Steve A. Stone
Steve’s survival plan
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By Steve A. Stone
February 8, 2022

Introduction

We live in uncertain times. Every aspect of our lives is filled with uncertainty. It’s terribly unsettling to some, while others seemingly ignore it all. The truth is – we don’t know what tomorrow will bring us. If it’s good times, then we can keep rolling right along with our lives and make plans with some degree of certainty. However, if the times turn truly bad, we all need to know what to do to ensure we last until conditions change.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand the potential for extremely bad events to happen. It really doesn’t matter if you buy into one of the many conspiracy theories that abound in our world today. The notion you need to accommodate is very simple – everyone needs to understand how to survive in their own worst-case scenario, whatever that might be. I personally don’t think we’re in the End Times as described in The Book of Revelation. I don’t think we’re headed toward a nuclear winter. But, I am also skeptical of any lasting peace and prosperity. Powerful people throughout history have had a tendency to dislike peace. They gravitate toward war and conquest. After all, it’s rare one of them ever suffers from war. It’s always the minions of the powerful who do the suffering and dying. One thing history certainly tells us is – the best time to worry and prepare for war is during times of peace, simply because peace never seems to last.

Everyone needs a survival plan of some kind. Exactly what you need depends on the peculiarities of your circumstances. If you live in a city your own plan will need to be very different from one who lives in a small town, and both of those plans will look little like the one a person living in a rural area will need. There are good reasons why each and every person or family group will need to tailor a unique plan. No two needs or perception of needs is ever identical. What you see here is reflective of my own considerations and my plan. You’re free to use it as a template, a guide, or just as your starting point. My purpose is to provoke your thought and action. Never make a move out of your environment into another for the purpose of personal safety and security unless you’ve planned and prepared. Even if you have developed a well-conceived plan and have obtained everything you believe you will need I will assure you of two things – you’re still going to forget something important, and your chances of actually staying safe and secure are still just a gamble.

Outline

This plan reflects my own thoughts, perceptions of need, and situational peculiarities. Give a lot of thought to your own plan. Start with an outline. Flesh that outline out as you think things through and do your research. This is my outline:

  1. Considerations

  2. Choosing your destination

  3. Timing

  4. What to bring

  5. What to leave behind

  6. Travel considerations

  7. What to do when you arrive

  8. Know when to relocate

  9. Re-planning

  10. Dealing with people along the way

  11. The importance of principles, rituals, customs & traditions

1. Considerations

To repeat why this plan is necessary: we live in uncertain times. I doubt anyone would challenge that thought. We know our nation is in trouble. What we don’t know is our future. We are forced to go along in our daily lives as if there will be a tomorrow, a next year, and even a next decade, but we understand we truly don’t know. We have to work and hope for a future that may be denied us. What else makes sense to do?

Most of us are familiar with doomsday scenarios. If you aren’t, you need to study. You need to study now. Study the nuclear and EMP strike scenarios. You can find those on-line. Get really familiar with the Zombie Apocalypse. Find the scenario that begins with an economic collapse, followed by the government turning off the nation’s power grids and leaving them down. You need to understand the characteristics of each scenario, including precursor events. Those who’ve indulged in dystopian literature and films over the years are already familiar with each potential. The rest of you will need to catch up. Don’t wait to do so. The end of our known world can come as soon as tomorrow, or as late as never. Place your bet.

If one of those major events occurs you need to be certain of what happened.

A nuclear event is pretty obvious, but if you lose all electrical power for a long time you need to know more to understand the totality of the event scenario you’ve just become part of. Once you’ve identified the right scenario you’ll understand more about the responses you need to consider. Trust me on one point – they all end pretty much the same way. In every scenario there’s a Zombie Apocalypse.

The first thing you need to figure out regardless of the threat is – who’s your enemy? Is it a foreign government, a multinational corporation, or our own government? Who are you protecting yourself from? A nuclear first strike could come from Russia, China, North Korea, and perhaps even Iran. Those same countries could also launch an EMP strike against us. Those events would have a devastating effect on us, but there’s only a remote possibility that we’d see foreign troops in our neighborhoods. Another thing to think about – nuclear and EMP strikes aren’t accompanied by warnings. All actions regarding them are either preparatory or reactive. Prepare as best you can for those events, but understand your only true objectives are to survive the event, then react in ways that allow you to continue to survive. It won’t be easy.

