Why do you look for the living among the dead?

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Joyous Easter

Birch Gold Group: How to Protect Your Local Economy From the Great Reset

Brandon Smith, writing at Birch Gold Group, talks about How to Protect Your Local Economy From the Great Reset

Over the years, I have written extensively about the concept of economic “decentralization” and localization, but I think these ideas are difficult for some people to visualize without proper motivation. By that I mean, it’s not enough that the current centralized model is destructive and corrupt; it has to start breaking down or show its true totalitarian colors before anyone will do anything to protect themselves.

Sadly, the majority of people tend to take action only when they have hit rock bottom.

In recent months the pandemic lockdown situation has provided a sufficient wake up call to many conservatives and moderates. We have seen the financial effects of pandemic restrictions in blue states, with hundreds of thousands of small businesses closing, tax revenues imploding and millions of people relocating to red states just to escape the oppressive environment.

Luckily, conservative regions have been smart enough to prevent self destruction by staying mostly open. In fact, red states have been vastly outperforming blue states in terms of economic recovery exactly because they refuse to submit to medical tyranny.

I outlined this dynamic in detail recently in my article Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

The data is undeniable: the states and cities that enforce lockdown mandates are dying, the states that ignore mandates are surviving. However, with a Biden presidency there is a high probability that the federal government will now seek to force compliance from all states. In other words, lockdowns will become a national issue rather than a state issue.

For now, Biden is pretending as if reopening is right around the corner, but as I have noted in the past, the Reset agenda will never allow this. A reopening, if it happens at all, will be short and lockdowns will return. We are already seeing a new narrative being introduced to the public involving “COVID mutations”, which are supposedly “more deadly” than the original COVID-19 outbreak. So, there is a brand new and useful threat and the establishment will exploit it as a rationale for more lockdowns and restrictions.

Beyond the pandemic mandates, there are also numerous Reset agenda policies that will be implemented under the Biden administration, including insane Green New Deal, related executive orders and legislation claiming to reduce carbon emissions. What they will really do is annihilate resource production. Millions of jobs will be lost and entire industries will be erased unless conservatives act to stop Biden in his tracks.

This means doing far more than stalling through political maneuvers. We are going to have to use concrete strategies to retake control of resource management within the states. Pointless globalist carbon policies composed by entities like the UN have no place in American economic planning. A message needs to be sent that they will never be accepted here.

Time is running out to prepare. Lockdowns will return within a few months and this time they will be federally enforced. Conservatives must be ready to defy these orders if they have any hope of saving their local economies. This is going to take individual efforts to stock necessities and secure their finances, but ultimately wider organization is going to be needed to weather the storm.

Conservatives must establish coalitions of counties and states, and certain economic measures will have to be applied to insulate from damage. The federal government and Biden will attempt to punish red states for refusing to submit, and we need to be ready for that eventuality.

Here are some ways that conservative communities can stop the Reset agenda…

Localization

On a smaller scale, conservatives can accomplish a lot by simply changing their buying habits. If you do 80% of your retail spending with big box stores and online outlets like Amazon and only 20% at local small businesses, then try to switch that ratio. Spend 80% at local businesses and 20% at corporate outlets. Yes, small businesses tend to cost a little extra, but who do you really want your money going to? Do you want your money filling the pockets of international corporate moguls that are working to destroy your freedoms and undermine your economy? Or, do you want your cash to circulate locally?

Individuals can also start their own business from home focusing on production of necessities or necessary skill sets. They can establish a small business co-op and encourage the community to buy locally. Often, people just don’t know how many services are available from small businesses in their area, so they automatically go to big box providers. Small businesses must work together to change the dynamic.

This strategy also extends to local farms. Consumers and grocery stores need to buy more of their produce from farms in the area and less from chains which ship in produce from other countries. There are millions of acres of farmland in the U.S. that do not grow food at all because these farms are paid by the federal government not to. Encouraging local food production is paramount to remaining free from centralized control.

Organized refusal to comply

The problem with conservatives is that we tend to be so independent that we avoid organization. This is a problem because it leads to self-isolation. During the pandemic lockdowns in blue states, some conservative-owned businesses refused to comply, but they were left mostly to fend for themselves with no aid from the wider community. If more businesses were to ally with each other and protested in tandem, dozens or hundreds of defiant businesses working together would be a lot harder to shut down than just a few.

