January 2006 Archives

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You may have noticed that the spot price of silver jumped another 20 cents yesterday. Take a few minutes to read these two interesting analyses that recently ran at Gold-Eagle.comhttp://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_05/stein012706.html and, http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_05/murphy012806.html

In the latter article, it is noted that the silver 60 date lease rates just went into an upright spike. This is a clear sign that alarm bells have sounded at the COMEX and they are
trying desperately to suppress the galloping spot and futures silver prices. (Some futures contracts are presently pushing $12 an ounce!) But unless the COMEX does a repeat of its 1979-1980 shenanigans and changes the margin requirements for the futures market, then they won't be successful at holding down the spot price of silver. I suspect that a total desperation move like that won't happen until Kodak and the other big industrial users start to whine. You can expect that to happen once silver crosses the $40 mark. But by then it won't matter. Even if they slap a 100% margin requirement on silver futures contracts (like they did a quarter century ago, to stop the Hunt Brothers , it will be too late. Why? Because by then, the Generally Dumb Public (GDP) will have finally woken from their slumber and will be swarming to their local coin shops to plunk down some of their spare cash to get some 1 ounce silver rounds or pre-1964 junk silver.  At that stage, "junk" silver will probably be selling at 20+ times face value.

I predict that this market is going to completely get away from the COMEX and Wall Street manipulators. Today (January 31st) they will probably do their best to push the metals prices down temporarily.  After all, they wouldn't want to cast a bad light on either the President's State of the Union address or upon Ben Bernanke's first few days at his new central bank job. They'll sell enough to keep the price down for a few days or perhaps even for a few weeks, but inevitably it will be like trying to stop a a rising tide. The mainstream media will probably refer to this as "Bernanke's first management crisis." Given the fanciful underpinnings of the U.S. Dollar (which has a REAL value that approaches ZERO), this will doubtless be the first of several Volker-esque crises for "Helicopter Ben."

The futures markets for gold and silver are getting frantic. I suspect that there will be a massive short squeeze in the near future. The run up in prices may take all but us die-hard silver bears by surprise. Mark my words: Silver could double in price and then double again, all within the span of a month, once the perma-shorts realize that something has changed fundamentally and they have to cover their short positions, fast. As I've mentioned before, the silver market is very thin compared that of gold, and hence tends to be more volatile. After a short term correction, look for some volatile moves upward in the near future!

Today's Daily Reckoning had some extensive quotes from Dr. Kurt Richebächer. Here is just a brief snippet:
"You know what amazes me most is that Americans have come to believe that consequences no longer exist. They think they can do whatever they want for as long as they want...and nothing will ever go wrong." This is probably the first generation of Americans to believe that savings don't matter. It is also the first generation to believe that America
doesn't really need to make anything; it can buy what it needs from abroad. But where will it get the money? "That's the thing," Dr. Richebächer went on. "They think the bubble
economy will never end, but bubbles always end. This one will end, too. And there will be consequences, and not very pleasant ones. This is not
something the Fed can manage..."

The Gold-Eagle pundits summarized Dr. Richebächer's conclusion thusly: "According to Dr. Richebächer, our nation's "recovery" is largely a matter of the short-term transference of money from people's home equity, secured and unsecured loans and credit cards into consumer-level retail purchases - into the hands of financial institutions or the risky realm of
speculative investment."

If you have the time, read Dr. Richebächer's full report: "Your Choice: The Truth - Or The Consequences" See: http://www1.youreletters.com/t/332871/7796936/783705/0/

Hi Jim,
When TSHTF it is nice to have a lantern that can use almost any flammable liquid for fuel, including used motor oil. Also, one can mix the present fuel with whatever else is available to fill the lantern and continue to use it.This German designed lantern has been around since the [early[ 1900s. It is now in its fifth generation and the fifth generation is the only Petromax lantern to be tested and listed as a truly multi-fuel lantern. Please note, all previous generations are not truly multi-fuel lantern although that claim is advertised. Caveat emptor! There are many places to purchase a Petromax lantern on the Internet, survival, hardware and other stores. One has to be careful since some do not have the thick glass globes that can withstand rain drops without shattering and some have cheap parts that wear out quickly. There are many impostor such as the cheap Chinese spin offs selling far below the price of the fifth generation Petromax. Some of us, if not most, have been down this road before: purchasing a cheaper copy cat item only to find out we got taken to the cleaners.

Not only is this a multi-fuel lantern, it can be easily adapted to be a multitasking tool to light, heat (50 square feet area) and cook at the same time by purchasing the accessories. It takes only a minute to convert it. One does have to have the lantern operating in order to cook. If light discipline is not an issue this is a great setup for saving fuel. I have two of these setups with extra globes, mantels, bicycle EZ-PUMP adapters, EZ-COOK adapter and rebuild kits in my survival supplies. BTW, the rebuild kits and instructional video were free when I purchased the lantern. I researched for about two months before deciding to purchase mine. As a general rule, if time permits I call a prospective place of business to see if they are knowledgeable of the item(s) I am interested in, if they keep a current inventory of spare parts, and gauge their professionalism. That is the reason I chose to purchase from Britelyt Multi fuel Products http://www.britelyt.com/. They also sell methanol lanterns. Methanol can be used inside with less worry of carbon monoxide and it stores indefinitely. If you have never used one of these lanterns, then the video is a must. They sell a multi-fuel stove weighing 4 pounds that runs 5-6 hours on 1 quart of fuel, producing 8K-to-10K BTUs.  - Find1

Howdy Jim,
For those with sufficient storage space, an item worth considering is the UHT (Ultra High Temperature) pasteurized milk products.

In one-quart containers at around $1.40, they are available in whole milk and the 2% variety. The manufacturers give a shelf life of 6 to 10 months and the product requires no refrigeration until opened.

UHT dairy products have been on the shelves in Europe for more than 20 years. They were previously unavailable to the U.S. consumer because the government felt their availability would "disrupt the milk support program." Sure beats powdered milk! - Dutch in Wyoming

JWR Replies:  For a short term supply (up to six months), UHT Retort -packaged milk makes a lot of sense. For longer term, you should store nitrogen-packed canned powdered nonfat milk from a competent and reliable vendor such as Ready Made Resources or Walton Feed. I have found that the nonfat variety stores the best because it is the butterfat in whole milk that goes rancid, significantly shortening the shelf life. (BTW, the powdered milk sold at grocery stores that comes in foil-lined boxes goes rancid far too quickly--at times it is borderline rancid even when bought in a brand new package!) The Memsahib has been drinking retort packaged rice milk for about five years now. Rice and soy "milks" store even longer than cow milk. Like any other storage food, be sure to store retort package "bricks" in the coolest (but not ever below freezing) part of your house, and away from vermin. (It is amazing what rats will chew on.) Never stack individual retort bricks horizontally more than five bricks high, or vertically more than seven bricks high, or in cardboard cases (of vertical bricks) more than five cases high.

Shooter wrote: "as Instructor Greg told me last night, armed citizens will probably draw their weapons more times than they will shoot them in a potential lethal force encounter." I've been carrying for over 40 years now and have always gone by the rule if you show your weapon to your opponent, it's as you are firing it. To do otherwise is "brandishing" and giving away your advantage. I also carry a $20 wrapped around a matchbook with a rubber band. [This is the "throwaway" concept popularized by self defense writer Massad Ayoob.] Several years ago, in Aurora, Colorado, I was sort of accosted by a Hispanic group. Having identified the leader, I threw him the $20 and suggested that he "Go buy the boys some drinks on me." They left. That was a lot cheaper than explaining why I killed the three of them. They never knew how close they came and it was none of their business. Just my two cents worth. Regards, - The Army Aviator

Note from JWR: The following letter is a reply to the excellent series of informative letters on various dog breeds that ran in December of 2005. Refer to the SurvivalBlog Archives for those letters.

I would like to mention the cur breeds as dogs that could be useful in a retreat situation. The Blackmouth cur, mountain cur, catahoula, and blue lacy would all make good choices. These were the original homestead dogs, used by the pioneers to work livestock, hunt and trail game, and to protect the family from Indians, bandits, and wild animals. These breeds are still common in many parts of the rural south and are used by many people to hunt wild hogs and work cows. They range in size from 30-50 pounds (blue lacy and mountain cur) to 60-100 pounds (blackmouth). Because they haven't been used in show breeding programs these dogs are relatively free from most health problems, although the catahoula is becoming popular and starting to develop problems in some strains. If I didn't have a dog and was looking to get one for a retreat I'd ask around feed stores and sale barns and find somebody who's dog had puppies. You could get an idea of it's parents demeanor and what it was used for. Don't restrict yourself to purebreds, I have a heeler/border collie mix that can blood trail, work cows or goats, bay hogs, and is willing to fight anything that walks if it threatens my family or any child. He also stays alert and as long as he's around nothing can sneak up on me. Thank you so much for your website, I am fairly young and have learned a LOT from it about topics I had never even considered until recently. I just got Patriots in the mail yesterday and this is the first time I've put it down, between that and reading [the shareware novel] "Lights Out" I have really changed my mindset a lot in the last few weeks. Keep up the good work. - K.I.

Reader M.W. recommends: http://www.trackertrail.com/survival/fire/cokeandchocolatebar/index.html

  o o o

A reader wrote to mention that in a controlled, independently reviewed study published in the Journal of Trauma, a comparison of Traumadex and Quickclot in a porcine model (severed femoral artery) showed that Quickclot was much more effective.

  o o o

Several long term storage food sellers report that storage food sales have been brisk--even to the point that there are now shortages of some varieties of freeze-dried foods. A lot of customers are citing concerns about the Asian Avian Flu, especially after the segment about how to prepare for a flu pandemic ran on Oprah last week. Even the U.S. Government is now recommending storing food for "several weeks" instead of the "three day supply" mantra that they have been chanting for decades. Think this though:  If and when the A.A. flu jumps species lines into an easily transmissible form, suddenly EVERYONE is going to want storage foods so that they can hunker down in self-quarantine. Consider that if just five percent of American families increased their food storage larder by one or two weeks, it would devastate the supply chain for long term storage foods.  Quit just "considering it", folks!  Stock up. Please take a look at the web sites for our advertisers that sell storage foods.  They have a wide selection and some great prices. By patronizing any of these vendors, you will help support SurvivalBlog:
Survival Enterprises
Freeze Dry Guy
JRH Enterprises
Ready Made Resources
Safe Castle
Safe Solutions


  o o o

There is a new blog at http://NoNAIS.org to educate people about the upcoming USDA's National Animal Identification System regulations that will harm small farmers, homesteaders and pet owners as well as raising the prices of food for consumers.

"The average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty -- and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies." - H.L. Mencken

Monday, January 30, 2006

Greetings JWR,
A few words about the article that David sent you on fire suppression: While I admit my wildland fire fighting experience is limited, as a member of private forest industry we do a lot for fire prevention. My associations with fire run deep. David recommended talking to state and Federal forest entities...look up your local private industry forester. Often these people are happy to give advice and know contacts of people with the equipment and knowledge to do the work at reasonable rates.
First, do not wait to make a clearing around your house...make one around your property. Two of the best fire breaks are roads and clear cuts. The ideal situation is a backhoe or Cat[erpillar tractor] line around your property with no trees (ideally) within 1-1.5 tree lengths of the fire line. As David mentioned, properly thinned forests are key as well. Crowns should have air around them, such that crowns are not touching. Spacing should be increased the drier your property is--dependent on rainfall and aspect (i.e. slope: south, north, etc. facing). It's wise to research what species are fire resistant in your area and select for them [to remain] when thinning. Fire that is on the ground is fire that can be controlled. So keep the ladder fuels (i.e. smaller trees that lead up to bigger trees) thinned out. Multi-story management is alright as long as spacings are still observed and crowns do not touch crowns.
Roads or skid trails (taken down to bare mineral soil ) in key defensible locations like along ridge lines can be used to your advantage. Remember that roots burn as well, so hack all those bad boys off and clear the trail. During a worst case scenario, a couple people could run along a ridge line and with chain saws dump the trees into the fire side away from the skid trail. This is not necessarily advisable while the fire is at your door step but if there is one burning in your general direction it may be necessary. Fire lines around your property can be easily maintained with a back pack sprayer and Round Up [herbicide]. This also comes in handy since under burns have to be reburned every couple years, depending on vegetation types. Good and well-maintained fire lines keep your fire off your neighbors land as well as their fire off yours. Heavy woody debris or brush can accumulate over periods of 4-5 years before having to be burned. Grass needs burning more frequently. Personal observations of excess vegetation will be required.
Fire can also be fought with fire. While burning your own property, play around in small areas with black lining ( or burning fuel in front of the fire so that it cannot go further ) and learn what works best...i e. heat is drawn to heat et cetera. I burn my grass field every spring as soon as the grass will hold a flame and try something different every time I can, just to learn and see what will work best.
It might be handy to invest in a diesel drip torch ["dribbler."] I've found that this is the best tool for managing under burns--it is easy to use... walk along [with the tip held out to the side of your path] and drip. It does all the work. Forestry suppliers will carry this item.

Regarding Boots: I spend A LOT of money on boots as they are vital to my livelihood. "Whites" are no longer "the best" in my experience and opinion. "Nicks" (located in Spokane, Washington) is a smaller company started by an ex-Whites employee who wanted to make boots the way "Whites" used to make boots. A new pair starts at about $375.00. As long as the uppers stay sound you can have them rebuilt for about one hundred seventy-five bucks, usually a 3-4 month wait for them, so order early. Vibram soles for fire, but for everyday woods stomping I like calked ("corked") boots, unless, of course, there is a lot of rock in an area. Expect to rebuild them every 1-2 years with HEAVY use. On any boot designed like the "Whites: Smoke Jumper" the spot that I've found will wear and crack first, is the instep by the arch support--design makes it difficult to grease this area and keep it supple. I recommend Obernaufs...it is good for greasing your boots. I like to bake it in- then I take a bees wax ring (the ones used for toilets) and smear that over the top and bake 'em little more. Be careful, however, the wax is a drying agent (I have cracked leather using pure wax.) Be sure and use your grease first, before applying the wax. Laces are also a problem--- Leather with the heavy wet dry action, tend break a lot. Most of the fiber ones seem to fray and are pricey as well. I have started using parachute cord as a cheap alternative...seems to work great. Thanks much - E.B. of N. Idaho

Mr. Rawles:
I was researching lanterns a couple of months ago and came across information that it is possibly hazardous to use gasoline in Petromax type lanterns.
I also found that Coleman makes a "kerosene only" pressure lantern http://www.coleman.com/coleman/ColemanCom/subcategory.asp?CategoryID=1025 and two British companies make kerosene pressure lanterns Tilley http://www.tilleylamp.co.uk/ and Vapalux http://www.bairstowbrothers.co.uk/vapalux/index.htm. The Vapalux lamps carried in the USA by Garret Wade http://www.garrettwade.com. Best Wishes, -  C.H.

I should probably put a disclaimer at the top of my next article. Let me say that "B.B." is right. We should all be aware of our local laws and regulations with regards to use of lethal force. That being said, as Instructor Greg told me last night, armed citizens will probably draw their weapons more times than they will shoot them in a potential lethal force encounter. It is my hope and goal in writing these articles for the Survivalblog readership that we all operate under the same fundamental techniques. Not that I want to re-invent the wheel, but, rather, create a better one with tips and techniques learned from accredited instructors. Just remember that I am providing tips, tools, and techniques to make you a better and stronger warrior in TEOTWAWKI times.
Another trick we learned in class to help remember we live in a 360 degree world is to count how many fingers that someone standing behind you is holding up. Everyone in the class practices this while on the firing line. By shouting out the number of fingers, you verbally confirm that you have scanned the threat area behind you.
B.B. reminds us all that keeping the finger in register and off the trigger is a good habit to have. He's absolutely right! You want to keep that finger as high in register as possible so when they play the cheapest and grainiest convenience store surveillance footage, your intentions are perfectly clear to the jury. I can't stress the three rules enough:
1) Keep your finger off the trigger.
2) Keep your #$%& finger off the trigger.
3) Keep your #$%& finger off the &$%# trigger.*  
*unless sights are confirmed and it is safe to shoot.
Best Regards, - Shooter

The folks at "Big Secrets" have updated their web page on alternative shelter. See: http://www.bigsecrets.cc/shelter.htm  Most of these techniques will not meet building codes, but should suffice "When the Schumer Hits the Fan." (WTSHTF) and you have precious few alternatives to house refugees in a hurry.


  o o o

For some interesting commentary on precious metals, including some substantive details about those rumors we've been hearing about another gold confiscation, see:
http://www.conspiracypenpal.com/columns/paper.htm  Note: I have not yet had the opportunity to listen to any of the MP3 files, so I cannot vouch for Mr. Steele's background or his views on other topics.


  o o o


The folks at PolySteel (http://www.polysteel.com) just sent me a nifty CD-ROM with a video--only about 10 minutes long--about their Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs).  They send copies of this CD-ROM free to anyone that is considering building with ICFs. BTW, there are at least eight different competing brands of ICFs these days, so you should shop around before you buy.

  o o o

SurvivalBlog reader "False Muzzle" tells me that Morocco is perhaps the world's the best bargain for someone who wants to retire overseas. I'm not sure how Morocco would rate in terms of self-sufficiency or friendliness toward ferengi in the event of TEOTWAWKI, but it is certainly getting popular with French retirees. Would you believe the equivalent of USD $37.50 per month for a multi-bedroom apartment, or $100 per month to rent a three bedroom house?  Or how about $2-to-$3 a day for a maid, and $1 a day to have someone do your shopping and run errands for you?  Just some "Food for Thought and Grounds for Further Research." (FFTAGFFR)  False Muzzle also mentioned an interesting web site for would-be expatriates: http://www.expatfocus.com  BTW, one of my favorite sites that is along the same lines is: http://www.escapeartist.com


  o o o


A reader alerted me to an interesting site on survival topics: http://thesurvivalist.tripod.com/index.html

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth...For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past. Let us not, I  beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer." - Patrick Henry, 1736-1799

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The letters stating that only trained people should suture wounds are absolutely correct, you must be trained and it definitely falls into the category of a "skilled intervention."
Clearly, I did not stress this enough.

A good way to get an basic level (non-skilled) orientation to using medical skills is ride along with fire and EMS, Hospitals may allow observers in the ER and other wards if you can find a good reason. A good way to form a relationship with health care providers in this situation is to do research for writing a book. After the releases are signed you will (with due respect for privacy) possibly even be allowed to photograph stages of treatment along with taking notes for yourself. Hospitals have a secondary purpose it is continual training of the doctors, nurses, techs, and staff so expect a many good teachers. Many fields of work from engineering to forestry are happy to allow on site interviews and research if you know how to ask and approach in a professional manner. These interview notes sessions must be taken for what they really are skin deep looks at these vital highly skilled interventions and hopefully a motivation to put in the effort to obtain proper certification verifying to the world (and yourself) that you are qualified in the skills you claim to posses as well as protection under many state good Samaritan acts.

JWR Adds: I concur that SurvivalBlog readers should get as much medical training as possible. The time may come when you folks reading this have a major trauma patient laying before you (for example a gun shot wound, knife wound, or a farm tractor accident) and no doctor available to help you for hours or days. Two of the most crucial skills are learning how to stop bleeding and how to treat for shock. OBTW, I highly recommend a new product designed to stop bleeding called Traumadex. It comes with an instructional DVD that is amazing. (The DVD shows Traumadex being applied to induced wounds on pigs--even stopping bleeding from a femoral artery!) Traumadex is now available from Ready Made Resources  and just a few other vendors.

Greetings Mr. Rawles,
I may be able to offer a bit of information on the Petromax lantern to the readers. I purchased one prior to Y2K. I have used mine off and on during power outages over the years. One thing to remember about the Petromax is that their startup procedure is a bit different than Coleman lanterns. So any new owner must read the instruction manuals from cover to cover, and make sure anyone who would be charged with operating the lantern be fully aware of the startup procedure. A bit of a funny story was when we were hit by a power outage a couple years ago. I retrieved a flashlight just to see where I had packed back the Petromax in the bug out equipment. After unpacking the Petromax I proceeded to fill and start up the Petromax, and since it had be a long while since I fired it up I thought that I remembered the procedures. I always startup any liquid filled pressure lantern or liquid portable appliance outside of the house, just in case. Well, I did not remember the procedure as I thought I had, and I had created a very good flame-thrower! Not too good! My wife was standing at the door saying something to the effect, "Boy, you are going to burn the hair off your face!" WHOOSH! She was right, no eyebrows and one slightly damaged moustache! So to anyone who wants to use one of these re-read the directions if you think that you have any doubts about startup procedures. I mention this bit of comedy because if I had not followed my own procedure of starting liquid fuel lanterns outside, and making sure they were performing as they should before entering in the house or garage; the results could have been catastrophic. These are great lanterns, but as with all things safety first, and read directions or re-read them if it has been awhile since you have operated any equipment.
My personal opinion is that any group needs to have at least on of the 500 CP lanterns. I purchased it not only for general lighting but I saw a situation where you would need very bright white light in special circumstances such as repairing equipment at night and most importantly for medical, i.e. surgical procedures. With the hanging options, and reflector for the Petromax you have a perfect OR
, or medical treatment light when there is no electricity. The large lantern when hung higher will allow lighting of a large area. As a table or room light the 500 CP is extremely bright. But the Petromax people, being forward thinking, have provided a solution. They have a frosted chimney to cut down on the harshness of the mantle's light. That is next on the 'to buy' list. See:
At one time they had an amber chimney to keep bugs away for when the lantern is used outside, but I have not seen this chimney on their site. If you want to include this additional chimney you may need to ask if they still offer them.
One extra item that I purchased was the Easy Pump Valve. This valve allows you to attach a hand bicycle pump or a CO2 cartridge to pressurize the lantern. Using the standard hand pump can really do a job on your thumb, especially for older people like me. But this resolves that problem quite nicely.
For the 150 Lantern there is an Isopropyl Alcohol Conversion Kit, see: http://www.britelyt.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BPP&Product_Code=ISPA-150CP
There is also a kit for the 500CP and 350 CP lantern to burn Isopropyl Alcohol more efficiently. http://www.britelyt.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BPP&Product_Code=ALC-3350
I will not part with my Petromax, and plan on purchasing one of the smaller variants. To my knowledge this is the safest pressure multi-fuel lantern on the market for indoor use (excepting propane lanterns). There may be others out there I am not aware of. If there is, someone chime in and let everyone know. These are built to pass on to the next generation and can be rebuilt from ground up if needed during a time of disaster, providing you have spare parts. Purchasing the parts most susceptible to wear out or break at time of initial purchase is the way to go. I hope this helps, and remember, read all instructions on firing these puppies up. OBTW, here is Tech Link to Petromax Lanterns for those who have lost the instructions or for new people who want to read up before plunking down the bucks: http://www.britelyt.com/technical.htm - The Rabid One

I am a professional financial planner and portfolio manager and I share your feeling that the price of silver is going up. However, I do not believe that the Silver Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) will be approved in the near future. The problem is that there is not enough physical silver readily available to be able to fund it at any reasonable level. In other words, approval of the ETF would be way too disruptive to the market at the current time and I think the regulators realize this. I got the impression from reading your post today that the ETF is a done deal, but I give this a maybe 10% chance of happening in 2006. I do predict that silver is headed into the $12-$15 range in the next 12 to 18 months (I just saw a report that [silver] futures contracts are being sold at $12 [per troy ounce] now.) Perhaps by then the short sellers will have been weeded out of the market and new production will step in to fill the void.

On a side note, check out the price on uranium – the spot price is up almost 500% in the last four years and is in a screaming up trend. Obviously you can’t buy a 100 ounce bar and stick in your safe, but you can buy the shares of a couple of the major producers and leverage the gains. I’m a firm believer that future power generation will have to be nuclear – there is no other viable, economic choice. - D.S.

"Like gold, U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost...A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman's famous "helicopter drop" of money." - incoming Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Deflation: Making Sure 'It' Doesn't Happen Here (Remarks to the National Economists' Club, Washington, DC, Nov 21, 2002)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

We will be announcing the winner of Round 2 our non-fiction writing contest on February 1st. The prize is a four day course certificate at Front Sight.

I greatly appreciate your e-mails, folks.  Please keep them coming.  They are what make SurvivalBlog great.  Your collective knowledge is phenomenal.

Yesterday on SurvivalBlog (27 Jan.06) , I posted my take on the Iran situation and correlated it to the precious metals market--and silver in particular. Since then I've had two different readers e-mail to ask why I'm so sure about an imminent jump in the price of silver.  Here is some useful background:
World silver inventories have fallen to less than 600 million ounces--far below the 1.4 billion ounces that was on hand in 1991. The silver market is incredibly thin compared to the gold
market. That is one reason that silver prices trend to be more volatile that gold prices. For perspective,  consider that together, the two big gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) hold around six million ounces of gold. The current ratio of silver to gold prices is around 57 to one. Hence, if the new silver ETF (or multiple ETFs) were hold an equivalent value in silver, that would mean 342 million ounces. That well exceeds the entire world's silver market inventory! As my maternal grandfather used to say in his fractured Spanish: "No ay ningun possibilidad." ("There ain't no way.") This data leads me to the conclusion that even if the new silver ETF has perhaps only 1/4 the cash value of the Gold ETFs, then the silver market will still explode. Mark my words: Even in the absence of international tension with Iran and other contributing factors, there will probably be a huge short squeeze in the silver market in the near future. The upside potential is astronomical.

Here is an update on my retreat community land deal in the Inland Northwest: We could not come to agreement over terms of the sale. The seller has decided he wants a cash offer.  If the situation changes, I will post an update. At this point, all that I can hope for is that a "white knight" will step forward and take over the project, or lend me the cash needed. But for now, the land development project is on the back burner.

This time I'm the one asking questions: Petromax lanterns. Okay, I know about the upgrades all the way thru BriteLyt, etc. One comment, based on what I read at the Walton Feed website: http://www.waltonfeed.com/petromax.html. They don't recommend the cooking surface that fits on top of the lamp. Best to read their comments directly. Now there are some good, should I say copies?, but what I'm curious about is the Candle Power/Lumens of the various lamps. The 500 generally is considered to be equal to a 100 watt light bulb. There is a 350 candle power (CP) mantle and a new improvement replacing the ceramic jet with a stainless steel one. There is also a smaller one that doesn't get much press: The 150 CP version. This is what I'm curious about. I know, being American, I'm supposed to buy the big lantern that is bright as heck. BUT I tend toward lower light levels. I never did like the Coleman gas lanterns. They always seemed like a bazillion watt stadium light to me. Anybody using the Petromax/Britelyt 150? I assume that the fuel lasts longer and it puts out less heat but still a fair bit of light. Any good stories or bits of advice? I'm probably picking up a couple of the small ones (yes, of course, along with spare globes, pump kits, and lots of mantels) next week along with the metal lampshade things and the tree hanger with the chain. Does anybody have opinions on the side reflectors? Thanks, - The Army Aviator

JWR Replies:  I'm an old-fashioned Alladin lamp diehard, so I don't know much about the Petromax lanterns and their clones. However, I do recommend getting shade kits, because those lamps are incredibly bright--as in retinal-burning bright! Hopefully a SurvivalBlog reader will e-mail me with their collected wisdom about these lamps.

The U.S. Army plans to introduce new "Compressed Meal" (CM) freeze dried MRE alternatives. These will be about 2/3s the size and weight of the current MREs. See: http://www.dcmilitary.com/navy/seaservices/10_53/national_news/39293-1.html

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There was a recent report that the strain of Asian Avian flu that has made its was to Turkey is alarmingly similar to 1918 strain. See:http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=34224cff-120f-4d19-bd6c-526d264833f7&k=15148   My advice:  In case this bug mutates into s strain that is easily transmitted from person to person, be ready to self-quarantine for six months or longer, folks!  This will require a big pile-O-logistics!


  o o o

Some good news for FN/FAL builders. You've probably heard that the BATFE created a shortage of barrels with their arbitrary decision to restrict import licenses on military surplus semi-auto parts kits. To remedy this situation, Gun Parts Guy has started producing U.S.-made FN-FAL and L1A1 barrels. See: http://www.gunpartsguy.com/

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Mainland China will be introducing its "Geely" economy car into the U.S. market in 2008. How charming. I suspect that the low sticker price will be based on fact that most of the parts will be produced in China's laogai prison factories. Those commies!


  o o o

The folks at The Pre-1899 Specialist report that just as they were about to run out of Turkish contract pre-1899 (no FFL) Model 1893 Oberndorf Mausers, their persistence paid off and they found another small batch. The bad news is that these ones cost them a lot more than the previous lot (since the supply in the U.S. has virtually dried up). But the good news news is that these latest ones are in fantastic condition!  (The importer had apparently been "saving the best for last.") This is your chance to get a high pressure 8 x57 Mauser  (suitable for re-barreling for many modern chamberings) delivered right to your doorstep without filling out a Form 4473. There is no stinkin' paperwork required because these rifles are Federally classified as "antiques" and hence entirely outside of  Federal jurisdiction. (Consult your state and local laws before you place an order, naturlich.)

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On Jan. 31st: America will say Goodbye to "Mr. Magoo" Greenspan, and get introduced to "Helicopter Ben" Bernanke. See Adam Hamilton's insightful commentary on "The Greenspan Legacy" at: http://www.gold-eagle.com/gold_digest_05/hamilton012706.html

"Your failure to be informed, does not make me a whacko."  - John Loeffler, host of the Steel on Steel radio program

Friday, January 27, 2006

I've had more than a dozen e-mails from SurvivalBlog readers in recent weeks regarding Iran's plans open a new oil bourse in March that will be denominated in Euros. Meanwhile there is lots of saber rattling going on, regarding Iran's nuclear program--leading to the prospect of an Iranian oil embargo, which could of course mean very bad things for the U.S. economy. I have no idea how these two semi-related situations will play out. I'd be a fool to say that I knew. Aside for a few Ayatollahs, nobody knows. All that I can tell you is that these situations spell instability and uncertainty. The speculative side of the precious metals market is driven by fear, and I think that there will be plenty of fear in the coming months. Therefore, I can foresee a spike in the price of precious metals. The biggest gain will surely be in silver, which has been undervalued for years. In fact, silver could jump to over $90 an ounce. How? Here is one scenario: What if the recently-announced silver exchange traded fund (ETF) goes "live" at roughly the same time as either a.) a dollar crisis (precipitated by the new oil bourse), or b.) an Iranian oil embargo, or c.) military action in Iran--most likely an attack on their nuclear reactors.  It could even be a combination of all of the above. Consider that silver ran up to $50 per ounce during the Hunt Brothers short squeeze/buying panic in the late 1970s. Adjusted for inflation that would be the equivalent of around $80 per ounce these days.
I can't overstate the significance of the Iran situation. For some more background, see: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_05/willie012506.html
I'm just glad that I bought nearly all my Engelhard 100 ounce bars back when spot silver was around $4.40 an ounce!

Back in February of 2001, I stuck my neck out and "called the bottom" publicly when spot silver dipped to $4.55 per ounce. In that same post I predicted a possible further price sag to "as low as $4.25." In fact it actually bottomed a few months later, at around $4.16. Okay, so I missed calling the exact the bottom, but on a macro scale I fairly accurately called the end of a 15+ year bear market and the beginning of the current bull market. BTW, if you think I'm making this up, see the Usenet newsgroup archives: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Rawles+Calls+Bottom+Silver&hl=en 
The long term charts at Kitco.com are a real eye-opener.

Buckle your seat belts, folks. We are in for quite a roller coaster ride.

A SurvivalBlog reader in Montana recommended that I take a look at the new compact "ScramKits" being offered by Safecastle. I must say that I'm impressed. They pack a lot of survival gear into a very small space. Their "Responder Personal" kit is in effect a miniature "Get Out of Dodge" (G.O.O.D.) kit or "bug out bag" (BOB) that you should keep in your car's glove box or center console box at all times. This kit fits in its own heavy duty belt pouch (available in three different colors) with ALICE/MOLLE attachments  I think that the ScramKit makes the ideal "core" of a more comprehensive G.O.O.D. kit.  Add a tube tent and/or a couple of heavy duty space blankets and you have shelter for longer duration. Add a canteen and a day pack full of MREs, retort packaged, and/or freeze dried food to that, and you've got sustenance for a week. Add a whompin' big sheath knife, and...

Here is what the kit contains:
* Maxpedition M5 waistbag in your choice of black, green, or khaki (as available)
* Personal-size first aid kit (in separately-removable bag)
* Pocket Survival Pack (in waterproof bag), from Adventure Medical Kits, which contains a treasure trove of goodies:
o Rescue Howler whistle
o Emergency signal mirror
o Fluid-filled magnetic compass
o Fire starter kit
o Duct tape (2" x 26")
o Scalpel blade
o Stainless steel utility wire (6 feet long)
o Nylon thread
o Nylon braided "paracord"
o Fishing gear: hooks, sinkers, swivel, nylon line
o Heavy-duty aluminum foil (1 sq. yard)
o Large sewing needle & safety pins
o Waterproof paper and pencil
* Tool Logic SL3 folding knife with integral whistle and fire starter rod
* Tool Logic Ice Card II credit-card multi tool system
* Tool Logic T1 Tech Light LED clip-on flashlight
* Emergency mylar "space" blanket
* 2 earloop face masks (surgical grade) in separate ziplock bags
* 2 pairs of nitrile exam gloves (non-sterile) paired up into separate ziplock bags
* GP4L digital shortwave radio with built-in regulated LED flashlight (includes earbuds) in a crush-resistant plastic case
* 16-foot windup antenna for the GP4L radio.

