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Collapse coming? Survival guru tailor tips to Carolinians
Thursday, 09 August 2012 17:32

First in a series of three stories


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FORT MILL, S.C. —  A societal meltdown is very possible from a multitude of possible threats — and Americans need to prepare for the repercussions, James Wesley, Rawles said during his July 14 keynote address in a one-hour teleconference at Charlotte PrepCon.

Rawles, who spoke — as usual — from an undisclosed location (that he has said in the past only is west of the Rockies), began by noting that he would be tailoring his comments for “folks in North and South Carolina.

“The main thing I want to get across is that you’re systematic in your preparations,” Rawles told the crowd of about 500 people at The Pointe Arts & Rec Center, adjoining the Charlotte Knights Stadium.

 “I recognize that not everyone has the opportunity to buy — and move out to — a place in the hinterlands, so I stress that you ‘prep’ right where you are,” if one’s financies are limited.

Rawles — a former U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer — is a New York Times best-selling survivalist-fiction author, blogger and survival retreat consultant.

His recent top-selling fiction works are “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” and “Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse.” His top nonfiction work is “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques and Technologies for Uncertain Times.”

A conservative Christian, Rawles is the editor of, a blog on survival and preparedness topics. He is an outspoken proponent of family preparedness, especially regarding food storage and advocated relocating to lightly populated rural “retreat” areas.

Rawles also stresses the value of silver and other tangibles for barter, recognition of moral absolutes, being well-armed and Christian charity. He also is outspokenly anti-racist.

Rawles has decried what he terms the survivalist movement’s incorrect far-right “lunatic fringe” media image, which he contends has been based on the actions of  a few radical individuals. Instead, he focuses on family preparedness and personal freedom.

The one-day conference featured a number of speakers, who appeared “live,” including Vince Coakley, Rich Davis, Scott Hunt, David Kobler and Steve Nolan. In addition, breakout sessions were held on various preparedeness topics. Several “preppers” from Western North Carolina counties of Buncombe, Henderson and Haywood attended.

In wrapping up his brief address, Rawles said, “Rather than turning this into an hour-long lecture, I’d rather turn this into a question-and-answer session.”

“When is your new book coming out?” he was asked.

“My next book will be ‘Founders’ and it will be released Sept. 4-5,” Rawles replied. “Most of ‘Founders’ is set in Kentucky, Tennessee and Montana. I do have another sequel planned ....”

Next, he was asked, “What keeps you up in the middle of the night?”

“I think the biggest threat we face right now is an economic collapse, which could be triggered by any number of things,” Rawles said. “The odds are that anybody who has (U.S.) dollars will lose them with a currency collapse within five years.”

Rawles was queried on any knowledge he had of “the situation in Argentina a few years ago.”

“The situation in Argentina was a debt-based crisis,” he replied. “We could see bank accounts frozen” in the U.S., as was the case in Argentina, if America continues on its present course.

“If companies can’t borrow, there’ll be massive layoffs,” Rawles predicted. “Yes, this country could get a lot like Argentina.”

“What are the top three things someone could do to get started in prepping?” he was asked.

“Food storage ... Get a survival group together,” Rawles answered. If one has “unlimited resources, stock up the best you can. Tailor your prepping to your situation.” To that end, he suggested those need further details visit his

“How is it best to talk to your spouse about your need to prep?” someone asked.

“I think the most important practice is to pray to God for the words to use,” he said. 

“Hand them a book like ‘One Second After,’” a best-selling novel — about the impact on locals of an electro-magnetic pulse — by William Forstchen, a history professor at Montreat College near Black Mountain, N.C.

“By handing them a piece of fiction, they’ll sit down and read that before they would read a survival manual,” Rawles noted.

He also suggested sharing with a skeptical spouse the novel “Lucifer’s Hammer,” a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, first published in 1977.

Next, Rawles was asked “how best to find other like-minded people” without giving up one’s operational security.

Rawles laughed and said, “I recommend people keep a low profile, so they don’t come off as something out of National Geographic’s ‘Doomsday Preppers” television series.

“You might ask people if something like the derecho storm that hit the United States recently could happen again ... It’s a matter of approaching them in a diplomatic way, so you don’t get perceived” as part of the lunatic fringe.

“Buy a T-shirt with a preparedness theme and wear it when you go out to the rifle range, a gun show or other public events” — and make connections with those who approach you, Rawles advised.

“What are some of the most overlooked items of preppers?” Rawles was asked.

“I’d say the most overlooked is power,” he replied. “They’ll buy food, decent first aid supplies and a generator for their home,” instead of setting up a portable — or alternative — power system. “You must have a minimum of two marine batteries ... The other item is nightvision scopes. Most of my readers own weapons, but less than five percent own nightvision equipment ... As a result, you’re at a disadvantage for half of every day.”

Someone asked, “In an emergency, what should someone have on hand for bartering?”

“There’s a huge list of bartering items on my website,” Rawles replied. “But just off the top of my head — 1-lb. cannisters of iodized salt in quantity, 50-lb. salt blocks ... Salt will be craved for preserving foods. Also, it will be critical in attracting deer” to kill and eat.

Other barter items he recommended storing included .22 hollow-point ammo, small containers of canned food, one-gallon cans of kerosene and 2-cycle mixing oil for 2-cycle engines (such as chainsaws).

Given that “we all understand the need for operational security, but we also know you believe in charity,” Rawles was asked to comment on the dilemma.

“I think Christian charity is our responsibility,” Rawles said. “We shouldn’t ignore it. But we must temper that with taking care of our family. “

Rawles suggested that one “make it known to the church that a limited amount of food will be made available through the church, but have your name remain anonymous” to avoid unwelcome visitors to one’s home.

“Your first priority is to provide for your family,” then one’s friends and finally, one’s church family, Rawles said. “You need to be very careful because of our grid goes down, we have no idea when it will be up again ... My basic philosophy is to give till it hurts.”

To be continued next month











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