If the threat is domestic, meaning from our own government, things are going to get very bad very fast. A foreign action like a nuke or EMP strike is, generally-speaking, a one-time thing. Long-term survival will be very difficult, but not impossible. After all, there will eventually be help. If it’s our own government, all bets are off. The most likely scenario we may see if our government acts against the people is a precursor event, followed by a total shutdown of the power grids. If that happens you have anywhere from a few hours to a couple of weeks to act, based on how many people are around you. People in the biggest cities are the most vulnerable. People who live in farm country, on ranch lands, or in rugged mountain terrain are the least. The trick to survival may hinge understanding your vulnerabilities and reacting appropriately based on that understanding.

All the worst scenarios involve our own government acting against the people. If that happens, know this up front – you have to avoid confrontation with government forces of any kind. That means local police, sheriff’s departments, National Guard, federal agency badge-wearers, any member of the US military … any of them. Your resources will always be inferior to theirs. If you find yourself faced with any government presence your best option is to flee. In most cases you can. Keep in mind, it’s easiest to get away from local government officials, harder when the state gets involved (but, you can always leave the state), and very much harder if the federal government is confronting you. The objective is to stay out of range of all of them at all times. Unless you’re 100% certain someone is your friend you have to treat them as a potential threat.

Those who live in larger cities who want to ensure their survival need to leave those cities as quickly as possible. The quicker you can leave and the more rural you can go, the better your long-term chances are. Those chances diminish every moment you linger in an urban environment, so speed is of essence. But, just leaving doesn’t guarantee you anything. You have to prep so you don’t depend on strangers every step on your journey to safety, or be mistaken for a Zombie. If you don’t have a vehicle that works for survival purposes or haven’t pre-prepared at least an intermediary “bug out” location, you’re at a huge disadvantage. If you depend on public transportation of any kind, you’re really going to be in a bad way. The best you may do is to end up as a refugee of sorts. There is a possibility you’ll survive, but your fate will be tied to many other people who ended up as refugees. I don’t want to dwell on that point.

In my own case, I have a terrain problem. Survival on any coastal plain is problematic. There’s too little cover; very little terrain to take advantage of. The threat on such a plain is mostly from airborne or satellite assets. There’s just too little on a coastal plain to work with. The trees can’t hide a person for long, and it’s almost impossible to prevent becoming surrounded if an adversary force wishes to capture or harm you. The best thing for coastal plain dwellers to do is leave for a place that’s more naturally suited for defense. You need a viable “bug out” option – a safe haven that can hide you and be defended.

I have such a haven. It’s several hours away, but is remote and has terrain advantages. It’s also in an area where all the local inhabitants have been prepping for disasters for years. I have only two problems to solve – getting there and finding out how to be of best use to my new “neighbors.”

Assuming you’re prepping now, there are a few things you need to assess to determine your ability to protect yourself and others. Here are some things you need to think about and possibly work on:

What are your survival skills?

Can you build a fire without use of matches or a lighter? Do you know how to build a shelter? Do you know how to obtain clean drinking water in places where water is not abundant? Can you build and set an animal trap? How good are your hunting skills? Do you know how to dress an animal once you’ve killed it? Can you identify edible plants around you?

There are many good survival books and videos available to you. Spend some time studying each of the things mentioned above until you understand the principles involved. Practice if you can. Those few basic skills might sound easy, but when you’re out in nature on your own you’ll find they’re anything but.

Can you protect yourself and others?

Have you had any training with tactical weapons, martial arts, urban warfare, military survival/evasion training, counter- or anti-terrorism training, communications training, or other specialized training that’s useful in your situation? The essence of the question is: if you’re in a survival situation are you one who can protect others, or are you one who needs such protection? Make sure anyone around you understands your knowledge and skill-sets and you understand theirs.

