Civil Strife

Chicago Military Training Exercise Follow-Up

Last Wednesday, I blogged about another “routine military training exercise” that took place around the Chicago area from July 22 to 25.

I wondered if any half-decent footage of the exercise would show up on YouTube.com considering this is a major metropolitan area.

Sure enough, some popped up today:


“Military helicopters flying over Chicago.”
YouTube Video

From the website of Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 on July 23:

Military helicopters buzzed the Chicago skies Monday night, and they had many people wondering what was going on…

Monday night, plenty of people took to Twitter about what they saw or heard.

One person tweeted: “It’s been an all-night invasion.”

A woman said, “Blackhawk helicopters flying over my condo in the Loop, and all news stations are covering the royal birth, what’s up?”

Until the next exercise…

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Military Training Exercises Create Stir For Chicago Residents.” Channel 2. 23 July 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/07/23/military-training-exercises-create-stir-for-chicago-residents/). 30 July 2013.

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Number Of Poor In Chicago Suburbs Increased 99% Over Last Decade

You may have heard this one before as it concerns a future outbreak of civil strife in a downtrodden U.S. economy:

Once the urban poor stop getting government assistance- in particular, food stamps- the ensuing rioting and violence will first consume the city and then spill out into the “wealthy” suburbs.

After reading the following piece by Vikki Ortiz Healy and Matthew Walberg on the Chicago Tribune website earlier this morning, I’ve been wondering if this scenario- if it ever takes place- might not be backwards. Ortiz Healy and Walberg wrote:

Once considered the definition of the middle-class American dream, the suburbs are now home to a larger, faster-growing poor population than urban areas, according to a new analysis.

During the 2000s, the number of poor living in U.S. suburbs grew by 64 percent — more than twice the 29 percent growth rate in cities.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

This rapid growth in the number of poor living in the suburbs is evident in the Chicagoland area. Ortiz Healy and Walberg added:

The shifting poverty demographic can be seen in Chicago’s suburbs, where the number of poor increased by 99 percent in the last decade — from 363,966 to 724,233, said Elizabeth Kneebone, co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.”

That was a greater increase than recorded in the New York City or Los Angeles regions, according to the book.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, if you’ve never encountered a fictitious scenario where the urban poor riot after seeing their government benefits cut off, I suggest you read “Bracken: When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence” on the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog here. Incredibly thought-provoking stuff.

Still, perhaps U.S. metropolitan areas of the future will resemble other countries where wealth is concentrated in the city center and poverty is forced out into the periphery- including the suburbs.

And should a major crisis emerge in this type of setup where government assistance is cut off, it’s possible that civil strife will work its way towards the center, rather than away from it.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Ortiz Healy, Vikki and Walberg, Matt. “More poor in U.S. suburbs than cities, report says.” Chicago Tribune. 21 May 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-poverty-report-20130521,0,6518088.story). 21 May 2013.

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Tinley Park, Illinois, Site Of Urban Warfare Training Exercise

A little over a year ago, I blogged about Chicago hosting one of these military training exercises that since have popped up with increasing frequency in the news. From that April 16, 2012, post:

The City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) released the following statement about the scheduled urban warfare training exercise today:

The City of Chicago is providing support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area on April 16 -19. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.

The training sites have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public.

“The training is not open to the public.”

I guess downtown Chicago residents and workers were supposed to close their eyes and pretend the helicopters that buzzed them during last year’s event didn’t exist.

Anyway, last week, another one of these exercises took place in the Chicagoland area- in the southwest Chicago community of Tinley Park, Illinois. From the Chicago Tribune website today:

Department of Defense training exercises that included explosions heard miles away and helicopters flying over Tinley Park angered residents.

Residents said they heard “bomb” noises from about 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on April 23 during what was an urban warfare training exercise at the former mental health center. Tinley Park police received about 25 calls from residents who were either fearful or angry, especially in the wake of the bombings in Boston the previous week.

Defense officials followed up with another exercise April 24 involving helicopters that flew over Tinley Park for much of the night. Residents reported hearing them from 8:30 p.m. until about 12:45 a.m…

Local police were not involved with the training, said Pat Carr, Emergency Management Agency director.

Like the Chicago urban warfare exercise last year, the public was not allowed to view the training. But that didn’t prevent a few from trying.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Urban warfare exercise rattles Tinley Park residents.” Chicago Tribune. 2 May 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/tinley_park/ct-tl-tinley-park-dod-exercise-20130502,0,7645588.story). 2 May 2013.

