The Union Creek Journal

A Chronicle of Survival

Archive for the category “Journal Entries”

Arguing with Idiots

I’m sure many of my readers have been party to in-person or online arguments about “gun control” over the last few days.  To the extent possible, I’ve tried to avoid being sucked in to arguments with the idiots who want to sacrifice the Second Amendment on the alter of “doing something” about the tragedy in Newtown, CT – even if the something being done has proven to have no positive effect on accomplishing the goal we all share.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to eradicate mass murder from our society.  On that, everyone (except the mass murderers) can agree.  Unfortunately, the shared vision divides sharply shortly after everyone agrees that we would like to stop mass murder.  For a number of reasons, a segment of our society believes that banning “assault” weapons – or all guns – will somehow magically keep criminals from … being criminals.  This is not Utopia.  Weapons bans do not contain fairy dust to sprinkle over the populous eradicating undesirable behavior.  If anything, weapons bans do the exact opposite.

Allow me to share the work of another writer that addresses, far better than I could, the logical fallacies and statistical inaccuracies at work in the minds of the hoplophobes and gun-haters who want to eviscerate the Bill of Rights:

An Opinion on Gun Control by Larry Correia

It’s a lengthy piece, but well worth the read.  Pass it on!

Mourning the Loss of Innocents – A History Lesson on Mass Shootings

As we pause to remember the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting and pray for those left behind, let us also pause for a brief history lesson related to mass gun violence and the failure of legislative and regulatory attempts to stop it.

First, as painful as each and every mass shooting is (The FBI defines mass murder as ‘murdering a large number of people [four or more], typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time’), mass shootings are relatively rare in the United States. Over the past three decades, the U.S. has experienced 62 mass murders where the primary weapon was a firearm. Even one shooting is one too many, but in terms of real frequency, the occurrence of mass shootings is quite low.

Since the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1990, the preponderance of mass shootings have taken place in gun-free zones. Grade Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Universities, Government Buildings and private buildings with “no guns” signs posted …. These are the havens of mass murderers. Of the 54 mass shootings since the Gun-Free Schools Act passed in 1990, 21 were in schools, government buildings, places of worship or other buildings legislatively designated as gun-free zones. Most of the other shootings were in private locations posted as “gun-free” (e.g. Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE, the theater in Aurora, CO ) or in states (e.g. Illinois and California) with extensive and prohibitive gun ban legislation.

Finally, “assault weapons” bans (and gun bans, in general) don’t work, period. Two key pieces of evidence demonstrate this. First, weapons labeled as “assault weapons” are rarely used in mass shootings. In more than 60% of mass shootings, the firearm was a semi-automatic handgun that did not qualify as an “assault weapon” as defined by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Second, the period from 1994 – 2004, while the ban was in effect, was just as violent, in terms of mass shootings, as were the periods from 1982 – 1994 and 2004 – 2012. Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Research Council (NRC) studied the Assault Weapons Ban and other gun control legislation and determined that neither had any real or discernible impact on gun violence.

As we reflect on the loss related to the shooting in Connecticut, my hope is that any discussion of limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens will be met with calm and logic based upon the facts above. Banning guns is not the answer. As a country, we’ve tried it without success. The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If we want different results. If we want to reduce the number of mass murders, or eliminate them altogether, we must look more deeply into our country’s social fabric. We must ask “why” over and over again until we reach the root of the matter. I have some thoughts on the subject – perhaps I’ll discuss them in another post. The solution won’t involve knee-jerk, quick fix legislation. The solution will take time, perhaps decades, and will be painful in and of itself. True change never comes easily.

Day 1, 0414 Hours: Madness

They say you can survive three days without water. Whoever “they” are … they probably never tried. I’m on day number two without water. My tongue is swollen. It feels like I have a dry sponge in my mouth. My head is pounding like the bass drum in a marching band. Every muscle in my body threatens to betray me with each passing step. I can barely stand. My forward progress, with the weight of my pack and weapons, could be measured in inches. Yet, I have miles to go.

