A Failure Of Civility: The Diary Of John Q. Citizen

A Failure Of Civility: The Diary Of John Q. Citizen

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A warning note, from the authors of A Failure of Civility:

The Diary of John Q. Citizen

Day 236-ATE:

I live in a suburb outside a major metropolitan city in America. My name is… well, my name doesn’t really matter. Let’s just say I’m an average American… the guy in the trenches. So I’ll just put myself down in this diary as John Q. Citizen.

I’m recording what’s happened on paper… I need to in order to keep my sanity. Maybe I’m trying to reassure myself that there is still good in people… even though it’s come to this ATE.

ATE… a strange yet familiar acronym. Everyone uses that acronym now to describe when it all changed… when it all began. It’s spoken in phrases as if it’s an English word that’s been around for centuries… like it’s always been a part of our language.

ATE… “After The Event.” It marks a point in time that everyone generally agrees it all began ‘to happen.’

Actually, there’s ATE and BTE.

BTE refers to “Before The Event.” These acronyms are kind of like B.C. and A.D. that symbolize the before and after of the death of Jesus Christ as a point in time. But there’s no virtue in these new acronyms. They represent wickedness and evil… they signify the time that the Horseman of Death first rode the Pale Horse of the Apocalypse into our world… and hell followed with him.

BTE is spoken almost in hushed tones and the person who let a slip of the tongue speak that acronym usually trails off in mid sentence… embarrassed that they’ve brought back thoughts to others of ‘how it used to be’ and the decency we all once seemingly had.

Their sudden realization that they’ve dredged dangerous memories up in other Group Member’s minds quickly becomes apparent… then there’s an uncomfortable silence as people, in their numbness, are painfully made aware again by the harsh reality of ‘how it is now.’

Thoughts of grocery stores with every conceivable food, the frustration not that an item wasn’t available, but the daunting task of reading the gauntlet of confusing labels to determine which you want makes their memories salivate.

Regardless, there is always a distant, longing look in everyone’s eyes after the term BTE has tumbled out of someone’s mouth… memories that create a craving again for what we had.

But the reality is that it started ‘to happen’ way before The Event. It began to change slowly further back… much further back.

It took decades of transformation of people’s attitudes to create the basis for what’s occurred. The anger, frustration, resentment and selfishness came about so gradually few realized how much they’d changed and how they’d become. Like a growing puppy dog, you only realize it when you look back at the first photo of that little puppy and are suddenly shocked at how big a dog it has grown into… how big he’s gotten, even though he grew up right under your nose. You saw it happen… but just didn’t realize it.

Some of what people are now has always been there… some of it is natural and necessary… a degree of self-centeredness and the will to survive has always been a part of people. But the lack of compassion, selfishness and brutality that have surfaced to overwhelm those characteristics now is beyond description by word. These characteristics were also in people BTE and most of us saw them… but just didn’t realize it.

Our leadership keeps a log book on every incident and event since this started. Its part of our Neighborhood Protection Plan procedure. We call our Neighborhood Protection Plan our ‘NPP’ for short. The log book is a record of events, signed witness statements and such, usually concerning the use of deadly force. Legal protection they say… for when things get back to normal… but most of us wonder if that will ever happen.

The log book is very pointed and ‘dry’ and covers only the basics of what occurred and who was involved. So I’ve decided to write my own account of what’s happening. That’ll add a little ‘humanity’ by my supplement of the log book… it’ll put a little more meat on the skeleton of our existence… and also make note of mine and other’s personal situations.

I’ll write as long as I can, but that’s going to be determined by pencils, pens and paper…

Pencils, pens and writing paper… such simple things we took for granted! Like all the simple things we miss having now. I’m writing on scraps of paper and I’m down to the stub of my last pencil. So unless I can find another pencil… or a pen that works… that will be the end of this diary.

When the mobs got to this area, our Group Members high up in marksman and observation positions watched as hundreds of people were killed in neighborhoods around us during the first days and weeks. Police units responding were literally driven off by a hail of gunfire and gasoline bombs from the mob.

It’s now very apparent what the military budget cuts have done as military units suffered the same fate from the mob, except those with armor. The actions of these young, fresh out of boot camp, inexperienced men and women soldiers was almost laughable… if they hadn’t projected so clearly the fright that visibly permeated them to the marrow of their bones. Most of them took cover and refused to fire their weapons in fear of exposing themselves to the mob’s fire.

But by the time tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers could rumble to the scene they found nothing but burning homes and an area devoid of life. American military efforts to reestablish control in our metro area hit a stone wall… they’d crossed the threshhold into the “Somalia Syndrome.” There were too many ‘hit and run’ armed people, too many streets, alleys and buildings, too many locales to respond to and too large an area to cover… for too few military personnel.

The gangs seized three National Guard Armories and are now just as well armed as the military and used guerilla hit and run tactics against them. Guerilla forces can pin down twenty times their number and that’s just what’s happened.

So the military has retreated to the outskirts. The city has now been surrounded by military, National Guard units and what is left of the police force. They’re dug in like World War I trench soldiers in a ring around the metro area and suburbs… including ours. We call their ring of fortifications ‘The Wire.’

‘The ‘Wire’ isn’t there to prevent the lawless gangs from spreading their violence to areas outside the city and suburbs… The Wire is there because of one thing… disease. Typhus, cholera and dysentery are now killing more people than starvation. So now no one comes in… and no one goes out. Anyone getting close to The Wire is killed in a hail of bullets… if they make it past the anti-personnel mines.

We’re like a medieval city under siege. Like the penal colony of Manhattan in the movie “Escape from New York” …we’re penned in and left to sort things out between ourselves. Air drops of food supplies inside The Wire began after the truck and rail convoys were overwhelmed and stripped bare by starving people or hijacked by the gangs. Food drops have now mostly ceased after authorities realized the gangs were confiscating them. Control of the food was making the gangs stronger and giving them total control over the surviving population.

The food situation is much better now… we were running low two months ago. Actually we’re swimming in food now and we’ve filled up every garage in the subdivision with MREs. The military is making air drops of MREs, medicines and other supplies to us weekly thanks to Tom Ryland ‘turbo charging’ our radio so that we could transmit and receive on emergency frequencies to the outside world.

It took forever to convince them of who we are. It was a difficult task getting them to believe we’d survived inside The Wire …within the ‘circle of madness.’ Rescue units had been baited by the gangs too many times and ambushed… just for what they had. The army eventually flew a couple of helicopters in to check out our neighborhood… they hovered over us a while, took photos and then left.

They informed us by radio they won’t take us out yet because of the disease threat. But they’ve promised that helicopters and medical people will come for us soon. That may not happen because we’re arguing with them… we refuse to surrender our weapons to them as they’ve demanded. They couldn’t protect us before… so why should we have any faith in them that they can protect us in the future.

When it started there were those we called Outsiders, which were people outside our Protective Perimeter who weren’t necessarily hostile, and Intruders… those who would attack our defenses. Now they’re all half mad from hunger… and they’re all Intruders.

We refuse to count on anything from the government… they’re still the government. They can stop the air drops of food if that’s their decision… the women have planted huge amounts of potatoes and vegetables. The most skilled of us at hunting have organized hunting parties in the surrounding woods and we’re getting some protein by way of fresh animal kills, fish and we have MREs up the wazoo.

We’re always careful to reconnoiter the surrounding area that we hunt first and make certain there’s a security detail with the hunters. The same with the ‘fishermen’ types of our group. Packs of feral dogs are consuming their former masters and are a bigger danger to us now than Intruders. My boy’s are in ‘pig heaven’ when they can go along on these hunts.

The people who joined us from the surrounding neighborhoods have almost finished digging the new bore hole. It’s not 200 yards from the other but water gushes into it. Go figure. We’ll make it on our own if we have to and we refuse to suffer the fate of our neighbors.