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Milwaukee County Sheriff: If Feds Try To Disarm Country ‘You Would See An Uprising And Maybe A Version Of The Second American Revolution’

Speaking of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr.- who recently made headlines when he told Milwaukee County residents in a PSA to use a firearm to defend themselves until police arrived- appeared on FOX News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine this past weekend and talked about gun rights. From their exchange:

JUDGE JEANINE: I’m back with… Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, who this week warned that enforcing any gun laws to deprive Americans of the right to bear arms could lead to a Second American Revolution. Sheriff, you’ve been very vocal, and, by the way, I absolutely agree with you- if you wait for 911, then shame on you. You’ve got to arm yourself and defend yourself once you educate yourself. Well, what’s this whole idea of a Second Revolution? Where is that coming from?
SHERIFF CLARKE: Well, the question was, “Would I participate in assisting the Feds coming into states and going into homes and taking everybody’s gun away?” And I said, I would not be a part of something like that. And I said one of the reasons is that I didn’t want to get shot. Because the American people are only going to put up with so much before they push back. And I said, if the Feds tried to do that- disarm this country- I said you would see an uprising and maybe a version of the Second American Revolution because of that. Just read the Declaration of Independence. It’s right in there. It was talking about the Feds coming in and going into homes, forcing their way into homes and removing firearms. I mean, the thought is preposterous.


“Second American Revolution on the horizon?”
FOX News Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Repeat Of The 1992 Los Angeles Riots Coming This Summer?

Following up on last night’s post abut urban warfare training exercises in U.S. cities, I noted how one Midwest-based writer recently claimed that an unnamed “high-ranking, military source” in the Department of Homeland Security says the military exercises, conducted jointly with local law enforcement, are being conducted to desensitize urban dwellers in preparation for mass civil unrest in American cities. This is supposedly being done out of fear a currency devaluation, astronomical gas prices, and resistance to more gun “control” which will combine to produce civil strife in America’s urban areas this summer.

Like I wrote yesterday, “take it or leave it” concerning the credibility of this claim. But let’s just suppose for an instant the above is true and these really are the reasons for the exercises.

If that’s the case, then the powers-that-be may have overlooked one more potential flashpoint:

The trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin that’s set to begin on June 10.

Yamiche Alcindor reported on the USA TODAY website on February 5:

Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 Tuesday.

Instead, lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering the teen, and prosecutors were back in court, where a judge denied a motion to delay the June 10 trial date and heard arguments about evidence…

In court Tuesday, Judge Debra Nelson denied a motion by Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara to delay the trial date. O’Mara argued that the prosecution has been slow to turn over evidence and that he does not have enough time to prepare his case…

“We’re four months away from trial,” Nelson said. “The court has no reason to continue the case.”

If George Zimmerman is found innocent of the teen’s death, will one or more American urban centers experience rioting not unlike what took place in Los Angeles in 1992 in the wake of the Rodney King trial verdicts?

By itself, I think it’s possible. In conjunction with other miseries, even more so.

And just to remind everyone of just how bad the 1992 Los Angeles riots really were:

• 53 deaths
• 2,000 injured
• 3,600 fires
• 1,100 buildings destroyed
• Up to $1 billion in material losses

And don’t forget the looting…


“1992 LA Riots – Defenseless Store Owner Confront Rioters with Hammer”
YouTube Video

Let justice take its course, but it might be a good idea to keep an eye on that trial and when it’s going to be wrapping up. Especially for the city-dwellers out there.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Alcindor, Yamiche. “Judge denies request for delay in Zimmerman trial.” USA TODAY. 5 Feb. 2013. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/05/trayvon-martin-hearing-birthday/1892419/). 23 Feb. 2013.

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Urban Warfare Training Exercises To Desensitize, Prepare For Mass Civil Unrest In Cities?

The City of Chicago is providing support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area on April 16 -19. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.

The training sites have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public.

-City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), April 16, 2012

Back when I blogged about Chicago hosting an urban warfare training exercise for U.S. military personnel in April 2012, I mentioned other major American cities had experienced something similar: Boston (July 2011) and Los Angeles (January 2012).

Since that time, countless other municipalities have hosted this training.