Are you in good physical condition?

Let’s not kid ourselves on this point – if you’re overweight, mobility impaired, on special medications, or just too out of condition you’re going to have an extremely difficult time surviving. You’ll also be a burden on others who may be with you. Give yourself a reality-based assessment of your hearing, eyesight, mobility, overall strength, endurance, spatial awareness, and your pain tolerance. If you know you have problems you need to take them into consideration. It may seem like your reality has made your range of options very narrow and your choices poor, but if the truth is your physical condition makes the probability of survival very slim, perhaps you need to be thinking of other things instead. You can improve your physical condition and abilities to some degree, but need to accept as fact that the situation you may face requires you to “come as you are.” If you aren’t physically ready on that day, you’re going to have a very much harder time than you otherwise would.

How exposed is your hideout?

If you find your safe place you need to determine all its vulnerabilities. You need good cover and an equally good field of fire.

Your cover is terrain and vegetation. Hilly or mountainous terrain is best, and you want it to be forested enough to allow you to move about under a canopy without being seen from aerial drones or satellites. You need terrain that will allow you to maneuver without exposing yourself to view from any road or nearby building. You always have to remember – when you’re in hiding the skies are not friendly. Others in your area may not be, either.

Field of fire is always a consideration. How far can you see in any direction? The best place to be is one where any useful approach has a good, clear field of fire. The distance you’ll need depends on the terrain. On flat lands you’ll need at least a mile. On hilly, rough terrain you’ll need less. It’s all about the time you’ll need to either flee or prepare to fight. It’s something you’ll need to think about and make decisions on in advance.

If you have any electronic devices with you, consider putting them in storage. Anything with broadcast capability can expose you. Cell phones are a special danger to you. They probably won’t work anyway, but if they do, don’t use one unless you have a dire emergency. They’ll only betray you. Even your radio can compromise you. Whenever it’s on it can be detected. Be sure to remove the batteries from every device when not in use.

Think about heat signatures. Everything that produces heat gives an infrared signature. Our government uses quite a few detection devices that sense infrared emissions. You need to think deeply every time you leave your hideout and every time you start a fire. Always consider the risks.

Can you live off the grid?

How much do you like camping? Do you miss having electricity? If you’re in a survival situation you are almost certain to be off-grid. There may not be a grid anymore, so either way you’ll have to prepare for that. No microwave. No refrigerator. No TV or stereo. If you want hot water or a cooked meal you have to build a fire. The best way to think about it is – you’ve just traveled back in time from today to 1850. Don’t think that transition isn’t going to shock you – it is. You just became your g.g.g.grandparents. Welcome to their world. They made it. You’re evidence of that. Now, see if you’re as tough as they were.

Is your vehicle adequate?

In case of an EMP event you’ll need an EMP-proof vehicle. That means a car or pickup made prior to 1983 that has no electronics to control the engine. No electronic fuel injection, no electronic controls to the alternator, no computer chip to control features of your car – none of that. The best vehicle is one made in the ‘60s that has been rebuilt and maintained. It won’t get good gas mileage, but if you know how to keep it running, you’ll feel great as you pass the millions of cars that were killed by the pulse. If you don’t have a car like that, get a good motorcycle that’s basic. Again – one with no electronics that a pulse can kill.

My primary bug-out vehicle is a small, reliable pickup truck that gets reasonable mileage. It has a towing capability. 4-wheel drive would have been great, but I can live without it. My pickup has a long bed, with a tonneau cover to conceal what I’m carrying. You will probably need a similar vehicle. Once you’ve determined your loadout, practice loading the truck to ensure you can get everything on your bug-out list inside the bed of the truck, except for those items designated for your trailer.

I have a light trailer that my truck can easily tow. It will hold my dogs, a motorcycle, extra fuel and water containers, my tools (hand tools in waterproof boxes) and, I might have room for my generator. A generator is something to avoid using for all kinds of reasons, but could come in handy.

