June 2006 Archives

Friday, June 30, 2006

You have just four more days to order my preparedness course at the special introductory price. If you wait until after July 4th, the price will jump to $150!

As a regular reader of Survival Blog, I thought others might like a “field trip” report from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s (MREA) Energy Fair held this past weekend. This is an annual event hosted in central Wisconsin and it has had a growing number of attendees; last year’s fair drew over 10,000 and this year it was expected to draw ~17,000 people over its three days. In my mingling, I encountered people who had traveled from as far as New mexico, southern Oklahoma, Kansas, and many from Wisconsin and bordering states.
The fair is a collection of vendors, presentations, and daily featured speakers. Suppliers of everything from solar ovens, solar panels, wind turbines, and passive solar hot water heaters have their products on display and there are usually at least six seminars going on at any one time on topics as diverse as grey water management, saving seeds, and straw bale construction. This year’s speaker on Saturday was James Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency. If anyone is thinking of buying into alternative energy, this fair is a great place to talk with a variety of suppliers as well as people who have real-world experience using the products.
I attended a number of special seminars and found most all to be very informative and well done. The people presenting were truly focused on educating and sharing information rather than on selling. Some had web sites and a few had written small do-it-yourself manuals which could be purchased if desired. There was also a lot of time given for questions from the audience.
Of particular interest on Saturday was James Kunstler’s keynote speech. For those not familiar with his book, it is a brief synopsis of our (U.S.) society’s creation of an “easy motoring utopia” supported by cheap and abundant petroleum products. If you have not read it, I would recommend it as a number of people to whom I have lent my copy have described it as life-changing. If nothing else, it is a very well written “eye opener” for those who have yet to come to appreciate our relationship (addiction) with oil.
Mr. Kunstler’s speech was untitled, but I believe a fair topic statement would have been “We need to make other arrangements.” He commented on what he termed the current state of delusional thinking and noted that the only thing we’re debating is how we’re going to keep the cars running without oil. His point was that no combination of alternative fuels will allow us to continue operating the interstate highway system, the big box retail stores, and the 12,000 mile supply chain. There were several times when he repeated that “life is tragic and Americans have made some tragic choices.” This was followed by the admonition that “we need to make other plans.”
He also spent some time discussing what he termed the new religion in America: the worship of unearned riches. The thoughts here could be summed up by the idea that bad behavior is driving bad choices and vice versa. Although he did not mention it, I could not help but think about people who have escalating credit card debt and are living in housing funded by ARMs [adjustable rate mortgages] that will index upward as interest rates rise.
Much of the talk was very similar to what is described in his book, so I will not reiterate or spoil the read for those who have not yet read it. However, he did mention some points which I do not recall from his published work. Mr. Kunstler was very clear in his opinion that people are expecting a smooth transition through this energy crisis. His personal feeling was that “we should expect a fair amount of disruption.” Also, he commented on the risk of “political mischief” as the hardship becomes more dire. His point was that people have been living in a utopia where, in general, if you wait a little while, prices will stabilize, stocks will trend upward, and life will be basically what we have come to understand as “normal.” In the long emergency, that will all change and his opinion is that the American public is going to be begging to be told what to do. This opens the door for politicians to implement policies for the common good but of perhaps dubious real benefit.
In closing, I would like to share a very salient point Mr. Kunstler made about a question he said that he often receives when lecturing at colleges and universities. Following his gloomy review of peak oil and the state of society, someone usually asks “can’t you give us any hope?” To this he had a two-part commentary: First, it is interesting (tragic?) to note the word choice and that there is an expectation that hope can simply be “given.” This, he mentioned, was a common thought pattern in both young and older adults. The second part of his analysis was that each person is going to need to figure out how to do this for themselves. His model for how this happens is that you need to demonstrate that you’re a capable person who can get things done. This gives you the ability to dwell in a hopeful mindset. As readers of Survival Blog, I would think that most of us are maintaining a fairly high level of awareness of the complex world in which we live. While this may not always be the most reassuring outlook, having this awareness and doing some planning will put us all in a much better mental place if or when something "bad” happens. Regards, - Max

I've been living with a Seiko 5 military style mechanical movement (self winding) action watch for about 6 months now. I and am convinced they are one of the better deals going right now in a quality, metal, watch that will never need batteries. Overstock.com currently has these for under $100. They're very hard to find here in the U.S.A., and tend to sell out rapidly. The only negative item I can list about these watches is that they need to be worn daily, as the the self-winding power "reserve" won't last beyond 24 hours without wrist movement. I really like mine, and will buy probably buy one or two more. - Jay in Florida

Unlike anyone else that has written, including Steven UP, I have lived in Western Montana my entire life, save a few travels around to world. I also grew up hunting and fishing here (we were, well, poor when I was a kid. I think I was eleven before I ever ate a beef steak. I thought red meat came form the woods in Fall!)
As to the primary concern of wolves over-running farm in a SHTF scenario, that will be the least of your worries. As to the idea that elk and deer populations are being decimated by wolf packs, that is 100% USDA Certified Bovine Scatology! If a wolf eats one ton (your number, Steven) of red meat, that's about two elk per year per wolf. To compare, an adult cougar kills and eats a deer a week (lions are picky eaters and will seldom return after three to four days on a kill. By then the coyotes have usually licked the bones clean anyhow.)
No, the greatest predator to the Montana elk population is the some 250 thousand out-of-state hunters which descend on our fair state each year. Conversely, the greatest killer of mule deer seems to be the Freightliner and Buick variety. Mule deer populations in Western Montana are at all-time highs. We have urban populations, not that have been encroached upon by urban sprawl, but deer herds that have come out of the hills into the old parts of town, and live full time in our parks, yards, and greenways. Along with them have come the cougars, for where there are deer, there are mountain lions. That largely accounts for the increase in human-lion encounters.
But, if wolves aren't a problem, why the laws to protect livestock and dogs, you ask? Because the wolf is STILL a protected species. The law, if you take thee time to read it, is for the protection of the landholder/rancher who kills a wolf which is threatening attacking his animals. It also provides for monetary compensation for animals destroyed by re-introduced wolves.
But, the biologist, I can hear you saying...what about their findings? The example you cite, Steven, is talking about Yellowstone Park...a PARK, for Pete's sake, where the wolf has no competition for elk for about a third of the year, and then only moderate competition from the grizzly bears, which would rather eat berries and garbage than go hunting elk. (Don't get me wrong: grizzlies are THE King of the Forest, and anywhere else they are! They are superb hunters. It's just that bears in general are prodigious eaters, and will concentrate on the easiest meal around. That might be you, so keep in mind that the closer you are to a grizzly bear, the further you are from the top of the food chain.)
So, wolves are wild predators. be aware of their presence, and respect their abilities. The same goes for cats, big and small, bears of all varieties, and dogs, which as rehashed elsewhere, will be returned to their wild state after TEOTWAWKI. arrives. Of them all, I'm convinced that feral dogs pose the greatest threat, if for no other reason than the overwhelming numbers in a worst-case scenario.
There, enough kicking this dog (sorry, too easy!). This is Survival Blog.com, not Earth First or Animal Planet. Just my $1.83 worth (two cents , adjusted for inflation) - Bonehead


Some interesting letters about the wolf problem in the Lower 48. I live west of the border from the original poster in northeastern Wisconsin. Most of the information the writer gave is unfortunately too correct. Since the early 90's the wolf population has boomed here. Although the state census says there are only about 550 or so in the state, observation in the field around the state would tend to make you think there are considerably more than that number. The northern third of Wisconsin is considered wolf habitat, yet nearly 10 years ago they colonized the central state forests and continue to show up all the way to Illinois and Iowa. Every year several are car-killed in those areas.
In my area deer populations have really nosedived when the wolf packs took over. Essentially many of the federal, state, and county forests in the northeast part of the state have had drastic (like close to 90%) drops in deer populations. Small game has shown a similar decline. Snowshoe and cottontail have dropped below their normal low cycle and never rebounded. Walking through the bush in many places is like walking through a morgue, no sounds, no tracks, no critters. Very erie. For those doubting the efficacy of the wolf as a predator of large game, the elk restoration project in the Clam Falls area is at a virtual standstill. A news article in this past Sunday's Wausau Herald detailed the cause as wolf predation on calves and cows. At this point the population is where it was about 8 years ago, 125 head, not the projected 500-700 head for 2007. On a high note, where wolves move in coyotes disappear, much as fox are gone when coyote take over.
As for wolf attacks on pets and livestock, they are increasing rapidly. This state has stopped compensation in most cases, instead merely issuing warnings that a particular "pack" is aggressive so don't take dogs into "their" area. If you do you're on your own, but of course don't use force to protect your dogs. Many dogs are just taken from their yard, you don't need to be running bear or hunting birds to have your dog hit. Just in the last couple weeks a local had a full grown holstein pulled down by wolves. The DNR "fish cop" that investigated felt coyotes had pulled down the 1200 pound cow. When the farmer asked about the 5 inch wide [canine] tracks all over the carcase the warden told him they were coyote! So the farmer then told the warden he'd just shoot the coyote that made the tracks and all would be well, which didn't sit very well with the fish cop of course. This is typical of how farmers are handled now. Up until about 2001 compensation wasn't too bad, but after that it was a case of prove the wolf had done it, tracks apparently don't count. One gentleman over in Burnett county had something over 20 head killed and was paid for 3 as I recall.
As for human attacks, none have happened in this state (in the current era of the wolf) yet. Three times I've hade to push wolves out of my yard, twice while they were trying to get my dogs behind a 4 foot high fence. This is pretty much the norm if you live in the bush here. Many of the loggers now only work armed, having had too many close encounters with wolves that just hang out a few yards away while they are working. Having not been hunted these animals have no fear of humans at all. It's not uncommon to have one walk by you in the bush, eye you up and then circle, like it's looking for a weakness. I have never had a wolf encounter in this area where the animal runs away in fear, like coyote or bear. They might give way but always grudgingly. David Mech, the foremost wolf expert for North America has tried to encourage the DNR to begin a harvest on the animals, to keep them in check but to date nothing. I suspect the state is soaking up the wolf "recovery" federal dollars, so the longer the de-listing process takes they more they make. Mr. Mech's greatest fear is that sooner or later a child or two will be killed, then as in the latest Indian episode all wolves will be painted with the same brush and those living in wolf country will do their damndest to change that designation by unlimited albeit illegal harvest.
The DNR doesn't give out much in the way of wolf kill figures, but if this area is like the rest of the "wolf country" in the state, their must be 75 head that follow the Montana path to Nirvana every year. Those of us that live in the bush have gotten a little tired of the "greenies" pushing their newest pet off on us with no consequences for them. - Doubletap

SurvivalBlog reader Jim K. suggests stocking up on this mondo tire sealant.

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Ready Made Resources, (our biggest advertiser) is brokering the sale of a very hard to find upgraded P-10 self-contained NBC shelter. He is selling it on behalf of an acquaintance. When sold new, these shelters sell for $100,000 with all of the options included in this one, such as the 1,000 gallon water tank and Level 4 protective entry door. (Cutting torch and .308 bullet proof!) These very rarely come up for sale in used condition, so don't miss this chance to buy one for only one-fourth of what it would cost to buy one new. It is being sold "on site", so you would have to pay for hauling. (About $4,000 to the Midwest, or $6,000 to the West Coast.) Please mention that you saw it on SurvivalBlog for a nifty bonus.

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SurvivalBlog reader C.G. in Ohio found this one: Some serious Food for Thought and Grounds for Further Research (FFTAGFFR) in this speech about Peak Oil at the Naval Post Graduate School

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As mentioned at the RWVA Blog, the RWVA Independence Day Celebration is scheduled for July 4th in Ramseur, North Carolina. They will celebrate the most American of holidays with rifle marksmanship events designed to test you and your equipment! They'll start the day with some quick riflery instruction, followed by lots of hot and heavy action on the pop-up targets, along with whatever else the RWVA crew can devise to build our skills. Don't miss it -- one day of practical rifle fun like nowhere else in the nation! Time: Gates open at 8:30 am, and they'll shoot until dark or out of ammo. Entry: $45

"Upon the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions, who when on the dawn of victory paused to rest, and there resting died." - John Dretschmer

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Many thanks to the dozens of SurvivalBlog readers that have placed pre-publication orders for the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course.

Hello James,
In reading D.A.B.'s query about hardening a Fiber Board Overhead garage door, several thoughts come to mind. All have additional questions that need to be asked. It sounds like his main concern is for the attack of his door with power tools, namely... Chainsaw. I’ll get to that in a few minutes.
How many people don’t lock the [connecting] door between their home and their garage when at home or away? When you go to get your vehicle serviced, go to work, shopping, parked in your driveway,….where is your overhead door transmitter??? A quick break of the glass, grab the button off of your visor, and boom, right into the house the bad guy goes. (I bring this up as security does nothing if holes in the program like this are not changed!). I don’t know about you, but I don’t leave my house keys with the dealership when I get service work done.This is a topic with so many things that could be of merit. Let me start with some problems that I see as areas of concern with Overhead doors:
1. Large doors = Large void of structure
2. Moving heavy items can be dangerous, (i.e.- without power)
3. As a whole, Garage doors are not the least bit secure in design
4. Seals fail on an almost predictable basis, (like 4 days after the door is installed, they just sit there and look pretty for the next 12 months before they tear and fall apart.
5. Your only as secure as your operator, (mechanical opener)
6. Just because your springs lift the door, does not mean that the ceiling will support the additional weight.
7. In a detached building scenario, overhead door security should be more commonly thought about. If the door is compromised, by the would be “burglar”, “attacker”, “whatever”, can simply close the door behind him and be hidden.
8. Doors typically don’t survive a 60mph. wind, (dependent on style and size).
The items above are to promote thought as all circumstances are different. If you are using your “building” as your retreat, … you better figure out a way to seal that door from airborne particulates. I can’t think of a single surefire way to do so. I would recommend a second door on the interior that allows you to essentially cut the air pathway in half. Spend some time designing seals on the inner door; these won’t be subject to UV-A and UV-.B so these will last longer.
I would consider having an exterior vertical overhead door, and an interior sliding door, or possible a series of manageable weight panels that can be set in place. (Again, think through your situation, (time, $, and user friendliness are all considerations that will alter the outcome of your design).
Your electrical mechanical opener is subject to attack by anyone with the electrical knowledge and a code seeking transmitter. It is best to “disable” your electricity to your door when you are not needing it. There are various Overhead Door Brand products that patent a “code dodging” technology which is better than not having it at all.
If wanting to improve the “bullet resistance” to an overhead door, I can offer no solution that would attach to the door except something ultra expensive as Kevlar. In my opinion, most other viable options would add too much weight to the door to be practical. If seeking to fortify the door from a bullet attack, I would suggest building a series of walls on the inside of the building forming a mini-stall that you can pull your vehicle into and shut the door. Again, dependant on your needs, you could build a series of walls that form a maze which you can still pull your vehicle in and around, but a stray bullet would not find its way into your retreat if the door was open. A bullet resistant wall design option like one talked about some time ago on SurvivalBlog would be relatively easy: A wall sandwiched with plywood and filled with gravel. Think of it as an interior loading dock. This does however take up considerable space in your building, so plan accordingly. D.A.B. asked if weight would be a problem. I have constructed many custom overhead doors in where I applied additional layers to an already existing door. In these applications, I had the door weighed, and kept in contact with a professional installer whom gave his advice on how fasteners should be set, and what would provide a less maintenance prone install when complete.
After weighing the door, he ordered a Torsion Spring of adequate size to aid in the lift, (if a lift type door is what we are discussing here).
To prevent a chainsaw attack, mass is not always the answer. Kevlar Chaps for loggers operate on the principle that they “gum up the teeth so bad that it stalls the motor or blade”.
I can see a multi-layered door of this fashion-
Layer 1- (the door)
Layer 2- (overlay) a layer of metal lath. Keep it loose, set it in place, and cover with your desired exterior layer.
Layer 3- (overlay the metal lath) with your desired final material to be shown from the outside of your structure, (i.e.- Masonite/ cedar/ aluminum, etc…). I would personally give the metal lath a hidden 3⁄4” void to[allow it to] “flop around in”. Fasten a series of 1”x 6” boards at the edges of the doors, (this is a good reinforcement for the door as the hinges should now be fastened through these as well as your door for added strength. You can drop down to 1”x 2” strips on all other seam edges. Then apply your final layer.
The metal lath, (used by masons, tile setters, and plasterer’s), is very lightweight. If the product is allowed to be loose, it will even slow the attack of a SawZall as the material simply has no rigidity (this acts much like the “gum up” theory of the loggers chaps). I would think that some metal banding like what is used to strap bunks of lumber together would work equally as well. These are very tough and very light. Stapling horizontal and vertical grid work of metal strapping (wood bundle/crate banding) maybe even a choice bonus to add to the hidden layer of metal lath, (again, loose is good). Try chain-sawing or sawzalling a loose piece of lumber banding sometime. (That is sarcasm and not intended to be tried.)
Think outside the box, and capitalize on a professional’s experience. It is so nice to do a project once! - The Wanderer


Mr. Rawles:
All methods of hardening a fiberboard door are inferior to getting a steel door. One way to harden against a chainsaw while you are gone is to go to a local farm supply store and buy several cattle panels. These can be cut to a length wider than your door, allowing you to bolt / unbolt and remove them when you are there. Put them up on inside and secure when you leave, remove them when you come back, use them for their intended purpose when you get a better garage door. Fiber doors are not good security doors. A sledgehammer, saw, etc., will make quick work of them. Another way is to simply block the door. Best method I have found [for defeating burglars during extended absences] is to (assuming you have the capability to move the same) pull a shipping container across the doorway and leave it. - Straightblast


If D.A.B. really wants a secure door, I would suggest building double sliding doors. Each door would be one half the width of the opening, and mounted [on a top and bottom rail system] on the outside of the building. Each half would slide away from the centerline on tracks. They could be made of anything from concrete to steel. Assuming (as dangerous as that is) that D.A.B.'s steel building is the standard type, the problem is that if the door is stronger than the structure itself, the bad guys will just cut a whole in the wall of the building. I ran into this a couple of times back when I was doing security systems for a living. Your best bet is to just not let anyone know what's in it, and make it look like there is nothing there worth stealing. ALL physical security can be defeated with a bit of work. The objective is to increase the amount of work it takes to beat the security to the point where it's not worth the effort. There are very few of us that can afford physical security that would take more than a few tools, and a little sweat to defeat. Camouflage is much more effective than any lock. - Fanderal

JWR Replies: Given enough time, any physical security structure can be defeated. In essence, they serve only as delays rather than absolute safeguards. Serious burglars will have access to bolt cutters, abrasive cutoff wheels, chainsaws, SawzAlls, and probably oxyacetylene cutting torches. They might even have more exotic tools such as a Magmafusion cutting rod/torch or fire-rescue "Jaws of Life." To have truly effective security, you need to have someone living at your retreat full time, or at least nearby neighbors that can watch your place.

Some of us just ignore our left-eye dominance and train to work with it instead of training out of it. ;-) I don't have much trouble with mine.
Kit @ Forevervain.com


Hi Jim,
I am cursed with being a Left Eye Dominant, Right Handed shooter. To further confuse things, I shoot pistols Right Handed and rifles Left Handed. After getting back into the gentlemanly sport of firearms in 1999 and doing much research, I looked for guns with ejection paths that did not scare me. I found that although Benelli has Left Handed models available, their Right Handed semi-automatic shotguns worked just fine when shot Left Handed. I ended up with the predecessor to the “M2 Tactical”. I love the Glock for its K.I.S.S. design (no confusing external safety levers) and have become a Glockaholic. Finally, my Bushmaster AR-15 (16”) is just so cute to shoot.

Today, seven years later, I am still satisfied with my choices. However, I am toying with the idea of getting a “true” Left Handed AR-15 design from Stag Arms in New Britain, Connecticut. The downside is that their rifle uses proprietary parts that would not be available in a post SHTF scenario. But, Jim... I have this lust for one. LOL! Regards, - Doug S. in Connecticut


Stag Arms makes a very nice left handed [variant of the] AR-15. My best friend has one and it shoots just as well as my right handed one. They are reasonably priced, too. - D.C.

JWR Replies: My guidance on the Stag Arms rifle is the same as that for any other firearm that uses unique or proprietary parts: Buy a lot of spare parts. And be certain that the spares are truly "drop in" replacements, that do not require hand fitting. Otherwise, you may end up with a useless ornament instead of a practical tool for post-TEOTWAWKI.


Ready for a North Korean EMP Attack?

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Jason in North Idaho mentioned S-Meter.com: Some Great Ham Radio Info and Forums

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Is silver becoming more rare than gold?

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Lots of SurvivalBlog readers patronize Northern Tool & Equipment, one of our biggest affiliate advertisers. The great news is that for our readers in the UK, we just signed an affiliate agreement with Great stuff. Check them out. If you place an order, we get a little piece of the action. Thanks.

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Mr. Bravo mentioned A fascinating piece from The Annals of Internal Medicine on “Planning for Avian Influenza.” Speaking of influenza preparedness, be sure to order your copy of my preparedness course at the special introductory price. If you wait until July 5th, the price will jump to nearly $150!

"Good judgment comes from experience. And where does experience come from? Experience comes from bad judgment." - Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We couldn't resist picking up some sheep for the ranch from a local family that will soon be moving across the country. They had way too many animals to take with them and were willing to deal. It is a small flock of Jacob sheep. This breed is usually considered more of a "fiber" breed rather than a meat breed because of their smaller size. But, we like them for meat because of their lean carcass. Also their smaller size makes them a lot easier for me to handle by myself. They are white sheep with black spots ("piebald"), and often have four horns.They are very decorative little sheep and sell well as pets to hobby farmers. We got a nice four horned ram and three ewe lambs.

I recently stumbled into an amazing cache of books from an estate, at a bargain price. These are all our kind of books: preparedness, self-sufficiency, homesteading, gardening, canning, shooting, retreat architecture, livestock, recipes, carpentry. metal working, outdoor survival, NBC protection, fire and burglary protection, offshore relocation, and a few "hard money" investing books. I've just added these 50+ books to my mail order catalog, all at very reasonable prices. They are first come, first served. Please let me know via e-mail which ones that you want me to set aside for you. OBTW, I pay for the postage and tracking on any order over $50 sent to a U.S. address.

I am a long time fan of the products from Kel-Tec in Florida. They offer stuff that is affordable, practical and strong. They have gained well deserved notoriety from their credit-card sized .32 and .380 pistols and their folding .223 rifles, but this is not the only compact rifle they offer. Their best backpack offering is the Sub-2000, a folding pistol-caliber rifle that, when collapsed, is only 16.5" long. It is available in 9mm or .40 S&W, and you choose which type of pistol magazines it feeds from when you buy it (Glock, Beretta, SIG, S&W). Mine is a .40 S&W and feeds from Glock [M23] magazines, so that I have interchangeability between my sidearm and long gun ammo and magazines. It fits handily into a day pack, which is even more stealthy than a full sized backpack. It fits inside the semi-hidden water-bladder pouch in my Camelbak, even when it's full of water. When hidden behind a half-full water bladder it is very difficult to find even if you're doing a hand-search of the pack. I've had law enforcement friends search it to see if they could find it. None did, unless I told them there was a something in it and to keep looking. The weight of the rifle is concealed beautifully by the water bladder, so it doesn't even seem heavy enough to be hiding something.
There is a short tac-rail you can purchase that can be used to add a light, laser, pistol grip forend or some combination. The stock is slotted for a single-point sling. It comes with a key that can be used to lock the rifle in the folded position which provides a method to preclude un-authorized use, but there is no way that the lock can possibly interfere with any of the firing components when it's not in use (unlike many other manufacturer's built-in locks).
Practical accuracy and "shootability" is very good. I can usually hit a soda can at the 100 yard berm 13 out of 15 shots from offhand. My best bench group is in the 2.25" range at 100 yards. They are very stealthy too, with a report that is about the same as a .22 LR carbine. Reliability is unprecedented. Mine has never had a single malfunction in over 5,000 rounds fired. Standard velocity ball isn't much improved in the longer barrel, but any of the hotter defense ammo gets quite a pick up in speed and lethality. CorBon 165 grain loads leave the muzzle a good 150 f.p.s. faster than they do out of a standard pistol barrel. Price is under the $300 mark at most dealers. This is the best stealth carbine ever. - P.M.

JWR Replies: I have never been a big believer in pistol caliber carbines. I've met far too many consulting clients that have become enamored with them, at the expense of substantial defensive weapons. Plain and simple: pistol caliber carbines are no substitute for a rifle firing full power cartridges. They are not up to the task of reliably stopping men that seek to do you harm. Buy yourself a .308 and accessories first, and then if your budget permits it consider getting a pistol caliber carbine. With that said, I do see the utility of pistol caliber carbines for specialized purposes such as small game hunting and concealed carry. Again, only if they are seen in their proper role as supplements to a proper battery of full-power battle rifles. In their specialized role, I agree the that the Kel-Tec is one of the best.

Full points, BTW, for your Camelbak concealed carry idea, P.M.. Clever, clever! Most SurvivalBlog readers already own a Camelbak. (If they don't, they should!) Methinks that the same technique could be used for carrying handguns or other small weapons. Camelbaks (or comparable clones) are available from some of our advertisers like Captain Dave's and Ready Made Resources, as well as several of our Affiliate advertisers. You might check of these: Backcountry.com,  Altrec.com Outdoors, Paragon Sports,  and Moosejaw.com Outfitters

Hello Jim!
I hope things are great for you and your family. I just thought that I would take the time to provide you with another bit of positive support regarding one of your sponsors. Vic at Safecastle, LLC is a great person. In May, I made a large purchase from him. At the time of ordering, I received an excellent discount for being a survivalblog reader. In addition, Vic also took the time to answer each of my emails very quickly and provided me with an expected date of delivery. Sure enough, it turned out that Vic was "dead on!" The probable date of shipment turned out to be exactly right. I received the cases delivered right into my garage. It is with much admiration that I write this to notify others in the survivalblog community to order your Mountain House cases from Vic. He's a great guy!
Also, thanks for making it possible for all of us to purchase your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. I have gone ahead and purchased mine and hope that others will do so. All "Ten Cent Challenge" supporters like myself are encouraged to do this as another way of saying "thanks, Jim" for the helpful information that you provide to us all. While at it, hopefully more people will continue to support the blog by at least putting up the money asked for in your 10 Cent Challenge. Take care and thanks a lot for everything that you have done for the masses through your blog. - David M.

500 Chemical Warfare Shells Found in Iraq

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Study Says Earth's Temperature at 400-Year High

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Jason in North Idaho recommended a good reference for those concerned about earthquakes

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Don't forget that the sale on Montague Folding Paratrooper bikes from Safecastle ends on June 30th. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is is $695. The minimum advertised price (MAP) is $645. Safecastle is offering a much lower price, but only for this month. Anyone interested should e-mail Safecastle and identify themselves as a SurvivalBlog reader and request the special price. E-mail: jcrefuge@safecastle.net.

"When the government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence." - Gary Lloyd

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I just got off the phone with a long-time friend and SurvivalBlog reader from inside the UN building in New York. He is "covering" the current UN Small Arms Review Conference for us. Ostensibly he is a "note taker" for an un-named NGO. But I suspect his real mission is to see where he can score some cheap AK-47 or maybe a Dragunov the next time he is on an overseas vacation. (Just kidding.) Seriously, I'm looking forward to his reports. His first terse report is that the NRA et al are putting on a spirited protest out front. Meanwhile, from the delegates and staffers that he has talked to thusfar, some are openly zealous for disarming all civilians, while many others oppose such steps. He will be there taking notes for the next two weeks.

Thanks to Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing, we are adding a second place prize for the current round of our writing contest: a copy of my preparedness course, Speaking of which, be sure to place your order soon for a copy of the course at the special "SurvivalBlog Readers Only" introductory price. If you wait until after July 4th, the price will jump to $150!

Dear Jim
You may remember I sent you an email a while back regarding survivalist thinking in the UK. Well it seems that things have moved on considerably since then for both of us. Survival Blog is really hotting up. I have also noticed several other UK based survivors posting and was wondering if there was any way we could be put in touch with each other. Do you have any plans for a private message
board? It would be a great way for the few of us on this side of the pond to knock heads on ideas et cetera. Regards, - Andrew

JWR Replies: We don't have our own message board since we don' have the time and.or manpower to moderate one. Our "preferred" board is the Gulching/Self-Sufficiency Forum at The Claire Files. You might try starting a "UK SurvivalBlog Readers Check In, Please" thread there. Alternatively, you might try this message board that was mentioned previously on SurvivalBlog:

Whenever making such contacts, I suggest that you proceed with prayer and caution. I also recommend a lot of correspondence before ever arranging a face to face meeting, to make sure in advance that you survival philosophies/politics/religion. et cetera all mesh amicably. Use the same caution that you would with any other meeting via the Internet.

