This is the latest in the series of ‘collapse’ posts and follows directly on from this one: ‘Drilling Down on the Concept of Group Defense in a Threat Environment.‘ We got some good feedback on the forum version of the post, and I’m going to leverage those comments today. The ‘Drilling Down’ post challenged classic ‘prepper / survivalist ‘ notions of grid-down collapse environments and the utility of planning for a group defense at a remote retreat location – this was not to say that there is no utility in that, but 1) putting together a suitable trained group is more of a challenge than the theory accounts for, and 2) there are many situations on the sliding scale of ‘grey collapse ‘ (read societal collapse and a high threat environment) between ‘now’ and the end-of the-world defense scenarios. The concluding paragraph of the post read:
“It is time to move the tactical conversation on from the tired cold war prepper / survivalist assumptions of a grid-down collapse and a remote rural self-sufficient retreat, to a more dynamic discussion of how to deal with threats in a grey collapse taking place around where we actually live and work today.”
The usual situation that an MVT reader finds themselves in, and one that causes great frustration, is that they themselves are investing in themselves by developing the training and characteristics that embody the Warrior Mindset. But they find it hard to network with and develop suitable teammates. Sometimes the frustration is even with their own family members. More information on the Warrior Mindset and development can be found in this post: ‘Edge of Collapse: Your Role as a Protector.‘
It must be understood that true protectors, the ten of the famous Heraclitus quote, are of course the minority. And those who take the steps to truly develop the physical fitness, mental ability, tactical skills and training required to be an effective fighter are even more rare. We are in this state as a country now due to the general laziness and ineffectiveness of much of the population. So don’t be surprised by this. It takes effort and dedication. The upshot of this is that we often find individuals, with or without families, who conduct effective training but come ‘game day’ they may be operating alone, often as a lone protector of a family unit. Not having a team puts you at a severe tactical disadvantage. Now, it would be unfair to state that a trained individual cannot be tactically effective, because he can be very much so, depending on circumstances. Thus, all is not lost, but it is not a strategy to depend on. The holistic effect of team wins over the individual in most cases – so don’t make being a lone wolf your strategy. Thus, if you are making an effort to train the warrior in yourself, you owe it to that development to seek team.
Comment by Daniel on the forum post that illustrates this:
“Truth! The problem goes back to your point of quality folks nearby. The menfolk in my neighborhood admire my weekly rucks while smoking a cigarette on the porch as I go by. My invites for them to join me…well, insert stock bitching here. That’s basic PT – we’re not even discussing the work needed for a competent buddy pair much less more than that. All things you’ve extensively pointed out in the past and what largely got me motivated to get off my duff.”
A problem here is that what I am preaching will come across to the cynical among you as simple sales talk. By which I mean that what I am advising here is exactly what MVT provides. However, there is a reason for that – MVT was created specifically for this very purpose, from an initial concept of providing training to ‘keep the good folks alive,’ and has been developed over the years to better fulfill that purpose, for example via training classes, the blog and forum, and the books. Thus yes, this is what we do, and we exist as a company to support you in developing the warrior mindset, and as much as is within our power, allow you to network and find those other quality protectors.
From Tango on the forum:
“Max wrote: Add to that the clear fact that it is the absolute
challenge RESPONSIBILITY of every warrior citizen to find others who follow the warrior mindset, have effective training and tactical capabilities (real, not imagined) and who can be trusted to form a group with.
Fixed it. There are MVT Alumni out here doing this.”
The aim, therefore, must be to train yourself and as many of your immediate friends / family in the warrior mindset in order to become the most effective protectors they can be. (It’s also not good enough to be a ‘mamma bear’ if you have nothing but protective rage to roll with when the chips are down). However, this still does not solve the group defense in a sliding grep collapse issue, because one of the issues is of proximity. The reality is that you will likely have to go outside of your near family group, however much training they will allow you to give them, in order to seek out others of the ‘warrior ten.’ For this, you have to network, and you yourself have to participate in activities where these people are likely to hang out. One you establish relationships, you still haven’t got a group defense, and it is arguable if you even need to contemplate that idea at this time – by which I mean the classic prepper idea of stashing gear at someone’s retreat.