I don’t dare think of the total number. It’s too large. Instead, I must focus on each step. “Just one more; just one more,” I keep repeating to myself.

Surely, if someone observed me over the last twenty hours or so, they would think I was crazy.

There are plenty of those these days – crazy people, I mean. No shortage whatsoever. Millions have been driven to madness. Millions more have died in the last few months – died of starvation; died of exposure; died of dehydration, as I may shortly; died … of madness. A fog has settled over our country and driven the population to the brink … the brink of insanity, the brink of extinction.

I’m close myself – close to madness. That’s why I’m writing this. I’m hoping that writing down my thoughts will keep me sane. I knew someone, what seems like a long time ago, who did the same thing. He kept a journal of his thoughts and actions. He tried to fight the insanity that reached out for each of us. Some, it beckoned with a siren’s song. Some, it grasped with dirty-nailed fingers and hands covered in blood, dirt and grease. Others, the madness led like a pied piper over a cliff into a sea of irrational thoughts and actions.

I need to get moving again. My body and my brain have locked arms in protest. They’re singing kumbaya and refusing to get up. Where are the stinking riot police when you need them? I need some jack-booted thugs with water canons and batons to break up the protest and get my lazy mind and body moving again.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Put down the pencil and pick up the pack. Do it, you weakling. Move!

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If you liked this excerpt from the sequel to The Union Creek Journal, and you haven’t read The Journal yet, you can purchase it for your Kindle reader or in PDF format.

 

 

Storm’s a-Brewin’

I’m pretty sure I can see storm clouds on the horizon.  Hopefully, I’ll the have sequel to The Journal finished before the storm hits.  In the meantime, stay tuned for a sample chapter from the sequel next week.

Keep your head down and your eyes on the horizon.

Thanks!

Just a quick “thank you” for those who’ve voted for The Journal at Top Web Fiction (www.topwebfiction.com).  The Journal is nearly five times more popular than the next closest work of online fiction.

Nice job, Journal fans!

Toby

Tanner’s Trouble

The red lights of the HMMWV glowed as the two five-ton military trucks followed in its dusty wake.  Gravel road disappeared in the dark a few yards ahead of the Hummer while the dust cloud all but obscured the two larger vehicles.

“Either they didn’t get the rain up here that we did down south or these roads dry out exceptionally fast,” Tanner remembered thinking later.

Read more…

Brief Delay

Today’s Journal entry will be slightly delayed due to “technical difficulties”.

Upgrade Coming

The time has come.  Change is inevitable.  The Journal is going to take on its own new normal.

The Journal got its start as a bare-bones blog.  This whole thing is an experiement and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time implementing a “fancy” site if it blew up in my face.

So … prepare yourselves for a bit of change.  The Journal will have a new “theme” in the not-too-distant future.  It will have more of a journal-y look and feel to it.

I hope you like it!

Toby

P.S. If you’re accessing The Journal from a mobile device like an iPhone, Droid, etc. you may not notice the changes.

Februay 10, 2015: Monkeys

I finally had a chance to tune in to some short-wave radio over the last couple days.  Although the weather is still wintry, it would seem that the world is starting to see some sprouts of recovery and re-growth.

From what I can tell, China is leading the way on the international front.  Reports seem to indicate that they were not hit as hard by the crash as were North America, and Europe.  For some reason, I haven’t been able to find out much about the other areas of the world.

It sounds as though Chinese troops, under the United Nations’ crest, will soon be boots on ground in many of the harder-hit countries like the U.S.  No one seems to have much more factual detail beyond that, but there is plenty of speculation that the Chinese forces will essentially be repo-men, disguised by the blue U.N. helmets, looking to gobble up any remaining assets to collect on the debts owed them.

Certainly plausible.

The densely populated areas of the northeastern U.S. were hit hardest here in the states.  The less-populated areas around the cities seem to have fared a little better but were overrun, in many cases, by looters in the mass exodus from the more metropolitan areas.

Destruction in rural areas of the country, like ours, has mainly been limited to larger towns and smaller cities.

