Sunday, September 18, 2011

Working the Border

I'm reading a book I bought at Costco which outlines the life's work of Texas Ranger Doyle Holdridge who worked Texas's unsecured southern border, in various law enforcement capacities, for nearly four decades.

The book is a series of short stories (reports actually) each encompassing a criminal case Doyle worked. They are fascinating, easy to read and informative! In many of the cases I see lessons for preppers and survivalists that could arm them with knowledge that could help them survive in a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) or WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) situation. Here are a few:

Lessons learned from a Backpacking Poacher
In the tale of the "Backpacking Poacher" Doyle recounts how a locally famous deer poacher would have an accomplice drop him off at night near a ranch known to have bucks with big racks (antlers) and hunt for several days. This tactic insured no one would find his vehicle *** and know the poacher was operating in the area.

Carrying only food, water, sleeping bag and a rifle the poacher would "cold camp" (no campfire) returning to a predetermined spot to be picked up with his ill gotten gains at a prearranged time. Never caught, he was a ghost coming and going without a trace.

Doyle doesn't say if the poacher wore camouflage clothing, but it would have helped him elude detection not withstanding that stillness is great camouflage too.

If you need to move across contested ground to or from your Bug Out Location the poacher's lesson has something to teach you.
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Tommy's (El Cheapo) Burglar Alarm for Light Sleepers

A guy named Tommy who lived along one of Doyle's beats had a simple, but very effective homemade burglar alarm consisting of a microphone in his rural gas station with a wire running to a speaker in his nearby home. Dishonest travelers thinking to make an easy late night score on a closed gas station soon found themselves staring down the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun.

Probably only good for inside buildings, the microphone/speaker setup can guard several nearby locations at once if each mike is attached to a different speaker.

One of the advantages of this setup is that the intruder doesn't know he's alerted the owner(s) and may more easily be taken by surprise.

One disadvantage (aside from heavy sleepers) is that the system is constantly "on" and transmitting thus using power which could be a problem if the electricity is out.
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While working the Texas Governor's security detail Ranger Holdridge learned, via several personal experiences, that anti-gun governor Ann Richards was a Bitch. I could have told him that.
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(If At First You Don't Secede this next tale takes a bit of enplaning to get all the groups involved (or not) identified. The original "Republic of Texas" (1836 to 1846) had nothing to do with these modern day whackos other than that the idiots appropriated the name. Three groups all claim or claimed to be the "The Republic of Texas" but couldn't get along even with each other hence the three splinter groups of stooges. There is also a "The Republic of Texas" ROT biker rally held every year which may/may not have anything to do with any of the aforementioned groups. To from your own "Republic of Texas" please form a line on the right.)

Lessons learned from a Bunch of Idiots
In 1997 one of these groups of idiots who'd organized themselves into outfits they called "The Republic of Texas" (not to be confused with the original Republic of Texas) kidnapped two people attracting the attention of law enforcement:
Another incident occurred in Fort Davis, Texas a year later in March 1997 when a faction of the self-styled "Republic of Texas" militia group seized hostages. The Republic of Texas group believed that the annexation of Texas as a state in 1845 was illegal, that Texas should remain an independent nation, and that the legitimate government of Texas was the group's leadership.[12] Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe were taken at gunpoint in retaliation for the arrest of member Robert J. Scheidt, who had been arrested on weapons charges. Leader Richard McLaren then declared that the group was in a state of war with the federal government.[13] The property was then surrounded by the entire Jeff Davis County sheriff's department, state troopers, Texas Rangers, and agents of the FBI.[12] McLaren's wife, Evelyn, convinced him to surrender peacefully after a week-long standoff. The McLarens and four other Republic of Texas members were sent to prison.[13]

Ranger Holdridge was one of the Texas Rangers sent to quell the "rebellion" by the half dozen or so rebels. Using standard police procedures the assembled Law Enforcement Officers (LEO's) negotiated with the splinter group until the hostages were released and all but two of the kidnappers surrendered. The remaining two took to the hills and the chase was on.

One rebel took a stand on a mountainside shooting it out with a police helicopter and dozens of LEO's in a deadly firefight which he lost.

The second runner escaped temporarily; hiding out with other militia groups who found him too crazy even for them and was captured as he was being kicked (literally) out of a car that was supposed to be taking him to a new safe house. He's got about 90 years left to serve on his sentence.

The first lesson to be learned from all of this is that when local law enforcement outnumbers your group by hundreds to one committing major felonies and then publicly proclaiming your position (both ideologically and geographically) is not a good group survival tactic.

Secondly, it would have been helpful (to the two runners) if they'd done their bugging out in the middle of the night so as to reduce the chances of being seen and chased.

Thirdly, once again stillness helped a person elude dozens of pursuers on the ground and in the air.

Fourth, when many of the people chasing you think you're dead and have given up searching for you; don't call a newspaper reporter to remove all doubt about your breathing rate and promise revenge.

And the last lesson to be learned from these idiots: as far as I could ascertain all of the members of the "Republic of Texas" group that were involved in the hostage stunt went to prison. So the third thing we can learn from this is don't hang out with people who advocate breaking the law, and especially don't hang out with people who are committing felonies!

Also, a midnight break-in at the supermarket because Herald Camping has convinced you that tomorrow is "TEOTWAWKI Tuesday" will likely land you in jail which is definitely not where you want to be if it turns out you were a week early.

Reading this report, JRG wrote to say:

"One of my acquaintances occasionally trespasses on large ranches to go arrowhead hunting. What he does is park adjacent to a construction road crew, then cross the road and fence on the other side. The road crew figures it’s the rancher, the rancher thinks the vehicle belongs to someone on road crew, no one suspects a thing."

Thanks JRG!

Superfluous Survival Tip of the week:

Lessons learned from a Sporting Goods Store Burglary
Responding with a friend to an alarm at the friend's store they and the cops quickly determined the perpetrator had fled the scene. Too quickly as it turned out because as Doyle looked behind a hot water cooler in the back of the store he found himself nose to nose with the burglar.

I'll quote Ranger Holdridge for the lesson on this one: "A man needs to stay on his toes all the time." In a situation like that you "Never let your guard down. You just never know what's going to happen."

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