However, in that April 16 post I pointed out the U.S. military was already busy developing its urban warfare training resources, including the construction of mock cities. I wrote:

Now, I’ve heard the U.S. military has been busy developing its urban warfare training program for some time already. Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Wired.com blog Danger Room back on January 18, 2011:

American soldiers spent seven years patrolling the urban neighborhoods of Iraq; its troops battled insurgents there block-by-block and house-by-house. Now that the Army is getting out of Iraq, it wants to make sure its urban combat skills don’t wither away. So it today it gave Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $287 million to build Urban Operations Training Systems — essentially, giant simulation facilities and modules to help soldiers get ready for life in the big, bad city.

Versions of those training systems can be as simple as shipping containers tricked out to resemble multi-story houses and arranged in village formations, so soldiers can practice how to seize a building without causing needless damage. The Army’s got an entire 1000-acre facility in Indiana it uses to train soldiers in urban combat.

As for the Marines? From the CBS Channel 2 (Los Angeles) website on January 25, 2011:

A 1,560-building mock city has risen in the Southern California desert.

The $170 million Marine Corps urban training center at the Twentynine Palms military base, some 130 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is roughly the size of San Diego.

The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center facility uses mock cities and role players to prepare Marines and sailors for urban terrain missions.

If our armed forces already have such resources, what’s with the urban warfare training in American cities then?

I added this about the Chicago training at the time:

I wonder if the exercise isn’t related to counter-terrorism.

Responding to an “American Mumbai” or dirty-bomb attack, perhaps?

However, these days, a Midwest-based writer and decorated Navy veteran is claiming that an unnamed “high-ranking, military source” in the Department of Homeland Security says the military exercises, conducted jointly with local law enforcement, are being conducted to desensitize urban dwellers in preparation for mass civil unrest in American cities. David Bard wrote on “progressive liberal” sociopolitical commentary blog The Allegiant on February 6:

I spoke with a high-ranking, military source in DHS. Preferring to remain unnamed for obvious reasons, he told me, “DHS and DOD are conducting desensitizing exercises all across the U.S.,” he paused, then added, “we’re being prepared for mass civil unrest in major U.S. cities. DOD will be expected to help – when we’re requested.”

I asked if there was a timeline for expecting civil unrest in our cities and why should we expect it to begin with. I was told that there were many reasons, but that the continued devaluation of our currency, the predicted history-setting prices for gasoline this summer and the continued gun control debate are forming a perfect storm of civil discontent. When this storm hits, it will most assuredly produce mass casualties. When does DHS expect this to happen? This summer.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I can’t speak for Mr. Bard’s credibility, so “take it or leave it” as it concerns this explanation for the urban warfare training.

Still, I’ve heard similar talk about the purpose being to prepare for civil strife since I first blogged about those exercises in spring of last year.

You can read Bard’s entire piece here on The Allegiant. Disturbing stuff.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Ackerman, Spencer. “Lockheed Gets Big Bucks to Prep Soldiers for Urban War.” Danger Room. 18 Jan. 2011. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/lockheed-gets-big-bucks-to-prep-soldiers-in-urban-war/). 22 Feb. 2013.

“$170M Mock City Built For Marine Training In Twentynine Palms” CBS Channel 2 (Los Angeles). 25 Jan. 2011. (http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/01/25/170m-mock-city-built-for-marine-training-in-twentynine-palms/). 22 Feb. 2013.

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Radio Appearance: Morning AMp, Vocalo Radio 90.7 FM Chicago

Last Chicago-focused post until next week- I promise.

However, this one’s not a “downer” like the other posts. In fact, I’m happy that I can share this with readers.

Back on Friday, February 8, I blogged about a terrific piece on Chicago-area preppers and guns that was done by Aurora Aguilar, a project editor over at Chicago public radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM. Published on the WBEZ website two days earlier, “Preppers: Guns are the most important tool in preparing for the end of civilization,” was the second story in a series by Aguilar entitled “Our Guns,” which are “conversations with gun owners.”

Now, later that Friday, Ms. Aguilar invited me to participate in a local show she was to be appearing on at the start of the next business week. I accepted, and on Monday, February 11, I found myself on the Morning AMp, a call-in talk show hosted by Brian Babylon and Molly Adams on Vocalo Radio 90.7 FM Chicago.

(Editor’s note: I didn’t have many details about the show beforehand, so I didn’t alert readers about the event)

From the show’s archive section on the Vocalo website:

Preppers: Preparing for the end of civilization with guns

George describes himself as “half-hillbilly, half-Viking.”