Such ideas of stashing gear at someones place require a lot of commitment and similar outlooks on what the collapse may look like. It also causes a lot of tension in current times. I would suggest that at this time what you may really be looking for is developing good friends within a reasonable distance of yourself, who you know are trained and capable, where there is potential of that becoming closer knit as society slides down that grey collapse. I hear cries of “they won’t come to mine if they don’t have stuff” etc. Yes, I get it, but given the general lack of motivation among most people I suggest that you may have to do with being close friends with people who have / are developing those tactical and personal skills, who don’t even know right now that they are going to be part of your team, but who will fall into it as the need arises. There are many nuances here, but I hope you get my drift on this one. Two made up examples:
You still have to realize that potential events will not likely immediately need a consolidated defense at a retreat location (see the ‘drilling down‘ post for detail on that). And thus you need to work on full-spectrum tactical skill developments that will include activities that are seen as risky, such as road moves and CQB. This is because, at least initially, or for the duration of the event, you are more likely to be acting in mutual support of each other, rather than consolidated. This is a ‘South Africa’ or even more extreme ‘Rhodesia’ type collapse, where you will need to see to radio communications, tactical mobility, and the ability to react to support each other or conduct limited bug-outs to other team locations. Such could be temporary moves as the threat situation fluctuates. Operating in such an environment requires a greater level of tactical training, understanding, judgment and planning than the classic idea of a prepper with slit trenches around his farmhouse. This is why the MVT tactical training progression is so valuable, specifically including the Combat Leader Course.
On the note of threat, Joe (G.W.N.S) adds:
“So we all recognize we need Air, Water, Food, and Shelter to survive, I include Security in the Shelter category. Availability of these can very greatly depending on location. Interruption of one of more of these can be catastrophic, whether caused by man or nature.I know everyone has conducted their own IPB! (Stated in the most sarcastic manner possible.)
A brief review…Joe (G.W.N.S.) wrote:
Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is a method for collecting, organizing, and processing intelligence. It is a framework for organizing information to help provide timely, accurate, and relevant intelligence to your group’s decision makers.
The intent of IPB is to give the group information on the conditions within a area of operations, area of interest, and beyond that could affect the outcome of the group’s goal.
Conditions to be identified include the relevant characteristics of the weather, terrain, population groups and subgroups, media, and infrastructure. IPB also provides a method of gathering information to describe how each of these relevant characteristics influences the friendly group, enemy groups (if applicable), and the other players in the operational area.
So what is the first step we all must do?
Identify the threats to Group survival. Remembering that we’re not just talking “bad guys” since a shortage of water (one example) is a threat.Obviously everyone will have nuances to their specific circumstance, but we can generalize within Urban, Surburban, and Rural category in which we live.
…to a more dynamic discussion of how to deal with threats in a grey collapse taking place around where we actually live and work today.”
Note: detailed IPB information and ‘how to’ is given in the Intelligence section on the MVT Forum.
Robert, from JRH Enterprises (great resource), has been practicing the prepared lifestyle for decades and has a lot of insight into it. In many ways, his comments strongly highlight many of the issues with the classic prepper group idea, and thus provide us with pointers on how to solve it.
Yes, none of us will know the timing or extent of SHTF. It may very well involve many “phases” each which require different actions. One phase it may be best to be hunkered down in an out of the way place. Later if the 4th Mongolian Horde is coming over the ridge, it may be worth ditching to survive. Sometimes these things may be temporary, have systems in place to help if/when you have to take the place back.
One thing I can tell you from three decades doing this, very few people that tell you they will be there when the time comes will actually be there. And often the ones you did NOT expect are there. Out of “more than five less than 10” people I trained with regularly and knew most of my life, who were actively training and preparing, who had pre-positioned gear and supplies who stated every intention of “being there”, actually came in the run up to Y2K. Yeah it’s funny now, but no one REALLY knew then.
What about 9/11? No one knew that morning. Most sat around and watched TV. That was your chance to leave if things were going to get worse, not watching pablum on the idiot box. How many got moving that day? 1 out of those numbers above. One guy was all motivated and said “we will leave once my wife gets home”. Late that night no responses from him- are you coming or not? Nope. Wife got home, told them all to shut up and calm down and they stayed.
So you need to have multiple options, not just a few random guys you see/train with once or twice a year. The reality is they will most likely let you down.
