Monthly Archives: July 2015

In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me.

Alex Horton, 30, poses in the hallway outside his apartment on Thursday July 16, 2015 in Alexandria, VA.

An Iraq War veteran, Horton was recently awoken by a police raid as he slept.

(Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post) (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)


Alex Horton is a member of the Defense Council at the Truman National Security Project. He served as an infantryman in Iraq with the Army’s 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

I had done this a few dozen times myself, 6,000 miles away from my Alexandria, Va., apartment. As an Army infantryman in Iraq, I’d always been on the trigger side of the weapon. Now that I was on the barrel side, I recalled basic training’s most important firearm rule: Aim only at something you intend to kill.

I had conducted the same kind of raid on suspected bombmakers and high-value insurgents. But the Fairfax County officers in my apartment were aiming their weapons at a target whose rap sheet consisted only of parking tickets and an overdue library book.

My situation was terrifying. Lying facedown in bed, I knew that any move I made could be viewed as a threat. Instinct told me to get up and protect myself. Training told me that if I did, these officers would shoot me dead.

In a panic, I asked the officers what was going on but got no immediate answer. Their tactics were similar to the ones I used to clear rooms during the height of guerilla warfare in Iraq. I could almost admire it — their fluid sweep from the bedroom doorway to the distant corner. They stayed clear of one another’s lines of fire in case they needed to empty their Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols into me.

They were well-trained, their supervisor later told me. But I knew that means little when adrenaline governs an imminent-danger scenario, real or imagined. Triggers are pulled. Mistakes are made.

I spread my arms out to either side. An officer jumped onto my bed and locked handcuffs onto my wrists. The officers rolled me from side to side, searching my boxers for weapons, then yanked me up to sit on the edge of the bed.

At first, I was stunned. I searched my memory for any incident that would justify a police raid. Then it clicked.

Earlier in the week, the managers of my apartment complex moved me to a model unit while a crew repaired a leak in my dishwasher. But they hadn’t informed my temporary neighbors. So when one resident noticed the door slightly cracked open to what he presumed was an unoccupied apartment, he looked in, saw me sleeping and called the police to report a squatter.

Sitting on the edge of the bed dressed only in underwear, I laughed. The situation was ludicrous and embarrassing. My only mistake had been failing to make sure the apartment door was completely closed before I threw myself into bed the night before.

I told the officers to check my driver’s license, nodding toward my khaki pants on the floor. It showed my address at a unit in the same complex. As the fog of their chaotic entry lifted, the officers realized it had been an unfortunate error. They walked me into the living room and removed the cuffs, though two continued to stand over me as the third contacted management to confirm my story. Once they were satisfied, they left.

When I later visited the Fairfax County police station to gather details about what went wrong, I met the shift commander, Lt. Erik Rhoads. I asked why his officers hadn’t contacted management before they raided the apartment. Why did they classify the incident as a forced entry, when the information they had suggested something innocuous? Why not evaluate the situation before escalating it?

Rhoads defended the procedure, calling the officers’ actions “on point.” It’s not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects, he told me.

I noted that the officers could have sought information from the apartment complex’s security guard that would have resolved the matter without violence. But he played down the importance of such information: “It doesn’t matter whatsoever what was said or not said at the security booth.”

This is where Rhoads is wrong. We’ve seen this troubling approach to law enforcement nationwide, in militarized police responses to nonviolent protesters and in fatal police shootings of unarmed citizens. The culture that encourages police officers to engage their weapons before gathering information promotes the mind-set that nothing, including citizen safety, is more important than officers’ personal security. That approach has caused public trust in law enforcement to deteriorate.

It’s the same culture that characterized the early phases of the Iraq war, in which I served a 15-month tour in 2006 and 2007. Soldiers left their sprawling bases in armored vehicles, leveling buildings with missile strikes and shooting up entire blocks during gun battles with insurgents, only to return to their protected bases and do it all again hours later.

The short-sighted notion that we should always protect ourselves endangered us more in the long term. It was a flawed strategy that could often create more insurgents than it stopped and inspired some Iraqis to hate us rather than help us.

