Emerging Threats Category

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I am an avid reader and have not attempted to contribute to this fine blog because I personally had little to offer from the perspective of knowledge or skills that many more knowledgeable individuals have already contributed. However, as I have been closely monitoring the current events in Venezuela I realized that this is an area where I have knowledge and skills that many others don't. Also, there is a great deal about these events that,in my opinion, correlate to the United States' political and economic directions and possible outcomes. The people of Venezuela are learning lessons the hard way.

My background very briefly: I am a U.S. citizen married to a Venezuelan, am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and have been actively collecting information on the situation in Venezuela since Chavez came to power in 1999. Although I took a hiatus, there was a time when I had a network of informants that resulted in DEA and FBI investigations into issues we reported. I still have family and contacts there and worry about them. My sources, therefore, are coming directly from the Venezuelan Spanish language news (online and broadcast), relatives and friends, and by monitoring their internal communications within Venezuela social media.

The news media here in the U.S. have completely missed the boat on the Venezuelan situation. Suffice it to say at this point that the conditions over the past 15 years have deteriorated so much that between one and two million out of 30 million citizens have fled the country. Violence has spiraled out of control. Some estimates indicate that during the period of 2003 and 2011(the same period as the Iraq war) the number of murder victims reported in Venezuela rivals the number of people killed in Iraq. In addition to the intolerable violence, socialist government policies collapsed many industrial and agricultural sectors. In an effort to maintain forceful hold on power, the socialist leaders used class and racial conflict to divide the nation. When Chavez decided to upgrade his military weaponry, he purchased tens of thousands of AK47s and then trained paramilitary militias, giving them the military's "old" weapons, mostly Belgian FAL rifles. To those militias, add other paramilitary shock groups that function like Mussolini's Black Shirts or Noriega's Dignity Battalions– goons on motorbikes who drive around shooting at protesters and anyone on the street in order to strike terror in the populace.

So the people of all classes now find themselves in a situation in which electric power is no longer reliable, blackouts are common, and diseases that were eliminated are returning. Inflation can run up to 50% per month, rendering the Bolivar fiat currency nearly worthless. Since the government had forcefully expropriated (through the Venezuelan socialist version of eminent domain) huge tracts of productive domestic livestock and then given it "to the poor" who didn't know how to farm it, domestic food production crashed. Food was then imported, using dollars. Once inflation soared, the government clamped down on the ability to purchase dollars. This had repercussions throughout the economy. Nearly all medicines are imported, bought with dollars. Hospitals and clinics are now almost completely devoid of medicines. Patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, cannot get their medicines. Cancer patients cannot receive treatment and are dying. Food supplies are dwindling and what food there is has become expensive. Shop shelves are bare, and long lines form whenever food becomes available.

This is the background that led to the most recent wave of protests, led primarily through a grass roots, social media-driven campaign by students of high school and college age. Their message was simple: "Enough! We need a new government." Protests by hundreds of students swelled to become thousands. This startled the government, so they unleashed their goons to try to intimidate the students. However, a “strange” thing happened: The more they were attacked, the angrier the people became. After they killed their first victim, they thought the people would cower at home, but that's not what happened. The people who had previously perceived their own personal safety as tantamount now placed their own lives in a lower priority over the lives of the youths who were fighting for their future. The numbers of protesters swelled into the hundreds of thousands. More were killed. Still they refused to back down. So the government unleashed the military. Citizen journalists with smart phones have documented proof of brutality and even executions by some of the military, and this has been disseminated around the world. For the first time since the height of Chavez's revolution, nations and organizations that tolerated Chavez's "excesses" are now beginning to move. Even some of the nauseating progressive politicians here in the U.S., who previously spoke warmly of Chavez, have tweeted photos of themselves supporting the opposition.

At this current moment, the reality of what is happening is becoming difficult to find out. The government has realized, perhaps too late, that social media was used to mobilize not only their internal enemies but to mobilize the external community. They are shutting down telephone and Internet services in some cities and states. We know they are flying their Russian Sukhoi and older U.S. F16s low over the cities as an act of intimidation, and we know the military is coordinating with the civilian shock troops because they have been recorded doing it. Distinguishing between accurate citizen reports and wild rumors is becoming difficult.

Observations From Venezuela:

Foolishness is the Norm in the Face of Slowly-advancing Tyranny. Anyone with common sense could have foreseen that this was coming. My wife and I, both "moderate" preppers, have been warning our relatives to purchase a supply of food and ammunition and make other preparations, but the average person is an easy victim of the "normalcy fallacy”. Even when faced by impending crisis, the majority of people will simply fail to take adequate steps to ensure their own safety. Thus many of those, who had the means to be prepared, failed to take steps to do so. One must also remember that the poorest citizens simply have no means to stockpile food when it is already difficult to find and expensive. I do feel good that, when a nephew came to visit last year, I took the time to teach him to fire a revolver, like the one he inherited from his father, and to fire a shotgun. He may not have much ammunition, but he knows how to use his gun safely and with relative accuracy. Lessons learned: Make as many outreaches as possible to teach family and friends how to prepare, and make sure they can defend themselves. Count on the fact that normal, intelligent and educated people will ignore the warning signs.

Social Chaos Benefits Organized Criminals. As stated in the preamble, social unrest and violence had been growing thanks to the lawless conditions fomented by the government. We have all read about criminals taking advantage of the situation. We are seeing this proven yet again in Venezuela. Gangs are naturally organized, ruthless, and accustomed to violent action. They are the ones who have the least to lose and are the least afraid to use violence. If food is scarce, they can easily smash shop windows and take what they want. Anticipate that these individuals will not only enjoy and thrive in these conditions, they will ally themselves with the politicians who are making it happen. This holds true for the "nickel and dime" delinquents but also the big fish– the drug cartels and mafia. Kidnapping has become a cottage industry, and they will pluck anyone off the street, if they think they can make some quick cash. Smart people will never wear expensive clothing, drive fancy cars, or display any sign of wealth. When conditions get bad--and I mean truly awful--they will shoot you to take your phone without even bothering to say "stick 'em up". Human life becomes utterly worthless in SHTF.

Creative Community Defense is Vital. Venezuela is not one of those countries that completely bans firearms. Until recently, firearm ownership was legal and quite common, but don't confuse the ability to own hunting rifles, shotguns, and pistols with the kinds of arms we patriots covet. I know a few Venezuelans who own revolvers or semi-auto handguns, and none who own rifles, like AKs or ARs. The people, therefore, are becoming extremely clever in their defense. In the previous days, the students have burned government vehicles, including at least a couple armored personnel carriers with improvised devices. The neighborhoods are organizing and creating 24-hour guards. They are creating slings, slingshots, and other means to propel "munitions" at the enemy. Cooperation and coordination has been key. The youth in particular have been brilliant at using every communication method to coordinate. You can hear them by using Zello, and to my amazement they have devised codes to maintain OpSec. They are now coordinating increasingly complex maneuvers to attack and in recent days even captured a Cuban soldier wearing Venezuelan military garb, and they are holding him prisoner. I presume they captured his arms as well. Since the paramilitary groups attack mostly on motorcycles, they are stringing cables neck high across roads leading into their neighborhoods and then luring them in. Once they have been unsaddled, they sweep in and counter-attack, burn their motorcycles, and chase them on foot.

In the Andes state of Tachira, fighting has been particularly fierce. Known as Gochos, these people have proven to be especially resourceful. They are pouring burning oil on the roads and have set out traps of oil in turns to cause the motorcycles to fall over, so they can be attacked. I saw a photo of around 30 men who had cut down a pine nearly 50 feet tall, and they were carrying it to block the highways. In the city of Maracaibo, the Indian tribes arrived by the busload last night carrying clubs, bats, spears, and machetes to join the students. Infamous in the country for their ferocity, this news has lit a new spark because it means that the people, regardless of ethnicity, are standing shoulder to shoulder.

The Enemy Will Use Food, Water, and Power As Weapons. The government has begun using access to food, water, and power as a weapon. Not only have they cut electric power and television service, they also brought down land-line telephony and cellular service to prevent communication. They also cut the water supply in towns in Tachira state. Access to food is extremely limited, and I have no idea what the people will do for water. This is not the desert of Syria; it is a wet country, and with their indomitable spirit I am sure they find a way.

Lack of Communication Causes Panic and Rumors. As the communications are shut down, we are seeing that a sense of panic is growing. No one knows if other states have surrendered, and they are the last to stand at the Alamo. They don't know if the government is losing either. This is why it is growing difficult to differentiate between rumors and fact. Rumors and reports are that the government is now massacring prisoners by the dozens if not hundreds and burning the bodies. Some report that the jets are bombing cities. Information is as vital at this point as food and water. Calm leadership is needed to keep everyone from panicking or shutting down. It would have been wonderful if they had prepared with a radio network that was interstate rather than just within small, cloistered groups. Those of you with Ham equipment will be hailed as heroes should this situation come to a theater near you.

The Enemy Will Use Psychological Operations Against You. This topic is closely related to communications. Both the government and the paramilitary groups as well as the organized crime syndicates are using Psy Ops to spread fear and confusion, as well as division. A recent example illustrates what I mean. There are radical groups that once supported Chavez but do not like the new president, Maduron. One of their leaders, a 20-something criminal, had apparently been willing to shoot at the opposition to support the government, but also engaged in battles with the national guard and police when they invaded what he thought was "his territory". I guess he had become a liability, since his allegiance seemed to flip. He was shot in the head by police, and the incident was actually caught on video. The government tried to blame the opposition in order to damage their reputation and reduce support. In other cases, the police sent plain-clothed officers into the protests to have them act as agent provocateurs in an effort to discredit the opposition. As we examine our own country and speculate about the types of situations that might arise should our economy collapse or for whatever reason causes SHTF, we need to be aware of the actions of people we "think" are with us but intend us harm.

Faith is Key to Survival. I will wrap this up by pointing out that the majority of Venezuelans are devout Catholics, and their devotion to their faith has been inspiring. They have been far more patient and peaceful than I can fathom. In most cases, when their children have been murdered, they respond not with violence but with a peaceful gathering, holding open-air masses and prayer. Their faith gives them optimism and strength. Not surprisingly, because Venezuelan women are typically the ones who instill religious faith in God to the children, they are absolutely key to keeping the community morale high, and make up greater than 50% of the people marching. It is quickly becoming a nation of "Mother Grizzlies," who are on the front line of the struggle.

I hope this article has been enlightening to some, entertaining to all, and thought-provoking. Every night I tell myself, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hi Jim,

Do you know if we have a EMP attack or if the grid goes down weather we will still have internet service? - GLB

HJL Replies: Since the vast majority of the Internet depends upon the power grid, it really depends on how much of the power grid survives an EMP event. The long hauls of the infrastructure would probably survive due to the fact that most are based on fiber optics, which are not affected by EMP. The hubs, connection points and routers all have to have power though, which is affected by EMP events. If the locations are sufficiently hardened, they may survive. If they are not EMP hardened, they most likely will not survive. I suspect that we would have isolated pockets that would be just fine and most long hauls would be fine as well. The connectivity of the Internet would greatly depend on those areas that are powered by commercial electric power or have sufficient metal wiring to be able to induce EMP spikes large enough to kill electronic equipment with minimal protection. The Internet was designed to be a self healing network (or at least able to route around isolated problems) so if enough infrastructure survives, it may indeed be useful. However, I suspect that it will not be very usable though since the usability is directly related to connectivity.

Friday, February 7, 2014


I am a long time reader and understand JWR's recommendation against the use of social media. The recent snow storm that has crippled the roads in major southern cities has proven a positive of social media that I hadn't fully realized. With a "friends" list of over 1,000 (who are mostly just acquaintances) I was able gain valuable intelligence down to the neighborhood level. Friends reported on road closures, traffic jams, people in need of help and their location, people providing help, and businesses that were open and taking in those that were stranded. This sharing of information undoubtedly saved lives and was shared by the people. No government agency or news media was able to provide this same level of understanding as to what was really happening on the ground. We have heard the stories of the flash mobs and other lawless behavior that has used social media as a means of command and control, the most famous being its use during the "Arab Spring." Why can't the good guys use this as a resource as well? With due diligence paid to JWR's concerns, I recommend having an account that shares the minimum necessary of your personal information that is ONLY used during an emergency to access the many eyes and ears you are acquainted with. That level of detail of first hand accounts maybe invaluable one day. Please read all of JWR's warnings on social media. - P.N.

HJL Replies: I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with JWR on this issue. In this specific case, you were able to obtain intel, but the reality is that you were only able to obtain that intel because so many others are oblivious to the concept of OPSEC. There are always ways of obtaining that level of intel without actually compromising OPSEC. Ham radio operators, for example, have long maintained such local networks, usually in the form of radio clubs. There are many areas that still actively use FRS, MURS, and CB for local communications. Intel is available without compromising OPSEC, and just the act of owning an account compromises OPSEC to a certain degree.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Q: Do Faraday Cages need grounding?
A: No. A Faraday cage designed against EMP, if properly constructed, will keep any charge outside the shield. The shield interior is separate, so anything inside, even though it touches the inside of the shield, is safe. However – if the cage is improperly made and there are wide holes in the mesh exceeding the size of wavelength to be blocked, grounding could help. As an example, this Youtube video link is of EMP testing my company has done with another firm’s professional EMP simulator. You can see a shielded laptop on the left and an unshielded laptop on the right. The left laptop, although you cannot see it due to the lighting, was not affected – in other words, grounding was not necessary at all. The right one was shut down – hard to see, but visible. This also shows you the probable impact of EMP on a computer – just a shutdown – if you do not have wire connections to the computer, like a power cord or a lengthy Ethernet cable. With [external] connections, the damage can be much greater.

Q: Do you have to insulate electronics inside a Faraday Cage?
A: See above. You don’t need insulation for electronics inside a properly constructed Faraday cage. There was no insulation and the computer was fine. Additionally, your electronics are usually in a plastic casing – so they are already insulated anyway. Insulation doesn’t hurt, however.

Q: I have read that you have to have an EMP-proof car to survive. Is that correct?
A: Your car will probably okay. If you were not actively driving at the moment of the strike, you are even more likely to be unaffected.

From the EMP Commission report: “We tested a sample of 37 cars in an EMP simulation laboratory, with automobile vintages ranging from 1986 through 2002. Automobiles of these vintages include extensive electronics and represent a significant fraction of automobiles on the road today. The testing was conducted by exposing running and non-running automobiles to sequentially increasing EMP field intensities. If anomalous response (either temporary or permanent) was observed, the testing of that particular automobile was stopped. If no anomalous response was observed, the testing was continued up to the field intensity limits of the simulation capability (approximately 50 kV/m).

Automobiles were subjected to EMP environments under both engine turned off and engine turned on conditions. No effects were subsequently observed in those automobiles that were not turned on during EMP exposure. The most serious effect observed on running automobiles was that the motors in three cars stopped at field strengths of approximately 30 kV/m or above. In an actual EMP exposure, these vehicles would glide to a stop and require the driver to restart them. Electronics in the dashboard of one automobile were damaged and required repair. Other effects were relatively minor. Twenty-five automobiles exhibited malfunctions that could be considered only a nuisance (e.g., blinking dashboard lights) and did not require driver intervention to correct. Eight of the 37 cars tested did not exhibit any anomalous response.”

Q: Won’t solar flares end everything?
A: If we have an extreme solar flare like the Carrington Event, there is a big chance of damage. What is left unsaid is that utility companies are working to ensure continuity of service. How effective they are is unknown – but the US government already has active early warning satellites. The plan is to notify utilities in advance so that measures can be taken to minimize impact. While these measures are apparently effective so far, there are two areas of concern – 1) instead of hardening the system, our protection relies on utilities taking the right steps every time, bringing the human factor into play. 2) A larger solar flare event could cause significant damage beyond anticipated levels, and there is a scarcity of data on this subject, at least in the unclassified world. However, utilities have hopefully learned from the Quebec area solar flare of 1989.

Q: Will my phone/iPad/electronic device be affected by a solar flare?
A: Not unless they are connected to long conductive cables, antennas, or power lines. If you have a device like an iPad, unconnected to anything, it will not be affected by a solar flare. There is simply not enough energy to break through the devices’ internal EMI shielding (which are there to protect the various device components from affecting each other.)

Q: The military has done extensive research on this topic, won’t it all be fine?
A: While testing individual devices and components, and even vehicles has been done, there has been no testing on a whole-system level of, for example, a city with a power plant. So while individual components might be affected, the exact level of damage is unknown. A grid exercise was conducted last November to try to simulate damage, but this is nowhere near the actual real-world experience necessary to understand the practical effect of EMP.

Q: Complicated electronics are very likely to be damaged, so my laptop is very vulnerable, right?
A: In general, the more complicated an electronic device is, the less likely it is to be damaged. While at the circuit level, a laptop is relatively vulnerable, one must remember that the laptop components – hard drive, CPU, etc all have some level of EMI shielding to protect from interference by the other components. This makes laptops relatively tough. On the other hand, simple electronic devices like a solar cell-powered calculator don’t need EMI shielding so they are actually more vulnerable, in reality.

- Joel Ho, Founder, MobileSec Solutions LLC

Friday, January 17, 2014

I have a question in regards to the reply article on turning one's IRA or 401(k) into a survival retreat property.  Any ideas on how it would play out with one's survival retreat that is in their IRA or 401(k) if/when the government confiscates retirement accounts or forces one to turn their retirement accounts into a government retirement account like what was recently done in Poland and other countries? Would the person lose their home/farm or be forced to sell it? Would the government get control of it?

I'm curious because we have a fairly decent amount of money in retirement accounts that I am not comfortable with keeping there.  I would like to cash them out (yes, take a hit financially) to buy property and hard assets with.  The problem is that my husband is not on board with that.  He is still not convinced that things will go bad sometime in the future. (Sadly, I believe he suffers from Normalcy Bias.)  If we were able to legally convert our accounts into something like what the article's author stated then this might just be route that my husband is comfortable with.  My big concern though is what might happen in the case of the government confiscating individual's retirement accounts.  Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

Thank you for all that you do.

Peace, - T.C. in Minnesota

JWR Replies: Great question. But that presently is an imponderable, because we have no way of knowing how any such future legislation might be worded.

It is also impossible to predict how soon the U.S. Dollar will come unraveled. (It is not a question "if" but rather "when.") The safest approach is for anyone who is age 50 or under is to cash out (biting the bullet and paying the tax penalties), and shift those funds into tangible precious metals that are kept architecturally very well hidden at home--preferably mostly in small denomination silver that has a low risk for counterfeiting. (Well-worn non-numismatic pre-1965 "junk" silver is the lowest risk. It is also the most recognizable for barter.) The slightly less safe approach is to roll over 401(k)s and IRAs into precious metals IRAs, under custodial control, and hope that the government doesn't get grabby before you retire. The most risky approach is to blithely assume that the U.S. Dollar will still have its full value in 20 years, and leave your 401(k)s and IRAs in typical stock portfolios. Unless you are presently close to retirement age, the latter approach is foolish, in my opinion.

With many more Federal budget crises on the horizon, one other legislative threat to 401(k)s, IRAs, and Social Security is an elevation of the defined retirement age and fund distribution age. It is conceivable that with an act of of congress, the retirement age could be raised to 70, just before you turn 65. ("Just five more missions, Yossarian!")

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and remember spending many afternoons in the basement due to tornado warnings and watches. Several times a year, we saw homes across town destroyed by the tornados. Seeing homes destroyed up close as an eight year old made an impression. After our first winter blizzard, Mom started prepping and established a corner in the basement with our food stuffs, books, toys, radio, flashlight, water and a mattress for us to sleep on.
About two years ago, I gave up on living in the suburbs and moved 20 miles away in a rural area in the next county and bought a place with three acres. Since then, I have rekindled my prepping roots. This year we planted an orchard with 11 fruit trees, planted a 20 x 40 garden of heirloom vegetables. We also built a chicken coup and established a flock of 15 chickens with the neighbors.
I want to commend all of those people that are able to live on a remote retreat full time. Unfortunately, my career and family choices do not permit that at this point in my life. I live in the central Midwest and work in sales with a territory that now spans five contiguous states including where I live. Over the last 30 years, I have averaged more than one trip a week for the entire span. I am what most people would call a Road Warrior and have learned how to travel efficiently, and make it tolerable.
Over those 30 years I have had several close calls while traveling.  What I hope to share here is some of the hard lessons learned with a prepper insight.
One night, I was on the last plane into Raleigh, North Carolina during a freak blizzard. They closed the airport due to 6 inches of snow as we were landing. When the rental car bus arrived at the car rental lot, everyone ran to the closest cars for their cold dash to their hotels. As the bus pulled into the lot, I noticed three pickup trucks at the far end of the lot. I trudged through the snow and climbed into one of the trucks to find out it had four wheel drive. For the next two days, the entire city was paralyzed. Virtually no snow plows, shovels or salt were present in the city. My fellow travelers were stuck in the hotel trying to dig out their Ford Taurus rental cars with their bare hands and having to eat microwave popcorn for dinner. In the meantime, I drove from one end of town to the other and stopped at several stores and watched as crazed locals stripped the shelves bare in just a few hours. To this day, I still chuckle when a car rental agent asks if I would consider a truck as a rental instead of the usual corporate sedan.
The night of the first Gulf War invasion, I got stranded in Detroit due to a mechanical issue with a very late flight. They canceled the flight and rebooked us on a flight the next morning and offered us a hotel room and bus transportation. On this night, I had checked my luggage as I was headed home and tired. Since the luggage was checked, the FAA regulations did not permit the airlines to give our luggage back to us for the stay in the hotel. I found myself on a bus with nothing but my laptop bag and regrets.
Years later, I was driving across the turnpike in western New York during a winter storm. I pulled off around 11 PM to get gas and supplies because the storm was getting worse. I should have gotten a hotel room but convinced myself if I rushed, I could get ahead of the storm and get to my destination 50 miles away safely. I picked up several bottles of water, a sandwich and some granola bars while topping off the gas. Thirty minutes further down the turnpike, the traffic stopped and turned into a parking lot. The snow was nearly 8” deep with 30 mph winds blowing. Later, I would learn that the state police closed a ten mile stretch of the turnpike for safety. Unfortunately, they closed the ramps both on and OFF that section of the highway without letting any cars in between get off before they closed the gates. During the night, the snow increased to almost 18” deep and the winds blew hard all night with wind chills below zero. I turned off my car, pulled out the book from my bag and covered up with my heavy winter coat. As the hours passed, I ran the car for about 15 minutes every hour to keep some heat. I also checked to make sure the tailpipe was not blocked. I ate well and made the best of it. The older ladies in the car ahead of me did not have coats and somewhere around 2 AM took turns holding a blanket for each other as they relieved themselves outside. They tried to use the space between the parked cars to block the wind as they bared their backsides. It was almost noon the next day before the snow plows cleared the road enough that paramedics could reach the stranded cars. Many people were without food, water, adequate clothing and most importantly their medications. An hour later, the cars were slowly guided through the snow to the freshly cleared roadway and released, after being forced to stop at the toll gate and pay their fee.
Now when I travel, I always give thought to how I will get home in a SHTF scenario. September 11th  demonstrated how fast our travel infrastructure can come screaming to a halt. Thinking like a Prepper is a great start but you also have to act like a Prepper. At the first sign of a SHTF scenario, leave and head to your home, retreat or meet up location. If you wait for the sheeple to act, then you will be stuck in the mob scene with them. You need to get to the car rental counter, or airline desk before the masses. If you decide to drive, you need to get off the main arteries, before they are blocked by the unthinking and unprepared.
I cannot count the number of times I have had my travel changed due to large storms or other scenarios.

Move quickly, quietly without drawing attention. Use your assets like frequent flier points, or car rental status to get any seat available on the next flight out or a one way car rental. Getting into an argument about price is only going to slow things down and make things worse. Take the first available anything! Many times have I been at the counter and heard others being told that there were no more seats or cars available while I finalized my arrangements to get out of Dodge.
You need to prepare your luggage and travel appropriately. As a business professional, it is not advisable to walk into a Wall Street conference room with a full camo military issue pack and bugout gear. At the same time, a $1,000 suit with stylish shoes are not going to help you get home. You must strike a carefully planned balance.
I carry highway maps of all the states I travel in my bag, along with medications, flashlight, spare batteries and emergency phone charger. I have plans for all my major destinations for how I can get home by flying, driving, or some combination of unplanned travel. I know the main arteries as well as alternate routes to avoid congestion. Periodically I will even drive to distant cities instead of flying so I can familiarize myself with these alternate routes. Make sure you communicate your plans and emergency alternatives to your family as you start your travel home if possible. Tell them it might take hours or even days longer than normal to get there.
Here are some of the things I carry when I travel now:
• A small zipped bag with a week's supply of all my medications, vitamins, bandages and over the counter  medications for colds, headaches and fever.
• Water, always have at least one bottle of water
• Granola bars or other snacks that will hold you 4-6 hours until you can get to a good food source. I even carry a few single cup coffee and tea bags for those times when extra caffeine is needed.
• An emergency ID card or passport in case my wallet is lost or stolen
• A flashlight with spare batteries
• A spare battery, and charging cable for my cell phone
• Paper maps of all my travel areas
• A print out of important credit card, frequent flier and rental program account numbers
• A print out of contact information for local friends that will help me if I need it
• My laptop with charging cables and power supply
• Hard candy
• A handkerchief which can be used as an emergency bandage
• A book to read as I wait for my flights or other delays
• A strong and large computer backpack instead of a briefcase
When I travel with a suitcase, I make sure to include a pair of comfortable distance walking shoes with thick socks, along with weather appropriate coat and gloves. I also carry additional granola bars and medical supplies. It is important to note that if you check your luggage you have much more flexibility  on what you can bring with you when you fly. However, I almost never check my bags due to frequent flight changes and mostly short trips. FAA regulations require the passenger to be on the same flight as their luggage so checking bags, limits your ability to make last minute changes.
In the days before the advent of the TSA I always carried the legal limit for a folding knife along with a Leatherman. Today, I feel naked without these.
I wish I could carry a handgun when I travel, but several areas I frequent are very strict about prohibiting Concealed Carrying of Weapons. Checking weapons on airline flights is also a hassle that I cannot afford when I typically fly 100-125 times a year.
I always make sure to carry extra cash with me when I travel “out of town” where I am not in my own vehicle. More than one taxi driver has balked at credit card payment. In a SHTF scenario, I want to leave NOW and not haggle about payment. Typically I will carry between $300 and $500 cash, all in twenties or smaller when I travel.
There are times when I am able to travel in my own personal vehicle and not have to fly or use a rental car. In those cases, I am much better prepared for SHTF scenarios. I have a large diesel 4x4 truck in which I carry a large bugout bag with 5 days of food and survival supplies for two people. I also carry a comprehensive medical / trauma kit. The tool chest in the bed carries a variety of tools, shovels, axe, tow chains, emergency fuel jugs, fire extinguisher, tarps and door look pick tools. Stuffed under the back seat are two wool blankets, 12 liters of water and my emergency weapons. The truck also has a CB radio.
Future upgrades to my travel gear will include a triple band handheld ham radio wrapped in an EMP-protective foil bag with a spare battery. I am also starting discussions with two trusted friends about leaving a small cache of “get home” supplies with them in cities where I frequently travel.
In thirty years of being a road warrior, I have learned two key lessons. The first is that Schumer does Hit The Fan when you travel and when it does, only you will be looking out for you. The second lesson is that you always forget something on every trip. Most of the time it is something small like a pair of socks, a toothbrush or a sport coat. Make sure what you forget is not something important! Pack your own bag, and check the critical items every time before you leave.
Travel smart and safe. At the first sign of SHTF, leave your meeting or event quietly and head home before the masses make a mess of everything. You are no good to your family stuck in an airport or on a turnpike 500 miles away. Careful prepper planning and quick action can get you home safe.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mr. Rawles,
I noticed your reference to the water situation in the Charleston, West Virginia (Kanawha Valley) area. As of Saturday when I'm writing this, the water is suitable for flushing toilets and fire fighting but that is all. The town I live in (St. Albans) has their own independent supply, but most of the surrounding area is fed from the centralized West Virginia American Water Plant in Charleston. One plant serves a very large geographic area. I know when I first finished mechanical engineering school I could only find a job working for a small civil engineering company. We had to survey a water line expansion in Boone county near the small towns of Van, Twilight, and Bandytown. Fairly deep in the southern coal fields but not nearly as deep (feels kind of like a different world being raised near the valley) as McDowell county and the low volume coal fields. I could not believe the West Virginia American plant in Charleston was going to serve that far away from the city.

St. Albans has lines out the door at the laundromat and restaurants,. Even the Krogers [grocery store] was stripped bare, even of the toilet paper. The parking lots of the stores remind me of Christmas time when I was a kid in the late 1970s, prior to many of the strip malls being built and taking business from the business districts.

If the water had been cut off completely, unfortunately it probably would have very quickly required deployment of the National Guard. I passed one water relief station where they were giving out bottled water and it had a sheriff eyeballing everyone that went by even if you did not stop for water.

Making large complex systems helps for economies of scale, but a single point failure makes them far from robust. - Paul in West Virginia

Monday, January 13, 2014

After many years of a "diplomacy and aid dollars only" approach in Africa, the U.S. government has begun active military intervention, north of the equator. Quite disturbingly, while outwardly appearing to be engaged a campaign against Al Qaeda and its allies, these interventions have effectively supported Muslims (particularly the radical Muslim Brotherhood) while abandoning Christians. Witness: Libya, Egypt, and Uganda (against Kony's LRA.) You've all seen the headlines: In 2011, U.S. air power was used in Libya, to back largely Muslim rebels. In late 2013, BHO slashed long-standing military aid to Egypt, indirectly aiding that nation's Muslim rebels. Hillary Clinton's State Department has also managed to ruin the formerly friendly relationships with Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, and Algeria. Notably, Morocco's de facto annexation of Western Sahara which had tacit acceptance from previous U.S. administrations since the mid-1970s is now a source of friction.

While the American No Fly Zone and aerial bombardment campaign in Libya was largely a success (despite some friendly fire mishaps) there were unintended consequences. One of these was that Dictator Gaddafi's demise caused both a power vacuum and the displacement of many Libyan arms and vehicles, mostly to the south. Since 2010, Al-Qaeda and its allies have been gaining ground in northern Africa, and the change of government accelerated this. The Tuaregs and other rebels now control vast stretches of the interior of Mali and Algeria. Inside the U.S. Special Forces community, the BHO regime's policies in Africa have been described as "confused, at best." Green Beret trainers who once assisted pro-western and predominately Christian nations in Africa have been "re-tasked." They have recently been training Muslims in Libya and Muslims in Mali. While the government of Mali is ostensibly anti-Al Qaeda, the recent history of the region has shown that allegiances can shift rapidly. It is feared that the Malian soldiers that are now being trained and armed by the U.S. might later end up in an alliance with rebel groups. Even the leftward-leaning editors of The Washington Post are troubled by the BHO/Clinton policy changes in the region.

Hillary Clinton's trans-Sahara gambit has had unintended consequences, and has led many to question the long-term effects. If the end results are better-trained and better-equipped Muslims, then we must ask: cui bono? In a little-publicized campaign, American trainers and technicians have been dispatched to at least nine countries including Ethiopia, Djibouti, the Central African Republic, and Niger. Tons of war materiel have quietly been shifted out of Iraq and into north Africa. Large American drone bases are humming in the Seychelles, Djibouti and Ethiopia. (And theirs eyes are not focused on just Yemen.) Special Forces trainers are operating throughout the region, ostensibly to teach counterinsurgency. But given the proclivities of their students, could that training later be turned toward insurgency?

In a recent e-mail, a SurvivalBlog reader and veteran with recent experience in North Africa noted: "One thing that comes to mind is the embarrassing fact that a few years ago, when all of the separate countries in Africa were asked if they would be willing to provide the US a base to headquarter AFRICOM from, they all basically said, 'h*ll, no.' AFRICOM is still headquartered out of Stuttgart, Germany." He also noted: "I know that when the Chinese go in to extract resources, they actually provide entire infrastructures, such as roads, complete hospitals, schools, etc., while the US's  influence seems more military oriented, along with "Strategic Communications" (the new term for PSYOPS) than anything else. If anything, I think the US is losing at this game." The same reader warned of China's growing influence in Africa. For some background, he recommended the book Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World.

Most recently there have been rumblings that the U.S. might side with the rebels in the fledgling nation of South Sudan. While the troubles in South Sudan are primarily inter-tribal rather than along religious lines, "the great unspoken" subtext is that South Sudan is nominally Christian, while Sudan is Muslim. Some of the old Africa hands see BHO's rumored stance in South Sudan as intentionally destabilizing, and has the effect of favoring Sudan rather than South Sudan.

I recommend that Americans keep a close eye on foreign policy and military aid shifts in Africa. BHO and Company have their own carefully-calculated agenda, and it is apparently not in the best interest of either the American people or freedom-loving Africans. - JWR

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The article forwarded by J.B.G. re: the Connecticut gun registration photo/article for ARs and high capacity magazines (‘Looks Like Weimar Germany’: The Viral Photo Out of Connecticut That’s Giving Some Gun Owners Chills) is really just the tip of the iceberg. This legislation was really designed to ultimately refine and maintain the firearm registry in the state that is already in existence for all firearms.
The State police have been collecting and storing all firearms transactions for many years here. The Federal Government by law must destroy all the data gained from background checks for firearm  purchasing. The Connecticut state police have no such restrictions. I can find no legislative authority that allows them to do this but it is being done and has been done for many years. If you are stopped for a traffic violation et cetera and the officer runs your Connecticut drivers license, all the firearms you have purchased in Connecticut in the last dozen years or so will show up on his computer..

My neighbor received a letter from the state reminding him that he must register his ARs. I know he purchased them several years ago so as you can see that they already knew he had them.
Pistol permits of course, have always been recorded and collected by the State police as well as any pistol purchase data. Now the new law requires a long gun certificate to purchase any legal rifle or shotgun and this data is also recorded and will include data from private sales or gifts as well. My son will need to pass a background check in order to accept a rifle as a gift from me.
As I said, the law has been designed to ultimately capture all the guns residing in the state.

None of my firearms are currently in the registry as the purchase of them predates this 'illegal' [and unconstitutional] registration. But as we old guys pass away, our heirs have no choice but to endure transfer and registration unless they move them out of state.

In effect, this will insure over time that all the firearms in the state will become part of the registry. This model is what our current administration would like to enact for our entire country. As you know, none of this will make us any safer but it's really about control not safety.
Of course, all felons will be exempt from participating .
Regards, - X. from Connecticut

JWR Replies: I encourage my readers to ignore unconstitutional laws. Lex mala, lex nulla. But if and when you ever come under government prosecution, then be prepared for a legal battle all the way through a lengthy appeals process. In the end, we shall prevail, but there will be plenty of angst, in the interim. Living through that is part of the price that we pay for our freedom. If you don't have the means to fight a protracted legal battle, then hide your banned guns very well. (You probably won't want to be "the test case.")

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dear Mr. Rawles:
Like the author of the letter concerning peak oil and domestic fracking, I too regularly follow your blog but have not felt the need to add comment. However, the author makes several assertions about both the theory of peak oil and the state of oil production that require clarification.

The primary hypothesis behind peak oil, the Hubbert peak theory, does not state that after a certain point a nation, or mankind in general, will "never discover any more oil". Rather, it simply says that oil production at some point reaches a maximum rate, after which it enters a general decline. This decline can be demand-driven (through dwindling reliance on oil) or supply-driven (through decreasing discoveries of reserves and increasing costs of production). Needless to say, in America the latter is much more a factor than the former.

Oil production in the United States peaked in the early 1970s and has generally decreased since, with the exception of a brief increase in the mid-1980s and, or course, the recent resurgence brought about by fracking. This trend is not contrary to the theory itself; the downward trend does not necessarily have to be constant throughout, and Mr. Hubbert acknowledged the effects of technology in disrupting this decline. Oil production has increased over the past six years, but it has only been six years, and it still has some way to go to reach levels seen in the 1970s.

And while fracking is a welcome relief from importing foreign oil, including that from the OPEC cartel that includes our "allies" in Southwest Asia, it's important to remember that this oil is only produced at a much greater financial and environmental cost than conventional methods. (Indeed, technology advances were only as much a factor in the economic feasibility of these methods as the skyrocketing prices of oil and energy as a whole.) These costs do take their toll, even if gas prices slow and the pipelines flow full.

Rather than use fracking developments as an opportunity to deride Peak Oil, it may be more prudent to consider it an opportunity to make a more reasonable, smoother transition to renewable energy sources. Regardless of the amount of oil reserves remaining to be exploited, it certainly won't get any easier (and, by extension, less expensive or friendlier to the environment).

After all, taking peak oil seriously (and global warming, for that matter) is a bit like prepping: while it's quite possible we may be working hard to prepare for something that may never happen, it's much more palatable than the alternative of being caught unprepared once it's too late.

Thanks for your work and for the opportunity to contribute. - F.S.

Dear JWR;
Love your blog, I read it daily. I first learned of peak oil in mid 2009. Since 2009, I have studied peak oil (PO), and information surrounding PO almost daily. Reading books, peer reviewed scientific journals, news articles, attending lectures at University’s with the goal of taking in as much data (not opinion) as I can.

Peak Oil (PO) is a fact. No one that is credible debates this fact. The only argument that exists is, when it happened, or when will it happen.
To move forward with the recent post that the Bakken has ended the PO debate, is just silly.

To start, the author lumps traditional light sweet crude, shale and natural gas together as the same thing. These types of fuel are most certainly not even close to the same thing, and cannot be valued as such. “Geologists have determined that world-wide natural gas production, with fracking could produce enough for hundreds of years usage.” The peak oil debate is about oil that is used in transportation, agriculture, fertilizers and plastics, among many other things. Natural gas is about heating homes and powering our computers. Natural gas is argued in the context of coal. Not oil.  So, we may have enough natural gas to last hundreds of years, but this concept has nothing to do with oil.  

Another red flag from this authors opinion is, there is no mention of a single number (data) with in that post that details how much the Bakken produces, or percentages of increase in that production. If data had been provided by the author, the next key element is comparing and contrasting that data with how much oil America consumes. The reason data is important when making a claim as the author has is, it allows other people to come to their own conclusions and think for themselves. An American value that seems to be lost in popular culture. American oil consumption reflects GDP. This means that an increase in oil consumption reflects a growth in GDP. Likewise with a decline in oil consumption, decline in GDP. A graph to detail this can be seen here.

I could go on and argue other aspects of the peak oil debate, and in fact many books, geologists and government’s have information out there that go in to much greater detail than I could. The reason I felt it necessary to send a long a retort is because of how I value survival blog and prepping. For me, the data and fact surrounding peak oil is key for me and my view of prepping. This web site serves as a great resource of information and someone “sitting atop sea of Western North Dakota oil,” in which that sea is more in line with extracting water out of the desert, is providing a false sense of security to many other people that value the reputation of SurvivalBlog. If there is interest, I can provide many articles and news stories with in recent years, that range from militaries and geologists among others, that detail PO is real, the negative effects are expected soon, and they are planning accordingly. I hope everyone who reads this blog digs further in to the topic to draw their own conclusions.

All the best, - Nathan

JWR Replies: While there is a sharp division of opinion on this issue, almost everyone agrees that easily exploitable oil is a declining resource. Petroleum engineers often use Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) calculations in describing the cost or obtaining each barrel of oil. Although they are vast, the Bakken oil deposits are fairly inefficient in terms of their EROEI.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dear JWR:
I'm sitting in Western North Dakota atop a sea of oil.  We are producing barrels of oil in numbers that could not be imagined less than six years ago.  Natural gas production is soaring.  Why?  Fracking.  Geologists have determined that world-wide natural gas production, with fracking could produce enough for hundreds of years usage.

When I was growing up here in the 1960s, after the boom of the 1950s, experts said we were never going to discover any more oil.  The boom of the 1970s proved that wrong.  Then in the 1980s, it was all over but the shouting.  Guess what?  Technology improved and now we have more oil and gas than we know what to do with.  Even now, older horizontal wells (five years old) are having new technologies applied to them, boosting their output.  Just go to the North Dakota Industrial Commission/Oil and Gas Division and look at the production numbers. Do a Google search on it!

Maybe we can now finally put the Peak Oil nonsense to rest.  Some of us are old enough to at least think and research issues - not to mention learn from life experiences.  There are enough other "end of the world" things to worry about.  Energy is not one of them -- at least not in our lifetimes.

I'm a regular reader and have never felt the need to correspond about anything on your blog but this one just needs to be put to rest.  The Peak Oil concept is just as phony as man-made "global warming.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dear Jim,
There's another tricky loophole regarding permitted concealed carrying in or near schools. Many states have reciprocity with other states, but best I recall, the Federal statute requires valid licensure issued by that same State to carry in these areas.  So even if your license is valid throughout the state [via a reciprocity provision], it could conceivably still violate Federal law to be armed on or near school grounds.
Thanks, - Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I'm writing to warn fellow SurvivalBlog readers that there is a huge proviso for those wishing to open carry firearms in states where it is lawful to do so.

I recommend reading the Wikipedia page on Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990.

Some key excerpts form that web page follow:

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(25) the term "school zone" means—
(A) in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school; or
(B) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school.
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(26) the term "school" means a school which provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under State law.
Prohibition of unlicensed carry
Most states allow some form of unlicensed carry by people without criminal convictions.[8] This may be open-carry,[8] vehicle-carry,[9] or concealed carry without the need for a permit.[10] The Federal GFSZA prohibits unlicensed carry by making it a federal crime for an unlicensed individual to travel into a "Gun Free School Zone unless they meet one of the other criteria defined in Section 'B'." [11][12][13][14] The large number of K-12 schools in developed areas makes it difficult for an individual to travel any distance without entering a Gun Free School Zone.[2][11][12][14]

18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(4) establishes the penalty for violating GFSZA:
Whoever violates the Act shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the term of imprisonment imposed under this paragraph shall not run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed under any other provision of law.

Note: A conviction under the GFSZA will cause an individual to become a "prohibited person" under the Gun Control Act of 1968. This will bar them from legally owning firearms for the rest of their life.

JWR Adds: The Constitutionality of that law is doubtful. (It was already overturned once by the Supreme Court once, only to be reenacted by Congress in slightly different form.) But unless or until it is overturned, I would recommend that before open carrying near any schools that readers either: A.) obtain a concealed carry permit or B.) that they only carry pre-1899 antique guns, which are not considered "firearms" per Title 18 U.S.C. (Even so, be prepared to be stopped and challenged by under-informed law enforcement officers, and hence prepared to to prove that you are either a permit holder or that the particular gun that you are carrying had a frame or receiver that was manufactured in or before 1898.)

Readers are also warned that state and local laws vary widely, so do your homework before you exercise your right to be armed.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear Jim,
I thought I would let you know about something interesting going on in the Gold Country of California. Some SurvivalBlog readers may be aware that the North San Juan Ridge, aka “The Ridge” is highly populated with homesteaders, [near Grass Valley, California,, in Nevada County.] Since the soil is poor, and there are many squatters or people on largely undeveloped land, few make sufficient money from growing food for themselves, so turned to growing [marijuana, commonly called] pot.
In the old days, pot was illegal and the Fed and State CAMP task force would survey and raid pot farms, which went on the news.
After pot got into a gray area of legality and growers aren’t required to display legal certification so half the raids have to walk away while the farmer laughs, the pot farmers work almost openly. Pot is growing all over the place now, not just on the ridge. There are pot plants downtown grass valley in people’s gardens, next to their corn.
There have been articles in the local newspaper about “Trimmers” coming into town to harvest “medical marijuana” in North San Juan Ridge. I saw many of them around, looking very smug. When the work was done, those paid well enough left town once more. Others have stayed on with new friends for planting and tending next year’s crop.
For the most part, things are quiet up there. However, there were several reported instances of “home invasion robberies” by trimmers breaking into pot farms to steal the prepared bricks of marijuana or the money tucked away for the year’s expenses after making their sales down in the cities. There’s a lot more money than there used to be, so there’s more violent crime occurring. And since North San Juan is not incorporated, there is a long wait from a 911 call to the Deputies showing up, and they also show up armed for bear and looking very grim. Apparently the farmers shoot back. Or try.
Picture if you will, California goes for full legalization of marijuana, for all users, no restrictions, claiming taxes blah blah blah. It already happened in Washington State and Colorado. It will likely happen in the PRK. What will the pot growers do when their carefully managed remote farms are forced to sell their dope for 10 cents on the dollar of the former price and the money just isn’t good enough to live on with all the land they can use? Desperation. And desperate people do desperate things.
In Kashmir in the Himalayas, marijuana farms which refined pot into hashish, hauled the product over the Khyber Pass by mule train until a road was built in the 1990’s. They found themselves not making enough money so they switched to opium poppies.
Who wants to bet that current pot farmers in the USA won’t switch to growing opium when pot becomes legal? Some renters in Truckee, California [at the eastern end of Nevada County] had their hashish catch fire. After a trip to the emergency room for 2nd degree burns, they got booked into county jail. And those are the ones who got caught. It is reasonable that pot farmers will start making hash to reduce bulk and increase selling price, if they have the market for it. But hash isn’t as consistent a money maker as heroin. Heroin is highly addictive, physically addictive. It suppresses the body’s natural endorphin production so when the opiates process out, everything starts to hurt, apparently. Given a few days, the endorphin glands work again, but many heroin junkies can’t stand to wait that long and will do anything to stay high, including lots of violent crime. In Portland Oregon, the arrests for heroin are the highest in the USA, and police officers end up defending themselves or civilians rather frequently. Apparently, the way to come down off a Speed (Meth) binge is to sleepand for that they take heroin. It’s a big problem in Modesto[California] too, or was back when they could still steal cars to pay for it. Maybe not now.
Law enforcement is planning how to deal with domestic opium and already tracks heroin over-doses at the emergency room and arrests locally. So far it isn’t local product, but they fear that eventually, lowered price pot will mean the farmers will switch to tar opium or refine heroin for maximum markup. The farmers see themselves as homesteaders, living off the grid by their own rules, but mostly need soap and their clothes are full of holes and their vans are converted into living space. Impressive practical conversions that can still navigate the rutted gravel and dirt roads, and they deal with the sort of remote secret security problems and keep their OPSEC very close to the chest. They are however making and selling drugs. Upping the ante to heroin will be an all too easy next step. And the violence will increase.
If you have a neighbor growing pot, and see flashes of bright poppy flowers through the trees, give serious thought to your safety, and whether you want any involvement with that person when you hear shots fired at their place. You may even give some thought to a ballistic barrier between your home and theirs. Just to be safe. Sincerely, - InyoKern

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mr. Rawles,
Is there any way that I can avoid enrolling in Obamacare? (I believe that abortion is sinful and there's no way I want to support it.) Thanks, - Debra L.

JWR Replies: As currently enacted, the Affordable Care Act (commonly called "Obamacare)" contains a special exemption provision for members of healthcare sharing ministries. One of the best of these is called Medi-share. A similar plan--and even less expensive per month--is available from Samaritan Ministries.

Monday, December 16, 2013

James Wesley,
My wife needed a new car (SUV to be exact), and that got me looking into the fiscal situation in detail to come up with a price range. I first detailed the expense side of the balance sheet down to monthly average activities and dining out costs, but my world was shaken when I looked at the income totals. Like a growing number of men, my wife makes more than me, her career being much more in demand these days. This I knew from the start; we're not that far off but there is, as the left would put it, an apparent income inequality. Like most spouses, we are free to spend small amounts for fun, gadgets and the like, but the larger expenditures (anything over say $200-$300) need to be run by one another to ensure its within budget or qualifies as an emergency expenditure. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say that either one of us has ever wanted for anything within reason since we were married. This is why I was shocked at the figures that came from calculating our annual household income; shocked however, isn't really the word, more like appalled, angry, frustrated and down right offended.

I used our pay stubs to calculate our income, and for fun started with gross aggregate income (if you've never done it give it a shot, it's enlightening.) My shock came not when the individual taxes were deducted, but only after the net incomes were combined and compared to the gross. Our household net income turns out to be, near as makes no difference, almost the same as my wife's gross income. After taxes, my whole year of work translates into only about $3,000 that my family ever gets to see. It was a striking viewpoint. One can argue about tax rates and who pays what bills, but in the grand scheme of things; when it all gets laid out on the table as a family, nearly all of the work I do every day is just going to pay the family's taxes.

As a husband, those numbers made me sick to my stomach, to know that nearly all of my salary goes to someone other than my family is as disheartening as it gets. It's one thing to see the taxes taken out of your check every two weeks, it is quite another to put it into net versos gross annual terms. Coming to the realization that nearly all of what I earn goes into someone else's checkbook has given me the true meaning of words I long tried to exemplify, and if I may paraphrase Ayn Rand, " An end must be put to the infamy of paying with one life for the errors of another." - Ed K.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The faceless “bureaucratocracy” strikes yet again, threatening to condemn an off-grid homeowner for allegedly violating an “international property maintenance code” due to lack of running water and electricity – even though neither utility is specified in said international property maintenance code.  How does an international code apply within the confines of an incorporated entity like the City of Cape Coral (which has its own building codes adopted pursuant to its own ordinance procedures)?  And now the city has graciously indicated that, if the homeowner can prove she can “sustain herself” without these utilities, they “might be able to reach a solution”.  So, in the mind of these bureaucrats under the auspices of some inapplicable international code, the burden is on a woman has been living without water and electricity to show that she can continue to live without water and electricity to the satisfaction of the bureaucrat - or she will lose her house. 
From a purely public policy perspective, this regulatory taking is disturbing to say the least. 

Sincerely, - Hunkajunk

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I.  Introduction - Possible Scenarios.  

  1. Your automobile becomes inoperable for a period of time while traveling – it is extremely hot or extremely cold and hours to wait.
  2. A natural disaster occurs and you have to evacuate.
  3. Chaos occurs due to financial collapse or other major event causing civil unrest.
  4. An Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) or Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) caused by solar flare(s) renders your vehicle dead miles from home.
  5. Or, an EMP occurs as a result of a nuclear strike (with collateral fall-out to follow).
  6. Use your imagination…in reality, nothing is too far fetched.

While these are listed in order from “Bad” to “Worse”, all of these have great commonalities.  The more obvious should be that (1) they are realistic and possible, (2) they can occur and cause mass panic and civil upheaval in a relatively short time, (3) they can land you in a situation that most likely will find you, your preparation, your knowledge and your determination are all you have to survive, and, without a doubt, (4) a lack of planning, preparation, knowledge, determination and the means to employ all will, with reasonable certainty, lead to your death

I'm glad that I have your attention.  Now let us begin to devise some of the basic means, methods and logistics that you will need to exponentially improve your survivability, and with prayer and guts, successfully reach your destination. 

II.   Equipment.  There are a number of “essentials” that you should plan to pack and keep in your vehicle at all times.  The only time these items should be removed from your vehicle is (1) if you need the room to haul other items to/from a short destination (i.e. across town, from the store, etc.), (2) to update/replenish items and then place back in the vehicle when completed, (3) you are traveling with someone else in their vehicle (your essential items go with you). 
Now let’s discuss what those “essential” items might consist.

1.  Pack.    You should purchase a quality backpack that is large enough to comfortably load the items you will need.  The pack can be of military grade (i.e. surplus such as the A.L.I.C.E. pack), or a quality hiking/camping pack that is supported by two shoulder straps and capable of load bearing for extended hiking.  Your pack should be of muted, natural or earth colors such as green, black, desert tan, or brown.  Bright colors will only amplify to others that YOU HAVE A PACK and YOU HAVE ESSENTIALS THAT THEY DO NOT!  Plus you will need the ability to hide your pack during periods of rest without it being obvious to others who may spot you. 

As stated, the pack must be large enough to accommodate all the essentials we will list below yet not too large that you cannot negotiate its weight for long periods. 
Some packs are equipped with waist belts to help distribute and support the load accordingly.  It is your personal preference.  However, most quality hiking backpacks are designed with this feature for a purpose.  Be smart. 

Other important considerations should be the design for accessing the pack.  Is it easy (relatively speaking) to get in an out of?  Can I get to the needed essentials quickly and easily at night and/or during cold or inclement weather? 

The pack should have ample outer pockets in which to store those items you will use most often (i.e. sanitation, fire starting material, maps, compass, binoculars, food, water, weapon(s), etc.). 

There should be the ability to attach additional bulk items (i.e. sleeping mat, coat, maybe a sleeping bag) on the bottom or top by additional straps or para-cord.

2.  Water.   When it comes to sustaining the human life, one must consider the “Essential Threes.”   The order of importance in need is as follows:

  1. Air – 30 seconds
  2. Water – 3 days
  3. Food – 3 weeks     However, in a survival situation where you have to exert extreme energy to travel and stay alert, the time frames on water and food are greatly shortened.

You must plan to have clean, drinkable water at all times.   The amounts will be covered later.  At this time let’s focus on types of storage and conveyance. 

2 liter, 3 liter, and 100 ounce water bladders are very popular for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, however they may not always be the best choice for the survivor.

Why?  The size alone constitutes added weight that may not be able to be spread loaded especially with a full pack.  Backpacks with separate compartments for such bladders have become very popular but you must consider the ability to frequently access the bladder without having to nearly empty the pack to do so.  Water refills in a survival scenario will often be done on the move when opportunity arises and in the quickest amount of time.  Moreover, a small puncture or tear to such a system will quickly render your main water conveyance inoperable.  

Consider multiple 1-2 quart containers that you can store and attach to various locations on/in your pack.  Give careful consideration as to how you will carry/attach your primary water source. 

For bulk storage of water in addition to your primary containers consider a 750 ml platypus bag that is relatively small, yet flexible and collapsible (like the popular larger water bladders discussed above). 

Nalgene bottles are excellent in that they are tough, lightweight and you can see the contents. 

Likely sources to replenish your water supply will be streams, ponds, lakes, and rivers.  Consider how you will purify water.  A supply of water purification tablets should be carried.  Also, a small plastic vile of chlorine can be carried.  A few drops will sterilize 750 ml of water fairly quickly.  (Research the correct amounts and procedures to purify water by volume and make note of this information to carry in your pack with your purification tools. If using common bleach as your source of chlorine, be sure that it is non-scented with non-additives.)

Small water purification systems do very well and can be purchased for around $80+.   However, they do take up additional space and add ounces to an already loaded pack. 

A very good alternative is the Berkey Sport bottle.  A standard 750 ml water bottle has a smaller Berkey Black filter attached to the drinking straw in the bottle.  You merely have to fill the bottle with water and drink from the straw to get clean and pure water.  Water from your other storage bottles can then be poured into the Berkey Sport bottle as needed.    The Berkey Sport bottle can be purchased off EBay for as little as $15 each, so shop around.

3. Food.    Amounts will be discussed later. For now let’s consider types.

Food is definitely an essential that will become critical in a survival scenario.  It is easy and inexpensive to load up on soups and power bars at Wal-Mart and the local grocery store; however, this may prove to be a very costly mistake. 

In a survival scenario, you will be expending a much greater amount of calories due to

  1. Greater exertion of energy hiking.
  2. Greater exertion of energy due to fear and adrenalin.
  3. Greater exertion of energy due to weather (cold requires as much as twice the calories in order to keep warm.  Hot can have a similar effect.)

As a result, now is not the time to diet.  Caloric intake is key.  Inexpensive soups and quick prepare foods found at the local grocery chain will only yield about 1-2 grams of protein on average.  This is not a good return on your survival investment or on the weight you will be carrying in regards to the nutritional value received.

Consider specialized foods high in protein such as Mountain House usually found in the camping section at Wal-Mart.  Also consider purchasing a bucket of the pre-packaged dehydrated foods from Wise Foods, EFoodsDirect, etc.  While you may pay as much as twice the price of the bargain foods mentioned, the caloric value averages 11-18 grams of protein. 

Also, energy bars high in protein are a good source and easy to pack.  Mix it up. No one likes to consume the same thing over and over again.  A variety of good and satisfying food can do wonders for morale and your ability to keep moving forward another day. 

Candy bars can produce a quick energy boost but should never be your main source of nutrition.  However, looking forward to treating yourself can be a tremendous motivator. 

4.  Clothing.   Pack wise.  Clothing, while an absolute essential, can be a space robber in your pack and add unnecessary weight if not planned well.  Your clothing should be of natural and earth tone colors.  You do not want to stand out. 

a. Clothing with logos representing or making various statements should be avoided.  For example, clothing that depicts or advertises certain messages should not be used.  Examples would be articles that make a political statement, a statement of wealth or your preference for firearms or military should be avoided.  This will only prove to be troublesome on occasions you may have to interact with others you do not know.

Obviously the time of year and season will dictate the type of clothing needed, however be smart about it. 

In moderate to warm weather and in addition to what you may already have on…you should consider packing…

  1. pair long pants
  2. changes of socks (preferably some wool blend for dryness)
  3. changes of underwear
  4. shirts and/or t-shirts
  5. sweatshirt or light fleece

(1) hat

Colder weather…consider packing the same but adding…

  1. pair of thermal or polypropylene (bottoms & top)
  2. changes of wool blend socks (rather than pure cotton)
  3. pair of insulated gloves

(1) fleece or wool watch cap (a fleece balaclava is a good addition)

b. Shoes.   There are areas that you can always cut back and/or take the “bargain route” on… YOUR FOOTWEAR IS NOT ONE OF THEM!

You do not buy a nicely outfitted automobile that you will be traveling long distances in and then put the cheapest tires on it.  This would not make sense.   The same logic holds true for your feet. 
As encountering and negotiating multiple types of terrain while carrying added weight is a given, a pair of quality boots should be your primary footwear.  Only consider sturdy name brands that have a reputation and a proven performance record for the type of activities for which you will be engaging. 

Such boots generally are categorized as “Hiking” or “Military” with a minimum of 8” uppers, aggressive traction and are proven to be good for load bearing (i.e. proven to hold up and support you under the weight of a pack for long periods).    Some boots categorized as “Hunting” boots may be satisfactory but do the research and compare. 

Boot material is really a personal preference.  However, give careful consideration to modern materials.  Modern materials such as Gore-Tex and Cordura offer added warmth in cold weather and greater breathability year round.  Moreover, Gore-Tex is generally waterproof.  Keeping your feet dry and clean is key.

A second pair of shoes is a smart addition.  These are for putting on during rest breaks allowing your boots time to dry and air out, as well as giving your feet a much needed break. 

They also serve as a “back up” to your boots so they should be sturdy. New is not necessary but there should be plenty of life left in them.  A quality pair of running shoes will suffice but also consider sturdier hiking shoes made by companies who specialize in these such as Merrell, Keen, and other proven brands. 

c. Coats.  During cold weather a jacket/parka that is warm, wind resistant and water repellent is a must.  A hood is an added benefit.  Avoid bulky coats made from natural fibers (i.e. cotton, wool, or blend).  Coats made of modern materials are superior in warmth with less bulk and weight. 

During warmer months a light jacket that can repel wind should be packed (or at least a light fleece).  Rain, fatigue, and change of weather can bring on rapid chilling causing lose of body heat and robbing strength. 

d. Packing Clothing.   Most quality packs have some resistance to water.  However, prolonged exposure to rain, setting down on wet ground, or the unexpected “drop” in the creek while crossing can become a nuisance in warm weather and deadly during cold. 

Before packing your clothes, line the pack with a large plastic trash bag and place your articles of clothing within.  Be sure to cinch the bag by twisting, tuck, etc. to seal it from leaking and your clothing will remain dry no matter what occurs. 

5. Other Important Items.    There are numerous other items you will need, some more important than others.  The following list is by no means all-inclusive or absolute.  The order in which items are listed should not be construed as more important than the next.  Some will be obviously critical while others, not so much.  As with anything important, your planning, competency in use and your ability to transport all have to be considered. 

Avoid storage of smaller items loosely in your pack.  Group like items together and place into smaller zip-loc plastic bags. 

  The List:

  1. Direction Finding
    1. Compass.  Does not have to be very expensive, just trustworthy and accurate.
    2. Area Maps.  Laminated maps for your state can be purchased at Wal-Mart. 
  2. Fire Starting.  Redundancy is key here. 
    1. (2) butane lighters
    2. (2) boxes of waterproof matches
    3. (1) fire stick/flint
    4. Fire accelerates (i.e. Trioxane fuel tablets, small camping fire kindling, fire accelerate paste, lint collected from the dryer)

Spread load these so if one is lost, all will not be lost.

Survivor Ideology:  “ Two is one; One is none.”     Think about that.

  1. Sanitation.  
    1. Small bar of soap, small bottle of sanitizer, etc.…
    2. Roll toilet paper
    3. Re-sealable package of wet-wipes
    4. Toothbrush/travel tube of toothpaste and small deodorant
    5. Small vile of petroleum jelly for blisters and chaffed skin
  2. Food Preparation.
    1. Small folding (Esbit) stove with fuel tabs
    2. Excess fuel tabs
    3. Or, a small backpacking type stove such as JetBoil
    4. Fork and spoon
    5. Flavoring – salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc.
    6. Small aluminum pot to heat/boil water.  An excellent choice is

     the standard 1 qt. military canteen with carrier and the “canteen cup.”     
     The canteen cup fits inside the carrier and the canteen fits inside the cup. 
     This saves space and serves multiple purposes.

3. Shelter.  A 1-2 man tent is very useful if you have one already, can pack it accordingly, and it is not a bright color. So a tarp, 6’X8’ in camouflage, dark green of brown, is a very good alternative a tent. It will provide a lot of flexibility on all terrain and can be packed many ways.

100’ of para-cord (thin ¼” nylon rope) in natural colors.

(6) small aluminum tent stakes (able to fit through the grommets of a tarp).

4. Sleep System. 
Sleeping Bag.  One that is light in weight (under 4 lbs.) and is designed for hiking and backpacking.  While “down” filled bags are very warm, extremely light in weight, and easy to compress for packing, a man-made fiber filled bag may be the best choice for the average survivalist.  Down, once wet, is very difficult to dry and loses all warming properties when wet.  The opposite holds true for man-made fillers such as Hollow-fill and other common fibers.  Be selective and do your homework.  A sleeping bag is generally the largest and most bulky item you will carry.  There are quality man-made fiber filled bags under $100 that will pack almost as compactly as the very expensive down filled bags. 

Sleeping Mat.  A very much appreciated item…especially for unknown sleeping surfaces that you will encounter.  Also, great for a barrier to keep your bag dry.  Styles, prices, and quality vary greatly so do your research and be selective

5. Medical/Personal.

First Aid.   Seek a well-stocked kit in a soft carry bag rather than hard.  Soft is much easier to pack and shift around.  Add additional painkillers such as Aleve, Tylenol, etc.  Also, consider adding burn ointment and additional bandages such as an ACE wrap.

    1. Extra pair of glasses/contacts and solution
    2. Medications that you may require
    3. Feminine hygiene products

    4. 6. Lighting.

    1. (2) Small size, quality defensive type flashlight of at least 200 lumens. One to be carried on your person and one packed as a backup.
    2. (1) Head lamp with harness or hat brim clip on light. 
    3. Extra batteries for all lights
    4. (1) Red lens for your primary flashlight. To be used to defuse white light at night when you do not need to be seen.  

      7.  Knife.  At least one quality utility folding knife with a locking blade.  Consider one with a

             partial serrated edge.  Also, a multi-tool such as the high quality Leatherman series with a   
             built in saw is highly suggested. 

8. Money.  Small bills up to about $60.  Consider having a few dollars in silver coinage as well.

             Debit and credit will not be available. 

9.  Small Bible.  Last, but certainly not least, is God’s guidance and comfort.


  III.   Situational Awareness.   You must always remain calm and in control.  You must always be aware of your surroundings and what the general atmosphere is to the best of your ability.   Be observant.  Listen intently.  The little intelligence you obtain from these measures can most assuredly save your life. 

In the event a survival situation occurs, it will be helpful to have an understanding of how human nature most likely will react. 

In large population centers such as cities, riots could break out almost immediately if the cause is fueled by an emotionally charged event.  Think of history and the Rodney King riots of Los Angeles in 1992.   Evacuation from and avoidance of such areas must be done immediately.   For other events the time line of societal decay will go as follows:

Day 1 – people will be in disbelief.  A sense of “what’s happened/happening?” will prevail and folks will generally congregate to get answers.  However, as the day progresses and night sets in, panic may escalate and tempers begin to flare.

Day 2 – Panic is growing.  People become frantic and less tolerate. Fear and uncertainty is fast growing.  The risk of personal danger is rising.

Day 3 – Without clean water and most likely food and a lack of sufficient sleep, destitute people will become aggressive with a large percentage resorting to violence.  They will attempt to take what you have.  Avoid contact.

Day 4+ - People away from the comforts of home will become very dangerous. People in their homes will become very protective and civil unrest (everywhere) is a certainty.  Avoid contact at all cost.  

Day 15 - Studies show that civil people will consider resorting to cannibalism if no other food or possibilities of food exist in their immediate future.  They will surely kill for what you have. 


IV. Protection & Security.  While personal protection is somewhat obvious and should quickly

become a very high priority for anyone who finds himself or herself in a survival situation, it is an area that is often misunderstood, misused and left to chance.  Neither of these will serve the survivor well and will surely leave you, sooner or later, in the category of “Non-Survivor.” 

While movies and books do an insatiable job of glamorizing and even romanticizing the lone survivor who beats all odds to overcome great diversity…like being in combat, one cannot truly understand the experience unless one has experienced it for themselves. 

The truth is a person who finds himself/herself in a survival situation will be consumed with confusion, fear, loneliness, and an immense sense of indecisiveness.  Having the necessary provisions discussed above at your disposal should give comfort that the essentials to survive are in your possession.  This is merely a temporary relief if you have neither the knowledge nor requisite abilities to use your gear properly.  You must continue to sharpen your skills by training and planning for such an event. 

However, no matter how strong your logistics and the know-how to use them are, if you do not have the ability to protect yourself and your life tools from others who are desperate and will, through whatever means necessary, take them from you…you will fail. 

1.  Weapons.  As noted above, you should always have in your possession a knife.  While essential as a utility tool, the knife you choose should also be suitable as a backup defensive weapon.  As a primary means of protection, you should have in your possession a quality and reliable handgun that is familiar and that you have had adequate training and experience in firing. 

While there are numerous types and brands of handguns to choose from, some do stand out as a much better choice for defensive purposes. 

Keep in mind that most attacks are done quickly and in close proximity.  Revolvers, while extremely reliable and easy to use, do have limitations.  Most notably is the number of rounds (bullets) one has available for immediate protection.  This typically amounts to 5-6 before reloading is necessary.  Reloading a revolver requires a series of time-consuming actions that make it less desirable as a primary defensive weapon in the survival mode.  If a revolver is still desired, nothing below a .38 caliber should be considered.  Multiple speed loaders should also be purchased which will aid in reloading quicker. 

The optimum handgun for a survival situation is the semi-automatic pistol in mid to full size configuration.  A mid to full size pistol will generally hold between 10-17 rounds depending on the caliber and make.  The larger bullet capacity definitely provides greater firepower in an attack.  Moreover, mid to full size pistols generally have a longer barrel length over the revolver giving it an exceptional advantage in accuracy and range.  Pistols use magazines to hold/feed bullets to the gun and therefore can be easily stored and quickly accessed for a hasty reload.   

Calibers below 9mm should not be considered.  Calibers above 9mm, such as the .40 S&W and the .45 ACP are excellent defensive weapons but be sure to consider the increased size and weight for carrying additional ammunition and magazines.   

a.  Handgun Carry.  The primary defensive handgun should be carried in a manner that allows easy and fast access in the event it is needed.  It should not be stored in the pack.  A quality holster, that either attaches to one’s belt or to the shoulder straps or waist belt of the pack, should be used.  Note: a backup handgun is an excellent idea and may be carried in the pack, if available.  A backup handgun in the same caliber is even better in that it allows you to consolidate ammunition to one type.

b.  Long Gun.  It is commonly understood in the firearms world that a person with a long gun (typically a rifle) will always defeat a person with a handgun in a straight up gunfight.  The truth of this adage leads many to consider having a long gun, either a shotgun or rifle, as their primary firearm. 

There may not be a right or wrong answer to this: only considerations to be made.
While the long gun of choice has definite and obvious advantages, there are important disadvantages as well.

  1. Added weight and ability to carry in addition to pack, water, etc.
  2. Added weight and bulk of ammunition.
  3. Added visibility or lack of ability to conceal the fact that you are armed in/around others you will eventually come into contact with. 


For example…a person sees you from a distance and may choose to by-pass contact with you.  However, if they see you have a “highly prized article” such as a rifle or shotgun, they may choose to engage you from that distance in an attempt to take it from you or double back for an attempt at a more opportune time.  Again, there may be no right or wrong answers to this question: just serious considerations to make. 

2. Traveling.  It is always best to travel in groups of two or more (like minded/prepared) persons if possible.  This is not always possible so you must develop the skills to protect yourself and provide for your own security.  

       a.  Vehicle.  If able to travel by automobile, never stop or leave your vehicle except when absolutely necessary.  Breaks to relieve one’s self should be done by the vehicle as fast as possible and then continue on.  Do not linger.  Modesty is not an issue at this point. Security and safety are. 

Always maintain a full tank of gasoline.  Try to never drop below a half tank before refilling. 

Other than to relieve one’s self, refuel or the occasional meal preparation (try to eat on the go) you should continue to travel to your destination.  Should you have to stop to rest/sleep, you should take the extra time to drive off the main routes in search of a secure and secluded area that affords protection and the ability to hide the vehicle from passersby.  If you are being observed, travel on until you are not.  If traveling with others, someone must be on watch at all times.  Rotate shifts for sleep and eating. 

NEVER relax your security or let your guard down.  

NEVER build a fire unless absolutely necessary for warmth due to potential hypothermia or frost injury.  Fire is a beacon that will lead undesirables to you. 

