Gilead mission to Randolph meets hostile response

Gilead’s diplomatic mission to Randolph last week failed to secure the northern border of the Gilead, as the convoy was attacked shortly after its arrival and before establishing any sort of dialogue. But the Gilead was still able to profit from the journey with only minimal damages and injuries, said Joe Tobiason, GDC Vice-chair and head of the mission.

“We had decided beforehand that if we couldn’t establish at least a non-aggression pact, then we would head through Randolph to the Snowsville General Store to see if procuring more weapons and ammo would be possible,” said Tobiason. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to establish any sort of relations with the people in Randolph, because somebody started shooting at us before we could do anything more than ask who was in charge.

“We were able to determine two important things, though,” Tobiason added. “First, our people and our equipment can stand up to a hell of an onslaught, and second, it seems that Randolph is being run by gang-bangers from Boston.”

The information about the gangs having taken over Randolph was provided by two sentries, whose capture provided valuable information to the convoy prior to its entering town.

How events unfolded

The convoy, consisting of five armored and heavily-armed trucks (as described in Issue #7, June 10), set out from Gilead at approximately 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, heading north on Route 12 toward Randolph. During their long-range patrol into Randolph a few days earlier, on June 8, Rich Bennington and Stanley Lyon had seen two sentries posted near the Clara Martin House on Route 12, so the Gilead Convoy stopped at the Central Supplies parking lot, well out of sight of any sentries in or around the vicinity of the Clara Martin House or Gifford Medical Center, and sent Bennington and Lyon ahead on foot.

Lyon and Bennington approached the Clara Martin Center from the back, catching the sentries by surprise and immobilizing them before they were able to raise an alarm. “Each of them had an automatic weapon and a pressurized gas horn – one of those things used at games to signal half-time and stuff like that,” said Lyon.

The captives confirmed that they were from Boston, and specifically that they were from two rival gangs – Magnolia and Academy – that had set up in Randolph and were running the town jointly in an uneasy truce. “They also said there are a few members from other Boston gangs that were in town, but none of them had enough people to establish a power-base on their own,” said Bennington. “They were mentioning that there were people from gangs called Humboldt, D-Boys, T-Wolves, 1850, and others. No idea what any of that means, but for our purposes it means they’re pretty fractured and uncoordinated.”

Having disabled the gangs’ only sentry system, Bennington and Lyon left the two tied up in an abandoned house and made their way back to the waiting convoy, which then proceeded into Randolph armed with the new information provided by the sentries. The five trucks slowly rolled into town, and encountered no people until the first truck in the convoy reached the railroad tracks, at which point two armed men emerged from one of the storefronts in the Block Building and stood in the street, just past the three corpses nailed to the asphalt (as described in Issue #7, June 10).

Although the two armed men were not pointing their weapons at the convoy, the fact that they were standing directly in its path was a clear message that the trucks were not to pass. “That’s when I decided it was time to defuse the situation, if we could,” said Tobiason, who was sitting in the passenger side of the lead truck. “So I opened my door and stood on the running board to lean out, with both hands showing, and said hello.”

Tobiason said his intention was to soften the effect of the heavily armored trucks by showing a willingness to be vulnerable and to discuss matters. “I told them we were from down the road a ways, and we wanted to talk about how we might establish neighborly relations,” said Tobiason.

“I could have told Joe exactly what was going to happen,” said Martha Arceneaux, a GDC member and former social worker who was stationed in the bed of the lead truck. “When I saw him lean out and heard him talking to those guys, I was pretty scared for him. These gang-bangers generally have known nothing but intense competition and violence for most of their lives, and this new world of scarce resources and even scarcer law enforcement is only going to harden their resolve to take what they can.”

The two armed men in the road laughed at Tobiason’s invitation to talk, and countered with an offer of their own: “Tell you what, old man. You mothafu***s get out of your fu***n’ trucks and walk home, and we won’t bleed you.”

Arceneaux said that as the threat was made, she saw several upper-floor windows on the east side of the street opened by people with firearms. “I quietly told Joe that we had a lot of muzzles pointing at us, and that pretty much ended the conversation with the guys in the street,” she said.

Tobiason said he glanced briefly at the additional armed people making their appearances at the windows, and decided to end the diplomatic effort. “I thanked them for their time and apologized for bothering them, and then got back in the cab and closed the door really quickly,” said Tobiason. “That’s when they started shooting.”

The armed members of the Gilead convoy had been told that they must not shoot until they heard a specific signal – three honks of the lead truck’s horn – in order to avoid a panicked shot that would unnecessarily set off a conflict. Under the circumstances, however, the second truck gave the signal because James Nash, who was riding in the passenger seat of that vehicle, was hit by several pellets from a shotgun blast that occurred in the first volley of fire from the gang members. “I saw Jim jerk toward me and curse and I knew he had been hit,” said Eric Quinton, who was driving the second truck, “so I just gave the signal and we started moving forward.”

Tobiason said he was surprised he heard the signal from another vehicle, but was about to give the order anyway. Once the shooting started, the convoy started moving forward, keeping within 10 feet of each other, as they had been training to do. “Ten feet might sound like a lot of space between vehicles,” said Quinton, “but when you’re in a pickup truck with more than half your windshield blocked by roofing steel, you feel like you’re constantly about to ram the truck in front of you.”

Bennington explained that there were two primary reasons for staying close. “First, we had to make sure we remained formed as a single unit to concentrate our firepower,” he said. “If we got split apart, we would have been far more vulnerable and less effective as a fighting force. And second, we had to protect our radiators as much as possible, since we hardened only the lead truck’s grill against small arms fire.”

The convoy rolled north on Main Street, taking fire from ground-level shooters as well as second- and third-story shooters. Despite the fusillade directed against it, the convoy’s armor functioned as it was intended, protecting the shooters in the truck beds as well as in the cabs. Two of the trucks suffered flat tires, although only one of them was caused by bullets. The other was caused when rolling over the three corpses that were nailed to the street; one of the railroad spikes that had been used to secure the bodies punctured a tire as the convoy made its escape.

Firearms from Snowsville

The convoy’s secondary mission was to secure additional ammunition, firearms and supplies at the Snowsville General Store, if possible. According to Tobiason, the rationale was twofold. First, he said, whether or not the Randolph diplomacy was successful, additional firearms and ammo could only be helpful. And second, the mission organizers figured that if there was a shootout in Randolph, it would be impractical to attempt turning the entire convoy to head in the opposite direction while taking fire the entire time. “We figured it would be better to run the gauntlet once, catch our breath and reconfigure our strategy if possible, and then run it again to get back home if we had to,” said Bennington.

After leaving Randolph and coming to an open area of Route 12, the convoy stopped to assess damage and make quick repairs. The tires were changed and EMT Jennifer Godin examined Nash’s injuries from the shotgun blast, which were relatively minor and not in need of immediate treatment except with an antibacterial spray and bandages.

At the Snowsville General Store, the convoy saw that it had indeed been broken into, but by no means emptied of useful goods. “All the handguns were gone, but we found a few long guns, and several recurve bows, arrows, and lots of ammo – at least as much as we took from the sports store in Randolph several weeks ago,” said Don Brewer, the GDC’s Treasurer and Resource Coordinator, after the convoy had returned home. “I would estimate that our ammo supply will last five or six years at least. Maybe a little less if we have a hot war with the Randolph people.”

The convoy also secured more winter clothes and equipment, including boots, gloves, overalls, vests, hats and more.

As they consumed a quick meal at the Snowsville store, the convoy discussed the plan for returning through Randolph to get to the Gilead. Brief consideration was given to using I-89 to bypass Randolph entirely, but this strategy was dismissed due to the uncertainty regarding the highway’s safety, especially given that news from passersby over the past several weeks has indicated that major highways were patrolled by Raiders who preyed on travelers. It was determined that the convoy would head back into Randolph, but bypass most of Main Street by turning up Pleasant Street, which runs parallel to Main Street (see map, this page) and turns into Beanville Road, which subsequently joins with Route 12 well beyond Randolph.

The alternate plan, in case Pleasant Street was somehow blocked, was to run Main Street again, “with all guns blazing,” as Tobiason put it.

As it turned out, the dangerous alternate plan was required, and it was even more dangerous than anticipated. “As we drove into town, we saw that they had blocked off Pleasant Street, so Main Street was pretty much our only option,” said Tobiason. “But after we had passed the blockade at Pleasant Street and had nowhere to go but straight ahead, they rolled out a couple of cars from Salisbury Street, just before the railroad tracks, and blocked our way through.”

Bennington speculates that the Gilead convoy’s first trip through Main Street was a wake-up call for the Randolph Occupation Force (as he has since dubbed them). “I think up to this time, they had only faced two- or three-car convoys of people who were far from home and unprepared for confrontation,” he said. “We represented something entirely different, and they adapted quickly. Very quickly. And what’s even more disturbing is that they seemed to know we’d try to come back through.”

With two vehicles parked across the convoy’s only way out of the shooting gallery of Main Street, it had no recourse but to resort to brute force. “I wanted to shout back to the trucks behind me to speed up with me, but there’s no way they would have heard me over all the shooting,” said Julie Blackwell, driver of the lead truck. “So I had no choice – I sped up so I could ram one of those cars out of our way and clear a path for us.”

Quinton, driving the second truck, saw the lead truck pull away and accelerated to catch up, but the third truck didn’t react as quickly. “It seems like our truck was taking a huge amount of fire, and I was trying to fire my handgun out the slit in the armor while driving at the same time,” said the third truck’s driver Robert Jamison, husband of GDC member Chelsea Graff. I looked away from the truck in front of me for a second, and when I looked back, there was a fifty-foot gap between us.”

That’s when his truck took damage to its radiator. “Steam started pouring out the front as I accelerated to catch up to the others,” Jamison said.

The lead truck rammed one of the cars out of the convoy’s path and all five trucks were able to make it through the gap, but the truck that took damage to its engine was faltering by the time the convoy was climbing the hill toward Gifford Medical Center. The fourth truck in the convoy drove up against the damaged truck’s back end and helped push it up the hill until the convoy came parallel with the Shaw’s Supermarket parking lot.

“We stopped the convoy and set up a perimeter while Eric [Quinton] hooked up a tow line so that the dead truck could be pulled home,” said Tobiason. “Nobody came at us from Randolph, although we did see a few people staring at us from the windows of the Shaw’s.”