Dear Jim:
I was again reading in Boston's Gun Bible and he was discussing the M1, M1A, and the M14 as excellent candidates for a "Main Battle Rifle" (MBR). Unfortunately, I am pretty much confused on these terms and have a few questions I'd like to ask.

1.) What are the differences between the M1, the M1A, and the M14?

2.) What do you feel are each's strong and weak points?

3.) Which, if any, do you like as a MBR?

4.) If you don't care for any of these, what do you recommend for a MBR?

Thanks for clearing all of this up. Baruch atah Yahweh Eloheinu Sincerely, - Dr. Sidney Zweibel

JWR Replies:

1.) You aren't the only one that is confused! Here are the nomenclature basics: The M1 rifle was the U.S. Army's primary battle rifle of WWII and the Korean conflict. It is chambered in .30-06 and uses a top-loading 8 round en bloc clip that ejects after the last round is fired. The U.S. M1 Rifle is not to be confused with the U.S. M1 Carbine, another semi-auto of the same era, which shoots a far less powerful .30 caliber pistol-class cartridge. The Army's M14, introduced around 1959, is chambered in 7.62 mm NATO (dimensionally the same as 308 Winchester, but lower pressure than some soft nose hunting loads). The M14 uses a 20 round detachable magazine. It is selective fire (semi or full auto.) Thus, they are restricted "Class 3" machineguns in the U.S. This necessitates a $200 transfer tax and background check for the purchase process. Currently, transferable (pre-1986 registered) M14s are selling for $7,000+. (Congress weaseled in a "freeze" on new machineguns for civilians back in 1986. With supply frozen, prices have been rising ever since.) The M1A is a Springfield Armory semi-auto only (civilian) variant of the M14. They sell for around $900 to $1,500 depending on options. To add to the confusion, some M1A clones from other makers (such as Fulton Armory--another great brand) are sold under the designation M14, but these are semi-auto only. See Boston's Gun Bible for details.

2.) The main advantage of the M1 Rifle is cost. My father and I got M1 Garands for $125 each through the DCM, back in 1982. But sadly, the days of those prices are gone. They can still sometimes be found used for $600 to $700. Service Grade M1s are available to rifle club or state rifle association members through the CMP for $550 plus $22.95 shipping. But you will get luck of the draw. (Sometimes you get a "minty" rifle, but other times you will get a "beater.") The M1 is a bit slower to load that M14s and M1As. The biggest disadvantage is the limitation of the 8 round en bloc clip, which cannot be refilled while it is in the rifle. Thus, in a combat situation, once you have fired a couple of shots, the only way to reload the rifle is to fully unload it and insert a full clip. (In contrast, an M1A's magazine can be kept "topped off" with 5 round stripper clips during a lull in firing, without having to remove the magazine.) Another drawback is that .30-06 ball ammo is more expensive than 7.62 NATO ball , since the surplus supplies of "Aught Six" ammo dried up long ago. All three rifles have similar weight, reliability, and accuracy. IMHO, the ergonomics of the M1 are not as good as the M1A or M14.

3.) and 4.) I like M1As. I owned them for 24 years. At one time I had five of them and they were the intended MBRs here at the Rawles Ranch. But given the current high price of spare M14 magazines and spare parts, I now prefer FALs or L1A1s. In 2003, I sold all of my M1As and bought five L1A1s. For the same money as I had invested in the five M1As with 10 magazines each (and a scope on only one of them), I now have 25 magazines per rifle, a scope on every rifle, and a huge array of spare L1A1 parts. Parenthetically, my preferred scope for .308 battle rifle is the Trijicon TA-11E ACOG . Again, see Boston's Gun Bible for detailed descriptions of FALs and L1A1s. Another great resource are the archives and discussion boards at The FAL Files.

It seems the wolf article has stirred up the animal lovers.The article really does describe the northwest Montana area between Trego and Eureka. Every hunter I talk with tells me how the wolves have destroyed the resident elk herd. And, despite hunter pressure of shoot + shovel + shut up the packs are growing. The second point I want to make is if you take one down do not approach and DO not take the cape. Most are [biochip] tagged and the chips are traceable. So if you pop one, just walk away. Lastly I would not worry about the misguided wolf lovers writing your advertisers. No one likes animals that attack children and pets. Their hate mail will not deter me from advertising with you, starting in July. BTW... Most of my clients feel the same way I do about predators. Kind Regards, - Rosie the Bull


I know precious little about Wolves. But I do know by second hand information from other foresters here in northern Idaho as well as by surveys done that the wolf packs in northern Idaho are growing. They do not seem to be affecting deer and elk populations here yet, as we still see enough [tree] plantation browse that certain areas need to be replanted repeatedly . Wolf sightings are getting more common among folks in the majority of our work areas.
This is a recent newspaper article out of the Clearwater River Valley. [JWR Adds: This small town newspaper article from Kamiah, Idaho speaks volumes. BTW, this same article was mention by SurvivalBlog reader T.L.P.] There are a couple odd things like what is a hound hunter doing without a sidearm. But the world is full of different people, who can say. Hope this helps. BTW, here in St. Maries (Idaho) a favorite bumper sticker is "Canadian Wolves - Smoke a Pack a Day!" Thanks Much, - E.B.


And this one from Steven UP (the writer of the original article that started the flamefest)

It is not surprising that my article on wolves drew some heavy e-mails. Okay, first let's just look at some facts.
Do wolves attack people? Yes, they do. That is proven fact. Links were provides in the first article. Want more information? Check out Outdoor Life, March 2006 issue and read the article " The Myth of wolves not attacking humans has been scattered." You will read about a college student who was attacked and killed by a pack of wolves. If you really want to find out the truth, then track down where the myth that "North American Wolves have never attack people before" started. A real good read on how back in the 1970s a few elitists dismissed [wolf attacks] and claimed that all historical wolf attack were unreliable therefore they never happened. A new standard was set that stated that in order for it to be called a documented wolf attack the wolf had to be killed and tested for rabies. When wolves have attack people and the person has driven them off without killing them, then it is not a "documented" wolf attack.

Here is article that describes few more true wolf attacks (From different time periods.) Can you imagine the horror of that poor woman to have to watch her husband and son ripped to shreds and eating in front of her? Did you go to links provide and read the evidence? Here is a link.
Beginning in 1997, Carrie Schaefer did a study of Yellowstone wolf/elk interaction entitled "Spatial and Temporal Variation in Wintering Elk Abundance and Composition, and Wolf Response." Among other things, her study revealed that areas of high wolf concentration inside Yellowstone had calf ratios dropping precipitously - 0 to 10 calves per 100, even while the ratio outside high wolf concentration areas remained at 46 calves per 100!

That is a fact. The Carrie Schaefer study proved that wolves where wiping out the elk calves. These are documented statistics: 0-10 calves per 100 survive in high wolf population areas. Outside high wolf concentration elk calves remained at 46 per 100 cow elk.
How can you you choose to ignore a Montana state biologist, when it simply doesn't match your world view?

Next, see: http://www.aws.vcn.com/wolves_and_hunting.html. A wolf requires five to ten pounds of meat per day for survival, thus the wolf requires a considerable amount of meat in one year - nearly a ton of meat per year per wolf. A wolf is capable of consuming great quantities of meat, up to one fifth of its body weight, at one time. Thus, a wolf does not have to kill each day to survive.

Read the whole article. The facts are right there, from a qualified biologist.
See: http://www.aws.vcn.com/wildlife.html Warning: Gruesome pictures of deer ripped to shreds by wolves.http://nlrl.org/opinion%20articles/mtwolfpolicy.htm
The template for public policy regarding wolf management in Montana: Montana Senate passes House Joint Resolution 29 (HJ29), by a 46 to 4 majority - "Reservation of rights and remedies for wolf control", submitted simultaneously in Idaho and Montana

For all you wolf lovers out there, please explain to me why do we need a law passed to give us permission to protect our dogs and livestock? The facts are right there to read.

With the powerful brainwashing tool of television, everyone believes they're are wolf expert now days. They think the wolf is some mystical creature and none of the native American never hunted them. While it is true some tribes didn't hunt the wolves. But most tribes did. If you read Geronimo's autobiography he states that as a young Apache to reach adulthood a young man had to kill a wolf, a cougar or bear. What happens when you try to prove to people they have been brainwashed? They attack you because the television is more powerful than the written word.

The second letter stated. "Much of his 'thesis' is pure bunk, conjecture, speculation." Again just because he lived in the U.P. longer that I did does not give him any special qualification. Everything I say was backed up with facts, unlike the rebuttals. I wrote to wake up people that have been lied to. The bottom line is that in some regions where they are abundant, the wolves are knocking the heck out of big game. Just because you drive in the U.P. does not make you qualified to say whether or not the deer population is getting wiped out. Because if you check you will find out that over 100,000 deer hunters quit last year. If you bother to check the game laws this year, they are allowing only one buck per hunter for the U.P. But it can't be from the wolves that 100,000 hunters quit. Nope, can't be. Lowering the human harvest of deer has nothing to do with wolves. Nope can't be. So debunk the attacks on people I guess Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, and Reader's Digest were all lying then, right? Conjecture, yep sure, Just ignore the Montana biologist that documented the wolves wiping out the elk calves. Yep, speculation on watching calves killed on farms. Yep can't be the wolves, it has to be "bunk, conjecture, and speculation."
In summary, here is a quick update to check the facts. Fact: Yes wolves attack people. Fact: Yes wolves attack livestock. Fact:: Yes wolves are wiping out the big game animals. Fact: Yes we all have been fed a pack of lies about wolf packs. You can all choose to ignore the facts, attack the author, attack the web site, and protest to everyone you'd like, but in the end the facts on wolves will still be the same.- Steven UP

The New York Times reports: Human-to-Human Infection by Bird Flu Virus Is Confirmed. With this news in mind, it is high time for families to get their logistics ready for an extended period of self-quarantine. Want help planning what you need? First, read my piece on how to survive an influenza pandemic. Next, get a copy of my "big box" preparedness course. Someday, you may be very glad that you did.

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The Pre-1899 Specialist just put their hand-picked Model 1893 Oberndorf Mauser rifles on sale, at just $159.95, (With bayonet and scabbard or $144.95 each if you buy two.) Sure beats paying Sportsman's Guide $299 for one in rougher condition. I recommend that every SurvivalBlog reader buy one or two of these from The Pre-1899 Specialist, while they still have some left. No FFL is required for most locales. (Even California!)

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There is an interesting thread on The Claire Files about a 14 year suburban bunker-building project

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Backcountry.com (one of our Affiliate advertisers) is having a 4th of July Clearance Sale, with prices up to 60% off. If you place and order with any of our affiliates, SurvivalBlog will earn a modest commission.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

Monday, June 26, 2006

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag/Rucksack) is at $255. Special thanks to the fine folks at Ready Made Resources, who kindly donated the kit. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on the last day of June.

Today we present another article for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. If you want a chance to win, start writing and e-mail us your article soon. Round 5 ends on July 31st.

Call it a survival retreat, hunting cabin, or summer cottage, a place away from the crowds and turmoil of the cities is a dream most of us share. Some folks plan out a survival retreat in such detail that long-term storage, over lapping fields of fire, and fuel supplies are worked out. Others, like myself, approach it as a vacation spot that can be readily converted if need be to an alternate living location.
Back in the late 1960s my family had a small two-room cottage on a lake in northern Michigan. The cottage had no electricity, no running water, or no heat. What it did have is nostalgically called a “bath with a path.”
This cottage did however provide what we needed. A few steps from the back door was a pump with clean, clear, cool water. All that was needed was a strong arm and a few minutes to fill the bucket. Cool summer nights were warmed by the glow of the fuel oil lantern that was hung over the dinner table. This lantern produced enough light to fill the cottage and allow card games to be played well past a normal bedtime. The heat from the lantern warmed the place and fuel was cheap. Dinners were usually planned around the nightly campfire, but the old propane stove would serve if needed.
During those periods of time that my father was laid off from work we would spend a week or two stretch of time at the cottage. Living was easy and cheap. Fish from the lake provided many meals and nuts and berries from the woods around the place were gathered and baked into pies. Fall small game season produced meat and poultry in the form of rabbits, squirrels, pheasants and grouse. My Dad and I talked often about living up at the cottage if the world went to h**l in a hand basket.
After high school and moving into the world of college and working, my trips to the cottage were few and far between. Usually they were only to go up and help Dad secure the place from the last break in that occurred. Sadly, I let the cottage fall into neglect and vandals took care of the rest. Broken doors and windows let the weather in and after a few years the cottage became uninhabitable.
Mom kept the land after Dad’s passing and I started taking my sons there for a few weekend camping trips. Soon the idea of getting the cottage back in shape was talked about, but the northern winters did a good job of making the place beyond repair. The approach of Y2K and talk of chaos renewed my thoughts of a survival retreat. I discussed this with some buddies of mine and ideas of small barns to large military tents were discussed. Like the old saying about when all is said and done, there is more said than done, Y2K came and went and still nothing was done about the cottage.
One of the guys that I had discussed the ideas of a cabin in the woods with called one fall afternoon and suggested that I drive out to his campground and look at a travel trailer that they were giving away. Giving away, free for nothing, giving away? Yup, just make sure it is gone before Halloween.
My youngest son and I drove out and looked at the place. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Although it was a 1955 travel trailer, the interior was clean and bright. The wood finish on the walls was unstained and the place showed signs of good upkeep. I drove home and talked the idea over with my wife and my Mom. The wife had to agree for us to take it, and my Mom had to let us put it on the lake. Both agreed, and my sons and I started planning on getting it up north.
My wife and I agreed that a budget of $500 was all right to spend. We knew that we couldn’t build a lawn barn to use up there for that much money.
Calls to find a mover to haul it north for us were made. Prices ranged from $700 to over $3,000. I was taken aback by this and did a total rethink. The guy that helped us find the trailer to begin with suggested I try the guy that moved his out to the campground he was at. That turned out to be a cold trail, but I did find a company in Indiana that was willing to do it for around $200, PROVIDING, I put new tires on it so that it would be pretty much guaranteed to make the trip.
They no longer make the same size tires for travel trailers that they made in 1955. After countless phone calls to any kind of a place I could think of I was referred to a place that dealt with a lot of farm equipment. They informed me that the size I wanted was no longer made but they did have a cross-reference tire that should work just fine. $135 later a pair of the tires were mine. The bad news was I needed them put on the rims and the rims were still on the trailer, 60 miles away. Several more phone calls to repair stores and a place was found that would put them on at the site, but the cost would be around $200.
Getting the tires on proved easier than anyone led me to believe. Even though they were old fashion split rims, the job took just under an hour and the cost was around $170. [JWR Adds: Always use a safety cage when working with split-rim wheels. If you don't, they can be killers!] This put the cost of moving the retreat at the $500 level we had agreed would be reasonable for our budget. I was very pleased and at 11:30 in the morning I left the north central Ohio campground headed for northwestern Michigan.
Thankfully the trip was uneventful. Ben, the very nice driver that the transport company assigned to the job did an outstanding job of getting the trailer to the lake and spotting it where I wanted it. We had to chop out a couple of small trees to get it parked in the sheltered area I wanted, but the job went easy and we were done before darkness set in. The last act of the night was to finish putting the lock and hasp on the door of the trailer before I headed north to my friend's cabin for the night. I figured it was easier to drive a little farther north and stay at a buddy’s cabin than make the long drive home.
Mediterranean, Southwestern, early American and assorted other styles of furniture are discussed in the finest design magazines. We settled on what my sister termed “early garage sale.” The propane stove came from a travel trailer that was being scrapped out. The chairs for the kitchen table came from the roadside garbage pickup in the neighborhood. The table was a gift from my sister’s basement. Some pots and pans and silverware came from the local Goodwill store. Two sets of bunk beds came from a buddy in the Reserves that worked for a college that was recycling the bunks they had in dorms. The picture pump for the well came in trade for some home repairs done for a neighbor down the street. All in all the cost of the retreat was under $600. Some expenses that will be incurred soon: a new coating on the roof to insure it stays water-resistant and plywood shutters to secure the windows during our absences.
We now have a three-season retreat that allows us to fish, swim, hike, and hunt in the outdoors. We can practice our survival skills, such as fire building and outdoors cooking, and not look like we are doing much more than having a family camp out.
We are away from crowds and turmoil of the city. Our friends and family think of it as our “vacation” home, but we know that in a time of crisis we have a survival retreat to go to, and under $1,000 cost.

Steven UP's article is self serving. He writes to stir up hysteria and emotions. Much of his “thesis” is pure bunk, conjecture, speculation. I am a former resident of the Upper Peninsula. I was born and raised there and lived in the U.P. for the first 40+ years of my life. While I live in nearby Wisconsin currently, I still regularly visit family and am currently looking for property in the U.P. for my retirement place. I resent this article by someone who has only been in the U.P. less than 15 years.
He is writing to try to win your prize for the contest, not to alert anyone to a mismanaged deer herd and/or a wolf population out of control in my opinion. Sincerely, - William


As a regular vistor [sic] to your website and to your advertisers, I must say that the article on wolves so misleading and full of propaganda that I cannot believe that it was allowed to be on your website. I had up until this time thought that your website served a better mission then resorting to this type of onesided [sic],uneducated and totally biased opinions of a person who does not state any credentials on his suppossed [sic] authority of widlife [sic] biology. I myself am not an authority nor am I defender of wolves, however I am a person who believes in factual and unbiased reporting be it on your website or any type of media.
I would hope that in the future that your website does not again stray into this type of trash journalism.
Regards, - TD ______ PS: This email has also been sent to many of the advertisers on your website that I have done business with or have recommended to friends.

JWR Replies: I posted Steven UP's article because in recent months several readers have mentioned that they consider feral dogs and wolves a potentially inimical threat in the event of TEOTWAWKI. Thus, it met my tests for both suitability and "on topic" blog applicability for posting. As space permits, I do my best to post every letter or article that is on topic (vis-a-vis survival, preparedness, or emerging threats.) I don't attempt to muzzle SurvivalBlog readers or otherwise censor what they have to say, even when what they have to say is controversial or even when they are contrary to my own opinions. (Witness, for example, the recent letter that derided my Christian faith, and the politically incorrect letter from the employee on the Navajo Reservation.)

I'm sure that any article on such a controversial subject is bound to elicit contrary opinions. I am happy to post those, too. Including yours.

Hello Jim,
After much research and test shooting several of the available conversions out there I finally decided upon the ALS [AR-15 lower] conversion. Darren Wardle in Oregon hand builds them in his factory on CNC [Computerized Numerical Control] equipment and test fires each upper for accuracy before shipping. Darren is a world class record holder in the FCSA and his work is first class. His price is very reasonable but the wait is [currently] almost a year. Worth it, in my opinion. - D.C.

Perhaps it’s a regional thing, but there seems to be an ammunition shortage in the United States. Here in NY, 7.62x39 has doubled in price in the past year. It is to $200 per 1,000 when you can find it. At last weekend's gun show only two of the 40 tables were selling 7.62x39 and one of those vendors only had 500 rds. The bad news is thus that it is too late to stock up on cheap 7.62x39. The good news is that your investment in ammo [already] on hand has doubled in value.

308[Winchester] is still available at $200 per 1,000 and up, depending on country of origin. A year ago I could find it for a few cents per cartridge less, but I think the time to stock up is now. One reason is that the military ammo is simply being used in Iraq and Afghanistan, so there is less surplus on the market. Another factor is the budding Chinese automotive industry absorbing every bit of metal they can buy. Copper wire has doubled in price in the past year. It is only reasonable to see this carry through to the raw materials for ammunition. So the price will be passed along to us even if the “shortage” is temporary prices are clearly rising.

I can see no downside to stocking up on the cartridges still available at reasonable prices. For instance, it is my personal policy to buy a 550 round box of 22 LR every time I’m in Wal-Mart. At $8.97 per 550 box that’s still under two cents per cartridge, including sales tax. I just don’t think prices will ever be lower. And with a 100+ year shelf life, how can you go wrong? Worst case - even in the unlikely event that my son and I don’t shoot it up during father/son backyard plinking sessions, I’m stocking a commodity for the next generation. Keep up the great work. May God bless you and yours, - Mike S.


God bless you Jim.
I just got back from a gun show here in the mid west and there were two over-riding topics of discussion among the dealers. First and foremost was that the cost of ammunition was going up. Soon. A case of .223 which was being sold at $219 will cost the dealer $250 just to stock it. Even if he sold it just to break even, that's a noticeable jump. Certain ammo streams (South African .308 for example) are drying up. One dealer who sells flashlights, cases, knives etc, told me not to buy his stuff and go get my ammo. I thought your readers should know now is the time to buy ammo.
The second topic of conversation is that people were being cautious, that they had feelings of unease, that things were not as good as we're being told it is. Add this to the bad wheat harvest projected and it equals Now is the time to get as prepared as you can. Just thought this might be of interest. - D.D.

David in Israel Recommends: An excellent idea is to buy several dozen "button compasses" and scatter them in the pockets of your gear. That way you will never be without a compass.

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Wow! Our global hit map (from ClustrMaps) is showing even better distribution this month. OBTW, I heard from Jake Stafford that the new "big box" preparedness course is selling well to readers in Europe and Australia. I'm glad to see that SurvivalBlog is so popular around the world.

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The BBC reports: A shooting war with Iran could triple the market price of oil.


"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species... Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of." - Stephen Hawking

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Today we present another article for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. If you want a chance to win, start writing and e-mail us your article soon. Round 5 ends on July 31st.

It all started when I first moved to the Upper Peninsula ["U.P."] of Michigan back in the early 1990s. When I first came up here it was paradise. Beaver, ducks, grouse, bears, and lots of deer. What happened over the years to change this paradise is truly remarkable. It is now now almost a wasteland, barren of wild game. What happened? Wolves were planted--200 of them from Minnesota. Okay, all of us that live up here "know" that wolves were planted because the population of wolves skyrocket from 20 to 220 in a single year. One noted wolf biologist even admitted in a speech that he was on the project that live trapped and transport the wolves from Minnesota to Michigan. What happen next was truly amazing. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) changed their story. What!? In full cooperation with Michigan department of Natural Resources (DNR) the truth disappeared. Now the story is that the wolves were never planted here and it was natural migration. Why in the world would anyone not believe the USFWS and the Michigan DNR?
Let us look at some facts about how much you can trust government employees?
Check out this article. Here you read about seven Federal employees that planted fake lynx hair. Millions of acres of land would have been closed off to human use if this big lie of fake lynx hair had been successful. It is a proven fact that Federal biologists have been caught lying. So it makes sense that Federal employees here in Michigan would do the same thing.
But the Michigan DNR lie? Well I happen to interview a school teacher. He was hired with another teacher by the Michigan DNR to do a study. He did the independent study completely his report and turned it in. The report was turned back to him and he was told if he wanted to be paid he had to change his outcome to conform to Michigan DNR outcome. What!? It is an independent study as long as you play the game and lie. He refused and submitted the report as he wrote it. The other teacher needed the money and rewrote his study to conform to what the Michigan DNR wanted. The finally outcome was the teacher with integrity report was tossed in the big round circulate file and the report that was doctored up was used by the Michigan DNR.
Back to wolves. We were all fed a large pack of lies about the wolves. They only eat 11 deer a year each? They would keep the deer herd healthy and the population would increase. What a pack of lies. I used to hunt northern part of Ontonagon and Houghton County north of Highway 26. My favorite stretch between Mass City and Bruce's Crossing was overrun with deer. In that stretch you would normally see over 100 deer trails crisscrossing crossing the hwy. On opening weekend you would see 30 + vehicles parked and hunters in the woods. I just drove it Sat November 19 opening weekend. What I saw was stunning? Less then 10 deer trails crossing the road and around 5 vehicle parked with hunters in the woods? What happened? A drop of over 90% of deer trails? 60% less hunters in the area?
Wolves have been devastating on the deer herd. Are hunters still getting deer? Yes. But is the area supporting all the deer it was before the wolves? No. The wolves are thinning the deer herd so badly in the area that people don't waste time hunting there. I watch this year after year. And each year there are less deer and more wolves. I started researching to see if this has happened in other areas where the wolf has been planted? The answer is big YES.
Here is some startling evidence. I've noticed a change in those mountains over the past seven years, and I'm certain if the American people had any idea what was going on in Yellowstone and the surrounding area, they would be appalled and very angry. Prior to wolf introduction in 1995, there were 19,500 elk in the great northern Yellowstone elk herd, over 300 big horn sheep in the ten square miles around Gardiner, Montana, abundant moose, antelope and mule deer. Now we have fewer than 10,000 elk and 40 big horn sheep. Montana state moose biologist Kurt Alt tells us the moose are all but wiped out, the National Academy of Science in its' March 2002 report tells us that the antelope population is a small fraction of what it was. A Montana Game Warden north of Yellowstone Park tells us the mule deer population is also in real trouble. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Wolf Project Coordinator admits in the press that there are 560 wolves and 150 pups this year with anywhere between 34 to 46 breeding pairs depending on your definition of breeding pair. The Project Coordinator himself, Ed Bangs says, "There are too many wolves."
In this report we see elk number have drop almost 50% big horn sheep have drop over 600% and the moose are all but wiped out. Antelope population is small fraction of what it was? Mule deer are in trouble? The evidence is in folks wolves kill one heck of lot of big game anyone that says different is clueless.
I heard a story about Montana biologist that did a study on elk calf ratio in Yellowstone. The study clearly showed the destruction of the elk herd by wolves. Read what happened here. (There is an annoying pop up but read how the Feds suppress the states evidence of the elk herd.) The Canadians have been dealing with wolves for a long time what do they have to say about wolves? The last two paragraph are a real eye opener
Veteran wolf biologist, John Gunson, Alberta Ministry of Environment, summed it up, when he said, "Really, there isn't any room for [elk] harvest by man, if you have a healthy wolf population."
Hunters, please understand the impacts of wolf recovery on hunting, and the role wolf recovery plays in the anti-hunters' agenda. Natural predation, especially wolf predation, can replace your privilege to hunt.What about Minnesota? Here is real eye opener about Minnesota. An article in the Journal of Wildlife Management 64(1): 129-136, Wolf Effect on Deer Harvests :Mech and Nelson reached the conclusion that increasing uncontrolled wolf numbers can very significantly reduce human deer harvests.
The next biggest Myth the pro wolf still to this day say is there no documented wolf attacks in North America.
Let us look at the real facts: More than 80 documented cases of wolf attacks on people.
Sports Afield Magazine, December 2000/January 2001 issue, has a picture of six-year-old John Stenglein, lying in a hospital bed that had been viciously attacked by a healthy male wolf. The wolf was killed by loggers near his Alaska campsite.
Why is acceptable to put other people children in danger when you are far away in another state or in a city?
In August, 1996 eleven-year-old Zack Delventhal was viciously attacked, the boys face had been ripped open, his nose was crushed, parts of his mouth and right cheek were torn. Blood gushed from puncture wounds below his eyes, and the lower part of his right ear was missing and dangling. The wolf was killed by Park authorities and found to be a young healthy adult male wolf. (Cook, Kathy; "Night of the Wolf " Reader's Digest, July 1997 pp. 114-119.)
Now I am confused we were feed this big lie that wolves are safe around children but with research we find we have a large predator with a proven track record of attacking children. Aug of 1996. Fact you can't change the truth unless you work for Federal government as we have seen early.
What about livestock attacks? "MINNESOTA - Cass County 1997 - Tom Johnson lost 4 cows and 10 calves, valued at $8,000. In 1996 he lost 14 calves and was reimbursed for two. Minnesota paid $400 maximum per animal." (Outdoor News, Tim King, Dec 19, 1997.) Be advised that both biologists and agricultural interests report that agricultural producers absorb, tolerate and address up to "89% of sheep and 93% of cattle losses they believe are caused by predators without requesting ADC [Animal Damage Control] assistance or receiving compensation."
Ranchers are reporting the same thing all over the country. Facts are 1984 style report happens 14 calves killed but only paid for 2?? This is so the official report looks better on the wolf programs. I have talked with ranchers in several different states and all say the same thing. The Federal agenda is to underreport the actual wolf kill numbers. Federal biologists do lie for the benefit of their agenda.
What happens if your dog is attacked by wolves can you shoot the wolf? No. That is right the wolf has more rights than you or your dog.
Since 1986, when the first claim was filed, we've had 82 dogs killed by wolves and 27 injured that we know of," said Adrian Wydeven, Department of Natural Resources wolf expert.
Noticed that he said "...that we know of." That means that several more dogs have probably come up missing, and wolves most likely killed them.
The biggest surprise and shock to me was hunters being so pro- wolf. I thought the hunters would like to know the truth that the wolves are a disaster to the deer herd. Some hunters get it, but then there is a very loud vocal group that turns it into an attack on the person reporting the truth. Why the attack? Part of it is they have been fed this constants stream of myths from Hollywood and The Discovery Channel showing all the great benefits of wolves. The other part I think is some are actual Animal rights group members posing as hunters and just waiting for the chance to attack any negative reporting on wolves. But real hunters have attacked me and said I just want to exterminate the wolves. This is the part that surprises me. They used the animal rights argument that hunters only want to exterminate what they hunt. Hunters need to wake up. You have been fed a big pack of lies on wolves it is not for your benefit wolves wipe out and are devastating on big game herds.
Another surprise I found was that a local pro-wolf newspaper reported that there was no documented wolf attacks in North America. I quickly wrote a rebuttal article proving that there has over 80 documented wolf attacks on people in North America. What happened? The editor admitted to me that she was familiar with the study but refused to print my rebuttal because she was pro-wolf. You read that correctly she refused to print the truth. So much for "unbiased reporting" and "fair and balanced, you decide."
I find this over and over and over again. People say even when you prove beyond a shadow of doubt that we have been fed a pack of lies on the wolves. "I don't care I just think it is great the wolves are in the wild" What that really means is I don't care if children are attacked, Wolves are more important, I don't care if ranchers are losing money and going out of business, Wolves are more important, I don't care that dogs are being killed as long it is in your area don't plant wolves near my dogs, Wolves are more important, I don't care if elk hunting guides have lost their jobs, Wolves are more important, I don't care if your deer hunting is lousy, Wolves are more important. This mindset is pervasive.
Are there good honest hard working people in that worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Federal biologist? Yes there are, but there is also the big lies and the deleting of the truth. I would hope that some of the people working in these department would give out the real agenda in play here.This has been a real eye opener for me. I got it. Hide the truth, ignore the facts, close your mind off from reality because in the end wolves are more important.