WBEZ’s Aurora Aguilar talked with George Drouillard (a pseudonym) about his preparedness plan. It maybe a devastating blizzard or a government takeover, either way George is ready with canned food, extra batteries, shovels, and lots and lots of guns. Aguilar joins hosts Molly Adams and Brian Babylon in the studio while Christopher Hill, editor of Survival and Prosperity, calls in to discuss the lifestyle choice that George has made and the community that supports it.

Brian and Molly were gracious hosts and were great to talk to. Aurora was terrific- again. As for me? I thought I could have done better, quite frankly. But I really appreciate having been given the opportunity to appear on the show and contribute what I’ve observed and learned over the last couple of years. Thank you so much Brian, Molly, and especially Aurora.

You can listen to our discussion of Chicago-area preppers and guns on Vocalo here (click on the “Play” symbol under the photo of “George” near the top-left-hand-side of the page).

By the way, before I said goodbye to the group that morning I pointed out there were still people without electricity as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast last October. CNBC noted the Friday before the interview that some 2,000 people in New Jersey and and New York were still without power from the costly severe weather event.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Solutions Not Problems’ Preview

Season 2 of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series continues tonight with a special Valentine’s Day episode, “Solutions Not Problems,” which airs at 9 PM ET.

I was lucky enough to be provided an advance-screening of the “Bachelor Prepper” episode. From a Nat Geo Channel press release I received at the end of last week:

Prepping for an economic collapse, Jeff is converting a decommissioned missile silo into the perfect bug-out getaway. But that’s not all Jeff is focused on. With an online dating profile, he is also searching for a special someone who can share his love for prepping. We’ll see Jeff, a bachelor on the lookout for love, not only work on his bunker, but also go on multiple dates to find his prepper mate. Will he select one to take to his secret bunker? We also meet Doug, who lives in the mountains of Tennessee. He currently runs his own stone quarry, and the locals call him “Rockman.” But what they may not know is that he is using rocks to prepare his underground bunker for the upcoming economic collapse. Will he build a safe haven out of his rock stockpiles?

Jeff Flaningam is a 37-year-old Wisconsin bachelor who owns 19-acres out in central Kansas- with a decommissioned Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silo buried underneath it. Jeff is hard at work turning the abandoned missile base into a livable bug-out location. He told viewers:

I’m preparing for a catastrophic economic collapse.

According to the show:

The national debt currently totals more than $16 trillion. Jeff believes that if nothing is done to change this, the U.S. could go from becoming a global economic leader, to a nation struggling to provide food, water, and power. He worries that the consequences of such a collapsing economy could last indefinitely.

Flaningam added:

Transportation system falls apart, fuel costs go through the roof, people can’t get the goods that they need. The normal courtesy that we share with our fellow man is going to degrade and get thrown out of the window. Violence would be rampant. I don’t think anyone can know how long an event like that could last. I know I have to be prepared to stay off the grid for as long as it takes.

The Wisconsin-based prepper plans on bugging out 800 miles to the Kansas bunker when the first signs of a SHTF situation arise.

But before that happens, he’d like someone to share those “special times” with.

“Doug,” aka “Rockman,” owns a stone quarry in the Tennessee mountains. He told viewers:

I’m prepping for an economic collapse that will change the world forever.

Doug added later:

Our economy is in distress. And I don’t see it getting better. Can you imagine paying $17 trillion dollars back?

Along with his employee and best friend Inés, the two of them are shown building an underground shelter constructed out of a shipping container that their families will use as a bug-out location, and putting a 3-tiered defensive plan for the bunker into place.

It was a fun, informative, and not too overboard (reality TV-wise) episode to watch. And if you’re not into that lovey-dovey stuff, at least catch it for the “Rockman’s” segment, where he, with the help of a former U.S. President, shows you an easy way to make money from money.

Don’t worry. You’ll get what I’m talking about by watching tonight’s episode.

For more information about the TV series visit the Doomsday Preppers page on the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago-Area Preppers And Their Guns

Some time ago, I received a message from Aurora Aguilar, a project editor with Chicago public radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM. Her request was one that I’ve received with increasing frequency over the last year or so. She was hoping to interview a prepper. Not just any modern survivalist- but one who is “stockpiling guns.” I gave Aurora names and contact info of more well-known and visible preppers who might be willing to talk to her, while at the same time cautioning her about the shying away from publicity that’s common among survivalists. I explained:

If you don’t know already, many preppers tend to be secretive about their activities. Not because they’re doing something illegal, but rather because of something called operational security (OPSEC).

