I picked up a novel awhile back at Barnes & Noble. I need to preface telling you what the title by saying that I got it for purely entertainment purposes. I didn’t expect to learn anything from it, and my expectations have pleasantly been met. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I simply wanted a book with a gripping tale that would make me want to keep turning the pages and not be so serious that I would stay awake thinking about it at night.
The book is called “Homefront” and one of the authors is John Milius, who wrote and directed “Red Dawn” and wrote “Apocalypse Now.”
In the book, the US has been plagued by a crumbling economy and skyrocketing petroleum prices. North Koreans are the aggressors instead of the Russians, and they execute a 5 stage attack against the US.
Stage 1: Since gas costs over $10/gallon, many people use mass transit. The North Koreans use long term sleeper agents who had integrated into US society to execute multiple, simultaneous conventional explosive attacks on mass transit systems across the United States to tie up first responders.
Stage 2: In the book, the North Koreans have been selling electronics to the US Government for years that gave the North Korean military back-door “Trojan horse” access. Later in the day after stage 1 was executed, North Korea used this Trojan horse access to shut down the majority of the US military command and control structure.
Stage 3: In the book, the US had abandoned their space program and the Koreans “helped” our aging network of GPS satellites by launching a GPS satellite for us. During the day when stage 1 and stage 2 occurred, the North Koreans parked that satellite over the middle of Kansas. In addition to being a GPS satellite, it also contained a nuclear warhead. That night, they detonated the warhead, causing an EMP that wiped out most electronics from coast to coast.
Stage 4: In the book, North Korea is one of the US’s largest trading partners. As the US economy had slid over the preceding years, North Korea converted many unused cargo/container ships to trans-oceanic troop carriers. Several of these were headed towards the US when the attack began and started landing in Hawaii the same day. In addition to troops, one of the ships contained a nuclear warhead which they placed on an open flat bed truck which they parked conspicuously in downtown Honolulu.
Stage 5: The rest of the container ships, as well as naval vessels continued to the mainland. The North Korean government gave the US government 2 options: Surrender or we detonate the warhead in Hawaii. The US government surrendered.
It doesn’t take much of a stretch to see that Milius is being politically correct by calling the invader North Korea rather than calling them “China.” In 2009, Luo Ping, a director-general from the China Banking Regulatory Commission said, “We hate you guys,” referring to the US. They have intelligence agents spread throughout the US. In 2009, the US Navy bought 59,000 microchips that ended up being counterfeits from China that are widely believed to have been able to be shut down or accessed remotely by Chinese military. China has been launching GPS satellites for a few years and just launched a satellite this week to help move their manned spaceflight program forward while we’re ending our Space Shuttle program. They’ve got a few hundred nuclear weapons that we know about and cargo ships have been converted to carry people—one recent example being the USNS Lewis and Clark, which was a civilian cargo ship retro-fitted to hold for prisoners (pirates).
In short, even in this little post-apocalyptic escape novel, there is more than a little sliver of truth.
And here’s where things get interesting. Both Red Dawn and Homefront have been widely criticized as having a cult following of fanatics who paint their faces and run around the woods in camouflage yelling “Wolverine!” In fact, I’ve had conversations where, when I’ve talked about preparedness, people dismissed me by saying, “You’ve watched Red Dawn a few too many times, haven’t you?”
There’s a certain amount of truth to that, but it’s a serious mistake to categorically call people wack-jobs simply because they’re moderately aware of what’s going on in the world and who’s interested in having some supplies set aside “just in case.”
The fact is, on the list of threats to our way of life that would require us to go into “survival” mode, invasion by a foreign army is pretty far down the list.
Losing a job, terminal illness, death of a family member, sudden disability, or other troubles happen to people around us on a daily basis. This year, we’ve seen people go into survival mode because of flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, and banking shutdowns.
You can pick any one of these events and say that they’re VERY unlikely to happen to you. And you’re right. I’ve got car insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance, and life insurance even though the chance of me having a loss in any of those areas is incredibly small. In the last 5 years of paying premiums, I haven’t had an auto claim, had one small homeowner’s claim, had one health claim, and I haven’t had a single life insurance claim
Even so, I believe it was wise and prudent to pay the premiums. The likelihood of having an event that wipes us out financially in any of these individual areas is incredibly small. At the same time, the potential exists in any of these areas to have a catastrophic loss that is beyond what I’m able to prepare for without insurance, so we go on making payments every month.
