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The Trials of George Thomas – Prolog

“George, this is Helen. Somebody just shot the President. It’s on all the news.”

“Kill him or wound him like they did Reagan?”

“They didn’t say. Al Haig died a while back so I wonder who is in charge.”

“That’s not funny Helen; at least under these circumstances. This could get bad, de-
pending on who is involved. Have they caught anyone?”

“Speculation is that it was a sniper. More like a JFK deal than a Reagan deal.”

“Biden in charge?”

“He’s flying back to Washington from Omaha. There’s almost a total news blackout on
this thing. You don’t suppose Obama is dead and they’re holding off on an announce-
ment to give Law Enforcement time to prepare for the riots that are sure to follow, do
you?”

“I don’t know what to think, dear. I’ll get off early and come right home. It might be a
good idea to be off the streets if you’re right.”

“I’m already home. I’ll be waiting. Be careful.”

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The Trials of George Thomas – One

How we got here…

George was 24 when he participated in the 1983 Operation Urgent Fury, 2nd Battalion,
75th Ranger Regiment. George was a civilian when Operation Just Cause happened
three years later.

Recently, circa late 1993, one of the guys at work had purchased a civilian version of
the M14 built by Springfield Armory, Inc.

“I’m going to the range on Saturday to see how my new rifle shoots. Want to come
along George?”

“Let me check with Helen. If she doesn’t have anything planned, I’d love to come. You
bought one of those civilian M14s, didn’t you?”

“Yep. It’s a Springfield Armory, Inc. National Match. I picked up some surplus ammo
and extra USGI magazines. Say, have you heard about that new Assault Weapons Ban
Congress is talking about?”

Un-un. What’s that about?”

“Just what it says, a ban on assault weapons. The thing is… their definition of assault
weapons seems to be way overboard. An AK or an AR is an assault weapon while
there’s no way an M14 is. Nonetheless, they’re going to classify a main battle rifle as an
assault weapon. And, get this; magazines over 10 rounds will be banned.”

“Has it passed yet?”

“No. I think it’s only a matter of time. Considering all the shootings, Ruby Ridge, Waco
and 101 California Street, Congress has a bug up its tail. And, if it passes, Clinton will
sign it in the blink of an eye. You were a Ranger, right? Ever shoot an M14?”

“I carried an M16A2. Only other weapon I got to shoot was a Steyr AUG. It’s a strange
looking bullpup design that uses a gas piston and fires from a closed bolt. I’ve seen
M14s but never fired one. Do I need ammo?”

“Get a battle pack of 7.62x51mm NATO surplus. German, English or American if you
can find it. Don’t get anything with a steel case. The American ammo will be boxer
primed and reloadable. The foreign stuff will probably be Berdan primed and not re-
loadable; that should make it cheaper.”

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Long story short, I got to go shooting and we had a good time. Bill had an update on the
AWB and I had to make a decision. I could buy a rifle now with high capacity magazines
and a bunch of surplus; or, I could wait ten years and hope the law’s proposed sunset
clause kicked in.

“Do you have a minute or two?”

“Like Bill’s rifle, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do. I can either get a Standard model or a National Match model. What do you
think?”

“How are we on money?”

“We can afford a National Match, spare 20 round magazines and four or five cases of
surplus. It will be a while before we make a decision on a supplemental retirement plan.
I doubt the prices will go down.”

“Why would you shoot surplus ammo in a Match rifle?”

“Because it’s cheap? If this Assault Weapons Ban passes, many of the weapons cur-
rently available will be banned.”

“Ok, what about me?”

“What about you?”

“If you buy guns for yourself, do you intend to buy guns for me?”

“What would you like?”

“A Ruger Mini-14, a Browning Hi-Power and a 12 gauge pump with a 20” barrel, rifle
sights and a magazine extension. Are you also considering a handgun or shotgun?”

“I suppose I could get a 12 gauge with rifle sights and magazine extension. I’m not sure
on a handgun. Don’t you think that a 12 gauge might be too much gun for you?”

“Not if I used reduced recoil shells. They don’t make 00 for a 20 gauge according to the
guy in the gun store. Para Ordnance has that new P-14 if you can get it bought before
the Ban goes into effect. If you get the guns and magazines, the ammo can come after.
Besides, are you sure you don’t want some match ammo for the match rifle?”

“You seem to be awfully well informed.”

“You have a birthday coming and there’s Christmas. I’ve been shopping. You should
really pay more attention to the news honey; it’s getting scary out there.”

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“If we’re going to start acquiring firearms, we’ll need to consider a gun safe.”

“I agree.”

When I heard someone discussing the Corbon Flying Ashcan, I checked it out. The JHP
slug was an 185gr Gold Dot slug manufactured by Speer. The Corbon cartridge was
marginally hotter than the Speer loading. We discussed it and decided to buy 230gr
Speer Gold Dot for carry and 230gr FMJ for practice. In the 9mm ammo, Helen wanted
the 124gr+P Gold Dot and 124gr FMJ for practice.

His best offer was 10% off, across the board, IF we bought all six firearms and the
spare magazines through him. The only 30 round Ruger magazines he had were the
ones intended to be used with the AC-556. We bought 20 of those and 20 of the 20
round USGI M14 magazines. Handgun magazines would include 4 spare magazines for
each pistol.

He didn’t carry surplus but had a printed list of outlets to contact. If we bought match
grade 5.56 or 7.62 he’d give us the same discount on purchases of two or more cases.
Two weeks later, we hauled home six new firearms and many spare magazines. I or-
dered a 500 round case of Lake City M855 for Helen’s rifle and a 500 round case of
175gr M118LR for my rifle. The M118LR was a relatively new loading replacing the
173gr M118. Eventually we were able to load up on Australian surplus 7.62 and addi-
tional Lake City M855.

We went with 2 cases of Brenneke slugs, 2 cases of #4 Buck and 4 cases of 00 buck.
Bill’s wife Susan soon joined us at the range. Susan was no novice. This being a state
that permitted NFA firearms, the fourth trip to the range saw Bill with a suppressor on
his rifle and a new scope. Susan’s rifle, a Bushmaster, had a suppressor too. The sur-
prise came when she pulled out a Ruger Mark II with integral suppressor.

In ’94, the dreaded AWB passed and Clinton signed it the same day. The price of pre-
ban magazines jumped overnight. During the period leading up to the Ban, manufac-
tures were cranking out magazines 24/7 so, although expensive, there were magazines
available. We purchased threaded barrels for both pistols and purchased the suppres-
sors for both rifles and pistols. It took ten months to get approval from the ATF. It also
took a gunsmith a month to tweak the firearms so they’d function smoothly with sup-
pressors. We followed Bill’s advice and didn’t purchase subsonic ammo for any of our 4
suppressed firearms.

One Saturday after we left the range, Bill and Susan suggested we come over for
drinks. Once we had our drinks in hand, Bill asked, “How are you fixed for Long Term
Food Supplies?”

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“Helen, you can probably answer that better than I can.”

“Well, it depends on what type of supplies you’re discussing. We watch the ads and
generally buy up to the limit. If it’s a good enough deal, we go back every day until the
sale ends. We only buy what we eat. Time wise, we have maybe 3 months in reserve.”

“I see. Susan, why don’t you show Helen our pantry and I’ll take George downstairs?
Bring your drink.”

Half their basement was furnished. It had a ¾ bath, fireplace and a convertible sofa.
The other side must have been Bill’s side, it was unfinished. Not empty mind you, just
unfinished. Half of it was filled with metal shelving set up in rows spaced about 30” apart
and strapped together so they wouldn’t shift. One section held jar after jar of home
canned food ranging from jams and jellies to vegetables to fruit to home canned meat.
Another section held box after box of number 10 cans containing freeze dried, dehy-
drated and preserved food. Another section was devoted to medical supplies and am-
munition and the final section’s shelves were further apart and held 6 gallon pails that
Bill called ‘Super Pails’.

“How much food do you have?”

”Ten years for two people. Those pails mostly contain grains, beans and rice. Our
freezer over there is full and we rotate the food and restock it quarterly.”

“Where’s the bomb shelter?”

“Over here behind this cabinet. Let me release the lock and swing the cabinet away
from the wall.”

“A safe door?”

“Close. It’s a blast door filled with concrete. Give me a hand, it’s heavy.”

“Wait a minute, the ramp goes downward?”

“Of course.”

It appeared that we were paralleling an extended basement wall on one side and a sep-
arate wall about 4’ from the extended wall. It led to what Bill revealed was a shelter un-
der their garage slab.

“There are 8” of concrete in the overhead and six feet of earth over that and the 4” gar-
age slab. The ceiling is 9’ to give a feeling of spaciousness. The protection factor is real-
ly high; depending on who you believe, anywhere from 75,000 to over a million.”

“Where did you get the food?”

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“Two sources, Walton Feed in Idaho and Emergency Essentials in Utah. It takes more
than just the food; you need equipment like a grain grinder, a pressure canner, canning
jars and lids and all manner of things. Susan and I shop both Sam’s Club and Costco in
addition to Wal-Mart. Since we happen to drink Folgers coffee, and coffee isn’t included
in the Long Term Storage Foods, we get that at Costco along with the shortening and
cooking oil. Sam’s provides pasta and we buy bread flour from Wal-Mart. We freeze the
flour for about a week and then pack it in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside of six
gallon pails, seal the bags and then the pail.”

“Why freeze it?”

“That kills any bugs or eggs in the flour so you don’t have to sift the crap out when you
go to use it. We also have dough enhancers and extra gluten, just in case.”

“Will it keep a long time?”

“I don’t know. We keep a two year supply and rotate it out about 50 pounds at a time. I’d
have to say, so far, so good.”

“How much do you consider being a year’s supply?”

“Three hundred and fifty pounds. That’s about one pound per day.”

“But you said you have a ten year supply.”

“We do. Most of the flour is stored in its natural form, wheat. Wheat will keep almost for-
ever stored the way it’s packaged. Our storage method copies the storage method used
by those two food suppliers I mentioned.”

Meanwhile…

The Assault Weapons Ban had sunset. During the interim, we accumulated various
forms of wealth including a ‘bomb shelter’ LTS foods, radiation instruments and addi-
tional guns and ammo. I acquired a Springfield Armory Super Match and added a varia-
ble power Mk 4 Leopold scope. I also acquired a MacMillan Tac-50 with all the bells and
whistles and 750gr Hornady A-MAX match ammo. I selected a Nightforce NXS 12-
42×56mm scope and a Jet suppressor. Ruger had that new SR-556 out and Helen real-
ly wanted one. She was under the impression that it was available as a select fire
weapon. I checked it out.

“The only select fire Ruger rifle that the dealer knew of was the AC-556. He can get a
new one so the only thing we have to do is apply for the tax stamp.”

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“Folding stock?”

“Yes. You can have either the Ruger folding stock or a Butler Creek folding stock. He
also said he could install a Surefire suppressor and tune the rifle to work with the sup-
pressor. He doesn’t carry the ACOG but said we could get it almost anywhere.”

“Maybe we should sell some of that gold and silver we bought after 9/11.”

“No way. It goes up in value every day and is going up faster than inflation. We’ll go in
tomorrow and do the paperwork for the ATF and get it submitted.”

Since we already had NFA registered weapons, the tax stamps didn’t take that long. I
got one stamp for the suppressor for my Super Match and Helen got two, the AC-556
and the suppressor. Everything was in place on November 2, 2010. We acquired addi-
tional M118LR for my rifles and more M855 for her rifles, bringing us to ~10,000 rounds
of rifle ammo in each caliber.

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The Trials of George Thomas – Two

The present…

George Thomas was now 51 years old and 15 years from retirement. Earlier that day,
Helen had called him to tell him that President Obama had been shot or shot at. The
Vice President had returned from Omaha and was, for the moment, Acting President.
The President was in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The
Naval Hospital was in the first steps of being merged with Walter Reed Army Medical
Center. Between the two hospitals, there was no shortage of well qualified physicians.
There were lingering questions about their ability to perform autopsies, so it was in eve-
ryone’s best interest to keep the President alive.

“I’m home.”

“Did you have any problems?”

“Actually no. I stayed on the freeway instead of using surface streets like I usually do. Is
there any additional news?”

“Speculation. Fox News claimed they had information from an unnamed source that
President Obama was killed. They backed up their claim by showing footage from their
affiliates. There seems to be activity at several military bases, posts and stations.”

“Has the Governor called out the Guard?”

“Not that I’ve heard of. However, the Sheriff recalled all off duty Deputies. I think they
said that the Phoenix PD was doing the same. Do you think we should close the shut-
ters?”

“It might be a good idea. I’ll crank them down starting with the front. Keep an ear open
about the Guard.”

We had security shutters of a sort. They were aluminum and weren’t bulletproof but
could stop a Molotov cocktail should one we lobbed at a window. The bulletproof shut-
ters were expensive, especially if you got something to stop a 7.62 round. We read
most of the fiction at Frugal’s over the years and had implemented a fair share of the
story suggestions. Oft times we couldn’t quite come up with the cash to install the level
of protection we wanted although we surely tried.

The home had been built by a company that erected a masonry exterior and inserted a
frame interior. We had opted for solid concrete block for the exterior. We went one step
further at the time and installed 2x6 framing as opposed to the standard 2x4 framing.
This allowed an additional 2” of foam insulation to be sprayed on the inside of the block.
All of the drywall was ¾”. We used copper sheeting on the roof and the attic had insula-
tion totaling an R value of 50. The various changes and additions had upped the price

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by over 20%. We figured a ten year payback on our reduced electrical bills. The only
items exclusively powered by commercial power initially were the air conditioning, hot
water heater and the washing machine. Only the kitchen stove, furnace and dryer were
fueled with natural gas, but I had the conversion kits.

Our shelter was homemade and based on the 10’x50’ culvert that Utah Shelter Systems
sold. Our home faced north hence the roof on the back side was exposed to the sun.
The roof was covered with PV panels which were routed to the batteries under the shel-
ter floor. The patio cover was flat but half covered by solar heaters that kept the electri-
cal usage in the hot water heater to minimums. Mesa was a city where everything was
hot most of the year. That wasn’t the case at the moment, it was January, 2011 and the
temperatures were moderate to cool.

The shelter had the VA-150 ANDAIR/LUWA System with spare filters and 3 bar blast
valves. The entrance and exit was a pair of the Utah Shelter Systems Horizontal Blast
Doors, one at each end. We had initially intended to use propane burners in the shelter
but ended up following their recommendations to use electrical burners. The blast doors
weren’t a straight shot down the nearly 20’ to the shelter floor. Instead, we used larger
oval culverts at an angle with stairs, which included the 90° turn required about halfway
down. They ended in small six foot square concrete block rooms.

One consideration that most had to deal with was children. Unfortunately after a few
years of trying, we went to a specialist and learned that we wouldn’t be raising children
unless we adopted. Helen was pretty torn up for the better part of a year. It didn’t help
that our parents had purchased firearms for the children we expected to have. The pur-
chases were two Winchester 9422s and two Single Six revolvers. When Winchester an-
nounced they were shutting down we bought 2 rifles and 2 carbines, all in .45 Colt. We
also bought four Marlin rifles, 2 1894 Cowboys in .45 Colt and two 1895 Cowboys in
.45-70 Government.

We made one other purchase when Ruger first brought out the Vaquero, two each in
4¾”, 5½” and 7½”. We even took a recommendation or two from Tired Old Man and
bought Paladin holsters for the 7½” and the Laredo Crossdraw for the 4¾” and 5½” re-
volvers.

While we’d be scraping the bottom of the barrel if we turned to those, they could use
black powder. We laid in a supply of Pyrodex and primers plus Lee loaders. And, be-
cause my 7.62 ammo was boxer primed, primers, smokeless powder and 168gr Horna-
dy BTHP bullets. The M855 was also boxer primed and we purchased 62gr SS109 bul-
lets, more smokeless power and primers. Again, we went with the Lee Loaders. There
were 10 25-gallon bottles of propane in the shed and jets for the stove and gas grill, not
counting our large propane tank.

“George, Bill. Have you gone into lockdown mode?”

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“The shutters are down and the gates locked. That’s about all we can do at the mo-
ment.”

“Look, the reason I called was that I have to make a shopping run and wondered if you
might be available to cover my back.”

“No problem as long as we get home before the curfew that will probably go in effect at
sundown.”

“I’ll pick you up in 30 minutes.”

“Helen, I’m going with Bill for some last minute shopping. Is there anything we need?”

“The list is on the refrigerator door. If you see something I left off, add it to the list.”

“I don’t see any liquor. We’re low on both Tequila and Jack Daniels.”

“Then, add them to the list. Do you have enough cash?”

“Well….”

“Take the cash out of my billfold. Be sure you get Squirt and margarita mix.”

“Anything else?”

“If you see something in the meat case that looks good, get it too.”

I left home with about $600 in my wallet. I got a 50-50 case of Jack and Jose Cuervo.
Her list included 20 ounce bottles of water and gallon jugs of water. I added a case of
Squirt, Coke Classic and a dozen bottles of margarita mix. With about ~300 left in my
wallet, I made a stop at the meat counter selecting ground beef, a dozen chickens and 3
packages of sirloin. I also grabbed a bag of limes from the produce section.

We stopped back at our place and quickly unloaded into the garage. Bill took off for
home, about a mile distant. I carried the purchases into the house and put the various
items away. I added a bottle each of both liquors to the small bar and took the rest to
the basement to add to our storage shelves.

When I returned to the living room, Helen was engrossed in the news coverage from
channel 10 KSAZ (Fox). For all intents and purposes, the majority of the protest action
was being promoted by Latinos/Hispanics and Blacks. Thus far it had been confined to
downtown business districts. I went ahead and turned on the small TV in our study that
received the feed from the CCTV mounted on our antenna mast and flipped the switch
that activated the constant roaming feature. Satisfied the camera and controls were op-
erating properly, I joined Helen in the living room.

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“The water is in the basement, the liquor put away and the other things are on the kitch-
en counter. I put the meat in the refrigerator.”

“What did you get?”

“Ground beef, chickens and sirloins.”

“I’ll repack it in a bit George. Biden is supposed to address the nation at 7 pm local.
Maybe we’ll finally find out what is going on. Let’s go ahead and do the meat and get
supper out of the way. Give me a hand?”

“Sure. What do you want me to do first?”

“Find the Seal-a-meal and a new roll of bagging. I’ll weigh out the ground beef into one
pound units. What should I leave out for supper?”

“Do you have some nice potatoes and a package of lettuce?”

“Sure do. Steaks for dinner?”

“Yes, please.”

“Bring a can of mushrooms.”

It took about an hour to pack and store the meat. The potatoes were about done and
she started the mushrooms and grilled the steaks. By six, we were eating and by six for-
ty-five, the dishwasher was running. We got coffee and sat down in front of the TV
again. This time we switched to Fox News Channel to hear the live address and com-
mentary before and after.

Brit Hume was leading a panel consisting of Juan Williams, Charles Krauthammer and
Fred Barnes. While all four agreed that the situation was extremely serious, there was
no consensus on the fate of President Obama. The pre speech discussion covered
several possibilities including his death, a crippling or long term injury or a moderate in-
jury that would see him returned to office in short order.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Vice President and Acting President

At three-twenty Washington time, an assassination attempt was made on the life of


President Barack Obama by a sniper as he was about to board Marine One to return to
the White House. Instead, Marine One transferred the President to the National Naval
Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

The President underwent surgery to treat his injury and is, at this moment, in a coma.
The doctors indicate that the surgery was successful and it’s simply a matter of time un-

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til the President regains consciousness. I ask the entire nation to join us in prayers for a
quick and speedy recovery.

The panel began discussing the ramifications of the announcement, focusing on a crip-
pling or long term injury or a moderate injury that would see him returned to office in
short order. After the panel concluded its discussions, Fox turned to breaking news and
ran video segments from various affiliates showing truckload after truckload of military
personnel being transported from Marine Corps camps and Army posts.

We switched back to channel 10 KSAZ just in time to hear the latter half of an an-
nouncement by Governor Brewer activating some of the Arizona National Guard. Small
contingents would be sent to Flagstaff and Tucson with the majority moved to the great-
er Phoenix area. After the speech, the station switched to live coverage highlighting
growing unrest in the area, mostly in Phoenix.

“Hello?”

“George, Bill. Did you catch Biden’s speech?”

“We both watched it. It appears that Biden will be in charge for a while. Brewer called up
the Guard too. The trouble is just beginning.”

“We think so too. We’re not sure if we’ll go in tomorrow. The two of you should give that
some thought too. At least you and I can have protection out in the parking lot. Our
wives on the other hand don’t have the luxury since neither employer will allow firearms
on their property.”

“Maybe we should take them to work and pick them up. It’s out of the way… but, it
would eliminate the problem.”

“Actually, I was thinking about carpooling for the rest of the week. You pick us up tomor-
row and we pick you up the following day. Oh, oh.”

“What?”

“All hell is breaking lose in Chicago, Detroit and Miami. Biden didn’t declare a state of
emergency did he?”

“It wasn’t in his speech, why?”

“The military on TV are active duty, not National Guard. Wait, Fox is now saying that he
did declare a state of emergency and has activated military units to assist police in put-
ting down unrest. Something about the Insurrection Act of 1807.”

“That’s what Bush used as authority to bring in the Army and Marines during the ’92 LA
Riots. Since then, the law was changed several times. The changes have mostly been

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repealed and as of the moment, the laws are near what they were in 1992; Posse Comi-
tatus with the exclusion of troops used under the order of the President pursuant to the
Insurrection Act. We also have the 1st Brigade Combat Team under Northcom for situa-
tions just such as these.”

“How big of force is that?”

“Twenty thousand.”

“Won’t be enough considering the number of cities likely to be involved. I can under-
stand the blacks being involved in protests, but why the Hispanics?”

“Hispanics swung the election for Harry Reid in Nevada. Do you think that’s it?”

“That could be. We haven’t heard much about the Aztlán Movement and La Raza Unida
Party recently. You don’t suppose...”

“Nah... well, maybe so. There have been a lot of people coming over the border. That’s
what got the law passed. Is that still in court?”

“It is as far as I know. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t end up in the Supreme Court. As
much as I hate to say it, we’d have been better off if he had light wounds allowing him to
return to work soon or had been killed. As long as he’s in a coma in the hospital and
Biden is only Acting President, everyone with an axe to grind will be riled up.”

“That raises a question. The 25th Amendment clarified Presidential succession. I’m not
that familiar with it; doesn’t the President have to notify Congress in writing that he can’t
fulfill his duties?”

“Under the third clause it does. However, in a case such as the one we’re in, the fourth
clause allows the Vice President and Cabinet to transmit a written declaration that the
President is unable to discharge his duties. The Vice President then becomes Acting
President until the President transmits a written declaration that his disability no longer
exists. Or, he dies, in which case the Vice President becomes the President. Look up
Acting President of the United States on Wiki. It lays out the history and the current sta-
tus of the law. This is the first time it has really come up.”

“No Al Haig, huh?”

“He didn’t say he was Acting President. All he said was ‘I am in control here’. His state-
ment reflected political reality, not legal reality. Beside, Bush was on his way back to the
White House and Reagan wasn’t dead. Has there been any word on what the sniper
used? If they say it was Carcano there’s something rotten in Denmark.”

“Actually I heard .338 Lapua Magnum. I don’t know if that is true. It does have the
range; well over 2 klicks.”

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“I’m surprised that the Secret Service let anyone get close enough for a shot.”

“Twenty-five hundred meters is over a mile and a half. He was at Andrews transferring
from Air Force One to Marine One. He should have been safe. What are the odds of a
sniper knowing his itinerary and being in the exact place necessary to make a shot like
that and take someone out with the first shot?”

“Was that the distance? Twenty-five hundred meters?”

“I don’t know. I was just saying it had to be a very long range shot and the sniper only
got one chance. Besides, he was moving, not standing still. Whoever it was, he was
very good.”

“Let me talk to Helen about carpooling and I’ll get back to you in a bit.”

“Who was that?”

“Bill. He suggested carpooling for the rest of the week. We’d take turns alternating days
and take you and Susan to your jobs before we go to ours.”

“I kind of like that. Four gun hands in a single vehicle.”

“I’ve created a blood thirsty monster!”

“You know what I’m saying. If it gets too bad, the company may shut down for a few
days. I think Susan’s might too. Will yours?”

“Doubtful. They’ll probably just load ammo into a couple of Apaches.”

“What model are you building these days?”

“AH-64D, block III. We just got the contract this past October. Look, I’ve got to call Bill
back and tell him ok. After that, I think maybe I’ll turn in.”

“I’m going to watch a few minutes longer.”

“Bill, George. It’s a go. We’ll pick you up at 6:30.”

The discord increased though the night despite no change in the President’s reported
condition. We got up an hour earlier than usual and watched the news over breakfast.
There were problems cropping up in several more large cities. None of the correspond-
ents was quite sure why people were reacting as they were. One would have thought
that churches would be holding prayer vigils/services. Some did, but nothing on the

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scale of what happened after 9/11. Back in April and May of 1968, 125 cities erupted
into rioting in the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination. They included Baltimore,
Washington, New York, Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky.

Race riots are nothing new to the American scene. Riots defined by "race" have taken
place between ethnic groups in the United States since as early as the pre-Revolution
era of the 18th century. During the early-to-mid- 19th centuries, violent rioting occurred
between Protestant "Nativists" and recently arrived Irish Catholic immigrants. These
reached heights during the peak of immigration in the 1840s and 1850s in cities includ-
ing New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. During the early 20th century, riots were com-
mon against Irish and French-Canadian immigrants in Providence, Rhode Island.
The San Francisco Vigilance Movements of 1851 and 1856 are often described by
sympathetic historians as responses to rampant crime and government corruption. In
addition to lynching accused criminals, the vigilantes also systematically attacked Irish
immigrants, however. The anti-immigrant violence later focused on Mexicans and Chi-
nese immigrants.

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, Italian Americans were the second
minority group (next to African Americans) most likely to be lynched. One of the largest
lynching’s in US history occurred in New Orleans in 1891, when eleven Italians were
violently murdered in the streets by a large lynch mob. In the 1890s a total of twenty Ital-
ians were lynched in the South. Riots and lynching’s against Italian Americans erupted
into the 20th century in the South, as well as in New York City, Chicago, and Boston.

On top of that there was a possible additional element, or two. The first was the Latino
involvement, especially here in the greater Phoenix area and the second, which just oc-
curred to me, was the possibility of terrorists aka militant Islamics using the goings on
as a cover for who knows what. For my part, I didn’t assume that we were dealing with a
militant Islamic. Several possibilities did occur to me as I drifted off to sleep, a racially
motivated act being first and foremost. A less likely possibility was a patriot fed up with
our country being sold out by a socialist. Latino refers to people from the Americas while
Hispanic refers to Spanish speakers and they are often the same people.

“If you have the lunches I think we’re ready to leave.”

“I need to grab my Browning. Ah, the heck with it, I’ll just grab the pistol belt with every-
thing attached and put it in the trunk. Be sure to lower the garage door shutter.”

“You know, I sure wish I had a hideout piece in an ankle holster with a couple of spare
magazines in a mag carrier on the other ankle.”

“Fifteen shots plus 56 reloads isn’t enough?”

15
“It’s not that. We have to leave our weapons in the vehicle. I’d like to have something
available all of the time. I looked at my 2010 Para catalog last night before I went to
bed. I’m leaning towards a Nite Hawg. Since you like the 9mm, you could go with a Car-
ry 9 with eight plus one. We could stop on the way home from work or after we drop Bill
and Susan off. You could get one of those Galco purses they carry in the gun shop and
nobody would be any the wiser.”

“Let me think about it, ok?”

“No problem. Would it be ok if I went ahead and got a Nite Hawg?”

“I suppose so. You’d better get four spare magazines rather than two.”

There’s only about a nickels difference between a M1911 and a Browning Hi-Power. If
you know how to disassemble, clean and reassemble one, you can do the other. They
all take about the same horsepower to rack the slide so, again, one is about equal to the
other. The difference lies solely in the cartridge, .45acp versus 9mm Parabellum. The
.45acp has more innate knockdown power because of the size of the bullet. However,
124gr +P 9mm ammo has a following. We weren’t short on either round.

“You guys ready?”

“Yes. How about the ladies sit in back and we sit in front? We can have separate con-
versions that way and do the least seat swapping.”

“I’ll move in back, George.”

“Ok honey.”

“So, what’s new with you?”

“Nothing much, really. I was discussing buying a Para Ordnance Nite Hawg with Helen.
They’re small, compact and carry a fair load of .45acp. We both have the old CCWs so
it’s not really a problem carrying one in an ankle holster. Get a dual mag carrier for the
off side.”

“I have a Warthawg. It’s about the same gun. Twenty-four ounces, right?”

“Right. What finish, stainless or Regal?”

“Stainless.”

“The Nite Hawg comes in Covert Black with the tritium sights. Although I think I’m about
ready to look into those Crimson Trace laser grips.”

16
“I’m not sure they’re available for the smaller handguns. Model 1911s with ambidextrous
safeties have to be modified.”

“You carry it full time?”

“It’s my American Express card.”

“Susan too?”

“Oh yeah. She prefers 9mm but in a M1911 package. Hi-Power plus a Carry 9.”

“George was talking about buying a compact pistol that he can carry in an ankle holster.
He even suggested we get one for me that I could carry in a Galco purse.”

“Like this purse?”

“That’s a Galco?”

“Yes, and this is my 9mm Carry 9.”

“But it’s against the rules to carry a firearm where you work.”

“I know. I also know that what they don’t know won’t hurt me. Let’s face it Helen, if it
gets to the point where I have to use this at work, I’m down to a choice between my life
and my job. I can find another job.”

“Maybe we will go shopping after work.”

“We can go along. I need to replace my practice ammo and Bill was talking about two
more magazines for his Warthawg.”

“What brand of ammo do you use in your handguns?”

“Speer. We use Gold Dot for carry and Lawman for practice. Same bullet weights for
both. Bill uses all 230gr and I use all 124gr.”

“That’s what we use.”

“Good choices in my opinion. My Gold Dot is +P and the Lawman isn’t so I practice at
times with some Gold Dot. There’s a bit of difference in recoil, especially with the Carry
9. No surprises doing it my way. The Hi-Power weighs 35 ounces versus the 24 ounces
for the Carry 9, not counting ammo. Definitely a little more recoil. The Carry 9 is DAO.”

17
“One thing you’ll have to keep in mind George is that your P-14 weighs 40 ounces emp-
ty and the Nite Hawg weighs 24 ounces empty. More recoil due to the lower weight. On
the other hand, I doubt you’d want a P-14 in an ankle holster.”

“I’d definitely limp if I did that. Susan, we’re here.”

“Thanks. See you tonight.”

“George, I talked to Susan. We’ll go shopping tonight like you wanted.”

“If we can find a store open. They could be locked down, you know. Ok honey, we’re
here. Stay safe.”

“So that’s what they were talking about. Susan carries a Galco purse with a Carry 9. If
Helen was already thinking about it, she probably convinced her. She even carries it to
work although the State of Arizona prohibits weapons on the property. They’d probably
just warn her if they found out. If she had to use it, she’d no doubt lose her job.”

“Boeing wouldn’t be too happy to know you were carrying.”

“It’s that old survivalist’s thing. Would you rather have it and not need it or need it and
not have it? I have enough years in that finding a new job wouldn’t be impossible and I’d
most likely be alive to look for a new job.”

“Gibbs was supposed to make a statement this morning about the President’s condition.
As much as I don’t care for the man politically, it’s just not right that someone shot him. I
seriously doubt he would be reelected in 2012. If he survives and is able to return to
work, this should pick up a few millions votes for him.”

“You don’t think the GOP will take the Senate and White House in 2012?”

“Oh, before this, I’d have put money on it if they had a decent candidate. There has
been a lot of displeasure over the economy and that healthcare deal. The Tea Party
pretty much put the GOP back in control of the House and cut the Democrat’s majority
in the Senate down to a bare minimum. That means two years of a mostly do nothing
Congress. The GOP doesn’t have the votes to overturn a veto of a repeal of healthcare.

“Have you seen any of the Bush interviews? I have to tell you, after seeing what he’s
had to say, I’m a little more comfortable with voting for him both times.”

“Being President is a hard job in the best of times. What did you think about that com-
ment last November about being out of Afghanistan by 2014?”

“Not much. That would make Afghanistan even longer than Vietnam. The thing that I
don’t understand is how our government thought they could do what the Soviet Union
couldn’t with fewer troops.”

18
“Pure ego.”

“Sorry fellas, Boeing ordered the line shutdown for today. Call in tomorrow before you
drive in to see if operations have resumed.”

“Well, crap. Now what?”

“Why not go buy those handguns? You can buy her a purse and if she doesn’t like it,
she can exchange it. Women are funny about things like what they like in a purse.”

“You’re telling me. That sounds good, let’s do that. We made that quick run to the store
last night and loaded up on a few things. Since we have time, I may make another run
and pick up anything I missed. I’ll just have to run the aisles and see if anything trips my
trigger.”

“I know several things we can use so I’ll go with you. We’d better get on our cells and let
the girls know.”

“Helen? Boeing is shut down for the day. Bill and I are going to pick up the things from
the gun shop. Do you have any idea what you might like in a purse?”

“One identical to the one Susan has. Same gun too. Anything else?”

“I’m going to run by the grocery store and run the aisles to see if I missed anything last
night.”

“Can you pick me up some Always Infinity Regulars?”

“How many packages?”

“As many as you can without getting overly embarrassed.”

“Anything else?”

“Swiss Miss envelopes. A dozen boxes if they have them. That’s all I can think of.”

“We’ll see you at quitting time.”

“Oh, they’re letting us go at 2pm. I was going to call you over your lunch hour.”

“See you at two.”

“Susan. Boeing shutdown for today. We’re going to the gun store. How many boxes of
Lawman did you need?”

19
“A full case if they have it. You wouldn’t be going by the grocery store would you?”

“As a matter of fact, we are. What do we need?”

“Mainly meat. Bacon, sausage, ground round, a nice roast or two if you can find them
and maybe a package or two of good steaks. One package of round steak for sure, I
want to do stir fry. Three bundles of green onions should be enough for Mongolian Beef.
We have the chilies and garlic.”

“Got it. Anything else?”

“Any chance you’re going to Wal-Mart?”

“We can if you want something.”

“Ok. I want two 25 pound bags of bread flour and a dozen three packs of yeast. That
should be all besides the things on the list on the refrigerator. They’re letting us out at
2:30 because of the unrest.”

“We’ll be there.”

“George, could you run me by home to pick up our shopping list? Susan wants bread
flour from Wal-Mart so I’d appreciate it if we could stop there.”

“No problem. I wanted to get some cash out of our safe anyway.”

We did our shopping, doing the gun store first followed by Costco, Sam’s and Wal-Mart,
putting the meat in a cooler. A dozen packages of pads were no more embarrassing
than one so I half-filled the basket. I buried them under 18 30-count packages of Swiss
Miss single serving packages. More was better because they were on sale and there
was no limit. Bill had rather more than I did but I bought more the previous night. I did
pick up two additional packages of the ground beef, two large containers of chili powder
and extra batteries at Costco. Sam’s provided a case of pasta sauce and pasta to fill in
what we’d used since the last time we purchased any.

We had everything done and put away by a little after noon. The store had Galco ankle
products on hand or could order other brands. They weren’t that expensive and I decid-
ed to give them a try. Galco were the products Bill used. I loaded the ten magazines
and put Helen’s new pistol in her bag and my magazine carrier on my left leg and the
pistol on my right leg. We also wore our regular pistols on our belts with the spare mag-
azines.

It was around 1 pm when we had everything done. We quickly decided to go to McDon-


ald’s for lunch and get a McRib sandwich, fries and a shake. We had discussed it at
Costco and had I gotten a large deluxe pizza for supper and Bill had picked up a twelve

20
pack of Coors at a liquor store. We rather suspected that Fox or someone would be
broadcasting reruns of the press conference sometime during the evening.

We picked up Helen and Susan and filled them in on the plans we made. We dropped
Bill and Susan off at their home so she could change and they could get their car. When
we got home, Helen went to change into slacks and a blouse and I turned on channel
10. There was more activity in Phoenix than there had been that morning. I guess even
looters need sleep. Efforts were being made to channel the escalating violence into the
rioters’ home turf, with only some success.

The biggest surprise came when they cut from Phoenix to Tucson. Tucson had a black
population of less than 5%. The Latino population was around 40% and about seven-
eighths of that group were Mexican Americans. A significant portion of that population
was out and about and armed to the teeth. Despite attempts to prevent break-ins, many
gun stores had been looted. They had a bit of everything from lever action rifles to M-
16s.

The demographics of Phoenix duplicated those of Tucson; most of the violence was
coming from the black and Latino communities. However, whether spurned by the ac-
tivities in Tucson or having done it on their own accord, Phoenix gun stores were also
being looted. While most stores have varying inventories, there were several stores in-
cluding the local class three dealers.

The Governor had called up the remainder of the Guard and split them between Tucson
and Phoenix. In terms of area, the greater metropolitan Phoenix area was huge when
compared to Tucson. Flagstaff was much, much smaller and was briefly mentioned as
having ‘everything under control’.

I have a statement about the President’s condition first and will take questions after. A
separate briefing will be held later today by doctors at the National Naval Medical Cen-
ter.

As of 9am, the President remains in a coma. EEG’s have indicated increasing brain ac-
tivity and the doctors believe it will be just a matter of time before the President regains
consciousness.

As to his injuries. The President was struck by one round from what is believed to be a
.338 Lapua Magnum sniper rifle. The round struck the President above his left ear trav-
ersing from the posterior to the anterior clipping the base of his skull. Had the round
been a few millimeters to the right or a few millimeters higher, the wound would have
been fatal.

The FBI is in the process of attempting to determine the brand of rifle used. The range
that the shot was fired from was in excess of two kilometers and a single round was
fired. The location has been identified and the scene is being processed for any clues
as to the identity of the sniper. I say sniper because someone capable of making a shot

21
of that distance and with that degree of accuracy must have had training as a sniper or
participated in long range shooting events. The FBI asserts the shooter was more likely
a trained sniper because the shot was made at a moving target at great distance.

