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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 1, by Christopher Young

Firestorm Chapter 1
June 23, 2007
by Christopher Young
(and  co-written by many others)

"And in closing, we wish to ask all loyal American Civilians
remain calm. Stay at home, if possible. Do not go outdoors
any reason, and keep your doors and windows locked. Call 911
if you
see the start of troubles. We will update you with further
news. For
now, this is Martin Williams, the assistant
Secretary of the Interior. Speaking on behalf of the

Chris turned away from the television, and his eyes settled,
on Dora, the waitress at the Lazy K diner. Dora was standing
behind the counter, holding a plate of pancakes that had
long since
gotten cold. Chris called, very quietly. "Dora! Pancakes
over here!".
Moving in very slow motion, Dora walked out from behind the
and carried Chris's pancakes over.

"So, they got the Prez", Dora said to no one in particular.
The news
report said that after the two weeks of rioting and looting,
the Muslims
were still on the loose. After beheadings in many major US
cities (with
the films on the Internet on many free sites) finally the
White House had
been the site of a terrorist attack. From what the news was
saying, a low
level nuclear "dirty bomb" had been used. Due to the
radiation level, they
were evacuating a 20 mile radius from the White House. The
Vice President, and most of the cabinet were unaccounted.
Congress was in
session, but the Capitol building was relatively undamaged
by the blast.
Though, the capitol building was highly radioactive.

Chris's cell phone rang, and without much conscious thought
he answered
"Yeah?". The familiar Florida accent on the speaker was both
calming, and
unnerving. "Looking pretty bad, you think, buddy? Might want
to head for the
hills for a couple days, eh? ". "So right", Chris replied.
"See you soon, my
friend." Bill's next sentence was familiar, and reassuring.
"Bet you wish
you were driving a Dodge while getting out of Dodge?" Bill
had worked for
Chrysler, and liked to remind Chris that Ram Tough trucks
were the finest
made.  Chris smiled, pushed the end button, and
absentmindedly slipped the
cell phone back in its belt holder. At this moment, Bill's
retreat home was
looking rather good. The underground residence, with solar
power, and
independent living supply was really better than being in
the cities or

Pausing to watch the television over the counter for a few
minutes, Chris
learned that essentially all the US cities were under state
of emergency
account of the Muslim riots. The National Guard had been
called out, but
was not enough jail space to house all the rioting crowds.
The Fed had been
ordering local mobs to disband and disperse, when possible.
Rather than
or interfere with the rioting Muslims. Out of sensitivity
for their
freedom of expression.

"That's stupid" Chris thought to himself. "Catch and
release, just like the
border. Wow, talk about guaranteeing more riots!".

So many cities had been severely burned. The fire
departments were running
of water for their hoses. People had taken to filling bath
tubs and buckets,
water systems were nearly zero water pressure. The fire
departments had
taken to
using rigid steamer hoses, and sucking the water out of the
mains. Of
people opened their faucets, and the faucets sucked air.

There was talk on the news about bringing in United Nations
peace keepers.
The November elections had been postponed for an indefinite

Chris put a twenty dollar bill on counter next to his plate,
and said good
to Dora. Headed out to the door of the diner. As he was
walking out, a
dark skinned men were coming in. "Hope my car is still
there...." Chris

The truck was fine, and started right up. The fuel injected
4.3 engine had
just been tuned up. New plugs, wires, and a few
modifications which weren't
factory authorized.  Chris pulled out onto the road, there
was nearly no
traffic. Lost in thought, he headed the familiar road home.
A quick check of
the gauges revealed that the truck was fine. The outdoor
temperature was 54F,
which is about right for middle of October. The clock on the
radio read
12:25 in the afternoon. The gas gage was on 3/4, but Chris
stopped at the
gas station. There was a line of cars out to the street, and
so Chris sat
and listened to the news radio while he waited for gas. Only
took four
gallons. Might be the last four galons for a while?
Mentally, Chris reviewed
the fuel storage he had at  home. Wondering how long the
barrel of gasoline
in the shed would last, and if the shed was on fire.