Preparedness is similar, but VERY different in one important respect. Preparedness and traditional insurance is similar because both help protect you from the after-effects of events that are outside of your control. But with traditional insurance, you are forced to buy completely separate policies for every risk you want to insure against. If you have homeowner’s insurance but no car insurance and a tornado destroys both, your insurance will replace your home, but you’re out of luck on the car.
With preparedness, it’s dramatically different…if you do it right. The practical and pragmatic steps of keeping extra food, water, medications, fuel, some cash and other consumables on hand act as a blanket insurance policy that will take care of the majority of your needs regardless of whether the disaster is a job loss, Social Security checks not getting sent out, a banking collapse, a breakdown of the electrical grid, pandemics, volcano eruptions, EMPs or almost any other disaster.
A balanced, practical approach helps with ALL these situations, in addition to helping with normal, everyday life. And it’s important to take an approach that is balanced and doesn’t focus too much on any single disaster.
There’s a few reasons, but here’s two biggies: If you focus solely on an event that doesn’t happen, (think Y2K) you’ll tend to make myopic decisions and actually be let down when the disaster doesn’t happen. While the act of preparing IS healthy, being disappointed when disaster passes you buy is NOT healthy.
Second, if you focus 100% of your energy on nuclear attack, a lot of the items you’ll buy won’t be useful on a daily basis or in the event of all of the non-nuclear disasters that are more likely to happen. As an example, a Geiger counter and a few thousand iodine pills won’t help much if you happen to be on Social Security and are concerned about getting your next check.
We’re at a very unique time in history. Our systems are so inter-related and dependent upon each other that we literally have hundreds of low probability threats that could bring the whole system down.
While the chances of one specific disaster affecting you is miniscule, when you add up the chances of any one of these low probability disasters affecting you at some point in your life, the odds start changing to where it’s MUCH more likely that you’ll experience either a personal disaster or a local/regional/national disaster.
If you’re currently on a preparedness path that prepares you for a broad range of disasters, I want to commend you. The more individuals an area has who can sustain themselves after a widespread disaster, the more resilient that area will be. The more people in that area can take care of themselves, the more they’ll be willing and able to help those who can’t help themselves. This is also called a stable micro-environment, and it’s the seed of recovery and stability, regardless of whether the disaster is local, regional, or national.
Operating from a stable environment allows people confidence and makes them more willing to venture out and spread stability to non-stable areas. It also gives people in non-stable neighboring areas something to strive for. And it all starts with individuals making personal decisions to prepare themselves and their families.
If you WANT to be on the path of taking practical steps to prepare for a wide variety of disasters, but haven’t known how to get it done, I want to suggest that you check out my 12 week online SurviveInPlace.com course. It’s designed to take you step-by-step through a proven process to create a plan to help you and your family survive disasters and breakdowns in civil order while taking into account the realities of your living situation and financial situation. To learn more, please go to SurviveInPlace.com.
For you seniors out there—by now you’ve probably heard Obama shamelessly threaten to not pay your Social Security checks if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. You may not have heard how ridiculous his comments were.
August tax receipts are scheduled to be $172 billion. Interest on the debt, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, active duty troop pay and VA programs add up to $134 billion, leaving $38 billion for everything else. So, there IS enough money to pay the interest on the debt, Social Security, and these other programs without raising the debt ceiling.
On the other hand, his crass comments have created a wonderful opportunity to discuss contingency plans with people you know who are dependent on Social Security, regardless of whether they’re family or friends. At a minimum, it should open the door to suggest buying some extra rice and beans.
What are your thoughts on this week’s newsletter? Have any favorite “preparedness fiction?” What do you think about the threat that China poses to the US, if any? How do you see the debt ceiling debate ending? Do you have anyone you can use Obama’s Social Security comments with to start a conversation about preparedness? Any other questions? Let me know by commenting below: