The American Militia

The American Militia – Tools and Tactics

Bill of Arms and Order of March

For a long time now we have discussed what the American Militia is, why it exists and what it should be prepared to do. Now I guess it is about time to make some observations on what tools and tactics would best serve the American Militia, to achieve a strategic goal to ensure security and freedom, in times of stress. It helps to have an outline to analyze a subject so generally let’s look at the topics of; Tools, Associated hardware, Methods of application and Alternative or substitute solutions. The analysis will be presented for various scenarios, but to keep things relatively brief and logical, let’s look at; Armed conflict of an intimate or local or regional nature, Bad times of a natural or man made source, and the Conditioning, Construction and Communication necessary for planning for such future events.

This will take some time so hang on.

Let us start from the last of that list, the planing for what might happen, and start with...


As a member of the American Militia, you must be aware of others around you who can join in a particular response. Those who have materials or skills that will be useful. Those who you know and can trust, or not trust. This last point might be the most difficult because it requires you to communicate with them so as to know their ability and intentions, and at least to some extent, to make your own thoughts and intentions known. Communications can be direct and blunt; just ask them, but that has its draw backs. You might not want to reveal your own mind set and intentions to relative strangers. If time exists, the safest and perhaps the most thorough route to communicate sensitive issues is to get to know individuals in various social settings and mutual activities where they eventually will make their ability and mind set known. The first approach has its hazards and the latter takes too much time. Lets try a third approach, to stimulate and expedite that otherwise slow social contact to exchange ideas through a specific targeted event.

To do this, just identify a circle of acquaintances; your neighborhood, your school or church or area of work, and then suggest a social gathering to discuss something of interest or importance to them all, a targeted event. It might be an improvement project at school, perhaps a neighborhood council to discuss road repair, or trash pickup, or anything else. Be creative but get most everyone together even if for just a block party. It might just be a holiday party, but have your real topic primed and ready to go. Next, make it known to everyone that there is one issue you want to discuss with everyone. Make the topic general and applicable, perhaps something like ‘how would the group deal with some natural occurrence’, like an extended power outage and other loss of services after a severe storm. Most importantly make it a subject that will eventually turn the discussion to the real topic, that of community and self defense from the occurrence itself, surviving the storm, and then to defense in general.

You can see where this is going. Gently guide the discussion into having each person outline their particular attributes and equipment that they could bring to the situation. You will quickly identify one or two others who have though through the problems like you have, They may have similar or complementary assets. These will be your next contacts for deeper discussion. In the meantime, listen to everyone and gently educate them in the need to study the possibilities and to be prepared for any likely occurrence. Get them thinking about independent action, not dependency on the outside. Make them aware that they are responsible for their immediate safety and that of the community. Later on, outside help will arrive and can be used if still needed. Take notes and names for further contact.

You have just communicated with relative strangers, and tipped your hand, on an advanced level of discussion about a subject you eventually will take to much higher levels. You have conditioned them to be aware of their needs and the community needs and might have encouraged them to do their own investigations and to construct their own assets, both knowledge and physical assets, to deal with things on their own, but also in concert with others. After a while at this you will be able to call some of them to muster out as the community Militia on your block. By the way, you most likely have just volunteered to be Militia Captain and these few first contacts may become your Sergeants. You have just communicated with others and, if you have awoken them, they are communicating with you and among themselves.

GENERAL TOOLS -Personnel and material

Now let’s take a look at some tools and procedures which might come in handy to continue your physical communication in the event of some type of emergency. It will take a very serious disaster to make typical communications difficult or impossible, but it may take only a much more likely and not too unusual condition to make a side-channel of communications desirable. It will take serious problems for the wire-line or cellular communications to fail over an area and for any extended time. But just in case (you are always well prepared, right?) you might consider some type of personal 2-way radio.

Even the moderately inexpensive Personal Radio Service, Family Radio Service and even the more expensive General Mobile Radio Service radios are good for at least few hundred yards, if not a kilometer or two. If you want secure communications you are out of luck. These inexpensive two-way radios all use easily intercepted narrow band FM Modulation. If you want some degree of privacy, keep the transmit power as low as possible, to minimize the intercept range, and plan on doing your own frequency hopping and using short messages with appropriate message phrases if needed. If you know the meaning of the phrase, “John has a long mustache”, you know what to do. As a side note here, in the interest of secure communications, you may want to keep an eye on “ancient technology” such as “Citizens Band Radio”. Why that old stuff? Because, being so old, it is mostly forgotten and not many folks have the ability, or would think to monitor it. At least for a little while.

