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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Urban Command and Control Center for SHTF

I received an e-mail from anonymous concerning set up and operation of a Command and control center during a collapse: “I’m living in a condo in basically downtown (city name removed) and am prepared well for SHTF. Guns, water and food are my main preps. Read all your posts now wondering what your thoughts are on setting up a command center for SHTF.”

UrbanMan replies: I removed the city you mentioned in your e-mail. My first advice would be to get out of that city. I know that one of the first rules of life is to have an income, but even a substantially lower income than what you have now, is better than staying where you are. The city and the state are bankrupt and there are plans for razing much of the city because of cost of maintaining all those local government and state owned buildings. You may be living in a urban wasteland in the near future.

Second of all, what do you have to command and/or control?

Command and control (C2) centers also called a Tactical Operations Center or TOC are necessary to Command (receive communications and give direction) and Control (deconflict primarily) by receiving information about current friendly operations (such as routes, locations and actions) and the threat (locations, strength and actions). Really un-necessary if you are a lone survivor. As a lone survivor type or even with a very small group you may just want a situation map posted so you can keep track of intel/info you gather through observation or actual one man patrols.

I read a story in a post-apocalypse city where survivors would mark buildings with chalk to represent if they searched it already and used coded marks to annotate if this building has a safe site and which floor it was located. A Situation Map would do largely the same thing, a way to annotate things and events so you could start analyzing trends and such, which would help your situational awareness and planning.

If you have a larger survival group, and especially if you have a large enough survival group to conduct multiple operations such as security patrols, procurement/foraging patrols, observation/listening post duties, etc., then a Command Post or TOC makes sense in order to have a single point of receptions of communications be it from radios, cell phones or even just from a returning debrief.

For instance, I have eight families currently, not counting the inevitably straphangers who will come, in my planned survival group. I have a large flat roof home. The primary Listening/Observation Post (LP/OP) that will be on top when SHTF will have FRS radio, TA-1 landline communications and a pull cord to a mechanical bell as a way to alert the survival member who is manning our TOC. Our TOC’s mission is to monitor the Weather band radio, monitor the scanner, monitor FRS and VHF radios for all of other team members an deployed patrols, and, serve as an alert for all members on crew rest (that means asleep since we will be running 24 hour operations).

As a deployed patrol radios into our TOC using brevity codes, the TOC will annotate that report and position on a map overlayed with thick plastic using a grease pencil or erasable marker. For any observations such as newly vacated houses, newly occupied houses, signs of activity, sighting of criminal or gang activity thing or any other information of importance, the patrol will re-enter the Base Camp (our Bug In location) and update the Situation Map (SITMAP).

The good thing about this process is that it is exportable in case we Bug Out to a different location. All male members of my survival group are comfortable and knowledgeable about this process and can rapidly terrain others that we absorb into the group.

If this doesn't answer your question, please get back with me. Prepare well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Income for Survival Prepping

Received an e-mail from Jeffrey and Christina (I changed the women’s name to give a little OPSEC to the writers) who wrote: ”We absolutely are on board with this website and others as well. Don’t want to really put this out on a forum with some of the people are radical. But just how do you get prepared for all of the possibilities without money? My wife is a stay at home mom with our 3 years old and I bring home $830 every two weeks. After our rent, car payment, insurance, light bill and buying food we barely make it, let alone have money to spend on items for survival. I know our duplex isn’t a safe place to be with marauders in the streets shooting people and stealing things. We live in the suburbs and don’t have any place to go. I can’t help but think there are many people who are like us and maybe they have just quit trying to prepare and maybe I would too but for my 3 years son. Any advice would be well received. Thanks for all the free information you have for us. “

UrbanMan Replies: Jeffrey and Christina, I am not trying to lecture you about financial matters, but there are ways to be frugal so that you have more disposable income, whether than is just $5 a week or more. One of the things I did is to shop around and get the cheapest house phone; re-negotiated my cell phone plan; instituted a soup and sandwich dinner four nights a week; changed my vehicles insurance to carry more risk in lieu of a cheaper premium; and have been buying cheaper generic brands, usually at Costco, Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store as we can. That has actually freed up over $200 a month for me.

