April 2009 Archives

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cheryl wrote to mention an article that described using Vitamin D to prevent a cytokine storm The dose is 2,000 units of Vitamin D per kilogram (1 kg = 2.2046 pounds), once per day. Thus, for an average 150 lb. adult, the dose would be would be 136,060 units of Vitamin D. This is to be taken for three days. (I.U. Equivalence: 50,000 units = 1.25 mg) My Strong Proviso: The usual fat soluble vitamin (KADE) warnings apply. Don't over-do a good thing. You should discuss vitamin D testing and replacement with your physician before acting on that doctor's recommendations! Vitamin D supplement limits vary depending on body weight, diet, and exposure to the sun.

Today's flu headlines:

WHO pandemic threat level raised to 5 out of 6

New Flu Strain is a Genetic Mix

First US Swine Flu Death, Cases Now in 10 States

France urges Mexican flight ban

Cuba Halts Mexico Travel (First Country to Do So)

Pandemic Risk Grows as New Cases Emerge
US cases now at 64, Mexico 152 dead, over 2,000 infected

US Flu Deaths Seem Likely as Outbreak Spreads

Scary Advertisements From 1976 Flu Outbreak
Today they tell us to stay calm

Mexico City Mayor: One more death, toll stabilizing

Hi Jim,
I wonder how many other preppers out there have the same issue we just discovered. My wife has always had trouble with her digestive tract. Recently we discovered that she is has Coeliac's disease which means she is gluten intolerant. She can no longer eat gluten which it seems is in just about every type of prepared food. It comes from Wheat and is obviously in anything that has wheat in it, but it is also in lots of other things including vitamins, tomato paste, some candies, etc. It has been quite an adjustment for us!

This makes it difficult for us to store wheat as she cannot eat it. The rest of us can, but it is hard to have lots of wheat based meals that part of the family cannot eat. So, does anyone else out there have any experience storing wheat substitutes or will we have to stock up more on rice and beans instead?

Best Regards, - Tim P.

JWR Replies: This topic has been raised before in SurvivalBlog, but because Celiac Disease (aka gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is so commonplace, it is worthwhile to discuss it further.

The good news is that because gluten-sensitive enteropathy is so common, there are a wide range of gluten-free foods on the market, and their are a wealth of gluten-free recipes available online. The book Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern is an excellent resource. Needless to say, to start, you will need to adjust your food storage program to have a much higher ratio of corn and rice rather than wheat, to accommodate having some family members that are gluten intolerant.

So that you don't get totally bored with eating rice and beans, look into the non-gluten "grains" available, such as Quinoa. Another possibility is Spelt. However, I should note that some allergy doctors contend that Spelt is too closely related to wheat for it to be trusted as a celiac replacement grain. Both of these grains are available in bulk from Internet vendors such as Walton Feed for much less that you'd pay at your local health food store.

The Lengthy List of Aliases

Gluten is found in the following: malt flavoring (from barley), hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, caramel coloring (non US made), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (non-US made), dextrins (especially vitamins and medications), wheat starch and the big catch-all "natural flavors". These could be anything, so you need to ask the manufacturer, and even then they may not be able to tell you with certainty whether of not they are gluten-based. Of these, MSG is the most difficult to identify because it is now pervasive in prepared foods, and can hidden under a profusion of aliases. These deceptive labeling practices have been flagged by the FDA. According to the book Battling the MSG Myth , some MSG synonyms include: Calcium Caseinate, Sodium Caseinate, Gelatin, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Textured Protein, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Monopotassium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP) Yeast Extract, Glutamate Autolyzed Plant Protein Yeast food, Yeast Nutrient, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Autolyzed Yeast, Vegetable Protein Extract, Senomyx (a wheat extract that is often just labeled as "artificial flavor"), Calcium Diglutamate, Monoammonium Glutamate, Magnesium Diglutamate, and others! Beware of any ingredient that includes the words Hydrolyzed or Autolyzed. Similarly, beware of: Malted Barley Flour, Malt Extract, Soy Protein, Wheat Protein, Whey Protein, Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Corn Syrup, and Dextrose.


I saw the following post concerning Gober ("dung") gas, dated 27 April, 2009, over at Michael Yon's web site:.

"During breaks from tracking training – I was sweating like crazy in the jungle heat – I asked many questions about Afghanistan and Nepal, and he talked about a simple way to make many of the Afghans lives easier. Most Afghans don’t even have electricity. When he was about fifteen years-old, his dad installed a “Gobar Gas” (methane) generator next to the house in Nepal. The generator is simple: the owner just collects human and animal waste, and through a fantastically simple process, the contraption creates methane, which is then used for lighting, cooking, heating in the winter. It also creates excellent fertilizer, all while improving sanitation. What’s the catch? None that I’ve heard of. He said that his dad made the first Gobar Gas system in his village, and today it would costs maybe $300 total investment. Between their own toilet and four cows, they create enough methane to cook, heat and light the house. More than two decades after his dad made it, the thing is still working and doesn’t cost a single rupee to operate. When the other villagers saw it work, hundreds of Gobar Gas systems popped up around the village. I’ve seen these systems in use in Nepal, and photographed one about five years ago. It worked like a charm. But this Nepalese man, a British soldier, never saw a Gobar Gas system in Afghanistan, but he is certain that the idea would take hold in the villages. My guess is that the only real disadvantage is that the idea is incredibly effective, simple and cheap, and so we probably wouldn’t want to get involved."

Wikipedia has an entry on Gober Gas.

Regards, - Larry

JWR Replies: The usual safety (for piped explosive gasses) rules apply, and of course the usual sanitation rules must be enforced, but this looks like a great set-up for anyone that keeps livestock. Aunty Entity would be proud.

Hello, Mr Rawles,
I´m writing to you in response to Mike B´s letter "My Experiment with a Field Gear Invention."

Halfway´ through the second paragraph I began to smile since I instantly recognized the item he was writing about. How different outdoor culture can be from country to country. In Sweden this is called "sittunderlägg" and is somewhat of an household item among outdoors people. However, I would like to add some tips about the manufacture of the same. In Sweden they are made of closed foam, the same material as in the cheap camping mattresses. This has several advantages. First it´s cheap. A car mat can supply material for maybe one or two but a six foot mattress can be cut up to comfortably sit five or six people. Seeing both can be had for ten dollars or less the camping mattress saves some money, Secondly, weight. This I have not tested but I can´t imagine that car mats are lighter per square inch. Third and most importantly, closed foam insulates from cold. A car mat seat may be all right during summer treks but if you have to bug out in low or even sub-zero temperatures you would want to sit down without losing precious body heat.

As always, thanks for a great blog! - D. from Sweden (Editor of Att Leva Efter 2012)

The "Posterior Flap" described by Mike is popular among skiers, who use it to stay dry and warm while sitting on the ski lift. I believe some ski pants have the flap built in. There are also commercial "belt mounted" flaps available; so it may not be necessary to build your own unless you have unique requirements:

America's Most Dangerous Cities

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The Scientific American asks: Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization? (Hat tip to KAF for the link.)

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Frank S. sent us: When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear? An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country.

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I just noticed that Wiggy's is continuing their 25% Off Sale for their sleeping bags. Their FTRSS sleeping bags are fabulous. When I was having back problems, I gave my FTRSS the equivalent of three lifetimes worth of use, and it performed flawlessly. Wiggy's bags are warm, tremendously durable, and American made!

"For a Westerner to trash Western culture is like criticizing our nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere on the grounds that it sometimes gets windy, and besides, Jupiter's is much prettier. You may not realize its advantages until you're trying to breathe liquid methane." - Neal Stephenson

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Tennessean newspaper (published in Nashville), recently featured an article about my novel: Survivalist author has end in sight


Amazon.com is now so backed up on orders for "Patriots" , that they have sent e-mails to customers, asking if they want to cancel their orders or hang on until perhaps mid-June for shipment. (If you do cancel, and then re-order at the new lower cover price ($8.97), be advised that you probably won't get your copies until late June.) My publisher tells me that there are now 40,000 copies in print, but it may take a couple of weeks to get them though the supply chain to customers. Amazon.com has now ordered almost 14,000 copies. Other large orders have recently been placed by Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Costco. Thanks for making the book such a huge success, and thanks also for your patience!


Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

It has been reported that the incubation period for the Mexican Swine Flu is 4-to-5 days, and perhaps as long as 10 days in children. That's the "hot" period when someone infected is shedding the virus. This is bad news for epidemiologists. With modern air travel, this means that there is probably no stopping the flu from making it to the far reaches of the globe. So now, all that we can do is wait, watch, and pray that it doesn't mutate into a more lethal strain. Barring that, my guesstimate is that it will be every country with a couple of months. The crucial time will be next winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It is now Fall in the Southern Hemisphere, so their upcoming flu season might give us a preview of what will happen up here, next year. Are you ready to hunker down when the flu hits your town?

Here are today's flu headlines:

The Government’s Forecast if Flu Problem Explodes: Two Million Americans Die "Ninety million citizens would get sick. The economy would shut down."

DHS Sets Guidelines For Possible Swine Flu Quarantines

Official: US Flu Victims May Be Infecting Others Confirmed cases in Asia Pacific and New Zealand

Schumer Bragged About Cutting Pandemic Funding (Well, now we are all in Deep Schumer.)

Swine Flu More Dangerous than Bird Flu

Why Does the Swine Flu Kill Healthy People?

WHO Revises Scale For Pandemic Alerts

Mexican Reports: Flu Much Worse Than Reported "The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff. There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks." - Dr. Antonio Chavez

Two Swine Flu Cases Confirmed in Scotland

Swine Flu Boosts Demand For Face Masks, Antivirals

Swine Flu Warning Raised as Virus Crosses Continents Now at Level 4. Could become Level 5 in the next few days.

Washingtonians Prepare for Swine Flu

Flu: Worst Case Scenario

Swine Flu Epidemic Enters Dangerous New Phase "The virus poses a potentially grave new threat to the U.S. economy, which was showing tentative early signs of a recovery. A widespread outbreak could batter tourism, food and transportation industries, deepening the recession in the U.S. and possibly worldwide."

40 Cases of Swine Flu in US to Date (No Deaths)

WHO Confirms Pandemic Alert Level Raised to Level 4

Swine Flu Cases Around the World

Swine Flu Fears Close Schools in CA, TX, NY

Americans Told to Wear Masks as Swine Flu Spreads Around the World

I would like to share with everyone something I have in my Bug out Bag (BOB) that I have yet to see mentioned in any post or forum on the subject. I stole the idea fair and square from survival expert Les Stroud (of Survivorman television series fame) and modified it to suit my needs and budget. This simple addition weighs very little, costs very little, and makes so much sense I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it for so many years.

In Les’s treks through the Canadian wilderness, he would often be seen wearing what looked like a tail. What Les had was a waterproof ‘flap’ that hung off of his belt which he tucked underneath his backside whenever he wanted to sit down. What this allowed him to do was sit on any wet fallen tree, rock or anything else that was hard but damp. While he was dressed in layers with his outer layer being water proof, Les regularly removed layers to avoid sweating. The effect was always having a dry place to sit, rest, or work.

Without any details on the construction, I looked around for a suitable alternative which would perform the same function and still be affordable on my budget. My answer was a common, everyday car floor mat. A simple, rectangular rubber mat with ‘carpet’ on the top was all I needed. Both the rubber and the carpet are extremely durable materials.

For a few dollars new and even less if you get one from the junk yard or ‘you-pull-it’ lot, all you need to do is poke a few holes along one of the short ends and tie it around your waist or through a few belt loops. The rubber underside is waterproof while the carpet side affords some level of comfort and warmth. This will not feel like your lazy-boy, but if you have ever had your shorts ride up on you because some part of them has soaked through, then this will be a welcome, light, and cheap luxury.

My original design was a rectangular mat that I picked up from Wal-Mart for about $10. I poked four holes along one of the short edges and wove a small rope through each hole so that the majority of the rope was behind the mat and not against my back. Unfortunately, this arrangement did not work out well because the mat was too small. The mat was designed for the back seat floor boards. I did not correctly account for the length of the L-shaped that would form between my lower back and the beginnings of the back of my legs.

My current version was more difficult to find: A longer rectangular mat that was designed to be used for the front seat floor boards. I was able to find it at K-Mart. (Nothing succeeds like success so it doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as it works.) I also replaced the rope with a ribbon style belt. Instead of cutting holes in the mat, I cut four slits and wove the belt through the slits. This keeps the mat closer to my body, is easier to put on and take off, and is generally more comfortable. Now the mat reaches from my lower back to just below my lower legs. This is more than enough length to give me a large footprint to sit on if a log or rock is especially large. The shorter version one only worked when the diameter of the log was small or the rock was about the same size as my backside. The new version lets me sit down in wet grass and leaves to rest or to sit on the bumper of my dew-covered car to adjust my boots.

You will need to size the mat for your height and the size of your backside and length of your legs. Remember to check that the mat will bend into an L- or Z-shape. You can get away with an irregularly shaped mat if you would like, I just thought that a rectangle would give the most coverage for the least amount of weight. An irregular mat may give you more dry space to put things down next to you.

The mat may tap you in the back of the legs as you walk (especially when walking up or down hill). You will either need to get use to that or, after attaching it around your waist, roll the map up and put a rubber band on one or both ends. The rubber bands allow for a quick unrolling before sitting. However, if you roll the mat up after you have used it, you may transfer some moisture to the carpeted side Personally, I just got use to it tapping me in the back of legs. Given the movement of my pack while I walk, it is hardly noticeable.

Just a follow-up to the question about bicycle power: If you do a Google search on the phrase "bicycle power generator" then several interesting options come up. One is a web site that offers free plans.

JWR Replies: Just keep in mind that every hour spent trudging away on a bike frame generator is an hour that you could also use doing something else productive. Dollar for dollar and hour for hour, photovoltaic panels are the way to go--they make power every day with minimal maintenance. I consider bike-frame mounted generators fairly specialized devices for peculiar circumstances, such as when someone is cooped up in a fallout shelter. My general advice is: Yes, go ahead and build one, but make it readily adaptable to multiple purposes, by using perforated box beam construction for the back half. This is similar to the construction method often used for hobby-built electric go-carts and similar projects. With perforated steel box beams, you will minimize the amount of welding needed to fairly quickly reconfigure the back half. For example, you could attach various pulleys and V-belts that can in turn be attached to a Country Living grain mill, a meat grinder, or a metal grinding/sharpening wheel.

Hi Jim,
I hope all is well with you and your family. I just want to let you know that I spotted a copy of "Patriots" today in an unexpected place. My April issue of Christianity Today arrived and on page 42 is an article about Pastor Doug Wilson. On that page there is a picture of him standing in front of a large bookshelf filled with books. I noticed right in the middle is a copy of "Patriots" on the bookshelf. - Nick in Indy

JWR Replies:
You just made my day. I have been a fan of Doug Wilson's writings for many years. He is the editor of Credenda Agenda--an excellent magazine on Christian apologetics from a Reformed perspective. Wilson pastors Christ Church, that meets in Moscow, Idaho. Since my novel is set in the Moscow region, this probably explains why he has a copy.

From G.L: US Housing Market Heading for a Bigger Crash

Ted spotted this: US Home Prices Fall, But Pace of Decline Eased Slightly

Courtesy of Lee H.: Falsifying Bank Balance Sheets

Items from The Economatrix:

Oil Drops Below $50 on Flu Fears

The Economy Looks Beyond The Recession to Disease and Terrorism Two key quotes: "The stock market responded with a shudder yesterday but at least did not collapse in response to the weekend media blitz about the Swine Flu outbreak. The reaction of the world’s markets is likely to be close to panic if this disease becomes widespread and lethal." and, " ...what else [could] a weak economy could survive. There is an answer and it is that the economy can’t take much more."

Flu Stock Index Continues to Move Up

Gulfstream, Cessna Sales to Slide 50% Next Two Years as CEOs Shun Jets

US Consumer Confidence Rises in April

Review of US Economic Data for 4/28/09

JP Morgan Collapse Could Trigger Next Global Stock Market Crash
" ...the probability of another stock market crash within the foreseeable future is very high. The word “crash” is used advisedly. Since early March 2009, the industrial equity markets have been rising on misplaced hope. When that hope is dashed – as looks highly probable – the consequence is likely to be a wave of selling pressure given that the credibility of the financial authorities will have been shattered."

Fed Using Currency Swaps to Boost US Dollar

ETF Chart Trend Comparisons

TARP Cop Sees Unstressful Bank Tests "The adverse scenario used to test the health of the 19 largest U.S. banks is "disturbingly close" to current economic conditions, sparking a concern that there might need to be a second "stress test," a U.S. financial bailout fund watchdog said..."

Is "Possible Pandemic" A Diversion From The Economic Crisis?

20% of Asia Hedge Funds Closed Since January, 2008

Japan Facing Worse Economic Outlook Ever

Dying GM to Cut 21,000 Factory Jobs, Pontiac is History

The Chinese Yuan Goes Global

"Hoss" spotted this video segment: Ozark Mountain man's 'survival garden' gains worldwide attention. Len Pense shows the SurvivalBlogger mentality, in action.

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Craig W. sent us a link to a Biogas generator demonstration. OBTW, unless you want to remove your chromosomes from the gene pool, never squirt lighter fluid from a can or bottle onto an active ignition source, as he does in this video!

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Reader HK sent us this article from a clever gardener up in Alaska: How does your garden grow? Former Iowa resident presents a different way to plant veggies

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Break out the ice skates! From Modern Maximum back to Maunder Minimum Sunspot Levels?

"The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now." - Unattributed American Proverb

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The death toll in Mexico now at 149, and climbing, with more than 2,000 patients are hospitalized there. Containment appears unlikely. For a flu to spread this rapidly outside of the normal "cold and flu season" tells us something about its ferocity. I suspect that we will see multiple waves of infection, with the worst of them probably being next winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Mutations are impossible to predict. The only good news is that at least in the long term, viruses tend to mutate into less lethal strains. (The most lethal--a la the Marburg type hemorrhagic viruses--are so lethal that the hosts don't live long enough to pass on the viruses to others. Hence the tendency for many bugs is to become less virulent. The common cold (acute viral rhinopharyngitis), it is said, probably started out as a killer, many centuries ago.)

SurvivalBlog Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson sent us a link to the first really practical article on using N95 masks that I've ever seen, by Tara Smith.

Mentioned a useful CDC background piece: Antiviral Drugs and Swine Influenza

Reader Matt J. in Kentucky notes: "Wal-Mart in Louisville, Kentucky is already out of N95 masks, but the hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe's have 20-packs readily available (I bought two 20-packs at Lowe's and one 20-pack at Home Depot." OBTW, Bob at Ready Made Resources mentioned that sales have been very brisk, and they are now nearly out N95 masks, despite buying all that their wholesale suppliers had on hand. He also mentioned that their inexpensive full protective suit ensembles are going fast

Here are some of the day's flu headlines:

World closer to swine flu pandemic

Swine Flu: Five Things You Need to Know About the Outbreak Thanks to Dave (at Captain Dave's) for the link

Texas Closes More Schools as Flu Spreads

Obama: Flu Matter of Concern Not One of Alarm (yet)

Mexico City Now a Zombie City

Call Your Congressman! US Says Not Testing Travelers From Mexico

Swine Flu Hits Ernst & Young in Times Square, N.J. Department of Health Confirms Five Probable Cases

Flashback to 1994: CDC to mix avian, human flu viruses in pandemic study

Sunday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they would open up the National Stockpile of medications to provide antivirals to areas that may need them. This comment is a big clue to the real concern that this is already getting out of control. The National Stockpile is rarely tapped so this is a big event and a potential trigger for those out there who need to be aware. Luckily this year’s human flu was resistant to Tamiflu so there appears to be stock left, but this is also the end of the season so normal supplies are low. Relenza is another antiviral that is available and the swine flu is sensitive too, (at this point). Tamiflu [dosing] is weight-based for children and Relenza is not indicated for patients less than seven years old. I would suggest that anyone with significant medical conditions obtain an antiviral prescription from their friendly doctor now, and not later. Obviously large cities, especially those with international airport hubs, and those on the border, or with large migrant populations probably aren’t the best places to be right now. What triggers a bug out is individualized, but there is a definite advantage of being in a small town. But even Kansas hasn’t been spared with this one. With schools being shut down, that forces adult parents to stay home which causes shortages of employees not only at the mall, but the grocery store, the shipper, the police station, the hospital, the gas station…etc… Plan accordingly for any last minute items you need. - Mike the MD

I constantly see recommendations for people to use hand sanitizer especially every time the flu-de jure becomes a problem. Over my years as a firefighter/paramedic many of my co-workers used hand sanitizer on a regular basis, the most frequent users often ended up with cracked skin and infections or scabs at the corners of their fingernails. These users even ended up occasionally spreading the fungus to me and other non antibacterial users due to their compulsive wiping of antibacterial compounds onto steering wheels and other surfaces.

Your best protection is not to nuke your own protections and hope any bacteria die, but rather enhance your own systems. Vinegar rubbed onto the hands doesn't remove your body's protective oils, it also doesn't cause the [drying and] cracking that alcohol based rubs do. Acidophilus is available in capsule form which can be opened and rubbed onto damp hands, acidophilus is a powerful microscopic security force that works in symbiosis with your body. I also had a policy of not using soap but spraying with dilute vinegar after rinsing my hands, sometimes rubbing in a few drops of olive oil, my hands stayed soft making my wife happy, the toughened skin stayed tough, and my skin protection layer stayed intact.

Day to day long periods of wearing of latex or nitirile gloves will cause your hands to crack and dry out. Since you will probably not encounter open puddles of body fluid by surprise cotton gloves, safety or eye glasses, and a cotton or better yet a HEPA face mask should help prevent acquiring any airborne hyper-communicative diseases if you need to go into a public place. Carry nitrile gloves and safety glasses in case you are called to provide first aid. Be sure to safely remove, bag, and wash any reusable protection before entering your home or vehicle.

Top attention should be placed on keeping your hands away from your face, especially the mouth and eyes. When I was a paramedic instructor I had the students hands dusted with UV-glowing powder. After class I brought out the black light, nearly everyone's face showed that they had touched or itched, even knowing that they would get extra credit for coming up clean.
Unfortunately I never had time to set up a proper scientific study with control groups, but my experience, and those who followed my advice was generally positive, most of the antibacterial gel users had hard cracked hands with our resident black fungus in the cracks and occasional infection at the corners of the nails. Why didn't the gel users stop? They really believed they were protecting themselves.
As for flu, if you keep yourself properly fed including dark leafy vegetables and citrus, don't work yourself to exhaustion, keep yourself warm, clean, and dry and you should be much more resistant, even if this is finally the super flu that the government has been waiting for all these years. - David in Israel

JWR Adds: I agree that antibacterials are over-used on a day-to-day basis, but they are appropriate in the short term, when a true viral killer is stalking the streets. Many years ago, I heard that mixing 20% (by volume) of aloe vera liquid with typical methyl alcohol-based antibacterial "hand goop" will prevent drying skin. BTW, I've noticed that some commercial antibacterials are now sold with aloe added, although I wonder at what ratio.

In addition to disposable gloves, don't overlook the need for glasses with side protection and disposable booties that can be shed and discarded just before you get in your car or truck. Disposable Tyvek suits are nice, but their use on a daily basis might be prohibitively expensive

When working with my consulting clients, I often discuss channelization and lines of drift. Most major routes out of major cities will become very dangerous places to be in the event of a massive involuntary urban exodus. Imagine the situation WTSHTF in small towns on either side of the Snoqualmie Pass in Washington, or near I-80 across the Donner Pass in California, or on the Columbia River Gorge (that divides Oregon and Washington), or virtually every other stretch of interstate freeway that is within 150 miles of a metropolitan region. These channelized areas (also called “refugee lines of drift” by Military Police war game planners) should be studiously avoided.

Conversely, there are areas between lines of drift that will likely be bypassed by refugees and looters, due to poor access. (Constrained by small winding roads, water obstacles, intervening canyons, swamps, et cetera.) Some of these bypassed zones might actually be fairly close to urban areas. It is a dangerous gamble, but if for some reason you must live near a city, then I suggest that you carefully search for what may be a largely bypassed zone for your retreat and/or home. A few regions that may be bypassed come to mind, based on what I’ve seen in my travels and from recommendations by my associates. These include:

Portions of the Ouachita Mountains, west of Little Rock, Arkansas
Some islands in the Great Lakes region
Parts of Sabine County, south of Shreveport, Louisiana
The periphery of Harry S. Truman reservoir, 60 miles southeast of Kansas City, Missouri.
Portions of Dewey and Custer Counties (80 miles west of Oklahoma City.)
The Santa Rita Mountains, southeast of Tucson, Arizona
The Chiracaua Mountains, in the southeast corner of Arizona
The Mount Hamilton region, Alameda County, California. (East of San Jose, and south of Livermore.)
Parts of the San Joaquin River Delta, east of San Francisco, California
Some islands in the Puget Sound, Washington

Driving the back roads of your region will probably reveal other similar areas that might be bypassed.

I'd greatly appreciate getting input from readers via e-mail about other areas that are likely to be bypassed in the event of major crisis. The diverse readership of SurvivalBlog includes many folks that frequent out-of the way locales, including fish and game officers, foresters, utility workers, horse wranglers, surveyors, wildlife biologists, hunters, backcountry fishermen, backpackers, kayakers, NRCS employees, and even a few wildlife photographers.We can benefit from your insights. Please e-mail your suggestions, with "Bypassed Areas" in the message header. Thanks!

Reader Greg C. found this: Treasury needs record $361 Billion April-June borrowing. (Greg's comment: "And while we are all watching a little flu bug down south….")

From G.N.C.: Roubini: 'Suckers Rally' In Stocks To Fade. "It's not a true recovery. It's just a bear-market rally, it's a suckers' rally."

Steve in southern Oregon sent this item: Jim Rogers Isn't Buying a U.S. Stock Recovery

Items from The Economatrix:

Chrysler Reaches Deal With Union, Fiat Before Deadline

Flu could boost government intervention further

From Michael Panzner's blog: Evidence to the Contrary. "Despite all the evidence to the contrary, mainstream types keep insisting on two things: that what we are going through right now is a recession -- albeit a severe one -- and the worst is (or will soon be) over. Hogwash."

Don Stott's commentary on inflation (part 1)

Drugmaker shares rise on swine-flu outbreak

Rourke sent a link to an article in the Kansas City Star: Some stockpiling to prepare should times turn perilous

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Thanks to MVR for this: The Geomagnetic Apocalypse — And How to Stop It

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California Shooting Fair Closes for Lack of Ammo (Thanks to FloridaGuy for the link.)

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KAF flagged this: Hardtack, Once a Staple of Sailing Ships, Still Prospers in Hawaii. It has great shelf life, especially when vacuum packed. BTW, I believe that the author is mistaken when describing the "joke" origin of the term "Saloon Pilot" The saloon (or salon) is the social cabin of a ship. And pilot refers to pilot rations--food for use aboard ship.

"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility." - G. M. Trevelyan

Monday, April 27, 2009

Our SurvivalRealty spin-off site is continuing to flourish. There are some amazing retreat properties listed there, including the latest listing, a unique "castle" retreat in southwestern Oregon.

The new H1N1 swine-avian-human influenza is certainly getting its share of headlines. It will be interesting to see how this event progresses, and the reactions of the populace and governments. Here are some updates:

The Mexican Flu now has a Wikipedia page that seems to be kept quite up to date.

Here is a Google map showing the locales of confirmed and suspected cases

Doc D. mentioned this piece at Mashable: How To: Track Swine Flu Online

SurvivalBlog readers in Texas and Southern California have already noted shortages of Sambucol at their local drug stores. It is safe to assume that if the contagion spreads rapidly that there will be lots of shortages of N95 respirators, disposable coarse-mesh paper masks (not much good against even clumped viruses), hand sanitizer, Tamiflu, Sambucol, Cipro, and canned goods.

Several SurvivalBlog readers have written to mention that Mexico City is a powder keg. For example, reader Greg C. wrote to ask: "Has anyone thought about where 20 million residents of Mexico City will go when they all start to panic and bug out of the city?"

Have you ever wondered how viruses can spread so quickly? A YouTube animation of airline flight paths is fascinating. (Thanks to Susan W. for the link.)Whilst there, I spotted a worldwide view of air traffic.

Safecastle (one of our advertisers), reports that they've had a huge increase in sales of HarzardID decontamination kits. I don't expect those to last long.

News Headlines: (Special thanks to Cheryl, aka "The Economatrix" for sending most of these)

Swine flu and deaths in healthy adults--cytokine storm?

Asia on alert over swine flu threat

Face Masks Analyzed as Aid in Flu Pandemic (Thanks to Matt R for the link.) Matt adds: "Home Depot and Lowe's both sell N95 respirators." (So do several Internet vendors such as Ready Made Resources.) And speaking of masks, Chris W. suggested a FDA reference page.

WHO Declares International Concern Over Swine Flu

Mexico May Isolate Patients with Deadly Swine Flu

Eight New York Students Likely Have Strain of Swine Flu 30 children in Bronx daycare have flu-like symptoms

Swine Flu Could Mutate to More Dangerous Strain

No New Local Cases of Swine Flu Reported Locally (San Diego, CA) "However, they continued to caution that more illnesses are likely to surface as local, state and federal disease investigators examine more people suffering flu-like symptoms."

Swine Flu to Be Probed, No Pandemic Yet (Imperial Valley, CA)

Mexico Fights Swine Flu With "Pandemic Potential"

Swine flu cases discovered in Canada

NYC School Cases Confirmed Swine Flu

U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu

Swine Flu Empties Mexico City's Streets Official Numbers: 81 dead, 1,324 infected in Mexico; Suspected cases elsewhere including New Zealand

Swine Flu Fears as New Zealand Students Quarantined

CDC: Flu Has Spread Widely, Cannot Be Contained

Texas Health Dept. Closes School; Bans Sick Reporter From News Conference

Third Texas Case Of Swine Flu Confirmed; Family Quarantined

Seventh Case of Swine Flu Confirmed in California

US to begin asking about flu at the border. (Why didn't they close the border, 48 hours ago?)

Canada Confirms Four Cases

Mexico Streets Empty as Swine Flu Toll Climbs

Swine Flu: White House Has Unusual Sunday Briefing

Anxiety Grips Hospital Waiting Rooms as Fears of Swine Flu Spread Through the City

World on Alert Over Mexican Killer Swine Flu as Pandemic Fears Rise Suspected cases also in France, Israel. Medical personnel said symptoms began like normal flu, but then victims' temperatures shot up, with paralysing muscle aches.

Swine Flu: Panic Spreads Worldwide

British Airways Cabin Crew Member Quarantined; Fell Ill on Flight to UK From Mexico

And in closing, here is a PDF to keep in your reference file: a very detailed description of how to perform Chest Physical Therapy on a person who is having difficulty clearing their lungs. (A tip of the hat to reader John H.)

Reading through your flu background article [Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic], I found your mention of [the Elderberry extract] Sambucol. I'm going to get some but you might want to read the article on Elderberry posted at the fluwiki web site.

It sounds generally positive about Sambucol for seasonal flu, but does say this regarding avian flu:

"However, elderberry also increases cytokine production. One specific concern with H5N1 infections is the possibility that this strain of flu may induce cytokine storm, leading to ARDS and the high mortality associated with it. It is unknown if the increased circulating cytokines that elderberry and other alternative medicines induce could increase a victims risk of cytokine storm. Medical science does not currently know the exact mechanism that triggers cytokine storm. We cannot say if increased cytokine levels before or during infection is a risk factor for ARDS or an effect of some other mechanism that begins the inflammatory cascade that results in it. High cytokine levels are documented to be associated with ARDS, but causation is unknown..."

Regards, - Matt R.

A friend of mine had a recent encounter with the police that illustrates the importance of Operational Security (OPSEC), even for the tiniest details. My friend is a survivalist and keeps both an SKS (unloaded but with ammo nearby) and a CZ handgun (loaded) in the cab of his truck. This is basically what Boston T. Party and others recommend: a handgun instantly at the ready and a rifle nearby. My friend does not have a CCW permit and in Washington State you must have a permit to have a loaded gun in a vehicle. He was pulled over while driving on the freeway, and his conversation with the officer who pulled him over went something like:

Cop: “I pulled you over because you failed to signal when you changed lanes…”
My Friend: “Oh, that’s odd, I know I used my signal.”
Cop: “…And I see that you have an NRA sticker on the back of your truck. Do you have any firearms in the vehicle?”
My Friend: “Yes.”
Cop: “Get out, I’m going to search the vehicle.”

After searching and finding the CZ, the cop arrested my friend for having a concealed weapon without a permit (note that the gun was “concealed” in the car, not on his person). With my friend locked in the back of the police car, the cop proceeded to hold the SKS up in the air on the side of the freeway, checking the chamber to see if it was loaded (while hundreds of people drove by). I’ll skip the rant about this incident further lowering my already-low opinion of the Police, and concentrate on the OPSEC implications.

The cop never asked permission to search the vehicle: he informed my friend that he was going to search. My friend likely did not commit any traffic infraction, and was probably pulled over just for having an NRA sticker. He is now facing misdemeanor charges for carrying concealed without a permit; If he is convicted he will have a criminal record. The CZ has been confiscated and he will never get it back.

Like many people, my friend did not want to get a CCW permit and put his name on a government list of people who carry weapons; he saw getting a CCW as a breach of OPSEC. He chose to exercise his Second Amendment rights despite an unjust state law and he carried without a permit. If he hadn’t committed another, tiny breach of OPSEC, he would not have gotten caught. It’s sad that we’re at the point where even being seen as a supporter of the NRA has become a breach of OPSEC, and something we must hide from the police. Because of this incident I will be removing the NRA sticker from my own vehicle soon. - “Big D” in Washington

JWR Replies: To begin with, your friend handed his exchange with the officer the wrong way. He could have maintained his privacy and his Fourth Amendment rights by not answering the officer's question or by changing the subject, when the officer went on his "fishing expedition." I am a Christian and I don't believe in bearing false witness, but there is no Biblical admonition about opening one's mouth. In fact, there is just the opposite: See: Proverbs 18:7: "A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul." I also recommend the "Don't Talk to the Police" lecture by Professor James Duane, that has been mentioned before in SurvivalBlog. I consider it "must" viewing for teenagers and adults. I also recommend studying the book You & the Police! by Boston T. Party.

And, yes, it is a sad state of affairs when we have to hide our political affiliations when traveling public highways.

Gloria spotted this article on urban survival: Live off the land -- in the city

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Brian H. mentioned: Striking EDF Power Utility Workers Cut Power to French Homes

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Courtesy of Cheryl: Basics For The Beginning Gardener

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When it comes to AR-15 uppers, I thought that I seen it all. There are barreled AR uppers on the market for everything from .22 LR , to 5.45x39 Russian, to 8mm Mauser Belt-Fed, to .50 Browning. But this crossbow upper surprised me. FWIW, there are a lot of things that I'd rather buy for $1,300. (A tip of the hat to Hawaiian K. for the link.)

"If, [when] evil cometh upon us, [as] the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name [is] in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help." - From Jehoshaphat's prayer, 2 Chronicle 20:9 (KJV)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm posting the Sunday blog early, for the sake of exigency. Please forward This Article Permalink URL to all your family, friends. and co-workers:

In the past 24 hours I've received dozens of e-mails from SurvivalBlog readers about the emerging Mexican Flu. Some news stories have included cryptic comments from heath officials, implying that the mechanism of infection makes this particular virus "very difficult to contain." This leads me to conclude that those infected have a long latency period during which they are infectious, yet, they do not display frank symptoms. This does not bode well for any hopes of containing the spread of the virus.

Then we hear a CDC official stating: "The swine flu virus contains four different gene segments representing both North American swine and avian influenza, human flu and a Eurasian swine flu." That strikes we as something very peculiar.

The disease is respiratory, and has one strong similarity to the 1918 Spanish Flu: "The majority were young adults between 25 and 45 years old," said one official under the condition of anonymity. Since, young and healthy people with strong immune systems are the most likely to succumb, this might indicate that the biggest killer is a cytokine storm--a collapse caused by the human immune system's over-reaction to a pathogen.

I strongly recommend that everyone reading this take the time to re-read my background article on flu self-quarantine and other precautions: Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic. The details that I give there are quite important. Pay special attention to my discussion of the shortage of hospital ventilators. If anyone in your family is immunosuppressed, consider yourselves on alert. Make your final preparations to hunker down, immediately.

In the next few days, there is a good chance of wholesale panic, including some well-publicized "runs" --probably first for hand sanitizer and face masks, and soon after for bottled water and groceries. Plan on it.

UPDATE: The BBC News web page Mexico flu: Your experiences has some updates posted from individuals in Mexico City

To summarize, here are some key quotes from a recent article:

"This outbreak is particularly worrisome because deaths have happened in at least four different regions of Mexico, and because the victims have not been vulnerable infants and elderly.

"The most notorious flu pandemic, thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19, also first struck otherwise healthy young adults."
"But it may be too late to contain the outbreak, given how widespread the known cases are. If the confirmed deaths are the first signs of a pandemic, then cases are probably incubating around the world by now, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota.

"No vaccine specifically protects against swine flu, and it is unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer."

Current statistics show a less than 10% lethality rate, but of course the first wave of flu victims are getting access to the best medical care available. If the contagion spreads, sheer numbers will quickly overwhelm hospital facilities--particularly the number of mechanical ventilators available. So the lethality rate may rise, even if there is not a viral mutation.

Here are the latest headlines on the flu, as well as some background pieces. I'll post more links, as they become available.

Swine Flu, Mexico Lung Illness Heighten Pandemic Risk

Swine flu could infect U.S. trade and travel

Mexico Races to Stop Deadly Flu Virus

Spanish Flu Survivors Remember

Some Facts About Past Flu Pandemics

WHO ready with antivirals to combat swine flu

Possible Swine Flu Outbreak at NYC Prep School

California Expects To Find More New Flu Cases

Swine Flu Jitters Sparks Sell-Off In US Hogs

Swine Flu Resources

Most Mexico fatal flu victims aged between 25-45

Swine Flu May Be Named Event of ‘International Concern’ by WHO

[A UK] County's masterplan to deal with flu pandemic


I am a new reader to SurvivalBlog and a big fan of "Patriots" ., I have been reading all the archives and old posts, and I would just like to clear one thing up. I am an atheist. I don't believe that there is sufficient evidence to prove the existence of a supreme power. This does not make make me a bad person. There have been some posts about choosing your neighbors that have said Christians and Jewish people make best neighbors because they are "God fearing" etc.

Just because I don't believe in a god does not mean I am going to kill/steal/rape in a TEOTWAWKI situation. It hurts me when I read such generalizations. Just because I'm an atheist, I am not going to harm you. I believe in the rule of law and mutual respect. I don't decide not to kill or steal because I fear a punishment from god. I choose not to do these things because they are wrong, I don't need a god or bible to tell me they are wrong.

Atheists are not barbarians, without morals. I help my neighbors, I work hard and believe in self reliance and preparedness. I am trustworthy and respectful. I have encountered many so called "God fearing" believers who I cannot say the same for. God may not be a driving force in my life, but I still know the difference between right and wrong. I will not try to convert you, I am not one of those loud atheists who will try to tell you how wrong you are. I believe in everyone's right to believe what they may, and I ask all to give me the same courtesy.

Religion and morals are not the same thing. I don't need to believe in a supreme power to have morals and know what is right and wrong. I just wanted to clear up these misconceptions. I really hope you post this. Thank you for your work, SurvivalBlog is a great knowledge source, - J. in Michigan

JWR Replies: The comment in my Precepts page that you mentioned is not a question of individuals, because there are indeed exceptional individuals, and I'm confident that you are one of them. Rather, this is a question of averages. On average, people that have the moral underpinning of the Judeo-Christian religious ethic are less likely to commit property crimes than those that don't, and statistics bear this out. For example, look at the "Property"crime rates for particular counties in California (The City and County of San Francisco, for example, has one of the lowest church attendance rates in the country). Compare that to the more religious counties of North Dakota (a "Bible Belt" state). This map is quite an interesting starting place. Sorry, but facts are facts. Property crime rates are generally higher in communities with a low ratio of church attendance. My choice to live in a tight-knit religious community is not a reflection on you as an individual. It is just a conscious choice, based upon statistical correlation and my strong conviction as a Christian, to do so. FWIW, please consider that a religious community is also the safest place for you--an atheist with morals--to live, too.

If I hypothetically had to live in New York or New Jersey, then I'd probably pick a small town with a predominance of Christians or Orthodox Jews for neighbors.

I'd like to add an additional perspective on the letter on "Learning the Details of Self-Sufficiency" -- the conscious competence learning model. I'd like to pull back the shade a bit on why 'just buying stuff' and reading books isn't going to cut it when the balloon goes up.

Many folks are 'buying things', reading books, searching the internet with the thought that when the time comes, they will begin living the self-sufficient lifestyle in the country. The aforementioned letter points out the folly of this approach. I just want to take a step back and look at why so many people are taking an unproductive approach -- it has to do with how people assimilate new skills.

With a new skill set (like self-sufficient living in this example) a person at first is unconsciously incompetent (stage #1). Here a person doesn't even know what they don't know. They certainly don't understand the ramifications of not having mastery of the things they don't know. Most people stop right here. They feel safe. In fact, it's not until they go a bit further into consciously incompetent (stage #2) when they begin for the first time to understand some of the things at which they are incompetent; and begin to realize the impact of their incompetence on their desired outcome.

Stage 2 lasts a long time because the more a person learns, the more necessary skills they uncover, which skills they have no experience whatsoever. It's not until you actually eat the beans you've canned, which were stored in the root cellar you made; which beans grew in your garden, which garden you protected from insects, which plot you cleared from the forest, fenced from the deer, amended the soil, selected the correct variety of bean seed, planted at the correct depth,with the correct spacing, at the right time of year, with the proper sun exposure, etc. Then and only then will you have begun to have some gardening experience -- for beans. Then you can begin to appreciate that beans are not carrots. Carrots have different needs, and hey, wow, I wonder if all these different vegetables, grains and fruits have different requirements? Gee, what would happen if I grew my garden in 'compost' I bought from a local garden center and the entire crop failed, and I couldn't buy my veggies from Wal-Mart? Last example was a true story for me as a local nursery sold me 10 yards of 'compost' which [later] tested almost zero for N, P, & K. My crops bolted and died within three weeks.

