Survival Skills to Teach your Kids

Have you been prepping? Do you have everything you need for your family to survive? Maybe you do, but do you have the skills necessary to make it through long enough to find the new normal? More importantly, do your kids have the skills to make it through various disaster scenarios?

Kids think differently from adults, they frequently fail to analyze a situation enough to determine how to respond to it appropriately. This is why your children need to be trained. As preppers, you will agree that you should train them, but most people are complacent or lazy. We all talk a big game, but at the end of the day, we are happy if our kids can dial 911. The problem is that emergency responders can’t always save us. Even if we are not facing the end of the world, kids can make fatal mistakes in everyday survival situations, such as home invasion, fire, spring flood, accidentally getting locked out or being bullied. This is why, when we talk about survival skills to teach our kids, we talk about a wide array of skills.

Younger Kids 

Skills to Teach Younger Children

    1. Learning personal information. Sometimes, situations arise when it is necessary for our children to relay to public service employees who they are and where they live, so it helps when they can memorize that information. Teach your child to say his or her first and last name, your name and your spouse’s name. Kids 3 years and up can be taught addresses as well. Sometimes, it is easier to teach the child to write the house number rather than to say it. They may remember the number sequence better visually. As long as they remember the street name, you should be okay. If your child cannot remember the street name, ask her to describe the outside of the house to you. Walk around the house and find landmarks that stand out: a certain type of tree, a yard decoration, the color of the door or something of that nature. It s actually a good idea to put a yard décor item in front of the house, so your child can help identify the house by saying something like, “It is a red house with a green door and an angel on the front lawn.”


    1. Calling for help, Your children may end up being the only means of your survival if, for some reason, you were hurt and immobile. Kids may also end up being home alone and experience a home invasion. Teach kids to get the phone, dial 911, stay calm and reiterate what’s going on to the operator. Explain that they can only dial 911 in case of extreme emergencies and give examples of events that qualify.


    1. Basic First Aid and CPR. It is possible to teach children as young as 5 and 6 years old CPR, and although there is no guarantee that they’ll be able to perform it under stress and unguided, it is a good way to start teaching them life-saving skills early on.


    1. Surviving being lost in a public place. Children are scared when they are lost. They will naturally try to walk around and find their family. Train them to stay in one place, as soon as they figure out that they are lost. Explain to them that by the time that they figure out that they are lost, you are already looking for them.
    2. Surviving a fire. Surviving a fire is about responding to the fire alarm or carbon monoxide alarm, finding the closest exit, using a rag to cover your face to breathe and dialing 911. Perform a few drills with the kids and talk to them about not trying to grab their things prior to getting out.


    1. Surviving a home invasion. Home invasions and burglaries are scary and incredibly dangerous. Depending on the situation, hiding or escaping may be appropriate. Hopefully, your young children are never home alone in the first place, but if they are, teach them to keep doors, windows, blinds, and curtains closed and have the phone nearby. Instruct them to call you and report suspicious activity, like someone knocking or walking around the house.


    1. Stranger awareness. Even though we tell our children not to talk to strangers, strangers come in different breeds. Teach your kids to be aware of what’s going on around them when they are playing outside, riding bikes or walking to a playground. Give directions explaining where they should run if someone is following them, teach them to avoid playgrounds if they see an adult there with no children and help them learn to defend their personal space.


    1. Using personal protection items. Even young kids can have personal protection items. One of these items s a cell phone. There is an app called “Circle of 6” that allows you to input 6 emergency numbers into a phone and at a click of a button, the phone will text and call the numbers on record. It will also allow the police to locate your child. Other personal protection items include hairspray (yes, hairspray is great to spray in strangers’ eyes), spray chemicals if you are at home (for the same reason) and other items that may deter a potentially dangerous individual.


    1. Surviving the wilderness. Wilderness survival is really tough. The best thing you can do for your kids is teaching them the common sense skills, like finding or building a shelter, trying to stay warm, finding safe water, being proactive in order to get rescued, etc. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if your child knows how to pitch a tent and use PET bottles to disinfect water.


    1. Surviving on the water. This boils down to teaching your child not to panic, to float on his back and to swim.


    1. SHTF skills. This is the toughest category of skills to teach kids. It is hard enough for adults to learn these skills. SHTF skills include short-term and long-term skills. Short-term skills include surviving extreme weather events, finding family members if separated during the crisis, finding food and water, target shooting (for kids over 7 years old) and going undetected during social unrest. Long-term survival skills include fire starting, shelter building, foraging and finding water.


How to Teach Younger Kids Survival Skills In your serious prepping mode, do not forget that your kids are kids. They like to have fun. This is why when you teach young children preparedness skills, it is imperative that you make it exciting and interactive. In other words, make it a game. For example, when you train them to find the appropriate exits out of the home, you can place stickers or some sort of tokens on windows and doors and allow them to redeem each token for a prize or a piece of candy. You can turn on the music and have them run around the house collecting tokens. You can also print off large red arrows for their first fire drill so they can follow the arrows to “make it out of the burning building.” After the game is over, sit them down and explain what you practiced. Ask questions and let the kids reiterate what they learned.

Another very important thing to remember when teaching youngsters is that they need repetition to learn and retain information. This means that you should be ready to play those games on a weekly basis to begin with and reduce to monthly and then bimonthly as they grow and master the skills. To keep them from being bored, vary the stickers and tokens based on the season, occasion or their favorite movie characters.

Teens and Tweens

Survival Skills to Teach Your Teens and Tweens

    1. First aid and CPR. Unlike younger children, older kids can learn first aid and CPR fully. You should go as far as signing them up for CPR classes and getting them certified. A set of first aid skills is among the best, most in-demand survival skis that you just can’t go wrong with.