2. Choosing your destination

Pre-arrangements – Pick your hideout location carefully. It’s best if you can set it up in advance with as much of your survival needs as possible, but doing so isn’t usually feasible. Thieves are always around and they love to strip such hideaways bare. If you have a summer cabin on a lake somewhere it might do for your short-term survival purposes and it might not. You need to reassess it continuously, and if you find it lacking – find yourself another place. If your plan involves relocating to be with friends, ensure your friends know for certain you’ll be coming in any emergency. You don’t want to arrive, only to find there’s no room at the inn.

Availability –Easy to get to also means easy to find. The whole point of “bugging out” is to get to a safe place that’s out of sight. If you’re considering a place that’s on a paved road, in most places that just won’t do. Find a place that’s truly off the map. The very best places are the ones where you have to spend at least a day hiking in. The worst ones have mailboxes, driveways, and are visible from a paved road. Use your head! Make it hard for your adversaries. They’ll always hit the easiest targets first.

Popularity – If you’re considering a known vacation spot as your hideout, think again. Don’t go where there’s going to be a crowd. You want the opposite kind of place. You want somewhere no one wants to go, because, generally speaking, there’s nothing there. If your chosen retreat is locatable on a map – consider going somewhere else.

Amenities – The basic considerations other than being remote and defensible involves the availability of water and food, and protection from those nearby. You want a place that has a good source of potable ground water available. You need a place where there is either livestock to use as a food source or has plenty of game animals. It doesn’t really matter if the animals are rabbits, squirrels, or deer. What matters is they’re there for your needs, when you need them. If you’re going to be in your hideout for more than a few weeks, you will need them.

Strengths vs Weaknesses – You will need to continuously evaluate your retreat for strengths and weaknesses, based on changes in your circumstances. What works in one survival scenario may not be viable in another. Plan for the external situation to be fluid. Plan on the nature of the threat to evolve. One day your concern may be detection from well-equipped and organized forces. A week later you may be faced with roving bands of murdering scavengers – the Zombies. Your hiding place may be fine for a period of time, but once it’s in danger of compromise, what are you going to do? Ensure you always understand your location’s advantages and disadvantages. If you determine you have a problem that can’t be solved and your situation is rapidly becoming untenable, it’s time to move.

Plan B – You will always need a Plan B location. It doesn’t matter how many times you’re forced to move, you always have to spend time considering your next one. As soon as you settle into your Plan B location you’ll need to know where you will go next, and how to get there. Each location you choose needs to be just a bit more secure than the last one. That roughly equates to how remote it is. In the ultimate you could find yourself in high mountains, living in a cave. There is a sort of inverse rule to these things – the safer you are the harder it will be to survive. It may not be wise to choose such a hard environment at first, but you will always need to understand your way there.

3. Timing

When is the right time to leave, to bug out? Going too early risks the waste of resources. Going too late may risk your life. Which is preferable? “There is a time to every purpose under heaven.” The right time to leave is just before you’re in danger. Err on the side of caution. If things are trending negative, don’t wait until your front door is kicked in – go. If the situation settles down you can always come back home.

I look for signs of economic collapse. There won’t be any useful warnings of a nuclear or EMP strike, so the logical thing to keep an eye on is the economy. A blow-up of the stock markets or a general economic collapse with runaway inflation, food shortages, complete disruptions of supply lines – those are things to look for. It doesn’t matter why the economy collapses – just take it as a given that the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t far behind. It’s time to bug out!

In case of a purposeful power outage, which implies the complete shutdown of the power grids, the economic collapse will be certain and swift. That scenario is a bit less likely, but it’s always something to consider, if only because – our own government has considered and war-gamed that scenario. If the power goes out and there’s nothing being communicated to indicate why, or that it’s going to be turned on anytime soon – worry! If you can, communicate with friends in nearby communities to see if their power is down. If it is, then call people you know in other states to check on them. If power is down everywhere – pack up and be ready to go on a moment’s notice. If three days elapse and the picture doesn’t change – go.