Just because your wife is home with the baby does not mean earning an income, especially with a home based business, is out of the question. You just have to get into the right business. Have her take a personal inventory and see what her skills, knowledge and aptitude is, in the categories of Products, Services of Information. There are many no to low costs startup type businesses available, but look carefully. Some people hire writers on-line to research and write papers. This is another method of earning extra cash.

I know of one gent who went to yard and garage sales, bought old crap, then sold it on e-bay for a large profit – gotta know what your doing though.

Think multiple streams of income. A little bit coming in from a lot of different sources generally makes good sense.

A final word: Don’t really know what you meant about ” Don’t want to really put this out on a forum with some of the people are radical.” There are preppers from many different schools of thought, prejudices’, bias’, etc. The survival forums are good about cleaning up the real kooks, but it is much better have kooks and various opinions, even if they are “radical”, then not to be allowed to have different, albeit, kooky and radical thought. This may be a good example of survival team building and the necessity of attracting people and building a solid team of people who think similar to you. 

Think outside the box.  I'm pretty sure you can free up and earn extra money to subsidize your preps - after all your survival may depend on it.  Good luck. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Militas on Trail - Survivalists Next?

UrbanMan say’s:
One of the perceptions some in mainstream America have on the Prepper or Survivalist Movement is one of radical, right wing, racist extremists. In some cases you can add the word “Militia” to that. These descriptions fuel images of the Aryan Brotherhood in Northern Idaho; of the Branch Davidians at Waco; the “Posse Comitatus” movement in the Midwest: and a host of others.

In today’s post 9-11 world the McCarthyism type search for home grown terrorists often brings the Prepper/Survivalist movement into the cross hairs of the Federal Government and their multiple Intelligence entities. This targeting effort is enhanced when the ideology of the Government is decidedly liberal, where words and concepts like “individualism”, “individual responsibility”, “preparedness”, “conservatism” and even “Christianity” are terms for scorn and ridicule.

Aside for Operational Security concerns, the fear of being lumped into that radical category is what keeps many of us from exposing our beliefs in being prepared for, (pick one) economic collapse, societal collapse, SHTF, or Armageddon, to family members or friends.

I think one way to protect ourselves from being lumped into that radical category and worse, become a target of the Federal Government, is to be able to separate our political beliefs from our Survivalists actions. Hard to do you say? I don’t think so. After all, our survivalist preparations are a safe guard,…an insurance plan for a contingency that may never happen. All of our preparations to survive the chaos of a total economic or infrastructure collapse are intended for when our political efforts, to keep this nation from arriving at chaos, have failed.

The straightforward act of ensuring you and your family, or your survival group (call it a militia if you want) are prepared for the effects of any collapse should not be a means of creating that collapse. Let me say that again,…our preparations for the collapse are not the means to effect or cause the collapse. We have to ensure that it remains so.

Another thing we must do is to keep the upcoming trial of Hutaree Militia in focus, to keep from being lumped into this category or to otherwise keep from being a target of any over zealous government agency. It remains to be seen what the actual ground truth here is. Whether the Hutaree Militia are just a hapless Survivalist group who ran their mouths like school yard taunts,……or if they are actually anti-government, violence prone idiots who deserve to be jailed...or maybe some where in between.  I don’t know if one could ever be sure of the truth, but it is for certain that this trial will effect the way people and the government look at organized Survivalist groups.

Militia on Trial: ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ and Preppers, or Anti-Gov’t Domestic Terrorists? This was the headline a few days ago while the article below can be found on

DETROIT (AP) — Seven members of a Midwest militia accused of plotting to overthrow the government are set to stand trial, where jurors will decide whether federal authorities prevented an attack by homegrown extremists or simply made too much of the boasts by weekend warriors who had pledged to “take our nation back.”