The drive home gave Chris plenty of time to think. Chris
mentally reviewed
the equipment and supplies he had. Would it be enough? Only
actual trying
out would prove the point.

Turning into his trailer park, Chris noticed at least three
or four trailers
burned to the floor level, and one or two which were still
on fire. A couple
cars had been burned, also. No signs of police or fire
department. Lots of
people standing around and watching the fire.

Backing into the driveway, Chris waved hi to Ernie, who
lived next door.
Ernie was sitting on the side porch, smells of dinner were
coming out of his
grill, and Chris noticed a shotgun leaning into the corner
of the deck
"How's it going here, Ernie?"

Ernie replied that the Muslims had tried some of their shit
in the park.
They just kept driving when they saw that seven or eight of
the people who
on this street had been standing outside with guns in their
hands. Just at
time, a clanging noise could be heard in the distance, in
the direction of
entrance to the trailer park. Ernie got up and moved his
shotgun to just
the front door.

"Early warning -- the National Guard has been confiscating
guns. Ted at the
corner goes out and pretends to work on the car when the,
uh, hang on."
stopped talking, about the time a green camo painted truck
came down the
with a dozen men on the back with M-16 rifles. They drove
slowly down the
street, just looking up and down. Ernie silently went back
to turning the
on his grill.

"We figured out the Fed wasn't going to do anything about
them damn camel
humpers. So, we been doing it ourselves. You know the pit in
the back corner
the park, where they dump all the leaves and branches from
storm cleanup? We
been dumping more than that. They burned a couple trailers
here, and got
asses dumped in with the sticks. Amazing what double ought
does to a towel
head.  Want a hot dog?"

Lost in thought, Chris shook his head no, and said the usual
greetings and
polite comments about the weather. He turned the key and
went in to his
Wondering if his trailer was still standing cause Ernie was
out front with a
shotgun. After all, a couple other trailers in the park were
a smoldering
of ashes, now.

Hmm. thinking. What to do? Is it going to be safer here, or
at Bill's, and
about the roads and chances of getting there? Chris went in
and turned on
computer. There were the usual emails from the lists. Chris
clicked on the
internet browser icon, and glanced at Google News. The
Google News said that
essentially all the US cities were burning. That a travel
ban was in effect,
one was allowed out except for government employees, and
such as nurses and doctors. They were showing pictures of
the empty roads.

Chris got up and locked the door. Might not be the right
time for a bug out
across the country. Well, unless I can come up with some
government ID. Or a
plausible reason for travel. That's gonna take some thought.
Chris pulled
his cell phone, and called Bill. His advice was much the
same as before. Get
down  here if you can.

Another call, this time to Sam the long haul driver. Chris
and Sam had met
on the computer, and had developed a friendship based on
similar interests.

 Sam sat in the driver's seat, watching as traffic inched
forward. This was
just the latest in a long string of traffic jams. It seemed
as though
everyone in every medium and large town was trying to go
somewhere else. It
wasn't just rush hour either. It was every hour of the day.
For the last few
days, the roads had been clogged. The riots, initially by
Muslims, had
riots by blacks, hispanics, cubans, and anyone who wanted to
make a
statement or just vent. It scared a lot of people so bad
they were running
away, not sure if their destination was any better if they
even had a
destination in mind. Food and fuel were rapidly becoming
scarce. He looked
at his fuel gauge. The big rig had three quarters of a tank;
more than
enough to get home.
 This would be his last load until the madness was over. He
needed to be
home with his wife. She had never believed how quickly some
people turned
their dark side loose. To her this was a bump in the road of
life. Only a
minor bump. Yeah.....right.

 Traffic started moving again. Two miles per hour and two
hundred miles to
go. His clutch leg would have charlie horses before he got
out of here. He
took the notebook off the dash and started writing.
Vitamins, minerals, bike
tubes and tires, repair kits for tires and chains. The lists
never seemed to
get any smaller. He'd stop at a Walmart when he got closer
to home for these
and other items on his list. The mom-and-pop hardwares were
already emptied
out or closed down. Guns and ammo had been pulled from
shelves early on.
Camping gear was almost completely gone. He put fishing
tackle on the list.
 Rumors were flying hot and heavy on the cb. IF he made it
home. The rumors
had Fema confiscating trucks.

