Hey, greetings from south Texas. Doc, thanks for getting this BBS up – with the problems of little or no internet, and the MSM broadcasting the party line Phog, I have really felt isolated.
I feel like I am living a novel, Lights Out to be specific. “Halffast” got it too close to right, and living in the general area that the novel is set really gives me a sense of déjà vu. This county is fortunately still inhabited by a lot of the old ranching/farming families which settled here 200 years ago and Texas individualism and patriotism runs strong through the people. Mutual Assistance Groups have popped up all over and we have a pretty effective barter system.
I sort of became the gathering point for a bunch of medical types, and cops. I used to work in the ER at the county hospital and got to know a bunch of people and was known as a “survivalist type”. The hospital was trashed when the rioting in San Antonio moved out to the surrounding areas. So a bunch of us, with the help of the Sheriff’s Dept. salvaged what we could when the dust settled and moved the “hospital” farther out into the county into a rancher’s pole barn – way off the beaten trail. The citizens of the county all know where it is and we are working 24/7 mostly as an emergency room, but have some OR and acute care abilities. A lot of the doctors who used to work at the ER have moved out here with their families and there is a ‘settlement’ of them near the new hospital – the place looks like an RV park.
San Antonio was hit hard when the military was ‘downsized’. The most heartbreaking part was the almost 1,000 kids who were at Lackland AFB in basic training. Without warning, their DIs went through the barracks and told them they had 30 minutes to pack up their belongings and get off base – they were no longer in the Air Force. That many kids, most were 18 an 19 year olds, really didn’t have a clue what to do, or how to get home, or even survive. San Antonio has always been known as Military City, USA, and the ex-mils and retirees living there took it upon themselves to get these kids (and any other now ex-military) folks home. They pulled out all stops and used every non-traditional means to set up transports. Long haul truckers and a very effective underground railroad managed to get about 3000 military members where they wanted to go all over the nation. Fortunately most of the folks got out of town before things went sour.
The Police Chief in SA was one of those new age touchy-feely type of cops which can all too easily turn into a Jack Booted Thug. He had spent the last 4 years making a ‘kinder gentler’ police force, with the addition of several ‘tactical’ units. The older cops had been leaving in droves from the time he was named chief, almost every one who had their 20 years in had already retired. When things got tense in SA with the cost of fuel, lack of food shipments and frequent blackouts, the city put in a tight curfew and new regulations which to most of the citizens looked and felt like martial law. Chief MacGuy and his Tactical Squads turned into JBTs. The final straw was when there was a march to the Alamo and Federal Courthouse demanding an increase in welfare benefits and a fuel allotment. Several thousand (estimates are as high as 40,000) people were in the march and it was proceeding as most of the marches on the Alamo had in the past – lots of yelling and placards and rhetoric on the Plaza in front of the Alamo. Then someone decided to go into the Alamo Chapel and hold a prayer session. Chief MacGuy was there and decided he would be the one to bar the door to deny access to the Alamo.
No one is quite sure what happened next. Of course this was one day the grid was up and the march was being covered by all the TV stations, so anyone who was not in the Plaza was watching on TV. What can be agreed on is that one of the Priests leading the attempt to enter the Alamo got into a confrontation with the Chief. Someone threw a bottle and the Priest saw it coming towards the Chief and tried to grab the Chief and move him so the bottle wouldn’t hit him. The Chief went down, and suddenly, the Tac Squads showed themselves. They were lining the roofs of the Alamo, the Long Barracks, and many of the businesses surrounding the Plaza.
No one is admitting to firing the first shot, but when it finished, there were bodies all over the Plaza. The JBTs had automatic weapons and it was literally like shooting fish in a barrel. There have been no official estimate of the casualty figures, but I would put it in the hundreds – then it seems like the entire city exploded into mass riots. When things finally quieted down about a week later, most of SA had been burned or taken over by gangs. Most of the fighting had been contained to the city proper but rioting and burning had extended north up I-35 all the way to Austin, which also joined in the riots. Many of the rioters/gangs also followed the main roads into the surrounding counties. Wilson County was hard hit by the marauders, being invaded on two fronts, US 87 and US 181.
