With the Coronavirus sweeping the globe, we are beginning to see some fundamental changes to our daily lives. Towns are shut down, and roads are empty. In many places, there have been orders to stay indoors under the penalty of law.
Without so much as a vote, we have seen a portion of the bill of rights disappear overnight. Freedom of assembly, travel, and association are gone. Meaningless if they can be so readily taken away.
We have all witnessed just how fast things can change when society feels itself in danger. The order of things, the world we thought unchangeable, shifted under our feet in a matter of weeks.
Now we have to ask ourselves some questions:
- Can I trust the government to protect the health of my family?
- Just how much power are we willing to give the government?
- Are we sure the government will give that power back?
- Is this stage part of martial law, or will it become martial law?
Today we are going to focus on that final question. In this article, we will be taking a look at the Coronavirus situation, the possibility of martial law in the United States, and how you can begin to prepare yourself.
Contents of this Article:
CoronaVirus and the United States
We can already see that as soon as danger arrives, our rights begin to disappear. With the exponential rise of the Coronavirus, we see states and counties (including my home county here in Sonoma) begin to enforce mandatory curfews and quarantines.
I am not allowed to leave my house unless it is “essential business,” or it is a misdemeanor. Within a week, we have violated some of our fundamental constitutional rights of freedom of movement and association. We have also enacted the Defense Production Act, something made for a war, that gives our government immense control over our economy.
You can argue whether or not these decisions are the right thing to do during a pandemic. Many people would argue that without these drastic measures, Coronavirus could spread faster and kill more people, and they’re probably right.
Still, one thing is undeniable, our government has gained immense power over us in the last month, and if history is any way to gauge current events, we have never been closer to a totalitarian takeover by groups claiming to have our best interests at heart.
Martial Law in The United States
Newsweek put out a great article this week that lays out how the US government would start this process. According to the report:
“Standby orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to protect Washington but also to prepare for the possibility of some form of martial law… The various plans — codenamed Octagon, Freejack, and Zodiac – are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. They are so secret that under these extraordinary plans, “devolution” could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.”
This isn’t some conspiracy theory nonsense. This is for real, and you need to start considering the ramifications.
And for the record, it has happened before in a limited sense. The United States has seen variations of Martial law in 1892, 1906, 1914, 1920, 1921, 1934, 1941 to 1944 in Hawaii, and in 1961. Also, during Hurricane Katrina.
An important note: General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy is the “combatant commander” for the United States. He would be in charge if Washington were put down.
Our Federal Military
Think of it this way: the U.S. Marine Corps is around 186,000. It is estimated that there are roughly 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers working for the various federal agencies. These “agents” are their own military branch operating within US borders.
As a former Marine, I’m not as worried about Lance Corporal Joe Schmo being used effectively against the people of Texas. The chances of sending someone against their home area is too likely in such a diverse force. More likely, the active military will be stationed far away while the feds take over.
They may try things like using the Texas National Guard in California and Vice-versa to try and limit personal issues. This would give the martial law forces many more boots on the ground for simple tasks like road checkpoints, while the agents conduct more dramatic operations.
I worked with many federal agents in the past, and many are good people. Still, you need only look at the track record of many of these organizations to see it is well within their operating procedures to act against the people if they think it is for the greater good, or simply on behalf of the law.
What is Martial Law?
Martial law is the takeover of normal civilian functions by a direct military government, often in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or major disaster, or in occupied territory. While it isn’t always malicious, it is always totalitarian by nature.
In some cases, the populace may not even be fully aware of what happened. In Thailand, they’ve had dozens of military coups in the last century, and for the most part, the people are led to believe they were all necessary or for their own good—if they noticed at all.
The soldiers on the streets are for your protection, not to oppress you, they will say.
It may even be true that the government wants to help, in the beginning. But the one thing that the government never does easily is relinquish power. Once the takeover has begun, there is a chance it won’t end. Human history plays this out time and again. Every totalitarian regime in history has ridden the back of tragedy into power.
The term ‘dictator’ actually comes from Rome; it was a ‘temporary’ position granted to a man when the populace faced total destruction from an enemy. It worked a couple of times. Of course, Caesar was made dictator for life, and thus ended the Republic.
Preparing for Martial Law
There are a few things you can say for certain will follow with a serious military takeover that means to fundamentally change the way we live life.
- Curfews and limits on movement.
- Confiscation of Weapons.
- Possible Confiscation of Drugs, Medicines, and Foodstuffs.
- Media Censorship and restrictions.
- Mass Surveillance.
Finding ways to circumvent these may be necessary. Once you can no longer feed or defend yourself, they have all but won. Luckily, Urban Survival Site is full of tips to help you source your own food, shelter, and water.
The other parts are a bit more complicated. If you have weapons listed in databases, they may come for them one day. You might accidentally lose them somewhere (so they can turn up again when the time is right) or figure out some other means of securing your own household protection when the confiscations hit.
- Keep your weapons hidden and unlisted. Lose them.
- The same goes for food, vehicles, water, medicine, etc. You need to keep these items out of sight and unclaimable.
- Don’t talk about your preparations with others, keep a low profile, and avoid looking militaristic. Blend in, become the Gray Man.
- Learn about how Martial Law works. Some of the best texts on this topic come from the collected documents released by the CIA titled Preparing for Martial Law: Through the Eyes of Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski that were written during the 1980-81 planning and implementation of martial law in Poland.
- Avoid unnecessary travel. Checkpoints will be danger points that will put you into contact with authorities, drawing attention to yourself. Even a small accident may get your name in the system, and who knows what list you’ve been put on.
- Publicly support the new regime but don’t draw attention to yourself (more on this in the next section).
Hearts and Minds
Be the perfect citizen in public. The more you plan to break the rules, the more you need to look like someone who would never do such a thing. Publicly support the new regime, but don’t draw attention to yourself.
Publicly supporting the regime may even get you access to areas where you can gather helpful info—but it can also make your neighbors resentful. Similar to the way the Taliban infiltrated our local Afghan forces regularly to undermine our power there.
At the same time, keep in mind that many people will be paid informants. You need to be very careful with who you can trust—many people may truly think they are doing the moral thing by helping the military government.
Remember, these dark times will look more like the Syrian civil war than the Empire versus the Rebels in Star Wars -good guys and bad guys won’t be obvious to all. Good luck out there!