    1. Advanced medical aid. If one of your kids is medically inclined, you can focus some energy on helping them acquire additional medical skills, such as trauma response and management, making stitches, stapling, figuring out which antibiotics to give to other family members and similar tasks.


    1. Surviving a home invasion and helping younger siblings. Older kids have a bigger role to play and certainly can take on more responsibility in the event of a home invasion. They should take care of taking smaller children to safety (generally the furthest room on the top floor of the house), barricading the door and calling 911 while you attempt to ward off (or fight off or scare off) invaders.


    1. Surviving a personal attack. If you have a tween or teenage daughter, you have the same concerns as every other teen girl parent. Girls get followed home, date raped, drugged and kidnapped. Some statistics suggest that one out of 3 female college students who live on campus get raped. That is an insane statistic! Teach your girls to avoid strangers and to run like the wind if somebody gets physical with them. Even more importantly, teach them to dress and act modestly and avoid putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations. Instruct them to practice situational awareness, keeping track of who is around them at all times. It may be very challenging to practice situational awareness when using public transportation in a big city, but practicing this skill regularly helps.


    1. Surviving a fire. Just as with home invasion, older kids should have an additional responsibility here They should focus on getting the younger kids out. If you have a fire extinguisher, they should know how to use it.


    1. Hunting and fishing. Teens and tweens usually enjoy outdoors and have fun learning to fish and hunt, especially in good company. The best way to teach them is to take them along with experienced hunters and fishermen in the area.


    1. Outdoor and SHTF survival. Unlike younger kids, your older children should be learning everything you learn about outdoor and SHTF survival, from fire starting to trapping, to building a log cabin.


  1. Creating tools and equipment for survival. In the event of a long-term crisis situation, we may have to invent our own tools to survive in the interim. Bows and arrows, hunting traps, solar ovens and other inventions that replace the everyday things that we are used to, may become a necessity. Give your older kids some freedom and resources to invent cool survival gadgets. It may be fun to make it a contest and see what they can come up with. Getting hands-n now and learning the ropes of basic hand tools may save their lives down the road.

How to Teach Teens and Tweens Survival Skills Teens and tweens are all about having fun, too but they are on a whole different level. Most of them will understand the seriousness of the training, but in their mind, it is still taking time away from what they may want to do more (being with friends, playing video games, watching TV, etc.) This means you have offered some benefit other than the direct benefit of being prepared. They definitely won’t go for tokens, but you can run your drills on a Saturday and do pizza and ice cream afterward (make it a family night).

While camping out and running fire drills is great, survival demands that we and our children master even more intricate skills – personal and social skills. These include communication, conflict management and resolution, de-escalation, active listening and more. These are the kinds of skills that can prevent violence by allowing your kids to appropriately address everyday situations that have a potential to become violent. Furthermore, if your children end up living in a post-apocalyptic society, they will need to display leadership skills, strategic planning skills and communication skills in their communities. People will be sharing, bartering, helping, and tolerating each other on completely different levels than we do today. They need to develop and display patience, kindness, tolerance, ingenuity and work ethic that are becoming rarer and rarer among today’s youth.

It may be a challenge to remember the steps involved in addressing various emergencies for both younger kids and teens, so a great way to have them learn, follow and review the steps is to laminate several documents detailing various processes or your family’s escape plans. For younger kids, laminate flash cards and have them do sequencing exercises to remember the order of steps in each process.

Ultimately, your children will need to know how to use their heads and common sense to make decisions. Staying calm and safe and thinking things through is probably the most practical survival skill of all.

Always watching out for you,

Sterling Mason


What steps have you taken to become more self-sufficient?

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to become self-sufficient. One of the major steps you can take is going “off the grid”.

This means that you no longer use a gas and electric company, or water and sewer company, and you no longer need to rely on their infrastructure to supply essential utility services to your homestead — a huge plus in a survival situation.

What you need to understand first is that this is a major undertaking that involves a significant investment of time and money. This is why most people who go off-grid do it one step at a time.

The main consideration for going off-grid is choosing the right location.

You want to have land that aids in energy production. You also need to acquire water and mineral rights for the piece of land that you purchase. With that said, there are 5 additional considerations for going off the grid: electricity, water, water heating, sewer, and energy back-up.

Electricity/Gas. Two primary sources of power that are not derived from fossil fuels are wind power and solar power. Installing solar panels and wind turbines are simple enough, but both options are pretty expensive if you buy pre-manufactured systems from commercial dealers. They’re still well worth it in the long run, but you can save up to 50% (or more) on the costs by building your own home energy system. Ideally, you’ll use both sources to power your home. There are many other ways to create energy for your house, such as using Propane gas or using fertilizer and waste, but solar and wind energy are free, abundant, and easy to harness once you know how.

Heating. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you need a way to heat your home. While you can use electric power to heat your house, you may want to consider installing a wood burner as well.

Water. To truly live off the grid, you’ll need to have your own water. You can install a well and a pump. Whether you’re building a new, energy-efficient home or thinking about installing a well for your current home, check your area water table to see if a well makes sense. Also, most municipalities in the U.S. do not allow wells to be installed within their boundaries, so check your local zoning laws.

Heating Water. You may not have thought about the need to heat water yet. Actually, there are many options. You can install a solar water heater or a propane water heater, use solar panels or hook your water heater up to your wood burner.

Sewage. The only way to deal with sewage in a sustainable way is having a septic tank installed. The tank will process the waste and release the product into the soil. This can be costly and can be tough to implement in urban areas, but if you plan it right for your off-grid property, a septic tank will last a lifetime.

