Sunday, October 2, 2011

You Can Run and You Can Hide But Not For Long

Camper One:
Talking into his Satellite phone as he watched the rearview camera the camper carefully backed his class A mobile home between the RV park's utility hookups. In a few minutes electricity, water & sewage lines were connected and he joined his wife inside as she adjusted the angle on the satellite TV dish.

They'd emptied the cupboard and both freezers before fleeing the city, but he'd still felt it necessary to clean out what was left of the overpriced food for sale in the little store next door to the campground's headquarters. The proprietor had demanded cash claiming the credit card system was down. Selection had been sparse, seems he wasn't the only one thinking this thing might last awhile. The expensive campground's beef jerky, chips and Twinkies would have to wait; tonight they had to eat the thawing food they'd been unable to stuff into their ice chests and the RV's little freezer.

One of the national TV networks was still off the air, but he was able to get in the Internet. The bloggers were going wild with competing conspiracy theories and some of those theories were close to what the remaining networks were saying. He was glad he'd brought along his long barreled 12 gauge goose gun and a box of shells.

Camper Two:
Putting her cell phone away she backed the 4X4 pickup next to the fire ring at the far end of the National Park Service's "Remote" camping site. The wide camper shell made it difficult to see behind her as she edged the long bed pickup under a tree. She'd expected it to be deserted this time of year, but the camp site was almost full.

They'd emptied the cupboard and refrigerator/freezer as they headed out the door. They had fuel for the camp stove, gas for the generator and cast iron pots and pans if they had to "rough it" with a camp fire. She wasn't looking forward to that and hoped the whole thing would be over before the Coleman fuel ran out.

Hubby's hobby was HAM radio so he'd been exchanging real news with other HAM's around the country and the world via HF, VHF and UHF as they drove up here. They didn't have to depend on that crap the Emergency Alert System kept spewing out on all the broadcast stations and satellite radio.

They'd emptied the house of food, blankets and clothes on the way out the door. The cooler was full of the freezer's contents and beer. Her husband was complaining there were so many cans of food in the back he didn't have room to move around. He'd maxed out his credit card at the last gas station on the way up here buying overpriced gas, beef jerky and beer. They'd keep up with the news on the truck's radio and a portable radio until the batteries ran out. Hubby'd put his 30-30, scoped .22 rifle and the riot shotgun under the blankets on the camper's bed with several boxes of bullets & shells for each gun. They were keeping his Colt single action "cowboy" revolver and her .38 caliber stub-nosed double action revolver under their shirts.

Camper Three:
He slipped the cell phone into an outer pocket of his backpack after pulling the jeep under a tree at the trailhead. He'd been unable to get any bars for the last three hours but figured its weight would be worth lugging to the mountaintop on the off chance that they'd be able to get bars from up there. The solar charger would keep their cell phones charged and he'd heard that text messages had gotten through when voice had not during some earlier disasters. Maybe text would work from the mountaintop. They didn't want to be completely dependent upon the government for information about the crisis that was being put out on the regular broadcast frequencies.

Realistically if there were any changes to the situation they'd have a better chance of hearing them on the many shortwave and other bands of their solar/hand crank KAITO ka009 portable radio than the Jeep's in dash AM FM radio.

They had hundreds of rounds each for his big bore iron sighted rifle and her scoped Ruger 10-22 plus more ammo for their pistols, but they'd depend on cach├ęs, traps and snares for their food for as long as they had to stay up in the mountains to avoid the spreading chaos in the cities. Hopefully they wouldn't need the heirloom seeds.

Addendum


HCF replies:
(and I respond)

So what happened? What are they running from? I can't say that any one of them has the right or wrong idea there. Riding the storm out in Class-A luxury is kind of appealing.

Yes it is. To be able to sit around the Jacuzzi later, martini in hand, talking about how you sat out "the big scare" in comfort is appealing.

But what if "the big scare" turned out to be "the big crunch"? Would a Class-A mobile home in an RV park be the place to be? How far would one of those gas guzzlers get when the power to run gas station pumps went out? Wouldn't the RV parks be rapidly overrun with refugees?

Would Campers two or three be in a better position to sit out the storm?

You Can Run and You Can Hide But Not For Long is a think piece designed to get you to think about the consequences of the choices you make early on. Evidently I failed to communicate that.

