By Kellene Bishop
I frequently address the Ten Principles of Preparedness as being a great road map to pursuing a self-reliant lifestyle. I assert that the 10 Principles are put in order of prioritization and that one will find the truth of these priorities in their day to day living as well as preparing for the more vulnerable of circumstances. I’m satisfied a hundred times over and over with the completeness and the order of the prioritization as it’s applied to one scenario after another successfully. However…there is one key component in our lives that we must be mindful of in order to ensure that we can always apply these principles to our life and that is freedom. This key is often overlooked as a part of the Mental Preparedness Principle.
You have no freedoms which you are not willing to exercise
You’ve no doubt heard the statement “You have no freedoms which you are not willing to exercise.” It’s not just some clever trivialization of life in this nation. It’s 100% accurate. Without a comprehension of the foundation of laws in this nation as well as our unalienable rights which stand inherent, regardless of what some person with a pen has to say, then hope for the future or even just tomorrow is pretty bleak. Since I don’t take kindly to “bleak tomorrows” I can’t imagine being passionate about a self-reliant life without being just as focused on learning and exercising my rights and freedoms—and most importantly, protecting them. The nice thing is though, that learning and exercising is the best way to protect them.
I think this is my biggest worry about my fellowmen that keeps me up at night. (And if you’ve read any of my posts on Facebook, you know I stay up at night often. *wink*) There are so many of my favorite people that are making changes in their life but doing so without any awareness of this component of the principle of Mental Preparedness. In my opinion, failing to work on this aspect is akin to stocking up on foods and tools without having any idea how to use them.
Why are your freedoms so important?
This problem is frighteningly rampant. Case in point–I can’t even begin to tell you how many panicked e-mails and Facebook comments I’ve had to wade through since Obama signed his Executive Order titled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” on a Friday night, March 16, 2012. So many wrote frantically that this new Executive Order meant that government officials can come in and take whatever we have that they want. Well, this belief is absolutely preposterous and spreading it only spreads baseless fear (which, by the way, is not of God and thus doesn’t belong in our lives, IMO). It’s preposterous because Executive Orders do not apply to every man, woman and child in the U.S.; rather they apply to the Executive Branch which oversees Federal employees and those living in Federal enclaves. That’s why they are called “Executive Orders”. Remember folks, we don’t have a monarchy. If Executive Orders were able to just be written and declared as law, it would be an even MORE egregious influence on We the People than what King George was allowed to exercise in the mid-1700’s. We all do remember what happened with those efforts of undue influence, right? So, when you see this kind of stuff and you’re not sure it impacts you, then get sure—SURE, not panicked. O.K? (We’ll have to address this in greater detail later, friends)
Obtaining freedoms that allow you to live off the grid
Earlier today someone posted on Facebook in response to an article I had highlighted and claimed that living off the grid was illegal. What? Living off the grid isn’t illegal, for crying out loud. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with that term, it typically entails a person able to live and thrive while relying completely on their own work efforts for their electricity, water supply, income—no credit or paper trail, and food supplies.) Sorry to bust the bubble of Machiavellian minds who would LOVE to make this kind of dream living illegal, but there’s not a single component of living in such a way that is illegal, unlawful (two different things, by the way), or even immoral.
So, what would I kindly try to say to such a person, who took a single article that she may have read on the topic as fact? None of us can afford to be this naïve. It’s too late in the game for those kinds of jugular mistakes. None of us can afford to be bullied, and certainly not from those we believe to be our friends– because it does affect all of us. The loss of just one person that others are relying upon can mean the suffering of hundreds. Remember that before you so willingly fall for the Marketing Machine of Mediocrity. Unfortunately, one of the things that is most dangerous among a society which could be self-sustaining is allowing the little bit of doubt to creep into our hearts regarding one’s fundamental freedoms and liberties.
Thwarted Fundamental Freedoms and Liberties
As a perfect example of that, there was a story on the news this week about a teenager who was going through airport security in Salt Lake City. In an effort to make things go as smoothly as possible, she initiated a disclosure to the first TSA official she came upon, informing them that she’s a diabetic and that she has an insulin pump attached, which cannot go through the body scanner or it will be ruined. Well, the response of the TSA agent is fast becoming far too cliché for my taste; of course the TSA representatives responded like human beings and were mindful of her circumstances. I’m sure they had nothing but the best of intentions when they informed her that there would be no exception for her and she would have to go through the body scan machine. They were simply able to TELL her, with their chests all puffed up and their voices lowered to a growl, that nothing would happen to her insulin pump in the scanner and that it was the only option she had if she wanted to get on the plane. Yup, sure enough, the scanner incapacitated her $10,000 insulin pump, and though she was permitted to ultimately get onto her flight, the poor girl had to do so with a great deal of anxiety as she had no idea what to expect with a lack of insulin flow. Can you even imagine the fear that she had to go through wondering if she was going to end up in an diabetic coma?? And yet if you watch the footage of the story you’ll hear her say that she trusted that the TSA knew what they were talking about and that they would protect her.
What kind of freedoms have we given up in the name of security?
The question is, do you believe in living self-reliance or not? Do you trust yourself enough to take care of yourself, to trust your instinct, to defend yourself? How about taking care of others? Here’s what I KNOW. I KNOW that you’re capable of trusting in yourself with these matters. You’ve just got to prove it to yourself. That can only happen as you expose yourself to an independent, self-sufficient lifestyle each and every day, in each and every way. You can’t expect your soul to embrace that independent strength if you’re giving it conflicting information such as living off of welfare or telling others that living off of the grid is illegal, right? There’s really no halfway about it. Anyone that’s doing it right will tell you it’s definitely a lifestyle, not some passing love affair or hobby.
