by, Jesse Mathewson
Adding to the tribe, being a benefit and not a drain: North-Eastern Washington and Disabled
“I delighted in being out in the worst of weather—snow-storms in winter, rain and gales all the year round. Cared nothing for, and felt no harm from being soaking wet either with salt or fresh water all day long—for a waterproof coat was never thought of.” John Rae (Highland Scot, Mountain-man)
“Although I had lost my rifle and all my plunder, I felt quite rich when I found my knife, flint and steel in my shot pouch. These little fixins make a man feel right pert when he is three or four hundred miles from anybody or anyplace.” Hugh Glass (Highland Scot, Mountain-man)
After spending several days North-East of Spokane in the mountains, I realized just how necessary a solid tribe really is. Obviously, it is essential to ensure individually we add to the tribes net worth, if we detract from it, we are truly without worth in a grid down situation. Fortunately, I have been able provide additional help, and for now offer benefit to the tribe. Watching moose trotting around, hearing wolves howling, and enjoying a bonfire with my friends made for an amazing time. However, I was reminded again how important the tribe/ group/ clan/ family is and what my role or benefit to them was.
This article is about just that, being a benefit. How can a disabled or physically reduced individual provide benefit to the tribe, clan or group?
For myself personally, it is my knowledge, networking, bartering and field craft abilities (training others) that make me a valuable asset. If you speak with my friends they will sadly tell you, I am a good person. I do not believe it is in their best interests to keep me around if things got very difficult; they disagree, which of course is to their credit as humans. (Thanks my tribe) The ability to work with others, training and teaching them is essential. Especially when things get difficult, in addition people like myself who would be able to provide a much-needed support in the form of arbitration, communication, and even entertainment. I live in Arizona, however, have a tribe that extends across 32 states.
One of the more important things that occurs in a grid down situation is the inevitable stress of the situation getting to all individuals within a group. My role is simply to provide the very things most groups and individuals fail to consider, an individual who can help others get through the first few hours, days and maybe weeks without turning on themselves. To this end I must ensure I work very hard at being both trustworthy and within the group alone, capable of understanding and buffering the others against what would be most dangerous in a tight, difficult situation; cabin fever.
Obviously, cabin fever is not the only item to be concerned with, however, if everything around us crashes we will need people like myself. Anyone who has been around or involved in winter storms, floods, mudslides, loss of electricity, wild fires, hurricanes and more; has seen what happens when people lose their internet, friends and family, when they get cold, tired, hurt, hungry or worse. Humans are fickle by nature, and genetically predisposed to looking for other humans to share connections with. The problem is that when stress occurs, those closest to us will always get the negative feedback as well as the positive. Sometimes the most important piece of the tribe/ family/ clan/ group we can be is the level one.
At this camp that we all had, it got cold, it hailed, rained and the wind blew. People got wet, cold and somewhat miserable. However, by continuing to keep spirits raised through solid physical labor and hot food made things much easier to bear. The goal for the disabled or less physically capable of us should be to provide a needed part of the groups approach to survival. Training as a group is essential, understanding individual roles and group roles as well is essential. What so many fail to recognize is the ability of the weakest to adapt as well.
Survival is not based on strength or ones stamina alone, it is based in far more. Adaptation is the end goal of any true survivalist. Something in our current situation has changed drastically enough to cause our normal approach to not function, adapting to this and moving forward in a positive manner really must be the goal. History is replete with examples of times when just a small bit of training and preparation may have prevented larger incidents.
Stalingrad 1942 – 1943, Arming one in five of the residents prior to arrival of German army, and having just 6 months of rations stocked away would have saved tens of thousands of lives.
Warsaw 1940 – 1943, If just 1/5th of those people taken had resisted, the German army in charge would have been overwhelmed.
March/Trail of Tears (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole nations), Again, resistance with just sticks would have been enough for the stressed out overly stretched out Army in charge.
New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, Quite simply this entire fiasco did not have to occur, however, because of the posturing of ineffective leaders from Parrish too Federal government people died and more importantly, thousands of Americans were disarmed and forcibly removed from their houses, and had their possessions taken by the “law” at the time. If the people of that city had simply said, enough, no more, and done what was done recently in floods, none (or much less) of the bad would have happened.
I could easily write for days just on the examples of times when a small bit of training, neighborhood cooperation and solid communication with your neighbors and local friends would have made the difference in life versus death. It wasn’t just old and infirm that were displaced and killed or abused, it was everyone. This is essential to understand, we must always understand that government cannot succeed where individuals have already failed. We must be ready and willing to first protect and ensure the safety of ourselves and than be better about working with those who live closest to us.
Many times I have heard the sad statement, “I will just…” preceding an even sadder example of shoddy preparedness from someone. The reality is much different, it is those we work with, live next too and walk alongside daily that will make or break our individual plans. Better to already be prepared and do so with a minimum of fuss and bother. My simple plan follows.
Get to know your neighbors, its essential to know who you may need to guard against and who you can work with. This can be done without revealing anything specific about yourself.
Bring everyone within a two block radius some fresh veggies from your garden. Leave them a card with your name and phone number and a short, “Hey neighbor, just wanted to introduce myself here is a little “howdy” gift.”
If people are home, they will do one of two things in almost every case, or a variation of these things. They will reject it. Or they will accept it, look around and suspiciously ask…”For me?” Its America after all, and in most of this nation we stopped introducing ourselves to neighbors decades ago. Shoot, most people attend church and use that time to backstab and talk trash about someone else in the church, division is honestly running rampant all over this nation, its our job to ensure at least our local neighborhood isn’t divided!
Be the organizer for the neighborhood, if you have physical detriments, offer to put together bbq’s and the like.
Use the time spent to get to know people better, vet them. Even or I should say in some cases, especially ex-felons of a non violent stripe are often the most likely to be positive contributors as they simply want to try and fitting back in. Don’t turn people away for ridiculous and small minded reasons, understand, in a grid down situation, EVERYONE is in the same boat regardless color, creed or religion.
Again, you never have to change who you are. However, it is essential to your survival that you have as many people around you as possible in on contingency plans for wild fires, flooding, electricity loss, etc., don’t share specific individual preps. EVER! You can work out regular patrols, phone chains and alternative communication approaches for events that are outside the normal day to day.
Don’t over plan, people move in and on regularly. Wasting your time on thick reams of paper and mindless drivel only serves to irritate others. Rather, make it as uncomplicated as possible while you vet potential candidates for more in depth planning.
Your next door neighbor is far more likely to see a burglar than the cops. They are also more likely to be able to respond quickly if a dangerous situation occurs. Its important to help others see the benefit to themselves of being apart of a solid network of eyes, ears and helping hands. As an old boss once said, “Burn their house down around them, kill each of their kids off and than their spouse…they will buy insurance and your system before you walk out the door if they believe it is happening.” People like us KNOW that these things happen DAILY around the world, normals, ignore reality. Without being mean, show them the benefits and let them know its simply a matter of making that call, or walking to a neighbors house. You organize it.
So, how have you made yourself invaluable to your clan/tribe/group/neighborhood? How are you ensuring your survival through solid neighborhood outreach?
Note: M.D. Creekmore recommends – The Survival Group Handbook: How to Plan, Organize and Lead People For a Short or Long Term Survival Situation.