Mountain Guerrilla: “When” the SHTF

This lengthy piece comes from Mountain Guerrilla blog‘s Patreon page. This one is a public posting, so no Patreon membership is required to read it.  Some people get turned off by the way John Mosby writes; try to get past it. Mosby consistently writes insightful commentary. You may not like what he says, but think about it before rejecting it, and you may find your mind changing. In this article, Mosby talks about supposedly prepared people who ended up not being prepared for simple disasters and the kinds of things you can do to be self-sufficient in a way that makes you prepared for these short term disasters.

“When” the SHTF

One of the things I’ve spent a lot of time and bandwidth on is pointing out the inanity of focusing preparedness on some potential future cataclysmic event that will bring about The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI)… like overnight, total economic meltdown leading to a catastrophic failure of modern society, EMP or CMP destroying the electrical grid, terrorists detonating “dirty bombs” in multiple major metropolitan centers, zombie or other pandemic disease outbreaks, and the like are cool to theorize about. The problem is, they’re cool to theorize and fantasize about because they are so unlikely.

That’s not to say that it wouldn’t be super convenient. That sounds facile, but it really isn’t. Sure, the idea that “90% die-off” of the American population being “convenient” seems ridiculous. The idea that spending the rest of your life in a tooth-and-claw fight for sustenance and survival would be “convenient” seems like something a testosterone-poisoned teenage boy would claim. The reality is however, compared to the reality we are facing, the popular images of “TEOTWAWKI” are exactly that: they’re convenient.

You wake up one morning, and nobody, anywhere, has any electricity. The banks and banking computers no longer work, so nobody, anywhere, has any money left, and those who did have a couple hundred or thousand in cash, stuffed into a pair of underwear, are … out of luck, because every quickly realizes that cash is valueless. You no longer have to worry about soccer practice, band recitals, or math tutors, for Little Suzie and Sam, because it’s time to crawl into the Crye Multicam jammies you bought, strap on your plate carrier, load and zero your 1970s vintage, Belgian-made FN/FAL with wood furniture (because real men carry rifles made of wood and steel, by Gawd!) and iron sights, and prepared to defend hearth and home, and the virtue of the little Missus!

No more fighting about what’s for supper, and whether we should eat at home, or go out, because we’re going to be living on beans and rice for the next year. No more worrying about who is watching what on television, because the power grid is down, and the satellites got fried by the CME too, so there’s no DirecTV, even if you did have a generator to hook the television up to. No more worries about making it to the gym to work out, and try to treadmill that “freshman fifteen” you put on your first year of college….twenty years ago, because it’s going to be physical labor from now until you die, trying to gather supplies, and cut and split wood.

No more dealing with attorneys to battle it out with the neighbor over the boundary dispute because one of you built the privacy fence incorrectly. Now, you can just smoke check the dude with a thirty caliber round from your FAL, because the police are no longer working. It’s not like you have to worry about him fighting back, because he’s “sheeple,” and you’re pretty sure he doesn’t even own a gun. You’ve certainly never seen him carrying one, and he doesn’t have any cool guy gun bumper stickers on his truck, like you do.

Yeah, it would be convenient.

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Reality is dirtier, and far, far less convenient. Reality is PG&E shutting down the power grid to millions of people, for weeks, because they’re worried about lack of infrastructure maintenance causing runaway wildfires. Reality is those wildfires happening anyway, and closing down your “Bug Out” route, because of traffic congestion, as everybody else tries to flee the dangers at the same time.

Reality is a tornado sweeping across two counties, knocking power out to thousands of homes, and sending 300 year old oak trees through roofs, and blowing barns and sheds into the next township. Reality is the electric company subsequently telling you that, “Yeah, your power is going to be out for awhile, because we’ve got several hundred miles of line to replace, and you’re at the bottom of the priority list. Oh, you have a newborn baby? A disabled grandmother living at home? Not our problem. Sorry.”

Reality is a winter storm blowing in and knocking out the power for the next week, as temperatures plummet to single digits, and nobody in your subdivision has a wood stove for back-up, because covenants in the HOA agreement.

Reality is what happened to parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas this summer, when the Arkansas River flooded to historic record levels, and destroyed entire communities worth of homes.

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I have a friend who lost power recently. Their power was out for a week. They ended up going and staying with family, because the weather was cold, and they didn’t have any back-up systems in place at the house. Dude is one of the most all-around competent, handy, people I’ve ever known. He’s a super hard worker, self-employed, and has dozens of employees. He’s genuinely, just an all-around competent dude.