Remnants of the old U.S. government are trying to pull together a new, provisional government based in Portland, Oregon.  I haven’t figured out whether that’s a good thing or not.  Too many remnants of the pre-crash government will simply lead us right back to where we were a couple years ago.

It’s like the story of the monkeys.

Scientists put five monkeys in a cage and hung a banana on a string.  Beneath the banana, the scientists put a set of stairs.  The monkeys could climb the stairs to reach the banana.

Every time a monkey climbed the stairs and touched the banana, the scientists would spray all of the monkeys with cold water.  The scientists did this for several days until the monkeys in the cage stopped climbing the stairs.  The scientists then stopped spraying the monkeys with cold water.

Eventually, the scientists removed one monkey and replaced it with a new monkey.  Shortly after the new monkey was introduced into the cage, it began to climb the stairs to get the banana.  The rest of the monkeys immediately attacked the new monkey, preventing him from climbing the stairs to the banana.

One by one, the scientists replaced each of the five original monkeys with new monkeys.  Each time a new monkey was introduced into the cage, it would attempt to climb the stairs to get the banana.  Each time the monkey was attacked by the other monkeys as it attempted to climb the stairs.

After all five of the original monkeys had been replaced, the scientists replaced one of the new monkeys with another new monkey.  None of the monkeys in the cage had ever been sprayed with cold water when attempting to reach for the banana.  Nevertheless, when the new monkey attempted to climb the stairs, the rest of the monkeys attacked him.

Why?  Because that was the way it “had always been”.  None of the monkeys knew any different.

I’m more than a little concerned that the remnants of our government involved in putting together a new government are like the monkeys.  They just don’t know of a better way to govern than the way that drove us to the brink of extinction in the first place.

The fact that China has taken the lead in re-forming civilization frightens me even more.  They weren’t exactly a bastion of civil liberty before the crash.  I can only imagine how their surviving leadership views the new normal.

Is it possible that the sprouts of recovery seen creeping from the rubble of society were the seeds of tyranny sown before its collapse?

As if I didn’t already have a hundred problems.

Speaking of a hundred problems, have you heard the saying, “It’s what you don’t know that you don’t know that gets you”?

I have this feeling that there is a lot we don’t know that we don’t know about Hernandez’s organization.

One thing we do know is that there were multiple outposts.  We know that one of those outposts is just a few miles to our south.  We know, from Pete’s questioning, that Daniel informed that outpost of our existence and location before he was taken into town.  We know Daniel was around long enough to get a pretty good look at our defenses.

We don’t know how many outposts Hernandez had.  We don’t think Hernandez was killed in the attack on the armory – at least Pete’s detainee was pretty sure that Hernandez was not there, personally.

Hernandez seems like a guy that keeps his hands clean, letting others do the heavy lifting and dirty work.  So, it seems quite possible that he’s still around.

We don’t know how many members of Hernandez’s gang were not at the armory when we attacked it.  I’m sure there are other things we don’t know that we just weren’t smart enough to ask before we disposed of our source of information.

Time for a pow-wow between Pete’s family and my family.

On the good news front we were able to “liberate” a fair amount of vehicles, equipment and supplies from the motor pool at the armory.  Hernandez’s troops had obviously been loading supplies into the trucks in anticipation of their attack against us.

We mainly recovered weapons and ammunition, but also a few cases of MRE’s, a number of water coolers and a several ALICE packs filled with battle supplies.

We also ended up with three 6.5 liter turbo diesel HMMWV’s – two up-armored with turret-mounted M2E2 .50 caliber guns and one with an ambulance van – and two Deuce-and-a-halfs.  Both of the HMMWV’s with the .50’s were loaded up with twelve 100-round cans of ball ammo on belts.  In the back of one of the Deuces were another fifty cans of .50 caliber ball.  We also found ten cans of M962 SLAP armor-piercing ammo with tracer rounds interspersed.  A thousand rounds can go through a M2 pretty quickly but it was still a nice find.