The neighbors were killed by their own futility… they thought they could defend against Intruders with their shotgun or hunting rifle by their lonesome or in a small family group. They were quickly overwhelmed regardless of how many weapons they had.

Their houses were shot to pieces with them inside and then burned after they’d been looted. The fire department, trying desperately to extinguish burning houses all over the city, had to have a police guard when they came out. They stopped responding to calls after a week and houses and buildings everywhere just burned to the ground.

The neighbors lacked the Strength through Numbers and the organization and tactics that we employed in our Neighborhood Protection Plan to keep us from being victims of the mobs. They lacked what we Neighborhood Guardians knew.

The same happened to most of those who cached their equipment and supplies in remote ‘retreat’ areas they considered defensible and planned to ‘Bug Out’ to. The ones that didn’t get out early have either been killed in the suburbs, on their way out of the metro area to their ‘Bug out Location’… or they were caught like everyone else unprepared and have joined the mobs to survive.

Their ‘remote retreat’ plans seemed so credible… but most made one critical miscalculation… they couldn’t get to them because they couldn’t get out of the city. Only those who left early made it ahead of the gridlock of traffic on every road… then the cordon barricades of the military… The Wire.

I’ve decided to read to myself portions of what I’ve written from today’s date back to when I started writing. Maybe I missed something… or maybe it’s my inward longing to reaffirm my belief that there’s more to people than what they’ve become. Maybe, just maybe, I can remind myself that people were once different… they were once ‘civilized.’ I think I’m trying to reestablish my belief in mankind again… by writing about all this.

Mankind… it seems such an oxymoron now if you divide that term into its two words… ‘man’ and ‘kind.’ It’s a New Dark Ages here… like humanity has hit the reset button.

The National Emergency Broadcast System said again today that “Order is slowly being restored.” That tells us this situation is going to go on for quite some time.

About 12 months ago… BTE:

“Neil Boltz is coming over after dinner, Joan.” I informed my wife after I walked through the kitchen door that evening after I’d come home from work. I blurted it out quickly right after I kissed her on the cheek.

I knew she’d sense the nervousness in the tone of my voice if I waited and said it in measured words… but at the same time I didn’t want the evening to start off with her upset. She didn’t miss a beat or even turn to look at me while continuing to prepare our evening supper.

“Neil Boltz? Why?” she questioned me nonchalantly in a cheerful manner as she carried on setting the table.

I waited uneasily for the realization that would soon come to her. My statuesque blonde ‘Barbie Doll’ looking wife froze in mid-step then looked at me suspiciously, “He’s not coming to talk about this neighborhood thing, is he?”

“Yes he is honey!” I admitted bravely with a lump in my throat because I knew how irritated she got over this.

“You know John… you, Neil and the others involved with this neighborhood protection thing need to see someone for help… I think you’re all crazy… so do the boys. Protecting the neighborhood is a job for the police… that’s what we pay our taxes for.”

“Joan… Neil and I are going to talk about this tonight and I’d like you to listen to what he has to say,” I insisted… side stepping the last part of her statement.

“Well, count me out!” she said adamantly. “I want no part of it… and I don’t want you spending our money on this! Remember, I just got laid off my job and that was over eighty thousand dollars a year that we no longer have coming in!”

“Speaking of which… anything looking better today… any job interviews?” I asked her in an attempt to diffuse the nature of our conversation by changing the subject and throwing the weight of concern totally on her.

“Oh, Patty helped me redo my resume today,” she said as her tone changed to a subdued and worried voice, “There’s nothing out there in my old sales job. Melinda called me today… she got laid off by Pharmarex too and said they’re down to two reps for the whole metro area. From eleven reps to two… can you believe that!? So long to the world of dental pharmaceutical sales, baby! People are just hurting so much for money that cosmetic dental work is one of the last things they can afford.”

“Patty is so common sense and talented.” she went on, “She finally convinced me to go back to being a surgical assistant. I’ve resigned myself to looking for an assistant’s job… if I can find one.” she said with a sense of resignation.

“Honey, Patty’s become one of my best friends… I just adore that woman!” Joan said affectionately. “Neil is so level headed too… I just don’t understand this neighborhood protection thing you guys have been talking about so much for the last months.” she finished by turning the conversation around again and putting the ball in my court… but at least her voice was now civil.

“Okay, honey… I’ll make you a deal. You sit in and listen to what Neil says and if you don’t agree with any of it… if he doesn’t make the point to you, I won’t spend a dime of our money on it… deal?”

“I don’t know John… it seems so extreme!”

“Come on… deal?” I said, pressuring her.

“John… don’t put me in a corner like this… you know how I feel about this and especially spending money we don’t have on it. I don’t think so.”

I stood up and walked over to her, literally blocking her further movement in the kitchen and forcing her to face me, “Joan… you have to listen to what Neil has to say. He’s been a cop in

this out-of-control and violent city we live next to for 35 years. You just said how much you admire his level headed thinking… wasn’t that what you just said?” I pressed the point home to her figuratively boxing her in. Neil was a no nonsense likeable guy who, when he talked to you… you knew he meant business.

She nodded her head in resignation, “But…” she began to say as I quickly put my finger to her lips to stop her saying more.

“Just listen to what Neil has to say… please honey!” I pleaded to her in a subdued tone as I stared into her eyes.

After a bit of silence she lowered her eyes and murmured reluctantly and in a barely audible voice, “Okay.”

I must say, one of the many things I love about my wife is her strong will… but I love her just as much because she lets me wear the pants in the family. She eventually agrees with what I want to do when she knows I’ve made my mind up… and I’d made up my mind. I hadn’t made up my mind that day… actually it was something that happened the day before that made up my mind.

Yesterday…

Sometimes situations occur… while you’re in a relaxed state of mind and your thought is unguarded. Danger just comes out of nowhere. It’s like evil appears through a worm-hole in time and is right in your face… and you can’t escape it.

What happened brought me back to the real world. I’ll admit that I’m not the sharpest tack in the box… I’m not stupid either… but that day the light bulb of reality came on brightly.

After I pulled into my driveway and turned off my car engine, I sat staring at my garage door in the ensuing silence. Normally, I’d have been out of my car and bounding into my house, excited to see my wife and those two wonderful teenage sons of mine after driving home from work. I had a cushy job as a computer analyst for a huge financial firm which I enjoyed immensely.

But I sat there staring at my garage door thinking about what I’d just experienced. And then a sudden fear welled up in me for my wife and 17 and 15 year old sons… of the world they were living in and the people like the bully I just encountered that they’d eventually run into at some point on their path through life. Maybe I wouldn’t be there to help them. But what bothered me more that day was if I couldn’t defend myself… how could I protect them?

I suddenly felt a sickening feeling in my stomach. I’d dropped the ball as a father and a husband… as their guide and protector. I’d been so wrapped up in this ‘civilized’ and ‘politically correct’ lifestyle that failed to see the need to teach my boys how to deal with violence. I now had lingering doubts about my ability to protect my wife. I concluded that I was living in a cocoon… and the real world had just taken a bite out of my rear end.

“Christ, I can’t believe that guy just did that to me!” I muttered out loud still in a state of mental shock and disbelief like that of victims after an assault… still consumed by a mixture of fear, shock and anger.

On my way home from work traffic had slowed to a crawl and then stopped, just before the off ramp to my house. It turned the freeway into a temporary parking lot of vehicles full of drivers

bumper to bumper. Traffic was backed up as far as I could see in both directions. Horns were blaring as people caught in this mass of stalled cars became increasingly frustrated and angry.

The right front bumper of a jacked up dirty brown four wheel drive pickup appeared in my peripheral vision before my mind could relay to my body that I must brace myself for a collision. The pickup screeched to a halt just inches short of my car door. The pickup driver had bullied his way around and through the other cars and was now sitting at an angle across two lanes of traffic right up against my car… the only obstacle between him and the freeway shoulder.

