My Extended Weekend of Punishment and Preparation at the Direct Action Resource Center
June 24-27th I had the honor of taking the Tactical Urban Sustainment Course (TUSC) at Direct Action Resource Center (DARC) in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Day Three: “Woooooooah, We’re Half Way There!”
I’m not quite sure anyone “woke up”; more of a fade from mostly unconscious to mostly conscious. I do remember beginning begin classroom work, and we reevaluated the equipment that we brought. It’s taken me a couple months now to implement the changes that I notated needed to happen, and I’m still not done. Responsible finances being the main hurdle, the fact that planning and preparing for these types of situations months (or ideally years) in advance is the ticket. After taking some time to reflect and discussing with others from my class It’s become clear to me that there already exists in the modern world a group of people who (probably unknowingly) are significantly more equipped and trained for a TUSC scenario more than the shooting community, the backpacking community!
As funny at it may sound that a community often characterized for being hammock-dwelling peaceful hippies with acoustic guitars and frisbees, the resources that I’ve come to find available online that I would have benefited from the most is content on how to be a successful backpacker. Information on pack sizing/selection, weight distribution, sustainment equipment, and hygiene and nutrition considerations all will benefit those concerned with “grid down” survival just as much as information and training on tactical gear and firearms fundamentals. I would highly encourage you to look into this info yourself.
This definitive “half-way” point cemented in my mind that I was going to complete the DARC course. After this point, I stopped even remotely considering quitting or giving up. Let this be an encouragement to you: there will always be points in your life that you feel like giving up or that you are not up to a task. The key if to remind yourself that your mindset comes before anything else.
As the day turned into evening and we successfully rebuffed more engagements. A new scenario was planned for the night that would force the entire class of multiple teams to function together at a higher level. As this exercise progressed, it was clear that what had changed in all of us is a shift towards a team mentality. One of the final discussion points we had was on our own support team we have at home and how we can work to develop it further. You see, with any given amount of time and maintaining a stable job, I can reasonably afford all the equipment I would need as an individual to at least not die in a temporary TUSC environment. However, I cannot buy friends; at least not the kind that I would be able to trust my life to. One of the statements I made in that discussion as I looked around a room of students was to look how many people was required for our team to at minimum, not be miserable. Pulling security, managing resource consumption/replenishment, probing and observing OPFOR, and resting are just a few tasks that all require undivided attention, and to attempt to do it all on our own is a plan for failure. So, I have continued to work to develop my own support network at home of people I could work with and rely on for our survival in a disaster scenario.
Questions for yourself:
- How can you begin to refocus and reevaluate some of the equipment you own?
- Do you have a disproportionate investment in one capability and have completely negated another? (i.e. do you own five Glocks but zero winter survival gear?)
- Have you began to develop your support network of trusted individuals? What competencies are you practicing as a team?
Day Four: “Getting Tactical and Urban”
The content covered on the fourth and final day is what most people probably think about when they think of DARC and the “Tactical and Urban” aspect of the Tactical Urban Sustainment Course. This is the day that some basics of structures are covered; tailored for the scenario and skill level for this class. By now I’m sure you’ve considered that if the “grid goes down”, you’re not going to be building a shelter in the middle of the forest. At some point, you may have to transit or even make base in a urban structure that you are unsure of the safety or status of occupancy. Ideally, you have the skills and competency to minimize the risk to yourself and even the potential risk of others trying to survive, no different than you. You may also need to use a vehicle in your self-sustainment and being able to minimize the impact of attacks while in a vehicle will benefit you greatly.
This brings up a very important subject to touch on, which is your own morality in situations when the Rule of Law is not there to make the moral decision significantly easier for you to make. Consider this basic scenario: You’re pulling security outside your house late at night and you spot a man sneaking around an abandoned house with a rifle. Is he a bad guy? Your knee-jerk reaction may be to say yes, but keep in mind that in the absence of rule of law, there are going to be plenty of armed citizens who (like you) are just simply trying to stay alive. You likely wouldn’t want him to see you and immediately assume you’re a bad guy when you’re just trying to stay alive yourself.
The concept of morality is always going to be difficult in the discussion of situations like this for a few reasons. First of all, if you are preparing in any way for an emergency that others are not, you may be put in a number of difficult situations. If you’re lucky, you will have to decide if you are going to use your own resources to help others that didn’t prepare. If you’re unlucky, you’ll encounter those that are either unprepared, desperate, or even immoral enough to be willing to try to take your resources by force for themselves. These will be people that, before whatever disaster compelled you two to meet, are likely living a normal life. There are infinite scenarios and philosophical answers to consider, but I did want to at least make mention of these concepts, as they will likely come up to some degree or another in our own life.
If you are reading this article, hosted on a website for a company that sells handgun holsters, you likely already at least carry a firearm. You’ve probably already encountered those who have chastised or even mocked you for doing so. To others, the idea of preparing for an unforeseen emergency isn’t a necessity in their life. They likely have been taught that entertainment is more important than self-protection and that emergencies happen to everyone else but themselves. The cops and firemen are only a phone call away. The grocery store always has food. These fallacies have diminished in the past couple years due to some of the impacts of the 2020 pandemic, but I already see people forgetting these lessons and returned to “the way things were”. Also, as much as they don’t want to admit it, many people become insecure at the sight of others being more prepared for an emergency than them. So that insecurity masks itself outwardly as dismission and mockery. I wish I had a perfect answer to these people, as I’m still searching for the right words to say every time myself. I know it’s wrong to waste the opportunity to educate and encourage others, but I also know that most of my efforts will fall on deaf ears. This all circles back to working on building a network of others who can be of aid to you and you to them in any type of emergency. You want to interlink with those that have shown an interest. In fact, I would even say you have a moral obligation to invest in those people, as doing so will make them more likely to survive and even increase the likelihood of you having a trustworthy team of people to rely on.
The best encouragement I can give you is that if you are interested in what I’ve discussed in this article, look into taking TUSC at DARC. Also, if others show an interest in emergency preparedness, no matter how small, water that seed. Be patient and share with them the information that you wish you had when you started your journey.