Backup plans. Having a generator and/or battery backup to meet your energy needs in the event that your primary energy sources fail is a no-brainer. Everything I teach is about being prepared for unforeseen circumstances, and if you don’t have a well-thought-out backup plan then you’re not really prepared for anything.

Always watching out for you,

Sterling Mason

The Parts Against The Whole

A major sign of balkanization is when coalitions of states join together to oppose the Federal government, even legislatively or in a lawsuit. When the power of  Washington weakens due to internal or external forces beyond its control, or it abdicates the will to exercise its power (for example against sanctuary states) then centrifugal forces will break the United States apart into ethnostates. 

A coalition of seven states filed a lawsuit against the federal government Tuesday to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia filed the suit saying the Obama-era program, which protects hundreds of thousands of children of undocumented immigrants from deportation, is unconstitutional.

“Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy,” Paxton said. “Left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own policy preferences.”

The lawsuit urges the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to declare DACA unlawful and stop the federal government from issuing or renewing any DACA permits in the future. It doesn’t request the federal government remove any DACA recipients or rescind previously issued DACA permits.

Last week Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Department of Homeland Security to resume accepting DACA applications if the agency was unable to provide a legal reason to end the program within 90 days.

Two other federal judges, in New York and California, previously blocked President Donald Trump’s efforts to end DACA on the principle his administration hadn’t offered legally adequate reasons to rescind the program.

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus condemned the lawsuit as a misuse of taxpayer money.

Texas state Sen. José Menéndez, a Democrat, also issued a statement defending DACA recipients.


Note: This series was originally published on Defensive Training Group several years ago. This expanded, updated 2018 edition has been designed specifically for AP readers; this is the first installment of a 10-week series meant to walk you through the steps needed to prepare for what’s commonly called SHTF, or literally “sh– hitting the fan.” This could be anything from a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, an economic meltdown, or any other dire situation. If you’re new to preparing, this plan will help get you where you need to be. If you’ve already been doing it, the plan will help you ensure that your plan is well-rounded and correctly set up.  

Right now, there are a bit more than 2 years remaining in the administration of a populist/nationalist president that has, so far, rhetoric aside, left things pretty much alone, in regard to ‘normal’ life.  Anything perceived as a positive measure, such as the ‘tax roll back’ should really be viewed as a temporary measure, adding a slight benefit to you on the prepping side because of the reprieve given when the Hildabeast wasn’t inaugurated.  As everyone knows or should know, it made the Transnational Globalist Marxists insane, and they’re not letting go.  Evidence of this are perceived ‘false flag’ attacks as well as calls for an outright civil war by groups such as antifa (little ‘a’ on purpose) that would necessitate the suspension of Constitutional protections from government interference (what’s left of them) in your life according to the powers that STILL BE, albeit somewhat in the shadows.  That being the case, YOU, yes, YOU, the so-called, ‘Normie’ who’s just been awakened, have until 20 January 2021 to get yourself and your family’s ducks in a row.  Follow this outline for 10 weeks if you can, and add something else in it for the rest of the time available:

Study and training. Across the board.

After completing the basic plan, which gets you at least somewhat self-sufficient, your priorities should be–in this order:

  • First Aid/Medical training.
  • Food storage.
  • Survival.
  • Tactics & weapons.

This is not contradictory; the order is deliberate.  Yes, you need to know how to effectively use a weapon, but you also need, desperately, how to tend to wounds, injuries, infections, and disease not typically seen in a ‘normal’ setting. Here’s one of many resources on the topic.

You also need to know how to purify water; how to put up food so it will last, how to effectively communicate in your neighborhood and how to listen to more distant sources of information.  AP’s own NC Scout is one of the best resources for that.  You’ll even find opportunities to attend classes that will quickly bring you up to the speed you need to be at for effectively communicating.  You’ll also need to learn about the subject of intelligence.  AP will be an excellent resource for that as well.

Bottom line:  Your entire existence from now until the point where you’re adequately prepared needs to be one of study, exercise, training, study, frugal purchasing, setting up your home or ‘hidey hole’ so your family can make it, and so on.  You can do this; it’s not that difficult.  It takes discipline and resolve.

When it comes to recriminations later, during an emergency, when something you could have done to better prepare wasn’t accomplished due to your own procrastination, remember, there’s an old saying that I live by:  “There are no victims, only volunteers….”

I first did this post about 12 years ago under my since retired ‘nom de guerre,’ and a very good friend of mine (Concerned American from Western Rifle Shooters Association, and now AP) and a couple others asked me if I’d mind updating it again for 2018.  Remember, the days we’re living in RIGHT NOW demonstrate things are spinning faster in the vortex than ever before, and this might be the your last chance to get in gear.  Feel free to add or take away from this plan as your situation and local area conditions may require.  This is by no means the best or only plan; rather, it’s one that may help someone with no knowledge or skills.  There are other good perspectives on this subject out there, and they shouldn’t be discounted.


You may be thinking, “WORST case??  What could POSSIBLY get any worse than how things are now?? There’s nothing Ican do.  Things being the way they are, it’s basically over; all we can do is wait for the hammer to fall.”

Well, for one thing, that’s not true!  Many folks just like you don’t agree with or believe that perspective in the slightest!  There’s a lot you can do!  And, if this plan helps get you thinking of what you can do instead of what you can’t do, we all might just benefit from your action!  In fact, if enough folks begin to think about what they can do, we just might avert the “worst case,” and many more of us may live through these ‘interesting times’ that are certainly headed our way!  So, while you’re reading this, keep that thought in mind, ok?

