How Ragnar Convinced Me to Buy a Gun
Ragnar Benson has authored many books including; Do-It-Yourself Medicine, Eating Cheap, Live Off the Land in City and Country, Mantrapping, Modern Weapons Caching, Ragnar’s Guide to Interviews, Investigations and Interrogations, Ragnars Guide to the Underground Economy, Aquiring a New ID, and many more, all publsihed through the wack-job-military-nut publishing company Paladin Press. In my search for urban survival tips I found, ordered and read his books Ragnar’s Urban Survival: a Hard-Times Guide to Staying Alive in the City and Survival Poaching.
I remember the first time I saw militia-style media; a friend of mine brought a Delta Press catalog to one of our boy scout camping trips. A few titles I can still recall; The Poor Mans James Bond and The Joy of Cold Revenge 2. I remember a t-shirt for sale that had a mushroom cloud on it, at the top of the could it said, “Made in America,” and at the bottom, “Tested in Japan.” I knew at twelve years old how fucked up most of the things in the catalog seemed.
I find it funny that years later I actually ordered not just one, but two books from this subculture. I think I ordered Ragnars books as more of a joke than anything, but I did hope to find some pieces of knowledge in them. If nothing else, I found his stories and anecdotes did indeed ingtrige me. His attitude and writing style matched perfectly the image I had of him and these survivalist types. This quote by Ragnar, describing a reporter from a magazine in New York who couldn’t imagine why one should own a gun, sums up his paradigm:
Obviously he was from one of those new touchy-feely type of men’s magazines that wouldn’t touch articles about guns, cockfighting, cigars or bear-hunting on a bet.
Reading Ragnars books really puts you inside his head. That’s the only explanation I have to justify my current desire to purchase a gun. Or maybe the section on “how to assemble a sniper rifle,” has really sunk in. Perhaps his talk of defending yourself from evil governments that will fuck you over in a pinch inspired me to take my second amendment right more seriously. Derrick Jensen owns an AK-47, why shouldn’t I get one? Maybe in Ragnars Survival Poaching book, when he suggests killing trained gaurd dogs by shooting them in the head, or using dynamite to poach wild game really struck a chord. Most likely though, it stems from the only part of the books that really made much sense to me;
Those who are and/or will allow themselves to be wards of the government don’t have the slightest prayer of making it in a truly grinchy city-survival situation.
In a crisis the government will attempt to control anything and everything it can, so we need to prepare ourselves for that. That seems like a no brainer. Yet with wild claims & conspiracies littered throughout the books from “numerous experts” or “my experts,” without a bibliography to back them up, it makes me wonder just where the hell one gets these ideas. I also wonder if Paladin Press didn’t just make up Ragnar Benson as a front for their books. The book has a similar style to The Panhandlers Handbook by Omar the Beggar, which did turn out a hoax (and still a great book).
In the end, I have surfed through the gun-toting-cock-fighting paranoia and found a lot of little facts, strange ideas I can’t wait to try out (no, not the dynamite) and funny anecdotes out of his books. Because of that, I feel that if I ran into Ragnar in a post-apocalyptic world, we’d probably get along just fine. Despite his interests in things I despise and total ignorance to indigenous peoples and lifestyles, we have the same needs and the same distaste for governmental control. And thanks to his books now we have another thing in common; guns.
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