The Responder Personal kit provides the following capabilities:
* Basic first aid
* Basic respiratory protection (biological)
* Moderate emergency response
* Basic lighting (redundant)
* Basic fire starting (redundant)
* Basic tooling & gear repair
* Moderate communications (reception only)

The bottom line: I highly recommend this kit. Yes, you could assemble your own comparable kit, but that would take a lot of research and placing six or seven separate mail orders. And because of economies of scale (since Safecastle no doubt buys all of the components in quantity and hence commands lower prices from their suppliers) you wouldn't save much money by doing the piecemeal purchasing yourself. One important proviso: Don' t take one of these kits on a commercial airplane flight unless the kit is inside of your checked luggage.  (The pocket knife, snare wire, fire starters, and stainless surgical blades would be enough to give the TSA screeners fits of apoplexy!)

"The world is not the way they tell you it is."  - Adam Smith, 1723-1790, economist and philosopher

Thursday, January 26, 2006

You may have noticed that yesterday gold briefly touched $565 per ounce and silver hit $9.44 per ounce and stayed there. Methinks this bull market is just getting started! Aside for some doldrums this summer (since summers are typically quiet for the metals markets), you can expect a choppy but generally upward (stair-stepping) path for the precious metal prices through the rest of the year. The 90 and 120 day moving averages (DMAs) point to the bull market trend to continue WELL in excess of the rate of inflation. There is even the chance of on "upright spike" in the event of a dollar crisis. I've said it before and I'll say it again: On a macro scale, the second half of this "Aughts" decade will probably resemble the second half of the 1970s. I just hope that the Federal Reserve's new chief ("Helicopter Ben" Bernanke) can crank up his bubble machine fast enough to avert simultaneous stock market and real estate market collapses. This could get very interesting, folks. I expect that the U.S. real estate bubble will burst, sometime around May of '06. There are already signs that the bubble is starting to lose some of its hot air. For example, see: http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/19/real_estate/home_money_0602/

For those with a real retreat in the forest or high desert a more pressing need than complete firearms battery is fire suppression. If you miss my point here, I believe that many survivalists confuse their gun hobby with serious survival preparations.

If the massive combined fire suppression ever stops for even a year massive fires will rip across the United States. Fuel loading from over 70 years of fire suppression and no natural burn-off has made conditions ripe for fires never seen before in North America.  Even if your only survival concerns are foreign invasion or occupation expect fire to be used (as was
attempted but failed during the Vietnam Agent Orange defoliation ops) to clear insurgents out of unsettled areas and deny them cover and natural resources.
This is a massive topic and this post can only give you areas to begin study.

1-Thin the vegetation as far as you are practical able to in the area of your home/retreat ideally this would be a county or community effort and the USFS or State Forestry Agency may be able to assist. Ideally, undergrowth would be burned off and trees closer than 5-10M to another would be removed to slow spread through a forest crown fire.
2-Create a perimeter around your home grass must be mowed to a stubble and raked off, no trees can be within 10M of the house any building or fuel tank.
Try to eliminate flammable trees in the nearby areas to your home and plant less flammable types.
3-Switch to a non flammable roof now, shake roofs are tinder and are almost a guarantee of a burned home in a fire
4-Make active suppression preparations:
- Install a irrigation system, include the roofs and under the eaves of your buildings in this sprinkler installation
- Install a swimming pool or cistern to provide a large supply of water
- Have a portable or installed gas powered water pump 250gpm is a good rate more will support more hand lines but any is better than none have a store of 1.5" supply line as well as 1" fire and 3/4" fire (with garden hose fittings) types, nozzles, adapters, splitters etc will round out the hardware.  Standardize [fittings] with local fire or fed/state agencies who would respond.  BTW, it is best to mark [with a distinctive bright paint color] all of your hardware to prevent theft after a fire by the crews.
A excellent preparation to keep you whole home with pressurized water in the event of a prolonged outage is making a water tower and relying on head pressure to feed both your home and fire suppression systems.
This is as simple as hanging plastic barrels on a tree trunk or as complex as complex as having contractors install a proper water tower. For the improvised tower remember the filled weight of your water (1 gal = 8.33 lbs. and 55 gal = 458 lbs.) and fence around the tower in case of collapse so that nobody is injured.

Here in Israel I have seen the same "pumpkin" tanks that we used in the Forest Service, but built to larger dimensions and more aesthetic colors and sold as swimming pools. Above
ground or in ground is a matter of your pocketbook but be sure that you are able to properly draft to supply your fire operations.

Nomex is best, USFS surplus or military flight suits are good as long as no metal zippers contact skin, the next best is cotton, Never wear synthetics or synthetic blends for use around fire.

Never wear steel toe boots for fire fighting, because the steel will hold heat. Kevlar laces do not melt or burn. Keep boots and gloves dry to prevent steam burns. White's brand were
the best in my day this may have changed. Good leather gloves light enough to work in, do not oil them keep them dry buy as large a supply as possible, kevlar stitching and double palm is a plus.

Buy a fire shelter for every family member plus extras, have several fire shovels (different than cheap garden/work shovels) and Pulaskies (hoe/axe tool), a helmet should always be worn during heavy work, and possibly blagger bags will help mop up after a fire has gone through. Also, a chainsaw adequate for cutting the local timber and the skills to use and maintain it are a must.

JWR Adds:  David speaks from experience. Heed his advice. Most of you may not be aware, but before he emigrated to Israel, David worked in the U.S. for many years as a full time fireman, and later as a paramedic.  

My $.02 worth on fire suppression/fire fighting:  If you are building a retreat from scratch or if you are replacing an existing water system, I recommend that you spend a little bit more an put in a large cistern, preferably with gravity feed with a substantial head, and put in a 2" diameter Schedule 40 service line to the house.  Just outside of the house put in a "T" on the two inch line with a 2" gate valve.  (Downstream of that "T" is where you can reduced to 1" or smaller lines for your house.) Those 2" gate valves are outrageously expensive--around $50 each), so shop around--perhaps buy them used.  At the big gate valve you can attach a proper high volume fire fighting hose rig. Effective firefighting is all about dispensing a large VOLUME of water, fast. Anything smaller than a 2" diameter line will not suffice!  (Okay, perhaps 1.5 inch line if you are on a tight budget.)

Two words say it all: SHOE GOO.  I snipped the following description from a retailer online: "Shoe Goo is a clear adhesive and sealant that easily and permanently repairs all types of footwear. Apply it directly from the tube to worn out areas, allowing it to harden overnight. Shoo Goo adheres to all kinds of materials, so use it to mend rubber soles, tears in canvas or leather tops or to stop shoelaces from fraying. It dries to a waterproof, flexible rubber, so it will repair waders and boots without breaking or cracking under stress. Commonly used to cover pitching toes on baseball or softball cleats, mend worn outsole areas especially on running & skateboarding shoes, and repairing loosening outsoles."  See: http://www.weplay.com/Shoe/Goo/  Expect to pay around $6 per tube.  Wal-Mart sells it, as well.
Shoe Goo is not as durable as the original sole on running shoes, but you can easily double the life of your footwear. And it is easier to pack a tube of Shoo Goo than extra boots. - OSOM

"Eric", a former charter airline pilot and computer programmer publishes an interesting albeit sporadically updated self sufficiency blog: http://www.selfsufficientfamily.com/

  o  o  o

If you fall into the Club of Rome school of thought on the potential for a major whammy multi-generational societal collapse (See Roberto Vacca's  book "The Coming Dark Age"), then you might find this site interesting: http://anthropik.com

o  o  o

Two interesting web sites with some useful MicroHydro power info were recently mentioned in a discussion over at the Survival and Preparedness forum at The FAL Files.  See:   http://microhydropower.net/index.php and http://www.utilityfree.com/hydro/ (Scroll down to see their Pelton Wheel offerings)

"The more I learn about people and society the more I love guns and explosives. Guns and explosives are more understandable, more predictable, and less hazardous." - Joe Huffman (Joe is one of the chief organizers of Idaho's annual Boomershoot. See: http://www.boomershoot.org/  Also see Joe's wonderfully addictive blog: http://blog.joehuffman.org/

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Things are progressing well with my proposed "Paratus Farms" retreat community. (See my post on Saturday, January 21, 2006.)  One gent tells me that he wants to purchase between two and four of the parcels. That will leave at least three more parcels, but these will sell out quickly. Don't hesitate, folks.  Additional details are available upon request, via e-mail.


After reading David in Israel I had a few further suggestions. All open wounds do not have to be sutured, in fact most wounds that are dirty should not be sutured but allowed to drain, and heal by "secondary intention" or basically healing from within. Not all soft tissue wounds need to be cleaned, and dead and nonviable tissue trimmed away. Abscess and further extension of infection can occur with a dirty wound that it sutured closed. Wash with copious amount sterile water, dilute betadine, or dilute hydrogen peroxide. Non dilute solutions often can cause more damage to the tissue than necessary. Straight bleach, rubbing alcohol, vinegar are all too strong and will cause additional damage. Oral or IV antibiotics may be needed during this time. Now organ lacerations are a different animal, particularly with bowel wound, these need to be isolated and repaired. Obviously only a well trained person will be able to do "surgery" to this extent. Leaving sutures in can scar, so a rule of thumb is 10 days for most wounds, 7 for thinner skin, and 3-5 on the face. Obviously scar formation is less of an issue in a SHTF case, and some wounds may need to be over sutured in order to transport a patient over rough terrain etc, but these will need to be followed closely and even allowed to drain.
Staple guns work great, and pretty much anyone who has had surgery recently has seen how widespread they are used. Highly vascular skin heals just as well with staples as sutures.
Dermabond or cyanoacrylate works great for small wounds, I have even seen some ER docs use this over suture which I do not recommend as it is very difficult to remove the sutures, but makes for a strong barrier. - Mike M.D. in MO



David in Israel gives some unfortunately common, and bad advice about suturing. Unless you know (like a physician or physician assistant/nurse practitioner) what is UNDERNEATH the skin, and how to suture them back together, untrained people should NOT close wounds.
The body is made of layers of different tissues - skin, fascia (underlying tough fibrous tissue), muscles (in several layers, usually) and other things, like blood vessels, nerves, and organs. Each of these layers has different ways of being sutured, requiring different types of suture materials and needles, and just sewing the skin closed will allow blood to leak out of vessels and decay, causing infection.
The best thing for the untrained to do if there is a deep wound is to wash it out (as David in Israel said) with clean water or saline solution (a teaspoon of table salt per quart of water), maybe with some Povidone/iodine (Betadine solution (not scrub), and then pack the wound loosely with gauze and let it heal from the inside out. Such healing will take much longer and leave a worse scar, but closing prematurely can be disastrous.
Other closure techniques (glue, staples) are great within their limitations. Glues should not be used on wounds under stress, and staples are great for small skin or scalp lacerations. Neither addresses closing the underlying tissues.
Even in normal times, a minor wound that has gone for more than a few hours (six hours, in my hospital) is left open for at least a few days, to make certain that no foreign materials are trapped in the wound, and are closed after 48-72 hours. The skills for suturing itself are quite simple - the knowledge to know when to and to NOT suture is not. - Flighter

JWR Replies: Suturing does have its purpose under some circumstances.  I recommend that you stock up on suturing materials, as part of a comprehensive set of medical supplies for your retreat. OBTW, I recall that the folks at Ready Made Resources (one of our advertisers) has pre-loaded surgical staplers in sealed sterile packages (tres cool) available for sale.

I’d like to add three observations to Shooter’s otherwise outstanding tutorial on weapons drawing and presentation - "Shooter" on The Draw Technique, or "Shooter's Five Steps to Keeping Ten Fingers". First, it is absolutely critical to be aware of your state’s protocols for use of lethal force in armed encounters. The most common elements that must be met to protect yourself legally is opportunity, ability and jeopardy. Go to www.packing.org and review your own state’s statutes. Second, I highly recommend that prior to reholstering and reversing the steps of the draw stroke which Shooter outlined, the weapon is brought from extension to the midriff pointing perpendicular from your body in the same two handed position and you conduct a 360 degree scan without moving your body to assess any additional threats and then you reholster WITHOUT looking at your holster (this will take some practice). This 360 scan must become a habit for the rest of your life whenever your reholster. The intensity of focus and tunnel vision common in these “Condition Black” encounters can insulate the shooter from being alerted to any additional threats that may be around or emerged during the shooting. You will never exceed your highest level of training. Third, register or indexing of the trigger finger is critical for safety and efficiency. There is never a reason to do otherwise until you are ready to fire. This probably accounts for most negligent discharges ("NDs") in police departments as a result of sympathetic flinch on the trigger during stressful situations or reholstering with the finger on the trigger. In conclusion, seek professional training in tactical shooting from a local school or a nationally recognized marquee like Thunder Ranch or Gunsite. Training dollars should become a household budget item. Cordially, B.B. in North Idaho

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I was very interested in the blog on the $20 medical kit. I was thinking of the situation where in the event of a major storm, hurricane, blizzard, fuel crisis, nuclear attack or where transportation and communications are severely disrupted over a wide area for an extended period, it may not be possible to get to the doctor or pharmacy or if one could get there, it may not be open due to a lack of electric power or severe damage to the facility.

Instead of discussing a group buy, a more practical approach may be the development of several master lists of the items needed or names of the drugs, the approximate cost of these items, a place to buy them and the primary use of the drugs. Some obvious things needed were not included such as hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds, Pepto Bismol for indigestion, [syrup of] ipecac to induce vomiting, colloidal silver for internal and external use, a thermometer to take temperature, blood thinner for circulation problems, and curved needles and nylon thread for suturing wounds. Information to help identify and overcome dehydration issues would also be helpful. The $20 price cap may be too low. Is there a source where the general public can buy Novocain to deaden teeth for dental work, dental pliers to pull teeth, and some type of pain deadener to inject into an injury to kill the pain while the suturing is being done? Most people could not think of all of the things that may be needed and would not know where to get them if they did have the list. What is the answer to the problem of an inability to refill prescriptions because the pharmacy is no longer open? Are there substitute drugs available? Some people with heart problems, diabetes, kidney problems, and other major health problems may be at serious risk if their drugs are no longer available. Is buying drugs in advance from Canada or Mexico a realistic option considering that mail and parcel services may no longer be available after the disaster? I am talking about people with the resources to purchase these items and it would be a disservice to not include them in an effort to stay below a specific dollar limit. Does anyone know of any hospital supply companies that sell to the general public in small quantities? Some of these items are readily available without a prescription if the person can know that the item would be needed in an emergency and think to buy it before it is needed.

It may also be desirable to develop different lists to reflect different situations. The man hunting in the woods or cutting wood with a chainsaw has a totally different risk and needs situation as compared to the elderly lady who may never go into the woods or the pregnant woman who is expected to deliver within the next six months or the person on antidepressant medications.

Would some medical types, EMT, nurse, retired medical doctor, or other types familiar with these issues be willing to develop a comprehensive list to cover one or more of these situations or to provide links to other sites that may include such information to be posted here for the benefit of your readers? It would be greatly appreciated and could greatly assist people surviving in a future emergency.

It appears that most of the medical articles and books are too general and tell you to provide fluids, clean the wound, and see the doctor etc without specific instructions on what to do if the doctor and pharmacy are not available. Any information on low cost books on these subjects that provide the necessary details would be greatly appreciated. People hate to buy the book and later find that the specific drugs needed are not listed or are not available. - S.F.

Defense Aerospace reports: "Future of US Nuclear Arsenal in Flux after Peacekeeper Missiles De-Activated"  See:


  o  o  o

Reader OSOM ("Out of Sight, Out of Mind")  recommends the recent Popular Mechanics magazine article on "Worst Case Scenarios"  See: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/worst_case_scenario/

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Check out http://www.FreeCycle.org. If you have the storage space, this is a great place to pick up free items for charity or barter.


  o  o  o

Some details and commentary on “Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran” prepared by the US Army War College. (plus a PDF link to the original document) can be found at The Belmont Club. See: http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/01/coming-of-bomb.html

"For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, utterly to defy them." - John Calvin, 1509-1564

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Please mention SurvivalBlog.com whenever your are a caller or a guest on a talk radio show. Keep spreading the word. Thanks!

I've done a lot of experimenting on this and offer my take:

Rule Number One: The U.S. Government is monitoring domestic internet traffic. Anybody visiting Survivalblog is already suspect by the government because of it's very subject matter. Assume that you are being monitored. Let's not be naive here please.

Anonymizer is obviously monitored by the Government because it maintains logs of in/out IP Addresses.

Tor...the Onion Router is the best way to go if you have DSL or Cable high-speed internet connection because there is no central logging. I use it.

CCleaner [Cache Cleaner] at http://www.ccleaner.com/ is the very best way to keep your computer free of what snoops want. It is FREE, tiny, fast, easy, and I click on it after every internet surf. It instantly removes all tracking cookies. It also instantly removes all those useless internet temp files that clog/slow your computer. Download it FREE right now. -Book



You mentioned that your readers might be interested in a brief write up of privacy on the Internet and how to keep yourself off of the radar. I'll try to oblige.
First some background: My company and I do Information Security for small businesses, so we and I have experience in keeping private things private in the real world. What I'm doing is basically putting into text the Security Speech that I give any client who I consult for (and will sit still long enough to hear it). I'll stay away from technical terms and specific products/'solutions' until the very end where I'll describe a few different levels of 'security' in real-world examples. Specific privacy stuff is further towards the end.
Rule Number One: There Is No Such Thing As A Secure Computer (or Anything Else)
Perfect security is impossible. Computer security researchers are fond of saying that the only secure computer is one that's unplugged from the network, turned off, sealed in a vault and protected by well-paid guards, and they're only partially joking. (Yes this is what passes for humor in the computer security profession.) No matter what steps you take to keep your stuff secure, someone, somewhere can break into it and steal them; given sufficient time and money all computers are vulnerable. The only thing you can do to an attacker is slow him or her down. All of modern security is devoted to slowing attackers down. This has two effects: it makes you less appealing to casual attackers and it frustrates determined attackers.
In WWII the Germans used an encryption device called "enigma" to send secret messages to their troops. They thought it was unbreakable. The allies broke it. The moral of the story is that what we think is 'secure' today will be as tough as tissue paper in fifty years.
Rule Number Two: Security Is Not A Product.
What I mean by this is twofold: one, anyone who sells you a "secure" widget is lying. Widgets, computers, servers and networks are not secure or insecure by their nature; they are merely tools. Any tool can be used for good or ill, just think of the climate concerning guns. This is a continuation of the first rule; not only is there no such thing as a secure computer, any steps that have been taken to create a more secure computer can be blown away by the mentality of the user. This rule probably should read Security Is A State Of Mind, but this way I can combine two rules into one. In a nutshell, every system is only as secure as the users of that system are willing to make it.
The canonical example of this is a hospital. Hospitals have insane oversight in terms of confidentiality of patient information and they can get in real trouble for letting the Wrong People see certain files. So the natural step is to make each level of access have a separate password and each user must login to separate authentication levels, blah blah blah. Its a 'very secure system.' End result? Nurses get tired of remembering so many passwords and write them down on sticky notes on the monitor. Security that is too hard to use will be defeated.
Rule Number Three: Your Computer Is A Castle.
Traditional security is a good analogy to computer security. Things that people would never do in the real world they don't think twice about doing online. When you open an attachment you're not expecting, its like licking your neighbor's doorknob. When you blindly click 'OK' on every pop up window, its like walking around in a bad neighborhood with a roll of hundred dollar bills poking out of your pocket. Remember the Trojan Horse? Trusting everyone online will get you in trouble, just like in real life.
Likewise, when you evaluate a system for security the first place you look is the place where security is the weakest. If you double-encrypt everything and lock your computer in a safe but your password is 'secret', you're not really secure. Always look at the big picture and don't lose the forest for the trees. Likewise, if you have an uber-secure locked-down machine but its in an office where the cleaning staff have physical access, you're not secure.
Rule Number Four: Security is Boring
This is the hardest thing to get right. The best way to be secure online is to do the little things all the time. Boring things like keeping your security updates up-to-date and getting an anti-virus. Being paranoid about your email and choosing the right software go a huge way towards keeping your stuff safe. Have a legal copy of all your software, especially your anti-virus. Pay for it. If you don't want to pay for it, AVG anti virus is free and damn good. More detail later.
That's it for the theory, there will be a quiz on Thursday. Now the practice. There are a few things that you can do to keep yourself secure and protect what little privacy you still have.
The first thing to know is that email is not secure. Think of email as sending a postcard, there's nothing to stop anyone who touches it from reading it. Email is hard but not impossible to anonymize, but there are few remaining anonymizers left. Any old Hotmail or other free account will work for certain values of 'anonymous' but they probably will not stand up to a legal search warrant unless you are very careful. Gmail is not a good provider for anonymous email because of the invite system. Unless you can get an invite anonymously anyone tracing it can simply look up who invited you and compel them to spill the beans.
Another thing is that any site you visit on the web can get a huge amount of information on you that your browser just sends out on its own. Things like your IP address which can be traced to a rough location and if the government gets involved can probably be traced down to whoever pays the bills. This can be mitigated by using anonymizing proxies, Tor and privoxy. More detail further on
Yet another key facet is that anything that is on your computer is something that you are trusting fully. If you follow good protocol, you are trusting Microsoft with all of your data, and you are trusting whoever makes your anti-virus or firewall with all your data. There is precedent for law enforcement using the anti-virus update to compromise the computer of a group that was holed up in their cabin to prevent them from emailing out. In case I wasn't clear, this has happened and will happen again.
Now for some details and the all-important links:
In terms of an operating system, Windows is the default and there's no budging most people from it. With good practices and by keeping up to date you can keep windows tolerably secure. I would trust it for mildly embarrassing data but not critical data. Please upgrade to at least Windows 2000. Windows XP with Service Pack 2 is best. I know its expensive, but Windows 95, 98, and ME are outdated and not secure.
Since no one has access to the code that makes Windows tick, there is no way to determine for sure that there is not an easy back door that could be leveraged against you. I cannot recommend keeping mission critical data on a Windows machine. If you have a bit more freedom about what you run, I heartily recommend getting a Macintosh. The new Apple OS X is built upon a very secure BSD base and it strikes an excellent balance between usability and security. Any version of Linux or BSD can be made secure, but if you're running those you probably know how to secure it.
Web browsers: There really is only one. Firefox is the best that has come along yet. It can be setup for decent everyday browsing and keep a good rein on your cookies and history. In the firefox settings, you can exercise very fine control over what sites are allowed to set cookies on your machine and when to expire them. Please do not use Internet Explorer on ANY OS. It is not secure in any way. A good addition is Privoxy and/or Tor. A must-have extension for Firefox is Adblock Plus and "Filterset.G"

Email client: I recommend either Mozilla Thunderbird, but basically anything but Outlook (Express) is acceptable. Outlook is massively insecure, Please do not use it.
Anti Virus: They're all equally mediocre. I use AVG which is free for personal use. Pick one and keep it updated.
Firewall: Again, the windows firewall cannot be trusted. I recommend Kerio Personal Firewall, and I use it myself. Tiny Personal Firewall is good too. Zone Alarm is less powerful and Black Ice is worthless.
Proxies: Privoxy is a nice semi-anonymizing proxy that runs on your local machine. It can't hide your IP but it will strip out a lot of identifiable information. Its pretty easy to set up too.
Tor is a very clever onion routing network that passes your traffic through a few levels of other machines so that theoretically not only does the site you're visiting not know who you are, nobody could trace your connection back to you. An added benefit is that Tor servers are encrypted so your traffic is harder to snoop on as well as being more anonymous. The disadvantage is that this is SLOW.
Encryption: BestCrypt can create secure images that can be viewed on Windows and Linux.
Below I'm going to outline three levels of security and what they should be reasonably protected against.
The first is an easy to use everyday machine. You will be protected from most common automated and non-directed attacks but a determined attacker will still be able to penetrate as will a governmental entity. If there is demand I can work up a similar profile for a Mac.
Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP.
AVG anti virus or similar.
Kerio Personal Firewall of similar.
Firefox, Adblock Plus and Filterset.G set to only allow same-domain cookies.
The second is more anonymous but it sacrifices speed. You will use this if you want to do something that you wouldn't want broadcasted.
The same as above except Firefox is set to expire cookies on close, and keep no disk cache or history. Privoxy is also connected to Tor for anonymization.
For email, Thunderbird and Enigmail can be setup to encrypt your email to a very strong degree, as long as the recipient has a similar setup. New Enigmail versions are very user-friendly in this regard.
Also, it is possible to have two different "profiles" of firefox on one machine, one that simply browses normally with sane cookie rules, and another that passes through Tor/Privoxy and keeps no history or cache and clears cookies on exit. This is simple to do and a good mix of usability and the ability to be more anonymous if desired.
One note: Remember that today's "uncrackable" will be a joke in fifty years. Also, encrypted traffic will probably raise a certain level of awareness among those doing the spying. Legally this poses no problems but if you're doing something you wouldn't like discovered sending encrypted e-mails to osama@alqaida.com it is probably a bad idea.
A Proviso: The above two systems rely on closed code and trusting updates. They would be very vulnerable to any form of governmental intrusion and nothing can be done to mitigate this. IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ILLEGAL, DON'T USE ANYTHING CLOSED-SOURCE TO DO IT WITH. If you do intend to do something illegal, or even if you're just paranoid like me, a good idea would be to have a second machine. This is similar to what the NSA does internally: Classified machines cannot talk to Top Secret machines, and none of them can talk to Unclassified machines.
A good Classified or Top Secret machine might look like this. This machine should be reasonably secure against anything but a direct, physical attack.
BSD or Linux OS, properly configured (details are outside the scope of this article. I will be happy to provide further information upon request).
A solid, encrypted file system or BestCrypt for any user data.
Not connected to the network. Use a USB flash keychain/thumb drive for getting data off of it.
Again, none of this is any good at all if your master password is your birthday.
I hope someone finds this useful and I'm happy to answer any more detailed questions either via SurvivalBlog or directly. - Paedrig Hawkwing (PaedrigHawkwing-at-gmail.com--change the "-at-" to an @ symbol)

JWR Adds:  Our web statistics show that 19% of our readers now use the Firefox browser, up substantially from the 16% when we started SurvivalBlog back in August of Aught Five. My advice:  DUMP that back-door ridden, data mining Microsoft Internet Explorer. Firefox is free!

Hi Jim,
Another option for anonymous web browsing is to install Tor, an "onion routing" package that sends your data through 'layers' of different servers before reaching your desired destination. After I first installed Tor, I visited Google and was surprised to see it looked a little different -- Google detected that I was coming from Austria (since the last server 'layer' was located there) and presented me with "Google Österreich"! Tor is free and easy to setup. The EFF has instructions for Windows ( http://tor.eff.org/cvs/tor/doc/tor-doc-win32.html) and OSX (http://tor.eff.org/cvs/tor/doc/tor-doc-osx.html ). Regards, - MP

A handy website for retreat location research can be found at: http://www.city-data.com/

  o  o  o

A SurvivalBlog reader mentioned that nationally syndicated radio talk show host Derry Brownfield has been talking about NAIS for years. See: http://www.derrybrownfield.com/

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There are some great links at:  http://www.bigsecrets.cc/prepare.htm

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The Pre-1899 Specialist reports that they have been going fast (since SurvivalBlog readers have been cleaning them out), but they still have a few Model 1893 Oberndorf Mausers available. They are considered Federally exempt "antiques", so no FFL is required!

  o  o  o

As reported by Voice of America (FWIW, since it is produced by the U.S. Government), Israel has hinted at possible military action against Iran.

"There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible and wrong." -- H. L. Mencken

Monday, January 23, 2006

One of the most used high skill medical interventions is suturing. In times of disaster when qualified medical practitioners are not available, suturing can be performed easily as long as it is not in nerve rich areas such as the face and hands. (Sutures in these areas could cause debilitating nerve damage and should only be attempted by a person that is specially trained.)

1- Suture. I will not attempt to describe the knot in writing but practice with forceps and pre-threaded suture packs on raw chicken or turkey skin on the bird (sew then eat). Keep Ethylon 5 and 3 as well as chromic gut 3 in your gear. Generally, gut is used for internal sutures and Ethylon for removable [external] sutures.

2- Surgical Staple Guns. For surgical closure, staple guns are an easier but messier way to close a wound. Stapling can even be performed one handed.

3- Glue A close chemical relative of cyanoacrylate "super glue" (2-octyl cyanoacrylate) is available from veterinary suppliers as vetabond. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanoacrylate
Super glue cyanoacrylate is an irritant, so sensitive tissues especially need the dermabond/vetabond formula. For the face and hand wounds just butterfly closures or glue [instead of sutures], unless you have special training in nerve and vascular location.

Wounds needing suture must be fully cleaned, preferably with betadine and even then they still have high risk of infection. If there is sign of infection open and drain. Consider systemic antibiotics.

I can remember when 1984 was a scary book. Today, it seems that we worry only about those things that we're told to worry about, and accept the answers that are given to us, no questions asked. On September 11, 2001, three passenger planes were crashed into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, while a fourth came to fiery rest in a Pennsylvania field. Less than a month later, the USA PATRIOT Act was introduced in Congress, to be signed - more than 300 pages of it - on October 26, 2001 with few objections from the public or its elected representatives.
I am not about to join those conspiracy theorists who claim that an agency of the United States government was responsible for the 9-11 attacks, but it does seem clear to me that the USA PATRIOT Act had been already prepared, waiting in the wings for just such an occasion.
United States citizens were happy to trade in their rights for the sense of security offered by this Act.
Certainly the 9-11 attacks justified the media frenzy that followed it, but it also served a number of purposes that our government took full advantage of. But that's not what this article is about.
Over the past couple of years, we've been subjected to a series of media scares relating to our meat supply. From Mad Cow, to swine flu, to e.Coli, to mutant flesh-eating viruses, and now the Avian flu, we've been led to believe that if we don't act immediately, we're all going to die.
Enter the National Animal Identification System, a governmental program which utilizes public-private partnerships in an attempt to identify and track every animal in the United States.
And despite the fact that we haven't had a single case of Mad Cow or the Avian flu transmitted to humans in the United States, and that the NAIS couldn't possibly do a thing to prevent contaminations of our meat supply occurring after the meat has been processed, we're all expected to expel a deep sigh of relief.
Uncle Sam has come through for us again.
But at what cost?
The National Animal Identification System will force farmers, hobbyists, and even pet owners to register each animal they own, and tag that animal with an identifying tag, band, or implanted electronic chip, for the purpose of tracking that animal through the food chain whether or not it even enters the food chain.
When fully implemented in January of 2009, the NAIS will require two types of mandatory registration: registration of the premises, and registration of the animal.
Anyone who owns even one horse, cow, pig, sheep, chicken, pigeon, or any other livestock animal will be required to register their home, including the owner's name and other identifying information, along with the address of your farm or home, to be keyed to global positioning system (GPS) coordinates in a federal database under a 7-digit "premises ID number."
Additionally, each animal will have to be identified with a 15-digit ID number, also to be kept in the federal database. Even if you are raising your own food, your animal will be required to have an ID number if it is to be sent to a slaughterhouse. Animals that do not have an ID number cannot be bought or sold, or used to obtain stud service.
Any animal that leaves the owner's premises for any reason will be required to have an ID number, and be tagged. This includes animals that are shown, as well as horses that may be ridden off of the owner's property.
The costs of this program are to be shared by the animal owners and the larger base of taxpayers, meaning that there are likely to be significant fees connected with full implementation of the NAIS program.
Large-scale meat producers are on board with the program, perhaps because they'll be given a break. Large herds of cattle, pigs, or other animals raised and processed together can be identified by a single group ID number, while farmers and ranchers with small groups of animals will, in most cases, have to identify each animal individually for purposes of breeding, sale, or slaughter. If you own two cows, a horse, and twelve chickens, each would require an individual ID number if the animal is ever to leave your property for any reason, or have any contact (commingling) with any other animal.
The form of identification will most likely be an ear tag or implanted microchip containing a radio frequency identification device (RFID) which can be read from a distance. In addition to RFID tags, some industries may require the use of retinal scans or DNA identification for all animals.
The costs associated with this program may well be beyond the reach of small farmers and hobbyists, and make it impractical, from an economic standpoint, for people to raise their own meat.
The costs are not only economic, but time consuming as well. Within the system, animal owners will be required to report the birth date of each animal, including chickens, as well as the application of the animal's ID tag. Every time the animal enters or leaves the premises, this will have to be reported. When a tag is lost or replaced, this will need to be reported. If an animal dies, or goes missing, there will have to be a report. These events will have to be reported to the government within 24 hours.
With full implementation of this program in 2009, the USDA intends to ensure compliance with NAIS regulations in a manner not yet specified, but which could be expected to include fines or seizure of animals.
Another possible reason for the enthusiastic support of the NAIS program by large-scale meat producers is that, as stakeholders in the program, they will likely have control over much of it, perhaps putting them in a position to exert economic pressures on competing small farmers and homesteaders.
Will implementation of the NAIS make our meat supply safer? Probably not, and it's not likely that we'd know if it did. It's not like people are dropping like flies from Mad Cow disease, as it is. The NAIS might be compared to using a cannon to hunt black flies in February.
The NAIS is likely to drive small meat producers out of business, placing an unfair economic burden on the traditional American businesses that have fed us since we've existed as a nation. Once the program is established, animal owners will bear the costs associated with the requirements for registration, identification, and reporting.
Costs to large-scale producers of meat will be absorbed by consumers, raising the cost of living for all of us.
The NAIS will prevent many people from raising animals for their own food. The NAIS is said to be necessary in order to make our food supply secure against disease or terrorism, yet what can be more secure than raising your own food or buying from a local farmer who you actually know?
What of those, such as the Amish in Smyrna, who may have a religious objection to participating in a system of electronically numbering and identifying their animals? When fully implemented, the NAIS is a compulsory registration with the government of all people who wish to raise their own animals for food. As written, the NAIS will force these people to make a choice between abandoning their livestock or violating their religious beliefs.
As I read the documentation put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as I have searched for additional information on this program, I was struck by the fact that so little has been said about it in the media. Search engine results yield almost exclusively web sites put out by various federal and state agencies, and associations of large-scale meat producers, all of whom are enthusiastically supporting this program.
Sadly, it seems that opposition to the program appears to be limited to the Countryside & Small Stock Journal, published in Wisconsin, and someone in a forum on the Mother Earth News site.
Further information about the National Animal Identification System can be found online at www.usaip.info/. Please read it through for yourselves, but the scariest stuff that I found came from the USAIP's own FAQs. You'll find that when they ask a question and answer it no, the text often goes on to explain that, when the plan is fully implemented, the answer will be yes.
Never one to pass up federal funds or to neglect an opportunity to make government bigger, the State of Maine has implemented its own program, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its web site can be found at www.maine.gov/agriculture/idme/.
Although it seems to be slow in coming, there is yet time for an outcry over this program to have some effect. Small farmers and landowners can take action to oppose implementation of this plan.
First, do not participate in the "voluntary" state program to register either your farm or your animals, as they'll use your willingness to participate in the program as justification for making it mandatory for everyone in the near future. If state or federal officials urge you to register either your premises or your animals, ask them whether your participation is voluntary or mandatory. Ask to see a copy of any legislation that gives them the authority to require compliance.
More importantly, contact any farming, breeding, or other associations that you might be a member of, asking them to oppose the NAIS. Ask these organizations to sponsor letter-writing campaigns to elected officials, both state and federal. Individually, you can write to your state and federal legislators. Letters sent via the postal service carry more weight than emails or form letters, but anything is better than nothing.
The United States Department of Agriculture plans the issuance of a NAIS rule for public comment in July of 2006. Be aware of this when the time comes, and be prepared to submit an individual comment opposing this rule.
Also, you should be aware of any state rules that might mandate earlier compliance. For example, Maine farmers are already being encouraged to voluntarily join the state's ID program, and it intends to implement mandatory registration of livestock premises by March 7, 2005.
I am surprised, and discouraged, that there isn't already an outcry over this program.
" ... and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name." -- Rev. 13:17 (NASB)

National Animal Identification System Timeline

  • April, 2005 -- The USDA issued its Draft Strategic Plan & Draft Program Standards for public comment, which ended in July of 2005.
  • July, 2006 -- The target date for the USDA to issue a proposed rule setting forth the requirements for NAIS premises registration, animal identification, and animal tracking. There will be a limited public comment period after publication of the rule.
  • Fall, 2007 -- The USDA will publish a final rule to establish the requirements of the mandatory NAIS.
  • January, 2008 -- Premises registration and animal identification become mandatory.
  • January, 2009 -- Animal tracking becomes mandatory, including enforcement of the reporting of all animal movements.

