Hello, everyone. An off-schedule update today as we approach the election. Sunday’s will come as usual and be a little more low-key.
I’m going to walk through a couple preps for those of us that need something to do while we wait. If you’re like me, the night before the election you’ll be counting the cans in your pantry and going through your bugout bag. So I present you with two preps to keep you busy: the EDC kit and the protest bag. Then I’ll talk a little bit about what we might expect after Election Day.
The EDC Kit
Experienced preppers have a number of kits and bags that they carry, swap, and stow depending on conditions. One kit that is consistent is the everyday carry kit. The purpose of the EDC kit for beginners is twofold: it provides you with essential survival items in the event of an emergency, and it gets you in the habit of thinking of preparedness consistently. Whether these situations involve self defense, starting a fire, or simply finding your way out of a suddenly pitch-black building, having your EDC will help you get away.
My EDC kit is barebones—I have a holster for a Leatherman Signal, a Streamlight flashlight, and a tactical pen (yeah, but it's great), and I carry a Kershaw Onion in my watch pocket. Now these are all going to cost you more than a couple gallons of water, but that’s just my layout. Your EDC kit doesn’t need to be quite so fancy, though it should include, in some fashion or another, the following:
- A multitool like a Leatherman. There are cheap options available everywhere, but be wary as there are a lot of moving parts, so you want it to be well made. This is the evolution of a Swiss Army knife, and if that’s what you’ve got on hand, it’ll do.
- A folding knife. If you have to resort to the blade in your multitool, that’s okay. Just make sure it’s handy.
- A flashlight. Small is best so you’re not carrying a full-blown Maglite in your pocket, but use what you’ve got if you’re in a pinch. I used my Streamlight the other night—clipped it on my hat and was able to put air in my tires long after the sun went down.
Your kit can (and in some cases, perhaps, should) include more tools. Good additions include lighters, USB chargers, a compass, and water. And your “kit” once assembled may just be in your pocket. That’s fine. My holster is a slightly cool prepper version of a pocket protector, but I like it, so I wear it. Use what you have, what you’re comfortable with, and make sure you C it E (damn) D. It should become as indispensable to you as your keys.
It's also useful to remember that most of us carry around a supercomputer in our pocket or purse. In most emergency situations you will still get at least some utility out of your phone, whether that be calling for help, coordinating a fallback shelter with your loved ones, or using a map. Keep your phone charged, and consider downloading apps like Citizen, Scanner, and a Survival Guide or two that can be used offline.
The Protest Bag
I started fine-tuning this particular kit in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the unrest that followed. It will serve all of you well when we have to take to the streets again, whether that’s to put pressure on the White House or to lift our middle fingers to some other Nazis. You can expect these protests to be met with heavy resistance from the powers that be. Not only will you have to consider law enforcement but the potential appearance of various right-wing militias.
My protest bag includes:
- Water and saline. Enough water to drink for a long afternoon and saline solution (unopened) to help flush out pepper spray or tear gas for yourself and others.
- A respirator to protect against tear gas, pepper spray, and COVID.
- Spare masks. I include bandanas. They make poor masks, but they have multiple uses.
- A first aid kit that is heavy on bandages and gauze. A good addition is a foam splint, as are trauma shears and a combat tourniquet. Throw in a small bottle of aspirin, as well.
- Earplugs (a bag of them to pass around). Supposedly these do little to protect against LRADs, but a little is better than nothing.
- Goggles / safety glasses. Goggles are preferable, but some eye protection is better than none. Remember that contacts are a liability in a protest.
- A couple of protein bars, tops.
- Hand sanitizer.
Don’t pack anything that you can't stand to lose, and notice that I don't include any weapons in this bag. I do not recommend bringing a knife out into the streets when the other side has numbers and guns. We’ll talk about carrying someday, but gun ownership isn’t something to rush into.
What to Prepare for
There are a number of scenarios that political experts can cover better than I. What you should be considering as we hurtle toward Election Day is the distinct possibility that whether or not Trump loses the election, unrest will ensue. You should prep two ways:
- The Home Front: Look over the previous election post. Make last-minute food and water purchases, consider storing some sheets of plywood for your windows, rearrange your furniture so that it can more easily be moved immediately in front of your doors. Most importantly, you should review your fallback plan. Consider whether or not your next destination might become compromised as well. While you’re able, consider working as Op-Sec for your friends on the ground—which just means listening to police scanners and refreshing your #protest feed manically so you can pass any pertinent information on.
- In the Streets: Pack your protest bag. Practice situational awareness. One of your most lethal threats on the street is some flag-waving pickup driver plowing into a crowd, so be mindful of that. Look for obstacles that will stop or deter such an attack, like bollards, strong fencing, and monuments. Militiamen like to get up high and play at being snipers, and someday they'll quit playing. Look for people on top of roofs, on balconies, or at windows on higher floors. Keep an eye on them and call them out to friends and organizers. If you’re marching, don't get so disoriented that you can't find your way back to your vehicle or home if you have to escape. And remember that, when marching, people tend to be focused on what's ahead, so be the one who's watching their backs.
After November 3rd, we might see significant disruption to our daily lives. Prepare for the possibility that emergency services will be cut off, that you may have to rely on your own supply of food, water, and medicine for days or longer. There may be a failure in communication systems, and roads may become impassable due to traffic or blockades. Consider the possibility that this will all start while you are at work and that getting home may be dangerous. Consider the possibility that you may work at a site vulnerable to unrest, like a hospital or a business near government buildings.
Consider, too, that you have like-minded friends and family. Consider that you’re not in this alone. All of you out there, starting your prepping journey, are strengthening the cause. No matter the outcome next week, this isn’t over. There’s more coming, but we’re getting ready for it.