Alex gave Brad a tour of the neighborhood.
They rode on mountain bikes. Lansing had plenty of money to fund murals but not enough money to fix their roads.
The two men wore helmets and Lycra riding shorts. Any of the people outside the immediate neighborhood would assume they were a couple based on the fact that they were both “buff” and were riding together and just looking around
They rode in ever-increasing arcs around Spencer Avenue and Brad’s spirits rose. This was not as bad as he first feared.
The un-burned blocks west of Spencer Street were bounded by the demolished factory on the west. The factory was surrounded by high, chainlink fence and a berm but the entire center was a large, deteriorating, concrete slab devoid of cover.
To the south was the high school and its grounds were almost devoid of cover. Put a couple of shooters on the roof of the art-deco, three-story building and they could dominate any attackers who chose to approach from the south. It was a VERY tall, three-story building.
Approaching directly from the east would force the demonstrators to walk between several partially and completely burned-out blocks. The hazard of downed wires, trees and building materials (some still smoldering) would force them to stay on the road.
Approach from the northeast was problematic but approaching from the north was a non-starter due to the extensive tracts of completely torched blocks.
As they were riding, Brad asked “Do you have a plan?”
Alex replied “I have the start of a plan.”
“We are putting cratering charges in the driveways of the parking lots we DON’T want them to use. I think they are inclined to park at the Hall-of-Justice anyway. The cratering charges are insurance.” Alex said.
“Where are you getting high explosives?” Brad asked. HE is very difficult to come by.
Alex smirked. “Most of the charges are dummies. We know we have people watching so we put on a show.”
Brad noted that Alex said “most”, not “all”. That meant that some explosives were available but not large quantities.
Working out the geometry in his head, Brad said, “So you expect them to come from the east?”
“I am counting on it” Alex said. Then, unconsciously echoing Tim he said “I am designing this battle.”
“You know the enemy has a say in that, right?” Brad cautioned.
“That is why I need you” Alex said. “We have a plan in place for the obvious frontal attack. I think it is a very solid plan. But I am out of my element defending against the secondary effects.”
Brad nodded. Alex knew what he didn’t know and so far he appeared to be able to listen to input.
As they continued their leisurely bicycle ride, Brad said “You have a lot of low-quality assets volunteering to help you. We need to think of jobs for them so they feel useful and don’t feel compelled to come here and ‘help’ us.”
“You mean like dig holes and fill them up?” Alex asked.
“No, I think there are useful things they can do from their current locations. For example, they walk through the parking lot at the closest motel and count out-of-state license plates. It is not the greatest early-warning system, but it is something” Brad said.
Alex shook his head. “Most of the rioters come in by bus. I don’t think that is going to help all that much.”
Brad said "About those buses. They are like Viking long-ships. They swoop in to raid and then leave before the locals can respond. If we can take buses out of the equation then we gut the Vikings. What is a Viking without a Viking ship?"
“So what if we have the low-quality assets light up the internet by asking how to disabled buses? Suppose you leased out buses and found out there were several thousand inquiries coming out of Michigan asking about ways to destroy transit buses. That might make you think twice about chartering buses to that destination” Brad said.
“I would think the insurance companies would be more interested than the bus companies” Alex said.
“Most insurance companies have riders that don’t cover riots and emergencies like this” Brad said.
“Why do you think our governor hasn’t declared any of the ‘demonstrations’ a riot?” Alex said. “She wants to stick it to the insurance companies because she knows the voters will tar-and-feather her if their losses aren’t covered.”
“Even better. The insurance company threatens to drop the policy. That leaves the bus company in a lurch. They refuse to lease the buses for that reason. Regardless, you will be forcing the rioters to travel in their personal vehicles. That puts more of their skin in the game.”
"It is Parenting 101. Children behave better when they stand to lose something" Brad said. "I heard that you guys did a number on the buses Saturday night. That is good but it didn't kick the rioters in their pocket book. Take the buses out of the equation and that changes that dynamic."
Alex applied the brakes to stop his bike. He pulled up his contacts and called the skinny, freckle-faced 25-year-old who was his main internet warrior. “Hey, Gary?”
“Whatchya need, boss?” Gary responded.
“How hard would it be to light up the Patriot and Freedom boards with requests on ways to destroy charter buses?” Alex asked.
“You mean like AR-14 and S&W forums?” Gary asked.
“Well, them too. But mostly I was interested in the local forums; Southern Michigan, Northern Indiana and Ohio” Alex said.
“I can go on the internet and get that information way more efficiently than asking a forum” Gary advised him.
“I know that. But I want to create some BUZZ. This is for the other side’s benefit” Alex said.
A slight pause, then “Ohhh! Why didn’t you say so?” Gary said.
“I just did” Alex said with a grimace. Then Alex explained the objective for creating the buzz.
“Roger, Wilco. 125 decibels of buzz coming up” Gary said.
Gary put out some leading questions on sites he knew that hosted a lot of traffic. Then, after one of the threads had a half dozen hits, he used those posts to seed threads on Marxist and Hard-Left Democratic sites.
“Hey, I heard a rumor that some crackas was gonna to cut brak lines on the buses going to Lansing. Wud that be bad?” and “Uncle Cletus told me they were going to plant EMP bombs by Deadman’s curve on I-69. What would that do to a bus?” and so on.
Then, after he had a dozen thread boiling with activity, he sent a text to one of his school chums who worked for a major insurance company. “Hey, Philip, check this out.” with links to the most active threads.