During the repair stop it was discovered that 18 year-old Wayne Knight had been shot during the second run through Main Street. “He had been struck by a bullet that broke his left collarbone and lodged in his trapezius muscle, between his neck and shoulder,” Godin reported, after the convoy had returned to the Gilead and she had performed rudimentary surgery to remove the bullet and set the bone. “He’ll be out of commission for a few weeks, but he should be fine.”

The remainder of the mission was uneventful, and Quinton is working to repair damage to the trucks and devise ways to harden them against such damage in the future.

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Filed under 6/17/2019

Parsons shoots Gilead citizen; faces punishment

Roger Parsons, the self-described “accidental” Gilead resident, has been convicted by the GDC Executive Committee of attempted murder after shooting Jamie Calhoun, the 10 year-old son of GDC member Chuck Calhoun, and has been sentenced to house arrest and in-community exile.

Roger Parsons testifies in front of the GDC Executive Committee. This photo was taken approximately two minutes before Parsons rejected the GDC’s authority and left the proceedings with Qß!§ËÆâêbHf±ëžEÐ/-n!Ôl5)ïX¬©F OQĨãNôÊuZn’ eðX˜ÿ 6¼ åÕ¶§4zv¡§Mõk

Jamie, who was shot through the left thigh, is expected to make a full recovery, according to Jennifer Godin, an EMT and Gilead’s sole medical practitioner, who treated the boy’s injury. “Thankfully, it was a clean wound,” she said. “The bullet went clear through the quadriceps without hitting any bone or major blood vessels, so I was able to just stitch him up and start him on a course of antibiotics.”

Despite the good prognosis, however, those who were witness to the shooting called for significant repercussions against Parsons, after the GDC trial determined the facts of the case and concluded Parsons’ guilt. “I’m obviously biased because I’m a father who has just seen somebody try to kill my son, but as far as I’m concerned, Parsons has forfeited his right to live in this community,” said Chuck Calhoun, “and if I had my way, that son of a b—- would be put to death.”

According to testimony from Parsons and the four people who were on Parsons’ property during the shooting, the facts in the case presented during the hearings appear to be as follows:

On the morning of June 4th, Chuck and Jamie Calhoun, David Childers, and Mark Costas were surveying potential logging routes for getting trees out of woods adjacent to Parsons’ property. The four people were on a wooded portion of Parsons’ property, approaching his home in order to ask him if they could use a logging trail in his woods to transport logs from another property, when they heard seven or eight shots fired in rapid succession. The group was unsure where the shots were coming from, but they heard the first few bullets hitting trees nearby and so dropped to the ground.

Roger Parsons, who had fired the shots from his front porch into the woods, left his porch and walked toward the spot where he had seen the group of four neighbors, while shouting, “I’ll kill anyone who tries to take anything from my property! You hear me? This is not your land!”

David Childers shouted back to Parsons that the group consisted of four Gilead residents, and they only wanted to ask him to use a logging trail. Parsons replied that he wanted the group off his land immediately, and threatened again to shoot them. Costas told Parsons the group would leave his property if he would point the gun toward the ground and allow them to leave the way they came, which Parsons agreed to do.

As the four people got up, Jamie Calhoun told his father that he had cut his leg on a rock or a stump when he hit the ground, and that it was too painful to walk. When Chuck looked at Jamie’s leg, he saw blood and determined that he had been shot.

Chuck picked up Jamie and informed Parsons that he would need to cross Parsons’ property to take Jamie to Godin’s home for treatment, which Parsons allowed, while cautioning the group that he would be watching them to make sure they left his property.

During the hearings, Parsons invoked his right to defend his property against trespassers. “Everyone knows the history here,” said Parsons. “I have lots of wooded land, and lots of you people want access to it, which I won’t allow, so there is obviously resentment about the fact that I have lots of property and others don’t. And then I see armed trespassers in my woods approaching my home!”

Childers, Calhoun and Costas countered that they were all wearing bright colors to ensure they were visible in the woods, since hunting season is now effectively year-round, and therefore were not sneaking or trying to “get away with anything,” in Childers’ words. “And to point out that we were armed is a non-issue,” added Costas. “Not a single Gilead resident leaves his property without being armed because we all face the threat of Raiders, and shooting game whenever the opportunity presents itself is essential.”

Parsons replied that he worked hard his whole life to be able to afford his large home and property, and will not yield to “socialistic schemes of resource-sharing,” as he termed it.

“I have plenty of food for at least a year, and probably more, and my home is well-insulated,” Parsons said. “Just because you people want to give up on civilization as we know it doesn’t mean I have to.”

Parsons insisted that state and federal government agencies would reassert their authorities soon, and that Gilead residents would be held accountable for any illegal appropriation of resources or extra-judicial punishments inflicted on him. “I reject the authority of this kangaroo court to judge me, and I absolutely reject your authority to decide my fate,” he said. “Leave me the hell alone. And unless you’re going to kill me or lock me up somewhere, I’m going home right now.”

As he left GDC Chairman Joe Tobiason’s living room – which served as the venue for the hearings – Parsons issued a parting shot, so to speak: “And one more thing,” he said. “I still consider my property my property, and pursuant to my rights as a property owner, anyone who trespasses will be shot.”