Chris figured that if anything was going to go wrong, it
would happen
midnight and 3 AM, as with many mobs and loots. It was only
about 1 PM, and
midnight was a bit of a ways away. Chris decided to change
his sleep pattern
bit, and so went back to the bedroom. Set the alarm clock
for 8 PM,  and lay
down for a nap.

The alarm clock went off at a few minutes after 8 PM. Chris
swung his feet
the bed, and started to put on his socks and shoes. The sun
had gone down,
the windows were dark. The night light was still on, so the
electricity was
still on. Chris thought about it for a few minutes, and then
unfastened his
belt. Slipped the one side of his belt off, and slipped it
back through the
inside the waist band holster he got out of the dresser
drawer. Opened the
closet, and switched on the battery light that was on the
wall next to the
safe. A couple of digits on the safe, and the door opened. A
Glock compact 9
pistol was comfortably in his hand, and then into the

Two states away, Sam was about half awake in his truck.
Hours of stop and go
was wearing on him, and all the other drivers.

Reaching the top of a hill, Sam saw several police cars with
flashing lights
ahead. All the trucks were being diverted into a big parking
lot of a
factory, near the highway. The passenger cars and sport utes
and vans were
going ahead. Slightly faster, because of less traffic. It
didn't look good.

As he pulled into line, he saw a large group  of drivers
standing together.
He shut off the truck, got out and walked over  to them. A
man in uniform
was reading from a list."You may take one set of clothes,
any  personal
medications, one book or magazine. Leave the keys in the
ignition.  Bill of
lading on the seat. A piece of paper with your name and
address, company
name, and truck number on it and attach said paper to the
bills. Shuttle
will be by every hour to take us to a Fema shelter at the
local school gymn
in the next town." Sam walked back to his truck shaking his
head in
disbelief. Once in the truck, he got out his atlas. Just
under a hundred
miles to home. No big towns to go around and there was a
decent sized river
going his way too. He got the topo maps from his alice pack.
They showed
lots of woods between here and home.He made up his mind.OK.
Screw Fema. He'd
walk home.

 Going through his pack, he added extra socks and
underwear. He dumped in
his remaining food stash, filled the canteens from his water
bottles, and
put his diabetes meds in an outside pocket. He always
carried an extra pair
of shoes. These went in on top of everything else.  Lastly
he opened the
e-kit bag. Everything here was in belt pouches.He removed
his regular belt
and put on a heavy one with all the pouches. He also put on
a Bianchi
shoulder holster. From a locked case he took out a
Beretta model 92. He put a clip in and racked the slide.
Making sure the
safety was on, he put it in the holster. Looking at his
watch, he saw the
shuttle arrive ten minutes late. Consternation and
apprehension was visible
on the faces of many drivers as they climbed on the bus.
Sitting back in the
shadows in the bunk, he waited until the bus topped a hill
heading east.
Putting the topos back in the pack, he took a last look
around. He took down
all the pictures of his wife, kids, and grandkids and
put them in his pocket. He put the cell phone and charger in
an outside
pocket of the pack. You never knew when service might come
back.Getting out
of the truck, he pulled the pack out and put it on. He
locked the door and
pocketed the key. Screw Fema. He turned north and started
walking. Hang on
Momma. I'm coming home.

On the eastern end of NY, Faith was on the phone with her
parents. Her two
daugthers were starting to get sleepy in front of the
television. They were
only 4 and 6. Her Dad was saying that the violence was
getting worse, and
could she possibly get out of the small city where she was?
After all, she
didn't have any men in the home. Faith figured that was a
good idea, and
started to pack a couple suitcases and boxes to put in the
back of the mini
van. "What you doing, Mommy" Savannah asked. She was six,
and starting to
understand some things about the world. "We're going to
visit Gomer for a
couple days" she replied. The girls looked at each other and
giggled. That
was good news. Gomer's place had lots of kids, and plenty
things to do.