4. What to bring

This is my load list. All items are to be loaded into the pickup bed, except as noted:

    **Bible

    **Copies of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence

    **Rand-McNally Road Atlas

    2 sets of metal eating utensils per person

    Metal plates

    Small cooking pot and a light frying pan

    Metal coffee pot

    Batteries of each size needed

    2 LCD flashlights

    2 LCD lanterns

    Survival food – all you on hand – or at least two months per person

    Coffee/tea + usual adulterants

    *Water – 2 gallons per day per person – enough for a week

    ***Guns – bring all you can

    ***Ammo – bring it all

    2 – 25’ or 50’ extension cords

    Knives

    Knife sharpener

    Scissors

    Tie-down straps

    *Machete

    *Hatchet

    Small fishing rod, lures and hooks

    *Tools – hand tools & gardening

    *Axe.

    *Dogs – depending on utility

    Clothes – good, rugged outdoor gear

    Climbing rope – 200 feet

    Paracord – 100 feet

    Mylar survival blankets

    Cell phones and chargers

    AC/DC/Battery-powered radio

    *1 good chain saw with 3 extra chains

    Survival guides – tailored to your destination

    Cash – as much as you can manage

    Waterproof bags and containers

    Siphon tube

    3 plastic tarps

    Tent

    Sleeping bags

    Camp stove and fuel

    Sterno stove and fuel

    Waterproof matches

    Compass

    Analog watch or clock

    Candles

    Bleed-Stop

    1st Aid Kit

    Medicines you need

    Survival straws

    **Binoculars

    Wet wipes

    Insect spray

    Ant poison

    Bleach

    Soap

    Heavy duty aluminum foil – 2 rolls

    Toilet paper and any sanitation products – 2 month supply

    4 bars of soap

    Toothbrushes & toothpaste

    Shampoo

    Towels – lightweight waffle towels only

    Battery charger

    Jumper Cables

    *Power generator (if you have room)

    Backpacks

    If you still have room in the truck, bring bartering items – extra guns

    & ammo and extra survival items

    * Load on the trailer

    ** Load in the pickup cab

    *** Always carry at least one weapon on you, with extra ammo.

    Guns ‘n Ammo

    The expected questions concerning guns include: How many? What kind? What caliber? The answers are relatively simple. Bring as many as you can, of whatever you have, and in whatever caliber you have. When it comes to defensive weapons there’s nothing that can beat a good gun, but you do need to understand there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. An AR-15 style rifle is great for some things, and not so great for others. A large caliber revolver has some great utility that nothing else can match. A good short-barreled shotgun can’t be beat at the things it’s best used for. So, the absolute answer depends on the environment you’re in and the one you’re likely to go to. You need to consider a well-rounded approach to the questions. Have a gun collection that can accommodate as many scenarios as you can dream up. Then, if you have room, bring more. They’ll be great for barter.

    The questions and answers for ammo are similar. In general you want to take all the ammo you can carry. It doesn’t matter if some of it doesn’t fit any of your guns. What you can’t use today may be of use tomorrow. And, remember, ammo is great for barter. We may see a day when a single round of ammo can be traded for a day of rations.

    Knives

    You’ll need several knives, as well as a means to keep them sharp. All knives need to be of high quality. It’s no time for pretty junk. Among knives you must have are: a large-blade folding pocket knife, a good skinner, a large-blade multipurpose hunting knife, a good meat-cutter, and a fighting knife. You don’t need every knife ever created, just the ones that will make your survival a bit more certain.

    Money

    You will need cash, and lots of it. To ensure you have enough, pay a visit to your bank and ask them how much cash they can let you have in a single withdrawal with no notice. The answer you get may surprise you, but it’s something you need to know. I don’t recommend having a large amount of bug-out cash on hand “just in case.” That’s not safe. But, you need to understand how much cash you can assemble in a day or two. You’ll need a withdrawal strategy that allows you to get at as much cash as possible. If you’re financially fortunate you might even set up accounts in several banks just to make sure you can get at it all. That may mean you spend half a day roaming around making withdrawals, but it’s better than bugging out with too little cash on hand. Once you get to your destination you may not need to spend much, but you have to ensure you can get there, and there’s always the possibility you may move again, one or more times. Plan for prices to go steadily up for things you might need.

