Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by SurviveInPlace.com and UrbanSurvivalPlayingCards.com. This week, we’re going to go over some great topics that readers brought up last week, including what to do about roadblocks after a major disaster…both if you’re an urban dweller trying to get to a retreat or if you live in a small town and want to protect yourself from refugees. We’re also going to touch on the issue of whether preparedness is a sign of a lack of faith, how to keep from getting shot if you use a firearm to stop a lethal force attack (like an active shooter) and I’ll share some audio with you of a rally in California from last week where people were calling for revolution.
I received a couple of questions this week about roadblocks after disasters and usually get several per month. They usually fall into one of these three categories:
Will I be able to get past law enforcement or criminal roadblocks and get out of my city after a disaster?
Will I be able to get through small town roadblocks and get to my relatives’ house or my retreat after a disaster?
And, for rural and small town readers—How can we protect our home/town from the golden horde trying to escape the city after a disaster.
Roadblocks are a serious matter. There is a possibility of illegal roadblocks put up by civilians, police roadblocks are already common during and after natural disasters, and many towns and small cities have plans in place to keep outsiders from nearby big cities from getting in in the event of a mass evacuation of the big city. It’s this third issue that we’re going to talk about today.
Some towns preposition assets. In fact, my wife and I have seen concrete block retaining wall components pre-positioned near choke points outside of a small town in the Western US. (They are concrete blocks that look like oversized legos that weigh thousands of pounds and are moved with cranes, front end loaders, or other heavy equipment.) In the event of a disaster, they can be quickly put into place as a complete blockade or to create a serpentine checkpoint.
More common are preparations that aren’t visible. Numerous small to medium sized communities directly outside of large cities or along major lines of probable refugee drift have plans in place to simply use semis, dump trucks, heavy construction equipment, and even pickups to keep outsiders from going through or getting into their towns.
When I first heard how serious small towns were getting about this after seeing what happened after Katrina, I realized just how vital it was going to be for everyone to have a workable plan to SurviveInPlace after a disaster. Some towns simply got overwhelmed and are still paying for it. They vowed to never let it happen again. And, as officials from those towns have met with officials from other towns at conferences and training events over the last few years, the wisdom and implementation of the idea has spread.
There are a couple of things that make writing about this difficult. First of all, none of the people who’ve confided in me really want their town known known for having a plan in place to turn away refugees. Second, for the same reason, most towns and cities who do have plans in place are understandably quiet about their plans. Third, towns that have plans in place don’t want their protocol for letting people in or through published. And fourth, the protocol varies from city to city.
The common denominator is that most small towns have a stressed infrastructure with their current population. Law enforcement, first responders, EMS, jails, electricity, water, sewer, and even the job market are all near capacity in most towns since excess capacity would be considered by many to be a waste of tax dollars. They know that they can’t handle a sudden influx of people who have basic needs but who won’t have jobs, so they have to protect themselves.
Almost all of them are planning on letting outsiders who can prove a connection to the town in or through. The connection might be a drivers’ license or car registration with a local address, property deed, utility bill, a note from the sheriff, or knowing someone who happens to be at the checkpoint when you roll up—there’s just no hard and fast rule.
Keep in mind that we’re not worried about everyday disasters here. We’re concerned about scenarios when there is a disaster that causes a breakdown in civil order and a sudden mass evacuation of at least one urban area. Electromagnetic pulse (EMP), Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), currency collapse, terrorist attack, major earthquake, etc.
So, that leaves two distinct groups of people that we need to cover—those who live in small towns and want to protect themselves from potential refugees and people from urban areas who plan on bugging out to a pre-defined location in a disaster.
For those who live in small towns or outside of small towns along the probable lines of drift for refugees from large cities, I find it very prudent to get together with local law enforcement to either be a part of the team that enforces roadblocks after a major disaster or help put a plan in place.
Being an urban dweller, I’m personally not real excited about that. Our family has decided that our best course of action in almost every instance during a post-disaster breakdown in civil order is to stay put and SurviveInPlace. If a scenario came up where staying put was no longer a possibility, then the very course of action that I’m suggesting to small town and rural dwellers would hurt our ability to relocate out of the city. So be it. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not a prudent course of action.
History has shown that refugees often act more like locusts than people. They’re in a life or death situation and just want the very basics to survive. Unfortunately, if your area can’t afford to dish out charity on a large scale for an unknown amount of time, you’ve got to protect yourself.
For people who want to bug out, you don’t have any control over whether random legal or illegal roadblocks will pop up between where you are and where you want to get to. You CAN look at a map and try to figure out where you would place roadblocks and create alternate and contingent plans based on where you think they’re most likely to occur.
If you have any towns between where you live and your bug-out location, you should also figure out alternate plans based on whether or not they have roadblocks in place. This could mean contacting local law enforcement and asking them what you’d need to do to get through their jurisdiction in an emergency.
