I wrote this last weekend and revised it a couple times before it was ready to send to Jim for posting. If you read Sam’s post over on Survivalblog you will note a lot of the same things covered. At least some of us think along the same lines. I am sure that as the subject is covered more, better ides will surface. My oldest son just graduated from the same type of college Sam describes and in the four and half years he was there he never felt the need for gear, but did keep a very small BOB handy. Every situation must be evaluated on its own merits.
Survival while at College
Two days after a “small” riot or “large” civil disturbance I posted some notes on it over at Staying Alive. (Thank you Michael) I mentioned in that article that my son had survival gear in his truck and couldn’t get to it because the riot was between him and the truck. We do not walk around with our BOBs on, but we do have EDC items. My son carries a pocket knife and a Leatherman tool. That is about all he can carry around a college campus without undue attention. Maybe one of the Ryan’s or Chad can write an article on what they carry/carried while at college. What I wanted to share with you was the survival steps we took his first year at school.
Michigan State is about a two hour drive from the farm. As a freshman he couldn’t have a car on campus so if TSHTF he was dependent on his own wits or us coming to get him. We had several talks about what he would do. We decided that if TSH he was going to bug out to our cabin/retreat that was an hour and half north. There were no large towns to go through to get there and no matter what way he headed south he would pass near large towns. While he couldn’t count on the retreat for much more than shelter and a small food cache, he would be safe.
My son has been hunting and shooting since he was three. (Yes, I know, you think that is too young. Well, it isn’t if it is done right.) He felt “neeked” without a firearm at school, but it could not be over come. We made up a bucket cache for him that would give him a fighting chance. I bought a wrist rocket and a traditional Y shaped sling shot and several packages of ammo in two different sizes. While it was no defense against a heavily armed MZB it did give him some ability to hunt and defend if needed.
Looking back on the preps we made they were totally lacking, but they were better than nothing. We stored a case of Ramon noodles, a couple cases of water under his bed. We dumped a few MRE’s and Mac and cheese packages in with the bucket cache. We added a few camping and hiking items to the bucket and then pondered how to hide it. What we came up with was the old trick of hiding in plain sight. We looked for a small round pillow in school colors to glue on the top to make it a seat or foot stool in his dorm room.
As a freshman my son took an ROTC class and was issued field gear. He added web gear, sleeping bag, boots, and rucksack to his supplies thanks to MSU. He later signed up for ROTC and is now an MS3, but he didn’t have to stay with ROTC and could have turned in the gear at the end of the year and walked away. Something to think about for any people sending their kids off to school.
The list of items that he didn’t have but should have is likely longer than the list of stuff he did have. We should have had a water filter instead of just treatment tabs. Because of the “weapons” mania that revolves around things like knives and axes we did not include a large field knife or hand ax in the cache. The sling shots were as much as we felt safe pushing the limit on. We kept them sealed in their original packages so they didn’t look “used” if discovered. He was at school to advance his chances in life and being expelled was not going to help, so we walked a very fine line. Each person or family must weight the pros and cons of their actions and go with what they believe are correct.
One thing he found out was that he could keep a long gun in the Campus Police office. With that information he took his Mosin up with him and stored it with the police. He knew he might not always be able to get it out, but at least it was close and a better plan than no weapon at all. He kept the bolt with him so that at least the gun was not useful to anyone else.
None of these are fool proof, can’t miss ideas for surviving TSHTF while you or a child are away at school, but they do tilt the odds in their favor.
He now has an off campus apartment and his supplies are better, he can store useful items there, and he has a truck to bug out with. The older he gets and the more years’ experience he gathers at school adds to his chances of survivability.
I hope this helps anyone sending a child off to school this year. I feel lucky that my son takes an interest in prepping and understands some of the ways things can go wrong in a hurry. Like all good survivalist, he is always improving his situation and working toward the end goal of graduating and moving back to the farm where we are restoring our safe haven.
I look forward to added thoughts to improve the odds for those that follow.