The War Within: Training Survivalists in North Florida

Once a month, a group in North Florida takes men, women and children into the wild and trains them in survival skills -- including the handling of high-powered weapons

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Americans have been exercising their “right to keep and bear arms” — pistols, shotguns, rifles and other firearms — since before the Second Amendment was codified in December 1791. And ever since, Americans across the political spectrum have been debating (often politely, sometimes rancorously, always passionately) what exactly the Second Amendment means.

Those who advocate for what has, in recent decades, come to be called “gun control” often cite not only the changed nature of the weapons (assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, etc.) available to both the authorities and to civilians today, but the very language of the Second Amendment itself. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” reads the first part of the amendment — a phrase seized on by some gun-control advocates as evidence that the Founding Fathers never foresaw or even intended unfettered civilian access to any and all weapons.

(PHOTOS: A History of Violence: Gun Control in the Pages of TIME)

Many gun rights activists, on the other hand, see “right to keep and bear arms” as absolute and inviolate, and any attempts by the federal government to limit that right as not merely overreaching, but the first step on the slippery slope to tyranny.

Today, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, the national debate on gun control shows no signs of cooling. In fact, if anything, that debate is more central to the long, fraught dialog about the limits of liberty in a pluralistic society than it’s ever been. And by all accounts, advocates of gun rights have grown, if anything, even more adamant in their determination not only to keep their arms — all their arms — but to train the next generation to fight for that same right, as they interpret it.

Here, TIME opens a window on one small corner of the gun debate, through a series of pictures by Brian Blanco. A Tampa-based photojournalist, Blanco recently spent time with a group of Florida survivalists who not only passionately support the ” absolute and inviolate” interpretation of the Second Amendment, but train children and adults alike in weapons-handling and wilderness survival skills — with an eye toward a possible coming civil war. Led by a retired police officer named Jim Foster, the North Florida Survival Group states on its website that it aims to teach “patriots to survive in order to protect and defend our Constitution against all enemy threats” — while member comments on the site’s forums make it clear that most NFSG members believe the greatest threat to the U.S. Constitution is not coming from beyond America’s shores, but from within.

(PHOTOS: Gun Nation Revisited: Zed Nelson’s Photographs of American Gun Culture)

“Our support for the Second Amendment always gets attention,” Foster, 57, told TIME.com, “but we’re really Constitutionalists. The federal government probably doesn’t like what we’re doing — but we don’t like what they’re doing either.”

More Photography from Time

111 comments
heetxs
heetxs

All these comments tell me you liberals are going to be pretty unprepared.  It's sad but it's hard to feel that way when you are so ignorant and love to mock.  Anyways, back to desperate housewives with you :)

BillsCatz
BillsCatz

Survival from WHAT exactly?    All the bogeymen made up by the media and the NRA?  Yep, darn sure gotta watch out for THEM, ya know how they are!!!  Yes, sure do!  Btw, who are THEY today?

Jackie7879
Jackie7879

uptil I looked at the receipt four $5184, I didnt believe that my father in law was actualey making money in their spare time on their computer.. there neighbour started doing this for only seven months and as of now repayed the debts on their cottage and purchased themselves a Mercedes. read more atdff.. http://www.youtube.com.qr.net/kbip

SkepticalRealist
SkepticalRealist

I find it funny charlatan news media sources, like NatGeo and Time, feel the need to portray preppers as militant, nut jobs hell bent on violence. They do this without actually saying "they are militant, not jobs hell bent on violence", but rather through implication by showing pictures of (in this article for example) innocent kids being trained for what seems to be gorilla warfare, or (in NatGeo's case) insecure families who are hoarding food, water, guns and ammo for whatever apocalyptic disaster may come their way.

Right now, there are millions of post-Hurricane Sandy survivors who are newly dedicated preppers because they were caught unprepared, with their pants down when Sandy hit their area. Those few who were preppers before Hurricane Sandy hit, definitely used their preps to survive in her wake. Some probably were generous to help their unprepared neighbors.

Make no mistake, in the face of any disaster be that natural, economic, or biological, the most demoralizing, demeaning, and shameful thing any adult parent will face, is the realization they failed in their responsibility to their family and are now forced to get by from the charity of others.

