A number of things have taken place over the last few days that I feel an update to my SitRep – 03/12/2020 and my Immediate Action Warning of 3/13/2020 is warranted. Please indulge me, I would like to cover…
- Supplies Availability
- System/People Stressing
- Emergency Declaration
- Steps to Consider
Supplies Availability –
On Thursday a very good friend of mine called me from Phoenix. He wanted to update me on the situation in Phoenix. Now, this is no regular guy…he is a retired Army NCO, combat vet, wounded in combat, was part of a very high-profile operation a number of years ago that resulted in one of the longest, most intense firefights we’ve seen in modern warfare, and former law enforcement. He currently provides security services in the greater Phoenix area. I am grateful and proud to call him “friend” and “brother”…and truly grateful he has property right next to mine here in the great wilderness of Arizona.
So he tells me that things are getting crazy in the Phoenix area…people are acting stupid, panic buying, and the situation has all the ear-marks of turning ugly at some point. And with a population of over 4million that means it isn’t a good place to be when things get bad.
We were reviewing our strategy for our area here and he was explaining some of his bugout plans and trigger points. But I wanted to know more about the situation there among the people in general. Well, well, well…perfect timing. See, his wife is in law enforcement (so you can understand her reaction), and about an hour earlier she had gone to Walmart to do the weekly shopping. She had just texted him and it was not good. He told me she had found all canned good shelves empty, no beef, no chicken, no paper goods, and people were acting like idiots and being rude. Their carts were full and some people had multiple carts piled high. She was furious. And he forwarded me her last text. Wow! If I were to reprint it here I would be using a lot of *&#@**^ characters.
OK, put that aside for a minute. We were scheduled to go into town later Friday to do our pre-weekend shopping plus our fuel run. That means a stop at Walmart and/or Safeway, plus the propane dealer, and the fuel depot for gasoline and diesel. I told my wife that in addition to the normal shopping at Walmart, I thought there might be some entertainment value there as well. She wasn’t impressed with my assessment…I have a way with words.
First stop…propane dealer. My buddy who works there told me they had been busy all week long. But, today (meaning Friday) it was slammed busy from the minute they opened…and he was concerned they might run out of propane before they received their next delivery. Normally they close at 4pm on Friday, I got there at 3:45…there was a long line. When I left at almost 4:30 the line was really long, much longer than when I arrived. People were bringing in large numbers of small and large tanks…and I mean lots of them. When I went into the office to pay for my propane the gal who normally works in a back office was alone taking payments at the front counter. She was also answering the phone non-stop. People were begging her to get propane that day. She was telling people that they had every driver and truck out on the road but it would be impossible to get to them before the middle of next week. When she got to me I could tell she was very frazzled. Panic buying! She joked that buying propane was a sure cure for the virus.
So I had to get a 1”x8” board at Lowe’s to finish up trimming one of the windows in the great room at the new house. And was I surprised…late Friday afternoon at Lowe’s and it was virtually empty. No panic buying there!
Next came Walmart. Wife and I talked through the situation, went over our distress word and tactics in case we had to leave the store under a threat. She loves talking about that stuff…not! Once again…I have a way with words…she loves my briefings. She isn’t feeling real well for a couple of days and I offered to let her stay in the truck, she hates Walmart crowds even in the best of times. She said, “Absolutely not! You wouldn’t have anyone to watch your back.”
Wow! Did I get educated quickly once in Walmart…it was packed with people! And I mean packed tight…people with mostly filled carts in an almost bumper car frenzy. So check this out…
- The bread isle shelves were empty…bare to the bones with the exception of some English Muffins. Wife remembered some fancy bread back near the door…off she went and a few minutes later a loaf was in our cart…my eyes scanning for anyone attempting a snatch operation.
- The peanut butter and jelly section stripped bare with the exception of a couple of jars of some fancy organic strawberry jelly. A jar of that went into our cart…hey, I like strawberry jelly.
- The canned vegetable isle was stripped as well with a few exceptions. A jar of sauerkraut went into the cart. Hey, you can’t have patty melts without sauerkraut! And she had patty melts on the menu for next week. Yum!!!
- The paper goods isle was stripped. I think they even took the paint off the TP shelving units. While we were walking down the isle towards the candy section a middle aged guy made eye contact with me and smiled…”gonna buy me some paper towels saw em in half with my band saw and make a fortune selling it as toilet paper.” I chuckled…had to. Another Mark Cuban in the making!
