June 2013 Archives

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

We won’t be talking about the family dog here. The family dog, to most households is quite often an undisputed, full-fledged member of the family.  In some cases “Fufu” or “Spot” is treated better than some family members. Those privileged pooches will, of course, figure into these family’s doomsday scenarios and allowances will, undoubtedly, be provided for the little darlings.                                                                                   

In this article we will be discussing working dogs.  It is some Preppers’ misguided belief that acquiring a big, mean, muscle-bound ball of fur with flashing yellow teeth, straining at the end of a chain, could be an advantage in their favorite post-SHTF world.

Many Preppers either have acquired or are considering acquiring a dog for the specific purpose of employing it as  a watchdog or four-legged protector of their doomstead.  With the right balance of dog and Prepper it can be a match made in Heaven.  But if the match does not work or the training is flawed it can turn out to be just the opposite and the animal you hoped would have your back when the chips are down can be more detrimental to you and your family’s survival than the worst gang of marauding scoundrels you can imagine!  You don’t need enemies on both sides of your perimeter wire.  

It all boils down to training.  Without proper training and development of the pooch’s raw talent you cannot be confident as to what resource you will have at your disposal when you call on him to do his thing.  A well-disciplined dog can guard your wire, flush game, provide security, lift your family’s spirits, and (or) keep you warm at night.  The main thing that you must determine from the get-go is just what you will be expecting out of your pooch…what his “job” will be.  Training a dog requires just as much, or more, training of the handler.  If you do not know what you are doing how can you expect the dog to know what you want from him?

In decades past, training disciplines involved intimidation, punishment, and, in some cases, brutalizing the animal to garner the desired results.  Thank Christ we have come a long way since then.  Although some trainers still employ those age-old techniques most enlightened handlers in the professional training arena now-a-days approach the task of dog training from the “positive reinforcement and reward” side of the docket.  Dogs are like children.  If they are having fun they will work hard for you all day long.  Just don’t let them suspect that what they are doing is work.

A good dog is highly instinctive and can see 20 times better than you can at night.  He can smell or hear an intruder long before you can even imagine someone is there.  He can fight fearlessly in advance of your patrol.  He can be the best d**n point man you could hope for.   He can sniff out explosives, or, unfortunately, the bodies of your loved-ones if it comes to that.  And he will do it all for a “Scooby snack” or a couple of minutes of shared time with you and a tennis ball.  The term “man’s best friend” most literally applies, be it a lovable mutt or a well-trained working dog.
Here is where training the trainer comes into play.  The dog only has to understand what you want from him and your expectations must never waver or deviate.  Confusing or conflicting signals can return you to square one in your training regimen.  Consistency is the key.


Obviously, the younger the dog you choose the better, and do your homework.  Picking up a  rescue dog from your local animal shelter is a commendable, charitable gesture…and similar to playing an expensive game of Russian roulette with your time and hard earned money. 

Again, you have to determine what traits you want in your dog and what his job will be.  You may choose to  go with one of the smaller, feisty breeds.  If all you want is an early warning system you may choose a little yapper to alert you to trespassers or intruders.  They are easier on your stores of food and water and take up less space.

However, here we are interested in one of the more substantial breeds…dogs with predisposed traits that are specific to the breed.  The most appealing breeds for the end of civilization as we know it, are the hard working, herding breeds.

If you are looking for number one on our list and the number one desired breed by police and military around the world, the dog that ranks highest in every category is the GERMAN SHEPHERD.  Loyal and courageous, a German Shepherd will not back down in any situation, they are for the most part totally fearless.  They are intelligent and thus easy to train and anxious to please.  They are a great guard dog but in addition they are great with kids and will lay down their lives to protect their master if called on to do so.  Once the German Shepherd bonds with its owner and the owner’s family that bond is for life.  However the Shepherd needs a lot of exercise and can get bored and destructive if left alone or unattended. You cannot go wrong choosing a German Shepherd.

On the other hand, if children are not necessarily a consideration and your needs are for a one purpose guard dog you might decide on one of the BULL TERRIER breeds commonly referred to as Pit Bulls.  They are easy to find.  Every dog shelter is overflowing with them because they can be difficult to train for the novice due to their stubborn, bull headedness.  But for the right individual they can be a loyal and fearless companion.

Other breeds that require consideration…

BELGIAN MALINOIS;  Less known than the German Shepherd but in the same category Malinois are intelligent, highly-charged and obedient.  Easy to train and excellent watchdogs, a favorite of police, military, and homeland security.  They are also good with children as long as the children understand that they are herding dogs and might tend to practice their herding skills on them.  In addition they are a ball of energy and without a measure of attention can relieve their boredom by digging holes and destroying your hovel.

ROTTWEILER;  An excellent watch dog and guard dog.   Intelligent, easy to train, their reputation alone is a deterrent.  They are loyal and trustworthy and can also be good with children.

MASTIFF;  They are huge and present an intimidating presence at the door of your shelter.  They are not that easy to train due mostly to their laid-back and docile disposition.  They are excellent with children and once bonded with the family are highly protective. 

DOBERMAN PINSCHER;  Exceedingly intelligent, they may be a handful simply because they are often smarter than their trainer and being so they require a firm assertive “pack leader”.  If you establish
yourself in that role early they can be loving and excellent guard dogs.  But Dobermans are not for everyone.

Any of these or a dozen other breeds or mixes of these breeds will give you excellent service in the field when the inevitable collapse occurs and will stand by your side in the tough days to come.  Properly trained, they can save your family and those dearest to you.  What more can you ask?         


The first few days are very important. It is the time in which you to begin to create the bond that you will enjoy with your dog for the rest of your dog’s life.  Share as much time as you can with your dog just getting to know each other.  Petting, brushing, nail trimming, anything that requires hands-on participation on your part will go a long way in establishing that bond.  You should perform health checks on your dog from nose to tail daily.  These inspections can catch possible medical issues before they become serious.

Pick a quiet place, even if it is just your living room or kitchen and walk your dog around on a leash.  No commands or expectations, that will come later. 

Any food or needs that the dog has must be addressed by you personally.  Feed your dog by hand.  Everything your dog eats should come from you and you alone so that your dog begins to realize that you are, and will be from then on, his only connection with food and anything else he might need.  The goal is to get the dog dependent on you so that your dog identifies you with what he/she needs to survive.  Your dog at this point needs very few things in life; food, water, and your attention.  With these necessities coming directly from you a lifelong bond is inevitably established.

Do not attempt any command training or break the bond you have been trying to establish for the first few days.  This will be conditioning that will pay off when you enter the next phase of training.


If the following sounds repetitious welcome to the world of dog training.  You must endure daily, mind-numbing sessions of repetition with persistence and patience your mantra.  Though tedious you must keep the training fresh and fun for the dog so he does not lose interest.  Bear in mind that your goal for training is your end game.  Dogs  learn constantly, whether you are aware of it or not, both good and bad behavioral responses.  You must establish clear goals by using positive reinforcement initially to shape the pooch’s behavior.

With each lesson learned your dog will become more enthusiastic at the progress he has made and you will find, in turn, that the same will apply to you.  There is nothing more gratifying than that “light bulb” moment when your pooch “Gets it”.  What a joy for you as well as Fido. 

Never punish a dog unless you are  100% sure that the dog knows what you expected of him, why he is being punished, and that his acting up or failing to respond to your commands was a no-no.  Just because he performed the activity correctly a few times does not mean he is sufficiently imprinted with the command that you should expect a positive result every single time.

Never give a command to your dog unless you are willing and ready to reward or punish your him for his response.  Again, consistency.  Do your research and understand classic conditioning and positive reinforcement techniques.  Remember, in the world of dog training, as every other arena of life, experts abound and opinions on training dogs are like elbows, everybody has their own.  It is, unfortunately, up to you to sort out what you are comfortable with and what best applies to you and your own dog.

It is best to use commands or verbal queues in a language other than the one your dog hears around him and that you and your family use constantly in your everyday life.  Example, if English is your native tongue, give your commands in German, Dutch, or perhaps French insuring those commands do not become lost in the “white noise” of normal, daily conversation. Without commands earmarked specifically for your dog the pooch may become confused or ignore you all together unable to sort out your commands from your family’s everyday babble.


With the previous accomplished you can begin to proof your dog’s training by walking him on a lead until he is comfortable with you.  Then move your pooch’s training to a variety of different locations involving distractions your dog will have to learn to face in his daily routine.  Your dog will not be
working in a vacuum.  He must become accustomed to the hustle and bustle of everyday life and
still stay on mission despite those distractions.


When proofing behaviors learned in these different environments you should only work on one of the following at a time, difficulty, distance, duration and distraction.  For example if you want to teach your dog to “stay” longer (duration), ease up on the other three “Ds”.  Concentrate on one discipline at a time keeping the distraction level to a minimum.  You may want to return to the kitchen his safe, familiar environment, until he begins to respond in a positive manner regarding the lesson at hand.  Concentrating on one “D” at a time.

During this time you need to move closer than normal and start with an easier command in the beginning.  Give your dog a “lay down” command instead of a “stand” command.  With the “lay down” command your dog will be more stable than with the “stand command” and the dog won’t have a tendency to creep towards you in his excitement. 

Once your dog understands a sufficient number of queued behaviors introduce some real life scenarios.  Dogs, for the most part, associate very well and the time spent will be invaluable. 


Even after “the Event”, we all know is coming with the certainty of a run-a-way freight train, an unsocialized dog can give you a measure of grief that will only complicate an already stressed out existence and will be an  unnecessary contaminant to your daily struggle.  You cannot have your dog tearing up the neighbor’s dog or worse, eating his children.  That’s just not being a  good neighbor in any sense of the word.  Some people use “socialization”, our expert prefers the word neutralization instead because you will want your dog to pay strict attention to you and your commands exclusively and view at the world through your eyes and your eyes only.  Your dog must focus on you first and view other dogs, people, or any number of distractions as if they are a tree in their environment until you tell the dog differently.

Considering bite work, our expert recommends attending one of the many protection sport clubs, such as Schutzhund, French Ring, Mondio Ring, Belgian Ring and the like.  These protection sport clubs have very experienced decoys/helpers who, for minimal fee, will assist you in training your dog in the necessary bite work scenarios.  Our expert tends to discourage the use of so called protection trainers that many of you might have become aware of.  Any doofus can hang out a shingle as an “expert” dog trainer.  You need to really do your homework.  If they are not willing to give you a list of half a dozen satisfied customers, steer clear.  Your pocket book will thank you.

Remember a poor trainer can do irreversible damage to your dog’s development if he does not know what he is doing.  A good portion of these protection dog training “experts” are only in it for the money and decades behind the sport club individuals who are more likely in the business for the love of the work. 

Note:  You can start you puppies out with drag rags but be careful and discontinue all bite training when the puppy is teething.


This can be tricky.  Do not try to “bully” your pooch by simply staking him out and  bombarding him with gunfire thinking he will eventually become immune to the noise. 

The natural instincts of any living creature is to run away and avoid stressful or dangerous situations.  Loud noises equal a threat so your dog will naturally avoid gunfire.  Remember, a dog’s hearing is more acute than a human’s.  Loud noises hurt their ears far more than they do yours and yet you use ear protection.  Never giving a second thought to your dog’s hearing is amateurish and stupid.  In other words, a bad idea.

Get a second individual to take a weapon a good distance away from the dog to discharge it.  Then over a matter of time slowly move closer.  Rewarding him with a snack for each positive reaction.  When your dog emotes signs that the gunfire is beginning to stress him out, end the session for the day.  We use food rather than a toy to determine if the dog is stressed because the dog will, often,  still play with the toy when stressed taking out his anxiety on the toy.  A dog, however, will more likely refuse to eat if stressed.  An excellent indicator of his mental condition at the time.

Familiarizing your pooch with loud noises, his baptism by fire, should not be rushed.  You probably go to the gun range on a regular basis to hone your own skills.  Park a distance away, then move closer each time, do not rush it.  Soon your pooch will be able to initiate  your commands, in spite of distracting gunfire.  This will be essential in a post-apocalyptic world.  You cannot expect your dog to fearlessly charge a gun-wielding intruder if he has never been exposed to the shocking reality of a discharging firearm.


So you see, you are not going to be able to go out and buy a dog, stick him on a chain at your compound entrance, totally ignore him, and expect him to perform like a champ…it  ain’t gonna happen, Spunky!

Having a highly trained security dog can be a blessing when this house of cards comes tumbling down around us.  But an untrained animal devouring your time and your resources is a burden you do not need.  If you are incapable of training your animal there are qualified training centers where professional dog trainers can do the job for you.  But you must understand, hiring out does not come cheap.  And when you get your dog back from the facility you should not consider him trained, period.

I recommend that if you employ a professional to accompany you and your dog and participate in the training.  The professional’s advice can help you smooth out your pooch’s rough edges.  This will help you with sustainment activities and continue to build your knowledge base to trouble shoot any possible problems.  Your dog is not a finished product like a new car fresh off the showroom floor, all shiny and new.  Training and reinforcing the training your dog has already received is essential for the entire time that you expect your pooch to deliver imprinted responses to given situations.
If the foregoing has not deterred you from moving forward with your dream of having a tough-as-nails first responder in a fur coat standing loyally by your side…have at it.  It can be the best or perhaps the worse decision of your life!  The outcome is up to you.
Our expert sums it up this way,  “If all you have is a big stupid animal eating up your food, drinking your water (and, make no mistake a big dog requires a lot of water), and contributing nothing to your family’s survival, you may as well have a cow.  They taste better when the time comes that you have to eat them.”

Very special thanks to an expert in the field, MSG Torrin J. Lomax (U.S. Special Forces, retired), dog trainer/handler extraordinaire!

Mr Rawles,
You may already be aware of the devastating floods Alberta has experienced in the past 10 days, with some areas receiving up to an amazing 8-11 inches of rain and over 100,000 people evacuated. 

The flood has washed out dozens of highways and bridges, stranded campers in the Rocky Mountains, and saw lions from the zoo moved to city jail cells.  The hippos almost escaped into the river. 

In even more worrying news, police have confiscated firearms from flooded residences 'for safekeeping' much to the outrage of the citizens.  [JWR Adds: It is noteworthy that with Canada's system of gun registration, the police knew exactly which houses to search, for some categories of guns.]

Thanks to you and other preparedness advocates, many of us were able to avoid the shortages that followed.

Regards, - Al D.

Your reader who wrote regarding "relocating & transport of firearms and ammo" from New Hampshire to South Carolina is trapped. There's no way out of New Hampshire without going through New York, Massachusetts, or New Jersey.

I'm sure readers in those states will have more info, but I'd suggest avoiding New Jersey at all costs. Massachusetts, despite its strong restrictions, may be the least onerous of the three; New York has a state law stipulating possession of five or more handguns is prima facie evidence of felony gun trafficking, New Jersey prohibits possession of hollow point ammunition (in any caliber) outside the home or business.

He, and you, are correct in not entrusting such goods to household move transporters, regardless of their rules. My suggestion would be to "bury" the New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts contraband at the very front of the truck under an absolutely packed and completely full load of innocuous household goods, make sure anything visible in the truck and in the first couple of layers inside the door is completely generic, totally non-suspicious "everywhere legal" household goods. Anything that could attract official attention should not be in the truck and especially not visible - plants, fruit (real or artificial), "weapons" - such as axes - or anything flammable. I wouldn't put even an empty fuel container of any type in the truck.

I'd suggest planning the trip to get to Pennsylvania by the shortest and safest route, traverse the non-American states in full daylight, arrange fuel/food/bathroom/motel stops to eliminate all stops for any reason in any of the non-American states, even if that means paying higher prices for fuel. Have maps available so alternate routes, if needed, can be easily determined, and observe each and every traffic law very strictly. Make sure the truck you rent is absolutely reliable, even if that means paying more to rent from a company that has newer trucks. An additional few hundred dollars in moving expense is vastly preferable to thousands in legal fees and confiscation of your property.

Once in Pennsylvania, while there may be some two lane travel (I-81 is 4 lane from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia area and I-84 and I-80 connect to it from the east), he can get on Route 95 near Philadelphia and it's America from there to South Carolina. - Nosmo

JWR Replies: I generally concur. The Federal law does provide some protection, but some states like New Jersey are notorious for selective enforcement of their own laws. To be safe from prosecution from state authorities, one alternative is shipping your guns (or just their frames or receivers, for some models) to your new address, via a common carrier. By law and by the policies of the major shipping companies , you do not need to hire an FFL to do this. you simply ship them "from yourself to yourself." This often done by folks who are moving to or from Alaska and others who are visiting Alaska for big game hunts, to avoid entanglement with Canada's gun laws. Of course this approach must be timed carefully and there is the risk of theft. But it might be the best bet for folks with a lot of handguns or battle rifles.

Freeze Dry Guy is running a 25% Off Special All Mountain House #10 Cans. The sale ends on July 1st, so order soon!

   o o o

Top 10 Tools for Centerfire Rifle Disassembly. (Thanks to F.G. for the link.)

   o o os

G.G. flagged this: ‘Hell to pay:’ Residents angry as RCMP seize guns from High River homes

   o o o

P.D. liked this piece at Wired about the NSA's capabilities: The Secret War.

   o o o

J. McC. sent news of another scandal that echoes the recent IRS revelations: New EPA Leak Farmers' Info Given To Environmental Groups - Malkin, Megyn Kelly. JWR's Comment: So what will we hear next? That the BATF and FBI have leaked personally-identifying information on law-abiding citizens (such as FFL, SOT, and Class 3 registrants) to NGO "intelligence gathering" groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)? I suspect that they may have already have done so.

   o o o

Yes, hackers could wireless attack the brake and accelerator controls of many new cars.

   o o o

F.G. recommended: Pre-Assault Indicators, what to look for: Body Language.

"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed [be ye] poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed [are ye] that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed [are ye] that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward [is] great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets." - Luke 6:20-23 (KJV)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

p>Today we present a guest post from Mac Slavo, that first appeared in his great SHTFPlan blog.

What is money?

Economist Mike Shedlock defines money through the eyes of Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard as “a commodity used as a medium of exchange.”

“Like all commodities, it has an existing stock, it faces demands by people to buy and hold it. Like all commodities, its price in terms of other goods is determined by the interaction of its total supply, or stock, and the total demand by people to buy and hold it. People buy money by selling their goods and services for it, just as they sell money when they buy goods and services.”

What is money when the system collapses and the SHTF?

In disaster situations, the value of money as we know it now changes, especially if we are dealing with a hyperinflationary collapse of the system’s core currency. This article discusses money as a commodity in an event where the traditional currency (US Dollar) is no longer valuable.

In a collapse of the system, there will be multiple phases, with the first phase being the “crunch”, as discussed in James Rawles' novel Patriots. The crunch is the period of time directly preceding a collapse and the collapse itself.

Traditional Currency

Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach.

It is during the crunch that ATM machines around the country will run out of currency as people aware of the rapidly devaluing dollar will be attempting to withdraw as much money as possible. This immediate increase in money supply, coupled with the population’s general knowledge of the currency depreciation in progress, will lead to instant price increases for goods, especially essential goods.

If your physical cash has not been converted into tangible assets, this would be the time to do so. Acquiring as much food, fuel, clothing and toiletry items as possible would be the ideal way to spend remaining cash before it completely collapses to zero, as it did in the Weimar inflation in 1930s Germany, or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in recent years.

Precious Metals

During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’ precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage “you can’t eat your gold” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire.

Consider someone who has a two week or one month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut.

That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals. For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one (1) ounce government mint issued silver coins like US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel. While we recommend having gold, as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver, that breaking a one ounce gold coin into 10 pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.

In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity.

This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services and labor.


Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet. Had individuals in New Orleans stockpiled some water supplies during Hurricane Katrina, much of the loss of life there could have been avoided.

For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life, but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter.

An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $150, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! A must have for any survival kit.

Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can purify 1 liter of water. In our opinion, the best chemical water treatment available.

Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.


In a system collapse, food will be another of the core essential items that individuals will want to acquire. Survival Blog founder James Rawles suggests storing food for 1) personal use 2) charity 3) bartering.

Dry goods, canned goods, freeze dried foods can be used for bartering, but only if you have enough to feed yourself, family and friends. They should be bartered by expiration date, with those foods with the expiration dates farthest out being the last to be traded. You don’t know how long the crunch and recovery periods will last, so hold the foods with the longest expiration dates in your possession if you get to a point where you must trade.

Baby formula will also be a highly valued item in a SHTF scenario, so whether you have young children or not, it may not be a bad idea to stockpile a one or two week supply. (For parents of young children, this should be the absolute first thing you should be stockpiling!). In addition to water, baby formula may be one of the most precious of all monetary commodities.

Another tradable food good would be seeds, but the need for these may not be apparent to most at the initial onset of a collapse, though having extra seeds in your bug-out location may come in handy later.


Fuel, including gas, diesel, propane and kerosene will all become barterable goods in a collapse, with gas being the primary of these energy monetary units during the crunch as individuals flee cities. For most, stockpiling large quantities will be impractical, so for those individuals who prepared, they may only have 20 – 50 gallons in their possession as they are leaving their homes. If you are near your final bug-out destination, and you must acquire food, water or firearms, fuel may be a good medium of exchange, especially for those that have extra food stuffs they are willing to trade.

Though we do not recommend expending your fuel, if you are left with no choice, then food, water and clothing may take precedence.

For those with the ability to do so, store fuel in underground tanks on your property for later use and trading.

Firearms and Ammunition

Though firearms and ammunition may not be something you want to give up, those without them will be willing to trade some of their food, precious metals, fuel and water for personal security. If the system collapses, there will likely be pandemonium, and those without a way to protect themselves will be sitting ducks to thieves, predators and gangs.

Even in if you choose not to trade your firearms and ammo during the onset of a collapse, these items will be valuable later. As food supplies diminish, those without firearms will want to acquire them so they can hunt for food. Those with firearms may very well be running low on ammunition and will be willing to trade for any of the aforementioned items.

In both James Rawles’ novel Patriots and William Forstchen’s One Second After ammunition was the primary trading good during the recovery and stabilization periods, where it was traded for food, clothing, shoes, livestock, precious metals and fuel.

Clothing and Footwear

We may take it for granted now because of the seemingly endless supply, but clothing and footwear items will be critical in both, the crunch and the phases after it. Having an extra pair of boots, a jacket, socks, underwear and sweaters can be an excellent way to acquire other essential items in a trade.

As children grow out of their clothes, rather than throwing them away, they will become barterable goods.

It is recommended that those with children stock up on essential clothing items like socks, underwear and winter-wear that is sized a year or two ahead of your child’s age.

Additional Monetary Commodities

The above monetary units are essential goods that will be helpful for bartering in the initial phases of a collapse in the system. As the crunch wanes and recovery and stabilization begin to take over, other commodities will become tradable goods.

In A Free Falling Economy Makes Bartering Go Boom, Tess Pennington provides some other examples of items that will be bartering goods during and after a crunch including, vitamins, tools, livestock, fishing supplies, coffee and medical supplies.

Another important monetary commodity after the crunch will be trade skills. If you know how to fish, machine tools, hunt, sew, fix and operate radios, fix cars, manufacture shoes, or grow food, you’ll have some very important skills during the recovery period.

I have a question that maybe you or the readers and contributors of Survivalblog can help on:

Relocation of residence from one State to another (for example in my case - from New Hampshire to South Carolina) - and transport of ammunition and smokeless reloading powder and primers.

The commercial Moving Companies, or using the "PODS" self-packed units all seem to prohibit their transporting any "Hazardous" materials such as reloading powder and primers, and Ammunition.

My Question is in regards to the best way to get a somewhat substantial collection and accumulation  of Ammunition moved InterState ?  We're probably talking several thousand pounds, such as multiple cases of "spam cans" of 7.62x45 and other calibers.

I originally thought I could rent a "PODS" transport/storage unit, get it delivered to my house, and pack it myself, so that no one but I know the POD contents. However, reading the rules of the PODS agreement, this type of material does not appear to be allowed.

What is the Solution to get a large quantity of Ammo moved to the new residence. Selling it and purchasing new replacement after the move is out of the question in these days and times, as the lack of availability and price or replacement is out of the question.

Rent a U-Haul truck or Trailer and pack it myself and  transport myself ?  
Invest in a Truck that can haul a trailer and haul it myself this way , in probably multiple trips ?

Are there any laws to be concerned with driving a vehicle through States like New York and New Jersey with a load of this type ?

Any thoughts you may have on this problem will be appreciated ! Thanks, - "HikerLT"

JWR Replies: I'm sure that some readers will want to chime in, but in essence the only safe and secure way to transport your ammo is to transport it yourself, with a rental truck.When transport valuables, if the distance requires an overnight stay, I always pick a small "mom and pop" one -storey motel and ask for a room where I can back the truck up directly outside the motel room's window. Also, see the SurvivalBlog archives about the merits of high security "hockey puck"padlocks.

Of interest to those who read French, here is an article on the American survivalist movement ran in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps: Aux Etats-Unis, ils sont de plus en plus nombreux à attendre l’apocalypse. Fittingly, the piece ends with an homage to the Swiss tradition of preparedness, and compares it to The American Redoubt concept: "L’inspiration principale des survivalistes se trouve pourtant de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique. Tous décrivent la Suisse comme une sorte de paradis du prepper. «Avec vos abris atomiques, votre armée de milice et votre politique du réduit national, vous êtes les mieux placés pour survivre à une catastrophe», s’enthousiasme James Wesley Rawles, un auteur de romans catastrophistes qui vit dans un ranch en pleine nature avec trois ans de réserves de nourriture. Il a décidé de transposer le concept aux Etats-Unis, inventant The American Redoubt, une zone de repli couvrant trois Etats du centre des Etats-Unis (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming)." It seems less biased than a piece that ran last year in Le Monde Diplomatique: Les casaniers de l’apocalypse.

   o o o

Here at the ranch, we recently watched the documentary film Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, which had previously been recommended by SurvivalBlog reader Jim E., among others. This amazing film shows that simple hand tools can be quite versatile, in skilled hands.

   o o o

James K. suggested: How to Make a Paracord Fishing Lure

   o o o

Bacterial ‘bling’: Adding silver to antibiotics boosts their effectiveness.

   o o o

Col. Chinn's classic book series The Machinegun is now available online.

   o o o

Jim W. suggested: The “Dead Man’s 10 Seconds”

"A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison (Constitutional Convention, June 29, 1787)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Today marks the birthday of John Wesley in 1703. He died March 2, 1791. Although the name Wesley given to my great uncle with him in mind (and then passed down to me), as a five point Calvinist I don't consider myself to be in doctrinal agreement with John Wesley.

Freeze Dry Guy just started a 25% Off Special All Mountain House #10 Cans. Get your order in soon. They've also launched a handy new Marketing Portal.


Today we present a guest article by Orange Jeep Dad, a fellow blogger who recently made the move to the boonies. Be sure to visit his web site and check his progress on his full-time retreat residence. He has reecently been blogging daily. I'm sure that he would appreciate your prayers for a safe and happy move.

The intention of this article is to share with you how we decided on a homestead location and how we intend to get there. There are many ways to skin a cat. Whether it's a hidey-hole in Id-e-ho or a farm in Oklahoma, the choice you pick for a homestead is as uniquely independent as the DNA in your body. Take the time to think it through and you won't be disappointed. We said several prayers and asked for guidance. Contact Todd Savage of Survival Retreat Consulting if you still need additional help after reading this submission. I'm sure he can give you several solid pointers.

Our America is changing and it isn't looking pretty. Constitutional rights are disappearing, school education is lagging, and the Almighty dollar is all but a joke. Illegal immigration, lawsuit-happy money grabbers, GMO mega corporations, half the country on some form of welfare...where does it end? 
For our family, it ends now. Thanks to Obama care, one of the two hospitals in my company's organization closed their doors permanently last month (May, 2013). Now, our smaller rural hospital has been gobbled up in a corporate buyout. I was informed that I no longer had a job...over the phone on a Friday afternoon...while visiting Oklahoma for my Grandmother's funeral.

Thus begins our journey to relocate to the country and take care of our family ourselves. No more traffic, smog, insane crime rates, grocery store dependency, bottom of the barrel public schools...and the list goes on and on. As the Robertsons (from Duck Dynasty)would say: "WE GONE!"

As we debated how we could attain our ultimate goal of becoming self-sufficient on our own homestead, there appeared to be four clearly distinct barriers we had to overcome.

  • First, what would be our final homestead location?
  • Second, how would we sustain ourselves when we arrived at our new home?
  • Third, how would we physically get our family and our assets to the homestead location?
  • Fourth, what type of home would be the best homestead building?

These were the four major decisions that were crucial to our plan but each had several smaller factors that had to be sifted out. Once we determined the major obstacles, we sat down and went through each obstacle and picked it apart. Each major hurdle became its own independent topic of discussion. By making a step by step plan to overcome each major hurdle, we were able to break down what seemed to be a huge difficult task into many small manageable tasks. Being an Indiana Jones fan and sharing the same last name, I declared each of the four major issues my own quest for the Holy Grail or "Chalice."

The First Chalice
The first Chalice is choosing a homestead location. If you have a place already in mind then congratulations! This is one of the toughest decisions to settle on.  For Wifey and me, deciding where we wanted to raise our six daughters and spend the rest of our lives was not so clear cut. I had read James Rawles thoughts on the American Redoubt and also purchased Joel Skousen's Strategic Relocation--North American Guide to Safe Places, 3rd Edition.  Both of these highly recommended resources will arm you with the information necessary to intelligently decide on a homestead location based on crucial data such as population density, potential disaster fallout, military targets, maps of private and public land use, satellite  terrain (including highways, surface streets and trails for bugout purposes), and why you should vote with your feet. Remember, if you can’t afford Skousen’s book, check it out from your local library.

While we desired a homestead in the American Redoubt, we have no family or close friends there.  Arguable by some folks I’m sure, we feel community is crucial to survival.  Can we go it alone…sure. Should we? It wouldn’t be smart. So we chose an uninhabited old family farm in Oklahoma where we had a large number of family members and a few (but very solid) friends. With a storm shelter in place, we will be safe from tornadoes with our only major concern being possible long term drought.  A few well-placed deep wells and massive water storage is in our future plans. With permission to live on the family farm complete, the first Chalice had been secured.

The Second Chalice

The second Chalice in obtaining our homesteading Holy Grail was to secure income producing employment near our homestead location. We have every intention of becoming 100% self-sufficient in time but in the beginning of our journey we agreed that we should have a means by which to pay our monthly bills without fear of failure. There would be no moving to our homestead until this income was established.  With this in mind, I laid out a plan to find a job within thirty minutes of our location in an attempt to minimize gasoline expenses and travel time. Obviously, the closer the job is to the homestead, the higher the savings in time and money. Your results will depend on your comfort zone. If I owned a moped or motorcycle, perhaps I would be willing to drive a little further for employment.

There are several ways to search for employment and in today’s digital age, I think it is somewhat easier to find potential employers. I started with the usual job search engines: Monster, Jobing, CareerBuilders, and Indeed.  Knowing your desired field is not necessary but very helpful.  I am trained in healthcare and pursued that avenue but you could just as easily search “all jobs” in your desired location. Make sure your resume is up-to-date because applying for jobs in another state means your resume may be the first thing a potential employer sees of you.  Get a friend to help you or research the topic on the internet if necessary. The resume is there to sell your skills. Don’t slack on this step.

Another method of finding jobs in your chosen homestead location is to use Google Maps (or similar mapping system) to pinpoint business in your designated area. If you are a diesel mechanic who has chosen Nampa, Idaho for your homestead location, for example, you can go to Google Maps and search for “diesel mechanic  Nampa, Id” and see the results.  This gives you a handful of diesel mechanic shops in your desired area complete with address and contact information.  Google the names of their companies and search out a little individually specific information on each one before you call. A quick search tells me that Tim’s Auto Repair and Service in Nampa employs “ASE certified techs” and is” B+ rated with the Better Business Bureau”.” Family owned and operated” while being closed on weekends gives you four arrows in your quiver when aiming for a job with them. They should be impressed that you took the time to research the company.

The approach I took to land my job was a little different. Since my job would be in a hospital, I search for the local hospitals near my homestead location. I chose one particular hospital and went to LinkedIn.  I won’t go into the details of LinkedIn here but suffice it to say it is similar to an online resume forum. People sign up and post their resumes on their profile page and make connections to other people in hopes of building a strong job “network”.  The more people you are connected to, the easier it is to find help when you need it (much like the community concept of homesteading.)

Since I knew the name of the hospital I was seeking employment from, I did a search on LinkedIn using that exact hospital’s name. This search gave me a list of all the members of LinkedIn whom had listed my specific hospital as their employer on their public resume.  A quick scroll through the list and I was able to find a nurse who worked at this hospital. LinkedIn gives you the ability, with a general (free) membership, to send “invites” to folks and ask them if they would like to connect with you. I invited this nurse to connect and she accepted. I now had a connection to an employee inside the hospital where I wanted to work.

As we previously talked about searching the Internet for information on a potential job, you can also do the same thing regarding a person. It helps to have topics of common interest to discuss when establishing a new relationship. On a previous interview, I researched my interviewers name and found out he was Native American, a member of a particular tribal organization and enjoyed running. Again, this information puts arrows in your quiver when shooting to make a good impression on your potential employer. I mentioned to my new nurse connection that I had recently been in her small town for a family funeral. Turns out she grew up in that town and knew my extended family. This was the arrow that ultimately helped me land a job at my desired location. Having a well-made resume also helped.

Using both a telephone interview (initially) and a Skype interview, my interviewer was able to visualize me and ask me questions without me ever leaving Arizona. Phone interviews are common but some employers, like mine, was not comfortable hiring a new employee “sight unseen”.  I recommended Skype and his I.T. department set it up. It wasn’t flawless but it kept me from having to fly 1,000 miles for an interview…and it worked.

Wifey and I decided it was best for me to go ahead for one month and check out the new job and location. Once I am able to determine the job is stable, I begin to research local churches, Mason lodges (my daughters are active in Job’s Daughters), potential schools (if we don’t homeschool immediately), and other factors which will affect us directly. I am now the family pointman.

The Third Chalice

The third Chalice involves how to move an entire family 1,000 miles to our new homestead. We are in this phase of the challenge right now. We have begun by having garage sales to eliminate unnecessary items. Items we are unable to sell but are worthy of donation will go to Goodwill thrift store. The rest goes to the local landfill.  The remaining items to be kept will be boxed up and labeled for transport via U-Haul truck.

As one commenter mentioned on my blog, you can reserve a U-Haul truck for a future date and this will lock in the price you pay. The price increases the closer you get to your scheduled date so lock in your price as soon as you find out that you need a truck. U-Haul allows you to reschedule your dates an unlimited amount of times with no fees. You can also negotiate a free month of storage at your destination location if you reserve your truck on the phone with a customer service representative. My cost to move 1,000 miles was roughly $1,100 for their largest truck. Their web site says it will hold belongings for a four bedroom house which is what we have. So, I have set my goal for moving expenses to be $2,000 and hope that will cover gasoline and some miscellaneous expenses.

I began visiting our local Wal-Mart for boxes and found they had a large supply every morning. It became a part of my morning routine to stop by and pick up as many as possible before I left for Oklahoma. Wifey continues that tradition now and is easily obtaining enough sturdy boxes (with handles!) to pack up the house. Each teenager is in charge of packing their own belongings and helping mom pack up the toddlers. Our goal is to be ready to move in roughly one month from the time I left for Oklahoma. With the help of my new coworkers, I will trade some shifts around and arrange for one week off to return to Arizona and begin the arduous chore of packing it all up in the truck and driving it to Oklahoma.

Again, how you move your family is unique to you. I am simply sharing how we are doing it as an example. Some folks suggested using coupons to get the best rental truck deal. I have an enclosed 6x12’ trailer and hauled a good chunk of my stuff and some bulky items out to Oklahoma during my initial visit to save some of the precious (read: more expensive) cargo space on our future U-Haul truck. Bulky items that take up space like our bicycles, table saw, chicken coop, etc. I rationalized that I was already making the trip, why not bring as much with me as possible to lighten the final load.  Don’t forget the power of friends when it comes time to pack it all up. We’ll be requesting the help of our church members when the time comes to leave our old house. It will be a sad but joyous occasion.

The Fourth Chalice

The fourth Chalice encompasses the task of figuring out what type of structure you want to homestead. If your location already has a structure large enough for your family, congratulations! You’re done. Our farm does not have such a building and I suspect some folks undergoing this relocation will be purchasing raw land or land with no structures.  In this case you have several options.

You can live with family or friends while you establish a structure or rent a nearby home. One commenter on my blog wrote that he and his family actually camped at their homestead for a year. He said the kids loved it. That allowed them to save up the money they needed to build their homestead. You can use a travel trailer or place a mobile home on the property while you build. Take your time and research your options.  If you can build something yourself while you stay in a travel trailer, more power to you!  

One of my mentors has been the videoblogger Wranglerstar and you can see how he began his homestead here.  If it is truly your dream, you can make it happen. Feel free to stop by my blog to share your homestead story or ask questions. I’ll have more to share on this last Chalice as our time to choose a building gets closer. Thanks to everyone who has participated in the blog comments and a big thank you to Captain Rawles and Wranglerstar for leading the way for the rest of us. - Orange Jeep Dad

That was an excellent article on triage of patients in a mass casualty incident (MCI), which is also known as a multiple casualty incident. I was taught in EMT school that an MCI is any event that my truck can't handle by itself, or an incident that overwhelms currently available resources because of the number of patients involved.

Slightly tangentially, in class one day we were talking about organ donors and I volunteered the information that I haven't signed up as a donor. There's no donor info on my driver's license. However, my wife and family members have been notified and understand that I do, in fact, wish to donate my organs when the time comes, and they are to notify medical staff of that fact AFTER I expire. My classmates scoffed when I explained that emergency room staff statistically don't try as hard to save someone who is a known organ donor as they would for someone who isn't an organ donor. No one wants to admit this, but it's true. I used to work in an ER X-ray department and occasionally saw similar decisions being made.

Then I got verification. On my test for the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians), there was a question that I also encountered on practice tests. It's disturbing and we didn't cover it in class, except for my little speech. I don't have the incorrect answers on this multiple-choice question (since I got it right) but here's the question and the correct answer:

At the scene of a mass-casualty incident, you identify a patient as an organ donor. When triaging the other patients, you: May have to assign the donor patient a lower triage priority.

In other words, people who have made it clear on their ID or otherwise that they intend to donate their organs when they die have set themselves up potentially to receive delayed medical attention in an MCI. I assume most of my classmates missed this question if it appeared on their test, since they doubted me in class. - J.D.C. in Mississippi

The Sacramento Democrat majority steamroller rolls on: California Senate approves 8 gun control bills, including ammo registry. JWR's Comments: Less well-publicized is SB 108, which will require all gun owners to keep their firearms locked up whenever they leave their property. This raises several issues, not the least of which is that is that it effectively bans gun ownership for anyone who is poor and cannot afford to buy a gun vault. California's high-minded statist leftists are now enforcers of class distinctions--removing rights from po folks. Shame on them. This same mentality was behind attempts to ban "cheap handguns." They infer that "only trashy low class people" would buy them. We have a Constitution that presumes everyone being equal before the law. The "little people" shouldn't be denied a Constitutiomnal right, just because they make less money. The statists have already enacted laws that ban the right to bear arms on public transportation. So the unspoken implication is that if you are rich enought to afford your own car then you have a greater right to be armed. Again, shame on those who employ double standards.

   o o o

When checking our site's statistics, I was not surprised to see that our "unique visits per week" count is plateauing. Considering the fact that there are now more than 300 survival and preparedness-themed blogs and a new one popping up almost every day, that is understandable. The good news is that SurvivalBlog's share of the readership is by far the strongest. I attribute the blog's success to: A.) Being the first widely-read blog on the subject, and B.) Our longevity and consistent publication of new material has built some incredibly deep archives that are fully searchable. If printed in hard copy, the SurvivalBlog archives would now be nearly 10,000 pages long! Although we produce a versatile archive DVD, we are standing firm on our promise to keep the SurvivalBlog archives fully accessible on line, free of charge.

   o o o

Supreme Court Decision Shreds 5th Amendment Protection; Your Silence Can Now Be Used As Evidence of Guilt. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that you immediately invoke your 5th Amendment rights upon first contact with police or sheriff's deputies. Under all circumstances, simply state: "On the advice of my attorney I am exercising my 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Am I free to go now?" (Keep repeating this verbatim, as needed.) If they ask for identification, then politely hand them your driver's license, proof of insurance, and (if applicable) your CCW permit. If they ask any other questions, just keep repeating the aforementioned phrase. Saying anything more can only hurt you.

   o o o

U.S. Attorney's Office says that Kwame Kilpatrick likely to spend 'couple of decades' in prison. Perhaps Mayors Against Illegal Guns should open local chapters in state and federal prisons. Oh, speaking of Bloomberg's Cabal: Is Mayors Against Illegal Guns using NYC resources for its website?

   o o o

No, You Can't Outrun a Tsunami

"A vote is like a rifle; it's usefulness depends on the character of the user." - Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I was saddend to hear of the death of writer Richard Matheson. Requiescat in pace.


June 27th is the 70th birthday of economist Dr. Ravi Batra. (Born 1943.) His predictions on the American economy weren't wrong. They were just earl.. I thank him for giving us plenty of warning and hence the time needed to prepare.


Today we present another guest article by Amy Alton (of Doom & Bloom fame)

The responsibilities of a medic in times of trouble will usually be one-to-one; that is, the healthcare provider will be dealing with one ill or injured individual at a time.  If you have dedicated yourself to medical preparedness, you will have accumulated significant stores of supplies and some knowledge. Therefore, your encounter with any one person should be, with any luck, within your expertise and resources.  There may be a day, however, when you find yourself confronted with a scenario in which multiple people are injured.  This is referred to as a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI).

A mass casualty incident is any event in which your medical resources are inadequate for the number and severity of injuries incurred.  Mass Casualty Incidents can be quite variable in their presentation.  They might be:

• ·         Doomsday scenario events, such as nuclear weapon detonations
• ·         Terrorist acts, such as occurred on 9/11 or in Oklahoma City
• ·         Consequences of a storm, such as a tornado or hurricane
• ·         Consequences of civil unrest
• ·         Mass transit mishap (train derailment, plane crash, etc.)
• ·         A car accident with, say, three people significantly injured (and only one ambulance)
• ·         Many others

The effective medical management of any of the above events required rapid and accurate triage.  Triage comes from the French word “to sort” (“Trier”) and is the process by which medical personnel (like you, survival medic!) can rapidly assess and prioritize a number of injured individuals and do the most good for the most people. Note that I didn’t say: “Do the best possible care for each individual victim”.

Let’s assume that you are in a marketplace in the Middle East somewhere, or perhaps in your survival village near the border with another (hostile) group.  You hear an explosion.  You are the first one to arrive at the scene, and you are alone.  There are twenty people on the ground, some moaning in pain.  There were probably more, but only twenty are, for the most part, in one piece.  The scene is horrific.  As the first to respond to the scene, medic, you are Incident Commander until someone with more medical expertise arrives on the scene.  What do you do?

Your initial actions may determine the outcome of the emergency response in this situation.  This will involve what we refer to as the 5 S’s of evaluating a MCI scene:

·         Safety
·         Sizing up
·         Sending for help
·         Set-up of areas
·         START – Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment

1.  Safety Assessment:  Our friend Joshua Wander (thejewishprepper.com) relates to us an insidious strategy on the part of terrorists in Israel:  primary and secondary bombs.  The main bomb causes the most casualties, and the second bomb is timed to go off or is triggered just as the medical/security personnel arrive.  This may not sound right to you, but your primary goal as medic is your own self-preservation, because keeping the medical personnel alive is likely to save more lives down the road.  Therefore, you do your family and community a disservice by becoming the next casualty.

As you arrive, be as certain as you can that there is no ongoing threat.  Do not rush in there until you’re sure that the damage has been done and you and your helpers are safe entering the area.  In the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, various medical personnel rushed in to aid the many victims.  One of them was a heroic 37 year old Licensed Practical Nurse who, as she entered the area, was struck by a falling piece of concrete.  She sustained a head injury and died five 5 days later.

2. Sizing up the Scene:  Ask yourself the following questions:

• ·         What’s the situation?   Is this a mass transit crash?  Did a building on fire collapse?  Was there a car bomb?  
• ·         How many injuries and how severe?  Are there a few victims or dozens? Are most victims dead or are there any uninjured that could assist you?
• ·         Are they all together or spread out over a wide area? 
• ·        What are possible nearby areas for treatment/transport purposes? 
• ·         Are there areas open enough for vehicles to come through to help transport victims?
3.  Sending for Help:  If modern medical care is available, call 911 and say (for example):  “I am calling to report a mass casualty incident involving a multi-vehicle auto accident at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine (location).  At least 7 people are injured and will require medical attention.  There may be people trapped in their cars and one vehicle is on fire.”

In three sentences, you have informed the authorities that a mass casualty event has occurred, what type of event it was, where it occurred, an approximate numbers of patients that may need care, and the types of care (burns) or equipment (jaws of life) that may be needed.  I’m sure you could do even better than I did above, but you want to inform the emergency medical services without much delay.

If the you-know-what has hit the fan and you are the medical resource, get your walkie-talkie or handie-talkie and notify base camp of whatever the situation is and what you’ll need in terms of personnel and supplies.  If you are not the medical resource, contact the person who is; the most experienced medical person who arrives then becomes Incident Commander.

4.  Set-Up:  Determine likely areas for various triage levels (see below) to be further evaluated and treated.  Also, determine the appropriate entry and exit points for victims that need immediate transport to medical facilities, if they exist.  If you are blessed with lots of help at the scene, determine triage, treatment, and transport team leaders.

5. S.T.A.R.T.:  Triage uses the acronym S.T.A.R.T., which stands for Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment.   The first round of triage, known as “primary triage”, should be fast (30 seconds per patient if possible) and does not involve extensive treatment of injuries.  It should be focused on identifying the triage level of each patient.  Evaluation in primary triage consists mostly of quick evaluation of respirations (or the lack thereof), perfusion (adequacy of circulation), and mental status.  Other than controlling massive bleeding and clearing airways, very little treatment is performed in  primary triage. 

Although there is no international standard for this, triage levels are usually determined by color:

Immediate (Red tag): The victim needs immediate medical care and will not survive if not treated quickly.  (for example, a major hemorrhagic wound/internal bleeding) Top priority for treatment.
Delayed (Yellow tag): The victim needs medical care within 2-4 hours. Injuries may become life-threatening if ignored, but can wait until Red tags are treated. (for example, open fracture of femur without major hemorrhage)
Minimal (Green tag): Generally stable and ambulatory (“walking wounded”) but may need some medical care. (for  example, 2 broken fingers, sprained wrist)
Expectant (Black tag): The victim is either deceased or is expected to die.  (for example, open fracture of cranium with brain damage, multiple penetrating chest wounds)

Knowledge of this system allows a patient marking system that easily allows a caregiver to understand the urgency of a patient’s situation.  It should go without saying that, in a power-down situation without modern medical care, a lot of red tags and even some yellow tags will become black tags.  It will be difficult to save someone with a major internal bleeding episode without surgical intervention.

In the next part of this series, we will go through a typical mass casualty incident with 20 victims, and show how to proceed so as to provide the most benefit for the most people.
Part 2

A mass casualty incident is any event in which your medical resources are inadequate for the number and severity of injuries incurred.  Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs) can be quite variable in their presentation.  They might be:

• ·         Doomsday scenario events, such as nuclear weapon detonations
• ·         Terrorist acts, such as occurred on 9/11 or in Oklahoma City
• ·         Consequences of a storm, such as a tornado or hurricane
• ·         Consequences of civil unrest
• ·         Mass transit mishap (train derailment, plane crash, etc.)
• ·         A car accident with, say, three people significantly injured (and only one ambulance)
• ·         Many others
The effective medical management of any of the above events requires rapid and accurate triage.  Triage is the process of rapidly evaluating and sorting casualties by the severity of injury and the level of urgency for treatment. We will use the following categories:

Immediate (Red tag): The victim needs immediate medical care and will not survive if not treated quickly.  (for example, a major hemorrhagic wound/internal bleeding) Top priority for treatment.
Delayed (Yellow tag): The victim needs medical care within 2-4 hours. Injuries may become life-threatening if ignored, but can wait until Red tags are treated. (for example, open fracture of femur without major hemorrhage)
Minimal (Green tag): Generally stable and ambulatory (“walking wounded”) but may need some medical care. (for  example, 2 broken fingers, sprained wrist)
Expectant (Black tag): The victim is either deceased or is not expected to live.  (for example, open fracture of cranium with brain damage, multiple penetrating chest wounds)
If you don’t have triage tags, you can simply use a pen to mark the victim’s forehead with a 1 (Red), 2(Yellow), 3(Green), and 4(Black) to indicate the level of priority.
Here’s our hypothetical scenario:  you are in your village near the border with another (hostile) group.  You hear an explosion.  You are the first one to arrive at the scene, and you are alone.  There are about twenty people down, and there is blood everywhere.  What do you do?

In our last article, we discussed the 5 “S’s” of initial MCI scene evaluation.  From that, let’s say that you have already determined the SAFETY of the current situation and SIZED UP the scene.  There appears to have been a bomb that exploded.  There are no hostiles nearby, as far as you can tell, and there is no evidence of incoming ordinance.  Therefore, you believe that you and other responders are not in danger.  The injuries are significant (there are body parts) and the victims are all in an area no more than, say, 30 yards.  The incident occurred on a main thoroughfare in the village, so there are ways in and ways out. You have SENT a call for help on your handie-talkie and described the scene, and have received replies from several group members, including a former ICU nurse who is contacting everyone else with medical experience.  The area is relatively open, so you can SET UP different areas for different triage categories.  Now you can START (Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment).

You will call out as loudly as possible:  “I’m here to help, everyone who can get up and walk and needs medical attention, get up and move to ______ (pick an area). If you are uninjured and can help, follow me.”

You’re lucky, 13 of the 20, mostly from the periphery of the blast, sit up, or at least try to.  10 can stand, and 8 go to the area you designated.  These people have cuts and scrapes, and a couple are limping; one has obviously broken an arm. 2 beaten-up but sturdy individuals join you.  By communicating, you have made your job as temporary Incident Commander easier by identifying the walking wounded (Green) and getting some immediate help.  You still have 10 victims down.

You then go to the closest victim on the ground.  Start right where you are and go to the next nearest victim in turn.  In this way, you will triage faster and more effectively than trying to figure out who needs help the most from a distance or going in a haphazard pattern.

Let’s cheat just a little and say that you happen to have SMART tags in your pack.  SMART tags are handy tickets which allow you to make a particular triage level on a patient.  Once you identify a victim’s triage level, you remove a portion of the end of the tag until you reach the appropriate color and place it around the patient’s wrist.  You could, instead, use colored adhesive tape, colored markers, or numbers

(Priority 1 is immediate/red, 2 is delayed/yellow, 3 is minimal/green, 4 is dead/expectant/black; this is used in some other countries and is useful if you’re color blind).

It is important to remember that you are triaging, not treating.  The only treatments in START will be stopping massive bleeding, opening airways, and elevating the legs in case of shock. As you go from patient to patient, stay calm, identify who you are and that you’re here to help. Your goal is to identify who will need help most urgently (red tags).  You will be assessing RPMs  (Respirations, Perfusion, and Mental Status):

Respirations:  Is your patient breathing? If not, tilt the head back or, if you have them, insert an oral airway (Note: in a MCI triage situation, the rule against moving the neck of an injured person before ruling out cervical spine injury is, for the time being, suspended) If you have an open airway and no breathing, that victim is tagged black. If the victim breathes once an airway is restored or is breathing more than 30 times a minute, tag red.  If the victim is breathing normally, move to perfusion.

Perfusion:   Perfusion is an evaluation of how normal the blood flow or circulation is.  Check for a radial pulse and/or press on the nail bed (I sometimes use the pad of a finger) firmly and quickly remove.  It will go from white to pink in less than 2 seconds in a normal individual.  This is referred to as the Capillary Refill Time (CRT).  If no radial pulse or it takes longer than 2 seconds for nail bed color to return to pink, tag red.  If a pulse is present and CRT is normal, move to mental status.

Mental Status:  Can the victim follow simple commands (“open your eyes”, “what’s your name”)? If the patient is breathing and has normal perfusion but is unconscious or can’t follow your commands, tag red.  If they can follow commands, tag yellow if they can’t get up or green if they can.  Remember that, as a consequence of the explosion, some victims may not be able to hear you well. 

It might be easier to remember all this by just thinking:  30 (respirations) – 2 (CRT) – Can Do (Commands)

If there is any doubt as to the category, always tag the highest priority triage level.  Not sure between yellow and red?  Tag red.  Once you have identified someone as triage level red, tag them and move immediately to the next patient unless you have major bleeding to stop.  Any one RPM check that results in a red result tags the victim as red.  For example, if someone wasn’t breathing but began breathing once you repositioned the airway, tag red, stop further evaluation if not hemorrhaging and move to the next patient.  Elevate the legs if you suspect shock.

Finally, these are your 10 patients on the ground, in order.  Read the descriptions and decide the primary triage level; remember you have two unskilled helpers following you.  We’ll discuss how we triaged them in detail next article:

1.  Male in his 30s, complains of pain in his left leg (obviously fractured), Respirations 24, pulse strong, CRT 1 second, no excessive bleeding.
2.  Female in her 50s, bleeding from nose, ears, and mouth.  Trying to sit up but can’t, respirations 20, pulse present, CRT 1 second, not responding to your commands.
3.  Teenage girl bleeding heavily from her right thigh, respirations 32, pulse thready, CRT 2.5 seconds, follows commands
4.  Another teenage girl, small laceration on forehead, says she can’t move her legs.  Respirations 20, pulse strong, CRT 1 second.
5.  Male in his 20s, head wound, respirations absent.  Airway repositioned, still no breathing. 
6.  Male in his 40s, burns on face, chest, and arms.  Respirations 22, pulse 100, CRT 1.5 seconds, follows commands.
7.  Teenage boy, multiple cuts and abrasions but not hemorrhaging, says he can’t breathe, respirations 34, radial pulse present, CRT 2.5 seconds.
8.  Female in her 20s, burns on neck and face, respirations 22, pulse present, CRT 1 second, asks to get up and can walk, although with a limp.
9.  Elderly woman, bleeding profusely from an amputated right arm (level of forearm), respirations 36, pulse on other wrist absent, CRT 3 seconds, unresponsive.
10.  male child, multiple penetrating injuries, respirations absent.  Airway repositioned, starts breathing.  Radial pulse absent, CRT 2 seconds, unresponsive.
Next article, we’ll see how we used START to sort our victims, utilized our unskilled help, and proceeded once we completed primary triage.  We’ll also discuss how our evaluations would stand up in a SHTF scenario.
Part 3

In Part 2 we described a mass casualty incident scene with 20 victims and told you about initial considerations before beginning START (Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment).  You ended up with 10 victims on the ground, 8 walking wounded, and 2 uninjured but unskilled helpers.  You moved the walking wounded to a separate area and are now ready to quickly triage the remaining 10 victims.

To review the primary triage categories:

Immediate (Red tag): The victim needs immediate medical care and will not survive if not treated quickly.  (for example, a major hemorrhagic wound/internal bleeding) Top priority for treatment.

Delayed (Yellow tag): The victim needs medical care within 2-4 hours. Injuries may become life-threatening if ignored, but can wait until Red tags are treated. (for example, open fracture of femur without major hemorrhage)

Minimal (Green tag): Generally stable and ambulatory (“walking wounded”) but may need some medical care. (for  example, 2 broken fingers, sprained wrist)

Expectant (Black tag): The victim is either deceased or is not expected to live.  (for example, open fracture of cranium with brain damage, multiple penetrating chest wounds)

And here are your triage evaluation parameters (RPMs):

Respirations:  Is your patient breathing? If not, tilt the head back or, if you have them, insert an oral airway (Note: in a MCI triage situation, the rule against moving the neck of an injured person before ruling out cervical spine injury is, for the time being, suspended) If you have an open airway and no breathing, that victim is tagged black. If the victim breathes once an airway is restored or is breathing more than 30 times a minute, tag red.  If the victim is breathing normally, move to perfusion.

  Perfusion is an evaluation of how normal the blood flow or circulation is.  Check for a radial pulse and/or press on the nail bed (I sometimes use the pad of a finger) firmly and quickly remove.  It will go from white to pink in less than 2 seconds in a normal individual.  This is referred to as the Capillary Refill Time (CRT).  If no radial pulse or it takes longer than 2 seconds for nail bed color to return to pink, tag red.  If a pulse is present and CRT is normal, move to mental status.

Mental Status:  Can the victim follow simple commands (“open your eyes”, “what’s your name”)? If the patient is breathing and has normal perfusion but is unconscious or can’t follow your commands, tag red.  If they can follow commands, tag yellow if they can’t get up or green if they can.  Remember that, as a consequence of the explosion, some victims may not be able to hear you well.

Remember this:  30 (respirations) – 2 (CRT) – Can Do (follows commands)

Your 2 uninjured helpers are an able-bodied man and woman.  The woman knows how to take a pulse.  You have no medical equipment with you other than some oral airways and triage tags to work with.

Begin with the nearest victim (from our list in the last article):

1.  Male in his 30s, complains of pain in his left leg (obviously fractured), Respirations 24, pulse strong, CRT 1 second, no excessive bleeding.

Respirations are within acceptable range (less than 30), pulse and CRT normal.  Complains of pain, and is communicating where it hurts, so mental status probably normal.  This patient is tagged YELLOW: needs care but will not die if there is a reasonable (2-4 hour) delay.  Move on.

2.  Female in her 50s, bleeding from nose, ears, and mouth.  Trying to sit up but can’t, respirations 20, pulse present, CRT 1 second, not responding to your commands.

This victim has a significant head injury, but is stable from the standpoint of respirations and perfusion.  As her mental status is impaired, tag RED (immediate).  Move on.

3.  Teenage girl bleeding heavily from her right thigh, respirations 32, pulse thready, CRT 2.5 seconds, follows commands.

This victim is seriously hemorrhaging, one of the reasons to treat during triage.  Respirations elevated and perfusion impaired. You use your unskilled male helper to apply pressure by placing his hands on the bleeding and applying pressure, preferably using his shirt or bandanna as a “dressing”. Tag RED.  As the patient is already RED, you don’t really have to assess mental status. You and your female helper move on.

4.  Another teenage girl, small laceration on forehead, says she can’t move her legs.  Respirations 20, pulse strong, CRT 1 second.

Probable spinal injury but otherwise stable and can communicate.  Tag YELLOW.  Move on.

5.  Male in his 20s, head wound, respirations absent.  Airway repositioned, still no breathing. 

If not breathing, you will reposition his head and place an airway.  This fails to restart breathing.  This patient is deceased for all intents and purposes.  Tag BLACK, move on.

6.  Male in his 40s, burns on face, chest, and arms.  Respirations 22, pulse 100, CRT 1.5 seconds, follows commands.

This victim has significant burns on large areas, but is breathing well and has normal perfusion.  Mental status is unimpaired, so you tag YELLOW and move on.

7.  Teenage boy, multiple cuts and abrasions but not hemorrhaging, says he can’t breathe, respirations 34, radial pulse present, CRT 2.5 seconds.