This friend has tens of thousands of dollars worth of guns. He wears a concealed pistol everywhere he goes, and he keeps a rifle locked up, inside the cab of his truck, along with a plate carrier, “just in case.”

I asked him, “Why do you carry a gun?”

“Well, because there are bad people in the world, and I can’t rely on the police to be on hand to protect me and my wife and kid!” He’s right. It’s a really good answer. It’s solid. It’s legitimate.

“Cool. So, why don’t you have a back-up generator wired to the house? Why don’t you have a woodstove in the house, and a couple cords of wood in the backyard? What if, instead of a storm knocking out the power for a few days, this had been THE EVENT? What if your family had lost power too?”

He didn’t have an answer. Most people I’ve had similar discussions with, over the years, haven’t had answers…

Click here to continue reading at the Mountain Guerrilla Patreon page.

Mosby: Self-reliance vs Prepping

John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla blog has an article titled “Let It Come in My Time…” which talks about some differences between people who are “preppers” versus people who simply focus on living as self-reliantly as possible. As usual, it’s a good read. Certainly there are preppers who try to live self-reliantly as a preparedness strategy, but there are also people who practice self-sufficiency simply because that is what they want to do and how they want to live their lives.

I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.”

The above is from Thomas Paine, that literary firebrand and antagonizer of the aristocracy of England, the Early United States, and France, during their Revolution. It is one I have often heard voiced by preppers and survivalists, even as they beg for one more month, or year, to “finish prepping.”

I shut my personal Facebook page down the other day. It was just getting to be too much of a time suck, and I found myself getting embroiled in discussions that I knew, before I typed the first letter, were utterly pointless. Before I did though, I noticed a conversation on Sam Culper’s page that involved a couple of long-time readers here. I’m not judging anything that was said, necessarily, but the crux of the conversation was, “voting for POTUS’ re-election in 2020 is necessary, despite his current trend towards supporting stuff I hate, because it gives us a few more years before shit really unravels.” I am only mentioning it, really, because I was specifically cited by two of the commenters.

While it’s no secret that I’m not particularly enamored of POTUS (I wasn’t particularly enamored of any of them in my voting lifetime…, but that’s really not even relevant. Was he better than the alternative? Maybe. Possibly.

The point I’m going to address is really pretty simple. It is the idea that “we have to elect XXX because it will give us a few more years to prepare for the inevitable collapse/civil war/etc…” It is an argument that I’ve heard for, well, honestly? My entire life. In this case though, one of the commenters specifically mentioned that not everyone is as well-established in their preparations as my family is.

I get it, I really do. I’ve got a pretty sweet little DoomStead set up. We produce enough meat to supply all of our meat needs. I need to get my pasture fenced in, so I can add a couple of beef cattle, but we do more than alright…

Click here to read the entire article at Mountain Guerrilla.

Mosby: Just Do It.

How do make your way to a self-reliant lifestyle? One small step at a time. John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla blog has a short piece on taking those first steps.

…I’m not gonna lie, we have a pretty awesome life. I don’t have an electric bill, because I built our solar power system myself, from components. We don’t have a house payment, because we built our house by hand, as we went. I have a land payment, but we pay so much extra on it, that the 15 year note will be completely paid off in 6 years total. We don’t have much of a grocery bill, because we raise and/or hunt so much of our own food.

I get to shoot—and teach—weekly, because we have a core group of guys who show up every weekend for training. We have a core group of 10 or so families that socialize together, party together, babysit each others’ kids, etc (Yes, we even identify, communally, as a “clan.”).

So, yeah, life is pretty…good, even as we watch the social structures we’re accustomed to collapse around us.

Here’s the catch though…It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen all at once. We’re still in the process of becoming communally self-reliant, for lack of a better term.

How then, does someone like my friend—maybe someone like you—start today, instead of waiting until the stars align properly?

Start small. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch (I have an amazing German brown bread recipe that I’ll post one of these days). It takes me twenty minutes of work, spread over several hours (to let the dough rise), to bake two big, round loaves of the bread. Even with two young kids that love to eat it (and my predilection for eating quarter loaf chunks ripped off the still steaming loaf…), two loaves of this bread will last us two or three days. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive…

Click here to read the entire article.

Sensible Survivalists: Basic Homesteading Skills My Grandmother Learned

The Sensible Survivalists have a nice article up titled The Basic Homesteading Skills My Grandmother Learned During WWII And Then Passed On To Me.  If you are getting ready to start your first garden or just beginning to move toward more self-sufficiency, it’s a good read to get you on your way.

