Authors: Mark Goodwin
Book Two of The Economic Collapse Chronicles
Copyright © 2014 Mark Goodwin
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote short passages in a review.
All scripture is from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I would like to
thank Jesus Christ, the Messiah. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28
David Kobler for the extensive tactical knowledge provided on his SouthernPrepper1 YouTube channel used in the research for this book.
John Jacob Schmidt and everyone at RadioFreeRedoubt.com and Amrron.com for the radio and digital communications information used in the technical research for this book.
Thanks to my wife and family for
their prayers and support in the good times and the bad.
Thanks to Janice Matthews for much more than editing.
Her comments and suggestions made a better book and a better writer.
Meltdown is a work of fiction, but the threats that materialize in the book are real. Many of the numbers stated in the book are forward projections made by the author and based on real numbers. American Meltdown looks at the current political and financial problems our country is facing and simply does the math. Plan accordingly.
Technical information in the book
is included for educational purposes and to convey realism. The author shall not have liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or allegedly caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book.
For more information on preparing for a financial meltdown or other natural or man-made disasters, visit the author’s website at www.PrepperRecon.com
Except for a few people and one cat whose real names were used with permission, all of the characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, places or events are entirely coincidental.
The American Economic C
Matt Bair and his wife, Karen, moved from South Florida to Kentucky shortly after the EBT card riots the previous fall. The handwriting was on the wall. The country had entered into the throes of death and it was time to get out of the cities.
Bailouts to prop up US deficit spending from the International Monetary Fund came only with the conditions of deep austerity cuts. All government employees, military programs and entitlement programs had been slashed by 15%. Despite the Federal Government’s best efforts, they could not make ends meet.
Municipal bankruptcies were spreading all over the country. Police and other municipal service workers were laid-off or had large pay cuts that made it not worth working any longer. Many police departments had simply locked the doors and the officers walked away. In those cities, the gangs and criminals were now in charge. The collapse had begun and the debilitating effects were spreading like wild fire.
The abandonment of the dollar by foreign nations made it impossible for companies like Walmart, who depended on a strong dollar and weak Chinese yuan, to stay in business. Despite China's determination to suppress the yuan and America's attempt to prop up the dollar, markets proved to be stronger than the central bankers who tried to manipulate the currency trades.
Inflation was now in double digits, even by government standards which constantly changed the metrics to make the reported inflation numbers appear smaller than they actually were. This manipulation instilled a false sense of confidence in the heart of the American consumer. If folks knew how bad things really were, the economy would have fallen apart years ago.
In the last few months, OPEC had canceled oil trade settlement using US dollars and had moved to gold settlement. Many other nations had abandoned dollar-based settlement for international trade. The BRICS nations- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa- had instituted their own trade settlement bank and trading currency. The new currency, called the Bric, was made up of a basket of the member nations
’ currencies. BRICS member nations used the Bric for trade settlement between other member nations but, unlike the Euro, retained their own currencies for use among their respective citizens. This massive move by the rest of the world meant the value of the dollar was in free fall. The trillions of dollars printed through various quantitative easing programs rushed for safe-haven assets. This caused gold, silver and other commodities to skyrocket against the dollar. Average American families were unable to keep pace with the rising costs. Homes were foreclosed, cars were repossessed and credit cards were canceled. The domino effect sent shock waves through the economy like an atomic bomb. Businesses closed, federal tax revenues plummeted and people could have really used some assistance from government programs. Sadly, now that it was a real need, the money simply was not there.
America had spent decades building an entire class of people who were made comfortable in poverty. They were taught that the government would always take care of them through welfare programs. They learned from previous generation
s to milk the system and attain a standard of living that surpassed most of the rest of the world. Their only required task to sustain that standard of living was to show up to the polls every few years and vote for the gravy train candidates.
The financial burden of maintaining the dependent class had hit critical mass years ago. Combined with military spending that surpassed the military budgets of all the other countries on Earth, entitlement spending had taken America's debt into the abyss. The
warnings had been ignored and now the day of reckoning was here. The entire US economy was imploding.
"He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great."
Matt Bair dreamed someone was knocking at the door. The sound came again but harder. It wasn't a dream. Matt was getting in the habit of waking up at sunrise, but this still felt early. He looked at the clock. It was 4:30 in the morning. Then he remembered, it was the first day of militia training. He groggily stumbled to the door and opened it. His cousin, Adam, was standing there, fully awake.
"Rise and shine, city boy," Adam said cheerfully.
Adam Bair was Matt's cousin who lived in Eastern Kentucky since he returned from active duty in the Marines.
Matt got dressed and made a strong pot of coffee. “I’m just going to make a quick breakfast. Would you like some cheese eggs and toast?” He asked.
“No thanks,” Adam replied, “but I’ll have a cup of coffee. We have a little time. Eat a big breakfast. It’ll be two days before you’ll be back in your warm house with the comforts of a kitchen. A big meal now means the food in your ALICE pack will last that much longer.”