Stage 3 is conscious competence. This is when you can perform a skill reliably at will. I can put up more beans this year, I know how to do it; I know how many rows of what dimension and how much seed I need. I want to put up some dilly beans, I know how to do that too. I can cook using the blanched and frozen beans I grew last year.

Stage 4 is unconscious competence. This is where you aren't even aware of the skills you are using to produce the desired result. People who reach this level of expertise often can't teach another person how to do what they are doing because so much ability (not knowledge -- big difference) is assumed. Have you ever seen a craftsman produce a beautiful result, and make it look easy? Then you tried and found, "Hey, this is harder than it looks!" That's what stage 4 is, and where you need to be before you risk your family's life on homesteading in the midst of a crisis.

We've only talked about beans so far; how about production quantity gardening for the 20 or so veggies, fruits, and grains you're going to need? How about producing pork? Chicken? Rabbit? Lamb? Can you breed, select, grow, cull, harvest, process, store, and prepare all of these? How about dairy operations? Retreat security? Redundant water systems in place? Redundant power systems in place and functioning? Productive relationships with neighbors? Suppliers? I'd like to give you a more complete list, but I've been doing this for years now, so I don't even know all I know!

If you aren't doing these things right now, then you won't be any good at them in a time of need. The only way to gain new skills is by doing. Take advantage of whatever time we have left before things get much worse, and go do it! - Mr. Kilo

Herb Dennenberg of the Philadelphia Bulletin warns: US Marches Toward a Financial Disaster Worse Than Anyone Thinks. (A tip of the hat to "The Other Jim R.")

GG flagged a Forbes column by Steve H. Hanke, warning that inflation will roar back with a vengeance: Fed Up

Items from The Economatrix:

Rush to Universities to Escape Recession

GM to Default on $1 Billion Bond Payment

IMF Predicts World Recession Will Deepen

Morgan Stanley Reports Four-Month Losses of $1.47 Billion

Geithner: Worst Trade Bust Since WWII

Soaring US Budget Deficit Will Mean Billions in Bond Sales
"Millions of lost jobs mean billions in lost tax revenue for the U.S. government, and billions in additional Treasury debt to fund a federal budget deficit that may soar to more than four times last year’s record $454.7 billion."

Cheney: Obama Economic Plan "Dangerous"

Hedge Funds, Unhinged

Quadrangle Facing Questions Over Pension Funds

Florida County Declares State of Economic Emergency Over Economy

Wells Fargo Reports 52% Jump in Earnings

Hawaiian K. spotted this at Wired News: The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

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Ben M. mentioned that the NTIS is having an unusual clearance sale on some government publications.

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Reader G.K. sent this link: Army Sharpshooters to Get SEAL Sniper Rifle. Gee, if the US Army had adopted the AR-10 some 40 years ago, they wouldn't now be reinventing the wheel. (It's too bad that the AR-10 wasn't a more mature design by the time of the T44/T48 trials.)

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Be sure to bookmark www.GunBlogs.org. They do a great job of aggregating content from a wide array of firearms blogs.

"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." - Jeremiah 17:5-8

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

There have been several excellent articles in SurvivalBlog on Bug Out Vehicles (BOVs), but there may be a few gaps to fill.

A REPAIR MANUAL for your model vehicle. A shop manual from a dealer can be quite expensive, but a Chilton’s or Haynes manual available from most auto parts stores is usually less than twenty dollars and is a wealth of information. [JWR Adds: I recommend buying a full length service manual and a maintenance code reader. If you do some searching on Amazon and eBay, you can often find a used factory service manual for just a bit more that you would pay for a new copy of a short Chilton's "excerpt" manual. It is also noteworthy that there are presently lots of car dealerships that are going out of business. This should provide a bonanza of service manuals and diagnostic boxes, if you call the right place at the right time. Typically, most of the tools at a dealership service department belong to the individual mechanics, but the reference books and diagnostic kits belong to the dealership.] I know a few “preppers” who will spend big money to buy the latest tactical-stealth-ninja gear and then pay someone else to change the oil in their vehicles! You should do as much of the work on your vehicle as possible, both regular maintenance and repair work; you will learn an amazing amount about how the various vehicle systems work, you will know the work was done correctly with the right parts, and many repairs are much easier the second time you do them (much better to learn now rather than on the side of the road somewhere or after TSHTF). If you do not have some of the tools you need, you can often buy the needed tool, learn by doing it yourself, and still spend less than having a repair shop do the same work, plus now you have more of the tools you need.

PROPER TIRES are vital; they are your vehicles only contact (hopefully) with the ground and can make a huge difference in how your vehicle performs. Many of us (probably most) drive trucks or SUVs as our daily drivers and/or BOVs, and we often succumb to the temptation of installing larger tires than the original equipment tires. We use the excuses of more ground clearance, etc., but the real main reason is usually we think they look cool on our trucks. That is fine; just understand that if you “upgraded” your tires by going bigger, you just “downgraded” your braking and fuel economy and if you went much bigger you may have seriously compromised your vehicle’s handling and steering as well. Braking distance will increase with larger diameter tires because there is usually more mass rotating farther from the center of the tire and because the larger diameter acts as a longer lever the brakes must act upon when you try to stop.

It is true that a larger tire will travel farther with each revolution, therefore creating the effect of lower engine RPM at a given speed (it will also affect the actual speed versus the indicated speed on the speedometer, which is not a free pass on a speeding ticket) that some assume should result in better mileage, but it will also increase the force required to turn the tire and create more stress on all the drive train parts. In the auto maker’s battles for better fuel economy and meeting CAFE standards, if gaining mileage was as easy as sticking on a bigger set of tires (making us happier in the “looks cool” area at the same time), a room full of really smart folks with engineering degrees designing vehicles would have probably stumbled across the idea on their own.
If you are willing to take the hit on lower mileage and longer stopping distances at least ensure the tires are rated for the loads you will place on them. Ratings for traction (wet, dry, and snow), load, noise, tread wear and other information is readily available at web sites such as TireRack.com. You can compare the various tire parameters based on your needs and make a much more informed choice on which is the best tire for your vehicle.

While you are dealing with tires, consider the spare; most pickups and SUVs have a full-sized tire that matches the four road tires, but on a cheap steel wheel. Tire makers say that by the time you have to replace your tires, the spare should be replaced as well. This is because the tire, especially the sidewalls, will deteriorate from hanging out under the truck in the weather and not being flexed from driving. Buy an extra wheel that matches the four main wheels and rotate all five tires. You will noticeably increase the life of each set of tires, saving considerable money in the long term. If you go way out in the boonies, you can get a used tire of the same size and type (maybe the best tire from your last set) and put it on the original spare steel wheel and have a “spare spare”.

AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS are often one of the most under-maintained vehicle systems. Those of us with a preparedness mindset tend to ask a lot from our vehicles. We haul things, tow trailers, drive on trails, etc. and therefore operate under the “severe operations” side of the maintenance list. Much of this added stress goes right through the transmission. The problem for most vehicles is that you must completely remove the transmission pan to change the fluid and filter, making it rather expensive to have a shop change the fluid for you, or a big dripping mess to do it yourself. A simple solution is to replace the stock transmission pan with an aftermarket pan that has a drain plug. You can find a pan that is made from aluminum and has extra fluid capacity without extending any lower under your vehicle than the stock pan. Heat is a major enemy of automatic transmissions and the aftermarket pan has the added benefit of better cooling and therefore longer service life. Most have a magnetic drain plug that will collect the tiny bits of metal created as transmission parts wear. This will appear as a thick paste on the drain plug, so ensure you clean the plug well before reinstalling it.
The aftermarket also has a means to deal with the transmission filter, which is located inside the pan. You can get a remote mounting bracket that uses a standard oil filter and can be used to provide the filtration you need and enable you to change filters when you change the fluid without removing the pan. Automatic transmissions have either a separate radiator in front of your regular engine coolant radiator or a separate section within the main radiator to help cool the transmission fluid, so lines are already routed from the transmission to the front of your vehicle. It is a simple task to mount the bracket near the radiator, cut the rubber portion of the existing transmission line, and plumb in the bracket with a couple of brass fittings, clamps, and some rubber hose. Be careful to route the fluid to the inlet and outlet ports on the bracket correctly, if the filter has an anti drain-back valve, the fluid can only flow in one direction. When you use the remote filter, you must leave the original internal filter in place if it is used (most are) as the pick-up point for the pump that circulates the transmission fluid. Simply cut a hole in the paper filter media before installing the internal filter and it will still work as the fluid pick-up but will never clog. Now, changing your transmission fluid is truly as easy as changing the engine oil and the total cost for the pan and the bracket is less than having a shop change the fluid a couple of times.

INTAKE AND EXHAUST SYSTEMS are common upgrades. We have been told that gasoline engines act as big air pumps, not a bad analogy. The engines uses a small but definite percentage of its power pulling air in and pushing exhaust gas out, so it is reasonable that anything that eases the flow of air in or exhaust gas out will let the engine work more efficiently. This gain in efficiency results in more available power and better mileage. Original equipment intake and exhaust systems tend to be restrictive because they are designed to operate as quietly as possible. Intakes can benefit from a low restriction air filter, but will gain much more from a complete intake system. These systems use a high flow reusable filter combined with larger, smoother tubing to replace the original system all the way to the throttle body. These are set up to use the original airflow sensors and some compartmentalize the filter away from engine heat.

You can also noticeably improve performance with an aftermarket exhaust system. The most common is the “cat back” system; it replaces the original exhaust system from the catalytic converter to the rear of the vehicle with smoother, larger tubing and a less restrictive muffler. There are two main types of replacement mufflers used in theses systems. Some use fiberglass or similar material to absorb sound, these are often referred to as “glass packs”. The disadvantage to these is the material will deteriorate and let the muffler get louder over time. The other, and in my opinion better, choice uses specifically designed chambers and baffles to cancel out sound waves, especially in the range that would cause resonance inside the vehicle. The advantages to these are they don’t change or get louder, they are less restrictive, and you save about thirty to forty pounds from the original system. Many systems are offered with dual outlets, but there is not a great gain from two outlets, since the muffler is still fed by one tube coming out of the catalytic converter. Systems are designed for specific vehicles, but check the specs carefully; some require relocation of the spare tire, not a good option if you don’t want your spare banging around in the back of your truck. If you tow a trailer, especially a camper, the side outlets instead of rear outlets are recommended to help prevent exhaust gas from entering the trailer. Most manufacturers offer varying levels of sound output and many want the loudest option, but you really gain little or no benefit from going louder, and if things do get bad do you really want to announce your arrival from two blocks away?

MILEAGE/POWER ADD-ONS are controversial to say the least. Look at any auto parts catalog or web site and you will find a profusion of parts that offer better mileage and/or more power. If you buy into the ads of “up to 2 MPG and 10 horsepower” for this widget, “up to 3 MPG and 15 horsepower” for that widget, you can soon be convinced you can have a truck with 600 HP that gets 40 MPG while pulling a trailer up a mountain trail. While any manufacturer will want to cast his product in the best possible light, the magic advertising words here are “up to”. Even with reputable manufacturers, advertised gains usually indicate the best result achieved within the best possible test parameters, and may not reflect your driving results in the real world. The irony of installing an intake system that claims to increase performance by smoothing airflow and then putting in another piece that claims to increase performance by creating turbulence should not be lost on the reader. Just as with our firearms, any upgrades must maintain or improve reliability. You should also have a realistic view of any mileage improvements. If you are currently getting 15 MPG and a product gives you an improvement of 10% (a fairly good result) you will now be getting 16.5 MPG. With gasoline at $2.00 per gallon you will save about one penny per mile in fuel cost, so if you spent $300 on the "upgrade", you will have to drive 30,000 miles to pay for the cost of the item before you start saving any money from the increased mileage. Some things will give better mileage, more power, and better throttle response, some not so much; do some careful research before spending your money. My approach is usually to upgrade as repairs are needed, for example; after damage to my exhaust system from road debris, I replaced the stock system with aftermarket, when it was time to change the transmission fluid, I replaced the pan and added the remote filter. The best mileage improvement device available is wearing your right shoe (i.e. your driving habits). [JWR Adds: Beware of any "mileage boost" product that involves either chemicals or magnets. They are selling Dr Feelgood Snake Oil, folks. The electronic ignition upgrades might have some merit, but like Nickey says, do the math, first!]

ELECTRIC AND LIGHTING: A small (up to about 750-800 watts [if wired directly into high amperage terminals]) DC to AC inverter can be installed to power AC appliances like cell phone chargers, laptop computers, and even small power tools for about the cost of a DC adapter for either item. A set of fog lights can really help illuminate the road directly in front of you or when visibility is poor due to bad weather. A pair of low profile fog lights (wider beam than driving lights) under the rear bumper can help immensely when attaching a trailer or working behind the vehicle at night. For rear mounted lights I recommend an illuminated switch mounted in direct view of the driver to insure the lights are not left on accidentally. DC current is notoriously less efficient than AC at carrying voltage, so if your installation requires a long run of wiring, use at least one size larger wire than specs call for to avoid voltage and wire overheating problems.

BE PREPARED for your vehicle to break down at the worst possible time and place and in the worst possible weather. Most of us have a good basic tool set and we know about extra belts, hoses, etc. You should have clothes and shoes/boots to change into if you must work on your vehicle or if you have to walk out of the woods or to call a tow truck (cell phones don’t reach everywhere). Be sure to include clothes and shoes for all who are likely to be with you. This lesson was reinforced for me in Alaska when my vehicle broke down, luckily only about three miles from home. I had the proper clothing stored in the car and was able to walk home, get my truck and retrieve my car. Next was the task of replacing the serpentine drive belt in the dark at -35 degrees. Proper gloves are critical in a situation like that, but can also be important in hot weather; metal parts can get hot enough to cause burns in the summer even without factoring in engine heat. Many people have work gloves that would be fine for shoveling your way out of a mud hole, but you should also have mechanic’s gloves that will protect your hands but are thin and flexible enough to allow you to work with small parts that are very hot or very cold.

There are obviously many other possibilities for upgrades and additions, but I hope the ideas offered here will help. - Nickey C.

I want to thank you for your advice to obtain a 308 battle rifle. Last year I held off on buying one until December as I felt my AR-15s were "good enough". I paid around $1,600 for an Armalite AR-10. That same rifle model now sells for more that $2,000 (if you can find it). I have also acquired another AR-10 lower that I am building for a "longer range" 308 rifle. I have also been purchasing a lot of Lake City once fired brass and 147 grain FMJ components and slowly reloading my ammo supply. Here is my question: Is it better that keep powder, primers, cases, and bullets separated or just load everything up and store it that way? I am worried about powder/primer long term storage and wonder if its easier to keep powder and primers in original packaging for really long term storage. I recently went to the range and shot off some ammo I reloaded back in 1993. I had about 10 rounds with primer failure . My previous house basement was flooded in 1998 and I think this ammo was in the basement at that time. So now I am pulling those older bullets and am having to reload them as I suspect more primers will fail.

Another question: Is there a way to quickly and cheaply waterproof loaded cases at the primer and case mouth? I have thought about clear nail polish. Regards, - Eric

JWR Replies: I advise that you go ahead and assemble those components, whenever you have time available. A lot of things can go wrong (fire, broken pipes, flood, etc), so loaded ammo will be much safer than storing components. Store all of your ammo only in military surplus ammo cans that still have nice soft seals. Include a small bag of silica gel desiccant in each can. (It doesn't take much to suck up the atmospheric moisture in a space that small.)

Don't attempt to seal case necks with lacquer, or you will cause erratic velocities and possibly cause failures to completely chamber rounds. (The same effect as improperly trimmed brass.)The US military arsenals have actually used tar to seal their bullets, but I don't recommend doing so. (Not unless you want to set up a hot tar bullet-seating assembly-line, and do the requisite pressure tests!)

For the primer pockets: Use an tiny extra fine tip brush and red lacquer paint--available from any hobby shop. Don't use clear lacquer. It is important to use a colored lacquer, so that you don't lose track of which primer pockets have already been sealed. Some folks recommend using just a single cat's whisker type brush. One ring around the edge of the primer is all that you need. It takes just a tiny bit for each primer. Just one ounce of lacquer will last you through years of primer sealing if your are careful to keep the bottle tightly sealed.

OBTW I recommend that you stock up on magazines for both your current AR-10 and your planned AR-10 "build". Those magazines are already scarce--now up to around $80 each--and they may be $200+ in just a year.

If you want to have a dozen or magazines per rifle, then it might very well be worthwhile to order two replacement AR-10 lowers from Sonju International in Kalispel, Montana. They make an excellent machined-billet lower receiver variant that the dubbed the "SI-AR-HK" that can accept HK-G3 alloy magazines (that are available as military surplus for as little as $2.20 each!) Then, after those lowers (and a box of 100 magazines from a vendor such as Scorpion Arms arrive), you can then sell off your current Armalite-made lower receivers and magazines for an obscene profit that will infuriate Chuck Schumer.

From GG: Borrowing puts UK's AAA rating in danger after Budget 2009

Also from GG: China reveals huge rise in gold reserves JWR's comment: Well, "huge" is a relative term. The population of Switzerland is 7.5 million, and the population of China is 1.3 billion. Yet, at 1,054 tons of gold, China's gold horde is only slightly larger than Switzerland's. Methinks China will be a big gold buyer in the decades to come, probably in excess of their domestic production.

Items from The Economatrix:

How Low Could the Stock Markets Go?

10 Charts Showing a Prolonged Global Recession

Retirement Dreams Disappear with 401(k)s

Student Loans: Default Rates are Soaring

Black-magic Dollars (The Mogambo Guru)

Treasury Filing Chrysler Bankruptcy

10 Countries in Deep Trouble

Facing The Abyss

UK Budget Recovery Predictions "Utter Fantasy"

Crime Figures Show Rise in Theft as Recession Bites

Several readers sent links to articles about a new H1N1-series variant swine flu, including this AP wire service article: Flu epidemic prompts Mexico City to suspend all school, university classes, as strain studied. The death count in Mexico is now up to 61. A follow-up article included this troubling tidbit: "Scientists said the virus combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before." If the number of reported cases expands geometrically and the fatality rate is significant, then take the appropriate precautions. Of course, most SurvivalBlog readers already have deep larders and are well prepared to hunker down to avoid casual contact.

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Speaking of influenza,"Texas Gal in Oregon" recommended a "stay at home" influenza preparedness guide published at the Nez Perce, County, Idaho web site. OBTW, it might be prudent to take the time to re-read my background article on flu self-quarantine and other precautions: Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic

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FFF. flagged this: Jamaican army deployed ahead of tax increase

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News from Wisconsin: CCRKBA Calls Milwaukee, Wisconsin Police Chief's Remarks ‘Outrageous’ (Any bets on whether the police chief was indoctrinated went to college in Stevens Point?)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping toward destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. No one can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us." - Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, 1922

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thanks to everyone that ordered copies of my novel "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse" on "Book Bomb" Day. You placed so many orders that you totally wiped the copies that Amazon.com had on hand by 6 a.m. on April 8th. Amazon currently has 13,000 copies on order from the publisher, 10,000 of which should get to them sometime early next week. So most of you should have your books by late next week, and an unfortunate few of you possibly as late as June 26th, depending on when you placed your order. Again, thanks for your patience! OBTW, please don't cancel your order and re-order for the sake of saving two bucks, or you'll end up way at the back end of a very long queue.

I've been told that my agent has reached final agreement with the Atria and Pocket Books Divisions of Simon & Schuster on a deal for two sequels to "Patriots". Unlike traditional sequels, the storylines of these novels will be contemporaneous with the economic collapse and invasion described in the first novel. There will be some overlap of characters, but most of the action will take place in different locales. My goal is to use these two books to write about a lot of different tactics, techniques, and technologies for survival. I'm excited to be getting back to fiction writing. But of course I'll continue daily posts at SurvivalBlog.

Thanks for posting Travis A.'s letter regarding food storage. He makes some good points but I'd like to chime in with some thoughts of my own.

I see an emergency food storage program as having two conflicting goals: The first is to allow you to eat "normally" after a disaster, because "different" food will just add to the stress of the situation. The second is to provide basic food that will merely keep you alive but will store long-term. I believe a hybrid storage plan that meets both goals is best, at least for my lifestyle.

To meet the first goal of eating normally, Travis' plan works. Store the foods you eat and rotate them. For the storage solutions available to most people, that means rotating through everything every 4-6 months or so. Brown rice goes funky. Beans left in open air become too dry to re-hydrate. Pasta gets stale and acquires off tastes. Other foods like those Lipton pasta and rice pouches go funky even faster - they're good for a couple months before they start tasting "off". That 7 lb. container of garlic might store for two years, but not if it's opened - and how are you going to rotate it without opening it and constantly using it?

So buy what you like and rotate it - but other than canned food, there is little you can buy that will still be particularly tasty after a year unless you go through the hassle of sealing it up, canning it, or whatever - in portion sizes that you can use up before it goes stale.

For long-term, "get you through two winters food," nothing beats properly stored staples like wheat, white rice, beans, powdered milk, dehydrated vegetables and potatoes. This is the stuff that will keep you alive while the fallout decays in the grain belt, or scientists figure out how to prevent the new blight that destroyed a year's worth of crops. These are buy-and-forget, emergency-only, keep-you-alive staples - cheap sources of carbs and protein. Add some oil and vitamins and you're set with something that will keep you alive. The inconvenience of using this food will virtually guarantee you won't use it unless you have to. It's like carrying a pouch of dog food in your backpack to eat in an emergency. Ask Ethiopians who survived the 1970s and 1980s if it's a good idea.

The LDS church is arguably the authority on long-term storage of staples. After a recent study at Brigham Young University (BYU) concluded that properly stored #10 cans of most foods are good for at least thirty years, the church revised its recommendations and now suggests that long-term storage foods not be rotated. Why? Because nobody wants to grind wheat. It's easier to buy a bag-o-beans at the grocery store than it is to tap into your #10 cans and then have to replace them. If you're worried about adjusting, then start working whole grains into your diet, but don't do it by tapping into your storage supplies - go buy 5 lb. bags whole wheat flour or better, buy some wheat and practice using your grain mill.

The biggest advantage to this is that with the exception of freeze-dried food, long-term storage food is dirt cheap. A one year supply of staples for a small family can be had for less than a couple thousand dollars. Amortized over the thirty-year shelf life and it's like paying $5 per month for complete food security.

Watch Craig's List and similar sites! Last fall I was able to buy an electric tin can sealer worth $1,350 plus $700 worth of cans in various sizes for just $250. I actually found it first in Google's cache listed for $500 and was crestfallen when my e-mail to their Craig's List address was rejected because the listing had expired. I watched Craig's List for the next month and sure enough, they re-listed at $250 because it didn't sell the first time. I'd have gladly given them the $500! Now I have the ability to can anything wet or dry, including Travis' 7 lbs. of garlic powder!

A final note on canned food (food that contains liquid): It lasts virtually forever, expiration dates notwithstanding. As long as the can isn't bulged, dented on a seam, leaking or spurts when opened, then it is probably safe to eat. The fact is that bacteria don't "work their way into" a can over time. They were either there when it was canned or they weren't. If they were there, they will do their damage long before the expiration date. Botulism contamination is virtually unheard of in modern American [commercially] canned food. So while taste and nutritional value may suffer over time, safety doesn't unless the can has a defect or is damaged.

The bottom line: Buy and rotate the foods you like. Buy and store food that will keep you alive.- Matt R.

JWR Replies: Here at the Rawles Ranch, we use a lot of our stored wheat. We keep a Country Living grain mill set up through about nine months of the year. (Our summer schedule is often too busy for bread making.) I am actually a big proponent of eating what you store.This has multiple benefits:

  • You'll eat less expensively. (Buying in bulk can save up to 80%, versus packaged foods from the grocery store.)
  • Your diet will be more healthy. (Processed foods are generally less healthy than bulk grains, rice, and legumes.)
  • You'll continuously rotate your food stocks. (FIFO!)
  • You'll more closely monitor the condition and age of all of your storage food.
  • You'll gain experience in preparing the same food that you store--with the opportunity to develop some tasty recipes.
  • You'll accustom your digestive system to a diet that is heavy on storage food.

I must also point out that while many bulk storage foods retain remarkable nutritive value for as much as 30 years, that at least beans lose palatability. After about seven or eight years of storage, beans become so hard that they will refuse to plump up and soften, even after days of soaking or simmering. Yes, you can either grind them or cook them in a pressure cooker, but it is far easier to simply rotate your stored beans continuously (on a FIFO basis), and use them up when they are still less than five years old!

I often mention the book The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, but two other books that are important to have on your bookshelf are Making the Best of Basics by James Talmage Stevens, and Cookin' with Home Storage by Vicki Tate. Learning how to cook with stored food takes time and practice!

Living in a Schumeresque world will be stressful. But it will be even more stressful if you needlessly take on additional stresses, in getting your digestive system used to storage food, and by having to learn how to cook with storage food. If your storage food is presently just sitting on the shelf un-used and un-tested, then you've made a mistake. Get cooking!

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I am an everyday reader of your blog and greatly appreciate the information posted there. That said, I'd like to thank you for your recommendation of the America Stone.

I do a lot of wood hand carving, most of which is small and intricate work. I have a few wonderful and reliable knives, but I've usually been disappointed with most sharpeners. Either they are too rough on the blades or are a pain to use.

The America Stone is the most wonderful tool I've used since I can't remember when. It puts an excellent edge on a blade in very little time and doesn't cause excessive wear down of the edge. The blades are super sharp after using the stone, right to the very tip, especially important for my use. My blades also seem to keep their edge longer, saving me time and effort. I don't have anything to do with the company, but I would recommend the product highly.

Thanks again for all you do. Extra prayers also for the Memsahib's return to health. - MBC

None of us here can know the hour when 1 Thessalonians 4:16 -17, will come to be. There are Prophesies that seem to indicate that that time approaches. But we don't know. We are not Prophets ourselves. We can just know to be ready. But until that time comes, there are also many other possibilities for which to prepare. We are in the early stages of a world-wide economic meltdown. As that grows worse, it can lead to all sorts of interesting events. Unemployment will likely lead to increased crime and even food riots. That can lead to the break down of systems. And that can cause the loss of health care, electricity, sanitation, water and so on. And that will inevitably lead to epidemics.

The Sun is the "quietest" it has been in many, many years. The last time Earth experienced so little sun spot activity, hundreds of thousands died from cold and lack of food because it snowed during the summer. The Yellowstone Caldera, a super volcano, is 40,000 years overdue to blow. When it does, it will spread ash across the entire US and block sunlight for years. There is an undersea volcano off Africa that is in danger of collapse. That could cause a tidal wave that would take out the entire east coast of the US. ...And then there is the ambitions of our governments "new friends" in Venezuela and Iran, and Al Qaeda and N. Korea. An EMP attack will surely make us all take notice that being "friendly" and acting weak is no solution to bad behavior by evil people. ..Not to mention what the closing of the Hormuz Straits will cause, if certain folks decide they can get away with it.

And all that is just some of the possibilities as televised on PBS shows in the last week. Not even alarmist conspiracy theory or doom and gloom, just Public TV science and reporting.

I am of the opinion that the "first world" industrial societies are so complex, that they could collapse fairly easily. It's just like my tractor. For lack of grease, the bearing spun. For lack of a bearing, the field didn't get plowed. With no turned earth, there was no garden and no food.

In these kinds of economies, small events can have remarkable consequences. Several years ago, a tree fell against a power line in Ohio. That small outage spread. Power went off in parts of Canada and as far away as New York. A couple more trees, and there could be no power anywhere. And then who would there be to help Florida or Texas, after a hurricane.

So what are we to do? Certainly reading survivalblog everyday is a great start. Acquiring knowledge thru books is absolutely necessary. Getting training and practical experience at such schools as Front Sight and Midwest Native Skills Institute is crucial. You can also volunteer at any of many the open air museums, and learn about appropriate non-electric skills and tools. But, there is more. We really need seven day, everyday, experience.

For example, there has been a good bit of discussion lately about "city retreats". Some folks believe they can make it in a well equipped "abandoned" factory or warehouse. They will hide in plain sight. That may work for a time, but what happens when the power goes out, and your stored fuel is used up? You might have bullets and food stored to last three years, then what? In my opinion, if you are concerned enough to be reading survivalblog, you ought to be realistic enough to get where you need to be to survive. And, IMHO, that ain't the city. You simply won't learn the practical skills needed to be self-sufficient, if you live on cement

It is remarkably complex to be self-sufficient. Without daily experience, you are unlikely to make it. It can easily take three years to successfully cultivate and grow an organic garden. It can take years to really learn to save seeds or prune a fruit tree. If the electricity goes out, you'll need to be able to do that and much more. If you can't, your children will suffer. It may take you a season or two to learn to get your fences built before the deer eat your crops. (They can clear a garden in one night). It can take years to learn what you actually need to run a farm. Little things like having lots of nails and screws on hand. If the big box stores close, how are you going to build shelter for city family refugees if you don't already have the supplies? And do you know construction? Do you have the tools? Or, without lots and lots of files and hack saw blades, how will you work metal when the gas runs out? It takes more than just having an anvil and hammer. Do you know the simple things like stacking hay bales on their sides, instead of "strings up"? If the hay gets wet, the water will run through the bale if it's on its side. The hay will much more likely mold if you store it with the strings pointing up. Right now, we all have the time to make such mistakes. It's not yet life or death. But soon, it may be.

In a crisis, being efficient also becomes much more important. You'll waste all kinds of time until you learn to carry a tool box on your equipment when you go to the field. It can be pure aggravation to need a wrench, screw driver or piece of wire, and have to walk all the way back to the barn. A simple fix can easily turn into a wasted hour, if you don't have the experience and tools to know better. And an hour lost is a job undone. That can be very costly.

It's taken me quite some time to learn to consistently keep certain things lined up by the back door. If I turn on any lights at night, a raccoon or coyote going after the chickens will run. I've learned, if I hear a noise, to get up in the dark, put on my boots, which are always where they need to be, have the other necessaries in easy reach, and to get out the door, silently, to take care of business. That's not something learned easily or quickly. Just developing night vision and how to see in the dark, and how to listen to the sounds of night in the country, can take a lot of time. Not knowing that can mean losing half your chickens in one night. It happened to me.

It can also take some time to learn which neighbors are reliable and which farm equipment dealerships are best. You don't want to buy major equipment from a dealer that has poor service and inventory. And asking for help from the wrong neighbor can be worse than no help at all.

It can take many seasons to learn the weather of your farm. I know that there is always a dry week in April when I can till the gardens. If I miss it, and it rains, it may be May before the ground will again dry out enough to plow. And when snow comes from certain directions, it may mean I need to clear a roof before it falls under too much weight. ..It's happened.

It's taken me some time to learn to put a broody chicken in wire cage inside the hen house. I put as many eggs under her as will fit, put in a bit of water and food, and shut the door. I've had many a hatch of eggs go bad because the chicken got up and didn't find her way back. With this little trick of confining the chicken, I get chicks every time. That's not something you learn just bugging out from the city.

It's also taken some time to learn that its hard to read by candle light. An oil lamp is better, it can give between 2.7 to 4.4 candle power, depending on how wide the wick is. And having an oil lamp with mantle, which gives 40 candle power, (or the equivalent of a 60 watt bulb), is really important if you have any medical needs at night. I know I much more appreciate sewing myself up when I can see where to stitch, instead of kind'a poking around by candle light.

And so it goes. We all know something is coming. Most of us believe it in our cores. We wouldn't be here otherwise. So, what are you going to do? I believe the time has come to take action. It may not be comfortable to leave the city and a well paying job. But you have so much to learn, and so little time. You really need to get moving. Because the mistakes you will certainly make today, just may do you in, tomorrow. - Jim Fry, Curator, Museum of Western Reserve Farms & Equipment, Ohio

This headline appeared yesterday: Stress Test Data to be Released May 4th. Since the pre-release rumors have been bad, Monday, May 4th could be a key event. Be ready for turmoil in the weeks following this announcement. Have plenty of cash on hand, since it will be difficult to predict what the sheeple will do on or after May 4th--when presumably the majority of US banks will be declared insolvent.

From DD: March existing home sales fall by three percent. "The results were 'a little disappointing' given that homes are more affordable than they’ve been in years and mortgage rates are near record lows, said Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist." DD's comment: "Words cannot express how absurd Yun's statement is to me. After all, America is only facing the worst recession since the 1930s. Unemployment is out of sight and getting worse.The Federal government is overspending beyond comprehension. Not to mention that, American home buyers are too concerned about keeping what they are able to scrape together after new taxes amid their efforts to obtain food, shelter, water, transportation, et cetera. Then you throw in the fact that middle class jobs are being replaced by either unemployment or minimum wage work with little to no benefits. Finally, to top it all off some institutions require 20%+ for a down payment. Simple economics: If someone doesn't have the means, the opportunity is irrelevant."

Items from The Economatrix:

GM to Close Most US Factories Up to Nine Weeks

Majority Irish Expect Summer Civil Unrest

Volvo to Cut More than 1,500 Jobs

Bank Lending Keeps Dropping

US Advertising Famine Ravages NY Times and Yahoo Profits

Credit Card Giants Defy Plea to "Be Fair"

Bank Bailouts "May" Hurt Taxpayers, be Open to Fraud
" ...the rescue program's special inspector general concludes that a private-public partnership designed to rid financial institutions of their 'toxic assets' is tilted in favor of private investors and creates 'potential unfairness to the taxpayer.'"

Fed Tests Harder on Regional Banks

Top Bailed-Out Firms Continue Lobbying "The top 10 recipients of the government's $700 billion financial bailout spent about $9.5 million on federal lobbying during the first three months of the year."

Geithner Says Most Banks Have Sufficient Capital to Keep Lending.... " ...but a pile of bad debts is fostering doubts about their health and slowing a recovery"

Tipping Point For US Treasuries?

Fed Shrouding $2 Trillion in Bank Loans "In Secrecy," Suit Says

The Mighty Debt Purge of 2009

The Quiet Coup "The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time."

A Meditation on Our Monetary System: A State of Permanent Siege

12 Major Brands that Will Disappear

Jobless Claims Show Double-Digit Unemployment Still Coming

If Banks Can Challenge Stress Tests, are they Tests at All?

The Land Mine on Bank Balance Sheets

Mat found a great Swiss Army Knife Forum, devoted to collecting and modifying the Großvater of all survival tools. The Swiss Army Knife (Schweizer Offiziersmesser) is a must for each teenager and adult family member. Unlike a Leatherman tool, they are light enough for daily pocket carry. The forum has some interesting information on outdoor survival projects such as tin can stoves.

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Commander Zero has some interesting commentary on the current shortage of ammunition, magazines, and primers: 1994 Versus Now. JWR's comment: Commander Zero's observations are spot on. It may be years before manufacturers catch up with demand, and by then, the legislative landscape may have shifted. We may see substantially higher taxes on guns, gun parts, ammo, and reloading components. Never underestimate the ability of politicians to serve themselves a big slice of pie, whenever they see a prosperous market. In my estimation, the greatest gains will be in prices for full capacity (11+ round) magazines, since there is a very high likelihood of a "high capacity" ban. There will still be guns manufactured that can accept full capacity magazines, but only neutered 10 round magazines will be legal to manufacture. The law of supply and demand dictates that magazine prices will rise. (All the buyers of those new guns will want to buy at least one full capacity magazine, and probably several.) It will be 1994 all over again, but this time without a 10 year "Sunset" clause. So it not unrealistic to expect to see 33 round Glock magazines selling for $200+ in just a few years.

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Yet another journalist has asked for interviews of SurvivalBlog readers. If you live within 60 miles of Nashville, Tennessee, take note: A Religion reporter with The Tennessean would like to talk with you. His emphasis for the article will be on how Christians approach survivalism. Contact: Bob Smietana. Phone: 615-259-8228 Or e-mail: bsmietana@tennessean.com. (The usual OPSEC rules apply...)

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Allan S. found this Australian web page instructive: The Food "Lifeboat": Food and nutrition considerations in the event of a pandemic or other catastrophe. (Don't forget the Vegemite!)

Here we live in a country that has a fabulous constitution and all these guarantees, a contract between the citizens and the government - nobody knows what's in it. It's one of the best kept secrets. And so, if you don't know what your rights are, how can you stand up for them? And furthermore, if you don't know what is in that document, how can you care if someone is shredding it?" - Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993), as quoted by Spin Magazine, July 1991

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our family recently found your book and blog. We are working diligently to prepare. One question I have not seen addressed: What do you think about sending a child to college? We are a conservative, Christian, home schooling family. Our daughter has been looking forward to attending a small Christian college that is about 1-1/2 hours from our home. Now that we are awake we are feeling that keeping her close to home as we prepare to relocate is best. Any thoughts? - S. in Southern California

JWR Replies: A college that is just a 1-1/2 hour drive is probably close enough, especially if she has her own car. But living in Southern California--with both earthquake risk and a high crime rate--be sure to identify and practice driving several alternate routes on surface streets and back roads, just in case she must "Get Out of Dodge" (G.O.O.D.)

As a backup, keeping a Montague folding bicycle--kept chained to the bed frame in her dorm room--could get your daughter home, even in the event of a major earthquake that causes road closures. Montague folding bikes are available from Safecastle, one of our loyal advertisers.

I also strongly recommend self defense training for your daughter--both firearms and martial arts. (The latter is important for Californians, since open carry of firearms is effectively banned, and concealed carry permits are very difficult to obtain in most of the more populous counties.) She should attend Front Sight or Gunsite, and one of the better full contact martial arts schools that teaches an art with plenty of kicks and punches (such as Tae Kwon Do), and then perhaps she might move on to one of the advanced grappling arts (such as JuJitsu).

Oh, and as previously mentioned in the blog, I recommend that the first two years of college credits be obtained by a combination of CLEP tests and on-line courses. Not only is this less expensive than resident on-campus classes, but it also will keep your child safely at home for a couple of extra years.

Hello Jim,
Anyone serious about food production needs to have a quality rear-tined tiller such as a Troy-Bilt. However the cost can be prohibitive,close to $2,000 for the seven horsepower model. But be patient and keep an eye on auctions, classified ads, etc. Two weeks ago a good friend picked up an older model Troy-Bilt at an auction for $450. We were both like kids at Christmas (I already have mine).
This brings up another point. This same friend had always been a guns and ammo kind of prepper. After several months of convincing he has finally seen the need to be well rounded in his preps. Weapons are important but far from the most important. His Troy-Bilt tiller is partial proof that he is changed his mindset.
Take care, - Jeff in Ohio

Mr. Rawles,
We have recently found that we have also made a food storage blunder and hope to prevent someone else from doing the same. Following the eat what you store and store what you eat advice, we store a good bit of rice. We purchase buckets at the local big box home store and thought we were doing ourselves a favor by adding one more thing to keep the rice fresh in our humid climate. We put the rice in the "clean" looking white kitchen trash bags, using them as a liner, and then in the buckets. We did this more than eight months ago and just found out from routine internet reading and education, that all trash bags are coated with pesticides. I guess this is common knowledge in the food storage arena, but even after doing this for years, we somehow missed that one. We are not sure what to do with the rice now, whether we can just take the rice out and remove the liner or if we need to pitch it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you. - Lori

JWR Replies: You should contact the manufacturer to determine whether that particular type of trash bag is "food grade". Be sure to ask if they are treated with pesticides or any other toxic chemicals. If not, then the food in question should be fine.

JWR's Introductory Note: I got the following from a legitimate reporter that has promised a fair and balanced article. Of course the usual OPSEC considerations apply...

I am a reporter with The Associated Press and I am working on a story about the growing number of people taking steps to stock up on emergency food, water and other supplies because of concerns about the recession and the stability of the networks that keep our grocery stores stocked up and our power running. I interviewed Jim Rawles last week and he suggested that I post here to find people who would be good to talk to for my piece.
I am specifically looking for people who haven't really thought much about emergency preparedness/survivalism before, but have started to stock up on supplies recently (say, in the last six months) because of the bad news on the economy and the financial system. I am based in Southern California, so I am really looking to talk to folks who live in Southern California – although I could do interviews by phone with people from out-of-state.
Please contact me at reporting4good@gmail.com if you would be willing to be interviewed for this story.
Once you contact me, I will respond with my business e-mail and name and other contact information. I would just rather not put up that information in a general post that anyone can see.
I look forward to hearing from people soon!

Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press, Orange County Correspondent


While solid tires have their advantages, ordering them from the Airfreetires.com company is not recommended. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives them an F rating.
Just wanted my fellow readers to know they should be leery of ordering from them. I do not speak from personal experience because I heeded the warnings I read on a wonderful resource for bicycle info: www.bikeforums.net The "Utility Cycling" area has a wealth of info concerning the type of info on foam-filled tires.- EliteT

Several items of gun news were sent to us by Cheryl: Firearm Sales Surging Since Obama's Election -- Gun Ownership Growing, Following National Trends -- Shortage of Guns, Ammo Reported

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Cheryl also mentioned an interesting piece over at Steve Quayle's site: Raising Catfish In A Barrel

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Some encouraging news: Gary in Montana mentioned that the recently-enacted "Made in Montana" Federal gun law exemption (Montana HB 246), is now being emulated in two other state legislatures: Alaska HB 186 and Texas HB 1863. I expect this trend to continue, especially in southern and western states. In my estimation Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah are the next states most likely to enact similar legislation.

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Canned Ham, Going Once, Going Twice: The Rise In Grocery Auctions

"The bulls will buy stocks believing that we have another bull market on our hands. After having lost 50% of their money since 2007, they'll lose another 20% - 30% when this rally collapses.

The bears, meanwhile, are convinced that there is worse to come. They think the stimulus spending programs will cause inflation. So they're buying gold and commodity stocks sure that when inflation comes, it will cause mining and oil stocks to soar. Maybe it will eventually. But the first big move will probably be down. They, too, will lose big.