After you have a few neighbors and friends identified, and have associated with them for a while, you can begin a mutual education effort, for example to establish emergency communication channels, radio protocol and message phrases, and then continue your learning experience with them. You might invite some to a day at the range. They might invite you to some other project they have in mind. The idea is to work together and learn, use those communication side channels at a project and learn protocol through use. Can you work together, can you depend on each other and what can each member bring to the event and can they learn other skills? Slowly you will develop a team that can muster in a Minute and provide effective and dependable action.

Adopt a loose but acknowledged leadership structure. A chain of command must be accepted because time and necessity will not allow for democratic meetings and discussions to vote on a course of action in the event of an emergency. Chose a team name and motto. Make it fun but with a serious tone. Perhaps something like the “Baker Street Irregulars” who are “Just some guys keeping the teeth sharp on the neighborhood watch”. Should you use the term Militia? It’s up to you. Read earlier essays about sensitivity to that term and outright state prohibitions on some actions. But lets say your group speciality is applying your accumulated camping skills to provide shelter and cooking duties for social outdoor events (which is really practice for emergencies). The name “Moms Kitchen Militia” is kind of fun and is not out of the realm of possibility. Most importantly though, you will learn who to depend on, who can do what and who to trust, and how others react to your ability to lead and the other members in the group. You may find some new members that way. On the other side, you must learn who is all talk or perhaps who would be openly hostile or un-trustworthy. Reliable and reasonably secure communications, and a chain of command to coordinate actions, is an absolute necessity in the defense of your neighborhood.


Do you have the mind set and conditioning to defend with deadly force?

That opening question about says it all. If you doubt you could actually bring a firearm to bear on an attacker, and even less ability to fire when you must, perhaps this course is not for you. I am thinking, however, that since you have gotten this far, you have that mind set. If there are any lingering doubts, the proper mind set can be honed through logical analysis and information. It only takes a bit of analysis of the consequences of NOT defending yourself or your family to convince yourself that you must act with force if attacked by a deadly aggressor.

Mind set is perhaps 80% of the battle, some say it is even more, in deciding to use violent force in self defense, and in SURVIVING an encounter. If a violent encounter begins, the willingness to fight and never stop fighting will greatly enhance your chances of survival. Conditioning to react properly is the remainder, a relatively easy step once the commitment to fight has been made. That is where the tools you choose, which require knowing the proper technique for application, are decided by your mind set to defend. This conditioning is much more than just training or target shooting. It entails the study of tactics, and the repetitive practice of those tactics, to fit the possible scenarios you might encounter. A little conditioning along these lines will go a long way, as you can imagine and apply those lessons to many possible events. You can go way overboard in this and get lots and lots of tactical combat exercise. It is up to you.

TOOLS - with application and tactics sprinkled throughout.

Now lets jump to the beginning of our list of topics to the Tools which might be necessary for armed defense of any nature. Thinking of personal or household defense, or any defense for that matter, you need to survey your surroundings, your immediate area and structures, type of residence, who is in it and who is nearby. Are you a firearm kind of a person (you probably should be or learn to be) but do you add other items to your tool list? Remember, you have to get close, way too close most times, to effectively use something other than a firearm in a defensive situation. A backup knife might make sense, but then a backup firearm might make more sense. Should pepper spray be kept? Probably, but only for cases where its use may be necessary and then only when firearms are not available or not permitted or not selected based on personal preference. But in the house, that restriction really does not exist. Even in the neighborhood in times of emergency the restriction does not exist because of practical necessity.

Handgun? YES. Which one? The one that is reliable and you are comfortable and proficient with. Why? You need a tool that you can become very proficient with for the first line of defense and to fight your way to your long gun. Ammo? That which Functions and is easily available. On these thoughts, it is obvious to choose a sidearm which you are comfortable and proficient shooting. If you are not comfortable, then you will not practice and not become proficient. You might even be hesitant or fearful enough of a heavy recoiling handgun to the point that the fear would actually affect you in a fight. Get comfortable and depend on shots on target to stop the fight, not a big boom and flash and a missed shot that you can not quickly and easily follow up with a fight stopping hit.

