Last week, I asked for your help in crafting an argument to present to DHS and local law enforcement to help them more accurately differentiate between preppers andpotential domestic terrorists.
More than 160 of y’all wrote in and shared your thoughts and ideas on how to accomplish this! I’m thrilled with the response and appreciate the time that people put into their answers.
I’m going to share the three winners with you in a second, but I want to suggest some organizations that you may want to look into for additional training and connections that will be helpful in long term survival situations.
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) – CERT is under Citizencorps, which is what Obama wanted to make bigger and better funded than the military. Citizencorps is connected to FEMA and DHS in ways that seem to change from week to week. That being said, most of the training is done by local first responders and preppers who get money, supplies, and training from Citizencorps.The training is free or VERY inexpensive and will include medical, trauma, and whatever disasters/hazards are particular to your area. One of the core tenants of CERT after a disaster is to take care of yourself, then stabilize your house, then stabilize your immediate neighbors, and THEN report to your local rally point to help CERT.
I had a couple of options for which CERT I would work with in my area. I picked the one that I train with based on the quality of the leadership. In my opinion, the makeup of your particular CERT will have more of an impact on whether or not you want to join than which Federal agency it happens to be getting funds from this particular week.
Medical Reserve Corps – This group is primarily made up of people who already have semi-advanced to advanced medical/trauma skills and their primary purpose is to be able to respond to disasters and support local full-time medical personnel. The most common reason for deployment in recent years has been hurricane relief.Civil Air Patrol – Known as the Air Force Auxillary, the CAP helps with search and rescue operations, disaster relief, and counter drug operations.Local Search and Rescue – If your area has a search and rescue team, it may or may not be a great resource. In many parts of the Midwest, the role is filled by other groups. In wilderness areas, search and rescue is a bad*** group to belong to. Training includes medical, severe trauma, high angle rescue (ropes/climbing), and weapons in some areas.Law enforcement reserve or auxiliary – This could be as simple as doing traffic control for funerals and big events, manning base stations during an extended event like a manhunt, or many other tasks, depending on where you are. If you’ve got good leadership with your local law enforcement, this is a good way to make yourself known and recognized by local law enforcement as one of the good guys.Volunteer fire/rescue – In smaller towns, and even some medium sized towns, this is a great way to get training and experience with trauma and medical skills, as well as positive exposure to local law enforcement.These groups are neither all good nor all bad, and whether they are good or bad will depend a lot on who happens to be in charge in your area. If you check them out and aren’t comfortable with local leadership, then try another group or skip it. If you are comfortable with local leadership, then you may have found a GREAT way to contribute locally that will also benefit you and your family after a breakdown in civil order.
Specifically, they can benefit you by giving you training, experience, valuable relationships, gear, and in some cases, priority cell phone access after disasters.
If you’re only in it for yourself, skip it. You’ve got to go into these organizations ready to give if you want to get anything out of them.
And now for the winning entries from last week! Over 160 people wrote in and it was next to impossible to pick winners. I got some help from other people and here are the winners:
I was a FED at FEMA during the Katrina Disaster. The news only reports and certainly distorts the reality of any disaster situation to meet their sensationalist needs.
Previously, in large scale disasters like Hurricane Andrew, which devastated S. Florida, that FEMA was beat up in the media for not responding fast enough after a major disaster. FEMA then overtly advertised to the public to have 3 days of emergency supplies to support yourself and your family until help to arrives.
Many years have passed by, the disasters have grown in scope and scale. populations often are experience back to back like in Japan recently. I have personally seen from the inside of how FEMA functions. There are a huge number of really good people who perform the grunt work at FEMA. They really care, are extremely patriotic, and many of them are preppers themselves. You almost have to be after you see the reality of how very slow the federal machine moves and how very desperate people become after the disaster’s impacts affect them.FEMA wants to rush in, they want to provide the resources so desperately needed after a disaster strikes, but, the reality is they can’t, and sometimes there isn’t enough to spread to all the affected areas. My life changed after the back to back disasters of Katrina striking the gulf coast and the levy breaking and flooding New Orleans. When a major event strikes the mid Atlantic/DC area, I know my family will be taken care of because I have prepared. I implore everyone to adopt this attitude and be responsible for yourselves. The government is not capable of taking care of everyone. I refuse to die or allow my family members to die waiting for help from the government.