This article was reprinted with permission from "All Maine Matters" which can be found online at www.allmainematters.com.

Mr. Rawles:
The two links listed below provide good basic information to supplement the low cost medical kits previously discussed on your site. This information is available free for downloading and printing. This link is to the Virtual Naval Hospital which is being discontinued due to a lack of funding. It was set up for use by military medical personnel: http://www.vnh.org/

The link below is another free link that was mainly for use where there is no doctor and pharmacy available and would be helpful in an emergency situation. One example of a good source of information is Chapter 7 which provides information on the types of antibiotics and things to consider before using them.   See; http://www.healthwrights.org/books/WTINDonline.htm

These two links provide information that information that should be made available to assist people in an emergency situation when there were no doctors or pharmacies are available due to a loss of power, lack of fuel, or a major disaster Regards, - S.F.

"The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, short swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of unnecessary implements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings." - Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Lord Chancellor of Japan, August 1588, the order that instituted "The Great Sword Hunt"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Please spread the word about SurvivalBlog. Just a brief "bcc-ed" e-mail to the folks on your e-mail address list would be greatly appreciated.  Remember: Every friend, neighbor, and co-worker that gets squared away logistically will be one less individual that comes begging on your doorstep, come TEOTWAWKI+1.  So it is in your own best interest to let them know about SurvivalBlog.

Part of being a prepared individual is keeping a low profile. I don't heavily emphasize privacy issues on SurvivalBlog, but I do recommend that you learn how to fly under the radar, just on general principle. My philosophy: Don't leave big paper trails or bit trails. An interesting article recently appeared at Wired News, titled "How to Foil Search Engine Snoops"  See: http://wired.com/news/technology/0,70051-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

For greater privacy, the author recommends using either the Firefox PC browser or the Safari Macintosh browser. He states: "In Firefox, you can go into the privacy preference dialog and open Cookies. From there you can remove your search engine cookies and click the box that says: "Don't allow sites that set removed cookies to set future cookies. In Safari, try the free and versatile PithHelmet plug-in. [See: http://culater.net/software/PithHelmet/PithHelmet.php] You can let some cookies in temporarily, decide that some can last longer or prohibit some sites, including third-party advertisers, from setting cookies at all."
He also recommends: "If you are doing any search you wouldn't print on a T-shirt, consider using Tor, The Onion Router. [See: http://www.onion-router.net/] An EFF-sponsored service, Tor helps anonymize your web traffic by bouncing it between volunteer servers."

The article also mentions the tried and true (but slow) Anonymizer.com. See: http://www.anonymizer.com.

OBTW, if any of you techno gurus would be so kind, I'd greatly appreciate a summary article about Internet privacy to post on SurvivalBlog.com. You might even win our non-fiction writing contest. (The prize is a four day course certificate at Front Sight!)

In my last article (posted on SurvivalBlog on Thursday, January 5, 2006), I discussed some basic range manners and the only three rules I live by. I hope it serves as a starting point for good gun handling skills. After reading the recent letter about loaning out weapons to 'untrained' neighbors during times of crisis, I thought best to move along to the second lesson we all must be concerned with when dealing with handguns. You can use this and the first lesson I wrote about to help bring your neighbors up to speed when the need arises.
The basic handgun draw has five simple steps. In about an hour, Instructor Greg had me drawing like a pro and safely putting my gun in play. Going into the "Tac Tuesday" class with my handgun skills was humbling to say the least. As mentioned, there are five steps to drawing a handgun. 1) Master Grip, 2) Lift and Clear, 3) Rock 'n Lock, 4) Hands Merge, & 5) Extension. Let's examine them step by step:
1) MASTER GRIP: As we train during Tac Tuesday, the class either assumes the 'interview stance' (or as I call it, the two handed French Salute), or just practices with hands at their sides. On command, Master Grip is achieved by placing the web of your strong hand firmly against the butt of the pistol grip. This should be as high up as possible to attain the maximum effective grip. Wrap your fingers around the grip, remembering to place the trigger finger in register. [Extended straight out, outside of the trigger guard.]
2) LIFT AND CLEAR: After Master Grip, lift the gun straight up and out of the holster. Don't try and bring it away from the body or move it towards the target just yet. Muzzle should still be down at this point and just clear of the holster. Remember to keep your elbow and arm close to your side (I had chicken wing syndrome when I first did this).
3) ROCK N' LOCK: Like the old gunslinger of the West, rotate that gun 90 degrees and point it at the target. From here you can go Braille Method (touch index) against a very close in target and still count lethal hits. Don't forget to think about weapon retention! Like the chicken wing elbow, the gun should stay close to your body in case of a CQB situation.
4) HANDS MERGE: The strong hand should be moving close against the body to the 'anchor position' to join the weak hand. Remember how you open a jar of pickles? Keep that gun close against the body to allow for the strongest retention. If you let that gun get away from your body, someone is very likely going to be able to take control of it. Don't let that happen!
5) EXTENSION: You should have the weapon in both hands now. Press through the target with your gun and bring sights on target. Don't tomahawk chop, overhand sight, throw the gun out there, sweep the floor to the ceiling...just press the gun smoothly towards the target and align the sights. One smooth and fluid motion will help prevent any pitched shots.
I did not gain confidence in my draw until I practiced for an hour or so each evening. As I have heard, 'slow is smooth,and smooth is fast.' I practiced this by calling out each step in turn. I didn't speed up until I felt confident in each phase of the draw.
There are a couple of points to remember when working on your draw. One is the 'Laser Rule.' Pretend that the muzzle of your gun is shooting out a high power laser. Nobody wants to be sliced with one of these, so naturally, you don't want it pointed at you. That being said, keep all excess appendages away from said laser beam. With that in mind, during steps ONE through FOUR, the support hand should be FLAT AGAINST THE BODY!!! Unless you have a body like mine, then it is not merely flat, but dome shaped. Keeping the support hand against the stomach will help keep extra appendages away from the muzzle of the gun. Practice and follow through on this step and during the heat of battle, you will not succumb to any self-inflicted injuries.
When your hands merge, take a moment to examine how you grip the gun. The thumbs should be resting next to each other along the slide rail and not overlapping. This takes stress off the hands and presents a calmer sight picture. The support hand should be wrapped around the strong hand doing what it is intended to do, support. If you know of anyone who "tea cups" their grip (support hand under the gun), after explaining that what they see in the movies is bunk, correct their grip so they improve their shooting. Be sure to correct anyone else you see who uses the support hand to brace their strong side wrist. I don't see how this is an effective technique. Chances are, you will run across the one or two people who think that "lobster clawing" with their support hand is good. "Lobster Clawing" is when someone stretches the support hand all around the gun with the thumb firmly planted behind the slide. You will know of those who've learned their lesson by the sizable chunk of flesh missing from their support hand thumb.
Re-holstering your weapon is the exact opposite of the draw. Pretty simple, just go through the five steps in reverse. When the muzzle is ready to be placed in the holster, move your thumb up to press against the back of the slide (I am assuming, of course, that we are all using some form of Tactical Tupperware, or one of John Browning's wonderful inventions, circa 1911). Keep the thumb against the back of the slide to prevent the gun from coming out of battery. If you are forced to draw again, in the heat of the moment, you may find yourself inventing new expletives when the bang button only CLICKS. It is a tried and true method for all people because we all don't have the same holster. I am a Kydex man myself, but there are others out there with dead animal skin or someone's recycled leisure suit (cordura nylon) that won't hold its shape. Remember, Mr. Murphy is always out there to foul up your plans. Pay attention to the details, for they may save your life.
This is the second course of instruction for those who wish to teach their neighbors and friends about proper gun handling. Follow it step by step, and they will quickly come up to speed and be as proficient as you.

In regard to Matt's statement in his letter on survival footgear: "BUT, you cannot fake or approximate footwear!" Don't be so sure about that. See: http://www.indigenouspeople.net/tarafeat.htm I have yet to scale a 10,000 foot peak in tire sandals or moccasins, but I'm going to give it a try one of these days: http://www.hollowtop.com/sandals.htm  Less along the lines of "field expedient footwear" and more along the lines of "Post-TEOTWAWKI skills," here's a link to a site that deals with making "medieval style" shoes: http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe/SHOEHOME.HTM
If things ever get bad, having the skills to make well-fitted shoes could make one a welcome addition to any community. Regards, - Moriarty

"Nothing just happens in politics. If something happens you can be sure it was planned that way." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A tip of the hat to Noah at the DefenseTech Blog, who alerted me to a recent Washington Post story. Apparently some 24 submarine-launched Trident missiles will be converted to carry improved conventional munitions for a "global strike" capability See: http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2006/01/a_bad_weapon_in.html#more. According to the story, some observers suggest that a launch of any of these retrofitted missiles (which could carry up to four MIRVs each) might cause a false alarm in
trigger-happy nuclear nation states like North Korea. That could create the excuse for a retaliatory strike with nukes, which would of course be a very bad thing.

Hi Jim,
As always, SurvivalBlog is the top of my morning reading list. Great discussion today about arming your unprepared non-shooting neighbors during or after TSHTF. I have always considered the training of non-shooters to be almost a sacred duty. Just as we do not turn away the repentant prodigal son from church when he awakens, we must gratefully take the opportunity to train and arm our neighbors when crisis hits. This is an example of enlightened self interest at work, for as you say, it is hard for a family to protect four quadrants. Much better to have semi-trained "flankers" out, even if they only provide a trip wire or early warning. In time, they can be trained to a higher level.

On to my idea of today: shoes for survival. I would advise folks to hang onto their halfway worn out shoes. Just store them somewhere that they won't rot. After TSHTF, survivors will be able to fake or make do for most clothing articles. You can wear clothes that are far too big, you can hitch up big britches with a belt, you can cut a hole in a blanket and call it a poncho. BUT, you cannot fake or approximate footwear! Going about with rags wrapped around your feet (think Valley Forge or the rebels at Appomattox Courthouse) will afford us ample opportunity to wish that we had not thrown out our partially worn out shoes! I have saved a few "worn out" pairs of sneakers that I would not be seen wearing in public for filthy jobs and yard duty, and it's surprising how much "life" they usually still have in them, often as much after being "worn out" as they had before. Sometimes they just keep going and going for an incredibly long time before actually falling apart. So my suggestion is to never throw out any partially worn out shoes. They may be ugly in good times, but they will sure beat rags and cardboard wrapped around your feet in bad times. Of course, it goes without saying that when you find a good pair of shoes or boots for sale on closeout or at discount prices, don't buy just one pair! But a few extra pairs and store them away unused in their boxes for a time when good footwear in your size may simply be unavailable anywhere at any price. - Matt

Can anyone in this country do anything without their cell phone? Today a co-worker told me that her husband refused to keep a date to go out to dinner because he had misplaced his cell phone. Instead of spending a romantic evening together, they spent two hours frantically searching for his cell phone. They finally found it in his car, where they had searched twice before. If I recall correctly, life was possible before everyone had a cell phone.

  o  o  o

The RWVA's Spring Appleseed Tour series of rifle training sessions/matches is shaping up. They have shoots scheduled for North Carolina and Kentucky (both in March), Indiana (in April), and Wyoming and possibly Wisconsin (both in May.) It is dirt cheap to attend, so don't miss it. "Goooood training!"  OBTW, I've also found that the marksmanship targets that they sell are a great training aid for youngsters and newbies--and a good refresher for older shooters.

  o  o  o

Warren Buffett has issued a new warning on the trade deficit, saying that it does not bode well for the economy.  See: http://www.forbes.com/2006/01/18/buffett-deficit-economy-cx_cn_0118autofacescan02.html

  o  o  o

Winchester, now owned by a foreign conglomerate, has just closed its last U.S. plant. The Winchester lever action --"the rifle that won the west" will be dropped from the line, and the remainder of their line will be made exclusively off-shore. Signs of the times.  See: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/2006-01-18-winchester_x.htm

  o  o  o

Aerial IEDs?  Those insurgents are getting crafty. See: http://www.defensetech.org/

  o  o  o

The folks at the Sniper Country website now offer free on-line instruction.  Their long range shooting and field craft techniques have some applicability to folks interested in preparedness, so take a look.  See: http//www.snipercountry.com/training.html

  o  o  o

The RWVA's Spring Appleseed Tour series of rifle training sessions/matches is shaping up. They now have shoots scheduled for North Carolina and Kentucky (both in March), Indiana (in April), and Wyoming and possibly Wisconsin (both in May.) It is dirt cheap to attend, so don't miss it. "Goooood training!"  OBTW, I've also found that the marksmanship targets that RWVA sells are a great training aid for youngsters and newbies--and a good refresher for older shooters.

"Americans are the best entertained and the least informed people in the world." - Neil Postman, author, and NYU professor, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Penguin Books, 1985

Friday, January 20, 2006

There are just eleven days left in Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries for Round 2 is the last day of January, 2006. I also have some good news: Thanks to the generosity of Naish Piazza (the founder and director of Front Sight), we will be extending the writing contest for at least one more round! Round 3 will begin February 1st and end on the last day of March. We've already had plenty of motivational pieces submitted.  Please keep your contest entries focused on practical skillsSo start writing, folks!

If you know anyone that sells preparedness-related good or services, please ask them to advertise on SurvivalBlog.  Thanks.

I have been watching the U.S. Government surplus auctions for ultra-cold medical storage freezers. This one ("KELVINATOR, MDL: UC50RFMS, LAB REFRIGERATOR") recently sold for just three hundred bucks. See: http://cgi.govliquidation.com/auction/view?id=743367&convertTo=USD

Not a bad price at all. I hope that it went to some frugal individual who will be using it for long-term storage in the event of TEOTWAWKI! I've become hopelessly addicted to the
govliquidation.com site. Keep up the good work. A 10 Cent Challenge check is headed your way. - T.K.

The following are some excerpts from some commentary by Eric Roseman that was included in a recent issue of  The Sovereign Society's Offshore A-Letter: When the rate of return for short term investments exceeds that of long term investments (the yield curve "inverts"), it is generally a sign of bad economic times ahead.

Over the last two years, investors have barely kept pace with inflation in benchmark intermediate term US Treasury bonds. After enjoying a massive rally since 2000, bond yields hit a 40 year low in 2003 at 3.3%. Despite thirteen Federal Reserve rate hikes since June 2004, bond yields have actually declined twenty basis points (0.20%), a worrisome signal Chairman Greenspan called a "conundrum" last fall. Yield curve inversion is a dangerous anomaly because it portends to economic weakness; the last three inversions all resulted in economic recessions.

Indeed, the bond market might be signaling big trouble for the US economy in 2006. The benchmark yield curve, or the difference between the two-year and ten-year Treasury yields, inverted in late December. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than long-term interest rates. This phenomenon is a rarity in bond markets and typically indicates that bond investors think the US Federal Reserve is tightening the monetary screws too aggressively. If this is the case, then there is a good chance that the United States might suffer a recession later this year, especially if the yield curve stays inverted. - Eric N. Roseman, Montreal, Quebec. Editor, Renegade Investor E-mail: enr@qc.aibn.com Web site: http://www.eas.ca

JWR Adds: If you do not yet already subscribe to The Sovereign Society's Offshore A-Letter, then I highly recommend doing so. Subscriptions are free. See: http://www.sovereignsociety.com/

There is some very useful information on battlefield survival skills at this static web site: http://www.survivethewar.com.  Much of this info is applicable for preparedness-minded folks like you and me. Take a look.

  o o o

Gary North quoted sage economist John Templeton as stating that when the housing bubble pops, real estate house prices might decline as much as 90%.  Dr. North is less pessimistic. My personal view is that as the housing bubble collapses, "Helicopter Ben" Bernanke will be simultaneously cranking up the printing presses. The net effect will be that your house won't go down significantly in dollar terms, but those dollars won't buy even half as much in another five years. Charming.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  The second half of the "Aughts" will be a lot like the second half of the 1970s, with plenty of inflation.

  o o o

In a recent commentary, economic pundit Doug Casey recommends: "Stockpile beans, bullets, bullion, booze and barter items." See: http://www.kitcocasey.com/displayArticle.php?id=485

  o o o

The Daily Reckoning reports that personal bankruptcies have hit an all time high in both the U.S. and England.  But they tell us that we are in the midst of an economic recovery. So how many bankruptcies will there be in the next recession?

"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I found some very interesting commentary recently posted at Gold-Eagle.com about the true (inflation-adjusted) value of precious metals, by Adam Hamilton. See:

Mr. Rawles,
I enjoy reading your blog. It is full of useful information. I have a couple of suggestions to add to the 1-13-06 letter by EMT J.N.  Alacer (the makers of "Emer'gen-C") has an prepackaged instant electrolyte mix available. Just mix with water and drink. 'Electromix' is available at most health food store. It costs about 35 cents per packet. I also would not want to be without aloe vera for burns. Small tubes or bottles are not that much, but it is amazing stuff!! Some Aloe vera products have colorings and such in them; the ones without are much better especially for those who might have allergies to the additives. - Otto

JWR Replies: Electrolyte mixes for rehydration (a.k.a. Oral Rehydration Solutions) are crucial for treating stomach flus. If and when there is ever an influenza pandemic, dehydration caused by diarrhea will probably kill more people than the flu itself.

Along with Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Aloe vera is one of the medicinal herbs that every family should grow at home.

Dear Jim:
Straightblast brings up an excellent point about the many pitfalls of loaning weapons to untrained neighbors, after a crisis has hit, and thus potentially arming bad guys.
He wrote:"Frankly, it scares me. I look at it this way...if the neighbor has no guns (right now), and no gun skills...and the bad guys come to visit...what are the odds that he / she will prevail against them? I think close to zero."  It scares me too! But I beg to differ that the chances for your neighbor are "close to zero." Remember your average gang or criminal has not had any formal training. An untrained gang with some weapon experience versus an untrained neighbor BEHIND COVER is a least in the same ballpark as a fair fight - and looters are not looking for fair fights! And if, God forbid, the gang did overcome the neighbor - well the gang already had firearms, so one more gun is probably not that big a deal.
I'm more concerned about unsafe weapon handling, negligent discharges, and/or "friendly fire" from my neighbors than [I am about] the gang getting one more weapon.
In a really bad situation I would rather have one HASTILY TRAINED neighbor for fire support, than to be badly outnumbered by a gang with no fire support. (It is kind of tough to watch four quadrants with two people!) I think that a contingency plan so you have SEMI-trained, armed neighbors is a better option. (This assumes that a suggestion to do some "Tactical Crisis Training" would get the same look as if you just grown an extra head! ;-)
Here are my thoughts on a contingency plan:
1. Invite your neighbors - and/or their kids - out for a social day plinking at the range. You can at least get basic gun safety and sight alignment concepts out. They might even get interested in shooting - reactive targets like falling plates, balloons or just tin cans are a blast. If this invitation gets a disgusted reaction, maybe moving now, or bugging out later, is a better option. Who needs gun-phobic neighbors?
2. Have some inexpensive, EASY TO USE, low-recoil firearms, magazines, ammo, AND web belts with mag pouches for your new "Neighborhood Watch on Steroids." Pistol caliber carbines and .223s would be a good low recoil choice.
3. You might consider selling or bartering them the weapon "package" instead of giving it away, as gifts are often not treated with the same care as purchases. This also weeds out those who are not sufficiently motivated. Selling at a fair PRE-crisis price would be an act of charity which might just be appreciated.
4. Have a plan for a crash training [program for] your neighbors so that they can SAFELY handle their new weapon, and at least shoot from a fixed position, behind cover, to include:
   * The four rules of gun safety
   * Loading and unloading
   * Malfunction clearance
   * Basic sight alignment and trigger control
   * Understanding cover versus concealment
   * Be sure of your target and backstop!
Any more suggestions or comments would be appreciated, especially from instructors who deal with novices. Regards, - "OSOM" - Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The Colt version for the 1911, chopped to Detonics length, on an alloy frame, recoils just as much as full size and with 9mm, saving you 10c a shot. An alloy compact 9mm 1911 variant recoils just as much as a full size and weight .45 ACP. This is great for training, saving you 10 cents a shot. A .223 AR-15, "wearing" an 8" long, 12 ounce sound suppressor is every bit as "tame" sounding as the Ciener .22 LR unit without the suppressor. [Shooting .22 LR in training] saves you nearly 20 cents a shot, and permits practice at indoor ranges, and other places where the 223 would not be a good idea.

[For those of you with AR-15 family rifles and carbines], be advised that the .22 unit is not very accurate in an AR with 1 in 7" rifling, is okay with 1 in 9" rifling (the most versatile) and it typically shoots nice 2" groups at 50 yards with 1 in 12" rifling. The point of impact (POI) with 22 LR is plenty close enough (within 3" at 50 yards) to that of the .223 to make it a fine training tool, and usually, it's close enough for foraging small game. There's a way to make the POI of the two [almost exactly the same], too, since the AR has two different "legs" on its [L-shaped flip] rear sight.

If it's SHTF time, how will you know when it's okay to have nothing more than a bolt action, a shotgun, or a .22 LR? Suppressors are superb aids in such conditions. I'd much rather have nothing more than ONE 10 round magazine and a suppressor for the CAR-15 (and  the .22 LR unit) than all the spare mags in the world, with a noisy gun.

With a scope, trigger job, free float tube, forend mounted bipod, and 69 grain HPBT match Sierra bullets, at 2500 FPS, [a CAR-15] gets more hits than misses on a 12"x24" torso at 400 yards. Not bad for an Uzi-size and weight combo. With the assault sling, it need never be out of reach. Our forefathers found ways to always have 15 lbs of Flintlock, powder horn, and possibles bag at hand. The CAR-15 is concealable when disassembled. It comes down in 5 seconds, and can be assembled and firing in 10 seconds. The caliber swap is 20 seconds. With the 10.5" barrel, (5.56 chamber) I use 27.0 grains of AA2520 to get the 60 grain Nosler Partition soft point to 2600+ fps, for 900 foot-pounds.

I favor a pair of lightweight compact pistols for SHTF times. One is a Beretta M21 .22 LR with an OAL of 9", including the 3 ounce suppressor. The M21 is 11 ounces, with a .5" longer barrel, available from GunsNStuff. The other pistol is a pocketable 9mm, rebarreled to 356 TSW, using a special, 55 grain AP bullet, at 2200 FPS, for 590 foot-pounds of energy. The "canned" .22 goes in the leg pocket of my BDU pants The centerfire always rides in a Kydex front pants pocket rig, with Velcro to secure the rig in the pocket. The total weight of the two pistols, holster, spare mags, and ammo, is 38 ounces. Since that's lighter than an empty .45 Government Model, and the two guns offer much more versatility, they are a much better deal.

If a critter is so close that I can't swap out to .22 LR, I can hit it with the Beretta. The M21 has been fitted with a PT22 Taurus mag, better sights, and an extractor. The pop-up barrel is a feature [of the] gun, courtesy of a pin thru both the frame and the barrel's underlug. Take care. - P.P.L.

JWR Replies: Thanks for your knowledgeable comments, P.P.L. SurvivalBlog readers should be advised that there is a $200 Federal transfer tax for firearms sound suppressors (often incorrectly called "silencers"--they do not completely silence any gun), selective fire (fully automatic) guns, and short barreled rifles and shotguns here in the U.S. There are also additional state-enacted restrictions on full autos and suppressors in many states, such as California and Washington. Readers are strongly advised not to purchase or construct an unregistered suppressor. The risk of doing so is the loss of you gun ownership and voting rights for life, and many year behind bars. Don't take that risk!  Keep in mind that purchasing a registered suppressor will raise your profile, both locally (since it will be your local sheriff or chief of police that will sign off on your license) and at the Federal level.  So you need to carefully weigh the risks versus benefits of doing so. Proceed down that path only after considerable thought and prayer.

I thought I would let you also know that Sambucol works incredibly well. My youngest daughter started feeling bad last Wednesday night. It was the situation where she remarked that she felt a bit more tired than usual. Her physical activity is very good, and swim team practice was a bit more rigorous than usual because of an upcoming swim meet that was scheduled for Saturday. When she woke up Thursday morning she was running a fever and listless. Wednesday night I had talked to a friend who had used Sambucol and it helped his case of the flu. By about 2 PM Thursday afternoon her fever was 103.8! She took some Tylenol and I went in search of Sambucol, not expecting to find it because our town is somewhat small. I did find it a local organic market much to my surprise. I gave her the first dosage about 3 PM or so. Before I gave the dose to her I took her temperature and her fever had only dropped by a few tenths of a degree after the Tylenol. After the dose of Sambucol I took her temperature about and hour and a half later. Her temperature had dropped to about 101.6. A little later in the evening she got up and ate a little, and remained up for about two hours. By morning her temperature had dropped to about 100.8. I kept following the dosage directions and she actually sat up most of the day Friday. By Friday evening her temperature was normal. She had received only the one dose of Tylenol on Thursday. I kept giving her the Sambucol per directions throughout the day. On Saturday morning she said she felt that she could swim in a couple shorter events. I gave her the last dose of Sambucol before the swim meet as a ‘just in case’ measure. She said her energy was lower than normal, which was to be expected, but she did manage to swim in the meet. I know that scientifically this would be called anecdotal evidence. But if this is any indication of the effectiveness of Black Elderberry extract [Sambucol] on the immune system’s ability to fight off a flu virus, then it is definitely the most effective medication/nutritional supplement I have ever seen. I am definitely keeping a supply on hand, probably in lozenge form because of the expiration date is longer. As for the taste of Sambucol, if my daughter will take it willingly then no one should have a problem getting his or her kids to take it. It has a very light taste she said that reminded her of grape juice. While I took care of her I took one teaspoon on Thursday and one on Friday as a preventative for me. And I never got the feeling I was coming down with the flu from being in so close a proximity to her. Thanks for your time Mr. Rawles, - The Rabid One

I’m glad that one of your readers wrote in to advise against stretching magazine springs. I can also add that when a replacement of any weakened (shortened) coil spring is not available, there is an alternative: Find a rod to use as a mandrel within the spring, and tap with a hammer to slightly flatten the coils against the rod as you work your way around. This will lengthen the spring, without creating the kind of strength-impairing deformations that stretching will cause. - Mr. Bravo

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Please take the time to visit the web sites for all of our advertisers. They sell high quality products and services that are particularly suited for folks that are interested in preparedness, at competitive prices. These advertisers showed enough faith in SurvivalBlog to purchase advertisements, so please take the time to look at what they have to offer. Also, keep in mind that their product offerings do change, so be sure to re-visit their sites regularly to see what is new, and any special sale pricing. Thanks!

I can not seem to get my wife focused on what needs to be done [for preparedness] and accomplished. I think that she, at some level, believes that change is in the wind but for some reason she doesn’t see the need for a timely accomplishment of tasks. - "Indiana Jones"

The Memsahib Replies: Your wife no doubt has seem the signs of decay: the ever increasing bureaucracy taking away our freedoms, the moral debasement of the culture, and no doubt you have been pointing out to her the signs of economic chaos. Yes, she can intellectually agree with you that America is changing for the worse. But, does she want to believe that it is actually collapsing? NO! Which is why she doesn't see the need for a timely accomplishment of preparedness goals.
But, why won't she face reality, you wonder? She may say that it is only YOUR reality! She has lots of reasons for not internalizing YOUR reality.
First, your view goes against what her parents and community have taught her since she was a child: That America is the greatest nation on earth and that everyone can achieve the American dream of wealth, peace, and security. She was looking forward to a house with the white picket fence and a rose garden. You want her to trade it in for a bunker with steel shutters! To accept your reality is to give up on a cherished dream of a life of ease and contentment.
Secondly, her family probably thinks you are a little nutty or maybe even a real whacko depending on how much you've shared with them. Her family has no doubt questioned some of your choices. They may have even counseled her that she can't depend on you to make rational decisions. To go along with your world view is to forsake the approval of her parents. (My own father once said to me, "You don't really believe that do you? You're just going along with it to humor Jim, right?")
Third, maybe she is secretly afraid that if she encourages you, then you won't know where to stop, and you will move the family to a Unabomber shack with no phone, electricity or running water. Have you gone overboard in the past with preparedness purchases when she has offered the slightest encouragement? It might help if you had a finite list of supplies you plan to buy so that your wife could see that your survival purchases are not endless. Some husbands freak their wives out when they buy supplies as if they are stocking the whole neighborhood, and not just the family. When a friend of ours mentioned to his wife that he was planning to buy some ammo, his wife pictured three or four boxes, instead he purchased twelve battle packs (1,920 rounds!) Your wife might be afraid if she gives an inch you'll take a mile!
Be mindful of all that you are expecting of your wife when you ask her to accept your view that this is the end of the world as we know it. She is giving up on her dreams and giving up the approval of her family. And finally let her know that she can trust you not to go overboard or surprise her with your preparations.

Hi Jim,
You may already know about this, but if not, I think you and your readers will find it useful. The following link http://www.mercola.com/2001/feb/7/drug_expiration.htm tells of a study the U.S. Air Force requested 15 plus years ago to determine the shelf life of it's inventory of medicine. The USAF was concerned about having to dump and restock millions of dollars worth of pharmaceuticals. The upshot is, the study proved most medicines are still good way beyond their printed expiration date. This was good news for one of my sons, who requires a daily prescription for his condition. I have researched his prescription in detail and discovered that his medicine is still viable for two years past the expiration date. As a result, I have stocked up on several weeks of his medicine to see him through should something happen to prevent us from replenishing his prescription. What really irks me was the FDA's attitude about not pushing Drug companies to extent the expatriation dates to benefit the consumer: "It's not the job of the FDA to be concerned about a consumer's economic interest." It would be up to Congress to impose changes, he says. As things stand now, expiration dates get a lot of emphasis. For instance, there is a campaign, co-sponsored by some drug retailers, that urges people to discard pills when they reach the date on the label." Talk about your planned obsolescence for making a profit!