After Parsons’ unexpected departure, the GDC Executive Committee debated the punishment that should be levied, and took some input from community members who attended the hearings, which included almost every Gilead citizen. The suggestions from citizens ranged from simple house arrest to death by hanging. In the end, however, the vote was for house-arrest and in-community exile, with two primary reasons emerging as the determining factors: First, there was a significant amount of resistance from those who opposed the death penalty. Second, Calhoun, being the most aggrieved party, agreed to the lesser punishment.

“Like I said, I think the death penalty is appropriate in this case,” he said, “but I think house-arrest amounts to the same thing, because Parsons won’t have anything to do with the rest of us, and somehow thinks he can live off canned food until the National Guard shows up. Since he has no firewood, and won’t trade with any of us, there’s no way he’ll survive even half the winter, and I don’t mind if the bastard freezes to death in his own million-dollar house.”

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Filed under 6/10/2019

Recon mission to Randolph brings dire news

After receiving an intelligence report from a long-range patrol into Randolph, the Gilead Defense Council last night, June 9, authorized a diplomatic mission into Randolph as an effort to secure the Gilead’s northern border from potential raids, and to establish trade relations, if possible. The meeting, however, had the flavor of a war council planning an incursion, as the intelligence report did not give cause for optimism, and the fear that Randolph has become a Raider settlement was foremost in everyone’s minds.

Jason Nash sights a shotgun through one of the truck barriers to check for visibility and mobility before additional armor is attached.

“We have some information, but it isn’t enough for us to come to a solid conclusion one way or the other,” said Joe Tobiason, GDC Chairman. “We have no idea what to expect, so unfortunately we have to assume the worst and prepare for it.”

What little the GDC does know is disconcerting. On the night of June 8, GDC Security Coordinator Rich Bennington and Stanley Lyon went on a long-range patrol into Randolph to assess the type of reception a diplomatic mission from Gilead might receive. The two set out early on June 8, so as to arrive in Randolph soon after nightfall, and be able to make their way back by the next dawn.

“We were disturbed by what we saw,” said Lyon. “On Main Street in front of Belmain’s were three dead bodies nailed to the asphalt with railroad spikes.”

Each body, Lyon noted, was decorated with a small flag, two of which read, “Thief,” and the third read, “Traitor.” Each flag was hanging from a thin pole that had been inserted into the victim’s head through the eye socket.

“That was enough to tell us that there’s some pretty rough justice going on there,” said Bennington, “but what we didn’t see was actually worse – other than three people walking around side-streets slowly with rifles, there was not a soul out and about. Main Street was completely deserted. To me, it looked like martial law with a curfew being enforced by these patrols.”

Bennington and Lyon’s full report to the GDC Chair indicated that although they saw lights in some houses on Summer Street, and quite a few lit windows along Main Street, there were no signs of life outside of the buildings other than the few patrols. Avoiding those patrols by keeping to the shadows and side-streets, Bennington and Lyon made their way to the Cumberland Farms gas station where 12-A splits from Main Street. There they saw two more armed guards manning the intersection.

Bennington and Lyon had entered Randolph by traversing the forest north of Tatro Hill Road, coming out on Weston Street and entering Randolph from the west. The return trip, however, was designed to find out what the Gilead mission’s approach to Randolph might encounter “We came back to Gilead following highway 12, but keeping to the woods,” said Bennington. “On the way, we saw two sentries at the Clara Martin Center house, but no roadblocks or other measures.”

The interpretation of what Bennington and Lyon found in Randolph was subject of much discussion at the meeting, with the group finally deciding to interpret the findings in the most pessimistic way possible: Raiders have set up in Randolph and are running most, if not all of the town with a generous helping of cruelty to help them keep control.

“We recognize that it’s entirely possible that the three bodies were Raiders, and that the peaceful Survivors of Randolph have set them out as an example to other Raiders,” said Tobiason, “but I’m inclined to believe otherwise, because it doesn’t make sense that a Raider would be accused of being a traitor.”

The GDC unanimously voted to treat the mission to Randolph as a diplomatic effort, but to be prepared for a retreat under fire if necessary. Ideally, the mission would also include a stop at the Snowsville General Store north of Randolph for additional ammunition and weapons, but that would require going through Randolph twice, which looks increasingly unlikely.

Given the challenges faced by the mission, the GDC determined that preparing for a worst-case scenario is warranted, and has ordered the armoring of a convoy to travel into Randolph. Each truck traveling on the mission will be outfitted as follows:

Cargo barriers: As pictured on the front page, each pickup truck will have its bed covered by a barrier on each side. Each barrier will be bulletprof, consisting of two-inch boards with three sheets of corrugated roofing steel over them. They will have slits for defenders to see outside and to return fire, if necessary. The barriers will be angled so that they meet in the middle of the truck bed about four feet high, forming a tent-shaped space underneath for óg˜õXšh¦}iîâ–iUUa”±SB 0­v9­È E8P ûzÊ×òçK¶HïõX#»¸…cW ! wÛsÛ5Y‰.Lq        † aù±§§›õöºÑ® EÑ Ò+Á2ps

Wheel guards: In order to avoid becoming immobilized by flat tires caused by gunfire, each vehicle will have a double-layer of corrugated roofing steel bolted to the quarter panels to cover the tires down to just a few inches above street level.

Window guards: In order to provide maximum protection to the driver, who cannot return fire and drive simultaneously, standing-seam roofing steel will be bolted over the side windows and windshield, except for an eight-inch wide strip across the windshield, and a four-inch wide strip on side windows for visibility.