It is usually a good idea to choose a caliber and cartridge which is used by a lot of other folks, that way you may be able to find a lot of ammo lying around to be liberated if times get tough. Always have extra loaded magazines or speed loaders available at the ready. For deeper reserves, have a few full boxes or even several cases of ammo on the shelf. You can almost never have too much ammo on hand.

Now, you need to consider the above questions about where you live and who else is around you. If you are worried about any shot penetration into adjoining rooms, think carefully about low penetration personal defense rounds. If over penetration is not a problem then any of the many effective Hollow Point, or even ball ammo in some cases, will suffice. Remember, you shoot to stop an attacker, so try to choose something that will stop the attack without being either under gunned or over the top in power. One safe suggestion is to use the same ammo your local peace officers use, from both the practical and legal standpoint. It would instantly stop an investigation and accusation of using “too much gun” if you reply to the questioning authority by saying, “that is what you use”.

Should you have a holster? Yes, and one easy to apply, such as a paddle holster which is secured at the strong side waist band by sliding the “paddle” behind the belt and pants waist band. The handgun can be kept in the holster, loaded and with the retention strap or retention device latched (or a loaded magazine in place but without a round chambered as you prefer). This is your first quick response tool, so keep it at the ready under security suitable to your circumstances. Those circumstances are determined by who is in or likely to be in the home and their level of trust and ability.

Long gun? NATURALLY. But rifle or shotgun? The answer must be BOTH, but most likely for different needs. When it comes to stopping an attack at moderate close quarters, there really is nothing as effective as a 12ga shotgun. Many very reliable “Home Defense Utility Shotguns” exist, but generically they would be 18+ inch barrel (make sure it is 18+ and NOT 18- inches long), pump action, extended magazine tube, most likely with a synthetic stock and a sling. Why a sling? So it can be kept at the ready but allowing hands free work when not immediately needed the same as the handgun holster. Ammo? Yes and plenty of it. That sling on the shotgun may as well incorporate a bandoleer holding a dozen or two extra rounds. You will then have four or five in the tube and perhaps 20 or more rounds at the ready in the sling. Another bandoleer on the shelf wouldn’t hurt. What loading? Obviously, for an inside defense situation, slugs are not needed nor desirable most of the time. But you may want a few in that bandoleer just in case you need to shoot through some cover. Be careful of that maneuver; you really need to know and identify your target, and to determine that if they are behind cover, are they still a threat to you such that you must still shoot to stop the attack?

At a typical indoor engagement distance, which might never exceed 10 yards, the shot group from a 12ga cylinder barrel, even with small No.8 shot, will not expand beyond the size of beer can. The full one ounce plus charge will strike the target nearly instantaneously in a rather small area, delivering all its energy at that point. Regardless of the shot size, that group will penetrate most interior walls or even two close spaced walls. Beyond that, penetration and stopping power falls off rapidly. At the other extreme, the slugs and buckshot will penetrate several walls, depending on their composition and what internal structure is in the way. Somewhere between those two is a useful load. You might investigate #4 shot or BB shot. You might investigate reduced recoil, reduced report and flash shotgun loads - just balance that against stopping power and your own situation. If you use a bandoleer, think about loading it in order of increasing penetration, starting with bird shot to #4 game loads to buckshot to slugs. If there is room left over in the not so easy to reach spots, put something in it anyway. Perhaps some flare rounds if you need to light something up outside the house.

Somewhere outside the home the Shotgun transitions to the rifle as the most utilitarian tool to stop an attack. The sidearm pistol still serves its purpose as a backup as well as that easily carried first tool to quickly bring into play if attacked. Outside the home you also transition into new reasons to use firearms to stop an attack. Think carefully because you will be facing new legal questions in most states once you step outside. Make sure you identify your attacker and that they represent a deadly threat to you from the distance; one that you must defend against. If that defense requires a firearm and a rifle, the choice is just which rifle and why.