Of course, one should be very careful about storing and using any drug past it's expiration date--Certain antibiotics can be dangerous. Exposure to heat, moisture, etc., can degrade medications [shortening their shelf life.] Be sure to check with your physician, keep a record of what the medication is used for, and store them properly. All in all, it's good to know that you can keep leftovers from certain prescriptions as part of your emergency preparedness gear. Keep up the great site! - R.S.

The mainstream media is finally starting to pick up on the Iran nuclear threat. I've often said that this decade of the "Aughts" will end up looking a lot like the 1970s. The parallels have already been evident: the rising price of oil, rising commodity prices, unstable stock and currency markets, mass inflation, rising precious metals prices, and a protracted counterinsurgency campaign overseas that is causing friction with european governments. And now, heightened tensions with Iran. (Do you remember the Iran hostage crisis in the late 1970s?) Consider this FFTAGFFR, folks!

  o  o  o

The price of silver just took a profit-taking dip to $9.00 per troy ounce on the spot market yesterday. (Tuesday, Jan.17, 2006.) Meanwhile, gold has dipped to around $552. This could be your last good chance to buy before the bull resumes his charge. According to some analysts, the weakening dollar, the ongoing trade and budget deficits, and the nascent saber-rattling tension with Iran point to a target of $10.20 silver and $607 gold for April of 2006.  Silver is definitely the better buy of the two. Yes, it is much bulkier than gold, but it is far more likely to double in price than gold. If you have been doddling, then it is high time to call Swiss America, or one of the other reputable precious metals dealers, and stock up.

   o  o  o

If any of you readers have not yet visited the KT Ordnance web site, then you should.  Richard sells gunsmithing goodies with an interesting angle: He makes 80% finished rifle and pistol receivers, as well as jigs, tools, and instructional DVDs that detail how to complete them. Under the Federal law, these are NOT considered "firearms", and can be legally completed as semi-autos by private individuals for their personal use WITHOUT completing a Form 4473!  (Consult your state and local laws before ordering.)  OBTW, Richard is currently running a special 10% off of all orders (all 80% complete frames, not just Model 1911s--but excluding jigs), just for SurvivalBlog readers. Check it out! This sale ends on January 31st.

  o  o  o

I recently learned that Loompanics Unlimited is going out of business.  For many years, they've sold an eclectic panoply of books that you can't find anywhere else. I was sorry to hear that Mike Hoy is shutting his doors. :-(  The only good news is that Mike is blowing out his remaining inventory at 50% off. Check out his online catalog. There are some great book titles there! 

"A little change in your life is a good thing. A significant change to your body temperature is not a good thing." - James Wesley, Rawles

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't miss the recent letters about Zimbabwe from Cathy Buckle on her Africa's Tears site. See: http://africantears.netfirms.com/ (In the left hand bar, click on December 2005 and January 2006 Archives.) It is sad to see a once prosperous nation slide into an economic shambles due to an incompetent and utterly corrupt communist government. Key infrastructures are crumbling, crop production is steadily declining, and the currency is still suffering from hyperinflation. Mugabe and his henchmen need to be handed one-way tickets to somewhere!

As reported in Defense Aerospace, the U.S. Air Force recently announced: "The 1st Fighter Wing held a ceremony here today to celebrate the F-22A Raptor's initial operational capability. The IOC declaration proves the F-22A is mission ready. The base now has 19 Raptors..."
Strike up the band! The F-22 is finally operational. First, some background; I'm very familiar with the history of this procurement. Back in July of 1987, I visited Wright-Patterson AFB to interview Colonel Fain, the System Program Office manager for what was then dubbed the "Advanced Tactical Fighter." This interview was for a feature article in Defense Electronics magazine. (See Defense Electronics, September, 1987, p. 61.) What Col. Fain was preaching sounded like real Hotel Sierra to me. This plane, he promised, was going to be a real dandy fighter, with an awesome engine that would allow "super cruise" (the ability to fly faster than the speed of sound without afterburner), and awesome avionics. But I understood that I had to be patient...

Development on the ATF actually began way back in 1981, and the concept stage started several years before that. Assembly of the first aircraft didn't begin until 1991. First flight of a prototype was in September of 1997. (For a timeline of ATF development, see http://www.f22fighter.com/timeline.htm) And now, 24 years later, the first squadron of F-22As has finally been declared operationally ready. A 24 year development cycle? Incredible! If the War Department had had a development cycle for major weapons systems that was that long back in the 1930s, we would still be slugging it out with the Germans in North Africa. The U.S. military procurement system has become so bureaucratically convoluted and hidebound that it barely functions. For the good of the taxpayers and especially for the sake of our troops, something has to change.

In reference to your January 16th post, have hunted extensively with side-by-side (double barrel or "SxS") shotguns throughout my life. They are my first choice for upland game and waterfowl. There are many brands of SxS shotguns. Some are valued at a price higher than most reasonably priced homes with 10 acres of ground, others are priced in a race to the bottom. I like the Spanish doubles as a mid-priced SxS. Mine have proven to be as reliable as a hammer, and have good fit for the money spent. Be warned though, double guns of all types have inflated rather dramatically in price over the last decade. Since I am not writing this for a hunting site, but rather, a survival site, I will focus on a couple things I believe relevant:
1. Ease of use. A working double (with internal, NOT external hammers) is almost as easy to get acquainted with in short-time as a single shot. The brand I have chosen for around the farm, and for 95% of my hunting, is the Ugartechea. (See: http://www.doubleshotguns.com/ugartechea.htm) A simple slide up to fire safety on the tang, double triggers (a must, in my opinion), and ejectors that will toss spent casings so quickly that one-handed reloading is a cinch, these are good quality guns that are easy to get used to using, and easy to master
for muscle memory sake. I consider the external hammers to be dangerous in the woods in a "ready to fire" mode...in a stalking scenario. In cowboy action shooting though, many folks can really make them sing. I don't like them for my purposes.
2. Reliable. They work. I have never had a misfire, and have probably shot 100,000 shells through these over the years.
3. Easy to break-down. It is basically a 3 piece gun (not counting internal working parts), that can be disassemble into those 3 pieces in what, 5-7 seconds? Push a button on the splinter forend, pull down, then push lever to open gun as if to load...and the barrels fall into your hand. This also makes the guns a cinch to clean.
4. Value. An excellent shape Spanish double of good origin will cost $750 up. Many times, it is $1,000 up. Working value is not that of an 870. But, my doubles were bought new for slightly less than that, and, I will pass them as dead-on reliable guns to my children one day...so   they have been worth it to me.

One warning though to those who believe a double can be handed off to the little old lady down the road, who, for whatever reason...has little or no training. Shotguns of normal legal length are not the perfect solution to a "kitchen sink to backdoor" encounter. At a range of 6-10 feet it will have a spread of nearer a rifle than what we think of when
we think of shotguns. It will no doubt bore a hole in one side and out the other at that range, and is wickedly deadly, but it requires aimed fire at all ranges other than point blank---no different than a pistol. Recoil is subjective...to an extent. It can range from heavy, to extreme (on the little old lady scale) depending on chosen rounds. A 12 gauge high brass round? Even tough guys won't shoot many in a t-shirt...and I have seen the recoil almost dislodge the shotgun from some unsuspecting folks hands. Indoors = lots of blast and noise.
Bottom line: I like the double gun, and I can make it function well in all conditions I have been in, including freezing rain that has created problems with pump guns used by friends. However, I train with these.  Without training? Well, I don't consider that an option that makes any shooting weapon good. Grandma either learns to shoot, and shoots until a competent shootist, or, she does not get one of my guns. Hard but true.
This brings me to my final (off topic point). There seems to be a bit of fantasy floating around the community that we can have extra weapons on hand to provide the neighbors who have none---after the crunch. Have we really thought this through? Doesn't it require us to assume that an offer to train the neighbor was made during good times, and it was refused? Then, trouble comes knocking and they see the light? We may have to do this...but it would be my absolute worst case scenario.   Frankly, it scares me. I look at it this way...if the neighbor has no guns, and no gun skills...and the bad guys come to visit...what are the odds that he / she will prevail against them? I think close to zero.
So now, if that happens, they have our neighbors house, and our rifle / shotgun?
I have made a decision only for my family: I will teach any person I trust. I will provide them with training ammo, they can train on my range on the farm, I will do whatever is necessary to get them to the level they can reach...and have done so many times. BUT, if this thing snaps and we are up against it? I will not provide a shooting weapon to someone who has no idea how to use it. Quite simply, I don't want to face any of my weapons...and I don't want my children facing my weapons. If you have neighbors, know them. If you can trust them, train them.  If you cannot trust them, move. Best to all, - Straightblast

JWR Replies:  I agree that doubles are a good investment.  When I was in college (in the early 1980s) I had the chance to buy a nice boxlock Greener 12 gauge ejector gun with fluid steel barrels. It even already had its chambers deepened to 2-3/4 inches. The gent was asking just $350 for it. I'm still kicking myself for not buying it.  That Greener would be at least a $2,500 gun today--possibly much more. As I wrote in my novel "Patriots": "Hindsight is 20/20."

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963

Monday, January 16, 2006

Wow! 5.5 million hits and nearly 200,000 unique visits in less than six months.  Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a great success. Please continue to spread the word!

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I know you are a big fan of the book Where There is no Doctor. (English International Edition by D. Werner ISBN 0-333-51651-6 Published by MacMillan), and Where There is No Dentist (by M. Dickson ISBN 9-780942-364057.) Published by Hesperian, but did you know that there are three more books in the same series that I believe would be helpful if TEOTWAWKI happens? These are:

Where There is No Psychiatrist by V. Patel ISBN 1901242757 Published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists - Survivalists are unlikely to need psychological help for mental illness from the stress but a lot of the sheeple will.

Where Women Have No Doctor by A. Burns, R. Lovich, J. Maxwell & K. Shapiro. ISBN 0-333-64933-8 Published by MacMillan - this is a health guide for women and girls to help them identify common medical problems and treatments. Covers sexual and mental health, diseases, pregnancy and childbirth, nutrition, disabilities and injuries. Uses clear simple language and hundreds of drawings.

Where There is No Vet by B. Forse ISBN 0333588991 Published by MacMillan - this should be of some help in looking after the goats et cetera.

I should say I have not yet got my copy of these three books yet. I know these book are publish by different publishers but they are all publish for TALC (http://www.talcuk.org) which is a UK charity set up to help health care in developing countries particularly Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. This link is a good source for information but may not be the best place to buy from as it is in England. I hope I have been some help and I hope that no one ever needs to use these books. Yours Sincerely, - Simon.

Mr. Rawles,
I wanted to run a few observations of mine by you and then pose a question. I am working in Afghanistan as a security contractor. I don't have a normal security contractor job (i.e. doing PSD work for dignitaries), and I get to see a lot more of the country, frequently by myself. I see things turning in the wrong direction here, and while we could take the upper hand again, I don't think the powers that be will make the right decisions. The U.S. will be turning over control of the violent south and east to ISAF soon, and ISAF troops and leadership are not equal to their U.S. counterparts. 2005 was worse than 2004, and I think the trend will continue to worsen in 2006. I can't speak with any deep authority on Iraq, but the political reality of it seems to be poor, even if the military could do the job if turned loose and properly led. In short, I think these situations will result in a black eye for the U.S., and as a result the U.S. economy could take a beating this year. This is an extreme simplification of a complicated situation.

My question is about some money that I have invested in some standard mutual funds and a few stocks. They are managed by my local Edward Jones broker, and while he urges me to keep them there, I feel the market could take a beating soon. I've found some land over in Montana (This parcel is 112 acres for asking price of $128,000. [When not in Afghanistan,] I live in Eastern Washington, and land there is much more expensive than I am finding in Montana) and the invested money would make a nice down payment on that land. What do you think about my fears of money in funds, and would you agree that the land might be a good move? I already have a good lay in of food, weapons, et cetera and own a fair bit of gold and silver bullion so buying property has some appeal to me right now. Any input you have would be much appreciated. Thanks very much. - J. in Afghanistan

JWR Replies: In my opinion stocks are currently seeing a brief up tick in the overall bear market that began in April of 2000.  It is essentially a sucker rally. I strongly recommend that you dump most or all of your stocks and (and stock mutual funds) and re-invest in tangibles. Which tangibles? Even at over $9+ an ounce, silver is still a relative bargain. Productive land--good farm and ranch land--is also worth buying, particularly in lightly populated regions that have plentiful water and that are well-removed from major population centers. Unlike urban and suburban real estate on the coasts and in resort regions, which is grossly inflated (read: a bubble waiting to burst), productive real estate in places like the Intermountain West is still affordable. When the real estate bubble does burst--most likely in the Spring/Summer of Aught Six--I anticipate that the over-inflated regions will suffer at least a 30% price decline, and perhaps even as much as 60% in outrageously over-priced areas like San Diego, the San Francisco peninsula, and Miami Beach. In contrast, the more affordable regions may see as little as a 10% price drop. So if buying there, your downside risk is minimal. 

Be advised that although the best real estate bargains in Montana are in the eastern half of the state, that it is also the region that is downwind of scores of nuclear ground burst targets such as Malmstrom AFB and hundreds of missiles silos. For maps of U.S. military nuclear targets, see: www.nukewatch.com/pathfinder/20053fall/page2.pdf   So unless you see a nation state nuclear exchange as only a remote possibility, then I recommend that you only buy property that is is at least 40 miles upwind of any of Montana's nuke targets.

Take good care of yourself in Afghanistan. May God Bless You and Yours!

Over the years I, like all shooters, have heard theories on magazine springs and how to treat them. A few years back I took a tour of the Sandia National Laboratories and I spoke with a metallurgist who was also a shooter and he had some noteworthy insight on the issue. As he said, "if the spring was made of the right materials and heat treated properly, leaving it loaded will not cause the spring to weaken." Leaving a spring compressed will not weaken it, it is compressing and relieving the spring a lot that causes them to weaken through use. He added that any failings are usually due to poor materials or bad heat treating.

This is yet another reason to buy only the best. If you have magazines of questionable manufacture it may be worthwhile to stock some spare magazine springs at the very least. Wolff, Wilson and others make quality springs for this purpose.

Ever since my conversation with the man at Sandia I always got a kick out of hearing about people who rotate their magazines "so the springs can rest". Never made sense before that, steel does not rest and recover like muscle tissue, but hearing the science behind it was an education. Same with downloading magazines a round or two. It won't save the spring any (but it will make the bolt/slide strip the round out a bit easier but that should only be an issue if there are problems with that weapon.) If you want to rotate your magazines by running rounds through the gun that is great. Practice is never wasted and it will field test those magazines.

One more word of warning is that you should never stretch magazine springs, this is at best a short term fix. They will weaken again, even faster than before. Replace them when they go bad, don't stretch them out in hopes they will still give good service.  - Jake at The Armory

Mr. Rawles;

What do you think of the double-barrel coach gun as a weapon for less-frequent shooters? I'm thinking this might be a good choice to give to the older lady next door, or the wife who doesn't shoot as a hobby. It's easy to use (few controls), intimidating, and has manageable recoil, when used with the right buckshot loads and possibly a quality recoil pad. - John in California

JWR Replies:  Coach Guns (a.k.a. side-by-side double-barreled shotguns or "luparas") are an antiquated design, but they do fill a couple of useful roles in a retreat firearms battery. Their greatest attributes are their extreme shooting longevity (there are some British side-by-side shotguns have been documented to have fired literally millions of shotgun shells), and their ability to digest loads that would cause most repeating shotguns to "hang up."  Ancient ammo, cruddy ammo, overloads, you name it, and they will shoot it.  Secondarily, like their single-shot cousins, double barrels have far greater versatility than repeaters, because they can accept cartridge adapters and barrel inserts, such as the famous "Savage .410-ers"  and the more recently produced "Chamber Mates." The most commonly found side-by sides--such as those used in Cowboy Action Shooting have exposed hammers, which must be manually cocked, and simple extractors rather than ejectors. The exposed hammer guns look quaint, but they are considerably slower to operate than internal hammer models with ejectors such as as the discontinued Browning B-SS (These thankfully are still widely available on the secondary market.) I strongly recommend that you look for an internal hammer model, particularly if you plan to use your coach gun for self-defense. Your primary shotgun should probably be a pump or a semi-auto. You might consider getting a coach gun as a secondary gun for self defense and for taking game. In my experience, 23-inch barrels are a good compromise between compactness and muzzle velocity/patterning.  I'd only opt for 18 or 20 inch barrels if you only want a self defense shotgun. Notably, in locales that have restrictive gun laws (such as England) , where getting permits can be difficult, a coach gun might be a viable option. (Since they are among the most likely to get permit approval.) As for the suggestion that you hand one to "the older lady next door", I don't think that is realistic unless you give granny a light recoil 20 gauge model with a thick recoil pad (such as a Pachmayr Decelerator or their new Ultra Soft) and a lot of training.

"Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across truth. Most jump up, brush themselves off, and hurry on about their business as if nothing had happened." -Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

Sunday, January 15, 2006

There are just two weeks left in Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries is the last day of January, 2006.

The original use for spices was to take out the funky flavor from spoiled food. As you remember, Columbus sailed in search of a shortcut to these spice which were considered a treasure on par with gold and jewels. Common sense will dictate how to stew, boil, or overcook foods to a safe level. Spices and salt will make this still nourishing food edible. Of course spices will be a valuable barter item if international trade is stopped.

Charcoal Medicine

Charcoal is a great first line treatment for loose stools. For example, a slice of bread burned over flame until there is just a little gray ash can be consumed along with copious amounts of water to wash it down, this dose works for most non invasive diarrheas. Diarrhea was formerly a major killer. An improvised treatment could save your life from dehydration and
electrolyte imbalance.

The New Scientist magazine recently ran an interesting article about a "just in case of the worst case" backup stock of seeds stored in Norway. See: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18925343.700

Anyone considering using a generator and transfer switch should give the following link a look: http://www.generlink.com.
It's an alternative to the most commonly used transfer switches and costs much less.

When I called my power company about it they were not familiar with [this brand of switches] but studied the info on it and approved it for installation, they also offered to install it and said they would probably stock them for customers needing back-up power supplies. Regards, - Keith

Recently had a few realizations about magazines (the weakest link in any semi-auto firearm):

Even though I regularly rotate my magazines, I have discovered that the Glock G30 [compact .45 ACP] magazines have taken a set. [Their springs became weakened, under compression.] They are 10 round magazines, which I was only loading to 9 rounds and rotating every 30 days. While I ALWAYS download magazines to preclude the maximum compression of the spring from overwhelming the loading energy of the slide/bolt going forward, the extreme compactness of the G30 magazines is apparently more than the springs can take. I have stretched all of them back out and now only load them to 8 rounds.

Now for the realization that really made me feel like a moron. G21 magazines work in the G30 frame. I was carrying two G30 magazines with the pistol. If I had to draw and use the G30, then I have no need/concern for the compact concealment parameters of the G30 magazine upon reload. Why not carry the 2nd magazine as a G21 magazine? This way I don't have to purchase so many G30 magazines to be able to rotate them (and only be able to use them in one G30 pistol I have). This stretches the cycle time on the G30 magazines from once every months to once every 12 months. It also gives more purchase for grip on the G21 magazine being used in the G30 frame.

Of course, the 10 round G21 magazines are only loaded to 9 rounds; 13 round magazines to 12 rounds.; M14 20 round magazines loaded to 18 rounds. When I had a mouse gun, 28 rounds in a 30 round magazine. As I have been reading entries about sidearms, the capacities are always given for the magazines with no mention of downloading them for better reliability and newbies might not know the accepted rules on this topic. - D.B.

JWR Replies: If heard from various "authorities" on the subject (in firearms trade publications) that magazine springs cannot "take a set."  But from personal experience, I know that this can and does happenYMMV, but my personal approach is to keep only 20% of my magazines fully loaded at any given time, but I rotate them once every four months.  I unload them in the course of target practice. Thus, this also serves two extra purposes: 1.) It confirms that each and every magazine is functionally tested with live ammo, and 2.) It serves as an inducement to log regular "trigger time" out at the Back 40 at the Rawles Ranch. Practice, practice, practice...

[In your article on Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic] you mention: "Stock up on Acetominophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin) as well - for treating fevers." Some of us know that a mild fever is a good thing. [It is part of the] immune system response to fighting the virus. Aspirin is a symptom treater and can cause a virus to live longer in it's host. See: http://survivalmonkey.com/forum/a-fever-is-a-good-thing-to-a-point-vt1842.htm?highlight=fever

JWR Replies: Yes, a mild fever can be a good thing, but a high fever can cause complications. A high fever should definitely be knocked down quickly.  Hence my advice on storing Acetominophen and Ibuprofen. Also, keep in mind that a fever can exacerbate dehydration when diarrhea is an issue.  For details, see: http://www.SurvivalBlog.com/asianflu.html

"Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used, and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D.) Minn. "Know Your Lawmakers" Guns magazine, February, 1960, p. 4.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

If you know anyone that sells preparedness-related good or services, please ask them to advertise on SurvivalBlog.  Thanks!

(Quoting the American Forces Press Service, Jan 10, 2005, by Jim Garamone) The Army will continue to improve body armor issued to soldiers, and will begin manufacturing side-panel inserts to the Interceptor ballistic armor (IBA), officials said here today.  The side panels, which weigh three pounds, will be made of the same material as the small-arms protective inserts.

Army Col. Thomas Spoehr is in charge of fielding body armor. He said the Interceptor body armor now issued to servicemembers protects against most of the threats they face in Iraq and Afghanistan today. "It's the best body armor in the world," Spoehr said.

And the proof is in the number of people who are alive today because of the armor. One documented account from June 2003 showed an Iraqi shooting a soldier at point-blank range in the chest with a shotgun. The young soldier picked himself off the ground and arrested the Iraqi.

The Army is making changes to the protection system, Spoehr said, but has to be careful to balance changes with mission. "You could outfit a soldier from head to toe in armor, and he would be completely useless," he said. "We have to be sensitive to the weight burden we put on soldiers in that arduous environment over there. Every ounce that we put on the back of a soldier could mean the difference between their ability to accomplish the mission or not."

Weight is a huge factor, officials said. The average infantryman carries 85 pounds of gear into battle, according to officials at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga. This includes weapons, ammunition, water, protective gear and so on. The Interceptor armor - the vest and Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates, along with neck and groin protection - weigh in at about 16 pounds.

But the improvements planned for the Interceptor armor will increase the weight. Enhanced SAPI plates will add three pounds to the weight, and side-panel plates another 3 pounds. Other shoulder and side protection adds five pounds. Wearing all pieces of the Interceptor armor could add about 27 pounds to soldiers' burden.

By comparison, the "flak vest" of Vietnam came in at about 25 pounds, and the original flak vest worn by airmen during World War II weighed around 40 pounds, Air Force Museum officials said.

But in addition to weight, commanders have to look at constriction and how much ability soldiers have to move their arms and legs and get in and out of vehicles quickly, Spoehr said. "It's not as simple as going to a catalog and ordering it," he said.

He said the commander has to control this factor. The body armor is modular, and commanders can assess the threat and how much armor soldiers should wear.

"We're going to be producing a new side-armor plate," Spoehr said. "If the mission doesn't accommodate wearing that new side armor plate, then the commander can direct, 'Don't wear that today.'"

For example, while the side armor adds 3 pounds, it does provide more protection. "We want to give that type of an option to commanders," Spoehr

Army officials said they continue to monitor all aspects of fielding the armor. A check of the books revealed that 8,000 of the vests did not go through inspection, Spoehr said. The Army recalled those vests on Nov. 12, 2005, and would not issue them. No piece of armor will be issued to soldiers without undergoing a painstaking inspection process, he emphasized.

Jim -
I guess I am thickheaded and missing something here. What difference does a pre-1899 or a 80% finished firearm make? Are you trying to tell me that the jackbooted thugs of the ATF will stop, examine the rifle, determine that it is legally not a firearm, and not steal/confiscate it from you? Got it, no 4473/record of it, but neither is there one between private individuals either, so why pay $120 for a pre '98 barreled receiver, when I can get a complete working Mauser for that? I'm not trying to be ugly here - just really don't get it - got any crayons to draw me pictures? - B.

JWR Replies: I wasn't talking about immunity from seizure. Jackbooted thugs exercising arbitrary enforcement power under color of law could (and do) seize BB guns and kitchen knives if they feel like it. Seizures still happen even when licenses and accurate legal cites are waved right in the faces of  ATF agents. Rather, I'm talking about avoiding PRISON. Let me explain: The biggest advantage of pre-1899s comes someday in the future, when possessing any unregistered "firearm" becomes a felony. Owning a pre-1899 "antique" (such as those sold by The Pre-1899 Specialist) could mean the difference between going to prison for five years, or not. You will have NO adequate defense in court if the"unregistered firearm" that is seized is modern--and hence inside Federal jurisdiction. In contrast, you will have a nearly perfect defense if the gun is a Federally exempt antique--and hence can be easily proven to be outside of Federal jurisdiction. Unless our system of law totally fails, the court will apologize and send you home, and you will get you gun back. Case dismissed. That is a huge difference.

Even if there is just the outside chance that nationwide (Federal) gun registration will be enacted in our lifetimes, isn't it worth $100 to $200 dollars difference in purchase price for the opportunity to own one or two guns that you won't have to register or bury in PVC pipe, along with all of the rest?  I consider that cheap insurance, when the alternative is a felony conviction, prison time, (and the stigma attached--including job hiring diminution), and forfeiture of your right to vote. Read through my Pre-1899 FAQ and ponder the possibilities.

Similarly, doing "home builds" with 80% complete receivers (such as those made by KT Ordnance) also has its advantages. Consider those readers in states (such as California and New Jersey) where mandatory registration of nearly all firearms is required, and private party transactions have been outlawed. They don't have a handy time machine to jump in and go buy a battery of modern firearms, back before their state laws changed. But they still have the chance, under current law, to legally obtain some modern firearms without any paperwork. Again, the advantage is staying within the law, and therefore creating immunity from prosecution. If your alternative is filling out a Form 4473, then build it yourself. Avoid the paperwork. Stay legal. And BTW, you will learn a lot about gunsmithing in the process. That is a valuable skill.

As I often say, there are three kinds of people in the world: The people that make things happen, the people that watch things happen, and the people that wonder "what the heck happened?"  It is no wonder that the price of shootable pre-1899 cartridge guns is starting to ratchet upward. People that are "in the know" are gobbling them up, whenever they hit the market. (For example: Dennis Kroh, who operates Empire Arms has found that guns immediately sell out, every time that he catalogs anything pre-1899 that is chambered in a caliber that is still factory made.) By doing your homework, and not hesitating to stock up now, on things that are legal, and while they are sill affordable, you will be proactive rather than reactive. It is analogous to someone consulting a tax specialist and taking advantage of perfectly legal tax loopholes. There is a big difference between that and simply just "not filing" The later approach lands folks in prison.

Disclaimers: I'm not an attorney. Laws change frequently. They also vary widely from state to state. So do your research before purchasing a pre-1899 antique or before completing an 80% receiver. Also, keep in mind that none of the preceding applies to short barreled rifles (less than 16"), short barreled shotguns (less than 18"), machineguns, or so-called "destructive devices." These all fall under Federal taxing jurisdiction under current law, regardless of their origin or date of manufacture. (Yes, I know, there are a few exceptions such as short-barreled C&R Winchester "Trapper" short barreled rifles, but that requires scrupulous research and keeping documentation.)

When I was in high school (in the early 1980s) I had no money and would find tires for my car by the side of the road. If it said E78-14 on the side and had more tread than the worst tire on the car, it came home. I could change a tire by breaking the bead using the bumper jack on my Sister's Dodge Dart. Flip it over, break the other side. Remove from the rim with a pair of tire spoons that my Father had, then repeat in reverse to get the new tire on the rim. To seal the bead, put some soapy water on the bead, then use a rope and a broom handle to put a tourniquet around the tread, the tighten the rope. Once it's about sealed, I could pump it up with a hand bicycle pump to seat the bead, then check pressure. Took about a half hour, cost nothing. Best Regards, - M.A. in Florida

This is in response to a letter from B.V. (posted 1/12/06) on Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) and http://www.polysteel.com. As I said in my 1/7/05 letter, the major shortfall of this type of construction is the roof. Otherwise, this a good idea, in particular to insulate the concrete wall from the elements so it acts as helpful thermal mass for heating and cooling efficiency. Also, reinforced poured concrete is far superior to block, just try drilling through each sometime. There are several companies that make these systems. I happen like the hanger system (for joists and trusses, etc.), and the system of attachment for drywall and exterior siding of Nudra: http://www.nudura.com Still, building a home or retreat this way still begs the question: Why invest in walls that can sustain a hurricane or tornado and then put on a conventional roof that can't? My personal favorite solution to this problem is using a span-crete (pre-cast steel reinforced concrete) to do the roof span, and then insulate over it with hard foam, then put down a 60 mil rubber roof membrane, and then two feet of topsoil, netted to hold it, and slightly pitched to drain. For added protection and strength, pour a slab over the roof membrane of at least four inches, and put the soil over that. [JWR Adds: Be sure to consult with an architectural engineer to make sure that all of this is done safely. Loads must be properly supported. "Dead" loads can be deadly! Just ask Ken Kern--the alternative housing author who died in the collapse of a rammed earth dome that was under construction.]

Here in the North, where we need to go down four feet to get the foundation well below the frost line and thus have basements (might as well go a little further). The temptation is thus to them make an earth shelter or underground home this way, basement and main floor both buried. The problem is the inward pressure on the flat vertical concrete walls it too great. While such pressure is not large a factor on an 8 or 9 foot poured concrete basement wall, is certainly is for a 16 or 18 foot wall. My solution, and compromise, is to bury and berm just 10 to 12 feet of the wall (10 inches think) thus berming the first floor of the house (above the basement) half way up to the lower ledge of the windows. The space between the top of the berm and the roof line is then conventionally insulted and sided (consider fire resistant materials such as brick, stone, fiberboard, stucco, Masonite, steel, stainless steel… http://architecture.about.com/od/buildyourhous1/tp/siding.htm ). Your options for the roof are to wall it off and use it as a patio, or for max insulation put some topsoil there as I said before. You can put on gutters or some sort of little awning over the windows and doors at least to handle channeling the run off. Snow load isn't even a factor with how strong this roof is, nor is the concern of volcanic or other fall-out that, particularly if it gets wet, will collapse most conventional roofs. Small and simple rectangular ranch home designs work well, but to really maximize the space I like having a split level with partial exposure to the basement/lower level for two bedrooms below and one bed above on a 28’ by 36’ footprint, or similar size. The exterior door is then above the berm height, as well. This design will give your home or retreat an amazingly strong design and a reasonably conventional look to it. Note you can attach a hardened garage on to this, and even put a “stealth retreat” under the garage. Sound familiar? [See the SurvivalBlog Archives.] - Rourke http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. This gives exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball are too violent for the body and stamp no moral character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walk."
-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, January 13, 2006

Today we present another entry for Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. This one is excellent. Don't just read this article, folks. Implement it!

The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries is the last day of January, 2006.

After the Katrina fiasco, a lot of my friends started to get interested in preparedness. Having some experience as an EMT and SAR volunteer, I decided to take the initiative and organize a group buy on medical supplies. This article is intended to help others who would like to put together low-cost, practical medical kits, particularly for a group.
For the short version, skip down to The Kit: Part I. Otherwise, read on.

For any kind of preparedness project, it's best to have a set of goals in mind at the outset. The goals I came up with were to build a kit that:
1. Is simple to use by lay people, with a maximum chance of helping in a crisis and a minimum chance of causing harm.
2. Contains supplies for 2-3 people to take care of themselves for 1 week in the event of a crisis (earthquake, weather emergency, flu, etc) or for one major incident (car accident, work injury).
3. Useful for the same 2-3 people during an average year of minor cuts, scrapes, and illnesses. Useful as a stand-alone kit or a module in a larger cache.
4. Easy to obtain and replenish (no exotic meds or perishable items)
5. Compact and easy to store (1 gallon Ziploc).
6. The last, and most difficult: the kit must cost around $20.
Based on experience, I felt that it would be unrealistic to expect friends and neighbors to spend $1,000 on a full-blown medic bag suitable for an expedition to Mt. Kenya, or to spend 100+ hours in EMT training. Someone who is dedicated can get to this level of preparedness, but those supplies do no good if they are locked up in your basement and not out where the hurt or sick people are.
If you happen to be the sick person or away from your cache of gear, the same rule applies.
So let's start with the assumption that our friends are be willing to put $20 towards their own safety and maintain something that fits inside of a 1 gallon Ziploc. If copies of that kit are distributed to all of your friends, neighbors, family, deer hunting buddies, etc then there is a better chance that:
1. They will be able to take care of their immediate needs during the first critical hours of a disaster.
2. They will be there to help you.
3. As a group, you will collectively have enough supplies to stabilize someone who is really seriously hurt.