Be especially watchful for overpasses, bridges and other various choke points that could make excellent ambush/attack sites.

      b.  On Foot/Hiking.   If you find that you have to travel without the comfort and security of a vehicle, all of the above still apply, but now you have numerous other measures to consider. 

  1. Consider traveling at night when others in the area may be resting and less likely for you to encounter.
  2. Never camp on or near the route you are traveling.  If on a main highway/road you should camp at least 100 yards away hidden from sight in the woods.  Again, make sure you are not being observed when detouring to your campsite. 
  3. Pick a site that provides cover (barrier to shield against firearms) as well as concealment (ability to hide) from others. 
  4. NEVER build a fire.  If a fire is absolutely necessary, do so for the minimal amount of time required (during daylight) then move far away to a different locale to make camp. 
  5. Noise and light discipline is as important as not building a fire (for obvious reasons).  You want to get in and out with as little notice as humanly possible. 
  6. If you sense that you are being followed, you may find it necessary to confront the person(s) rather than continuing on.  Do so with extreme caution and with plenty of daylight left if at all possible.  TRUST NO ONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OUTSIDE YOUR GROUP!
  7. Short of someone committing a grievous act against another, avoid contact with others.  You cannot help them if they are unprepared.  They will be desperate.  So are you and even more so should they harm you and/or take what you have. 
  8. Plan your route(s).  You will most definitely have a planned route if traveling by vehicle.  You should also have routes planned in the event you are on foot. 
  9. Avoid bridges, overpasses and choke points.  They will be prime ambush sites for people traveling by foot.  Bridge crossings, etc. must be done with extreme caution.  You will need to spend time observing from a distance in order to determine the safety and opportunity for crossing. 
  10.  As time progresses you will want to avoid towns and/or any population centers.  Take the time to observe and plan alternate routes around. 


V.  Quantities to Consider.   Above we have talked about the types of food to pack and the means to carry water.  Now let us consider the amounts necessary.

  1. Water.  Clean water is an absolute necessity to survive.  You should drink plenty of water even when you feel that you are not thirsty.  While this should be obvious in hot weather, the same holds true for cold weather as well.  Dehydration is a killer and can attack you in heat or cold. 

Water weighs approximately 8 lbs. per gallon.   Other than your pack and firearm, water will be the heaviest item you carry.  You should have at least three of the containers mentioned above on you.  One should be readily accessible and the other two can be stored/affixed to your pack accordingly. 

Take every opportunity to refill that is available to you.  Take the time to filter properly before consuming.  Illness due to contaminated water is a killer in a survival situation. 

2. Food.  Food will be critical to your health, energy and the ability to make good and sound decisions.  The amount you need will depend on the distance to your desired destination.  Let’s look at an example.


Scenario - 30 miles from your destination – while no one really wants to jump at the chance to hike 30 miles, in a survival situation it seems very “doable”, and it is…if prepared.

Without any problems or delays, the average healthy person with the proper motivation should be able to hike 10 miles per day.  For a 30-mile distance we are looking at a minimum of 3 to 3 ½ days on the road.   Add in the degradation of society as outlined above and we see our 3 day hike easily extend into 5-6 days.  Get the idea?  You have to plan your logistics and train your body and mind accordingly – now.

Ammunition.  Certainly have your firearm(s) and additional magazines loaded at all times.  A box of an additional 50 rounds packed away is not out of the question. 


Additional – Nice to Have:

  1. Radio – Provided you have not experienced an EMP/CME rendering most electronics useless, a radio to monitor news and events is very helpful.  Avoid the temptation to listen to music.  You need to be listening to what is happening around you.
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Work Gloves
  4. Binoculars
  5. Vitamins
  6. Bug Spray
  7. Portable ram radio transceiver (1 for your destination party as well)
  8. Other items to keep your spirits up (depending on your ability to carry)


VII.   Conclusion:

With the proper planning, training, and motivation you can survive such a calamity.
It will not be easy – physically, mentally or emotionally.  There is a great chance that you will see and experience many bad things.  There is a great chance you may have to use violent and/or deadly force.  Now is the time to prepare. 

“Practice makes perfect” – We have all heard this before and most will agree to this simple truth.  If that is the case…shouldn’t you practice the things we have discussed above?  After all, getting these important items in hand and these techniques down to a workable level of confidence and ability is a great deal more important than whether or not you will win a sporting event or pull off a successful performance.  How well you perform here means whether or not you will live or die. 

Finally, I have been told that I should create a checklist to include with this guide.  I have given that a lot of thought and realized that this entire guide is, in essence, a checklist.  To prepare properly you will most likely devise numerous checklist and I can guarantee that you will revise them from time to time based on your needs, plans, location, time of year, abilities, and desires.  The main thing is to get started.  Simply check off items in this guide page by page as you acquire them and you will be well on your way. 

Survivor Ideology: “It is much better to be prepared a year in advance than a day
too late.”

God is always with you.  Good luck and God speed. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

I’d like to add a couple of thoughts to the recent Appleseed/Libertyseed post.  While I have been involved with Appleseed and really appreciate the history and message that is presented, we need to correct the misconception that: “The spirit of liberty was alive and well in the hearts and minds of Paul Revere and his fellow American colonists in the 1770s…”  The notion of “3 Percenters” lives today based on the rough statistics that only 3% of the colonists actually fought the Revolutionary War, another 10% actively supported the war effort, and another 20% supported the war in spirit but did nothing substantive. 

Only 13%(ish) actively supported liberty and the war effort, against 66% of the colonists that opposed it.  Within this two-thirds of opposition, there were spies, traitors, and some who even fought along with the British soldiers.  While these percentages are subject to debate, and the numbers surely changed as the war unfolded, it is at least obvious that the spirit of liberty was opposed by an overwhelming majority. 

I also don’t appreciate the author’s pessimistic perspective on America today. She wrote: “As you look around in your family, your neighborhood, your city, your state, and your country, do you see the spirit of liberty alive and well? Quite frankly, I don’t.” and, “Perhaps it’s too late to save America. Perhaps the ship has already sunk too far…”  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I see the spirit of liberty alive and growing!  Every week it seems that more and more people are waking-up to the tyranny and injustices perpetrated by our government, and are joining, both formally and informally, the liberty movement.  I see it nationally, in my state, and even in my neighborhood.  The birth of the Tea Party, our first real alternative to the corrupt two party system, is a prime example. 
What is the percent of Americans today who stand ready to defend liberty and our Constitution?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But I take solace in knowing that a 13% minority was able to stand up and fight against overwhelming odds and win.  I have no doubt that we have at least the same percentages today, if not greater.  If even 3-13% of our 308 million populace stands committed, then we are 9-to-40 million strong!  Let that number sink in, especially relative to the size of any army or government agency on the planet. 
I believe we are as strong today as ever, and to the RWVA’s credit, I have no doubt they are making a difference.  As long as there remains a core of Americans who will continue to educate themselves on the Constitution, and continue to raise succeeding generations appropriately, then America will survive. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The first snow of the season fell a few weeks ago at my location. It wasn't much, about 2 inches of heavy wet snow in the course of half a day and another inch expected to fall in the evening. Toward the end of the afternoon my sister dropped by for a visit and shortly before she arrived she noticed a couple of kids leaning on their bicycles at the side of the road. She stopped to see if everything was okay and mentioned to them they could stop by at our place it they needed help.

A little later on we saw them walking up the hill our house is located on with their bicycles in hand. About halfway up they stopped and, after some conversation, turned around and came into our drive way though not up to the house. So we went outside and offered to bring them home which was gladly accepted.

Before I relate the rest of the story, I want to stress that both kids had bright, clear eyes and their speech was polite, coherent and articulate. Therefore I have no reason to assume they are alcoholics or habitual drug users; something that could be easily inferred from what follows.

As it turned out they live in the nearest village to the south of us, which is nine miles away. Since the road was slushy, there was ample time to talk before we got there. From what I gathered they were on a sight-seeing trip and it had taken them about three hours to get to our place. I still do not know whether to marvel at their grit and determination or to label it a single-minded pursuit of the clueless. Perhaps its both.

At any rate by the time they stopped at our place, it was about 45 minutes before sunset. They had no lights on their bicycles, were lightly clothed and soaking wet right down through mittens and sneakers. They were also pretty much exhausted and had no hope of ever making it home on their own. Though I doubt that really had occurred to them at that moment.

Both kids, a boy and an girl, were fairly short (under 5 ft tall), slim built and each rode a kid's mountain bike with only 1 out of 4 tires reasonably well inflated. All in all it was quite an achievement for them to get as far as they did. It struck me during our conversation that they seemed to be around 10 years old as far their as comprehension of the situation went. For instance it turned out they had a cell phone with them and when they tried it, it picked up a cell tower, no problem. When I asked them why they hadn't called home, I just got some incredulous looks as if to say: a phone is for texting our buddies - not for calling home. [As an aside: When I dropped off their bicycles later on, I got the same incredulous looks when I asked them if they had learned that there are limits to what a person can do. The concept of learning from one's experiences seemed rather alien.]

During the conversation the girl volunteered that she'd had trouble with her knee during the trip. It had 'popped' but that wasn't a big deal because that happened regularly to her. It was just a bit painful at the time it happens. Then the boy showed me how he couldn't straighten his fingers. He said it was due to osteo-arthritis which he had been diagnosed with at age 11 and the cold didn't help things any.

At that point I just had to ask them: how old are you guys anyway? Turns out the 'girl' was a 17 year old high school dropout and the 'boy' - possibly her boyfriend - was in his early 20s.

This experience has been a bit of an eye opener to me, which is why I want to share it with you. First of all I didn't think such people lived around here. This is a rural area where the front page news are weekly tallies of flue fires (at least in the winter). Besides we have had a real winter every year for longer than these persons have been alive: i.e. they should know better. All youngsters I personally know wouldn't dream of engaging in such activities.

Secondly, and more importantly, this is before SHTF so getting them home was no problem. But what does one do after SHTF? If you are looking for a how to now - I don't have one yet. I am writing this mainly to raise awareness of the problem because I haven't seen it mentioned much on SurvivalBlog or anywhere else for that matter. Nevertheless you may want to spend some time thinking about what you are going to do when faced with this situation. Are you going to ignore them, hoping they will run into a better Samaritan than you?

We have all heard about the golden hordes, gangs and other threats to our existence. These people, however, seem to be truly clueless and only alive because their bodies run on autopilot. Chances are that (at least initially) they will be roaming around rather aimlessly - perhaps just to get away from violence elsewhere. So what's a person to do with them? I doubt they have any skills that you could put to good use. I also doubt that they are an imminent threat to you or your family unless forced to join existing gangs. They may not want to but most people can rationalize anything to stay alive.

In this particular situation about my only option (if I didn't want to take the risk to bring them home) would have been to give them a place to sleep and a few good meals before pumping their tires and sending them on their way home the next day. Which raises the issue: where do I put them? On an air mattress in the living room? Is the living room filled with the latest gadgets? I am sure they will remember some of the things they saw. Do you have room in the basement? A bunk house? A barn? Do you sleep or keep vigil in front of the door?

I know it is hard to prep for the unexpected and you may or may never run into any of them. However there may very well be many more clueless people around than we care to find out. The product of being put into this world and left to fend for themselves by absent parents, a school system that's focused on providing dumb financial slaves and cannon fodder, and having equally clueless peers as reference points. Would you or I do much better under the circumstances? I would like to think so but am thankful I don't have to prove it.

I will leave you with a text that keeps going through my head as I think about the situation: Should I not have mercy on (...) persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand? (Jonah 4:11) - D.P.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's not every day I get the chance to visit with a TEOTWAWKI survivor - but when I do, I listen up. That opportunity presented itself yesterday, when I was privileged to interview Paul.
An individual of small frame yet sizeable strength of mind and determination, Paul experienced the end of the world he knew and lived to help create a new one. Not only did he survive the collapse, but he proved to be a key leader and connector in his community as it struggled through the extended period of political upheaval, economic failure, widespread violence, and nefarious pillaging. Paul also dealt with treachery from friends and neighbors, epidemic disease, death threats, cessation of trade, prolonged lack of necessary supplies, and international contempt – as well as the death of two children.

Fortunately for me, he was not shy about sharing his story.

Exceptional leadership grabs my interest, and I had many questions for this extraordinary gentleman. Right away, I wanted to know: to what do you credit your survival? What were the most important things you did to ensure that you, your family, and your community would make it through the collapse? What lessons can you teach us?
His answer was most unexpected.

Preparing for Liberty

When I think of how I’d survive a collapse, my mind jumps to things like stockpiling supplies, starting a garden, learning to shoot, being able to live off-grid, or having a strategic bug-out location. All of those did indeed come into play, and were critical components of survival for Paul and his community. However, I soon realized he had a completely different perspective than most preppers with whom I’ve spoken.

As I heard Paul’s story, it became obvious to me that while we often have a laser focus on preparing to survive the impending collapse, his community had gone farther and made preparations for survival after the collapse. In other words: yes, he had to have practical necessities and skills to make it through whatever came his way – but what then? After the world as he knew it ended, was his community prepared to help create a new one?

As it turns out, they were indeed as well prepared as they could be, for they had men among them who knew very well what they were about. They wasn’t preparing merely for survival; they were preparing for liberty.

I wish you could all sit down in a room with Paul and listen to him relate his own story and the lessons learned from it. Unfortunately, that will not be possible. Paul died in 1818, 43 years after his famous midnight ride warning the colonists that the British Regulars were out to seize their gunpowder. However, we can still hold conversations with him, and the others in his community who survived the end of the world as they knew it, if we become students of history.

Liberty: Dead or Alive?

The spirit of liberty was alive and well in the hearts and minds of Paul Revere and his fellow American colonists in the 1770s as they endured the horrors of war and worked hopefully, against great odds, toward a new future, seeking to preserve freedom and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.
What about now, and what about us? As you look around in your family, your neighborhood, your city, your state, and your country, do you see the spirit of liberty alive and well? Quite frankly, I don’t.
This begs the question: how do we plant and nurture the seed of liberty in the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans?

Allow me to present to you the LibertySeed, a branch of Project Appleseed of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association.

From Appleseeds to LibertySeeds – A New Option

Project Appleseed, a national organization and activity of the 501(c)(3) Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA), is gaining recognition for its rifle marksmanship clinics held all over the country. In addition to learning the best fundamentals of traditional marksmanship, participants at an Appleseed shoot are treated to a re-telling of the events of April 19, 1775 – the day the American Revolutionary War began, and the day our heritage was born. 

Until recently, those interested in hearing the history presented at an Appleseed event had to attend the two-day clinic at the range. Now, you have a 90-minute alternative option: the LibertySeed.
A LibertySeed is an indoor event consisting of the history portion of an Appleseed shoot. An RWVA instructor will come, free of charge, to your location and present the events of April 19, 1775 in a manner suitable for your group. You can request a presentation at a church retreat, a Boy Scout troop meeting, a gun club luncheon, a grassroots political meeting, a homeschool book fair or conference, or even a group of your family and friends gathered in your home.

Think of a LibertySeed presentation as a conversation with a TEOTWAWKI survivor: you get to hear vivid accounts of the preparations made, the networking put into place, the brilliant minds who sparked fires of liberty, and the faithful men who carried on and endured more pain than we can imagine. As you hear this fascinating history – your story – you will begin to understand why our nation’s government was set up the way it is. You will regain motivation to make the best possible use of the freedoms you have been given. You will come to understand that our forefathers used the bullet box to set up a system of government which we can influence in much easier forms: through the ballot box and the soapbox .
All this you get at a LibertySeed, as you hear of men who “knew very well what they are about.”

Men Who Know Very Well What They Are About

Before April 19, 1775, Lord Hugh Percy of the British forces held the colonials in disdain, considering them inept, uncouth backwoodsmen. However, after observing their skill and resolution that day, he wrote home with a completely different opinion: “Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob, will find himself very much mistaken. They have men amongst them who know very well what they are about.”
He was talking about men like John Parker, captain of the Lexington Training Band – a man dying of tuberculosis who chose to spend his last days burning resolute determination into the souls of his men as they faced off against far superior forces, instead of considering himself exempt from serving…

Men like Isaac Davis, captain of the Acton Minutemen, who raised his sword at the North Bridge when a charge was deemed necessary and declared, “I have not a man who is afraid to go!” – and women like his wife, 29-year-old Hannah, who let him walk out the door that morning leaving her with four deathly ill children and a sickening premonition that was realized a few hours later when his corpse was carried into her parlor, a musket ball having pierced his chest and taken his life…

Men like 80-year-old Deacon Josiah Haynes, who turned out with the militia and set a rapid pace on the road, leaving the young minutemen panting behind him, until he was killed during the Regulars’ nightmarish retreat from Concord – killed while leading his townsmen from the front…

And men like Paul Revere, who became famous for words he never spoke (instead of, “The British are coming!” he actually called out, “The Regulars are out!” since everyone at that time was British), while key facts about his midnight ride– such as his capture by a British patrol before he reached Concord—remain unknown to most Americans…

As a LibertySeed presentation offers the gripping stories of these and many other men and women, it helps you to educate your children and your community on their nation’s heritage. You can play an important role in the survival of the spirit of liberty in our country simply by scheduling a LibertySeed presentation.

How To Schedule a LibertySeed

To schedule a LibertySeed presentation, simply contact the RWVA through the site LibertySeed.org. A volunteer instructor in your area will work with you to organize the details of the presentation, creating an event tailored to your needs.

A typical LibertySeed presentation is often 90 minutes long and includes all Three Strikes of the Match – the three encounters between the colonial militia and the British Regulars on April 19, 1775 that culminated in the beginning of the Revolutionary War. However, the timeframe and contents can be adjusted.

For example, the RWVA has conducted LibertySeed presentations at elementary and junior high schools, political club meetings, church retreats, convention workshops, prepper expos, gun shows, backyard picnics, or even around a restaurant table after a ladies’ range day. You may request a luncheon speaker who will give a condensed history in 20-30 minutes, or a female volunteer who can address your women’s group, or a presenter who is experienced at working with children to tell the Three Strikes in an engaging and interactive format for a homeschool co-op. Your event can be private – only for you and your friends, or public – posted on LibertySeed.org for your community to attend.

There is no charge to you or your guests for a LibertySeed event. RWVA volunteers consider it a pleasure and an honor to reawaken their fellow Americans to our shared heritage of liberty, and they give their time generously in an effort to bail out the sinking ship that our nation has become.

How Are You Preparing for Liberty?

Perhaps it’s too late to save America. Perhaps the ship has already sunk too far and a complete national collapse is inevitable. Or perhaps not, if we are zealous to reawaken the spirit of liberty in ourselves and our countrymen.

As you're preparing for the survival of TEOTWAWKI, consider a conversation with those who've been there already. Sure, learn survival skills and be wise about stocking up necessary supplies for whatever may come your way. But don’t forget about the real goal of prepping – not just getting through, but keeping the spirit of liberty alive and well. It may be that, among all the seeds you want to have for your survival, the LibertySeed is the most important. Be sure to get yourself one.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Last night I was able to sit down and watch the National Geographic channel's "American Blackout" show on YouTube.com (without family interruption!)   I would like to offer an unbiased critique of the show.

The message of the show was very simple - to reach out to the average non-prepping American and illustrate how unprepared the general population is.  The producers of the show used very generic stereotypical characters in order to relate to the widest possible audience.  Every "type" of victim portrayed made simple but life threatening mistakes that were clearly illustrated to make a point about the importance of being prepared.

The format of the show, a series of video blog diaries in a reality show format, was a delivery tool chosen to reach the widest possible audience.  Most people today own "smart phones" and their daily lives are tied to sharing every aspect of their existence via social media.  Most people are so swept up in the drama of the moment and reporting it to their friends that they don't have any common sense in a dangerous situation.

Of all possible TEOTWAWKI scenarios, the one that is the most easily believable to the masses is a hacker attack on the electrical grid - people understand hackers and computer viruses and we all have experienced the upheaval caused by going without electricity for a night due to an electrical storm or car accident at the pole on the corner.  The producers had to use a the most believable scenario that most people have experienced and could relate to.

Below are generalizations about the types of "sheeple" characters represented (we all know people like this, and we all know people who are not like this - please don't hold these generalizations against me). 

"Gemma".   This character represented the young, wealthy urbanites who can afford to have very nice things in their lives.  These people are concerned with living in the right places, knowing the right people, wearing the right clothes, and socializing at the right parties.  They live in the "now" with very little thought given to the future.   These "me me me" individuals generally possess a victim mentality (that when bad things happen it only happens to them), someone else is always responsible, and it is always up to someone else to help them.

Learning Point - Having all the latest and greatest techie gadgets will not keep you alive.  Always have a manual can opener and other manual kitchen gadgets on hand, and keep cash on you.  Each home should have a first aid kit.  The door to the apartment was sub-standard quality and not properly reinforced against break ins.    Venturing forth from a secure location can be dangerous.  Also, don't eat food from a warm fridge as it can cause food poisoning.

"College Kids in Elevator"  These characters represented young people that can function without their parents watching their every move, but generally are still children mentally.  Young people give very little or no thought to "what if" scenarios as help (aka their parents) is only a phone call away.

Learning Point - the one student who kept saying "I can't to this" actually became the one who used his head to solve problems and keep himself and a friend alive.  He illustrated the importance of keeping a clear head and using available resources for survival.  Ken, the first casualty, illustrated that there will be people who take unnecessary risks because that cannot think clearly in a stressful situation.

"Molly's Family".  Young suburban family living the middle class dream.  Probably living paycheck to paycheck, loaded with credit card, student loan and mortgage debt.  Obviously the family loved each other very much, but very little thought was given to the future, apparently it was just easier to run out to the store whenever they needed something.  Possibly their debt load did not allow putting away extra supplies.

Learning Point - ATMs will not work when there is no power.    The family bond is extremely important, and the ability to keep hope and faith alive and to stay close with each member of the family.  It wasn't covered in the show, but I believe the mother of the newborn illustrated the need and importance for breast feeding versus bottles and formula.  Most formula requires water to mix, and water to clean and sanitize the bottles.  A mother's breast is always ready for her baby in any situation.

"VJ Boy".  Young teenager acting as though his mother is a bane to his existence, and yet is still totally dependent on his mother's financial and emotional support.  This boy illustrated that the average 14 year old is still a child.  The foolish boy was very fortunate he was not shot when going out at night, and the fact that he managed not to shoot himself with his mother's gun was a miracle.

Learning Point - Parents should have all guns secured.  The boy could easily have shot someone or himself as he did not have proper firearms training.  The mother should have had emergency contact information on the refrigerator (at the very least the name/location of her work).  The family did not have an evacuation plan in place where to meet in case of an emergency.  This scenario also touched briefly on the importance on preparing for pets.

"Prepper Family".  I believe this is a depiction of the gun-ho armchair prepper.  He has read the books, stored the food, bought the beans, bullets and ammo, and yet has missed the point of preparing - testing your preps and being a part of  a prepping community and working with others outside of your family.

Learning Points - I have several points to cover here:
·         Although I can appreciate the charity of the father by taking the daughter's boyfriend to the retreat and showing him the supplies, he risked his OPSEC and the life of each family member by bringing in a person he didn't know he could trust.
·         The father should have taken the time and energy to befriend his neighbors at the retreat location.  By sharing some of his supplies with like-minded individuals, he could have had allies helping to protect the retreat, instead of making enemies that would raid the retreat.
·         The retreat itself seemed poorly planned.  The scenes of dry, arid scrub-type land appeared unlikely to have a natural water source or the ability to grow a garden in a long term grid-down situation. 
·         The gas/fuel was too easily accessible to thieves and should have been hidden better.
·         The father should have tried to blend in better - the camo outfit, obvious perimeter fencing, and gun on his belt all suggested that he was protecting something worth stealing
·         I question the mindset of a parent that would put a ten year old boy on guard duty.  Again, had he befriended his neighbors, the additional like-minded adults could have shared the protection of the retreat.

By following the trials and tribulations of the characters, the producers of the show repeatedly hammered home the reasons to prepare.   The following basic preparedness tips were covered:

  • Importance of storing at least 10 days of non-perishable food and clean drinking water
  • Keep cash on hand
  • Manual can openers
  • Importance of carrying supplies in your vehicles
  • Solar cell phone charges
  • Avoiding riots/mob scenes
  • Traveling, if possible, will be dangerous and slow
  • Government response will be slow
  • Emergency responders will be overwhelmed
  • Store baby supplies such as diapers and formula
  • Store batteries
  • Keep hand-crank radios to know what is going on

Important subjects that were not addressed include:

  • Preparing for handicapped people, special needs, the elderly, and pets (unless you count the thirsty cat). 
  • Barely touched upon was the fact that international aid is an invitation for rival countries to set foot on American soil.
  • Sanitation was briefly touched upon, but should have been elaborated on more.  At least one scene depicting a person taking a pail of pool water and pouring it into the back of their toilet to flush would have been educational
  • The entire show was filled with cell phones, but not one land line phone was used
  • The blackout occurred in the summer and people complained about not having air conditioning.  Had the blackout occurred in the winter, the initial casualty count would have been much higher.
  • Every person depicted was dependent upon the government for handouts (food and water) in a urban or suburban situation.  The program did not portray any farmers or homesteaders as examples of self sufficient people.  Not one person in the program was shown harvesting from a garden, fishing, or even collecting eggs from a back yard chicken coop.

Interesting to note, of course, was the point made from the clip of the ham radio operators that there will be government conspiracy groups trying to incite riot.

The overall story line of the show was unbelievable - a nationwide cyber attack on the electrical grid repaired and running in 10 days is unrealistic.  I agree with what others have said that the initial mass casualty count would be much higher, and that it would take months if not years to have the electrical grid operational. 

That being said, we have to remember that this was a television show, not real life.  One only has to look at the Philippines right now to see how bad it can really get.

I think we, as preppers, whether beginning or experienced, tend to forget that so many people out there do not think like we do.  We have trained ourselves to always have the mindset that disaster can strike at any time, and that we have to be ready.  What we sometimes forget is that all of us, at one time, did not prep.  We all had something happen in our lives that made us wake up one day and say yes, we need to start preparing.

The intended purpose of the show was not to teach people how to prep, only to make them realize that they should make basic preparations.  If even one person watched this show and said, "Wow, I should store some food and water", then the show has been a success.  The wonderful thing about prepping is that it doesn't matter when you start, as long as you do begin to prepare.

Let us hope that this show was an eye opener to some of the viewers, and that they too received the message that now is the time in their lives to start preparing for the future.

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I know that seeing this attitude is not news to you, but I read this article and thought it may be helpful for the SurvivalBlog readers as reinforces what you and others have long said: that all bets are off in regards to morality and standards by the average Joe who has gone without food for a few days. This tale of post-Typhoon Yolanda includes the gripping quote: "I am a decent person. But if you have not eaten in three days, you do shameful things to survive." 

In any event, I thought you might find the link useful. Thank you again for all your wisdom and the good company you keep us in.

In Christ, - Michael W.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

As a daily reader of your blog, I've read over and over again about how Pre-1899 guns are legal. The Internet is full of such advise dating back a long time. However, I still fail to see how that would add much protection against confiscation. The ATF has seized Airsoft guns and police confiscated muzzleloaders from one home in my area after one resident (who was not the owner of the weapons!) was arrested there. The list goes on from there and contains nothing that shows that law enforcement makes any distinction between antiques and modern guns.

I believe that if we ever face full-blown gun confiscation, the people on the streets sent out to collect guns will simply take everything they can find, no matter if it is pre-1899 or not. They will grab things because they look like a gun, just like the assault weapons ban went after scary looking guns. Considering the price of a pre-1899, quality of manufacturing, age and wear, and often now hard to come by calibers, I'd rather spend my money on two modern rifles. "Use one and stash the other" seems safer than hope that law enforcement will correctly identify an antique.

Am I missing something? - Peter A.

JWR Replies: What you may be missing is going to jail and a felony conviction that could cost you your right to vote and your right to own any modern gun for the rest of your life. When a gun is seized outside of jurisdictional authority, then the owners almost invariably get their guns back, and they are not charged. But if there is ever a confiscatory ban, it will be under color of law, and most likely with a felony penalty attached. At least for the owner of pre-1899s, unless the law changes you will be able to openly possess, use, carry, and hunt without fear of being arrested and convicted of a felony.

I don't guarantee that hedging into pre-1899 guns will be a panacea. But I'm fairly certain that the pre-1899 exemption will remain in place in the U.S. for many more years. The law hasn't changed since 1968. After all, the available pool of pre-1899 antique guns gets smaller with every passing year, so their regulation will probably continue to be a "non-issue" in the eyes of politicians. Granted, there is the small chance that a highly-publicized criminal event might draw attention to pre-1899 antiques and initiate new legislation that would restrict them. (Such as a political assassination using an antique gun.) But that risk shows us the nature of all hedges: They are a form of insurance based on actuarial odds. I still predict that they that pre-1899s will prove to be worth buying. Doing so will hedge our bets on new legislation or executive orders.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SurvivalBlog reader B.B. suggested this piece by Mark Steyn: The Drift toward Despotism. And joining the chorus, even more stridently: The Creeping Police State. Soon after sending those links, B.B. sent this brilliant essay from Daren Jonescu: The Progressive Degradation of Freedom.

Reading Jonescu's cogent words crystallized a nascent theory that had been nagging me for a decade. It is this: America's systemic reaction to the unspeakable horror of the 9/11 attacks was to "protect" ourselves by planting the seeds for a police state that will eventually strangle the freedom that we grew up cherishing. Each incremental step seems toward tyranny so "logical" and so "justified" to the minds of the statist Powers That Be. The citizenry, mimicking the Germans of the 1930s passively goes along with each of these baby steps, never quite chafing to the point of outright rebellion. The end result is a society that has made itself voluntarily monitored 24/7, agreed to centralized background checks just to exercise a Constitutional right, that has agreed to being either fondled or x-rayed by blue glove-wearing half-wits at airports. With our own tax dollars (annually self-assessed, of course) we have equipped an army of steroid-pumped henchmen who are ready, willing, and able to not just Taser us at the slightest sign of noncompliance, but even willing to arrest and drag us to a hospital for multiple rectal examinations because of the mere suspicion that we "might be hiding something."

Unless we individually and collectively develop some backbone, right quick, then it will be too late. The chains will be too solidly forged. The web of surveillance will be too complete. And the cross-correlated list of malcontents will be small and easy to round up. Unless we get active politically and forcefully stand up to tyranny, then we'll become outnumbered.

Benjamin Franklin presciently wrote: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

You were right, Ben.


Here is it folks, the challenge for our generation, most likely to be answered in this decade: The next time there is another Ruby Ridge or Waco-style "standoff" with "extremists" happens, We The People will have two choices: We can passively sit by, watch it all on high definition television, wringing our hands and just muttering "That's so awful." Or, will enough of us grab our gear and drive there and set up a perimeter around their perimeter. Once in place, we'll show some backbone and take photos, take video, take names, and if need be be prepared to take lives. The choice is yours, America. Are you going to show up to the event and do what is right, or are you going to let the ninja-jackboot-thugs simply haul us off to the gulag one by one?

I'll leave you with another quote from the brilliant mind of Benjamin Franklin: "We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

- J.W.R.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello Mr. Rawles:
I appreciate your suggestion on purchasing/acquiring some Pre-1899 or otherwise standard language weapons ban legislation immune firearms that could prove effective and "legal." (I use the term facetiously) in the event of a successful statist gun grab. (God forbid.) Other than the M1 Garand, could you perhaps provide a list of other firearms that may prove a prudent investment?

God Bless, - Jason in Kansas

JWR Replies: The following is is an excerpt from my Pre-1899 Antique Guns FAQ:

Q: What would you consider a basic battery of pre-1899 guns for a typical shooter that wants to diversify and "hedge his bets" by buying some pre-1899s for his family?

A:  I'd recommend buying the following pre-1899 production guns:

* Two big bore S&W top break double action revolvers (.44-40 or .44 Russian, but get both in the same caliber.)

* One Winchester Model 1897 in 12 gauge

* One pre-1899 .22 Long Rifle.  (Winchester Model 1890 pump or Winchester Low Wall single shot rifles are ideal.)

* Two Model 1893/94/95/96 Mauser bolt action rifles. (I suggest 6.5x55, 7x57, or 8x57, but regardless get both rifles in the same caliber.)

If you have a big budget, you should also invest in few additional pre-1899 Colts and Winchesters that are chambered for commonly available factory made ammunition.

For those who live in states with already tight restrictions (such as California and New Jersey), I'd recommend doing some research and finding semi-autos that were overlooked from their ban lists. These might still include the Ruger Mini-14 (in "vanilla" sporter configurations), FN-49 rifles, M1 Garands, Remington Model 81 Police (extended magazine) rifles, Remington 740 Woodmaster series hunting rifles (for which 10-round magazines are available), Winchester Model 100 rifles, and SKS carbines (with a few fairly limited magazine options.) Saiga-12 shotguns may also still be overlooked in some states with bans. Be sure to check the latest enacted editions of your state laws before making a purchase. If possible, buy rifles without a paper trail. When I last checked, rifles that are more than 50 years old could be purchased from private parties in California by a fellow resident without any FFL and DOJ paperwork.

By the way, although they are often mentioned as "loophole" guns, I don't recommend M1 Carbines, because they shoot a relatively weak pistol-class cartridge with a looping trajectory.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Is the M1A the best rifle to have sitting in your gun safe?  Ever since there have been rifles and humans, there has been discussions about what is the best rifle to have when you are thrust into a survival situation.  That situation might just be a government fallout, natural disaster, or the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).  Either way, you need a rifle that will take you thru that situation and give you a fighting chance to survive. 

So what attributes make a good rifle to rely on?  For starters there are many of you that will feel that they already have the best survival rifle already.  Just hear me out.  A must is a semi automatic rifle that has the ability for you to shoot a single round for deer hunting or get you past an hour long shoot out with people trying to take your resources.  For this, you need a semi auto over any other form of repeating rifle.  Lever action, bolt action, pump, and single shot rifles all fall short here. 

Second, you need to be able to come back on target after your first shot.  I know that you are the best shooter and its one shot one kill right.  Well trust me, as a military combat veteran, it doesn’t always work that way.  Follow up shots are a must, whether you miss or acquire another target.

Touching up on the last requirement of being able to make follow up shots, your go to rifle needs to contain a box magazine.  This is a requirement and not optional.  The reason is the ability to reload fast and carry your ammunition in a way that you can make that reload fast and consistent.  This also allows you to share your ammo with other people in your party if you find yourself in this situation.  Box magazines come in all shapes and sizes.  Since we are discussing the M1A, we will limit this to those magazines.  I rely only on one brand of magazine for my rifle, checkmate steel magazines.  These come in all capacities.  No, I’m not talking about 100 round magazines.  Keep these limited to two sizes.  Standard twenty round magazines and a couple five round magazines.  The five round magazines are for hunting before a "without rule of law" (WROL) situation.  Once fish and game are no longer an issue, stick with the 20 round magazines.  I like steel magazines only.  The reason is they are easy to repair compared to plastic.  Steel will last forever, be bent back into shape, and have been proven where polymer magazines are new to come about.  M1As are picky when it comes to magazines.  Spend the money and buy a good set of magazines.  There is no reason to spend $1,500 on your rifle to go cheap on the accessories.  At a minimum you should have 10 magazines.  With everything, more is always better. 

Next I want to talk about the bullets themselves.  There are discussion boards that talk about 5.56 vs .308 vs 7.62x39, and you can read until you die.  Without going into a deep discussion, let me talk to you about why the .308 is the best round.  In North America, there is not a single animal that cannot be taken with this round.  This is not to say that you cannot take them with an AR-15 or AK, but I would feel much better hunting with a .308.  Looking at what hunters use right now, why would your even consider elk or moose hunting with that small of a round.  In the south, wild boar will be a huge part of the diet when there are no longer grocery stores to go to.  You should not risk an animal getting away from you if you wound them when you and your family are relying on the meat. 

Moving on, knockdown power or penetration is another area that the .308 will be able to win.  The military uses the 7.62x51 for their crew served weapons.  This gives the soldiers the ability to shoot thru cover and concealment.  The extra mass of the round allows it to not be deflected as easy when passing through leaves and small brush.  This could be the difference between a hit and miss.  Lastly, when it comes to ammunition, you need to be able to find it and purchase it at a good price.  With the ammunition shortage that has happened, I have still been able to find some .308 ammo on the shelves.  While the .223 shelves have been empty, there are some instances where you are able to find .308.  The times you do find .223, the price is just as much as what you can find .308 ammunition for. 

Moving on to the reason that the M1A is now the best rifle to have, lets talk about proposed bans.  The assault rifle has come under sustained fire ever since its been around.  This has not been more tested than now.  With the few mentally ill people going on shooting sprees, some members of congress feel that the American people should not have the ability to defend themselves.  This has been shown with Dianne Feinstein and her many assault weapons bans that she has tried to pass lately.  Looking at what she wants to ban, you never know if you will be able to keep your rifle in the future.  Lets just say that she gets her way and is able to pass the bill someday.  What is left to own?  The FAL is out, since it has a pistol grip and box magazines.  The AR platforms are out for the same reason.  The AK formats are in the same restrictions. The HK91, Galil, SCAR, and nearly every other [.308 detachable magazine] option are eliminated.  This is why the M1A is the best rifle to have in your possession today.  Proven, reliable, and possibly safe from the government. 

JWR Replies: Although you've constructed a bit a of straw man argument, a lot of your points are valid.

The core premise of your letter--the potential advent of new firearms laws--is what led me to diversify my collection to include some Pre-1899 guns, which are not even considered firearms under Federal law. (They are entirely outside of Federal jurisdiction.) A scoped Mauser Model 1895 bolt action shooting a cartridge like 7x57 Mauser or 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser can be quite potent and very accurate. To own one that is in the same category as a black powder muzzleloader in the eyes of the law is a great advantage.

Of all of the .308 semi-autos I've ever owned or shot, the one least likely to be banned is the M1 Garand (yes, some have been made in .308), since it uses a top-loading 8-round en bloc clip rather than a bottom-loading detachable box magazine. But I'm not going to sell off any of my other .308s out of fear of them being banned. I will not compromise when it comes to my Constitutional rights, and I will not comply with any law that is plainly unconstitutional. However, I am quite pragmatic about choosing the right time to "lock and load.") Claire Wolfe was prescient, in her most famous quote: "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." So it indeed might be wise to have some pre-1899s and other legislatively resilient guns, just in case. Presumably we'll be able to leave these out in plain view while some other guns in our collections disappear for a while.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My prayer life in recent days has been dominated by South Africa. I have relatives in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, so I've kept a close eye on the situation there for many years. After reading the writings of Ilana Mercer, other South Africans (including Dr. Peter Hammond, Cathy Buckle, the anonymous posts at The Afrikaner Journal,) and the many voices from the African diaspora, I can see that there is indeed a genocide nearing in South Africa. Those who fled Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia) to South Africa gained only a temporary reprieve. I encourage all freedom-loving Christian and Jewish South Africans (and I do mean all of them: white, black, asian, and coloured) to emigrate and settle in the American Redoubt. If you are going to flee to America seeking freedom, then you might as well settle in the Redoubt--America's bastion of freedom, where the bedrock culture still predominates.

South Africa's Afrikaner culture is quite traditional and has deep roots. (Americans need to understand that Afrikaner culture is largely church-going, quiet, and conservative. It is much more about ballroom dancing than it is rock-n-roll.) I recognize that it is hard to leave your relatives, your friends and that red dirt. But there comes a day when you must either leave or perish. That day has come.

My messages:

1.) To the Christians and Jews of South Africa: Recognize the true peril that you face, and emigrate if you feel convicted to do so. God will providentially protect his Elect, but they must heed the warnings that they hear.

2.) To the folks already living in the American Redoubt: Please do your best to encourage and support emigration from South Africa. They need more than just our prayers. Please help these refugees find jobs, land, and church homes in the Redoubt. If you have God-fearing friends or relatives in Africa then encourage them to emigrate as soon as possible.

3.) To those with any influence in our government: Please do your best to have immigration quotas raised, to welcome newcomers from South Africa.

4.) My prayer for both the people of South Africa and to those who will welcome them here in America is simple and forthright: Matthew 25:34-46. Please meditate on these verses and pray that doors will be opened.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

First of all: The creators are in the "Hollywood way" so they live there, their friends are all there, They are not going to go build a bunker, they are already working on their next project about an Alien invasion or something like that.  So from my perspective, they did pretty good over all considering the source.

Over acting, oh yeah.  I have seen some pretty tense situations and there are many men who show no emotion at all.  they are deep in their thinking and in this video, we have simply lucked out that all the characters are highly emotional, extremely chatty and have extra batteries.  My wife pointed out, that if some one were able to video 10 days without power, they might be the extra dramatic segment of the population. Video recording obsessed. So I give them a break on that as well.

This is a great video for education,and if you consider it as a discussion tool, its priceless. 
Watch a short segment, stop the video and talk.  Ask questions like: What did this person do right?, what did they do wrong?  What if this happened to you tomorrow?, what do you think you would do?, where do you think you would be if this happened?, what items around you do you think you could use to solve a problem?  How could they have avoided the situation? Did they really need to put themselves in danger?  What motivated them to make that mistake?  Contrary to popular belief, there are right and wrong answers to these questions.

I give this video a big thumbs up, as others have stated.  Its better than nothing, I am actually surprised it made it to television at all and not straight to the obscurity section of Netflix.  - Brad S.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

“My grandpa taught me how to live off the land, and his taught him to be a businessman." Remember those words from “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams, Jr.?  Those lines are the story of my life.  I was born just outside of San Francisco in 1963.  I was raised overseas and lived in Singapore, a nation where possession of guns by citizens was (and is) illegal.   The extent of my outdoor life was exploring what was left of the jungles around our home, and digging up WW2 relics (casings, helmets, hubcaps etc.)  I returned to the US at 13, and lived in Miami during the cocaine wars of the 1980’s.  My father was an executive for a multi-national corporation.  We were pretty wealthy.  Hunting and fishing were not a part of my father’s past, so he didn’t pass those along to me.  Our idea of roughing it was going to the Marriott instead of the Hilton.  My dad was not a “fix-it” kind of guy.  When something broke, we called the repairman, or simply replaced it.  I learned early the value of a good auto mechanic.  I didn’t think I was totally incompetent.  I could change batteries and a light bulb.  I could mow the grass, and taught myself how to vacuum out the pool.  I played sports in school, which consumed most of my time.  I went to college and majored in political science.  I didn’t take the time to look at the want ads and notice that there were not a lot of jobs for political scientists.  After graduation, it took me a couple of years to figure out that my employment opportunities were limited.  I finally realized that I hadn’t been trained to “do” anything.  I had been trained to think deep thoughts.  What was a 23 year old “deep thinking” guy to do?  I looked around and asked, “Who is making money?”  It became clear that the lawyers were the only ones I saw getting rich.  So in 1987, I headed off to law school.  I graduated three years later, $70,000 in debt and unemployed.  I managed to find jobs to keep myself fed, until I began practicing law with a small property firm.  Eventually, I got married and began a basic middle class life.  By the time our first child was born, I was working full time as a Public Defender.  We spent what we made, and saved very little.  Over time, that changed, and I was able to invest in the market, and slowly began building up an IRA. Two more kids arrived, costs went up, but we have kept our heads above water.  Like everyone, we got hit hard in 2002, but still managed to keep going.  Over the last 10 years or so, we have been doing okay, watching our investments fluctuate and enjoying the “city life”. 

Two recent situations have caused me to take a long hard look at my life, and realistically evaluate my situation.  I had a total knee replacement.  Everything seemed to be going well, until I developed an infection.  My 30 days away from the office turned into 45.  My short term disability did not cover as much as I hoped, and it was tough to make ends meet.  As the infection refused to clear up, the Doctors started talking about 4 additional surgeries, and being out of the office for about a year.  Despite having long term disability insurance, I knew that a prolonged absence from the office would be financially devastating.  I began to seriously ponder how I would take care of my family.  Thoughts of selling possessions, tightening budgets and possibly downsizing our home, all went through my head.  It is important to know that I have no school loans, no car payments, and minimal credit card debt.  I wasn’t worried about paying off debt. I was worried about depleting our savings, buying food, and keeping the house.  While flat on my back with me knee in the air, I had to start planning for my son’s 15th birthday.
He is a World War 2 history buff, and all he wanted for his birthday was an M1 Garand.  I have some limited experience with handguns and target shooting.  Rifles were totally out of my realm of knowledge and experience.  I got on the Internet and started to check out the availability and price of a M1 Garand.  They were pretty tough to find, and I learned that they were cost prohibitive.  He really wanted a piece of WW2 history, so we went with a Mosin Nagant.  The whole family has enjoyed shooting it.  A few weeks ago, my son noticed signs for an upcoming gun show.  We decided to go in the hope that he would have a chance to see and touch some WW2 vintage rifles.  We spent the day with M1s, Kar 98s, carbines of all types, and just about every type of rifle, shotgun and handgun imaginable.  On a whim, I picked up a copy of Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles.  The premise seemed interesting, and I was in need of a new book. Reading the book has been one of the most beneficial and terrifying experiences of my life.

The latest government shutdown, raising of the debt ceiling, international financial news, international instability and terrorism,  our over dependence on foreign made goods (my underwear is made in Viet Nam),  the general interconnectedness of supply lines and the “global economy” have convinced me that a Crunch, as depicted in the novel, is not only a possibility, but an inevitability.  When it happens, how then does a city boy survive?  How do I care for family?  How do I protect them?  I’m not thinking about giving them the best life has to offer, I am worried about literally keeping us all alive.  I realize that I cannot depend on the government or what passes for infrastructure.  I can trust in God and in his people, but that also requires that I use the brains and abilities that He gave me to be as prepared and ready as possible.  I had to admit that I had neither the supplies nor the skills necessary to keep my family alive and safe.  That is a horrible and terrifying thought for a 50 year old, married, father of three.  I knew that I had no other choice, but to make some changes and prepare myself to be the husband and father that I needed (and wanted) to be.

My first step has been to get my wife on board.  I have shared with her what I have learned, and why I feel a “crunch” is inevitable.  God has blessed me with a wife who is more “handy” than I am, and she danced a jig of joy when I told her that I was going to learn to do more of the “fix it” stuff around the house.   My best friend has agreed to teach me the things I need to know, to do basic home and auto repair.

My next step was to prepare to “bug in”.  In the event of a bad storm, being snowed in for a few days or a prolonged (but temporary) power outage, we would have been in a world of hurt.  I realized that we had one flashlight in the house.  We had no battery powered radios.  Come to think about it, we had no extra batteries.  We had little canned food stockpiled.  We had few matches and no wood.  We had no extra propane.  We had no stored water.  We had few hygiene items on hand (and three women).  We had one fire extinguisher, which is 19 years old.  I have taken steps to remedy this by clearing a section of the basement, and creating a storage area of food, water and supplies.  The things we need are in one place.  If a disaster hits, we won’t be scrambling all over the house looking for stuff.  Our next step will be creating “bug out” packs that are ready to go.

I have also expanded my collection of firearms.  I now have a Taurus .45, Taurus .357 revolver, Glock 17, Mosin Nagant and my newest acquisition, a Mossberg 100 ATR, chambered in .270.  I have just over 1,700 rounds of ammo on hand.  My next purchase will be a self defense shotgun. I am acquiring supplies and firearms as inexpensively as possible, while not sacrificing quality.   I have made a deal with two friends to have them teach me and my son to hunt and fish.  When the crunch happens, we will be able to make sure that we have protein/meat to eat.  We will pass those skills on to the rest of our family as we become more capable.  I am slowly reallocating my investments, and creating a more liquid financial situation.  I am trying to figure out how to survive in a future with little or no cash.  I understand that I cannot rely on or expect to receive Social Security or my pension.  I am blessed that my wife is a natural born trader/barterer.  I am learning how to make homemade soap.  My wife is a seamstress.  As long as she can fine material, a needle and thread, we will have clothes and something to sell, trade or barter.

I realize that all this is “old hat” to many of your readers.  I’m sure some of you want to shake me by the shoulders and ask, “What took you so long”.  Rest assured, I know how much I still have to do to truly be as prepared as possible.  That is where you come in.  Please keep posting your information on the blogs.  Let me learn what you have learned.  Allow me to grow into the type of compatriot that you would want by your side.  In the end, we will all be in this together, and we will need to be able to rely on the person next to us.  I am sure you will notice me or others like me, as you do your own preparations.  Don’t be afraid to say something.  If you see that I am about to buy a lousy piece of equipment, let me know.  If you see me at the range and I’m making mistakes, help me out.  I know we don’t have uniforms, or pins, or secret handshakes by which we can identify ourselves to others.  But we can recognize each other.  We can see that innate part of each other that is prepared and reliable.  We can, hopefully, see that growing in others.  Maybe it is like my Dad said, “You know more about a man’s character by his actions than by his words”.  I know I have a long way to go before I will feel ready or truly prepared.  I need your help, your wisdom and your advice.  Please come along side me, and be the men and women of action, that I know you are.

The recent SurvivalBlog article titled "Your Two Foot Bugout" raises some interesting points. The author describes a plan to bugout on foot, using a baby stroller to carry essential gear. That's reminiscent of the Pushcart Mormons who traveled from Iowa City to Salt Lake City in the mid 19th century. More than 250 of the immigrants died along the way, and any plan to evacuate the Phoenix area by foot would risk difficulty at least as severe.

The author describes a plan to leave Phoenix by foot in order to avoid traffic gridlock. He plans to walk alongside a canal, and then train tracks to escape the city.

Having some familiarity with Arizona terrain, I would suggest that he would have to walk at least 50 miles to get out of the desert. In the desert, it's all about water. Travel would have to be from waterhole to waterhole, and only at night if the collapse were to happen in the Summer.

The Phoenix area holds more than 4 million people, and almost all of them would have to head north. That's a wave of humanity! The American Highway
Users Alliance studied emergency evacuation in various cities and gave Phoenix a grade of "F"
. But it's actually worse than that. In a state where adequate grazing land is considered to be 80 acres to support one cow, there is no area that has the carrying capacity to support 4 million people.

The author might make it to Lake Pleasant and up the old Phoenix to Prescott Toll Road into the Bradshaw Mountains. Or he could go up the old sheep trail along the Verde River through Bloody Basin. But either way, he'll have to get a head start on the hordes of refugees heading north.

An alternative plan would be to travel as far as possible by car or ATV, then use the stroller as a last result. With a Tsunami of desperate people breathing down your neck, escape is all about getting a quick start, ahead of the hordes. - K.L.

To respond to the recent letter about the fictional Blackout show:
I too was annoyed with the way they portrayed some of the people in the story but after thinking about it I am afraid that this is how a lot of the people will act. 
The prepper is the story obviously had no idea what he was doing.  I think they portrayed an arm-chair prepper with more resources than street smarts spot on.  First of all letting his young son patrol the perimeter in the middle of the night while he is nice and cozy in bed was the big mistake that lead into the rest of his mistakes.  As far as everyone else, that's how it will be.
The stupidity of how everyone acted in the show is precisely why we prepare.  Hopefully it was an eye opener for the sheeple because really our only hope of getting through something major is having everyone at least a little prepared. - Sean M.


Mr. Rawles,  
It sometimes causes me to wonder just how two people can look at something and come away with such different views.
You posted a message from a fellow in North Carolina who had very negative things to say about "American Blackout." I could only shake my head. He said that he "turned the television off in total disgust and went to bed," calling it "insidious propaganda." Really? Really?
He called the prepper father a man who was depicted as "gun toting, autocratic bully who bossed everyone and refused to act humanely by sharing all his wealth." What I saw was a no-nonsense, mission-oriented family man whose feet were firmly planted in reality. Indeed, his attitude was vindicated by the end of the program, at least from my perspective.
While he mentions that the young fellow was happy to live off someone else's largesse (as is the case with so many liberals), the writer described him as being depicted as the "compassionate one," as if this young man was somehow portrayed in the script as the ideal character in the program. What I saw was a young man who was depicted as being naive, and as one whose misguided inclinations brought the prepper family to the brink of tragedy. The "compassionate one" seems to have somewhat redeemed himself by the end of the program, apparently having seen, to some extent, the error of his ways.
His comment that the young woman who was attacked was shown as having "deserved" what happened to her reveals more about this writer than he might want to admit. Where did he get that? Regardless, what can be said about her character is that she does represent a certain defined class in our society who, literally and figuratively, live above the nitty gritty aspects of life that so many others experience. These people are usually totally unprepared for dealing with life if everything in their world does not work perfectly. So it was here.
His comment about the fact that the movie showed that we were all going to be saved by the government as our "fearless leader gravely assured us" is evidence of paranoia or of a political curmudgeon's perspective. The fact is that our political leaders routinely assure us that everything is being done, and will be done, and that order will be re-established. The fact that they say these things does not mean that they are true, however, and the fact that the producers included Obama's assurances from other crises only added to the cinema verité aspect of the movie. Should we depend on these assurances? Of course, not. Can we expect to hear them in the next major crisis? Of course, we can.
Why he calls this movie a "PC" version of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are is nonsensical.
I totally agree with him, however, that the program offered "an excellent opportunity to impress upon the average citizen that they need to be ready for bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances."
I think that the movie did so to a large extent, and that it will serve to change at least some peoples' attitudes about the need to prepare. The young woman's plaintiff cry, "Why is no one coming to help us?" may sink in with more people. Even the liberal young man who caused the prepper family's near disaster, ultimately came with a gun to aid of the prepper dad, saying to his assailants, "You guys wanted food? You should've prepared, okay?" Maybe more people will get that message now, too.
As for my criticisms, the movie did not show nearly enough of the violence that I believe would prevail after the grid was down for a few days. The manner in which the violence might have been depicted could have been handled in a way that was not so graphic as to offend the broad audience for whom the movie was intended. I would also preferred to have seen a portrayal that depicted the situation after, say, a month, not just for the first ten days. 
The writer ends by saying, "I think I'll just stick to SurvivalBlog." At least that's some good advice I won't dispute. - Howey

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good Morning, Mr. Rawles:

After watching part of last night's Blackout Docudrama on National Geographic. I turned the television off in total disgust and went to bed.  What insidious propaganda! 

I could not help but notice that the "prepper" father was a gun toting, autocratic bully who bossed everyone and refused to act humanely by sharing all his wealth with those less fortunate or less willing to be responsible for themselves?  How interesting.

And of course, the compassionate one was the young and hip boyfriend of the prepper's daughter.  He hadn't prepared himself but he was more than happy to live off of someone else's largess.  He was also more than happy to be judge and jury as to how someone else's preps should be treated. 

And the young woman, who was attacked and most probably raped and/or killed, "deserved" it because she was a wealthy "princess" who lived in a penthouse.  She was portrayed as stupid and totally un-connected to the real world in which most of us live.  Also interesting was the portrayal of her rich boyfriend who believed he was entitled to whatever resources were available as he tried "throwing his money around."

And of course, we were all going to be saved by the government as our fearless leader gravely assured us.  I'm amazed I got half way through the program!  Here was an excellent opportunity to impress upon the average citizen that they need to be ready for bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances.  Instead we got the "PC" version of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.  I think I'll just stick to SurvivalBlog.

Thanks for all you do! - Getting Ready in N.C.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hi Jim,
The really bug thing about long-term black outs, is the failure of urban (and not-so urban) water systems.  Few care where their clean, safe, drinking water comes from, since it’s been gushing out of their pipes all their lives.  Electricity pumps water into towers and tanks on high ground where gravity does the rest.  No power, no water.  Even the FEMA planners in New Jersey I lectured to a few years ago didn’t quite grasp the implications of a post-EMP America....they all thought they’d be inconvenienced because they couldn’t use their computers. Toilets need water to flush, so there will be sanitation issues on a Biblical scale. There will be disease outbreaks soon after 315,000,000 people start eliminating outdoors.  Few peopele will dig latrines in the concrete jungle to properly bury waste.  Ultra-modern buildings built without windows capable of being opened will soon be unusable for their designed purpose....but maybe can be used for baking, eh?  

Our fellow citizens who lived through Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy already have had a taste of this, except that no outside help may be coming next time.  Next to immediate considerations for clothing, water will soon prove our biggest challenge in coping with life without power.   When I ask neighbors where they will get clean water to drink when it no longer comes out of their taps, I get “the stare.”.

Best Regards, - Paul

Sunday, October 27, 2013

For most of human history, people have traveled by foot or by beast.  People have walked great distances over trade routes, over Roman roads, caravan routes, the Appalachian Trail and the Bering Straits to name a few. Do not forget that your core bug out vehicle is your own two feet. So much emphasis in the prepper community is placed on fantasy vehicles, tricked out 4x4 SUVs, retrofitted military vehicles, campers, trailers, the list goes on. I call these fantasy vehicles not to insult those that have invested their future in them, but because for many people living paycheck to paycheck, a Winnebago, a 5th wheel or a conversion van is just not in the budget. If that 12 year old Subaru in the driveway is all paid off and it still runs fine, there is no reason to sell it, or go into crushing debt for that dream vehicle that will save you from Armageddon.
The one thing these bug out vehicles all have in common is that they must share the road with all of the other millions of wheeled vehicles in a SHTF scenario. Even the police in their slick new MRAPs won't be able to move through traffic. Once you are on the road, you will have to contend with police roadblocks, crashes caused by panicked drivers, abandoned vehicles that have run out of fuel and smash and grab looters, all of which are not conducive for you getting to your bug out location safely. Of course timing is everything, and everyone I have talked to is absolutely certain that it is they and a few others that will get the heads up and be on the road one or two steps ahead of the masses. The unpleasant fact of the matter is that all urban dwellers are the masses, we are the Golden Horde. If your vehicle fails you in your bug out, or obstacles or threats arise where you must abandon your vehicle, you have now joined the ranks of the refugee.  A refugee for the purposes of this piece is someone who is on foot and is fleeing a disaster, civil unrest or war and is completely desperate and unprepared for their journey.
A well planned non-mechanized bug out does not make you a refugee. If you have a plan, a route, provisions, equipment and training, your bug out can be more successful than those who try to drive their way out of the disaster. The clear advantages of traveling by foot are that you can truly go off road, you are silent, you present a small signature, you are always in a fighting position because both feet are always on the ground, and you can get to the ground quickly to find cover and concealment. Additionally, traveling by foot allows you to move in relative darkness at a pace as slow or as fast as you want without producing any light that might give away your position.
I strongly recommend that all preppers take a look at the map of their city with a new set of eyes. Imagine that all of the streets are clogged with traffic, so clogged that you can’t back out of your own driveway. This has happened to me on one occasion in midtown Phoenix during rush hour where a few accidents on major arterial streets and an interstate backed traffic right up into my relatively sleepy neighborhood. I ride a bicycle to the office, so this did not affect my commute very much because nobody was driving their cars on the sidewalks. Look at your maps and search for the unconventional passages out of town, like rivers, canals and their tow paths, bike paths, golf courses, city parks, railroad tracks. My plan involves a five mile walk on a canal tow path or taking a boat down the canal straight to train tracks that head northwest out of town through industrial areas. My exposure to arterial streets, highways and even collector streets will be minimal. I have walked this route many times, studied water levels, clearance under bridges, locations of boat slips, hazard features, and I take mental and actual notes about the terrain. I know exactly how long it will take me to get from one location to the next.
Walking great distances seems like an impossibility to many 21st Century Americans, but it is not. Almost anyone can cover three miles in one hour. I recently read a book “Long Distance Hiking, Lessons From the Appalachian Trail” by Roland Mueser.  I highly recommend this book to everyone who believes that they may have to bug out at some point. You may begin your bug out in a loaded Hummer, but you could very well end your journey on your own two feet. Without giving a book review, will say that this book dispels a lot of myths people have regarding equipment and training. Many Appalachian Trail hikers are called “thru hikers”, meaning that they hike all the way from Georgia to Maine, roughly 2100 miles straight through. This usually takes six months, and requires immense endurance and commitment. It is not the world class athletes that dominate in this endeavor. Men do not outshine women, the young do not always leave the old folks in the dust. In fact, the surveys showed that after the first month, the most overweight and ill prepared at the start were now covering the same number of miles per day as the more experienced and fit hikers. If this book does nothing more than to inspire you to get out and take a few day hikes, it is worth the money. Even short hikes can be instructive to those who rarely get off the couch.  The importance of well-designed and proper fitting shoes becomes painfully obvious after the first few miles.  The prevention and treatment of blisters and the development of calluses are crucial to your success in a two footed bug out.  You can conceptualize these types of aches and pains and maybe dismiss them, but if you experience blisters, shortness of breath, or a bum knee, you will not dismiss the need to address them and you won’t hold on to any unrealistic view of your abilities.
The obvious downside to bugging out on foot means that you must physically carry all of your food, water, clothes, gear and weapons. Any grunt like any hiker tries to lighten the load any way they can. Search the net for “ultra-light hiking” for ideas to shave pounds off of your gear, and to fashion some gear so it serves more than one purpose. I made an alcohol stove out of an aluminum Bud Light bottle and it weighs no more than an ounce or two.  My cook pot is a modified Foster’s Lager can which weighs next to nothing. A proper fitting back pack, whether military or civilian can make all of the difference. I recommend having one of the experts at REI or their competitors fit you for a pack. The key to a good fit is that the pack weight must sit on your hips, not your shoulders or back.

I don’t like the idea of walking great distances loaded down with gear, and unlike the people that crossed this country over one hundred fifty years ago, I don’t have access to a mule. The Viet Cong used French bicycles in the war to transport hundreds of pounds of rice, supplies and ordnance per bike over very rough mountainous terrain for many miles. Dozens or hundreds of these bikes would snake through the mountainside quietly and effectively.  Currently, DARPA is developing very disturbing looking robots designed to assist our soldiers in the field. These high tech mules will eventually carry equipment and supplies, so the soldiers won’t have to, but it won’t be long after that before they are deployed to fulfill a combat role.
I don’t have access to a robot, mule or a Sherpa, so I had to think of something. My solution to this problem was a modified B.O.B. brand baby stroller, the Sport Utility model to be exact. I own both a duallie and a single Sport Utility. The beefy tubular frame looks nearly indestructible, it has shock absorbers, three 16 inch durable plastic wheels and BMX style knobby tires. I removed all of the nylon fabric and installed a couple of 24 quart milk crates suspended by thin braided steel cables. A half inch section of steel electrical conduit held in place by cotter pins runs through the fulcrum and sticks way out to the side, making a nice platform for my gun rack. I used the single Sport Utility stroller to haul 100 pounds of gear almost effortlessly for ten miles, averaging a speed of 3 mph. The terrain was very flat well groomed dirt, so if I had to tackle more technical terrain or even moderate hills, I would cut the weight down to 60 pounds at the most. The duallie Sport Utility can certainly haul an even bigger load, and I estimate that my wife and I can easily move 150 pounds of gear with these strollers for a great distance.  The BOB strollers are very pricey, but you don’t have to buy them brand new from REI, you can find used strollers on craigslist and www.backpage.com . Another great site I use to stock up on parts, should anything break while I am out trekking is BOB Parts. Spare tubes, tires, a patch kit, mini tire pump, machine screws, nuts and multitool with pliers make up my repair kit.  
I see more and more homeless people around town every year, and occasionally I will chat them up on my bicycle commute or if I’m out walking the canals.  If I see an interesting bicycle mod or trailer rig, I will stop and ask them about it.  For many of these folks, the “S” has already hit the fan and I look at them as Beta testers. The wheel still is the greatest invention, just don’t get stuck in the automobile mindset.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Interest rate turmoil again affected holding company trading revenues heavily in the first and second quarters of 2013. According to the latest report from the U.S. Office of the Compttroller of the Currency (OCC), rate trading derivatives losses were $3.018 Billion in 1Q 2013 and $3.804 Billion in 2Q 2013.

It is noteworthy that the present-day casino in credit derivatives has built up in the era of ZIRP, where interest rate changes have been miniscule. The losses reported in the first two quarters were apparently triggered by the unexpected rate moves of less than 20 basis points. (Two tenths of one percent.)

While the total credit exposure to risk based capital has declined for the top four U.S. commercial banks that do derivatives trading, the notional value of their derivatives increased by $2.2 trillion, to $233.9 trillion. And JPMorgan (the world's biggest derivatives trader) just by itself holds derivatives contracts with a notional value of around $71 Trillion! (To be precise: $71,289,673,000,000.) To put that in perspective, the total value of the US economy is around $15 trillion.

The counterparty risk in credit derivatives would be gigamongous, if interest rates were to spike several full points, and any large institutions then subsequently failed. If you thought that the bailouts back in 2009-2010 were huge, then just wait and see what the next credit crisis brings. - JWR

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This may inflame some folks, but for others I hope it jogs our brain cells to ask, how did we get to this spot, and why are we of this prepper mindset?

Think back to the early sixties (if you can), 6th grade in sunny California, and unlike my folks who suffered through the Great Depression, life was good.  NY Yankees' Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were hitting away, trying to break the Babe's home run record.  Every kid in my school played ball, at every opportunity, and you carried your glove with you, everywhere...it was a mark of boyhood.  The school janitor was our ump, and recess went by all to fast.  Girls did their own thing, and to be honest I don't remember what it was.  Even the teachers were "betting" on Mantle, but the principal held out for Maris. America invented baseball, along with the Colt .45 peacemaker and 1911, flying saucers, the muscle car, the movies, Rock and Roll,  NASA, the transistor radio, drive-in theaters, cowboys and the wild west, and countless scores of other things.  We were a nation of heroes and legends who won the World War against fascism and evil.  We even won at the Alamo even when we lost, because of men like Crockett and Bowie and Travis.  Sports figures were heroes, not thugs, they were paid well but not rich, and they spent time with kids, not like today's sports celebrities, who spend more time using performance enhancers to cheat.  Kids played outside, with no fear.

Eisenhower, the commanding General of "the Allies" in WWII, was President.  Kennedy and Nixon were running for President, and the girls all wanted Kennedy because he was the better looking and younger of the two.  We all felt a sense of strength in Kennedy, whether or not that was true.  He was perceived as a just man who would not be slapped around, who knew right from wrong, and had proven himself in battle.  John and Jackie Kennedy were the darlings of the era.  Nobody disliked them.  When we look back at those times, now-liberal agendas were simply not on the table and not debated as today.  And Kennedy was not mocked for his frequent mentions of the Almighty.  BHO would have never been elected during this time, regardless of skin color or attitudes then, but because of his socialist views, his associates, and his lack of proven leadership qualities.

Most boys were in Scouts, and most went through hunter safety.  I still remember that nobody caught any flak for walking down the street with your .22.  We all had a warrior mindset, but not a mindset of violence or evil to our fellow Americans, but rather, respect.  The NRA was not involved in politics like today, because there was no need to protect peoples' 2nd Amendment rights...everyone just had them - this was America!.  Kids could go into Joe Agueda's gas station and buy .22 rounds for very little money.  There were no background checks of course.

Most things were based on horse sense.  There were not a lot of "WSM's" (whining, sniveling malcontents) who showed themselves back then.  Men married women.  Homosexual people did not join up in the military and if found out they were booted out.  Women did not serve on board ships in the Navy with men.  Duh.  People refrained from certain locker-room talk in front of women and kids, flipped the bird only to your worst enemy, and the "F" bomb was not dropped in public, especially by young people, and never on the silver screen.  People helped others who were in need or in trouble.  People who acted like jerks were shunned, and those who were honorable were respected.

Certain things were never done.   Nobody, not even nuts,  not even suicidal nuts,  walked into a school full of children or into a movie theater or a military installation or a church,  and opened fire.  There was always a general, overall sense that this country was one of real manhood, whose people were warriors, who would protect us all from harmful people, from mentally deranged people.   There were far less threats because those of that bent were not allowed to just go about in society doing as they wished.  There were consequences, not like today.  There was far more respectful treatment among us.  Life was sometimes harsh,  sometimes "unfair", and sometimes folks' "rights" were violated...but we were far, far safer than today, and without "political correctness".  There were winners and losers, and that was not considered a detriment to our society.  People just dealt with it.  Like Clint Eastwood's character in "Heartbreak Ridge" said, "Adapt, improvise, overcome".

While people were different in many ways, and there were always the criminal types ("hoodlums" Granny called them) ...it seemed like most Americans were on the same page.  Yes there was still problems with segregation in those days, especially in the South -  a  scar, a blight, and a curse on our country ever since the inclusion of slavery on our shores.  Native Americans and Japanese citizens were also treated poorly in our history.   In spite of our weaknesses and failures and differences, we seemed to be more of a nation of patriots, even black men (called "negroes" then) rose above the racial inequalities and fought their hearts out or competed their hearts out when called; As did our Native Americans, as did our Japanese people...persecuted and oft times ridiculed, but fought anyway, because we were a nation of patriots.  Adults were also hard working patriots, with a sense of dignity and loathing for handouts.  We all come from pioneers and fighters, most of whom were from foreign shores. Our whole culture is one based on survival in the face of hardships.

The UN was still an infant back then, and heralded by many as a new, ground-breaking way to have peace on Earth (okay so that didn't work so bueno.)  All of us in grade school had to know who Dag Hamerskjold was, the 2nd secretary general of the UN...he died in a plane crash while in office, and President Kennedy called him "the greatest statesman of this century".  At about the same time, Fidel Castro had stormed Cuba and we were all taught that he was a no-good, a "red" (communist) who murdered his own people and enslaved many, like Stalin or Hitler.  In spite of the celeb's today who want us to believe Cuba is wrongfully persecuted by the USA, talk to those who risked their lives to get out of there, to be here.