In one instance in Baghdad, a stray round landed in a compound that our unit was building. An overzealous officer decided that we were under attack and ordered machine guns and grenade launchers to shoot at distant rooftops. A row of buildings caught fire, and we left our compound on foot, seeking to capture any injured fighters by entering structures choked with flames.

Instead, we found a man frantically pulling his furniture out of his house. “Thank you for your security!” he yelled in perfect English. He pointed to the billowing smoke. “This is what you call security?”

We didn’t find any insurgents. There weren’t any. But it was easy to imagine that we forged some in that fire. Similarly, when U.S. police officers use excessive force to control nonviolent citizens or respond to minor incidents, they lose supporters and public trust.

That’s a problem, because law enforcement officers need the cooperation of the communities they patrol in order to do their jobs effectively. In the early stages of the war, the U.S. military overlooked that reality as well. Leaders defined success as increasing military hold on geographic terrain, while the human terrain was the real battle. For example, when our platoon entered Iraq’s volatile Diyala province in early 2007, children at a school plugged their ears just before an IED exploded beneath one of our vehicles. The kids knew what was coming, but they saw no reason to warn us. Instead, they watched us drive right into the ambush. One of our men died, and in the subsequent crossfire, several insurgents and children were killed. We saw Iraqis cheering and dancing at the blast crater as we left the area hours later.

With the U.S. effort in Iraq faltering, Gen. David Petraeus unveiled a new counterinsurgency strategy that year. He believed that showing more restraint during gunfights would help foster Iraqis’ trust in U.S. forces and that forming better relationships with civilians would improve our intelligence-gathering. We refined our warrior mentality — the one that directed us to protect ourselves above all else — with a community-building component.

My unit began to patrol on foot almost exclusively, which was exceptionally more dangerous than staying inside our armored vehicles. We relinquished much of our personal security by entering dimly lit homes in insurgent strongholds. We didn’t know if the hand we would shake at each door held a detonator to a suicide vest or a small glass of hot, sugary tea.

But as a result, we better understood our environment and earned the allegiance of some people in it. The benefits quickly became clear. One day during that bloody summer, insurgents loaded a car with hundreds of pounds of explosives and parked it by a school. They knew we searched every building for hidden weapons caches, and they waited for us to gather near the car. But as we turned the corner to head toward the school, several Iraqis told us about the danger. We evacuated civilians from the area and called in a helicopter gunship to fire at the vehicle.

The resulting explosion pulverized half the building and blasted the car’s engine block through two cement walls. Shrapnel dropped like jagged hail as far as a quarter-mile away.

If we had not risked our safety by patrolling the neighborhood on foot, trusting our sources and gathering intelligence, it would have been a massacre. But no one was hurt in the blast.

Domestic police forces would benefit from a similar change in strategy. Instead of relying on aggression, they should rely more on relationships. Rather than responding to a squatter call with guns raised, they should knock on the door and extend a hand. But unfortunately, my encounter with officers is just one in a stream of recent examples of police placing their own safety ahead of those they’re sworn to serve and protect.

Rhoads, the Fairfax County police lieutenant, was upfront about this mind-set. He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers. Their firearm rules were different from mine; they aimed not to kill but to intimidate. According toreporting by The Washington Post, those rules are established in police training, which often emphasizes a violent response over deescalation. Recruits spend an average of eight hours learning how to neutralize tense situations; they spend more than seven times as many hours at the weapons range.

Of course, officers’ safety is vital, and they’re entitled to defend themselves and the communities they serve. But they’re failing to see the connection between their aggressive postures and the hostility they’ve encountered in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other communities. When you level assault rifles at protesters, you create animosity. When you kill an unarmed man on his own property while his hands are raised — as Fairfax County police did in 2013 — you sow distrust. And when you threaten to Taser a woman during a routine traffic stop (as happened to 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail this month), you cultivate a fear of police. This makes policing more dangerous for everyone.

I understood the risks of war when I enlisted as an infantryman. Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first. That is why it’s service. That’s why it’s sacrifice.

Twitter: @AlexHortonTX


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Via: washingtonpost

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.

The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”

There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.

If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”

The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.

But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.

Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.

“Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,” said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. “They are very different determinations.”

Steven Overman, a 30-year-old former Marine who lives in Virginia, said his case demonstrates the flaws of judging gun safety through financial competence.