Defending Your Inalienable Rights and Freedoms
In conclusion, I’d like to share a story which displays a person who understands this premise perfectly. As some of you may know, my husband, Scott Bishop, is truly a Constitutional expert. It’s not something that’s just on his resume, it is his life. As such he’s often speaking and/or consulting with others so that they too can restore the freedoms in their life. One of his focuses is in assisting individuals in properly presenting, and even representing, themselves in their communications with law enforcement personnel—particularly when they are subjected to an unlawful stop. The story I’m going to share with you is NOT a “friend of my cousin’s girlfriend” kind of story. This is the account as shared by a “student” of my husband. I spoke with him directly to get the facts of the story, verbatim. The incident was also recorded by the subject (audio and video)—though the subject will NOT be making that recording public unless it becomes necessary to further preserve his freedoms.
Subject (we’ll call him Gary) was traveling in Orem last Wednesday afternoon as he was running some errands. He observed what appeared to be a “speed trap” in which an Orem law enforcement officer was pseudo concealed while “clocking” unexpected travelers in a 25 MPH speed zone; this was observed by the subject early on, on his side of the car. Not wanting to give the LEO even a snippet of an excuse to detain him, the subject slowed down from 23 MPH to 18 MPH—just to be on the safe side. However, as he was going so very slow, and the officer was in plain site to him, Gary was easily able to make eye contact with the officer. And he did indeed make eye contact as he thought to himself about the money-raising efforts of the local law enforcement. I’m sure he also thought about the fact that no traffic violation is ever legally valid as a crime, as a traffic violation in and of itself does not suitably meet the criteria of Corpus Delecti which requires an “injury, loss or harm in order for Corpus Delecti to be met and in order for a violation to be considered a Criminal act.
As is Gary’s habit when passing a mobile law enforcement officer, Gary looked up in his rear-view mirror and observed the officer flipping his car around quickly, turning on his lights, and speeding up so that he could catch up to Gary and pull him over. (You know, that the officer had every reason to believe that driving 18 miles per hour was just because he was actually an escaped criminal trying not to make any waves.) Gary complied with the request immediately by pulling over AND pulling out his cell phone so as to record the interaction.
When the officer first approached his lowered window, Gary immediately spoke up and informed the office that he was recording this interaction. The officer responded with a smirk.
Officer: “Do you have any idea why I pulled you over?”
Gary: “I have no idea why. I’d like you to explain it to me.”
Officer: (with an incredulous smirk) “You have no idea why I pulled you over?!
Gary: “No; why don’t’ you tell me?:
Gary: “Define what you mean by “a negative demeanor”?
Officer: “Well, I think you know what I mean…”
Gary: interrupts—“No, I need you to define that for me.”
Officer: “I saw you shaking your head and…”
Officer: “Well, I just wanted to find out what was wrong with you…”
Gary: “There’s nothing wrong with me”
Officer: “So what’s the problem…”
Gary: “Have I broken the law or committed a crime?” (“crime” is a legally defined word. Gary used it here wisely.)
Gary: “So am I free to go?”
Officer: (getting irritated with the interruption of all of these questions coming from the subject) “As soon as you answer my questions…”
Gary: “So you’re detaining me?!” (Again, this is a legally defined word. Gary is using it wisely to manifest he wasn’t just born yesterday with regards to his rights)
Officer: “No; I’m not detaining you.”
Gary: “So I’m free to go?”
This back and forth continues in rapid fire back and forth 3 more times while the officer insists that he’s not detaining Gary and with Gary repeating the question as to whether or not he’s free to go or he’s being detained. (Remember, the person who’s asking the question always has the higher ground.) Finally, Gary recognizes the officers increasing irritation and gives him one more chance.
Gary: So, I’m free to go. (Not a question, it was a statement)
Officer: “Well, I haven’t finished asking my questions…”
Gary: So you’re detaining me. (again, not a question.)
Officer: “I’m not detaining you. (The magic words that Gary was waiting to hear)
Gary: “I’m going to leave then.
Gary then rolled up his window, turned on his indicator signal, looked in his side and rear view mirror for traffic, and then slowly drove away. As he looked in his rear view mirror he saw the officer simply standing there for a moment then get into his car and drive in the opposite direction.
Clearly it is not against the law for someone to appear that they have an attitude problem. Even if Gary had out and out growled at the officer as he passed, there wouldn’t have been sufficient cause to pull him over. Additionally, law enforcement personnel are NOT permitted to stop a person without reasonable cause. More important though, is that Gary knew his rights and freedoms, he didn’t get belligerent with the officer; he stayed in control of his own emotions, and most of all, he was familiar with his rights inside and out so that when the time came for him to use that knowledge he didn’t choke or have to get emotional.
I hope this helps you recognize a component of the Principle of Mental Preparedness and I hope that you are able to see how important this knowledge is to you being able to exercise all of your rights. There are too many people trying to chop down our rights like a hot knife in butter. Our response cannot be lukewarm. It must be precise and internalized as clearly as our phone numbers. So while you’re spending money and time to get the “things” you need to enjoy a more self-reliant lifestyle, make sure that you take appropriate amount of time to internalize the freedoms that we are so fortunate to have in this nation and as human beings.