The 50's and early 60's were lazy, blissful days.  Saturday matinees, and Little League.   Weekly ball games on TV called by legends Pee Wee Reese and Dizzy Dean, and heavyweight boxing matches on "the boob tube" as my Dad called it (to him there would never be another Rocky Marciano - and Cassius Clay was no Marciano, he would say).  Push manual lawn mowers, record stores, rotary dial phones and party lines, hot cars, cheap gas, "Bonanza" (yay!) and Lawrence Welk (yech!)  It seemed like everybody smoked cigarettes except a few of the old timers who stuck with their pipes.  There were no microwaves, bottled water, smart phones, the internet, video games, iPods or pads, Kindles, methamphetamine labs or crack houses (although there were "dope fiends"), rock concerts, gyms, espresso coffee, pizza or fast food joints.  There was also no Super Bowl much less "tailgate parties", nor were there any "R" rated movies or any other rating for that matter..."Ben Hur" and "Ol' Yeller" were the hit movies.  And there were definitely no terrorists.  Still,  there were lots of mistakes made in those days, from abusing our lands and wildlife to unwise medical practices to liberal parenting models (thanks to Dr. Benjamin Spock)..we are, after all, fallen, imperfect human beings in constant need of a Savior!

Most importantly, there were no preppers as we know it today.  Folks just modestly put away here and there for emergencies, or disasters, not counting the "fall out shelter" craze that went on for awhile during the Cold War.  But Mom's knew more back then about making things, and all Mom's cooked like crazy back then.  Government and/or economic collapse was hardly ever talked about, pandemics and natural disasters were mentioned occasionally, there were no movies about these themes.  And climate change was not on the table at all.  Catch this:  Nobody would have ever dreamed that just owning a gun and ammo would be a big deal, or that .22 LR would ever be in short supply.

When we were stopped and questioned by the local gendarme's back then, it was always "yes sir" and "no sir"...or you suffered the consequences.  Same applied to teachers and neighbors.  In those days the male teachers wore coats and ties and were well-groomed, and used those long yellow chalk board erasers on sassy boys, with reckless abandon.  The female teachers wore dresses in class, and were equally well known for their lightening fast disciplinary techniques, again, mostly with the boys.  Parents used corporal punishment on children as well, with no fear of child abuse charges because somebody's bottom got a spanking...it was just...common sense!  Try that today.  Respect.

Little did we realize, but there were hard and confusing times shortly ahead,  much different than the challenges of WWII and Korea.   There were also insidious forces at work behind the scenes, on the attack from the inside to change our way of life as we knew it.  Nothing like Pearl Harbor mind you, but attacks nonetheless.  Many of us remember watching little Nikita Khrushchev pound his shoe on the podium at the UN and warning us that communism would take us over...from within!

 As just one example, most of us did not realize that the number of attorneys would explode over the next few decades, litigating the USA into a society of fear and loathing where anyone could get sued for anything. The ACLU, founded by a card carrying communist, would become extremely powerful and give birth to many like organizations, such as the National Lawyers Guild.  These organizations have put a serious dent in legal fairness, common sense, and Americanism, and continue to do so, unabated.  They have warped our judicial system and have made a mockery of criminal justice.  

What has taken it's toll on America?  The killing of the Kennedy's and MLK, Viet Nam, the drug culture, abortion, segregation unrest, bigger and more abusive government, taxes, crime, liberal prison reforms, powerful labor unions, the growth of gangs, "alternative" lifestyles, Hollywood, the MTV culture, environmental hazards and disasters, the entitlement lifestyle, porous borders, ill health and obesity, and most importantly, the rejection of our Christian heritage.  We are a nation divided.  There are now many Americans who have zero respect for parents, teachers or elders, for our laws and our Constitution, our heritage, or for our military protectors.

Like the frog in the hot water, we are now close to the boiling point, and we are complacent, choosing to boil to death rather than jump out of the cauldron.  This is very dangerous for our society.

An example:  Who would have thought years ago that it is "normal" to hear a Hollywood talking head on the radio, advertising tax specialist assistance in order to keep the IRS from seizing our bank accounts and homes because  of "back taxes"?.  Why are we standing for this nonsense?  We are taxed to death already, and nobody's homes or paychecks should be seized by anyone in this country much less our own government!.  Yet we ignore the advertisement and think about getting a latte instead.

So we prepare for the worst because we can't rely on our leaders in Washington to do right by us.  Instead, we fear our own government, and with good reason.  With each passing year, the government shows itself to be a heartless and really dumb entity that exists to victimize it's own citizens.  To add insult to injury, our government and the Central Bank are bedfellows, and between the two, have managed to drive us to financial Armageddon.  The American dream is a little hard to come by when everyone ends up broke.

We prep because we can't trust the rest of the world to leave us in peace and worry about their own countries.

We prep because we  want to take care of our families and give our little ones a fighting chance.

We prep because we don't want to be boiled frogs.

Those who take the necessary precautions, those who are the willing, will be able to take our heritage back from those who are stealing it and destroying it.  Because we have respect for our country.  But if we continue to thumb our noses at the Creator of the universe and all mankind, it won't matter.  Time to realize that Jesus is coming back, and now is not the time to be goofing off!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I am an active prepper. I do not have a retreat or bug-out vehicle (yet), but I do what I can for bugging-in and preparing for emergencies. I have extensive food and water preps, tactical supplies, and all of the other trappings of modern-day prepping. Although my family is aware of my prepping, and support my efforts, they are not “in the loop” with how to do what, when to do it, and what to do it with. I have come to realize that many of my preps will be useless if anything happens to me. A good example of this is my emergency comm gear. It’s good gear, easily accessed, and will work well, but there are no user-friendly instructions on how to use the gear. Another example would simply to list where everything is located, as my preps are spread throughout the home, vehicles, and remote locations. There are many, many things that I can do with the gear, but might be a stretch for my wife and children, simply due to the lack of instructions.

To this end I have begun documenting all of the needed information regarding our preps. This is being done in plain text, and then a printed copy will be hidden, and a copy given to my wife. Digital versions on the thumb drive are encrypted with a password that we all know well. The docs begin with a detailed inventory that gives location, quantity, and a short description. After the inventory I have started writing how-to docs for each area of need, and the level of detail is just deep enough to get the job done. As is the case with most such articles on preps, bug-out-bags, etc., I begin with water, food, shelter, protection, safety, communications, and lastly, comfort. I have kept the technical jargon to a minimum, and intend to solicit feedback from my family to clear up any points that need it.

With regard to each are of prepping, in some short discussions with my family that safety and security are two areas where considerable discussion was required before writing my docs. The reason is very predictable, my family consists of my wife and two teenage daughters. While they are all very sharp, and quite capable, some aspects of safety and security are difficult for them to accept. An example is the need to hide the bulk of our preps, while leaving a substantial quantity of food and water out in the relative open. I think this is needed because looters WILL come, and they can more easily dealt with if they are not coming up empty-handed. The other reason may be obvious, they might give up looking once they think they have taken all they can find, so the bulk of our preps will be secure. My family thinks that there will no looters, and that if I think there will be, then we should hide all our preps. Another example is dealing with strangers. My family of females is not as callus as I am, and will want to lend aid much too readily. After having lengthy discussions with my family, I was careful to re-state my concerns for security in the related docs. Mainly, be cautious and suspicious at all times. We should always be ready to lend aid and be charitable, but individual safety comes first. My rules are simple, in an emergency situation, no one outside the family is allowed in the house, and if we are providing any sort of aid the recipient will remain at least twenty-five  feet from the door until it is closed and locked, no exceptions.

In creating my docs, I have tried to write instructions as I perform a task, at least mentally. I have found that when I describe how to do things, I leave out small details that I take for granted. Don’t do this! Be exacting when it counts. We don’t want to bog-down anyone with too much detail, but overlooking a small but critical detail could be disastrous. A prime example is the fact that my gun safe key must be turned before dialing-in the combination or it wont open. It’s a key feature of the safe, and a detail I have long since just taken for granted. Although a tiny detail, this could easily hinder my family in my absence. I’m sure you can all think of dozens of small things similar in this respect.

Another aspect of preparing these docs is the printed version. Digital copies are valuable, I store mine on a pair of thumb drives, but printed copies are mandatory. If there is no computer to read the docs, they are useless. I have started printing my docs on waterproof paper, using larger than normal (14 pt) bold type font. They are then placed in zip-loc bags with moisture absorbers  and stored in a predetermined location, high above the water line of any potential flood. My wife thinks putting a copy in a fire safe is a good idea, I may agree with her. (it’s so hard admitting she’s right!). I have read articles about encoding printed docs, but it seems to be a dangerous practice, except maybe for very sensitive information, and the need for that kind of secrecy is far outweighed in my mind by the need to get the information quickly in an emergency situation. We’re talking about how to start the generator here, not nuclear launch codes!
I believe that the digital copies of these docs should be written and saved in a simple .txt format whenever possible, even if encrypted. You never know what sort of device or program you might have to open them on. The more universal the format, the better. If you have diagrams or pictures, consider using a PDF format for those. The PDF format is widely supported on computers, phones, tablets, just about any digital device available. If you will be printing docs that must contain actual photos, try and use high-contrast black and white in all of your images. In the long run, these images will last longer and will maintain readability better under adverse conditions, and the high contrast will make them easier to read under low-light conditions. Regarding storage of the printed docs, I found some surplus Army signal flare tubes that seem to fit the bill perfectly for this task.  I also put a chemical light stick in the tubes with the docs. This way we have a ready light source if needed to read them in the dark. I found the tubes at a local gun show, but I bet there are millions of these things out there on Ebay and military-surplus outlets. Another idea would be just to make your own tubes with PVC pipe and screw-on caps. If the tube does not fit your docs, there are countless waterproof containers out there. You might even consider fireproof containers in addition to waterproof containers.

So far my family has been supportive in giving me feedback on my docs and it’s going well. I expect that will change some as we get into more sophisticated activities like setting the channels up on a 2 meter hand held radio, or setting the bait hook on a small game trap. In the end, I believe that my preps will be complimented well by a good set of documents and procedures. My original thought was to provide the needed information to my family in the event that I was not here, for whatever reason. After several weeks of typing, I am keenly aware that there were some things I needed to brush up on as well. Now more than ever, I think it’s true: you don’t know how to do anything well until you can tell someone else how to do it. I strongly suggest that you use this opportunity to use and test gear and practice using tools and techniques, having found many times that some things were much easier to do in my memory than they currently seem to be. It can also be a great opportunity to get your family more involved in the practical side of preparation. We live in the deep south east where hurricanes are quite common, and I love the thought of my family knowing how to take care of themselves in the event of any emergency. It also gives me a chance to spend more time with my kids, and that’s always good.

So to recap my thoughts here:

  1. Make a good inventory of all of your preps.
  2. Write a detailed how-to document for each prepping item.
  3. Make no assumptions, where needed be very thorough.
  4. Store digital copies in an encrypted file.
  5. Use a safe but easy-to-remember password on your files.
  6. Make printed copies on waterproof paper.
  7. Store multiple copies of digital and printed versions in safe locations.
  8. Review the docs with the people that will be using them.
  9. Use the docs to practice using tools and techniques.
  10. Setup a periodic review and update schedule for updating your docs.

I hope others find this informative, good luck with all of your preps, I hope you never need them!

For more in depth information on encryption, see the Wikipedia page on encryption software.

And this link will take you to the free encryption software that I use:

Some really good sources for waterproof paper can be found using these links:

Or, you can waterproof your own paper.

Monday, October 7, 2013

By the year 2020 we may be in the midst of (or in the early stages of recovery from) a major depression or perhaps even a full-blown socioeconomic collapse. An old saying is: "Hindsight is 20/20." So here is a gedanken: What will people observe in the year 2020, with the benefit of hindsight?
The following is my conjecture on what folks will cite when asked: "What went wrong?"

  • Profligate government spending at all levels
  • Multigenerational welfare
  • Rampant food stamp dependence (1/6th of the populace, as of 2013!)
  • Loss of American competitiveness
  • Declining academic standards and performance
  • Decline in manufacturing and a shift to a service economy
  • A systematically debased currency
  • Deteriorating roads, bridges, power distribution, and civic water systems
  • Increasing dependence on technology and long chains of supply
  • General apathy, moral decline, and degeneracy
  • Artificially manipulated interest rates
  • A declining work ethic and detachment from traditional self-sufficiency skills
  • Socialist policies, over-regulation, and over-taxation
  • Malinvestment in everything from wind farms to Tesla Motors
  • A narcissistic, self-absorbed, and overweight society
  • A populace obsessed with popular culture, fads, gossip, fashion, celebrities, and media sensations
  • A populace that ignores genuinely important issues
  • Statism
  • Corporate welfare
  • A corrupt crony relationship between Wall Street, the Federal Reserve banking cartel, and the Treasury Department
  • Enormous, uncontrolled debt--both public and private
  • Never-ending bailouts of public and private organizations, paid for with tax dollars.

They will also ask themselves: "What could I gave done differently, to be prepared?" They will realize that they could have, and should have decided to:

  • Move to a lightly-populated farming region that is well-removed from major population centers.
  • Learn traditional skills such as gardening, canning, hunting, welding, and home mechanics.
  • Network with like-minded individuals.
  • Get out of debt. and stay out of debt.
  • Stock up on storage food and other key logistics.
  • Arm yourself and get tactically-oriented firearms training.
  • Develop a second income stream with a home-based business that will be depression proof and resilient to mass inflation
  • Assemble a reference library.
  • Train in advanced first aid.
  • Get a ham radio license.
  • Become involved with your local farmer's market.
  • Join a local Volunteer Fire Department.

I don't claim to have any special insight on the future. But I can certainly see social, political, and economic trends and project their likely outcomes. The current trends do not bode well. Just by themselves, the public and private debt burdens will be enough to cause major problems in coming years. Get ready, folks.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I was reading Tuchman's seminal work The Guns of August last night and found this quote, where she describes the emphasis in 1910 by author Norman Angell in his book The Great Illusion on how the increasing connectedness of business and nations would assuredly preclude future conflict:

'By impressive examples and incontrovertible argument Angell showed that in the present financial and economic interdependence of nations, the victor would suffer equally with the vanquished; therefore war had become unprofitable; therefor no nation would be so foolish as to start one.'

This cited work was published in 1910, just prior to the Great War.  Not only does this example from over one hundred years ago point out man's failure to learn from history, it also illuminates the path for those who choose to learn.  'He who has ears, let him hear' Mathew 11:15.

Recommend your readers who are interested in this idea of interconnectedness and system resilience read, in these books, in sequence:

1)  The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by  Nassim Nicholas Taleb
2)  The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism , by Naomi Klein (a Canadian Red Diaper baby but still a valid critique)
3)  The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman

Those who want to delve deeper into the idea of system of systems analysis (SOSA) can look to Complex Interdependence Theory, well articulated by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. 

As Frank Herbert says in his novel Dune, "The first step in avoiding a trap, is knowing of it's existence."  If the "trap" is system fragility, the trap-avoidance tactic/strategy is engendering system resiliency.  Readers of your excellent blog would be well advised to continue their preparations with the addition of strengthening local social, economic, religious and, yes, even political systems. - Tom K.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The never-ending threat of the TEOTWAWKI looms in the depth of all of our minds.  My work experience lays primarily in public safety, government peroration to emergency response, tactical team assaults, gang mentality and survival, logistics and law enforcement radio communication.  My personal experience is very broad beginning with my first job at age 15, working continuously through college, being married for the past 16 years to my “high school sweetheart” and raising three young children.  I have been validated in court as an expert in several fields regarding gangs, firearms and narcotics.  I would like to share with you my thoughts and expertise relating to successfully bugging out of an urban area.

My family and I happen to live in the California Bay Area and like many of the SurvivalBlog.com readers, live in a heavily-populated urban area.  Don’t be fooled though, many of us urbanites are just like our rural area pepper counterparts; we just haven’t made the jump to move to the desirable off grid lifestyle, full time.  That being said, most urban based preppers are vested in the communities we live in, go to Church/Temple, donate time and resources to local charities, and are involved in our children’s school(s) as well as many extracurricular activities.  Most of us have bug out plans and a small network of family and friends to help us achieve the goal of getting our families out safely.  However, the looming challenge is knowing the right time to leave, weather to leave together or in groups, what mode of transportation will be available (vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, small aircraft, boat), what we can bring based on how we can travel, safe routs of travel (neighborhoods, highways, bridges, chokepoints, time of day, waterways, air travel) and realistic time needed for travel to your safe location.

Deciphering the right time to leave the city or urban areas is something that you have to research in advance.  It’s not something one can effectively do after the mass evacuation crisis has started.  I recommend paying attention to the raw materials trade markets, indicators of local government preparations, public schools and local airports.  While these are not traditional sources of impending danger information what each one of them show are immediate shifts in normal behavior, change in the flow of resources and change in human behavior.

The raw materials markets show the flow of milled lumber mostly white fir to China, metals, mostly recycled metals overseas especially at a reduced rate, recycled oil products to Southern America and lastly vehicle buyback programs such as Cash for Clunkers, Kars for Kids and Habitat.org.  These programs receive significant government funding to get abandoned vehicles, boats, RVs and trailers off the streets of America.  When we see the price of white fir lumber drop, the price per shipping container of metal or aluminum drop, the price to recycle your used oil increase or having to pay to “donate” your vehicle a shift in normalcy is on the horizon.  While these indicators may not be immediate indicators you should maintain a watchful eye on one or all of them to make a predicative analysis of the fall of the USD.

Indicators of local government preparations include an increase of public disaster drills (outside the norm), more specialized emergency management equipment being stored extensively at and around public safety buildings rather than at city or county corporation yards and police and fire personal response times increasing to a higher than normal routine.  When you notice changes in staged emergency management equipment and supplies at the public safety building in your community you should anticipate a large event taking place.  If it’s a preplanned event such as a fair, a celebration or a parade generally there is no cause for alarm.  But if the changes you notice appear unplanned or in such duration that goes beyond normal parameters you should pay attention.  Again these signs alone may not be indicators you should bug out, but the totality of your research and observations will be the deciding factor.

Changes in behavior at the public schools relating to free lunch programs, after school program accessibility and an increase in teacher absences are signs that the transportation logistics are failing and the priorities of the school administrators are changing.  The focus will shift from keeping children at the school to surviving with what funds and resources the schools left. 

Changes of behavior at the airports will show similar concerns.  When air fuel costs go up, plane tickets go up.  When airport TSA restrictions go up, freedom and liberty go down based directly on actions of the TSA Director.  This should raise eyebrows and should be evaluated along with the other change of behavior signs in your communities.

When you decide to leave you will need to already have a preplanned route as well as a secondary route for redundancy.  Your primary route will generally be the shortest you can take by way of a vehicle on a paved road.  If you have access to a small aircraft you will likely be traveling by vehicle with your supplies to the airport.  The same goes for waterway travel.  You will generally need a vehicle to get to a harbor or a boat launch with your gear to leave the heavily populated urban areas.  The most significant dilemma for most urban area preppers is not leaving too early where you may face being fired for not reporting to work if things don’t go bad and not waiting too long where all the highways are packed bumper to bumper where you can’t get out.  The last thing any of us want to do is lose our job if we leave without notice and are released from our employer in a non-emergency scenario.

A solution may be to leave in groups at staggered start times.  Those who have a low risk of a significant impact for leaving early are those like home makers who would face no more than a child’s school absence, telecommuters who don’t have to report to an office, business owners who decide not to open their business for a day or two, retirees who don’t have commitments in their communities and obviously those who are on their regular days off from work.  Those who can leave early with little or no recourse should leave as soon as the indicators outlined above begin to show.  Those who have jobs where leaving would cause employer concern such as construction, infrastructure jobs, public safety, government offices or other employers who require prior notification for unplanned absences, will face a tough decision.  At some point you will have to make the call to leave knowing your unexcused absence will have a substantial affect on your future employment.  Sometimes it’s a gamble and sometimes it’s an educated decision on your part.  Those who have fled suspecting troubled times in the past have suffered the loss of a job or disciplinary action because of their unexcused absence.  They know all too well what can happen for their decision to leave.  All I can suggest is you study the signs and make the best decision for you and your loved ones.

Determining you mode of travel is simple, if you have the discretionary free time and if you leave early enough.  Unfortunately that is not the reality for most of the working class in the urban environment.  You need to plan for moderate to heavy vehicular traffic.  Pack extra provisions, fuel and comfort items you and loved ones need to make the extended trip palatable.  Secondly plan for extra security measures.  Having quick and easy access to a firearm is you first defense when faced with marauders so it’s essential that you have one close to you when traveling during these troubling times.  If you flee in a vehicle is would be easy to inconspicuously and legally carry firearms with you even in the most restrictive states like California and New York.  All states allow legal vehicle transportation of firearms.  Some states are more restrictive than others and require the firearm be in a locked case and with the ammunition stored away from the firearm in the vehicle, but most do not specifically define what a locked case is and don’t require the ammunition be locked or unloaded from a magazine.  That being said I have seen some very creative case locks which include “rope”, zip ties, bailing wire and twist ties.  While under normal circumstances I would recommend sticking with a traditional key or combination lock, I think in a bug out situation law enforcement officials will be less worried about the manner in which you chose to transport your firearm and more concerned with problems of keeping the peace.

Be wary of hasty road blocks and haphazard detours.  Most traditional law enforcement road blocks need to have proper signage and notification and will “look official.”  Your best option to avoid checkpoints all together.  When driving keep your must keep your eyes on the horizon and always be looking ahead.  Travel efficiently but not too fast where you may come upon a roadblock too fast and can’t get out of the queue line before your trapped and committed.  At the onset your most efficient way of travel will be on the Highways and Freeways.  During the later stages of the exodus you will have to divert to your secondary travel route and stick to back country roads.  Lastly as a general rule never park your vehicle(s) with less than half a tank of fuel.  To do otherwise is lazy and foolish.  I shouldn’t have to say anything more on that topic.

If another mode of travel is your plan such as a boat, small aircraft or motorcycle/quad then the options open up for you.  Small winged air travel being the safest you will not need to be as concerned with the roadways.  You will however need to be concerned about flight restrictions and filing of flight plans.  If you are traveling by boat you are sure to run into some resistance and chaos at the docks with others fleeing the later you leave.  You should expect to run into frantic citizens loading copious amounts of supplies onto their boats at the same time.  The boat docks at most marinas are not designed for mass exodus and lots of people piling provisions along the docks at the same time will cause confusion and delay.  For those scenarios, it’s imperative you store as much gear on your bug out boat prior to the event to avoid delays and confrontations on the ramps and docks.  Stay light and quick and you can weave yourself and family through the rushes at the docks very efficiently. 

If the motorcycle or quad is your planed way of travel be prepared to carry extra fuel along with all your other gear which will be seen by all.  While we would like to conceal our gear and fuel it’s nearly impossible on a motorcycle or quad.  I would suggest painting your jerry cans to at least appear like traditional saddle bags so at first glance it doesn’t look like a gas can.  Also I would recommend a siphon.  There small light and can make the world of difference between only making it part of the way and walking versus riding all the way to your destination.

Travel routes and times are critical.  Plan primary, secondary and alternate routes out.  Have a road map or atlas with you so you can recalculate your route if needed.  GPS is a great tool until Murphy’s Law kicks in and it doesn’t work for any number of reasons (government satellite shut down, EMP, CME, system over use overload, etc…).  Areas of concern are heavily populated areas, low income housing blocks, chokepoints, bridges, tunnels, and highway to highway intersections.  Determining routs around these potential ambush points is your key to your safe travel.  Leaving early enough to avoid these problem areas is ideal but may not be possible.  If you run into a choke point sometimes it’s best to pull over to a safe location and observe for a half hour or so.  Learn from others mistakes and adjust your route accordingly.  Stay alert and watch your surroundings.

Most likely the best time to leave is late at night.  Just as the early bird gets the worm, the early traveler gets less traffic.  Leave after midnight but before 5:00 am.  You should give yourself enough time to be out of the populated areas in into the country before 5:00 am so plan for delays and rest stops if needed.  While headlights can be seen for up to a mile away and ambushes can be organized on you approach, it’s still safer and more efficient to travel at night.  Night vision capabilities are premium when driving at night but most of us can’t afford such an expense.  Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst and always have contingency plans.  The government does for just about everything having to do with emergency response, so why shouldn’t you?

The last two options are the least desirable.  Bicycling or walking are obviously slow and open you up to all sorts of potential problems.  While you will benefit from moving quietly while creating a small silhouette of yourself, you will have no cover or concealment.  Additionally traveling by bicycle or by foot will extend your travel time immensely so plan for it.  Coordinate it ahead of time with your group so members know to expect you in weeks rather than days or hours.

Realistic travel times need to be planned for.  If your bug out location is a five hour drive during normal conditions, then plan for twice that during times of crisis.  Inevitably you will be faced with delays, detours, unplanned refueling stops when the opportunity arises and necessary renaissance stops.  Plan for stopping to top off your fuel tanks at every reasonable opportunity you have.  Fuel prices could be rising every few hours and credit cards systems could be corrupted or shut down without warning.  I would suggest using a charge card as much as you can while the systems are still active.  Save your cash until the credit systems stop working then transition to your cash.  If/when you reach your bug out location and the credit card systems are still functional, unload your gear and family and go back out to the closest fill station and top everything off.  Fuel will be worth it’s weigh in gold when the refineries shut down and/or the fuel trucks stop rolling.  If nothing more, fuel will be a good bartering item for the new America.

In conclusion, be prepared, make the sacrifices now so you can live comfortably in the future.  Having preparations stored provides most with a sense of accomplishment and security in your future.  As Americans we mustn’t forget the duty of charity and helping others out.  That being said, take care of yourself, your loved ones and your group.  After then, and only then as J. W. Rawles says, “Give until it hurts.”  With that, be safe, plan ahead and God Bless.

Captain Rawles,
I saw the disagreement from the former natural gas industry gent located in Texas about your grid assertions as they relate to potential natural gas outages.

Two years ago in Northern New Mexico there was a multi-day natural gas outage to 30,000 homes and it was due to precautionary measures from Texas, caused by rolling blackouts.  New Mexico made the decision to keep the population centers pressurized since it would be more difficult to get the pressure back up in those areas compared to the smaller yet more remote pipelines in the northern part of the state.  I have friends in Taos, New Mexico that confirmed this for me. - G.P.

Mr Rawles -
You wrote: "Most residential refrigerators normally draw around 12 amps, but the peak load (on startup), expressed as Locked Rotor Amps (LRAs), can be substantially higher."

That might be true for older refrigerator designs, but is not true for at least some modern refrigerators. We have a large Samsung French door style refrigerator that draws (annual average) only 60 watts. When I read the specifications I could hardly believe it so I ran the fridge on a Kill-A-Watt meter for a couple of months to confirm. Running power
(compressor running) was 120 watts and the VA (what you want to use for sizing an inverter) was 180 VA with the compressor running, but the average over time was right where they claimed at 60 watts. To put this into Amps, the running current is 1.5 Amps, and the average is around 0.75 Amps.

This is not some tiny little fridge but a very large 28 cubic foot model with water and ice through the doors, LED lighting, and lots of nice features.

I am currently building a dedicated solar electric system which with a little bit of luck will allow me to take this fridge totally off-grid. - R.R.

Dear James,
I've been repairing refrigerators for several years. It's true, they do need a bigger [current] than you think compressor to start. One thing I haven't actually tried, but makes sense. There is a compressor hard start kit, which is often used by us repair guys, when the factory supplied compressor start relay goes bad. The hard start kit contains a big start capacitor, which helps with torque. Now, does that reduce the inrush starting current? I'm not sure, but it would appear so.

If your existing generator isn't quite big enough to start the refrigerator, might be able to call a refrigerator guy, and ask to have a hard start kit put on. Or buy one online, you are electrically minded.

One of the readers writes about "locked rotor current," (LRC.) Most of the literature and such that I read, talks about Locked Rotor Amps (LRA.)

Thanks for discussing the subjects few others want to get near. - Regards, C.A.Y.

Hello JWR,
My experience with a 2 kilowatt generator (a Yamaha EF2000iS) avoided all the study of LRA requirements.  Using extension cords and a through-the-wall connection, the little Yamaha runs two full-size refrigerators, a small chest-type freezer and a pellet stove most of the night on a gallon of gasoline.  Readers may be interested that the bearings in the Yamaha are rated for twice the life of the bearings in a Honda. Best Regards,  - D.H.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thank you for letting your readers know about [public utility] natural gas system compressor stations. I, for one, was was blissfully ignorant about them, and had just assumed that natural gas was "always on." So, now knowing that, I can now see that a tri-fuel generator that can quickly be changed to propane or gasoline would be best. Thanks also for mentioning the capacity limits of generators. That I was aware of, but I hadn't ever looked at the specs on my GE refrigerator/freezer. Now I can see that I need to do a "load budget", to determine what I can leave plugged in, and not bog down my generator. (It is a 3 KW, and all those lights in the house add up a load, real quick.) - Curtis N.

Mr. R. -
Regarding residential refrigerators and generators - I've tested a few, using a Kill-A-Watt and the Belkin Insight Tester and a test rig I built to use a clamp-on type multimeter. I've measured startup demands - locked rotor current (LRC) - and run current on the last 2 refrigerators I've bought, and on several owned by friends. I found that LRC averages between 1200 and 1400 watts, depending on size and design. That's about 10-12 amps (NEC - National Electrical Code - specifies that circuits be sized to use no more than 80% of the circuit's maximum capacity, so a nominal 15 amp circuit should never have to carry more than 12 amps, which is why refrigerators are on dedicated 15 amp circuits). The formula, BTW, is AMPS = WATTS divided by VOLTS. Or, WATTS = AMPS x VOLTS. Use actual measured figures for computation. For example, the utility-supplied voltage in my current house is consistently between 120.2 and 120.4 volts. My Honda EU3000i generator varies between about 114 and 122 volts depending on load.

Run current on every fridge I've tested - ranging from 18 cu ft to 26 cu ft - settles in well under 200 watts after 2-3 minutes. My old Amana 25 cu ft side-by-side consumed only 141 watts after 3 minutes, my new Samsung 26 cu ft consumes 155 running watts.

Fridge tip - outfit called ACU-RITE makes a wireless fridge and freezer thermometer, about $30 at Amazon.com. Put one of the sensors in the fridge, the other in the freezer, the display unit has a magnet to stick on the outside.  I suggest sensor placement near the warmest part of each. Experiment to find where that is. I tested my old Amana by setting the freezer control to "coldest" (which turned out to be -14 F) and adjusted the fridge to 33-34 F on the top shelf without freezing stuff below that shelf. Give the fridge 18-24 hours between setting changes to stabilize internal temperature. I then unplugged the unit and monitored temps. Without the doors being opened I found that the fridge rose to 46F in just under 6 hours, and when plugged back in took not quite 3 hours to get below 40F after cresting at 49F. The freezer never went above +5 F. On this basis I figured I could put the generator on other tasks for 5 hours at a time.

I experimented with [supplemental] external insulation, from blankets and quilts to rigid foam. Best results were with 2" thick polyisocyanurate sheets (Dow calls their version "Tuff-R") which have an R value of about 6.5 per inch. Using an infrared thermometer I found the weak spot in fridges is the door seals followed by the door itself, so I cut the side and top panels to overlap the door edges. To insulate the doors you'll have to remove the handles. Securing it with duct tape, and sealing the sheet edge joints with duct tape, insulating the back (above the opening for the compressor and related hardware), both sides, top and doors, I got another 3 hours after unplugging before fridge temps rose to 45-46F. - Nosmo

Mr. Rawles,
I don’t know where you got your information that the ‘norm’ for natural gas pipeline compressor stations is electric powered. As a former pipeline CEO of a large pipeline system and still a consultant to the industry (therefore I believe that I have some basis in fact) I would suggest at least on the inter and intra state pipeline transmission systems as well as the majority of gathering systems the compressor stations are powered by natural gas (taken from the pipeline that they are compressing). Only in recent years has there been any real shift to electric drive compressors and those are typically only in areas of the country that are EPA challenged, i.e. they are considered ‘non-attainment’ areas regarding air quality and as such permits for new equipment is difficult to obtain if they are gas fired.
[The EMP and grid failure risk that] is relevant is most of the control systems [for natural gas pipelines] are run on grid-supplied power and the vast amount of these controls are digital in some form or fashion these days. Thanks, T.C. in Texas

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thanks for the information you deliver every day. I have recently gone on Social Security Disability and have some money to further our preps. My wife and I will hunker down in place, that being said, we have done what we can to make this as easy as possible. We can heat our home without electricity, but still need a solution for limited electric needs in the event of power outage. We are looking at the Honda EU2000i portable generator with the multi-fuel upgrade. In our years here we have never lost our natural gas supply, but have often lost our electric power. We propose to hook the genny up to our house gas supply, ready to go into service when the lights go out. 15 amps of 110 AC plus the 12 DC power would be a great addition to our supplies. Given we have beans, band aids and defense, this is a big purchase at $1,200 or so. I'm looking for advice.
Thanks, - Michael From Pennsylvania

JWR Replies: That is probably a decent solution, but only if your local gas utility provides natural gas via local wellhead pressure (possible in Pennsylvania, given your oilfields) or if they supply remotely-sourced gas via natural gas-powered line compressor stations.  If they use grid electricity-powered compressors stations (which is still the norm), then the gas pressure could stop after a couple of days of a power grid failure. But if they use natural gas-powered line compressors FROM END TO END, then you'd be fine.

You need to call your local utility and ask for a subject matter expert to talk to, to be sure. DO NOT settle for "happy-happy" front office assurances of system reliability and continuity. You need to talk with an engineer who knows about their set-up, first hand.

The second issue is the requisite size of your generator. Most residential refrigerators normally draw around 12 amps, but the peak load (on startup), expressed as Locked Rotor Amps (LRAs), can be substantially higher. Your generator needs to be able to handle that LRA load. You will need to research the LRA rating of your particular refrigerator's compressor. Here is an example: (Click on "Specifications.") This is a typical modern 23-cubic foot refrigerator that draws 8.5Amps when running, but the Minimum Circuit Required is 15 Amps. The latter reflects the LRA requirement.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

During a break-down of society you may happen upon a dead body. In a without-rule-of-law situation such would not be unusual. This article will give you a rough outline of what to look for when you examine a dead body. The dead body may be near your camp and you may need to get rid of it pronto. There are several reasons why you might need to closely scrutinize a corpse and document what you see.

You may need to protect yourself from the outbreak of disease. You may need to protect yourself from later accusations of murder once the system rebounds. You may need to know whether a killer is on the loose somewhere near your camp. You may need to know if this is a body which can be safely buried and preserved, or whether the body needs to be burned in order to stop the spread of disease.

If you have a camera available, be sure to take photographs. If you have the means to write, by all means take notes. Put on disposable surgical gloves if available. Use a breath mask if available. Use common sense not to infect yourself. Put on old clothes or strip to the bare essentials if necessary. Obtain soap and bleach and water to clean yourself before you chance touching anything contaminated.

Each death scene is unique, so you must use your intuition. The steps you take may be the only chance this victim has for future justice. Loved ones of the diseased person, if they can, may later thank you for the information you retrieve. You may find evidence that exonerates an innocent person. You may find answers that determine whether your group should break camp and leave the area.

As you write your report it is important to both jot down your general feelings, and to specifically note certain important items. Note the location where the death occurred, because it may be important later for law enforcement purposes regarding jurisdiction. Different state or local authorities get involved in investigations depending on the location where the body was found. Make note of anything that seems unexplained or suspicious, or that may turn the death scene into a crime scene. State in your report whether or not you think the death was accidental.

Note the date and time, and make a record of any identification paperwork you may find, such as a drivers license or an identification card, because they may later be lost. Look for tattoos or identifying marks on the body. Do not overlook the obvious, such as cell phone numbers which must be written down before the battery gives out.

Try to determine the cause of death. Make certain that the person has not just passed out and is still breathing. Mark off the area where the body is located and do not let others contaminate it. Look for any loose hairs or skin under the person's fingernails that might reveal they defended themselves or have been in a fight. Do not jump to conclusions as to what happened, but rather look at things with an open mind. Your job at this point is to record facts and details, not to come to a firm conclusion of how the person died.

Notice how the dead person is dressed, and record any anomalies. Figure out whether you think the body has been moved. Note whether the body is stiff and rigor mortis has set in. If the body is contorted or looks like it fell in an awkward position, that might mean the person died suddenly. An apparently painful look on the person's face does not necessarily mean they died in pain.

Note any blood or vomit. Vomit can be strong enough to cause acid burns on the face or the skin. If the body has been dead for several hours, gravity will make the blood drain to the lower parts of the body, so look for tell-tale signs of discoloration. Note whether the eyes are open or shut, and whether the eyes have clouded over. These details may be important to later determine the time of death. Note any odor, discharge, or discoloration.

Take a photograph or make a drawing showing the position of the body before you move it. Only then should the body be positioned face up for examination. Begin without removing the clothing, rather tug and stretch the clothing to take an overview of the various parts of the body. Later an autopsy might be done, but at this point the purpose is to see if there are any general signs pointing to the cause of death.

Note any signs of good or bad hygiene, nearby liquor bottles, hypodermic needle marks, and torn or disheveled clothing. Swelling of the body may be due to retained water. Purple condition of the upper body often points to sudden stoppage of the heart. Record the condition of the hair and teeth. Abnormalities in the eyes such as different sized pupils should be recorded, as should puffiness of the eyes. Blue lips may mean lack of oxygen. Note any blood coming out of the eyes or ears or mouth, and anything else that seems out of the ordinary.

If you push on the skin and it dents instead of springing back, that is a sign of dehydration. Note and record the location of any bruises. Yellow skin points to liver failure. Pale skin may indicate loss of blood. Look for scrapes and lesions on the skin. Skin condition indicates many different things, so anything you find may be important to an expert later.

If there are any people around who know what happened, ask them questions and write down their answers. See if there are any medicine bottles nearby, and ask if anyone knows about any medical documents. Write down anything that indicates this was a natural death, as well as anything that indicates it was an accident, a crime, or foul play. Ask if the dead person complained of chest pain or other pains in the previous few days. Find out if the person over-exerted, for example by hiking much further than normal.

Write down relevant things like snowy or rainy weather, finding the body outdoors, finding the body in or near water, ropes or chains or weapons nearby, signs of a scuffle, etc. If there is an injury try to figure out if it was made by a blunt object such as a baseball bat or a sharp object such as a carpenter's saw. Look and feel for broken bones, which may or may not poke out through the skin. Look for scrapes and burns, and signs of suicide such as multiple cut marks on wrists.

Lacerations are blunt force injuries which are often confused with cuts. If there is a gunshot wound, look and see if there is also an exit wound where the bullet came out. The types and causes of wounds are so vast that it is important to take photographs or write down descriptions for later reference. Remember that the body will deteriorate, so chances are you will be the only person available to document these facts.

Decide whether you think rule of law soon be reinstated. It may be days, weeks or months before authorities can be summoned. If this is the case, then it is important to take steps now that will help identify the body later. This may include taking a DNA sample with a swab to the inner cheek, taking fingerprints with any ink or dye you can find, taking a blood sample, and taking a hair sample. Do not overlook other things such as keeping cigarette butts, keeping car keys, drawing facial pictures, etc.

Beyond that, look for signs of infection which occurred before death as opposed to deterioration which occurred after death. Old healed scars may be signs of previous surgery, and must be differentiated from recent wounds, but both are important to record. Other cuts or injuries may be indicative of earlier resuscitation attempts by medical personnel.

When rule of law is gone you and your associates may have to decide what to do all by yourselves. For health purposes you cannot afford to let dead bodies deteriorate near your camp or water source. You may have to pick up camp and move on. Or you may need to bleach or burn clothing or other items to be sure to get rid of infection.

Even if you have a fortress supplied with all the amenities, it will do you no good in the long term if there is infectious disease from a rotting body nearby. You may have to make a decision about whether to burn or bury a dead body, or whether to leave an infected area. Timing is key, and it may be better to make the decision sooner rather than later. In your situation take all the known factors into consideration, obtain the advice of others, and then act decisively. The decision will be totally up to you.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

(Editor's Introductory Note: The following article is presented as an intellectual exercise, or gedanken. Be forewarned that there are mentions of torture (mental and physical) herein which are of course not conscionable behavior! But this mention is only for the sake of showing the full range of potential interrogation techniques, and as a warning that in the future -- under different circumstances -- you might have to be prepared to resist interrogation. "Forewarned is fore-armed." Again, none of the following is intended to encourage any SurvivalBlog readers to do anything immoral, or illegal, or unethical. It is in your own best interest to learn about interrogation techniques, even if you never intend to use them yourself. If nothing else, this knowledge could prove useful to recognize when subtle interrogation and propaganda techniques are being used against you. - J.W.R.)

(Author's Introductory Note: This is not a manual for interrogation, but rather an attempt to convince the preparedness community of the importance of seeking out references on this topic. The methods and mindsets associated with interrogation are too large to catalogue in even one book, let alone an article.)

"All Warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu

In the best case TEOTWAWKI scenarios, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, our survival training and preparedness will enable us to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe until order is restored, and we can get back to our lives. In the absolute worst case scenarios, such as economic collapse, terrible plagues that wipe out large parts of the population, or nuclear apocalypse, the American Prepper may be facing complete anarchy for an extended period of time.  In these scenarios it is highly unlikely that the supplies that have been set aside will last for more than a few months, and I’m sure that your planning on raiding your local Wal-Mart or other superstore, but remember, so is everyone else.  In this new Darwinian world money will have zero value, and there will be two ways in which a lone survivor or a family unit will be able to obtain more supplies. You can barter, or you can take, and in order to take, you must know where the goods are. Now I consider myself a moral man, so the idea of stealing repulses me, especially if that stealing will cost other persons their lives due to starvation or inability to defend themselves. But here is the simple truth, not a whole lot of other survivors will feel that way. In the initial months following the “event” there will be a quick culling of the herd. Those unprepared for the scenario will starve, and those willing to prey on others (I.E. criminals, immoral persons, or simply desperate regular people who quickly adapt an extremist mindset) will stockpile what they can take, while killing those who stand in their way. Of course Preppers will be holed up in bug-out locations, waiting for all this to blow over. But what comes after? Afterwards we will be forced to look outside for more supplies, whether by farming or by scavenging for that which cannot be grown. And here is the basic fundamental fact, others will want what you have, and you will want what others have. In talking about these scenarios often basic principles are overlooked. Most importantly that is will be highly unlikely that anything of value will be left at the super-stores. Persons will hide the supplies away. So we must ascertain the locations of these supply caches, but how? We could do house to house searches, exposing ourselves to small arms fire. We could look for camps and appeal to their humanity (it is unlikely that they will have any humanity left at this point). Or, we can approach this situation from a guerilla warfare mindset, and take the information that we need. In order to know where the goods are you will either have to go find it yourself, or ask someone who knows, enter interrogation.  

Enemy soldiers are a goldmine of information. You can learn more information in a five minute interrogation than in a week of scouting. For the purposes of this article I will speak on interrogation as related to a scenario where we are searching for supplies. But there are many other scenarios in which the need would be pressing and undeniable. One of your party’s members has been taken hostage to an unknown location, you capture an enemy scout; will you be able to educe the location of their camp from him? And in doing so save your family/friend? Your group has fallen into conflict with another group, you decide to go on the offensive, you capture one of the enemy scavengers and want to find out all the tactical details of their camp, will he break? You are alone and on the move and become engaged with small arms fire by a small group. Your superior marksmanship and cool head win the day, you kill two and wound one but are injured yourself and it looks bad, you need medical attention. The injured enemy is bleeding out and you don’t have a lot of time, you don’t know the area and need to find medical supplies, can you get him to break before he dies? The applications and need for a thorough understanding of interrogation is obvious. But the area of interrogation as a teachable science is still in its developmental stages by the US Military and Intelligence community. The average American citizen known very little about interrogation methods and most all of what he knows is learned from Hollywood or media reports; not the most reliable sources. I am in the military and have deployment experience in HUMINT operations; I am also a student of Intelligence (About to graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Intelligence Operations) and have studied every reliable source I can find. I want to be clear when I say that I am not an experienced interrogator, but rather someone who has conducted a thorough study of materials produced by experienced interrogators and am presenting my findings to yo.  I will not present you with a roadmap to a successful interrogation. I won’t even concentrate on methods; you can read every book on the subject and still be less effective than someone who has conducted only one interrogation. I will simply dispel myths, and provide several proven guidelines to interrogation so that if the Schumer ever hits the fan, you will be able to develop your skills quicker.  Interrogation is something that you can only learn by doing, so read this and know that while you will still be a novice, at least you will be an informed one.

The myths surrounding intelligence are so numerous that it is almost comical. Hollywood depicts interrogations that last a grand total of thirty seconds with the result of a highly indoctrinated terrorist in the corner crying while the hero is shaking hands with impressed onlookers. The media is so busy telling us that torture doesn’t work that they have managed to ignore all other methods used in interrogation. And here is food for thought, if torture doesn’t work, then why has it endured millenniums of use. You’d think if it had such a high failure rate someone would have noticed. You must approach interrogation with an open mind. Here are the best and most easily abbreviated principles. For a more thorough study, see the “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual”. [JWR Adds: "KUBARK" is an obsolete a CIA cryptonym for the agency's own name, used in internally-published documents for purposes of deniability for interagency training, or in the event of unintended release.)

  • Just ask first, you never know how unhappy he is in his current organization, you may be the answer to his prayers.
  • A successful interrogation is a process, not a series of events. You can’t torture a subject then five minutes later attempt to talk him into giving up what he knows.
  • You must tailor your methods to the subject, everything matters. Age, sex, ethnicity, all of these have influences that if not respected and worked around can hinder and even kill an interrogation.
  • No matter who you talk to, anyone who has experience with interrogation will tell you that rapport building is the most reliable way to go. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to convince the subject that you are his best friend. But you must get him firmly rooted in a relationship of your choosing, even if he sees you as his enemy, if you can get him to respect you as an enemy then you are well on your way. The roles you can take are limited only by your imagination. But he must perceive you as being in control.
  • Torture is interrogation for the unskilled. Better to break his spirit than his body. But if you must torture, don’t try to be fancy. Waterboarding and car batteries are a lot of work and you run the risk of killing him. Pliers and heated blades are classics but you have to be careful of shock and passing out. Fists are a viable option but make sure you don’t break your wrist hitting him, which would make you look ridiculous and seriously hinder your interrogation.
  • He will be silent, then he will attempt to deceive, he will keep deceiving until you catch him in a lie. Then he will tell the truth.
  • If he fears that you will kill him after you are done, then you may be forced to resort to physical torture. Try not to let him think about that.
  • Never ever lie. He must believe that you will do the things that you threaten to do. Whether you are threatening him or promising reward.
  • Fear is a product of imagination. His imagination will instill in him more fear than anything you can do. Feed that, build on it. Don’t tell him what comes next, let him fear the worst.

Keeping these tenants in mind I hope alongside you that none of us will ever be forced to resort to them. Remember that these are not rules but merely guidelines. And that nothing can take the place of experience. You may have noticed that I spend much of this article justifying the reasoning and morality of interrogation; it is because to me the biggest hurdle of interrogation wouldn’t be the interrogation itself, but convincing my group to allow it. Many people would be willing to kill but for some reason torture is completely unacceptable to them. Keep this in mind, don’t become the evil that you have set out to destroy. At all costs avoid hurting the innocent. But recognize that someday you may be forced to choose between your morals and your life, or the life of a loved one. Only you can make that decision. If you are really interested I suggest that you download a copy of the KUBARK manual, which is an interrogation manual written by an accomplished CIA interrogator in the early 1960s, before such actions were put under government oversight. The science of interrogation is still in its developmental stages, and the current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan have provided a unique opportunity for experimentation and innovation. Expect some great products and manuals to be produced in a few years. And remember, the best skills that you can use in an interrogation are those that you use every day, the ability to read faces and emotions, the ability to relate and emphasize. Trust yourself and be willing to adapt. And good luck.

The Central Intelligence Agency and Dantalion Jones. The CIA Document of Human Manipulation: Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual. Central Intelligence Agency, Langley VA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2008.

Christopher E. Kelly: “A Taxonomy of Interrogation Methods.” dissertation., University at Albany, State University of New York, 2013

Lawrence E. Hinkle and Harold G. Wolff: The Methods of Interrogation and Indoctrination Used by the Communist State Police

National Defense Intelligence: Educing Information Interrogation: Science and Art

JWR Adds: I recommend that anyone who anticipates a societal collapse or a foreign invasion and a subsequent war of resistance should study both counterintelligence (CI) and human intelligence (HUMINT.) Though the terms are often mistakenly used almost interchangeably, CI and HUMNIT are distinct spheres. In the context of the DIA and its subordinate agencies the rule is that HUMINTers cannot do investigations and that the CI guys ("Special Agents") cannot do interrogations. (However, CI Agents do some strategic level debriefings.) When deployed overseas, CI operations are conducted "inside the wire" while HUMINT is collected "outside of the wire." (But raw HUMINT is then analyzed and fused behind the wire.)

Coincidentally, the protagonist in my fifth novel ("Liberators", scheduled for released in October of 2014) is a DIA contract CI agent.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dear JWR,
I was just surfing the Internet and found a site selling a lot of fake goods, called DHGate.com.

How about a supposed Cold Steel Trail Master for under $20? Seeing these fakes makes me glad that I got all that I'll need years ago--long before the risk of buying fakes. I think that there should be a loud warning put out about this.

Here is a link to their fake Cold Steel knives.
They also have fake Trijicon scopes for sale.
Beware! - Simon M.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hello Mr. Rawles,
I am a great fan of your work and I eagerly anticipate the release of your new novel.   I live in rural Northeastern Colorado, where both sides of my family settled in the 1870s.  The mid-sized ranch, 1,900 acres, that I live on has been owned by my family for 104 years.  I raise cattle, goats, horses and hay along with my dad, my wife and kids.  I also have a “government job” in local emergency services to help make ends meet. 
I read the recent article by Denise Chow of Live Science, titled Water Woes: Vast US Aquifer Is Being Tapped Out about the Ogallala Aquifer and thought you might be interested in it.  I can vouch that the water table is indeed dropping, from personal experience.  We are on the edge of the Ogallala Aquifer and we have always had an ample supply of water until about five years ago when the wells in our area started going dry.  We have a stock well with a windmill on our place, that was originally hand dug by my great-grandfather in the early 1890s, which went dry two years ago.  I believe that this problem will help contribute to and be a factor in the coming collapse.  There are some center pivot irrigation wells in our area that are no longer being used because they either went dry, or were told to shut down by the state to conserve water.  This has reduced the amount of high yield crops being raised because they now have to be dry land farmed and produce lower yields.
Keep up the good work and God Bless, - Michael M.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

(Continued from Part 1)

Level I Scenario

In these paragraphs, we will look at the areas of primary and secondary importance as they can be managed in a Level I scenario.


A person needs around two gallons per day for cooking and rudimentary cleaning.  For short term emergencies it may be possible to store up two weeks or more water, that much should be stored up anyway.  When you store water, treat it with iodine or Clorox or boil (iodine is better, boiling is best) and rotate water stores every six months, see level II instructions for disinfecting ratios.  Water can be recovered in the house from plumbing pipes, the back tank of the toilets, the hot water heater, and can be stored in water beds if the conditioner has never been used (treat and rotate).  Reserve the water bed, toilet tank and tub water for non-potable uses or distill before use.  Milk jugs don't make good long term storage devices, 2 liter coke bottles do.  Also, if you expect water shortages, clean the tubs thoroughly and fill them up.  Water has also been used from swimming pools.  If the water is shut off temporarily, you can flush the toilet by pouring a bucket of water directly into the bowl, use creek water or bath tub water.  Conserve water at every opportunity.


Keep two months worth of canned goods in your pantry.  Canned goods will last for at least a year, longer if you turn them over every couple months.  Rotate them on a last in, first out basis to keep the stash current.  Beware of canned goods that are bulging, smell bad or make a whooshing noise when you open them, if there is any doubt, feed them to the cat.  Just kidding, cat lovers  (the cat may be needed for extra protein)  Don't forget the can opener (non-electric, of course)  Have some way to cook: an outdoor grill with plenty of fuel, Sterno cans, fireplace, camp stoves with plenty of fuel; all the above; an outdoor campfire might work. 


A disaster may hit in the winter so have some way to heat your house if the power goes out for a while.  A fireplace, although grossly inefficient, will help, a kerosene heater costs about 150 dollars, or less, wood stoves are a good bet.  Never burn a charcoal fire inside.  Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning, use adequate ventilation, and don't catch the house on fire.  Make sure you have a couple of fire extinguishers rated for ABC type fires, keep the matches away from the kids.  Block off only the room you are trying to heat with blankets over openings not already covered with a door.   If you are depending on firewood, or whatever source of fuel, stock up well before the winter; firewood takes several months to dry out.  Have plenty of blankets or sleeping bags handy.  It would be advisable to install battery powered Carbon-monoxide monitors and extra smoke detectors, if you are heating or cooking indoors with open flame.

Physical Protection

Keep the doors secured at night; don't leave tools and firewood lying about in the open.  Avoid the cities if there is unrest; heighten driving awareness, lock the car doors and drive around crowds of people.

Spiritual Needs

Never miss an opportunity to get closer to God.  Pray for guidance before making decisions.  Try not to worry;  Matthew 6:34 

"...do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Also, 1 Peter 5:9 

            "Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

Medical/Dental Needs

Keep current on medical issues.  Stock up on any medications you may require in case of any spot shortages in that area.  Build up a first aid kit, there is a fairly extensive one listed in Appendix A, of course speaking of appendix, with the kit listed below you could probably take one out.  Modify the kit downwards if you like to fit a Scenario I environment.  Don't forget a spare pair of glasses if you need them.  Wash your hands frequently to avoid sickness, purify your water religiously.

Financial/Legal Concerns

Make copies of all bank statements, insurance policies, retirement policies, IRAs, 401(k)s, anyplace you have money in an electronic format.  Keep a copy of your estimated Social Security benefits; this shows the amount of retirement benefits you are entitled to when you retire.  Talk to a financial advisor.  The stock market may take a dive but will probably recover.  It might be a wise move to have 3 or 4 weeks’ worth of cash at home, don't advertise, keep it in a well concealed fire-safe. 


Power, lighting, water, gas, and sewage.  In a Scenario I environment there might be random power outages lasting for a relatively short time, maybe a day or two, think of a good ice storm or tornado.  A generator might be in order, make sure you connect it to the system safely and isolate your house from the outside system to avoid cooking utility repairmen.  Talk to an electrician; there are several options on how to hook up a generator to your house, there's the correct way and there's the way everybody does it.  Store enough fuel for the noisy, hungry beast and use only those appliances that are necessary.  An alternative to electric lights are Kerosene lamps, use #1 or #2 Kerosene, three lamps burning 5 hours a night will go through about  2 -1/2 gallons of Kerosene in a month.  Calculate your fuel requirements accordingly.
Have some trash bags on hand in case there are temporary interruptions in trash pickup.  Water and sewage disposal were covered in the water section above.


It is nice to keep informed, as a bare minimum have an AM/FM radio with plenty of batteries.


Keep the gas tanks on your vehicles above half full at all times, (you and everybody will be lining up at the pumps so don't do it on the way to a party you’re already late for).

Level II Scenario

At this level, serious self-sufficiency plans have to be implemented.  The normal level of division of labor breaks down and purchasing everything you need at Kroger's, Home Depot and Wal-Mart might not be an option; therefore, you have to have supplies stockpiled ahead of time or have the ability to generate them yourself through home production or barter.  Nobody knows how bad it can get or how long such a situation could drag on, but it might be wise to plan for a slightly worst-case scenario and act accordingly.  A level II plan would preclude burning all your bridges, but would require some outlay of thought, money and time to prepare.  An extensive list of tools and supplies are laid out in Appendix A, more of a dream list than what one will be able to acquire, sort of like going through the Sears catalog saying "I want that... I want that..." , but it might give you some ideas.


Water is critical, of course.  Level I instructions apply in this scenario.  You can purify water by boiling it for one minute.  Also, by treating it with pure Clorox at the ratio of 8 drops per gallon if the water is clear or 16 drops per gallon if the water is cloudy, shake it up and let it sit for 30 minutes to allow time for the Clorox to kill all the microorganisms.  A 55 gallon drum would require about 1/5 cup of Clorox to purify for 6 months.  You can also purify water with 2% tincture of iodine in liquid form; add 20 drops per gallon of clear water, 40 drops per gallon for cloudy water, shake it up and let it sit for 30 minutes.  Don't accidentally drink any of the iodine straight, for example from the lip of the container, as it is a deadly poison; also, the iodine is suspended in alcohol, so if the alcohol evaporates, adjust the number of drops accordingly.  Don't use Betadine solution to purify water.  Probably the best way to purify water is to distill it using manufactured heat or solar power.  One easy way to construct a solar still is to build a 3' x 3' x (12" on one end, 18" on the other) waterproof box, paint the inside black with a non-toxic waterproof paint, or line with black plastic, and construct a roof of clear Plexiglas sloping to a trough or even a multi-faceted cover sloping to one point.  The box should be totally enclosed with no ventilation.  Pour dirty water into the box and let the sun work, collect the distilled water as it evaporates and runs down the Plexiglas cover; this method will yield about one quart per day so build accordingly.  Clean the box out occasionally.  Filters are an option, they are expensive and require filter element changes.  Filters might be manufactured from earth and/or sand products. 

Rainwater catchment systems seem promising.  The rain from the roof is diverted into a cistern or barrels.  The literature I've seen says metal or plastic roofs are OK for potable water systems, but not roofs with asphalt shingles; however, if the water is just used for flushing toilets or watering cats, go with the asphalt shingles.  If you do need to build a potable catchment system under an asphalt roof, it might be ok if you use a filter made out of sand to filter out trash, I believe the problem is in tar products from the shingles and possibly fiberglass.  You can cheaply construct a washer system by letting the raw water from the roof run into a five-gallon bucket with a large overflow outlet near the top of the bucket and a smaller (1/4") outlet at the bottom of the bucket.  When it rains, the water rushing off the roof fills the bucket before overflowing into the cistern thereby washing the roof of pollution and dirt before going into the cistern; the smaller tube at the bottom allows the water to drain out of the bucket before the next rain.  All in all, quite an elegant low-tech solution.  The system might be as simple as cutting off a gutter downspout and directing it into a 55-gallon drum.  A cistern can be built out of chicken wire wrapped around circle of re-bar stakes, then plastered over with a 3:1 sand: Portland cement mixture.  There's a little more than that to it but you can research it if you’re interested in that technology (i.e. I'm not sure what all is involved, I've just seen them in use in South America).

A well would be a nice thing to have, they are somewhat expensive and most pumps require electricity to operate, plan accordingly.  Solar powered, wind powered or hand powered pumps are a viable option.  Water conservation would be necessary.  Save water used for cleaning to strain and re-use.   Water used to cook vegetables or meat can be added to soups for extra nutrition and liquids.


Picture a grocery store when the weatherman gets done talking about an ice storm...now picture the same store where not only the bread, milk and eggs are gone, but everything is stripped down to include even the canned artichokes and Brussels sprouts; well maybe the Brussels sprouts will still be there.  The average grocery store only holds enough food supplies for three days; they depend on a steady stream of trucks re-stocking the shelves on a regular basis.  In addition to the two months supply of canned goods stored for a level I situation and the food in your 72 hour kit, store whole grains, pasta, rice (white not brown), beans, powdered milk, oil, spices, salt, and other items you may care for.  There is a more extensive list in Appendix A.  Whole grains store infinitely better than flour and preserve their nutrients much longer, the problem with grains is that they have to be converted to flour to make bread, this means a grinder; a good grinder can be purchased for around $250, or possibly they can be found at flea markets for $30 -$60, look for a grist mill.  The larger the grinding wheel, the faster they work, the smaller ones with a 1 1/2" wheel take a long time to make flour.  You can grind flour between two rocks or pound them with a heavy iron bar in a sturdy metal can if you have to.  Grains can also be soaked and boiled, roasted, sprouted or just gnawed on for as long as your teeth last.  The optimum lo-tech way to cook is with an old-fashioned wood fired cook stove, not really an economically viable option for most of us, so figure out what is needed to cook over a fireplace, build a wood fired grill/oven out of rocks and mud, and learn to cook over a campfire.  A Dutch oven is a great way to bake bread if it is the type that has a raised lip around the lid to hold coals on top and provide an oven like area inside the pot.  It probably wouldn't be a good idea to set up your outside kitchen out front by the street unless you have plenty to share. 

Foraging for wild game and plants might be an option, but it is better not to depend on it for your main source of food for several reasons: 1.) everybody will be doing it.  2.) When you are hunting, nobody is looking after the farm  3.) Game will become scarce(r).  4.) if you kill something, you have to get it back to the house carrying the unfortunate deceased critter with one hand whilst fending off poachers with the other.  5.) Wild game does not have enough fat on it to make a straight deer/rabbit diet feasible.  On the other hand, if a deer wanders across your yard early one morning and you are ready for it...venison for supper.  Also, you can have a box trap, or two, working for you all night while you are sleeping and have roast Raccoon for lunch the next day.  Leg holds, snares and Connibears also work.  Pay attention to wild plants for food also, get a field guide.  A pellet gun can harvest rabbits and squirrels around the house and is quiet and cheap to shoot, as well as being good practice.

Canning supplies will be a good thing to have in a survival environment, jars, lots-o-lids, pots big enough to sterilize jars in.  Food can be dehydrated, pickled in salt, or smoked in a homemade smokehouse.  The enemies of stored food are heat, oxygen and bugs.  To store grains and beans, get five gallon plastic buckets with new lids, put 1-2 inches of grain in the bottom of the bucket, put in a chunk of dry ice as big as your (4-6 oz.) hand then fill the rest of the way to the top of the bucket.  Set the lid on loosely and wait for 4-5 hours until the lid stops 'burping'.  As the dry ice evaporates, it displaces the oxygen, which cause food oxidation, and also kills the bug’s larvae by starving them of their oxygen.  The CO2 is heavier than the O2 and stays in the bucket.  Next seal the lid and store in a cool place, don't put it in an attic or hot garage, this will shorten the storage life.  Grains will store for 20+ years, beans for 8+ years, dried food for 6 months, solid Crisco stores longer than liquid oils (about 6 months for the liquid), Brown rice 6 months, flour for 6 months, pasta 2 years and powdered milk 18 months.

Just about any food storage plan is a temporary stop gap measure until food production can resume, this means seeds, non-hybrid so that the seeds can be used from year to year (if it goes on that long).   Garden tools will be required.  If livestock farming is envisioned, envision a fox in your chicken house if you don't have some chicken wire stashed back.  Fencing can keep a deer out of your garden if it is about 10 feet tall (maybe higher if the deer is a good jumper).  Seeds can be picked up cheaply after the end of the summer and would also make an excellent barter item.


More of the same as level I, Have a way to heat it.  If you envision a more serious situation, such as a level II disaster, plan on having a wood fired heater, even a homemade one fabricated from a 55-gallon drum.  Have a way to cut firewood; the best option is a chainsaw, with a spare or at least a bucksaw as a backup.  Keep an extra bar, 2 chains, spark plugs, points, file, plenty of gas and bar oil.  If you don't have oil to mix with the gas for a 2-cycle engine, 30-weight non-detergent oil can be substituted.  Also, 90-wt gear oil can be used as a bar oil; bar oil will be used just about as fast as the gasoline mixture, so get plenty.  Eye and ear protection is also a good thing to have.  Don't forget the splitting wedge.  Plastic sheeting will be handy to further insulate windows, stop leaks or build a small greenhouse. 

Most likely your shelter will be your present home, so figure on what you could do that would make it habitable without any outside utilities coming in.  Don't put all your eggs in one basket; bury (cache) a large portion of your supplies underground to avoid a massive loss due to fire or other calamity.  Research ways to protect goods buried underground with regards to waterproofing, location, security and availability. 

Physical Protection

Here's where it starts to get somewhat confusing.  As a Christian, I have rules to follow that are not of this world; but I have a family to protect also.  I don't believe that God would have me not protect them with every tool possible.  I can only pray for guidance on this issue and hope I do the right thing as God would will it.  A gun is a tool that can be used for good or evil.  Wars have been fought with weapons that resulted in ultimate good; WWII is the most striking example.  If Hitler had not been stopped, by American's carrying guns, he would have done much more damage than he did.  On the other hand, firearms in the hands of criminals have taken untold numbers of innocent lives.  Another analogy might be that Solomon was able to build the Temple in Jerusalem because his father, David, had secured peace in the Middle East through the might of his armies.  Yet, David had wanted to build the Temple himself but was stopped by God because his hands had been bloodied in war.  Most perplexing.

If you do decide to get a gun or guns, start with a pump shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge, a .22 rifle, a center-fire bolt action scoped rifle and maybe a center-fire pistol, in that order.  Get plenty of ammunition, especially .22 ammo, it's cheap.  With the grace of God, you'll only have to use them to harvest wild game.

A dog is an effective early warning system (cats are worthless).  Also, tin cans filled with pebbles strung up on wire.  If there is civil unrest in the area, get together with several families in order to provide for mutual protection, watches, garden help and spiritual support.  Pay attention to the area and the people moving through; try to establish a buffer zone around your house, like a fence.  Don't tell people what is your exact situation.  Don't appear obviously better fed or provisioned than the people around you.  In spite of all this direness, help people to the best of your ability, without compromising the safety of your family.

Spiritual Needs

Hold regular church services, "pray without ceasing" as the Apostle Paul would say, set up Bible study classes, organize Christian counseling in stress relief areas, set up a food bank and widows and orphans ministry.  James 1:27

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress..."

Observe the Sacraments.  The Methodist church observes three sacraments, the Communion, Baptism and the covered dish supper.  :-)

God's will is for you to help your neighbor.  When Jesus comes back, Matthew 25:37-40 says:

"Then the righteous will answer Him "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"  The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.""

Jesus is coming back someday, or we will go to Him, and we will then have to give an account of our actions on earth.  We are not saved by good works, but do have to account for our works, good and bad.

God loves you and wants only what is best for you, as it says in the book of Romans (8:28):

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him."

If a collapse goes down this heavy, it will be somewhat scary, way out of our normal comfort zones, but if we put our hope in the Lord, we will never be disappointed.  He will take care of us to the ends of time.  Look at Psalms 118:5-6:

"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.  The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid."

At some point when you trust in the Lord for your well-being, you cease to be afraid because you know that no matter what happens, He will be with you to comfort and protect you.  Therefore, why be fearful.  I think it is OK to prepare for things such as famine, Joseph did, but don't put your faith in your own human preparations.  Look at Matthew 6:19-21:
            "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also."

Maybe you think you don't need the Lord or He couldn't love somebody like you, well, you're wrong.  You do and He can.  Trust Him.  Listen to this, think about what it means to you.  Matthew 7:24-26:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

Build on the rock, not on the sand.  Jesus Christ is the rock; the things of the world are the sand.  Nobody is perfect; everybody has a past where he or she didn't live according to God's laws.  When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you may still be accountable to the world but as far as God is concerned, the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ covers all your sins and in His eyes you are pure and sinless.   Psalm 103:1-22

"Praise the Lord, O my soul; in all my inmost being, Praise His Holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits.

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases; He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.

He satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's.  The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.             
He has made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with his children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.
The Lord has established His kingdom in heaven and His kingdom rules over all.  Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word.  Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.  Praise the Lord, all His works everywhere in His dominion.             

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

The fear of the Lord is not the terror inspired by a tyrant, but the respect and awe a child holds for a beloved father, a father who has always been there, even when the child strayed and sinned, a father who has always loved the child; a child that will always love the father.

Psalm 91:2
"I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.""

Medical and Dental Concerns

The best thing you can do right now is to get physically fit by exercise and correct eating habits; this is a failing of mine.  Preventative medicine and proper hygiene will be important.  In a sustenance type environment, it is hard to stay clean, especially if water is in short supply.  You must however, purify drinking water and wash your hands to keep from getting sick.  Get two spare sets of glasses, if you need them.  As discussed earlier put together a first aid/medical kit sufficient to handle serious emergencies, 911 might not be working or paramedics might be overloaded.  Learn how to perform rudimentary medicine and gather medical, drug and nursing books now. 

Most drugs are still good after the expiration date (not Tetracycline- toss it when it expires, it cause kidney damage when old; also, aspirin when it smells like ascetic acid (sour, vinegary, smell like blue RTV sealant) is poisonous.  If a drug is far past the expiration date, you might have to up the dosage.  Understand, do not use this information in lieu of a real doctor, I'm not one and I don't play one on TV, this information is for emergency use only with no medical help available, I believe it to be correct.  Stock up on medication in advance, Aspirin, Tylenol, anti-biotic, painkillers (or alcohol), anti-diarrheal, etc etc.  See the list below. 

Financial and Legal Concerns 

Pretty much the same as Scenario I.  Perhaps more cash set aside and maybe some investments in gold and junk silver; junk silver is non-numismatic grade, pre-1964 solid silver coinage, useful for barter.  Junk silver is in small enough denominations to be reasonable when trading and also easily recognizable as what it is, a silver coin.  Keep a real low profile with the exact specifics of your preparations.  It won't be a secret from the criminal elements of our society that people are stockpiling cash and supplies.  There are those that are stockpiling only guns and ammunition.

With regards to barter, some things are easily tradable and typically in short supply during a crisis.  Clean water, coffee, batteries, candles, kerosene and lamps, lighters, candles, toilet paper, soap, stuff like that.  Keep some for trading purposes.   If somebody needs something you have set aside for trading purposes, but does not have anything to trade, give it to them anyway, don’t be a dweeb profiteer.  Don’t use societal collapse as an excuse to get rich; use barter goods to re-supply or obtain items you have not anticipated needing. 

