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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Survivalism: Why Are You Preparing?

What is survivalism really all about?
Here’s how Wikipedia defines as “survivalism”; a very well written article:
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or sometimes preppers) who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order. Survivalists often prepare for this anticipated disruption by having emergency medical training, stockpiling food and water, preparing for self-defense and self-sufficiency, and/or building structures that will help them survive or "disappear" (e.g., a survival retreat or underground shelter).
Anticipated disruptions include the following:
I watched this movement gain a footing in the early eighties, and then morph into what we see these days. Along this journey I have also watched certain elements within the movement change as well. Whereas people used to join community based survival groups; the trend these days has edged towards a more “lone wolf” brand of survivalists.

The biggest transformation that I have seen; is the all consuming efforts that many survivalists put into killing-off each other. The over-reliance on high-tech devices, and the spiraling downfall of long-term food storage strategies, suggest to me that many [so called] survivalists aren’t really into survivalism itself; but more focused on anarchistic fantasies of running-amok on the streets that are devoid of societal control. I am of the firm belief that this type of "survivalist" has spent (way) too much time playing violent video games; and hasn't really taken the steps necessary to establish a real survival plan.

Over the years I have interviewed and spoken with potential candidates that wanted to join The Alaska Watchmen Group. I'll admit that I am "picky" when it comes to who is allowed into the group; but that's part of my job as the Commander--to weed out those malcontents that due to their anarchistic nature, pose a risk to the group members, and might in some way pose a risk to our well laid plan and strategies. I'm also looking for "Team Players" that have the ability to integrate their skills and knowledge into the overall scope and objectives of the group.

It would surprise you to hear the things that I've heard, when asking a very simple, and very direct question: "What are your biggest concerns regarding survivalism?"

It's during this stage of the interview that I listen for certain "keywords" that might give me some insight about the candidate that I am sharing a cup of coffee with. It's uncanny, but I always hear the same thing; perhaps in a different way, but nonetheless, it's like hearing the same song on the radio--over, and over, and over...

I listen intently, (and oftentimes amused) as the candidate outlines their plans, ideas, and preparations that he or she has undertaken. I smile and nod my head politely when they delve into the New World Order conspiracies theories; or the endless equations that have already pre-determined the fate of the human race. Or how they intend to be the last hope of mankind--singlehandedly staving off the hordes of brigands with accurate and devastating machinegun fire--thereby winning the affections of several well-endowed females left to repopulate the world.

What I find most distressing, is the fact that many of the people that I have interviewed, are already so far gone; that to bring them back into The Real World of survivalism would become a monumental task. It's not that I'm unwilling; it's just that I'm actually tired of trying to convince, or at least make them understand that it's not illegal to be a survivalist, and that hiding out in the woods isn't such a good idea after all.

I do my very best to make them understand that our survival strategies are based on group consensus, as well as sound and strategic plans that encompass a wide variety of stratagems, rather than some tyrannical War-Lord fantasies of grabbing the Bug Out Bag and heading for the nearest exit ramp into the woods.

I explain that our group members consist of men, women, children and elderly--that living in a tent while sustaining ourselves on MRE's when a bad-ass-blizzard is howling outside, or the temperature drops down to -50 below zero--isn't an option unless the worst of the worst situations were to occur.

I lay it all out in the most polite way that I am able to muster--that our group is a tight knit group that plans, prepares, and trains together for all eventualities; whether these events are man-made, or natural disasters.

Sometimes I see the light go-on behind their eyes. Other times they look away--and that tells me what I need to know about the candidates mindset. That no matter what I say, or what I attempt to explain--their "lone wolf" mind will not allow them to see the truth of reality.

For example; I interviewed a candidate a few months ago. We arrived at a local coffee shop, and before we even had the chance to get to know each other, he's begins the interview by telling me about the cabin that he built for himself on a bluff overlooking the ocean. For another hour I hear about how he's building a sustainable community, a magnetic-motor that uses magnets to generate electricity, and how he intends to grow his own vegetables, raise meat animals, and live the life of an Off-Gridder.

I brought my Executive Officer to the meeting because I wanted him to get a feel for the candidate. The candidate made an instant hit with my XO. Against my better judgment, I allowed the candidate to get past my strict criteria. You see; I already knew that this guy wouldn't be a good fit for the group. So I invited him to the next meeting, and also made him understand that he would have to sit in front of the group members and explain himself, answer questions from the membership; and afterward we would have a group vote to either allow him into our group, or send him packing.

For two hours the group interviewed him. Pointed questions were asked, and he answered each one directly. I'm here to tell you--I've got some members that are very serious about survivalism They asked direct questions, and expected nothing but direct answer. I sat on the side-lines remembering that these are the people that have wives, husbands, and children. That their questions weren't out of line--it is after all a matter of trust, and a matter of life and death for them.

I've got some really good members. Even though they ALL had some reservation about him-he was voted into the group under a probationary status. But each member confided to me that the candidate wouldn't last more than one month, if that long. I agreed to give him a chance.

Over the next few weeks I detailed certain members to help the "new guy" get squared away with supplies. We began a series of training sessions to bring him up to speed on our communications network, and trained him how our Tactical Alert Call Tree Systems works.

Within a few weeks the guy quits the group. I asked him why, and he told me that he was already a year ahead of the group, and that since we hadn't helped him finish building his little compound--that we were not welcome to share in its bounty. (Okay By ME!)

The reality is this: the candidate wasn't really about survival--he was all about sustainability AFTER a crisis event. He was wanting our group to come help him build-up his compound, perform as a security detachment, and to provide him with a ready-made harem of female group members.

He was focused on living out whatever SHTF event in his little cabin on the ocean; and no matter what happens in the future—that’s where he was going. I did my best to make him understand that he really needed to explore a Plan-B option. That if something were to occur in the southern part of Alaska, our group would be heading to one of our Northern Safe Area. He wanted no part of that plan—no matter what happens, this guy was going to ride it out in the south.

I didn't even bother to say anything; just wished him well and deleted his membership from the rolls. The sad thing is this: he's not the only person that I have interviewed that thinks along these lines. It's an all too common mindset these days.

My mantra is; "All The Beans And Bullets That You Have; Don't Mean Squat--Unless You Got Somebody Watching Yer' Back !"

So that brings us back to square one: what is survivalism really all about?

It’s about getting ready for crisis and disasters; as opposed to conspiracy theories that are a “dime a dozen”. It’s about insuring the perpetuity of our families, our neighbors, and our community during times of crisis. It’s also about understanding the monumental task and responsibility that comes with carrying the title “survivalist”.

The job also entails doing your very best to make other  [so called] survivalists understand that living out of a Bug Out Bag in the State Park; while trying to protect the family and kids—is for the foolish and unprepared. Come to Alaska sometime in January and let me show you what I mean…

[ 62 Below Zero ]

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