Besides, even FEMA and the CDC advocate prepping. Several months ago, they had a zombie-pocolypse campaign promoting civilian preparedness, recommendations on what to have in your family's bug-out bags, what to stock pile in case of emergency, and so on.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Survivalist groups are about survival. They are smart enough to understand that we are headed toward economic collapse in this country. Common sense should tell you that you can't pile up TRILLION dollar deficits year after year and something not eventually break So when the underpinning of our economy finally *snap* and there will be no more money food stamps, what do you suppose will happen?


Survivalists living in rural north Florida are no threat to anyone. It's the crazies living in big liberal cities like Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles where they shoot you with a handgun for your tennis shoes or Big Mac.

MikeSheehan
MikeSheehan

Again, complete misuse of 'assault rifles' ... Assault rifles have been illegal for decades and no civilian owns one. Assault weapons, on the other hand, are single shot rifles - the term coined by a gun control nut 'as a starting point the public will agree with' to ban all gun. Assault weapons are regular hunting rifles that fire the weakest rifle round available (.223) and covered in lots of scary plastic. Like all guns, they fire one round per trigger squeeze.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

Freedom is not free. You have to fight for the right life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Especially life. If some over armed crazy doesn't like you. Too bad. If some violent possessor of weapons of mass death wants to shot at you because they don't like you, your beliefs or your life style, too bad. If you aren't happy. Too bad. Die, so they can be free.

RonaldWickline
RonaldWickline

de oppresso liber.  Words to know.  Words to remember.  As a country we have been more than willing to send young men to fight and die for the freedom of others, but oddly enough a sector of our population is against insuring our own freedoms.  Freedom is not free, if you doubt this take a trip to any militry or veterans cemetery, especially any of the ones in forign countries.  There is a cost, a high one.  That our forefathers who wrote the founding documents were all to aware of from personal loss and that some today consider those documents "antiquated and out of touch" .  If you believe the liberal politicians and others that are pressing there agenda for "gun control" then maybe you deserve the same fate as others that believed there politicians on this subject.  Joesph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. were all politicians who firmly believed and advocated for gun control.  Remember that the next time you believe everything our politicians say without knowing the facts or motives behind there statements and actions.  If your not willing to stand or fight for your own freedom, maybe you don't deserve it.

RoyShastid
RoyShastid

    One of the things that might be a game changer is if guns concealed or not were detectable by say a cop in his car. If you remember some years ago it was shown that for stealth aircraft there was a way to detect them using the radio waves that cellphones and towers emit. The aircraft showed up if I understand correctly as a kind of "hole " in the emitted field of all these phones. Now imagine if some clever engineer used the fields of radio waves that suffuse our environment now and a computer to sift through this for some charistic change that weapons would cause and kind of "red line" persons who are carrying weapons for further examination. Not my field and this is just a blue sky thought,

akcentjhon
akcentjhon


my classmate's half-sister makes  66 an hour on the internet. She has been fired for five months but last month her check was  16213 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site pie21.ℂom


wjayro00
wjayro00

The sad truth is this, if only we would learn to trust our children and permit them guns, the precious little ones at Sandy Hook wouldn't be dead but because we think we as adults somehow know better than our children because of arbitrary indicators like "age" or "life experience" we robbed God's angels of a chance to defend themselves, a right that we obviously feel is important enough to fight for but not important enough to give to suckling babes.

garyh1234
garyh1234

To all the high and mighty "2nd ammenders",

Better look out....2 miles away is a drone with a hell fire missile that will blow your little guns away.........The 2nd ammendmant is OUTDATED, get over it>>>>

myakka
myakka

So you can't have a discussion without making it into a personal attack?  Are you saying that there is no issue with mental health involved in what happened at Sandyhook or Columbine?  Would the kids be less dead if they had blown the school up or ran over them at the bus stop with a car?  Add all the new laws you want.  Didn't work for prohibition, doesn't work for pot, meth or prostitution.  Insanity defined is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.  We keep adding new laws and restrictions to solve this issue, and it does nothing.  When guns are criminalized the only people left with guns will be the criminals.  Look at Australia, England, etc.  If we follow their path we will have their crime rate.   Chew on that "party line" hoss.

bibleverse1
bibleverse1

The buying laws must be change to eliminate loopholes.

snook2211
snook2211

Review the Occupy Wallstreet protest's on Youtube.

You will see what is comming to your neighborhood and city.

