So, who am I, and why do I prep?
I'll turn 49 this summer. I grew up in the suburbs of Richmond, Va. in the 70s and 80s, and spent several summers in the early 80s with my grandparents and cousins in northern Idaho. I read Soldier of Fortune and American Survival Guide and any gun magazine I could get my hands on. I got my first gun, a .22 single shot that my grandparents bought in 1936, when I was 12 or so. I read Mel Tappan and Jerry Ahern, and watched Red Dawn and The Day After. Under my bed I had my .22 rifle, a Mossberg 500 with a pistol grip stock, and a H&R .22 revolver, along with a couple of canteens, my KaBar, some tuna and sardines, and my backpack with some spare clothes, ammo, and some lifeboat matches. I wore t-shirts I bought out of SOF, knockoff jungle boots, and Ray Ban aviators. I "dressed up" to go see Rambo II at the theater. Yeah, I was "that" kid in high school.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps reserve and turned 18 on Parris Island. At 22, my artillery unit was activated for Desert Storm and we saw brief, but heavy combat in Kuwait. From a survival standpoint, I went almost three months without setting foot inside a building, and really tested my body's endurance. I lost almost 50 lbs in the four months I was overseas.
Once back home, I became a cop, and got back into survivalism. I got published as a photographer in American Survival Guide, built my firearms skills and collections, did a fair amount of winter camping, but never really set up a solid larder.
In the late 90s I was living in a 80-year-old rented farm house with a couple of other cops. A little thing called Y2K was on the horizon. I spent tons of money on guns, gear, food, and supplies. Two friends and I bought a 900-number and recorded Y2K news and prep tip messages for $2.99 the first minute and .99 for each minute after. We started our first website, www.SimplifY2K.com. If the stuff had hit the fan, I would have been sitting pretty, and been the self proclaimed warlord of the small town where I was a cop. Thankfully, nothing happened.
In the 2000's I got married, bought a rural home with a couple of wooded acres, and got more sensible about prepping. I'm pretty sure that the Russians will not parachute into a high school football game, and I don't think that I'll be put on a train to the FEMA camp for "reeducation," but...
My main concern now is weather emergencies. We lose power probably an average of 10 days a year here. Hurricanes, ice storms, and derecho winds have messed up things around here in the past few years. My job is about 50% emergency management and planning, so I also look at the big, community picture too. I think my main philosophy now revolves around a moral imperative to prepare to the highest level that you are able to. Public resources are limited, and by taking care of ourselves, it leaves more available for those who are unable to care for themselves due to income, disability, old age, etc... Now, a lot of people who take public aid in a disaster are able to care for themselves, but don't do it because they believe that it is not their responsibility. I don't think very highly of them.
Other than natural disasters, my two main other focuses are on active killer/mass violence attacks, and wilderness survival. I completed a masters degree in 2015 and wrote my capstone paper on the evolution of school active shooter response. Because of my job it is always on my radar. Because of my background and what I have learned, I know that we can do better about preparing children, school staff, business people... everyone... to respond to an attack. Teaching children to hide under a table in the dark is teaching them to die. A few months ago, there was a shooting at an airport. I don't remember which one. The airport went into "lockdown." Video footage showed adults in the terminal, on their hands and knees, hiding their heads under the benches. You know they were drilled that in school. I am putting the finishing touches on a school active shooter response training that incorporates run-hide-fight, along with situational awareness and options. More on that in the future.
On the wilderness survival side of things, I went to Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder school about five years ago and those lessons have stuck with me. I'm not really a camper anymore, but I enjoy being out in the woods. Instead of hiding from the Russian invaders, now I want to be found if I get lost or injured out there. Wilderness survival skills are for those times when the search and rescue folks are looking for you, and you have to stay alive until they get to you. I am looking into getting involved with a local SAR team in the not too distant future.
I have been away from IfItHitsTheFan for a few years. Graduate school took most of my time, but I also just plain got burned out from writing something almost every day. I'm back now. I won't be every day, but I'm going to shoot for once or twice a week. I hope you learn something that can help you or your family. I also hope I keep you entertained.
A couple of other tidbits of background about me... I am the director of the Clan Leatherneck Society and Foundation. We are a Virginia non-profit corporation and are awaiting 501(c)3 charity status from the IRS. Our objective is to Celebrate Celtic Heritage and Marine Corps Traditions, while providing aid to Marines in need. That includes, active, veteran, families, and FMF corpsmen. So yes, I wear a kilt sometimes. Check us out at www.ClanLeatherneck.com. I'm a big fan of old school pro wrestling. I grew up with Blackjack Mulligan, Ricky Steamboat, and Baron Von Raschke in Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling. I don't give two hoots about WWE, but I really enjoy going to the local independent matches around here. I've got a '72 Jeep Commando that I love to tinker with and cruise during nice weather. It is EMP proof, but in reality, I figure the roads will be so clogged that I couldn't get around them anyway. My wife and I love our quiet, rural life. And I still have that 1936 .22 that I got when I was 12.