Survival Lessons: An Egypt Case Study

If you are looking for an excellent example of what happens when TSHTF or a society begins to crumble, you need look no further than the news about the situation in Egypt. Here's some lessons:
  • Situations, particularly political situations, can change very quickly. A few weeks ago it was business as usual, and now it is a freaking madhouse there. So while it is nice that the evening news can give you a week or two notice about the coming winter storm or hurricane, many other disastrous situations happen very quickly (which means you need to be prepared NOW!).
  • Things that are in short supply over the course of a few days: water, food, security (neighbors are now having to band together to defend their property), money (ATMs are pretty much all out of order).
  • The economy has come to a standstill. All phases of the economy have shut down due to this event. Suppliers can't deliver or manufacture goods. People aren't going to work. Citizens aren't out shopping or eating eating in restaurants. The very basics of the economy are ceasing to function (think, during such an event people skip going to the dentist, they certainly won't go in for plastic surgery or visit their local barber for a haircut). In short, no money is being exchanged in the usual economy (although I am sure the black market economy especially in weapons and other critically needed items is booming).
  • Going out on the streets is a lesson in chaos. When there is no sense of safety or order, you take your life in your hands when you venture out. Even though the demonstrations started peacefully enough, they have degenerated into violence.
  • The rules of polite society have gone out the window. Now you will see mostly men on the streets as women and children are hidden away from the violence. The wealthy, the elderly, basically anyone who is not able to protect themself could be in danger, not to mention those in the middle of the riots.
  • When there is no social order, looting is one of the first things to happen. People will take advantage of the fact that no one is in charge and the police won't be coming so they think that they can just take anything they want. Citizens have, again, banded together to prevent looting and there is no such thing as waiting for a jury trial.
  • The "mob mentality" can take over quickly and people can turn on each other in a heartbeat. People can be wholly unreasonable when they are in the midst of crisis and the mob mentality takes over. Even well respected journalists have been attacked.
  • Infrastructure can go down quickly. This has been a common tactic for centuries--take out infrastructure (centuries ago it was destroying bridges and stopping the flow of water, these days shutting down electricity and the internet have the similar affect)--and control the people.
  • Escape may or may not be possible so other alternatives need to be planned for. During political uprisings, many people head to the airport or try to find other routes to get away from the chaos. The problem is that everyone else has the same idea and systems that can barely handle usual day to day traffic can become overloaded and shut down rather quickly.
  • People end up protecting themselves since the police won't be coming. In Egypt many people were brandishing knives and clubs. I would prefer an AK and Glock (and plenty of ammo). Again, plan accordingly.
So what have we learned? That what you have been doing all along is important. Stocking up on water in case the water stops flowing is important. Ditto stocking up on food. Making sure your home/business is secure and can withstand looting attempts is also important. Having goods that can be bartered in case the cash economy comes to a halt is a good idea. Being able to communicate outside of the usual ways (ie: HAM radio) is also important. Being able to protect yourself when there is no law and order could become a necessity. Working together now, with friends and neighbors, is a good idea as these may be the people you depend on in a disaster. Having alternate escape routes pre-planned could come in handy. Being creative and being able to react in a flexible manner is also important in chaotic, fluid situations.
Whether this will be a short term glitch or a long term event that will change Egyptian society significantly is still to be seen, but the opportunity to learn from afar by watching what is happening over there is a very good idea.

Guest Post: Can you afford to stay where you are?, By Northern Raider

NR 2011-02-11

I had a rare opportunity to revisit the place where I grew up, met my wife and worked and lived there for the first 30 years of my life, it was a real eye opener to say the least.

This once semi rural market town had changed beyond all recognition, once upon a time this town was noted for being almost totally self sufficient and self reliant.

We mined coal, iron ore, limestone, sandstone, salt, gypsum on a huge scale, we made our own steel. We made our own unusual looking bricks and setts for roads and houses.