To be continued…

Friday, August 30, 2013

The United States of America is a very resilient country; that is to say, the people of the United States are a very resilient people.  But, stuff happens and our current crop of politicians seems determined to drive us into the ground with their short-sighted and self-serving policies.  The purpose of this paper is to briefly identify some possible trouble spots, and suggest a few remedial type actions to help prepare for any adverse consequences of catastrophic failures induced by pin head politicians.  Most of the current problems we face have their origin firmly rooted in, and are fertilized by, Congressional manure.  Three possible incrementally severe degrees of problems will be postulated, Level I, II and III.  These are only suppositions, not prophesies.  Nobody knows what the future holds, anybody that says they do know, probably has more confidence than competence. 

My personal philosophy has always been to prepare as much as possible without burning any bridges.  If I've got some food put back and the world doesn’t end on schedule, oh well, I still plan on eating.  If there are a couple oil lamps decorating my fireplace mantle, no problem, the next ice storm won't knock me into the dark ages.  My intention is not to scare anyone; the future, while not certain, is not without hope.  However, a certain amount of preparation might be in order.  Feel free to use any or all of this information for your personal use, but make up your own mind about its validity. 

Introduction to the problem

The myriad of ways that the thin veneer of civilization can peel away are legion.  Our system could just grind to a halt under the crushing debt load we incur, or a foreign entity could disrupt our electronic house of silicon/sand suddenly with an EMP burst.  Our government could (further) trash the Constitution and take control of the populace, precipitating an internal civil war.  The food supply is vulnerable to plant diseases.  Our country is dependent upon foreign oil supplies.  The list goes on: fill in your own disaster here; the point being is that civilization is a fragile thing.  Witness the latest hurricanes: Katrina and Sandy, and the way they brought their local civilizations to a grinding halt.  They had the benefit of being so localized that the rest of the nation was able to extricate them from their difficulties.  What if the destruction were more nationwide?  Who would save us?  It will be up to us to save ourselves, and to help as many people as we can without endangering ourselves.  The family unit, and the extended family, will be the new civilization for a time.

Banking is necessary to facilitate the orderly transaction of business.  If the banks go down, businesses cannot purchase goods and services they need to operate, people can't get paid for services rendered, deliveries grind to a halt, people won't be able to deposit or cash checks, make withdrawals or get loans and mortgages.  89% of the money in existence is just digital zeroes and ones being transmitted hither and yon; if the electricity goes away the money goes away. 

Transportation, (planes, trains and trucking) is needed to move food out of production areas, deliver coal to fossil fuel fired electric plants, deliver petroleum products from the oil refineries, deliver raw materials to manufacturers, transport finished goods to the consumer, move people to business meetings, and provide mobility for national defense. 

Telecommunications ties everything together; factories depend on phone lines to transmit data between different aspects of the manufacturing process, banks transmit money transfers over phone lines and troubleshoot remote locations, phones are used to coordinate business operations, place and receive orders, control remote switches used in routing train traffic, transmit data over the internet, and a host over other uses, you get the picture. 

Utilities are completely dependent on electrical power; electricity is critical to doing just about everything in normal life.  Electrical system are tied together in massive regional grids that move power back and forth as needs vary in different parts of the network; while this grid system is cost effective and powerful, it exposes one part of the grid to other parts so that even if one section is functional it may be impacted by failure in another section.  Sewage control is heavily automated and at risk.  Water systems are the same.

International compliance also puts the USA at risk.  Banks routinely transfer money back and forth, the world economy is very much tied together and interdependent, border security will probably be degraded in a crisis of any magnitude.  Also, a USA focused on internal problems might encourage other nations that don't like us to become adventurous.

Potential Scenarios

For the purpose of this paper, let's discuss three potential magnitudes of scenarios that could occur.  Call them level I, level II and level III.  Again, I do not have a mandate from God to disseminate this information, I don't have any idea what the future will hold, so it's just me thinking out loud and you can make up your own mind about what to believe or disbelieve.  Pick your own scenario and plan, accordingly.

Scenario I

The XYZ problem is mostly minor and the whole country muddles along.  The country has a long, slow slide into an economic morass.  There are electrical brown outs in some areas lasting a day or two.  Some rioting in the usual urban areas is quickly quelled by police and National Guard troops.  There are some partial food shortages for a few days.  The stock market takes a dive and the banks have to stock some extra cash to accommodate nervous investors.  All in all, the situation is deadlocked at times, but mostly the economy has a sort of friction or resistance that slows everything down and adds greatly to the inefficiency of the typical bureaucracy.  The government attempts to manhandle the situation, but as usual, they only make the situation worse.  The usual Sheeple bleat on about allowing the government more powers to deal with the ‘emergency’.  Overall, the impact on the general population is pretty minimal, but has the potential to get worse.

Scenario II

The XYZ problem hits hard.  Electricity is out sporadically for weeks at a time.  Water isn't flowing out of the faucets because the pumps are down.  Many people get sick from drinking water that isn't properly disinfected.  The sewage treatment plants shut down and the toilets don't flush.  The cities freak out and it isn't safe to travel through them without a strong police or military presence.   Rioting breaks out over food and many stores are looted and burned until the National Guard is mobilized to restore order and secure safety for crews working round the clock to bring the electric plants back on line.  Curfews are declared in all major cities and suburbs.   Martial law is considered by the government.  The stock market drops to 5000 shares traded before it is closed for an indefinite holiday; banks are limiting transactions to 100 dollars per day; the country is in a major recession.  Trains carrying coal to the electrical plants have to be manually switched and given priority as are trains carrying grain out of the Midwest to distribution centers in the cities.  The outermost suburbs and rural areas are mostly safe except for break-ins and pilfering woodpiles and such crimes.  Food supplies are in somewhat short supply and getting gas, when it is available, meant waiting in long, tense lines.  Telephone service is sporadic.  Agricultural production is severely hampered as farmers struggled with fuel, seed and fertilizer shortages.  Barter is the preferred method of doing business and many companies go under.  The situation gradually gets better over a period of a year or two and, things return to some sense of normalcy.  There are residual losses of freedoms that are difficult to recover.

Scenario III

Picture yourself in the wild, wild west for a long, long time.

Areas to Consider

Some things are critical to have, some things are very important and some things are nice to have.  Of primary importance are water, food, shelter, physical protection and a relationship with God based on the sacrifice of Jesus.  Secondary needs are medical/dental care, financial/legal security, utilities (power, lighting and sanitation), communications, and transportation.  Of tertiary importance are education, recreation, government relations, local area relations, and job security.  Of course if you are sick, medical care can assume a more primary role or if you need to get out of Dodge in a hurry, the need for transportation can be elevated, but these three groupings of five items each will suffice for our discussion. 

Water is vulnerable to infrastructure debilitating problems.  We need water to live; a person can go for only three days without water.  Fortunately, water is fairly easy to procure and sterilize enough to be fit for human consumption.

Food is necessary for long term survival, but a person can live for up to 40 days without it, but not without discomfort.  Food is somewhat harder to find than water and requires usually more extensive preparation to make fit for consumption.  Food is fairly cheap, now, and stores well if certain types are chosen.

Shelter can be paramount, especially in cold or wet environments; hypothermia can kill a person in a matter of hours.  Shelter is easily constructed given a little time and knowledge.  A habitat needs to be dry, warm, and safe.

Physical protection, from animals and human predators, must be considered.  Problems might propitiate societal breakdowns involving the need to act in your own self-defense or in the defense of others.  These issues are somewhat troubling to consider.  Where do you draw the line between acting in defense of your family and in following the Word of God?  Some situations are quite clear cut, some are not.  Pray for guidance.

Spiritual fulfillment is really the most important item of all.  Not fulfillment in the sense of getting something from God, but in the absolute importance of you having a real relationship with the Almighty God through His son, Jesus Christ.  You can store beans, bullets and Band-Aids from now till the cows come home, but if your name is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, so what?  The Bible says in Mark 8:36:
            "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"

A real concern for me regarding societal collapse is that it will focus my mind and energy towards dealing with physical preparations, and away from thinking about God and what He would have me do; I am no longer “praying without ceasing” if I am overly concerned with worldly survival.  God is the focus of our lives; He will protect us and guide us if we ask Him to.

In areas slightly less critical, medical and dental care is also important.  In some cases professional medical care is the only thing that will suffice, in others the body will heal itself, that's the way God designed us.  Rudimentary medical care is easily learned, first aid and such.  Preventative medicine is important, some herbal remedies are historically tried and true; medicines can be stockpiled as well as medical instruments and supplies.

Financial and legal protection should be considered.  Possibly tears in the veneer of society will cause a major recession and cause the stock market to tumble.  Are all your eggs in one basket?  Is your business vulnerable?  Will there be banks runs for cash?  Will cash even suffice, not to mention electronic mediums of “money”?

Utilities are pretty important.  Picture an ice storm that stretches on for months.  You need the ability to light your home, generate heat, and dispose of waste and trash.  Electricity would be nice, even battery powered.

Communications can be important.  It might be helpful to listen to AM/FM broadcasts, short-wave, hams, police and fire scanners, and TV.  All these are readily available, able to be powered by batteries.

Transportation, in the personal sense, just getting around town, can be a good thing.  Cars,
Pick-up trucks, bicycles can be utilized to get mobile. 

On a third order of need might be things such as education.  How can you educate your children in a long drawn out scenario III situation?  Also, if you know how to purify water and your neighbor doesn't, how can you teach him or her?  Education is critical; the more you know how to do; the better off you will be if the system crashes.  Gather reference books on all manners of self-sufficiency subjects; study them and learn from others who already know how to do it.  Cross train yourself in several areas. 
Recreation can be a good thing; if you're driving cross country with 7 kids in a station wagon, a box of crayons and some coloring books might be a lifesaver.  How could we possibly survive without television, I mean, what's the point?   :o)

Government relations could also get important.  Those power grubbing rascals in Washington might use a societal crisis to declare martial law, they have the Executive Orders in place to do it and I certainly wouldn't put it past them to try (all for the good of the people, of course).  On the other hand the government might work to help people in dire straits without exacting their pound of flesh.  We'll see.  I don’t trust them.

Local relations might be the way you relate to your neighbors and community.  Help your neighbors out as much as possible but don't hang a free food sign out on your door unless you can feed a lot of people.  There will be ample opportunities to help, volunteer extra supplies, time and knowledge.  WWJD?

Job security may be an issue.  Consider how dependant is your job on things that might be adversely affected by societal troubles.  It might not be a bad idea to have an alternate method to make money, along with the necessary tools and supplies to work at it, just in case.

Preparations to think about and implement

Some rudimentary level of preparations would be in order even if there were no global collapse looming on the near horizon.  There are any number of events that can interrupt basic services: ice storms, nuclear accidents, tornadoes, hurricanes, chemical spills, terrorist attacks using biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, loss of income, the list goes on and on.  These are good valid reasons to be prepared for a short term emergency; most events like these have a duration of about 72 hours at most of being without relief services from the government, Red Cross or church groups. 

Again the most important thing you can do is to get right with God, trust Him and He will be your rock and your refuge in times of trouble.  Follow the Roman road to salvation:

Romans 3:23-24    "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified fully by His grace through the redemption that comes by Jesus Christ."

Romans 6:23    "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 5:8    "But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 10:9-10,13    "...if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with  your mouth that you are saved, for "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved."

God is in charge; the whole disaster thing might just be His way of getting our attention.  Only He knows what the plan is.  Trust in God; He loves you.

Be aware of your location.  What are the primary and secondary routes in and out of your town?   Would your house be astride a major exodus from the nearest city?  What kind of locks are on your doors?  Security system? Dog? etc etc etc.

Put together a 72 hour kit for each member of your family.  A 72 Hr kit has enough food, water and other essentials to keep a person solvent for about 3 days on the road or sitting in a shelter waiting out a disaster.

Have a fallback plan always, relatives in the country, a vacation home in the mountains, something like that.  Be aware that in times of National crisis, the government will probably move to limit travel and possibly even implement martial law.  If you are going to bug out to somewhere, do it earlier, rather than later.

To be Continued…

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Triple-decker mint brownies are one of my favorite treats.  The base is a thick, chewy brownie.  Next, a layer of green mint filling is spread on the brownie which is then topped off with a thin layer of creamy, chocolate glaze.  When I think of these delicious brownies I think of prepping.  The thick, chewy brownie on the bottom represents the base of my preps.  This is long term, shelf stable food, water, security, sanitation, first aid, communications, and all the other things which are the foundation of being prepared.  This is by far the largest layer.  The mint layer represents bug out bags, bug out vehicles, and mobile preps.  It’s a smaller layer, yet very important to the overall composition of the entire “brownie”.  The thin layer on top is everyday preps or a get home bag.  All three layers work together to create a yummy dessert or a complete preparedness plan that all work together now and will meet the needs of my family down the road.  The brownies wouldn’t be complete without the chocolate glaze on top.  Prepping for everyday (small) emergencies is important and can help me get ready for larger, more complex emergencies.

The foundation preps are a constant work in progress.  I’m regularly thinking about, making lists of, shopping for, and organizing my basic preps. Long term preps are strictly stored and earmarked for family (or group) use only. My bug out bag is packed and ready to go in the closet near the front door. Bug out bags are for the family, but may also be shared with others, if the situation calls for it.  I can’t store my bug out bag in the car because of the heat.  Many items would be ruined in a very short time.  This leaves me without anything to grab and go with at work.  I primarily work at a school, which doesn’t have an appropriate place to store a bug out bag.  Another layer of preparedness is necessary to complete my overall plan. My solution is a small get home bag located inside my purse.  A get home bag is, of course, for my use, but seems to be more about assisting people whenever I can.  Looking for opportunities to help others daily, and having the supplies to do so, helps me prepare mentally for all sorts of more intense challenges that may come my way.
 My large, oversized purse (can also be a messenger bag, small backpack, or a computer bag for guys) holds numerous supplies and is with me all the time.  The bag has a long shoulder strap which can be worn across the body and the bag carried in front or back.  There are pockets on the outside to hold my phone, my keys (three different sets), and pens.  It’s hard to find these items in the bottom of the bag because my purse is so large and so full.  I may need to get to these items quickly.  I always shop carefully to find the right purse.  I also carry a book bag filled with classroom supplies, so I get plenty of exercise lifting all my gear.  Here are some of the important items that are with me all the time:

*Water bottle filled with water - In a hot climate it can burn your mouth if left outside for too long, so be careful!  In Arizona water is always your first priority, no matter where you’re going.
* Cell phone – for obvious reasons.
* Keys – can be laced between the fingers and used to strike an assailant, if necessary.  It’s good to carry keys this way, especially if walking at night.
* Camera – if you have a good one on your cell phone, then you don’t really need a separate camera, but I like mine – it’s small – and I have photos of family members on it in case I need them for identification purposes.  This is good to have in case of an accident – take photos to help remember details.
* Money – “In an emergency, cash is king.”  Sometimes students need lunch money – not necessarily an emergency.
* Snacks – no melty stuff - just *nuts, granola bars, crackers, fruit snacks, jerky, gum, mints, etc. 
*Nuts can be tricky – some classrooms have posted nut-free zone signs for students with allergies (most of these students carry Epi-pens with them).  I go easy on nuts during school.
* Scissors – I use scissors every day – in my kitchen, in the garden, at school and for sewing - to name just a few.  They are one of the best inventions ever made!  Students ask to borrow my scissors all the time because they know I always have a pair.  This small (3” blade), but sharp pair, is the closest thing to a weapon that I can carry at school, since it’s a weapon-free zone.  (My bug out bag contains a Swiss army knife and a Leatherman tool which I could quickly retrieve and put in my purse on the way out the door, if conditions require it.)
* Small pliers – another great tool.  I’ve rescued kids who were trapped inside jackets with broken zippers with these babies!
* Small sewing kit – made from an Altoids box with at least two needles threaded – one black and one white for quick fixes.  I also like Hi-Mark thread and dental floss for heavy duty repairs.  Include lots of safety pins.
* Small screwdriver – Try to find one small enough to fit in the sewing kit (mine is from an old sewing machine).  These are great for fixing broken desk legs, computer carts, hinges, etc.  It beats calling the maintenance man and waiting.  If the screwdriver is small enough, it can be used on tiny eyeglass screws.
* Small first aid kit – this needs to be larger than an Altoids tin so it can hold large Band-Aids, dressings, antiseptic, gloves, and tape.  I have an even larger first aid kit that I keep in the school supply cupboard (inside a lunch box), which I can grab on my way out the door.  You can never have too many first aid supplies!
* Hat with a brim in front to keep the sun off of my face (a folded baseball cap works well).  In the winter I replace the hat with my “driving gloves”.  Warm hands and feet are a must when walking.
* Small case that contains sun block, Chap Stick (SPF 30 or higher or the medicated kind for burned lips), toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss (great for sewing up ripped backpacks), mirror (for signaling or starting a fire), nail clippers, Motrin, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, cough drops, etc.
* Kleenex – T.P. substitute/Hand sanitizer
* Small flashlights - several types, including bite lights (hands-free, small lights that are held in the mouth and the light follows wherever you look.  These are great for a small area, when you don’t want a bright light to call attention to where you are).  I also carry a small LED flashlight which will let everyone and their neighbors know where you are!
* Bandana – If someone is hurt, a bandana can be placed on the ground to prevent burning while the person is lying down (hopefully in the shade).  Also used for applying pressure to heavily bleeding lacerations or used as a wash rag.  Our family has color coded bandanas, which could be tied to a street sign to signal that a message has been left.  (See Post-its)
* Book or Kindle – books can be burned, but only for survival purposes (I would rather read them than burn them).
* Large Super Sticky Post-its – if I need to write a message, I can stick it on a smooth surface and hopefully it won’t blow away.  I also carry a large assortment of writing instruments.
* Map – a laminated, blown up map of the neighborhood with various routes home highlighted.  This is a half sheet of card stock, so it’s not too large.  More complete maps live in my BOB, again, this is just to get me home.
* Spare eyeglasses – when I get new glasses, the old ones get spread around to my purse, my BOB, a box of spare glasses on the emergency shelf, and so on. (Theodore Roosevelt packed 12 pair of glasses when traveling to Panama while the canal was being built.  He was prepared!)
* Large Ziploc bags – at least gallon size.  Can be used for wet or throw-up items.  At school, you always need to be prepared for throw-up!
* Paper clips – can be used to pick locks, fish things out of small spaces, and fix cars!  One day my car wouldn’t start and I used a paper clip (and my screwdriver) to tighten the clip around the solenoid of the battery.  It worked perfectly!
* Sweater or jacket – I usually have one with me or leave one at school, especially during the hot weather because the AC gets too cold in some rooms where I can’t adjust the thermostat.  This can also be used as a ground cover.

This list doesn’t include some personal items, plus I add a few more goodies to my bag when the school year begins.  It’s great to be prepared for everyday emergencies like nose bleeds, cuts, lost pencils, “starving” students, students that throw up, ripped backpacks, ripped clothing, and so on.  I’m often asked to help individuals with problems at school or I’ll take home a project that needs attention.  I try to do one “Good Samaritan” deed each day.  I might stay with a student with an injured leg (after they’ve fallen while running across campus) while another student goes to the office to get the nurse and a wheel chair.  I might walk a crying student to class and offer her/him Kleenex and kind words.  I might clean up after a student has a bloody nose (wearing my gloves) or clean up a throw up mess (yes, I’ve done that too – the student didn’t make it to the trash can or outside – also wearing my gloves). 

I rarely get sick because I do a good job with hand washing/sanitizing while at school.  I don’t get flu shots because I don’t like introducing an illness into my body unnecessarily.  Flu shots are a hit and miss proposition anyway.  Only three or four different types of flu virus are given in the vaccination.  The experts try to pick the ones that will be most common that year, however, if they pick the wrong ones and other strains start spreading, many people will still get sick, even if they’ve had a vaccination.  Some years many students miss up to two weeks of school because of flu.  I’ve never had the flu at school, only colds, even when students all around me are “dropping like flies”.  This may have something to do with working around so many germs all the time – I’ve built up some immunity. I have to stay healthy in order to help others.  This is especially important during emergency situations – take care of your own health first, and then be prepared to help others in any way possible.

My home is about a mile from work, so I frequently get dropped off in the morning and walk home in the afternoon.  It normally takes me 20 minutes to walk home (15 minutes if I pick up my pace, and ten if I run).  This gives me a chance to observe things around the neighborhood and learn all I can about my area. Usually, if someone stops to give me a ride, I say, “No, thank you, I need the exercise,” even on 110 degree days!  When I was a child, we had “Helping Hands” in our neighborhood.  Parents who were home during the day, and were willing to help a child in need, placed a poster (provided by the school so they were all the same and “official”) showing an open hand in the front window of their home.  This let children know they could go to them if they ever needed help.  For children who walked (the majority of the students at my elementary school), this gave them a sense of security.  The children mostly walked in groups anyway, rather than alone, which was a safety measure, as well.  Obviously, this wouldn’t work today because the wrong people would put a hand in the window to lure children to their homes.  As I walk home, since I usually walk alone, (there are also students walking at the same time), I mentally picture “helping hands” in the windows of people I know that would assist me if I was ever in need.  I think about their schedules and who’s home during the day in each house.  This is a small mental preparation that I make as I walk.  I hope my friends and neighbors feel the same way about my home – if something dangerous happened on the street, they could turn to me for assistance/refuge.

As I walk home I also try to notice who drives what car, who’s having work done in their yards, people around the neighborhood, areas that could be used for concealment, and so forth.  The HOA in my community maintains green belts with walking/riding paths and water features.  These green belts are part of several different routes home, including cut offs between houses and behind backyard fences.  The water in the green belt “lakes” is pumped in from the local water treatment plant.  I could filter or boil this effluent water if I ever needed to drink it. (I need to add a small filter and an enamelware cup to my bag for boiling water.)  Knowing where cacti are located is also important.  Pushing someone (who’s an unsuspecting threat) into a cactus is a quick way to cause pain and help them lose their focus.  Then I would run!
You would think that I don’t need much in a get home bag, living so close to work.  If something happened in the neighborhood, however, and I had to take a different route home or got stranded, this would be a great help to me and others.  Even during a fire drill (which we have every month) I take my bag with me.  I just never know when I’m going to need it.  There are many times when having extra “stuff” is a blessing.  Here are a few examples:   

Lockdown drills and actual lockdowns happen every year at school.  This can mean two hours of tense students worrying about something bad coming through the doors.  I tried to stay calm and reassure the students as much as possible and kept trying to call the front office for further instructions.  I also spent those two hours walking back and forth between the two doors thinking about what my response would be to gunmen or other threats.  I hovered around the students, making sure they were doing alright.  I was responsible for those children.   What would I do?  Many scenarios went through my mind.  It was a wake up call!  This was a chance for me to test my mettle.  Was I willing to sacrifice my life for that of a student?  I also wished for more items in my bag to pass out to distract the students (I didn’t carry as much “stuff” back then). (I won’t share the decisions I came to and things I pondered that day, because they are personal and each individual must find their own moral road.)  You can’t positively know how you’ll react in a dangerous situation until you’re actually in it, but thinking through various scenarios can help mental preparation.  The class was never in danger, but we didn’t know it at the time.  Later on, I found out that the SRO (School Resource Officer), wearing his bulletproof vest, fully armed, was on duty in the courtyard, right outside the classroom, the entire time the lockdown was going on, but the office didn’t let us know.  Just a little communication would have saved us a lot of worry and stress.

Contrast that to a more recent lockdown which lasted about 45 minutes near the end of the school day.  Changes have been made to lockdown procedures and supplies since the previously mentioned lockdown. A “Go Bucket” and a case of water bottles are now stored in each classroom (although the water bottles seem to disappear, the “Go Buckets” never do).  The buckets have an inventory list and instructions on the front – to be used only if necessary – and placed outside the classroom door after the lockdown or lockdown drill is completed (call the office, request a new bucket, and they will pick up the used one). On this day the students quietly drew pictures, read, did homework or slept on the floor until the lockdown was over.  After the lockdown was announced, the office communicated with the classroom via e-mail and kept everyone up to speed.  I was more prepped and ready as well, with lots of items in my bag to pass out, if necessary, and a calm attitude about the situation.  Shortly after the lockdown was over, the students were dismissed for the day.
 I had a problem, however, because I was walking and a news helicopter was hovering right over my path home.  A shooting had taken place, but other than that I had no information about the situation.  Was it safe?  I wasn’t sure (although the students were released), so I called for a ride home.  Had I not been able to get a ride, I would have walked right by the crime scene tape and dozens of police officers and news reporters!  I really wouldn’t have done that because I’m a prepper – right – and I would’ve taken one of my alternate routes home, away from the crime scene or stopped by a “helping hand” home of a friend.  The street where the crime took place was taped off for several days.  The situation was a domestic disturbance in which multiple people, including a child, lost their lives.  I thought about the neighbors who lived next door and down the street that couldn’t get back into their homes for at least two days.  I thought about living someplace else when society comes crashing down (I really hope I’m elsewhere by then).  I thought about my bag and not going home for several days.  I would be fine, with the exception of clean clothes and deodorant.  As long as I could touch base with all family members and account for everyone, then I would be okay with temporarily finding another place to stay, even without a BOB.  In addition to the shooting, dangerous chemicals were found stored in the backyard when the house was searched.  Another day of yellow tape was needed while the Hazmat team removed the materials.  The chemicals were stored next to a cinder block wall which was next to the green belt where many people and their pets walk and run (including me).  I had no idea it was so close to a public area.  This lockdown and crisis in a neighborhood adjacent to mine helped me to be more alert, more vigilant as I traveled through my community.  It was another (different kind of) wake up call.

Getting home from my secondary job is more complex.  Its located 25 minutes from my home by car on a college campus.  My first prepping priority is to make sure my car’s in good shape every time I travel to this job – full gas tank, tires fully inflated, oil changed & maintenance up to date, Justin Case (holds jumper cables, air compressor, and other emergency gear) in the trunk, etc.  If I could drive even part way home from this location during an emergency, it would be wonderful.  If I had to walk all the way home, it would take me two days.  I don’t carry a purse to this job because security isn’t great.  I do carry a tote bag with water, snacks, a magazine or sewing project, my pouch with my toothbrush in it, and spare bite lights/flashlights in the bottom.  If this gets stolen it’s not a big deal.  I can buy more water and snacks from the vending machine and I could “borrow” items from the first aid kit on the premises, if needed.  All personal items are carried on me (ID, money, keys, etc.).  I also wear a work apron that contains a sewing kit, Altoids, Chap Stick, phone, camera (sometimes), Kleenex, scissors, pliers, screw driver, Band aids, Sharpie, pen, Post-its, hand sanitizer, and bite lights.  I can’t carry as many preps because of the size of the apron. It’s very full as it is.  Another difficulty is the time.  I usually get finished with work around 10:30 p.m., so if something happened, I may have a hard time contacting people for help – they may be asleep.  I wear all black when I work this job, so I would blend in with my surroundings while walking at night, but there are some unfriendly, unfamiliar neighborhoods adjacent to the university.  I wear good shoes to this job since the cement floors are hard to stand on for long without supportive footwear.  My feet would be protected and I always carry a black hoodie, as well, so I would have another layer of “shelter” (clothing is considered shelter).   I only have one “Helping Hand” location on this long walk home.  I have keys to my sister’s place, which is on one of my possible routes home.  Other than that, this could be a long two days of travel and danger.   I only work this job ten to 15 weeks per year.  This (thankfully) limits my time in this location.  The extra money is nice, however, it lets me get items on my prepping list, pay outstanding debts, and invest in silver.  At this point, I’m not inclined to give up this job, but I need to work on some additional strategies for being safe in an emergency situation while I’m there.  Even if my car was inoperable, if I put some extra supplies in my trunk (just for a week at a time, so they wouldn’t be ruined), I could possibly get to them to help me get home.  I don’t think being on a college campus during an upheaval is a great idea.  I would try to leave as soon as possible, or at a minimum, walk to the police station (on campus) down the street.  Even during normal activities, like football games or graduation, there are so many people in one small area that chances of something happening are high.

Preparedness really is a layered process, just like great brownies.  Adding something to one of the prepping layers (long term/bug out/daily) makes a difference.  Sometimes, I get bogged down thinking I’ve done too little or I’m not prepared enough.  I stop myself from thinking this way by doing at least one preparedness task each day.  It could be as simple as thinking about prepping or adding an item to one of my lists (ear plugs were added recently) or looking through my preparedness binder for ideas or cleaning out a soda bottle and filling it with water or exercising (running) or practicing building a fire with one of the 17 different methods on my fire list.  (A recent favorite is a soda can with melted chocolate spread around the bottom edge and angled an inch from the kindling to start a blaze.  What better materials can be used to start a fire in Arizona in the summer than melted chocolate and an old soda can?  I can easily locate these materials.)  Action helps me think clearly and plan my next step.  All the little things I’ve done don’t seem like much, but when put together, they add up.  One of my favorite sayings is, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”  Prepping is absolutely greater than the sum of all the things you put together because you also gain experience and knowledge as you assemble your gear and test it out.
A drop of water doesn’t seem like much, but keep collecting drops and eventually you’ll have a bucket full of water, and that is something!  Every time I prep I’m adding a drop of water to my survival bucket.  Daily preps and get home bags may seem insignificant, but they are really important because they help me practice for what’s coming on a regular basis.  I need this reinforcement – both mentally and physically.  Get home bags are the important first step in a layered prepping strategy, or if I’m thinking of those brownies again, each layer of the brownie treat is okay by itself, but not unforgettable.  After all, would you like to eat a boring brownie or enjoy an outstanding, triple-decker dessert? I want fabulous, outstanding, multi-layered preps, so I’ll keep working on each layer, starting with my purse.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wakeup Call
 It was 2 o’clock in the morning when our two year old toddler woke me with a terrifying scream. She was just across the hallway, but I was disoriented for a moment and couldn’t figure out why I was blind.  As I realized the power was out, I looked for the battery-powered lantern I keep beside the bed only to find it missing.  The three year old had probably been playing with it again.  I felt my way around the house and hoped the lantern would still have power.  It clicked on and what a blessed sight that light was.  After a few minutes of rocking and lullabies, the baby was soundly sleeping, but I was wide awake.  I found the extra flash light and left it turned on in the older children’s room so they wouldn’t be scared if they woke in the pitch-dark.  I went to the deck and saw the entire subdivision blacked-out.  Across the fields and interstate the city was aglow, but our tiny part of the world was eerily quiet.  All the white noise of technology was gone and only the frogs and bugs by the irrigation ditch were chirping away.  I lay awake long into the night, on high alert for the sound of little ones crying, pondering the long list of things I did not have prepared. 

Prior to that night I had 72-hour kits, winter-weather packs for the cars, and some bulk foods on hand for rainy days.  I grew up in the country where we kept a flashlight by the back door to check animals in the middle of the night.  My mother was and still is a wonderful advocate of food storage and small animal self-reliance.  Our family enjoys watching shows like “Doomsday Preppers” and “Mega-Disasters.”   My lack of preparation wasn’t because I hadn’t heard the message, but rather the notion that there would be time later.  My goal in writing this article is to provide an outline for individuals new to the prepping world. The first item of discussion is disasters, but which disaster? The second item is creating the LIST, in other words, what stuff is needed to survive said disaster.  The third portion addresses how to keep it all organized once you start making lists.  And I’ll mention a few tips on organizing for the smallest of disasters, Category I’s or 72 Hour Evacuations. 

Item 1: Disaster, Which Disaster?
Survival and Emergency Preparation information is available in many places and it can take days and weeks to sort through.  Our church hosted an Emergency Preparedness Fair with workshops covering many topics such as Heirloom Seeds, Getting Water without Electricity, 72-Hour Packs, Planning, Canning, and Non-canning food storage.  Each participant received a binder entitled “Provident Living” for organizing information and setting goals for future needs.  I dusted that binder off and began reading with new eyes. 

There are as many disaster scenarios as there are “preppers”, so how the heck do you know what to plan for? (Check out “Different Prepping Approaches” by Marlene M. posted July 20, 2013 in the Survival Mindset Category, SurvivalBlog.com.)  Using one presenter’s advice1 to create lists for different scenarios, I summarized his information on disasters into four categories.  It just made sense to start with disasters of shortest duration and build up to The End of the World as We Know (TEOTWAWKI)-level disaster.

Table 1. What types of Disaster do I Plan for?


Category I

Category II

Category III
Provident Living

Category IV


Natural or Man-made requiring evacuation

Natural or Man-made

Rainy Days & Hard Times

Long-Term Calamity TEOTWAWKI


Forced out of home, no utilities or supplies except what you take with you

In home or have access to it, but there are no utilities

In home with possible utilities, insufficient funds to purchase supplies

May or may not be in your home, nothing available anywhere at any price


72 hours to 2 weeks

Short term- up to 2 months

A few weeks to  a year or more

Long Term- Unknown



  • Natural Disasters
  • Weather related
  • Chemical Spills
  • Wildfires
  • Terrorism

<-    All of these, plus

  • Riots
  • Civil Unrest
  • Disrupted Utilities

Economic Crisis:

  • Unemployment
  • Death
  • Medical Problems
  • Hospital Stay
  • Extended family needs

Widespread Catastrophes:

  • War
  • Drought
  • Devastating Storms
  • Terrorism, etc.

Special Emphasis

All essentials in a portable container
Small, compact, lightweight

Emergency Supplies
Emergency Skills

Pantry Principles: Practical

Long-term storage, self-reliance skills of mending, repairing, providing, bartering, medical care, etc.

Item 2: List, What List?
My vague wish list for long-term storage items was not enough.  I began to sort through what I had and figure out what would be needed for possible disasters.  I needed a master plan to get organized and felt that the Lord would guide me.  A Sunday lesson had taught how the Creation was a pattern for gaining self-reliance.  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). Following this example, I created a plan for my little “Homestead” taking into mind food storage, water, gardening, small livestock, and so on.  I made the following Table and listed some basic supplies for each section to give you an idea. For exhaustive lists search the “List of Lists” on Survivalblog.com. 
Table 2. Creation-Based Planning



Category I

Category II

Category III

Category IV


Time Frame

72 Hour Minimum*

3 Month Supply

1 Year Supply


Genesis 1:3-4

Light & Heat


- Oil/Kerosene
-More Matches
-More Candles

-Wood Stove
-Wood for heat
-Cooking Briquettes
-Propane for BBQ

-Log Splitter
-Rechargeable Batteries

Genesis 1:9-10


-72 hour supply
-Portable jugs

-2 week supply
-Purification method tablets, filters

-Private Well
-Hand Pump for Well
-Large Storage Tanks

-Portable Filter
-Knowledge of local water and geography

Genesis 1:12,29

Plant Based Foods

-fruit leather, raisins
-Fruit cups
-Peanut butter

- Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, fats & oils, nuts, seeds, sugars and peanut butter

-Seasonal Gardening
-Composting, Natural Pest Control
- Canning & dehydrating skills

-Heirloom Seeds & preserving skills
- Farming Tools

Genesis 1:21,25

Animal Based Foods

-Protein shakes
-Powdered Milk

- meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, honey bees (powdered items for back-up)

-Dairy Goat/Cow
- Other livestock
-Hunting Weapons & Ammo

-Fishing supplies
-More Animals
-Gun Smith tools
-More Ammo

Genesis 1:27

Human Necessities &

-Toiletry Kit
-First Aide Items
-Sturdy, warm clothing
-Sanitation Items

-All Toiletry Items
-Socks, Underwear
- Medical Supplies
-Cleaning Supplies

-Sewing Machine
-Extra Shoes/Boots
-More Toiletries

-Outhouse or other Sanitation solution
 -Travel Trailer
-Bartering Goods


Rest from your work and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.  Remember to honor the Sabbath day even in times of hardship.  Those in your company will be in need of Spiritual nourishment as much as physical nourishment.  Ex 31:17 “he rested, and was refreshed.”

Genesis 2:15

Put All into Practice

Set a time every year to rotate items

Store food that your family will eat, and rotate through it

Garden, Raise Livestock, and Live as if your life depended on it NOW

Learn Self-Reliance, Practice It and then spread the word in your community

*72 Hours is the minimum amount of time to plan for.  As recent natural disasters have shown, it may take longer for you to return home and have full use of utilities.

Item 3: How to Organize

So now you have all these areas of your life that need preparation and the list in your head is getting longer by the minute.  Ahhhh! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the details, but don’t stop now!  Take a deep breath and remember that you only have to start with ONE item this week, and next week you can do another, and so on.  Look at different lists until you find a style that resonates.  A simple spreadsheet design on SurvivalBlog.com is titled “List of Lists”.  They offer detailed lists from an expert on every necessary area.   

All you need is a 1 or 2 inch ring diameter binder and some dividers to start.  The binder system allows you to easily add information along the way.  Start with a section entitled Homestead which will include: Communications, Evacuation Plans, and Tools.  Continue to make a section for each set of items from Table 2: Light & Heat, Water, Plant Based Foods, Animal Based Foods, Human Necessities & Comforts, and Spiritual Needs.  Some additional sections may include Financial Preparations, Safety, Security, and Maps.  Again, the work has already been done in “List of Lists” referenced above and they are free to use.  I just put each list under the best-fitting section and make personal modifications as needed.

Item 4: Category I- Short Term Evacuation

So let’s get into the short term evacuation scenario.  You need to leave your home quickly with enough supplies to carry you through … fill in whatever type of disaster you wish. I started organizing for Category I with “72 hour kits”.  Other names for this type of kit are the B.O.B. “Bug-Out-Bag” or the G.O.O.D. “Get Out Of Dodge” bag. You may have seen the term I.N.C.H. bag as in “I’m Never Coming Home.”  As this last name implies, it would be a kit that is kept for Category IV scenarios with more emphasis on rebuilding tools and long-term survival away from home.  Some helpful hints for beginners: designate an area for these items, make water portable, have a backpack for each person, and post a list in a visible spot. 

72 Hour Emergency Station- Create one spot or “station2” where all things needed for the 72 hour level of emergency are kept together. We now have a closet in our laundry room that is designated for that purpose.  This ensures that any person at home could load the evacuation supplies and meet up at a Rally Point with other family members. To help young children prepare, practice drills where each family member is assigned certain items to carry for an evacuation.  Use a stopwatch and make it a game for them. 

- The general rule of emergency preparedness is 1 gallon of water per person or pet per day. There are 5 people in our family x 3 days= 15 gallons.  Because my small children can’t carry the weight of three gallons, I have 2 liters in each pack with the additional water in a combination of 5 gallon jugs and cases of bottled water.  Since this is the bare minimum, it’s also a good idea to have water purification methods in each of the kits. 

- There is one backpack or small rolling suitcase for each person and pet in the home.  These hold everything from important documents in waterproof covers, flashlights, food, clothes, and first aid kits to books and tiny toys for the kids.  This is where list making is needed.  After studying several suggested lists, compile an individualized list based on what type of disasters are common in your region and specific needs of the person such as extra prescription drugs, glasses, or diapers. 

Evacuation List- Make a printed list that hangs in the station listing evacuation items in order of importance.  You decide and make sure everyone else knows that the list is law.  Take time to think it through now so when the SHTF evacuation will go smoothly and safely.  Put the “Extras” at the bottom of the list.

Extras- “Extras” are the items that would be nice to have if there was time and space to take them, but not essential to your survival for three days.  It could be a duffle bag or other portable container.  Mine is a blue Rubbermaid tote that is easy to move, water proof, and doubles as a child’s bath or wash tub.  Inside the tote is an inventory of items so that all family members will quickly know what resources are on hand.  I also added a copy of driving directions and a map of alternate routes to our evacuation spot. 

Item 5: Line Upon Line

Following the example of organizing for Category I, continue to develop your plans for the next category, and then the next, and then the next.  It’s a situation where the principle of “line upon line, precept upon precept3” applies because after you have planned for and acquired supplies for 3 days, 2 weeks will seem do-able.  After you have two weeks’ worth of supplies, three months won’t seem like too big of a burden, and all of a sudden you will have a year’s worth of supplies and be living like a veteran “prepper.” 
The last section titled Put it all into Practice happens when “prepping” becomes a way of life.  “Line upon line” you will gain knowledge of self-reliance, including but not limited to: gathering resources, building a personal library, networking with people, gardening, raising livestock, physical fitness, self-defense, hands-on training, and tools of a trade. 

Gathering Resources-
The internet is a wonderful tool for gathering information on every topic imaginable.  SurvivalBlog.com, Mother Earth News and Honeyvillegrain.com are just a few of the sites I like to search. As I find a specific topic that I want to learn more about I send for free catalogues to look at supplies. My preparedness binder has a growing section of articles I’ve printed from professional and amateur blog sites. 

Personal Library
- When the grid goes down, having a collection of books on a wide range of topics will be invaluable.  I want the peace of mind knowing that I can refer to tried-and-true information in times of need.  Take the time to read reviews on books before purchasing them.  Many times I was saved from buying a book because the other readers pointed out it lacked the critical information I would need for real-life scenarios.  I also subscribe to GRIT that offers information on all kinds of homesteading topics.

Networking with People
- The talents and experience of neighbors, extended family, and community members is a wealth of knowledge that is only useful if we know where to go.  The Preparedness Fair at church gave me insight into the resources of our congregation.  We moved into a new subdivision and as we get to know the neighbors, I’ve found that one is a Jack-of-all trades that can build anything from houses to engines while another on is an avid bow hunter and camper.  Ask these people for advice and help when you come across new and unfamiliar prepping topics.  Being new to this blog, I find it exciting to know there are countless people out there with similar interests and a wealth of knowledge.
If you are a veteran prepper that has been doing this for years and can think of someone you know who hasn’t caught the fire to prep, maybe they don’t know where to start.  Don't give up; continue to be the great examples you are and someday it will reach someone like me.

- Grow what you can, even if it’s a few pots on the patio.  Learn about local soil, how to fertilize, controlling pests and climate restrictions.  Living in a dry area with short growing seasons means that my ability to preserve a large harvest is crucial.  Up here we plant mid-May and harvest by late September, so in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, I would be eating canned or dried produce 9-10 months of the year. 
Look to your local county extension office for help.  Each state has this program under their county government listing. They offer scientific based help for agriculture, livestock pastures, family and consumer sciences (cooking and preserving methods), and horticulture.  One example of courses offered by Yellowstone County helps develop horticulture skills in a Master Gardener Course. 

Raising Livestock
- Start small and build your herds and flocks with the same principle of “line upon line.”  I grew up in the rural 4-H setting, so I dabbled in everything from pigs to dairy goats to horses.  If you have children from ages 6-19, find a local 4-H club to join.  The kids get to enjoy the responsibility of caring for animals and parents have an automatic network of experienced project leaders that volunteer hundreds of hours to the program.  Their programs extend beyond animals to include a wide range of topics with everything from Aerospace and Astronomy to Wind Energy and Woodworking.  Check out page 16 of the Project Material Order Form4 for a full list of the 115 projects available.

Physical Fitness- After reading several articles5 I realized my kids will be depending on me to keep them safe, sheltered, and fed when SHTF.  I’m 35 pounds overweight and I feel stiff and tired many mornings.  That comes after a good eight hours of sleep in a very comfortable bed with plenty to eat and a hot shower each day.  Imagine being on the run, sleeping on the ground with limited calories and an immense load of stress.  This was another important area that I needed to start making changes in now, and not wait. So thanks to a great neighbor, I’ve started cardio and weight lifting, alternating days and resting on Sundays.  When I get tired, I envision having to put up a shelter in subzero temperatures or bug out with all our gear.  That’s what motivates me to push harder.

- I cannot add any personal experience in this area of preparation yet.  If you are like me, unfamiliar and intimidated by handling firearms, the best advice I can offer is to seek out opportunities to learn these skills.  This summer I will be attending a three day camp, just for women, that focuses on outdoor skills.  (An idea is already forming for my next article, Women and Firearms: 101).  This fall I want to take a two-part basic pistol class offered by a local shooting range. My goal is to increase my confidence through these experiences and become knowledgeable enough to purchase my own firearms. 

Hands-on Training
- So how do I become self-reliant?  If I wait to learn by trial-and-error, I may not last the first week or the first growing season.  Start by asking family members to share things they know about.  My father-in-law is a Vietnam Vet and was really helpful when I told him I had started “prepping.”  Search out camps and retreats that offer classes by experts.  I found affordable and local classes put on by the Wildlife, Fish and Parks Department in Montana.  They offer classes on things like packing horses in the mountains, GPS and Compass reading, Rifle, Archery, Outdoor cooking, and Wilderness Survival.  Locally the police department put on a free woman’s self-defense class.  Even if your funds are limited, be resourceful and find ways to learn the skills you want.  Organize classes through local churches or volunteer to be a 4-H project leader.

Tools of the Trade/Craft
- If the grid crashed today and there was no FedEx or Amazon.com would you have the tools and supplies needed to perform or produce something of value?  For example, my extended family raises dairy goats.  Each spring the children choose newborn kids for 4-H project animals and the extra milk is used by our families.  There are many valuable products besides milk such as cheeses, soaps, meats, hides and pack animals.  While these aspects of the goat herd aren’t being utilized right now, having the necessary equipment on hand such as molds, lye, presses, cheese cloth, Rennet tablets, etc. will be crucial for us to have a means of bartering goods and providing basics for survival. 

Just Do It
Just do it!  If you made it this far, I know you have been “awakened”! You are now aware that there are various types of disasters to plan for and that each can have a different list of supplies. Use a system to keep it all organized so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.  Remember to seek the council of the Lord.  Start with the smallest disaster and build steadily toward TEOTWAWKI. Make self-reliance a way of life and may God bless you in all worthy endeavors.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I have some of the larger military surplus ammo cans and would like to build my own Faraday cages to store my spare electronics [to protect them from EMP or a severe solar storm]. Do you have any sources to guide me?

OBTW, I just finished reading your novel "Patriots". That was a great read and I could not put it down. Regards,- J.L. (Former NYPD Officer)

JWR Replies: What you plan to do is is pretty simple, since the can and lid are already great Faraday shields. The only issue is the gap where they join. That joint needs to be conductive, in order to create a fully protective cage. I recommend that you:

1.) Remove the can's rubber gasket. (Save it, in case you decide to restore the can to water-tightness, at a later date.)

2.) Wearing eye protection, use some coarse sandpaper or a rotary wire brush to remove the paint on at least a 3-inch section of both the top lip of the can and underneath the lid where the gasket was attached. This bare metal will provide a good electrical contact between the lid and body of the can.

3.) Replace the gasket with a continuous thick "fuzz" of stainless steel wool that will just barely allow the lid to to be clamped shut. (Selecting the correct thickness to use takes a bit of experimentation.) The steel wool can be glued in place so long as you do not insulate the short section(s) where you sanded off the paint.

Store items inside wrapped in plastic bags or in heavy duty cling wrap, to insulate them from the can. Use additional padding (bubble pack or gray foam) inside if the cans will be transported loaded with fragile gear.

Do not add an external grounding strap.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

[Editor's Introductory Note: I sometimes receive quite lengthy articles that are mix of great practical information and extended political narratives. In such cases I sometimes opt to edit out the particularly ranty sections. Where I have done so, you will see: "[Some deleted, for brevity]". My apologies, but to make an article of this length readable, editorial discretion is a must. Furthermore, I have to recognize that all politics are local. Since SurvivalBlog is a publication with an international readership, I feel obliged to chop out political discourses that would be of little or no interest to my readers in places like England, Germany, or India.]

My family and I have received so much benefit from all of the information from SurvivalBlog as fellow blog readers, that we wanted to give something back.  Hence we decided we would submit this entry into your writing  contest.  Hopefully it will help other readers, who like us, struggle with both, not seeing as clearly as we may think what lies in store for us, nor knowing exactly how to prepare for it when we do see it.  While there is something to be said for lessons learned the hard way, as we all know, there is also never enough time to make all those mistakes again for yourself. So for that reason, as well as all the wasted time & resources we've fumbled our way through, we would like to share with other readers the lessons we've learned, with the hope that they will help someone else streamline their preparations better than we did.  We certainly don't have all the answers, in fact I can't even say for sure that the answers we do have are the right ones for anyone other than us, it's just what we've found, and how we have addressed our various concerns.  I guess here's also where I should say, "your individual mileage may vary." To best convey the lessons we've learned  I would like to do it in three distinct sections. First, how we arrived at where we did, secondly, the information which generally guided our then redirected and more aware thought process, and finally, the actual equipment and decisions that actually got us to where we wanted to be. 

I should start off by saying that we are middle class Americans.  Christian, law abiding, patriotic, and freedom loving of course.  We are not disenfranchised, anarchists, social malcontents, nor psychotic. We are just worried by what we see happening in our country.  I'm a ten year military veteran, former police detective / SWAT officer, and now a licensed in a medical private practice. My wife works as a sales representative. We have three sons who are in their mid to upper teens.  We're just average, everyday people by most standards.

Like most folks, we thought we had been moving along the prepping path fairly smoothly, until recently when my wife and I both began to feel very uncomfortable with what we were seeing regarding how easily our various elected "leaders" were apparently embracing the concept of "political corruption with impunity".  Additionally, we were very concerned not only with how all of us, as citizens were being treated, but the very way in which these same "leaders" seemed to view us at a fundamental level.  They seemed to be barely able to conceal the disdain they have, both for us, as well as the constitutional rights we claim, when we question their actions, and seek their accountability. 

[Some deleted, for brevity]

Our hope and goal of course, is to be able to remain low profile, and stay in the home we are preparing on our northern Idaho ranch.  It is, after all, our primary security and logistical base.  I know many of us realize that at some point we may need to defend our homes, as well as ourselves, be it just as a single family, or in cooperative groups.  Home defense, to whatever degree may be required, I happen to believe, can only be realistically attempted against civilian threats, and even then, only in reasonable numbers.  Certainly not against any, even moderate size, or type of conventional military, or militarized police forces.  Like most in the prepper community, we want to avoid any armed confrontations with anyone, to whatever degree we can.  Our intent has been to do that by being as discreet as possible.  Knowing that will only go so far however, our simultaneous plan has been to make our ranch as inaccessible, and undesirable of a target as possible.  Worth neither the risk, nor the cost, to any potential miscreants. Should the worst come to pass, hopefully, Good Lord willing, there will be an evolution into cooperative communities throughout The Redoubt, be that simply a single street, a whole neighborhood, or entire communities.  An evolution into working together for their mutual security, as well as other common benefits.  The down side to this hope however, is that such cooperation will likely take time before people realize the logic and mutual benefit in doing so, as well as to develop the willingness to trust anyone again.  In view of these things, our mindset had been to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.  All well and good I suppose, until in our scenarios, we started replacing criminals and looters with federal sanctioned enforcement troops, who viewed us as "the threat".  We then started wondering, what happens at that point?  More importantly, what if these same "leaders" who show such disdain for the citizenry and their constitutional rights now, become a bigger component in this forthcoming problem?  What's left then, just to run and hide?  I must admit, we considered that tactic. Just hide, survive, wait for the dust to settle, and then help rebuild. Hard for us to swallow to be sure, but something we had to consider, none the less.  In the end however, we felt that simply leaving our ranch to be plundered, and running away to hide, in what we access would clearly be a hostile environment at that point, with no additional substantial support structure in place to sustain us, just to avoid potential conflict, put us all in an equal, albeit different type, of danger that is every bit as grave.  

[Some deleted, for brevity]

Up to this point, our preparations being geared towards living discretely and then hiding and waiting things out, was not a bad starting framework.  However, given these aforementioned realizations, we have been forced to evolve in our thinking, and therefore make some adjustments to our preparations as well.  Due to the increasing concerns these realizations have have brought to our attention, my wife, now thoroughly stressed out, opted to turn it all over to me (God bless her) to find the solution.  To that end, I began doing research both historically, as well as regarding current military forces, and their use in quelling the civil unrest that's currently going on around the globe.  As a result, I've come to the conclusion that there will very likely be more violence directed at dissenting citizenry than we personally were anticipating. That appears to be the common thread in how these situations unfold. Additionally, as for us, we were probably too open in voicing our opinions about the current state of affairs in our country, letters to newspaper editors, etc.  Thus, I don't think we can effectively "fly under the radar" at this point.  We've already spoken up and drawn all the wrong kinds of attention to ourselves, "making the list", so to speak.  Decision's I'm not sure I would make a second time. They only served to draw negative attention to our position on these social issues, while producing no apparent immediate positive change.  Why send out such an alert, when we are all so closely scrutinized?  Why inadvertently shorten your G.O.O.D. reaction window, and become one of those first houses visited without warning?  Was it worth it or not?  I cannot say. 

[Some deleted, for brevity]

Things in recent world news, as well as events here in the various scandals of our own government,   It scares us to death.  It's as if our elected leadership has been empowered, and turned down the path of trampling any of our rights that are not convenient for them.  Usurping authority, abusing citizens, and not to sound melodramatic, but turning not only ungodly, but just plain evil.   Such demonstrated behavior compels us to believe that without the boundaries of accountability and resistance when needed, their abusiveness will not end, but rather will only expand and grow worse, until it destroys us all.  If that's in fact true, and we see no reason to think otherwise, then the hide and wait scenario has a very limited shelf life after all.   No more "low profile", hide & wait it out.  We're all going to have to stand the line, or live with something much worse than what we're complaining about right now!  While we can't speak for anyone else, we've decided that we're not up for passing that legacy on.  The buck had to stop somewhere, & that's where some new stuff for us had to begin. These realizations have changed both our thinking, and how we prepare, we believe for the better. This section was about realizing the underlying threat.  The next two sections respectively are about better understanding that threat & how to cope with it, and then the item by item list of how we modified our preparations meet this evolving threat. We hope that it helps others to to take a look with fresh eyes at their own preparations and consider the realities we did not.

[Some deleted, for brevity]

I also learned military operations today are primarily focused around the concept of forces being "inserted" near a conflict area.  This can be done via airborne drops, rotary wing, vehicle, etc type transport.  Once deployed, forces may have to move on foot a couple clicks to an objective, where they perform their specific mission, and walk back to their vehicles or extraction point for transportation back to their base of operations.  They don't really march in & out any more, which enables them to carry more high tech gear on their missions, the downside of which equals heavier combat loads.  It also means however that in carrying that extreme load, they are unable to move as quickly during actual contact (look at pictures of guys in full kit and see how likely you think it is that they can effectively get prone, & when they do, that they can get back up & quickly sprint to a new position). Additionally, unless it is an "Elite" soldier, whose physical conditioning standards are significantly higher, they are not going to carry all that gear very far very fast (below is an AAR about that). Regarding that issue, I learned that overall, in today's conventional military forces, although some have the title, there is generally speaking, no longer a true "Light Infantry".  By light infantry I am referring to foot-borne units that are capable of rapid movement over long distances of varied terrain, being able to rapidly engage a non-static, elusive target. All my reading led me to believe that in significant part, the inability to move as quickly, having a less intimate knowledge of an operational area, and the dissidents ability to "disappear into the indigenous local populations" (which in some instances supported them in their cause), seemed to account for most of the problems abusive governments had with using conventional military forces to deal with dissident type problems, and offset much of the benefit of the increased technology. (now the caveat, that does not of course include the numerically limited, elite units such as Rangers, S.F., SEALs, etc, as that is precisely their game.) It seemed as though this would be applicable to us as well, rather I should find myself at odds with abusive government enforcers, OR an overwhelming group of marauding civilians wishing us harm, and that could not be successfully preemptively repelled at a greater distance.  Being able to move faster & farther, knowing the area better, and being able to disappear, seem generally beneficial across the board.  I further discovered that when confronted by a force by which you are outgunned and out supplied, a static defense (such as defending a home against a military or militarized police unit) is almost certainly a losing proposition.  However, if you turn the tables, and they have to carry all those beans and bullets as they pursue you, and you are fluid, fast (i.e. can travel light due to pre-positioned cache points), and can blend in, they are generally not able to be very effective in such a dynamic situation.  Basically, what it all boiled down to is that it's hard to catch a ghost.  In support of that, I also came across some interesting information from a S.F. NCO in Afghanistan, that the average fighting load carried by a combat infantry soldier in the mountains of Afghanistan is 60-80 lbs. Now bear in mind that that is what he is carrying in the midst of the actual combat, i.e. closure with the enemy. This same soldiers "approach march load" (which is what he carries to sustain him in the field just getting to the fight) is between 130-150 lbs.  It is also noteworthy that the load weights listed, only addressed the "doctrinal load", and did not include the inevitable addition of personal items that most guy's also carry.  Now I realize, these are fit and conditioned young men, but that's a lot of weight to pack, and having a little brother currently over there, I know the Hindu Kush mountains are some serious mountains.  Thinking about that, and digging further I found this information, which puts into perspective the results of carryings such massive loads.  This is an excerpt from an after action report from a first sergeant in the 187th infantry regiment of the 101st airborne div. during operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.  It stated:

“We had extreme difficulty moving with all of our weight. If your movement would have been to relieve "a unit in contact", or a time-sensitive mission, we would not have been able to move in a timely manner. It took us 8 hours to move 5 klicks. With just the vest (Interceptor Body Armor vest) and LBV, we were easily carrying 80 pounds. Throw on the ruck and you’re sucking.”

I also discovered in this information that these incredible loads were based on apparently short term needs vs more protracted time periods, because they were factored on 48-72 hr regular re-supply.  They are not able to be self reliant any longer than that and remain at full capability.  Now one of the things I found particularly interesting about this information, was how it related to a previous study conducted by the U.S. military that I found, (it seems the military quickly forgets the lessons of it's past).  In this study, they determined that a soldiers maximum "approach march" load should not exceed 55 lbs. That was the maximum that he could carry, and still possess the energy to be able to fight effectively when he got to the fight.  Now bear in mind, that "approach march load" is inclusive of all the gear they carry, period.  The study further determined that a maximum 48 lb "fighting load" could be effectively carried in actual combat if it was carried by a "conditioned soldier".  

Now, that's all interesting stuff, but why go into it? For several reasons.  Because I wanted to understand something about those who may be sent to come after us, and at least in part, some of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as to have a better understanding of both myself, as well as the physical abilities we need to possess.  Realizing that while in good health,  I am no longer the highly fit, conditioned soldier of my youth, this helps put into perspective the importance of our daily PT regimen because survival isn't something that is graded on an age curve.  You either will, or you won't.  The age, we're stuck with. The mileage, and the wear and tear, well, it just is what it is. The conditioning however, that is within our control to improve every day.  This information was also helpful when we got down to seriously culling our gear.  When I looked at all our preps in the harsh light of these weight recommendations, it was clear that we were carrying far too much in our BOBs.  Think about how much faster could you run, or if necessary, better defend yourself, if you were carrying less weight.  When it comes to surviving there are no points awarded for second place, we want to have every advantage possible, even before we start cheating!  For me, this is when I realized that the gear we were amassing, and the way we were planning to utilize, and transport it, was totally inadequate for this updated scenario.  Our gear was set up great for an extended "backpack" type movement, or to pack it all on the mules and haul it up to a remote alpine static location & hide there until the smoke settled.  We definitely were not however, set up for a "break contact" type running gun battle while trying to E&E from folks intending to incarcerate, kill, or perhaps do even worse things to my family and I.  What we were doing wasn't going to cut it for people who had to be alert, fluid, and ready for a spectrum of scenarios.  Scenarios ranging from the daily working and defending of our ranch, to short range patrols around our AO / Community, to fight, disengage & run from surprise encounters, and unexpected E&E when you might not have all your gear with you, and progressing all the way up to proactive offensive actions.  All while still trying to function in discreet daily living on our ranch.  A pretty broad spectrum to fill.  What we needed was a system, and gear, that would be as adaptable to both home / ranch security, as to living in the field, or on the run, and it all had to be able to be accomplished potentially without the availability of the ranch as a base to work from any longer.  So, we switched from a full size, catch-all emergency / survival pack system which involved a get home bag, a B.O.B., separate cold weather gear packs, and a separate tactical gear set up, to a lighter, more efficient, integrated four tier system.  I was able to, for the most part, use gear I already had to accomplish this, although some new stuff was required.  

Now that we've identified the threat, and have a fundamental understanding of it as well as it's various strengths and weaknesses, we can now look at the actual equipment changes we made to address those issues.

Before delving into how we cut incredible weight from our loads, and streamlined our equipment, we feel it would be irresponsible not to point out something that is best expressed by a saying from a man with some real credibility in this area.  "Software trumps hardware."  My interpretation of this is, skills are more important that excess equipment.  Beware of the trap many of us have fallen into, gear is absolutely necessary, however, training and the high level of skills it produces, even more so.  That being said, onto the gear!  Oh, and by the way, I have no affiliation with any of these products other than as a consumer, except the Kydex mag pouches, which we make ourselves.

The first sorting out, or "Culling" of our gear, was done according to this new load weight information, and threat expectations.  It was done according to the recommended mnemonic of SMOLES. This stands for Self defense, Medical emergencies, Observation, Lost & found, Extreme weather, Survival.  Focusing on those priorities, with an eye on cutting weight, actually reduced what we thought was a pretty "Necessary stuff only" out by about half.  We were feeling pretty good at that point, little did we know we had barely scratched the surface.  With our newly updated version of "necessary" gear as a starting point, we began looking at putting it into tiers, and found some great recommendations out there to combine with our own experience.

In breaking down my tiers, I found it most effective if it is built upon a base uniform, and then each tier folds into the next, but is independent from it.  This is important since it, in essence, this prioritizes the gear.  The very first issue I ran into however, was how I was going to be able to have my Tier 1 gear (basic survival essentials) on me at all times, as that was our goal for Tier 1.  I'm sure there are a lot of other ideas about how to skin that particular cat, but the way I did it, was opt for a style of military clothing called Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) coveralls. They are a type of coverall that looks very much like the flight suits we built our ghillie suits on in the military. They are inexpensive and they are actually ideally suited for my purposes.  They are fire retardant, have re-enforced knees, elbows, and seat. They also have both a front zipper that opens from the top down as well as up from the crotch up, and a seat flap, (trying to be discreet here) both of which are quite utilitarian when you are wearing a tac-vest with plates and a battle belt, and don't want to have to virtually disrobe when nature calls, hence this also makes them unisex applicable.  Additionally, they have 9 zipper closure pockets wherein I can secure all of my Tier 1 gear.  Thus, as long as I'm dressed, it is with me.  The only adaptation required was to put in an additional chest pocket I reinforced with kydex to support my P220 when I'm not wearing my Tier 2 gear, and sewing on some 1 3/4' exterior belt loops.  

Regarding clothing, and viewing it in light of using it in the Rocky Mountains of the pacific northwest, and in an attempt to more or less standardize, we tried to err on the side of going bit  overboard, knowing we can cull it down as necessary.  Some of our selections were due to what we felt is the very real possibility that we may end up living in a field base camp(s) situation for an extended period of time.  Therefore, durability, medical, as well as hygiene issues came up in our considerations, and influenced some of our choices.  We decided to start at the basics, and worked our way through a complete set of field clothes.  Since the CVCs may be a bit warm during the hottest time of the year in the Pacific Northwest (although I don't think unbearable, by any means) we put extra cost into undergarments to stay as dry as possible, and avoid things like severe rashes, yeast infections, etc, as those types of issues not only interfere with your ability to move rapidly, but can also be an unnecessary drain on medical supplies.  We avoided cotton altogether.  We did some research on a product called Under Armor Heat Gear.  Well made, it wicks moisture extremely well, eliminates chaffing, dries quickly, and is antimicrobial.  Additionally, it comes in a style that acts very much like the nylon leggings I used to wear under a karate gi, to allow it to slide freely and not bind up during kicking, jumping, etc.  Thus they have the same effect regarding combat athleticism in the CVCs, as an added benefit.  They also have shirts to match. That is what we use under the CVCs as a base layer.  For cold weather we also have the underarmor cold gear, which we already knew, works fantastically.  Polypropylene sock liners, again wicks moisture, and eliminates friction, helping to eliminate blisters, etc.  Wool outer socks for cushion, as well as being insulating even when wet, have been useful in all weather.  We discovered that a style called "wader socks" work the best for us. 

Footgear has been an individual choice, it's only requirement being, that it is constructed of heavy leather to minimize the potential penetration of snakebites.  Those are overlapped with TurtleSkin snake gaiters.  Many may think I'm crazy on this one, but here's our logic;  Without antivenin a Rattlesnake bite's hemotoxin can be bad at best, and fatal at worst.  Discounting the approx 20% of bites that are "dry", that still leaves 8 out of 10 bites that potentially envenomate the person struck.  Medical care being uncertain at best, we were not willing to gamble on those odds.  Antivenin is not something we can access, nor stockpile.  Contrary to popular belief, they don't always rattle, before striking, or rattle early enough to be of any help.  According to a gentleman at Turtle Skin who happened to have spent a great deal of time working in the woods for the forest service in northern Idaho, and is quite familiar with the area, it's unlikely that any of us would run across a rattlesnake. However, "unlikely" is not the same thing as won't.  Living and operating in the woods constantly, can only increase our "unlikely" chance of that one "run in" with one. While we are normally very alert to the things around us, as well as avoiding high risk behaviors and places for them, our concern is, that in running from pursuers, or trying to navigate and hastily exit a two way firing range, we'll likely have other things on our mind, and may find ourselves stepping in the wrong place at the wrong time.  This strikes us as one of those times where an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.  Moving on, we included KEPS (knee & elbow pads) which anyone who as ever had to drop to their knees or prone on rocky ground will understand, and for headgear use the old standby USGI boonie hat.  Lastly we all have solar watches that also contain a digital altimeter, compass, and barometer in them.  This constitutes our basic field uniform.  (BTW, should anyone else opt for CVCs, be sure to break up the solid OD color with some Rit dye in spray bottles, it works great, if you don't then they will stand out.)

\This brings us to the four tiers of our gear.  Tier 1 is our basic survival stuff.  It's the stuff we figure you should always have on your person in such an environment.  It's a pared down compilation of various experts recommendations, as well as our own experience.  It's primary purpose is that if due to some threat, I needed to immediately run without any other gear, or had to ditch my gear so that I could run faster than the "fed-ex man" pursuing me with my FEMA invitation, I would still have what I needed to survive until I could get to either a safe place, or a cache site.  ~ yes in our system we chose to employ the use of cache sites for long term emergency resupply ~  Tier 1 is what you have on you when you are just working, etc. within what you consider to be your secure area, whatever that may be at any given time. This gear provides for the needs of defense, shelter, navigation, fire, water, and food, and would never be discarded.  The way I currently have it configured, it all fits nicely in the nine various pockets of my slightly modified CVCs.

Our Tier 1, "Survival Load" that, Lord willing, we will never be without, consists of the following:

1. SIG P220 & one spare mag in modified, kydex re-enforced, zippered chest pocket of my CVCs (whenever not in Tac gear). (S.S. 220 with 1full 8
        rd mag and 1 in the chamber + 1 spare mag of eight 230 gr. JHP's weighs a total of 53.6 oz OR 3.35 lbs.

2. Leatherman Wave tool. (weighs 7.9 oz)

3. #550 cord (50' daisy chain weighs 3.9 oz ~ we also use #550 cord in my boot laces, 5" daisy chained pull tabs on all 9 zippers, with a cord-lock 
         on the end of each.  Those pull tabs, while just normally handy, when "unchained", each also provide 2'4" of emergency cordage, believe it or 
         not.  9 separate 2'+ sections (12' worth) of #550 cord with a cord lock on each. (Great for shelter construction, making a yeti for concealment, 

4. Small Silva compass. Explorer Pro High Vis.  (This is redundant, in case of failure of the digital compass built into our watches) (1.0 oz)

5. Small flint & steel fire starter & 15' roll of jute. Tie 3 or 4 overhand knots back to back and then leave 3-4" of cord & cut.  Fray the un-knotted
        end into a "bird's nest" & strike a spark. Works great & lasts long enough to get your twigs going well and then some. (Jute weighs 1.7 oz & the
        "Light my Fire" flint & steel weigh 0.3 oz, for a combined total of 2.0 oz)

6. A small collapsable MSR dromedary type bag (we use a Camel-Bak bladder & tube) and purification tablets to purify it. (2 liter bladder & tube
        = 7.3 oz, 1 bottle Potable Aqua & 1 bottle of Potable Aqua+ , weigh 1.1 oz each, combined total of 9.5 oz and will treat 25 ltrs of water)

7. Small fishing kit (a roll of spiderwire, some small split shot & some #10 hooks in a Zip-Loc bag.)

8. Casualty blanket for shelter ~ Heavy duty, OD green / reflective (with 4 daisy chained, 5' long sections of #550 cord, one attached to each 
        corner grommet.  All you then have to do is make some quick stakes, or use some rocks for that matter (weighs 11.8 oz) 

9. A rat trap (Works great for catching squirrels around the house here, but I need to test it, out in the field) (weighs 5.4 oz) [JWR Adds: I'd rather carry 10 wire snares (also about five ounces, combined weight) for 10 times the number of chances to catch critters.

10. Plain fish netting (two pieces, approx 12"x24" and 2'x6') In the military, I learned in Survival / E&E, staying hidden is very important.  With the
        2X6 netting you just cut a slit in the middle of for your head, drape it over you like a poncho, and secure it around your waist with your belt or
        #550 cord and you have the foundation for a quick, makeshift bushrag.  Thread it with whatever foliage is appropriate.  Use the 12x24 over your
        boonie hat, for your head veil.  Not as effective as my full ghillie suit, but it's field expedient, light weight, and it's quicker and easier to throw 
        together than a yeti. It's also versatile and can be used for other things as well.

11. Gig head. Cut shaft for it in the field, if needed. For frogs, fish, reptiles, small mammals (weighs 1.7 oz) [JWR Adds: For safety, be sure to cap your gig's points with a piece of rubber or a wine bottle cork, when stowed!]