By extension, it’s not enough for conservatives to merely argue against the lockdowns and demand businesses stay open, we need to also defend those businesses that take action. We need to support them with our dollars and stand in the way of anyone trying to close them down. They are taking a big risk for us, so we need to be willing to take risks for them.

Imagine if Biden tried to assert a national lockdown order and more than half the businesses in the country ignored him? What if patrons refused to allow federal agencies to intimidate those businesses? The lockdowns would be nullified, and Biden would have little recourse.

Establish barter networks

In the event that the U.S. economy breaks down completely, we must create contingencies to prevent total trade disruption. Without trade, populations become desperate because no one has the ability to provide every necessity all the time. People have to be able to barter goods and services in an open market.

Barter networks are a base fundamental, the universal go-to solution during economic collapse. Every society in modern history has used barter markets to stay afloat during financial crisis and to bypass government economic controls. We must be willing to do the same.

Conservatives must start organizing barter networks within their communities now. It does not matter if you are trading with a couple of people or hundreds; the process needs to start somewhere.

Why is this so important? Because there is a very good chance that the federal government will try to fiscally punish any state or county that opposes lockdown measures and Reset policies. This means that the government will first seek to cut off federal funding to red states. In the midst of economic crisis, many regions have become reliant on federal stimulus as a crutch, and this dependency makes them vulnerable to control.

To truly rebel against the Reset, local economies need to be free from federal oversight or consequences. With barter networks in place along with possible local scrip and alternative currencies, the public will be less fearful of economic retaliation.

Take back management of local resources

We have already seen attempts by Biden to disrupt production of carbon based energy resources like oil and coal. Frankly, the time is long past due for states and counties to take back control of federal lands. The government has been stifling American production for decades and this has hurt rural communities in particular.

In my area, the EPA has essentially destroyed the timber harvesting industry through unfair regulations. This has led to federal mismanagement of forests to the point that fire hazard has become a major issue. All the young men in the county used work as lumberjacks to support their families; now they have to leave, or work as wildland firefighters. It’s completely backwards. And this is happening while U.S. lumber prices are skyrocketing.

Conservative counties and states need to take back land and resource management and allow reasonable production to return. Biden should have no say in whether or not oil wells in North Dakota stay operational, or coal mines in West Virginia stay open, or trees Montana are selectively harvested. As long as the bulk of wealth from the resource production stays within the state where the resources were harvested, I see no downside to this kind of response.

If the federal government tries to retaliate by cutting off federal funds, it won’t matter because the states will be producing jobs and wealth for themselves independently.

Immunity from cancel culture

In our current political environment, it is becoming a fact of life that the hard left can and will try to harm people that oppose their ideology. Big tech companies and government are helping them to do this. Now more than ever, conservatives that wish to remain free to voice their views and share facts that are contrary to the leftist narrative must seek protection from cancellation. But how do we do this?

For one, we can work for ourselves. Being self employed means never having to worry about being fired because of your political opinions. Or, conservatives need to work for conservatives. This means conservative companies need to focus on hiring conservative employees, and if the leftist mob tries to attack an individual, those companies can easily ignore them. Of course, this also means that conservative consumers need to start making a list of conservative companies that have proven themselves to be immune to leftist pressure. We need to support these companies.

Conservatives should also look into the possibility of campaigns to build more platform alternatives to Big Tech and social media. We need more web service providers that are owned by people who respect free speech rights. We may even need our own internet.

All of these things are possible, but it takes organization and effort. Conservative communities can become safe havens for civil liberties, but this means we cannot be isolated from each other anymore. We have to be connected by more than our principles, we must also be connected through actions.

Happy New Year – 2021

 

I weave a silence on my lips,

I weave a silence into my mind,

I weave a silence within my heart.

I close my ears to distractions,

I close my eyes to attentions,

I close my heart to temptations.

Calm me, O Lord, as You stilled the storm,

Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.

Let all the tumult within me cease,

Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.

 

Have a blessed new year.

Organic Prepper: How Preppers Can Still Find Community in the Middle of a Pandemic

Joanna Miller at The Organic Prepper talks about How Preppers Can Still Find Community in the Middle of a Pandemic

The need for supportive communities in SHTF situations is something we talk about often. People know they need a support network because, let’s face it, in a long-term survival situation almost none of us can do it alone. However, one of the biggest tragedies to come from the Covid rules has been how hard it is to meet people and establish any kind of community these days. And many of us have learned things about our circle of people that aren’t overly positive during this stressful time.