The mass retirements from SAPD worked to our advantage, as about 150 of them lived in Wilson County and had signed on as volunteer officers with the various law enforcement agencies. The Sheriff was wise enough to use this resource as well as the military vets in the area and had established a County Militia. The militia set up a defense line just south of the county line on 87 and was able to turn the rioters back. The defense line on 181 was flanked and the rioters got all the way into Floresville. Fortunately for us, they were distracted by the hospital – the lure of drugs must have been too strong and the Militia was able to counter attack essentially ending the invasion.
All of this has taken Wilson County back to the 19th century. Isolated from San Antonio, no jobs as most of the residents of the county worked in SA, the power plant near the county line was down for about 2 weeks but is back in partial operation and we are able to have fairly dependable power, at least for as long as the coal and natural gas lasts. The Sheriff has commandeered all utilities in the county, including the phone lines belonging to ATT and Verizon for essential services, so I have access to the phone and the BBS while at the New Hospital. Most of the homes in the County have no electricity and a couple of the locals have set up a small refinery, using the production from local oil wells mostly to refine kerosene and are making some bio-diesel.
Fuel is limited to use for emergency vehicles only, so most of us are using ‘alternative’ forms of transportation. Lots of horses and mules, of course, and bicycles but the people have really gotten creative. I have a scooter that my once-upon-a-time couch-potato Malamutes are now pulling. A neighbor used his dog to plow his garden. The county has set up a battery exchange where they are using what electricity we have to recharge batteries – you bring in the dead rechargeables and swap for charged ones. A lot of us have solar or wind to generate some home power, and to run the pumps on the water and oil wells.
Sounds like the whole Nation is in about the same shape we are – but I feel sorry for the folks left in what remains of the cities. At least in the countryside, and somewhat the suburbs, the people are really doing a good job of growing food and the ranchers are still producing beef, goats and sheep, and almost everyone has at least a couple of chickens. Wilson County is lucky – we had a fairly large dairy – and a lot of dairy cows- which got back in production sufficiently to provide milk and cheese for the area.
School has not restarted since the riots and I doubt if they will reopen anytime in the near future. Home schooling or small community one room schools are now the norm. The old timers, those who have basic skills such as canning and preserving foods or sewing, are teaching their neighbors and holding classes at the area swap meets. Those who have skills and trades such as blacksmithing, leather work, cooperage and the many other skills which can keep a 19th century civilization running have taken on apprentices. Seems like the only ‘profession’ which has disappeared is the Politicians.
Someone once said, “All politics are local.” Well, now they REALLY are local. And they are all part time politicians; the County Commissioners, County Judge and the Sheriff are about the only politicians we have to deal with any more. Aside from the Texas State Guard and the Rangers and DPS we hardly hear anything from Austin – it seems that government at the State level has gone back to the Republic of Texas mode – and the legislature will not meet until the regularly scheduled every two year cycle.
The Governor did call a special session of the Lege, but barely enough of the Reps and Senators showed up to have a quorum – and most of them were from the rural areas of Texas. This was the first time that the Lege met that they only passed what bills were needed to adjust to the new normal we are living. The ‘sunset laws’ which limited the existence of many of the State laws and bureaucracies saw the sun set. We have a new leaner State government which leaves most of the governance of the people up to the counties.
The Federal government and its interference with life in Texas has gone the way of DC and most of the programs both mandated and funded by them have disappeared – even welfare is a local issue. We did have some guy show up at a County Commissioner’s meeting claiming to be from FEMA and DHS but the County Judge told him that we were doing just fine, thank you, and ‘requested’ he leave the county before the sun went down. That is the last we have heard from anyone claiming to represent the Feds.
The people really do feel like once again the government is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people. No one is going hungry here, and we all are working our tails off just trying to survive, like the rest of the country. There is a new feeling of pride and cooperation and purpose and patriotism as we try to adjust to the way things are now. I guess that going back to basics includes every aspect of life, including back to the basics of the foundation of the Republic – with all men (and women) being created equal and each person is judged on how well they contribute to the community.
This gives hope for restoration of the America I love.
We have an ambulance coming in so I need to get to the ER – will post more when I can get some time --- y’all hang in there.
Remember the ALAMO 2!
Book Signing of Ol' Iditarod Gang
2 years ago