This victim doesn’t look so bad but is having trouble breathing and has questionable perfusion.  Mental status is unimpaired, but he likely has other issues, perhaps internal bleeding.  You tag RED (respirations over 30, impaired perfusion) and move on.

8.  Female in her 20s, burns on neck and face, respirations 22, pulse present, CRT 1 second, asks to get up and can walk, although with a limp.

Obviously injured, this young woman is otherwise stable and communicating.  With assistance, she is able to stand up, and can walk by herself.  She becomes another of the walking wounded, tag GREEN.   Point her to the other GREEN victims and move on.

9.  Elderly woman, bleeding profusely from an amputated right arm (level of forearm), respirations 36, pulse on other wrist absent, CRT 3 seconds, unresponsive.

Obviously in dire straits, you use your shirt as a tourniquet and sacrifice your remaining helper to apply pressure on the bleeding area.  Tag Red, move on.

10.  Male child, multiple penetrating injuries, respirations absent.  Airway repositioned, starts breathing.  Radial pulse absent, CRT 2 seconds, unresponsive.
You initially think this child is deceased, but you follow protocol and reposition his airway by tilting his head back and lifting his jaw .  A Mass Casualty Incident is one of the few circumstances where you don’t worry as much about cervical spine injuries in making your assessment. He starts breathing even without an oral airway, to your surprise, so you tag him RED.  If he is bleeding heavily from his injuries, you apply pressure and wait for the additional help you requested on initial survey of the MCI to arrive.

You have just performed triage on 20 victims, including the walking wounded, in 10 minutes or less.  Help begins to arrive, including the ICU nurse that you contacted initially.  You are no longer the most experienced medical resource at the scene, and you are relieved of Incident Command.  The nurse begins the process of assigning areas for yellow, red and black areas where secondary triage and treatment can occur.

There is still much to do, but you have performed your duty to identify those victims who need the most urgent care.  In a normal situation, your modern medical facilities will already have ambulances and trained personnel with lots of equipment on the scene.  In a collapse situation, however, the prognosis for many of your victims is grave.  Go back ` over our list of victims and see who you think would survive if modern medical care was not available.  Many of the RED tags and even some of the YELLOW tags would be in serious danger of dying from their wounds.

In times of trouble, it is wise to carry some form of individual kit to deal with medical issues you may be confronted with. Nurse Amy and I constantly research, develop and tweak medical supplies to tailor them to collapse scenarios.  We are always learning and improvising, and it would serve you well to do the same.

I'm writing to recommend a web site. This guy's main focus is vintage guitar amplifiers, but he has good repair advice for anyone keeping their vintage vacuum tube radio equipment running, as well.

Regards, - Florida Guy

Could you or someone you trust please explain why spot silver has dipped below $20 per Troy ounce? Those of us who don't have the experience or ability to ferret this knowledge out for ourselves would be grateful. In addition, a forecast for how long this dip might last, would be greatly appreciated. - D.W.N.

JWR Replies: The short answer to your question is that Ben Bernanke spoke and the markets panicked. All that it took to spook the markets was an indication that Quantitative Easing monetization might end in the next year, and suddenly everyone realized that the FREE MONEY game might be coming to an end. The absurdly low interest rates (a product of the ZIRP since 2008) no longer looked like a sure thing. To explain: When interest rates rise, the ability of speculators to carry on with highly-leveraged investments is threatened. There was just a faint chill of a potential credit crunch (a la 2008) and it induced and involuntary shiver throughout the markets. Suddenly there was a rush toward liquidity. There was widespread selling of just about everything, to generate cash. Consequently the market price of nearly all investment vehicles took a hit. Across the board, stocks, some bonds, precious metals, and nearly all agricultural commodities dropped between 3% and 20%, overnight. Within 48 hours the 10-year Treasury Note yield rate jumped 40 basis points. And mind you, this was not a full-blown market crisis--just the foreshadowing of the real credit crisis, to come.

When the credit bubble eventually does burst, we will see a huge jump in interest rates--perhaps as much as 8 percent increase in just a few days. The derivatives casino that has built up in the past five years that has been playing off miniscule moves of a few basis points are going to be wiped out by any such large swing in rates. And when rates jump we can kiss the artificial "recovery" goodbye. The easy money speculative markets will implode. It will suddenly become nearly impossible for the Federal government to service its massive debt. This will force one of two escape strategies by the Fed and the Treasury Department. They will either choose: Option A,) Go Cold Turkey and institute Greek Tragedy-style austerity measures. They will see no choice but to radically raise taxes, slash government spending, and loot the bank accounts and pension funds of the citizenry. The economy will crash and there will be huge layoffs.


Option B.) They will attempt to re-inflate the Big Dang Bubble once again, with massive monetization. If they choose this route they will destroy the value of the Dollar through mass inflation. And the economy will crash and there will be huge layoffs. (Note the common outcomes of both Options.)

Buckle up folks. Diversify into barterable tangibles, I'm betting that the spineless worm bureaucrats will go Full Mugabe and choose Option B, because it is more politically expedient. But regardless, in the long run the U.S. Dollar is doomed.

In answer to your second question: The dip in precious metals may continue for several months. But I anticipate that in October or November of 2013, the prices of gold and silver will recover, and the bull market will resume.

Don't let the current dip in the metals spook you. Rather, look at this as a buying opportunity. When the inevitable crisis arrives, regardless of which escape strategy is attempted, precious metals should recovery nicely. And if Bernanke and Company selects Option B, then the upside potential for the metals is tremendous.

History Shows Gold May Drop to as Low as $900 An Oz.—And Still Remain in a Bull Market

The new "modest budget" indie movie Alongside Night is now in early release. The film is based on Agorist-Libertarian activist J. Neil Schulman's novel of the same name. It seems that some gold and silver coins deserve "best supporting" awards.

Jim W. sent this: Fed Faces 'Treacherous' Path in Exiting its QE. Here is a quote: "Exiting too fast will crash the real economy, while exiting too slowly will create a huge bubble and then crash the financial system."

Get Ready for Stupid Cheap Silver Prices: David H. Smith

Items from The Economatrix:

Do Markets Fear Central Banks' Grip Is Slipping?

Did Bernanke Just Kill The Housing Recovery?

Everything Is Being Sold--Market Crash Warning

Reader Mendy P. sent: Study: 70 Percent of Americans on Prescription Drugs. JWR's Comment: If one considers a pharmaceutical supply chain failure in the event of a power grid collapse, then the implications of this study are staggering. What will life in American be like when 27 million Americans are forced to suddenly come down off of antidepressants? There will be no "gradual tapering"--just "cold turkey" withdrawal. My advice: If the grids go down then be prepared to stay off the streets for a few months. There will be a lot of crazy behavior manifested.

   o o

File Under "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished": Homeowners Digging Fence Make Startling Discovery and Get Stuck with $5,000 Bill

   o o o

NASA Announces Asteroid Grand Challenge

   o o o

PBS continues to aim low, now embracing Hoodie Culture: Sesame Street introduces first Muppet to have a parent in jail

   o o o

Feds: Men made X-ray weapon to sicken enemies. OBTW, this news reminds me of something that I recently wrote.

"The fate of the nation and the fate of the currency are one and the same." - Dr. Franz Pick

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today is the birthday of Marine Corps Lt. General Chesty Puller. (Born, 1898, died October 11, 1971.) Perhaps America's finest-ever maverick officer, Puller was part of what I call the Even Greater Generation.

This is also the birthday of my uncle, Joseph Brower. Often in the shadow of his elder brother (the famous environmentalist David Brower), Joe Brower has had an amazing life of his own. He was a navigator on board flying boats during, and after World War II. After the war, as communist troops advanced though China, Joe was a navigator for China National (CNAC.) Then he worked as a navigator for several civilian airlines including The Flying Tigers, Swiss Air, and Lufthansa before he was finally forced into ground duty by the advent of automated navigation systems. Now in retirement and struggling with failing eyesight, my Uncle Joe's mind is still sharp. Like many other men of his generation, some of the stories he tells are amazing.


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Twenty years ago in 1993, I had already been collecting paramilitary style firearms for over 15 years. I remember purchasing my first HK91 rifle in the late 1970s and being so excited about the Galils, Uzis, Valmets, FN/FALs and the other varieties of collectable rifles that were available to a firearms enthusiast in that period of recent American history.

Being a collector of arms also made me interested in collecting the ammunition that was abundant in that era. Shortly after getting married in the 1980s, my lovely wife asked, “Why do you need to keep all this ammunition?” I responded that it was like a savings account and that I was gathering it because it was, “still cheap.” I guess I had a premonition of what might someday happen to ammunition availability. I remember buying .223 ammunition to fuel my AR-15 rifle, and paying around $110 per thousand for the stuff.

Like minds seek each other out and it was at a gun show that I met and became acquainted with an older and financially successful firearms collector. This man owned more than a few Class 3 registered firearms. He had the things that I had only dreamed of and I respected his wisdom in collecting and preparing.  After our friendship grew, he introduced me to the concept of ammunition caching.
This man had already placed multiple ammunition caches, when he allowed me to know that he was doing this. I was intrigued and asked him about his methods.

He was making each of his caches about the same. His caches consisted of 10 Krugerrand one-ounce gold coins (at this time gold was about $375 per ounce), a Ruger factory folding stainless Mini-14 rifle with five magazines and 1.000 rounds of ammunition. He also placed a cheap nylon backpack in the cache to aid in transporting the contents from the site. This gentleman claimed he preferred the stainless Mini 14 side folder, because with the pistol grip removed, he could make his cache to fit inside a 3 inch piece of PVC pipe. He then capped both ends and voila, you have a pretty handy cache for the future. I asked him how he remembered where these caches were located, and without going into too much detail, he told me he had a pattern, based on section lines. He stated that any friend of his only knew where two or less of the caches were. He buried his caches near steel cattle guards, culverts, or other large metal objects to discourage the use of metal detectors in compromising the cache locations. He explained to me how he preferred fresh plowed fields (not his own) and that he used a sheet of plywood with a hole in the middle, along with an auger to make the placements. He would search for location matching his “pattern” and the aforementioned criteria. He would place the plywood in the field and auger cache burial hole through the hole in the plywood. The plywood allowed him to control how the site looked after he finished, by containing the excess dirt, with the excess being distributed away from the site. When the cache was in place, he would remove the plywood and make the plowed field look as if he had never been there.

Needless to say, I was envious of his provisions, but sadly I was nowhere near as financially capable as this man, to make caches containing gold and rifles. What did happen; however, was that the seed was planted and I began thinking in earnest about the concept of caching.

The 1990s were an eye-opening time for me. I remember how horrified I was at the news of the federal siege at Ruby Ridge. The shooting of Randy Weaver’s son and wife caused me to wonder just how far the “powers that be” in this country could act against citizens and also to wonder what might be ahead as far as an out of control federal effort that seemed squarely against something as basic as the Second Amendment. Then in 1993 came the Waco siege. I remember watching on television as military tanks were used to smash holes in the church compound. This is the first time in my memory, on U.S. soil that I had seen military tanks used in an operation against U.S. citizens!  When the whole church compound went up in flames, the tanks and dozers kept pushing the rubble together to burn everything rather than extinguishing the flames to preserve evidence. I began in earnest to think how it could be that we had come to this in America and what the future of freedom would look like in the coming years.
By this time I had piled up a fair amount of ammunition.  As I hefted one of the wooden cases I struggled with the logistics of having to move ammunition in time of emergency. I remember thinking, if I had to leave my home under an emergency (I had not yet heard of the term “bugging out”) it would be next to impossible to include very much ammunition in my vehicle’s payload…  I made up my mind that I would locate at least some of my ammunition offsite to a remote location.

The following is what I did and how it turned out after I returned to open the cache this year, some 20 years later.
Once I decided that caching ammunition was a goal, I began keeping a lookout for various types of materials to construct containers to use for my caches. I did not have the extra money to make the acquisitions all at once, so I kept looking over different materials and possibilities.

I was also trying to think how a cache might be designed to allow retrieval quickly and without a large amount of effort as far as digging. The idea of a container that would hold another, removable container began to form as my design. This has been the pattern for the development of my caching system. I do not believe that I read about or heard others describe this type of cache. It is a design that was born of my desire to be able to quickly retrieve cached items. By its very design, the cached items have a double wall layer of protection from the elements. Time has proven that this is a viable method of creating a cache.

To get my project started, I discovered some heavy duty green sewer pipe at a second hand store. There were two pieces; one of eight inch inside diameter and one ten inch inside diameter. Each had some damage to the ends and so they were fairly inexpensive. I made an offer on the pipe and returned home to hack saw the cracked portions off of the pipes. Next I purchased caps to seal the ends. I did not find threaded caps, but only simple slip on caps. On one end of the pipe, I fiberglassed the cap in place to make a permanent seal to the pipe.  The other cap was left to simply slide onto the pipe to make the seal. The removable slip on cap fit so tight that it took more than a minute to remove the cap due to suction.  The next component came about because I often visit “Army Surplus” type stores. I remembered seeing plastic tubes that were U.S. Navy surplus sonobuoy shipping containers. A quick search of the Internet will show you what a gray plastic hexagonal sonobuoy shipping tube looks like.  As luck would have it, one of these sonobuoy tubes fits exactly inside an eight inch inside diameter pipe. The sonobuoy containers were selling for less than ten bucks apiece, so I could not pass up adding these to my project. The ten inch inside diameter pipe turned out to be the perfect size to hold the remainder of the eight inch pipe perfectly.

So, picture the design as being a permanently placed outer container (in this case pipe) as a “shell” to contain the smaller removable container, which I refer to as the “pod”. The outer shell will remain embedded in the ground (or concrete, or whatever you can imagine) and be placed so that the pod could be relatively easily removed.  One design possible with the materials I had gathered used the smaller sonobuoy as the pod inside the eight inch pipe (as the shell) to complete one cache.  The other used the larger ten inch pipe as a shell and an eight inch capped pipe inside as the pod. In either case the design uses a tube inside a tube. I termed this design an “encapsulated cache” which should allow the relative rapid withdrawal of the cached material. The encapsulated cache, uses the internal removable pod container, surrounded by the fixed protective walls of the outer shell container. The outer shell container in this concept is not excavated (other than to expose the cap) in the retrieval of the removable cached pod with its valuables.

The materials I had collected, had come together to give me what was needed to complete my idea for a cache concept that had formed in my mind. My plan was for a vertical cache, with the end (of the shell) that could be opened, hidden just under the surface for a quick retrieval of the contents. The cache would have to be located in such a way that I could quickly uncover it, remove the cap on the shell container and retrieve the inner pod containing the ammunition. The more likely the chance of people being in the area, the deeper or more creative you would have to be in the placement to conceal the removable outer cap of the shell. If need be the whole cache could be buried deep, but that begins to defeat the need for the “encapsulated cache” as time and effort to remove the pod would negate the “quick extraction” feature of this method. A variation in the encapsulated cache placement could involve the shell being placed horizontally. A horizontal placement of the shell could be included in the construction of a concrete basement wall for example and sheet rocked over. The retrieval would only require the breaking of the sheet rock veneer to expose the “shell” cap underneath. Rebar in the concrete might thwart the use of metal detectors to locate the cache set in such a wall.

Most of the remainder of this description will focus on my actual experience in placing and using the cache made from the eight inch outer pipe (for the shell) with the sonobuoy inner container (for the pod), but the concept would work the same whether you could obtain sonobuoy tubes, or made your inside pod tube from other material such as a smaller diameter pipe. I envisioned the cache design that I was going to place to be oriented vertically, and with the removable cap for the outside shell container only slightly underground or under a random large, discrete object.

As a side note, I have also made this type of cache by using a five gallon bucket as the permanent shell container with an ammo can as the interior pod container. I have had one such “bucket encapsulated cache” in place for over two decades. It is buried about six inches underground. I have returned to the bucket cache many times over the years to retrieve and add items from/to the “pod” (ammo can). At times I have found a very small amount of condensation in the “shell” (outer bucket), but never any inside the removable “pod” (Always protect the “pod” with desiccant where possible). This bucket encapsulated cache survived a logging operation that skidded trees directly over the placement. It survived one hundred percent undetected and unscathed.

In the placement of the encapsulated cache that I made with the sonobuoy pod, I used Mylar (metalized) bags to hold the various calibers of ammunition for the cache. I had one of the old “seal-a-meal” bag sealers and I began to collect the small bags of desiccant that came with various items I had had purchased. When the day came to load the interior container, I heated the many desiccant bags to recharge them, just prior to sealing the Mylar bags with varying calibers and quantities of ammunition.  I took a marker and labeled each bag to identify what it contained.

I found that my sonobuoy tube could hold all of the following:
Four bags containing 250 rounds each of 223 ammunition for a total of 1,000 rounds.
One bag containing 500 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Six bags containing 100 rounds each of 308 ammunition for a total of 600 rounds.
One bag containing 120 rounds of 45 auto ammunition.

With the bags sealed, I arranged them in the sonobuoy tube, placing a large commercial bag of desiccant that I had scrounged from a snowmobile shipping crate and recharged in the oven, on the top of the pile of individually sealed bags. I screwed on the plastic cap of the sonobuoy pod and applied a silicone sealant gasket to provide an additional barrier against moisture.

When you put something like this together, you will notice is that the cache tube is very heavy.  To assist in the removal of the pod from the shell, I decided to construct a harness out of ¼ inch nylon rope for the pod, so that once uncovered, I could grab the rope harness and remove the inner cache from the vertical burial tube with more ease than if I had to try to pull the inner tube out by the cap alone.

With all this constructed, I now had to decide where I would place my cache. My concept was that this might have to be accessed by me in the event that I had to leave my home…what has become known today as bugging out. The different scenarios I envisioned all centered on the possibility of having to leave home and venture to a remote location. This is the most important consideration that anyone making this sort of preparation has to consider. You do not want to return to your cache after an extended absence and find that a new highway had compromised your efforts. How about a new housing development, and then there are logging operations and so on. In the end, I chose a remote location that I had spent some amount of time in my younger days camping and exploring. I choose public land far from civilization. I went camping and looked for “my spot”. The location I chose was in the high plains, above 6,000 feet elevation. I choose a location that gets about 20 inches of moisture a year; much of it in the form of snow.

Since I planned on leaving the upper cap on the vertical shell where I could access it quickly, I had decided that I would find a location with abundant rocks in the hope of locating the cache under a large boulder. My idea was that this would help water proof the cache, hide the cache and make the cache quickly accessible by simply moving the large rock “cap stone”.

After much searching, I found my location. I moved my materials along with two 4 foot by 4 foot pieces of plywood (to keep the surface of the ground pristine) to the location. With a digging bar, and a shovel it took most of the afternoon to place the vertical shell tube in position. It should also be noted that I picked a location that was well hidden from curious eyes by vegetation. With the shell tube in place I removed the dirt that had been dislocated in the process of digging the hole, away from the site to keep the site looking natural. I took the larger rocks that had been unearthed and used them to line the area directly around the removable shell cap. I did this so that upon retrieval of the ammunition, I would not have to dig, but could just pull these loose rocks from the area immediately surrounding the shell cap. With a great deal of effort I rolled the cover rock, which was a large mostly flat rock, into place over the cap of the cache shell.

One thing that I worried about when I initially placed the cache was the possibility of disturbance by bears, as bears often move rocks in search of moths, grubs, and ants to feed on. In this case I chose a cap rock that was very large. I also was careful not to use any container or material that had been used to hold food that might attract a curious scavenger.

Over the next twenty years, I made many efforts to revisit the area. I often went with friends, never mentioning the location of the cache, but lingering in the area to see if anyone might notice anything out of the ordinary. No one ever did. As time went on, a tree grew a branch directly over the cap stone adding to the security of the location. Sometimes I would leave a branch or twig lying on the cap stone to alert me if the stone had been tampered with. Over time, pine needles, leaves and debris continued to build up over the area and I became certain that the cache was safe for the foreseeable future. On some visits I observed four feet of snow covering the cache site. Other times the air temperature was nearly 100 degrees.

This year, being the twenty year anniversary of the placement of the cache, I decided I would test my design and see how the cache has fared. I approached the cache and observed that everything was as I had last left it.

I was careful not to break the tree branches that have grown over the stone as they add a level of natural camouflage to the shell cap stone that I cannot reproduce artificially. I slid the cap stone off of the cache cover (the stone weighs about fifty pounds). There, just as I had left it, was the plastic cap of the shell. I carefully, but easily removed the larger rocks around the perimeter of the plastic cap. I held my breath and began to work the cap up and off of the shell. When it came off, I was greeted with the view of the sonobuoy tube and its rope harness. Within three minutes of approaching the site and without any tools, I had extricated the pod containing the ammunition from the larger shell. I peered into the bottom of the larger, now empty shell and saw that the larger tube was indeed as “dry as a bone”. I was overjoyed as I often wondered if moisture had been seeping into the cache. In retrospect, I might have opened the cache a couple of years after the initial placement to assure that everything was staying dry, but in this case it all worked out just fine.

I put the plastic cap back on the now empty vertical shell and returned the cap stone to its place. Next, I anxiously opened the cap of the sonobuoy tube to reveal the contents after twenty years. I sampled the bags and found the ammunition dry and shinny. I took a 10 percent sample and test fired the ammunition. I had 100% reliability in firing the test ammunition. It should be noted that much of this ammo was surplus ammunition to start with and some is now more than forty years old.  I replaced the quantity of ammunition that I used in testing, recharged the desiccant by heating it and again sealed the bags and the sonobuoy tube. I did take advantage of a small unused space inside the tube to add an additional 750 rounds of .22 long rifle ammunition, to top off the space in the sonobuoy tube. I returned to the cache site and replaced everything as it was before the cache was opened.  The replacement of the cache took only minutes and no special tools.


I can’t tell you how much peace of mind I have knowing that this cache is in place and functioning as I had hoped for two decades. I do not see any reason that it might not survive many more decades into the future.  When the time is right I hope I can show my children the cache and pass it on to them.
At the time I buried the cache, I would have been somewhat embarrassed to tell anyone that I would make such preparation. Now, twenty years later I believe there are many more people who would not think the placement of such provisions is at all eccentric.
I have written this description to encourage other kindred spirits to pay attention to the materials that you may come in contact with that could be used to construct a similar cache and to motivate you to make such a preparation for you and your associates for the day when such provisions may be needed.

My guess is that some will scoff at the idea of the cache being only slightly underground, or being covered by a removable rock. The weakness is that the cache may be found; however, the location that I placed this cache in is so remote that humans seldom even walk near the location. Also, large boulders are common in the location, giving the “cap stone” a very inconspicuous look (I would NOT recommend placing the cache under the only prominent rock in an area). These factors give this type of cache the security that has allowed it to be successfully placed these twenty years.
I know of another individual who has placed a cache of ammunition in a totally different way. His cache is buried more than ten feet underground! It certainly is secure, but how long would he have to work to remove the contents?  

In the end, your choice of materials and designs are endless. My “encapsulated cache” is really one that came together by imagination and luck in finding the materials I used to construct it. The secret is being ready and available to make use of what is around you and then being motivated to do something, rather than spending your precious time “getting ready to get ready” and in fact doing nothing.
Lastly, I want to state that I consider myself a patriotically motivated individual. My cache is in place as a last resort to preserve the ideals of the Constitution of the United States, and especially our God given rights. I consider it my responsibility to be prepared to personally keep the Minuteman mentality that I came to admire as I learned our nations history.  I pray that it does not come to the point where freedom is so curtailed that patriots are again force to fight tyranny on this North American continent  in order to preserve the concepts that made this country great, but the fact is, that it is looking more and more like that is our situation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." - United States Declaration of Independence

Hello Mr. Rawles,
This information may be useful for Americans living in states with strict magazine capacities.

A loophole exists under Canadian laws that allows shooters the ability to legally bypass magazine capacity restrictions.  

Under Canadian law, a magazine DESIGNED for a rifle may only hold five rounds of the caliber it is designed for.  A magazine designed for a pistol may only hold 10 rounds of the caliber for the pistol it is designed for.  But there is no law prohibiting the use of a pistol magazine in a rifle, a magazine designed for a different caliber than the caliber of gun it is being used in, or loading different caliber ammunition in a magazine than what it was designed for.

This loophole has been exploited in the past as follows:
- Using .40 caliber pistol magazines to hold 13 founds of 9mm
- Using 10 round .223 AR-15 pistol magazines in an AR-15 rifle
- Using 10 round 7.62x39 AR-15 pistol magazines in an AR-15 rifle, holding 12 rounds of .223

A new development is unfolding now, where 5 round .50 caliber AR-15 rifle magazines, capable of holding 15 rounds of .223 are hitting the market.  

It is not inconceivable that in the near future, 10 round, .50 caliber AR-15 pistol magazines will be available which under Canadian law will be legal and will be capable of holding 30 rounds of .223 - completely bypassing the the rifle magazine capacity restrictions.

Here is an article on the subject.

And here is a Canadian business that is 5 round .50 caliber magazines.

Regards, - Mr. X.

Jim W. sent a link to some analysis of the recent jump in the 10 Year Treasury rate: The Nightmare Scenario

Gold-Bashing Mythology Hits New Crescendo. (Commentary by Jeff Nielson.)

Marc Faber: People With Assets Are All Doomed

The News, the Spin, and the Reality of the FOMC Meeting

No great surprise: Maryland, Virginia, D.C. escaped government spending cuts. (The D.C. Beltway's deeply entrenched bureaucratic aristocracy rarely suffers.)

Items from The Economatrix:

Retirement Shortfall May Top $14 Trillion

Peter Schiff:  Fed Is Trying To Ref late A Phony Economy

Also from Peter Schiff:  "Vicious" Gold Rally Coming

"All of the government’s monetary, economic and political power, as well as its extensive propaganda machinery, will be enlisted in a constant battle to drive down the price of gold - but in the absence of any fundamental change in the nation’s monetary, fiscal, and economic direction, simply regard any major retreat in the price of gold as an unexpected buying opportunity." - Irwin A. Schiff

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today we present a guest post from Mac Slavo, that first appeared in his excellent SHTFPlan blog.

Along with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, leading conservative radio host Mark Levin reaches tens of millions of listeners weekly, and what he talked about recently on his nationally syndicated show has sent shivers down the spines of many of them.

A few years ago this was fringe theory, restricted only to the sphere of alternative (conspiracy) news.

Warnings of a massive economic collapse, government stockpiling of weaponry, and the idea that Americans could be broadly classified as terrorists and then detained indefinitely or killed often fell upon deaf ears.

Today, as more information ‘leaks’ into the mainstream, it is no longer just conspiracy theory. We now have some of the most influential journalists and commentators in the country alerting Americans to the possibility that everything the government has been preparing for the last several years may soon be realized.

I’m going to tell you what I think is going on.

I don’t think domestic insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies, they play out multiple scenarios. They simulate multiple scenarios.

I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating.

The collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses.

I’m not talking about a recession. I’m talking about a collapse, when people are desperate, when they can’t get food or clothing, when they have no way of going from place to place, when they can’t protect themselves.

There aren’t enough police officers on the face of the earth to adequately handle a situation like that.

I suspect, that just in case our fiscal situation collapses, our monetary situation collapses, and following it the civil society collapses – that is the rule of law – that they want to be prepared.

There is no other explanation for this.

Sourced via Red Flag News

See the Mark Levin video clip HERE.

The Pentagon and military have been war-gaming large-scale economic collapse and civil unrest for nearly four years. Those within our government who understand the ramifications a massive breakdown in our systems of commerce, transportation and justice are preparing by stockpiling weapons and ammo, tens of millions of food rations, and even emergency shelters. They are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on continuity of government programs and exercises, preparing for what they know is coming.

Now why would the government be doing this if there wasn’t a reasonable chance that such events could come to pass?

We’ve urged our readers to prepare a well thought out contingency plan for the very scenarios our government is spending your hard earned tax dollars on.

So you’d better have your own reserves. For those who fail to prepare, it will be horrific. - Mac Slavo, SHTFPlan.com

This week we have been overrun. Not by looters, but by beans. We really look forward to our first spring green vegetables, which are green beans.  After raising green beans for generations on our farm, we have decided that "Contenders" is the very best variety for us. They come up the best, and produce the largest quantity of long slender green beans per plant. We haven't saved any seeds from this variety, until this year. If you have read one of my previous posts, you will know why. After the great drought of 2011, all the stores in our area had few seed if any. We learned to be better prepared.  We also planted pinto beans, yellow wax beans, black beans, and Anasazi beans. All the bean seeds for the pinto, black, and Anasazi came from the grocery store shelves. So, if you have a favorite bean, that you can't find at a feed store or garden center, go to the grocery store. They are usually cheaper. If you buy extra seed for the future, be sure to store with a little diatomaceous earth. The stores rotate their stock so you won't buy dried beans with weevils.

These types of plants don't require as much fertilizer as corn or potatoes. I used 13-13-13 for these. These plants can't tolerate commercial fertilizer in the row when planted, however they do well with manure when it's mixed with the soil. Commercial fertilizer must be added later during the first cultivation pass to be most effective. Here's why. When a bean sprouts, the root comes out of the center of the seed and pushes the seed halves upward thru the soil. They make the first two leaves on the plant. If these leaves are "burned" by the commercial fertilizer, they die and you have a stem with no leaves, which dies. All of these beans are planted about a week after our corn is planted. These plants like cool spring weather best. As we approach the summer solstice, these plants grow faster each day. They should be planted ¼” deep.

Our goal in planting these beans was to harvest them as dry seeds for planting or eating after boiling in water with seasoning. This would save the work of shelling and canning the beans in jars. Storing this way, rather than putting in the freezer, keeps them safe from loss of electrical power. It would also save the cost of energy to can and the cost of jars and lids plus greatly reduce the storage space.

After we picked just the dry beans from just two rows, we decided that we would need to change our harvest plans. As I’m approaching 60 years of age and currently having back issues along with my wife (except for the age), a change of plans was a must. Our solution was to pull up the beans, stack in small piles, and then load them onto a trailer to bring to our home.
I discovered some unexpected benefits during this process. (Caution: Do not pull up more than you can pick off in one or two days. The ripe beans will go thru a “heat” phase if stacked too thick and sprout in the shell. The whole stack of beans will go thru a process similar to “spontaneous combustion” as they dry. They will generate their own heat. Spread them out thinly out of direct sunlight.)
1) The beans are pulled and stacked and loaded much faster than they could be picked over several times.
2) The beans can be picked under a shade tree or barn sitting down, rather than bent over in 90 deg. heat and 95% humidity. (I live in the southern U.S.)
3) This method of harvest immediately clears the rows, where the next crop can be immediately planted. This prevents weeds and grass from taking over the row and consuming the nutrients left in the soil. This saves fuel and work and the time needed to eliminate the grass before planting the next crop. It also reduces soil compaction from discing and provides the “just planted” crop more time to grow before the coming fall or frost.
4) Elderly or incapacitated people can do the picking.
5) The largest part of the harvest can be done inside a secure perimeter and safety in a worst case scenario (your retreat fence).
6) In a worse case scenario in the future, a security escort is not needed for multiple picking times.

As we picked the beans, we learned to separate the beans out as “dried”, “mature, ready to shell” or “snaps”. The dry beans were spread in the sun on metal surfaces to dry. I discovered that I was not prepared for this. I remembered that my dad used burlap sacks. In the 1960’s we always had plenty because all our feed came in them. Not today, everything comes in paper or Tyvek bags. However, I have found some 23x36 bags at Amazon.com.

I believe that this item should be added to your “Lists of Lists”. They are a necessity for drying bean and pea seeds. Once the beans are placed in these sacks they are easily moved from night storage to day drying and back to night time storage. The bags have a loose weave which aids ventilation and the evaporation of moisture. There was usually a row of these lying on my father’s metal barn roof during the summer months. Once the beans are dry and start to “rattle” in the sacks they are dry enough to shell. You can then take an axe handle or broom handle and beat and rotate the sacks of beans. This will make most of the beans fall from the shells making them easy to sort or shell out the beans to store as I mentioned above,
We shelled the mature green beans and canned in glass jars for storage. We stir fried the “snaps” to eat fresh and bagged a few for the freezer to eat soon. We also canned many jars of green snap beans. The abundant rain in our region caused some of the plants to produce as much as 40 beans per plant. It also caused the beans that dried on the vine to sprout in the shells. This makes them unacceptable for planting, but you can still cook and eat them if they are not decayed or let your chickens eat them. We planted 9 of these 200 foot rows. This was way too many for two people to pick. We have shared many with the neighborhood widow (charity). Planting this many in the future will make our group independent of the outside world as far as beans are concerned. You will have the first of the three "B's".This is a good goal. - M.E.R.

Reader M.D.W. wrote a very informative article, as far as he went.  The newest technology in the air rifle race is the nitrogen piston, replacing the metal spring on the break action guns, both in rifle and pistol format.  The nitrogen piston, or nitro piston as it is known, uses the technology of the auto shock absorber.  When was the last time that anybody heard of one of those failing?  The nitro piston can be purchased as a spare and stored indefinitely on the shelf with no special attention.  The major advantage of the nitro piston is no spring bounce after the piston bottoms.   There will be no further vibration from the piston section, unlike the spring that still moves slightly back and forth after the piston bottoms.  These rifles can hold a Quarter-size group at 25 yards.  The muzzle velocities are up to 1,000 fps.  With a .22 cal pellet weighing 14.3 grains, the power is in the high 20s of foot-pounds of energy.  As anything over 15 is adequate for squirrels and rabbits, these air rifles can help feed a family.  After a break-in period , the manufacturers claim a reduction in noise up to 70% over spring action rifles.  The barrel shroud doubles as a baffle to reduce noise.  Very helpful when stealth is needed.  Benjamin/Crosman/Remington and Gamo are the major producers of this type of air rifle.  - Carl L.

Reference the controversy about the Longmire television show. It is common on television and in movies to see 1911s carried with the hammer down and the act of cocking prior to shooting. Most folks versed in firearms recognize this as Hollywood adding some drama. The act of cocking being the lead up to a shootout. Hollywood is after all all about drama and not reality or safety. 

E B  writing about the danger of carrying the hammer down on a round in the chamber is correct about the safety concerns of doing so. 

However the older government models had a half cock safety that could be employed with a loaded chamber. I am not proud to say that I used this feature during my stint in the Army when I felt that I might need to get off a quick  one handed shot and carrying Cocked and Locked was prohibited by unit SOP. Of course I could still have been court-martialed for a live round in the chamber but the hammer mostly down was not a visual giveaway that  Cocked and Locked would have been. I only used this sparingly in difficult circumstances when I felt the need, and I will just leave it at that. I do not recommend half cock as a normal way to carry.

It takes a steady hand to lower the hammer on a live round and of course muzzle discipline is of paramount importance. Use both hands and the weak hand is used to lower the hammer. Again, safety! Please don't shoot the family dog. Better yet, carry it Cocked and Locked. It was designed that way for a reason by John Moses Browning.

Modern production 1911s DO NOT HAVE A HALF COCK SAFETY NOTCH so please do not try this at home. Of the four 1911s in my possession only the older Gold Cup series 70 has the half cock. The series 80 guns do not and trying this with a live round in the chamber will quite possibly cause a Negligent Discharge. I have no experience with makes other than Colt and the US Army issued guns. 

I certainly hope folks do not try this and shoot their big toe off. - G.R., former CPT, USAR

RBS sent: Groups offer reward for info on missing grizzly. I'd give that less chance than a murder investigation in the city of Boston, where 6 out of 10 murder cases go unsolved. Apparently some Bostonians know how to keep their mouths shut. Ditto for ranchers in Idaho and Montana, where "Shoot, Shovel and Shut up" is a commonly-heard phrase.

   o o o

Nate's New York Pizza, in Post Falls, Idaho deserves your business. Great folks. They are one of the sponsors of the upcoming Patriots and Self-Reliance Rally at Farragut State Park, near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, July 26, 27 & 28, 2013.

   o o o

Mountainview Off Grid Living in Nampa, Idaho now sells Calico Forge Knives made by a U.S. military veteran who is also in Nampa.

   o o o

Montana has enacted a law that bans GPS tracking without a warrant.

   o o o

Illegal Alien in U.S. Map. (As usual, the American Redoubt ranks quite well.)

Moody's takes rating actions on nine Hong Kong banks. JWR's Comment: The timing of this is suspect. Is it a coincidence that Hong Kong just dragged its feet on the rendition of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, under the U.S./Hong Kong extradition treaty of 1996? The payback, apparently, is a down rating by an "independent" ratings firm.

Venezuela on the Brink of Hyperinflation. (Thanks to Jim W. for the link.)

Mortgage Rates on the Rise; Repeat of Lead-Up to 2008? JWR's Comment: Interest rates are crucial. Once rates rise substantially then it will become impossible to service the Federal debt without massive money creation. Doom for the markets and doom for the U.S. Dollar will surely follow. This will make the 2008 credit collapse seem like a small hiccup, by comparison.

The money mattress: A Spanish invention stores cash in beds

Some bad but inevitable news from Germany: EU Bankers Consider an 8% Grab of Depositor Accounts. (The Google Translate tool is available for those who don't read German.)

Items from The Economatrix:

Many Firms Indicate Pre-Recession Workforce Levels Are History

Good Data, Bad Results; Cash Crunch, Placing Blame

Sector Snap:  Homebuilder Shares Sink On Fed Plans

Orange Jeep Dad has made his move to Oklahoma! He wrote me to mention: "I have to go chop down some overgrowth and explore the farm." (The family farm had been left vacant for more than 20 years.) He plans to be blogging regularly, as he gets the place back into shape. This should prove to be both instructive and entertaining. Please post a comment, to encourage him and his "Wifey." Tell him that Jim of SurvivalBlog sent you.

   o o o

Reader Ellen E. recommended the resources at the Utah State Ag Extension Web Site. The site has may useful free PDFs on food storage, food preparation, water storage, et cetera.

   o o o

Mama Liberty reviews Joel Simon's book: A Solar Electric System On the Cheap, On the Fly, and Off the Grid

   o o o

Over at Survival Mom: How will you know when the balloon goes up? Advice from survival experts

   o o o

The new "George Was Right!" T-Shirt says a lot, with brevity. Oh, and speaking of the Orwellian advent, here is some good news: Texas becomes first state to require warrant for e-mail snooping.

   o o o

Cause for concern: State photo-ID databases become troves for police. (Thanks to G.G. for the link.)

   o o o

More of the same old Schumer: Immigration-Reform Scare Tactics

"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. von Hayek

Monday, June 24, 2013

Another reminder to Coloradans: You have some paperwork to do, muy pronto. The state's new magazine ban will go into effect on July 1, 2013. Of particular note is the fact that the new law's grandfather clause is not multigenerational. It will be limited to only then-current owners of magazines, as of midnight on June 30th. (When the owner dies, the magazines must be destroyed or taken out of the state.) Therefore I again urge Coloradans to be sure to properly document the gift of your magazines to your children and grandchildren (preferably via a multigenerational trust--which creates a fictitious "person" that never dies), and have those records notarized, ASAP.

And of course this week is the last chance for Coloradans to buy your "lifetime supply" of certain types of guns and magazines if you plan to remain in Colorado. The clock is ticking... Something tells me that the Tanner gun show this coming weekend in Denver will be packed and there will be some frantic buying.


I heard that there is a Wise storage food sale starting today at Camping Survival. The sale runs until June 28th, with a 20% discount on all Wise brand foods.

Destroy the Enemy in Hand-to-Hand Combat: An Authentic Field Manual of the Red Army. (Also available as a Kindle edition.)
Gen A. A. Tarasov (Author), Boris Karpa (Translator)

Translated from the Soviet WWII original.  Boris Karpa has done an excellent job of maintaining the flavor of the Soviet manual, keeping the read interesting, and making it reasonably clear. Some sections are a bit awkward, but it seems to be from the original writing, not a translation difficulty.  Those areas that don't translate well are covered more than adequately by the original illustrations.

The first half of the book covers moving in combat and under fire.  It addresses movement over terrain, over obstacles, in and out of trenches, and scaling of walls.  Most of it should be familiar to anyone who's read similar military manuals.  The basics don’t change.  There are a couple of neat tricks I haven't seen elsewhere, for small unit tactics crossing obstacles, as well as for entering close quarters while keeping the weapon ready to engage.

The second half deals with actual combat.  There is a lengthy section on how to throw grenades from various positions, that won't currently be of much use to most readers, but is certainly useful for information, research, and for studying body mechanics, since one can throw other items besides grenades.

The next chapter covers the basics of bayonet and stock, and the explanations and diagrams clearly show the maneuvers, and the text covers specifics down to hip rotation and foot movement for generating the most power in the attack.  I found this section to be a very good summary of melee, and could be useful in event one needs to defend a position.  It does go into detail on using the bayoneted rifle like a spear—I recognized the techniques from medieval manuscripts and Asian martial arts.  This is very useful information, especially for one using a traditional bolt action rifle with its long stock.  One can use a full-length rifle as a very effective pike and club when empty, jammed, or when ammo is at a premium.

The manual advises practice and rehearsal of various other suggested moves on an individual case, basically, to learn one's body and how it moves.

There are some supplemental descriptions of fighting into or out of a trench, actual bayonet fencing against an opponent, some stock strikes and blocks.  This was the twilight of the bayonet, as far as training, but most of the old tactics are still in here, and worth knowing.

The final sections cover in extremis—using a standard shovel or entrenching tool against a foe with a bayonet, and even bare hands if need be.  The reader is motivated to believe the fundamental fact that the mind is the real weapon.

I found Destroy the Enemy in Hand-to-Hand Combat to be a readable, useful reference.  It's not a large book at 45 pages, but it has quite a bit of content, and the original pictures are well-executed.  It's also an interesting historical reference to the Soviet combat mindset. Mr Karpa has done an impressive job with this translation.

Disclosure:  I received a downloadable .doc file for review.  I have no financial interest in this book.

Back when I was in the military I would have loved to have had a way to heat-up my C Rations - yeah, I'm "that" old - that we were issued C Rations in the military, when out in the field. MREs (Meals, Read to Eat) were still only just a concept in the mid to late 1960s. Nothing beats a hot meal in the field, even if it was just C Rats - a cold meal just doesn't seem nearly as comforting or filling, as opposed to a hot meal. My late friend, Chris Janowsky, who ran the World Survival Institute, up in Tok, Alaska used to say Fire is magic" and it sure is - very comforting, mesmerizing and warm. A fire can make a difference when you're out in the boonies or in the field, especially when time comes for a meal.
Over the past year, I've tested several survival-type stoves for SurvivalBlog readers, all had their good points, and I especially like the light-weight they afforded me, and some folded-up for ease-of-carrying in a backpack or buttpack. Best of all is, they burned "whatever" combustible materials you could find; twigs, paper, wood chips, straw - whatever was laying around! You didn't have to pack fuel, which is expensive and cumbersome to say the least.
When I received the Vitalgrill stove I couldn't wait to get this one out and test it. Right now, I'm buried with products to test for SurvivalBlog - so much so, that testing one product each week - which is the pace I try to maintain - I have enough products to keep me busy for the next 4 or 5 months now. I make every effort to test products in the order I receive them - I want to be fair to everyone who takes the time to send me their products for testing. Thanks for your patience!
So, what do we have with the VitalGrill, that sets it apart from some other small survival stoves? Well, first of all, you can't fold it up, but the compact size isn't all that big - you can still fit it inside of a small backpack, and it only weights 1.5-pounds. Secondly, the VitalGrill will burn most combustible materials, and I found it works well with small twigs - they burn long enough that you won't have to keep feeding the fire. I also used wadded-up pieces of paper, but they burn rather fast, and you have to keep feeding the fire while you're cooking. You can also use heat tabs if you want to pack them along. What really sets the VitalGrill apart from the other small survival stoves I've tested is that it comes with a blower. Yes, you read that right, a small blower is attached and it operates from two AA batteries - that last from 35-40 hours - and that's a lot of fires for cooking, and it's not a big deal to carry a pack of extra AA batteries in your gear for replacement when the time comes.
The little VitalGrill can hold up to 50-pounds of weight on the cooking surface. However, I don't see how you could put that much in a pot or frying pan, still the little stove will hold a lot of weight - I put some concrete slabs on the cooking surface, and the stove held them just fine. There are "diffuser" plates, that fit on top of the cooking surface, and this reflects the heat upwards, from the tiny holes in the bottom of the stove - where the forced-air blows, to produce as much as 20,000 BTUs - again, you read that right - 20,000 BTUs of heat. I had no way of measuring this statistics, but I do know this little stove really got extremely hot. There are also rods that are attached to the diffuser plates, that you can adjust inwards or outwards, to hold the pot or pan you are using - be it a big pot or pan or smaller ones, the rods did their job.
The diffuser plates, with the rods, store easily under the stove, and inside of a minute of less, you can have the diffuser plates installed on the cooking surface, install your batteries into the battery pack, and plug it in, and you are ready to start adding some fuel. Like I said, I found that small twigs worked the best for me, and in my neck of the wood, Western Oregon, we have no lack of trees with plenty of small twigs you can use for fuel. To make my job easier, I wadded-up some paper to get the twigs started, and in a matter of a minute or two, I had a very hot fire going. The VitalGrill web site said temps can reach as much as 1,200-degrees - and I have no reason to doubt this - just depends on the fuel you are using. I used some cardboard for some testing because I know how very hot cardboard gets when it burns. You can even use charcoal, if that is on-hand.
There is also a mechanical shutter you can use, to adjust the air-flow, making your fire hotter or cooler if you so desire - neat idea! It works similar to a flu on a wood stove - adjust it up or down for more air-flow. The air intake is also split to prevent smoke or small particles for entering the fan, too.
The height of the VitalGrill is only 1.8-inches when folded, width is 4.9-inches and when in use, the height is 4.9-inches, so you can see, this stove is pretty compact. To make your camping or survival a bit more "comfortable" I would suggest carrying some kind of fire starter material, either cotton balls with Vaseline rubbed into, or even some commercial fire starter material. By doing this, you can have your fire up and running in a couple of minutes, and once the fire is going, get ready to cook because the stove heats-up fast - no waiting!
I played around with the VitalGrill for a couple of weeks, and really found it to be all it was advertised to be. I was able to cook soups, fry burgers, and even roast marshmallows over the twigs that were burning. A few times, I had to add a few more twigs to keep the fire hot, but it wasn't any problem - and you should always keep extra fuel on-hand - make sure you have enough to get through your cooking needs.
I really liked the little VitalGrill, and I had some concerns about how the stove would work without the blower - so I tried cooking without it. While it still worked, it didn't cook nearly as fast - I actually got spoiled using the blower motor. And, as I mentioned at the start of this, a pair of AA batteries will last 35-40 hours - that's a lot of cooking. My batteries didn't show any signs of quitting on me during my testing, and you can easily pack some spare batteries with the stove in your pack.
While cooking over a camp fire is a lot of fun, especially when out camping, you have to build a fire in a safe area, and more than likely, any camp fire you build will bring unwanted attention to you, and in a SHTF scenario, you may not want others knowing where you are at. With the VitalGrill, there wasn't much smoke to be seen at all - and that's a good thing. And, you burn a lot less fuel with this stove, than you would with a camp fire. I honestly couldn't find anything to fault with this little stove - it worked as advertised and you can cook on it faster than you can with some other small survival stoves. Only slight drawback is, this stove doesn't fold-up, but it is still a very compact stove and you can fit one in your backpack, or the trunk of your care with your bug out gear.
Now for the good news, and I expected this little VitalGrill to cost a whole lot more than the $69.99 retail price. I honestly thought, that because of the blower motor (fan) that this little stove would have cost at least a hundred bucks. So, I was pleasantly surprised at the $69.99 price. The VitalGrill is made in Canada, but can be found at retailers all over the place, or you can order direct from them, and they can ship this super-cool little survival stove directly to you.  Be sure to check out their web site because they also have a barbeque grill accessory that transforms your VitalGrill stove into a barbeque grill. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

I appreciate seeing some folks trying to build some sort of fallout shelter, as these may, unfortunately come in handy someday soon.   Since I build these for a living, I thought I’d throw some basic suggestions out there for the readers. For simple fallout shelters, assuming that blast will not be a factor, above ground concrete walls should be 24 inches thick (or better if you can afford it!).  Walls below grade can be a mere 10 inches thick.   Ceilings:  24 inches will provide fair protection, assuming “rainout” does not occur in your locale. [The Swiss shelter building code calls for 30 inches, but public shelters average about a meter of concrete with a meter of earth on top]  A rainout will cause a great deal of the fallout in a cloud that would have fallen to the ground hundreds of miles away to come down promptly, right on top of you, and it will be concentrated.  Dose rates many times higher could result, rendering a marginal shelter totally ineffective (occupants will die).  

We get calls from good folks who have designed and built a nice concrete garage with a shelter/basement.  They usually call to order an air handler to round out their shelter.  The first question I ask them is, “how thick is the ceiling?”.  Most excitedly reply “eight inches!”   My heart sinks, for they have expended a great deal of effort, time, and money to build a nice storage area...but it is totally unworkable as a fallout shelter.  An eight inch concrete ceiling has a protection factor of about 12, at best.  That is inadequate for even a mild dose of local fallout. Gamma rays are very penetrating, and heavy mass is require to defeat them, or reduce them to levels that can be managed by the body’s immune system.  Twenty four inches of good concrete between fallout particles and shelter occupants will do a pretty good job, even it there happens to be a rainout.  I’d be more inclined to push on the 30 inches if it were in my budget to do so.  

Wood is an extremely poor shielding material, but earth is roughly half as good as concrete....and dirt cheap!  If you can cover your shelter room with at least forty inches of earth, you’ll have a protection factor of one thousand...probably adequate for most folks. [Do not use wood in your shelter structure, as it will rot and become dangerous in a short period of time.] The shelters we build typically get buried with ten feet of earth, and have a protection factor of over a billion.  But our shelters are designed to protect to within 1/2 mile of ground zero of the current heavy hitters in the Russian nuclear arsenal. Most folks living in a rural setting will not require this level of protection. If you can afford a good shelter, I think it’s a sound investment.  For those on a tight budget, try to build something that has adequate mass in it that will not collapse.  Don’t forget ventilation, sanitation, and a well-shielded entrance. As FEMA had a great deal of trouble delivering ice after a hurricane, it is clear that should a nuclear event occur here in America, we will be on our own. Plan, and build, accordingly. - Paul S.

Jamie's Toasted Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp cookie butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; place on a plate lined with paper towel to cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, peanut butter and sugars in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Fold in toasted oats and chocolate chips.
Press dough evenly into prepared baking dish and bake 14 to 15 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool bars completely in pan on a wire rack.
For the glaze, place peanut butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted, about 30 seconds. Whisk in powdered sugar and water; drizzle glaze over cooled bars and let set.

Chef's Notes:

This ia s a good recipe for using your stored rolled oats.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookies From Scratch

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Some cogent observations by Bob Owens: Where is all the rimfire ammo?

The new modest-budget indie movie "Alongside Night" is now in early release. The film is based on Agorist-Libertarian activist J. Neil Schulman's novel of the same name. It seems that some gold and silver coins deserve "best supporting" awards.

G.E.C. suggested: All the Gold in Fort What’s-Its-Name

Michael Pento: Market Calls Fed's Bluff

Jim W. liked this piece by Alasdair MacLeod: Gold is being supplied by western governments. Here is a key quote: "From the point of view of the western central banks, as well as the bullion banks with short positions on Comex, in March the alarm bells must have been ringing loudly. Chinese demand was accelerating and there was an increasing likelihood that ETF liquidation would cease if the gold price stabilised. If that happened, as the table above clearly shows, an epic bear-squeeze would likely develop, fuelling a rush into gold and potentially bankrupting many of the bullion banks short in the futures markets and/or offering unallocated accounts on a fractional reserve basis. Therefore, investors had to be dissuaded from buying gold, otherwise the ensuing crisis would not only cause a market failure that could spread to other derivatives (particularly silver), but it would come at the worst possible time, given the coincidental programme of monetary expansion currently being undertaken by all the major central banks."

Items from The Economatrix:

Taper Tipoff?  Bernanke Hinting Easing End Is Nearing

Fed Sets Roadmap For End Of Stimulus

Dr. Doom:  Buy Gold And These Two Things

SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson sent this from over at KK Cool Tools: Amish Hackers. Mike's comment: "A very interesting article. By the way, my wife has always said if she were colonizing a planet, she'd take a contingent of Amish."

   o o o

Senator Rand Paul has introduced S. 744, a bill that would prohibit a National ID card or biometric ID. Please contact your senators, and ask them to co-sponsor it.

   o o o

Michael Bane had some great commentary on ammunition "hoarding": Michael's Rant de Jour...

   o o o

Reader Stan T. saw the recent piece about automated license plate readers and thought it apropos to pass along a link to J.J. Luna's privacy web site. There, Luna describes how to set up (or purchase an existing shell) New Mexico LLC and register your vehicle(s) to the LLC. If you set it up correctly, any official who pulls up the registration will not be able to determine who owns the LLC.

   o o o

The Montrose Prepper sent a link to this television news segment: OPSEC risk of retired photocopier hard drives.

   o o o

Some good advice from an attorney Harvey Silvergate on FBI 302 reports: Protect Yourself from FBI Manipulation.

"Those entrapped by the herd instinct are drowned in the deluges of history. But there are always the few who observe, reason, and take precautions, and thus escape the flood. For these few gold has been the asset of last resort." - Dr. Antony C. Sutton

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The term Air Gun brings to mind the classic Red Ryder BB gun to many. It is often met with the question “You mean Airsoft and BB guns?" Those are not what are being discussed here. We are talking about weapons that are capable of taking deer, bear, buffalo, and two legged predators. We are talking about weapons that can take squirrels from 50 yards with Hollywood like quite. We are talking about weapons that can make ammo from a tire weights, previously fired bullets, or any other source of lead. We are talking about weapons that you can shoot for 2 cents per shot even at today’s inflated ammo prices. We are talking about weapons that are not dependent on primers or gunpowder (neither of which 99.99% of people can make).

AirGuns, obviously, use air to propel a projectile. There is no fire or explosion involved in moving the projectile. There are several different ways in which airguns create the required air pressure to more the projectile. These different ways of creating the pressure divide airguns into different types and generalized attributes. The major types are single stroke pneumatic, multi stoke pneumatic, spring, precharged pneumatic, and CO2. Rifles and pistols are available in all these types.

Single stoke pneumatic (SSP) airguns use a single stroke of a lever to create air pressure in an internal reservoir. This air is stored until the shot and all the air is released to propel the projectile. This type of power plant is generally limited to target weapons, or very small game. Projectiles leave the barrel at about 500 fps and weight about 7 grains.

Multi stoke pneumatic (MSP) airguns work just like SSP, but they allow for additional strokes to store additional air, and thus more power, in the internal reservoir. Most MSPs release all the air at once when shot, but there are a few that only use some of the air and save more for a second or third shot. These are usually called Air Conserving Pumpers (ACP). This type of power plant is limited by the amount of effort the user is will to put into pumping for each shot. Projectiles leave the barrel at about 700 fps and weight up to 30 grains. These are capable of taking up to rabbit sized game effectively.

Spring guns use a single stroke of a level (or the barrel) to compress a large spring inside a hollow cylinder. At the front of the spring is an air tight seal. The trigger releases the spring and compresses the air in front of the seal. The compressed air what pushes the pellet down and out of the barrel. There is a great amount of heat created during the compression of the air, but it is dissipated quickly as the air expands. There is a dual recoil in these weapons that first recoils forward as the spring finishes expanding and a second smaller rearward recoil as the pellet move down and leaves the barrel. This recoil behavior does require a good scope. Most quality scopes do not have a problem on spring guns, but cheap scope will break quickly because the optics are not supported during the forward recoil. Make sure to get a scope that is airgun rated. This type of power plan can produce a wide variety of power. With pellets leaving the barrel at 1000 fps and weight at 7 grains and different versions causing the pellet to leave at 800 fps and weight 30 grains.

Precharged pneumatic (PCP) use a reservoir of high pressure air from 800 PSI to 4,500 PSI. Each shot uses an amount the stored air. This allows a number of shots before having to refill the reservoir with air. Since the air for several shots is stored follow up shots, there are models that are magazine feed and bolt action as well as magazine feed semi automatic. There are even a few fully automatic (unregulated federally) models. This type of airgun is the most powerful and can range from target use to taking any game in North America. There are airguns that shot a .308 caliber 158 grain projectile at 900 fps. There are others that shot a .357 caliber projectile at 800 f.p.s. There are airguns that shot a .50 caliber 500 grain project at 700 fps. For those familiar with firearms projectiles and speeds, these are slower, but make no mistake they will take down any predator (2 or 4 legged).

PCPs require a method to fill the reservoir. Shop compressors are good to about 200 PSI at the most. This is enough. These weapons usually require a 3,000 PSI fill. There are two methods to do this; a tank (that must be filled) and a hand pump. There are several models of hand pump that will pump 3,200+ PSI of air. This is not a task that kids can do, but any adult in decent shape should be able to pump a gun from empty to full in about 15-20 minutes. There are air compressors you can get for between $600 and $4000 to fill the gun or tank for you without effort, but they need more maintenance than a hand pump. The pumps need only a few small o-rings and a small amount of lubricant to be rebuilt and usually last a long time between rebuilds.

Most airguns come is a relatively small number of calibers; .177, .20, .22, .25, .357/9mm, .308, .458, .50. Each caliber has a purpose.
1. .177 is the most common and used mostly for target and small game (up to rabbit with head shot)
2. .20 is the least common and used mostly for target and small game.
3. .22 used to be the “big” size and is still the most common small game hunting caliber.
4. .25 is the current “big” size for small game, up to fox or small coyote size game.
5. All the other sizes are called big bore and use cast ammo just like some firearms.

Making airgun ammo is just like making firearms bullets, with the exception that soft lead is preferred.
1. Melt the lead (which can be done over an open fire outside).
2. Pour the lead into a mold
3. Open mold and drop out bullet
4. Repeat 1 to 3 until you are out of lead, or have enough bullets.
5. For the most accurate shooting, size the bullets through sizing die.
Tire weights, reclaimed bullets and pellets from targets, lead fishing weights, and any other source of lead can be melted for airguns bullets. The softer the better.

[JWR Adds: Don't expect to be able to buy a bag of "BB" size shot made for shotgun shell handloaders, and have it work in a BB gun. The dimensions are different!]

Below are a few types of airguns and models in each category to start your research.

1. Beeman P17 – cost $40 – pistol – excellent for target practice and plinking
2. There are currently no rifles produced in this category.

1. Crosman 1377 (or 1322) – cost $50 – pistol – good for small game and fun/easy to modify
2. Benjamin 397 and 392 – cost $150 – rifle – good for small game, and should last a lifetime
3. FX Independence – cost $1800 – rifle – excellent self contained MSP/PCP. High quality, but complicated to maintain if it breaks.

1. Gamo (various models) – cost $100 to $300 – rifle – good for small game, moderate quality
2. AirArms TX200 – Cost $700 – rifle – good for small game, excellent lifetime long weapon
3. HW97 – cost $600 – rifle – good for small game, excellent lifetime long weapon.

1. Benjamin Marauder – cost $475 – rifle – good for small game with bolt action repeating
2. Airforce Talon SS – Cost $575 – rifle – lots of power in a take-down package that can go in a backpack.
3. AirArms 410/510 – cost $1,000/$1,200 – rifle – excellent weapon that should last a lifetime.
4. FX Independence – see above.
5. Quackenbush .458 LA Outlaw – Cost $700 – Rifle – Big game capable, low volume production weapon that can be a little hard to get, but worth the effort.
6. Extreme BigBore airguns – Cost $1,200 – rifle – Big game capable, low volume production weapon.
7. Croman Rogue .357 – Cost $1,300 – Rifle – Big game capable, has built in electronics that run on AA batteries, but is readily available from many distributors and shots standard firearms size .357 bullets in hard or soft cast lead.