12. Blackhawk Serpa holster (weighs 4.3 oz + 2.0 oz for chest adaptor = 6.3 oz total)

13. Pistol mag pouch (weighs 2.2 oz)

Tier 1 weight before culling:  103.1 oz, i.e. 6.44 lbs.  We felt that this was too much, so after consideration, we made the following initial cuts:

The ever-painful "Culling Of The Gear":

Dropped gig head (-1.7 oz), P220 (-38.4 oz), 2 empty magazines (total -5.0 oz), 17 rds of ammo (-10.2 oz), holster (-6.3 oz), mag pouch (-2.2 oz). Combined weight of these cuts was 3.99 lbs.
(The pistol and ammo can be replaced if the threat situation merits it.) 

Total weight of my Tier 1 load is after culling is: 2.46 lbs) 

Tier 2 is all of our basic combat gear, our "Fighting Load", or "Kit", if you will.  It's contained on our Tac-Vest / battle belt.  In my case, I opted to attach a battle belt to my plate carrier tac-vest. While I wouldn't say it's necessary for everyone, due to my body geometry (i.e. long torso) it's just the way I chose to go.  It gives me a little more real-estate to put my gear on, without interfering with my ability to get prone, should I need to.  Tier 2  is supplemented by your survival load which you will always have on your person.  We would be wearing Tier 2 gear for example, anytime there was an elevated threat level, when performing security operations at the ranch, or of course for anything that took us out into the field, things of that nature.  It is not a "stand alone" gear list however, it both builds upon the Tier 1 gear, and is in turn, supplemental to the Tier 3 gear as well.  It is divided this way so that if any of us were to find ourselves in a fix and needed to hastily E&E, and our combat gear was slowing us down too much, we could ditch it in order to run faster, and come back for it later.  Meanwhile we still have all of the necessary 1st tier gear on our person, because it is not actually attached to the Tier 1 gear.  The important point here being that you can dump Tier 2 and still have your survival load. This gear would be the last of the three tiers to be discarded.  Our goal here, although probably unattainable given our choice of battle rifle and caliber, is to keep the combined weight our Tier 1 & 2 gear to right around 40 lbs, with a maximum of 48 lbs.

My Tier 2, "Fighting Load" consists of the following:

1. Tactical vest:  We went with Blackhawk's S.T.R.I.K.E. Commando Recon front & back plate carriers, along with Infidel Armor front & rear ballistic
        plates.  Heavier than I'd like, but they fit into the budget.  We've gone to wearing our's while doing PT & H2H practice, & it's beginning to feel a
        little less foreign at least. (plates and vest collectively weigh 268 oz, i.e. 16.75 lbs).

2. Battle belt (attached). We went with High Speed Gear's "Sure Grip" belts for those who wanted them, with a Cobra riggers belt as an under belt.
        (weight unknown at the moment)

3. M1A Rifle mag pouches, X 6.  We went for seven 20 rd mag's - two on the vest, two on each side of the battle belt (both in the event of an
        extremity injury, as well as I reload faster from different sides, depending on my shooting position) & one in the rifle.  Went with kydex, since that
        is my side business anyway, and made our own custom mag pouches. (weight per mag pouch is 3.5 oz, for a total of 21.0 oz)

4. M1A magazines X 7 ~ one carried in the rifle and 6 spares (loaded w / 20 rds each), (weight per empty mag 8.6 oz, loaded mag is 26.6 oz, X7
        = total of 186.2 oz or 11.6 lbs)

5. M1A rifle, in Sage EBR mod 1 configuration, with scope, with no mag. (weight 224 oz or 14 lbs) 

6. M1A rifle sling (I did not opt for a fancy "tactical" sling, instead I went for the simple Blackhawk "Rapid Adjust" 2 point sling.  With SOCP, as my
        primary form of H2H, you will understand why I chose to avoid a 3 point tactical sling.  (weight 5.9 oz) 

7. Pistol mag pouches, X 1 .  Again we went with the kydex, and made our own custom single mag pouches. (weight is was excluded at Tier 1)

8. SIG P220 SS magazines X 2 ~ one in pistol + 1 spare, loaded w / 8 rds each +1 extra for the chamber (weight was excluded at Tier 1)

9. SIG P220 ST, .45 ACP (weight excluded at Tier 1) 

10. Dump pouch.  We went with the Blackhawk S.T.R.I.K.E. folding dump pouch, mounted rear center of the battle belt so that it was accessible with
        either hand.  (weight 8 oz)

11. SOCP dagger (While some may cringe at the non-utilitarian nature of having a "dagger", and I would have too, it's not what you're probably 
        thinking it is.)  Since we use SOCP (my brother is a SF NCO), in part, for our hand to hand / CQB defense, this is actually fantastic.  If you're
        curious, then do a web search on it.  Watch Greg Thompson's demos and see for yourself, it's fairly close to perfect, especially when you are loaded down in kit
        and things need to be simple and effective!) (weight 2.5 oz)

12. Tomahawk. Some may think I'm crazy on this one too, but honestly, after spending a lot of time in the woods using it for everything from
        firewood, to pulling the handle out and using it like an Alaskan Ulu knife, I've found it's a lot more versatile that my ghurka kukri.  It's quite handy, and
        between it and my Leatherman I've had no want of anything edged. I made a custom kydex sheath for it, it stays out of my way, but is handy when I
        need it.  (weight 30.0 oz)

13. B.O.K.  (You could think of it as a trauma first aid kit) (weight 18 oz estimated)

14. 2-Way Radio (currently undecided on model)  (weight TBD)

15. Poncho with liner, in pouch on rear plate carrier (weight is approx 21 oz for poncho and 21 oz for liner, TOTAL is 42 oz)

16. An empty, drawstring closure pouch on the back of my Tac-Vest for carrying dehydrated food, as well as being able to carry your emergency 
        water bladder when you're not packing your Tier 3 Camel-Bak.  (weight 12 oz)

Tier 2 weight before culling:  817.6 oz, i.e. 51.1lbs. The initial weight of our Tier 2 gear was more than we were satisfied with, so again, we let the culling begin!

After consideration we made the following cuts:  As much as I hated to, I reallocated the tomahawk to Tier 4 (-30.0 oz), & reallocated the poncho / liner (-42 oz) to Tier 3 as it's only necessary away from home. 

Combined weight of these cuts was 72.0 oz, i.e. 4.5 lbs.
Total Tier 2 weight after culling:  46.6 lbs.

Results: Combined Tier 1 and 2 "Fighting Load" weight is:  49 lbs (goal is 48 lbs or less) compared to 60 - 80+ lbs, for an average conventional foot soldier, or enforcer who may be pursuing the pleasure of our company [JWR Adds: Note that his calculations are based on an empty Camel-Bak and minimal rations. The weight of water and food adds up quickly.

Missed the weight allotment goal for the Tier 1 and 2 combined "Fighting Load", by 1 lb.  I really would like to do more reduction. However the body armor and the M1A EBR are big drains against our weight allotment.  The weight of the .30 cal ammo is also not helpful.  While we did not opt to trade away what we see as a ballistically more beneficial caliber for our varied purposes, one could clearly present a legitimate case for the lighter weight of both the AR platform rifle, as well as it's lighter .223 caliber ammunition in this particular context. Those tradeoffs just are what they are however, not much can be done there.  Unquestionably, without just the armor plates alone, the load is reduced by 15 lbs, ( down to 30.41 lbs) but that option was off the table for us.  Expecting the lack of surgical facilities to deal with a thoracic gunshot wound, we don't see that as a chance worth taking.  The reality is, this is going to be the Tier where the the real weight is. I'm not sure anything else can be cut at this point, after all, we need what we need, & then cull out the rest. This heavy stuff (i.e, the armor plates, ammo and rifle) are necessary.  At this point I guess that just means more PT, and after all, 48 isn't that old, right?

Tier 3 is our S.R.R.P. (Short Range Reconnaissance Pack).  It falls under the higher combined weight restrictions of the "Approach March" load's 55 lbs maximum weight, although should still be as minimal as possible.  For us, that currently means it should be somewhere in the area of about 6 lbs.  We knew from the beginning that was not going to happen.  The pack and water alone weigh more than that already. . .  This is the gear that it would take to sustain us, in addition to the items in Tiers 1 & 2, for those times you would be in a potentially hostile, field environment, overnight and up to 3 days.  You are basically living out of a Camel-Bak.  Logistically speaking, this is to enable you to perform short term patrols / missions within your AO.  It is supplemented by the equipment that is already contained in your Tier 1 and Tier 2 loads.  It is the "less essential" gear that could/would be dropped prior to dropping the Tier 2 gear, if anything had to be dumped.  Agai, it is not actually attached to the Tier 2 gear, it simply augments it.  Excluding Tier 4, this gear would be the first option to be left behind.

My Tier 3, "S.R.R.P. load" consists of the following:

1. Camel-Bak W / bladder.  We use the Rim Runner model. (36.5 oz) (note: the H2O will weigh an additional 4.4 lbs, a total combined weight of 6.7

2. For "field rations", so to speak, as I am only addressing a 24 - 72 hr window, we decided to go with the "Mainstay" emergency ration bars.  Good
        for five years, these come in 400 cal meal bars, 6 to 9 in a packet depending on what you order.  You can check the other nutrients on line if you 
        are interested, but they're good.  Additionally, they do not increase your thirst, a good thing if you find yourself in an unexpected situation where
        water is either scarce, or if the incoming fire that your attempts to access it creates irritates those around you. A 2,400 cal pack contains six 400
        cal bars, each a meal they say, and weighs 16 oz.  the 3,600 cal pack contains 9 of the same bars and weighs 24 oz. They figure that at 1,200 cal
        a day, this is a two day supply pack, however they are also thinking in terms of someone in a life raft on an ocean.  But honestly, how far are you
        really going to walk per day, in that case?  Being a "land lubber", I planned for a higher caloric need of 2,400 cal per day.  Six bars a day, 
        breaking it down however you want.  The good thing about this however, is that should you need to reduce your consumption for some reason
        and stretch this supply out, or share with someone, you can easily do so.  I also include 3 multi-vitamins as an additional margin.  (weight is 48 

3. Petzl headlamp with one set of spare batteries (4.3 oz) 

4. Casualty blanket to wrap up in (this = 2, 1 for shelter, which is in my survival load, and now a second one to wrap up in)  (11 oz)

5. Poncho (with liner) (42 oz) 

6. Underwear, extra pair (U/A Heat Gear type) (2.2 oz)

7. Poly-pro sock liners, extra pair (0.6 oz)

8. Wool socks, extra pair (6.7 oz)

9. Under Armor cold weather hood (1.6 oz)  

10. Solo stove / pot (16.3 oz)

11. Leather gloves  (4.8 oz)  

12. Safety pins X3 (0)  

13. Area map (N/A)

14. ACE wrap (2.2 oz)

15. E-Tool (40 oz)  

16. Note pad & pencil  (1.7 oz)   

        UPON TERRAIN, 

*** Rope for rappelling seat and a 100' rappelling rope (NOT FACTORED IN AGAINST WEIGHT ALLOWANCE.)

Tier 3 weight before culling:  170.4 oz = 10.7 lbs + 6.7 lbs = 17.35 lbs.  The initial weight of our Tier 3 gear was way more than we were satisfied with, so again, we continued with the culling.

After consideration we made the following cuts:  Reallocated the e-tool to Tier 4 (due to high wt. & limited use, more useful in establishing a remote base camp than on a S.R.R.P.) (-40.0 oz), dumped the spare sock liners (-0.6), spare wool socks (-6.7 oz), solo stove & pot (-16.3 oz. With the Mainstay rations no cooking is required, & with H2o tablets no boiling water is necessary on a 3 day patrol), 1 Mainstay 2,400 cal packet (can live for 3 days with NO food, so can surely do fine with 1,600 cal, i.e. four bars per day)(-16 oz), casualty blanket (may rethink in winter, along with socks) (-11 oz), spare underwear (-2.2 oz).

Combined weight of these cuts was 92.8 oz, i.e. 5.8 lbs.
Total Tier 3 weight after culling: 11.55 lbs, (without H2o weight 7.15 lbs.)

Results: Combined Tier 1, 2 and 3 "Approach March Load" weight is:  60.61 lbs (56.21 lbs without the H2o) compared to 130 -150+ lbs, for the average "Marching Load" of a conventional foot soldier, who my be pursuing my family & I …  

While 5.6 lbs over what we wanted for our Maximum March Load, given the larger, heavier rifle, the heavier basic load of ammunition, and the extra 15 lbs of armor, we are quite happy with where we are at this point.  The bottom line:  We got the "Fighting Load" to 49 lbs,  one pound over our 48 lb. maximum goal, but still  11 - 31 lbs lighter than that of potential pursuers.  We got the "Approach March Load" to within 5.6 lbs of our 55 lb. maximum limit goal, but are still 69.4 - 89.4 lbs. lighter than that of potential pursuers.  The difference being more than the weight of our entire Marching Load Out. Frankly, at this point I think we have more or less reached bare bones, if you will.  I just can't find any more reasonable cut's to make, so for additional gains at this point, the game has to change from an issue of hardware (equipment) to one of software (skills, tactics, conditioning, area familiarity, etc.). 

Tier 4 is my L.R.R.P. (Long Range Reconnaissance Pack).  It's incomplete at this point, still undergoing construction and refinement. It is the gear that would allow us to set up a distant field base of operations.  It is primarily the equipment required for establishing a primitive alpine safe haven, should you be forced from your normal AO. It would also serve to develop a base camp of a semi permanent nature, from which could be conducted security patrol operations to a distance greater than that which your SRRP provides for. The areas for camps were pre-selected as optional sites and then will be chosen specifically depending on the situation. The pack will contain more rations, to sustain you during the initial set up of your field location.  As well, it will have a longer term shelter system, increased & upgraded medical supplies, and additional munitions.  This is not a tier that would normally be carried in the field, and with any luck will be transported by pack animal, although it, out of necessity, is man portable as well. It is best thought of as a sort of foundation level, emergency camp construction pack.  It's intent is to provide for the needs covered in S.M.O.L.E.S.  (but of a base camp nature), and expands upon the equipment you already have at your disposal via the first 3 tiers.  At this point, ours contains the following, although exacts amounts and weights have not yet been determined:

1. Backpack (Gregory, North Face and Dana, internal frame packs, although any quality pack will work, this is just what we have).
2. Food, dehydrated (additional rations).
3. Second full set of clothes & cold weather gear -fleece pants & top.
4. Medical kit (more inclusive).
5. Shelter ( a new enclosed 4 season hammock design).
6. Spare magazines and ammo. 
7. Spare weapons parts (Firing pin, extractor, cleaning supplies etc).
8. Mission specific items, (Rappelling ropes harnesses, etc).
9. Mini-mag light with solar rechargeable batteries and spare bulbs.
10. Range finder & spotting scope.
11. Weatherproof notebook.
12. Additional H2O purification tablets.
13. Additional roll of jute rope.
14. Tomahawk.
15. Mess kit.
16. Wyoming saw.
17. Spare parts / sewing kit.
18. P220, mags & ammo.
19. Solo stove & pot.
20. E-Tool.
21. Second causality blanket.
22. Spotting scope.
23. Solar charger kit.
24. 100' of additional #550 cord.
25. Night vision optic is currently under debate as it has an IR illuminator as enhancement option, and given the preponderance of IR detection 
        devices out there in the hands of anyone and everyone, we are evaluating the risk of sending out such a beacon as opposed to the reward any night 
        time surveillance ability may offer.  Of course the logistics of it are an additional concern. May well end up becoming a cached away special 
        purpose tool, since we already have it.

While tier #4 is still a work in progress, and being interfaced with pre-positioned caches and preps, we look for it to eventually, like the other 3 
        tiers, come together as part of a cohesive system.  

Hopefully this information will be of use to other prepper's in understanding, more fully than we did, the dangers facing us all, as well as the need to adapt to it.  While certainly not the only way to address these issues, we hope our solutions will stimulate thoughts, and help other survivalblog readers find the ways that best address the issues facing them in their unique situations.  Master your skills, travel light and fast, blend in well, and most importantly, trust that God often shows His strength through our weakness!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

It occurs to me that the sudden desire to "privatize" Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is simply a way to deploy the wet ink dollars out of the Fed and big banks without overwhelming the money supply. We all know what would happen if those dollars entered the mainstream market place. This just seems to me to be yet another ploy to stall the inevitable, but I haven't seen anyone else talking about that. Am I missing something? - Big Jon

JWR Replies: You are essentially correct. The majority of the U.S. Dollars that have been magically created by Quantitative Easing (QE) have been used to buy up Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) derivatives paper. This was $70 billion per month in QE2 and $85 billion per month in QE3, and this has been going on month after month. QE2 began in November of 2010, and QE3 began in September of 2012.

Quantitative Easing doesn’t do much for the real economy. It is really more of an asset swap that benefits high level financiers. They reap the benefits, while only a portion gets trickled down into the economy at large. It is a grossly inefficient mechanism for boosting the economy, but it has done great things for the bottom lines of the investment houses. It has proved to be just the trick for re-inflating the bi-coastal real estate bubble. Quantitative Easing effectively increases the money supply, since lower interest rates let banks generate more loans. (It unleashes the fractional reserve banking multiplier effect.) But because all of that QE money is top fed and directed primarily at the real estate sector, it is creating false prosperity for both the residential and commercial real estate markets. Granted, a lot of that money is almost immediately reinvested in other vehicles/sectors, but that doesn't change the fact that this money is created out of thin air, and in he long run it will prove to be very inflationary. And, as I've mentioned in my blog several times before, inflation is a hidden form of taxation. Creative legerdemain like QE might outwardly look low risk, beneficial, "and all that happy stuff" but the long term effects will be devastating: Injecting all this artificial money encourages malinvestment, encourages casino style investing, discourages thrift, and does little to build up a long term economic base in sectors like manufacturing. A decade from now, we will look back on QE as one of those World Class "What on Earth was I thinking?" varieties of big mistakes.

All of the recent talk of "privatizing" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac largely ignores that fact QE money has already been used to prop up both of them. A report issued by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank in 2011 notes:

"The first round of QE began in March 2009 and concluded in March 2010. One of the primary goals was to increase the availability of credit in private markets to help revitalize mortgage lending and support the housing market. To accomplish this goal, the Fed purchased $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities [MBS] and $200 billion in federal agency debt (i.e., debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae to fund the purchase of mortgage loans). To help lower interest rates in general (and thaw the frozen private credit market), the Fed also purchased $300 billion in long-term Treasury securities."

In July, 2013, the House Financial Services Committee pushed forward a bill that would Liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was heralded by HuffPo as a way to "...dramatically reduce the U.S. government backstop in the mortgage market." But in actuality, it is not privatization (or, more properly, re-privatization.) It is simply a new venue for Uncle Ben's Instant Rice Dollars. You and I (indirectly, through dilution of the value of the U.S. Dollar) will be paying to "privatize" Fannie and Freddie. Most of the "privatization" money will be coming from QE Dollars! So the bottom line is that our wallets will be fleeced to enrich a bunch of Wall Street mortgage financiers.

The opinion molders at HuffPo go on to say:

"The House bill would abolish government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years and replace them with a non-profit, utility-like platform that investors would use to securitize mortgages. Unlike mortgage securities offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the new securities would be issued without a government guarantee."

Oh, really? That might sound great on the surface--as if it will take the American taxpayer of the hook--but what is really going to transpire? Instead of two great big assets for the taxpayers (with a huge underlying liability), they will become assets for the banksters. But here is the kicker: the bankers have been implicitly told: "Don't worry: you are Too Big To Fail", and we will always bail you out. (And they have been, again and again. It is no coincidence that the $182 billion government bail out of American International Group (AIG) in September, 2008 came just a week after the government takeover of "quasi-private" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The real story didn't emerge until two years later.) So we--the American taxpayers--will give up the assets, but retain the liabilities. How charming. And the banksters won't be using their own money to do this. They will be using the unending stream of QE Funny Money--that again, is a hidden form of tax! Someone with a corner office on the 67th floor with a great view of Central Park must be saying: "Sounds like a 'win-win' to me!"

As a blogger who lives out in The Hinterboonies, I am just a distant observer of all these machinations. I can only shake my head in disgust. I know that writing more letters to my senators and congressman will be futile. But one thing that I can do is step back and look at the big picture: The folks in Washington D.C. and their banker buddies are systematically destroying the U.S. Dollar. They are doing so because the American people are ignorant and treated like mushrooms (i.e. kept in the dark and fed Schumer) by the mass media. There is nothing that I can do to stop it. But I can protect myself from the inevitable resulting mass inflation, by shifting most of my assets out of Dollar-denominated investments and into tangibles. The D.C. crowd can debase the Dollar all they'd like, but they can't erase the inherent value of a box of .45 ACP Hydra-Shoks. I recommend that you diversify, similarly.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In a situation that will be characterized by, among other things, gutted pharmacies and unmanned hospitals, the remaining population at TEOTWAWKI will be required to provide their own medical care and to meet their own pharmacologic needs.  While there have been numerous helpful articles outlining the importance of antibiotics in the context of TEOTWAWKI there has been very little addressing the importance of an overall pharmacologic strategy.

Some of you—especially those who take daily prescription medication—have likely considered this problem before.  But perhaps you are young and healthy, unburdened by any medical diagnosis.  There should still be a pharmacologic component to your overall survival strategy.  Even the robustly healthy occasionally encounter the minor health annoyance—a stomach bug, say, a case of diarrhea or constipation, or perhaps a urinary tract infection.  The problem, of course, is that, in the context of TEOTWAWKI, the minor health annoyance can rapidly spiral into something life-threatening.

Consider the title of this article, for example.  Constipation is, for most people, an infrequent and easily remedied problem—a couple of Sennekot and a quart of juice cures 95% of cases.  If worse comes to worse, there are suppositories—or enemas.

But suppose that you have no access to over-the-counter laxatives.  Suppose you are plagued by constipation for several days but because it ranks low on your list of immediate problems, it goes untreated.  By the time you get around to dealing with it, you’ve got a very large, rock-hard ball of stool in the lower rectum, and it isn’t going anywhere.   This what medical folks refer to as a fecal impaction.  Impactions are common among already sick, weakened individuals; the treatment is manual removal.  Without intervention, an impaction can lead to colon perforation, peritonitis, sepsis, and eventually septic shock and death.

Or perhaps, in desperation, you attempt to unimpact yourself, or have a willing family member do it.  In the process of this procedure, you inadvertently lacerate one of the delicate rectal vessels--and suffer a large hemorrhage.  Incidentally, I have encountered this exact scenario before, working as an EMT in rural Alaska.

It sounds ridiculous—that a case of constipation could lead to such dire straits.  But make no mistake.  Due to decreased fluid intake and no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, there will be hordes of constipated people at TEOTWAWKI. 

Consider another common health complaint, especially for females: the dreaded urinary tract infection.  Normally it is cured with a three-day course of nitrofurantoin, or, if you lack health insurance, a slightly longer course of ciprofloxacin, which costs ten dollars.  But suppose you have no access to antibiotics, and again, decreased fluid intake.  You have nothing with which to treat the fever that develops.  Eventually you start passing bloody urine, then clots.  The pain evolves from a mild discomfort during urination to a stabbing sensation in the flanks; by day five or six or seven it feels as though every organ in your abdomen and pelvis is on fire.  The infection has migrated from the urethra, to the bladder, up the ureters, and has now settled in the kidneys.  You have developed what is referred to by medical folks as pyelonephritis.  The fever climbs to 105. Your blood pressure bottoms out as the infection spills over into your bloodstream.  Untreated pyelonephritis leads to urosepsis.  Outcome same as above—septic shock and death.

The point is, if you have a body, eventually something will go wrong.  Eventually you will require pharmacologic intervention.



From a pharmacologic perspective, there will be four categories of people at TEOTWAWKI:  The first are those who are healthy and dependent on no medication, or very little medication, for day-to-day function.  They may have diagnoses ranging from seasonal allergies to mild asthma, psoriasis, and the like—the loss of pharmacologic treatment might be inconvenient but it would not be catastrophic. 

The second category includes those with diagnoses like hypertension and hyperlipidemia, who currently enjoy relatively good health. The loss of pharmacologic treatment will have no immediate impact on function.  But in the grand scheme of things, lack of access to drugs will permit deterioration of organ function; in the case of untreated hypertension, for example, long-term exposure to high arterial pressures will cause the heart muscle to become thickened and stiff.  A stiff, noncompliant heart does not pump efficiently: the inevitable result is heart failure and all its symptoms.  This group also includes those with type II diabetes, as long-term exposure to elevated blood glucose spares no organ system in the body.

The third category of people encompasses those who are able to maintain a normal lifestyle in the sense that may still be capable of work, of managing activities of self care—indeed they may even be fit and athletic depending on the nature of the diagnosis--but they suffer from a condition requiring daily intake of prescription medication, the loss of which would be serious or even fatal.  This category includes individuals with diagnoses like type I diabetes, some types of heart disease, and severe hypothyroidism.   It also includes patients who received a donor organ for transplant and rely on immunosuppressive drugs to prevent organ rejection. 

The last category of people are those who would be considered unhealthy, either because of a systemic disease that limits function, function that cannot be fully restored even with daily medication, or because, even though they may still have moderately good day-to-day function, they are dependent on a constant supply of medication and/or medical technology for survival.  The former suffer from severe heart disease, cancer, congenital heart disease, and degenerative neurological conditions such as Huntington’s or Parkinson’s.   The latter group includes dialysis patients, COPD patients who require constant supplemental oxygen, tracheostomy-dependent patients, or those who can only take nutrition via tube feeds.


This article is aimed at all but the last group.  Not that members of the last group have no chance of survival at TEOTWAWKI, but the preparations that would be required are outside the scope of this article.  Pharmacologic preparation of the first three groups, if undertaken with a specific strategy and numeric goals in mind, is quite feasible.


  1. Determine your daily prescription medication needs.  If you and your family are perfectly healthy then the task is simple.  See Appendix A for my recommendations of prescription drugs.  If not, the task is still relatively simple: a one year’s extra supply of necessary prescription medications, in addition to those listed in Appendix A.  You may need to estimate—in the case of an asthmatic that uses inhaled steroids, for example, or for the migraine medication that is taken on an as-needed basis.  Determine what constitutes a one-year supply of the drug.  Record the data, with the names, dosages, and schedule, in a spreadsheet.
  2. Determine your over the counter (OTC) medication needs.  See Appendix B for my recommendations for the average individual.  Gauge your needs by looking in your medicine cabinet—perhaps you use a lot of liquid acetaminophen because you have small children in the home.  Perhaps your family goes through more   
  3. Inventory what you already have.
  4. Develop a plan for obtaining the rest.  Plan to obtain the drugs listed in Appendices A and B within one year.  This will require extra visits to doctors, calling in refills on schedule, being willing to fib about international travel perhaps, or being willing to change physicians.  More on this below.
  5. Store the drug stockpile in an organized and responsible way (indoors, labeled, airtight containers, with 02 absorbers, under lock and key if any controlled substances are included).
  6. After OTC and prescription needs are met, work on a stockpile for bartering purposes.  See Appendix C for ideas.
  7. Buy pharmacology reference books.  See Appendix D for recommended titles.



Don’t discount the potency or usefulness of a drug just because you can buy it at the local drugstore.  Many drugs that used to be prescription-only are now sold OTC.  One example of that is the proton-pump inhibitor omeprazole, used to treat acid reflux disease.  To expand on this example, imagine a situation in which a person who suffers from acid reflux disease exists solely on a diet of canned chili for an extended period of time, without access to his usual proton-pump inhibiting medication.  One day he begins vomiting blood, having developed a gastric ulcer as a result of his untreated condition.  If one of his companions has a supply of omeprazole on hand, currently available at any Walgreens or CVS without a prescription, his condition could be treated in the same manner in which it would be treated at the ER—with a large dose of a proton-pump inhibiting medication. 

Another example is aspirin.  Aspirin has a multitude of uses beyond pain relief.  It is a blood thinner.  For this reason it is often the first medication someone receives when they show up at the ER exhibiting signs and symptoms of stroke.  Aspirin is a central component of the standard protocol in treating patients who are suspected of having a heart attack—the blood thinning properties of aspirin are useful when a clot has occluded a coronary artery.  Aspirin also has unique anti-inflammatory properties—its use is normally avoided in children, but in the context of certain pediatric diseases, high-dose aspirin is a critical component of treatment.   Every time I shop at Sam’s club for groceries, I purchase aspirin in bulk.  Aspirin is inexpensive and potentially useful in so many ways. 



Not long ago a friend mentioned to me that he had thrown away some expired anti-depressant medication.  I suggested that he might instead sock away such medication for the possibility of a survival situation.  His position was simple:  in a true survival situation, he would have no tolerance for psychiatric illness.  People suffering from depression and other psychiatric maladies would be a drain on resources and a liability for everyone around them. 

I considered my friend’s position on this matter for a time and concluded that he was mistaken, for several reasons.  Number one, in extreme situations like TEOTWAWKI, people will inevitably experience depression, psychosis, PTSD, and so on.   Many scientists consider the aforementioned to be adaptive evolutionary responses to trauma, disappointment, and loss (research “Behavioral Shutdown Hypothesis” and “Analytical Rumination Hypothesis” if interested in further information). These conditions affect the toughest, most seasoned soldiers in the US military, so it is folly to assume that a meticulously chosen survival companion will be immune to them.  Depending on the nature of the psychiatric illness, at the very least it will affect the morale of the group; in the worst-case scenario it may indeed adversely affect the group’s chances of survival.  Having the means to treat such a condition may ultimately determine the fate of an entire group—consider a well-prepared, well-stocked family, the head of which is then struck down by a paralyzing depression—imagine that this happens at the worst possible time, at the very height of danger. 

Second, a survival companion may (whether they have chosen to share this information or not) already be taking a medication for depression or other psychiatric illness.  As aptly noted by author West Texas Prepper in the article Letter Re: When the Anti-Depressants Run Out, ceasing certain medications cold turkey leads to a crippling withdrawal syndrome.  Having a small supply of the same medicine on hand would allow a dose taper, thereby sparing the individual of any withdrawal symptoms.  I have witnessed patients, normally fully-functioning, contributing members of society, completely bedbound with nausea, vertigo, and paresthesias after running out of their daily anti-depressant medication.  In an already tenuous survival scenario, it would be imperative to avoid such a situation.

Third, many psychiatric medications have multiple indications.  Some were developed and manufactured for the treatment of other diseases years before their usefulness in treating psychiatric illness was discovered.  Case in point, my friend had thrown away four sample packages of the drug Depakote, known generically as valproate sodium, or valproic acid.  It had been prescribed for a patient diagnosed with bipolar disorder who was experiencing a depressive phase of the illness.  But, unbeknownst to my friend, valproic acid is used to treat a multitude of other conditions, most notably seizure disorders, but also migraine headaches, and chronic pain characterized by neuropathic symptoms.



The expiration dates assigned to drugs is arbitrary and very few drugs are actually toxic past the expiration date (tetracycline and doxycycline being the exception).  Testing has demonstrated that drugs maintain their potency decades after their expiration dates.  Save drugs you are certain you will never use, or never need again, save the ones you think were prescribed in error.  It is impossible to predict what might be useful. Save them regardless of the expiration date, regardless of how few tablets might be left in the package or how little ointment left inside the tube. 

My grandmother suffered an extended illness, the cause of which was unknown for a time.  Her physicians, not knowing what they were treating, hoping to eventually hit on the right drug, prescribed countless medicines, medicines from different classes and of varying strengths.  When I helped my grandfather clean out his medicine cabinet last summer, I found a cardboard box filled with bottles of unused diuretics and anti-inflammatory meds used to treat autoimmune diseases (and also useful in treating malaria).  With my grandfather’s permission I took the unused medication, removed the pharmacy stickers from the pill bottles, and replaced them with medical tape on which I wrote the names of the drugs and the milligrams per tablet.  For those without medical training, I suggest also recording the indication and recommended dose.

Although there are laws prohibiting the stockpiling of prescription medications, there are no reports of arrests for stockpiling medication in the manner described above.  Those who fall under legal scrutiny do so because they stockpile controlled substances, with intent to supply their own habit or to profit financially from supplying the habits of others.  That being said it is best to not discuss this type of preparation with others.  Nor would I advertise on craigslist requesting unwanted prescription antibiotics.  Limit those you involve to immediate family and trusted friends.  




Your primary care physician (PCP) may or may not be a good resource.

On the one hand, he or she may be in total agreement with you, and willing to write scrips for an extra supply of your regular medications, and perhaps even some antibiotics.  On the other hand, he or she may interpret your desire to prepare for a worst-case scenario as a manifestation of mental illness, one that is potentially dangerous and requires further investigation.  If the physician knows you have weapons at home, the situation becomes further complicated.  Therefore I do not recommend that people approach their PCP and ask for prescriptions for stockpiling purposes.

If you decide to do so and are honest about the reason why, and your physician responds by asking searching questions about your psychiatric history, or says, “Now tell me, how long you have had this obsession with the apocalypse?” then abort the mission immediately and refocus all efforts on damage control.

However, there are ‘legitimate’ reasons that physicians sometimes write prescriptions for large amounts of antibiotics, and there are numerous taken as needed (PRN) drugs that physicians write prescriptions for on a daily basis.  Odansetron, the anti-nausea medication, is one that comes to mind.  Benzonatate, the cough medication known as “tesselon pearls” is another.  If you are willing to ask for such medications, citing the presence of nausea or a cough that keeps you awake at night, you can easily obtain such prescriptions.  If you ask that refills be available if needed, your doctor is likely to oblige.   Refill the drug on schedule as refills are sometimes limited to a twelve-month period.

Be a hypochondriac for a year.  Get more than one PCP.  Pay out of pocket for duplicate prescriptions. Ask for samples.  Have a lot of colds. 

Another strategy is to go to the physician with a request for prescription meds for international travel.  Present a list of recommended drugs to have on hand when traveling in that area, perhaps one printed from a reputable web site (CDC).  I don’t know of any physicians that require the patient to present their boarding pass before writing such prescriptions.



  1. Antibiotics
    1. Augmentin-600mg-60 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    2. Ampicillin-500mg-63 tablets per person (three 7-day courses)
    3. Amoxicillin-500mg-100 tabs per person (50 days’ worth per person; ten 5-day courses, five 10-day courses, seven 7-day courses—it can be tailored to what is being treated)
    4. TMP-SMX (Bactrim DS)-84 tablets per person (three 14-day courses)
    5. Azithromycin-500mg-15 tabs per person (three 5-day courses)
    6. Cephalexin-500mg-120 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    7. Clindamycin-900mg-90 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    8. Metronidazole-500mg-90 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    9. Cefdinir-300mg-60 per person (three 10-day courses)
    10. Nitrofurantoin-200mg-42 tablets per person (three 7-day courses)
    11. Gentamicin ophthalmic solution-two bottles per person
    12. Erythromycin 0.5% opthalmic ointment-three tubes per person
    13. Ciprodex Otic-ciprofloxacin 0.3%, dexamethasone 0.1% solution-two bottles per person
    14. Aurodex Otic-antipyrine/benzocaine solution-one bottle per person (this is not an anti-microbial but it is useful for attenuating symptoms of ear infection)
    15. Mupirocin 2% antibiotic ointment-two tubes per person
  2. Anti-virals
    1. Acyclovir-400mg-63 tablets per person (three 7-day courses)
    2. Oseltamivir-75mg-30 tablets per person (three 5-day courses)
  3. Anti-fungals
    1. Fluconazole-100mg or 200mg tablets-60 per person
    2. Clotrimazole topical-several per person
    3. Nystatin suspension-100mL per person
    4. Nystatin cream-two tubes per person
    5. Ketoconazole-200mg-28 per person (one four week course)
  4. Anti-parasitic (for treating intestinal worms)
    1. Mebendazole 100mg-20 tablets per person
    2. Pyrantel pamoate (Pin X)-720.5mg-10 tablets per person
    3. Thiabendazole (Mintezol) 500mg tablets-10 per person
  5. Cardiovascular Health
    1. Anti-hypertensives
      1. HCTZ-25mg-365 per person
      2. Metoprolol-100mg-200 per person
      3. Lisinopril-20mg or 40mg-365 per person
        1. An alternative is one of the –sartans (i.e. Valsartan, 320mg) but they are more expensive
      4. Clonidine-0.2mg-100 tablets per person
      5. Spironolactone-50mg-100 tablets per person
      6. Furosemide-40mg-100 tablets per person
      7. Phenoxybenzamine-10mg-25 per person
    2. Lipid Reduction Agents
      1. Simvastatin-10mg-365 per person
      2. Fenofibrate-35mg-100 per person
  6. Gastrointestinal Health
    1. Omeprazole-20mg-365 per person
    2. Ranitidine-150mg-365 per person
    3. Misoprostol-200mcg-80 per person
    4. Odansetron-4mg-100 per person
    5. Promethazine suppositories-25mg-25 per person
    6. Metaclopramide-10mg-25 per person
    7. Diphenoxylate-atropine-300mL per person
    8. Anusol HC suppositories (2.5% hydrocortisone)-10 per person
    9. Lactulose-100mL per person
  7. Urinary Tract Health
    1. Allopurinol-100mg-100 per male
    2. Finasteride-5mg-365 tablets per male
    3. Bethanechol-25mg-20 per person
    4. Oxybutynin-5mg-20 per peron
    5. Colchicine-0.5mg-100 per person
  8. Gynecological Health
    1. Ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone combination-28 day packets-12 per female (useful for a multitude of menstrual problems)
    2. Contraceptive method of choice-one year’s worth per sexually active female
    3. Estradiol gel 0.06%-several tubes per older female
    4. Estratab-0.3mg-365 tablets per post-menopausal female
  9. Pain Medications
    1. Carbamazepine-200mg-50 tablets per person
    2. Gabapentin-400mg-100 tablets per person
    3. Diclofenac-50mg-200 tablets per person
    4. Cyclobenzaprine-5mg-50 tablets per person
    5. Keterolac-30mg-50 per person
    6. Tramadol-25mg-50 per person
    7. Immediate Release Morphine tabs-5mg-25 per person
    8. Extended Release Morphine tabs-15mg-50 per person
    9. Sumatatriptan-100mg-25 per person
  10. Allergies/Asthma/Respiratory
    1. Hydroxyzine-25mg-50 per person
    2. Prednisone-10mg-200 per person
    3. Loratidine-10mg-100 tablets per person
    4. Albuterol metered dose inhaler-3 per person
    5. Steroid metered dose inhaler (Advair, etc)-3 per person
    6. Benzonatate-100mg-100 per person
    7. Hycodan syrup (each 5mL contains hydrocodone 5mg-homatotrropine 1.5mg)-150ml per person
    8. Epinephrine injection (EpiPen, EpiPenJr)-two injection pack-three per person
    9. Guafenisin-phenylephrine (Entex)-100mL per person
    10. Montelukast-10mg-100 per person
    11. Metaproterenol-20mg-30 per person
  11. Skin Conditions
    1. Mometasone furoate 0.1%-15g or 45g tube-two per person
    2. Silver sulfdiazene-45g tube-five per person
    3. Cleocin 1%-two tubes per person
    4. Permethrin (Lindane)-five bottles per person
  12.   Psychiatric/CNS Medications
    1. Lorazepam-1mg-50 per person
    2. Lorazepam suppositories-0.5mg-10 per person
    3. Alprazolam-0.5mg-30 per person
    4. Fluoxetine-20mg-60 per person
    5. Wellbutrin-150mg-30 per person
    6. Haldol-5mg-10 per person
    7. Amitryptiline-50mg-30 per person
    8. Bromocriptine-1.25mg-10 tabs per person
    9. Meclizine-25mg-50 per person
    10. Scopolamine patch-ten per person
  13. Endocrine Health
    1. Metformin-500mg-500 per person
      1. For those with a strong family history of diabetes, Hispanic background, or prediabetes, I recommend stockpiling a one year’s supply of 1000mg strength metformin.
    2. Levothyroxine-150mcg-100 per person
    3. Insulin-300units-10 bottles per family (must be kept refrigerated)

APPENDIX B: Recommended OTC Drugs

  1. Acetaminophen-500mg-1000 tablets per person
  2. Acetaminophen liquid-five bottles per person
  3. Ibuprofen-500mg-1000 tablets per person
  4. Ibuprofen liquid-five bottles per person
  5. Naproxen Sodium-500mg-1000 tablets per person
  6. Aspirin-325mg-1000 tablets per person
    1. 325mg tablets can be cut into quarters, the quarters then approximate the normal 81mg dose recommended for most people with mild coronary artery disease or hypertension
    2. Alternative you can purchase the ‘baby aspirin’ version, often in chewable form, which is 81mg per tablet, though it is not common to find this in bulk and it is more expensive.
  7. Water-based lubricant jelly (KY)-5 tubes per person
  8. Petroleum jelly 100%, 13oz containers (i.e. Vaseline)-5 per person
  9. Immodium (loperamide)-100 caplets per person
  10. Docusate sodium-100mg-500 caplets per person
    1. Simply Right Stool Softener with 400 gel caps per bottle is an inexpensive example of this.
  11. Glycerin suppositories 2gm glycerin per suppository-100 per person
    1. Consider purchasing the pediatric version, containing 1gm glycerin per suppository
  12. Diphendydramine HCl-25mg-1000 tabs per person
  13. Fleet enemas (containing monobasic and dibasic sodium phosphate)-eight per person
    1. Alternatively you can purchase empty enema bottles and make your own saline solution, 1.5 teaspoons table salt to 1000mL of water; this can be preferable to the phosphate solution in store-bought enemas as phosphate can cause cramping.
    2. You may also want to research how to make a soap suds enema, the type often used in hospitals, and store the ingredients—liquid castile soap is the standard.
  14. Hemorrhoidal cream (Preparation H or Equate Brand Hemorrhoidal cream-contains 0.25% phenylephrine to constrict vessels, glycerin 14% as a protectant, pramoxine 1% as a local anesthetic)-2oz tube-5 per person
    1. Phenylephrine is the active ingredient in some decongestant nasal sprays like Neo-Synephrine Extra Strength Nasal Spray or WalGreens Ephrine Nose Drops; moreover these sprays contain a more concentrated dose of phenylephrine (usually 1%)—I have found that a cotton ball soaked with aforementioned spray works far better than Preparation H (or its equivalent) cream for getting the patient quick, effective relief—as an alternative to stocking up on Preparation H, I recommend stocking up on extra nasal spray for the purpose of treating hemorrhoids
    2. If you want a local anesthetic component for treating hemorrhoids, any local anesthetic ointment can be used to supplant a vasoconstrictor—I recommend using lidocaine, 2% or 5%, which requires a prescription.
  15. Medicated hemorrhoidal pads, active ingredient witch’s hazel 50% (i.e. Tucks)-several boxes per person
    1. An alternative to purchasing $6 boxes of Tucks pads containing 20 pads each, is to purchase a $3 16-oz bottle of 100% witch hazel (at Wal-Mart or most drug stores) and make your own pads using cotton balls or the like; witch hazel has many other uses too.
  16. Zinc oxide ointment 40% (i.e. Desitin)-five large containers per person
  17. Medicinal foot powder-1% menthol-(Gold Bond, Walgreen’s brand)-10oz bottle-three per person
  18. Anti-fungal foot powder 2% miconazole nitrate (Tinactin, Lotrimin AF, Walgreen brand ‘Athlete’s Foot Powder)-3-4 oz containers-five per person
  19. Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)-16oz-5 per person
  20. Triple antibiotic ointment(should contain bacitracin, neomycin, and polymixin b)-ten tubes per person
  21. Tea tree oil-2 fluid ounces-ten bottles per person. This is an expensive oil; however it has many uses—a recent study indicated that tea tree oil is more effective than prescription medication for the treatment of lice, which is the main reason I have it listed here, as the rate of parasitic infections will be increased at TEOTWAWKI
  22. Pseudoephedrine-25mg-100 caplets per person
  23. Dextromethorphan syrup, 30mg dextromethorphan per dose (Robitussin, Delsym))-5 bottles per person
  24. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol 16oz-ten or more bottles per person
    1. Warning-in a TEOTWAWKI situation, there will be desperate alcoholics in withdrawal, willing to drink anything with a label that indicates any percentage of alcohol within, no matter how small—isopropyl alcohol is usually not fatal if ingested and its effects resemble those of ethanol (the form of alcohol for drinking); the treatment is supportive care and to not do anything or give anything that interrupts metabolism, as the metabolite (acetone) is less poisonous than isopropyl.
    2. Drinking of isopropyl alcohol will not have the same effects as the ingestion of methanol (found in windshield wiper fluid-causes blindness, confusion, respiratory failure and death), or ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze-causes muscle spasms, heart dysrhythmias, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, death); nevertheless, for any product containing any percentage of alcohol on the label, I recommend adding a bright red sticker with the words “NOT FOR DRINKING-POISONOUS!” with skull and crossbones drawn—and if the TEOTWAWKI happens, keep these items stored in a place that is not well-frequented.
  25. Hydrogen peroxide-10-20 gallons per person
    1. There are many uses of hydrogen peroxide.
    2. See this site as an example of where inexpensive hydrogen peroxide can be purchased (Less than 10 dollars per gallon)
  26. Ben Gay Muscle Pain/Ultra Strength (30% methyl salicylate, 10% menthol, 4% camphor)-three tubes per person
    1. For those with allergy to aspirin an alternative is Tiger Balm Ultra, which contains 11% camphor and 11% menthol
  27. Mentholated topical cream, active ingredients camphor, eucalyptol, menthol (i.e. Vick’s VapoRub)-three jars per person
  28. Electrolyte replacement packets (Pedialyte makes these; a 4-pack costs about $5, Walgreens carries the equivalent; an 8-pack costs $4)-20 per adult, 40 per child
  29. Multivitamins-1000 per person (make sure and include some chewable forms for children or those who cannot swallow pills)
  30. Vitamin D-(1000-5000IU)-500 per person (also comes in liquid form)
  31. Folic Acid (400mcg-1mg)-500 per ovulating female
  32. Vitamin B12-(comes is dosages as low as 100mcg, as high as 5000mcg-recommend a variety)-500 per person
  33. Hydrocortisone cream 1% hydrocortisone, comes in 2oz tubes-10 per person
    1. Alternatively you can ask your doctor to prescribe a stronger version of the same medication, 2.5% strength hydrocortisone cream; this may be preferable if you or your loved ones suffer often from dermatitis, eczema, or other skin inflammation.
  34. Calamine lotion, contains calamine and zinc oxide, can be purchased in 6 oz bottles for about $1.50 at Wal-Mart. - Three bottles per person
  35. Sterile saline solution 0.9% concentration-1L bottles-10 per person
    1. You can make your own 0.9% saline solution but it will not be sterile; this becomes important when using it for the irrigation of wounds, etc
    2. For making your own solution, 9grams of sodium is dissolved in 991 mL of water
    3. Research and print the many uses of saline solution.
  36.  Oral liquid/gel anesthetic (20% benzocaine)-3 per person
  37. Coal tar shampoo (T Gel 2%, Denorex 2%, Psoriatrix 5%)-one per person
    1. If you or your loved ones suffer from psoriasis you may want to purchase other OTC coal tar products (bar soap, ointment, etc)
    2. For those with skin issues, three bottles per person recommended.
  38. Selenium sulfide shampoo-three per person
  39. Phenazopyridine (Urostat)-
  40. Miralax powder-17.9oz-three per person
  41. Fiber powder (Metamucil)-16oz-three per person
  42. Magnesium hydroxide suspension, 1200-2400mg per 10-30mL (Milk of Magnesia, etc)-16oz-five per person
  43. Antacid tablets, calcium carbonate 500mg per dose (Tums)-1000 per person
  44. Mineral oil (liquid petroleum)-16oz-three per person
  45. Earwax removal solution (carbamide peroxide)-three per person
  46. Nasal spray (Oxymetolazone HCl, phenylephrine)-five per person, more if you plan to use these to treat hemorrhoids too
  47. Doxylamine succinate 6.25-50mg per dose-50 doses per person
    1. This is the sedating component of NyQuil brand drugs
    2. It is a potent anticholinergic and can be used to treat a multitude of conditions (morning sickness, allergies, insomnia)
  48. Caffeine tablets-50mg-200 per person
  49. Trolamine salicylate cream 10% (Aspercreme)-5oz-five per person
  50. Tiger Balm Liniment (Menthol 16%, Oil of wintergreen 28%)-0.63oz-three per person
  51. Capsaicin products 0.05-0.1% strength-this is the natural ingredient found in hot peppers; it has been found to inhibit the actions of substance P in pain transmission; it can be used to treat the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, tension and cluster headaches, osteoarthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, shingles, and more)
    1. Creams (Capsa Cream 8, Zostrix, Walgreens brand)
    2. Nasal sprays (Sinol, Sinus Plumber)
    3. Qutenza, a prescription pain patch that contains 8% capsaicin
  52. Povidone-iodine topical antiseptic-16oz bottle-five per person
  53. Phenol lozenges 14.5mg per lozenge/spray 1.4% in solution (Cepestat, Chloraseptic)-three per person
  54. Cinnamon supplement, 500mg-1000 capsules per person
    1. See the scientific evidence in support of cinnamon as having multiple healing properties
    2. Because I was a gestational diabetic, and because of my Latina heritage (my father emigrated from South America), and because my father, and multiple relatives on my mother’s side suffer from Type II Diabetes, I know that is where I am headed, despite a normal BMI and active life style.  Evidence suggests that cinnamon aids in glucose metabolism; studies have shown a decrease in A1C in diabetics who take cinnamon daily over a period of months.  I take cinnamon every day, in hopes of preventing or postponing Type II Diabetes.
  55.  Fish oil (Omega-3)-1000 caps per person
    1. A cardiologist I trust recommends daily fish oil even for the young and healthy.  Here is an article outlining the evidence.
  56. Baking soda-several five pound bags per individual
    1. There are many medicinal uses for baking soda, and whole books written on this subject
    2. Baking soda is also useful for cooking, cleaning, hygiene, as a fire extinguisher, biopesticide, cattle feed supplement, numerous others.
  57. Nutritional supplementation-Boost, Pediasure, etc
    1. To be used after electrolyte replacement therapy but before someone is ready to take regular foods again.
    2. A nutritional shake can make a huge difference in whether someone gets much-needed calories during a medically vulnerable period.

Appendix C: Drugs for Bartering

The two categories of medication likely to be most useful for bartering are antibiotics and pain medication.

  1. Antibiotics
    1. Amoxicillin-500mg-easy to get and inexpensive
    2. Bactrim DS-excellent for skin and wound infections
    3. Opthalmic antibiotics
  2. Pain Medications
    1. Aspirin
    2. Acetaminophen
    3. Ibuprofen
    4. Any narcotic/opioid (i.e. Vicodin, Percocet)—would be highly desirable in a situation involving serious injury
  3. Vitamins
  4. Insulin-will be a commonly needed, highly valued item since there are so many diabetics in our population.
  5. Inhalers for those with asthma/COPD
  6. Contraceptive devices—condoms, foam, other types of birth control
  7. Caffeine pills-ability to stay wired at critical times will be priceless at TEOTWAWKI
  8. Anti-diarrheals (loperamide, Pepto Bismol)


Appendix D: Pharmacology Bookshelf

  1. The Pill Book (Prescription medications)
  2. The Pill Book Guide to Over-the-counter Medications
  3. Any basic pharmacology textbook
  4. Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy
  5. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2013 (Lange)


JWR Adds: In addition to storing OTC laxatives (such as Senna tablets and plenty of Metamucil,) I also recommend stocking up on sprouting seeds and stainless steel screen mason jar lids (sold by several SurvivalBlog advertisers,) for growing sprouts at home. Be sure to regularly practice growing sprouts. Growing your own dietary roughage is the most healthy and reliable way to keep yourself regular.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Several readers sent me a link to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that had some surprising results: They concluded that big cities are statistically safer than small towns.

This study, titled Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United States? has a number of flaws. First, it treats deaths by intentional violence equally with accidental deaths and deaths related to the use of alcohol and illicit drugs. This is not quite fair, because the former are not nearly so avoidable as the latter. If I want to avoid most drunk driving accidents then I can simply abstain from drinking. (Unless of course, it is a drunk that hits my car, or me as a pedestrian.) That means that I can effectively excuse myself from being part of the statistics. But if I want to minimize my chance of getting robbed and shot to death, then I can only do so by changing my ZIP code. And if I want to avoid high speed traffic accidents, I can drive more conservatively. Again, that means that I can in part at least excuse myself from being part of the statistics, or at least lower my actuarial risk.

The "flattening" of volitional differences by the researchers also ignores the psychological impact of various forms of death. All families are of course aggrieved by the loss of a loved one. But consider this: What would be the quality of your sleep for the rest of your life be if your teenage daughter were killed: A.) In a simple highway traffic accident and you never saw her body, or B.) Your home was invaded by a gang, they tied everyone up, and then you witnessed your daughter being violated and then murdered? To a statistician, it is all the same. But to you and me, not all "injury-related" deaths are equal.

Another flaw is that while the University of Pennsylvania study narrowed in on trauma, it ignores lifestyle differences that can contribute to significantly longer life spans that would put then outside of statistical norms. A non-smoking, non-drinking rural person who drives conservatively, drinks pure water, breathes fresh air, eats veggies from his own garden, and who eats local trout and lean venison is probably going to be a "Statistical Outlier"--that is, someone who defies the odds and lives to a ripe old age. And guess what: That is the very definition of a SurvivalBlog reader, or at least what he strives to be, and urges him to where he plans to live.

One other flaw is that the statistics are all based on the county of deaths occurrence, rather than the county of residence of the decedent. (Death certificates are filed in the place where someone assumes room temperature, rather than their Home of Record.) So this ignores neo-local deaths. I can assure you that there are plenty of them in The American Redoubt. The populations of some towns in the Redoubt doubles each summer. Every year in our county, accidental deaths peak in the summer months. That is when the idiotic drivers from western Washington come here to "play." (And that play often involves drinking and driving fast, or drinking and water skiing.) And then there is hunting season when, again, urbanites come here to release their Inner Idiot. Many of the deaths due to exposure and snowmobile accidents are neo-local. And the only negligent shooting death in recent memory involved out-of-state hunters. Many of these yahoos come from either Seattle or Portland.

Again, there is the flaw of throwing together intentional deaths with unintentional deaths, in drawing the report's primarily conclusion. Granted, when you are dead, you are dead. But to say that it is more "risky" to live in the country where people often commute long distances at high speed versus in the Big City, where people commute short distances at low speed is not quite fair. Not when part of the offsetting risk of "injury-related" death risk in urban areas comes from instantaneous lead poisoning when you dare to step outdoors after dark. All things being equal, I'd rather face the risk of spinning out on black ice or the risk of a deer coming through my windshield than I would having a twitchy drug addict sticking a pistol in my face and saying: "Your money or your life."

Notably, I found this proviso buried in the report: "We chose to exclude terrorist-related deaths, the majority of which are associated with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States." Well, well, that was convenient! When 3,000 people get whacked on a single day, it badly messes up your intention to show that cities are "safer", doesn't it? I have a news flash for them: Terrorists regularly target big cities, because that is where population and news cameras are concentrated. They don't intentionally crash airliners full of screaming passengers into Kansas wheat fields. No! They aim for Manhattan skyscrapers. They don't set off pressure cooker bombs at 5K Fun Runs in Lander, Wyoming. They choose events like the Boston Marathon, where there are huge crowds and more television reporters than you can count. And when they eventually get their hands on some nukes (and they will), they won't be be shouting "Allahu Ahkbar" and pressing the button in Miles City, Montana. No, it will more likely be in Los Angeles or Dallas. So someday--most likely in the next 20 years--there will be a great big "Boom!" (or more likely simultaneous "booms" in multiple cities, given their proven modus operandi) potentially with millions of deaths. And that event will absolutely blow their statistics right out of the water. (Or should I say, into mushroom clouds.) Then, and only then, will the statisticians say to themselves: "Gee, maybe it is safer out in the boonies."

I recently did some web wandering, and gathered some interesting murder statistics, from the most recent years available. (These are mostly 2010 stats.):

Honduras homicide rate: 91 per 100,000 people.

El Salvador homicide rate: 69 per 100,000 people.

Detroit, Michigan homicide rate 58 per 100,000 people.

Flint, Michigan homicide rate per 48 100,000 people.

Colombia homicide rate: 32 per 100,000 people.

Oakland, California homicide rate: 22 per 100,000 people.

Washington, DC homicide rate: 21.9 per 100,000 people.

Richmond, California homicide rate: 20.3 per 100,000 people.

Stockton, California homicide rate: 16.8 per 100,000 people.

Louisiana homicide rate: 11.2 per 100,000 people.

Jersey City, New Jersey homicide rate: 10.2 per 100,000 people.

New York City, New York homicide rate: 6.4 per 100,000 people.

Tennessee homicide rate: 5.8 per 100,000 people.

Chile homicide rate: 5.5 per 100,000 people.

Bolivia homicide rate: 5.3 per 100,000 people.

Ohio homicide rate: 4.1 per 100,000 people.

Montana homicide rate: 2.6 per 100,000 people.

Washington (state) homicide rate: 2.3 per 100,000 people.

Maine homicide rate: 1.8 per 100,000 people.

Boise, Idaho homicide rate: 1.5 per 100,000 people.

Wyoming homicide rate: 1.4 per 100,000 people.

Missoula, Montana homicide rate: 1.4 per 100,000 people.

Idaho homicide rate: 1.3 per 100,000 people.

Vermont homicide rate: 1.1 per 100,000 people.

Newport, Washington homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Condon, Oregon homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Rogue River, Oregon homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Lewiston, Idaho homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Moscow, Idaho homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Bozeman, Montana homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Helena, Montana homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Cody, Wyoming homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Newcastle, Wyoming homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

It certainly sounds safer, in some respects, out in "The Wild West."

As for me and mine, we keep our guns handy, and we'll continue to primarily travel in a big, safe SUV with a massive "Deer Stopper" bumper, in which we carry both a trauma kit and an AED. We'll take our chances, living out in the country, thanks. - J.W.R.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

In a recent post, Harry T. mentioned that "Fido" will be competing with humans for food should we return to a hunter-gatherer schema. He is absolutely correct in addressing the newly-wild domestic dog as a threat. I have been treed twice in my life by life-threatening critters. Once was by a huge wild hog while I was fly-fishing on the North Carolina-Tennessee line. Apparently I entered his domain and he felt I was a threat to be dealt with. I've encountered bears and rattlesnakes who were far less aggressive than that tusker. The other time I had to climb a tree to avoid being eaten (or at least bitten) was when a pack of feral dogs chased me in the mountains of eastern Tennessee.

These were dogs who had apparently been dropped in the mountains by their owners. Some of them still had collars. They were a mixed bag -- one beagle, a few mutts, an Australian shepherd, and some sort of Doberman cross, among others. There were about 10 in the pack. They pulled a sneak attack, rushing me in mid-day while I was hiking. I was only a teenager, about 16 years old. I was carrying a pocket knife, but no other weapons. I went up a smallish Sassafras [tree], climbing about 15 feet up a tree that was only about four inches in diameter. Once there, I had no recourse until the dogs got tired of circling the tree and waiting for their dinner to fall. The only warning I had of the threat was the beagle: Fortunately, he bugled as the pack was approaching me. I love beagles -- They're single-minded and they make their intentions very clear.

After about 20 minutes, the dogs began fighting among themselves, then wandered off. The Australian shepherd was the last to leave. He was the only one that didn't make any noise. Just patiently waited. I don't know if he had been more recently abandoned than the others and wanted to make a friend, or if he was simply more patient. Herding instincts and whatnot. Long story short: I got out of the situation with nothing more than a scarred boot where the Doberman caught me while I was climbing. But that incident caused me to grow a new set of eyes (and ears) for potential threats. - J.D.C. in Mississippi

Friday, July 26, 2013

I appreciate what Havoc had to say.  As I read survival fiction I often find myself thinking that the authors are being optimistic about the situations they write about.  I couch that with my own understanding that if the authors were to write the stories as I fear they will play out then no one would want to read those stories.  Reality can be ugly.

I think Havoc does well to mention the four horsemen, and it is worth noting that the rider of the pale horse (Revelation 6:7-8) is given authority to kill a fourth of mankind with sword, famine, pestilence and the beasts of the earth. In survival fiction there's plenty of emphasis on the sword and famine, but not much on pestilence and the beasts of the earth.

Pestilence already has a history of shaping our world.  From the plagues in Europe to the smallpox outbreaks among native American Indians we already have strong, documented examples of what pestilence can do to a given population.  It certainly should have a place in our concerns for the future.

The beasts of the earth have plenty of potential for concern too.  What Havoc suggests about dogs is valid.  I have firsthand experience dealing with domestic dogs turned pack hunters.  City folks think it gives Fido a better chance if they drop him off in the backcountry rather than at animal control, but they aren't considering the impact their choice has on those who live in the backcountry.

Fido has to eat, and he has a stomach which will remind him of this just as well as yours or mine.  Fido also has a fine set of teeth, keen ears and an exceptional nose.  With his appetite to urge him on, Fido is going to put these tools to work, and kibble doesn't grow in the wild.  Nor will the folks who dropped Fido off return every couple of weeks to drop off a bag of kibble. No.  Fido is going to revert back to his ancestral heritage as a hunter.  He will get by on some of what comes his way, and eventually he will meet up with more of his kind and they will form a pack.  A pack has a bigger appetite and requires bigger game.  Before you know it the pack is taking down livestock.  Been there. Done that.  I've shot Fido and his friends.

That was in a properly functioning, civilized world.  Add a cataclysmic failure to the picture and things aren't going work out so nicely.

The numbers from the Humane Society say that 46% of U.S. households own at least one dog and there are 78.2 million dogs owned.  There are 3,500 animal shelters taking in 6 to 8 million dogs and cats each year (no separate numbers for just dogs).  Consider what happens if the rider of the pale horse takes out a quarter of the population. What are you going to do about 20 million homeless Fidos?

You thought you were going to subsist by going out into the woods and hunting Bambi and Thumper?  Good luck.  Fido's on the same quest.  Every deer and rabbit you get is one less for him.  And every one he gets is one less for you.  No longer will he be your best friend.  And I don't think it will be long before he is hunting you.  How's your aim at about 24" off the ground and a fast approaching target?  How about several of them at once? Working on hogs in Texas might be good practice.

Of course it won't just be Fido.  If man starts to put more pressure on the game in the woods then every other carnivore is going to notice the impact.  And every last one of them has a better nose, better ears and sharper teeth than your or me. They have faster reflexes, superior protection from the elements and are generally better at moving through the woods quietly.  The refugee who decides he would rather sleep in the woods than run the risk of entering a small town is not evading risk.  The only advantage to the beasts of the field is that they are not likely to abuse or torture you before they kill you.

I expect this will be an issue even for those with the perfect retreat situation. Those who are set up for long term self sufficiency will still be impacted by the animals which have found their fare reduced.  Livestock will be difficult to protect, and if predators acquire a taste for people, look out.  We currently enjoy a world in which the animals fear us.  Take that fear away and we are at a substantial disadvantage. - Harry T.

JWR Replies: Your points are well-taken. All the more reason to get lots of firearms training and to learn how to set snares!

In the long term, there might also be a risk posed by wolves and perhaps even wolf-dog hybrids, as packs of wild wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains gradually spread out to the south, east, and farther west. In the event that the feral dog population jumps, some degree of uncontrolled interbreeding will become inevitable. It is also notable that intentional wolf hybrids are already fairly common, with at least 300,000 estimated kept as pets, and climbing. (For that matter, how about Tigers? There are 4,000 privately-owned tigers in Texas, alone. How many of those might someday be set loose?)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'd like to discuss some planning concerns for when the world really starts to unravel that you might have overlooked:

Quite a few authors write about situations which probably only constitute a partial collapse of society as we know it. Such situations include those where there still exists some semblance of trade or even transportation of some goods. Perhaps some vestige of government is even functioning. What if a disaster happens and we are left with even less than that.

At the risk of being criticized for being too much of a pessimist, I would suggest that a thoughtful prepper should consider planning to survive a really serious collapse of society. (TEOTWAWKI.)

First of all, without the constant assistance of society and a modern economy, most of the people in the world would die; after making a desperate effort to hold onto life  . This is not news to many but some of the ramifications of this might be. The untreated human waste caused by the unprepared  is an obvious problem. Feces carries disease and the lowly fly is a prolific carrier of many these serious diseases. Flies also like carrion and an unburied carcass is a health hazard too .  I am not a biologist but a simple study of the reproduction rate of house flies and a prediction of the biomass available to post-SHTF flies shows a good possibility of clouds of voracious flies settling on any potential food source, at least until the supply of available food drops to support a sustainable number of these pests. Luckily, the fly’s range is limited.  Certain areas may have an increase in the mosquito population and those insects are a vector for other diseases.  I would suggest fly masks for animals, bug suits for all individuals in the group and insecticide as well as plenty of bug screen for your structures, should not be overlooked. I believe fly repellent collars can be purchased for dogs.  Populations of other animals could become a threat as well. There is the already written about concern with packs of feral dogs . Could there be a potential threat to your bee hive(s) ? If you are keeping or sheltering bees to help with your crop pollination and provide honey, they may need to be protected and even fed over a particularly lengthy cold period.  Perhaps you have food storage that could be protected from rodents by a cat. Local animal predators , emboldened perhaps by reduced hunting and more scarce prey , could become a more substantial threat to livestock.  I would suggest that traditional means for dealing with some of these threats should be considered.   Use your judgment and knowledge about your area to discern other potential biological threats to your retreat which may not be obvious to the casual thinker.

Likewise, one sometimes reads how prepper groups might post a member outside the retreat to discourage refugees or potential attackers by acting sick or insane on the approach to the retreat. Won’t this just advertise that a person with these disabilities can somehow survive in this area; this at a time when groups of healthy and sane people are desperately looting anyone and anything they can find just to survive ?  What if your human scarecrow  is captured ? I would submit that hostage taking is an ancient practice that still goes on in much of the world today and care should be taken to avoid , or at least reduce ,this serious threat. 

If you are presented with enemies in a collapse situation, they are likely to be more desperate than most of us can imagine but clever and creative. In a really serious collapse, they are also likely to be ruthless. Without going into extensive detail, a study of raiding in more primitive societies should go a long way to assessing and preparing for  the general threat to any given group at a particular location. The notion that , in a serious collapse situation, simply defeating a raiding party  will stop the threat, even from that group, may be naive. Unless the particular threat to your retreat is seriously degraded, you are likely to have continued conflict from local raiders. When they are repulsed by you, where will they go to regroup ? Proximity to other people in your area must be  factored into your defense plan.  You might consider some flexibility in your defense plan to include some of your neighbors , if that is what your immediate area warrants. With some help they could contribute to the security of your area. In any event, you must deny any  foe a convenient base of operation if not a ready supply of hostages , forced labor or supplies.   For that matter, if you have the means, you might even consider stockpiling a few supplies for some of your neighbors now, or set your food production up to yield a sizeable surplus for this purpose. Relief from fundamental want may  be appreciated by your neighbors and foster cooperation among like- minded people . Necessity will encourage cooperation but a prepared group can not count on having neighbors that are equally ready for a collapse of society. Of course, especially with local interaction ,care must be taken to maintain (and periodically change) your code system and keep the essential aspects of your retreat security confidential. You may even wish to include some deception in the circumstances surrounding your charity and local support so information gained from these interactions is not exploited against you or your group at a later time.   The level of local cooperation you should participate in is a matter that will demand shrewdness and a discerning mind.

The often lamented lack of personal responsibility that exists in our society has not generally helped us select the most talented or principled  leadership. After the crisis passes, it may not be a just and competent leadership that emerges.  Incompetent leadership is nothing new to the human species, but there will be little, if any room for error in these potentially dire circumstances. I would suggest that a simple rule should be followed.. Position yourself so that you are not forced to suffer the consequences of another person’s mistakes. Little reminder need be mentioned about protecting independence. Perhaps a combination of usefulness to the community and strong security may help to protect your individual independence and the independence of your group. Also, if you are a good leader you may be exposed to danger so you might want to consider leadership succession in case something unfortunate happens. Likewise, cross training your group in your available skill sets is wise.

Remember, in a serious collapse you may be faced with an enemy that is altogether willing to accept casualties and the value most of us  now place on human life may quickly evaporate. It bears mentioning that there are large numbers of veterans with combat experience and it is possible that at least a few of them will end up arrayed against you and your group. It is worth noting that a small number of preppers think that stealing private property in these circumstances is only justifiable foraging.  Plan and train accordingly. 

 Spiritual guidance will be particularly helpful in maintaining the right balance of  independence and cooperation. When the crisis subsides, the threats to personal independence and safety may change. Reconstituting society after a catastrophic event will likely contain its own problems and there is no reason to believe evil will not be present then. 

A few survival scenarios entail an extended winter. (Such as nuclear winter, supervolcano eruption, asteroid strike etc. ) These possibilities are particularly challenging . The four horsemen of the apocalypse, war, famine, disease, and pestilence are thought to come together ; one tending to bring the others. This has often been true historically and there is no reason to discount that possibility in a survival situation. A year without summer would cause severe world wide food shortages and a longer cold period would cause extensive famine and conflict in many places in the world. Laying in a supply of food for people and animals to last through such a time is a daunting task.

It is worthy of the effort of anyone who believes that such a calamity  is more than possible.  Along with those items, cold weather gear, snow shoes, skis and sleds, as well as an extended supply of fire wood would be advised.. Such a winter could be worse than anything seen by modern humans and cause a complete break down of human society. It could be so catastrophic that the risk of large scale raiding is reduced because such groups would not be able to keep fighters in the field in such harsh conditions . Some regions have hunters who are well versed in field craft. Snipers are dangerous; take steps to deal with that threat.  Beware of smaller groups that can operate in such adverse conditions and be able to match their ability to move and fight in a frigid environment.

