>Security (continued)

How safe are you in your survival retreat? Accept the fact that a determined individual or group, given enough time, will eventually penetrate all but the most formidable defenses. So don't give them enough time. Design and create obstacles - rows of trees or shrubs, fences, boulders, gates, etc. to slow the approach of visitors. If they are obviously hostile, you will have time to discourage them with a well-aimed projectiles from the safety of your retreat.

Two books mentioned elsewhere on this site may help you consider and plan your security system: 'how to survive the end of the world as we know it' and 'patriots', both by James Wesley Rawles. His latest book 'survivors' did not receive reviews as favorable as the others.

The purpose of this section is to describe some of the security measures I have taken at my survival retreat. As mentioned elsewhere, my retreat is unique, in that it has no access road, so no vehicle can reach my property. An ATV will get to within 2 miles of my land, because a 4 inch diameter steel pipe, a 'bollard', filled with concrete, locked in the middle of the access wash, will stop ATVs 2 miles out. So, from that direction anyway, it's a 2 mile uphill walk mostly in sand.

The nearest road is a jeep trail a mile away in another direction, but there is a 200 foot high ridge preventing easy access or even visibility. My retreat is invisible from roads in all directions. This isolation, invisibility and difficult access, form the major part of my retreat security. If people don't know I'm there and can't see me, they are probably not going to wander in the desert looking for food and water or invisible homes.

In a serious crisis, if hordes of refugees flee from major cities in search of places they can survive, it is highly improbable that any of them will scout around in a place lacking in water and food.

My retreat's security, therefore, consists in three simple facts: 1) it is located in an area known to be inhospitable, the desert, lacking in food water which they need 2) it is invisible from all directions and 3) there is no road leading to it. Drive around all you want, you'll never reach or even see my property.

So what more do I need? Probably not much, but I have taken other steps, just in case someone does arrive on foot, but if I reveal them here, I lose some security.

Well, I can tell you that the House, a hexagon, is concrete and will stop bullets. However, details about mines, booby traps, mortars and other measures will not appear on this site nor on my DVDs. If you are creative; invent your own. If you need ideas, the two books, especially patriots, will give you food for thought and much more. I also suggest 'Holding Your Ground'.

Just so you know, one of my DVDs covers the topic of security beyond what I have written here.

Your doors, if they are to add to or match the security of your solid house, must also be solid. Consider thick wood covered with steel plate. Wood alone will not stop bullets. An AK round (7.62 x 39) will pass through the trunk of a 10 inch diameter pine tree. A 30-06, a common hunting rifle round, is considerably more powerful. A YouTube video compares several rifle rounds shot at a 1 inch thick steel plate. Some rounds made craters that appeared to go at least halfway through! I think the purpose of the video was to counter the myth that the AK rifle is dangerous. I suppose it depends on how one defines the word dangerous. The impacts of the 308, 3030 and 30-06, all common hunting rounds, are far more powerful and deadly than the AK round.

Anyway, coming back to your door, if you want it to stop common rifle bullets, consider adding 1/2" of steel plate. If you prefer a wood look, add thin planks of your favorite hardwood or even thin plywood with hardwood veneer over the plate.

While on the subject of doors, consider robust hinges and latches as well as locks. I won't say much about my door, but it requires no key, there is no lock. In fact, looking at the door, you have no idea how to open it.

Another approach I thought long ago but didn't use, is to have a cable in a pipe underground to some spot distant from the house, and a hidden lever to activate (pull) the cable to unlock the door. One drawback is the possibility that someone could hide out nearby and watch the secret opening ceremony, then come again when the house is not occupied and steel or vandalize or move in.

However, if your property is such that nobody could hide out and watch you enter (unlikely) it might be an option. Hiding out on my property would be easy, so I invented the door with no lock or key or even a handle. Sorry, I can't and won't disclose that one here.