That could be the Big Surprise of this depression. It will kill the stock market bulls when the bear market rally collapses... then it will kill the stock market bears when the mining and commodity stocks collapse... and then it will wipe out the middle-class savers when inflation increases and the dollar collapses." - Bill Bonner, writing in the Fleet Street Invest newsletter

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

In any emergency or survival situation food is a primary necessity. So naturally there are many discussions and advice here and on other forums concerning food and food storage. There is a lot of great information and products available for long term (10-15 year) food storage. I have read many articles comparing the various MREs available, poured over blog posts about the best freeze dried foods, and watched Google videos on the proper storage of whole wheat grains. Popular vendors such as CampingSurvival.com and other SurvivalBlog sponsors offer freeze dried meals and canned food with extended shelf lives such as the Yoder’s line of products. While these options can be a good investment, the acquisition of a ample supply can pose a challenge to those new to prepping and to families on a fixed budget. It can certainly seem daunting (and perhaps financially impossible) to a newcomer to buy the large amount of food needed to sustain a period of extended crises. And while its nice to have 5 gallon buckets stacked full of red winter wheat, many do not have the equipment or knowledge for preparing and cooking storage foods like wheat, should the need arise. In addition, an important aspect to any food storage program is the regular rotation and use of your storage food as part of your regular diet. The average family exploring preparedness for the first time is not going to make major changes to their eating habits overnight.

Since most sound advice suggests having at least one year supply or food on hand, there is no apparent reason to stockpile foods with a storage life of 15+ years. When properly integrated into your daily diet, foods with a storage life of 1-to-3 years can form a good base for your food storage program. (An excellent resource for determining the storage life of certain foods has been mentioned here before: http://www.stilltasty.com ) One of the best ways I have found to build up a convenient, usable food supply in a cost effective manner is the bulk purchase of rice, pasta, and various spices. Dry goods such as spices, rice, and pastas generally have a shelf life of at least two years when stored properly. These basic ingredients can be combined in different ways to create a foundation for a wide variety of healthy, delicious meals. Additionally, mixing up recipes in advance can make it easy to include them in your daily diet. The principal is based on the popular Lipton and Rice-a-Roni side dishes found in your local grocery store. However, rather than paying $1.25 to $2.00 each, you can make these sides for less than 25 cents when properly purchasing ingredients. Additionally, you do not have the added colors and preservatives typically found in the store bought packages. As an added benefit, the ease of preparation of these prepackage meals makes their use in an emergency ideal. Simply add water and cook them on a gas grill, propane camp stove, or similar heat source. Immediately following a SHTF event, the less time and energy spent on food prep frees one to focus on improving your situation. Below are a few examples of recipes you can make with the dry ingredients:

Chicken Onion:
3-Tbsp Chicken Bullion Base, 3⁄4 Tbsp Minced Onions, 1 Tsp Cornstarch, 1 Tbsp Parsley Flakes, 1⁄2 Tsp Garlic Powder, 1⁄2 Tsp Celery Salt, 1⁄4 Tsp Black Pepper, Mix with 4 oz of pasta or 5 oz or rice. Add 2 1⁄2 cups of boiling water, cook over medium heat until noodles or rice is done. (Add 1⁄2 Tbsp of Evaporated Milk for a creamier taste)

Italian Beef: 3-Tbsp Beef Bullion Base, 1⁄2 Tbsp Oregano, 1⁄2 Tbsp Onion powder, 1 1⁄2 Tsp Minced Garlic, 1⁄4 Tbsp or Basil, 1⁄4 Tsp of Black Pepper, 1 tbsp Parsley Flake, Mix with 4 oz of pasta or 5 oz or rice. Add 2 1⁄2 cups of boiling water, cook over medium heat until noodles or rice is done. (Add 1 Tbsp of Powdered Tomato Paste for an alternative taste.)

Tasty Additions
Use a wide variety of rice (white, brown, wild) and pastas (bow tie, fettuccini, rigatoni) for maximum flavor and texture combinations to help reduce the chances of appetite fatigue. For other flavor variations and extra nutrition add dehydrated carrots, broccoli, peas, or corn. Experiment with the above ingredients or add your own until you find several combinations your family likes. Once you determine a few recipes you like, take out one Saturday and mix up a few big batches. Include everyone for a fun family event. You can package individual servings in Ziploc bags or vacuum seal them for a longer shelf life. As an alternative to individual servings, multiply all ingredients by 20 or more but leave out the pasta/rice. Now you have big jars of your spice mix that you can just scoop from, to mix with your pasta or rice when you are ready to cook it. Just keep track of the proper combination (for example, 1⁄2 cup or spice mix per 6oz of pasta).

These cost effective mixtures can be eaten by themselves, used as a good side dish, or serve as a basis for a full meal. To extend its meal potential and increase nutritional value consider adding fresh vegetables from your garden or your favorite meat for extra protein. I like to roast a whole turkey or chicken a few weekends a month. I simply add the precook turkey/chicken to various combinations throughout the week for a fast, easy, nutritious meal. This type of storage and preparation can fit well with today’s busy suburban life. It is also a good idea to include cans of Tuna, Chicken, or Yoder’s Turkey Chunks, in your food storage for use in your recipes now or post-TEOTWAWKI situation. Canned meats like this generally have a shelf life of 3-5 years. Another good option now or after the SHTF would be to experiment with the addition of fresh sprouts. Sprouts are cheap and easy to grow and add a lot of flavor and nutrition to your dishes. I use the Sprout Garden Kit available over at Ready Made Resources. Broccoli, radish, alfalfa, and bean sprouts are packed with nutrients and the sprouting seeds have a shelf life of 4-5 years.

Acquiring the Ingredients
For the purchase of your ingredients, the best advice is to shop around and buy in bulk. Buying spices off the spice rack of your local grocer is not advisable. Places like Sam’s Club and Costco carry large containers of spices for restaurants. A 6 oz vial of garlic powder might run $3.00 at the grocery store but you can buy a 7 pound bottle at Sam’s Club for only $17.50. One good resource I have found is BulkFoods.com. You can buy a 5lb bag of chicken base for less than $15.00. They also carry Broccoli flakes, dehydrated, carrots, peas, tomato powder and more. Many times they have better pricing than Costco or Sam’s on some items. Northbay Trading also carries dried vegetables in bulk. When making purchases just remember that the bigger quantities offer better pricing. A 50lb bag of rice at Sam’s is only $22.00. Another idea is to search for wholesale or bulk food suppliers in larger cities near where you live. For example, I found a wholesale grocer near me (Leon H. Lewis, in St. Louis, Missouri) where I can buy 20 lb and 30 lb bags of pasta for $10.00. They also carry Parsley by the pound for $5.50 and pound bags or oregano for $3.90. Most of these bulk food suppliers and food manufacturers target schools and institutions but many will sell to the general public.

By pursuing this type of food storage program you can reduce your family’s current food expenses while developing an emergency store of food that you like to eat. I hope this information helps you ramp up your food storage program and save time and money on everyday meals. For more information and tips on bulk food purchases, our gracious host offers the excellent "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. - Travis A.

Six Letters Re: Bicycles as Bug-Out and Utility Vehicles

Firstly I wish there were at least as many bicycle articles and questions on SurvivalBlog as gun posts. As a gun maker, gunsmith, firearm owner, and combat user I still put a fancy semi-auto combat rifle below a decent bicycle for most people's survival purchase priorities. Let me offer a contrarian viewpoint on the priority of complete firearm battery in your survival shopping list. Obtain some snares, a quality .22 semi-auto, and a few thousand rounds of ammo, a few months of food and cooing fuel, basic camping/shelter gear and then get a decent bicycle. It is quite possible to hunt for meat and drive off most random bandits with a .22, just remember when money becomes available that you can do much better once you have other very important categories squared away. As I usually try to squeeze into all of my posts, survivalism is not being a Navy SEAL, a SWAT team, or even a gun collector, it is about surviving. Someone that confuses their gun, ham radio, equestrian, medieval weapon, or other hobby for survivalism leads to misplaced priorities and funds that are better spent on important preparations.

When cruising bike shops, thrift stores, and police auctions consider the following:
Don't worry about the state of the tires, since you will probably replace them even on a new bike. Learn how to recognize a good set of rims and a well built wheel with good spokes, this is a major failure area, they should be round and when spun roll freely and not move to the left and right(small deviations can be fixed by an expert adjusting the spokes). Road rims are often too light for survival use but are quite nice if you know you will be touring on well paved road, for our purposes though stick to the more universal 26-inch heavy mountain rims. Unless you are an expert on servicing shock absorbers go for a hard tail and solid forks, the majority of discount bikes have junk springs and no oil dampeners and are a weak point in the design. Good long life shocks for big guys can be around $300 or more in my experience (I weight over 200 pounds), anything less has left me with blown seals even in moderate to heavy utility use.

Handlebars are more important than most leisure riders would think, long rides will make you want more hand positions than a straight mountain bike handlebar offers, rams head bars or at least wrapped 'horns' give you a place to reposition and rest your hands on long rides. Good bike gloves really help here too. Some conversations with bike mechanics, test driving bicycles, and visiting bicycle nut boards (just like gun nut boards) will help you know which types of brakes, shifters, cables, dérailleurs, and other components are good and which are junk. Especially examine the rear dérailleur and dérailleur hanger on used bikes for breakage and the front dérailleur for chain wear, replace and stock quality brake pads and cable. You will be replacing any used chain, keep your chain clean and oiled with proper oil, carry and learn how to use a chain breaker tool, stockpile quality chain and bicycle chain oil; these are big barter items.

A worn chain will wear down the sprockets, look for saw tooth shaped sprocket teeth and if present replace the gear cassette. In flat country a single speed bicycle with coaster brakes is the best choice since it is nearly maintenance free, but consider a good gear range set if a bug out to mountainous territory is a possibility, remembering that once gears are involved, even the best expensive internal hubs are less reliable than a simple single speed. There has been a fad of fixed gear, a web search will tell you more, my opinion is that it just moves the mechanical stress to your legs an knees, fine if you are 16 years old but not if you are 40. You will be repacking all of the wheel and crank bearings with quality bearing grease on a used bicycle, I use marine grade grease hoping it will be more waterproof.

Check the frame for stress cracks and dents from accidents, especially aluminum or exotic frames. Steel frames can be welded or brazed especially in a low stress area, Aluminum and exotic composition repairs are best left to experts or thrown out. Buy and have spares for your bicycle saddle, get a performance seat not a lazy-boy fat seat, test out several but remember that your butt will get used to a performance seat after a while, but a far comfort seat might make it harder to aggressively pedal. Men be sure to get something that protects your 'family' anatomy. A seat that is too hard and regular pressure can damage your tissue and circulation leading to dysfunction, especially on bumpy roads. It is possible to rebuild a saddle with full grain cowhide, especially if you find someone skilled in shoe making, I don't like rear shocks because of weight and cost but I do use a spring saddle to protect my spine from big road shocks. I always stay away from the cheap toy/department store bicycles and their dismal components, there is no realist upgrade path for this junk other than replacement so avoid it unless you have no alternative, any bike is better than no bike, if you are stuck you could always make it into a one speeder coaster brake bike, eliminating the cheap unreliable gears.

Buy the best tires and tubes you can afford, this is where the rubber literally meets the road. Since I switched to Schwable Kevlar tires I have not had a flat in 3 years of hard urban commute, even using other high quality brands I usually needed to patch a tire at least once every other month over ten years of heavy rural and urban high mileage cycling, Schwables are also very long wear life tires. Knobby tires might sound good for mud, but they rob you of much rolling momentum on roads, Specialized brand Cross-Roads tires are a good compromise with knobby sides and a center strip for dry dirt, hardpan, and paved roads.

For a good example of a nearly ideal survival bicycle research the old Swiss military bicycles. If there is a possibility of hitchhiking there are tough quality folder bikes available, never discount the utility of grabbing a free ride over your own muscle power, even in TEOTWAWKI. Try to stick to a bike with quality standard components which can be improvised or scavenged from junked bicycles if required. After doing some solid research you will still need to invest some money to get a good bicycle most of the time, new expect to spend a minimum of $300 list price, do not waste your money at toy or discount stores, either buy quality used and have service done at a competent local bike shop or let them help you pick out something new, just like buying a firearm.

You will need to carry a repair kit at all times including a good pump, quality patches (I use Rema Tip-Top), a spare tube in case the valve stem is damaged or you cant patch the hole, tire levers, and a folding bike tool I like the Crank Brothers multi tools which include spoke, chain, hex and screwdrivers and more. Swap in your good tube and patch the hole when you are in a comfortable place. If you are really in the rough carrying a folding tire in your pannier might be worth the weight versus walking, tubes, patches, and tires are serious stockpile and barter items. Buy a quality helmet, ankle strap, gloves, and lights, since in most scenarios you will be sharing the road.

There are many more considerations and much research is required to buy, build, or rebuild a good survival cycle, there is plenty of info on discussion boards to help you but start at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/ Sheldon Browns bicycle mechanic web site, he is no longer with us but his genius will continue to help cyclists.

Since this is SurvivalBlog we must discuss firearms carry on a cycle, this is my personal experience and YMMV. Handguns should be worn high and tight just below the kidney area of the back, I use a belt pancake holster just behind where the hipbone sticks out, it is most comfortable on long rides and probably the safest place for a large handgun in a fall. Rifles are best carried in an ATV handlebar gun rack pointed forward mounted on the handlebars. Any other attachment of AR-15 family or larger rifles that I can think of would just get in the way anywhere else, although the US military mounts rifles to the top tube with their Montague full-size folding bikes, I have never used a mount like this. A slung rifle will fall forward and/or rub. For those readers with access to full-auto pistol style SMGs like the mini or micro-Uzi in some sort of holster attached to the handlebars might be an option to spray bad guys in a surprise ambush.

Many of the readers will consider their bicycle either a vital part of their bug-out-bag or even a secondary bug-out vehicle so carrying cargo is important to discuss. BOB trailers and kid carriers are good for open roads, but an overly wide trailer can make moving a bicycle onto sidewalks and between cars difficult to impossible even in normal times. Cycling with anything past a light comfortable backpack leads to fatigue. Panniers and rack and handlebar mounting is the best option for gear, let your bicycle shoulder the weight, there many options available on discussion boards. It is important to remember that your loading should not get in the way of quick defensive firearms access.

For those who are considering adding a small motor I suggest buying a scooter or dirt bike instead. Battery and gas assist motors add to the weight of the bicycle, get in the way, and are quite expensive, not to mention the lack of electricity or fuel in a serious society collapse. one exception would be that initial bug out would be accomplished by gas motor add on and then remove it for utility uses, this would not cause the long term stress on the bicycle wheel and might be reasonable. - David in Israel

I've admired your site for a while. It is very informative.
In response to your listed article about bug-out bicycling, It would greatly benefit anyone following that strategy to investigate GreenTyre. They sell poly-ply, airless tires that last for years. A little hard for the novice to install, but very much worth it without sacrificing ride quality.
Just an FYI from a blog reader. - JHF


I saw the article on bikes on the blog. Thought I'd toss the web site for AirFreeTires into the mix. They make great tires--I have them on my Specialized mountain bike, a couple of 1960s vintage Schwinn bikes, a couple of my wheelbarrows, ...you get my drift. If I could, my farm tractor, garden tractor, etc. would be equipped with these things Take care and God bless you and your family. You are doing good work. - Tom S.


Mr Editor,
A reminder to make sure to bring your lock for your "bug out" bike. Some young guy rode off on my husband's bike a few years ago, and he had to run after him, and jerk him off the back of the bike to get it back. Then some other guys hollered at him to ask what was going on, so he yelled back that the guy was stealing his bike, and the guys then laughed and forgot about it. At the time, there were no emergencies going on, and it happened a few years before the "recession". So if there's no gas available, or the limited gas is really high priced with long lines like it was when we evacuated in advance of Hurricane Rita, bikes will look pretty good to those without transportation. (Yes, we both had locks on our bikes for the Hurricane Rita evacuation).

I should mention that our truck had two tire blowouts during the evacuation, so we now have an extra mounted tire available to throw in the bed of the truck if we have to evac/bug out. Those inflate-a-tire cans won't do much for shredded tires. And my husband checks [the two spare] tires every spring when I do hurricane prep[aration checks and supply refurbishment].- Sheila

Hi Jim

I just read the article on Bicycles as Bug-Out and Utility Vehicles. I've been on vacation by bicycle in Italy several times.

Always keep at least one spare tire and at least 4 inner tubes with you on multi-day trips. Buy the tubes on different occasions at different stores. I once had a batch of four inner tubes that all leaked! Tubes are made in production batches and sometimes a production run goes terribly bad.

Also remember the experience in the Netherlands in the Second World War. Everybody was cycling around with wooden wheels [or even on bare rims] since there were no tires left. They are the hardest part to get in a SHTF scenario. Most other parts you can get by breaking apart other bikes but tires completely run out after a year. I have at least four tires of every type I need at home. I also have a 80 year-old very strong transportation bike which has tires that are extremely durable. Some postmen use these tires. (Called "transport, extra heavy")
They cost a bit more (about 30 Euros per tire) but last easily 5+ years and for some reason they simply cannot get leaks in their inner tubes. I never had a flat in 15 years, only one tore apart because the inner tube was too old (!) and the bike was standing parked in full sun (so don't do that ;-))

I use different types of tires for different types of functions. For everyday Utility I use my extra heavies, for speed racing I use very fast but fragile tires and on longer trips I use road touring tires. These are thicker and less fast but a flat tire will bring your daily speed down too. Don't "save money" and buy bargain-priced tires because the more expensive ones are really worth it.

For parts: well, just use a bike with less parts for everyday use. After a long period they all run out, even yours. The best Utility bikes are in my opinion so called strong old quality "dutch bikes" with no gears, no handbrakes, no headaches. For inner city everyday use this is just perfect. On vacation I of course use a different bike. Light, strong and with 21 gears. I use and maintain it often. Grease is a good friend. If you use the bike often it pays back to initially spend a bit more on them. On vacation I take with me extra brake shoes, a gear cable and gear connector. With good gear I never had real problems. Also a basic multitool and bike gear (Allen keys, wrench 10, 12, 15, practice what you need). Install quicklock systems to have less nuts & bolts and to work faster and with less tools. I have hydraulic brakes which are very strong, reliable and never let me down in 10 years.

A mountain bike for bug-out is nice but heavy, not very fast and not very useable for long distances. You will get tired faster. Typical mountain bike tires offer more resistance and are far less fast. A mountain bike is of course very good to stay off road and for special ops. It depends on your situation, but I have very good roads everywhere, also on places were you will hardly meet anyone. I prefer asphalt roads along waterways for example. Speed is more important for me. Stay in front of the hordes and get out fast! I have a very light racing bike to keep me in shape which is part of my prepping. Maybe getting in shape is the first and far most important reason for having a bug-out bike at all.

I also keep a little bug-out bag stored with my racing bike with essential light weight survival gear (knife, Micron stove, Maglite, Katadyn water filter, etc.) and three days of preps. That should get me out 450 kilometers at least. Enough cash will buy me a place to stay and eat after that. If you go on vacation on a bicycle you will find out that there are always helpful people around when you arrive somewhere with a friendly face when I arrive sweaty and very tired.

I have respect for your blog! It has taught me a lot. I hope to do something in return by writing. Regards, - Jeroen in Holland

Be aware that AirfreeTires.com offers polyurethane microfoam tires that cannot go flat or blow out. I prefer these two varieties of tires:

26x1.9 Sierra Unidirectional High Rebound
26x1.9 Ocelot High Rebound

They have little rolling resistance under my 280 lbs. I have used them since October, 2001. IMO the ride is comparable to Michelin Wildgripper Sprint 26x1.95.

Regards, - Vlad

As for using a bicycle as a PTO device, imagine being asked to pedal uphill for hours on end, going nowhere, summer or winter, until the power comes back, this is the slavery of powering off of your bicycle, it works to provide some feeble current, but there are much better ways to spend your man hours and food calories. Notable exceptions are using a small wheel generator for bike lights or small battery charging like mobile phones as you travel, BTW you will need to add a rectifier and voltage regulator circuit since bike generators produce AC power, an inexpensive friction generator will wear on your tire, but hubs dynamos are expensive around $50 plus requiring a wheel rebuild. You could power an old belt drive Singer sewing machine, or flywheel for light machine shop tools, since these do not require such exertion, there are plans available for using a broken bicycle to put the pedal drive under your work table. If you want electrical power, then go with solar, wind, or a water wheel. Don't be an energy slave. To move water make a water tower, cistern, or pond on a hilltop and pump using wind power, since it will be gravity fed you have available water in the storage and the pump will run every time there is wind refilling the storage. Other options are using a water wheel pump, or the very reliable inertial pump.
All the best to you and the family - David in Israel



Back Home magazine published an article on a bicycle powered water pump in their March/April 2009 issue (#99). The issue is available online for $3.75. - Matt

Even the leftist San Francisco Chronicle couldn't deny the good news is a recent 9th Circuit Court decision: Citizens can challenge state, local gun laws. (Thanks to Skip for the link.) And speaking of guns, don't miss this analysis of current events, over at Tamara's blog: Some more ruminations on the ammo shortage.

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Thanks to KAF for finding this: Gun foes fight over assault weapons.

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JHB recommended this: Taking a close look at Facebook. JHB's comment: "Don’t be paranoid but you are being watched."

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FerFAL has published a survival manual based on his experience in Argentina's economic crisis. It is available as a "print on demand" book from Lulu.com.

"The strength of a Nation derives from the integrity of the home." - Kong Zi (Confucius).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Please keep The Memsahib in your prayers. Her health is still in peril, but as Christians we have total faith in God, and we look at things on the eternal time scale--that makes this earthly life just a blink of an eye. We never lose sight of the fact that God's grace is amazing.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I made a food storage mistake that I would like to share with other SurvivalBlog readers. Last summer I purchased a plastic food grade bucket, filled it with pasta, lentils, beans and candy mints, and sealed it up. I opened the bucket last week and discovered that I now have mint-flavored pasta, lentils, and beans. Even though the mints were individually-wrapped and packaged in a plastic bag their odor was so strong that it permeated just about everything. I'm sure the pasta, lentils, and beans are safe to eat, but they'll just taste a bit strange. Lesson: Do not store strongly-flavored candy with food that will absorb its smell. Hopefully, others will learn from my mistake. Thanks!
God bless! - H.H.

Mr. Rawles-
I read "Patriots: A Novel Survival in the Coming Collapse" a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it. Thank you.

I wanted to mention: I try to follow conventional wisdom about caliber choices for SHTF weapons. Interestingly, in the current ammo shortage, it’s still somewhat easy to get ammo for oddball calibers. For example, if one needs 7.5x55 Swiss, 7.65x54R Russian or 7.5x54 French, many online dealers have it in stock, while 9mm, 45 ACP, 12 gauge buckshot, 308, 223, 7.62x39 etc., are very hard to come by. For people who don’t have the budget to stockpile a lot of ammo, this may justify keeping at least one [rifle chambered in a] non-standard caliber in the arsenal. The bolt action Russian, Swiss and French rifles are relatively inexpensive, sturdy, and hard hitting. The fact that the ammo is in good supply during a nationwide ammo shortage is a bonus.

My truck and my wife’s van both have extensive “WTSHTF” kits, for use in case of an emergency. The following was a simple, unexpected yet common occurrence that was the real eye opener for me. At 5:30am the other morning. I decided to drive my fairly new diesel VW to a gun show in the area. We only use it for around town drives and it is garage kept. Halfway to the gun show, on a major highway, I had a blowout. 'No big deal'. I’m thinking. I’ve changed lots of tires in my 64 years. Wrong!

Pulling off the highway I assess my situation, and I quickly realize several things: It’s darker than a coal miner’s rear end, I don’t have my “oh s**t” kit or even a flashlight and I’ve never changed a tire on this type of car. Thankfully, a deputy sheriff and a “road-ranger” both came to my aid and prevented what could have been a nasty situation.

Lessons learned: Familiarize yourself with your car. I had to go exploring to locate the emergency flashers switch on the dash!. The factory tool kit [supplied by VW] is a joke. The provided tire-iron requires an extension bar to use; unless you are Superman. A small can of Blaster [aerosol penetrating oil] will also go a long way to loosen lug nuts that were installed with an impact wrench. A 2”x12”x12” block of wood is a must to put under the jack--for soft sand or mud. Also it helps to locate the “Jack-point” in the daylight before you try to find it in the dark. At night they aren’t easy to locate. A really good flashlight is a must. Trying to change a tire in the dark is very difficult. The final two items are a must: a pair of gloves and a “hazard vest” will also help keep your inner child be at peace on the side of the highway.

A small handgun that will slip into your pocket isn’t a bad idea either. You might not be lucky enough to have a deputy stop when you have a flat in a “bad area”. Those that come aren’t there necessarily there to help you. You other choices are to stay in your car until daylight or drive on the rim, which will result in major financial damage to your wallet.

Lessons Learned: Fifteen minutes of daylight practice and a few small items would have made all the difference when faced with this common, but unexpected situation.

Mr Rawles,
I have been reading Survivalblog for a couple of years now and want to thank you for providing such a wonderful resource. I also participated in the April 8th Amazon book bomb and just finished reading "Patriots: A Novel Survival in the Coming Collapse" for the first time. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. That being said, I must point out one potentially harmful error in your mention of tetracycline. I am starting my final year of pharmacy school and have been working in my family's drugstore for 25 years. Tetracycline is the only [antibiotic] drug I know of that actually "goes bad" and becomes toxic when it goes out of date. For this reason, I would not suggest tetracycline for a TEOTWAWKI medical kit.

I would suggest that readers consult with their physicians and inquire about susceptibility patterns in their particular geographic location. The major strains of staphlococcus aureus, MRSA, and the various pathogens that cause pulmonary and upper respiratory infections will vary from region to region. Thus, the choice of antibiotics for your G.O.O.D. kit may vary as well. This is a prime example of why all readers should follow your advice and try to diversify the talents in your retreat group. A doctor, pharmacist, RN, EMT, PA, etc. would be a valuable addition. I am fortunate in that regard, as my children's pediatrician is like minded and goes to church with us.

Keep up the great work. Thanks, - TR in the State of Franklin


I'd like to thank you personally for maintaining SurvivalBlog. Until last year, I'd always thought of my survival skills as important to have, but didn't think I'd ever truly need them. Now that the bottom has fallen out of the economy (in exactly the way you predicted!), I believe everything I value is truly at risk. To see the danger that America is in, just turn on the news for ten seconds. To see the danger that the culture of true service to God is in, do a Google search for "De-baptism" or "Santa Muerte." The world's situation has gone rapidly downhill, but the amount of content on SurvivalBlog - and the attention it's receiving - has been accelerating at an equal pace. Though my logistics are far from ideal, I'm much better prepared than I was a year ago, and I'm grateful to you for giving me the information to become this prepared.

Also, I got my copy of "Patriots" the other day. Its advice makes the average survival guide look like scribblings on the back of a Post-it note, and the plot is head and shoulders above the average thriller. Thanks for writing it, and God bless you.- James in the East

News about the results of the Federal Reserve's "Stress Test" got out, and it sent a shock wave through the financial world. The news was quite disturbing. Although with the caveat that it is not yet confirmed, I recommend reading the summary at Hal Turner's web site.

Reader "NDSS" mentioned this bit of much-needed common sense from Charles Hugh Smith: Why a 50% Drop in Housing is Not the Bottom. JWR's comment: Anyone that thinks that the US real estate market will soon "recover" is dreaming. The peak in Alt-A and Option ARM mortgage rate resets won't be until 2011. And since home mortgages are a major asset of the American banking industry, it won't be until after real estate bottoms that the banking industry will have any chance of pulling out of its downward spiral.

Norm in Maryland suggested a piece on the potential highs for gold and silver that was posted at Gold-Eagle.com

Items from The Economatrix:

Dow Plunges 290 on Worries about Banks' Soured Loans

Weiss: Big Bank Profits are Bogus! Massive Public Deception

Gold Price Could Hit $1,500

Hedge Fund Managers Buy Gold Futures

US Economy Facing "Substantial Risks"

Mortgage Industry Changes Throw New Hurdles in Borrowers' Way

Why A 50% Drop in Housing is Not the Bottom

Banks Must Brace For New Losses

Thin Ice From Here to the Horizon

GE Profits Plunge By 1/3

US Clutches at Straws of Recovery

California Jobless Rate Tops 11%

Skousen: The Economy--Hyping Hope While Peddling Fear

Will Public Pensions be the Next Bailout?

From the latest issue of Time magazine, The New Frugality: The Organic Gardener

Russia's Nuclear Attack on US May Start with Major Banks

W. in Washington recommended this blog site: Little House in the Suburbs

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"Goff" sent an item from a Bangor, Maine newspaper: Firepower Fever; Worried about how gun laws might change, some enthusiasts stock up and local suppliers feel the heat

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Fred the Valmetmeister notes: "The market for [reloading] primers is so scary. Take a look at the auctions at GunBroker.com and go to the reloading section. Look at the auctions for primers! For example: [cases of] 5,000 CCI Large Pistol primers for $340! I now see single boxes [of 1,000 primers selling] for $71 each, not including shipping. Even the prices for small pistol primers are out of sight. This market is insane."

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JS ran across this and thought it would be interesting to SurvivalBlog readers. Peak Phosphorous

"The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose." - James Earl Jones

Monday, April 20, 2009

I read SurvivalBlog almost every day. I see lots of folks talking about bug out vehicles, going to great lengths to describe storing fuel long term, stripping down vehicles and even planning on parking them out of the way when fuel runs out. But I rarely see much mentioned about one of the best long term, low tech tools out there for transportation: The bicycle, the cargo bike and the
adult tricycle.

Bicycles are inexpensive, ubiquitous and take only a pair of legs and half a brain to use. People in Third World countries haul huge amounts of stuff with them, and even here in the US I know a lot of folks who keep a bike trailer around for short hauling nearly everything. Our local coffee roaster does all of their delivery using cargo bikes. There are few places you can't go with a good mountain bike.

When you're planning your bug out vehicle, a bike or two with a small trailer should be considered, as well as a few patch kits for the tires. This will allow you to keep moving and haul more than a backpack if your vehicle dies and there's no way to get it fixed due to a really serious disaster, or if you're stuck in a permanent ["linear parking lot"] traffic jam due to a SHTF situation.
Even if you don't need it when bugging out, you'll find it incredibly handy once you've arrived at your retreat. You could even rig one to run a water pump or a small device battery charger.
They're not a speedy escape vehicle, or to some they may seem too low tech or "tree hugger" to some folks but bicycle transport make a lot of sense, even more so if fuel supplies become scarce. - Ellie E.

JWR Replies: We've had a number of articles and letters about bicycles posted in Survivalblog in the past three years (most notably, this one), but I agree that the topic doesn't get the emphasis that it deserves. Dollar for dollar, and pound for pound, bikes are the most cost-effective form of mechanical transportation by road, and some varieties re also one of the most versatile vehicles off of paved roads. And, as you noted, they are great at working your way through traffic snarls, at least in anything less than a total panic or lawless situation. (In a true worst case" , no form of transportation is safe, but where motorcyclists and bicyclists would be particularly at risk.)

Watch for used mountain bikes available inexpensively on Craig's List. For the sake of logistics, try to standardize with one brand, if possible. Buy plenty of spare parts and lubricants. And if you can find them, get a spare set of compatible wheels and mount them with foam-filled tires, for each bike. That way you can have the best of both worlds: standard tires to use on a day-to-day basis, and set of foam-filled ones to use in the event of a long-term collapse where spare tires and inner tubes will be in short supply. The higher rolling resistance of foam-filled tires can be aggravating, but the day might come that they are the only thing that will keep you on the road.

Hi Mr. Rawles:
Thank you so much for your efforts on this blog as well as Rawles Gets You Ready. I have a question that I haven’t seen addressed. Are there products out there based on pedal power? Meaning, I can’t afford a real alternative energy system or a large storage area for gasoline. What I’d like is a way to keep a few deep cycle batteries charged to power my rechargeable AA-size batteries (do they make rechargeable batteries in any other size?), my cordless power tools and other objects. There must be alternator/bicycle systems to do that but I can’t find any. Also, I’d like to power a water pump by bicycle so that I can draw water from my well or the creek a couple of hundred yards away. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks, - Joe F.

JWR Replies: Yes, there are several proven products. See the SurvivalBlog archives. For battery charging, it is probably best to use a fairly large generator to charge a pair of 6 volt DC deep cycle batteries. Then, you can use that battery bank as a 12 volt power source for an automobile-type charger for AA Batteries . As I've mentioned in the blog before, I recommend standardizing with 30 amp Anderson Power Pole Connectors for all of the small (low current) 12 volt DC devices at your retreat and in your vehicles. These genderless connectors are vastly superior to cigarette lighter-type plugs and jacks.

As the economy gets worse, crime of this sort will only increase. Small towns that have secondary and tertiary highways are not immune. Often these secondary routes parallel the primary highways that have the heaviest enforcement which leads the traffickers to use the secondary routes to evade Law Enforcement. We have had first hand experience with interstate drug traffickers in our Midwestern town of 1,300 people that has a parallel secondary highway running through it. I shudder to think what will happen to our borders, cities, and towns when bankrupt states and cities are forced to confront the stark reality of forced service reductions due to insufficient revenues. - LEO in the Midwest

Jim ~
We subscribe to an organic grocery delivery service and have the food dehydrator running non-stop around the clock now that local produce is coming in. Our preference is dried over frozen because of smells and off flavors that frozen can pick up. Even through I pay a premium for organic foods, my feeling is that if inflation or hyperinflation is around the corner, the price I'm paying now will at the least even out in the face of inflation, and I'll still have a superior product.

I know that the food we are preserving is top quality, not sprayed nor full of other questionable chemicals.

In the summer, the pressure canner will be going full speed with our garden and with what produce we supplement to put food by.

Some Observations:

1. Grow and buy the very best produce and food possible for your food storage. Your future health may depend on it.

2. Fresh organic foods have a fraction of the shelf life of grocery store produce. I just didn't realize that everything from the grocery store must be sprayed with preservatives until I began ordering all organic. It goes south very quickly. On survivalblog.com you have published links to expected shelf life and storage. However, until a person is actually faced with the reality of spoilage, the numbers are meaningless. Potatoes sprout much more quickly, oranges shrivel, you get the idea.

3. My food dehydrator is now 25 years old. We bought it back in the 1980s when our hero, Howard J. Ruff, told us to prepare for the coming bad years. We hadn't used it in years, but just dusted it off, plugged in, and it works like a charm. The brand is Harvest Maid. These are simple machines built to last. I would love to find another one used on Craig's List, eBay, or from an estate sale.

4. I've gardened my entire life, started when I was 9, but never as if our lives depended on it. We who prepare need to continue to urge people who are prepping -- and those who are not! -- to learn to garden. As all gardeners know, it is a learning curve that gets better with time, but the key is practice, experiment, and learn. My mission is get people to try to grow at least one of something immediately. I tell people, get a tomato plant or get a pepper, you can even just put it in a pot. If hyperinflation or worse comes to pass, there are going to be a lot of angry, hungry people around lacking in basic skills.

Keep up the good work. - Elizabeth B

Charley keyed in on a piece in The Atlantic, where Jeffrey Goldberg contemplates survivalism: Why I Fired My Broker. The accompanying video clip, titled "The Con Game" is quite entertaining and has some snippets about his acquaintance Cody Lundin--a survivalist and author.(Cody is the author of When All H*ll Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes -- currently around #300 in the Amazon ranks.) Here is a quote from the print article: "For the record, I don’t think the grid is buckling under the weight of consumer debt or the mistakes of AIG. But we’re in a strange moment in American history when a mouse-eating barefoot survivalist in the mountains of Arizona makes more sense than the chief investment strategist of Merrill Lynch." The article also quotes conservative economist and investor Bill Gross.

JHB spotted this by Jim Willie: Banks Must Brace For New Losses

Items from The Economatrix:

IMF Warns Over Worrisome Parallels to Great Depression

Inflation Laid Bare (The Mogambo Guru)

AIG Says No to Insureds, But Yes to Executive Bonuses

Google's Recession-Proof Armor Dinged

Hawaiian K. sent us the link to a video clip showing the Mexican Back-Country Improvised Method of Tire Bead Sealing. Don't try this at home! (This method can leave un-burned explosive gasses inside your tire, not to mention remove your eyebrows in a flash, even if you try to be careful!)

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From Cheryl (aka The Economatrix) Guns: A Better Buy Than Stock

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Writing in The Washington Times, Ollie North asks: Who are dangerous 'extremists'? (Thanks to KAF for the link.)

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Our Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson sent us links to two pieces from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on expected wheat prices: Wheat prices to rise--bad crops in US, China, India, and Consequences of Higher Input Costs and Wheat Prices for U.S. Wheat Producers. Stock up!

"The wise man does at once what the fool does finally." - Baltasar Gracian, (1601-1658)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If you have any favorite quotes that relate to survival, preparedness, faith, patriotism, Constitutional rights, or perhaps something on economics, then please e-mail it to me, and I'll likely post them as Quotes of the Day. Thanks!


The high bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction. is now at $650. This auction is for a large mixed lot, which includes:

1.) A Three-Color Desert Camo Interceptor OTV (Outer Tactical Vest) size XL only, and a spare Woodland camouflage outer shell, kindly donated by BulletProofME.com. These items have a combined retail value of $960!

2.) A vehicle detection system, which includes: one MURS Alert Probe Sensor (MAPS) with 50 foot probe cable and one MURS Alert Hand Held (M538-HT) transceiver. The MAPS unit's probe can be covertly installed under the surface of a driveway or road to detect vehicular traffic and a voice alert is sent to the hand held transceiver when a detection occurs. Donated by MURS Radio. Retails for $303

3.) Two cases of Yoder's Canned Bacon, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (12 cans per case.) A $276 retail value.

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) Three Garden Security Collections, and two Garden Bean Collections, donated by SeedForSecurity.com. With included free shipping to any US postal address, this is a $100+ retail value.

6.) Two America Stone knife sharpeners (with belt pouches), donated by the manufacturer. (A $60 retail value.)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $1,800. This auction ends on May15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.

I was stationed on the DMZ in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division. One of the big concerns the US army has is all of the millions of refugees that will be on the roads going south, if the North Koreans were to invade. We would be moving heavy equipment, and needing to move it fast, and the roads would be very congested. The US and the ROK army now have an agreement, that the ROK army would be responsible for clearing the roads, and believe me, they will. The US does not want to be responsible because, without a doubt, many refugees would literally be cleared off the roads with heavy equipment.

If anyone thinks it will be a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive to get out of the cities in a crisis, think again. There would be mass chaos, killings, hunger, loss of infrastructure.

I love your writings, My son (a teenager) does, too. He read your novel and loved it. God Bless. - DC

Mr. Rawles--please accept my apologies for replying so delinquently. I just found your "blog" and have to say it is quite good. Thanks for all your work.

Though I will admit to being an organic gardener for 20 odd years now I would like to reply to a few things L.D.M. said against organic gardening and in "praise" of commercial/chemical agriculture. My reply is from a "survivalist" perspective.

First..yes, American[-origin] natural gas is the basis for fertilizer not Middle Eastern oil. However...in a catastrophe of any type when you can't get food how exactly are you planning on getting Inorganic fertilizers and bug sprays to continue to grow what you need to eat? If your soil is not built up with organic matter (humus) you are and will be completely dependent on having that "stuff". Disregarding my aversion to poisons. Chemical agriculture used by a survivalist is like assuming you can buy cartridges in a store after everything goes down hill. Just not possible, and leaves you in a very poor position to actually survive.

Secondly, I would have thought that survivalist would be as updated on how Monsanto, chemical companies and the Bill Gates foundation spend millions (and millions) of dollars each year trying to convince people and countries that chemical fertilizers, bug poisons, and GMO products work. GMOs (as one example) which in turn require extensive inorganic fertilizers and chemical bug sprays, have many "lone wilderness voices" declaring they do not work---however they are drowned out by the advertising dollars spent by these large companies who try and encourage those who do not fully comprehend the problems to believe in or to buy their products again or instead of their open pollinated/organic seeds and supplies. It sounds like L.D.M. has bought their lies lock stock and barrel.

There are many farmers and farming organizations now coming out telling the stories of how organic is actually giving them a better yield for less work too. But of course they aren't heard as much because as individuals they can't compete with Bill Gates ability to yell louder. Yes, they have to be able to spend about three years to improve their soil but each one that does says it is worth it and finds that he/she is able to produce as well or more ---especially under adverse weather conditions compared to plants and soil dependent on chemicals. That is because soil microbes and structure are destroyed by chemical over use leaving the plants like addicts and unable to grow healthy and well without their "fix".

Lastly...commercial farming is a scam. I have to admit I was surprised to see that he felt it wasn't [a scam]. To believe otherwise is silly. The only reason that most commercial farming works is because of large government subsidies---in the U.S and foreign countries. Also...they are allowed to get away with things we as individuals would have government knocking on our door and suing us over: polluted rivers/lakes and streams, feces left in huge open pits (better to use it to make power through methane digestion), animals that are sickly are sent through without thought as to whether they carry disease transferable to humans (through various vectors/paths) which makes our food supply suspect, in my opinion. It doesn't take much to read up on some of these things to realize that we, as individuals, don't actually get to buy cheap corn when we go to the store. We subsidize cheap corn ---it cost us much more than we realize. Unless your not paying taxes of course. Otherwise you are supporting the commercial farms and not a local person who you can develop a relationship with and who may someday help you out.

So, to sum up my points. I do raise my own meat, milk and veggies and I know how to do it without spending a dime on anyone's products. Yes, I do occasionally buy some organic soil amendments to resupply my soil---personal choice though and I don't absolutely need them. This is mostly because my property was badly cared for by the previous owner. As each year passes I buy less and less amendments as my soil improves through the common sense care I give it---just as nature meant for it to be. Some of my property has never had any amendments accept lime and managed intensive grazing of livestock and looks 100 times better than when I first purchased it (check out stockman grassfarmer---every survivalist should understand how to raise quality livestock with grass
only because not every crummy situation may be unacceptable to raising livestock).

If the SHTF, I can keep on growing better and better, with guaranteed vitamin and mineral content, each year because I know how to do it, without being reliant on any companies claims or inputs. Even without manure from my livestock. No reliance on others products---isn't that self sufficiency? And isn't that what this is all about? - Monica D.