Questions?

“So he might survive, but they aren’t sure yet. It would be pure speculation at this point
as to the extent of his injuries. He was shot in the head from a range in excess of 2,000
meters with a rifle mostly used by military snipers. If it walks like a duck and quacks like
a duck…”

“Why not a distance shooter?”

“They shoot at fixed targets, George. Any number of countries have trained snipers in-
cluding the US, UK, Canada, Israel, half of Europe, Russia, probably China and every
police department in the US. You’ve seen those programs on the Military Channel about
those sniper contests. They have snipers from all over the world.”

“I guess you’re right. First, there is the distance. Second, there is the wind. Finally, there
is the movement. Joe Blow average deer hunter probably couldn’t make a shot like that
in 100 years. Even the guy who fired the shot had to be beyond lucky to make a one
shot hit in the head at over 2,000 meters.”

“I think I know how they could narrow it down.”

“How?”

“A variation on follow the money. A rifle that shoots the .338 Lapua Magnum round is an
expensive rifle and there are probably only a few thousand throughout the world, maybe
fewer.”

“Hang on a second and let me check something. Here you go, that’s a list of the coun-
tries that use the .338 Lapua Magnum. Count them, 24 countries. Read some of that
article here on Wiki. It’s even being used for hunting and custom and semi-custom rifles
are being built for it. Too many things beyond the government’s ability check.”

“Ok, it was just a thought. I guess I’m glad he wasn’t shot at 1,000 meters using a .30-
06 rifle. Hell, they’d dig up Carlos and slap him in irons.”

“Shhh. They’re talking about businesses closing.”

…was announced earlier that all non-law enforcement offices of the state of Arizona will
be closed through the end of the week. In addition, all Dillard’s stores will be closed
through the same period. Several manufacturers including Boeing have indicated that
they won’t resume production before the first of the week at the earliest.

22
Governor Brewer called up the remaining members of the Guard and they have been
deployed…

“That tears it. I guess we get to sit around and watch Rome burn.”

“George, you’re being over dramatic. We’ve had far worse riots than what’s going on at
the moment. We were both kids when King was killed but I remember my folks watching
the TV news. One hundred cities rioted.”

“One hundred twenty-five. This is just getting started Helen. It can get worse and just
may. I think we just recovered all the initial extra expense we incurred when we had this
home built. There is nothing to burn. Even the roof has copper sheeting. I should have
gotten those sprinkler systems put in on the peak of the roof and under the eaves, but
the eaves are asbestos with no exposed wood.”

“Isn’t that an environmental concern?”

“Maybe, Bill. I’m no environmentalist. I did slap a coat of paint on them so it wouldn’t
show. The EPA ban didn’t come in until 1989, well after the home was built. I didn’t want
any trouble from anyone and slapped on the coat of paint. Maybe the paint will burn but
that would be all.”

“Ok, we know about the Guard being sent to Tucson and Phoenix. For a change, let’s
put on the Communist News Network and see what kind of spin ol’ Wolf is putting on
things.”

“I take it he’s not one of your favorites.”

“Don’t care for him and didn’t care for Peter Arnett. CNN has had some good reporters
like Bernard Shaw. Christiane Amanpour is a little to pro-Islamic but she is an Iranian.”

“What’s your take on Glenn Beck?”

“He’s either a real patriot or a total nutcase. Fortunately his show airs at 5 pm Eastern
so I don’t have to watch him. I don’t even have his website in my favorites. On another
subject, do you think maybe we need to dig out the rifles and shotguns?”

“Where are they?”

“We originally had them in a gun safe. It was too big for the shelter so I hung racks and
use locks. Most of them come with a lock of some kind and if they don’t, we usually buy
some kind of cable or trigger lock.”

“You have duplicates of your firearms, don’t you?”

23
“More or less. I have the National Match and a Super Match. Helen has a Mini-14 and
an AC-556. We don’t have duplicate shotguns. I’ve actually looked at the Mossberg
590A1 and almost bought a pair. We have plenty of shotgun shells so maybe if we
moved our weapons of choice up here and stored them in the safe, we could handle
anything that came up. We could run out to Glendale tomorrow and pick up a pair of the
shotguns.”

“Do you have anything in the gun safe?”

“That we do. Cowboy guns.”

“That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

“Sure it does. What were the .45 Colt and .45-70 originally loaded with?”

“Black powder?”

“Right. I have Lee loaders, primers and Pyrodex. I know you have reloading equipment
for the 5.56, 7.62, 9mm and .45acp. I have some smokeless powder, primers and bul-
lets and I figured we could work some kind of deal if push came to shove.”

“How much of the stuff do you have?”

“Enough to reload 20,000 rounds of both rifle calibers, 5,000 rounds of each pistol cali-
ber and 5,000 shotgun shells with 00 or slugs. The black powder stuff is only 10,000 of
.45 Colt and 2,000 .45-70. Since we have some 9422s and Single Six’s we bought ten
cases of .22LR, divided equally between solid and hollow point. I’m not one for that hy-
per velocity stuff so we only have two cases of that.”

“And, I thought we had a lot. Of course all of our ammo is boxer primed and I have sev-
eral reloads worth of components.”

“My ammo counts exclude any surplus we have left over. I still have a dozen cases of
that Radway on the strippers in the bandoleers. That’s another 9,000 rounds.”

“It’s getting late and I think we’d better get home before the riots get this far. I’ll come by
tomorrow around nine and we can go to Glendale.”

“Susan, why don’t you come by and keep me company while they’re out adding more
guns to our already considerable armory?”

“Sure. Feel like baking bread? I have bread flour.”

“So do I. I need to use up some yeast before it gets too old so I’ll provide the yeast and
we’ll do six loaves each.”

24
“That may be a good idea. I think we’ve made our last trip for groceries for a while at
least.”

Susan had it in mind that Helen probably had common bread pans and the next morn-
ing she only took a partial bag of bread flour when they returned to George and Helen’s.
What Helen actually had was the large pans for 24 ounce loaves of bread. Helen was
also thinking of baking some French style loaves. Specifically four large standard loaves
and two French style loaves. George had gotten her two sets of stainless steel bowls
and the largest would hold enough bread dough for six loaves.

George had also acquired a used bread slicer that would handle loaves up to 24 ounces
and refurbished it. It worked like a charm provided the bread was allowed to cool to near
room temperature. There was a bit of a story connected to the slicer. It was a commer-
cial model typically found in bakeries. It was older than Sam Hill and needed replace-
ment parts that were no longer manufactured. George paid $25 for it at a going out of
business sale.

He carefully dismantled it and listed what he needed to find to restore the machine. In
nearly every case, he’d been forced to find a substitute. Over the course of six weeks,
he managed to replace all of the parts and clean the machine up to the point where it
looked nearly new. It was rather heavy and would have taken up a lot of counter space
so he mounted it on a workbench in the basement and Helen had sewn a cover to keep
it clean between uses. When it was said and done, they had about $65 tied up in the
machine.

“Do you ladies want anything from the gun store in Glendale?”

“Just the two of you home and in one piece.”

“It may be up to three hours. I’ll call on my cell or the two meter radio if there’s a prob-
lem.”

“Just be careful out there.”

“Where did you get those bread pans?”

“I think the name of the company is Chicago Metallic but I can look it up. They were mail
order. Each will make a standard 24 ounce loaf. I thought maybe we could do 4 loaves
apiece plus 2 French loaves each. The bread will keep for some time in the refrigerator
and we should be good for about two weeks.”

“Do you use a special recipe?”

“I don’t know how special it is. I got it from a bakery and cut it down to six loaves from
forty-eight. It makes a nice soft loaf similar to commercial bread without the chemicals.

25
When the loaves cool, we can use our bread slicer and put the loaves in plastic bags
that I bought from another source.”

“Ok. You’ll have to tell me where you found a slicer. Let’s get cracking; it has to rise
twice before we can bake it. And you said cool so that will just add more time. In be-
tween, we can keep an eye on the news. Where can I put my Hi-Power so it’s not in the
way?”

“Set it on top of the gun safe in our study.”

“I suppose you did the same as we did and converted the third bedroom to a study.”

“Only after we learned that we couldn’t have children.”

“Yeah, same here. We regret the fact that we can’t have children but it has its upside. It
allowed us to prep to a much higher level. I honestly think we could make it to the end of
our normal life spans provided we didn’t develop some malady that we couldn’t treat.”

“I can’t imagine how people with large families manage to set aside enough to get them
through any long term event. Of course most of them don’t have an armory the size of
ours or the ordnance. Sometimes I look at the pallets of ammo in the basement and
wonder what we were thinking of. Having that quantity of ammo presumes that you will
prevail in every firefight you may be involved in. It’s like what TOM talks about in his sto-
ries. All we’re short of are hand grenades and rockets. I’m talking fragmentation gre-
nades; we have a bunch of smoke.”

“Where did you get those?”

“Some place in Texas. We have three colors, white, red and green.”

“Why three colors?”

“George was a Ranger. They use white for concealment, and red and green to indicate
a hot or cold landing zone.”

“Right, you have your own helicopter force to extract you.”

“We don’t but I can’t honestly say that wasn’t what led him to pick those three colors.
Well let’s let these two bowls of dough rise and check the news to see if they have an
update on the President’s condition.”

“It’s funny, you know. We didn’t vote for him and don’t particularly like him. Still, he is
the President and certainly didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

“We both have our fingers crossed that he recovers. For the reasons you mentioned
and just because of the downsides if he doesn’t.”

26
“Such as?”

“Joe Biden as President and the way that the event is tearing this country apart.”

27
The Trials of George Thomas – Three

“Gentlemen. What’s your pleasure today?”

“Mossberg 590. A1 if you have them in stock.”

“You’re in luck in more ways than one. I have five on hand and it’s before noon.”

“What does noon have to do with anything?”

“Governor Brewer ordered the suspension of firearms sales beginning at noon. We


have to close up at that time and won’t reopen until she removes the suspension.”

“Ammo too?”

“No. The order actually shuts us down and requires us to secure all firearms. I’m afraid I
don’t have any of the shotguns with the speedfeed stock or the bayonets. I do have
what you’ll need to add sling swivels and Mossberg slings or aftermarket slings holding
15 rounds. I also have the side saddles and butt cuffs if you want them.”

“Do you have any buck and ball?”

“I have the Centurion, ten rounds to the box.”

“Ok, two shotguns with the aftermarket slings, side saddles and butt cuffs. Do you have
someone to install the side saddles?”

“Sure, it will only take a couple of minutes. Ammo?”

“A full case of the buck and ball if you have it.”

“I actually have several cases.”

“Fine, make it two.”

“Here’s the 4473. You fill that out and I’ll have Sam install the side saddles. As soon as
your NICS check clears, you’ll be out the door. If you’ve been through the system be-
fore, E-check will clear you almost immediately.”

“We have several firearms. We didn’t have backups for our shotguns and decided this
would be as good of time as any.”

“What are your other shotguns?”

“Remington 870s.”

28
“I have those too.”

“Thanks but I’ll stick with what I’m buying.”

“Ok, that’s two shotguns, two sling swivel sets, two slings, two side saddles, two butt
cuffs and two cases of Centurion buck and ball. You total is...”

“Thank you. Everything is in the boxes except for the ammo. Sam, come give the man a
hand loading his purchases. Now you, sir; what can I do for you?”

“Do you have two cases of Remington 3”, 15 pellet, 00 buck?”

“Yes. I’ll get them. Ok, that will be two cases at $199 per case plus tax. Your total is...”

“You like those Magnum shells?”

“It depends on the situation. We keep a pair of our shotguns loaded with these heavier
loads.”

“I suppose a person can never have too many shotgun shells. I think I’ll get a case my-
self and two gun socks.”

“They have a pretty good kick.”

“So do the 3” Brenneke Black Magic slugs. We have the Home Tactical Defense re-
duced recoil shells for Helen.”

“What do you suppose they’re doing?”

“Baking bread. Helen mentioned doing four 24 ounce loaves and two French loaves for
each of us. We have an old bread slicer I rebuilt.”

“Maybe we should get one.”

“Don’t bother. A unit like the one we have goes for around $1,300 new. I paid $25 for
the one we have and put $40 worth of parts in it to get working again. It’s fine for home
use but wouldn’t last long in a bakery. Oh, oh. I think we should have taken a different
route.”

“Turn around and backtrack a ways and we’ll try a different approach. I’ll load the shot-
guns.”

“Use that buck and ball. Load the two shotguns first and then the side saddles. Next do
the butt cuffs and finally the slings. Between the shotguns and our pistols, we should
have more firepower than we need; assuming we need it. Once you’re done with the

29
shotguns, slip them into those socks I bought. There’s no sense in announcing what we
have.”

I have a statement about the President’s condition first and will take questions after. A
separate briefing will be held later today by doctors at the National Naval Medical Cen-
ter.

As of 10 am this morning, the President is conscious but heavily sedated. His condition
is considered critical but stable. In lay terms, he is expected to live although his condi-
tion at the moment is not improving. So far, doctors have been unable to determine any
lasting effects relating to the gunshot.

At the moment, there is no pending legislation on the President’s desk awaiting signa-
ture. Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to reinstate the Assault
Weapons Ban. I understand that the Senators and Representatives who introduced the
bills will have statements later today.

Acting President Biden has declared a national state of emergency and activated mili-
tary units pursuant to the Insurrection Act. A state of martial law exists for the entire
country and Habeas Corpus has been suspended until order is restored. National Guard
units and state Defense Forces remain under the control of the individual Governors. A
dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed. Orders have been issued to shoot looters on
sight. Any person involved in violence of any description will be arrested and detained.

Secretary Gates has a press conference scheduled for 1 pm to discuss the ongoing ac-
tivities in Afghanistan.

Questions?

“I don’t like the sound of that. You know, Helen, that the Gun Control Act of ’68 was a
result of hysteria concerning the assassinations of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King.
This is going to give the anti-gun lobby more fuel to throw on the fire.”

“Nobody is going to be happy until the 2nd Amendment is totally gutted are they?”

“Probably not. I think it’s probably time to punch down and knead the bread.”

“My, look at that. Feeding the yeast worked better than I thought it would. I’ll use the ta-
ble and you can use the island. There’s a scale to weigh the dough so we can be sure
to get 24 ounces in each loaf. We’ll divide what’s left into two equal sized loaves for the
French bread.”

“Do you have enough oven space?”

“There’s the oven in the stove and those two wall ovens. That should be more than
enough.”

30
“You actually weigh the dough?”

“It keeps the loaves uniform.”

After kneading, the dough was weighed and placed in the bread pans to rise. We com-
bined the leftover dough and weighed it. It was then divided into four equal weight
loaves and placed on a pair of cookie sheets to rise. We hadn’t baked the bread by the
time Bill and George returned.

“Any trouble?”

“We had to make on detour. Bill, let’s put the shotguns in the gun safe.”

“Loaded or unloaded?”

“Leave them loaded.”

“You were driving your pickup with loaded shotguns inside?”

“I told you we had to make a detour. We were a little close to downtown Phoenix and
the problems were beginning to spill over onto 10. We backed up and took the transition
to 101 and went around the city. There were fires burning in Phoenix.”

“We watched the White House press conference. The President is conscious but heavi-
ly sedated. His condition is critical but stable. Martial law has been declared with a dusk
to dawn curfew for the entire nation. Some Congress critters are using what happened
as an excuse for a new Assault Weapons Ban.”

“So is he going to be ok?”

“That is undetermined. What’s with the three cases of shotgun shells?”

“Two cases of buck and ball and a case of 3”, 15 pellet, 00 buckshot.”

“That’s for you, right? You know how much I hate those 3” Brenneke slugs.”

“It is. I thought you might like to try the buck and ball. It has one 65 caliber ball and 6 #1
buckshot balls. Recoil should be about normal.”

“Can you point the camera to the west? Maybe we can see the smoke from the fire.”

“I’ll call you when it’s pointed.”

“I’ve got it. Bill, you are not going to believe this. Check out the amount of smoke.”

31
“That’s at least double or triple what we saw when we skirted around town.”

“It looks like much of downtown Phoenix is burning.”

“Let Susan and me see. Oh Lord, look at that. You watch it Susan and I’ll check the
bread.”

Helen checked the bread and started the ovens. It was almost ready to bake. She re-
turned to the living room and switched the TV from channel 10 to Fox News. Fox was
flipping from city to city showing the violence and the fires. Subtext indicated the source
of the violence. Many cities indicated black gangs; others indicated mixed black and La-
tino gangs while still others indicated Latino gangs or Latino citizens. She went to the
study and practically dragged the other three to the living room. She then went to the
kitchen, started the bread baking, set the timer and, finally returned to the living room.
Below the subtext Fox was now scrolling a list of cities with outbreaks of violence.

When the name Mesa, AZ scrolled across the bottom of the screen, they quickly
changed to channel 10.

“Hey, that’s our house. Can I use your computer?”

“It’s in the study, help yourself.”

“I’ll be right back.”

As they watched, water began to cascade down Bill and Susan’s roof and from under
the eaves. The roll down shutters also began to close. Bill returned shortly.

“The only thing better than having waterlines protecting your home is having remote
control of those waterlines. Did you notice the shutters scrolling shut?”

“They worked just fine honey.”

“How did you do that?”

“The shutters have electrical controls and a master switch that will close all of them at
the same time. I added a parallel remote controlled switch across the master. We have
an old laptop connected to the internet 24/7 with a two page website. I can bring up a
menu of the controls in our home. There are mainly three, one for the shutters and two
for the water systems. Are your shutters electrical or manual?”

“Most are manual. Only the garage doors are electric.”

“Hey, someone has a Molotov cocktail.”

“He’s going to be awfully disappointed, look.”

32
The glass liquor bottle arched through the air striking just under an eave and breaking,
igniting a fire. The water quickly washed the gasoline off and extinguished the fire. A
second bottle hit a shutter, breaking and burning. It too was quickly extinguished as the
water washed away the gasoline. A National Guard soldier came upon the scene and
the bomber quickly disappeared.

“I’ve never tested it with homemade napalm. I believe it would probably work just as
well.”

“Homemade napalm?” Helen asked.

“Gasoline with soap in it,” I explained. “Another recipe uses Styrofoam. Put gasoline in a
metal pail and add pieces of Styrofoam. Stir until dissolved and continue adding
Styrofoam until you have a thick syrup. Do not touch homemade napalm.”

“How do you know?”

“Made a batch in the Army for a class on expedients. The instructor explained the soap
method but advised against it because you have to heat the gas to dissolve the soap. I
have a 3 gallon metal pail, several cans of gas and a dozen 100 count bundles of
Styrofoam cups. In a pinch...”

“You’re nuts!”

“Prepared. Unlike those PAW fiction stories, it’s difficult to find Raufoss, LAW rockets or
hand grenades.”

“You want a can?” Bill asked.

“A can of what?”

“Raufoss. I have two cans of the bulk ammo. You can have one for just what I paid for it,
$600.”

“I didn’t know you had a .50 caliber rifle.”

“Tac-50, same as yours. Different optics and the Elite suppressor. Most of my ammo is
Hornady. I have 100 rounds that I recycle and have the remainder stored. When the
brass wears out, I buy another 100 rounds. I’ve only fired ten rounds of the Raufoss to
adjust the scope. I noted the settings in my shooting book and returned the scope to the
Hornady settings.”

“How about grenades and rockets?”

33
“I bought 6 white smoke grenades from Ammunition to Go. If you’re talking about con-
cussion or fragmentation grenades, we don’t have any. That goes for incendiary and
non-lethal as well. I don’t know anyone who could supply rockets.”

“What about the person who sold you the Raufoss?”

“At the time, the Army was using the M136 AT-4 and he wanted way too much per unit.
It was only after the Iraq war started that the M136 was totally discontinued and re-
placed by the Javelin, AT-4CS and the M-72 LAW for a second time. The M72s were in
short supply and almost all of them went to active duty personnel. He did say that
should some fall off a truck, they’d run $750 for a carton of five and two grand for case
of 15. Anyway that was a while back and he reached twenty and retired.”

“I suppose we could whip some napalm if it became necessary. I have four cases of
cheap wine bottles I picked at a brewing shop. The fences we have seem to do a good
job of preventing entry but as we saw, they can’t prevent someone from attempting to
firebomb us. Give me a hand and we’ll bring the rifles up from the shelter.”

“Let me shut down the water first. What are you using for magazines for the Super
Match?”

“Twenty-five round CMI magazines loaded with M118LR ammo. We each have two
vests, all FMCO CVS-M10 twenty magazine vests. The vest I use with my National
Match is the same except the magazines are T-57 20-round magazines loaded with
Radway surplus. Helen didn’t really need two vests but we got them anyway. They’re
the same vest, CVS-10 twenty magazine vests. They have patrol packs and can hold 2
3 liter water pouches. We only carry one because of the weight. I had to special order
the 25 round magazine pouches since they only carry 20 round pouches for the M14. I
may pull some of the pouches to reduce the overall weight.”

“Five hundred rounds of 7.62 plus 3 liters of water? I hope to tell you that would be
heavy.”

“Plus 2 white smoke and one each green and red smoke. We finally settled on full vests
with a magazine in our rifle. We’ve tried moving around with the fully loaded vests and
it’s very difficult for both of us. We also tried cutting the number of magazines to ten and
carrying a pouch of shotgun shells along with our 870s. That was doable. I suppose
what we really need to do is start a regimen and get into shape like I was when I fin-
ished boot camp. I was a lot younger then and really doubt either of us could do it.”

“Let me help you with that vest for your Super Match. My God, how much does this
thing weigh?”

“Around forty pounds, without the water. With the water, closer to fifty.”

“Plus the smoke grenades?”

34
“Another 4-5 pounds. I have 8 spare magazines for my Tac-50. When I’m carrying that
and all 10 magazines, I have about the same load. The ammo goes just under 5 ounces
per round so each magazine weighs in the neighborhood of two pounds plus. That’s
another fifty pound load with rifle, scope, suppressor and ammo. Don’t really need
smoke grenades when you’re that far from the target.”

“So, the two of you have practiced?”

“You mean with the loads? Of course we have. We had to get everything adjusted just
so and needed to know what to expect. It would be ill advised to accumulate the equip-
ment and other things and not try it out. The upside to the way we did it is that we can
always reduce our load while having the capacity to carry more.”

“George, check the camera. Channel 10 changed their shooting location and it appears
that the rioters are headed this way.”

“You check the camera and I’ll check the shutters. Bill, there’s room beside the garage
to move your vehicle to the backyard. Don’t worry about the landscaping; I can fix it with
a rake. The garage side door is also electric.”

“I’m on it.”

“Helen, the timer went off.”

“Check the bread and if it’s done take it out. There’s a tub of butter in the refrigerator
and a pastry brush in the drawer to the right of the stove if you want to make butter top.”

“Will it keep longer without the butter?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll skip the butter then.”

“The cooling racks are already set out. Transfer the bread from the pans and cookie
sheets to the racks.”

“The shutters are all down. Bill and Susan’s vehicle is in the back yard. Can you see
anyone on the camera?”

“Not yet.”

“I hate to ask. What were you planning for supper?”

“I suppose we could heat a couple of half gallon jars of the homemade canned chili.”

35
“I’ll get a jar from the basement and set it on the kitchen counter.”

“Uh... thanks. I think I’ll help Susan with the bread and come back here and keep an eye
on the CCTV camera.”

“Ok. I think I’ll switch back and forth between channel 10 and Fox News. That way we
can keep track of the national scene and the home front. I really don’t understand this. If
President Obama is recovering, why is this escalating?”

“Maybe the rioters are just using the current events as an excuse to vent their built up
frustration.”

“That could be part of it, for sure. I rather suspect that there is more to this than a simple
venting of frustration and anger over our first black President being shot.”

“GEORGE, COME BACK IN HERE!”

“What are you shouting for?”

“Look. They’re only two blocks away. It looks like they’re pulling some kind of cart filled
with bottles of gasoline and throwing at houses randomly.”

“You know the exterior is fireproof.”

“But what if some of the gasoline leaked through a crack in one of the shutters? We
don’t have a wash down system like Bill and Susan have.”

“If you want George, we can each take a shotgun and go out the back door. If one of
those people starts to throw a Molotov cocktail we can put them down and no one would
blame us.”

“There is so little danger of a Molotov cocktail doing any damage, I don’t see the need.”

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Com-
munist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a
trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

“I’ve heard something like that before. Who said that?”

“Martin Niemöller, a German Protestant minister in Nazi Germany. The origins of the
poem have been traced to a speech given by Niemöller on January 6, 1946, to the rep-
resentatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt. There are several versions floating

36
around. My point is we should do something to stop these people from continuing their
rampage.”

“Was he the guy who said that next to Hitler, Truman was the biggest killer?”

“That’s the guy. He was referring to the atom bombs. He overlooked Stalin and, of
course, Mao came later.”

“Each shotgun has 34 rounds of buck and ball. Do you want to take a few more boxes
of that or some of the 15 pellet we bought today?”

“Two or three boxes of the 15 pellet should be more than enough.”

“Helen, it will be faster if we go out the side door of the garage. Come with us and close
it behind us. If things go to hell on us, grab the two M1As. If we need concealment, we’ll
toss out one or two of the white smoke.”

“Be careful you two.”

“Me too. You have both pistols honey?”

“They’re my American Express card Susan.”

“Huh?”

“He never leaves home without them, Helen.”

“Karl Malden, right?”

“Right.”

“We’d better hurry, they’re getting close.”

“Bill you take the other side of the house and I’ll take this one. Give me 2 boxes of the
15 pellet. At this range, they wouldn’t have a chance if we need to use that.”

“Be safe.”

“You too.”

I watched them walking down the middle of the street pulling a garden cart half filled
with bottles of gasoline. They seemed to be picking houses at random. Since all of the
houses in our neighborhood were the same basic construction with masonry exteriors,
they weren’t having much luck throwing the bottles at the sides of the homes. Three
houses down, the guy doing the throwing raised his aim and hit the roof. The half-filled
bottle of gasoline broke and the asphalt shingles caught fire.

37
The SOB paused in front of our house and lit another bottle. BOOM, BOOM. Both Bill
and I had fired stopping him dead in his tracks. He fell, dropping the bottle in the pro-
cess and it broke, setting him on fire. One of the people with him had some kind of AK
and he started to fire alternately towards where Bill and I were located. BOOM, BOOM.
Two down and five to go. Except the remaining five took off like they were fleeing an el-
ephant stampede, leaving the cart and most dropping their firearms.

Helen opened the garage door after I pounded on it and I told her to call the cops and
fire department. Bill and I would standby and preserve the scene. She handed me a ten
pound dry chemical fire extinguisher to douse the flames on the guy burning up out in
the street.

“Cover me; I’m going to put out the fire. Helen is calling the police and fire department.”

“Do you think they’ll be here anytime soon?”

“I don’t know but we just ended one of their headaches so maybe they will.”

Considering the situation, their response time was reasonable, twenty minutes. We laid
our shotguns on the ground and stepped away from them. We were instructed to lay our
P-14s on the ground next to the shotguns and step back. I expected to be patted down
but they started asking questions.

“What happen here?”

“There was a group of seven walking down the center of the street throwing fire bombs,
randomly, at houses. We saw them coming and decided that if we didn’t stop them
here, they could easily burn down several more homes. We grabbed our shotguns and
each of us took one side of the house. When crispy critter there cocked his arm to throw
a fire bomb on my house we both shot him. He obviously dropped the bottle which
broke and fried him. One of his companions had an AK type and we dropped him when
he started shooting. The other five took off. Some of them dropped their firearms and I
had my wife put in the call to you folks and the fire department. Bill and I secured the
scene until you got here. I put the fire out with that extinguisher sitting over there. That’s
about it.”

“Identification?”

“Here you go, George Thomas.”

“How about you.”

“Here’s my driver’s license and ccw, Bill Collins.”

“Mr. Thomas, do you have a ccw?”

38
“Yes, sorry. Here you go. What’s the deal with the ccw, they are no longer required.”

“Having one indicates that you been through a background check. We’ll get the coroner
out to pick up the bodies. My partner is marking the locations of the weapons, taking
snapshots and we’ll collect them. It may be a day or more before detectives are able to
get out here to interview you two and your wife. The detectives will either be Mesa PD
or Maricopa County. We’re spread very thin.”

“Is that really necessary?”

“Two people are dead and you both admit to shooting them. Standard procedure is to
collect your shotguns until the case is resolved one way or the other. All things consid-
ered, we’re allowing people to retain their firearms where the shooting appears to be
justified. That’s highly irregular but those are orders from on high. Crime scene investi-
gators are on the way. Show me where you fired from, we need to collect the hulls and
get pictures.”

“So, we aren’t headed for jail?”

“We have no place to put you. The Sheriff’s camps are full and he’s run out of pink un-
derwear,” he chuckled. “Are you both staying here?”

“Bill, do Susan and you want to stay overnight? Our wives baked bread and chili is on
the menu.”

“I’ll ask her. If she says yes, I’d like to run over to our house and pick up a few things.

“I guess that’s up for grabs officer.”

“No problem, I have both addresses. Your company shut down?”

“It’s Boeing. Bill’s wife works for the state and my wife works for a law firm in downtown
Mesa. All four of our employers are shut down through the end of the week.”

“A word to the wise; call before you find yourselves in a position where you are forced to
shoot someone else.”

“What did Susan say?”

“You’re sure this won’t inconvenience you?”

39
“We have a spare bedroom for guests. I saw the chili on the stove heating so it’s no in-
convenience at all. The bed in the guest room is king size so you shouldn’t be
cramped.”

“I’m going to make my CCTV camera available over the net. The coding is already writ-
ten and tested out. I’ve tested it from work and it rotates, tilts and zooms. Mainly I came
for some clothing and the fresh food in the fridge. I’m also going to take our weapons,
magazines and some ammo, just in case.”

“You don’t think this will fizzle fairly soon?”

“It might, but why take chances when you don’t have to? It’s these reports about the
non-gang member Latinos that have me concerned. These drug cartels seem to have
standing armies and are now working both sides of the border. Couple that with the vio-
lence promulgated by the non-gang member Latinos and I’m really concerned.”

We loaded what he wanted to take and drove back home. After unloading the food and
hauling it to the kitchen, we took the two suitcases to the guest bedroom. Finally, Bill put
his firearms in the gun safe and we sat down to clean the shotguns

“The SOB never knew what hit him. I might get some of that buck and ball the next
chance I get.”

“Use as much as you need and you can replace it later. Remind me after supper and
we’ll drag out some of those Brenneke 3” Magnum slugs. I think I’ll bring the other fire-
arms up here from the shelter while we’re at it.”

“It’s a good thing you have the large safe.”

“Bought it used. It was an expensive safe and the previous owner had to get a bank
loan to finance the purchase. No kidding, it cost around eight grand with all the extras.
He filed for bankruptcy and the bank ended up with the safe. We were looking for a safe
at the time and I saw an ad in the Republic. We had the money for an economical safe
but not for that monster. The bank only wanted what was the principal due on the loan.
Of course we had to haul it and that’s where you and the other guys from work got in-
volved. You remember the trouble we had getting it out of his house and into the trailer
and the good luck we had getting into our study? It’s the biggest Fort Knox that was
available when he bought it.”

“Where do you store your powder, primers and the like?”

“In those two large locked cabinets in the basement.”

“Good plan, I do the same. The cabinets next to my reloading bench have the compo-
nents. This is very good chili. How did you get it prepared so fast?”

40
“We canned it in half gallon jars after cooking it for several hours so the beans were
tender. I know real chili isn’t supposed to have beans but we prefer it this way. There
are three types of beans in it, pinto, kidney and Pinquito. If you want to know about
those beans, look up Santa Maria Style BBQ on Wiki. Quart jars were too small so we
used half gallon.”

“Helen the bread is great too. Did you do anything different?”

“Same old bread recipe. Maybe it’s the chili and the companionship.”

“I hope they get a handle on this violence soon. When I switched to Fox briefly, they
were airing the second great Chicago fire. Sheppard Smith said that over 200 cities
were involved and the number was increasing by the hour. He mentioned several Mus-
lim groups that had banded together to protect themselves from the spreading violence.
Dearborn, Michigan has a large Muslim population and Detroit a large Black Muslim
population. The 10 states with the largest Muslim populations are California, New York,
Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Ohio, and Maryland.”

“That’s just great. I can understand the black population reacting to the assassination
attempt. I have problems seeing how that applies to the Latino population. If the Mus-
lims get mixed up in this fur ball, we’re could potentially have an all-out race war in this
country and you’d need a program to know the players.”

“Bill, honey, not while we eat. Save it for later if you must discuss this.”

“Ok Susan. Still... ok.”

There was little of the chili left at the end of the meal. A full loaf of French bread had
disappeared too. Bill and I hauled the remaining firearms and equipment from the shel-
ter along with the case of Brenneke slugs. Our wives were engaged watching the news
on TV and Bill and I went into the study where he resumed his comments about a loom-
ing race war. I agreed with him to a point, the business about the blacks and Latinos.
And Sheppard Smith did say it was spreading and accelerating.

“Do you really believe we’ll get into a full out race war?”

“George, I hope I’m wrong about that. It is a distinct possibility. There is a lot of bottled
up hate in this country between various groups. Illegal immigration has been a problem
for years and it seems like they periodically solve the problem by declaring an amnesty
for the illegal immigrants we already have. Nine eleven didn’t do the American Muslims
any good. Whether a person is an illegal or tenth generation Hispanic American, they
seem to be treated the same. The same applies to Muslims although they couldn’t have
all been on the planes.”

“And, the blacks?”

41
“What about the blacks? A similar yet different problem; they were brought to this coun-
try in chains as slaves. We had a Civil War where slavery was a peripheral issue. Truth
be told, the Civil War was over economic issues and culture. After the blacks were
freed, they had few opportunities available to them. That’s part of the reason so many
ended up in cities like Detroit. The issue has never been fully resolved and with the enti-
tlement programs, we now have fourth and fifth generations on the dole.”

“But why burn it down?”

“The government will find the money to rebuild and people will have jobs doing the re-
building; at least for a while. They’ve burned down Watts in 1965 and 1992 and both
times it was rebuilt.”

There was a buzz from the gate. It was the crime scene investigators and they needed
to collect evidence and take statements. This time it included Helen because she made
the 911 call. They didn’t finish up the questioning until after 10pm. The other investiga-
tor was outside the entire time gathering evidence and taking dozens of pictures. The
medical examiner/coroner showed up and finally removed the two bodies.

We went back to the TV and after a bit, called it a night.

42
The Trials of George Thomas – Four

We were up early the next morning and the TV was on before the coffee finished drip-
ping. Helen set out boxes of cereal, bowls and spoons. We gathered in the living room
mesmerized by the ongoing events. Vast portions of the residential portions of the coun-
try were going up in smoke and people were evacuating. The Department of Defense
cooperated by opening up portions of military installations for the refugees. If there were
FEMA Camps, they weren’t in evidence.

Large military tents were being erected and various kinds of food being offered including
MREs, T-Rations, and whatever the commissary and post exchanges could locate. A
large supply of Mountain House foods appeared as if by magic from wherever the gov-
ernment had stored them. That broke the back and forth about whether or not the fed-
eral government had been buying Mountain House foods. They had, but apparently not
in the quantity everyone assumed because they were used up practically overnight.

“Where did you get your emergency food supplies?”

“Helen and I bought from several sources. Walton Feed and Emergency Essentials in
the beginning based on what you told me that first time. Then later, like you, we bought
from Costco, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart and a few other online LTS sources. We have quite
a mix, Mountain House, Provident Pantry, a little of this and a little of that. We even
have a half dozen cases of MREs stored in the shelter to make them last as long as
possible. We rotated them out earlier this year so they’re fresh. They’re the civilian ver-
sion, not the military, SOPAKCO’s Sure-Pack.”

“Really? What else do you have in the way of things of that nature?”

“If you mean Bugout supplies, we have Kifaru packs, Cabela’s Magnum game carts with
the dual wheel sets and wheel shields. At the minimum, we’d load the carts and put
them in the back of the pickup. We’d head for Tonto National Forest and get as far as
we could and then hoof it the rest of the way. Unfortunately it’s mostly uphill all the way.
We have 10 5-gallon cans of diesel fuel for the truck and the motor is so old there aren’t
any electronic components.”

“Why Tonto?”

“At two point nine million acres, it’s the largest National Forest in Arizona and the fifth
largest National Forest in the country. There is plenty of game, several lakes or reser-
voirs, streams and unlimited firewood.”

“Have you checked it out?”

“Oh yeah. That’s how I knew about the uphill grade.”

43
“We were considering the Coconino or the Prescott because they’re close. There are
also the Coronado, Apache-Sitgreaves and Kaibab.”

“Is that old pickup of yours diesel?”

“Gasoline. No computers and we have two sets of spare ignition parts. We have a bit
more gas, 12 cans. How did we get off on the subject of bugging out?”

“I mentioned the SOPAKCO’s MREs.”

“Ah, right. Where did you get the game carts?”

“Cabela’s Glendale.”

“If we can do it, do you want to go back to Glendale? I can get some of the 3” Brenneke
Black Magic slugs and some buck and ball. Then see if Cabela’s has any game carts in
stock.”

“I should have explained better. The capacity without the double wheel set is 550
pounds and 700 pounds with. The wheel shields keep it from becoming tangled in un-
derbrush. The entire package runs about two hundred.”

“One final question. What kind of knives do you carry?”

”Buck folding hunters and Cold Steel San Mai Laredo Bowies. We also have Gerber
Mark IIs.”

“The old model or the new model?”

“The new model with the serrations. How about you?”

“Randall made 11” Confederate Bowies, model 2 5” boot knives and Spyderco Harpies.
Not as expensive as the San Mai Laredo Bowie but every bit as good.”

“If people could hear us talk, they’d think we were a pair of cold blooded killers.”

“Ready to take off?”

“Helen, Bill and I are going to run an errand.”

“Now what?”

“We’re going back to Glendale and pick up what we forgot to buy.”

