It has taken me a long time to write this, but as we’ve reached the anniversary of the passing of Jim, I feel the time has come.
James Dakin, better known as “Lord Bison” to his loyal Minions, was a one-of-a-kind author and blogger, and turned out to be one of the best people I’ve known.
I first came across his website (bisonprepper.blogspot.com) back around 2014 and became an immediate follower. I’d been going down the prepper rabbit hole for a few years and felt very knowledgeable in the subject, but when I found Lord Bison, everything I thought I knew about preparedness was turned on it’s head.
Jim’s perspective on the world, and the direction it was headed may have been completely different from his contemporaries, but he made very valid arguments from outside the box.
He wrote numerous non-fiction books on the subjects of preparation and frugality, I couldn’t tell you exactly how many, but I’ve got at least 8 of them. And he posted a couple thousand articles on his website. To say he was prolific is an understatement!
One of the amazing things about Jim was the he truly “walked the walk”. He traded in comfort and complacency for a life off grid, living without a vehicle and making due with only the barest minimum. And despite his austere life, he never begged for donations, he didn’t monetize his website, and in fact after some time he started posting his books on his own website and giving them away for free. What he wanted most was to share his experiences and philosophy with as many people as he could. Financial reward was never his motivation.
In 2020 Jim and I started corresponding via written letters using snail mail, as he’d “cut the cord” from internet access and had transitioned to a monthly newsletter subscription (which he did at cost – supplies and postage only!). We sent a couple dozen letters back and forth over the months and I got to see a side of him rarely seen in his online work. I found him to be very kind and compassionate. He was very open and curious about life in “civilization” and he spoke very lovingly of his family – both his children and his “NOL” – his shorthand for “New Old Lady”. I felt a true friendship with him.
In May of last year, his monthly installment didn’t arrive. This was unusual, as you could always count on Jim’s timeliness. I didn’t think too much about it – could have been delayed, lost in the mail, who knows. But when June came and I still hadn’t heard from him I got a sick feeling inside that something was wrong. I sent a couple letters which went unanswered, which was also unheard of. I called the two phone numbers I had for him, but both had been disconnected. I queried other Bison fans I knew and none of them had heard from him either. Jim had simply disappeared without a trace and we were all concerned.
In November of last year I received an email from his son, letting me know Jim had shuffled off this mortal coil on May 5, 2022. Unbeknownst to me or evidently any of his other Minions, he’d been suffering from a lifelong condition, which had worsened suddenly and led to his untimely demise.
While I think deep down I already knew he was gone, the confirmation hit me like a brick upside the head.
These days as we have front row seat for the dumpster fire that is present-day America, I can’t help but wonder what Lord Bison would have to say about it. Whatever it was, I’m more than sure it would be tempered with humor. That was one of Jim’s magic abilities, no matter the dire situation he could elicit a laugh.
In hindsight I can’t help but think that Jim knew he was on borrowed time. That would explain the frantic pace at which he produced. He had a lot to say and a short time to say it and I am so glad I was in the right place at the right time AND in the right headspace to receive his work.
Lord Bison, I wish there had been a chance for me to say goodbye. You changed me for the better through your writing, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Godspeed my friend! I’ll see you on the other side!
3 thoughts on “In Memorium: James M. Dakin”
A hundred times better than anything I could have written…and I thought I was his biggest fan.
As a young man I read all I could about George Orwell. To me, Jim Dakin was the American version – with humor and vulgarity.
Orwell was a leftie but was so principled that he had no problem criticising the Left – just like Jim when he found prepping advice from others to be wrong.
Unlike Orwell, Jim never got recognition.
He could bluster with the best of ’em, about how he would “settle scores” when the Rule of Law no longer applied…I believed none of it. I never met him but think him to have been a very gentle, decent person.
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Thank you for the kind words. This took a few passes to write, and I still felt it didn’t quite do him justice. Such a unique man and author. I’m finally at a point where I can go back and re-read his work – I genuinely miss his twisted sense of humor!
Thank you so much ! Now I finally know why our xmas cards were returned last year and the year before too…
He was a great man, friend and my Lord Bison.