The pickup driver blew his horn in one continuous blast. It was only a few feet from me and I rolled up my window to stop the deafening noise. I shot him an angry glance and threw my hands up in the air indicating to the pickup driver and yelling at the same time “What am I supposed to do!? There are cars in front and in back of me… I can’t move out of your way!”

He was a big guy. Overweight but big and despite his protruding belly, I could clearly see the butt of a large caliber revolver sticking out of his jeans when he jumped out of his pickup. He carried a baseball bat and came over to my window motioning me to roll it down.

“You get your f@#&ing car out of the way or I’ll drag you out and break some of your bones with this pal! Comprende hombre?” he said with his meaty hand holding the bat and pointing it at me with outstretched arm.

It was as if an electrical shock had struck me. At that moment I felt completely helpless… abused and insulted in a way that made me inwardly doubt my manhood. I lived in a ‘genteel world’… one so alien to physical violence… and this guy was the personification of violence.

I frantically worked my car back and forth inches at a time until I could squeeze out and drive forward on the shoulder. The pickup shot around me throwing dirt and gravel from the shoulder over my car and others then headed through the ditch for the off ramp. He went under the bridge and sped off in the opposite direction of my neighborhood.

The confrontation wasn’t physical… there was no contact… but there may as well have been. As I stared at my garage door thinking of my wife and kids in the house, the thought crossed my mind… How many people are really like that!?

The fact that ‘Civilized Behavior’ is a very thin veneer covering the worst nature of people was now flashing in my mind like a strobe light. I realized at that moment what people would do if there was no law and order. Then I wondered what people would do if they’re starving and couldn’t feed themselves or their family!? I knew what the guy who I had the run in with would do, but what would other ‘normal’ people do?

As I sat there I realized what I’d hidden in the dark recesses of my mind for years was the reality of people’s capabilities. ‘Civilization,’ law and order and the court system had lulled me into ignoring the animal behavior that was the real mindset of millions I lived and worked around.

I thought about those nameless faces in cars I passed every day while driving the 30 some miles to work on the freeway. Which ones were the violent ones… which of them have killed… what do good people look like and what do bad people look like?

What were those people I crossed paths with walking the business district really like? What were those strangers who worked in my building… those I sat close to eating lunch or shopping at the grocery store… really like? I even began to re-evaluate those I worked with who I knew, but not well… and I wondered now what the real nature was of those I did know.

I was in a highly populated area and for the first time in my life I felt trapped and frightened. In the days following this incident, I began to sense an aura of violence in the air everywhere I went. The nature of people seemed so much nicer when the ‘Age of Abundance’ was about us over the last decades… when everyone seemingly had plenty of money. The bad economy and worry in people seemed to be bringing frustrations and anxieties to a boiling point where they were now so obvious to see… as animal behavior.

But I was concerned about other things too. I was fearful of being laid off his job like my wife had been two months ago. I was nervous about the economy, the growing restrictions and intrusions by government in every level of my personal life. But I was more disturbed about how I would survive and protect my family amongst people who turned animalistic… because I was afraid that this city I lived next to was ready to explode.

There were a growing number of incidents downtown of whites being singled out and indiscriminately beaten by groups of black youth over the last few months. People were avoiding the city center afraid of racial attacks.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was almost like something was in the air… like fear oozed out of people… and I sensed it acutely now.

“How much worse can it get?” I muttered.

I eventually snapped out of my trance and went into the house. I walked into the kitchen where Joan was.

“I’m going to buy a shotgun, Joan.”

She just stood there staring at me with astonishment as if she’d discovered that I’d really been a bank robber all these years… and just pretended to go to work each day as a computer analyst. Her look of surprise quickly changed into an antagonistic reply.

“I don’t want any guns in the house!” she adamantly stated.

“I’m going to buy a shotgun, Joan… maybe two… and probably a rifle and a couple of pistols. I’m going to protect you and the boys… I’m going to learn how to handle these weapons and teach you and the boys so you can protect yourself.”

“Against what!?” she responded in an amazed voice with an incredulous look on her face.

“People! Just plain people! The pushy, selfish, I want what you have and I’m going to take it… and if you get in my way I’m going to hurt you and your family… type of people!” I exclaimed as she walked out the kitchen into the living room no longer wanting to hear me.

I followed her into the living room and told her what happened to me on the freeway and she was stunned.

“Weren’t there any police around? Did you report it to the police?”

“Joan… you know the saying… there’s never a cop around when you need one!”

“I don’t like this idea about the guns, John. What would you have done if you had a gun in your car… shot the guy over something as stupid as that!?”

“No actually I would have done the same thing… moved my car out of the way in a hurry. Someone will level that guy Joan… sooner or later he’ll tangle with someone and lose. But I would have felt better having a gun if he did jerk my door open and try to beat me with that ball bat.”

“Then I would have defended myself.” I went on, “An attack on me, I consider as an attack on my family. Him assaulting me… may as well be him assaulting you Joan, or the boys. What would we live on if he’d put me in the hospital? Your unemployment check!? How’d you like to take care of me as a cripple in a wheel chair for the rest of my life from being beaten half to death? We’d be out in the street homeless! There’s no catch-net anymore Joan… you have to provide your own… you have to take care of yourself… nobody’s going to do it for you, honey!”

“I still don’t like the idea of you buying guns, John.” She said in a somewhat conciliatory tone. But I knew she would come around to my way of thought… she always did when she knew I’d made a final decision.

Just as Joan finished her statement to me a news story flashed across the TV screen. “An elderly man was beaten unconscious and robbed by a gang of youth…” the newscaster reported… as Joan and I watched a video from a surveillance camera of the vicious attack played on the TV. The newscaster went on to say “The city is taking all steps to apprehend these individuals and ensure the safety of the public!”

I was going to start preparing and learn to deal with another type of existence that might come about if the ‘civility’ of normal people disappeared… a violent existence. I hadn’t fired a gun since I was in Boy Scouts… but that was going to change.

When I went to the office the next day I phoned Neil Boltz… and asked him if he’d bring Patty along when he came over that evening to talk to Joan and I.

Neil and Patty visit… and talk:

“Joan… how many days of food do you have in the house?” Neil asked her as she, Patty, Neil and I sat around our kitchen table. Neil’s thick mustache was daunting… just like his never wavering gaze that intimidated those he questioned until he received an answer.

“I don’t know off hand, Neil… I’ve never really thought about it like that. I usually buy groceries once a week… twice a week now since I was laid off.” Joan said uncomfortably.

“What’s your guess sweetie? Could you feed your family for a week on what you have in the house?” Neil’s heavyset, but vivacious wife Patty asked Joan in a pleasant tone.

“Well I suppose so… maybe not eating meals like I prepare now… but I think we could throw enough together to eat for that long.” Joan looked quizzically at Patty. “But there’s one grocery store a mile down the street and another only four blocks away… you know that Patty!”

“Joan, the whole food supply chain is complex and fragile. If one link in the chain breaks it all shuts down.” Neil said. “If the trucks stop running or there’s rioting or the electrical system goes down… how long do you think those stores will have groceries?”

“Well I suppose that could happen, but I’m sure the government would step in…” she was cut off in mid sentence by me.

“Like they did in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina struck, honey?” I swiftly injected. “For five years afterwards all we heard were news reports of the fiasco down there! It still hasn’t recovered.”

“The grocery stores would be empty within hours, Joan! People would be fighting over what’s in them.” Neil quickly added.

As Neil ended, Patty told Joan, “Sweetie, there are two things people need to survive… food and water. Without one or both, people will turn into animals. Now we may not be able to stop all of that… but if this neighborhood is organized and has plenty of food, water and the ability to defend itself… we will survive while other people are running wild like animals out there!”