“Yeah, right. I thought you told me the gun stores were closed.”

44
“We’re not going to buy more guns. We’re going for two game carts and some ammo.”

The gun store where Bill and I bought the shotguns and ammo was closed. Cabela’s
carried a full line besides the firearms and was open. They had the game carts, wheel
sets and wheel shields in stock and Bill got two complete units. The clerk said the man-
ufacturer went out of business and these were the last two they had. They were selling
ammo but not firearms and Bill got two cases of buck and ball and two cases of the 3”
Brenneke Magnum slugs.

I also got another case of the 3”, 15 pellet, 00 buckshot. I never saw a case of ammo
that wasn’t begging me to take it home and I was a soft touch. All of our Mountain
House and Provident Pantry products were in #10 cans and I selected an assortment of
single and double serving entrées, breakfast items and deserts. Although we had sev-
eral pounds of homemade trailmix aka gorp, we were low on jerky and I grabbed six one
pound packages of beef. Our homemade gorp included M&Ms, honey roasted mixed
nuts, raisins and banana chips. A handful or two of gorp and three or four pieces of
jerky could be eaten on the go and provided fuel for the furnace.

We were home before lunch and when we arrived two Mesa detectives were discussing
the shooting with Helen and Susan.

“Could we see some identification please?”

“Here you go.”

“Here’s mine,” Bill responded handing over his driver’s license.

“In the interest of resolving this quickly, we’ll each ask you a few questions and then
switch. In all probability, we can give you an outcome before we leave.”

I went into the kitchen with one detective and Bill went into the study with the other. I
recounted the event in as much detail as I could remember and was amazed how accu-
rately I remembered the event. Of course, it’s not every day that you shoot two people.
Bill came into the kitchen and I went to the study where I endured essentially the same
experience as I had in the kitchen When we finished we both went to the living room
and the detectives consulted in the kitchen.

“You explanations match what you told the officers and what the crime scene investiga-
tors and the initial medical exam revealed. No charges will be brought as you were act-
ing in justifiable self-defense. The individual with the Molotov cocktail was not killed out-
right proving that the cocktail was burning when you shot him. The empty casings near
the AK indicate that that individual fired on you.”

“How can you tell that he wasn’t killed outright?”

45
“Burn marks where he inhaled the hot gases from the fire. While the gunshots would
have been fatal, the inhaled gases will be listed as the cause of death. If it weren’t for all
that is occurring, we’d probably have a prosecutor review the case before it was closed.
As it is, they’re besieged with clear cut cases of criminal activity.”

“Are others being let off too?”

“Some are and some aren’t. Crime scene investigation isn’t like they show on TV but
the investigators are talented people. Sometimes it’s obvious how the event transpired.
For instance, one case we’re pursuing is similar to yours except the guy shot first and
then lit the gas bomb and tossed it at the body. Dead people don’t breathe so they don’t
get burn marks in their nasal passages. He shot the guy between the eyes with a .30-06
using soft point hunting ammo. He didn’t call it in, his neighbor did. The neighbor saw
the whole thing.

“The officers indicated that they advised you to call it in before taking action on your
own. We strongly advise that you take that advice. From the appearance of this home,
there isn’t much that could catch fire. You may wish to put out a hose or two to wash
down any fire should this come up again. We’re responding as rapidly as possible to
these arson cases and our response times are improving with the additional Guard
members here. Ok. That’s it.”

“I kind of feel sorry for that guy they arrested.”

“Why?”

“If his neighbor hadn’t been watching, he might have gotten away with it. Even though
he killed the bad guy outright, the bad guy could have had the Molotov cocktail already
lit. The results would have been exactly the same.”

“I think it’s more a case of the crime scene evidence supporting the neighbor’s state-
ment than the other way around.”

“Hurry, Gibbs is about to make another statement. He looks ghastly.”

I have a statement about the President’s condition first and will take questions after. A
separate briefing will be held later today by doctors at the National Naval Medical Cen-
ter.

As of 10:30 am this morning, President Obama is once again unconscious. The doctors
have determined that a small bullet fragment that they missed during the first surgery is
pressing on a critical portion of his brain. They have stated that once the fragment is
removed, the President should regain consciousness and a full recovery is expected.
They have scheduled a news conference at the hospital for 5 pm, after the surgery is
completed and the President is out of the post op unit.

46
Acting President Biden has called for the temporary surrender of all assault weapons in
the hands of the public. The weapons will be tagged and returned to their owners once
peace has been restored. The order includes all high capacity magazines; those being
any magazine with a capacity of more than ten rounds.

Questions?

“That was the press conference that was held a little over two hours ago. Within the
past few minutes, the National Rifle Association has filed an ex parte request for a tem-
porary restraining order staying the Acting President’s order with the federal district
court.”

“Surprise, surprise.”

“What?”

“Joe Biden wrote the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. One of
the most noted sections was the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.”

“I don’t know about you George, but it will be a cold day in hell before they get any of
our weapons. I do think it would be wise to move everything except the shotguns and
our small capacity pistols to our shelter. And, the sooner the better.”

“They’re all here in the gun safe, let’s do it.”

The fact that Bill and Susan’s shelter was under their garage was a tremendous incen-
tive to move the firearms. Just which firearms the Acting President intended to include
in his ‘temporary’ ban had not been disclosed. Left to the BAFTE, is could even include
lever action .22 rifles. We had acquired standard vent rib Rem Choke 3” cylinder, 26”
barrels for our 870s and because Remington sold the Express combos, I assumed that
they wouldn’t raise quite the fuss that they would over the Mossberg 590A1s, a common
military shotgun before the Benelli M1014. Shotguns don’t wear out quickly and the Ma-
rines Corps was still using the 590A1s to fight the war.

We moved everything except the 9mm and .45acp ammo and shotgun shells. Bill had
brought a can of the Raufoss over when he moved their clothing, fresh food and fire-
arms and it went right back to their shelter where it had been stored initially. All of Hel-
en’s and my firearms had been purchased with a form 4473s and there was a record.
When I mentioned it to Bill, he admitted that all of theirs were also purchased through
dealers. We didn’t have real or counterfeit bills of sales to explain the absence of the
firearms. None of the title II firearms had been reported as stolen and none of the title II
firearms had a transfer tax paid on them so they were still registered in our names. Title
II firearms include 6 categories: Machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled
shotguns, destructive devices, silencers, and 'Any Other Weapons'. Switchblades and
those Russian Spetsnaz ballistic knives are both prohibited by a different federal law;
the former in 1958 and the latter by a 1986 amendment to the former law.

47
Those 230 rounds of Raufoss were destructive devices; collectively we had more than a
dozen silencers including the Mark II; and, we had that AC-556. All of which meant that
we’d be some of the first people to be checked. Because we were more than a little
convinced that the ongoing violence and rioting wouldn’t be brought under control any-
time soon, we wanted to retain every weapon we possessed.

48
The Trials of George Thomas – Five

Tonto:

We began discussing bugging out in earnest with Bill and Susan readily agreeing that
the Tonto National Forest was probably a better choice than the two locations they had
selected. They had a trailer his pickup could pull while that was about midway down our
list of possible acquisitions. While Bill, Susan and Helen discussed what we should
take, I checked the want ads for a used trailer. There was a single ad for a 6x12 en-
closed trailer with a number to call. When I called the woman who answered confirmed
they still had the trailer and gave me an address to check it out.

“Bill, I may have located a trailer for our pickup. If you’re interested, I appreciate you
helping me check it over.”

“We were at a stopping point anyway. Where are we going?”

“The west side out by ASPC Perryville. It’s in Buckeye off exit 121.”

“What kind of trailer?”

“It’s a 6x12 enclosed trailer. She said it was a U-Haul trailer acquired when U-Haul was
replacing worn out models. Wants $750 obo.”

“Do you have the cash?”

“Yes, that and more. I’m afraid our rainy day fund is beginning to need an addition. I’ll
go by the bank on the way and pull out another grand for emergency cash.”

The trailer had been repainted although poorly. The original U-Haul paint job was still
visible beneath the new paint and the new paint was in fact very new. The tires looked
to be good with little weather checking. We jacked up one side and the wheel spun
smoothly indicating it had a good layer of grease.

“Do you have the title and registration?”

“U-Haul took care of the transfer and we haven’t received the papers in the mail yet. I
can forward them when they come.”

I noticed that Bill raised his eyebrows at her response.

“The best I can go is five hundred cash.”

“Gee, I don’t know. Cash you say?”

“Cash; and you mail me the title and registration when they come in.”

49
“Ok, deal. I’ll write out a Bill of Sale.”

Bill raised his eyebrows a second time. I counted out the cash and we hooked the trailer
to my hitch. She handed me the handwritten Bill of Sale and we headed back to Mesa.

“That trailer is probably hotter than a three dollar pistol.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because that’s not the way U-Haul handles the sales of their used trailers. Our trailer is
a U-Haul. They execute the paperwork at the time of sale and it’s up to the buyer to reg-
ister the vehicle.”

“Are you sure?”

“It has been a while since we bought ours. Maybe they do it differently now. They have
dealers that market their used vehicles these days.”

“The tag is current so we’ll be good for a while. I have a bill of sale so I’m a holder in
due course. The worst that could happen is that you’re right and law enforcement seizes
the vehicle and I’d be out the five hundred. It wouldn’t hurt to slap another coat of paint
on it though. I have a compressor and Wagner spray gun for painting things like the
shed out back. It probably wouldn’t do a good job on a vehicle though.”

“Swing by our place and we’ll get my paint gun. I’ve used it to repaint our trailer. We’ll
have to stop somewhere and get some paint and paint thinner. I have the filters.”

“Do you think maybe we could get three or four colors and paint in a camouflage
scheme?”

“Tan, brown, sage and what else?”

“We can’t use black, it isn’t natural.”

“We could use a light charcoal gray color to represent narrow lines similar to the M81
woodland pattern. The way the paint is faded on your truck, we wouldn’t need to paint it.
It’s about six different colors as it is.”

“Know of a paint store on this side of town?”

“Let’s get the Yellow Pages.”

The trailer sale could be totally legitimate and Bill could have been mistaken about U-
Haul’s current practices. We would assume that the trailer could be ‘hot’ so it wouldn’t
come as a surprise should we get stopped. We nevertheless pulled the thing all around

50
Phoenix and Mesa getting the paint, the sprayer, Bill’s water trap for the compressor,
filters and a filter stand.

“Helen, we got the trailer. We’re going to put on a base coat of paint. Call us when lunch
is ready. It should be dry enough after lunch to add the second color.”

“Two colors? Why?”

“Four colors. We’re going to paint a camouflage pattern.”

“Why?”

“So it’s hard to see up in the National Forest?”

“You have an hour. The lasagna is in the oven.”

“Homemade?”

“Stouffers.”

“Ok, which color first George?”

“Tan base, you think?”

“Should work. Any splatters from the other colors will just improve the effect.”

“Paint the whole thing or just random areas?”

“First color the whole thing, I think.”

“If you want to get the paint ready, I’ll put the water trap on the compressor and drag it
out back.”

“Go ahead. It will take about ten minutes to get the paint just so.”

We had the tan paint on and the equipment cleaned before Helen or Susan called us for
lunch. We decided that the sage would be the next color followed by the brown and fi-
nally the charcoal gray. The store had run the paint cans through their shaker or what-
ever you call it. One nice thing about this coat of paint was that it covered the U-Haul
paint that showed through.

“Perfect timing. Wash up and take a seat.”

“Um, that smells good. Is it ready?”

51
“It’s setting up. It will be when you’re washed up. I’m afraid it’s buffet style. Help your-
selves and grab the garlic bread.”

Once we were all seated, Helen asked, “How is the painting going?”

“Good. We have the tan on and are going to do the sage next. It’s really drying quickly
so we may get the brown on today.”

“What’s the final color?”

“Charcoal gray. We got that in spray cans and we may just get the entire thing finished
today if we get lucky.”

“I take it you won’t be putting much of charcoal paint on?”

“Just a little shading here and there. Similar to the pattern of those BDUs we have,
Woodland Camo.”

“They changed uniforms didn’t they?”

“Yes. It got started by the Marine Corps with their MARPAT. The Army followed with
their ACU and the Air Force with their ABU. In 2008, the Navy came up with the NWU.
Grand had a thing on Frugal’s showing how well various patterns of camouflage uni-
forms worked in the German countryside. The Woodland pattern BDUs should work fair-
ly well in Tonto as long as we stay in the timber. They announced that the Army, Air
Force and Marine Corps are all going to MultiCam.”

“Are we planning on bugging out?”

“Planning, no. It is a consideration as we discussed early this morning. With this trailer,
we can take almost 400 cubic feet of additional supplies. With the sideboards on the
pickup, we can carry much of our LTS food. The bed holds about 2 cubic yards and we
double that with the sideboards. It’s only a total of 108 cubic feet even with the side-
boards. It’s a shame that we don’t have sideboards for the trailer.”

“George, it would only take a few 1x4s to put sideboards above the roof of the trailer. I
don’t know if it would be legal but it can be done fairly easily. That would add another
144 cubic feet with 2’ sideboards and more if we went higher. You’d probably end up
looking like an Okie from Muskogee and make Merle Haggard proud. Personally, I
wouldn’t go more than 2’ higher. However, we could build sideboards for our trailer too.
We could have them on and the trailers loaded by tomorrow night if that was what we
chose to do. I’ll pack my chainsaw.”

“Ladies?”

“Oh Bill, I’m not sure.”

52
“George, are you serious?”

“As a heart attack.”

“If that’s the case, we’d better put off the painting and get their trailer loaded and build
those sideboards you want. We can store the firearms and ammo in our shelter until we
leave.”

“George, I have a better idea. Take Susan and Helen over to our place to load our trail-
er. Do a quick run to pick up the lumber and then go back and help them finish loading.
The sideboards for my pickup are in the shed. Load it after you get back there and get
back here before sundown. Meanwhile, I’ll get the paint on the trailer.”

“Fine; before we do that, I’m going to finish my lunch.”

They hadn’t started seizing food yet; that would probably come next. The sooner we
could leave the better. With the national curfew in effect we’d have to Bugout in broad
daylight. I had thought about adding a 98 gallon cross bed fuel tank to the truck but
hadn’t because of the cost of the tank and the cost of filling it. Transfer Flow wanted
about $1,500 for the tank and it would cost another $400+ to fill it. A man could buy a lot
of ammo for $1,800.

Like Henry Bowman, Bill and Susan Collins, Helen and I were members of the gun cul-
ture. It would be difficult to say how many members of the gun culture there were; un-
doubtedly a lot. One couldn’t go by available statistics, like NRA membership because
the NRA had 4 million members for as long as I could remember. I’d joined as a life
member when I was in the Army. When Helen and I got married, she became a life
member. I knew that Bill was a life member because he said so and I assumed that Su-
san was too.

The organization had its pros and cons. At times they seemed to take positions opposite
of the general view of the membership. They were on Acting President Biden’s order
like a duck on a June bug. As of the last time we checked the TV, the judge hadn’t ruled
on their request for a temporary injunction. The longer the order remained in effect, the
more likely we’d Bugout.

When we returned home, Bill was just putting on the finishing touches with the charcoal
spray paint. It looked like the trailer would blend in well with the environment because of
the soft blending of colors. We took a break and had some iced tea after which all the
firearms were moved to the shelter. Using their trailer as a model, we built two sets of
sideboards. And then we unloaded their trailer so we could install the sideboards. It was
getting towards dusk when we had their sideboards installed and their trailer reloaded.

It had been a long day and after some discussion, Helen heated some water and we
each had a Mountain House entrée. The number of cities burning had fallen by three.

53
Law Enforcement, National Guard and military units were taking a hard line and they
really were shooting looters on sight. The same applied to would be arsonists pulling
wagons or carts of half-filled bottles of gasoline.

Instructions on the ‘proper’ construction of Molotov cocktails were popping up on the in-
ternet faster than the authorities could pull them down. The secret to an effective de-
vice, it seemed, was leaving some air space in bottle so it would break easier. We’d fin-
ish up with our trailer and load it tomorrow. It seemed likely that we would go on up to
Tonto the following day.

“Everyone needs a good breakfast to get though the day. Susan said that Bill and she
preferred Denver omelets. Do you want the same or a ham and cheese omelet?”

“Could I have a Denver omelet topped with melted cheese? Do we have any hash
browns?”

“Go get them from the freezer and I’ll start them first. Meanwhile we’ll keep chopping
onion, green pepper and ham. I only have two omelet pans so it will be in shifts.”

“Bill and Susan eat first and then you and me?”

“No, the men eat first and the Ladies second. It will be about thirty minutes from the time
you bring the hash browns.”

“Ok, ok, I’m moving.”

An hour later, Bill and I were attaching the sideboards to our trailer. Once finished, he
open the paint cans and used a brush to match the camouflage paint pattern. When we
finished that, we began loading the trailer, inside and on top. Before loading the pickup
we took off to see how many five gallon gas cans we could find. We had to settle for the
Blitz cans from Lowes. They weren’t limiting the can purchases. The cans went for ten
bucks a pop. Bill bought ten and I bought twelve. Filling them was a bit more challeng-
ing. The station I bought my diesel would sell me diesel but no gas. The place Bill
bought gas limited him to 25 gallons. But, they let me buy 25 gallons too so he gave me
the cash and I paid. Mickey Mouse wasn’t in Anaheim, he was alive and well in Mesa.

We rearranged things in Bill’s truck and added the extra ten cans after adding PRI-G.
We added my ten cans to the twelve I bought that day adding PRI-D to the twelve. We
shifted some more things in Bill’s truck and added his firearms and ammo. Our firearms
were in my pickup on top of the load in the box and beneath the load contained by the
sideboards. The ammo was on the bottom. We finished around 2:00pm.

“How long to get to Tonto?”

“It’s not that simple. We’ll be in Tonto within an hour. However, where I planned to go
will take three to four hours pulling the loads we have.”

54
“Fine, four hours. You don’t need to make it any more complicated than that. You al-
ready said it was almost three million acres. As long as you know where we’re going
and where the last fuel stop is.”

“I may be a little iffy on the last fuel stop, it’s been a while. We’d better get fuel as we
can.”

“So, empty your refrigerator into a cooler and let’s shake a leg, we’re burning daylight
here.”

“Helen, we’re loaded and can leave now.”

“Have you packed your clothes?”

“No, but that shouldn’t take long.”

“I already packed them. Did you put the game carts with the backpacks on top of the
load?”

“I did do that. And, the firearms and ammo are packed except for the shotguns and our
smaller pistols.”

“Which shotguns?”

“The 870s.”

“Can you get to the Mossberg’s and our full sized pistols?”

“Yes.”

“Do it while we pack the refrigerator.”

“How did you know…?”

“God gave me two perfectly good eyes. As a matter of fact, Susan has a pair too. She’s
having a word with Bill about their shotguns and full sized pistols. Whether this is a good
idea or not is yet to be determined. If we’re going to do it, let’s be sensible about it. Y’all
have convinced me that they’ll be coming for us first because of our full auto rifle and
suppressors. With that in mind, we’re almost ready.”

“How do you want your Mossberg loaded?”

“It has the buck and ball doesn’t it? Just leave it loaded with that. Put them in the gun
socks and store them behind the seat.”

55
“Are we set for camping utensils and plates and flat ware?”

“Blue granite with our usual camping cook set and a cast iron frying pan and dutch ov-
en. It’s that fourteen cup blue granite percolator. It was all together in one of the Rub-
bermaid boxes I saw you load.”

“What about baking bread?”

“We’ll use both Coleman ovens. We still have quite a bit of the last batch. I also brought
the stainless steel bowls. Not counting what’s stored with our LTS, we have an abun-
dance of yeast. Anyway, we have the freeze dried Provident Pantry meats. Before we
take off, we should check with the US Forest Service office in Mesa and get the per-
mits.”

“Did you call and check it out?”

“We haven’t had time. You call. Maybe you can find out about fuel availability and so
forth.”

I did call. I learned that there would be no fuel available. We would be required to have
Tonto passes, one for each 24-hour period we spent in the forest…times two. Due to
the fire danger, open fires were not permitted, at the moment, and generally discour-
aged. I got the address and Bill and I went after enough permits to cover us both for 30
days. It was cheaper to buy annual passes; $95 versus $180. When we got home, we
squeezed in the 20 pound propane bottles I had for the stoves and lanterns. Fortunately
I had two of the posts and several hose sections.

We’d been there before, camping. We knew about the need for propane stoves, thus
the preparations. We’d always gotten needed permits at Ranger Stations. We even
pulled a permit to cut deadfall or standing deadwood. The Ranger admonished us to cut
it but not burn it in the forest. I had the maps of Tonto on my laptop and a solar charger
to recharge the batteries, a time consuming process.

We slapped the passes on the rearview mirrors, loaded the last few items and left. It
was 3:45pm. It took little time to get to and pass through the boundary of the National
Forest. From there, it was uphill most of the way. We’d stopped at the Chevron station
with the sign saying, ‘last chance gas’, and topped off our fuel tanks and used the re-
strooms. We maintained a steady 50mph. This wasn’t a sightseeing trip. Even so, Helen
and Susan were on the CBs constantly pointing out the various forest features to one
another.

I had a spot in mind and we reached it just as the sun started to become orange settling
in the west. The things we’d need the most were near the top of the packed goods and
we got the tents erected, the privacy enclosure to the camping toilet erected and the
folding tables and chairs unfolded. Helen started two pots, one of coffee and the other

56
for hot water. It would be another Mountain House meal with home baked bread and
strawberry slices for desert.

Bill had provided a pair of matching padlocks for the trailers with keys for everyone. We
padlocked the trailers, locked the pickups and sat listening to a radio. It would be a
gross understatement to say that things were not good. President Obama was still un-
conscious; Acting President Biden was becoming emboldened. Those nonexistent FE-
MA camps were being revealed and opened for the refugees. They weren’t seizing eve-
rything a person brought, just weapons of any description. Either FEMA had its own
source of tents or the military had given up some of theirs.

The camps were fenced, minimally. It was more to funnel people into openings where
they could be registered and assigned accommodations. We called it a night and bed-
ded down in our Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 tent with our Slumberjack Big Timber
0° sleeping bags zipped together over a pair of joined Therm-a-Rest XL Dreamtime self-
inflating mattresses.

We slept like the dead, not rising until the sun was beating unmercifully through the
walls of the tent. Bill and I had found a convenient tree nearby for a bladder station and
after getting that out of the way, we washed up and I grabbed a cup of the freshly
brewed coffee Susan had prepared.

“We must use up those things from the refrigerator that will spoil unless we can find
more ice. Omelets ok?”

Helen was busy digging out the pans and the Coghlan’s toaster. Susan and she said it
would be a while before breakfast was ready so Bill and I dug out our firearms and
moved them to our tents. Bill and Susan had the same tent and mattress pads as we
did but supposedly different sleeping bags. He called them sleep systems with layered
bags. Yeah, right, they were Slumberjack bags identical to ours. We both pulled out 5
round magazines for our Springfield’s loaded with soft point hunting ammo.

Big game hunting season was closed. Nevertheless, there was big game here and
there, generally well within easy shooting distance. We visited about the possibility of
taking a deer. The most predominant species was the mule deer. There were also white
tailed deer and elk. Javelina didn’t generally inhabit Tonto and antelope were found fur-
ther north. We might have to deal with a black bear although we were unlikely to find a
buffalo. Neither would we run into bighorn sheep but a turkey was a slim possibility.
Mountain lions were everywhere throughout Arizona and we’d have to maintain our
guard. Small game would be limited to cottontail rabbits and tree rats.

As we reviewed the likely game, I vowed to load one 20 round magazine with soft point-
ed hunting ammo in case of a big cat or black bear. I had five hundred rounds of the soft
point hunting ammo due to a mistake placing an online order. Concentrating on the bul-
let weight, I missed the fact that it was soft point. I chalked it up to having a lifetime sup-
ply of hunting ammo. It could be used for hunting man or beast.

57
Eventually, the omelets were ready and were served up with bacon and toast. While
there were two 20 pound bags of potatoes, they were the large baking potatoes from
Costco and would have required extensive labor to produce hash browns. During break-
fast, Helen mentioned the menu for the day. Tuna sandwiches for lunch and sirloin
steaks with baked potatoes and lettuce salads for supper.

After breakfast cleanup, Bill and I were guided through unloading the pickups and trail-
ers, taking care of the needed items. Helen rather insisted that we set up the screened
dining enclosure and move the tables and chairs inside. That included not only the din-
ing table but the tables holding the stoves plus the attendant propane bottles. Ours was
a Wendover 13'x10'x8’8"h screen tent that we’d purchased online from the Camping
Tents Store.

The menu would finish the fresh lettuce and meat in the cooler. The situation represent-
ed another missed opportunity for us. We’d discussed getting an electric powered cool-
er with a solar panel, battery and charge controller. We’d dismissed the idea because
most fresh food has a limited storage life. It would have let us bring quite a bit of things
like butter and cheese, however.

We had been looking at the Engel 12vdc Refrigerator/Freezer. Their largest held 84
quarts. It was a variable temperature unit and was either a refrigerator or a freezer. To
have both would have required two units. It was cost prohibitive at $1,442 per unit plus
shipping. That didn’t include two solar panels, charge controllers and two batteries. The
units could be used on 110vac and would automatically switch to 12vdc when power
was lost. By the way, 84 quarts is 2.807 cubic feet.

With cases of Provident Pantry freeze dried meat available, we decided to wait on hunt-
ing until it became a necessary activity. Instead, we got out the chain saw, an axe and a
splitting maul and proceeded to cut up a dead pine tree. Being the soft wood that it is,
the tree was cut up by late afternoon and the usable branches cut to length. A ranger
stopped by and verified we had the permit to cut firewood and once again we were ad-
monished against open fires.

The tuna sandwiches didn’t provide much fuel for the amount of work we were doing
and we didn’t get all of the trunk sections cut up before we called it a day. Despite open
fires being prohibited, we scraped a large area totally free of debris and pine needles. In
the center of the area, we dug a hole about a foot deep and encircled it with rocks about
a foot high. Inside the hole, we built a small fire with fuzz sticks in the center surrounded
by a tepee of kindling surrounded by a pyramid of small branches. When we finished,
we used a tarp to cover the prepared fire. We’d only light the fire in the case where we
got snow.

58
“We only brought the single bottle of salad dressing so your choices are limited to
Thousand Island or Thousand Island. We set up the charcoal grill for the steaks and the
baking potatoes are cooking in the stovetop oven. We’ll bake bread tomorrow in the
regular loaf pans I thought to stick in with the other cooking gear. Since we couldn’t
bring the large bread slicer, I brought that bread slicing frame.”

“When do you want the coals started?”

“Give it 30 minutes. They need about 20 minutes to be ready, don’t they?”

“Approximately, yes. I think we’ll wash up and mix a drink. Do you ladies want a marga-
rita?”

“Susan?”

“A Coke please.”

“I’ll have a Coke too. You guys go ahead and have a highball.”

“Bill, how do you take your Jack?”

“Water.”

“I prefer Squirt. There may be just enough ice left in the cooler to chill two drinks.”

“Go ahead. I’ll get the radio so we can keep up on current events.”

…died at 3:30 pm eastern having remained unconscious since the surgery to remove
the metal fragment. President Biden declared tomorrow as a National Day of Mourning.
The state funeral has been scheduled for three days hence to allow foreign dignitaries
who may wish to attend adequate travel time.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who was at Bethesda monitoring the President’s condition,
collapsed upon receiving news of his death and was admitted to the hospital. The first
children maintaining a vigil at the White House have been informed of their father’s
death. Aides declined comment on either the First Lady’s condition or the children’s re-
actions.

At this point in time, approximately forty nations have indicated they will be represented.
The first country to indicate they would be attending was Kenya. All the members of the
European Union will be represented as will India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Putin will
represent Russia. We are awaiting word from China, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Reactions from around the country are varied with most expressing sorrow. The Rever-
end Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton had strong words about the assassina-
tion. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters were noticeably silent.

59
We will return after a word from our…

“Great. This is just great. The first black President is assassinated during his first term in
office. Bill, we could just have those race riots.”

“We already have them. It’s simply a matter of degree. There isn’t much left to burn
down, fortunately. Off hand, I think we may have gotten out of Dodge just in time. I’m
sure that once the news spreads, it will fuel the fires, no pun intended, of those rioting.
The country certainly didn’t need this right at the midpoint of his first term in office. I
can’t think of a single thing that he did that I agreed with but that’s beside the point. It
has more to do with respecting the office than the particular office holder.”

“I can hear it now.”

“Hear what?”

“Not what, who. TOM is sitting at his desk reading his computer screen and muttering
‘Lock and Load’.”

“He could finally be right, for a change.”

“Oh I don’t know, he passed along quite a bit of information. He had nothing but time on
his hands and a knack for doing research. He was probably right more often than he
was wrong. Except for the M2HB. Eventually, he was right about that too, about four
years after the fact.”

“He’s an interesting person. He was in the Air Force during the early 1960s. That would
put him in his late 60s or early 70s. He lists his NRA memberships on Frugal’s. I wonder
what he thinks of Biden’s orders.”

“It would be pure speculation. My guess is that he’s never seen a firearm law that he
liked. Like the Clanton’s and McLaury’s in Tombstone. It seems clear from his stories
and comments that he opposes all firearm laws.”

“If that’s the case, why does he live in California?”

“Maybe they can’t afford to move.”

“Did you ever shoot one?”

“One what?”

“An M2HB.”

“Once; during a familiarization course.”

60
“I never had the chance.”

“The one I fired was vehicle mounted on the then new HMMWV. The HMMWV was first
used in combat in Panama after I got out.”

“That shooting we were involved in the other day was the first time I was involved in
what could be called combat. I wanted to puke my guts up and had to swallow hard
several times to keep the bile down. You saw combat in Grenada, right?”

“Urgent Fury. It was screwed up from the beginning. To paraphrase a report I read, the
loss of the inertial navigation system in the lead C-130 aircraft meant that the flow of C-
130s had to be adjusted in the air and delayed our parachute assault at Point Salines.
Delay of the airdrop until daylight put it thirty-six minutes behind the Marine assault at
Pearls and cost us and other Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) forces tactical
surprise. Adjusting the airflow changed the order of the C-130 airdrop which mixed our
units on the landing zone. The delay of the airdrop and confusion resulting from the un-
planned sequence of the airdrop was a major operational slip-up. After overcoming stiff
Cuban resistance at the airport and rescuing students at the True Blue campus, we
learned of other American students at the Grand Anse campus south of St. George’s
and radioed for reinforcements. Meanwhile, having lost the cover of darkness as they
entered St. George’s, Navy SEALs found themselves trapped and outgunned as they
tried to rescue the Governor-General. Schwarzkopf was there serving as an advisor to
Vice Admiral Metcalf and was second in command.

“We were reinforced by two battalions of the 82nd Airborne. It was totally screwed from
start to finish. That’s when I decided to get out when my enlistment was up. Before you
ask, yes, I fired my weapon and possibly wounded some Cuban troops. We had two
Battalions of Rangers spread out from hell and gone with units intermingled and so
forth. Did I see Cubans go down? Hell yes. I’m not certain if it was my fire or that of an-
other Ranger. You knew about the friendly fire incidents didn’t you?”

“No, what happened?”

“A ‘Naval Aviator’ bombed the 82nd Airborne. A bunch were wounded, three seriously.
Another ‘Naval Aviator’ bombed a mental hospital. Every time I read about that opera-
tion, the body count shrinks. Like I said, it was FUBAR. It’s not something that I really
like to talk about. Others who were there probably see it entirely differently. I think I’ll
turn in. No telling what tomorrow might bring.”

“Yeah. I think Susan and I will turn in too.”

“You seem to be upset.”

“I was recounting Grenada to Bill.”

61
“Yes, that always upsets you. At least you don’t have the nightmares anymore.”

“It’s probably just PTSD. I haven’t had the dreams in a long time.”

“I was worried the day Bill and you shot those two guys.”

“In a way, that was different. The first guy was going to firebomb our house. That sec-
ond guy was shooting at us and could have easily fired through one of the shutters. It
was very personal that time.”

“We’re going to start the bread. Why don’t the two of you have one of those Mountain
House breakfast egg things?”

“Ham or bacon?”

“I’ll take bacon.”

“Just to keep it even, I’ll take ham. Turn on the radio and let’s find out what’s happen-
ing.”

…several trailer parks occupied by snowbirds. Some of the parks have been totally de-
stroyed. In others, the residents produced firearms and shot anyone who had the gas
bombs. Governor Brewer has ordered that gasoline only be dispensed into motor vehi-
cle fuel tanks with a limit of ten gallons per purchase.

In southern Arizona, troops have crossed the border and there is dispute whether they
are Mexican soldiers or members of drug cartels. The first crossing came from Nogales
and advanced north to Rio Rico before stalling when National Guard troops were sent
south from Tucson. The second crossing occurred at Douglas north of Agua Prieta.
That much larger force split into two forces of roughly equal numbers and are headed to
Bisbee and McNeil. Elements of the 82nd Airborne All American Division were already
on alert as they constitute the Rapid Deployment Force and arrived on scene in some-
thing over four hours after the border penetration. The RDF has a standing policy to de-
part on 18 hours’ notice and to be anywhere in the world they’re required within 96
hours. President Biden declined to permit embedded reporters in the operations of the
82nd in southern Arizona.

“I don’t see why not, it’s the Sonoran Desert and Geraldo would have plenty of sand to
draw maps in.”

“This isn’t getting that wood split. If we can finish by lunch, there’s another deadfall
close by. We can at least get it cut up by supper time. You ready George?”

“After I finish my coffee.”

62
It almost seemed like the next thing we’d hear on the news was that Russia had para-
chuted troops into a small Colorado town. The problem I had with Red Dawn was the
fact that the transport aircraft would have been picked up by radar and fighters scram-
bled to intercept the large body of aircraft. Between the two versions of the film, I pre-
ferred the first.

Sometime during the morning the Ranger stopped by again to make sure we had a
firewood cutting permit. Apparently our covered fire pit escaped his notice. It was posted
in the required location on the driver’s side window of my pickup. Susan and Helen in-
quired about where his Ranger Station was located and determined that our location
wasn’t within his sight even if he was in a fire tower.

Bill started cutting up the second deadfall and I continued to split the logs. We finished
up just in time for lunch. We broke for an hour and he began cutting up the limbs. By
then, my shoulders were screaming and I had Helen add a coating of Icy Hot and had a
warm Coke before returning to my splitting chores. They had limited the bread to four 16
ounce loaves. Bill soon finished using the chainsaw and began hauling and stacking the
cut up branches. I finally gave in and asked him to split a few of the logs.

That night, we were served home canned beef stew and fresh bread, using up the last
of the fresh butter, preceded by another highball. We definitely needed some ice. We
discussed that after supper while the Ladies listened to an oldies station. Bill agreed to
split the wood while I refilled our empty fuel cans and bought some blocks of ice the
next day. On the way up, Susan had spotted the small general store with two gas
pumps, apparently gas and diesel. We refilled both pickups and I loaded the empty cans
in the back of my now empty pickup bed. The store was about 20 miles back.

“Do you sell block ice?”

“Yep, got a cooler?”

“I’ll get it.”

“How big is it?”

“It’s an igloo 250 quart Great White.”

“Leave it sit and we’ll haul the ice. There’s no way we could move it after it’s filled.
Camping up here, are you?”

“We’re mainly harvesting firewood. Say, any chance of refilling some five gallon cans?”

“Gas or diesel?”

“Both.”

63
“Those we can haul. Drag them to the pumps and start pumping. I’d help but I have a
bad back.”

“I have to add the fuel stabilizers first.”

“Stabil?”

“PRI products.”

“Heard about them, any good?”

“You bet. They even restore sour gas and old diesel.”

“Three cans each? I’ll set the machine to distribute 15 gallons of each. So anyway,
what’s your take on the goings on around the country?”

“It’s not good. Troops crossed the border at Nogales and Agua Prieta. Arizona National
Guard is handling the Nogales crossing and the 82 nd Airborne Rapid Deployment Force
parachuted in near Bisbee and McNeil.”

“You don’t say. Ok, the fuel is $4 a gallon times 30 gallons or a hundred twenty bucks.
The ice is $3 per block. Fifteen times three is forty-five bucks. Need an ice pick?”

“Well…”

“It’s no charge for a purchase of more than 10 blocks.”

“So, one sixty-five?”

“Yep.”

“Are you aware of the Governor’s embargo on gasoline sales?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ten gallons per purchase and only dispensed into a motor vehicle.
I’m about out of fuel and I’ll be shutting up shop soon. Might make sense in Phoenix but
the nearest gas station to the north might be beyond the range of ten gallons and it’s
about the same the other way.”

“We topped off at a station that said ‘last chance gas’.”

“Is he pulling that again? You can make it all the way from Phoenix to Payson if you
start out with a full tank.”

“You carry any food?”

64
“It would be a damned sorry excuse for a general store if I didn’t.”

I didn’t get much, bacon, eggs, sausage, butter and four cans of Folgers. He had Bige-
low tea and I got two boxes of Earl Grey and two boxes of Darjeeling. We had Lipton in
our supplies. We now had full tanks, 110 gallons of fuel for each vehicle and 7½ gallons
of gasoline for the chainsaw with the cans I took out of the shed. Before we went to de-
sert landscaping our lawn was Bermuda grass which took far too much water to keep
green. Need a lawnmower?

When I returned, Bill was standing there with his shirt off allowing Susan to apply Icy
Hot. He had made a good dent in splitting the logs. We chipped some ice from the
blocks to make room for the bacon, eggs, sausage and butter. The eggs were in those
large trays. The other things were generally packaged flat and took minimal room. Full
like this with block ice, it should remain cold for about two weeks. The blocks didn’t quite
fill the cooler, leaving an empty area on one side. The chips were pushed down into that
gap leaving a fair sized area. The key now was to open the cooler as little as possible.