These are just a few of the models to choose from. The hobby of airguns is vast and there are many models to suit most budgets and requirements. It is a hobby that is mostly unhindered by the ATF and firearms laws.

A long term survival situation that requires hunting (and fighting) can be well served by a collection of airguns to supplement firearms. The gun fighting is best left to firearms, but if you run out of powder or primers, a big bore airgun will do much better than a knife or bat. Small game hunting with an airgun is very stealthy and can be done without anyone knowing you were there. The airgun ammo is easily replenished much longer than firearm components will be available.

As always check local laws ordinances before purchasing or shooting to ensure you do not end up on the wrong side of the law.

Mr. Rawles,
 I read with interest the bit you wrote on the television show "Longmire."  I, too, have found the show somewhat entertaining so have been following it the past few weeks.  Doing so recently I watched a bit that I thought you might find interesting.
During a recent episode Longmire is inspecting the body of a murder victim while talking about the victim with the owner of the property upon which the corpse was found.  Longmire notes that the property owner is wearing a holstered firearm, probably a 1911 or other semi-auto pistol, with some "angst."  I use that word for a reason.  The look Longmire gives the property owner is one of "why do you think you should be wearing a firearm?"  The look, of course, sets up the response by the property owner that explains why she thinks that she needs a firearm.  But she also explains to the sheriff that "it's all registered and all."
Something didn't sound right about that statement. First, that a Wyoming rancher and a Wyoming sheriff would give the idea of a holstered firearm even a one little bit of thought.  In my experience in the west, a firearm is a tool like a shovel or a pick.  Nothing at all to be concerned about.  Unless it comes out of the holster and ends up being pointed at you.  At which point you do likewise and point your own gun at the other guy.
Then there is the question of registration.  Again, in my experience it didn't sound right,  Now, I've been to Wyoming a few times but, as a Wisconsin boy, I don't get there that often.  So, to get the definitive answer on gun law in Wyoming I did what any other red-blooded American would do.  I turned to Wikipedia.
Wikipedia has lots of information about gun laws.  Some of it is even accurate,  This I'm pretty sure of: Nowhere in Wyoming is it necessary to "register" a gun.  It is no more necessary to register a gun in Wyoming than it is in Wisconsin.  Maybe New York.  Maybe California.  But not Wyoming.  In 2011 Wyoming became another state that has shown that it respects the Constitution of the United States by now not requiring any kind of permit at all for concealed carry.  But the state will gladly give you a permit for a modest fee if you want it. (So that you can carry it when you visit other states [with reciprocity agreements.)
I'm sure you will agree with me that there is an enormous amount of bad information about firearms in the popular media.  That includes both news and entertainment media.  The most egregious example, of course, is the magical handgun that never needs reloading.  In this case I think that the script writers brought their own ideas and/or prejudices to the table.  It's likely that the screen writer is a resident of California or New York or some other state where citizen's God given rights are abridged so they bring that bit of "knowledge" to their script.  They're certainly not residents of Wyoming.  Maybe they're Australians.

As Will Rogers once said: “The problem ain't what people know. It's what people know that ain't so that's the problem.”  Regards, - E.B.

JWR Replies: The root of the problem is that most script writers come out of leftist universities and are ignorant about both guns and gun laws. A few of their flubs get corrected on the set by the weapons wranglers just before filming, but many don't. And the actors aren't much help, because most of them aren't genuine shooters, either. (There are a few exceptions but unfortunately the Tom Sellecks and Gerald McRaneys of the acting world are vastly outnumbered by actors who know very little about guns. Many horrible gaffes get filmed.)

In Longmire, the gun-handling is overall pretty decent. However, there is one thing makes me absolutely cringe: The leading man ("Walt Longmire") carries a Colt M1911, which is designed to be carried "cocked and locked." (Condition 1.) But he carries his hammer down, and at least twice we see him thumb cock the hammer while his pistol is holstered. This is an unsafe practice, because it implies that he carries the pistol hammer down on a live round. Unless you are at a shooting range with a safe backstop or you are standing before a specially-built clearing tube backstop, there is NO REALLY SAFE WAY to lower the hammer on a live round to put a M1911 in that condition. (Condition 2.) And if you do slip while lowering the hammer and the pistol fires and cycles, then the back of the slide might tear off your thumbnail and/or rip all of the skin off of the top of your thumb. (Ouch!)

Now I understand that seeing a cocked M1911 in Condition 1 makes some people nervous. (Although it shouldn't.) But Condition 1 is the preferred carry mode. The only truly safe way to carry a M1911 or other single action semi-auto hammer down is with a full magazine but with an empty chamber. This is properly called Condition 3. But it is commonly called "Israeli Carry" , because it was popularized in Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. This carry mode is fairly fast but cumbersome, since you have to rack the slide to ready the piece for firing. Unless you do something fancy and rack the slide on your belt, web gear, or holster (which violates a muzzle safety rule, for most of us) this requires two hands, which isn't always possible. (Such as as when one if your hands is holding another object, when you are grappling, or when you are injured.) So I DO NOT recommend Israeli Carry unless you live in some strange jurisdiction where you can carry a pistol but not one with a loaded chamber.

I also agree that the whole concept of a "registered gun" is absolutely foreign to folks in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. If you were to ask them if their guns were "registered", they'd look at you like you were from Mars, unless you were talking about the small numbers of Federally-registered machineguns, short-barreled rifles (SBRs) or short-barreled shotguns (SBSes) in those states.

PTR Industries (the HK clone maker) Votes With Their Feet: Gun-maker expected to move into Horry County. South Carolina was a good choice. (Thanks to Howard S. for the link.)

And on a similar note: Ruger Looking Into Rockingham County North Carolina. (Our thanks to F.G. for that link.)

These chaotic gas lines give us a preview of collapse: Egyptians Denounce Fuel Shortage

Reader P.P. sent: World economic group calls for global exchange of tax information to fight evasion. A key quote is that the OECD wants data from all corporations and individuals "flowing freely from banks, investment houses and other financial institutions to governments around the world.

Items from The Economatrix:

US Oil Boom Helps Thwart OPEC

Retail Sales Jump On Strong Car Sales

Jobless Claims Fall Again

Reader Vance in Delaware sent us some humorous video links of some stupid crook tricks, like falling through ceilings, having problems with doors that only open one way, losing control of their guns or failing to unplug cash registers before grabbing them, robbing a store in front of a police office, and even shooting themselves.

   o o o

Some good news: House Unanimously Adopts Kelly Amendment to Ban Funding For UN Arms Trade Treaty.

   o o o

Brandon Smith: Building Your SHTF Combat Overwatch Rifle

   o o o

Reader B.B. suggested this collection of self-sufficiency and disaster preparedness knowledge, in Wiki format: The Basic Life. The author's catchphrase: "With the world economy currently going to H*ll in a cheaply made hand basket imported from China, it makes sense to be prepared to take more responsibility over our own lives."

   o o o

AMA declares obesity a disease
. The good news is that for 99% of those who are obese, the cure is simply reducing caloric intake and increasing exercise.

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." - Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

As a new ‘prepper’ on a budget, I would love to get the latest gadget gun in multiples, but have very limited disposable income to invest. Most of us are not independently wealthy or have a six figure salary to support our new found hobby. Emotionally, there is a gun collector inside all of us that likes the latest and greatest gadget to show off to our friends and that we know outperforms everything else on the planet. However, the rational brain must govern over the emotional appeals of these wonderful objects. Therefore, visualizing the likely uses for a firearm is a handy way to narrow your search before making a firearms purchase.

While firearms are an important and necessary part of any prepper’s purchase list, other acquisitions also have priority. If your entire budget is spent on guns, you will have no money left over for such things as food, water sources, shelter options, communications, etc., all of which are just as critical if not more so. Also, under the philosophy ‘two is one, one is none’ a less expensive firearm will allow you to double up on your firearm purchases so that if the first weapon fails, you will have a backup. Since there are basically three types of guns: the rifle, the handgun and the shotgun, doubling up will mean purchasing at least six guns. All of those purchases add up to a lot of money. I also understand that I am not an avid shooter, nor do I have the time, budget or ability to become a master shooter. “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I therefore set my goal as becoming someone who can safely handle and shoot a few selected firearms with moderate proficiency.

With these limitations in mind, I began to think about what the actual threats we may face as a family that would require the firearm tool. By listing these possible situations and thinking critically about what would be the best and least expensive yet reliable firearm to address each scenario, my firearm purchases would be guided by rational thought rather than emotional appeal or marketing strategies of the gun stores and gun manufacturers.

Prioritizing concepts of personal importance.

The first concept that I applied to my purchases was the idea of rule of law, partial rule of law or post collapse, without rule of law (WROL). The idea here is that today, we face a society ordered by the rule of law where police forces are usually minutes away from a 911 call. It is not hard to picture a situation where the rule of law breaks down and police forces are not responsive. This has happened in the aftermath of hurricanes, during riots, and possibly during the aftermath of terrorist type events. In the most extreme situation, all functioning of government is terminated and you are on your own. This could happen in the event of hyperinflationary economic collapse as discussed in the James Wesley, Rawles novels, in an EMP or nuclear war situation such as Pat Frank’s novel Alas, Babylon or in planet changing asteroid strike such as was laid out in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's great novel Lucifer's Hammer. In such situations, having a reliable firearm will be a matter of life and death.

The second concept is location of use. In the home, the ability to conceal the firearm is not important. However, outside the home, the ability to conceal your firearm is primary. A concealed firearm allows you a tremendous advantage when a confrontation occurs, as well as allowing you to function in public without having to draw unnecessary attention to yourself. The first rule of any gunfight applies here - bring a gun. While having the highest caliber, largest capacity handgun may look great on paper, when applied to everyday use, these handguns are often to bulky to conceal and too heavy to carry comfortably. The reverse is true inside the home. In a true home defense situation, bulkiness will not matter since you will not be carrying the weapon long distances and will not need to conceal the weapon. What will matter is simplicity, power, capacity and reliability. Related to this is weight. Simply put, as an office guy my ability to carry weight is a big issue. If the gun is to be used in static defense of the home, weight is not as big a factor, as long as it can be handled. If you are going to carry it around for any period of time, weight becomes a big consideration. While I love the idea of an M14, the reality is that the gun is too heavy for me to carry around for any distance. So generally, lighter is better.

The third concept was interoperability and cross functionality, or the ability to utilize various ammunition calibers between guns and different guns for different uses. Having more of a particular caliber is probably more important that having the absolute ‘best’ caliber for a particular situation. Low cost ammunition facilitates bulk purchases. Also, go with what is available. If the absolute best caliber for a particular situation is not readily available, then it is not the best caliber. A hole in the target is what is required, and I am willing to compromise some level of specialization for low cost, availability and interoperability. If you are in a desperate survival situation, then any gun is better than none. Good enough is what I aimed for, limiting myself to as few different calibers as possible.

The fourth concept was simplicity. The more complicated the weapon system, the more likely it would fail in a high stress situation. I know that I go to the range probably one every couple of months - not enough to be a highly trained snap shot shooter. Instead, I focus on being comfortable with my weapon so that I know how it works and can get the bullet on the target calmly and quickly. I always think about one situation where a particular person had a quality, high capacity semi-automatic handgun, but was only able to fire off one round because he limp-wristed the gun,  jamming after the first shot. When a firearm is needed, it will be needed immediately. The simpler the system, the less there is to go wrong.

Visualizing firearm tool use scenarios.
The first scenario I visualized was varmint defense in a rule of law situation. In a city or suburban environment, we are talking about dogs. Having been attacked by a very large dog in my neighborhood, you should understand that your reactions will not be sufficient to prevent the dog from biting you. Dogs are very fast and you will instinctively react by protecting your face with your arms. The dog will bite at our extremities and latch on before you will be able to do anything. Thus the question, what do you want to have when the dog is biting on your arm? Of course being a gun guy, you are going to say a handgun. However, I would suggest that this is not the best choice for a person in a rule of law situation. Firing a handgun in public, even in this situation, can subject you to a felony charge. There is the danger of the bullet striking things unknown, including yourself. In the event that you do kill the attacking dog with your handgun, there will be an upset dead dog owner who will be telling you and everyone else how “Toro” is a loveable house pet that would never hurt a fly. They will be perfectly willing to call the police and press charges, and you will at least have a nasty neighbor situation. This kind of run in is easily avoided. Instead, get a re-chargeable touch stun gun. These devices can be had for less than $30. Make it a part of your walking routine to remove the stun gun from its charger and take it along whenever walking on foot, and recharging it in the wall socket when you return. If you do confront a territorial dog, the sound of the electrical discharge is often enough to scare them away. If the dog attacks and you have to stun them, the dog will flee but will be none the worse for wear. Of course, rural varmint defense is very different and should be assessed according to the wild animals that are likely to be encountered. Varmint defense in a without rule of law situation differs only in that you will not have to face the police scrutiny if you happen to kill a dog with your gun. Also, if the power grid fails your stun gun will be useless. Thus, bring your handgun.

Another scenario that I visualized (which is unfortunately far to common) is the need for suburban home defense from criminal intrusion while rule of law is still functioning, even if partially. This scenario involves a person or small group of persons forcibly entering into your home, usually at night. Most of the time, the home invader will attempt to have you open your front door or physically breach your front door by means of a kick. This is surprisingly easy to do, and you should train your mind to immediately react to the invader by making a bee line for your firearm. The home invader can also attack your rear door. Make an assessment of all possible points of entry in your home, and run through in your mind how you would react to different home invasion situations. Place your firearms at locations where you can quickly employ them. Know what condition of safety they are kept. Keep them loaded. If you are having to load to shotgun while the bad guys are busting down the door, you will be nervous and fumbling with ammo as well as behind the curve in reacting to the situation. That being said, the presence of children in your home should always effect your gun storage situation. You must revise your placement plans based on the presence of kids. For example, you may wish to carry your handgun on your person when in your home, if you cannot keep a loaded shotgun stored safely. You may wish to store your firearms in hidden locations throughout your house so that you are never more than a few steps from them. Five long guns locked up in a gun rack will do you no good in the home invasion situation.

Another situation that can be easily visualized is personal defense outside the home during a rule of law or partial rule of law situation. The key to this situation is having your firearm on your person and concealed. This situation contemplates a criminal attacking you or accosting you as you are walking to and from your vehicle. Car jackings commonly occur at gas stations, often near the highway, or near high crime neighborhoods. Having a gun that can be quickly employed is paramount. Because of this, make sure to include as part of your carry package a good holster. The concealed carry holster is a vital and often overlooked part of the system.

Looking forward to the possibility of without rule of law or partial rule of law, things get very dicey. Suburban home defense in a ‘without rule of law’ or in a post collapse situation differs from rule of law situation in that you may have to repel borders for a longer time, or deal with larger, more organized groups of invaders.  Ammunition capacity and supply are more important in this scenario. Extremely long term home defense is rather unlikely, but planning for a week of home defense would not be too much. For example, the six day long L.A. riots in 1992 witnessed an evacuation of police authority from the streets leaving many to fend for themselves.

Personal defense outside of the home in a ‘without rule of law’ situation is probably the riskiest of all of the scenarios. Even in the event of societal breakdown, some normal life will continue, and you will need to travel outside your home to get supplies or for other necessities. Key to this situation is the fact that you and the bad guys are aware that there is no organized police protection afforded the citizenry, therefore the likelihood of being attacked is greatly increased. Further, you may be confronted with armed attackers who will get the drop on you to disarm you. This scenario can also be applied to mass riot situations, which I suspect is closer to the surface in our society than most people realize.

While it is unlikely, in my mind that hunting for food in a post collapse situation would ever be necessary, it is a possibility. Where I live, I suspect that in a desperate survival situation every deer will be quickly wiped out by the local hunter population. What may remain will be birds and squirrels. Both can be taken with bird shot or the .22 round. It would be preferable to draw as little attention to yourself when hunting, therefore, adding a suppressor to the end of your .22 firing subsonic rounds would make the acquisition of these sources of protein quite silent.

Any visualization of offensive operations would by definition be in a ‘without rule of law’ or post collapse situation. Basically, widespread lawlessness and long term societal collapse will lead to civil war. Throughout history, war is the natural state of man. It is moments of peace that are the exception. The Liberty gifted to us by our Founding Fathers has allowed the societal delusion that civilization is without cost. We may be seeing the waning of Pax Americana, and the relative 60 year stability it brought. If the time comes where we are in a true state of nature, the need for force from a rifle will be clear. Personally, I have determined that there is no way that my family can or will in any way take on a professionally equipped military or police unit. Thus, I will opt out of trying to best the military and look at what best fits my abilities.

You are probably saying, okay enough already. What guns did you get? Well, my first purchase was a .357 Magnum stainless steel Model 60 Smith and Wesson revolver. On the down side, it is five shots and not a super quick reload, and moderately pricey (~$500). However, it is super dependable, simple, relatively lightweight and concealable, and relatively maintenance free. The ammo has remained available during the recent ammo runs since .357 Magnums are pretty much revolver only. I love revolvers because after sitting for years, you could pick it up and it will fire. They are also not picky about the rounds you are using – if they fit in the hole they will fire it. If they misfire, you just pull the trigger again and the next round rotates and fires. Offsetting the initial price of the revolver  is the fact that it can eat both .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition. Thus, when target shooting, you can use the .38 Special ammunition. For defense loads, you can fill it with high power .357 Magnum rounds. While there are pros and cons to every caliber, there is wide agreement that the .357 Magnum sets the standard for the heavy hitting self defense round. It is also capable of being reloaded, which is also an advantage in a SHTF scenario where resupply is inconsistent.

When purchasing any handgun, make sure that you also buy a good quality holster. The idea of concealment is great, but until you actually put it in a holster and wear it, you will not know what it actually looks like or feels like under your clothes. Personally, I like a leather, pancake type holster in the small of the back or, for larger guns, a crotch holster.
My second purchase was a Ruger 10/22 rifle. This is on the top of the list for most preppers, and is one of the few guns that almost everyone can agree on. This American made gun is relatively cheap (~$250), super dependable, five and a quarter pounds in weight, and very simple to operate. I was lucky enough to get four of the twenty five round BX-25 magazines before ‘firearmageddon’ hit, but even the small ten round magazine works flawlessly and would probably be enough in most situations. This gun can be used for small game hunting such as squirrels, mice, pigeons, etc. if needed. In a situation where the rule of law is non-existent, the rifle can double as a sniper weapon. If you get a 10/22 with a threaded barrel, with a little creativity you can add a suppressor for very little cost. Note that it is a Federal criminal offense to possess or attach a suppressor without the proper $200 tax stamp from ATF. The other .22 rifle that you could consider is the Marlin Model 60, a tube fed rifle that competes with Ruger’s offering at a lower price. An even less expensive option is the Mossberg 702 Plinkster in .22LR. At only four pounds, this gun is extremely light weight so even a child could carry it. It is fed with inexpensive 10 round magazines. The best part is that these rifles can be had for around $150. I have not yet purchased a scope, but that is next on the list.

I like the concept of a handgun / rifle combination firing the same caliber round. As the cowboys noted, they back each other up in the event one should fail, and the common caliber lightens your ammunition load. So to go with my 10/22, I decided to purchase a companion handgun in .22LR. At first, I wanted a revolver for the simplicity. The fact is that semi-autos in .22LR can be temperamental when using the many different sizes of ammunition available for .22LR. The blowback required to cycle a semi-auto is tricky when dealing with a light .22 load.  I therefore looked at some S&W .22LR revolvers, but was turned off by their high cost at around $500, (the same as .357 Magnums). I decided to give the semi-autos a second look. Sticking with Ruger, I initially looked at the Mark III, a ten round capacity semi-auto that you can get for around $350, a good but not awesome price. I was resolved to get the Mark III when I found a used nine shot revolver in .22LR for $125! Hi-Standard Sentinel revolvers are commonly available on the used market. These American-made guns were sold in the 1950s at local hardware stores and are now very inexpensive. As the price was right, I got the Hi-Standard.

Since the .22LR is such an inexpensive and versatile round, it is wise to stock up on ammunition. For suppressed fire, make sure that you purchase a healthy supply of sub-sonic ammunition. You can also purchase bird shot .22 ammo for taking out small critters. Being the most versatile rounds, I made my goal to stockpile 3000 rounds in a variety of configurations. Every week, I would purchase a hundred round box of .22LR paying with cash. Very soon, I had lots and lots of .22 ammunition, stored in military surplus ammo cans.

One interesting diversion I took was when I found a Marlin Model pre-2007 1894CS lever gun in .357 Magnum. My favorite gun store showed me the gun and I fell in love, buying it immediately despite its $550 price tag. The gun has a nine round capacity and weighs around six pounds. A quick firing lever gun can be loaded before having to empty out all the ammo, although reloading is slow. This rifle is fully capable of taking down deer or bad guys up to 150 yards. Thinking about this, I added a Skinner ‘peep’ sight for $85. These sights are high quality, low technology simplicity at its finest. It also has the huge advantage of using the same ammunition as the revolver. As I said earlier, I love the idea of the rifle / handgun combination. The lever gun can also double up as a home defense gun. If you had to use this gun in self defense, there is a hidden advantage to the lever gun. If you happen to get hauled before a jury after an unfortunate shooting incident, the lever action has that ‘All-American’ look to it. If you have to dispatch a bad guy with an AK-47, the gun looks ‘bad’ to the jury and will be paraded before them by the prosecutor. In a rule of law home defense situation when the courts are operating, this jury appeal should not be under estimated.

Over time, I found that I tended not to carry the .357 revolver because even at 24 ounces, it was a little heavy. I became aware of the concealed carry “ultra compact” handguns for personal protection. These guns are often called ‘mouse guns’ and are made with maximum concealment in mind. The old school mouse gun was the derringer, but these are heavy and only fired two shots. Being from Florida, I looked at the Kel-Tec offerings, the 32 ACP P-32(~$230) and the .380 ACP P3AT(~$260). Of course, I went for the cheaper one. I also got four spare seven round magazines. What I failed to consider was the cost of ammunition. .32 ammo seems overpriced compared to other calibers. You should look at the cost of .32 versus .380 in your area and factor that cost into the equation. The fact that this is a concealed carry, self defense only gun means that you need not stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition for this gun -- 250 rounds should be more than adequate. I know many of you may say that more ammunition should be purchased, but just how many times are you actually going to be using your mouse gun in self defense?

I noticed that at this point that I did not have a shotgun, one of the three types of firearms. A shotgun can be used for short range home defense or for hunting. At short range, such as within a house, bird shot is just as effective as buck shot. Further, a bird shot load will not generally travel through walls within a house, possibly killing friendlies. Often, the sound of the pump racking will be enough to scare away would be intruders without firing a shot. If you do have to fire at an invader, a 12 gauge shotgun fired at close range is probably the deadliest weapon you could have. In a hunting situation, you are much more likely to encounter birds than you are to encounter larger game such as deer or boar and all birds are edible. Thus, for stockpiling purposes, I weighted my ammo purchases towards bird shot. Buckshot is useful for hunting boar, deer, or really any non-bird larger creature that could serve as dinner.

The most common and easy to find shotgun caliber is the 12 gauge, so I limited myself to 12 gauge guns. Many gun folks recommended the Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun. However, I am a price conscious guy, so I kept looking. Ultimately I settled on the less expensive Mossberg 500. This American made gun has all the functionality of the Remington at lower price. You can get the basic version for around $350, but I was happily able to pick one up used for $250.

So I had my most basic needs covered and I started thinking about weaknesses of my firearms battery. A good read on the proper use of the rifle is the late Jeff Cooper’s Art of the Rifle. After reading this book, I became painfully aware that my firearms battery did not include longer range capability. Handguns, that are so highly favored in the United States, are short range weapons only. The rifle is the primary weapon used for longer ranged defense. So I set out what I was looking for in a longer ranged rifle.

Even though the idea of 1000 meter shots was appealing, in reality I could not see myself taking shots out further than 200 meters. For one, my eyesight is not that good. Second, target acquisition would be a problem, and I might shoot somebody I do not want to. Further research into modern rifles revealed that the development of the modern military rifle was influenced by the German’s finding in World War II that most firefights happen within 300 meters. Thinking about it, I could see why this is so. While Jeff Cooper was a firm supporter of the bolt action rifle, I wanted a quicker firing semi-automatic so that if I missed on my first shot, the second could be on its way with a minimum of movement. I wanted a rifle that was simple and reliable, and most of all inexpensive. I wanted a higher powered rifle round that was also less expensive and commonly available.

With those criteria in mind, I started looking around on the internet. The big debate seemed to be between the AK-47 guys and the AR-15 guys. But some other options also peaked my interest, including the M-14 derived M1A, the World War II M1 ‘Garand’ and the various bullpup designs that seemed very light weight and compact like the FN2000. With this in mind, I traveled to my local gun store to see what was what. Sticker shock fell upon me when I looked at the options available. The [semi-auto] M14 was in the $1,500 range and heavier than I had expected. An M1 ‘Garand’ goes for $800. The AR black rifles were all in the $1,000 range. Even the AK-47 was over $800. Forget the FN2000 at $3,000!  I thought I was out of luck when I came across a motley looking semi-automatic rifle in the rack with a $330 price tag - an SKS.

The SKS is an extremely reliable, semi-automatic rifle that fires the same round as the AK-47, the powerful 7.62x39mm round. It also comes with an attached bayonet which could be handy in the right situation. The ammunition is relatively cheap and available. I didn’t have to buy magazines, since it is reloaded using ten round stripper clips. Holding extra ammunition in stripper clips also reduces the weight when carrying spare ammunition. While the gun was a little heavier than I wanted at eight and a half pounds, at that price I was sold. When you start calculating gun multiples, the value of the sub-$350 SKS becomes apparent. Three AK-47s with four spare magazines each will cost you around $3,000. Three AR-15s with four spare magazines each will cost you more than $3,200. Three SKS’s with four stripper clips each will cost you $1,000.

Looking back at my purchases rationally, what would I recommend to the budget conscious prepper?

I. Handgun. Keltec P32 .32 caliber mouse gun with 250 rounds of ammunition and four magazines. $250 for gun, $75 for magazines. Uses: Concealed carry self defense.

II. Rifle. Ruger 10/22 .22 caliber rifle with 3,000 rounds of .22 long rifle and four magazines. $250 for gun, $100 for magazines. Uses: Hunting. WROL home defense. WROL offensive operations.
III. Shotgun. Mossberg 500 12 gauge shotgun with 500 rounds of bird shot shotgun shells. $250 for gun. Uses: Home defense. Hunting.            

So for less than $1,000 (excluding ammunition), you have all of the basic firearm tools you need (as opposed to want.) Once you get these items, you can double up by buying duplicates of the same firearm.

If budget allows, you could get the cheap Hi Standard Sentinel revolver to companion with your .22 Rifle. If you are concerned about long term, without rule of law situations, then go for the SKS with 1000 rounds (or more) of ammunition in stripper clips at $350 for each gun.                        

As a newly-minted gun guy, I love my S&W Model 60 and companion Marlin lever gun, both in .357 Magnum. I feel like a real American cowboy, and this pairing definitely has a place in my collection. But looking at the prices paid and the functionality, you could probably save this money and go with the minimum above. Just how many guns can you carry at one time, anyway?

JWR Replies: I've written several times in the past about the detractors to rifles and handguns chambered in common cartridges. While it might outwardly seem to be a logical approach, in my opinion the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. If I weighed 95 pounds, then I might consider buying an FN PS-90 and carrying an FN FiveSeven pistol as a companion piece. (Both are chambered in 5.7x28mm.)

Dear Jim,
I notice that 5.56 is again getting an unrealistically bad rap.  It's not as powerful as many other rounds, but some online epithets seem to suggest you can hide behind a sheet of paper and be safe.

As a reminder, I'd like to repost the following demonstrations from the fine folks at Box O' Truth:

There are certainly better rounds for long range and heavy targets (I like 8mm Mauser, myself), but don't dismiss a threat because he "only" has 5.56mm.

Oh, and off topic, but of interest: How .410 revolvers stink as defensive weapons.

- Michael Z. Williamson, SurvivalBlog Editor at Large

Reader B.K. sent: Lights out: House plan would protect nation's electricity from solar flare, nuclear bomb

   o o o

Eli sent us this video link where a "20-Something" with apparently mixed feelings about guns journeys into the wilderness to unleash his Inner Charlton Heston: Shooting the Biggest Guns Money Can Buy - The Big Sandy Shoot. BTW, that shoot looks like a lot more fun (and a lot safer) than attending a Saudi wedding.

   o o o

B. in Idaho sent an interesting article about Syrian militias competing.  B. noted:  "It is notable that one militia that was built up over the course of two years was taken over by hardliners in just one day.  Munitions and all!  Reading that immediately reminded me of the averted conflict that you described in your first novel between Todd Gray's militia and the Troy Templars."

   o o o

News from Western Oregon: New neighborhood group: ‘This is a Glock block’

   o o o

File under "Islam, Charming News": NYPD Sergeant Convicted of Illegally Using Terror Database is Now “Integrity” Officer

   o o o

Buz Mills (who heads Gunsite Academy) forwarded this: Joe Manchin will fight back against the NRA with TV ad. Buz had these comments: "Let me make sure I understand this situation:  The kid killed his Mom (illegal), The kid stole his Mom's guns (illegal), The kid stole his Mom's car (illegal), The kid carried the stolen guns onto school grounds (illegal), The kid broke into a school (illegal), The kid killed 26 people (illegal).  Now just how would this new proposed legislation have prevented this act by a crazy SOB?  Suppose he had driven the stolen car into 26 children out on the playground (illegal.)  Would we need legislation like this to inhibit the purchase of a car?  I do not think so.  This is nothing but grandstanding to get reelected, this has nothing to do with making America better or safer!  Senator lets try again, just one time for America."

"Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty [is] a fading flower, which [are] on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, [which] as a tempest of hail [and] a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.
The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
And the glorious beauty, which [is] on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, [and] as the hasty fruit before the summer; which [when] he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,
And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate." - Isaiah 28:1-6 (KJV)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Please pray for SGT Bowe Bergdahl and his family. He has been held as a POW by the Taliban since June 30, 2009.


This is the birthday of the late Col. Rex Applegate (born 1914, died July 14, 1998.) He was a mentor and friend of SurvivalBlog's Field Gear Editor, Pat Cascio


Today we present a guest article by wild foods expert Linda Runyon. Her writings have often been cited in SurvivalBlog

I am a wild food author who lived it for years while homesteading in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, and I lived on wild food for many years after that during my teaching days. I still eat wild food today in retirement.

YES.  Wild food is abundant, nutritious, healthy, easy-to-use and, best of all, free! This is important to know, and it’s an important cognition to have early on the way to becoming proficient with it. Having your eyes opened to the fact that it is everywhere must, of course, come before starting the journey that ends with being starvation-proofed.

BUT . . .
I understand that many peppers and survivalists tend to think of my materials as something they can keep on the shelf right up until they need them, then take them down and use them like a road map to instantly trot off to the wilds and subsist because the world went to hell and the supermarkets are fresh out of everything. That is feasible, but that’s not what I would call practical.  Even though you could do this, it is, by far, not the best way to learn the use of wild food.  I feel the need to warn against this grab-the-book approach. True skills are only acquired over time, and your progress can be greatly accelerated by guidance, building on the experience of others as laid out in their materials.

Surely the goal of a complete educational suite about wild food would be to starvation-proof an individual, a family or a group.  Information is important, but I'm sorry to say that your success or failure in that regard is based on how much practical effort you have put into learning and practicing these skills before they are needed. Of course not everyone will be ahead of the curve, and there would be many folks that have no idea of the fact of wild food, so never tried to learn or apply them.  These could be people you would want to help keep alive.

While simple foraging could indeed be useful as you trek off-road to your retreat, you may get away with not having practiced these skills before. But if that’s the only role you’ve set aside for wild food, your are missing the bigger picture. Wild edible food, used well, will play a crucial role at your retreat, camp or homestead. All of my early years of living on wild food occurred in a homestead setting.
Yes, I know you have food stores, but they cannot last forever. Yes, if it's spring (and it probably isn’t) and you get your tomatoes, corn and zucchini started from your heirloom seeds, you might have some wonderful crops come July or August, and I hope you do. I'd love to join you if there's enough to go around!

But you are a prepper, right?  Farming can be difficult; there could be drought, early and/or late frost, hail, wind or unpredictable weather or scant sunlight, problems with deer, rabbits, or other critters, insect trouble or possibly even theft from daring people in the night who didn't take the trouble to plan ahead or think things through. When gardening graduates from a hobby to a vital necessity, the cost of failure graduates, too.  You do have a backup plan, right?

Even if you get a bumper crop, there's still the problem of storage. Unless you thought to include a freeze-drying apparatus or commercial-level canning in your preparations, your storage will be limited by the number of Ball jars you have, whether your freezer can work or not, or whether you thought ahead to build a solar food dehydrator or have the materials and time on hand to build one. Those tomatoes will be good and plentiful in their short season, but you will need to do better than give or barter the surplus- you’ll want to store them.  A question will enter your mind during your high-volume canning efforts during the heat of summer: Is there an easier, high-nutrition food solution that we can use in parallel to traditional cultivation?

Yes there is.  That’s the main reason why we use wild food. Wild edibles aren’t just something you can live off of when there is nothing better; they really start to shine when you use them as a supplement to everyday nutrition. By simply harvesting, drying, pulverizing and storing in Zip-locs or dry jars, you can add a pinch or two of dried clover, violets, lambs quarters, chicory, chickweed or amaranth to your soup or casserole, your burger or omelets—anything you want. You can sneak it into any dish, and you'll be increasing nutrition and quantity while also squeezing the most out of your food stores.  Later, when you are used to it, you’ll increase your usage, and why not?  It’s solid nutrition.

Wild food is man’s original food, so it is quite naturally your ‘backup food store’ while you’re striving to grow fancier food.  We do agree on the prudence of having food reserves, right?  Anyone who values preparation will immediately see that, as a backup plan, wild food  is undeniably the best and only viable plan for your new homesteading efforts (unless you count waiting for the supermarket to restock, that is).
Harvesting and putting up wild food gets most efficient when you do it in quantity and get used to the idea of storing it as opposed to consuming it fresh. This is a long-term, staple food we're talking about here, not having snacks with the forest creatures. It's sort of an industry so you have to approach it as such, but it’s less effort than the traditional cultivation you’ve been planning.

How can you harvest sizable quantities of wild food if you have to walk a few country miles just to find it? Well, if you're doing regular gardening, you're going to find that this food pops up all by itself. The whole concept of weeding is keeping your cultivated food from being overrun by the incredible, edible weed. “Oh no! There's food in with my food!”  Are you starting to get the idea yet?  If you're not careful you could grow five or six different waves of wild food before your tomatoes are ready, all of which could be eaten, dried or frozen long before those tomatoes have to be put up.

Another point: A vegetable garden could be almost completely camouflaged if you were to allow it to become purposely overrun by tall weeds around its border! For that matter, your separate “wild garden” would never be looked at twice while your vegetables provide a fantastic decoy to the real nutrition, making your wild patches sort of a stealth garden, if you will.
You will be making frequent trips to your wild garden, harvesting and allowing it to replenish and harvesting again, over and over until you have a winter's supply and then some. This takes the ‘wandering’ out of ‘foraging’ and bumps wild food up to a production level, where it needs to be for you to depend on it.

The transplanting and cultivation of wild edible food is actually quite easy. You can Rototill a strip to see what comes up from freshly tilled earth. This is a great exercise to see what grows naturally in your chosen patch and to see what the seedling forms of the wild edibles look like. Like most young plants, they do not look much like their later form until two or three sets of leaves form. These can then grow to full harvest maturity right where they started.

If you want to be sure your wild garden has the wild food you have identified elsewhere, just transplant it! There is nothing very exotic about transplanting wild food, but it's easiest when the plants are small. This means doing it at the right time of year, because a weed will wait for nobody. Many plants like burdock, dandelion and chicory quickly establish a deep root which would make transplanting more difficult, so transplanting in the spring is best.

I cover the transplanting and cultivation of wild edible food in my latest book, Promote Wild Food Certainty Through Plant Identification Walks, but I cover it indirectly as a means of populating the type of walk that can be used to help people learn wild food identification by taking a self-guided tour. With labels and dividers, your wild garden can be used to this end, too, and you might find yourself teaching your spouse, your children, or your community wild food identification using this simple but effective method. The idea is simple but it can be rather involved in practice, so I'll leave the details to the book.  The idea is yours now.  It is a living wild food exhibit that you must harvest from to keep under control. 

A walk works as a teaching aid very effectively, and is also one of the many activities in my new Wild Food Homeschool Teaching Guide.  This subject must be taught to many, and part of that job is yours however you choose to go about it.  I feel that God put wild food on the earth for a reason.

Wild food represents a lifestyle change — a change of mindset — and it takes some getting used to.  It is, first of all, more nutrition than your body is used to dealing with, so over-doing it is easy.  It is often a different consistency and a different taste. You will find that you have to adjust the quantity of your intake. There have been lots of instances where the men that I fed wild food to would overdo it and find themselves buzzing with energy from foods like a cattail pollen pancake or too much yarrow tea. This is why the idea of “a pinch to nutrition” is a good one. You will want to start slow and follow my Rules of Foraging as you go, reprinted below for your convenience.

You can dive in and go gung-ho, surely, but this is a journey and can’t be traveled all at once, especially on a deadline of personal starvation.  You need to start now, before you need it. The essential unit of learning this skill is learning one plant thoroughly and completely.  THIS represents one step, and that step is repeated for each and every plant until you finally have a full collection of them.  You quite probably do not have even one plant learned completely all the way from ID to storage. If so, you have not really started your journey into wild food proficiency!  Let me break down how to take that first step of one plant all the way:

  • Start by finding one edible plant.  You probably know of one already. 
  • Learn its identification with certainty.
  • Learn which parts to eat and each one’s various uses.
  • Clear the plant for your use by running it through the Rules of Foraging.
  • Learn that plant’s particular harvest and preparation.
  • Start eating it! Easy does it. Make it a part of you by eating it green when in season.
  • Start collecting it in bulk.
  • Start drying it and put it up in Zip-loc bags or glass jars.
  • Start adding it to meals, a pinch at a time and increasing over time.
  • Figure out, through use, what a winter’s supply really is.
  • Start growing it in your local surrounds.
  • Start teaching this one plant to kids, family and friends so they can start.

But I think you get the most important part of what you must do: on a real, sane, manageable gradient: Start!

The Rules of Foraging
These rules are for your own protection when investigating plants that are new to you. If followed closely, they will protect you in the field.

  • DO NOT collect plants closer than 200 feet from a car path or contaminated area.
  • NEVER collect from areas sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals.
  • DO NOT collect plants with RED STEMS, or red striations or stripes.
  • ALWAYS BE FAMILIAR with all dangerous plants in YOUR area of collection.
  • POSITIVELY IDENTIFY all plants you intend to use for food.
  • Take a piece off the plant and roll between your fingers.  SNIFF CAREFULLY.  Does it smell like something you would eat?  If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY.  If it does, go to rule 7.
  • Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy.  RUB the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth.
  • WAIT 20 minutes.
  • DOES YOUR GUM ITCH, BURN, TINGLE, SWELL OR STING?  If no reaction occurs, go on to rule 10.
  • Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup.  Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes.  SIP SLOWLY for 20 more minutes.  WATCH FOR NAUSEA, BURNING, DISCOMFORT.  If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount.
  • WAIT ANOTHER 20 MINUTES and watch for any reaction.
  •  Keep all samples AWAY from children or pets.
  •  Store all seeds and bulbs AWAY from children and pets.
  •  Teach children to keep all plants AWAY from their mouths and DO NOT ALLOW children chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.
  •  AVOID smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions QUICKLY.
  •  BE AWARE of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
  •  BEWARE: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity.

This is information about wild food.  The editors of SurvivalBlog nor the author make no claims as to the correctness, safety or usability of the data.

The information contained herein is intended to be an educational tool for gathering and cooking wild plants.  The information presented is for use as a supplement to a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle.  The nutritional requirements of individuals may vary greatly, therefore the author and publisher take no responsibility for an individual using and ingesting wild plants.

All data is to be used at your own risk.  Using the Rules of Foraging greatly helps to reduce that risk, but even they are not foolproof.


About The Author:

Linda Runyon is the editor of the Of The Field web site and the author of many wild plant books and instructional materials, including:

A Survival Acre
Linda Runyon's Master Class on Wild Food Survival
Eat the Trees!
The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide (also available as an e-book.)
A Basic Middle Eastern Desert Survival Guide
Wild Food Identification Guide
Promote Wild Food Certainty through Plant Identification Walks
Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods (A playing card deck with photos and descriptions of 52 different edible plants.)

She has set up a 10% coupon code "backupplan" for SurvivalBlog readers that is good until July 4, 2013.

The stock markets and the precious metals markets all got hammered on Thursday (June 20, 2013), following some comments by Ben Bernanke. Don't be spooked. Don't be fooled. The Fed and Treasury Department are essentially locked in to QE to Infinity. They may try to "taper", but it probably won't work. Today's news does nothing to change the market fundamentals. Silver will remain in a bull market for as long as the government continues to grossly over-spend. So when the price of silver gets temporarily pushed down by these rumors, just look at it as another buying opportunity.

Over at The Daily Bell: Richard Ebeling on Higher Interest Rates, Collectivism and the Coming Collapse

Jim W. sent: Why the Fed Cannot "Exit" Successfully... Without a Market Crash

Jeff recommended: Banks Cooking Up Another Financial Crisis

Items from The Economatrix:

GEAB: Alert for the Second Half of 2013 -- Global Systemic Crisis II--Second Devastating Explosion/Social Outburst on a Worldwide Scale

They Know:  Billionaires Are Quietly and Rapidly Dumping Millions Of Shares Of Stock

Retirement Crisis:  Trillions Of Your Pension Dollars Stolen In Broad Daylight

SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson recommended this brief video: How Turkish Protesters Deal With Teargas

   o o o

There is a gun show scheduled in Colorado Springs this weekend. With the July 1st legislation deadline looming in Colorado, I'm sure that sales of battle rifles and full capacity magazines will be brisk. Last call in Colorado!

   o o o

K.A.F. sent this: Telegrams no more. Stop. India to send world's last message July 14.

   o o o

Courtesy of OSOM, come this link: Gary North on hands-free headlamps

   o o o

Sarah C. recommended this: Edward Snowden and the selective targeting of leaks.

"People are defiantly in denial about what we’re doing. . . . Nobody mentions the $85 billion a month we’re printing now [via Quantitative Easing] . . . . We’ve only printed about $800 billion in the last 100 years. We’re going to print more than that next year. So, literally 100 years of printing next year." - Bob Wiedemer

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20th is the birthday of Audie L. Murphy. he was born in 1925. He died in a plane crash on May 28, 1971.)


I just heard that novelist Vince Flynn died at the untimely age of 47. I'm sure that he had more books planned. He will be missed.


Today we present a guest article by Amy Alton (of Doom & Bloom fame.)

Given the media outcry against gun ownership, it's easy to forget the wounds that are caused by knives and other sharp instruments.  Trauma incurred from these injuries may be minor or major; penetrating trauma such as caused by a stab wound should not be discounted as a major injury; it can be life-threatening, depending on the organs and blood vessels damaged. 

Penetrating trauma is divided into perforating and non-perforating.  A perforating wound is one in which the object causing the damage goes into one side of the body and then exits through the other side.  A wound from .223 or NATO .556 would, commonly, be an example of this type of penetrating trauma. One of my first classes in medical school showed a slide of Major General Henry Barnum, who received a minie ball through the hip in the battle of Antietam.  Years later, he could still pass a thin rod from the entry wound all the way out the other side.  General Barnum's hip, incidentally, is still on display in the National Museum of Medicine, where it has been for over 100 years.

Bullets and other high-speed projectiles cause damage related to the shock wave produced as the bullet passes through the body. This is called cavitation.  Many bullets will fragment in the body as well, sometimes causing damage further from the entry wound than expected.  Luckily, low speed projectiles such as knives will not do this. Your concerns are related specifically to the area of entry and the structures located directly in the path of the offending instrument.

Stab wounds are an example of a non-perforating wound:  the projectile causing the damage enters the body and either stays there or exits where it entered.  Most knife wounds would fit in this category, as the knife doesn’t pass entirely through and out of the body.  Some sharp instruments might do this, say a crossbow bolt or a spearhead, but let’s assume that you’ll be unlikely to see these. Most knife wounds you'll see will be minor lacerations.  Blood loss and failure of damaged organs will be the major issue to deal with.

A little about blood: Blood carries oxygen to the tissues and organs and removes waste products. It is made up of several components, including:

• ·         Red blood cells: These cells carry oxygen to body tissues.
• ·         White blood cells: These cells work to, among other things, fight infection and disease.
• ·         Platelets and other clotting factors: These allow blood to coagulate and lessen blood loss.
• ·         Plasma: A yellowish liquid in which the above are suspended.

Your immediate action upon encountering a victim of a wound with a sharp instrument may save their life.  Bleeding from arteries and internal organs can be very brisk.  If you are a typical 180 lb. (about 70 kg.) adult, you have approximately 9-10 pints (about 5 liters) of blood in your body. Athletes and those living at very high altitudes may have more. You can’t afford to lose more than 40% of total blood volume without needing major resuscitative efforts.  To get an idea of how much blood this is, empty a 2 liter bottle of fruit punch or cranberry juice on the floor.  You’ll be surprised at how much fluid that represents.

Hemorrhage (bleeding) is classified by the American College of Surgeons (of which I am a Fellow) as follows:

Class I:  Hemorrhage is less or equal to 15% of blood volume (1.5 pints/3/4 liter) in an average adult male.  A person donating 1 pint of blood is giving slightly less than 0.5 liters, for example. At this level there are almost no signs or symptoms, although some may feel vaguely faint.

Class II:  Hemorrhage is 15 to 30% loss of total blood volume (2-3 pints/1-1.5 liters).  The body tries to compensate at this point with, among other things, a faster heartbeat to speed oxygen to tissues.  This patient will appear pale and skin will be cool.  They will feel weak.

Class III: Hemorrhage is 30 to 40% loss of total blood volume (3-4 pints/1.5-2 liters).  At this point, the heart will be beating very quickly and is straining to get enough oxygen to tissues and blood pressure is low. Smaller blood vessels in extremities are constricting to keep the body core circulation going. This patient will be confused, pale, and in hypovolemic (low blood volume) shock. Blood transfusion is usually necessary. 

Class IV:  Hemorrhage is more than 40% of total blood volume (greater than 4 pints/2 liters). The heart can no longer maintain blood pressure and circulation.  Without major resuscitative help at this point, organs will fail and the patient will likely be comatose and die.

In most circumstances, sharp instrument injuries will be minor.  After controlling bleeding, your goal is to clean the wound thoroughly and dress it.  Wound closure may be an option in some wilderness cases, but most backcountry stab wounds will be dirty and should be left open (subject of another article).

If you're attending to an actively bleeding wound from a sharp object, you will need a level head and quick action.  This is, sometimes, not as easy as it sounds; most people not accustomed to dealing with these issues on a daily basis will experience a type of paralysis that may waste precious time. If modern medical care is available, contact emergency services immediately.

In the meantime, follow these steps:

·        - Assess the safety of the situation.  Make sure the situation is secure; it makes no sense for you to become the next casualty.

·         -Put on gloves if possible.  Your hands are full of bacteria and you will reduce the risk of infection by doing so.  Non-latex (nitrile) gloves are superior in avoiding allergic reactions to latex, more commonly seen than you’d think. If no gloves are available, plastic bags/wrap or, at least, hand sanitizers/soap will be useful if you have to touch the wound with bare hands.    

·         -Verify the victim’s breathing and mental status.  Clear airways if obstructed and determine if they are alert enough to help you by following commands.
·         Remove clothing carefully to fully inspect the wound and identify other injuries.  Make sure that you have a bandage scissors or EMT shears in your medical pack.

·        - Elevate the feet above the level of the heart and head (the “shock position”) to increase blood flow to the brain.

·        - If the sharp instrument is still in the body, don’t remove it.  It may be providing pressure on damaged blood vessels and decreasing the bleeding.  Stabilize the wound in place with dressings or in any way you can.  If there is no chance of emergency services reaching you, such as in a backcountry trip in an underdeveloped country, you may have to remove it at one point or another.  Don’t do this unless you are where the bulk of your medical supplies are.

·         -Apply pressure with some type of dressing, even your shirt if necessary.  Most non-arterial bleeding will stop with steady pressure on the wound. If the sharp instrument is in place and help is on the way, place pressure down on either side towards the blade to prevent it from slipping out and decrease bleeding.

·         -Elevate the injured area about the heart.  Make it more difficult to pump blood out of the body.

·         -Some recommend applying additional pressure with your other hand to major arteries about the level of the wound (especially for extremities).  These areas are called “pressure points”.  For example, a major artery (the popliteal artery) is found behind the knee.  Pressure here might decrease bleeding from a lower leg wound.  There is an entire map of pressure points for most parts of the body [that can be found with a quick web search.]

·        - If this fails, consider applying a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.  Tourniquets are to be used only when absolutely necessary, as they also stop the circulation of undamaged arteries and veins.  This will cause damage or death of tissue beyond the level of the wound if left on too long.  They also, after a very short time, hurt like a son of a gun. If a tourniquet is on, you may choose to loosen it after a period of time to determine if the body's clotting mechanisms have stopped the bleeding. Unfortunately, this can sometimes cause further bleeding, so this is mostly a strategy for when help in NOT on the way. If you are transporting a patient to a modern medical facility, make sure you mark a "T" on the victim's forehead or otherwise notify emergency personnel.

·        - In certain circumstances, the use of blood clotting agents such as QuickClot or Celox may be helpful.  They are effective in stopping bleeding, although they are sometimes difficult to clean out later.  We keep these products in all our medical packs, even individual first aid kits.

·        - Once bleeding has subsided, don’t remove a dressing unless you have to.  There are clots that can be dislodged if you do, and this may restart the bleeding.  Add additional dressings on top if help is on the way. In survival situations, you will eventually have to change and clean wound dressings.

·         -Secure everything with a pressure dressing, of which there are various on the market.  The Israeli Battle Dressing, known as The Emergency Bandage in the U.S., has a hinge which can apply up to 30 pounds of pressure if used properly.

·        - Keep the victim warm: Throw a blanket or a coat over them.  If help is coming, keep them as still and calm as possible to avoid further bleeding.  Monitor breathing, pulses, and mental status.

·        - An unconscious patient should be placed in the “recovery position”.  This will, among other things, allow fluid to drain from airways and help them breathe.

All of the above may not be necessary if you practice preventative measures.  In other words, don’t run with scissors.  With some foresight, you may be able to avoid a mishap that could turn into a tragedy.

About the Authors: Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. and Joe Alton, M.D. (aka "Nurse Amy" and Dr. Bones" are the producers and hosts of the popular Doom & Bloom podcast.

Pantry Paratus is offering a free Sport Berkey filtering water bottle with any purchase $150 or more.  This offer is only valid through June 30th.  

   o o o

Maine has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation ordering its grid to be hardened against an electromagnetic pulse. (Thanks to H.L. for the link.)

   o o o

Over at Ryan and Ryan's excellent blog: Birdshot For Self Defense?

   o o o

My old friend Terry sent: Russia Nearing Final Stages For New Assault Rifle In Legendary Kalashnikov Series

   o o o

What to do with a leftover #10 can (Part 1)

Tamara of the excellent View From The Porch blog recommended this piece by Borepatch: Hiding your data transmissions from the NSA. (OBTW, the "hidden in plain sight" Lego USB drive suggestion reminded me of the tradecraft that I described in my second novel, "Survivors". A tiny USB memory stick stub can be hidden in many commonplace objects, and the even thinner micro SD memory cards can be mailed covertly. (Just tape them inside a folded 4"x6" piece of cardboard and pop them in an envelope.) The requisite card readers have become ubiquitous. It is noteworthy that the MicroSD card has a plethora of potential hiding places that are very difficult to detect.)

"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world." - Henry Kissinger

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This is the birthday of Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon. He was born in 1834 and died in 1892. This British Particular Baptist preacher's powerful sermons are still widely read, and can now be listened to, as presented by modern orators.


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Do you plan to walk to your retreat?  Then read this first.

For those who like me, are nearing or over 50 years old and out of shape after years of working a desk and who think that walking or biking to a retreat is an option for them, let me tell you about the last 27 weeks and the 850 miles I've covered by walking and biking. In doing so I'm hoping that I can convince you to start now rather then waiting for a situation that forces you to do so. After all, if my retreat were 260 miles from where I live, could I, or you for that matter, really afford to take the 10 weeks to get there that it took me to cover that distance when I first started? That's how long it took me to walk 260 miles and now that I've walked 200 more I can tell you that even in my current shape to walk 260 miles would take me a long and grueling time!

First let me say that I'm not a 'doomsday' prepper and I don't believe that a catastrophic economic collapse will end the world as we know it tomorrow. On the other hand I've seen human nature at its worst (war) and have studied enough history to know that things could go south in a big hurry if the right things occurred and we do seem to be living in a time in which a lot of those 'right things' are lining up to present the best possibility or “things going bad in a hurry” actually happening. I believe, however, that it will occur sometime in the future because, if one studies history, it always does.

I'm a 47 year old Marine who's allowed himself to ride a desk for far too long without exercising. This means that my formerly 'lean and green' 190 pound self managed to add 90 pounds of not-so-lean body weight. My blood pressure was high and I was diagnosed with Hypertension. While I ate well, so I thought, by avoiding processed foods as much as I could (I thought) I never really examined my food intake with a critical eye and as a consequence I added weight in the form of fat and raised my blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

My blood pressure was managed with drugs (a diuretic and Lisinopril) and because of that I didn't worry so much about it. My blood-work was excellent with cholesterol numbers that made the doc jealous but once in a while he'd frown at my blood glucose level which was bumping up against 100 – so not diabetic yet but starting to be something to watch.

I was out of shape, down right fat with high blood pressure unless I took drugs that might not always be available and I was fighting dehydration and a myriad of issues as a result of taking a diuretic and not eating as well as I thought. Something had to change.

After a few attempts to lose weight by dieting and a few 'starts' at walking I finally committed and began walking in earnest. Since I'd started and stopped a few times it was easier this time, but let me tell you, the first time I tried walking a mile was killer! This coming from a marine who once marched 32 miles in under 8 hours carrying a heck of a lot of gear! However, this time I wasn't so bad off and walked two miles with relative ease – if you call having shin splints relative ease anyway.  That first week I clocked 8 miles in 4 walks and I was convinced I could do 'this'. The next I was walking 4 miles per outing and put in 26 miles followed by 27. I was well on my way and felt I could easily attain 100 miles a month which was my goal at the time.

Christmas saw me take a week off but when I returned I stepped up and hit the road for an additional 23 miles and began to examine the foods I ate. I was determined to lose weight and get back into shape and while I'd done a lot of walking (now over 85 miles) I'd only lost about 5 pounds and my legs were killing me. I wanted off the blood pressure drugs and I wanted to get back in shape and lose all the weight.

I watched some movies that inspired me like 'Fat sick and nearly dead', 'Forks over knives' and 'Hungry for change' and through those and help from others I decided to really make some changes. I swapped my two eggs, cheese, toast and butter breakfast for cooked wheat and oatmeal with a little honey or agave for flavoring, I changed my lunches which were usually meat and cheese sandwiches or Ramen noodles packed with meat and cheese (I need the sodium so I thought) to rice with a little flavoring. I cut out meat and dairy from my first two meals with the exception of cream in my coffee (1 cup a day habit).

At first I gained a few pounds back which I attribute to my diet being different but I began to get used to the new foods and actually enjoyed them. It was more filling to eat the grains then I thought and I had plenty of energy for my walks. However, by now my legs were constantly sore and I began to realize that I needed more protein during the day so I added a protein shake between meals (twice daily) which seemed to cure that problem. I left my dinners alone mostly which gave me an incentive to eat well throughout the day because, after all, I could eat whatever I wanted for dinner. Doing this saw my daily caloric intake drop from around 2,800 calories a day to about 2,100 and I knew it would make a difference.

With my legs feeling better and my diet making a difference I stepped off for longer walks with more confidence. I was often walking 7 miles and clocked 25 miles the first week on my new diet and then 40 miles! I also stopped my blood pressure drugs and found my numbers were nearly normal! Frankly, that shocked me. How could this be? After all, I was told I'd probably have to take them for life so how could the doc be so wrong?

Before trying to tackle that last question, however, a new problem arose: my left foot began to really hurt. I'd done a 7 mile walk and then a 3 mile walk in the same day to reach my goal of 40 miles in a week and hadn't stopped or slowed down when I felt pain in my left foot. Perhaps it was the old marine in me loving the march again and feeling better, however it was clear I'd made a mistake the next day. My foot hurt.

I began to research the pain I had and realized that I'd given myself 'Planter Faciitus' which is tearing of the planter tendon on the bottom of the foot. The most likely cause of which was my lack of stretching! All this time I'd been telling myself that walking is what people do, it's not like it's running or something and there is not need to stretch when you walk. I was so wrong!

I also learned that my old runners (unused for most of their ten years) weren't what I needed and I learned about 'motion control' shoes and how they help with the problem I was experiencing. Off I went to the local shoe stores in search of a decent pair of runners to wear on my walks and I managed to find a good pair of gel control / motion control Asics that really helped. I was glad to be able to get back to walking and wasted no time (like a dumb old Jarhead) in getting back on the road. I clocked in another 25 miles before realizing that I was overdoing it and took my old mountain bike in for repairs because I knew I'd need to ride it if I wanted to continue my regimen of daily, or almost daily, cardio.

By this time I'd walked over 175 miles and while my left foot hurt I'd learned to stretch. My shins no longer bothered me, my thighs were no longer sore all the time and my blood pressure was nearly normal still. I'd also lost some weight and was down a total of 13 pounds off my heaviest. I was motivated but also realizing that no one my age or older who wasn't already in shape, was going to 'walk' out any great distances. After all, I was trying to walk in the best of conditions and I was having to learn a lot of things and relearn things I'd long forgotten or ignored. Consider that after each walk I could take a shower, I could eat and drink well and I could relax on a couch if need be. My evenings were spent in a comfortable bed and a nice home that was secure and warm and I had plenty of resources to pull from should I need supplements, shoes, Motrin or whatever. It wasn't as if I was walking through the hinterland on my own carrying a pack with no grid to log into and no Right Aid around the corner to purchase painkillers from. I wasn't sleeping on rocks and filtering my drinking water from a stinking mosquito infested pool and yet all I had managed in 6 weeks was 175 miles and to show for it I had a bad tendon in my left foot.

Clearly I need to change some things and clearly the idea of walking to a retreat could only really be done by the likes of me if the retreat was very close – which means too close to be of use.

I got my bike back from the shop and promptly rode it a mile – and nearly died! Forty minutes later I road it 4 miles and while my pulse was a bit higher then I'd like it wasn't that high. I could do this!