Your own opinions about Covid aside, many states are greatly restricting opportunities for socialization. Some never really opened back up after the previous lockdown.

In my state, Colorado, public gatherings are severely curtailed. I still attend church, but we are no longer allowed to socialize afterward. At the kids’ activities, parents are discouraged from sitting near each other and chit-chatting, which was a major social outlet for a lot of parents (myself included) for a long time. You might strike up a conversation with someone friendly, or you might get someone who flips out over not social distancing properly.

This atmosphere of distrust is worse than any virus.

You have your friends, and then there are your “lockdown” friends

We have come together in ways I never would have expected. I don’t know what will work for everyone, but I can give an example of how a series of inconveniences gave rise to my own little group of people getting together to process chickens.

I have had a little side-gig producing a couple hundred chickens every year for meat. They are pastured birds raised on certified organic corn- and soy-free feed. I’ve learned a lot over the years, getting and training livestock guardian dogs after predator attacks, and so on. The only hitch has been getting the birds processed every year. My luck has been almost comically bad. I’ve seen a number of processors close.

I eventually met a couple, I’ll call them Andrew and Andrea, about nearby that had their own processing equipment who taught me how to process birds. I’d bring my birds over, we’d process together, and it was a social outlet as well as getting a chore done.

Then their house burned down in 2018, literally a day after we’d processed my birds.

They are still in the process of rebuilding, but in 2019 and 2020 Andrea brought her processing equipment to my house and we processed the birds ourselves. When we were at her house, Andrew would help, or sometimes they’d have friends hanging out that wanted to learn how to process. Processing 70 or 80 birds is a lot of work, and many hands make it go a lot faster.

It takes a community to process chickens

I wasn’t sure where we’d get the extra hands at my house, but sometimes problems solve themselves. My boys are in Scouts, and knowing that I have a hobby farm, one of the other parents asked if I had any big jobs her son, I’ll call him Josiah, could help with. He wanted a new computer game, and she told him he could pay for it himself. I asked how Josiah felt about processing chickens. She laughed and said she’d find out how badly he wanted that computer game.

It turns out Josiah really wanted it! I had him plus my own three children, plus Andrea helping me out. The work was exhausting but we got it all done, and it was done well. I gave Josiah $20 and a couple of chickens.

The next time around, I had another friend interested in homesteading skills come over and help, along with my three kids. Well, Josiah heard my kids talking about it and was disappointed that I hadn’t asked him to help again! He’d already gotten the computer game, but he said my chickens were the most delicious he’d ever eaten. Also, he just thought it was cool to be able to process animals. He bragged about it so much to the other boys in Scouts that some of them have started asking if they can help me next time.

Sometimes you can find community with people who aren’t necessarily preppers but who share an interest in self-reliance.

However, I’m not 100% sure there will be a next time

This year multiple groups of people parked at the perimeter of my property began honking and screaming that they wanted chickens. This went on for a couple of months in the early summer. In July, someone drove through my fence, pulling out a full 330-foot roll of fencing as well as half a dozen steel T-posts. I’m not sure that was related to the people harassing me, but it was terrifying and a ton of work to fix.

Then in August, in three separate events, fifty-five of my birds were stolen. I have guard dogs, but they do not bite people. They are wonderful at barking and scaring off all the foxes, coyotes, and eagles in my area, but I can’t have dogs that bite people. In the first incident, my birds were pastured a few hundred feet away from my house, but only twenty-five feet or so from my property line. My property is enclosed with 4-foot fencing but these people climbed it.

When I saw one morning that 40 of my birds were missing, with none of the gore that comes with animal attacks, I moved them to an enclosure closer to my house and put barbed wire on top of the fence. They came back and took 10 more anyway. I put my remaining birds in the insulated brooder close to my house; it’s in a well-lit area. However, our summer was incredibly hot and I left the small door of the brooder open for ventilation. The fenced-in run was closed but the door to the inner part was propped open.

In the morning, I saw that someone had pulled up part of the fencing and snagged five more of my birds. These people only stopped when I put motion-detecting cameras all over the brooder. So I can still raise some chickens, but I’m not sure how to raise true pastured poultry without putting my birds at risk. And frankly I cannot keep taking these financial hits.