Lunch would consist of fried Spam and fried potatoes. Our wives had selected the three
largest potatoes, scrubbed and sliced them. They were in a pan of water to wash the
extra starch free. The bread was in the pans rising for the second time before being
baked. I told Bill that I’d spell him for a while to let his shoulders rest. He said not to wor-
ry about it; he’d dug out his splitting wedge. I wasn’t sure what he was referring to so he
showed me. He explained that it was a 4 way wedge from a hydraulic splitter. To use it,
you centered it on the log and gave it a mighty whack with a heavy maul. It might take
two or three whacks to split the wood but it sure beat the splitting maul. Once split, the
four quarters could be further split with the wedge, splitting maul or axe. After a demon-
stration, I started to split the logs with the wedge and he further split them with the axe.

We were interrupted with lunch and resumed splitting chores after. We were nearly fin-
ished when Susan announced that supper was ready. Shortly after we finished with
supper, it started to snow.

Bill lit the fire in the fire hole and I carried over an armload of split wood. We both went
for a second load and put the tarp over the carefully stacked firewood. We kept the fire
small for two reasons, the Ranger and to eliminate most of the sparks. It wasn’t particu-
larly obvious due to the small size. It did put out a good amount of heat. There was cof-
fee and hot water for tea so I brewed a cup of Darjeeling. Helen had a cup of Earl Grey
and the Collins’ drank coffee.

It snowed off and on most of the next day and by late evening we had a six inch accu-
mulation. We had managed to split the last of the firewood and add it to the pile. With
the snow came the cold which, in turn, would extend the life of the ice in the cooler. Ra-
ther than coffee, Susan heated hot water and we broke out the Swiss Miss. With over
540 envelopes of the hot chocolate we made double servings (12 ounces).

65
We listened briefly to the news with most of it relating to the cross border incursion. The
82nd had made short work of the invaders near McNeil and Bisbee. Half their force was
moved to the other crossing and they had halted the advance of the opposing force.
With the airborne unit maintaining the status quo, a swap of the Arizona National Guard
units with the remaining airborne troops near Bisbee began in earnest using UH-60
Blackhawks.

The fire was slightly larger than before the snow and welcome. A quick check showed
the roads to be impassible, allowing us to add an extra log to the fire. Bill dug through
their trailer and brought out a used military tent and a tent stove. It took the four us the
better part of an hour to get it erected, the stove installed and a fire going. We then
moved the contents of the screen tent to the heated dining tent. The ice chest was left
sitting in the snow.

It remained cloudy throughout the day with occasional snow flurries. The Ladies pre-
pared sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast suggesting that we could all use some-
thing that would ‘stick’. A can of Mountain House beef stew was set out for lunch and
Lasagna w/Meat Sauce for supper.

An easy listening station was found that gave news updates on the hour and half hour.
The news this day was an improvement; the former First Lady had been released from
the hospital having undergone tests to eliminate a stroke and heart attack. The final
verdict was stress. Little wonder, she’d undergone days of not knowing the final out-
come and the back and forth condition reports put out by overly optimistic doctors and
the White House Press Secretary. A spokesman indicated that she would be returning
to Kenwood, Chicago, Illinois.

Showing real strength of character, she made an impassioned plea for order to be re-
stored. A media pundit opined that there would be little hope for order being restored
until after the funeral service at the National Cathedral and burial at Arlington National
Cemetery. Nonetheless the violent activity was lessening as rioters ran out of places to
target and local, state and federal authorities maintained their hard stance.

“You know, for a nation on the verge of total financial meltdown, this couldn’t have hap-
pened at a worse time. I don’t mean to suggest that there’s ever a good time for a Pres-
ident to be assassinated…but where is the money going to come from to rebuild the na-
tion?”

“I can’t answer that partner; I’ve been wondering the same myself. I really shouldn’t
have spoken about Grenada last night. I had nightmares for a long time over that ad-
venture. We think it was PTSD. Being the thickheaded individual I am, I never sought
out treatment and put Helen through hell for a couple or three years. I think the light at
the end of the tunnel came when you got us involved in the gun culture and later in pre-
paredness. Never say never but I can’t envision us ever as unprepared as we were in
the beginning.”

66
“Like I said, I never saw combat. I did my time and got out. Shooting at targets, even
silhouettes, just isn’t the same. Part of it has to be that targets don’t shoot back or shoot
first. To quote Bear Claw in Jeremiah Johnson, you’ve come far pilgrim.”

“Feels like far.”

“Were it worth the trouble?”

“What trouble?”

“Grenada, the PTSD, joining the gun culture, becoming a prepper plus this little mess
the country finds itself in.”

“Up to that last point, I have no regrets. Can’t say I’m exactly sure how this is going to
work out. There are crazy people running around looting, firebombing, shooting, a bor-
der incursion and who knows what else.”

“When he got elected, I half wondered how long it would be before someone took a shot
at him. Being the first anything has a downside. The black population of the country is
what ten, twelve percent? One of these days we’ll elect a female President and have to
worry about her having Midol days.”

“Your red neck is showing, you chauvinist pig. I looked it up. The population of these
here United States is about white 75%, black 12.5%, some other race 5%, Asian 4.5%,
two or more races 2.5%, Native American 1% and Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.15%.
Those numbers are rounded. Hispanic or Latinos are included in those numbers and
account for about 16% of the population. If you remove Hispanics or Latinos from the
whites, the percentage drops to sixty-four. Females outnumber males by about 4 mil-
lion.”

“I knew that about the females.”

“I really hope that we can avoid additional violence. If this turns into what it is capable of
becoming, it will be worse than the events in that story Grand wrote, Normal.”

“Maybe; except we won’t find some old man with seven warehouses of goods that he’ll
trade us for little or nothing.”

“Smoke; his name was Smoke.”

“That’s right. How did you remember that?”

“Photographic memory?”

“You finally bought some film?”

67
“Digital. I just changed the batteries. You know with this tent and stove, we should be
downright comfortable up here in the mountains. Burning pine is going to coat the
stovepipe with creosote.”

“Kirafu has expanded its line of Tipis. They go up to a 24 man unit. With stove, it runs
about thirty-seven hundred.”

“Heavy?”

“Man packable. One person carries the stove, a second the tipi and the third everything
that goes with it. Their website said they put 44 people in it sitting in chairs. Flaunt it as
a great emergency shelter, never mind the lead time to get one is six plus weeks. This
old tent is a heavy SOB because of the canvas construction. It’s part of our trailer sup-
plies although we almost never use it.”

“Sure came in handy this time.”

“It’s one of the things we never unpack. Is there a stream nearby? We have more empty
water jugs than full.”

“It’s about a quarter of a mile. Clear water but we filter it anyway.”

“You have to. Want to test out those game carts and our water filter?”

“Yep. It won’t get done if we don’t do it. I’ll get my filter.”

“You won’t need it. We have a Sawyer 4-liter complete water treatment system. We
have their point zero two bucket and filter too. I’m not going dig it out because we don’t
need it and it would take a lot longer. The treatment system puts out 4 liters or one gal-
lon in three minutes. It should only take us an hour to fill all of the jugs.”

We took two carts. One had the empty jugs and the other the Sawyer system. Bill rigged
it up, tossing a line over a branch and we used a pail to scoop water from the stream to
the top/dirty water compartment. The water fed from it to the lower/clean water com-
partment. It was a bit more than an hour; we had twenty-four jugs to refill. We kept in
touch with our wives with our portable CB radios.

We unloaded the bottles under the tables holding the stoves, put the equipment up and
sat down for coffee. The radio was on, but turned down low. The other part of our Amer-
ican Express Cards, the weather radios with SAME, had been turned to a local coding
and worn on our belts. And, wouldn’t you know it; we got the alert tone on our Oregon
Scientific WR602s. It was a law enforcement warning applicable to Gila County only.
Location specific, it pertained to Payson and a small group of Apaches running amok.

“Why not, everyone else is.”

68
“They said a small group. Why would they put out a SAME notice for a small group?”

“One man’s small group is another man’s herd. What say we get our rifles out and make
sure they’re clean? Our wives can clean their own.”

“Clean our own what?”

“Rifles.”

“There isn’t room for all four of us to work at the table at the same time cleaning rifles.”

“Fine. We’ll go first and you can do yours after we finish.”

“We’ll be cooking lunch.”

“Bill, it’s not worth the argument. Bring all of your rifles and shotguns and I’ll get mine.
Do you have everything you need?”

“I have CLP, gun oil, Hoppe’s, lithium grease, graphite and my cleaning kit. Yeah, I think
I have it covered.”

“Lithium huh? I use silicone.”

“They have many common attributes.”

It took two trips to bring the firearms and two to return them to our tents. Funny thing,
we had just returned to the mess tent after replacing the last of the cleaned firearms
back in our tents when lunch was served.

“You timed it that way on purpose.”

“Of course we did. You do a much better job cleaning and lubricating the firearms.”

“You still have to do your pistols and there is ample room for us all to do that at the
same time.”

“Did you clean the ‘Cowboy guns’?”

“Oops.”

“You two have enough of those to go around, don’t you?”

“And then some. Since Winchester went out of business, we’ve stopped shooting those
rifles and carbines. We have enough Marlins and Vaqueros to outfit everyone if the gun
belts fit.”

69
“How much did the Paladin rig run?”

“Seven twenty-five.”

“The Crossdraw rigs?”

“Four seventy-five. We went with plain leather with Conchos. If you buy the hand tooled
version with Conchos, it runs seven forty.”

“Do you have scabbards for the rifles?”

“You bet. Unfortunately we don’t have horses and have never ridden a horse.”

“What did they run?”

“Around one forty and we bought four so five sixty altogether.”

“You have three grand tied up in gun leather?”

“I never added it up. That sounds about right.”

“But you could learn to ride?”

“I’m not so sure about that. A horse is a large, powerful animal. I’ve read that they can
sense fear in a rider and respond accordingly.”

“Where did you read that?”

“Remember Salina and TOM’s tale about the horse and his experience?”

“I do remember reading that. At least he could make fun of himself. We only get out to a
stable once or twice a year to ride. It’s far cheaper to rent a horse for a couple of hours
than own one. We go once in the spring and once in the fall when the temperatures are
reasonable.”

Arizona may not be the Wild West although it was the last of the lower 48 to be admitted
to the union. A significant portion of the state was devoted to Reservations for various
Indian/Native American tribal groups. Much of the state is desert with mountain areas
containing vast forests. We are bordered on the south by the Sonoran Desert and in the
northwest by the Grand Canyon. Our northern border was Utah’s southern border and
the northeast corner of the state was one of the four corners made up of Arizona, New
Mexico, Utah and Colorado.

“Bill, can you tell me why I feel like I’m on trial here?”

70
“On trial? Oh. We’re all on trial in a manner of speaking. The United States of America
is the home of the brave, the land of the free; the world’s melting pot and the most pow-
erful nation on the planet. We’re on trial to see if we put our money where our mouth is.
It’s like Animal Farm where some are more equal than others. It’s certainly not the first
time a President has been assassinated. However, we elected our first black President
and he’s assassinated halfway through his first term.

“The nation was founded on the principle that all people are created equal. It took
Amendments to the Constitution to make sure that was very clear. Women didn’t get the
vote when they wrote the Constitution and it was a long time coming, 1920. We passed
a Civil Rights Act in 1866 and again 98 years later and neither eliminated discrimination.
In total, there are 8 federal Civil Rights Acts and one passed by the state of California.
Wiki said only one of those Acts had been ruled unconstitutional. You aren’t the only
person who gets curious about something and looks it up on Wiki. Someone once said
that you cannot legislate morality.”

“I read that somewhere. You don’t suppose we’re referring to the same thing, do you?”

“As in something TOM wrote?”

“I bet you’re right. Whoever said it is wrong. You can legislate morality. What you can’t
do is change people. Each of us is an individual who makes his/her own choices. One
of those choices could be whether or not to conform to the legislated morality. That’s
like saying you can’t commit murder. Murders happen every day. Murder is an immoral
act and that doesn’t seem to slow people down. Killing another human being may or
may not be murder, depending on whether or not the killing is justified by the circum-
stances as in the case of war or self-defense.”

“Let’s go cut up another tree and burn off some of this energy. Maybe we can get lucky
and find some hardwood. What grows here besides evergreens?”

“Arizona ash, among others, especially in this area. That’s a hardwood.”

“Let’s go find a standing or fallen Arizona ash tree. We can come back for the saw and
axe. Probably should take our rifles loaded with hunting ammo.”

“We can sling our rifles. I’ll carry the axe and gas can. Don’t be a wimp.”

“Better yet, let’s take two game carts; we might actually trip over an elk or deer.”

“Yeah, or a bear or mountain lion.”

About a klick from the camp we found a standing dead ash tree. We dropped it and
trimmed the limbs from the trunk. The limbs were cut into pieces for the stove and load-
ed on the two game carts. We hauled the wood back to the camp and stacked it inside
the mess tent next to the stove. We then put the one game cart, the chainsaw and axe

71
in the back of my pickup and returned to the scene of the fallen tree. We could only get
within 150 meters and parked and returned with our equipment. While Bill cut up the
tree, I hauled the remaining cut up branches to the pickup with the game cart. By the
time I’d finished, Bill was done and we hauled the trunk sections to the pickup one at a
time. The pickup was filled to the top of the sideboards by the time we had the firewood
loaded.

“That should burn hot and clear out any creosote.”

“It could just set it on fire.”

“Ok, we’ll let the fire die out and I’ll pull the pipe and run my chimney brush through it.
Then we can start a good fire and burn out any residue.”

“You have the right size for your stovepipe?”

“They come in sizes from 5” up to 12”. This pipe is 5” and yes, I have the brush with me
plus some Anti-Creo-Soot solution to dissolve any creosote buildup.”

“It dissolves creosote?”

“You’re supposed to burn it in your stove or fireplace and it breaks the glazing of the
creosote. Sometimes, in a pinch, I put some in a pan and dip the steel brush in it and
just keep running it through until the pipe is clean. I do it the proper way for our fire-
place. When I run the 10” brush for it, I use the recommended method on pushing the
brush down from the top with the fireplace doors closed. It’s a simple matter to open the
doors and use my shop vacuum to clean up the stuff the brush knocks down.”

“This I have to see.”

“There, what do you think?”

“I think it’s as clean as you’re going to get it.”

“Let’s get the pipe back in place and get a fire going.”

“George, what does the military acronym MOUT stand for?”

“Military Operations in Urban Terrain. Why, what’s up?”

“How big is a Brigade?”

“A Brigade or a Brigade Combat Team?”

“The Combat Team.”

72
“Light or Heavy?”

“Light.”

“Ok, Infantry. About 4,000 personnel. It includes two or more battalions and several dif-
ferent support units these days. MOUT? Brigade Combat Team? Did you hear some-
thing on the radio?”

“Yes. While the two of you were cleaning the stovepipe, we were listening to a news
broadcast. It’s a shame we don’t have a TV. Anyway, an Army Division is being as-
signed to cover four states and its Brigade Combat Teams are assigned to the major
cities. They’re moving through individual cities with fixed bayonets conducting MOUT
operations. Anyone who opposes them with a firearm is shot. It sounds a lot like what
we did in Iraq. What is a Heavy Brigade Combat Team?”

“It’s armor with Abrams and Bradleys. Assuming we have elections in 2012, what’s your
forecast Bill?”

“The GOP will sweep the House, Senate and White House. That’s assuming we have
elections.”

“Bill, why wouldn’t we have elections?”

“Susan, we are under what amounts to an all-out insurrection. I don’t doubt that our mili-
tary can clean out the cities a few at a time. However, they aren’t going to catch the
smart ones, the organizers. And, those organizers will have so much propaganda to use
against the government, the government could fall. Then what? UN peacekeeping
troops being funneled in to restore and maintain order? If and when that happens all of
the people currently not out raising hell will be. Do you agree with me George?”

“Unfortunately yes. It will be like that old Patriot Fiction story Pax Americana. I’ll be on
the front lines if that happens.”

“We have one thing in our favor.”

“And, that is?”

“Thousands of rounds of ammunition, sniper rifles and large quantities of ordnance. Do


you know where Camp Navajo is?”

“Isn’t that outside of Flagstaff?”

“That’s right, a few miles to the west. That’s the Regional ammo supply point for the Ari-
zona Nation Guard.”

“And, you want to go shopping?”

73
“Yes and the sooner the better.”

74
The Trials of George Thomas – Six

Midnight Requisitions:

“What are you two talking about?”

“Acquiring the things we don’t have or more of the things we do have that are pretty
much military only.”

“Raufoss?”

“That falls in the more category; M1022 which is a matching antipersonnel round falls
into don’t have category along with hand grenades, demolitions and the universal favor-
ite, the LAW rocket or M136 AT4CS if the LAW isn‘t available. What do you think
George, some 40mm stuff too?”

“If we can get M203s and decent rifles to mount them on.”

“And if we can’t?”

“Either M-79s or H&K M-320s mounted on HK-417s and HK-416s. That failing, the
HK69A1, their version of the M-79. If we find four each of the HK carbines in each cali-
ber, we should get them.”

“What are you talking about?”

“One thing at a time. You both know what the Raufoss is. The M1022 is a conventional
round with ballistics matching the Raufoss. If you’re sighted in for one, you’re sighted in
for both. I doubt I need to explain hand grenades but there are several types. Offensive
grenades are a concussion grenade that produces a large explosion with few fragments
while defensive hand grenades are referred to as fragmentation grenades and produce
plenty of fragments. There are two kinds of incendiary grenade, Thermate and White
Phosphorus. And, you’re both familiar with our smoke grenades that are military spec.

“The LAW, or Light Anti-tank Weapon, rocket is a 66mm expandable rocket dating back
to Vietnam but reintroduced in Iraq. In between, the Army fielded the M136 AT4 84mm
rocket. The HK-416 is a 5.56mm select fire rifle and the HK-417 is the same in the
7.62×51mm. Both use a piston operating system which overcomes the problem with the
M16 and M4.”

“Don’t forget night vision.”

“We’d better make a list.”

“Are your acquisitions going to include the two of us?”

75
“You both want a piece of this?”

“My vow was for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. You bet
your sweet bippy I want in!”

“Susan?”

“In for a penny, in for a pound. They’re damned sure going to try and collect all the NFA
items. And we’re sure not short on those.”

“George, Camp Navajo is a big place.”

“True. They do store the munitions for the Arizona National Guard and have an EOD
Company and a Sapper Company which means they have demolitions.”

“They also have an MP Company.”

“That just means that were going to have to be awfully sneaky.”

“How do you want to do this?”

“Helen and Susan can stay here while we do a recon. With all the activity in Phoenix
and Tucson, they’re probably resupplying on a daily basis. Figure two days to do the
recon and check out their perimeter security. Then a day or so to plan it out and go from
there. Did you bring your spotting scope?”

“Yes, it’s in a box with the cleaning supplies and repair parts.”

“There’s no sense in rushing into this. One day more or less shouldn’t make a differ-
ence. I’d like to sleep on it and finish up splitting the hardwood. I’ve never been to Camp
Navajo, have you?”

“Not really. I drove by it once when I was traveling from Flagstaff to Kingman. That was
a few years back before they moved most of the ammo to Hawthorne up in Nevada.
Guard took it over after that. I think it was ’92 or ’93. The ANG stores all kinds of things
for other government agencies and the Camp has been upgraded almost continually
since they took it over. Security will be tight because of some of the things they store.”

“What kinds of things?”

“Trident I and Minuteman II missiles. According to Global Security, the inventory stored
on contracts is worth about $7 billion dollars.”

“Yeah, we definitely need to think this through.”

76
Think it through we did. I had difficulty getting to sleep contemplating what we had dis-
cussed. The next day, while we were splitting the hardwood, Bill commented, “Short
night.”

“Yeah, I had trouble getting to sleep. I’m still convinced this is what we should do de-
spite the downsides.”

“And, they would be?”

“Breaking and entering a military facility. Stealing federal property, especially some of
the things we discussed last night. Once we start, there will be no turning back. They
may never determine who we are; or, we could get caught in the act.”

“I’m more concerned about some of the details. There are over 700 igloos there. Which
igloos hold what we want? Are the igloos locked and if so by what means? Even if it is
just military grade padlocks, they have case hardened hasps and brass bodies and are
extremely difficult to get around. How do we get what we want and get it back here? Is
this going to be our staging area or are we going to use a different location?”

“I’ll take a shot at that last question. I think we’re going to have to go back to Phoenix
and operate out of our homes. Will our employers resume operations? If so, do we re-
turn to work? I noticed that that trailer I bought has a trailer hitch ball on the back and
we could probably pull both trailers with my old worn out pickup or your old worn out
pickup.”

“Around a thousand cubic feet of munitions and explosives? We’re talking really heavy
stuff and I’m inclined to think that weight and not volume will be the limiting factor. Still, it
should be enough to last us for a long time. You know Boeing will reopen as fast as
humanly possible and so will the state. Are Helen and you in the financial position to
quit your jobs? Susan and I are. Our home is paid for and we have enough set aside to
last us for years.”

“Our home is paid for too. We have quite a bit set aside. I think we could go for three
years without any additional income other than what we get from our investments. Our
annuity doesn’t start paying out until I’m 65. We do have those precious metals but
Biden could issue a recall of all precious metals.”

“We’ll figure out something. If there is a rebellion like we discussed, it shouldn’t last very
long.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.”

77
We finished splitting and stacking the hardwood. Our wives fed us as special of a sup-
per as it’s possible to make from freeze dried food. We packed our backpacks for a 10-
day stay at Camp Navajo and made it clear to Helen and Susan that we would take as
long as it took to get what we wanted. After supper, we finished unloading the trailers
and hitched Bill’s to mine. For some reason, I was a little more comfortable with the idea
that the trailer that I bought wasn’t hot. Someone had done a bit of work installing the
extra tow hitch.

After much consideration and some discussion, we decided to take our best M1A rifles
and the Mossberg shotguns recognizing that should we be forced to use the weapons,
our plan would be blown out of the water. We left after lunch the following day, hoping to
reach Flagstaff during the late afternoon and be in position before dark, going through
Show Low to Holbrook and west on I-40. Said position wouldn’t be in view of Camp
Navajo.

We had good luck traveling and were able to find enough service stations to keep the
pickup’s tank topped off, ten gallons at a time. Passing through Flagstaff, we noted that
National Guard soldiers had all of the exits off I-40 blocked. This raised a question; were
the Guard troops housed locally or out at Camp Navajo? On the west side there was an
encampment which answered that question for us.

We exited at exit 191 and headed south on the local roads. We skirted Rogers Lake to
the south and moved to about what we took to the midpoint of the southern boundary of
the camp. We moved our miniature B train off the road, with some difficulty and got the
pickup pointed in the right direction for a fast E&E. After setting up camp, we used the
camp stove to heat water for our meal and perk a pot of coffee.

As the sun began to set, we moved north, almost to the boundary of the Camp. It was
fenced and there were periodic patrols working on what appeared to be an irregular
schedule. Bill napped until 1 am and then took over for me. We were using a mini Mag-
lite with a red lens filter when we had to make a note. We set in for a long stay taking 5
hour shifts. For two nights and two days, we did nothing but observe by naked eye and
using the spotting scope.

“There’s a section of fence there that is always in shadow that they can’t really see from
the Hummer. We can probably cut through there George.”

“I noticed that. How many igloos have we identified as to content?”

“First, we had to locate the igloos. I did that and we might want to move. I marked them
down as to what they appear to contain. This one here contains belted .50BMG. This
one here, belted 7.62 and this one over here belted ammo for the SAWs. This one here
contains LAW rockets; I saw them moving them by the crate. This one I marked here
seems to contain the grenades as does the one next to it. I think this one here contains
the Raufoss or the M1022, I can’t be sure. This separate igloo has demolitions. See
how it is set a bit apart from the others?”

78
“Do you want to go in tonight?”

“We can at least do a closer recon and learn what kinds of locks we’re dealing with.
They patrol the igloos too.”

“Yeah, I noticed. Are we being brave or just plain foolish?”

“Yep.”

We needed night vision equipment too. Perhaps a few AN/PVS-14 Monocular Night Vi-
sion Devices and a few AN/PVS-22 and AN/PVS-27 night vision scopes. We relocated
and cut through the fence, ducking down when we saw the headlights. We were through
the fence after the second pass and moving towards the igloos. There had been a tre-
mendous amount of traffic in and around the igloos over the previous 48 hours with
most of it occurring during the daytime.

The first shock came when we discovered that the igloos were unlocked. That made
sense, considering the volume of traffic. They could be locked but simply weren’t. That
simplified our problem and we began verifying the contents of the ones we’d discussed.
Everything was pretty much as we thought it to be. We opened a crate of LAW rockets
and pulled out two 5-round containers and headed back for the fence. They were placed
in my trailer and we returned for more containers of the rockets, returning with two
more. As the first rays of the early morning sun broke in the east, we were back in our
camp, having moved the contents of four crates, 60 rockets.

“Tonight we do the hand grenades.”

“Ok. Let’s get some sleep, I’m bushed.”

The night and the one that followed resulted in us getting large quantities of M67 Frag-
mentation, M18 Colored Smoke, AN-M83 TA Smoke, AN-M14 TH3 Incendiary, M15
Smoke/Incendiary and ABC-M7A2, ABC-M7A3 CS Riot Control grenades, maybe 250
of each. The next night, we located the Mk 211MP and the M1022 and made as many
trips as we could before sunrise. Seven trips resulted in our moving seven cans of each.
We decided to spend the coming night gathering another 7 cans of each. We had been
gone a week.

“We still don’t have the rifles, 40mm grenades, grenade launchers, night vision or any
demolitions.”

“We’d better get everything we want from the igloos first. I suspect we’ll only get a single
chance at the rifles and night vision. They’re likely not stored in bunkers but in an ar-
mory or a warehouse.”

79
“Yeah, huh? I hadn’t thought that through. Four sets of the monocular, helmets, four ri-
fles and four ACOGs. I’m of a mind to just buy the MUNS (AN/PVS-27, $10,700 each).”

“They’re pretty pricey.”

“That why we have all those gold coins. They have to be worth five times what we paid
for them. All things considered, we’d be getting the MUNS cheap. We’ll need four UNS
for the regular rifles and two MUNS for our Tac-50s.”

“Ok. Tonight we finish the Mk 211 and the M1022. Tomorrow night we’ll do the 40mm
grenades and some of the demolitions. Maybe some M118LR and M855A1. The follow-
ing night, we’ll finish getting the demolitions and get the weapons, night vision and hel-
mets.”

“And Bugout the next morning?”

“I think so. I wouldn’t mind getting some Interceptor body armor. We’ll take it all to our
house and store it in the shelter and then head back to Tonto.”

“It’s a shame we can’t call our wives and bring them up to date.”

“I told Susan that it could run as long as 10 days if we were successful in getting what
we were looking for and not to get upset until we’d been gone 12 days. I’m sure she ex-
plained that to Helen.”

“I hope so. This is about as long as we’ve been apart since we married.”

“Another thing to think about is getting some of the ACU uniforms. We can get them
from Propper. They have the ACU, ABU, cop clothing and that new MultiCam. Having
all four available to us should confuse the bejesus out of our adversary. We already
have the BDUs and that would give us five different uniforms.”

“Cop clothing? What about badges and ID?”

“We can get some rent-a-cop badges and create some kind of ID on our computers. Get
it laminated and no one should know the difference. We aren’t going to be dealing with
these people face to face. Should that happen, they won’t be able to identify us; I don’t
intend to let them.”

So much for being a couple of mild manner mechanics for Boeing Corporation assem-
bling Apache helicopters. A lot more was changing than I ever envisioned when Helen
called me to tell me the President had been shot. If things calmed down and an insur-
rection didn’t occur, so much the better. We would have to be very careful and avoid a
fire at all cost. That guy out in California with all that gunpowder and such had only been
discovered because of a fire.

80
°

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Norco resident Thomas Lee McKiernan regained his freedom Tuesday, but he's lost a
lot in the last two months.

McKiernan, a retired machinist, Vietnam veteran and former Army captain, made na-
tional headlines in March when his home caught fire, exposing a cache of more than a
hundred guns, a million rounds of ammunition and more than 185 pounds of gun pow-
der.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, he tussled with them in an effort to get back into
his burning home even as live rounds exploded in the blaze. When the flames were
doused, Riverside County sheriff's officials discovered a 70-foot long tunnel beneath his
house filled with food and water for long-term survival.

The fire, the water damage and the tunnel made his house uninhabitable.

McKiernan moved into the Robert Presley Detention Center, an unwitting emblem of
embattled gun rights for some and a symbol of survivalist extremism for others.

But in the end, McKiernan was just a local man who accidentally ran afoul of the law,
said Deputy District Attorney Michael Mayman.

On Tuesday, Riverside Superior Court Judge Janice M. McIntyre sentenced him to 80


days of time already served. He will also have to serve three years’ probation, undergo
psychiatric evaluation and forever give up his gun collection.

McKiernan faced as much as five years in prison, but the more lenient sentence was
part of a plea arrangement that reflects his efforts to comply with the law and his lack of
criminal history, said Mayman.

Most of McKiernan’s guns were collected over decades, and they include collector's
pieces such as pre-World War II guns. His illegal assault rifles were bought before they
were outlawed in 2000, indicating that McKiernan was at least trying to be a law-abiding
collector, Mayman said.

"People are particularly sensitive about this issue," said Mayman, who received dozens
of calls from gun enthusiasts. "This was really more of an explosives case than a gun-
rights issue."

The problem, said Mayman, is that McKiernan’s stockpile of gunpowder was a threat to
the community. He had more than 185 pounds of gunpowder – dozens of times the le-
gal limit.

81
One positive outcome of the case is that many people are trying to learn from McKi-
ernan's mistakes by making sure their gun collections are legal and that they have the
proper permits if they store large quantities of gunpowder, Mayman said. "It's important
for us to enforce our gun laws," Mayman said, adding that is particularly true in light of
the Virginia Tech massacre.

On Tuesday morning, McKiernan waited for hours with dozens of other shackled in-
mates in the Riverside courthouse. Gray-haired and wearing an orange jumpsuit, the
62-year-old kept to himself and declined to make a statement to the court before his
sentencing.

He's a quiet but pleasant man, explained his attorney, Michael K. Cernyar. Despite his
jail time, he has fared well with support from family and neighbors in the community,
Cernyar said.

Even though his neighbors had to be evacuated due to the explosives, many in the
community came out in support of McKiernan, who lived in the now-condemned home
for 32 years.

In the end, McKiernan got a fair deal, Cernyar concluded.

"I think it was fair, and I think gun lovers would think it was fair," he said. "People still
have the right to bear arms."

Say, there are some empty igloos at Camp Navajo; maybe he should store his stuff
there. The authorities no doubt destroyed the 100 weapons, 185 pounds of gun powder
and one million rounds of ammo. What a waste.

We finished up as planned. The four HK-416s and HK-417s all had the HK AG-
C/EGLMs mounted together with the latest ACOG. While the rifles sported the flashhid-
ers, there were optional muzzle compensators and sound suppressors. The sights
proved to be the TA01NSN-DOC: 4x32 Trijicon ACOG with 7.0 MOA Docter Optic and
those mounted on the HK 417s had the BDC for the M118LR 7.62x51mm ammo. That
was about as good as we could hope to get. We detached the trailer from the pickup
and unloaded the truck. It was too late to drive up to Tonto so Bill made a call. He dick-
ered for a half hour, grinned and hung up.

“I made the deal on the four UNS and four MUNS. I’ll pay for them and you can reim-
burse me. Apparently, the price of gold has risen in our absence. Twenty-four ounces at
my original purchase price means they’re hotter than a $3 pistol after a gunfight. You
ready to go?”

“Now?”

82
“Yeah. He said the gold would be the frosting on the cake for him and he’s going to
boogie.”

“Where’s he going?”

“Sedona.”

“Right, up I-17 about 2 hours.”

“Give or take. He should make it well before sundown.”

“It’s going to be nice to get a hot shower and eat a decent meal. Let’s stop by our house
and pull out two sirloins. We’ll have to get lettuce and baking potatoes, assuming we
can.”

“We’ll stop on the way to Mel’s. Ten minutes won’t slow him down that much. The man
has a lead foot.”

We had to settle for the largest potatoes in the bin and head lettuce. It wasn’t what I had
in mind, but it would work. Since the largest potatoes were about 3” long, we got four
spuds and a carrot to spice up the lettuce a little. It didn’t take long at Mel’s. We
checked out the nightscopes in his basement where there was a tiny sliver of light and it
was like green daylight. Bill forked over gold and I dug out the gold I’d picked up when
we went by the house to take the steaks out. We had one of those plate things that you
put meat on to make it thaw faster and I’d taken time to get the steaks started thawing.

After dinner and a bathroom break, we returned to Bill’s and began to move the con-
tents of the two trailers to the basement and stack them with the things we’d taken from
my pickup. It was close to midnight by the time we finished up and with the curfew, I
was spending the night with Bill. Their guest bedroom had a queen sized bed. We both
showered and shaved before turning in. I was happy to get out of those clothes that I’d
worn for ten or was it eleven straight days. They’d have to be soaked before being
washed.

We got up around 8am, dressed and reattached the trailers to my pickup. We actually
found a Perkins open in Apache Junction and had a good breakfast. Four hours later,
we pulled into the camp. Our wives came running and I thought Helen would crush me
before she let go. Then, she lit into me like, well… I have nothing to compare it to. Su-
san gave Bill a crushing hug that wasn’t accompanied by the tongue lashing I had to
endure. I knew better than to say anything before she ran out of steam.

“We got nearly everything we were looking for and what we didn’t, we bought when we
got back to Mesa.”

“You’ve been home?”

83
“We had to unload the trailers and pickup into Bill and Susan’s basement. When we get
back, we’ll move it to their shelter. If we get loaded quickly enough, you can sleep in our
bed tonight.”

Ninety minutes later we were headed downhill. We left the large pile of firewood cov-
ered with a tarp. Since we had the permit and had a lot of firewood, we agreed to come
back the next day and haul all we could. The pickup with sideboards held 108 cubic
feet, the trailer another 396 cubic feet and the sideboards for the trailer, 144 cubic feet.
One vehicle would hold 648 cubic feet which was about five cords of firewood. We de-
cided to leave the trailer sideboards home because our best estimate was about 6 cords
of firewood. The two trailers and pickup beds with sideboards would hold almost 8 cords
tightly packed.

84
The Trials of George Thomas – Seven

The Return:

I’d left more sirloins in the refrigerator after Bill and I had eaten the previous evening so
Helen could have something besides LTS foods to eat. Her first stop when we arrived
home was to take a long, hot shower and her second stop was to her dresser where
she took out clean underwear, a shirt and jeans. The sirloins weren’t quite thawed and
she put them on the thawing plate. I took in the bag of potatoes from Costco and she
said she was going to the grocery store.

“What do we need?”

“I want a decent salad.”

“All they had was head lettuce where we shopped yesterday.”

“If I can’t get mixed greens, I’ll get the components and do it myself. You’re going back
after the firewood tomorrow?”

“Yes, there’s quite a bit of it; maybe six or seven cords.”

“I’d tell you twenty minutes but it will probably take more like an hour. You should have
a fair portion of our things put away by then, shouldn’t you?”

“I should. I’m going to set the trailer up so we have our must have Bugout supplies in it.
I’m also going to change how our backpacks are setup. It might be a good idea to divide
the remaining Mountain House singles and doubles between them.”

As I unloaded our weapons, I put everything except the Mossberg shotguns, our most
recently recorded purchase, in the shelter and covered over the shelter entrances with a
tarp which I then covered with some of the rock from our desert landscaping. I quickly
discovered that it would take longer to unload and sort than I first thought when Helen
arrived home two hours after she left. She had so many groceries, I had to stop and
help her carry them to the kitchen.

“I went to Costco, Sam’s and Wal-Mart. I think I made good time.”

“I’ll say. What all did you get?”

“A lot of meat, vegetables, pasta, rice, coffee, tea, mixed greens and so on and so forth.
No beans. I spent seven hundred dollars. I guess our direct deposits hit.”

“About that. Bill and I discussed it and if we get involved with an insurrection, we might
quit our jobs. He thought Susan and you might too, provided we had enough to live on.”

85
“I’d like to keep my job if it’s all the same to you. Who knows how long an insurrection
might last? We’d really be scrimping trying to make it on what we have and the income
from our investments.”

“I don’t know if it makes any difference, but the price of gold is much higher.”

“How high?”

“Over three thousand an ounce.”

“How do you know?”

“We bought the night vision scopes and the guy sold us eight for twenty-four ounces of
gold.”

“What do they run?”

“About ten grand each or sixty total. They are LEO and military only. Eighty thousand
dollars’ worth of scopes for twenty-four ounces of gold. That’s $3,300 an ounce.”

“That’s all the more reason for me to work for one or two years longer. My salary will
cover all of our expenses, the annuity payments and give us working capital.”

“How about we all work until the insurrection breaks out, if it does in fact break out? We
can revisit the question at that time.”

“I guess I can live with that. You’re thinking an insurrection might not happen?”

“It depends on what the government does in large part; and, how those actions are per-
ceived by many Americans. It depends on whether there is a move afoot to trigger
something.”

In the words of the Grail Knight, President Biden chose poorly. He directed that brute
force be used to put down the violence occurring around the country. He might have
gotten away with that had not several instances occurred where peaceful people, such
as us, were targeted by the military. In consequence, the military revolted in a manner
of speaking beginning with the National Guard units who simply walked off the ‘battle-
field’. They returned to their families taking their equipment with them.

(Note: Yeah, I’m a Harrison Ford fan and like 50s and 60s music… so sue me.)

Next, websites began spring up on the internet, most quoting Thomas Jefferson. They
were essentially reminders of some of his more notable quotes/letters:

86
The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a
last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the po-
litical world as storms in the physical.

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot
be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in pro-
portion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such
misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What coun-
try before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can
preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people
preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The
tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government;
that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to
set them to rights.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only le-
gitimate object of good government.

