Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Will the Gangs Do?

I recently watched a story on the local news about four gang members arrested in an undercover sting trying to trade guns for drugs. Then the question occurred to me; "What will the gangs do after TEOTWAWKI? Then I had a disturbing thought.

Many years ago (before the term "Political Correctness" was coined) I read a post TEOTWAWKI Science Fiction story wherein the AmerIndians had recovered from a TEOTWAWKI disaster faster than the "whites" because of their tight knit communities and adherence to heritage. With command and control already in place the AmerIndian chiefs were able to organize a recovery much more quickly than the surviving "palefaces" were. The second generation whites were the ones who couldn't hold their lacquer and so on.

At this point it would be helpful to remind readers of the main difference between a WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) event and TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event.

In a WTSHTF event federal, state and local governments survive and eventually restore order. That is to say law & order, infrastructure and commerce.

With TEOTWAWKI established governments don't survive and new governments must eventually be carved from the chaos.

Looting and other opportunistic crimes common in the temporary turmoil following a WTSHTF event are committed with a guilty glance over shoulder as everyone awaits the return of governmental control in the form of police and National Guard troops.

Once survivors become aware that the troops aren't coming (TEOTWAWKI) the gloves come off as survivors realize they won't be held accountable for their actions.

Such a situation exists now in many parts of Mexico.

When the Mexican military started using aircraft to find drug cartel camps in the wilderness the cartels began hiding in established structures i.e. ranches and small villages. Today along the Mexican American border Mexican cartels are demanding entire towns evacuate so the cartels can hide their illicit activities in the buildings thus conducting their drug business out of the view of airborne surveillance.

The following is an account of what happened when one Mexican man chose to resist such a takeover of his isolated ranch.

The story began in the morning of Saturday November 13, [2010] when a group of armed gunmen went to deliver an ultimatum to Don Alejo Garza Tamez: He had 24 hours to turn over his property or suffer the consequences.

Instead of packing his belongings and fleeing Don Alejo loaded his weapons placing them (and ammunition for them) at every door and window of his home. The "hunting rifles" referenced in the link below is a rather broad description of his armament. It could include semi autos as well as bolt action rifles and even single shots. Although not "rifles" I'm sure shotguns and pistols were included in the mix too.

[The next day] The trucks entered the ranch and took up positions surrounding the house. The gunmen got out of their trucks, fired shots in the air, and announced they came to take possession of the ranch. They were expecting the terrified occupants to run out, begging for mercy with their hands in the air.

But things didn't go as expected. Don Alejo welcomed them with bullets; the entire army of gunmen returned fire. Don Alejo seemed to multiply, he seemed to be everywhere. The minutes would have seemed endless to those who had seen him as easy prey. Various gunmen were killed on sight. The others, in rage and frustration, intensified the attack by swapping out their assault rifles for grenades.

When everything finally fell silent, the air was left heavy with gunpowder. The holes left in the walls and the windows attested to the violence of the attack. When they went in search of what they had assumed was a large contingent, they were surprised to find only one man, Don Alejo.

The surviving gunmen did not take over the ranch. [In fact they were so shell-shocked they fled without even stealing Don Alejo's guns.] Thinking the military would arrive at any moment, they decided to run. They left behind what they thought were six corpses, but two of their gunmen had survived.

The Last Stand of Don Alejo

The street gangs you see on the nightly news aren't going away after TEOTWAWKI. Indeed they are armed and they already have a command structure in place. More to the point, today's controlling factor in their existence (the police, jails & court system) will be gone.

The weapons and modus operandi of the cartels (automatic weapons and hand grenades bought or stolen from the Mexican military) are known and we can expect our own street gangs to try mightily to acquire similar armament as post TEOTWAWKI time goes by.

Reading ancient history we see intimidation used by barbarians to entice walled cities to surrender without a fight in an attempt to reduce causalities among the attackers. Of course once the city surrendered the ill-mannered barbarians often forgot their promises of safe passage and ravaged the city's now defenseless inhabitants anyway.

A post TEOTWAWKI situation could rapidly deteriorate into something similar to ancient times when bands of barbarians roamed about seeking food and plunder.

So... what'er ya' gunn'a do to prepare to defend your Bug Out Location (BOL) from gangs after TEOTWAWKI?

First, bars on all windows & bared gates, with double dead bolt locks, on all doors. (And, yes, those will help keep you safe in a WTSHTF scenario too. Come to think of it they'll keep burglars out in normal times as well.)

Second, chain link fence shutters on all doors & windows will keep out hand grenades while still while still allowing those inside to view shoot through at attackers. (OK so you probably wouldn't want to do this to your home right now.)

Next you can plant cactus gardens, if you live down south or rose bushes if you live up north, in front of all windows and on both sides of all doors. (This is a passive defense that'll discourage burglars from breaking in through windows and channel people knocking on your door out where you can see them.)

Oh, and did I mention the anti ramming 10 inch concrete filled iron pipes set four feet into the ground and extending four feet above it on either side of doors? OK, that's a bit much for home defense in normal times, but strategically placed ornamental rock walls would do as well.

When I posted a version of the above on a TEOTWAWKI board I frequent I received this well thought out response:

"You're going to need more than well prepared defenses. You're going to need backup, reserves, and cover. You're going to need other defenders. You're going to need a community."
-- HaltCatchFire

There were obviously enough weapons to arm a squad of defenders. However, Don Alejo Garza Tamez had chosen to fight alone. Was it because he didn't want to endanger his friends & workers?

Or maybe he knew they'd be too scared to fight?

In any case only rich friends would likely know how to aim and shoot guns because in Mexico only the rich, the military/police & crooks have guns.

Here in the USA it wouldn't be all that hard to put together a pickup squad of experienced shooters -- not so much so in Mexico.

In this case the gangs are looking for places to hide out of the view of airborne Mexican military. After TEOTWAWKI they'd be looking for the next store of food to plunder before moving on to another ranch.

HaltCatchFire is right. A viable post TEOTWAWKI community would look very much like frontier America with clusters of farms around a fort much like in medieval times. I don't expect to see castles, but rather fortified towns which surrounding farmers could flee to in times of crisis. Reading actual accounts of frontier battles would, very likely, provide a guide to the strategies and tactics (updated to account for modern weapons) that would evolve.

To Comment on this article E-Mail Me Unless you specifically ask me not to, I'll post your reply here in the blog so everyone can read it. Of course I'll remove your last name, email and any other specific information for privacy purposes.