“I don’t want to think about that! You’re all bringing up the worst case scenarios. People aren’t all like that! I feel like you three are ganging up on me!” Joan answered looking flustered

“But you have to think about it Joan!” Patty said as she put her hand on Joan’s to reassure her and continued, “You owe it to John and the boys to think about it. You can’t bury your head in the sand over this.” Patty paused and said, “Look, Joan, we’re not trying to gang up on you… we’re trying to make you realize how fragile everything is and how dangerous it’s become in areas where people are concentrated like here. All we’re trying to do is prepare people. If it sounds like a crusade… so be it. It really should be with everyone, Joan. Without a cooperative plan in this neighborhood, no one family will survive against hundreds of rioters and looters… it will be just like New Orleans after Katrina.”

“Do you remember the riots after the Rodney King verdict?” Neil asked glancing at Joan and me.

“Yes.” I said.

“You know that I was a cop… I was a patrol sergeant then. The rioting and looting went for days on end here too. I was working 12 hours on and 12 off on patrol. It wasn’t a riot over food and we had all we could do to keep the looting and violence from spreading. Few people know this but the looting and violence actually went on for months after the news reported the city safe.”

“The city just swept the continuing crime from this riot under the rug… they were afraid tourism would continue to suffer.” Neil added. “It was like the people committing these crimes didn’t want to stop… most of them knew they wouldn’t get caught and taking whatever they wanted was like Christmas every day to them. It took us months to get it to stop.” Neil revealed to us.

“That riot wasn’t over food. But the racial situation is also a big concern now… worse now than ever…” he went on to say… “Look at the racial attacks happening in the city. What Martin Luther King did to bring integration about is being undone by the government and a few race hustlers from his former inner circle. They’re fueling the discontent of people. The guys in the department tell me many of these racial attacks are also being swept under the rug and

listed as simple assaults. So you’re not getting the real picture… it’s far worse than you read about or hear about on the news.”

“This racial thing is deeply upsetting to me… it bothers everyone.” Joan injected. “Look at the Wallace’s. They’re such wonderful neighbors and everyone likes and respects them so much. When I talk to Doris and Reggie I don’t even think of them or look at them as ‘black people’… they’re just good people who happen to be my neighbors.”

Neil turned to Joan, “It bothers us too. So the answer to your statement of us bringing up the worst case scenario, Joan, is that the civil unrest from the Rodney King verdict wasn’t over food or out of necessity… but regardless of what starts it, when civil unrest starts again Pandora’s Box will be opened and it will be a long time before the problem is put back in the box and the lid is closed. If it’s over food it won’t be just black people this time… it will be everyone of every color… hungry!” Neil ended with… “This entire neighborhood has to be an armed camp if things go sideways. The next budget cuts will be the fire department so we have to prepare and organize to fight our own fires here too. But mostly we need to be armed and learn to employ tactics to protect this area… you can’t defend by yourself! I might add that the Wallace’s are very involved with the group, Joan.”

“Honey, there are a multitude of things that can happen… from an Electromagnetic Pulse destroying the electrical system and computers shutting everything down in including the food supply… to just plain riots. Look… you have to admit that there are plenty of people in financial trouble in this area… look at all the houses people in this subdivision alone have lost! Look at the way everything we buy is going up in price except our house… we’re upside down on that and going further in the hole… and it’s getting worse, not better. Thank God I have a good paying job and we have some money saved.”

“Joan, our parents lived a ‘Garden to Table’ existence years ago… remember that?” Patty asked her, “We’ve forgotten how we used to live. Much of what my parents ate was grown in their garden or bought from area farmers and processed locally without all the technology needed now… and they had plenty of stored food in the basement for bad times. Now our only source is our grocery stores and they carry very little compared to the long term needs of people… so if the supply stops we’re all in trouble… unless we have it in our houses.”

Neil said, “Look Joan, simple odds point in the direction that the longer time since a social breakdown and violence… means that it’s more probable to happen now. Especially with the economic situation so bad… then add to that the rage festering in most people.”

“The newscaster said today the indications are the economic situation is getting better. This might all blow over.” Joan quipped.

“Honey… they’re ‘economic cheerleaders’ trying to convince everyone in America that the ‘economy is finally turning the corner!’ They’ve been saying that same thing using different words and phrases for the last five years. It isn’t getting better… it’s getting worse. You said yourself that Michelle told you today she’s been laid off and now that’s nine of their eleven sales reps!”

I went on to add, “They next time you have a discussion with one of these ‘economic experts’ and they tell you things are getting better… ask them to explain why. Have them tell you why they know the economy is improving. Most of them will quote a government agency that says its statistics prove so but the people running those agencies couldn’t find their butt with both hands if they had to.”

“All we’re looking to do Joan is to be prepared for problems…” Neil added, “Just like you would under any other circumstance. Only we’re organizing the neighborhood. If there’s large scale civil unrest over anything, the police won’t be able to control it. I know this because the guys I used to work with say so… their patrol areas are a war zone and getting worse by the day and the department is making further cuts in patrolmen. Look at the burglaries, home invasions and the murders that have happened around our area in the last month. The police can’t handle the problems. If anything major happens this city will blow up in their faces… and it will spread outward to the suburbs… including ours.” Neil adamantly said.

“Look, we already have a Neighborhood Watch Program Joan… but we rely on the police to respond.” Patty stated. “The city has cut back on services so much that we can’t depend on them to respond to problems on time. Neil knows how they work on cutbacks… the patrolmen go first… then police management. The patrolmen are the foot soldiers that fight the crime war… management never leaves headquarters. Look how long it took the police to respond to the Wallace’s house when those three guys started to kick their door in… 25 minutes!”

“The city has been running full page advertisements advising people that they cannot guarantee our safety. If it wasn’t for Neil and our neighbor Jason hearing the commotion and running out there with guns to chase them off, who knows what would have happened. If it weren’t for the neighbors taking turns patrolling the neighborhood now, we’d have had many more break ins and robberies. The presence of our guys at the entrances and walking the street is keeping these scumbags away.”

“This is scaring me… maybe we should move out of here, honey!”

“To where, Joan? How far away is safe? How will I keep my job living that far away? We can’t sell the house without taking all our savings to pay off the loss… and we probably can’t sell it soon enough. There’s a glut of houses for sale here and they’ve been on the market forever.”

“Well, we could rent a cabin away from her… somewhere remote. Move our food there and if trouble starts we can go there.” Joan offered.

“You’re better off to stay put here. You won’t make it out of the city to a place like that when trouble starts.” Neil injected. “You’d have to leave before things completely break down and unless you can predict the future, you won’t know when that is. By the time it happens… it’ll be too late. Every road out of town will be plugged with cars. Most people in this city drive around with a fourth of a tank of gasoline… some constantly close to empty… and they’ll all be trying to get out of town. You know what happens when someone runs out of gas on the freeway… the traffic comes to a complete halt.”

“Look Joan… we’ve studied this from every angle… Neil’s right. We have way more resources right where we are and have a better chance of surviving problems right in this neighborhood… as long as we have plenty of food, water and are organized to protect ourselves.” Patty added, “We have a great group of people and it will not be easy… but we can do it. We want you and

John involved also. If people will fight over video games at Christmas and riot when the newest athletic shoe release… what do you think they’ll do when they’re hungry?”

“Okay… okay… okay !!!” Joan finally blurted out. “I give up! It probably wouldn’t be such a bad idea to have some food stored… we can always eat it.”

“Then start stocking up on food, Joan… while I’m at work tomorrow you go to the store and start buying our emergency food supply. Buy a lot of food… take whatever you need out of the bank to do it.”

“I’ll go with you sweetie. It sounds almost bizarre in this day and age… but food is starvation insurance.” Patty’s voice trailed off… “Oh, I’m beating a dead horse… I think we’ve made our point. I’ll come with you and show you what’s best to buy for emergency foods.” Patty said as she stood up and gave Joan a hug.