Over the course of the next four rides each getting longer and between riding I walked, albeit shorter distances and often slower paces since I was still dealing with a sore foot (that was healing thanks to the riding and a lot of stretching). My knees would get sore, my legs would complain but overall I was getting use to riding again and the following week I completed a 9 and finally a 10 mile ride. I was getting there and my pulse rate was much lower after those rides then on that first day. I also walked but a lot less and while my tendon had mostly healed it was something I had to constantly pay attention to.

In ten weeks I had completed 205 miles of walking and 55 miles of riding in ten weeks and lost about 16 pounds (20 off my heaviest). My blood pressure was 'ok' and while not below 120/80 in the morning it was often right there or only slightly higher (sometimes it's actually lower but not that often yet). Another 17 weeks followed with an additional 580 miles traveled and my weight is down 45 pounds, I can walk 4 miles per hour for 3 hours with few breaks (I walked in a 'Relay for Life' for 3 hours) and can cycle 13+ miles without killing myself. I believe at this point that I could walk, if I had to, 10 miles per day without much issue if I had to and had to carry a pack etc. To push to 20 miles a day would require a lot more work on my part but at least at this point I'm certain I could make a 260 mile hike inside a month providing there weren't any unforeseen circumstances. If I could ride, I'm certain I could ride 260 miles in 10 days or less though admittedly I'd be very saddle sore! Please bear in mind that this is after over 6 months of constantly walking and riding and eating right. I'm healthier today then I was 6 months ago and still off my blood pressure meds (my BP this morning was 121/79) and while I still ride a desk I work very hard to not allow it to debilitate me like I had previously.

The moral of the story here folks is that if you're out of shape like I was and you expect to be able to walk to a retreat further then a few miles, then you better get cracking and start walking now! Change your lifestyle, diet and routines and get in shape today because it will take months (no get fit quick scheme will work) and a commitment as great as any you've done so far.

I'm continuing on my quest to lose the weight and get back into shape but wanted to take a moment to recap for you some things that I think are important if you, like me, think you could 'walk out' if things head south in a hurry.

1. If you are not walking now then don't assume that you can later. Chances are you will injure yourself and quite possibly end up stranded somewhere you do not want to be stranded.
2. Your body simply cannot take the punishment if you are overweight and out of shape so do something about it now and get back into shape, lose the weight and strengthen your body.
3. You cannot carry all that you need so consider carefully what you think you will or can carry bearing in mind that the added weight of carrying a pack is added weight (ten times) on impact to your feet and knees.
4. You will likely suffer injuries to the planter tendon, Achilles heal and the knees as well as shin splints and other possibilities. Prepare for he worst and hope for the best.
5. You must consider pacing yourself which may mean only walking 2 to 5 miles every other day at the start and only slowly getting to a daily distance of 4 to 8 miles an only if you're at least well enough prepared that you have good shoes/boots that won't cause injury themselves.
6. You will need rest, lots of it, so if you really plan to walk out without at first getting back into shape then you will need a good sleeping mat and a lot of luck in finding comfortable places to rest.
7. There is more to prepping then just buying lots of stuff; physical fitness and personal health are as important, if not more important, then a lot of what you might be spending a lot of time and money on. Having a great retreat won't help you if you can't get there.
8. It is often said that you should store what you eat and eat what you store, but do you? How many have the required amount of wheat per person but don't know what to do with it? Have you sprouted wheat? Cooked it? Milled it into flour for bread? If you store it, eat it! Best way to do that is to start incorporating wheat, oats, rice (black, brown, wild more so then white but white is OK when added to the others), quinoa, farrow and others into your diet now. Try cooked wheat for breakfast and mixed rices and quinoa for dinner. It will be good for you and get you used to eating your storage foods.
9. If you store beans, then eat them! Many store beans but don't eat them so don't produce enough of the enzymes needed to digest them (hence the bloated gassy uncomfortable feeling when you suddenly do eat them).
10. Cut out processed foods, they are bad for you! Even store bought milk is processed and while it may be nearly impossible to replace it at least know that it isn't as good for you as the advertisements say. It's processed and that means 'damaged'. Raw milk contains enzymes and bacteria like 'probiotics' that today's modern American's buy expensive yogurts to get, ever wondered why that is? But I digress, I'm not saying 'go raw' I'm just saying pay attention to what you stuff into yourself on a daily basis and try to start eating right – something most of us have forgotten how to do.
11. Start making things you think you might have to make, or want to, at your retreat. Make cheese (you'll learn all about store bought milk then, I assure you), butter (you'll need good cream for that), soap, flour, sourdough bread etc. Everything you make will taste better then what you buy anyway and you will know what went into it. Just remember that you also have to be fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle so don't go eating cheese for three meals a day!
12. Seriously consider what you think you can do or might have to do and then test yourself. If you believe you can 'ruck up' and march off to a retreat that's 200 miles away hidden deep in the woods then ruck up today and take a nice long walk, chances are that if you're like me and no longer that young and lean fighting machine then you'll learn real quick that you need to make some changes. Make them today and survive tomorrow, make them tomorrow and you won't survive.

I know that's not a complete list but I'm hopeful that those of you reading it might take it to heart and get doing something. Just be sure to get good shoes to start off, to stretch lightly during and after each walk (calve stretches will help a ton!) and to research your diet now and make the appropriate changes to it so that you can both have the energy to keep at it, to keep walking or riding, and the nutrients to heal the muscle you will be tearing down and rebuilding.

Here is a sample of my daily diet for those interested:

1. First thing in the morning I drink a 12 oz glass of water (something that I never would have done before).
2. 1 cup of coffee with about 1 TBS cream and a half TBS of Agave sweetener
3. Breakfast: ½ cup of oatmeal mixed with ¼ cup of cooked wheat or bran and 1 scoop of Chia seeds sweetened with Agave nectar and cinnamon.
4. Snack: 1 8oz protein shake (140 calories, 27 grams of protein) made with water not milk.
5. Lunch: 1 1/2 cups of mixed rice with some flavoring (Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning and olive oil)
6. Snack: 1 8oz protein shake (140 calories, 27 grams of protein) made with water not milk.
7. Snack: on particularly hungry days I have ¼ cup of mixed nuts for a snack in the afternoon.
8. Dinner: Whatever I want but preceded by a large salad (fills my dinner plate) with a small portion of salad dressing (I used to pour on the Blue Cheese dressing but today use a 50-80 calorie dressing that I measure out to be sure I don't pour it on). I try to keep my dinners to about 500 calories except on days I burn a lot more doing cardio.

My current daily caloric intake is about 1,450 calories unless I do cardio which can increase the intake to about 2,100 calories (these are the days I take the protein shakes or eat protein bars).

Hello James,
I read your blog every day and enjoy finding information that is useful. Recently a posting discussed the use of the 5.56 mm NATO bullet and its poor performance in penetrating automobiles.
I took notice of this information about the penetrating power or lack of penetrating power of the 5.56 in relation to single and double barriers.

We moved onto our five acres of land nine years ago. One of the first building projects was to have a contractor installed tornado shelter set in the ground. Then over the next two years I added a 16’x20’x50” high system of concrete walls around the opening to the tornado shelter. I added baffled entrances and a sturdy roof. The concrete walls are 7 inches thick on the bottom and taper to 5 inches at the top.
I designed this kind of wall to get the greatest thickness on the bottom where any residual radioactive might collect on the ground.

On top of the concrete walls is a 24” tall wooden wall with screened openings 7” along the three sides away from the embankment. The insides of these walls are stacked with bricks to increase the personal protection factor (PFC) against radiation and perhaps the penetration of bullets, slugs and shot.

We have electricity and water in the bunker. The roof has survived a single impact of large hail that we measured at 3.25 inches in diameter. Thankfully we had this hail only fall for 30 seconds and it was spread out widely on the property. One of these large hail stones penetrated completely through our house roof. But I had sheeted the roof of the bunker with 3/4 inch plywood. We call this structure our "Weather Bunker."
I have proceeded to attempt to harden it against weather and other possibilities. The south side of the weather bunker is protected by setting 9 to 11 foot tall discarded electric line poles along the roof edge. They average 8 to 11 inches thick and extend up to the roof ridge in height. I get these discarded poles from the local electric company. The north side and part of the east side are protected by a row of railroad timbers set on end creating a wall. These are for breaking the wind and protecting the shingles on the roof. However they do present an initial barrier for bullets, slugs and shot before coming to the concrete wall. We have a 350 gallon water tank on the north side that sets outside. This barrier protects it from visual observation and perhaps from penetration from light firearms.
The weakest part of the structure are the two doors made of 2x4’s and 5/8” plywood.
Recently we replaced our heat pump and the contractor left the old unit. During the disassembly I discovered that the outside was made up of two louvered rectangular units curved around to encase the unit. They laid out nearly flat when removed. They are good heavy steel units. After measuring I mounted these plates on the outside of the two doors. I now have a louvered steel plate plus two layers of 5/8” plywood on my doors. We will be visiting the contractor who did the installation looking for two more from discarded units for the inside of the doors.
As I read this article about penetration of the 5.56mm NATO I realized that the addition of these louvered plates was the correct thing to do.
We are both 72 years of age. Unless there are some really severe mitigating circumstances we will not be leaving this place if all hell breaks loose. This place is our lifeboat. But we are surrounded by hundreds of acres of range land. Some of which is very rough hilly land covered in sandhill plum brush, sages brush and some shinnery oak. The larger draws support a surprising growth of larger trees.

We have developed rally points close and far. Under certain conditions if we were forced to take to the land we have an environmental set of conditions in which we could hide. We have one ATV to use for transport locally in the rough land. As a last resort we have two pneumatic four tired garden carts that could be pulled. If the situation deteriorates we plan to buy another ATV of some sort quickly.
We have had to adjust our outlook recently. My wife had a mild non-debilitating heart attack last year. She is back to normal now. I appear to be recovering from Leukemia after diagnosis in January. Time will tell us how our health is and time will mark the requirements for our survival.
My thesis for this note is this: you should consider these louvered air conditioner plates as additional potential barriers for doors, windows and walls. They should be available if you can find the contractor who has a junk yard full of old units.
Secondly consider using railroad ties or discarded electric line poles for barriers around your retreat or home. Don’t forget to put a barrier around your outdoor privy area. Nobody wants to get shot with their pants down.

From the red hills of western Oklahoma and America’s most secret redoubt. - Joe C.

Congressional hearing video: $9,000,000,000,000 Missing From The Federal Reserve. (Why is it that the larger the dollar figure, the less the accountability? Just ask the Boptrotters--some of whom were convicted over sums less than $100--if their scrutiny and punishments were proportional.)

Reader Jon S. pointed me to this eloquent essay by Mark Hendrickson, at Forbes: The Pandora's Box of Progressivism: Positive Law

Items from The Economatrix:

Consumer Sentiment Slips In June

Emergency Manager:  Detroit Will Default on $2.5 Billion it Owes

US Wholesale Prices Rise More Than Forecast On Fuel, Food

By way of Mac Slavo's SHTFPlan blog: September 6, 1984: Ron Paul Warns of Surveillance State

   o o o

A reader e-mailed me: "I have seen it all, now: Storage Food for Your Cat." It is amazing what you can buy at Costco. The practicality of car storage food is debatable, but nonetheless Costco can be great. Stocking up on storage food and other items for your family's survival stockpile at warehouse stores is described in "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course." (Now available inexpensively via digital download.)

   o o o

The aging robot: Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Up for 'Terminator 5'

   o o o

U.S. Attorney's Office says that Kwame Kilpatrick likely to spend 'couple of decades' in prison. Perhaps Mayors Against Illegal Guns should open local chapters in state and federal prisons.

   o o o

Owners of Saiga .308 AKs will be interested in these magazines, made in Utah. I hope that this maker follows up with magazines for other guns. (Thanks to Mr. C. for the link.)

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Please contact your legislators and insist that they vote against the pending Immigration (Amnesty) Bill. For among other reasons, the Campaign For Liberty warns us that : "...buried deep within the bill are plans to develop a National ID Database of every American citizen, linked with birthdates, Social Security numbers, biometric information - like photos and retinal scans - laying the groundwork for full-scale tracking of every aspect of our lives." This legislation clearly fails Joe Huffman's "Jews In The Attic" test, so it must be stopped!


Today is the 60th birthday of Pastor Doug Wilson (born 1953.) He is the pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho and a prolific author on Reformed theology.


The following is a sample chapter from my upcoming novel Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse. Please wait until the release day (October 1st, 2013) to place your order.

Introductory Note: My upcoming novel opens with a prominent disclaimer that includes: "This is a work of fiction.  All of the events described are imaginary, taking place in the future, and do not represent the world as we know it in the present day. It does not reflect the current geopolitical situation, governmental policies, or the strategic posture of any nation. It is not intended to be commentary on the policies, leadership, goals, strategies, or plans of any nation. This novel is not intended to be predictive of the territorial aspirations tactics of any nation or any planned use of terrorist tactics. Again, it takes place in the future, under fictional new leadership. Any resemblance to living people is purely coincidental."

Chapter 11: The Missing Umbrella

“All politicians will allow, and most philosophers, that reasons of state may, in particular emergencies, dispense with the rules of justice, and invalidate any treaty or alliance, where the strict observance of it would be prejudicial, in a considerable degree, to either of the contracting parties. But nothing less than the most extreme necessity, it is confessed, can justify individuals in a breach of promise, or an invasion of the properties of others." - David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, 1777

Surabaya, Indonesia, August, The Second Year

Soekirnan Assegaf was excited to get his first command, even if it was one of the smallest ships in the Indonesian Navy. His most recent assignment had been as a weapons officer aboard the large patrol boat KRI Tenggiri. (The ship had formerly been called the Ardent when it was in service with the Royal Australian Navy.) Much of that time had been spent cruising the Strait of Malacca. It had only been three months since Assegaf had been advanced in rank from Letnan Satu (First Lieutenant) to Kapten (Captain). Unlike most of his contemporaries who were receiving logistics and staff officer assignments, he was getting his own ship.

The bad news for Assegaf was that his new home port would be at Manado on Sulawesi island. This port was considered the gateway to the Celebes Sea. It was 675 miles from Surabaya and more than 1,000 miles from his family’s home in Jakarta. He would only have one or two leaves each year, and undoubtedly his transport to Jakarta would be on slow and noisy C-235 or C-295 combination cargo and passenger logistics flights, with several island-hopping stops along the way.

Assegaf’s new assignment was to command KRI Sadarin. Depending on the perspective of who saw it, Sadarin could either be described as a large boat or a small ship. It was fifty-one feet long and displaced twenty-three tons when fully fueled. It was in the Hawker-De Havilland Carpenteria class, powered by a pair of MTU diesels. These engines produced 1,360 horsepower and gave Sadarin a top speed of twenty-nine knots. The boat had been built in 1977, but since then it had been re-engined twice—most recently in 2010.

With its standard fuel tanks, Sadarin had a range of 950 miles at eighteen knots. A typical patrol was five days, but the frequent picket duty patrols were an agonizing fourteen days. Living for such a long stretch of time in cramped quarters and subsisting on plain, uninteresting rations often led to short tempers. Stowing extra fuel (in 45-liter bladders strapped down in spare berths), extra water (in crates on deck) and extra provisions (in every available space) made the small ship seem even smaller.

The crew of Sadarin was normally ten, but for picket duty the crew had just eight men, and three of them weren’t even sailors. They were otaks (“brains”) that had been detailed from Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara--the Indonesian Air Force. These three men had no other duty than to stare at air-surface radar screens around the clock.

Assegaf loved the power and agility of his boat. He became famous for shouting in English the command, “Ludicrous Speed!”— quoting from one of his favorite American comedy films. Seldom content with cruising Sadarin at the nominal fuel-conserving sixteen knots, he often came back into port dangerously low on fuel. Behind his back, Assegaf’s men called him either Speed Racer or Kapten Ludicrous.
In 2002, Indonesia had been forced to cede the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan (near eastern Borneo) to Malaysia by order of the International Court of Justice. This made the entire Indonesian military machine obsessed with defending their territory and exclusive waters. In particular, the Indonesian Navy had closely watched the oil-producing Ambalat region of the Celebes Sea since 2002. The frequent patrols of Sadarin were just one small part of that increased vigilance.

Even before he was given command of Sadarin, Soekirnan Assegaf had earned a reputation for being impulsive and stern in handing out reprimands to subordinates. But he was also fairly sensitive to the needs of his men while on long patrols. Unlike most other skippers of patrol boats, he encouraged his men to fish once they were well away from the port of Manado. The fresh fish supplemented their usual diet of yams, breadfruit, rice, sago, kangkung (water spinach), dried fish, krupuk crackers, canned chicken, and canned mutton.

Assegaf also allowed movies and music to be played on board, often piping songs from MP3 players directly into the ship’s speakerphone system. Both when he was a naval cadet and later in his career, he spent an inordinate portion of his pay on movies for his collection. Many of these were pirated copies that he bought on the back streets of Surabaya for only 20,000 Rupiah apiece or about two dollars each. Some of the more recently released films were muddy duplicates that had actually been surreptitiously videotaped inside Jakarta movie theaters, so occasionally they’d see the silhouette of a head popping up at the bottom of the screen, or the conversation of obnoxious movie patrons would be mixed in with the movie’s dialogue. On board Sadarin, almost every night at sea was movie night, and there was seldom a repeat. The exception was usually Maria Ozawa movies.

Assegaf’s penchant for American movies did not go unnoticed by his superiors. Without his knowledge, he was placed on a watch list by Indonesian Naval Intelligence. His personnel file was flagged by one of the more devout Muslims on the counterintelligence staff at his base headquarters. Even though Assegaf was loyal to the Jakarta government, some of his personal habits were flagged as “suspicious.” Members of his crew were questioned at intervals about his behavior, his religious practices, his preferences in entertainment, any foreign contacts, and whether or not he had made any comments about the Jakarta government, or about Indonesia’s role in the expansion campaign in the Philippines.

There was an unspoken division and preference within the Indonesian military that viewed “seculars” with suspicion, and gave promotion and assignment preference to devout Muslims. In the last few years before the global Crunch period began, rapid promotion blatantly went to those who were outwardly devout carpet-bowers. Indonesia’s secular constitution was sharply eroded, most noticeably starting in 2003 when Sharia law was recognized in Aceh province. This process started to spread in the early 2010s, and by the time of the Crunch, it went into high gear. The increasingly muzzled Indonesian press at first called this Aechinization, but later more discreetly called it “moderation of morals” or “return to devout values.”

Aechinization flew in the face of the nation’s tradition of Pancasila state ideology, which had asserted that Indonesia would recognize multiple religions but be secularly governed. Most recently, under legislation spearheaded by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Justice Welfare Party (PKS), kissing in public had been banned, as well as "lascivious clothing". To some clerics, the new dress code was interpreted as head-to-toe coverage for women, even in Indonesia’s sweltering climate. All of these steps were heralded as “defense against western decadence.”

The PKS, which was directly patterned after the Muslim Brotherhood, began to assert more and more control over all the branches of the Indonesian military. Non-Muslims were increasingly marginalized and sometimes targeted for malicious rumors, “morals investigations,” and negative efficiency reports.

Indonesia’s population of 225 million included 197 million Muslims. Kapten Assegaf was one of the many that were “Muslim in name only.” In the eyes of the new Aechinated Navy, his stance was not career enhancing. In the new Indonesia, the radical imams had slowly been putting a theocracy in place for more than a decade. Most of Assegaf’s contemporaries saw it as inevitable. Some of the more radicalized ones that were PKS members actually embraced the change. The dissenting “decadent” minority started derisively calling the fundamentalists The Jerks of Java.

In the early 2000s, the Laskar Jihad, led by Ja’far Umar Thalib was in the media spotlight. These jihadis were directly influenced by modern Saudi Wahhabism. After a couple of years, Laskar Jihad appeared to die out. In actuality, it went underground, burrowing into many government ministries in Indonesia and Malaysia. The jihadis eventually gained control of every branch of government, including the armed forces. The culmination came with the seating of the new President, just before the Crunch. His green lapel pin told the world that the radical Islamists controlled every apparatus of the government, from top to bottom.
The Reformasi (Reformation) era had ended and the “Sarip” era—the era of the theocrats--had begun. They had completed their silent coup with little more than whispers of dissent in the heavily state-controlled press.

The Crunch was the final blow for the Indonesian moderates. The radical fundamentalists that dominated under the new President pointed to the economic collapse as an “ah-ha” moment and proof that “western decadence” and non-Islamic banking practices had been what precipitated the collapse. This cemented their power and marked a radical shift in their foreign policy. From then on, open jihad became their byword.
Indonesia and Malaysia had experienced a simmering conflict since the end of hostilities in 1966. But as time went on, the tensions lessened, and they became regular trading partners. As The Crunch set in, this bi-lateral trade grew increasingly more important, as global trade collapsed.

Several things worked synergistically to unite Indonesia and Malaysia: The new presidents of both countries were distant cousins and both were strident Wahhabists. Just before the Crunch, Indonesia had assisted Malaysia in both earthquake relief and in setting up desalinization plants during a drought. Then came the “fairytale romance” between the son of the Indonesian president and the daughter of the Malaysian president which culminated in a marriage that was played up intensely by the mass media in both countries, much like British Royal weddings. Ironically, the conservative clerics, who had ordered the removal of the mushy soap operas from Indonesian television left a vacuum that was partly filled by media coverage of the romance and marriage.

As Caleb Burroughs heard all this on the BBC broadcasts, he thought about how his mates over in Afghanistan would go on high alert when the word “wedding” was listed in the Intel Officer’s portion of the Commander’s brief. “Wedding” was almost always was a code word for a jihadi attack. It seemed a cruel irony to have it actually touted as such in the media. “Life imitates art,” he thought to himself.
Shortly after the much-publicized wedding, a variation on the Austrian anchsluss occurred in Malaysia wherein it quickly became a puppet state of Indonesia. The state-controlled mass media in both countries tried to put a positive spin on the takeover, calling it “the perkawinan” (marriage) of the two countries.

The kingdom of Brunei also made special concessions that effectively put Indonesian theocrats in control of the country. Remarkably, these changes in Malaysia and Brunei all took place without a shot being fired. These anschslusse were the ideal outcome for Indonesia because they needed all of their available military power for their planned invasion of The Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. They could not have spared the manpower that otherwise would have been needed to occupy Malaysia and Brunei.

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) soon transferred most of their large ships to the Indonesian Navy at nominal cost. These included their recently launched guided missile destroyer (KD Sabah), two frigates, two corvettes, three nearly-new landing craft, sixteen Ligan-class new generation fast attack craft, two 37-meter Fast Troop Vessels (FTV), as well as the majority of their replenishment ships and military transport ships.

Meanwhile, the Sultan of Brunei “gifted” Indonesia his navy’s four 41-meter Ijhtihad-class fast patrol boats and all three of his 80-meter Darausalam class multi-purpose patrol vessels, complete with missiles and helicopters. All of these Bruneian ships were only a few years old and had been built to be state of the art. With all this talk of jihad, the Sultan felt obliged to donate the ships. To do anything less might have triggered a fundamentalist uprising in Brunei.

Ironically, the Indonesian government which under previous leadership had spoken out so forcefully against the Jamaal Islamiyah militants and the Bali bombing would less than two decades later be espousing many of the same fundamentalist Islamic goals, and building their own time bombs.

o o o

A few years before the Crunch, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged schoolchildren to prepare for “The Asian Century” by learning Asian languages. Little did she know that Bahasa Indonesia would become the most important language to learn because Indonesian culture would soon be forcefully injected into Australian life.

It was no great surprise when China invaded Taiwan. They’d been itching to do so for decades. But Indonesia’s next moves had not been fully anticipated by Australia’s strategic analysts. What the analysts overlooked was the full significance of the loss of American military power in the Pacific region. Without the American presence, many nations in East Asia felt emboldened.

Australia signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970 and ratified it in 1973. But even before then, they were dependent on America’s military might to assure peace in the Pacific region. Now the Americans were gone. All around the eastern periphery of Asia, alliances were shifting. The posturing and saber-rattling began. Borders were stretched. Old territorial disputes re-emerged. Ethnic minorities were sent packing. Darkness was falling on the Pacific.

The ultimate in politically incorrect ammo: Jihawg. (Made in Idaho, of course.)

   o o o

I recently watched a few episodes of the murder mystery television show Longmire, via Netflix. The show is supposedly set in Wyoming. But the timber just didn't look right to me. So I did some checking and it turns out that they actually film the show in and around Las Vegas, New Mexico. (Coincidentally, the same town where the original Red Dawn movie was filmed.) And I learned that the leading man (Robert Taylor) is actually an Aussie! (His American accent is flawless.)

FWIW, I think that Wyoming was a very unrealistic choice for a murder mystery show locale. In just the first season of Longmire there were something like 14 murders in the fictional "Absaroka County." Talk about a crime spike! If that happened in my county, then I'd be living in undiluted mortal fear. In reality, Wyoming's murder rate bounces around 2 people per 100,000 per year. In 2011, for example, there were only 11 people murdered statewide--and that in a state with only 568,000 residents. (By the way, just a couple of double homicides thoroughly skews the statistics for some years.) Well, do the math! Absaroka County must a have a murder rate more like Chicago than Cheyenne. If they were making realistic television, then Wyoming would be much better suited to a "mailbox vandalism mystery show" or better yet, a "unsolicited zucchini delivery mystery show."

   o o o

WSU starts sperm bank for honeybees. (Thanks to RBS for the link.)

   o o o

Saturday, June 22nd, the Sustainable Business Council is sponsoring their Garden City Localfest at Caras Park in Missoula, Montana from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. 

   o o o

Idahoans file lawsuit against Oregon fruit company

   o o o

If you want to get some serious pepper spray, then consider Counter Assault, which is made in Kalispell, Montana.

I noticed that spot price of silver has gone into its usual summer doldrums. Silver was under $22 per ounce, the last time I checked. Low points like this are an advantageous time to buy. It really doesn't matter whether you buy pre-1965 junk silver, or one ounce American Redoubt silver coins, or some other sort of bullion silver, if you look at this on a macro scale. In the long run there will simply be a few prescient people with real money, and a much larger number of people who will be holding worthless paper. Yes, be a silver stacker but be wise and buy low. (Disclaimer: I don't make my living selling silver. I'm a novelist. I touted silver long before I ever designed the American Redoubt coin. The commissions that I'll earn on silver sales will represent perhaps 2% of my annual income.)

Failed Projections or Just Another Government Lie? You Judge

Tough New Gun Laws Drive Gun Makers To Move

Venezuela considers banning baby bottle feeding

Items from The Economatrix:

US Jobless Claims Fell by 12,000 Last Week to 334,000

Retail Sales Jump on Strong Car Sales

IRS Actually Fears Man Who Doesn't File Taxes

I just learned that RepackBox.com has expanded their line to include pistol ammunition boxes. These are made with the same high quality as their rifle ammo boxes, and are ideal for both handloaders and for folks who buy their ammo in bulk, but who want to store it in standard cardboard boxes. (20 rounds for rifle cartridges, and 50 rounds for pistol cartridges.) And BTW, they will also soon be selling brand new, un-issued .50 caliber full mil-spec steel ammo cans. Be sure to check out their web site. As I've mentioned before, they sell more than boxes. Their other products include: muzzle and suppressor caps, 25 rd. SCAR -17 magazines, waterproof storage boxes for #10 cans (with waterproof bags, to match), and "sure feed" Remington 700 Short Action magazine springs.

   o o o

Law enforcement demands smartphone 'kill switch'. Did anyone stop to think how powerful a weapon that this would be if Stasi-Lite ever wanted to quickly stifle dissent? The next best thing to "rounding up the usual suspects" is the ability to immediately deactivate the cell phones of anyone on "the list", during a crisis. Next thing, is they'll want to have the power to selectively disable car ignition systems, at will. Oh wait, that's already been invented. Oh, and speaking of cell phones: AT&T to Load iPhones With Emergency Alerts From Obama – That You Can’t Switch Off

   o o o

The Real Reason the Illinois Attorney General Asked for 30 More Days on Gun Laws

   o o o

Spotted on Craigslist in Tucson, Arizona: An Affordable Diesel CUCV.

   o o o

Commentary from Claire Wolfe: The worst thing about the NSA revelations… And on a similar note, this surprisingly comes from a New York Times forum: The Real War on Reality. (Thanks to D.W. for the latter link.) And for the official word: Janet Napolitano Denies Existence of ‘Orwellian State’. JWR's Comment: Thanks, Big Sis, we'll take that under advisement. So I must ask: "Quis custodiet ebrius custodes?" ("Who watches the watchers?")

"Goodnight stars. Goodnight moon. Goodnight spooks on iChat, peeking into my room. Goodnight PRISM. Goodnight cell. Goodnight Verizon. Goodnight, Orwell." - Radley Balko

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17th is the 84th birthday of physicist Dr. Hans Mark (born June 17, 1929.) He and my father became friends at LLNL, back when the facility was known as Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (LRL.) Conversationally, it was often known locally as just "The Rad Lab."

This also the birthday of musician Red Foley. (Born, 1910, died September 19, 1968.) His patriotic song Smoke on the Water topped the music charts for 13 weeks in late 1944 and early 1945, and was on the charts for 24 weeks. That song--which describes the doom of fascist tyrants--would be considered quite politically incorrect, these days.

And this is also the birthday of novelist John Ross (born, 1957.) After many years of scarcity, his novel Unintended Consequences just went back into print in soft cover. Note that his otherwise excellent libertarian novel was marred by some vulgarity and gratuitous sex scenes. Beware!)


I just heard that Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy (of Doom & Bloom fame) have released their much-anticipated book, The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way. Given their tremendous expertise, I'm sure that this will become a standard reference for preppers. I didn't see a page count mentioned, but it is notable that the now obsolete First Edition weighed 1.3 pounds, but this new Second Edition weighs 2.1 pounds!

Publisher: Vintage Books, New York. Copyright 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-95047-5
A National Best Seller

Spoilers ahead. If you don't like to know details about a novel before you read, you might want to skip this review.

I picked up The Dog Stars by Peter Heller while waiting in an airport, and frankly I enjoy fiction, but only if its intelligent and well-written, which this one is.

The world has been decimated by a flu pandemic, and it's a few years post-apocalypse. The survivors have arranged themselves into small enclaves of existence. Told in the first person by Hig, two men with little in common coexist around an airport, its hanger, and a former high-end neighborhood full of decaying McMansions. Hig intrigues because we finally have an intelligent main character. He shoots a gun, gardens, flies an airplane, loves his dog, reads and writes poetry, and thinks. He thinks, he reasons, and he's introspective.

Strangers are shot on sight. The flu disease has vicious lingering side effects for some. It's a brutal world. But eventually, all survivors, in all novels, must ask themselves the burning question, "What's the point?" What's the point of trying so hard everyday? What now? Is this all there is? Should I keep on trying? I grind away, but does the future hold any hope?

So, when Hig finally approaches the question, he decides to strike out on his own, with the dog, to figure out the answer to his question. What ensues is the story of Hig.

The author writes in that stream of consciousness style with incomplete sentences, but it's not particularly distracting. There is a love interest and plot twists. I read this book quickly as I wanted to see how it ended. Satisfying is how it ended. Satisfying for me. And Hig finds the answer to his burning question.

When I was younger I didn't give much thought to a sling on a rifle or shotgun. When hunting afield, I simply carried my rifle or shotgun at the "ready" position - ready to shoulder it and fire on game. When I went into the military in 1969, I sure appreciated a sling on my M14 in Basic Training. In Infantry School, we were issued M16s, and while quite a bit lighter than the M14, I still appreciated a sling on the gun for long road marches. Over the years, I've tried all manner of sling on long guns, and to this day, I still can't say there is one particular brand or style of sling I prefer over another. I've tried single-point, two-point and three-point slings and they all have the good and bad points.
To be sure, not all slings are made the same - some are made out of leather, some canvas and some Nylon - again, I'm not sure which I prefer. I know for long-distance high-powered rifle competition, I preferred the leather competition sling, it really locked the rifle into my shoulder and with the arm loop, made it all that much more secure.
I recently received the Echo Sling for testing for SurvivalBlog readers. My first impression, upon opening the package was "gee, nothing special here..." What we have with the Echo Sling is a heavy-duty, 1-inch wide Nylon sling - made in the USA - and that always tends to swing my opinion on many things. I still think we can manufacture better products in this country than most other countries can produce. Sure, we pay a bit more, but we get better products. I don't mind paying more for something better made.
The Echo Sling has durable stitching, and an easy to adjust polymer buckles - no worries about them rusting. The sample I received is the Dark Earth color, but they also have Safety Orange, Neon Pink, Hazmat Green, Autumn Orange, Salmon/Princess Pink and Desert Tan. They also claim that the Echo Sling will fit any rifle - guaranteed. I tried it on a variety of different sling swivels and attachments, and it fit them all. I would like to see Echo Sling offer their products in a 1.25-inch width too, in the future - for slinging heavier rifles - that little bit of extra width really helps out if you're carrying a rifle or shotgun at sling arms for any distance.
Okay, I have a box full of slings, some are leather, some Nylon some canvas, and a few made of other synthetics. I did note that the Echo Sling is much better made than many of the nylon slings in my collection - it is heavier stitched and the Nylon is a bit thicker in my humble opinion - hard to measure, I tried. I do like the simply two-point attachment system - some slings take a PhD in engineering to figure out how to attach them to a rifle or shotgun - you all know what I'm talking about, too. And, to make things easier, the Echo Sling comes with printed instructions and photos to show you the proper way to attach it. And, on the reverse side of the instructions, are photos and an explanation, as to how to use the Echo Sling as a belt - don't laugh, a belt can and does break, when you least expect it - this is an outstanding idea and secondary use for the Echo Sling.
One thing I don't much care for with most Nylon slings is that, they tend to slip and slid on the shoulder. The Echo Sling stayed in place, and I believe this is because if is a heavier grade of Nylon, and the tighter stitching that the material has. Okay, so how does one go about testing a sling, other than to put it on a rifle or shotgun and carry the gun at sling arms? Well, I knew there had to be a better method for testing this sling - other than to just carry a long gun around the house - we're in the rainy season in this part of Oregon - and I didn't feel much like hiking the logging roads in the monsoon rains to test the sling - I know it works, but there had to be a better way to test this sling's durability.
It hit me! Or should I say, one of my German Shepherds, "Sarge" showed me a method for testing the sling. Sarge isn't quite a year and a half old, and he loves to chew-up cardboard boxes that FedEx and UPS bring me almost daily - he honestly believes UPS and FedEx come to bring him new toys to destroy - and destroy them he does. While examining the sling, Sarge decided it looked like a new chew toy and grabbed an end, and the tug-o-war was on - he loves playing this game with "Arro" one of my other German Shepherds. (We have four in our house right now, but we've had more than that in the past.)
Sarge and Arro - and even Fanja, our little female, got into a three-way tug-o-war with the Echo Sling - my older main male doesn't much get into this game - he's Schutzhund 1 trained and certified, and he likes to bite - not play tug-o-war. So, over the course of a month, I let Sarge and Arro play with the Echo Sling - and these boys can really pull - they've destroyed a number of pull tug ropes in the past year. Over the course of this "test" the polymer buckles were chewed on pretty well - but still functioned, though they had teeth marks on them. The Echo Sling was looking worse for wear, but the dogs never did break it - and these boys can really pull and pull hard against each other. There was some fraying, on the ends of the sling, where the boys usually grabbed it in their mouths, but the sling didn't fail. Now, if a high-quality Nylon sling can take this kind of abuse, over a month, and still function - I'm impressed. I never let the boys chew on the sling - I know it wouldn't last but a day if they did - but I let them play tug-o-war several times a day with the Echo Sling.
I have lesser-quality Nylon slings and I know, if I had given them to my German Shepherds, they would have made quick work of them - they'd be destroyed inside of a day or two. So, all Nylon slings aren't the same quality, or made out of the same high-quality and thicker material. What started out as a "ho-hum" product to test for SurvivalBlog readers, turned into a lot of fun testing - and I didn't have to do much of the testing - my dogs helped me out quite a bit. A slightly different way of doing an endurance test, but it was a lot of fun - for the dogs - and for me - watching them. The sling held-up to the testing and a close examination of it, shows it is better made than most other nylon slings. A simple product, that works and stands-up to abuse! I like that! The Echo Sling retails for $18.99 each and as mentioned at the beginning of this article, it comes in a variety of colors, too. I've paid this much for lesser quality Nylon slings, so I think the Echo Sling is a good investment, if you are looking for something simple and durable - something that will stand-up a lot of abuse, and still safely carry your rifle or shotgun. Check it out. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

Dear JWR,
I am an avid motorcyclist. (I've logged more than 300,000 miles, and I'm 40 years old.) I recently noticed a trend on bike blogs regarding ATGATT, spoken as"At-Gat." This acronym stands for All The Gear, All The Time. In other words, if you believe a helmet (or leather jacket or good sturdy boots) to be a good idea at any time, you should wear them all the time.

Personally, I wear a helmet, leather jacket, good boots, gloves, etc. whenever I'm on the bike. I usually wear them when I'm not on the bike as well, out of habit. But I also carry a decent medical kit on the bike or in the truck, whichever I'm using at the time. I'm an EMT and like to be prepared for incidents that occur when I'm not on the clock. Add a bullet/stab-proof vest whenever feasible, a sidearm (when allowed, which in my case means not at work), materials for making fire, a knife and some other goodies, and I think I have ATGATT.

This term has replaced EDC in my vocabulary: Your "every-day carry" should be "all the gear, all the time." It doesn't take much space or weigh much if you go minimalist, and it really could save your life, or someone else's. I also have a G.O.O.D. bag, and one for my wife and daughter, but if necessary I'd be fine with the things I carry/wear every day. I'm not saying I carry an axe, adze and flock of chickens with me. Difficult, that would be. But I could go into the boonies now and stay there for a week or perhaps a month without suffering much, partially due to experience and partially due to equipment.

Thanks again, JWR, for providing SurvivalBlog. I learn something new every time I visit, which means frequently. - J.D.C. in Mississippi

JWR Replies: Your point is well taken. It reminds me of a conversation that I had with my late wife, The Memsahib back around 2006. We had just seen some news footage of a street riot in the Middle East, and I asked rhetorically: "What is the best way to survive that, aside from conveniently not being there? Her response: "Well, I suppose a full set of off-road motorcycling gear would be a good start."

And it bears mentioning that a large portion of life-threatening trauma (both combat and accidents) is head trauma. Kevlar helmets (including the later-generation ACH and MICH) are sold by several mail-order firms like BulletProofME.com. Proper sizing is important for helmets, so don't just buy any Kevlar helmet on eBay. Many of these same companies also sell kevlar body armor vests. There again, sizing is crucial.

Following the theme of your letter, it is important to wear a full set of safety gear whenever you fire up a chainsaw, even if it just to "make a couple of quick cuts." (Kelvlar safety chap, boots, combination helmet with face screen, etc.) Murphy's Law dictates that the one time that you omit the safety gear will be the time that your foot slips.

Is it true, what the rumors have been saying about the [magnetic] north pole shifting 161 miles in just the past six months? can that be true? Is it possible that there will be a pole reversal in the next few years? Should I be worried? - Elaine T.

JWR Replies: This topic has been discussed before in SurvivalBlog, but mostly vis-a-vis the need to keep maps updated with current magnetic declination data. (The difference between magnetic north and true north.)

The geomagnetic north pole moves laterally because of shifts deep in the Earth's core. It is presently in far northern Canada, but it is gradually shifting to the northwest and it is presumed that it will probably be in Siberia in a decade or two. (Although it is notable that the auroral toroid is pushing more toward the southeast.) Many credible sources, like Polar Endeavour, show the "walking" or "wandering" (or more properly "progressing") of the pole position at about 35 miles per year. Wikipedia states: "Over the past 150 years the poles have moved westward at a rate of 0.05° to 0.1° per year, with little net north or south motion." National Geographic confirms that the movement of the pole has accelerated since 1989 to as much as 37 miles per year. (Ditto for progression of the antipodal geomagnetic south pole, though it is not tracked as consistently.) This is confirmed by NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC.) But I can't find any credible source that mentions a figure anywhere near "161 miles in six months"! And the web site you mentioned shows an inverted map of pole progression that might lead a casual observer to believe that the geomagnetic north pole is shifting to the south.

Based on an iterative method that relies on historical ship's logs, it has been determined that the geomagnetic north pole actually shifted southeastward from around 1600 to the 1830s. But since then it has been progressing in a more northwesterly direction. The chances that the geomagnetic pole will shift below 68 degrees of latitude or above 88 degrees of latitude in this millennium are miniscule. Granted, the longitudinal shifts could be quite large (because of Great Circle geometry, the closer that the geomagnetic pole progresses toward 90 degrees), but the substantive issue is the measure of latitude shifts. We need to be content to sticking to observable science. Let's leave emotion and hyperbole out of the conversation.

Full geomagnetic reversal has not occurred in recorded history. But geologists who are believers in Ancient Earth theories assert that several polarity reversals have been recorded geologically in rock formations at the mid-ocean tectonic ridges, and that these reversals happen roughly once every 450,000 years. Citing some geologists who have studied the geologic record, Wikipedia states: "The Earth's field has alternated between periods of normal polarity, in which the direction of the field was the same as the present direction, and reverse polarity, in which the field was the opposite. These periods are called chrons." It has also recently been asserted by some German scientists that a brief reversal--called a "geomagnetic excursion"--lasting only a few hundred years may have taken place 41,000 years ago.

Could there be a magnetic pole reversal in our lifetime? Not likely. Should we be worried? I don't think so. I'm much, much more worried about the statist Democrats shifting out of the White House. (Or worse yet, failing to shift.) I'm also concerned about incipient cataclysmic shifts in the value of paper currencies. Not magnetic pole shifts!

My advice: be very leery about what you hear on late night radio shows or what you see on web pages that don't cite any reliable references. (There are even some idiotic cranks out there who claim that the physical tilt of the Earth has shifted! My GPS receiver tells me otherwise.)

Todd Savage of Survival Retreat Consulting is developing two secure storage projects in the American Redoubt--one in north Idaho and one in Northwestern Montana. The facilities will give private members access to several storage options to store their preparedness gear until they can relocate. The undisclosed locations will feature various sizes of climate controlled vaults and safe rooms, featuring underground bunker construction and redundant security features. These facility can eliminate a prepper's quandary: having all their crucial preps stored in one location with no ability to move it to their safe haven quickly.

A retrofitted facility should be available for occupancy in September of 2013 and a larger newly-constructed facility should be available for storage in August of 2014. These facilities will be bonded. For security reasons, the exact locations of the facilities will only be revealed to clients once they have signed a contract. These high end security and climate-controlled units will cost more monthly than typical commercial storage spaces. (Which are typically not climate controlled and offer only marginal security in locations that are widely known to the public.)

If you have interest in short or long term secure storage options for some of your gear, then please contact Todd Savage through his web site. 

C. in Florence's Hippo Valley Moon-Dae

Here is an old Rhodesian home cooking recipe that some might find enjoyable. I have changed it by removing brand names from Rhodesia. i.e. Daribord Royal and also (other than in the title,) Hippo Valley Citrus. Sadly those companies no longer have meaning that they once did in my life.)
Hippo Valley Moon-Dae

3 large eggs (Separate)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup cream
1 tin of grapefruit segments (or 1 cup grapefruit juice  and one peeled segmented grapefruit chopped up)
Beat together egg yolks and honey until thick and lemon colored. Dissolve gelatine in water. Put 1 cup of grapefruit juice into a double boiler with dissolved gelatine. Add the egg mixture slowly and stir until mixture thickens. Turn off heat. Leave to cool then fold in stiffly beaten egg whites and the cream. Pour Mixture into a white mould and set in the refrigerator. Turn onto a serving platter and surround with the drained grapefruit segments.

Chef's Notes:

For me this serves just one, but you can share to with 4 or 5 people.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Rhodesian Recipes

Canned Fruit Recipes

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Recently posted by the great video blogger Wranglerstar: Home-made Hydraulic Ram Pump

   o o o

There are just two days left in Camping Survival's sale on Wise brand storage foods, with deep discounts. The sale ends on June 18, 2013.

   o o o

Census: Rural US loses population for first time

   o o o

The folks at Directive 21 mentioned that they have received more than 1,000 copies of the book Making the Best of Basics, and they have them sale priced at just $24.95 with free shipping. That is about half of what they cost at Amazon.

   o o o

Yet another ill-advised foreign intervention: US To Arm Syrian Rebels. Has anyone noticed how many radical Muslim groups our government has backed, ever since the Clinton Administration? These forays rarely end well. Just look at the newly-installed governments and their policies, post facto. OBTW, fellow blogger Tamara of the witty View From The Porch had some pointed observations about the United States arming the Al Qaeda proxy jihadists in Syria. My own observations: Here in Oceania it is easy to get confused about who the enemy du jour is. Are we fighting Eastasia or Eurasia this year? Let me try to get this straight: Is Al Qaeda our ally enemy ally? In the 1980s, while Russia was busily carpet bombing Afghanistan, our CIA cowboys were copiously funding and arming Al Qaeda. But then, after 9/11/2001 Bin Laden's buckaroos were declared the absolute persona non grata bad boys of the planet and thence became multiple JDAM award winners. But, wait! Fast forward 12 years... and now we are about to arm Al Qaeda in Syria. (But not invade Syria, because that might be considered undiplomatically rude and might enrage the Muslims.) Pardon me for being confused. I suppose that I need to re-read Eric Blair's textbook again, catch up on the updates to Newspeak and get back in the BHO-approved Ministry of Peace Groupthink. (I'd hate to unwittingly commit a thoughtcrime.)

"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power." - George Orwell, 1984

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today is the birthday of John Enoch Powell (born 1912, died 8 February 1998.) He was one of the very few military men to rise from enlisted Private to Brigadier General. Similarly, in the US military, Nathan Bedford Forrest enlisted as a Private and advanced to the rank of Lieutenant General of the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War. (His postwar career was, ahem, less distinguished.) Chesty Puller did the same in the U.S. Marine Corps. Likewise, U.S. Army General Tommy Franks began his Army career as a Private in 1965 and went on to eventually wear four stars, as did Admiral Jeremy Michael Borda, advancing from USN E-1 to USN O-10. (From Seaman to Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations.) There have been a few such examples, but not very many. (Special thanks to SurvivalBlog reader George S. for mentioning this birth date and the similarity in the service of Forrest, Franks and Borda.)


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I became aware of the need for prepping too late to have the advantages associated with youth.  Seniors are already dealing with issues of declining physical prowess, declining health and a growing sense of mortality.  To add prepping to the list of concerns seemed more than a bit overwhelming but given the realities of our day, prepping slowly became an unavoidable necessity as I began to understand that the economic path on which our nation is traveling is clearly becoming unsustainable and is getting worse, not better.

There was also the additional concern - shared by preppers of any age - of convincing my dear wife that my fears were well-founded and that prepping was seriously necessary if we were to have a chance to survive TEOTWAWKI.  So the first challenge to overcome when contemplating prepping as a senior is the same challenge as for younger preppers:  Becoming convinced that there is serious trouble ahead that will likely destroy the support systems on which we have all become far too dependent. 

For me, that reality began to come home to me as I watched the unfolding of the current administration's agenda to abandon private enterprise as an economic model and move toward a more socialistic, European model.  It still puzzles me that we can easily observe the disintegration of the economic well-being of European nations on our evening new broadcasts, and then decide to emulate them ourselves.  Human nature is a strange thing!  Regardless of the reasons, it became clear to me that there is no will to rectify the situation in Washington and that we are rushing pell-mell toward some sort of inevitable financial Armageddon.  Therefore, the only reasonable path for me was to begin prepping in earnest despite my age of 66 years.

At first my wife was not open to the idea of prepping at all.  Women don't like their "nesting" instincts messed with and to assert that all that we have come to depend on (Social Security, pensions, health care systems, investments, and the like), might well come to an end in the reasonably near future, was and is very difficult for her to deal with.  It was understandable.  So, my initial efforts at raising her awareness consisted of providing a running commentary on the evening news.  As things in Europe began to deteriorate into economic chaos, I would just point out that if we think that we are immune to such things here, we'd better think again!  Then, when President Obama was re-elected for his second term, I turned to my wife and said, "Honey, I'm sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but now we really do need to get serious about our prepping."  The economic mess that has been created was not going to be addressed by the Obama administration.

Reading was essential to my preparation for prepping.  The first book that influenced me was 77 Days in September, by Ray Gorham.  This was a tale of a man on a business trip to Houston whose plane crashed on take off due to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States.  It chronicled his trip walking home to northwest Montana, and was a primer to cultural breakdown.  Additionally, I read James Wesley Rawles, Patriots, which served as a wealth of resources for prepping and was a whopping good story.  I couldn't get my wife to read either one because they were both just too scary, but they helped me get prepping into focus for my family and I.

Another influence in raising my awareness was information from a friend of mine who subscribes to Richard Maybury's Early Warning Report.  Mr. Maybury is a combination historian and economist whose writings are both eloquent and pointed respecting how history intersects with economics and whose writings were often the stuff of Ron Paul campaign speeches on the topics.  The subscription to Maybury's publication is a bit pricey, but worth the investment.

My wife was still not really on board (the contemplation of economic chaos was just too unpleasant to deal with for her), so I determined that I would begin prepping on my own simply because it is my responsibility to provide for my wife, (our daughter is grown and gone), whether or not she approved of my efforts and would willingly suffer whatever consequences may come from that.

As retired senior citizens, there are things to be considered in prepping that younger people don't need to consider to the same degree.  Living in the wilderness at a remote retreat simply isn't as realistic an option for seniors no matter how tempting that choice may be.  Health care needs especially come into play and the effort it takes for relocation to such locales is almost beyond our emotional and physical abilities.  This was particularly complicated for us because after 40 years of married life, we had finally retired and moved to our retirement home in northern Colorado, near Fort Collins.  We had often joked that the next box out of our house had better have one of us in it!  So for us (and I believe for most senior citizens), prepping is a "bug in" proposition. 

We have some things going for us in our location.  We live in a small town of about 3,000 people.  It is mostly a bedroom community for Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley, Colorado.  Additionally, we are not next to I-25 but about several miles east of that major thoroughfare.  We are about an hour north of Denver which is a cause for some concern, but are hopeful that most desperate refugees would turn west from I-25 toward Fort Collins rather than east toward the open prairies.  Our community is likely small enough to get organized, but I don't see that happening until the proverbial stuff hits the fan and they are forced to do so. 

The problem with a bedroom community is that it doesn't really see itself as a community to any great degree so it will be necessary to try to identify some like-minded folks prior to the collapse to form a cadre of leadership with which to offer our community some guidance whenever things "go south".  It will be a difficult place to defend as we sit out on the prairie with the usual mile section grids that come with that.  Additionally, while some natural water sources are present, most are connected to irrigation canals, reservoirs, and the like, while the municipal water supply is connected to a water tower which requires electricity to pump water into it.  Water is always a big issue when you live in the rain shadow of the Rockies.  Therefore, I have begun to store water in larger quantities in house and garage.

With respect to food preparation, I have convinced my wife that having a year's supply of food is just a practical thing to do if there is any chance that things could get rough - the Social Security and pension checks could stop coming, and the panic following an economic collapse might quickly empty the grocery store shelves.  So I opted for a two-pronged approach.  First, there was the purchase of some long-term foods that stored essentially longer than I am likely to stay alive.  Here I examined the "Mormon Four":  wheat, honey/sugar, dry milk, and salt.  These were basic staples that may not be all that tasty, would keep us alive and I wouldn't need to worry about expiration dates except for the dry milk.  There are some local grain elevators near us who sell wheat in bulk, but the grain has not been thoroughly cleaned and my wife wasn't very excited about that.  So the best source I could find for nice, clean wheat for the price was at www.store.lds.org.  I am not a Mormon, but I do recognize that these folks likely know more about food storage than just about anyone out there.  So 600 lbs. of wheat was ordered (hard red, and hard white) and stored away for safekeeping.  Likewise, a hand grain mill was ordered.  It will give you a workout, but it nicely converts wheat to useable flour.  I purchased a Wonder Mill Jr., grain mill from www.onlygrainmills.com, and it works just fine.  Additionally, quantities of salt, sugar/honey, and dry milk were purchased and stored in the usual white buckets, but since my wife can't open the usual plastic lids on the buckets, I opted for splurging on some gamma lids that seal nicely, but unscrew for easy access.  Arthritis takes it toll!

The second prong of my food preps involved the purchasing of food items from Sam's Club, and the local grocery stores with emphasis being given to acquiring a year's supply of such goods and using them on a first purchased, first eaten rotational basis.  We built some storage closets in our basement, installed shelving, and stocked them full of goods paying attention, whenever possible, to finding items with extended expiration dates.  We have also planted three raised gardens in our back yard to produce as much produce on our own as we can and have purchased long-term, heritage seeds to keep for the future.

The next real life senior concern to be addressed was prescription drugs.  Both my wife and I are on cholesterol statin drugs, and blood pressure medication as are nearly every elderly couple I know.  What to do about that?  Here I want to carefully evaluate how seriously we need these medications and seek to acquire a surplus of them.  If possible I hope to convince my doctor to prescribe a years supply of these medications.  If he refuses, then it is my plan to see how much of the medications I can take and still not see a significant jump in either my cholesterol "score" or my blood pressure.  Perhaps I can take the meds every other day or every third day instead of daily and save the rest.  Failing to succeed in those efforts means that when things get serious and no further prescriptions can be obtained, then I will take whatever prescription medications I have and cut them in half.  Then I will take half of those cut in half, and cut them in half again.  The object is to wean myself off of them gradually rather than take them as prescribed and then stop cold turkey.  Blood pressure medications and cholesterol drugs are preventative meds, thus, it simply may become necessary to let things play out as they will if they become unavailable. 

In addition to medications, the elderly need to consider establishing a circle of friends and/or family who live in close proximity.  Eventually, us old folks get so old that we just can't get things done on our own.  I've walked through these things with my own parents so I know what I am speaking about first hand.  Aging is simply one of the most challenging aspects of life and there is no such thing as the "Golden Years".  Death does not scare me nor does it frighten my wife.  We are Christian people (I am a retired Lutheran pastor), and we know exactly where we are headed when we die and frankly can't wait to make the trip!  What doesn't excite us is the process of dying.  If we end up in a situation in which the usual artificial supports (medications, hospitals, doctors, and such) are not available, we know that we will die sooner rather than later.  If that is the case, then so be it!  The cadre of family and/or friends near by is simply what people have always done in the past to care for those who can't care for themselves until they go home to be with the Lord.

Older people are not just a drag on others, however.  We have an array of skills, knowledge, and understanding of an age when electronics didn't even exist, when we burned our own trash in the back yard, and by and large took care of ourselves and others without the government having much to say about it.  Those are precisely the skills that communities that are cooperating in surviving need to know.  Additionally, there is a difference between being older and being decrepit.  I am old, not decrepit.  I can work a full day, shoot straight, and think clearly.  Until the day comes when such things are no longer possible for me, then I can be a productive member of any survival community. 

With preppers of every age, however, I hope and pray daily that all of this preparation isn't needed.  However, I will continue to be ready just in case it is.

I recently ordered and read the book Resistance to Tyranny: A Primer. This book was published in the last few years, and therefore is quite modern and an excellent companion to Total Resistance by Major H. Von Dach. As a primer, it provides a general overview of the topic, with listed resources for further research. It has many lessons that I believe would be applicable to a TEOTWAWAKI situation.

God Bless, - Andrew M.

Spotted on Craigslist in Aurora, Colorado: 1984 Chevy Blazer/CUCV/Military/Diesel/M1009 - $7,500 (Aurora, Colorado)

   o o o

"For the children." SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson sent this: Lawn darts banned -- now not even replacement parts are allowed. Why? because just three children died over the course of several decades in a nation of 300 million people. Statistically, your chances are much higher of dying from being struck by hailstones, or dying in a human stampede, or being crushed by a toppling vending machine. If the ever-watchful Nanny State really wants to keep us really safe, then they should ban bicycles, which kill thousands each year. Oh, and to use the same perverse logic, and all the spare parts for bicycles should be destroyed, in case someone fiendishly decides to build one.

   o o o

Steve C. sent: Hurricane Katrina "Gun Confiscation" - My Experience

   o o o

Wrath of God stuff: Wildfires in Black Forest near Colorado Springs, Royal Gorge Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are all burning as temperatures verging on triple digits and high winds hit Colorado. (At least 379 homes have been destroyed.)

   o o o

Pat Cascio suggested: Is your laser tornado tuff?

   o o o

Army Kills Competition To Replace Service Rifle.

"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." - Luke 21:34-36 (KJV)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15th marks the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, in 1389.


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I will be writing a series of articles for SurvivalBlog that focus on prepping aspects, but with a military mindset. I will say first and foremost that I am not the definitive expert on these subjects, though I do have a wealth of experience that I would like to share. First, I am an Infantryman by trade. I have served in Iraq during the surge and also Afghanistan. I have been a Rifle Team Leader and Squad Leader in combat. . Additionally, I spent 3 years as the opposing force applying guerilla tactics against units who were deploying overseas to combat. I have seen when good doctrine and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) work perfectly and also when they have not. One of the defining characteristics of war is chaos. TTPs are the counterweight to this chaos. From the moment combat begins, plans often become obsolete, communications fail, Soldiers become casualties, and units fragment. The result can be devastating. I have served in Light Infantry and Airborne Infantry Units. So my views and opinions will be with that mentality. There are other types of Infantry Units that choose to skin the cat differently. It doesn’t make them wrong just a different flavor of soda.

The first topic I will write about is some factors to plan for when bugging out. From reading these and other forums a lot of people seem to have the same plan to one degree or another; through on a bug out bag and start walking. Sadly, most of those people will find themselves dead. So I will discuss several military doctrines and TTPs that will aid them in this endeavor. Any bug out must be planned out thoroughly and elaborately, this doesn’t mean that your plan must be elaborate, but that you must cover all the angles. There are six planning or assessment factors that can save your life. In the Infantry world everything we do is based on the acronym METT-TC and without knowing it all of us use this tool hundreds of times a day, just not in this deliberate thought process. METT-TC stands for Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, Time, and Civilians. Some or all of these play key factors in operations and planning. You must begin to think of your bug out as an operation, not just a stroll from one place to another. I will elaborate and explain each factor:

Mission, this is what I am planning or currently doing or my desired end state.  This will dictate a large majority of your initial actions based off of what your mission is. It is critical that all members of your party understand the mission to the lowest level and also what each member’s piece of the mission is. The reason for this is should something happen to a member of your party someone else will have to fill in on that role and they must know what that role is. A term we use in the military is two down, one up. This means I will know the job one echelon above me and two below me. It is also a good idea to know the job to the left and right of you. This mean that when you look to the left and right of you, you should know the job of the person you see and that they should know the same. As stated above, my mission will dictate most of my principle actions if I am bugging out. For instance, if I am bugging out it is implied that I want to try to remain hidden until I can get out of built up or urban areas as much as possible. For example, its hit the fan and I need to get to from point A (an unsafe location) to point (my bug in location or link up point with family or friends). So if I come across a group of people I will shy away from them and try to stay out of eyesight, smell, and hearing distance of them.

Enemy, this should be considered everyone that you come across. In a bug out situation there are the haves and the have not’s. You have and should consider that they do not and want what you have. The general rule of thumb is that for every one enemy I encounter, I want to have three friendly personnel. So if I come across two people I would want to have five other people with me. This will give me the odds that I want so that it will deter them from trying anything and if it should become hostile I can either disarm them or have enough fire power that I can put on them so that they cannot shoot back at me without being killed. This ratio of 3:1 can change based off several factors. Such as: weapon systems, improvements made to their fighting position and finally, the training and expertise of both your group and theirs.