Look up the Military Hellicopter's doing exercises in U.S. city's at night shooting Machine guns with blanks.

myakka
myakka

" yet we do nothing to put reasonable controls on guns,"  yep  we should put an age limit to buy them, and do a background check, or even a three day wait.....   WAIT, WE ALREADY DO THAT!     We don't need more gun laws to fix this.  This is a mental health crisis that can not be fixed with gun legislation.  Most of these kids that are doing the shooting have been on major phsycotropic drugs, that have the warnings "may cause thoughts of suicide or depression".  If we take away guns then they will just use a different tool.  Like the guy in Singapore a few weeks ago that stabbed 6 people in a day care.  We are not addressing or even recognising the problem by focusing on guns.

snook2211
snook2211

What this article does not tell is this.

American Citizens are preparaing all over the Country for Civil Unrest/ anti Government protest's and an all out war with the Government and Law Enforcement.

The Public got a real dose of what Police will do to the Public if ordered, at the Occupy Wallstreeet protest's Nation wide.The Police were orderded to and conducted massive violence against the Public.

Since Obama took office, 65 Million guns have been bought. The government is stocking up Nationwide on Law enforcement riot gear and so is the Public. Department of Homeland Security has purchased over a BILLION rounds of ammunition and the public is buying all the ammo they can get their hand's on. After thousands of hours of research.

It is clear that the Government is gearing up to start Tyrrany against the Public, law enforcement officers and Military Troops have all spoken of it.

gemt
gemt

I was born and raised in this area of FL - after 25 years of living in other parts of the country we moved back for family.  My Dad did much the same teaching with me and my siblings; we all were taught to hunt with guns & bows and to fish and live off the land.  The main lesson was self-reliance so that come WHATEVER situation, you could take care of yourself.  I don't happen to own any guns currently, but I am still capable with a handgun or rifle and have the utmost respect for the weapons ability to destroy - that was also a BIG part of the lesson. 

So yeah, the young boy doesn't look like he's having a good time - but I think that's more a child being petulant as opposed to not wanting to be there.  Most of my contemporaries when I was growing up were getting the same type of teaching from their fathers also.

While it may be part of the reason that the parents are using for the training, I don't happen to believe that "country militia" idea is resonating with the children.  What I hope they are instilling and impressing upon them is the self-reliance part since that is a concept which has far-reaching implications. 

KeithTMaxwell
KeithTMaxwell

Those children look frightened..... Of their father.

patscnc101
patscnc101

D Macy 

Really what make you believe the army or cop would be on the side of a fed gov. that has take away their constitutional rights also?

myakka
myakka

92%  show me that poll!  The HIGHEST number I have seen was a CNN poll that said 43%.    I will even concede that more effective law might be good.  So try enforcing what is already on the books.  Passing a bunch more laws won't do anything more effective than all the laws against marajuana.

mattymatty
mattymatty

I would not want to live in a country in civil war with multiple factions competing for power in a violently, anarchist state.  I know at least one other person that agrees with this.  By my line of reasoning, why fight for survival in a desolate, unsafe landscape under threat of constant attack from a rival militia, band, or clan?

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

"...the greatest threat to the U.S. Constitution is not coming from beyond America’s shores, but from within." Absolutely, positively, 100% correct.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

@SixSixSix Way to engage in wing-nut name calling. I don't fear professional criminals, they are intelligent gain seeking individuals with at least as much ethics as a Wall Street banker, CEO and much more than a Tea Pot politician. It is the loose cannons ready to shoot up it as they express their "freedom" over our dead bodies and that of our children. You scare me, not the professional criminal. Why can't you people realize you are the ones who are scary.

RonaldWickline
RonaldWickline

You sound like one of the liberials that prefers to attack anything you don't like hearing, rather than deal with the actual facts.  If you are so terrified of some over armed crazy, defend yourself.  Oh, that's right.  You don't believe in defending yourself.  Well, just pull that LEO of your back and he can do it for you.  What, don't have a LEO on your back.  Maybe you can hire your own.  I challenge you to find a violent criminal, that won't commit a violent crime, because you want him to.  From your post, it's easy to see that as far as your concerned, as long as your happy, you don't mind infringing on other peoples happiness or legal rights.  It's just all about you.

Haeckelist
Haeckelist

@RonaldWickline  

With your logic, how do you explain that Japan and most European countries have both strict gun control AND the same freedom as the U.S.?

 

Monkey
Monkey

You want to arm the children? I'm not in favour of any universal gun control but to call indicators such as “age” and “life experience” arbitrary… you are only demonstrating your ignorance of the subject matter and you should refrain from submitting any further comments. Arm the children; this is exactly why people get the impression that anyone in favour gun rights is completely nuts! You’re not helping the cause, buddy. Perhaps you should get another beer out of the fridge and go back to watching reality TV.

