Minutemen were motivated fighters who formed a well-organized militia during the American Revolutionary War. As the name implies, they were ready for action at a moment’s notice. Their history is a fascinating one. They served a vital role in winning our independence, and their legacy lives on in American culture. When I think of American history, I think of men and women brave enough to fight a larger and better equipped army in the name of freedom. Let’s look at some ways to keep you ready at a moment’s notice: The Modern-Day Minute Man.
There is certainly something to be said for being ready at a moment’s notice. Sometimes, things just can’t wait. You never know when you will get a call about a family or work emergency, an evacuation, or some other unforeseen circumstance. Maybe the factory down the road had a hazmat spill. Maybe a train nearby derailed. Maybe there is an impending natural disaster. Practice! Give yourself 5 minutes to prepare yourself and your home for your absence.
Be Prepared to Leave Town
Here’s how I handle this one. First, I keep a solid EDC. Every day I carry an individual trauma kit, water bottle, wallet, battery pack, cellphone, charger, watch, sunglasses, and pocketknife. I’m a grad student, so I can get away with carrying a backpack every day.
I like using a backpack as opposed to a rolling bag, messenger bag, or duffel because its easier to carry and keeps both hands free. I keep a dry sack with the following items in the closet (which happens to be my travel loadout): 2 wool shirts, 3 pairs of wool socks and skivvies, 2 pairs light “travel” pants, and my passport.
My toiletries are kept in a small Duluth Trading Co fire hose toiletry bag. I love this thing. It’s the perfect size, it’s super cool, and the price is right at about $15.
Here I keep toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, one week of medications, nail clippers, deodorant, tweezers, and a comb. I don’t keep my razor here, shaving is for nerds anyway. When I use an item, I always return it to the bag immediately. That way, if I ever need to leave town, all I have to do is come in with my EDC bag, throw in my toiletries and clothes, and I am good to go. Like a modern-day minute man!
I also carry water treatment tablets in case I head south and the water is questionable. (Consider this: your city’s infrastructure may be getting old. Waterlines break, zebra mussels get in, etc. You may be under a boil advisory. It happens all the time). A head lamp will make your life easier, and a small (8 liters or so) dry bag will give you a place to stow dirty clothes, and you can wash them inside with some Dr Bronner’s liquid soap.
If you’re a cool guy, you can have a passport, passport card, cash, and bug out USB drive. The latter is my “digital bug out bag.” It’s loaded with important documents on it ready to go. A tube sock and padlock makes a good improvised weapon and won’t raise any eyebrows. I try to keep this TSA compliant in case I need to fly home (My Mystery Ranch Street Fighter fits under a plane seat perfectly). With this set up and a little forethought I can be packed to leave in seconds.
Be Prepared to Bug Out
I keep my backpacking kit packed with 2 days of food and ready to go. I just have to grab it and skedaddle. I suggest you have a “go to the woods” bag. It’s fun, it’s good mental exercise, and it’ll give you an excuse to get out and hike or camp.
One Friday morning years ago some friends in Colorado called and said they would be climbing Mt. Elbert on Sunday of a three-day weekend. It was an eight-hour drive and a hell of a climb (I was not accustomed to the altitude!) but all I had to do was go home after work, grab my bag, and head out. Worth it!
All together (not counting food and water) it weighs about 8 pounds. I’ve used it on several overnight trips and feel comfortable with all of it. I recommend you take your bug out bag camping, hiking, or on a weekend trip to test it out. In the event I don’t think I’ll be coming home again, I keep a large durable bag in the pantry and an army surplus duffel in the bottom of my dresser. If I needed to, I could fill them up and throw them in the back of my truck. Being able to leave quickly helps prevent you from becoming a victim and reduces the strain on local first responders.
Be Prepared to Fight
I think every willing American should have a fighting rifle, just like the Minute Men. I also think everyone that owns a weapon should be well trained in treating traumatic injuries caused by them. The life you save may be your own or a loved one’s (see my other articles on treating life-threatening injuries and putting together your own trauma kit). If your home defense gun is in the back of the closet, strapped into a case, no mag, optic turned off, etc…. you are not ready.
I’m not saying you must have a tricked-out AR-15, but you should have a dependable and accurate rifle. A lever action .30-30 has similar ballistics to a 7.62×39 and has been putting deer on the table for Americans for decades. Ideally your fighting rifle would be a .223 or larger and semiautomatic. It should have night sights and a white light. Shit-can the cheap accessories. Keep it simple. It should be clean, lubed, and loaded with quality ammo. Unloaded magazines do you no good. You should train with your rifle, keep it zeroed, and keep it clean. A carbine course is a great way to become familiar with your rifle.
When sleeping, you should have shoes nearby, always. You should have a separate flashlight (if you don’t, everything you illuminate, you are muzzling). Your phone should be on and charged in case you need to call 911. Having a “Battle Belt” nearby isn’t a bad idea. Having a good pistol, extra mags, a light, fixed blade, and premium IFAK kit strapped on would make you a formidable opponent against any intruder. Again, do not neglect training. Ownership does not equal proficiency. You must practice to build muscle memory and keep your head when your adrenaline is high.
Be Prepared to Help
There is more to helping yourself and your community than grabbing a rifle or bugging out. If you have heavy equipment or a boat, consider making this known to your local sheriff or fire department. Someday, the use of your equipment could help save a life. At our fire department, we had a list of residents who volunteered the use of their boats, bulldozers, and other various equipment, in case a rescue required something we didn’t have. You can obtain first aid training, or Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) through FEMA. You can volunteer with your local SAR or fire department. By being an asset to your local first responders, you can make friends and learn a lot.
Maintain Good Health
I don’t care which fancy Nightforce scope is on your LaRue OBR or what cool training you had 20 years ago. If you’re 30 pounds overweight and don’t exercise, you’re a liability. Eat healthy. Get to a healthy weight. Lift weights and work on cardio. I promise you, your mirror muscles won’t mean diddly when you have to carry heavy gear for any appreciable distance. You don’t need to exercise like a Navy SEAL, but you should have an exercise routine of some kind.
Modern-Day Minute Men Keep Good Habits
While we’re on this topic, it’s not enough to have the kit ready to go. You must have good situational awareness and make yourself a hard target. Don’t have your eyeballs locked on your phone when you’re walking. Keep your vehicle squared away and fill up with gas when you get down to half a tank. That means change the oil, rotate your tires, don’t ignore the check engine light. You don’t want your vehicle to crap out on you when you’re leaving before the storm of the century.
Have a schedule to swap out the batteries in the light or optic on your weapon. Don’t follow the same routes and same schedules every day if you can help it. Lock your door. Draw your curtains at night. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher for your house, and that your smoke and CO detectors are good to go. Keep a little extra canned food and water on hand in case you need to bug in for a while. A little foresight will go a long way! Exercise and keep yourself healthy. Train and practice in self-defense techniques like Jiu jitsu, boxing, or Krav. Dry fire your weapons. Make friends and learn every day. Everything you learn makes you better. Practice, practice, practice.
Stay safe, you modern-day minute man!