Terrain is one of the most important factors, so much so that it gets it own acronym of factors that you should plan according to. That acronym is OAKOC. This stands for obstacles, avenues of approach, key and decisive terrain, observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment.

  • Obstacles- These will limit your mobility with regards to your mission. These obstacles can be natural or main made.  These may include ravines, gaps, or ditches over 3-meters wide; tree stumps and large rocks over 18-inches high; forests with trees 8 inches or greater in diameter and with less than 4 meters between trees; and manmade obstacles such as towns or cities.
  • Avenues of approach- An avenue of approach is a route leading to an objective or key terrain. Put plainly, it’s a path that might lead people to you or you to people. You should also consider how large of a group can travel on these and also if it is accessible to vehicles. These may also be lines of drift which are paths that are natural or formed by animals. These should be avoided because if you were to come across someone if would most likely be on one of these.
  • Key and decisive terrain- Are terrain that affords a marked advantage to the combatant who seizes, retains, or controls it. Simply put it is terrain that I can use to ones advantage such as a hill top to look at others below them, or it can even be a bridge that I can use to control who gets to cross a river. Or if they should want to use it to attack them as others cross. They will be channelized on the bridge and limited in the space that they can maneuver. The bridge then becomes key terrain because it gives them an advantage over their opposition.
  • Observation and fields of fire- You should analyze areas surrounding key terrain, objectives, avenues of approach, and obstacles to determine if they provide clear observation and fields of fire for both friendly and enemy forces. This means that I should be concerned with being able to see the other people from my key terrain, avenues of approach and more specifically not only that I can see them but can I shoot at them from that location if need be.
  • Cover and Concealment- Cover is protection from being shot at, this can be sand bags or trees over 8” in diameter. Concrete blocks such as ones used in building can be used but only if they are filled with cement. A standard concrete block will do little to nothing to stop a bullet. Concealment is protection from observation but not from bullets.  Such as foliage, camouflage patterns, terrain. Cover can be concealment but concealment cannot be cover.

Troops are the next planning or assessment factor. This is solely concerned with the troops that you have with you and questions like: What kind of training for they have? How physically fit are they? How confident are you in their ability to complete a task? And do you even have enough of them to complete your task? This is all about knowing your men or women in your group and being able to honestly consider their capabilities. Just going to a range and shooting at a target 25 meters away does not mean that they will be able to shoot, move and communicate or that they have the proficiency to defend against hungry and crazed people who want to take what you have.

Time is the amount of time you have to accomplish your task, in bugging out this may be one of the most critical factors. Have you bugged out in time? Also it is used in planning considerations such as how long it will take you to bug out to your location. How much food and water should you bring? What time of the day will you travel? Night time travel will greatly slow down the time it takes for you to negotiate more difficult terrain.

 Civilians will be a harder factor to assess for, this because there will be so many. Especially, in an urban environment. Needless to say since there could possibly be so many of them it would be in your best interest to stay away from them and consider them hostile until you can determine otherwise.

This was just a brief overview of one aspect to military planning. It only brushes the surface but I hope that it will give you a different perspective to your bugging out plans.  You must be methodical and calculated in your plans. Know where to assume some risk and where to control it.

Part 2 of this article will be on principles to use when planning your actual bug out movement. After that I plan to discuss more tactically-based topics that I have learned from combat and training.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I started my weight-loss/lifestyle change journey four months ago.  I found myself unable to sprint a flight of stairs without feeling lightheaded at the top.  My older, but thinner lunchtime walking partners didn’t appear to have this issue.  I have been reading about the need to get into shape should a SHTF scenario happen in the near future.  This convinced me that I need to make a healthy lifestyle change including weight-loss and more physical activity.

As I started this endeavor, I wondered if the food preparations I stored would work with my new eating habits.  You’ve probably heard the motto “store what you eat, eat what you store”.
My prepping began a few years ago.  I learned canning from my mother and I took up dehydrating just recently.  I’ve been to the local LDS cannery twice and have loaded up on pantry items.  We also bought a few MREs for meal variety.  This was all before my decision to change the way I eat.

I joined Weight Watchers (WW) to help guide me on my weight-loss quest.  (I don’t work for WW, nor make any money from writing this article.  There are probably other great weight-loss programs out there.  This happened to be the program I chose.)

I knew that whatever program I followed, it would have to work with my food storage items.  I don’t typically buy the frozen pre-measured meals that WW or other companies sell.  After SHTF, these won’t be available anyway, so I need to learn to eat what I have.  My ultimate goal is to lose weight while rotating our food storage.
Here is what I found so far:

WW recommends eating fruits and vegetables over processed food.  Canning supports this since a wide range of fruits, vegetables, soups and stews can be stored and rotated easily.  You know exactly what goes into these foods.  Perfect are tomatoes, string beans, broth soups, pickles, and salsas for a few.  Canned corn, potatoes and beans add a few “points” (the WW food measurement system), but these foods make you feel fuller and are most times worth the trade-off in points.  Fruits like apples and peaches are another great choice too, but I’m careful to use the lightest syrup when canning.  Jams and jellies are high in sugar so I use these sparingly.
If you’ve ever participated in WW or lived with someone who has, you’ve heard of low-point/zero-point soup.  This soup is a life saver for someone who is running out of the weekly point allowance and wants a filling meal.  I make the soup different each time, but I start out with vegetable broth and then throw in handfuls of different veggies I have dried.  This could include string beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, celery, zucchini, etc.  Add a small amount of basil and oregano.  For protein, add some dehydrated salad shrimp.  I make this about every other week (yes, I frequently am running out of WW points!) and I cook it in my sun oven so I don’t have to heat up the house.  Simmer until the veggies are re-hydrated.   An extremely easy meal to make and it is satisfying. 
Fruits can be a little bit different when dehydrated.  Zero point bananas and grapes suddenly become snacks with points attached to them when turned into dried bananas and raisins.  This is because the sugars in the fruits change when heated.
LDS Cannery Items:
We bought 25 pound bags of wheat, oats, beans and rice.  What am I to do with all of this?  Another of the WW guidelines is to add fiber, whole grains and legumes to your daily intake.  I ground some of the whole wheat and made wonderful wheat bread in the sun oven.  Instant oats are a low-point alternative for a quick breakfast, while the rolled variety is great in recipes such as muffins.  Beans are a protein filled low-point legume that can be used in a wide range of dishes.   White rice, on the other hand, is a bit challenging for me to use and this lags in our rotation.  Rice has a similar amount of WW points as pasta, which for me is pretty high.  You have to decide if the benefit of eating rice outweighs the point value.  There might be some alternate food you might want to eat instead (spaghetti squash, for example is zero points and can be used as a bed for whatever you might top rice.  Spaghetti squash will probably not be available after the SHTF so I'll keep my rice on hand).
I don’t typically eat the MRE meals until near their expiration date.   An average MRE meal contains  1,100 to 1,300 calories.  While I haven’t figured out the WW point values, I’m sure that one MRE meal with all its extras would keep me sated for a full day.  For example a fruit bar I pulled out of an MRE recently measured at 4 WW points (equal to a reasonable breakfast), and a large cracker with jelly equals 6 WW points (equal to a reasonable lunch).  So there would be an easy way to split up the meal need be, although a nutritionist would probably balk at the quality of what is being ingested.  Of course, with the stress of a SHTF situation, I’d probably eat the whole MRE meal and extras in one sitting.  J 
In conclusion, I have discovered that my food preps do support a healthy change in lifestyle.  While I still have a ways to go to make my weight and physical activity goals, I am well on my way.  With portion control, I am able to balance both my weight loss goal and rotation of my food preps. - Wendy Q.

Hi Jim,
To follow up on this discussion, another good publication to study guerilla and counter-guerilla warfare is the book Total Resistance by Major H. Von Dach.

Although the publication was written in the 1960s and concerns Swiss plans for dealing with a Soviet invasion, I believe it has quite a bit of information that is directly useful, or which could be easily updated, for use in today's world. I'm not sure that the English-language version is still in print, but used copies can be found. - J.B. and Co.

Reader J.B.G. sent this for our Theater of The Absurd Department: Cost of shotgun and firearm licenses must rise say police chiefs. Oh, so they tell us that there's a funding gap in their scheme to to keep their citizenry disarmed. Their solution: Charge the few who still have some sporting guns even more to license them. This somehow reminds me of when Germany's Nazi regime had the temerity to sell full fare train tickets to some Jews, to cover the costs of their forced relocation to the designated ghettos before their planned extermination. (This is documented in the book Fathoming the Holocaust by Ronald J. Berger.)

   o o o

Reddit has a link to an extensive Imgur gallery showing homemade guns. (Thanks to H.L. for the link.)

   o o o

Looters take TVs, jewelry from Oklahoma tornado devastation

   o o o

Bill Regulating 3D Printed Guns Announced in New York City

   o o o

Learn A Post-Collapse Trade Before It’s Too Late

"For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors [there is] safety."- Proverbs 24:6 (KJV)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Here are some insights that I gained from a recent week-long medical mission trip to Nicaragua. We treated hundreds of men, women, and children living in remote villages for general medical complaints.  I envision these conditions as being similar to what many of us would see in TEOTWAWKI.

Living conditions:
Mostly, the men in these villages are subsistence farmers, picking coffee beans, or something similar.  The women stay at home and take care of the children, grandparents, and animals – chickens and pigs.  Their average income is very low, in the 10’s of dollars per month.

Their houses are really shacks made with available materials.  They were about as big as a two-car garage, some quite a bit smaller.  Many are composed of corrugated steel sheets, plastic sheeting, and some planks.  Some have adobe walls, but few are all adobe.  With many people in a small space, they are very crowded.  One family I interviewed had 11 people in the home, probably in 3 rooms.
Their cooking is done entirely over a wood stove, many indoors without chimneys.  Smoke inhalation is a constant for everyone in the house. 
Their diet consists mostly of rice and beans to eat with coffee, soda and juice to drink.  There is literally no money left after they buy wood for cooking and their food.  There was even a sad story of how a pot of beans on the stove must be guarded against theft.

Primary medical complaints:
1)       Headaches, Dizziness – from dehydration.  They know the water has parasites, so they mostly drink coffee and sodas or juices which all dehydrate at some level.
2)       Burning eyes, sore throat, coughing – from smoke inhalation all day long
3)       Muscle aches – from lots of hard manual labor, walking everywhere, carrying children all day, plus dehydration
4)       Gastritis, Heartburn, Abdominal Pain – from intestinal parasites gotten from drinking surface water and eating beans daily, and lots of coffee.
5)       Tooth Decay, Abscesses, Rotten Teeth – from not brushing/flossing and drinking mostly sodas and coffee every day.
6)       Infections requiring antibiotics – of almost every conceivable type.

NOTE:  I’m a licensed EMT.  The below lessons are intended as educational material and do not constitute medical advice inasmuch as they may be outside of the scope of my practice or coming from instructors, experience, or reading.  The lessons are, however, within the scope of my many years of life, caring for myself and my family members.  And, in case you’re wondering, I was working under the direction of a Physician's Assistant and an Nurse Practitioner.  I also mention several brand-name OTC products below.  I only use them because most people will recognize them a lot better than the chemical name of the medicine.  Please use your own good judgment on what is best for you and yours.

Lessons taken for TEOTWAWKI scenarios
1)        Have a way to obtain pure water without fire.  Bleach or Pool Shock (calcium hypochlorite)  work well and go a very long way.  At 1 tsp to treat 10 gallons of water, a gallon of bleach can treat up to 7,680 gallons, or enough water for a family of 4 for over 5 years, at a gallon per person per day.  (This is from a government web site.  Please do your own research.) 
If I could have handed out a quart of bleach to each family, it would change their lives.  Unfortunately, they cannot afford it on their low incomes.  And they can’t afford the wood to both cook food and boil water.

2)       Drink lots of clean water.  Most of us aren’t used to heavy physical labor all day, every day.  Drink as much as you want.  While working, you may sweat more, but you’ll stay cooler. 
Most of the folks I saw were dehydrated.  In one case, I had a sickly-looking pregnant woman drink as much clean water as she wanted.  About 20 minutes later, she looked way, way better, and said she felt better too.  Wish I could have given her a 55 gallon drum to take home.

3)       Avoid smoke inhalation.  This is so obvious as to sound stupid, but the Nicaraguans didn’t even think about the problems they cause themselves.  To avoid smoke, cook with fire outside, on a wood or gas stove with chimney inside, or without fire.  Gas, of course, doesn’t create smoke when burned, so has better OPSEC, but residual carbon monoxide is even more dangerous than outright smoke.  Solar ovens and solar-powered electric stoves/ovens are good choices as well.
The only remedy I could give those folks was to recommend they get themselves and their children outside and away from the smoke as much as possible, and to open their windows and doors – if their homes even have them.

4)       Muscle aches are a given when doing the daily activities that will be required in TEOTWAWKI.  Chopping, lifting, carrying, picking, bending over and so on take a toll on muscles.  A couple more pain reducing strategies include taking stretch breaks and learning to use the other side of your body.  Switch the tools to your other, non-dominate hand.  It’s uncomfortable learning a different way to do things, but you’ll be able to work longer and more comfortably.  Start practicing now when you don’t need it to get comfortable with it when you really need it. 
I recommended this to my patients.  I can only hope they will follow through with switching hands/arms/sides every so often.  I also wish I had been able to give out tubes of Ben Gay to everyone I saw.  It’s not a cure, but it sure feels good when you’re sore.  Advil/Ibuprofen will work, but it has some fairly serious intestinal side effects – mostly upset stomach and constipation – not good for those folks.  Aspirin and Tylenol (acetaminophen) will also work, but equally isn’t great for long-term use.

5)       Get a few pairs of really comfortable, sturdy work and walking shoes.  Break them in now so you won’t suffer when you need them. 
The only people I saw with good boots were the men who worked in the fields.  Many of the women wore flipflops – because that’s the only pair of shoes they owned.  And they walked on rocky roads and paths all the time!  Not good for many reasons.

6)       Have a lot of intestinal meds available.  The list of intestinal problems is long:  Diarrhea, constipation, gas, heartburn, vomiting, etc.  The effects are pretty simple:  pain, discomfort, and disability.  And it’s difficult to work when your belly hurts.  Example meds to have on hand:  heartburn – Tums or Rolaids; diarrhea – Imodium; constipation – stool softener and enema bag; vomiting – Pepto-Bismol; gas – BeanO or Tums.  I recommend having a few treatments of each type for each person in your party.

I gave these meds out to dozens of my patients for temporary relief, along with antiparasitics as a long-term solution.  You shouldn’t need antiparasitics if you are careful about purified water.  If not, you’ll need them, plus a bunch of other meds for the diseases that also come with contaminated water:  typhoid and dysentery among others.

7)       Brush and floss your teeth every day.  Brush your tongue.  Use an antiseptic mouthwash (Listerine).  Have a dental hygienist in your group.  Do everything you can to keep your teeth, tongue and mouth clean.  This is such a simple thing, but without dental care easily available, it can get out of hand quickly and the solutions aren’t good.
Many of the people we treated needed more than a few teeth to be pulled.  Some patients as young as 12 years old.  In some cases, our dentist didn’t even pull all of the teeth he could have because of the risks to the patient with no longer-term or follow-up care. 

8)       If you’re going to get antibiotics at the pet store, get a bunch of education too.  Our pharmacy was extremely well-stocked.  We had about every antibiotic you could name:  Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, Erythromycin, Penicillin, and so on.  This was a new area to me, except from personal experience.  It's a very complex topic incorporating microbiology, pharmacology, and lots of other “ologies”.  The big thing I learned is that antibiotics are specialized also.  One antibiotic will work for one thing but not touch another.  Going to the pet store and stocking up on FishMox in the belief that it’s a cure all is false hope and could cause someone to die.

Learn as much as you can about what you’re buying/getting.  If you go down this path, you’re in deep water.  The fancy medical words are indications, contraindications, effects, side effects, route, dosage and so on.  The English words are what you take it for, when you don’t take it, what it does that you want, what it does that you might not want, how you take it, how much and so on. 
My own story is that one stepson had an infection that required three different antibiotics prescriptions before he was cured.  The first antibiotic didn’t do anything.  He got hives from the second one.  The third one finally worked.

One comment:  Antibiotics are only useful for bacterial infections like pneumonia. They do nothing for viral infections like the common cold or flu.  Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between the two, even for doctors.  The only reason a doctor should give out antibiotics for a cold is if there is a real risk of pneumonia.  The current superbug scare we have is due at least in part to overprescription of antibiotics.  The germs that are left are resistant, as well as having mutated, rendering the current antibiotics harmless to them.

9)       Bactine and PhisoHex are a fantastic combination for superficial wounds.  While in country, a couple of teammates came to me for small wound treatment.  I had an AHA moment with Bactine.  It’s terrific in two ways:  topical pain reliever and antiseptic.  Topical (on the skin) pain relief is rare in the OTC med world, but super useful because I wanted to scrub the wounds to get rid of any dirt.  The antiseptic property is also nice to have.  Phisohex is another wonderful thing because it’s an antiseptic soap that doesn’t sting when you wash/scrub with it.  NOTE:  this is not a pain-free solution.  It hurts less.
I simply applied Bactine, waited for a while, then scrubbed with Phisohex and a few sterile gauze pads.  Then I reapplied Bactine for more pain relief.  In two cases (a big toe and forearm) I applied a Band-Aid for protection.  The other, I didn’t (head wound).

10)    Hand Sanitizer is wonderful  in a pinch, but doesn’t replace washing.  Being raised before the current germ phobia developed, I’ve never been big on hand sanitizer.  Of course, I used it in the Ambulance and Emergency department.  But I used it regularly while I was working in Nicaragua, treating dozens of people each day.  I have no idea what they might have been carrying, but I’m sure I’m not immune to it.  It’s a quick and easy dose of insurance when you’re in a hurry.  Washing with soap and water is even better. That said, I want to point out that keeping a house spotlessly sanitized and trying to keep the family in an antiseptic bubble is not good for  long-term health.  Reason being:  Our bodies develop immunity to germs through exposure to those very germs!  If you want to have the most robust immune system, go get dirty with a bunch of people!  Yes, you might get sick, but you’ll be immune when you recover, at least for a time.  This is exactly how vaccines work – exposing you to the specific germs you want immunity to.

Final note for SurvivalBlog readers:  all medical training is valuable, although difficult and time-consuming.  I started down the EMT/Paramedic path when I started seriously prepping last year.  The more I learn the more interesting and useful it is.  As one EMT I talked to said, “You never know when you’ll need it.”

JWR Adds: The SODIS method for water sterilization is ideal for impoverished regions, since the plastic bottles can be obtained free at almost any dump. If you are careful handling them, the bottles can be useful for several years.

Hello JWR,
 I have a possible solution to TornadoDoc's generator noise problem! Go to the auto parts store and buy a generic car muffler. The cheapest one you can find. Then purchase a length of flexible muffler pipe and clamps, as well as two couplers. One is for the muffler to pipe, the other for muffler to generator. Depending on how mechanically adept you are, you may be able to do this yourself. Remove the muffler/spark arrestor from your genset. Weld the coupler over the hole, then put it back on. When you use the auto muffler it will make your genny very quiet! Watch out for heat though, the muffler and flex pipe will get hot! Be sure it’s not touching any combustibles and that everyone knows not to touch it! When not in use you can take the pipe and muffler off to save space. I have done this for a couple of generators and it works well. - Mister Clark from Washington State

Geoff S. sent this article on large-scale greenhouse farming: Farm flourishes on Alaska tundra. (Of course to be able to afford all of those greenhouses, it helps to live where strawberries sell for $6 to $9 per pound.)

   o o o

I noticed that Ready Made Resources has added some very effective smoke grenades to their product line. Don't confuse these with the small, commonly-available pyrotechnic toys. In contrast, these ones really crank out voluminous smoke!

   o o o

This was interesting: Know Where to Run to: The Five Best Countries With No Extradition

   o o o

JRH Enterprises is having a Father's Day Weekend sale on  ITT PVS-14 Third Generation Pinnacle Autogated Night Vision units, new with 5 year warranty.  They are including  all the accessories AND a shuttered eye guard and weapons mount free, all for $2.695.  (99% of PVS-14 orders from JRH ship within one business day.) JRH also has a very few of the DBAL-I2 infrared lasers available right now also with no lead time.

   o o o

Liberal Talk Show Host Freaks Out On Air Screaming 'Barack Obama is a Liar'

   o o o

A bomb up his bum? This doesn't bode well for future TSA security screening policies at airports...

"You either get out of the system or you make a major contribution of your wealth to the d*mn OTC derivative manufacturers and distributors. This broken banking system is still hiding their huge losses thanks to the political sell out by the gatekeepers of international accounting, the FASB. They have lost their souls to evil." - Jim Sinclair

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Greetings, my fellow SurvivalBlog readers! My name is Michael, and I am seventeen years old. I live somewhere on the East Coast of the United States of America with my mother and father. To the rest of the world, I appear a normal teenage boy: Glued to my iPad, where I read SurvivalBlog each night before bed, obsessed with both new and old music, and always quoting music lyrics, movies and television shows with my friends. Yet what both the majority my friends and society do not know is for the last year I have been preparing for The End of the World as We Know It. Yes, dear reader, it affects even the youngest in our society: this fear of a “world gone mad.” Generally, optimism is my life philosophy, but I see society on a dangerous trend towards self-ruination. Realism has taken deep root in the way that I handle the world around me. My goal for this essay is to be the example to those who say that they cannot prepare because of financial, familial, social, political, or other factors. I also want to give those holed away in the mountains or in “The Unnamed Western State” a sense of peace, knowing that regular, everyday citizens of our society understand that preparing for a future that might not come to fruition is better than partying on and having to learn the hard way.

My prepping story began when I was eight years old. My parents bought me a copy of the book The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. I fell in love with the book, as it revealed how to land a plane, jump off a building (and there is a safe way!), and escape from killer bees. The book made me think of the classic cheesy Hollywood inspired “doomsday” films that seem to open each summer blockbuster season. I thought, “How would I take care of myself if something terrible happened?” Thankfully, those thoughts faded just as quickly as they came. I still have the book a full eight years after my days dreaming of the end of the world. However, prepping fell out of my thoughts for many years, as I entered an academically challenging school where my time to consider such things was severely diminished under the weight of 12 page research papers, math homework and more. Prepping, like an urge to contact a long-forgotten friend, though, did come back. One of my father’s friends is a gunsmith and a prepper who gave me a paperback of one of James Wesley Rawles’ novel Patriots. I was in tenth grade at the time. The book did not stand a chance against my voracious appetite to keep turning the pages: I finished it within a day. Going back and reviewing the elaborate ways that the Gray’s prepared The Group" for TEOTWAWKI-style living was quite a shock, and made me consider The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook a trifling attempt to capture some of what the fictional Grays did at their wilderness fortress.

As I thought about Patriots, I considered where I was located in the country and the world. Being on the East Coast, many nuclear power plants exist and are an open target for some form of terrorist takeover or attack. Nuclear threats from a “rogue state” like Iran or North Korea could be a threat, but many years further on. By the time that North Korea has a missile that can reach where I am and stay in one piece, I will be dead and gone, and thus I considered myself safe. Yet such events as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), Flu pandemic, economic collapse and innumerable more catastrophes made me reconsider my “high on the horse” mentality quickly. As I did then, I continue to want to leave the East Coast for good, as I see it leading to the destruction of the American way of life and a haven for looters and other miscreants after a TEOTWAWKI event. As it turns out my father has a job opportunity that will take him west after I graduate high school. Naturally, my mother and I will follow him out there. As Robinson Jeffers said in his poem Shine, Perishing Republic, which includes this stanza:

“But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center;
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.”

I believe that prepping is a task best undertaken by the community that surrounds oneself. My parents, for example, are my strongest and most dedicated supporters on this long and arduous process of collecting and storing the things necessary to continue life as we know it. My mother has kidney, sinus, back, and other health concerns that force me to stock up on such products such as antibiotics, namely Levofloxin and Avalox. As a family, we also contract many other infections, and to combat this I attempt to keep a full prescription of Amoxicillin inside of my bug-out-bag, just in case. Advil, Tylenol, Mucinex, sleeping medications, cough drops and more play as crucial a role in my bug-out-bag as a room full of ammunition or a new AR-15 would be to an otherwise “healthy” prepper, given our medical histories and other complications. Procuring these medications, especially the antibiotics, requires nothing short of an act of Congress to get, as doctors are more reticent now than ever to forking over such prescriptions for infections that do not exist. Nevertheless, my mother and father allow me to store these medications when obtainable in an effort to protect us from what may lie around the corner.

In addition, as a family, we also work as a team on buying such things as ammunition. Our gun battery is not what I would consider sufficient, yet we are making strides forward. We have a 9mm Glock Model 17 and a .22 Long Rifle Beretta handgun. Because the nature of ammo is transient on the shelves in Wal-Mart or any other dealer, just finding ammo in either of these calibers is an act of Providence! My father enlists the help of my mother to purchase ammo in the “bulk packs”, as an individual can only purchase one per day. I am the one who stores and checks all of the ammo for defects once purchased, keeping it separate from our firearms, which are in my parent’s room, locked up. Nothing like a little bit of physical distance to keep “the lock from the key”. In addition, my mother is supportive of my father and I going to a local gun range every so often and honing our skills, of which I am grateful for her trust in my fathers and my abilities.

Because I have supportive parents, they fostered my desire to form my very own bug-out-bag. My first bag was a disaster. I constructed it last year, and at the time, it was the best thing since sliced bread to me. It was a L.L. Bean backpack that I had formerly used for school, but now insisted that it needed repurposing into a “survival kit.” My father was none too pleased because I had just gotten this backpack, but my mother was yielding, buying me a new backpack to replace the one that would soon become my “survival kit.” I woefully overfilled this poor backpack, whose purpose was to carry about 15 to 20 pounds for only a brief time. I weighed it at one point and was horrified to find that it weighed 45 pounds! I could barely carry it 15 steps when relaxed and not stressed, let alone under duress. My mother had forbid me to carry it outside the house, fearing for my physical safety! Yet, as I got older and wiser, I realized that a frame bag would take a majority of the weight from the supplies and distribute it, making carrying 45 pounds similar to carrying 20 in my current bag. After finally having this stroke of genius, I went out and purchased a Kelty Redstone 60 frame backpack. I spent the big money, and it was absolutely worth every penny. Now I can pack so much more than I could have in my old bag, and not even feel a difference! I ascertained a moral out of this: Always buy the best gear that you can afford, and make sure that it is applicable to the job you want it to do.

Now that I have made my decision and have a better bug-out-bag than I did before, I can now pack my bag with more than I ever imagined I could. Now, I have 5 days worth of clothes and food in my bag at all times, ready to go. In addition, I have a Kaito Voyager radio for staying in touch with the outside world, a 3 D-cell MagLite flashlight, a small quantity of ammunition, all of my medical supplies, toiletries and more. In addition to the bag itself, however, my room can be converted into survivalist headquarters in the event of a catastrophe. A set of clothes that include a L.L. Bean rain coat, blue jeans, sweat pants, long johns, and boot socks stay perched atop my Sturm T0 sleeping bag, which I recently purchased. The bag is amazing: it can keep me warm on even cold concrete, and while I may wake up stiff, I can sleep easy knowing that I will not become ill from being chilled. I also love the Sturm because it connects perfectly to the bottom of my Kelty bug-out-bag, where I would connect it for easy carrying if an event forced an evacuation of my home. In addition, my steel-toe boots sit beside my bed at night, along with a pair of Teva sandals and flip flops, just in case. This setup is just the “Warm weather” or “hurricane season” wear; I make the change from my “Winter weather” to “Warm weather” whenever the temperature remains above 60 degrees F at night, as only then could I survive in my summer clothes outdoors. Yet when the temperature dives below 60 degrees F at night, I make a swift change to my survival supplies, bringing out the “Winter Weather” supplies. These changes include bringing out ski pants that I have in my closet to an accessible place for quick access, bringing out my LL Bean heavy winter coat, filling it with a lighter, hand and boot warmers, Clif Bars and a small flashlight. This jacket stays next to the ski pants, where they sit in preparation for whatever life may throw at them. I also replace the sandals and flip flops with a pair of Bass winter boots that sit next to my steel toe boots, ever ready to tackle the next problem.

While my parents and I think that these plans are fantastic and prudent, there are many detractors. Some questions that I seem to get a lot from both friends my age and adults: How do you plan to implement these plans? Where would you go if you could no longer stay at your home? Why are you a “prepper” anyway? I will answer these questions respectively, starting with how my family and I would implement these plans. If there was ever a catastrophe great enough to displace thousands from their homes, and this happened at least 60 miles from my house, we would make the getaway plans effective. I would grab my bug-out-bag, put on my spare clothes I keep by my bed, put on shoes or boots, grab additional clothes that are stored in my closet, grab the family ammo tin, my watches and any other sentimental items that can be transported without additional weight. My mom and dad would grab their kits and any small items they would need and we would move to either my mother or my father’s car. The decision on which car to take would be on the amount of gas in each. As for where we would end up, we have a family friend that lives “somewhere out West” that has agreed to take us in if any catastrophe ever happened, and this is where we would formulate our plans to either return home, stay put, or move further out west, depending on the situation. As for why I personally am a “prepper”. I believe in a Supreme Being that has endowed me with enough intellect to understand when times are getting rough. With many potential threats to society now becoming apparent (CME, Yellowstone Eruption, Power grid failure, economic collapse, etc), now is the hour to hear the “little voice” within us all and begin making preparations not only for ourselves, but for the next generation of Americans as well. These preparations do not have to be on a massive scale to be a benefit; rather it is the small steps that move us forward with more wisdom and guidance than those who will attempt too great a stride too late, succumbing to a TEOTWAWKI style event rather than being a survivor.

I sincerely hope that this article has inspired you all to either begin preparing for events outside our “Circles of Influence”, or to continue on a path that protects you from those events. My family and I pray daily for the SurvivalBlog readership and the aversion of devastating events. I wish you all the best. Never Surrender. Stay Strong.

Good Morning Captain Rawles,
How would you like your potatoes this morning? We have finished digging our potatoes and stored them. We usually plant a Lasota Red type of potato. We purchase them in 50 pound sacks at the local feed store. "Planting potatoes" are different from the potatoes you buy in the store to eat. Potatoes from the store are treated with some kind of food grade additive to prevent them from sprouting for a while. If you plant these, there will usually be very few that come up. However, if you have had them for a while and the "eyes" have sprouted, they will do well. In our area some grocery stores sell planting potatoes to eat at times.

Planting time depends on the soil temperature. Without a soil thermometer, we usually plant ours when the first Redbud trees (Cercis canadensis L.) bloom in the south which is usually at the end of February. The red bud tree bloom is determined by the soil temp and amount of sunlight.

To prepare a potato for planting, you slice or cut the potato in such a way that each piece will have an eye on it. Once they are cut, the pieces need to sit a few days for the starch in the potato to form a "seal". The cut will turn darker and shrink a little. That's when they are ready to plant. They should be planted roughly 12 inches apart, 1/2" deep with the eyes up. The eye is where the potato shoot will come out and up through the soil. If they sit too long, little hair like roots will appear on the cut side. Then they need to be planted quickly.

Potatoes require a lot of fertilizer to make a crop. My father would use cow manure in the bottom of his row that he opened with a middle buster about 8 inches deep. He would shovel the cow manure into the row, then use a small sweep type plow mounted on his tractor to mix  the soil and manure so that the potato "seed" would not be in pure manure which would burn the "seed". The cow manure he used was aged and dried. He also used bagged sheep manure from big box stores if it was at a reasonable price. I use commercial 13-13-13 now with good results. This type fertilizer must be mixed with the soil also. One 50 pound bag will do about 6 rows 150 foot long. Once the potato plants get about 12 inches tall, I place a light band of fertilizer close beside the plants and then cover with dirt with a small sweep type plow. The potatoes will be blooming about this time. When store bought fertilizer is no longer available, I will go back to manure myself.

The potatoes must be checked regularly after they bloom. Potato bugs can reduce your yield and if bad enough, even kill the plants. You should see cracks in the ground between the hills of potatoes as the potatoes under the soil start reaching a size of two inches. They can continue to grow until the vines start to turn light green or yellow. You should scratch around a plant or two occasionally to check the condition of the potatoes. The potatoes you uncover will provide an early taste of things to come. You need to be looking for white spots or bumps on the potatoes. Once you find these, the potatoes must be dug because they will start rotting in the ground. The best way to do this is with a tractor and a middle buster with the tip set below the potatoes. A shovel or a potato fork can also be used if you are without a tractor. Once potatoes are dug, they should be spread out flat on a dry surface (no piles). This can be on a sheet of plywood or another surface other than concrete. There is danger of the concrete sweating which will cause the potatoes to rot or sprout. They must also be protected from freezing, blowing rain and direct sunlight. You are looking for a cool dry place. In the south, there is not a cool place outside during the summer. I have mine stored on some slotted metal racks (1/8" round wire). I have some on a layer of used paper feed sacks on a platform about three feet above a dirt floor. This lets the breezes blow across them. The metal roof of this building is about 10 feet above the racks, so they are not affected by the radiant heat from the sun. Check the potatoes regularly to remove any rotted potatoes. If they touch a good potato, it will rot also.

When I stored my potatoes, I separated the ones smaller than 1 inch diameter. I will use them to plant a fall crop in September or next spring. I planted extra to have seed for next year, if there are none to be had in the stores for whatever reason. The 50 pounds I planted yielded about 9 each 5 gallon buckets. This would be roughly a 6 month supply for four people. The yield was reduced because we had a severe attack of potato bugs. I treated the plants twice with a mild insect dust. If I had no bugs, I should have made 20 of the 5 gallon buckets. This is another problem to plan for in the future. I suppose I could make some chicken tractors and let our chickens work on the bugs. When our retreat is fully manned, I will need to plant at least 150 pounds of potatoes.

Now back to the breakfast question. I like what I call country fried potatoes for breakfast. You take some new potatoes, slice them about 1/16" to 1/8" thick. Apply salt and black pepper, then roll in flour or shake in a bag of flour. Then you fry them in oil until golden brown. Once they are done, I like to eat them with a couple of home raised yard eggs fried sunny side up on top of the potatoes.
If you have left over mashed potatoes from the night before, I like to make potato pancakes. You mix your mashed potatoes with a little chopped onion, a spoon or two of flour, and a yard egg. Fry in oil until golden brown. My kids liked them with ketchup. - M.E.R.

Dear Sir,
I work as an firefighter/EMT and Hazardous Materials Tech in the Greater Louisville, Kentucky region. I would like to provide your readership with two examples of 'stabilized' emergencies going wrong in the last year in the Louisville area alone. Both could have been catastrophic had it not been for quick thinking and pure dumb luck.

The first incident began in late October of last year when 11 cars of a 57-car Paducah and Louisville line (a CSX owned company) derailed in the southwest corner of Jefferson County, very near Fort Knox. The cars that derailed were carrying Butadiene and Hydrogen Fluoride. Understand that Hydrogen Fluoride is a very powerful asphyxiant and as an added bonus is heavier than air so it doesn't easily disperse into the atmosphere. The incident was stabilized and just about to leave the front of the news when three days later, workers ignited fumes from the Butadiene car and caused an explosion. Three severely burned forms walked themselves up to the street and and were transported to hospital. Intense flames were feet from the Hydrogen Fluoride car although not quite impinging. Just as the city was getting used to the main highway in the area being shut down and ready to concentrate on other news an entire small city had to be evacuated!

The next incident was less severe, but also nerve racking for the surrounding population. A hydrochloric acid leak at a Dow Chemical plant in 'Rubbertown,' a part of Louisville, caused a one mile shelter in place order to be called for. The leak was contained to a 'drainage pool' (a purpose built concrete lined pool designed to catch chemical leaks. Just as this was winding down, the pool was found to have a crack in it and Haz Mat teams needed to be called out again.

The take-a-way is like this: Know what is going on in your area. What is commonly transported down the railway that runs a mile from your property and be ready to take action even if the situation seems to be mitigated. Even when the authority involved says 'all clear' remain cautious. I encourage all concerned to map the railways, chemical plants, and pipelines in your area. Also be aware of light industrial parks where highly dangerous activities occur on a regular basis. Just because they say light industry doesn't mean they're making teddy bears in there. - Sam H.

Just a note on the penetrating power of the 5.56 NATO M855 ball round on various materials.  Much ink has been wasted noting the presence of a steel or tungsten “penetrator” being manufactured inside the M855 round. It weighs about 3 grains.  It is insignificant so far as getting the bullet inside a car unless you open the door first.  True, any load in the 5.56 will make impressive wounds or even penetrate 1/4” or even 3/8” mild steel plate...as long as there absolutely nothing in the way before it arrives on target.  Put a 1/8th inch tick sheet of aluminum a foot in front of it, and witness a stunning reduction in it’s effect on the steel behind.  Two sheets of 1/8” steel plate, with a foot of air between them will stop the 5.56 cold.  Any load.

In my experience on several junked cars, an ordinary car door will, more often than not, stop the 5.56 before it can enter the passenger compartment and cause anything like a serious wound. Inserting a piece of 3/4” plywood inside the door of a 1988 Buick Station Wagon, I was unable to get any penetrations in the 5.56 caliber, regardless of the weight of the bullet.  But note that I did not try the newer bonded LE loads, nor the ammunition using the Barnes solid copper bullets. These show better performance on auto bodies.  The largest shred of bullet that even stuck to the outer veneer layer looked like a piece of glitter.  Contrast this to routine through and through holes in the plywood made by garden variety 9mm, .40, and .45 pistol ammunition.  

Occasionally, a bullet would hit window control hardware, or lock work, and fail to make it through, the most did. The 5.56 launches a very tiny, low mass bullet at high velocity.  When it encounters any sort of layered barrier, it self destructs, yielding all of it’s energy upon whatever that material is. Heavier, sturdier .30 caliber rifle bullets represent a very serious threat to occupants of a motor vehicle, and require expensive countermeasures.  But don’t be fooled by the impressive holes in homogenous steel plate, thinking the 5.56 will replicate this performance on a steel auto body or door.  If you must use an AR system on a vehicle, then consider the far superior .300 AAC Blackout cartridge, launching serious high-mass .30 caliber bullets. Avoid the light weight varmint-type bullets...the 147s and 125 Sierra’s shine in this arena. - Paul S.

JWR Replies: For far more reliable penetration of car doors, .308, .30-06, and 7.62x54r will rule the day. Black tip armor piercing (AP) bullets are best, but plain old FMJ ("ball") penetrates admirably. Yes, a .50 BMG rifle would be better, but a .308 is far more portable and versatile.

Why Supply and Demand Doesn’t Matter for U.S. Oil

Greg Hunter: We’re a Long Way from the 1970’s. (Thanks to Jim W. for the link.)

The Crunch In Emerging Markets May Cause The Fed To Delay Tightening. JWR's Comment: Yes, and your local crack head will give you lots of excuses why he has delayed "tapering" his habit, too. It is obvious that our government is now absolutely addicted to creating free money. And the fact that they are foolishly creating Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) derivatives in this process is reinflating the bi-coastal housing bubble. This will all end quite badly.

Items from The Economatrix:

US Suffers Biggest Pay Drop On Record, As Workers Are Squeezed Tighter

May Jobs Report: Cautious Hiring Continues

Economy:  Government Dependence In The US Reaches Absurd Levels

Silver Investment Demand: The Ticking Time Bomb

"Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end." - Lord Acton

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Camping Survival is running a sale on Wise brand storage foods, with deep discounts from June 12 to June 18, 2013.


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Let me first say thank you to all who have contributed to this blog for your columns and all your wisdom.  Without this site, my experience during the recent tornado would have been much different!

For some background info, I have only been prepping for about a year. I have been an Emergency Medicine physician for over 10 years.  I treated patients of the May 3, 1999 Moore, Oklahoma tornado during my training years and I was involved in door to door search and rescue for the recent May 20, 2013 tornado. While my house was not hit, it did strike about half a mile from us and we did lose power for about 20 hours. 

My goal for this article is to inspire those who have not prepared, to begin to do so.  To help take what we learn on this site and apply it to tornado disasters.  Lastly, to recognize the problems or holes this disaster caused in my plan and how to correct them thereby help others avoid the same pitfalls. 

Many previous articles have talked about reluctant spouses or family members who do not think preparation is important.  While we can debate the likelihood of certain disasters and calamities ahead, having a disaster plan for your family is the first step.  Part of the plan should be getting the family involved. This is where leadership comes in. It might be hard to convince my wife an EMP attack is eminent and we need a large Faraday cage, but it is not hard to convince her a tornado in Oklahoma will happen.  Basic prepping is a good idea regardless of the situation it will be used in.  

If you are new to this site, water, food, shelter, and protection are the basics. Almost immediately after the tornado went through, there was some concern about the local water supply. One issue was contamination, and the other was pump failure at the treatment plant. Having several cases on hand was such a comfort.  Same goes with food.  I was ready. Shelter may be destroyed, have alternate plans.  Maybe having a stash at another location would be wise with friends, family or a storage locker.  A lot has been said on protection.  We will not directly address that.  

During tornado season, we determined primary and secondary meeting points should our house be hit.  The first one was about a mile away and the second was about two.  This was to insure that if the house was hit and cars were damaged, walking would be a very easy option.  I would also recommend to consider problems with the rally point.  For a flood  it is obvious to choose higher ground, but what about a tornado?  One consideration for me was to choose a point north and west of my house.  Tornados in this part of the country tend to come west to east or SW to NE. This is to avoid both your house and rally point both being taken out.  RP #1 is northwest, and RP #2 is almost directly north.  Learn your region and apply it to your situation. 

My wife and I also carry walkie-talkies and cell phones during storms when we are apart.  As expected, cell phone use was not available for many hours after the disaster.  Text messaging seemed to works some, but it did not at ground zero.  Our wifi worked at the house so out of town family and friends could still text/email/social network us. The secondary plan was not carried out due to us all being ok, however it would have been nice to have while away. 

Because we had days notice that storms would pop up, I went and took the kids out of school early as soon as the radar began to light up.  Not as early as my wife wanted me to, but I will listen to her next time!  This delay meant I was away from the storm shelter when the storm hit.  Trying to avoid a tornado in a car is extremely dangerous!!  Trying to figure out exactly where the tornado will go is impossible.  Many in Oklahoma do this now, and I do not blame them one bit when the television tells us to get underground for this storm.  If you do not have a shelter, what other options do you have? This can and has worked for many, but being in a car when the tornado hits is almost certain death.  The cars we saw had every window broken, and one car had a 2x4 impaled directly into the passenger seat.  If you do decide to leave, do it early!

What worked for me was the kids monitored the texts from mother while I drove.  We also listened to local radio stations broadcast the wall to wall television feed to help pinpoint the danger areas.  The fact that I had a full tank of gas, and on an interstate, I just drove east.  If I had to go all the way to Arkansas, I could have done so to avoid the storm.  This worked well until the traffic stopped (This was a major problem in the May 31st storms!).  Bumper to bumper.  I was not going to be a sheep and just sit in line and risk injury to myself and kids.  I remembered a previous SurvivalBlog post about how to escape a mall shooting by looking official and going through the back hallways.  I pulled off on the shoulder and took the next exit heading more north and west.  Having a 4x4 truck, I considered going off road, but with several days of recent heavy rains, I did not want risk it if I did not have too.  I finally headed more west and found out the storm was past our house.  Now the challenge was getting home.  In a large long track tornado like this one, crossing the path is impossible even on interstates.  This was true for both north south highways in the Oklahoma City area.  Because I was familiar with many back roads, I was able to get home very easy and avoided all the sheep on the main highways.   

In the hours/days after, the interstates were reopened, but sometimes backed up 6 miles or more.  

After a few hours of door to door searches, I was back home and glad to have the generator going,  but now my house was a beacon of light among the dark houses.  I was able to turn off most of the lights, draw the blinds, and try to be just a regular house.  The one thing I could not cover was the noise of the generator. I was fortunate to have about three or four other neighbors close with the same hum or growl, and I hoped since my lights were off, I would blend in.  Be sure to check other things outside to turn off that are not needed.  I did walk around the house and remembered the fountain was running and shut that off.  

I could go on and on about the heroic efforts of Fire, EMS, Police, and medical responders.  They all did an excellent job!  Command posts were set up, ambulances were abundant, destroyed hospitals still set up triage areas, heavy equipment brought in, crowd control, all functioned well.  

Also excellent response was also done by churches, and even local retail stores.  One local big store even opened its doors and gave away whatever people needed that night! By the next AM, supplies were brought in by numerous individuals.  Some brought cash, some drove from other states just to donate a case or two of water! Others brought commercial grills and provided hamburgers free to anyone at a  local church!  Another local community brought two school buses packed full of supplies from water, to diapers, to work gloves to canned foods.  I was also impressed that local grocery stores had palate after palate of water, batteries and food moved up to the front of the store ready to go.  Did you notice all the references to God and prayer in the television interviews?  Not just words, but faith with action!

We did have a few looters in the days after, but I was glad to see a large police presence.  I did see one military person during my door to door searches who was openly carrying on his property.  I was also glad to see the police not even question him about it.  I asked one cop if he would have said anything if he had an AR slung over his back.  He said, "No.  His property, he can do whatever he wants."  When rumors swirled about forcing people out of slightly damaged portions of the neighborhoods, the police were knowledgeable and said they could not force people out unless martial law was enforced.  Most police said they would not force them out.  Many tornado survivors decided to put up tents and stay the night on their property to protect it.  Not sure what I would have done, but the smell of natural gas was significant and I am not sure how safe it was.  


As Rahm Emanuel once said, "Never let a crisis go to waste. " I know Mr. Emanuel meant this to push for more government, but I see this as a chance to learn and fine tune my plans. I was very thankful for the supplies I had, but discovered some problems.  

My water was adequate, but my backup plan of using the pool water was somewhat viable if I had to boil the water, but due to the large amount of debris thrown by the tornado into the pool, this would require a large scale filter of the water before even boiling.  Next step for me is going to be a water filter.  Grade of B- for water.  Food was not an issue. Grade A

Travel was A-.  I did well with getting the kids out early, not coming home, adjusting the plan on the fly, and having secondary routes planned out by local knowledge but this could have easily become a C or worse if I had waited longer, or been stuck in traffic.  I can not emphasize enough how travel is disrupted during these long track tornados. As stated in the previous article, both north/south interstates were blocked for hours.  Consider driving 10-20 miles parallel to the track and than consider crossing.  The length of this tornado caused 12 miles of blocked N/S roads!

Communication is a C.  Primary route of cell phone/text failed (somewhat expected) and the backup plan was not initiated.  My wife knew where I was, but wondered when I would be back.  CB radios may be added and carried.

House is a B+.  Generator worked flawlessly, but hiding the noise is a problem I do not know how to solve.

Community response. A+. This plan worked well for this disaster, but not sure how generous everyone will be when no one has water or food.  I do see the church as a great asset should Schumer happen, but I realize this is not likely to last long term either. 

Just a few other points.  I do know FEMA was there the next day, but they were already dwarfed by the community and other volunteers who can immediately step up and help.  The last thing is related to storm shelters.  If you live in tornado alley, you should have one or know someone who will let you in theirs.  Also each town has shelter registries, but I never saw one and it was not utilized.  When going door to door, we relied on neighbors knowing about shelters, where they were and if the homeowners were home or had fled.  I will add a hammer to my shelter so I can make some noise for the boots on the ground folks to hear me.  One of my LEO friends had a good idea to paint a tornado symbol or write "storm shelter" on the curb by the house number to help us look for folks. 

Lessons learned, don't rely on the government (obviously), talk to your neighbors so the know where shelters are, and begin with basic prepping NOW!

I welcome your comments! Thank you and God Bless! - TornadoDoc

P.S.  After the May 31st storms, many Okies did try to flee and this created massive traffic congestion.  This makes the recommendation to leave early all the more important.  I was on the road during this storm also (on the way to work).  Family wanted me to stay at home, but I left as the El Reno storm was touching down.  I choose the most eastern route north, and avoided the sheep. Had I waited later, I may have never made it to work.  This storm produced lots of flooding. Six inches at my house! Park in a safe place and wait a few hours. 

Dear Mr Rawles,
I have a couple of disturbing events in my state (southeastern New England) I wish to report to you and your readers.
I do not have medical  insurance.  Because of this I go to the local health  center run (until now) very well by the local hospital. and I have benefited greatly by their care. However, this past week I became quite sick, and made an appointment to be seen by one of their doctors.

Upon entering I saw they have new computers and scanners. A patient must use this to check in. This is done by scanning the back of our driver's license. Our state has a scanning bar code on the back. When I saw what this was I went directly to the desk and told them who I was and my appointment time. No go, I had to scan in. So I told them I forgot my wallet. No worries it will also use my fingerprints. I wanted to see this and sure enough, through my fingerprint they had all my info. Where did they get this info? I have been fingerprinted before for a few jobs I’ve had in the past but I assumed (foolish me) this remained private.
Eventually I got to the examination room with the nurse and the first question was not how do I feel, what is my medical problem not even my name and date of birth but “Do you own any firearms” to which my response was "None of your business." She replied that the question had to be answered or they could not treat me. So I said no. In my chart (which is electronic, on a tablet device), the nurse seemed to type a heck of a lot more than “no”. This made me quite angry and so I asked to speak to a supervisor which they did do. The supervisor said that the nurse was wrong and that I did not have to answer the question, and in fact the question of firearms was supposed to be asked if I reported depression or suicidal thoughts. The supervisor was polite and did not seem to be lying or attempting to placate me but when I asked to see my chart I was told I would have to pay the records office and fill out forms. I barely have enough money to pay for the visits let alone the fifty dollars it would take to get a copy of my own medical charts.

A few days later my car broke down on the way home from work and so I pushed it into a parking lot and waited for the tow truck. A town policeman pulls up next to me, and though I do not know him personally, I did recognize him from our local gun store. He recognized me as well. He told me my plate was expired by a couple of months. He did not write me a ticket as I was on private property and it was getting towed anyway. I commented how he got that info really fast and he laughed ruefully and showed me the computer in the car. It automatically scans license plates and alerts to any sort of plate violation or warrants out for the registered owner. Not only that, but it show any weapon purchased by the owner of the vehicle that were supposedly (I’ll get to that in a second) registered through the state. All paid for by the town, through a grant from Homeland Security. This may all seem pretty bleak but it gets worse. The firearms I own have never had to be registered. In fact due to new laws recently passed this year, I have to until July 1st of this year to register one of them. The rest do not legally have to be registered. I have a one year grace period to get this done, so none of my firearms should be on his list. Yet, on his list it showed two firearms I purchased a couple of years ago. As I said earlier, only one of my rifles will need to be registered. What they are doing is using the forms for the two week wait period we have to compile a list of firearms owners, bypassing any sort of registration. Out of the weapons I own only two were purchased through a store, the rest through private transaction, which until a few months ago was perfectly legal.

The policeman who showed my all this expressed his own deep reservation over this and claims the state legislature is being inundated with complaints and he expressed hope there would be a court injunction to stop this. I asked him this, and I leave it for you and your readers as well, I asked this policeman “At what point do you refuse the order?” He shook his head shook my hand and replied “I ask myself that a lot these days!”

A SurvivalBlog reader in Belgium who prefers to remain anonymous wrote to mention three noteworthy changes: "...in Belgium in the last two weeks cash transactions were limited, transactions in gold and silver were limited, and the historical weapons list abolished which [previously] allowed us to buy [some antique cartridge guns] without a permit. These had included many older military rifles such as the Lee-Enfield, Mosin Nagant, Schmidt-Rubin, etc."

Pat Cascio flagged this: Gun ammo running out in Australia as US citizens buy big.

A Bitcoin documentary in the making: "Can a newly married couple survive when every living necessity can only be purchased with "cryptocurrency"? I wish them luck. (It would be a lot easier if they lived in Berlin.) Take a look at their web site and their blog. They are raising funds to pay for the expense of the film production and editing. OBTW, from their photo, it looks like they live in Utah. This should be fun.

Forget Gold, .22 Ammo Up More Than 400% From This Time Last Year

Senate moving to make copper theft a federal crime.

Items from The Economatrix:

Ron Paul:  It's Going To Get Much, Much Worse

Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why

US Bank Gold Positions Explode At Highest Rate On Record; Short Positions Collapse

G.G. suggested this article: The risk of a catastrophic solar storm that would leave countries including the United Kingdom and United States without electricity for days or even months will peak in 2015, a new report claims.

   o o o

SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson spotted this: ‘Pro-Gun’ Ricin mailer turns out to be Hollywood anti-gunner. By her shifting stories, it can fairly safely be deduced that she was setting up her husband for arrest. Her psychological problems provide a new treble entendre to the description "Bad Actor."

   o o o

House Votes to Eliminate Service Camo Patterns

   o o o

SurvivalBlog's Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio sent a link to a video of an amazing 1,000 yard shot.

   o o o

No One Is Talking About The Insane Law That Lets Authorities Read Any Email Over 180 Days Old. So, obviously we need to do a monthly deletion on any e-mail on our PCs that are getting close to that threshold. But this begs the question: Does your ISP have all of your old e-mails cached somewhere? In related news: Paul Krugman: Government Tilting Towards ‘Authoritarian Surveillance’ State. And here is some commentary from Brandon Smith: Why The Surveillance State Must Be Erased. And speaking of privacy, Silent Circle is getting popular, but a completely dispersed peer-to-peer system like BitMessage seems inherently more secure.

   o o o

Detroit tax dollars at work: LeDuff: Detroit police's simulated purse snatching goes awry

"The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity.  The quest for power is childish."  - Max Lucado

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Recent conflicts overseas, namely the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have shown the usefulness of hardened vehicles in environments where governments were unable to provide for the security of the public or governments ceased to function at all.  Lessons in vehicle defense were hard learned in many cases, however the ability to freely maneuver under adverse conditions (such as those that may be encountered post-SHTF) is a much needed capability.  Improvised systems and designs based on proven engineering methods to defeat small arms and small improvised explosives can be adapted for use by the prepared individual to provide for a higher degree of security in movement.  The basis for all designs examined will focus on protection balanced with mobility, as any truly purpose built armored vehicle has to balance mission accomplishment with adequate levels of protection.  With materials readily available to most American consumers, a vehicle can be equipped to perform a wide range of operations from logistical convoys to patrols through potentially hostile territory.

A look at modern armored vehicle construction and what it is designed for is helpful in understanding the engineering behind defeating various weapons, and can be scaled to fit just about any platform imaginable.  For instance, a modern Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (MATV) has several aspects of its armor built to mitigate shape charges and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that detract from vehicle application and maneuverability, like its limited field of view.  The hull shape is designed almost like a v-hull boat to help direct energy waves from explosions around the occupants of the vehicle, but almost in every case this results in suspension and axle components being separated from the vehicle.  While the occupants may still be alive, the vehicle is most certainly useless for transportation unless it’s repurposed as a gondola car.  The compromises made with most commercially available armored vehicles balance the level of protection, mobility, cargo capacity, visibility, offensive capability, and survivability.  The more purpose built any one type of vehicle is, it tends to perform exceedingly well in one or two of the above areas, but suffers in others.  Mission type and availability of components will play the largest roles in armor design, such as cargo trucks retaining load capacity may not have the same protection levels due to lack of space and vehicle size.  With improvised armor solutions, the highest levels of protection will sacrifice the speed, mobility, and longevity of the equipment, but do have their application.  The lower levels of protection may offer an additional security measure for longer range reconnaissance patrols or cross country movement where enemy contact is unlikely and the extended range and maneuverability of a lighter vehicle are more advantageous.

An in-depth study at threats encountered and ways they are handled will provide the foundation for whichever armored application will work best, then an analysis can be made as to the materials and construction for each protection measure.  The various threats most likely to be encountered in a post collapse society or one without the rule of law are as follows: small arms fire, improvised explosives, incendiary weapons, low-level conventional explosives, and a collection of terrain or environmental threats.  The below breakdown will list the threat and what engineering components are implemented to counter them; these engineering designs are best employed with tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to provide the highest degree of protection, however those TTPs are better tailored to situational and individual conditions than covered by a generic threat response.  For every imaginable conflict, a TTP should be developed and practiced by those participating in the operation to ensure the highest probability of success. 

Small Arms Fire:  Small arms are defined as those that can be operated by an individual and are man-portable, such as conventional rifles, shotguns, and pistols.  Light to medium machine guns also fall in this category, as the projectiles are not designed as anti-armor (in most cases) unlike their heavier brothers.  Historically, hardened steel or iron has proven effective at defeating small arms, and most any metal an inch thick will protect from .50 caliber rounds on down.  It is impractical in most cases to use inch-thick armor however, and improved designs are readily available that are lighter and more easily adapted to vehicles.  Kevlar is one such material, which is a thin nylon fabric that is matted many layers thick to provide ballistic protection.  This can sometimes be found in industrial applications where ballistic shielding is required around equipment, but is often prohibitively expensive.  A more easily found replacement is bulk nylon cloth with either stitching or resin added.  While not all nylon fabrics share Kevlar’s anti-ballistic properties, a thick (one inch or more) matting of nylon either tightly woven or bonded with resin or epoxy will offer some flexible and light-weight protection from pistol, shotgun, and some rifle rounds.  Bolts of fabric can be found at places like Wal-Mart, and each 52”x40 yard bolt, along with two gallons of fiberglass resin, could provide enough materials for one smaller vehicle packed between the door panels and sitting on top of the floor boards or roof.  A side note on Kevlar and anti-armor rounds: the M855A1 5.56mm NATO ball ammunition, and other types of military sabot/SLAP ball ammunition contain tungsten or steel penetrator tips.  These are very effective against mild steel and Kevlar, which is why many small arms protective inserts (SAPI plates) are ceramic.  The M855A1 is rated to penetrate 3/8” of mild steel, so consider this in material selection.

Improvised Explosives:  Any device which uses a rapidly expanding propellant or explosive charge to inflict damage falls within the “improvised explosive device” category.  This includes a wide range of devices, from black powder in a pressure cooker to a howitzer shell wired for command detonation.  Regardless of construction or means, there are two principal threats with IEDs: one is the concussive blast wave created by the localized pressure from the explosive, and the other is primary and secondary projectiles in their many forms.  Projectiles range from shrapnel and lead shot to heavy-metal rods, as is the case in shaped charges.  Concussive blasts are best defeated by channeling their pressure away from or around the vehicle, which is very difficult to accomplish without a purpose built hull.  Mild steel or magnesium-alloy steel in over one-inch-thick continuous pieces are used in MRAPs, and would be difficult to fabricate at home.  However, the convex design of many bulk fuel tanks (like propane and gasoline) could be cut to fit many different vehicle sizes and provide a measure of protection against concussive blasts.  This will reduce the ground clearance of the vehicle and may have adverse effects on drive train performance due to excessive heat build-up.  None of the purpose built vehicles will place armor over the exhaust systems because of this, so be mindful of exhaust routing if under body armor is used. 