JWR Adds: They have a saying in Idaho: "Shoot, shovel, and shut up."

I've used a tent from Panther Primitives for Viking and Middle Ages re-enactments for about a decade. I can report on being in a Viking Wedge style tent during a storm that spun off nearby tornados. Not a leak or break. I like a canvas Viking Wedge because of the strength and transportability. The tent is supported by an internal framework of poles (traditionally, one used the sail over the oars), so there are no ropes or pins. When it's time to pack at the end of an event, two to four people simply pick the tent up and move it ten feet to the side, and the inside becomes the outside. This is not a tent that packs up small (the poles aren't), but it's easy enough to transport with a truck, van or roof rack--I've carried it on an old station wagon with the inside stuffed with enough gear for two weeks.
Other tents that hold up exceptionally in storms are Tipis, French Belled Wedges and Yurts. But all are harder to move once assembled. The Viking Wedge simply sits on the ground.- Michael Z. Williamson

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." - John Adams

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Please keep spreading the word about SurvivalBlog. If you could add a link at your e-mail footer or web page, it would be greatly appreciated. SurvivalBlog link buttons and banners are available in a variety of sizes. Thanks!

The recent announcement of my preparedness course has brought a lot of old friends and acquaintances out of the woodwork. It has been great hearing from so many of you! I just hope that the course gets into a lot of hands so that more families get squared away and are truly ready for the next disaster. OBTW, Jake Stafford sent a "opt-in"e-mail to the folks on my e-mails list yesterday. Not to worry--the e-mail is legitimate. Since it is a "opt-in", you will only stay on my e-mail list if you respond by providing your e-mail address. Please do, so that you'll get the word each time that I release a new book, report, or course. Thanks!

Mr. Rawles:
One of my sons is left handed. Which guns do you recommend I buy for him? (I'm talking here both hunting and self-defense.) With Thanks, - L.B.T.

JWR Replies: I recommend that your son try shooting several different models and that you then buy him whatever he is most comfortable with. First, as with all members of your family, you should check to see if you son is right or left-eye dominant. Cross-dominance is a problem that can take considerable training to overcome. If your son is "left eyed" and/or he is not comfortable/fast/accurate shooting right handed, then buy him special left hand or ambidextrous models.

A good shotgun choice for lefties is the Ithaca 37 pump action , or the newer Ithaca 87. They have bottom ejection. Some lefties find it disconcerting to shoot a Remington 870 (or similar right handed pump or auto shotgun) and have those big red empties fly past their faces. I can't say that I blame them.

Most pump and lever-action rifles are essentially ambidextrous, and hence are well-suited to the gauche.

Many semi-auto pistols are available with ambidextrous safety levers and even ambidextrous slide releases and de-cocking levers. Then again there is the Glock--with NO traditional safety lever, and their magazine release buttons are ambidextrous. The Glock 21 is a fine choice for left handers.

Many bolt action rifles are made in left hand variants. (Browning, Winchester, Ruger, Remington Savage, SAKO, CZ, et cetera.) These can sometimes be hard to find at a reasonable price in the desired caliber. You might try doing a "LH" or "Left" search at GunsAmerica.com. Sadly, the Steyr Scout bolt action has not yet been made in a left-hand version, but you could probably have another left-hand bolt action converted to scout configuration.

A detachable brass deflector is available for shooting early model AR-15s (and clones) left handed. The later "A2" models have an integral brass deflector that is cast into the upper receiver housing.

The ultimate ambidextrous semi-auto rifle is the Steyr AUG bullpup, which can be set up to eject to the left. Special replacement left-ejection bolts are made by the factory and are currently around $150. The rifle itself is $2,800+. (Gulp!) But the good news is that in May of 2006, Steyr-USA company officials announced that they would "commence with the AUG A3 semi automatic rifle production in the U.S. Its targeted availability is by the SHOT Show 2007." Hopefully this wasn't just a test balloon. I predict that if this does happen, then U.S. production will bring the price of Steyr AUGs back down to $1,300, or perhaps even less. My #1 Son, who is a lefty, will surely be saving his pennies, in anticipation.

I am finally getting to build a house out on my retreat property. First st on the agenda is the 25' x 40' steel storage building that will give us secure storage for materials, etc., and then I will build a garage/shop. The issue that has us stumped is how to harden the garage door against someone being able to "work" at getting in while we are away at work all day. A chainsaw would chew right thru the normal fiber board panels and no one is close enough to notice the noise. So far we have thought of fixing "U" stakes (the stamped cheap replacement for "T" fence posts) to the inside of the door panels, and concrete reinforcement wire mesh. The concerns are the weight/ability to be able to lift the door after hardening. There will be no lock on the door from the outside, since we will lock through the roller tracks from the inside. Any other/better ideas?

OBTW, we are using insulated concrete forms for the house - 2.5" of form, 8" of concrete, 2.5" of form, drywall. The siding on the outside will be about 2" of cultured stone - I think that will make for pretty tough walls. - D.A.B.

JWR Replies: I have experience with steel garage and shop doors, but not wood or fiberboard doors. So what you are asking is beyond my expertise. I think it is time to poll the audience. Comments, folks?

Hi Jim,
Excellent web site! Regarding the recent discussion on living near or in a reservation, I have a couple of informed comments. I have been living near the Navajo Nation, and working in the Navajo Nation for about one year. I am of Caucasian descent. Here's a couple of observations:
1. Native Americans seem to have a subtle racism/dislike for whites ... when TSHTF, I am sure that they will draw together, and whites will find themselves an "outgroup."
2. Most reservations and reservation residents, even though proclaiming sovereign status, are actually very dependent on the US government for various government hand-outs (e.g. welfare, etc.), and the bloated reservation bureaucracies are also very US government dependent. In a SHTF scenario, with governmental economic collapse, all of these dependent structures, and dependent people will have the economic rug pulled out from underneath them. Most native people have done nothing constructive with this massive US government input, such as developing true self-sufficiency ... instead [funds from] the US [Treasury] are wasted on things such as casinos and to feed rampant local corruption. When the SHTF, the reservations will be total disaster zones, with a lot of people whining about how they are no longer getting US [government] hand-outs.
3. Most reservations are in areas with poor land, as in poor soil, limited water supply; essentially undesirable land.
4. Reservations contain many alcohol abusers, and they will be dangerous in their search for their next fix, when TSHTF.
5. Gang activities are increasingly developing in reservations, and these gangs will likely ascend to power in a SHTF scenario.
6. Reservations are famous for "rez dogs", and these essentially wild dogs will easily group into packs, leading to extreme danger for any humans and/or potential food source animals for humans.
After evaluating this situation, I am moving to the Intermountain West, post-haste.- G.S. (Currently in Gallup, New Mexico / Northeastern Arizona, soon to be in Northeastern Washington state)

"We have discovered that the scheme of 'outlawing war' has made war more like an outlaw without making it less frequent, and, that to banish the knight, does not alleviate the suffering of the peasant." - C.S. Lewis

Friday, June 23, 2006

Many thanks to those of you that have made Ten Cent Challenge contributions--these are entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted.

Hi Jim,
A couple of things for you. First, nuclear target data, from www.armscontrolwonk.com

Though it's not nearly as cool as the real thing (much less with the effects computer), a scanned version of the 1977 edition is available online either as a single PDF or broken up by chapters. The 1957 edition is also available.
1977 as a single PDF
1977 divided by chapter
1957 as a single PDF

I've just received thousands and thousands of pages of new nuke, civil defense, sheltering, Soviet military history, very interesting field manuals and more. The stack is over four feet height. I'll be producing a list of titles, data, page counts and more the next few weeks. Many I've only dreamed of finding. Now the SurvivalRing Survival library has over 20,000 new pages of PURE DATA.

A good chunk will be scanned in over time. Two great deals...one on eBay, and the other from Greg Overbay who's been on my SurvivalRing mailing list for years. He had to sell his library to prepare for a move to South America. I covered postage, and gave him 26,000 pages of my survival data on my two CD productions...we both came out ahead. The data to come online from these finds and purchases can save millions of lives, should any balloon go up. Contact me at SurvivalRing.org. - Rich Fleetwood

Mr. Rawles,
My the Lord bless and keep you and yours. In response to your mention of the Japanese bread in a can. I found [a similar] canned bread locally (through a friend in West Virginia) at a "Martins Grocery store." They are mostly a Northeastern U.S. operation. The canned bread is made by B&M (the same company that makes the beans) for about $2.65 a can if I remember right. Tried the Bread and Raisins and it must be kept moist and it is best (IMO) warm and with butter. It is very good, but I have no idea of the shelf life [since] it is not [marked] on the can. I have nothing against the Japanese and who knows B&M might be Japanese owned, but I find it easier to get here. You can cut it by opening both ends [of the can], and then pushing out the desired amount, using the edge of the can as a guide, cut it exactly how you want. This is a link that is almost amusing about the bread.

Here is a link to a place (on the net) that sells American canned bread.

Here is a site that did a nutritional analysis of the bread.
I found the following statement interesting (from that site)

The Good
This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Selenium, and a very good source of Manganese.
The Bad
This food is high in Sodium.

All the best - C.K.

JWR Replies: As you'd expect, my preference is for well-prepared families to grind their own whole wheat flour (from their stored hard red winter wheat) and bake their own bread. Together with the other store bought ingredients, this is a source of nutritious whole wheat bread with a net cost of around 1 to 2 cents per ounce. For comparison, consider that typical store bought bread is 9 to 18 cents per ounce. Canned bread is 29+ cents per ounce, not counting postage, if you buy it via mail order. But of course fresh bread lasts two or three days, whereas canned bread stores for two or three years. So canned bread does have its place in preparedness planning.



Letter Re: North American Amateur Radio Field Day

Hello Jim,

This weekend (June 24 & 25) is field day for Amateur Radio. This is when Amateur Radio operators practice operating in the field using emergency power. Most clubs around the country and the world will be camped out somewhere in the neighborhood or countryside operating for a 24 hour period. The public is invited to come learn about Amateur Radio and the public service they provide in disasters and try operating themselves. You can find info about local clubs from the ARRL web site or just search the web as most local clubs have their own web sites nowadays. - D.C.

Michael Z. Williamson recommended this 24 Hour World Disaster Map.

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SurvivalBlog reader Fred the Valmet-meister mentioned this essay by Pat Buchanan, about the decline of General Motors.

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David in Israel Recommends: "Start stocking up on UV resistant plastic sheeting which can be purchased from garden and many hardware and farm stores. This sheeting can be used to collect rainwater, patch a roof, make solar still, and build greenhouses. It can last up to three years in sunlight." JWR Adds: One of the major brands of semi-transparent polyethylene plastic is "Visqueen." For longest life (in sunlight) and the greatest versatility, be sure to get the thicker (6 mil) variety. Another great product to stock up on is UV resistant white shrink wrap. This is the heavy white sheeting that you've probably seen on power boats that have been "winter wrapped."

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Mr. Bravo spotted this story about the mountains of disaster relief supplies that the American Red Cross has warehoused. Upon reading this, I realized that in a truly major disaster that transport will be disrupted, so odds are that the vast majority of those supplies will not make it into the hands of the people that need them. This underscores the importance of every family being well-prepared and self-sufficient. Folks can't depend on the cavalry charging over the hill to their rescue. For most of us, natural disasters are a YOYO ("You're on Your Own") situation. I just hope that enough people get my preparedness course and use it to get their key logistics squared away.

"Hiding may be a tactic, but it is never a strategy." - Fred the Rifleman

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag/Rucksack) has advanced again, to $255. Special thanks to the fine folks at Ready Made Resources, who kindly donated the kit. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on the last day of June.

I recently had a consulting client on the hurricane prone Gulf Coast of Texas ask me about what he should do about his firearms in the event of a natural disaster. He was concerned that in a "worst case" his family might end up as refugees at an emergency relocation center. Guns could be a contentious issue in the event that officials order that refugees be disarmed "for their protection." (It has happened before, and it might happen again.)

In my younger days, before I had land of my own, I had considerable experience with backpack stowage of rifles. I often went plinking on a piece of U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administered land that was only accessible by a short trail that passes through State Park land. To avoid explaining to the park rangers where I was planning to go shoot, I stowed the whole works in a traditional (exposed tubular frame type) backpack. At the time, I had a CAR-15, a AR-7 .22, a folding stock Remington Model 870 riot shotgun, a Savage Model 24F (.223 Remington over 12 gauge), and various handguns. My pack could accommodate any of these guns. (But obviously not all at once.) I only had to make one modification to my pack to make it work. That was to cut out and re-sew part of the stitching that divides the upper from the lower compartment of the pack, leaving a tunnel between the compartments. With my pack, this provided about 22 inches of usable space.

For the guns that have barrels that are too long for the pack, I keep a handy 9 inch length of white 2" diameter PVC pipe with a standard PVC end cap attached to place over any part of the barrel that protrudes from the top of the pack. With this sticking out of the top of the pack, it looks like you are carrying a broken-down fishing pole, rather than a broken-down long gun. Such PVC tubing is standard equipment for backpackers that carry fishing poles, so it never got more than a passing glance. (Occasionally, thinking that I'm a fisherman, folks asked where the fish are biting.) In five years of going to my favorite piece of BLM land, I was never stopped, questioned, or searched. Keeping a low profile avoids the time and trouble of answering questions posed by "officials" that may or may not have an adequate understanding of applicable local, state, and federal firearms carry and use laws. Why put yourself at risk, needlessly? Words from the wise: When transiting public lands, it is best to stow your guns in your pack and keep your mouth shut. But be sure to consult you local and State laws on concealed carry before doing so.

Notes on particular gun models and varieties:

Handguns: Soft "butterfly" cases are more compact and flexible to stow in packs than hard cases.
Armalite/Charter Arms/Survival Arms AR-7: The perfect backpacker's plinker. Compact, lightweight, inexpensive, .22 ammo is also lightweight and cheap, quick assembly and disassembly. Spare magazines are inexpensive. It is small enough that it will even fit unobtrusively in a small backpack such as the Army issue LC-1/LC-2 series packs. BTW, the Marlin "Papoose" semi-auto takedown .22 has similar dimensions when stowed.
AR-15, M4, CAR-15: The M4 and CAR-15 stow best. Buy an after-market AR such as an Eagle Arms, Olympic Arms, or Bushmaster. These come with two quick takedown pins rather than the bogus rear-takedown pin and "two-screws-instead-of-a-front- takedown-pin" nonsense that is used on the original Colts. The Colt front takedown screw design is a monstrosity. It takes three hands and two screwdrivers used simultaneously to disassemble or reassemble the Colt-made guns. This hardly qualifies as "easy takedown."
Savage Model 24: Relatively quick takedown into two halves that are readily stowed in a pack. These have takedown similar to most single shot, side-by-side, over-and-under shotguns and combination guns. For this type of gun, barrel length is is the most important consideration. Barrels longer than 20 inches are a problem for covert pack stowage.
Remington Model 870 and similar pump actions: Will only fit in a pack if a folding stock or pistol grip is installed. They tend to sting if shot with a pistol grip and when thus equipped they are horribly inaccurate, so I recommend that you buy a folding stock. If you insist on buying a pistol grip, buy the Pachmayr "Vindicator" grip. It is rubber coated so there less of a sting. (But still no fun with 3" magnums.)

I thought I would just write a quick note, you and your readers may be interested in the portable solar power setup I built for using my Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine on extended camping trips. See: http://mtoal.dyndns.org/solar Regards, - Hannibal

JWR Replies: Folks with chronic health conditions (for example sleep apnea, diabetes, or dependence on medical oxygen) definitely need to plan ahead for TEOTWAWKI. I commend you both for your ingenuity and your foresight. BTW, you must be one burly dude to carry that battery box. Put that thing on wheels and save on chiropractor bills!

Hello James,
David in Israel has done a great job sparking original thought in certain topics of discussion. I really like his log home ideas. I have one problem with it is: Today's generation!
I don't think very many of us could muster up enough fortitude let alone man power to fell trees, drag to the site, de-bark and notch them, lift them into place and head from there, (without modern technology, equipment, and power). I grant him that he was talking about a smaller shelter which would be more feasible. His comments have made me think about creating a home after TEOTWAWKI, and more so having a shelter/home that is mobile. It is my opinion that almost any homeowner/ do-it-yourself type guy could build a home with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). These are not labor intensive at all. No special tools are needed, and the foam does not rot. Instead of concrete, how about mixing earthen mud and using it in the very same way? If a few courses were done at a time and allowed to dry, it would greatly reduce the likely "blow out" from excessive un-braced hydraulic pressure. If a guy was lucky enough to have some 2x4s around, he could temporarily brace, or build a semi-permanent wall inside of the structure to minimize any later movement until the roof was installed and mud dry. I grant you that it could take some time for the mud to dry as it won't receive much air, but small holes in the foam may exit the water satisfactorily. In the same token, once the mud dries,... it really is protected from outside moisture if installed with a roof that sheds water.
For further reinforcing, one could install vines or green tree branches into his "pour" to help provide some minimalist reinforcements. Keep in mind under those circumstances, dire is dire.
Thought this was about the lightest weight, least labor intensive and safest method of a "portable home" in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Some of the ICF's fold in half, others are fixed blocks. In this example, the more space saving "folder" type ICFs may be more efficient in space while transporting to your new locale. Food for Thought, - The Wanderer

Be sure to check out my new "big box" preparedness course. The special pricing for SurvivalBlog readers ends on July 4th.

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From Bulgaria: Lightning strike kills 70 goats, but their goat herder survives

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One of my favorite science fiction films, The Quiet Earth has finally been released in a Region I (North American) format DVD. (Heretofore it was only available in PAL format.) The movie has some disturbing sequences, but it is a thought provoking piece. (This is not a children's film!) The DVD is now available on Amazon.com and eBay.com.

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Japan Warned of a Potential Food Shortage

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The southern end of the San Andreas Fault is "Ready to Explode"

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." - Thucydides

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You may have been wondering what has been keeping me so busy for the past two months. I've been working on two projects: The first is a new expanded edition of my novel. That should be available in August. The second has been editing the first of what will be a series of courses and nonfiction books. Jake Stafford (you've seen some of his letters and articles on SurvivalBlog under a pen name) spearheaded this project. It is a family preparedness course that is now available for ordering. It features my guidance on stocking up a family for a year--everything from food and cleaning supplies to batteries and band-aids. It includes a lot of material that has never appeared in SurvivalBlog. Jake and I walked though a COSTCO store a couple of months back, and he digitally recorded several hours of our discussion. He quizzed me on a wide variety of topics related to food storage, food packaging, storage food shelf lives, et cetera. My responses became the core of his new course. Eventually, it branched out into a variety of related topics like sprouting and the issue of complete proteins versus incomplete proteins. I may be biased, but I highly recommend this course! For more information about the course, click on the link in the upper right hand corner of this web page.

Today is the longest day of the year for our readers in the northern hemisphere. We hope that all is well with your gardens. We'd appreciate your comments and "lessons learned" on practical vegetable gardening and grain growing.

Mr. Rawles,
I just finished your novel ("Patriots"), after a marathon reading session that consumed my entire weekend. It was marvelous. I loved every aspect of the book except all of the religious references aimed towards Christians. Can a man of your obvious intelligence really believe that "being a good Christian" elevates someone morally to a higher level than perhaps a Muslim, Jew (yes you showed respect in the book for [a Jewish character's] beliefs, but...), or myself a fence riding atheist? I want so much to believe in god, but it appears that god has abandoned this world.

Secondly, I have a logistical question that you may or may not be able to answer. I currently live in Florida, but I was born and raised in Wisconsin. If you are familiar with that part of the country do you think that upper Wisconsin, or the Upper peninsula of Michigan would be desolate enough to ride-out trouble that you and I both see coming? I grew up hunting and fishing...living off the land for our meals on camping trips, but I worry about being "cornered" by the Great Lakes. Am I just overly paranoid after reading your book or do I have a legitimate problem? I'm finally in a financial position to start preparing for the future good or bad; but it would be a moot point to in that area of the country if I have no means to leave if necessary. I miss the area terribly, and feel comfortable there knowing that I can survive and even thrive there without a map. I'm sure you get hundreds of similar e-mails like this, I'm no better or worse, smarter or dumber than any of the other people. What I would like to do sometime with you is debate theology with you; I'm always looking for someone to convince me there is a god; and if you play, I'd love to play chess with you. I've beaten champions, and been destroyed by hoboes in the park at the game. I find it mirrors life in a lot of ways. Thank you for your time and your efforts to save everyone. - P.J.S.

JWR Replies: Thanks for your e-mail. In answer to your first question, I sincerely believe that Judaism and Christianity constitute the moral underpinning in western societies, and that the Ten Commandments are the basis of our legal system.With devout faith, people behave well toward one another regardless of whether or not a formal system of law and order exists. But without faith, in the absence of law and order (such as during a major disaster or a societal collapse) I only expect to see anarchy, widespread theft, and violence. This is not to say that there are not atheists and agnostics that have morals. Some, like you, clearly do. But I believe that you are in the minority. For the past 40+ years, the state-run school systems have preached "moral relativism." (in essence, claiming "There are no absolutes of right and wrong", and "what is right for me may be wrong for you", et cetera.) The product of this system has been two generations that now do their best to get away with whatever they can. The higher crime rates, gang violence, drug abuse, pornography, graffiti, shoplifting, et cetera are all clear evidence of this dramatic change. Much of this change has crept in insidiously. In a situation where law enforcement is non-existent, I am certain that the vast majority of people will have no compunctions to take what they want, and that good portion of them will kill without much hesitation. I would much rather have conservative Christians or Jews for neighbors. I hope that you can understand and appreciate my position. (Although since you are a non-Christian, I don't expect you to embrace it.)

In answer to your second query, I cannot speak for Wisconsin, but I think that the Upper Peninsula ("U.P.") of Michigan will probably be a good place to ride out an economic collapse, as long as you have a large firewood supply. (By which, I mean an honest three winter supply, already cut and stacked.) Water certainly isn't a problem there. You will find that most of your neighbors will already be fairly self-sufficient. If and when things fall apart, I predict that the vast majority of refugees and looters from the major metropolitan centers such as Chicago will head south. The first winter without grid power will be enough to convince them of that! Thus, the U.P. will in all likelihood remain relatively intact. My only two areas of reluctance on this recommendation are 1.) The risk posed by the higher population density of the Midwest and Great Lakes region (versus the lightly populated intermountain west--the region that I most highly recommend), and 2.) The entire region would be downwind of fallout-producing ground bursts on the missile fields of Montana and Wyoming. Granted, this is a less likely scenario, but if it were to happen, I would not want to be downwind!

As for your concerned about getting "cornered", in my opinion that would only be an issue on the U.P. if you were north of Houghton or out on Mackinac or Bois-Blanc Islands. Otherwise, there is plenty of room to maneuver.

In your posted list of 'Recommended Retreat Areas' you address Indian tribal government as a 'minus' because of an extra layer of bureaucracy only for Oklahoma. Doesn't this apply to each and every state which contains reservations? Your top 12 recommended states all have reservations on them. Might not that Indian Nation independence be a benefit? Or, since my knowledge on Indian Tribal Lands and their political position being quite slim, might I just be missing some very basic information which would lend one to see the true position? I have been doing some research but haven't uncovered anything which I would call reliable. But I never give up! :-) Thanks, - Ken

JWR Replies: I have mixed feelings about owning land inside the boundaries of a tribal reservation. I generally recommend against it unless you are of American Indian descent. If nothing else, living "on the res" means an extra layer of bureaucracy and certainly an extra jurisdictional layer, including Tribal Police law enforcement and a tribal court system with its own sovereignty. There is no way to predict in which ways the tribes might assert their sovereignty in the future. At present, this is relatively unobtrusive. For example, inside some reservations non-Indians have to buy a one day tribal fishing license in addition to an annual state fishing license. Indian tribal courts generally have a good reputation, but why subject yourself to an additional jurisdiction, with its own peculiar set of laws, when it can be avoided by simply buying land that is outside of the reservation boundary?


Those willing to pay a top price for .50 BMG rifles should look at the EDM Arms Windrunner, which bests the Barrett for accuracy, and takes down to a 4-foot-long case (heavy) for more discrete transport. It is also is available in .338 Lapua. They can sell you a ".338" [marked] receiver, which is unlikely to be a banned caliber, and a .50 BMG bolt and barrel. [Based upon the Form 4473] the feds will know only that you have a .338 rifle, and not that you also got some 50 caliber parts along with it, to make your rifle identical to one stamped 50 BMG (read: “ban me”) on the receiver. But the ideal is an AR lower (bought legally in most states in a private want ads sale) with your choice of upper, including a .50 BMG. Barrett and EDM have owners who have taken tough stands against California's efforts to ban their products. - Mr. Bravo


Dear Jim,
In response to several threads I'd like to offer the following links: www.ultramag50.com this is a magazine fed, bolt action .50 BMG upper for an AR rifle. I haven't handled one yet, but their machinework looks exceptional, and I find their attitude more professional than that of a couple of the other upper kit makers. [Their site has] good information on what they have. I would recommend the 29" barrel, or even ask for a custom 36". An 18"barrel is just too short for a .50. For single shots, www.cobb50.com has some very interesting options, and also their Multi Caliber Rifle built on an AR type receiver. - Michael Z. Williamson

The Colorado drought continues.

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SurvivalBlog reader J.N. mentioned Congressman Bartlett's 2005 Peak Oil Presentation to the U.S. Congress. (The video takes a lot of bandwidth, but a PDF transcript with views is also available.)

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FEMA Wasted $1.4 Billion in Hurricane Katrina Aid

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Buckshot (of Buckshot's Camp) mentioned a couple of specials: His "Misadventures" book is currently available with free postage. If you order both his Misadventures book and his new Survival manual, they will cost just $21 with free shipping. Retail on the book is 13.95 and the manual is $9.95 plus 5.90 S&H total would be $29.80. (Thus a savings of $8.80.) Buckshot's new DVD will be $49.95 unless they are a SurvivalBlog 10 Cent Challenger subscriber--then it will be just $24.95. He also mentioned that he heard from his suppliers that prices will soon be going up on snares, most likely in July. So if you have been hesitating, get your order in for snares soon!

"The only purpose of a government is to protect a man's rights, which means: To protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, an agent of man's self defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper function s of a government are: The police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud from others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective laws. - John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Get your entries in for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. If you want a chance to win, start writing and e-mail us your article soon. Round 5 ends on July 31st.