Around 8 Months-BTE:

Joan’s quiet about the small arsenal I’ve accumulated which I’ve locked in our closet. She’s also said nothing to me about having the boys go to firearms training at a local gun range. She hasn’t gone yet… but she will. I know her. She sees the excitement and delight of Jacob and Josh and hears them say how well they’re learning to shoot and how much fun it is. Her common refrain to the boys is “Just don’t shoot yourself or someone else.”

Joan still hasn’t found a job and is getting extremely upset. She’s worried about finances and is getting her online recertification as a dental surgeon’s assistant. But we have some savings and can make it for a long time on just my income… at least we can eat and keep the roof over our heads for a while.

We have almost everyone in the neighborhood now involved with putting our Neighborhood Protection Plan together. We elected Bryan Chinaski our Primary Neighborhood Protection Plan Leader at our second meeting. None of us knew we had such a competent man in our midst. He was a first lieutenant in the army and served as a line infantry officer during the Vietnam War.

Because of his quiet and reserved nature, we at first doubted what he wrote down on the NPP Group Member Information form… so we asked to see his military DD214. He’s close to seventy but in good health and a very capable tactical planner… a calm and quiet man… but determined. Neil was elected Secondary Leader because of his law enforcement experience and even though we all knew he was a cop, he volunteered to provide us a copy of his Police Officer’s Standards Training, or POST Certification.

We elected a NPP Leadership Council of eleven Group Members. The Council makes decisions on all the affairs of the Neighborhood Protection Plan… with the exception of sticking their noses into Bryan Chinaski and Neil Boltz’s roles as Primary and Secondary Neighborhood Protection Plan Leaders. Those two have total direction and control of the organization and preparation of for defense of our subdivision.

Approximately 5 Months-BTE:

We go in small groups to a local outdoor firing range. Most of us have learned to handle our weapons well. We contacted a shooting range who recommended an expert… he’s actually an avid hunter, to teach some of us long range shooting with our telescopic hunting rifles. We now have a number of Group Members trained in long range marksmanship.

We’re holding training exercises concentrating on flanking attacks and fire and movement tactics coordinated with the marksmen providing cover fire. We’re really getting jacked up in our organized movements. Very few of us have had any military or law enforcement experience but Bryan Chinaski told us today that he’s very amazed at what he sees and he’s proud of us. “My Neighborhood Guardians…” as he calls us.

Without Protective Perimeter fortifications, these marksmen, movements and tactics… we know we’ll have a difficult time defeating what we assume will be multitudes of Intruders… far superior in numbers to us. To bolster our defensive capabilities we’ve begun building ‘landscape fortifications’ that actually make the neighborhood look nicer… but outwardly conceal fall back fighting positions, guard posts, kill zones and entry guard positions.

The construction types in our group have built three beautiful cupolas on homes we selected as the best for observation posts and marksman positions. These positions can cover strategic areas around our Protective Perimeter and the main approaches to our subdivision. We’ve also identified two story houses and buildings around our neighborhood that can be used by Outflanker Marksmen. These are marksmen teams that will station themselves outside our Protective Perimeter when the time comes to coordinate their cover fire with the Inside Marksmen.

Food. How casually we take it for granted. It’s just around the corner at the grocery store if you need it. Huge stocks of it in bulk if you want to buy from the warehouse stores.

If.

This is the one area that Joan and I agreed on most initially. We’ve sold some of our ‘toys’ and converted some of our bank savings to food and other survival supplies that Neil and his Group Members have recommended we buy. Joan is okay with this because everything is going up in price so much. It’ll be better in the long run to have some of our savings in food and tangible items rather than all of it in the bank or ‘leisure toys.’

I’m buying extras like bags of rice and beans. I know some in the neighborhood are in tough financial predicaments and are struggling… but they’re great Group Members so I quietly add to our food supply with those people in mind.

Besides, the bank is paying just a little over one percent per annum interest and food prices are going up ten to twelve percent a year… actually more than that now. Guns and ammunition are going up in price by the month. Joan and I both think it’s just common sense to buy more of everything we need that’s tangible… especially food. Unlike our bank account, we can always eat our food.

Joan now insists we buy more ammunition… lots more than we planned on. Joan had her purse stolen in broad daylight when she went to fuel the car two weeks ago. Her purse was torn from her grip and she was violently knocked to the ground just after she got out of her car at the gas station.

Other than a few bruises, she wasn’t hurt, but something tripped in her mind after that incident. I know that the worst nature of people was now flashing in her mind like a strobe light too. The woman has become obsessed with target shooting and I had to tell her today to back off a little. She’s going through way too much ammunition.

We have every nook and cranny… under beds, in closets and under stairs crammed with food, water, medicines and ammunition… but mostly food… emergency food. Dehydrated, Freeze dried, a civilian form of Meals Ready to Eat and mainstream foods.

We’ve adapted the procedure to ‘Eat what we’ve stored.’ We’ve begun to eat out of our food stocks to adjust our digestive systems to the part of the meal that is MRE, freeze dried or dehydrated foods. We buy new to replace what we consumed at a meal and rotate the new purchase to the back of the stock.

Our Neighborhood Protection Plan now has NPP Communal water purification equipment and back pack fire fighting equipment and extinguishers. We have an emergency base radio and have purchased enough two way radios for our group. We store these and all other pieces of electronic equipment in a Faraday Cage in the garage of the house chosen as the Watch Center to protect them against an Electromagnetic Pulse Event. We’ve also chipped in as a group to buy and store food for some of those in the neighborhood who can’t afford it. It’s also being stored in the garage of the Watch Center house that we call ‘The Pantry.’

Our Group Members all contributed to putting a water bore hole in one Group Member’s backyard. It’s an old fashioned open well that will supply the basic water needs of the entire neighborhood. Its concrete lined, has a manually operated rotary hand pump and should be done in a few days. It refills slowly, but it will provide enough water for us to all subsist on if we don’t waste it.

The entire neighborhood has a sense of cooperation like I could never have imagined. I’ve discovered that Tom Ryland across the street is not the arrogant jerk I always thought he was for years. That’s strange now that I think of it. I consider myself a logical person… but I made this assumption without ever exchanging a word with the man.

Tom is just a quiet, introverted but yet an extremely intelligent guy who just likes to keep to himself. He’s an electronics nut and builds and repairs just about everything and anything that’s electronic. Tom and I have become good friends. He’s a very compassionate and generous guy to a fault and I have silently asked his forgiveness for my prejudicial attitude on numerous occasions. We’re all closer now as neighbors than we have ever been. The worse the crime rate gets… the closer bond we all have.

The local news media today said that “The county and city have issued statements that budget shortfalls and cuts are forcing them to further curtail law enforcement services.”

Interesting… as the last part of the news caster’s statement was that… “The city and county also want to reassure each and every citizen that they’re taking all necessary steps to guarantee the safety and security of the public despite these cutbacks.”

Something like 2 Months-BTE:

The European Financial Crisis has worsened and is becoming evident here. Prices of everything are going up as the U.S. Dollar’s value declines worldwide. But despite that I’m starting to feel a sense of relief and security. I’ve learned to use my weapons and so have the boys… and Joan.

Joan loves punching holes in paper targets and it almost scares me how good she’s become at combat shooting drills. Her aversion to firearms has changed 180 degrees and she’s almost macho about her shooting and very vocal of her right to possess and carry weapons.

The crime rate has gone through the roof here… well, not actually in our neighborhood. There have been killings, beatings, muggings, car jackings and home invasions in every neighborhood around us and more burglaries than you can count.

We’ve activated our Neighborhood Protection Plan on a Low Alert basis and are taking turns patrolling our neighborhood streets and entrances to our neighborhood during the day and especially at night. It’s like ‘the word’ is out to those prowling the suburbs for victims… don’t mess with the Meadows Subdivision.