- Candy section was in good shape. And that proves how little people know about prepping and panic buying…the chocolate section should have been the first isle emptied out!
- I went for the milk…Gone!!! Only a couple of small bottles of flavored coffee creamer. But, I had spotted “Mike” a few minutes before, an overworked Walmart associate. I coopted him into getting me two half gallons of 1% out of the back cooler. Yeah, I had looked through the glass doors and saw about 5 cases of milk…all that was left. And that’s I why the 1% was purchased. Kinda like white colored water in my opinion. But any milk is better than no milk. I hid the milk under the big pack of Styrofoam cups in the cart. Mike was $20 richer and smiling!
- In the remainder of the dairy section the cheese was almost all gone and only very little canola oil based butter was left.
Well, you get the picture.
What I found interesting…two groups of people in Walmart; 1) those of us that were entertained by all the panic buying taking place, 2) people who were panicking, buying, talking in hushed tones, and pushing their carts rapidly to the next empty shelf area…then on to some substitute item. All the time jealously guarding the case of sardines, paper napkins, and pickled artichoke hearts that lay in their carts.
I will give Walmart credit…they were pulling out pallets of food and other items from the back. But little of it ever made it to the shelves…people grabbed it up before that could happen. The associates were polite and steady…but you could tell they were beginning to feel the stress.
So…what happens when the food is no longer pulled out from the back stockroom? Or the trucks are no longer traveling the roads delivering food or propane or fuel due to travel restrictions or fuel shortages?
System/People Stressing –
The story I didn’t share with you was leaving our backwoods area on the way into town. Just before we hit the hardtop road we met our neighbors coming back from town. They were pulling their trailer that was filled with hay, feed, stall bedding, propane tanks, etc. The back of the truck had some boxes from Amazon and food from Walmart. Part of the conversation consisted of him telling me about Walmart, trying to goad me into thinking our propane dealer was out of propane, and telling me he wasn’t going back into town for a couple of weeks, maybe a month…he wanted to avoid anyone who might be sick already or would soon be sick. He was voluntarily social isolating. As he was telling me that I started coughing and sniffling. His wife and teenage son started to laugh and shake their heads…my neighbor just looked at me as if I was a delinquent teenager. I am. But it was funny.
- My neighbor was stressing to some degree since they made a run to town for supplies.
- My friend was telling me that folks in Phoenix are stressing and their food infrastructure is starting to stress. He was obviously stressing to some degree as well since he and I were discussing his bugout plans and our plans when he would get to our area.
- The propane dealer folks were all stressing, their company’s customers were stressing, and I couldn’t help but think how long it might be before they would run out of propane.
- Lowe’s was stressed because there weren’t any customers there.
- Walmart…well, you already have that picture…it was ALL stress.
- My wife was stressed. Well, she is stressed anytime she deals with me. But, the trip to town was even more stressful because of the craziness going on.
- And yes, I fall into the stressed category as well. While this was our normal weekly supply run, I did take in a partially empty propane tank, in addition to the empty one, to be refilled. And I normally wouldn’t have done that. We were buying extra chocolate bars, Oreo cookies, etc. just in case. But extra chocolate?!?!?!?! Come on that just is commonsense when the world is coming to an end, right?
What I am getting at should be obvious…the system is under stress and showing signs of deficiency. Tens of billions of dollars are being lost in the economy right now. The market was down 14% at one point this week, over 25% in the last couple of weeks. The system is stressing. People are showing signs of stress and some portion of the population is becoming stressed out more than usual. And to top it off I read a report that a mall in California had a problem on Thursday with a large group of older teens causing problems and stealing. When confronted it turned a little violent, not bad. But, the mall shut down and is still shut down. With so many schools starting to announce closures what do think will happen with all those big city, inner-city teens?
What I want you to think about in this regard is your Situational Awareness. Pay close attention to what is happening around you…in both a micro and macro way. When you go out of the house are you doing so safely? Are you paying attention to what is happening around you…and especially the people around you? Are you prepared to rapidly and safely leave the area should you need to? Is your home safe or can it be made more safe against hard times? Those are a few “micro” ideas.
On a “macro” level…are you paying attention to news reports of violence or the potential of violence in your area? Are you tuned into a neighborhood watch team in your area? Are you monitoring radio and/or TV news? Are you paying attention to what radicals (Democrats, AntiFa, New Black Panthers, etc.) are saying and what they are promoting or warning against? Are you prepared to rapidly and safely leave your area should you need to?