1) I don't know if you've seen it yet, but there is a map of "Waterfowl Flyways of North America" (put mouse cursor on icon in lower right corner and click to enlarge). This shows the routes that migratory ducks and geese follow when they return to the southern USA in the fall after mingling with Eurasian migratory birds in the subarctic over the summer.
2) That is, the map shows the primary routes along which Avian flu would be transmitted into the USA:
a) Coastal bays like the Chesapeake and Delaware on the East Coast and San Francisco on the West Coast ,
b) Major rivers like the Hudson (New York), Susquehanna (Pennsylvania), Potomac (Maryland/Virginia), Mississippi plus tributaries (Midwest),
Ohio (Midwest), and Columbia (Oregon) , and
c) Either side of major barriers like the Rocky Mountains, the deserts of Nevada/Arizona, and the Sierra Mountains
3) Note that it's possible that an Avian flu pandemic might persist for several years, since flocks of migratory waterfowl form a "reservoir" in which it can culture --in the same way that the plague is preserved in prairie dog colonies of the Southwest USA and infects people every year. See: "Plagues and Peoples" by William McNeill.
4) As an exercise in "survivalist paranoia", it's interesting that Porter Goss abruptly resigned as Director of CIA back in early May -- a few days after the White House released it's Pandemic Flu plan. Most people don't know that Porter Goss is quite wealthy --well over a million net worth. In the 1960s after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Porter Goss left the CIA and settled on Sanibel Island near the bottom of southwest Florida -- one of only a few spots in the USA that would have survived the massive fallout from a Soviet Nuclear Strike.
5) Now, the news reports that "Goss and his wife own a central Virginia farm, where they raise cattle, sheep and chickens. " See very bottom of this article
It just so happens that Porter Goss's Central Virginia farm is one of the few spots in the country that does not have geese carrying Avian flu flying over it.
6) When the pandemic hits, interstate transport shuts down and the politicians in Washington are feeding on each other like cannibals --literally, not just politically -- Goss will be setting on his front porch eating homemade cheese, sipping homemade Cabernet and enjoying the rural sunset. Laughing his behind off as he tells his wife about how Donald Rumsfeld talked
Vice President Dick Cheney into buying a $2.9 Million estate on the Chesapeake Bay--an area which receives the largest dump of migratory goose droppings in the country. Regards, - D.W.

G'day, just a quick comment on David's well reasoned article. Ragnar Benson has a good set of plans and quite well written instructions on building an "A" frame cabin, from scratch, along with a list of kit you will need to make it easier contained in the book 'Living Off the Land in City and Country'. We used it as the basis for our 'holiday cabin' (that's what we tell
our friends/relatives) and it seems to work quite well even after five years of weathering the varied Australian seasons. It is a bit more involved than a simple lean to, but if you are planning a long stay, it could well be worth the effort. Ours took the two of us four weekends and one full week (call it 14 days all up) to complete.
I did like the bit about the greenhouse, can anyone guess the next thing to be built on our scrub block? As a plus, it will give us some additional rainwater catchment area. I would not have thought of the large garden shed approach, but in hindsight, it seems obvious. The shed, a potbelly stove for heat and cooking, a portable greenhouse, a means of collecting and treating the rainwater runoff, and you would be well ahead of the curve, at least in the shelter department. Cheers, - Dave

JWR Replies: Benson's book is still in print an available through Amazon.com. But for the best price, get a copy through eBay.

A book I highly recommend is "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey" by Sam Keith. It shows how to make a cabin with the most simple tools. Excellent DVD on this as well. Though Alaska is not the ideal locale for long term , this book shows what a desolate lifestyle is like. Excellent read! - Jason North Idaho

Dear Jim:
I was reading Boston's Gun Bible last night and he recommended purchasing a 50 BMG rifle because he believes that it is most definitely at the top of the "too be banned list."

1.) Do you think that the .50 cal. is an intelligent purchase for a survival scenario?

2.) Boston mentioned a 50 BMG AR-15 conversion package where the .50 caliber upper is used on an AR-15 lower receiver to convert it to a [single shot] .50 BMG. (And, no FFL is required.) What is your opinion of this system? (The approximate cost is $2,000 for a single-shot bolt action. No magazines are used.)

3.) Barrett makes a .50 BMG rifle for about $8,000. And, for this price, do you like this brand? Or is there another .50 cal manufacturer that you would recommend? - B'shem Yahshua HaMoshiach, - Dr. Sidney Zweibel, Columbia P&S

JWR Replies: I do recommend buying one .50 BMG rifle for each family or group retreat, if you budget allows it. However, I'd recommend buying one only after you have bought your primary .308 rifles, your .45 ACP handguns for each adult as well as your key food storage and other logistics.

The brand that I recommend is the Spider Arms Ferret .50. It is a no-FFL .50 BMG upper kit that goes on a standard.223 AR lower. I believe that the "paperwork free AR upper" approach is preferable because it is both the most economical and low profile. It is important to use all legal means to avoid a paper trail, since ".50s" on Form 4473s might be subject to close scrutiny at a later date.) OBTW, I prefer the longer (36") barrels. (The 18" barrel offered with the Ferret .50 is way too short and the standard 29" is a bit short to maximize the ballistics of the .50 BMG cartridge.)

In answer to your question on Barrett rifles, I would rather have a Ferret .50, or perhaps two of them, plus a lot of .50 BMG ammo and cash left over--all for the price of one Barrett.

Mat the Prop Wizard sent a link for another great article from Make magazine. This one describes emergency arc welding, using automotive batteries. Cooool! I had heard this technique described by some off-road jeep rally buddies, but this is the first time I've ever seen the details in an article.

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Rourke mentioned that the Sci-Fi Channel is getting into the act, with their own "Countdown to Doomsday"--with numerous Doomsday Scenarios

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Independent Petroleum Geologist Jeffrey J. Brown's commentary: "Has oil peaked?: Yes"

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The Homeland Security Department says that The U.S. is Not Ready for Disasters

"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act, he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch -- or build a cyclotron -- without a knowledge of his aim and the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think." - John Galt in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged

Monday, June 19, 2006

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag/Rucksack) is at $250. Special thanks to the fine folks at Ready Made Resources, who kindly donated the kit. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on the last day of June.


One of the most frightening aspects of attempting survival especially in North America is surviving the survivalists. These pseudo-survivors dutifully stock up arms and ammunition at great personal expense but fail to do any other planning expecting to presumably live off of the spoils of the MZBs (mutant zombie bikers) who they eliminate. A physical therapist once gave me a bit of wisdom about his trade and people in general; "every back problem looks like a surgical fix to a surgeon and chiropractic care is the sure cure to a chiropractor". (Clearly the good doctors do not do not fall into this category.) There is an old saying: "When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail." In the same vein if your only survival tool is a well stocked weapons battery every problem looks like a gun fix. The hungrier and colder you get, the more you may fall into the MZB category. Consider a proper USFS type Pulaski tool, which is a combination axe and digging hoe. This tool is at least as valuable as any firearm to a survivor!

The biggest weakness for the first few weeks post-TEOTWAWKI is the lack of proper shelter. The land upon which your domicile will rest is discussed elsewhere we need to think of appropriate solutions for the area you are planning to relocate to if it is required. These solutions being prompt at best will allow even the "grasshoppers" a chance to have a more livable dwelling if they have to bug out.

Your Car or a Tent

The tent not so bad for a short stay--around a week--but your tent is best saved for last unless it is of a heavy canvas or military type. Provision for heating must be considered. A military Arctic tent and wood/diesel stove is designed to be sledded into a remote area by a skier. Your vehicle provides cramped quarters and extremely fuel intensive heating, unless you have a camper van or canopy for your truck this is also a week at best type venture. A big benefit initially for being inside your vehicle is quick retreat.

Prefabricated Shelter
If given a little warning a small utility shed could be dismantled and loaded onto a trailer. Check your shed now to see if this is a possibility. A better solution is to order a small shed with a proper door and maybe a window and long overhang for a porch. These can be loaded onto a trailer or even a pickup bed and assembled at your selected retreat. I place the greenhouse in this same category. You will need food. During the winter, vitamin malnutrition is a serious problem, several hundred dollars spent on a shed and another few dollars spent on a decent greenhouse can make the difference.

On Site Materials
If your are a very successful hunter (highly unlikely for the first few years post TEOTWAWKI due to massive survival over hunting) the tepee might be an option to replace your tent. A better option in many parts of the USA, Europe, Canada, and Russia is the log cabin. The log cabin is reasonably simple to build and requires beginner skill for a small home. Practice is very useful it would be worth your time now to build a log doghouse or even table top model to give you practice for the real thing.
Without a modern hardware store window glass, hinges, rebar or spikes for joints, a cement chimney and a solid door will be difficult to improvise. The main tools required is an axe, plumb lines, marking tools, compass, and rule. All of these except the axe can be easily improvised. Four large, man-movable rocks with a flat surface will suffice for the corners of a small cabin something 3M x 4M,. Anything larger would require additional rock foundation on the long sides. A proper lock-notch reminiscent of Lincoln Logs can stand in for spiking if none are to be found. Work in one direction with the stacking alternation top to bottom so fit is better on every layer. Don't worry about gaps under around 5 cm as you will be stuffing mosses between every layer for wind-proofing and insulation. After the house is built make a jam-stick to force more moss or similar material into the gaps. If you can, wait until the wood is seasoned then mud it over. (Green wood shrinks and would require re-stuffing and re-mudding.) A roof can go from pine boughs to sod to shingles depending upon time and materials, if you had the foresight to include thick plastic or tarp in your gear this when sandwiched between pole layers makes for a decent temporary roof liner. Pad it with sod to prevent wear and punctures. Forget about peaked roofs unless you are in heavy snow country where a log A-frame would be better, tall roofs waste all of the heat near the top while you are freezing. A short building with a shed roof is better. Your door is a difficult addition to the cabin, a dig under is simpler but less comfortable, lag bolts for the frame plus cross placed lock logs (think the short Lincoln logs) may make this safer. Consider a combination dig-out and short door for your entry with buckskin to cover the opening. A fire ring inside your cabin and a buckskin flap vent hole in your roof will allow you to heat and cook but BE CONSERVATIVE WITH THE FIRE! Clay and stone might be used to build a chimney fireplace but be wary of the temptation to improvise by using mudded over wood for a fireplace. A bed is made by making a mini cabin in the same rectangular shape of your bed with a roof of poles cover with 10-20 cm of boughs cut when they reach nearly pencil
size 8-9mm. The largest dangers with an improvised the cabin are collapse and fire. Consider bracing and cross members in a un-spiked cabin. Be careful with fire.

TEOTWAWKI could happen anytime. Have shelter and food preparations made. Install a mobile, shipping container, shed or other shelter on that piece of land. Don't be a grasshopper well armed and trained survivalists with no stored food or shelter are the scariest MZBs of all. Hunger and cold allow people to justify the most outrageous decisions. Even easier to justify decisions such as armed robbery when your family is hurting. We will all stand to be judged by the Creator of the universe in the end.

Dear James,
I witnessed a live presentation from "The Three Ex-Terrorists" several months ago. For those who want to understand the mindset of an Islamic terrorist and the ability to completely change one's life, their story and insights provide actionable information. One of them killed over 200 people. They have presented to government officials but they are too politically incorrect for the liberal media to do more than very short interviews with. See also www.shoebat.com.- Yorie in Pennsylvania.

JWR Replies: Lest anyone think that SurvivalBlog is overtly political or religious, I'm posting Yorie's letter and links for a reason that entirely transcends politics and religion. The Islamic terrorist threat in North America, Western Europe, and Australia is a real and present danger. The advent of weapons of mass destruction has increased the terrorist threat by several orders of magnitude. Never before in history have a handful of fanatics had the potential to kill tens of thousands of people and destroy an entire national economy. World War I was started because of the assassination of a European royal by a lone terrorist. The incidents of 9/11/01 (with 3,000+ deaths) radically changed our perception of the damage that a few terrorists could wreak.

And people wonder why I "deprived" my family by moving them to a lightly populated region...

Al Qaeda Cell Had Plans to Gas New York Subways

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Rourke recommended this informative site on home ethanol production: http://www.homedistiller.org/ If you spend a lot of time researching there, or end up building a still based on their plans, be sure to send them a contribution.

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Does anyone make a "Red Gun" or "Blue Gun" Model 1911 non-firing training pistol with a magazine well and a functional magazine catch? (I'm in need of one here at the ranch, so we can teach our kids presentation drills as well as tactical and emergency reload drills.) My web searches thusfar have been unproductive.

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From Wembley England, comes a news story about a three year conviction for possession for a "large quantity" of ammunition, that all fit in a rucksack. Large quantity? If they ever saw the ammo cans that I have stacked in Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (the JASBORR), they'd have a heart attack.


Northern Tool & Equipment (one of our Affiliate advertisers) has announced that that will be offering free shipping on all UPS Ground orders over $149. This promotion starts Monday, June 19th and ends on Wednesday, July 5th. You will need to enter keycode 90473 in order to receive the shipping discount. This is a great offer, especially if you want to order a heavy item such as generator.


"The only real poverty is poverty of the mind." - Edward H. Romney in Living Well on Practically Nothing

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dear Jim,
I love your site. This is just a quick note while you are on the subject of the nuclear threat. I have been following Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief web site for the past few years and he seems to be of the opinion that this is a threat we should take very seriously. I encourage your readers to check out his article on analysis of strategic threats. I also HIGHLY recommend his books "The Secure Home" and "Strategic Relocation." I know you've mentioned his books before in past articles but it is worth repeating. No preparedness library would be complete without them. - "Kaivman"


Dear Jim:
The Nuclear Weapon Archive has a lot of useful information on the past and present of national arsenals. The Russians seem to have much lower capabilities now than previously, but it's believable and reasonable, given the state of their economy and domestic troubles. I don't believe they're a likely threat any time soon. Here are some brief quotes from the site:
"This single warhead missile is currently (late 1997) the only strategic nuclear delivery system in production in Russia."
"The Topol has a range of 10,500 km, and a payload of 1000 kg. It is armed with a single 550 KT warhead with an accuracy (CEP - circular error probability) of 200 m."
Russia does not appear to have any ERRB (Enhanced Radiation Reduced Blast) warheads for strategic use. China may:
"Current estimates assert that only about 20 ICBMs are in service - the Dong Feng (East Wind)-5A. This figure is surprising in light of China's ability to produce the same basic booster in larger numbers as the Long March 2 satellite launcher. The U.S. government has stated that in 1981 there were DF-5As deployed in hardened silos at two sites. It is thought to carry the largest warhead ever tested by China (4-5 MT)."
"The neutron bomb claimed by China is strictly a tactical weapon (designed for use against armored vehicles). China has conducted a number of low yield tests that may have been tactical weapons, and a large military exercise incorporating simulated nuclear weapons was held in June 1982."
Their best missile is estimated at a 13,000 km range, making them more of a potential threat than Russia. I don't believe their dependence on our market for their economy makes an attack likely in the foreseeable future. - Michael Z. Williamson

I hope the following information will help some of the readers with their supplies of toilet paper. I consider this a very important part of the total preparedness plan. If anything it will be a tremendous comfort for people during a really Schumer time. I will mention toilet paper brands, however, this is in no way an endorsement of any particular brand.
I was always curious how much toilet paper I would need per person for a year during a post-SHTF event. Not being the one that bought the stuff I relied on the wife for this. The info I got just wasn't exact enough. I really needed to know so as to have enough on hand. I did what anyone would do and searched the internet. I was looking for the average amount of toilet paper that is used per person per day. Wikipedia had the answer. It said that Charmin Toilet Paper determined that an American uses 57 sheets of TP per day. I needed to convert this into how many rolls used per year. All brands make different size rolls of TP. So to make it easy I used Charmin's numbers. Charmin makes 176, 352, 440 and 704 sheet rolls of TP. For my calculations I used a roll of 352 sheets. The number of ply's was not considered. If I use 57 sheets per day that comes to 20,805 sheets per year or (using 352 sheets per roll) 60 rolls per year. Again, your numbers will vary depending on what sheet count you buy and even your daily usage. Multiply that by the number of family members and it should give you a pretty good idea of your yearly TP needs. You might want to add an extra case(s) for good measure incase mice, water, charity or what ever depletes part of your stash of TP. Try and buy the cases of TP that are in the cardboard boxes. This will provide them some limited protection. Plastic tubs are another good form of protection. These would also help you with storage issues because the cases could be broken down into smaller units. Make sure you identify them.
If you have a retreat and are expecting people to be there they should preposition TP for themselves (as well as other stuff). You can't be expected to provide everything for everybody.
As Buckshot mentioned in an earlier post, telephone books can be a good source of TP. I consider this emergency TP. I consider using the full size telephone books but the smaller ones work also. Each page can be cut in half long ways and used that way. Maybe crumpling them up and then unfolding them will make them a little softer to use. Oh well, hope this helps some of your readers. - Larry in Kansas

JWR Replies:
As previously mentioned in this blog and in my novel "Patriots", I recommend acquiring a large stack of telephone books to use a secondary supply of toilet paper. Phone books are usually available free for the asking. New phone books would be preferable (more sanitary), but they are not quite so readily available as used ones.


The U.S. The government is asking for public comments on the USDA's NAIS animal identification/tracking scheme. Please give them a piece of your mind. (For some background on the NAIS plan, see The Memsahib's article.)

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A Category 5 Hurricane Landfall in Miami Could Cost Insurers Up To $130 Billion

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There is currently an interesting thread of conversation about wind generators over at The Claire Files.

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North Korea is about to test an ICBM capable of reaching the US

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To compete with the Canadian Maple Leaf, the U.S. Mint will soon release a .9999 Fine "Buffalo" gold coin. These new one ounce coins will be available for ordering next week, and deliveries begin in early July. The mint decided that there was sufficient market demand to produce both the .9167 fine "hard" American Eagles, and "soft" .9999 fine Buffaloes. To prevent damage, the "Buffs" will be individually encapsulated. The only downside is that this will make them more bulky to store than Eagles. Why .9999? In some markets such as India, investors prefer pure gold bullion coins rather than circulating bullion coins with hardeners added. Such coins are more easily usable for conversion to jewelry or for industrial use.


"Personal honor, decency, and courage are the basis of any successful civilization. Moral and virtuous citizens form the rock of any successful society. Toleration of, and eventual encouragement of, corruption, iniquity, and sleaziness unfailingly mark the decline of a civilization." - John Farnam

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I generally ignore most of those ubiquitous thrice forwarded pieces of Internet trivia and humor, but I thought that the following one was worthy and would be of particular interest to SurvivalBlog readers in the U.S.:

The year is 1906. One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes!

Here are some of the U.S. statistics for the Year 1906 :

The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.

There were only 8,000 automobiles in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st
most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour. The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year,
a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year. More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home. Ninety percent of all U.S. doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound. Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason. The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't yet been admitted to the Union. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet. There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. Two out of every 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school. Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

For the year, there were about 230 reported murders in the entire country.

Dear Mr Rawles,
Congratulations on a great blog, which I have just discovered. I am in the U.K. and am probably one of the few people here who has a copy of "Patriots"... a great read.
Two things it may be worth mentioning to your readers:
I haven't seen mentioned before the importance of stocking up with small tool consumables -- I am thinking of Stanley knife blades, "Olfa" type snap off blades, hacksaw blades and especially jeweler's/gunsmith's saw blades (who will want to make their own 3/0 saw blades WTSHTF?).
You might also note the importance of keeping the traditional manual equivalents of those power tools which will quickly become useless [in the event of a grid down situation]-- such things as crosscut and rip saws, planes, "yankee" screwdriver with bits, carpenter's brace with bits, sharpening stones, cold chisels. These things should be in everyone's essential kit, and kept well maintained.With Thanks, - "Mr Lessogg"

Japanese canned bread: Bread that comes in a can and stays fresh for up to three years

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SurvivalBlog reader C.K. recommended the book Marion And His Men or The Swamp Fox Of Carolina. It is the true story of Francis Marion, an American Revolutionary War hero. Marion was the basis for Mel Gibson's role as "Benjamin Martin" in the movie The Patriot

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The folks at The Daily Reckoning (one of my daily "must reads") quoted a very telling letter from one of their readers about the U.S. housing bubble: "When you mentioned Las Vegas real estate woes, I'd like to comment further," begins a letter from a reader. 'I am a Phoenix real estate agent and March 2005 there were 5,000 houses on the market, March 2006 there were 35,000 houses on the market. Today there are currently 40,000 houses on the market. Staggering!'" If you don't already subscribe to The Daily Reckoning , then I highly recommend it. Subscriptions are free.

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The month-long global stock meltdown cost investors $2 trillion. Stock prices seem to be rebounding (along with commodities prices), but it was still a stomach-churning few weeks.

"We may not all have the opportunity to be a hero, but, nearly every day, we all have the opportunity not to be a coward." - John Farnam

Friday, June 16, 2006

Recently Paul Harvey mentioned that hospitals are making some expensive upgrades. It seems the standard operating tables, which are rated to hold a five hundred pound patient, are not sturdy enough. The standard doors, at forty two inches wide, are not wide enough to accommodate today's obese patients, so they are being widened. Hydraulic hoists are being installed. Longer hypodermic needles are being ordered to penetrate thick layers of fat. Even the toilets are being reinforced.

I sincerely hope this does not apply to you, but the painful truth is, if you are so large you can't fit through your front door, you are not going to survive any emergency. One of my friends, now deceased of an obesity related heart attack, broke his foot simply by walking across his living room floor. At more than 450 pounds, he could not walk even half a block. Simply walking to the car exhausted him.

I'm not trying to be cruel here, and I do sympathize with the overweight. With all the excitotoxins and appetite stimulants in today's foods, it is difficult not to gain weight, no matter what you do. This area seems to be taboo among survival and preparedness writers, but it is critically important to your survival chances that you get in shape. I'm not talking winning marathons or iron man competitions here, just getting rid of the excess weight and getting some sensible exercise. My friend died while sitting at his computer, not running for his life in some emergency. Even if he had a helicopter to take him to a well-stocked cabin in the Canadian wilderness, it would have done him no good. All the firearms in the world would have helped him not one bit. A library full of hunting and survival books and videos and DVDs would have been useless. My friend dug his grave with his teeth.

It is not like me to point out a problem and not offer a solution. Here is my secret weapon against obesity: You may recall the grapefruit diet that was so popular decades ago. Recent research reveals that grapefruit contains an ingredient that aids in weight loss. Please read that last sentence carefully, because it does not say that grapefruit causes weight loss, only that it aids in weight loss. You can't chase down a pizza with grapefruit juice and expect to do anything but gain weight.

The secret recipe could not be simpler. Simply mix half pineapple juice and half grapefruit juice, to make a one cup drink. That's all there is to it. The combination of those two juices is a very powerful and fast appetite suppressant, and it usually hits me before I finish the glass. While it works anytime to fight the urge to eat, the best time to use it is before the bedtime snack. You know the one I am talking about, the one nobody admits to enjoying. Food taken before bedtime is not needed to fuel the body, because the body is at rest. That meal goes straight to your fat deposits. If you can eliminate that meal alone, you will most likely lose weight.

Don't expect any ten pound a week miracles with this drink. Slow steady progress is the key to success. Then you will give your other preparations a chance to help in the event of an emergency. - Doc at www.bigsecrets.cc

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning diet and exercise. I concur with you wholeheartedly. I should emphasize those more in my writings. My apologies if I heretofore haven't sufficiently emphasized them. Indeed, a key part of preparedness is physical fitness. The rigors of a post-collapse world may be too much for some SurvivalBlog readers, unless they demonstrate the determination to control their weight and get plenty of exercise. For those of you that are overweight and out of shape, start making some changes today. Eliminate junk food from your diet. Eat healthy catabolic snacks. If you are stuck behind a desk at your job, then at least get out on your lunch hour for a daily walk. Make that walk part of your daily routine. (It is a good idea to set the calendar on your PC with an alert pop-up message.) Park your car at the far end of the company parking lot. Use the stairs instead of escalators and elevators. Join a fitness club. Buy smaller plates. It is little things like these, collectively, that will gradually make you trim and fit. It just takes some discipline.

Hi Jim,
I have to support you in your view of Gun 'Buy-back' schemes. When the law changed over here in the UK in 1996 and the private ownership of handguns was made illegal the government put in place a scheme where all handguns were to be handed into police stations and the owners were given what the government called 'fair recompense'. This took no account of the market value of the firearms handed in and most were overvalued. So what happened was that many people were spending their time buying cheep handguns and immediately going to a police station handing in the weapons just purchased and making a profit. I heard of several people who made over £10,000 (GBP) in profit doing this. So why not take advantage of schemes like this and if you have, or can get hold of, any cheap weapons hand them make a profit, and put the money to a better use.
Allied to the illegality of many weapons in the UK, semi-automatic rifles (made illegal in 1987) and handguns (from 1996), crimes committed in which firearms have played a part have increased by over 1000%. Making firearms illegal only removes them from the hands of the law abiding people not the criminals, especially as breaking the law tends to be part of the job description of a criminal. (If you are going to break one law why not break another especially if it will help you get away with it.) Also, illegal firearms are ridiculously easy to acquire, and relatively cheap, in the large cities in the UK if you have the contacts. Regards, - Ross

JWR Replies: I would only recommend taking advantage of schemes like these, under the following circumstances: 1.) You can "donate" guns anonymously (no record of sellers name), 2.) You sell only junker guns with no practical value, 3.) You receive cash rather than amusement park or movie coupons, and 4.) You immediately invest the cash generated into practical/tactical guns, ammunition, and accessories. That would warm my heart!

Check this out!

For example, scroll down to 6M and click on the 1 hour map. It brings up Google Earth with the "push pins." When you click on the push pin you get the call sign of the amateur operator which can be put into www.qrz.com, and that tells you who they are and where they live. - Fred the Valmet-meister

Kentucky farmers and ranchers voice their distrust of NAIS.

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The 2006 Kansas wheat harvest is down 23% from last year. Stock up, now. Buy f rom your favorite storage food vendor before prices increase. We recommend Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers) and Nitro-Pak (one of our affiliate advertisers)

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From a recent Reuters wire service story on the bankruptcy rate in the U.S.: "More than $300 billion in ARMs [Adjustable Rate Mortgages] are subject to interest rate resets this year and that figure is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2007, according to DB Global Markets Research."

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I've noticed that the readership of SurvivalBlog in Europe is picking up substantially, and it is quite widely dispersed. I guess that I'd better start covering European issues in greater depth. Does anyone there care to join us as a correspondent? (Strictly for the glory, since I can't afford to pay a writer. In fact I'm barely keeping my own family fed.)

"We all experience denial, the trick is to quickly get over it." - John Farnam

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It is gratifying to see that we've had 462,000+ unique visits to the blog site and that our readership is still steadily growing. Many thanks for spreading the word. If you haven't done so already, please mention SurvivalBlog to your friends, co-workers, and members of your congregation.

The "Quotes of the Day" that will be posted for the next nine days were all suggested by Dave of Captain Dave's. Be sure to visit his site. There is a wealth of free information there!

Regarding the article "Practical Skills for Surviving TEOTWAWKI, by Free Rifleman": Intravenous (IV) fluid (normal saline) is inherently non-pyrogenic, pH stabilized, made of non-degrading substances, and packaged in a tough sterile wrapper. The biggest worry is that the packaging or drug ports may go bad from sunlight exposure. Check for sinkers or floaters discoloration or damage once you open the sealed outer bag. If you are really worried use a loop with a filter needle. Survival use of IV fluid usually implies a life is at serious risk so discretion would likely weigh toward use of a properly stored and packaged expired bag. (One data point: The International Space Station (ISS) does not rotate IV fluid until years past expiration. The ISS only stocks six liters. ISS planners say that they would use sterile-filtered water from ISS plumbing and NaCl mix to refill IV bags. Note: The following reference data is for EMERGENCY/DESPERATION ONLY and HIGH SKILL WARNING!!! - PARAMEDIC AND UP WITH APPROPRIATE TRAINING ONLY!!! From a physician at the Mile High clinic in Colorado who consulted for NASA on ISS medical issues suggests even in a wilderness situation to micro-filter (particulates), boil (sterility), and salinate with (un-iodized much preferred) NaCl at 0.9% (same as human blood, tears, etc) infuse preferably through one or two filter needles in your loop.
The reason I even post this medically sound but legally dangerous information is for educational purposes. If there is a skilled practitioner who in the course of treatment runs out of current dated IV fluid, then alternatives are at hand. Thus, it is possible that a life which is in the balance might be saved. Above all, use discretion!