Our whole group knows how important it is to trust each other and act as a unit. When we first organized, Group Members were reluctant to reveal simple things like how many and what type of firearms they had… the same with food supplies and other equipment. We now talk openly to each other about these things. We are a real community.

We have realized that no one individual will survive if it gets bad enough that mobs and gangs try to break into our neighborhood. Our NPP’s strong point is Strength through Numbers. We are trained, organized, disciplined and coordinated… and we’ve learned to trust each other. We are our Neighborhood Guardians.

Joan wears her pistol now always. I think she’s going a little overboard. She puts her belt, magazine holders and holster rig on in the morning and takes it off at night just like her earrings. She told me we need to spend the money to get her more ammunition and spare magazines. She also wants a smaller version of her automatic pistol for ‘backup’ she says. She wants the same caliber pistol that will accept the magazines from her larger pistol. She’s immersed herself deeper into firearms than I could ever have imagined… she knows more about weapons than I do now.

The boys currently spend most of their time reading about shooting, hunting and survival on the internet and helping me with preparedness items. They now seldom play those mindless video games. They spend much more of their time outdoors now. I still have trouble getting them to finish their school homework… some things don’t change. Both boys seem to have a maturity about them now that I’ve never before seen. They asked me today if they can go deer hunting this fall.

It’s like my whole family has come out of a cocoon because of the preparedness that started with this Neighborhood Protection Plan. We’re closer and more like a family than we have been for the last 17 years. Joan has even started a big garden in the backyard and loves it. We now eat dinner at the table and discuss the day’s events… instead of her and I eating supper on the couch, eyes glued to the TV… and the boys in their rooms eating supper while playing video games.

Joan still hasn’t found a job and she’s now resigned to being unemployed despite getting recertified as a dental surgeon’s assistant. She told me yesterday “I’ll hold down the home front. If I can’t find work, at least I can save us some money on produce with the garden.”

We’re pretty well prepared for anything. We’re way ahead of the curve compared to most people, and we’ve backed off our obsession with ‘prepping’ as some call it. We just feel more secure having food to eat and being able to physically protect ourselves. Two simple things in life that we no longer assume will be provided for us and that we no longer take for granted.

Our NPP is functioning pretty smoothly. Our group has sorted out the men from the boys and those who “Talk the talk… but can’t walk the walk.” Those responsible and committed… and those who aren’t responsible, are lazy or can’t seem to fit into the team effort. Fortunately we’ve found few of the latter.

We not only have a NPP written plan, we’ve had “Weekend Dark Ages” …rehearsals where we’ve shut off power, communications and have created as close to what we expect a post Catastrophic Event scenario environment will really be like to ensure all our written planning works and our Neighborhood Protection Plan functions smoothly.

The local news media today reported that “Because of the impact the spreading European Debt Crisis has had on the economy, further budget cuts are necessary for both the police and fire departments. Local government law enforcement and fire department spokesmen stated today that despite further reductions they’re taking all steps to ensure the safety and security of the public!”

The convenience store just around the corner was robbed today and two of the clerks were shot dead. The killings were unnecessary. The robbers got the cash from the till and from all the customers… but they knew they could get away with it… so they kill. They’ll probably never be caught. It took the police more than 30 minutes to respond.

Our neighborhood group worked on radio communication procedures this evening.

Roughly a week-BTE:

Some have quit going to their jobs in the city because crime is so bad in the areas where they work. Assaults and robberies have made it like a war zone in the city. The intermittent garbage service leaves trash blowing around at the whim of the winds like a capital city in a Third World country on the African Continent.

We can’t get a timely response from any emergency services. One of our neighbors died from a heart attack yesterday… something that would not have happened six months ago. Our leadership has activated the NPP to a Mid Alert status… we openly carry weapons now and the Watch Center is manned and the two-way radios are charged and have been distributed.

Our NPP leadership has assured the one law enforcement officer who lives in our subdivision and every fireman, emergency services worker and public safety officer that reside here that their families will be protected and taken care of. We hope this allows them to carry on their job without being concerned for their family’s safety.

Gun stores have been emptied… not from looters… they’re just sold out. People have purchased anything that fires a projectile. There is absolutely no ammunition available anywhere. When it does come in the lines are longer than those at the gas pumps during the oil embargo of 1972. Price gouging is accepted without comment. It’s not what the cost is… it’s the issue of can you get it?

The gas prices have gone so high that three to four times as many people are riding the bus. Who says criminals aren’t innovative? Three guys in an old Lincoln Town Car went from bus stop to bus stop on the busiest routes just ahead of the bus yesterday… they stopped… got out with shotguns and robbed each of the bus riders of money, jewelry, iphones and anything else of value. Rumor is they robbed 800 people at over twenty bus stops in three hours before the police could figure out their scheme… one bus stop after another like clock work.

The word is that the mayor has asked the governor of our State to send in National Guard Military Police units to help local police patrol the streets.

The local news media reported today that “Government authorities and law enforcement sources said that want to assure every citizen that they are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of the public! They want the citizens to know their leaders are working night and day to resolve problems and that the people of the metro area are their first priority!”

There’s a long running political feud between the mayor and the governor and so far the Guard hasn’t been activated… or even alerted.

Day 1-ATE:

It just happened. No one really knows where it started but we generally agree that it started today. People just went crazy in the city. You could call it a riot… but it was more like mobs looting every store they saw. One critical difference between this riot and those of the past… electronics and clothing stores were largely untouched… but the clothing, shoe and especially grocery stores were stripped bare.

Prices have skyrocketed to the point that people can’t buy the necessities and pay their rent and utilities. They’re as desperate to have both food and shelter… as drug addicts are for their next fix. People have quickly turned animalistic… but there are also normal people like you and me… fathers, mothers, daughters, grandfathers, sons… decent folks, who now rob and kill to survive.

Like in the movie “Apocalypse Now” …where the sailor ran back and jumped into the patrol boat after coming close to being eaten by a tiger and says in a terrified voice over and over again… “Don’t get out of the boat!” …the phrase “Don’t go into the city!” is being repeatedly in fearful, hushed tones by people in the suburbs.

The city is at a stand still. Schools have been closed. Teenage mobs are beating and robbing everyone that doesn’t look a part of them. Hundreds of police in riot gear make futile attempts to cordon off and stop the madness but are literally knocked down and run over by masses of angry people.

Our leadership has activated the NPP to a High Alert status… we are controlling the entrances to our subdivision and are manning positions 24 hours a day. At the first sign of mass violence in the area our Outflanker Marksmen will take their positions.

The news media today said that “Local Law Enforcement, in cooperation with State authorities, is taking all necessary steps to deal decisively with the situation. We advise citizens of the curfew in effect from 6 pm to 6 am and warn that anyone found on the streets during these hours is subject to immediate arrest. We urge all citizens to stay at home until further notice.”

Day 29-ATE:

The madness that hit our city has now turned into more than just finding something to eat. The lid on Pandora’s Box has been opened. It’s very clear to us that most of the rioters prefer this ‘free for all’ and continue on despite heavy patrols by police and National Guard units.

There are an increasing number of almost guerilla style roof top attacks on police and Guard members. Fire bombings against those attempting to restore order are increasing. It’s rumored that a few police and Guard units have been massacred and their weapons and gear taken by the progressively more violent organized gangs.

Food supplies have begun to be trucked into the city to feed masses of people that are in the early stages of starvation. Many of these convoys have come under intense small arms fire and have turned around and left or have been robbed. Few of the trucks have gotten through to their delivery points and those that have were literally emptied in seconds by the crush of thousands of starving people, before the food could be equitably distributed.