Once again, like the sidearm, one of the first decision points is to select a rifle that has most of the capabilities you may ever need AND one you can easily practice with and be comfortable using. There is a reason that the standard military long gun is now the M16, in 5.56x45 NATO (.223) caliber, and its variants. Today that is an effective, light, maneuverable and easy to shoot rifle with moderate stopping power. In the past the standard battle rifle was chambered in .30 caliber cartridges of .30-06 or .308 (7.62x51 NATO). Each of these afforded quite a bit more power and slightly extended effective range. Either way you choose to go, learn the capability and the limitations for any rifle you choose. It might be wise to avoid one for which ammo was difficult to obtain, that is unless you want to stock up with several thousand rounds for any contemplated future extended demand. As a side point, if you have lots of ammo in a common caliber that at some future time folks may be willing to trade food or fuel for ammo, you now have the currency of such a trade. Should that rifle be a semi-auto magazine loaded rifle? Almost certainly.

In this scenario you would generally be engaging a more distant target, multiple targets or a more durable target. If durability is the issue, such as stopping a vehicle, you need to consider if you need to stop it right now, or just disable it over some time so that it can not be used in the future or stop it in such a way as to make it no longer usable in any way for attack, cover or concealment. The slow but sure vehicle stop is to put some holes the coolant system, an unusually soft point on most vehicles. Two or three shots into a hot pressurized radiator, low into the core, will cause nearly complete coolant failure in a few seconds and cause any engine to overheat and fail in two to ten minutes. Two or three hits into an engine block will most likely make the engine fail immediately. Remember, to get to that target you have to get through some unseen stuff acting as armor on the way to the block, stuff like batteries, tires, wheels, etc. If you know where some protecting armor might be, shoot around it. It still may take ten shots to get a few through to the vitals. Finally, igniting the fuel supply will make the vehicle unsuitable for any immediate use; attack or cover or concealment, at least until it burns out and cools. It will also light up the attackers. You have to both spill the fuel and provide an ignition source. Be careful, make sure the effect from that burning target does not then threaten you.

Stopping attackers at a distance is always a good strategy, if you are being attacked from a distance and then can keep them away and force them further away, out of their effective range, you will have more freedom of movement and less likelihood of being hit in the exchange. For the rifleman, distance is always the friend. If you can keep at attacker at bay out at 400 or 500 yards, where he is attacking only with 50 to 100 yard firearms, you can see the obvious tactical advantage. As one once said, never bring a knife to a gun fight - if you depend on contact distance weapons and someone has longer reach, you are at a disadvantage. Make sure you have the advantage. If you are forced to fight for your life, never give up and NEVER fight fair.


There are a few additional items, beside a firearm, you need to think about in defending against an attacker. Lets start from inside a structure first. Inside there are built-in items (structures and contents) and the tactics they might dictate, such as cover and maneuver, by the layout of a home and its occupants. There are portable “accessories” that can be kept on hand and brought to the fight. Lets start with a defense in a home bedroom where one might most likely be when the call to arms is sounded by an intrusion.

Think of the first steps you would take if confronted by an attacker. First; WAKE UP. Then retrieve and load your firearm. Secure the room with a locked door. Call 911 to get response started AND to make a recording of everything that is going on. LEAVE the phone off the hook, do not hang up until EVERYTHING has ended to your satisfaction. This will include some time after peace officers have arrived. Some have said that this is not a good idea since it records evidence to be used against you. Contrary to this it is a very good idea in that it records every LEGAL thing you do to stop the attack, to be used in your future defense, and you will NOT do anything illegal, RIGHT?

But what then? You are ready for an attack and help is on the way, what then? It probably would be a good idea to put on some clothes, including slip on shoes. A pair of dark flannel pants and a fleece zip up jacket is about right, quick to jump into and not a target accentuating light color. Easy to pull on dark rubber soled boots (no socks needed) keep you moving even through most obstacles like broken glass. Keep them handy in the room. Have your sidearm in a paddle type holster so you can slip it securely in a waist band when you need to move and have your hands free. It might be a good idea to have both a corded phone and a cordless phone in the room, AND your fully charged cell phone. The cordless phone for mobility and the cell phone for that and for a backup. Wires can be cut.

