Brandon Smith at Alt-Market talks about his efforts to start a local gun and preparedness club in his small town, as well as some interference he received in his efforts. He’s correct when he says that you need a group or community to survive widespread calamity. Here he talks about holding a community meeting in a local park. When the LVA made its first efforts for community involvement and was getting itself off the ground, it ambitiously held a preparedness expo, but on a smaller scale, it also held a public meeting at a local community center with a table-top disaster scenario, shockingly enough, about a pandemic.
I live in the mountains outside a small town in rural Montana, a place you might assume is conservative through and through, and it is, for the most part. However, one rule I have found to be universal no matter where in the US I live or visit is that regardless of how conservative the population of a place is, leftists are almost ALWAYS entrenched into city politics and they almost always run the local newspapers.
In the past I found this to be a strange thing; why are the viewpoints and ideals of most of the city government and the local journalists the complete opposite of the majority of the citizenry in conservative communities?
I did not understand until later that this is a product of misaligned priorities. Leftists (specifically extreme leftists) seems to gravitate to positions of influence, even those we might consider small and inconsequential, because they see these positions as an opportunity to exert power over others. Conservatives tend to not care as much about having power over others unless they are a direct threat, and so we don’t have any interest in wasting our precious free time climbing our way through a faceless bureaucracy.
I actually prefer that mindset. I like the fact that conservatives aren’t always scrambling for position or power. That said, it might behoove us to pay better attention to who is in control of our local governments, because it may cause serious problems for us down the road.
For many years now I have been working with a group of people who have been preparing for the events that are happening today, including economic crisis, supply chain disruptions, civil unrest and government overreach. While many of these groups seek to remain private, I feel it is time for bigger discussions with the wider community on what people plan to do if the dangerous situation does not improve. In other words, are they going to work together? Or, are they going to remain isolated from each other?
This is a vital question, because it is becoming increasingly possible that a full spectrum collapse will strike the US in the near term. It is time for preppers and liberty minded people to start gauging the sentiment of the community around them and seeking out like-minded individuals. The more active the community is in its own survival, the less likely they will be to conform to draconian rules or fear.
Private groups should remain private, and so should the extent of your preps. But, it is foolish to think that you are going to survive a collapse on your own without working with others in the community. Think of it this way, if your circle of security is only the size of your property, when trouble arrives it will already be on your doorstep (in other words, you are dead if the attackers are organized and prepared). If your circle of security is your entire town or county, then when trouble arrives you might actually have time to respond.
Going “gray man” is an extremely short term solution. Eventually, you will be caught alone and unaware and then all the energy and time and money you put into your preps will have been wasted and someone else will be enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Another problem I see is that conservatives are far less adept at organization than the political left; we tend to be more spontaneous when we group together for a cause. I’m not saying we need our own Antifa or BLM, but we do need to put more effort into working together locally and minimizing our exposure to threats. Conservatives and liberty activists often feel alone, even though there are millions of us out there, and it’s because we refuse to organize in any practical way for fear of ending up on a “list”.
It’s the threat of being on “the list” that controls conservatives. The list doesn’t even need to exist in real life and we are still dominated by it. I hear it all the time, the “nail that sticks up will get hammered down”. I say, the nail that keeps its head down is more easily stepped on.
These are some of the reasons I decided to engage with the larger community by starting a local club that discusses firearms, preparedness and current events. I put the word out in as many places as I could, including tacking up fliers around town. These days, it’s hard for anyone to argue that prepping is a “silly idea” for “kooky conspiracy theorists”. We have been proven right, everyone else has been proven wrong, but that doesn’t mean our work ends here; we have to continue to educate as many people as possible on how it’s done while there’s still time. The more we do this, the safer everyone is.
The initial response was overwhelmingly positive. A lot of people are ready for this kind of information, and setting up the discussions in a more public forum gives people a greater sense of involvement and shows them they are not alone in their concerns. To that end I decided to hold the discussion at a local public park.
Then, I started getting emails and friends of mine started getting angry Facebook responses when discussing the club…
Officials from the city council using the primary city government email were not happy, though they did not identify themselves by name. They claimed the club could not hold an “event” in the park unless we got permission and permits from the city council, along with insurance. If we did not, then police would be sent to kick us out of the park.
I thought this was rather bizarre; I didn’t expect hundreds of people to show up to the club meeting, maybe a couple dozen at most. The requirements these people from the city council demanded were traditionally for large events with hundreds or thousands of people. Getting permission would have taken weeks, and the emails suggested that permission was not guaranteed by stating “IF we approve”.
I could have held a meeting on private property, but using the city park was symbolic of open community engagement; the people of the area were supposed to feel welcome to participate and maybe this is what annoyed the lefties the most. They feel like they own that wheelhouse. Frankly, parks are public property paid for with public dollars and the community has every right to use them for free assembly. But if you think this is common knowledge think again; some politicians and officials think otherwise.
I responded as I usually do to these kinds of things, by digging my heels in. I thoroughly researched the use and legality of public parks for free assembly and found that as long as your group is not blocking access to the park for other people, blocking roads or engaged in criminal activity then the demands for permits do not usually hold up in court and removal by police is not justified. Constitutionally, you are protected.
I emailed the official or officials back and reminded them that they risk a civil court issue by trying to stop people’s free speech on public property, and warned them that the city would be subject to bad press as well. I was perfectly ready to refuse removal and to be arrested if it came to that.
Another interesting discovery: The park in question was host to a bunch of BLM protesters only two weeks earlier. Did they have to get permits and insurance to hold their “event” in the park?
I decided to reach out to the only conservative member of the city council that I knew of and talk with him. He confirmed my suspicions. There were multiple hard leftists in the city government, but no one had actually brought up the issue of my club and the use of the park to rest of the council before sending me the threatening emails.
So, it was probably only a couple of weasels trying to make it look like they represented the entire city council’s position. He also confirmed that the BLM protesters had no permits or insurance, and that certain council members KNEW ahead of time that their protest was going to happen. In other words, the lefty council members were acting unilaterally to give BLM open access to the park, and then tried to interfere with my gun and preparedness club.
This was clear political bias applied to the usage of public property.
I have learned from past experience that these types of people do not like a stand-up fight; so they prefer to try to frighten you away from doing a thing through intimidation instead. They try to get you to give up voluntarily by painting a host of consequences in your mind. You start to worry about all the things that MIGHT happen; no one wants to have confrontations with cops these days, you don’t have to be insane like BLM to have concerns.
Luckily, my brain doesn’t really think in terms of risk over reward. I only really think about what is necessary. I held the club meeting in the park anyway and I made sure that whoever it was in the city council that was trying to interfere knew I was going to do it.
Long story short, the meeting was a success. I met a lot of locals that I had not talked with before that had the same concerns I did, and we discussed primarily the issue of community security if the system completely breaks down. The meetings will continue, perhaps even in the same park for a while just to make a point. The police never showed up, so the people making threats either didn’t want to risk a lawsuit and confrontation, they realized they didn’t have as much power as they thought they did, or the cops refused to bother with something that was clearly legal and constitutional.
The only confrontation happened a hundred yards away. A man looking for the meeting approached a group across the street that was organizing a separate community event. He told me that when he asked them if they were part of the gun club, a woman yelled at him “No, those people are across the street at that ILLEGAL MEETING!”
And there you have it. I highly recommend you hold an “illegal meeting” of your own for your community. These discussions need to start now, and people need to know that they are not alone during this crisis. It is time for conservatives to start banding together and planning ahead.
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