HAM radio is great for hearing what HAM radio operators want to tell you. It's kind of like the Internet in that regard. The gear used to be heavy and power-hungry; has that changed in recent years? I know some HAMs that have "mobile" rigs in their trucks. It's a hobby I never had time or money for.

Yes, HAM radio is very much like the Internet in that you have various voices bringing you disparate reports of what's happening in the world. However, I hope I made clear that HAMs represent a valid source for reports from the source which may not always be in sync with official pronouncements.

Like you, I've neither the time nor inclination to pursue the HAM hobby, but there are many radios on the market which enable you to listen in on what HAM's are saying. In fact HAM's are oft times part of Civil Defense communication networks. By being able to listen in on both official and unofficial reports survivors should be able to build a more balanced picture of what's happening.

BTW your spellchecker failed you. It's "hybrid" not "highbred" seeds. Having seeds is not enough; most commercially available seeds are hybrid, which means the seeds produced by the plant are sterile. This ensures you come back again next year to buy more seeds. It also makes hybrid seeds a poor choice in TEOTWAWKI scenarios. Look for "heirloom" seeds if it matters.

I've made the correction. Thanks for taking the time to correct me. If it's OK with you I'll put a copy of this exchange as and addendum to the piece.

Dave

- - - - - Then a reply to the reply - - - - -

You Can Run and You Can Hide But Not For Long is a think piece designed to get you to think about the consequences of the choices you make early on. Evidently I failed to communicate that.

OK. Thoughts:

Camper #1 did a good job equipping himself with what he had. Unfortunately what he had screams "rich guy with stuff to steal".


Exactly!

Camper #2 is closer to what I would do for myself. I would not have stocked up on beer.

LOL! Me neither! Aside from losing situational awareness by imbibing there's the problem of beer, as trade goods, going stale or flat over time.

Camper #3 obviously believes it's TEOTWAWKI and is acting accordingly.

Exactly! In the absence of creditable evidence to the contrary he's taking a 'sick day' so as to be sure of being outside of ground zero if the Big Scare turns out to be the Big Crunch.

So, like I said earlier, it's hard to know which is the right response without knowing the scenario better.

Ah yes! And that is the $64,000 question. Will the media to pass on the "real news" or regurgitate official handouts from politicians who obviously have a stake in how the situation is interpreted by the populace?

More to the point, will "official sources" give you the information you need to make a intelligent decisions in time for the info be meaningful in terms of giving you time to take action?

Obviously having access to alternative sources of information will help us make that determination. Which brings us to:

During our recent SHTF scare (http://boards.fool.com/shtf-3-29522612.aspx) I found Twitter to be the most reliable source of near-real-time information. After that was the local paper's (http://www.statesman.com/) "Blotter" blog of news events. TV news and other "mainstream" outlets were MIA. So I am aware that alternate forms of news have substantial value.

An interesting observation for several reasons. First that people would turn to Twitter in time of crisis. (I guess "Instant Messaging" is pretty much the AOL of the Internet nowadays.;-)

Second that the newspaper has read the writting on the wall and is making the transition from dead tree to online newspaper.

I interpret your words to mean TV news and other mainstream (radio?) outlets were 'responsibly' passing on pronouncements from officials which, by the time they filtered down to the microphone were out of date.

In re: HAM's
I did not know this. I will look into it.
http://www.arrl.org/emergency-communications

Years ago I read of a HAM operator participating in a Civil Defense drill being held in the basement of a local hospital on the seedier side of town who was asked to leave his pickup/camper full of radio equipment in the parking lot and run a base station inside where he'd be more readily available to pass messages to and from field units.

He flat out refused saying he wasn't going to leave $50,000 worth of radio equipment outside unguarded as a free gift to drug addicts. He stayed in his camper and they brought messages out to him.

In other words not all HAM operators are "independent contractors" (if you will) and won't slavishly parrot official handouts. A potpourri of HAM conversations will likely give a slightly (or maybe much) different take on a situation.

To be fair to seed vendors, hybrid plants have a number of positive characteristics like pest resistance that make them valuable to mainstream gardeners. Just be aware of the sterile seeds if planning for TEOTWAWKI.

Noted.

- - - - -

Superfluous Survival Tip of the week:


Real long term survival requires farming.
Got seeds?

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