*Notes from History 305, the Second US Civil War* Third Period, University of Portland.
The American Refugee Camps in British Columbia were a bit of a problem for everyone involved. Americans running from their own Government were a black eye to the American Government. The Iranians had a field day in the UN accusing the administration of ethnic cleansing and human rights violations. The Canadian government, facing the reality that if America decided to remap their border a scant 90 miles north would absorb 90% of the Canadian population, decided to do the classic method of survival, pretend it didn't exist.
The tent cities popped up, and notices to vacate were passed around, and the tent cities moved. The Canadian government kept up the pretense that they were simply "homeless" and not "political refugees."
And all was well between the Governments of the United States and Canada until the refugees started organizing. First it was little things like boxes of hunting ammunition. Then it was slightly bigger things, pipe bombs and pilfered construction grade det cord. Then it became bigger things, training camps in the back woods on infantry tactics, guerrilla operations, sniping, sabotage, Sapper and Engineer schools.
The desperate would make the long walk North, often arriving with sneakers in tatters, rips in their blue jeans, and shivering in the daily drizzle. Time passed, and those same desperate people turned back to the south, armed with knowledge, sturdy boots, and weapons.
The ones who stayed behind, too old or too sick to make the long walk, lived under the constant patrols. They watched. They waited. Old men and women with nothing to between them and death but time and chance took notes. The helicopters landed at FOB Seattle and took off again 15 minutes later, three hours after that the Media always reported another "Key Terrorist Leader" killed or captured. Pretty young girls who could stomach the touch of an oppressor caught snippets of pillow talk and gave all they heard back to crafty old men and women used to solving the NY Times crossword puzzle in pen. Routes took shape, command structures were established. Locations of leadership identified.
The network of safe houses began with the local churches. Everybody knew somebody else they trusted, and those on the run were hustled between houses. Refugees would leave for church from one house, and return from church to another house.
The farmers were the most helpful. An old dairy cow slaughtered in the dead of night could feed a platoon for half a month without bringing up any particular grocery bill. Church chili cooks could set aside one bag of rice in ten. Little by little the fighters were fed by the many, a hundred old ravens feeding ten hawks one bite at a time.
Reloading supplies were still legal for purchase in Canada, and young children and old men worked deep into the winter nights turning components into high quality ammunition. The sale of reloading components was technically legal in the United States, but required a hefty "Tax Stamp" and background check, and no more than 2 pounds of powder could be on hand at any given time, and the owner had to agree to random "compliance checks." When Canada passed a law requiring Canadian ID to purchase reloading components Canadian sympathizers began assisting more deeply in the effort.
Geocaching, the sport made popular by cheap GPS became the preferred method for transporting powder and primers south into the occupied states. Brass was plentiful, and wheel weight bullets were perfectly adequate for killing. By transporting the lightest components, and gaining the the two heaviest components locally the freedom fighters were able to stay well supplied with ammunition. The oppressors counted it a good day when they busted an old men with an honest to God Dillon 650 press cranking out 9mm shells by the hundred. They shot him, claiming self defense. The picture they released to the public showing the old Browning HiPower in his right hand backed up their story, save that the old man was left handed.
Bit by bit everyone did what they could. Some made soup. Some collected information. Some turned information into intelligence. Some made bullets. Some shot bullets. Some simply picked up a package at point A and hiked it to point B. One lady bound to a wheelchair knitted six matching sweaters, for her six "Grandsons" who visited on Christmas. The disguises worked, and the "Port of Tacoma Six" are still remembered as heroes by the resistance.