Imagine waking up one Wednesday morning. It is just another average day, the forecast traffic to work with a slight chance of nodding off at your desk. You make your morning cup of coffee, the oil you need to lube you up for another day at the grind. You hear your kids stirring and beginning to get ready for school. Your spouse is up and about as well going through their normal routine, preparing themselves for another fine day at the office.
You turn on the television and start flipping channels trying to find the news. You really want the weather report so you know if you have to bring a jacket or a rain coat today, maybe an umbrella. You find the station you are looking for and begin to settle into your cup of coffee. The kids come into the kitchen like a whirlwind attacking the breakfast you made for them, grabbing the lunches you packed for them, and after a moment of stolen hugs and kisses they are out the door in about forty five seconds flat.
Your spouse comes down the stairs and kisses you goodbye as they head out the door to work. You will be just a few minutes behind them leaving yourself. This is just gearing up to be another day-in-the-life episode. You lock up the house, hop into the car, fire the engine up and get underway. You never did hear what the weather forecast was. They were mumbling about something and never got around to it. That, or you had missed it while loving your family on their way out the door.
There you are on the freeway crawling alone at the speed of smell and listening to NPR when the story breaks in. What seemed like another random school shooting this morning is turning out to be something much more sinister. It seems as though on this day there were multiple school shootings all over the country. Now you hear that there were church bombings as well. You have not decided yet if this is real or is this a dramatic segment of morning radio, maybe someone is telling a story of some kind.
Then you hear the state of emergency broadcast…
This is not a drill or a test of the emergency system. This time it is for real. You are struck dumb with disbelief. You question whether or not this is really happening. It is so surreal that you question whether or not you are even awake and not dreaming. Maybe this is all in your head and you are sound asleep back at home. Maybe you dozed off in front of the television again waiting on that weather report that never came.
Unfortunately none of this is true. It is a real emergency. It’s country-wide and it is really happening. You snap back to reality and realize the things most important to you are not within arm’s reach. Not only that, but you are stuck in traffic and it is growing chaotic as everyone, now aware of what is going on, fueled by emotion, tries to get wherever they are going even more aggressively. This in fact only cases traffic to thicken and run slower and also become more dangerous.
You reach for your cell phone and het the speed dial for your spouse only to find the network is flooded with calls and yours didn’t go through. You try each of your kids to the same effect. Now stuck in traffic, communication cut off from your family, a state of emergency outside, only now does panic begin to set in. You take a moment to get yourself under control so you can think. You thank God your parents made you take those classes on camp craft at the Y.M.C.A. when you were a kid. They had a whole section about getting lost in the woods and techniques on stress management should you become lost.
You get yourself together and decide your best course of action is to ditch the car and get to your kids school on foot. After all it is only a few miles from where you are and just a couple of miles to the house. Maybe your spouse is already there. You hoof it to the school and find that they are managing the chaos a bit better. You find your kids and the lot of you hurry back home and your heart settles when you find the other car in the driveway.
You rush inside and there is your better half standing there watching the news and waiting on you. After a brief period of exchanging hugs and kisses you all sit down to watch the news and follow the events. You don’t worry about the car too much. If they tow it you can always look for it later. It will end up in someone’s impound lot.
After half a day and the story playing out, a representative is shown on the screen and the words spoken makes our heart sink. Congress his just declared a state of martial law. You are not sure what that means entirely but you know it is not a good thing. This situation just got serious.
Now this is when I pose a series of questions to you. The title of this article is “The Martial Law Survival Guide.” First question we aim to answer is “What is Martial Law?” If you are going to survive something you had better know what it is you are trying to survive. Next, what happens when martial law is declared? Then, how will a declaration of martial law affect you? And finally, what steps can you take to survive martial law?
Over the next few paragraphs we will discuss martial law in detail and answer these questions in the hope that, and God forbid it does happen, if you are ever in a situation where martial law has been declared you and your family will make it through to the other side alive and together.
What Is Martial Law?
