In today’s excerpt from our new book Basics of Resistance, we look into Chapter 9: Allies and Associates. By this point, we’ve talked extensively about your core group, its members, and its operations. Now we look at outsiders who may help or hinder you. We pick up after the discussion of close allies and move on to more casual contacts. NOTE: We owe this chapter to a great supporter of our project who prefers to keep a low profile.
Let’s define an associate as “anyone you know who is neither a known or suspected enemy.” Obviously, that covers a pretty broad range.
Like who, for instance?
• The old lady down the street who watches the world go by from her living-room window.
• The guy at the local tire store.
• The kid working evenings at the 7-11.
• Your admin assistant at work.
• Mr. and Mrs. Hu at the Chinese takeout.
• The preacher at the local breakaway Christian church.
• Your cousin who works in the county supervisor’s office.
• The daytime bartender at the tavern downtown.
• The retired business executive down the street.
• The nightshift waitress at the waffle palace over by the Interstate.
• The Johnson boys over at their jackleg garage and scrap yard.
In other words, virtually everyone you encounter during your daily round is a potential associate (or enemy), and it’s up to you to make an informed, accurate decision whether to trust each one.
How? By getting to know them and what makes them tick. Nothing more, and nothing less. Even if you’re not a people person, you can improve your interpersonal skills using time-honored basic investigative techniques such as the
Shop local, shop small: In a Big Box world, it’s getting more difficult to find the little local place for hardware, food, car repair, or any of the other necessities of life. Do it anyway. Be prepared to pay more at the local store than the national chain. Watch your manners. Support local businesses.
Community service: Do you support the local ambulance corps? What about the firefighters, be they volunteers or paid professionals? Can you do more? Do local emergency services have classes that would benefit you and your group? Most volunteer fire departments have non-firefighter volunteer positions open as well, and those are a great way to not only bolster your credibility in the community, but they also put you in the loop for information not generally available to outsiders.
Police relations: Take the opportunity to discreetly participate in any community affairs events your local LEOs conduct. Don’t be a badgelicker—but don’t be a gratuitous jerk, either. Get a sense of who the officers and commanders are, not just as the guys who give out speeding tickets, but as actual human beings. What is your local police department’s capability? Weaknesses? Equipment? Personnel levels? Set aside any personal bias and figure out if any of the officers can be used as conduits for information.
Other government officials: Ditto the advice above. You want to take every opportunity to see how people behave in normal times to better inform your organization’s decisions come hard times. You should also have a copy of and understand your county’s emergency plans; check with your county supervisor’s office on how to get one. If your county offers CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training, sign up; if not, find a nearby county that does.
Your neighbors: Break the modern paradigm and gradually get to know a little about your neighbors. You will be astonished what you can learn by being interested (but not too interested) in them. See the section on neighborhood barbeques and meet-and-greets.
Local churches: Sadly, many clergies in modern-day America are closer to government and its objectives than to the Almighty, but it will still benefit you to have a sense of who’s who in your community. Most churches have large kitchens and gathering places, which will be essential community assets in a crisis. Sorting the mammon-worshippers from the truly benevolent is a task in what will ultimately be a battle for hearts and minds. Pay attention to those in the religious community who do a lot of volunteer work; what’s their motivation? If they’re worried about getting credit or need attention, they might not be the best people to work with.
The homeless: Do you have any in your neighborhood? Do you know? Where do they camp? How many are there? Is there a way to help them help you and your organization? Be creative. If they can’t be used as assets and are merely a risk, do you have a plan for mitigating that risk?
Medical facilities: Big or small? Is there a hospital auxiliary you or a core member can join? How many doctors? RNs? Other paraprofessionals? Are any medical personnel known personally to you or other members of the core group? Are they willing to teach you?
Airports: Who do you know there? Runway length and other facility info? LE or military usage?
Area-specific place/personnel of interest: Do you know anyone at local military or National Guard facilities? What kind? How well do you know them? How well can you get to know them?
By this time, some reader is wondering what in heaven’s name should be done in all of these situations and places.
The big-picture answer is simple: Know more this week about every person, place, and thing listed above that you find your community than you knew last week.
Why? Because your organization has goals that you and your group are fully committed to achieving. And every person, place, and thing above can either help or hinder your group in achieving those objectives.
By yourself, in a crisis, you’re screwed.
Basics of Resistance is available now! You can get your copy here.