The Kit Part I - what do we really need?
A lot of papers have been written on the subject of first aid kits and what they should contain. What we're most interested in is being able to carry out a few basic interventions that can treat the small problems and buy us time to get to a real doctor for the big ones.
So what can we reasonably do? A complete discussion of first aid measures could easily fill a book, but let’s keep it simple.
The basic things needed for a person to live are the ABCs:
Any major interruption to the above, and you're basically done for without immediate intervention. Going down the line, we have other common problems that can threaten our survival:
  Major Injury
We also have a number of minor problems that can become major ones if we ignore them. A sprained ankle may keep you from being able to evacuate. A minor cut can lead to sepsis when you're in a dirty environment. Diarrhea is annoying, but can kill you if it goes on for longer than a couple of days.
For the kit to be worthwhile, every item should be able to help us solve these problems, and preferably have multiple uses.
After substantial research, the kit listed below was settled on as being a good compromise in terms of usefulness and cost. The supplies are grouped by categories.

Personal protection
(1) 2oz Bottle, hand sanitizer
(4) Exam gloves, Nitrile
(1) CPR shield

(1) Splinter forceps, pair
(1) EMT shears, pair
(2) Disposable fever thermometers
(1) Razor blade

(20) 1" Band-aids, cloth
(2) Roll, 4.5" Kling gauze
(1) Small roll, medical tape
(4) 4x4" gauze bandages
(1) Triangular bandage
(1) Ace elastic bandage, 3"
(10) Steri-strips, 1/4x1.5"
(2) Tincture of benzoin swabs
(2) Instant Cold Packs

(6) Packets, triple antibiotic ointment
(20) Benadryl tablets
(20) Ibuprofen tablets
(18) Imodium tablets
(15) Aspirin

(4) Plastic vials, 2 dram capacity
(1) Bag, 1 gallon Ziploc freezer-type

The Kit Part II - What can we do with these supplies?
Here is a brief explanation of each group of items and what it might one day do for you.

Personal protection - These items are there to help keep you, the rescuer from getting a disease or worse from someone you are trying to help.
Gloves are a good precaution whenever bodily fluids (blood, vomit, etc) must be handled. The more expensive Nitrile gloves are better, as some people are allergic to latex. They are also more sturdy.
A CPR shield is a must-have if you ever expect to perform CPR or rescue breathing - it could mean the difference between helping someone without hesitation and not being willing to risk it. Don't spend a lot of money here, as it's also one of the least-used items and the reusable models can be harder to use without practice.
Hand sanitizer is always useful. Ask any nurse about the importance of washing up. The alcohol-based gel is not as good, but the best you can get when the hot, soapy stuff is unavailable.

Instruments - Being able to dig a splinter out, cut away clothes, or take vital signs, is one heck of a lot easier with some basic tools. EMT shears are inexpensive, heavy-duty scissors that can even cut through a penny. These, along with the other items will find many uses to an imaginative person. The forceps (tweezers) can also be used to get the cotton out of the pill bottles.

- Bandages are used to stop bleeding and protect wounds. An assortment of cloth band-aids can help you deal with minor injuries, while the larger gauze pads and rolls can help with bigger lacerations (cuts) and abrasions. An Ace bandage can be used to treat a sprain, hold a makeshift splint onto a leg, or wrap up a severely bleeding wound that requires pressure. An additional item that might be added is one or more sanitary napkins. Aside from their feminine use, they are excellent for soaking up blood on large injuries.
For major cuts, steri-strips are a way of closing up the skin without needing special equipment and training. Think of these as "band-aids on steroids." They are thin tape strips, 1/4" or so wide and 3-4" long, coated with a super-aggressive adhesive and reinforced with cloth fibers. After thoroughly cleaning a wound (a hole poked in the Ziploc can allow you to squirt clean water deep inside), the steri-strips are applied much like sutures (stitches), across the wound to close the edges up.
Tincture of Benzoin (a sticky disinfectant swabbed on wounds) will make the steri-strips stick better. Properly applied, they will stay on for up to 2 weeks, even with showers. Don't waste your money on butterfly bandages - these are far superior.

Medications - These are inexpensive drugs that can be bought (at least in the U.S.) without a prescription.
Antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin) should be applied to cuts to reduce the chance of infection, particularly in dirty environments.
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine (anti-allergy) medication that can help treat cold and flu symptoms (runny nose, congestion), make allergies less severe, and aid sleep. (Many OTC sleeping pills contain Diphenhydramine.)
In addition, taking Benadryl early could help save your life if you suffer anaphylactic shock (i.e. a severe allergic reaction, such as from a bee sting
Ibuprofen is a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and fever reducer. In a survival situation, being able to carry out important tasks without the pain from a headache or sports injury could be critical, as could reducing a life-threatening fever.
Aspirin is also a pain reliever, and has fever reducing effects, although Aspirin should never be administered to children with fevers, due to the possibility of a life-threatening complication known as Reye's syndrome. Aspirin is also often given at the first signs of a heart attack in many EMS protocols.
Imodium (Loperamide) is the last OTC drug included, and it is used to control diarrhea. Diarrhea can interfere with your ability to perform tasks, but it can also be life threatening if it causes dehydration. A 2-3 day course could be life saving in an emergency.
With any medication, it is important that the full instructions be included in your kit. Make photocopies of the drug labels and warnings, and include with your other documentation. Be sure to write down the drug expiration dates as well.
All of these meds should be good for at least 1 year after purchase, but check first.
Plastic dram vials are good for packaging drugs purchased in bulk. Add a small amount of cotton if you need to protect the pills from being crushed by vibration and shaking. And don't forget to print labels for each bottle.
In addition to the four above, you might want to pack an extra vial for your personal medications.

The Kit Part III - Being a savvy shopper!
Assembling all of this and keeping the price under $20 is difficult unless you buy in bulk.
From our research, we found that Costco had hands-down the best prices on medications. You will need to buy the large, bulk bottles and repackage them.
For bandages and related first-aid supplies, buy quantities mail-order from an EMS or medical company such as Emergency Medical Products.
Many supplies are available locally. Wal-Mart often has 2oz bottles of hand sanitizer for U.S.$0.99. The plastic vials can be purchased in packs of 25 or 100 from several eBay vendors. The razor blades can be had in 100-packs at any hardware store.
Some of the "Big Lots" type discount stores also have first aid supplies. I recently found 2-packs of Ace bandages for U.S.$0.99. But be wary of buying medications at these places, as you may find that they are close to their expiration dates.

Conclusion - Putting it all together
Once you have orders from all of your group members (20-25 kits seems to work out well on quantities for the first order) and you've received your supplies, you'll need to pack them. I've found that the best way to do this is to have each group member come and pack their own kit. This way, everyone will be familiar with the contents and will know where everything is.
The first time you do this, you will probably lose money, owing to the odd quantities that some products must be purchased in, and occasional hidden tax or shipping charges. Think of it as a charity (or charge a bit more than you think you need to up front!)

And remember, the best survival kit is the on you keep inside your head, in the form of training. Go sign up for Red Cross First Aid/CPR training, take a First Responder, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), or EMT class. Read books, or take on-line lessons. There are several excellent, free resources on-line.

Appendix I:
Spreadsheet with kit contents. Includes a worksheet help figure out quantities to order, total cost, etc.
Sample Avery labels (Avery #8257) for pill bottles.


Appendix II:

Optional Items:

Rehydration Mix
If you should come down with severe diarrhea, you can die from dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Stocking some Pedialyte, Gatorade (dilute to 50% with water) or the homemade equivalent could be a life saver. The basic recipe is 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt, 8 teaspoons sugar and 1 liter of water.

SAM Splint (or imitation)
These are very versatile split devices, which consist of thin aluminum on a foam backing. You can bend and use as-is, for splint arms, wrists, legs, etc or cut up with your EMT shears to make finger splints.

N95 HEPA Masks
If you're worried about airborne pathogens, this is a good thing to have. Most hardware stores sell masks with an N95 or higher rating, and small, collapsible masks are available from medical outlets.

Upgraded CPR Mask
The $1, disposable shield will serve, but a better shield, with a one-way valve will make things easier. The CPR Microshield from MDI is good compromise, as it is superior to the thin plastic shield, has a one-way valve, and comes on a keychain.

Keeping the airway clear is critically important when someone has experienced trauma or is severely ill. Commercial suction devices are available, but a cheap, improvised solution is a standard turkey baster. For less than $2, this could be a useful addition to a kit.

Thin Sharpie Marker and paper
Useful for recording vital signs. (You do have a watch, right?) With a Sharpie marker, you can also write the numbers on the patient's hand, so that there is no chance of the paper being lost during transport/evacuation.

Better Packaging
The 1-gallon Ziploc bag was chosen as the least costly option for getting the kit out there. You will probably want to find a better container to package it in if you expect it to last in a vehicle or other harsh environment. The basic kit can fit into a 30 caliber ammo can, a small Pelican box (1300 series or larger) or a soft bag. Harbor Freight offers a low-cost canvas or nylon bag that will neatly hold the kit. Check out items #40727-3VG, item #38167-0VGA, and item #32282-7VGA
If you really want a top-of-the-line, well organized packaging system, look at the compartment cases from L.A. Rescue, Outdoor Research, or Atwater-Carey. A search through most EMS catalogs, or a Google inquiry should turn these up.


Useful Web Sites:

Wilderness Emergency Medicine Services Institute (WEMSI)
Lots of good materials, including the full text of their training manuals

Where there is No Doctor (Now available on-line)

Free First Aid Guide (From SciVolutions, a medical manufacturer)

Emergency Medical Products
Sells a full line of EMS supplies

Allegro Medical
Generic Medical catalog, offer smaller quantities of similar items

Wilderness Medicine (Great reference, previously recommended here on SurvivalBlog.com)
Paul W. Auerbach
(1,910 pages, hardcover)
ISBN: 0323009506

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
Cody Lundin
(240 pages, soft cover)

As to your post on "Survival Gun Selection" in reference to having spare parts. If you have one or two of the same "tool" and have spare parts, it would be best to check that the spare parts fit. Make sure they both fit and function. It would be best to do your fitting beforehand whenever possible. Richard, KT Ordnance

JWR Replies: If any of you readers have not yet visited the KT Ordnance web site, then you should.  Richard sells gunsmithing goodies with an interesting angle: He makes 80% finished rifle and pistol receivers, as well as jigs, tools, and instructional DVDs that detail how to complete the receivers. Under the Federal law, these are NOT considered "firearms", and can be completed as semi-autos by private individuals for their personal use WITHOUT completing a Form 4473!  (Consult your state and local laws before ordering.)  OBTW, Richard is currently running a special 10% off of all orders (all 80% complete frames, not just Model 1911s-but excluding jigs), just for SurvivalBlog readers. Check it out!

Note from JWR: Posting all five of the following letters is probably over kill, but I'm doing so to illustrate the power of the collected wisdom represented on this blog!  You folks really know your stuff.

Dear James and all concerned,
I believe that a safer and more efficient way [than the backfeed rig suggested by Monty is] to power a home via generator is to build a cord much the same way as was previously posted, but instead of having a male plug on both ends, ( which is extremely dangerous and also requires more wire to reach the outlet) Simply connect an appropriate breaker. For example I currently run a Thermadyne 10000 watt Welder/Generator which I can set beside my meter panel, open the lid and turn the main breaker ( usually a 200 amp in most new residential homes) off, and then remove the inner cover enabling you to insert your new breaker. Then simply attach your ground wire to your grounding bar, and power up both legs of your panel. Again use common sense and caution. When the generator is running the copper bars in your panel will have plenty of energy to do serious damage to you or anything else that touches them. I like this system (although both will work) because all of your "switches" are right there reducing confusion. Thanks for a great site. - J. , Somewhere in Montana

WARNING: If the local utility company's meter reader sees that you have made provisions to hook your generator directly into the panel WITHOUT AN APPROVED TRANSFER SWITCH, you will quickly find yourself without power from the local electric company and probably cut off from the grid forever and probably the local building department will declare your home unsuitable for occupancy. If you have back fed into the system and some one has been hurt or killed due to your irresponsible actions, you will face civil suit and will probably spent several years in jail for you action. The bottom-line is: spend the $$$ and have a transfer switch installed. - D.O.

[The backfeed rig suggested by Monty is] a bit unsafe and a problem if others in the family do not know the procedure!!! I wired my son's house like this.
1. Mount another panel on your panel board.
2. Select circuits for emergency power. (in his case -12)
3. Mount 4 - gang junction boxes on panel board.
4. Run a wire from each "selected" circuit to the common arm of a 3-way switch mounted
in the junction boxes.
5. One remaining side of each switch goes back to the Main Panel breaker and the other
goes to the Emergency Panel breaker.
6. Start the genny and then go to the 3 - way switches and flip each one.

I priced this method against a 100 amp transfer switch and this was much cheaper.
Hope this will be of interest to someone. - South Jersey boy


Be advised that this scheme [the backfeed rig suggested by Monty is] is illegal many places, the electrical code does not allow it, and, at least in my area, valid reason for the power company to discontinue your service - permanently. The reasons being, it is too easy to forget something. It's dangerous for you and people in your house, as you'll have live bare lugs sticking out of the male plug, which are easy to touch. It's dangerous for the generator, when the power is restored. And it's dangerous for the linemen and your neighbors, who may be counting on those downed power lines being DEAD. Electrocute a lineman, and you will be visited by several of his large, muscular, and very irate workmates. You will not come out the winner in this encounter,
I assure you. - Irv

I have installed several relatively inexpensive transfer switches made by Reliance Controls http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ The most recent was a 100 amp unit in outdoor enclosure that cost me only $149. They have several configurations; one I used was two interlocked 100 amp breakers and a COPPER buss rather than the less expensive but poorer choice aluminum. They are also available with different sized breakers, such as 150 amp normal and 30 amp generator, reducing cost. I strongly suggest that something like this be considered to reduce the risks associated with the backfeed scheme! - M.G.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

If you enjoy reading this blog and you have have your own web site, then please establish a link to our site. Doing so will help promote the blog--both directly and by raising it in search engine rankings.  (The search engines give the greatest ranking weight to sites that are heavily cross-linked by other sites.) We will be happy to reciprocate, at our Links page. Thanks!

When doing some recent web research, I ran across three very interesting commentaries posted by the fine folks at at Gold-Eagle.com.
The first was by Peter Degraaf.  See: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_05/degraaf010806.html

The second was by Emanuel Balarie on The Real Estate Bubble. See: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_05/balarie011006.html

The third was by Kevin DeMeritt, the president of Lear Financial, titled: "Greater Fools, Stocks, Real Estate and Gold."See: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_05/demeritt010906.html

Have been reading your Blog on Dome Homes. Was wondering if you have considered/ reviewed Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). They appear to have several uses, good thermal factor, ballistic protection, and they look fairly do it yourself. See:  http://www.polysteel.com. Can you comment on these? - B.V.

JWR Replies:  ICF is an excellent construction method.  ICF houses are very well insulated and offer above average ballistic protection.  There are several competing makers, of whom PolySteel is the best known.  See the Survival Blog Archives for previous discussions on this topic.  

I am a newbie to your blog, also to blogs in general. Awesome job!!!
You can power your home with a generator easily and Safely as follows: If your home has a electric dryer and your generator output is less than 30 amps (i.e. Coleman 5000 Watts = 20 amps) Kill your main inbound voltage, main breaker/ disconnect et cetera.Use a male twist lock NEMA plug that fits the outlet from the generator, use appropriate cable (10/3 S.O. cord) size it to the amperage output of the generator (10 AWG  / 30 amps) for short lengths. Use a male dryer plug. You are backfeeding the house panel this way. Control the outlets needing power with the breaker panel. i.e. kitchen refrigerator, removing all the sucker loads i.e.VCR, DVD player et cetera. If utility power is restored nothing will be harmed, (generator or linemen working in the area), because you are disconnected by the main breaker or disconnect. Cost is less than $75.00 Larger amperages would use the electric stove outlet--they are good for 50 amps. Securing the generator is another story.  - Monty

JWR Adds: Use extreme caution when using this method. (It is indeed a sound method for use in an emergency, but it is not a proper substitute for a proper transfer breaker panel  It requires thought before action.) When the grid comes back up: Remember to shut down the generator first, then unplug your back feed rig, and finally switch back to utility power. Keep in mind that the backfeed rig has exposed (male) prongs that are energized ("hot"), so the rig should be completely disconnected from your generator when you run it for any other purpose.

I am no tire expert, but I always have a tire repair kit on hand with self vulcanizing plugs. I have put these in my radial tires and driven thousands of miles with them. They work with any tubeless tire (even small tractors, etc) and I have never had one fail on me yet. They work for punctures such as nails, thorns, etc. For tears or rips it's either a new tire or a larger internal patch. These plugs will work on the side wall too, but tend to fail after a while. It is better to replace that tire but they can be used in a pinch.

There are three parts to the kit.
  1. A tool to debride the "injury"
  2. a tool to insert the plug
  3. The plug itself.

All you do is find the hole by inflating and running soapy water around the tire until bubbles appear around the injury. Remove the object that caused the hole if it is still there, noting the direction of entry. Then insert the debriding tool into the injury and push it in and out to clean the wound and remove any debris. Once that is done you load the plug into the insertion tool, push it into the opening until only about 1/2 inch or so remains and then twist the tool about 1/2 turn and slowly remove the tool. Cut off any excess patch protruding, then inflate the tire and use it as normal. As I said, I have used tires repaired in this manner for thousands of miles with no trouble at all. I have not noticed any balance issues afterwards either so that does no appear to be a big issue.
(This one is a bit pricey but the only image I could find right away. I got mine at the local auto supply place for something like $10-to-$15.) Regards, - Tim P.

Good Evening James,
I have been overwhelmed as of late with all of the valuable reads you and the following have provided. It must make you smile when you sit back and track the progress since August! On Tire Repair: I have been faced with several "less than desirable" locations to have a tire come off of a Garden Tractor, Skid Loader, One Ton Truck, or ATV or even your wheel barrel. If you are wanting to polish up on, or obtain the tricks of the trade in DIY tire repair, hang around a farm coop, or off road tire repair service. I have learned a few tricks, please understand dealing with tires can be very dangerous. Give them the maintenance they deserve!   If your tire becomes flat, or comes partially off the rim, (notorious with wheel type loaders/tractors), do your best to get the weight off of the tire with your jack, or build a ramp of some sort. Getting the tire "unstressed" ASAP will aid in the down time of your repair. The memory of the mold will soon kick in and as long as you have not driven a country mile with it flat, should result in quick repair.
Once past the problem of getting the tire back on the rim, you come to the obstacle of getting the tire to seal on the bead, or rim. If at all possible, clean the inside of the rim with rags, or even your clothing. Without a clean surface to seal to, your efforts and resources will triple in getting satisfactory results.
Now you have to weigh the available resources in attacking your repair. One would hope that an air compressor is available. If not, I hope that you have a can or three of Fix-a-Flat type repair. The small compressor and cigarette adaptor recently spoke of should be a staple in your trunk.
[JWR Adds:  I prefer the slightly larger ones, that come with a two gallon tank.] The problem is that most compressors do not deliver enough CFM to expand the tire onto the rim. There are three options hat I am aware of.
1). Have a modified "air pig" with a oversize outlet tube, (i.e.- 1" or larger with a flat oblong end). Fill the tank up to as high as safe and flip the ball valve thus expending the contents of the tank in the matter of a split second. This, carefully aimed at the edge of the rim and tire will result in a freshly sealed/beaded tire.
2). Second option is to gather ratchet strap type ratchets and surround the tire making sure that the strap is in the same spot on the tire all the way around and is not twisted. Cinch up the slack and apply several "power strokes" to the ratchet to squish the tire to the bead/rim. Once done, proceed with filling it with air. Remember that once air is trapped and bead is sealed, release the straps. Skid Loader and Tractor Tires are very very tough. I have found that twin 2" 10,000# tie down straps work best. They are supple and very strong. It takes one at each edge of the tire directly in line with the rim. The goal is not to smash the tire, it is to squish the tire--not making the surface convex, if possible.
[An unsafe method mentioned here was deleted, for liability reasons.]
I just had a flat on my ATV. It needed a bottle of Slime to get me back in business. However, Slime is useless if you do not have the valve stem removal tool that comes with it. Get a few spares, put them in the tool box! - The Wanderer

JWR Adds:  Readers should use extreme caution when working with split-rim type wheels! Do some web research first. Ignorance is a killer around high pressure.

I am thankful you started the Survival Blog in August of 2005. I firmly believe we must support those who educate and advocate what is correct and true.  People purchase newspapers and magazines, donate to others asking for different organizations on the side of the road. We give. I would like to appeal to all of the other readers out there. Please be honest with yourselves. If you come to this site at least once a month, and find the material of interest, motivational, compelling, as well as a resource full of other sites to cross-reference to, if this site has enriched your present/future plan, please join us and keep this in mind: Today we stand, we watch, we pray. It takes action to make things happen. Notice all the words used in the first sentence requires action. Please join in and help with the daily 10 cent pledge. I thank you and pray that all those who read SurvivalBlog will step up to the plate and contribute so they can also stand united in principle and ethics (sincere - truth- accountable - forthright.)  - E. & L. Guerra, Warriors for the Truth

JWR Replies:  Thanks for you kind letter. We've now had 48 readers send 10 Cent Challenge donations.  You folks know who you are.  All that I can say is MANY THANKS!

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." - Ayn Rand

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Please continue to spread the word about SurvivalBlog. God willing, it will get people motivated. Every neighbor that is prepared logistically will be one less individual begging at your door, come TEOTWAWKI+1.

In my survivalist novel "Patriots", I included lots of descriptions of firearms used in various situations in order to illustrate that there is no single "perfect survival gun." Different situations are best handled by using different firearms. There are several requirements that must be considered in selecting guns for use on a farm, ranch, or survival retreat. First, and foremost, they must be versatile. A single gun might be pressed into service for shooting crows or starlings at 10 yards, rabbits or coyotes at 100 yards, or rattlesnakes at five feet. While there is no single gun that can handle any task, it is important to select guns with at least some degree of  versatility. Further, it is not realistic to believe that you can get by  with just one gun, or even just one rifle, one pistol, and one shotgun. Versatility has its limits. Like a carpenter's box of tools, each type of gun has its special place and purpose.

The second major consideration for survival guns is that they be robust  and reliable enough to put up with constant carry and regular use. Good designs not prone to mechanical failures are a plus. When an infrequent   repair must be made, a small stock of spare parts that do not require special gunsmithing to install must suffice. When the nearest gunsmith is  a two hour drive away, you have to depend on your own resources. And needless to say, who knows which replacement parts will be available when things get Schumeresque? Since they are carried quite frequently and in all sorts of weather, farm/ranch/survival guns need to have durable finishes. Stainless steel is by far the best choice for most situations. Unfortunately, however, not all guns are available in stainless steel. For guns that only made with a blued finish, there are several alternative finishes available. These include Parkerizing (the military standard gray or black phosphate finish commonly seen on M16 and AR-15 rifles), and various other factory finishes  with trade names such as "Coltalloy" or "Armour Alloy." In addition to gun factory finishes, a wide range of exotic materials such as Teflon and Zylan are now frequently used as "after-market" gun finishes. The Robar Company uses a nickel/Teflon composite. My personal favorite of the exotic finishes is called METACOL (METAl COLor), which is offered in a wide variety of colors by Arizona Response Systems
(http://www.arizonaresponsesystems.com) Exotic material finishes offer rust protection that is exceeded only by stainless steel and are quite durable. For those that dislike the highly reflective surface of stainless steel, it too can be coated with one of the exotic materials such as green Teflon with a matte texture.

Because trips to town to procure ammunition might be infrequent (or impossible in a severe survival scenario), and reloading will likely be the norm for those seeking self-sufficiency, it is desirable to limit the number of different cartridges that you stock. Having ten different guns chambered in ten different cartridges would only serve to complicate logistics. Further, it is best to select only guns chambered for commonly-available cartridges. Small country stores stock ammo like .22 Long Rifle, .308 Winchester, .30-'06, or 12 gauge, but probably not .264 Winchester magnum, .300 Weatherby, or 28 gauge.

Small Game

There are several categories of firearms that belong in the gun racks of nearly every farm or ranch. The first, and most frequently used variety are small game/pest shooting guns. These guns are used to hunt small game for the pot (squirrels, rabbits, etc.), to shoot garden pests (crows, starlings, gophers, etc.), and marauding predators (coyotes, foxes, weasels, ferrets, etc.) They also end up being the guns most frequently used to slaughter livestock. Good cartridges for small game/pest shooting include .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR), and .223 Remington. The most common shotshells for this use are .410, 20 gauge, and 12 gauge. The .22 LR will suffice for everything up to the size of rabbits at conservative distances. It is inexpensive to shoot, quiet, and has hardly any felt recoil. The .223 Remington (virtually identical to and in most cases interchangeable with the 5.56mm NATO cartridge used by the military) is a good cartridge for shooting perched birds that would be out of range for a .22 rimfire, or for shooting feral dogs, feral cats, or coyotes. Experience has shown that both handguns and long guns are needed for small game/pest shooting. A long gun would of course be the ideal choice in most circumstances, due to their inherently higher velocity and longer sighting radius (and hence greater accuracy). There are times, however, when it is not practical to carry a long gun. When mending fences, feeding livestock, hauling wood, riding a tractor, or doing most gardening work, it is usually not practical to carry a long gun. On farms and ranches, long guns tend to be left behind inside buildings, or in vehicle gun racks. They are only rarely carried when doing chores or just walking down to the mailbox at the county road. This is where handguns come in.

Rimfire Handguns

A good quality .22 rimfire pistol may be one of the most useful handguns in your battery. They are used for dispatching those "uncatchable" chickens for the stew pot, for shooting small game/pests, and for inexpensively maintaining marksmanship skills for those more powerful (and more expensive to shoot) handguns. My wife and I use a stainless steel Ruger Mark II with a 5-1/2-inch bull barrel and Pachmayr grips. The Ruger is also offered in 6-7/8-inch and 10-5/8-inch barrel lengths. But we find that the 5-1/2-inch barrel is a handy length for holster carry. Another well-made stainless steel .22 autopistol is the Smith and Wesson Model 622. It is available with a 4-1/2 inch or 6-inch barrel. If you prefer a revolver, the stainless steel Smith and Wesson Model 617 is a good option. It is available in a 4-inch, 6-inch, or 8-3/8-inch barrel length.

Rifles chambered in .22 LR are often used guns on farms and ranches. They are useful for pest shooting, small game hunting, and target practice. Reliable, American-made semi-auto .22s include the Ruger Model 10/.22 (also available in stainless), the Marlin 70-P "Papoose", the Remington Speedmaster Model 552, and the discontinued Remington Nylon 66. If a bolt action is your preference, either the Kimber Model 82 or the Ruger 77/.22 are good choices. Two good quality lever action .22s are the Marlin 39TDS and the Winchester 9422. Regardless of which brand of .22 rifle you buy, you should consider mounting it with a telescopic sight. Because of its low energy, proper placement of a .22 rimfire bullet can mean the difference between crippling and cleanly killing small game. Mounting a scope will in most instances give you the ability to not just hit an animal's center of mass, but rather hit a precise aiming point, such as its head or neck. If you do decide to mount a scope, use a full size (1-inch diameter) scope rather than one the inexpensive 3/4-inch diameter scopes made specifically for air rifles and .22s. Inexpensive scopes generally have a poor field of view, considerable parallax distortion, and are not as ruggedly made as the full-size rifle scopes. For training youngsters, I recommend the diminutive Chipmunk .22 LR single shot bolt action, with a 16" barrel.

Centerfire Handguns

If you are seeking a particularly versatile handgun, you might consider the Thompson/Center T/C Contender. This single shot pistol uses readily-changeable barrels in a wide range of chamberings. The Contender is available in both blued and stainless steel. It was also formerly offered in a proprietary alloy finish called "Armour Alloy II". Some of the most useful of the 20-plus chamberings are .22 LR, .223 Remington, and the .45 Colt/.410 shotgun barrel.

The handguns in our battery that we traditionally carried the most was our pair of Smith and Wesson Model 686 .357 magnum revolvers. Both were black Teflon coated (a short-lived S&W factory variant dubbed "Midnight Black"), with 6-inch barrels and equipped with Pachmayr Signature grips, and red ramp/white outline adjustable sights. The six inch barrel length is a compromise between ease of carry and accuracy/velocity. While an 8-3/8-inch barrel would provide better accuracy and velocity, without using a shoulder holster, a gun with this barrel length is not comfortable to carry. We typically carried those revolvers in inexpensive black nylon Michaels of Oregon ("Uncle Mike's" brand) black nylon hip holster rigs, each with pouches for four spare Safariland speed loaders. Our habit was to have two speed loaders loaded with .357 magnum 125-grain half-jacketed hollow  points, one with CCI #9 birdshot "snake" loads, and one with .38 Special tracers (for shooting in low-light conditions). These revolvers accounted for numerous snakes, rabbits, and even a couple of coyotes, not because they were the best guns for the job, but rather because they were the guns we habitually carried and thus they were available when needed. These guns also pack a punch, so they allayed our fears of dangerous predators, whether of the two-legged or four-legged variety. In addition to the Smith and Wesson, good quality stainless steel double action .357 revolvers are made by Colt (the King Cobra and Python) and Ruger (the GP-100).

We now carry Colt Stainless Steel Gold Cup (Model 1911 pattern) .45 ACPs with Pachmayr grips, extended slide releases, and Trijicon tritium-lit sights. One thing that we missed about the .357s was their ability to fire bird shot cartridges, but Remington makes a .45 shot cartridge that functions fairly well in a .45 auto. When we moved to bear country, we sold off the 686s and standardized with the .45 automatics. We wanted to be able to put a lot of rounds into a bear in a hurry, and .45 autos are far faster to reload than revolvers--at least under stress, in our experience. Granted, the chances of surviving a bear attack are slim, but we feel that we have a better chance with the Gold Cups. At least when they find all the ejected brass around our mangled corpses, they can say that we put up a good fight. ;-)

Speaking of bears, for homesteaders living in brown bear or grizzly bear country, a more powerful handgun than even the .45 ACP is often recommended. A stainless steel Smith and Wesson Model 629 (6-inch) .44 magnum, or Ruger Redhawk (5-1/2-inch) .44 magnum, or perhaps the Colt Anaconda (6-inch) .44 magnum would be good choices. If you would rather carry an automatic, the LAR Grizzly (.45 Automatic magnum), Wildey (.45 Automatic magnum), Desert Eagle (.44 magnum), or the long discontinued Auto Mag (.44 Auto Mag) would also serve the same purpose, although all of these guns are relatively expensive and heavy to to carry.

A lightweight rifle chambered in .223 Remington is particularly useful for shooting both perched birds and predators. Remington, Ruger, and Sako all make good quality .223 bolt actions. Selecting one is largely a matter of personal preference. We use our .223s on coyotes, which currently abound in great numbers in the Western U.S., and are a constant source of trouble in our area. They have a penchant for devouring ducks, chickens, pet cats, and newborn lambs. We use three different guns on the uncommon occasions when we have a chance to snipe at coyotes. These guns include a Remington Model 7 bolt action chambered in .223 Remington, a Colt CAR-15 "M4gery", and a scoped L1A1 semi-auto chambered in .308 Winchester (virtually identical to and in most cases interchangeable with the 7.62 mm NATO cartridge used by the military). a .308 bolt action is used when we spot a coyote at beyond 300 yards. With the Remington Model 7 available, the CAR-15 is largely superfluous. But we like its easy handling, and the fact that we can get off a quick second shot when shooting at running rabbits or coyotes.

Combination Guns
The next category of guns are combination or "garden guns." These range from expensive imported rifle/shotguns to inexpensive combination guns made domestically. The European three barrel combination guns or "dreilings" (often anglicized to "drillings") can easily cost $2,000 or more. Guns typical of this breed are the Colt/Sauer drillings, Krieghoff drillings, and the Valmet over/unders. They typically feature a high-power rifle barrel mounted beneath side-by-side 12 gauge shotgun barrels. Domestically produced two-barrel combination guns, while not as aesthetically pleasing. cost far less than European drillings. These guns offer the ability to fire a single shotgun shell or rifle cartridge, with the flick of a switch. They are by far the best gun to have at hand when out doing garden work. They give you the versatility to eliminate a pesky gopher or marauding birds, whether they are perching or in flight. One of the best of the inexpensive combination guns now on the market is the Savage Model 24F with a Rynite fiberglass stock. This gun is currently available in .223 Remington over 12 gauge, or .223 Remington over 20 gauge. Screw-in choke tubes for the shotgun barrels are now standard. Both models are also available with traditional wood stocks. In the past, Savage Model 24-series guns were made in a wide range of chamberings such as .22 LR over .410, .22 LR over 20 gauge, .22 Magnum over .410 gauge, and .357 magnum over 20 gauge. All of these now-discontinued guns featured wooden stocks. They can often be found used at gun shows or in gun shops at modest prices. Due to their versatility, they are well worth looking for. Because most of the Savage 24-series guns come with a blued finish, it is recommended that they be upgraded with a more durable finish such as Teflon or Parkerizing.