The next item you might think about is a pair of electronic hearing protectors. Why you ask? For several reasons. First, they will amplify sound to an amazing degree and if you are not making any sounds, you can hear the noise others are making. These might be the clues as to where the intruders are and what they are doing. With just a little practice around the house you will quickly learn how well they work and when it might be appropriate to occasionally lift them for natural hearing and direction finding (some electronic protectors are monophonic and loose directional information in the sounds they amplify). It might be important to hear the voice of the 911 operator trying to ask you something after you put the phone down, and the amplified protectors may make that possible. Finally, IF you discharge a firearm in a closed room you will really need that protection because you will not be able to hear much after those shots without hearing protection, and hearing might be critical. Suppose all the shouting you think you hear but can’t understand because of the intense ringing in your ears, is not the rest of the bad guys but the police clearing the house. You do not want a friendly fire confrontation.

Next up on the list, perhaps even more important, will be a good flashlight, one bright enough to also be used as a defensive blinding tool but small enough for easy use, and with both a momentary and a steady on push button option. It has been suggested, and I concur, that a short retention strap on a hand sized flashlight is ideal. With it you can let go of the light momentarily to have both hands free and it is back in your grasp with a flick of the arm. The small “Scorpion” style lights with momentary buttons, for thumb activation on the end cap, fit the bill, even if you have to rig your own retention strap. Bigger lights might offer a baton type striking implement, but you really do not want to get that close to the fight. I will not go into the tactics of flashlight use, you can learn that elsewhere. The main thing to remember is to NOT light up yourself or blind yourself with your own light. This naturally blends into the topic of lights attached directly to a firearm. Granted they are handy and very useful, but they require extra care to not highlight yourself directly or by way of backscatter light off of nearby objects. Lights should be used very sparingly to flash / illuminate an area of suspected activity - for example in the direction a sound came from, to identify any targets AND any good guy “don’t shoot” targets.

Finally, you could consider if some type of soft body armor would be useful. Obviously it would be useful, but is it desirable? Not if you are defending a place with hard cover like a locked bedroom. Perhaps it would be in other scenarios we will talk about later. What I would suggest, if all the preceding steps have been taken and things have not yet gotten hot, is that you should retrieve that long gun, most likely the shotgun. If there is someone else with you capable of using the second gun, DEFINITELY get to it and have the other person establish the second separate point of defense of the room using your PREVIOUSLY PLANNED positions and zones of fire to cover the single or multiple entrance doors. Maintain cover and communications with the outside world until the situation is resolved, or until it escalates.

Your planned defensive positions actually have to be planned to some extent. In your home you can do this in detail with much precision, just take a look at the room you might be defending. It is a good idea to do this WHENEVER you enter any room in your daily travels - go through this drill. Look around and see where any threat might present itself, what are the avenues of attack and lines of fire and what are the escape routes and cover points. If you go to a restaurant with friends and always claim the booth position where you can see all the entrances, including the kitchen, and there is limited or no accessible space behind your back, you are already on this drill.

CONSTRUCTION - Cover vs. Concealment

Think about that bedroom now; what provides cover, not just concealment, but good solid cover. Where is that cover and can you see and defend against all attack points and lines of fire from cover. Do you have a tall dresser of 4 feet or more? What is it made of and what is in the drawers? Whatever it is made of it can easily be made into better cover by adding a few internal layers of plywood, especially along the inside near edges of the drawers. Even a bunch of paperback books along the edge of the drawers, stacked from front to back, adds some additional ballistic protection. With just a little effort, moderate cover can be made into good cover against most handgun loads. The bed mattress will provide cover from shots, but only at a low angle where a shot would have to penetrate a lot of padding, not just the air spaces between the springs. A closet door that has been reinforced can be opened to provide cover. Reinforcing interior doors is most easily accomplished by replacing hollow core doors, which provide NO COVER - only concealment, with solid core doors. The thicker the better. If needed, an extra layer of plywood, or even steel and plywood, can be applied to the bedroom and cover doors. While we are talking about the bedroom door, put one or two simple dead-bolt / draw-bolt locks on it.

One last recommendation on the bedroom defense scenario, make plans to have and use a spare set of keys to your outside locked doors. Have an extra set attached to a largish rope ring and with a bright fabric streamer. While on the phone with 911, and they inform you that units are now approaching your house or are at the house, but you know the doors are locked, tell them that you will open a window and throw the keys out for the responders to use. It may make their work more efficient and save you some damage to the house. Make sure 911 gets this straight and they relay that to the responders. They may not want you to do that for some reason, follow their suggestions.