To put it most succinctly, The Federal government honestly needs as many people as possible to be prepared. Without preppers the federal systems will fail again and again.
The main differences between domestic terrorist and preppers is pretty straight forward. Terrorist don’t care about being prepared to take care of themselves as much as seeking ways to disrupt normal public activities and daily life. The terrorists’ aim to spread fear and panic. To inflict as much pain and suffering on people as possible. The terrorist is not buying food, water medical supplies quietly to take care of their family, they are buying bomb making materials, explosives, toxic materials casing public venues looking for soft targets to attack. Much of their activity is spent planning or engaging in illegal activities and purchases. More often they will steal the materials fly they can fly under the radar. Non of my activity has been illegal. I am community service oriented not a recluse trying to stay out of sight.
I am a prepper. I know why I need to be prepared and I know what the potential risks and threats are. After I concluded my time at FEMA I worked at DHS NPPD. I am acutely aware of our nations’ infrastructure and its’ need to be protected. I know many of its vulnerabilities and weaknesses and its’ strengths. In know how we are protecting it and much about the DHS mentality. Conspiracy Theorists’ give the DHS/LE organizations far too much credit when it comes to information sharing and training.
I have already said why I put my energy into being prepared- I don’t know government will be there to save me when the event/events happen. I love my family too much to do nothing.
Great Grandma Kara (who might get picked for additional screening at the airport
I am a great-grandmmother. My father was a “prepper” long before it was a word! When I was growing up, it was called being self-sufficient… and it was encouraged. We were taught one to three YEARS food was an appropriate amount of food to store (dated and rotated, of course). We gardened. We saved seed. We canned and dried vegetables and fruits every year. So did most other people we knew. We shared the excess with neighbors and friends. If someone had a bad year, we helped out, even if it was a stranger. This was called being a good neighbor. Being self-sufficient, hard-working, and neighborly was called being a Good American!
Many of us went camping and hunting. We owned tents, compasses, shotguns, knives, waterproof matches, and other “survival” type gear. We stored oil, gasoline, and kerosine. Some of us poured our own bullets. Many of the men had camo and gas-masks that they brought back from WWII. My father did. He said it “might come in handy, someday.”
We were encouraged to “stock-pile” things. Nuts, bolts, nails, tools, electrical cords, non-electrical appliances (like an egg beater, a can opener, or a crank type meat grinder), medical supplies (Bandaids, gause, antibiotic creams, clove oil, aspirin, etc.), cotton rope/string, spare car parts, copper pipe/wire, popsicle sticks (to mark garden rows) – and on, and on, and on… I’m quite sure that if kevlar had existed then, he would have had that, too! Such were the times I lived in.
1) Why are preppers an asset after a disaster?Not only are we able to take care of ourselves, and our families… freeing up the resources and emergency responders for those less able… but we are able to help many others in our immediate area. Many of us ARE medically proficient enough to render First Aid, and have experience in Security / Emergency fields.
2) How are preppers and potential domestic terrorists different? (buying patterns, activities, etc.)Are we? Well, somewhat.
If I buy a gun for defense, I’m probably only going to buy one or two. I’m probably going to register it. (Although if things start looking like the government is going into confiscation mode… all bets are off on that one!) I’m probably not going to buy several hundred cases of shells… or armor piercing rounds.
If I buy certain products for my laundry, I probably plan to have clean clothes… not make bombs. Again, the difference would be quantity… but if I DID plan to make bombs, I would buy small amounts – often – and pay cash… so you can’t go by that either.
If I bought a large parcel of land, I’d probably be planning a farm, or a B&B resort… not a “compound” with a tactical training range. (You’d see horses, not 42 armored SUV’s)It might have a hedge or a fence… but not a 12′ steel, electrical, with razor wire on top!