Opening statements are set for Monday once a jury is seated in the trial of members of the Hutaree militia, who are charged with conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, as well as weapon crimes.

Following the March 2010 arrests in southern Michigan , Ohio and Indiana , U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said the time had come for authorities to “take them down.” An undercover agent had recorded the group’s leader, David Stone, saying the militia needed to “start huntin’” police soon.

But since their capture, only one of nine people charged has struck a plea deal, an unusually low number in a case with so many defendants. Their attorneys have maintained a consistent stance: The anti-government talk was simply colorful yet aimless bluster akin to frustrated pals drowning sorrows around a campfire.

“I’m going to fight it tooth and nail,” David Stone’s wife and co-defendant, Tina Mae Stone, said during a break in jury selection last week. “It was just a bunch of good ol’ boys out to have fun. We did survival stuff. I did it mostly to spend time with my husband. People tell me, `good luck.‘ I don’t need luck. I’ve got God on my side.”

The militia prepared for survival in case of domestic chaos or an attack on the United States , attorneys Todd Shanker and Richard Helfrick said in a court filing. They noted the group even had a website and promoted its weekend outings.

“Regardless of the charges in the indictment, there is no dispute that the aims of the Hutaree militia included the free exercise of their 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, including freedom of speech, association, assembly and the right to bear arms,” said the lawyers, who represent David Stone Jr.

The indictment, however, describes a more sinister band. The government says the Hutaree, based in Michigan ’s Lenawee County , was an anti-government group committed to fighting authorities who belong to a so-called “New World Order.” The defendants are accused of conspiring to someday ambush and kill a police officer, then attack the funeral procession with explosives and trigger a broader revolt against the U.S. government.

“The court will hear testimony and examine evidence concerning this particular group’s hatred for, and desire to do physical harm to, law enforcement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline said.

The government has more than 100 hours of audio and video, including the recording of David Stone, 47, apparently talking about police.

“I think we gotta just start huntin’ `em here pretty soon. … They’re easy to find, they‘re sittin’ alongside the road and they got these red and blue lights on top of their car,” he said.

A co-defendant, Michael Meeks of Manchester , Mich. , replied: “It’s like a Kmart super special or whatever.”

But some conversations were sprinkled with laughter and a mix of subjects, including strippers and drawing Hitler mustaches on photos of state troopers. Agents seized machine guns, unregistered rifles, ammunition and parts for improvised explosive devices.

The government’s case got off to a rough start in 2010, when U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts released the nine until trial under strict conditions. The government swiftly appealed but then agreed that four could go home wearing electronic monitors. An appeals court ultimately ordered the other five to remain locked up, including David Stone.

The government relied on an undercover agent inside the group and an informant. But the informant comes with warts: He pleaded guilty in state court to firing a gun during a dispute with his wife and also attempted suicide. Another witness who was married to a Hutaree member not charged in the case attempted suicide and told a grand jury she’s prone to panic attacks.

“How often do American citizens get charged with sedition or inciting discontent and resistance against big government? Heck, most citizens are discontented with the government,” said Lloyd Meyer, a Chicago lawyer and former terrorism prosecutor. “In this case, no one pulled a trigger and no one got hurt. … A jury could believe that the feds went after this group with a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel.”

But Alan Gershel, a former prosecutor who teaches at Cooley Law School in suburban Detroit , said the allegations in the indictment seem more than goofy talk.

“There was planning. There was acquisition of firearms. There was training,” he said. “Do you have to wait until the first shot is fired? You have to choose the moment of time when things go beyond chatter. That’s what the government is aiming at here.”

Joshua Clough of Blissfield , Mich. , is the only defendant to make a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in December to illegal use of a firearm, faces a mandatory five-year prison sentence and could be called as a witness to testify against the Hutaree.