The topic of night vision equipment is obvious but perhaps not a luxury for a bedroom defense, more likely it would be an impediment. But in other scenarios... We will talk about that soon.


Lets presume that the immediate threat has left your bedroom but may still be in your house. Should you venture out and clear out the trouble? It is up to you, but it is very difficult for even an expert to do this alone. You need lots of ability, reliable backup and some information to apply to this situation. You probably would benefit most with some more communicating. If you can use that cell phone, not disconnecting the 911 call, and can contact an immediate neighbor who is part of your team, either by agreement or assumption that he will help under the circumstances (either way you need help) they might be able to tell you what is going on outside and what lies in ambush. If you have established a two-way radio protocol with the neighbors, you may want your first cell phone contact to wake up the team and get the radio network up and operating. If 911 says help is on the way but is many long minutes away, you may want to move your cleared defensive perimeter out to the exterior walls of your house. Perhaps you started this way because you were alerted to an impending attack before they got inside, so lets just assume this is the case.

If your defense perimeter is the outside walls of your house and you can get some intel by direct observation and/or input from the neighbors, PLAN accordingly. Here is where some night vision gear might come in handy, but don’t waste time fooling with it if that distracts you from carefully watching the situation and maintaining your guard. If you are alone, you can’t cover your whole house by yourself, so establish a good over-watch position and at most a small roving watch patrol, but maintain ready cover. If there are two or more defenders in the house, plan ahead on what the reaction of each will be in this scenario. When direction is given by one to the other during the actual incident make sure everyone understands what is to be done and what they will do is understood by everyone else. DO NOT open your in-home militia to friendly fire problems. Do not make your crew targets by illuminating them or making noises, KEEP THE GENERAL INSIDE LIGHTS OFF and use minimum DIMMED flash light. Existing ambient light from outside, from night lights and the many lighted displays on electronic equipment in the house may be more than adequate for someone with good night adapted vision to maneuver around his familiar home. Go slow and SILENTLY. Listen for and locate sounds of intrusion.

If you are hunkered down into good defensive positions, are listening and watching for clues, are talking to 911 and some neighbors and are sure no bad guys are inside, now might be a good time to think about using your outside security lights. Check with 911 and see what they say and prepare your neighbors that you are about to light up the place. When you hit the switch turning on the outside lights, watch for movement with an indirect glance, do not look directly at a bright object or for a long time at the brightly lit scene. Your peripheral vision is best for detecting movement thanks to our distant ancestors. STAND BACK away from any window, standing in the shadows and look out at angles for any movement. If there is no movement in a half minute or so, and the neighbors report none, look to various hiding places or anything out of the ordinary, such as an occupied vehicle.

A vehicle that should not be there, with one or more persons in it, is probably a good indication that some type of attack is still contemplated or underway. The attackers may not have gotten out, or they may have one or more attacker pinned down, frozen by your lights. Someone could even be hiding in the house if you find an open or unlocked entry point. If 911 is only minutes away (which will pass as hours), Sit Tight.

If you have engaged intruders under fire and they have fled with others on foot or by vehicle, you are done for the night. Tighten up the perimeter, consolidate your forces including the neighbors, maintain the well lit environment with defenders out of the light to the extent possible and wait. IF the attackers withdraw a short distance and you still have them under observation AND if they are joined by others, you may have a new problem and a longer defense perimeter. They may still represent a threat, just at a longer distance. Be very careful in this case, you are out of your castle so you are at risk legally of becoming the aggressor. Know your state law and follow your heart. If you are attacked, defend. If you are not attacked, and others are not attacked, hold and observe and aid the responders with hard information.

COMMUNITY DEFENSE – A What-if Scenario

Lets assume that there is an emergency and for some reason 911 responders are not available. Outside help is not possible because there may be lots of trouble in lots of other areas and you are small potatoes; You are on your own.

We can build this scenario as follows. There has been a serious blizzard in an area not generally prepared to deal with over three feet of snow. Schools and many businesses and activities have been shut down for days. Power has been off in many areas for days. To cap this all off, an ice storm comes through and, added to the weight of the snow, the ice crushes many trees and utility poles, bringing down power lines and phone lines. Things will be out for a week or two or more. What are you and your community team doing?

