prepping for a suburban or rural community

Civil Defense Planning: Interview With Prepping Author Mike Mabee

The Civil Defense Book – Prepping for a Suburban or Rural Community author Mike Mabee recently sat down with The Inquisitr to discuss the power grid, and the need to develop a neighborhood preparedness plan. Mike is very concerned about the vulnerabilities of the power grid, and what would happen in America should the fragile electrical system fail. Mabee does not focus on a particular cause of a grid down situation. As he very accurately notes, the catastrophic end results for the populace would be the same despite the cause of a power grid failure.

IQ: In Prepping for a Suburban or Rural Community, you focus on the need for all Americans to become more self-reliant. Do you feel as many off-grid and homesteaders do, that being so dependent upon technology has made an entire generations of Americans weak?

Mike: We are generations removed from adversity and generations removed from self-reliance. This definitely makes us weak. Anybody who lived through the great depression is in their 80s or 90s now. For most Americans, we were born and grew up dependent on technology, specifically the power grid. We are not self-reliant – we are grid-reliant. Everything is fine as long as all our infrastructures work – food, water, sanitation, medical care, and our government.

But all of these infrastructures – including basic rule of law – are completely dependent on the power grid. The majority of people don’t think of it; without the electric grid, there is no food, no water, no sewers, no sanitation, and quickly degrading medical care and rule of law. We are not just weak, we are addicts. The majority of us will literally die of starvation and disease if we lose the grid long-term.

IQ: What role did your professional background play in your decision to write a prepping book?

Mike: I have always been into preparedness. I’ve been a paramedic, a cop in both the military and the federal government. So I have been into preparedness my whole adult life. What got my attention recently was a blackout from an ice storm in 2011. You might say that when the lights went off, a light popped on. I began to research grid security and began to think about what would happen if the grid went down long term. During my research, I ran across House Resolution 762 — 112th Congress. You can get it on my website to read it, or it is included in my book as an appendix. This was such a brilliant idea by a bipartisan group of representatives who were frustrated by the lack of action to protect the grid. They advocated that people and their towns come up with their own civil defense plan.

It is truly unfortunate that this resolution never saw the light of day, but the resolution got me to thinking about what towns could do to prepare. The book flowed from my past experiences and the idea in House Resolution 762. I wrote this book because I have spent my entire adult life in the service of this country and its people. I feel that protecting the country and our communities is still a worthy cause.

IQ: The power grid is vulnerable, not only to an Earth-directed solar flare or EMP attack, but also from seasonal storms. Do you feel that a downed power grid is one of the most serious threats we face on a daily basis?

Mike: It’s not just me thinking it. Several members of Congress believe it. The Congressional EMP Commission believed it. Anybody who thinks through what would happen if the grid went down for a year will be able to draw no other conclusion but that this is a serious threat. Two things are wrong with this picture: One, our Government knows what is at stake and is doing nothing, and, two, most citizens do not know what is at stake and figure that the grid will always be there or immediately be restored; the public is generally unaware of, or apathetic about, the threats to the grid.

I have put together a comprehensive collection of Congressional hearings and government reports on grid security on my website I’m hoping that these will be helpful to those who need “government reports” to believe that there is a threat. These are also listed in the references section of the book.

IQ: Do you think that FEMA is largely ignoring their duty to share power grid emergency preparedness information with the general public?

Mike: Honestly, no. I know there are a lot of people suspicious of FEMA and the government in general. I’m not one of them. I don’t see a conspiracy; what I see is a total lack of any type of plan whatsoever. If there was a “plan” for a long-term grid down scenario, the states and towns would need to know about it. FEMA is not going to air-drop MREs and medicine to every town in America in a national catastrophe. The US Government does not have the resources to do that. I think if there was a plan, we’d know about it. There simply is no plan. We are completely unprepared for a national catastrophe.

But this failure goes past FEMA to the very top. The presidents and Congresses have known about the threats for decades. Both “red” and “blue” administrations, both “red” and “blue” Congresses. This is not a partisan issue: Our government for decades has failed to protect America from very real threats to the power grid. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have failed us. Equally well, I might add.

I would also note that the newly formed Congressional EMP Caucus is bipartisan: Trent Franks (R-Arizona) and Yvette Clarke (D-New York) are among the member of Congress on this team.

Let me digress slightly here. Preppers: please don’t think survival is a partisan issue. It is not. There are conservative preppers, liberal preppers, Christian preppers and pagan preppers. We all may have our various political views, but I will embrace anybody who believes in preparedness and protecting the country and our towns, regardless of which lever they pull in a voting booth.

Both conservatives and liberals will starve to death and die of dysentery in the exact same manner. As preppers, especially when we are talking to townspeople and trying to organize a civil defense plan for our town, it is best to keep politics out of it.

What if the doctor in your town is a “bleeding heart liberal anti-gun tree-hugger?” Does this mean you don’t need him in your civil defense organization? What if there is an engineer in your town who happens to be able to bypass EMP fried circuits and get machines running, but he is of a different religion. Are you not going to use him in your Civil Defense Organization?

We need each other. And like brothers and sisters at the dinner table, we can disagree and argue and even yell ‘I hate you!’ But in the school yard when somebody is picking on our little brother, we are family and we pull together. We need to think of our communities in the same way.