Let us begin by breaking down what these words mean. Don’t worry I will not go into phonetics and the etymology of the words. I just mean in a very general sense. We all know, or at the very least have some idea, of what law is. That would be the set of rule and policies we as a people have developed for ourselves to ensure society is not in a state of pure chaos. When you were a kid and your parents told you what time to be home or what you could and could not do in their house, that was the law.
The word martial is derived from the word mars. Okay so I did go into word origin a bit. So what? Mars was the Roman God of war. So when we refer to things as “martial” we mean pertaining to war or the military. So martial law is a state where the military becomes the enforcing arm of the government. Not only that but the military assumes control of the government and is responsible for the policing of its citizens.
Martial law is a declaration by Congress in times of extreme circumstances. In instances of civil unrest, catastrophic natural disasters, invasion, or mass attack a state of martial law may be declared. This is different from a state of emergency in that rights and liberties may be suspended. This is the real danger for the prepper and his/her family.
What Happens When Martial Law Is Declared?
When martial law is declared, as I said before, the military assumes governmental control of civilian law and activity. High ranking military personnel will take the place of your elected government officials and dictate public action in an effort to maintain order. Military personnel must abide by what is call the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ if you use acronyms.
As a citizen, under martial law you will still be subject to civilian law and not the UCMJ, however the military has the authority to suspend some of your key rights and liberties for the duration of the crisis. One right that will be suspended is freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that at any time and without warning soldiers can come into your home, rifle through all of your stuff, and take what they want.
Imagine that. If the military powers that be decide the public should not be armed for whatever reason they can just kick in your door and take every weapon they can find. They can go door to door and house to house if they wanted to. They have had the last fifteen years to practice and perfect those techniques.
Imagine that. If there is a food shortage and they determine that for the “common good” food should be collected and rationed out they have the authority to clean out your refrigerator, cabinets, and pantry if they so wish. Sadly enough that goes for you as well. They can come to your home in the dead of night and drag you out of your bed without a warrant and without warning. This too they have spent over a decade perfecting.
Freedom of association will be suspended. Well what does that mean to you? I’m not entirely sure. Let’s think about that for a moment. It is possible that the karate class your kid goes to every Monday and Wednesday where all that parents sit is the gallery and are allowed to watch may be shut down. A place where people are meeting and discussing and practicing fighting techniques may be the seeds of rebellion. No one knows really.
Any gathering, even common social functions, could possibly be seen as threats and have stoppages put on them. Linked closely with freedom of assembly, the right to act as a group collectively is what gives citizens power. This suspension will aim to squash collective cooperation. Divide and conquer is an old strategy of war. Think about that.
Most certainly curfews will be set and the freedom to move about as you please will be infringed upon. Getting caught out past curfew or in an area deemed off limits may have somewhat severe consequences. They may detain you indefinitely. Questions will be asked and answers will be sought after. Needless to say it will not be a pleasant experience. Though it will definitely make for a good story to tell when it is all over. Be cautious.
Habeas corpus may be suspended. This means that they have the authority to detain you as they like and under conditions that would normally be considered unlawful. As it stands it is illegal for one to detain another unless acting on behalf of the court as its custodian. Suspension of habeas corpus means that though the military is not a court appointed body they still have the right to jail you legally. You may also be subject to military tribunal where you are considered guilty until proven innocent.
How Will A Declaration Of Martial Law Affect You?
Under martial law you will not have the rights and liberties you are accustomed to. Life as you know it will change. Many thing you have learned to take for granted over the years will be the luxuries you will yearn for. There will be stricter control on the place you can travel to and from. Sure driving to school or work may be fine. And of course there should not be a problem going home. That is where they want you so they can keep you in line.
Traveling to events may be ended for the foreseeable future. Concerts may be stopped and sporting events may be stopped. They may have certain sanctioned events that people can attend but ask yourself it the entirety of the city you live in can fit into one of its stadiums. I doubt that it could. That means there will be many that will not be able to go.