We built Locomotives and Carriages plus goods wagons, we made bicycles, we at one time made guns and ammo in the same region. We built bridges, Towers of steel, we were noted for the quality of the ships we built.

We made Oil, Petrol, Diesel, Plastics, Paints, Monomers, Explosives and Fertiliser

The areas that were not being used to make things were often used to grow things, the whole borough and surrounding area was crisscrossed  with Allotments and Market Gardens, Coop owned farms, small holdings etc. Local coal, Sea Coal and Timber provided most of our heating needs.

The remaining areas were unspoilt countryside and parks, public transport was local authority owned, plentiful, reliable and cheap.

Most primary and junior schools had no more than 200 pupils and those schools had close links with the community such as church, women’s guild, British Legion, WRVS etc.

The senior schools were sorted to best direct the particular skill sets of the children in the form of Secondary Schools, Technical Schools and Grammar Schools. Our local technical colleges turned out the engineers, miners, designers, draftsmen etc we needed.

The Children could and did play out at every possible opportunity often roaming far and wide on foot and bicycles, cycle clubs were huge in the area. Most areas even terraced areas still had places that were green and tree covered for the kids to run riot on from dawn to dusk.  Heck you could still catch fish in a few local streams and wild strawberries, blackberries, crab apples, damsons ensured we got enough vitamins.

Our Police and Council wardens were 100% fully integrated parts of the community often required to live within the communities they policed, Most kids knew the officers names and frequently vice versa.

Saturday night in the town was the chance to dress up, party, go clubbing or even travel to the coast and have a beach party and BBQ. The clubbers could party until 2AM before going home often stopping for a bite to eat from various burger vans.

Things change that is just life but is it always for the best is a question I needed answering?  We moved away from our hometown some years ago in order to try and give our children a better environment to grow up in.  The town was changing fast as housing, traffic, jobs and the motor vehicles influence made huge changes necessary on the infrastructure, but when I recently returned to the area to show my now 12 year old son around I was horrified to say the least.

The first thing we noticed was the housing, it was everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, just about every green space that children once play on, made dens, grabbed their first kiss, listened to the top 20 on a Sunday evening was gone. Every possible space was given over to housing…………….but no wilderness or play areas, just a few simple climbing frames and slides littered with broken glass and used drug paraphernalia.   Local shops that had benches outside are now replaced by mini malls, concrete and CCTV with dodgy looking unemployed youths trying to avoid the myriad of  cameras.   The community and Communal areas had gone the out of the way spots the teens could gather without causing concern have gone, the few facilities left require the kids to pay for the dubious pleasure of using.

The only mines left produce only salt for keeping King Car rolling and fertiliser for the mega farms who now surround the hugely expanded town boundaries, Farms where hedgerows long ago were ripped up in the name of productivity, thus depriving the area and the kids of good, natural free supplementary foods, and creating a desolate wilderness for the under siege remaining wildlife.

We don’t produce bricks and setts any more, most housing is built from imported materials and mock simulated, reconstituted psuedo stone and plastic cladding. Village greens, kerbsides and communal areas have all been sacrificed to the needs of the commuter’s car including much of what would once have been garden and vegetable plots.

We don’t build anything for the railways any more, indeed the only new Locos likely to be built in the region are owned and made by the Japanese, and none of the end product will be allocated to this area anyway, most of the locos designated for the south (as usual) It would not matter really because the north’s rail system has done nothing but shrink since the 1960s where as the south east has vastly increased its number of new lines.

From the 22,000 people employed in the local petro-chem industry we see the numbers have dropped to under 4000, the shipyards, steelworks and mines went the same way as the loco works.