Last night, I came across Ms. Aguilar’s piece on preppers and firearms. Published on the WBEZ website Wednesday, “Preppers: Guns are the most important tool in preparing for the end of civilization,” is the second story a in a series entitled “Our Guns,” which are “conversations with gun owners.”

Another hack-job?

Hardly. Aguilar pretty much hit this assignment right out of the park.

Now, the headline “guns are the most important tool in preparing for the end of civilization” may be a bit of a stretch. Guns are certainly a tool but the “most important” one? Debatable. Also, while some modern survivalists prepare for the “end of civilization” plenty of others prep for emergencies, man-made and natural disasters, and the end of civilization- as we know it. Firearms could have a role to play in those scenarios as well.

But Aguilar comes back strong in the body of the article. Consider the following statements:

“A growing group of Americans who believe life, as we know it, will end”

“In a family of war veterans, hunters and farmers, guns are thought of as tools, meant to provide food and protection”

“The fear that their stockpiles of food or weapons could be stolen stops preppers from talking.”

“After all, the entire family needs to be prepared.”

“Preppers go through a lot of ammo because many practice shooting at least once a week. They also see ammo as an investment. They believe people will need ammo if there’s a catastrophe.”

“The idea is to always be prepared…”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Aguilar gets its. She demonstrates that she has a good handle on what the Prepper Movement is about.

Too bad the same can’t be said about many of her colleagues.

A terrific, refreshing article, which can be found on the WBEZ website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Surviving Egypt Mark II

On Wednesday, I had a couple of spare minutes in what was generally a pretty frustrating day, so I decided to check out footage from a recent Madness concert posted on YouTube.com (really begins at 52:56 if you’re interested). When I saw the band play that old classic “Night Boat to Cairo,” I thought about all the “madness” going on in Egypt these days. Consider the following:

Egypt Sees Largest Clash Since Revolutions

Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Egypt’s president clashed Wednesday, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails and brawling in Cairo’s streets, in the largest violent battle between Islamists and their foes since the country’s revolution early last year.”

-Wall Street Journal website, December 6, 2012

“Early last year” I wrote about how I came across a post on Pierre Legrand’s Pink Flamingo Bar blog about the author’s recent experience surviving a real-life SHTF situation in Egypt. Legrand and his family were in Cairo, Egypt, from January 25 until February 3, 2011- which happened to coincide with the uprising that took place that eventually forced Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak out of power. Mubarak resigned from office on February 11, after the revolt claimed the lives of 846 civilians and 26 policemen.

Seeing how conditions look to be deteriorating in Egypt once again, I thought it was only appropriate to point out Pierre Legrand’s “survival lessons” from that 2011 SHTF event, which can be found on his blog here.

Enlightening stuff. A lot of it likely applicable to city dwellers here in America.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Time of Reckoning’ Review

I recently watched the latest installment of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series, “The Time of Reckoning,” which aired Tuesday night, November 27. Episode 4 of season 2 featured the prepping team of Dr. Tom Perez, a retired chiropractor, and Steven M. Vanasse, a radiation safety officer, both from Houston, Texas.

Dr. Tom Perez

The first part of the show focused on the Perez family. Dr. Perez is married to wife Monica and the couple have thee children, Katarina (17-years-old), Thomas (12), and Matthew (6). According to Tom:

I’m preparing for a terroristic attack.

From the show:

Tom fears the dirty bomb- an everyday explosive like dynamite or TNT packed with radioactive material. Once detonated, its blast can spread radiation anywhere from a city block to several square miles. But that radioactive debris could lodge in buildings, and chemically-bind with concrete and asphalt, making decontaminating a city difficult and possibly forcing affected neighborhoods to be abandoned… A single dirty bomb could contaminate an area 30 times the size of the initial blast site which could cover up to 20 city blocks. The radiation would not be detected by human senses, and the effect of exposure could be immediate.

In the event of a dirty bomb detonation in Houston, the family would bug out to their 700-acre compound- “The Alamo”- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas.


“Doomsday Preppers: Doomsday Alamo”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Steven M. Vanasse

Later on in the show viewers were introduced to Steven Vanasse, Tom’s prepping partner. Steven is married to Gobriella Gubimelli and they have a daughter, Victoria Vanasse. According to Steve:

I’m preparing for a dirty bomb blast in the city of Houston.

