About the Author

Woody is a 10 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Neighborhood Defense Organizations (NDO)

I’m going to touch on what many outside the gun community consider to be a touchy concept – Neighborhood Defense Organizations (NDO).  I won’t go so far as to call these “militias”, primarily because that term (although used in both the Constitution and US Code) has been repeatedly co-opted by those who seek to overthrow the government, vice actually providing a shield for themselves and their neighbors against legitimate threats, such as that posed by tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, or other natural or man-made phenomenon.  I’ll see if I can pose a useful outline to you:

First, what is an NDO?  An NDO is essentially a loosely codified, quasi-organized, version of being a neighbor.  Things used to be a lot more neighborly.  Neighbors had cookouts, watched out for each other’s houses, kids, dogs, etc.  This sometimes evolved into a Neighborhood Watch, and in modern times, occasionally evolves into a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) or similar group.  I’m not saying that doesn’t occur now, but life does seem to move a lot faster, and I know that I’m not always the best neighbor.  Most of my contact comes from my wife, who is far more social than I am, but it does at least provide me with some names, occasional visits, and a general idea of what is going on in the neighborhood.  Ideally, an NDO would actually have meetings, maybe even a Facebook page.  These meetings would discuss issues, threats, and basically keep the rest of the neighborhood informed about goings-on (this is not a gossip circle, FYI, information passed should be pertinent, ie, “Bob is going out of town for a week, please keep an eye on his house”).

Second, what would an NDO do?  Ideally, in addition to the informational side, an NDO organizes and seeks out useful training that allows the neighborhood to take care of itself during both times of crisis and day-to-day life.  This training could include CPR, First Aid, CERT, special needs, how to properly shut off gas valves, electrical precautions, self defense, Refuse to be a Victim classes, you name it – the sky is the limit.  Then, the NDO utilizes those skills when needed.  Taking care of a neighbor’s house while they are gone, attending to the neighborhood kids that get the required bumps and bruises of childhood, or responding to the windstorm that ripped roofs off houses or blew trashcans through windows.

Third, what does an NDO require of people?  Well, it very much depends on what the people want to give.  An NDO needs a leader, and they can’t do it by themselves.  An NDO needs someone to set up training, and people willing to attend the training.  It also needs people who are willing to give their time to help neighbors, usually above and beyond their normal workday.

Obviously, this is a very loose outline.  I haven’t really spent a lot of time coming up with an organizational structure, mostly because I’m not sure how much interest there is in the idea.  If this resonates, or you have a neighborhood organization that performs a similar function, I’d love to hear how it works and what you do.

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