For protection against projectiles, the same techniques are employed as those to defeat ballistic threats with the exception of shaped charges.  Shaped charges employ a directive metal cone, normally copper, to multiply and focus blast pressure.  The explosive is focused in such a small area that the pressure wave generated acts upon metals as if they were a fluid, and under the principals of fluid dynamics, incompressible.  Imagine an explosive force that renders a normally solid metal hull to act like a shield of water with hollow core.  The pressure exerted on the exterior would allow the shield to rupture and transfer energy to the hollow center where the force becomes a concussive pressure wave.  Glass and ceramic layers were found to be incredibly effective in disrupting shape charges, as when the explosive pressure makes contact with the ceramic plate, the concentrated path of the charge is disrupted and not able to transfer energy like a fluid, which shields an inner skin of metal from penetration due to the blast.  These can be improvised by using ceramic flooring tile, and while these tiles may not be heat tempered, they are a light-weight addition that can also provide for additional ballistic resistance.  Using thinner (3/16” to 3/8”) sheet steel, these tiles can be sandwiched in between for door skins and passenger or engine compartment shielding.

Incendiary weapons:  Thermite and Molotov cocktails are easily improvised by nefarious groups and can be devastating weapons against vehicles, as many components and cargoes are extremely flammable.  Modern tactical vehicles are designed with automatic fire suppression systems, as IEDs, incendiry bullets, or tracer bullets can ignite the vehicle fuel or cargo.  These systems are generally high flow dry powder or CO2 systems that would prove difficult to improvise without a pre-staged stocks of fire suppressant tanks.  Insulating the vehicle armor on both sides can provide a measure of resistance until a conventional extinguisher can be used to put out the fire.  There are plenty of light-weight and flame resistant coatings available in mat and spray on applications, the easiest to be found is in junk yards as under-hood insulation.  These high density mats are not flammable and can easily be cut and glued onto the interior of armor paneling to provide the vehicle occupants the time necessary to escape from a danger zone without risking vehicle systems or excessive passenger compartment temperatures.  Two part urethane coatings, such as truck bed linings, have also been found as a great exterior coating for armor that assists with ballistic and incendiary protection.  Almost all new production armor vehicles use these coatings on the exterior of the entire vehicle, and have the benefit of protecting the armor from corrosion and being easy to apply.  While none of these will stop thermite from burning through due to its extremely high temperatures, they will provide the operator with valuable time to deal with a situation.

Low level explosives: While it is difficult to imagine the possibility of encountering land mines or howitzer shells in a post-collapse situation, encountering pipe bombs, black powder, or Tannerite powered devices would be inevitable at some point.  These explosives do not function like a shaped charge or high explosive, but instead use the rapidly expanding gas pressure from the charge combusting to blast secondary projectiles or cause their enclosure to rupture and fragment.  These threats are handled in much the same way as ballistic projectiles are as the accompanying blast pressure wave is negligible.  Steel sheets with a three to six inch gap in between filled with packed sand or concrete work very well to prevent fragments from penetrating, but these enclosures can be excessively heavy.  If a smaller area, such as an exposed gunners position in the bed of a truck, has the space and capacity, this is a viable and attractive option that provides better and more resilient protection than sand bags or other alternatives that may not withstand the vibration and flex that a mobile platform encounters.

Terrain and environmental threats: One of the most often encountered issues with mobile armor is the cumbersome and heavy design of a vehicle that may need to operate off road or in less than ideal road conditions.  Traction and suspension issues that are common in mud, sand, and snow are magnified if the vehicle is substantially heavier and has less suspension flex.  Additionally, road conditions that stress the suspension will push components past their failure points with the added weight of armor.  Upgraded vehicle components are necessary to counter the issues encountered with the additional weight of armor if any sort of longevity is expected out of the platform.  Suspension upgrades should include heavier-duty and longer travel springs, larger shocks, and heavier duty axles/axle shafts.  Tire size and load range should also be increased; weight is better distributed across an area if the tire is wider and taller.  Drive trains should be toughened up with heavy duty transmissions and additional cooling systems.  Running several small oil coolers for the engine and transmission will provide extra fluid capacity and allow one to be bypassed if it is punctured.  Because the armor places more load on the engine, consider upgrades to engine power and a free-flowing exhaust, which will assist in keeping the engine cool as well.  High temperatures have been known to disable armored vehicles that were not equipped to cool a harder working drive train. 

Now that the treats and appropriate countermeasures have been identified, a closer look into choosing and up-armoring a specific vehicle can be investigated.  While there is no “one size fits all” option, for the typical family-oriented prepper nothing larger than a one-ton (or perhaps flat-bed) truck would be practical.  For larger vehicles, there are more available methods, but they fall well outside the scope and price of most individuals’ needs.  One-ton trucks and SUVs are common and readily available now, with many preppers already owning one, so the focus of specific modification instruction will apply to these but many modifications can be scaled down for smaller applications.  Before considering armoring a vehicle, ensure that it is mechanically sound and all regular repairs are completed.  An invincible truck with a seized engine is a great land anchor but a poor tactical vehicle.  If practical for your application, the installation of a heavy-duty lift kit and larger all-terrain tires will make for a better armored foundation.  If the towing and payload capacity would be exceeded by the additional armor weight, installing air bags to the factory or aftermarket springs will assist in handling the extra load.  A note on springs: the military was in a period of transition throughout the war, and both leaf sprung and coil sprung variants of the same vehicle could be found.  The same is true in many cases in the civilian world, many manufacturers have stopped using leaf springs both front and rear and now use coils or torsion bars in the front end.  While coil springs provide better on road handling and a smoother ride, they are not as resilient to overload or the constant stress of armor.  The military found many stock coil springs fatiguing prematurely, and in some cases breaking into pieces.  Leaf springs did not suffer many of these issues regardless of the load placed on them, and although they do not offer the same performance, are often a better choice for armored vehicles.  The same thing was found regarding solid “live” axles versus independent suspension, where the solid axles required fewer (if any) upgrades to handle the additional stresses, but independent suspensions suffered regular failures.

Adding the lightest level of armor can be accomplished with little more than scrap sheet steel and bolts; simply find 3/8” thick plates and bolt them on top of existing body panels.  Use twice to three times as much hardware as normal for the application, a good rule of thumb is a bolt every 6 inches along the edges of the panel, two inches away from the edge.  While not as strong as a continuous weld, this will help prevent distortion of the panel due to explosive pressure and aid in longevity.  All hardware should be grade 8 if it’s available, lower grade bolts can be sheared off with small arms fire.  Another easily applied light armor option is the “L door,” where a panel of steel is cut to fit the dimensions of a door exterior including the glass, then notched in the front towards the A pillar to provide visibility while still offering protection for the head and shoulders of the occupant.  These can be hung from a channel bracket that rests on the window frame of the existing door, and have the benefit of being easily installed and removed.  With subsequent levels of armor, the standard framing and hinges for the doors will not support the weight, so consider welding the doors to the frame or removing the doors entirely and mounting a heavier duty frame and hinge in place.  The most neglected component of door armor is the latching mechanism, which has to be just as strong as the hinge.  A single point of contact is not enough for a heavy door, so consider a multiple bar lock style of latch, like one would find in a safe door.  For upgraded protection, the inner door can be gutted of window glass and other components then paneling, like aluminum street signs, can be added to the interior side to create a large cavity within the door.  This can then be filled with sand, ceramic tile, nylon/Kevlar matting or a combination thereof.

For hood, fenders, and other body panel protection, consider using a mix of scrap steel sheets bolted to existing frame or body parts and tiles mounted with brackets or channels in the steel.  If the tiles are mounted in a channel or with brackets, they have the advantage of being easily replaced if broken by incoming rounds.  Do not place solid sheets of metal over the grill as this will cause overheating of the engine and under-hood components.  Louvered steel or iron can be easily made to fit over these sensitive areas by cutting the steel into two inch wide strips and bolting or welding them into a frame at a 45 degree angle.  Spacing can be changed to add more protection but at the cost of airflow.  Sand bags stacked on the hood or along the inside of the vehicle may be a field expedient method for minimal protection, but this will prove very heavy and cumbersome without providing a substantial degree of protection or allowing for heat transfer from the engine to the ambient air.  Instead, mild steel and tile can be used to protect the floor boards and interior of the vehicle without expending cargo capacity and space. 

Field of view and transparent armor have been a weak point for armored vehicles since their inception.  Due to the limited availability and excessively heavy weight of transparent materials, most applications restrict the amount of glass as much as possible, often sacrificing visibility for enhanced protection.  In modern designs this has still held true, mainly due to the material limits and current engineering technologies.  Ballistic glass has not changed much since the advent of clear polycarbonate, or plastic based transparent materials.  These are employed in layers with tempered (or heat treated) glass to create a dense transparent panel that can withstand multiple high powered rifle round impacts.  The sheets of glass and polycarbonate vary in thickness but are typically ¼” to 3/8” thick, and between three and 12 layers are used depending on level of protection.  The frame is critical to effective transfer of force from glass to vehicle body, and should be sufficiently over-built to accommodate the level of threat expected.  Overall size of the glass also plays a role in resistance to forces, such as IEDs, as the larger surface area of solid glass increases the stresses placed on the frame.  Smaller is better when mounting transparent armor and will save weight while increasing strength.  Custom ballistic glass makers can be used to provide prefabricated transparencies of just about any size, however basic protection can be accomplished by adding layers of Lexan (the most common brand of polycarbonate used) to existing tempered safety glass.  Two layers of Lexan, one on the exterior and one on the interior, bonded to the safety glass with pressure sensitive adhesive will provide protection from shrapnel and low powered cartridges as well as large hand-thrown objects such as rocks or bricks.  Any more protection will require a custom frame as the existing A pillars that support the windshield will not withstand a substantial amount of force or weight.  Using small residential windows layered with Lexan would work well and could be easily mounted in sheet metal fabricated for the doors for enhanced windows.  A note on working with polycarbonate is it becomes more flexible when mildly heated and can be cut with a hot knife easily, with masking tape on both sides of the material along the desired cut to preserve surface transparency and reduce the risk of fractures.

While practical welding, fabrication skills, and familiarity with basic automotive tools are required to perform the majority of these modifications, they are developed over time and with hands-on training in order for one to be proficient with their applications.  A good recommendation however would be to take a welding class at a local technical college, or failing that, purchase a hobby welder and practice with scrap metal at home.  Most heavy, armor grade steels will require the use of a 220 Volt or larger welder, wire-feed being the first choice and arc (or stick) welding being a cheaper alternative.  Heating many of these metals with oxyacetylene welding will weaken them, making it an impractical method for armor construction but can be used in place of a plasma cutter or circular saw if there is no alternative.  Bolting of armor pieces has been found an effective method, and is generally more viable due to the availability of hardware and assembly tools.  Locating scrap metal sources is critical to this endeavor; some universal resources could be dumpsters, shipping containers, storage tanks, rail cars, guard rails, and junk yards.  Use a magnet to check for non-ferrous metal, like aluminum, which is not ideal for armor construction and requires different welding methods.  If the metal is non-magnetic, it will not be suitable for most MIG or stick welding.

Having the ability to up-armor and harden your vehicle may be critical to your bug out plan or continued survival, and with the correct approach can be accomplished to protect your assets and provide enhanced security in a challenging situation.  Should the time arise when you desire mobile protection, employing these methods may provide you with the advantage needed to prosper where others fail and enhance whatever transportation plan you have in place.  Please research specific parts and attributes of your vehicle beforehand, and use appropriate protective equipment when welding, using hand tools, or going into unfriendly territory. 

Safety Notes: Never weld on a vehicle while the vehicle battery is still connected, as this will damage the vehicle electrical system.  And do not turn your vehicle into a Mad Max look-alike without first consulting your spouse as this may be hazardous to your health, especially if it is the one they use most frequently.  Lastly, remember to keep the vehicle's rubber side down.

Dear JWR:
There is an estimated 250,000 animal-powered farmers in the U.S. doing all or part of their farming with animals. I’d recommend http://smallfarmersjournal.com/ for some good reading and information and a visit to Horse Progress Days to view the latest in modern equipment. Almost anything can be done with animals that can be done with tractors, even combining with a motorized forecart. Horse Progress Days has some interesting support equipment, including well made coal stoves and manual transplanters. If it’s in reach of you, I suggest attending for an eye-opening experience. The food is good, too. - James L.

Hello Mr. Rawles, 
As an avid reader of your blog I felt compelled to send this email. I noticed again in your Sunday blog that your telling people to not register there firearms. While that may be easy advise for someone living in a free state, those of us who can't relocate due to various reasons and live in Progressive hell holes like myself (in Connecticut) find that advise to be very dangerous. If you do not register your firearms here and get caught with them after our new unconstitutional new "laws" go into effect, it's a class "D" felony and means at least two years jail time for the unlucky Citizen. I have already removed my firearms to a free state as I WILL NOT COMPLY to their unconstitutional 'laws'. [Here in Connecticut] I now only have an [exempt pre-1899] antique Colt .45 and a shotgun (per Joe Biden's advice) that is not required to be registered, well at least not yet.

Yes, we do plan on moving but are unable to do so before these unconstitutional laws take effect. So, please consider the legal issues many will have to deal with if caught with these "now" illegal weapons before offering advise that may well get them thrown in jail for years for not bowing down to the state. We Citizens already have enough to worry about living in these Progressive hell holes. Thank you sir for your time. - Kenneth B.

JWR Replies:  You are correct. Drawing the line on noncompliance is a personal decision that cannot be dictated by an outsider. My apologies for speaking in absolutes, from the perspective of someone who lives in a relatively free state. There are indeed a variety of viable strategies for noncompliance with unconstitutional laws. For many, the best solution is to vote with your feet, thereby removing yourself from intolerable regulations. But in my opinion just evacuating your guns from the state where you live is a stopgap solution, at best. It leaves you without access to the best tools that you may need to fight for life, property, and liberty.

We must recognize that in our generation there might come a day with no remaining avenue of escape. State laws can be avoiding simply by moving, but what of unconstitutional Federal laws? At that point we will have no choice but to rebel against tyranny. (Since the alternative would be to live as little better than bleating sheep.) When we reach that juncture I doubt that I will advocate expatriation. Most foreign lands have less freedom than we enjoy here in these United States. I don't think that I will find some ideal "bolt hole" nation with more firearms freedom, better banking privacy, a more positive business climate, lower taxes, full religious freedom, unimpeded personal property rights, fair courts, and assured freedom of speech.

If I must die, then I will do so here in America, fully armed and facing my oppressors. I won't die in some ditch, begging for mercy.


I would like to point out to everyone that even though the Better Than Bouillon labels say "NO ADDED MSG" it does still contain some MSG. Those of us who are made very ill by MSG have learned to triple check all listed ingredients. Here is a quote from Food Renegade that explains this better than I can:

"Hydrolyzed soy protein is an ingredient that always contains MSG! (source) Because the manufacturer didn’t add an ingredient called “mono-sodium glutamate,” they can “truthfully” claim “No MSG added” on their label. Yet, nothing is stopping them from adding ingredients that contain MSG. In that case, the manufacturer only has to list the name of the actual ingredient added, not the ingredients within those ingredients.

Because of this little-known fact, another ingredient on this label should give us pause: flavoring. MSG often hides in “flavoring,” “natural flavoring,” or “spices.” (source) Furthermore, the process used to create the dried whey produces : MSG!" 

Thank you, - Ginger

JWR Replies: Thanks for making that correction. OBTW back in 2005, I posted a useful list of pseudonyms for MSG, in a SurvivalBlog article titled: MSG, By Any Other Name

Ministry Opportunities in The American Redoubt

Several readers have written to mention these current ministry opportunities in the American Redoubt region. Pray hard! One of these might be the right fit for you, by God's providence.


Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum, Idaho has a Youth Director opening, Full-time. E-mail your resume to: office@pcbw.org or mail it to PCBW, P.O. Box 660, Ketchum ID, 83340.

First Presbyterian Church Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has an opening for a Director of Children and Family Ministries. E-mail: office@cdafirstpres.org.

Woodland Friends Church, near Kamiah, Idaho is seeking a pastor. (Originally a Quaker church, but it is now essentially non-denominational.)


Corvallis Community Church is seeking a part-time youth pastor. For more information or to submit a resume email to: youthpastorsearch@corvalliscc.org.

Camp Bighorn, a Christian adventure camp near Plains, Montana is looking for help in their Guest Services department: a cook and also someone to help manage their facilities (cabins/dorms/lodge.) Phone: 406-826-3144. These are unpaid positions. Volunteers must raise their own support.

Three Lakes Community Bible Church in Troy, Montana is seeking a full-time pastor. (Salaried.)

Camp Elohim, near Troy, Montana is looking for a full-time facilities maintenance man. (No salary, but room and board provided.)

Eastern Oregon:

Pendleton Young Life is seeking an Area Director who will also serve half-time as the youth pastor for the local Church of God as part of a church alliance, in Pendleton, Oregon. Please send your resume and Field Ministry Application to Ken Purnell via e-mail: atkkpurnell@centurytel.net

Eastern Washington:

Pomeroy Church of the Nazarene has a Youth/Worship Pastor opening, full-time. Mail: 135 9th Street, Pomeroy, Washington 99347 or phone: (509) 843-1075

Liberty Lake Church (Evangelical Free) is seeking a Lead Pastor.

First Baptist Church, in Othello, Washington has a part time youth pastor opening. Contact: Dawn Douglas at: (509) 318-6186


Trinity Baptist Church in Laramie, Wyoming, is seeking a full-time pastor.

Grace Chapel Community Church in Worland, Wyoming, is looking or a full-time Worship Leader, Salary: $20,000 - $25,000. See web site or call Pastor Louie @ 307-431-6356

Jim W. sent: The Obama Administration Plans to End All Federal Protection of Gray Wolves

   o o o

SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson has released two new humorous T-Shirts that are bound to be the height of fashion at gun shows and at shooting ranges: Soliliqy and AK Impact.

   o o o

Two more of Mike Bloomberg's "crime-fighting" mayors are in hot water. The latest headlines: Mayor gives home makeover documents to grand jury and E. Orange council demands mayor Bowser resign after he admits to sexual affair in legal papers. Twice-convicted Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is still awaiting sentencing (on 24 counts including conspiracy, extortion, bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion), but he has just been released for knee surgery. And in other news: Federal corruption trial of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack postponed to January. (Mayor Mack arrogantly and shamelessly refuses to step down from office. His salary is $126,000 per year, yet he claimed poverty and demanded a public defender, at taxpayer expense. Maybe he should have used some of that graft money. Or is it considered bad form to pay your attorney with wads of Ben Franklins?) So these are some of the "we know what's best for you" mayors who are are seeking to disarm us! By the way, the anti-gun hypocrites are also soon starting a multi-state bus tour. Any bets on whether or not they'll stop in Trenton, Philadelphia, or Detroit? I'm betting that they'll mainly be stopping in White Bread Soccer Mom towns, looking for more sympathetic and gullible sheeple. Baaaaaah!

   o o o

“We Are This Far From A Turnkey Totalitarian State" - Big Brother Goes Live September 2013. And on the same note: NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

   o o o

I heard from my publisher that there are now more than 255,700 copies of my book "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It" in print after 17 printings. The same publisher (Penguin) will be publishing my upcoming book (Rawles on Tools for Survival) in 2014.

   o o o

John N. suggested this article: 10 Improvised Weapons Made By Syrian Rebels

"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under." - H.L. Mencken

Monday, June 10, 2013

I heard that fellow blogger Ron (a.k.a. "The Orange Jeep Dad") will soon be leaving Phoenix, Arizona and moving his wife and family (they have six daughters) to their old family farm in Oklahoma. Established in the late 1800s, it has been abandoned since the 1980s when his grandfather became ill. Ron promises to blog about the entire adventure and include videos of how he and his family learn to farm, raise livestock, homestead, and homeschool. We wish Ron and his family the best for their move. Their new life will be quite a ride. And as one who has been living in the hinterboonies and homeschooling my kids for many years, I can say most assuredly: He won't regret it! Be sure to bookmark Ron's site, and check it often.

Recently, I was falsely labeled "antigovernment" by the SPLC, and that prompts me to post some clarifying remarks: There is a huge difference between being "antigovernment" and being someone who insists that our government remain our government and that it abide by the law of the land. Constitutional rights are not negotiable.

In our system of government--a Constitutional Republic--we are a nation of laws, with the consent of the governed. In effect, we govern ourselves, through our elected representatives and our appointed officials. Or at least that is how it is supposed to work. I am not a "subject" of the state. I am not a serf. I'm not a vassal. Rather, I am a de jure part of the government, because I'm a Citizen and a part of "We, The People." I'm in fact a descendant of colonial Americans who pre-dated the Constitution. So, by definition I am not and cannot be "antigovernment." Yes, there are some current government policies that I oppose. Yes, there has been some legislation that I have opposed. Yes, there have been candidates for public office that I have opposed. And yes, there are some pressure groups (like Mayor Bloomberg's MAIG) that I oppose. But please don't call me--and folks like me--"antigovernment," because we are the government.

In recent years, some government officials (who had been called "public servants", in a gentler age) have lost sight of who they work for, and they've started to look upon the Citizenry as their subjects. Opposition to that view does not make me a rebel. Let me step back for a moment and explain what has happened: During my lifetime, some statist and collectivist insurgents have insidiously risen to positions of power within our government. So I'm what could best be called a counterinsurgent. I'm not trying to tear down the government. Instead, I'm doing my best to restore it.

There is an ongoing culture war in America. On one side are the statists, collectivists, and authoritarians of various stripes. On the other side is America's traditional freedom-loving and minimalist government-espousing bedrock culture. I represent the latter. Let freedom reign! - JWR

Publisher:  Ulysses Press, Berkeley, California. Copyright: 2013
ISBN:  978-1-61243-129-1
223 pages
Available on Amazon or eBay for between $10 and $15

I received The Prepper's Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals as a copy for review. Tess Pennington made the assumption that the reader of her cookbook is new to prepping.  She goes step by step and explains why to prep, why to be proactive, and how to afford food preps. Also covered are economic prepping, the just-in-time grocery store concept, how to begin to stockpile, and rotating supplies. Additionally, she explains "essential tools" for the prepared kitchen, such as a food dehydrator, wheat grinder, solar oven, sprouter, grill, and water purification system.

No cookbook can be all inclusive, but Pennington covers or at least mentions most of the topics that serious food preppers are familiar with. The beauty of this cookbook is that basic prep information is contained in one easy-to-read, well-organized book for the person who is already serious about prepping or just getting started with their food supplies.

The author touches on dehydrating and fermenting foods, but doesn't go into great depth. She does, however, give readers a lengthy chapter on preserving by water bath and by pressure canning, including charts and recipes.

The author addresses one of my favorite topics -- how to use spices to combat appetite fatigue. She gives the cook 10 recipes for combining herbs and spices to create mixes in convenient amounts to fit spice jars. Some are for sweet recipes, the majority are for savory dishes. I find this to be a very useful part of the cookbook.

Other topics include keeping foods cool, sanitation, making meals stretch, oxygen absorbers, healthy substitutes, and staples to store. Interestingly, Pennington knows to instruct readers about the importance of clean water. Topics covered are how to treat, store, and find water. This water discussion is fairly unusual in a cookbook.

Pennington is a prepper and knows the prepper buzz words, such as FIFO.  She teaches readers by explaining how to get organized, how to plan, and how to start.

I'm encouraged by a short section entitled "Canning Off The Grid." Peterson mentions canning using a fireplace, a fire pit, and a Mexican horno.

One question I have concerns a recipe for "Dehydrated Noodles" using a bag of dry egg noodles. The directions call for undercooking the noodles, then dehydrating, and storing in an airtight container which will keep for 6 months. I'm stumped. A bag of dry noodles will keep for 6 months, probably much longer if you use a Food Saver. Boiling water is still required for rehydration, as it is for noodles out of the bag. What's the point?

The heart of the cookbook, the recipes, is logically organized into chapters: Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Beans and Rice, Kid-Approved Snacks, Side Dishes, Grains, Breads and Pastas, Desserts, Beverages, and Alternative Ingredients.

A couple of recipes that caught my eyes were "Poor Man's Village Bread" which can be baked, fried, or grilled and uses 2 cups of sauerkraut and "20 ways to eat beans and rice" which combines various types of these two ingredients to build complete proteins.

Many survivalblog.com readers have canned ham and canned chicken in their pantries. I quickly found five recipes using canned chicken and 2 recipes using canned ham. Its always helpful to find tasty recipes for canned meat. I intend to try "Cola Canned Ham" outdoors on the grill and in the solar oven. Just wish I had known about this fast and easy recipe that we could have cooked over a wood fire when I was leading my Girl Scout troops. Essentially, use a church key opener to punch holes in the ham can. Replace the gelatin with Coca-Cola and heat for an hour. Sounds delicious, and I can't wait to try it.

In conclusion, I enjoyed perusing this cookbook and would add it to my prepping bookshelf. Best feature of Ms. Pennington's book is how gloriously well-organized, how full of life-saving information, and how eminently readable it is.

Editor's Disclaimer: Although Ulysses Press is one of my publishers (they publish my novel "Patriots"), I have no financial interest in this book, other than that some copies of it might be ordered from the SurvivalBlog Amazon Store. (Just like hundreds of other books that have been mentioned in SurvivalBlog, over the years.) Ulysses Press sent the review copy of this book to the reviewer directly without first contacting me, and they did not solicit me to run the review.

I'm reviewing the Brite Strike LED Tactical Balls® RID-3, Rolling Illuminated Distraction and Disorientation Device. Awkward name aside, these are an interesting item.

The LED balls come as a set of three, in a black nylon pouch with a MOLLE-compatible belt loop and Velcro closure.  They activate with a push button on the back, which is readily locatable by touch.  Once lit, you roll them into an area and they tumble, sending bright light in several directions each.

RID-3 are a low-level substitute for a flash bang device, being less distracting, but much safer.  Brite Strike publicizes this fact; they are honest about the capabilities.  However, for situations where flash bangs are unsafe, or for civilians who can't get them, these are still a useful device.
In a dark room with a hard floor, there is both a rattling noise and the shifting lights.  They roll for about 5 seconds, then steady out, lights facing up, to provide steady illumination of the threat.

I performed several tests.  These are fairly durable, but they are made for rolling, not throwing or dropping.  A three foot drop caused the case of one to burst open.  However, it did reassemble and function again.  In extremis, consider that a bright, spinning LED hurled at a threat would certainly make them focus on it, not other people.

The rear of the RID-3 case unscrews easily to replace batteries (Which are included.)  They take two CR2032 batteries each.  Brightness seems to be about 20 lumens (13,000 MCD with a 90º beam), and they are rated for 20 hours.

A military/police variant with infrared (IR) LEDs is available as a set of 5 with no pouch.

Especially if you have a house with a hallway with a hard surface, these would make a nice adjunct to your defensive kit.  If you have stairs, the effect should be even more pronounced, understanding that the RID-3 may be damaged from the fall.

When not being used as distractions, these are still useful little lights that can be lowered into toolboxes, sumps, crates or other containers to illuminate contents.  They can be set on the ground cloth, cot or end table while camping.  They would work under the hood of a car or in a foot well. Anywhere a compact, up-facing light would be useful, they can be deployed. And, of course, they can be held in hand, or in a closed fist, with the closed fingers as an aperture for low level illumination for maps or gear.

The MSRP for the RID-3 set is $55.99.  This works out to about $16 per unit, plus a little for the pouch.  They can be found less expensively at various outlets. - SurvivalBlog Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson
(per FTC File No. P034520): The author was furnished one set of Brite Strike LED Tactical Balls for evaluation. SurvivalBlog accepts cash-paid advertising. To the best of my knowledge, as of the date of this posting, none of our advertisers that sell the products mentioned in this article have solicited SurvivalBlog or our staff to write any reviews or endorsements, nor have they provided me any free or reduced-price gear in exchange for any reviews or endorsements. JWR is not a stock holder in any company. SurvivalBlog does, however, benefit from sales through the SurvivalBlog Amazon Store. If you click on one of our Amazon links and then "click through" to order ANY product from Amazon.com (not just the ones listed in our catalog), then we will earn a modest sales commission.

Over the years I've probably handled and tested well over a thousand different knife designs. I know a lot about knives. I look for quality materials in knives, then I look at their intended purpose, as well as the carry system - be they folders with pocket clips, or fixed blade knives with sheaths. I also look at the design of a knife, and I look at the price point, too. I test knives for sharpness and durability - do they do what they are supposed to do?
Some time ago, I wrote an article on the Montie Gear sling shot, and in my humble opinion, I believe it is the best sling shot on the market - albeit a little expensive - but it certainly is high quality. Montie Gear also came out with an attachment for their sling shot, that allows you to shoot arrows - for hunting small game. And, they also produced a folding arrow, to use with their sling shot. Be sure to check it out on their web site for more information. I've learned that Montie Gear produces high-quality everything. No short cuts, and only the best materials are used in the things they produce.
When Montie Gear sent me their new Ultra-lightweight fixed blade knife, I was a little anxious to get my hands on it. The first thing that catches your attention is the quick draw aluminum sheath that the knife is in. Yes, that's right, in this day and age of Kydex sheaths, Montie Gear, came up with a sheath - a skeletonized aluminum sheath - that carries their neat little fixed blade knife. And, it has a quick draw release - you simply place your thumb on top of the lever and press down and draw the knife - simple - and I like simple, less things to go wrong. The sheath also has different mounting attachments, for belt carry, or you can even place it on your gear.
The blade steel is listed simply as "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on their web site, with a blade that is approximately 3-inches long, with a Rockwell hardness of 58-62 and an overall length of just under 7-inches. The handle of the knife is covered with wrapped Paracord, and you can get it in different colors, my sample had a black Paracord wrapped handle. The knife only weighs in a 3.7-ounces, too - so it is lightweight to be sure. You can also get the knife without a 550 Paracord wrapped handle, too.
However, there is one distinct difference in the knife, compared to most others, and that is, the blade is replaceable - that's right, if you damage the blade or break it, you can simply unscrew it from the main part of the knife and replace it with another blade. Montie Gear guarantees their knives with a lifetime warranty. So, if you happen to break the blade, you send it back to them with a small fee for shipping and handling and they will replace the blade. They also have a sharpening service, but I don't know what the fee is for re-sharpening the knife. If you keep your knife sharp, you shouldn't have to send it back to the company to have their re-sharpen it - that's my thoughts. I don't like a dull knife - they are dangerous and can't get the job done when you need it.
The design of the blade is akin to a reverse (upside-down) Tanto-style blade, and it is very easy to re-sharpen, too. I found this small little knife very easy to use and because of the blade design you can do some extra-fine detail cutting if need be. In a survival situation, you must have a blade that is easy to re-sharpen in my opinion. I will say this, without a doubt, this knife was the sharpest I've even tested - bar none! The blade is hand-sharpened, and I don't know if the final edge was done on a buffing wheel, but mine had the literal razor-edge on it - you could easily shave with it, if you had to. The blade's edge really gripped into anything you want to cut - I liked it - a lot!
As a rule, I like bigger knives - fixed blade or folders, because I think they are a bit more useful for different tasks. However, the Montie Gear Ultra-lightweight fixed blade, did everything I asked of it. I didn't try to chop through any tree branches - the knife isn't designed for this. However, if you want a constant companion, in a fixed blade knife, that you can wear on your belt all day long - and forget it is there, and a knife that can handle any chores around the house and kitchen, this is a worthy contender in this regard. Almost daily, I have deliveries for UPS or FedEx - and the USPS, and these are boxes that need to be opened, and this little Ultra-lightweight folder not only zipped through opening the boxes, it also made quick work of cutting the boxes down for easy disposal in the trash - that is, when I can get a box away from one of my German Shepherds. (My dog Sarge believes that UPS and FedEx only come to bring him cardboard boxes to tear apart. He often grabs a box out of my hand, before I've had a chance to open it and remove the contents.)
I think, more than anything that I liked the quick-draw sheath that the knife is housed in - it is very secure, and you don't have to worry about the knife falling out of it. However, it only takes a split second to press down on the release lever, to get the knife in your hand and into action. Now, while this knife, because of it's small blade length, isn't particularly designed as a self-defense blade, it can be used as one in a last ditch effort. I've noted many times, that most knife fights or self-defense situations call for slashing moves, instead of a stabbing wound...and this knife can easily slice through heavy clothing - even a leather jacket - and get to flesh and bone, if need be. However, I think this knife is more suited for everyday use around the house or on the job - and would make a neat little trail knife for your wilderness hikes. It would also serve to dress out big game, too.
Now, to the nitty-gritty, the price of the knife. Like all Montie Gear, their products are expensive. Then again they use the finest materials and their workmanship is outstanding. There is no junk from Montie Gear. The retail price of the Ultra-lightweight fixed blade knife is $249.99. And be advised that it usually takes a couple weeks to get one of these neat little knives - they are always on back-order. If you're looking for a new fixed blade companion, check out this knife on the Montie Gear web site, and I believe you'll be impressed. You could do a lot worse, and pay more, but I don't think you'll find many knives like this one, with the design of the blade, to be replaced if damaged or broken, and the super-cool sheath that houses it. This is just one of those knives, that when you pick it up, you can't put it down! - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio


Hi Jim, 
I was in Costco yesterday and noticed that they now stock chicken and beef bouillon that has no MSG. Some people try to avoid MSG because it gives them headaches. I like to avoid it for health reasons, since it's been shown that MSG is an excitotoxin--a nasty chemical that may cause humans to develop brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. No thanks!

The Bouillon in question is sold under the "Better Than Bouillon" brand, and I think bullion will store very well for at least five years, making it a great addition to our food storage pantries.  

Best to you, - Sarah S.

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning that. Stocking up on storage food anther items for your family's survival stockpile at stores like Costco and Sam's Club is described in "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course." The course is continuing to sell briskly, since it is now priced at less that $20. As I've mentioned before, you'll get immediate delivery, via digital download.

California State Senator Tom Berryhill (who represents a far-flung conservative district up in the lightly-populated Sierras) recently sent an e-mail with a depressingly long list of pending Democrat-sponsored gun legislation in People's Republic of California:

Senate Bill (S.B.) 47 (Yee, D-San Francisco) Changes the definition of “assault weapon” to include a firearm which is a semiautomatic, centerfire rifle or semiautomatic pistol that does not have a detachable magazine.

S.B. 53 (DeLeon, D-Los Angeles) Dubbed the “ammo purchase permit bill”, this legislation creates new state permits that require background checks for buyers of ammunition.

S.B. 108 (Yee, D-SF) Requires ‘safe’ storage of firearms and lays out penalties for failure to store them properly. A one-sized fits all approach to safe storage is impractical and does not take into account the wide variety of people that own and safely store their firearms.

S.B. 374 (Steinberg, D-Sacramento) Ban on the sale of all semi-auto rifles, this bill would ban rimfire and centerfire semi-auto rifles with detachable magazines with fixed magazines over ten rounds.

S.B. No. 396 (Hancock, D-Berkeley) Ban all magazines that hold more than ten rounds, regardless of the date acquired. A violation is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail.

S.B. 293 (DeSaulnier, D-Concord) Proposes any pistol or handgun sold in California to eventually be equipped with owner recognition technology.

S.B. 299 (DeSaulnier, D-Concord) Requires a 48 hour turnaround from a firearm owner discovering a firearm missing and reporting it (theft, loss or recovery) to local law enforcement. Failure to comply can result in fines and prison time.

S.B. 475 (Leno, D-San Francisco) Sets up additional hurdles for the Cow Palace to contract for a ‘gun show’ or other event at which a firearm or ammunition is going to be sold on the property.

S.B. 567 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) Changes the definition of certain kinds of “shotguns” to make them assault weapons.

S.B. No. 755 (Wolk D-Davis) This bill adds a number of crimes – including drug addiction, chronic alcoholism and others – that would result in a 10-year ban on gun ownership.

S.B. No. 683 (Block, D-San Diego) Requires all gun buyers to take a firearm safety class and earn a safety certificate.

Assembly Bill 48 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) Revises the definition of “large-capacity magazine” to mean any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds.

Assembly Bill 169 (Dickinson, D-Sacramento) BANS the sale of handguns not on the state-approved roster – this would include banning the sale of millions of old and used handguns currently owned by Californians by dealers and private party transfers.

Assembly Bill 180 (Bonta, D-Oakland) Repeals California’s firearm preemption law by granting Oakland an exemption to enact unique laws regarding possession, registration, licensing and subjecting gun owners to unknowing criminal liability when traveling through Oakland.

Assembly Bill 231 (Ting, D-San Francisco) expands the law for Criminal Storage of Firearms and child access placing unprecedented liability on gun owners.

Assembly Bill 711 (Rendon, D-Lakewood) BANS the use of all lead ammunition for hunting.

Assembly Bill 760 (Dickinson, D-Sacramento) Tax on ammunition.

With a deeply entrenched Democrat majority now controlling the state senate, the state assembly, and the governorship, California seems doomed. The state is doomed to perpetual over-spending, high taxation, and horrible gun laws. Vote with your feet, folks!

Hi James,
I'm sure you've heard of this--but on the off chance you haven't, you definitely need to: The miraculous wound-healing benefits of a goop made from sugar and betadine (povidone iodine--available cheaply everywhere). You mix together and make a paste, which can be packed into deep wounds and gouges. Some people refer to it as "sugardine."

Not everyone knows that sugar alone has been used for hundreds of years as an effective gunshot wound treatment. The high osmotic gradient it promotes attracts and traps bacteria--and animal cells are better able to withstand high osmotic conditions than bacterial cells. The addition of the povidone iodine makes it even more effective.

There are countless stories of near miraculous saves of horses with bad wounds that wouldn't heal, using this paste. I've used it to great effect on myself and on my dogs--sometimes with deep canine puncture wounds.

Ideally, it should be packed in and covered, and rinsed out and replaced everyday. But any application, under any circumstances, is a lot better than nothing. Granulated (or powdered) sugar and lots of povidone iodine are very valuable additions to prepper medical stores, in my opinion.

Here are a few medical journal articles on the topic:  

And here's a very practical video on using sugardine, from a veterinarian.

Stay Prepared! - Steve N.

The writer of the "Free Food" article wrote that she had not found a good way to preserve avocados and in the next paragraph wrote that she had not had success dehydrating citrus fruit. If that citrus fruit is lemon or lime, it is part of the answer as to what to do with those avocados!

I ordered a box of avocados prior to having a large gathering of friends and family for a long weekend. A personal tragedy prompted several of my guacamole eating guests to depart days early, so I had to think fast as to what to do with a dozen large ripe avocados and even more limes. I decided to mash the avocados and juice the limes, mix them together, put into my vacuum sealer bags, vacuum seal and freeze in serving sizes that will be eaten in a day. It has been a breeze to thaw it, add my spices and peppers and eat as guacamole as well as just thawing it and eating it as a side with Mexican food, salads, eggs, etc. The color is a beautiful bright green, probably because it's frozen with the juice and vacuum sealed.

Thanks for letting me add a little something to the contributor's letter. - Sidetrack Susie

Martha in South Bend's Rabbit/Chicken/Etc. Casserole

Here's a very simple recipe that uses what ever meat you have at hand. 
Stuffing Casserole:
3 Cups chopped cooked meat (any kind will do, great way to use up leftovers)
2 - cans Campbells' Golden Mushroom soup
2 - cups sour cream
2  - boxes stove top stuffing mix, prepared per package directions.
9" x 13" baking pan.

Mix the first three ingredients in baking pan.

Top with prepared stuffing. 

Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue baking until it bubbles around the edges and stuffing is browned.

Chef's Notes:

The first time I had it I loved it and asked the person who made it, "it's chicken, right?".  "No," she said, "it's rabbit"! (I'd had never eaten rabbit before.)

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Main Dish Casserole Recipes

Unusual Corn Casserole

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

G.G. forwarded this: Everything you could want for a nuclear fallout from Kleenex to unappetizing cans of 'multi-purpose food': California couple discover perfectly preserved 1961 fallout shelter 15 feet below their backyard. [JWR Asks: Now will they have the wisdom to fully stock it with fresh supplies?]

   o o o

A very useful tutorial: How To Wash Laundry Post-Disaster.

   o o o

Reader W.J. suggested the latest in digital privacy: Peer-to-Peer Bitmessage Software. (Given all the recent revelations, this might be the only encrypted e-mail system that is halfway trustworthy!

   o o o

Long distance looters: Police say men came from Virginia to loot in tornado-ravaged Moore

   o o o

I just read a review copy of the new e-book God, Guns, and Guts of Firearm Defense (36 Ready Preparedness Guides) by firearms instructor Sig Swanstrom. This is one of the few books that I've read on self-defense that is written from a fully-referenced Christian perspective. I highly recommend it.

   o o o

Walt mentioned this: Professional Wound Repair Kit. (Note: Because this kit includes lidocaine, a medical information form must be completed and approved by their doctor. Ditto for their antibiotics.)

   o o o

Nine Rules for Starting Your Own Farm

"There are two dangers in not owning a farm: the belief that heat comes from the furnace and food comes from the supermarket." - Aldo Leopold

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

A couple friends and I recently talked about the state of ‘things’, and how ‘things’ seem to be getting worse, and how ‘things’ are so bad that ‘things’ simply cannot get better. You’ve had those conversations, right? My friend David is well aware of the sorry state of our political system, and we’ve discussed those ‘things’ several times in the past. However, he was not thinking in terms of societal collapse. David started thinking along those lines pretty quickly, once I pointed out some weaknesses of our system, like the fact that our power utilities are not adding capacity, but reducing capacity, all at the behest of our environmental protectors at the EPA. We’ve had some bad weather in this area over the last year, and the power outages heightened his concern.
My other friend, Steve, was already thinking preparedness, and related some stories about how he buys his grown kids long term storage food for Christmas! (“What? No socks this year?”) Steve has his ear to the financial side of the equation and is quite concerned about the deficit spending and national debt.
Both my friends are also seeing clearly the moral decay of our country, and realize that the fruit of that decay will only be destruction. Needless to say, like you and me, they are looking to prepare and protect their families in whatever eventualities arise.
Then I mentioned my notion of starting a prepper store, a retail outlet that would serve our region by selling preparedness supplies and offering classes. So we started talking that over, having several meetings over the next months. We identified a location for the store, our target market, how we wanted to help our customers, and how we would compete in an Amazon.com marketplace flooded with cheap Chinese goods. We are now open for business!
We’ve come up with some good ideas, one of them being offering classes on preparedness elements. Our initial class drew dozens of people and gave us some initial encouragement that there is a potential place for local preparedness supply outlets. We notice that the attendees at our classes are fully engaged, whether beginning or advanced preppers. After the formal part of each class ends, the folks hang out for sometimes an hour, chatting, networking, and sharing ideas. This was a bit of a surprise to me because I thought that all preppers were very private, OPSEC obsessed individuals who would only reveal their first names.
In our classes, we find a discussion format works well because everyone attending is working on some piece of the preparedness puzzle. Even between two experts in one area, each learns from the other. It’s pretty cool to see two ‘experts’ taking notes during a class he or she is teaching!
In the process of opening this prepper store, David, Steve and I have been so encouraged. Before, we were thinking that there were only a few other people thinking preparedness. But now we realize that there are many, many people thinking and starting to live this way, just in our area. Our ‘destination’ for preparedness is helping folks to focus and get more serious about prepping for the gigantic disaster that our government is bringing down on our heads.
Something else is interesting… In our meetings, we have little or no discussion of politics, religion, morality, or the decline of society and impending doom. Very little. It’s as if ordinary people are getting beyond that and concentrating on the important matters of surviving and thriving. We all know that the sun came up today, the grass is growing, and the government is wasting 8 billion dollars a day, 46% of which is borrowed! That’s just a matter of course in our discussions, and we don’t waste time on it.
We are instead focusing on community building. David, Steve and I came to the conclusion early on that if only 10% of us are prepared in our rural county that we all will still suffer greatly. Now it’s difficult to convince a liberal that his thinking is destroying America, but there are many conservative people in my area who already have awakened. It’s not hard to get them thinking about prepping. If we can raise that 10% to 20% or 30%, then we are making progress. Not all of us can move to the Redoubt, and if we all did JWR would likely move back east!
Community building is the process of restoring the community atmosphere and benefits that we had in America 100 years ago. In every community there was a storekeeper, cobbler, carpenter, brick mason, etc., and these people were interdependent. They were not co-dependent, with all the negative connotations that brings today, but they were more inter-independent. Our communities today consist of individuals or families who shop at the same supermarket, but never speak. A neighbor of mine was out of work for a year, and I did not know it! We shop at the same supermarket, but never talk, and that’s not enough to support a community.
When I watch people chatting at the end of our classes, I see community building in action. “Oh! You know about solar power? I was thinking about putting in a small system. Can you tell me about what you’ve done?” That’s what we need in our community -- people sharing their expertise and friendship toward a common, meaningful goal, something more than watching the Super Bowl or American Idol.
The classes we teach are sometimes involved, and comprise topics such as radio communication, canning, food packing, medical, etc. The people who attend generally have a career and are experts at what they do, though not at what we are teaching. It is heartening to see a 60 year old grandmother hitting the books to learn about radio antennas, or a 20 year old learning about safe and proper canning. I’m getting a boost just from being around these people, and I’m finding others who have skills I lack, so I’m building my community network at the same time.
How do you build community to ensure you not only survive, but thrive? You have to take a bit of an OPSEC risk and talk to people about preparedness. In our area, we’ve had some bad weather, as I mentioned. That’s a good place to start. As I was putting up flyers at a convenience store for one of our classes, some guy standing there told me that a week long power outage was not the worst of it, but that they had a two week "boil water" requirement from the local utility after the power came back on. That was the perfect entrée for me to note the wisdom of having water and food stored for emergency use. Get them thinking with comments like, “Makes me wonder what we would have done if the power had been off for a month!”
Without taking politics or the accursed Federal Reserve, you can start a conversation with a fellow prepper. Recommend a product to them like freeze dried food that was ‘unexpectedly tasty,’ or a water filter, or how you and your spouse met a friend at the shooting range the other day. I was chatting with a buddy I had known for years and the topic of guns came up. I found out that he is an expert marksman and had taken several advanced handgun classes, with his wife, too. Both are office workers and I would have never guessed that about them.
A neighbor just changed the license plate on his car to one of the Gadsden flag designs. That opens up an easy avenue of discussion that may just well lead to a prepping dialog.
Another idea is to just call a meeting at a local library about basic emergency preparedness. Invite someone from your local Red Cross chapter to speak for a few minutes. FEMA gives out free literature (well, we are over-paying for it), shipped to you for free (we are over-paying for that, too), and the pamphlets have some great advice for short term preparedness. That will give your meeting credibility, in case the local constabulary show up to take names. That’s the first batch of your community building effort, because most people there will be interested in long term preparedness, not just how to apply a band-aid or open a bottle of water. Branch out from there.
As we have been building community, I’ve been feeling better about my family’s decision to bug-in and stay put. We are in an east of the Mississippi state which is within a several hour drive of a couple heavily populated areas. Though our county is rural, it could suffer an influx of refugees, if they survive the ride up the interstate. I’m not about to move to Idaho due to family, climate, and age.
While the greater population density is a downside, it’s not if a bunch of those people are part of my community. Every person I can get on the preparedness track is a person I will not have to feed, but one who can help me in time of need, most likely with skills and expertise, and by sharing a community workload. Who cares if there are 1,000 people per square mile, as long as most are prepared?
Another advantage to community building is it becomes the basis for the next American government. It is the survivors who write the history books, and it is the survivors who will form the next government. America 1.0 is done, we know. But freedom is not done, nor is morality, or honor, or virtue, or courage. The survivors, over time will be people with those traits, and they will force their will on the government, hopefully adjusting the framework to prevent the next politician-greed driven crash. I’m participating in training the survivors today, my community.
These people are awesome. One fellow is building an alternative fuels business. Another is taking his home off grid. Several are learning about communications techniques. Many are learning safe and effective firearms practices. A single mother is raising livestock on her own small farm. People are finding ways of getting water out of their deep wells and thinking micro-hydro installations using scrap materials.
These are the people I want to share a country with. A John Galt in every community. It’s happening!
I encourage you to build your community, wherever you are. Only about half of Americans are wed to the government check. Many of the rest have the backbone to ride out the end to the new beginning and be the men and women of strength and courage we need to build a brighter future. Yes, store beans, band-aids and bullets, but don’t neglect your community, for by working together we can determine our own tomorrow for many years after the dependents have burned Washington, DC.

I agree with Mr. Williamson’s comments.  To use a Tennessee expression I would opine that Heinberg does not know “diddly-squat” about farming.
First, my bona fides: I grew up on a farm.  Both sets of grandparents farmed with teams of mules in west Tennessee.   Some 30% of our farming acreage was used to grow food for the team of mules.  We now operate a mini farm to be self sufficient in food and to grow and save heirloom seeds for barter after “The Crunch.”  We have a Kubota B7510 tractor and all the implements.  This year we’ve some 20,000 sq ft in veggies, 48 fruit trees, oodles of grape vines.  We are professionals at this.
Some comments about returning to farming with mules follow.  Before the advent of fossil fuel powered tractors huge steam tractors were used to harvest wheat with huge combines.  There is a museum in Montana with examples of this equipment.   One issue I see with mule farming is the equipment.  I cannot fathom how to convert a 3 point hitch PTO-powered Bush Hog to be operated by a team of mules.  Around here (Tennessee's 2nd Congressional District) one often sees mule drawn equipment, much of it rusting in the open.  One idea I’ve considered is buying a large metal shed and filling it with mule drawn sickle mowers, corn planters, cultivators, single bottom turning plows, hay rakes and so forth.  These implements at some point will become extremely valuable.   As will horse collars and single trees.  Horses are self replicating, but mules are not.  A valuable business in years to come will be raising and selling mules and fabricating horse collars.
In the South in the 1930s field peas were termed “life savers.”  These require a moderately long growing season and warm weather.  Rabbits do not eat them.  This is important.   This year we have four cultivars of field peas, three of them new to us.  One gets more mass of peas from field peas as beans from any cultivar of shelly bush beans.  Moreover the peas are much more digestible. This year we have five cultivars of shelly bush beans and four cultivars of pole beans. We’ve several raised beds of Egyptian walking onions.  These keep in the ground over the winter and are often called winter onions. - Tennessean

Hi Jim,
I met Heinberg, and all the other Peak Oil heavyweights at the ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil) Conference in Sacramento, back in 2008.
It’s not “if the Hubbert’s Peak predictions are right,” but the fact that they have been proven right every time a field, individual well, or an entire countries’ oil production peaks, then goes into decline (we’re talking the rate of production, not the amount of oil remaining).
More specifically, when M. King Hubbert, as a Shell Oil geologist first presented his theories in 1956, he was ridiculed. He stated that US oil production would peak, then go into irreversible decline, sometime between 1968 and 1972. He nailed it, when US oil production peaked in December, 1970 at roughly 9.5 mbl/day (million barrels per day) production (Alaska created a secondary peak several years later, on the way down the curve – Prudhoe Bay is far past peak, incidentally) .
There is too much to discuss here regarding Peak Oil theory, as it is such a huge “forest through the trees” issue. Let’s put it this way: The global economy’s growth depends on an ever-increasing consumption of oil. The only problem is, global oil production has been flat since 2006 (and where has the price gone since, not to mention the global economy?), with actual production declines beginning any day now (the drop in global demand has created a fairly long top to this peak, aka demand destruction).
Egypt’s ousting of Mubarak was directly tied to the peaking, and decline of Egypt’s oil production, which was used for paying for the Egyptian people’s food subsidies (they really didn’t care who was running the country, after all). When Egypt went from net exporter to net importer of oil, Mubarak had to tell his people, “Look...no more cheap food...”
Having spent time in Alexandria on my way to Libya in 2011. I can vouch for the fact that Egypt is an overpopulated country, that resembles the movie Soylent Green.
Therefore, it’s not that we’ll ever completely run out of oil: It’ll just get more expensive, drive governments into debt, creating a global debt crisis, etc. In the meantime, more printed fiat currency will represent even less underlying real wealth, in the form of the Earth’s natural resources.
Granted, Heinberg represents the hippie-environmentalist side of the Doomer spectrum, along with most other Peak Oilers. (His buddy, Julian Darly, a real, ahem, eccentric guy , wrote a book called High Noon for Natural Gas, saying that we would run out of natural gas by now). However, after seeing the data myself, and doing my own research, regarding crude oil, I finally went into Sarah Connor-mode, back around 2006. And the rest is history...
Cheers, - Joe Snuffy

Spot silver took a substantial drop on Friday, closing on the COMEX at $21.69 per ounce. A dip like this would be a good time to buy. And speaking of silver, Mulligan Mint is cranking out the one ounce American Redoubt silver coins in quantity, and the shipping delays are getting shorter. For those who have been waiting, thanks for your patience.

India Central Bank Prohibits Sales Of Gold Coins. (Thanks to G.G. for the link.)

Lifestyles of the Los Angeles flippers: Big money being invested in flips. Boyle Heights and other interesting market observations.

Items from The Economatrix:

Weekly Jobless Claims; False Report Sends Stocks Up 30%

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:  Bring The Jobs Home & Stop The Wars Or Prepare For Collapse

12 Clear Signals That The US Economy Is About To Really Slow Down

The Reason an Israeli Man Couldn't Bring Himself to Turn in His Weapons Will Sound Familiar To U.S. Gun Proponents. Never register your guns, ever! History doesn't repeat, but it often rhymes.

   o o o

Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog Editor At Large) spotted this: Secret Man Caves Found in EPA Warehouse

   o o o

Radio Free Redoubt is seeking donations to defray some of their costs. Among other things they are sponsoring Pastor Chuck Baldwin's trip to speak at the upcoming Patriots and Self-Reliance Rally at Farragut State Park, near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on July 26, 27 & 28, 2013. There is a PayPal Donate button at their web site. Or you can mail a check or an anonymous money order to:

P.O. Box 757
Rathdrum, ID 83858

Make checks payable to "RBN" which is the abbreviation of their "Doing Business As"(DBA) name. Thanks.

   o o o

Some commentary by Brandon Smith: The Terrible Future Of The Syrian War

   o o o

Florida Governor Has Sheriff Arrested, Removed From Office for Allowing Concealed Carry

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." - Matthew 6:1-4 (KJV)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Today we present a guest article from a regular SurvivalBlog contributor who is knowledgeable on legal issues.


There are two questions that every gun owner will be asked to address in the near future:

1. Do you own and store firearms in your home?

2. Do you want your children and their children to inherit your firearms without undergoing a background check?

Question 1 is taken from a random selection of medical portal entrance questionnaire forms. The question appears on the form along with questions about swimming pools, drugs, alcohol etc and asks if each identified potential risk is present in the patient’s household. It is not a random question for philosophical consideration. It has recently even become the basis of litigation in a Florida Federal District Court.

In that case, the state of Florida wanted to make it clear that Florida was legislatively prohibiting the forced disclosure of firearm ownership by medical patients. Apparently, some patients were being advised that if they did not answer the question concerning firearm ownership they: 1) could be denied Medicare or 2) could be refused treatment by the physician. Florida wanted to prohibit both of these outcomes understood by the legislature to be happening within the state on a regular basis.

The District Court ruled that prohibiting the disclosure of firearm ownership was an unconstitutional infringement of the physician’s right under the First Amendment to conduct a full medical assessment. Gun ownership could be perceived, the court stated, as one contributing health risk factor a physician may need to address (based on the expertise of the physician in firearms related issues??) The questions did not, according to the court, constitute a Second Amendment infringement since the firearm owners still owned their firearms after answering the question.

Not presented in the litigation was the fact that, under Obamacare, most, if not all, patients’ health records, including the initial questions asking about gun ownership, would be forwarded to the Health and Human Services Administration. Can any gun owner doubt, given the recent IRS scandal, that HHS could construct a database search keying on firearm ownership to secure a list of every person answering such questions? Looking mere months ahead, it is not unreasonable to assume that gun ownership questions will also be appearing in health care insurance applications as well.

Question 2 is ripped directly from the Toomey Manchin gun registration legislation recently defeated in the US Congress. The legislation took great pains to insure that transfers between family members (parents, spouses, children, siblings etc) were protected and that the transferee(s) did not have to undergo a background check. Two glaring problems.

First, why did the Congress believe it had the right to determine who family members are? For example, family can be children of a second spouse who were not adopted. Not on the list of what Congress defined as “family” and left a firearm by their mother’s second husband? Under the law as it was proposed, that person would have had to undergone a background check to take possession of the firearm.

Second, and more important, who the Congress excludes today from requiring a background check it can include tomorrow and thus require that same excluded group of people to get a background check before “inheriting” firearms.

Of more pressing significance, citizens of Colorado are running out of time to document magazine ownership. The state's new magazine ban will go into effect on July 1, 2013. The Colorado Legislature made sure that the magazine law's grandfather clause is not multigenerational. That is, the grandfather clause is limited to only then-current owners of magazines as of midnight on June 30th, 2013.

Purpose of Paper

Readers of this paper who own, are interested in owning or who regularly read the various firearm publications are aware of the initial use of the gun trust – to register, own and use Title 2 weapons (including machine guns, short barreled rifles/shotguns and sound suppressors).

This paper stands for the proposition that, in light of the above two questions, the gun trust is also the perfect vehicle to:

  • vest title to non-Title 2 firearms in a gun trust and thus be able to answer Question 1 NO, I do not personally own and store firearms in my home and
  • insure private ownership of firearms (and related equipment such as magazines) in futuro by utilizing a gun trust to answer Question 2 YES, I want my children/grandchildren to inherit my firearms without having to undergo a background check.

What are guns?

For gun trust purposes, the author believes that a donor/settlor (the person(s) creating the trust) should differentiate between Title 2 weapons and Standard weapons (rifles (bolt action, semi-auto and single action), pistols (semi-auto, revolver and single action) and all shotguns (save for those with barrels of less than 18”)). In addition to using a gun trust to secure Title 2 weapons (and thus forego fingerprinting, background check, law enforcement approval of the weapon acquisition), a separate and distinct gun trust for Standard firearms and related accessories can also be utilized to fix Standard gun ownership in the trust (as distinguished from personal ownership) and thus insure the above two questions are answered correctly.

Guns are also classified as personal property. Stated another way, they are not real estate. Their transfer is by delivery of the weapon to the transferee. The law does not require a formal executed and acknowledged document to transfer gun ownership. However, a bill of sale or similar document of a weapon or accessories (such as magazines) would stand as written evidence of a weapon’s transfer to a gun trust.

What is a trust?

Generally, a trust is a relationship created by an individual (Settlor) utilizing a formal, legal document whereby one or more persons or legal entities (Trustee) holds title to specific property of the Settlor subject to certain duties to use and protect it for the benefit of others, including potentially the Settlor (Beneficiary). The written trust document must comply with all applicable laws of the state where the trust is to be administered. For example, in Texas, if a Settlor retains both the legal title and all equitable interests in property in itself as both the sole Trustee and the sole Beneficiary, a trust is not created and the Settlor holds the property as its own.

A trust can only be created for legal purposes. A trust can be revocable (at the will of the Settlor) or irrevocable. Generally, a trust cannot last forever (perpetual). Title to the property made the basis of the trust must vest in the named beneficiary (ies) within a certain time period; generally stated as a life or lives in being at the time of the creation of the interest plus 21 years plus a period of gestation (Rule Against Perpetuities).

What is a gun trust?

A gun trust is a revocable trust (revocable at the will of the Settlor) which is created to comply with the state laws where written as well as pertinent Federal laws/regulations to manage, own, possess and keep possession of firearms and related accessories within the trust past the death of the initial Settlor(s). In the author’s opinion, there are two distinct types of gun trusts:

  • Gun trusts created for the ownership and management of Title 2 firearms and
  • Gun trusts created for the ownership and management of Standard firearms.