Radio and television may be flooded with propaganda. Of course I mean more than it already is. Control the music, control the people. Media is a very powerful tool and the military is very familiar with this power. Look into psyops if you ever get a while hair and need an interesting subject to occupy your time. Having said that you may believe that your only safe haven is the net. Maybe you can just get all your media need from the little device you are reading this article on. Beware! There is much misinformation out there and really no way of validating it.
So every bite of info you take from the web make sure it is with a fairly large grain of salt, a huge grain of salt, a hunting salt-lick grain of salt. Prepare to have your privacy destroyed. Chances are there are some of you that are reading this article that have been stopped by the cops while driving. It may have been for traffic tickets. It may have been for speeding. You may have had warrants for your arrest. And out of those people there are some that have had the cops search their vehicles.
If you have ever had the cops search your vehicle how did that make you feel? Violated maybe? All of your personal items shuffled through and strewn about your car. And did the searching officer have the courtesy to put all of those items back in a nice and neat order? Of course they didn’t. They left them in a pile on your passenger seat, on your dashboard, or in your foot well. Am I right? Then they have the audacity to say have a nice day when they drive off.
Now imagine if this happened to you on your way home and then upon entering your home you found that it also happened to your house. Immediately you would feel like you were robbed, further violated. Upon informing local law enforcement you find that the National Guard had been going house to house doing a massive weapon confiscation. You check and just as you feared your father’s shotgun, which his father gave to him and has been in your family for three going on four generations, is missing along with every other weapon you owned.
And they would have the audacity to post a notice on your door telling you to have a nice day. The part that hurts the most is it is coming from the people that we have chosen to protect us. At what point did we decide that damage was for our own good? Seems cold and counterproductive if you ask me. What would happen if you decided to speak out? That’s right. You guessed it. Detention without cause. And they could do it too.
Late night clubbing and carrying on would come to an end with the enforcement of curfews. With social gatherings being kept to a minimum and movements being controlled there is bound to be jobs and businesses that will suffer.
We must not forget about the elephant in the room. Martial law is not declared for no reason. Like I said in the beginning it is in a time of crisis, catastrophic disasters, invasions, foreign attack, and extreme political unrest. So whichever one of those occurs you will have to contend with that as well. In light of that some of the actions taken under martial law will be beneficial to you. They will be uncomfortable and inconvenient but the ultimate goal is survival. Or so we hope.
What Steps Can You Take To Ensure Your Safe Survival Of Martial Law?
As bad as all of this sounds there are steps you can take to mitigate some of the negative effects. It is always important to note that without a survivor’s heart and the will power to push through a shitty situation no amount of techniques or tactics will help you. Take the time, right now, to make up your mind that in the face of adversity you will not go quietly and without a fight.
Step one it to stay calm and do not panic. Things will be chaotic enough and you must keep your cool in order to think clearly and rationally. Slipping into psychogenic shock, though not life threatening, ca be a bit of a setback. Learn techniques for dealing with stress. Look into calming breathing exercises and meditations that help you to clear your mind, calm down, and collect your thoughts.
When something way outside of the everyday routine happens there will be a moment of awe. How well you deal with this “awe” moment will determine how quickly you will get down to dealing with whatever the problem is. Formulating a plan also helps with this. It gives you a series of actions to take and doing something is better than doing nothing. It focuses the mind on a task and not on a problem. Hopefully the task will aid in solving the problem.
The first order of business is to get your family together as soon as possible. In the military we would constantly be doing accountability. Every man must be accounted for and you must do the same for each member of your family. Even if gathering them together is an impossibility at that very moment you should at least know where each member is and who they are with. So make phone calls, send texts, do whatever you have to do to account for each member of your family.
Next have a plan on where to meet should the worst happen and review it often. This could be having everyone meet in the living room. That way if something catastrophic happens everyone knows to get home as soon as possible and get to the living room or wherever you decide.
