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Two Letters Re: How Long Can You Tread Water?

By James Wesley, Rawles

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Dear CPT Rawles:

The article "How Long Can You Tread Water?" was indeed a scary analysis of the advent of either an EMP attack, or a natural sun storm which would create the same series of events. There is no doubt that our society would

come unglued in many parts of the nation. There is also no doubt that eventually, urban gangs will fan out across the countryside in search of food, women, drugs, liquor, weapons and gold. If your farmhouse is in their

avenue of advance, it will be taken.

As in all military activities and survival of TEOTWAWKI will be very military, good OPSEC is a force multiplier beyond the realm of most anyone's imagination. It is essential that preppers keep the lowest profile possible

as you have advised on numerous occasions.

Having worked in Europe for a number of years, I can tell you that there are no plans to protect, provide for or evacuate either military or DOD civilian employees in the event of anything like a EMP attack. We would more or less be on our own and would from necessity, be forced to abandon our jobs in order to see to our families. All of the highly vaunted programs designed to protect and evacuate family members are nothing more than words and empty promises. Think of it as Senator Schumer himself, making promises to provide for your welfare back home in Kansas in the event of a disaster! It ain't going to happen!

I currently live in Kosovo and have had the opportunity to speak with many different Kosovars concerning their experiences in the 1999 Balkans War. You readers will remember that this war was, as Bill Clinton so aptly

stated, "To prove that Americans are willing to die, to protect Muslims."

TEOTWAWKI was the rule of the day in 1999 Kosovo Province. Many of the events depicted in "How Long Can You Tread Water," happened again and again. Many rural Kosovars had laid-in supplies of food, remembering Communist Yugoslavia days, when shortages of everything were the norm. They are also some very tough, weathered and experienced survivors. Yet, when TSHTF it got very violent for nearly everyone in Kosovo. Roaming gangs took what they wanted, killed whom they wanted, raped whom they wanted, on and on. It wasn't just the Serbs creating all the trouble either. The Albanian Kosovars perpetrated the most heinous of crimes imaginable, but they are our "allies" today, so we don't talk about that so much! Bill Clinton is a national hero in Kosovo.

Both Albanian Kosovars and Serbian Kosovars agree on one thing. The only thing that ended the reign of terror and destruction, was the entry of the United States and NATO into the fray. We brought an end to the ethnic

killings between Muslims and Christians, with our armed presence. We brought tons of food, medicine, building materials etc. Without outside help, this country would have continued to self-destruct.

Who will come to our aid, in the United States, when the Schumer hits? What is most likely to happen, is an intervention by European and Asian nations in efforts to gain resources, and recover some losses they will experience

as a result of our collapse. Efforts to "save" Americans from the debacle will most likely not be too extensive. The United States is hated and despised by most of those whom we have done so much to free and elevate to

our standard of living. If our population dies off, so much the better for the new colonial powers that will be only too happy to exploit our resources with no environmental whacko interference.

When the Schumer hits, I have no doubt as to the extent of death and destruction that will ensue. "Patriots" spells this out fairly well and the imaginations of many SurvivalBlog readers have provided good insight as to

what we can expect. One aspect that must not be forgotten in our preparations is our Spiritual Lives. The old saying, "Get right with God," has new meaning to me. All the provisions you can assemble, all the plans

you make for the survival of you and your loved ones is moot, if you fail to seek and obtain God's protection.

The Bible tells us not to "Tempt God." So continue to prepare, get your beans, band-aids and bullets ready for the day we all shudder to see arriving. But don't forget your Creator either. He will protect whomever

He chooses to protect anywhere, anytime. Make sure that you are one He chooses to protect. - Michael in The Balkans

Mr. Rawles,

In response to Andrew B's posted reply, I regretfully must disagree with all seven of his points. My recent time in the Army and contacts at State, Justice and numerous other Department, plus a stint in logistics provide the following rebuttal:

1. If fuel production is halted, no one is going to get further than one tank of gas outside the city limits.

This assertion turns a blind eye to a basic tenet of warfare: In a "me-or-you" situation, those who have firepower and the will to use it can and will seize the assets of those without. Given the constant reports of gas station robberies, the gas station clerk would be well-advised to fill their own vehicle and get the heck out of Dodge ASAP. Given their glass windows, high visibility and easy access, gas stations are not a defensible position. The halt of fuel production would not stop the seizure of fuel from the deposit areas where supply trucks stop, nor from fuel depots. An enterprising crew of only a few criminal members can seize a full fuel truck, and at that point, their vehicles are now enabled well beyond "one-tankful" range. Even a 12-year-old who's seen "Fast & Furious" could come up with that idea.

2. If fuel is still being produced then law enforcement will operate and food production will not be halted and the point is moot.