The key to proper trust management of firearms is to keep separate the Title 2 firearms from Standard firearms. Equally as important is for the reader to understand a generic, revocable trust form is not suitable for firearm management. A gun trust instrument must be tailored to carry out the Settlor’s intentions regarding ownership of firearms and who shall ultimately own such firearms in the future.

How does a gun trust work for Standard firearms?

A Settlor (in community property states, husband and wife):

  • Retains an attorney to draw up the revocable gun trust instrument
  •  Creates the Standard gun (accessory) list for attachment to the gun trust instrument
  • Has the named Trustee(s) (along with the Settlor(s)) execute the trust agreement agreeing to serve as Trustee as well as acknowledging receipt of the trust property (Standard firearms and related accessories).
  • Transfers via a bill of sale to the Trustee(s) all Standard firearms and related accessories to be owned by the trust.

The Trustee(s) thereafter administers the gun trust, including the use of written licensing documents to allow the use of firearms by the Beneficiary(ies) or third parties. Since the trust retains its revocable nature until the terminating event(s) specified in the instrument, the parties (Settlor(s)/Trustee(s) and Beneficiary(ies)) may, for instance at the death of one of the Settlors, amend the trust to provide for new Settlors and/or Trustees and/or Beneficiaries and a new terminating event without the trust terminating.

No matter what the ATF decides via its regulation of Title 2 firearms, after the creation of a gun trust for Standard firearms, the answer to:

Question 1 is: No, I do not own and store firearms in my home.

Question 2 is: Yes, utilizing a gun trust will allow my heirs to inherit my guns without undergoing a background check.


About The Author: Mr. Hogwood is an attorney licensed in Texas. He may be reached at hoggy@nol.net.

James Wesley,
A few days ago I called a local businessman about doing some work on our water well pump.  I also asked him his advice about the possibility of later installing a manual water pump along with the electric pump.  He then began to tell me that he was at that very moment installing a manual pump for another person.  His words though were “for one of these preppers.”  He said, “I guess he’s worried about a zombie attack or something.”  This short interaction made me think about a few things that I would like to pass on.

1.  That man had no business telling me what someone else wanted on their property, especially in the way he did. 
I see it as a lack of integrity to categorize in a negative way a paying customer to a person you are talking to on the phone (that he had never met before).  When you do business with someone regarding your preparation for the future, take their integrity into account. 

2.  While this “prepper” should have remained anonymous and unmentioned to me, his downfall was obviously that he told too much about himself to the ‘well man.” 
We all like to make small talk.  Be careful though of telling too much about yourself to others, especially strangers you will only see once or twice.  After I heard what he said about the “prepper,” I just told him that I wanted one because when electric goes out occasionally it would be nice to have access to water.  Even that’s more than he really needed to know.

3.  This man who is a “prepper” is now thought of negatively by the “well man.”
Is it right that the “well man” now has judged the “prepper” for what he prepares for? No, it is not.  But it doesn’t change the facts.  I do not believe in being a man pleaser by any means; but also, much can said about saying as little as possible about yourself.  For instance - Proverbs 17:28Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”  Is the “well man” wrong? – yes.  Will that ever occur to him? – No.

4.  If the “well man” told me about the prepper, who else has he told?
In small communities, word spreads fast.  And yes, men gossip just as much as women, if not more.

5.  When times get tough, the “well man” will remember the “prepper.”
Even though the “well man” thinks preppers are crazy, where do you think he will go when his wife and kids are hungry, dirty, and tired?  Will he come in kindness?  Will he come to take in survival?  We can only speculate.  But he will remember the “prepper.”

Prepping has become cool and trendy for many.  They like to show off what they have and what they know.  That may be fine if they don’t know where to find you, but not if they do.  This makes me think of 2 Kings 20:12-18.  Here, King Hezekiah was proud and showed all of his kingdom to representatives from Babylon.  He did not give God the glory for it.  The prophet Isaiah told him that all would be lost to the Babylonians one day.  Be careful who you take into your confidence. 

Another analogy comes to mind which is far less spiritual or Biblical.  In the old “Muppet Movie,” as Kermit The Frog and Fozzie are traveling to Hollywood they stop at the old church and meet the band.  When they leave and ask Doc if he wants to come along, he declines, but adds “Maybe some day when you're rich and famous, we'll show up and exploit your wealth.”  Many people will make no preparations and simply expect someone else to take care of them (Red Cross, FEMA, neighbors, preppers, etc).  They will let you put in the time, money, and sweat and then want to jump in when you are sitting pretty.

As stated before on this blog, be careful what, who, and how much you tell.  It may come back to bite you one day.  In a final word, I am not saying you should not share or help others in need.  What I am saying is, don’t create problems for yourself.  Be careful of loose lips!

Please let your readers know that GPS jammers are illegal to own, operate, and market in the United States. Here is a link to the FCC
consumer alert on GPS jammers

While I can understand that someone could make the personal decision that their personal privacy justifies blocking GPS tracking, please be aware that these GPS jammers are very effective and can jam an area up to a mile in diameter.

There was well-publicized incident of a personal GPS jammer that shut down the aircraft landing aid at the Newark, New Jersey airport. And there are documented cases of organized crime using GPS jammers in Europe to hide their theft of high-value cargo trucks. Due to these incidents, and other reasons, the government is actively pursuing effective GPS-jammer locator systems.

I would propose to you and your readers to consider the risks before considering such a device. While it may make a great plot device for a novel, I would not personally own one.

Respectfully, - S.G. in Virginia

There is lots of news about these revelations: NSA taps in to user data of Facebook, Google and others, secret files reveal and NSA Is Seizing Millions of Verizon Phone Records and Clapper denied NSA surveillance before Senate panel in March testimony. As I've mentioned before: Never consider anything you say on the phone or anything that you do on the Internet is "private."

   o o o

Reader Joe K. suggested this new e-book: Locusts on the Horizon, authored by the Plan B Writers Alliance. It also comes highly recommended by Greg Ellifritz of  Active Response Training. It is affordably priced at just $2.99.

   o o o

G.G. flagged this news headline: Secession Plan Floated By Some Northern Colorado Leaders. And Steve D. sent this related story with some more details: Weld County commissioners propose formation of new state, North Colorado.

   o o o

"Major Henry West" (one of my associates on The FALFiles forums) wrote me to mention a great deal on Swiss 7.5mm GP-11 Ammo at AIM Surplus. They are offering it for not much more than .50 cents a round. (In today's market, where 7.62mm NATO ball is still nearly $1 per round, that is a relative bargain.) A Swiss K-31 Schmidt-Rubin straight pull rifle can be fired quite quickly and accurately, and now for the first time in my memory, they can be shot less expensively than a .308. That sounds like a great James Dakin-style "Plan B" rifle, to me! (James Dakin wisely recommends budget military surplus rifles for folks who are on a tight budget.)

   o o o

15 Wonderful Hilltop Towns and Villages

   o o o

After the beheading of a British soldier by a pair of Muslim fanatics--who were caught literally red handed--David Codrea reports that many Britons now want their guns back. They are a little late, since most of their handguns got turned into manhole covers. (Including some that we sent them early in WWII, when England faced invasion.) What a shame. But it isn't too late for them to import some 21st century gun technology. For example, envision a Ruger LC 9mm or a S&W .380 Bodyguard in just 20% of English ladies' purses and gentlemen's jacket pockets. Those would do quite well in deterring terrorist slaughter on their streets. And they are lot easier to carry around than armed Bobbies or manhole covers.

   o o o

Reader S.F. mentioned that a pilot program of matching dogs with vets was specifically vetoed by the U.S. Veteran's Administration (VA), which made it categorical that dogs would only be provided for a small and traditional list of needs, such a guide dogs for the blind. So of course others did it. An old story with a great new ending: Hounds and Heroes.

"A brother offended [is harder to be won] than a strong city: and [their] contentions [are] like the bars of a castle." - Proverbs 18:19 (KJV)

Friday, June 7, 2013

This is the last day of the big semi-annual sales on Mountain House long term storage foods at Ready Made Resources and Safecastle. Get your orders in before midnight!


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

It has been said that the most important thing about prepping and survival is having the appropriate mindset. A strong spiritual mindset will get you through many hardships.  The mindset that your survival is up to you, that the government will not be there to help you is also necessary.  Having a scavenging mindset is also important. Scavenging will be an important skill post SHTF.  A scavenging mindset means that you aren’t embarrassed by scavenging people’s trash piles, and that you see value in items that others deem as trash.

Scavenging is not the same as picking in my view.  Pickers, as made popular by several television shows, look to make a profit by finding valuable items and reselling them.  Scavenging is more about finding useful items to recycle or repurpose.  Many low-income people already have this mindset.  There is a man who makes the rounds of the neighborhoods early on bulk trash day.  This is the day that the city picks up large items from the curb. Those items that do not fit into your trash can on the regular collection day.  I also see people with this mindset at the local metal recycling facility.  They survive by having a scavenger mindset.

The scavenging mindset is important because if you are too embarrassed to be seen digging through someone’s curbside trash piles or peeking into dumpsters, then you will not be a successful scavenger. This all may change depending upon how hungry you get, but by then, you will not have the skills needed to compete.  I admit that I do not do a lot of scavenging on my residential street where others know me, but if there is a great find, I will claim it from the curb.  I get curious looks when I stop to inspect a trash pile on the curb, but the great finds from these piles has long since helped me get over any embarrassment. Another part of the scavenger mindset is seeing the value of items that most people would send to the landfill.  I’ve picked up broken pieces of PVC pipe for the elbow or T fittings on them.  Garden benches that were nothing more than the metal ends with a piece or two of the original wood seat still connecting them can be restored into a beautiful item for the porch or garden with a little elbow grease, paint, and some treated lumber – also scavenged.  My grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression,  could find a use for almost anything.  Everything was used until it was “used up.”  Sadly, society lacks that attitude today, but it is an attitude that will prove valuable in a TEOTWAWKI situation.

I scavenge in places that most pickers would never look.  Most of my finds are not valuable antiques or collectibles, but items that can be recycled, reused, or repaired. Apartment dumpsters and curbs are my main hunting grounds and have proven to be lucrative places.  I live in a community with a large university student population. These students are notoriously wasteful.  Students tend to move at the end of each semester.  Many of them are lazy, leaving furniture and boxes on the premises for their landlord to set out on the curb or place at the dumpster.  While [in my jurisdiction] dumpster diving at apartments is illegal, checking the dumpsters on the university campus at the end of the semester is not (at least there are not signs indicating that it is illegal.). The dumpster behind the engineering and architecture buildings or dorms are particularly rich in finds.  Architecture  and construction science students build large projects each semester so the students can learn design and construction skills.  Most of them have no way to transport the project home so the projects are disposed of by their instructors at the end of the semester.  These projects contain a wealth of raw materials such as lumber (plywood prices are out of this world), large nuts and bolts, new hinges, casters, PVC pipe and fittings, and many other types of hardware.  I collect and deconstruct these projects, saving the materials or using them for my own renovation projects.  My neighbors know that I’m a scavenger and will often ask if I have an extra hinge or a PVC T-fitting.  I direct them to the appropriate container and let them “shop” at will. 

Dormitory dumpsters are also a great place to shop at the end of the school year.  Students leave furniture, storage containers, and an assortment of building materials like cinder blocks either in or beside these dumpsters.  Hitting these receptacles on the last day for students to move out can yield a trove of items that can be resold in garage sales, at flea markets, or donated to second-hand stores.
Apartment dumpsters yield mostly  household items.  Large pieces of furniture are not placed in the dumpsters, but are set beside them.  Rescued pieces of furniture are either sold or donated to various charities for the tax write-off.  I have found expensive bicycles sticking out of a dumpster.  Most of the time, they only need minor repairs. 

Rental houses and duplexes produce a greater volume and variety of items.  I regularly find water hoses, extension cords, furniture, recyclable metals, patio benches, containers of various sizes, vacuum cleaners, and bicycles.  Sometimes I have to replace an end on a hose or extension cord, but often, they are completely fine (I haven’t bought a hose or extension cord in 15 years).  I once found a vacuum that a dog had chewed the cord into two pieces – replacing the cord made it as good as new. The owner didn’t know how to replace a simple power cord so they threw it away. I sold it for $40.  Patio benches can be restored for $25-30 or less in materials and a little labor. These patio benches sell for $120 or more at the big box stores. These are usually given to friends or family.  My commercial-sized wheeled barrow came off a curb.  A $10 wheel made it good as new.  My father-in-law’s neighbor left almost two rooms of furniture on the curb when he moved. e made over $300 on these items in a garage sale.

Most of the stones that I use to edge the flower beds and garden came from new home sites.  The odd-shaped pieces of stone and castoffs that the masons can’t use are piled at the curb to be hauled off. I’ve never been denied permission to sort through the rubble pile for usable stone.  Other items that I’ve found include:

  • Patio tables and chairs
  • Gas cans
  • Containers of all sizes and shapes (container gardening, storage, rainwater collection)
  • Cordage of various sorts
  • Copper and brass fittings from appliances (usually recycled for cash)
  • Electrical conduit (fence posts, plant supports)
  • Dishes and cookware
  • Golf clubs (usually sold at garage sales)
  • Flower pots in sizes up to 30 gallons (good for protecting plants from frost)
  • Plastic buckets (thousands of uses)

But, my best find were two gold coins! I had spied an Adirondack chair on a curb and pulled over to investigate.  The chair was irreparable so I began checking out some of the boxes stacked beside it.  One box was filled with old board games.  I loaded that box up and took it home. As I went through the box later that evening, I discovered a small change box in the bottom.  The top tray contained about $8 in small change (no pre-1965 coins though),  a great find in itself!  But, in the bottom of the change box was a very small coin purse.  Inside the purse was a 1/10 ounce gold Liberty coin and a 1926 Quarter Eagle gold coin! That is my most valuable find to date.  Now, I never pass up boxes on the curbside!  And, my wife finds it hard to grumble when I make a sudden stop to inspect some boxes.
Scavenging means that I don’t have to buy a lot of new things and can spend those savings on other prepping needs.  Some items can be repaired and sold for additional income. I’ve been able to barter some items for things on my prep list. In addition, I learn skills that will be useful post-TEOTWAWKI.  I know how to rewire many appliances, refinish and rebuild furniture, repair bicycles, and repurpose most anything.  I learned all of these skills by trial and error (or with the help of YouTube) on the items that I’ve found.

In post-TEOTWAWKI times, new items will no longer be available unless people develop the old skills to make things by hand.  Until that time, we will have to learn to salvage useable items and materials and learn to repair them. As Jim and other contributors emphasize, knowledge and mindset will be the keys to your survival. Your “stuff” will only get you so far. By developing the scavenging mindset now and learning the skills to repair and repurpose items, you will have the advantage over most people. 

Mr. Rawles,
Two years ago, I wrote to you prior to the abolition of the Canadian Long Gun Registry about rumors that senior officials with the RCMP were conspiring to reclassify a large number of long guns.

A major development has recently unfolded that I think merits attention to both your Canadian and American readers - as this could potentially set a major precedent pertaining to gun registration and confiscation.  

There is a lot of drama and intrigue involved between some of the owners of businesses involved, and a more comprehensive explanation of the situation can be found here (with the most current information): http://tv-presspass.com/swiss-arms-in-canada-the-full-story/

The simplest way to explain the story is the Swiss Arms Rifle is a variant of the SIG 540, which is very similar to the SIG 550.  Under Canadian law, SIG 550 and variants are prohibited, while the SIG 540 and variants are not.  The Swiss Arms rifle has been imported into Canada for over 12 years with many variants classified as Non-Restricted (the least strict classification of a rifle, requiring only a license and as of this point in time no registration).  In all probability, it is speculated that there are over 1,000 owners of the rifle which, by Canadian standards, a fairly high number.

Recently, a business came into possession of a supposed Swiss Arms rifle sold by one of their competitors, and observed that it appeared to contain SIG 550 parts - potentially rendering it a variant of the SIG 550 - and thus a prohibited firearm.  This business sent a sample to be reviewed by the RCMP who came to the conclusion that potentially all Swiss Arms Rifles are SIG 550 variants, and thus were incorrectly classified over a decade ago as either non-restricted or restricted, as opposed to prohibited.

Why this is important is prior to the Long Gun registry being abolished, the RCMP criteria for classifying firearms was very inconsistent and error prone.  As a result, it is entirely conceivable that dozens of firearms that were classified as Non-restricted in fact meet the legislation requirements to be prohibited.  Furthermore, some of these rifles could potentially be in the hands of thousands if not tens of thousands of Canadian gun owners with no official registration data to track them. 

With the abolition of the Long Gun Registry, there are reports that the RCMP is increasingly and more intensely scrutinizing firearms classifications and reopening classifications of existing firearms.  A recently leaked report has a definitive list of guns the  RCMP was reviewing for reclassification prior to the abolition of the Long Gun Registry.  The list itself is comical and completely devoid of substance. One of the most laughable points is that the the Ruger SR22 (a 10/22 dolled up to cosmetically LOOK like an AR-15) is somehow in the AR-15 family.

What this all means is, potentially, the RCMP may reclassify huge swaths of firearms that were once non-restricted or restricted into the prohibited category - effectively banning them from civilian ownership.

The big catch to this is this: with many (if not most) of these guns being Non-restricted, and the long gun registry data (supposedly) having been destroyed this past year, there is no official way the RCMP can track who is in possession of a non-restricted gun that they reclassify to prohibited, that is unless agents in the RCMP have maintained illegal backups of the data.

I learnt the hard way that many firearms businesses are very friendly with the RCMP, while some are not.  However, what is certain is firearms purchased from private businesses do maintain some paper trail, and If many non-restricted guns are prohibited, many of these businesses will either voluntarily surrender their ledger of sales or be forced to by warrant.  

However, I believe within Canada there is no requirement for private owners selling their guns to other private owners to maintain a inventory of sales (I have sold dozens of guns and never kept any paper record).  Ergo, if I bought a firearm from a business that potentially could be reclassified - I would be a bit more concerned.  If I bought one through a private sale, I would be less concerned, although classification would effectively render such firearms a prohibited device and carry a very stiff jail term.

The parties involved with the initial Swiss Arms Prohibition situation have until July 30, 2013 to petition the RCMP but either way, a ground breaking decision could potentially be made by then that could set a major precedent for gun control in Canada.

What's interesting to note in is what will happen if this happens in the middle of a Conservative Party Majority term.  Personally, I am not overly optimistic the Conservatives will do the right thing (and rein in the RCMP).

Mr. Rawles, one thing in particular I would like your guidance on is what is the Christian thing to do if you have lawfully and in good conscience acquired a firearms as a piece of property, and "Caesar" arbitrarily prohibits you from owning it?  Canada is a big place and there aren't enough Praetorians to practically enforce such an edict.  Furthermore, while I don't have any confidence in the Canadian government, I do think as a Christian you have the obligation to protect yourself and your family from theft - regardless of who is doing it.

Thank you. - H.T.C.

JWR Replies: Here in the United States, we fortunately have the protection of Second Amendment, which solemnized a God-given right that pre-dated the Constitution and that therefore invalidates most of the gun-related laws that have recently been enacted. ("Lex mala, lex nulla.") So Christians should not feel even a twinge when they ignore such laws. You can sleep soundly knowing that American Jurisprudence is clear, and on our side:

"The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, whether federal or state, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose. Since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it, an unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed and never existed; that is, it is void ab initio. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.

Since an unconstitutional law is void, it follows that generally the statute imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office or liabilities, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, is incapable of creating any rights or obligations, does not allow for the granting of any relief, and justifies no acts performed under it."

(See the detailed citation, which I've previously posted on SurvivalBlog.)

But in Canada, where you lack a similarly enshrined right, your mileage may vary.

An aside: Because of Canada's draconian handgun laws, most folks in the U.S. have a distorted view of firearms ownership in Canada. They mistakenly picture the country as uniformly anti-gun and fairly-well disarmed. The eastern provinces are indeed dominated by anti-gun liberals and gun ownership is uncommon. But in western Canada, folks raise their kids differently. Here is a picture of a new college graduate in Alberta, holding her graduation present. (That photo link came to me courtesy of SurvivalBlog's Mike Williamson.)

Everyone must decide for themselves where they draw the line in consenting to laws that they know are inherently evil. In 1938 it was against the law for a Jew to go out in public without wearing a Star of David sewn on their clothes. Would you call someone who refused do so a "criminal" or would you instead call them a "dissenter"? A free nation has legitimacy only so long as it has the consent of the governed. When that legitimacy is lost, a few brave souls need to stand up and say forthrightly: "Consent withdrawn!"

GoldAndSilverOnline.com (one of our generous writing contest sponsors) has announced a special just for SurvivalBlog readers: Use discount code: survivalblog at checkout, and get free shipping on your entire order when purchasing two or more $10 face value rolls in pre-'65 quarters or four or more $5 face value rolls in pre-'65 in dimes.  This special offer is good only until June 30, 2013, and just one free shipment per customer.

   o o o

Bugging Out? There's an app for that. The beta version of a free Bug Out Bag Checklist app is now available on the app stores: Apple iOS and Android Google Play. Alternatively the app can also be found by searching the title of the app, "Bug Out Bag Checklist", on your smart phone.

   o o o

Ol' Remus has posted some great commentary on resistance warfare.

   o o o

Reader F.G. sent: Supreme Court: Police can routinely take DNA from people they arrest

   o o o

Mike Williamson mentioned an interesting DHS ammo buy: Small quantities of unusual calibers--.45 Long Colt, .357 Magnum, and 7.62x39. [JWR's Comment: Perhaps they are a stocking some sort of TEOTWAWKI bunker.]

   o o o

An Inconvenient Truth Terminology: You might have noticed that "Global Warming" activists are quietly morphing into "Climate Change" activists. This is particularly convenient, since the last few months were the coldest spring on record in many places and in the U.K. they've had the coldest spring since 1891. Some are predicting that this summer could be the coldest since 1816 in Europe. (1816 is remembered as "the year without a summer.") Perhaps in another 10 or 20 years, the Al Goristas will claim that their dire predictions of higher temperatures and rising sea levels were "misunderstood" by the media, and what they really meant to say was that lower temperatures and lower sea levels are expected, because mankind has broken Planet Earth's thermostat--so that "climate change" can now push temperatures one way or the other. I'm no climate expert, so I'll defer to meteorologist Joe Bastardi on this issue. Keep your snow shovels handy, folks.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The 6th of June is remembered for both D-Day and for the birth of Dieudonné Saive (born 1899.) He was the designer of many well-known firearms including the Browning Hi-Power, the FN49 and co-designer (along with Ernest Vervier) of the very popular FN-FAL rifle, which was issued to the militaries of more than 90 countries.


The semi-annual sales on Mountain House long term storage foods at Ready Made Resources and Safecastle are continuing for just two more days. Both companies are offering free shipping and discounts of 25% to 40%. Take note that Mountain House plans to significantly raise their wholesale prices on July 1st, 2013, so it would be wise to order during this sale. Get your orders in before June 8th!


Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Suddenly all chaos broke loose. For a second it sounded like an unknown dog had got inside the fence. I grabbed my staff and was out the door before anyone else could react.

I was briefly reassured to see the fence was holding an unknown pit bull out but my pit bull was in full war mode. They were in fact fighting, trying to fight through the fence. Given enough time they would get through it, over it or under it. The hose was called for.

Moving quickly but carefully I unwind some hose and return to see the Sheltie engaged at the fence and I saw the moment that a two way fight through the fence turned into a three -way fight as the pit bull had engaged...pretty much everything around him. Just a split second too late I turned on the hose, disengaged my dogs and chased off the unknown dog with water.

Even though I've done many emergency and security roles, I can't eliminate that pulse of terror that runs through my body when I actually see somebody get injured. It's bad enough to be called to scenes where people are injured but you have some prep time. You are usually briefed on the situation, you get to assemble your gear on route for the call and you have some time to mentally steel yourself. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent in training for emergencies but when they actually happen there's that moment. And for me words like terror, horror and revulsion kick in first. And for me this one was pretty personally horrifying.

Shelties are herders. They are designed to work with a group, to have actual situational awareness and maintain long distance communication (visual or aural). They are fast and agile and they are made basically of legs and lungs. They can run almost for ever on dainty, almost spindly legs. Legs that fit almost entirely in the mouth of a large pit bull. And pit bulls want to bite and hold, they want to bite down. A large dog can break any single bone in yours or my body with about 850 pounds of crushing force. Therefore the extra dose of horror as I realized this conflict was for real and had injured the little one. Oh no.

The little guy was hurt. He cried in pain. Bad news. Bad, bad news. But then “the elevator goes all the way to the top” and that adrenaline rush hits that us emergency types not only know how to manage, we thrive on it. Your senses suddenly turn up to 110%, mind goes into hyperdrive, all of your training descends upon you like a gown of silken armor and in a split second, bam. You are in action.

  1. Separate combatants, war dog out, Sheltie in.
  2. Lift and cradle Sheltie off injured leg, very gently place on bed. Shut and lock door to establish control of scene.
  3. Reassurance flowing to Sheltie, I am the human, I will take care of you.
  4. Begin calming dog through kind touch and breathing patterns. Eliminate fear.
  5. Begin primary survey: determine extent of injury, single bit to left foreleg, no other injuries, no blood in ears, eyes, clear, nose and mouth clear.
  6. Gently palpate entire effected leg starting with shoulder. Shoulder still inserted into rotator cuff (good). Doggie humerus intact (good). Doggie radius and ulna seem intact (good). No puncture wounds on paw or paw pads (very good).
  7. Gentle, limited range of motion tests on all joints reveal no crepitus (grinding feeling of broken bones) or screams from dog.
  8. Swelling (edema) has begun around 6 puncture wounds--the classic dog bite pattern.

Diagnosis: Deep tissue puncture with deep tissue bruising due to crushing force. Classic large dog bite injury.

First aid: same as humans mostly. Immobilize the patient in a position of comfort that maintains airway, breathing and circulation (particularly in points on the other side of the injury from the heart (distil circulation) because broken bones can block off blood flow. No massive bleeding detected. At this point some splinting and dressing is indicted for the human, probably while we transport them to a hospital or doctor. For the animal most folks would have us transport the animal to a vet.

But heck we're preppers and in my family, dogs are a luxury animal. As have been horses for several generations. There's no budget for this treatment. If this same injury happened to me (which similar has several times) there's no budget for my treatment either. Besides we're preppers so here's where we begin our own second stage care and all following stages.

Remedial care: Try to clean and evaluate. the areas. With humans this might mean shaving hair away a good inch or so around the areas and with dogs it definitely means you are shaving. Shaving also preps you for sutures so don't be afraid to open up some field to work in. A good inch all around should suffice but hey, we want a sterile field so 2 inches is better.

Fortunately this dog wasn't scared to death by the little shaver I have on this face shaver I got in the thrift store for $2.00. It has a sideburn attachment or maybe a beard hacker and it's pretty quiet and didn't totally freak him out the way Bernie The Barber's scaled down lawn mowers would. If that didn't work I have a pair of those old fashioned “balding clippers”.

Manual balding clippers are a little trick I keep in my first aid kit (which is more like a field surgery than first aid kit) that everybody should have along with disposable razors for this purpose. For depilation (hair removal) in the field when you can't plug in a buzzer. Balding clippers are these old fashioned scissor thingies you might have seen in your grandfathers water closet cabinet. Pick up a pair in good order, the blade can be sharpened up and they work pretty good when you get the hang of them. There's a trick to not snagging the patient's hair with them and making them squeak (the patient not the shears).

Balding the bitten areas on my little guy I could see he got the primary canines in the center of leg mass. There wasn't much to do but clean the skin surface with some peroxide and let him bleed for bit.

Puncture wounds like bite wounds don't bleed profusely. In a way we almost wish they did. A good puncture will go through all of your dermal layers, the fatty layer underneath, the gliding membranes that cover our muscles, the muscles themselves, tendons, nerves and right down to bone. Whatever contaminants or pathogens you got punctured with might get flushed out a bit more with blood flow. My patient was internally contaminated.

See whatever was in pit bull's mouth was now in my patient's blood stream. Dog mouths, contrary to popular wisdom are not sanitary, antibacterial environments. To science they are full of very virulent (nasty) bacteria. So the continuing steps of care remained consistent with human treatment. Having shaved a good part of the Sheltie's leg I began to try to flush out and “departiculate” the punctures. And there's really not much you can do. “Washing” a wound that goes right through the skin and into the body is basically potentially injecting more foreign agents directly into the patient. With most lacerations and abrasions you don't have a direct hole into the body cavity and we more aggressively departiculate (pull out gravel twigs, dirt, etc). In this case I opted for peroxide to try and lift any contaminants close to surface and let them ooze.

Punctures tend to kinda ooze blood and they can continue to for a long time. Days in fact. Not only do you have severed blood vessels but with bites you have all this swelling and fluid building up because of crushed tissue. We actually want this to drain. Dogs have more of a tendency to abscess, which is develop pockets of infection below your skin and this is because a  dog's skin kinda glides over their muscles. It's not as bound to their subderma the same way ours is and infection tends to develop right between those layers. Not that humans don't run the same risk but we also have hands and great flexibility to treat ourselves. For dogs, immediate sutures, steri-strips, skin glue in this case is not indicated. We don't want the skin to close with this type of puncture if we're not trying to control major bleeding. I applied triple-antibiotic to the areas and dressed them per normal to move on in treatment.

See the clock was running and each treatment phase has a window. The effected limb was now swelling and this would complicate treatment, increase risk and increase recovery time. So to reduce this, in addition to immobilization we have elevation, compression and ice.

Now with animals, immobilization, elevation, compression and ice aren't always practical, especially without tranqs but you use the options that you can. In our case, immobilization and ice worked better than anything else as we moved into phase 2 of care. We managed to calm the Sheltie enough to keep him on his side, effected limb in the air, immobilized and then we tried to get cold ice compresses on him and keep them there as long as we could. By now I had enlisted help. The “we” part was making a big positive difference as Shelties are very curious and he kept wanting to pick his head up to see what was going on. Having help to keep him reassured was very helpful. And just like a human patient he was very curious about all of the instruments and dressings and he wanted to find out what everything was by sniffing at it.

Again we come to a juncture where if you have received the same treatments at the hospital Emergency Room (ER), you would be given a course of follow up treatment and discharged on an outpatient basis. But we are the ER and we are the follow up treatment and we are the outpatient basis. And I had a problem with supply. I was out of antibiotics. And a ride to get some was not immediately at my disposal. I canvassed the neighbors and found no antibiotics. “You are who we come to for that stuff, L.J.", they said. It was true. And I had not restocked fast enough.

Garlic is a bactriostatic agent. It sometimes doesn't totally wipe out bacteria but it will keep it's growth in check. The little guy didn't like being made to swallow raw garlic but...he was a very good patient. Very tolerant. This held him to day 2 at which he was showing signs of sepsis. In dogs you will see the eyes go unclear, reddish, kinda fuzzy, nose will warm up and dry out and lethargy set in. A friend relented to my begging, and got to the pet store for fish antibiotics.

Perhaps the golden jewel in the prepper pharmacopial cabinet, pet stores have long been our exclusive source of affordable antibiotics. In this case we chose erythromycin. Intended for use in fish tanks, this comes in powdered form. A bit of research on human child dosages and a bit of guesstimation led me to about 1mg administered twice orally after an initial dose of 2 milligrams.

Lethargy diminished in 12 hours. His full energetic character resurfaced more fully in 24 hours. A save! See left untreated this dog would have suffered sepsis and died of organ failure probably within 48 hours. His immune system had already tried and failed to beat the bacteria in his blood.    It was filling his body up with deadly toxins. That bite in the wild would have been fatal. I kept him on an 8 day course of treatment.

Now for a human the story would have likely been the end of it. Send them home with some gauze and some tape and let them dab vitamin E oil on their scabs. Human instinct tells them to complain. Dog instinct tells them to lick. A dog will lick right through their skin. Licking injuries are ugly and they can lead to all kinds of problems.

To make things worse, you really don't want to wrap gauze, tape or Ace bandages around animals like dogs. There's the chance they can get snagged on something or if you are wrapping their legs, the animal might nibble, tear and then find enough to actually pull on. They might tighten the bandage and cut off their own circulation and become seriously injured if you don't detect and correct the problem immediately. But I was running low on supplies. I left the little guy with a neighbor and dashed off to Prepperfest. Luckily not only did I know the guy behind one of the best stocked prepper medic tables but he heard the situation and picked up what I needed. Gauze bandage impregnated with no-lick, a chemical that doesn't harm dogs permanently, they just hate the taste. A quick loop of that stuck in place with no threat to circulation. Now little guy's wounds have closed nicely. He's out of the woods. A dog's life was saved. Take a deep bow folks. Our methods work.

Note that dosage here is important. The troublesome acute results of over-medicating with antibiotics can be anaphylaxis which is where your body becomes allergic to an element or compound which in time will produce symptoms like the sepsis we were originally treating for. Both will manifest in “shock” in acute stages (rapid, thready pulse, shallow respirations, lack of perfusion, low to no level of consciousness and eventually death).

Now as I've indicated, this is pretty much the same course of treatment I'd apply to myself or another human without access to medical care and as usual I take the legalistic precaution of saying “don't you try this at home.” But it's a common scenario and a very real application of preps. I'm fortunate to have had the training to be able to cope with a little help from friends.

The little Sheltie is back to springing like an arrow loosed from a compound bow (they accelerate through release), blazing through open fields and it's looks like we have many more years of fun together. It certainly makes me grateful to be a prepper and to have learned from so many people.

About The Author: L. Joseph Mountain recently published Hidden Harvest: Long Term Food Storage Techniques For Rich And Poor. He keeps a web site at www.LongTermStorageFood.com where "articles are sometimes archived, info is irregularly updated  and questions are occasionally answered." 

Over at the One Scythe Revolution web site, Peak Oil expert Richard Heinberg states that in order to continue to grow the same amount of food in the future, without the use of cheap oil, we will need 40-to-50 million farmers, farming 3-to-50 acres each, cultivated with hand tools. No, not like in the Middle Ages. We are talking about "appropriate technology" here.

But let's face it, "appropriate technology" is wielded by slaves. Masters wield guns. Slaves wield scythes.

Here is quote: "One good scythe per farm, could revolutionize small-scale farming." I kinda feel like this has already been done.

I think the author of this tripe has never actually farmed on a large scale and has no sense of the man hours required. Also, mild steel work-hardened with a hammer and honed with slate was state of the art, around the year 900.  Carbon steel that can be heat treated has been the cool setup since around 1100 AD.  More recent alloys allow even better toughness along with light weight.  While the Austrian design may be better, it would still benefit from modern materials.

Then, of course, even 19th Century horse-drawn harvesters were tremendously more efficient:  

"Draft horses are used at Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS to harvest and stack the annual hay crop. The stacks keep the hay preserved until winter when it is fed to the site’s livestock.
The hay harvesting process involves five steps: cutting, drying, raking, gathering, and stacking.

Upon reaching maturity in mid-summer, the hay is cut with a horse drawn mower. The team of horses, mower, and operator go round and round the field cutting a 5 foot swath with each round. Once the cut hay has dried, the draft horses are hooked up to either a side delivery or dump rake. The rakes are used to put the hay into long windrows. The horses are then hooked to a buckrake. The buckrake has fork like teeth that sweep under the windrows and gather them up into large hay piles. The piles are then taken by the buckrake to either an overshot or beaverslide hay stacker. The hay stackers utilize a pulley and cable system powered by horses to gain leverage to lift the hay piles off the ground and drop them into the haystack.
Demonstrations of the equipment used to harvest and stack hay will be given by Grant-Kohrs Ranch staff and horses."

And other animals can serve for various processes that are presently done with internal combustion engines--such as goats for clearing brush.

As far as forging scythes, without modern powered forges and induction furnace, either one mines coal, or uses every man in the village for a week to do a large scale charcoal burn to manufacture fuel.

- Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog Editor At Large)

JWR's Comment: If the Hubbert's Peak predictions are right, then the best places to be will be those with rich soil and plentiful hydroelectric power. Scythe? Check. Battle rifle? Check. Electric ATV that can pull a Plotmaster? Check. Electric power (with batteries) is not quite as versatile and lightweight as fossil fuel-powered machinery, but it sure beats doing it all by hand.

Perhaps the new rule book will be written by those who can afford horses, harness, horse-drawn hay mowers and enough land to provide sufficient hay for the requisite winter feed (which can be harvested with those same horses).

Only freeholders with both productive farm land and guns will remain free.

The "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course" is continuing to sell briskly, since it is now priced at less that $20. You'll get immediate delivery, via digital download.

   o o o

Welcome to the circular firing squad: Liberals’ urge to self-destruction. And meanwhile: Hundreds of Gunowners Show up in Temple, Texas with Loaded Guns At the “Come and Take it” March. And in Colorado: Big Apple Bucks: Morse Tells Post He Hopes Bloomberg Sends Some More Money. How sweetly ironic, coming from a Governor who tweets: "I intend to fight this – we cannot allow outside interest groups to determine what is best for Colorado."

   o o o

Tim J. sent: World's first flat pack truck developed for emerging markets.

   o o o

F.G. sent: Maine Passes "Historic" Legislation - Require Warrants for Cellphone Tracking. "On Wednesday, the state House voted 113-28 in favor of legislation that would in all but exceptional cases prohibit law enforcement agencies from tracking cellphones without a warrant. If enacted, LD 415 would make Maine the first state in the country to require authorities to obtain a search warrant before tracking cellphones or other GPS-enabled devices." Coincidentally, here is an interesting new product: The GPS Jammer. This is from the same company that sells a GPS tracker detector and a variety of cell phone jammers.

   o o o

B.M. pointed me to this at Makezine: A Foot-Powered Lathe

"When the oil stops, everything stops, nothing left in the fountain
Nobody wants paper money son, so you just well stop countin'
Can you break the horse, can you light the fire, what's that I beg your pardon
You best start thinking where food comes from and I hope you tend a good garden

Getting down on the mountain, getting down on the mountain
Don’t wanna be around when the sh*t goes down
I'll be gettin on down the mountain

When the truck don’t run, the bread don’t come, have a hard time finding petrol
Water ain't runnin' in the city no more do hold any precious metal
Can you gut the fish, can you read the sky, what's that about over crowdin'
You ever seen a man who's kids ain't ate for 17 days and countin'

Getting down on the mountain, getting down on the mountain
Don’t wanna be around when the sh*t goes down
I'll be gettin' on down the mountain

There ain't no heat and the powers gone out, It's kerosene lamps and candles
The roads are blocked its all grid locked, you got a short wave handle
Can you track the deer, can you dig the well, couldn’t quiet hear your answer
I think I see a rip in the social fabric, brother can you spare some ammo?

Getting down on the mountain, getting down on the mountain
Don’t wanna be around when the sh*t goes down
Gettin on down the mountain

When the oil stops, everything stops, nothing left in the fountain
Nobody wants paper money son, so you just well stop countin'
Can you break the horse, can you light the fire, what’s that I beg your pardon
I think I see a rip in the social fabric; brother can you pass the ammo?"

- Corb Lund, from the lyrics to "Gettin' Down On The Mountain"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I have discovered an ongoing source of mostly organic, quality food that requires only my commitment, labor and time as payment. Because it often arrives at my house in amounts greater than can be consumed immediately, most of it is being preserved to add to my long-term storage of foods in preparation for the days ahead when obtaining such food will be difficult.

A new food shelf opened in my town a bit more than a year ago. This particular food shelf works with a major chain of well-known grocery stores. The food shelf accepts the fresh produce and flowers that cannot be sold because of bruising, spoilage, etc., other types of food near their expiration date, and day-old bread.

The food shelf has employees and volunteers who pick up the donations from the grocery stores three times or more per week. The food is placed in refrigerators and freezers as needed or arranged on a row of tables so that clients can see what is available and choose what they want to take with them. The food shelf is open three times weekly for distribution to clients. There are no monetary restrictions on who can get food; the only limitation is that clients can take food just twice each month. (The exception to this twice-per-month limit is bananas and bread; because they are given to the food shelf in abundance, there is usually enough of both that anyone can take these at any time, dependent only on availability.) The limitation of twice-per-month per client household is set to allow more clients to be served.

When the food shelf first opened, I thought of the food that could not be distributed to clients. I understand about “seconds” from a grocery store; some stores sell these seconds at a reduced price; some seconds are not worth buying. I realized that the food shelf would likely have at least some produce that the clients would not want, and knew the food shelf would have to find a way of disposing of it, the most likely option being it would be thrown into a garbage bin, with the food shelf paying to have it hauled away. I approached the food shelf director to see if I could have those items for my family's consumption, or my compost bin. I knew that I could handle large amounts of “green” compost as I live near a forest and have easy access to as much “brown” as I need to mix with it to make great compost.

The food shelf director was pleased to have a way to dispose of the unwanted produce that did not require paying the garbage man to haul it away.

What I discovered when I brought the rejected produce home was that there was a lot of produce that was still edible, if only someone would take the time to rescue it instead of throwing it away.

My mother and father grew up through the Great Depression years, and had both been raised by parents who had lived through starvation times. One grandmother wrote of her father buying, cheaply, fish that was going bad, then pickling it to disguise the rot before feeding it to his children, who were grateful for any food whatsoever. Though she never went to that extreme, my mother was great at rescuing food. She would shop at a local produce store, often buying crates of fruit or vegetables that were starting to go bad. She taught us how to sort, clean, and recover the good food that was disguised by the bad food. To this day it makes me feel sad to see good food – food that could be feeding people – thrown away.

I have for over a full year gone to the food shelf at least two times per week after the weekly distributions. I haul home any produce that is left after the clients have taken what they want, food that won’t be edible by the next distribution day. By taking responsibility for this rejected produce, I have filled my compost bin with a variety of wonderful rotten fruits, vegetables and flowers, and have been able to eat and preserve hundreds of pounds of food that otherwise would have been thrown away.

Let me make this clear: I do not take food from the clients. The food shelf gets the food from the grocery store. The clients choose what they want to take on distribution days; volunteers are also allowed to take home what they can use. I only go to the food shelf when the distribution is done, and take only what they have left if it will not keep until the next distribution time.

I have no way of predicting what or how much of something I will get to take home; there are too many variables to project that. The grocery store gives different items in different amounts, depending on the season and what they have not sold. The food shelf clients have different desires and tastes, so they may choose to take a lot of one thing but only a little (or none) of another. Whatever it is and in whatever amounts, I get the leftovers.

Some weeks I bring home enough food to be recovered that I work many hours getting it prepared and preserved. Some days I bring home nearly nothing – perhaps just a few pieces of rotten fruit for the compost bin.

There have been times when the reason the food was sent home with me was not because it was bad, but because the food shelf got it in such a large amount that there was not the clientele to take it all. Such was the case when I brought home 60 dozen packages of basil. Yes, that’s 720 of those cute little plastic containers of basil. It took a long time to open all those packages, and to sort the bad from the good. I used and gave away some of the basil, froze some, and dehydrated the most of it. A similar situation allowed me to take home 200 pounds of bananas on one day.

I have been able to process all this food using only the kitchen equipment I had in my household: my stove, pots and pans, colanders, dehydrator, knives and cutting boards. Because of this endeavor, I have upgraded my collection of bowls to include some very large ones, and have gotten a larger colander, too. I purchased a gizmo that allows me to fill baggies hands-free. I will continue to upgrade my equipment as bargains are discovered, but could have reasonably continued with just what I had at the start, regular items found in most any kitchen.

The week I wrote this article, my first visit to the food shelf yielded a small bucket of very rotten fruit and vegetables that went directly into the compost bin. In addition, I carried in three large boxes of recoverable food including 13 1-lb packages of strawberries, seven 8-oz packages of edamame, seven 10-oz packages of shredded cabbage, approximately 16 pounds of apples (mixed types), about six pounds of bananas, 12 bags of Swiss chard, and one pomegranate.

When I visited the second time a few days later, all that was left was small quantities of a variety of items – not enough to preserve, but just right for my husband and I to eat up: two packages of mostly-good strawberries, three small yellow summer squash, three small tangerines, one eggplant, one small purple potato, one very ripe avocado, one bag of romaine lettuce leaves, one bag of spinach leaves, and one bag with a head of red and a head of green oak lettuce. I also had a half-bucket contribution for the compost bin of rotten food which included bananas, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, and more.

From the produce I brought home on Monday, I found that the Swiss chard, when opened, was too far gone to be used, as was the pomegranate, so they went to the compost bin (the plastic bags from the chard were thrown into the garbage.) I parboiled the edamame and the cabbage (separately, of course), drained it well, and dehydrated it for future use. Aside from a few individual beans and a few shreds of cabbage, the rest was in perfect condition, but would not have held, even refrigerated, until the next distribution day. The cardboard overwrap and the plastic containers from the edamame went into the recycle bin.

The strawberries were a mix of near-perfect and rotten. I separated out the truly bad ones to put in the bucket for the compost, and sliced the rest, trimming off the bruised parts. I save some out for immediate eating, and was able to freeze eight quarts for upcoming treats. Again the plastic containers were recycled.

A few of the bananas were too ripe even for banana bread or were split open (possibly allowing fruit flies or other vermin to enter), so they went into the compost bucket. The rest I sliced to dehydrate. In the past I have frozen some very ripe bananas, but as we are anticipating a move in the not-too-distant future, I am trying to eat down the food from the freezer and prefer to dehydrate. Because bananas are a fruit I frequently bring home, and sometimes in large amounts, I have given away many to friends and family members. Overly ripe bananas are like kittens: You can give away only so many before everyone you know has reached their limit. Personally I use the frozen bananas for baking, and to make banana shakes (a bit of milk added to the frozen bananas, run through the blender, makes an ice-cream-like treat that is healthful and tasty.)

Some of the apples, also, were too rotten to salvage; I have found that if a bruise causes an apple to rot to the core, even if it’s a small area, it taints the entire apple to make it unpalatable. Rotten apples do not go to waste, though. I put them out for the deer and squirrels to enjoy. The rest of the apples I chose to slice or to dice for dehydrating. In the past I have frozen some, and have made up many jars of applesauce. Peelings, of course, are added to the compost bin.

At the food shelf I am known as The Compost Lady. Friends call me The Queen of Dehydrating. Though I have used a dehydrator for many years, it is only through my ongoing relationship with the food shelf that I have greatly broadened my knowledge of dehydrating.  I have discovered that nearly any herb, fruit or vegetable can be dehydrated. Note the “nearly” in that last sentence. I have found no way to dehydrate artichokes (though I discovered they can freeze well with very little preparation). I also cannot dehydrate avocados as they have too much oil; I have yet to find a good way to preserve them, which is disappointing as I love them, but simply cannot eat 16 of them at a time. (I did learn, though, that very ripe avocado makes a lovely spread on un-buttered toast.)

I have not been successful in dehydrating citrus fruit, so I stick to juicing those and freezing the juice. Same with pomegranates. I tried dehydrating watermelon, having read it makes a wonderful flavoring for punch and as an addition to frosting. However, I was not able to keep it dehydrated; no matter how I packaged the dried watermelon, it always soaked moisture from the air and re-hydrated, but not in a way that made it useable.

Over the past year I have used several methods of preservation: freezing; making jams, jellies and other preserves; making sauces (mostly apple and pear); canning; and dehydrating. Because dehydrating is easy and relatively fast (compared to some of the more complicated ways listed), and because dehydrated food keeps well for long periods of time, it has become my favorite method of preservation. I own several books about dehydrating, but the two that I use most are Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook, and The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt and Don Mercer. Both of these books teach not only how to dehydrate food, but also how to use the food after it has been dehydrated.

From these books and personal experience I have found that if I usually eat the food raw (such as with most fruits and many vegetables), I will dehydrate the food without cooking it. If I normally eat the food cooked (such as potatoes), I will parboil the food before dehydrating it.

By taking the unwanted food from the food shelf, I have gotten to try many types of fruits and vegetables I would not likely have tried if I had to pay for them. Fruits and vegetables that were new to me that I have now eaten and preserved include edamame, figs (both black and green), ginger, kale, many kinds of lettuces and other leafy vegetables, mangoes, and papayas.

I have preserved hundreds of pounds of more common fruits and vegetables, too, including apples, bananas, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, corn, cranberries, eggplant, several types of herbs, kiwis, kohlrabi, melons. mushrooms, strawberries, peaches,  pears, peppers (sweet and hot), plums, potatoes, pumpkin, string beans, summer squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and various winter squashes (often bagged pre-diced, meaning all I need to do is parboil and dehydrate).

I have learned that the drier the food is when it comes off the dehydrator, the better it keeps for me. When I first started hauling home great quantities of food, I was in a hurry to get it all preserved, and sometimes took the food off the dehydrator earlier than I should have. As I’ve gone back to check on that food after some months, I’ve found that the moisture left in it made it rot, and I had to throw it out. Thankfully I put most of my dehydrated food in zip-type baggies, usually in the quart-size bags, thinking it would be easier to use the contents of a quart bag for cooking before the contents re-absorbed water from the air. So, when I checked those early efforts of dehydrating and found the rotten food, I had to throw out only small portions rather than large amounts. (Of course rotten fruits and vegetables, even if dehydrated first, make good fill for the compost bin.)

Once a baggie has been filled with dehydrated food, I remove as much air as possible, either by squeezing it out (rolling it, as in the case of shredded cabbage) or by sucking the air through a straw. The filled baggies are then placed in tins. I tried putting my dehydrated food in glass jars and “oven canning” them to seal them, but have not had great success with that. Instead I opt for the tins – cookie tins, popcorn tins and such that I buy from thrift stores or get from others; my family and friends know that I seek these tins out, in various sizes. I store my baggies of dehydrated food, by type, in a tin which is the right size for whatever amount I need to store long-term. I use address labels as stickers for labeling the contents. Because we have a number of plastic coolers (the type used for picnics) that are usually stored empty, my husband got the idea to put the tins into the coolers, adding yet another level of protection from moisture and vermin.

I am grateful for the food I’ve been given. I would like to be able to give it back – preserved – to the food shelf clients, but that is not allowed because I do not have a certified kitchen. I’m not sure what I’ll do with all the preserved food. I figure, though, that God knows what he is doing in trusting me with it. It will feed my family and anyone else under my roof when we hit TEOTWAWKI. It will make good bartering material, too. (How many of you have enough basil stored up? I’ll trade you some for what you do have!)

The system that has developed – the store donating to the food shelf, the food shelf allowing clients to take food, then giving me what does not keep – has produced a string of benefits to all. The store gets a tax deduction for donating the food to the food shelf. The food shelf is able to provide free food to the clients. The food shelf does not have to dispose of rotten or excess food in the garbage bin. I get a fabulous mix of rotten food to put in my compost bins, and an equally fabulous mix to eat or preserve. My long-term-storage food supply has grown tremendously in this way.

I know that as long as I am able and desire to do so, I will be allowed to collect the food that cannot be distributed by the food shelf.  When we move, I will have to stop; I am hoping someone else will be able to benefit in my stead. I will look for another source of free food near my new home. I know that there are often trees, bushes or gardens that go unharvested, perhaps, for example, owned by elderly people who can no longer use the crabapples from their tree, or by people uninterested in preserving the berries that are growing in their yards. There are farms that allow food to rot in the field because it can’t be sold; there are other grocery stores and food shelves that have produce that is thrown away. I trust that with a little ingenuity and by asking a few questions, I will be able to find other sources of free food, and that you can, too. Unspoiled people food should go to people, to eat now or later. Compost heaps should only get what can no longer safely be used by people. 

Good Morning Captain Rawles,
With the weather warming dramatically in the south, the winter grown crops are fading due to the heat and longer days.
Our high temps are in the 80s and our lows are in the mid-70s now.  As folks notice that their turnips, mustard greens, broccoli, and collard greens start to get tough leaves that are not good to eat, they rush to pull them up and plant something else.  This is a mistake, if you are looking for seed security.  We have just finished harvesting our seed for this fall from these plants.  We have saved turnip, mustard, collard, broccoli, radish, and sage seeds.  As all of these plants age, they will put out flowers on top.  The flowers will be replaced by seed pods. These pods will fill out slowly and start to turn a light tan.  Check them daily at this point.  Once they start to turn brown and the pods start to crack open easily when you squeeze them, they are ready to harvest. I cut them from their stalks with some hand clippers and put them in a 10 quart bucket.  Then I use my hand to crunch them inside the bucket by squeezing with my hand.  I then briskly shake the bucket from side to side or up and down.  All the seeds will go to the bottom, and the husks will move to the top.  Then the husks are easily picked out with your fingers.  If you want to get the seeds really free of husks, you can pour them from one bucket to another in front of small fan.  Once the seeds are separated, be sure to put them in a sealable container with a small quantity of diatomaceous earth and label them.  Be certain that the seeds are dry and stay dry or else they will sprout or rot making them useless.  You make think reading this, "I don't want to mess with that, I'll buy mine". However, in today's world we've experienced seed shortages in our area. 

In the coming expected collapse, there may be no stores open. Also, these seeds mentioned above sell for several dollars per ounce.  They will make a very valuable barter item in desperate times. I know that some of you may not like eating these type of plants. However, in my region during the Great Depression, some folks survived the winter eating these types of greens and cornbread they made from the ground corn seeds they had saved. They are high in vitamins and there are many different ways to fix them. A well known chef on the internet has a recipe for "greens" that starts out with a half pound of bacon. I would tell my children growing up that the difference between something you would not eat or would eat was 72 hours. Regards, - M.E.R.

Just as we assumed: Red States Have Most Economic Potential. (A hat tip to H.L. for the link.)

This Crazy Extend & Pretend Economic World. Here is a quote: "The Japanese government spends 24% of its annual revenues on interest expense, but only because the average interest rate is quite low. If interest rates rise to 2.2%, their interest expense will consume 80% of the government revenues."

Reader Bob G. suggested this: The Four Big Risks Massive Money Has Brought to the U.S. Economy

The price of Austerity in Italy: Homemade Bread

The Feds Seized Another Bitcoin Site.

Items from The Economatrix:

18 Signs That Massive Economic Problems Are Erupting All Over The Planet

Gold Trader:  "Stock Market May Crash 10-20% In Next 5-10 Days, Will Create The Set-up For Bubble  Phase In Gold

Real Wages Decline Again

Reader "AmEx" sent: Department of Homeland Security Forced to Release List of Keywords Used to Monitor Social Networking Sites. In other gov-tech news: E-mails of top Obama appointees remain a mystery

   o o o

The big semi-annual sales on Mountain House long term storage foods at Ready Made Resources and Safecastle are continuing for just a few more days. It is is important to note that Mountain House plans to significantly raise their wholesale prices on July 1st, 2013, so it would be wise to order during this sale. Get your orders in before June 8th!

   o o o

Reader W.J. suggested this very thorough instructional piece: Weapons Caching for Martial Law.

   o o o

Steve G. recommended this piece over at Black Five: Warning Shot? Their conclusion: Both warning shots and talking to the police without first consulting your attorney are bad ideas.

   o o o

Arrogant defiance and denial of the Separation of Powers, beyond belief: Kerry Says US Will Sign UN Arms Treaty, Ignores Congressional Opposition. What part of "advice and consent" doesn't he and BHO understand? This announced treaty signing has led me to update an old saying: You can tell a despot by his spots.

   o o o

Seed for Security has announced another special offer. With the purchase of their Super Survival Pack you will receive a free packet of Flint Indian Corn (approx. 300 seeds), and a free 3/4-pint pouch of White Proso Millet (approx. 32,000 seeds.) The Super Survival Pack includes 5,500 open-pollinated, non-GMO vegetable seeds (18 varieties) plus a pint each of Hulless Oats and Winter Rye. The shipping weight for this pack is four pounds. This is their most popular product and comes with a four-page Seed Saving Guide. This offer is for a limited time.

 "The man who has a garden and a library has everything." - Cicero

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

One of our motivations for making disaster preparations was the tornado scenario.  Living in Tornado Alley, there is a reliable risk every May and June.  Each spring brings numerous alerts and trips to the closet when the sirens go off.  This was my first experience of a tornado disaster since moving to Oklahoma eight years ago.

On May 12th  of this year, the sirens went off three times, which means a tornado has been spotted on the ground nearby.   My sister and I headed to the safe room each time, where our “disaster bags,” water and snacks were stashed.  Nothing happened in our area and we were relieved.

On the Monday morning of May 20th, I called for an appointment with the chiropractor and they had an open slot at 2 pm.  I knew a storm was headed our way sometime in the afternoon/evening.  Feeling a little uneasy, I rationalized that I would probably be home by the time the storm hit. Mistake # 1:  knowingly making an appointment at a time of potential risk.  I did not listen to my intuition.   
It was 2: 40 pm, my appointment was over and I stopped at the waiting area where a couple other clients were watching the television.  The staff had come out to the waiting area and we all heard a concerned newscaster say, “this is a monster tornado, a mile wide,  get underground. “FIND SHELTER UNDERGROUND NOW!”  The blood drained from my face and my heart began to pound.  What should I do?  We just had a safe room installed this past January and I felt more confident as the tornado season approached.  I finally had a safe room and now I wasn’t home to use it!

My home was about 7 miles away in the direction of the tornado.  In other words, I would have to drive toward the approaching tornado in order to get home.    The tornado was approximately 12 miles from my home in the opposite direction.    In normal traffic, the 7 mile drive with 7-8 traffic lights, usually takes me about 15-20 minutes.  The big question was, could I get to my house before the tornado?  It seemed too big of a risk to me.  The second big question was, do I even want to be home and was the above ground safe room, safe enough?  The newscaster said, “ UNDERGROUND!”     
My sister, a computer tech specialist, was working remotely from home.  She texted me to say that she was heading to the safe room, the tornado was at such and such a street.  This information confirmed that I should not try to make it home.

As I am watching the news, the other two clients leave the office.  I am not going home but where should I go?   Going to a friend’s house at that time of day was not an option.  No one I knew had an underground shelter.  The staff gathered blankets and prepared to go into the bathroom.  We again heard the newscaster shout, “FIND SHELTER UNDERGROUND.“  One of the staff remembered that she had a friend close by and called to see if the friend had a shelter.  The friend said she did, so the four of us quickly got into our vehicles and drove two blocks away. 

When we arrived, the husband did not know that his wife had invited four extra people!  He warned us that the underground shelter had a couple inches of water on the floor.  As we looked down the steep stairs, a friendly black puppy was waiting at the bottom, wagging its tail wildly and splashing water everywhere.  While it wasn’t verbalized, I am sure everyone wondered what else might be in the water.  There was no light except for the open door, maybe it was a good thing we couldn’t see?  However, if I had a flashlight, I would have shined it around to verify if there were any critters in the water.    Mistake #2:  flashlight in my Disaster Bag was at home.  I do not know if the owner had already checked the water.  Remaining above ground seemed like a greater risk, so we rolled up our pants and descended into the dark, wet shelter. 

 Most of us had smart phones.  We were texting loved ones, checking the tornado progress on a weather map, etc.  While this is comforting, it isn’t reliable for timing purposes because of the amount of texts and phone calls being made in the area.  In other words, you can expect phone calls not getting thru, or delay in your messages or texts because the cell tower is overloaded.  There was some delay and lost texts between my sister and I, but texting to family out of state did not appear problematic. 

For 15 minutes, it had been lightly raining. Rain usually precedes a tornado.   At one point, a female screamed and two additional women came running and joined us in the dark.   We could not hear any rumbling yet.   A few minutes later, the husband who had been outside, came down the stairs and told us that he thought it had missed us and it was safe to come out.  The chiropractor staff and I looked at each other in the dim light, wondering if we believed him.   We didn’t know him and he didn’t know us. There is often a “calm” right before the tornado hits, so we didn’t want to come out too soon.  After checking the phone weather reports again, we decided to take a chance, leave the shelter and go our separate ways.  We were grateful to a young family for sharing their shelter with strangers.