After his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that weakened his memory and cognitive ability.

The VA eventually deemed him 100% disabled and after reviewing his case in 2012 declared him incompetent, making his wife his fiduciary.

Upon being notified that he was being reported to the background check system, he gave his guns to his mother and began working with a lawyer to get them back.

Overman grew up hunting in Wisconsin. After his return from Iraq, he found solace in target shooting. “It’s relaxing to me,” he said. “It’s a break from day-to-day life. It calms me down.”

Though his wife had managed their financial affairs since his deployment, Overman said he has never felt like he was a danger to himself or others.

“I didn’t know the VA could take away your guns,” he said.

The background check system was created in 1993 by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was partially paralyzed after being shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan.

The law requires gun stores to run the names of prospective buyers through the computerized system before every sale.

The system’s databases contain more than 13 million records, which include the names of felons, immigrants in the U.S. illegally, fugitives, dishonorably discharged service members, drug addicts and domestic abusers.

State agencies, local police and federal agencies are required to enter names into the databases, but the system has been hampered by loopholes and inconsistent reporting since its launch.

The shortcomings became clear in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people. Cho had been declared mentally ill by a court and ordered to undergo outpatient treatment, but at the time the law did not require that he be added to the databases.

Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe. They are very different determinations.– Dr. Marc Rosen, Yale psychiatrist

Congress expanded the reporting requirements, but Social Security determined it was not required to submit records, according to LaVenia LaVelle, an agency spokeswoman.

After 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 children and six school staffers in Newtown in 2012, President Obama vowed to make gun control a central issue of his second term.

The effort fell flat. Congress ultimately rejected his proposals for new gun control legislation.

But among 23 executive orders on the issue was one to the Department of Justice to ensure that federal agencies were complying with the existing law on reporting to the background check system.

One baseline for other agencies is the VA, which has been entering names into the system since the beginning. About 177,000 veterans and survivors of veterans are in the system, according to VA figures.

The VA reports names under a category in gun control regulations known as “adjudicated as a mental defective,” terminology that derives from decades-old laws. Its only criterion is whether somebody has been appointed a fiduciary.

More than half of the names on the VA list are of people 80 or older, often suffering from dementia, a reasonable criterion for prohibiting gun ownership.

But the category also includes anybody found by a “court, board, commission or other lawful authority” to be lacking “the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs” for a wide variety of reasons.

The agency’s efforts have been criticized by a variety of groups.

Rosen, the Yale psychiatrist, said some veterans may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.

Conservative groups have denounced the policy as an excuse to strip veterans of their gun rights.

Republicans have introduced legislation in the last several sessions of Congress to change the policy. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, now under consideration in the House, would require a court to determine that somebody poses a danger before being reported to the background check system.

Social Security would generally report names under the same “mental defective” category. The agency is still figuring out how that definition should be applied, LaVelle said.

About 2.7 million people are now receiving disability payments from Social Security for mental health problems, a potentially higher risk category for gun ownership. An addition 1.5 million have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons.

The agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view. Even the National Rifle Assn. was unaware of it.

Told about the initiative, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: “If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks.”

Gun rights advocates are unlikely to be the only opponents.

Ari Ne’eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.

“The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush,” he said.

Since 2008, VA beneficiaries have been able to get off the list by filing an appeal and demonstrating that they pose no danger to themselves or others.

But as of April, just nine of 298 appeals have been granted, according to data provided by the VA. Thirteen others were pending, and 44 were withdrawn after the VA overturned its determination of financial incompetence.

Overman is one of the few who decided to appeal.

He is irritable and antisocial, he said, but not dangerous. “I’ve never been suicidal,” he said. “To me that solves nothing.”

More than a year and a half after Overman filed his challenge, the VA lifted its incompetence ruling, allowing his removal from the background check system before the VA ever had to determine whether he should be trusted with a gun.

Overman, who hasn’t worked since leaving the military, said he and a friend are now thinking of opening a gunsmith business.


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Via: latimes

The Addictions And Their Consequences After SHTF

In case you didn’t have enough to consider while planning your preparedness and/or evaluating your security risks following a societal collapse, have you thought about the consequences of the many addictions – be they vises or medical essentials?

