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Realities of Being a Survivalist
(Getting Past the "Bug Out" Mentality)

Written by Benjamin T. Moore
Originally posted to the Misc.Survivalism newsgroup

Those of us who've figured things out to various and lessor degrees, realize the need to prepare for a time in the not to distant future when the society we've become accustom to will no longer be functional. Let's pause a moment and savor the meaning of what I just said. Some people who have not really paused to consider the true ramifications of a societal collapse, look forward to these times with an almost naive glee. Visions of "Red Dawn," fire fights with well armed but incompetent troops, camping out and feasting on venison seem to figure heavily in these ill conceived fantasies.

Let's explore some of these myths. Anyone who has spent anytime in the bush or in actual combat knows that running and gunning is the option of *LAST* resort!!! When things get down to running and gunning your prospects for long term survival have just become tragically thin. Even elite forces such as the Navy Seals, try to avoid "running and gunning." They operate from a base. They are inserted, do their jobs and are extracted back to the safety of their base. In the scenario so often fantasized, it would be like being permanently behind enemy lines with no support, no hope of extraction and no supplies. Could you survive? Some could, but they are few and far between. Even they could not survive for long.

Let's explore the notion of living off the land. The reality is, there isn't enough game except in a few places out west, to support a group of any size for any length of time. By the way, you've got to figure you're not going to be the *ONLY* person or group out there fighting for the limited resources. Small game? How many rabbits will you have to kill to feed your self per day? Per week? How about your family? You're going to run out of rabbits pretty quick in whatever area you happen to be in. Fishing? That's a good plan if you're near a body of water. But again, you're not going to be the only one with that idea. Suppose you have a good day and harvest a deer, or twenty or thirty fish, how are you going to preserve the meat? You're probably aren't going to be lugging around a refrigerator or a freezer.

What about items you take for granted, like toilette paper? How much are you going to carry with you on a bug-out? There are many things to consider. The closest description of the bug-out experience is the Mountain Man life style. However, it's important to note, even the "Mountain Men" had to come back to society for supplies every so often.

When you begin to consider all the ramifications of "bugging-out," the magnitude of what you're attemp- ting begins to become clear. Of course all this becomes a moot point if you become stuck in a traffic jam trying to leave the city, or if you get rounded up at an unexpected road block. A simple rule for survival in these circumstances is, look at what everybody else is doing, and don't do it!

Let's be smart. The best place to be at in a survival situation is your home. Your home should be your survival retreat! If it's not, make it into your survival retreat.

If it's not suitably located, buy one or build one that is. Even a well conceived and located apartment or condominum can become a survival retreat with some work and planning.

The two most powerful assets you can have are storage and concealment. If you want to understand survival, study the masters. The animal kingdom is without exception the best place to learn survival. Almost all animals, as a first line of defense use concealment or camouflage. Even predators such as tigers, cheetahs and lepoards use camouflage to assist in their survival. How can we profit from this strategy? The most important thing we can do as survivalist is to *NOT* draw attention to ourselves. A friend of mine once suggested we join an "intentional" community of like minded people and live in a rural communal setting. Visions of Waco and Ruby Ridge immediately sprang into my mind. I told this friend I'd rather live next door to the Governor. The likelihood of them taking tanks through the Governor's yard to get to me would be extremely slim. Not to mention being able to keep the News Media five miles away! In essence, "bugging-out" is like leaving the safety of the herd. If you've ever seen predators hunt animals in the wild, the first thing they do is cut them off from the protection of the herd. Then they descend on them and rip them to pieces, while the rest of the herd looks on grateful that it's not them being ripped to pieces. Do you see the anology between Waco and Ruby Ridge?

These were people who were cut off from the herd by the government predators and savaged. The rest of society has gone back to grazing, thanking their god it wasn't them.

They've even gone so far as to justify what happened by saying these people were extremist. This is very much like what happens in the animal kingdom. Only the sickly and diseased fall prey to the lion. Hence, if people are attacked by our government... they must be politically sick. But enough of this. It is not my intent to give you my political exigesis.

Being a Survivalist is a way of life! It's not just storing away supplies for a rainy day. I'm intrigued by people who spend thousands of dollars on camping equipment, semi-automatic rifles and hand guns, and who don't spend money where it counts. Let me give you some examples. Are you physically fit? How many miles can you run? How many miles can you run with a full pack on your back? Take an honest assessment of your self. Would you feel safe as the cruise ship pulled away from the dock knowing you had brought along your scuba tank, mask and fins, but had never had a swimming lesson and couldnt swim? If so, you'd better check the ship you're sailing on... It might be the Titanic.

The other thing that fascinates me, is the number of arm chair survivalist that spend great time carefully assembling a firearms battery, but don't take the time to become truly proficient with the firearms of their choice.

Too many times we trade the illusion of security for reality. The reality is, everything is governed by chance and probability. Our goal should be to turn a low probability of survival into a high probability of survival. I can only shake my head in disbelief at those who spend hundreds of dollars on the finest handgun they can afford - as well they should, how much is your life worth - but then spend $9.95 on a little suede inside the pants holster for it. That holster will most likely get you killed! I practice quick drawing each of my primary pieces at least 100 times per day. I go to the range regularly. I practice quick draw with carry ammunition, that's the ammo I carry for survival and defense at 100 yards. I can draw, fire and *keep* all shots in the kill zone at 100 yards quicker than most of the hollywood enhanced draws you see in the movies.

Does this make me the baddest thing walking? Nope! Because nobody's shooting back! What it does is increase the probability of my chances for survival against someone who's got their nice, shiney, new-in-the-box looking pistol in a 9.95 brown suede inside the pants holster. I'm not worried about the chap who carries an almost new looking pistol in a holster that looks like he just took it out of the plastic. I'm worried about that chap who's pistol has the fine patina of holster wear, the chap who's pistol is scratched and worn. To me he's a far more dangerous foe.

It's been said and it's true, beware the man that owns one gun... and shoots it!

Being a survivalist is a way of life. Is your home hardened? Is it stocked and supplied? Are you constantly thinking of ways to manufacture more of the things you go to the store and purchase? If your mate doesn't sew, do you? Could you make a serviceable out fit out of cloth or fabric? Or will you be reduced to foraging for garments if TEOTWAWKI comes in our life time? It certainly looks like it's just around the corner... Being able to "Bug-Out" is good, but it should never become your primary survival strategy!

If you don't have a hardened place to "Bug-Out" to, you're probably wasteing your time. Your best bet is to harden your home. Don't blow your cover by bragging about your supplies, in fact be extremely cautious about who you allow into your home. If things blow up, you don't want someone who's seen and noted your food stores, showing up on your door step with their family asking to share what you've set aside through your hard labor and sacrifice. The best neighbors are those that mind their own business. Mind yours and insist they mind theirs. You want to develop a support network of people who not only believe the way you do... but who believe strongly enough to act on their beliefs. In a survival situation everyone must pull their own weight.

Benjamin T. Moore, Jr. (Jian #BlackTech IRC Chat - Efnet)

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