D.S. flagged this:Why There will be no other Bubble to Save us from this 40 Year Financial Bubble: From Manufacturing, Technology, and Financial Services. Real Estate Bubble. Drop in Corporate Tax Receipts

D.S. also recommended an Op-Ed piece by Paul Krugman in The New York Times: Green Shoots and Glimmers

Kern County, California unemployment jumps to 15.9 percent. (Thanks to JWP for the link.)

Krys in Idaho sent us this article. US regulators close American Sterling Bank. Krys's comment: "In case anyone's counting, that's an average of almost 1.5 banks closed every week so far this year. It is only April, yet we've already almost reached 2008's tally of 25 bank closures for the year." And reader Sparkey mentioned: "...you may note that it is headquartered in Elko, {Nevada] the center of the gold mining industry. The fact that the local economy is booming did not keep this bank afloat."

Items from The Economatrix:

The American Mood: is the Angst Over the Economy Bottoming Out?

The International Monetary System Breakdown Underway

Citigroup Beats Forecasts as Sales Rise 99% "Today’s positive headline figure, however, strips out losses on bad debts and the huge costs of paying dividends to preferred shareholders. With these numbers included, the bank [had] a $966 million loss." [Emphasis added.]

IMF Predicts Long, Deep Global Recession JWR's comment: IMHO, "Long, Deep and Global" would be better characterized as a depression, not a recession

Sony Ericsson, Toshiba to Cut Nearly 6,000 Jobs

Obamarket Update #60, 61 & 62: You want me to eat what?
"The full court propaganda press has the Dow back up over 8,100 today but as you shall see, this is on very shaky ground going into options expiration and our lives, our future is akin to riding a pogo stick in a minefield; we’re one bounce away from ‘KABLOOEY’ but the spinmeisters insist that they have found a clear path through the troubles (of course they did, they took a helicopter at tax payer expense)."

Warning: Don't exhale, folks! The new and improved Obama-era EPA has declared carbon dioxide a "greenhouse gas". Next, I suppose they'll declare dihydrogen monoxide "a powerful unregulated universal chemical solvent."

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Reader KAF flagged this: A cure for [honeybee] colony collapse--New research has proposed both a concrete cause for bee colony collapse disorder, as well as a cure

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KAF also sent a link to the latest commentary by political pundit Victor Davis Hanson: President of the World--The globe is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is.

"With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people." - Friedrich A. Hayek

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wow! We are approaching eight million unique visits. Not bad for "an obscure niche blog." Please keep spreading the word. Thanks!


Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Discerning believers have sensed a decisive change coming for several years. If history truly repeats itself, we are heading into a season of judgment and serious difficulty which may last beyond our current generation. Whether judgment and difficulties are reflected in the current economic crisis, ongoing terrorist attacks, unrighteous leaders or a host of other combined circumstances, many believe we are on the threshold of very perilous times (II Timothy 3).

Our family ministry has done significant travel throughout the country over the past ten years, and we never fail to be in awe of the Great Shepherd’s faithfulness toward His people, regardless of denominational labels or minor doctrinal differences. As His people return to ancient paths, seeking truth rather than traditions of men, He speaks faithfully to His sheep, warning them of coming danger and teaching them to prepare. The same Almighty One who warned Joseph precisely how much grain to store, gave Noah dimensions for the ark, and walked through the fires of persecution with the three Hebrew children loves us passionately, instructs us clearly, and warns us faithfully of impending danger. As He is our perfect example of a prudent, loving Father, aren’t we also responsible to equip our own children for the days ahead?

This responsibility is not one that can be swept under the rug or ignored in ostrich-like fashion. Either our children will have strong spiritual foundations, proficient life skills, and Rock solid character, or they will perish in the days ahead. This is not a popular message. It is not being declared by most pulpits or keynote speakers. But ignoring the urgency will not lessen the need. It only wastes valuable time.

Many years ago, we revaluated the priorities in the education of our nine children. Our emphasis stopped being compliance with national test standards. We actually relocated to a state with few requirements and this allowed us to proceed with great liberty. If you find yourself jumping through extensive hoops of state oversight now, just wait a short while. I guarantee it will not improve in the future. Relocation is not the worst thing that can happen to your family. Ask the Father where He wants you to be. If He says stay, be content; if He says go, trust Him to make a way.
Upon relocation, we left behind our small scale experiments in urban homesteading and began a quest for rural self-sufficiency and a faith based on the simple truths of Scripture. This is an ongoing journey for us, with more to learn each day. Our adventures have helped us transition from two clueless young married city novices to a family team that includes nine children who are proficient in raising crops, building log homes, handling livestock, outdoorsmanship, ministry, and discerning truth from error. Over the years we refined our priorities into a form of education which will see our children, and hopefully many others, through whatever comes in their future.

Our primary priority in education is Spiritual Preparedness. This is foundational as we are told to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (our daily needs) will be added unto us.” The very first thing we do on a school day is to read and study Scripture. We are currently working through the writings of the Old Covenant prophets. We read a few chapters each day together, in addition to the personal reading and prayer we encourage each person to do in the morning and evening. One thing that has revolutionized our lives and doctrine has been the memorization of large passages and entire chapters of Scripture, rather than “memory verses”. The Word warns us of great apostasy and deception increasing in the last days; therefore we find it imperative to teach children not to isolate verses from their surrounding context. Verses are far too easily twisted and misapplied by dishonorable or biblically ignorant leaders and teachers. Even Peter warned of the tendency in his day to twist the words of Paul to justify lawlessness (II Peter 2, 3:14-17). Even the littlest child can be taught to memorize by adding a line per day, using rhythms, body motions, anything that makes it fresh for your children. And by all means, use real Bibles with children! The verbal rhythms and vocabulary of a KJV are not as hard for children to master as you might think. As they become older, continue memorization and add word studies from the Hebrew and Greek. Help them study and understand the Hebrew culture which places Scripture in its context. The important thing is that His Word must be hidden in their hearts to discern truth from error, right from wrong, and life from death. Our children must possess spiritual weapons which are sharp and well practiced to avoid the abundance of deception and confusion they will no doubt meet in the future.

The next priority under Spiritual Preparedness would be thorough instruction in the doctrine followed by the apostles and the earliest believer in our Savior (Acts 2:42). It has become increasingly clear to us that the roots of our faith are not in Rome, Geneva, Tulsa, Azusa Street, Lancaster County, or Brownsville. The roots of the faith go back to Jerusalem, and the Hebrew foundations of the earliest believers, prior to the hybridization which occurred after Constantine. We want our children to value and esteem truth above traditions of men or sensational experiences (even “signs and wonders”) which may directly conflict with Scripture; one of the warnings we have is that in the “last days” doctrines of demons will be rampant and even the elect will be vulnerable to deception. If our children are to be firmly grounded in truth, we must stop clinging to the words of man as if they were Scripture. Calvin was a man, Luther was a man, Menno Simons was a man, and Wesley was a man.

It is healthy for children to be familiar with the stories of heroes of the faith and movements in church history. It is sad that we have applied so much attention to the lives of the “Founding Fathers”, while neglecting to familiarize our children with Tyndale, Jan Hus, the Waldensians and others who surround us as “the great cloud of witnesses”. Preparedness for suffering for the sake of the Gospel comes from seeing our Father’s faithfulness and abundant grace toward those who have suffered before us. World history and geography come together when viewed through biographies of great men and women of the faith. However, while great men of the faith can challenge us and encourage us by their example, our doctrine must be firmly founded on the whole Word of YHWH, Genesis through Revelation, nothing added, nothing taken away.

Our second priority area in preparing our children for perilous times is mental/character preparedness. This can only be a building block laid securely on the solid foundation of spiritual preparedness. Developing attitudes conducive to sacrifice, rather than “survival of the fittest” is in direct opposition to the tendency of the flesh. A child who will not yield his favorite toy to his little sister will not share half of his last piece of bread when he is truly hungry and she cries for his mercy. These are not small issues of childishness to be ignored. Our children must be confronted with the ugly selfishness of their flesh, be led to full repentance, and taught to respond automatically with actions consistent with Kingdom living. In perilous times the ungodly and the superficially religious lose all courtesy and true believers become a candle in the darkness. Our children must understand that our provision is not dependent on selfishness, but the One who gave manna in the wilderness.

In addition to building relationship with the Almighty who provides manna, multiplies loaves and fishes, and turns water into wine, our children must cultivate an attitude of sober-mindedness, control of the tongue, and the ability to work cheerfully. Joking, impulsive speech, gossip, laziness, and quick over-familiarity are fleshly tendencies which may prove to be hazardous in the coming days if not kept in check. Healthy humor is part of the nature of our Creator, but He has no tolerance for mischief and foolishness and neither should we.

With the great increase in physical labor our children will likely face shortly, it is to our benefit and theirs’ to spend a significant portion of six work days in physically productive labor. However, without the ability to work cheerfully, maintaining a steady attitude of joy and peace even under great pressure, your home will become a breeding ground for resentment, rebellion, and outright resistance. Children can either be positively included in our work, or driven to exhaustion by manual drudgery. It’s all a matter of attitude, ours’ first, then theirs’. If we see ongoing financial hardship or disruption of services due to a change in the availability of fuel, our children will be needed to work alongside of us, rather than spending a great deal of time on recreational reading, running around to events, and other more self-oriented activities.

They will need to make fun out of real life accomplishments, rather than escaping to fiction on the screen or between pages. This is a good habit to instill now. Our children should be exposed to great and worthy books, given sparing time to appreciate the privilege of reading, and expected to serve others during the most productive hours of the day. By reading excellent literature, well written biographies, and doctrinal works the development of communication skills (writing, speech, etc.) will be a simple transition, rather than an artificial exercise in sentence diagramming. These communications skills will be of multiplied importance in the lives and futures of our children, as they will certainly be called upon to defend the faith as it was once delivered to the saints.

Children should be given thought provoking, open ended discussion questions, and then be challenged to defend their position from Scripture. They should not learn to simply parrot what we or any denomination teaches with out question. Their writing should become less like story-telling and more doctrinally apologetic, to prepare them to live in an increasingly antagonistic, openly pagan society. Surprisingly, most children of this generation have an inner sense that they will need these skills and disciplines; instead of becoming bored or overwhelmed, they rise beautifully to the challenge and shine as lights among their peers.

Our third and final emphasis in proactive preparedness education is upon life skills vs. storage of massive quantities of “stuff”. We certainly encourage all families to seek the Scriptures and His Voice of council in this matter. We have determined that skills are far more important than material storage, which can be lost to theft, impoundment (likely in a martial law scenario), or spoilage. One of the loud lessons we exhibit by massive storage is that problems are solved by throwing cash at them. It can be a false security, when not kept in practical balance. We can avoid the hard work of life changes and character improvement, by insulating ourselves from any imagined future discomfort. We are not against storage for a short term solution, but life skills such as finding food and water in wild places, making fishing equipment, gardening, or constructing shelters will be of far greater long term benefit and they cannot be taken away once learned.

Experience nature until it is a comfort zone. For special occasions, consider the gift of tools rather than toys. Equip the individual gift and interest of each child; take these interests seriously. Allow them to become very proficient until their skill is marketable, even in a barter economy. They may experience seasons in life where buying is not possible, but trading is.

This generation is the most likely to experience extreme hardship in our lifetime and has the fewest skills to successfully cope, thanks to our full acceptance of modernization and rejection of the simple agricultural and primitive life skills that served each generation prior to WWII. We have much catching up to do; our children need to be able to do simple things like start an outdoor fire and cook on it, navigate accurately on foot in wild places, and avoid evil people or deadly diseases. They have no time for paper plate puppet projects or baseball unit studies.

For the health care needs of your family, help your children become proficient in first aid procedures, natural and herbal remedies, and sound nutrition. Even if there are no major disastrous events in the lifetime of your children (which looks increasingly unlikely), the corruption of the current medical system is widespread and ominous. We have seen a “Christian” (denominational) hospital conduct workshops to teach medical professionals to “read auras, channel healing energies, and use shamanism” without the permission of their patients as part of treatment. This is occurring all around the world. Even the immunization issue is in most cases a controversial violation of Scriptural principles of separating the clean and unclean; there is no precedent in Scripture for purposeful contamination of our blood. It is time for our children to seek healing of their bodies by the Great Physician and learn how to practically use resources He has clearly given for comfort, disinfection, and promotion of health.
After learning “front-line” top priority emergency skills, secondary skills should become proficient. As in recent examples brought on by fuel price escalations, transportation and shipping are not issues to take lightly in a crisis. A failure in food supply transport can mean serious discomfort and even total chaos. With the increase of imported foods from countries with low environmental standards, antibiotic and hormone contamination of meat, and the rise in genetically modified “Frankenfoods”, it is prudent to decrease dependency upon the grocery store. Activities such as non-hybrid gardening, seed saving, hunting, livestock care, butchering should include children as they have been included throughout the history of mankind. These highly educational activities are far more practical than textbook science. Ten years ago, our then ten year old naturalist son learned anatomy by dissecting (butchering) a mammal specimen (deer). He checked out butchering and anatomy books from the library; following the “dissection’ of his second deer he was able to correctly identify most organs, muscles, bones, and types of joints. All the while, we laughed and talked of pioneer history, and the faithfulness of the Creator’s provision.

We have a limited and rare opportunity to focus on practical, significant, and intensely indispensable education for the sake of our children and our families’ survival. By fearlessly teaching these lessons to our children, we equip them to grasp their future as overcomers and Kingdom citizens. Nothing frightens a child more than uncertainty. By giving them tools to stand with us, we alleviate fear and give them hope for tomorrow. It’s high time we stop home schooling, with all its bells and whistles and game playing, and turn our focus toward home discipleship. This model is what we are commanded to accomplish in Deuteronomy 6, and will prepare our children to occupy until He comes. Our children’s physical and eternal lives depend on it. - Jim B.

Just sending this letter as a quick update to the situation with ammunition and "black guns" or defensive weapons in Canada. Contrary to what many people think, Canada does allow citizens to get licensed and own firearms of most types. Basically anything except full auto weapons unless you previously owned one years ago and were grandfathered after that particular portion of Nazi legislation was implemented.

This last weekend I was fortunate to attend Canada's largest gun show in western Canada located in Cow Town, Calgary, Alberta. This gun show is nothing compared to the big shows across many of the US States (about 500 tables) however, none the less, it is an opportunity to meet with all the big vendors from across the country and pick up ammo and supplies with cash for OPSEC reasons, while you still can.

Its interesting to note that like the USA, supplies are rapidly drying up as far as defensive firearms, loaded ammo and reloading components but not yet reaching the levels of devastation as seen in the USA., yet. What we are seeing is this, because of the lag time with bureaucratic red tape processing of ammunition and firearms coming into Canada from the USA, there are a number of good-sized stockpiles of ammo and firearms that are still trickling through Canada Customs and into the local guns shops six months after the orders were placed which was about the time the supply runs began in the USA. I fear however that this will very soon no longer be the case due to the supply issues south of the border. For those in the know, we recognize that our window of opportunity to purchase such items is rapidly coming to a close. Massive supply runs have not yet begun, however supplies are drying up rapidly as preppers and those ahead of the ball are consuming the majority of the common calibers and associated reloading components.

Also very interesting: The vast majority of gun shop owners and vendors up here are completely asleep at the wheel where the supply issues are concerned. Many of them actually think that the delivery trucks will always be there to bring stock for their shelves. I've actually heard comments from such people as this "The government will not allow this to happen as it will hurt the firearms industry". What have they been smoking? When I was at the show in Calgary this last weekend, it was rather humorous to approach many of the vendors who had the only significant quantities of the major calibers of ammo at this show (.45 ACP, .40 S&W , 9mm , .223, etc) and simply walk up to them, ask them how much for case lots of ammunition and then actually haggle with them and eventually purchase it at a much lower price than they were originally asking. If these folks knew that their supply was near complete extinction they wouldn't even be selling it or would at least jack the price in accordance with the principles of supply and demand. But it was great for me, though. No complaints.

It was a good show where Canada was concerned, mainly because we mopped up what the golden horde was willing to trade for soon to be useless paper dollars (big laughs over that) and we were able to get the supplies that we know will soon be gone. We have reason to believe that the last of those cross-border ammunition imports might be done and over with and we will shortly see panic hit the regular gun crowd in Canada who will be left to fight over the odd box of shotgun slugs and pistol rounds at best.

Thanks for all you do. I hope this information is of interest to fellow Canadian SurvivalBlog readers. - Luke Duke

Craig W. recommended this Don McAlvany address, in MP3 format: The Global State of Emergency Made Local

Reader G.G. sent this: Capital One sounds alert over surge in credit card loss rates

D.S. flagged this: A Thought for Tax Day: The Real Fiscal Crisis Is Yet to Come. The numbers cited are staggering!

Items from The Economatrix:

A "Copper Standard" For The World's Currency? "China has woken up. The West is a black hole with all this money being printed. The Chinese are buying raw materials because it is a much better way to use their $1.9 trillion of reserves." JWR's comment: This is captivating but a true "standard" in copper is very unlikely, since copper is a base (non-precious) metal that can be mined in massive quantities on several continents. But this news does make me feel better about my recommendation to stock up on nickels (U.S. five cent pieces.) There is deflation now, but inflation coming, folks!

US Economy Goes Back to 1955 as Deflation Returns

US Housing Data Puts Obama's Hopes On Hold "The fledgling recovery in the US housing market appears to have stalled, reducing the chance of President Barack Obama's "glimmers of hope" turning into green shoots any time soon."

US Walks Tightrope Over Bank Stress Tests The way the data is handled could spark a run on banks if done incorrectly.

White House Ties to Wall Street Doom Rescue

Low Inflation Likely to Last in Weak Economy

Recession's Grip Tight On Jobs, Housing Market

March Housing Construction Drops 10.8%

Thrift Stores' Business Booms Across US

Is Commercial Real Estate a Time Bomb?

Bankrupt Polaroid Draws $88.1 Million Top Bid from Patriarch

Layoffs begin at ammo plant. This article illustrates the inherent boneheaded stupidity of central planning. This decision was made four years ago.But now, with both civilian and military demand for ammunition soaring, they are closing a plant. (A tip of the hat to Florida Guy, for the link.)

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California: High-Capacity Magazines in the Crosshairs! Senate Bill 776, sponsored by Democrat State Senator Loni Hancock, has been introduced in Sacramento. "The bill has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee and could be heard on Tuesday, April 21 or Tuesday, April 28. Simply put, SB776 would mandate the registration of all magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. The possession of unregistered magazines would be a crime and punishable up to a year in prison. It is critical that California gun owners voice their opposition to SB776." Apparently, the existing law (that prohibited Californians from acquiring 11+ round magazines after December 31, 1999.) What do you want to be that the California legislature is going to mandate a 2-inch long bar-coded sticker on each magazine or "feeding device", and a fee to register each item?. And, BTW, don't bother trying to explain disintegrating link ammunition belts to these pointed-headed no-nothing do-gooders. (Yes, in California, a belt assembled from more that 10 links is considered a "high capacity feeding device.")

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Jay Sekulow speaks out about pro-life groups being whitewashed as extremists and and potential terrorists in the leaked DHS report:: "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment". That report, that I flagged as gray propaganda, back on April 13th, also tarnished the image of Constitutionalists, gun owners, and returning war veterans.

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Here is the latest publishing news on my novel "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse": Amazon com currently has 13,000 copies on order, to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble is ordering another 10,000 copies to be ready for a special "front of the store table" promotion, around Father's Day. By April 28th--only three weeks after formal release--there will be 40,000 copies of the Ulysses Press edition in print! (The most recent print order was for another 20,000 copies.) And lastly, it looks like a major New York publishing firm will soon be inking a deal for two sequel novels. Many thanks to everyone for making "Patriots" such a huge success!

"Icelanders discovered that trading bits of paper isn’t a productive enterprise. A handful of guys, who fancied themselves as financial experts, were taking out tens of billions of dollars in short term loans from abroad. They were then re-lending this money to themselves and their friends to buy assets, such as soccer teams, cars, homes, etc. Since the entire world’s assets were rising; thanks to people of like mentality paying crazy prices for everything, the Icelanders appeared to be making money. One non-Icelandic fund manager said that its like, “You have a dog and I have a cat. We agree that they are each worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now, we are no longer pet owners, but Icelandic banks with a billion dollars in new assets. They created fake capital by trading assets amongst themselves at inflated values.” Doesn't that sound like the rest of the world's financial geniuses?" - Don Stott of Colorado Gold, posted in the Whiskey and Gunpowder e-newsletter

Friday, April 17, 2009

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Colonel Jeff Cooper once wrote that he was born in another country. Born and raised in the US before the Great Depression, the country of his youth was no longer. It had been hijacked by pointy headed socialists with academic degrees and not a trace of common sense. At 50 years of age I not only agree, but maintain that the “New America” based upon a globalized economy, Federalized powers, and an Urban-centered society is dying. Our great country is dying and our great cities will burn in the funeral pyre.

Most Americans know that survival in our great cities, deserts, and marginal climate areas of the US would not be possible without continued delivery of basic Supplies (food and gasoline), Services (water, electrical power, natural gas), and Civil Order (rule of law, generally accepted currency). What they may not know is that these great cities have no great food warehouses, no great fuel tank farms, few electrical power plants, few water storage reservoirs, and they have disarmed the law abiding public at every turn. These supplies are transported by thousands of semi trucks, ships, barges, and trains every single day. If a sudden crisis disrupts transportation, if we lose the use of our interstate highways or the diesel fuel to transport supplies, everyone in these cities will either have to leave or they will die.

Recent hurricanes, recessions, and terrorist events are reminders that our modern society is fragile and that critical supplies, services, and civil order will likely be interrupted by any major event. Look at what happened to New Orleans (population 480,000) during Hurricane Katrina. More than half the population left early, but when the storm hit, tens of thousands either would not or could not leave. Now imagine these barbaric conditions in a city like Phoenix (population 2 million) or Los Angeles (population 10 million). Now imagine it happening all across the US if our oil refineries are either destroyed or the world runs out of crude oil.

Transportation in the US is totally dependent on crude oil and most of this oil comes from folks who hate us. The supplies underground and our ability to find new supplies are diminishing and no one knows how much is left. Even without the potential for a renewed terrorist attack using WMDs, or the long dreaded west coast mega-quake, our cities will not be sustainable without some new technology. Renewable power sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal can produce electricity but do not effectively power transportation. Hopefully most Americans can be sufficiently motivated to move out the cities with their families, but those who will not listen must feel.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
I think it is a common belief by newly awaken survivalist that they can keep living in a big city until the stuff actually hits the fan and then bug out with their vehicle and all of the survival gear and prepared food. I am curious, have any of you actually tried this? Have you taken the time and effort to load your vehicle with thousands of pounds of guns, ammo, survival gear, and freeze dried food? Have you then driven through a major city, a long distance interstate trip, stopped for the night, or had car trouble? And what if you are forced to bug out without shelter and a considerable amount of food, have you really improved your chances for survival?

I have and the whole process was a pain in the . I hooked up my one ton pickup to my 5th wheel trailer, filled it with the guns, ammo, tools, extra fuel, and food storage, and the rig grossed at 18,000 lbs. Let me tell you this was not bugging out, this was crawling out. Even powered by a Cummins Diesel, nothing weighing 9 tons moves quickly or escapes over steep or narrow roads. I also tried towing an open trailer filled with a tractor and tools cross country and learned about road trash puncturing trailer tires and criminals loitering at rest stops and RV parks. Fortunately, these problems surfaced during normal times when the highways are open, fuel is available, and I was the only one freaking out. My experience is telling me that the best response is to move away from the cities before an event. Move to a more secure area now. Preposition your survival tools and food storage at a secure site before the stuff really hits the fan. Then find a way to move there your self.
I have read all the government’s emergency preparedness books talking about folks pulling together, one big nation singing Kumbaya. But I have also read the postings from folks who were late evacuating New Orleans. Many of them were threatened, robbed, and assaulted by their neighbors simply because they were better prepared. I do not know if this entitlement mentality is really that widespread, but experience suggests that Americans will get scared and will act like animals.

Deciding When to Leave; Cooper’s Colors for a Social Crisis.
Jeff Cooper also devised a series of situational awareness colors to allow his self defense students to make proper decisions and know when to use deadly force to protect their lives and family. Borrowing Cooper’s Colors for a social crisis I suggest the following:

Condition White) Circa 1981-1988: Following the Vietnam war, Watergate, and the Iran hostage crisis, the US was ready for a positive change. During the Reagan years we challenged the Soviet Union and emerged as the world’s lone supper power. Despite some evidence to the contrary, we felt that we had no reason to be concerned by terrorism. Paul Volcker tamed inflation by inducing a severe recession. We all shared the economic pain, then we shared the rewards of a growing and stable economy combined with low inflation. Social changes were being made slowly and with participation from the general public. The Government rarely took violent actions against protesters. Crime was random and quickly dealt with by law enforcement.
Tough times, but the US government was working for the People.

Condition Yellow) Circa 1989-1998: The US is struck repeatedly by terrorists at home and abroad. The Government treats this as a criminal manner. The economy fluctuates but appears to correct itself rapidly and without visible government interference. The US starts pursuing free trade and globalization treaties. Manufacturing, agricultural, and finally high wage jobs are being outsourced. High risk mortgages and investments are legalized and encouraged. Presidents Bush (I) and Clinton start talking about and building a “New World Order”. Social changes are being made to protect and benefit the people in power, without participation from the general public. The Government begins to track, infiltrate, and take deadly action against small religious groups and grass roots militias. Law abiding citizens are blamed for violent crime and gun ownership is highly regulated. The only bright spot during this decade is the results of the 1994 midterm election and the subsequent Contract with America.
A break of trust between the US Government and the People. Citizens should store guns, ammo, food, and fuel. Prepare financially, physically, and mentally for change.

Condition Orange) Circa 1999-2006: The US is struck repeatedly by terrorists at home and abroad. The Government responds by aggressive military action designed to change the conditions in countries hosting terrorists. The economy fluctuates between extremes of growth and recession, as if no one knows the true worth of these commodities and major corporations. The Government begins to spend massive amounts of money on the war and hides this spending off budget. Price increases affect the availability of food and fuel. Social changes are being made without participation of the citizens or even the US Congress. The most offensive of these changes are rammed down the throat of a disbelieving public by the courts and petty bureaucrats. The heavy handed tactics of the State and Federal Government begin expanding the number and boldness of protest groups, well ahead of their attempts to control them. Crime is increasingly organized by gangs, carried out by minors and illegal aliens, and is funded by illegal drugs. Law enforcement is not effective against this and many believe the problem is intractable.
A second break of trust. Citizens should liquidate their financial assets, purchase and store critical supplies and solar panels, and move to safer locations.

Condition Red) Circa 2007 – ????: High risk loans, derivatives, and credit default swaps cause huge financial losses and trigger irrational stimulus spending. The US Treasury and US Federal Reserve start taking up major ownership stakes in US corporations, then use this position to control the means of production. They announce plans to create a Federal domestic police force. This may be used to enforce new requirements for domestic passports, travel restrictions, and to deal with any visible protests. The Obama Administration is full of folks committed to new laws regulating guns ownership and banning the sale of effective defensive weapons, ammo, and reloading components. Large scale energy, income, and sales tax increases are planned. I believe that Americans will again be deprived from owning real [precious metals] money. Our currency will be devalued by perhaps 80% to offset the massive Federal spending. Price controls and rationing of food and fuel will be introduced by executive order. During the Great Depression, FDR banned the private holding of gold and foreign currency. US dollars (gold certificates) were replaced by Federal Reserve Notes. Many banks were closed without returning deposits to account holders and what little cash was left in the hands of the people was devalued by the Treasury by 40%.

Many folks are moving out of large cities. They are buying rural land and planting a garden. They are buying and hoarding guns, ammo, food, fuel, and looking to buy gold and silver. While economic conditions appear bad, the break of trust between the Government and the People is more reminiscent of the Civil War than the Great Depression.

Can You Make an Orderly Transition?
a) Moving Out of the City but Keeping Your Job.
Many folks simply can not leave their big city job and feel trapped. For them, moving your family out of the city and keeping your present job, and commuting back and forth may be the best interim solution. You might look at public transportation in your area and see if you could buy a home near this. Also consider owning a Jeep or a pickup that can contain survival tools, food storage, hiking boots, even a mountain bike and commute using that vehicle when you feel that a crisis could be imminent. You need to practice for this occasionally to find out how to drive home without using freeways, or clogged intersections, or having to refill your gas tank. If you plan on biking home, why not try it once a month. Find out now if it is a viable alternative.

b) Career Changes that Improve Your Preparedness.
Some friends of mine recently underwent a significant career change. They left their research position at a US government lab in California to take a college professorship in a small Midwestern town. There are many opportunities for folks to change careers and significantly improving their preparedness level without losing their career and every thing they have built. Creating a portable small business, building a farm or ranch, taking a related job in small town America are all good ways to improve your position without the big and scary step of quitting and living off your savings.

c) Transfers and Early Retirement.
I moved out of Los Angeles 25 years ago, to a small desert town three hours away. I soon plan to retire and move even further away from California and its enormous insatiable and unsustainable cities and their outrageous politics. Often times these transitional changes take years of planning and savings to carry out successfully. For me, the years of planning and savings are worth it. If you are just a few years away from retirement, you might want to find out the rules and calculate how to retire early and how much such a change would cost you in the long run.

How Can You Bug Out Safely?

d) What are you Bugging Out From.
This may be the most important question. I believe that you must know what you fear before you can plan what to do, and ultimately where to go. What could convince you that you must leave your current home? Are you worried about a natural disaster such as a hurricane, an earthquake, or a tsunami. Perhaps you are concerned about a 1930s type depression, a renewed terrorist strike, or a combination of events that teardown the rule of law and allow rioting and conflict on a nationwide scale. If you are just worried about keep yourself employed in our current economic mess, you might consider mobility and job skills more important than bugging out. But if you have come to the conclusion that the American society will fracture when subjected to enough stress and that the inevitable reaction to almost any sudden crisis will be rioting and nationwide loss of the rule of law, you might want to consider moving to an area where you fit in and are accepted by the community.

e) Selecting the best route and location.
Leaving your “Big City” job and moving back to your home town is a pretty popular idea right now, perhaps even smarter than trying to start a new life in a new and strange part of the country. I grew up on a small farm in the Midwest and am planning to move back to a small farm. When I talk to my new neighbors I find that I actually have more in common with them culturally that the folks I have worked with here in California for over 25 years. Truth is I am still a farm boy who is more concerned with my farm and livestock than I am with a Lexus or a wide screen entertainment system. No one seems to be much impressed about my “Big City” job but every one is stoked that I am a qualified gunsmith and can trap beaver out of the creek.

Some good friends of mine moved back to their home town of Sandpoint, Idaho about 12 years ago. Northern Idaho seems like a nice enough place when I visited a back then, but even a couple of local boys with engineering degrees had a hard time landing a full time job. Perhaps moving where you can actually find a job and where you can still afford some nice farm land would make more sense than moving to someone else’s idea of an ideal location, (Sorry, James).

The same applies to your route selection. Staying away from the inner city areas that always seem to be the flash points for social unrest seems obvious. But perhaps moving out of the big city early is more important than planning the best escape route and waiting too long. If you must wait until the last minute you should consider finding a bug out location that is within a very short drive, say only a few hours away. Another advantage of have a “local” bug out location is using as a vacation spot on long weekends. Suddenly, taking a week off and driving out of the city is more of a regular occurrence. If you practice it often, it is more likely to work under the added stress of a real crisis event. [JWR Adds: The drawback to this is that if your retreat is in close proximity for you, then it is also in close proximity for The Golden Horde. A three hour drive out of Los Angeles, is just about where most refugees will be running out of fuel. Choose your retreat locale wisely, well-away from exit corridors and natural lines of drift.]

f) What to Carry, What to Pre-position.
Even if you have a very secure location to preposition or cache goods and equipment, I believe that you need to store the primary means of survival at your home and be prepared to carry it with you. I define the primary means of survival as food, water, shelter, clothing, and protection from immediate harm. Secondary stuff would be the means to sustain life beyond the immediate threat, i.e. productive land to grow food, livestock, tractors and farm equipment, means of producing electrical power, reload ammunition, trade goods, gold and silver. I recommend that you keep the primary stuff at home and have the means of transporting it to safety at a moment's notice. You may choose to store the secondary stuff at your retreat location (and take the risk of theft) or at home (depending upon your ability to transport it). In practice, I would suggest that the heaviest and most bulky secondary items should be pre-positioned or cached at the retreat location.

g) Selecting a Bug Out Vehicle.
If you plan to--or fear you may have to--make a lengthy bug out trip with a loaded vehicle during crisis conditions you might consider the fuel range and load capacity as the most important considerations. While recently designed gasoline vehicles tend to be very reliable and more fuel efficient than trucks built in the 1970s, their fuel mileage is still much lower than an equivalent turbo diesel with a manual transmission. Plus it is easier to add significant auxiliary fuel storage tanks to a diesel. My number one recommendation for a bug out vehicle is a 1994 thru 1997 Dodge Cummins one ton pickup with a 5 speed manual transmission and 3.54 rear end. Add a 90 gal Aux. fuel/tool box combo for 1,900 mile range without stopping to refuel.

What If You Leave Too Early?

h) Leaving When You Should.
Human nature is a funny thing. Through out history folks have remained in very dangerous conditions, literally losing their own life, because they are afraid of public ridicule for running away. This was particularly true with the Jews in 1930s Germany. While leaving may have been difficult and even prohibited by the Nazis, it was possible. So why did so many folks bow to social pressure to remain. Who cares what the sheeple think, learn to run like a scared little rabbit. If you can not move to a safe area permanently, then find a way to move there temporarily. Look for an opportunity to take a sabbatical, or take time off to care for an aging parent, or to work part time. Look for anything that allows you to leave the most dangerous area at the first hint of a crisis. Yes, your friends may harass you for bugging out too early and slinking back a couple of weeks later. Just remember who they are and invite only those folks who seem to understand the risks we appear to be facing.

i) Leaving Yourself a Way to Return.
Please do not plan to max out your credit cards, pull out of your retirement accounts, or burn bridges with your boss. History is full of folks who thought they knew the end of the world was coming, only to be forced to deal with reality the next day. Did you ever hear of the 1840s religious group, the Millerites? They gave away everything they owned because their leader knew that Christ would return on a particular day. Leave yourself a safe way to return to your old life if you decision to bug out is wrong. While I believe that it is a much better plan to live in a safe area all the time than try to predict the event, I also recognize that many people can not move quickly enough. I believe that the Bible states that the end will arrive like a thief in the night. No notice, no warning, one second every thing is fine and the next second the world has changed radically.

j) Living with Your Mistakes.
It is possible that you will be caught up in a crisis in spite of all your preparations. Perhaps you needed to travel to a big city hospital or take a long range flight on just the wrong day. Perhaps a crisis develops while you are living your life and not really paying any attention. Life is not going to send you any emails telling you that the stuff has hit the fan and you are now on your own. I recommend that you always carry a bug out bag with the basic survival food and equipment, and bring along your knowledge, skills, experience with you. Carry enough gold, silver, and cash to replace some of your preparations and allow you to purchase the means to get home if you are caught taking a long distance flight.

There really is not any way to know what they future is going to look like. We could experience a long degrading slide into the dust bin of history (France, Spain, Japan) or in a blinding flash of cataclysm (1917 Russia, 1934 Germany, 2001 Argentina). We could be looking at a repeat of the Great Depression, a World Was over the remaining oil supplies, or a second Civil War. What I do know is that our Government has been corrupted and is responding to the unbridled greed of an elite few and against the needs of the many. Studying our own history and the history of other developed nations under similar shows two clear possible futures: Those that shared the pain recovered, those that spared the elite at the expense of the many suffered from long debilitating economic depressions that often decayed into Civil War, Fascism, or Communism.

I would rather face the future surrounded by like-minded people in an area that can support both my life and a sustainable society. A society that is not dependent on long distance transportation of critical goods, non-renewable energy sources, centralized control and just in time deliveries, or intensive industrialized agriculture. I was born on a small farm in the breadbasket of the world, and I want my country back!

My name is Tom Johns. I just read a letter in your blog that mentioned my company; Territorial Seed Company (TSC). With regards to your reader's comment about “with the change in management” concerning Territorial Seed Company, he implied that there has been a recent change. The facts are that my wife Julie and I purchased Territorial from Steve in 1985. Steve founded Territorial in 1979, and operated TSC for five years, and Julie and I have had the company for 25 years now.

Also, the reader mentioned that we are decreasing the amount of Open Pollinated or Heirloom seed varieties that we sell. The truth in the matter is that since 1985 we have increased our Open Pollinated offerings by hundreds of varieties. In addition I think it’s important to note that at the time we purchased TSC, Territorial did not have a seed production program, nor did it really need one. But over the years good home garden varieties started to become discontinued from the world’s largest seed houses. This was primarily from consolidation of major seed companies. About 15 years ago in response to this loss of varieties, we started our own seed production program. Today, we have become a much more self-sufficient company, as 25% of all the vegetable seed we sell comes from our own certified organic seed farming operation.

In addition, we now also own Abundant Life Seed. Founded in Port Townsend, Washington this company sells only certified organic seed. For more information about our efforts you can learn more at:

http://www.territorialseed.com and http://www.abundantlifeseeds.com

- Tom Johns President, TSC

JWR Replies: Since that reader made some false assertions, I have removed the original post that Mr Johns mentioned.

I read the letter from Grant regarding free topographic maps and I have an even easier method [if you don't need to download data into a GPS receiver.] You can go to the USGS web site and use the GoogleMap API to find the area that you want a map of. Once you find the area, just click the "MARK POINTS" Radio button and click on the map. The marker that shows up will have the option of ordering paper copies of the map for $6 or free download. You can download your standard 7.5 minute topographic map in PDF format and if you also use the free TerraGo Desktop (the USGS site has a link to it) you can use Adobe's free reader to compute distance, calculate area, find elevation, find lat/long, compute bearings, etc, all for free.

I've downloaded numerous maps and they're all excellent quality. It's the best source I can find for free maps and it's courtesy of the US Taxpayers. - LexNaturalis

Cheryl sent this: It's Possible: Imagine No Phone, Food, Fuel

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Larry W. notes: Montana's Governor has now signed HB 246 the "Made in Montana" exemption law. It is pretty cool how this law classifies "sound suppressors" as mere "accessories." Presumably, after October 1, 2009, this mean there will be no Federal $200 transfer tax applicable on a Montana-made sound suppressor "accessory" unless or until it is transferred out of Montana!

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Florida Guy sent this from The Wall Street Journal: Gun and Ammo Sales are Shooting Up

"The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." - Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This article about my book is causing a bit of a stir: "The Most Dangerous Novel In America". Dangerous? Obviously, my politics and religious background didn't match those of the journalist. OBTW, some of the follow-up comments at Michelle Malkin's Hot Air blog were quite entertaining. I loved the one about casting gold bullets.


My #1 Son (Jonathan) was quoted briefly in a recent USAToday newspaper article on the growth of mainstream survivalism: Economic survivalists take root. Speaking of #1 Son, the SurvivalRealty spin-off site is growing rapidly, and becoming known as the best place to buy and sell specialized retreat properties. The site now has listings from as far afield as Mexico, Panama, New Zealand and India.


Congrats to C.E., the high bidder in our most recent SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction. Today we are starting a new auction. It is for a large mixed lot, which includes:

1.) A Three-Color Desert Camo Interceptor OTV (Outer Tactical Vest) size XL only, and a spare Woodland camouflage outer shell, kindly donated by BulletProofME.com. These items have a combined retail value of $960!

2.) A vehicle detection system, which includes: one MURS Alert Probe Sensor (MAPS) with 50 foot probe cable and one MURS Alert Hand Held (M538-HT) transceiver. The MAPS unit's probe can be covertly installed under the surface of a driveway or road to detect vehicular traffic and a voice alert is sent to the hand held transceiver when a detection occurs. Donated by MURS Radio. Retails for $303

3.) Two cases of Yoder's Canned Bacon, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (12 cans per case.) A $276 retail value.

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) Three Garden Security Collections, and two Garden Bean Collections, donated by SeedForSecurity.com. With included free shipping to any US postal address, this is a $100+ retail value.

6.) Two America Stone knife sharpeners (with belt pouches), donated by the manufacturer. (A $60 retail value.)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $1,800. This auction ends on May15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.

Maps are something I have a lot of fun with. I wrote up a blog post on free online mapping centered around topographical maps that if you haven't already encountered these tools you might find it interesting. In a post at Gear Addicts, I cover how to acquire free topographical maps, as well as using the topo maps in conjuncture with programs like Google Earth, and NASA World Wind. Making a free and in some ways superior replacemnt for expensive software by National Geographic and Garmin. Regards, - Grant

Laura H. sent this: In uncertain times, all that glisters is a gold standard

Chauncey sent this Five Bailout Absurdities

Items from The Economatrix:

"Green Shoots" a Mirage in Economic Desert

US Taxpayers' Costs Likely to Rise After AIG-FP Staff Quit

Wall Street Holds its Breath as 1st Quarter Results Come In

GM Told to Prep for "Surgical Bankruptcy"

HSBC Faces Crisis Over US Credit Cards

Consumer Prices Drop Unexpectedly in March

Swiss Bank UBS Cutting 7,500 More Jobs

Singapore Devalues Its Fading Dollar

Obama's Economic Optimism Falls on Deaf Ears

US to Reveal Results of Stress Tests on 19 Biggest Banks

A Look at How Bank of America is Doing " ...when Wells Fargo announced an early $3 billion profit, the markets went into full rally mode, yet once you dig into the details, you realize that the gain was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. This is like getting excited over Countrywide Financial announcing profits months before the market crashed." With that said, let's look at BofA...

Cheryl sent us two items on the continuing big sales runs on guns, ammunition, reloading components,and magazines: The New US Arms Race: Americans stick to their guns as firearms sales soar and Guns And Ammo Availability Overview. JWR Adds: OBTW, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mr. Herman included a mention of my novel "Patriots" in his article.