Armed crews: Each truck will include a driver armed with a handgun, a front-seat passenger with a long gun, and two people in the cargo bed, each with long guns. Crew-cab pickups will also include two more crew members with long guns.

“I know this sounds like a war party, but we face a pretty dire situation here,” said GDC member Martha Arceneaux. “We absolutely have to secure our northern border, because without that, we’re at terrible risk – especially the Dairy. So we have to make this diplomatic effort, but we also have to be prepared for trouble, but going in armed and armored could end up prompting the very response we’re hoping to avoid, so… it’s just very complicated.”

GDC member Mark Cohen agreed with Arceneaux, but said he’s more convinced that a show of force is appropriate. “I really think that it’s a no-lose proposition,” he said. “First of all, we’re prepared just in case. And second of all, if everything is peaceful there and they’re willing to talk, then at least we’re able to discuss things from a position of strength, rather than a position of vulnerability.”

Cohen said that just a few weeks ago, he would have been reluctant to show force, but his experience in the May 10 Raider attack changed his outlook. “We had to actually shoot at human beings during that attack,” he said. “It was horrible, and I think we can avoid it if ä7ÉÞwóg˜õXšh¦}iîâ–iUUa”±SB 0­v9­È

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Filed under 6/10/2019

Gilead teen states conscientious objection; refuses armed patrol/sentry duty

Paul Tobiason, 17 year-old son of GDC Vice-Chair Joe Tobiason, informed GDC Defense Coordinator Rich Bennington one week ago that he would no longer be available to serve armed sentry or patrol duty due to a philosophical and moral objection to the use of force.

Jennifer Godin and Marcus Chambers overlook Route 12 as they patrol the Gilead border. Chambers has taken Paul Tobiason's slot on patrol duty.

The announcement was met with no small amount of disappointment by Bennington, but he said he had no choice but to accommodate Paul’s wishes. “I know a little of what Paul’s going through,” said Bennington, referring to Paul’s having killed a Raider during a failed raid last month. Bennington identified with Paul’s situation, as Bennington joined the U.S. Army immediately after high school and served for 20 years, including eight years in Afghanistan. “I killed a number of enemy combatants, and it was a difficult thing to accept that as a part of who I am – that I took lives. But Paul didn’t sign up for this, so for him it must be even tougher.”

Paul’s father said he is completely supportive of his son’s decision. “We have always been pacifists, and raised Paul to value all human life, no matter what,” he said. “He was serving armed sentry duty on Route 12 during that raid because he wanted to help protect his friends and neighbors, but killing that Raider was a life-changing trauma.”

Paul was unavailable for comment, but his mother Shara said that he has vowed never to hold a gun again. “He said he would rather be killed than have another death weigh on his conscience,” she said. “He can barely tolerate the thought that he killed another human being, and I will absolutely not tell him he has to go against his conscience, no matter what the ramifications.”

Shortly after his announcement, Bennington discussed the matter with Sam Chambers, who agreed to let his son Marcus take patrol and sentry duties that otherwise would have been assigned to Paul, while Paul would perform dairy jobs that Marcus would have done.

“It might not be long before [Paul] decides holding a gun would be better than putting up five thousand g—-mn bales of hay,” said Marcus.

Despite Bennington’s understanding, he wanted to be sure Gilead residents are aware of the hardship this will cause. “One person making this type of decision is inconvenient and will cause a few more long shifts here and there,” he said, “but if any more people decide to become pacifists while the threat of Raiders is very real, and possibly growing, then we will be in very big trouble. We are running very close to the ground on this, so we’re going to feel even the tiniest bump in the road.”

Other Gilead residents were not as understanding. “We’re all in a tough position,” said Dave Childers, who is a veteran of .nàv reݍ î;æ£ !ΖbÉ쵈t õ‡òæše¿™9Á}i•«‘€Žù°Ç†‰e/A´ U´Ó5É-.¡›ó ̶«$Ö³QY‹t£ ÇðÉÆ|N$sÏñož<‡m®hs\:ÚÜ‹ûÛ™#w•îÙ¿Ý‘/F#H‰2P0 BC…l.}÷` …ôb.c 3=K#S CC##= S cc=s3 ]3C=#…¢T®4.€    Ä®endstreamendobj332 0 obj<</CS/DeviceCMYK/I false/K false/S/Transparency/Type/Group>>endobj333 0 obj<</BBox[242.135 1214.82 477.576 1178.1]/Filter/FlateDecode/Group 332 0 R/Length 63/Matrix[1.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0]/Resources<</ExtGState<</GS0 326 0 R>>>>/Subtype/Form>>streamH‰2P0 BC…l.}÷` …ôb.# #=CcS C#C =#  #cS=   ]c3=s#…¢T®4.€   $úÕ

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Route 12 brings drive-by shootings, incursion attempts, and news from the outside world

Note: File corruption has rendered the photo that accompanies this story hopelessly distorted, but I provide it as it arrived for the sake of authenticity.

The Route 12 Barricade has seen a significant uptick in activity over the last 14 days, some violent, some peaceful, but all ominous in their implications for the state of the nation outside of Gilead and Camp Brook communities.

