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Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Potential Man-Made Disaster (part 3)

Having brought up the potential man-made disaster of a second American Civil War (ACW2), I've been doing a lot of thinking about how preppers could work to minimize the impact on their lives. Some people reason that we've already entered ACW2, it just hasn't gone “hot” yet.  Others believe that we're in a “Cold War” stage right now, with the battles being fought in courtrooms, legislative chambers, public opinion, and propaganda campaigns.

The wedges being forced between different sectors of society are many and vary in strength, but they're there. We need to acknowledge that things could erupt into violence soon and make our decisions before that happens. There will be no avoiding damage; ACW2 would hit each of us in some way. How can we minimize the damage?

Prepping for War

Situational Awareness (SA)
  • You're the best judge of what's going on around you. Get your head out of your phone and pay attention to the people and places around you.
  • God (or nature, take your pick) gave you five physical senses and at least one other. Pay attention to what you smell, taste, and feel as much as you do to what you hear and see. Smoke from a campfire smells different than smoke from a house fire; tap water has a different taste from town to town; and changes in weather can often be felt in your body before they become evident in the sky. Learn how to decipher these clues to heighten your SA. That “at least one other” sense is your common sense and paranoia, so don't disregard your “gut feelings” just because they don't always make sense.
  • If you live in a larger city, you probably already know the areas to avoid after dark. Expect those areas to expand as things heat up; opportunistic criminals aren't all stupid and lazy, and many of them will try to take advantage of any disruption of “normal” to further their own goals.
  • If you're old or have diminished senses for any reason, get a dog if possible. Their senses are much more acute than ours and they will warn you if somethings is “off”,

Be Ready to Move
  • Modern wars have a tendency to be fluid, moving battle-lines in unusual and sometimes random ways. An area can be safe one day and in the middle of a battle on the next, so you need to be flexible in where you sleep at night. I'm not in a position to be able to tell you how things are going to go down in your town or city, as I don't live there, so it's up to you to learn as much as you can about your local surroundings and how they can be used to help you.
  • Not all moves will be permanent. You may only need to get out of harm's way for a few days before venturing back home if a battle is short and decisive. Riots and other disturbances burn themselves out when there is nothing left to loot, but you're going to need somewhere to stay for the week or two that may take.
  • If you live near any of the likely infrastructure targets, you're more likely to have to relocate. Distribution and transport of any essential commodity will become a target, so bridges, pipelines, electrical stations, and shipping yards are likely to be attacked in one way or another.
  • Don't expect a lot of fore-warning. Our culture is based on instant communication, and there are groups out there today using those communication tools to gather large groups for bad reasons. There are also groups using the same tools to gather people for good reasons, but knowing which outcome is expected can be a challenge.

If You Choose to Fight
  • Becoming active in a civil war can take many forms. Serving in one of the branches of the military will give you a basic idea of what is needed, but you're not likely to be part of a large, organized force. 
  • Support personnel will always outnumber fighters by roughly 3:1; that's just how these things work. Logistics, tactics, intelligence gathering, and other “non-combat” roles will be highly prized skills. Sun Tzu wrote a book about the basic strategies that will cover most of the conflicts we're likely to see, and I highly recommend reading it and thinking about how it applies to your unique situation.
  • If you choose to be a trigger-puller, get your affairs in order. Make peace with whatever deity you choose and train as much as you can. Recognize that you and those fighting next to you have no guarantee of living through any given day. Choose your allies with care, and watch for informants and infiltrators.
  • Expect to be portrayed as a terrorist or whatever new name the mass media will use to denigrate you. Any resistance to authority will be called criminal, and the talking heads will grab anything they can find (or make up) to present that resistance as the worst thing to have ever happened. Never willingly talk to the press; they have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything.

Plan Long-Term
  • ACW2 will not be a short conflict. We've forgotten how to conduct short conflicts, so I don't see an internal war being much different than the “war on drugs” that has been running for a few decades now. Part of the problem is that we have people in government that will gain power during any conflict, and being human, they will do all they can to maintain that level of power and control. Another factor is the risk-averse culture that has taken over most of our daily actions: warning signs on everything to avoid lawsuits, “safety first” campaigns at most job sites, military forces that have to obtain permission from an office thousands of miles away to do much of anything, and the ever-increasing “nanny state” that seeks to control us for our own good.
  • A 72 hour kit makes for a good Bug Out Bag, but you're going to need more than that for a long conflict. Think along the lines of providing the bare essentials for you and yours for a few years. As I mentioned last week, modern civil wars and revolutions are lasting longer than the historical ones did. I'd expect some form of disturbance in basic services to last for several years in some places. Do what you can to cover the basics of shelter, water, food, and fuel for as long as you can.
  • Every different region has its own pros and cons. Here in the Midwest we have plenty of food and water available, but the winters can be severe; areas in the Southwest will have milder winters, but not much arable land and brutal summers; and coastal areas are more heavily populated and rely on other areas for their food and power. Planning for the long term means taking a good look at the resources and conditions around you and finding a way to make them work for you.

“Unexpected” Doesn't Mean “Impossible”
“All swans are white until you see a black one.” That's the premise of the black swan theory: things that have never happened before are unexpected and will catch many people by surprise. A good grasp of history will show that more has happened than most people know about, but we also have a rapidly evolving technological sector that is making the “impossible” happen every day.
  • I expect a lot of the “fighting” in ACW2 will initially be digital. Hackers on both sides will be busy trying to disrupt the digital lives of their enemies, causing confusion and sometimes physical damage. With “deep fake” video technology becoming cheap and available, propaganda will reach new lows. Weaponized commercial drones are being used in some parts of the world already.
  • Hospitals, small cities, and medium-sized companies are being targeted by hackers taking control of their computer systems. The amount of disruption possible grows with the increasing reliance on digital everything in our lives.
  • So-called “weaponized autism” has become common, with several internet sites providing better data analysis that most governments can produce, and I know of one country that has recruited people on the spectrum as intelligence gatherers which can pick out patterns and minute differences that most “normies” would miss.

Like I said last week, none of this is earth-shaking news; it's mostly common sense once you think about it. I suggest that everyone set aside some time to actually sit down and consider the possibilities and how they would react to them. A little self-reflection wouldn't hurt, either.

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