In the same Deuce we found about 18,000 rounds of 5.56 ammo loaded in 30 round magazines and packed in “Tall .50” ammo cans.  Someone knew what they were doing when it came to packing ammo.  I store my own 5.56 exactly the same way.  Of course, before we hit the armory, I had nowhere near 18,000 rounds.

There were also twenty M4’s – the newer version with the three-round burst setting and ACOG sights.  We found a half-dozen Beretta M9’s in a locked box in the same Deuce.  Next to the Berettas were three night-vision cases … complete with NVESD Gen III+ devices and helmet mounts.

Score!

There were a number of odds and ends like helmets, web gear, body armor and the like but none in significant numbers.  Most likely it was just the gear for the vehicle’s drivers and co-drivers.  The rest of the gear was probably in the armory when we sent it skyward.

At first I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with all of the weaponry but then I realized that Hernandez is quite possibly still out there and several of his outposts definitely are still up and functional.

Finding a use for all my new toys will not be one of my hundred problems.

January 30, 2015: Trail of Tears

I’m back from following Daniel and I’ve learned a thing or two.

First, I learned that the kid has no idea how to navigate, period.  Second, I learned that he has even less of an idea of how to navigate in snow-covered terrain.  Third, I learned that he also has almost no idea of how to keep himself alive in a non-urban setting.  Fourth, and most importantly of all, I learned a little more about Hernandez’s organization.

We turned Daniel loose yesterday morning.  I volunteered to follow him.  Initially, my eagerness to follow him was met with some suspicion.  Fair enough.  I can understand that.  I tossed the ball back to the group and asked if anyone else thought they could keep up with Daniel without exposing themselves.

As it turns out, pretty much anyone could have.

Daniel’s banishment was almost ceremonious.  We put him out on the road just after sunrise.  Our entire group, minus those on guard duty, was there to ensure that he left.  The look on Carrie’s face was priceless.  Man, I love that little girl.  Her eyes were daggers.  Her face was resolute.  Her shoulders were back and she stood tall.  If whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger … she is going to be one tough cookie.  Interestingly, she was almost the opposite before the crash.

My brother, Levi, went through a pretty ugly divorce several years ago.  The divorce was hard on him and nearly crushed his girls.  Their mother was pretty much a worthless piece of … I’ll try not to get started on her.  That would be a long journal entry!

Anyway, Carrie had seemed defeated by the divorce.  Now, after this most recent horrible experience she was standing tall and relishing doing what needed to be done.  I gave her a big hug as we watched Daniel disappear over the crest of the first hill to the south.  She sniffled a little and snuggled in under my arm.

“Thank you, Uncle David,” she whispered.  “Thank you.”

“I’m just sorry I didn’t get there sooner, honey,” I replied.

She snuggled in closer and wrapped her arm around my waist.  Levi looked over at me with tears in his eyes.  I’m pretty sure he’ll be on board with pretty much anything I think needs to be done in the future.  Now, it’s just up to me to make sure it’s the right thing.

About 45 minutes after Daniel disappeared over the hill, I shouldered my pack and slung my AR-15.  The morning was crisp, but not particularly cold.  Normally, it would be an enjoyable day for a hike in the snowy woods.  In the new normal … it was a beautiful day to follow a teenage kid who we’d just sent on what might very well be a death march.

A little over an hour later I caught up with Daniel.  Watching him work his way through the snow was almost physically painful.  I wanted to go down and give him an education just to make my own life easier.  I suppose it’s not uncommon for people who grow up entirely in the city with shoveled sidewalks, snow-blown driveways and bladed streets to have no idea how to make their way through deep snow.  Daniel obviously had no clue.  He had, apparently, never heard of the path of least resistance.  I measured his progress in inches.

He was working so hard that he’d gotten over-heated and removed his coat.  I watched him finish his first bottle of water before 9:00 a.m.  Rather than re-filling the bottle with snow, he tossed it aside.

I was tempted to put a bullet in his head to put him out of his misery.

He slogged on like that until a little after Noon.  Around Noon he stopped, laid his coat on the snow-covered ground and sat down.  I could see his shoulders shake as he sobbed.