I might buy a kevlar suit if I planned to go hunting – or walking – much (I was raised where you had to paint COW on both sides of your livestock during hunting season.) but I probably wouldn’t buy several – in assorted sizes! You get the point.
3) Why do you consider yourself a prepper? What do you love enough that you’re willing to spend time and money on preparedness?Actually, until recently, I never concidered myself a “prepper’… just “my father’s daughter”. I didn’t realize that my “normal” way of life could get me into trouble with the “powers that be”, or that anyone “official” might be looking at my buying habits suspiciously.
I love my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my country. I am willing to help anyone I can in an emergency. I am disturbed by the idea that all the time I spent raising my kids to be “Good Americans”, I was teaching them lessons that might get them labeled “potential domestic terrorists”. Being independent, self-sufficient, and prepared for life’s emergencies is just being a responsible, intellegent, adult… and a good citizen. Would you want less?
Nothing personal, but as far as the DHS goes, you are wasting yourtime and breath. It wasn’t that long ago, shortly after the MurrahBuilding bombing in OKC, that Janet Reno issued a profile of the “new”domestic terrorist, (1990′s version, still unchanged) and I fit 9 outof 10 items on her list. (I missed a perfect score because I had nointerest in overthrowing the government.) At the time, I was a memberof the Army who served in cleaning up the mess there, and was supposedto be one of the “good guys,” too, yet my government, my employer sawme as a nearly perfect potential threat. I am deemed dangerous tothe new government because I am willing to fight to defend my country,my constitution, and my way of life. This makes me dangerous to theones who want to change things, who want to enslave me. If thedefinitions are so political and so skewed to serve someone’s purposeinstead of using a more reality based approach, all efforts are fornaught.
That being said, here are my answers:
1. Why are preppers an asset after a disaster? They respond instead of react. They have things necessary to help and carry on. They augmentlocal emergency personnel, and are a force multiplier. Most of all,they help relieve the load that will be falling on local, state andnational resources.
2. How are preppers and potential domestic terrorists different?(buying patterns, activities, etc.) There may be no discernable difference between the buying patterns of the two, as they both usethe same tools and training. Both have guns, both may stockpile foodand water, both may enjoy running around in the woods shooting stuff.The difference is going to be in motive, which is hard to discern, andin activities, which is going to be easier. For instance, when was thelast time the Baptist Ladies Auxilliary blew up a bus? How many attacks on subways have Presbyterian Bible Studies committed? How manysuicide vests have the Lions Club detonated in coffee shops? On theother hand when was the last time a muslim flew a plane into abuilding, or tried to bring one down with explosives hidden in theirclothing, or tried to blow up a car full of explosives during acrowded holiday celebration, or started shooting soldiers in a waitingroom? The difference to look for is obvious, but we are unwilling toadmit that the religion of peace is not peaceful. This is the easiestand most effective way to differentiate, but we are more afraid ofoffending someone than fixing the problem.
3. Why do you consider yourself a prepper? What do you love enoughthat you’re willing to spend time and money on preparedness? Thenature/nuture argument comes into play here. Was I an above averageBoy Scout and Combat Engineer because I like this stuff and tend to be prepared, or am I better prepared now because I was a Boy Scout andCombat Engineer? I love God, family, and my country (the old country,where people were free), and will fight to the death to defend any andall of them.
Congratulations to these 3 winners, who will receive a package of some of my best selling products, including a copy of my book, “Urban Survival Guide” and a deck of “Urban Survival Playing Cards.
You probably got a couple of emails this week about Jeff Anderson’s “Surviving Social Chaos” book. I’m doing some extreme product testing this week and next, but the guys told me that they sent out a couple of announcements about it.
In short, it’s a very solid book. Jeff sent it to me a couple of months ago, I read it, and told him I couldn’t endorse it unless he made several major changes. He made those changes…and more, and it’s a very solid book now. I had a chance to read it about 3-4 weeks ago and I can tell you that if you get it you WILL be happy you did. It’s worth your time to at least go over to http://www.surviveinplace.com/survivesocialchaos and check it out.
What are your thoughts on the organizations I listed above? Any more to add to the list? Any that you have personal experience with? If so, please share by commenting below.