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.
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.
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.