It has been almost two months since I’ve picked this little journal up. As I reviewed the only two entries I had made, it would seem that Murphy and his law decided to show up right on top of me writing about how it had been awhile since our last altercation involving lethal force.
We were on patrol on the outer perimeter of “the ranch” when our squad had a chance encounter with some trespassers on our return route. We were about a mile away from home, it was just after sunset. When going out on patrol, we have trained to expect an encounter: trespassers, scavengers, transients, usually two or three people at the most, if we encounter anyone. This way, we thought, we could be more alert to whatever may come. About half of our squad had military experience, the rest of us, including myself were civilians.
It’s hard to explain, the encounter with the trespassers. It had been quite awhile since we encountered anyone trespassing on a patrol, so the chance encountered felt more like a surprise, or ambush to me then anything.
It is what it is, or was.
We had trained patrolling the ranch many times before the collapse. It was a good area to train in, a lot of different terrain types, open fields, dense wooded areas, thick brush, a few drainage creeks, a small fresh water creek, hills and beyond the ranch foothills to the nearest mountain range. Not very many neighbors in the surrounding valley.
Thankfully, we didn’t lose anyone this time.
Anyway… I’m rambling.
Maybe I should describe the ranch?
In essence: Two houses adjacent to each other and a working barn surrounded by twenty acres. I can’t recall when, but Jenkins, one of the leadership in the group, had offered up his land as a “home base” for our group in case things really got bad. It was his vacation home about two hours north of town, and had been in his family for the last fifty years.
For those of us that, by his assessment, were taking preparations in a serious manner, he gave the “offer” to. The only agreement each of the families was honor-bound: do your part to get and stay prepared for when we came together and “settled” and pull your weight now and when we get there.
Selection must’ve been hard for him. It was his home after all.
Who should he trust? Who in the larger group of our fellow”preppers” had actually been doing the work, getting supplies, training, learning new skills, doing exercise and other PT, who was just posing and wasting our time, etc.? How can he include and exclude others without creating feelings of resentment or planting seeds of division and possibly betrayal by those “rejected”?
Jenkins eventually came to the decision that, based on the size of our group, that he would “come clean” to the men of the group as a whole and tell them that he’d been watching and observing our larger “group” and families over a period of some six months or so, judging on whether or not who would be able to come. Besides my family and his, three other’s were selected initially. He told the rest of the men, very frankly however politely, that there was room for their families too, however, they would have to do their part to show they were serious and get to work. Once the time came to make a decision to leave town and head to his place, there would be no begging or pleading.
I admired Jenkins for both his gracious offer and for the courage it took to be both open and firm with the offer.
When it finally came time to leave, a few of the men who had been “going through the motions” had gotten their act together and two men had been outed with no harsh feelings as they decided to “go their own way”.