How can we begin preparing for domestic conflict? – Forward Observer Shop

How can we begin preparing for domestic conflict?

Good morning and happy Monday. This morning I want to address something that may be of interest to you…

For the past few months, I’ve outlined in a series of blog posts why I believe we’re already in a domestic conflict. Based on what we’ve seen, there’s zero doubt. We in the United States of America are in a low intensity conflict — it’s here. (Ref: August Update on the Second American Civil War and What will it take to start a domestic conflict?)

There’s ample evidence on the national level, so my focus naturally turned to our home town of Austin, Texas and, more specifically, my own neighborhood. Are there signs of domestic conflict locally?

Look, what happens in Berkeley, or Portland, or D.C., or Chicago, or anywhere else on the national stage is of some importance. But relevance — that’s a game of proximity.

The gang battles in Chicago are important to what’s happening nationally, but they just aren’t relevant to my own security. The showdowns between right wing and left wing groups in Portland and Berkeley are important to what’s happening nationally (and locally for those people), but they just aren’t relevant to my own security.

So, I ask the question for you: if you agree that the United States has entered into a period of domestic conflict, regardless of how violent it is or will become, then what are the signs of domestic conflict that will affect you locally?


Do you have far right or far left groups in your area?

Is there overt right-left political warfare in your area?

Are there signs of economic dislocation based on political ideology (i.e., individuals being fired or losing economic opportunity based on political affiliation)?

Are information operations targeting the populace in your area to garner support for far right or far left causes?

Are there far right or far left teachers indoctrinating students at your local schools?


We have all these things in Austin — this far left city is virtually the Berkeley of the South. But if I were to drive 30 minutes in any direction, I would find a completely different situation: rural Texas is pretty conservative. (As I often opine, the best thing about Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas.)

But the human terrain in this city is undeniable. The inner city, just like most in America, is very supportive of progressive policies and generally supportive of far left politics. But there are pockets of conservatives here. (I just happen to live in one of those light red splotches in Austin. You can view the entire U.S. map for yourself here.)

And, as far as community security goes, part of being pro-active about my security situation is seeking out those who are like-minded. I want to develop relationships with my neighbors because I want their cooperation in helping to maintain security, whether our concern is routine crime, a natural disaster, or something worse, like a protracted violent conflict.

Our domestic conflict, so far, is not best evidenced by political violence. In fact, relative to other cases of domestic conflicts/civil wars around the world, we’ve seen very little violence at all. And so far, we’ve not seen a lot of organized political violence, which would indicate a coordination of violent action like you’d typically see in a real war.

But we’re seeing an increase in economic and political warfare, information operations/propaganda, and cultural/class warfare, which makes obvious that political violence is not going to disappear from our country.

And my key assumption going forward is that the bulk of political violence — organized or otherwise — is going to occur in high population density areas, followed by areas that are very highly contested in politics.

So our thought exercise for this week is to answer the questions I asked above and arrive at some logical conclusions as to how likely political violence is going to be in your area.

Consider the likelihood of an economic recession in the next two years (which is high, by the way), and determine the role those effects (unemployment and job loss, decreased economic activity, etc.) will play in political violence.

If we can organize our thinking through (roughly) the scientific method (evidence gathering -> hypothesis -> analysis -> conclusion), then we can gain some insight into how and when our areas will be affected by a domestic conflict.

If you expect worsening economic and social conditions in your area, then we can start to identify very specifically what those conditions are going to be. And the better we can identify those characteristics, the better we can prepare for them.

What we’re doing here is reducing uncertainty about the future in our local areas. That’s the utility of intelligence, by the way: trying as best we can to accurately describe how potential conditions will affect us and our security in the future. The more we do now, the more security and safety we can provide for our families going forward.

If this is something that concerns you, I’d encourage you to take a look at Forward Observer’s Intelligence + Training plans.

This month, I’m adding another hour of video lecture and instruction on intelligence and community security. I’ll soon have the entire SHTF Intelligence Course available in 24/7 streaming video format for students.

If you have any questions or thoughts about today’s post, please leave them in a comment below.

(And you can view the entire U.S. election district map for yourself here.)


Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper


PS. If you’re concerned about where we’re headed as a country, whether on the near-end of the spectrum or the far end of the spectrum (social, political and economic instability; domestic conflict; or collapse of empire), and want to stay informed on what the headlines don’t cover, then I invite you to try us out. Our special operations and intelligence veterans track the day-to-day risk of global and domestic conflict. If you’re not happy within the first two weeks, I’ll refund your monthly or annual subscription cost – no questions asked. You can get access to our intelligence reporting and training area here.




Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. It would be great if we had a way to raise funds for those in need that will help them be prepared. I know that more and more people are being pushed into homelessness due to high rents thus making more and more of us vulnerable. I would like to see donations of RV’s so we are helping each other be able to at least relocate quickly. Would love to make contacts here but not sure if there are any.

    1. People are typically unprepared because of situational ignorance, deliberate stupidity, and general laziness, not poverty.

      One might do as well to solicit funds for brain and spine transplants for all the good it would do.

      If someone’s rent is too high, they should move now.
      That would appear to be an obvious choice long before times become sporty and actively violent.

      But if you’re still set in that course, I believe FEMA has untold numbers of empty trailers sitting around in Eastern TX and N LA, when last I heard of such things. I’m sure they’d love for someone to take those off their hands.

      What was laid out in the above essay was things requiring thinking and analyzing a very particular local data set.
      Cost: $0.
      Only brainpower and some common sense required, and a modicum of knowledge about your surrounding area.

      If someone is barely keeping themself one step ahead of the landlord month-to-month, they’ve already overdrawn their funds in the bank of common sense, and giving them an RV won’t fix that problem.

      Just saying.

      1. Spot on. I do understand Susan’s idea of helping like minded people who don’t have the means, but at some point like minded types should stand up and lean into the wind, not next week, tomorrow.

        The hard decision is fight or flight. Do you stand your ground against stupidity to save your neighborhood, against what might be overwhelming odds, or let them have it and move to greener pastures. History is full of examples of both with mixed results. I vote for leave if you can because you can’t fix stupid, legally.

  2. I think the article is spot on . I live near Seattle and it has been a heated hotbed for the far left for decades . The Portland /Seattle area is the home base for AntiFa and their ilk , to breed anger and violence . The Far Left has owned every city for decades , now what?
    One observation that needs to be made is groups like Proud Boys have been steered by local police to openly conflict with AntIfa types and the local police stand back and watch. A young female police officer ( North of Portland) was fired for wearing a Proud Boys tee shirt On August 18th there will be another march in Seattle and Proud Boys will be there . Washington State has alway been a trend state and this trend is accelerating. Google ” AntiFa Portland Knockout ” to see what the future holds .

  3. That map’s by precinct, and there’s actually much more detailed data available than even that — individual data on registered voter lists at geographical location of residences, and US Census information at block group levels… Don’t know Travis County #s offhand, but Hays has ~2,500 average registered voters per precinct vs US Cen. block groups of ~1,500. Residence/individual-level data can be analyzed as near or as far from your home as you like… Crime, etc, data also available at address-level.

    Austin’s a special case nationally, and rapid growth means census data is rapidly out of date and community’s fast evolving… What will continue to be seen here in an economic downturn (I think) is more poverty, foreclosures (as folks walk away when homes lose ~1/3rd or more of their value), and violence in working class (affordable housing) suburbs will also increase (for instance, areas of Kyle are getting particularly bad already). Also, property tax rates will have to go up as local gov’t debt is out of control and unsustainable if/when property values increase. All of this serves to fracture communities/neighborhood relations in what are already all mostly bedroom communities…
    And as you likely know, very little affordable housing remains in Austin proper; studio apartments in former ghetto/current transitional neighborhoods now run ~$800/month, and that was the going rate for a 2 bedroom on Barton Greenbelt in 78704 a decade ago…
    Unfortunately, those suburbs continue to spread towards my small hill country acreage SW of Austin.

    Didn’t know you all were in the area. Good to know. Would enjoy grabbing a beer sometime.

    1. *if/when property values DECREASE

      Should note, over the past decade we kept moving out from 78704 greenbelt apartments to eventually our current hobby farm acreage.

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