Dear Jim,
The current thread on fighting in a post-disaster environment makes me recall just before Y2K, when set up at various gun shows.
I told another dealer I had enough ammo, and he half-jokingly said, "You can't have enough."
I believe my quote was, "After I shoot the first forty, the rest will move on or call for artillery, depending on who they are" An invading army won't be scared of your rifle. And a roving gang will want easy pickings.
Had things come to a disaster, my wife and I were resident managers of an industrial facility. I figured to block the drives with cinder blocks or cars, pretend the site was empty, and stand by with a shotgun and carbine at the door. If the crowd moved along the road, I'd ignore them. Only if they sought to enter our attached apartment would I have fired. My guess was that someone on guard (We're both vets) with weapons, armor and helmet would deter most, since it would be obviously an attack on a defended position for little gain.
And yet, there actually was one attendee who insisted his survival plan was guns and ammo and "Just take what I need from those who didn't prepare." I gently suggested that with food, a running water supply, medical gear, sundries and hard cover, I was prepared to hold him off until he ran out of ammo or food and had to retreat. He apparently hadn't considered that having a gun wouldn't make him Lord of All He Surveyed.
The goal in surviving, as Heinlein noted in his excellent young adult novel "Tunnel in the Sky" is to stay alive. Not conquer (conquest is how many of these disasters start), not crusade. Just survive.
I'm fortunate enough to have the skills, money and time to have built several hi-tech small arms. But I also keep shotguns and old bolt [action] guns around--they're easier to fix in the garage with good scrap steel, and robust. While I want a crank-fired, belt-fed Browning 1919A4, at 400 rounds per minute and 30+ pounds plus tripod, it hardly makes sense as a "survival" weapon. It may be a "rebellion" weapon, but it's still of limited use in all but a few circumstances. It's an indulgent toy. At the same show, a gentleman was selling what may have been the ultimate survival rifle--a pre-1899 Mosin-Nagant and a case of 7.62 x 54R ammo for $150, cash and carry. I should have grabbed some spares. - Michael Z. Williamson


We bought two of these trauma kits, one for each of our vehicle's glove compartment and we each carry one of the mini kits in our bug out bags. They're all nicely vacuum packed in rugged plastic film and would be handy in case of an accident or as a "blow out kit" if one was suddenly "ventilated" by a bad guy's handgun! - K. in Hawaii

The U.S. is "Not Ready" for the Threatened Venezuelan Oil Embargo

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The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action reports that the ponderously-tiitled "U.N. Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects," will begin Monday, June 26. See the Stop the UN Gun Ban web site for details. Call and e-mail your congresscritters and remind them that their oath to defend the Constitution includes the Second Amendment. The US needs to opt out of this hoplophobic UN meddling!

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SurvivalBlog reader Jim K. recommended this article: Record Meteor hits Norway A good thing that it wasn't in downtown Oslo!

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Jim K. also mentioned this interesting web page: The $200 Machine Shop

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The scarce and desirable U.S. Army Long Range Patrol (LRP) Freeze Dried Entrees are back in stock at www.freezedryguy.com. I've heard that they now have Beef Stew, Beef Teriyaki, and Chicken & Rice. All are fresh 2004 production. They have a very long shelf life. For more info, see www.freezedryguy.com (They are indeed available to order, even though the web site still says "Out of Stock".) You can also call: (530) 265-8333. Order soon, since their last batch or LRPs sold out almost immediately.

"There is no right way to do a wrong thing." - John Farnam (Firearms trainer and author of several self defense books)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag/Rucksack) is at $250. Special thanks to the fine folks at Ready Made Resources, who kindly donated the kit. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on the last day of June.

1) To reiterate the basics, the primary concern with a nuclear attack on the USA is fallout -- since the other major effects of nuclear bombs (blast, thermal radiation,etc) are relatively limited in extent.
You are probably safe if you are 8+ miles upwind from a nuclear detonation of 1 MT or less, provided you don't blind yourself by looking directly at the nuclear detonation. Fallout, moreover, is generated by nuclear strikes at ground level. But many nuclear detonations would be made 4000 feet above a target ["air bursts"]-- in order to maximize the blast effect -- and such air bursts do not generate fallout to any significant extent.
1) The highest priority targets for nuclear strikes on the continental United States are our Minuteman ICBM sites. (In order to reduce the damage from our counterattack.) Unfortunately, however, such an attack would generate massive fallout clouds because of the need for hundreds of ground strikes to destroy hundreds of underground Minuteman silos.
(Note that only Russia has the forces to mount such an attack -- I believe China only has roughly 15 ICBMs. Note also that Russia's missile forces are declining.)
Your blog entry of January 16, 2006 had a link to a report from Nukewatch which noted that our Minuteman sites are being reduced from 1000 missiles to 500 missiles. Note, however, that the remaining
500 missiles will continue to be deployed in the three existing Minuteman "nests" [a.k.a. "missile fields"] around Minot Air Force Base (AFB), (Minot, North Dakota), Malmstrom AFB (Great Falls, Montana) and F.E. Warren AFB, (Cheyenne, Wyoming).
2) Each of those three nests cover an area roughly 60 miles by 100 miles around the commanding AFB, as shown in the three maps in the Nukewatch report to which you linked.
It would still take hundreds of ground strikes to reduce each nest--which would still result in huge fallout plumes reaching to the East Coast.
See the FEMA 196 map -- these major fallout plumes are shown in red.
Since the three decommissioned Minuteman nests were the easternmost of the sites, then the length of the major fallout plumes (shown in red on the FEMA 196 map) would shrink toward the west. For example, since the fallout plume from Minot AFB, North Dakota would no longer be enlarged by the plume from the decommissioned Minuteman nest in Grand Forks, North Dakota, then the major fallout section of the Minot plume (shown in red on the FEMA 196 map ) would probably reach only to western Michigan vice upstate New York. Note that upstate New York would still receive some fallout from Minot but it would be at more moderate levels (yellow shading vice red on the FEMA map.) Similarly, the red plume from Malmstrom AFB (Great Falls, Montana) would probably only reach to Iowa (vice western Pennsylvania as shown on the FEMA 196 map) , since it would no longer be enlarged by the plume from the decommissioned Minuteman site around Rapid City, South Dakota. Finally, the red plume from F.E. Warren AFB (Cheyenne, Wyoming) would probably reach only to western Kentucky (vice New York City) because it would no longer be expanded by the plume from the decommissioned missle nest in Missouri. So the net effect of the Minuteman cutbacks is to lower the fallout expected to be deposit on West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Surprising, huge classified bunkers intended to shelter government leaders have been publicly exposed in that area: Mount Weather in Berryville, Virginia. Raven Rock in Pennsylvania. The Congressional refuge under the Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia. (Only our esteemed political leaders would put a shelter for global nuclear war under a five star hotel.) It is the fallout clouds [kicked up by grround bursts] that make survival in the states east of Montana-Wyoming-Colorado and north of latitude 36 degrees problematical.
Note moreover that daily shifts in the jet stream affect where those fallout plumes would be deposited. For example, Today's map of the stream indicates that much of the fallout from a strike on the F.E. Warren AFB nest --if the attack were made today -- would be deposited on Oklahoma and eastern Texas, rather than toward the east as shown on the FEMA 196 map.
3) What has changed since FEMA 196 is that missile nests in Missouri, South Dakota, and Grand Forks, North Dakota have been decommissioned. This would cut the size of the major fallout plumes (shown in red on the FEMA 196 map ) by roughly half.
The locations of both the active and decommissioned Minuteman nests in the above states can be seen by going here and selecting one of the "Dense Pack" states (shown in red)
4) Some of your readers have suggested that targets with economic value (oil refining area, cities,etc.) will be hit with air bursts or neutron weapons in order to kill people but save material. As I noted,
Little to no fallout is generated by such attacks. But I think it more likely that Russia would hit many of our cities with ground bursts in order to generate fallout. That would deny those economic resources to US survivors in order to prevent America from recovering and ever becoming a future threat. So probably the East Coast from Norfolk, Virginia north to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and 100 miles inland would be in trouble even without the massive fallout plumes from the three Minuteman nests. As would the areas immediately east of the major West Coast cites.
5) There are many other point targets (e.g., airports with runways strong enough to handle B-52s ). As I noted earlier, for any one such target, you are probably safe if you are 8+ miles upwind from
the target. If you are downwind from one or more targets for which ground strikes are likely, then you have to estimate the likely fallout plumes, amount of deposited radiation at your location,
and the amount of fallout shelter you will have.
6) But fallout would also kill off wildlife and many farm animals. Plus even mild nuclear winter would hurt crops, as we've seen in past eruptions of volcanoes. Moreover, much of the massive fallout from an attack on the Minuteman nests would cover the prime food growing areas of the Midwest. So famine would be likely. As you have noted, the high population density in states east of the Mississippi would make survival difficult. - Don W.

Mr. Rawles:

I have found no problems in getting the meds I need in bulk. I simply do not use the insurance. If you have co-pays, your co-pay generally is the cost of the medication. Do some calling to Costco and Sam's [Club] (in the state of Florida you do not have to be a member to use the pharmacy.) [JWR Adds: I believe this is true nationwide under a Federal law that assures universal access to pharmacies.] Ask for the cash price and at least for generics you will be surprised to find out how inexpensive they can be. Then have that sympathetic doctor write the scrip for however many you want. I bought a bottle of 2000 Tetracycline after 9/11 for $20 from Costco. And you can tell the pharmacy you do not want to use the insurance and there is no law that says you have to.
Also do not discount the help of a sympathetic veterinarian. They will not likely write anything that\ cannot be used on animals but you would be surprised what you can get. Imagine you had to treat a huge tank of koi with erythromicyn. If you buy it at the pet store the price is outrageous but if you have cultivated a vet- they can write a large bottle that you would be able to grind up and drop in the pond.
I have a few bottles of other things that might be useful as well. You can get a bucket of the active ingredient of robitussin at Costco, the same with their generic loperimide,these items would be great if
one had a bad case of bird flu or regular and you needed symptomatic treatment. Also just ordered a huge container of generic silvadene. I found a recipe for oral rehydration that you can make in the kitchen. I buy their bottles of generic Benadryl: 400 for $3.69. keep it simple and use your head.
There are other ways to get antibiotics as well. If you have a doc, call on the weekend- saturday morning and have an ear ache or a sinus infection and I have yet to have a doc refuse to call in a a scrip. Also
if you are going to be traveling for an extended period out of the country they are likely to write you one to carry with you as well. I went to England and the doc wrote me a cipro and another for my sinus
which sometimes gets infected. Now I could just have as easily not been traveling.... - Granny Woman


Dear James,
In order to get a very nice stash of antibiotics, you must begin to think compassionately about your fish. Everybody reading this blog is of course planning to someday start a nice survivalist fishpond and needs to get bottles of pharmaceutical grade, gel capsules, of fish antibiotics, that just happen by coincidence to be packaged in pills in dosages identical to what humans take. But that is sheer coincidence, and you are buying this for your fish of course, because the bottles say "not for human consumption" by law, even though they are what humans take already, and there are tons of doomers out there using them who swear by them, though of course you are-as I said-only getting them for your fish- or dogs.
Do a google search under Veterinary supplies. I was happy with California Veterinary Supply and Liz there assured me that the products are stored in climate controlled buildings.

See their site for the many antibiotics that they stock. Plus flagyl for giardia. Plus fungal. Plus other nice medical things. For your dogs and fish of course.
Here are some human dosages, just since we are on the subject, just so you know, since your dog weighs as much as an adult and I just want to be helpful.

DISCLAIMER - I am not a doctor, I found these dosages online or used them with pharmacy products for humans.
My MD dermatologist uses Keflex, some use amoxy or doxy....
Keflex 500 mg 2xdaily, for 3 weeks
Doxy 100 mg 2x daily, 3 weeks ( I had a horrible sun sensitivity reaction and hate the stuff, but my primary MD prefers it for Lyme disease.)
Amoxy, 500 mg 3x daily, 3 weeks
Keflex 250 mg, 2Xdaily
MYCOPLASMAL PNEUMONIA (if your dog has asthma, you might want to get this)
Tetracycline 500 mg 2x daily, 10 days
( preferred is Biaxin 500 mg 2 x daily for 10 days, or one 6 pack of zithromaz-azithromycin)
Amoxy 500 mg 3x daily 2-3 weeks ( I had it really bad).....my kids were only on 250 mg 3 x daily for 2 weeks.
GIARDIA: ("Beaver fever") Flagyl: not sure of the dosage, you'd better check. But if you've ever had giardia you better think about this. I've had it three times and was in bed for a week. I am of course only thinking of my dogs and fish, not me. Hope this helps. - Lyn


Kudos to Buckshot for a well written and timely article on a possible next Great Depression. Those who doubt that it could happen again only have to consider present day Zimbabwe, which is suffering over 1200% inflation as I write this.
Many good books and articles have been written about the Great Depression, but nothing drills home the brutality of it like a photo album from the period. Warning: This link is not for the squeamish, or those in denial. - Doc at www.bigsecrets.cc

Wow! Because of a temporarily stronger dollar, someone in New York just kicked the slats out from under the spot price of silver, pushing it down more than 10% in one day, to under $9.90 per ounce. Meanwhile, gold tumbled more than $35 per ounce. As I've stated before, it is best to buy on these dips. This correction is a great buying opportunity before the metals bull resumes his charge. This is essentially a second chance for everyone that felt that they had "missed the boat." Just don't hesitate, because I suspect that this is the deepest dip we will see for quite a while.

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Frequent SurvivalBlog content contributor R.B.S. spotted this great site on economics and investing: UrbanSurvival.com. It is dubbed "A One Man Business & Financial Newspaper." It is written from a Elliott Long Waver's perspective. Great stuff. By all means check it out.

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From SurvivalBlog reader Steve H.: A specific N95 mask recommendation

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The World Bank reports: Less than $384 million spent on combating Asian Avian Flu out of the $1.9 billion that had been pledged

"People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” - Mrs. Warren's Profession, Act 2 - by George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

As you've probably heard, my novel "Patriots" has been out of print since late 2004 when the publisher went out of business. In the past year, prices for the book have risen to the range of $35 to $70 plus postage for even used copies. I am pleased to report that I found a dealer that still had a few cases left, and I was able to buy some of them from him. For a limited time, I am offering autographed copies for $35 each, or $32 each if you buy three or more, or $30 each if you buy 10. (Up until recently, I had sold these for $50 each!) These prices are postage and tracking paid (via Book Rate) to U.S. addresses. These won't last long. See my mail order catalog. for ordering details.

Just a hint to my SurvivalBlog friends, if I had cash in the USA, then I would start buying gold now, and continuing to dollar cost average into the market since it may still go lower than Au @ $600 and Ag @ $11.02. Both are good investments for long term hedge/wealth preservation. Proviso for the record: I would never make a suggestion or advise in financial matters since that carries personal legal risk.

I suspect that we are witnessing the final metals manipulation before Euro conversion of some oil trading and inflation driven dollar devaluation. Do some web searching and find out how sales and bogus leasing of gold reserves by central banks to funds has been theorized to have manipulated gold markets for many years, pummeling prices.
As always beans then hardware a few bullets and then some gold/silver, cover your mundane survival stuff before making an expensive hobby with gold coins or gadget guns.
Don't expect to be able to get too much survival stuff off of your gold gains as prices for this gear will likely rise as well, but be watchful of deals from the uninitiated. Try to do business as far from home as possible as you don't want to break from your Grey Man "nothing to see here" image.

JWR Replies:
I agree that gold and silver are great investments in the current economic environment. Of the two, I prefer and recommend silver for anyone that has sufficient vault space. At the current price of just under $11 per ounce, silver is a screaming buy! After the summer doldrums, I expect precious metals to break out substantially to the upside.


Perhaps this will be a good point from which to begin your research:
Projected US Casualties and Destruction of US
Medical Services From Attacks by Russian Nuclear Forces

Regards, - Christian W.


The short answer is that most of the targeting information on the old 1960s era maps that Bruce Beach incorporated in his book are still valid. Sure, the Russians and the Chinese know what sites are decommissioned and not worth wasting a nuke. Critical infrastructure (dams, oil and gas fields with storage facilities, large grain silos, food distribution warehouses, etc) is targeted by enhanced radiation
air burst devices (neutron weapons) to preserve the equipment but destroy the personnel. Likewise, the population centers and active military bases are targeted by such enhanced radiation devices. The deep penetration devices that produce the preponderance of fallout are targeted on hardened silos and military command centers deep underground.
Russia and China have shifted emphasis from land based ICBMs to sea and air launched stand off cruise missiles….and they are using guidance technology conveniently provided to them by Bill Clinton and his administration. They now have state of the art guidance thanks to Loral Communications and enhanced radiation micro nuke warheads thanks to pilfered files from Sandia Labs and Lawrence Livermore [National Laboratory]--pilfered by foreign agents, assisted by the the Clinton administration.
Though they have shifted targeting to get more bang for the buck, decommissioned military sites that have runways capable of being used to support bombers and fighter/interceptors are still targeted….but so are civilian airports with runways and fuel depots capable of supporting such bombers, fighter interceptors, or hastily reconfigured 747,757,767,and 777 airliners. Boeing puts hard attachment points in the wings of civilian airliners so they can be rapidly reconfigured to carry air launched cruise missiles. [JWR Adds: Reference, Lawrence? I hadn't previously read anything about this.] Anyway, the old 1960s era targeting maps will still give the survivalist a good idea of where not to be when TSHTF. Regards, - Lawrence


Hi Jim,
Regarding Rourke's recent letter to SurvivalBlog on updated nuclear weapon targeting data: I've been collecting thousands of pages of the old, original US government documents on civil defense, sheltering, and targeting info for the past 10 years or so...some of which goes back to 1942. I also have a very high interest in creating an updated targeting database, based on open source info and the original, unclassified documents that have become available in recent years, such as the Nuclear Attack Planning Base 90 report, which can now be found at the FAS web site (my site as well). I obtained FEMA 196 years ago, and made sure Bruce got copies of that and many other reports years ago, and also created the PDF version of 196 for digital download of the entire book, which can be found on my web site, along with hundreds of other PDF documents.

I have had one of the original targeting lists online for many years as well, at www.survivalring.org/cd-targets.htm and ask for input regarding updates on this page. Currently, I'm redesigning SurvivalRing.org to use a database driven design, versus the static html version as it has been since inception, and with the update, will be adding data systems that allow instant online updates (as well as site user updates) of data just like this. Adding online mapping ( i.e. Google Maps) into the equation brings a whole other level of info refinement.

Regarding Bruce and Shane, I've been working with both of them since pre-2000 for building, creating, and sharing info just like this. I'm hoping we can continue to work together in the future to get information and prepping data out as widely as possible.

We all know that the possibility of all out thermonuclear war is a mere fraction of what it was during the real heat of the Cold War, but the possibility of multiple terrorist nuclear detonations or warheads or dirty bombs is truly the worst fear of the current, and future, administrations. As with 9/11, [Hurricane] Katrina, and other catastrophic events have recently shown us, there is no defense from massive disaster, only recovery. And when it comes to the government, a very slow response to immediate need for help. And, yes, here I know that I am preaching to the choir.

Having a starting list as the Feds have provided, and updating it with current and known changes, to create a new possible target list, is a very high need for all US citizens. Unfortunately, in all my latest research, I have not found any reference to any updates to unclassified target lists. The 1990 printing of FEMA 196 seems to be the end of the road, and all other target documents predate this booklet. High Risk Areas (TR72) was the basis for NAPB90, and 196 was the consumer follow up.

So...this area of interest should most definitely be followed up, and a project started to produce an updated mapping of safe areas in the continental USA. It all depends on getting enough folks to decide to work on it. Anyone interested? Contact me at SurvivalRing.org. - Rich Fleetwood

A report from Boston, Massachusetts about another futile gun buy-up program (I refuse to call them "buy-backs" since the government agencies and/or liberal do-gooders never owned these civilian guns.) Does anyone honestly believe that criminals are turning in their guns under these programs? This is just more liberal feel-good politics. How nauseating.

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Bubblewatch: 10 Cities Where House Prices Will Deflate. Also, don't miss John Rubino's commentary on the expected ugly denouement of the U.S. bubble.(As quoted at Financialsense.com.)

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Doc at www.bigsecrets.cc spotted an article about some of the current desperate measures to stay alive in hyperinflation-ravaged Zimbabwe, as reported in www.ZimbabweSituation.com (scroll down to the bottom of the page): "Hungry entrepreneurs in the making are resorting to selling rodent meat in Zimbabwe. One such man is catching rats and mice in the bushy areas on the outskirts of Bulawayo (Burnside). Roasting the rodents rats and mice, spiced with salt and chilli powder, he then commutes to the western suburbs of Makokoba and Luveve where he fetches between $75,000 to $ 100,000 [Zimbabwean dollars] per mouse/rat. People are so desperate to eat meat that business is thriving. Beef is retailing at $790,000 per kg in most butcheries around Bulawayo."

“At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that "news" is not something that happens to other people.” - Robert A. Heinlein

Monday, June 12, 2006

Today we present another article for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. If you want a chance to win, start writing and e-mail us your article soon. Round 5 ends on July 31st.

In our circle of survivalist friends we need hard skills. Just knowing that the proverbial Schumer is going to hit the fan is not enough. Depending on the severity, preparing for the worst-case scenario may involve a library of skills. Being diverse on skill sets is an advantage. My own list of skill sets are diverse, the advantage is, realizing it is never diverse enough and constantly branching out. Very few Electricians are Gunsmiths. Very few Farmers are Paramedics. Very few Chemists are Ranchers, and so on. To maintain an even balance of capabilities, I have taken the liberty to divide skills into three main categories:
Security: The number one capability is to maintain a certain level of security. Probably the most discussed area on survival-related blogs today.
Short-Term Survival: The largest number of skill-sets reside in this area; Food, Shelter, Medical, to name a few areas. Most Survivalists have concentrated their efforts in this category.
Sustenance: The ability to repeatedly sustain survival and overall survivability. These skills come from experienced practitioners in the specific field.
Breaking these categories into actual skill-sets is helpful if you want to see what areas are strong points within your circle of friends and which areas could use improvements.
Several scenarios will help classify the type of retreat and needs based on the number of families, amount of preparations, and size of real estate covered. It is my recommendation the land is as large as possible, combining several good neighbors to form a tract of teamwork, if possible.
Combining with neighbors is not done at the last minute; this should have begun years in advance. Multiple families preserving multiple properties collectively with a few trusted friends thrown into the mix is optimum. It provides a larger pool of resources.

I would like to begin by listing a few basic skills I believe will be invaluable should there be what all of us refer to as TEOTWAWKI. Dividing these skills into categories, I have developed a weight of value based on several factors. First, Security is foremost, but cannot stand as the sole preparation. Second, a Short-Term Survival plan. Third, a Sustainment phase to carry on the first two.
(No one reading this will agree on the order listed, so I will go alphabetically)
Auto Mechanic (Engine non-specific) – Vehicles break down. Not everyone knows how to fix automobiles. Having a good general knowledge and reference material on your own vehicle is a must. Next to that, having the right tools and even the right parts will be hard to come by. As an avid 4-wheeler, I like to keep spares of what breaks the most, but I still have to frequent the auto parts store from time to time. Having an agreement with a friend that has a junkyard is also an alternative, but some things will need to be stocked up. Belts, U-Joints, Filters, Spark Plugs, Fuel Injectors, Glow Plugs… They will all go bad sometime. (Medium – High Priority)
Butcher – As a kid I worked in a local meat market. I can tell you, customers know when there is a new butcher. It takes years of experience to understand the types of meat, how to cut them, and what part belongs to what is definitely needed. Having a good understanding and some experience with your livestock’s anatomy, will prevent wasted meat, and will prove useful to those around you. (High Priority)
Chemist – This may sound unusual, but knowing Chemistry makes life off the grid much easier. There are chemicals that will make the most difficult task, seem effortless. Additionally, Being able to test mixes of fuels, determine the condition of gunpowder, test water for contaminants, or treat water for drinking. A Chemist will be a valuable asset. (Medium Priority)
Cook – Specifically someone learned in cannery techniques and food preserving and storage. Most of us can cook, but can you go from a warm hide to preserved meat in a day? Jerky is useful and provides protein in small, measured amounts over the course of the day, doesn’t require a fire, and is lightweight. (Medium – High Priority)
Doctor – A Doctor has obvious value to a group of like-minded individuals. There will be injuries. People will get sick, maybe sicker. Surgery may be required. It may be an ugly operating room, but if you live, that will be all that matters. Doctors that have operated in austere conditions have commented on what items were the most needed. There is even a book available in PDF called Survival and Austere Medicine which is a good resource. Just don’t find yourself performing operations like they did in, “Spies Like Us”! (Medium Priority)
Electrician – I know, what will you need an Electrician when there is no power in a grid-down scenario, right? Well, for starters, an old junked car may be used to recharge batteries for absolutely necessary power. Maybe a surgery in progress, even. Either way, the ability to wire or rewire existing items to suit various needs vital to our technologically advanced lives, an electrician would definitely be of value. (Medium Priority)
ER Nurse or EMT / Paramedic – In the years of Army service, I found that the Army’s Combat Lifesaver Program to be genius. On the field of battle, there never seems to be enough medics, ammo, or chaplains. Well, since going through EMT Training at a local Community College is less than $100, and equipment needed is about the same, why not? Maybe even volunteer at the local Fire Department and get your goody bag filled by the county or township? My bag is filled with items deemed beyond the expiration date, but most of us know those are there for legal reasons. The only thing I wouldn’t fool around on is IV Fluid. Your group could even start your own blood bank if you were able to maintain proper temperatures with the help of our great technological advances in solar and wind power. I have a friend that specifically married his current wife, who happens to be an ER Trauma Nurse so she could treat him for gunshot wounds and sew him up. Weird, but functional. I recommend, that as many people go to the EMT Training as possible. Go to the recertification to keep yourselves up to date on techniques, too. (High Priority)
Farmer – Now this one is obvious. There are folks who claim they will never need outside resources, but they are fooling themselves. Every Farmer in your area should be the most pampered individual around. If you stock up on seed and help him, he will always have work, protection, and you will not go hungry. This is another collectivist effort that must be in the works BEFORE things go bad. Otherwise, you are another neighbor wanting something. There is no such thing as a one-way friendship, there has to be some sort of mutual benefit. It is the very basis of commerce. He may need security or transportation of much needed items, so break out the road warrior, we’re taking this milk to town… (High Priority)
Gardener / Botanist – For the folks who have limited space, or the foul weather creates so short a growing season, any gardener will be able to provide enough green thumb to get folks started. I hate to see any plant I’ve started, die. Imagine if it were next years starter crop and now dozens of people will go hungry. Yeah, it could be that bad. That pressure could cause you to kill all the plants. Reading ahead, talking with hobbyists, can actually get you enough knowledge to keep your family alive. I remember spending a bunch of money to get my daughter started, and we got an unexpected frost that killed all our labor… she was heartsick, but I was cataloging the feeling in the back of my mind… if that was to feed our family, we would be eating bark. These skills have escaped our generation, and someone will end up paying the price. (High Priority)
Gunsmith – Guns break. When you least expect it, even the most reliable firearm can fire poorly, or act uncharacteristic of what is the norm. A Gunsmith is nothing more than a mechanical problem solver. With a little training, some good common sense, and a library of resources, most firearms can be restored to original or better condition using the principles of a gunsmith. Always cut on the easiest part to replace or buy. The fact that someone can maintain what most folks will refer to their rifle as the number one tool for their safety, livelihood, and survival, makes these skills very beneficial to have. (High Priority)
Lawyer – More bizarre, I know, but someone that is knowledgeable of the law can be useful. I am referring to the laws that are based on man’s existence. Referring to a Libertarian definition, I am speaking of laws maintaining mala in se, things that are wrong in and of itself. Not things prohibited because of some crooked politician convinced people it was bad and made it into a law. In the event that our feet are still planted on this earth as things calm back down, someone that has a working knowledge of law will be there to help rebuild. During times of calamity, a lawyer can serve as a bridge between neighborly disputes or disagreements within the same faction. Even act as a judge in some cases. I do believe in order, I would just prefer to keep to myself, but there will always be disputes that a few people can go to have both sides presented and make a judgment. If someone working for you were stealing, would you kill him? Or, would you have him repay or pay restitution? These issues will become a factor as time goes on. (Low priority)
Machinist / Blacksmith – Today, there are always good jobs for anyone capable of operating machining equipment. It is a skilled labor. The ability to make parts or tools that people require to live will always be a valuable skill. The key issues will be how will this task be performed in a grid down scenario? I have seen foot operated lathes that take longer, but would be better than the alternative of not having a certain item. It may be that you would be modifying a part for a different application, or actual firearm or automotive fabrication.
Onto the blacksmith, the next mode of transportation that we know could be horseback, again. If you can shoe a horse, you will always have work. Even so, if you own horses, you should have a plan to perform this delicate operation on your own, should the urgency to move be too great. The use of horses as pack animals in mountainous regions will be a great method of supply movement as well as retrieving meat from a hunt. (Medium – High Priority)
Oil Refinery technician – This may be a weak stab, but should you live in an area that oil is available, or you have your own oil well, (I’ve seen a lot in Oklahoma and Texas) they could attempt to create their own refinery capability without all the crazies trying to take over the main oil refineries. Additionally, this individual would have the task of determining the types of fuel, octane ratings and what type burns better in what vehicle long with a mechanic. Multi-fuel engines could possibly be the way to go in a Schumer hits the fan scenario. (Low Priority)
Rancher / Ranch Hand – Nothing beats an end of the world scenario like eating steak and potatoes while the world is starving. Maintaining land and cattle would be a chore when others are hungry, which provides one of the two highest barter-able items. Food. Having a neighbor for a rancher, or even spreading fences across property lines within the group, may provide enough land for everyone to contribute to the feeding, raising, breeding, butchering, and preparation of beef. It could prove very profitable, and it is much easier to work on a half full stomach. Some land is already prepped if it was originally ranch-land, others will have to do a little work, or have them graze elsewhere with the agreement on the beef while they barter the deal. (Med-High Priority)
Reloading hobbyist – This probably sounds farfetched, but ammunition is not cap and ball anymore. If you know how to reload and have the components, have spares. Also, make sure you have a lead melting pot in case jacketed bullets become non-existent. It shouldn’t be your first loads, but it is better than throwing rocks. You can hard quench them, to give them the characteristics of a jacketed bullet. The key is to over plan on ammunition. I tell my friends that unless they have enough ammo, their newly built FAL is an expensive club. Don’t count on cases of surplus ammo just floating around, but if they are, cache them for barter later if they do not fit in your arsenal.
Reloading is enjoyable, and you can make your shots count more if you hand load properly.
(High Priority)
Small Engine / Generator Mechanic – This type of worker would be very useful in a grid-down scenario. People will need to run tractors, farm implements, and regular power consumption for Generators and the large welding machines mounted on the back of my trucks you see today. They are fairly simple to work on, but require a general knowledge and learned skill before ruining a $7,000 welder through the trial and error method. (Medium Priority)
Solar / Wind / Hydro Power technician – Interestingly enough, more people are interested in living off the grid now, more than ever. This may be an excellent business opportunity that would carry over to being advantageous to you and helping you be free of any grid-down scenarios. One note of caution, the looters of New Orleans were targeting the sound of generators to determine who may have supplies available. (Medium Priority)
Veterinarian – It is a fact that animals get sick and die. It is never advisable to eat an animal that died from a disease. Cold weather, adverse conditions, and possible outbreaks we have not seen for over a hundred years could become the destroyer of an entire herd. If an animal is sick, it may be your only source of food and there may not be anyone to help you. Much like the dead plants, the ability to nurse an animal back to health knowing a bit about the vegetarian science is a must. Most ranchers pay a vet, but some will pick up a lot on their own. If you are a beginner, pay for the vet, learn what you can, maybe go to school and learn a class or two, while gathering valuable materials for the future. If you have no plan of raising livestock, it can still be a barter-able skill.
Welder – Farm implements break all the time. Almost every Farm or Ranch has a welder. Most schools offer a welding class or two, some even offer certifications. If you have the ability to move the equipment around and can develop an old skill, I would highly recommend this art of mending things like new. It helps out as a second job and is always of valuable, just in the equipment alone. Want to convert a CONEX into a bunker / cache? Rent a Bobcat for a day and weld on a more solid way to secure the doors, and you have a poor man’s retreat. If all you can afford is to put together a job-site box, it will also serve as a poor man’s cache site. With a welder, you are only limited to your imagination. Barriers may be a future enterprise. People who want controlled access in and out of their property may want a display for outsiders that they are to be left alone. [As I saw in n a tour in Korea], the South Koreans use dragon’s teeth in areas such as rivers to slow down the north at what are called phase lines. They use rock drops on roads to turn a tight area into a kill zone. Welders may always have work. (Medium Priority) The following fall into a similar category, so I lumped them together, but they are all valuable individually and any combination of these have a place in a small group:
Retired or experienced Infantry / Combat Arms
Retired or experienced Military Intelligence
Retired or experienced Special Forces (indigenous teacher of tactics)