Rich Bennington talks to the driver of a passing vehicle while Marcus Chambers keeps his weapon trained on the vehicle from behind a barricade. The travelers said they were on their way to the Burlington area from New York, and were avoiding I-89 due to Raider roadblocks.

Since mid-May, the Gilead Route 12 Patrol log has noted 15 separate “passing incidents,” the term used by the patrols to describe the passing of a vehicle or group of vehicles. The passing incidents involved 37 individual vehicles, with the largest convoy consisting of 5 vehicles. Of the 15 passing incidents, three involved violent confrontations with the exchange of gunfire, and six involved requests for aid.

“The three passing incidents that resulted in violence weren’t a huge threat, strategically,” said Defense Coordinator Rich Bennington. “Basically, it was a bunch of disorganized thugs who had gotten used to getting what they wanted by sheer numbers and firepower.”

Because the Route 12 Sentry and Patrol duties are well-organized and ready for such confrontations, however, the violent incidents have essentially amounted to drive-by shootings that resulted in no casualties on the Gilead side. “All of our positions have good cover, and the only way for Raiders to cross our barriers is on foot, which exposes them to fire from at least two directions,” said Bennington. “We even had one group head south across the bridge after shooting at us, thinking they could come at us by descending the steep bank and crossing the brook.”

That approach failed, however, as part of the Route 12 duty consists of two sentries behind the Jones home, overlooking the Gilead Brook. “Those sentries shot a few warnings at them, and they didn’t even get down to the brook before deciding to leave,” Bennington said.

For many on Route 12 duty, the hazards of that exposure are outweighed by the opportunity to help those who ask for it, and most important, to receive news of the outside world. “Patrol along 12 is incredibly boring, and it’s even worse if you get Sentry,” said Marcus Chambers, dairy owner Sam Chambers’ 18 year-old son, who has been assigned Route 12 for five days. Marcus was referring to the patrol route along Route 12 between Gilead Brook Road up to Spooner Road, as compared with the relatively sedentary duty of manning the barricade that prevents Gilead Brook Road from being accessed from Route 12. “It’s hotter than hell standing behind those barrels, and the G—mned deer flies never leave you alone,” he said.

But that changed for Marcus when more vehicles started passing. “I missed the shootouts, but one time we had two cars pass on a single day, and both of them had news,” he said. “It was f—ing great!”

It should be noted that although the Chambers family is exempt from sentry or patrol duties outside of the dairy, Marcus has been assigned Route 12 duties because he established a work-trade with Paul Tobiason, 17, who had requested exemption from any and all armed duties (related story to be posted soon).

Information gleaned from the Route 12 Sentry shifts during their brief interactions over the past few weeks paint a sobering picture of the situation outside of Vermont, and even beyond the Gilead’s immediate surrounding area. GDC Chair Jim Nash, who, along with Vice-Chair Joe Tobiason and Defense Coordinator Rich Bennington, receives daily reports from all patrols, said Gilead seems to be more alone than even he had imagined. “I thought for sure there would be some significant population centers where the Pandemic didn’t hit as hard, or at least that some other rural areas might have weathered the situation as well as we have,” said Nash, “but it seems that places like Gilead and Camp Brook are by far the exception.”

Although reports are necessarily incomplete, the news of cities seems to be the worst. Passersby from New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and one from Ontario, said that the cities were full of unburied corpses, rendering entire buildings and blocks uninhabitable due to the smell and number of flies and vermin. Some who survived the Pandemic banded together to hunt for resources, but before long, groups of survivors began raiding other groups, prompting some to flee.

A small group of four from Long Island, who stopped at the Route 12 Barricade on May 30 and got some water and sandwiches from the sentries, said they were the only ones to survive the Pandemic in their subdivision, which was populated by an estimated 3,000 people before the Collapse. The four, on their way to find friends last known to be living in the Champlain Valley region, also reported that as they drove through New York City, they passed block after block without seeing any signs of living people.

Regarding suburban and rural areas, the Long Islanders and others told similar tales. Entire towns appeared to be completely abandoned, with no signs of life — not even barricades or other defensive emplacements, while rural areas were much the same.

At least two groups said the interstates were not safe to travel, as Raiders tend to block them and rob anyone who happens along, leaving side-roads like Route 12 an increasingly important artery for travel. “That explains why we’ve seen a surge in the number of vehicles passing by,” said Bennington.

“It seems that we are indeed alone out here,” said Nash, “and it also seems like we can be grateful that we’ve got a lot of Survivors and are relatively well-off in terms of resources. I don’t mean to minimize the pain and grief of those of us who have lost friends and relatives, but I guess we’re hearing that it could’ve been worse. A lot worse.”

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Gilead’s energy independence secured; new fuel source found

As with other articles, this one degrades toward the end due to file-corruption. It is the last article in the May 27, 2019 issue.

In a development that is likely to have wide-ranging impact on the Gilead’s long-term viability as a community, dairy owner Sam Chambers and Gilead Garage owner Eric Quinton put their heads together and identified a fuel source that will eliminate the need for diesel fuel or vegetable oil to run the Chambers’ farm equipment.

Sam Chambers at work in his barn; it now appears his dairy will be a source of fuel as well as milk products, making the Gilead energy-independent.