While the actual numbers are sketchy, the general reality of the sheer number of people who rely on drugs or other vises are staggering – and when they can’t get them, it’s going to be a major problem in more ways than one…

Apparently there are more than 1 in 10 in the United States who are on SSRI’s (anti-depressants). Let’s call it 35 million.

Apparently there are approximately 22 million people who use ‘illegal drugs’ in the United States.

Apparently 7 of 10 Americans take at least one prescription medication. That’s about 220 million people.

There are approximately 130 million prescriptions in the United States for hydrocodone (pain killer).

Approximately 42 million people smoke cigarettes in the U.S.

It has been estimated that 18 million people are alcoholics in the United States while half of all Americans drink alcohol.

The question is this: What additional addictions are there and what possible consequence might they have on a society which has collapsed to the extent of social chaos?

For those who are preparing for a potential devastating economic collapse in which today’s modern society becomes crippled or even crushed from the devastating blow, it is a serious matter to consider that there will potentially be tens of millions of desperate people who may be wrenched from their supply chain of drugs, medications, and addictive vises.

Can you say, ‘withdrawal’?


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Via: modernsurvivalblog

How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack: ‘These Systems Could Be Completely Inoperable or Breached’

Guest post by Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper.

There is a lot of debate on whether recent computer issues that shut down the New York Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal, and United Airlines were just a very strange coincidence (very strange) or a deliberate cyber attack.

This isn’t the first possible cyber attack on the United States this year. Heck, it’s not even the first one this summer. On June 5, Reuters reported a breach occurred that compromised the personal information of millions of federal employees, both current and former. This breach was traced back to a “foreign entity or government.”

Regardless of the origin of the so-called computer “glitches” that shut down Wall Street and a major airline, the events of Wednesday gave us just a tiny glimpse at how serious a cyber attack could be.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises and networks. Cyberattacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cybercrimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think. Check out this real-time map for a look at the almost constant seige.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most business have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many business are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.

Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3. Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4. Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cars, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above half way full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or one of these other options.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attackBe prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.



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    The article has been contributed by the ever insightful and always informative Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper. Daisy is the author of several books, including her latest The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget.

    Via: theorganicprepper

Had It With Police? Peacekeeper App Can ‘Revolutionize Neighborhood Protection’

Let’s face it: police are a controversial subject these days.

The inventor of an app called Peacekeeper aims to introduce a “disruptive and cutting edge” alternative platform to personal and neighborhood protection that involves notifying trusted “tribe” members during an emergency with the tap of a button.

Countless stories of systematic corruption and shocking killings in the hands of police have left many wondering if it is even worth dialing 9-1-1, or whether police presence could make a difficult situation worse. With domestic disturbances or episodes with mentally impaired individuals, calling law enforcement could lead to arrests or even deaths, when temporary restraint and a moment for calm is perhaps what is needed. Every situation is different

Even with the best intentions and training, police are notorious for being minutes away when seconds count, as police investigate far more violent crimes after the fact than they stop or prevent.

Is there a better way? Peacekeeper CEO Cody Drummand is trying. He claims that the Peacekeeper app offers “far superior protection system than the status quo protection offered by police.”

Peacekeeper is the world’s first decentralized, peer-to-peer protection system. We aim to build a new smartphone app, Peacekeeper 2.0.

It will be a superior protection system, an amazing alternative to the status quo. It will allow individuals to take personal protection to a whole new level.

That’s why we’re building Peacekeeper. If the idea of a decentralized, fast, agile protection system that does an end-run around the State is something that appeals to you, contribute now and help us turn this vision into a reality.

Detailed alerts would include the real time location of personally-approved and trusted responders, who have volunteered for training qualifications.



Obviously, like BitCoin, it isn’t a perfect system, and could benefit from further innovation and competition to improve its promise.

But at the same time, it is an incredible ‘disruptive’ platform to offer free market alternatives to state protection… with responsible usage, the app could even save lives with the power of trusted friends, family and neighbors.

When crisis hits, who are you going to call? And would you consider this alternative?