[Editors Note; We just barely escaped this scenario in mid February 2010 in the mid Atlantic states and in the Washington, D.C. metro area. After 20 to 30 inches of snow fall in one major storm, and over 50 inches in a several week series of storms, an all time winter record. We only lacked the crushing ice storms. We had ice storms years ago and power was out for over a week in some areas. This scenario is not all that far fetched, and other disasters could pose equal trouble.]

When the first snow falls you enjoy it because you can deal with it and you make the rounds of the neighborhood and the community to check on folks, more as a social courtesy. As the days stretch on, however, you assemble your teams to check and help the community. You patrol, possibly on cross country ski or by snow machines and keep digging out. The walk ways and driveways and community roads are cleared by your teams with a few snow blowers and one truck with plow blade. Chainsaws and trucks clear debris to open roads. The few with suitable vehicles run outside errands for the community and others as needed. After the power has been out for 24 hours, your generators are keeping the wells pumping and the heat on and the refrigerators cold. The several homes with generators are doing a time share power feed to the next door houses by way of heavy long extension lines to run the heat and refrigeration for a few hours each 8 hours to keep things livable. You might even have some roving generators on trucks to service other houses. You might share oil lamps and other supplies as needed. You expand the roving patrols to check on neighbors.

Things go on longer and the stores begin to close because they do not have power and they have exhausted their standby generator fuel; no fuel - no power - no food, no deliveries and some folks are running low on not just comfort items but necessities. Phone lines are down and perhaps even cell phone service is starting to fail because standby power can not be maintained to cell sites. You hear about hospitals and emergency services bending under the strain and you lend some transportation assistance where possible. Driving doctors and staff and patients as needed, and even helping the Sheriff with transportation, communications, local aid and news. You do NOT refuse any donation of fuel for your vehicles, your own personal fuel reserve is only good for one or two fill-ups. Your community has talked and planned so that you all know at least who has what and what they can do. As the extended emergency progresses, they make more detailed assessments, supply ration and priority lists and plans to continue to survive. The fallen trees have been cleared by your community enough for you to move about and even to gain access to a secondary road, but now with fuel running low, the community pulls back.

You also begin to pull in your outside excursions because things are not going so well outside. There are reports of civil unrest and non-responsive emergency services which can no longer contain them. The State Guard and FEMA are starting to get into action, but only in the urban centers. Remember, you are small potatoes. When thrust into this situation and realizing, “you are on your own”, you value the preparations that have been made and worry that it is enough.

There is trouble brewing. One day you see a truck driving through the community with some questionable characters looking at the houses with generators running, smoke from the stacks and lights on.

You have established a watch post at all access points to the community, perhaps only one or two roads out to the larger community or secondary roads. Those living in the watch post houses are maintaining a more than casual watch for any approaching vehicle or person. Your team maintains regular communications with the watchers, physically by visiting several times each day and by regularly scheduled radio checks.

One day the watchers report another truck heading down the road, this time slowly and directly to the community. The teams muster and take up positions near the houses in the community, affording an open corridor over which the truck can freely transit if it chooses to do so, and without showing any opposition and only a little personal exposure. The truck slowly circles the area several times and eventually stops near one home where no one is see outside. It has a generator running outside of a garage, chained to a tree for safe keeping. They have chosen not to continue driving and peacefully pass through the trap. Two men hop out of the truck and quickly move toward the home carrying bolt cutters and a shotgun. At that point they are met by two team members with side arms from either side of the house and two members in over watch with rifles at 50 yards or more from adjacent property. The intruders are told to leave the area and do not approach again. They are told they have received their only warning.

Two hours later, in early dusk, the watch houses report two trucks and one car approaching from two directions with the same truck and occupants as before in the lead. The team which is still on alert is mustered out and extra team members are called out. One team pulls their patrol truck across the smaller of the access roads, bumper to bumper between a stand of trees and a fence line, in the path of the approaching truck. They step behind cover and wait. The approaching intruders stop 50 yards away and are warned off in a loud voice or by bull horn from the blocking truck. The intruders mill about for a few seconds then one misguided fool opens fire with a shotgun, repeatedly peppering the blockade. The blocking team engages them directly and one over watch team which has been made aware of the roadblock and has turned to face that position, engages the invaders from 100 yards with rifle fire. The confrontation is over in 30 seconds and there is no further attack coming from the now smoking truck.