When President Biden issued an Executive Order to recall all gold and silver with none
being exempt from the recall, several websites posted the following:

That we are overdone with banking institutions which have banished the precious met-
als and substituted a more fluctuating and unsafe medium, that these have withdrawn
capital from useful improvements and employments to nourish idleness, that the wars of
the world have swollen our commerce beyond the wholesome limits of exchanging our
own productions for our own wants, and that, for the emolument of a small proportion of
our society who prefer these demoralizing pursuits to labors useful to the whole, the
peace of the whole is endangered and all our present difficulties produced, are evils
more easily to be deplored than remedied.

Finally, someone posted:

Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God. – Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

That was the last straw and the government shut the internet down, again. We four had
returned to work, waiting for the hue and cry of people who were fed up with the do
nothing Congress and the repressive policies of President Biden. As the peace was
forcefully restored, the rebuilding began which was a salve for the ailing economy. The

87
government recall of gold and silver had few responding and the BATFE was tasked
with a new duty, track down purchasers. They resorted to credit card records first and
next, the bank deposits of the precious metal dealers.

They soon discovered that the largest purchaser of precious metals was someone
named Cash. He died a while back, didn’t he? The dealers, remembering FDR, wrote
Cash for cash purchases, even when they knew the identity of the purchaser. A bill was
introduced in the House, where it died, that would have created harsh penalties for fail-
ure to redeem gold and silver at the mandated price, about 20% of the London price.

Apparently there were some who believed the old saw, Just because you’re paranoid,
doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. These people were willing to sell their gold and
silver as long as they made a profit and were paid more than the government offered. It
was almost like, ‘Psst… know anyone who might be in the market for a couple of
gold/silver coins?’ The government was paying $450 for the gold and $9 for silver.

We always had a little cash, enough to buy one or two coins. When a level of trust was
established we bought more. Overall, we paid $500 for gold and $10 for silver. We
stopped that when the BATFEPM began sting operations hoping to locate people who
were adding to their existing supply. We just continued to work, biding our time.

Two things happened within days of each other, triggering the insurrection. The first per-
tained to the BATFEPM. During the course of making a seizure, they gunned down an
entire family, killing them all. The second pertained to the 2012 elections. They would
be postponed until 2014. That did it! All of those missing ‘Assault Weapons’ were sud-
denly no longer missing. We knew something was up ahead of time because, before the
internet went down, yet again, there was almost no surplus or imported ammo to be
found. It would be on the website one day and the next day when you went to order,
they’d be sold out. It was worse than the aftermath of November 2008.

Some manufacturers had anticipated having a demand to meet, eventually, and contin-
ued to build weapons which were banned. Ruger was building Mini-14s, Mini-30 and
SR-556 at full capacity. H&K continued to build and warehouse the HK-416s and HK-
417s intended for the military market. The models being built were the select fire military
versions. They were not at all what H&K had intended to build for the civilian market.

Anyone and everyone building semi-auto military caliber rifles was doing so and building
inventory. Products were sold, but only those tailored to avoid all the definitions in the
new Assault Weapons Ban. Somehow during the writing of the new ban, one firearm
was omitted. It had been intended to feature prominently on the banned list but some-
one, somewhere, failed to include it in the list and those in Congress, who noticed, said
not one word. The rifle, as you may well guess, was built in Genesco, Illinois.

Check-mate Industries had completed a huge production run of the 20 and 25 round
magazines, just as had Ruger. The volume production would have allowed the maga-
zines to retail at a reduced price. However, they were being sold as pre-ban magazines

88
and commanded high prices. There’s a sucker born every minute. Colt had likewise
been building 30 round magazines for the HBAR-15s and had more than a few pre-ban
magazines available, for a price. The magazines fit more than just the Colt HBAR-15.

89
The Trials of George Thomas – Eight

The Rebellion:

In 1775, the shot heard around the world emanated from Lexington. “Nobody knew
then, nor knows today with any significant certainty, who fired the first shot of the Amer-
ican Revolution.” The first shot of the Second American Revolution was fired in Wash-
ington, District of Columbia, and was a long range shot fired by a sniper who missed,
this time. The bullet, caliber .338 Lapua Magnum, was recovered by the Secret Service
after they shoved President Biden into the bulletproof limo. It was damaged to the de-
gree that it wouldn’t be possible to match the bullet to the rifle that fired it.

When Bill heard the radio report, he told me. He called Susan and I called Helen. We all
agreed to work to the end of the week (today is Thursday) and tender our resignations.
The battle would soon be joined and Helen would prove to be correct when she asked,
“Who knows how long an insurrection might last?”

With the curfew having elapsed and the state of emergency being cancelled as areas
were brought under control, we were able to move our half of the weapons and muni-
tions from their shelter to our shelter. I guess I forget to mention something. Laying a
tarp down and covering it with some of the rock from the yard proved to be unsatisfacto-
ry. My plan B was to lay two courses of bricks in a 4’ square around each entrance. I’d
fit half inch plywood to each hole and then coat each board on one side with Elmer’s
glue and poured sand over the resulting sticky mess. After the glue set up, I’d add more
to any spots where it hadn’t stuck the first time and added some sand with some
Elmer’s mixed in. The result would be a rather uneven layer of sand on the upside of the
sheet.

I’d leave a small hole on the outside of a vertical grout seam just large enough for a
5/16” bolt. The bolt could be pushed in and pulled out. It pushed in until it hit the cap.
When it pulled halfway out, the end was beneath a vertical bolt and if one stepped down
on the extended bolt, the bolt raised up in the empty portion of the grout seam pushing
on the vertical bolt which, in turn, raised the plywood just enough to catch your finger
under it. I had been inspired by the bar with the moving lamps or whatever. I’d end up
using Plan C.

Helen started the oven for a pizza while Bill and I moved our things to our shelter. It was
another of those huge Costco deluxe pizzas and this time, I had the MGD. I’ll drink Col-
orado Kool-Aid, but it’s not on the top of my list. We’d had a year, more or less, and all
of the weapons had been checked out, sighted in and so forth. We all had four sets of
new uniforms, all MultiCam plus the cop clothing with custom embroidered patches. The
badges were real and they were for the Poplar, Montana Police Department. They were
part of a limited edition of the actual badges authorized by Police Chief Jesse Johnson.
They were the standard duty uniform issue badge. The source was Lawman Badge
Company and they cost $165 each. We had those long before the internet went down,
again. The internet was becoming like a roller coaster, up and down.

90
“Now, it’s agreed that we store all of our weapons and ordnance in the shelters along
with the clothing we bought to pull this off, right?”

“Right.”

“And, when we dress up in whichever uniform we chose, everyone wears coveralls,


right?”

“Right. That’s going to be awful hot in the summer. My pickup doesn’t have air.”

“Get one of those evaporative window air conditioners.”

“Where?”

“I have it written down. It’s someplace up north.”

“Do you have a phone number?”

“I think so.”

The type of air conditioner Bill was referring to was generally in use from the 1930s to
the 1960s, before my time. He called me back that night with the number and address
and I tried to call the next morning using my cell.

“Classic Aire, can I help you?”

“I hope so. I have an old pickup with no air conditioning. A buddy mentioned your com-
pany.”

“Make and model?”

“1968 Chevrolet.”

“Ok. Some year models of GMC and Chevy pickup trucks have metal reinforcing around
the window glass. The HT Option is required to fit these vehicles.”

“I don’t have that.”

“That’s an old truck, restored?”

“No. I just replaced the gasoline engine a few years back with a diesel. It has an 8’ bed.”

“Do you want a Ram Air or a fan powered? The fan powered runs about $150 more, in
round numbers. Three sixty nine for Ram-Air sedan only, three eighty nine for the Ram-
Air HT which fits all body styles. The fan models run five nineteen and five thirty nine.”

91
“Where do they get the power?”

“Cigarette lighter.”

“I think I’d better go with the fan power HT. Let me get my credit card number for you.”

“We ship UPS ground. Where are you?”

“Mesa, Arizona. “

“Two business days, three tops. Your credit card number?”

I read him the number and he got it approved on a dial up connection. He said that he
had added the freight and gave me the total. It must not weigh much. Well, if the only
support was the window glass I supposed that it shouldn’t. About the time I finished up
the phone call, Bill made a sweeping gesture with his hand indicating that he’d given the
bad news to the boss and that it was my turn.

“You too?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Are you in here to resign your job?”

“I’m afraid so. I have to tell you working for the company in all of its iterations has been
a pure pleasure and I’m really sorry I couldn’t give you more notice.”

“You’re the fifth person today that said about the same thing. You know Bill resigned.”

“Yes, I knew that.”

“Did you know about the others?”

“No, only about myself and Bill. Our wives are resigning their jobs too. We are reasona-
bly well set and have a few things we’d like to do before age prevents it.”

“You’re only what, 52?”

“Fifty three on Monday.”

“You know the drill. You’ll be paid for any accumulated vacation and the standard sick
leave allowance. No severance since the separation is voluntary.”

“Anything I need to sign?”

92
“No. Your final checks will be directly deposited. You’ll get two, one for your regular pay
and the other for your vacation and sick leave, as per policy. Are Bill, you and your
wives going to be traveling together?”

“We might, some of the time. I‘ve always wanted to learn to ride a horse and if I wait
much longer, I’ll break every bone in my body if I fall off.”

“Bill and you go back a ways.”

“Yes, all the way back to when I hired on. Bill and his wife Susan are going to teach
Helen and me how to ride.”

“It’s none of my business, but what are you going to live on?”

“We’ve been quite frugal. Our home is paid for and we have investments. Good invest-
ments that still provide enough to live on. We have a retirement annuity that we’ve
managed to fully fund over the past year.”

“That’s good. You’re vested in the pension plan but leaving at this length of service will
reduce the benefit. There’s no telling if we’ll still have Social Security in twelve years.”

“I’d better get back to work and give you a full day on my final day.”

“Right.”

When I got back to the line Bill told me that he’d talked to Susan and she’d submitted
her paperwork. She had a mandatory two week notice requirement to meet. Since I
hadn’t heard from Helen, I called her on the lunch hour.

“Can you talk?”

“George, you’re not going to believe it. They offered me a twenty percent raise if I’d stay
a year and train a replacement. What should I do?”

Twenty percent was nine grand minus taxes. Helen had the maximum vacation accu-
mulation because the office had been shut down.

“Will they allow you to use up some of your existing vacation equal to the vacation you
will accrue during the coming year?”

“Yes; I asked about that.”

“Go for it as long as they agree to you taking the vacation over the coming year.”

“I have four weeks accumulated and will accrue 2 more weeks. They have to let me use
it due to their use it or lose it policy.”

93
“We’ll figure something out, don’t fret.”

I went back and filled Bill in. If he was disappointed, he didn’t show it. If one of us con-
tinued to work that would be less of a sign that something was up. And, those nine
thousand dollars, less taxes, would cover all of our bills, allowing us to devote her entire
old net salary to preps and other ‘necessary expenses’. We could still do the riding les-
sons, on weekends. We stopped by their home after work and were about ready to
leave.

Before we could leave, Bill called out, “They caught the sniper.”

“Who was it?”

“A former military sniper.”

“What did he have to say for himself?”

“Nothing. Apparently, he received a medical discharge from the Army due to psycholog-
ical issues. They have a rifle but don’t have any bullets to match to the barrel and the
FBI says that the imprint of the bolt face doesn’t match the one casing the Secret Ser-
vice found. Therefore they can’t match the rifle to any of the evidence they do have.
They only have two of the three elements, means and opportunity. They’re working on
motive. If he’s a nutcase, they may never determine motive.”

“Did he make a statement?”

“If you can call it that, yes. They read him his rights and did the song and dance and
asked him if he wished to waive his rights. His response was, ‘No’, and he refused to
utter another word. Remember what John Ross wrote about in ‘Unintended Conse-
quences’? The Five Sicilians?”

“They had to let them go because they couldn’t prove anything. They weren’t even sure
if the guys spoke English.”

“Right. They found a dog eared copy of the book among this guy’s personal effects. An-
yway, they got the guy a Public Defender. The guy won’t speak with him. He’s been in
custody for over 24 hours and has only uttered the word, ‘No’, one time when he re-
fused to give up his fifth amendment rights. They identified him from his fingerprints and
personal papers. They had a search warrant; he didn’t consent to the search.”

“That means he said ‘No’ twice. How long can they hold him?”

“I’m not sure, maybe 48 to 72 hours unless they come up with something; maybe
charge him with obstruction of justice for not telling them his name. The rifle is the right
caliber and he’s a former sniper and they can place him the Washington area because

94
that’s where he lives; actually Virginia. Means and opportunity. He’s white; Obama was
black, so maybe that points to a motive.”

“Contrary to popular depictions in the fictional media, the police cannot convict merely
on these three famous elements, but must provide convincing proof of means used, and
opportunity actually acted upon by the defendant charged. Since the internet is back up,
again, I checked Wiki. Both the 5th and 6th amendments are applicable in this case.
They have to have a prima facie case to charge him. Prima facie evidence need not be
conclusive or irrefutable: at this stage, evidence rebutting the case is not considered;
only whether any party's case has enough merit to take it to a full trial. The media is re-
porting they don’t have a prima facie case and several prominent attorneys have joined
together to secure a Writ of Habeas Corpus. If the guy cooperated with them at all be-
fore he was read the Miranda Warning, he may have given up his rights. So we jumped
the gun?”

“What are you saying George?”

“If they got the guy, whether he goes to trial or not, there goes the Revolution.”

“That’s what I thought you may have meant. No, we didn’t jump the gun. Hell no!”

“We’re going ahead?”

“Is the FBI catching a guy they think may be responsible going to bring the Wilcox family
back? The BAFTEPM murdered them. Is it going to undo the precious metals recall?
Will it undo National Healthcare? Will it eliminate the new Assault Weapons Ban? Will it
restore the economy? The answer to all of those questions is, in a word, no. Oh yeah,
it’s damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

“Farragut?”

“That’s the guy. It’s slightly misquoted, but that the essence of his order.”

“Next question. Who do we target?”

“No one I know of would blame us one iota for targeting the BATFEPM. We might get
ourselves some MP5s or even a Barrett.”

“An MP5 might have an occasional use but I have a better rifle than the Barrett.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“Helen and I need to get home. I think best when I’m not tired. Are we getting our first
riding lesson tomorrow?”

“You still want to do that?”

95
“Looking forward to it.”

“Come by around 10 am and we’ll drive out to the stable.”

“Good, see you tomorrow. Helen, are you ready to go home?”

“Be right there George. You two got a little loud. Argument?”

“Not so much. I mean the FBI has a guy in custody and we’re going ahead with our
plans. Were it up to me, I’d let it play out a bit before making a move.”

“You said three others besides Bill and you resigned?”

“That’s what John said.”

“Do you know who?”

“‘Fraid not. Bill might know, I’ll ask tomorrow.”

“We’re doing something tomorrow?”

“First riding lesson.”

“Bill, what was that all about honey?”

“What was what about?”

“The raised voices.”

“George questioned whether we should proceed with the plan now that FBI has made
an arrest. From what I’ve heard, they’ll never make a case stick. And, even if they do,
that won’t undo the bad stuff that’s happened. It sure won’t bring the Wilcox family back
to life or cancel the precious metal recall or undo that healthcare mess or eliminate the
new AWB.”

“Is there more to it than that?”

“I guess I wonder if he’s having second thoughts.”

“Are you?”

“No way. It’s time to kick the tires and light the fires.”

96
“Will it be ok?”

“If we’re very careful, we shouldn’t have a problem. Eventually when they piece it all to-
gether, we very likely could be facing counter sniper teams.”

“Then what?”

“Plan B, we start blowing things up.”

“Domestic terrorism?”

“That’s what they will call it; it will only be against the infrastructure. Our first task is to
send the BATFEPM an unmistakable message that their high handed tactics are unac-
ceptable.”

The following day, the four went to a riding stable where they rented horses and George
and Helen got their first riding experience. Before the four called it a day, they had taken
the horses through everything but a full gallop. Horses have four natural steps, the walk,
the trot, the canter and the gallop. These horses were selected because they also did
the ambling gait instead of the trot. The four returned the following day after church and
put the horses through the walk, the ambling gait and the gallop. Helen was a natural
and George didn’t fall off. He was most comfortable with the walk and the ambling gait.
(Tennessee Walking horses?)

On Monday, Bill sent Susan off with a purse full of cash and a shopping list for more
firearms. They were the old fashioned kind that could be fired using black powder. The
list included used Ruger Vaqueros in .45 Colt in the 7½”, 5½” and 4⅝” barrels. It also
included Marlin lever action rifles, the 1894 Cowboy in .45 Colt and the 1895 Cowboy in
.45-70. He also instructed her to call Kirkpatrick and get four rifle scabbards and the La-
redo Crossdraw rigs for the revolvers. He said he’d stop on the way back home from the
stable and pick up some ammo and order more. When Bill arrived at George’s to take
him riding for a third day, George tried to beg off.

“I don’t believe I can do it today.”

“Backside a little tender?”

“More than a little.”

“We’ll keep it short today. A walk followed with an ambling gait followed with another
walk and finally a gallop. We’ll walk them back to the corral from wherever we end up.”

“Susan not going?”

“Sent her shopping for, I can’t believe I’m saying this, Cowboy guns.”

97
“What’s she getting?”

“Used .45 Colt Ruger Vaqueros in 4⅝”, 5½” and 7½”. Marlin Cowboys in .45 Colt and
.45-70. She’ll call Kirkpatrick when she gets home and order the Crossdraw rigs and
scabbards. Come on, get off your duff and let’s get going.”

“Oh all right.”

We need to get you a hat.”

“I have a hat.”

“I’ve never seen you wear it.”

“I’ll get it.”

“A black Stetson?”

“Calvary hat. Bought it from Global Security. Rope with acorns and Pin were extra. It
weren’t cheap.”

“I suppose you bought the Calvary saber while you were at it?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. Actually we bought two complete hats and two 1860 Trooper
Sabers.”

“Next you’re going to tell me you bought the reverse holsters so you can Crossdraw
your saber and revolver.”

“Guess I don’t have to since you already guessed. The 7½” barrel IS the Calvary mod-
el.”

By then we had arrived at the stable. We climbed on the horses and headed out to ride.
The guy holding the horse for me said, “Nice hat,” but I could hear him snickering as we
rode off. I was getting comfortable with the walk and ambling gait but I didn’t care much
for the canter. The gallop was one of those gaits you worked up to until you were very
comfortable astride a horse, at least as it applies to me. We spent the week and the fol-
lowing weekend riding. I suspect I was forming a callous on my bottom end. Nonethe-
less, by the close of business Sunday, I could more or less ride a horse. The last three
days we even had to saddle and unsaddle our horses.

Bill had asked me to come over to their house around 9 am Monday. When I arrived,
there were two additional cars parked out front. The cars looked familiar although I
couldn’t put a face to either.

98
“You know Manny, Joe and Sam, don’t you?”

“Yes. High fellas. Wait a minute; John said that I made five that quit. I take it you are the
other three?”

“Guilty as charged,” Sam responded.

“I know what led Bill and me to resign. What about the three of you?”

“Same reason. Back in 2010 the Tea Party sent a message to the politicians. They
seem to have short memories. So, some people got together and sort of worked with
the assassin the FBI has in custody. It wasn’t hard since he had his own axe to grind.
They planted the seed and gave him enough cash for a fully outfitted VR-1 and ammo.”

“I heard that the Army put him out on a medical discharge.”

“That’s the absolute truth. He was in Afghanistan on a mission with a specific target.
When he was certain, he squeezed the trigger and sent the bullet on its way. A gust of
wind shifted the bullet and it hit a kid. Maybe it was a bad call. He cracked and they
treated him for PTSD. When they felt he was functional but unable to return to duty,
they gave him a medical discharge. He blamed the Commander-in-Chief for extending
the war. He’s not really any crazier than the rest of us. He won’t help them build a case
against him.”

“What’s he get out of it?”

“The satisfaction.”

“How did they catch him?”

“Mostly by accident. They ran a list of former snipers through their database and his
name popped up. He lives in the Washington area and had the training. It was enough
to get a search warrant and their search turned up the rifle. It wasn’t even hidden; he
had it in a rifle rack with a cable lock. He actually said ‘No’ twice, once when they asked
to search and again when they read him his rights. When they asked his name he didn’t
respond and they pulled his Driver’s license from his wallet.”

“Why did he shoot at Biden?”

“The VR-1 is on the list of banned weapons. I’m guessing here, but I think it just plain
made him angry.”

“They said on the news that the FBI had a shell casing. What’s with that?”

99
“The first shot he made at Andrews required him to shoot and scoot. He couldn’t find the
casing and had to leave before they caught him. He sent the bolt to Vigilance and had
the bolt face polished or some such thing. A chamber brush does to the chamber what a
barrel brush does to the barrel. It’s like the fact that rifling marks on bullets usually can’t
be matched to a barrel if the barrel had been cleaned a few times because the scratch-
es are different. In his case they didn’t have any useable bullets to match.”

“We only picked up enough weapons at our source for the four of us.”

“We have our own and we shoot hand loads that have been loaded for each of our fire-
arms.”

“And the targets?”

“We were discussing that with Bill when you showed up. We’re agreed on the BAT-
FEPM because they will be hot on our heels anyway.”

“Oh?”

“We all have cruiser model shotguns with 14” barrels. On top of that, we all have Sure-
fire suppressors on our Springfield Armory M21s and suppressors for our M1911A1s.
We went together on our Tac-50 purchases so we could get a volume discount. They’re
complete rigs with the Night Force scope and Elite Iron suppressors.”

“How big was the discount?”

“They threw in some extra magazines so we bought enough to get us each a total of 10.
I made the mistake of buying gold on my Amex card back in 2000 and 2001. They will
eventually find the records of purchases and well, you know… I bought most of it in
March and April 2001.”

“Before you say anymore, I’ll have to tell you I’m having second thoughts. When we
were camping up in Tonto, we both thought that an insurrection was the only solution.
Things have steadily improved with the national emergency cancelled and martial law
ending. However, the gold recall irks me to no end and killing the Wilcox family was un-
called for.”

“What are you saying George? Considering the time we spent acquiring supplies from
Camp Navajo, I don’t understand what has come over you. Half measures will avail you
nothing. You’re in it for the long haul or out; it’s just that simple.”

“Against my better judgment, I’m in. I’m already as deep in this as you are Bill. So, what
is it, Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war?”

“Star Trek?”

100
“Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar.”

“But Christopher Plummer said it in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

“He had a thing for Shakespeare. Remember Once more unto the breach, dear friends.
Or how about, To be... or not to be? or, Tickle us, do we not laugh? Prick us, do we not
bleed? Wrong us, shall we not revenge? And, Ahh... parting is such sweet sorrow. Don't
we hear the chimes at midnight? General Chang had one for every occasion.” (Chang
was played by Christopher Plummer, a Canadian, and sometimes Shakespearian ac-
tor.)

“I don’t like the idea of shooting people in the back, Bill.”

“So, we shoot them in the front.”

“And, we only go after BATFEPM agents, right?”

“That’s right.”

“But, what if there is some other Law Enforcement Officer present and he or she takes
exception?”

“That’s why we’re going to snipe rather than get involved up close and personal. You
just said you’re in. Are you certain of that?”

“Yes. In for the penny, in for the pound.”

“Good. Manny, fill George in on the contacts you’ve made on amateur radio.”

“George, there is an honest to God movement afoot around the country. I’ve talked to
dozens of people I know that have long felt the same as we do. We’ve set up a commu-
nications system that is ideal for the times. Rather than using call signs, we’ve devel-
oped handles like they did when CB was the big craze. It’s illegal, but these days, eve-
rything is illegal, so who cares?

“As I said, they’re all of like minds and sort of represent what the MSM calls ‘Survival-
ists’. Some are small militias and a few not so small. These aren’t White Supremacists
or anything like that. They’re simply Patriots who wish to wish to restore the Constitu-
tional Republic. There are key people in the US Government that only represent their
own interests or that of their constituents and could care less about anyone else. Do
any names come to mind?”

“Nancy and Harry?”

“To name two, yes. Barbara and Diane are two more. And don’t forget Band-Aid John.
Others are taking care of the civilians and we’ve agreed to take on the ATF. We’re tak-

101
ing a class A motorhome and two diesel pickups with extended auto transfer tanks. I’m
supplying the motorhome and Joe and Sam the pickups. They’re late model Dodge
Ram 3500s converted to the older Cummins 6BT engines. They’re not new, but rebuilt
Dodge Ram 6BT turbocharged engines. The manual transmissions and transfer cases
have been rebuilt as needed. Each has a topper.

“My motorhome has solar panels on the roof, several deep cycle batteries and a diesel
generator. The fuel tank was replaced with the largest that could be fit into the space
available. The original fuel tank was moved to an alternate location and I can carry
enough fuel for about 500 miles. The pickups are okay off road but the motorhome can’t
go there. They guys helped me pull the king sized bed and we replaced it with 4 bunks.
The sofa is convertible so we can sleep 6. We also fitted a gun safe into a closet. Bill
said you have MREs.”

“Some. I wouldn’t want them for a steady diet. Helen and I have a large supply of Moun-
tain House products too. We’d be eating in restaurants part of the time, wouldn’t we?”

“It would mostly be fast food,” Joe replied. “My main question is how is everyone fixed
for cash? We sure can’t flash any gold or silver.”

“Helen and I have three thousand in our safe.”

“Susan and I have about the same.”

Manny responded with, “We can come up with around twenty-seven hundred.”

Sam replied with, “Thirty five hundred.”

Joe summed it up with, “We have four grand. It sounds like we have more than enough
for a good campaign.”

I said, “I added it up; we have 3,000 plus 3,000 plus 2,750 plus 3,500 plus 4,000 for a
total of 16,250. I suggest we each supply 2,500 and leave the rest with our wives. We
can each take 6 ounces of gold and convert it to cash by hooking up with one of those
Patriots.”

“Why not silver?”

“Fifty to one ratio, less bulk.”

“Ok. We’ll meet again tomorrow at nine and stock the goods we need. We’ll leave the
day after and make a circuit of the land of the brave and home of the free, to make it
freer.”

102
“How long with you be gone George?”

“I’m not sure Helen. All that Manny said was that we’d make a circuit of the country.
We’ll be living in a motorhome and driving two pickups with toppers. I have to load what
we’re taking into the pickup because we’re meeting tomorrow to outfit the pickups and
motorhome. I think you should talk to Susan and the two of you stay together; either
place will be fine, but their shelter is hidden better.”

“What’s your share?”

“It’s twenty-five hundred in cash and some of our food; MREs and Mountain House
products.”

“And your weapons.”

“Of course my weapons. I’ll take my Tac-50 with both scopes, the Super Match with
both scopes, the 590A1, the P-14 and Nite Hawg. I think it might be wise to take a HK-
416 and HK-417. I’ll load plenty of ammo into the trailer. Two hundred forty rounds each
of Mk 211, M1022 and Hornady, the rockets and grenades plus a couple cases of
M118LR and the same of the M855.”

“Have you sighted in with the MUNSs?”

“I’ll do it tomorrow night with Bill.”

The following night, Bill and I went to a range set up for long range rifle fire. The night
was cloudless and we had ample light. We sighted in our Tac-50s and then our Super
Matches. Oh, I didn’t tell you, Bill bought a Super Match before I did although he mostly
shot his National Match. Weapons wise, we had about the same selection in weapons.
He preferred the Hornady A-MAX for his Super Match. I tried it and it was fine and shot
close the same point of aim. I’d stick with my M118LR.

Susan and Helen had a discussion and decided to stay at Susan and Bill’s. They moved
all of Helen’s weapons, some ammo and two months of food for two from our house to
theirs. Manny said that their wives were all going to stay at Sam’s because Sam had the
best shelter. After tearful goodbyes, we hit the road.

Our first hurdle was the Agricultural Inspection station at Blythe. With Arizona plates, the
inspector insisted on looking into the back of the two pickups. They wasn’t anything for
him to see, the weapons were crammed into the gun safe in the motorhome and the
ammo buried at the front of the pickup beds under the MREs, Mountain House meals
and other LTS supplies. Had he checked the refrigerator in the motorhome, he would
have found a few fresh fruits and vegetables. At the moment, there were no forbidden
items.

103
Bill had a list of ATF offices, by state. Almost all of the offices were located in large cit-
ies, like Los Angeles. The agency had 26 field divisions and many of the field divisions
had multiple offices. The Los Angeles field division covered the counties of Los Ange-
les, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San
Diego and Imperial. They worked out of nine locations with multiple units at several of
the locations. The information was available if you accessed the Justice Department
website, looked at the organization structure and selected the BATFE (they hadn’t up-
dated to their new name). Wait…don’t bother, the website comes up 403 these days,
ergo limited access, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. What are they hiding?

[403 Forbidden The request was a legal request, but the server is refusing to respond to
it. Unlike a 401 Unauthorized response, authenticating will make no difference.
404 Not Found.]

We found a spot at a KOA in Pomona. It was late and we hooked up the motorhome to
amenities and all got showers. After that, we set up a charcoal grill, put spuds in the ov-
en and opened two packages of lettuce for a salad. Rather than have anyone put out
because his steak wasn’t done the way he liked it, we all cooked our own. After supper,
we hit a local grocery and got more salad dressings and lettuce.

“I’ve been thinking about something since we left Mesa. Let me ask what I believe is an
obvious question, ‘Why start in California?’ California has just about the most restrictive
gun laws in the US. We’ve all seen the list of states things can’t be shipped to on the
various firearms and ammo sites. CA, MA, NY, IL, MD and NJ have magazine and/or
ammo controls as do FL, DC and a few other places. Now, Nevada is NFA friendly like
Arizona and probably has proportionally more ATF agents than California. Wouldn’t it
make more sense to target ATF agents in NFA friendly states and ATF agents where
the money is? Lots of money in California so I’m not suggesting we don’t strike here and
up in the Silicon Valley. Take out some the PM agents here and move to Nevada and
work on Firearms agents. Loop south to our home ground and tackle a few more Fire-
arms agents.”

“You should have brought that up earlier George, it makes sense. I could go for some-
thing along those lines. Fellas?”

“It would sure confuse them if we bounced around like that from state to state with no
obvious pattern. I could live with it. Joe, Sam opinions?”

“Just make a darned plan and stick with it. We’re here now so we’ll start here. If y’all
want to do the Bay area, Reno and Vegas and return to Arizona, fine. Don’t think we
should let the wives know we’re back home though. Better they not know exactly where
we are. That way they can use the cover story that we went to California to do some
hunting.”

We watched the late news on channel 2, KCBS. They carried a story similar to the Wil-
cox case. In this instance, nobody resisted and the injuries were limited. All of the adult

104
members of the family, Mother, Father and oldest son were treated and released from
USC Hospital. There are two USC hospitals, USC University Hospital and Los Angeles
County-USC Medical Center. The latter is shown on the soap opera General Hospital.
It’s the hospital all the uninsured and poor folks use. The former happens to be the hos-
pital where TOM had his 9½ hour Whipple Procedure performed.

The ATF personnel involved were working out of the Glendale office, one of several
units that did. It was an out and out gold grab from a guy who always paid cash and
didn’t realize that his dealer started recording his name on the transactions. The dealer
had taken a CYA approach leading up to the announcement.

“Got the address for the Glendale office?”

“Sure do. Want to stake it out?”

“According to John Ross, they wear those all black ninja outfits when they go on a raid. I
say we take two pickups with two guys per. Someone has to stay here and guard the
motorhome and monitor the news. We can keep in touch by radio. George, will you stay
here?”

“Sure, if you want Manny. We’re going to rotate the duty aren’t we?”

“Yeah, we’ll spread the risk. I say we follow the assault team on their next mission and
take them out before they can hurt anyone else. If they have level IV armor, that means
using the fifties. We’ll all take turns staying here picking up any news and monitoring the
scanner. If we get into a situation, we’ll divide ‘em up and take ‘em out. Boogie in differ-
ent directions and meet up here later. Joe, did you get the plates?”

“Same make, model and year as the two pickups and they have current tags. You still
plan on having those on when we’re on the mission and switching the plates before we
come back here?”

“Yeah. Five minutes tops to change back to our plates and we toss the stolen plates in a
dumpster.”

“Everyone using the same ammo?”

“What do you and Bill use?”

“Hornady A-MAX Match 750gr.”

“Yeah, that’s what we use, why?”

“Be nice if everyone is using the same ammo so it’s interchangeable.”

105
“Being the Republik is so chicken about firearms, we’ll keep everything locked in the
topper. Have to be pretty careful so we’re not seen with any firearms. Who has what for
concealed carry?”

“Bill and I have a Warthawg or Nite Hawg in an ankle holster.”

“Joe, you still have the Warthog in an ankle holster?”

“Yep.”

“Sam which gun did you bring in an ankle holster?”

“Carry 9.”

“I have a Warthawg. That Carry 9 is underpowered. Want my spare Warthawg? I have a


spare ankle holster and magazine pouch.”

“Nah. I use some old armor piercing 9mmP that Remington marketed in the sixties and
seventies. It has a pointed steel core with a copper jacket. Works good and will punch
through most body armor. I’ll use the Mozambique Drill if it won’t punch through the ar-
mor.”

“That won’t cut it Sam. I want everyone armed with a .45acp. I’ll get the pistol, extra
magazines and two ankle holsters.”

They located the office and we spent four days surveying the location before the guys
with the ninja suits came out of the building and climbed into two black Suburban’s. We
followed at a distance and they ended up in a residential neighborhood in Northridge.
We fanned out as quickly as possible and got set up on the roofs of four commercial
buildings ranging from ~900 meters to ~1,250 meters. We were no sooner situated than
they pulled ahead to a residence down the block and piled out, MP5s at the ready.
While they fooled around getting a battering ram ready, we took out four of them. The
remaining four attempted to take cover. They didn’t even have good concealment.

“On the count of three…”

“One… Two… Three.”

“Someone put another shot in the wounded one and let’s boogie. Stop at the mall park-
ing lot and change the plates.”

“How’d it go?”

“We got eight.”

“Did you get their submachine guns?”

106
“No, people started coming out of their houses because of the gun fire. It’s time to move
on; where to next?”

“The City by the Bay, followed by Reno and Vegas and then home.”

“Do we hole up when we get home or work them over while we’re there?”

“We’re on a roll. I think we should keep going. If we avoid Arizona they could conclude
that it’s our home turf. You do realize that once they determine that .50 caliber rifles are
being used, they’ll be going for dealer records and tracking down the gun owners?”

“Well, there are lots of companies building .50 caliber rifles these days.”

“True. However, considering the cost of the guns and ammo, the number of civilians
owning one has to be limited.”

“It’s going to be hard for them. Most of the fifties are built with 1 turn in 15 with the pri-
mary difference being the number of lands and groves. On the other hand, they’re going
to be confused because there are five different rifles involved and no spent brass to re-
cover.”

“Any word on the guy they arrested for shooting Obama?”

“They let him go. No ballistic data to compare and he never said another word. You can
bet they have him under surveillance.”

“Any discussions on the forums?”

“Yeah. It ranges from giving the guy a medal to deploring the government’s inability to
make a case against him. That’s not the half of it, more ATF agents have been killed, all
in sniping attacks. There doesn’t seem to be much commonality in the weapons used.
They’ve included 7.62×51mm, .300 Winchester Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum, .375
H&H Magnum and .50BMG.”

“Except for the .375, they’re all sniper calibers.”

“There have to be thousands, tens of thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands of


those calibers floating around.”

“Don’t you just love it? Do you think we started a trend?”

“That’s hard to say. The proof will be in the pudding, as they say. Are you thinking that
we may have actually fostered an insurrection?”

“Maybe. Time will tell. Let’s wait and see how it plays out.”

107
It took a full day to drive from the Pomona KOA to Petaluma/San Francisco North KOA.
The other choices, Concord and Santa Cruz were booked. We passed San Quentin
state prison on our way north and I shuttered to think it could be our new home if we
were caught.

That didn’t happen and a week later, I had the radio duty while the others were staking
out an ATF office. When a group of four ninjas left, they were followed and taken out in
a single volley of fire halfway between their Suburban and their victim’s front door. The
incident occurred in a small town in Marin County, San Anselmo. After moving and
changing the plates back to our Arizona plates, we cut cross-country to I-80 and up to
Reno.

During that same week, two US Senators and five US Representatives (all liberal Dem-
ocrats) were killed by snipers. Additionally, there were instances of ATF agents being
attacked, some successfully and some resulting in the death of the attackers. Those ac-
tions suggested it was a bad idea to take on ATF agents in face to face confrontations.
We ended up in the Reno/Boomtown KOA.

Nevada has pretty much always been open as far as the NFA went. If a person looked
around, it was easy to locate the now closed stores that sold NFA. At the moment, ATF
was concentrating on getting the gold and silver. They had collected the 4473s from all
of the dealers and were attempting to collect weapons as time permitted. The Treasury
needed the gold and silver to ‘restore the economy’.

It only took 3 days to identify our next target and take the four agents out. Things were
heating up and we decided to skip Las Vegas and headed home with intentions of
swinging by Camp Navajo to pick up more the HK-416s and 417s with the HK AG-
C/EGLMs and ACOGs attached. We wanted more magazines for the rifles, assuming
we could find them.

There were probably less than a dozen military people at Camp Navajo. Civilian guards
were in evidence in moderate numbers. After a long discussion, we set the goal of ac-
quiring all we could find of the two different weapons equipped as described. We in-
tended to add more 40mm grenades and get some of those 40mm×46mm M1060 ther-
mobaric grenades. A new hand grenade, the GHTB thermobaric hand grenade, was al-
so in circulation. With the five of us, we accomplished our goal in two nights and headed
down I-17 for home. We also added five cases each of the M993 and M995 armor pierc-
ing ammo. There were two cases of LAW rockets that went home with us along with
some 40mm and hand grenades. We also picked up more of the M118LR Match ammo,
M855, rifles and 6 MUNS.

As soon as we hit town, our plans to not notify our wives fell by the wayside. All five of
them insisted on our getting together for an evening meal, as a group.

108
The Trials of George Thomas – Nine

Homecoming:

“I can’t believe you weren’t going to tell us you were home.”

“We’re just passing through and have some things for some of you.”

“What caliber?”

“Five-five-six and seven-six-two plus more 40mm grenades.”