In these conflict situations you have the advantage of being able to prepare your ground. Map out avenues of approach to your defended area and be careful not to ignore anything that could overlook your location or provide an attacker with cover. Deny any potential enemy the use of these tactical  areas , if at all possible.  The advantage of surprise has been sought by armies from the earliest recorded time. Surprising a would be attacker will damage enemy morale. Take steps to reduce a possible marauder numerical advantage. Exhausting and harassing enemy movement is useful if you have the means to accomplish this with some degree of safety. Do not ignore intelligence gathering measures. Take steps to identify friend from foe. Include steps to identify neighbor from foe. You may not be the only self reliant group trying to defend itself in your locality.  If possible, engage would be attackers away from your retreat. You may even need the capability of pursuing a defeated foe to discourage subsequent incursions by the same or a related enemy.  There is no substitute for knowing your area intimately.

Your enemy may need to forage for food and supplies and that is a weakness that can be exploited. You may be able to starve him out of your area or he may have to divide his forces to canvass your area thoroughly and thereby give you the opportunity to defeat parts of his divided force. Traditionally raiders were slowed  when they  weighed themselves down with booty. This presents opportunity for ambush.  Defeat can be a learning  experience so be careful not to try the same tactic twice on a surviving enemy force.  

The best plan would include provision for later in the aftermath of disaster. After the thaw, watch out for the flies.

Dear James:
It occurred to me while training kids on water safety, that some of the most basic elements of surviving everyday life are perhaps neglected by many of us while focusing on worst case scenarios.  We can be so wrapped up in getting through TEOTWAWKI that we neglect first surviving to TEOTWAWKI.

It doesn't do any good to be fully prepped for TEOTWAWKI if you, or a loved one, dies in the meantime from one of the statistically most likely causes of death - namely disease and accidents.

By the numbers, if you are younger an auto accident may be your biggest threat.  If you are older likely a debilitating disease that is dependent to a large extent on your health and wellness lifestyle choices.

To kick off the conversation:
• ROAD SAFETY::   Do you (and your kids) know how to swim well enough to survive an accidental immersion into cold, rough water?
• FIREARMS SAFETY:  Can you (and your kids) recite the 4 rules of firearms safety, backwards and forwards.  Do you insist your shooting buddies keep the same high standard?
• HEALTH:   Is your weight within 10% of ideal?
• Do you refrain from smoking?
• Have you minimized toxic foods in your diet (GMO corn and soy, aspartame, MSG, etc.)  
• Do you pay attention to taking in nutrient dense foods versus empty (or toxic) calories?
• Do you pay attention to keeping  your immune system strong through diet, exercise and nutritional supplementation?

The "bonus" here is that all of these mundane health and safety fundamentals needed to survive likely causes of death  pre-TEOTWAWKI,  would be even more critical post-TEOTWAWKI.

Just like in wars - and likely in many forms of disaster - it's not the actual conflict or disaster that kills but the accidents and disease that result from it.   Historically disease and starvation are bigger killers in wartime than is enemy fire.   In the first Gulf War, there were more US deaths from vehicle accidents than there were to enemy fire.

Regards, - OSOM

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning those important points and keying them to the ground truth of the statistical list of the most likely causes of death. It does indeed make sense to employ an actuarial perspective of the world.

It is noteworthy that "Violence" rates just 0.98% of deaths, but in the event of a widespread disaster, war, or revolt, that figure can quickly jump into double digits. And a similar jump for "Infectious and parasitic diseases" (normally 23.04%) and many other other listed lethal diseases--most notably diarrhea, which is normally 3.15%--in the event of a pandemic. Ditto for "Drowning", which is normally 0.67%, but that risk of course multiplies greatly in a flood or tsunami. (Does everyone in you family know how to swim?) These are a few of the reasons why SurvivalBlog is so popular: Wise people realize that the world around us can change very quickly, and we need to prepare for those events.

In looking at the list of most likely causes of death, which all start with two digits, one digit, or even with just a decimal point, most people skip by pondering the big number at the top, the only one with three digits--the one that reads: 100% (All causes.) To me, that is the truly sobering number. Let's face it: We are all going to die (barring the fulfillment Mark 13:26 in our lifetimes) and the human lifespan is pitifully short compared to that of a Sequoia tree. So to my mind the far larger questions are:

1.) Are you right with Christ, so that you are fully assured of your final destination? (There are just two, Heaven or Hell, where we will spend eternity.)
2.) Are you sharing the Gospel with your children, and others?
3.) What legacy are you passing on to future generations? How will you be remembered? Are you helping to improve the world, or just taking, using and abusing? Are you putting your descendants in a better position to survive, thrive, and live long and happy lives? Are you writing and publishing words and music (or creating art, architecture, films, software, or other lasting legacies) that are helpful, positive, and edifying or that are degenerate?Are you truthful, fair, and forthright in all of your public dealings?
4.) Are you raising children who are content, polite, and helpful, or are they foul-mouthed, grossly pierced, heavily tattooed, addicted, and lost?

I must also note that taking this long view of life can radically reduce your risk of suicide. (Which, according to the stats, is normally 1.53% of deaths.) Just last week I heard about the suicide of an anesthesiologist in the American Redoubt. Although he was an accomplished prepper and he made a very good living, he was not in Christian fellowship and had developed a drinking problem. His experience should be a warning to all of us.

It is not my intent to sound preachy, but that is where I stand. Think about it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

You may have heard about the BHO administration regime's expanded “Insider Threat Program," which amplifies Executive Order 13587, published back in 2011. After a brief flurry of media attention earlier this month, this has been thoroughly soft-pedaled. ("Nothing to see here, move along.") But these new policies have been laid down and the penalties for noncompliance have been established. Without an act of Congress, these policies are now effective. Rather than re-hash the details, I will quote the first part of a well-written McClatchy News Service article:

"In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

Obama mandated the program in an October 2011 executive order after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and gave them to WikiLeaks, the anti-government secrecy group. The order covers virtually every federal department and agency, including the Peace Corps, the Department of Education and others not directly involved in national security.

Under the program, which is being implemented with little public attention, security investigations can be launched when government employees showing “indicators of insider threat behavior” are reported by co-workers, according to previously undisclosed administration documents obtained by McClatchy. Investigations also can be triggered when “suspicious user behavior” is detected by computer network monitoring and reported to “insider threat personnel.”

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors – like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel – of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do “harm to the United States.” Managers of special insider threat offices will have “regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access” to employees’ personnel, payroll, disciplinary and “personal contact” files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms.

Over the years, numerous studies of public and private workers who’ve been caught spying, leaking classified information, stealing corporate secrets or engaging in sabotage have identified psychological profiles that could offer clues to possible threats. Administration officials want government workers trained to look for such indicators and report them so the next violation can be stopped before it happens.

“In past espionage cases, we find people saw things that may have helped identify a spy, but never reported it,” said Gene Barlow, a spokesman for the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, which oversees government efforts to detect threats like spies and computer hackers and is helping implement the Insider Threat Program. “That is why the awareness effort of the program is to teach people not only what types of activity to report, but how to report it and why it is so important to report it.”

But even the government’s top scientific advisers have questioned these techniques. Those experts say that trying to predict future acts through behavioral monitoring is unproven and could result in illegal ethnic and racial profiling and privacy violations.

“There is no consensus in the relevant scientific community nor on the committee regarding whether any behavioral surveillance or physiological monitoring techniques are ready for use at all,” concluded a 2008 National Research Council report on detecting terrorists.

“Doing something similar about predicting future leakers seems even more speculative,” Stephen Fienberg, a professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a member of the committee that wrote the report, told McClatchy.

The emphasis on individual lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors comes at a time when growing numbers of Americans must submit to extensive background checks, polygraph tests and security investigations to be hired or to keep government or federal contracting jobs. The U.S. government is one of the world’s largest employers, overseeing an ever-expanding ocean of information.

While the Insider Threat Program mandates that the nearly 5 million federal workers and contractors with clearances undergo training in recognizing suspicious behavior indicators, it allows individual departments and agencies to extend the requirement to their entire workforces, something the Army already has done.

Training should address “current and potential threats in the work and personal environment” and focus on “the importance of detecting potential insider threats by cleared employees and reporting suspected activity to insider threat personnel and other designated officials,” says one of the documents obtained by McClatchy..."

This employee snitch policy for the Federal government is intent on making all government employees spy upon one another, like loyal communist East Germans before 1989. Das ist die neu Stasi. Failure to report someone suspicious is now grounds for termination or for release from a contract. And we aren't just talking about people who are read-on for SCI here. We are talking about all Federal employees.

With this new policy, the byword appears to have been changed to: "If you see something, say something, or else!"

It is important to note that "Misprison of a Serious Offense" has been included in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for many years. Article 134 (the "catch all" general article, that comes right after "conduct unbecoming an officer") says in part that if a sworn member of the U.S. armed forces knows of the commission of a serious crime and fails to report it, then they themselves may be held criminally liable. But it is grossly over-reaching to institute a similar policy without consent of congress, upon GS-series employees and outside contractors who are not sworn defenders of the nation, and who did not consent to this level of intrusiveness as a precondition of their employment. I predict that this policy will not survive judicial scrutiny.

Now all of this is not to say that someone in a position of "special trust and confidence" shouldn't beware of suspicious contacts by foreigners. (And FWIW, I had my own brush with this, when I was read on for SCI, and I reported it, just as I had been instructed.) But this new policy is downright paranoid, and is more about CYA for Team Obama than it is about protecting classified information from genuine hostile intelligence threats. I should also mention that I believe that Edward Snowden's initial revelations about PRISM and Upstream was justified for the public interest, although he should have refrained from releasing SCI codeword acronyms, in the process. (The code words themselves are classified. Publishing them was not necessary, since they could have easily been redacted.)

By setting this standard, President Bolt Hold Open is now effectively militarizing the entire Federal Government, by absurdly setting the bar at the Article 134 level for every employee. Think about it. This means: Every IRS paper pusher. Every USDA soil tester. Every Corps of Engineers bulldozer driver. Every Peace Corps volunteer. Every Forest Service contract tree planter. Every janitor in a Federal building. This all fits with BHO's unremitting push toward statism--toward the goal of placing the national government in the rightful sphere recognized as belonging to God: omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. George Orwell only had a glimpse of what was to come.

The mere knowledge of the commission of a crime cannot be considered a crime in and of itself. (The rarely used Federal statute on Misprision of a Felony, codified in 1910, only includes actively concealing a felony, not just mere knowledge.) But BHO & Company has effectively expanded the Article 134 level of scrutiny from sworn members of the armed forces to now include all Federal employees and contractors. The news stories make reference to "criminal charges" for Federal employees who fail to report suspicious behavior. But since the Executive branch cannot write laws--only enforce them--how could they create a new category of law that has criminal penalties? The short answer is: They can't. But by cleverly mixing fact and hyperbole in their public statements, they are apparently hoping to buffalo their employees into becoming informants. But the fact is, unless the law changes--and only Congress can do that--then the only Federal employees who can be charged with misprision for anything other than actively concealing a felony are those who are under the jurisdiction of the UCMJ. (Parenthetically, in 2007 civilian contractors who work in combat zones were quietly added to UCMJ jurisdiction, by an act of Congress.)

How long will it be until they try to force this on the entire citizenry? Or are they just hoping to entice us into informing on our neighbors, making us all supergrassers? Since they are all already encouraging the citizenry with the glib: "If you see something, say something" line, then I suspect that it probably won't be very long. And if they make not snitching a crime for everyone, then they'll have to build a lot of new prisons. (They could be called misprison prisons.) And they'll need huge warehouses with miles of file folder shelves and huge server farms for all of the reports from their informants and digital recordings of conversations.

We are living in perilous times. BHO and Eric Holder would probably love to see our society go Full Stasi. Don't let them succeed.

As I've summarized before: We are living in the age of deception and betrayal. Beware. Be politically active. Let your congresscritters feel the heat, so that they will see the light. Be vocal, but do so about the right things. Pray for the wisdom and discernment to know when to remain silent. Don't become a tool of the statists. - J.W.R.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Regarding the article on debt collection, I would recommend these web sites which give some advice on how to deal with debt collectors:
There are consumer protection laws that prohibit offensive behavior on the part of debt collectors.  These sites explain how to use them.
I recognize you may not agree with these site's positions, but, just as the debt collector who wrote in says, good people sometimes get into bad situations.  And, sometimes, if your state's exemptions are too low, bankruptcy is not an option.  So, yes, I consider fighting debt collectors part of survivalism. - N.B.M.

JWR Replies: Of course, avoiding all this from the start...

Mr. Rawles;
In response to N.B.M.'s response to the "How Consumer Debt Collection Works" articles, I must chime in and state that the sites he recommends all encourage the use of loopholes and quirks in the law to, essentially, steal from folks. You borrowed it, the right thing to do is pay it back. We cannot, as Christians and freedom loving people, complain about the national debt, massive bailouts, and the wholesale manipulation of the (no longer) free markets, whilst we all search to shirk our own obligations. That is hypocrisy. Stealing is stealing, whether it takes place on Wall Street or Your Street.

Regards, - Jason in Kansas

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

While discussing the potential for a gun ban in the United States I realized that the pro-gun-ban people genuinely believe that banning guns will save lives. In an attempt to facilitate debate I discovered that getting down to the numbers helps discover where their math is different from the pro-gun position, it is these points we can focus on to help them see the light. I put this sequence of equations on a spreadsheet but you can talk someone through them without one. For each value get the person you are speaking to, to give you their value. I've using example numbers with a typical anti-gun leaning.

A: Population: That's an easy one, about 311,000,000.

B: Number of people killed with guns in America each year, I don't have exact figures for this but it's about 6,500. [JWR Adds: According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, the actual figure was around 11,100 in 2011, and has been in decline since 1993.]

C: The percentage of people who would be saved if guns were banned, lets say 50%. (Clearly it's not 100%, since illegal guns would still be used, while pro-gun people may claim that the number would actually increase, lets not waste our time on this point just now.)

D: The number of additional people who would be killed because criminals would become bolder with less to fear from disarmed victims and would-be-victims who today can defend themselves who would be helpless once disarmed, lets say 200.

So, the total killed with easy access to guns = B (6,500) Total killed without easy access to guns = B*C+D (3,450). Pro-gun people typically get bogged down at this point debating these figures, but they are only one piece of the story and it's a small piece. Agree to disagree and move on, say something like "While I disagree with those figures let's accept them for now and move on." What about government-driven Genocide events against their own people? These occur very infrequently, but when they do the loss of life is often in the millions. The problem is they are very hard to calculate and most anti-gun people put the chances at zero. This is where the pro-gun argument clearly defeats the anti-gun argument it's here we want to spend our time opening the mind of the the anti-gun people. Estimating the probability of a genocidal event initiated by the US government and the resultant loss of life is very hard so let's look at the world average for the 20th Century:

E: Average population of the world during the 20th Century. Obviously this varied but let's say that the populated started about 5,000 Million and ended about 7,000 Million. So the average is about 6,000 Million.

F: Number of people killed by their own governments in genocidal actions during the 20th Century: 170 Million. (You can find evidence to back this number up pretty easily just by a quick web search)

G: Number of people killed by their own governments as a yearly average during the 20th Century = F/100 = 1.7 Million

H: Probability of a person being killed per year by their own governments as a yearly average during the 20th Century = G/E = 1.7M/6000M = 0.000283

I: Average number of Americans killed per year by their own government in genocidal actions = H * A = 88,116 That is roughly 88,000 Americans would die on average each year if the American government were capable of and intent upon taking some form of genocidal action against the American people. Of course it wouldn't be 88,000 each and every year, it's more likely to be 200 times this number once every 200 years or something similar but we're dealing with averages here. Now the anti-gun people will typically walk right into you logical arms by pointing out that America is not a 'typical world country', it's existed longer than 200 years without a Genocidal event. (Let's not get into discussing some of the things Americans did to the aboriginal ("First Nation") people some of which look very like genocide). "A genocidal event is less likely to happen in America", they will cry. Is it? Why is that? Oh yes, it's because the 2nd Amendment allows the population to be armed to discourage any such attempt!

J: The probability that a Genocidal event would be attempted given an armed population: Let's say 25%? It could happen but it's a lot less likely.

K: The percentage loss of life if a Genocidal event were to be tried against an armed population versus an unarmed population, certainly people would still die but it's probably going to be fewer people because the people will be able to defend themselves. Even if it's only by being able to lay down covering fire while they flee. Let's be 'generous' to the anti-gun people and say no fewer than 80%.

So looking at Genocidal events we have Without guns: = I = 88,116 people / year With guns = I * J * K = 88,116 * 0.25 * 0.8 = 17,623 people / year

Totals so far: Losses of life with an Armed population per year: 6,500 + 17,623 = 24,234 Losses of life with an unarmed population per year: 3.450 + 88,116 = 91,566. We can stop here and try and let those numbers sink in. An Anti-gun America doesn't save 3,050 lives a year (6,500 - 3,450). Long term, on average, it would cost 67,443 lives a year (91,566 - 24,123).

Or if you want to hammer things home you can do similar estimations based on loss of life from any external country attempting to invade America. Once again an America with an armed civilian population is less likely to be attacked and the losses will be smaller as the population can defend (or worst case lay down cover for a retreat) versus an unarmed population who are ripe for slaughter.

Also you can point out that the 1.7 Million people killed by genocidal events per year by their governments in the 20th Century is an average across the whole world. If you look at the events behind these figures in detail you see that by far the majority of these were killed after government disarmed the people. Thus logically these killings are less likely to happen to an armed population and more likely to happen to an unarmed population.

We reduced the value above (factor J) for an armed population but we didn't increase it for an unarmed one (I). Without knowing what percentage of the world population were armed versus disarmed across the 20th Century we can't really include this in our calculations but we can be confident that the average of 88,116 deaths per year for a population the size of America is a very conservative figure, it's probably well over 100,000.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dear Jim,
I'm hoping that you will help me get the word out nationwide on this:

As many celebrate the passage of Concealed Carry in Illinois it comes with a very heavy price. Municipalities have 10 days from the law's enactment to pass their own "Assault Weapons" bans. Many of us in the suburbs of Chicago will face a choice in 90 days to move our weapons somewhere else, render them permanently inoperable or turn them over to the police. Lets call it what it is, Confiscation!

No grandfathering, straight up outlawing of previously lawfully owned rifles and standard capacity magazines. It doesn't spell out that they are going to come kick in our doors but it certainly makes it a possibility.

Please withhold publishing my name I have not decided what my course of action will be. The crooks who run Illinois are dishonorable and tyrannical and I very much fear for my safety as I exercise my 1st Amendment right while trying to do some small thing to try and save our rights under both the Second and Fourteenth amendments and for good measure I'm sure they will violate a couple more amendments along the way!

Thanks! - Fearful in Illinois

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mr Rawles,
I recently read a letter on your website that concerned and disturbed me.  A reader was asking for advice on what to do when they lost their right to self defense when they were traveling to California and how to bring their firearms to the state when visiting.  The issues I take with the e-mail and hope to help the reader understand are that you never lose your right to self defense, no matter where in the world you travel.  Self defense is an inherent right that can be taken from us by no one.  Secondly, self defense does not begin at the end of a pistol, self defense begins in your mind and the attitude you must have when you are prepared to defend yourself and the things you have chosen to defend. 

I happen to live in California and know full well the multitude of laws related to gun control which also happen to vary by location as well.  However, these laws cannot prevent anyone from defending themselves.  While there are agricultural check points upon arrival into California that you can get caught bringing "illegal" firearms into the state, the chances of these laws effecting anyone while traveling through our massive state are very slim.  I'm not saying that your readers should break the law and take chances but I'm also saying that one of the state's biggest commercial crops is marijuana, which is still illegal to grow commercially.  The chances of one of the laws effecting a short term traveler are very slim.  Any time you must travel to any location, you must be aware of this issue and bringing your firearms while traveling is always a dangerous proposition.  

The question therein lies with how do you defend yourself and while I know this has been addressed before, self defense begins way before anyone pulls a trigger.  Self defense is about alertness and an attitude to be ready for events as they unfold.  Being alert and knowing your surroundings can help people avoid bad situations far more than having a gun in a holster.  While I have the benefit of years of hand to hand combat training, anyone who has not would probably feel much more comfortable traveling through life having undergone the self defense training and mental preparedness to gain confidence that you can successfully negotiate any situation that may arise.  Even if you feel you are incapable of self defense via the hand to hand method, there are many methods of self defense that you can rely on prior to needing a gun.  I have always looked to my tools that I can always easily travel with to provide an additional level of security including chef's knives, small camping axes and other items that can have an easily explainable purpose to customs officials or the local police. 

Thanks for reading, - N. in California

JWR Replies: As I once mentioned in the blog, carrying dual purpose tools is all about context. Be sure to research your state and local laws--including fish and game laws--before carrying any dual use weapons. Some of the Nanny State jurisdictions now have laws on the books that have made their use, and in some cases even mere possession, illegal. The context in which they are seen by authorities is often crucial in justifying the legal possession of weapons or dual use items. A spear gun by itself in the trunk of your car would probably be seen as a "weapon", but one that I stowed in a dive bag, along with a mask, snorkel, fins, diving flag, a current fishing license, and a copy of the current year's fishing regulations would be seen as innocuous. Ditto for a baseball bat, that by itself could be misconstrued as a weapon. But if stowed in a dufflebag bag along with balls, gloves, and a batting helmet would look quite different. A flare gun by itself in the glove box of your car would be viewed as a major no-no in many jurisdictions, but one that is stowed in a box or bag in your car trunk along with an air horn, nautical charts, current tide tables, and a GPS receiver could easily be explained.

And then of course there are road flares, which require no explanation to carry in a vehicle. A lit 15-minute road flare can be quite intimidating.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Captain Rawles,
I have to go to the Socialist Republic of Kalifornia later this week to rescue my sister and her husband (helping them move household goods) and in doing so must surrender my right to be able to defend myself due to their draconian gun laws.  Living in Utah I know that my permit is recognized only as far as the Nevada border, but I can transport and possess my Model 1911 albeit in a separate locked container from the corresponding ammunition.  I was wondering what advice or opinions you could offer as I leave on this little trek.  Any input would be very much appreciated.
Respectfully, - Brad M.

JWR Replies: I can sympathize with you, since I still have a few relatives in California. Parenthetically, my Rawles ancestors came to California via covered wagon in the 1850s. I also have two relatives by marriage who were participants in the Bear Flag Revolt. (Henry Beeson of Boonville and William B. Elliott of Geyserville. The red stripe on the original Bear Flag was some red flannel that had been purchased to make new underwear for William Elliott and a new petticoat for his wife.) If these pioneers were to witness California's current web of draconian laws, they wouldn't just chafe--they'd start another revolt!

Getting back to the 21st Century: Under California's absurd laws, by most common interpretations you can transport a gun into the state only if you have a target shooting session or hunting trip planned. You need to be able to document that planned event--whether or not it ever takes place. (A printout-out of an e-mail exchange between you and yours relatives discussing that shooting session should suffice.) But then, once you are in California you would only be able to have the gun loaded while you are target shooting or hunting, or perhaps while you are inside your sister's house. (I'm not an attorney, so don't quote me on that.) Furthermore, even though it must be unloaded and the ammunition in a separate locked compartment of your vehicle, you would not be able to carry your unloaded pistol on any "in and around" trips while you are in California. That would only be allowable when traveling to or from the shooting range, or of course on your final trip out of the state.

Oh, and FYI, though it is not applicable in your case, if you were to stay in California, the pistol would have to be registered by mail within 60 days.)

I urge all of my readers in California to vote with their feet and move out of that doomed Mickey Mouse state! (I say doomed because the political remedies and recourses have been exhausted. The leftist-statists are too deeply entrenched and they have a solid multigenerational voting bloc. It is time to bail!)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Editor’s Note: You have no doubt had your own set of issues dealing with friends and family members that simply don’t see the writing on the wall. The following article may serve to assist you in convincing those who simply don’t know, don’t want to know, don’t care, or have never even thought to contemplate. Some of the scenarios outlined below may be frightening, as they should be, because when it hits the fan millions of people will be thrown into desperation with no hope of a solution. Be Informed provides a variety of point-by-point details that may (and hopefully will) convince the non-prepared individual to at least insulate themselves with the basic necessities. The consequences for not doing so, as you’ll see, are severe and often deadly.

I have become personally so disenchanted with the way people fail to prepare. People still don’t understand how important it is to put away. I have gotten into arguments over this and had cretins call me a fool because I put away food, water, and supplies. I thought about this and the frustration that other preppers have with this laid back idiotic attitude that there is no need for preparation. There are good people that just can’t/won’t start preparing. They have the money to do so, but just don’t want to. Many have only seen what happens to non-preppers on television, but it still doesn’t make an impact.

In this article I detail some hard core realities to show just how awful it will be for those that don’t prep. Every one of these scenarios is something that has occurred to the non-prepper throughout history. While strong images come to mind, the purpose is to jar some people out of their inaction and into action before it is too late.

Preppers are good people and care much about those around them, and unless something does jar those around them that choose not to prep, their own survival chances could be reduced. For every bit of food, water, ammunition, or supplies you sacrifice to the non-prepper, the fewer irreplaceable supplies are left for you and your family in a crisis situation. It is hoped that the following can help certain people put into true perspective just how horrific it will be for those that don’t prepare.

Here are the awful consequences for those refusing to prepare.

As the world continues to decay at multiple facets, the common person has and continues to be lulled into a sense that everything is improving and will continue to for the distant future. After all, to them unemployment has peaked out and will drop until everyone that wants to work will easily be able to find good paying work, North Korea is no threat because all their long range “bottle rockets” fizz out, sanctions will eventually make Iran give up their nuclear program, oil prices will start going down after June or so, Europe will bail out Greece and Spain and everyone else, and U.S. debt will eventually come under control.

After 2012 everyone that has prepared themselves will go back to more “sensible” lives. “Good times are coming”, baseball season is here, let’s get back to watching some more crackerjack news.

It is amazing how people become good conversationalists with most others discussing all the gossip related news, while becoming mentally tranquilized into a totally deceptive state of denial of truly dangerous issues of the times. It’s the blind leading the blind… right off the cliff.

Rather than dealing with harsh reality, people surround themselves with easy to digest material that can be talked about without directly influencing anyone’s lives. Meaningless chatter. Even for those unwilling to even think to prepare for a societal catastrophic event, there is also no desire to even face the extreme possibility of a sudden loss of one’s employment. A personal SHTF.

Look at some of the terrible personal pain experienced in America right now – and it hasn’t even hit the fan on a grand scale. Those people who have lived it up on credit, who failed to put much of anything away for a rainy day, who’ve lost their job, and who eventually lost their unemployment benefits are experiencing the first level of collapse. This is happening to millions of people in our own country, all around us, as we speak.

These Americans, who once enjoyed the luxuries that modern living had to offer, are now at their wits end, with very little hope for a return to their previous lives. They are no longer able to pay most or any of their bills. Many have to humiliatingly turn to others for help to pay for food, or worse, to obtain old, unhealthy and poor tasting food from locally funded food banks. Their credit cards are totally worthless. Many have been evicted from their homes and have uprooted their families to live either on the street, in tent cities, with relatives, or have been forced to live at homeless shelters, They’ve have had their vehicles repossessed, or simply can’t afford the gasoline anymore. Their living conditions often make it difficult, if not impossible, to look presentable for job interviews. For many, the life of stability they knew just a short while ago is gone, replaced with fear and a constant stress to the point of nervous breakdown.

A personal economic meltdown is confined to the individual or family, or at worst a few families. The human civilization remains intact and so do society’s safety nets.

With food assistance, rental assistance, homeless shelters, and family to turn to, even the most destitute are almost always able to find some sort of help – however menial.

It is no wonder with these known assistance programs, then, that people have forgotten or never thought to consider what happens IF and WHEN human civilization goes through a strong enough SHTF event. If that happens on a mass scale what happens to everyone that needs help that has not prepared ahead of time? What happens when governments are in such total disarray or destroyed altogether that they can’t help even if they wanted to?

The media and others have portrayed the good people that sacrifice much if not all “luxuries” of life to prepare themselves and their family and friends for extreme times, as Chicken Littles. Those who have made the choice to store up emergency food, water, and other necessities to avoid extreme life threatening risks, including suffering horribly during and after a widespread SHTF event, are laughed at and ridiculed often for “wasting” their lives on delusional paranoia.

But who is delusional? Those who see the signs around them and understand how vulnerable the system is, or those who believe that things never change, that politicians have their best interests at heart, and that if the worst happens the government will be there to provide everything they may need?

How many have considered the dire consequences of their failure to prepare in the event that the infrastructure and everything a country’s people depend on totally collapses?

The misery from long term unemployment and lack of money is like a walk in the park compared to the severe anguish and dangerous conditions that await those who have failed to prepare for the aftermath of a large scale cataclysm. The “minor” problems of unemployment that seem extremely major and painful to most today should serve as a wake up call to what life will be like when something much, much worse happens – when those proverbial safety nets are no longer there to catch us.

Many preppers have become deeply frustrated at those around them, especially those that truly mean something to them, because they simply refuse to put away anything at all for emergencies. The prepper is usually a person that cares a lot and it is often difficult for them to take a tough stance towards the people that they care about. However, unless someone changes the habits of those people that fail to get ready, decisions will need to be made, and they won’t be easy.

The choice of what the prepared prepper should do will boil down to either either adding these people to their own circle or survival group and reduce the group’s safety, supplies and self sufficiency, OR, they will have to let the non-prepper fend for themselves. This is a very personal choice, and each of us will need to decide based on our own morals, ethics and personal relationships.

As a last ditch effort, discussing the following scenarios with the non-prepper may help them understand what life will be like without what has sustained them so comfortably for so long.

This is the hard reality the non prepper needs to understand:

  • Without power the water company cannot get water to their faucets. Without water dehydration occurs within 24 hours. Dehydration causes much suffering before death.
  • Toilets in homes, unless they have an incineration toilet that still need power to work, don’t flush without water. Where will they go to the bathroom and then where will they dispose of human waste?
  • There will be no clean water available anywhere, especially in major cities, and they cannot live more than about three days without it.
  • Drinking dirty and polluted water will make them incredibly sick and accelerate the dehydration process.
  • Polluted water must be purified and that means having a good filter, bleach or other disinfectant, or fuel and something to bring water near a boil.
  • Understand just how fragile the power and the infrastructure is that pumps water to the public. A breakdown in our power infrastructure or a cyber attack against utility systems will render them useless.
  • A single event can rapidly lead to a cascade of other events that would certainly collapse almost, if not, everything. This is why major snow storms, hurricanes or solar events in the past have affected millions of people in an entire region all at once.
  • A single, seemingly unimportant event may become quite terrible as its repercussions spread; this can include a far and away disaster.
  • Understand that the economies of the world are so interwoven that when one major economy falls it affects everyone.
  • Not having any food in the house means that if the stores are emptied suddenly in a bad enough situation that there will be no food available for a long period of time afterward. Recent history during disasters around the world has shown that stores can literally be emptied in minutes.
  • Think about how totally horrible the feeling of being very hungry is and what circumstances would cause one to be desperate enough to eat anything.
  • ALL stores can be closed instantly under martial law.
  • Understand that you may not be able to purchase anything after it starts, especially with any credit cards.
  • Understand the complexity of food and water distribution; breaks in these chains can stop anything from getting to the people.
  • What life will be like if no toilet paper is stored?
  • Understand that without modern light sources--interior, exterior, and street lighting. Some nights will be pitch black, often with zero visibility. [JWR Adds: Driving conditions will be a lot like England during the WWII Blackout. There, traffic fatalities were higher in some months that than the bombing fatalities.]
  • There will be no communications, other than probably martial law type of instructions over the radio, that is if they have batteries for the radio.
  • Other than ham and shortwave radio, any information that is available will be sent out by the government as filtered propaganda that “they” want everyone to hear.
  • Without power consider what it will be like to not have any heat to stay warm, or air conditioned air to stay cooler – with no way of alleviating the situation.
  • Traveling will likely be by foot or bicycle, as their will be no fuel and roadways may be blocked.
  • Realize that any travel outside of the home or neighborhood will be extremely dangerous as anyone who moves becomes a target
  • Non preppers will be pushed way beyond their limit because of lack of supplies.
  • The non prepper must realize their government does not really care about them individually, that they are a mere number and help will likely not come from them.
  • They have to figure out somewhere to get food. This can mean wild plants which they must know how to identify as safe, or risk poisoning themselves.
  • They have to understand that when we refer to “having no food” it doesn’t mean not having the food they are used to enjoying, it means no food to eat at all.
  • They have to understand that if they are fortunate enough to have any running water, they will probably have to bathe in cold water for lack of stored fuel to heat water.
  • They have to realize that the very strange and totally unexpected is going to be all around them, made that much worse because of lack of any reliable self defense stores or skills.
  • They might have to remain on the run constantly because of looking for water and food.
  • They must understand that bad will be magnified magnitudes to living misery because of lack of food, water, and other necessary items that they took for granted for so long.

Okay, now comes the “truly ugly and unthinkable” life that most, if not all, people that have failed and refused to prepare themselves will deal with. Clear vivid visualization is key here for anyone that ho hums the idea of prepping.

What horrors they will likely face after a cave-in of their nation’s economy, war, geophysical upheaval, or whatever crisis is bad enough to disturb or stop their nation from working and functioning? There are plenty of very potential SHTF events that are simply awaiting a catalyst to trigger them.

  • The Non-Prepper (NP) has to realize right off the bat that 911 and other emergency calls in will be met with silence or some recording telling the caller not to panic.
  • The NP that has no reliable self defense that can stop an attacker, will not get help from public services, and will become a victim of rape, assault, torture, or murder.
  • The NP that has no reliable self defense and will not only be at the mercy of criminal elements, but also have to contend with many desperate animals, some with rabies.
  • The NP that has no food will either have to find food or be ready to beg for food or worse, like sacrificing their bodies or other horrible acts or things to get a bite of food.
  • The NP will have to go through the worst, most rancid conditions of garbage to just maybe find what they should have stored up.
  • The NP will go through panic and near if not total psychosis looking for any water source right before their bodies begin shutting down during advanced stages of dehydration.
  • The NP will go through unbearable mental trauma when their children and other people around them are crying, screaming, and suffering with intense hunger pains in their stomachs.
  • The NP will have to deal with the awful stench of rotting wastes from many sources because they have not taken the effort to even store up waste disposal plastic bags.
  • The NP will have disease and pathogens everywhere, not only because they have no trash disposal means, but because they haven’t prepared how to deal with trash and waste.
  • The NP will have to live in very primitive conditions after things around them deteriorate rapidly, because they have neglected putting away anything to make life more bearable.
  • The NP and those around them will likely develop all sorts of infective skin rashes from the lack of insight of storing up toilet paper. Imagine the smell for a moment.
  • The NP will have to handle biting insects and other vermin that will collect amongst the filth that will pile up. No pest control stored up along with no other supplies.
  • The NP will have no way of treating sickness certain to follow a SHTF event, no first aid and likely no training or knowledge about how to treat the ill on top of this.
  • The NP will have sick and dying people around them because of not being able to treat minor injuries. Didn’t even stock up on disinfectants. Unsanitary conditions lead to infection.
  • The NP and others around them will experience much grief as they watch helplessly as their family members literally die of starvation right in front of their eyes.
  • The NP won’t believe how desperate hunger drives them and those that mean everything to them to “trying” to eat food that taste so bad it gags them and comes back up.
  • The NP will likely have family and friends around them that have also not prepared committing suicide because they can’t take it any longer.
    The NP will witness some of those people around them lose any sense of civilized humanity in them and behave like wild animals after some time from lack of necessities.
  • The NP and family members, maybe friends also, will at some point end up barbecuing or eating raw the family dog, cat, bird, any pet dear to everyone for food.
  • The NP will likely get into physical fights with other family members over any scrap of food available as rational thoughts are lost to wanton hunger.
  • The NPs will eventually go out of any safety of their home looking for food and or water, become disorientated and lost, and die a hard death somewhere.
  • The NP that is “lucky” enough to find some government help will likely have to almost sell their soul, probably all their freedom, to get tiny rations – just enough to keep them alive.
  • The NP will see widespread violence and barbarism that will shock them to the core and will wish that they had purchased some form of firearm and stocked up on ammunition.
  • The NP had better get used to attempting to explain the children and other adults why they wasted all that money on gadgets and trinkets, and didn’t buy any emergency food and other supplies.
  • The NP, no matter how positive they are will drop quickly into depression and lose willpower as having nothing to hold on to does this, along with lack of any nutrition.
  • The NP will feel the worst guilt imaginable as they hear their family moaning in anguish from lack of anything to eat, knowing they could have done something to prepare.
  • The NP will most likely not see the rebuilding and recovery after A SHTF event. They will, like almost all NPs, be statistics. Some will die hours or a day before help arrives.
  • The NP from lack of food, drinking bad water, no light at night, the horrid smells, no good self defense, the overall horror, will often be paralyzed with fear and despair, blank stare.
  • The NP is totally helpless after SHTF, will have to rely totally on charity of those prepared to live. They will take all sorts of desperate measures likely to get them shot. They’ll attempt to eat hazardous foods like an animal trapped in a house will do, and get sick and suffer much before dying. The NP will likely die (ugly and hard) as they lived, unprepared for anything.

If we were to use one single word to describe the torments that someone who “chooses” not to prepare will go through after a true you know what hits the fan it would be “PREVENTABLE”.

Almost every single person, even a very poor person, has the capacity to put away emergency food and supplies. Even homeless people have stashes of something just in case things become so bad that the normal hand outs and thrown-away items dry up. Many people with good sources of income don’t even have an extra can of food or any water put away at all. This is stupidity beyond words.

Every day lightweight disasters happen in all parts of the world that disturb services enough that people are confined to their homes for a certain amount of time. While recovery is short, people are still uncomfortable during these times. Look what happens after a power outage at night and you will be mystified at how many homes are completely dark for hours. People have not even bought an extra couple of candles or any battery operated light sources. Even in well-to-do neighborhoods you may hear only a lone generator going after a blackout. This lack of preparedness is truly frightening and plays itself out again, again, and again every time services are disrupted for minor to major reasons. It’s as if there is something wrong with storing extra food, water, and supplies.

Even after “lessons” played out to what happens to those non-prepared, most people still feel that it just cannot happen to them, or won’t ever happen to them again. It should be proof enough to people what happens to those unprepared after disasters simply by looking at those that have gone through it firsthand. The difference, though, comes in that these disasters have had recovery periods and help from others. Even Haiti received some help and conditions remain putrid over there.

After a true SHTF event, it is presumable that government help and others coming to the aid of those in need WON’T happen for long periods of time. During that time those that have chosen to not put food, water, and necessities away are going to be in life threatening positions. Most people just don’t get that when the supermarket shelves are empty they will stay that way for an extended period. When the utilities go down, especially water, it may be weeks, months, or longer before they come back, if ever. Without what someone needs to survive each day, it is not going to magically appear, and depending on the goodwill of others to feed them and sacrifice their own family’s survival chances is a terrible choice.

People must know what life will be like after SHTF in mega fashion if they refuse to prepare. This is NOT new. Terrible events have plunged people into the deepest levels of desperation and hopelessness, and they will happen again and again.

While the above consequences to the non-prepper are extremely abysmal for anyone to read, the simple fact of the matter is they have already happened time and time again to those that have nothing put away. People have resorted to cannibalism and gone to levels of primitive savage behavior out of shear desperation and out of literally losing their minds to the physical depletion of food and water that keeps the physical body operating. Sometimes showing the extreme severity and results of a person’s lack of action, such as failure of the simple act of putting away extra food, water, and supplies, can be the kick in the complacency that they need.

It’s really easy to put away food and supplies. All one has to do is add a little bit of extra food to the grocery cart for long-term storage. Over time this adds up to a well stocked pantry of supplies.

There is something that is in a can of food that everyone can eat and enjoy the taste of, so talk to family members about their nutritional preferences and start stocking up. Toilet paper and other supplies that really don’t have any expiration date can be put away and forgotten about ’til needed.

There must be common sense and intelligence to see what happens IF they don’t stock up for the future. There has to be the desire to get started, and this is the real problem with so many.

Once started, however, prepping becomes a type of life saving routine or positive lifestyle habit. It is easy and can and will save one from misery. It may save their life and the lives of their family from ruin when SHTF, which is almost inevitably going to happen someday. Every month and year that goes by without a true SHTF event, makes it more likely that it will happen. Basic statistical chance shows this to be the case, but people continue the same pattern of behavior that has led them to the same devastation countless time before.

For those preppers that have people around them that refuse to prepare, you can at least have some degree of solace knowing that you tried to show the non-prepping person(s) what not having anything will mean to them and their families.

All we can do is try. Once we’ve given it our best shot, all we can do is let those who have been warned about the direness of the possibilities live their lives the way that want to. They will, unfortunately, live in a world of regret and suffering if the nation and the world falls apart around them.

To every action there is an opposite equal reaction. Preppers will see their efforts have been more than worth it. Objects that are motionless tend to remain motionless and non-preppers will find there are horrific consequences for their lack of effort and motion to put away “life insurance” preps for themselves and their families.

Note: Reposted, with permission. This article first appeared in the SHTFPlan blog.

Mr. R.:
I just came across a passage that perfectly illustrates what "money" or rather "currency" is, the issue having been nicely framed in Mac Slavo's recent article. It comes from an unlikely source, "News From Tartary" by Peter Fleming, about an overland journey from Peking to Kashmir in 1935. Fleming states:

"There was another thing that the camels carried, and that was various forms of currency. The currency problem was an important one. Through that admirable institution, the Chinese Post Office, I had been able to transfer the bulk of our capital from Peking to points west by simply paying in a cheque at the Peking branch and then drawing the dollars at Lanchow and Sining. But the Mexican silver dollar which they use in China [!] is a big coin, and the country through which we were to pass had a lawless reputation; a suitcase heavy with silver could not be relied upon to remain indefinitely an asset and might indeed prove a major liability. So we carried the minimum of coin-- 600 or 700 dollars secreted in different places among our gear. With the remainder of our capital-- rather more than a thousand dollars-- I had bought in Lanchow a 12 oz. bar of gold [!!] which, besides being easily concealed, had the advantage of being negotiable anywhere where a file and a pair of scales were available. For the remoter Mongol communities, who often have no use for gold or silver, we took with us eight bricks of tea and a good deal of cheap coloured cloth, one or the other of which is always legal tender."

A new edition of the book is set for release in November of this year. It is considerably less expensive than the out-of-print editions.

Incidentally, Fleming also extols the expeditionary virtues of his "second-hand .22 rook rifle, which surpassed itself by keeping us in meat throughout the three months during which there was anything to shoot," versus his other gun, what he describes as a ".44 Winchester rifle, with 300 rounds of pre-war ammunition of a poorish vintage, which was not worth firing." Interesting.

Semper Fi, - J.P.P.

The 'information' provided to you by Jennifer is false.  Please consider these:
The Pit Bull (a combination of four breeds: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog and any other pure bred or mixed breed dog that is a combination of these dogs) has it's reputation as a dangerous breed for a reason.  Since 1851 there has not been any decade in which pit bulls did not account for at least 50% of dog related human fatalities.  For the past 30 years pit bulls have account for 65% of human maulings and deaths, fairly consistently, even though pit bulls account for less than 5% of the US dog population.
The pit bull advocacy movement, of which Jennifer is surely a part, is a well funded lobbying group which has overrun the ASPCA and Humane Society with people who ignore the facts of this breed.  Here is a more accurate fact statement.
Pit bull myths
Pit bull 'personality'
The ATTS test
"Pit bulls are not a risk to children":   The actuarial risk of a child being killed by a pit bull in the same house is approximately equal to a child being killed in a house with a loaded firearm; even though 50 million houses have firearms and only 3 million houses have pit bulls. 
You are clearly an intelligent man and if you take a little time and look at the links I've provided with the opinions of doctors in canine behavior and veterinary medicine, and actual real statistics I know you will see the tricks Jennifer is trying to pull.  Pit Bull owners and breeders are notorious for 'fudging the truth about their dogs, especially to themselves.

Regards, - Kathryn D.

James Wesley:
Readers should be aware that some states (like mine) now have laws on the books that could get you charged with a felony. If your Pitbull injures someone enough to require hospitalization, you could be charged. In my mind not worth the trouble with other breeds being off the radar. - Debra B.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

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.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

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.

Monday, June 17, 2013

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.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

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.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

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.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

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.

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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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!”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

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!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

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

Saturday, June 8, 2013

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

Friday, June 7, 2013

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!"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dear Mr. Rawles,
So few understand insurgency and its intricacies that if the SHTF there would be no leaders in the towns and cities to teach the people who would become the auxiliary, the underground, and the guerilla units what they need to know to be successful that we would have an "epic fail" from the very start.  Insurgency is more than picking up a weapon and shooting, in fact that is a small part of insurgency.  
Most people can't even define insurgency, and that includes the so called experts in survival.  The fault doesn't lie with the people, the fault lies with all of the professionals, the teachers, the web sites, and the blogs that are supposed to be teaching the people what they need to know to survive in a post event society.  If people don't understand insurgency they will die and all the prepping will have been for nothing.
I always recommend two books for people to "begin" learning the tactics and strategies of insurgency:

Along with these books you should read a tactical manual such as Contact!: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival by Max Velocity, and a general SHTF preparation book like "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It" by James Rawles.  These books will get people started but you professionals need to start teaching this material in seminars, and courses, and online courses.  

If the people don't understand how to run an insurgency it will be over before it begins!  If the people were aware of the importance of insurgency they would be ready, willing, and able to learn and master these skills.  Right now they just don't know that they don't know.   So who will step up and fill this void?  Who will put together the regional and traveling teams, and the on line courses necessary to teach this most important subject?

Yours Truly, - Al H.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I find it curious that the definition of "weapon of mass destruction" has become more elastic and quite geographically dependent in recent years. When it is used to describe events overseas, the phrase still seems to include only lethal chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. But here in the States, it can mean something as small as a pressure cooker packed with 10 pounds of black powder, or even just a home-made hand grenade containing perhaps eight ounces of explosive. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has ordered laser-guided GBU-38 JDAMs up to 2,000 pounds dropped on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen, yet nobody calls those "weapons of mass destruction." Curious, indeed.

I'd like to emphasize an important point: Words and phrases do indeed have specific meanings. It is troubling when journalists, law enforcement officers, and politicians sling around a phrase like "weapon of mass destruction" when they actually mean "destructive device." The standards used by prosecuting attorneys should be exacting and scrupulous, but some prosecutors now seem to decide who to charge (or not charge) based on appearances and the relative popularity of those involved. An aside for any readers who might someday be impaneled on a jury or a grand jury: I urge you to show wisdom and discernment. Adhere to the strict definitions of the black letter law, but remember that you have the right to weigh both the facts of the case and the validity of the law itself.

Because so many items are "dual use," it is important to distinguish the intent of the owners of explosive or incendiary chemical compounds, and their precursor chemicals. Nearly every household in America at any given time contains three items: gasoline, Mason jars and rags. But that doesn't mean that we intend to make Molotov Cocktails and burn down the White House. Nay, 99.99% of Americans use those items in peaceful ways--like fueling our cars, and for canning peaches. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of recreational shooters own some Tannerite or Sure Shot exploding target powder. But that doesn't mean that we intend to contain it in cookware and position it at the terminus of marathon races. And there are tens of thousands of pounds of Thermite in private hands, but that powder can be used for both practical welding and for burning a hole in an APC's engine block.

In the past decade the distinction between connotation and denotation has been blurred by politics. The definitions of words should not change with every shift in the winds of public sentiment. Our society has already suffered from four decades of Situational Ethics. Heaven help us in this new era of Situational Definitions. A rocket scientist or military engineer can teach you about Sympathetic Detonations, but it is 21st Century television commentators who have introduced us to the era of Sympathetic Denotations. We now live in an Orwellian world where a semi-auto rifle is arbitrarily called an "assault rifle" if it has black plastic furniture, where a standard capacity magazine is called a "high capacity" magazine, where the confiscation and redistribution of wealth is dubbed "fairness." This also a new age when folks who are given free health care, HD televisions, free cell phones, and enough money to be able to afford air conditioning are deemed to be "living in poverty." The fluidity of our language is evidence that America is sliding into oblivion.

Hold fast to the true meaning of words and phrases, or we are doomed. - J.W.R.

Monday, May 20, 2013

As a retired corn farmer, I find it quite interesting that the Fed's USDA is still keeping to it's hard-and-fast immutable "projections" of 97.3 million acres of corn being planted this year. Just like building a house, call the Fed's number the "planned" or projected blueprint idea.

But now let's look at the "as built" story. Here, where the "rubber meets the road," or I should say "where the planter tucks in the actual corn seed,' the "actual" or real situation is quite another story due to very late corn plantings, if at all. The surprise is that the market has not yet reacted much.

Last Monday USDA reported that only 12% of the nation's corn crop was in as of Sunday night (12 May 2013.) This should have shocked the markets--but didn't. As of today, US corn planting is up to 28%, but a far cry from the "fast planting" of last year which stood at 85% [on the same date] one year ago.

Western states show significant delayed corn planting because of wet soils.

With long corn crop maturation days here in Ohio's Corn Belt, common wisdom is that if you don't have your seed in by May 10th, you may as well forget it (or switch to planting soybean.) Here we are almost the middle of May and very little corn is planted and the media and markets seem to say: "Ho-hum...nothing to see here, move along folks." This is not good; we are not being told or shown the truth that a nation can rely and act upon.

Maybe this all just doesn't matter; maybe all the corn will eventually get in, maybe we'll have excellent weather and no drought or natural disasters, maybe insects and diseases won't affect the corn, maybe the price at harvest will be just ducky. "Maybe" is the operative word here and that word ain't even good a notion as "close enough" like when you play horseshoes or toss hand grenades.

My thanks to Marlin Clark, commodity trader at "Market Monitor" on pages A6-A7 in Ohio's "Farm and Dairy" newspaper, issue of 16 May 2013, for is alert on this same subject..

Thoughtfully submitted, - Woody in Ohio

JWR Replies: Thanks for that early news tip. SurvivalBlog readers should consider themselves forewarned. This would be a good juncture to buy few more super pails of whole corn and cornmeal. Be sure to buy them before prices jump!

Friday, May 17, 2013

H7N9: What should I do?

As of the recent date of writing this article, the CDC does not have any new or special recommendations for the U.S. public at this time regarding H7N9. There is currently no vaccine to prevent H7N9. CDC will keep you updated. If you live outside of the U.S., search the WHO web site often. Stay informed.

Since H7N9 is not spreading easily from person to person at this time, CDC does not recommend that people delay or cancel trips to China. The World Health Organization also is watching this situation closely and does not recommend any travel restrictions.

CDC advises travelers to China to take some common sense precautions, like not touching birds or other animals and washing hands
often. Poultry and poultry products should be fully update its advice for travelers if the situation in guidance is available at Avian Flu (H7N9) in China.
cooked. CDC will China changes. This

The foregoing content is provided and maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Okay, I'm on notice, but What should I be doing now to get prepared?

Here are some Helpful thoughts and actions to consider being taken now, to assist your families in being prepared for this next epidemic in the making.
In our home, we are preparing for this H7N9 virus, and getting a two month jumpstart on our normal farm and home routines schedule. One of those ramped up to today instead of waiting until July, is making my family's annual batch of Sambucus nigra Elderberry Tincture, now.
But what is that, and why use that? So glad you asked!

We use it routinely as a supplement, because consuming Elderberry Tincture made with Sambucus nigra elderberries, is an effective alternative to Western pharmaco-medicine. This supplement has shown very positive results in preventing virus's from clinging to the body's healthy cells and aiding the passage of the virus out of the body, all naturally! The commercially made product, marketed as Sambucol, blunts the haemaglutinin spikes on the outside of viruses and stops them from entering cells where they reproduce, causing the cell to explode and allows the virus to continue invading the body. Also, in vitro study, its results has also shown Sambucol to be effective in increasing the production of four inflammatory cytokines, which are effective in boasting your body's immunity, suggesting that the intake of this supplement may have an immuno-stimulatory effect and therefore be worth taking all year round to prevent flu and other viral disease.

Besides, with all this research findings to prove its effectiveness, my maternal Yugoslavian Great-Great Grandmother made Elderberry Tincture for her family and passed on these recipes for us to use and bless US Centers for others with good health for future generations. There are many clinical research trials on the product called Sambucus available on the web for you to additionally search and read more for yourself. Here are a couple: Read what the Israeli research says! 99% EFFECTIVE!

"Retroscreen Virology, a leading British medical research institute associated to Queen Mary College, University of London, announced that Sambucol was at least 99% effective against the avian flu virus, H5N1, and in cell cultures significantly neutralized the infectivity of the virus."

Great! So Can I make my own? and, if so, How do I make my own? Again, glad you asked! YES!

How to make Homemade Sambucus nigra, Elderberry Tincture

Note: Not recommended for administration to Children or alcoholics, due to the high alcohol content.
Materials and Ingredients needed:
6 pint mason jars with lids and ring bands 1 1/2 lbs. of Sambucus nigra, Elderberries 2 fifth bottles of any inexpensive brand, unflavored 80 proof vodka
Order or buy the dried elderberries from a reliable health food store, or from an online source. Herbalcom.com is an inexpensive
source to consider. Amazon.com also has several suppliers available.

Fill a large stainless steel stock pot 1/2 full of potable water, and bring the water to a boil. Carefully submerge all 6 pint sized mason jars, lids, and ring bands, and one stainless steel serving spoon in the boiling water, and set your timer to boil for 15 minutes. Turn off your heat source. Carefully remove the jars with clean tongs, pour off any water in them and lightly shake off
the lids and band rings of water, and allow these to cool to room temperature on a fresh clean towel, with all flat surfaces facing up, to dry.

Using the sterilized spoon, scoop straight into the mylar bag they are packaged in and fill each of the cooled sterilized jars with elderberries up to the 1/3rd full mark. Set the berry filled jars aside.
Now pour the 80 proof vodka into the jars to fill up the jars remaining 2/3rd space, to near totally full. Leave a sparse 1/8th inch head space at the top of the jar unfilled.
Then seal up the jars, by placing on the clean lids and apply the band rings snugly. Place them gently in a cabinet or, on a shelf that is out of any source of direct light and also away from any heat source. They will stay here for 14 days. You can keep the berries in the jars for longer, but 14 days will be the minimum adequate time for the berries to finish soaking in the vodka. Take the jars in hand and once a day shake up the jars contents very well. During this osmotic process that is taking place over the 14 days, the elderberries will be taking up the alcohol and successively extracting off the berries medicinal anti-viral properties into the liquid, to give you a quality finished product of tincture of the berries.

After 14 or more days, (but never longer than 21 days), use a sieve strainer to separate the berries from the juice caught into a clean bowl. Press down on the berries in the sieve strainer with your spoon, to get all of the juice from them into the bowl of tincture.

Finally, pour your filtered elderberry tincture back into the jars and place the rinsed clean lids back on and tighten the ring bands well. Label the jars with contents and date. There is no need to heat or pressure seal the jars like you would in canning. In fact, a heating process used on this tincture would kill the anti-viral properties of it. Your tincture should keep for storage and use for a few years, as long as it is stored in a cool, dry location. The vodka is also the long term preservative medium in this recipe. You now have your own homemade Elderberry tincture to begin using.
Okay, now while that recipe is being turned into usable tincture, you may want to also create this temporary use syrup, which has a "no wait time", to consume it for some protection of boasting your immunity with a ready-made homemade supplement. It will get you through an unexpected "viral flu attack" season, or again, through the period of time while waiting for the more anti-viral potent tincture to age for use.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup
Note: can be considered for use of children over 24 months of age. Raw Honey should never be administered to children under the age of 2 years.

2 cups dried Sambucus nigra elderberries 1 quart of boiling water 1/4 cup raw honey 1/4 lemon juice
Put the elderberries in a non-reactive metal or glass saucepan, add the boiling water and cover the pan and leave it out on the stove or counter to soak overnight. The next day, low simmer the berries for 30 minutes, set aside to cool a little, then put the mixture in a food processor or blend them.
Once blended well, add the honey and lemon juice. Cool, then pour into a clean mason jar or dark glass bottle. Store this in the refrigerator and use the syrup daily.
Here, I offer other important considerations to take to help boost and prepare the human body's immune system in protecting it from viruses, and other physical and logistical preparations to make and consider for your family to do now, don't dawdle!

1. Adults, and teens, start taking 2000 UI per day (one pill) of Vitamin D3, and extra Vit C. consumption.
Note: The Fat soluble vitamins, which are vitamins A,D,E & K can be toxic to your body organs if you take dosages past the recommended daily allowances.

2. Begin to increase that dosage US, to 4000 UI per day (two pills) of Vitamin D3, only for the duration of the epidemic.

3. Also start taking one tablespoon of Elderberry Tincture, per day and continue to do so, or make the Elderberry syrup and begin using it now, and until the viral epidemic is cleared by the CDC or becomes non-life threatening in the your region.

4. Note: There is a non-alcoholic version of Sambcus available for small children, Nature's Answer Sambucus nigra Black Elder Berry Extract Kids Formula, just look for Sambucus nigra at your local health store, or order some online now. Don't wait until the virus is reported in the US, because it will become scarce or totally unavailable when the virus starts spreading to our country's geographical direction.

5. Prepare to not leave your home once the virus has entered into your geographical region. Consider enforcing a rule in your own homes, of no outside human contact, other than with those staying quarantined inside of your own household or property gate. Consider options for your work outside of the home. Consider having any normal prescheduled farm or home need deliveries of animal feed, fuel, hay, or supplies done now, instead of later.
A self imposed protective quarantine or closing off your property to others is strongly advised if this virus becomes epidemic and deadly. Bookmark and Check your state dept. of health and the CDC web sites daily to see where the virus is being transmitted from and moving to, so you will know to effectuate this protective quarantine of your family.

6. Do not handle mail or packages delivered by the mail carriers or from delivery carriers during this self imposed quarantine.

7. Dehydration is caused due to loss of body fluids by high fever and sweating, in loss of respiratory secretions associated with respiratory infections, with nausea, which causes vomiting and with diarrhea, which are all showing to be significant symptoms of this virus, that can quickly become life threatening if you are not prepared to immediately counter their effects of the body and actively treat them. Children and infants have much less body mass, and if they develop any of these symptoms and continue having them excessively for prolonged periods, over 4 hours, you should seek emergent medical help.

For the whole family's use, have extra potable water stored for use, store Pedialyte, Extra Formula, Gatorade powders, Tylenol,(acetaminophen), Aspirin and otc anti-diarrheals and remember to get on hand extra of any medications you are already prescribed to take if the Virus jumps from Asia to the routinely. Procure and store several boxes of disposable nitrile gloves, kleenex tissues, extra toilet paper, disposable towels, disposable eating utensils and plates and large garbage type plastic bags for trash disposal use.

8. Stay Home and away from crowds of people. If you must absolutely go out into the general public due to emergency needs which cannot be met at home during this epidemic, you will need to wear N95 masks and gloves at all times, with long sleeves and long pants, cover your body up as much as possible, as this flu is transmitted by human contact on any surface contact made by carriers of this virus. Don't hug, kiss, or shake hands. Disrobe immediately upon returning to your home from the outside world, disrobe in the garage or carport, and then bag up your soiled clothes. Discard the disposable mask and then take off and dispose of the gloves, into a bag lined lidded bucket placed outside of your home. Wash your clothing separately from others in your household, in hot soapy water and wash your face and hands, better yet, go take a hot shower, wash your hair, and add the towels you use to the washing machine with your dirty clothing. Don't forget to disinfect your car wheel, and mobile phone, and seats and floor board and mats.

Again, make sure you have ample supplies that you will need to use, on hand in your home, your vehicles, at your work place, as well as ample food stocks and water set aside in every number of the locations you may decide you need to move from or go to.

9. Make provisions for bagging up or burning your household trash. Do not handle your curb-side waste containers that have been handled by contracted disposal companies.

10. Take special precautions to wash your hands often during the day with soap and water, before and after going shopping for your food at the grocery, wipe off cans and packaging before you bring them into your home from your vehicle. Wash up after handling any produce or food imported from other outside countries, and after handling any food preparation tools. Especially be cautious after touching any live animals. Do not let your pets have free run outside of your property gates. Use meticulous washing after using public restrooms. Use a paper towel to touch a public restroom door to exit it. Wash surface areas with diluted bleach water mixed at a 10:1 ratio in a spray bottle. Don't forget to wipe down your phone receiver often and computer mouse and keyboard.

I am a holistic medicine-practicing RN, and wife to a MD. I have No affiliations with any companies mentioned in this article other than purchasing some of their quality products for our home use, nor have I merited by any free products or compensation for the recommendations of their products. Also, you are responsible for what you consume into your own body, thus I am not advocating intake of any substance to which you have not thoroughly researched for yourself. As with any human consumption, allergies to substances need to be heeded and avoided in the ingredients noted in any of these recipes, if you are known to have allergic food reactions. Dosages of alternative products made yourself need to be titrated individually and according to the
products used and to your body weight and age.

I pray that this information will be fruitful to you and will assist you and your family, in being prepared for the next coming epidemic.
GodSpeed to your Health Preparations and May HE Bless you and Shelter your family with Protections from this Deadly Disease!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Consider the implications of some recent events in America:

So much for enjoying "The most ethical and transparent administration in history."

Eleven years ago, when the Department of Homeland Security was formed, were were promised that it would merely be an umbrella organization that would just coordinate the activities of existing agencies, and have no policing powers of of it own. Well, look at what it has become. With more than 230,000 employees, DHS is now the third largest Cabinet-level Federal department. DHS now has legions of cyber sniffers, blue-gloved crotch gropers, and asset seizers. I suspect that internal DHS checkpoints will be coming soon.

The worst sort of tyranny is the sort that isn't even recognized by those who suffer beneath it's yoke.

Can't folks see how the nooses are being tightened around our necks? Don't they recognize the collusion of the mass media? Where is the outrage? Where are the protests? I've concluded that the America's rams got elastratred by the Public School system years ago, and now there are just a bunch of useless wethers. This is pathetic. If this continues, American liberty and free enterprise will end with just a few plaintive cries of "baa." The sheep have eagerly followed a bucket of grain. Welcome to the slaughterhouse--or at least to the anteroom. - J.W.R.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A recurring theme in western journalism, academia, and collectivist politics is the quaint notion that firearms are intrinsically evil. That is, that they have a will of their own, that somehow inspires their owners to murder and mayhem. I liken this nonsensical belief to voodoo.

The "guns are evil" viewpoint was encapsulated by social psychologist Leonard Berkowitz when he wrote: “Guns not only permit violence, they can stimulate it as well. The finger pulls the trigger, but the trigger may also be pulling the finger.” I am astounded that something like that can be earnestly said or written in modern times, and not immediately get shouted down. This statement betrays an outlook that is not much different than that of a practitioner of Voodoo. And to see this espoused by some with a nomen appendage like "Ph.D." makes it even more absurd. (Leonard Berkowitz was awarded a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan in 1951. But apparently U. of M.'s doctoral program did not include courses in logic. And his study of what he called "the weapons effect" was conducted quite unscientifically.) Just imagine if he or one of his academic cohort were to proclaim: "Typewriters not only permit libel, they can stimulate it as well. The fingers tap the keys, but the keys may also be pulling the finger toward the keyboard by an unseen force, stimulating libel.” Any psychologist who trots out such nonsense needs to consult a psychiatrist.

I have a few questions for Dr. Berkowitz and his peers:

1.) What is the mechanical difference between a "target pistol" and a "murder weapon"?

2.) What is a "Nazi Luger"? Can a Luger pistol join the National Socialist party, and share their hatred of perceived Untermenschen and wish to exterminate them? By the same token, what is a "Communist AK-47"?

3.) How many people have been killed by guns without someone physically pulling the trigger? And in any very rare exception to the norm, was it a mechanical defect or negligent handling at fault, or did the gun really wish to do harm and "go off by itself."?

4.) Why have gun makers been sued for wrongful death because of murders committed with their products? (If a gun does indeed consistently fire a bullet at high velocity when the safety mechanism is disengaged and the trigger is pulled, then isn't that device working just as designed?)

5.) What, pray tell, is the distinguishing characteristics of an "assault" rifle, and what differentiates it from a "hunting" rifle? Does the attachment of a black plastic buttstock make a gun in any way more wicked, murderous, or bent on assault than attaching a pretty wooden stock?

6.) Is a magazine capacity of 16 rounds inherently more evil, criminal or sinister than a capacity of 15 rounds? (This was threshold that the geniuses in the Colorado legislature recently declared, complete with jail term penalties. OBTW, Canada set the threshold of evil at a mere five rounds, for semiautomatic long guns.)

Let step back and look at these tools logically and dispassionately: A firearm cartridge can be thought of as a simple single-use internal combustion engine, with a piston that does not reciprocate. Instead, it takes a one-way flight. The engine housing is a brass cartridge case, and the "vehicle" is the entire gun. The pistons as are called bullets. The fuel for these engines (gunpowder) creates the expanding gasses that drive the pistons. Cartridge firearms are compact vehicles for change that have shaped modern history. The righteousness of their use is entirely up to their users, since like any other tool they can be used both for good or for ill.  A firearm is just a tool with no volition. A rifle is no different than a claw hammer. To wit: A hammer can be used to build a house, or it can be used to bash in someone’s skull—the choice of uses is entirely up to the owner.  A bulldozer can be used to build roads, or to destroy houses. A rifle can be used to drill holes in paper targets, or to dispatch a marauding bear, or to murder your fellow man. Again, the choice of uses is entirely up to the user. But, alas, even though it is the 21st Century, we are still dealing with voodoo-like superstition. If you get angry or drunk and you then use your Chrysler car to run over a neighbor's child, should your neighbor then launch an organization called "The Coalition to Ban Chryslers," to punish all Chrysler owners?

I am also opposed to all so-called “gun control” laws because they are a form of prior restraint. The gun grabbers presuppose ill-intent on the part of law-abiding citizens and even the guns themselves. I find these laws akin to the concept of “pre-crime”—a term coined by science fiction novelist Phillip K. Dick, in his novel Minority Report. (It was later turned into a movie, starring Tom Cruise.)

If a firearm is used by a criminal or psychopath with evil intentions, then it is a tool for evil. But if it is used for good (to defend life and property), then it is a tool for good. A firearm by itself has no sentience, no volition, no moral force, and no politics. The proper term for this is an adiaphorous object--something that is neither good nor evil. A firearm is simply a cleverly-designed construction of metal, wood, and plastic in the form of a precision tool. Granted, a firearms magnifies the reach of a man's volition. But so does a long bow, and so does a telephone and the Internet. But to deride the tool itself instead of someone who abuses it is profoundly illogical and superstitious.

So why do they disparage the tool and not the one who wrongly wields it? Why isn't gasoline seen as evil, since Julio Gonzalez used it to kill 87 people at the Happy Land Club in his murderous arson, in 1990? And why aren't there calls to ban nitrogen fertilizer, since Timothy McVeigh used it to kill 168 people in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995? And shouldn't Boeing brand jet aircraft be banned, since they were used to take nearly 3,000 innocent lives on September 11, 2001? And aren't pressure cookers now the weapon of choice of Islamic terrorists?

Ever since the invention accurate rifled firearms, the course of human history has been set by the men who wield them. For someone to exclude themselves or seek to disenfranchise others from owning or carrying them is the most absurdly illogical and downright suicidal attitude imaginable. It is obvious that so-called "Gun Control" laws have nothing to do with the criminal misuse of guns, since criminals ignore all laws, by definition. Only honest, law-abiding citizens obey these laws. Rather, these laws are just about control--namely people control. Dictators cannot dictate unless they have unarmed subjects.

Here it is, in quintessence: You are either a man with a gun, or you are mere human cattle for the slaughter. The choice is yours. I prefer to be armed and vigilant rather than being at the mercy of some would-be slave master. There is no notch in my ear.

Because they are such useful tools, our founding fathers recognized the great importance of safeguarding our ownership, carry, and free use of arms. Like the printing press, they were specifically protected by the Bill of Rights. These enumerated rights should be taken at face value and not misconstrued. The Second Amendment is about protecting your right to go deer hunting the same way that the First Amendment is about protecting your right to publish poetry.

Please speak up when you see someone preaching voodoo gun hatred. Violence involving firearms is actually down 39% in the U.S. since 1993. But anti-gun rhetoric has recently been increasing. All of the "evil gun" talk is nothing more than an unfounded irrational fear and loathing that has no place in a modern society that recognizes facts and logic. Anyone who engages in this rhetoric should be immediately suspect. Odds are that they are halophantae with a hidden agenda. While they rail against an inanimate tool, I suspect that they are actually plotting against the liberty of a group of people with whom they disagree. They want to disarm you, so that they (or their hired armed thugs) will have a monopoly on force. And if the history of the 20th century taught us anything, it is that a monopoly on force inevitably leads to genocide. - JWR

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Like most of you I have been preparing for the bad times to come. I have made plans with food stores, water, guns and ammo, etc. In my desire for knowledge and to be as prepared as possible I've read anything I can get my hands on and I surf the Internet nightly, I also have an impressive library. I have gleaned what I could from all this and fortified where I can. My major concern now lies is in how to protect my family and supplies that I have worked so hard and diligently on, along with personal sacrifice to lay up, from others. The problems are two fold, first the men in the black suits and secondly are our friends and neighbors who have scoffed at our ideas of being prepared for so long and who's plans are solely to allow the government to come to their rescue and take care of them in their hour of need. I have made preparations to hide what I have stored from the men in the black suits. But if any refugees have a hint you have food stored, or even the perception of possible food this becomes a problem. What can we do about the unprepared who are hungry and will come in force to kill you then take what you have once you are dead? Even if my supplies are hidden refugees still pose a real threat if they believe you have food.