The mere availability of fuel does not mean law enforcement can continue to operate. Even now, while fuel is freely available to them, law enforcement officials are unable to prevent (or even respond to) most crimes. In the event of an EMP-type disaster, the tiny amount of ammunition carried by most law enforcement would be expended within hours or days at best. After that, they're nothing more than guys with a shiny target attached to them, and in a vehicle which makes them a prime target for any and all criminals wanting to make a quick name for themselves.

3. There is a reason the US Army moves its [tracked] vehicles by rail. They can’t drive more than a few miles without the things breaking down.

This statement demonstrates an unwillingness to deal with the reality of the abilities of American military vehicles. Here's a hint: If we blitzed through Saddam's Iraqi National Guard tankers without breaking stride over miles of desert, driving on streets is a lot easier on the vehicles. The streets are not made to take that much weight on a constant, daily grind basis, but if you ever watch a military parade, you discover that tanks, APCs and other military vehicles can drive on them all day long without breaking a sweat. The Abrams can average 65 mph, and military tankers are trained to drive at the fastest speed possible when going from place to place for safety's sake. Military truckers drive 100 mph through the Iraqi highway system to lessen the chances of being hit by a preplanned ambush. If US tracked vehicles needed to be repaired every few miles as Mr. B asserts, every tanker in the US Army would already be dead.

4. Existing gangs are mostly composed of ignorant teenagers who, while fiercely loyal and ruthlessly violent, do not possess the foresight or the organizational capability to run a sustained campaign based on


This comment was well-fielded by Andrew S., although I would add that the current number two threat (after Al-Qaeda) listed by the FBI is...motorcycle gangs. Not organized crime, not cartels. Motorcycle gangs. A large number of gang members- motorcycle or otherwise- are indeed former military. The only difference between them and the military is the total lack of restraint on the part of the gang members. They are trained in tactics, and unlike most police officers, are usually veterans of numerous violent engagements. Those who lead gangs are ruthless, amoral, and require complete loyalty from their subordinates. Gang members can usually run circles around law enforcement because (1) they lack any restraint; (2) they will happily shoot you before you can think about shooting them, and (3) they enjoy it. I don't know where Mr. B's been living, but the gangs of today are well-organized, battle-hardened, and spend more time learning how to avoid being shot and win battles than 99% of the population.

5. In the event of a power outage, jail cells will be locked shut, not open.

This assumes the outage happens at a convenient time when release hasn't just occurred, or convicts aren't in general release for exercise/meals. Prison riots are no joke, and are frequently planned in advance for months, waiting for the possibility of a power outage or other momentary vulnerability on the part of the prison staff. In the event of a power outage, electricity stops. Not "slams the doors shut" and then stops, but just plain halts. A realistic response would be for the guards to start shooting prisoners, and then get swarmed under when they ran out of ammo. This happens NOW in riots, let alone if all power went out.

6. In order to run a successful raid on even an isolated farm house takes meticulous planning, thorough preparation, lots of supplies, and the ability to perform small unit infantry tactics. If you’ve ever done it, you know that even in the best of circumstances, it is extraordinarily difficult, because it is physically demanding and takes real discipline.

Again, this was well-addressed with the "one guy, one match, one gas can" response. It also ignores the element of surprise, through which many settlements/houses/villages have been overrun by small armed groups. "Extraordinarily difficult"? By definition, this would be an extraordinary time. Shooting up a farmhouse (one constructed not for survival, but for light, visibility, visual appeal, and other peace-time oriented factors) requires very little of the requirements mentioned. If it were that difficult, we'd all be safe moving in with Dorothy in Kansas

7. The idea that the neighborhood gang is suddenly going to turn into a disciplined force, operating with military precision out to get Tom S. is simply delusional


The "neighborhood gang" in places as far-reaching as Wyoming, Iowa, and Montana has the local police living in fear. Why? Because the gangs are now moving (or already moved) up from California and other high-population areas to spread their influence and take more territory. They do so in a disturbingly organized, well-planned and diabolically methodical way. Establishing supply lines and other logistic requirements, they move from town to town, first establishing beachheads, then moving reinforcements into the area and quickly eliminating local competition. While they probably aren't looking for Tom S., they certainly do operate with military precision. Ask any cop about the actions, tactics and movement plans of present-day gangs. You'll get an earful on their deadly and successful abilities. I am no hysterical wild-eyeball. But it would be nearly criminal not to admit the reality of the situation with modern gang warfare. "I've got the pistol, so I'll keep the pesos" is effective even in best-case scenarios. To attempt to write off the both the raw power and paramilitary ability of most gangs is to ensure an early demise. Why do we train? So that we are better-trained than the other guy. In this case, it's your squad against a battle-hardened bunch of sadistic nihilists.

In other words, the other guy is training, too. Hope that your training is better. Telling yourself "he's not trained" will only get you dead. - J.B .

August 2, 2010