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Reader Rob A. sent some more insanity from Nanny State Britannia: Family of father stabbed to death by three thugs is denied compensation... because he tried to fight back

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"Snow Hater" sent this: Rampaging Buffalo Killed with a .223 Carbine. Snow Hater's comment: "A St. Joseph, Michigan police officer was able to dispatch a 400 pound buffalo with is AR-15 patrol carbine. It took 12 rounds through the chest and dropped 10 feet from the officer." JWR's comment: Awwww! At just 400 pounds, the poor thing was just a little baby calf! If it had been an adult bull, it might have taken several rounds of .308 to do the job.

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This is the last day to bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction.The high bid is now at $2,510. This auction ends at midnight (eastern time) tonight, April 15th. It is for a large mixed lot, which includes::

1.) A Warrior Aid and Litter Kit, donated by Ready Made Resources. This is an advanced medic kit package that includes a Talon II 90C folding-handle collapsible litter, which normally retails for $560, just by itself. This truly a "full up" tactical trauma kit! This sophisticated medic kit normally retails for $1,500.

2.) A "be ready to barter" box of 26 full-capacity firearms magazines, from my personal collection in JASBORR. This box includes: 4 - Brand new "smoke gray" polymer original Bulgarian 40 rd. AK-47 magazines, 10 - brand new AR-15/M16 USGI black Teflon coated alloy 30 round magazines with stainless steel springs and the latest gray anti-tilt followers, 6 - new condition original USGI M14/M1A 20 round parkerized steel magazines, from CMI (the current military prime contractor) 6 - new condition original Glock Model 20 (10mm) 15 round pistol magazines--the latest production type with "SF" front magazine catch notch . All of these magazines are of recent manufacture (and hence are NOT legal to possess in New York.) These magazines have a combined value of approximately $750, in today's market. Note: If you live in a state where full capacity magazines are banned, then you must choose to: refrain from bidding, or designate a recipient in an unrestricted state, or re-donate the magazines for a subsequent auction.

3.) A large Bury 'Em Tube (# 6L, 43" x 6" with a 5.1 gallon capacity), donated by Safecastle. (a $199.95 retail value)

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) An OPTIMUS Terra Cookset for backpacking, tent camping or even WTSHTF, donated by Safecastle. It includes the ultra-compact Crux stove, plus a special small cookset--all very portable and lightweight. (Fuel canister not included.) (a $95 retail value)

6.) A fresh, sealed case of full mil-spec MRE rations with ration heaters, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (a $94.95 value)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $2,800. Again, this auction ends at midnight on April 15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.

James Wesley:
One subject that I think is under rated in preparedness discussions is spare parts. We all are focused on our armaments and basic survival materials to the detriment of being able to continue to use our tools and equipment when they inevitably break. Even in the best-case scenario of a sever depression spare parts will be often unavailable through normal channels. A good example of this is to be found in cars. When I was young in the ‘50s and early ‘60s there was an abundance of cars made in the late ‘20s and ‘30s in remarkably good shape that were shoved into barns because of breakdowns, often minor, for which parts were not available during the depression. These cars were hauled out by enterprising young men returning from WWII and Korea and turned into hot rods or just driven into the ground when parts again became available in the ‘50s. As our economic system becomes ever more complex and specialized, and as that built in disaster of “just in time” production and distribution is used more and more, the inevitability of interruptions in materials and basic goods becomes even more probable. Having spent a lifetime living on farms, and particularly here in the western Upper Peninsula ("U.P.") of Michigan where the nearest farm supply stores are down in Wisconsin a day's drive away, I have developed an acute appreciation of the necessity of having a good inventory of parts on hand. So combine a disruption in supply with a remote refuge location and the problem could become insurmountable and be very inconvenient if not life threatening. So think in terms of two different plans: parts and maintenance.

Spare Parts
In the parts department do you have spare wicks and globes for your oil lamps? And lots and lots of mantles for gas lights which I do not recommend for the reason that they are so fragile that bugs break them. Do you have extra leathers for your water pumps? And handles for your axes, splitting mauls, hammers and saws? These have a way of getting broke when used with regularity; particularly when you are tired or exhausted which we will be if we are in this situation. I heat with wood and do not own a wood splitter. I do it by hand and have never broken a maul handle except at the end of the day when I am tired and miss the block of wood with the head and hit it with the handle. So count on breaking things when you are tired or in a hurry. Do you have extra chains for your chain saw and blades for your bow saw. A good bow saw [or bucksaw] is definitely a tool to have if gasoline is scarce or unavailable, or if you want to cut wood without attracting attention. And do you have the files and sharpening stones to keep them sharp by hand and the teeth properly set? You might also want to practice these skills because they are skills. And boot laces, gloves, wool socks and other warm and durable clothing that you do not often use and replace but that will become something that you will use every day under adverse conditions. Anyway you get the point. Stock up on daily used items. For instance, last week the local hardware store had leather palmed work gloves on sale at two pairs for a buck so I bought 50 pairs. I’ll use them eventually even if nothing goes wrong, and if it does I’m covered and I’ll have some great bartering material. Buy what you know you will need and may be able to trade to those less provident.

Maintenance is always a neglected area of planning. Most people are poor at maintenance as a matter of course and some cannot even seem to consider it. Look at your home, equipment and tools and determine what you need to do to keep it working, particularly under adverse conditions. Do you have the tools, manuals and knowledge to fix things. Is your shop supplied with lubricants and grease to keep the place running. My granddad liked to say “grease and oil are cheap and parts and labor are expensive”, During the 1980s I was a Trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court and I handled most of the farm cases here in the U.P. because I knew the business and could milk cows. One of the things that struck me most was the almost universal lack of grease guns on these bankrupt farms. It changed my feelings about my fellow farmers plight to a great degree in many cases. A lack of daily maintenance is a precondition to disaster. I own a lot of old equipment that gets used hard, but it is well maintained and seldom breaks down because of grease, oil and general maintenance. And maintenance of the area around you is also important. Recently a most excellent article was posted in SurvivalBlog dealing with keeping the place neat and clean. It is well worth re-reading and considering. A neat environment helps keep you safe from injury and has an important psychological component. Which leads to another point about neatness. Keep your stored goods organized so you can find them. Plastic bins and totes with labels make things easy to find and protects them from vermin, dirt and corrosion and makes taking inventory a snap.

So get the spare parts you will need, and some to trade, and get them organized. And maintain your home, tools, equipment, mind, body, marriage and family and we will get through this time to come. And if we are wrong about the future we will still be the better for it. - Ken S.

First, I just wanted to say I loved "Patriots" and have given it away to many of my friends and adult children.

Concerning "Livestock for Survival, by Bobbi A." Most people are not aware of a small meat/dairy goat called the Kinder [, spoken "Kin-dur".] It was developed over 30 years ago and has gained great success in competing against it's larger cousins. This little goat will produce a gallon of milk a day, is much more feed efficient than other breeds, is small so easy to handle (especially the bucks) and is stocky so makes for better meat than the other dairy breeds. Another advantage over other breeds is that the Kinder will breed all year long so you can rotate your milking does and always have plenty of milk. The milk is also higher in protein and butterfat so better for making cheese. This little goat was developed for the small farmstead. The primary lady behind this breed is a long time prepper and has always believed the Kinder will get the job done when other goats fail. For further information, see KinderGoat.com or contact Pat Showalter, primary founder and president of the Kinder Goat Breeder's Association at kinderzed@aol.com. And thanks for all you do. - Jan H.

Reader HPD: suggested this piece by Mish Shedlock: Nationwide Tax Revolt is Coming

Dave (at Captain Dave's) mentioned an interesting article on Why our current credit crisis mirrors Weimar, over at the Seeking Alpha site.

G.G. sent us this: Bernanke sees signs of economic stability "I can assure you that monetary policy-makers are fully committed to acting as needed to withdraw on a timely basis the extraordinary support now being provided to the economy, and we are confidence in our ability to do so," Bernanke said in remarks prepared for delivery at Morehouse College in Atlanta." G.G.'s comment: "Of course, remember this is also the guy who said that the $700 billion bailout in September, 2008 was all that was going to be needed to stabilize everything. How well did that work out?" JWR's comment: Once mass inflation begins, it will become self-perpetuating. Bernanke is delusional if he thinks that he can stop it quickly. The expectation of continuing inflation can be a very powerful force in the marketplace.

Items from The Economatrix:

AIG in Spotlight Over Derivatives "The unit that all but destroyed AIG has failed to sign up for the overhaul of the global derivatives market."

Obama Tempers Optimism with Reality on Economy

Surge in Delinquent Taxpayers

Martin Weiss: Major Announcement [JWR Adds: I recommend Marty's book: The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide ]

Oil Drops Below $50 as Forecast Cut

Credit Suisse to Close US Customers Accounts

Celente Calls for "Revolution" as the Only Solution

Moody's Downgrades the Entire Country
"Every municipal debt issuer is now suspect and shaky."

Wall Street Stars Beginning to Scatter

Older Borrowers, Out in the Cold

Super Hyperinflation Coming Soon

San Diego Tea Party Monitored by Government

Jasper sent this from the Sydney Morning Herald: Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months. The prospect of a country armed with nuclear bombs falling to Islamic extremists is troubling, to say the least!
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Cheryl flagged this: Why You Should Carry a Gun

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HPD sent and item from the Bangor [Maine] Daily News: Woodworker crafts furniture to die for. HPD's comment: "Do-it-yourself funerals at home will be a necessity in a TEOTWAWKI situation."

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Texas Governor Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas’ Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment. (A tip of the ten-gallon cowboy hat to Larry B. for the link.) In other state sovereignty news, Montana's HB 246 (the "made in Montana" exemption gun law, a.k.a. the "Montana Firearms Freedom Act") passed by the Montana House and Senate--now before the Governor for signature. And yet another sovereignty bill passed in Idaho and is awaiting that state's Governor. (Thanks to Larry W. up in Montana for the link.)

"What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue." - Thomas Paine

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just one day left to bid! The high bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction is now at 1,860. This auction ends on April 15th. It is for a large mixed lot, which includes::

1.) A Warrior Aid and Litter Kit, donated by Ready Made Resources. This is an advanced medic kit package that includes a Talon II 90C folding handle collapsible litter, which normally retails for $560, just by itself. This truly a "full up" tactical trauma kit! This sophisticated medic kit normally retails for $1,500.

2.) A "be ready to barter" box of 26 full-capacity firearms magazines, from my personal collection in JASBORR. This box includes: 4 - Brand new "smoke gray" polymer original Bulgarian 40 rd. AK-47 magazines, 10 - brand new AR-15/M16 USGI black Teflon coated alloy 30 round magazines with stainless steel springs and the latest gray anti-tilt followers, 6 - new condition original USGI M14/M1A 20 round parkerized steel magazines, from CMI (the current military prime contractor) 6 - new condition original Glock Model 20 (10mm) 15 round pistol magazines--the latest production type with "SF" front magazine catch notch . All of these magazines are of recent manufacture (and hence are NOT legal to possess in New York.) These magazines have a combined value of approximately $750, in today's market. Note: If you live in a state where full capacity magazines are banned, then you must choose to: refrain from bidding, or designate a recipient in an unrestricted state, or re-donate the magazines for a subsequent auction.

3.) A large Bury 'Em Tube (# 6L, 43" x 6" with a 5.1 gallon capacity), donated by Safecastle. (a $199.95 retail value)

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) An OPTIMUS Terra Cookset for backpacking, tent camping or even WTSHTF, donated by Safecastle. It includes the ultra-compact Crux stove, plus a special small cookset--all very portable and lightweight. (Fuel canister not included.) (a $95 retail value)

6.) A fresh, sealed case of full mil-spec MRE rations with ration heaters, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (a $94.95 value)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $2,800. This auction ends on April 15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.

I´m very proud of the new Honda´s motorcycle in the Brazilian market:he first full "flex fuel" bike in the world! You can use gas and alcohol, in almost any ratio. (Well, on cold days, you´ll need 20% gasoline minimum to start the engine...). It´s the ultimate survival bike! I know you don´t read Portuguese, but here is the link. And here is an article about it in English: Honda CG150 TITAN MIX: world's first flex-fuel motorcycle.

Best Regards, - The Werewolf in Brazil

We all know that many Jews saw the handwriting on the wall in a pre-WWII Germany, but failed to leave, or could they not leave? There was obviously a window of opportunity for most to leave but why did so many miss it? Some were not wealthy, but were able to escape. Some had the money, so why could they not leave? If one only has a few moments in which to leave a foreign country, is the house in order? My sister dwelled on this problem and then looked at her own family. She was the only one with a passport. Consider:

  • How many families in Jewish families in Germany had passports or visas?
  • How many parents had passports, but not for their [late teenage] children?
  • How many had no passports?
  • How many had the currency of the country they wished to flee to?
  • How many had sufficient sums of the foreign currency?
  • How long does it take to get a passport in your country?
  • How long does it take to get a visa to the place to where you wish to flee?

After asking these questions, another reason why many Jews did not leave WWII Germany becomes obvious: they could not leave! Not enough paperwork, or no paperwork.

King Solomon said "there is nothing new under the sun", so what was done in Germany has been done in other countries to keep a population "in" before that same government would eliminate it. The pattern and signs should be the same.

In most large countries like the U.S., folks have a place to go where the government may not be able to reach, but in smaller countries this may not be the case. In summary, it might be a good idea for every family member to have a passport. (At least for those live in an area where the government can reach it's tentacles to every corner of the country, like in WWII Germany). Even Joseph had to flee with his wife and son to get away from King Herod! Furthermore, in the US, what if you wanted to flee to Canada? Or in Canada, what if you wanted to flee to the U.S.?

Lastly, consider that some countries will not allow entry without certain vaccinations. So if a family is to have a plan B or plan C bug out emigration plan, then that plan needs to include the vaccination requirements for that country. - Rick B.


Take a look at the YouTube videos on the Dervaes family. These folks are a bit granola crunching and leftist/idealistic for me, but there is a great deal to be learned from their efforts. 6,000 pounds of produce from 5,000 square feet of yard is pretty impressive. Admittedly, they have a 365-day growing season and no deer to worry about, but we are adapting the strategies for our own situation. I do agree with them that producing your own food is a profoundly subversive act. If the link does not work work just go to YouTube and then search "Dervaes family".

Also, I have lately been listening to the daily offerings from The Survival Podcast, which I burn to CD or load on my MP3 player to listen at my leisure.

Concerning the article by Q.T. about fence building. A good book on the subject is, "Fences, Gates, and Bridges, and How to Make Them" by George Martin. It includes a longer and more complete explanation, and pictures, of the plash method of fence building.

...And a caution!
Be careful what plants you choose for building your fences. It can have unintended consequences. Fifty years ago, the local County Agriculture Agents recommended to all the farmers around here, that we plant multiflora rose bushes. The agents said the roses were cheap, would grow fast and they would form an impenetrable barrier for livestock. They were exactly right on all counts. But, what none of us realized at the time was that they also produce thousands of hips that the birds like to eat, but don't digest. Within a few short years there were roses everywhere. ..Roses that will puncture the toughest tractor tire, are really hard to kill and will grow fifty feet tall.

Russian olive is another cheap to buy, fast growing fence plant that will also spread in ways you won't like. So be careful and choose wisely. - Jim Fry, Curator, Museum of Western Reserve Farms & Equipment, Ohio

G.G. sent a link to a piece in The Financial Times about the threat of mass inflation: Germany warns on ‘crisis after crisis’ "'I am concerned that the countermeasures we are seeing around the world, financed by enormous amounts of debts, could be paving the road to the next crisis,' Mr Steinbrück told Bild, a tabloid daily."

G.G. also forwarded a link to a Barron's article: The Lessons of the Savings-and-Loan Crisis: "The current bank scandal dwarfs the 1980s savings-and-loan crisis -- and could destroy the Obama presidency.The scale of fraud is immense." "This whole bank scandal makes Teapot Dome [of the 1920s] look like some kid's doll set... With most of America's biggest banks insolvent, you have, in essence, a multi-trillion dollar cover-up by publicly traded entities, which amounts to felony securities fraud on a massive scale."

KAF suggested How to Haggle and Save: Five Key Moves, at SmartMoney.com

Items from The Economatrix:

GM Shares Tumble as Fears of Bankruptcy Grow

Toyota Expecting $5B Annual Loss

Scenes From the Great Depression

The Financial War Against Iceland Defeated by debt, are we next?

Demand for Oil Drops as Outlook for G-7 Remains Grim

Do Economists Know Any More Than the Rest of Us?

China Slows Purchase of US and Other Bonds

Lew Rockwell: Bailout Bonds?

Longer Unemployment for Those 45 and Up

M.P. suggested a web site that describes an innovative self-watering and water efficient tomato growing system. "It is estimated that this system uses 75% less water than in-ground planting, a potentially huge benefit when the power goes out for good. Plans for building the device are given in both PDF and video format."

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Signs of the times: Reader Andy H. sent us this excerpt from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Bulletin:

SOLD OUT - 415-CN. As a result over 9,000 orders already in [the] Estore and the many hundreds of other orders (received through the mail and via phone) that have not yet been entered into our system, and the number of orders estimated to already be in the mail coming our way, we have posted item 415-CN as sold out and removed it from the Estore. M2 [.30-06] Ball, [Greek Military Surplus] HXP, 240 rounds in 20 round cartons, in spam cans. We will be able to fill all orders already received and in the pipeline.

.30-06 M2 BALL PURCHASE LIMITS ESTABLISHED. Effective immediately, CMP is setting a purchase limit for items 407-CAN (.30-06 M2 Ball, HXP, clipped, in spam cans) and 407DCAN (.30-06 M2 Ball, clipped, in .30 cal ammo can). The new purchase limit is total of 10 cans of HXP ammo per year, per customer, regardless of item numbers ordered.

ORDER BACKLOG. For the past six months, the number of orders received by CMP for rifles, ammunition, and all other products has been unprecedented. As of today, 10 April 2009, our Sales Order Processing Dept is up to processing /shipping orders received at the end of Jan 2009, with several thousand orders still to go for Feb and Mar. Because of the large volume of orders that we continue to receive daily in the mail and through the Estore, customers should not expect any acknowledgment of our receiving orders for 30-45 days after mailing the order, and should not expect delivery for 90-120 days from placing an order. We ask our customers to bear with us. We will eventually recover from this surge. The CMP staff thanks you for your support and patience.

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KAF spotted this at CNN: Poll: Fewer Americans support stricter gun control laws

"If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!" - P.J. O'Rourke

Monday, April 13, 2009

I was pleased to see that Amazon.com has dropped their price to just $8.97 on my novel "Patriots: A Novel Survival in the Coming Collapse" . This must be one of those "economies of scale" benefits, derived from the huge re-order that they placed following the "Book Bomb" day last Wednesday. (Amazon sold more than 2,000 copies of "Patriots" in just one day!) Ulysses Press has ordered another 10,000 copy press run, to keep up with demand. Many thanks for your tremendous support of that event!


The high bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction is now at $1,310. This auction ends on April 15th. It is for a large mixed lot, which includes::

1.) A Warrior Aid and Litter Kit, donated by Ready Made Resources. This is an advanced medic kit package that includes a Talon II 90C folding handle collapsible litter, which normally retails for $560, just by itself. This truly a "full up" tactical trauma kit! This sophisticated medic kit normally retails for $1,500.

2.) A "be ready to barter" box of 26 full-capacity firearms magazines, from my personal collection in JASBORR. This box includes: 4 - Brand new "smoke gray" polymer original Bulgarian 40 rd. AK-47 magazines, 10 - brand new AR-15/M16 USGI black Teflon coated alloy 30 round magazines with stainless steel springs and the latest gray anti-tilt followers, 6 - new condition original USGI M14/M1A 20 round parkerized steel magazines from CMI (the current military prime contractor) 6 - new condition original Glock Model 20 (10mm) 15 round pistol magazines--the latest production type with "SF" front magazine catch notch . All of these magazines are of recent manufacture (and hence are NOT legal to possess in New York.) These magazines have a combined value of approximately $750, in today's market. Note: If you live in a state where full capacity magazines are banned, then you must choose to: refrain from bidding, or designate a recipient in an unrestricted state, or re-donate the magazines for a subsequent auction.

3.) A large Bury 'Em Tube (# 6L, 43" x 6" with a 5.1 gallon capacity), donated by Safecastle. (a $199.95 retail value)

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) An OPTIMUS Terra Cookset for backpacking, tent camping or even WTSHTF, donated by Safecastle. It includes the ultra-compact Crux stove, plus a special small cookset--all very portable and lightweight. (Fuel canister not included.) (a $95 retail value)

6.) A fresh, sealed case of full mil-spec MRE rations with ration heaters, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (a $94.95 value)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $2,800. This auction ends on April 15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.

Hi Mr. Rawles,
I thank you sincerely for all of the great information that you have made available to us all, for all your years of experience and knowledge.
I have what I hope will be an interesting question for you. I am young, 25, and currently work for an NGO in Nicaragua and previously did the Peace Corps work here as well. I have been pondering over how reasonable Nicaragua would/could be as a retreat location, for numerous reasons, such as, in any given area:

  • Rich topsoil and annual rains
  • Extremely low population density (lowest in Central America)
  • Low real estate prices
  • Low real estate taxes
  • An abundance of excellent [self-sufficient retreat] locations

These reasons make it seem to me, at least, as someone with minimal financial resources, as the best option, since preparing a retreat would be so much cheaper than in the USA.

There are, however, many downsides, such as:

  • Lack of other prepared people
  • Long distance from where I will be living (the USA)
  • Lack of medical supplies, qualified doctors, etc.

These make me tend to believe that one would have to be of the lone ranger type...or at least accept that others that would accompany one would not bring any material resources to the table, only experience (especially in agriculture, animal husbandry, do it yourself repairs, etc.). Because a big plus in the Nicaraguan economy is that it is already very subsistence based - cooking is done with firewood outside of the cities, soap can be made, etc.).

However, I always ask myself this question: When TSHTF, if I am living in the USA, will I be able to make it to my retreat in Nicaragua in time? Since I love Nicaragua and speak Spanish, etc., for me it stands out as an ideal location, however, I want to ask your advice on this particular question: When TSHTF, would you leave yourself a long plane flight and [an additional] 100+ KM [by road] from your retreat location?

I hope this question warrants real interest on your part and that it is a legitimate concern that other readers of SurvivalBlog can learn from. - Daniel G.

JWR Replies: I only consider offshore retreats viable if you relocate semi-permanently, and don't attempt to "time" your departure. That might work in a "slow slide" scenario, but unless you are an experienced blue water yachtsman and live within a few miles of where you keep a fully-stocked sailboat, it just won't work in the event of a sudden-onset collapse. (Driving would probably be impossible, since borders will be closed, and flying won't be an option since most international flights will presumably be grounded.)

Given the high crime rates in much of central and south America, it is important to find a farming community that is in a low-crime area. It is absolutely essential to learn Spanish muy rapido, and to develop close friendships with locals as soon as possible. Most of the Americans that I know that have made this transition successfully have either married into local families, or have set up companies that have employed a dozen or more local employees. (Thus, the employers have made themselves indispensable to the community.)

The financial crisis will becoming increasingly global, so don't consider yourself insulted by merely living in a a rural community in Nicaragua. Arm yourself, get good firearms training, and if possible acquire a Starlight scope and a passive IR intrusion detection system, such as a Dakota Alert. (The latter are sold by Affordable Shortwaves--one of our advertisers.) Kalashnikov (AK) rifles are ubiquitous in Central America, so I recommend taking AK-centric classes, such as those taught by Gabe Suarez.

Hello Mr. Rawles,
I would like to comment on the recommendations for Bug Out Bags:

Do not include an axe. It is a crude cutting device prone to making copious whacking noise while in use. Bugging out must be accomplished almost silently...
But do carry an Ontario 18" Machete . It cuts branches up to 1.5 inches thick in a single cut when sharp. My Ontario Machete is now more than 30 years old. It has been thoroughly used during military operations and during a tour of duty in Africa with the Peace Corps. Get a good flexible sheath with a hard tip inside on the bottom to nestle the sharp end into.

Collecting wood should always be done quietly. Be like the indians and gather [what in less politically correct days was called] 'squaw wood'. Wood that is dead and still attached to the tree. It will already be dried and aged. Perfect for a [small, low-smoke] campfire. In dry areas it can be picked up off the ground.

You can make a wood carrier out of a piece of old cloth tarp or heavy cloth. make it 24 inches square with a handle on opposite sides.
Lay the branches parallel to the handles and pick it up and you have a nice bundle of wood, easy to carry. You can also use this carrier as a ground cloth for laying out cooking utensils on.

During a bug out situation never burn up body energy cutting wood. [When moving quickly to get to your intended retreat,] you do not have the time nor the caloric reserves to do this.

Gather [cotton] lint from your home dryer and use it as fire starter. Store it [compressed] in a plastic bottle for inclusion in the bug out bag.

Bugging out must be accomplished silently and stealthily. No noise and stay out of sight.

Have a nice Easter. Cordially, - J.W.C. (A backpacker from the 1960s and 1970s.)

Mr. Rawles,

Yesterday, you posted Chad L.'s submission concerning buying "organic" and/or locally produced food. In it, Chad made a few statements that are simply wrong. This is an example: "...factory farming requires the use of fertilizer made from oil, largely derived from the Middle East. " This is a wholly ignorant statement, ignorant because if the author had bothered to check, he would have found that the USA produces nearly all of it's nitrogen fertilizer from natural gas. Even if we did use oil as the source for ammonium nitrate, OPEC only accounts for about half of the oil we import, if you only count Iraq it accounts for 10 percent of that (or about 5 percent of all imports). We import more oil from Canada and Mexico than from any country we are current at war with. This sort of soft-thinking is impossible to support, but sounds nice to many who take such statements as fact without taking the time to check them. We don't produce nitrogen fertilizer from oil, and if we did, the USA produces far more than it imports, so the "largely derived from the Middle East" is patently false. Heck, OPEC isn't comprised only of countries from the Middle East. Venezuela as well as several independent African nations are lumped in too. Take them out of the equation and the total oil imported to the USA from the Middle East only about a third of the total OPEC imports we receive.

He also doesn't point out that the majority of the world is fed by corporate farming, he even makes "corporate" sound like a dirty word. Any farmer I know who is making a profit, is incorporated. It costs approximately 1/3 to produce (by weight) a "corporate" tomato as it does an "organic" tomato - and the only purported guarantee you get is that no pesticides were used to produce it. If the world went "organic" the world would starve. Sure it's a good idea to grow your own food, but to do so because you hate "corporations" or that non-organic food is somehow less safe (anybody remember the folks who died/got sick when they drank the "organic" Odwalla juices a few years back?) or more safe is living in a fantasy world.

Let's not forget the offhand insult delivered to that ignorant guy wearing the NRA hat. Was it meant to say that the guy, being a gun-owner, should know something about a place he'd never been? Or, more to the point, was it simply an ad-hominem attack on some marginalized citizen (aren't all ignorant rednecks, NRA hat-wearin' types?) who had the misfortune to cross this man's path?

Since he touts "organic" local farming as using, in his words, "very little oil-based fertilizer" where, exactly does he think they get their ammonium nitrate? Any farmer can make the claim to use "very little oil-based fertilizer" since nearly all fertilizer is made from natural gas (that we produce in the USA).

His arguments simply do not support the truth and facts about farming. He also knocks, "South American factory farms" and makes an incoherent statement about millions of low-income immigrants (the same incoherent statements made about the Irish, Italian and WWII waves of immigrants) who flee here because of economic conditions on South American farms. The last time I checked, immigration from Chile (the major source of our winter fruits and vegetables - remember, the seasons are reversed below the equator - not so with Mexico) was so small, they did not fulfill their maximum quota with the US department of state. In fact, with a 96 percent literacy rate, they are better educated than we are in the USA. And in fact, with a population of only about 16 million (most descended from european immigrants) they would depopulate very quickly if they did support his "millions" number. Corporate farming in Chile works well, they help feed the rest of the world. Argentina is a close second. Many of the farm workers in Chile, for instance, are multi-generational employees of the same evil "corporations" as their fathers and mothers. How do I know this? I visit there, and have several connections in their agribusiness community. He picked a poor example of "insuring national security", most of the illegal workers in the USA do not work in agriculture-related industries, although this may not be readily apparent to a Californian (the breadbasket of the USA). This also casts unfair aspersions on the character of the human swarm he would have us fear as a "national security risk", do you really think an illegal immigrant would countenance someone coming to the country he needs to work in to support his family as his side in a border crossing, if that person were to attack the USA? He would have you fear the "great brown horde" the same way people in the northeast were taught to slur those "swarthy grape stompers" from Italy.

His facts are either skewed, or wrong. His thinly veiled disdain for gun owners and their intellect is insulting. And he is ignorant about where ammonium nitrate comes from. - L.D.M.

JWR Replies: To bolster your position, I should mention that SurvivalBlog reader "3CanKeep" kindly did some research and found that only 3.1% of the U.S. natural gas supply comes from foreign sources.


I really enjoyed Chad L.'s article from an organic farmer reaching out to the preparedness community. It was very well written with many bits of humor and many very relevant thoughts, such as, "if I’m lucky I just might get to be a farm hand if things go bad." and"That requires knowing how to grow it, something that is well beyond even moderately accomplished hobby gardeners",and "a book can be a great source of information, but it will likely never replace hands on learning from someone that knows what they’re doing. If you want to be able to grow enough food to live on you should know a farmer."and, finally, "Much lore and utility can be learned from those that actually know how to do things and no thing is more important than being able to produce food."
For some unknown reason, I've been really fired up during the last few weeks to learn as much about gardening and growing food, more than I have ever been during my last 50+ years. If this is Providential direction, I had better get my rear in gear!

Chad's article is truly reaching out to those of us who, "have never really been to a farmer’s market because he thought it was full of overpriced vegetables and dope-smoking hippies", and I commend him for his efforts and have a better idea as to how those prices may be not as high as I thought.

I just want to second what Chad is saying. Having been around production (factory), small scale and organic farming for about 40 years, it is clear most of the production farms and farmers will not survive times when oil and it's associated fertilizers and pesticides disappear or are in very short supply, the same is true if credit is tight. The knowledge curve to change from production to organic farming is a multi-year process.

For the preppers having seeds in a can sounds good and may make some folks feel good but it is unlikely their first crop will provide sufficient food to make it till the next harvest. That also assumes they have knowledge to preserve the crops and an a appropriate place for storage. There are only two groups that might grow us enough food to survive, the small homesteading folks that are currently supplying food for their family and the small growers that are selling into the farmers markets and/or have Community Supported Agriculutre (CSA) organizations. Of these two only the small growers have the knowledge to rapidly scale up output.

Having been a conservative most of my life and having watched George W. take away many of our freedoms with the Patriot Act and Paramilitarization of the police force though the war on drugs, I now mostly try to ignore the far right, 'christian' right, far left, and other fringe groups and just focus on the individual people. There are many folks planning and preparing for tough times, it will be difficult enough to survive without using the knowledge of all of us.

Thanks for the blog. I just ordered your new edition of "Patriots". - Riverrat

Chester sent us the link to his "must watch" video Real Gunfighter Lance Thomas on Justice Files. The lessons to be learned: If you live in a bad neighborhood, then relocate, as soon as possible. But regardless, get the best self defense tools and training that you can afford.

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Bill Six spotted this: 'Open season' declared on Mason Co. criminals

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F.R. forwarded a link to a masterful piece of gray propaganda: Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. Its liberal bias is subtle but is a consistent drumbeat throughout the document. The authors appear to be in the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division (a cell within the Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) Branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)), but I suspect that much of the content was outsourced. The authors made only a few factual errors (such as referring to same-sex marriage as a "radicalizing" issue in the 1990s--it wasn't actually an issue until it was first legislated in Massachusetts in 2001.) But they have obviously fully embraced the innuendos, half truths, and urban mythos promulgated by leftist "watchdog" groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Center for New Community, and the Center for Democratic Renewal. It is sad to see public officials either duped by leftist pressure groups, or willingly co-opted because of their own political bias. If the report were actually fair and balanced, then it would have analyzed both the "rightwing" threat and leftists. (Other DHS I&A Branch publications such as the Domestic Extremism Digest have shown far less bias in the past.) But to the authors of this new report, and to those of their ilk, hard core conservatives are "radicals", while assorted hard core left wingers are merely "activists.") The only thing worse than a smear campaign is a subtle smear campaign.

"Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people." - Aristotle 384–322 BC

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have a joyous Easter. Our Savior is risen!


The high bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction is now at $1,260. This auction ends on April 15th. It is for a large mixed lot, which includes::

1.) A Warrior Aid and Litter Kit, donated by Ready Made Resources. This is an advanced medic kit package that includes a Talon II 90C folding handle collapsible litter, which normally retails for $560, just by itself. This truly a "full up" tactical trauma kit! This sophisticated medic kit normally retails for $1,500.

2.) A "be ready to barter" box of 26 full-capacity firearms magazines, from my personal collection in JASBORR. This box includes: 4 - Brand new "smoke gray" polymer original Bulgarian 40 rd. AK-47 magazines, 10 - brand new AR-15/M16 USGI black Teflon coated alloy 30 round magazines with stainless steel springs and the latest gray anti-tilt followers, 6 - new condition original USGI M14/M1A 20 round parkerized steel magazines, from CMI (the current military prime contractor) 6 - new condition original Glock Model 20 (10mm) 15 round pistol magazines--the latest production type with "SF" front magazine catch notch . All of these magazines are of recent manufacture (and hence are NOT legal to possess in New York.) These magazines have a combined value of approximately $750, in today's market. Note: If you live in a state where full capacity magazines are banned, then you must choose to: refrain from bidding, or designate a recipient in an unrestricted state, or re-donate the magazines for a subsequent auction.

3.) A large Bury 'Em Tube (# 6L, 43" x 6" with a 5.1 gallon capacity), donated by Safecastle. (a $199.95 retail value)

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) An OPTIMUS Terra Cookset for backpacking, tent camping or even WTSHTF, donated by Safecastle. It includes the ultra-compact Crux stove, plus a special small cookset--all very portable and lightweight. (Fuel canister not included.) (a $95 retail value)

6.) A fresh, sealed case of full mil-spec MRE rations with ration heaters, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (a $94.95 value)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $2,800. This auction ends on April 15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.


Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I know the name of the woman who raises the chickens that lay the eggs that I eat. Do you? I know about her daughter’s college plans and her vacations and how she got into the business of raising chickens. This might not seem so important from a survivalist perspective, but I think it is and I’ll explain why in the following paragraphs.

Now think about where you get your eggs. Chances are they come from a big chain grocery store. That means they are raised in a huge factory farm, staffed by underpaid workers of questionable legality, and overwhelmingly dependent on Chinese produced chicken feed. Which of these eggs do you think is better for the long-term goals of a preparedness minded individual? I thought so.
What I’m getting at here is that an American preparedness culture should be supporting small, local, organic farms whenever possible. In this essay I am going to avoid environmental arguments in support of local, organic foods. Although, I will confess that I believe that environmental issues are one of the largest threats to American personal and national security and that a dedication to environmental solutions will ease many of the problems that threaten us, especially including dependence on foreign oil and government corporate welfare in the form of unnecessary farm subsidies.
I started thinking about this topic because I work at a Farmer’s Market in Northern California and I rarely see customers that exhibit some of the tell tale signs of the “survivalist” crowd (Ruger hats, NRA T-shirts, etc.). However, many of the farmers can be seen wearing “the signs”. Small farmers are, as a whole, very hard working, practically minded, conservative leaning people who care deeply for their families. They would mostly fit right in at any Preparedness gathering; even the really Left of center politically leaning ones.

One morning a man walked up wearing an NRA hat and we got to talking. It turns out he had never really been to a farmer’s market because he thought it was full of overpriced vegetables and dope-smoking hippies. He was having a good experience and was really impressed by how knowledgeable the workers were about what they were selling. I could certainly offer no counter to his concerns over the hippies (it is Northern California after all. Although, to tell the truth there aren’t that many of them left). The counter to his cost concerns is more complex.
Organic food costs more than non-organic food. It is certainly more expensive to make food grow like this and the cost is passed on to the consumer. There have been plenty of recent big agriculture financed studies showing that there is little nutritional difference between organic and factory produced food which leads a consumer on a budget to validly wonder “why should I buy this if it isn’t better for me?” Even if these studies are true, they do not tell the whole picture.

Organic has become a major buzz word and a major marketing tool. Plenty of the stuff that’s labeled organic gains a lot of its cost from being shipped from South America and the big grocery stores (especially the big health food stores) are more than willing to tack on high prices for perceived value. It’s the same thing that goes on with the designer bags my wife covets. They might not do anything special (they hold stuff the same as my backpack does), but they look nice and are sought after by a particular and demanding consumer that is willing to pay extra for premium.
But this isn’t the whole story or even the segment of the food producers I’m suggesting we as survivalists support. There are huge hidden costs to the production of cheap factory food. First of all, cheap food requires cheap labor. When people in South America are sick of being sprayed by pesticides and working for next to nothing, where do you think they are going to go?
Your hard earned dollars should not be supporting factory farms that are abusing humans (a Christian issue if ever there was one if that concerns you) or creating an economic climate that gives incentive to millions of desperate people to illegally enter the country. The cost of supporting these South American factory farms is inestimable when you factor in all of the issues surrounding illegal immigration, issues that should be on the minds of all Preparedness minded citizens. |

Second, factory farming requires the use of fertilizer made from oil, largely derived from the Middle East. Ask anyone with a child serving in Iraq what the cost of oil is and you are not going to get a dollar amount. I’m not suggesting that we should not use oil or that our actions in Iraq are unjust or unnecessary, far from it. I am suggesting that supporting a food production model that uses very little oil-based fertilizer is in the best interests of Americans. Small, local farms that utilize crop rotation and sustainable practices do not destroy the land at the same rate (often the land is replenished) and do not need to pump Saudi chemicals into the ground.

A trip to a farmer’s market is far different than a trip to a place like a Whole Foods store. Vegetables and livestock that are in season and not delivered very far (the Locavore rule of thumb is to try not to eat food from more than 100 miles away if you can help it) have a negligibly higher cost at the register and virtually no societal costs associated with factory farms.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg of the issues surrounding the ways factory farming weakens national security. The more you dig, the more you see that true freedom and liberty depends on the yeoman farmer so celebrated by Thomas Jefferson. The Jeffersonian agrarian ideal is alive and well and you can help it survive simply by shopping.

Think about this: if the stuff really hits the fan and the country goes to h*ll, whom do you want to be friends with? I want to be friends with hard working men and women that know how to grow food and make their land work for them. Shopping at farmer’s markets is a great way to make community connections that are both personally rewarding and potentially life saving. I know the names of many of the people I buy my food from and if I’m lucky I just might get to be a farm hand if things go bad.

Thankfully there seems to be a shift away from the “hoard away somewhere with guns and MREs and ride it out” model of survivalism. Those MREs are terrible and will eventually run out. If you had to survive on them for any period of time you would likely add a great deal of depression to what is likely going to be a stressful situation. I want to be in a position to eat real food. That requires knowing how to grow it, something that is well beyond even moderately accomplished hobby gardeners. Even the gnarliest “I’m gonna drive 'the last of the V8 interceptors' and pump .50 caliber rounds into any desperados I see” survivalist is likely including gardening books in their personal survival library.

If you want to learn how to do something, a book can be a great source of information, but it will likely never replace hands on learning from someone that knows what they’re doing. If you want to be able to grow enough food to live on you should know a farmer. It’s real easy to meet them. Just go to a market and ask them about their product.

Being able to grow food is more important than even being able to properly operate a firearm (and many who can do the former know the latter simply by cultural osmosis). If you are willing to buy premium American made firearms, learn from the knowledgeable through conversation and classes, and enjoy them, you should be willing to do the same with your food.
Like all the best survival preps, gardening is fun and rewarding on its own and provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with your family. It ranks right up there with teaching your kids how to fish and shoot, but it has unfortunately fallen out of vogue in the last fifty years. When you’re picking up a head of lettuce from your new friend that grew it for you, ask him how you might do the same. It could save your life.

Shopping at farmer’s markets protects national security interests, builds important connections with like-minded people able to withstand hard times, and provides a way for families to connect with the traditions of one of America’s most hardworking and iconic professions, the farmer. Much lore and utility can be learned from those that actually know how to do things and no thing is more important than being able to produce food.

HPD mentioned a piece in Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Bartering Services to Combat the Recession

David V. sent this: Social Security Bomb About To Explode

Items from The Economatrix:

Economic Crisis: No End In Sight; Worse Than The Great Depression. "Today five US banks according to data in the just-released Federal Office of Comptroller of the Currency's Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activity, hold 96% of all US bank derivatives positions in terms of nominal values, and an eye-popping 81% of the total net credit risk exposure in event of default." (JPMorganChase, BofA, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, which really makes Wells Fargo's "profit" highly suspicious.)

A Tale of Two Depressions

Top Five Financially Happy States.

America's 20+% Unemployment Rate

Geithner, Paulson Named in $200 Billion Lawsuit. The class action lawsuit filed in Federal court in Los Angeles is a "wide reaching" claim that will do what Congress cannot..."

Positive Signs Stir Hopes Crisis is Bottoming Out
"Government examinations of the finances of the nation's largest banks - the so-called stress tests - are finding the weakened banking system in better shape than expected..." Playing on a well-known saying, you can't just be a "little bit bankrupt." You are or you aren't.

New Jersey Bank to Return Bailout, Sixth One to Do So

Job Cuts Needed to Stop New York City Bankruptcy

1st Time Jobless Overwhelm Job Center

Federal Budget Deficit Sets March Record, $192.3 Billion (Significantly higher than the $150 Billion that economists expected)

76% Say Let Carmakers Fail

Joshua S. found a link on the "Kyoto Box" stove.

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From Cheryl: New Food Crisis Looms

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I found a good piece on edible and useful Cattail plants.