As I headed south on the normal route to go home, thus began my 5 hour driving nightmare.  I was surprised that the traffic was already bumper to bumper.  Since traffic was barely moving, I decided to turn west sooner than my normal route.  I was on the east side of the North/South I-35 corridor and I wanted to crossover I-35 to the west side.  This was mistake #3:  I was driving right towards the destructive path that the tornado left.   As I began to cross over the I-35 bridge, I was shocked to see the freeway was empty of cars and a muddy mess. I wondered where all the cars were?   As I looked beyond the freeway, I was again shocked to see the devastation of businesses and buildings that once  lined the frontage road.  It looked like a war zone where huge bombs had gone off.

I received a text from my sister that she was okay, that our house had not been directly hit.  She thought our brother’s house had been hit and she was headed over there with some supplies. This news upset me because I thought it was too risky for her to leave a safe place.  Keep in mind, everyone is in shock, not thinking clearly and have different concerns on their minds. 

Traffic slowly inched forward in a western direction.  After I traveled several blocks past the freeway, I wanted to turn left or south towards my home, which was about 2 miles away.   However, turning south was not an option.  The police had already placed barricades to keep people from driving into that area.  The efficiency of the police and emergency personnel was amazing.  The traffic snaked and snarled thru the neighborhood streets that were cluttered with debris. It seemed like no one could go the direction he or she wanted.  People were patient, took turns letting others in when you wanted to make a left turn, etc.  People began parking cars and walking.  The walkers were moving faster than the cars.  Traffic lights were not working. Debris was everywhere.

As I drove from neighborhood to neighborhood, the traffic proceeded at a snail’s pace.  Several times I tried to avoid a major intersection by turning right into a neighborhood entrance, hoping to leave by a different exit.  I would then run into streets blocked by debris or downed power cables and have to turn around.   With shattered and pointed pieces of wood lying in the streets, I began to worry about punctured tires from nails and other debris.  I decided to stop seeking shortcuts and stay on major streets.   [JWR Adds: Everyone with a car or truck should always carry at least one 20-ounce spray can of Fix A Flat tire inflator/sealant, or equivalent. And anyone living in tornado or hurricane country should carry three or four of them!]

At every junction, you only had the choice to go north or west.  This happened time and time again between 3 pm and 8 pm.  It was very frustrating to not be able to turn in the direction of one’s home.  As I realized later, there was a 17 mile area of destruction between me and my home.   No one was allowed to go into the disaster areas as they needed the streets free for emergency personnel to rescue or recover bodies.

During these five hours, the police, ambulances, fire engines were going in the opposite direction I was traveling.  The noise never let up. The constant sound of loud sirens was just maddening.   I have never in my life seen so many emergency vehicles at one time.  They also came from surrounding communities and cities. About 5 pm, I saw a convenience store and decided to pull in and rest.  I am diabetic and had no food nor water!  Almost always, we have 1-2 bottles of water in the car.   I couldn’t believe there were none on hand, that day!  The convenience store had no power.  I was lucky to have stopped here early enough as I was able to use the bathroom, buy water, snacks and bananas. Note:  only those of us who had cash could buy things.  I also had plenty of gas and a phone charger which allowed me to keep in communication with loved ones.

Feeling a bit refreshed, I decided to take a friend’s advice to travel west towards the I-44 Interstate which ran north and south.  It might be possible to take I-44 south 5-10 miles, turn east, then look for an open road to travel north and enter my neighborhood from the south.   However, when I arrived at the I-44 junction, double lane traffic was stopped in both directions. I later learned, the tornado had also crossed this interstate farther south before it arrived in the Moore area.  Traffic was backed up because of damage near Newcastle.  I turned around and tried to go back the direction I came from, but new barricades had been put up! Unbelievable.

I joined a line of cars that was trying to travel south via a gravel road.  As we inched along, the road got muddier and was washed out in places.  A view of the 12-15 inches of water across the road explained why some people were turning around.  I was in a Honda CRV, not low but not high.  I didn’t want to risk stalling or getting stuck.   Once again, I turned around and headed back to the Interstate.

At the I-44 interstate junction, there is a newly built ER facility.  It was 8 pm and I was exhausted.  I had tried again and again and again and was now 15 miles from home.  I prepared to spend the night in the ER parking lot in my car.   I had access to a bathroom, the facility provided me a pillow and blanket and I felt reasonably safe.  For two hours, I texted family and friends, assuring them I was safe and where I was.    By 10 pm, I could not stay awake any longer and just wanted to sleep.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone and welcomed the peace and quiet of this rural parking lot.

It turned out that the traffic diminished considerably and some barricades were removed after 11 pm.  A couple friends decided they were going to come and get me and bring me back to their place for the night.  A normal response would be to welcome the kindness of friends.  I had texted these friends not to come. They didn’t listen.  I was upset when they showed up because I just wanted to sleep!  I am sure there is some psychological reason why I acted this way.  I got over my crankiness about half way to their house.  They are dear friends and their concern for me was touching.  However, I told them that “next time,” I would not tell them where I was. 

I was able to drive into my subdivision and home at 8 am the next morning.  Thankfully, our home had no structural damage, but mostly small debris all over the roof, gutters, front and backyard.  The debris included wood, insulation, tar paper, sheet rock, branches, lumber and tin. Mud, grass and leaves were plastered all over the south facing windows.    I felt very fortunate that my home was standing, but realize that it could have easily been one of the destroyed structures 1 mile away.
What did I learn from all this?

When I was at the chiropractor’s office watching the news, I remember thinking, I wish I had my “Disaster Bag”.   It was at home in the tornado safe room.  I will be assembling a smaller bag to keep in the car or light enough to take with me.  At minimum, I will add to this bag:  (a) flashlight,  (b) P-Mates, (c)  ibuprofen, snacks, water and  (d) Wingman.   See the following explanatory notes.

  1. There was a flashlight in the car, but my car had been left at the chiropractor’s office and I rode to the underground shelter with the doc.  I didn’t have the flashlight when I needed it.
  2. I was fortunate that I could use the rest room at the convenience store that had no power.  Had I not been able to, P-Mates (pmatesusa.com) are helpful for women to pee while standing up.   I purchased these for motorcycling in rural areas and for emergency situations.  A couple of these are needed in the car as well.
  3. As a diabetic with arthritic hands, I did not have pain meds nor snacks in the car.  Those will be added to the car bag as well.  A kind woman, who was also “camping out” at the ER, shared her ibuprofen with me.   The food purchases at the convenience store provided needed energy.
  4.  I was delighted to have with me my Leatherman Wingman, which I had just received for my 60th birthday.   How many 60 year old women do you know, go to the chiropractor with a Leatherman multi-tool in their pocket?   It came in very handy when cutting off the ends of bananas. (LOL)    I also felt like I had some type of weapon if someone tried to break into the car.  The knife blade is partially serrated, the scissors and pliers are spring loaded and I love it!

I now understand what others have said about travel routes being shut down in the event of a disaster.  Timing and quick response is crucial.   I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around that previously and now I have a better understanding.  I am hoping that I can think differently next time and immediately start driving away from the disaster area.  One has to have a certain degree of accurate information to know what locations have been effected so one can avoid those areas.  This is especially important if you live in a metro or suburban area with heavy traffic. 

After the last text from my sister, when she left to go to our brother’s, I did not receive any understandable texts from her till about 10 pm.  Communication can be frustrating and lead you to wonder why someone isn’t answering your messages.  You cannot make assumptions other than the messages are likely delayed by the cell tower.   Emergency personnel need the air waves free so people are asked not to use their cell phones for calling.  Some conclusions, in retrospect:

  1.  The decision to not race the tornado home was wise.  I would have likely been caught in the commercial area that was hit. 
  2. In your food pantry, having food on hand that you don’t have to cook is a good thing.  We were so worn out from the stress that neither of us wanted to cook.  Frozen waffles with syrup or cereal with blueberries, sounded good for dinner. 
  3.  Before I retired, my job required leadership skills during stressful situations.  While I remained calm during the whole event, I was most surprised at what a traumatic event like this does to your mind and body.  I did not suffer to any degree like those who lost loved ones, homes and businesses.    

 However, in the days after the tornado, or after any traumatic event, you can expect certain symptoms.  It was difficult to make decisions.  My sister and I both acted like we were in a daze, easily distracted, hard to focus, we had conflict over little things, forgetfulness, and we didn’t want to socialize or be around people.  We were extremely tired.  I would do something for two hours and want to sleep the rest of the day. This shows our state of mind and body after a traumatic event.  Our neighbors are experiencing the same behaviors.  Can you imagine needing to make life and death decisions in this condition after a traumatic event?  If possible, delay any important decisions until you are thinking clearly.  However, in the case of a TEOTWAWKI event, one may not have that luxury.

My sister took a prescription to the drug store, went back twice to pick up and each time forgot her money.  “Third time was a charm.”   It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the drug store hadn’t been near the devastated area and slow, slow traffic. 

We finally felt like we were getting our energy back 4 days later and we started to work on picking up the debris in our yard. While we feel more “normal” at this stage, it is still difficult to focus, we tire easily and are “uneasy” with any storm clouds in the sky.    

Our neighborhood was the only one in the area that did have power that same night. There was no city water for two days.  The cable and internet came back on after a 7 days.  We know how very fortunate we are compared to those who use to live 1 mile away. 

We had stored water, did not need our generator, and I had just installed an OTA antenna in our attic two weeks prior.  We watched the 15 local HD channels.   We were able to access our email and internet thru our phones and Ipads.  The biggest adjustment was not being able to watch Fox news and the national issues. LOL.  However, we did go to their web site and read news online.

While in this “dazed stage,” there is something to be said for cable television entertainment.  While there are other activities like reading and playing cards, we missed not having movies to watch and wanted to focus on something besides the tornado. The local Red Boxes were out of commission so no DVD rental either.  We could have driven farther, but we didn’t feel like it.

We give thanks to God for having survived the Moore tornado and pray for those who have an overwhelming recovery process ahead of them.  When preparing to survive any disaster, having disaster gear with you, is only part of the preparation.  Recognizing the psychological and emotional impact, the impaired decision-making from shock, the emotional & physical stress, are some of the other aspects that have to be dealt with.

P.S.: After this was written, Moore and Oklahoma City area had five additional tornados and hurricane-like wind and rain on May 31st. A serious thing happened, which could have resulted in many more deaths than the nine deaths that occurred.  All the freeways and Interstates became “parking lots.”  Evidently, people thought they would try to escape the approaching bad weather, especially knowing what had happened a week before, and the freeways became gridlocked.  Traffic was at a standstill.  There were numerous tornados moving along the freeways and people were urged to get out of their cars in the fierce wind and rain and find shelter!   As Governor Fallin said, ”staying home is safer than getting in the car.” After this experience, I also understand why it is recommended, “If you must evacuate, use back roads and leave as soon as possible!

Hey Mr. Rawles,

So I'm stuck in The People's Republic of California. I can't get out. We would basically have to walk away from a business we have been running since 1978 with nothing. As I've noted in the past, I do have a mountain retreat that is ready to go.

But here is my question - With all these new California laws which will surely be passed and signed by the governor, I'm obviously a little concerned about my semi-auto long guns. I know folks talk about burying them in tubes and such. But would this be a viable option - I live about three hours from Yuma Arizona, and have someone out there I believe I could trust to hold my guns. If the authorities every came sniffing around asking where the weapons were, would I be able to legally say they have been taken out of state for safe-keeping until such time as the laws are repealed or changes, or whatever? Or not say anything at all, let them tear up the place and find nothing (except my bolt actions and revolvers)?

I mean, it seems like they'd have no jurisdiction in Arizona. Any thoughts you might have on this would be most welcome, thanks - Mountain Man Virgil

JWR Replies: I'm not an attorney, so don't take the following as legal advice and consult an attorney licensed in your state for definitive answers. But I can mention, in general terms that a state's jurisdiction ends at its state lines. Imagine that you mysteriously received an income tax bill in the mail from the Czech Republic, even though you've never worked there or had any business dealings with anyone there. Would you have to pay it? Could they come and arrest you or seize your bank assets for not paying it? Of course not.

If you transport a gun out of California before a new law goes into effect then you will be immune from prosecution by the State of California (the once fine but now sullied California Republic). Now, if that same gun were formerly registered in California then you might be asked to prove that it is now out of the State, but you are not bound by law to do so. And be advised that warranted police searches can be time consuming a and destructive, and you will have limited legal recourse. So maintaining a signed and witnessed affidavit from a friend or relative in Yuma would be wise.

Anyone who attempted to indict you without physical evidence of a crime would be laughed out of court. This is part of the long-standing corpus delicti requirement. The onus probandi (burden of proof) in any prosecution for a state law violation rests upon the state. ( "Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit.") Without substantive evidence that you had a proscribed firearm or magazine in your possession inside the state's boundaries after the law went into effect, there could be no prosecution of a case, and not even grounds to arrest you. And mere suspicion--without a statement from a witness--would be shaky grounds at best, to secure a search warrant. (But again, we are talking about The People's Republic of California, where in some cases they search homes with impunity, so who knows?)

It bears mention that there are a few firms in Las Vegas, Nevada that specialize in private vault storage of valuables (such as documents, precious metals, jewelry, gemstones, and guns.) It is also notable that some guns, such as AR-15s, a gun can be quickly disassembled, so that just the banned parts (namely the lower receiver and magazines) can fit in a safe deposit box. The remaining parts could legally be stored elsewhere. (Again, consult your state and local laws.) The beauty of doing business with these firms is that because they are not FDIC-insured "banks", they would not be affected by a national "Bank Holiday" situation, which would otherwise limit access to safe deposit boxes. Another storage option for Californians might be buying a membership and renting vault storage space with a well-established firearms training academy in Oregon, Arizona, or Nevada.

Storing guns with friends and relatives out of state can be problematic, but if your alternatives are surrendering your guns for destruction, or selling them at a loss, or facing prosecution, then in my opinion it is well worth the risk. By the way, even though Yuma has a very dry climate, you should consult the many articles in SurvivalBlog's archives about long term gun storage, as well as the copious advice on wall caches, door caches, hidden rooms, and some"hidden in plain sight" options.

And the unspoken bottom line is: Vote with your feet. The history of the western world is replete with tales of families that strategically relocated to escape tyranny. But there are also plenty of stories of families that did not. Go ahead and put your business on the market. If it is God's will for you to move, then you will find a buyer. Jehovah Jireh!

Check out this custom knifemaker in Lewistown, Montana: Black Wolf Armory. Amazing quality.

   o o o

Reader R.B.S. sent: Hydropower from ag ditches pushed in Congress

   o o o

Some Idaho news: Ysursa says firearms lobbying dustup resolved

   o o o

AR-maker Nemo Arms (in Kalispell, Montana) reports that they are expecting to book sales between $5 million and $10 million in 2013.

   o o o

I'd like to publicize current ministry opportunities in the American Redoubt. If you know of an open pulpit or any other full or part-time ministry opportunities in the Redoubt region, then please e-mail me the details, and a I will spread the word.

SurvivalBlog's G.G. flagged this sign of the times: Detroit Citizens Protect Themselves After Police Force Decimated.

   o o o

Steam Engines As Alternative Energy: Marjory Wildcraft Interviews Mike Brown

   o o o

Mark that beast those sheeple! Google: Motorola's tattoos could replace passwords

   o o o

George S. sent this news item: The Indian Motorcycle Company is back. (In case you are wondering, the motorcycles are made in Iowa, using engines that are made in Wisconsin.)

   o o o

Your "Turn In Gun" can now have a new life in an Iowa Police sting operation. [JWR's Comment: Note that by allowing less than a certified 100% melt of the guns, they leave the door open for widespread theft, which is already rampant in police evidence rooms. Any guesses where some of the really nice high-grade guns will end up? The only thing worse than high-minded Kumbaya statists are their henchmen with a penchant for larceny.] (Thanks to F.G. for the link.)

"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." - James Madison (Speech at the House of Representatives, Dec. 10, 1794)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Today marks the 87th birthday of former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, Ph.D. (born 1926.) He was the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 6th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 2012. He was the only outspokenly survivalist member of congress and a strong proponent of EMP and solar flare preparedness.

While I've always loved the Government Model 1911, in .45ACP, it isn't my first choice - in a 1911. I've lost count of the number of 1911s I've owned over the years, and traded or sold, for some stupid reason, but I suspect, I've owned well over a hundred different types of 1911s in my lifetime. However, given my druthers, I'd druther have a Commander-sized 1911 - one with a 4.25-inch barrel, instead of the 5-inch barrel found on the Government Model. The 4.25-inch barrel 1911s just seem to balance better in my hand, and they are quicker on-target. Additionally, they seem to pack better for me on my hip, especially when seated in a car - that 3/4 of an inch, when seated can be a bit uncomfortable when in a car all day long - it digs into my hip!
I've been fortunate in that, when I was a police officer over the years, I was able, for the most part, to pick whatever type of firearm I wanted to carry on-duty - one of the perks when working for a small department, or if you're the chief of police - as I was, of a small department. When I was the police chief of a small town in Eastern Oregon, the county sheriff at that time, frowned upon me packing a cocked 'n locked 1911 on my hip. He never directly said anything to me about it, however several deputies mentioned to me that the sheriff would prefer I not carry my gun cocked! Well, to be quite honest, that is the way you carry a 1911 handgun - with a round in the chamber, the hammer cocked, and the safety on! I've seen many other folks, who carried 1911s carry them with a round in the chamber and the hammer down - which meant, in order to fire the gun, they had to manually cocked the hammer - which is dangerous itself because you might allow the hammer to slip 'causing an ND (Negligent Discharge). It is much safer and easier to carry the gun with a round in the chamber, and the hammer cocked, with the safety on. It only takes a mere fraction of a second to snick the safety off, as you draw the gun, and ready it to fire.
Okay, I'll get off my soapbox when it comes to the proper method of carrying a good ol' 1911 handgun. What we have under review in this article is the Ruger SR1911 CMD which has the Commander-sized barrel and slide length of 4.25-inches. Some other gun companies have similar models, with barrels slightly shorter, but for all intents and purposes, they are all basically "Commander-esque" in size when it comes to barrel and slide length. And, to be sure, only Colt can use the term "Commander" as they have it copyrighted and trademarked!  So, Ruger simply calls their Commander-size the SR1911 CMD and I don't have a clue as to what the CMD stands for, other than perhaps being short for Commander. Over a year ago, I did a review on the full-sized Government Model SR1911 from Ruger and I was very pleased with the performance, but I longed for a "Commander-sized" SR1911. Ruger delivered!
The Ruger SR1911 CMD, as mentioned, has a 4.25-inch slide and barrel, and the slide and frame are manufactured out of stainless steel. And, I still remember the first stainless steel auto that came on the scene many years ago. There were a lot of problems with "galling" - when the guns got a little bit hot, the slides wouldn't move easily on the frames - they sometimes "froze" and wouldn't move at all, no matter how much lube you put on the gun. This problem has been solved by using a slightly different type of stainless steel in the slide and the frame - they are not exactly the same type of stainless steel.
The Ruger SR1911 CMD also comes with everything you need, and nothing you don't really need. There is a skeletonized trigger, with an over travel adjustment - my sample was perfectly adjusted as it came from the box. There is a combat-style hammer, and black, flat mainspring housing, which I prefer over the arched mainspring housing. And, the mainspring housing is also black - as is the extended single-sided thumb safety - it makes for an attractive set-up with the rest of the gun being a satin finished stainless steel. And, the mainspring housing isn't plastic, it's steel. The slightly extended magazine release is also black - and I really appreciate the slightly extended magazine release on 1911s, makes for a fast magazine change. The black front sight has a white dot, and the Novak combat rear sight has two dots, and in my humble opinion, the Novak rear sight is still the one all others long to be - it's the best on the market!
Inside the white cardboard box the SR1911 SMC came in, is a second magazine - stainless steel, and a soft carrying case, too. Nice touch, Ruger! The magazines appear to me, to be made by Checkmate Industries, but I could be wrong, and they are both flat bottomed 7-round magazines. The full-sized SR1911 comes with a flat bottomed 7 round magazine and an extended 8 round round magazine. I'm not quite sure why Ruger decided to go with two 7-round magazines with the SR1911 CMD model. And, speaking of the magazines they are VERY well made, and they have a stout spring, which makes for getting those rounds fed reliably. The gun weighs is at 36.40-ounces. Trigger pull was slightly under 5 pounds with no creep - the left-off was nice - nothing I would do to the trigger at all - and I usually tinker with trigger-pulls on most 1911s. Also, there is no full-length guide rod - many makers are going to the longer full-length guide rods, but I've long ago decided they don't add anything to accuracy or function to a 1911 - they only complicate the take-down for cleaning. Congrats, Ruger! The SR1911 CMD also has some beautiful hardwood checkered grips with the Ruger trademark in the center of them.
During the ammo drought, I was fortunate in that, I had a good selection of .45ACP ammo to run through my SR1911 CMD. From Black Hills Ammunition I had their 185-grain Barnes Tac-XP +P all-copper hollow point, their 230-grain JHP and their 230-grain FMJ loads. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their 185-grain Barnes Tac-XP +P load, their 200-grain JHP +P, their 255-grain Hard Cast +P load, their 230-grain FMJ FN +P loading, and their new standard pressure 185-grain FMJ FN load. So, I had plenty of different types of ammo to run through the SR1911 CMD.
I headed out to the range, with high expectations, the gun is solidly built, no play between the slide and frame to speak of, and the barrel was expertly fitted, I was expecting outstanding accuracy. Sad to say, I had numerous failures to feed in the first 50 rounds. About every other round and oftentimes, every round, wouldn't fully chamber. I knew the problem - an extractor that was too tight. Luckily, where I shoot is only about 5-6 minutes from where I live. So, I headed home and broke the SR1911 CMD down, and sure enough, the tension on the extractor was high - I'm guessing it took about 20 pounds of pressure to slide a round under the extractor - with the frame off the slide. I  took the extractor out and adjusted the tension - it was still pretty tight though. Back to the range, and the feeding problems were better, but not quite right, yet. I used to take my gunsmithing tools and parts box with me to the range, but more often than not, a spring or small part would go flying, never to be found again. In all, I made a total of 4-trips home, to readjust the tension on the extractor before it would feed properly. However, I still had problems with one round - the Buffalo Bore 255 grain Hard Cast rounds, and this round has fed in every .45ACP pistol I've put it through. One more trip home.
I took the SR1911 CMD apart again, and examined the barrel - the top of the chamber, the hood - had some serious gouges in it - and I know it wasn't from the ammo I had been shooting through the gun. I can only surmise that, this barrel wasn't properly finished before being put into the gun. I got the Dremel Tool out and polished the barrel hood. Back to the range, one more time. However, the gun still had problems feeding the Buffalo Bore 255-grain Hard Cast rounds - I finally gave-up, and decided, for whatever reason, this round won't be one I can use in this gun. Too bad, this is my preferred round for out in the boonies - where I might run into a black bear.
Okay, with the feeding problems resolved - for the most part - I proceeded to my accuracy part of my testing. I'm happy to report that this gun can shoot, and shoot with the best of them. No groups exceeded 3-inches at 25-yards, firing over the hood of my SUV, supported. This gun is a consistent shooter in the accuracy department. However, there was one real stand-out, and it was the Black Hills 185-grain Tax-XP +P load, which is one of my favorite street self-defense loads. I was getting groups right around 2-inches with this load, and hot on it's heels was the Buffalo Bore 185-grain FMJ FN Standard Pressure load. Tim Sundles at Buffalo Bore came up with this load from customer requests - they wanted a load that was low-recoil, but that could offer some serious penetration on dangerous game or if someone is behind cover - this load delivers!
I had no failures to extract - only the failures to feed, at the start of my testing. The +P loads really threw the empty cases far from the gun. The standard loads threw the empties only a few feet away. After my testing, I came home and took the SR1911 CMD apart for cleaning, and I polished the breech face while I had the gun apart - there were a few rough spots on it, but nothing that was causing the feeding problems. I'm happy to report, that I had the gun out several more times since my testing for this article, and there were no malfunctions of any type - but I steered clear of the Buffalo Bore 255-grain Hard Cast +P loads - this gun just won't feed this round for some strange reason.
I'm confident in the reliability of the SR1911 CMD these days, and it is riding on my hip daily - I actually do carry the handguns I test. I've only had two "bad" guns from Ruger in all the years I've been shooting, the first was the P85, and I had an early production run model, and the slide would just lock open halfway during shooting - never could figure that one out. The other is this SR 1911 CMD. Whoever fitted the extractor to my sample didn't "fit" it - they just installed it, and never checked the tension on it, the gun wasn't test-fired at the factory, had it been, they would have found out in the first couple of rounds that the extractor was too tight to allow the rounds to easily slide under the extractor as they came out of the magazine.
Now, this isn't a knock against Ruger - I've had "bad" guns from the best gun companies, a bad one slips through every now and then. Ruger has outstanding customer service, and as a rule, has a turn round of a week or two if there is a problem and you send your gun to them for service. I could have easily returned my SR1911 CMD to Ruger for service, but I honestly enjoy working on 1911s, so I took care of the problem myself. If you have a problem with any Ruger product, return it to them, and they will make it right, in very short order. I'm confident in my SR1911 CMD sample, and expect many years of service from it. And, it is plenty accurate, too.
Right now, all guns are in great demand, I read in an article the other day that 37 guns per minute are being sold in this country. And, Ruger firearms are always in demand. So, it might be a little hard to find an SR1911 CMD right now. Full retail is $829 on this gun, and traditionally you could find Ruger firearms discounted a bit - but these days, all bets are off. I know some dealers are selling this gun for more than retail, and people are paying the price, too. So, if you're in the market for a Commander-sized 1911, take a close look at the Ruger SR1911 CMD for your next purchase.

© 2006 Peter Hopkirk
Published by The Folio Society 2010
510 pages with map of the area on the inside covers.
Available in paperback and eBook from Internet booksellers.
There are color photos and illustrations, a lengthy bibliography, and a comprehensive index in my copy.
Recommended for high school students and older.

If you want to know the back story of the present situation in Afghanistan, you need to read The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia. First published in 1990, it is still available thanks to paperback and eBook editions. First edition hardback copies are available from used booksellers at decent prices. It is the story of the competition between Russia and Great Britain for Central Asia and Afghanistan. The author takes us back to the Mongol hordes coming out of the east on their fast ponies and conquest as their goal. He concisely relates the struggles to push them back and the efforts to fulfill the Russian appetite for more territory. The British resist the Russian Bear in an attempt to preserve the Raj in India.

The political and military intrigues of both British and Russian characters are vividly told in their attempts to expand their respective empires. Just like today’s headlines, there are corrupt politicians, Muslim jihadists killing any infidel within reach, conservative governments willing to defend themselves, and liberal governments working hard to appease all comers. Readers of this book will have to frequently remind themselves they are reading a history, not today’s newspaper.

The story is easy to read thanks to the authors’ chronological style of writing. This also makes the book difficult to sit down. We learn of the customs, clothing, military tactics, and beliefs of the local inhabitants caught between two imperialistic empires. There are precise descriptions of local political intrigues between chieftains and those who would be king. The vivid descriptions of the geography put you into the action.

The story flows until the advent of World War I finally forces the two adversaries to become allies against the Central Powers. They meet to settle the boundaries of a country not theirs, and all is well until the next Russian invasion of 1979. That is another story.

Note: The author of this book mentions that many of the books he consulted during his writing are either in specialist libraries, or only available at great expense. This is a good warning to you if you are interested in building a library concerning your favorite subject or subjects no matter what they may be. I began my quest in 1979 and some of the books I have purchased over the years are no longer available at any price. My advice is to purchase books you are interested in as quickly as possible. Publishers have short shelf lives for most books, and the price usually goes up when the book goes out of print.

The smears and innuendos by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that I've noted before in SurvivalBlog are continuing. Take a few minutes to read this new article on the controversial Citadel project that appeared in the Summer issue of the SPLC's magazine, and at their web site, titled: Behind the Walls. It was written by Spokane region journalist Bill Morlin. The SPLC is famous for cleverly using loaded words, half-truths, and guilt by association to attempt to destroy the reputations of conservatives. This latest article is no exception.

Take note of the numerous conclusions that Morlin draws just from the "bizarre" comma in my name. The seven years of archives of SurvivalBlog (the equivalent of 7,000+ pages) don't back up his assertions. To characterize my blog as a “sovereign citizen” blog is patently false. I write a family preparedness blog, not a "sovereign citizen” blog. The Sovereignty movement has only been mentioned in passing in my blog, and even then that came in the form of a few articles and letters from readers, rather than articles that I wrote myself. In fact, my most recent refutation of the legal maneuverings by some in that movement (in a reply to an April, 2013 letter) included this warning on jurisdictional challenges: "So no matter where you go in the 50 States, you are likely to end up in the court system at some point in your life, and 99 times out of 100 you will lose, and this is regardless of how many precedent cases you cite." That hardly sounds like an enthusiastic supporter of Sovereign jurisdictional claims, does it?

Again, read the nearly eight years of archives of my blog. (They are full searchable, by keywords.) See for example, what articles and letters come up when you enter the search phrase "Sovereign and Citizen".) That handful of mentions is statistically insignificant, out of more than 18,150 SurvivalBlog posts. And those few mentions hardly constitute a ringing endorsement of the legal tactics or the leadership of the Sovereignty movement. It is abundantly clear that nearly all of my blog is concerned with practical preparedness. Granted, I do discuss the Right to Keep and Bear Arms regularly, but only because that right is fundamental and crucial to family preparedness. I am not known as someone who dwells on Sovereignty issues. Mr. Morlin's assertion on this count is downright libelous. (And, by the way, only the truth is a defense, in libel cases.)

Also take particular note of Mr. Morlin's outright lie in claiming that I advocate a "fortified" American Redoubt. Please show me, Mr. Morlin, anywhere in any of my blog posts where I have ever advocated "fortifying" the American Redoubt states. Quite on the contrary: I have written that the Redoubt movement has political and social goals, through a gradual demographic shift, via in-migration. Since it has no connection with my writings about the Redoubt relocation concept, I believe that the author's choice of word "fortified" was designed to subtly link me to Kerodin, et al.

The SPLC also uses the classic tactic of guilt by association. (Or in my case, guilt by lack of association, with Kerodin and the Citadel project planners.) Note that in this latest article, Morlin had the temerity to include a photo of rancher/homesteader/blogger Patrice Lewis. What was the crime or conspiracy that put her on Morlin's radar? It was in fact criticizing the Citadel concept, just as I did. And his photo caption referred to her as a "Far right blogger." Well, I suppose that from the gauche perspective of SPLC "activists", anyone to the right of the MSNBC Democrat cheering section would be considered "far right".

I'm hereby putting Bill Morlin on notice: You have 30 days to print a retraction. You have unfairly and dishonestly besmirched my name. You need to answer for that, either in the court of public opinion, or in a court of law.

An Update: Patrice Lewis just posted some commentary on Morlin's disparaging remarks.

K.A.F's Winter Crisp

Serves 8


1/2 cup sugar
3 T flour, all purpose
1 tsp lemon peel, grated
5 cups apple, unpeeled, sliced
1 cup cranberries
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 c whole wheat flour
2 T ceylon cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 T butter, soft melted


Combine sugar, all purpose flour, lemon peel, and ginger in a medium
bowl and mix well with a spoon. Stir in the apples and cranberries and
spoon into a greased 6 cup baking dish.

Combine the oats, brown sugar, whole wheat flour and cinnamon in a bowl.
Stir in butter and sprinkle topping over the dish of filling.

Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and top is brown.

Chef's Notes:

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Favorite Apple Crisp Recipe

Rolled oats recipes

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Does this sound familiar? How A Trip To Costco Can Work As An Investment Strategy. Buying in bulk at Bog Box stores like Costco is described in detail in the "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course. It is now priced at less that $20, and you'll get immediate delivery, via digital download.

Why does this not come as a surprise? DoE Lost Billions in Deal with Tesla

G.G. flagged this: Marc Faber: "People With Financial Assets Are All Doomed"

Silver Short Squeeze Scenario 420

Jim W. sent this commentary on deleveraging from Jim Noland at The Prudent Bear: It's Going to be Another Interesting Summer

Suicide rate rose sharply among middle-aged Americans, CDC finds. [JWR's comment: You will note that I posted this under "Economics and Investing" for a reason.]

Items from The Economatrix:

Postal Service Is On Its Last Legs, With Little Help In Sight

Gas Prices Spiking Across US

Dave Hodges:  The Final Nail In America's Financial Coffin

For just a week, Ready Made Resources and Safecastle are running semi-annual sales on Mountain House long term storage foods, with the maximum allowable discounts of 25% to 40%. And BTW, the folks at Ready Made Resources mentioned that they are willing to "mix and match" items, as long as you order in six-can increments. So, for example, you can order two cans of Lasagna an Meat Sauce, two cans of Pasta Primavera, and two cans of Chicken Alfredo, to complete a six-can case. And the folks at Safecastle mentioned that they have an incentive package for the sale that include Safecastle Royal club-member rebate gift certificates.

   o o o

News from Connecticut: Bill makes crime against homeless a hate crime. A felony? So what are we now expected to do when someone squats on our property? If we shout "get off my land!", does that make us felonious hate criminals? The Nanny Statists clearly have both an agenda and a bias, and they don't mind trampling on our rights, in the process of creating special privileges to further entrench their voting bloc.

   o o o

Treason doth prosper: On June 3, President Barack Obama will sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

   o o o

I recommend the new book: To Keep or Not to Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns, by Timothy Baldwin and Chuck Baldwin. It is well-researched, well-reasoned, Biblically-sound, and fully documented. (There are 381 footnotes.) It is available in paperback, or as an e-book. I should mention that John Jacob Schmidt of Radio Free Redoubt just interviewed Chuck Baldwin about the new book, in his weekly podcast.

   o o o

The popular Urban Escape and Evasion classes from onPoint Tactical are scheduled in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix between June and December of 2013.

"A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison (from a letter written to W.T. Barry, August. 4, 1822)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Today we present the first entry for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), F.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 47 ends on July 31st so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

On the morning of August 29th, 2005 we came face to face with TEOTWAWKI in the form of Hurricane Katrina.  An estimated 92% of our community in Pascagoula, Mississippi was inundated with a storm surge of 20-30 feet and 30-55 feet sea waves.  The surge waters traveled well inland, between 6-12 miles and combined with freshwater flooding from our numerous creeks, rivers, and the runoff from the Mobile, Alabama reservoir that opened its flood gates to relieve stress on the dam.  This basically cut Jackson County in half.  Fortunately the worst of the storm hit in the morning just as it was becoming daylight or our losses of 12 souls would have been much higher had it made landfall in the dark of night.  Even though, it took almost two weeks before they found and were able to claim one of the fallen, a young child, because she was under an enormous  20-30 foot high by at least 100 feet in diameter debris pile a block up from the beach.  The devastation completely destroyed all of our basic services: electricity, communications, water, natural gas, and sewage and covered most of the town with debris piled 8 feet or higher.  The storm’s impact was such that the entire state was declared a disaster zone and it knocked out the power to over 98% of the state and damaged 100% of the states power plants.

When we were finally able to walk around and assess the situation after most of the waters receded, we counted ourselves as lucky because most of the houses in the neighborhood where we rode out the storm appeared structurally sound and there weren’t that many trees down.  Even though everyone knew things were going to be tough for a while, we didn’t count on it taking at least two weeks to restore water, another 1-2 weeks after that to restore some semblance of power and telephone services to our temporary abode.  This appeared to be the norm for most parts of town that sustained “minimal” damage.  As it was, it took over three months before it was restored in our neighborhood, not that it mattered as it was uninhabitable and eventually had to be bulldozed down but that as they say is a tale for another day.

Like most storm veterans living on the Gulf Coast, we had planned and prepared but Mother Nature has an inane way of pointing out the futility of all of mankind’s best laid plans.  Yes, we might have possibly been able to evacuate but deemed it in our best interest to hunker down with some friends and ride it out.  After all, we were staying in a well built home on some of the highest ground in town and at least a mile from the beach.  Besides, reports from other family and friends were that the roads were so congested (1-2 million evacuees from 4 states will do that don’t you know) that it was taking over 12 hours just to get as far north as Hattiesburg, a mere 95 miles north and that there wasn’t any hotel rooms available all the way up to Tennessee and even if you could find one, what would we do with our combined 10 pets?  Besides, how safe would it have been to ride out the storm on some desolate stretch of highway in a vehicle, especially with all of the tornados that Katrina spun off, 51 in total in at least 5 states with 11 of those in Mississippi alone?

So, the hatches were battened down and our storm plan was initiated.  First, was securing and inventorying our combined vital medicines, foodstuffs, pet food, drinking water, batteries, candles, grill and camp stove fuels, cleaning supplies, bleach, anti-bacterial gel, clothing, important papers and computer hard drives, tools, firearms, and cash.  Previously, all of the vehicles were gassed up along with all of the gas cans and the generator was prepped and stored high.  The ice chests, freezers and fridge were stuffed with ice and the most perishable foodstuffs were ready for immediate consumption in the event of a prolonged power outage.  The television and storm radio were tuned to the appropriate channels and the bathtubs were filled to capacity to provide general use water for cleaning and flushing.  The attic access was opened and some basic essentials like: food, water, axe, rope, flashlights, etc.  Just in case.  The outdoor surroundings were checked and a few boats in the neighborhood were identified that could potentially be used in a pinch.  All told, we had enough foodstuffs to last 6 adults and 10 animals for 2-3 weeks and at least a weeks worth of fresh drinking and cooking water as long as we were frugal.  Ah, hindsight is truly bliss now isn’t it.

During the height of the storm, when it became apparent that we would be receiving flood water into the house, everyone rushed throughout the house to empty out the lower cabinets and drawers and closet floors, placing everything as high as possible and even opening up the attic and placing more essential supplies and tools up there in case we had to seek higher ground.  Once, the homeowner and I braved the elements to go outside and unlash the next door neighbor’s small boat (they smartly evacuated early on) from its trailer and re-tied it off to keep it from sinking or floating away.  While doing this, we were obliged to add another soul to our motley crew by rescuing a man from drowning out in the street.  He was delirious and starting to suffer from hypothermia so we wrapped him up into a wool blanket and laid him up on a long dresser in the foyer.  Later, it was learned that he woke up when his head bumped against the ceiling of his bedroom and that he had to dive down and swim out of his bedroom window to safety!  He had the clothes on his back, no socks or shoes and a small empty suitcase.

We tried unsuccessfully to get a passing fire truck loaded down with EMT and rescuers to take him, in case he needed additional medical care but they said we appeared to have things under control.  Besides they were headed south into the teeth of the storm to rescue people clinging to roofs along with an apparent heart attack victim.  Later, two guys in a “commandeered” boat came by headed south but, on their return, the boat was overloaded with people they had rescued.  All total, they passed by 6 or 7 times, and each time the boat was filled to the gills with rescued souls.  Later, we learned that they had rescued over 100 people before the receding waters necessitated docking the boat in their front yard.  I’m pretty sure that that tidbit of knowledge didn’t make the media airwaves.  Of the untold hundreds of similar acts of heroism conducted during and immediately after this catastrophic event by our local emergency personnel and citizenry, I felt compelled to add it because in the end, we all need to have a little hope and faith in our fellow man.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, it became quite apparent that we needed to re-assess our predicament and adjust accordingly.  My wife and I knew that our house that sat at a much lower elevation closer to the beach would be untenable so we gladly took our friends offer to stay with them until we could assess it later.  They were extremely fortunate in that their home, where we rode the storm out, only had 2-3 feet of water go through it and that the structure was virtually unscathed from the ravages of felled trees and flying debris which meant that at least temporarily we would have a roof over our heads and a somewhat habitable place to stay providing everyone pitched in and acted quickly to mitigate the flood damage.  This consisted of removing all floor coverings down to the slab, all of the upholstered furniture, wall sheetrock from the floor to six inches above the visible flood line, and anything else that cannot be scrubbed and taking it to the side of the road.  Next was scrapping up as much of the storm water sludge off of the floors and all heavily coated horizontal and vertical surfaces possible and depositing it at the roadside too.  Some of our precious potable water stored in large 5 gallon containers with copious amounts of bleach and general purpose disinfectant soap was used to wipe down and clean one of the bathrooms, the kitchen and dining room, and a couple of bedrooms.  It took a full 2-3 days of steady cleaning by all hands to get the house sanitized for habitability.  The surge destroyed our large reserves of fresh water in the bathtubs due to the force of the flood waters backing up through the sewage system drains.

It is vital that you sanitize every surface that could have even remotely come in contact with the flood waters because they not only contain sea water and sewage, they are also full of chemicals from industrial waste and numerous other biological and toxic substances.  In our case, there was the addition of some of the foulest smelling primordial ooze from the nearby savannahs not to mention an old medical dumpsite from a former leper colony on one of the barrier islands and numerous chemical and gas refineries.  This mire coated everything in town with inches of nasty, foul smelling and toxic ooze turning the whole city into a gigantic Petri dish rife with disease and bacteria.  It was three days before I could make the first journey out of the neighborhood to inspect our property and in those 3 days, our house was filled with every color and shape of mold that you can imagine.  It literally covered the inside of the entire house from floor to ceiling so, I cannot stress enough that the first priority in such an event is to sanitize everything.

This is also a good time to remove any large appliance that was submerged along with any other furniture and belongings that will not be repaired or restored.  Just make sure to take photos and inventory all items being tossed to the road for insurance purposes and be prepared to fight the appraisers in the event the city is able to quickly remove those items.  One of our biggest fears after the storm was that of fire because the entire city looked like one giant maze with debris piles 10-20 feet high lining every street for months after the storm.  It seems as though we went at least two months before it rained again which meant we constantly had to battle the potentially deadly dust and the oppressive sweltering heat, this is South Mississippi after all!

Fortunately, we were able to salvage the mattresses on the beds because they floated on top of the box springs, all of which was set out to thoroughly dry in the sunlight the day after the storm after being wiped down with bleach water.  Everything gets washed or wiped down with bleach water and sun dried so eventually, all of your clothes become severely faded and thread bare after time.

Temporary power and transportation was next on the agenda and even though the generator was submerged after tipping over off of the raised supports that we set it on, we were able to salvage it and get a couple of box fans and table lamps going as well as powering a couple of fans and lights for one of the next door neighbors.  If we ever have to do this again, I think suspending it from rafter eyebolts on rope or cables may be in order.  In the beginning, we only ran the generator at night because of the fuel shortage.  Because fuel was basically non-existent for the first month or so, we augmented our diminishing supply by removing the gas tanks off of the three new vehicles that “died” during the storm and filtering out the water from the gas by emptying them into a large 55 gallon drum and letting the water settle to the bottom before dipping out the gas to fill our jugs.  Make sure to place this drum outside away from the living and cooking areas but still close enough to guard against looters.  We were fortunate that my venerable 1984 Ford Bronco and 1989 Ford F-150 started right up and didn’t have any water in the oil or gas tanks.  The trannys had water in them but as our friend worked for the local Ford dealership and their main repair shop was spared from the flooding and had adequate generator backup, he was able to replace the fluids within a few days so we had transportation until we were able to replace them about six months later.  We were lucky during that time because unlike so many others, neither of these vehicles burst into flames from corroded or shorted wiring.  This was probably due to the fact that they were raised higher than normal and their cabins weren’t submerged in the flood waters.  It wasn’t until months later that I discovered that the flood water had gotten into the rear ends through a rubber vent hole, needless to say, I wound up replacing the rear end on the pickup to extends it life until we could replace it so, make sure to drain, flush, and replace with new, the fluids in the rear ends and 4x4 lockers.

An important note here about transportation is to make sure you have plenty of tire repair supplies as we must have repaired at least 20 flats that first month alone and even had to acquire another tire after we found the cast aluminum head of an old fashioned meat tenderizer imbedded in the side wall after one of our forays across town seeking supplies.

Another note on “salvaging” your vehicles is the electrical system.  A lot of folks spent enormous effort and time in drying out their cars and trucks and getting them to run to no avail as many of these same vehicles later caught fire as the electrical systems shorted out.  So, if you have to resort to this please add a fire extinguisher or two to your survival kits for such emergencies.  I had to stop two cars coming down the road within the first few months because they were on fire underneath the vehicle and the occupants didn’t know it!

The mechanic had to go back to work within a few days because his services were in high demand at the dealership as it became the main repair facility for all of the emergency vehicles.  He was their only front end specialist and in high demand because the poor road conditions were reeking havoc on those vehicles.  At any given time, there were 20 -30 vehicles with license plates from all over the country there seeking maintenance or repair of some sort for months on end.  That basically left it up to me make the twice daily trips to the county fair grounds for food, water, and ice to distribute to the folks of our old neighborhood as well as our “new” neighborhood.  I cannot stress enough the fact that you never turn anything down because whether or not you need it, someone else in the neighborhood will!  Additionally, knowing the locations of facilities rendering assistance by way of beds and hopefully hot food is vital as this will aid you immensely when you come across people wondering around aimlessly due to the trauma they experienced.  One notable experience I had was with a family of four, including two small elementary age children.  I had observed them walking around for a day or two before it dawned on me that they were still carrying the same bundles of stuff.  After stopping them, their story was one of complete despair as they had been walking the streets for the better part of a week because they didn’t have anywhere to go.  A passing National Guard truck loaded with MREs gave me the location of one such center so, I loaded them all up and of to that wonderful church made famous by Ray Steven’s squirrel song we went!  A few days later while dropping off a few more unfortunates,  I was told that one of the many charity groups was helping to relocate the family.

In the beginning, water and ice are vital to your survival and as such, must be stretched to its fullest potential.  Our wives came up with a great simple process for extending the usefulness of ice.  They set up a simple linear process using the four 100 quart Igloo ice chests that we had as the basic line with two smaller Igloo ice chest to hold any excess ice we happened to acquire.  The first chest was raised up on a sturdy chair and contained all of our foodstuffs and medicine that needed to be cooled, packed in loose ice (some ice is also placed into sealed containers to thaw as a means to augment drinking and cooking water).  To the right, sitting on the ground so that the drain plug of the first chest could drain directly into it with little effort was the second chest.  This chest served as our bathing and dish washing water.  It was sanitized with bleach because an inadvertent germ or two could be in the drained water from our hands accessing the items in the first chest.  You bathed by dipping wash clothes into the bleach water and wiping yourself clean.  Bathing was augmented by squirting GermEx with Aloe Vera directly onto a damp wash cloth and wiping oneself off.  While crude, it kept you clean, provided a refreshing tingle from the alcohol in the GermEx and aided in disinfecting any minor sores or scratches you have.  After the dishes were washed, the water from the 2nd chest was transferred to the third chest sitting to its right and then the 2nd chest was sanitized with clean bleach water making it ready for the next use.  The 3rd chest was used to our wash clothes and the 4th chest sitting to its right was used to rinse the clothes prior to hanging out on makeshift clothes lines.  The water in the 4th chest was clear water that came from sundry sources, e.g. excess ice runoff from the extra storage chests, suspect bottled water that was overheated in the sun, and later on pond water from the local park once we were informed it was safe for non-food use.  Because it was suspect, it was always adequately bleached.  After the clothes were washed, the water from the 3rd chest was used for mopping the floors and wiping off non-food areas.  The water from the 4th chest was used to rinse off everything that was washed with water from the 4th chest.  All excess water from the chests was either used to refill the bathtubs for toilet flushing water or kept in buckets in case of fire and later sprinkled throughout the yard and driveway to cut down on the dust.

Our close encounter with the Post-Apocalyptic TEOTWAWKI event named Hurricane Katrina has not only left an indelible mark upon us but has made us stronger because we survived it and has taught us a few things about ourselves and mankind in general that everyone can learn from.  Here are the 10 biggest that readily come to mind:

First and foremost, in the event you are forewarned with an approaching disaster like Hurricane Katrina, do not hesitate. Evacuate.

Second, no amount of planning can cover every contingency so be prepared to improvise.

Third, 3-7 days of supplies are completely inadequate because it can take up to 2-3 weeks before regular and consistent support from outside sources becomes available.

Fourth, everyone impacted that survives is just that, a survivor so you had better be ready to get over stupid prejudices because you either survive together or perish individually.

Fifth, you are going to have to work hard so, accept your fate and “hitch up your drawers” and get at it.  The first responders are going to need your assistance so that they can provide the aid you need.  Everything that you can do initially be that clearing roadways, sharing resources, making signs to identify streets or people in dire need, assisting neighbors, scrounging, and safeguarding will only improve your lot in the aftermath.

Sixth, maintain your vital inoculations for Tetanus, hepatitis, etc.  Get your booster shots.  Thankfully for us, the nurse in our family went over and above to seek us out and administer all of those vital inoculations.

Seventh, get your pets looked at ASAP if they are subjected to flood waters, we almost lost two of ours.  Fortunately, a dear friend that worked as a Vet tech was able to bring and administer the needed antibiotics to save their lives.

Eighth, more people die or are seriously injured after the storm than during it due to accidents while cleaning up, stress, heat exposure, microscopic critters in the surge water, disease, improperly stored or cooked food, poisonous insects and snakes, exposure to the elements, etc.  If you do not have any experience with the art of using a chainsaw to fell trees or cut them off of your house then please, seek the assistance of someone who has this knowledge!  Observe each other and don’t hesitate to seek medical assistance for even the most basic of wounds, especially if you haven’t kept up on your inoculations.

Ninth, an openly well armed citizenry tends to keep the wolves and looters at bay as they are mainly cowards seeking to prey on easy targets.  Down here after a storm, everyone just assumes that everyone is “packing” so, everyone just generally seems to be much more calm and cooperative.

Tenth, thank all those “outsiders” that show up to assist with the cleanup and rebuilding because 99% of them are there to genuinely help.  Especially show your appreciation to all of those folks manning the stationary kitchens and food trucks.  Some of the best hot meals I ever had came from the church group around the corner running a kitchen and the Red Cross and Salvation Army food trucks.

Lastly, keep the faith as it will see you through to the bitter end.  Even though it’s been almost 8 years now since that fateful day, we are still recovering from Katrina, at least economically but hey, material objects are just that, stuff, easily replaced when you get the resources should you desire to do so.  Remember, not everyone will be made financially whole after such an event but hopefully you’ll still have your health not to mention the most important asset of all, your truly good friends and family.

CPT Rawles,
To follow up on the recent letter son Guerilla warfare:

1.   The most important thing to the success of the insurgent is the support of the people (the fish swims in the sea). The insurgent must maintain support/legitimacy.  Discipline when dealing with the people is paramount.
2.   The insurgent always chooses the location of the fight.

3.   The insurgent never fights when he knows he will lose.  The insurgent wins by surviving.

4.   Advance/retreat; rest/harass; retreat/advance - read Mao.

5.   The insurgent seeks to make the enemy overreact against the people.

6.   In the early phases of the insurgency the best source of supplies and weapons may be the enemy.  Overreaction by the enemy inflames the people.

- Mark S., in Germany

The post on "studying" Guerilla War tactics brought to mind a subject that I have been considering for some time.
Like many, my training and experience was many years ago. Though my body has grown slightly less than optimal my spirit and mind are what they once were and more as an added measure of wisdom has been granted to me.
The question I have been pondering is to ask, what role to those of us who have reached the age of reason have to play in a possible future resistance? We are not able to handle the physical challenges efficiently yet have the experience and knowledge stored that would assist the success of such endeavors.

I have read Max Velocity's book and many other books, articles and posts over the last few years. Many of those in the marketplace of ideas appear to me to be the products of armchair warriors who never heard a shot fired in anger but who have strong opinions and fair writing skills. Max Velocity is not one of the armchair variety. I can not specifically nail down why I know this but can only say that when you know you know.

I believe however, that even from some of these armchair folks, things of value can be gleaned and I will not detract from their efforts except for the few who would upon implementation of their advice get a lot of good people killed without value. I'll leave the details to another time, though I suspect that you and many others with actual experience in the storm see them for what they are as well.

My conclusions are based on observations of history. Old men may not be able to run twenty miles and fight or evade an enemy force in a northern plains winter but we still have value to a potential resistance. In Southeast Asia and many other conflicts in time and about the world it was the old men who provided the philosophical foundation of a resistance. Without coherent reasons as an underlayment, a movement will wither and die. The problem to avoid is a philosophy that compromises true value for the sake of expedience and experiments with the lives of young men. Those who take this role need to be people who have lived what they speak of.

Old men and women provided the Intelligence network for much of the Viet Cong's network. Shop and stall keepers in the cities and towns and the village elders and headmen out in the bush provided the eyes and ears of the guerilla fighters. Men with experience in combat will know what information is useful and how to transmit it. They will be very likely able to set up the networks required. Many good men and their families were executed by the Viet Cong because they would not fill this function for them, instead they worked with our forces. Tragic as this is, it is a good lesson in the value of information networks run by old men and women.

Wounded can be sent to outlying farms to be cared for by the elderly as well as active troops scattered to farms as labourers disguising their true nature. Food supplies and caches of equipment can be concealed and managed by old men and women in cities as well as on the farms. A lot of fighters in African conflicts survived on food and equipment cached by villagers out in the bush. There are many ingenious ways of doing this. Young fighters need food & medical supplies as much as they need ammo.

I think that one of the most valuable assets that old war horses bring is tactical knowledge and training. Knowing how to approach an enemy, how to engage and how to escape and evade afterwards is paramount to success. Young men's eagerness can often lead them into the jaws of a trap or violate the principals that keep a population on the side of insurgents. Old men teach and moderate this tendency in the young.

Like many, I see dark days and see the handwriting on the wall. There is a storm coming. Don't write off an old man because he walks with a cane and takes a long time to pass water. What he carries in his head and his heart is as valuable as a weapon and as useful as a well stocked medical kit. - George in the Upper Midwest


James Wesley;
Another good book on this topic about the originators of guerilla warfare on this continent fighting a standing army is Apache Tactics 1830-86,  by Robert Watt

The author concludes with several reasons the Apache tribes eventually failed in their efforts.
1)  Attrition due to small numbers
2)  Weapons and ammunition supply
3)  Eventual army adoption of guerilla tactics and use of Apache scouts.

...all of which are reversed to the benefit of a patriot counter-revolutionary effort in our present situation. - S.P.

The situation described in the recently-cited article (New Jersey: Court Upholds Man Arrested For Visible Gun Case In Car) only underlines frequent Rawlesian reminders for maintaining OPSEC at all times.  His arrest might have been avoided had he simply covered the cargo area with a blanket so the cases were not visible.  Hopefully the conviction will be overturned in a higher court under the provisions of the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA).  In general, this states that: "notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Ammunition that is either locked out of reach in the trunk or in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console is also covered." (NRA/ILA Guide to the Interstate Transportation of Firearms)  Note, however, the requirement for a locked container.

One wonders if a warrantless search of a vehicle could be justified on the basis of an NRA sticker, or one that reads "This car insured by Smith & Wesson". 
I travel between Maine and South Carolina on a regular basis, having homes in both states.  I avoid driving through New Jersey, but I cannot avoid New York and other unfriendly jurisdictions, and there is always the possibility of someone breaking into your car.  Keeping a low profile at all times is safer, however much you want to advertise your views and affiliations. - Randy in Maine

Reader Mike M. sent us a Porkchop Express report on some Big Trouble From Big China: Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, is being bought by Shuanghui--at $5 billion, this is the largest-ever planned buyout of an American company by China.

Curious... IRS’s Shulman had more public White House visits than any Cabinet member 157 visits! Apparently the White House had some deep concern about taxes. Perhaps BHO felt deep anguish about assuring tax fairness, or...?

Chart of the Day: Euro Unemployment Hits Its Worst Level Ever

All Time Record Gold Transactions Reported By LBMA

Items from The Economatrix:

Five Signs of an Imminent Gold and Silver Rally

Consumer Confidence at Five Year High

Home Prices Post Strongest Gains in Seven Years. JWR's Comment: It is amazing what tripling the money supply will do to boost prices. But please don't call these "gains" in value.

Tam, over at View From The Porch recommended this piece: Small Impact Tool Basics

   o o o

Doxycycline and Tetracycline Shortage Update

   o o o

Cheryl (aka The Economatrix) suggested this by Dave Hodges: Increasing Your Odds Of Survival

   o o o

Lisa Bedford (of the excellent The Survival Mom blog) has launched a radio network, with all female hosts.

   o o o

Global flight-path maps: Five interpretations. [JWR's Note: Our ranch is blissfully situated in a little valley without any railroad tracks and that is not beneath any major air routes. There is a lot to be said for hearing only the tranquil sounds of nature.]

   o o o

R.B.S. sent: The Red Cross still hasn't handed out more than $100 Million in Hurricane Sandy donations almost seven months after the storm

   o o o

A teenage homeschooler in Montana wrote to ask me for some advice on getting started as a writer. I'm not an expert, but I advised her that she should first read plenty of good fiction. I noted the novelists who had influenced me the most: David Brin, Algis Budrys, Tom Clancy, Gordon Dickson, Frederick Forsyth, Pat Frank, Ernest Hemingway, Dean Ing, Jerry Pournelle, Ayn Rand, and George R. Stewart. I was also influenced by the writings of number of writers on nonfiction topics (such as preparedness, firearms, Christian apologetics, and economics) like: Bruce D. Clayton, Col. Jeff Cooper, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Elmer Keith, H.W. McBride, Ludwig von Mises, Dr. Gary North, Arthur W. Pink, John Piper, Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, and Mel Tappan. For the record: I have never claimed to be a great novelist. I'm just someone who has focused on a captivating topic and therefore developed a niche following. At best, I might be mentioned in a minor footnote in some obscure history book on fiction writing. In contrast, the names that I've just cited are in another league, and will be remembered--and perhaps still published--for centuries.

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." - 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 (KJV)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ready Made Resources and Safecastle have both just launched semi-annual sales on Mountain House long term storage foods, with the maximum allowable discounts of 25% to 40%. Both are reputable companies that have been loyal SurvivalBlog advertisers and both are offering free shipping. So toss a coin, or pick the company closest to you, for the quickest shipping. These sales will run for only one week, so order soon.


Coloradans have some important paperwork to do. The state's new magazine ban will go into effect in 30 days (on July 1, 2013.) Of particular note is the fact that the new law's grandfather clause is not multigenerational. It will be limited to only then-current owners of magazines, as of midnight on June 30th. Therefore I again urge Coloradans to be sure to properly document the gift of your magazines to your children and grandchildren, and have those records notarized, ASAP. The clock is ticking... Oh, and also take a look at this Recall web site.

We've completed the judging for Round 46 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

First Prize goes to Steven in Alabama for When Bugging Out is Not an Option: Hunkering Down with a Quadriplegic, which was posted on May 24, 2013.

He will receive: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

Second Prize goes to D.K., DVM, for Bad as a Bullet: Tick and Mosquito-Borne Diseases, which was posted on May 28, 2013.

He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300 and 10 TAPCO polymer magazines (5 AR and 5 AK) courtesy of Armageddon Armory, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to M.D.L. for The Secret Prepper, which was posted on May 25, 2013.

He will receive:A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Honorable Mention prizes ($30 Amazon.com gift certificates) go to the authors of these 16 fine articles:

Note to all prize winners: Please e-mail us to confirm your current e-mail addresses. And the top three prize winners will also need to send us their UPS and USPS addresses. Thanks!