In the event of such an attack, the Vanasse family plans on bugging out of Houston and meeting up with the Perez family at “The Alamo.”

Tom is the firearms expert. Steve is the radiation expert. And both are training the members of their young families to be preppers.

My thoughts about Doomsday Preppers “The Time of Reckoning”:

• Both the Perez and Vanasse families plan on bugging out of Houston in the event of a dirty bomb explosion. A number of viewers probably wondered why they wouldn’t just bug in, seeing that this type of weapon is intended to cause fear more than casualties and fleeing Greater Houston and a good portion of its 6.08 million residents could be very difficult- if not impossible- in such a situation. From the show:

Tom’s bug-out route bypasses over 3,000 miles of Houston’s highways, and once on the open road, they travel due west to their safe house- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas… It’s normally a 6-hour drive to Tom’s compound.

I’m guessing that drive would take significantly longer with a lot of other Houstonians on the road after a dirty bomb attack, and that Tom and Steve would rather not shelter-in-place because of the perceived danger from civil strife and other sorts of chaos that could happen in Houston after such an event. Considering the extent these guys have planned and prepped, I’d be surprised if bugging in wasn’t a viable option for them.

• “The Alamo” is an impressive bug-out location. When I first heard that Tom Perez had stockpiled 46,000 rounds of ammunition, I was kind of surprised at the large number. However, upon thinking the situation through (the Perez family alone consists of 5 preppers and their firearms) and being familiar with a number of recommendations being circulated in prepper/survivalist circles as to how much ammo should be stored for a SHTF event, that amount didn’t seem so astronomical anymore.

• On the other hand, when it was revealed that the Perez family only had 9 months of food socked away at the retreat, I was somewhat shocked. Considering all the preps Dr. Perez had already taken care of, I would have thought he’d have at least a year’s worth of food stored- if not more- at “The Alamo.” I’d seriously-consider buying more food before an armored car, as Dr. Perez said they were looking into at the end of the episode.

• When I heard Tom say:

I also have taken the liberty of contaminating 10 percent of my food and water supply if it is ever compromised. I am the only one that knows which supplies are affected.

I was initially surprised (concerned?) here too. But once I thought the situation through yet again, should this prepper network ever get dislodged from “The Alamo” by raiders, it would probably just be a matter of time before the unwelcomed “guests” get sick, giving the Perez and Vanasse families the opportunity to retake their retreat.

• I have to believe there’s a certain amount of distrust among the law enforcement community when it comes to preppers/survivalists. I thought it was a good idea for the Perez family to coordinate their preparedness efforts with local law enforcement. By doing this, not only did they establish a relationship with them- perhaps decreasing the chance they might be seen as dangerous “kooks” by the police- but they even received some helpful advice during their combined drill with the off-duty officers from the local sheriff’s department. For example, Deputy Ramon Gutierrez pointed out that the Perez family are less vulnerable if they stay in the limestone structures during an attack, and Deputy Forrest Spence emphasized family members need to be real aggressive when confronting a threat.

• I was impressed that Tom taught 17-year-old Kat, 12-year-old Tommy, and 6-year-old Matthew how to shoot, among other things. From the show:

Matthew, who’s been shooting since the age of 4, can hit a target from 100 yards away with his child-size sniper rifle.

Cutest little sniper you ever did see.

• Question- What’s up with Matthew’s boots? They look gargantuan on him.

• Another question- Is it just me or does Steven Vanasse look a lot like a younger version of actor Randy Quaid?

• The way the relationship between Steve and daughter Victoria played out in the episode was funny. Steve would say something about how proud he was of Victoria and how she’s coming on board with the prepping, and the young lady would indicate otherwise. In one scene, Steve brought her shooting for the first time at an indoor gun range. Victoria gave it a try- and it looked like she was a natural at it. Steve was just beaming about Victoria’s performance. Victoria tells viewers she probably won’t go shooting again. I had to chuckle when I saw that. A lot of my friends were just like that at that age. I was an angel, of course.

• The National Geographic Channel definitely got their shock value’s worth from this installment. If the Molotov cocktails and slaying of the goat weren’t enough (or Steve’s munching on its cooked eye), Tom Perez almost suffering permanent injury to his hearing from Steve firing his rifle in the hunting blind really took the cake. Cuidado, Esteban!