You’re going to have to be careful with this. You may or may not want to tell them what the real scenario is that you’re considering. If you live in hurricane country, it’s easy—just stress that you’re not concerned about everyday hurricanes, but Katrina-like events. If you live near one of the top terrorist targets like NYC or DC, you’re probably safe to use the scenario of a dirty bomb. If you live in the eastern Midwest, you MIGHT be able to get away with voicing concerns over an earthquake along the New Madrid faultline. In any case, don’t share any more of your plans, what supplies you’ll be traveling with, or what you have at your bug-out location.
Whatever you find out, get the name and title (and ideally the business card) of the person you talked to and keep it with your bug-out gear if you find yourself in a bug-out situation. In fact, one “social engineering” tactic that you could use is to get the business card of as many senior law enforcement officials as possible along your route for ANY reason that you can. Then, if you run into a roadblock during a bug-out situation, pull out the card and any appropriate paperwork and say something like, “I’m under the understanding that I can go through to get to my xxxx.”
This is obviously the gambit of a desperate person, but notice that I didn’t suggest that you say that the official told you that you could get through nor did I suggest falsely saying that you have any kind of official relationship with the official.
If possible, you may find it easier to simply navigate around towns, although many rivers are difficult to cross anywhere other than near populated areas. In any case, if bugging out is part of your plan, make sure you have the logistics taken care of for getting through small towns.
In any case, this scenario emphasizes the need to have a plan to be able to SurviveInPlace right where you currently live if bugging out isn’t an option. If you don’t have a plan in place, I want to strongly encourage you to at least go to SurviveInPlace.com and read about the SurviveInPlace Urban Survival Course. It will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a plan to survive short, medium, and long term breakdowns in civil order in urban environments.
Are you in a small town and have protocol in place for refugees after a disaster? If so, please share your protocol, but DO NOT use your full name or give your location. The intent is to educate people who want to bug out from urban areas and help people from small towns shortcut the planning process.
Are you in an urban area and plan on bugging out through small towns in the event of a disaster? What preparations do you have in place to help you get through the small towns? Please share by commenting below.
Christian preparedness vs. faith
Last week, a reader asked about how to talk with Christians who believe that God will provide all they need and that preparing for disaster shows a lack of faith. They could be right. I don’t think so, but the possibility exists.
Noah prepared for the flood. Joseph prepared for the famine. 1 Timothy 5:8 says that we must provide for our families. Proverbs 22:3 says that the wise man sees trouble ahead and acts accordingly. The fool ignores the signs and suffers the consequences.
But the reality is that most Christians who say that preparedness is a sign of a lack of faith are really just throwing up a decoy argument to get you to leave them alone. Like most of the general population, they’re scared and/or overwhelmed by the prospect of everything that they know and are comfortable with going away. They don’t want to add anything to their already overwhelming lives, and they just want to bury their head and hope that tomorrow isn’t any worse than today.
The fact is that most of the things that society sees as “extreme” preparedness were simply considered practical a few short decades ago.
Until recent years, farmers knew that they could be wiped out by drought, flooding, insects, or disease for one or more seasons in a row. It was simply practical to keep a store of seed and food in reserve for when these events happened. Since they were known events that couldn’t be predicted from year to year, they ALWAYS had to be prepared. This wasn’t because of a lack of faith, it was because they were mildly observant, saw the potential for trouble ahead, and acted accordingly. The fact that they lived on less than they made and had reserves meant that they could act quickly when they saw someone in need.
Some Thoughts On Active Shooter Scenarios
Last week I wrote a reply concerning what to do to avoid getting shot if you decide to pull out your concealed carry firearm during an active shooter situation. It’s important enough that I’m putting it in this week’s newsletter so that everyone will have a chance to read it. Your personal answers to this set of questions are very important and they’re not answers that you can get from me or anyone else. They’re answers that you’ll need to come up with on your own after doing your research and wrestling with the issue yourself.
I’ve done extensive training and role playing on this very scenario, having gone so far as to run scenarios where I get amped up, dial 911 (pretend), practice combat breathing to calm myself down, answer questions from the 911 operator and then have real police officers driving up to the scene in their patrol cars with lights and siren going.
There are a LOT of places where you can make mistakes and I’d suggest finding a police officer/firearms trainer who is responding to calls on a daily basis to run through scenarios with you and at least one other person.
During the Trolly Square shootings in Salt Lake City a few years ago, there was an off duty Ogden Police officer who exchanged shots with the shooter before uniformed police arrived. As soon as he started shooting and had lost his element of surprise, he began shouting “OPD!” (Ogden Police Department) whenever he saw anyone so that he wouldn’t be mistaken for being a bad guy.