The blocking team withdraws toward the second front while the over watch team splits its attention to the two areas of attack and alerts the remaining blocking team and over watch of the outcome of the first encounter. The second intruder group, one truck and one car, have heard the gunfire, but are not fazed by it. Most likely they think their comrades have engaged and brushed aside the defenders, but when a blocking vehicle and trailer appear across the road ahead of them around a turn, they stop on the road. They are warned off and hesitate for a while, but eventually two members move away from the vehicles at right angles on foot to go around and flank the roadblock. The over watch team engages them at 100 yards with warning rifle fire into nearby trees and rocks and stops them. On command they throw down their arms as do the remainder of the attackers at the vehicles. They are stripped of all arms, scant identification is collected and photographs are taken, the arms are placed in the vehicles which are then parked, temporarily disabled by removal of common electrical components and then locked at the side of the road where they will remain untouched. The intruders are directed to walk back out the way they came and not come back or they will never walk away agin. They are directed to the pall of smoke from 200 yards away but not told of its significance.

The epilog of this story is that a few weeks later, after the storm breaks, the local sheriff visits the community to tell the story of a few unsavory characters who claimed to have been attacked in the community as they sought refuge in the big storm and about their friends who disappeared. He tells how he listened carefully to them, asked some precise questions and then arrested them on their own testimony, together with the photographic and video/audio recording of the incident taken by several team members and supplied to the sheriff soon after the incident. The sheriff informed the intruders that their comrades were given Christian burials at the side of the road near where they fell after the ground thawed enough to dig the grave. The sheriff had been introduced to the neighborhood watch team early on and supported them, as the team supported the sheriff in the early days of the emergency. It is always good to have high friends in places of influence.

In this case the community team worked well, as it had been planned, and provided their own first response to the natural emergency and the criminal attack. Learning this lesson, they refine their community defense team and plans. Some have learned they are not cut out for direct action and try to find their own level in the group. Others learn they need to expand and revise their knowledge and supplies. The community watch team has teeth and continues its evolution.


How far can trouble propagate, if things really get dicey, if it really is TEOTWAWKI? What would be the cause of such catastrophic times? Trouble could arise from any uncorrected situation and it could progress far in a relatively short time. With serious trouble, it could go as far as needing our small local groups to link up over larger areas. The local captain and his team may find himself part of a larger operation under a multi-team commander.

Our discussion can progress as far as the imagination takes it. The application of additional tools, the armor and night vision gear mentioned earlier, or specialized scrounged munitions and vehicles could be discussed. Those specialized vehicles and weapons may actually come along with broad segments of the armed forces who join the local defenders, those highly trained troops who choose to defend liberty. It has always been known that there will be considerable conflict within the ranks of sworn officers and troops when they are forced to deal with clearly illegal orders. Some will deny those orders and lend their assistance to Citizen resistance. This must be considered. Speculation abounds as to who and to what extent resistance would be made. Would it be 3% or 30% of the general population and sworn individuals who would resist? In 1775, about 1/3 of the population supported independence but only a few percent actually took up arms.

In our future scenario, what methods of resistance would help? Not everyone needs to carry a gun and many, if not most, actions would not be stand-up fights. A lot of invaders, enemies foreign or domestic, would suddenly disappear after one-on-one conflicts in the dark of night outside of the local convenience store. The remainder would be urged to leave the ranks of the invaders and join the fight for freedom, or at least get out of the fight all together. The fate of their former colleagues would be the object lesson to encourage this action. Gorilla warfare would have a whole new meaning. If the United States beats itself to a pulp in an internal conflict, some external international “peace keeping” body might throw its weight around. Then they too would become the invaders to be repulsed. The defenders might for a while find themselves in a target rich environment.

It is just not in the cards to predict what will happen. There actually are some works of current fiction which take an amazingly insightful look into future possibilities and contain some small bits of logical and useful advice. However, though we can not predict what WILL happen, it is required for the American Militia to know what MIGHT happen close to home and to try to stand ready as reasonable for most contingencies. Beyond that, it must be flexible to adapt to any less likely contingencies. Overall, preparing for the hard fight makes them appreciate the desirability of the easy fight, using the soapbox and ballot box and jury box, long before resorting to the ammo box.

The American militia will prepare, but likes the easy life too.

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