Besides the Stones and Meeks, the other defendants are Joshua Stone of Lenawee County ; Thomas Piatek of Whiting, Ind. ; and Kristopher Sickles of Sandusky , Ohio . Jacob Ward of Huron, Ohio , will have a separate trial. Besides conspiracy charges, all face at least one firearm charge and some have more.

Comments It is also for certain that this event has generated pretty definitive opinions. Here are some of those on-line comments:

SGT Rock, February 13, 2012
This is how those in power paint people who rise against them, they label them nuts, homegrown terrorists, gun crazies and such. This prevents the average citizen from having a common bond with these types of ‘extremists.” I hope they are not guilty of the charges against them. When this President took over and his administration said that all veterans are to be watched because of the possibility of them uprising and we vets became public enemy number one my internal alarms were going off. Yes some ex-vets go bonkers but no more so than some wack job civilian. Those in power will do whatever it takes to stay in power. So since I am a veteran and may be put against the wall with folks like these or Glenn I decided to become a vocal non-supporter of this regime. This is just the beginning folks of what is to come. If Obummer gets another 4 years there will be no stopping the madness as he fundamentally changes our great country into some banana democracy. We all need to watch the watchers to keep them as honest as possible.

Byehlik, February 13, 2012
I’m sure the courts will be full of patriots as the treasonous government tries to put the label on the patriot. Wow, buying weapons, practicing with said weapon, constitutes planning and training a revolution against big tyrannical government when you voice your concerns. Wow, that puts alot of folks in that camp. If these guys were targeting police, they should answer for it however, it’s not the police that are the problem, it’s Washington DC .

Viet Vet, February 13, 2012
Are the so-called machine guns….actually machine guns??? As we’ve seen time and time again over the years, guns claimed to be machine guns by the left are really only semi-autos. Is the communist, Van Jones, really a hero to the left??? I would imagine so. Are these people, the subject of this piece, political prisoners??? Of course they are.

TexasHunter, February 13, 2012
And so it begins. Correction they have been watching us from 09. Keeping an eye on us from day 12. There is only ONE man that will take us back to our constitution. We however can’t look past the theory of letting Israel take care of itself. God says he will ALWAYS take care of his land. How about we take care of OURS for a second!! Then after we get back to our ROOTS then go and help our neighbors from a bay. Otherwise this is what is going to happen ON A DAILY OCCURRENCE. AMERICANS being targeted as TERRORIST!! GTFO OWEBAMA. This is why we are getting ready. 2012 We are the REPUBLIC. I hope the ARMY MARINES NAVY AIR FORCE wake up and realize it is time for our military to take OUR Country BACK!! WE USA CITIZENS are being classified as TERRORIST now!! WTF!!!

UrbanMan’s final comments: While I do not discount the possibility of the Government doing everything from lying, to fabricating evidence, to having a not so hidden anti-gun, anti-religion agenda. I cannot abide by anybody targeting law enforcement to make a political point, if this is true, let alone the asinine comment about hoping for a military coup.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

LA Police Gear for Survival Kit

Just want to make readers aware of another source of survival and tactical gear to add to their research lists when considering spending those hard won dollars towards survival preparation for the collapse.

LA Police Gear offers a wide range of kit ranging from medical items to holsters to gear bags to flashlights and many other items at reasonable prices.

Some of the companies that are distributed through LA Police Gear include: 5.11 tactical series; Adventure Medical Kits; Quik Clot Trauma Paks; Surefire Flashlights; Hazard 4; Blackhawk Tactical; Hatch; Maxpedition; Galco Holsters; Streamlight Flashlights; Camel Bak; Converse; Under Armour; Magnum; Wise; and about another 150+ manufacturers.

LA Police Gear also hosts a blog, LA Police Gear Blog, that highlights different pieces of kit. Probably a good idea to bookmark this link to their blog and peruse it from time to time to see if you can pickup tips on good survival gear, as well as compare prices to other vendors.