The water system went off today. We’ve been expecting this for a long time. The National Guard assumed command over all utilities of the metro area including the electrical grid but didn’t have the knowledge necessary to keep it functioning.

We were experiencing electrical ‘brown outs’ more frequently and then the power went off six days ago… we’ve gone to candles for lighting and are cooking by a communal fire. We ‘black out’ all light at night and an uncanny silence permeates our NPP… there’s none of the noise our minds were so accustomed to for years… that dull, low level audible presence of the city.

It is rumored that Federal Troops have been ordered in to major metropolitan areas and that heavy fighting is going on between them and large gangs in some areas. We also hear that the military has been unable to reestablish control and have withdrawn to surround many of these metro areas. Budget cutbacks for the military and Guard units over the last years have created a disaster which is now very apparent. They do not have enough hard manpower to restore order.

Further weakening the American military was the program that some ‘bean counter’ at the Pentagon instituted years ago that forcibly retired experienced military personnel and replaced them with green, inexperienced officers and enlisted men and women. The program was praised for cutting the Defense Department’s budget costs considerably by drastically lowering payroll costs… but the result of this is that the armed forces are now virtually worthless as an effective fighting force… they’re more like heavily armed Boy Scout troops.

The local news stations are no longer on the air. Most of their employees refuse to drive the gauntlet to work and are staying home to protect and be with their families and their back up generators are out of diesel fuel.

National Emergency Broadcast System said again today that “Order is slowly being restored.” We get little information… most of what we hear are unsubstantiated rumors from passersby.

We listen to the National Emergency Broadcasting System… the government… and hear the same statements over and over… but few longer trust or believe anything they say.

Day 98-ATE:

Despite our sufficient food supplies… many of us have broken out with boils, especially those eating emergency foods so different from what they normally consumed. Prayer and the reading the Bible are becoming a daily ritual amongst many. Some of the most zealous of those who have discovered God since ATE say the boils are a Biblical Curse as punishment for what man has done.

We’re all surprised at how much those who cursed, drank and swore like drunken sailors have changed into the opposite of what they used to be. A few refuse to further use weapons to defend our NPP. Some of these were avid gun owners BTE.

They openly seek atonement from anyone and we’ve seen a couple of them periodically gazing into the sky in loud and almost angry prayer… asking God to forgive them for taking the lives of Intruders. We’ve assigned them other duties.

The term Hoplophobes now comes to mind… people that have an irrational fear of firearms. The roles have been switched though… those former hoplophobes BTE now eagerly carry their weapons almost in a caress … like they’re having a love affair with them. We find them also the most responsive at a moment’s notice to man the Protective Perimeter.

We’re all in a state of slight mental confusion from the lack of sleep and the trauma of all the killing. We find our minds wandering and we’re unable to concentrate fully in doing the most elementary tasks. Every person is irritable from being on a constant low level state of mental alert. The signs of depression are in everyone except the most hardened like Bryan Chinaski, Neil Boltz and the few others, mostly those with prior military and law enforcement experience.

Throw in the horrid smells of everything from burnt wood to filthy, smelly bodies and filthy clothes and it puts a surreal dimension to how we live. We’re starting the new water bore hole in a few months, dependent on the food supply. Hopefully we’ll have enough water to bathe or shower and wash clothes.

Our antibiotics are exhausted and the nurse practitioner who Joan helps tend to our medical needs with, has advised the council that unless we get more medicines, minor cuts or skin scrapes are almost a death warrant. She warns that Sepsis, or whole body infection, shock and death will occur if not treated properly.

We’ve scavenged surrounding areas for materials to build up our protective perimeter. We’re like a fortified compound now. Despite the fires in surrounding neighborhood homes, we have enough wood from partially burned houses around us and trees for fires to cook and heat ourselves by until ‘the cows come home.’

What we’re very concerned about now is fire as winter has begun to set in. We’re worried about the burning-the-house-down type of fire. Everyone is on ‘Fire Alert.’ We’ve established a rotational shift to heat rocks for people to warm them self by indoors rather than use indoor fires. By previous NNP agreement, fires and cooking are now communal or are restricted to outside homes. We’ve already had one family die from carbon monoxide poisoning… we don’t know how this happened and they aren’t in a position to longer care or shed light on it.

Those dependent on insulin, oxygen, beta blockers and other items that medically assisted them in staying alive, died within days, weeks and months of ATE. These people were ‘The Terminal Living’ amongst us and we and they expected their departure. Those who’ve departed us that have lived a full life are one thing… but the passing of two insulin dependent children not even into their teens, known and well liked around the subdivision, was heartbreaking.

The inconsequential things in life that consumed so much of people’s daily thought and being are gone and so are most of the vices like smoking, drinking and drug use. The legal and the few illegal drug users became visibly apparent in our neighborhood by the second month… when they ran out. Some of these people are literally ‘crazy’ without their prescriptions. We deal with them as best we can.

We live like Benedictine Monks, with almost as much silence. It is amazing the ‘dark side’ that revealed itself in people you’d least expect would have it. Those people had one of two choices after being read the ‘riot act’ by our NPP Council… cooperate, work and share with the other Group Members… or face execution. We don’t dare kick them out… they know too much about our defenses and food supply.

The obesity that was in some of us is now gone. Everyone has visibly lost weight… some by work and some of it from lack of calories… and much of it from lack of appetite. The trauma has killed the former active appetites of most.

The National Emergency Broadcast System repeated today that “Order is slowly being restored.”

Day 153-ATE:

We watched the surrounding residents being dealt the hand of death within the first months. We watched as hundreds… sometimes close to a thousand people mobbed these surrounding neighborhoods and killed every last resident… residents trying to individually and desperately defend themselves and their families.

The mobs looted their homes and then for some reason… like a ritual… dragged the bodies inside and set the house on fire. True funeral pyres as far as you could see in all directions… and the smoke drifting skyward from each… to join and form a dark blanket covering the city.

Initially it was blacks or Hispanics… then it turned to white gangs. It seems that race has no meaning now as they’re all a mob of biological equivalence… and all hungry. It’s ironic that it took something like this to bring a semblance of racial and ethnic ‘harmony’ about… a harmony of necessity amongst the starving.

We’re running short of food. Rations have been cut back to about 1000 calories per person per day with the exception of the few women who are pregnant and getting more to eat than the others. It’s strange to see some of the older women bearing a child… the result of birth control pills running out.

Regardless of all the hardship, suffering, heartache and misery… life and loving still take place. Each and every person in the group takes pride in these women and treats them like royalty.

We’re all extremely excited to see unsullied life in the form of a newborn baby… clean, fresh humanity… not adulterated like us by the existence we’ve lived for what now seems to be an eternity.

Hindsight is always 20/20. Everyone now wishes they’d bought ten times as much food and ammunition. Everyone regrets the five, ten, twenty and hundreds of dollars they wasted of frivolous items BTE. Jet skis, eating out… I could go on and on… this especially hits home when I think of how Joan and I ‘wasted’ money.

Death is everywhere… with little of the ceremony that Normal Civility affords them. But within our neighborhood, death is dealt out through a semblance of order and by prescribed rules. Attack our neighborhood and death will be dealt to you… break the critical rules of the group and death will come quickly to the offender.

Neil Boltz shot Gary today after he was found concealing stolen rations under his shirt. Gary was the HOA President BTE, not that the title of HOA President has any position of power or meaning now. We decided to pool our remaining food for the group 2 months ago. We have to do this to stretch our food supply for as long as we can. Absolute discipline in calorie distribution.

Bryan Chinaski gathered with the NPP Council members to get a vote of approval then gave a casual authorization sign to Neil. Neil just pulled out his pistol and shot Gary through the head in front of our whole group.

We just stood there watching like deer in the headlights of an oncoming car. There was no anger or hesitation in Neil doing this… it seemed just a mechanical action of his during this daily ration hand out. Swift justice agreed upon by all in our group when we organized as the penalty for anyone caught stealing food from a group storeroom… ‘The Pantry’ as everyone now refers to it.