Under the category of Security there are a variety of skill sets that can provide all around coverage and others that are very specific. Military service by itself does not necessarily qualify someone to head a raiding party, for instance. Combat experience and Combat Arms tactics combined with extensive defensive planning is a great place to start. Anyone who has trained tactics to indigenous personnel, such as Special Forces, definitely hits a valuable dollar to train Americans trying to fend off undesirables or a tyranny, for that matter. They are the Swiss Army knife of soldiers and bring a good amount of know-how to a retreat. The ability to determine enemy courses of action based on tactics, terrain, weather, and type of equipment strengthens any defense. If a group were able to assist an attacker into using one of these courses of action through the use of fortifications and changes to the landscape, this group has now created a kill-zone, where they can inflict the maximum amount of damage based on their capabilities while preventing the attacker from inflicting damage on their own. Canalization of movement is optimum for the defender, especially when the defender is operating within a limited piece of real estate.
Anyone who has conducted physical security of bases or cities would be knowledgeable of a good defensive strategy. Like other readers have mentioned, security comes in layers and the earlier an adversary is discouraged, the better. Obvious visual signs of a defender will discourage the un-initiated, but those hell-bent on access will require more convincing from the defender. The more layers instituted, the more opportunities to send an adversary packing.
In the event this is a weak area for your retreat or several retreats spread over an area, someone with proven preparation of the battlefield skills and defensive perimeter setup. Retired Officers or NCOs from a Combat Arms, Intelligence, or even better, both, would definitely fit the bill. Planning this is only effective if there are personnel to carry it out. Rifleman can create a very long-range perimeter based on a long line of sight placement using terrain as an advantage. Determining courses of action will help in massing firepower where it is most needed.
The following is a list of skill set combinations that will make a community secure and survive. ("Trigger puller" is non-descript, on purpose):

EMT / Paramedic / Nurse / Doctor
Farmer / Rancher / Gardener
Veterinarian / Cook
Electrician / Mechanic
Welder / Generator Mechanic
Gunsmith / Reloader
Machinist / Blacksmith

"Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer." - Charles Caleb Colton (1780 - 1832)

Sunday, June 11, 2006


In a recent e-mail, you suggested considering selling my house and renting for a period of time, or at least until the real estate bubble stabilized.

[JWR's replies are in-line, in bold text.]

1.) Do you still recommend doing this?
Yes, if you are living in a bubble region that is likely to see steep house price declines. The big question now is: can you find someone willing to do this? A year ago or even just six months ago, it would have been fairly easy, since the market was still rising. Now, with prices falling, it might be hard to find someone willing to make such a deal.

2.) And, if so, how does one go about this? Do I look for someone to buy my house and then rent/lease it back to me?

The best way to do this is to look in your local telephone book and find listings for property management companies. Call and ask if they are looking to buy rental houses. If so, tell them that you own a house that you'd like to sell and rent back. If they are currently investing in rentals, then you would be ideal candidate: No break in their cash flow (due to vacancy), no move-in wear and tear on the house, no need to paint, re-carpet, or otherwise prep the house (which is a bottom line expense for them), and you already know exactly how to maintain it.

3.) How long of a rent or lease period do you suggest?

I wouldn't recommend signing more than a one year lease, followed by a "month to month" rental arrangement. That way you can be more flexible in case you decide to move somewhere in a hurry. For example, in case you feel the need to "Get Out of Dodge", or for when you think that the regional housing market has bottomed and you want to re-invest.

4.) Since I've only been living in my current home for two years do you think that this concept applies to me? (i.e. my current equity is about $35,000)

That might be marginal. But in a falling market, wouldn't it be better if the property management company lost equity in the house, rather than you?

I thank you for your helpful response. Baruch HaShem Yahweh (Blessed is the Name of Yahweh) Sincerely, - Dr. Sidney Zweibel

Dear Jim:
I recently purchased a Motorola SX 700 Radio. Inside the package is a notice regarding [U.S.] Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing. It states that if you operate on GMRS frequencies you need a license from the FCC. Channels 1-7 and 15-22 are GMRS. What about channels 8-14? Do I need this license? Or can I use Channels 8-14? Thanks. - J.H.

JWR Replies: Your assumption was correct. No license is required in the U.S. for transmitting on Family Radio Service (FRS) channels. (Channels 8 to 14). But you must have a GMRS license issued by the FCC to legally transmit on GMRS channels, except in an emergency. For licensing information and application forms, see the FCC web site or call the FCC hotline at: 1(800)418-3676. Overseas SurvivalBlog readers: consult your national and regional laws. Military service members: consult your COMSEC office and/or spectrum allocation coordinator before utilizing FRS or GMRS bands for unencrypted tactical communications. These bands are some of the least secure from interception!

You need to take a look at this link. It is an online version of a very rare book (Power Up) that shows how to make standard battery conversions of many military items, something that could come in handy one of these days. Best Regards, - Jim K.

JWR Replies: This link works well in Firefox, but Netscape some other browsers have conflicts, so you may have to turn off Java to see this page properly. Once there, click on the link for any particular piece of military equipment. This is indeed a great reference!

Mr. Rawles:
One point to note with Doc’s observations as a home repairman. I had my hot water heater short last week. If a repairman had come to my home, he would have walked past my garden and wood pile, had to go down the stairs past one ammo cache and rifle, 12 cases of Mason jars, around bags of old clothes waiting to be used for quilts, past various toolboxes, a chest freezer, lanterns, a grain mill and workbench, et cetera. But, instead, I went to the hardware store, bought a thermostat, and made the repair myself. I would wager that the 2% of the population that still farms (and those that grew up on farms) and a portion of the population that works in plumbing/electrical/contracting work don’t call repairmen. [That is a] lot better odds than 1/1000. Still…his observations show that there’s little hope for the McMansion dwellers and moochers. - Al in Durham

"Tyranny is always better organized than freedom." - Thomas Paine

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Today we present another article for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up up to $2,000!) If you want a chance to win, start writing and e-mail us your article soon. Round 5 ends on July 31st.

In Boston T. Party’s excellent novel, Molon Labe, the central character, James Wayne Preston, writes an inspiring letter on page 45 to his father outlining the issues he sees requiring separation to build a common community of free people in Wyoming. A better plan doesn’t require moving to one state for a political revolt. For those who are not Christian, please bear with me for a moment. You will quickly identify many of these organizational principles as essential for all group dynamics of individualists freely associating with each other to achieve specific goals. God’s plan of true Church organization does not require a physical move. It simply requires a small gathering of His people wherever they live, organized as outlined by the early apostles. Both accurate orthodoxy and orthopraxy (the practice of the Christian life) are vital to creating a dynamic culture that will overcome today’s popular culture. In 1858, Southern Baptist theologian J. L. Dagg wrote in Manual of Church Order, P. 84-86 that the apostles, “have taught us by example how to organize and govern churches. We have no right to reject their instruction and captiously insist that nothing but positive command shall bind us. Instead of choosing to walk in a way of our own devising, we should take pleasure to walk in the footsteps of those holy men from whom we have received the word of life…respect for the Spirit by which they were led should induce us to prefer their modes of organization and government to such as our inferior wisdom might suggest.”
Just as true conservatives know in order to understand the implications of our Constitution for today, they must understand the root arguments made by both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. These type conservatives will appear radical to the world today. Consider the term radical is from the Latin radix and simply means root. To understand Christ’s organizational format we must return to the roots of the apostles’ writings, while often ignoring the customs around us today.
Remember that no one survives for long without the assistance of others. Within the preparedness community some are primarily interested in political reform, others economic, religious, social or just preserving certain issues we know are important to a free people such as rights of speech, arms, or privacy. None of these issues alone will compete with the culture of tyranny that grows in our midst. We must actually grow an alternative culture that provides a more dynamic and free alternative to what the current environment is forcing upon many of us. Home education was the mustard seed of involvement that resulted in many Americans realizing the ineptitude of the design and intent of government education. Now comes a new growth of social organization I believe will even eclipse the positive experiences of those having grown up in the home education culture.
Everything that happens in this world, including preparedness, begins first in the heart. It then works its way into the subconscious mind and into our conscious thoughts. Only then do we decide if we will take the time, energy, risk and creativity to put it into effect.
The great challenge of the preparedness community is the conflict of world-views. The Western world has historically understood that “civilized” life began first with the integrity and value of the individual. It then worked its way out to the family, tribe, and only then to the state or nation. We are now often at odds with a socialists or communist perspective of sacrificing individual values, even the entire individual, for the better good of the state. We have come a long way from the original values of a government designed to protect live, liberty and property to those of grand social designs that harness your life, liberty, and property for it’s purpose. Even our religious institutions have mostly gone this same route of centralization of power to serve the needs of an “organization” at the expense of basic individual rights.
How does one stand against such a great tide of opposition? Millions have been killed and persecuted in the last century of its oncoming wave of ideology. Many have argued our defense with opposing theories, but with no success against the envied and hate-filled majorities of democracy’s tyrannies. For almost 1700 years the Christian church has organized itself more along the lines of the world’s spirit of collectivism than the spirit of freedom that Christ came to give. Once Constantine made Christianity legal and forced its adoption, the original principles of organization outlined by the apostles in the first several hundred years of Christian growth began to be subverted and then mostly lost. The accurate application of orthodoxy and orthopraxy will show how weak and fallen men are built into individuals of spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical strength completely capable of working together in a spirit of freedom to overcome even the strongest system of collectivism ever created by the fallen nature of man…that of Rome in it’s later days. The success of the Christian home churches in communist China is also an excellent example of the success of God’s organizational system even today.
Please do not discount this brief article as an inspirational or motivational piece. It is neither. It is motivational only to the extent that my desire is to move you toward a self-directed academic study of the greatest “how to” organizational design ever to come form the heart and consciousness of the Creator Himself.
While space does not allow me to get into the details of how the early church gathered in homes, was lead by a plurality of unpaid elders, and provided for the teaching, spiritual and physical well being of its members and often the larger community, please permit me to point you to a few resources to guide you on your self-study:
1. The New Testament Reformation Foundation:
2. A Baptist Greek Professor’s blog:
3. For encouragement of young adults: Turning The Tide
4. The first week of March 2006 issue of Time magazine gave an interesting overview of the “home church” topic.

The combination of communities of free people working with and alongside others who both home educate and have home fellowships is a viable foundation of building a dynamic decentralized culture. This is far superior to the alternative being forced on us by confiscation of our life from both government taxation and emotional manipulation of a paid clergy system. In summary, first develop a love of freedom, second, a knowledge of freedom, and then, act with inspired courage in being free.



Dr. Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute recommended reading these transcriptions of interviews with subject matter experts on Asian Avian Flu. The interviews were part of a program that was aired in Canada last year. Geri also recommended this recent article from The Guardian newspaper in England on the origins of the viruses. It points finger of blame at intensive agriculture.

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Allstate is dropping most of its earthquake insurance policies, throughout the U.S., as a part of a larger move to reduce exposure to catastrophic losses.

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Fred the Valmet-meister sent me a link for a web site devoted to cowboy dutch oven cooking and sourdough "start" as well as some sourdough recipes.

"Rule #2: Never go ANYWHERE that YOU are considered a source of food." - Wild Bill McKay, Bill's Book Of Life

Friday, June 9, 2006

Raccoons are like a fat pig when it comes to cooking them. The best way for mid size and smaller coons (under 15 pounds) is to roast them. Now the trick to cooking coons is to have the meat above the heat so the fat can drip down.For example, use a barbeque grill or place it in the oven on a grill above a pan to catch the grease. Cut as much fat off as you can, cook allowing most of the grease to melt off. Apply a light coating of barbeque sauce. Now you have some great eating.

Now on to other cooking methods for raccoons and beaver. Young beaver under 35 pounds are awesome on the grill, and so is muskrat. Parboil the meat for 10 minutes allow to cool and strip off the meat from the bones. Take that meat and place it in your favorite stew recipe. I really like it in white navy beans. Let it simmer all day. This makes a nice meal when you come in from the cold. With beaver, another way is to bake in the oven at 350 F, cover with Lipton onion soup mix. Here a simple beaver Chili recipe: Parboil and strip the meat off the bones. Add the meat to the rest of the chili ingredients. If you use a good chili recipe on beaver, most folks can't tell that that they are not eating beef. Another one that is always a safe bet is to parboil, strip the meat off the bones, and simmer in Cream of Mushroom soup all day. Serve over fried potatoes or rice. Season to taste. I like chopped onions, lemon pepper, salt, a little garlic, and green peppers. This works in stews or soups. Or you can parboil, strip the meat off the bones, roll the meat in flour and fry it. Again, I use chopped onions, lemon pepper, salt, a little garlic, and green peppers.

My sister makes the best turtle soup. Now big snapping turtles have tough meat. She boils it overnight. Drain. Strip the meat off and then add the normal soup ingredients and let it simmer all day. It is awesome. Just about anything can be made to taste good this way. :-) Play around and try different things. You will find a great way to cook most wild game. - Buckshot

Dear Jim:
I would like to ask if anyone has done a serious re-calculation of the old 1980s FEMA data, taking into account decommissioned nukes on both sides (US and the former USSR). I'm talking in particular about the Bruce Beach maps that we all know and love. (Hats off to Bruce). The point is many of these targets no longer exist, and many of the missiles that targeted these targets no longer exist. I also worry about a shift from military and industrial targets to civilian population centers, as we essentially saw with the 9/11 attack – directed at a capitalist symbol, yes, but also at one of the greatest vertical concentrations of people on the plant. What used to be the worst spots in the nation, down wind of the Minuteman and Titan bases, may now in fact be much better places to consider is my point.

The radmeters4u site shows that it was updated last of April 1, 2001. I feel like a freeloader requesting Bruce Beach to continue his good work, and ask instead what we can do, which I would be willing to contribute to, in order to get this information updated, taking into account China IMHO now that they, thanks to our previous President, can target us as well.
I would like to hear people’s thoughts on this. - Rourke

One more opinion on this, RARELY if EVER do medications cause ANY harm if taken past their expiration date. The only thing you MIGHT lose is some of the effectiveness of the particular drug. If they are stored in the oft-mentioned common sense fashion ( cool, dark, dessicant-added, etc.) meds are easily good for 5-10 years past their expiration date . I am a family doc with 27 years of experience in both the civilian and the military end of family medicine. Thank you for your daily dose of great information. - FLS


Your topic of stocking up on medical supplies holds some interest for us because we have an elder living with us by our choice in our home. The price of prescription drugs notwithstanding, it may be
just our situation in our state, but we find it difficult to stock up on my parent's prescriptions when the insurance company(ies) won't allow one to buy more than a 30 day supply.
To take this a bit further, even when you have a sympathetic doctor, the local pharmacies won't allow you (and this includes the Canadian pharmacy we buy from as well) to purchase more than a three month supply of meds for your elder. Most of us do not have a way to acquire more than this amount of any needed prescription meds. So is there a way around this?
Also, how does one go about obtaining other very practical meds that seem to be a doctor-only prescription that would be nice to have in the medicine kit bag at home (antibiotics are a prime
example.) I would appreciate some tips from your readers out there. Regards, - Redclay

JWR Replies: Getting extra prescriptions is not a problem if you have a sympathetic doctor. You can always visit multiple pharmacies with these prescription slips. But you probably won't be able to get around the insurance company "three month limit" policy. You must resign yourself to paying for the extra medications entirely out of your own pocket.

Hi Jim,
[Regarding press reports of the death of Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq) in an intelligence-queued a bombing raid on his safe house.] You may have thought of this, but if you were a rabid terrorist leader, with assets it the USA, that were on the alert and ready to go. What better message to send to the infidel enemy than to have your death signal an attack? Make a statement about how long your reach is, and all that. Hit the enemy while he is celebrating. Heads up extra high for a while. - John Adams.

"In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it." - Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, June 8, 2006

I read [Buckshot's article Great Depression II What Will it Be Like? in] SurvivalBlog on Monday and kinda got depressed. Its really only my mother and me living together and she is very anti-survivalist in nature and ideology. I'm thinking that I could handle four or five raiders, but more then that I would be doomed I could never reload and fire fast enough. My mom wouldn't help me at all and probably would actually hinder me....what would you do?
The other thought was being burned out I have three fire extinguishers but can I fight the fire from inside so I don't get shot? My locale (western Washington state) is like two out of [every] three neighbors are liberals so there would be few if any allies or help... There are really only four people I could trust. One of them is is 10 miles away. Two others are 15 miles, an the fourth is about 60 miles. I'm assuming that I can't get out of my city to get to them. So a worse case scenario... I don't own the vehicle--my mom does. So I have to assume I'm on foot for everything. - Wally

JWR Replies: Don't let that article depress you. Instead, it should encourage you. First, consider that what Buckshot described in the latter part of his article (i.e. the potential threat of large organized groups of looters) is only an outside chance. This is just the "worst case" possibility. Odds are that things will not get nearly that bad. And even if there were large groups of bandits roving the countryside, I predict that they will pick on people that are passive and defenseless. When you start to put lead down range, the bad guys will quickly decide to move on to easier pickings. Who in their right mind would want to risk a bullet wound during a crisis when there is no medical aid available? That would be suicidal. Second, consider the fact that because you are aware of the full implications of a grid-down situation and even the risk of a full scale societal collapse, you are doubtless actively preparing. Thus, you will be far better prepared than 99% of your neighbors. Because of that, your chances if survival will be an order of magnitude greater than theirs. Lastly, because you do have some friends in the region, you have a planned desitination--and most importantly you will make the move to team up with them long before the GDP (Generally Dumb Public) awakes from their stupor and hits the road. While your neighbors are still trying to sort out what happened, you will already be linked up with your friends and hunkered down well outside of the urban zone. Cheer up. Put your faith in God. Trust that he will put you in the right place at the right time, with the right friends. Its called Providence.


And this one, that was coauthored by two SurvivalBlog readers:


Buckshot's thoughts are very valid; the post is well done with many good thoughts. But let us not forget that if we are going into a "new dark age" and I think it may be worse than that, then fuel supplies last only a short time, things wear out, steel rusts, and society may not recover.
It is all well and good having your ‘retreat’ and so you should, and it is, as many including Buckshot say, better to be able to live at your retreat. It is also wise and prudent to have stores, but these stores must cover not only your initial short term period, many suggest a year, but to also to help you and yours into the long term future.
Gold and silver may well be an advantage in the initial breakdown stages but longer term they may prove useless if others do not accept them as a value for trading. In my view it may be better to have [tangible] ‘items’ for barter and trade rather than gold or silver.
I fear that this will not be like the previous dark ages where society has been rebuilt and advanced after a collapse. In previous dark ages we have had easy access to the minerals and fossil fuels that we have needed to live and it was this that has allowed us to not only expand to the numbers that we have now but also to advance technologically. We have used all the easily accessible minerals and fossil fuels, we are not only using more energy to extract these items but they are becoming harder to find and mine and are also becoming scarcer.
We may expect to still be able to generate electricity after the collapse, even in small amounts by wind, wave, and tide turbines, of which so much is expected. But these are constructed and maintained using massive tonnages of steel and concrete. These basic bulk materials are fairly cheap and abundant today, but will soon be seriously scarce and expensive.
A wind turbine is not successful as a renewable generator unless another similar one can be constructed from raw materials using only the energy that the first one generates in its lifetime, and still show a worthwhile budget surplus.
It would be interesting to see more debate on this blog on the longer term aspects of survival, not just 1 to 3 years but 50 to 100 years.
Next time I fear it will not be back to a Dark Age it will back to the Stone Age unless we as survivalists start serious long term planning and discussion. - Mr. Whiskey& Norman

Mr. Rawles,
This weekend, I saw an excellent training strategy employed: trade equipment with your friends and see how well you do with it.
Whether it's a rifle/pistol match, where everyone has to use the same beater Remington 870 instead of the expensive "tactical" setup they brought, or having to set up and use someone else's stove or tent on a camping trip, it makes sense.
Having to make do with unfamiliar gear expands the range of situations you can deal with, and gives you confidence and general knowledge that you can apply later. You'll also get ideas on how to improve your equipment next time. Since doing this, I've learned that I need to start keep inventory lists in my first aid kits, and general instructions on some of my items. A log book that details each of your firearms, with instructions on how They are zeroed with particular ammo (i.e. 1" high at 100 yards with 55gr ball, 10" low with 68 grain, et cetera) is also a good idea.
Even better would be instructions for zeroing it out from scratch (i.e. sights are 48 clicks Left from stop and 12 up for standard ammo), copies of the take-down procedure and other basic info, All of this can live in a small 3-ring binder.
Basically, any bag of gear or complicated piece of equipment should have the supplies and documents for someone who has never seen it before to be able to operate it cold. If all of your stuff is maintained in this state, you will never forget something important (such as bringing the chain saw with no bar oil) and your brother-in-law won't burn out the generator if he needs to run it while you're gone and he doesn't know the oil/gas mixing procedure. Hope this helps! - JN

Dear Jim,
The early Mausers and related rifles are excellent because of their frequent low price, durability and reliability, not to mention their potential value as antique non-weapons if manufactured before 1899. (As described in JWR's FAQ on the subject.) The first of these is the [Model 1888] Commission Rifle, or Gewehr 88, which will be marked on the left side of the receiver with "Gew88" in German script. Much confusion and myth surrounds these fine rifles. Simplified: the early ones are only safe with commercially loaded ammo from US MAKERS. The later ones are marked "S" for "Spitzer" and have a notch in the receiver to take modern ammo. They were reproofed, rechambered and the rifling deepened for the more modern ammo. While horror stories abound, I've been shooting milsurp ammo in one for 20 years, and know others who have, also. However, because of the possible confusion, I recommend them only for knowledgeable shooters.
I am a big fan of 8mm because it is available dirt cheap as surplus. 7mm Mauser is also good, if a little less common, and even with dark, eroded bores, as long as they pass safe measurements, these rifles can be quite accurate.
All the newer weapons--1893 on--can be re-barreled in 7.62 NATO as long as they've been checked by a gunsmith. 7mm Mauser, 8mm Mauser, .30-06 and .308 all have the same case base diameter. However, I'm still sorting out the various 7.62 NATO and .308 loadings. 7.62 wasn't a perfect standard across NATO, so cases vary and the chambers are cut slightly differently than .308. Also, 7.62 runs around 50,000 P.S.I. chamber pressure, on par with 7mm and 8mm, but commercial .308 can be as high as 62,000 P.S.I. I hadn't realized until recently there was that much difference. Modern US weapons are generally safe to shoot with both. However, .308 loadings at the upper end could be close to the proofing (testing) pressure of the older barrels, or the receivers to which they are attached.
So the general guideline is that the newer the Mauser model, the safer, and the lower pressure, the safer. Fairly self-evident, but with some quirks. I'm quite comfortable with my Commission Rifles with military ammo, while many shooters think I'm courting disaster. The actual Mausers from the 1890s are (in good shape) safe with 7mm, 8mm or 7.62 mm NATO. .308 Winchester is inadvisable except in lower pressure loadings and emergencies--chamber variation and possible excessive pressure.
I endorse the idea of getting several of these rifles if funds permit--for use, trade goods (always good to have a reliable, budget rifle for guests in an emergency) and for spare parts. You, or someone in your group with training can easily turn four "parts" weapons into two or three sturdy if ugly shooters and spare parts. - Michael Z. Williamson

Mr. Rawles,
In December as a Christmas present I bought two of Montague's folding Paratrooper bikes, one for myself and one for my wife. I bought them for a few reasons, some of them are: a "G.O.O..D." bike, to take along when we go camping, and for the anticipated NYC Subway strike that I was a part of. Temporally my wife can't use hers since she's pregnant with our first child :-) . Lately I just use mine for running errands around town and for dropping off and picking up my car from the mechanic. For that extra compactness I recently bought, from Montague, a set of folding pedals for each bicycle.
Keep up the good work, Dave F. in NYC

JWR Replies: Montague Folding Paratrooper bikes are available from one of our loyal advertisers, Safecastle. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is is $695. The minimum advertised price (MAP) is $645. Safecastle is offering a much lower price for a very limited time. Anyone interested should e-mail Safecastle and identify themselves as a SurvivalBlog reader to get the special price: jcrefuge@safecastle.net.The group buy will run through the end of June.

Fred the Valmet-meister says: "The skip is in!" on the 6 Meter Band. (Even all the way across the Atlantic.)

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Some commentary from Recombinomics on H5N1 mutations and human-to-human transmission

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SurvivalBlog reader A.K. recommended this article about the U.S. 1989 invasion of Panama. A.K. commented: "I'm not sure if I agree with her ultimate conclusion, but her account definitely offers something educational. Especially the way the neighborhoods banded together, the run on the groceries, and the lack of preparedness."