It is possible to describe how to make the door and the lock, and I've done that on a DVD. But even if you know how to make your own door, lock and unlock it, you could stand in front of my door (which may look identical to yours) for a month and not be able to get it open, even though it works just like yours. And I would not be able to open yours. To unlock this kind of door, no locksmith will ever get you in, you must have the code. Okay some gas or electric powered tools could cut through the door. I can't say more. What I will say is that I invented this door when I was a teenager and improved it over the years.

If you should forget the entry secret or code, you will have to break in elsewhere like a window. So I came up with an easy way to remember the entry code. It can even be written as a saying above the door so you never forget. But nobody else can use it. Confused? Good!

I'll disclose a bit more, noncritical Intel. Let's say you like a particular saying, quotation, song or poem. Example: roses are red violets are blue, you are a mystery and I am too.

It's odd or unusual, but that's okay. The point is that now you have a code that only you know. Remember, in the movie Lord of the Rings when the group arrived at the stone entrance to the dwarfs underground city, there was a saying engraved in the arch over the door "speak friend and enter" or something similar. So our hero asks Gandalf what the word for friend is in that language, he says it and the massive stone door opened.

Or how about the movie contact, where Eleanor Airaway the researcher gets all that coded sound from Vega. The secret (primer) to decoding the message is contained in the message itself. Confused? Not good! Keep up. So you can have a message displayed over your door like "speak friend and enter" or "roses are red" or what ever, and within that message, quote, poem or whatever is your secret entry code.

The security DVD covers this door design and construction, as well as information about location, invisibility, safe wall design and access, etc..

Two electronic devices might enhance your security. Wireless intrusion sensors have motion detectors and can pick up movement 30 feet away or more, then signal wirelessly to your receiver in your house which makes a sound and lights up one of several lamps to indicate which of your sensors was triggered. Some integrate with a computer.

Range is claimed to be 300 feet, that is the distance between sensor and receiver. Considering the benefit of knowing in advance that someone (or some animal) is approaching, the cost is reasonable. They operate on batteries, but could probably be modified with rechargeable batteries and solar power.

Another gadget is a trail camera, used by hunters to find out where deer are. Attach it to a tree, aim it at a suspected trail or entry or exit point, and it's a motion sensor triggers either photo, a series of photos or a video clip, and includes the day the date and time even the phase of the moon and operates in color during the day and black-and-white at night. Infrared LED's illuminate the subject at night but the light is invisible. Remove the SD memory card and check the photos and/or video. An LCD indicates photos or video have been recorded, so you only need to view the SD card if the LCD indicates activity. Some camereas integrate with a computer, so you can monitor your property from your shelter.

Do people visit your property in your absence? If you suspect that they do, you might catch them in the act, with video! In that case, hide the camera, so your evidence is not stolen.

I saw both gadgets in a sportsman's guide catalogue and Wal Mart, but surely they are available elsewhere. For the trail cam, I suggest five megapixel or better, because if you have to hide the camera a distance from the subject, you will want the extra pixels so you can enlarge the subject for identification. Photos might be better than video, as the video resolution I saw on them was not high and VGA may not suffice. It's your call.

Note that some of these security measures require electricity. I strongly suggest that you plan to have and use electricity - solar, wind, whatever - so that you can make use of electric and electronic devices which multiply your control, as just mentioned. Add to this list night vision gear, flashlights, rechargeable batteries for things that use them, walkie talkies and other radios, your computer, and so on. Brunton makes folding solar panels that fit in a backpack, so you can carry electronic gear and recharge while mobile.

My intention here is not to frighten anyone, nor to predict what we may all face, but rather to suggest that, as there are numerous signs that we may be heading into an unsafe future, it would be wise to evaluate those signs and to prepare for the disturbances which they appear to signify.

Okay, why so much space devoted to security? Simple. If you get this part wrong, all of your other preparations are useless. If you create a well-stocked retreat, move in, but then later get overrun by looters, perhaps your location was poorly chosen. All cities are unsustainable, that is, they import most or all of their basic necessities. Take Phoenix, my nearest large city as an example. Millions of people live in the middle of the desert, not because the desert provides so well for their needs, but because food, water, fuel and everything else is brought in from hundreds, even thousands of miles away.