“Where did you get them?”

“Same place as last time. There’re two crates of LAWs. We also picked extra smoke
and frags.”

“What kind of ammo?”

“The five-five-six is M855A1 and M995. The seven-six-two is more of the M118LR and
M993.

“And, what exactly are M993 and M995?”

“It’s that improved armor piercing.”

“The sniper attacks seem to be the main attraction on MSM.”

“We noticed that there were attempts in other places as well as California and Nevada.
Anything on the ham bands?”

“There’s a lot of activity but it’s hard to follow. Most of the groups we pick up are using
some kind of specific code for their group. You hear JBTs, MZBs used often. There are
other expressions that we believe are different acronyms for the same expressions. The
government is trying to keep a lid on with little success.”

“They aren’t going to keep that up long.”

“They’re offering a million dollar reward for each of you.”

“Did you cover up the shelter access and exit?”

“I did, quit worrying.”

“When this is over, I think I might reroute the entrance to the basement like Bill and Su-
san did theirs.”

109
“Find out how much a construction company would charge to replace the entrance pipe
with concrete pedestrian walkways. If it’s in the budget, go ahead and get it done. Su-
san should be able to show you how they have their entrance concealed. They have
two blast doors, one for their tunnel access and a second for the shelter.

“George, I think the five of you should cool your heels for a while. You can arrange for
the contractor and get the pedestrian underpass put in; or, the five of you can do it by
renting an excavator and a mobile crane. By the time you’ve finished, you’ll have a bet-
ter idea how things are sorting out.”

“She’s right George.”

“Anyone disagree?”

The silence that followed answered that question. I got the Yellow Pages out and looked
until I found an ad mentioning concrete pedestrian underpasses. I noted the number
and would call them the following day. Bill and Manny both knew where we could rent
the equipment. We then discussed the nature of our shelter and ways to connect the
pedestrian tunnel to it. The only solution was to bring the underpass into the concrete
block room at the bottom of the entrances. When constructed, I built block rooms six
feet long by six feet wide. Did I tell you that already?

The shelter wasn’t centered in our backyard; it was offset because the shed was sitting
on a slab. It didn’t matter because we had a corner lot that was somewhat larger than
normal; normal being 65’ wide by 105’ from the back property line to the center of the
street. Our lot was 105’ from the center of each street to the two back property lines. It
cost double, too. The first project way back when had been the construction of a six foot
high block wall along the north south property line next to the side street to keep our
backyard private. The six foot high block wall across the front and two gates came later.
We shot those two gangsters through the large gate.

The underpass would come into the basement about eight feet from the end. The next
morning, I taped the distance and contacted the underpass dealer. He had six foot high
by three foot wide with an oval top that actually was higher than six feet in the center.
We had a choice of two, four or six foot lengths. I gave him the length I measured and
he told me what I needed. He’d deliver, COD and would discount the price fifteen per-
cent if paid in gold or silver. I told him bring it on because the wife was here full time and
we’d pay in precious metals.

I heard a tractor or some kind of equipment shutting down in the driveway and went to
check. It was Bill and Manny with a long reach backhoe.

“It won’t quite dig deep enough. We’ll have to do the last bit using shovels. It shouldn’t
be too bad; it will only be three feet.”

110
“You sure that will dig seventeen feet deep?”

“Oh. Well, make that five foot of shovel work. I guess we should have gotten the other
excavator. They had a Dynahoe 200-4 with a twenty foot dig depth.

“Can you take it back and switch it out?”

“We’ll be back.”

Everyone thinks he’s Arnold. When they returned, they didn’t have the Dynahoe 200-4.
They had a Case 590 Super M+ Series 3 with the extendahoe with high capacity buck-
et. Manny said it would dig down to twenty feet four inches. The rental was about twice
that of the Dynahoe which probably explained why someone had rented the Dynahoe
already. We moved the loader backhoe around back and strung a line between the
shelter location and the basement and squared it up. Manny positioned the backhoe
above the shelter end and began to excavate.

“Why did he start there?”

“To make sure the excavation is centered on the block room. If it needs to be adjusted,
now’s the time to do it. What’s the deal on the pedestrian underpass?”

“It’s being delivered today, COD.”

“In that case, you’d better take me to pick up the crane.”

“Why can’t we use the backhoe to lower the sections into place?”

“Do you have a heavy log chain?”

“Nope.”

“I’ll go get mine. The problem with excavations is the potential for cave-ins. If we only
dig a little past where a section will fit, we can drop in a section and not have to worry
about a cave-in. Do you have a concrete saw?”

“No, do you?”

“Yeah, I’ll bring it. The hard part is going to be moving those underpass sections togeth-
er. I’ll bring my heavy duty come along and we’ll try to pull them together. Why don’t you
go to Home Depot and get some kind of tar to seal the seams?”

“Helen, Manny is digging, Bill is going home for some equipment and I’m headed for
Home Depot. A guy is going to be delivering the underpass sections and I agreed to pay
him in gold and silver at spot. He’s giving us a fifteen percent discount for paying in pre-
cious metals. Don’t pay him until after he unloads. Check the spot price at Kitco.”

111
“No way.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll make him wait until you get back, so hurry.”

“Why?”

“I know nothing about gold and silver. I see nothing.”

“Ok Sergeant Schultz, have it your way.”

I hurried and one of the department people at Home Depot knew exactly what I needed
to seal the underpass sections. I bought a five gallon pail and the recommended wide
putty knife to spread it. When I returned, the underpass sections were being unloaded in
the backyard and Manny had a trench about seven feet long to a depth of fifteen feet.
The concrete block entrance room to the shelter was clearly visible. The stake had been
off about a foot and he’d widened the trench slightly to allow the centering of the section
and a straight run to the basement.

Bill pulled in about then and began to unload. I went into the house, brought up Kitco
and got the spot price for gold and silver. Next, I retrieved enough to cover the full
amount without the discount before returning to the backyard. The guy had just finished
unloading and was getting the invoice from the cab.

“Do you have a concrete saw?”

“My friend brought his. Is there a problem?”

“Not really. I needed a three foot section but only had two, four and six. I substituted a
four and you can cut it down. I only charged you based on three feet rather than four
because we sell the underpass by the lineal foot. Here’s the invoice with the discount
shown if you have gold and silver.”

“The spot price on Kitco was twenty-seven eighty-seven ninety for gold and thirty eight
oh four for silver. You can figure from there.”

“Price was different when I checked.”

“That was the listed prices five minutes ago.”

“Start with gold and move to the silver. I take junk silver for the last little bit. Bomb shel-
ter, huh? Going to connect it to your basement and hide the entrance behind a cabi-
net?”

112
“Something like that.”

“Don’t forget that there’s a grade up from your shelter to your basement. How deep is
your basement?”

“Extra deep, ten feet.”

“Unusual. So you’re going to rise eight foot in sixty three feet run? That’s a twelve point
seven percent grade. Eight feet in sixty four is twelve point five percent and each foot of
run you add or subtract is about point two. You’ll be able to cut the sections at each end
to properly mate them. I’d start with a six-footer. I’m not sure off the top of my head, but
the angle will be in the vicinity of seven point two degrees. Keep in mind that one per-
cent grade is about zero point five seven degrees. Only applies to small angles.”

“This is going to be tricky. We’re going to set the sections not long after we’ve cleared
only a small amount of additional trench so we don’t have a problem with a cave-in.”

“Look at this way; eight feet is ninety-six inches. Sixty-three feet is seven hundred fifty-
six inches. You raise the basement end about nine point six inches in six feet. Nine
point six inches is twelve point seven percent of six feet. Close will be good enough. I’d
better get going; I have enough gold and silver now to pick up my Tac-50 they’ve been
holding on layaway. You’re obviously either a survivalist or a prepper. Me too. Some-
body got the ball rolling to straighten out the AFT and I plan to do my part.”

“Get Hornady AMAX 750gr Match cartridges. Good stuff.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. If you’re going to use the backhoe to lower the sections, cut them
first and make sure the hoe is aligned on the trench with the outriggers deployed. You
might think about putting some concrete on the tunnel floor after it’s closed in. Get a guy
to pump it for you; less work and he’ll be at the pump, not in your basement where
you’re putting in ‘the addition’. Gotta go.”

He no sooner left than Joe and Sam showed up to lend a hand. The four of us made
some measurements and Bill and Sam went down to the shelter entrance room and
started sawing out the wall. Joe and I used paper and pencil to draw lines on a seven
foot long piece of shelf paper for a pattern to determine how we were going to cut the
angle off the six foot section of underpass. Using the edge of the paper, we measured
the seven point two degree angle with a protractor. We might be a shade off and decid-
ed to seal the first connection with the tar.

Bill and Sam finished up cutting out the entrance in the entrance room at an angle and
set the rubble aside. Sam then began the cut on the underpass following the blue chalk
line. He was finishing up as Manny shut down the Case.

“That’s as far as I want to go. Did you get the crane?”

113
“We’re going to use the backhoe to lower the sections. You’re going to need to line up
with the tunnel trench and lower the section into place. I got tar to seal it in place after
we use the come along to pull it into position. We’ll need to be nine point six inches
higher on the basement side. I got that from the guy who delivered the underpass sec-
tions.”

“Got a question.”

“Go for it, Joe.”

“Why are you doing this? You have two identical entrances already.”

“We’re now planning to put in a raised bed over each and plant strawberries. They’ll still
be escape tunnels if we need to use them. Besides taking a break from our campaign,
I’ve been thinking about the broader implications of Biden being President. We probably
fired the third shot heard around the world this go around. It occurred to me that one or
more of the major powers might choose to take advantage of our fighting among our-
selves. A GTW is always possible if that were to happen. Iran probably has enough nu-
clear material to construct a few nukes, bringing the known count of nuclear nations to
ten.

“Then, you have to make allowances for Jerry’s suggestions in his stories. He generally
includes some of the Republics, South Africa, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Venezuela,
doubling the number of nuclear powers. He also suggests that once it gets started every
strategic nuke and a fair number of tactical nukes will be employed. And TOM seems to
agree with him. If it starts, I believe it going to be an all-out conflict until only one country
has useable weapons left. Helen and Susan each ordered another 10 year supply from
Walton Feed and asked for hot shot delivery. The only thing we’re missing is an AMP
200 from Arrow Tech and Helen is working on that. We’ll need it if someone nukes
Phoenix.”

“How long is this project going to take?”

“I don’t know; a week maximum?”

“Are we going back out or lay low?”

“How about we discuss it after the project is done?”

“Fair enough. Marilyn and I discussed it last night and we’re going to make a bulk buy
from Emergency Essentials and get some of their Provident Pantry products.”

Marilyn was Joe’s wife and their only child worked in Pennsylvania; Manny was married
to Cassandra and their children were grown and spread out all over the county; and,
Sam was married to Julia and their twins both worked in Minneapolis. I continued the
discussion with Joe to get an idea what they were going to buy. He said two of the su-

114
per supplies of freeze dried meat (24 cans total), two of the super supply of freeze dried
vegetables (36 cans total), two of the super supplies of freeze dried fruits (30 cans to-
tal), two super supplies of cheese (12 cans total) and a case each of about thirty other
items including dairy, eggs, breakfast mixes and so forth.

I asked when they were going to place the order and he said in about three days. I said
I’d talk to Helen about maybe getting some things and suggested that he tell the others.
Maybe we could get up a group buy large enough for either a bulk discount or a reduc-
tion of the freight costs. He took off to explain it to Bill, Manny and Sam. I decided to
wait until that evening to discuss it with Helen. She could call and make sure they
weren’t backordering, too.

“I was talking to Joe today. Marilyn and he are going to place a large order with Emer-
gency Essentials. We have quite a bit of food but it couldn’t hurt have more.”

“What are they getting?”

“He said two of the super supplies of freeze dried meat, two of the super supply of
freeze dried vegetables, two of the super supplies of freeze dried fruits, two super sup-
plies of cheese and a case each of about thirty other items including dairy, eggs, break-
fast mixes and so forth. The only thing that I think we could add to that would be more
coffee and tea, bath tissue, additional pasta and sauces and a case of strike anywhere
matches if we can find them. Could you give them a call tomorrow and check on availa-
bility? He’s going to talk to Manny, Sam and Bill and we might be able to either get a
volume discount or save a bunch on freight.”

“I’ll talk to the other wives and see what they think. We should consider adding to our
hygiene supplies and there’s the matter of clothing. It wouldn’t hurt to add underwear,
shirts, pants, socks and so forth. Maybe some good work boots and cold weather cloth-
ing.”

“Cold weather clothing? It doesn’t get that cold here.”

“True, in normal times. Things aren’t normal by any stretch of the imagination. I was
waiting to tell you what I heard on the news and I might as well spit it out. North Korea
moved troops to the DMZ and they tested another nuke. Apparently they got a yield of
about 25kT. Current estimates are that they have ten or more operational nukes.” She
raised her hand. “Wait, there’s more. Iran test fired an IRBM that can reach both Israel
and Europe. Biden notched us up to DEFCON 3 and our carrier strike groups have ei-
ther sailed or are in the process of provisioning in preparation to sail. Shep Smith said
that they would all sortie within ten days. He went on to say that all leaves have been
cancelled and everyone has been ordered to report back to their home locations. On top
of that several Governors have been asked to release the Air National Guard units for
federal activation. Apparently many of the assets like tankers and some fighter elements
are Air National Guard.”

115
“They are. The ANG has A-10s, B-1Bs and a majority of the tankers. Is there any word
on the Washington?”

“It sailed from Yokosuka, destination unknown. Those strike groups already at sea, ex-
cluding those in the Persian Gulf area, are steaming for the South China Sea and re-
supply ships are meeting them with fuel, food, munitions and other stores, whatever
they are.”

“Any word on the B-52s, B-1Bs and the B-2s?”

“Not a peep.”

“The B-1B bombers were originally intended to deliver nuclear weapons. Between ’93
and ’97 they were all converted to conventional bombers. I’ve always suspected that it
wouldn’t take long to restore them to nuclear delivery vehicles and each can carry 24
nuclear bombs. After you ladies decide on the Emergency Essentials order, why don’t
you get the other things from Costco and Sam’s? We’ll go shopping for clothing on Sat-
urday.”

“Why now?”

“Look at the shape the country is in. Others might see us a vulnerable. Those who for-
get history are condemned to repeat it according to TOM. Remember what Yamamoto
said in the movie ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!? Something like, I fear that all we have done is
awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.”

“How do we pay for it?”

“We’ll have to find someone to buy a couple of ounces of gold for cash.”

It took Thursday and Friday to finish up the shelter project on the outside. The blast
door we’d ordered from American Safe Rooms in Oakland, Oregon had come in we got
it to the basement and decided to defer installing it until Monday. We agreed that it
would be best to install it in the basement wall rather than the tunnel. It would be a one
day job. I mentioned that Helen and I were going shopping for clothing the next day be-
cause if something did happen, manufactured goods would become scarce.

While we didn’t discuss what each would buy, it was strange how it turned out. All ten of
us bought six sets of MultiCam. We already had body armor and the Fritz helmets, spe-
cifically the new Marine Lightweight Helmet. On top of that, everyone bought 18 sets of
underwear, 36 pairs of white cotton mid-calf crew socks, six pairs of jeans and twelve
plain blue work shirts. We also got the matching boonie hats plus patrol caps in Multi-
Cam. And, a civilian head covering, blue baseball caps. The four of us had a multiple
year supply of MultiCam and Propper cop clothing.

116
While we were installing the blast door on Monday, our order from Emergency Essen-
tials arrived. The driver had a forklift on an equipment trailer plus a pallet jack and didn’t
take very long to unload. We broke for lunch when the door was installed leaving only
filling the door with concrete to complete the installation. Before we returned to the
basement to finish up, everyone except us loaded their orders into their pickups. We
mixed the concrete and filled the door.

“That’s done, thanks guys. You might as well go home and put your food away. Helen
and I will get ours down to the basement.”

“Did you decide how you’re going to conceal the blast door?”

“I’ll use a storage cabinet anchored to the wall. I was thinking piano hinge and some
kind of lock.”

“You get the heavy duty piano hinge and I’ll be back to help,” Bill said.

“Damn.”

“What?”

“That’s not going to work. The blast door opens outward. There’s simply no way to
make it work. I won’t be able to get the blast door open to release the cabinet lock.”

“Hmm, I see what you mean. What the hell, they can’t get in so don’t worry about it. You
can install a steel door at the top of the stairs with two crossbars.”

“Won’t cost me much more than the cabinet I had in mind. Ok.”

I should have realized why Jerry always had his blast doors open inwards. The door
frame was only held in place with bolts. Since we’d added the concrete, reversing the
door would be a super human task. Besides, the instructions were clear: “It must be in-
stalled with the door seated toward the pressure threat (usually outward).”

A form of shock had set in across the US because of the assassination. After the initial
rioting and slow restoration of peace by the National Guards and military it became
positively calm. There was one exception and that was the Henry Bowman deal that
we’d started by taking on the ATF. That developed a life and began to spread. In view of
that situation and the fact that it appeared we were moving to a war footing, we decided
to stay home and follow the news.

Boeing had restarted production of the Apache helicopters, but none of us got a call
asking if we wanted our jobs back. On the other hand, all five of our wives returned to
work. In every case, it was enough income to cover the bills, fill the tanks and buy food.
We all began to accumulate cash, just in case.

117
The Trials of George Thomas – Ten

TEOCAWKI:

North Korea crossed the DMZ and made it to Seoul. The Washington Strike Group was
in the Yellow Sea and the Reagan Strike Group was in the Sea of Japan. Two additional
Strike Groups were sailing to join those ships, the Stennis and the Lincoln. Nimitz had
moved to Pearl Harbor and later to Yokosuka. North Korea had announced that it was
holding its nuclear arsenal in reserve and threatened to use the weapons against Amer-
ican Forces.

More than 420 fighters, bombers, transport planes, and helicopters had been rede-
ployed in October 1995, and more than 100 aircraft were moved forward to the three air
bases near the DMZ. More than 20 Il-28 bombers were moved to Taetan which short-
ened their arrival time to Seoul from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. Over 80 MiG-17s rede-
ployed to Nuchonri and Kuupri were able to attack Seoul in 6 minutes. By these rede-
ployments North Korea intended to make a first strike with outdated MiG-17s and the
second strike with mainstay fighters such as MiG-21s and Su-25s. The North Korean
aircraft fleet of Soviet and Chinese manufacture is primarily of 1950s and 1960s tech-
nology, with rudimentary avionics and limited weapons systems capability. In the mid- to
late 1980s, the Soviet Union supplied a variety of a limited number of more modern all-
weather air defense and ground attack aircraft. Most ground attack regiments have old-
er model Soviet and Chinese light bombers and fighters with limited range and combat
payloads.

North Korea’s missile inventory was limited and consisted primarily SCUD-A, -B and -C.
Around 2005, North Korea had revealed a newer longer range SCUD, designated the
SCUD-ER with a range of approximately 800 kilometers.

The Korean People's Army operates a very large amount of equipment, including 4,060
tanks, 2,500 APCs, 17,900 artillery pieces, 11,000 air defense guns and some 10,000
MANPADS (SA-16 GIMLET) and anti-tank guided missiles in the Ground force; at least
915 vessels in the Navy and 1,748 aircraft of all types in the Air Force, of which 478 are
fighters and 180 are bombers. The fighters included MiG-17, -19, -21, -23. -29, Su-7, -
25 and Q-5s bought from China.

A portion of their Air Force was 60 MD-500 gunships bought from the US. They also
had 24 Mi-24 Hind. The equipment is a mixture of World War II vintage vehicles and
small arms, widely proliferated Cold War technology, and more modern Soviet or locally
produced weapons. In line with its asymmetric warfare strategy, North Korea has also
developed a wide range of unconventional techniques and equipment, such as GPS
jammers, stealth paint, midget submarines and human torpedoes, a vast array of chem-
ical and biological weapons, and anti-personnel lasers. According to official North Kore-
an media, military expenditures for 2010 amounted to 15.8% of the state budget.

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Rather than continuing to push south, the North Koreans stopped just past Seoul and
continued to bring in additional forces. Attempts to bomb various sites in North Korea
were met with great resistance, especially around Pyongyang. Their forces were well
trained in the use of the MANPADS and many F/A-18s from our carriers were shot
down. The missiles were equally effective on aircraft launched from South Korea, be
they South Korean aircraft or American aircraft. The most recent additions to the
ROKAF had been 61 F-15Ks, an upgraded Strike Eagle. Previously, they had bought 12
F-16s and license produced an additional 148.

The defending parties resorted to using Tomahawk cruise missiles in the -C, -D and -E
configurations. They were launched from Cruisers, Destroyers and Submarines. Re-
placement supplies of the missiles were available at Yokosuka allowing a continuous,
random patterned attack. The -C and -E models had a unitary warhead and the -D de-
livered submunitions which each contained smaller submunitions.

At this point in the battle, China was taking a hands-off policy. Instead, they introduced
a strongly worded motion at the Security Council condemning the United States and Ja-
pan for supporting South Korea. It’s a good thing that John Bolton wasn’t our repre-
sentative in the UN. Bolton was part of the State Department’s delegation to six-party
talks on the North Korean nuclear program in 2003. He was removed from the delega-
tion after describing Kim Jong-il as a “tyrannical dictator” and saying that, for North Ko-
reans under Kim's rule, “life is a hellish nightmare.” In response, a North Korean
spokesman said “such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the
talks.” Congressional Democrats argued that Bolton's words at the time were undiplo-
matic and endangered the talks.

“This could go nuclear at any time.”

“I doubt that George. First, China would have to get openly involved. Even then, they
don’t really have enough delivery vehicles to do all that much to our country. What do
they have, twenty D-5s and an unknown number of DF-31s, DF-31As and DF-41s?”

“Just because they don’t publish their test results or production figures doesn’t mean
they don’t have operational DF-41s, Bill. I’ve read about those missiles and they’re
about the same as our Minuteman III. It’s a very poor idea to underestimate the capacity
of your enemy.”

“Did you catch the story on CNN?”

“I don’t listen to CNN or CBS except for their entertainment programs. What was it
about?”

“Biden stopped the precious metal recall because too many ATF agents and Congress
critters were being killed. He also put a hold on firearm confiscation except when it’s in-
volved in a crime.”

119
“Really? It’s been quite the ride Bill. Less than a year back we had rioting in the streets,
a President in a coma and an invasion along our southern border. Here we are today
worried about World War III and in between the two we had a precious metal recall and
orders to surrender our assault weapons. What’s next, Clarence’s rock popping out from
behind the sun?”

“You tell me George, you’re the one that says China has more rockets than we think.”

“That rock thing was a joke, I think. In my opinion, it will remain conventional until
someone gets desperate and uses a nuke. You don’t want that because when that hap-
pens, it’s Katy, bar the door. If I had to guess, I’d put my money on Kim getting his butt
kicked and using nukes on South Korea. We would respond to that with TLAM-Ns
against the north and that could get China involved. They shoot everything they have
that can reach us at us and those that can’t at India and Pakistan.”

“So you’re saying a GTW?”

“It’s possible and has been since 1962. What I think we should do will take some mon-
ey, but not really a lot. Instead of buying our LTS foods, we should buy in bulk and
package them ourselves. The standard grains like corn, wheat and oats. Maybe buy
beans in bulk too if everyone is willing to consider a trip to the Dakotas. Rice is available
in bulk too, in the Sacramento Valley. Personally, I prefer to buy it from Costco, a few
hundred pounds at a time. We can dehydrate fruits and can vegetables or dehydrate
them too. What do you think?”

“I think it sounds like a lot of work. We’d have to get the others aboard for this, too. Do
you think we could save enough to cover the cost of fuel to go hither and yon?”

“It would probably be a tradeoff. Some things are available locally and others would re-
quire a trip. The thing about it is that if we go, we can get the quantities we’d need to
keep us in food for a very long time. In some ways some of us went at this backwards.
Think about it, the priorities are: air, shelter, water, food and a means of protection in
order of importance.”

“We have several years’ worth of supplies, George!”

“More is always better if we can acquire it. It’s true that we can’t spend ourselves into
the poor house, but what if we do have a GTW and it is followed by a Nuclear Winter
and a climate change?”

“So let’s talk to Manny, Moe and Jack.”

“You mean Manny, Joe and Sam?”

“Yeah! Same difference. They always remind me of the Pep Boys.”

120
°

“It’s not that we don’t like the idea. Things are really up in the air at the moment in the
Far East. I, for one, would hate to be caught that far from home if the balloon did go up.
Could we contact the producers and have the goods shipped?”

“We’re talking a pickup load, not truck loads, Manny. Where would we store several
truckloads of grain, beans and rice?”

“We can get the beans and rice at Costco.”

“Only Pinto beans. George said he preferred their Jasmine rice anyway and was going
to get his rice there.”

“How about Sam’s Club? They carry large bags of other kinds of beans including navy,
great northern and kidney. That would leave only the corn, wheat and oats. I’d be more
than willing to drive up to Idaho and fill in some odds and ends if we needed that. We’ll
get the Mylar bags, a sealer and oxygen absorbers and the two of you could try to find
pails. If we called ahead and ordered for pickup on a specific day, we could drive up and
back nonstop. Two days max if we went that way. The three of us could go and you two
could take care of things here. Get plenty of coffee, tea, Charmin and so forth. Don’t
forget pasta and pasta sauce. Get at least 15 cases of the sauce, just in case.”

“Ok if we substitute tomato paste and tomato sauce if they don’t have enough pasta
sauce?”

“That’s probably a good idea whether you get the pasta sauce or not. Yeah, clean ‘em
out or buy as much as they will allow. Hit every Sam’s and Costco until you start to run
out of money. I’ll place the order with Walton in a few minutes for pickup day after to-
morrow.”

While they were on the road, Bill and I hit the Costco stores followed by the Sam’s
Clubs. We had to convert some gold, oh well. You can get six hundred pounds of rice
on a flat before it is too heavy to push and starts to slide around. Two stores times two
per was four pallets of Folgers. Due to our limited funds, we only bought ground beef,
hams, bacon and whole chickens. We’d have four or more days each week as meatless
days using protein substitutes like beans, etc. Costco has fourteen locations in the
greater Phoenix area. Despite the general concern in Phoenix, we weren’t limited on
available goods; we were limited on available funds.

After returning home to unload, we hit the Sam’s Clubs in the greater Phoenix area.
There are only ten Sam’s Clubs in the greater Phoenix area. We filled both pickups and
one trailer. It was well after dark before we had everything unloaded. Susan came to our
house with Helen since she knew Bill was with me. Bill and I had a prepared dish in the
oven cooking, a Mrs. Stouffer’s lasagna. The side dish was Texas Toast smeared with

121
butter on both sides and a liberal coat of garlic powder on the top. We’d start the garlic
bread on a griddle and finish it in the oven so both sides would be toasted.

The Pep Boys had a trip of slightly over 800 miles and MSN maps said it was a 12.5
hour drive. They left around noon and said it would probably take more like 15 hours
with stops. They should hit Montpelier around 3 am and be at Walton’s when they
opened the doors. Manny allowed two hours for loading and another 15 hours for the
return trip. They’d take turns driving and whoever drove last would nap until they
changed drivers again, either at fuel stops or bathroom breaks.

We had all of our tasks completed the first day, except for finding empty 5 and 6 gallon
food pails. I think we hit 100 or more donut shops and any other place we could think of
that got raw product in 5 gallon food grade pails. Once done, we unloaded the pickup
and trailer and set about rewashing the pails and allowing them to air dry, inverted. All
five wives got together after work the second night and made a supply run of their own
getting personal supplies and cold weather clothing. When they returned, Helen and
Susan suggested that Bill and I do the same and told us where we could find what we
needed. Right, they sell arctic parkas in Phoenix.

Actually, it turned out that they were available, in ski shops. Using the last of our dwin-
dling supply of funds, we bought surplus military N3B parkas with fur hoods and more
modern Columbia Sportswear. We also picked up surplus military B3A gloves with the
woolen inside glove and leather outside glove.

“I think as soon as they get back from Idaho, we’ll be set. Marilyn, Cassandra and Julia
went ahead and got them the arctic bibs and N3B parkas. Where did you find the
gloves?”

“The surplus store where we found the parkas.”

“I’ll call and let Cass know. When will they be back?”

“They left at noon yesterday. It’s about 32 hours round trip so about eight this evening
as long as they didn’t have any trouble.”

“Have either of you been following the news?”

“‘Fraid not, we’ve both been busier than one armed paper hangers. We did complete all
the tasks assigned to us. We have 2,400 pounds of rice, a pallet of pinto beans, four
pallets of Folgers, chickens, ham, bacon and ground beef plus quite a bit of canned
meat from Costco. We got pasta by the case plus pasta sauce, tomato sauce, tomato
paste and assorted beans from Sam’s. They had small and large white beans plus kid-
ney beans so we can make chili until we can’t stand to look at it. Oh, all kinds of mixes
like pancake mix and so forth plus a load of Aunt Jemima.”

122
“Turn on the news and see what’s happening in the Far East. Susan and I will finish up
supper and dish it up.”

“You want a drink Bill? Jack and water?”

“On the rocks?”

“Sure. I’ll stick with my Jack and Squirt.”

When I returned with the drinks, Bill raised his hand to silence me. He had Fox on and
they had their Breaking News banner displayed. I handed him his drink and set down to
listen. Harris Faulkner was substituting for Sean Hannity. She was reading the tele-
prompter and was reporting that North Korea had fired anti-ship cruise missiles against
the four Carriers. The missiles were intercepted by a combination of missiles fired by
the Destroyers, Cruisers and Carriers. The Carriers had fired RIM-116 RAMs and the
Destroyers and Cruisers fired RIM-66 SM-2s.

She then raised an interesting question. Why, she wondered, had North Korea fired a
single missile at each strike group? Bill and I looked at each other and smirked. Were
we to guess, we were both thinking the same thing, those missiles were nuclear tipped
and either KN-01 anti-ship cruise missiles which is a new version of the SS-N-1- Styx
which had its range upgraded or the KN-02, an upgraded version of the Russian SS-21,
with a longer range.

Shooting the missiles down had prevented nuclear detonations if, indeed, the missiles
had nuclear warheads. The KN-01 was a turbojet missile while the TN-02 was a solid
propellant missile. With each missile having a range of ~110 km, they must have been
launched at sea.

The trio arrived from Idaho around 7:30 pm and dropped the loads at our house. They
said they’d return the following morning early to divide everything up. All three looked
like they’d been rode hard and put up wet. Rather than unloading, I let them take my
pickup. The load was tarped in case of rain. We took turns unloading, sorting and re-
loading our latest acquisitions with one of us taking turns monitoring the news.

The US launched several flights of Wild Weasels ahead of the next bombing strikes and
obliterated a substantial portion of the North Korean antiaircraft sites. The next series of
bombing strikes was conducted using B-2 Spirits and F-117 Nighthawks followed up
with low level fast moving B-1B Lancer bomber strikes, all flying from Japan.

Apparently, that was the last straw for the North Koreans and they launched their re-
maining five nuclear warheads on IRBMs striking selected targets in South Korea. The
US responded immediately with TLAM-Ns bringing the war to a swift conclusion, or so it
seemed. Thirty-six hours later, China launched its full fleet of IRBMs against India and
Pakistan and their ICBMs against the US. We had about 25 minutes warning from our
NOAA radios and were sheltered well ahead of the incoming strikes. Strangely, Russia

123
launched on China citing their close ties with India as a principal buyer of their military
hardware, and no other countries.

Biden retaliated against China as soon as the launches were confirmed and waited to
launch on Russia until they launched on us. China had 20 ICBMs that could reach the
US. Limited as they were, they selected geological targets with the exception of Wash-
ington, New York and Los Angeles. The latter three with targeted with MIRVs while the
former were targeted with 5mT warheads. It was an interesting mix of targets, in addi-
tion to the three cities mentioned, the Puget Sound, the San Diego Naval facilities, Yel-
lowstone, Long Valley, three volcanoes in the Cascades, the San Andreas Fault, the
Cascadian Subduction Zone, the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and some targets that de-
fied logic and probably belonging in the cities group, Detroit and Toledo. Two missiles
exploded on launch and three others missed their targets, landing far from any suspect-
ed target.

The geological targets reacted violently to the outside force, faults slipped and the vol-
canoes erupted. Of all the targets, the one that would affect us the most was Long Val-
ley plus some fallout from Los Angeles and San Diego. San Diego would probably affect
Tucson more than Phoenix and Los Angeles would affect Phoenix more than Tucson.
Long Valley would be wind driven and could affect either or both. For whatever reason
most of the eastern US had been spared.

Responses around the world were mixed. India and Pakistan exchanged their remaining
weapons while France and the United Kingdom remained out of the fray. Israel attacked
everyone in the Middle East. Their Jericho II and III missiles could be conventionally or
nuclear tipped and the latter could reach North America and Australia and all points in
between. Coupled with the missiles was a large compliment of fighter delivered nukes.
Enough to give any potential opponent pause before attacking the country. There was
no nuclear ambiguity remaining. The Iranian SAMs were eliminated by the Jericho III
missiles aimed at their nuclear facilities.

When it became apparent that China had used up its missiles, we got together on our
low range business band radios and discussed the possibilities. We weren’t limited to
the low band having a separate set of VHF radios, UHF radios plus CBs and amateur
band radios. Our radio shacks were crowded with base stations and mobile radios run
off DC power supplies. Since most of us were limited by CCRs on radio towers, we had
towers that could be raised and lowered plus bent over to permit repairs to the antennas
and coax.

Since the low band business radios were probably the most secure next to SINCGARS,
they were our primary means of communication. We couldn’t locate SINCGARS at
Camp Navajo. It’s about 400 miles from LA to Phoenix and with a wind speed of 10mph,
the fallout would take about 40 hours to reach us.

124
Bill and I had the Quiet Diesel 12.5 commercial generators to back up our PV panels.
Manny had the non-commercial in his motor home and the other two, PV panels. Manny
had done his best to keep diesel fuel on hand for his generator and had one buried
1,000 gallon tank of stabilized fuel with a fuel pump to transfer fuel to the tank in his mo-
torhome.

Bill and I had each purchased, years before, two 3,300 gallon propane tanks and buried
them. We never used the propane because of the availability of natural gas. Next to the
propane tank was the other tank filled with diesel and equipped with an electrical pow-
ered pump.

The radiation peaked in our area at a fairly low level, 38R which was right on the money
for 3,000R 40 hours previously per the 7/10 rule. It didn’t look like the AMP 200 would
come out of the cabinet.

The anticipated Global Thermonuclear War became, instead, a Thermonuclear War


with six participants, China, Israel, the United States, Pakistan, India and Russia.
Tens/Hundreds of Millions rather than billions died, at least in the beginning. Along with
the radioactive fallout came a second type of fallout, volcanic ash, literally by the ton. By
mutual agreement, our five families added additional pre-filters to our air systems to
prevent the microscopic ash from invading our shelters. Because the pre-filter was the
least expensive of the three filters, Helen and I had several allowing us to change ours
frequently.

“Would you look at that?”

“Look at what?”

“The outside temperature reading, it’s barely above freezing.”

We had a Weather Wizard III that didn’t include the optional Rain Collector II because it
rained so seldom. Neither did it measure barometric pressure. It was a hard wired sys-
tem that we had to keep disconnected and stored in the cabinet except when we were
in the shelter. Our older system provided similar data for our home. I never saw a gadg-
et I didn’t like and the only thing worse was our collection of firearms.

At our next scheduled contact, I brought up the lower temperature. “We’re reading right
at freezing here, How about the rest of you?”

“Same here,” Bill replied. “Manny, you have a weather system, are you getting the same
results?”

“Baby, it’s cold outside!”

I came back with, “Can’t see squat on our cameras. Anyone else besides Bill have a
closed circuit TV camera?”

125
“Can’t see anything here,” Bill replied.

“I do,” Joe said. “Either it’s not working or it’s as dark as a coal mine out there. Do you
think it’s ash from Yellowstone, Long Valley or both?”

“According to the map in that Yellowstone paper I downloaded, it could be either or


both. Arizona was hit with ash from all of the eruptions except for the Mesa Falls erup-
tion. That was the second of the three from Yellowstone.”

“Those are the names of the tuffs, not the caldera that produced them.”

“True, but who cares about the Calderas, they’re in Idaho and Wyoming. The ash, on
the other hand is here.”

We had no way of knowing that the Chinese had planted a 5mT bomb when the trouble
started between North and South Korea. The bomb was planted in the Canary Islands
on the island named La Palma. The southern part of La Palma is dominated by the
Cumbre Vieja, a volcanic ridge formed by numerous volcanic cones built of lava and
scoria. The Cumbre Vieja is active – but dormant, with the last eruption occurring in
1971 at the Teneguia vent which is located at the southern end of the Cumbre Vieja –
Punte de Fuencaliente, (The Point of the Hot Fountain). During the 1949 eruption from
the Duraznero, San Juan, and Hoyo Negro vents on the Cumbre Vieja, an earthquake,
with an epicenter near Jedy, occurred. This caused a 2.5 kilometer (1.55 mile) long rift
to open, with a width of about a meter and a depth of about two meters.

Most people became aware of the rift when BBC Discovery aired a program titled Mega
Tsunami during 2000. During the years following, there had been much speculation
about the possibility of a Mega Tsunami and while fiction authors had included it in their
scenarios concerning TEOTWAWKI, TEOCAWKI and so forth, many in the scientific
community largely dismissed the possibility. Of course they failed to consider someone
actually planting a 5mT nuke in that small rift. When the nuke exploded, the rift was no
longer small and the fears expressed back in 2000 became fact.

Locally, the tsunami was over 600 meters high. As it spread, the height fell and it was a
mere 100 meters when it hit our eastern continental shelf. The shelf caused it to stack
up to about 200 meters (~656 feet). The waters raced inland scouring the land back to
bare soil and rock. It completely washed the Florida peninsula clean. I guess those New
Yorkers should have retired to Texas. We only knew because Sam had picked up a
transmission from Montgomery, Alabama on his radio.

