Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Camouflage...Mimicry...Disguise...

I've always loved watching various insects and animals...and how they have adapted to blend in with their environments or disguise what they truly are.  It is done as a way to deceive potential predators...or to be a more effective predator themselves...and ultimately survive!  They want to...

1.  be invisible to avoid detection.
2.  look like something undesirable.
3.  look like something dangerous when they are not.

and/or

4.  look like something safe...when really they are dangerous.

Of course...people use these sort of techniques as well.  I'm sure when many of us...when we think of "camouflage" the first thing we think of is the military in camouflage garb.  Or maybe we think of that scene from that Rambo movie where Rambo is being hunted...and as a bad guy steps in front of a mud wall...eyes appear in the mud...Rambo reaches out and puts a giant knife into his enemy!!!  Ouch!

While those are instances of "camouflage"...there are more applications I would like for you to consider regarding your preparedness.

Making Things of Value Look Like Junk

When I first went out as a missionary in the deep south all the new missionaries purchased brand new bikes.  I was thrilled to have my new showroom bike...ready to hit the streets.  When I arrived in my first area...I was surprised to see how junky the old missionaries bikes looked.  I came to find out that they would purposefully take their expensive new bikes...and cover them in duct tape and then roughen up the tape to make them look like junk!  They would mark them up in all sorts of ways to make them look worn and undesirable.  I soon found out why.  When we would go out into the "hood" and lock up our bikes to walk on foot to talk to people...we would come back to find our bikes surrounded by groups of children trying to figure out how to break the locks to steal our bikes!  In those poor neighborhoods...they would go to any length to steal valuable things.  We even had a brand new bike...yet to be made junky looking...stolen off of a second story balcony...where the thief had to climb up the side of the apartment complex to get it!

Now...this was during "good times".  How much theft do you think there will be when things are really bad!!??  There are people who now would never think to steal something...who when the pressure is on would be quick to justify their theft as a necessary evil for survival.  "It's my family or yours!!"  While having fancy things that look expensive may now stroke your vanity...they could one day make you and yours a target of a mugging or worse.  Driving down the street in your shiny newer SUV says to the world "I've got money...and stuff!"  Evacuating on foot during a disaster with all of your crisp clean matching REI gear...while others are covered in dirt...and wearing just the shirts on their backs...could make you a target.  In such a situation...it might behoove you to look a little more like a refugee...not like the Brady Bunch going on a family campout!  Black trash bags covering gear...non-flashy outer shells for clothing...duct tape stuck on things...stuff like that...could save your life.

I am not saying you shouldn't have good quality...clean gear right now.  Just that when dark days come...you may need to be creative to make the valuable things that you have...look junky to predators.

Blending in...Hiding Your Identity


I saw an interview with a now famous actor who lived in Queens New York.  He described himself as "The only white guy in the neighborhood".  He landed a job across town that he would have to walk to.  His path would be full of gang members...thieves...basically lowlifes of every kind.  Realizing that he was destined to be mugged or killed in his travels...as his being the only white guy made him stick out like a sore thumb...he decided that he had better blend in.  Here's what he did.  As he walked he would "talk to himself" and "drool" and make erratic movements with his body.  When he got to work...the acting was over and he became himself again!  Then on the way back home he became crazy homeless man again.  As a result...no one messed with him...and would actually get out of his way...because they thought he was one of the many mentally ill homeless people wandering the streets!

Like the caterpillar disguised to look like bird poop...he became undesirable as he shouldn't have much of real value...because he was homeless...and no one wanted to tangle with someone who was crazy!

Blending in may not mean "not being seen"...like a ninja wearing black in the dark....it may just mean not sticking out because you are in context for the environment.  Like the old saying..."The nail that sticks up...get's hammered in".  If your aim is to disappear...you want your nail head the same as everyone else!  Like just another sheep in the flock...so you may pass through unnoticed.

I think about some survivalist people out there whose closets are filled with military and hunting camo.  If (or most assuredly when) Martial Law is declared...or the government starts to round up civilians (for their own safety of course)...probably the last thing you should be wearing is camouflage patterned clothing.  That is like carrying a billboard saying "I know how to use a gun and might now be armed...I know how to handle myself in a fight...I have a certain view of the world and might be trouble"!  Now if you live on a military base...or in Louisiana or another place where everyone wears camouflage all the time...it would make perfect sense...but otherwise...not a good idea.  Camouflage clothing of that sort is suited for disappearing in the wilderness...not blending in with Joe public in an urban environment.

While I do like various camouflage clothing for wilderness wear.  I especially like gear that is dark green...brown...and other neutral...natural colors that serve a dual purpose as they can do a decent job of disappearing into the wild as well as the urban jungle.  If you want to have the ability to be seen when you want...like to stay with family in a crowd...get yourself fluorescent bandanas that can be put away when not in use.

If hiding sounds in some way like an un-Christian deceit...you might revisit the scriptures to find places where disguise was used by various representatives of the Lord...as well as other methods of evasion from evil to preserve life.

Hiding Things of Value


A certain book is pulled from the bookcase...and suddenly a secret door opens!  Secret rooms and compartments like the one's in the movies are nothing new.  They have been used for thousands of years to prevent thieves or governments (often synonyms) from stealing valuable items...as a place to hide people...provide privacy...etc.  I'd venture to say that most aren't super elaborate like the movie kind...but simply a bookcase or other such item...placed in front of a doorway...or a picture over a safe or other such easily assembled camouflage.  It was such an arrangement that saved the life of Anne Frank.  There are actually companies out there that specialize in designing and building the more complicated swinging bookcases..."safe rooms" that are like safes for people...and things like that.  A determined do-it-yourselfer could get some great ideas poking around on the internet...and build it themselves!

We all know about the spare key in the fake rock...or cash in the cookie jar.  Some thieves have come to expect such deceptions...and look for them.  The trick is to think of some they wouldn't!  I have seen where people put things like food storage in old paint cans...with paint down the side (cleaned out inside and sealed in mylar).  Spreading items of value to many places can also mitigate loss if thieves steal...or governments seize.  It may be wise to even have supplies stashed at places other than your home.  Some even bury buckets with food and clothing out on routes that they might evacuate on!

Disguised Self Defense


When an enemy thinks they have easily subdued their prey...they can become lax.  They may not notice the hot sauce you have put in your hand to smear into their eyes...or the walking stick smacking them in the head...or the chair being shoved into their chests...the salt and pepper shakers emptied into their face...etc...etc...  You get the idea.  In a pinch...weapons can me made out of all kinds of everyday objects.

There are also all kinds of weapons that are made to be concealed.  Knives in belts...tiny hide in your palm guns.  Be aware that many in that category are illegal and could get you in trouble with the man!  Dang.

I am a big proponent of pepper spray.  I think it should be in everyone's emergency packs...cars...etc.  It doesn't require killing someone like a gun or other item in order to subdue the attacker.  It can subdue several people or more at a time...hopefully giving you enough time to flee the scene.  Many of the sprays are small enough to fit in your palm undetected.  They can also go on your keychain...so it is always with you...or even look like benign lipstick!  It can be purched on Amazon...at most local sporting good stores and gun shops.  It may seem like overkill when there seemingly is no danger for long periods of time...but you will be grateful you've got it when you need it.

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