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Monday, March 29, 2010

Disappearing For A Bit: A Guest Post By The VP of Awesomeness

[ TOR here real quick. Today's post is brought to you by the VP of Awesomeness. He was a bail bondsman for a long time so I solicited his thoughts on this topic. My comments will be at the end in italics.]

Ok, let's face it, bad things happen to good people. I learned that shortly after I started by Bail Bonds business... I've seen people get in trouble and have to "disappear" for a short time. Just a couple points to cover in case this ever happens to you.

Always try to be the "Grey Man". Avoid the lifestyle bumper stickers at all costs. The ones that were successful at hiding, all drove average vehicles, wore nothing that would stand out and did nothing to draw attention to themselves.

Cash is king, while I do have some gold & silver put back, on the run or short term bugging out, use only cash. Split it up in your gear, don't keep it all on your person. Now the only exception to this that I've seen, that actually worked, was a Money Card. The woman was running from a violent relationship, her sister was putting money on a Walmart prepaid card, which works like a Visa for the most part, but you really have to trust the person applying the funds as they may have access to the card history.

IF you decide to travel with a firearm, I would keep it limited to something compact and easily hidden. While I would MUCH rather have an M4 and a chest rack full of mags, I keep it to a quality handgun & mags VERY well hidden.

Prepaid cell phone. If you find yourself in need of communicating, this is the ONLY way to go. Even then, use it enough and "they" can track it. Keep it short and sweet.

It really helps to have some sort of GPS in your vehicle, getting lost can lead to all kinds of problems. Follow the traffic laws, more people are found by your average traffic cop doing his job than by Hi speed warrant teams.

Unless you a have very deep pockets, you're going to need a source of income, and having a job on the books will not cut it, if you plan on staying free for any amount of time. So it's more often than not, it's going to be something in the building trades. Now, with the Job Market being what it is, unless you have usable skills, you may have some trouble finding something.

Find out where the Day Labor's hang out, you will be with a bunch of Hispanics, but if you are Legal & speak English, you should have a better chance at finding something. Something else that has worked, find a construction site and offer to do clean up afterwords. Salvaging cans and scrap metal is an option too. Just keep in mind you're trying to stay alive and free, not trying to compete with Donald Trump.

Keeping your expenses low. Living in your vehicle can be done and is being done a lot more than most people realize. Staying in a hotel will eat up funds and assist in getting you found. The successful one's I've spoke with, most were Van Dwellers, shopped as places like Aldi's and live cheap. I've added a link to a guy who lived successfully in his little Toyota Pickup for quite awhile to give you some idea's..

Use common sense, keep your head low and be the GreyMan...


cheaprvliving.com
Use common sense, keep your head low and be the Grey Man..



There really isn't much else to say. One significant point I just want to rehash is to think about who is looking for you. The implications are significant because who is looking for you (how they look) plus their motivation and resources/ reach will dictate how you need to act. 

I can not help but reiterate that having a functional vehicle with up to date tabs  (registration) is essential. Nothing flashy but the turn signals/ lights/ etc need to work. Also it is worth noting that having a valid license and insurance card is essential. Unless there is a warrant for your arrest if you have the right basic paperwork all but the worst traffic violation (driving 100 in a school zone or hitting someone) is handled with a simple ticket. Don't have that stuff and your likely going to face arrest and have your vehicle impounded and things will likely go downhill from there. 

Personally I think everyone should keep some cash around. For an average person a months worth of cash expenses is a good start and not a bad finish. If something weird is going on that is plenty to take a sudden 10 day vacation, particularly if you keep expenses down. Lets face it some lifestyles and jobs are a bit more prone to potential problems than others are. For a person with more risk having a higher percentage of their total assets on hand in physical cash would be prudent. 


When it comes to guns a good pistol with some mags is probably the way to go. Keep in mind that you are worried about basic self protection, not fighting off zombies. In a case extreme enough that your disappearance is going to be lengthy having a cache with some firepower would be wise. In many areas of the US even if a cop asks if you have a gun saying "Yeah I have a Glock/ 1911in my  backpack/ trunk (depending on the region)" will not raise suspicion. However having 2 semi automatic rifles, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and a carbine sitting on the back seat might cause problems. 


When it comes to communicating with friends and family it really depends so much on who is looking for you. If anything short of a widespread law enforcement search or  heaven forbid men who have  split their adult lives between the back woods of FT Bragg and the 3rd world then a quick pre paid call to tell Momma that you will be away for awhile but are safe would be fine. 


I like the van/ truck idea. 

Edited to include: Three more things jumped out at me while pondering this through the day. 

First is about essential prescription medications.  I am not highly informed on this topic but between meth maggots/ the abuse of prescription drugs in general, insurance and computers I do not think it is not so easy to discretely purchase meds these days. This is yet another reason to have some extra lying around, at least a 30 day (and ideally 90-180 days) supply. 

The last two are really just a bit more explanation of my thoughts on the "Grey Man" concept. I am sorry but aside from loitering around alleys and other obvious non typical behavior the biggest thing cops seem to profile is appearance.  While certainly not always the case often scum bags dress like scum bags. Having a normal average appearance with decent clean clothes helps a lot. If you want to avoid police scrutiny instead of looking like a member of Pantera or somebody on the Discovery Channels gang special look like a normal clean cut guy. The sort of boring guy you won't look twice at or remember seeing. 

Going along with the "Grey Man" theme DO NOT BREAK ANY LAWS YOU ABSOLUTELY DON'T HAVE TO! Think about it. You have gone to great lengths to disappear for awhile.  This is not the time to enjoy a nice cold roadbeer or punch the loudmouth jerk at the next table or try and get some weed. in a strange town or whatever. The "Grey Man" follows the rules, all of them, all the time, or at least it seems like he does. This is part of why he is so boring and nobody is interested in him.



Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Please give the VP some kudos for being nice enough to share his knowledge with us.