The Chinese, in their rush, had failed to detonate a HEMP device and our communica-
tions weren’t totally down except where they had targeted a nuke or nukes. There was
some interference from the ionized fallout but it was rather insignificant and we were
able to punch through it.

126
And, man, were we prepared! We’d been at it since the ‘80s and even had Mountain
House beef steaks and pork chops. It had been a good ~35 years’ worth of preparations
to get where we were. The list of what we wanted to do still had several items on it in-
cluding a greenhouse. Maybe we should have done that rather than the swimming pool.
It’s pretty hard to live in Phoenix without a pool. So soon we get old and so late we get
smart. At least we still had our firearms allowing us to protect what we had.

We had a fair amount of time in the shelter and Helen and I began to recount the events
of the recent years. The economy had gone south and that had forced the price of gold
and silver to rise to near astronomical levels. We just plain got lucky on that, buying
most of ours after 9/11.

We had a war in Afghanistan that seemed like it would never end and George decided
to get Saddam. At least that mostly ended in eight years. The population as a whole had
been fed up with business as usual in Washington and had elected the guy calling for
‘change’ in November of 2008. It was a change all right; the new President was a dem-
ocrat and black. Mid-way through his first term, he was assassinated putting the Vice
President in charge. He was anti everything that a substantial portion of the population
valued, including precious metals and firearms. The sniper missed him.

The claim was made that collection of firearms pertained to the violence resulting from
the assassination. In the same frame of mind, the claim was made that the precious
metal recall was necessary due to the amount of debt the country had. Those two man-
dates were reversed when the American public revolted and began killing federal em-
ployees.

It had been calm after that until North Korea decided to cancel the 1953 cease fire.
When they began to lose, they released their nukes and our country retaliated. Having
grown to a major military power, even to the extent of having its own stealth fighter, the
J-20, China used its ICBMs on the US and IRBMs on India and Pakistan. We actually
had no idea where their three SSBNs that were carrying a total of 36 nuclear tipped
missiles were. They had one type-92 Xia and two type-94 Jin. The Jin carried their JL-2
missile and the Xia their JL-1 missile. A comparison I made between Wiki and Sino De-
fense gave different information about the JL-2 missile with the more conservative in-
formation coming from Sino Defense.

Our small group had used our time effectively and not only connected our shelter to the
basement; we’d managed to acquire all the additional food the group could afford. It
was close to a lifetime supply given our ages and the probability that not all of the group
would survive the coming days. It was going to be tough being a have rather than a
have not. It was indeed fortunate that we’d been able to get supplies from Costco,
Sam’s and Walton. It would appear that we wouldn’t be growing much of our own food
for some time to come without a greenhouse.

“Are we going to try salvaging once we can get out and about?”

127
“That’s good question. I’ll go along with the rest of you,” I replied.

“I’m going to need diesel and propane sometime in the next six months.”

“Make that two.”

“Three.”

“Sounds like a majority to me Bill. You started this, what’s your vote?”

“I’m for it. We’ll need gasoline and diesel and those PRI stabilizers. Propane doesn’t re-
quire stabilizers but who knows how long it will be before someone can resume deliver-
ies? I say we get a tanker with a mixed load of 75% diesel and 25% gas or better yet,
12.5% gas and 87.5% diesel. I doubt we can find propane tankers so we’ll probably
have to settle on delivery trucks. Our first stop should be to get a three phase generator
or alternator to power the fuel pumps.”

“Anyone have an idea where we might find the stabilizers?”

“The fuel distributors would be a good place to look.”

“You know, if we can get enough PV panels we won’t need as much fuel for our genera-
tors. I’d put finding them at the top of our list. Another thing we should try to find is one
or more medium to large greenhouses.”

“Know where to look Sam?”

“Yeah, the Yellow Pages.”

“Everybody check it out and we’ll discuss it during our six PM discussion.”

“Bill out.”

Sam out.”

“Manny out.”

Joe out.”

“George out.”

“This is Manny. There’s a bunch in Apache Junction.”

“Rog. Manny, I found one in Scottsdale.”

128
“Bill here. There are at least six listed in Phoenix.”

“This is Sam. I have the books for the outlying cities west of Phoenix. There must be a
dozen all combined.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t find our Yellow Pages,” Joe added.

“What’s the visibility like out there Joe?”

“About 100.”

“Feet?”

“Inches.”

“Eight feet?”

“Maybe a little more, I can just see the tree in the front yard and it’s about ten feet from
the camera.”

“Anyone remember seeing the TV picture from Yakima right after Mt. St. Helens?”

“What does that have to do with this?”

“Joe do you remember?”

“Yep. We aren’t there yet. Maybe another day or two. ‘Sides, ain’t nobody going out until
the fallout radiation level is lower.”

“Right, I’m reading around 6 Rads which is right on the money for seven days.”

“You have the spreadsheet?”

“I have both Jerry’s and Tom’s. I bought the CD.”

“What’s Jerry’s do?”

“Computes the protection factor of a shelter. TOM’s computes the wait time until it’s
safe to exit based on the calculated level of the detonation and the elapsed time.

“You know, guys, you determine the location of the blast and the elapsed time since the
blast and plug in your estimates until your reading and the spreadsheet’s are the same.
I started with 3,000 and it worked. We had about 38 Rads 40 hours after the nuke went
off in LA and with an average wind speed of 10 miles per hour, it all fits almost perfectly
for a 3,000 Rad detonation 40 hours earlier.”

129
“Speaking of LA, how do you think TOM is making out?”

“He’s probably up at Barstow trying to figure out how to get into the igloos and cop
some LAW rockets and hand grenades. Jerry lives in Reno and I don’t know which vol-
canoes they nuked. He could be holed up out in Winnemucca. Most of the Nevada
based stories involved Winnemucca or Elko.”

“All I can say is TOM has better taste in rifles than Jerry.”

“Six of one and a half dozen of the other. Both the M1A and PTR-91 are piston driven
7.62×51mm rifles. TOM says he has small hands and can’t hold a P-14. I’m not so sure
that PT1911 he got was the best choice, he could have gotten a Glock 21 cheaper.”

“I’ve been following Fleataxi, TOM and Jerry since they began posting on Frugal’s. TOM
and Fleataxi were going head to head over shotguns. TOM liked the 870 and Fleataxi
the 590. You noticed what TOM bought, didn’t you? A 590A1! I don’t know how he
came to decide on the Taurus. Maybe someone on Frugal’s put a bug in his ear.”

“He can’t be in Barstow!”

“Why not?”

“He doesn’t have a driver’s license.”

“Do you think he forgot how to drive when he gave up his license?”

“Oh. Well…probably not.”

Not. I’m here behind my keyboard creating this repetitious story. And I can still drive,
just not legally; I backed up the car for Sharon back in 2006; a whole five feet.

“How long?”

“Until we can go out?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, you can go out any time after the ash clears. However the radiation level won’t
drop to 100mR until about 8 months from the time of the detonation. The maximum al-
lowable dose is 300R in 120 days which averages out to 2.5R per day.”

130
“That’s only 2½ hours if the level is 1R.”

“Oh, a math professor, huh? Well professor that’s 5 hours when it’s down to ½R per
hour and 10 hours when it’s down to ¼R per hour and…”

“I get it, I get it.”

“When will it be ½R per hour? What about ¼R per hour?”

“One half at about 60 days and one quarter at about 120 days.”

“I vote for going out for the diesel fuel at 60 days. We can wait until 120 days to look for
propane and even longer to locate greenhouses. If the temperature and the amount of
ash in the air is any indication, we’ll need more than just greenhouses. We need a heat-
ing system and some kind of grow lights; which means we’ll need a separate generator
for each greenhouse and fuel for the generator.”

“We won’t know what size of generator we need until we get the greenhouses and de-
cide on the number of grow lights needed.”

“Well then we get the fuel followed by the greenhouses and necessary accessories in-
cluding the lights, fixtures, heaters and generators. Then, we’ll get the propane.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to divide our efforts? For instance, get the three phase generator
and mount it on a trailer or maybe get one of the rental units we can tow from site to
site. Then we divide up in to two teams with the three of you on one and George and
me on the other. You line out the fuel and we’ll look for the greenhouses. Once we find
five greenhouses large enough for our needs, we can help you with the fuel if you ha-
ven’t finished and you can help us move the greenhouses. Before we start the assem-
bly, we can locate the light fixtures, bulbs, switches and what not. We can also locate
heaters, probably propane if we can find them,

“Next, we get five filled propane delivery trucks and we have everything we need except
the generators. We can get those next or after the greenhouses are erected. I lean to-
wards accumulating the supplies before we begin construction. We can start one of
yours and then do one of ours and switch back and forth until we have all five assem-
bled, wired and heated. How does that sound?”

“I’m in.”

“Me too.”

“Yeah, that will work.”

“I’m with you Bill.”

131
Manny chuckled.

“We’ll start when the radiation is below 500mR and limit our exposure to 2.5R per day.
We’re all middle aged and if we do get cancer, it shouldn’t be until twenty years or later.
It’s not like we’re just starting our families. Has anyone been able to contact their fami-
lies?”

“Not yet, but it’s still early.”

“Ok, 8 am tomorrow.”

“George, I need to do laundry.”

“Let me check the basement. If it’s still a little hot, I’ll do the washing and drying and you
can do the hanging and folding.”

“Did you switch over the water to the well and the sewer to the septic?”

“Yes, just before we entered the shelter. I also checked the batteries and topped off any
that needed it. The generator will kick in to supplement the power for the dryer.”

“I just realized what a pain in the behind it is to have a mostly electric home.”

“It won’t take long to convert the dryer to propane. I’ll wait on the kitchen stove until
we’re ready to move back in the house. I just wish we’d been able to surround the exte-
rior of the house with a Skousen wall.”

“What is a Skousen wall?”

“Basically, you pour footings beyond the existing walls and erect 2x6 steel framing cov-
ered with plywood on the exterior. The space between the outer wall and house wall is
filled with gravel no larger than ¾”. You can then apply an exterior treatment in front of
the plywood. You can use brick, more solid concrete block and even stucco. To protect
the windows you add external shutters of either armored plate or high strength steel. To
conceal the steel shutters, you laminate plywood to both sides. At the minimum, you’ve
added several inches of additional protection. While the house isn’t totally bullet proof in
most cases, I think ours might be because of the 8” solid concrete block original exteri-
or. Got that from Jerry and did a little research.”

“If you have both roll down aluminum shutters and armored shutters on top of that, it
would cause a problem. It wouldn’t be cheap.”

“Right, that’s why I didn’t bring it up. Although the expense was spread over 25 years,
what we did manage to complete wasn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination.”

132
“You guys will be careful when you start getting out and about, won’t you?”

“You can take that to the bank.”

“Good, the balance is getting low.”

“I doubt paper money is worth the paper it’s printed on. We have three thousand dollars
face value in uncirculated pre-65 silver, one bag of each denomination. Each bag con-
tains ~723 ounces of silver. Plus we have 100 ounces of each of the four denominations
of the US Gold Eagles and 300 ounces of one ounce Silver Eagles, less the gold I spent
on those night scopes. That’s not counting the truly junk silver.

“What’s that worth and are we going to have trouble?”

“The coins probably are worth a million or more. As soon as others figure out we have
food stored, we’ll have trouble without a doubt. It’s not like we lack the firepower to hold
them at bay and there is no way they can drive us out by laying siege. We’re going to
have to come up with something to avoid the trouble.”

Of course the gold was bought for less than $300 an ounce and the silver for about $4
an ounce excluding minting costs and excluding the uncirculated 90% silver coins. That
silver cost them $1.38 an ounce. Dad and Mom bought them at face value and they
were put up for ‘a rainy day’. They weren’t mentioned in the will and I discretely recov-
ered them from Dad’s hiding place. As you know, the gold and silver bullion coins came
after 9/11.

They’ve been gone for several years. Dad ran a red light and they were T-boned. Both
of them and the driver of the other car were killed. Both drivers were at fault, Dad ran
the red light and the other driver was going over sixty in a 25mph zone. Apparently he
didn’t see them since there were no skid marks. Helen’s story was just as sad, but much
different. Her mother had died of ovarian cancer after her dad had divorced her. Her fa-
ther had married the bimbo he’d been running around with and about two years later,
the bimbo had stabbed her father during an argument. She just walked off, never to be
seen again. Her father bled to death in only a few minutes, the chef’s knife scraping
along the bottom of his ribcage and severing several arteries and veins.

Our childlessness was a combination of factors. Helen only had one functioning ovary
and I had been exposed to something, sometime, that resulted in an extremely low
sperm count. Not only were the critters few and far between, those that existed didn’t
have much life. We stopped worrying about it and went on with our lives, eliminating
that stress. Stress is one of dozens of factors that affect reproductive capacity.

133
The Trials of George Thomas – Eleven

Aftermath:

The ash tapered off much faster than the radiation decayed. At sixty days, we started
going out, limiting our exposure to two Rads per day. The radiation continued to decay
and by one hundred days, it was down to 300mR. Around six months after the strike,
the level had fallen to a shade below 150mR and it finally hit 100mR at during the eighth
month.

We prioritized our activities and never did anything as an individual. As suggested, there
was one team of three and one of two. They got the generator and we all worked on
getting the fuel. It was a problem at first because of the limited amount of time we al-
lowed ourselves due to the fallout. They had a towable 60kw, 3 phase diesel generator.
By the time we found decent sized greenhouses, the other team had loaded and trans-
ported a double tanker with a mixed load to each location with 12.5% gasoline and
87.5% #2 diesel fuel. They also rounded up enough PRI-G and PRI-D to keep our fuel
fresh for years.

We strictly followed the guidelines of 2R per day and as the fallout decayed, we had
more and more time to spend on our activities. The first greenhouse had taken 3 days
to load, deliver and unload. The second, a bit less, but close to 3 days and the last still
took three days but we actually had time to sit down and read the plans and assembly
instructions. They were large greenhouses, for hobby greenhouses, but not quite up to
commercial size.

“I say we put off erecting these things until the fallout has decayed more. We’ve had a
fair amount of exposure as it is and we still need to find the light fixtures, bulbs, wiring
and five more generators. Now, that’s the easy part; we stashed six 12.5kw gensets
when we picked up the three phase unit. They’re all 1,800rpm diesel units and there
were a ton or two of filters, not to mention repair parts. They’re the 12.5kw Quiet Diesel
rated at 100 amps and run at 1,800rpm. Good thing the filters are all the same, I have a
bunch.”

“What do you want to do Manny, the greenhouse lights and heaters or the propane?”

“Propane first, I think. It would be nice to find a bunch of large tanks sitting around
somewhere so we could have tanks that would hold a 3,000 gallon truckload.”

“I can help there,” Bill said, “and so can George. We have each a pair of 3,300 gallon
tanks. One is filled with 3,000 gallons of propane and the other with 3,300 gallons of
diesel. We both know where to look for the tanks.”

“Hot damn, we’ll get all we can find that are 550s. Can’t really have too much fuel stor-
age.”

134
“Actually, Manny, you can. It would sure be tough if you got into a firefight and someone
put a hole in your above ground propane tank. Best bury the propane.”

“No sweat, I know where we can get an excavator! Only this time, maybe we’ll just keep
it for other projects.”

“When are we getting out of the shelter?”

“At eight and three quarters months.”

“Hogwash, the five of you have been going out for weeks.”

“And we’ve been accumulating a dose of radiation. Might end up with cancer someday.”

“Bull. I don’t want to live one day longer than you. I can run the same risk and so can
the other four wives. We’ve been talking and right about now, I expect each man is get-
ting an earful from his woman. All ten of us are equipped the same except for some mi-
nor body parts and our underclothes. Somehow, I can’t picture you men in a bras and
panties.”

“All that is left to do until the radiation falls to a safe level is to get some propane tanks,
bury them and fill them with propane. The generators are already set aside and we just
have to pick them up along with supplies. There is the lighting for the greenhouses but
we won’t need that until the greenhouses are erected after it’s safe to go out full time.”

“And, if we five work on something like the lighting and propane greenhouse heaters, it
will reduce the exposure all five of you will get.”

“I’m not going to win this argument, am I?”

“You can win it. Are you sure you want to pay the price? That love seat is pretty short
and isn’t very comfortable, is it?”

“I’ll talk to the guys.”

“Don’t bother; they’ve already been worked over pretty good by now. You were the last
to get home and Bill the next to last. MultiCam, right?”

“Right, MultiCam.”

That is how the ladies joined our little salvage operation. The conversations no doubt
varied from home to home. Nevertheless, all five of the wives went out the next day.
They went for the heaters and lighting. The five of us picked up the generators, filters

135
and spare parts. We also picked up about 50 55-gallon drums of oil, a little here and a
little there. Phoenix is a large area!

The first day while we moved the generators, they got light fixtures and bulbs. The sec-
ond day while we got the filters and oil, they got the wiring, switches, boxes and covers.
The following day, we went looking for the propane tanks and hit pay dirt. It would take
two days to haul all of the 3,300 gallon tanks, even using a semi and flatbed. We at-
tached an equipment trailer to haul a forklift around to unload the tanks. On the third
day, they had the propane heaters early on and went shopping at Dillard’s.

“Shopping at Dillard’s? Are you out of your minds?”

“It was still locked up and we decided on the spur of the moment to get a few manufac-
tured goods. I’ll wear one of the outfits I got tonight.”

“At Dillard’s?”

“There was a Victoria’s Secret in the same mall.”

What can I say? If I’m smart, I won’t say anything. It seemed like everyone was smiling
the next day. We dug excavations for the propane tanks and buried them over the next
five day period. We didn’t bother with diesel tanks since the tankers served the same
purpose. They were installed according to the code we picked up at the location where
we found the tanks. X number of feet from the property lines, X number of feet from igni-
tion sources, X number of feet from the residences, etc. We ended up hauling off a few
dump trucks worth of soil. We only kept enough to raise our back yards a few inches
and level them. The fuel tankers were connected directly to the diesel tanks and we
looked for and found 500 gallon farm tanks for the gasoline.

It seems that Sam and Joe were hung up on the PV panel idea and during the eve-
nings, they went looking. It wasn’t hard for them to find them; they already knew where
to go. They said the next to hardest thing they had to do was breaking into the ware-
house. The hardest thing had been hauling the panels, batteries, charge controllers, in-
verters and cable to the truck they were using. It was a 40’ box trailer and, if I’m any
kind of judge, it was overloaded.

The Xantrex XW model 6048 Inverter/Chargers combined with the XW Power Distribu-
tion Panel, the XW Solar Charge Controllers, the 300w, 30 volt Schott 235 PV panels
(made in New Mexico) and the batteries. The 6048 would accept an input voltage be-
tween 44 and 64vdc. The batteries were Surrette 6-CS-21P AGM 6 volt batteries. I
mean to tell you, they have everything needed to set up a solar array at each location
and we could combine it with our existing systems, if we had one, power the green-
houses or even put the panels on our roofs and switch from generator power to solar
power (Manny).

136
“Have you added up your exposure recently?”

“Haven’t had time.”

“I took the time. You’re grounded.”

“Like hell!”

“One hundred sixty four Rads. Check my math. You made the daily entries from your
dosimeter. Since it’s a CD V-742, you could be off too. They have a full range of 200R.
Did you round up or down?”

“Uh…”

“You were tired and just rounded off; I know you and the way you act. You don’t seem
to have any symptoms like bloody gums or your hair falling out; although since you wear
a butch, who knows? Once the radiation is down to 100mR or lower, you can go out and
play with your friends.”

Go out and play with my friends??? It’s going to take five weeks to assemble five
greenhouses. Then they have to have the light fixtures installed and wired and the bulbs
inserted. The wiring has to be run to the switch boxes and the switch boxes have to be
connected to a permanent power source. That only leaves placing the propane heater
and hooking it up and I’ll probably have to put in an outlet to power the fan on the thing.
Oh, wait… the tables; I’m sure you will want tables to hold everything at about 30”
above the floor. Maybe make the tables 48” wide and put in four columns, front to back.
The greenhouse is 360” wide so we can put in 5 aisles about 33” wide. It’s also 60’ long
so I can make the tablets 56’ long and leave a 4’ aisle across the front. No wasted
space that way and no sawing plywood. I’d better use 4x4s ‘cause that dirt is going to
be heavy.

“What did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You were mumbling. Something about plywood and 4x4s and dirt being heavy.”

“I didn’t realize I was thinking out loud. I was thinking about the greenhouse. You’re go-
ing to want tables and I figured if I had them 4’ wide and 56’ long you have an aisle 33”
wide between tables and 48” wide at the front. Seven sheets of plywood are 56’ by 4’
and I wouldn’t have to saw anything.”

“Where are you going to put the hose connections? We’re going to have to water the
plants.”

“Let me think about it.”

137
“Before you get too far into never-never-land, consider this. I think we should have box-
es on the top of the tables. About 4’ wide, 8’ long and 12” deep. We can fill the boxes
with a mix of soil, sand and vermiculite. Or, we can clean out the potting soil from a
couple of large department stores like Wal-Mart. It’s premixed and not that heavy. While
we’re at it, you can get some of the composed manure for fertilizer.”

“Are you going green?”

“I think natural is better than the chemicals they use now. Let’s face it; Miracle-Gro
didn’t keep James Whitmore alive. (He died in 2009)

“It just seems like the older we get the more of our favorite entertainers die.”

“What do you expect, they grow old too.”

“Since it’s not heavy, why don’t you five Ladies gather it up? While you’re at it, get all of
the 4x4s, ¾” plywood and 2x12s you can find. Oh, and get some tarps to cover every-
thing until it’s needed.”

I explained to the four other guys that I was grounded until my average radiation dose
fell to 2.5R per day. It wouldn’t take long, maybe two weeks. Helen then got on the radio
and spoke with the other wives, explaining what they needed to do. Marilyn suggested
getting a truck from a lumberyard and to start with the wood. They all agreed to meet at
our house. Helen said she’d put on a pot of coffee and another for tea. When they ar-
rived, I made the mistake of making my presence known.

“Has Georgy been a bad boy? Shame on you.”

I made a hasty retreat. In the days, weeks, months and year(s) following the assassina-
tion, the ten of us had undergone several changes. One of the most obvious was the
loss of every ounce of excess body fat and near perfect muscle tone. Our five wives
were fairly good looking before. Now, all five were downright foxy. When four of the five
foxes (vixen) started with the Georgy business, I must have turned crimson. They could
all do justice to anything they got at Victoria’s Secret.

Anyway, the guys got Manny’s greenhouse assembled and then did Bill’s. I was down to
an average of 2.4R per day and helped them with Sam’s. Ours was next and Joe was
tail end Charlie. Over the course of assembling the last three greenhouses, I mentioned
that all five were 30’x60’ and that I had a specific layout in mind. They could do it our
way or their way. Our way seemed to produce the most useable planting space and our
wives had picked up the necessary lumber. They discussed it and finally agreed.

They also made other plans. Sam and Joe would take care of the solar installations and
setting up the generators. Manny, Bill and I would finish connecting the water to the
backyard wells and install the electrical fixtures. It was decided to have a covered du-

138
plex about every ten feet along the walls. The propane heater would be mounted high
and wired and plumbed. Our team would do the greenhouses in the order they were
erected.

The second round of activity took one week per greenhouse. It included building the ta-
bles and soil boxes. As soon as one was completed, it was powered by the dedicated
generator and our wives filled the growing boxes, planted the hybrid seed they’d col-
lected and watered it down.

Our team ended up lending a hand to Joe and Sam to complete the final installations of
the solar equipment and an ATS was installed using the solar as the primary source of
power and the generator as backup. It was the same setup Bill and I used for our
homes except this time we only used one ATS rather than two. Since Bill and I had
commercial power, solar power and generator power, the first ATS was between com-
mercial power and standby power and the second was between the solar power and
generator power. When we finished, we took a week off just to catch our breaths. Since
the fallout continued to decay, my average daily exposure continued to fall. It seemed
apparent that Helen hadn’t explained to the other four wives about my high exposure
rate. All five of we men had accumulated approximately the same accumulated dose up
to the time she grounded me.

“So now what?”

“It’s time for me to start another project Bill. But first, I think we should hit every grocery
store in the greater Phoenix area.”

“Why?”

“Trade goods. I think food would be the number one priority for most people. Number
two would be a good warm shelter because, like Manny said, ‘Baby it’s cold outside’.”

“Where would you store the goods, assuming we could find any?”

“Eastside, Westside and a Central location. Use three Costco stores or three Sam’s
Clubs.”

“That will never work. There are only ten of us. Three people per store simply won’t
work.”

“I realize that. I assumed we could hire some folks for security and pay them with food
and a little silver or gold. We should have cleaned out the gun stores when we had the
chance so we could provide our employees with military caliber firearms. Lord knows
we have enough ammo.”

139
“True. And we do know where to get more. It may not be too late on the gun stores.
Maybe not all of their gun vaults have been breached. For that matter, maybe some of
the precious metals dealers’ vaults are still intact. We should get a cutting torch rig set-
up to use thermal lances. There isn’t much that can resist a thermal lance.”

“Do you know how to use one?”

“Not really.”

“Neither do I.”

We then spoke in a single voice, “Manny.”

The lumberyard truck was parked in front of our place with some lumber still remaining.
We backed into the backyard and unloaded the lumber. Helen was in the greenhouse
tending to the plants and I let her know we were going shopping.

“Where are you going?”

“It won’t be Victoria’s Secret or Dillard’s.”

“I didn’t ask you where you weren’t going. Where are you going?”

“Shopping. This trip is for precious metals. Future trips will be for firearms and ammo.
Beyond that, we’re going grocery shopping.”

“You think that there’re still precious metals, guns and ammo and food that hasn’t been
salvaged?”

“We won’t know until we look.”

“Take one vehicle with a radio in it so you can stay in touch.”

“Yes dear.”

The number of precious metal dealers in the Phoenix area is limited. There are more
gun dealers than precious metal dealers. There are more Costco stores and Sam’s
Clubs combined than gun dealers. There are a whole lot more grocery stores. We start-
ed with the lowest number and worked our way up. Joe mentioned that we should check
pawn shops as possible sources of firearms and precious metals. It would prove to be a
time consuming set of tasks.

We got less than expected from the precious metal dealers. We assumed that since
there had been a build up before the war, they sold a lot of gold and silver. We then
moved from precious metals dealers to pawn shops. Those that hadn’t been gutted

140
yielded about the same amount of gold and silver that we got from the metals dealers.
The bonus was the firearms we found.

Yellow Pages Ad:

We pawn firearm related items as well as jewelry. We deal in silver and gold coins, plat-
inum and gold jewelry and diamonds. If you ever find yourself a little short, you don’t
have to sell your guns or gold, bring your items to us for a 90 day pawn loan.

That store had a very good vault. It was obvious at the outset that there had been one
or more attempts to break into the vault. The dial was so battered it wouldn’t turn. Need-
less to say, the vault was intact and contained a gold mine worth of goods. Every kind of
firearm you could imagine was in the vault from cruiser model shotguns to semi-auto
and full-auto assault weapons and main battle rifles. We had to go through every stor-
age container to find the gold and silver. I think we found it all. That was our best pawn
shop score.

In general terms, using a thermal lance to open a safe is a bad idea taking longer than
typically depicted and incinerating the contents of the safe. A vault is a room not a safe
although it has many of the features of a safe. Manny made several swift passes around
the locking mechanism, generally a dial. When enough metal was cut away, we’d take a
sledge to the dial. If it didn’t come off, he made another pass. It ended up taking a fair
amount of time for each vault. Most times, the results were worth the time invested, but
not always.

After we finished with the pawn shops, we turned to the firearms dealers. The first we hit
were the class III dealers because there weren’t that many and most seemed to con-
centrate on M-16s. We took them as a matter of preservation rather than intent to use.
They could be used as trade goods to people we trusted or for use by our security force.
I did snag a backup AC-556 for Helen.

The regular gun dealers had been broken into and most of their non-secure inventory
was missing. About half of their vaults failed to protect their property. The other vaults,
once entered, contained high value firearms: HK-91s, PTR-91s, M1As, FN FALs and
imports like drillings and so forth. The only ammo stored in the vaults was the expensive
Match grade ammo. We took it all and each of us selected a few pieces to add to our
collections.

“We need to go to Camp Navajo. We have a reasonable amount of Match ammo but
none of the regular military ball ammo.”

141
“We can take a semi with a cargo box and get all we want. We might as well get every-
thing else that we want and may have some use for.”

“You want more rockets, don’t you George?”

“Yes, and I want Mk 211 and M1022 and grenades of all types. We can select some ex-
plosives while we’re at it. Better haul those in a trailer behind a pickup in case of trouble.
We can make the pickup tail end Charlie and follow the semi about a half mile back, just
in case.”

“If you’re worried about a bullet setting the explosives off, maybe we should weld some
road plate on the inside of the trailer. That will stop 7.62 but nothing will stop .50BMG.”

“Two layers just might. Let’s try that. Current .50BMG cartridges penetrate about 34mm
or one and one-third inches, excluding Mk 211. Road plate is 1” thick.”

It is a good idea, as an idea. Road plate is extremely heavy. With a single plate installed
on one side, the trailer bottomed out. Plan B, get a super heavy duty trailer that is rated
at maybe ten tons and beef up the suspension. The problem was that the weight of the
explosives was nothing compared to the weight of the protective plates. The plates
came from various locations, the telephone company, the power company and various
city storage yards.

Manny cut them to size and installed them, tack welding them into place. Once we
completed that project, the five of us headed for Flagstaff and Camp Navajo on I-17 and
then I-40 to the Camp Navajo exit. It was like a ghost town at Camp Navajo. However,
all of the igloos were locked up tight and required persuasion to yield their contents. Go-
ing through some of the armories later, we selected a few machine guns, M240Bs and
M2HBs. We had a total of eight of the M2HBs and eleven of the M240Bs. Each home
would get a M2HB and a M240. The three stores, once set up would get one M2HB and
a pair of M240s. We also brought back spare barrels and the Tech Manual of armorer
instructions concerning head spacing the 7.62 barrels.

We had zero trouble going and returning. It was one of those ‘would you rather have it
and not need it than not have it and need it’ situations. The trip took 3 days, ½ day up,
two ½ days plus a full day there and ½ day back. We left the explosives in the trailer we
hauled them in and distributed the machine guns the next day. I was chomping at the bit
to start my Skousen wall project. I excused myself from the grocery store runs and got a
trencher. I dug a trench 32” out from the wall of the house all the way around. It was
wide enough for the steel framing and another block wall.

The hard part came next, the concrete. It was the footing for the framing and the outside
wall. Fortunately, the Yellow Pages saved me. I found a place that had portable con-
crete mixers, preloaded with various amounts of concrete. I selected a 2 yard model
and began pouring concrete directly into the trench, with no separate footing. I used a

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chalk line as a guide for leveling each pour. If it was off any, the first layer of mortar
could correct the problem.

Next, I located hollow concrete blocks for the outside wall facing. Then I searched the
Yellow Pages for steel framing, specifically 2×6. It only took six days, with Helen’s help,
to erect the framing and another day to install the ¾” plywood. Next, we built frames to
extend the windows through the layer of rock to the outside. Finally, we hauled gravel to
fill the walls. At this point we had to make some decisions. Should we do the outside
wall first or build the additional outside shutters? How thick should the metal in the shut-
ters be?

Although I’d have preferred to install the shutters first, we compromised. We’d fabricate
the shutters using two layers of road plate topped with ½” plywood on both sides (got
the idea from Jerry). We’d ask Manny to lend a hand with the road plate and once the
shutters were fashioned and hinges added, they would be set aside until needed. That
started a chain of events I hadn’t anticipated. We couldn’t use the flimsy steel framing to
support the shutters, either. That called for very heavy 2×6 steel tubing, ¼” or heavier.

“We’re going to help you lay up that wall, install the rebar and fill the cavities with con-
crete. Then we’ll install the shutters on the block wall and your house will be good up to
.50BMG.”

“What’s the catch?”

“You are going to help the four of us to do the same to our four homes. You’ll mostly be
supervising since you know the problems you ran into when you did yours.”

“First off, you need to use forms to put in the footing.”

“See, you did learn a few lessons.”

“Got more than a few blisters, too.”

“Wear gloves.”’

“I was! How is it going with the grocery business?”

“Not as well as we thought. The only toilet paper we have found is the cheap stuff that’s
really scratchy single ply. The stores were cleaned out rather haphazardly. Combined,
we can probably fill the three stores and have a backup supply equal to the original fill.
We’ve discussed getting wheat, corn and oats. They would probably come from a feed
supply that sells them and COB. That brings to mind the horses out at that riding place
where we took you to learn to ride. We checked and about ¼ of their horses survived.
We need to, excuse the pun, corral them and have them ready for our own use. On top
of that, we need to get out and about and find cattle, hogs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits
and fish.”

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“Tilapia?”

“Is that what you grow in the barrels?”

“I think so.”

“Yeah, them. We located 3 reefer trailers, 53’ jobs, so we can have one per store. We
think we’ll only sell frozen meat to keep it simple. Have to find a couple of meat cutters
and a butcher for each store.”

“What’s the difference?”

“In this context, the butcher kills the animals, skins them and breaks them down into
primal cuts. The meat cutters turn the primal cuts into retail cuts.”

“You’re going to need three more reefers. Meat isn’t frozen until it is in retail cuts. Before
that, it hangs in a refrigerated space and ages. When the butcher breaks out the primal
cuts he has to cure the bacon and hams. They generally don’t require being frozen.”

“Whatever. We have a line on some guys for security at the three stores. We agreed to
pay them in food and precious metals to move what we found to the three stores and
the remainder to a central warehouse.”

“Someone going to supervise them?”

“Our wives. We figure that once your house is done, it will be impenetrable and won’t
require a 24/7 guard. Are you sure you’re not from California?”

“Why?”

“Your entire lot is surrounded by 6’ high concrete block walls or very heavy gates. Plus,
you have those 6” posts you put behind the gates to stop anything except a dozer from
getting through the gates.”

“I’m from Phoenix. The stuff you’re talking about just arose from an abundance of cau-
tion.”

“Tomorrow, 8 am.”

“Do you have time for a drink?”

“Jack Black? You still have some left?”

“Single Barrel and I may just have cornered the market on Single Barrel, Gentleman
Jack and Jack Black.”

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“Helen drinks tequila.”

“Need a couple of cases of Cuervo 1800?”

“How much booze do you have?”

“Enough to fill two garage stalls.”

“You an alcoholic?”

“That’s enough for ten lifetimes for us.”

“Are you still using Cuervo mix?”

“No. I finally figured out how to make a margarita. The IBA standard is 7:4:3, that is,
50% tequila, 29% Triple Sec, 21% fresh lime or lemon juice. I sometimes add a little
simple syrup if it’s too tart. I use Cuervo 1800, Grand Marnier and fresh lime juice.”

“What would you do if you didn’t have a lime tree?”

“Find one and pick it clean.”

“Bars use ice machines to produce those small cubes for cocktails. What do you do,
break up your ice cubes?”

“I suppose I could, in a pinch. No, I just use the small cubes from my ice machine. I
bought it from a bar, when the machine went belly up, for $50. The parts to repair it only
cost me about $60. I added a descaler in front of the inlet and get perfect ice cubes. The
bar didn’t use a descaler. I cleaned out the lines and it was good to go. The descaler is
what cost me the sixty bucks.”

“You’re a real gadget freak aren’t you?”

“Never denied it. Same thing with the bread slicer.”

“I’ll take a couple of fingers of Single Barrel, neat.”

“I think I’ll do the same. It just isn’t right to put Squirt in Single Barrel. Jack Black and
Gentleman Jack are another story.”

“If you need a hand, I’d be happy to take a case of Single Barrel off your hands. You
know, to free up space in one of your garage stalls.”

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Note: The stuff runs $50 a bottle and a case of Single Barrel is around $600. They will
sell you the whole barrel, bottled, if you want to go to Tennessee and pick it out. There
are 250 750ml bottles to the barrel. That’s 49.5 gallons of pure pleasure. Before he
stopped drinking, TOM drank Jack Black. He also liked Bombay Sapphire Gin, Jose
Cuervo 1800, Chivas Regal, and Absolute Vodka. He liked his Martini’s ‘very dry’, e.g.,
gin on the rocks. Manhattans could use the regular recipe. His preferred Margarita was
made with Cuervo 1800, Grand Marnier and lime juice. Scotch was always served on
the rocks and Vodka was mainly to get a buzz without as bad a hangover. Last I heard,
he hasn’t had a drink since 1-1-99, so he has 12 years and has never tasted Single Bar-
rel.

“Yeah, right. What the hell, that’s probably the only way you’ll get any. Tomorrow, 8
am?”

“On the dot.”

“See ya.”

“Don’t forget the worms…”

He didn’t hear me. I knew where to get nightcrawlers and proceeded to do so. They
have to be kept cool and die if the temperature is above 65°F. My first stop was a farm
store where I picked up ten regular water troughs for the fish and ten shallow water
troughs for the worms. We still had plenty of potting soil to fill the worm beds. My sec-
ond stop was at a bait shop where I collected all of the Canadian nightcrawlers. It didn’t
look like I had enough so I looked up more bait shops in the Yellow Pages and went to
four more. Call me if you need worms.

I put two of the tanks in our greenhouse below a section of table and put the worm bed
on top of the table. Then, I checked the Yellow Pages again and went out and found ten
New Age Pet Eco-Concepts Huntington Townhouse Rabbit Hutches. On the way back, I
swung by the farm store and picked up some Purina Rabbit Chow. They had several
different kinds so I just took it all. I assumed we could split it up and mix the Chow to-
gether, one 50# bag of each ‘flavor’. Hey, what do I know? I was a former Ranger who
built Apache helicopters until I quit my job.

“There you go.”

“What?”

“Two rabbit hutches apiece, two filled worm beds apiece and two fish tanks apiece. You
guys are going to have to find the rabbits and fish; I got the worms.”

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“Where did you put yours?”

“I cleaned off a section on one of the outside tables in our greenhouse. The tank went
underneath and the worm bed on top. I put together a frame out of the leftover 4x4s to
support the hutches.”