Once everyone is accounted for then all of you can share information. The television and radio will be giving you as much information as they can but nothing is a substitute for firsthand experience. What did you see and hear? Get as much information as possible so you can plan accordingly. There may have been an attack on the city’s water supply and now everything is contaminated. You must train you and yours to keep their eyes and ears open.
I would guess that the first seventy two hours will be by far the most chaotic. First you will have to deal with whatever the initial threat is. Next will come the opportunists. They can be even more dangerous than the original threat. Avoid these people and avoid their situations. These will be the people that see something bad happening and decide it is a good opportunity to hurt people, steal things, and damage property.
It is best to stay indoors until the chaos dies down. If you must go out then you should follow a few rules. Again, avoid the looters and vandals. Do not become one yourself. Be a good citizen and law abiding even more so. In a mass incident governing bodies will be stretched thin do not add to that stress by being reckless. Keep some form of identification with you. If there is an invasion or foreign threat you will want to be able to identify yourself at all times.
Do not get do anything that will get you arrested or detained. Under martial law you may not have the luxury of spending a night in a holding cell and being released in the morning like you were publicly intoxicated. You could very well be arrested and thrown in with a number of other offenders with the intention of it all being sorted out later. Your stay may be much longer than you anticipated.
Depending on the severity of the incident there may be an establishment of concentration camps, prison camps, or quarantine camps. Do not do something so stupid you get yourself thrown into one of these because at that point there is no telling when you may ever see your family again.
So your best bet is to get everyone at home and plan for the long haul. It is going to be safe for you to bug in. Now the world outside of your home poses numerous threats. We have established what some of those are and we have decided to stay inside and wait out the “storm.” There are a few preparations you can make to help that time be more comfortable.
One of the most valuable skills you can have when things go bad is the ability to rely on yourself. This will give you confidence and make you a valuable asset to your community. When the military decides to ration out food and water, you will need to have your own supply stashed away. I do not mean stockpile your fridge and pantry. That would be putting all of your eggs into one basket and in the event of food seizure for redistribution you will be left at the mercy of the government.
Think of your food like you would think of your money. It is an asset and how much you have determines how wealthy you are and how long you can survive without replenishing it. With your money you should have a checking account for everyday operating. This is like your fridge. You put food in and take food out regularly. Then you have your pantry. This is like your savings. You stock it and use it periodically if you absolutely need to.
Then there are your investments. This is what separates the prepper from the dead. You spend time building and building this food source for the long haul. And just like a long term monetary investment you want to protect it from loss. It would not do you any good to store food only to find that when you need it, it has rotted away or been ravaged by some critter.
This is where skills come into play. You should learn to can and jar your food to preserve it. Then when everything comes crumbling down you can barter with you preserved food like it were money. When you save food you want to save things like canned goods. These can last for many, many years. MREs, meals ready to eat, have a shelf life of about eleven years. I would suggest cycling through them every five to seven years or so to maintain freshness. Trust me. You do not want to have to eat an MRE that is too far past its expiration date.
Consider dehydrated and freeze dried meals. These can last quite a long time. For an extreme last resort look into a trail food called pemmican. This stuff was what the early pioneers carried with them out into the frontier. It is a mixture of lean meat, berries, and animal fat. This substance is not difficult to prepare, is packed with life sustaining energy, and will keep for a ridiculously long time. Anthropologists have found pemmican over a hundred years old that was still edible.
Grow your way to success. Plant something in your backyard that will bear edible fruit. Plant an apple or an orange tree. In a time of hardship this can be a Godsend. It will be a self-replenishing source of food as well as a source for “money” should you need to barter with your neighbors. Also when you acquire those canning skills I mentioned earlier you will have to have something to can or jar right?
If you happen to be in an apartment, then you will not have the luxury of a backyard to grow in. This is okay. You can make due. This is where travel gardens, self-contained plants that can be moved at a moment’s notice, can be a great asset. You can maintain them and move them around as needed. You will not have the ability to plant a fruit bearing tree, unless you have permission to plant on the communal property, but you will be able to plant herbs and vegetables relatively easily.