In a fuel crisis or grid-down (no electricity), there will be no food in the supermarkets (it's trucked in using fuel), no electricity for lights, air conditioners, refrigerators etc., no water at the tap (pumped by electricity). Millions will flee en masse, clogging roads and highways. Those who do escape before the roads gridlock will seek out places where they can survive, places perceived to have at least water and food. Nearby towns, like Prescott, Sedona, Wickenburg, Flagstaff, even Kingman will be inundated with thousands of refugees. Whatever food and fuel was still available in those towns will be gone, if it was not already. Then what? Millions of people stuck in the desert without food and water and disappearing fuel.

I suspect many will buy or steal the fuel and food they need and drive out of the desert to California, the land of plenty. Going east to New Mexico is just more desert, so it's possible that hundreds of thousands possibly millions of refugees, if they can escape gridlock in Phoenix, could migrate to California's food-growing areas. The problem is, so will those millions of refugees leaving Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, etc. The majority of refugees from Nevada could end up there too. It won't be a come-as-you-are party. It will probably be a steal-all-the- gas-and-food-and-weapons -you-can-and-go-to-California affair. Why California? It produces more food than any other state and everybody knows it.

Take out a map and look at your area. In a similar crisis, where do you think people will go to survive? Draw lines with colored highlighters indicating migrations from population centers to food and water-rich areas. It need not be precise, this is a rough draft.

Now notice the small towns along these lines of migration, places that will probably be inundated with 'visitors'. Since these visitors will most likely be refugees and not all of them well behaved or even civilized, it's probably a good idea to be someplace else when the crowd shows up, hungry, thirsty, needing everything and possibly taking without asking. Don't expect a party.

First - If you live in one of these small towns along the lines of migration, consider relocating to a safer place. If you're looking for an area to establish a survival retreat, you will want to avoid lines of migration. An exception is the desert or other area that appears barren. Refugees will be looking for places to survive, not for places where food and water are scarce. So even if your retreat is a few miles from a main migration line, refugees would only visit you if they believed they could find what they need there. I've given this matter much thought and have located a place in the desert. I suggest that you do the same: consider location carefully, then first select a suitable place that you believe will not attract visitors, whether desert, mountains, plains, whatever. Also, be sure you have the determination and physical ability to manifest your retreat, regardless of where you locate it.

Second, try to be invisible or create invisibility. If they can't see you, they probably won't stop to check you out.

Third, make access to your retreat difficult. Stop vehicles far away with trees, fences and gates, boulders, etc. And slow down those approaching on foot with vegetation, thorny plants and roses, cactus uneven ground, a moat, a wall. Add noisemakers: dry leaves, twigs, rattles, and light-makers, motion detectors, lights, alarms, infrared lamps and goggles whatever helps you.

Weapons. This topic is exhaustively covered in the books I mentioned and in so many others that I'm only going to add my brief opinions here. If you live by a principle of non-harming others and would not harm someone whose intention you perceive is to harm you, then I suggest you create a retreat which you will not have to defend, one that will never have visitors. If you foresee possible confrontation, then be ready for it - be armed, be trained and be dangerous. There is no middle ground. Either shun weapons and use of force or embrace them as necessary in a society where the bad guys are always armed. Now, even some the people you thought were good will have been forced to plunder to survive, and they are also armed.

Choose your location well, and hopefully you may never have to confront a looter.

Remember to think like your enemy. If you are looking for houses to loot, you will take time to observe, climb up on something tall to look down, look for lights at night, smell for fires or cooking, listen for sounds of life, kids playing, look for tracks made by people coming and going. The best situation is not to be visible in the first place, so, if your retreat IS visible from any road, consider ways to hide it or make it look unatractive to looters, like it's already been looted and burned out. (see Holding Your Own)

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This web site is here because the knowledge about survival is critical to many of us right now. This survival retreat in the desert is the demonstration of various technologies which help us become free of dependence on fossil fuels, the grid and other things which are part of the problems we face as a global community.

The DVDs will appear here as they become available.