The plan itself is divided into two parts:  The items required and the timetable to do it in.  Remember, prudent people see danger coming and prepare, while the foolish do nothing (or just sit at their keyboard and ENDLESSLY COMPLAIN about how terrible things are) and suffer for it.  To put us all on an equal footing for the case presented, let’s get ready to plan by using the following scenario as a back drop:

The time frame:  To be sure, ten weeks, especially today, when national and world tensions increasing by the hour, can seem to be a very, very long time in terms of ‘getting prepared/trained/fit/mentally ready’ to protect and defend your family, neighborhood, community and country from marauding apocalypse zombies coming from whatever direction or source you care to focus on.  For now, rather than looking at a fictional futuristic even, let’s look at what’s happened in the last 9 years incrementally.

  • Executive orders giving Interpol complete carte blanche to operate within our borders with no restrictions, oversight, accountability, even to the state department or the executive branch.  Never mind congress.
  • A[n]…..election process so corrupted and rigged to be all but worthless in regards to what you and I vote for.
  • 7 plus years of equipping, arming, violently indoctrinating…and militarizing, through federal auspices, civilian law enforcement, and non-law enforcement agencies, even non-governmental agencies.
  • Creation of a continental internal federal police state with powers that ignore every personal liberty based protection [from government overreach] in the US Constitution.
  • Numerous executive branch acts of limiting arms, their manufacture, importation and sale [to citizens], void of due process of law.  [Current implications from the Oval Office are that a series of ‘Executive Orders’ will further curtail the Second Amendment bypassing Congress as well as the Constitutional amending process.]
  • The UN International Small Arms Agreement, a foreign treaty signed by the former administration’s Secretary of State.  A treaty never having been presented to the Senate for ratification.
  • States openly calling for the confiscation of semi-automatic rifles in places like Lexington (yes, THE Lexington).
  • UN troops to be invited into the US for the purpose of assisting the US government in combating violent extremism. Extremely violent criminal gangs and religions with penchants for beheading and burning captives alive are not included in the definition of ‘extremists.’
  • Daily calls from the state co-opted ‘media’ repeating the message to unilaterally disarm the citizenry, constitutional protections be damned.

So, how do you get ready for an imminent disaster affecting the entire nation like that?  Not possible you say?  Think for a moment:  The Law of Unintended Consequences usually provides extreme results beyond those anticipated or planned in any situation it becomes involved with.  So, that being said, let’s examine this, even if only from an academic perspective.

First, consider the description above.  It’s certainly beyond possible that events in our country can become catastrophic; these things above have happened, and more are happening.  But is it nefarious in design?

Many seem to think so, but what’s relevant as you read this is what you think.  Consider current affairs in Eastern, and now, Western Europe.  Examine current affairs in our own country.  Consider the publicized plans of various agencies to quell ‘civil unrest.’  Think about the publicized military exercises that name military veterans and religious groups as ‘domestic terrorists.’   And then, before you go any further, make a determination:  Is this a bunch of paranoid “tin foil hat” crap or maybe, just maybe, is there something to this and you, gentle reader, need to do something positive to take care of your family and friends.  If you had the time (which you don’t, believe me), you could do your own investigation from objective sources, file Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) and find that it is, in fact, not only plausible, but the stage is being set every day for just such an eventuality.

If you decide the facts don’t support your personal preparedness, just toss this out.  Delete.  File 13.  Trash.  Round file.  I hope you enjoy your life and are prosperous.  Read no further.

However, if you decide facts presented do support getting started preparing, you have much to think about, much to do, and much to gain in the way of putting yourself, your family and your friends in a better position of an increased chance of living through it.

Think about it.  I’ll wait.

Let states seeking US secession go

by Ed Vasicek

Kokomo Tribune

…When it comes to the United States of America, voices in some states threaten to leave our union. I do not enjoy being around chronically discontented people, so my first instinct is to say, “Let them go.” After I ponder it some more, I still say, “Let them go.” Any state that wants to leave the Union should be free to do so — assuming it embraces doing so responsibly, negotiating the details.

Something like this almost happened in Canada (Quebec), and, more recently, the United Kingdom (with Scotland). According to CNBC: “California’s secession movement will get a second try as the state’s ‘war’ against the Trump administration rages on several fronts.

“On Monday, the California Secretary of State’s Office announced that a secession ballot proposal has been cleared to begin gathering needed signatures. It comes amid other efforts that seek to split up California.”

Many conservative Americans, I think, would be pleased to let California go. Many liberals would shed no tears if South Carolina seceded: “… [A] trio of state House Republicans on Thursday quietly introduced a bill that would allow lawmakers to debate seceding from the U.S. ‘if the federal government confiscates legally purchased firearms in this State,’” according to U.S. News and World Report.

Consider all the Hollywood boasters who vowed they would relocate to Canada if Trump won the presidency. Yeah, right, eh?

This repeated threat to “take my bat and ball and go home” has, in the past, been more serious than the childish threats we hear today. The Civil War is the ultimate case in point.

Much earlier in American history (early 1800s), however, a scheme was underway to create a new republic from land that was either American territory or would later become so. This is called the Burr Conspiracy.

Aaron Burr, who at the time was vice president of the United States (under Jefferson), shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel; duels were illegal. This tarnished Burr’s record and essentially ruined any future career he might have enjoyed in politics. In a sense, when he shot the revered Hamilton, he shot his future.