Stop, Look, and Listen!
Now that you have gotten your family together and you are all safe what should you do next? Yes, read the tittle of this section. Stop, look, and listen to what is happening. As a family it would be wise for you to sit around the radio or television to get a clear picture of what is going on. When martial law is declared the government will certainly inform you by one of these means.
You should pay attention and gather as much information as possible. They will tell you if there is a curfew imposed and what those times are. They will tell you when and where you will be able to move. They will tell you what has happened and what they are doing about it. They will tell you where the danger areas are so you will know where to stay away form. By gathering as much information as you can you will be able to make better more informed decisions about your and your family’s survival.
Having said that, I will follow up with be sure to take everything the government says with a grain of salt. There is a possibility that they will lie to you or not tell you the true gravity of the situation in an attempt to not cause a panic. It would be a good idea to have secondary and maybe even tertiary sources for information.
Your computer (should the Internet work and remain uncensored) may be one of your better bets as you can get many different points of view from a wide variety of sources from all over the world.
Be careful though. There is no law written that says when someone puts something on the internet that it must be one hundred percent true. You would be wise to start now in finding reliable sources of information and fact checking everything.
If I have not said this already you should talk with your neighbors. Keep a dialogue going with the people in your community. They will be in it with you and will help you. So you should be willing to help them. They may have skills and abilities that you will need to call upon in a time of need. More importantly they will have their own ways of getting information. There is a possibility they could have family in the armed forces that has the real story and is willing to share it with them.
Befriend your neighborhood patrolman. Chances are that they will have much more information that the average citizen. Their primary function is to keep you safe already so they can more than likely caution you and direct you in what the best actions to take. Remember they are men and women with families just like you. Having said that you should always trust your instincts and use your better judgement.
Train and Maintain Your Most Valuable Assets
You should begin right now to prepare, grow, sharpen, and maintain your two most valuable assets, your mind and your body. When the house of cards come tumbling down all you are left with is your health and wits. Read, read, read everything you can. And I do mean everything. This will train and expand your mind, make it more agile.
You should be gaining new knowledge daily. This can only help you when you need to think your way through a problem. You want to read not only factual material like, biographies, non-fiction, and manuals, but stories of all kinds. These will aid your memory and train your brain to make faster connections between ideas as well as creating new ideas. Reading will expand your imagination and ingenuity.
You will also need to train and maintain your body. This is your most valuable tool and weapon if the situation call for it. Keep yourself fit and healthy. You should already be visiting a healthcare professional annually or semi-annually. You do not want to be one of the ones that has their body fail them when they need it to work the most. Do not let yourself go and have your weight get out of control.
Running from a threat is so much harder when you are weighed down. Not to mention that access weight is ultimately more stress on the heart when you exert yourself. If you do not already have one you are implementing, begin a strength and cardiovascular training regimen. Remember that when things go wrong you will have limited resources. This means you will have to rely on yourself for many things.
There is a possibility that you may have to walk a few miles to get food or water and then walk back home carrying a load. If this were the case could you do it right now? Could you sprint one hundred yards and then climb over a fence to get away from a threat right now? I want you to think about that for a moment and imagine what things would be made harder due to a lack of strength, endurance, and mobility. Now plan your workouts accordingly.
Having a knowledge of basic first aid and CPR can literally be a life saver. Contact your local YMCA or Red Cross and find out what types of emergency medical training they offer. Should someone become hurt or ill you will want to have the training and skills to deal with it especially in a time where your movements may be limited and venturing out is dangerous?
You don’t need to go to medical school but the basics in life saving will be helpful. You should know how to clear and airway and do CPR. You should learn to use an AED, (automated external defibrillator). You should learn how to stop significant bleeding. And lastly you should learn how to secure a broken limb. A basic knowledge of over the counter medications would be useful as well.
Taking a Stand
Chances are that if martial law were declared the reasoning would be political or environmental, but the possibility of invasion is still very real. There may come a time where a foreign power decides to come into your home and do with you as they please. The military will be in control and they will do what they can, but they are only a small percentage of the population and they cannot be everywhere at once.