Long Range Rifles

Big game hunting/counter-sniping rifles are the next group of guns to be considered. The selection of a big game rifle depends on the variety of game to be hunted. In the lower 48 states, a bolt action rifle chambered in .308 Winchester or .30-'06 will normally handle most big game. Regional differences will determine exactly what you need. For example, in the plains and desert states, you might need a scoped rifled chambered in a flat-shooting cartridge such as .270 Winchester or .25-'06. No matter which chambering you select, it is important that you buy a well-made rifle with a robust action. Remington, Ruger, and Winchester among others all make guns with these qualities. After you buy the rifle itself, you will probably want to have a more durable finish applied to its metal surfaces. You might also want to mount a telescopic sight if you will be hunting in open country. If you'll be hunting in brushy or densely-wooded terrain, you could find a scope is more of a hindrance than a help. It is important to note that scopes are more prone to failure than any other part of a rifle. Therefore, it is wise to select a rifle with good quality iron sights, whether or not you intend to mount a scope. If and when a scope should fail, you will have the recourse of removing the scope and reverting to iron sights. The need for a cartridge more powerful than .30-'06 is normally a consideration only in Alaska or parts of Canada where moose and grizzly  bear are found. Several powerful cartridges are currently popular. These include the .35 Whelen, the .338 Winchester, and the .375 H & H Magnum. For our type of big-game hunting (normally deer, but nothing bigger than elk), my wife and I selected a pair of Winchester Model 70s. One is chambered in .308 Winchester, and the other in .30-06. The .30-06 is in a  H-S Precision Kevlar-Graphite stock with integral aluminum bedding block. The .308 is in a Brown Precision green fiberglass stock, and was converted by MCS to take standard detachable M14 magazines. (Which are available in 5, 10, and 20 round capacity) This gives it interchangeability with magazines for M1As. They were both given a green Teflon finish and topped with Trijicon 4-power matte finish scopes. Because either rifle might also be used tactically, we had their muzzles threaded for flash hiders (1/2" x 28 thread--the same as that used on the M16) by Holland's of Oregon, and had Holland slim line muzzle brakes installed. We decided to get the muzzle brakes because they don't draw as much attention (in these politically correct days) as a flash hider. However, if we get into some deep drama, we can quickly switch to flash hiders.

The next gun categories to consider are upland game and waterfowl shotguns. If you will have the opportunity to hunt upland game or waterfowl on your property or somewhere nearby, you will of course want to include one or more good bird-hunting shotguns in your battery. As you will likely be carrying your shotgun more often than the average city dweller, a durable finish is desirable. Remington's "Special Purpose" versions of their Model 870, Model 11-87, and Model 1100 fit this bill nicely. They come from the factory with a non-glare stock finish and a dull gray Parkerized finish on all their surfaces. Several makers produce (or produced) Parkerized-finish pumps and autos comparable to the Remington Special Purpose series. One such is the Winchester Model 1300 Waterfowler. Like most other currently produced domestic shotguns, the Remington Special Purpose guns come with screw-in choke tubes as standard equipment. A 26-inch barrel length is best suited to upland game hunting, while a 28-inch or 30-inch barrel is normally recommended for pass shooting at ducks and geese. Because odd gauge shells might be difficult to obtain in rural areas or regardless of where you live in times of turmoil , it is best to buy either a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun. Also, given the trend towards steel shot, a 3-inch length chamber is recommended. The longer chamber allows the use of magnum loads, which are needed to give the less dense steel shot the same killing power as traditional lead shot loadings. In addition, screw-in choke tubes are advisable. As steel shot wears out chokes quickly, replaceable choke tubes can greatly increase the usable life of a gun. Because my wife is of small stature, (5' 2", 100 pounds) she prefers to do her bird hunting with a 20 gauge shotgun. She uses a Remington Model 1100 "Youth" model. Winchester makes a similar small-dimension variant of their Model 870. Because screw-in choke tubes were not available at the time that this gun was purchased, it was retrofitted with a Poly-choke adjustable choke. To make the gun less vulnerable to the ravages of wet weather, it will soon be shipped off to be black Teflon coated. With an extension magazine and a spare short (20") barrel, our birdguns can double as self-defense guns.

One gun that deserves special mention is the .410 gauge "Snake Charmer II" single shot shotgun, made by Sport Arms, Mfg. This lightweight little gun just barely meets the Federal size minimums (18-inch barrel and 28-1/2 inches overall length). It is constructed of stainless steel and has a synthetic stock with a compartment that holds spare shotshells. Because it is compact and lightweight, our Snake Charmer gets taken along on walks where heavier, bulkier long guns would usually be left behind. This gun has been used to kill several rattlesnakes and a good number of quail.

Retreat Defense
Self-defense guns are the final category to be considered for farms, ranches, and survival retreats. Just as homesteaders in the 19th century had to depend on themselves for the protection of their lives and property, many modern homesteaders are finding that they must do likewise. Post-TEOTWAWKI, we all may be "on our own"--with no law enforcement to call on. (Or any way to call them, even if they are still available.) Even in the present day, rural farms and ranches are often a long driving distance from the nearest sheriff's office. Even in relatively peaceful times, a lot can happen before help arrives, so it makes sense to be prepared. If you expect bad economic times or other sources of social unrest, you should make a concerted to stock up on defensive guns, plenty of ammunition, lots of spare magazines, and a good selection of spare parts. Again, the assumption that law enforcement officials will be able to assist you also depends on being able to contact them. Encounters with poachers, escaped convicts or other assorted riff-raff might not necessarily take place in the immediate vicinity of your home or vehicle where you would presumably have access to a telephone or CB radio. If you are walking a fence line at the far end of an 80-acre parcel and run into trouble, the only law enforcement assistance available might be the handgun on your hip. Be prepared. At our farm, we have a variety of guns whose main job is defense, but that are also used for other purposes. As previously noted, our L1A1s double as a long-range coyote eliminators. Our large frame handguns are primarily self-defense guns, but also usable for hunting and shooting pests. As I noted previously, we have begun carrying .45 automatics instead of .357s.

If you like the ballistics of the .45 ACP but prefer the action of a revolver, you might consider purchasing a Smith and Wesson Model 625 revolver. This is a stainless steel revolver built on the "N" frame--the same heavy frame used for the Smith and Wesson .44 magnums. The Model 625 uses "full moon" spring steel clips to hold six rounds of .45 ACP. Unlike most speed loaders, with the full moon clips, there is no knob to twist, or any mechanism that could potentially fail. You just drop the whole works into the cylinder. This makes them just as fast, if not faster, than any speed-loader. The Model 625 is offered in 3-inch, 4-inch, and 5-inch barrel lengths--the latter one of which is just about ideal. Because the .45 ACP has the same bore diameter as the .45 Colt cartridge, a spare cylinder and crane assembly can be fabricated for this more potent cartridge. This combination would make a particularly versatile handgun. One shop that specializes in this work is Miniature Machine Co. of Forth Worth, Texas. (See: Gunsmithing Service and Parts Providers, below)

Shotguns are also well-suited to defensive work. A spare short "riotgun" barrel for a pump or automatic shotgun can make it double as a formidable home defense weapon. For our Remington 870 12 gauge, for example, we have a 20-inch length barrel that is equipped with rifle (slug) sights, and the choke tube that we keep in it is cylinder bore (no choke). It is ideal for shooting rifled slugs or buckshot. With the short barrel and a Choate eight-round extension magazine, the Remington 870 is a particularly handy gun to use at night for shooting feral dogs and cats or other animals that are attracted to our barn full of rabbits and chickens. It is also a reassuring gun to have around for home defense. The short riotgun barrel stays on our Remington most of each year, while the long "bird" barrels are normally mounted only during the quail and pheasant seasons.

The "Battery "
Just how many guns will you need? If you are on a budget, you might get by with a good quality bolt action rifle chambered in .308 or .30-06, a 12-gauge pump shotgun with a spare riotgun barrel, a .22 LR rifle, and a .45 automatic pistol. However, in order to have the versatility required for the many shooting tasks at most farms and ranches you will likely need at least twice this many guns. For a more complete discussion of guns suitable to a self-sufficient and self-reliant lifestyle, the late Mel Tappan's book Survival Guns (The Janus Press, Rogue River, Oregon) is generally recognized as the best general reference in print. And for a more complete discussion of guns suitable for self-defense, I highly recommend the book Boston's Gun Bible.

A battery of guns for use at your farm or ranch should be considered a necessity, just like buying a Hi-Lift jack or a chain saw. Purchases should be made systematically and dispassionately. Like buying any other tool, you shouldn't skimp on quality. A well-made gun can deliver years or even generations of reliable service.

One final note: You can buy the best guns in the world, but unless you practice with them often, you are not prepared. Getting training at a firearms school like Front Sight is money well spent!


Gunsmithing Service and Parts Providers:

The following is a partial listing of suppliers and services. Many gunsmiths offer Parkerizing. You might be able to locate a local shop to provide this service, and thus eliminate the expense and delay of shipping a gun via common carrier.

METACOL Finishes:
Arizona Response Systems (T. Mark Graham)
16014 West Remuda Drive
Surprise, AZ 85387
phone 623-556-8056 (by appointment only!)


Nickel/Teflon ("NP3") Coating:
The Robar Companies Inc.
21438 7th Ave., Suite B
Phoenix, Ariz. 85027
(602) 581-2648/2962


.45 Colt cylinders for .45 ACP S&W Revolvers:
Miniature Machine Co.
606 Grace Avenue
Ft. Worth, Texas 76111


Kevlar-Graphite Stocks:
H-S Precision, Inc.
1301 Turbine Drive
Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
(605) 341-3006


Winchester and Remington Bolt action rifle detachable M14 magazine conversions:
Moe's Competitor Supplies
34 Delmar Drive
Brookfield, Conn. 06804
(203) 775-1013

"The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws."
- Cornelius Tacitus, 55-117 AD, Roman historian

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Please send your entries for Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest soon!  The writer of the best article will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries is the last day of January.

I was recently doing some relocation research for a consulting client, and I came across a pretty amazing 960 acre ranch in the south-east corner of Montana.  It looked quite promising, but unfortunately it is down-wind of Yellowstone (with a remote chance of becoming a super caldera) downwind of Montana's missile fields, and just a bit up wind of South Dakota's missile fields.  The client decided to pass on this one--given its locale, and his personal TEOTWAWKI scenario. Thus, it put me at liberty to mention it here in SurvivalBlog. If you are not concerned about a full scale tit-for-tat ground-pounding nuclear exchange with the Russians, then read on. Picture this: Carter County, Montana: 5,500 square miles and only about 1,200 residents, about 1/3 of whom live up in the county seat of Ekalaka, at the north end of the county. The main source of livelihood is beef cattle ranching, plus a few "stripper" oil wells. Great hunting. (The county is known for its elk, wild turkey, antelope, whitetail deer, and mule deer hunting.) The ranch is about 30 miles north of Devil's Tower National Monument. Here is the description from the realtor's web site: Very scenic ranch with pine covered hills, grassy meadows, hardwood treed draws to rolling grass covered plains. Plenty of water, many of the draws have springs and pools of water, a 130 ft. deep well with a windmill and one very big spring fed reservoir. Cows do not have to walk over 3/4 mile to water. The house is supplied water by a 22' deep hand dug well. Bass were planted in the reservoir about 6 to 7 years ago and never fished. Very good deer and turkey hunting as the ranch hasn't been hunted for years. House is older but very comfortable and is in a very scenic area of the ranch. Access is a county road that is graveled to within 3 miles of the road. The property is a little remote but very peaceful and pretty. Has power and phones. All in all a very easy to maintain ranch. At just 960 acres, this is considered a small ranch, for this region  (Because of the scant precipitation, the grazing only supports 35 cow-calf pairs.) It is three miles to the nearest hamlet (Ridge), and a bit further to the nearest post office (at Boyes). It is 27 miles to any decent shopping,. (In Broadus.)  The ranch presently has just a one bedroom house, but it is probably big enough to live in while you'd build a new house. The asking price for the 960 acres with house is $550,000, with a possible owner contract. I anticipate that you could carve off two or three 120 acre parcels and keep the rest for yourself, free and clear. There are shopping/tax advantages of being in close proximity to four different states.  Hmmm....  See: http://www.montana-ranches.com/hurleyranch.htm  Disclaimer:  I have no financial interest in this listing.  It just looked neat, so I'm passing it along.

Mr. Rawles,
I really enjoy and appreciate the articles on your website which include information not otherwise available and which are very helpful in my efforts to develop a self sufficient rural life style that will survive the coming earth changes, and weather and financial disasters that may engulf the economy over the next few years.

I recently contracted for and occupied a 40 foot diameter geodesic dome home with an all concrete shell. My wife and I have lived in it for two years and we love it. These homes can be beautiful, strong and very functional. My home kit came on a flatbed semi trailer in the form of pre-cast concrete triangular panels with six inches of styrofoam insulation glued on each panel. The company offered a list of contractors who would erect the shell and do the interior framing with the idea that local contractors could provide the excavation, concrete basement, plumbing, electrical, carpeting, drywall and other services with numerous opportunities for do it yourself work to cut costs. We purchased conventional Kraftmaid kitchen components from Home Depot. We have a full basement with a two car garage and a family room with a wood stove, a living room, kitchen, dining room and two bedrooms on the main level, an office and master bedroom on the upper level and a cupola on the very top of the dome with sliding windows on all five sides. It could be a bedroom, office, playroom or whatever is needed.

I was looking at your January 6, 2006 comments on dome homes and later comments and am offering the following for your consideration.
You made the comment that there is a risk of low resale value of these homes. This risk may be valid on the "economy" dome homes with inadequate windows and dark interiors but this statement may not be valid on the nicer upper scale dome homes. Very few of the nicer dome homes have ever sold to establish the market value of these units. After a few more hurricanes and tornados destroy everything in the area except the concrete dome homes, perhaps more will be built and sold to better establish the market value of these units.
The comments about the difficulty of constructing the wooden roofs do not apply to the concrete shell domes of the type that I have. The most labor intensive part of the construction was the drywall work which involved cutting and fitting the drywall for the interior partitions to fit all of the angles where the walls attach to the styrofoam that is glued to the inside of the shell panels. This cost was more than offset by the no extra cost of the roof which was included in the cost of the shell. If it is sealed properly and painted, there will be never be any additional roofing expenses except for an occasional repainting of the entire exterior which will include the roof. You discussed four types of dome homes. There is another type which is the erection of pre-cast concrete panels made at the factory where the reinforced concrete is on the outside for added strength and rigidity. Steel mesh extends several inches beyond each side of the panels and after the panels are in place, concrete is placed in the voids between the panels and when this concrete hardens, the structure is as solid as a rock. Under this system, a continuous pour is not needed just like Hoover Dam. Interior wood framing supports the panels until the concrete is cured and then these supports are removed and used for the interior framing.

We were surprised and impressed by the relatively uniform temperatures between the main and upper levels. I formerly lived in a tri-level conventional home in Florida where the lower level was always several degrees colder than the upper levels to the extent that a comfortable temperature in the upper levels resulted in discomfort in the ground level under the bedrooms. This problem is nonexistent on a well insulated dome home. The wood stove in the basement could heat the whole house using the stairway as the heating duct or the door at the top of the basement stairs can be closed to keep the basement warm.

See:  http://www.donnadreamland.citymax.com/page/page/905874.htm for some pictures of the exterior and interior of our home in Northwest Arkansas. It is in a new rural community consisting of 3 acre home sites surrounded by 300 acres of pasture and woods. This land is owned by a person interested in selling off 3 acre home sites for self sufficient living in a rural environment off of the main roads but with access to U.S. 412 which goes to Springdale and Fayetteville, the nearest large cities. The pictures also show the beauty of the area. The water from the wells is excellent. The website also includes a link to the manufacturer of the dome kits. A remote area at the rear of the site does not have electricity yet and would be ideal for anyone interested in living off the grid. A survival group could even establish their own community in that area if they so desired with or without electricity. There is only one entrance to the entire 300 acres much of which is on rolling hills with the pasture in the valley and the woods and home sites on the slopes.  - Steve Fennel (e-mail: sfennel@direcway.com )

I may have something to add concerning Washington's [retreat potential] ranking. I just left there last year and my experience has shown it have not only the Cali- syndrome but a lot of [liberal out-of-staters that have moved there are] are "Washingtonians In Name Only" (WINOs.) For married folks who have a relationship that is faltering, it is not good to be a man in Washington right now. The recent Brame shooting has given a wonderful opportunity for immature, greedy spouses to dump their hubbies into the prison system on trumped up domestic violence charges. Finding conventional work and being able to afford a place to live has definitely gone south with higher rent eating up most of a persons wages. Forget land in the Pugetopolis area (Olympia-Everett). I had a Veteran's Administration (VA) [home loan qualification] certification that I couldn't use because everything was twice again higher than what it was good for. Also land use legislation that was passed in the last year has restricted what you can build on your property now. You have to have permission to build on your own land. Further, if you want to build an alternative house such as an Earthship or other "scrap house" it will not happen on the "wet side" [of the Cascade mountain range.] Various friends I know who are in the building trade have told me that no permits will be issued for these type of houses. The developers seem to have the building authorities by the n**ds on this one. Money talks and it is a society of exclusivity there. It also appears that you are not really allowed to really develop your own way. Both in livelihood and living. WINOs again. My experience has shown they will try to force you to go for a high powered job in your existing skills, not allow you to change direction, try and persuade you to go into debt to finance a lifestyle they approve of and retaliate if you don't bow to their wishes. Even to turning a family member against you. I love societal judgments. (Innuendos.) That describes better than anything the lack of maturity and lack of objectivity in getting to the bottom of anything. Opportunities appear to be better across the mountains though. - J.W. (A former Washington resident, now exiled to Kansas)

Regarding the Finnish Model 1939 Mosin Nagant 7.62x54R Rifles being sold by AIM Surplus (See: http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/copy_of_Finnish_Model_1939_Mosin_Nagant_7.62x54R_Rifle.html) I was wondering what you thought of this rifle? Thanks, - Straightblast

JWR Replies: Those are fine rifles, and the Russian 7.62x54 Rimmed cartridges (the same rounds used for the Dragunov) are cheap, fairly plentiful (mainly corrosively primed military surplus loads, however) and it hits about as hard as .30-06. The biggest detractor is that sporterizing parts for Mosins are much more limited than for Mausers. Rechambering is also more difficult. Quite a few of the Finnish M1939s were re-arsenalized using pre-1899 actions. The M1939 is a bit heavy, but accurate. Because production spanned 1898 (some are antique while others are modern), it is difficult being able to prove that they are pre-1899 unless you spend six or seven minutes taking the rifle apart. (Typically, the last two digits of the year of manufacture are stamped on the tang, under the wood.) OBTW, I know of one gent that carries a close up picture of his pre-1899 Mosin rifle's tang in his wallet, just in case its Federally-exempt status is ever questioned.

"What we do in life, echoes in eternity." - Maximus, in the movie Gladiator

Monday, January 9, 2006

I strongly believe that every prepared family ought to have one or two Federally exempt pre-1899 guns. Why? There may come a time in the near future when legislation will dictate nationwide gun registration.  But pre-1899s will presumably be exempt. To explain: Guns made in or before 1898 aren't classified as "firearms" under the Federal law. They haven't been, ever since 1968.  They are outside of Federal jurisdiction. Because of their very small numbers, in the eyes of legislators they are a trivial "non-issue."  In the envisioned era that you are forced to either bury or register the rest of the guns in your collection, your un-papered pre-1899s could still be used for hunting and taken to the range, with impunity. The long term implications are staggering. For the same reason, so is their long term investment value. I expect the value of all pre-shootable pre-1899 cartridge guns to double or triple in value in the next decade--not because of their collector's value, but solely because of their unique legal category. Guru say: Buy them while they are still affordable! If you don't, then in just a few years you will probably kick yourself for missing the boat.

I've had two different readers recently contact me, soliciting my advice about pre-1899 production bolt actions to re-build into modern hunting or counter-sniper rifles. They asked: Which one is the best action to buy for a re-build project? IMHO, the very best available is the Model 1893 Turkish contract Oberndorf (German) Mauser action. Because these rifles were re-heat treated when they were re-arsenalized into 8 x57 in the 1930s, these rifles can handle the highest pressure of any small ring Mauser action. Despite the fact that these rifles have their 1930s re-arsenalizing date stamped on the receiver ring, their pre-1899 (Federally exempt) status is firmly established. I have a letter from the ATF that specifically addresses M1893 Turkish Mausers, confirming that they are all considered pre-1899 exempt, even if they have been re-barreled, re-chambered or sporterized. A link to the PDF of that letter is included in my fairly comprehensive Pre-1899 FAQ. (See: www.rawles.to/Pre-1899_FAQ.html) To anticipate you next question: Yes, a large ring Mauser action would be be superior to a small ring, but unfortunately 99.9% of those were made after 1898, so the chances of finding one that is legally antique (made in or before 1898) is downright infinitesimal. BTW, in 25 years in the gun show business, I only found one such action (from a Model 1896 German Trials rifle), and it sold very quickly, for $550--for just a stripped action!

Once relatively plentiful in the U.S. market, the supply of Model 1893 Turkish Mausers has dried up. One good affordable source of these rifles is The Pre-1899 Specialist. (See; http://www.antiquefirearms.org/blog.) I've heard that he still has just a few left--a couple of which have sound stocks and decent bores (if you want to leave them "as is" in 8x57mm Mauser), and a couple of others that have stocks with small cracks--but those of course would be fine if what you are after is an action to re-build.

Any gunsmith that is competent with Mausers can build up a rifle in a modern caliber for you, using a Model 1893 Mauser action. (Bending the bolt, drilling and tapping for scope, mounting it in a sporter stock, and so forth.) The Turkish contract M1893 action is suitable for modern calibers such as .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester, or classics such as 7x57 Mauser or 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser. Despite the fact that these rifles are all at least 108 years old, with new barrels they can be built up as real tack drivers.

Take the time to visit The Pre-1899 Specialist's site, and think about the possibilities. Again, I recommend that you buy your pre-1899s now, while they are still affordable! 

An important item to remember to purchase in advance if you have children is extra home schooling supplies. You may remember trigonometry, but could you teach it to your children without any materials? If you self-quarantine your family because of a flu pandemic it will be nearly impossible to acquire books or other supplies. Post-TEOTWAWKI, after your generation is gone, advanced math and science will be rare and valuable skills.

I am fairly new to your blog, having been introduced by BulletProofMe.com. I have enjoyed reading it every now and then, and have been preparing for quite some time now. So you can imagine, I have most if not all the things you are talking about EXCEPT the place outside the cities, but that is being worked on as I write this, and HOPEFULLY we will buy some land soon. Just looking for the right place.

Switching gears, I found some interesting information on Peak Oil, and why cheap oil is over forever. See the transcript available at: http://www.financialsense.com/fsn/BP/2005/1022.html - Mel in Austin

This is the law: There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." - John Steinbeck

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Please send me your favorite quotes and I'll post them as "Quotes of the Day."

Today we present another entry for Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best article will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries is the last day of January, 2006.

Skill and etiquette in the process of bartering can be a plus today or in a future time when the world could be completely different. In that future time your local mass marketing chain may not be in business. You may have to resort to barter. I loved the scene in Mr. Rawles's book, "Patriots", when the group goes to the local barter faire with a handful of .22 cartridges and some pre-1965 dimes. I can’t recall everything they got, but for their initial, pre-TEOTWAWKI investment, they came out way ahead.
I have to confess to being a flea market survivalist. This is the result of my life circumstances and my psychological make-up. I am a touch, uh, frugal, and my resources are limited. I’m not embarrassed to buy something used with the possible exception of underwear and toothbrushes. In very hard times, even these reservations might be overcome.
First, let’s look at some reasons to search your local flea market or trade lot (I use the terms interchangeably, but prefer trade lot) and then go to the how-to of this option. The first reason is the most obvious. Buying second hand, or from someone who has little overhead will stretch your resources. Sometimes dramatically. Good examples from my personal experience are a box of 91 new disposable lighters for $5. Last year I also bought 50+ bars of soap for $5. These examples come to mind readily, but there are regular bargains to be had just like this. A second reason is that it’s fun. I’ve been doing this for years and I rarely tire of this shopping challenge. Some people don’t like it, some have never tried it. The fun element may surprise you. Another thing that draws people to trade lots is the variety of objects that turn up. You just never know what you may find. Guns are an example. In my state, North Carolina, vendors can’t sell handguns at their tables. They may have a pistol at home they might want to sell, but that’s a private transaction that I’m really not talking about here. However, long guns of every description can be found. Good prices generally, but the real upside is that you leave no paper trail. Sometimes a good ol’ boy who needs some money may be walking around with a rifle or shotgun on his shoulder wanting someone to ask him how much he wants for it. Don’t hesitate if you are interested. A Mauser 8mm or single shot shotgun can generally be had for a hundred dollar bill or possibly a touch less. Sometimes a lot less. Another reason to look for used tools is that sometimes older tools or goods were of better quality. You also may be able to find something that is no longer made that is still useful. You may find something at a bargain that you can re-sell. A friend of mine recently bought a $3,000 Nikon-made underwater camera for $3. I bought a book for a quarter that sold for over $100 on Amazon.com. I could go on and on, but hopefully this will induce you to at least check out your local flea market. The main reason is to save money.
Alright, let’s say you have never been to a flea market and don’t want to get swindled. The very first rule is to know about what it is that you want to purchase. If you are looking for an 8mm Mauser specifically, know the difference between the various models of Mausers and then consider other guns that might be a viable substitute. Maybe a Mosin Nagant 7.62x54 or even a Steyr Mannlicher in 8x56R. Know how to pull the bolt out to check the bore, or have a bore light. Dry firing is not kosher, but you may ask the owner if he has fired the weapon. {just like at a gun show], always ask permission before you pick up any firearm. Permission will generally be given if you ask. Bottom line, know what you are looking at, whether it is firearms or cast iron skillets. Read up. Ask questions. Compare prices.
Now if the article is something you are interested in, you eventually have to ask “How much?” It may or may not have a price tag. If you know what you want and how much they go for, you may conclude you don’t want this piece for that price. But if you are confident the price is realistic, then you may say, “Gee, that’s a little more than I wanted to spend. Could you do any better?” or “I think that’s a nice piece. I could go $__.” Unless the price is very good, and even if it is, ask for a better price. Politely. It’s part of the game. All they can say is no. I bought an old Singer Sewing machine last year. The man had a patch under the needle that he had sewed to show that it worked. It was probably a 1940s model, all steel. He was asking $10. I offered him $8 and he took it. A friend who works on sewing machines cleaned it, lubed it, and replaced the power cord for free. I have $8 in a nice little antique Singer Sewing Machine that works like a charm. Always ask for a better price, but be courteous.
On the other side of the coin, never hesitate to walk away. You may walk down the aisle and come back the vendor may drop the price a touch because he knows you are interested. Don’t try to talk someone down by degrading their goods. Pointing out some superficial scratches is okay, but a serious badmouthing of someone’s goods usually doesn’t work. Interest with an “I don’t know…” attitude will generally induce a price reduction if it’s going to happen at all. They may be firm in the price, and you will usually figure that out quickly. Then decide if you want to pay the asking price.
So what sort of things would be useful in survival preparations that you might see at trade lots? Almost anything. Camping gear. Firearms, ammunition and accessories. Tools of all descriptions. First aid supplies. Produce for canning or drying. Building supplies. Candles and kerosene lamps. Clothing. Retreat furnishings. Cooking/canning supplies and equipment. Military surplus. The list is unlimited. Is there anything that you cannot find or that you want to avoid purchasing at your local trade lot? Well, knock off designer clothing and out of date food comes to mind. Obviously you will have to sort through a lot of Chinese made junk, but this goes back to knowing what you want. One item I am considering for post collapse barter is the inexpensive knives that are out there now. I’m pretty surprised at the $5 knives available. Yeah, they are made in Pakistan, but save them for future barter to people who never thought they would need a pocket knife or sheath knife. You may end up being a blessing to them.
What are some of the tricks of the trade for a buyer? Well, here are a few things that I do.
-Many times bargains can be found in a box on the ground beside the vendors table. It’s a low priority and he is just hoping to sell an item or two for a few bucks. I look through it and if I find an item I want, say a home made knife, I’ll offer two or three dollars for the whole box. That way you get what you want for your price and may find another treasure in the box when you get home.
-If there is a container that has some items that I could use in bulk, but I know I can’t afford for the posted price, I’ll ask, “Look, how much for the whole box of (whatever)?” Sometimes the price is dropped significantly. That way you can afford to stash them away for later. That’s the way I got the soap and lighters I mentioned above.
-There are two ways of looking at when to shop. Some people go as the goods are being put on display to find a treasure that will surely be snapped up in the first minutes of business. This could be very early. At early trade lots, that is, a site that opens and usually closes early, I’ve seen people looking before sunup with flashlights. Another approach is to wait until just before closing time when vendors may drop their price to keep from having to load it up and put it in storage again. Try both methods and see what works best for you.
-Try to get to know some of the people who are dealers if they are regulars. They may automatically give you a good price if they know you are a repeat customer.
-Sometimes the real bargains can be found by people who just want to clean out their house and really don’t want to make a living selling their junk. Cookware, nuts and bolts, wool blankets, or a half box of .32 cartridges, may go for next to nothing. Sometimes, not always, you can get an idea of the quality of the merchandise by what [vehicle] the seller is driving and wearing. A nicely dressed lady in a mini van may have some nice stuff. But the useful bargains generally come from the farmer who cleans out his barn or shed just to make room. You will develop an eye [for that] after time.
So will this skill help in a post apocalypse society? The general principles will apply. Know what you want and what it is worth. Try to know who you are dealing with for the best prices. But most of all, knowing what is available right now at bargain prices will help you to build up your survival supplies. Look for quality. Watch for expiration dates. Dicker. And have fun.

Dear Jim:

I am a UK-based wilderness survival instructor and have been enthusiastically reading the content of your website as well as your postings on FALFiles for some time.

Although bushcraft and wilderness survival has become quite a popular subject in this country over recent years, the UK does not have a strong Preparedness/ Survivalist movement at the present time. Something that I believe is partly to do with the Media perception of survivalists as paranoid nutcases.

However, through my work as a bushcraft and wilderness skills instructor I have recently noticed a marked increase in the number of "normal" people expressing concern about the future. I am often asked to run courses for people who want to learn how to survive a disaster, or simply to learn how they can live off the land when the normal order of things comes to an end. Events such as the Asian Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina have caused many people to review their own vulnerability to natural disasters, as well as other possible catastrophic events.

Most of the courses I run have been designed as back to nature adventure experiences, and not as preparedness courses. Although many of the skills we teach could be employed under these circumstances. Skills such as emergency shelter building and firelighting, as well as trapping and identifying edible plants are an example of these practices.

We are currently developing some survival workshops and courses that will specifically cover subjects such as stockpiling, Bug out Bags and 72 hour kits as well as some more traditional wilderness survival skills.

I would like to maintain contact with like minded people in the USA where the survivalist mindset is more established. At some point in the future it may also be worthwhile for me to bring groups to the U.S. for courses on specific subjects. I would therefore be very interested in establishing contact with organisations involved with the teaching of Preparedness skills, defense etc.

I also feel that there may be a market for preparedness related products that are not available here in the UK. I would be in a very good position to promote these products through my website. If you could suggest any suppliers that would be able to supply and ship to the UK I would really like to hear from them.

Best Regards, - Andrew Price   website: http://www.dryadbushcraft.co.uk

JWR Replies: Readers should note that a trading relationship with someone in the UK could be very valuable. It need not be one-sided. There is some fantastic "kit" made in the UK that is hard to find in the U.S. that would be great to trade for. This includes Bergen rucksacks, camouflage scarves, DPM camouflage clothing, and those well-crafted British rabbit snares and gill nets.  There are also some great bargains available--sadly, as the result of the recently-enacted firearms restrictions in England--in particular antique wooden pistol boxes, WWII-vintage european pistol holsters, L1A1 parts, et cetera. For any of our readers in the U.S. that rent gun show tables or that run a part-time eBay business, I highly recommend pursuing this! 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." - Arthur Ashe , "Points to Ponder", Reader's Digest,1994)

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Please keep spreading the word about SurvivalBlog. Just one line added to your e-mail ".sig" could enlighten lots of potential SurvivalBlog readers. (Pretty please?)

Today, I'm leading off with two pieces of shameless web aggregation. (I pride myself on presenting mostly original content for this blog, but at times there are items that I find on the web that are worth mentioning...)

As reported at NewsMax.com, the Bush Administration had just issued a Guide to Pandemic Preparedness. See:  http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/1/5/215956.shtml
It is interesting that they mentioned both self-quarantine and home schooling. What radicals!  They musta been reading SurvivalBlog or sumthen'...

OBTW, why do I get the feeling that if John Kerry had been elected that the message on this topic wouldn't be quite the same?

Two recent developments overseas may not bode well for the dollar. This first is that Iran has announced that in March (of '06) it will open a new international oil bourse that will have all transactions denominated in Euros. (See: http://www.energybulletin.net/7707.html  )  The second is that China has announced that it intends to shift its currency reserves away from the U.S. dollar for "a more balanced portfolio." (Read: Anything but dollars!)  See: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/f39fa8e4-7e25-11da-8ef9-0000779e2340.htm

Hello Sir,
I found the following article discussing the changing demographics of the western world fascinating. I'm sure you will too. Not to give anything away, but the author points to the declining birth rates of western civilizations and contrasts them with the burgeoning growth of Islam, both in Islamic and western countries. See:  http://www.newcriterion.com/archives/24/01/its-the-demography/
- Bings in Iraq

JWR Replies:  Bings found a genuine "must read" article. Some real food fro thought and grounds for further research (FFTAGFFR) there!