I am a proponent of "bugging in". This is my best bet for sustainable survival. After the great Society Ending Event (SEE) begins and after the lights go out my plans spring into action. I won't implement my plans every time the power goes out! Within the first three to four days, after enough time for reality and permanency to set in, then my implementation begins. I then plan on making my house look abandoned and already looted to the potential looter walking by on the street. We have all seen houses that have the look we are discussing. This house is abandoned and has nothing of importance left inside, so why would anyone want to go in that place and waste their time looking for food? I want them to think..."Someone has already beat me too this one, let's look at another house down the street". This is the look I am trying to achieve. Perception in everything.

After Hurricane Katrina, when search and rescue went from house to house looking for survivors they devised a system to let other searchers know this house had in fact already been searched. A large X was painted on the house close to the front door. In the top section is listed the number of people living in your home. In the section to the right would be the number of sick removed, while the bottom section would show the number of dead found. I would put a 1 in the bottom section while the rest of the family are listed in the sick column. This will probably not mean a whole lot to those passing by other than some official person has already been there.

Next take old pallets and break them apart, then board up the windows and doors on the outside. Do this in an uneven and hurried fashion. Do not use all the same type or size lumber. The idea is to make it look as if this was done in a hurry and with supplies on hand, you don't want a look of pre-planning in your efforts. The purpose is to act as if some official person was wanting to seal this house in a hurry and move on to the next one. The reason to do the outside and not the inside is mainly so looters walking by can see this, and secondly if I do the inside and some one tries to open the door they will hit something solid. To the looter this is a red flashing arrow pointing at my house indicating I have food and other supplies.

Inside you will need to cover the windows with black sheets or black plastic, then cover them with plywood and secure to the inside wall to completely block the light. If Mr Looter is brave enough to look through the slats all they will see is darkness. Cover all the windows and doors both inside and out. This will allow family movement inside with light and such without being visible outside. This is a pain in the daytime due to the loss of ambient light but extremely necessary at night. Note: This goes without saying but...This will offer protection from people looking in and seeing if any one is home, it offers very little protection from noise inside being heard outside. This will negate any effort to appear abandoned if I'm making a lot of noise inside. Lastly on the front door slap a bio-hazard quarantine sign. This is the cherry on top! These can be found on the Internet and be printed for now and saved for later use. Now your house has a look of a medical disaster like the deadly new bird flu - H7N9. Perception is everything.

Lets take it up one more level, if there is no power I will have no need of my television. Throw this in the front yard and even shoot a hole through the screen or at least bust it up some (you don't have any need for this any more). Throw trash in the yard and make your house look as if it has already been looted before the house was quarantined. Another idea is If you have more than 1 vehicle take one and bust out the driver side window, destroy the steering column, and empty out the glove box. This has the look of someone trying to steal your car or looking for food. All this combined together makes the house look less desirable to looters and what they are looking for, I don't believe you can go over board. If you have the time take some flat black spray paint and spray around the tops of windows and door ways to make it look like smoke escaping from the inside making it appear there was a fire inside. Perception is everything.

To the casual refugee walking by, or even the more observant looter, this house has the appearance of having already been looted, or someone possibly even died in this house from some disease. Why would anyone want to waste their time there when the neighbors house looks untouched and loaded with possible food and supplies. The average looter will be in a hurry and not willing to spend any more time than is necessary taking a closer look. Remember perception is everything.

If someone is still determined on getting inside your home after all the work you have done to make it look as uninviting as possible go to your back up plan. In a closet in the master bedroom ( if it is on the first level and you don't have a concrete slab floor) remove the carpet and cut a hole in the floor. This will lead under the house. This will provide a place to safely hide from looters, provided you remain quiet. If you are inside your home don't be fooled by the movies and believe sheetrock walls will stop a bullet. [Unless your house has thick masonry walls,] there is no safe place in your home to hide if those outside are shooting at you inside your house. The prudent looter should be concerned about conserving their ammo but we are talking about hungry, desperate people. When people are under great stress they will do unpredictable things. [Unless it is burned,] hiding under the house will provide a safe place to hide and emerge later, alive.

Getting my plywood cut for each window ahead of time and having my pallets stacked behind the shed now will have me prepared for my deception once the great SEE begins. A note that is obvious but still needs to be said, this work will need to be completed under the cover of darkness. This ruse will have little effect if others are watching you complete the work. A little prep work on your part can make your home safer and appear less desirable for the enviable refugees and possible looters. Perception is everything.
Keep safe. In His Service. - W.K.R. in Kansas

JWR's Comments: Psychologically, there is a fine line between making a house look undesirable and a making it look like "fair game." Be careful about the impression that you make.

In my estimation, creating large and convincing-looking Quarantine warning signs is probably a good use of your time and money. If your signs are worded carefully, then they could give anyone except a semantics expert the impression that the Quarantine is to keep people away from sick people inside, rather than to keep sick people out. (When the goal is the latter, rather than the former.) These signs would need to use official looking typography and biohazard emblems, substituting the words "QUARANTINE AREA." As W.K.R. mentioned, these are even available commercially. If you live in a Mexican border state, then the sign could include, for redundancy: "Medida de sanidad poner en cuarentena", or more simply: Zona De Cuarentena." But I must caution that you will first need to research your State's regulations of what would constitute impersonating a government official, before creating any signs. (These laws vary widely, from state to state. In Texas, for example, their law is written quite broadly and inclusively. Contrast that with Iowa's terse statute.) There is also a Federal statute, but that seems to center around wearing a uniform or carrying a badge or credentials. If you word a quarantine declaration sign carefully, choose the correct type font, and include biohazard symbols, but omit using any words like "by order of ______ (an agency of government)" or the name or initials of any agency, then you will most likely still be legal. (You can probably vaguely use the words "It is declared"--with no agency named--but again you need to research your own state's laws.) As the property owner and head of a household, you can of course "declare" a private quarantine. Just don't impersonate a government official, in doing so! And if there is a doctor in your retreat group, the wording on the sign could truthfully end with something like: "Joe Smith, MD."

It is also wise to research your state's laws on "No Trespassing" signs. Creating various signs was discussed in TMM Forums, a few years back. And some useful links to printable signs were included in a Backwoods Home Forum thread.

One more thought: Don't overlook the human sense of smell, which triggers deep psychological reactions. Depending on the circumstances, simply leaving a large animal gut pile to rot (hidden under some loosely-piled leaves or straw) in your front yard could do much more to deter invaders than anything else. But this would of course only be appropriate if you don't have neighbors who live close-by!

The bottom line: Fear is a stronger motivator than disinterest or indifference.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In One Second After, William Forstchen describes a cataclysmic scenario, a widespread EMP effect that is only slightly less devastating than nuclear near-annihilation. The protagonists in JWR's novel Patriots fare better temporarily because the physical infrastructure remains relatively intact for a few weeks after the nation’s economic collapse. In either scenario the five epidemics that are already under way in the United States give new relevance to TEOTWAWKI.

Epidemic (from the Greek: among the people): prevalent and spreading rapidly among many individuals within a community at the same time; widespread.

The five epidemics:
            Type 2 diabetes
            End-stage renal disease (kidney failure)

Although it is the leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease resulting from coronary atherosclerosis is not an epidemic according to the above definition. It is not spreading rapidly but is well established and mortality
is actually decreasing slightly because of modern treatment.

Epidemic #1: Obesity
Obesity is the linchpin for the other four epidemics.
From 2000 to 2010 obesity increased by 80 percent or more in 39 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that by 2030 42 percent of Americans will be obese, nearly half again as many as currently bear that burden. A study from Duke University indicates that morbid obesity, a weight 80 pounds or more above standard weight, will affect 11 percent of the U.S. population. Obesity is clearly “prevalent and spreading rapidly among many individuals” as defined above.

Inactivity is a major factor in the obesity epidemic. A century ago only about 5 percent of Americans were obese but labor-saving devices and automobiles have reduced the need for physical activity for the average person by nearly 75 percent. The typical American adult or child spends 8.5 hours a day watching television and using a computer or similar devices.
Diet is the other major factor that leads to obesity. Over the past 4 or 5 generations we have replaced whole-grain products with those made from refined flour and we have increased our consumption of sugar several-fold. The average American consumes 40 pounds of sugar in soft drinks alone in a single year. When the SHTF, whatever the cause, our food supply will be severely compromised.            

One might think that the one-third of our population that is obese will be able to live off stored energy and will survive longer but they will not. The reason is that very few of them are free of medical problems. Obesity is simply not compatible with good health. There are no exceptions. To think otherwise is delusion.

Epidemic #2: Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic disease in the world. It affects more than 25 million Americans and 57 million more have prediabetes (defined as a fasting blood sugar between 100 and 125), half of whom are not yet aware of their condition. The CDC projects that one-third of the population will have type 2 diabetes by 2050. Among Hispanic females that number will reach 53 percent.

Type 1, early onset or juvenile diabetes, is a disease in which an autoimmune process completely destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. A severe reduction in carbohydrate intake will postpone the inevitable in some persons with type 1 diabetes but not for long. They need insulin daily in order to survive. Reduced supplies of all forms of insulin and the lack of effective refrigeration mean that their days are numbered, as described so tragically in One Second After.

Type 2 diabetes was once known as adult-onset diabetes but it has become common in adolescence and it occurs with some frequency among pre-adolescent children. Persistently high levels of blood sugar cause cells to be come unresponsive to the action of insulin. After a period of such insulin resistance the cells that produce this hormone eventually fail.

A lifetime of moderately intense physical activity almost eliminates the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Experts refer to it as an exercise-deficiency disease. Sometimes it results from a genetic disorder or from prescription medications but these are in the minority. In reality, more than 90 percent of persons with type 2 diabetes are inactive and overweight or obese. Among those who appear to be of normal weight, some fall into the category of normal-weight obese, persons who have gained fat but lost muscle. Although their weight is normal, their waist size reveals the truth because a pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle.

Diabetes is a disease of blood vessels. That’s why its worst complications, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and limb amputation are so common. These complications appear faster and earlier among children because those growing bodies are constantly forming and re-forming new blood vessels as they increase in size.

When the SHTF death rates will rise dramatically among those with both types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetics who have mild disease will fare better but most of them have
complications that will worsen without prescription drugs. Lifestyle changes can postpone the need for insulin but when metformin and other drugs become unavailable, complications of the disease and mortality will rise rapidly. 

Survivalists with type 2 diabetes should double down on their efforts to lose weight and to become physically fit. Those who can afford to stock up on medications should do so. Pharmacies will be depleted of stock as rapidly as grocery stores when the SHTF.

Epidemic #3: Osteoporosis
The incidence of this bone-thinning disorder will reach epidemic proportions by mid-century. Like type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis is an exercise-deficiency disease. It is not due to an inadequate calcium intake. Lack of calcium makes bones soft, not brittle. Two examples are childhood rickets and adult osteomalacia. The first is due to a lack of vitamin D that inhibits the absorption of calcium; the second has several causes, including chronic kidney disease. These calcium-deficient bones do not break; they bend, causing extreme bowlegs, for example.

There is a bone-building window between the ages of about 5 and 25 years during which the body completes the formation of almost all of its bone mass. Once closed, that window never reopens. The process requires two elements: moderately intense physical activity and proper nutrition. Today’s young people fail on both counts and will face an epidemic of broken hips and collapsed vertebrae when they are eligible for Medicare (if it still exists then).

Only a couple of generations ago most kids walked a lot, rode bikes, climbed trees, participated in pick-up games of various sports, frolicked on monkey bars and roughhoused. Safety concerns, urbanization, organization of sports, cancellation of Physical Education classes in school and other factors limit those activities now. Computer games and television occupy about half of their waking hours today.

Calcium is important during these bone-building years but children now drink twice as much soft drinks as milk. In the 1970s it was just the opposite. Other nutrients for making strong bones include several vitamins, magnesium and omega-3 fats but children who don’t get many vegetables but eat plenty of junk food get few of them. Nearly half of today’s adolescents are deficient in vitamin D because they spend so much time indoors.

Few people, including those in the medical field, are aware that pregnancy factors will affect the skeleton of the fetus when that infant reaches middle age. A pregnant young woman who exercises little, smokes and has poor nutrition will herself have an inadequate bone mass. Her baby will too, the evidence of that being that the rate of forearm fractures among school-age children has doubled since the 1970s.

Most adults lose bone mass year by year because of their sedentary lifestyle. Without regular, moderately intense physical activity bones become less dense and break easily in a fall. Exercise, especially resistance training, helps to restore some of the bone mass that has been lost during years of inadequate physical activity.

Why is osteoporosis a problem in TEOTWAWKI? A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization, perhaps surgery. Even with modern medical care about 25 percent of persons with a hip fracture die within a year. Picture the scenario when the SHTF.

Epidemic #4: Dementia.

Dementia consists of two different conditions, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder whose cause is uncertain. Genetic factors play a major role in about half of its victims. As our population ages it is estimated that Alzheimer’s disease will affect about 25 percent of the population by the age of 85.

Vascular dementia is the result of narrowing of the blood vessels of the brain. Diminished blood flow prevents brain cells from being properly nourished and removing waste products. The result is poor mental function, memory loss and shrinkage of brain tissue. Type 2 diabetes has become the most important cause of vascular dementia.

Persons with dementia require attentive personal care for their nourishment and hygiene requirements. I cannot predict what will happen to them in a TEOTWAWKI scenario but many of them have one or more chronic illnesses that require prescription medications that are likely to be in short supply. In a worst-case scenario they will have a low priority for treatment.

Epidemic #5: Kidney failure (End-Stage Renal Disease)

The kidney is little more than a collection of tiny blood vessels in close contact with equally tiny tubular structures, the combination forming a filtering system that removes waste products in the form of urine. When normal blood vessels within the kidney are replaced by those that have become deformed and scarred because of diabetes or other disease, toxic by-products accumulate within the body. A dialysis machine – what some persons still refer to as an artificial kidney – cleanses the blood in 3 or 4 treatments per week.

When the nation’s power grids fail because of an EMP or a devastating cyber attack it will take the lives of hundreds of thousands of dialysis patients with it. In 1972 there were 10,000 persons on dialysis; in 2010 that number reached 350,000, even as dialysis centers were struggling to keep up with the demand. If the CDC’s projection for type 2 diabetes, the primary cause of kidney failure, is correct that number could soar to more than a million in a couple more decades. The yearly cost of dialysis ranges from $15,000 to $50,000 per year and it will make kidney failure one of our most expensive epidemics.

There is no alternative treatment for kidney failure. Kidney transplantation, which may require a year or two on a waiting list, is not an option for millions of diabetics and it certainly will not be at TEOTWAWKI.

Dialysis units will stop working when the lights go out. Patients with end-stage renal disease will be among the grid failure’s first casualties.

Finding solutions: Genes load the gun; lifestyle pulls the trigger.

All these chronic conditions are lifestyle-related and are not due to genetics or to aging. They were either rare or nonexistent barely a century ago and not because people are living longer and have more time to acquire these diseases. Centenarians in places as diverse as Okinawa and Sardinia are slender and fit and can name their great-grandchildren. They have almost no heart disease and type 2 diabetes is virtually non-existent. Elderly hunter-gatherers don’t develop these diseases either – until they become civilized.

To be sure, if the pharmaceutical industry were to collapse in a SHTF scenario we would again face new threats from old infectious diseases but the thin and the fit would fare best. Obesity and diabetes weaken the immune system but exercise strengthens it.

Scores of posts on SurvivalBlog urge us to maintain a high level of fitness and to keep our weight, i.e., body fat, at normal levels. No one is too old to exercise and eating sensibly (quantity and quality) is not rocket science. It’s not too late to begin a healthy lifestyle. It may be the key that will help you to survive in TEOTWAWKI.

About The Author: Philip J. Goscienski, M.D. is a retired pediatric infectious diseases specialist, CPR instructor, columnist and author. His book, Health Secrets of the Stone Age, Second Edition, Better Life Publishers, 2005 has won three book awards. He has archived more than 400 weekly newspaper columns at www.stoneagedoc.com.

Mr. Rawles,
I have to believe that the precious metals markets are practicing their own sort of fractional reserve system.  Does anyone doubt that the markets (dealers, banks, etc) keep a small quantity on hand for physical transactions, but trade paper claims on much greater quantities?

A growing concern of mine which I haven’t seen addressed elsewhere:  What will happen when the holders of paper claims run to court because they cannot obtain the physical metals the claims represent?  Significant numbers of these claim holders are politically powerful.  Will the courts decree a clawback of the physical metals from their present holders, and a redistribution of the those physical metals amongst the paper claim holders?  The similarity to the clawback forced upon the “lucky” few who withdrew profits from Madoff’s pyramid scheme is disconcerting.

People holding physical precious metals would resist any clawback.  Physical metals can be changed in form, hidden, traded or sold such as not be recognizable from when they were purchased.  The tools to enforce the clawback would have to be truly menacing for most people to comply.

Please consider addressing the likelihood of a court ordered clawback of physical precious metals, and your evaluation on the lengths to which the system would go to enforce such a decree.

Thanks for your previous commentaries and time in evaluating this as a topic. - Andrew H. in Washington State

Monday, May 6, 2013

I've encountered a few folks who don't realize that slavery still exists in the world. I'm not talking about figurative slavery--like every April 15th, here in the States. Rather, I'm talking about literal contemporary slavery, with kidnapping and a life spent in chains or locked up in a cell or prison-like dormitory every night. Slavery is still commonplace in North Africa, most notably in the Sahel. Wikipedia sums it up: "The [slavery] problem is most severe in the Sahel region (and to a lesser extent the Horn of Africa), along the racial boundary of Arabized Berbers in the north and blacks in the south. This concerns the Sahel states of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan in particular, continuing a centuries-old pattern of hereditary servitude going back to the Muslim conquests." It is estimated that there are more than 200,000 slaves in Sudan, alone. Many of these slaves are Christian, and virtually all of their slave masters are Muslims.

You will have to look hard to find many mentions of slavery in the politically correct mainstream media, which is still dutifully chanting the "Islam is the religion of Peace" mantra. Most western liberal journalists have conveniently twisted the concept of modern slavery to focus almost entirely on sex slaves in Eastern Europe and in places like Thailand, while ignoring much more blatant slavery in North Africa. To be fair, it is much easier for a journalist to get a picture of a teenage prostitute on a street corner in Bangkok than it is for them to get a picture of slave toiling in field near Al-Fashir. But there still seems to be a lot of willful ignorance and misdirection. Thankfully, we do hear about what is going on in Sudan on CBN, from bloggers like Chuck Holton, and through other Christian media outlets.

How can you help stop modern-day slavery? Please support active resistance in the Sahel region. Just a few brave folks are liberating slaves and teaching villagers how to shoot, so that they can fight off would-be slaver kidnappers. One charitable group that will soon be doing firearms training on the border of South Sudan and Sudan is Christian Reformed Outreach, South Sudan (C.R.O.S.S.) I support and highly recommend their unique ministry. OBTW, they have a few volunteer support positions open, here in the United States that would be ideal for retirees.

Just buying up modern-day slaves and giving them their freedom hasn't worked. The Islamic slavers simply go and kidnap more of them. The only way to effectively stop armed slaver kidnappers is to train and equip large numbers of armed free men in the border villages. In the modern context, you can "Just Say No" to slavery only with a battle rifle.

Addendum: Here is a recent headline: Sudan Intensifies Arrests, Deportations of Christians: Interrogations include threat to bury ministry group members alive. Please pray for the citizens of both South Sudan and Sudan. - J.W.R.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I received the following from an embedded mil-blogger friend.  His personal information has been redacted:

If I may, I would like to share some information with you.  Some is based on personal experience, and some comes from experts I know and trust.  What you do with this is up to you, but I wanted you to have it to think about just in case.  

First, I can commend an I-phone app (should be available for other platforms as well) that the Army had suggested to me called IED Aware.  It is actually pretty much the basic Army awareness course (pre-deployment) done as an app.  Maker is ForceReadiness.com, that does other education and training apps as well.  Not sure if it is free or not, but quite a few of the study apps are.  

Something I can share with you based on experience is that situational awareness is the key.  But, not just in trying to spot something -- you need it to be prepared for realistic options.  

Visually and otherwise scout your AO immediately.  You are not just looking for potential IED sites, you need to get an idea of cover options.  Concealment is NOT cover.  Things that can hide you from view are concealment, not cover.  Cover is something that can protect you from bullets, blast, and fragments.  Cover is concrete, it is thick metal as in armor or even the engine block of a car, it is a ditch, a culvert, or other thing that can stop/deflect incoming.  And, yes, cover can help deflect a blast wave, as they are strange creatures that can and do bounce, deflect, and reflect.  Buy me a beer and I will tell you of one (non-IED generated) I know first-hand caused a relocation of a wall without breaking a pane of glass in that glass wall.  

You need to know cover not just for yourself, but if something happens you need to be able to direct people away using as much of that cover as realistically possible.  So, scout, plan, and plan options so that you do not have to think about things if something happens, but can assess and be proactive in an emergency.  Having to stop and think can and does get people killed.  Plan ahead. 

Then, scan the area thinking of where an IED can be easily concealed (trash can, paper bin, etc.) and check those for anything suspicious.  It looks suspicious, call out and call in.  Clear the area, and hunker down in a place that gives you as much cover as possible yet still allows you to control the cleared area to keep idiots and others from wandering in.  

If the area is clear, scan for distance markers.  One of the most common currently is a plastic grocery bag tied to a branch or otherwise secured; but, the key is to look for something out of place and or a series of things that also happen to be a uniform distance apart.  Just as we use distance and aiming stakes, so to does the enemy.  While it is often that such a bag or other signal marks the spot of the IED, it can also be a trigger point so that a vehicle or group moving at a steady speed will be in the blast zone if the remote detonator is triggered as they pass that point.  Using this method, someone can be at home or a nearby bar watching an event on television and know when to dial the phone or press the button.  If you see something that could be a distance/location marker, call out and call it in.  If that marker is near a culvert or sewer line under the street, it needs to be checked out immediately.  Admittedly, IEDs in such are mostly for vehicles, but… 

It is doubtful that most terrorists would try to bury anything, but do keep an eye out for a freshly plowed or dug flower bed or such, just in case.  

Watch for suspicious behavior.  Someone moving a bit too nonchalantly, exceedingly nervous, obviously drunk or on drugs with a coat or such over themselves (amazing how many suicide bombers have to have chemical enhancement to do the job), or someone who may or may not be praying but has a look on their face and/or in their eyes that really can't be described other than to say that when you see it, you know it.  They will usually move confidently and force their way towards their destination no matter what, and one hand is usually at their side or in a pocket.  It's not just someone moving in quickly, dropping a backpack or other container and then moving away, it is a host and range of behaviors that don't fit the norm.  If you spot someone like this, don't approach if at all possible, but here stay calm, talk normally and call in and have LE come and intercept the person.  

If an IED goes off, take cover.  If possible, choose cover that provides overhead cover as well.  Roll under a vehicle, concrete bench, etc.  If there is no cover, go flat:  shrapnel tends to go out in a cone, and if you can get under the cone, all you have to deal with immediately is blast effect.  Quite a few wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan from incoming happen because people kept trying to run to a duck and cover or other shelter, instead of going flat.  You hear blast, or get an incoming warning, you go flat if you can't make shelter in about five seconds.  

Keep in mind that immediate shrapnel is only part of the issue:  blasts like that tend to toss things in the air, sometimes substantial things.  That's why if you can get to cover that provides overhead cover, you should.  Keep in mind that in Boston, parts of the bomb were found on a rooftop some ten stories up.  Debris can be coming down for up to a minute after a blast.  If there is no cover, after the initial blast front and shrapnel wave has passed, you go turtle (legs and arm under you, head back so your helmet goes over back armor as much as possible) or squat with your feet flat, knees to chest, back to blast, and hands over head so that you make the smallest possible area from a vertical perspective.  

Next, know that there are likely to be more explosions, as various online manuals (and generally smart terrorists) will do secondaries or even tertiaries to get first responders.  You will have seconds to a couple of minutes to regroup, try to get people moving in a safe direction, and get set for the next blast.  Use it well.  

For any form of IED, tourniquets are essential.  In Boston, we saw a lot of improvised and it is likely that we will have to do so at need as most IGR do not have combat tourniquets.  People are going to be screaming, there's going to be blood and debris, and triage needs to be with traumatic amputations first and foremost.  If a limb is gone, or just about gone, get the tourniquet on as low as possible on the limb and as quickly as possible.  Then worry about shrapnel wounds.  Know that if they follow standard doctrine, bleeding is going to worse because the shrapnel was coated with rat poison, warfarin, which is known medically as Coumadin.  It is an anti-coagulant, and the idea is to get as much as possible into the wound to make the victim bleed out.  

Now, to something I put last because it is against most current doctrine.

One thing that is not to the liking of academics and other rear-echelon types is that you want to see if there is a dump point in your immediate AO.  A dump point is something that will reduce blast effects and shrapnel.  Good foxholes have a grenade sump for this, when you are on foot or at an event, you don't have that but you do have other options.  Keep in mind that blast waves, no matter how powerful, like to follow the path of least resistance as much as possible.  You want to spot a dump point in advance because sometimes you roll snake eyes don't have a lot of options.  A dump point can be a concrete road barrier, a dumpster, a sewer opening, or anything that gives thicker sides and no top or a weak top.  You dump an IED into such, it will be destroyed, but most of the blast and shrapnel is likely to go up, not out; and, what does go out will not go out as far.  

Two quick scenarios under this heading.  First, someone drops a bag of some type nearby and takes off running.  If they do that, things are out of control on both sides and your options are very limited.  If they have dropped it, and there is no boom, the odds of it having any form of movement trigger are slim to none.  If they are running, they are panicked and no longer thinking and can trigger immediately or even forget to do so.  If it is a timed bomb, then they may be running because time is running out -- but you have time to think and act.  Right then, you have to make a choice.  

First thing you do, is get people to get down and/or move away as quickly as possible, because even if it is someone playing a "joke" on security, you have to treat it as real.  If you are that close, there are few realistic options for survival unless you have a dump point planned.  Get the bag to the dump point, then try to get people and yourself away if no immediate boom, and do so as low as possible.  If you hear any noise from the direction of the bag, go flat.  You can't help anyone if you are dead.  The second scenario is a suicide bomber near/next to you.  Your only viable option is to try to control them, get them into the dump point, and try to get away.  Odds are you won't, but you are pretty much out of options at that point anyway.  If you are within about 15 feet of either, odds are that you are going to die, the only difference being how many die with you. - X.

- Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog Editor at Large)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I currently provide consulting services to major global corporations. One effective way to do battle with a competitor is to place yourself in their shoes and plan out your own demise – exactly what I will do here today. Below is my concise strategy to completely ban firearms in the US within 10 years. I am not alone here, rest assured there are many groups that have paid tidy sums to have the same roadmap developed and are currently rolling it out in a very deliberate manner.

Step 1 – Divide to conquer. We know there were not enough votes to maintain the AWB and there are more gun owners now then there were in 2004. We know there is Youtube and forums that people gather on and multiply like cockroaches. We know that about 5 million AR-15s have been sold and probably the same magnitude of AK-47s if not more. We have surveys, Freedom of Information requests and NICS records at our disposal. We cannot defeat the entire gun owning US and we know it, but it doesn’t matter one bit. Let them believe the NRA is all powerful and they don’t have to act on their own, much less as a group.

First, make this a Democrat versus Republican issue. This will cut their forces in half immediately.

Next, divide the gun owners into niche groups and get them to turn on each other. We know there are gun owners that only hunt. We’ll craft a message that explains they hunt with three shotgun shells, why would anyone need a Saiga baby killer that can accept 10 or 20? That gun is only meant to destroy lives, you can’t even legally carry one into the field. That will resonate with at least some. We also know some only target or competitively shoot. Why would you need a 100 round drum magazine? Find a time when it was used to kill and convince them to give up someone else’s 100 round drum, in return for not touching their 1911. Then, find all the new concealed handgun people and show them how ridiculous it is to have a flash hider and PVS-14 night vision scope. These are offensive tools for the military and how would you like it if they got in the wrong hands and the bad guys entered your home one night with them? If we can make a reasonable law about offensive weapons, I’m sure we can live with your right to defend yourself against criminals trying to get them to kill your family and steal your guns.

This is by far the most powerful and greatest strategy to achieve our goal, divide the group off and pick them off one at a time. If we do nothing else, do this.

We will also hit them at the local, state and federal level. We have politicians and the media at all levels and they don’t. Make them defend several fronts and confuse the issue by launching similar but different bills. Have ten different definitions of an “assault rifle” and make them tell everyone how great assault is. “Assault” is a crime, force them to defend it daily. Our goal is to chip away and develop a base to build on; we just need small victories and don’t really care where they are or what we take out of their hands. Let the genie out of the bottle and she won’t go back.

Finally, divide the supply chain and make independent deals. Make a deal with Wal-Mart to slack off the government heat in exchange for them to voluntarily agree to stop selling semi-automatic weapons and 5.56 ammunition. Make a deal with the NRA to expand background checks in return for a larger voice or a few extra cops. Amazon.com is probably willing to do just about anything as are the other retailers from the west coast. People will see all of these big companies coming on board and each deal by itself will make some sense. Together, we gain a tremendous amount without giving anything up. It’s like winning without the burden of a congressional vote. Church groups are golden, get them on stage with you and host discussions about how bad guns are. Pass out candles and framed pictures of the fallen. Make sure we develop the agenda and makes sure it is gun control.

Step 2 – Hearts, not minds. Babies dying. Families destroyed. Tragic accidents. Candlelight vigil. Sensible steps. Moral obligation. Reasonable response. Blood. Funerals. Mothers crying. President’s crying. Enough is enough. Why is the US so much worse? Emotion sells, don’t deviate.

We sell to the heart and ignore the mind. People on average don’t know history and won’t take the time to research anything we or the other side says – plus, they tend to be limited by the truth. If we say it, it is true. “Assault weapons” are what we say they are, and can and should expand over time. The 5.56 is a high-powered killing machine designed to mow down military enemies 1,000 yards away and has no civilian use. Tyranny is so dead we don’t even bring it up unless we are talking about the Middle East. The second amendment applies to hunting with muskets. High capacity is anything over one round. Everything is high-powered.

Make up new names or find ugly names like “street sweeper.” “Tactical” companies play right in, go out and find guns with pictures of snakes, infidels, skulls and goblins on them. Put them on the news, in the press and on the morning and evening shows. Use those pictures for stories they aren’t even related to. Make famous a few YouTuber mall ninjas and tough guys who don’t shave. Use the word militia and northern Idaho with pictures of skinheads from the 1980s.

Answer questions with questions. Q: Do you believe in a natural right of self-defense? A: How many little children have to die before we act?

Statistics are great, start with strong societies like Japan that are inherently peaceful. They have no guns and just about no murders, case closed. Don’t worry about places like Chicago, nobody outside inner city Chicago knows or really cares. Chicago doesn’t even care. Canada and the UK are safe too. We want to be just like them, probably even better. The university brigade is your best friend here, start with UC Berkeley and go out from there. Find the janitor at Harvard and get him on MSNBC and CNN. He is an expert in a suit and tie and we all believe him. Combine university experts with their anecdotal statistics. Better yet, find a crazy gun owner and have a debate showing everyone how rabid they are.

Our side is the “pro” side and their side is the “anti” side. Remember how we turned the pro-life crowd into anti-abortion activists? Activists shoot people and blow up buildings. Pro-safety is the first step but not the last. Develop a name other than “gun owner” or “gun rights” and certainly stay away from the word constitution. Our enemies are anti-_____ activists, fill in the blank.

Finally, send every gun death story to the media and discuss it during all press briefings. Every issue can be tied back to the tragedy of the day. Are you old enough to remember when the nightly news read every American death nightly during the latter part of the Vietnam War? It is flat out effective. If it ends up showing something you don’t want to see (like the Oregon shooting stopped by a legally armed citizen who didn’t even need to fire a shot), simply let it fade. Nobody will pick it up except maybe Faux News. Every article should contain the following words: high-powered, high-capacity, military style, arsenal, explosives, cache, bulletproof vest, legally owned and certainly assault rifle. Have a high count for something; the number of deaths this year, the number of mass shootings, number of guns at the scene, number of bullets, just find big numbers. Don’t worry about accuracy, who is going to argue with you and take the side of the killer? Nobody will notice when the 10 assault rifle cache discovered in his car turns into only one two weeks from now.

Publicize reloading. Send the ATF in to inspect illegal ammunition factories cranking out thousands of high-power rounds in garages. Did you know your neighbor had a stockpile of explosive gunpowder, 5,000 detonators and 5,000 armor piercing bullets and was assembling them in the garage near the playground your kid uses? Let them argue terminology and defend the terrorists. We probably need a hotline like we had for drugs as well as several stock homemade videos of explosions and anarchists for the news to use.

Step 3 – Diversion - “an attack or feint that draws the attention and force of an enemy from the point of the principal operation” (from meriam-webster.com).

Beat the “ban” drum. Beat the executive order drum even louder. Let Feinstein and all of the pro-safety groups whip them into a frenzy. While the other side is all lathered up and running around putting out fires, we are free to get work done. Use existing powers to limit or tax imports (creating US jobs or protecting US manufactures from those pesky Russians and Chinese dumping illegal cheap imports into the US). Pass regulations to make it just about impossible to be an FFL. Raid a few. Send IRS auditors to the rest.

Work on Internet sales, how can they actually verify someone is 18 or 21? There should be a couple dozen hoops to set up somewhere. A good raid or ten would work well here too and doesn’t require anyone to vote on anything. Use stock pictures of a gun shop in the seedy part of town and tie it back to a shooting – “in a store like this…..” even if the store had nothing to do with any crimes.

Undercover gun show footage is great – everyone knows that is where evil goes for fun. We prove our point and make people afraid to buy or sell. Beat on the gun show loophole but never define it. “Narrow” it six or seven times, always limiting something but never quite fixing the problem.

What about shooting ranges? Do they comply with zoning requirements? How about making new ones? Noise ordinances? Have we tested nearby water for lead? I bet we can find a few holes in the outside wall the local news would love to hear about. What chemicals are in primers or powder that can hurt people or damage the environment? Same goes with gun stores, the city really should find a way to ban the sale of arms and ammunitions within city or county limits, don’t we have an attorney they could borrow or a “best practice” from another city we could share with them?

Get the point yet? Make life miserable for gun merchants and owners. Many will throw in the towel and give up. Make them drive long distances, spend lots of money and take tremendous amounts time to do the simplest task. Their group will get smaller over time and eventually they will go down in a whimper.

Step 4 – Money talks, especially when they don’t have any. Remember sin taxes on cigarettes and liquor? We make more money from smokes than Marlboro! Tax ammunition 50% and use the money for victim support and trauma bandages for first responders. Put it up for a vote with no riders, let them vote against grieving mothers.

Parlay this with Step 1 – people accept more taxes as long as we tax someone else. Go round and round and eventually you have everyone. Divide ammunition up and start with taxes on military ammunition, “armor piercing” or hollow points. What is military ammunition you ask? It is something we don’t want them to have. Expand it over time. A .308 or 30-06 can and will pierce a police officer’s Level IIIA vest, do we even have a name for ultra-high power cop killer armor piercing bullets yet? Vilify reloading, they are some of the most dedicated.

An NFA firearm or accessory now costs $200 just for the tax stamp, simply expand it to include things we can’t yet ban. Who would argue against a more solid background check for assault rifles (remember the truth doesn’t really matter here). $200 for the rifle stamp, $200 for a magazine stamp, $1,000 for a rifle (isn’t supply and demand great?), $600 for a case of ammo, $100 for mandatory locks and cases for the home and vehicle followed up with $150 for a state license = Joe be too broke to be a gun owner.

Levy a $1,000 annual FFL renewal fee plus $50 per firearm sale and use the money for more inspectors. We probably only have a few, or at least that is our story. Shouldn’t they also need $50,000,000 in liability insurance as a minimum? How can a hairdresser be required to be licensed, but not a guy selling the most high-powered weapon known to man? The owner and all their staff needs to be federally certified and licensed as well and that’s going to cost money a guy making $12 an hour just won’t have. The instructors are private citizens that also need to be certified. To protect the workers and gun shop owners, we’ll limit what they can charge to $50 for the four day course which will naturally restrict how many classes they offer and where. Add a test that they send in to us for an eight week grading process. They will have found another job by the time they get the results. Annual renewals with excessive paperwork work well.

Don’t forget about the local level, they deserve love too. They need the money new licenses and permits can provide – plus two sets of permits beats one any day. Inspectors are people that need jobs too, especially if we reward the ones that issue the most citations with promotions. Let’s see how they like “pay for performance.”

Step 5 – Frame it and hang it on our wall. We experienced a near miss when the NRA proposed an idea to end the real problem – social violence. This should serve as a stark reminder of our need to completely define the discussion. For anyone not paying attention, we are aiming to end gun ownership. Use tragic events to frame the discussion of gun control. Debate gun control, not violence or our society.

What would have happened if the NRA proposed a gathering at their headquarters to develop a comprehensive proposal to curb violence by addressing it as a social problem?

We frame the issue, we choose the venue and we choose the participant list. The issue is always gun control, we don’t debate the problem, we debate a version of the solution – gun control. The only question we want to hear is what type of gun control is best? How many rounds do people need? Should this gun be legal?

Use tragic events, then quickly transition to the core issue of disarming the nation. Every tragedy has the same solution.

Debrief – It would be almost comical if it weren’t playing out on the news every night. President Obama has chosen this place and this time as the battle royale. This is the big one. Canada had theirs, so did the UK and New Zealand. Today in the UK, you can be arrested for carrying a baseball bat in your car. I say this to reinforce the fact that you are either in support of private gun ownership or not. This isn’t the time to debate what types of magazines are “necessary”. Win this battle or the only magazine you will be buying will be Newsweek.

Six main reasons were cited by the authors as to why the Second Amendment is necessary (reference Wikipedia):

• Deter a tyrannical government
• Repel invasion
• Suppress insurrection
• Facilitate the natural right of self-defense
• Participate in law enforcement
• Enable the people to organize a militia system

Hunting and target shooting are notably absent. In fact, all of the above justifications involve fighting or war-time activities. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with deer or pieces of paper with circles on them. Noah Webster perhaps summarized it most eloquently (my emphasis) “Before a standing army can rule the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”

I now take the liberty of combining the six known justifications for the Second Amendment into two:

• Defend the country against a tyrannical government
• Defend ourselves, our family and our neighbors against people who wish to harm and kill us

The most effective (and only logical) argument that the Second Amendment is antiquated and should be removed or revised would be to argue that these are modern times and the two bullets above longer exist. Regarding tyrannical government, as of this writing the world has witnessed the beginning of at least five revolutions in the last two years: Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. In the last decade, at least five additional governments were overthrown by their citizens. I refuse to participate in the fantasy that American leaders are somehow genetically immune to future tyranny – it is an unfortunate human trait.

Neither can a sane person assume that Americans will never again face war or crime that requires citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves or the nation. Our armed forces and law enforcement are the best trained, best equipped, finest organization that has ever walked the Earth, yet we cannot expect them to be everywhere, always. Reference the LA riots, 9-11, Katrina, or any of the 6.6 million violent crimes committed every year in the US during “peace time.”

We need semi-automatic rifles with full capacity magazines for the same reason the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, police, National Guard, FBI, CIA, State Department, Secret Service, Border Patrol, and Homeland Security do – they are a very effective tool for stopping bad people from doing bad things to those we care about. Go back to the LA riots, if you were looking out your window and an armed group of thugs was heading to your front door, what weapon would you want?

If you think this is a republican vs. democrat or liberal vs. conservative debate, please wake up. Republicans, if you ever want to find a concentrated group of gun enthusiasts, head over to the union hall. The fight is those for the constitution and those against it. If one amendment falls, what holds the other ones up?

What do we do? Easy to say, hard to do – act as one unit and stand for someone you may not even agree with. You may only hunt birds and actually really despise the AK-47 and the punks on Youtube. The thing is that someday you will probably need that guy with the AK to stand for you. If he falls, who do you think is next? My daughter’s NRA instructor hit the nail on the head by having a student break a pencil. Then he handed 15 to the strongest guy in the class that couldn’t break them all at one time. Realize that there is an agenda to disarm you and this is simply the first fight.

The future depends on sportsmen and gun owners, make more of them. Find more like you and band together – you’ll need reassurance and a strong partner. Join whatever organization floats your boat, better yet join three or four.

Take your kid hunting. Take a neighbor shooting. Teach them both to be safe and respectful of life. Attend a rally or protest in a suit armed with children, mothers, an honest face and a bunch of facts. Volunteer as a gun owning group, volunteer to teach hunters education. Take the Scout troop to the rifle range to shoot arrows. Take a class or teach a class. Host a swap meet at the range. Invite people out to your property for shooting or hunting. Turn a fisherman into a hunter. Turn a bird hunter into a defensive pistol shooter. Buy them all a pocket constitution. Have you ever heard of Project Appleseed? They will send someone out to talk to your group for free.

You don’t have to be a gun owner to respect the constitution. Talk with as many people as you can, you may be surprised how many non-gun owners are just as afraid as you.

Buy arms and ammunition, a right not exercised is a right lost. You shouldn’t need another reason to pick up a new gun, magazines, ammunition or parts right now. Do it. Buy whatever you need, buy whatever you may need - the industry needs your support. Firearms, ammunition, magazines, parts, holsters, targets, everything. Make sure to tell the vendors your support is based on their support, one big happy family. Find the ones that actively donate and work with GOA and the NRA. Send them a letter thanking them – they will probably be getting a lot of heat soon. Convince others to do the same. Could you talk to 10 people to get them to send a single e-mail, letter or call? Do they support second amendment groups? Ask them why not and remind them their competitors do. Keep the heat on anyone that starts to go soft on our rights. Use your Youtube channel or your blog to magnify your efforts. Link to other like-minded messages.

Get a concealed carry permit and use it. In my state, each and every one either goes across the desk of a sheriff or police chief. What message will the small town sheriff that is up for re-election next year get if 500 cross his desk this month? Meet your local sheriff or police chief and thank them for what they do. Go as a sportsman’s group and hit the fire station on the way home.

Watch each company that meets with the administration or state and local government. Write them a letter thanking them for what they do and letting them know your continued business 100% depends on helping defend our constitutional rights. Let them know about your YouTube channel with 50,000 subscribers or the 10 forums you regularly post to. Send the letter out to other companies just in case. They may be caving or preparing to fight, you don’t know without asking.

For an offensive strategy, how about we also talk about the 2,500 babies killed every day in abortion clinics? Maybe we can discuss how Obama and David Gregory’s kids go to a school with 11 armed guards? Remind them this is in addition to the Secret Service, the school had the guards long before the Obama kids showed up – Obama and David chose to protect their kids with guns and now want yours. What about Bloomberg’s bodyguards? Hypocrisy doesn’t play well with most Americans. They already know politicians have a tendency to be elitist hypocrites, feed that fire with some good old facts.

The solution is measured, appropriate action in massive quantity. Pull people toward us, don’t push them away. Act as if your life depends on it because it just may. What are you going to do TODAY? What can you do during your lunch break? What about for 30 minutes tonight?

You have a natural right of self-protection that you enjoy today because patriots banded together and gave their life so that you can be free. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring; liberty is the one gift we must give to our children and grandchildren just as it was handed down to us.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dear Sir:
Many are dismayed by the recent Colorado law restricting firearms. But a cursory reading shows that the law only applies to "persons liable" and not the people at large.

Regarding any new law, tax or regulation, remember to ask servant government:
[ ] Whose endowed rights are being secured by this ?
[ ] How and when did I give consent to be bound by this ?
[ ] What privilege is the subject of this tax ?

Because the Declaration of Independence states that
Job #1 = secure rights, and
Job #2 = govern those who consent.

As to consent, let us recall that the republican form of government, as defined, recognizes that the American people are sovereigns, served - not ruled - by government.

Furthermore, the courts recognize that the laws are often limited in scope and applicability.

"In common usage, the term 'person' does not include the sovereign, [and] statutes employing the [word] are ordinarily construed to exclude it."
Wilson v. Omaha Indian Tribe, 442 U.S. 653, 667, 61 L.Ed2. 153, 99 S.Ct. 2529 (1979)
(quoting United States v. Cooper Corp. 312 U.S. 600, 604, 85 L.Ed. 1071, 61S.Ct. 742 (1941)).

"A Sovereign cannot be named in any statute as merely a 'person' or 'any person'".
Wills v. Michigan State Police, 105 L.Ed. 45 (1989)

If you thought "government" was sovereign, read these:

The people of the state, as the successors of its former sovereign, are entitled to all the rights which formerly belonged to the king by his own prerogative.
Lansing v. Smith, (1829) 4 Wendell 9, (NY)

At the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people and they are truly the sovereigns of the country.
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 440, 463

It will be admitted on all hands that with the exception of the powers granted to the states and the federal government, through the Constitutions, the people of the several states are unconditionally sovereign within their respective states.
Ohio L. Ins. & T. Co. v. Debolt 16 How. 416, 14 L.Ed. 997

In America, however, the case is widely different. Our government is founded upon compact. Sovereignty was, and is, in the people.
[ Glass v. The Sloop Betsey, 3 Dall 6 (1794)]

Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts.
[Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370 (1886)]

Finally, a non-legal reference that shows our ancestors were better informed:

ALIEN, n.  An American sovereign in his probationary state.
- "The Devil's Dictionary" (1906), by Ambrose Bierce

His audience knew what an "American sovereign" was, to understand the joke.

GOVERNMENT (Republican Form of Government) "One in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people ... directly ..."
- Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, P. 695

BTW - citizens, by definition, are subjects, because they are obligated to perform mandatory civic duties (i.e., militia duty, jury duty, etc.).
There is no such thing as a sovereign citizen (with a lower case "c".) Which also means that if American people are sovereigns, no one was "born" a U.S. citizen unless they were (a) slaves and (b) outside the jurisdiction of the 50 States united (see: 13th Amendment).

With My Regards, - J.G.

JWR Replies: Sovereignty claims are root-level jurisdictional challenges to the court's relationship to the defendant. While I agree with what you've written in principle, as a practical matter for the past 30+ years the American courts have run roughshod over anyone who has attempted to make any such jurisdictional arguments. This has been true at every level--all the way from local traffic courts up to Federal tax courts. In effect they've corralled everyone into their jurisdiction, and they have selectively tossed out any legal precedents that they dislike, especially those dating from before 1913. Once you step inside their courts, they have you. Even those who rightfully claim to be outside of their synthetic jurisdiction become ensnared by it. And virtually all of the policing organizations enforce that make-believe jurisdiction, despite its contrived origin. 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.

Over the past 25 years I've spent hundreds and hundreds of hours researching this, and everything that I've read leads me to the same conclusion: There is precious little justice left in our justice system. It is now more of a "just us" system. And their definition "us" includes just The Powers That Be. My heart goes out to those who have tried to use sovereignty and other jurisdictional arguments in the courts, but the sad truth is that those arguments are regularly ignored--regardless of their relevance, their merit, or their import. We are now faced with a well-entrenched court system that is adjudicating statutory cases (malum prohibitum) just as if they were malum in se cases.

Don't expect to find any "silver bullets" in case citations that pre-date their more recently created (and corrupted) court system. In effect, the courts are now little more than tools of the cabal formed by the fractional reserve bankers, the statist/collectivist state and Federal legislatures, the FDR/BHO school of executive action, and their taxing agents with the BATFE and the IRS. If you fight them on jurisdictional grounds you will nearly always lose. Tilting at windmills may seem noble, but it isn't when they've put liens on your bank accounts, garnished your wages, snatched your kids with their CPS goons, thrown you in jail, or caused you to lose your job/shut down your own business. I've seen many lives, marriages and fortunes ruined by folks who did not choose their fights wisely. Be wise as serpents and meek as lambs. Don't go to war with them over trifles!

Yes, I know, I know, "The first in the order of pleadings is to the jurisdiction" and a court can't proceed with the facts of a case until its jurisdiction has been established. And yes, there are some strong cites out there, such as:

"Once challenged, jurisdiction cannot be assumed, it must be proved to exist." Stuck v. Medical Examiners, 94 Ca 2d 751. 211 P2d 389.

"Once jurisdiction is challenged, the court cannot proceed when it clearly appears that the court lacks jurisdiction, the court has no authority to reach merits, but, rather, should dismiss the action." Melo v. US, 505 F2d 1026.

"A universal principle as old as the law is that a proceedings of a court without jurisdiction are a nullity and its judgment therein without effect either on person or property." Norwood v. Renfield, 34 C 329; Ex parte Giambonini, 49 P. 732.

"The law requires proof of jurisdiction to appear on the record of the administrative agency and all administrative proceedings." Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U. S. 533.

"A court cannot confer jurisdiction where none existed and cannot make a void proceeding valid. It is clear and well established law that a void order can be challenged in any court" Old Wayne Mit. L. Aassoc. v. McDonough, 204 U. S. 8, 27 S. Ct. 236 (1907).

"There is no discretion to ignore lack of jurisdiction." Joyce v. U.S. 474 2D 215.

"Court must prove on the record, all jurisdiction facts related to the jurisdiction asserted." Latana v. Hopper, 102 F. 2d 188; Chicago v. New York, 37 F Supp. 150.

"The law provides that once State and Federal Jurisdiction has been challenged, it must be proven." Main v. Thiboutot, 100 S. Ct. 2502 (1980).

"Jurisdiction can be challenged at any time." and "Jurisdiction, once challenged, cannot be assumed and must be decided." Basso v. Utah Power & Light Co., 495 F 2d 906, 910.

"Defense of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any time, even on appeal." Hill Top Developers v. Holiday Pines Service Corp., 478 So. 2d. 368 (Fla 2nd DCA 1985)

"There is no discretion to ignore that lack of jurisdiction." Joyce v. US, 474 F2d 215.

"The burden shifts to the court to prove jurisdiction." Rosemond v. Lambert, 469 F2d 416.

"Jurisdiction is fundamental and a judgment rendered by a court that does not have jurisdiction to hear is void ab initio." In Re Application of Wyatt, 300 P. 132; Re Cavitt, 118 P2d 846.

"Thus, where a judicial tribunal has no jurisdiction of the subject matter on which it assumes to act, its proceedings are absolutely void in the fullest sense of the term." Dillon v. Dillon, 187 P 27.

"A court has no jurisdiction to determine its own jurisdiction, for a basic issue in any case before a tribunal is its power to act, and a court must have the authority to decide that question in the first instance." Rescue Army v. Municipal Court of Los Angeles, 171 P2d 8; 331 US 549, 91 L. ed. 1666, 67 S.Ct. 1409.

But good luck citing those decisions in today's courts! In most instances they will simply be ignored. The courts are no longer concerned with what is right, fair, and just. Rather, they are concerned with gathering revenue and perpetuating their new-found powers.

The only good news that I have to offer is that although jurisdictional challenges have been consistently ignored, there has at least been some success in getting juries to nullify bad laws. I enthusiastically support the Fully Informed Jury Association. In summary: We The People have failed to convince the judges that they lack jurisdiction over Sovereigns, but at least we can still educate the juries of our peers, and convince them to nullify bad laws, on a case-by-case basis. As long as there is still a jury system for criminal trial in this country, then there is still hope for justice.

If ever you end up in court fighting an unconstitutional felony charge or if you are at risk of losing custody of your children to the state, then yes by all means, challenge the court's jurisdiction from the very outset. But if you fail that, then do your utmost to educate the jury that they have the long-established power to weigh both the facts of the case and the validity of the law itself. Lex mala, lex nulla! And jury nullification can work regardless of the wording of the Jury Instructions from the court. In the end, once the jury room door is shut, the judge is powerless and your fate it is entirely up to the jury. May God Bless You and Protect Your Liberty!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just as I warned SurvivalBlog readers, it appears that the BHO Administration is taking executive action on firearms importation. Take a few minutes to read this: After Senate setback, Obama quietly moving forward with gun regulation. Here is the key portion of the article:

"The Importation of Defense Articles and Defense Services -- U.S. Munitions Import List references executive orders, amends ATF regulations and clarifies Attorney General authority “to designate defense articles and defense services as part of the statutory USML for purposes of permanent import controls,” among other clauses specified in heavy legalese requiring commensurate analysis to identify just what the administration’s intentions are. Among the speculations of what this could enable are concerns that importing and International Traffic in Arms Regulations [ITAR] may go forward to reflect key elements within the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty." [Emphasis added.]

Depending on how it is implemented, the implications of this change could be huge. With the stroke of a pen and without the consent of Congress, ATF bureaucrats could make ANY gun part or accessory (including magazines) or ammunition that were originally manufactured or perhaps even those designed for military use no longer legal for importation for civilian use. That might mean no more milsurp parts sets. No more milsurp magazines. No more milsurp ammo. No more milsurp optics. Perhaps not even spare firing pins. This could be ugly.

I strongly recommend that you stock up on magazines, ammunition and spare parts for any of your imported military pattern guns, as soon as possible! Once an import ban is implemented, prices will skyrocket. Importation of Chinese military guns and ammunition was banned during the Clinton Administration, but importers quickly worked around that, by tapping other sources. But imagine if all of the channels for military surplus are cut off. That mean no more spam cans of any of the Russian calibers, no more battle packs of .223 or .308, and no more affordable AK, HK, FAL, Galil, or SIG magazines.

This may be just the first of several executive actions/orders. There is also the possibility of a blanket ban on the importation of any civilian magazines (Glock, SIG, Beretta, etc.) of more than 10 round capacity, by declaring them "non-sporting." There is a precedent for that, as well, set in 1989. That ban could be grossly widened. And don't look for too much support from American gun makers on this issue. They actually benefit from import bans. They benefited in 1968, when import of most of the milsurp rifles stopped. And they benefited again with the 1989 Import Ban.

Don't dawdle. Be proactive! If you wait until after the door slams shut, then you will be paying two or three times the price. If there is a gun show near you this weekend, then you should be there, with a wad of cash. - J.W.R.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dear Editor,
I am an emergency physician practicing in Southern Californistan. I share TXNurse's concern about influenza in general, and especially new variants of Avian Influenza, like H7N9.   Her information is current and valuable.  I would urge standard OPSEC on this information if you are a nurse or physician or other health worker.

Many of my colleagues pooh-pooh my concerns about Influenza.  They just don't believe it.  And these are educated physicians!  Given many of them are liberal and believe FEMA will protect them and all that, but even so you would expect a nod from other physicians about the threat, given the history of the Great Pandemic of 1916-1918.   

Our family knows the value of OPSEC.  We just don't discuss our preparations, especially as to Influenza.  My wife, a Nurse by the way, and I already monitor world influenza cases, and have email alerts regarding influenza.  

One thing we have done that others may find helpful is to have pre-determined sentinel events for keeping our children home from school and implementing quarantine.  Our quarantine triggers involve cases in adjoining states, a pattern of progressive number of cases, and so on.  Our triggers may not fit yours, so research the data as to your local situation and prayerfully make a decision.

One more note regarding OPSEC.  Two months ago our doorbell rang about 9PM.  Odd.  While I went to the door, our son stood by at the ready.  It was a previous ER patient who wanted me to loan him money for rent.  I expressed my concern, but told him I couldn't loan him money and suggested some alternatives.  I don't know how he made my address, but nowadays your address is all over the Web.   This rattled me, and I told one of my few Prepper ER doc friends about it.  He reminded me to drive home by different routes when I get off shift.  

FWIW, I am not an epidemiologist.  I'm just an ER Doc.  - Doc C.J.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Influenza A viruses originate from various avian species, and almost exclusively begin in China. Influenza A viruses have always infected many different species of birds. Often initially seen in one species, they frequently cross over and cause illness in another species, this is called mixing, mutation or antigenic drift. This is how new subtypes of viruses are created. Eventually these viruses progress until they mutate enough to become infective to mammalian hosts (us). These viruses can be highly infective, easily transmissible and very lethal in humans. Most of us have probably heard of the H1N1 virus that took a substantial toll on the world’s population in 2009, and continues to be a threat during flu season. Many still may be familiar with H5N1. This subtype appeared around 1997 in China and has made slow progress to become more adaptable with human to human transmission (H2H). In the last 10 days China has made announcements (almost daily) of cases of severe influenza that has been subtyped as H7N9. This particular strain has been known to infect birds, but up until this point not humans. The number of cases daily, including deaths has been alarming. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are taking this new development very seriously. What the 3 subtypes mentioned above have in common is that when they first appeared they are what scientists and virologists call Novel subtypes (meaning new to humans). Depending on the way they have mutated and adapted to become infective to humans has a lot to do with how lethal they are to us. The unique genetic sequences of these viruses also give virologists insight into how lethal they may be, and what their “case fatality rate” (CFR), may be on the general population.

My intent on writing this article is to make it as easy as possible for everyone to understand the importance of how serious a novel pandemic can be to us without getting bogged down with the scientific terms, and how important it is for us as prepared individuals to know how to handle and stockpile for a pandemic with a high CFR. My background is in critical care. For the past 24 years I’ve worked in an Intensive Care Unit, and have taken care of numerous influenza patients. We had quite a few patients on ventilators in 2009, and we lost some young people with serious pneumonias and multi organ failure. I have always been interested in epidemiology and in the mid-1990s began researching influenzas extensively. What has me particularly worried about H7N9 is the rapid development of this novel subtype, and the possibility that there is already human to human transmission. As of 4/12/13 China has reported 49 cases, 11 deaths, many remaining critical and only two recoveries. This may not sound worrisome to most people, but if you knew how difficult it is to get accurate information and numbers out of China, it is quite astounding that they are admitting to these cases so quickly! This leads me to believe that there are many more still unreported. We do not have a complete picture yet, with possible “mild” cases factored into the numbers, but the numbers we do have show an extremely high CFR (probably greater than 50%). In comparison the last great pandemic in our recent history was the Spanish Flu of 1918, it had a CFR of 2% and it killed approximately 50 – 100 million people world wide. The World Heath Organization, CDC, and much of the scientific community believe it is only a matter of time before another novel pandemic virus hits the world again. Normally in each century the world has approximately three flu pandemics, this was the case in the last century, we had two mild pandemics in 1957 and 1968, which increased the overall mortality rates throughout the world, but not significantly, and still had the elderly and infirm as its primary victims. The Spanish Flu in 1918 was quite different in the fact that its primary victims were young and healthy people in their prime. Scientists believe this was primarily due to something called a “cytokine storm”, which occurs most frequently in the young healthy population, allowing a person’s own immune system to over react and attack vital organs, especially the lungs. This is also what we saw to some extent with the H1N1 virus in 2009. Currently with H7N9 victims the reports have stated that most became very hypoxic (short of breath) fairly soon, and most progressed rapidly to multi organ failure.

Effects of Past Pandemics on the United States
Pandemic    Estimated U.S. Deaths      Influenza A Strain     Populations at Greatest Risk

1918-1919       500,000                            H1N1                      young, healthy adults
1957-1958         70,000                            H2N2                      infants, elderly
1968-1969         34,000                            H3N2                      infants, elderly
2009-2010         18,300                            H1N1 (swine)         young, healthy adults

Please note that all these recent pandemics had a CFR of 2% or less. World wide the current CFR for the slow adapting H5N1 virus is greater than 60%, which means that every 6 out of 10 people who have caught the H5N1 virus have died! I shutter to think what the CFR will be for the H7N9 virus that appears to be adapting to humans at a much faster pace.

Seasonal Flu vs. Pandemic Flu what is the difference?

The seasonal flu is the normal flu we see arrive every year usually starting sometime in the fall and lasting until sometime in the spring. Each year we see slightly different variations of influenza virus subtypes that have been around for awhile, and most of us have some antibodies and immunity to some of these subtypes. So when it comes time to look at making the next season’s flu vaccine our influenza specialists usually look at the three most prevalent subtypes we just had and begin to culture these viruses in fertilized eggs (scientists are working on cell based vaccines now for faster deployment of vaccines, soon to be common place I hope) and then combine them to come up with our new vaccine for the coming flu season (this is the simple version). The process to make a new vaccine usually takes about 6 months. The seasonal flu can target 5 – 30% of the population, and usually makes you feel horrible for about a week or so. Complications arise in people with compromised immune systems and in the very young and elderly. Deaths occur usually from a secondary pneumonia infection. Getting your flu vaccine every year greatly reduces your chances of getting the flu. The experts who just made the new vaccine are hoping the new subtype out for the season will at least be partly covered by the vaccine. I’ve heard many people say they “got the flu” from the shot. That really is not possible as the vaccine is made from a “killed” virus, your arm may hurt and some people may have a slight fever, with minimal other discomforts, but I believe you are better off being vaccinated.

A pandemic flu occurs when we have an avian species coming up with a new subtype that we have no antibodies or immunity to. The virus goes through several stages until it mixes and mutates to become easily transmissible to humans. This novel strain can possibly be very lethal. “Pandemic” simply means it will become a global problem (because of the newness). A global pandemic flu will likely target greater than 50% of the world’s population due to the fact that none of us has any immunity.

Consequences of a Global Flu Pandemic

In a typical disaster which usually happens to a localized area or country, resources are mobilized to help with the recovery. In a global flu pandemic there are no resources from unaffected regions to mobilize, it will be every region, every country, every family fending for themselves. In a global pandemic the disaster is unrelenting (up to 12 – 18 months), which will thwart any effort to recover. Hospitals will be overwhelmed in days to 1 – 2 weeks. Because of our “just in time delivery systems” that every corporation now uses, medical supplies will become nonexistent in days. The hospital I work in usually has a pharmacy delivery twice a day. As an example of the systemic system weakness people will walk off their jobs and go home due to the fear of catching the flu and bringing it home to their loved ones. This will greatly affect our supply chains for all our resources; groceries, medicines, fuel, etc. Hospitals are not just made up of Doctors and nurses, we have ancillary departments that are fundamental in the care and operation of our hospitals. Suppose just one department, like Nutritional Services is affected first, either by fear of coming to work, or by people who have caught the flu, how do our patients get fed? Within days many departments in the hospital will be depleted of personnel, again either by not coming into work, or becoming victims of the flu. Emergency Room departments will be completely over run very quickly, and unfortunately in most cases there is not a whole lot we can do medically for people with a viral infection. Flu usually has to run its course, and if we do not have IV fluids for hydration and any antivirals left, how do we care for these people? People requiring a ventilator for lung support will be out of luck, as this number could be in the thousands, or worse, millions. Our hospital has 5 ventilators at any given time, in times of extra need we can rent maybe 1 or 2 more in our area. It is my firm belief that if we had a global pandemic occur with a high CFR we will be taking care of our own sick, at home. The smartest way is to prepare ahead of time with supplies at home, and be prepared to quarantine your family during the event.

What are the Symptoms of the Flu?

Pretty much what we are already familiar with: sore throat, cold, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches. Warning signs for an immediate Doctor or ER visit would include severe acute shortness of breath, bluish skin (fingers, lips, etc.), seizures and dehydration.

What is the incubation period for catching the flu?

The time between human exposure and onset of illness (incubation period) is usually 2 – 4 days, sometimes up to 7 days. (If I had my family in isolation/lock down for a pandemic and another family member came, I would quarantine them for up to 14 days).

How long does a Pandemic last?

Generally flu pandemics come in three waves, with the second wave usually being the worst. For a global pandemic you are usually looking at up to possibly eighteen months for the three waves to have made their rounds and begin to subside. Currently the CDC has stated that in the recent past they have tried to make a H7 vaccine “just in case” and have had difficultly with it conveying immunity. This may be a big problem for us, as it could take up to a year or more to have a vaccine available to vaccinate our total population.

How contagious is the flu?

The influenza virus can live on an inanimate surface for up to 48 hours; it can live on your clothes for up to 8 hours.

How is the flu spread?

The flu can be spread by droplet infection: coughing, sneezing, bodily fluids. It can be spread by direct contact: shaking hands, door knobs, computer keyboards, shopping carts, etc. The flu can also be airborne, and many influenza experts call for social distancing during a pandemic while out in public or at work (6-10 feet), and if you are out in public during a pandemic you should be wearing personal protective equipment  (PPEs).

What can I do to prepare my family for a pandemic?

Make sure your family members are up to date on their vaccines, such as the annual flu vaccine (this could possibly convey some immunity to a new virus, not really sure if it would or not). The pneumovax vaccine is also very important, this protects against 23 types of bacterial pneumonia. Hepatitis A is not a bad idea if our utilities are not working and we are forced to drink or eat questionable water or food. A tetanus vaccine is also important, as everyone should have one every 10 years. Be sure to contact your own Physician and discuss these maters with her/him.

The single most important thing we can do during a flu pandemic while at home, work or in public is practice good hand washing skills. This means using plenty of soap with warm to hot water and scrubbing 30 – 40 seconds, remember to get the back of your hands and in between your fingers, under your nails and up your arms. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a paper towel and then turn off the water with the paper towel, so as not to contaminate your hands on the dirty faucet handle. Using a alcohol based hand sanitizer is also recommended (not a antibacterial soap that is not alcohol based). To use this thoroughly wet your hands with the sanitizer and let air dry, do not towel dry. If you are sneezing or coughing be sure to use Kleenex, and properly dispose of them, if Kleenex is not available sneeze into the fabric of your shirt sleeve. I think sneezes have been clocked at 200 miles/hour, that can really travel some distance! Frequently clean your work surfaces at home and at work with either germicidal wipes or a weakened bleach solution (one part bleach to 4 parts water), don’t forget your telephones and computers!

Medicines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs)

Lets talk about antivirals first: Neuraminidase Inhibitors have been proven to be effective for some people during normal flu seasons and also with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and for some of the unfortunate people who contracted the H5N1 subtype, these antivirals may not prevent the flu, but they can lessen the severity and duration of the flu. Some of these antivirals are Tamiflu, and Relenza and the M2 inhibitors Amantadine and Rimantadine. If you have an understanding physician try talking to them now and see if you can get some prescriptions for these drugs. The first two listed have proven to be the most effective, but depending on the specific subtype, some of the viruses have become resistant to the antivirals. Please be sure your home is stocked with plenty of pain and fever reducers. Also be sure you have working thermometers on hand. Have a blood pressure cuff at home and learn how to use it properly; low BP can be one of the first signs of complications.

Particulate Respirator Masks – these ideally should be “fit tested” to be worn properly, you could try going by your local hospital and see if they could show you the proper way to wear the mask. If that is not possible be sure the mask fits snuggly around your face covering your nose and mouth without leak areas (guys….this means no mustaches or beards). These masks must be NIOSH approved N95 rating or higher. A surgical mask is a second (although poor) alternative if respirators are unavailable. One mask can usually be worn for approximately 8 hours, if it has not become soiled, contaminated (taking off and on), or becomes too moist. Nitrile, latex, or vinyl (if you have a latex allergy) single use exam gloves. These come in boxes of 100, you can find them cheap at Sam’s or Costco. The masks can be ordered from places like medical supply companies. You need to have a lot of these on hand, try to get appropriate sizes for your kids if you can. You also need eye protection, wear goggles or a face shield. Goggles should have the side protectors, these can be found at medical supply companies and stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Often I have seen pictures of people in the world wearing only masks and not goggles during a pandemic, this was especially evident during the SARS out break. With droplet infections you are contaminated by coughing and sneezes into your mucous membranes…..that includes your eyes! Don’t forget your alcohol based hand sanitizers, and germicidal wipes.

Gowns – a long sleeved cuffed disposable gown may be needed for direct care for an infected person.
 If you are caring for an infected person at home in the case of a severe pandemic and hospitals are closed or full be sure to isolate and quarantine this person to a separate part of the house if at all possible, and have only one primary care person who always wears their PPEs. Keep all materials to care for the infected also separate. Be sure to dispose of  any items that may be soiled or contain bodily fluids very carefully, and away from other family members.

Hydration of the person with flu is extremely important, especially if a hospital is not available. This can prove daunting for someone with nausea and vomiting, but it is imperative if you are the care giver to keep trying to push fluids.

Electrolyte drink
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. table salt
3-4 tbsp. sugar
1 quart water
Mix well, flavor with lemon or sugar free Kool Aid.

Keep a daily record of the person who is ill, include temp, blood pressure, and respirations. Also take daily temps of other members of your family (with a separate thermometer), and be prepared to separate and isolate any additional family members who you believe may be becoming ill. Make sure the infected person is urinating regularly, and in good amounts, if they aren’t this is the first sign of dehydration, or worse, possible kidney failure.

As preppers we all strive to protect our families and loved ones as best we can, a pandemic with a severe CFR would be devastating to the world. Personally this would be one of my tipping points in calling all family members home and staying home, no one in or out for the duration. I would be praying that they come up with a vaccine within a year.

I sincerely hope none of us has to deal with a pandemic with a high CFR in our future, but if we do please prepare now with the items you may need. I will never forget watching scenes from Toronto, during the SARS epidemic, of people selling simple surgical masks on street corners for $10 each! Like with everything else we prepare for now, this is just another possibility in the crazy, crowded world we live in.

Please stay healthy and God Bless.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The author and web site disclaim any liability for the decision you make based on this information.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hurricane Sandy tore through the northern eastern seaboard.  The hurricane combined with two other weather systems to create a Super storm (Some say).  The Hurricane or Super Storm created a destructive path that hasn’t been seen this far up north, ever.  Homes were damaged, properties were destroyed, and lives were lost.  This Hurricane had a lot to teach us.  A lot of us (Preppers) were prepared for this storm and tested our emergency plan for the first time, in real time.  We got to learn a lot about our emergency plan and some of us will patch the holes in our plans, if any.

What Happened:

Hurricane Sandy came through the Tri-State Area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), Maryland, and Pennsylvania with a force that hasn’t been seen in over a hundred years.  Hurricane Sandy ripped through cities, towns, and neighborhoods without any prejudice.  Hurricane Sandy also sent storm surges to drown out these areas.  High winds tore through homes and properties.  People were killed, injured and left homeless.  The Jersey Shores, Coney Island, Long Island, and parts of New York City’s landscape were changed forever.  24 states were effect by the Super Storm Sandy, Canada, and the Caribbean islands.  Hurricane Sandy reached a recorded 980 miles in diameter.