You may need to defend yourself. If the time comes when you are required to fight for your life and that of your family’s, would you have the tools to do so? Weapons (lethal and non-lethal), armor, techniques and tactics, an overall strategy. What is your battle plan? Even a simple plan is better than no plan at all. There are classes you can take and instructors you can work with that will teach you how to fight and look after yourself.
Study a form of hand to hand combat and practice it regularly. Not only will this keep you in a fine degree of physical fitness but it will give you confidence and further increase your self-reliance. Have your whole family train and study together. This way you all will know what you are capable of.
Learn to use firearms. Guns are a great equalizer. They make the small and weak capable of defending against the big and strong. You should have at least one in the house and the entire family should be aware of it and have the knowledge of how to use it. That way in an emergency anyone in the house can grab it and employ it.
Then you will need a battle plan. A simple family survival plan should suffice. There is no need to get terribly complex. If your home is invaded you will have the advantage because you know where everything is. Your assailant will be the one stepping into the unknown. You should have a panic room of some sort, a safe haven everyone can retreat to in a time of crisis.
Next you will want to run regular drills. Look at all of the entrances to your house and ask yourself how would someone get in and what is the best way to react to that threat? Then as a family you will want to pretend that someone is trying to get in and execute your plan.
Finally we have come to our last resort, bugging out. This is reserved for when the shit gets too thick to stand in and you must get your family out. In the event your house is damaged beyond repair, your neighborhood is contaminated, or your home is invaded and you are forced out, you will want to have a plan on how to respond to that.
You will want to plan where to go should you have to leave and you all get separated. You will want to plan on what to do. Every member of the family should have a bugout bag for such an occasion. It should be put somewhere it can be gotten too quickly and easily. An emergency pack would do you no good if you had to climb into the attic to get it. Each member of the family should maintain his/her own pack and know how to use everything in them.
There are many different loadouts for a bugout bag and what is useful to one person is just extra weight to another. Different regions with different climate will have different clothing and equipment. Some bugout bags may include winter gear while another may have climbing or swim gear. It is really up to the individual and where they are planning on going.
A basic bugout bag though has a few essential items. First off you should plan on living out of your pack for about seventy two hours. The bugout bag is not a long term fix but it should carry you for at least three days. You will want a sturdy backpack that distributes the load comfortably. In that bag you will want to put items that will aid you in getting where you need to go.
You will want to have food and water. You will not travel very far dehydrated and on an empty stomach. Water for three days can get rather heavy. A work around is a canteen that filters bad water and iodine water purification tabs. Trail food or MRE’s should suffice. For three days you will need about six of them. To cut down on the weight you should field strip them and discard all of the extra packaging.
You will want a first aid kit and a pocket sized first-aid manual. Walking out of a bad situation is made twice as hard with a twisted ankle that goes un-splinted. To piggyback on that you will want to have a good pair of hiking boots with good foot and ankle support. Pack at least three pair of extra socks. Bring extra clothes and clothes tailored to the weather. You will want a flashlight and extra batteries for those nighttime excursions.
You should pack land navigation equipment. Have maps of your local area. There may be a need to bypass closed or damaged roads. Pack a compass just in case. If the signal is not shut of then also bring a GPS. Pack a survival radio that you can power with a hand crank. This will aid you in keeping current.
Lastly, you will want some form of protection, guns, knives, pepper spray, Taser or stun gun, even a police baton, just something to defend yourself with should the need arise.
Good Luck and Godspeed
I will close by telling you that this guide is not the be-all-end-all of martial law survival guides. Whole tomes could be written on the subject and each one be different form the next. This was written to get you to think and start asking questions. This is one of many guides you will find in your research. And you should do your homework.
Constantly gain knowledge and sharpen your skills so when the time comes, you will know what to do. I pray you never have to apply anything on this list except in the theoretical. Now go out and train. Good luck and Godspeed.