I regularly practice engaging a target and then pulling out my wallet, holding it up, and yelling “SECURITY!” The wallet doesn’t have anything visible on the outside indicating that I have a security license inside, and the main reason for holding it up is to cause anyone else with a firearm to pause one or two additional seconds to think before firing at me.
Likewise, you could hold up your wallet and yell “Concealed Carry!” or “Citizens Arrest!” to hopefully buy yourself that extra second or two for another concealed carry holder or peace officer to decide not to shoot you. It should go without saying that this may not work and you could get shot. If you have any questions, please contact a competent attorney who specializes in firearms law to make sure that you’re saying something that complies with the law.
Two of the specific situations I’m alluding to when I say that you should talk with a firearms attorney is yelling “police” when you’re not one and wearing a badge that says “concealed carry” or something to that effect. I am not an attorney and I’m not giving legal advice, but my personal opinion is that both of those acts constitute impersonating an officer, are illegal, and I won’t do either of them.
These are decisions that everyone will have to flush out on their own, but if I engaged an active shooter with my firearm, I would not immediately set my firearm on the ground and lay down. If the shooter had one or two partners in crime, I would have just made myself an unarmed, helpless target.
In addition, someone has to take charge of the scene. At this point, I would quickly scan the crowd looking for additional threats. If I didn’t find any, I’d remove the shooter’s weapon(s) from his reach. Then I’d point my finger at someone close, ask them if they’re alright, and tell them to call 911 and have them hand me the phone after their initial exchange with the operator (if it’s safe to do so) so that I could describe myself for police.
I would also point from person to person (starting with employees, if appropriate) asking them if they were alright and asking them if they knew the address where we were. If anyone was injured, I’d ask if anyone had medical skills who could help and direct them to help the injured person.
During this entire time, I’d scan the crowd, and looking for threats and trying to remember descriptions of people. Knowing that tunnel vision would be an issue, I’d move to a corner or a wall, if possible, to limit the number of angles that additional threats
As police rolled up on the scene, I’d holster my firearm, tell everyone to lay on the ground, stomach down, with their arms straight out to the side, and stand with my arms straight up in the air. I would not depend on the 911 operator relaying my description to the officer and I would tell the officer that I spoke to the 911 operator, but I wouldn’t say anything like, “I have a gun!” or “I’m the one who shot the guy!.” From this point on, I’d do exactly what the officer(s) tell me to do.
In the scenarios that we ran with law enforcement, one of the biggest mistakes happened when the officer first rolled up on the scene and the concealed carry permit holder had his firearm out, waved it around, and used it to point at things. As much as you know that you’re the good guy, the officer does not and their main concern is going home in one piece at the end of their shift. The officer is going to be amped up, they’re going to be trying to take in the entire situation, and if you’ve got your firearm in your hand, there’s a good chance you’ll get shot.
Is this plan perfect? Absolutely not. Does it account for every variable? Absolutely not…that’s what mental rehearsal and role playing are for. Does this insure that I would live to the end of the day? Absolutely not. It is simply one of the sets of actions that I decided on, with law enforcement, during role playing to increase my chances of surviving a lethal force encounter where I used my firearm in self defense. I could still go to jail, could still be found guilty of a crime, and could still be found guilty in civilian court.
In addition, you want to practice yelling, “Drop your weapon!” rather than “Drop your gun”.
You need to decide whether or not you would yell anything if you were confronting an active shooter. If you are carrying a compact pistol and the active shooter has already shot people with a rifle, do you want to make yourself a target by announcing your presence?
The shooter will have already crossed the line of being willing to take a life with a firearm and won’t have a reactionary gap when they get their sights lined up on you. You, on the other hand, being a non psychopathic person who respects life, may hesitate. Not announcing your presence and giving the shooter a chance to drop their weapon may make you a criminal and/or a murderer…especially if you are behind the shooter and have the opportunity to escape.
Again, these are not decisions that I or anyone else can make for you. You need to make them with the guidance of a competent firearms attorney.
If you’ve wrestled with these issues, please share your decisions below. If you’re law enforcement and have had close calls with concealed carry holders after they’ve used their firearm in self defense and can do so, please share your thoughts as well.
One last thing…here’s a video of an interview that Andrew Breitbart did at a “leftist” rally in Palm Springs, California last week. In it, the ”peace loving” protestors call for revolution in the US, shooting Glenn Beck, cutting off Clarence Thomas’ fingers & toes and feeding them to him, and more. As much as we want to keep relative peace and enjoy life as we know it, there ARE forces constantly trying to destabilize our country who are just hoping for a black swan event that they can use to their advantage.
In short, if you’re already preparing, keep it up. If you’re just getting started, kick it into gear. And if you haven’t signed up for the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course yet, head over there quick and check it out. You’ll be glad you did.
That’s it for this week. God bless and stay safe.