I think the person who taught me the most, especially about homesteading, was my wonderful late grandmother.

She was a young woman in England during the Second World War. It was a difficult time for everyone, especially families. Food and resources were limited, and morale had to be kept up. She and her friends learned so many new skills in order to cope, and managed to make it through in one piece.

My grandmother passed on some of her homesteading skills to me, which has been invaluable for our own experience. Along with those skills, she taught me to be resourceful, resilient, imaginative and tough, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.

In this post, I want to pass my grandmother’s wartime beginner homesteading skills on to you.

I think there’s something wonderful about taking the painful lessons that our parents and grandparents learnt during difficult times, and then learning and growing from them. I sometimes wish I could go back in time. I would go and speak to my grandmother, aged 17, trying to get a coop of stubborn chickens to lay eggs, and I would tell her that generations and decades into the future, her granddaughter would be applying those lessons to her own homesteading life. I think she’d be happy about that.

To put together this post, I’ve gone back through our family archives, my grandmother’s old notebooks and a few Internet sites to collects facts, pictures and lessons we can learn from today. I’ve found the old WWII posters that my grandmother will have seen at the time, and will share those with you…

John Mosby: Craftsmanship in Preparedness

As usual, John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla blog has some insightful comments on prepping in general and on the more important craftsmanship of living a self-sufficient life which results in being prepared for whatever life throws your way. Some people don’t like the things JM says nor the way he says them, but even if you disagree with his conclusions, the ideas that he presents are well worth contemplating.

…As I discussed in my books, while the occurrence of a single, instantly-identifiable “SHTF” trigger event would be remarkably convenient, it’s not likely. Even in the case of an event that popular prepper porn novels make out to be THE event—solar flare, EMP, economic collapse, etc—the fact is, collapses of major civilizations take years, decades, and even centuries to fall all the way to “dark ages” status. That’s not popular, and it’s not convenient, but it is reality.

“But! Violent struggle in the streets!” “But, mah second civil war!” “Riots!” “Collapse of the Dollar!”

Sure, all of those are bad, but, especially at the local level, none of them are really “TEOTWAWKI” either, in most places. Sure, parts of major metropolitan areas are going to get ugly. A lack of potable drinking water from the taps. Absence of police presence making violent crime more likely. Control of whole neighborhoods by criminal gangs and cartels. A breakdown in the infrastructure system. Squatting by newly homeless people…Yeah, that’ll be different…

Guess what? That IS the norm, right now. You think an EMP going off is going to make it worse? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m betting on not. In fact, in a lot of ways, I suspect life for the residents of … ghettos in large urban areas will get BETTER after an event that draws more attention away from them, when the shadow governments that are already in place, in the form of criminal cartels, can move about more openly. No more pretense of divided loyalties between the government, the relief agencies, and the local gangs. The gangs will stomp out unaffiliated criminal actors in a hurry. Sure, it’ll be despotism, and if you’re an attractive female of breeding age, it’ll probably suck for the indefinite future, but, as a general thing, that’s just as true now.

What benefits will accrue the inner city? They have a new governing body in place that has a proven track record for getting a niche product into the community, under difficult conditions. Are groceries as profitable as drugs? Not right now, but in the event of a major event? It’s not like drug dealing gangs are in it because of the drugs. They’re in it because of the money, and the power the money brings them. How long do you think it will take a local gang to switch over from smuggling drugs to smuggling carrots? Hell, they don’t even need to smuggle carrots. They can get their mamas and grannies to grow them on the roofs and in the deserted lots.

Rural places? The power goes out in my neighborhood when a good storm blows. A cartel safehouse was raided and busted less than a couple miles from my house, last year. There was over $2 million worth of contraband on the place. My neighbor told me that our other neighbor had something like 50 head of cattle rustled out of his pasture, in broad daylight, two months ago. The closest town to us has signs in the front yard of several businesses and houses openly acknowledging the corruption in the municipal government. You know what people do?

They live. They have backup generators, or they are off-grid completely. Of my six closest neighbors, every single family raises a serious garden every year (as in, somewhere over 100% of their annual intake of vegetables. Some gets sold, some gets canned for storage, some gets given away), and every family raises their own chickens for meat and eggs. Half have a larger meat animal on the place as well, either beef cattle or pigs. Three of the neighbors have a family cow each.

Read the entire article by clicking here. Also as usual, the article is spiked with JM’s typically NCO colorful epithets and aphorisms which may offend the sensibilities of some readers.