“Let’s get this show on the road.”

It went. I won’t attempt to characterize the activity as slow or fast; I just say we finally
got finished. We hauled the leftover building materials to Bill and Susan’s and did the
same thing. It went faster this time. According to the reports we were getting from our
wives, we’d finish up about the time our security people had everything moved. Therein
lay a problem. We had to get the horses to our homes and provide them with feed, wa-
ter and shelter. We had to find beef, pork, chickens, turkeys and fish.

Add to that the Wheat, Corn and Oats and the COB (corn, oats & barley) horse feed
mix. While we were assembling the Skousen walls, we discussed all the things we still
need to accomplish before we got more snow. Oh, I didn’t mention that it had started to
snow around the time we started on Bill’s walls, did I? You couldn’t see the lights on in
the greenhouses during the daytime so the sky was obviously ash filled. Manny, Sam
and Joe lived about one mile apart with closest being about two miles from Bill’s and
three miles from us. You shouldn’t really pour concrete when the temperatures are as
low as they fell, but we added an accelerant to the concrete and put them in plastic
tents fed from a kerosene heater. We did all four of the footings before we returned to
Bill’s to start on their walls.

Joe, Sam, Bill and I started installing the framing and added the plywood sheath. We
next added the window extensions and finally began laying the block. At our house, we
all learned a lesson. In order to maintain a slope between the house and the outside
wall, we made the outside wall two blocks short of the inside wall. The area between the
inner and outer walls was covered with that 1” road plate and tarred and shingled. Yeah,
I know, you can’t nail into 1” road plate. We didn’t try. We waited until the tar was really
tacky and slapped the shingles on. They were only for appearance.

Unfortunately, my shingles slid and as we finished up Bill and Susan’s we topped the
road plate with plywood and stapled the shingles in place. Joe was two miles from Bill
and he was next. It didn’t go any faster than it had at Bills, but Baby, it was cold outside.
We were collecting the kerosene heaters aka hog house heaters and moving them with
us to keep from freezing. We had to move the snow off the footings at Joe’s before we
could start construction.

“Maybe we should stop with Joe’s house.”

“Why?”

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“We’re freezing our butts off and I’m not sure the mortar will set in the outside wall.”

“But, I want my house done and I’m the last one in line,” Sam said.

“Look guys, 90% of the protection comes from the gravel so all we have to do is put in
the steel framing, add the plywood and fill the space with gravel. We can do the remain-
ing work when it warms up. Something else you should be thinking about is getting that
livestock rounded up before it all starves or freezes to death.”

Keep rollin', rollin', rollin',


Though the streams are swollen,
Keep them dogies rollin', rawhide.
Through rain and wind and weather,
Hell bent for leather,
Wishin' my gal was by my side.
All the things I'm missin',
Good vittles, love, and kissin',
Are waiting at the end of my ride.

Move 'em out, head 'em up,


Head 'em up, move 'em on.
Move 'em out, head 'em up: Rawhide.
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in,
Ride 'em in, cut 'em out,
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in: Rawhide!
Hah! Hah!

“Don’t give up your day job.”

“I know that one, Top Gun, right?”

“What a waste.”

“Huh?”

“She claims she’s gay.”

“Who, Charlie?”

“Yeah, Charlie.”

“I thought she was Amish.”

“Only in Witness.”

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“Just a cotton picking minute. George, you said that 90% of the protection comes from
the 32” of gravel. I can accept that…but what about the windows? We can’t install the
shutters unless we construct the block walls and install the rebar and fill the cavities.
Since the three of us know how to do this, let us continue and the two of you go find the
livestock, feed, hay and straw bedding. Find an equipment trailer and tow a forklift and
add a pallet jack. Another thing we’ll need to do is erect some kind of pole barns to shel-
ter the livestock. The lot next to mine is empty at the moment because the rioters
burned down the house and a demolition company cleaned up the lot and took out the
slab.”

“Any objections? No? Ok Sam, we‘ll do it your way. How are we paying those guards,
exactly?”

“Beans, rice, corn meal and flour with some canned meats, fruits and vegetables. They
groused about the quantity of food; I pointed out that it was about equal to what we
were eating. The silver coins took out the sting. We’ve been holding off the bullion gold
and paying them in junk silver. A thousand dollar face value of circulated coins contains
715 ounces at 30 an ounce. A half dollar is worth about 10.72, a quarter 5.36 and a
dime 2.15. We’re in good shape there due to our salvaging efforts.”

“What about those people who don’t have gold or silver?”

“Everyone has to have something of value that they can trade for food, even if it’s only
manual labor. We’d better value manual labor at the federal minimum wage to be fair
about it.”

“So, 35 cents face value of 90% silver?”

“Close enough. It’s actually a bit higher than the federal level of $7.25 since 35 cents
face is $7.51. It does give them the opportunity to acquire things we don’t have for sale.
Uncirculated ‘junk silver’ contains 723 ounces per thousand of face value. Its value is a
bit higher. I don’t know anyone with uncirculated ‘junk silver’.”

“Helen and I have a bit.”

“How much is a bit?”

“Three thousand dollars face. Mom and Dad invested in it back in 1964 and bought a
thousand dollars face each of uncirculated dimes, quarters and haves. It’s put up, but at
30 an ounce the halves are worth 10.85, the quarters 5.42 and the dimes 2.17. We also
have some circulated silver that really is ‘junk silver’ and there’s no real reason to bring
out the good stuff since most people wouldn’t know the difference.”

“We either going to be considered to be their saviors or opportunists. Fair enough. From
now on all expeditions off the properties will be in full battle rattle. That includes body

149
armor and LBE. HK-417s for the men and HK-416s for our wives with shotguns and pis-
tols for backup.”

“That’s it, I guess. Bill and I will take off early tomorrow, around 7 am. We’ll start with the
grain and then get the horses. After that, we’ll just take what we can find that’s aban-
doned. We can gill net the fish from the canals around Phoenix and check out where
they keep their breeding stock of Tilapia. The thing is I’m not so sure about the Tilapia.
They were maintained in the canals to eat the vegetation. But, Tilapiines are also
among the easiest and most profitable fish to farm. This is due to their omnivorous diet,
mode of reproduction (the fry do not pass through a planktonic phase), tolerance of high
stocking density, and rapid growth.”

“I see. That’s why you’re growing them in your greenhouse.”

“By the way, all three of us setup our operation the same as you did yours. What did
you do Bill?”

“Nothing beyond the water tanks and the worm beds. I’m waiting until we get rabbits to
install the hutches. The rabbit droppings feed the worms and the worms feed the fish, or
so I’m told. The thing is, a worm isn’t vegetation and I’m a bit confused about the whole
scenario.”

“George, I’ll be at your house around 7 am. We’re going to need to line up the pallet
jack and forklift before we go looking. Want to start with the horses?”

“We’d better start with the feed. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up some poles, trusses and
sheet metal for the pole barns either. We need shelter and food before we can haul the
livestock. If we keep it simple and can find some king post trusses with a 1:1 pitch it
won’t take much to slap together the pole barns. We can lay plywood or OSB on the
chord members to hold the hay and straw. Probably need some type of small metal
grain silo or two. Store COB in one and some kind of cattle/hog feed in the other. Maybe
a mixture of corn and soybean meal or whatever we can find.”

“Hold on there hoss. You’re saying we’re going to have to get the structures before the
animals?”

“Not necessarily. If we find the animals, we can move them to a farm or ranch with a
good supply of feed. However, and it’s a big however, we can’t move them to our places
until we can feed, shelter and water them. I’ve seen some of those old Butler grain bins
that the government used to store surplus commodities in, somewhere. I just have to
think about where I saw them and hope they’re still there when I do remember.”

Butler sold its grain bin business in 1997. The same grain bins they developed for the
US Government back in 1937 are still manufactured by CBC, Inc. Except for the name

150
plate, they’re Butler grain bins. Butler Manufacturing Company introduced its first galva-
nized steel grain bin in 1907. By 1938 research had proven the superiority of these bins
over wooden ones, and the next year the US Department of Agriculture announced its
intention to receive bids on delivering 30,666 steel bins needed to store excess grain
from a bumper crop. This order was one and a half times more bins than had been pro-
duced the previous year by the entire industry. Guaranteed bids had to be submitted
within 30 days and delivered within just 60 days of receiving an order. Butler took on the
challenge and, against phenomenal odds, refurbished an abandoned plant in Gales-
burg, Illinois, supplied it with machinery, staffed it, and mass-produced 14,500 steel bins
in 59 days, plus another 6,000 bins in just 15 days.

“You know we might get lucky and find a full bin.”

“If we do, we can move an empty one here and transport the grain from the full bin to
the empty bin. Then, we locate a second full bin and transfer the contents to the now
emptied bin after we move it.”

“Where are we going to put them?”

“I was planning on tearing down the house on each side and erect the pole barn on one
lot and the two grain bins on the other. The houses adjoining ours on each side are
empty.”

“I’m going to call the Pep Boys and tell them to go ahead and finish up their walls. While
I’m at it I’ll, let them know that each will need two empty lots for the pole barn and grain
bins.”

“That will be a good start.”

“There’s more?”

“Oh yeah, block walls enclosing all five of the combined properties. Each lot will need
the gates like I have in my wall.”

“You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“Absolutely. Once people figure out how much we’ve accumulated they’ll turn out in
droves demanding handouts. Since all of them have had the same opportunity to accu-
mulate what we have, I’m disinclined to give out handouts. If they’re willing to work, we’ll
find something for them to do at one of the three stores; or in select cases taking care of
the livestock. Helen and I put together some small humanitarian aid packages, mostly
for women and children. We have some for men who may be unable to work. All of
them are one time deals. Make your call and we’ll take off.”

151
°

Bill and I moved COB to the stable and got the horses fed and watered. We then
searched for livestock. We found far more dead than alive, but find them we did. Our
best score was a herd of Black Angus grazing in a pasture. We moved them a few at a
time to the stable. There were several calves, their mothers and two bulls. They were
about as much as we wanted for the moment. We had to use horses from the stable to
move the cattle, especially the two bulls. I’m sure glad I learned to ride.

There was an abundance of feed at the stable and we put the remaining cattle in the
barn with feed and water. Bill and I discussed the situation and agreed to ask Susan
and Helen to keep those cattle and horses fed and watered. We would let them out
weekly and muck the barn. Swine were harder to find. We ran across a small herd of
Yorkshires. We took the entire herd, moved them to the stable and bedded them down.
One ranch further on had another breed of pigs, Hampshire’s. Again, we moved the en-
tire herd.

We stopped searching briefly and went to a nearby farm store looking for portable
chicken coops. We found the coops all right, and a large number of rabbits. We used
the coops to move the rabbits back to our homes with all the rabbit feed we could carry
to add to that we already had.

“Aren’t they cute?”

“Don’t get too attached, you might end up eating a friend.”

“The cattle and horses seemed happy to see us. What kind of pigs were those?”

“Yorkshires. Today we added Hampshire’s. We’re not going to have room for the live-
stock we found so we’re only going to move some of the horses from the stable and
keep the other livestock there. When we find chickens, we’ll bring them directly home in
temporary coops.”

“Hold your horses, George. Where are we going to put the chickens? Where are we go-
ing to put the horses? When are you going to get the fish to finish off that little project?”

“The fish we can do anytime, we just need to string a net across one of the canals.”

“Okay, do that tomorrow, we have plenty of nightcrawlers to feed the fish and with the
rabbits, the number of worms should increase rapidly. Now, where are we going to put
the chickens?”

“Bill and I discussed, briefly, demolishing the houses on either side of us. We’d use one
lot for a pole barn and the other for grain bins. The chicken coops could go with the pole
barn.”

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“You said bins, plural. Why do you need more than one? Won’t chickens eat the same
food as horses?”

“Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care? You just may be right. I think we’d have to process
the COB slightly but it should work.”

“So can you fit it all on one lot? Knowing you, the new lot will have to be enclosed in a
block wall, right?”

“That was the plan.”

“That means you’ll have to erect a street side wall and one on their far property line.
And, you’ll have to cut a space for a gate in our existing wall. How about you build the
chicken coop in our back corner and get a prefab building from a lumberyard for the hen
house?”

“Good ideas. Have you been in touch with the others? How’s that work coming along?”

“Joe’s is finished up and Manny’s will be by the middle of next week. They’ll start on
Sam’s and it will be done by the end of the following week.”

“Have you been checking on the guards at the stores?”

“Everything is moved and the stores and warehouse are locked up tight with guards
posted 24/7. Marilyn, Cassandra and Julia have located meat cutters and butchers. Ad-
ditional 53’ reefers have been moved to each store. Each store has a large diesel gen-
erator and a double tanker of stabilized diesel fuel. Each has been equipped with multi-
ple large propane heaters and industrial sized propane tanks located, installed and
filled. The five of us took it upon ourselves give each of the guards some meat from our
freezers in addition to their food and silver wages. They’ve really worked hard.”

“Who is going to run the stores? At the moment, the five of us are tied up locating live-
stock and completing the construction projects.”

“The guards said they’ve had inquiries from several people pertaining to when the
stores will open. Additionally, some former employees have inquired about possibly get-
ting a job. Several were former checkers, bakers and a few that stocked shelves.”

“The five of you will have to do the screening and hiring. You’ll also need to decide on
compensation.”

“Seems to me that everyone should earn the same wage. We won’t hire more than one
person from a family.”

The next day, we put stock tanks half filled with water in the back of both pickups and
located a net. By 1PM, we had all the fish our tanks could hold. Frankly, I’m surprised

153
the fish had survived the cold. After lunch, we located five nearly identical prebuilt build-
ings appropriate for hen houses. We also located T posts and chicken wire. Manny told
us that when we found the chickens, he’d show us how to clip the wings to keep them
from flying. They were well along on Manny’s Skousen wall. The shutters had been pre-
fabricated and would go up as soon as the wall was finished, on either Tuesday or
Wednesday next week.

I had filled Bill in on the things Helen and I had discussed and we informed the other
three men. It seemed they already knew most of what we told them from the ‘wives
network’. It was agreed to only use one additional lot at each location with a smaller
pole barn for up to four head of horses. For the others, one grain bin would go in on the
same lot holding COB. The pole buildings would have a single entrance and the side
would be one side of the chicken yard and the backstop for the hen house. There
wouldn’t be much spare room on the lot and it would be totally enclosed with block walls
with a gate to the primary lot.

“As soon as our wives have hired staffs, we should open the three stores. That means
you’re going to have to haul hogs and cattle to the stores so the butchers can do their
thing. You probably should plan on four head of cattle per store and a half dozen hogs.”

“We can do that Manny. Are you three going to continue the construction until we’re all
done? We’re going to need more cattle for sure and probably more pigs. We haven’t
seen any chickens yet or turkeys.”

“Yeah, you guys keep looking for food for us and food for the livestock. Once we finish
up at Sam’s, he will be set to go with the pole barn and grain bin if you can find one.”

“I think I remember where I saw them, so we’ll go look. They were sort of small and we
might be able to move them intact on a truck.”

We did find the grain bins and there were six in the location. Four were empty and the
other two held COB. We looked around the ranch but didn’t find any live horses. We
looked the grain bins over carefully and they we sitting on concrete slabs, but unat-
tached.

“You know, what we need is a tilt bed truck with a winch. Figure someway to tilt the bin
over and put a skid under it on each side and them tie the skids together. After that, we
could tilt the truck bed and pull the skid with bin onto the truck bed.”

“Won’t work, they are much wider than a truck.”

“So, we use four skids instead of two.”

“You think that will work?”

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“We can always go to Plan B.”

“What’s Plan B?”

“I’m working on it.”

We returned to Phoenix, located a tilt bed truck at a farm equipment retailer and picked
up a bunch of 4×6s at a lumberyard. Returning, we lay the timbers where we wanted
them and used the winch and a 4×6 to tilt the grain bin, whereupon Bill inserted the first
inner and outer skids on the lifted side. It took very little tilting to insert the other skids.
We then began installing the cross braces, two on front and two on back bracing the
braces with 2×12s to prevent twisting.

“You ready?”

“Yeah. Go ahead and move the truck and then tilt the bed.”

“I’ll do that, George, and you hook up the log chain to the front braces.”

We hauled the grain bin to Manny’s and they helped us unload it on the vacant lot.

“Are they all the same size?”

“Yep.”

“Full or empty?”

“Four empty and two full. I thought we’d move five for us and the extra to the stable.”

“How are you going to move the grain?”

“Probably find an auger and auger it into a grain truck.”

“You should probably wait on the grain bins until we’ve cleared the lots. Better hang on-
to that truck too.”

“Ok. Get some crowbars and let’s dismantle the skids.”

By the time we’d finished, the bin was sitting on the ground about a foot and a half from
the sidewalk and a foot and a half in from the property line. The pole barn would go be-
tween the grain bin and back block wall. We took the truck home and Helen hauled us
back to the implement dealer’s place to pick up our pickups and we followed her home.
We had time so Bill and I drove T posts and strung the chicken wire in our back corner.
We had a drink and Bill and Susan went home.

155
“What’s cookin’, good lookin’?”

“Fresh chili and homemade French bread.”

“How long before it’s ready?”

“Go wash up and sit down to eat.”

“Can you hold it so I can get a shower?”

“I can, but the bread is still warm. It’s up to you.”

“I’ll be right back.”

156
The Trials of George Thomas – Twelve

Seven months later – Recovery:

It took us the last seven months to complete the tasks we needed to complete. Once
staffs were hired for the three stores, livestock was brought in to be butchered, aged,
cut down to primal cuts and cut into retail cuts. Some of the Black Angus cows provided
milk, but not like regular milk cows would have. Once we had the chickens, both hens
and roosters, we began saving the eggs and putting them into incubators. Maybe 75-
80% were fertile and hatched. We all expanded our chicken pens and divided the
broody hens and roosters from the new pullets and young roosters. They eventually be-
came our source of chicken for the stores.

The tilapia did well but the demand far exceeded the number we were producing so we
hired two guys to net them from the canals and take them directly to the stores where
the butchers were tasked with filleting them and getting them in the freezers. We had to
play musical chairs with equipment to ensure that each store had sufficient retail freezer
space. The fish were dying off due to the cold.

The stable remained our prime location for the cattle, hogs and extra horses. We did
begin selling horses when we were asked if we had horses for sale. We made a trip to
California and bought turkeys to round out our poultry offerings. As things began to take
on a sense of normalcy, we imported additional agricultural commodities of all kinds.

Unlike the other four families in our group, Helen and I went ahead and cleared both ad-
joining lots and put the fifth and sixth grain bins on the second lot. This let us build a
pole barn large enough to hold 8 horses, all geldings. Geldings, we thought, had several
advantages. First, they were less difficult to deal with than stallions; second, they didn’t
need time off when carrying a foal; and third, they were better tempered than either the
stallions or mares. It also seemed they had greater endurance. Arizona is horse country
due to the number of ranches and we had no problem locating a farrier and keeping him
busy.

Bill and I continued to look for and find grains of all kinds that the stores could turn into
retail products. Corn was ground into corn meal, wheat into flour, oats rolled for oatmeal
and cracked barley sold in bulk. The food imports included honey, onion, garlic and to-
matoes plus nuts and fruit from the big valley. Premixed COB was acquired to feed the
large herd of horses. Some ranchers had begun to produce hay again and we got a few
to plant wheat and/or oats and others to grow the barley.

We located a grain elevator, complete with staff, to process and store our grains. They
put us on where to look for the supplements they added to some of their mixtures. The
area around Phoenix, while not prospering was much better off once they had source of
food available and some of the normal store bought foods, like sliced bread. Each store
had a relatively new bread slicer and could cut up to two pound loaves in addition to
producing their ever present muffins of all types.

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Initially people would come in and look and drool looking over our selections, buying lit-
tle. When it was explained that we would accept labor in payment for the foods, busi-
ness picked up. We were offering 35¢/hour face value in junk silver as our base labor
rate and a little more for the few skilled workers we needed.

Finally the day we were dreading came to pass, the ANG showed up. After they got
over their amazement at the conditions in the greater Phoenix area, they dropped the
other shoe. The explanation they offered was that there were others in Arizona with a
greater need. The ten of us asked to meet with the man in charge, a Lieutenant Colonel.
He declined to meet with us. That night, we moved three additional M2HB and M240
machine guns to the three stores ensconced in sand bagged fighting positions on the
roof tops. We added defensive hand grenades and rockets. They weren’t getting the
goods that we’d spent time and money on collecting nor the other things we produced
like the meat products and fish.

They had a M2HB…we had M2HBs. They had an Mk-19 and we had AG-C/EGLMs.
They had M72 rockets, but we had more. They had M-16s and most of us had M1As
and other 7.62x52mm caliber rifles plus 5 Tac-50s. The main thing we had was right on
our side. We had gone afield gathering, but never all that far from Phoenix. No more
than 40 miles in any direction.

When they showed up the next day to haul the contents from one our stores, our rapid
reaction force showed up slightly after. The ten of us, all sniper grade shooters, made
up the reaction force. We called the head guard and told him to give them an ultimatum,
“Leave of Die!”

Their response was to swing the heavy weapons towards the store and the riflemen
lined up pointing their weapons at the two guards by the entrance. We fired two shots,
eliminating the heavy weapons gunners and allowing our guards to slip into the store.
They were told a second time, “Leave of Die!” Their response was to replace the heavy
weapons gunners. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We re-
sponded with rockets, 40mm grenades and our own M2HBs. There would be no fool me
trice. We did manage to recover the M2HB and the Mk-19 and some of the ammo.

Another trip was in order to gather up belted 40mm grenades. Sam and Joe went after
them while we collected their dog tags and buried the bodies. The remaining troops had
bugged out. We told Joe and Sam to keep a lookout for the troops that had bugged out.
It was a street fight, pure and simple, and there are no rules in a street fight. We had
agreed in the beginning that we would give no quarter. One final point, we could easily
see they were wearing Interceptor so we limited our fire to using the .50 caliber rifles
and machine guns. The best aiming point for Mk 211 is the body armor plate.

Joe and Sam said they’d seen neither hide nor hair of the guardsmen up at Camp
Navajo. Never the less, they were back within two weeks with an enhanced company
consisting of four infantry and two heavy weapons platoons. Our guys did locate two

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additional Mk-19s but none of the M40 106mm recoilless rifles. The M40s had been re-
placed with TOW missiles after Vietnam and most of the remaining stock sold to foreign
countries. Heavy weapons platoon is a term which refers to an infantry platoon
equipped with machine guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, flamethrowers, gre-
nade-launchers, anti-tank weapons, and/or other portable heavy weapons.

This Company had, in addition to a Captain as Company Commander, a full Colonel


who was the Brigade Commander.

“Who is in charge here?”

“No one. Our five families control the three grocery stores and keep them provisioned.”

“Who was responsible for the attack on the men in my command?”

“That would be our five families and our security force. The destroyed HMMWVs were
dragged to a parking lot and stripped. The troops were buried in a cemetery with one of
their dog tags nailed to the wooden cross. Here are the second dog tags. We used cof-
fins but lacked the means to embalm the bodies.”

“What gives you the authority to kill my men?”

“Both the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution. The right of the people to be se-
cure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched,
and the persons or things to be seized. And, No person shall be held to answer for a
capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand
Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual
service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same
offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal
case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just com-
pensation.’ ”

“That still doesn’t permit you to kill them.”

“We held our fire until they aimed their Ma Deuce and Mk-19 at us. At that point, we on-
ly took out the two gunners and gave them a second chance to back off and they re-
placed the gunners to continue their attack. At that point we opened fire. We’re well
equipped with fifty caliber weapons.”

“Probably all marked Property of the US Government.”

“The machine guns obviously are. The rifles are all locally produced and individually
owned.”

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“Who makes them here?”

“McMillan. They’re all Tac-50s. Just because the machine guns are marked Property of
the US Government doesn’t mean they are. There’re actually many in civilian hands and
all registered with the ATF on the National Firearms Registry.”

“You must be aware that a state of Martial Law exists.”

“We weren’t notified if it does. Honestly we could really care less. It’s taken you two
years to get to the largest city in Arizona. We haven’t seen any food or medical sup-
plies. A fair number of the locals in the winter months are snowbirds. They’re mostly
seniors who required prescription drugs to survive. I think you’ll find that they are mostly
dead. We busted our butts for two years establishing this food supply set up and provid-
ing jobs to many of the residents; either as store employees and working at one of our
operations. We pay above minimum wage in food and silver.”

“You’re quite proud of yourself?”

“You damned right and with good reason. Now, are you here to help or here to try and
take what we have?”

“Try?”

“Yeah, try. You’ll never get it done Colonel. In fact, at the moment you’re covered by two
Ma Deuces and five snipers with Tac-50s. You should be more concerned about leaving
alive than threatening to taking our supplies.”

“Ex-military?”

“Second Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.”

“More than just you?”

“A little of everything. We can turn out a force larger than yours in under ten minutes.”

“No way!”

“I held my radio to my mouth and said, Code Red at the Central Grocery. Start your stop
watch Colonel.”

At home Helen picked up the Code Red and the location. She got on CB Channel nine
and repeated the message. She quickly slipped into full battle rattle and headed over to
pick up Susan who was waiting when Helen arrived. In normal times, the central loca-
tion was a fifteen minute drive in very light traffic. These weren’t normal times and there
was no traffic. They made it in nine minutes from my call.

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While not everyone had a radio, enough did that I could reach them all with my radio. At
ten minutes, the Colonel said, “Times up, I win.”

I put my radio to my mouth and said, Please show yourselves.

The turnout was better than I expected. We had them outnumber by almost 2 to 1.

“What do you call yourselves, the Minutemen?”

“That wouldn’t be politically correct Colonel. The group includes many females. We
mostly call ourselves friends.”

“I see. What would you need in term of outside supplies?”

“We could use medicines, a Doctor or two, a Dentist, an Optometrist or Ophthalmolo-


gist, nurses and aides where appropriate. For food, mostly spices, sugar, baking pow-
der, baking soda, salt, coffee, tea, and cocoa. Other things like toilet paper and feminine
hygiene supplies. Basic work clothing and cold weather clothing. We could use gaso-
line, kerosene, diesel fuel and propane as soon as it’s available. We have most of the
rest covered.”

“Maybe one doctor, one dentist and an Optometrist. Some food, basic supplies and
clothing. Not much fuel available at the moment. None of the refineries were hit, but that
ash really gummed up the works. On top of that, they’re haven’t been any oil imports
since the war.”

“We understand that, Colonel. I said as soon as it’s available. The population of the
greater Phoenix area is a pale representation of what it once was. It’s approximately
0.0004 of the last census. That’s 0.04% Colonel if you’re not up on your math skills. Had
someone shown up within a reasonable time, it would have been more like 4% or even
higher. It’s not so much that we got much radiation from Los Angeles as the combina-
tion of the long fallout decay period coupled with the volcanic ash.”

“What’s the surviving population?”

“Between 6 and 700. I can guarantee you one thing; the survivors are a hardy bunch.”

“You’re kidding, right? Six and seven hundred?”

“I’m as serious as a heart attack Colonel. I’m not really in charge as I said before. Our
group of five families come as close to authority figures as exist here and all we do is
run and supply the grocery stores. Rather strange grocery stores, too. You can get most
of the usual items in the grocery section, guns and ammo in another section and sal-
vaged clothing in another. You know the Phoenix weather I assume? Between 110 and
120 during the summer months some years. Not a lot of cold weather gear except in ski

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shops and sporting goods stores. Carhartt is either in Dearborn or central Mexico. We
mostly have Columbia Sportswear from several locations plus Filson from one store.”

“We’ll see what we can do, but no promises.”

“Don’t run into too many honest military these days.”

“What makes you think I’m being honest?”

“No promises. Ok, are we done here? If not, let the fight begin.”

“No, we’re done. Thank you, uh, you didn’t tell me your name.”

“George Thomas.”

“Thank you mister Thomas. Captain, head ‘em up, move ‘em out south towards Tuc-
son.”

Keep rollin', rollin', rollin'

[Nowhere in the song does it say head ‘em up, move ‘em out. It does say move 'em out,
head 'em up and also says head 'em up, move 'em on. You may want to lookup Eric
Fleming on Wiki.]

We eventually got the doctor, dentist and an Ophthalmologist. Military corpsmen and
women were released from active duty to provide various communities with nursing ser-
vices. Much of Arizona was a vast wasteland. City after city simply had no survivors.
Some small towns, however did relatively well, like Show Low. Show Low had a popula-
tion of around 12,000 before the war. The current population was around 2,000 and
most were Apache. While the Apache only constituted about 3½% of the population be-
fore, that changed and they now accounted for 90% of the population.

Remember our project with Skousen walls? Spent a lot of time on that project and used
not only time but materials. Was it a case of gifted foresight or a huge waste of time and
resources? Helen thinks I should make you guess. I can’t figure out how to do that in
this instance. Just when we were convinced it had been a waste of time and resources,
those eyes that the hills had came out of the hills. They watched and waited and waited
and watched some more. When they finally came to town, they had eight specific loca-
tions in mind.

I guess, looking back, we should have totally cleaned out Camp Navajo of anything we
could use and destroyed the rest. Just because our little MAG, if that’s what you think
we are, didn’t like direct gas impingement systems didn’t mean that others felt the same

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way. The US government swore by the rifles that they’d used since the mid-sixties. Eve-
ry branch of service use the 5.56 M-16s and 9mm M-9s.

By now you must know that we favored the 7.62 caliber rifles and .45acp caliber hand-
guns. Our wives had the same plus 5.56 and 9mm. The increased recoil was directly
related to the increased energy leaving the barrel. Unless your hand was too small for a
P-14, it was probably the best choice. Otherwise there was nothing wrong with the
M1911A1. Colt Commanders were smaller still. The 50BMG cartridge had participated
in WW I and every conflict since. Strangely, it was nothing more than a scaled up .30-06
cartridge but it did the job intended, and more. One of the measures of armor effective-
ness was whether or not it could be penetrated by a .50BMG AP round.

We had made one change to the Skousen walls that Jerry never mentioned. We could
close the outside shutters from the inside using metal rods to push the shutter past per-
pendicular and pull a rope to finish closing them. It took a right smart shove to get them
moving, but once moving the momentum carried them past perpendicular and a tug on
the rope pulled them closed. The rope could be tied off to keep them closed.

One of the problems we realized early on was that very little sound came into the hous-
es, especially when the aluminum shutters were in place. But those aluminum shutters
weren’t bulletproof. Two inches (50.8mm) of road plate should stop a .50BMG AP round
and an Mk211MP round would penetrate 11mm of armor plate. How does that compare
to 2” of road plate? Your guess is as good as mine and time will tell, perhaps.

Our home had a limited number of windows. There was one on either side of the main
door in the living room, one in each of the two bedrooms and one over the kitchen sink.
The window in the third bedroom, now our study, had been pulled years earlier and the
holes closed. Both the front and rear doors had their own road plate shutter with the
same closing arrangement as the window shutters. All five homes were equipped the
same. As a rule, we kept the shutters over the doors open as well as the window over
the sink and the window to the left of the front door (looking from the inside out). The
aluminum shutters and road plate shutters for the bedrooms we kept closed as was the
window to the right of the living room door.

Around oh dark thirty (3 am) our home came under fire. I began closing shutters as fast
as I could on the front side of the house (one door and one window). I moved to the
kitchen and closed the rear door shutter followed by the sink window shutter. A flick of a
switch brought the remaining aluminum shutters down. Meanwhile, Helen was on the
radio putting out a Code Red call and giving our location. The problem was that the at-
tackers had attacked eight locations, our five homes and the three stores.

“Helen, assign squads to specific locations. Two squads to each location.”

Our squads weren’t military squads, they were groups of people in the same neighbor-
hoods and we had a lot of squads, over twenty. She did the math and assigned two
squads to each store and three to each home. We moved to the basement, barred the

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door and entered the shelter with that thick steel and concrete door protecting us. I fired
up the radios and listened to the various exchanges. We had not made provisions for
firing ports and I’m not so sure that was a bad decision. A firing port, while allowing you
to fire out, also allows opponent to fire in. It also creates a weak point in your overall de-
fenses, thereby becoming a tradeoff.

The walls were built after the war, something that most people would have laughed at.
Like TOM says, the Opry ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Would we do more? Probably
not, we were about as secure as we could reasonably be. We are talking 32” of -¾”
gravel between two 8” block walls with all openings protected by 2” of road plate. It just
occurred to me, how much RHA equals 2” of road plate? Do we need to add a second
set of shutters also 2” thick? Hmm… Nope, can’t do it without a major rebuild. We’d
have to replace the plywood shells with concrete block walls.

They screwed up. They were using M-16s, which even under the best circumstances
gum up due to lack of lubrication and an accumulation of carbon firing residues. Maybe
you could actually get 600 rounds from an M-16 if it was totally clean at the outset and
you kept it lubed with CLP or motor oil like Grand likes. Somehow I rather doubt these
people had read much on Frugal’s. They did manage to punch some holes in the out-
side layer of concrete block, nothing is impossible. It took them more time than they
thought it would and they ended up receiving fire from behind them.

There are only so many certainties in life. You’re born. You live. You die. You most like-
ly pay taxes whether you want to or not. That applies to everyone, red, yellow, black or
white, skinny or fat, short or tall, old or young, atheist, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu or
Muslim.

Our people were equipped with Main Battle Rifles; you know the heavy 7.62x51mm ri-
fles of multiple brands: M14s and their various clones, FN FALs, various HK firearms
and so forth which all had one thing in common. They used some kind of piston and
stayed clean for a very, very long time. Most were semi auto and that feature encour-
aged the user to select and carefully place their shots rather than spraying and praying.

Spray and pray is a derisive term for firing an automatic firearm towards an enemy in
long bursts, without aiming or just in the general direction of the opponent. This may be
done especially by the poorly trained. It differs from suppressive fire as the shooting is
sloppily directed. This term does not apply to appropriately focused fully automatic fire,
true suppressive fire, as possible for a well-trained user. It was due to the tendency of
soldiers to spray and pray during the Vietnam War that the US replaced the automatic-
fire setting that was on the original M16 with three-round burst fire for the M16A2 and
M16A4/M4 carbine.

The M14 and many other 7.62x51mm rifles which were initially designed with full auto
available proved to be less than satisfactory. The US eliminated the selector and other

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components from the M14 due to its tendency to ‘shoot the moon’. Some say the only
really successful rifle of that caliber that was controllable was the Beretta BM-59 with its
tri-compensator. I’ve heard comments both ways.

Regardless, the outcome was never really in doubt. Spray and pray against aimed
semi-auto fire is a sure looser. And with a bullet weight 2½ times more than the 5.56,
the 7.62 resulted in one shot kills or eliminating the combatant from the fight. Don’t for-
get, the standing order was no quarter.

Not long after, the Colonel paid us another visit, having heard of the ‘Battle of Phoenix’.
It really wasn’t a big deal, they spent a few days collecting statements, collected the sto-
len government weapons and left.

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The Trials of George Thomas – Epilog

Those of us that got a little extra radiation exposure, by in large developed cancer in the
later years. Maybe Helen grounding me was a good thing. I was the last to be diag-
nosed with cancer and surgery, chemo and radiation therapy eliminated it, at least tem-
porarily. We’re getting up in years and the oncologist seems hopeful that it won’t reoc-
cur. No promises, of course, but my oncologist says it’s ‘looking good’. Maybe he’s right,
the treatment was three years back and if I make it to five I might just make it.

Phoenix. Like many cities around the country, is once again a growing community with a
population of about 25,000. Bill, Sam, Joe and Manny are all gone now. Their wives
having the higher life expectancies and smaller radiation exposures are hanging in, bid-
ing their time until it’s their turn. Overall, our operation continued and expanded as more
crops began to be grown here in Arizona. It’s warmer now, but nowhere near what it
was before the war. We have yet to hit 90°F as a daytime high. Agriculture exists be-
tween Phoenix and Tucson and produces enough to feed the entire Arizona population
and export almost as much as is consumed locally.

The Midwest is making a comeback, but it has been slow. California, on the other hand,
is producing the major share of food for American consumption. They have ample rain
and have mostly gone green using natural fertilizers. They lost enough population that
they now have more electrical power than they need. Circumstances finally forced them
to open up offshore oil and gas production and their budget has been balanced or has
produced a surplus for several of the past years.

The only remaining issue of any real importance is the use of coal for electrical genera-
tion. Most of the nuclear reactors around the US have reached the end of their useful
lives and have been retired. That included Palo Verde, the principal source for Phoenix.
There isn’t hydroelectric power being generated that reaches Arizona because of dam-
age to the grid. Locally, within Arizona, lines were repaired and coal power from
Holbrook is our primary source. Technological advances have greatly reduced the car-
bon and CO2 emissions for most of the power plants and they’re still being upgraded as
time and funds permit.

Phoenix proved not to be the typical city in terms of loss of life. Overall, 30% of the US
populations survived…about 90 million in total. China ended up with a similar sized
population. India and Pakistan figures are imprecise but it seems that about 20% of their
populations survived as well.

The Mideast is far different than before the war. There is no nuclear ambiguity simply
because Israel supposedly used every last weapon in their inventory. The only country
they didn’t strike was Turkey; although they threatened to if Turkey attempted any move
against them. We presume they have some weapons safely tucked away in case Tur-
key moves on them.

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Russia endured twenty years of severe weather, primarily because of the volcanic ash.
They didn’t use many of their nuclear weapons aside from those they used on China.
They are THE Superpower these days. We still have all fourteen boomers and there’s
talk of a new Minuteman missile, the Minuteman IV. We have enough warheads in our
stockpile to equip the missiles if they are, in fact, built. It seems rather reminiscent of the
Peacekeeper missile. Various laboratories are upgrading older warheads in the stock-
pile to place aboard the new missiles.

We did finally have state and national elections. The Libertarians and Tea Party, com-
bined, hold a majority in both the House and Senate. It was economically unfeasible to
rebuild Washington, DC and the new national capital is now north of Wichita, Kansas a
little north of McPherson.

I’d better wrap this up; Helen has homemade chili and warm French bread.

© 2011, Gary D. Ott

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