The All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment or ALICE pack
was used by the US Army for years. When it was finally retired and replaced by the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment or MOLLE pack, ALICE packs became dirt cheap on the military surplus market. The rugged construction of the ALICE pack made it a low-cost favorite of preppers and militia members.
Matt's pack was heavy. It had the essentials he needed for the next two days of training.
It held a two man tent and a full-size sleeping bag. These items were heavy, but he wouldn't last long without proper shelter. It was January 2nd and the mountains of Kentucky were ice cold. The high for today was supposed to be 30 degrees and the low for the next two nights would be around 14 degrees.
packed several homemade paraffin stoves, similar to Sternos, for boiling water and making hot coffee. They were really just cardboard coiled around inside of an old tuna can and filled with candle wax. They didn’t burn as clean nor as hot as a real Sterno, but in hard times you use what you have.
“What do you have in that big old bag?” Adam asked.
Matt said, “Since there is little risk of spoilage with the low temperatures, instead of bringing canned or dried food, I packed mostly regular food that was already cooked. The bigger threat to the food is to keep it from freezing. I packed the food in the middle of the pack in hopes that my body heat will radiate through just enough to keep it from freezing. I have a huge chunk of meatloaf, some cornbread pancakes and a two cans of vegetable soup. I also have two entire batches of Nana's No-Bake-Cookies.”
cookies were closer to fudge than cookies, but that's what they were called. The sweet treats were made in a large sauce pan on top of the stove rather than in the oven, thus the name "No-Bake-Cookies."
, “I love those things! They’re the perfect trail food. The oatmeal provides fiber and complex carbohydrates. The cocoa gives you some caffeine, antioxidants and that general good feeling you get from eating chocolate. The peanut butter provides good fats and protein and of course the sugar is a reliable source of quick energy.”
, “Nana's no-bake-cookies are always a big hit any time I take them anywhere, so I made a batch to eat and another batch to share.”
“Do you have a good medical kit in there?” Adam asked.
Matt said “I have a small hygiene kit and a good-sized medical kit. The medical kit has aspirin, a small bottle of Betadine, a small bottle of alcohol, antibiotic gel, Band-Aid Tough-Strips, a medical instrument kit, sutures, antibiotics, Tylenol 3 with Codeine that was left over from dental surgery Karen had a few years back and an Israeli Battle Dressing.”
The Israeli Battle Dressing or IBD was a sterile, self-contained, six-inch compression bandage for severe wounds. Israeli soldiers had started carrying them many years ago. The design had caught on and now soldiers around the world carried them into combat.
Adam asked, “What type of antibiotics do you have?”
, “Amoxicillin. The brand is Fish Mox which was manufactured for fish tanks, but I would rather take drugs for fish than risk getting gangrene. We also have a good supply of Fish Flox, which is Ciprofloxacin. Cipro is much harder on the stomach, but if an infection has already set in, it is a more sure method of killing it. Cipro is also one of the few antibiotics that’s effective against Anthrax.”
Adam asked, “How are you set for tools and equipment?”
, “My pack has the usual suspects in the tool and equipment arena. I have a small hand saw, a folding shovel, a fixed blade field knife, a coffee pot and an old steel French military mess kit. My Leatherman Wave multitool stays on my belt.”
Matt grabbed his pack and threw it in the back of Adam's truck. He went back in and geared up. He had never bought a hydration pack for his ALICE pack, so he carried a traditional canteen on his belt.
Matt had found a tactical vest at the flea market back in November. It had to go under his heavy winter coat which wasn't ideal for combat training, but the coat could be shed if need be. He wore a thick hooded sweatshirt under the vest which would keep him warm for a while. The tactical vest had a cross draw holster for his .45 caliber Glock 21 and pouches for his pistol and rifle magazines. It had a pouch on the shoulder for a walkie talkie and a side pouch where he kept a spare IBD.
"Where’s your brother?" Matt quizzed as he got in the truck.
"Still getting ready
," Adam said. "We have to swing back by and pick him up. He ain’t worth no more than a city boy."
Matt smiled as he took the ribbing. At least he wasn't the only slacker in the bunch.
They drove back to Adam's to pick up Wesley. When they pulled up, Adam honked the horn. Adam said, “I told Wes to be waiting outside! He’s having a hard time getting away from his new wife; that’s why he wasn’t ready when I left to pick you up.”
Wesley appeared through the door, wife in tow.
Matt and Adam watched as he gave Shelly one last kiss and closed the front door. Wes quickly sat his rifle and gear in the back of the truck and jumped in the cab.
“Hey,” Wes said when he got settled. “Cut me some slack! I’ve only been married a week.”
Matt asked, “So where are we going to be training?”
, “This weekend, the training will be at Lieutenant Joe's. Joe Rollins is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant who served in Vietnam. He maintains a traditional flat-top haircut and folks around here always address him as Lt. Joe. Joe has a little over 300 acres above Wood Creek Lake near London, Kentucky. His place is pretty central for most of the Eastern Kentucky Liberty Militia members, so he offered to have the training on his property. The large amount of outdoor space ensures we’ll have plenty of room to train without bothering the neighbors.”