Gunluvr
Gunluvr

@garyh1234 Yeah but fortunately it's not going anywhere and there are hundreds of millions of guns in civilian hands. The government can't kill everybody with drones, it's a basic numbers game. There are about 6 million active duty military members and over 315 million people in the US. You figure the math.

MarkinFL
MarkinFL

@myakka549 homicides (includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide) were reported in the year ending September 2012, a considerable drop on the previous year's total of 607. Homicides are now down to around half of the figure for 2001/2.

The entirety of England has about the crime rate of Chicago.  They actually report bicycle thefts in national crime statistics. I would love to see quaint stats like that be considered important here.

RickZimmerman
RickZimmerman

@myakka spouting the party line I see.   the problem with our current laws and even our attempts to enforce them are that they are hobbled by the NRA, and other like minded organizations.   We have inconsistent laws from state to state, gun show loopholes, and hell a NRA plant freaking derailed the ATF by tying the selection of the agencies director to the patriot act and senate confirmation?  We haven't had an ATF director in six years thanks to the Republicans and NRA.   So, take that meme about enforcing current laws and toss it, as it is absolutely a feel good comment for the ignorant with ZERO basis in reality.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

@snook2211 You forget, we just about have the FEMA camps ready in Idaho. You haven't heard because none of the escapees lived. Just like the WMD in Iraq, the less you hear, the better we are at keeping the secret. BTW, Saddam isn't really dead, we have him over at the ACLU in charge of political re-education. But more you don't hear about that, the more you know it is true. Trust me, I have a gun, 25 actually, but you will never ever find them.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

@gemt Good lord, you were hunting human enemies when you were kid? Did you skin them when you made contact, or just dry them out for long lasting jerky? No, I don't really think you were doing the same thing, and you don't either.

GurnBlanston1
GurnBlanston1

A voice of reason.  Too bad your comments are WAY over the heads of the liberal loon gun-control morons on this site.

douglas_macy
douglas_macy

@patscnc101 because 99% of law enforcement and military personnel are not delusional fanatics. Did even a single cop leave the line of cops a Wako to join David Koresh in his fight to bear arms and stay free? Nope. They followed orders, they always have. Always will. To their eternal credit.

ChrisGoldfinger
ChrisGoldfinger

@myakka guns are just about the only dangerous device that essentially has no regulation at all.  You need  license to catch a fish, and there are good reasons for that.  You need a license to drive a car, and speed limits, good reasons there too.  The reasons to do the same are much stronger, yet we do nothing to put reasonable controls on guns, the one toy thats meant to kill.  

GurnBlanston1
GurnBlanston1

We're just about there.  The USA is a shell of it's former GREAT self.

str8vision
str8vision

True. The past two Presidents have all but trashed our constitutional rights, militarized our civilian police and placed all citizens under intense 24/7 surveillance. More disturbing is that most American's could care less and welcome subjugation believing it provides additional security...until they or their family members are the ones "cavity searched" along side a busy expressway.   

ChrisGoldfinger
ChrisGoldfinger

@UleNotknow Yes, I agree, it's the heavily armed bands of gun nuts and individuals roaming around with guns that I worry about.  My right to life itself is threatened by these wanna be rambos.  

RonaldWickline
RonaldWickline

Like I said,"It's all about you" as I nowhere said anything about "professional criminals".  Your words, not mine.  So keep spinning.  Speaking of spinning, your also the one calling me a "loose cannon" the same reference you used for child killers, apparently since you didn't like what I had to say.  If your afraid of me, your probably afraid of every other professional soldier that swore an oath and was willing to give there life so you could voice your opinion.  I've served my country to protect those rights for you as well as myself.  Thats all of the rights, 1st amendment and 2nd amendment.  You don't get to choose for me.  Thats what this debate is about, individual rights granted by the constitution of these United States.  Not by your, or any politicians, leave (that means permission, in modern terms).

myakka
myakka

@MarkinFL @myakka 

I wouldn't brag about having the crime rate of Chicago.  Yes homicides are down.  But they lead the EU in all other violent crime catagories.  So it's ok since people are only being beaten and robbed but not shot.  If we filter out shootings in line of duty by LEO, and justifyable homicide say in the case of self defense, then the numbers in the US are pretty d@mn respectable.  And no, I wouldn't want Chicago's crime rate nation-wide thank you.

clb45para
clb45para

@RickZimmerman @myakka   Wait, you forgot to blame George Bush!  Why is it always someone else's fault when Liberal policies don't work?  The problem with our current laws is.....CRIMINALS don't obey the law!  So, take all your "lets pass another magic law...this one will work," and toss them, because they have Zero basis in reality. 