“The Time of Reckoning” was really interesting to watch, especially as Tom Perez and Steve Vanasse appear to be way ahead of most of their prepping contemporaries. This was apparent in the score they received from Practical Preppers LLC right before the show wrapped-up. But the episode was also painful to watch at times. Even more painful to make by the looks of things.

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Solar Superstorm Threat Discussed On Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com

Last Friday, I blogged about FOX News Reporting’s “Countdown to Doomsday” and the part of the show where physicist Michio Kaku highlighted the real threat posed by solar superstorms.

Well, yesterday Mike Opelka over at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com also talked about the threat from severe space weather. Opelka wrote:

If Earth is struck by a large solar flare, some in the scientific community believe:

• The planet will be hit with a widespread loss of power.
• Air travel would be grounded.
• Nuclear plants would be crippled and without sufficient back-up power, dozens could meltdown.
• Satellites would be disabled, causing a serious loss of communication in all areas (military and civilian).
• Food and medicine would be in short supply, setting up the potential for food riots within days of an outage…

Over the next fourteen months Earth will be on high alert for a huge burst of electromagnetic energy from the sun… The peak time for the next big flare is sometime between now and the end of 2013…

We could have a real SHTF situation on our hands if these scientists are right.

I’m glad to see more attention being paid to such a potentially-devastating threat, but I wonder if we won’t be too late in protecting the nation’s power and communications infrastructure from the effects of a coronal mass ejection in the coming “solar maximum.”

If a CME does hit us square-on… well, here’s hoping that the science guys are wrong.

Anyway, Opelka’s article is a good read about what’s at stake here, and can be found on TheBlaze.com here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers Season 2 Episode 3 Premieres Tonight

Season 2 of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series continues tonight with episode 3, “Bad Times All the Time,” which airs at 9 PM ET/PT.

One again, the Nat Geo Channel provided me with an advanced screening opportunity of the episode, and it didn’t disappoint. There were three prepper “groups” featured in “Bad Times All the Time.” First up were Jay and Holly Blevins of Berryville, Virginia. Jay, a former law-enforcement officer, told viewers:

We’re preparing for the breakdown of social order caused by an economic collapse.

Jay and Holly somehow managed to forge a prepper network out of a number of other households in their cul-de-sac. It was real interesting to see. Also, Jay talked about something called the “Circle of Force,” which included his rifle, handgun, edge weapons, impact weapons, pepper spray, martial arts, and verbal commands. Emphasis on a battery of different weapon groups beyond the traditional battery of firearms- I like that. And as the Blevins family tested plywood sheets that would cover their home’s first-floor windows in a SHTF scenario, the importance of real, functioning window shutters became visually-apparent, although it wasn’t discussed.


“Prepper Profile: Jay Blevins”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Next up was Brian P. Murdock, a real estate agent from Somerville, Massachusetts. Murdock told viewers:

I believe there will be a Third World War in my lifetime.

Two things stood out in this segment of episode 3. First was his acquisition of a bug-out location- 50-acres in rural New York state- and a bug-out vehicle- a recreational vehicle, or RV- to get to it from the Boston metro area.

Second was his search for a “prepper wife,” which was fulfilled in the lovely Colombian national Tatiana Maria Cogollo Fernandez. When Tatiana told viewers:

I can’t believe that I came here to die.

I knew I was in-store for a little bit more “reality” TV than I prefer. Still, this second part of the show was palatable, and I found Brian and Tatiana’s story interesting and informative.

Finally, there was Bryan May and wife Lacey Simmons-May, small business owners living in Indiana. Bryan revealed:

We’re preparing for the New Madrid earthquake that will change the world as we know it.

I did some research on the potential threat to the Chicagoland area from a big New Madrid quake when I was working for a suburban fire department some years back, and it’s real. Deadly real, depending on where you live. Bryan and Lacey have a legitimate concern here. Two things to watch for in this last segment of “Bad Times All the Time” are the couple’s bartering and their willingness to pursue more income as a way of obtaining the preps they think they need but can’t afford. It was inspirational. Sextacular even. And no that wasn’t a typo.

Enjoy tonight’s episode. For more information, please visit the Doomsday Preppers page on the National Geographic Channel website here.

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Project Prepper, Part 2: Leaving Chicago, Cook County, And Illinois

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I’ve had a lot on my mind since Election Day.

I’m guessing that goes for many of you as well.