“It just sort of hit me out of the blue one day,” Chambers said. “Everyone knows that one of the products made from  milk is butter, which is mostly fat, with some milk-solids and moisture in it. But it’s a pretty simple process to remove those impurities, and you’re left with clarified butter, which is not much different from the vegetable fat we use to run Eric’s ‘grease-car’ engines.”

Chambers said he ran his idea by Quinton, who gave it a tentative endorsement. “I had never tried it before, but I told him that as long as it’s not tainted with impurities and it’s liquid at about 100 degrees, it should be fine as a fuel,” said Quinton.

He put the idea to the test, clarifying about a gallon of butter, which yielded about three-quarters of a gallon of clarified butter. Quinton tested the fuel in one of his older vehicles, and said it ran just as well as any other fuel he has used, although it burned slightly faster. “But all that means is that if diesel fuel or vegetable oil would run an engine for six hours, this stuff would run it for maybe five,” he said. “It really is on par with the other fuels I’ve been using.”

The ramifications for the Gilead cannot be understated, said GDC Chairman Jim Nash. “One of the things we’ve been most worried about is fuel supplies,” he said. “We were thinking about how we could keep our fuel supplies up after running out of restaurants to raid for vegetable oil, and we kept coming back to land-use issues, which were absolutely killing us.”

The problem, Nash explained, was that the only way to keep the Gilead in fuel oil would be to grow oil crops like soybeans, flax, corn, or other plants that yield oil, which would have required large amounts of land. And land-use issues don’t even take into consideration that fact that nobody in the Gilead area knows how to press oil out of these seeds efficiently, even if enough could be grown.

“Thank goodness, being able to rely on the Dairy for our fuel means we know, as a drop-dead fact, that we have enough land to meet our fuel needs as long as we have engines that work,” Nash said. “The land in Gilead before the Collapse was enough for Sam to have 50 producing cows, so if we can have that many in production again, we’ll ¥Ñ Çö=‹ò3óÂ×Îÿ î?êsrÔzw  e_ÿ $†cøf>L5 c­Ä9¾ƒÕnôØtÝFóVÔ ÚÇJµ–âìÈ(%^<¸r§Jf¯E:›‰§™ÆøÏú×å’畽–´‹Ë[]Là¶ñ3ñ‘Ùz“NKÇéÎ÷ ®0qæ$z¤:GäííºêE›Ãõ[¢¢æ@)<º p

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Controversy erupts as GDC formalizes governing roles

During a five-hour May 23 meeting of almost all 51 Gilead residents from its 17 households, details of the enclave’s government and operational rules of its governing body, the Gilead Defense Committee, were discussed, finalized, and voted into being. Most of the rules and procedures put in place are standard fare for democratic entities, but the one position and set of rules that caused dissent did so with no small amount of acrimony.

Jim Nash, shown here sifting through his spinach harvest, was elected GDC Chair at its first formal meeting.

Creation of the Treasurer/Resource Coordinator position was vehemently opposed by a vocal minority that saw shades of communism in its implementation. The position as originally strucured would have given that elected official the power to allocate timber, fuel, hay, and some other resources according to need. “It seemed like a logical extension of what we have been doing all along,” said Joe Tobiason, who was elected Vice-Chair of the GDC. “We have a dairy that’s supplying everyone’s milk-related products, and everyone is going to give something in return, if they haven’t been already, so this position would have just made it more official and organized.”

“This runs counter to everything we should stand for as a group of free Americans who are fighting to keep our way of life,” said  David Childers when the position’s responsibilities were first read at the meeting.

Roger Parsons said he agreed with Childers. A retired bank executive from New York City, Parsons is, by his own account, “trapped” in Vermont by the Pandemic Collapse, as he was staying at his home in Gilead to avoid the disease’s ravages in the dense city. “Am I to understand that I’m going to be forced to give up my property to people who don’t have as much?” he asked. “I worked damned hard my whole life for what I have, and I don’t think it’s right that because all of you want something I have that you can bully it out of me. That’s theft, pure and simple.”

Childers made a point of distancing himself from Parsons’ comments, however, noting that there’s a qualitative difference between their objections to the forced collectivization of goods. “Mr. Parsons has 150 acres of trees and can’t tell a pine from a hemlock, and doesn’t even use wood for heat,” said Childers. “Seems to me he just doesn’t like the idea of sharing what he’s got, which I find ridiculous, since his house is heated with propane that won’t even get him to Thanksgiving.

“I oppose the Resource Coordinator position because I know there are lots of folks in Gilead who chose to keep only enough firewood on-hand for a single winter, even though they have enough trees that they could have kept at least a one-year buffer supply,” he said. “I’ve been keeping a minimum of three winters of firewood on-hand for years, as well as keeping a good supply of food and ammunition. So have lots of other folks in this room, although I don’t know if they want to stand up on this issue. It’s lots of work, and lots of expense, to do what we do.”

Childers says that common human decency would compel him to give away firewood or other resources – or trade them – to folks who otherwise wouldn’t have enough. “I have no problem helping neighbors,” he said. “Lord knows, I don’t want anyone to freeze or starve to death over the winter, but I sure as hell don’t want anyone telling me who I’ve got to give it to, and how much I’ve got to give. Let us work it out between ourselves!”

As Childers made his case, other residents said they were starting to have misgivings about the Resource Coordinator position. “At first it seemed like something we really should do, but the more I hear and the more I think about it, I think it would just be a source of dispute,” said Mark Cohen.

