How to Build a Militia

Step 1:

Build a bug-out bag. This is an emergency survival kit that can be picked up on a moment’s notice and taken into the wild. It’s purpose is to get you and your family safely to your rally point in a crisis. Pack enough to survive in the wild for 72 hours. Your secure location shouldn’t be any further away (on foot) than that.

It should at least include the basics:

  • Non-perishable foods that aren’t too cumbersome (MREs, high-calorie food bars, etc.).
  • Water purification tablets
  • Tent and camping supplies
  • Ponchos
  • Duct tape
  • First-Aid kit
  • Fireproof matches
  • Hand-cranked light, radio
  • Swiss army knife, hunting knife
  • Pistol, Shotgun
  • Cash (about $1,000, ideally)
  • Tie-wraps
  • Sanitation wipes
  • Sandwich bags, grocery bags
  • Toilet Paper
  • Fishing hooks, line

There are more complete lists on line.

Second only to the importance of having a bug-out bag is actually having some experience using it. You must get out to the field at least occasionally and experiment. How else are you going to figure out what strengths and weaknesses your plan has than to practice with it?

Survival skills are developed over a long time, through much reading, discussion and trial-and-error. Identifying poisonous/edible plants, building viable shelters, securing drinkable water…it all requires experience, and should never be put off until you are already in the middle of an emergency.

Step 2:

Have a secure, strategically-located rally point to fall back on.

When something like Hurricane Katrina or the L.A. Riots (or worse) breaks out, you want to be the person making a bee-line out of the city while everyone else rushes into town, loots the stores and kills each other in the streets (every human being is about seven meals away from murder). This requires either happening to already personally own such a location or working with others.

Figure out which of your closest, most trusted friends and family (who get what’s going on—at least enough to agree to having a bunch of food and supplies stored at their place) have the most ideal locations (secluded, defensible, water source, good for farming, etc.) and start developing a plan for everyone to survive there for one full year.

Everyone will want to bring their families in an emergency, so make sure the headcount is realistic and calculate for food, water, security and sanitation. Be sure that everyone can reach the location on foot within 72 hours (have everyone keep a full gas can at home to make sure vehicle travel is possible), and if anyone can’t, either develop a plan to retrieve them or set up a second location within their reach.

Protection from the elements is your top survival need. Make sure your location provides solid shelter for everyone involved.

Step 3:

Stock your location

The worst that can happen with stockpiling is that you’ll end up with some extra food and supplies…which should never go to waste if you’re storing and rotating them properly. The most important areas to cover are: security, water, food, medicine, and morale—in that order (include communications after medicine if you have more than one location).

Security: Every adult member should have a minimum of one shotgun and one pistol. They should also take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that they are actually proficient with these weapons (range time, hunting, scenario drills at the location, etc.). If possible, everyone should also try to secure the same caliber of weapons to simplify ammunition stockpiling.

Have all members store their shotgun and pistol with their go-bags, and any additional firearms at the rally point.

Water: Store lots and lots of bottled water, while also implementing multiple ways to purify large quantities of the existing water around you (rain barrels, chlorine tablets, natural filters, etc.).

Food: Every time you’re at the store, pick up an extra bag of white rice (brown rice doesn’t keep as well), dried beans (beans and white rice can keep for decades if stored properly—in sealed containers, in a cool, dry, dark place), MREs (pouches of dehydrated food that can be found in the camping section) or canned goods (which also keep well beyond their expiration dates).

Also, begin researching and experimenting with growing, canning and dehydrating your own food.

Medicine: If the medication(s) you and/or your members take are highly-regulated (i.e., they cannot be bought in bulk, ahead of time) and the doses cannot be skipped every other day or so (to collect the extra pills for long-term storage), then you may need to think outside the box to secure special pharmaceutical access or find alternative/natural versions of the drug.

Also, stock up on basic First-Aid supplies, as well as OTC drugs one might potentially need.

Morale: Be sure to stockpile luxury goods that can keep for long periods of time, like chocolate, coffee, whiskey and tobacco. Small pleasures can make it easier to cope with the hardships and stresses of off-the-grid living. These things can also be traded at a premium in a crisis.

Note: Special care should also be taken to ensure that sanitation does not become a problem. Human waste adds up fast, and if you have 10-20 people producing it every day for a year straight, merely digging cat-holes 30 feet away from the living space probably isn’t going to cut it. The smells alone would quickly become unmanageable.

Consider digging trenches more than 100 feet away, using lye, and possibly even stockpiling plastic grocery bags for convenience and to control odors.

Step 4:

Once you have completed Step 3, you will have the bare essentials in place for a militia. From this point on, if the crap hits the fan, you will quickly be able to rally your members to a safe location, take up arms and survive for one full year. But this really is just the absolute minimum. Once you have secured the basics, you will want to take things to the next level, and this starts with asking, “What if?”

1) Example: What if I ever find myself having to feed myself or my members on hunting/gathering skills alone?

Answer: Start taking hunting trips with experienced outdoors-men now. Also, obtain a plant book and begin paying attention to the plants around you, identifying edible from poisonous, and experimenting.

2) Example: What if I run out of clean water faster than I thought, and my methods for purifying water become compromised?

Answer: Survey the area around your location for water sources, map them out, and learn improvised water purification techniques (many books and wen sites for this).

3) Example: What if I want to recruit more people, but don’t want to reveal my entire operation to just anyone?

Answer: Reserve your primary location only for those you’ve known for a decade or more and trust with your life (and tell them to make the location’s secrecy the group’s top priority), while setting up a second location for others. You can also restrict newer members to locations nearby the second rally point, so they can be brought to safety in an emergency, but never know the exact location until a crisis.

4) Example: What if we have common injuries or infections that become deadly because we don’t know enough about medical treatment?

Answer: Go out of your way to recruit anyone you can who is medically trained and to make them a priority member (will extract and bring to location, if necessary, for instance). Also, obtain books, search on line and possibly even get training yourself.

5) Example: What if I have multiple locations and no way to communicate between them without power? How do I communicate with my own members outside the location when they are out running security sweeps, hunting, etc?

Answer: Hand-held radios only last as long as their batteries and Ham radio is only workable if you understand the technology and can afford the equipment. Develop an audible system for around your primary location (for instance, signal whistles—one blow: ‘move out,’ two: ‘hold your position,’ etc.), and have a designated weekly meeting point halfway between your primary and secondary locations (monthly if they’re much further away than 5 miles).

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