When they arrived, Matt could not believe the amount of men there.
Wesley said, “The militia commander, Franklin Johnson, told me he expected about 300 new men in addition to the 85 we had before the meltdown. But it looks like there are already over 400 men here, and more are still trickling in.”
, “Franklin and a few other members of the militia came out to Lt. Joe’s last night to coordinate parking, draw up maps for camp sites and decide where to dig latrines.
We’ll have a few drills teaching basic troop movement, but this meeting will be focusing on information. We’ll be doing a basic gear check and establishing a communication relay system.”
When everyone had checked in, the total was more than 500 men.
Matt said, “It seems that President-Elect Anthony Howe's promise to ban all semi-automatic firearms by executive order has motivated quite a few men to sign up. Howe pledged during his campaign that he would sign the order on inauguration day. That’s less than three weeks away.”
Adam, Wesley and Matt checked in and got their campsite assignment.
"Good morning, Sergeant Bair," the man at the check-in station said to Adam. Adam had trained with the original 85 militia members several times in recent years. Wesley had also, but not quite as often as Adam. Adam had seen his share of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and had been put in charge of some of the militia training in the past couple of years.
Adam was given a photocopied map of the area when they arrived.
He looked at the map and said, “The campsite is divided into quadrants. Each of us is assigned to a quadrant depending on where we live. The campsite is over in that lightly wooded area. There is really nowhere on Joe's property with enough open space to accommodate all of us. It was probably hard enough to pick a spot that was relatively level and had access to the creek. The water is frozen, but I saw some men cutting blocks of ice out with chainsaws. They have a boiling pot going over by that fire. I guess that is to melt the ice and ensure there’s plenty of water for everyone.
“Looking at the map, it appears that each quadrant represents the direction the men are from in relation to the lake. All the guys from the around the Mt. Vernon area, which is northwest from the lake, are in Quadrant I. The men from around McKee, which is northeast, are
in Quadrant II. We all live southeast from the lake, so we’re in Quadrant III. Somerset is southwest of the lake and men from around there are going to Quadrant IV. Quadrant III is more crowded than the other quadrants, but I guess Commander Franklin Johnson is more concerned with keeping all of us together with our neighbors than having the numbers evenly distributed.
“The guys from Manchester
are also in Quadrant III with all of us from the London area. That probably puts the total number of militia men in Quadrant III at nearly 200, roughly double the size of the other quadrants. I’ll talk to Franklin about breaking the militia into five separate companies. Each quadrant can be its own company except Quadrant III. We should break Quadrant III into two companies. We could split it up according to whether we lived closer to London or Manchester. That will be consistent with the Commander’s philosophy. Commander Franklin believes the camaraderie of neighbors who know each other will form a stronger militia and greater morale.”
After Matt, Adam and Wesley pitched their tents, Adam went to find the commander.
Franklin Johnson approved Adam’s recommendations and elected him Captain of his company. Johnson elected a captain for each company that would report directly to him. Each captain was to elect three lieutenants to lead three platoons. The platoons were broken down into two or three squads and staff Sergeants were assigned over each squad. Everyone was arranged to be in squads with the militia men who lived in the closest proximity to one another. The platoons were arranged likewise. This made for an efficient information relay system in case they had to rely on walkie-talkies or person-to-person communications. It would also allow them to rendezvous with their squads and platoons using the least amount of movement to be detected by the enemy.
The companies were named after the closest town. Adam Bair’s
company was called London Company. The men set up their camps in their assigned spaces and spent a while meeting the other men in their companies.
a.m., everyone gathered around Franklin Johnson as he explained the methods of training that he had in mind for the individual companies. He had to almost yell in order for everyone to hear him, but he got it done without a PA system.
Wesley explained to Matt
, “Several of the new members are having trouble with the fact that Johnson has no military experience, especially those who served in the military. Those of us who have been in the militia with Franklin for a while know better. Franklin never joined the military because he didn't trust the government’s decisions. He has no problem fighting or dying for his country, but he feels the military ambitions of the past few administrations, from both sides of the political aisle, had little to do with defending American soil. Franklin paid money out of his own pocket to get advanced weapons training. He studied military strategy and tactics and he worked his way up the ladder in the US Postal Service. That gives him a good understanding of logistics. He was promoted to upper level management with the Post Office and has good people skills.”
Franklin began speaking. "I would like to thank everyone for coming out today. I know it's cold and you left your warm homes to be here. We don
’t know when or if we will have to stand up to the tyrant, but we will do what is required to be ready if that day is thrust upon us. We must be ready to meet him in the snow or rain or blazing sun."
Wesley nudged Adam and whispered, "You can tell he worked for the post office."
"Shut up," Adam said as he fought to keep from laughing.
Franklin continued, "None of you men need a lesson in the Constitution nor in the Bill of Rights. You are well aware of your rights granted by your Creator and the supreme law of this land. That is why you
’re here. Today we’ll be working on information relay procedures, gear checks and some general combat techniques. After today, you’ll only be training with either your individual companies or, in most cases, your platoons.