    Don’t take much in $100 bills. You’ll find them difficult to use for a while. $50 and $20 bills are best. Store the cash in waterproof containers, like boat boxes. Make sure when you pack out you put them in a place where they’re not all that hard to get to, but are still well-concealed. You don’t want it obvious that you have a lot of money with you. Thinking people, especially survivalists, will already assume you do, so be on your guard.

    Don’t take credit cards. They’ll do you no good, and even if you can use them, they make you traceable. Cash only.

    Be prepared to see your cash continuously devalued as the days pass. What cost $1 on Day 1 might cost $100 on Day 15. Don’t let it bother you. It is conceivable that cash may have no value at all in as little time as one month. When people realize the supply chains aren’t going to come back and they see food disappearing – that’s when things will start to get dramatically worse. That’s when the Zombie Apocalypse begins. After that you’ll most likely have to barter for any need. That will be the time when food, guns, and ammo are the most precious of your possessions. Protect them at all cost.

5. What to leave behind

    Gold, silver, any other precious metals or jewels (the first things the Zombies will be after)

    Books (except for survival guides, road atlas, etc.)

    All jewelry, furniture, and art

    Perishable food

    Pets (if you take any dogs, ensure they have a good use)

    Clothes you don’t need

    Anything else that’s not on the “What To Bring” list

6. Travel Considerations

Plan your routes. Ensure you understand all viable alternatives to reach your destination. Have a Route A, Route B, and at least a Route C, in case you need to change. When planning routes, consider the size of towns along the way and the availability of resources in case you need help. Avoid all cities of significant size. Ensure to refuel your vehicle at least every 100 miles. Take refuel stops as opportunities to gather intel on the routes ahead and the general situation. Don’t sightsee. Don’t give out any information about yourself, including where you came from or your destination.

If your timing is right you’ll have departed before the herd. That means you’ll encounter nearly normal traffic and can travel on major alternate routes. If that’s the case, go at the best speed you can safely make and travel straight to your destination. The quicker you arrive the safer you’ll be.

If your departure is either delayed or you find yourself on crowded roads, shift to Route B and keep on. If Route B is jammed, go to Route C as soon as you can. The objective is to arrive at your destination alive, well, and with all you’ve brought with you.

7. What to do when you arrive

When you reach your safe haven it’s important to re-assess it. Ensure it’s what you thought it was when you picked it. Re-examine it for good overhead cover, safe accommodation, good field of fire, and the ease of retreat. It may be a bad time to change your mind, but it’s better than settling in, then deciding it’s not what you need to be safe. If it’s not what you need – don’t unpack. Get back on the road to your Plan B destination.

If your safe haven survives your examination, unpack all the gear you need for day-to-day survival, but not everything. If you unpack everything and later need to leave in a hurry you risk leaving something necessary. Only unpack what you need when you need it.. Use the pickup and trailer like they’re your closets and garage.

Unhitch the trailer, but park it in a place where it can be re-hitched in less than 5 minutes. Ensure to conceal it from aerial view.

If you’ve done this right you should be through unloading and stowing in less than an hour. Set up your camp chairs and take a break.

After you’re settled in, reconnoiter the area. Ensure you examine the terrain around your location. Look for any sign that people have been there recently or of anything newly placed. Ensure your safe place is still safe.

Plan every day to hike around your area until you know the terrain like the back of your hand. Know where every depression and gully is. Know every game trail. Plan an escape route that makes use of natural concealment. Identify every likely fighting position along the routes into and out of your hideout.

Devise a warning system. You need a system that will warn when anyone is coming toward you, whether on the road or across the land. If you have one or more dogs with you, they’ll help. But, you’ll need noise-makers of some kind located along all feasible routes to your hideout. Use your imagination. There are plenty of materials at your disposal. Be creative and think out of the box.