"Aim small, miss small.” - Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin in The Patriot

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

As previously mentioned, Cheaper Than Dirt! has decided to cease its Affiliated Sales Program (with all of its affiliate web publishers), effective June 9th. If you've been dawdling on placing an order with Cheaper Than Dirt!, you now have just one full day left to get your order in and still have a commission on the sale credited to SurvivalBlog. Speaking of affiliate advertisers, we now have 160+ advertisers that can support SurvivalBlog if you patronize them. (But of course please give your business to our paid advertisers (in the scrolling right hand ad bar) first.) See our Affiliates page for details. (We now have affiliates in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the U.S. and the U.K. They sell everything from long term storage food to cell phone ring tones.)

I am more comfortable with neighbors who have food stored, means to prepare it, and who know how to grow food, as well as arms to protect themselves, first aid supplies, tools, and the many other things it takes to survive an emergency. Unfortunately, that is a very rare situation.

I have a unique and privileged take on the problem, since I have been in more than a thousand homes. This is because, at various points in my life, I have been an apartment repairman, handyman, finish carpenter, electrician, cable TV repairman, as well as a volunteer for a non-profit housing agency.

I never snooped where I was not welcome, but what I saw was an eye opener. In all my visits, what struck me is not what I saw, but what I did not see. I did not see food stored. I did not see first aid supplies. Except for one bow hunter, I saw no means to harvest game animals. Except for gas cans for lawnmowers, I saw no fuel stored. I saw flashlights, but they were toys for the children to play with, and no spare batteries anywhere. No kerosene lamps. No water stored. No means to cook without utilities except for the ubiquitous barbeque. Here is what I did see:

Drugs! – Lots and lots of drugs, mainly illegal. I lost count of how many times people offered me drugs as a tip for a job well done.

Overmedication – One customer asked me to fix a loose medicine cabinet. I had to empty it to access the mounting screws, and I counted thirty different prescription medicines, plus about a dozen over the counter drugs.

Pornography – Plenty of porn. One owner had a collection so large he had it inventoried on his computer for quick and easy access.

Camping Equipment – One person had a Coleman camping stove, but no food to cook with it. I suppose he could warm his hands with it in cold weather.

Toilet Paper – One person had a spare twelve pack.

Cigarettes – One man had a freezer full of cigarette cartons. He was severely addicted, and did not want to run out in an emergency. He overlooked extra lighters.

Firearms – None were visible, but that only makes sense. If a stranger were about to come into my home, I would not have my collection on display.

First Aid Kits – Occasionally I would see a box of Band-Aids.

Food – One or two boxes of sugared cereal, an average of three cans of food, leftover pizza, beer and condiments. Almost every refrigerator had more ketchup, mustard, steak sauce and so forth than food.

Generators – I saw a grand total of one generator.

Gardens – I saw lots of gardens, but most were for ornamentals, not for food. Since gardening for food is one of my hobbies, I always talked to the owners. Even the gardeners who raised food had no extra seeds stored. They bought new seeds every year.

Lest you get the impression that these people lacked the means to prepare, consider this: One of the communities I served was Castle Pines, an exclusive gated community south of Denver containing many million dollar homes. None of the overpaid underworked hypersnobs had any kind of preparations at all. They probably thought they could just order food delivered during an emergency, just like they do now. If you have some silly notion of raiding rich people’s homes for food, forget it.

One day I got a surprise. I was asked to install a fluorescent light in the basement of a modest two bedroom house. At the bottom of the stairs I turned and saw a set of metal shelves, complete with canned food, a can opener, a lighter and cans of Sterno! Out of more than a thousand homes, I finally found one solitary person who had made preparations.

There is a lesson in this, and it is that your neighbors are not prepared. In the event of even a minor emergency, they will be completely helpless. People like that tend to turn into locusts, and will descend on anyone they believe to have what they need. It has been said that any city is three days away from a riot. Be very careful about who you tell about your preparations. Even trusted family members have friends, and are likely to show up with their entire good old buddy network. Can you feed and defend all of them? Best to keep quiet and remember that even a fish would not get caught if it kept it’s mouth shut! - Doc at www.bigsecrets.cc

Dear Jim:
I respectfully disagree that the housing “bubble has popped”. (You had written in Odds 'n Sods: "Here in the U.S., the unsold house inventory backlog jumped to 565,000 in April. The housing bubble has popped. There are no more bidding wars for houses. Now its price cut after price cut. In the coastal markets, I anticipate a race to the bottom, most likely starting in September of Aught Six.”)

Thankfully the air has been coming out very steadily of this overextended price balloon, without the blow-up or popping that could have occurred. As a Wall Street Journal article pointed out last summer, you can tell the end of a housing boom when the high end home inventory, expensive homes for sales listings, rises substantially. We are past that, and moving into mid-to-high range now and the general market. If it remains steady, we may avert an FSLIC type failure, which for the FDIC would be unrecoverable since the FDIC is simply too large to save. The real problem areas will obviously be the ones where there was the most appreciation, such as California, and this is be exacerbated by the 2nd mortgage non-conventional financing packages. People will no longer be able to afford as their short term adjustable rate mortgages [as they] start coming due, [with rates up substantially] from the low interest [rates of] two years ago. For those looking for survival land, get ready for a buyer's market, especially rural land with gas prices currently so high. - Rourke

In reference to Buckshot's letter: Here are a couple of links on [the Finnish Winter War marksman] Simo Häyhä. (The proper translation is White Death not Ghost) in case anyone is interested:
Regards, - "Moriarty"



The folks at Box o' Truth do some tests with shotguns, with very favorable results.

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UN convention could mean restrictions on home schooling in the U.S.

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When doing a search in The Wikipedia, I stumbled across this great piece that I remembered from my army training: The Standing Orders of Rogers Rangers, along with the more complete (and more historically correct) Plan of Discipline. Some things haven't changed since the 1700s!

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." - Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I'd appreciate seeing your suggested Quotes of the Day. Please e-mail me your favorites, and I will post them!

Because the huge debts America owes the world, once the dollar collapses the domino effect will be felt worldwide. There are plenty of sites that explain why the US Dollar will fail and what will happen. Once America starts into the hyper inflation stage it will be too late to buy your needed supplies. Trust me, there is not one Congressman or Senator that is going to tell Americans the truth. Therefore the only choice the Federal reserve will have is to print more money. Flooding the market with more printed dollars will lead to hyper inflation. There will be a point when you might want to cash in half your silver and gold stash to buy all your last minute supplies like 1000 gallons of diesel fuel, gasoline, or propane, pay off your property, buy more solar panels, whatever you need. But there will be a time not to cash in your silver and gold- when it takes a wheel barrel full of dollars to buy a loaf of bread. Once that point is reached it is time to hang on to what you have.
Once the US dollar becomes worthless all the society safety nets will be gone. No more retirement checks, no more welfare, not more Social Security, no more nothing. Americans (many for the first time in their lives) will be facing a harsh wake up call. Alan Peters' article, “Mullah’s Threat Not Sinking In”, which appeared in FrontPageMagazine.com, offers these equally sobering thoughts about the dangers of an Iran oil-exchange:
" With economies so interdependent and interwoven, a global, not just American Depression would occur with a domino effect throwing the rest of world economies into poverty. Markets for acutely less expensive US exports would never materialize.
The result, some subject matter experts estimate, might be as many as 200 million Americans out of work and starving on the streets with nobody and nothing able to rescue or aid them, contrary to the 1930s Great Depression through soup kitchens and charitable support efforts."
That is stark wake up call if you are reader of this blog hopefully you have taken the warning serious and are getting ready big time. See the article titled "The Final Days of the US Dollar?" by Chris Laird to really explain what is happening. Laird writes: "In such a scenario, I surmise that only paid off real assets will survive. At the inception of such a collapse, gold and other precious metals would become essentially unavailable, and off market. The USD would crash so fast that no one would take any amount of dollars for metal until either the USD stabilized at some much lower rate, or, disintegrated into oblivion. ... If you own a paid off house, a paid off car, a few hundred ounces of gold and silver, they are all paid off, and are not USD assets. In these positions, you are insulated from a USD collapse, at least as far as these paid off assets are concerned." Laird points out that there will be a point where you can't buy Precious Metals. This is when you hang on to your last half of your Precious Metals.
No one knows when the time is but the time is getting shorter. Many of the public is getting edgy like people can feel the impending doom coming and are afraid because they have no plan. All I can say is get your stock in right now. Prices are going up everyday not just gasoline but everything.
I was talking the other day with a guy that I had just met. I mentioned that I teach wilderness survival. He said: "I know how to survive I have been hunting and fishing all my life." I answered, "That is good, but have you ever tested it out on a weekend and only ate what you caught or shot?" "ah no, but I could it do if I had too." We were talking about Duck hunting and I ask what was his average shots fired to birds in hand. He said on good days four ducks per box of shells. That is roughly six shots fired per duck. I said: "Tell the truth--what about bad days?" He replied: "Ah, well, sometime a box of shells per duck." I believe the national average on ducks is 1 duck per 8 shots. That is three ducks per box of 25 shells. What is the point I am driving at? How many shotgun shells do you have stored? Using the national average to survive one year on two ducks per week: 104 ducks times 8 shots per duck you would need 832 shells or 33.3 boxes of shotguns shells. As many readers realize, two ducks a week is mostly likely one meal per week for an average family. What are you going to eat the other six days each week?
With gas unavailable how are you going to drive to your favorite hunting spot? You'd better be in your retreat. What about other bird hunting like Pheasants? The best I have every done consistently bird hunting was 50% or one bird per two shots. That was only one year the next year I did one bird per three shots. So we want two pheasants per week (104 birds per year.) Lets say that you are an excellent shot and get one bird with each two shots. So that is another 208 shotgun shells or 8 -1-/3 boxes. Just to have duck or pheasants once a week you would need 1040 shells or 41.6 boxes.
That is the difference between myself and other folks. I have live off the land and know what it takes. As a trapper, I can out-do any hunter in the world for putting pound for pound into a freezer.
I can't remember the name of book but it was about a British couple that took off to a small island to survive for one year. They later made a movie out of it. The part that really stuck out in my head was he brought a shotgun with 1 or 2 boxes of shells and 25 fish hooks. Within the first month all the shotgun shells were used up. All the fish hooks lost to the coral and larger fish. They had 11 months left to survive. That was his plan to hunt and fish. He thought he could make it if he had to.
I read all the time about people saying put shotgun shells away and fishing hooks away. I thought I would toss in a little reality to the mix. How about deer? We eat a lot of game. With just myself and wife, we go through 4-6 deer a year plus more game and fish I add. What happens when 200 million starving Americans hit the woods? If you are in state with over one million people, don't count on deer for too long. Do you really want to be blasting away as you hunt so people know you are out hunting for miles? Deer have very good survival traits too. They will turn nocturnal and head for deepest remote places they can find.
Most survivalists are in love with guns and believe guns are the answer to all problems. Wild dog attacks, carry a shotgun. Need meat, hunting is the answer. Raccoons in the garden, shoot them. Guns will solve many problems but they are not the answer for every problem. Ever strap a long gun on your back and do yard work in the hot summer sun? I have. That gun will be leaning on a tree in under a hour. A friend told me about a guy he met who had his perfect survival plan. He was going to carry his 12 ga. with 200 rounds of ammo, his AR-15 with 210 rounds loaded in seven magazines, and a 9 mm with 50 rounds. My friend said “Okay, load it up and lets go for a walk”. After a hundred yards with a full pack and a long gun on each shoulder the guy was huffing, puffing, sweating and said, "Lets stop, I need a rest." You see it is easy to talk about what you’re going to do have the perfect plan, but it is not based on reality.
Most people in America are spoiled. Meaning they have lived all there lives with food everywhere. Electricity, heat, and food cut and wrapped. Very few actually have the knowledge of the woods. I was recently reading about pheasant hunting in South Dakota. The article said that a new business has emerged, cleaning the pheasants for the hunters. Yes, you read that right: a large percentage of the hunters shoot the birds and give them to the shop to clean wrap and quick freeze the birds. I have met hundreds of hunters that take their deer in for processing.
You have precious little time left to prepare. You better learn quickly how to grow garden, raise animals, and protect the animals. You will have little time to learn and understand after the fact. The stress of 90% of Americans out of work with no safety net will lead to widespread crime. Reading about the recent Argentinean collapse was a real eye opener for me. But I don't know how much that will hold true once America goes down and domino effects are felt around the world.
I think how Americans will act can be looked up and read about in the true stories of last year hurricanes. People will assume that because YOU had the forethought to prepare that THEY are entitled to take it. I can clearly see this didn't get out of hand because we were under an organized society, and people still worried about getting tossed in jail. Now take away the threat of going to jail in a true collapse and people will take it the next step. They will kill you and take your supplies. It will become the law of jungle and only the strong will survive. There will come a time of general breakdown of all law and order. Old feuds will be settled with a gun. Then all reason will disappear and people will get killed over little things. I believe people will hit a point that if they can't steal your supplies they will burn you out so you can't enjoy them either. People are very self centered and selfish. One guy once told me "If the end of the world happens, I'd shoot holes in farmers gasoline storage tanks." I asked why? His words: "If I don't have any gas why should he?" I replied,"If the farmer has fuel he can plant a crop to feed a lot of people. Use your head."
The mindset will be. "If I am starving, everyone should starve. If they don't share supplies, then kill them all so they can't enjoy them as we suffer." There is no reasoning with despairing people. You can't explain to them that you saw what was coming and prepared in order for your family to survive. You will have very, very, very few friends that you can truly trust.
The first three months will be the worst, as desperate people do their own bug out. Anywhere within 200 miles of a major city over 500,000 people will be stripped bare. This general lawlessness will last 3-to-5 years. Then, once people have had enough, they will organize and clean up and form some type of working government. This is based on history of past dark ages. Once we are past this stage the rebuilding will be a great time of freedom, new inventions, less laws and restrictions-- in short a great time for those who survive.
For the survivalist, you are looking at surviving that 3-5 years before some type of order can be re-established. Food for 3-5 years is a lot of storage. I asked an old timer how they preserved meat without a refrigerator. Without hesitation he replied salt. Might be a good idea to store 100-200 pounds of salt. How much ammo do you need for 3-5 years? How much heating wood/coal/propane/gas/diesel do you have stored? Water? You need a fully operation working retreat with real knowledge of what it will take to run for that time period. A good friend told me during a three week black out that people would run into town to buy gas for their generators and when they returned the generator was gone. If you have a generator you better have some type of sound proof building for it.
You'd also better have some type of light restriction, either heavy wool blankets or solid metal shutters. I don't imagine you will see too many people traveling at night, but no sense advertising someone is home especially if they might have just walk by at night. I am sure they have already passed thousands of empty houses.
How it will all play out is anyone guess. But, to protect your family you are going to have to be in a retreat with either enough food stored or the means to gather it. How long a general population will survive without any safety net is anyone guess. I think disease will be rampant among the survivors. No food, no ammunition for their guns, wild dogs packs will roam the streets looking for the single person to take down to feed, people reduced to using clubs, cooking rats when they are lucky enough to catch one. How far they will roam is anyone’s guess. The rumors will be everywhere of places to go with food and jobs waiting.
What are you going to do in those three years? Are you going to stay holed up the whole time? What kinds of neighbors do you have? Everything you do should be to not draw attention to you or your retreat. People talk. As one survivor said on his web site, he told two people they could show up at his place - and five families showed up. It is okay, he is nice guy. Now, how many are going to show up? Do you have a plan to deal with uninvited guests? You'd better get things straight with who is showing up and what you all agree on about adding on people.
The cities will be medieval. The human predator will work out a system to survive even if it means eating other people. I am sorry to be blunt. I'm just giving the facts. The first threat you will most likely face in collapse is the local welfare drug addict type. They will come looking for free hand out or steal what you have. Some of you may have seen an e-mail going around that talks about stocking up. This is the one where Johnny comes home from school and says “Dad, what are we doing to prepare for a terrorist attack?” The Dad asks “Why?” “Well, Sally's Mom is storing water in the pantry, Billy's Mom is storing extra food in the basement, Becky's Mom is storing food and extra batteries in the basement, and Tommy's Mom is storing extra cooking fuel for their camp stove in the garage. So, Dad, what are we doing to get ready?” His Dad looked up and said that he plans to write down what and where everybody is storing their stuff. Every single person who knows about your supplies will show up at your door.
The next threat most likely will be an organized gang of 4-to-6. These will be more of a threat with maybe one guy who knows what he is doing. Probably a good time to buy the fire retardant paint for your house.You are going to need some type of fencing or steel bars steel shutters to protect your windows and doors. They may try some type of "pick you off" siege. Real camera security can be bought that lets you see in the night and monitor four places at once. They’re really not that expensive. Fire extinguishers--even five gallon buckets of sand for inside the house will work. If you survive that, the next threat will be a more organized gang of 20-to-30.
Now a larger gang takes a strong leader and, just like a dog pack, chances are there will be an Alpha male and his first lieutenant. If you can figure out who the leaders are, it is always best to target them first. Just like in The Patriot with Mel Gibson: target the officers. If you can break up their command structure they will fight among themselves for new leader, or break up and move on – which is your best hope.
The third threat will be some type of emergency regional government. They will be typical "We're from the government and we are here to help" types, but next it will be "Hand over all your supplies, guns, fuel, and come sit in the terror dome." A good time to retreat into the woods until they give up on the area. Sounds like you may need a back up cache of food, guns, and supplies. This won't last long as the government can't handle one major city disaster let alone the whole country.
The fourth threat will be some type of Warlord trying to control huge areas. They may have real military weapons, C4 plastic explosive, grenades, LAW rockets, RPGs, Mortars, etc. This type of threat you will have no choice but to retreat into the woods.
There will be other threats along the way - nothing ever can be totally forecasted. To be a survivor, you are going to have to think on your feet. You will have to have a working plan that can adapt and change as needed. After 3-to-5 years of total breakdown, some believe that the world population will stabilize around 1 billion. That means one out of seven will survive.
I read a book back in high school about a pilot who survived behind enemy lines during WWII. He was within a couple miles of a road and a village. But he lived off the land caught fish, trap, stayed out of sight. Here he was in the middle of the largest war in the history of the world, yet he survived until the allies won the war. There will be pockets of little hidden places, that may be in plain sight, overlooked where a survivor could make it.
Get ready folks. You are about to face the one of the greatest times in human history: a New Dark Age.
As a reader of SurvivalBlog, you should check the archives pick a state out of the ones listed and move. I believe in "hide in plain site." Meaning that the more normal you can act, the better. Best to start out in a new area professing that you are a back to the land type or Mother Earth News type. People are curious and they well stop in to find out what you’re doing. Best to make friends, but keep your mouth shut. You have to remember too that people in the country are worried about outsiders either being drug addicts setting up a meth lab, or the type who want to change all the ways things are done. The second half can be worst than the drug addicted type because they want to changes laws and regulation, get roads paved, change how you can use your land, et cetera.
What type of land are you looking for? Take care of the basics first. A run down farm house is not going to draw the same attention as a brand new $250,000 house will. Security fences are great but they are also advertising you have something worth stealing. What can you do? Use you head. If you have one bison or a couple of elk you have to have a double fence with one being I think 7 or 8 feet tall. If your building new, a great system to use is Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB). Do a search on them you will be surprise how awesome they are plus it cuts your building cost down.
You want to blend into the area. Joining a local church and lets people in the community know you are here to stay. The Mother Earth News type is great cover for all your needed projects. You know it is funny how little money you need to survive in the country. A front wheel drive good gas mileage car for running around into town. Then a good 4x4 truck for around the place. You will be surprised how much you use a pickup. Hauling firewood, large purchases like freezers, washers, dryers, wood for remodeling, etc. I like the mid size pick up like the Ford Ranger. If you are getting into livestock and hauling heavy loads, then you'll need a full size pickup. Use the car for running into town for normal everyday supplies.
Now you have to re-think how you live and shop but you can make it on $1,000 a month. I talked with a farmer friend with seven kids and they did it on $25,000 a year. So a family with two children can make it on $1,000 a month. It is tough but my point is money discipline. I have been all over the country and there are jobs everywhere, if you have a few talents. If you can roof there are jobs. If you can weld, there are jobs. If you can paint houses, there are jobs. You have to get out there. Some chickens, a pig for butchering, a garden, hunting and trapping and you can supply a lot of your food.
Switch to wood heat, propane cook stove, energy efficient lights and it doesn't take much money each month. The problem is most women can't take the lifestyle. Don't get me wrong there are some really great women out there that love this lifestyle but don't think your city born wife is going to jump on the idea. I have seen a lot of folks try it in the Upper Peninsula ("U.P.") of Michigan most are gone after the first winter. If they stay it maybe just the guy and the wife divorces. She leaves, back for the comfort of the city. I can think of 10 couples I knew that tried it and after five years only one couple made it as a family. Pretty poor odds. But that was the U.P. of Michigan and it was rough hard life with a lot of snow. Oh, did I mention a lot of snow? :-)
If you are going to do it don't sugar coat it to the wife. Tell her it a whole new lifestyle is hard work. Very rewarding to grow your own food but it doesn't happen over night. It takes work. Some women or guys can't feed a pig everyday and then bring themselves to butcher it in the fall. You have to figure these things out. Your best chance is to get on farmstead. Start working on converting your well to photovoltaic or wind power. Get a good wood stove. It takes time to build up the soil of a garden. It also takes time to work out how to weed, how to keep the pests out, how to collect water from your gutters and save it for watering the garden.
Just like Mel Tappan said back in the 1970s: Your best chance is to live full time at your retreat. A lot of folks talk about forming a group. The biggest problem is you have too many Chiefs: Too many folks that think their money should keep them from doing the hard work, or the all talk ones that say "Sure, let's buy a place" and then leave you holding the mortgage as they back out. You are better off doing it yourself. If someone wants to be part of it, help them find a place close to yours. There is a lot of talk out there and very little action. After years of searching, I found the people I was looking for and I will not be here when the time comes. I paid my part and do my part of the work.
Weed out the talkers, weed out the "my money is the most important" ones, weed out the "my wife will never move there" type, weed out the Rambo types. If they will work beside you digging out a root cellar no matter how much money they have, then that is type of person you want. What skills are they bringing to the group? If the wife is an RN and the husband can weld, then that is a good combo. But, each has to pull their weight. Former military guys can be great, but remember that they were trained with an elaborate re-supply system. Jim can give much better advice on forming groups. When it comes right down to it, your family and church members are your best chance.
How much time is left is anyone’s guess. The masters of smoke and mirrors are keeping us afloat far longer than I had thought possible. - Buckshot

JWR Adds: I agree with Buckshot that trapping will be the preferable method to put meat on the table in a post-collapse environment. When discussing hunting and trapping, Buckshot speaks from experience. I strongly encourage SurvivalBlog readers to get his trapping and snaring DVDs, so that they can benefit form his wisdom and many years of practical experience. He also sells a full line of traps, snares, and lure at his Buckshot's Camp web site. Buy some traps and snares to feed your family, and an extra set to dispense as charity.

Mr Rawles:

I got a chance to tour the P-10 self-contained fallout shelter that you have mentioned a couple of times here on your blog and wanted you to know that it is as advertised in apparently really good shape. The smart money would be on this one with a complete system checkup while it is being reinstalled. I have dealt with Ready Made Resources in the past always with good results and I think he will help anyone who wants this shelter have a positive experience with its purchase. If it were not poor timing for me this shelter would not be available because I would have closed the deal on it.
Thank you for providing this resource of information! - SC

SurvivalBlog reader Tom. H. recommended a thought-provoking letter that was recently posted at The High Road. It refers to an earlier essay: On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves, by Dave Grossman

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The Nanny-State do-gooders at the Washington Post assert that private firearms training is "under regulated", implying that it is some sort of threat.

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NY Times: Human Flu Transfers May Exceed Reports

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SurvivalBlog reader G.G. recommended a web site with some free text files on survival topics, including several from Kurt Saxon.


"Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced." - Albert Einstein

Monday, June 5, 2006

Today we present the first article for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up up to $2,000!) If you want a chance to win, start writing and e-mail us your article soon!

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag/Rucksack) is now up to $250. Special thanks to the folks at Ready Made Resources, who donated the kit. Please submit your bids via e-mail.