Everyone in our group has that ‘thousand yard stare’ like a fatigued combat veteran that comes from trauma, shock, lack of sleep and in our case… prolonged and partial starvation. Not a person in the crowd winced or made a sound as the HOA President dropped to the concrete driveway like a sack of potatoes. We all stood there unmoved… the men unshaven and looking like Taliban warriors and the women and children looking like East London ghetto tramps right out of the 1800’s musical ‘Oliver Twist.’

It was a necessary punishment by our NPP Council carried out by our group leader for violation of this most sacred of the rules and the trust of our group… “Under no circumstances will you take more than your allotted ration from the food stocks… the penalty for violating this rule will be immediate execution.”

Some people of the surrounding residential areas got smart after seeing the carnage just a few streets over from their homes. They saw our defenses and some bartered their way into our NPP. We have three times the number of people in our Neighborhood Protection Plan than lived here BTE. They’re mostly crammed in bank foreclosed homes, basements and garages.

Their entry fee was sufficient food, all their supplies and equipment, weapons, ammunition… a critical skilled trade or specialty and an agreement that they would abide by our Neighborhood
Protection Plan rules… and they have also agreed to dig our second water bore hole by hand when the time comes.

The ultimate decision on each person’s admission to our group was made through a interview of each person by an NPP ‘Admittance Committee’ appointed by our NPP Council and composed of Group Members from our Neighborhood Protection Plan. The ones deemed fit enough additions for admittance to our group mean more desperately needed trigger fingers… but many were turned away.

Our water bore hole gives us sufficient water to drink, but not enough to bathe often. It’s deep but it refills very slowly. We don’t have enough food to provide the calories needed to dig another one this winter so it will have to wait until spring after our first garden crops.

It was curious to see the mentality of the Intruders change while looting homes around us. Within minutes of eating, some of their desperation visibly disappeared. It was like they were in a party mode after they ate their fill.

There was not much laughter heard from them, but plenty of exciting talk. They fought amongst themselves over their spoils. But like a code of ‘civility’ amongst cutthroats and killers… these were not fights to the death, more just pushing, shoving and arguing. They projected an eerie sense of self-centered joy, gluttony and giddiness while they were looting.

The Intruders were like ants going through everything and carrying off as much as they could. Too fat and happy to attack us when seeing the strength of our defenses and most of our group armed and on the protective perimeter wall facing them. They swore and cursed at us and the common taunt was… “You’re next!”

We were ‘next’ a number of times… we were attacked on numerous occasions. Several attempts were made to storm our neighborhood from different directions and multiple attacks at one time, but they all failed to break into our neighborhood and the Intruders were either killed or driven off.

We have an extremely aggressive response to attacks… we use ambush tactics, kill zones and flanking movements coordinated with the accurate and deadly fire from marksmen inside and outside our neighborhood.

Our tactics have so far destroyed the momentum of every attacking group. The will of the Intruder’s mentality is crushed when they’re fired at from so many angles and places. It stopped them dead in their tracks… then they turned into a more frantic mass trying to get away from us than they were when they were attacking.

Attacks have dropped way off now as we think ‘the word’ has gotten around “Stay away from the Meadows Subdivision.” The Intruders are mostly gone now but we don’t let our guard down. We know some heavily armed gangs are still out there and we periodically hear sporadic small arms fire in the very distance.

When we hear this gunfire, all in our group sit in stone silence… each report of a gunshot pounds in our heads… as we wonder if it’s the sound of another innocent being indiscriminately killed. There are still a few individuals and small group hold outs in the city and suburbs… they do their best to stay hidden or ‘look the part.’

But the fleshy, ‘I just ate today’ look of them is so alien to that gaunt look of the starving… that it’s a telltale sign that always betrays them. Like rats, Intruders ferret them out, kill them and consume their remaining food.

The initial danger came by road… armed Intruders in commandeered vehicles. We had anticipated that and blockaded all entrances to our subdivision with vehicles. When the gasoline disappeared they came by foot… like huge nomadic herds… sheltering and loitering in areas around us. Periodically attacking.

Mob attrition happened rapidly through killing, starvation, sickness and disease and they just don’t have the energy or means of mobility now that they had in the beginning. But the ones that did survive have formed into more efficient and dangerous gangs.

We know better than to slack off and let down the guard of our neighborhood… our Neighborhood Protection Plan. In fact we’ve posted many more teams of Group Members as lookouts at increasing distances outside our neighborhood in all directions. They radio Intel and threats to us.

We don’t know for sure, but we have no reason to believe that what’s happening here isn’t happening everywhere in America. Regardless, we will fight to the death defending our neighborhood because we suspect some groups and gangs left are surviving by cannibalism… so there is no surrender for us.

So far we’ve lost only two Group Members. We make an urgent appeal to the outside world daily for food and medicines… but have received no reply yet.

As we sat around the table in the Watch Center today listening to the broadcast from our base camp emergency radio, the National Emergency Broadcast System reported that “Order is slowly being restored in many of the largest metropolitan areas.”

Neil reached over and turned the radio off…

The Authors’ design and intention of this book:

“A Failure of Civility” is designed and intended to be a primer for mainstream Americans with or without preparedness and survival knowledge. This book will complement the knowledge of those who have survival skills and expose new concepts to them and will give an overall plan for the concept of preparedness to those who have never been exposed to it.

We give an overview of defensive protection, shooting techniques, combat tactics, fire fighting, medical, sanitation, creating potable water and storage of food supplies. It is designed to help those with limited finances… which are now most Americans.

The Authors advise and recommend that further interest by Readers in developing preparedness and expertise in specific areas should be obtained by joining competent and rational groups to gain knowledge, share information, discover by reading, BY DOING and getting additional information on preparedness from experts in the field they need further advice on.

The survival of America is dependent on the “Strength through Numbers” of as many Americans as possible being prepared to protect themselves and their neighborhoods during disaster or civil unrest. By not being the problem… they become part of the solution.

The concept is to “Stand in Place” and to defend with the cooperation of your neighbors by “Strength through Numbers” and using the family shotgun, hunting rifle, home defense pistol… shooting techniques and military tactics… to defend and maintain civility in your neighborhood.

The Authors do not advocate “Bugging Out” for anyone except the most prepared… as some may be. Those who are… also know that you’d better get out of Dodge City at the first sign of trouble.

Anyone who thinks they can defend alone or with a small family group in an urban or suburban environment is destined to extinction. Read what happened to individuals and small groups in the ‘real world catastrophe’ of early 1990s Yugoslavia at the beginning of our book.

The Authors believe that a Catastrophic Event that will transform this nation will surely occur in most Reader’s lifetimes. We pray that an event like this never happens, but in our opinion… it’s not if… but when.

Our hopes are that America and its people can and will survive by organizing and preparing. Our hopes are that America will maintain its strength… street by street. The alternative after some protracted Catastrophic Events will the utter destruction of America if people aren’t prepared.

* The stories in this book are intended to emphasize points, to attempt to convey the reality of Catastrophic and Post Catastrophic Event Scenarios and to break up the monotony of a ‘manual.’

* We provide over 130 color photos, depictions, charts and diagrams are intended to give respite to the text and convey ease of reading, give visual attractiveness, convey concepts and present specific information. Printing a book with the number of color pages we provide interspersed throughout is much more costly.

* The book is a full sized 8.5” by 11”

* It has 396 pages

* It is printed in 14 point large font for easy reading

* We have attempted to limit paragraphs to no more than 6 lines to ease strain on eyes and reading.

* We provide a Chart of Catastrophic Events and our estimates of the characteristics of them and state what is needed for different Catastrophic Events.

“A Failure of Civility” can be purchased at www.AFailureOfCivility.com

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