As for the substantial allotments and market gardens they too have been concreted over to feed the demand for 3 bed semis and 4 bet detached ( executive) houses most of which have no link to or affinity with the local community, they are simply commuters dormitories, utterly soulless and depressing.  These days the people think they have it made if they have a Tesco and a Petrol station to call upon, their kids development and exploration desires not going further than a games console or perhaps and after school football match.  Not only don’t the children play as children should, they don’t have anywhere they could play if they wanted. Again not that it matters anymore because parents are so paranoid about perverts hiding in every bush the younger kids are not allowed out anyway.
The schools have now been “” Modernised and equalised” so now we have primary schools containing 500 kids from age 3 to 11, bussed in from  far and wide interacting only with other kids from 9 til 3. The older kids now all attend one size fits all Comprehensive schools where no matter what skills, crafts, arts, and attributes you have you will be taught equally. It does not matter that Child A want to go on stage, Child B wants to be an Astronomer  and Child C wants to be a plumber they will all be taught the same politically correct, diverse, inclusive multi cultural subject matter, even if large numbers of those kids can not speak a word of English.  These kids all dutifully board their allotted buses for the commute home to their specific post coded but otherwise identical estates. God help the child who gets the wrong bus or alights in the wrong post code area, that error in this day and age can mean a death sentence in some shop doorway at the hands of a knife wielding gang member punishing the miscreant for daring to enter HIS postcode area.  Its no use getting the Police involved most of the time they appear to prefer arresting the victim as they are not as aware of criminal and human rights laws as the gang banger. And the cops really don’t want to know if the offenders are from ethnic minorities as they dread the career killing inevitable claim of racism from the suspect.

The day mum used to say “If you get lost or are afraid just run to the nearest policeman”
Is now replaced by a warning of “ For gods sake don’t go near the police or they will stop and search you simply for playing with your friends”  again not overly likely as the individual Bobby on the beat is now replaced by half a dozen paramilitary riot cops in an armoured van parked in the town centre trying to look intimidating not helpful.

Ah the illustrious heart of the community the town centre, once a haven and hive of activity for Market traders and Shops most days with a vibrant, rowdy but generally peaceful night life has now changed beyond recognition.

The Local privately owned shops long driven out of business by the unchecked inrush of the big high street chains, who have now also moved out to the new clinical soulless out of town retail parks (warehouses).    Today during the hours of daylight you find a few take-aways, fast food outlets and charity shops with a post office doing a roaring trade in welfare payments and overseas money orders for migrants to export their earning (or benefits) to their extended families overseas who have not yet gained permission to move to the UK.  Pay to park charges and enthusiastic enforcement officers ensure most shoppers linger as little time as possible and market stall owners no longer bother coming because of lack of customers and insane loading / unloading restrictions.

Come the night, comes the fear, the once vibrant nightlife now finds a few bars trying to encourage people to come in and drink as much as they can as fast as they can. Nightclubs where the selection of narcotics is more important than the selection of music vie for people’s money. Outside in the shadows drug dealers, pimps, gangs identified by colour of skin, colour of tattoos, colour of head scarf’s or post code address prey on each other and anyone foolish enough to stray from the CCTV coverage into the shadows.  These are compounded by gangs of ethnic minorities, asylum seekers, and folks with none run of the mill religions all campaigning for dominance and “ownership” of certain street corners and misguided teenage girls.

Jobs and fresh food are as rare as hope and job prospects, Neighbourhoods that children once roamed are now combat zones, Communities and now target areas. Leisure areas now out of bounds to most.
The now privatised public transport system is now expensive, unreliable and fair game for thieves, rapists and muggers alike, even going to the local 24/7 mini mall brings a risk of robbery or intimidation as herds of kids who have lost hope gather like moths under the stores neon lights.

Did I like the thousands of others who foresaw the warning signs of the mismanagement by the socialists whose social engineering has destroyed oh so many towns and cities make a mistake in selling up and moving out to a small out of the way village? ( Its called white or Middle Class  Flight in some circles)

No, Definitely not, my son flourished in a small village school, plays in cornfields, come home covered in juice from various berries and fruits, he knows not only the one and only occasional policeman by name, and all his class mates from various villages are only tagged by their school class year number. They can and do walk and cycle to each others homes to play.

As for me, crime is less, shopping is slower and more pleasant at the village coop and store, locally produced food comes via the allotments and when it gets dark its simply quiet, no shots, no sirens, no break glass, no barking dogs, no midnight screams.
It isn’t perfect by any means, but by gods it’s a million percent better than living in the towns.