I hope and pray that none of us will ever have to use our weapons to respond to invasion of our homes, our city or our country, but if we ever do – chances are that the attack will come during the night. Therefore we have reason that we should all practice our night-time shooting skills for defense. In 2004, I was able to participate in an annual “Practical Rifle Night Match” at my local gun range. The weather was cold, dark, and at times raining lightly. This match was a two gun match (pistols also) and consisted of 4 stages with both close range and “medium” range night targets (less than 100 yards). All of the shooters I observed were using one or more of the following: iron sights with a gun mounted white flashlight, an illuminated scope, tritium night sights, or a laser & white light combination. I did not see or hear of anyone using night vision devices in this competition.
My equipment: In this match I shot a DSA built FAL carbine with a 4x12 scope (which I set on 4 power). I generally prefer a scope over other optics because I like to be able to see my target well and I often shoot at 300yds or further. I am a hunter and at times I actually hunt deer with my semi-auto .308. That scope really helps identifying my target (in that case - a deer with antlers). Since I had not previously mounted a flashlight to this gun, I manufactured a homemade mount for a two C-cell MagLite which I mounted into and below the front grips. I adjusted the mount so that the focused beam is more or less on target (aligned with my sights). This flashlight with brand new Ultra-cells worked reasonably well to light up the cardboard silhouettes out to about 75 yards. For the pistol targets I shot a ParaOrdnance .45 auto with Trijicon night sights.
Night Shooting Requirements: To shoot effectively at nighttime you must be able to do two main things, (1) see your target, and (2) obtain target acquisition with your sighting system. You also must know your weapon system well. Know how to operate it by feel – in the dark, being able to change magazines and clear jambs in the dark. In regards to seeing your target – you can shoot something you can see, but without knowing exactly what it is. CAUTION! You MUST KNOW what you are shooting at! There should be a great emphasis on identifying targets/dangers at night with your equipment. Just for examples sake, let’s suppose there is a known invasion of your part of the country by a foreign power. You see a man carrying a rifle and he is headed towards your retreat. Is it a foreign soldier bent on shooting anyone he sees armed or is it a friend who has finally hiked to your bug-out location after two months of being on foot after his G.O.O.D. vehicle was wrecked exiting the city? You must have ways of identifying friends or foes and having a bright gun mounted light is one of those. Don’t make a tragic mistake of shooting a friendly! (Note: whistle codes, code words, special routes, and flashing light/color codes are some ways to identify a friendly family or group member or a neighbor). Lastly for requirements, apply all the normal “daytime” shooting safety rules and know your backstop!
My Experience Shooting a Rifle and Pistol in the Night: I learned many things during this match which I share in the following paragraphs. One interesting stage began with close targets (about five yards) that had to be shot with your handgun before moving to the location of your rifle and taking on the longer distance rifle targets. Tritium night sites on my .45 auto worked very well for shooting at cardboard silhouettes in very low light. The drawback to tritium only is that there is no method of identifying whether the object of concern is friend or foe when in very low light. For this determination to be made a light will be required. Some of the contenders used a hand held flashlight while firing their handgun at these targets. I tried it and since I had not practiced it much I found that it was very awkward so I resorted to plan B – using my night sites only. In this case I had identified my target with the flashlight and with my eyes adjusted to the low light I was able to see the cardboard silhouettes targets with ease even past the flash of the .45 auto. Having a pistol mounted light can be very advantageous in a tactical sense although it makes the package a little bulkier.
In other stages, the targets were to be taken out by rifle and they were from 25 to 75+ yards away. Rifle scopes are great for long distance shooting and target identification but they can fog in cold damp wet weather. They have somewhat limited use by themselves in low light/night shooting. Also, the flash of the rifle can cause you to temporarily lose track of your target (although this did not seem to be as much of a problem as I thought it might be). And with a limited field of view it is easy to loose track of what’s where downrange after the medium recoil of a .308 Winchester when trying to take quick but accurate shots on multiple spaced targets. I was able to hit my targets fine but the process was much slower than in daylight.
The most advantageous method of night shooting I observed was the ability to make quick accurate shots from the hip by just pointing a flashlight /laser aiming device on the illuminated target and pulling the trigger. This was by far the fastest method to accurately shoot multiple targets in a field of fire. Of course this would take some practice to do well and an effort must be made to conserve battery life – which is short for dual mode (about 1-2 hours or so, but up to about 45 hours for laser only). This seemed to work very well with the .223 guns, and I think it may be possible to do it with a .308 caliber rifle.
In another stage, the shooter had to move towards a target that was moving at you and shoot while on the move. This is very difficult if you have not practiced it – especially through a scope. I advise any serious defender of their community to practice this skill!
In my final stage, the targets were very close and the shooter had to kneel and shoot from strange angles, around a barricade from both the right and left sides. With the targets being very close I was able to use the beam of my gun mounted light as a quick sight and was able to score decent hits very quickly even making a mag change during the process.
Match Scoring: The scores were a combination of accuracy in the shortest time. Since the regular daytime monthly matches are held on Saturdays which are a work day for me, I only get to shoot in them about 2-to-3 times per year when I take a vacation day. Many of the shooters shoot in almost every match that is scheduled. I consider myself a fairly good shooter and I usually place in the middle to slightly upper middle out of a group of about 50-60 shooters, however, in this match I placed much lower. This was because of several reasons (1) Experience - it was my first night match, (2) My lack of practice shooting through a scope at night time (slower target acquisition), (3) My gun mounted light and sight setup was far from optimal for me under these conditions. At my next opportunity, I will have a much better light and sighting system and I will have practiced my shooting skills much more in the dark of the night.
Night Shooting Equipment Options: There are a few budget minded options that can help the “poor man” to be able to shoot fairly effectively under certain darkened conditions. Glow-in-the-dark paint on iron sights is one option (this paint is commonly available at Michael's and other craft stores, sometimes in the children’s toy/craft sections). It is very inexpensive, and can be used to mark other items that you may need to find in the dark. If you are on a very limited budget – the MagLites will be much better than no light on your weapon. Be informed that bulbs will eventually break on these lights under the shock of weapon firing, so keep numerous spare bulbs near (with) the gun. The mini-mag will probably work okay indoors with new batteries – to protect our home etc., but outdoors to be able to see and identify your target you will be much better off with something like I used for this match – the two C-cell MagLites. For the match I just used the existing on/off button switch on the C cell light and just turned it on when I was ready to check my field of fire. A pressure switch kit could be adapted to this light through the rear section, just make sure to seal it with silicone if you drill and run the switch wires through the end cap. There are commercial mini-mag light kits that change out the rear section of the light which has a pressure switch wired into it. These work well and make it easy to put a budget light on your gun. For mounting these little lights there are several commercial mounts that are simple and cheap.
As JWR’s "Patriots" novel (previously titled TEOTWAWKI ) stated, one can use a thin strip of white tape down the top of a barrel as a rough night sight. Probably more appropriate for close range shotguns, but of great value. Tritium night sites can be purchased for common guns for both the front and rear site. Again, you may be able to get a site picture on a target but be sure what that target is and that is not a friendly.
Then, for people with a hundred dollars or more in their weapon light budget, there are some quality bright lights in the 65 to 90 lumen range. Beyond that, combining a laser to your system will greatly enhance your nighttime shooting ability. For about $250 on up the M6 Laser / Light Combination by Stream light and the New TLR-2 seem to be excellent systems. The newer TLR-2 uses an LED rather than a halogen bulb so it is much less likely to fail with the shock of shooting heavy projectiles and the battery life is greatly extended. Streamlight claims they have a “no excuses warranty” on the TLR-2. There are other lighting systems out there but I mention these units because they are what I am somewhat familiar with.
Night Vision Devices (NVDs) are expensive, and NV scopes are little trickier to setup properly without damaging the imaging tube. For those who can afford it, NV scopes may be one of the best options especially for a retreat kept gun as opposed to a gun that is field carried (these units are rather heavy). If you do decide to buy a NVD start with a Generation 2 or better system. ATN is one of the good manufacturers. Remember to set up your NV scope in low light such as at dusk or darker, and while still having some minutes of useable light – use the pin hole cover to avoid letting too much light into the device which may cause damage on some units.
A small secondary tactical pocket light with a red filter can be very useful during nighttime operations. Use it if your gun jambs or malfunctions, or you need to verify ammo or even just to check a spot in your trail.
Other Night Shooting Options: If you are thinking about using tracers as an aid to verifying your point of impact (POI), then be sure that you have tested them along side your main ammo loads to know that they have the same trajectory at all distances that you are capable of shooting to.
Night Shooting Practice Options: It is not easy to find a safe place and method to practice night shooting skills. However, after thinking about it I came up with the idea that BB or Pellet pistols and rifles could be used for night practice. If a shooter was able to find an air rifle and pistol that were at least similar to his real guns and he mounted similar sighting and lighting systems to the shooter’s real guns – to their air guns, you might be able to develop some good skills in your basement, backyard or local woods in very low light that otherwise may be very difficult to practice with regular firearms. If you can find a place to shoot your firearms safely at night, that would be the best practice but aside from that – the air gun route may be your next best bet.
Lessons Learned:
It is very hard to acquire targets through a scope in the dark when moving. This is a skill that should definitely be practiced.
A scope is still a viable option for night shooting with proper target illumination
A scope’s “useable” field of view will be further minimized at night with low illumination of the target area
A white light is a must for identifying your potential target
A focused white light that is well aligned with your sights can be used as a sighting device by itself at close range (similar to a laser aiming system)
A flashlight & laser combination may provide for the fastest night-target shots
Moving around and performing various tasks in the dark is a skill unto itself. Make time to practice
Get the best night shooting equipment you can afford, then practice with it
Practice, practice, practice

As I have written before – whatever you decide to use that matches your skill level and your budget, you absolutely must get it out and test it in the field under real conditions to make sure it works. Try your setup in the dark during rain and fog as well as clear nights. Use in high and low humidity too. Try observing multiple target types and know whether you can determine friend or foe before firing. Whatever you do in the field - do it safely!

Regarding your blog entry on the subject of prescription medications, I wish to provide you with information regarding expiration dates: I work for a pharmaceutical company. While profit is a reason why expiration dates can be conservative, it is not due to "planned obsolescence."
Here is the way things work in the U.S.: drug companies are required to put an expiration date on all drugs. Companies are required to prove to the FDA that the drugs will remain safe and effective through the expiration date on the drug (when stored as described on the label). Generating that proof is expensive, and it gets more expensive the farther the expiration date is from the date of manufacture. So the drug companies don't want to spend money on expiration date studies (known in the industry as "stability studies") any further in the future than is necessary, but must spend money on stability studies (at a minimum) that will avoid an expiration date that is too close to the date of manufacture (defined as expiration dates that could be reached prior to the drug being sold, or would cause customers to avoid the purchase of drugs that will soon expire).
What does that mean for consumers who want to store drugs beyond the expiration dates? There is not one answer for all drugs. Some drugs are truly ineffective or unsafe very soon after their expiration dates. Others can be almost "as good as new" for decades after the expiration dates have passed. Thanks for the great novel, and a great blog. - Mr. Pharmacopoeia

Greetings, Jim:
As a practicing pharmacist I want to reply to the questions raised re: expiration dates of RX meds. The dates placed on the label are generally one-year from the date of dispensing and do NOT reflect actual expiration in most instances. The Dept. of Defense did a study on their extensive med stockpile, many of which were expired, and concluded that many drugs were "good" for ten years. I have meds that are several years old and do not hesitate taking them. I store them in a cool, dry place, in the dark. Follow this rule of thumb. And desiccants are great! If any have strange smells, discard them.

BTW, stockpiling of RX meds is a good step. If the SHTF in our country there is only about a 3-5 day supply of meds on our shelves to dispense. If an epidemic strikes consider it about a 2-3 day supply, at best. I'm not kidding. We routinely run out of meds on a GOOD DAY. Don't get caught behind the curve on this! Better yet, get healthy and reduce your dependence on artificial substances now while you can. - Concerned Pharmacist


Dear James,
Your site is "must reading" for me. I am a physician and have spent most of my career in the pharmaceutical industry. Here is my 2 cents on this topic. Most solid dose form (tablets and capsules) medicines retain sufficient potency for several years beyond their expiration dates if stored per the label directions. Some medicines may retain potency for several decades if not contaminated or subject to excess humidity. Viet Cong used antibiotics and other medications in the 1960s and 1970s that were "liberated" from the French in the 1940 and 1950s.

If there is medication that has a substantial impact on your health, such as insulin, blood sugar testing, and syringes for diabetics or anti seizure medications for epileptics, etc., talk with your doctor and pharmacist about long term supply and stability.

On the other hand aspirin breaks down quickly to a less potent pain reliever so I advise buying it in small quantities. Probably best practice for survivalists is to keep their old medicines for a rainy day, stock up on essentials in tightly closed, unopened "stock bottle" containers that have pharmaceutical desiccants placed by the manufacture, but ask a knowledgeable person if there is any specific toxicity or loss of potency with that particular medicine. Always follow any labeled handling and usage information and advice.

Other exceptions to the general rule that properly stored medications last for several years are suspensions and other liquid formulations made by the pharmacist for immediate use. For example, it is common for very young children that the pharmacist adds water and perhaps a flavoring agent to an antibiotic powder and mixes this up. This suspension is designed to be refrigerated after being mixed, and to be used within a month or even sooner. To prevent contamination do not let mouth germs enter the bottle. If the pharmacist is going to mix two or more bottles at once for a single prescription ask for only one to be mixed until the second is actually needed. Add you own clean water when needed and shake as directed.

Another exception is for any sterile liquid such as eye drops or any medicine for injection that may become contaminated and/or infected. Please read the product description. If the label says, "Solution must be clear. Do not use if cloudy, yellow or brown." then take this to heart.

Another exception is for use of old tetracycline and related antibiotics (doxycycline and minocycline). There may be a nephrotoxicity or damage to kidneys from breakdown of old tetracyclines.

Here is some info that I took from another web site:

There are four chemical instability reactions that can potentially take place when it comes to tetracyclines. The first is conversion to anhydrotetracycline via dehydration, when stored under acidic conditions. This occurs when tetracyclines age and through improper storage, which leads to nephrotoxicity. In basic mediums, tetracycline will open its ring and form isotetracycline. In acidic solutions with a pH around 4, an inactive form will result. This occurs through epimerization of tetracycline at the 4-position from the alpha to the beta position. This was accounted for in the old tetracycline capsule with an overfill of 15%. The last reaction that can take place as described previously is phototoxicity. This is common with compounds containing a chloro-substitution at the 7-position. This leads to sunburn from free radical formation with sun exposure.

Regards, - Yorie in Pennsylvania

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." - C.S. Lewis

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Mr. Rawles:
As my family ages we seem to be getting more dependent on prescription medications which I'm sure will limit our chances of survival in many SHTF scenarios. When family members are on long term prescriptions, it seems possible to set some aside for when the normal medical infrastructure may no longer be available. (Assuming the person they were prescribed for, maintains custody of the stashed meds, there doesn't seem to be an obvious violation of the law. When the SHTF scenario occurs, the worry about law violations would probably take a much lower priority than physical survival.)

It would be helpful if someone knowledgeable could give some guidance appropriate to long term storage. Some principles would be intuitive such as, if possible, rotate your stock so that the freshest gets stored. Avoid high temperature/high humidity, bright light storage. Information sheets that come from the pharmaceutical company or the pharmacy have suggested storage conditions but I'm pretty sure these instructions assume stable social conditions in which the meds would be used by their normal expiration dates and replacements would be available from the traditional sources.

For instance, would removing moisture with silica gel and then freezing the sealed container of pain killer or antibiotic be better in general than just storing the meds in the original container at room temperature? How reliable are expiration dates on prescriptions? (Does the pharmacist just generally put an expiration date on the bottle that is some approximation of when the potency will go down significantly or does he/she actually use the pharmaceutical company's date from the original bulk package?) I used to go to a doctor who was famous for giving out expired drug samples. He said the date were very approximate and potency almost never increased with age. He also said the decrease in potency was very gradual and a drug that was six months past the expiration date might still be 90% of full potency.

Some of these practices I'm suggesting might be considered risky under normal conditions, but under long term SHTF conditions these meds would be priceless and well worth the risk of using them.

Are there any books or Internet sources available already for this type on information? - A.W. in Pennsylvania

JWR Replies: Regardless of how extensively you stock up, remember to store your meds in the classic "cool, dry place", away from sunlight.

The expiry dates on both prescription nd non-prescription medicines are very conservative, for two reasons: 1.) Legal Liability, and 2.) Profit. By having early expiries, the pharmaceutical companies sell more drugs (replacing "expired" stocks), which means more profit. Perhaps some of the doctors of pharmacists that read SurvivalBlog will chime in with some realistic figures on actual shelf life. (This goes beyond my expertise. Please help me out here, ladies and gents.)

OBTW, I describe a WHO-approved titers test for antibiotics in my novel "Patriots".

Since Everyone is talking about it here goes...
David in Israel hit it perfect with his last letter. Thank you! The whole purpose of the article was to open people eyes to the fact that is a whole lot more to survival then fancy firearms. I thought people would enjoy reading about the little things it takes to survive for one year. Even in the outstanding book "Patriots" how many firefights were there? Not a whole lot. My point was if it was just me in the wilderness I would be carrying .22 Buckmark and a 30-30. Because I have carried the gun all day in the woods. I want something lightweight short, fast, and reliable. I never intend this to get into a whole gun debate. That is your personnel decision and choice.

Here is an example of what one man did with a bolt action rifle: The "Winter War" was fought in the beginning stages of WWII Stalin in Russia wanted to expand is territory to include Finland. Well the Finns are a stubborn breed. They were not about to hand over their country to some communist Government. Out numbered by incredible odds they fought Russia into a standstill and sued for peace. Part of Finland was given over to Russia so Stalin could save face. The Winter War lasted 114 days. One sniper with a 1928 bolt action Moisin Nagant 7.62x54R [with iron sights] killed more than 500 Russians. The Russians called him The White Ghost. He was given a nicer updated rifle with a scope but he hung it on the wall of his house and continued to use his old rifle. When asked why, he said he would have to lift his head too high to use the scope. He was dropping Russians from 100-to-500 meters. [With iron sights.] The point is that in the hands of the right man a bolt action rifle is devastating. If you want an America, example look up Sergeant York did in WWI against machine guns with a bolt action M1903 in .30-06. There is an old saying: "Beware the "one rifle" man." Learn whatever rifle you own to be the best with it.

Buy whatever you feel you need, but don't forget the Dietz lantern, the propane stoves, the kerosene, good wood stove, the water well, rechargeable batteries, the LED lights, the one year food, the boring grain grinder, the first aid kits, etc. I am serious. I don't mean this in sarcastic way, but what are you folks in the city going to do for water? I agree most folks should Bug In. Stay home. Just make sure you are well-rounded in your whole survival approach. - Buckshot

Hitlery Clinton speaks out on Ethanol: Good message, but a dubious messenger.

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The UN wants your guns

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In an interview with Der Spiegel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discusses the Holocaust, the future of the state of Israel, mistakes made by the United States in Iraq and Tehran's nuclear dispute with the West. It is scary to see someone this wacky running a national government!

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SurvivalBlog reader Jim K. mentioned this interesting piece on substitutes food in the South during the Civil War

"How much wood would a wood chuck chuck, if a wood chuck was on welfare? None." - Rourke

Saturday, June 3, 2006

I recently did some inventory/archaeology down in Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (the notorious "JASBORR"), and I discovered some downright doubly-redundant items. These include: some military manuals, several Bianchi UM84 holsters (some with thumb breaks and thigh tie-downs) that fit both Model 1911s and Beretta M92s, as well as some Bianchi double and quad Model 1911 (single stack) magazine pouches, a few extra copies of The Encyclopedia of Country Living, a scarce original pre-1955 Heiser revolver shoulder holster, plus a couple of M1911 concealment holsters. I've just added them my mail order catalog.

Did anybody read Piers Paul Read's book "Alive", or see the movie? In 1972 a small airliner with 46 people crashed in the Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina. The 16 who survived both the crash and a later avalanche ate the bodies of the dead. Nando's sister died after 10 days in his arms. Eventually Nando and his friend Roberto Canessa hiked out 10 days through unbelievably treacherous terrain, and after 72 days the group was rescued. It is an incredible book, I've read it several times. Nando finally wrote his own book, "Miracle in the Andes". It is not anywhere so complete as "Alive", but it is his own tale of the gripping emotional struggle he faced to survive and then to hike out in the face of certain death. ( and it is great to read the epilogue of how everybody is doing after 30+ years. Nando has a beautiful wife and two daughters). The ending is so movingly articulated.They did not survive because of leadership, innovation, creative problem solving, or teamwork, although of course all those things were an integral part of his experience. It was not cleverness or courage or competence or savvy that saved them.It was love--for each other, for their families left behind, for the lives they wanted to live. It was love that saved them. I've always thought of trying to get people to prep as related to warning of impending crisis, whether a nuclear jihad on CONUS, natural disaster, dollar and banking collapse, etc. I've been wondering instead how much of the problem with doom-n-gloomers is just plain lack of love. I wonder if talking about loving our children or friends is really the only way to talk about prepping, and if love really is the only thing, in the end, that will get us all through what is coming. Life with wheat and beans and no love won't be worth living. - Lyn

Dear Mr Rawles:
I was wondering how you felt about having a few trade guns on hand? Over the years of horse trading and estate sales et cetera, I have picked up a couple of [M1] Carbines, Mini-14s, old Model 1911 pistols, and so forth. Should I dump them now or hang on to them to barter with in bad times? Or even give out to friends and family when needed? Thank you and please keep up the good work. I'm an every day reader.- J.H.

JWR Replies: I highly recommend that unless you are severely short on key logistics (such as storage food) that you retain most of those spare guns. Keep all of them that are in common, man-stopping calibers. Sell off (or trade) any that are in marginal calibers (such as .380 ACP or .30 U.S. Carbine), or any that are in obsolete or oddball calibers that are not commonly available. For determining what constitutes commonplace, I use the "Wal-Mart Test": If it is a caliber that they have on the shelf at your local Wal-Mart, then consider it commonplace.

I just listed the ultimate prepper bike in my store--the Montague Paratrooper--developed in conjunction with DARPA for the military, and only recently made available in the civilian marketplace.
See my eBay store item listing. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is is $695. The minimum advertised price (MAP) is $645. Our special SurvivalBlog-only price is much lower for a very limited time. Our limited-time, group-buy discounted price cannot be advertised. (Due to a MAP contractual agreement.) Anyone interested should e-mail me and I'll provide the special price: jcrefuge@safecastle.net.
The bike comes in either an 18 inch or 20 inch frame. The one needed is based on height--see the bottom of the listing. This bike was designed and built to be parachuted out of airplanes, to be unfolded and to be ridden away in 30 seconds. These bikes are tough and light! I'm excited to have them in my store and to be able to offer SurvivalBlog readers a very nice discount. The group buy will run through the end of June. Orders should be delivered in July. Regards, - Vic Rantala, Safecastle LLC

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag/Rucksack) is already up to $180. Special thanks to the folks at Ready Made Resources, who donated the kit. Please submit your bids via e-mail.

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I heard from SurvivalBlog reader T.C. that he was disappointed by the "beater" Turkish contract Model 1893 Mauser rifle that he recently purchased from Sportsman's Guide for $299. (He saw it advertised in a shooting magazine with nationwide circulation.) He reported that the rifle he received had less than 10% bluing remaining, a very dark "sewer pipe" bore, and a badly gouged stock. In my reply, I mentioned that The Pre-1899 Specialist (one of our advertisers) currently has a small but very nice hand-picked batch of rifles from the same Oberndorf Mauser Turkish contract. These are selling for just $199 each. Less money for a better grade of rifle. That doesn't require a lot of deliberation! I suggest that T.C. either return that "beater" for a refund, or set it aside as a source of spare parts. He should buy one or more of the nice hand picked ones from The Pre-1899 Specialist, while they still have some left.

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Cheaper Than Dirt! has decided to cease its Affiliated Sales Program, effective June 9th. If you've been dawdling on placing an order, you now have less than a week to get your order in and still have a commission on the sale credited to SurvivalBlog.

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The recent dip in silver to under $12 an ounce makes it a bargain. Buy on these dips. A year from now, today's price will seem very low.

"A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers." - H.L. Mencken

Friday, June 2, 2006

Today, we begin another SurvivalBlog benefit auction. This one is for a fully stocked M-17 Advanced Medical Bag (Backpack), donated by one of our most loyal advertisers, Ready Made Resources. This bag has a $179 retail value. Also included as a bonus is a 5 gram unit of Traumadex instant wound clotter (a $25 value.) Please submit your bids via e-mail. The opening bid is just $30!

Mr. R.:
We started playing around with this eventuality in the 1990s.  A few observations:
We buried old guns and cartridges in 155mm howitzer tubes (M82) in our garden, where they were regularly watered over. End-result ? With dessicant tins inside, they were A-OK after 6 months. Others buried out in the boonies, without regular water-challenge, were A-OK after 12 and 18 months. No rust. Cartridges went bang. Guns functioned flawlessly. We'd prepped them with ProLix, a non-petroleum based cleaner/lube/protectant. ( ProChemCo, ph. 800-248-LUBE ) I've tried most products and this is superior. I've cleaned scrupulously (can you say "OCD"? ) with others on successive days, waited 24 hours, and pulled more residue with this stuff. Excellent product and a good crew at their new location. I cache weapons in a "ready-to-go" format, with basic ammo load, BoreSnake, a 1-oz Prolix, special parts (as indicated), and a few other goodies in a fanny with the weapon. As example, broken-shell extractors, extra mags or stripper clips, a Fobus [holster], extractors or other parts likely to fail are squirreled away with the gun. A good folder, lighter, compass, and other elective gear are easy to pre-pack.  I'm lazy, and fallible under stress, and try to simplify and streamline the protocol for Grab 'n Go!,  predicated on prior setup in a safe container or secure locale.
A quick note, the various "burial tubes" should not be emplaced vertically; it's virtually impossible to remove them quickly if you do so. Pick a spot with nearby metal, or salt the area with scrap rusted metal. In this neighborhood there are utility boxes, poles, and fence lines to shadow any detectors and function as markers for us and others. Lay them in, with a rope affixed to one end, and they pull out readily.  Seeding in more junk metal to an area with doubled radius increases the search area by a factor of 4+. Eventually the job becomes too difficult - in any real sense - for the searchers.
The 155mm tubes were available from an Illinois company (Shotgun News may still have them as a regular advertiser) and they easily function as a full blown survival capsule. The ends have seals, and can be tightened with a 2 x 4 section. Prep the O-ring seal with Nu-Vinyl, and have a small tube of silicon grease sealant , and when needed, they can be readied and dropped in place.
The 25mm cannon shell boxes used to be a real bargain, but their days at $5 are long gone. They are as durable and effective as the tubes, if you are willing to pay the price that they command nowadays. Look around your property and neighborhood, and the best spots will eventually jump-out at you. - MurrDoc

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Arguably, the first commandments of the preparedness movement is to get ready for bad times before they get here. However, it doesn't have to be TEOTWAWKI for it to be too late, or darn close to it. I offer the following real life example to illustrate the point. I get a lot of sinus headaches, especially this time of year; what I have always relied on to relieve them is Tylenol Sinus formula. Traditionally, the active ingredients have been acetaminophen (for pain) and pseudo-ephedrine (for nasal decongestion). Because scum use the latter ingredient in making crystal meth, the powers-that-be have been making it harder and harder to get; what used to be a category of products one could find right next to aspirin was moved behind the pharmacist's counter. In response to this, and in order to get them back on the other side of the counter, the drug manufacturers (not just the Tylenol people, but all of them it seems) have been reformulating their offerings, replacing pseudo-ephedrine with phenylephrine. I have tried one of these reformulated products, and what can I say? I would compare products containing phenylephrine to bodily-waste, except that would be an insult to bodily-waste. After all, bodily-waste can serve a useful purpose (returning nutrients to soil, be processed into methane for fuel, etc.); drugs containing phenylephrine serve no useful purpose, including their stated one -- relieving sinus pain.With this in mind, I decided to (along with my normal, weekly shopping) go on a little quest: stockpile as much actual sinus relief as I can, while I still can (wasn't there a "Seinfeld" episode like this, involving Elaine and birth control? But I digress.) So what were my results for the day? Two stores had nothing left, and at three other stores I was able to acquire: 1 box of Tylenol Sinus, 1 box of Advil Sinus and one store-brand box of non-drowsy, nasal decongestant (which doesn't contain any pain reliever, but I can always take with a couple of Tylenol, Advil or whatever). I would have been willing to buy more at each of these stores, but doing so would have raised eyebrows. I think I may make the rounds again tomorrow, at different stores. I would like to have enough to last me through at least 2007 -- possibly 2008 (when most of these items would appear to be past there expiration dates anyway). I don't know what I will do beyond then. Nasal sprays also seem to work with me, but I really do not like them, and have always saved them as a last resort. Things tend to be a lot more lax on the other side of the border. Theoretically, I could pop down to Tijuana [Mexico] and pick-up a box or two of 'whatever',and not have any problems getting that back across the border, but that is an awful lot of work. Hmmm...
Anyway, the point being, I can see any number of circumstances where the things we want and/or need (defensive firearms training, fuel stabilizer, freeze dried food, solar panels -- you name it) could become unavailable well before we need them. So, to everyone out there, if you think you'll need it can afford it: Get it now, get it before it's too late. Best Wishes, - James

The next U.S. hurricane season: The government says "you're on your own."

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Thousands quarantined in Bucharest to stop spread of Asian Avian Flu.

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SurvivalBlog reader J.C.S. alerted us to an auction for 20 factory refurbished Motorola Talkabout T7200 NiMH GMRS 2-Way Radios on eBay for $69 USD each.

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The P-10 self-contained fallout shelter that I mentioned previously is still available on eBay. It appears that somebody with some foresight is going to get an $80,000 shelter for around $27,500.

"There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men." - Edmund Burke

Thursday, June 1, 2006

And the winner of Round 4 is... "Northwest Huey", for his article "Using Rechargeable Batteries", which was posted to SurvivalBlog on May 30th. He will be mailed a transferable gray Front Sight Four Day Course Certificate. (It can also be used for two people to attend two day courses.) Congratulations! Meanwhile, Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is already underway.

Further congratulations to David M., the high bidder in the SurvivalBlog fund raiser book auction. Many thanks, sir, for your generous $200 bid. Kudos to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for donating their last copy of "Patriots" for this auction!

And also today, we welcome our latest advertiser, Survival Logistics. They specialize in storm and fallout shelters, safe rooms, shelter ventilation/filtration systems, and storm shelter retrofitting. Be sure to visit their site and check out their full product line.

In my role as “the good citizen” and amateur radio operator, I have just competed a state sponsored FEMA “Incident Command System” class (IC-700). My worst concerns regarding bugging out from my coastal home in Connecticut were
confirmed at that class. Here in Connecticut we have no mass evacuation routes available or realistic plans in place to deal with a catastrophic scenario resulting in the exiting of the people who live in this area.
You see we already have quite an impressive rush hour traffic pattern which as gotten geometrically worse over the past 30 years. Back in 1976, the morning traffic heading to New York City (NYC) would be backed up starting about a half mile East of the
City of Stamford on I-95 (I-95 runs East-West in CT). Today, we (in CT) see traffic crawling through Bridgeport and stop and go from Westport down to Greenwich. This means that what would normally take 30 minutes to travel 25 miles now takes 90 minutes. And that is on a good day! All it takes is just one tractor-trailer accident to shut the highway down (or cripple it).
Now imagine a SHTF situation causing people fleeing NYC, Metro NYC and Coastal Connecticut...
The gridlock would be spectacular. As they say in the coun

You recently endorsed reader recommendations for kerosene lamps.  What about flashlights and battery powered lamps?  Do you have any recommendations there?
I realize battery powered devices may have limited value in a long-term, grid-down scenario.  But what about short-term scenarios like a power outage associated with a hurricane--a few days or weeks? Best Regards, - d'Heat

JWR Replies: The advent of white light emitting diodes (LEDs) in the 1990s revolutionized flashlight technology. Up until a couple of years ago, I would not have recommended buying an electric camping lantern, since they were such battery hogs. But now, a new generation of white LED lanterns remarkably little current, allowing batteries last surprisingly long time. For example a Tuff Brite rechargeable LED lantern can operate for up to 70 hours on one charge. These are available from Northern Tool & Equipment and several other Internet vendors. (Search on: Tuff Brite Model # VEC144.)

While we pour blood and treasure onto the shifting Iraqi sands and frighten ourselves silly with the scarecrow of terrorism... Red China forges ahead with one of the greatest military buildups in history.
Jed Babbin and Ed Timberlake have put together a compelling case as to why we need to refocus our attention on the red giant.
Of particular interest is a 228 page document titled "Unrestricted Warfare", written by Colonels Qaio Liang and Wang Xiangsui of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
I fear we are living in the declining years of the American Republic. - Dutch in Wyoming

"When evil wins in the world, it is only by the default of the good. That is why one man of reason and moral stature is more important actually and potentially, than a million fools." - Ayn Rand

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