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She’s prepared family for strife, major disasters

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POSTED March 20, 2013 1:15 a.m.

Carolyn Nicolaysen doesn’t think that society is going to crumble tomorrow.

But she’ll be ready if it does.

The Oakdale-based emergency preparedness expert has three months of food that she and her family eat on a regular basis stored in case the unthinkable occurs. She also has another year of simple foods – items like rice, beans and powdered milk – ready just in case.

And while she doesn’t know what or when will cause the need to tap into that supply, Nicolaysen – who learned about civil unrest and the mob mentality firsthand as a teenager growing up in New Jersey in the turbulent 1960s – spelled some of the scenarios out last week at a meeting of the Manteca TEA Party Patriots.

Most recently, however, the threat that Nicolaysen says that has her worried isn’t a dirty bomb or a compromise of the water system or even a natural disaster, but the emergence of gangs in isolated communities like the one she calls home.

Just recently Nicolaysen says that it’s become commonplace for people visiting parks in Oakdale to discover needles discarded by addicts – the byproduct, she says, of recent changes in the California legal system that puts low-risk offenders back out onto the street faster.

It’s a different type of gang, however, that Nicolaysen focused most of her energy on Thursday – spelling out how to keep from getting swept up into a riot situation where one’s personal safety would be compromised.

With her teenage experience serving as a backdrop, Nicolaysen talked about how having a clear understanding of how to escape a mob – staying near the outside, not trying to go against the grain, falling slowly back until its possible to duck onto a side street or into a building – is one of the only ways, she said, to prevent personal injury or worse.

And it can happen at any time.

Pictures of rioters torching a San Francisco Muni bus after the Giants won their second World Series title last year were plastered all over newspapers when the celebration got out of hand.

But as Nicolaysen pointed out, it’s not just the mob that somebody has to worry about – spelling out that if one were to venture into that environment they should take several wet rags with them to defend against tear gas that might be used by law enforcement to disperse the crowd.

Having a kit in the office with clothes similar to those that worn by the rioters, she said, is crucial – standing out at all is a surefire way to get caught up.

While Nicolaysen said she didn’t want to come across as an extremist, making sure that you’re prepared in any situation is something that she stressed.

Founding Manteca TEA Party member Bruce Lownsbery agreed.

“I hope that it never comes to this, but it’s silly to think that it never would,” he said. “When things like austerity hit, people that are used to be given everything that aren’t being given what they need are going to be in this situation. It’ll be real.”

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