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Via:  shtfplan

These Pictures and Video’s Explain Exactly Why Preppers Are Getting Ready For An Imminent Collapse

For years the mainstream media and their following of myrmidons have made a joke out of those who have taken time, effort and money to prepare their homes, assets and families for “Doomsday” scenarios that may include anything from financial collapse to natural disasters.

For those who laugh at “preppers” it boils down to the belief that this time is different from the countless historical examples showing just how bad things can get. World wars, monetary hyperinflations, depressions, tyrannical governments, pandemics, Tsunamis, you name it; according to the experts, these things can never happen, especially not here in America. Plus, in the off chance that something does go wrong, we can always depend on our government to bail us out.

But what if, for the sake of argument, something does go wrong? And what if – just humor us here – the government doesn’t have the ability to help? What happens then?

The answer is simple and can be summed up in the following picture and video taken within the last 24 hours in Greece, where their financial and economic systems have collapsed to such an extent that people are now hoarding food, gas and even money (if they can get their hands on it).

Do you want to know why your prepper relatives, friends or neighbors are so adamant about being ready for disaster? It’s because they don’t want to end up like the hundreds of pensioners shown below. As Zero Hedge notes, the situation was heartbreaking:

1,000 Greek bank branches chanced a stampede in order to open their doors to the country’s retirees on Wednesday.

The scene was somewhat chaotic as pensioners formed long lines and the country’s elderly attempted to squeeze through the doors in order to access pension payments.

As Bloomberg reports, payouts were rationed and disbursals were limited according to last name.

As you’ll see in the video, it was virtually impossible to get through the bank’s door and tensions were running high:


Such scenes have played out time and again throughout the course of the financial crisis since late 2008.

In the following video, shot in February of 2008, Greeks were fighting for food in the streets:



(Via: Greeks Fight For Food: “I Never Imagined That I Would End Up Here”)


And for those who would still argue that the American government, through multi-billion dollar FEMA and DHS initiatives, is ready for such a crisis, we direct your attention to these images taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Within 72 hours people were starving, had no clean water, no gas and were standing in hours-long food lines in the hopes of getting an MRE (Meals-Ready-To-Eat) from the National Guard. Some were even dumpster diving looking for scraps:

And this all happened in modern-day America, just a few years ago.

So, if you happen to be one of those people laughing at the preppers, think about how funny it will be when you’re having to dig through the trash for your next meal, because that is how bad it can get.

According to analyst Greg Mannarino, the debt collapse could be so severe thatmillions of people may die from starvation as credit lines lock up and the normal flow of commodity commerce ceases.

That may sound impossible, but consider what happens when the food stamp Electronic Benefits Transfer system goes down for just 12 hours. You guessed it – complete pandemonium. When the system failed across 16 states in 2013 one person dependent on these benefits summed it up with this one statement:

“How Am I Going to Feed My Family?”

The simple answer in a real crisis where our currency crashes or a cyber attack takes down payment systems?

Your family will starve.


Another interesting compilation



In his book The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic CollapseFernando “Ferfal” Aguirre puts a first-hand perspective on the plausibility of these types of events coming to pass:

During good times people can afford to be spoiled, lazy, and let others handle issues that they should solve themselves. Crime rates are low and “those things” just don’t happen where you live. It doesn’t happen to people like you, or those around you.


The survivor of the Argentine collapse and hyperinflation of the early 2000’s explains that drastic changes can come out of nowhere and so quickly that they seemingly happen overnight:


But one day that changes and it does happen. The guy next door, a friend or a family member gets hit and you see how vulnerable you are.

I’m not talking about crime alone. I’m talking about serious problems or disasters of all sorts. It can range from floods to hurricane, social disorder or a family member getting sick and requiring medical attention. You didn’t have the foresight to prepare for it financially and with proper medical and insurance.

…And you may live like that for years without worrying about a thing, simply because the system is working better than usual. 

But once you realize that our society is based on rather complex and fragile structures that can fail, or when you see how life just enjoys throwing you a hardball every now and then, then you see the wisdom in preparing.

Those who would target preppers with jokes or humiliating one-liners often suggest that the preparedness community is doing nothing more than creating fear. But nothing could be further from the truth, as Tess Pennington explains in her widely popular best seller The Prepper’s Blueprint:

I don’t want to promote distress, or for that matter, teach others to live in it. Rather than staying in the presence of trepidation, I chose to take another daring step and search for a way to prepare that promotes the freedom and gratification we are all searching for. My goal was to be 100% self-reliant during a short or extended disaster.

