Short Study of Urban Evasion

A Short Study of Urban Evasion

by Jason Smith


With the possibility of anthrax generated by a domestic source, it is almost certain our new Office of Homeland Defense will place tighter restrictions on our liberties. It seems every day a new story either linking the anthrax to Iraq or some unnamed ‘right wing extremist hate group’ appears.
Knowing something about microbiology myself, I would venture to say they can determine very little from the organism itself. An anthrax spore is the DNA of the bacteria surrounded by a hard casing. The organism does this when subjected to stress, such as lack of food or other environmental conditions which threaten it’s survival. When conditions are more favorable to the organism, it returns to a vegetative ‘living’ state.
At most, they would be able to determine what medium the organism was grown in, any additives used to enhance the organism’s virulence or perhaps how advanced the lab was that made the powder by gauging how fine the powder was ground. They could also determine what particular strain of anthrax was used and if the strain was adapted for the purpose of warfare. Anthrax also occurs naturally in livestock and could be isolated from nature.
I would say these press releases are a litmus test. It is admitted that the Pentegon uses PR firms to ‘spin’ the news of the war. Why would they not test the public, using press releases and polls to gauge reaction, to determine what the public will support? Perhaps to see if we would support an offensive against Iraq or even more draconian laws.
Among the strict new laws already passed, dubbed the ‘Patriotic Act’ signed into law by President Bush, there are penalties for ‘support of terrorism through expert advice or assistance.’ Certainly there would be problems for me if I wrote ‘A Short Study of Making Biological Weapons.’ Under the new definition of terrorism, protestors of the World Trade Organization are now terrorists, in fact almost any political protest could be labeled as such. A web site showing how to make a bomb could now be construed as providing information to terrorist.
The FBI has even suggested the entire Internet be wiretapped.
We live in an age of the permanent emergency. As the jobless rates soar (520,000 unemployment claims in September alone) and we grow steadily closer to becoming something akin to a fast food serving third world nation, this perpetual war and the new laws that follow to ‘protect us’ will have an increasing effect on John Q Public. The slow process by which our freedoms were being stripped is now streamlined. Few people will stand against this and the likelihood of it getting progressively worse is high.
With this new and improved police state comes the greater chance of facing the wrath of authority for those that chose to demonstrate or speak out against it. If it comes to this, you might find yourself having to evade the police while trying to survive.
Self-control is of paramount importance. Think every problem through rather than panicking. Pain, discomfort and other unpleasant conditions must be accepted as normal should this situation be forced upon you. Knowledge of escape, evasion and survival techniques will increase your chances tremendously.
Personality is one of the most important factors in an evasive situation. Regardless of the traits you enjoy in today’s world, in an evasive situation you must be decisive, adaptable, calm and optimistic but realistic. Remember the alternative is living a large portion or the remainder of your life in a jail cell. You must be able to cope with isolation and be able to assess and predict the actions of others.
One method of surviving is to remain in a city. Many people do not know anything other than city life, and to venture out of the city is not something they would do.
One way of surviving is by becoming a vagrant. Derelict housing can provide a good spot to go to ground.
This may not be as easy as it sounds. In many cities there is a well developed underworld of vagrants and drop-outs and your arrival among them will not go unnoticed. The vagrants may include informers or drug addicts who are easy targets for pressure by the police. Be cautious. If confronted, an effective approach would be to pretend you are insane.
Posing as a vagrant, you will have a better chance of bluffing your way out of a stop and search check by the police. Do not try it unless you are caught with no place to flee. Carry no identification and choose a weapon that is concealable or not in itself harmful e.g. a screwdriver or a chisel.
Foraging for food is easy in a wealthy environment, as long as you are prepared to examine the contents of cafe, restaurant or theater garbage bins. Garbage bins are an excellent source of food and useful items. You can use the lid to sort through the stuff, or lay it out on some paper so that you do not make a mess. If you leave a mess every time you raid a shop’s bins, eventually they will decide to confront you or try and have you arrested. Try to leave the top layer close to the condition that you found it in, leave as little sign of you being there as possible. Locate water fountains in obscure locations and use them for your source of water.
This type of behavior will also add to your cover as a vagrant.
If you can degenerate to a low enough level you will become an unlikely suspect. You may have problems with your health if you adopt this technique. Heat kills most pathogenic organism, those that make you sick. Boil the water you use if it is not on the cities water system. If at all possible, heat the food you find as hot as you can without burning it. If you cannot heat the food hot, but you can heat it some, keep the food hot as long as you can. A long period of medium heat will kill as well as a short period of high heat. You must heat the food over 150 degrees to have any effect. Any temperature lower than this can cause the food to be worse for your system rather than better.
A mid-way approach to evasion is to adopt the ‘gray man’ technique. Here you aim to have as anonymous an appearance as possible. Clothing should be neutral, and your behavior will have to be that of a ‘solid citizen’ – such people do not sit around in public parks or search through garbage bins. They are on their way to or from work. You will be less likely to be questioned by bored members of the police force using this technique.
A large city can be a very anonymous place. Citizens keep to themselves, and as long as your manner and appearance do not attract attention you can move about fairly freely. Always shave go through the garbage bins to find used razors if need be, unshaven men always attract attention. Trains, entertainment centers, etc. can offer protection from the weather by day and sometimes by night. Be careful, evasion is not helped by standing around.
Always move at night, it is easier to hide at night if you are being pursued. Infrared tracking that can be used to find you in a countryside is not as effective in a densely populated environment. Too many warm bodies.
If you must move in the day, be confident. Always look as if you know where you are going. Don’t loiter or appear furtive. If you can get a bicycle, do so, but assess the risk first. Keep away from stations or bus terminals. Avoid children, they are not bound by grown-up conventions of social behavior. If they see something peculiar, they will point it out loudly.
None of this is appealing, but it is effective. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to ask yourself what could you do to turn the tables on those that hunt you.