Although some details are tenuous, informs us: “One of Burr’s suspected schemes was to organize a revolution in the West, obtain the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, and structure them into a separate republic. Another scheme was to establish a republic bordering the United States by seizing Spanish possessions in the Southwest or persuade secession of western states from the Union. Perhaps both were true. Burr viewed war with Spain as inevitable and conspired with General James Wilkinson to establish an independent ‘Empire of the West’ … with New Orleans as the capital.

“To gain further support for his schemes, Burr contacted … Wilkinson … the governor of the Louisiana Territory … [He] had already established a history of shady scheming himself such as being involved in a plot to replace George Washington as Commander-in-Chief with General Horatio Gates.”

Even with leaders like Washington and Hamilton, many Americans were discontented and nasty. We Americans can be tough to please.

Secession — if the possibility is real and support from the masses is actually there — is something to consider. An idle threat by a few discontents to secede is an exercise in futility.

The “Collapse” Spectrum: Why and How We Define Collapse

From Forward Observer.

There are two words I really hate using: collapse and civil war.

One of the most important things we can do as intelligence collectors and analysts is to be deliberate and precise with our words. As an intelligence analyst trying to provide my commander with accurate intelligence, nothing made that task more difficult than reading vague or poorly written intelligence information reports. An intelligence collector may be highly skilled — he may know how to ask the right questions, prompt valuable responses, and ingratiate himself with sources who have the informational goods — but if he can’t clearly, concisely, and accurately report that information, then he’s of much lesser value to the team. I rarely had the luxury of being able to get in contact with a reporting officer and ask, “What in the world did you mean by this? What did the source actually say, verbatim?”

And that’s why I hate using the words “civil war” and “collapse”, because they’re not specific. Whenever I read the words “societal collapse” or “economic collapse”, I wonder: collapse to what level? 100% collapse? 50% collapse? (Even a 25% collapse in employment and living standards is going to cause significant problems.) One could argue that we’re witnessing a societal collapse right now — a collapse of established, normative sociopolitical behavior and attitudes. It might be more accurate and specific to say that we’ve entered into a period of societal decline, but it only goes to show just how vague the word “collapse” actually is. The collapse of the Roman Empire lasted for centuries, and we only know that because we can read the history. I wonder if those living in any given 50 year period of that collapse understood that collapse was occurring. The same can be said of civil war. Will states be fighting each other in the Second Civil War? Is the North invading the South again? Will we be battling for control over Washington D.C.? What, exactly, is meant by the term civil war?

Now, you may be thinking, Well, that’s just a semantic game. Everyone knows what a civil war is. This may work for a cursory understanding of where we’re headed, but in intelligence we deal with specifics. The commander needs to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation. You don’t prepare for a civil war, you don’t prepare for an electromagnetic pulse, you don’t prepare for economic collapse. You prepare for the effects of these events. And if we’re not deliberate with our understanding of these threats and their second- and third-order effects, then we’re not truly prepared.

With that in mind, let’s identify a solution to the vagaries of “collapse” by putting it on a spectrum. I’d start off by asking myself, on a scale of 1 to 100, what would be the earliest indication of decline or collapse I’d see in my community? Probably people being laid off. If that becomes a trend, then we see a spike in unemployment. That’s certainly an indicator of decline, however short-lived, endemic, or permanent it becomes.

Worse than that, other indicators might be electrical brownouts, internet blackouts, fuel shortages, dollar decline, or some other case of systems disruption. If short-lived, maybe it’s just a sign that things aren’t “normal”, however, in prolonged cases these will have very significant effects.

Beyond that, we might have outbreaks of violence. The sporadic riots and protests to which we’ve become accustomed to seeing is an indicator of decline or instability. Sustained rioting or political violence is a potential indicator of collapse. Also along those lines are the instability, unrest, criminality, and/or violence that begins occurring in our communities as a result of unemployment, systems disruption, or political strife. That’s a little more collapsey than just an increase in unemployment.

Beyond that, we have the failure of government at local/city, state, and/or federal levels; and/or permanent or near-permanent disruption of public services and utilities. Now this is actually collapse. And I’m not talking about a weekend government shutdown. I’m talking about senators and representatives getting out of town and going back home. This is an end to welfare deposits, and national debt repayment, and social security checks. Worst case scenario, this is true, actual collapse. Given some context, most anything prior to this is decidedly not.

Here’s a little chart I drew up to help us understand.

There are undoubtedly other benchmarks we can apply to collapse, from 0% to 100%, and maybe that’s a good exercise for your preparedness group. How will we know when we’re at 10% on a scale of 100% total collapse? What does 25% or 50% collapse actually look like in our community? What types of events or activities will that entail? (As always, remember our maxim: The more extreme the prediction, the less likely it is to come true. We can look at this chart, left to right, as more likely to less likely.)

Once you answer these questions, then you’re performing the work of intelligence. Thinking through, applying some metrics, and answering these questions is the difference between moving from a ball park answer to a home plate answer. This is the incredible utility and value of intelligence, so I hope you’ll take some time to get a step ahead of your peers by getting serious about it.

If you want to get head and shoulders above your competition, then do an Area Study. Those serious about community security complete an Area Study…

To Suggest An ‘Amicable Divorce’ For America Is To Talk Civil War

This article in response to Jesse Kelly’s recent The Federalist piece arguing for the need for peaceful separation makes some very good points in defense of the position that a civil war in the (formerly) United States will be necessary, and that it won’t be pretty. 


The Federalist

We are in a very divided moment, and when divisions run that deep, centralized decision-making can make it worse. But that’s no argument for secession.

