Yesterday my wife and I returned home from Idaho, having just sold books at the Panhandle Preparedness Expo. While not a huge money maker once costs are factored in, we still did very well. I can feel my "brand" as an author is growing. The place was packed on Saturday and comfortable on Sunday. I had an opportunity to speak on “How to Set Up an Emergency Basecamp” to a decently-sized crowd of probably 40 people. It was a rapid, busy weekend, and I "enjoyed" a non-migraine head and neck ache as the fruits of my labor for the drive back to occupied territory—er…—Western Washington.
There was but one downside to the event, and I kick myself for it. There had been a camera crew from “Vice” going around and filming the event. That didn’t bother me, but it should have had me on alert a little more than it did. I had what turned out to be a close to eight minute “interview” with a guy who asked permission to record our conversation. I’m not afraid to own my words, but I was little busy and not thinking about the potential for them to be taken out-of-context in that moment.
Earlier I had set up my Canon M50 with a shotgun mic. It was there on the tripod, ready to go. I just didn’t think about it. But, if you recall, until five months ago I worked for the federal government as a supervisor and manager. If there’s one thing I took with me when I left, it is experience in dealing with people who are trying to trap and trick you into saying stuff you shouldn’t.
This individual claimed to be some journalist from a mid-eastern southern state (South Carolina, maybe, or Virginia.. I just don’t recall). Most of his colleagues live in New York, and his stated intent was to try and write an article that will explain to left-thinking people how can have a better grasp on how small-town folks (us crazy “preppers”) think. He promised that though he’s trying to get it into (suppressing a “pukey feeling” as I type) The Atlantic, he was not out to write a hit piece. He then spent an eighth of an hour trying to constantly get me to make anti-government and anti-covid statements. I actually woke up thinking about that jack-wad, and my lack of counter-recording him, for about two hours in the middle of that night.
So, I predict that at some point in the near future, some stuff Austin Chambers said in Sandpoint will be taken completely out of context in a left-leaning attack mag. But other than that and my headache, it was a great long weekend…until I learned of a friend’s passing when I got home.
Funny as it seems, I now treasure some of the friendships I’ve made on social media as deeply as most from real life. I truly get to know many of you, and I occasionally think, “I can’t wait to go grab a beer with this person.” There’s a lot to be said about wanting to meet a Facebook friend, but when you think, “Man, it would be a real honor to meet so-and-so…” Well, that speaks volumes.
I knew him as Dave Wolf. I don’t recall his real last name, but he owned and ran Wolf-fire Firearms Training out of North Carolina. I loved reading his semi-regular posts called “From the House of Shenanigans.” When he was in between large-scale security work at other locations, he would earn income as a security professional at what I presume was a local casino. [Feel free to comment and correct below.] Those posts were often hilarious, and sometimes a bit frightening, as he cleverly portrayed his evening’s working heading off trouble at the pass that was the casino’s entrance.
It is now a day later, and I’ve tallied my sales from the expo: 31 full sets, plus several individual book sales, some tee shirts, some stickers… As grateful as I am for that, I’m still in a bit of shock and grief over the loss of a good friend that I’ll never actually get to meet. Hug your loved ones close, friends. I’ve dealt with some pretty serious loss in my life, but over time we can become somewhat numb and cushioned to it. Times are as perilous as ever, but time is more precious than ever.