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Beginning at Sunrise, Easter morning, the folks at Everlasting Seeds are offering a 20% discount on all products except the Medicinal Garden, just for SurvivalBlog readers. You’ll have to use this link to get the Special price. The sale ends at sundown on Saturday, April 18th

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

- Excerpt from the Hymn How Great Thou Art, based on the poem O Store Gud, written by Carl Gustav Boberg, in 1885. Translated from the Swedish by Stuart K. Hine.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

We've all heard that particular proverb. For those of us reading this venue, we all have a specific mindset that probably keeps that at the forefront of our minds. We have our space. We have our preps. We have spent time and effort placing a lot of emphasis on keeping ourselves one step ahead. So how do we keep out everyone else?. Better yet… how do we keep prying eyes out? Still best, how do we create our sanctuary without drawing any attention to ourselves whatsoever?

We can build a fence, but a fence can be cut. Fences cost money. …Money that perhaps we would like to spend on other things. We could conceivably dig a moat, but if our land isn't flat (let's face it, it's probably not). A moat also isn't much of a deterrent unless it's filled with something particularly unsavory, like crocodiles or piranhas. Furthermore, a moat is going to take a lot of effort, probably employing heavy equipment, and again, costing a great deal of money.

What we really need is something that serves as a hardy physical and psychological barrier, screens what is behind it, costs very little, and mostly takes care of itself. Maybe it could even get more robust as time goes on… Impossible, you say? Perhaps not.

In Europe, one long standing tradition of creating a fence against neighboring property is to plant a hedge. Now before you scoff, push out of your mind the juniper bushes freshly trimmed at waist height. What you want is something a bit more robust. Something wooly and wild and impenetrable…

A customary European hedge is initially a row of one particular type of woody shrub or tree planted about 1-2 feet apart. Once the tree reaches approximately 10 feet in height, an axe or hatchet is used to notch the tree at the base so that it can be bent over, and it is laid over at about a 35 degree angle from horizontal. When the entire row is done this way, the branches are woven and tangled together to form a rough and difficult to penetrate screen. As time passes, new vegetation grows up through the toppled trees and adds height to the hedge, further screening from the neighbors. This was primarily designed to contain livestock.

What we need is a system to keep out a much more ingenious invader than neighboring livestock. We want something that will stop anything short of a bulldozer or perhaps a tank. And best of all, if it's all the same, we want something that looks nondescript and uninteresting to the passerby. If the hungry refugee has nothing to stop and look at, he likely will keep on going. The roving gang isn't even going to slow down if they see nothing of interest. So what we need is something much more robust than the European hedge.

European hedges are often grown from the local native shrubs and trees. Locally, here in the midwest US we have several tree species that would work especially well for this type of application. Your local flora may differ a great deal where you are. My particular favorites for my location are the honey-locust, Osage orange (notably named the "hedge tree", locally), and western red cedar. All three of these are known throughout the region as a pest. They are all fairly prolific and fast growing. The best bet is to look around and see what grows where you don’t want it to. Those will grow into the most robust living fence you can imagine.

I have not made these three tree choices lightly. These trees are chosen because of their quick growth ability, resistance to insects and blights, and ability to interplant very closely with other trees. Hardwoods such as Oak, hickory, and especially walnut, tend to crowd out other trees with chemicals secreted by their roots. However, you can interplant fruits such as mulberry, apples and pears among the locusts, Osage, and cedars.

Now, plant your trees spacing them out in a row approximately 12 to 18 inches apart. Water them. Fertilize them if necessary. Let them grow to about 5 feet in height (tree tubes may help them achieve this height but are by no means necessary). Make sure that all trees are trimmed of most side branches and splits split trunks are pruned to one side or another. This makes the final arrangement easier.

Once the trees have reached the appropriate height ( I said 5 feet, but this is not necessarily the case) you will need to notch the trunks approximately 3 inches above ground level. To notch the trunk, you should take a sturdy knife and carve approximately 2/3 of the trunk out. Alternate which side of the tree you notch, as you will be weaving the trunks together.

Once you have notched your trees, beginning with one pair, lay your trees over to about 30-to-45 degrees crossing in the middle. Go to the next set, doing the same, making sure that you achieve a true weave (in front of one, behind the next, etc). Once done, make sure that where the trees cross the second row is done in the same manner. What you end up with should look a little something like a chain link fence.

Next you need to wait for the tree to grow some more, and repeat the process as it gets taller. Since trees don't grow at angles, it's likely that either your initial stem will grow straight up, or perhaps a side branch will take the initiative to take off. But either way, you will be trimming from a ladder and weaving in the same way.

Obviously, one should grow other things outside the wall. Poison ivy, stinging nettles, thick brambles and rose bushes all serve as a primary deterrent long before anyone actually comes to the hedge. Making it look natural helps all that much better. Eventually your hedge will bush out and look less like a giant lattice and more like an impenetrable wall of vegetation.

Like anything, this process can be as big or as small as you want it to be, and it's all about how much you put into it. I envision two hedges side by side about ten feet tall. The inner hedge mostly fruit trees and honey locust, while the outer hedge is made up primarily of cedar and Osage orange. Between the two is a wall made up of old tires with one sidewall cut out, filled with sand. The tire wall is about 5 feet tall and serves as a bullet stop for stray small arms fire. Above the tire wall the two hedges have been intertwined to hold it all together. The occasional observation post (OP) has been fashioned into the design and only accessible from the private side (inside) of the wall.

With a setup like this and an alleyway to a locked gate, access could be controlled in such a way that the vagrant who wandered in would automatically be covered and unable to escape. In the same respect, anyone who attempted to raid a place reinforced in such a way, would encounter a lot more resistance than they would want to, if in fact they even knew it existed.

Obviously this process takes time. Lots of time. And that is its primary downfall. Time may be something we all lack in these uncertain and trying times. It also takes a lot of work. Hard work. Expect to have scars. Consider that as better than the alternative.

For those of us who may have that place in the woods, and are just biding our time, this might be a thing worth doing, even if just for facing a public road. If one life is saved because of this information, then it has all been worth it. Good luck and God bless to all of you.

I get e-mails from Front Sight students all the time reporting to me how they often draw a crowd at shooting ranges as people marvel at their marksmanship, speed, and gun handling. The question they are always asked is,
"Where did you learn how to shoot like that?" Of course they respond with "Front Sight!"
Well here is a twist on that experience from someone who recently e-mailed me:

Dr. Piazza,
I just wanted to send you this e-mail and let you know
about an experience I had several months ago.
I work part time at a shooting range in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and my sister hosts Ladies' Night there.
I was invited as a guest speaker teaching the ladies how to clear rooms in a structure with a weapon and a light.
During a break, one of the ladies went into the range to shoot her handgun. I was walking by and glanced in the window and noticed her well placed shots... two to the thoracic cavity and one to the ocular cavity.
Immediately after her shots I saw her blonde pony tail swing from side to side, demonstrating an obvious
trademark of fine training... She was doing an After Action Drill.
I put on some "ears and eyes" and went into the range to observe her flawless techniques.
When she was done she turned and saw me watching her and smiled.
I said, "You've been to Front Sight, haven't you?"
She replied, "Yes. How did you know?"
I told her I could tell from the professional techniques she was using.
She started talking to me about how proud of herself she was and her increased self confidence since attending your Four Day Defensive Handgun Class.
She told me about the Color Codes of Awareness that you teach and that she is now always in Condition Yellow... relaxed, but alert.
She said that she didn't want to brag but she felt she had now reached a level of Unconsciously Competent in her weapons handling-- meaning her skills were now reflexive.
I told the other ladies to watch her and learn, or better yet, attend Front Sight.
I just wanted to pass this along to you.
Keep up the good work.

Kelley "Badger" Sands
Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Well there you go... If you want to spot a Front Sight graduate look for the smiling, confident, relaxed yet alert person with the well placed shots and flawless, professional technique!
And if you want to be that person, (or you want your spouse to be that person) take advantage of my "Get a Gun" training & gear offer before the price increase. - Dr. Ignatius Piazza

DD forwarded this link, from MSN: Five foods that are cheaper to grow

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From Cheryl: Ammo Shortages Have Police Scrambling for Sufficient Rounds

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More news for the Whack 'n Stack tally: Armed Ohio couple stops home robbers

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M.O.B. sent this: Feinstein will not pursue assault weapons ban for now. Is this supposed to give me a warm, fuzzy feeling? Rather, it strikes me more like a "Hitler plans to stop his army's advance at The Sudetenland For Now" sorta news story.

"There is no education like adversity." - British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli

Friday, April 10, 2009

I've just signed a publishing contract with Penguin Books to complete a manuscript for a non-fiction paperback that will be titled "How to Survive The End of the World as We Know It." Rather than the 12- to 18-month production cycle that is typical for most books from major New York publishing houses, this book will be a "instant book" with a release date possibly as early as August of Aught Nine. There are also now two big New York publishers that have expressed interest in publishing a mass-market edition of "Patriots". I'll post more details as they become available.

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction is now at $1,160. This auction ends on April 15th. It is for a large mixed lot, which includes::

1.) A Warrior Aid and Litter Kit, donated by Ready Made Resources. This is an advanced medic kit package that includes a Talon II 90C folding handle collapsible litter, which normally retails for $560, just by itself. This truly a "full up" tactical trauma kit! This sophisticated medic kit normally retails for $1,500.

2.) A "be ready to barter" box of 26 full-capacity firearms magazines, from my personal collection in JASBORR. This box includes: 4 - Brand new "smoke gray" polymer original Bulgarian 40 rd. AK-47 magazines, 10 - brand new AR-15/M16 USGI black Teflon coated alloy 30 round magazines with stainless steel springs and the latest gray anti-tilt followers, 6 - new condition original USGI M14/M1A 20 round parkerized steel magazines, from CMI (the current military prime contractor) 6 - new condition original Glock Model 20 (10mm) 15 round pistol magazines--the latest production type with "SF" front magazine catch notch . All of these magazines are of recent manufacture (and hence are NOT legal to possess in New York.) These magazines have a combined value of approximately $750, in today's market. Note: If you live in a state where full capacity magazines are banned, then you must choose to: refrain from bidding, or designate a recipient in an unrestricted state, or re-donate the magazines for a subsequent auction.

3.) A large Bury 'Em Tube (# 6L, 43" x 6" with a 5.1 gallon capacity), donated by Safecastle. (a $199.95 retail value)

4.) A NukAlert compact radiation detector donated by at KI4U.com (a $160 retail value). 

5.) An OPTIMUS Terra Cookset for backpacking, tent camping or even WTSHTF, donated by Safecastle. It includes the ultra-compact Crux stove, plus a special small cookset--all very portable and lightweight. (Fuel canister not included.) (a $95 retail value)

6.) A fresh, sealed case of full mil-spec MRE rations with ration heaters, courtesy of CampingSurvival.com. (a $94.95 value)

Thus, this auction has a combined value in excess of $2,800. This auction ends on April 15th. Please e-mail us your bid. Your bid will be for the entire mixed lot.

Dear Mr. Rawles,

First, I would like to commend you on your "Patriots" novel. It is a "must read" for any American who believes in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. I bought the book a few months ago and have read it twice so far. The "crunch" scenario outlined is self-evident today, and a very real possibility.

I have never been of the "survivalist" mindset, however with the NWO now upon us - and my becoming 'awake" as to the threat of the NWO and TEOTWAWKI - I am starting my preparations in earnest. Your book, and others, are now quickly becoming part of my reading in order to catch up on what I have to do to protect my family and myself when the Schumer hits the fan.

I have read many articles on your blog and the internet regarding what the contents of a G.O.O.D. bag should carry. Of interest is the subject of portable cooking stoves. I have found a quick and free option for a lightweight and portable "camp stove" that I would like to share. It is called the "Super Cat" Alcohol Stove found at the Jim Woods Base Camp web site. This "stove" is simply a cat food can that can easily be transformed into an denatured alcohol (or similar) fueled cooking stove that is a simple to make, takes up minimum space, and is fueled by easily carried and procured denatured alcohol. I find that carrying one or two of these stoves in a zip-loc bag takes up minimal space in a backpack. Denatured alcohol is readily available, and can be cached for future use in large quantity. The downloadable PDF file for the "Super Cat also shows the various ways that that the fuel can be carried in small containers for a backpack. There are also downloadable files on a windscreen and stove stand that are also easily self-fabricated.

I know that most of the folks that read your blog are more prepared than I am at this point, but I feel that all options should be presented for evaluation and testing in order to find out what best suits their needs. And the best thing about the "Super-Cat" is that it is free!

Thanks for your Patriotism and everything you do. - W.M.

Jim, I also have been a regular attendee of the Knob Creek gun show in Fort Knox, Kentucky for the past 8 years and would like to add a little more insight. I always attend the October show and occasionally attend the April show. Times being as they are I made an extra effort to attend last week and bring some first timers with me. The shock started Friday morning when the booths opened at 9:00am. My first encounter was Hi-Tech Ammunition (St. Louis) table. They were already out of all rifle and pistol powder. Only remaining was some military surplus machine gun powder. The I went to a Wolf ammo supplier to only to find 7.62x39 was now $375/1,000. Their 9mm Federal was $325/1,000. I was not going to buy more since I already had an ample supply from the October show. ($185/1,000 for 7.62x39 and $175/1,000 for 9mm). In six months did the price really double? Yes it did and where will it be next month. I already new and expected .223 to be over $400/1,000 and was right. .223 is easy to reload for under $200/1,000 so its back to my basement married to my Dillon 550B.

Rifle and pistol prices are also hair raising issues. I have been tracking the costs of AK-47s extensively for the past two years. Since the October 2008 show AK-47s went up 50%. What used to be $375 for a Romanian WASR-10 is now $600. Any Hungarian or Bulgarian varieties that were $500 to $650 are now $700 to $950 and I did not see one Yugo AK in the three days at the show. SKSes were selling for $300 and up.

Your earlier Knob Creek reporter summed up the magazine market perfectly. Mags were available but the prices were all over the place, but mostly up. Once fired brass was very hard to find. I also heard that the dealers bought everything up on Thursday before the show started. Everything I wanted was gone, extremely limited or twice the price. What a depressing show. I had to the same conclusion to start shooting the AK-74 round (5.45 mm) but when everybody catches on its going to be the same problem we have right now. - John at the Trading Post

Dear James,
Yesterday you included a note from a reader who had attended the Knob Creek Shoot. In it he wrote: "On the whole, the current situation seems to favor those moving into the AK-74 realm. AK-74 [parts] kits were $495, receiver flats were $12, transferable receivers were $60 and the ammo was $300 per 1,300 rounds (in sealed tins). There never seems to be much competition for that ammo. I am thinking about getting a 5.45mm AK."

If you have standardized with the AR-15 platform, you can still use the 5.45x39 ammo which is still relatively cheap these days. Smith & Wesson makes both a full carbine and an upper in 5.45x39. AIM Surplus has the upper only available for $569. They also have the Russian 53 grain FMJ available for $149 per 1080-round can. This is where I bought my S&W flat-top upper.
I know there are other companies which make uppers in 5.45x39. If you already have an AR lower and want to take advantage of the price differential, this may be the way to go. - John R. in North Carolina

JWR Replies: That is a good point. For someone that does a lot of .223 target shooting, this os presently a good option. Let's do the math: Typical 5.56mm NATO ball (such as Winchester white box was $5 a box three years ago. It is now $15 per box. Suppose that you were to buy three 1,080-round cans of 5.45x39 ammo for $450. The equivalent quantity of 5.56 ball would cost a whopping $2,430. That is almost a $2,000 difference! Even after the expense of buying a dedicated 5.45x39 upper receiver assembly (around $800 for a nice one, presently), you'd still be nearly $1,200 ahead and would significantly reduce wear to your original 5.56.barrel.. It is also just the trick for that Red Dawn scenario.

It won't be long until folks catch on, and the supply of 5.45mm ammo dries up, so don't dawdle. If you currently own an AR-15 or M4, buy several cans of 5.45 ammo now. Just be willing to be on the back order list for a 5.45x39 upper receiver assembly for several months. Come next Fall, you'll be laughing all the way to the bank shooting range

For the past month, I've been monitoring a great new open-source intelligence blog that is available to the public. Be sure to bookmark it!

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Dale Williams, the host of a popular conservative talk radio show in Salt Lake City has started to put his show archives online at Free West Radio. (One of JWR's interviews is archived there.)

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Cheryl sent this: TWIC--A Backdoor Real ID Card

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Reader MMJ recommended this article on solar ovens

"We adults are survivors by definition; our first priority now is to make our next generation expert at pulling through.' - Dean Ing, Pulling Through

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I am pleased to report that yesterday's Book Bomb Day (April 8th) for "Patriots: A Novel Survival in the Coming Collapse" resulted in more than 2,000 book orders from Amazon.com, and drove the novel's Amazon sales Bestsellers rank up to #6 (overall), #1 in Thrillers, and #1 in Contemporary Fiction. BTW, the #6 rank is respectable, considering that 3 of the 5 books ranked higher than "Patriots" are mega-sellers that are being driven by the very popular Twilight movie. It even edged out Oprah's current touchy-feely favorite. Oh, and speaking of timely books, The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income, and Grow Wealthy Even in the Worst of Times by Marty Weiss was also in Amazon's Top Ten on Wednesday. I'd say that this is evidence that people are getting very concerned about the recession turning into a depression.

My sincere thanks for making the Book Bomb day such a great success. Please continue to spread the word about "Patriots". Many Thanks!

Dear Jim,
My closest neighbor works in our local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office. He told me that the lady in the cubical next to his handles mining claims. She has told him that there has been a significant increase in new mining claims. What she is confused about is that where many of the claims have been made, there is no evidence of any minerals. She told my neighbor that she researched to law and there is no requirement to prove that there are minerals to be mined at a claim site.

My neighbor feels that people who are filing these claims, are getting locations set up where they can go to if the Schumer Hits the Fan (SHTF). It is very cheap to file a claim and the fees have not gone up in decades. Living here in the west ,there are plenty of old mines that are not being worked, that have gated roads and no trespassing signs. It is my understanding that the owners of the claim just need to do the yearly assessment work to keep it.

I am sure there are readers with a lot more knowledge of mining law than me that may be able to verify that this might be a viable way to obtain an inexpensive retreat.

Here is some more information on mining claims. It looks pretty good for those getting started on a small budget.

From eHow: How to File a Mining Claim

From a BLM office n Arizona

A Mining Claim Book Review

Regards, - P.D.

Hello Mr. Rawles,
Thanks again for this blog; it's my nightly reading before bedtime. Regarding the letter from John the Midwestern Hiker, here are some other possibilities/opinions about bug-out bags. Naturally, edit as you see fit, should any of this merit mentioning....

Because I live in a large metropolitan area in the eastern US, I try to remain prepared for just such a bug-out event. I know approximately how much time I would need and how much fuel I would need in order to arrive in "Free America"--my fuel tank is never less than 3/4ths full. I have at least two places along the way where I have a stash of related items for addition and/or replenishment (at friends/relatives places) and I also now keep a few MREs in my vehicle, no longer only as part of the winter travel kit. I am familiar enough with the middle third of the USA that I would not really need even a map. In a bug-situation, my hardest decision would be the first decision: leave immediately or wait?

Although I try to keep active year 'round, I do most of my hiking and backpacking in the 6 months that are not winter. In my opinion the most important items in my packs are (listed in order of importance) 1) water filtration and/or purification 2) non-folding hunting knife 3) rain gear, including water-proof and insulated gloves and clothing items 4) basic compass 5) basic First Aid kit 6) food items with a good mix of high carbohydrates, fat and protein 7) finally, a good sleeping bag. Some down bags now have waterproof material; non-down bags (such as Wiggy's) will have insulating function, dry or wet. The investment in a good, well-fitted pair of hiking boots is a given.

In addition to the above, I do carry a tent for the appropriate season/elevation and MSR gas stove with the familiar red fuel canister and other odd miscellany, like a drinking bottle and a spork. While the small canister stoves are light and convenient, if one were to do much backpacking at all, a small fortune will be spent on fuel, in addition to finding a place to properly discard the empties. If I were ever to get into the ultra-light mindset, I wouldn't even bother---use fuel tablets such as Esbit. Probably not even have much of a tent either.

I have two packs that are always packed--one for early-/late-season/winter conditions, the other for normal summer. As a precaution I always plan for winter conditions and wet weather when in the mountains--elevation is everything! I've been in below sub-freezing conditions at high elevations in August, not to mention the usual monsoon season in the Rockies in the fall. Upon returning I take care of all cleaning, washing, repairs and re-packing of items, including freeze-dried foods, which usually have a long shelf life. With everything pre-packed, it is possible for me to grab two packs, toss 'em into my vehicle and bug out. A Google search [on "ultra-light backpacking"] will come up with many sites providing lots of information. However, I highly recommend the wonderful, good ol' standard "The Complete Walker" by the late Colin Fletcher (may his Welsh hiking soul now hike in peace!) and the still-very-much-alive Chip Rawlins. This book is at least in it's fourth version by now, and makes for wonderful reading, especially by the fireplace in winter! Everything you'll need to know about having your "house on your back" is covered in great detail in this book.

While I don't expect to be faced with a bug-out situation any time soon, I do believe that backpacking, in addition to being a fun way to see the world, is also a good physical and mental preparation if such an event were to happen. History is full of "unexpected" events! Cheers, - Mark S.


Mr. Rawles;
I agree with John about the ultralight camping equipment. A Sil-Nylon Cat Tarp, sleeping quilt from Jack's R Better, Pad, Food, Water, personal hygiene, and cooking gear for 3 or 4 days can easily be put together under 16 pounds, including the pack. The days of the 50 pound (or heavier) one week pack are, thankfully, long gone.

Now, if you want to talk Super Ultralight, like my nine pound three-day load, (which includes my clothes and boots on my feet), you have to be willing to make much of your gear...but there are patterns all over the S/UL blogs and sites on the net. - Mike on the Res.

Let me tell you about an experience I had the other day and my frustration. I recently purchased some tools from Sears and got the "higher quality" Craftsman brand. One of the items purchases was a bow saw. I did not look closely at the quality of the item purchased because I thought to myself, "It is a Craftsman, they have a life time warranty." Well, a few months later
the saw broke because of bad construction. Some little nubs that were punched through the very thin sheet metal that held the saw blade in place. It does not take an expert to see that they broke soon after I started to do some hard work. Very disappointing. Sears exchanged it, and I see that they have a new model with a rivet instead of a nub. But I am not sure that it will las very long. I asked the clerk if all of their stuff was Made in China. She said "No," and stated it surprised her that the saw was made in China.

On the way out I looked at a vacuum cleaner, it was a wet-dry "shop vac". Craftsman and Made in Mexico. I guess that "Mexico" is not China so she was technically right. I purchased a Kenmore about two years ago because it was rated the highest in Consumers' Reports. It is all plastic and does not work that well. The suction is pretty low. My grandmother has a vacuum cleaner that she purchased over fifty years ago. My brother and I call it "The Pig" because it looks like a pig (complete with a snout) from behind. I can not seem to find a vacuum cleaner that will last. They are all cheap and made as disposable items. I would rather purchase one good vacuum cleaner to last me 50 years instead of one cheap one every 3-to-5 years.

Where does someone buy Made in the USA products that are made out of good metal? I know a place must exist somewhere. Thanks, - Brent

JWR Replies: This topic has been raised before in SurvivalBlog. In my opinion, the best quality for your dollar can often be found in used American and European-made tools. For details, see this post from late 2008: Letter Re: Recommended Sources for Gardening Hand Tools.

Matt B. suggested this video clip of Argentinean economist Adrian Salbuchi: Global Financial Collapse

Greg C. sent this item from McPaper: Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing

D.G. suggested this from Eric Margolis at The Toronto Sun: Wall Street Ticks Off the World

From G.G.: A Night with the Bears: Meredith Whitney, Nouriel Roubini, Ian Gordon and Eric Sprott put on quite a show this evening in Toronto.

Items from The Economatrix:

Derivatives, the New Ticking Time Bomb

Politicized Accounting: No End to the Scams

Soros: "Zombie" Banks Could Suck Lifeblood Out of Economy

The Question that Flummoxed The Great Orator

Wholesale Inventories Drop to Lowest in 17 Years Note that it is not that sales are up so much, but that inventories are down: "Wholesalers cut their inventories in February by the steepest amount in more than 17 years, while sales rose for the first time since the summer, encouraging signs that companies may be getting their inventories under control."

Derivatives Trading Crackdown Begins

Japan's Goods and Services Fall By Half

Soros Warns Shares Will Fall Further

Gold Sold for Scrap Outstrips New Purchases

Is Silver the New Gold?

Irish Hike Tax and Cut Spending

World Bank Sees China Recovery from Recession this Year (Hmmmm... Do they also see World Peace and personal jet cars in the near future?)

GM Close to Bankruptcy

UK Store Food Prices Soar

Americans Feel 15.6% Unemployment as Underemployment Surges

Consumers Fall Behind on Loans at Record Rate

Credit Card Companies Shut Down 8 Million Credit Card Accounts in February

Stress Takes its Tolls on Banks

The IMF Rules the World

M.R.L. sent us a link to some fascinating details on the 1859 Carrington Solar Storm event, and some dire predictions for future similar events.

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Rob B. was the first of several SurvivalBlog readers that sent us this: [Low path] Bird flu found on Kentucky poultry farm Expert says strain poses little risk to humans; 20,000 chickens euthanized

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Greg and Kat were the first readers (of more than a dozen) that sent this Wall Street Journal article link: Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated by Spies

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Feld sent us this: Pelosi pledges compromise on assault weapons ban. Translation from the Inside-The-Beltway Lingo: "Compromise = For now, we only plan to take away some of your God-given rights." I can only ask: What part of "...shall not be infringed" don't the congresscritters understand?

"It is sometimes said that some complicated task is as difficult as herding cats. Actually, that’s not necessarily all that hard, if you’ve got a laser pointer to give the cats a mischievous little red dot to chase after." - H. J. Halterman, Along the Way, March 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today is the "Patriots" Book Bomb Day!!! If you have a blog, then please mention this one-day event, and if not, then please send a brief e-mail to friends and relatives on your e-mail list, today, to let folks know about "Patriots: A Novel Survival in the Coming Collapse". The new edition features both an index and a glossary. This is the day to place an order. Please consider buying any copies for birthday and Christmas gifts early. This new edition of "Patriots". is priced at just $10.17. UPDATE: When I last checked, it was ranked #7 on Amazon! Many, many thanks!


Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to get out of Dodge, a decent respect for the integrity of one’s spine demands that every item in your bug-out bag be submitted to a candid evaluation. Forgive me for cheekily paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence, but it does make a point that every preparedness minded individual needs to consider: if and when you need to get out fast with only the items you can carry on your back, what are you going to take, and what are you going to carry it in?

The first major consideration that you need to, um, well, consider, is the type of pack you will want to select (If you already have a pack and know how to use it, then, please, skip a paragraph.) There are two types of packs popular today: internal frame and external frame.

As the name implies, an internal frame pack has a rigid metal frame buried deep within the bowels of the pack. Internal frame packs are designed to perform well on rugged and treacherous terrain. They ride close to the body and are heavily padded for comfort. The actual stowage space on an internal frame is the long, narrow pack body. All your goods are accessed from the top, which can be a problem if the item you’re trying to find is tucked away in the bottom corner of the pack.

An external frame pack is essentially a metal frame with hip belts, a pack, and some convenient nylon mesh pockets attached to it. External frames are designed for easy access and a large carrying capacity: if something won’t fit in the pack itself, just lash it on to the frame and off you go! The drawback of external frame packs is that they tend not to be nearly as self-contained and well balanced as internal frame packs.

The selection of a pack really depends on your personal preference, and the environment that you anticipate you will be carrying it in. As I live near mountainous terrain, I favor an internal frame configuration. Go to a local sporting goods shop and try on a couple of different packs to find one that fits your body and the climate.
After you’ve selected your pack and figured out the straps and buckles (can’t help you there, every pack is different.) you will need to determine what to pack. Camping stores offer plenty of fun-looking, lightweight gadgets like origami snapware and ‘backpacker’ camp chairs. Resist the urge to buy these. Your pack will be quite heavy enough just carrying the essentials.

The human body needs three elements to survive in the outdoors: these are, in order of importance; water, shelter, and food. When you pack your bug-out bag, focus on these three essentials.

Water: Without water, even the toughest individual would be dead in a matter of days. Pack three means of purifying water: a hand-pump filter, preferably an easily cleaned ceramic model, water purification tablets, and a fuel efficient backpacking stove to boil water for drinking, cleaning, and cooking. Of course, you can usually build a fire to boil water with, but you may not always have the time or energy. Always, always filter water before drinking, it may look clean, but if it’s not [free of microorganisms], you could wind up ‘running’ out both ends.

Shelter: In most climates for most of the year you will want to have a tent along. Most backpacking tents are sturdy enough for hiking and camping in spring, summer, and fall, but are inadequate in heavy snow or cold-weather conditions. My advice would be to have two tents: a lightweight, well-ventilated backpacking tent for summer situations and a heavy duty ["four season"] dome tent for winter. Change the tents and clothing in your pack, seasonally.

Food: You will be limited in how much food you can carry, regardless of the size and weight of your pack. My personal favorite is Mountain House freeze-dried food. Pound for pound, freeze-dried food weighs less and tastes better than any other backpacking food I have ever used. An additional bonus is that, being dehydrated, all you have to do is add water, swish it around and eat it right out of the pouch. I have experimented with many other kinds of food over the course of my backpacking career, and none has matched the convenience, weight, taste, and portability of freeze-dried food.

For food preparation, consider carrying a lightweight stove. You can survive without one, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Some models of stove can run on multiple fuel types, and if you are planning on roughing it long term, a flex-fuel model is a smart choice.

Personally, I use the Jetboil, because it is self-contained, lightweight, easy to clean, and very, very fuel efficient, which is good, because it runs off of a specialized fuel mix.
If you want to eat the food you prepare, bring along an insulated metal mug and a fork/spoon/knife combination utensil. Do not, under any circumstances, pack or buy origami eat ware. Although it is lightweight, it is also ridiculously flimsy. So, unless you want to be eating out of your bare hands, go with a good old fashioned mug and spork.

Some items are not absolute essentials, but are very, very nice to have. The first and most important nonessential item is camper’s toilet paper. Some locales, especially in the west, lack herbage with soft, fluffy leaves, so unless you want to use pine needles (very strongly not recommended.) or hay (again, from personal experience—don’t try it.) bring along camper’s toilet paper, which is essentially super-absorbent toilet paper on a streamlined roll. Supplement this supply with natural substitutes whenever you can.

In that same vein, bring along a sturdy plastic garden spade to bury your waste with. Make sure you store this shovel in a sealed plastic bag.

A tough, sturdy plastic tarp is another useful nonessential. A tarp can serve as the footprint for your tent, or you can use it as a ground cloth to sleep out under the stars in nice weather. Bring along a spool of medium-weight nylon cord so you can use the tarp as a cooking fly or to augment your tent in heavy rain.

A sturdy, closed-cell foam sleeping pad will make your nights much more comfortable. Avoid generic brands if you can, because they tend to be much thinner and are more prone to tearing. I have a Thermarest Ridgerest foam pad that has lasted me for five years and is still in good shape. Although inflatable sleeping pads are more comfortable than foam pads, they tend to leak, and are generally more prone to failure.

Another item that should probably be an essential is a good knife. A sharp cutting tool is essential to human survival. Bring along a sharpener that is effective and that you are comfortable using. If you are planning on making a fire, a hatchet is also useful, but not essential.

Well, that’s it. This is all the essential gear that you will need for your bug-out bag. Remember, these are the essentials. You will want to pack other items in order to fill out your bug-out bag; things like ammunition, a slingshot, and duct tape (of course.) After you assemble your pack and gear, make sure that you go on at least one week-long trek, so that you can practice packing and carrying your bug-out-bag. Keep your bag packed and ready if you don’t live at your predetermined retreat site. You may be carrying it sooner than you think.

I just got back from attending the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot near Fort Knox, Kentucky. I have never seen the ammo situation as bad there as it was on April 3rd to April 5th. I took four other people that have never been there and told them that they would be able to satisfy their needs at this show over any other. Boy, was I wrong! Supply on certain items was either non existent or had decreased dramatically. Several nationwide ammo dealers didn’t even show up and I have seen them there for 10 consecutive years.

9mm +P+ Israeli SMG ball or tracer – last November.was $100 now $150 per thousand (Pat's Reloading told me that they had gone through four Semi-trailer loads of the stuff and this was nearing the end of it.) I loved this stuff because I couldn’t even touch the components for $100, especially tracer.
.223 Israeli ball was $375 per thousand at Pats reloading
.223 Israeli tracer was oddly less expensive than ball at $149 per 500. I looked through mine and about 10% appears to be Lake City (early to mid-1990s). Purchased at Pat's Reloading
.223 Federal 2008 production XM193 was $450 per 500. Don’t even think about what that equates to, "per case".
9mm was in somewhat short supply. I heard one supplier tell a customer that he brought two pallet loads with him, but the dealers bought it all before the show even opened.
7.62x39 Last November Golden Tiger was $180 a case. I didn’t see one single case of the stuff and Wolf was $300 a case.
7.62x54R was holding steady at $160 for two sealed tins (about 880 rds)
30-06 Greek sealed tins of 240 rds was up from $59 to $100.
.308 South African $90 per battle pack of 200 rds.

While there was some pistol ammo, it was not stacked up by the pallet load as usual and self defense loads were either in short supply or exorbitant in price. I did somehow manage to stumble into some Blazer nickel plated case 165 grain solid point 40 S&W ammo for $15 per 50 and some .223 IMG (Guatemalan) that was boxed but tarnished for $375 per 1,200 round case. Time to dig out the reloader and supplies.

On the Magazine front, nearly all [of the once inexpensive and plentifull magazines] now have jacked up [prices].
DSA still had nice metric FAL mags for $7 and 30 round [.308 L4] Bren gun mags that fit FALs (inch and metric) for $30. I would have bought some but I am still mad at them at playing "the DSA waiting game" for some [FAL] receivers. I have waited on two of those receivers now for going on a year, continually being promised that they "have them in stock", and being sent my money back twice. This is my forth go around with them 1997, 2001, 2003 with only one [order] being successful. [Minor rant snipped.]
AK magazines: still some around for $12
G3 aluminum mags $5
[HK] G3 steel and CETME were all $15 except for one guy who still had them for $5
Cope's Distributing was completely out of the used (law enforcement trade-in) Glock and SIG magazines that they formerly had for $10 each. They did have some KCI Korean Glock magazines for $12 that looked respectable and see to have a good reputation so far.
SVD and Romak 3 mags had dropped from $100 to $60 (for a 4-pack) in November. Now back up to $85.

AR parts kits were in short supply. Model 1 sales sent a reduced table and barely had anything. a FFL dealer behind me at the Doublestar/J&T Distributing table told me he had bought 55 full kits from Model 1 Sales and he would be sold out in 2-3 weeks so he was buying more from J&T. The owner of J&T told me that she ran out of stuff before the show even opened to the public and had to send a van back to load up with more stuff. J&T’s cheapest kit was $555 without a chrome bore. They sold out of kits by noon and were going to have to send another van back for more.

On the AR-15 lower receiver front, a FFL dealer friend of mine there told me that the log jam for receivers appeared to have eased as he was able to buy them for $88 wholesale once again and take delivery in a reasonable amount of time.

On the whole, the current situation seems to favor those moving into the AK-74 realm. AK-74 kits were $495, receiver flats were $12, transferable receivers were $60 and the ammo was $300 per 1,300 rds (in sealed tins). There never seems to be much competition for that ammo. I am thinking about getting a 5.45mm AK.

Laura H. suggested this Wall Street Journal piece: From Bubble to Depression?, by Steven Gjerstad and Vernon L. Smith

Kevin A. sent us this: Geithner's Stress Test "A Complete Sham," Former Federal Bank Regulator Says

Items from The Economatrix:

West Must Deal with $600 Trillion in Derivatives

Bernanke's Financial Rescue Plan: The Growing Prospect of a US Default. Here are two keyquotes: "It is impossible to know what the long-term effects of Bernanke's excessive spending will be, but his plan has the potential to trigger hyperinflation or spark a run on the dollar.", and: "The recent 22 percent uptick in the stock market is a sign that Bernanke's monetary stimulus is beginning to kick in. Oil rose from $33 per barrel to over $50 in little more than a month. Other raw materials have followed oil. The dollar has plunged every time the stock market has gone up. These are all signs of nascent inflation which is likely to accelerate after the current period of deleveraging ends. Food and energy prices will rise sharply and the dollar will come under greater and greater pressure. This is Bernanke's nightmare scenario; a surge in inflation that forces him to raise rates and kill the recovery before it ever begins."

75 US Towns Now Have Barter Currency

Swiss Deflation Next Chapter in World Crisis

Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Wall Street's Ownership of Government

No Return to Normal

Jobless Aid Running Out for Many

The Crash of '09, The Collapse of '10

"Recession Rage" Growing in US

G20: A Citizen's Guide

Goldbugs Rest Assured, Inflation Will Return

US Watchdog Calls for Bank Execs to be Fired

Tea Prices are Surging. is Your Mug Next?

Empty Tables Threaten Some Restaurant Chains

Bill Moyers with William K. Black on Wall Street

Poll: Americans More Optimistic on Economy Since Obama's Inauguration. Huh? What newspapers have they been reading?

Soros: US Recovery is Far Off; US Banks "Basically Insolvent" "The U.S. economy is in for a 'lasting slowdown' and could face a Japan-style period of relatively low growth coupled with high inflation...."

Dollar Devaluation is Inevitable...Just Like In 1934

So Much Nonsense (The Mogambo Guru)

Italy quake toll rises amid hunt for victims

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Michael H. suggested stockpiliing some candy, as a small supplement to a family food storage program--just as a bit of psychological first aid. (In my experience, hard candy such as lemon drops have the best storage life.)

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Cheryl (the Economatrix) recommended this article: Survivalists 2.0: Regular people get ready for the worst

"Baruch Atah A-donai E-loheinu Melech Ha`olam Oseh Ma`aseh Breishit." ("Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation.") - From the Birkat Hachamah recitation, April 8, 2009 (14 Nisan 5769). A mitzvah recitation made just once every 28 years.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 8th) is Book Bomb Day! This is a reminder to please wait until tomorrow to order your copies of the new edition of my novel "Patriots". The new edition features both an index and a glossary. Many thanks for making the launch of the new edition a success. OBTW, brief positive reviews at various forums and on Amazon.com would also be greatly appreciated.

Coincidentally, I've been told that April 8th of this year is also a special Jewish blessing (mitzvah) day, called Birkat Hachamah, "the sun blessing". This blessing is recited just once every 28 years. I wish our Jewish readers a meaningful Passover. (Christ is my Passover!)

Hi James,
I am 30 years old and began my survival mindset when I was about 25. I am a single father of three and that is part of what motivated me to begin to prepare years ago. 2008 was a real eye opener for me though as it all begin to hit home. I began to sell off my possessions when times got tough. Eventually I had to file bankruptcy and move my family into a smaller more affordable place. Settled in our new place I began adjusting thinking the worst was over, I was wrong within two months I was laid off. I had no money and no job, with three mouths to feed I didn't know what I was going to do. Fortunately, I had family who was kind enough to let us stay with them until I got back on my feet. We have been here several months and am working hard to remedy our situation.

I must say when I started preparing I tried to place emphasis on having a firearm and ammunition along with adding an occasional few cans of food here and there as we could afford, and eventually we ate the food I put back. At no time were we ever well off In fact I could have been on welfare and food stamps all along but always thought I would make it. I had to sell my off road/family vehicle which was our daily driver to buy a four-door car because of gas, but we are still blessed and much more fortunate than many. I always watched the news and it all seemed so distant and never thought it could happen to me, but it did. This along with your help has really strengthened my mindset. I really wanted to send you this e-mail not just to tell you my story, as there are so many who have similar ones. I sent this to sincerely say thank you. You have opened my eyes to so much that I had never even attempted to consider, I was and honestly still feel like an infant with the sea of knowledge of preparedness.Your web site has truly put me on track to preparing in so many areas right down to me saving the lent from the dryer. Money is tight but with your help and that of your subscribers we are still preparing.

I recently ordered your novel ["Patriots"]and I haven't been able to put it down! Congratulations, James. It is a great book! I have learned so much from the book as well and am still not finished. I do truly believe hard times are upon us and because of you the children and I will have a much greater chance of survival. You not only have affected my life but also the life of my 10 year old son, and eight and two year-old daughters. Rest well knowing you are truly making a difference and may God bless you and your family.
Sincerely, - Kyle

I remember a while back there was some chatter about building fortifications and the subject of "bastions" was brought up. Bastions, of course, being the protrusions from castle walls that allow all exterior walls and outside corners to be defended from within the fortification. Well, I was looking at some aerial photos of the epicenter of the recent Italian earthquake and found this fortification - in L'Aquila, Italy.

It is a perfect example of a structure for which not one single inch of exterior wall cannot be defended from within. The various angles guarantee that fire can be directed down the full length of any outside wall. I just thought it was an interesting illustration of the [Vauban fortification] concept. - Matt R.


There have been innumerable discussions on this web site, and others across the internet, about the mindset, preparations, training and physical responses to the use of deadly force. Every gun owner (or would be owner) has had to ask themselves if they have what it takes to kill another human being. We all know the argument. When it comes down to life or death, you or them, could you pull the trigger? Let's assume, for the sake of this segment, that your answer is yes. Now let me present you with a hypothetical situation:

It's TEOTWAWKI. Infrastructure is nonexistent. Government collapsed. You've bugged out to your retreat, or hunkered down in place. Late one night, an intruder enters your home. He is armed, and threatens your family. You confront him, and shots ring out. When the smoke clears, you get a SITREP, just like you practiced. You and your family are unhurt. The intruder is dead. What do you do now? Normally, if no one had already done so, your first step would be to call the local police or sheriff's department. They would send out uniformed officers who would interview your family, gather evidence, take photographs of the scene, fill out an incident report, and then the coroner or ambulance would cart off the intruder.

There's only one catch. It's TEOTWAWKI. Even if the phone would ring, there are no police on the other end. No one is coming to help. There will be no uniformed officer, no incident report, no photos, no evidence taken. It will be completely up to you to discern how he gained entry, and repair any damaged caused by his entry, and the ensuing firefight. Do you know how to fix the door he kicked open? The window he shattered? The fencing or gate he drove over? More importantly, do you have the parts and tools needed to repair or replace them? Another door? Door frame? Door knob? Deadbolt? Strike face? Spare keys to new locks? Window pane? Window frame? Whole window? Fencing? Fence posts? Gate? Do you have anything to just cover the hole where your window to be?