The ordeal was so nerve-wracking. My children and I didn’t sleep normally for weeks. To have your property violated that many times is terrifying. I had been so satisfied during the shut downs and grocery shortages about raising so much of my own food, but it doesn’t matter how much you produce if you can’t keep other people from stealing it.

In times of instability, a new skill learned can create stability for some

The truth is, there will always be bad actors in any given group of people. There will always be individuals looking for a chance to steal, hurt others, and just in general cause trouble.  It’s human nature and we can’t get away from it. When we had stable rules, stable jobs, and the kids all had stable school schedules it was easier to notice people looking for trouble. That stability is gone, and I don’t know if it will come back.

However, the eagerness of my own children, as well as their friends, to have real-life skills makes me want to try and figure something out. Kids these days are so glued to screens most of the time for school; many of them are itching to get out and do something tangible. Learning how to turn animals into dinner is a total change, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it would have been for me to get help processing birds this time around.

While there are hidden (or not-so-hidden) troublemakers out there at any point in time, there are always people willing to help, too. If you are new to homesteading or the country lifestyle, five years ago trying to meet like-minded people online might have been a good idea. I’m hesitant to recommend that now. I’m pretty sure the people that caused so much damage to me found me through social media. I have friends that also have sustainable agriculture little side-hustles that they advertise online; one, in particular, has been repeatedly targeted by animal-rights activists.

Maybe it’s time to figure out a new way to find community

If you have the skills to make money with farm products, then taking the risk of potentially exposing yourself to troublemakers is something you need to weigh against the value of advertising. It’s a business decision that’ll be different for everyone.

However, if you are new to the country/homesteading scene and just want to make friends, I personally would have a hard time recommending looking for people online. There have been plenty of other articles written about not advertising your prepper status, and I wholeheartedly agree.

As the holidays approach, hopefully many of us will be calling and checking in friends and relatives. Whether it’s some homesteading project or a specific survival scenario for which you’re trying to prepare, get a feel for how interested other people are in participating. I have my one good farm friend, Andrea. The rest of my various helpers over the years have been a mixture of friends from church, Scouts, neighbors, and relatives. A lot of them live in the suburbs. You might be pleasantly surprised to find who is receptive to preparing with you.

I have lived in the same area for the better part of a decade, so my pool of friends and acquaintances is fairly wide. If you have just moved to the country, or are not so established in your community, it may be different and will probably take longer. However, the principles are still the same. Pursue your interests; be a good neighbor; if you have solid family relationships, sustain those; and things will eventually fall into place. But it is never too soon to reach out and start building your network of like-minded folks…

Happy Thanksgiving!

God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.

We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.

We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.

We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbors
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.

For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Homeland Security Today: Community Preparedness Starts with Your Family

Don’t forget that it is still National Preparedness Month. From Homeland Security Today, Community Preparedness Starts with Your Family.

Disaster preparedness can be the difference between life and death. Running a Facebook Community group for anyone who knows what disaster preparedness means can be the key to keeping your community informed – and alive – when a disaster strikes.

The first thing I tell my community is regardless what disaster strikes, have a plan and make sure your entire family knows that plan. Within that plan, everyone should know where to meet, and have an out-of-state contact so when someone is missing everyone knows to call that contact to check in.

Try out some disaster drills. Take the family on a picnic and go down some roads that could be possible evacuation routes. Some roads have gates and you want to know before disaster strikes which roads may be blocked off, and this is a good time to get the kids involved. Make this trip a picnic at a spot the entire family can enjoy while at the same time learning where to go at a higher elevation should the need arise.

In my community there are five dams, so finding that safe evacuation route is important. We also have two volcanoes, landslide threats, flooding, and potential for an intense seismic event with the Cascadia Subduction Zone here in the Pacific Northwest – so again, to me, having that plan is important.

What I also encourage is having that briefcase ready to grab that has all the important documents. Many people don’t remember the insurance paperwork, titles to vehicles, VA paperwork if you are a veteran or Social Security documentation if you are in SSI or SSD. I have a briefcase with all this information I can just grab and go. I also encourage taking pictures of high-value items on a memory card you can access in any computer for when claims need to be filed, or in the event if a theft.