8. Know when to relocate

It seems logical to think you should leave your hideout when the emergency is over, regardless of what that emergency is. Is it logical? Here are considerations:

  • What are the conditions where you want to go next? Is order restored? Is power restored? Is fuel available? If you are only trading one primitive existence for another, it is worth doing?

  • Do you have resources sufficient to get you where you want to go?

  • Is there any unrest along the routes? Is it safe?

If you need to relocate because your hideout is either compromised or has become untenable for any other reason the logical thing to do is proceed to your Plan B hideout. The considerations above are still germane. Your Plan B hideout should be a viable location, but getting there may prove problematic. Don’t trade one bad situation for one that’s worse. Stop. Evaluate. Re-evaluate. Commit. Do what is best, but ensure you have made as many considerations as possible. You don’t want to have to fight your way to your Plan B hideout, but if the place you’re in is too dangerous, it may be the only choice you have left.

The main point is – stay as long as it’s safe. Don’t stay if it’s not. But, if at all possible, don’t trade one unsafe situation for another. It sounds dumb to say, doesn’t it?

9. Re-planning

If there’s anything about planning that’s always true it’s this – it doesn’t matter how good or complete your plan is, once you begin to execute it you’ll watch it fall apart. Great plans will last longer than good plans. Good plans will last longer than bad plans. But, in the end, no matter how great, good, or bad your plan is, you’ll need to reconsider it continuously, and possibly scrap it entirely. Eventually you’ll need an entirely new plan. Count on it. Watch for signs your current plan is no longer viable. The minute after you realize it isn’t, you need to be conceiving and committing to your new plan that takes into account all the changes in your reality. Get used to doing it. It’s not inconceivable that you will need to change elements of your plan as often as daily. Keep what’s good and has proven to work, but don’t keep trying to make any element of your plan work that has failed. Keep in mind at all times – the objective is not to follow a plan; it’s to survive. The more flexible you are, the better you will do. A plan can give you focus and direction, but it’s not an end unto itself.

10. Dealing with people along the way

Be very careful around people you don’t know. Until you’re certain of them, don’t assume people you meet are going to be friends and help you. Don’t reveal anything about yourself you don’t have to. Don’t reveal where you’re from or where you’re going. Have a cover story and alias ready to use in circumstances of doubt. Practice, practice, practice using your cover to make sure you don’t betray yourself. Always use your cover unless you’re in a place you feel safe and know you intend to stay for a while. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Lots of people you’ll meet aren’t who they say they are, either.

10. The importance of principles, rituals, customs & traditions

It may not sound important when you first think about it, but maintaining your principles, rituals, customs and traditions is of primary importance. Those are the things that mark us as civilized humans. It would be relatively easy to revert to a near-animal state once you’re sequestered in your hide-away, but that would defeat one purpose of surviving. You have to grasp that survivors will have to gather together for whatever future awaits. One day the situation that caused you to flee will be over. If you’re lucky it’ll be in your lifetime. Regardless of when it is, those who survive will have the task of rebuilding societies from the remnants left them. If all the trappings of society are discarded, not preserved, practiced, and maintained, what evolves later on could prove problematic. Those who forget who and what they once were can become lost forever. If that happens on a large scale the nation, as we knew it, can’t be reconstituted. What will emerge instead? That would be anyone’s guess, but the potential terrifies me.

© Steve A. Stone

 

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Steve A. Stone

Steve A. Stone is and always will be a Texan, though he's lived outside that great state for all but 3 years since 1970, remembering it as it was, not as it is. He currently resides in Lower Alabama with a large herd of furry dependents, who all appear to be registered Democrats. Steve retired from the U.S. Coast Guard reserves in 2011, after serving over 22 years in uniform over the span of four decades. His service included duty on two U.S. Navy attack submarines, and one Navy and two U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Units. He is now retired after working as a senior civil servant for the U.S. Navy for over 31 years. Steve is a member of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee and Common Sense Campaign, South Alabama's largest Tea Party. He is also a member of SUBVETS, Inc., and a life member of both the NRA and the Submarine League. In 2018, Steve created 671 Press LLC as his own marquee to publish his books under—he does it his way.

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