Hi Jim,
At the ranch last Saturday, our cousin who is a mechanic got under the hood and fixed the old ranch truck. He took it for a spin and came back and said that he would have to park it because it got a flat tire. He would have to take the tire to town and get it fixed but wouldn't be able to do it until Tuesday because of the holiday on Monday. I asked my husband "Why can't he fix it himself? People didn't have to take tires to a shop to get them fixed in the 'olden days'." My husband answered that with the modern day tires, you have to have a tire machine and they are quite dangerous to work on even then.

This will definitely be a problem in a TEOTWAWKI situation! Here we are with our EMP proof vehicle, stabilized and stored fuel, and we get a flat and our vehicle is out of commission!!! I don't know anything about tires--I get a flat and take it to the tire place. What about if the tire place isn't open after TSHTF? Any ideas on working around this?
Thanks. - Mary

JWR Replies:  Repairing modern tires is quite labor-intensive to do at home or out in the hinterboonies, but not impossibleDIY tire dismounting and repair is getting to be a lost art--still practiced primarily by those of us that spend a lot of time in 4WD mode out in "the-middle-of-BLM-nothing" or the Australian Outback. (An aside; my family likes to go rock hounding in northern Nevada and southern Idaho. Our tires seem to magically attract very pointy chunks of slate and basalt. We are talking about true off-roading here, where getting stranded is more than just an inconvenience. It could mean a 25 mile walk to the nearest paved road! At the very minimum we always carry at least one spare tire already on a rim (sometimes two), a small compressor, and and inverter. (OBTW, I'll cover pioneer tools, Hi-Lift ("Sheepherder") jacks, tow chains, and come-alongs in a forthcoming SurvivalBlog post on off-roading.)

Every 4WD and ranch utility truck should have a set of tire tools--including an Aussie "Tireplyers" bead breaker (see: http://www.4by4connection.com/tyrepliers.html  and http://www.tyrepliers.com.au/), as well as patching materials and goop, a small compressor that can run off of an inverter, a 200 watt inverter with cigarette lighter plug adapter, and a good quality hand pump with an accurate gauge. See: http://www.casporttouring.com/thestore/stopngo.html  and http://www.kentool.com/Bead_Bead-BreakingTools2.htm. For traditional tires with an inner tube (mostly bicycles and garden carts, these days), see: http://mountainbike.about.com/od/flattirerepair/ss/Fix_Flat_5.htm  (FWIW, I prefer the hot patch method.) And for those of you with motorcycles, see: http://www.xs11.com/faq/tirefaq.shtml. OBTW, special precautions are required when working on tires that are mounted on "split" style rims. Beware!

The follow-up letter from Mosby and the addition from JWR both list some of the reasons I specifically excluded geodesic domes (twice) in my Dome Homes as Survival Retreats article. They are usually of conventional materials (wood, plywood) in non-conventional (non-square) angles and shapes; thus things like using regular shingles on the roof (more of the structure) which is full of angles is going to be difficult and likely cause problems (leaks). Also, a geodesic dome, which is made up of many flat geometric shapes coming together to approximate a dome, does not really offer the strength of a pure dome, and creates a tremendous number of seams to seal and leak (water and air). JWR’s citation of Bernoulli’s principle was a good addition. Many laymen when considering the effects of high winds upon a conventional structure believe the windward side (side facing into the oncoming wind) is going to collapse inward (like in the 1950s nuclear blast film clips). With hurricanes though, it is in fact usually the leeward side (the far side) which instead gets sucked out by the low pressure created by a vortex of winds coming over the structure where the structure ends. Everyone realizes that round shapes are aerodynamic, thus resistance to wind and creation of low pressure are both minimized with a dome. People also like to mention how concrete homes can withstand high winds. Last year in Stoughton, Wisconsin, around the time of Katrina, a tornado went through and wrecked over 60 homes. There was a concrete poured wall home there, and as I recall, several people enjoyed mentioning to me how it was still standing. The problem was that it's conventional roof was torn off. The inside of the house was water damaged, so what is the point of having impregnable walls when you roof is going to fail? I don’t think they saved much on the insurance there considering internal water damage requires a lot of replacement with all the mold worries now, but more importantly, in a TEOTWAWKI situation, there isn’t going to be insurance money nor contractors nor supplies to fix it. IMHO you have four above-ground choices as I see it with a concrete house. 1. Get an industrial heavy gauge galvanized steel roof (and listen to the rain). 2. Put span-crete on your roof (and make your walls thick enough to handle the weight). 3. Spend a tremendous amount of money for extra conventional materials and labor to wrap, brace, and tie twice as many trusses as normal deeply into the reinforcing rods of the concrete walls with steel cables (lots of hand work), such as the codes in Dade County (Miami), Florida require 4. Consider a Dome Home.- Rourke http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat

Mr. Rawles
For the do it yourselfers, I have built several safe shelters (used until needed as storage) based on the sandbag construction to make small domes. A great link to the concept is http://www.calearth.org/EcoDome.htm. The construction is quite simple (easy would be the wrong word because the dirt work is just that WORK, but we all need to drop a few fat pounds. I used as a cover outside the method called papercrete and a little heaver crete mixture (for fire proofing) on the inside with concrete support wire (the larger net like wire used to replace "re-bar" in cement slabs) and mixed it all in a small cement mixer using shredded paper I recycled from office shreddings (many many bags of shreddings and newspapers) and hand trough it all on. Paper crete web locations are: www.livinginpaper.com and www.papercrete.com. Rourke is correct the spouse/significant other is often an issue with building any shelter not just a dome, in my case the spouse noted that the domes look like "large breasts sticking out of the ground" any hope of a dome house ended there! With "standard" house secured and "off grid" solar (dual system with up/down safe control) up, the "storage buildings / tornado shelters" were constructed, waterproofed and then covered with earth (with a rented earth mover) and grass seed, now they are small "hills" and do not resemble breasts and are even home to a few spouse controlled rose bushes. And just to revisit a theme, the construction is inexpensive. Have a great new year. - Wotan

The following tongue-in-cheek letter was posted on The Claire Files, in response to The Memsahib's recent letter on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

Dear Sir/Ma’am,
I wish to report the demise of 43 (forty three) animals at position xxp2l. The conditions are as follows:

13 eggs (scrambled)
4 turkeys (1 stuffed and baked, 2 jerky, 1 frozen)
6 ducks (2 pressed with orange sauce, 4 processed for canning)
20 chickens (2 squashed by car, 18 processed for fried chicken/canning)

The requisite forms are being forwarded in triplicate as required and 41 [bio]chips will follow. The last chip is presumed embedded in the tire of the Coal truck that caused the death of animal xxp2l:0059856. Respectfully, - X

"And yes, the Homesteaders, including my grandparents who left behind almost nothing, and arrived in Montana with nothing but the clothes on their back, high hopes, faith in God and dreaming of the future." - Brian Schweitzer

Friday, January 6, 2006

I often get e-mails from readers stating that are leery about investing in precious metals.  They complain that the markets are "too volatile."  In the short term the metals markets-- particularly for silver and platinum--are indeed quite volatile. (Witness yesterday's 28 cent dip.) But it is important to step back and look at the big picture. Forget the daily fluctuations. Instead, look at the 120 day moving averages (DMAs). Next, study the 5 year and 10 year charts at Kitco.com

Back in the late 1990s, investors were piling into the NASDAQ, gobbling up high technology stocks in a speculative frenzy that rivaled Holland's Tulipomania of the 1630s. The dot.com investor's mantra was "The trend is your friend." But of course history proved them wrong when the bubble burst. The dot.commers were looking from within a short term trend--not the long term. It turned out to be just a three year buying binge with a notoriously ugly aftermath. In contrast, looking at the precious metals market, one can safely say that this time the trend  truly is your friend. In this case, it is true because the bull market in metals is based upon the long term debasement of the U.S. Dollar. The Federal government's profligate spending and both government and consumer debt point to a long term bear market in the dollar, and a corresponding long term bull market in precious metals. I don't expect Uncle Sam to change his spendthrift ways anytime soon, so take advantage of the long term trend.

Here is another terrific home business idea which "sells itself," requires only a minimal investment, has a high profit margin, and can be done in one's spare time. Install front door peep-holes. A number of years back I was visiting in a large townhouse complex where my wife used to live, and a gentleman rang the doorbell. Upon opening the door, I met the man holding a peephole in his hand. He almost didn't need to say a word. It literally needed no sales pitch, it "sold itself." He had the tools etc to do it on the spot. Buy high quality peep-holes in bulk for a few bucks each. You just need a good portable rechargeable drill and a few other simple attachments and tools to deal with different types of doors. Ring doorbells on the weekends, in developments where you can see that peep-holes are not standard issue. Offer to install a quality peep-hole right on the spot, at the customer's exact preferred height, for $20 FRN. One thing: I'd recommend installing a few for free on the doors of family and friends for practice. Different door materials obviously need different drilling methods. Basically, you use a standard hole saw which fits around a 1/4" drill bit. After making a pilot hole all the way through, you need to drill half way in from both sides with the hole saw, to avoid chipping or splitting.

You are doing people a service, and they will be happy to hand over $20 FRN for an installed peep-hole. You also gain the satisfaction of helping people to better secure their "castle" from possible attack or subterfuge. Going door to door, a personable peep-hole installer can sell ten or more units on a Saturday afternoon and make about $15 FRN per 15 minute transaction. And that ain't bad money. - Matt Bracken

JWR Adds: Regular SurvivalBlog readers will recognize Matt Bracken's name. He is the author of an excellent novel of the near future titled Enemies Foreign and Domestic as well as the forthcoming sequel, Domestic Enemies. (See: http://www.enemiesforeignanddomestic.com/)

These days, most people don't have basic carpentry skills or even know how to operate a drill motor without botching the job. The essence of making money with a trade or skill is leveraging your expertise. Take the time to get very good at doing a few things and you will never starve.

There are several types of commercially-made peepholes available. One brand that is made in Russia is slightly larger than most and has a very wide viewing angle. That would make a great selling point.

I agree that diesel is the way to go for durability, and as most American manufacturing is being quickly offshored that must be a consideration. I decided that the electric start Northstar 6500 diesel (6,500 watts peak) was best for me because the larger sizes such as 10,000 watts and up use considerably more fuel, which can and will become very expensive and
scarce. There would also be considerable waste most of the time with a larger size unless I was running the dryer, central air or oven. I do not consider those survival items and there are such things as portable electric stoves, fans and washing machines. Those high voltage items require a 50 amp connection anyway, which my generator doesn't include. The
other important aspect of fuel is that smaller generators use less, so less storage space is needed. Diesel is ideal because it is safer to store in quantity than other fuels, and biodiesel which I use is safer still. Biodiesel gels at 7 degrees or so depending on mixtures, but that can be improved somewhat and isn't a real issue here in Delaware. Transfer boxes are necessary if you want to "plug in" the house, and will add significantly to the cost. I run mine once a month and keep a solar trickle charger on the battery. I set it on a rubber pad in the (ventilated) shed and routed the exhaust through the floor and away. (But I still refuse to inhale inside the shed if it is running). The shed has solar lighting so I can see if utility power goes out at night. - B.F.

Dear Sir,
I caught your blog via www.savvysurvivor.com and saw some interesting comments. I am a metro-area person with family, and have interest in personal protection issues. We have a moderate supply of food, numerous firearms (I’m focusing on .22 [Long Rifle], .30-06, .30-30, and .45 [ACP]. I am a concealed carry permit holder in Minnesota. I think I am moderately capable in firearms (a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources instructor) and have two sites that I could move to. Can you refer me to any publications which might enhance my knowledge? (Yes, I can skin deer, etc.) I’ve interest in radio, but it seems kinda rough… Thank you, - DJH

JWR Replies:  To start, keep reading this blog. It covers a wide range of topics, and the letters sent by readers impart a wealth of experience that goes far beyond my own. Obtain copies of the books listed on our Bookshelf page, as your basic "come-up-to-speed" reading, and to keep handy for training others. (Used copies can often be found via Amazon.com at bargain prices.) If you haven't read it yet, don't miss the SurvivalBlog static page on specific retreat locale recommendations.

It sounds as if you are well trained in firearms safety, but tactical training at Front Sight, Gunsite, or Thunder Ranch is well worth the investment. If you plan to stay in a northern area, don't overlook winter/outdoor survival training, as well as an education on traps and snares. The DVDs produced by The World Survival Institute in Tok, Alaska are excellent.  (Their winter survival videos are great, and their Tracking and Ambush video is worth its weight in gold.) I also highly recommend the trapping and snaring videos produced by Buckshot's Camp. Take full advantage of American Red Cross First Aid and CPR training in your community. Your local ARRL affiliate club can get you started in amateur radio. Those old "Elmers" really know their stuff, and they are willing to share their knowledge, gratis. Furthermore, look at each piece of training as the chance to network with like-minded people in your region.

Hey Jim,
First, I've been reading your blog since late August (almost from the beginning) and have read "Patriots" (stayed up all night to do so). Consequently, I've begun collecting beans and bullets. Thank you for your influence and information.

Second, ideally I know I should attend training for combat/tactical shooting. Realistically, however, that's not going to happen for me. In lieu of on site training, do you recommend video training? If so, what do you recommend and what do you not recommend?  Thanks again for the information and influence you provide. Best Regards, - Doug

JWR Replies: They are no proper substitute for attending in person, but DVDs do provide some valuable adjunct training. My home video library is small. Perhaps some of the SurvivalBlog readers have some specific recommendations on firearms training tapes or DVDs that are particularly good. (Or bad ones to avoid.)

"Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state." - George Mason

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Please continue to spread the word about SurvivalBlog. I have free banner illustrations available in a variety of sizes, if you would be so kind as to paste one into your web page. Thanks!

Today we present another entry for Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best article will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries is the last day of January, 2006.

Hello to all the Survival Blog readers! My name is 'Shooter,' and I came across this blog one day looking for information on the novel "Patriots". Actually, I was hoping to find a sequel, or even a second novel, by Mr. Rawles. Instead, I found a great tool to better prepare for when the oscillating air disruption machine dices the Schumer. I wrote James hoping to have my own blog linked here, and found that he had an interest in what I had to say. My contributions to this site will revolve around tactical handgun training that I have received over the past 10 months in a weekly class called Tactical Tuesday.
I was granted a Concealed Handgun License by the State of Texas last spring. Since that time, I have logged several thousand rounds through my Springfield XD-40 and Kimber Pro-Carry II 1911. Not just shooting static targets, mind you, but engaging in tactical exercises to sharpen my mind and hone my shooting abilities for the unlikely event that I may have to one day defend myself or my loving wife from harm. While these weekly training sessions are geared more for those of us with CCW permits, they also have a place in TEOTWAWKI times, too.
My personal blog is a chronicle of these weekly lessons called Tac Tuesday at the range we shoot at near downtown Houston, Texas. I do not profess to be an instructor, nor do I claim to have any military or LEO training, either. I am merely a student relaying information to others who do not want to be caught with their pants around their ankles when the proverbial 'balloon' goes up. These Tac Tuesday classes are made up of students from all walks of life; doctors, lawyers, bankers, ex-green berets, DSS (State Dept. Diplomatic Security Service), IDPA/USPSA Champion shooters, principal dancers for the Houston Ballet, school teachers, students, housewives etc, etc. Our instructor, whom I refer to as Instructor Greg, or IG for short, is also a certified lethal use of force instructor, a Texas CHL instructor, has hunted big game in Rhodesia, worked as a bodyguard in South Africa, was recently with Blackwater in New Orleans, and testifies as an expert witness in self-defense shooting cases. His curriculum vitae is a lot longer, but I am just glossing over some of the juicier parts. IG also owns his own company manufacturing quality Kydex holsters and accessories. He is able to pass on the knowledge he has and the knowledge of others like Paul Howe, Clint Smith, Mas Ayoob, John Farnham and others to make us each a stronger and better fighter in self defense situations.
It is my hope that the articles I provide Survival Blog readers will help you become better shooters and stronger fighters when the time calls for it. I am going to start at the beginning and move through the lessons as I have moved through them. I plan on covering everything from safe/proper gun handling, to basic carbine and shotgun drills, and a plethora of handgun skills.
Since this is my first contribution to Survival Blog, I thought I should start with the "Viking Method." Instructor Greg has a unique way of injecting wry humor into his lessons and making them fun and enjoyable. "No Sven, it's Pillage, Plunder, then Burn!" as IG puts it (actually, he says it another way, but I promised to keep it clean for Jim). Very simply put, the Viking Method refers to the proper and safe loading/unloading of semi-auto handguns. This is the technique as it was explained to me:

Clearing a semi-auto handgun:
STEP ONE (PILLAGE): Remove the source of ammunition! First things first, punch the mag release on your semi-auto. However you want to store that magazine is up to you. If it is full, put it in a pocket, or a mag pouch, or even stick it in your waistband. If you know it is empty, or is of no further value, let it fall to the floor. Don't worry, mags are relatively cheap...more will be made if yours breaks (if yours breaks, you may wanna find a better magazine!).
STEP TWO (PLUNDER): Clear the chamber! First, turn into your weapon and make sure the ejection port is facing down. With your weak hand, wrap it over the back end of the slide and rack it a couple of times to clear the round out of the chamber. Don't worry about picking up your bullets. They're cheaper than magazines. I am quite positive they will make more bullets for you. Repeat and lock the action open for visual inspection.
STEP THREE (BURN): With your non-nosepicking finger, physically and then VISUALLY inspect the chamber to insure that the weapon is now clear.

Loading a handgun:
STEP ONE (BURN): Draw your weapon from the holster and point it downrange.
STEP TWO (PLUNDER): With your weak hand, draw a fresh magazine from your mag carrier, pocket, whatever. **NOTE: Your magazines should always be carried "bullets forward." This way, you can insure that the magazine is facing the right direction when inserting into the pistol.** Bring the gun up and turn it so that you can easily access the mag well. Guide the mag into the gun and insert smartly.
STEP THREE (PILLAGE): Grab the base of the slide with the meaty part of your hand and rack the slide to chamber a round. You may also use the 'pinch/pull' method to rack the slide. Condition check the chamber and holster.

That was the very first lesson I learned. In several easy steps, I now know how to handle any handgun placed in front of me. When I walked into the first Tac Tuesday, I thought I knew it all already. What knowledge I had may have been correct in some areas, but this first lesson helped build upon that knowledge base. Another lesson learned is that we have been inundated with rules, rules and more gun rules. I no longer think of safe gun handling as a number of rules to follow, rather, I consider it to be 'Good Gun Manners.'
The range we work at is considered a "Hot Range." We are able to carry our weapons holstered in whatever condition we are used to carrying concealed in. This usually means holstered with one in the chamber and configured accordingly. Wherever I am legally able to carry (concealed or otherwise), I practice Good Gun Manners. That means:
-The gun remains holstered at all times unless I have been given permission to shoot. Either certain circumstances or the Range Officer will dictate when it is okay to shoot.
-My finger WILL REMAIN OFF THE TRIGGER UNLESS TWO CONDITIONS ARE MET: My sights are confirmed on target, and it is safe to shoot. You may know this as keeping your finger in register. Also, when they drag you to court for your self-defense shooting trial and play the grainy convenience store security camera footage, you want to prove to the jury that you are not some crazed Rambo wannabe, and you do have a modicum of self control.
-Don't point the gun at anything or anybody you are not willing to destroy. It's just plain rude!
-Be cognizant of your specified 'safe direction.' That usually means guns remain pointed downrange at all times. Our class operates on a 180 degree rule. If we see the muzzle of the gun move greater than 180 degrees, then that person is done shooting for the day. The real world is 360 degrees, so be aware of a safe direction. Brick walls, televisions, stacks of telephone books all make safe places to point a gun. I use my television when I dry fire practice.
You are probably muttering to yourself right now, "Geez, Shooter, this is stuff we already know. Why not give us some good nuggets of tactical, ninja-suit, cloak and dagger prowess to use?"
I decided to start at the beginning for two reasons. First, to remind myself and the rest of you of the simple basics of safe gun handling. Second, so the new people joining our ranks have something to refer to when they start their firearms training. This article is an added benefit to those leading a retreat group, or those who expect to train their neighbors and friends after the world is unavoidably "schumerized." Think of it this way, I have given you the syllabus to your first lesson as a firearms instructor post-TEOTWAWKI.
Just remember, though, that practice is the key. As you train yourself and others, repetition and practice will build muscle memory, confidence, and control. These are but the stepping stones to the other lessons I participated in and will share with you. Next time, I will discuss draw techniques.
And before I leave you, I will bestow the final lesson in your syllabus. I did mention there are really no gun rules, just 'gun manners.' Well, I lied. There are actually three rules that I live by, and, no, "the gun is always loaded" isn't one of them. Actually, my guns are ALWAYS LOADED, so that is a statement of fact.
The three gun rules I live by are:
1. Keep your finger off the trigger!
2. Keep your *&$% finger off the trigger!
3. Keep your &*%$ finger off the #$%& trigger!*
*unless sights are confirmed and it is safe to shoot!

Just me, but I'd call and ask. It sure looks like a generator that runs in the 3600 RPM region. Some use a slightly higher or lower RPM than 3600 but they're all the same class of service. Northern has a habit of calling non-continuous duty generators a "professional model", which means absolutely nothing. I'd look around for an electric start 1800 RPM RV version. Also very quiet (to meet the National Park Service regulations), rated for continuous duty and, courtesy of the site, can be fitted for switchable propane or gas. A new 4.5 KW model runs ~$2200 and go for around a grand in used condition.Just my 2 cents worth ..... or is that already my .02 Euro worth? I dis-remember.;-)
Regards, - The Army Aviator

I live in southern Louisiana. A guy that lives near me built a dome several months before Hurricane Andrew it is a wood framed [geodesic] dome, covered with shingles.He told me he had a very hard time finding some one who would agree to shingle it. That dome has held up to every hurricane to hit us since Andrew with only minor damage. - Mosby in Louisiana

JWR Replies: I much prefer monolithic domes over the more conventional Buckminster Fuller geodesic style wood frame domes. My brother was the owner/contractror of one of latter and he could never get the thing to seal out the rain properly. Shingling all of those little triangles is a nightmare.  Geodesic style wood frame domes have roughly the same lifespan as any other wood frame house. But a monolithic dome will probably last for generations.

dome homes can take tremendous wind loading. This is because of Bernoulli's principle. (The wind velocity--and pressure--is roughly the same on the front and the back of any round object.)

Just a little correction to R.J.'s note regarding animal I.D. in Wisconsin. As of January 1 every livestock owner was subject to mandatory premises registration and this includes horse owners. Even if you only keep one animal you are suppose to register.  I found out that our very crooked legislature was trying to rush this through late in 2004 and tried to organize some opposition among fellow horse owners but you know how hard it is to wake up the sheeple. Thanks for trying to keep this from going national! - J.M.

Here is a link for an American company from West Virginia: http://www.propane-generators.com/    They make conversion kits for all sizes of generators, etc. to propane and natural gas. (I have yet to order mine, so I was hesitant to share this.) It has been proven that the gases burn much cleaner, and engine life is greatly extended, because the small amount of ash left behind with gasoline that contaminates the oil, etc, is not introduced every time it fires. Carbon build-up is history!  I have been procrastinating on ordering a kit for mine, guess I should get moving. Right now, procrastination is my worst enemy. Sid, Near Niagara Falls

“Only God is eternal. Everything else is vanity." - The Memsahib

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Many thanks for the recent wave of 10 Cent Challenge donations! That makes me feel like I'm on track with what I've been writing, and that I'm helping folks get squared away.  

Domes have been the long term favorite of futurists, and while they suffer from some peoples’ non-acceptance of the unconventional features, they do have several features very desirable to survivalists. The dome of course is a near perfect form of nature. Take an arch, known for its strength in building and bridge construction, and turn it in a circle. Now it’s a dome, and it’s even stronger. Domes use the force of gravity and the extreme compression strength of materials like concrete (cement and sand/gravel mix) to give a clear span, and support tremendous weight on top of it. This can make it a very good choice for underground or earth bermed structures. Depending on your location though, and the fallout or weather you anticipate receiving, covering it may not even be necessary to survive the most extreme conditions. (Note that I am not considering geodesic domes here; note they are more conventional in material and construction)
Sound intriguing? Well, let’s start with the bad news. Here are the down sides, the three problems that stand in the way for most people to buy or build dome homes or survival retreats:

  • Lack of reasonable conventional financing (from banks and mortgage companies) since dome homes are not conventional buildings. Not many of us can pay cash for or even build for cash a house or cottage.
  • The risk of low resale value. Dome buyers are few and far between, thus finding a buyer to pay at least what you have into can be really difficult. This limits you to almost never moving, or if you do, taking a sizable loss.
  • One spouse/significant other simply not willing to be so non-conventional as to not have non-vertical and inward sloping walls, and round or pie shaped rooms.

But now the good news, the advantages of having a dome survival retreat:

  • Most have a very high R [insulation] value, and are extremely energy efficient and cheap and easy to live in.
  • Most cost about the same as conventional construction, $100 per square foot finished turn key. For the do-it-yourselfer, you can put up the shell for around $30-35 per square foot.
  • Most will survive the winds and even the debris from a F5 tornado, or Category 5 hurricane. Pay for a little extra concrete and it will outright stand up to a rifle bullet. Remember also, the aerodynamic shape is helping you too. Wind blows around it, and bullets and debris to some extent are deflected (as with any building, your windows are your weak point, consider shutters). Also note your entire dome (retreat) survives, not just the bunker. It is far more difficult, dark, and energy intensive to live in a bunker after TSHTF in a world where there is no insurance check coming to rebuild.
  • Concrete, steel, and ever fiberglass are fire resistant (or fire proof) materials to built with. They are also impervious to insects, critters, and can last practically forever if built right.
  • If designed correctly (open concept) they can be equal to or ever cheaper to build than conventional buildings, especially for the do-it-yourselfer.
  • In an area of limited access, some of the pre-fab models may be very good choice than attempting to do a conventional stick build.
  • Many are modular in design and allow you to plan a really nice multi-family development for a survival group.
  • They can be made to be practically air tight, far more so than conventional construction.

These are the four major types of non-geodesic dome homes:
1.) Concrete Domes. The clear leader here IMHO is The Monolithic Dome Institute, http://www.monolithic.com Since around 1970 David South has continuously innovated his unique and near perfect (IMHO) method of constructing the “monolithic dome.” A heavy UV resistant and waterproof membrane is manufactured by Monolithic per design, and then tied down and inflated on site secured to a completed round foundation. You then enter through an “air chamber” (plywood box) as industrial fans keep the dome inflated, and spray polyurethane foam on the inside if the dome several inches thick (depending on dome size). The dome now stands on its own, and using some ladders, scaffolding, you can now use some clever little pieces of metal to hold rebar to the foam on the inside at just the right gap. Using special a concrete pump, nine bag mix (optimal strength) concrete is sprayed on the inside to make dome of a single pour of concrete, thus being monolithic – all one continuous rock. This creates a very pure and very strong dome, but even better, it can have an insulation factor of up R65. So efficient is that, they recommend cooling it with a just a RV air conditioner, and only the smallest wood stove or fireplace or you will simply over cool or overheat yourself. Another great feature is the flexibility. Domes can be stretched wide, tall, or oblong to order, and even better, molded into one another (continuous attached multi domes). A great design is a home with one dome for each room, see http://www.mountainviewdome.com . Making a monolithic dome is something you can hire a certified contractor to do, or you can go to Texas for a week and get certified yourself. Check out the monolithic.com site, it is just loaded with information, articles, and other spin off sites.

2.) Concrete Dome Home with Square Walls: This company is about as close to conventional as you are going to get with a concrete “dome” home. http://www.terra-dome.com The come to your site and use elaborate forms to create buildings made up of either 24’ x 24’ or 28’ x 28’ modules with very heavy concrete roofs. The site has several plans shown. I happen to like #12 for a three bedroom retreat. A lot of concrete in this design, and a very strong building that also gives you a more conventional feel to it inside at least.

3.) Fiberglass Domes. If you are building in a very remote location, an island in particular, where shipping weight is a major cost and concrete may not be available, consider http://www.domesintl.com These modular and lightweight domes can also be made with extra fiberglass to make them strong to the point of being bullet resistant. These models are fast erecting, efficient, and able to withstand extremely high winds. Be sure to see the multi-family designs too, and imagine a survival condo development.

4.) Steel shell underground dome or arch homes. The other option here is the more conventional approach, using a steel structure to make an arch with a half dome on the back, and then bury it. I’ll offer three sites for this, but also an article as a warning on steel corrosion underground, just to be fair since it is a concern. Remember, no matter which method you use to build underground, pay for proper, if not extra, water proofing. The cost of corrective repair, digging it up, is high. See: http://www.formworksbuilding.com or http://earthshelter.com or http://www.americansheltertechnologies.com and (note warning about underground steel corrosion http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=1280 )

Sorry if I have missed some types or manufacturers, I tried to present the major ones. For more information on concrete domes in particular, see this association http://www.itsa.info and for some cool further ideas of what you can do, check out this builder http://www.cloudhidden.org/  - Rourke (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat/ )

Great site Mr. Rawles! I view it most every day. Have also passed your book ("Patriots") on to two friends after having my two sons read it. I have a general question for your readers. I just purchased a Bushmaster .223 [AR-15 clone] with Eotech site system. I am wondering during a TSHTF scenario what parts to this weapon should I have in backstock? [JWR's replies are in-line, in bold.]

Ideally, it would be best to a have a complete spare carrier assembly, to provide a quick "in the heat of battle" replacement in case you break a firing pin or extractor, or you gall an ejector. (99% of AR-15 bolts are "automatic headspacing", so the assembly is a drop-in replacement.) If you are on a tight budget, get just ONE EACH of these critical high breakage/high loss subcomponents from the bolt carrier group: Firing pin, Firing pin retaining pin, Ejector, Ejector spring, Ejector retaining pin, Extractor, Extractor retaining pin, and Extractor spring (with nylon insert). The only other parts that I've seen break (or get lost) are ejection port cover springs and buffer retainers. However, both of those are non-critical to the function of the rifle. Buttstocks and handguards also break (albeit, less frequently). If you have a generous budget, get spares of all of those in addition to a complete spare bolt carrier assembly.

I have a .300 Weatherby Magnum, M1A, and a Remington 270 [Winchester bolt action] as my Rifleman weapons.

It sounds like you are squared away on long range guns. The .223 that you mentioned is indeed fun to shoot, but consider your M1A your PRIMARY rifle. Get plenty of magazines, web gear, spare parts, and ammo for your .308 semi-auto battle rifle! OBTW, you wife really needs her own M1A, as well.  Remember the SurvivalBlog motto: "Two is one, and one is none."

One other question. I am currently reading Molon Labe, excellent work, is there a FSP going on in Wyoming?

Yes there is an active Free State Wyoming (FSW) Project. See: http://www.freestatewyoming.org/. Wyoming is great place to live, and FSW is indeed a worthy project. Go for it!  OBTW, there are dedicated discussion boards on the FSP at The Claire Files.

If so, I am there. My wife and I are both RNs and feel there is always a need for our services.

Nursing is a great profession that will allow you to live just about anywhere! OBTW, in my estimation the healthcare professions will be just about the only ones that are "offshoring proof" in the next couple of decades. (Consider this a strong hint for any of our readers--male or female--that are in college or nearing college and considering a career.) Good luck with your move. See my data on Wyoming at our Retreat Areas page. As detailed there, the length of growing season varies widely in Wyoming. My advice is to go for the warmer country at low elevation. And plan on building a big greenhouse, regardless of where you settle in Wyoming. Snow has been reported in every month in every county in Wyoming.

Following your move to Wyoming, your .300 Weatherby will work fine as a rifle for taking elk, and your .270 Winchester will be ideal as a long range rifle for deer and antelope.  There is no need to buy different rifles.

Our power here on the North Coast has gone out twice in as many weeks. This time it was out all day Saturday and Sunday, for a total of 40 hours. (Some are still without power, and may be for days.) I intend to be ready for the next one. In a few weeks I plan on purchasing the Northstar 5500 Watt professional. http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=6970&productId=448&R=448  That is unless you raise a red flag. But I thought the topic of emergency power might be a good one at this time, since so many are without power. BTW, I might add that the power outage was just an inconvenience, as I was still warm, dry and fed. <Grin> But still, why go without all the goodies when you really don't have to? Take care, - Gung-Ho

JWR Replies: With a shipping weight of 203 pounds, you are probably better off buying locally, unless you live in a state with high sales tax. (The savings on which would offset the freight charges.) I prefer propane or diesel-engined gensets, due to the longer storage life of their fuels. Low RPM diesels last the longest, by far. (Roughly 20,000 hours for a diesel versus only 3,000 hours for a gas genset.) And that is precisely what I recommend to nearly all of my consulting clients. Looking at things from a "big picture" perspective, you pay a lot more for gas engines in the long run, because you'll be buying one every four or five years.  In contrast, a diesel may last you 20+ years. And, in fact, if you shop around diesels don't cost any more than a gas genset with the same output.  OBTW, I often see 5 KW diesel gensets with electric start sell for as little as $700 or $800 on eBay. You might also consider getting one with an extra co-axial 12 or 24 VDC winding, so that you can charge a battery bank more efficiently. (Plan ahead for the future, when you might have a PV power system.)

