Preparing for pre-election turmoil

I’ve written many articles over the years about emergency preparations;  food, water, shelter, and everything that goes with them.  There are innumerable resources on the Internet about the same subject.  I hope most of my readers have taken steps to improve their own preparedness for when things go wrong.

We’re now less than 100 days away from the November 2020 elections.  The country is already wracked by unrest, protests and rioting, and that’s likely to get worse – perhaps much worse – as the elections approach.  Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and may ratchet upward as cooler weather approaches.  I think it’s likely to be a long-term threat, lasting years rather than months.

Nor should we ignore the threat to stability and security in society as a whole.  There’s a lot of talk about a new American civil war, and I agree it’s a serious possibility right now:  but I doubt very much whether it’ll be like the first one.  As Foreign Policy magazine points out:

As networks distribute power to the edges, warfighting shifts further away from a handful of monolithic forces and towards a diverse web of small actors. Warfare now often proceeds from ideologically and economically marginalized communities whose suffering and fear is wielded by cunning global actors. They become guerrillas, rebel factions, proxies, and insurgencies. Sometimes they look more like tribal conflicts composed along racial, religious, familial or economic lines, often on top of resource crises that push violence to become a necessary solution. But they are rarely simple two-sided conflicts.

To neglect this distinction risks missing the signs of coordinated disruption and violence. If we keep thinking in terms of opposed armies, we’ll fail to develop effective strategies for recognizing and containing networked, hybrid warfare.

For the United States, the shape of future homeland conflicts will be asymmetrical, distributed, and heterogeneous. A contemporary homeland conflict would likely self-compose with numerous dynamic factions organized by digital tools around ideological and affinity networks. It would likely be a patchwork of affiliated insurgency groups and their counterparts engaging in light skirmishes along the overlapping edges of their networks, mixed with occasional high-value terror attacks against soft and hard targets. Such groups are much smaller than conventional militaries and where they lack in firepower, they wield transgression. As in Charlottesville and Berkeley, the fronts are less territorial than ideological.

Furthermore, digital networks erode the boundaries of the state. Like the Islamic State and al Qaeda, any cell can browse the literature, claim allegiance in some far-flung burb, and start whipping up violence against their targets.

There’s more at the link.

If that’s the case, civil-war-like disruption of towns and cities may occur anywhere at any time, with little or no warning.  Our short- to medium-term planning should therefore be accelerated to consider this more immediate threat.  We no longer have the luxury of saying, “Oh, well, I’ll spend an extra $20 every time I go shopping, and add a can or two of foodstuffs, or some extra toilet paper, or whatever, to my cart, so I can store the extra”.  Time is too short for that, unless we’ve already made sufficient preparations.

I’d therefore like to suggest that you take a serious look at your current preparedness to endure a local shutdown, from whatever cause, for a period of at least a month, if not three months.  Could you hunker down at home and shelter in place for that long?  Do you have sufficient food, water and other emergency preparations to endure – not in luxury, but the bare essentials?  If not, I fear it’s now become necessary to devote some serious time, attention and resources to rectifying that situation.  You can’t afford to waste any more time, because time may run out.

Of equal importance are issues such as transportation and personal security.  Are you armed, equipped and trained to secure your home and/or vehicle?  If not, it’s probably too late to do much about it, unless you know friends who are prepared to sell or lend you a suitable firearm and ammunition – the shops are bare.  As for transportation, your vehicle(s) should be serviced and in good operating condition, and you should store at least one tankful of fuel per vehicle in jerrycans or other containers, in a safe place (not in your home or attached garage!).

Furthermore, keep your vehicles’ fuel tanks at least half-full at all times, to allow an emergency getaway if necessary.  Your reserve fuel containers can be carried with you if there’s no time to empty them into your tanks.  I also suggest keeping an emergency bag packed for every member of the family, with important documentation, medicines, important information such as medical, educational and professional records, etc. as well as a change of clothing and footwear and personal hygiene items.

We’re in a situation where extremists on both sides of the political aisle are going to try to wreak havoc, to destabilize the country and push voters to support their positions.  For those of us in the middle, who are not extremists, things are likely to get pretty uncomfortable – and perhaps dangerous.  It behooves us to prepare for that reality.

Peter

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