Federalist contributor Jesse Kelly recently wrote an article suggesting that political divisions in the United States may now be so extreme that the country should be peacefully divided into two separate countries. He is wrong, and his advocacy that we should divide effects by negotiation flies in the face of the political values that have dominated American political thought for centuries, especially among Republicans and conservatives.

Before I get to explaining where Kelly makes a serious error, I should note some places where he makes some good points. Kelly notes that, while we may tend to see national borders as immutable from our current perspective, especially in the post-WWII dispensation when most nations have agreed to forsake wars of expansion, in fact history shows that boundaries change. Current country boundaries are historically contingent things that can change, and we need not necessarily view current boundaries as permanently morally privileged. In other words, redrawing map lines in North America yielding a breakup of the U.S. would not be the end of our civilization or some end-of-history apocalyptic event.

I’ve argued as much on this website myself, or at least a related point, when I pointed out that particularly for Christians political apocalypticism is a foolish mistake. All too often, we have a tendency to elevate today’s political squabbles far beyond their merits.

Beyond this, Kelly raises an interesting historical question. He says, “We are more divided now than we have ever been in our history. And before you start screaming at me about the Civil War, keep in mind that bloody conflict was fought over one major issue. In those days, take ten families from New York and ten families from Alabama, put them all in a room, and you’d find they mostly had the same values (and bad accents).” This claim is certainly plausible; the typical enfranchisable individual (adult males) in 1860 might possibly have had had more shared values across regions than today.

However, while that is possible, I am skeptical of it in practice. One of my direct ancestors incited a bloody anti-Catholic pogrom because the Catholic religion, as all God-fearing Americans knew, was incompatible with true Americanism. At the same time as slavery was an increasingly pressing issue, our nation faced a massive rise in divisive debates about immigration, leading to the rise of a single-issue anti-immigrant party.

Meanwhile, there were massive and divisive movements afoot on issues such as temperance, womens suffrage, and labor unionism. Industrialization was creating a new wave of urban problems and disrupting the Jeffersonian vision of an agrarian nation. We were a country in extraordinarily rapid flux. And indeed, it should be noted that one of the more common pro-southern narratives of the civil war suggests it was actually a war against trade policy! While this argument is not true, it is true that the northern and southern states were deeply divided on the issue.

While I suppose it is possible that there is more variation in political philosophy today than in 1860, it doesn’t seem even close to obvious. And the claim that Americans were basically divided on one issue is obviously false and unsupportable. What has actually happened is that the American memory of the 1850s tends to be defined by one issue; the 1850s themselves saw a huge range of social movements and conflicts.

But it does seem like we are a pretty divided nation today. I’d wager we may be in one of the top 25 percent most divided election cycles in American history by almost any metric. But that’s a lot different than saying we are in truly uncharted waters. This matters, because your assessment of the extent of polarization impacts how intractable you think our problems are, which in turn helps define what measures you think count as acceptable solutions.

That brings us to Kelly’s proposed solution: peaceful division. I don’t want to argue about whether such a division would be legal or constitutional. That question isn’t very relevant when we are talking about such a seismic change to fundamental political structures. And besides, if a person believes our problems are so severe as to countenance splitting up this one nation under God, then I doubt procedural arguments will change their mind. Certainly if I thought this was our most divided moment ever, a procedural argument wouldn’t dissuade me from considering secession as an option.

But although I don’t think Kelly has offered a shred of compelling evidence that we are actually at such an epochal level of dividedness, I’m willing to play along. Let’s say we are, and we have reached a point where procedural arguments are moot. All faith has truly been lost in constitutional government. Soldiers who swore oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution no longer feel beholden to those oaths, taxpayers resist payment en masse, militias are formed to manage local security needs. Say we’ve reached that point. We haven’t! But imagine we have. What then?

Well, we have to return to those map lines. How do map lines actually change, historically? Peaceful changes turn out to be uncommon. The boundary changes Kelly invites us to consider usually involve a very large number of people dying violently.

And sometimes, lots of people dying is worth it! There are justified wars. I’m not making some argument that we should have peace-at-any-cost. Justified wars should be fought, and we, individually and collectively, must be prepared to pay the last full measure of devotion in the event of such a conflict. But while there are justified wars, there are also unjustified wars. Philosophers and political theorists have debated what makes for a justified war for as long as there have been wars, and there have been wars ever since a certain dispute between two ill-fated biblical brothers.

I’m not going to delve into the nuance of just war theory. But all theories of the justifiableness of wars include some consideration of how a war is to be waged, and what costs may be involved. That is, there is no theory of war which holds equivalent two wars, one of which is fought by a few thousand professional troops in some distant theater in a relatively controlled warzone, and the other of which involves 50 million people dying in a radioactive blaze. No matter your theory of what justifies a war, on some level, you have to ask yourself how the war is going to be fought, what it would look like, and what the cost is likely to be.

So maybe a war of secession would be justified, but maybe not: and one factor we would want to consider is what such a war might look like.

We must then ask what might happen if we went down this road. Say that Kelly’s Federalist States seek to go their own way. Well, in 1860/61 when the southern states seceded, they thought what would happen would be the north would negotiate, or else chicken out and sign a treaty recognizing their independence. And indeed, if it came to war, the enormous southern domination of the military officer corps seemed sure to give the south an unbeatable advantage. The war would be quick, handing southerners a victory in their “second war of independence.”

But it turned out they were wrong. Lincoln was a steely-eyed missile man. More than that, he was ready to burn it all down rather than let the union be torn apart. He did not have popular support in this: he won with just 40 percent of the vote, and he repeatedly deployed military forces to crush anti-war riots, sometimes with substantial loss of life. Southerners had assumed that the namby-pamby north had no will for war, but they underestimated the phenomenal energies a robust state can exert in its own self-preservation. Southerners had assumed that their gallant officers and chivalrous cavaliers would give them an insurmountable advantage, but they were crushed by a failed farmer and a Classicist, Grant and Sherman.