IQ: How do you feel about the SHIELD Act, which has been stalled in Congress for many years, and has the ability to protect to protect the power grid if it ever makes it out of committee?

Mike: The SHIELD Act is a start, but we have known about the threats to the grid for years, and nothing has been done. Congress failed to act on the SHIELD Act before. Maybe the SHIELD Act will make it to the floor this time, maybe it won’t. Even if it does, and it passes, it will still take a long time to actually strengthen the grid. Regulations can take years once a law has passed. We can’t wait any longer for the government to act on this; we need to take our survival into our own hands. Individuals and towns need to start thinking about this now.

IQ: The downed power grid death toll estimates offered by FEMA today seem entirely too low to me. The federal agency did not seem to take into account the thousands of people who would die immediately if flying during a solar flare or EMP attack take down, nor did they consider the property, human, and animal life losses from the fires which would surely break out when transformers burst into flames. What do you think would happen in our society within days of a power grid failure due to a solar flare or EMP?

Mike: Honestly, I don’t waste time arguing. It’s good enough for me that there is general agreement that the majority of Americans would die if the grid went down for a year. Does it matter if “majority” means 60 percent or 90 percent — it’s still horrible either way. The bottom line is nobody knows for sure; there are too many variables. Some scientists say planes would fall from the sky, some say they wouldn’t. Some say most modern cars wouldn’t work, some disagree. I don’t find it useful to argue over some of these things. There is plenty of horrible stuff we can all agree on. And the preps are the same.

So let’s talk about what we know. As pointed out by the Congressional EMP Commission in their 2008 Critical National Infrastructures report, without the electric grid, we lose, food, fuel, water, medical, sanitation, transportation. We lose manufacturing. We lose our economy. We’ll likely fall into shades of anarchy. And what this all means is that we lose the ability to support even a fraction of our present human population. We will die until the population can be supported by whatever resources we come up with in the interim. And that interim could go for a long time — years according to expert Congressional testimony.

So, to answer your question, within days the stores will run out of food and no more is coming. Back-up generators, if they work, begin to run out of fuel. Water systems fail. Sewers fail. Hospitals are without power and without medical supplies and medication. Society will begin to unravel as people get desperate. Picture the days after Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina – rule of law unravels. The difference is that in a local emergency, like a hurricane, you can get in there eventually and restore order. In a national emergency, if society is unraveling on a national scale, the federal, state and local governments will quickly become ineffective.

In a very short period of time, the majority of the country will find itself in a situation where rule of law has vanished. Desperate, starving people will do whatever they can to get resources. No place will be safe.

IQ: Cyber hackers also pose a significant threat to the power grid. The push for a Smart Grid and electric car charging stations increases the access points for hackers. Do you think the Obama administration is taking a power grid hacking seriously enough?

Mike: No. And neither did the Bush Administration. And neither did the Clinton Administration, etc., etc. When it comes to grid security, Cyber, EMP, solar flare, errant tree branch or Enron Energy’s grid manipulation all of our recent administrations have failed.

Many believe that cyber security constitutes a bigger threat to the grid than EMP. Again, I don’t argue. We all agree that the grid is vulnerable. Focus on what we can do to prepare ourselves and our communities if — pick your poison — takes down the grid. So if I’m talking to somebody who does not believe that an EMP is even possible, but says cyber is a threat to the grid — great! I don’t argue. The preps are the same. I do believe that cyber security, or lack thereof, is a huge threat to the grid. And there are several Congressional hearings that talk about this. I have them on my website for those who would like to research further.

IQ: Civil unrest, be it from a power grid failure, pandemic, or economic collapse would cause a significant death toll after a nationwide disaster. Do you address civil unrest preparedness in your new book?

Mike: That is a major theme of my book. Without security, little else will matter. This is also why, for the most part, being a “lone wolf” prepper is not a good plan for the majority of people. I’m sorry people, but you cannot protect your family in a WROL (Without Rule of Law) world. This is a major mistake that a lot of preppers make. ‘I have guns and ammo, and I’ll shoot anybody that tries to take my beans.’ That is just not realistic; the bad guys will have guns, too. And more people than you. If you have never thought about this — or even if you have — I recommend that every prepper watch this video by YouTube’s“stankmouthcharlie.”

I love this video, and he has several others on the subject if that one wasn’t enough. This should scare you to death. Here is a guy who is unabashedly unprepared — but he doesn’t care. He’ll be all right in WROL, but as he points out, most preppers will not. Honestly, we couldn’t ask for a better prepper training video than this. Most people are not preppers. What stankmouthcharlie is talking about here is exactly what non-preppers who get desperate are going to be thinking and doing. In my opinion, he is spot on.

So what is ‘the long neglected PREP’ that we need to focus on — thank you to Prepper Chicks for coining that phrase? It is your community. You can’t be a lone wolf for long in WROL, and it will be hard, if not impossible, to pull together a community after the grid goes down. The solution to WROL is not to let WROL happen in the first place. Your community needs a plan for a worst-case scenario. In fact, Congress proposed a resolution advocating just this concept and that concept of a community-based civil defense is what I based this book on. Unfortunately, this resolution died in committee, but a good idea does not have to pass Congress to be a good idea. People and their towns need to prepare themselves — the cavalry will not be coming. And Congress acknowledges this!

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