Once I adopted this mind-set my attitude shifted from living in fear to living with courage to face whatever may come. 

Tess and Ferfal, like many preppers out there, realize that the system within which we live is fragile and that even a minor disturbance could lead to widespread implications.

In Greece today there were thousands of retirees lining up at banks. Most assumed that now that they are retired the government would always be there to help them. Others assume the government will always find a way to feed them and provide them with health care.

As we now know, the reality is starkly different.

Those who ridicule the preparedness movement may be laughing and snickering today. But you can be certain that when it hits the fan and America goes the way of Greece, they’ll be the first ones knocking on the door looking for help.

Related Reading:

Free: 52 Weeks to Preparedness: An Emergency Preparedness Plan For Surviving Virtually Any Disaster

Follow Ferfal: The Modern Survivalist

Follow Tess Pennington: Ready Nutrition

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Via: shtfplan

Mainstream Media Ignores Cincinnati Riots: Police attacked by Mob While Trying to Rescue Severely Beaten Man

The summer of chaos, largely egged on by the mainstream media and the Obama administrations never ending focus on so-called racial injustices, brought rioting and vicious violence to the streets of Cincinnati over the Holiday weekend.


Several officers were severely wounded after trying to rescue a man who was viciously attacked and beaten by a mob.

The man was beaten unconscious following a Hip Hop Fourth of July concert, which exploded into violence and chaos. In the video below, which I warn you is quite disgusting and disturbing, the man can be seen being surrounded by a crowd who is laughing and celebrating his condition.



Simply disgusting to see so many vicious people celebrating that poor man’s beating.


This should serve as warning, and a lesson to those that think this can’t happen. The sad reality of the world we live in is this type of violence is increasing. These types of mob attacks are becoming commonplace, largely because the mainstream media and ignorant politicians continue to excuse this type of behavior, just like they did after Ferguson and Baltimore.

When you have the President of the United Stated making excuses for people who burn down their own neighborhoods, what do you think that does for the criminals of the world? It gives them an excuse and it emboldens them to commit more crimes.



Another news cast where the police reversed their description of the attack.



These are not isolated Incidents; this type of violence is happening throughout the country, but is being ignored by the mainstream media.

Self-Defense Tips:

Don’t underestimate these people: Don’t ever underestimate the criminal mind. While some of these people can seem drop dead stupid, in an urban environment their ability to size up a victim is uncanny. They can smell a victim from a mile away.

Be aware that large events attract chaos: The first mistake this guy made was being anywhere near this type of event. The moment you hear Hip Hop Concert, is the moment you should expect some type of trouble. This has nothing to do with race; it has to do with reality.

But keep in mind that even innocent sounding events can attract trouble. High profile sporting events, political rallies, and even large parades and celebrations can be a major cause for concern. If you do attend one of these large events, make sure you take the proper safety precautions.

Train regularly and with repetition: Being proficient in anything requires repeatedly training yourself to be able to use your skills in a high-stress, high-pressure situation.

Develop your Situational Awareness: Stay off your phone, remove the headphones, and pay attention. The number one thing you can do to protect yourself from criminal threats is to be aware of your environment and what’s going on around you. Here are some other tips for dealing with and spotting mob violence.

Train in a Real-world setting: During your training exercises, you want to put yourself in situations where you feel a bit uncomfortable. When looking for a self-defense school, make sure the school teaches you using real-world situations. For instance, a firearms school needs to go beyond just shooting at paper targets, and should add some sort of stressor to the training.

You need to go beyond firearms training and learn how to defend yourself during a close-quarter attack: Carrying a firearm does not guarantee your safety, and carrying a firearm without training is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, many gun owners have never bothered to take a single self-defense course; these same gun owners insist they’ll be able to stop an attack because they’re “armed”.

While carrying a firearm definitely levels the playing field during certain circumstances, the reality of self-defense is that there are certain situations where you’re firearm is not going to be able to prevent an attack, especially if you haven’t trained in real-world self-defense tactics and close quarter combat.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: offgridsurvival