Anyway, in an effort to “Lean Forward,” I’ve been working on “Project Prepper” ever since announcing its launch last month. I wrote back on October 24:

As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning and doing, which I’ll call “Project Prepper.”

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you.

By doing this, I’ll also be able to make more progress in providing readers of this blog those possible solutions I talked about earlier in the post.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that one major threat to life and lifestyle I’ve been warning about since Memorial Day Weekend 2007 is a U.S. financial crash.

And based partly on what I’ve witnessed locally and on the national level over the past several days, I think this has a good chance of materializing during President Obama’s second term in the White House.

Even if an economic crash doesn’t happen in this time frame (Washington and the Federal Reserve have been effective at delaying our financial “day of reckoning” so far), it’s something I’ll be taking into serious consideration as I continue putting together Project Prepper.

That being said, events that have unfolded at the local level on up for some time now have convinced me that my future lies outside of Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois. Which is a shame, because as I’ve mentioned before, my family has deep ties to the area. So much so a number of family members are familiar with the tale of one ancestor who fought courageously to save his tailor shop (at least the contents of it) from the approaching flames of the Great Chicago Fire back in 1871.

141 years later, another looming disaster looks to be in store for me and my loved ones if I don’t take action, and soon.

It’s bad enough Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois was already overrun by too many residents that live their lives in pursuit of the Ubi East Mea (“Where’s Mine?”) mentality and politicians who have been quick to pander to these individuals with “free” things in exchange for votes- long before last Tuesday’s election results revealed the rest of America is now marching down this same path.

But combine this with poor financial health, a bleak economic outlook, and growing attacks on the finances and freedoms of productive, law-abiding residents as politicians rob Peter to pay Paul in their attempt to remain in office- and you’ve got one hell of a mess coming to this area of the Midwest in the next few years.

Eventually, I predict the productive residents will split town (this happened before in Chicago in the late 60s-early 70s in some neighborhoods), there will be no more money for “freebies,” and the “Where’s Mine?” brigade will riot. Athens-style.

As I’ve been telling those close to me for some time now, “First you’ll see the strikes. Then the larger protests. Until finally, the riots.”

History shows you don’t want to be in the city when the riots break out.

And I don’t plan on being here in Chicago when the coming civil strife erupts either.

In my next Project Prepper post, I’ll talk some more about my “quest” for sanctuary.


Gareth Emery feat. Lucy Saunders, “Sanctuary” (2010)
YouTube Video

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Switzerland Holds Military Exercise For Civil Unrest, Eurozone Refugees

Not only is the global economic crisis that reared its ugly head in 2008 still alive, but its presence is clearly visible in Europe these days, where sovereign debt crises and civil unrest in places such as Athens and Madrid make the news on a regular basis.

Not surprisingly, the Swiss have taken notice.

And the wealthy nation of 8 million people that’s noted for its armed neutrality is preparing just in case things “go south” with their neighbors. And within.

Matt Clinch wrote on the CNBC website yesterday:

Switzerland launched the military exercise “Stabilo Due” in September to respond to the current instability in Europe and to test the speed at which its army can be dispatched…

Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag reported recently that the exercise centered around a risk map created in 2010, where army staff detailed the threat of internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.

The Swiss defense ministry told CNBC that it doesn’t not rule out having to deploy troops in the coming years.

According to Clinch, some 2,000 troops took part in the exercise that included eight different towns across the country.


“M&N PICTURES Video 149: CH Manöver ‘Stabilo Due 2012’”
YouTube Video

Alex Newman wrote on the website of the biweekly magazine The New American earlier today:

“The Swiss are famous for preparing for everything and having an absolutely huge army, relative to their population, to deal with any eventuality,” observed U.S. Naval War College national security affairs Professor John Schindler, adding that Switzerland was “clearly on to something” as evidenced by its history. “The Swiss have stayed out of the EU — one more thing the very prosperous Swiss are gloating about these days — and they certainly don’t want EU problems spilling over into their peaceful little country.”

“Switzerland was ‘clearly on to something’”

As should we be.

Sources:

Clinch, Matt. “Swiss Prepare Army for Euro Zone Fallout.” CNBC. 15 Oct. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49385502). 16 Oct. 2012.

Newman, Alex. “Swiss Military Preparing for EU Meltdown Scenario.” The New American. 16 Oct. 2012. (http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/europe/item/13234-swiss-military-preparing-for-eu-meltdown-scenario). 16 Oct. 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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