The Problems:

Evacuation Routes:  Many evacuation routes were compromised during and after Hurricane Sandy. Some people waited too long to leave while others tried to stay and found out the hard way that, that wasn’t a good choice. Train tunnels floods as well as traffic tunnels.  Bridges were shut down due to high winds. Some tried to leave after the storm and found out they couldn’t leave.  Taking evacuation advice seriously is a must and not something to take lightly. For this reason having more than one evacuation route is very important and so is leaving early.

Flooding:  Many cities, towns, and neighborhoods along the northeastern seaboard took on more water than anticipated.  The water moved with a force ripping houses off their foundations and relocating others somewhere in the area.  Vehicles were floating down the street.  Entire boardwalks were ripped away from their foundations, swept into the ocean and in many cases found more than a mile inland.  The massive amounts of salt water destroyed homes, basements, businesses, emergency services facilities, medical facilities and vehicles.  People drown from the flooding as well.  Some people were caught in there basements as the water came into their homes trapping them.  Two kids were swept away by waves of water.  The floods were made of a perfect combination of high winds, high tide, and a full moon all happening simultaneously. The highest recorded surge was in Battery Park City, New York at 13.8ft.

High Wind Conditions:  Trees, power lines, homes, and a sky crane were damage by high-sustained winds.  The sustain winds were as high as 80 mph. The gust of winds reached 109 mph.  The winds were not expected to be as high in the first reports of the hurricane’s approach.  The high winds also helped the water surge onto land.  The high winds also killed people as it sent trees through homes and debris into the air.  High winds also knocked the face of a building off and shook many buildings.  The high wind caused roof of homes to be ripped off, windows blown out, and homes to collapse. 

Power Outages: 8.5 million people (roughly) lost power due to Hurricane Sandy.  This included a power station in New York City, which had an explosion causing 800,000 customers to lose power. The power was knocked out due to high winds, fallen trees and tidal flooding.  The Hurricane caused black outs that could be seen from space satellites.  Hospitals and Nursing Homes had to be evacuated due to power loss and flooding. “Customers” went days, weeks, or even months without power.  Businesses were destroyed due to power outage. Rotting food and loss of income put some businesses out of business, for good. Even now, some homes still do not have power (2/11/2013).  With the power outage came something most people didn’t know about. Waste management systems dumped its waste into the surrounding bays, channels, and rivers due to loss of power. So, the floodwaters were contaminated as well.

Property Damage:  There was an estimate of 71.4 billion of dollars in damages that spread across 24 states.  As we all saw, homes were displaced from their foundation by tidal flooding carrying the homes away.  In some cases, home were found in completely different neighborhoods from their original location. If homes weren’t carried away by the floodwaters, then the homes were just flooded, which caused mold to grow in the days to come.  Trees fell through home, completely destroying the structure. Tens of thousands of vehicles were totaled due to flooding and tree falling on them.  Fires ripped through homes as well, mixed with the high winds turned the fire into a blowtorch, destroying hundreds of homes.  Boardwalks were ripped from their century old foundations as some of you seen with the New Jersey Shore boardwalk in Seaside Heights.  Sand also played a roll in destroying home, vehicles, and business. Sand from the ocean floor and beaches were brought onto land by wind and water.

Complete Destruction Of Areas and Neighborhoods:  Areas and neighborhoods were completely destroyed due to Hurricane Sandy. Breezy Point in New York was destroyed due to wind, water, and fire.  Over a hundred home were destroyed by fire.  A few thousand homes were flooded.  Some homes had their roofs blown off.  A few homes were relocated to other nearby neighborhoods via water.  The New York Aquarium on Coney Island was partial destroyed due to floodwaters and power loss.  Most of New Jersey’s shores were destroyed.  Some of the boardwalks were completely destroyed and pushed further inland or dragged out to sea.

Looting and Robberies: Looting came as no surprise to anyone but a few guys did try and break into a bank during the height of the storm.  They try to use a pickup truck to get the job done but once they rammed through the glass doors. They had no plan of action after that. Need less to say, they got nothing.  Some of the big chain stores were looted during the storm but once the storm passed. The looting picked up in pace and locations in New York City, I am not sure if looting took place in other states.  The police did a good job ending the looting spree here in New York City.  There were reports of robberies in some areas of the city after the storm passed.  There was one report of people being robbed for their emergency disaster supplies that had been given to them by Red Cross (I only heard that once during a news broadcast.)  Burglaries also spiked in neighborhoods that were hit hard and had less people due to evacuations.

After The Storm:

There were a lot of issues that arose from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Getting power back on for people. Logistics for disturbing food, water, and other necessary items for people became a problem.  Housing people who lost their homes became an issue too.  Lack of fuel was also an unforeseen problem.  A few deaths occurred from this storm as well. Some of these problems could have been avoided had the city had a better emergency preparation plan. 

Deaths: 118 people in the U.S. were killed due to Hurricane Sandy. 1 person in Canada and 69 people in Caribbean was also killed.  Some people were killed by floods, while others were killed by flying debris and falling trees.  Some people were even electrocuted.

Lack Of Supplies: There were huge problems with the distribution of food and water to those places that needed the help.  There was a breakdown in communication as to where and when food and water were going to be given out.  In Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York people showed up to the assigned time and place to receive their emergency provisions but instead the time would be changed to hours later.  Minor incidents broke out at these distribution locations.  Some fighting was reported but most were arguments that were reported by people who waited on line.  Some people had to resort to getting their water from open water hydrants and walk miles to get there food from neighborhoods that had power.  People in lower Manhattan had to walk north for food, which in some cases was better than a 5-mile walk.  Breezy Point, New York had the most help dedicated to them but even then Red Cross and FEMA dropped the ball.  Shelter became another issue for those that lost their homes.  People were taken to schools, armories, and churches after the storm.  The temporary occupants from a homeless shelter on Rockaway, New York trashed one school by urinating on the lunchroom floors, feces in the water fountain, and food discarded throughout the school.  The lack of logistics and communication breakdown made everything harder than it had to be.

Lack Of Fuel: The lack of fuel was a combination effect.  From gas stations having no power to retrieve the gas from the ground to refineries being shut down due to lack of power or terminals being destroyed due to floods, wind damage, and power loss.  Waterways for importing fuel were also closed due to debris blocking the waterway.  On top of all that 350,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in the Arthur Kill Waterway in New Jersey, closing that waterway as well.  If gas stations would have had back up generators or emergency pump systems to retrieve the gas, that might of alleviated some of the gas problems. If refineries would of set their backup generators on higher ground like some of them could of done, then that would of cut down on the fuel shortage days.  Fights and arguments broke out on these gasoline lines, one guy got arrested for pulling a knife on another man just to skip the line.  There was free gasoline being given out at one point. Luckily I filled up my truck before the hurricane hit.  

What Didn’t Happen:

A stronger storm with the same conditions Hurricane Sandy had would have done far more damage.  If the winds were stronger way more trees, homes, and building would have been knocked down. More water would of reached further inland, flooding more homes and costing the states million dollars more.  More people would of died.  The recovery efforts would of taken a lot longer.  The fuel shortage would of taken months to recover.  Help from other states would have been minimal due to the fact that the storm might have been bigger in diameter and those neighboring states would have had to help themselves.  Now, just because Hurricane Sandy could have been stronger doesn’t mean that she would have been bigger but considering Sandy was a combination storm, she would’ve been bigger. Imagine if she would have been bigger in diameter.  Hurricane Sandy was 980 miles in diameter, that’s 560,000 square miles.

What I Learned:

I learned that I was more prepared than I original though.  For living in an apartment I had almost everything I needed for the storm.  I also learned that my wife could take care of herself.  I learned that she is actually paying more attention to me than I thought.  She took precautionary measure to assure our families’ safety while I was at work.

I should have had fuel canisters for extra fuel but I have nowhere to really store them in my apartment.  I was thinking at one point to store them on the fire escape but decide against it.  I need to get a battery-operated radio.  The hand crank radios are cool but only as a last resort.  Besides those two things I was pretty much squared away.

I also learned that water proofing most of your gear especially if you are going to keep your gear in the basement.  If you live in a flood zone and can only keep your gear in the basement.  You are going to have to finds a way to water proof all your gear if you want to keep it.  I heard of one prepper that lived in Breezy Point, lost everything due to flooding of his basement.

Bottom Line:

People need to be ready as our weather patterns are changing for the worst.  Having some stored foods and supplies will not break the bank.  Your family will thank you when the time comes.  You don’t have to prepare for the “end of the world” or an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.  You should just be ready for things that are most likely going to happen such as bad weather emergencies.  There were people that haven’t recovered from Hurricane Irene and then get slammed with Hurricane Sandy.  Some people never even learned their lesson from Hurricane Irene. It is now time to take these lessons into consideration and take action into our own hands.


People need to keep calm and be ready.  Depending on someone to come and help you sucks as many people are finding out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Be able to help yourself out and be ready. No one is saying to put a years worth of food away but you should have something put away for those bad days. 

The Total Numbers: (As of March 30, 2013)

  • Homes Destroyed From wind, fire, and water:  No exact number, yet
  • Damage Cost: Over 71.4 Billion Dollars
  • States Affected: 24
  • Countries Affected: 2
  • Loss Of Power: Over 6 million customers in 15 states
  • Injuries: Unknown
  • Deaths:  118 in the U.S., 2 in Canada, and 69 in the Caribbean.

Quick Tips:

  • 5/8 thick wood boards and cut to fit windows. If you have shutters use them instead.
  • Clear your gutters.
  • Remove all loose items from porches, terraces, and backyards i.e. Grills, Lawn chairs and kid’s toys.
  • Plan your evacuation route and then have a back up planned out as well.
  • Prepare your vehicle for a possible evacuation. Fill your tank and have your bug out bag at the ready.
  • Turn refrigerator to the coldest setting in case the power goes out and pack with plastic sheeting.
  • Freeze a few plastic water bottles to keep your food cold.
  • Test your generator.
  • Fill up the bathtub using the WaterBob.
  • Unplug all appliances and electronics t protect them from power surges and brown-outs.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Connecticut is known as a progenitor of American Liberty. There were some small War of Independence battles fought at Stonington (1775), Danbury (1777), New Haven (1779), and New London (1781.) But sadly, legislators in Connecticut just dutifully lined up for their Kool-Aid cups and voted for a ban so-called "assault" weapons, a ban on private party sales of used guns, creates a new "ammunition eligibility certificate," and mandates a ban on the manufacture or sale and a registry for high capacity magazines. Do these buffoons have any concept of how many millions of magazines larger that 10 round capacity exist, or that virtually none of them carry a serial number? How do they expect to register a commodity? And what happens if someone miscounts their magazines, or misses a few of them in some forgotten box in the back of a closet? Does that make them a felon? And how, pray tell, is someone supposed to register each link in a disintegrating belt? (The last time I bought .223 and .308 links, they came to me in boxes of roughly 1,000 or 2,000 links per box. They are difficult to count, so they are sold by the pound. You can buy 1,000 of them for as little as $17, and of course they can be assembled ("manufactured") into belts of any length desired. So exactly how will that part of the registry work? Would someone have to ask to have a belt de-registered, once it is fired and hence no longer of 11+ round length? And how could a belt be linked together longer than 9 rounds, after the effective date of the new law? Talk about "Unintended Consequences"!

Oh, and let's not forget the new Connecticut law's New York style "honor system" provision, which dictates that owners of full capacity magazines can load their magazines up to 30 cartridges, but only at home, but just 10 rounds if they are carried outside of their homes unless they're at an approved shooting range. Miscounting cartridges and loading just one too many would be a punishable offense. Stopping short of enacting an outright ban on full capacity magazines and this idiotic honor system provision were characterized as "gracious compromises." As one commenter at the Northeast Shooters Forum aptly put it: "... how generous our Overlords are." Do any Connecticut legislators believe that mass murderers will abide by any of this arbitrary nonsense?

It is noteworthy that the vote on this legislation came on Monday, April 1, 2013. (April Fools Days.) What fools (and tools) they are!

I urge Connecticut residents to do your best to fight this legislatively in the courts, but if all else fails, then vote with your feet. Speaking of which... I just heard that in light of this new legislation Todd Savage of SurvivalRetreatConsulting.com has announced that he has added Connecticut to his list of states that qualify for a 20% discount for "gun law refugee" clients. He is now extending the 20% discount to residents of California, Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York who identify themselves as gun law refugees. - J.W.R.

We have had cash on hand since Y2K, which became 9/11 cash, then 2008 crash cash. I agree with the author to be careful, because depositing/withdrawing or spending large amounts of cash can trigger a report to the authorities due to the Patriot Act, or cause other problems.

My own example is: In 2008 I withdrew $7,500 and closed an account at a failing bank. This money sat "under the mattress" so to speak, until just  a few months ago when I decided to purchase a small second home, using this cash as part of the down payment. I had about $5,000 left of the cash and put it in my current bank account so the mortgage company could "see" the money to be used for the down payment. (The teller indicated that $10,000 was the reportable level.)

However, since my cash deposit was within three months of its planned use for the down payment, the mortgage company would not let me use it!  All funds must be completely trackable, not cash, due to the Patriot Act. Even though I had banking records documenting my old bank closure and withdrawal, they would not accept this money in down payment. I was forced to obtain a money gift (completely documented as to the bank it came from,etc.) from a relative to get approved for my mortgage.

I don't know what would happen if I tried to buy a vehicle from a dealer with cash over $10,000 - it likely would be reportable.

Cash purchases, even smaller amounts, are becoming more restricted in Europe. And the Cyprus great depositor rip-off  increases the risks of banking your money. Credit card purchases are set to be mined and monitored by the US government, I have read. We are between a rock and a hard place.  

Here is some of what I have done for financial preparedness:

1. Transferred all of my IRA in 2009 from a big institution to a Self-Directed IRA (Unless you are very savvy, you must get a custodian - Entrust is a well-known one.) This enabled me to put my IRA into rental real estate, with an associated small bank account to receive rents and pay for expenses. I have chosen not to have precious metals in this IRA, because you cannot have custody. There are many other investments you can make through a self-directed IRA.

2. Junk silver. I do not trust that any recent purchases of gold will not be reported and later confiscated ala FDR in 1931.

3. Small amounts of money in my bank account, and small amounts of cash secured outside of the bank.

4. Purchase tangibles when I can. Next purchase is a truck. I have a whole list of things such as water storage, to spend any extra money on. Nothing is going to get cheaper in the future. I am a physician, so when I can I am also stocking up on medications.

Thank you for your great blog. - Colorado Doc

Mr. Rawles,
The other day I visited my local bank. I asked what the rate was for a certificate of Deposit (CD) or their various interest-bearing [passbook or checking] accounts. I was told the best rate they offered was .7% (Seven-tenths of one percent!)   That surprised me. Then it got me to thinking: What is the advantage of keeping my currency in the bank?  There, it is subject to being stolen by an identity thief or withdrawn from my account using fraudulent means. It is also within reach of the government (Think: Cyprus.)  If, for some reason, the bank fails my currency will be tied up for months as the FDIC pays the claim. So I reasoned it would serve me best if I withdrew my currency and kept it hidden on my property. I have a retreat of 80 acres that we now live full time on. I have over 850 [1-ounce] Silver Eagles and I may buy more. I don't feel comfortable putting all my eggs in one basket.  What do you think of my reasoning? - Tim P. in Oklahoma

JWR Replies: Your reasoning is sound. I recommend that folks keep just the minimum that they need in the bank for their monthly expenses. Cash and precious metals kept at home should be in a fire-resistant box that is hidden in a well-camouflaged wall or floor cache, or better yet in a concealed vault room.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dear Editor:
In response to R.B. and his comments on "Things to Understand When Interacting With the Police," I'd like to share "Some Things He Needs to Understand When Interacting With Civilians."

We've long abandoned the idea that the police are interested in helping us when they interact with us. We expect, for good reason, that any encounter with a police officer is going to be a reminder that right or wrong, he or she is a cop, they must be respected no matter how inhumane their behavior, and that any error on the part of the officer is inconsequential. I may have to accept the ticket for allegedly running the red light, pay the fine, and suffer the insurance consequences, but if my dash cam video shows that the officer lied, the most I can expect is that the ticket is thrown out. No matter that my time was wasted in by a fraudulent traffic stop and a day off work to come in and prove my innocence in the absence of an officer actually being able to prove I was guilty. What we almost never see happen is that the officer is reprimanded for lying.

We also know that in nearly every encounter with police, the only reason they speak to us is to find something indictable. They aren't looking for a reason to exonerate us or for a reason not to cite or arrest us, and that means any discussion with a police officer has the potential to lead to consequences for us, and silence will never incriminate us. That is why we have a right to remain silent, and it's ludicrous for an officer to suggest that it's a good idea to talk to the police.

For the perspective that only 5% of defense attorneys are honest, I don't disagree, but that statistic can be just as easily applied to the police, but with a more insidious element; defense attorneys are only trying to defend the impropriety of their client (a potential criminal) while the police routinely defend the impropriety of each other.

There is no denying the fact that there are a lot of bad cops out there. They are truly a stain on the tradition of law enforcement, but the idea that they are a "few bad apples" ignores several facts. 1. Their fellow officers (the supposed 'good' cops) never interfere when one of these bad officers is violating someone's rights. 2. They usually cover for these bad cops, whether through silence, looking the other way, or outright lying. 3. The police enjoy immunity from the mistakes they make which often ruin lives.

These things considered, please don't be surprised that the public view of the image of law enforcement is crumbling. We are tired of the videos of perpetrators being assaulted by the police while not a single officer steps in to stop the assault. The ludicrousness of the police justifying their actions when they asphyxiate a subject and then beat him for "resisting" when his guttural instinct for survival kicks in. The repeated instances of the police demanding that civilians turn off cameras in public places, where they assault people for recording them, and where they illegally confiscate recording equipment which so often goes 'mysteriously' missing. This indicates two key problems; the police know that their words don't match their behaviors, and such evidence cannot be tolerated, and that we really need to think about the level of accountability among an institution that loses more video evidence (both police dash-cam and confiscated video) than Hollywood.

The one thing that is predictable in these discussions is that the blame for law-enforcement misbehavior is quickly directed back at the citizens, where civilians are somehow at fault for the misbehavior of the police and that we can't possibly understand why they do what they do. This is illogical and insulting. The bottom line is that the police are responsible for their own image, whether good cop or bad, and it's not enough to say "those are the bad cops, I'm a good cop" and leave it at that. Unless you are taking specific action to protect the citizens (as sworn?) from bad cops, then you are no better than them, falling somewhere on the 'respect' list between used car salesmen and the Nigerian prince who wants me to help him collect his inheritance. It's your responsibility as a police officer and as an institution to consider why your image is falling like a North Korean satellite, and to address ways of resolving it. Blaming us is not the answer. Calling other people a liar is not the answer. Look inward and then show a good faith effort the people who are losing trust and respect for you, and therein you might regain our trust.

One thing I've learned is that when an "executive officer of the state" tells me that someone else is lying, that someone else is probably telling the truth. We aren't "anti-police," we are anti-bad-police-establishment." - S.T.


Mr. Rawles,
The recent article by G.S. suggested that prepper's maintain a distrustful attitude when interacting with law enforcement personnel.  This was followed by R.B.'s disdainful view of the defense bar and belief that law enforcement personnel can be trusted to protect the constitution rights of citizens.  Taken together, these viewpoints demonstrate something that preppers should carefully consider; the law enforcement environment in which they are operating, and what steps to take to protect themselves.

I have no doubt that in the Western state that R.B. works to keep safe, law enforcement officers use common sense and can be trusted to understand the Constitutional rights of Americans.  Similarly, we have seen enough stories to know that there are parts of this country, certainly where G.S. resides, where police view Constitutional rights as nothing more than a hindrance and common sense plays little role in decision making.

It is vitally important to learn about your legal and law enforcement environment before significant contact with law enforcement, rather than after the fact.  Here are a couple ideas:

- Talk to a lawyer.   If you don't already have one or know one, it is much easier to shop around for a good plumber before your pipe breaks. The same is true for attorneys.  Ask around, find one with a good reputation.  Many attorneys will set up an appointment for a nominal fee.  While attorneys cannot divulge the content of your discussion, there is no need to share details about your preps, numbers of firearms, etc.  It may be enough to ask "what should I do if and intruder is on my property or breaking into my home?"  or "Do we have a 'stand-your-ground' law here?"  The answers may be different depending on where you live.

-Find out about the prosecutor in your area.  Is the prosecutor elected or a political appointment and if so, by whom?  Are judges elected or appointed?  Is your local prosecutor or police chief involved with anti-Second Amendment groups?  The mayor?   Does your local prosecutor have a history of filing charges against citizens protecting themselves and their families? 

-Learn about the police and sheriff.  Knowing what precinct and beat you live in is particularly helpful if you are monitoring a radio scanner or an online police scanner.   If there is a neighborhood police meeting, take the time to show up and meet the officers working in your area.   You can get a read on the officer's view of public safety and information about the crime trends in your area could be critical to your family's safety. 

-Check the news.  Have there been a string of police misconduct complaints?  In proven cases of misconduct, have offenders been punished or is everything swept under the rug?   Do the police have a written or unwritten policy of making an arrest every time someone defends them self from attack?

In many cases, the law enforcement environment in an area is reflective the quality of local government in general,  the area economy, level of personal freedom, and so forth.    When it comes to interactions with law enforcement, like everything else in preparedness, know your environment and have a plan.

How you would deal with a deputy who you know on a first name since grade school would be completely different than a police officer while visiting a major East coast city.   Regardless of your environment,

-Be courteous.  Presume that the officer is doing his job in a manner that deserves our respect. 

-Know your rights.  Don't think you know them, find out exactly what you can, cannot and must do in your jurisdiction.

-Do not lie.   You may have the right to stay silent, you don't have the right to say something is untrue.

-Keep your paperwork straight and vehicle in good working order.  Avoid interactions in the first place by ensuring your tags, insurance, etc. are up to date, and your vehicle is in good shape.  This is particularly important if you preparations include a bug-out plan using your vehicle.

-If you determine that an officer is acting in an inappropriate manner and you must invoke your Constitution rights to refuse to make a statement or consent to a search, continue to be courteous and even tempered.  If your rights are violated you can tell the judge, citizens review board, or other authority when the time is appropriate.

After reading both articles, I believe that both G.S. and R.B. are correct as concerns their locale.  Preppers should examine their own locale, and consider their own legal environment and what that environment might become in the event of a local or widespread disaster. - R.L.W.

Friday, March 29, 2013

 As I compose this essay the news of the proposed “taxation” of the depositors of the banks in Cypress via a confiscation of up to 9.9% of the balance from all savings accounts (and then the decision to not take that step) is rocking the financial world. The government of Cypress expressed the need for this measure in order to meet their obligation to the European Union. They called it a “tax on deposits” and “giving depositors a haircut”. I think a better term would be “stealing depositors’ money”.  So go to Plan B….seizing funds in pension accounts and turning them into government bonds to pay for the bailout? Plan C?

Of course that could never happen here in America.      Right ? 

Don’t think that for a moment.  First of all, put aside any preconceived notion that the markets are honest and fair to all participants. The multi-trillion dollar printing by the runaway Federal Reserve that is controlled by the mega-sized private banks is nothing more than another engineered plan to acquire your assets.  Artificially suppressing interest rates is essentially robbing blind every person who has money invested in a savings account, checking account, money market, or CD. The next step will be to orchestrate a plan to grab every last dollar held in IRAs, 401ks, pension accounts, etc. by those who control the money supply and have the mechanisms in place to manipulate the markets. The game is rigged…and you don’t stand a chance of surviving without implementing a plan of your own.

I have been a Certified Financial Planner for almost two decades and in the financial services industry as a stock broker with both a regional and wirehouse brokerage for a good number of years before that.  In 2005 I became an independent advisor because I could no longer stomach the corporate environment and how customers were forced into packaged products.  I have seen complete economic cycles over that period of time….falling and rising interest rates….business expansions and contractions….periods of relative peace as well as war…..boom and bust.  I have always been able to tell my clients that they could count upon the strength of American Industry, the American Workforce, the American Taxpayer, and the American Consumer to provide stability and steady growth to the American Economy. 

I have also been a prepper since the late 1970s. After returning from my wartime military service in Southeast Asia in early 1974, I watched the economy stagnate and then evolve into a chaotic jumble of escalating interest rates and soaring precious metals prices.  Americans contended with rising gasoline prices, shortages of heating oil as well as regulated natural gas supplies,  a hostage crisis in Iran, and the “general malaise” that Jimmy Carter told us was to blame for all our woes.  It wasn’t until the election of Ronald Reagan and some new economic policies that we were able to recover as a nation. Things improved, then got better. The 80’s and 90’s were good and productive years for America.

But the differences between yesterday and today are truly jaw-dropping.  Back then the U.S. was economically sound despite the expense of the Viet Nam War financed with newly printed dollars that were not backed by gold  (Nixon closed the window in 1971) and the growing  (but manageable) social welfare programs.  Tax revenues back then essentially covered and met the government’s expenditures.  One just knew that every economic downturn would be followed by recovery ….because that’s just the way things worked. 

Today the U.S. has spent the nation’s blood and treasure as well as our emotional capital on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have become involved in Libya, Egypt, and Syria.  Potential issues with Iran and North Korea loom large. There are 47 million people on food stamps. Unreported millions are unemployed. Spending on social programs has exploded.  The housing market collapsed and has never fully recovered. The banking system is on life support. The Federal Reserve is purchasing $85 billion dollars each month (a trillion dollars a year) in U.S. Treasury issues because no one else is willing to do so.  Despite government statistics and reports Inflation has driven prices on energy, food, clothing, health insurance, and everyday items beyond reason.  Expenditures outstrip tax revenues. Government spending is out of control and we are approaching $17 trillion dollars in national debt with untold (and unfathomable) amounts in promised future benefits, entitlements, mandates, and promissory notes.  By some estimates the U.S. has 238 TRILLION DOLLARS in unfunded liabilities.  We can’t cover it. We are flat busted.  And if our leadership refuses to address and fix the problem, the rest of the world will fix it for us.

People are genuinely concerned and are looking for answers. Yet they are also experiencing cognitive dissonance as well as normalcy bias. They are fearful at what might happen and fearful of taking steps towards addressing that fear because doing so conflicts with their ingrained belief system.  They want to believe  that an economic collapse could never happen in America.  Life continues to be pretty good for most Americans….we shop, vacation, purchase luxury items, and enjoy eating in restaurants.  Life appears pretty normal.  

But perceptive Americans have an intuitive feeling that something is really wrong.  Despite the message spread by the talking heads on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC, and  MSNBC  that the nation is in “recovery” or “the employment picture is improving”  or “corporate earnings are growing”  these savvy folks dismiss the messages as much akin to the old Soviet press releases back during the Cold War. The mass media has refused   to acknowledge that the Federal Reserve’s continued money printing is a complete disconnect   from the reported   “improving” economy. 

I am assuming that since you are reading the “SurvivalBlog “ that you have made plans for your basic needs for the other aspects of survival.  My focus is on the financial aspect….protecting the value of what you have worked so hard to put away.   Again, set aside all preconceived notions that the marketplace is honest and fair to all participants.  What’s the difference between loss of purchasing power via paying depositors low interest rates or stealing the money outright. Depositors will lose money one way or another…thru actual loss (theft) or loss of purchasing power (inflation).  And the FDIC doesn’t really exist for the protection of depositors….it exists to protect the banks who operate on a fractional reserve system from bank runs.  A perception by the public that their deposits are somehow covered from all risk prevents those runs. If you think your money in the bank is safe, you better grow up. There is also a concerted effort to grab every last dollar held in IRA’s, 401k’s, pension accounts, etc. by those who control the money supply and markets.  Americans will find the funds they worked so hard to save for their retirement years raided and invested into government securities. The American people will essentially be forced into placing their retirement dollars into financing the country’s debt.  An outright theft.  The game is rigged against all of us. If you think your money in the bank or in that 401k, IRA, or pension account is safe, you better wake up and smell the coffee.
So what is a prudent and careful person to do?

First of all, commit this mantra to memory: 

I am suggesting that you take the following steps to have control of your funds, maintain purchasing power, and protect those assets from confiscation:

  1. Start taking inventory of funds currently invested in savings and checking accounts. Try to envision what your life would be like if those accounts would be frozen by a government-mandated tax on deposits followed by a bank holiday.  
  2. Now estimate what your expenses for living normal life for 2-3 months might be assuming you had to pay cash rather than relying upon the use of a credit or debit card or assuming that a retailer or vendor would accept your personal check for a product or service (their banks are closed too, remember).   
  3. Pull those funds from your account(s) and hold as cash (banks are paying little or no interest so what’s the difference?).  Please keep this cash in a very safe place (not a safe deposit box at a bank that will be closed).  At the minimum it should be placed in a fireproof safe, security box, etc. in your residence or at the residence of a very trusted relative or friend. Tell no one else of your plans other than someone who has the same vested interests as yourself.
  4. Now assess the remaining balance of the funds in your accounts. You will want to begin the process of converting those funds into a vehicle that will preserve your purchasing power when the fiat currency ultimately collapses….precious metals…gold and silver. Start taking funds out of your account in an amount that will not arouse suspicion (think under $5,000) from a nosy bank clerk who is bound by regulation to report transactions above a certain threshold or that look suspicious. If asked, tell them that you have some home improvement projects or major auto repairs and your guy offers a discount for cash payments. They can relate to those scenarios.
  5. Think of gold bullion and gold coins as a very good way to place a lot of wealth in a very small package. You will want to have gold for a portion (25% to 40%) of your wealth preservation plan. However, they would not be very useful for day to day transactions. For that I suggest silver (60% to 75%) in the form of one ounce Silver Eagles from the U.S. Mint or (even better) pre-1965 U.S. coins (dimes, quarters, and half dollars) that have a composition that is 90% silver.  This is commonly referred to as “junk silver”. Each pre-1965 coin will have actual silver in its composition (dime .0715 oz., quarter .17875 oz., half .3575 oz.).  Thus every dollar in face value contains 0.715 oz. of silver. You could also consider U.S. Silver Dollars (0.77oz) minted during the late 19th and early 20th centuries but they often carry a numismatic premium. There are other choices out there that will vie for your investment funds but I have found the U.S. junk silver is usually your best value, easily recognized and accepted, and very liquid.  You will want to make your purchases from a reputable and trusted local dealer. Ask around and make a few inquiries. Most will accept cash and are generally tight-lipped.  Make your purchases periodically as a way of cost averaging. Take physical possession. Never buy and let someone hold it for you. Store it securely. Again, OPSEC should be of the highest importance. [JWR Adds: The recent advent of the Chinese-made fake Silver Dollars is yet another reason to stick with the smaller denomination 90% silver pre-1965 U.S. coins.]
  6. Now begin thinking about how you would be impacted if your IRA, tax-deferred annuity, or retirement account would be devastated by a market meltdown, seizure, or government-mandated purchase of printed securities with no real backing.  I am an advocate of taking at least a portion of your funds and converting to precious metals. You have worked hard to put away funds for your golden years but what if those funds no longer existed? This will be a big decision and a tough pill to swallow for most people. But I contend that taking a distribution, paying the taxes, and yes, even a possible early withdrawal penalty, and then converting those funds into precious metals will be a wise decision for almost everyone. It is an even easier decision if you are older than age 59 ½ and not subject to the premature distribution penalty. If you are worried about your tax obligation you might remember that the government is essentially taxing your money already via the fiat system that currently exists and that you will be more responsible with your assets than any politician. You might also want to consider making some tax deductible gifts to your church, favorite charity, or philanthropic organization to reduce some of your tax obligation and possibly “bunching” those deductions into one tax year for good measure. Better that they have it where you can see the good works done firsthand. Opening a “Precious Metals IRA” has also been touted as a solution but you are not able to take physical possession of your metals until you actually take a withdrawal/distribution. This means that your metals will be held in “safekeeping” by a custodian….usually a money center bank. How do you think that’s going to play out if the SHTF?
  7. Lastly, and something else to consider, is beginning to take your Social Security distributions prior to your normal retirement date for full benefits. If you are aged 62 or older you are eligible for Social Security benefit payments prior to reaching “normal retirement age” but at a reduced rate. You will have to do some calculations to determine how much  of a reduction it will be from normal retirement benefits, how it will affect your taxable income level,  how it will affect survivor benefit levels for your spouse, and  if doing so will place a hardship on your living needs.  If it makes financial sense and you have other reserves,  then taking a reduced  monthly check and purchasing precious metals (a certain payout and purchase of hard assets) with those funds might be a wise choice rather than waiting until you reach the normal retirement age (an uncertain promise for payment in fiat currency at some future date). You can log on to www.socialsecurity.gov  to access the Social Security calculator link which will enable you to create a variety of personal scenarios.

The U.S. dollar is just the latest in a long line of currencies that have had their value stolen due to decisions made by politicians and central bankers. Taking a valuable commodity like paper and reducing its value by printing numbers, images, promissory verbiage, and fancy artwork is a criminal act. Currency backed by gold and silver will eventually return. But until then it is wise to convert the existing currency to the real thing.  Fight the debt….become your own central banker.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

As a former prosecutor and now criminal defense attorney practicing in Florida, I offer some insights gained by experience for the patriotic reader.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2,266,800 adults were incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2010 – about 0.7% of adults in the U.S. resident population. Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at year-end 2009 were on probation or on parole. In total, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail or prison) in 2009 – about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population. With the statist establishment criminalizing everything, and the prosecution machine grinding out prison inmates every day, a dedicated “prepper,” gun-owner or survivalist has much to be wary of when dealing with of law enforcement officers.

Obviously, the first bit of advice is to not violate the law. Unfortunately, there are so many laws on the books that almost everyone is a criminal. For more on this point, see Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything by Gene Healy and Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate. With the new proposals to ban certain capacity magazines and firearms and to seek a universal gun registration system, many people have become concerned that the law abiding citizen will be labeled a criminal by the state.

We must also recognize that when lawful gun owners discuss the use of force (including lethal force) in defense of self and others, we are not talking about a hypothetical construct. In the event of TEOTWAWKI, this may be an everyday reality. How functional the police and law enforcement agencies are in such an event is unknowable, but planning for such an eventuality can only be smart. It is not hard to imagine a scenario where you defend your home against a home invader using your legally carried firearm, but are faced with the ugly possibility of life in prison. The taking of a human life is no small thing. In Florida, the illegal use of a firearm that results in death carries a minimum mandatory life in prison sentence. Would you plea to a reduced charge for less prison time or take your chances with a jury? Are you sure? The best thing to do is to give your defense attorney the best case you can by planning ahead and understanding how to react to police.

One is reminded of the dilemma faced by the survivors in JWR’s novel Patriots where the protagonists must decide what to do with the bodies and belongings of the armed marauders who have attacked their camp. I would suggest that having a flexible plan to deal with the aftermath of armed citizen conflict should be part of your considerations. Obviously, TEOTWAWKI can come in many varieties with varying levels of societal dysfunction and different responses to such a situation may be called for. This essay presupposes that the police are still actively functioning and that the current U.S. Constitution is still in force.

You must understand that police are state agents. While most of us perceive the police are our friends, neighbors and protectors, it is very easy for this relationship to flip wherein we are the targets of tyrannical state power. Note, for example, the demonization of certain “right wing fringe groups” that believe in such crazy ideas at the founding documents and the right to gun ownership! I am of the belief that the likelihood of Blackhawk helicopters, drones or military strikes against civilians is remote. On the other hand, when TSHTF, the behavior of the local police forces will be one of the critical components as to how things will unfold. All the preps in the world will be of no use if you are sitting in a jail or prison cell. Knowing how to stay out of jail and prison is a critical bit of knowledge for everyone to have. Because the local police forces are the entry point for our prison and jail populations, you should know how the police deal with you.

It is important to understand that there are three levels of police citizen encounters: 1) consensual encounter, 2) investigatory stop and 3) detainer and arrest. See Popple v. State, 626 So. 2d 185, 186 (Fla. 1993).

The first level, “consensual encounter,” involves only minimal police contact, during which a citizen may either voluntarily comply with a police officer's requests or choose to ignore them. A consensual encounter is not a seizure, so it may occur without repercussion, even when a police officer has no reason to suspect that criminal activity is afoot. Because the citizen is free to leave during a consensual encounter, constitutional safeguards are not invoked. Therefore, anything you say in a consensual encounter will be admissible against you. Often, consensual encounters are the basis for many a search. The police officer will ask, “Do you mind if I search your car?” Because it is a question, you have a right to refuse the offer – and you should. An officer may ask you at a highway check point, “would you mind pulling over to the side of the road for a moment?” The response to this is a polite, “I would respectfully decline. I would like to be on my way. Are you ordering me to the side of the road?” If the answer is yes, then understand that you are now adversarial to the police, and are being targeted for arrest. If you are free to leave, then by all means leave. 

The second level of police-citizen encounter is an investigatory stop. At this level, a police officer may reasonably detain a citizen temporarily if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. In order not to violate a citizen's Fourth Amendment rights, an investigatory stop requires a well-founded, articulable suspicion of criminal activity. An investigatory stop requires a factual basis to support it. Unfortunately, this test is subjective and can be falsely created after the fact by an officer. In an investigatory stop police have a right to search for weapons in what is called a Terry search (after Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) if they suspect a person has a weapon. Thus, if you are detained and a police officer asks you if you have “anything on you that he should know about” the correct response is “I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon which is located in my right front pocket.” Note how you say you have a permit first, which reduced the alarm for you being armed. Do not grab for the weapon. Let the officer retrieve the weapon, if he chooses.

The third level of police-citizen encounter is an arrest supported by probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. A person is arrested or detained. It is only at this point that your ‘right to remain silent’ and ‘right to an attorney’ protections apply. Invoke them immediately. Further, always be polite. There is no reason to get indignant, angry or out of control – those things can only make your life worse when dealing with a police officer.
Back to our earlier example wherein an intruder is justifiably shot, what is it you should say to police? The answer is quite simple: Do not talk to the police. Instead, immediately invoke your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. There is nothing you can say that will dissuade them from arresting you if that is their intent. There is nothing you can say that cannot also be told to them through your attorney. Having your attorney speak for you allows you to tell your side without the problem of implicating yourself in a crime. Exercise your right and then keep quiet. In many jurisdictions, police are given a 48 hour cooling off period before they are questioned about any police involved shootings. If the police have a waiting period to talk about justifiable shootings, then why not you? Help those who want to help you – and we are not talking about the police! The police are there to put you in jail. Otherwise, why do they want to talk to you? There is no information that you can give them that will persuade them to let you go that cannot also be provided through your defense attorney. If you are under arrest, you are not their “friend.”

I have seen people hang themselves with a statement to police on life felonies for the price of a cop-bought basket of chicken. Thus, do not talk with the police. Sadly, I have also seen many cases where an accused citizen’s comments were misunderstood by the police (either intentionally or accidentally) and used against them. If you find yourself being questioned by the police, politely decline to answer, and tell them you would be happy to answer any questions directed to your attorney. If you are read your Miranda rights, immediately and unequivocally invoke your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. Then, do not talk about your case! That means, do not talk about it with the friend they bring into the room with you (your conversations are being recorded). Don’t talk about it on the jail phone (also recorded). Don’t talk about it in code (doesn’t work.) Don’t talk about it with fellow inmates (they will turn snitch.) Police love to place you in situations with other people (other than your attorney) that tempt you to talk about your case. The only person you talk to about the case is your attorney.

Another point: don’t be discouraged that an attorney does not magically appear in front of you when you request one. Your attorney only has to be provided to you at arraignment, which can be many days off. Often the police will use this delay to wear out the person being held. People become impatient with the system when after they invoke their right to an attorney they are abandoned in the questioning room for several hours as the police prepare the paperwork to transport them to jail. Time after time, citizens give up their rights and talk to the police to their detriment because the arrestee thinks they can talk their way out of jail. All they end up doing is talking their way into prison!

It is also vital to understand the police use of force continuum. Many police agencies rely on a use of force continuum (also called the use of force matrix) when dealing with citizens. Generally, law enforcement can utilize an amount of force one level above what is presently being exerted against them. Here is an example of the matrix.  As you can see from the matrix, if you are only verbally opposing arrest, the police officer may use physical force against you. It is vitally important for the responsible gun owner to know about this matrix. Many people get into big, big trouble when they think they are being wrongfully arrested and argue with the police. The police then respond with an allowable use of physical force, which is then physically resisted by the suspect. In Florida, while it is true that one can resist an illegal arrest without violence, a person cannot in any circumstance resist arrest (even an illegal arrest) with violence. A citizen’s righteous indignation may have been originally justified. But by trying to resolve the dispute with the police on the side of the road, they turn an encounter with the police into a felony charge that lands them in prison. If you are being detained and “think” you know the law and decide to oppose your arrest understand this: whether an arrest is illegal or not will not be determined on the side of the road. Instead, it will be in a courtroom by a judge and prosecutor who are agents of the state. When the police are writing up their report, guess whose side it will take. The worst mistake you can make is to become indignant and physically oppose an arrest. Note that under the matrix, active physical resistance by a person can be met by police with deadly force.

Finally and sadly, you must be aware of the reality and existence of police corruption. While it is true that defense attorneys perceive higher rates of wrongful conviction in the jurisdictions than do judges, prosecutors, and police, the differing opinion of the defense attorneys could be explained by their closer relationship to the defendants. See Ramsey and Frank “Wrongful Conviction” 2007. Judges, prosecutors, and police rarely have contact with a defendant at his most candid, whereas the defense attorney often gains substantial insight into a case through the defendant’s perspective. Often, there are factual disagreements between a defendant’s version of events versus that of a police officer. While it is a defense attorney’s obligation to advocate for their client, defense attorneys also recognize that the other groups almost always side with law enforcement when matters of credibility are at issue. Most defense attorneys understand that the current legal regime provides no protection against unreasonable illegal searches by corrupt police officers and law enforcement officials. This is rarely accounted for by the other three groups, who often work closely together as part of a law enforcement regime.
While actual framing and planting of evidence by law enforcement is possible, most of the corruption does not involve such blatant frame ups. Rather, it takes the form of self-justification, i.e. since we know the defendant is guilty, lying about the circumstances of an arrest is justified since “they are guilty anyway.” Such lying, when accepted and institutionalized as a regular part of the process, effectively eviscerates the individual protections of the Constitution. The individual Rights enshrined in the Constitution only exist if the procedures afforded individual defendants are respected.

Police procedure is where the rubber meets the road in Constitutional law. Fabricated justifications by police destroy Constitutional protections. For example, “Stop and search” has become an increasingly common tactic for normal law enforcement. “NYPD "Stop and Frisks" Hit All-Time High - City police officers stopped and questioned 684,330 people on the street last year.” Feb. 14, 2012 Can it be said that all of these stops were supported by probable cause? What exactly is going on here?

Many laymen would be surprised to learn that since 1996, there is no longer any such thing as a pre-textual stop. The Supreme Court case Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996) effectively removed any defense attorney check on corrupt police officers. The Court ruled, “As a general matter, the decision to stop an automobile is reasonable where the police have probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred.” “Subjective intentions play no role in ordinary, probable-cause Fourth Amendment analysis.” Whren; See also United States v. Holloman, 113 F.3d 192, 194 (11th Cir.1997) (stating that Whren “squarely rejected the pre-textual stop analysis” and that an officer's “ulterior motives” for a stop are not relevant so long as it is justified by probable cause). This ruling effectively disarmed the defense check on police corruption, thus placing the entire burden for rooting out impermissible behavior on law enforcement themselves and the prosecutors who often serve as a rubberstamping branch of their local law enforcement agencies.

Two common scenarios are commonly subject to this type of corruption: 1) justifying probable cause to stop a vehicle and 2) justifying probable cause to search a vehicle or person. When justifying probable cause to stop a vehicle, there are many un-falsifiable strategies an officer can use to justify a stop, placing his word against that of the defendant.  This places the prosecutor and the court in a position of having to doubt the word of a law enforcement agent over that of an accused defendant. Most courts, almost as a rule, side with law enforcement in this circumstance. It is not my intent to argue that anything like a majority of cases are in fact falsified. Rather, it is to explain that there is no external check on police falsifications available to defense attorneys. Therefore, it is currently incumbent on prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials to self enforce. Understanding some all too common techniques of petty police corruption (in the Appendix below) should shed some insight into the indices of falsification.

As someone who could be on the receiving end of this, you, the reader, should know that the best way to deal with police officer (whether or not they are operating in a legal manner) is not to argue with them, but to remain silent and ask for an attorney.
How petty police corruption often undermines the current constitutional search and seizure framework.

The following are ways a corrupt officer can justify stopping a vehicle based on probable cause. Because the current state of the law does not have a defense check on police power, a police officer who is willing to lie can stop any vehicle based on an after the fact, made up, unverifiable reason. Some examples of the many excuses that can be used to justify stopping a vehicle in Florida are outlined below:
I.                    “You rolled a stop sign.”
A.      (The officer testified unequivocally that defendant failed to stop at the stop sign, while defendant testified unequivocally that he made a full and complete stop. The officer's testimony was more credible in those areas where it conflicted with defendant's testimony. As a matter of fact, defendant committed a traffic infraction in violation of Florida law by failing to come to a complete stop at the stop sign. Therefore, the officer's stop of the vehicle did not violate the Fourth Amendment). United States v. Maddox, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34838 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 6, 2005)
B.      (Officer stopped a truck for running a stop sign when exiting the complex and received permission to search the truck from the male driver.) Holland v. State, 696 So. 2d 757, 758 (Fla. 1997)
C.      (Defendant committed various moving violations-rolling through several stop signs-which prompted the officers to lawfully stop his vehicle. Thus, the officers had probable cause to stop Defendant.) United States v. Jefferson, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143674, 6-7 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 19, 2010)
D.      (Officer alleged Defendant drove his van past an agricultural inspection station he was required to stop at, justifying stop). Grimes v State, 1982 Fla. App. LEXIS 19563 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. Mar. 29, 1982)
II.                  “Your tail light was out.” (Police officer had probable cause to stop the vehicle for driving after dark without its tail lights illuminated). United States v. St. Louis, 255 Fed. Appx. 432 (11th Cir. Fla. 2007) Note that this allows for the possibility that the individual simply had turned out his lights with the switch, making the fact completely dependant on the officer’s observations.
III.                “Your tag light was out.”
A.      (Officer can stop a car for an inoperable tag light) See Cole v. State, 838 So. 2d 1205, 1205 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003)
B.      (While maintaining that the tag light did not work, the State also argued that the validity of the stop of defendant's vehicle did not depend on whether the light worked; the State claimed the stop was valid if the deputy had a reasonable suspicion that a traffic infraction had occurred). State v. Lee, 957 So. 2d 76 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 2007) Note that the language of the opinion allows for later testimony that the tag light in fact works – all that is required is that the deputy had a reasonable suspicion that it did not. This inquiry into the officer’s subjective intent is exactly the inquiry that the Supreme Court was trying to avoid in Whren.
IV.                “Your window tinting is too dark.” (Officer can stop based on a tint violation), See Lawrence v. State, 942 So. 2d 467, 468 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006); Davis v. State, 788 So. 2d 308, 309 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001).
V.                   “Your license tag is dirty and I can’t read it.”
A.      “… the word "Florida," the registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation shall be clear and distinct and free from defacement, mutilation, grease, and other obscuring matter, so that they will be plainly visible and legible at all times 100 feet from the rear or front.” Fla. Stat. § 316.605 Note that the officer’s opinion of a dirty tag cannot be falsified, since the officer can claim that the tag was subject to post-arrest cleaning.
VI.                “Your windshield is cracked.”
A.      (Stop is valid when a deputy stopped defendant's vehicle after he observed a severe crack in the vehicle's windshield). United States v. Anderson, 367 Fed. Appx. 30 (11th Cir. Fla. 2010)
B.      Any police officer may at any time, upon reasonable cause to believe that a vehicle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law, or that its equipment is not in proper adjustment or repair, require the driver of the vehicle to stop and submit the vehicle to an inspection and such test with reference thereto as may be appropriate. Fla. Stat. § 316.610(1)
VII.              “You crossed the center line.” (Officer testified that he stopped the vehicle because he observed it cross over the center line twice and because the vehicle was impeding traffic by traveling far below the normal speed limit). State v. Thomas, 714 So. 2d 1176 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 1998)
The following are ways a corrupt officer can justify searching a vehicle based on probable cause.  Based on the current state of the law, after the vehicle was stopped a police officer can the search any vehicle based on a made up, unverifiable reason. The following are examples of the many excuses can be used to justify searching a stopped vehicle or person in Florida are outlined below.
I.                    “He acted nervous.” (Defendant became extremely "nervous" and "jittery" during his pre-search interaction with Officer) State v. Betz, 815 So. 2d 627, 633 (Fla. 2002)
II.                  “He made furtive movements.” What exactly is a “furtive” movement? This term, while hardly ever used in normal conversation, is commonly used by deputies when testifying to justify searches and actions, as a search of the term “furtive movement” in Westlaw easily demonstrates. [See, for example, Lightbourne v. State, 438 So. 2d 380 (Fla. 1983) (Pat down of individual justified when officer observes furtive movements combined with nervous appearance), and over 112 such references.] A Lexis.com search indicates 135 hits in Florida, and 2740 hits nationwide. The relative suspiciousness of a movement, or even its existence, is a matter of opinion of the officer who is subject to prosecutorial and judicial deference even in the face of defense disagreement.
III.                Detainee is “Unusually calm” (Defendant was unusually calm, actually lounging on the side of the interstate). State v. Petion, 992 So. 2d 889, 892-893 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2008)
IV.                “He gave consent to search.” (Consent to search after tag light stop includes tearing the vehicle apart for an hour with tools). State v. Petion, 992 So. 2d 889, 893 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2008) (Consent can be a mere shrug). State v. Jennings, 968 So. 2d 694 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 2007). (The inspector asked to look in the van, and inspector alleged that appellant consented). Grimes v State, 1982 Fla. App. LEXIS 19563 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. Mar. 29, 1982) Consent is often a matter of opinion of the officer, who is subject to prosecutorial and judicial deference even in the face of defense disagreement.
V.                  “I smelled what appeared to be marijuana.” (The odor of burnt cannabis emanating from a vehicle constitutes probable cause to search all occupants of that vehicle) State v. Williams, 967 So. 2d 941 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 2007); Wynn v. State, 14 So. 3d 1094, 1096 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2009); Nazien v. State, 36 So. 3d 184, 185 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 2010); State v. T.P., 835 So. 2d 1277, 1278 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003); State v. Williams, 739 So. 2d 717 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 1999); State v. Betz, 815 So. 2d 627, 633 (Fla. 2002); (Odor of burnt or burning cannabis detected as the deputy approached defendant provided him with probable cause to search the vehicle). State v. Lee, 957 So. 2d 76 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 2007); (The odor of marijuana gave probable cause to search the bales), Grimes v State, 1982 Fla. App. LEXIS 19563 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. Mar. 29, 1982) While the smell of marijuana alone gives an officer a basis to search, it does not appear dependant on actually finding marijuana. Therefore, invisible and transitory smells can be not be independently verified outside of the officer’s word.

On March 20th, Colorado's Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper did a very foolish thing. He signed into law a ban on any magazine over 15 round capacity with a ban on shotguns with tubular magazines that can hold more than 28 lineal inches of shotshells, and another law that will ban private party sales of guns. (All transfers except a few within families will have to be handled through Federally licensed dealers. )

Because the magazine ban won't take effect until July 1, 2013, I can predict an unintended consequence: Close to one million magazines of 16+ round capacity will be purchased by Coloradans in the next three months. It is in their own best interest to immediately stock up their lifetime supply. So, instead of reducing the number of full capacity magazines in private hands, Colorado's legislature has triggered a spending spree that will likely double or triple the number of 16+ round magazines in the state. Perhaps one million more magazines will be marched (well, mailed, actually) into Colorado.

The next few big gun shows in Colorado will surely be memorable events. Something tells me that the dealers will be headed home in substantially lighter vehicles. (Any readers who are gun show vendors, take note. Reserve your tables, soon, and bring a large inventory of magazines.)

As I've mentioned before, the new law's grandfather clause is not multigenerational. It will be limited to only then-current owners on June 30th. Therefore I have urged Coloradans to be sure to properly document the gift of your magazines to your children and grandchildren, and have those records notarized.

If you have friends who live in Colorado, help them out, before the end of June. Many magazines are scarce, at present. Even Glock magazines are hard to find. Do you bit to support the Boulder Airlift. And if any Coloradans wisely vote with your feet and move to a Free State before July, then I recommend that you sell most of your 16+ round rifle magazines and 9+ round shotguns magazines to local friends before you depart, and then immediately buy replacements once you've moved.

Another unintended consequence of the new laws will be be political. The democrats have enraged Colorado's gun owners. In the 2014 election we will probably see a huge backlash. As recently as December, Governor John Hickenlooper was deemed "safe for re-election" in 2014. I have news for him: Gun owners have a long memory.

The national political landscape may change in 2014, as well. Let's not forget that 20 Democratic US senators face re-election in 2014. If they push civilian disarmament too far, many of those senators may get the boot. - J.W.R.

Mr. Rawles,
I read your essay "The Right to Open Carry Guns: Use It or Lose It," with interest.  I watched the videos you linked to with horror.  I was awestruck.

It is a shock to my system to see law enforcement officers so poorly trained and so willing to violate rights of citizens.  Perhaps I should know better by now.  To think that just one telephone call from a "concerned citizen" is enough to cause the police to violate a law abiding persons civil rights is terrifying.

I live in an extremely 2nd amendment friendly state, Arizona.  It is very common to see open carry just about everywhere, with the only real exceptions being schools, court houses and bars.  If you venture out, even in the large cities, you will see a variety of people from all walks of life going about their daily business with an openly carried handgun.  No one freaks out and no one calls the cops. It's been this way as far back as I can remember.

But, one of the freedoms that makes Arizona special may actually cause a hindrance to liberty if we are not careful.  Constitutional concealed carry passed a couple of years ago here in Arizona.  And while it is still extremely common to see open carry, many people have moved to concealed carry since the law passed.  I am a little afraid that this trend could cause the local population to become less familiar and comfortable with open carry. Plus, we have many people that move to Arizona from less gun free states.  I hate to think that in the near future, our law enforcement may be pressured to react because someone saw a "person with a gun" in public.  What a sad day that will be.

In an effort to stop the trend, I would like to encourage my fellow Arizonans to not take our exceptional freedom for granted.  Even if you regularly carry concealed, as so may of us do, set aside one or two days a week to open carry.  If we can keep it commonplace, we may save everyone problems down the line.  

Thank you for the work you do. - Ralph in Arizona

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Solar [coronal] mass ejections occur most frequently at the peak of the 11 year solar cycle.  Statistics show that Earth will get a direct hit from a major solar mass ejection every about every 500 years. This estimate comes from the number of solar mass ejections we see and frequency. Now figure in the size of the Earth versus the size of the solar mass ejection. The calculation is similar to the odds of a pin landing on a particular point on a globe, except Earth is the pin and the globe is the sun. In the end, we can estimate that Earth will get hit every 500 years or so by a flare large enough to affect our electronics.

This doesn't mean that life will end when the next one hits. Solar storms come in different intensities. The impact of a solar mass ejection our civilization will depend on its strength and the technology we think we need to get by.

Satellites in orbit are the most sensitive when it comes to solar radiation. They lack the protection of Earth's atmosphere. Those satellites on the side of the Earth that is facing the Sun during a major solar flare would have component failures. However, not all satellites would be lost. There are different designs of satellites, with some more shielded [or "hardened"] than others. Satellites on the back side of Earth couldn't be affected unless the solar flare and its accompanying radiation showered the Earth for many hours as the satellite's rotation brought it to the day side. And variations in the Earth's magnetic field could offer protection to some satellites. We would see a mix of charred, failing and fully functional satellites. We can’t know when a flare will hit except for the likelihood of it occurring during the peak of the solar cycle, so no nation can protect all of its satellites by keeping them on the night side of the Earth.
Your Best Defense Against This

Don't rely on GPS or Global Positioning Satellite Systems for navigation. Know your route or know how to get there with only paper maps. And never rely on GPS-based geocaching to find hidden supplies in an emergency. If we see a massive release of solar radiation that is the natural equivalent of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon, then your GPS capability will probably be gone.
Long AC Transmission Lines

Safety equipment designed to prevent overloads will protect most of the transformers connected to long Alternating Current or AC power transmission lines. However, some transformers will get overloaded by the field strength of a solar flare or solar storm. The bad news is that this means that utility crews will still have to replace hundreds of transformers in addition to resetting thousands of circuit breakers where the safety equipment prevented the transformer from overloading. This is a slow process, and it is hampered by the fact that we don’t have a huge stockpile of transformers for a disaster of this scale. (Although stockpiling spare transformers has been recommended as a step to minimize the impact of a nuclear weapon or EMP pulse weapon unleashed on the United States.) The task is made more complex by the need to bring thousands of [power plants and] power lines back on line and in [phase] sync to restore the [three] power grids in CONUS]. [JWR Adds: The manufacturing lead times for large transformers are as long as 24 months!]

Power distribution systems would be massively disrupted for anything greater than a mid-scale flare, but the power distribution system would be spotty failures for anything less than mid-scale flares.  These failure rates will be affected by any improvements in the overload protection devices that hopefully have been made since the Northeast Blackout of 1965. If the recommended overload protections were put in place and maintained, the size and scope of outages would be reduced.

Your Best Defense Against This
You should know how to disconnect your home from the local power grid as soon as you have warning of imminent power disruptions, [via your main breaker.] At a minimum, have the means on hand to live a few weeks without electricity. It would be better to have renewable power sources or a generator and fuel stores on your property.

The Internet

The Internet itself will go mostly dark. Why? Imagine what happens if 99% of the servers go off line. They have not all been destroyed. They simply need power to be available. Without the power grids up, the Internet will be crippled. 

Many servers will be without power due to the damage to the power grid. Those servers that are still running will be isolated by power outages to the hubs they use to transmit information. A functional server in a computer room is a hub in the Internet. If it cannot connect to the major nodes to relay information then it might as well be turned off. And in an emergency like this, facilities running off of generator-supplied power will focus on properly shutting down rather than keeping extra servers running once they’ve backed up their data.

Fiber optic lines will be okay. However, with the disruption of power in the AC transmission lines, means that the fiber optics will be "dark" until they get power again. Those relying on Skype or Internet access will be left in the dark, since fiber optic lines won't run without power, and the backup option of Internet via satellite will not be an option.
Your Best Defense Against This
Have other methods of contacting family members, such as [FRS , GMRS, or MURS] walkie-talkies and ham radio. Document everyone’s phone number in a [hard copy] address book, and make multiple copies so that you can find their contact information even if the Internet is essentially dead.
Back up your data locally, regardless of whether or not you perform online backups. Have local sources of any information that you frequently reference. And make sure you have entertainment on hand that does not rely on an Internet connection.


Laptops with batteries are relatively immune to solar flares. They receive power from the battery and so will remain operational until the battery runs out. [If disconnected from outside power or data cables] they will not get fried by a solar flare. However, they could be ruined by an EMP weapon [if in very close proximity].  Desktop computers will be in worse shape. The thousands of miles of power, phone, and Ethernet cables connecting many desktop computers act like long antennas, picking up the voltage generated by the solar mass ejection. The cables connecting the computers thus have the potential to damage desktop computers [or any laptops that are connected.]
Your Best Defense Against This
Use surge protectors and UPS in your home network. Keep laptop batteries charged, and have spare batteries. [Leave computers disconnected from power and data cables when not in use.]


Land line telephone [handsets] will probably be fine. Land line phones receive power through the same copper wire bundle that the phone signal travels through. Each land line home phone is connected to the phone company with up to several miles of telephone line.  These lines are generally far too short to be affected by an event like a solar storm, but they are at much more at risk to EMP  The Central Offices (COs) changed over from tradition relays to computerized switching decades ago. So the phone systems are now at greater risk since the computerized systems are less robust.  In short, the phone lines may work but the computers than handle the call routings may go down.

Cordless phones in homes with land-line phone lines will work as long as there is power to the home or the batteries are charged. Households relying entirely on cell phones are in trouble.
Your Best Defense Against This
Keep at least one tradition land line phone handset in your home. Own additional methods of communication like ham radio rigs, and know how to use them. Some of the hand-cranked Emergency Radios can also charge cell phones, and this is a good 'tie-breaker' when deciding which Emergency Radio to buy.

Ham Radio

Amateur radio or ham radio would be temporarily affected by the solar flare, disrupted until the radiation [in the ionosphere] has peaked and passed. After that point, ham radio equipment will run as long as there is power to run them. Those with hand crank radios will be able to listen. Ham radio operators with backup generators or photovoltaics will be able to transmit. 2 meter transmissions that depend on grid-powered repeaters will be limited to line of sight transmission.

Your Best Defense Against This
Find battery-powered ham radio equipment, so that you can always stay in touch. Own at least one method of recharging the batteries that is not reliant on the power grid, whether it is a hand-crank receiver or a PV panels (for transceivers.)

Personal Electronics

Small personal electronics like cell phones, laptops, tablet computers and televisions will initially be fine after a solar mass ejection.
They have the Earth's atmosphere shielding them. Their electronic components will be fine. However, the device's functionality depends on power, whether this comes from a crippled power grid, local generator or renewable power.

The problem for users will come from the damage to the communication networks these devices rely upon. For example, television stations and cell phone towers will be out. Cell phone towers have good backup batteries; they are designed to last 4 to 8 hours off of the battery. This works well during electrical storms that disrupt power [briefly], permitting local users to still make calls. However, in an extended power outage, the cell phone towers themselves will go offline within 8 hours unless they are powered by PV panels [which is very uncommon]. generators or a working local power source. At this point, even those with a working cell phone [handset] cannot complete calls.
Your Best Defense Against This

For each device you cannot live without, maintain at least two spare batteries for it. Better yet, have a battery charger for those batteries so that they will continue to function no matter how long the grid is down. You may also want to buy an antenna to ensure that your television can still receive local channels [rather than relying on a cable television service provider. ] Local television stations often have generators and transmitters on site and will continue broadcasting news even if a solar storm ruins satellites. [Their ability to do so will be limited by the depth of their fuel supplies for their backup generators.]


[Vehicles will be unaffected by solar storms.] The studies I have read say that about 1 vehicle in 10 will be rendered inoperable [by EMP], not the near 100% that some alarmists have predicted.   Older vehicles [with traditional ignition systems nd fuel management systems] will be completely unaffected as long as the owner has gasoline to run them. [JWR Adds: If the field strength of EMP is high enough to destroy a vehicle's electronic ignition system or fuel management system microprocessors, then you would be so close to a nuclear weapon that you would inside of its blast radius. So you would probably be dead before you'd ever have the chance to see if one of the affected vehicles started.]

The greater problems will come from the power outages. If satellites are out, the payment systems that rely on satellites to connect to a bank and withdraw payment will not work. If power is out, most gas pumps will not work. Traffic becomes a nightmare when power outages wipe out traffic control.  
Your Best Defense Against This
Stock up on stabilized gasoline. Carry cash so that you can pay for gasoline, if necessary. Carry maps in your car, instead of relying on GPS.

[JWR Adds: For additional perspectives with greater technical detail, see the EMPACT America web site. My recent blog article, titled Islands in the Darkness: Some Local Power Utilities Have Prepared to Go It Alone may also be of interest.]

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dear Mr. Rawles,
We relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of 2012 to southern Oregon, as I was able to find a job with [deleted for OPSEC] in Medford.

We have been spending part of each weekend looking for a retreat property, while renting a modest home in town. We were even under contract for a lot outside of Jacksonville, but the well produced just 0.16 gallon per minute and other wells surrounding were over 400 feet and were also low producers, Oregon has plenty of water not to struggle with that unknown outcome of re-drilling. So we have been looking again, and what we keep finding is, pot growers!

There was a nice seven acre parcel with an upper and lower meadow, leading to a stream and wooded back 2 acres, on our second visit the next door 10 acre farmer greeted us and proclaimed that he and many neighbors were "growers", and they have a "great neighborhood watch, with armed guards 24/7  for 3 months a year." Okay, no thanks to living next to the farmer with the creepy armed dudes camping out in the pot field with guns, before the collapse.

Another homestead outside Jacksonville, in Ruch, population 840 had potential we thought until Internet research revealed it was "8 seconds" by car on Google maps from a September 19, 2012 DEA raid than netted "truckloads of plants."

So I am discouraged. I know the Lord has blessed us to be able to leave the San Francisco Bay Area, and by awakening us to the potential for societal collapse. Our preps now measure in not just pounds but tonnage thanks to a few years of Bay Area double incomes, and now my wife is able to stay home with our baby daughter, and her development is really taking off, by being with mommy and not in daycare.

But we are sure that Medford is still large enough and depressed economically to be a serious disaster when the collapse of the dollar takes full hold.

Can you offer any recommendations on areas surrounding this community which are less prone to be riddled with pot growers?

Thank you for any insight you might share. Sincerely, - C.D.

JWR Replies: Unfortunately, most of western Oregon is infested with pot growers. That is one of just many reasons why I did not include it when I delineated the American Redoubt region. (Along with factors like high property taxes, crime, welfare dependency, statist attitudes, etc.)

In any of the western counties in Oregon, the chances are fairly high that you will have pot growing neighbors if you buy land outside of city limits unless your neighbors are legitimate traditional produce farmers or stockmen. If you could find a property with mostly farms or ranches around it, then that would be your safest bet.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Many folks have an interest of viewing solar information and typically subscribe to raw data feeds; however probably do not understand a lot of
the science behind the numbers. There is a gentleman who produces daily morning youtube forecasts typically from 3 to 4 minutes long which covers the
gamut of space weather and it's impact on terrestrial weather.

These broadcasts are extremely informative and he does an excellent job breaking down all of the information. His Youtube channel is called Suspicious0bservers. I have become a regular daily viewer of his short yet extremely informative broadcasts.

Warm Regards, - Dave in Florida

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Everyone has their own unique story why they became a prepper. Mine began five years ago when my husband started ranting about the worsening economic situation in the country. I was only listening with half an ear. Sure, I noticed that food prices were creeping up with every shopping trip, and that it was getting more expensive to fill up my car every week, but didn’t that happen every year due to inflation? Why was my husband so upset about this?
Although, we started discussing world events and politics more often, I still did not understand why he was so worried. It almost felt like panic, which was a bit worrisome. Talking to me was obviously not the best way to wake me up. He began forwarding me some of the articles that influenced his thinking. They illustrated what was going wrong with the U.S. economy, the government, and the world in general. The latest White House policies only seemed to make the current situation worse. There was a lot of talk and little action. It is needless to say that I was shocked.

It was a rude awakening. The future was not as safe and secure as our leaders had made us to believe. Now, I was in a state of panic, and the only way I could alleviate some of the stress was by becoming more informed, and working feverishly on organizing food reserves.  
I have learned a lot since. Going through every beginner’s growing pains taught me to be persistent. I kept reminding myself that Rome was not built in a day either. My biggest challenge was to keep my head leveled and avoid panic attacks every time the government made another bad decision. Not all my apprehension was political. I worried about another drought, the discouraging news of the world’s dwindling food reserves, as well as the threat of war. Did you know that solar flares from the massive sunspot identified as AR1654 are closing in on earth? Scientists say that if Earth gets a direct hit from a major solar flare, the damage could be enormous. Our country’s electric grid could be damaged severely, and it could take years to recover. Those are not the only things I was worried about. There is more, such as the following:

  • The UN warns us of a looming worldwide food crisis in 2013.
  • The global grain reserves have hit critically low levels.
  • Unreliable weather patterns around the world caused many crops to fail for several years in a row.
  • Harvests in the U.S., Ukraine, and other countries around the world have eroded due to record heat waves and droughts.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the combined inventories of wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice will drop 1.8 percent to a four-year low in 2013.
  • Corn is being used for ethanol production, driving the price up for livestock producers, food manufacturers, and consumers.
  • Our farmland is depleted – chemicals do not offer the nutrition the land needs to produce healthy, tasty foods.
  • We produce less than what we are consuming.

The ominous global food crisis and the rising prices threaten to cause a lot of unrest. They were a great incentive for me to stock up far more than the recommended three-week survival reserve everyone was talking about. I also found that buying now would save me more money than putting it in a savings account. I do not need statistics – which are often tweaked to look better – to tell me that my dollar has been shrinking over the years. That can of beans I bought on sale for 50 cents two years ago now costs twice as much. Where is this going to end?
The Why
There are times when I wonder when all these preparations will be useful. Many possible scenarios go through my head. We are most certainly going to face an economic meltdown, and if the droughts continue, people will starve. Even if, by miracle, this does not happen, it is still necessary to prepare because we are nearing retirement age. Will we still be able to achieve those “Golden Years” we had hoped for?  I have my doubts. In case you are wondering about some of the other reasons why I became a prepper, here are some examples:

  • Diminishing Social Security funds - Although we, the people, will never be told the whole truth, there are enough rumors going around that we can figure out that the country’s social security account is depleted. It is not likely that there will be money left by the time we, the Baby Boomers, retire. In fact, will we ever be able to hang up our hat? The official retirement age will continue to rise, despite all our young people feverishly looking for work. Due to fiscal mismanagement by local governments, property taxes will skyrocket, and it is doubtful that we can keep the home we worked for our entire life. Without supplementing our pension – if we’ll get one – we may need to go live in tent city.
  • Natural Disasters - Have you noticed that the weather patterns are changing? They have become unpredictable, causing a tremendous amount of natural disasters. Where are FEMA, the Red Cross, and other aid organizations during disastrous catastrophe