Mobile aspect? Not unless absolutely necessary. You expose yourself to more risks traveling around- ambush, disease, etc. How about with little kids? Not the perfect little angels? So they will be loud, wandering around, etc. All the more reason not to be mobile. There is no perfect answer without some disadvantage. (Max adds: totally agreed. Bugging out in vehicles with the family should be avoided unless necessary. The comments regarding mobility were more referenced to tactical team movement in support of other group members who may be under attack. i.e. Quick Reaction Force activity / rescue).
Skills. Lots of shooters here, no doubt. But the reality is there will be a lot more to do that just shooting. Have some needed skills and be ready to work. If you can only pull a trigger guess what, you’ll be doing a lot of manual labor. Can’t drive the backhoe? Can PM the solar system? Never gardened before? OK, we need this fighting position dug here, here’s a shovel. Very narrow skill sets will get drug into that also- only so many times the cars will need a mechanic, what does the doc do when everyone is healthy? Specialize- yes hell yes, but have a good set of general skills also.
Most of all, be ready to work and cooperate. This isn’t some BS survival show like “The Colony” where everyone sits around bitching and creating drama. People that aren’t team players need to be weeded out now ideally.
People skills- do you know how to compromise and settle issues? Do you know how to spot and handle issues before they fester or do you just go along like nothing is wrong and hope for the best? Then later Frank shoots Bob cause he thinks Bob is trying to bang his wife, the reality is Frank knows his wife is a whoua and her just being nice to Bob made her go over the edge. How are your people’s family situations?
Throw together after the fact with people you don’t know? Yikes… I guess since I’ve experienced groups for over 30 years of my life and know the drama, the issues, the personality conflicts between people who say they are serious about survival preparing AHEAD of time, I can’t even fathom the idea of throwing a kabobolation of ad hoc people together after the fact. It’s like a bad survival fiction story- gives me chills….
There is much in what Robert writes. The human issue is key and is the greatest challenge now in building a team and will be the greatest challenge once the pressure starts to mount as society slides. This is not a reason to NOT do a group defense, but it is a factor in the execution. Robert is also writing from the assumption that the classic group defense plan will be the solution, given his experience planning for that, and it is here that I diverge and say it may not be like that. Robert uses two examples of Y2K and 9/11, and in many ways they are perfect examples – no one actually bugged out to the group location. People still went to work. Yes of course, nothing happened on Y2K and there were no more attacks on 9/11 – but imagine if something had happened, but not the the extent of a full grid-down collapse. Wife comes home and says no to bugging out, playtime is thus cancelled! People are still going to work but the threat situation of random violence as society slides is escalated. This is exactly what I am referring to in these articles.
Yeah, do an IPB. You know what it makes you realize? Holy shit, there’s a lot of bad stuff out there. Holy shit, how am I going to deal with all this? The answer is: you’re not. You alone are not capable of fending off any kind of threat from multiple sources at one time.
We’ve all know when you call someone a “One Man Army” that’s usually a negative thing, right? So you go out and get all kind of cool kit, lots of training, and tons of knowledge all prescribed by “the community”. Good. You’re moving in the right direction but you’re still a “One Man Army”.
Focus on meeting high value people while doing activities that are actually active. Meeting people at gun stores, gun shows, prepper shows, etc. generally does not require active participation beyond a credit card so you meet low value people. Discipline can not be bought.
Clearly the answer is to begin or continue to invest in yourself with legitimate tactical training. That includes all the aspects that make up and build the warrior mindset, from physical fitness, decision making under stress, situational awareness, skill at arms and tactical ability. As you continue to build yourself, you must hangout in places where people of similar outlook will be, and become friends with them. Once you do that you are forming the basis of knowing a group of people who can be tactically depended on in a crisis. You cannot avoid the due diligence required to get to know those people as trust between you develops, but a great way to build that trust is via those same events – hardship in training develops character, reveals character, and will build trust where merited.
If you are beginning this journey, as great resource is the MVT Forum, where you can begin your research into training the warrior mindset.
You can also purchase the MVT Tactical Manual: Small Unit Tactics to begin your journey with the theory. But beware, reading alone will not help, you have to physically train, and you have to get face to face with those who may become your future teammates. I cannot offer you an easy solution, I can only offer you the challenge and the pain, the journey, and the reward of truly investing in and bettering yourself, becoming a better and more effective protector of your family.
Because after all: