unpleasantness in the Balkans. Throw in a dash of Rhodesia, shake and bake and see what you get. 

I fear that it is going to be a long, hot, and dangerous summer.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

An Incomplete Time Capsule Experience. What does a MRE from the 1980's look like today?

I had this MRE since 1988 or 1989. My father brought it home with several others while working at Fort Riley during the 1980's. It was part of my bugout bag during my college days in the early 1990s. Then it was relegated to the bottom of other bags for far too long. I was recently moving some stuff around and came across this old MRE and thought it would be interesting to find out what happened to the items inside of it.

I opened it up last weekend and took the two pictures seen here in this post.

At first look it is evident to see that the main entree is very puffy. This is a tell tale sign of spoilage. The peanut butter package was still kneadable. The beverage powder package was as hard as a rock. The dehydrated pears and chocolate covered cookie packages looked fine. The ubiquitous cracker looked the same as they do today, color difference of the package not withstanding. I did not open anything else. I was waiting for a more suitable time to do a complete review. Then fate stepped in.

My wife (Household 6) saw the items setting on my workbench. Concerned that either one of our youngest children was going to try to sample it, or that one of the neighbor boys would try to eat it, she threw everything away.

I was not planning to try to eat anything. But I was disappointed that I did not get to open any of the packages to actually go eyes on the various food items. My guess that the actually nutritional value of the food was probably long gone, except for maybe the dehydrated pears.

However, just the picture showing the food items layed out gives us a good idea of how long a MRE can last when stored in various conditions.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Physiological Considerations During SHTF and WROL Scenarios

Having just come off of a two week intense military field training exercise, I had a personal experience that is relevant to a SHTF and WROL situation.

During most of the FTX, we were going for 24-36 hours consistently without sleep. Then when we would sleep, it was very little (3-4 hrs at most) and very uncomfortable (sitting up or leaning over or even standing up). However, there was a period that we were awake and moving in vehicles for over 40 hours. At about 0200 in the morning, I was using night vision monocular in order to help our vehicle's driver move in and around the desert terrain. All of a sudden I started noticing human faces in the sand. Realizing that many shapes and forms can be seen in nature, I initially thought nothing of it. However, very quickly I noticed that everywhere I looked I was seeing faces everywhere. The exhaustion hallucinations had started!

Looking through NVDs many natural objects take different colors and shapes than what they normally exhibit. There is a desert plant that takes the form and color of large boulders when viewed through NVDs. What was the next kicker was that these boulders began to morph and change shape into unnatural mythological creatures! The next stage of hallucinations was occurring. Finally, these same creatures just started to come up out of the ground and moving all over the place.

There are many causes of hallucinations, however, for this discussion, we are looking at the issue of hallucinations caused by exhaustion. Going for long periods of time with little to no sleep are a common stress item with many military training exercises. Knowing your body's and mind's limitations helps you plan for future operations. Consider this with your own preps in mind. You must be able to know when your mind and body hit the wall and it possible, move beyond it.

I knew that what I was experiencing was not real. Therefore, I was able to push through it and keep going. But how many of us know people who would not be able to move past those kind of experiences?

Add to this poor food intake, close quarters, poor hygiene, inadequate bathroom facilities, and the list goes on. Knowing your limits, knowing the limits of your family, extended family, and other group members will aid you in planning the every day activities of your NPT or retreat location. Most people can go without a single nights sleep and recover fairly quickly. However, when there is no real end in sight, and the sleep cycle is completely broken, there will be noticeable changes in the attitudes and capabilities of everyone involved.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

We Are Back!

The Division level training exercise is over. 11 days in the field. Constant sleep deprivation. Constant movement. Standing in a gunner's hatch for hours on end. There are physiological consequences for such things.