The Neighborhood Watch – Guest Article

Andrew’s Note:  Today’s guest article is by Prepography reader Naomi Broderick.  Naomi frequently guest writes on other sites and wrote to me concerned that last year’s George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin incident will add fuel to the fire of those that oppose neighborhood watches.  She very astutely observed that the ability to defend your neighborhood with a neighborhood watch may be the next target of bureaucrats and elected busybodies who are opposed to all facets of self defense.  I’m fortunate to live in an area where we still look out for one another informally well enough that we haven’t had to resort to formal neighborhood watches yet but am intrigued by the idea.  An organized watch offers a lot of security value both before and after a local or widespread breakdown in the security situation.  This is a topic worthy of additional discussion. 

What is a neighborhood watch? (more…)

No Safety In Denial – Today’s Quote

There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds.  The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep.  There is no safety in denial.

LTC Dave Grossman, from On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace

Countertracking The Army Way

Andrw’s Note:  Today Prepography is presenting an expansion of yesterday’s article on Tracking the Army Way by helping you develop the skills necessary to avoid being tracked or lose a tracker… also known as Countertracking The Army Way.  

The following is taken directly from the U.S. Army Field Manual, FM 21-75, Combat Skills of the Soldier published 3 August 1984 (Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited).  

Countertracking The Army Way (more…)

Tracking The Army Way

Andrw’s Note:  Today Prepography is pleased to present another military interpretation of a lost skill, namely tracking the Army way. 

I’m an amateur tracker at best.  I learned most of the techniques described here a very long time ago but most of my tracking experience has more to do with hunting quadrupeds than hunting bipeds.  There are a number of reasons that developing skills in tracking can come in handy for the preparedness minded individual.  Three examples of when tracking skills might come in handy are:

  1. Putting venison on the table.  Many of the techniques described here will work equally well for tracking wounded deer, elk, moose or antelope.
  2. Identifying if others have been on your land reconnoitering your home or retreat. 
  3. Tracking down thieves to recover your possessions if there has been a breakdown in the rule of law.  Make sure to avoid confrontations over property, even your property if possible by involving the local authorities…as long as there are local authorities.

What follows is taken directly from the U.S. Army Field Manual, FM 21-75, Combat Skills of the Soldier published 3 August 1984 (Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited).  If you’re fortunate enough to have a copy of TC-31-34-4, Special Forces Tracking and Countertracking it’s a much better reference with color photographs that show examples of many of the situations and techniques described here.  Unfortunately that manual isn’t currently releasable to the public so you’ll have to use a little more imagination here.  

Tracking The Army Way (more…)

Looters With Badges – Today’s Quote

Not all of the looters will … be from the rough neighborhoods.  Some of them may be carrying badges.

Former U.S. Army Captain James Wesley Rawles via

Justice Holmes on Stand Your Ground – Today’s Quote

Many respectable writers agree that if a man reasonably believes that he is in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm from his assailant he may stand his ground and that if he kills him he has not exceeded the bounds of lawful self-defense.  That has been the decision of this court.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Brown v. United States, 1921

The Arsenal of Freedom Circa 1984

While preparing the Field Manual extract from FM 21-75, Combat Skills of the Soldier (Approved for public release, distribution is unlimited) I recently published and called Observation Skills for Survival I kept reading after I’d finished the extract (and my introduction) and came across Appendix G.  The authors of the manual called Appendix G, “Weapons And Fire Control,” but I call it the Infantry Arsenal Of Freedom (at least the first half covering the weapons that’s reprinted below).

The edition I pulled this extract from was published in 1984 and was the current edition when I joined the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantryman.  Some of the weapons would be familiar to soldiers from the modern battlefield… some would also be familiar to a soldier from Vietnam, Korea, World War II or even earlier but several have since been declared obsolete (or at least replaced in our inventories).  This introduction is really just an attempt for me to justify publishing information merely for nostalgic purposes on this the 96th Birthday of the 82nd…not quite sure I pulled it off but what the heck… here’s the Arsenal of Freedom, Circa 1984 extracted directly from FM 21-75:

The Arsenal of Freedom (more…)

Legal and Social Norms for Your Security Preps

Deciding what security preps to include in your every day carry or bug out bag is one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make as a prepper.  If you chose incorrectly there can be serious consequences both as it applies to your family’s safety and also potential legal consequences.  I’ve seen Bug Out Bags and Get Home Bags that look more like a ‘go to war bag’ than a setup designed to get you and your family to safety.  Such an approach is likely to land you in jail if they’re still operating during the opening states of a crisis, make you the focus of unwanted law enforcement attention or even make you a target if you look like you have equipment worth stealing.

There is no way to know ahead of time if the situation you may encounter in every day life, much less the situation that forces you to head home or bug out will also result in a breakdown in the rule of law… so you must consider both the legal environment and the social norms of the areas you intend to pass through as you head home or bug out shortly before or in the opening .  To demonstrate how the legal and social environment should be considered in your security preps consider the following scenario: (more…)

Mike Hoare’s Top 10 Rules of Battle

I love reading books about history and I especially enjoy military history.  Currently I’m listening to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Hoare’s memoir Congo Mercenary which he self narrated.  You don’t expect an adventurer and mercenary to to have a flair for writing but I’m really enjoying the book and am especially enjoying Hoare’s descriptions of the characters he met and commanded as well as what life was like in central Africa in the 1960’s.  As you can tell by his rules, he had rather a romantic outlook on life but many of his rules are nevertheless, timeless maxims for soldiers and those going into harm’s way.  I’ve added a few notes at the end if any of the rules leave you a little puzzled.

Hoare named his Congo Unit, 5 Commando (he’d led 4 Commando in a previous action in the Congolese province of Katanga).  Here are Mike Hoare’s Top 10 Rules of Battle:

5 Commando’s Rules of Battle

1) Pray to God daily.

2) Make a fetish of personal cleanliness; take pride in your appearance.  Even in the midst of battle; shave every day without fail.

3) Clean and protect your weapon always.  They must be bright clean and slightly oiled.  Examine your ammunition frequently.  Check and clean your magazine springs and clips. (more…)

Less Lethal Weapon Options for Your Bug Out Bag

Over the last few years law enforcement officials have replaced the term ‘non-lethal’ the more appropriate term ‘less lethal.’  Less lethal weapons are those that are intended to deter, disrupt or incapacitate rather than kill.  Be aware though that even the most benign less lethal weapon risks a lethal outcome based on the situation and target.  There are reports of lethal outcomes for virtually every type of less lethal weapon developed.  Below are some less lethal weapon options for your bug out bag.  Remember:  that the use of less lethal weapons on a person should only be considered in the face of significant danger to life or severe bodily harm.

Less lethal Weapon Options for Your Bug Out Bag

Shillelagh Walking Stick

Shillelagh Walking Stick

Walking Stick:  Walking sticks have been used for thousands of years as a method of self-defense and are an option even in areas with the most restrictive weapons laws.  Walking sticks also benefit from the fact that most people don’t view a walking stick as a weapon which will make you less threatening to those who don’t mean you harm and provide a surprise for those that do.  Many martial arts disciplines teach methods of stick fighting including traditional Irish Stick Fighting or bataireacht which uses the shillelagh.  Other disciplines use longer sticks like a Bo Staff.  If you’re a current or former U.S. service member you were likely taught to fight with a padded bo stick (the services refer to these as pugil sticks) as part of your hand-to-hand combat and bayonet combat training. (more…)

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