UpsetPatriot
UpsetPatriot

@douglas_macy You obviously haven't met law enforcement or military members, have you?  Most of them are delusional and substandard on numerous levels.

str8vision
str8vision

Exactly! I couldn't have described our new hostile, militarized police force, the TSA and Homeland security  any better......

RonaldWickline
RonaldWickline

Once again, you open your mouth without the facts. As a soldier I did often carry a concealed weapon and you have no idea of the "orders" I have obayed.  So far the only one mentioning killing anyone is YOU!!  The only one threatening anyone is YOU!  So I guess that makes you the loose cannon and potential murderer.  But, I guess if you can't get what you want in a real debate, throw a temper tantrum.  You seem good at that.

By the way, threatening to kill someone on the computer, is still a felony.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

@RonaldWickline Gun crazy right wingers always drool over criminals crashing into homes while salivating over which weapon and ammunition to use in the great shoot out to prove their righteousness.. The NRA programs them that way. It's a fact, Jack. You brought up criminals by habit. I just dislike over armed dangerous people of any kind.

When you were a soldier you were under  strict command and control, not running around making crazy decisions of your own. You sure didn't walk around with concealed weapons and keep massive stock piles of weapons on base to use on your fellow soldiers if they violated your notion of "freedom". If you violated gun regulation, you would have gotten severely punished. If you spoke of treason and insurrection carrying arms against the United States of America and your chain of command you would have come under the most severe consequences. If you shot your mouth off about matching their weaponry for your own use, it would have been a very career limiting move. You never did and never will serve this country by such behavior.

 I don't give one hairy damn about your desire to play with the toys of your liking if they threaten my life, the life of my family and those dear to me. On that we agree, I will kill you if you threaten me. I will pay others to kill you if you think you are entitled to unlimited "freedom" to threaten others.. So why should I let you get away with arming yourself for simple amusement. If fishing killed 30,000 people a year, I would severely restrict fishing. Why should I applaud while you cheer for treason against the government of my country?  It has nothing to do with "freedom", nothing to do with "sport", and everything to do with a profound sense of inadequacy that makes these weapon so "necessary".

MarkinFL
MarkinFL

Not really.  Local gun control is of no use when there are no national rules with any teeth. There are more loopholes in gun laws than in tax laws. And that is saying something.

BTW, I am a firm believer in gun ownership. Responsible gun ownership. In my world that means the owner is legally responsible for ANYTHING the gun is ever used for. If you cannot control access to your gun then you have no business owning one. If your child shoots themselves or a friend then you should go to jail. If your cousin takes your gun and shoots someone then you go to jail.

I know many responsible gun owners and many more irresponsible gun owners.

myakka
myakka

@MarkinFL 

This is a good discussion.  Thanks for keeping it civil.  But I do have an observation.  The city you are using for an example of how horrible our homicide numbers are is Chicago.  Where guns are already illegal.  What you are proving is that gun control is failing in Chicago in staggering numbers.  You disarmed the general populace, and now the criminals are the only ones with firearms.  Thanks for making my point. :-D

MarkinFL
MarkinFL

Actually, I mistyped. Not the Crime RATE but total homicide numbers. Not just guns, ALL homicides in ALL of England and there are a heck of a lot more people in England than in Chicago.  Almost as many people were killed by guns ( so not counting any other method in Chicago) as were killed by ALL methods in ALL of England.

England population: 53,000,000

Chicago population: 2,700,000

RickZimmerman
RickZimmerman

@clb45para @RickZimmerman @myakka Sigh.   Blame Bush?   Is that part of your bumper sticker collection of retorts when confronted with reality?  
And as for our current gun policies, that fiasco is quite squarely in conservative territory, so um, try again.  Insofar as your other bumpersticker retort concerning criminals not adhering to laws, then what, we should stop creating laws?   What an asinine comment.   And finally, your insistence that gun control advocates think that there is a magic law that will solve the problem, that is another fabrication.   We are working a variety of angles to resolve our gun addiction problem, and it is you, and your low information peers that can't be bothered to do anything besides complain about the people working to make a change.  You should be ashamed of yourself.