Oh, and there's one more little detail you may have overlooked. There will be no coroner to call. . There will be no trained, experienced, seen-it-all-nothing-shocks-me-anymore medical examiner to rid you of your recently deceased criminal mastermind. So, what do you do with the dead guy in your living room?

Honestly, how many of us have ever actually gone so far as to consider the possibility that one day we may find ourselves in a situation like this? An intruder in the home, certainly. A firefight, probably. Taking a life, likely. But who has actually come up with a plan for dealing with the aftermath, the body growing cold between your comfy chair and coffee table? I highly doubt your spouse and children would be keen to leave it where it is, playing the role of "lumpy, rather morbid area rug/ottoman." And that would be ignoring the fact that corpses have this annoying (and stomach-churning) habit of, well, evacuating on themselves. And rotting. Never forget the rotting. So what do you do with it?

Do you drag it outside and bury it? Burn it on a funeral pyre? Throw it in the nearest body of water and hope it floats downstream? Stake it up on the lawn like some macabre scarecrow, a warning to others? Feed it through your wood chipper? What sort of treatment or rites (if any) do you give during the internment of your would-be murderer? Does he get a pine box, a pit just deep enough to keep the wildlife from digging him up by morning, or unceremoniously dropped in a heap next to your mailbox, waiting for a trash pickup that's never coming?

Can you even stomach the idea of handling a dead body (and its various fluids) for the length of time required to actually dispose of it? Including transport to burial site, preparation of burial site, internment, and blood stain/brain matter/bowel contents cleanup? Do you even have a cleaner that can get blood, brain, and bowel contents out of your carpets, drapes, clothing, and upholstery? Are you going to be reminded of the life you took every time you sit in your favorite chair? Will you spend hours staring out the back window at the patch of turned earth that marks his final resting place?
Do you relocate? Has his presence (and subsequent death) revealed you to the masses? Can you afford to take that chance? How many of his associates may know of your whereabouts? Will they try to avenge him? Can you repeat this whole process again? Do you have the materials to replace another door, window, or fence? Can you bear the mental strain of taking more lives? Is your yard big enough to bury them all?

I do not have the answers to these questions. I know my own self, and how I react in a situation not all that dissimilar. This is one of those rare things you really can't properly train for, unless you happen to be coroner or mortician by trade. There are precious few opportunities to be near the recently deceased for the rest of us (for which I am profoundly grateful), and I doubt you will find a mortician willing to loan you a body to practice with. If you do, I suggest you report them to the authorities. That's just not right.

I guess it boils down to a question of fortitude, much like the Deadly Force issue that would precede it. Can you set aside your personal feelings about the dead, the living, what he intended, what you did, and what that smell is, long enough to do what needs to be done? If you think you can, I suggest you figure out now what you're going to do when the need arises, rather than figuring out what you're going to do once the need has risen. Like that old saying goes; "Forewarned is Forearmed." Food for thought. - C.M., Maine

JWR Adds: While it is difficult to predict post-SHTF circumstances, and even more difficult to predict how long they might last, it is safe to assume that eventually things will get back to some semblance of normalcy--hopefully within weeks or months. At that point, there will be some backtracking, to account for what crimes transpired during the emergency, and to insure that everyone is living at property that is legally deeded to them. Therefore, in the sad event that you are forced to take a life to defend your own, or to defend the lives of your loved ones, it is important to "cover yourself in paper" before you go burying any bodies. It is crucial get an official--preferably a sworn law enforcement officer--but failing that, any official to sign an affidavit of the circumstances of the shooting. Even if the only "official" that you can locate is a retired police officer or a dog catcher or the head of the local water district, get them to sign an affidavit, and have it witnessed by by at least three or four neighbors who will also be walked-through the scene--and be presented the "play by play" after-action report. (Relying on just one or two witness signatures might be a mistake, since people are likely to relocate or assume room temperature in large numbers during a crisis.) Also, before touching anything in the room(s), be sure to take pictures showing the location of the body (or bodies), weapons, spent brass, bullet holes in walls, et cetera. Also photograph the body in the grave, before you back-fill it.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
R.D. of Wyoming mentioned a very practical way of storing supplies - in 22 gallon plastic tote bins, each with a good variety of items to last about one month. Perhaps this is a basic system for many, but I hadn't thought of it myself and plan to rearrange our storage items in a similar manner as soon as I can.

Presently, I am laid up with a broken leg so am 'dead in the water' for working on our storage program. My darling husband is tolerant of my 'hobby' but is definitely not one to work on it himself.
I want to remind everyone out there that a broken leg or other calamity can complicate your life very suddenly and not afford you the time to get what you need to survive. Being well prepared beforehand is so basic but it is something that a lot of people do not do, thinking "someday" they'll get around to it. My well-stocked larder has been such a practical help while I've not been able to get out at all to shop.
I thank you for your informative blog and I thank R.D. for this simple but practical storage solution. - M.C. in Arizona

Army Fields New [Thermal and Light Amplification] Night Vision Goggles

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DGT sent this news headline from Nanny State Britannia: Personal web data to be stored for a year, New law forces service providers to record all your calls and emails

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Tom T. recommended this Bible-based lecture series: The Men's Fraternity.

"From November 1929 to April 1930, the Dow Jones rallied 48%. This rally however was followed by an 85% drop from the April 1929 highs to the July 1932 lows." - Simon Maierhofer in
Is Cash King Or Should You Jump On The Rally Bandwagon?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I wish to present an alternative prep situation that I have not really seen talked about on your blog and at other other sites. First a small bit of biographical background and anecdotes to explain my reasons for what I (now recently we) are doing.

Ten years ago, I retired from the military (26+ years, Life Scout (in a younger form) and an ex-scout leader (both Boy and Girl Scouts), fixed income with a part time job, never lived at one address longer than three years (requirement of military lifestyle), hobbies oriented to colonial/fur trade eras (see anecdote), recent earnest prepper (caused by that feeling in the pit of my stomach and head that things really aren't right and not going to get better). Fiscally responsible but bought the "earned your retirement" false dream long ago--that can't be changed now.

While in the military a lifestyle of semi-preparedness was necessary because of my low income. (I suffered through the Carter and Clinton administrations). We canned food from our garden wherever we were stationed to stretch the food budget and teach our children how to make their own food; we cut firewood for heat in some locales; we relied on kerosene lamp back-up lighting and camp stove cooking because of unreliable base power grids. At one base I was even visited by the Public Works officer to find out why my quarters had lights during a power outage. Imagine his surprise to find both lights and heat off the grid, plus all my neighbors and their children warm and well fed.

At times, while in the service, we qualified for assistance food and based upon those experiences have reached some unconventional decisions. Assistance food usually meant a five-pound block of USDA cheese, #10 cans of dehydrated soups or powdered eggs, surplus breads and very large containers of dried milk. When you open these it becomes a use-it-or-lose-it menu even for a family of four!

My colonial/fur trades hobbies came about with involvement in Scouting, teaching merit badges, Indian skills and camp crafts. They are both enjoyable and practical from a barter-trades aspect: hide tanning/leatherworking, moccasin and footwear making, non-manufactured clothing making (no zippers or buttons) and using trade cloth/blankets), primitive cooking and camping skills and pioneering--the art of using logs and rope to construct bridges, platforms and watch towers, cranes and jack-legs, and other basic heavy lifting rigs. I highly recommend adding Scouting handbooks and merit badge books (older printings) to family preparedness libraries. There is a wealth of information there!

Last year, while looking for our current home, I was really taken with a 1950s home that still had a primo Civil Defense specification bomb shelter in the back yard, primarily as a safe place for my reloading and weapons storage. It was the high end style that was connected to the basement of the house with a concrete tunnel, doored at both ends, and three feet underground. It was in mild disrepair: vent system damaged and entrance sealed off at the house, but repairable. We passed on that house because it was in the end too small for our needs and in a shall-we-say "unstable" neighborhood. Six months after purchasing our current home my wife, out of the blue, says that maybe we should have bought the other house! This from a woman that has made disparaging remarks when I have added to our LBE kits and checked the status of our "homeland defense" items.

She seems to have had an epiphany after our taxes were prepared when she wanted to know why we had not taken the $3,000 credit from our small investment nest egg before and I explained that we had never lost over half of it to the economy! When the "boss" changed her attitude and became interested in my "below the radar" preps, I started to include her in the decision and prioritizing of what to buy and the impacts on our limited budget.

"Below the radar" preps means passing off a purchase as some other need (diplomatic when not everyone is on board with the idea): a small generator was for our tent camper, food items were for this summer when our grandson visits or to replace things lost in a move, water jugs were because of the places where we camp, extra gas cans were for the lawn mower (a stretch but it worked), the FRS radios were an aid when we are out hiking, though there was no need to disguise the increase in reloading components when the election results were in.
All this brings me to our different style of prepping.

While I would like to be able to stock up as is generally noted and advocated, our finances and storage space do not permit the expenditure of the amounts necessary to buy in bulk. Also from my experiences in the military I don't like to place all my eggs in one basket. I will admit that while it is more expensive per unit cost, it is also more "do-able" in an on-going practical sense on a fixed income and has an unforeseen future benefit.

We make our storage food purchases with only the two of us in immediate mind, to aid in use and rotation, by buying individual serving packages for most of the items that we get: boxes of rice sealed in boil-in-bag pouches, powdered milk in boxes that have quart size servings inside, individual packages of Ramen style noodles, small cans of fruits and vegetables (the type with the pull-off lids), non-refrigerated microwave meals that serve one (these are very practical as they go in our lunches on a daily basis), individual packet boxes of instant oatmeal, and normal sizes of canned meat, chicken and fish. Some items naturally are bought in what would be normal sizes but for only the two of us they seem to last forever: Five pound bags of flour, sugar, cornmeal, coffee and pancake mixes. The primary factor in these purchases is getting the longest expiration dates that we can find. All this gets put into 22 gallon Totes that have latches for the lids but only one container of each item per Tote: a box of rice, a box of milk, salt, coffee, etc., 4 each of the fruits and vegetables (36 total), 4 rolls of toilet paper and towels, strike anywhere matches, sets of durable plastic knife, fork and spoon, zip-lock bag of 28 individual size soap, 4 empty plastic bullet boxes that hold 4 Bic style [disposable butane] lighters, 2 packets each type garden seeds. This list is not complete, but you get the idea. The content of each Tote equate to one month's food and paper needs and is movable by even our 13 year old grandson. We currently have six totes filled, after only four months of serious additions. We are trying to add one Tote a month in addition to the other things that we are getting. My part-time job provides the funds for this so what we can get depends on what else is on a priority that month. We do have an additional Tote that holds 36 MREs and is marked for priority loading. Our water is stored in the newer G.I. five-gallon plastic water cans, available at flea markets. These are stored in a dark storage room. Our small camper is always stocked and ready to go no matter what season of the year.

Now for the reasoning behind this method. If TSHTF or TEOTWAWKI occurs it may be gradual or a traumatic event requiring different tactics. If gradual and we can hunker down while finishing up necessaries, only one Tote at a time needs to be opened to augment what we have. If traumatic, anyone can carry/load the Totes into one of several available G.O.O.D. vehicles or the trailer while another watches their "six". The urgency of a bug-out may dictate how much can be loaded in the time available. The more Totes that can be grabbed, the longer we can make do but the MRE Tote and water is always loaded first. This is in addition to B.O.B.s and homeland defense items.

Now for the unforeseen future benefits that I mentioned. As you have noted several times and places, I too could not turn away others that are in need if I can help. But giving someone a #10 can of beans or soup will not really help them. A grocery bag of individual servings that they are familiar with and provide variety and full meals for one or two days plus a means to heat it will help while not depleting our stores. Secondly, if a bad guy finds a single Tote with a few of everything in it, they may assume that's all there is and not attempt to engage in a protracted search for more.

One last item that may not meet with approval but is out-of-the-box thinking in the selection of several fallback retreat sites that most others probably will not think of. If we cannot stay in the city, as small as it is, I have found a couple of locales that would prove ideal. One is a semi-restored 1870s military post. Yes, I know that I don't own it in the traditional sense though I have paid for it through my taxes, but if there is no more authority in force, it could prove useful. The fort is already set up to function without power as we are used to, just coal or wood heat and cooking (there is no electricity on site), bulletproof buildings and pre-determined fields of fire, close to a year round water source, small homes for families and barracks for singles and designed by some of the best military minds of their times. Even has a powder magazine and jail! It also has a very low visitor count. If it is occupied or contested, no problems, as there are others at regular distances closer or farther. If not, then it allows for a rally point and the expansion of a Group as others arrive that are aware of my thinking. And they are not unique to our Area of Operations (AO). I have been to some really complete ones back east, in the south, and on the west coast. Let your mind do the walking.

I didn't realize how long this became. If you find it suitable for others to see to help them achieve their goals with limited or minimal means, please feel free to chop it as necessary.

Very Respectfully of your efforts to aid others, - R.D. in Wyoming

JWR Replies: That is an interesting concept, but implementing as you describe would require a quite unique set of circumstances. Namely, it could only happen if there were a sudden an near total collapse of society, and if all law enforcement evaporated overnight. It is far more likely that we will witness a "slow slide" from recession to depression, (and then, much less likely) to collapse. For most that continuum, your actions would be seen as criminal, and you'd quickly attract the attention of government. So then you might end up behind some other very stout walls. And BTW, any of these forts that are on National Forest or National Park land are considered Federal property, so any occupation deemed "trespassing" would be a Federal offense and likely carry a much more severe penalty than trespass on state or county parklands. So it is best to make this a "very low likelihood" contingency plan.

In my estimation the only pragmatic way to occupy an old fort in the midst of a slow slide situation would be to include representatives of county, state or perhaps even Federal government as part of your planned cadre, and characterize it all as a "continuity of government" (COG) endeavor. Bureaucrats often enjoy thinking (or pretending) that they come up with original ideas. Given the promise of safety for "selected" people, this should not be too difficult to orchestrate, especially as the economy worsens and the crime rate escalates. Creating a nexus with a governmental organization could be as complex as getting qualified as an EMT, or as simple as joining a Sheriff's Posse, joining a County SAR team, or becoming a RACES-affiliated ham radio operator.

I thought your reader "D" in North Carolina had some very good observations on daily carry. In particular the mindset advice was solid.

I would like to point out that despite the majority of his info being spot-on, I have to take a different perspective on his "fifth lesson." First, it's your choice who you choose to tell that you're carrying, I'm not trying to tell your readers what to do specifically, but rather I'm trying to shed more light on the topic. It's actually beneficial if some people know you carry (that you trust) as they will likely have a better idea how to react in a situation or can even back you up if they carry too if you have to present your weapon, rather than just standing there thinking, "where the heck did he get that?" or "Oh my gosh, he's got a gun!" Now, like "D" said, consider the possible reaction of those you are with when presenting your weapon.

While most gun guys and most law enforcement know that a fanny pack and/or a photographer's vest screams "gun," (and you should consider such a thing if you don't want law enforcement to know you're carrying) the average person and average crook do not. As a follow up to this point, while I will not say it has never happened, in years of searching and asking friends, law enforcement and online forums for a story, I still have yet to hear of a single time where a bad guy walked in and shot the first person he saw with a photographer's vest or fanny pack... or even shot a person openly carrying a handgun (other than law enforcement in uniform). Again, "D's" advice on staying discreet if you need to still applies, but don't think that you'll get shot just cause you dress a certain way.

Kudos to "D" for the solid info!!! I suggest to SurvivalBlog readers (particularly those new to carrying a firearm) who haven't done so already, to read his post, and re-read it. Consider it, and chew it over and decide now what you will do "when" trouble comes your way.

I know that you've promoted Front Sight, to which I say it fits very well with "D's" overall view and combines teaching mindset with firearm skills and trains you in just about everything "D" said. Train, train often, and learn/decide the mindset now! Mindset first, tool second! - PPPP



I got this NYPD training image awhile back and gives great advice and common pitfalls of people that conceal carry.

Quite a bit of it is common sense, but a great learning aid. - Jimmy McC


Check out this interesting piece at the US Concealed Carry web site: A Concise Primer on Concealment Holsters, by Dr. Bruce N. Eimer, Ph.D. Regards, - Chester

Laura H. suggested this WND article: Families learning of $163,000 tax 'bomb', Economics prof says deficits heading toward 'banana republic levels'

From reader AC: Social Security Surplus Already Gone

Reader Jon M. flagged this, over at Seeking Alpha: Did the ECB Save COMEX from Gold Default?

Items from The Economatrix:

Congress, Bankers Just Don't Get It "Changing the way you account for losses on bad assets doesn’t mean the losses have gone away. If anything, the obfuscation of those losses will drive investors away because balance sheets in the financial sector will become more opaque."

What to Buy Before the Economy Improves

Inside Obama's Bank CEO Meeting "'My administration,' Obama said, 'is what stands between you and the pitchforks.'"

Unemployment Rise Shows Recession is Far From Over

Gerald Celente: Optimism Opium. Here are a couple of snippets: "Following the Group of 20 summit, Barack Obama, while acknowledging there are no guarantees of success, declared, 'I have no doubt, though, that the steps that have been taken are critical to preventing us sliding into a depression.'" and, "Given that President Obama cannot provide guarantees, how can he "have no doubt"?"

David B. sent this from a Texas newspaper: Dallas-Fort Worth's 'modern survivalists' are ready for layoffs -- or war

   o o o

After an 18 year hiatus, during which prices rose from $700 to $4,000, the Steyr AUG A3 has finally hit the US market in a rail-topped US-made variation. The first few have already been popping up on Buddy's Board and GunBroker.com. My advice: By one or more, if only as an investment. There may be very few sold before another Federal "assault on our rights" ban is enacted, and hence they will likely double in price.

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Reader SF in Hawaii notes: "With the revelation that the murderer in Binghamton, New York wore a bulletproof vest, expect to see legislation making them illegal for new sales to private citizens. If you haven't done so already, go to BulletProofME.com and get one for every member of your family or survival team."

"It is upon a reckless people: squalid in their demeanor, stupid and arrogant in their politics, economics and military matters; sleazy in their popular culture the savage judgment of history will be rendered. The verdict will be guilty. The penalty will be death, for the people, the institutions and culture which so openly mocks all that is just and true and good about the American Republic. Like Rome, we have replaced Republic with Empire and, like Rome, we will pay the economic price for our folly." - Doug McIntosh, "The Economic Farce is Ending", June 5, 2005

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just three days to the Book Bomb Day! This is a reminder to please wait until Wednesday, April 8th to order your copy of the new edition of "Patriots". That will be our "Book Bomb" day. By delaying orders until then, we hope to drive the book's Amazon sales rank into the top 100. Many thanks for making the new edition a success.

Thanks for SurvivalBlog and the efforts you put into it. I have read your online information over the years, going back to just before Y2K.
Your insights, common sense and information diversity are great indicators of what it means to prep, get prepped and maintain. I have a few of your books, and have used your information and insights to help get my brother and his family started on preps.

Recently, I experienced a situation that required evacuation and relocation on a personal/ family level. In our utility area, where the washer and dryer are, we had a fire. I was at work, my wife at home, with our pets (two cats), The smoke detector went off, My wife got out of the house with the pets and the strong box, and the Fire Department showed up quickly, getting the fire out and reducing damage on a very large scale. The smoke smell is not bad, but anything that burns can have other chemical issues that are negative to your health, especially if you already have allergies, or illnesses. Due to the smoke, however and a request from our insurance company to not use any appliances until inspections could be completed, we had to relocate to another place. Our policy covered a hotel, and we had an alternate location for the pets. We are now all co located in the alternate location, and the day to day living goes on, with minimal (fortunately) changes. (The clean up cost around $6,000 in USD.)

This brings up the subject of rapid evacuation and not necessarily having any load out time for kits, supplies or BOB/G.O.O.D. bags. For my wife, she got out in about three minutes, including the 911 call.

Fortunately we were able to get back into the house and secure things like additional clothing and the bulk of our kit. This was after the fact and not able to do so during the event. Again I was at work, my wife at home, my step daughter at school for the day.

However, this brings to mind a few learning points.

A. It is not enough to have Smoke and CO detectors only in the main living quarters of your home. Get them in your utility rooms and garage as well.

B. Take the time to add adequate fire extinguishers in those same locations (ABC chemical and larger than the car trunk style about the size of a quart bottle)

C. Review your coverage before you need it. Car/Home/ Renters insurance. Like other preps, this is something that needs review, just like inventories.

D. Maintain a solid contact list. Update the list and the contacts on your situation asap.

E. Some add on suggestions to the strongbox, for your important papers, Stamps and envelopes, both calling cards and a few rolls of quarters for immediate laundry when possible.72 hours worth of clothing is quickly run through. (We had to mail in our house payment, but I had to get stamps, "Doh" to me for that one.)

Thanks, - T. in the Pacific Northwest

I just finished reading the Profile on Mr. & Mrs. India. I had planned to write earlier and this truly motivated me. I am in the military with 24 years in. I discovered your web site last spring and have been a dedicated reader. I have learned so much. Unfortunately right after I discovered your site I was transferred overseas. I am almost midway my tour but have been very frustrated in that so much of what I could do in terms of preparation is hampered by being overseas. Ordering staples for the pantry is the easiest thing I could do and yet the hardest as I would not be allowed to bring food back into the U.S. and many other items cannot be shipped to FPO [or APO] boxes.

In terms of food, I have ordered some and had it delivered to my Mom’s house but I have to be careful about the weight as she is in her seventies and can’t do a lot of lifting. I also will need to move these items from her home when I return to the States. I have purchased the grain mill, plan to get the water filter, and have ordered a lot of seed prior to my leaving home. Right before I came here I purchased a bow and had a friend teach me how to shoot. Unfortunately foreigners here can’t have weapons so it’s still in the case but at least I have it. As an active duty member I can qualify on the rifle range and so get free arms training.

Being in a foreign country does have it’s benefits in that they have some things here (farm tools, household items, etc.) that are very practical yet not sold in the U.S. I have been able to stock up on some personal hygiene items such as tooth brushes, tooth paste, and some neat Japanese garden items. If anyone has any other ideas as to things I can do to prepare I would appreciate it. Also, if you can give advice to those of us who do live the nomadic lifestyle in the military, especially when we have to go overseas and leave everything in storage or be hamstrung in terms of what we can and cannot ship between countries.

Being far from home, every evening when I get to my apartment I visit your web site. It is so uplifting and informative. It is a real morale booster for those of us who can’t be back home. Thank you!

Courtesy of reader D.D.: Faint signs the economy has a pulse? Better-than-expected factory orders, but job market still a worry.

From G.G.: U.K. News: Interest Rates Set to Soar, Warns Bank's Chief Economist

M.A.M. suggested a piece that was linked at the Naked Capitalism blog: On the Urgency of Restructuring Bank and Mortgage Debt, and of Abandoning Toxic Asset Purchases. (Hussman's approach is a bit interventionist for my taste, but at least it underscores the broad implications of the current crisis.) In my view, malinvestment must be worked out the system naturally, through bankruptcies. The fractional reserve credit system and fiat currencies are at the root of the problem. Huge credit crises will be recurrent unless sound money and warehouse banking are re-established.

Items from The Economatrix:

The Soft Panic of 2009 Has Just Begun. Broadway has defaulted on Hancock Towers payments. "Falling CRE values are a problem, but it’s not the big problem. The big problem is the debt."

Will the Dark Cloud of Commercial Real Estate Blot Out the U.S. Recovery?

Fannie, Freddie Plan to Pay $210 Million in Bonuses

Unemployment Soars to "8.5%"; 13 Million Now Jobless

Fed "Extremely Uncomfortable" About Financial Companies' Bailout

Trace Meyer's Diagram: The Great Credit Contraction

Analysis: What the G-20 Pledges Said and What They Meant

Obamarket Update #53: The Triple U

Hidden Deficit Horrors (The Mogambo Guru)

World Depression: Regional Wars and The Decline of the US Empire (Pt. I)--A lengthy article but well worth the read. Here are two choice quotes: " ...these analysts lose sight of the present realities which have no precedent: the world nature of the economic depression, the unprecedented speed of the fall, and the levels of debt incurred by governments to sustain insolvent banks and industries and the unprecedented public deficits, which will drain resources for many generations to come." , and "Obama’s ‘job creation’ scheme channels billions toward the privately owned telecommunication, construction, environmental and energy corporations, where the bulk of the government funds go to senior management and staff and provide profits to stock holders, while a lesser part will go to wage workers. Moreover, the bulk of the unemployed workers in the manufacturing and service areas are not remotely employable in the ‘recipient’ sectors. Only a fraction of the ‘stimulus package’ will be allocated in 2009. Its purpose and impact will be to sustain the income of the financial and industrial ruling class and to postpone their long-overdue demise."

Doug Casey: How Long Will We Have to Wait? ("I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today.")

From Cheryl: 2012 May Bring the Perfect Storm: Solar Flares, Systems Collapse

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Oni sent us a link to a follow-up story about those $20 gold pieces is Utah: Woman suspected of stealing gold coins arrested. So now the sin count is up to three: A bank teller's covetousness, FDR's grand larceny, and a woman's thievery.

   o o o

Canada Moves to End Gun Control, Calling it an Ineffective Measure Against Crime. (Thanks to KT for the link.)

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Fitzy in Pennsylvania mentioned this YouTube video clip from a very bright young man in Alaska: Reginald's DEMCAD Show: The Preparation Movement. Please help bring him up to speed. His heart is in the right place. If he e-mails me his address, I'd like to mail him a complimentary copy of my novel.

"...and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time:

and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." - Daniel 12:1-3 (KJV)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I remember the Great Gas Crises of the 1950s. I filled several metal five-gallon cans with gas and put them behind the seat of my 1941 Plymouth 6-cylinder Business Coupe. I got 21 miles per gallon with that peppy little car!

When Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crises came about I dug a foxhole in my Mother’s back yard -- which she later filled in and used as a flower bed.

Then the Cold War with Russia, where we rattled ballistic missiles at each other. I actually built an above-ground fallout shelter out of a retired metal dumpster and a piece of conduit big enough to crawl through. A hill of dirt left over from a construction job finished it. My shelter looked like an earthen igloo, built in the high desert above Phoenix, Arizona . It lasted about 7 years, until the new owner of the property took it down.

One day at a gun store I met a man who was high up in our regional electric company. I asked him what would happen if the Russians nuked Phoenix. He replied that if we were lucky, our electricity would be out for a few weeks to a few months! If they scored a direct hit, then it could be years before the power could be restored!

Convinced, I went right home and started assembling my own small solar electric system! Several years later the Berlin Wall was taken down. But I kept my 'Small Electric Company' operational. I still use it every evening! In addition I picked up a pitiful little generator some guy had taken out of his motor home.

Eventually Y2K came on the scene. I sold my little noise maker and replaced it with a new Coleman 3,000 watt, no frills, short run generator. It is just big enough to run the wife’s washing machine and any of my shop’s tools one at a time. This machine was a great comfort as the year 2000 came closer. I figured on running it just 2 to 3 hours per week during the crisis. That way, I would not have to store large amounts of expensive, flammable gasoline. I still maintain this generator in good working order by using it to power my electric chainsaw 2 or 3 times each year as I cut wood for our stove.

During the pre-Y2K months an old Baptist turned-Mormon school chum convinced me to start a food storage program. So I went out and bought 3 or 4 cases of Ramen noodles. In time I learned to hate Ramen noodles! My thrifty wife insisted on recycling or rotating them through my digestive tract! I think I have finally got her convinced to save the last case for our neighbors who fail to prepare for the big one! I now buy canned pinto beans, pork and beans, canned corn, green peas, green beans, potted meat, Vienna sausages, stuff I like or can at least tolerate! I figure on keeping 6 weeks to 3 months supply of food and water on hand and rotating it every 3 years, keeping it no longer then 5 years.

This is an ongoing thing and saves us a few dollars as the price of food continues to rise. Uncle Sugar just keeps printing money and devaluating our Dollars, thus higher prices!

Now along comes the Mega Depression of 2009, [minor rant snipped] so this then is my biggest challenge, just to survive this coming period of economic disaster, political turmoil, and civil unrest. I am in the process of improving the latches on my exterior doors and outfitting a designated bug out vehicle capable of sustaining our lives for 30 days. I am teaching my wife to use a battle rifle and improving my rain water barrels. I instructed my financial advisor to prepare my investments for the worst, plus taking some independent action of my own in the way of trade goods, reconstruction skills and a small investment in precious metals. I have talked up the need to prepare with friends, loved ones, and neighbors. Is it enough? Only time will tell.

I am on my third concealed carry license and have been carrying at least one concealed weapon every day for about 15 years. I have learned a number of lessons I thought I would share with AceHigh and any other recent CCLs holders among your readers.

First, choose a gun you can carry all the time because a small gun in your hand is worth two big guns back in your safe. Wearing a gun only sometimes means that you will sometimes be unprepared. Wouldn't you feel really stupid I the one time you needed your gun you didn't have it because it was too heavy, too awkward or too uncomfortable to wear or carry?
I started out with a Glock [Model] 23 [compact .40 S&W] as my primary weapon in an inside the waistband (IWB) holster. My backup was a .38 Special snub nose revolver. 15 years later, these roles have reversed. I carry an Airweight (alloy frame] .38 revolver loaded with +P ammo in a Kramer pocket holster and is in the left front pocket of my cargo pants with 10 spare rounds in my right cargo pocket.
I can carry this gun concealed in my pocket without any additional clothing or other requirements. I can wear shorts or take off my shirt, and it is still concealed. It is much easier to carry than a larger automatic, and as a result, it is always there. From the moment I get dressed in the morning until I go to bed, it is in my pocket and within easy reach. So I don't have to run and get it if the dog barks or I hear an unusual noise.

My backup gun is now the Glock 23. It rides securely in a backpack, which I carry with me almost everywhere I go. It goes with me to work; it rides in the car if I go out. Inside the backpack are two more speedloaders for the revolver and four loaded magazines for the semi auto. Of course, there are other survival related supplies in the bag as well as a few work-related items to add legitimacy.
If I do not have my backpack handy, the plan is to use the revolver to fight my way to the backpack, or to the nearest long gun. Remember, hand guns are relatively puny, and we carry them not because we expect trouble, but because we want to be prepared for the unexpected. Heck, if we were expecting trouble when we left the house, the smart thing would be to not leave the house! If you had no choice, then you would probably go heavily armed with a bunch of heavily armed friends.

The nearest long gun is likely to be an FAL locked in the contractor box on the back of my pick up truck. I picked .308 caliber because if I am in a vehicle and need my rifle, I figure that I will need one that will be more effective against other vehicles than a .223. It is an ugly pre-ban gun, but it is one that I do not mind leaving in the car. At home, a 12 gauge is available if a pistol is not enough gun for the job and there are rifles in the safes.

Second Lesson: Clean your carry guns, even if you don't shoot them. I remember going to a Glock sponsored pistol match years ago and they had an armorer who was doing free tune ups. He checked out all three of mine, held up the Model 23, and asked: "This is your carry gun, isn't it?" he asked. I wondered how he knew. He pointed out the lint under the slide. Carry guns get dust and lint inside them, especially when they are worn inside your clothes. I also learned to always clean my gun after I used a chain saw or did similar work. Sawdust gets everywhere too.

Third lesson: Have extra ammo in your car or anywhere you might need it. I have a spare loaded magazine and a box of ammo in each vehicle. My wife carries a .380, so I have .380 ammo in my truck, just in case. I also have extra magazines and ammo at work and, of course, at home.

I once flew to another state to meet my wife who had driven up to her parent's house a week or two earlier. I checked my pistol, but they would not let me check my ammo because it was not in an "approved" container, so I had to discard it. After she picked me up at the airport, I reloaded my magazines from the box of 50 rounds in my wife's vehicle and was back up and running. BTW, at least once a year, you should go to the range and shoot all your carry ammo, replacing it with new stuff.

Fourth lesson: Don't take just one course, and never stop training. I have taken two or more classes from the following trainers: Massad Ayoob, John Farnham, and Lewis Awerbuck. I learned from each of them, every time, even through I had previously read their books. I still take a one day refresher course from Awerbuck once every year or so.

Fifth lesson: Never tell anyone you are carrying. You may know when to shoot and when not to, but that does not mean the idiot you are with does. They will get you in trouble or possibly shot. If you cannot avoid stupid people, you can at least avoid telling them you are armed. That is one reason I am not enamored by fanny packs and photographer vests; they broadcast that you are carrying. That means the bad guy will shoot you first, before you get a chance to realize what is going on. Better to be low profile.

Sixth lesson: Decide ahead of time if you are going to carry in a place where it may not be legal for you to do so. For example, in our state, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon anywhere that they charge admission. While some well-meaning legislator probably proposed this aspect of the law to prevent gun battles in night clubs, it applies equally to movie theaters, sporting events, the country fair, etc. You need to know what you are going to do in this situation before you walk towards the door. Same with carrying in schools and, post offices, bars and places that are posted "no guns allowed."

Seventh lesson: Learn to swallow your pride. When you are carrying gun, you have to ignore every insult, every middle finger, and every rude comment because you have an added burden of responsibility to avoid trouble when you carry a gun. If you escalate a verbal argument into a physical confrontation, you could be liable if you have to shoot the other fellow, even if he pulled a knife on you.
I remember one time when I was stopped at a red light and the idiot behind me wanted me to make a right turn on red that I didn't think was safe. This guy actually drove up on the sidewalk along side of me and proceeded to yell and gesture out the window at me. I really wanted to see the look on his face when I pointed my gun at him. I mean, I really, really wanted to see how quickly his behavior changed. But I just grimaced and waived him on around me. Because I knew my action would have potentially escalated the situation to an unnecessary fatal confrontation. And because two stupid guys don’t make one smart guy.

Finally, be emotionally, intellectually, and legally prepared to shoot someone. Don't carry a gun unless you know with absolute certainty that you could shoot someone who was threatening you or your loved ones with grave bodily harm.

Be prepared for the aftermath as well. That means, find a good criminal lawyer who knows what an affirmative defense is before you are in a situation where you could be arrested. Know what you will say in, during and after a confrontation. Know what you will say when you call 911. Know what you will say to the responding officers (preferably as little as possible).

Know also what you will do if you get shot. First, stay in the fight and finish it. Second, scan for other threats. Third, check yourself for wounds (you may not feel them at the time) and stop any bleeding. That same backpack that houses my Glock carries a tactical first aid kit that includes QuikClot and an Israeli battle dressing. If you carry a gun, you owe it to yourself and your family members to carry the appropriate trauma gear as well.

So far, I have never had to pull my gun, but there has been an occasion or two when I have been glad to rest my hand on it. I count myself lucky and hope I can live a long life without having to shoot anyone. But at the same time, I am prepared should my luck should run out or circumstances change. - D. in North Carolina

In his recent contribution, "The Oddshot" stated that leaving a thermostat out of an engine is an unacceptable option: "So why not just leave the thermostat and blanking sleeve out entirely? Because the water will flow, unrestricted, and very fast through the engine and radiator. Too fast to pick up the heat from inside the engine, too fast to get cooled off in the radiator."

I mean no offense to him, but this is an incorrect assertion. A coolant can never flow "too fast to pick up heat" or "too fast to get cooled off". It is true that each unit of water will spend less time against the hot engine or cool radiator and thus will gain or lose less heat on each pass. But the decrease is exactly proportional to an increase in the total number of units of water passing a given spot per unit of time. The total heat absorbed and dissipated by the system will be exactly the same.

As a simple illustration, consider an open system where water is pumped into the engine on one side and allowed to drain into a lake on the other. Is there a flow rate at which the water will be traveling too fast to cool the engine down? Not at all. The same works on the radiator side: Less heat is dissipated by each unit of water, but more units pass through the radiator per unit of time.

That said, there are minimum and maximum ideal flow speeds that are dictated by the need to prevent scale accumulation and turbulence, respectively. Also, the minimum flow velocity is partially determined by the need to get the coolant off the engine and into the radiator before it boils. But there is simply no upper speed at which the water will cease to cool the engine. This is simple physics. Best, - Matt R.


Regarding Oddshot's very informative article, here are a couple of things that I learned on the subject that were not mentioned.

1. A very difficult problem to diagnose (even by a good mechanic) is when your vehicle is overheating and you have checked everything Oddshot mentions but still it overheats. What could still be an issue? Some vehicles require that the lower radiator hose (the big one at the bottom of the radiator) is a hose that is equipped with a large spring on the inside of the hose. Most people wouldn't know this because they didn't install it, never have seen the inside of such a hose or just have never considered the anatomy of your cooling system. It is a bear to diagnose because you are usually doing the diagnosis by yourself. You drive, it overheats. You get out of the vehicle and look for everything and all seems ok. What is happening is that the lower hose while sitting at idle speed is good to go. However, when you drive and build some speed/pressure, that lower hose will collapse and therefore shut down the flow of water-coolant mixture. Your problem is that you couldn't see the collapsed hose while driving. What happened to my spring? It eventually rusts out, breaks and disintegrates while your hose/clamp all is still intact on the outside. Just find out if your vehicle requires such a hose/spring type item and have one on hand. It takes awhile for that spring to rust out so keep that in mind.

2. Keep some cork (from your wine bottles) / tampons on hand with the other stop leak products for that larger emergency hole in any part of your cooling system. That is an easy "plug it and move on" [with the system de-pressurized] until you get to your destination. Trying to do things right when it is freezing cold, night-time, raining, snowing, in a hurry or in the wrong neighborhood may add problems.

3. Blanking sleeves: Maybe Oddshot can respond to this but I think the same effect can be had if one loosens the radiator cap to the point where it'll stay on but is not secured to the tightest position and will allow some air/heat to escape from the system. Everybody knows where the radiator cap is on their vehicle. I think this would be a very temporary fix for late model go-fast vehicles and a more usable solution for older vehicles. The key is how much will your vehicle take as far as imbalances. I guarantee that a 1970 [vintage car or truck] from most any maker can handle that pressure change, but your 2009 Porsche or Mercedes Benz will have a hissy fit. Good Luck, - flhspete

Now this is downright sinful: Woman Cashes in Rare U.S. Double Eagle $20 Gold Coins for Face Value. I'm glad to see that the bank teller was fired. Parenthetically, it has now been 76 year since gold coins were taken out of public circulation in the US. At the time, the difference between he value of a $20 bill and a $20 gold piece was small. But today, the enormity of FDR's grand larceny scheme is apparent. Perhaps that is the greater sin that should have been highlighted in this news article. (Thanks, BTW, to Josh for the link.)

D.D. sent this from Jim Jubak: US debt sets stage for inflation

Also from D.D.: The real unemployment rate? Try 15.6%

Items from The Economatrix:

Analysis: How the G-20 Succeeded -- and Why it Matters

House Approves $3.6 Trillion Budget with $1.2 Trillion Deficit

Five Banks Repay $353 Million in Bailout Funds

FASB Relaxes Accounting Rules for Banks on Assets

Oil Jumps Above $52 as Stock Market Surges

Large Writedown Almost Doubles Rite Aid's Fourth Quarter Loss

GM's Uncertain Future Leaves Ohio Town on Edge

Wall Street Looks Beyond (Poor) Job Data and Extends Rally

"[I] may have been on the losing side. I'm still not convinced it was the wrong side." - Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly

Friday, April 3, 2009

Five Days to Book Bomb Day! This is a brief reminder to please wait until April 8th to order your copy of the new edition of "Patriots". That will be our "Book Bomb" day. Many thanks for making the new edition such a success.

Today we present another entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Today we are also posting a new Profile, that will be added to our permanent Retreat Owner Profiles page.

I would like to offer my own experiences in the hopes that they may provide some small amount of practical advice to others. Here in Oklahoma, of course, we face tornadoes, but many do not realize we have also suffered from paralyzing ice storms - three within the past ten years. Lessons gleaned from practical experience are:

  1. Have inventory lists;
  2. Have 'Oh-Schumer Lists' of items and chores for each type of contingency situation (tornado, flood, ice storm, etc.)
  3. Prepare 'in depth' for each major need, such as heat and light, food, water, shelter, and protection
  4. Calmly think through scenarios on the before-hand, in terms of what would be needed, how long one can survive, and what the deciding factors in your response would be ('fight or flight')
  5. Most importantly, be prepared to take care of your own, whether family or friends or neighbors.

First things first. Just a week or so ago, Oklahoma was ravaged by several tornadoes. While keeping an ear on the weather report, I calmly gathered up medications, identification papers, windup lights and radios. I made sure there was at least one conventional telephone working. We have had experiences with cell phone towers being down, or the cell phone networks being overloaded. I placed a full face motorcycle helmet, winter gloves, and parka within reach to put on (for some marginal protection against debris) in case the tornado swung in our direction, something they can and have done before. Thankfully, we were spared, though one tornado came within two miles of our home.

The purpose of relating the above is to illustrate the importance of pre-planning for an event, having what we call an 'Oh-Schumer List' of items and tasks, so that one keeps panic at bay while calmly following a pre-planned, prepared list so that one keeps busy and feels somewhat in control of the situation.

The second situation is one that we have experienced several times; and yet I am still amazed that many neighbors still do not prepare for them; ice storms. Again, we have items stored which were deemed necessary to overcome the emergency situation, as well as an 'Oh-Schumer List' of items and tasks (chores) which we can calmly follow. In our case, we have winter clothing cleaned, organized, and stored; various tools and outdoor items prepped (snow shovels, chain saw (and spare chains, oil, etc.), generator (and gasoline, oil, spark plugs, etc.), tarps, lumber; food, water, and medicines stocked; Vehicles serviced and fueled; and Call Lists of Family, Friends, and Neighbors so that we can be sure they are warm, fed, and safe.

One thing I must stress is that we prepare 'in depth' as much as we can. Meaning that while we have a generator and gasoline, we also have propane lights, heaters, and stoves in case the generator fails. We also have candles, Esbit stoves, windup lights and radios, and firewood. Similarly, my wife will cook up large batches of food if she knows we have an incoming storm front, but we also have canned goods, MREs, and freeze-dried goods. For water, we have bottled water, Katadyn water filters, bleach, water purification tablets, collapsible water containers, and a small 10,000 gallon swimming pool.