Finally, that go-bag: Do you stay in the house or do you head for the hills? We have power outages here in my community during winter storms that can last up to a week or longer and if the Army taught me one thing it is always to have a Plan A, B, C, and D and if those plans don’t work, you have backups for backups. When storms hit, we settle in. Power goes out, we had for a trailer that still has heat. We have a barbecue grill we can cook on, water stored in containers for drinking and cooking, and we make it a fun event. Many folks forget that on a well there is no power to the pump, so you will be out of water and this hinders your sanitation as well.

When it comes to the evacuation, we make it a point of always maintaining at a minimum a half a tank of gas in the vehicle as you never know when you may have to go farther to get to your destination when an event happens. I also suggest maintaining at least a week’s supply of food and water for your family as most disasters will take longer than three days for rescue to get to your community. I have a 72-hour pack I take with me everywhere, reminiscent of both my Army and my search-and-rescue days, and it carries enough for myself and one other for up to three days but longer if necessary.

First aid is another area many forget, but as a former combat medic my kit is above and beyond and stays in my truck. I do not carry more than what my civilian skill legally will allow. In the Army I stuck IVs, chest tubes, and whatever else needed to be done to keep a soldier alive, things I cannot do now without getting in legal trouble, so I do not carry those supplies. I do encourage anyone to at least learn basic first aid and CPR and learn how to take basic vital signs. You can pick up a basic blood pressure cuff and stethoscope in many medical supply stores and learn how to use them. Breathing, blood loss, and shock are the three main killers but knowing CPR, how to stop bleeding, and shock signs and symptoms and treatment are fundamental to learn and will benefit your family and community.

Lastly, Washington state has a program called Map Your Neighborhood. It is a great program for any community and helps in meeting your neighbors, knowing their skills, and identifying the elderly and disabled as the first ones you need to check on. You can find more information on this program on the internet and see about applying this to your community.

In the end, it is your family and your community who will be there to help you through a crisis event, and knowing what the threats are in your state and community will help you in staying prepared and knowing how to respond, which is a mitigation to the threat. Stay safe out there and keep your communities safe.

Forward Observer: Mao on American Patriots

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer has a couple of Out Front podcast episodes on Mao and what conservatives can learn from him. There is good information about subversion of conservative institutions, hard and soft power, community organizing and outreach, and the need to think of creating large groups rather than small groups. Below are the two podcasts on Youtube.

Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. – Mao

John Mosby on Building a Preparedness Group/Resilient Community

In this older post from John Mosby at Mountain Guerrilla, he gives his opinion on how to start a preparedness group or how to build a community for mutual assistance, or whatever you want to call your group. People always ask us about how to go about starting a preparedness group at the preparedness expo and elsewhere. We’ve posted several other articles previously on the topic, but as usual John has his own opinion.

We spend a lot of time on this blog, discussing the importance of building what John Robb terms a “resilient community,” while I turn back to the more traditional “tribe.” One of the recurring themes that arises in the commentary to these articles is the inability of people to find and befriend “like-minded people” to band together with for protection and security.

If this is your problem, rest assured, Aristotle thinks you’re an asshole. In his Nichomean Ethics, after pointing out that friendships are essential to the human experience (another example of classical antiquity being smarter than the ‘retreat survivalist.’), Aristotle went on to describe friendships as having three fundamental bases.

The first type of friendship that Aristotle described is the friendship wherein we like someone because they’re simply enjoyable to be around. This is the college buddy that you still hang around with because he’s good for laughs, or because he throws great parties. Aristotle explained that this was among the lowest forms of friendship, and they seldom last any great length of time. They’re not what most mature people would describe as “real” friendships.

This friendship—whether you are the guy who enjoys hanging out with someone, or you’re the guy who people enjoy hanging out with—stops, the minute shit gets tough. It’s entertaining to point out that “laughter is the best medicine,” and we need court jesters, especially in times of stress, but if that’s the only value someone is bringing to a relationship? Meh.

The second type of friendship that Aristotle mentioned, was also a “lower” form of friendship. Today, most of us generally view this type of relationship as only being valued by people who are inherently pieces-of-shit. These are the relationships where one party (or both), find utility in the friendship.

