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11/07/2004 Archived Entry: "Gulchers, take note!"

GULCHERS, TAKE NOTE! If you're interested in self-reliance, gulching, intentional communities, and networking with like-minded individuals, have I got a site for you.

Debra here, filling in for Claire.

They don't call it gulching, but it's damn close to what we've talked about. The site's called the AlphaRubicon and they make Mel Tappan look like a piker. Much more than the usual, "I gots me 3 SKS's and a bag o' gold" survivalists, these guys are the real McCoy.

First, the philosophy.

Most of you will appreciate the quote on the site's index page:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Smart folks, no?

The "Alpha" portion of the site has been online since 1995; the "Rubicon" portion since '99, so they ain't no flash in the pan. The focus is on long-term survival, not living in the woods eating crickets. In addition to information on camping gear, navigation, and the like, they cover alternate energy, construction, communications, and so on.

The site consists of two sections: the public side, and the member-only side (called the "Rubicon"). The public side contains a nice variety of basic survival articles, but that's merely the tip of the iceberg. To get the full value of the site, you want to become a member of the Rubicon.

The motto of the Rubicon and its members is, "Facta non verba". That is, "Deeds, not words." They don't write articles or post messages containing theories or "supposed to work". Rather, everything has to be first-hand experience. If there's an article about building a fallout shelter, they show you the pictures and give you the step-by-step play, which often is at odds with what is commonly accepted on most survival boards. Think of them as the "MythBusters" of the survivalist community.

In addition to the thousands of files available (updated very frequently), there are forums (primitive in style, but effective for their purpose, and fast-loading), custom Rubicon instant chat software, wireless alerts, group activities (campouts, meetups, etc), a barter board, group-finder boards, email accounts, group purchases (bulk buys of a product usually get nice discounts) and lots more. Many of the members are professionals (paramedics, law enforcement, lawyers, doctors, and so on), so the advice or intel they give is - again - "facta non verba".

You must apply to get into the Rubicon, and only when there are openings available. If you're accepted, you agree to (a) pay $5/mo, and (b) contribute through postings or articles. You'll get probationary status until you prove that you're a participant, not a leech. The Rubicon has no problem kicking you out if you don't participate, so be warned.

So why I am so hyped on a survivalist site? Because they're not the stereotypical "lone wolf" types. They're a community. They encourage "Face to Face" meetings between members. They have campouts and other activities within the group, during which they do training (no, not just toy soldier stuff). They encourage members to form regional teams for mutual assistance. If a member has a problem, they jump online and ask "Who can help X?"

Sounds a lot like gulching, if you ask me.

A couple of warnings:

You may not be interested in becoming the next Kurt Saxon, but if you have any interest in self-reliance and taking care of your own, you owe it to yourself to check 'em out. They don't have member slots open at the moment, but they open up periodically. Browse the public site, and if you like what you see, keep an eye out for an opening (they announce it on the main page).

Posted by Debra @ 01:31 PM CST

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