The cost of the war was enormous. By my calculations, between 7 and 12 percent of the recruitable population of the Union states died in the war. For the Confederacy, it was between 20 and 30 percent. Their presumption that the less-culturally-militaristic north would be easy to beat was utterly and completely wrong. The North had what was necessary for victory: a larger economy, infinite manpower superiority, and iron-willed leadership.

Lincoln talked about this in his 2nd inaugural address, which happens to be etched in stone on the Lincoln Memorial, for the express purpose of preserving his reasoning for our edification. He said:

“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war — seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.” (emphasis mine)

This is the key point: the battle cry of bloody secession has always been peaceful negotiation. The exact analogy Kelly appeals to, of splitting possessions in a divorce, is the analogy Lincoln uses for his foes: insurgent agents seeking to divide effects by negotiation. This has always been the secessionist gameplan, from Hartford to Montgomery.

This peaceful division, however, is likely impossible. The reasons are several, and I will begin with the basic logistical problem.

Modern political coalitions are not actually regional. They are local. The electoral college map makes them look regional, but if you look at a county or precinct map, you’ll see very clearly that local factors drive our politics. We are not divided by north and south, or east and west, or even coasts and heartland. We are not divided by state. Our true divisions are about whether you live in a relatively dense city or not.

Go look at a county map of presidential elections! Every state has Blue America holding some of its territory, and virtually every state has Red America holding some of its territory! How exactly is this territory supposed to be peacefully divided up? Any division would leave huge stranded enclaves of dissidents, dissidents who would suddenly find themselves vastly politically outnumbered, unable to effectively preserve their way of life at all. Many would flee to whichever country best represented their views, creating a refugee crisis that might agitate for revanche. But many would remain in place, forming an enraged and restive local populations. Blue Team’s countrysides would become the hills of Vietnam to them; Red Team’s cities would threaten the carnage of Mosul on every block.

Elections would be contested, legal frameworks uncertain, military allegiances shifting: it would be a calamitous disaster of monumental proportions. No authority would exist with the ability to peacefully manage the transition and be respected by both sides. Local political factions would take measures to guarantee persistence and self-defense, such as training militias. In such an environment, it would be easy for a spark to set the whole thing ablaze. The ensuing war would be mind-blowingly violent. The entire war would be continental-scale streetfighting.

You might think you’d stay above the fray. You’d be wrong. Maybe you aren’t passionate about holding the union together! But the war won’t be on the Texas border. It will be on the border between suburbia and the urban core, as disaffected Blue Teamers refuse to recognize Red Team laws they abhor, and they eject officials and set up rebel governments. The battlefield won’t be the Mississippi River, it will the I-66 corridor heading out to West Virginia, which becomes impassible as Red Team militias close off the interstate and begin purging dissidents from the region, creating a safe zone around West Virginia.

Modern civil wars are not mysterious events. We have plenty of examples to look at, like Syria. And we Americans have so many guns (proud gun owner here!) that you’d have practically universal potential for combatancy, that is, everybody could be a soldier. The geography of political disagreement suggests that practically the entire national population would be within 100 miles of an active warzone at any given time; every household would face immediate existential risk if the other side made a breakthrough. Any sane and loving parent would join the militia and bring the fight to the other side.

Anyone imagining that this inevitable conflict might occur along some rational territorial border defined by large regions is hopelessly naïve. We would be spilling each other’s blood in every school district, parish, neighborhood meeting, and sports stadium in the country inside of 12 months. Not because we’re awful people, but because once the cat is out of the bag on disorganized tribal violence, it’s awfully hard to put it back.

This is a nightmare scenario. So whenever you find yourself imagining that our country is as divided as the civil war, envision 10 people you love who fit the demographic profile for a soldier (nowadays this probably just means age, not sex). Now choose 1 to 3 of them you are willing to bury for your cause. Is it really worth it? Regardless of who provoked whom, or who has the most justifiable claims … are you willing to pay that price? If not, maybe don’t advocate secession. Maybe work to heal the wounds.

There are actually a few things that are worth that much to me. Again, this isn’t a “peace at any price” post. I’ll kill for some things. But I want to be realistic: the cause has really got to be worth it to get me in a killing mood. Some things are worth that cost. Some are not. And to pay that cost, I need to know that I have exhausted my other options.

And the truth is, we haven’t even seriously tried our other options!

It is true we are in a very divided moment, and that when there are divisions that run deep, unitary, centralized decision-making can make those divisions even worse. But that’s not an argument for secession!

That’s an argument for, wait for it …


Large-scale devolution of Federal powers and responsibilities to states, counties, and municipalities to allow distributed and divergent state and local decision-making is a reasonable solution to periods of heightened division. We can’t devolve everything of course, and we need some shared standards on some issues, but we should not try secession before we try enhanced federalism.

And if federalism fails, then the war will come. And may I say, when the chips are down, secessionists may find that the spark of union has not died. It doesn’t take many of us unionists to reach a critical mass to torpedo peaceful division, and let me tell you, we will torpedo it. There aren’t many things I’m willing to bury myself and two of my best friends over. Union is one of them. Union forever; hurrah boys, hurrah; down with the traitors and up with the star!

And if in the end union ends in blood, well then, we must simply sing that, “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lighting of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.”