Aristotle wrote, “Those who pursue utility….sometimes….do not even find each other pleasant; there they do not need such companionship unless they are useful to each other; for they are pleasant to each other only in so far as they rouse in each other hopes of something good to come.” It’s not necessary that either party to the friendship is being mercenary per se. It’s simply a matter that the motivation for being friends is “what’s in it for me.”

This is ultimately the issue for most survivalists and preppers trying to build tribe among other preppers. We look for “well, what kind of preps does this person have? Do they share the same political values as me? Will they help me fight the good fight, politically?” Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this; it’s a reason for developing a friendship, it’s just not the highest form of friendship, and when we’re building a tribe—from scratch, mind you—we need the highest levels of friendship, trust, and frith.

I repeatedly suggest a thorough, annual reading of Dale Carnegies’ “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and I stand by that. It’s important for people to recognize however, that Carnegie was writing for the businessman who needed to develop rapid, ultimately relatively shallow, business friendships of a utilitarian nature. You need to use those tactics, when meeting people, but you also need to go far, far past that step.

Aristotle also described the highest form of friendship. Considering that much of what we understand as modern, liberal (in the Classical sense, not the contemporary political sense) Western values are largely derived from Aristotle’s writing, it should be no real surprise that most people’s concept of what “real” friendship, at the highest level is, coincides pretty closely with Aristotle’s definition.

“Perfect friendship is of those who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish each other well alike to each other…” Different from pleasure- or utility-based friendships, true friendships…the type of friendships that tribes must be based on (after all, remember, we’re talking about building a group of people that meets the definition of “kith and kin”) involve genuine care for the well-being of the other person/people, not mere ego issues.

This is not—as many anarchists would like to believe—a matter of radical self-sacrifice. It’s simply a matter of genuine concern for the well-being of the other party, regardless of the benefits to the self. This is the guy who stands up and teaches classes to his local survival group, not for his ego, but because he genuinely wants to pass on good information for the well-being of his friends, not because he’s getting paid, or because he needs to stroke his ego. This is the guy who shows up at 0600, on his day off, to help a neighbor get his crop in, and doesn’t ask anything in return, because he knows he doesn’t need to ask: the neighbor will be there next weekend, when HE needs a hand moving some furniture.

The problem that I see too often in the preparedness community is the “John, how do I find like-minded people to build tribe with?” questions we constantly get.

You don’t “find” like-minded people to become your friends. If that happens, it just happens, because you happen to meet like-minded people that you express a genuine interest in. The most important lesson of Aristotle’s discussion of friends is, looking in on-line communities for “prepper groups” to join is, how are you going to have a legitimate interest in the well-being of someone you don’t know?

You don’t know if those people in that group share your values. You don’t know if they share your work ethic. You don’t know anything about them…

Build your tribe by strengthening the friendships and relationships you have.

Click here to read the entire article at Mountain Guerrilla.

Alt-Market: I Started A Local Gun And Preparedness Club…

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.

Related:

Survival Sullivan: Setting up a mutual assistance group

Mason Dixon Tactical: The Neighborhood Protection Teams And Ignorant, Defeatist “Know It Alls”

City Prepping: How to Build MAG (Mutual Assistance Group)

Yakima Herald: Yakima Has Highest Rate of Covid-19 in WA

From the Yakima Herald, Yakima County has highest rate of COVID-19 cases in Washington, double the state rate:

Yakima County has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in the state by a significant amount, and is double the state average, according to state Department of Health data.

The county had a rate of 337 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest state data, accounting for the 840 Yakima County cases recorded by the state as of midnight on Monday.

That’s significantly higher than the next highest county rate in the state, Snohomish County, which has 274 cases per 100,000 people. It’s double the state rate of 168 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Yakima County also has the second-highest rate of testing for COVID-19 in the state after Snohomish County, according to Yakima Health District spokeswoman Lilian Bravo.

As of Tuesday evening, Yakima County had 886 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 38 deaths, according to the Yakima Health District. Twenty-five people were hospitalized with the respiratory virus. The health district did not provide updated numbers Wednesday due to technical difficulties.

Map released

On Tuesday, the health district released a map showing the breakdown of confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents in each city and town in Yakima County.

The health district map shows where community members infected with the virus live, not where they contracted the virus, said Bravo. Community members can contract the virus from anywhere in the community, she said — not just areas with higher rates of residents with confirmed cases.