A few years ago, Oklahoma City was paralyzed for about five days by an ice storm. We had no electricity from the grid, but we had our furnace and a few appliances running on a generator. We also had relatives and neighbors who stayed with us, as they had not prepared. It was no matter, we had homemade chicken pot pies, wine, card games, lively conversation, and were all safe, snug, and warm. Sadly, while outside cutting up fallen trees that blocked the roads, I encountered a neighbor that needed the cut-up wood to heat and cook for his elderly father and himself. I offered him our propane lights, heater, and camp stove; but he did not take us up on the offer. I wanted to ask him, that since we had gone through this numerous times, why he had not prepared for this. But, I knew it was hard enough for him just to ask for the firewood.

In closing, let me recap. Have inventory lists. Have 'Oh-Schumer Lists' of items and tasks for each type of contingency situation. Prepare 'in depth' for each major need, such as heat and light, food, water, shelter, and protection Calmly think through scenarios on the before-hand, in terms of what would be needed, how long one can survive, and what the deciding factors would be. Most importantly, be prepared to take care of your own, whether family or friends or neighbors. Sadly, this last point is overlooked by many. Good luck to all.

Mr. and Mrs. India

Ages: 34 & 33

SOs: Three children 6 and under

Profession: U.S. Military Serviceman


He: Grew up in Florida, raised in a self-reliant family, attend and commissioned from a military educational institution, married his sweetheart, completed pilot training, and is currently stationed at his sixth military installation.

She: Grew up in Idaho, raised by a self reliant and second amendment loving family, moved off to school, took work as a nanny, worked as an accountant, is currently a loving mother and supportive military spouse. For the most part she lives the self reliant lifestyle with things like grinding wheat and making bread while he spends money on the latest and greatest gadgets. Present Home: 4 bedroom/2 car garage, government house on a northern tier military installation. I would get paid a housing allowance if I lived off the installation and there could be lots of self reliant benefits to doing this, but at this station we choose to live on the installation. This is a choice we have to make during every move and consider many things such as housing availability, local market conditions, commuter costs, school zoning, and the areas grade based on the book "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation".

Income: $60,000 year not including benefits.
Additional Income: An occasional eBay sale, the Mrs. teaches piano, and extra cash from my frequent temporary duty (TDY) tours - I normally return from a TDY with more than half of the per diem by being frugal with food and not over indulging in entertainment. And when I say entertainment I mean not spending too much at the new-to-me gun stores, junk yards, used book stores, pawn shops, and Army/Navy stores.

Investments: We sold most of our IRAs early in 2008 to pay off debt. I now consider survival prep my top investment- food, ammo, extra magazines, extra receivers, books, and junk silver. We are currently saving to start a Swiss America gold account, and eventually purchase $1,000 face vale junk silver bags for each family member.

Vehicles: Primary - 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser. Grocery Getter - Honda minivan. We also have a Gen 1 Suzuki King Quad (slow but capable and carbureted), bicycles and bicycle trailer. Ideally I would own a complete spare primary vehicle but the frequent moves and lack of space make this difficult. For now I perform a lot of preventative maintenance to keep the vehicles in top condition and try to stock critical spares.

Firearms: Custom Remington 700 .308, four FALs with configuration ranging from Izzy HB to 18” carbine, M1A worked over by Smith Enterprises, S&W M4gery, DMPS M4gery, Mossberg 590, Winchester SX2 tactical, three Ruger 10/22s, Beeman HW77 .177 pellet rifle, Ruger SP101, Springfield Armory 1911, Glock 22, Browning Hi-Power, Ruger Mk 22/45, Scout rifle built on .308 Ishapore Enfield action, FR8, Savage 24C. The frequent moves are going to force me to shrink and further standardize my armory. I also made the mistake of buying a normal gun safe and moving it has been a huge and heavy pain. I plan on selling it and replacing it with one of the Zanotti Armor [6-piece modular] gun safes that you recommend. I would also like to add a crossbow to the collection for the silent gathering of meat if the Schumer hits the fan.

Ammo: Over 50,000 rounds with the bulk of that in .22 LR. One of my top priorities at this station is to finally unpack all my reloading supplies and purchase whatever is required to complete my setup so I can have an operational reloading bench. I am also on the lookout for a .177 pellet mold for my Beeman. I know accuracy would be way down but I think I could have an unlimited supply of pellets when old tire weights and discard car batteries are considered.

Fuel: 25 gallons in 5 gallon Scepter [current US mil-spec] gas cans, roughly 30 gallons of propane in various tank sizes. This is about as large of a supply as I can store, rotate, and do a permanent change of station (PCS) with. I have printed plans for a portable 12 volt DC fuel pump and will have parts when this year’s snow melts off the local junk yards.

Water: On the grid but we have a two week emergency supply (90 gallons stored in 15 gallon water barrels) and a Big Berkey water filter with buckets for carrying water from a local source to filter if needed.

Property tax: $0/year (one positive aspect of living in military housing)

Gardens: Allowed on military installations with restrictions. In the past I had been skeptical about planting a garden because the yard had to be returned to sod when changing stations. From a financial sense, rolling out sod when we leave would probably be more expensive than the money we would save in crop production. However, after considering several posts by fellow SurvivalBlog readers, I now think the expenditure will be a wise investment in learning the ends and outs of gardening. Keep in mind that on some military installations they have set aside large lots near housing that are opened for families to plant gardens - this would be the best of both worlds. We have a collection of hand tools to do the gardening but are limited on spares due to space and household good weight limitations.

Livestock: Not allowed on installation but I have seen people get away with having a hutch or two for the ‘pet’ rabbits.

Dogs: Allowed in military housing but I do not have one at this time. The spouse/kids/neighbors have to be supportive of a dog to make it work in the military. When the kids get older and can help out when I’m TDY, it will be an addition to our family.

Security: We live in the ultimate gated community provided by full time military police/security forces. When off the installation, personal security provided by sidearm and concealed carry permit. House has normal doors and locks but the family is usually in a low state of awareness due to the gated community feel. Five sets of various adult sized Kevlar vests and helmets. A 2nd gen night vision scope that is waiting for a rifle mount. My top priority in this area is to get the stars to align (namely: fly out grandma to watch the kids and find some reasonable transportation/lodging) so that I can use my long stored certificate and purchase an additional course so my wife and I can attend Front Sight together.

Food storage: Close to a year of staples (grains, beans, rice, powdered milk, honey, and salt), At least three month’s worth of canned/perishable goods that is constantly rotated, and 2+ weeks of MREs. I also have a collection of traps that Buckshot recommends and feel confident I could add meat to the table at any large military installation. When notified of a PCS, my wife starts using the canned and perishable goods almost exclusively so we can minimize our household goods weight. The household weight limit is something we always struggle with. We have averaged 1/3 more than the allowed weight on our last three moves but we have come up with a solution that has worked for us. We do a partial Do IT Yourself move (DITY move) where the military pays a contractor to move part of our goods and they pay us to move the rest of the goods (up to the maximum allowable weight based on rank and dependents). When the contract movers show up we have them load all the large and bulky items such as furniture, bicycle trailer, and empty water barrels. This usually amounts to about 2/3 of our belongings based on size but only 1/3 based on weight. We then pack the rest of the goods in a rented moving truck ourselves. The stuff like food storage, books, and the safe easily fit in the rental truck and adds up to about 2/3 of our total weight. Although we only get paid for about half of what we move we still make more than enough to cover all our expenses and avoid having to pay a carrier to move the excess weight.

Communication: HF base station is a Yaesu FT-840 with every factory option. I also have a Realistic Pro 2006 scanner, a Yaesu FT-8900 for the Land Cruiser, and a couple Yaesu handhelds. Exterior antennas are not allowed in military housing so I have to get by with low profile dipoles and a good antenna tuner. Right now I am encouraging my wife to get her Technician license. Besides wanting a VHF radio for the base station, I also need a battery backup system that can serve as our emergency electrical power supply. I want to be able to feed the battery bank with a small generator as well as a fairly large but portable solar panel(s).

Survival Library: Extensive with all the SurvivalBlog Bookshelf recommendations as well as most of the books recommended by readers.

Hobbies: Family adventures, church activities, vehicle maintenance/upgrades, Scouting, "$200 stamp collecting" (AWC and AAC firearms sound suppressors), increasing food storage.

Next project: At our current location I need to develop an emergency home heating plan. I wish we could add a wood stove but will probably have to settle with a kerosene space heater. I am also developing my exit strategy from the military – hopefully more to follow in the form of another writing contest submission.
I have deviated from the normal profile format and added a couple paragraphs to sum up the pros and cons of living the survival lifestyle while serving in the military.

Pros of active duty military: The opportunity to serve with many like minded selfless patriots, job security, benefits such as medical and commissary, requirement to stay physically fit, installation amenities such as gym and auto hobby shop, and a good retirement if I can make it to 20 years. I’ll be honest, the retirement plan will probably keep me in. I’ll be 44 when eligible to retire and I like the idea of being able to move to our desired retreat location, take a low paying job if nothing else is available and count on the immediate retirement income to make up the difference.

Cons: Not being able to live at and develop our desired retreat location, frequent/extended TDYs keeping me away from my immediate family, being stationed away from extended family, frequent moves, and the possibility of living in a state not up to the Constitutional standards of firearm and suppressor ownership.

A couple of years ago, I created the acronym MOAB (for "Mother of All Bailouts"). I predicted that once started, it would "continue to grow uncontrollably", but even in my worst nightmares, I didn't fully anticipate this headline: Financial Rescue Approaches GDP as U.S. Pledges $12.8 Trillion. I have trouble imagining the enormity of one Trillion US Dollars. That is quite a pile of money. But $12.8 Trillion? To borrow a line from Bart Simpson: ¡Ay carumba!

JHB forwarded a link to this government psychology site: A Guide to Getting Through Tough Economic Times. But I have a much better suggestion than just some psychological platitudes: Read the Bible and pray hard! To understand Christian faith, I recommned starting by reading the Gospel of John.

Janet sent this: Dig in: Market won't get much worse

Items from The Economatrix:

New Signs Emerge Showing Recession May be Nearing Bottom

Dow Jumps Above 8,000 for First Time in Two Months

G20 Gives $1 Trillion to Fight Global Crisis

Obama Hails Summit as "Recovery Turning Point"

G20 Leader in Talks to Bury "Free" Markets

G20 Summit: Leaders Target Bankers

Weimar 1923 May Have More Lessons than US 1932

Russia, China Cooperate on New Currency Proposals

G20: US Dollar Funeral, US Failed Debtor

Soros: If G20 Fails, Global Depression Ahead

Credit Card Write-downs Hit Record High

US Private Sector Axes 742,000 Jobs in March

Layoffs Nearly Triple Last Year's Marks

Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary General): I fear a looming catastrophe

Red Alert: Redefining the Global System "These summits are not just about photo-ops and handshakes. Taken together, this array of diplomatic meetings constitute the greatest density of decision points in the modern world since the summits that brought about the end of the Cold War....This is not a debate that will be resolved by the end of this summit (if at all), leaving G-20 members and the struggling economies watching from the outside with the impression that they have little choice but to fend for themselves in this severe economic environment."

G.G. was the first of more than ten readers that sent this article from The Detroit News: To urban hunter, next meal is scampering by, about a 69-year old retiree who hunts raccoons for a living in Detroit. Her is a quote: "Today people got no skill and things is getting worse. What people gonna do? They gonna eat each other up is what they gonna do."
   o o o

D.S. sent us this link, on how farmers made tools over 100 years ago.

"Call on God, but row away from the rocks." - Hunter S. Thompson

Vehicles break down. It’s a fact of life. Most breakdowns can be avoided by following a good schedule of preventative maintenance or with a couple of well thought out modifications. But, try as you might, failures can and will occur, even to the best of us.

Anything can put you on the side of the road. Ever run out of gas? Have a flat tire? Bad universal joint on a drive shaft? Charging system go bad? This one happened to me just a few weeks ago. To get an idea of what can go wrong, just drive to work. Look at the cars stuck on the side of the road. A good habit is to make a mental inventory of what you can see that sidelined these vehicles and prepare for worse.

As I said, try as you might, you just cannot prepare for everything. If you had the time and money, I don’t think it would help. I’ve seen brand new parts, fresh out of the box, break down.

But you can learn techniques and tricks that can get you back up and running when you do not have the time or parts to fix it text-book correct and must get moving as quickly as possible and keep moving in the extreme.

The Cooling System

An internal combustion engine is basically a “heat machine”. In an internal combustion engine a fuel/air mixture contained within a closed cylinder and is set on fire…the burning mixture expands pushing the piston down…and on and on until you have power to the rear wheels. A diesel engine is similar but the fuel/air mixture explodes in the cylinder instead of being burned.

For the record...the difference between the two engines is the spark plug of the gasoline engine. When the spark bridges the gap between the electrodes, the compressed mixture is ignited, and the burning of mixture does the rest. This spark must be repeated over and over to keep the fires burning. This process can be demonstrated by use of a device used to tune British Cars with dual SU carbs, called a Gunson Color Tune. An explanation of the device with pictures of the flame front can be seen at the Gunson Color Tuning web page.

Please note that several time in this article, the author mentions "the flame" and its color. When the mixture is correct...the color of the flame in the cylinder will be the same color as the flame found on your gas burner: a pretty blue color.

A diesel engine has no repeating spark ... The mixture in the diesel engine explodes due to the engine's extremely high compression ratio. To be sure ... a diesel engine has "igniters" or glow plugs which are really just heating elements that that aid in warming up the cylinder before starting so this explosion can occur. But this is just for cold starts. After the engine has started the glow plugs turn off...and the mixture continues to be set off by compression.

A simple proof of this is to listen to a diesel (especially an older Mercedes Benz sedan) when it accelerates...that characteristic rattling sound is indeed the sound of the explosions.

It is possible for a gasoline engine to produce this type of sound. If the timing is advanced to far, or if the temperature in side the combustion chamber becomes too high, then the gasoline mixture will indeed explode before the piston is at top dead center, and we will hear the sound of these explosions. This is sometimes referred to as "ping" or "knock" or "detonation". Sometimes these explosions can become so violent that they can blow a hole in the top of a piston, and cause the ring lands to collapse or pound out a rod bearing.

An engine delivers most power and fuel efficiency at a particular operating range, usually about 180 degrees (more or less depending on the engine specs). Below this range the engine will drink fuel, it will run rough and be way down on power. In the extreme, if there in not sufficient heat in the engine a carburetor may even clog with ice in its bores. At the other extreme, if an engine gets too hot, it will overheat. The coolant’s temperature will climb and so will coolant system pressures. The result: you are stuck on the side of the road.

Over the years I have seen coolant system hoses blown off. I have seen cylinder head gaskets leak. I have seen cylinder heads warp. I have seen piston rings cook themselves into pistons, and I have seen pistons seize themselves into engine blocks, all due to too much heat in the engine.

Keeping coolant temperatures within a correct range is vitally important.

So how does the cooling system work? A thermostat controls the flow of water through the cooling system. The thermostat opens and closes its disc-like valve using an internal wax ball and an external spring. When the engine is below operating temperature the thermostat will shut its valve. When the thermostat is closed, water, moved by the water pump, circulates through the engine block and cylinder head only, allowing the water to come up to operating temperature. The closed valve disc on the thermostat prevents the water from passing through the radiator. When that water in the engine reaches a temp of about 180 degrees (depending on the engine specs) the thermostat’s valve opens and allows the hot water to pass through the radiator where it is cooled by outside air. The thermostat then cycles open and closed to maintain normal operating temperature in the engine.

An engine that runs too cool will only be inefficient. This can be repaired easily by simply blocking off the flow of air through the radiator.

An engine that runs too hot can leave you on the side of the road.

Any number of factors can cause a cooling system to allow an engine too run hot. Assuming you already have the proper amount of coolant in the system, some of these factors include: a thermostat that has stuck completely or even partially closed, a partially clogged radiator, a bad radiator cap, a damaged water pump, a water pump that has a bad seal allowing air into the system causing the impeller to loose efficiency by pumping a water and air mix, a failed head gasket that is allowing hot combustion gases into the cooling system, a broken or slipping water pump drive belt.

These are just a number of factors that will cause coolant system failure.

To properly fill a cooling system, Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. These can sometimes be found in the owner’s handbook or a good workshop manual.

In General: With the engine off and the engine block cool (there danger of showering yourself with boiling hot water if the engine is hot!), remove the radiator cap and fill the radiator. Start the engine and allow the engine to come up to normal operating temperature on the gauge. The thermostat should open. On some (most) vehicles, the opening of the thermostat is preceded by a rising coolant level that may overflow the radiator. Then the coolant level will drop sharply, as now the entire system is open and flowing. once the level drops, fill the radiator to its proper level and put the cap back on the radiator.

On vehicles with overflow tanks the process is slightly different, only in that you fill the radiator fully, put on its pressure cap, and then fill the overflow container to the marks indicated.

Maintenance and Modifications

Because of its importance, a vehicle’s coolant system should be inspected and maintained regularly. In addition to fresh caps, thermostat hoses and clamps, make sure the coolant is a correct mix of antifreeze and water.

Due to its location out in front, the radiator is a particularly vulnerable part of the cooling system. Some radiator problems can be avoided by regularly inspecting the coolant in it and changing it regularly. If this coolant ever becomes brown or rusty in color, get the cooling system, especially the radiator flushed. Remove all bugs, dead baby birds and other debris from the radiator to maintain a good air flow through it.

The risk of holes in the radiator can be lessened by removing that plastic grille and anything else out in front of the radiator and replacing it something more substantial and foreign object-proof.

You can make your own grille easily with some steel bar or rod stock (rebar will work) and a piece of chain link fencing. If you can get one inch square chain link fencing, even better. It might not look real good, but it will keep a lot of branches, stones, and birds from knocking a hole in all that soft brass.

Replacing the front bumper with a taller, sturdier unit, maybe one with push bars, will keep some of the bigger stuff (deer, other vehicles, etc) out of the radiator.

Depending on your states laws, remove all pollution equipment, certainly the catalytic converter. Whatever you can do to reduce under hood temperatures will be a big help. An air pump robs horsepower and builds engine heat with its parasitic drag. That catalytic converter is just a storehouse of heat.

Remove the metal cooling fan and install electric fan for engine cooling. If you take a hard front hit, those metal bladed fans will destroy a radiator. You can do this job with a junk yard fan unit, or find something in the JC Whitney catalogue or any speed shop. As a side benefit, you may see some improvement in fuel economy, due to the reduction of parasitic drag. Wire this electric fan with a sensor and manual override switch on dash.

Consider installing an oversized radiator and coolant overflow tank. Trucks that came with air conditioning generally have the biggest radiators. The more coolant you have in the cooling system, the further you can go if the radiator gets a hole in it and you just can’t stop to fix it right away.

Remove the air conditioning system completely. More flow through the radiator, less drag from the pump.

Incorrect ignition timing can cause overheating. Check with a timing light and set to manufacturer’s specs.

Get rid of all your vehicle's inexpensive “spring tension”-type cooling system hose clamps. Replace them with new “screw type” (Aero-Seal) hose clamps. Never, unless you have no other choice, re-use an old hose clamp. It will just fail on you.

In your “Get Out Of Dodge” kit you should have spare belts, hoses, clamps, caps and thermostats. Always carry a can or two of Stop Leak. Yellow and brown cans of Barr’s Stop Leak have always been in the trunks of my cars. Always keep at least a couple of gallons of water for coolant and a suitable empty container to get more if needed.

Remember this. During the course of my 30 years as a mechanic I have seen many new thermostats and radiator caps go bad in a few miles, hoses that just refuse to stay seated, cylinder head gaskets that go bad for no apparent reason, and on and on and on.

So, an overheat can still happen. What then?

Failures in the Extreme

Symptoms of a cooling system failure include a higher than normal (and sometimes rising) temperature gauge reading, steam coming from under the hood, or a pool of coolant under the vehicle. If you’ve run the engine so hot, so long that you hear a knocking noise, you’ve run it too long.

During the course of 30 years I heard hundreds of times, "I only ran it for five minutes after the temperature light came on," while I was looking at a car that now needed thousands of dollars of engine repair that could have been avoided. This was in the best of times. In the extreme, you must address a cooling system problem as soon as possible to be able to keep moving.

Some coolant system problems are fairly easy to diagnose. A broken, leaking or collapsing coolant hose is easy to spot. A broken belt is fairly obvious.

A water pump can be checked by grabbing its pulley at the top and bottom and wiggling it. It should have no play. If it does the pump has a bad bearing. Water pump seals can also leak: air in, water out. Check that by visually checking its vent hole(s) with the engine off. These will be located on the pump body just behind the pump’s pulley. If you cannot see the hole, run your fingers all along the pump's housing, if your finger gets wet, the pump is bad. Replace it if you can.

A simple test for a radiator cap is just to compress its valve and spring using your hand. If it has “a fair bit” of tension, it should be OK. Otherwise, replace it.

A bad head gasket or cracked cylinder head can be detected by way of a compression test, a cylinder leak-down test. If you have access to an exhaust gas analyzer you can test for the presence of exhaust gases in the radiator while the engine is running. Just take off the cap (very carefully!) and hold the probe over the open radiator. If you detect Hydrocarbons or Carbon Monoxide, you have a cracked head or bad head gasket.

If you have access to a coolant system pressure tester, you can remove all the spark plugs, fill the coolant system with water, pump air pressure into the cooling system, and crank the engine (as if trying to start it). If you have a bad head gasket, water will enter the affected cylinder and be pumped out by the cranking. The coolant will be pumped out with some force, so stand clear of the spark plug holes!

You can check for a bad thermostat by removing and inspecting it when it is hot. In most vehicles the thermostat is located in a housing bolted to the engine block. The upper radiator hose is secured to this housing. A bad thermostat will be one that is stuck partially or fully shut. Replace it with a new one.

A clogged radiator can be checked by getting the engine hot, and then with the engine off, very carefully feeling the radiator core (the cooling fins) with your hand for cool or cold spots. These cool spots are places where clogs are preventing the hot water flowing. Holes in the radiator can be detected by puddles of coolant on your feet!

In the extreme, a holed radiator can be repaired well enough to keep you going by closing off the injured cooling tubes in the core of the radiator. The core of the radiator is made up of rows of these tubes, sometimes as many as 5 or 6 tubes deep. A fast expedient repair is to grab each holed tube with needle-nosed pliers, flatten the tube and fold it over, to prevent your from coolant from leaking from that tube. If you can, fold each damaged tube over twice. Put in a can of stop leak, and top up the coolant, remembering to wait for the thermostat to open. A more “complete temporary” repair would be to solder the tubes closed, but if you don’t have time the pliers will do the trick.

But what can you do if you are in the extreme, and must keep moving? You’ve checked for the obvious, the hoses are dry and tight, the belts are good, the cap seems to hold pressure, there’s no sign of leaks and you have a good level of coolant in the system. But the engine is running hot. Way hot. Or what if you find you have a clog in the radiator, or a bad water pump, maybe even a bad head gasket, and you must keep moving. What to try next?

You could turn on your heater fan. The heater core can act as a secondary radiator. The fan blowing air through it can cool the hot coolant by a couple of degrees. It works! I’ve used this any number of times.

But what if it still runs hot? What next?

I have been able to reduce a high engine temperature by “gutting” the thermostat. This is done by removing the spring and disc-like valve, leaving just the housing. This will look like a fairly large brass flat washer, a brass disc with a large hole in the center. You just install it back where the whole thermostat assembly was. Old time racers call this a “blanking sleeve”.

Never run an engine without a thermostat or blanking sleeve!

So why not just put in a new thermostat? A blanking sleeve will allow the water to flow through the entire system including the radiator. It controls the flow rate so its slow enough to collect the heat out of the engine and get cooled by the radiator.

A blanking sleeve has no valve so it cannot close to allow the heat to build up in the engine. I have reduced engine temperatures by as much as twenty degrees by modifying a thermostat into a blanking sleeve. A blanking sleeve allows water to flow at “just the right speed” slow enough to pick up the engine’s heat and slow enough that it stays in the radiator long enough to get cooled off.

The trade-off is that without a thermostat’s regulatory action, it will take longer engine to come up to normal operating temperature, especially in the winter. In cold weather, the engine might not come up to normal operating temperature at all. You may find you have to stop the air flow through the radiator to warm up by turning off your cooling fans or by covering the radiator core.

So why not just leave the thermostat and blanking sleeve out entirely? Because the water will flow, unrestricted, and very fast through the engine and radiator. Too fast to pick up the heat from inside the engine, too fast to get cooled off in the radiator.

But, a blanking sleeve might allow a 20 degree reduction in temperature, which just might be what you need to keep moving and get where you gotta be, in the extreme.

- OddShot

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Today we present the first entry for Round 22 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: Two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 22 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I would like to clarify a point in the article, "Livestock for Survival" by Bobbi A. Regarding hens going "broody" - Probably not. There are very few breeds in which the hens will sit on their eggs, and even among broody breeds (such as Buff Orpingtons, which I raise) only a few hens will become broody. The broodiness trait has been intentionally bred out of chickens because a broody hen does not lay eggs. If you plan to raise your own chicks, have an incubator and power source as a backup.

Also, a suggestion: I have made arrangements with others in my area who also raise chickens. If I were to lose my rooster or all of my hens for some reason, my friends will re-supply me with chicks. I will do the same for them if the need arises. Having a backup arrangement like that could be crucial. - Stephen in Florida

JWR Replies: Here at the ranch, our no-tech solution has been to buy a couple of Bantam hens, for use as adoptive brooders in any year that we want to raise chicks from eggs. Since they are raised mostly for "show" rather than egg production (ha!), banties are notoriously broody.

I don’t know any farmers (or any other group for that matter) who agree completely on everything. They may agree on a point, but place different values on the importance of that point. Bobbi knows what he is talking about and his solutions fit him. I do think he didn’t cover one point well.

I am in the process of bugging out to a very isolated area. (No roads within miles, etc.) I also suspect that the various municipalities, states etc will be hard pressed to keep some services such as water going. Cleanliness is next to godliness as far as disease is concerned, so I expect the filth produced by lack of water and garbage collection to produce a huge vector for disease. In a very isolated location, most human to human transferred disease will be unlikely to be a problem.

Studies have shown that rabbits convert pound for pound of food into about the same amount of protein as chickens per annum. Certainly no cook would consider doing without eggs, and rabbits just don’t cut it there. On the other hand, rabbits are not very prone to getting bird flu either. That is one disease that my isolation will not help, with crows, etc. having unrestricted license to fly where-ever they please. I haven’t yet totally decided to have no fowl, but I am concerned enough to give it very serious consideration. Now chickens are a much lower priority than rabbits in my book. In my location, getting land cleared and a first year crop off is easier with hay than seed grains, and rabbits eat hay. However, your mileage may vary. - Allen

Reader MPS in Nevada sent this: The True Queen of Frugal

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SurvivalBlog's Editor-at-Large, Michael Z. Williamson's latest science fiction novel, Contact with Chaos pits two competing groups from the Freehold of Grainne (that you'll remember from his novel Freehold ) and Earth against each other during a "first contact" with a sentient species in another solar system. It is now available at Amazon.com. Knowing Mike's previous work, this promises to be good!

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I just heard that Sturm Ruger is now producing 30-round Mini-14 magazines, available to the general public. Ruger's sales of 20-rounders, since they were reintroduced a few months ago, have been very brisk. I expect the 30-rounders will sell out very quickly, and prices will gallop. So stock up! As most Mini-14 owners know, only the factory magazines have sufficient reliability for self-defense shooting. Avoid the aftermarket junk!

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The latest from Nanny State Britannia: Woman who plays classical music to soothe horses told to get licence

"The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army." - General. George Washington, to his troops before the battle of Long Island, New York

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We've completed the judging in the most recent round of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The grand prize winner is: Dr. K., for his two-part article: TEOTWAWKI Medicine and Minor Surgery. He will receive two transferable Front Sight  "Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!

Second prize goes to Eli, for his article "Real World Observations on Fighting Crime and Criminals". He will receive a three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for his choice of three-day civilian courses.

Third prize: goes to Bobbi A. for her article "Livestock for Survival". She will receive a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, courtesy of Arbogast Publishing

Runner-up prizes go to three writers: Gertrude, for her article "Bloom Where You're Planted.", Bois d'Arc for "Making the Transition to Country Life", and D.S. for "Preparedness Through Tapping in to the Craig's List Culture: Doing Well by Doing Good". They will each receive a copy of the book The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.

Note to the prize winners: Please e-mail me to let me know your snail mail addresses!

Today we begin Round 22 of the contest. This round of the contest will end on the May 31st. Here is the first entry for Round 22:

As I started my journey into preparedness, one of the areas I pursued was getting my Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) license (sometimes called Concealed Handgun License (CHL) or Concealed Carry License (CCL)). I thought it might be helpful to Survival Blog readers to share my recent experiences related to obtaining my CCW license and getting to a point where I felt comfortable carrying a concealed weapon in public. I know there is some concern regarding obtaining a license that puts you on record as a gun owner/carrier, but that is the trade off of being able to legally defend yourself and is a decision each of us must make.

In a full TEOTWAWKI situation, concealed carry is likely not much of an issue, as most everyone will be carrying openly. However, it is possible, if not likely, that a less than full TEOTWAWKI will occur where there is increasingly more crime and yet some semblance of law enforcement is still in place. This limbo between where we are today and complete lawlessness may last a long time. You could be considered a criminal by illegally carrying a concealed weapon for self protection.

First, a little background regarding CCW. Most states are either “shall issue” or “may issue” in regard to CCW licenses (nice of them to offer something already provided for by the Second Amendment). Both Illinois and Wisconsin do not allow concealed carry at all and a few other “nanny” states (California, New York, New Jersey, etc.) are “may issue” and only provide licenses in very limited circumstances. There is a complicated set of state reciprocity (which states will honor another states license), especially considering that many states offer non-resident permits and a few states only honor resident permits. The best source I have found to understand the laws pertaining to individual states is the HandgunLaw.us web site. Even though there are sporadic attempts to nationalize concealed carry, I do not believe this will happen which is probably a good thing (the federal government, especially the current one, would likely make things much worse).

I applied for and subsequently received my CCW license about 18 months ago in Idaho, my state of residence. My first several months of carrying a concealed weapon was limited to having my gun in the car (in a somewhat hidden spot) anytime I left the house. My concern was that, even though I had some experience shooting handguns and rifles, actually carrying a weapon in public carries a high level of responsibility and I did not have enough confidence in my ability in handling the weapon or in having the proper mindset as to how to respond to the variety of situations that could present themselves.

I made one of the best decisions of my life when I attended the Four Day Defensive Handgun class at Front Sight. Not only did those very intense four days enable me to gain familiarity and confidence in handling my Glock 23 but started me down the road to good marksmanship. The range work (about 75% of the class) focused on gun handling safety, proper mechanics for drawing the gun and shooting, and shooting accuracy. Just as important was the classroom work at Front Sight where they discussed a wide range of topics related to self defense, including the legal ramifications of even a justified shooting and the color codes of awareness. The most important thing presented was that you should only present your weapon if you are in fear for your life or grave bodily harm and, if you do present your weapon, you should be prepared to shoot until the threat is stopped. This may sound simple but there are many shades of gray here that each individual must come to grips with.

One of these gray areas involves protecting others. Of course, there is no question regarding protecting my family who would get a higher priority than even myself. My personal decision is that I would also use deadly force to protect my friends. Here is where it starts to get gray. Do you protect acquaintances or strangers? While it would be very difficult to stand by and let someone be harmed or killed when you could have done something to stop it, the real issue is: Do you know enough of the circumstances about the event? How do you know for sure who the bad guy is? Is the person holding the gun seeming to threaten someone an off duty cop or even another CCW who is restraining a bad guy? You certainly cannot count on presenting your weapon to get everyone to stop until it can be sorted out. Chances are pretty good that the bad guy (or the off duty cop) holding the gun will not surrender and you will either be shot or have to shoot them.

Another gray area is: how far do you go to protect your stuff? You are only legally able to shoot someone if you are in fear of your life or grave bodily harm. In most states, you cannot legally shoot someone who is just taking your stuff. For example, if someone pulls a gun (or knife) on you and demands your wallet, you could shoot them if you were in fear for your life. However, if you see someone stealing you car and you shoot them while they are driving away; you are likely in deep trouble. An exception (in most states), called the Castle Doctrine, is that you do not have to be in fear for your life if the bad guy is inside your house. Be sure to check your state laws on use of force!

Prior to the class, I had begun to read the defensive handgun forums primarily regarding hypothetical and actual defensive scenarios. I highly recommend these forums. My favorites are: Defensive Carry Forum, Concealed Carry Forum, and the Glock Carry Forum. Even though there are many different opinions expressed on these forums, hearing them helps to solidify your own mindset as to what you would do in a variety of situations. It is important to think this through thoroughly prior to carrying a weapon because there will likely not be time to do so when a situation arises.

The main point is that you need to go out of your way to avoid a gunfight. This is illustrated by the fact that in a gunfight, you risk everything (including your life) and don’t win anything. The ramifications to your life of even a good shooting are such that it is something to be avoided if at all possible. Those ramifications can include financial ruin, losing your job, tarnishing your reputation (at least among the non-violent types), or even incarceration. Now that I am armed, I am more able to resist the macho urge to stand up to someone because I know that escalation could be deadly. It also doesn’t hurt to have witnesses that say you tried to walk away or de-escalate the situation in case the unavoidable does happen.

After attending the Front Sight class, I made the leap and started carrying in public all of the time. This is where you start to figure out the type and manufacturer of holster which is going to work best for you. Most people end up with a drawer full of holsters since it is difficult to evaluate a holster without wearing it with different clothing options and sometimes in different positions for some period of time. Again, the defensive handgun forums can provide a wealth of opinions regarding the variety of holsters available. Some holsters are adjustable for height and/or cant, which make them more versatile but also extend the time to figure out the most comfortable concealed position. I could write many pages on all of the options and types of holsters available since I did considerable research and tried many of them personally.
To simplify, the most common holsters are either OWB (outside the waistband) or IWB (inside the waistband). They can be worn in various positions (usually described but referencing the numbers on a clock with straight ahead being 12:00). Many people carry “behind the hip” at 4:00-5:00 (for right handed people) or 7:00-8:00 (for left handed people) with some amount of forward cant (grip of gun forward and barrel angled toward the rear). That cant (typically 10-20%) allows for a more natural grip on the gun for drawing from that position as well as provides better concealment than a straight drop. I could never get comfortable with this behind the hip position, maybe because I am not very limber and I have bad shoulders making it difficult to reach behind my hip both for getting the holster positioned initially and for access to the gun when needed.

The 3:00 position allows for a straight draw and is the most comfortable, even when sitting. Since it is on the apex of your hip/waist, it is a little more difficult to conceal but is a good option in winter when jackets and coats are common. You just need to make sure that you won’t be put into a position where you will need to remove your cover garment. I have found that a fleece vest works very well to conceal a handgun at 3:00 and you can still wear and remove a heavier coat and keep your weapon concealed.

I have gravitated toward “appendix carry” at about 1:00-2:00 using an IWB holster, especially in the summer. It allows for excellent concealability and access and can be concealed with just a light shirt. This position also allows you to be able to visually make sure you are not “printing” (outline of the gun showing through your clothes). There are a large number of IWB holsters available and some of them allow a shirt to be tucked in between the pants and the top of the gun if you need to have your shirt tucked in. I did have to go up one size in pants to accommodate the holster and gun being inside the waistband.
Cross draw is another option and works well for people who spend a lot of time driving. Other options that have drawbacks but may be useful for some people include SOB (small of back) holsters, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters.[JWR Adds: As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog I consider SOB holsters too much of a risk for back injuries, particularly for anyone on horseback, or that is riding motorcycles or ATVs.] I use a fanny pack (worn in the front) sometimes, especially when hiking. A fanny pack in public tends to scream “gun” to most law enforcement and some bad guys. For women, carrying in a purse is an obvious choice. However, you have to be very careful not to set it down anywhere where someone else could get access to it. A purse can also be the target of someone trying to snatch it, which not only deprives you of your means of self defense but gives your weapon to your attacker. There are other options that each individual should look into to meet their specific need.

To maintain and even improve the level of proficiency gained at Front Sight, there are a few approaches. The obvious one is to do a lot of shooting. With the cost of ammunition these days, this can be very expensive. A .22 conversion kit for your carry gun will help to minimize the cost of putting a lot of rounds down range. An alternative is to mix in dry practice. Personally, I like to try to maintain 10%-20% of my practice time as live fire but sometimes that is even difficult to achieve. Dry practice can help to maintain muscle memory for drawing, sight acquisition, trigger pull, and even malfunction clearing. An obvious important safety concern when dry practicing is to absolutely insure that the gun is unloaded. I know that sounds pretty basic but a clear delineation of starting and stopping dry practice will help to eliminate a very bad experience of a negligent discharge. Unload the gun and double check that it is unloaded. Then remove all ammo from the dry practice area. Check again to make sure the gun is unloaded. Even then, make sure you dry practice target has a good backstop and make sure you never point the gun at anything you would not want to destroy. At the end of the dry practice session, remove any dry practice targets, load and holster the weapon, and go as far as to say out loud, “The weapon is loaded and dry practice is over.”

I have applied for and am awaiting receipt of my Utah non-resident permit which will make me legal in more states (33 states in total). I am also planning to attend Front Sight again in a few weeks and take the Four Day Practical Rifle class to gain more proficiency with my battle rifle. I even talked my wife into taking the Four Day Defensive Handgun class at the same time. - AceHigh in Idaho

Richard B.'s post is dead-on about how awesome Woofer training is. I'm WFR-qualified, and I agree that it is a great 10-day/night training program. However, there are a few things that WFR training targets that doesn't quite cover TEOTWAWKI situations. I've also taken Medical Corps (the makers of KIO3 and one of your advertisers) "Care in Extreme Situations" course, and two different tactical medicine classes through Suarez International (their TC3 class includes live fire).

One key phrase in the definition of Wilderness Medicine is "more than one hour from definitive care," and many of their techniques are designed around patient stabilization and transportation. A few of their techniques are advanced, in-field treatments, but the expectation of their approach is that the hospital will provide much needed care sometime in the future.

The Medical Corps class provides some amazing additional "I'm the only available medical care that you're going to receive" type of medical information, that supplements the more basic care that WFR provides. One example they brought up on the class were a group of American who ended up on a Tsunami ravaged island in Indonesia, and because they were the most educated people there (i.e., they could read and they had seen episodes of the television show ER) they were most advanced medical care available on the island, with no training whatsoever. That class is geared towards that sort of 'extreme situation.' They also provide an amazing amount of information regarding supplies you can keep on hand to assist with mass casualty events, long term events, what's good to have in the event you have to be the medical services for 'your village.'

A Tactical Medicine class provides the much needed technologies for those first couple minutes after an injury occurs (normally from the point of view of 'I just got shot' or 'My pal just got shot,' but the techniques are applicable to "I just cut my leg off with a chainsaw at my Idaho retreat after the collapse and no one is coming to rescue me... ever ... so I need to do something now.") Live fire medicine is exciting. They also provide a lot of good information regarding the pro's and con's of various items in your 'blow out' kits (and its amazing to hear the points of view of various instructors ... some approach it from a "This is what you carry" and others from the point of view of "this is what makes a good device, so if you need to improvise, here's the characteristics you need to target."

Here is how I categorize my three levels of training:
*Tactical Medicine: * The Ambulance is five minutes away, you've got 90 seconds before you bleed out. Return fire as needed.* You're the ER doctor* now, the real doctor will help you later.
*Wilderness First Responder Training: * Help is an hour or a day away. The victim needs to be taken to the doctor or might just need a Band-Aid, that's for you to figure out and decide what do with them (*sometimes you treat, sometimes to make sure that they can make it to treatment*). You evaluate and stabilize the patient, and if necessary move them so they can get to the real doctor.
*Medical Corps:* "Care in Extreme..." You are the only doctor that the victim(s) are ever going to see. Do your best with them to keep them alive, do your best to keep other people from becoming victims, and do your best to treat them for the long haul .... *You are the doctor (dentist).*
The more medical classes that I get and the more classes with 'hands on the patients' sort of interactions, the more I realize how much I don't know and the more courses I want to take.
- C. in Fort Collins


I just wanted to pass on an additional direction that the general public can take advantage of for excellent medical emergency training with an outdoor focus. The Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) classes, put on nationwide by the National Ski Patrol, are nearly identical to the description of the recently-posted Wilderness First Responder article. The National Ski Patrol opens their classes to skiers and non-skiers of all stripes, including those who just wish to know more about first responder emergency medicine. The course is around 100 hours of class time - significantly more independent study time - and is completed with both a written and practical examination and OEC Certification. (It is recognized nationally). Refreshers are required each year to maintain certification. One of my main reasons for posting this alternative is availability of class offerings is wide and duration is usually set to a much longer period of time than the concentrated 9 or 10 day of the Woofer class as described in the posting.
More information can be found at the OEC Zone website or at National Ski Patrol website. As an aside, the curricula for OEC Technician is basically designed with and to be nearly identical to a Basic EMT certification following near identical study guides and standard of care protocols. Regards, - Rick S.

Cheryl (aka The Economatrix) found this: Demand for Ammo is Causing Supply Shortages

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Tamara, in her View From the Porch blog had some biting criticism of the Flint, Michigan mayor's suggestion that abandonded neighborhoods be cordoned off and denied police and fire department protection

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Collecting Rain Water is Now Legal in Colorado. (Thanks to John L. for the link.)

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Damon sent this article: Sen. Kerry makes push for tighter gun control. My question: If these AKs are being bought at American gun shops and gun shows, then why is it that so many of the AKs seized were manufactured as selective fire (full auto)? They are aren't made that way for the US market. Obviously, someone with a poltical agenda is playing games with the statistics.

"Manus haec inimica tyrannis ense petit placidam sub libertate quietam" ["This hand of mine, hostile to tyrants, seeks peace by the sword, but only under liberty"] - Algernon Sidney's "Book of Mottoes", circa 1659. (Also the original but unofficial Massachusetts state motto.)

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