4,500 watts continuous and 5,500 watts peak is about the right size for a home backup generator, unless you have both a refrigerator/freezer and a chest freezer. (You can always alternate between the two, with a little cord shuffling.) However, if you live in a typical suburban housing development, I'd recommend that you get a 10 KW, if you can afford it. Why? Odds are that the next time you have lengthy power failure there will be neighbors tapping on your door--with extension cords slung over their shoulders! Believe me, they will hear your generator running. (And you will want to be charitable, right?)

Gensets on wheels that are over 6 or 8 horsepower tend to "walk" when operating, but you can overcome that either by strapping it down or by temporarily removing the wheels and bolting the frame to something solid. For a mid-size genset at a fixed site, you might just skip getting a wheel kit if you have a strong back and a sturdy wheelbarrow.

In my experience, recoil starters are generally the weak link with most low-priced mid-size (8 to 12 horsepower) gensets. Be prepared to pay a bit more for one with an electric starter (and manual backup.)

“Guess you broke into the wrong G** d*** rec room, didn't ya?" - Michael Gross as Burt Gummer, in "Tremors" (1990)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

One of the benefits of reading SurvivalBlog is that you get essentially free consulting. Once I began posting SurvivalBlog in August of 2005, my consulting income (at $50 per hour) dropped off to zero.  The reason was obvious: By merely e-mailing me their questions, folks can get them answered gratis, in the blog. I'm not begging for 10 Cent Challenge donations, but please consider that what your read in SurvivalBlog has some value. The sad fact is that only 32 readers (out of the +/- 9,000 that read SurvivalBlog every week) have ponied up 10 cents per day, or more.  :-(   Donations are of course entirely voluntary.

The USDA and the Agrobiz giants have been crafting a national animal identification scheme that threatens the traditional freedom of self sufficiency, the privacy of Americans, and the livelihood of organic farmers, and family farms. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is the creation of the Agrobiz giants Monsanto, Cargill Meat, National Pork Producers, and others to monopolize American food production using fear tactics to advance their agenda. The NAIS scheme was not created by any act of congress. Rather, it is merely a presumptuous bureaucratic dictate.

The NAIS plan requires two types of mandatory registration for everyone who owns even just one “livestock” animal. Every person who owns even just one horse, donkey, chicken, pigeon, goat, llama, sheep, pig, cow, alpaca, duck, farmed fish, etc. must register their name, home address, telephone number and Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates of their home in a Federal database.  Secondly, in order for any animal to leave its birth farm, the owner will be required to obtain a Federal ID number for it which will be kept in a national data base and have the animal biochipped. Animals will have to be registered if they leave the farm for any reason; to go on a trail ride, to go to a show or fair, to be bought or sold, to be bred by a stud on another farm, or to be taken to the local butcher, or anywhere else. The most likely type of ID will be a bio-microchip containing a low power radio transmitter so that the chips can be read from a distance. NAIS would allow “industry” to decide if retinal scans and DNA samples would also be required. Of course large scale Agrobiz has exempted itself from individual identification. (Agrobiz producers will be allowed to use one ID number for groups of hundreds or even thousands of animals that are raised and processed together.)
Americans will be required to report every time an animal enters or leaves their property, every time an animal loses a tag, every time a tag is replaced, the slaughter or death of an animal, or if an animal is missing. Such events must be reported in 24 hours or owners would suffer an as yet unspecified penalty. Small family farms and organic farmers will be driven out of business by the costs of premises registration fees, individual animal ID fees, event reporting fees, electronic tags or chips, electronic readers, home computers, Internet access, phone service, and reporting software. According to the USDA's plan all of these costs will be born by the animal owners.

NAIS might enhance Agrobiz’s export markets and allow tracing of animal movements to track disease outbreaks which is its stated goal. But it will not make the American consumer safer. The most common type of meat contamination in the United States is bacterial, such as E coli. and Listeria. It is not discovered until masses of people become ill. Since Agrobiz processes meat in huge packing plants with thousands of animals being slaughtered a day, NAIS is useless to determine if the contamination was from one animal, multiple animals, or unsanitary conditions at the packing plant itself. Contaminated meat from giant Agrobiz processor is sent to all 50 states endangering millions of consumers simultaneously. On the other hand family farms, organic farmers, and private citizens their animals in natural and healthy conditions because they are raising their animals for themselves and their neighbors’ tables. When they are driven out of the market, America’s food supply will become less safe not more so. The consolidation of America’s food supply by Agrobiz makes it more vulnerable to terrorists. As Americas meat industry becomes a giant monopoly where all meat is processed in a few giant packing plants then it becomes easier for terrorists to deliberately contaminate millions of pounds of meat in one attack.

I believe that many varieties of farm animals (not just rare breeds) will become extinct as individuals give up animal raising rather than submit to all the required fees and bureaucracy or agree to having their home pinpointed by satellite and their personal information put in a national database. The only animals that will survive will be those that Monsanto, Cargill and company deem the most profitable.

The USDA's NAIS Timeline:

• July, 2005: All States capable of premises registration.
• July, 2005: Animal Identification Number system operational.
• April, 2007: Premises registration and animal identification “alerts”.
• January, 2008: Premises registration and animal identification required.
• January, 2009: Reporting of defined animal movements required; entire program becomes mandatory.

I urge you to take immediate action in fighting the implementation of NAIS. Widespread objection by Americans can still stop the implementation of NAIS or at least create exemptions for religious objectors, home breeders, and/or small scale farmers and ranchers.

Please e-mail this posting to everyone that you know. Contact breed associations, organic and sustainable farming groups, neighbors, and family and ask them to oppose NAIS. Ask them to organize letter writing campaigns to the USDA. Write to your Federal and state legislators. Oppose any state level implementation of NAIS. (Some states such as Wisconsin are already implementing NAIS registration and biochipping.)

In particular, the USDA’s planned issuance of a NAIS rule for public comment in July 2006 will be a crucial juncture. Regular updates on the status of NAIS will be posted at http://wwwSurvivalBlog.com. When the public comment period is open, submit an individual comment letter, strongly expressing your disapproval. Get involved, or our another piece of our precious liberty will slip away.

Web Sites:
USDA resource about NAIS. http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/index.shtml

Regular updates on the status of NAIS: http://www.survivalblog.com

You can find contact information for Federal and state legislators at: http://www.vote-smart.org/index.htm  or http://www.firstgov.gov

Special Thanks to Mary Zanoni, Ph.D. (e-mail: mlz@slic.com) whose excellent article in the Jan./Feb. 2006 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal alerted us to NAIS.

There was a good article and a great editorial in the December issue of "Acres USA" (Best farm magazine in America:  http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm ) on NAIS. I know one employee of the Idaho Dept. of Agriculture who is very skeptical about NAIS. I found the Acres article, "Tagging Terrorist Chickens" at:
http://www.freetennessee.org/NAIS_proposal_overview.html. I still recommend reading the editorial in the magazine. Also, see Mary Zanoni's writing: http://www.warmwell.com/05sept30regsoppose.html The NAIS has been discussed on Timebomb 2K over the past year but not in much depth. There is now a Stop Animal ID Message Board: http://stopanimalid.org/forum/index.php I hope this helps some. Regards, - Daniel

Mrs. Rawles,
Living in Wisconsin we have implemented the NAIS this past October. Draconian is not quite the word for it. All farm animals, from chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, to cattle and pigs (seemingly horses are exempt, just food chain animals?) must be registered with the state. This information includes their location of residence. If you take your prize pig to the fair, it's new location (the fair) must be registered at the Wisconsin NAIS website, then when transported home it must of course be re-registered for your farm.
The states happy face promotion of this scheme has been centered around the rapid stemming of communicable or food chain threatening disease response. Looks like a great way to keep an iron fist on who has what/gets what during tough times to me. The Soviets never had such control over the Kulaks when they collectivized their farming industry.
Step two of this program is apparently a barcode system, which all animals will be required to have for I.D. purposes, again for the abovementioned facts.
Wisconsin has been the charter state for this scheme. We're the guinea pigs for the rest of the nation, which apparently is expected to follow in short order.
I don't have a link or web address to give you but by surfing around the Wisconsin.gov site, probably hit the agriculture or county extension links you should be able to find all the info you want. If you are unable to come up with something, let me know and I'll make an in person visit to the local county extension agent and get you some hard copy.
You and I (and most of the others on the Survivalblog) understand this has very little to do with disease, it has everything to do with CONTROL. Please remember that circa 1995 the U.N. was considering a program to issue everyone on the planet an I.D. card which would also contain the number of calories/sustenance they would be allowed (this was mentioned on a Michael Reagan radio show over several nights in 1995), what a better way to make sure no one is holding back something for themselves.  As I said above the Soviets have never had as extensive a database on each of their citizens as this country currently has. As a former scholar of Russian/Soviet history, it is absolutely chilling what the Fedgov could/can do when it implements a program. You may also want to take a close look at the "community government census" which has been getting issued about various parts of the country the past few months. Hope this helps
. - R.J.

A couple of comments on a couple of things: All of my (ham) radios are modified for out of band operations. No, it's not legal to use them to transmit on those frequencies, except
in an emergency. However, I can listen to public service agencies (not using trunked radios), listen (in the city) to the direct feed helicopter traffic reporters and get traffic reports all the time (one helicopter crew will report for a half-dozen or more different stations at different times during the hour), etc. Since most modern radios are very, very easy to modify (clip a diode or jumper) it's silly not to. My [Icom] IC-706G radios in the vehicles go just about from DC to daylight in frequency range. They don't transmit too well on certain bands but they receive on all of it. And, when I'm out of cell phone range (5-10 miles off an interstate freeway in the desert will usually do it although there are stretches of interstate highways that have no coverage at all) and nobody is answering on a ham repeater, I can call a public service agency for help. To use the radios on these frequencies, you need to have some technical data including not only the receive frequency but the transmit frequencies, and the CTCSS (Controlled Tone Coded Squelch System, also known as PL or Channel Guard) frequency since virtually all agencies use repeater systems. Getting this data is sometimes difficult, but it can be done. I concentrate on the state agencies (Highway Patrol, DPS, etc) and Federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Border Patrol. These agencies are changing their technology to trunking and so-called APCO-25 technology, these radios are still quite expensive to buy, and are not terribly ham radio friendly.
The radios that are capable of 10-meter bands are also usually able to be modified to cover the CB band (11-meter band). Also, for the old crystal controlled radios, for a small degree of instant secure channels, one can simply swap the transmit and receive crystals for a particular frequency and be on totally different [than expected] frequencies. This doesn't require finding new crystals (which is a lot harder than it used to be, and more expensive). BTW, the HF radios on AM bands (including CB bands if modified) put out a lot of power, which can burn out the front end of receivers if they're too close -- don't listen for a high-powered signal with a cheap handheld next to the antenna. Marine band handheld radios are pretty durable (water and shock resistant) and pretty inexpensive (on sale, well under $100 each). In a post-Schumer world, they may provide a convenient form of communications for those that are not technically adept. They have somewhat better range (similar to 2-Meter ham radios in simplex) than FRS radios, which are very short range.
Of course, a comprehensive communications setup will have a variety of frequencies and bands (circuits) available, since each band has it's advantages and disadvantages. There's no one-size fits all radio (except maybe the MBITR, but nobody can afford one but the military).
Hmmm, maybe I should write an article for consideration on communications...Imagine the howls of outrage you'll get from the die-hard hams about my sacrilegious suggestions to modify radios and use them for different services than intended :)  Telephone company backup batteries are a bargain. To refill them with acid, all that you have to do is buy some battery acid to refill them. Carboys (plastic bags in a box) of battery acid are available from auto parts stores, that's how they fill dry shipped batteries the first time. [Unless you own a forklift],  the phone batteries have to be emptied anyway for transport to a new location. If someone finds a deal like that, they should jump on it. The batteries have a service life of perhaps 30 years or more, and can have 1000 amps capacity. Yes, you have to wire them up for whatever voltage you want but if one cell goes bad you just replace the cell. Again, we wish you a happy, safe and secure new year. - "F1"

JWR Replies:  The phone companies are religious about rotating their batteries, and tend to do it when they still have about 1/3 of their useful service life left. So whenever you see any offered fro sale by the phone company itself, jump on them.  Be more cautious about those offered on the secondary market, as they may have been sitting around for a few additional years and hence may be badly sulfated.

Fred the Valmet-meister's letter got me thinking about radios. I've been using the SpecOps AN/PRC-104 HF radio, I have more than one, and I am continuously amazed. This afternoon, from my box canyon in central Colorado, wearing the backpack 20 watt radio, I held conversations with friends in Michigan, Virginia, SoCal, Oregon, Kansas and others of "The Group". This isn't what some call skip, this is a knowledgeable amateur operator plying the trade. The conversations were generally telephone quality. Tying this into Mr. Coffee's posting, I also use the SpecOps OP-177 power and battery charger kit which consists of four solar cells, a hand crank generator, and an AC charger which works on all common AC voltages [50 and 60 Hertz] and has matching plugs for all countries. I've used the solar cells to charge my truck batteries and sundry other things. The point about the radios and solar cells, in addition to being relatively inexpensive and extremely reliable, they are surplus. The military of all countries have more than just WW2 and Korean War guns, magazines and worn out canvas. There is a veritable wealth of modern stuff available. EMP proof computers. local and long reach radios, power producing items and simply lots of neat stuff. - The Army Aviator

In researching data this afternoon I came across a article in the MuseLetter (#149, dated August of 2004) at http://www.museletter.com/archive/149.html. It has an interesting history of our U.S. dollar and it's potential future. It also has reference to an petroleum website http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ that you may find interesting reading. (Also published 2004.) As an aside, World Net Daily mentioned that a reporter from Der Spiegel printed a story that the U.S. is preparing action against Iran's Nuclear program, possibly by March [I think that] 2007 and 2008 may be interesting times.

Hi Folks,
How about New Year Resolutions? Made any yet? We all will make plenty I'm sure. Why not make one to read the following books (if you already haven't) Patriots, Unintended Consequences, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, and Molon Labe. Also read the shareware novels Lights Out and The Bug Out. IMHO they are all excellent manuals for when TSHTF and TEOTWAWKI. They have all touched me deeply and profoundly. They have opened my eyes wider than back when we were preparing for the Y2K fire drill. The latest one that I read was The Bug Out [a short story by SurvivalBlog reader David Crawford, a.k.a. "Half Fast".] He also wrote Lights Out. I believe it was suggested by a SurvivalBlog reader. By the way, thank you. It's a short read of maybe an hour or two. Have your spouse read it as well. Heck, how's about the whole family. This would greatly help everyone be on the same page or at least understand where you are coming from (a big problem sometimes.) I would suggest that after reading it that you sit down and make a list of the right and wrong things the hero of the story did or didn't do. Review your answers with your own preparation plans. Plan accordingly. Honestly, it scared the Schumer out of me. I know we are all working as hard as we can and that's another reason why it scares me. Some of us, for whatever reason, will not be prepared. Besides Murphy's Law, I believe that nature will thin a lot of us out before we really get going. I don't want my family, myself or you and yours to be one of them. I hope this helps folks. - Larry in Kansas

JWR Replies: Thanks for making those book recommendations. Here are some sources for those books:

The Bug Out is posted online at: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=172494

Lights Out can be read in its entirety at: http://www.giltweasel.com/stuff/LightsOut-Current.pdf

The novel Molon Labe is available from Boston T. Party's Javelin Press.  (http://www.javelinpress.com/)

The novel Enemies Foreign and Domestic is available directly from Matthew Bracken's web site. (http://www.enemiesforeignanddomestic.com)

Most of the other books cited are available through Fred's M14 Stocks. As of this writing, Fred is still offering a great three book package deal: one copy of my novel "Patriots" + one copy of Matthew Bracken's novel Enemies Foreign and Domestic + one copy of Boston's Gun Bible, all for $50.

Please mention SurvivalBlog when you order any of these books!

The hens at the Rawles Ranch are starting to lay early this new year. One year it was "every elk recipe known to man." This year, I suspect, it will be: "every recipe containing eggs known to man."

o o o

I just heard that KT Ordnance is offering 10% off of all orders (all 80% complete frames, not just 1911s), that come from SurvivalBlog readers from now until the end of January. The sale pricing excludes tools and jigs. This is a great way to get yourself guns with no paper trail, since 80% complete receivers that you finish yourself are EXEMPT from Federal regulations! Make sure that you mention SurvivalBlog to get the 10% discount.

o o o

I recently updated my FAQ on Pre-1899 Guns. I hope that you find useful. See: www.rawles.to/Pre-1899_FAQ.html

o o o

The price of photovoltaic panels continues to drop. (Hooray!) For example, the folks at Ready Made Resources (one of our advertisers) has 200 watt panels for as little as $4 a watt! That is about 1/4 of what we paid per watt when we put in our first six panel tracker back in 1991.

“Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791

Monday, January 2, 2006

Please patronize our advertisers, since they provide most of the means to keep SurvivalBlog up and running! Seven of our 17 advertisers now track their click-throughs, so they are aware when it is a SurvivalBlog reader that visits their web site. If you haven't yet visited all of their sites to peruse their merchandise and services, please do so. Thanks!

I must agree with the previous poster, after becoming expert at diagnosing and smithing the Model 1911, I finally went the polymer gun way. A Glock will massively outlast a steel firearm--take abuse like an AK but still shoots accurately,. [Limited to a] "one handgun arsenal", the Glock 17 won. Shooting +P 9mm which vastly outperforms standard 9mm loads safe for antique firearms also allows me compatibility with military ammo stockpiles [Israeli Uzi SMG ammo] if imports here are stopped. BTW, I suggest that everyone at a minimum (and in addition to your regular bench reloader) have a "Lee Loader" hand (pocket size) reloader set, primers, powder, and both lead molds as well as factory bullets.

I was listening to a bunch of hams chatting last night; some from Arizona and some from California talking about radios and bands etc. One of the things they talked about was that outside of the big cities, even on the popular 2 Meter band, it is pretty dead; even in [populous] California. Still, the most popular and most reliable means of two-way communications on the road is the CB radio. It is also much "cleaner" outside of the cities as well. Anyway, it was interesting to hear since some of these guys that travel a lot. The hams that travel have a CB too. - Fred the Valmet-meister

I have really enjoyed reading your blog the past five months of 2005 and look forward to reading it in 2006. Who knows what 2006 will bring? Something is coming and we all should continue to prepare as best we can.  The information you and your other contributors share is invaluable. Thanks for going to all the trouble of maintaining the blog every day of the year for the benefit of all of us.
I found the letters from Norman and Mr. Whiskey in your Dec. 21st and 22nd editions about the idea that things may not return to “normal” even after one year to be really thought provoking as well as depressing.  It is difficult enough to store food, water and fuel for one year. But to think those stored items will run out and there still aren’t supermarkets and gas stations to go to is mind boggling. I have started to think “long term” as a result. Thanks.
I also appreciate the material you shared on “Resources for Going Off-grid” (Dec. 28th). In 2006 I am going to investigate installing solar panels just to run a small refrigerator or my computer at times to be able to access all of the material on surviving that I have stored.
I enjoyed the information you and others have shared on “Best Dog for a Retreat”. I have an Airedale and a Rottweiler and agree that both are excellent dogs for a retreat even though both are large and do eat a great deal of food. They are [in effect acting as] my LP/OP. Especially the Airedale which is incredibly alert all day and all night). BTW, my SOP is to bring them inside my “Alamo” (my retreat house) after they have served their purpose of waking us up when strangers approach the house. I wouldn't want to let them be shot and
I have come up with an idea that I would like to share. I know that you believe in steel plates to protect doors and windows in your retreat. What do you think about making wood "molds" and then pouring in concrete with re-bar reinforcement to make panels to protect doors and windows I have seven large windows, a back patio sliding door and front and back wooden doors in my retreat. Would three inch thick concrete slabs stop bullets? Just a thought.
Jim, thanks again for all your hard work and great information. It must be a great feeling to know that your blog may be helping thousand of people to survive the difficult times ahead. Your friend, Mr. Coffee

JWR Replies: Even if reinforced with re-bar, three inches of concrete will not stop repeated rifle fire.You will also find that 3" thick concrete panels any larger than about 24 inches square will be very difficult to move. (BTW, if you do take this route, be sure to cast in some protruding loops of rebar to act as handles.)

If you are handy with a saw and a screwdriver attachment for your drill motor, the following is a lighter-weight solution that will provide better ballistic protection than poured concrete. It is a variation on Joel Skousen's retreat door design: Make a framework out of 2x4s or 2x6s that will fit in each window frame. For each, cut two pieces of 3/4" thick plywood (preferably marine grade, for your wet climate) that will go on the front and back, in effect creating a box that is four or six inches deep. Tightly fill each box with gravel that is 3/4" or smaller ("three quarter minus"--but nothing smaller than large pea gravel) before power-screwing on the second plywood panel. Because the gravel will shift downward each time a bullet hits the ballistic panel, it will stand up to repeated high power .30 caliber FMJ rifle bullet hits in the exact same spot.  The beauty of using plywood is the bad guys will eyeball it and assume that it is vulnerable. They will hence waste lots of ammo, thinking that they are filling you with lead.  You can make a fake protruding gun ports with raised molding (painted black in the middle) in the center of each, and a small real gun port near the  off-center bottom of each panel. Paint some black squares and rectangles in a random pattern, to help conceal the real gun port.

There is some interesting data on how to run a self-sufficient farmstead on a tight budget at: http://www.eartheasy.com Yeah, they're tree huggers, but that does not detract from their useful knowledge. Anyone that can make a living like that deserves some attention.(The editors live on next to nothing in British Columbia.) They publish a free e-newsletter.

   o o o

The gent who operates Freeze Dry Guy recently updated his website (http://www.freezedryguy.com).  And BTW, we just updated the link from his ad on SurvivalBlog.  (The link formerly  was to e-mail him.  It now goes directly to his web site.) Check it out!

   o o o

Wow! The last time I checked, the spot price of COMEX silver was at $8.80 per ounce, and gold was at $516.60.  It looks like they've bounced back after their profit-taking, just as I predicted. If you think that you've missed the boat, not to worry. The precious metals are just starting a secular bull market run which will probably span a decade or more. Buy on the next dip.  A couple of years from now, you will look back wistfully at any spot silver price of under $12 an ounce as a great bargain. Don't hesitate. Otherwise, you'll kick yourself, doubtless with vociferous "Shoulda, Woulda, Couldas"!

   o o o

I made a few more additions to the SurvivalBlog Glossary.

“It is our sacred duty to transmit unimpaired to our posterity the blessings of liberty, which were bequeathed to us by the founders of our Republic.” - Andrew Johnson

Sunday, January 1, 2006

I wish all of the readers of SurvivalBlog a happy, healthy, prosperous, and well-provisioned new year. I pray that "Aught Six" will be a great year for you. Let me know your new year's resolutions related to preparedness, via e-mail, and I will be glad to post them anonymously.

I am new to the blog.  Just got your book "Patriots" and realized I am nowhere near ready.  Question is:  What are the best Citizen's Band (CB) radios for both base and mobile use.  Can you give me a few brands and models? I am interested in long range. I am a ham so am familiar with the terminology, but not familiar with CB. I think when the crunch comes there are going to be more CB people out there than hams. Thanks. - R.I.P.

JWR Replies: I tend toward either:

  • Pre-1980 crystal-tuned 23 channel SSB-capable CBs with a full five watt output, or
  • Late-1980s or early-1990s synthesized 40 channel SSB-capable CBs that have multiple IC designs.

The advantage of the radios in both of there eras is that in an emergency they can easily be modified for out-of-band ("free band") transmission by someone with basic electronics skills. In the case of the crystal-tuned radios, by simply substituting special out-of-band "bastard" crystals, and in the case of the later synthesized radios by clipping wires and adding resistors, jumper wires, and/or switches.) See the SurvivalBlog Archives for some specific maker/model recommendations and web site links for free band modification details. (Posted on Sept. 14, 2005, under the title "Marine Band and Out of Band ("Free band") CB Radio Modifications.") Note that I do not encourage any illegal modification or operation of CB radios out of band, and that any information on such modifications is for scientific/educational purposes only.

I thought the point was to have a home-based business that could survive in the boonies…?
I don’t see much need for a locksmith, gunsmith, or alarm installer in the boonies where most structures are on huge acres of land with fences and who knows how many dogs on the property, let alone a cantankerous old coot with a heavily worn double-barrel shotgun… <grin>
Even repairs are pushing it when neighbors may be a mile or more away… that is a SMALL customer base.
How many guns near you in the boonies that need custom gunsmithing? Another small customer base. Only the BEST gunsmiths get guns shipped to them for work…, then shipped out when finished.
The truly promising home-based businesses are either MAIL / UPS / FEDEX based, such as mail order and Internet sales, or home based businesses over the internet, such as accounting, med. Transcription (now mostly foreign cheap labor), etc…
Just some thoughts and possible target realignment. - Robert

Here's some to home based businesses to consider:
Professional Genealogist. See http://www.apgen.org/ . If it sounds interesting, do research on your own family to see if it's your kind of thing. Start by going to http://www.familysearch.org/ , click on "Order/Download Products", click on "Software Downloads--free", download the first Personal Ancestral File (PAF) in the listing. PAF is as robust as any program that you'd pay money for--plus all genealogists know it well. You can offer your services to search in your local area. If you like being a detective you can have a lot of fun/make a bit of money.

JWR Adds: The Memsahib and I have used PAF for organizing our genealogical research since about 1988. However, we recently switched to Reunion for our Apple Macintosh computers. We find that Reunion is easier to use, has more features, and most importantly it produces "clean" GEDCOM format files for export for use with other genealogy programs and word processing programs. (With the Mac version of PAF we had numerous file corruption problems with GEDCOM export files. But we've heard that the PC versions of PAF are less glitchy.)
Indexer. You receive manuscripts electronically and use special software to set up indexed words, concepts. If you are a careful reader (and especially if you smirk when you find a typo!) this may be for you. http://www.asindexing.org/site/indfaq.shtml. Hey, index "Patriots" so we can find all those cool ideas without having to read the thing nine times!

Scopist. A scopist takes a court reporter's dictation and transcribe it via special software into appropriate format for attorneys. Very interesting work--I suggest doing civil work rather than criminal because it can get pretty gruesome. Find scopists on the internet. Don't spend bucks on a "school." Instead, find a scopist who needs help (they like to go on vacations, too!) and volunteer to work for free to get trained. You'll need a transcription machine to transfer info into the computer. Check your favorite attorney to find who the local scopists are and what the typical rates are for your area.
Grow and dry wild flowers. Search the web to see what's hot, what's not. One of my daughters worked for a man with a piddly 1⁄2 acre lot who sold his stuff by mail throughout the country. Can you grow Baby Breath? I remember teenagers in my Church going to Eastern Washington to pick Baby's Breath (your wife will know what this is) for florists. Here in Hawaii, you can buy a lei made from about 25 tennis-ball size orchids for $3!! Too bad they can't be shipped stateside. But here's a clever graduation tradition--use Saran Wrap and twist in bite-size candy to make a candy lei (for graduation from 6th grade?). Advertise in the PTA.
Grow Lavender--it's a big deal for growers in Washington State; if your climate can support it, give it a look.
I know a guy who has a multi-acre rose-growing operation--he sells rose plants at Farmer's markets, and he must be making money because he's there every weekend.
Which reminds me--check out the possibility of growing plants used in spices--do you know what you pay per pound for spices--Yikes!
Look into Square Foot Gardening, http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ , especially to become a supplier of garden-fresh produce for up-scale (or wanna-be upscale) restaurants. His book/DVD has good stuff and he tells you exactly how to pitch the produce to local places. And a plus--you get to learn all about intensive gardening.
Can you set yourself up to treat discarded food oil to make it useable in diesel engines and then supply the locals? It's going to be more and more popular--but you'll need a willing bunch of sources--maybe those same upscale restaurants?!
Bake whole wheat specialty breads for local outlets (organic food stores, chic restaurants). Hey, that reminds me--timbales. You'll have to hunt to find the ones that are saucer-sized. When I was a kid, the little concession stands had them hung all lined up on a horizontal stick--you plunked down your money (in those days a dime) and DaMan took one off, sifted powder sugar on it and away you went. Looks like a lot, but it's mostly air. Easy to do; try it at home first, of course--start with the little timbale forms.
Okay, some of these aren't quite home-based, but think outside the box. Maybe for a relatively small investment you can involve your kinds in a free-enterprise business effort. Like a little concession trailer outside the high school ball game where you'll sell "shave-ice" (not sno-cones!!!--and NOT "shaveD ice!!!"). Then move it around town to all the public events. Get license, pay the fees, taxes--it makes America great!
Did you see the Hostess wedding cake? http://www.cybersalt.org/cleanlaugh/images/05/weddingtwinkie.htm . Sure, it's silly, but if you'd like to get into cake decorating, you can get noticed by offering one of these babies for laughs. Of course, you'd better learn how to do serious decorating.
Have you got a nice rural setting? People pay big bucks for wedding receptions in "different" (but not dirty) sites. Also, Public schools have money for taking kids on field trips--can you organize a ride on a hay wagon pulled by your tractor? Develop a maze. How about a couple of those dorky wood characters with a hole for a face, so people can get their picture taken as Ma/Pa Kettle--do it digitally and sell them a photo hot off your photo printer.
This reminds me; many people do very well by visiting schools and putting on assemblies--do you have/know/do something that can entertain/involve students? I've seen some very mediocre paid-for assemblies in my teaching days, so think about it.
Do you live in an interesting area? Do the locals know about places the casual visitors never see? Write up a must-see list and sell it on the Internet.
Does your hometown (or nearby town) have curbs in residential areas? Make a cardboard mask so you can block out an area of curb in front of a house and spray a black background; then use stencils to spray the house address on the blackened curb--firemen and cops love this idea--at $2 per sign, you can make quite a few bucks on a Saturday. Get the license! Pay the fees! Don't harass the homeowner--get permission first.
Well, come to think of it, don't just think outside the box--use the box itself! - B.B. In Hawaii

Mr. Rawles,
One comment on your recommendations for cottage industry jobs. I highly encourage people to learn as much about gunsmithing as possible, but it is very difficult to make a living at this trade. I worked five years part time for a self employed gunsmith who could not have made ends meet if he had not had another skill (made dentures for dentists) and a wife who worked. Our business always suffered when the economy dipped. Having a gun fixed is not a priority in non-SHTF times. And being a small time gunsmith means that you can’t afford to invest in expensive machinery, so most work is very labor intensive. Keeping a stock of parts for most common repairs is costly. There are probably more different kinds of guns than cars. Of course most of these problems can be circumvented with some time, work, and creativity, but only the sharpest and most experienced gunsmiths make a good living.
Another minor problem is that lots of people who come into your shop like guns and want to talk to you about them. You need to be courteous and encouraging about gun ownership, but this time spent talking pays zero per hour.
And of course to legally work on other people’s guns, you have to apply for and pay fees to get an FFL. That means that an ATF agent can come by and examine your records and inventory. Gunsmiths and FFL holders who work out of their homes are rapidly disappearing because of the general bias by the ATF against anyone who does not (or even who does) have a storefront with regular hours.
Gunsmithing is a great skill, and a wonderful hobby, but it’s not a very good way to make money I’m afraid. I hope others have had a more positive experience. - C.G. in NC

JWR Replies: I recommend gunsmithing only if you can develop a specialty and eventually a reputation for expertise in the specialty that will attract mail order business from clients all over the country.

North Dakota News
This following text is from a county emergency manager out in the western part of North Dakota after the recent snow storm: WEATHER BULLETIN
Up here in the Northern Plains we just recovered from a Historic event --- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44 inches of snow and winds to 90 MP that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities
and cut power to tens of thousands. FYI:
o       George Bush did not come...
o       FEMA did nothing...
o       No one howled for the government...
o       No one blamed the government
o       No one even uttered an expletive on TV...
o       Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit
o       Our Mayors did not blame Bush or anyone else
o       Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either
o       CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit - or report on this Category 5 snow storm
o       Nobody demanded  $2,000 debit cards...
o       No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House...
o       No one looted...
o       Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government do something
o       Nobody expected the government to do anything, either
o       No Larry King, No Bill O'Reilly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera
o       No Sean Penn, No Barbra Streisand, No Hollywood types to be found
o       Nope, we just melted the snow for water
o       Sent out caravans of SUVs to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars
o       The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny
o       Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families
o       Families took in the stranded people - total strangers
o       We fired up wood stoves
o       Broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns
o       We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die"
o       We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks.
o       Even though a "Category 5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early...we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.
" In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% most of the world's social problems evaporate."
Hurray for North Dakota. You are my kind of people.....You don't sit on your rear and cry for someone else
to do it for you. You do what has to be done, yourself. But, unfortunately, you will have to pay, for the rest of your life, for those who are too lazy (slovenly) to do anything for themselves... - H.A.H.

“I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor edge of danger and must be fought for, whether it's a field, or a home, or a country.” - Thornton Wilder
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