Lyman Stone is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist. He writes about migration issues on his blog “In a State of Migration.” He is also an agricultural economist at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, and an Advisor at Demographic Intelligence. He has an MA in international trade policy from the George Washington University. Opinions expressed are solely his own, though his wife Ruth occasionally agrees with him.

Cell Phones and Privacy

The Secrets Your Cell Phone Tells

“If I know your phone number, I can track your whereabouts globally.”

I was shocked when I read that statement from security researcher Nick Petrillo almost eight years ago. But since then, the situation has only gotten worse.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require cell phones to have tracking technology that can pinpoint their precise location, especially in densely-populated areas. Law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and hackers use this data to track you wherever you go. It’s also now possible to merge cellular calling records with location information. This permits police to identify your network of friends or what data-mining experts call your “communities of interest.”

This term used to describe this aggregate information is metadata, and it has much less legal protection than the actual content of your cell phone text messages or phone calls. For instance, in 2016, the National Security Agency (NSA) collected more than 151 million records about phone calls made by Americans. And no, these calls weren’t all related to terrorism. That same year, the NSA obtained warrants to collect data on only 46 terrorist suspects.

Companies like Google are intensely interested in this information as well. In fact, for most of 2017, all Android phones (which are equipped with Google’s operating system) automatically collected the addresses of nearby cellular towers. This data was then sent back to Google, the company with the motto “Don’t be evil.”

Google collected this information even if you disabled location services, didn’t use any apps, or even had no SIM card in the phone. The data collection occurred as part of the practices Google used to manage notifications and messages on Android phones. Once security researchers outed the company about this practice, Google promised to discontinue it.

Don’t be evil? Yeah, right.

What does your cell phone metadata reveal about you? In 2016, researchers at Stanford University decided to investigate what metadata can reveal. They designed an Android app they called MetaPhone and distributed it to more than 800 volunteers.

For eight months, the Android phones of the volunteers shared call and text logs with a server set up by the researchers. The data collected consisted of the time a call or text was sent or received, the duration of the call (or the length of the text message), and the phone number of the correspondent.

The raw data consisted of more than 62,000 phone numbers, 250,000 calls, and 1.2 million texts. To make sense of it all, the team set up a program to identify as many of the phone numbers as they could. After skimming publicly available data from social media websites like Facebook, performing basic Google searches, and using a public records retrieval service, they were able to identify the owner of 82% of the phone numbers. They were also able to identify the romantic partners of the volunteers with 80% accuracy.

Next, the researchers dug deeper into the data to determine who the volunteers were corresponding with. They discovered that one volunteer suffered from cardiac arrhythmia; a second one had multiple sclerosis. A third suspected she was pregnant. A fourth was likely cultivating marijuana.

Again, this study was carried out by researchers using rudimentary, essentially home-made tools. Imagine what intelligence agencies like the NSA can do with the exponentially larger data sets and analysis tools they possess.

A case now before the Supreme Court, Carpenter vs. United States, will determine how much constitutional protection there is for location data – if any. Under current law, you don’t have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” that your cell phone location data will remain private. That’s because you know that the phone company or another third party has access to it. As ridiculous as the “expectation of privacy” test might sound, that’s the current state of the law.

I don’t have much faith that the Supreme Court will overturn the longstanding expectation of privacy test. Even if it does, the requirements to acquire this information will likely be very easy to meet. And for private companies like Google, it would be child’s play to change their terms of service to force anyone using their services to opt in to such data collection.

I have a simple recommendation for anyone seriously concerned about revealing their data to third parties: get over it. Because the only way out is to throw away your cell phone, then take draconian measures to protect yourself.

Here’s what you need to do: After throwing away your cell phone, replace it with several anonymous prepaid cell phones. Buy phones with Wi-Fi cards so that you can connect to the Internet. Be prepared to throw away your anonymous cell phone—potentially, after only a single call. Also, purchase prepaid calling and prepaid data. Pay in cash. Activate your phone at a pay phone—not with a phone connected to you in any way. Don’t give out your real phone number when you activate the phone.

Since you don’t have a service contract, would-be metadata analyzers have no way of associating “you” with the cell phone. Naturally, you should give your number only to people you trust.

To keep your prepaid cell phone anonymous, insert the battery and turn it on only when you’re making or expecting a call. Dial *67  to defeat (some) caller ID for calls in the US. For calls in other countries, check the code for that country.

The Wi-Fi card in your cell phone lets you connect to the internet anywhere you can find an unencrypted Wi-Fi signal. But be careful. Anyone can pinpoint your physical location and monitor your activity on an unencrypted network. Monitoring an unencrypted network is perfectly legal, because wiretapping laws don’t prohibit monitoring an electronic communications system that’s “readily available to the general public.”

What happens when you run out of minutes or use up your data allotment? The cell phone provider will try to convince you to top-up online with a credit card. Don’t do it. Just buy another prepaid card with cash.

No, it’s not very convenient. And it may not be legal for much longer—the FBI wants to ban anonymous sales of cell phones. Get yours while you still can!

Mark Nestmann

Revisiting Revolution…

For those who missed it when it was on tv a half dozen years ago, this short-lived series envisioned an America balkanized after nation-wide power failures and ensuing grid collapse. Their plot summaries are interesting, as they relate to our own prognostications, especially considering how fragile the electricity production and transmission network is.

Revolution TV Show


What will YOU do when the power goes off, and doesn’t come back on?

National Power Grid Collapse: What Will You Do WHEN It Fails?

Training Documents For ShieldWall Network Franchises

Here are some documents we recommend White Nationalist preppers interested in becoming affiliated with The ShieldWall Network and starting your own local SWN franchise study in preparation for IRL training under our guidance and integration into our network.