The health district mapping is based on COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, not actual case numbers in each town or city. Cases in long-term care facilities, which account for about a third of cases in the county, were not included in the map to prevent the data from being skewed. P.O. Box addresses were also excluded.

High densities of cases can be seen in parts of Yakima, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Wapato and Tieton, among others.

The high case rate in the county compared to elsewhere in the state can be attributed to outbreaks in long-term care facilities, as well as the high proportion of essential workers in Yakima County, Bravo said.

Cases at seven Yakima County long-term care facilities make up 25% of the county’s total cases.

Essential workers

About 72,700 of 115,000 Yakima County jobs, or 63%, are in essential industries like agriculture, health care and wholesale trade, according to job figures from the first quarter of 2018 provided by the Yakima County Development Association.

This compares to 54% statewide.

“Context is that over 60% of jobs are still considered essential in Yakima, so we’re not as shut down as some areas in the state,” Bravo said. “Having more individuals still working, not necessarily always being able to work from home, having to show up to work — that’s going to put them at a higher risk of infection.”

Yakima Health District map of infection rates

Backdoor Survival: What Can Prepper Groups Do To Support Each Other During Quarantine

This article comes from Samantha Biggers at Backdoor Survival – What Can Prepper Groups Do To Support Each Other During Quarantine. You may not be able to have physical meetups, but what can you do?

A lot of people have been members of preparedness groups for quite some time. While some groups may have been just casual meetups once in a while, others were seriously training and getting together on a regular basis.

pandemic is not necessarily the event that most groups considered likely. This is not an event where people can all feel good about gathering together to ride this thing out.

But that doesn’t mean that prepper groups cannot offer a ton of support and help to one another. This article is going to talk about what prepper groups can do to support one another during this time of social distancing.

Learn skills via video

Prepper groups often have people with a huge variety of skills and knowledge. If each person takes a turn offering an online webinar, then everyone can use this time to learn and come through this even more prepared than ever. Some of these classes could even be added to your homeschool curriculum where appropriate.

Have some classes that are designed to help entertain and offer constructive activities for the teens and kids of those in the group.

While kids are going to have some homework to do, I know from my own homeschool experience that doesn’t take up anywhere near the entire day. Kids are going to need things to do and if you don’t want them to spend all that time watching television or playing video games, then you are going to need to give them some other constructive options.

Check-in on each other. Sometimes it is nice to just know that others are thinking about you.

The pandemic is making it so that people are suffering from extreme stress and anxiety. For many, there is a lot of uncertainty. Regardless of where you get your news, there has been an overwhelming amount of information and some of that info changes faster than you can keep up. There has also been planting of conflicting information.

When people don’t know what is true and a lot of promises are being made that it is impossible for any human being or government to be able to guarantee them, it can feel scary and lead to extreme stress. Poor mental health can affect your body and immunity.

Talking to others through this hard time, especially friends can help. Isolation can be very hard on some people that are older or those that live alone. I would not be doing so well with isolation if I did not have my husband right here with me and my father very nearby.

Share recipes

For many people, this is the first time they have had to cook with at least some basic foods or be responsible for all the meals consumed. If you get takeout or deli food 5-7 times a week, it is a big change to suddenly have to take care of that yourself and plan your day so that you have time for it.

Getting creative with all those prepper foods you have stashed back can make eating a more enjoyable experience. Variety helps more than you might realize. There are ways to make comfort foods from very basic things with just a few skills and some knowledge.

Practice Communications

Some prepping groups have communications procedures and codes in place. Now is a good time to practice those skills. Some people are getting more into shortwave radios and learning how to operate a HAM radio…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Backdoor Survival.

Organic Prepper: How to Help Your Community Be Better Prepared

Kara Stiff at The Organic Prepper has written How to Help Your Community Be Better Prepared for Covid-19 (and Future Emergencies). It’s worth your time to read.

…Some people can’t get their doctors to prescribe a reasonable stockpile of essential medications, or they need regular access to a hospital for dialysis or some other life-saving service. Some don’t have an extra dollar to spend on food for later because they can’t cover food for today. Others can’t stay home even when they’re contagious because they’ll lose their job. And some are suffering from depression or other mental states that make it literally impossible to think about the future, much less plan for it.

Some of these have been issues for me in the past, and I’m just lucky those periods of my life were short. There are millions of people who live there permanently.