Naturally, he cooled down quickly as he sat there.  He put on his now soaking-wet coat.  I’m sure the coat was stylish before the crash.  It wasn’t very practical, however, in the new normal.  The exterior was a fleece-like fabric and I’m sure the interior was advertised as “sherpa-lined”.

When Daniel set that coat down in the snow, the fleece fabric absorbed moisture and transferred it to the faux sheep-skin lining.  The coat was virtually useless at this point.

While Daniel sat, shivered and munched on one of his MRE’s, I got to thinking about what I would do in his situation.  Start a fire, get warm, dry out that coat – that’s what I’d do.  Conserve my food and water and save my water bottles to melt snow or fill them again if I found a creek that hadn’t frozen solid.

So many people so unprepared ….

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of ringing steel and the crack of wood.  Someone was splitting logs not too far away.  I put my binoculars back on Daniel.  He had stopped rustling the wrapper of his MRE long enough to hear the sound as well.

Daniel dropped his MRE, grabbed his soaking wet coat and made a B-line straight west toward the sound.

I dropped below the crest of the hill that I was on and did the same.

The sound of splitting wood guided me to a little farmhouse about halfway down the south side of a hill.  The place was probably about four miles southwest of our farm as the crow flies.  There is a paved county road a little less than a mile south of that.

I dropped my pack in a stand of trees and slipped up to the top of the hill with my binoculars.

There was a guy on the north side of the house splitting wood.  You probably guessed that I noticed the maul in his hands before I noticed much else about him.  He was short – maybe 5′ 6” – and stocky.  He obviously had either been huge before the crash or he hadn’t missed many meals since.  His hair was black and thick.

I didn’t see any other activity around the house or through the windows.

Daniel got pretty close to the house before the guy noticed him.  Once he spotted Daniel, the guy dropped the maul and grabbed a rifle that had been sitting against a nearby tree.  He pointed the rifle in Daniel’s direction and shouted at him.  I was far enough away that the words were indistinct.

Daniel stopped and raised his hands over his head.

As the wood splitter drew closer to Daniel, he lowered the barrel of his rifle.  Suddenly, I could see him relax and then stiffen up again and look around.  The rifle came back up but not pointed at Daniel.

I heard him say something else unintelligible to Daniel and then the two of them double-timed to the house.  The wood splitter guy looked over his shoulder the whole time.  He definitely knew something wasn’t right.

I held my position at the top of the hill for about an hour.  I couldn’t see anything inside the house.  The sun was out and the interior of the house was unlit.  There were curtains on some of the windows.  Smoke drifted out of the house’s chimney and curled off to the north at a leisurely pace.

I sipped water from my hydration bladder and scanned the countryside.  I could see vehicle tracks in the snow leading away from the house toward the south.  My assumption was that the tracks led to the county road.  I could see drifts that had been sliced in half by whatever vehicle had made the tracks.  It was definitely something big with good ground clearance.  I clicked off the possibilities in my mind.  I didn’t like the possibilities.

About twenty minutes later, the possibilities narrowed themselves down to one.  A Deuce-and-a-half with a snow blade on the front trundled down the gravel road to the driveway of the small house.

Two guys jumped out of the cab and three more out of the covered bed.  They immediately started unloading supplies from the bed of the truck and hauling them to the house.

Roughly an hour later, the two guys who had been in the cab of the truck came out of the house with Daniel.  They climbed back into the truck and headed off in the direction of the paved road.

So, like I said, I learned a thing or two.

I learned that the small farm house is apparently one of Hernandez’s outposts.

I learned that Hernandez is supplying his outposts with military vehicles with snow-removal capabilities.

A safe assumption, based on Hernandez’s military communications equipment and military vehicles, is that he has access to other military resources.

I learned that Daniel is most likely on his way back to Hernandez.  From that information, it’s relatively easy to deduce that Hernandez’s troops will be knocking on our door shortly.

We’d better get ready!

I never should have let that kid go ….

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