Pay attention to people stressing and the “system” showing deeper signs of stress. It will telegraph what is coming in plenty of time for you to act…if you pay attention, act appropriately, and act in a timely manner.
Emergency Declaration –
One of the worse things a President can do!!! It is detrimental to everything…with one sole exception…increasing government power. When a President issues a national emergency declaration (NED), for all intents and purposes, the Constitution is voided. Well, at least the parts ensuring rights, liberties, and freedoms. And other parts that become null are limitations on the federal government. A NED gives the federal government massive powers that are otherwise unconstitutional. They can do pretty much as they please…and you, the private citizen, are virtually powerless.
Example: Under NED the President can declare martial law. If people object to it and resist it…what happens? They are arrested and imprisoned…and due process is nowhere to be seen. And if you push it…you can simply be shot for resisting. And history proves the government will do just that.
The list of what the feds can do under NED is almost limitless…and once it starts going down that road the governmental power becomes limitless because there is little to no ability for average people to reverse it. Good luck with that!
Now, maybe we get lucky with President Trump and he doesn’t push it to the extremes that it can be pushed to. Maybe he controls himself and the federal government into not installing totalitarianism. Let’s hope and pray he does.
If you have a bugout plan than includes any significant amount of travel I would suggest you watch for three key trigger points…
1 – Federalization of National Guard troops.
2 – Travel restrictions for road travel of private vehicles or implementation of large quarantine areas.
3 – Enforcement of those travel restrictions and/or quarantine areas by National Guard troops…or far worse…enforcement by regular military troops. And no, Posse Comitatus won’t apply under NED. It’s all but dead in normal times, a NED eliminates it.
Steps to Consider –
The last few days I have outlined a lot of things to considering doing…review them and implement them as you see fit. Here is my board list of suggestions at this point:
- Learn what Situational Awareness is.
- Inform yourself of what is going on right now from legitimate sources and completely ignore those that are hyping the situation and pushing fear and panic through their actions and reporting. Stay up to date.
- Ponder about what is happening…yeah, that means think it through.
- Speak to your spouse (if you have one) about what you are thinking and feeling. Both of you ponder it and come up with a plan based on consensus. Be equally yoked…or at least have her approval if not her cooperation.
- Pray about it.
- Take those steps you feel are right for your family. But, before you take those steps, talk to your family about it as appropriate. If you just start acting they will see you doing things out of the ordinary and it will be unsettling, maybe even scary, to them. Talk to them before taking action.
- Act decisively. Don’t hesitate in taking action and move forward with confidence. Do not delay taking those actions contained in your plan.
- Do all of the above without fear, without panic, ignoring the hype and ignorance of others.
- Ask any question of me that you might have. I am open to answering any question.
We are in a situation now in this country that quite frankly I’ve never seen before. We’ve taken a relatively non-issue that has been dealt with dozens of times and it’s been turned into a national crisis. And done so through ignorance, panic, fear, hysteria, and suspicious agendas.
One of the best trainings I ever took was a series of advanced leadership classes. In one of those classes at the very beginning we answered, in groups, a simple question, “What are the leadership qualities you look for in someone you are ready, willing, and able to follow?”
Nowhere on the list of positive qualities was there fear-mongering, panic pushing, hysteria, etc. Everyone wanted someone who saw the situation for what it actually was, had confidence in solving the problem, and a calmness to keep folks on track. In other words, someone calm and steady. I urge you to look for that leader around you…or become that leader.
People right now need leadership. The more we hear of national guard being activated, quarantines going into effect, restrictions on this, restrictions on that, shortages, this school being closed, that business shutting its doors, a government office being closed to the public, etc…the more people will panic and find their own solutions. And solutions bred of fear, executed with panic by hysterical people won’t be good for anyone…especially you! People need, want, and will greatly benefit from steady, calm, decisive leadership from someone who is rooted in reality, speaks plain truth with transparency.
I am guaranteeing you…next spring (2021) when the snow is melting away, and the trees are beginning to show signs of life we will look back on this time with some reflection. How will you see it? How will you judge your actions and the actions of others? What kind of conduct will you be proud of…or not? What will you have done to make this situation better…or worse?
There is an old saying…
“You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem.”
Which will you be?
You will be part of the solution.
You have the heart for it, the character to do it right, and the ability to do so with competence and honor.
I trust you.
Ask me any question …
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