Systemic and personal barriers to other people’s preparedness affect me personally, even though my family is in pretty good shape. We live out in the country but we’re still surrounded by neighbors, and our fortunes will rise and fall with theirs. My family can only be as prepared as our neighborhood, our county, our state. Which is to say, not very prepared at all.

How I’m working on community preparedness

So instead of further addressing our personal preparedness with diminishing returns, I’m working on community preparedness. I’m not an elected official or a leader, just a private citizen, so the things I’m doing are friendly and neighborly things.

Before we got our little cold I did my friend’s monthly livestock feed run for her, saving her a day in the car so she can rest up and take care of things at home. Then, I took my elderly neighbors some extra eggs. I haven’t seen them in a while, and it’s to both of our advantages if they remember who I am. I reintroduced myself to my neighbor who just moved in, so he remembers who I am, too.

Of course, it’s safest to live in a tight network of preparedness-minded people with diverse and complementary skills who unconditionally support each other. But how many of us are actually achieving that right now?

It’s difficult to build and maintain that sort of situation in a nation where most people aren’t interested, and people are always moving. Some of my neighbors form a pretty good support group, but I also have neighbors I’m not close with. Knowing their names and faces is far better than not knowing.

Another thing I’m doing is giving extra money to my local food bank. In these times when all the headlines scream that unemployment is low and the economy is hearty, about 15% of my county is already leaning on the food bank, including lots of elderly people and families with small children. These are the people who can least afford a health problem or a wider financial disruption, and it’s ultimately better for me if they have access to the resources to stock up.

The greater the proportion of the population who can meet some of their needs in any emergency, be it a virus, a weather event or just a personal job loss, the more likely it is that any forthcoming disaster assistance can cover the remaining needs. More needs met equals less unrest (certainly not none, but less) and less unrest equals my family being safer (certainly not safe, but safer).

It’s easy to feel that because I’m all set, all those grasshoppers who won’t see to their own needs can suffer and it doesn’t affect me. But it isn’t true. I am safest when everyone is safest.

This week I’m reaching out gently to friends and family, especially those who are vulnerable because of asthma, pregnancy, age or other preexisting conditions. Because my anxiety about my own family is relatively low, I can speak to them in encouraging, soothing, practical ways, sharing information and urging them to get some extra food so they have the option to stay home, hopefully without stressing them out too much. A few people actually contacted me, and I was able to better answer their questions and listen to their feelings because I’m not panicking myself. They weren’t interested last week when I mentioned the virus offhandedly, but this week, they are.

People become receptive to preparedness on their own timelines.

You might have found in your personal conversations that people are uninterested or even scornful about your preparedness ideas. I’ve certainly found that. My dad was polite but not too excited about my thoughts during last winter’s ice storm. Now he’s been following the Covid-19 news, and all of a sudden he wants to talk more in-depth about water catchment, food storage, and communication if the cell service is ever disrupted.

His change of mind just goes to show that people have to become receptive all on their own. In my experience, all we ordinary private citizens can do is try to gently plant a seed of interest in preparedness topics, and then be there to water it when the circumstances are right. For a lot of previously uninterested people, those circumstances are right now, and they might be looking around for somebody to learn from. Groups you’re already a part of (such as clubs or churches) may also be more receptive now that they used to be.

I’m not suggesting giving them a guided tour of your storage, or anything else that compromises your own security, but something as simple as speaking quietly to group leaders, assisting them to support others…

Click here to continue reading at The Organic Prepper.

Reminder to Check on Vulnerable Neighbors

There have been some stories shared on social media of people being carefully approached by strangers who are in the high-risk categories for COVID-19 (older adults and people with heart disease, diabetes or lung disease) and asked for help with shopping or other resources, because the strangers are afraid to expose themselves by going into crowded stores themselves. Sometimes they are being given cash and a shopping list, which exposes these high-risk people to both theft and then not having supplies. If you have neighbors whom you know are in a high risk group, it is a good idea to contact them (ideally via a remote method that doesn’t expose them to anything you may be carrying) and ask if you can assist them with any preparations. You could also print them an OK/HELP sign so that they can notify neighbors if they need assistance, and the people for whom they have phone numbers aren’t able to respond to help.

Be mindful that you still need to practice good hygiene to prevent infection in either direction when passing off goods or payment.