Cohen noted that his family has relatively little firewood left over from winter, and has never cut their own. “So we might end up on the receiving end of someone’s firewood, or at least their help in getting it cut for us,” he said. “I’d much rather work it out with somebody one-on-one than have the GDC decide I get somebody else’s stuff. That way, there won’t be any resentment about it, and I can maybe trade access to our field, grow extra food in our garden for someone… or even just do some work for somebody in exchange.”

Tobiason reluctantly conceded that centralized coordination of resources wouldn’t work unless everyone were on board, but still maintained that it should be considered as a possible future option in case the diffused system doesn’t work. “It’s not like we’re talking about communizing millions or even hundreds of people,” he said. “I just think we’d have a more fair distribution of goods and services if the function were centralized. Yes, it could cause hard feelings here and there, but in the end, the resource coordinator is an elected position, so we can vote the person out if they don’t do it right. And let’s face it, there is going to be grumbling about a lack of fairness in how we do things without a resource coordinator, too.”

In the end, the position of Treasurer/Resource Coordinator (TRC) was described to include authority only over the goods that were acquired during the resource procurement run in April, since those goods were gathered through a collective effort. Those goods are stored centrally, in the Bennington/Lyon barn, except for the vegetable-oil fuel and diesel, which are stored at Eric Quinton’s Gilead Garage, and the ambulance and medical supplies, which are stored at Jennifer Godin’s home, since she is an Emergency Medical Technician.

The TRC will maintain the inventory of public goods and accept all requests from residents who wish to draw on those resources. Approval of the requests will be made by the GDC during its public meetings, so that any interested residents can object or support the requests.

After the controversy over the TRC position was resolved by the re-wording of its functions, the remainder of the meeting was relatively smooth and uneventful, with a series of unanimous votes confirming the following GDC officers and roles:

Chair: Run/moderate meetings, coordinate GDC activities, assign subcommittees and other work to GDC members, adjudicate disputes brought to the GDC.

Vice-Chair: Establish meeting agendas by coordinating with Gilead community members, handle relations with other communities, fulfill Chair’s role in his/her absence.

Secretary: Take minutes at all GDC and subcommittee meetings, post approved minutes, publicize GDC and subcommittee meetings by posting.

Defense Coordinator: Establish defensive strategy and tactics, formulate patrols schedule.

Treasurer/Resource Coordinator: Maintain a current inventory of public goods and establish and maintain a system for the use and/or disbursement thereof.

Those elected to the positions are: Jim Nash (Chair), Joe Tobiason (Vice-Chair), Scott Blackwell (Secretary), Rich Bennington (Defense Coordinator), and Don Brewer (Treasurer/Resource Coordinator).

The rules governing the GDC’s operation were also adopted during the meeting, with the understanding that although they are relatively simple and straightforward, they will likely become more comprehensive and intricate to accommodate new situations that come up. A brief summary:

  • The GDC makeup is confirmed to be of nine elected Gilead residents, at least 18 years of age.
  • All meetings of the GDC and any subcommittees are open and warned 24 hours in advance by being posted in three locations: (1) The large maple tree on the north side of Gilead Brook Rd. where the pavement ends, (2) the large hemlock tree where McIntosh Hill Rd. splits from Gilead Brook Rd., and (3) the large maple where Byam Rd. splits from Gilead Brook Rd.
  • A quorum of five GDC members, including at least two of its officers, is required for any official decisions to be made.
  • Parliamentary procedures will be used to run all meetings, discussions, and votes.
  • A simple majority passes official decisions, and a 60 percent majority must vote to undo any decisions properly made. Decisions can also be rescinded by a petition signed by 75 percent of Gilead residents.
  • Elections for all positions will take place every May 23, and there are no automatic term limiendstreamendobj338 0 obj<</BitsPerComponent 8/ColorSpace/DeviceRGB/FilterÅ•¤ .nàv reݍ î;æ£ !ΖbÉ쵈t õ‡òæše¿™9Á}i•«‘€Žù°Ç†‰e/A´ U´Ó5É-.¡›ó ̶«$Ö³QY‹t£ ÇðÉÆ|N$sÏñož<‡m®hs\:ÚÜ‹ûÛ™#w•îÙ¿Ý‘/F#½2¬™¸ Ë›,ÿ ¿IòŸœï|»¡Ø‹1kª[Ägu ƒ/§Ð  Uï¶szŒFL㐖/ù™ùŸkäoÌ­7ÉZց §uoo Í4r4²G-ß«°ØwÅió •£Ó˜Ç‹ñÓõ¹1‹, /ËïËýs[Õá1O?š.Ïé9- °D~<©µVlpÈÉ»‚ž³ùyÿ 8å¢Y½æ¿§+̐ºÁlTF [¥ ©•ê3 &é‡ùÛÈÞFò?˜´’Ó„“k7 K !‘ýXl/>JIÜS¹  šâËS1% ZÕ§˜uy.õKu•] Z ¹‰ ŠN v¯ðÌ] â“­  f¾hüÿ ü¾ÓtIçµ»´ó àH£{y ,ð˽ R:Ч>´5ö˳iNNAÛJ6Æïÿ 64ýSÊöšŸ•´Ãç 2N’4í Æ…:ЈÛ(†˜À´K

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