The ‘Hidden Tribes’ of America – Forward Observer Shop

The ‘Hidden Tribes’ of America

A couple weeks ago, I came across a study entitled, “The Hidden Tribes of America”. The project sought to find out just how America was becoming fractured.

(If you just want the links and resources, scroll down.)

The study found that America was just about evenly split on the following issues:

  • The impact of immigration (positive/negative)
  • The prevalence of sexual harassment
  • White privilege
  • Islam in America

The study also reported that 23 percent of the country now finds that, “The differences between Americans are too big for us to work together anymore.”

If that finding is accurate, nearly 75 million Americans feel this way.

77 percent said that America’s competing tribes could still work together, but I’m willing to bet this number falls after the fallout of the mid-terms, now just a week away.

And I bet that number falls even farther during the next recession when the economic picture isn’t so rosy anymore.

I’ve expressed my concern that the next recession will coincide with the 2020 presidential election.

That year could be the ugliest since the late 1960s and early 70s, which were peppered with social unrest, massive protests and riots, and a bombing campaign (circa 1971).

Violence and social unrest tends to follow periods where the United States goes through a tectonic shift of culture. That was true from the 1760s-1770s, 1850s to 1860s, and 1960s.

It’s likely to be true again in the 2020s.

Tectonic shifts in our economy, demographics, and culture are leading us to another earthquake.

Whether we see a sharp uptick in social and racial unrest like in the 1960s, or something worse, the question I’ve asked myself is:

What can I begin doing to prepare for this period?

I have a lot of answers, however, one of the most important things we can do is better understand how these conditions and events will affect our own neighborhoods and daily lives.

What happens in Los Angeles, or Portland, or New York City has basically zero effect on my daily life.

But that’s not to say that my own city or county will not have its own problems with protests, systems disruption, violence, or other emergencies.

Today I want to share with you two resources:

The first is a list of links and other resources that spell out the importance of intelligence gathering and emergency preparedness. There’s some information on community security, how to build an area study, and an intelligence gear list, among other information. Intelligence & Emergency Preparedness: Helpful Resources

And the second contains my thoughts on local intelligence gathering so we can better understanding how a conflict, no matter the scale or intensity, might affect our own neighborhoods: How can we begin preparing for domestic conflict?

(And you can find more information on the Hidden Tribes study at:

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper


PS. If you want to follow along as we connect the dots of our domestic conflict and reduce uncertainty about the future, I invite you to sign up for our intelligence reports. Signing up is quick and easy, and you can read our latest reporting immediately.

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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.


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