SurvivalBlog Category

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I am pleased to announce that SurvivalBlog has selected Scot Frank Eire (a pen name) as our new Product Review Editor. He is a perfect fit for the blog, both editorially, experientially, and in personality.

For those that are curious, his pen name is a play on Scotts Irish as well as working in “Frank” from the Frankish tribes the city of Frankfurt is named for. Frankfurt is where his family was based in the mid-18th century.

Here are a few details about Scot:

  • He has spent the bulk of his career in Newspaper publishing as both a photographer and editor,
  • He was a teacher for high school English and Journalism,
  • He has also been a substitute teacher,
  • He homeschools his boys,
  • National Rifle Association certified Pistol and Rifle instructor,
  • International Defensive Pistol Association Safety Officer Instructor to 2013,
  • State Coordinator for IDPA 2001-2002,
  • Founded a Defensive Pistol Club,
  • State CCW Instructor 1999 to 2006,
  • Extensive training in defensive firearms Training History:
  • Gunsite Training Center API 150,
  • Lethal Force Institute LFI I,
  • Lethal Force Institute LFI II,
  • Lethal Force Institute LFI Shotgun,
  • Morrigan Consulting CQB Carbine,
  • SIGarms Handling, Servicing Class,
  • Marksmans Enterprise Pistol I,
  • Marksmans Enterprise Pistol II,
  • Marksmans Enterprise Carbine, and
  • Marksmans Enterprise Shotgun.

Welcome aboard, Scot!

We have completed Round 51 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest!

First Prize goes to G.A. (RN) for “Setting up a Sick Room in Your Home”, which was posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. She will receive the following prizes:

  1. Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  5. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value),
  6. A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  9. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  10. is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  12. is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second prize goes to A.C. for “Dealing With Asthma When The SHTF”, which was posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014. She will receive the following prizes:

  1. A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand,
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589.
  3. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100 foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of,
  4. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P .),
  5. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. A full set of all 26 books published by (a $270 value),
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value),
  8. EP Lowers, makers of 80% complete fiber composite polymer lowers for the AR-15 rifles, is donating a $250 gift certificate,
  9. Autrey's Armory – specialists in AR-15, M4s, parts, and accessories is donating a $250 gift certificate,
  10. in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  11. is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  12. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate.

Third prize goes to P.R. for “How To Save Seeds: From Your Garden, For Your Garden”, published on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  7. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208.
  8. is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.

Honorable Mention prizes ($30 gift certificates) have been awarded to the writers of these 10 fine articles:

Note to all Prize winners: Let us know your current e-mail address. We will also need UPS and USPS addresses for each of the top three prize winners.

Round 51 ended on March 31st, but Round 52 has started, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging. Those articles that we received for Round 51, but that did not get published in time will be automatically entered in Round 52.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Starting with Round 51, the fine folks at are donating a $500 gift certificate to the Third Place prize winner of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. Be sure to visit their web site and check out their full line of preparedness gear, and their blog.

Also starting with Round 51, a is kindly providing a $300 gift certificate for first place and a $150 gift certificate for second place for the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The company sells full military specification once-fired brass for reloaders. Note that even if you don't reload, this is excellent brass to provide in trade to your local commercial reloader or to keep on hand for bartering with home-based reloaders.

And finally, Organized Prepper, LLC is providing a $500 gift certificate for second place for the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. Organized Prepper, LLC is a family run organization based in Texas dedicated to providing information and supplies to those who would like to be more prepared for whatever curve-balls the universe wants to throw at them.

These three new prizes from bring the combined value of the top three prize packages to more that $10,500. Our sincere thanks to and to Clyde and Gayle Landis, the owners of of!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dear Editor

Like other readers have stated, you have a truly amazing set of qualifications. As a former AWANA Commander, welder, machinist, physicist, embedded engineer and technical editor I hope to continue fleshing out my skills and service in the ways you have. Though my estimate is you have 15-20 years on me. :) Not only welcome to SurvivalBlog but thank you for the material encouragement. -D.D.

HJL Replies: Thank you and congratulations on a well rounded and broad skill set. A quote from one of my favorite authors sums it up nicely: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly" --Robert A. Heinlein


Dear Mentor,

The new editor has a lot going on for his resume and I'm sure you have the right guy for you, but some of us didn't see any gun stuff in there. All that schoolin/rocket stuff won't matter if he doesn't know how to strip his AR and find the problem with why it's not cycling, or the difference between a 5.56 round and a 7.62x39 round in the dark... If ever TSHTF it will be all about gun handling, shooting, and killing sad to say. Nowhere will be safe forever. Just saying. Thanks for the best blog on the net and great books. -W

HJL Replies: My wife tells me that I am eclectic. My kids accuse me of being eccentric. I'm not so sure, I may just be an undiagnosed ADHD, but whatever the reason, there is a lot of stuff on those qualifications. I'm sure that was the reason you missed the fourth bullet point "Holds a gunsmithing certificate from the Colorado School of Trades." I also shoot regularly and reload all of my own ammunition. Though I don't shoot competitively, I enjoy long range rifle (1000yd) and three gun IDPA style shooting. I am confident that I have the neccessary skills to perform should the circumstances require it. However, I believe that the other qualifications on my resume actually have more bearing on a SHTF scenario. If our civilization reaches the point of collapse, the lawlessness will, by necessity, be relatively short lived. People will start rebuilding, communities will re-establish themselves, and governance will continue. The reality is that we can't go it alone. The skills that I have aquired over a lifetime will certainly be useful then, but they are also useful now. I don't learn these things to prepare, I learn them and practice them because I love this lifestyle. I believe this nation was discovered, founded, and built on a "can do" attitude. As I tell my children, "That's just who I am."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

We have three responses to the introduction of our new Managing Editor today:

Greetings, Mr Rawles,
Wow - I just read the posting on your new hire and I'm absolutely blown away. What an outstanding set of qualifications! I'm glad to have submitted my resume, but clearly you have found a tremendous candidate with very high credentials. Congratulations and may this new working relationship bear much fruit in the years ahead. --J.M.

J.F.J sends this response:
>Please tell him that I said "WELCOME ABOARD!". And just one more thing... with his impressive resume, can you also please tell him that I am "reserving" a spot for him on my compound. We (our clan) could certainly use a patriot like him. WELL DONE Mr. Rawles! Sounds like a GREAT fit!
Signed... Now anticipating being even a more devoted reader.

And finally, P.L sent this letter:
Good catch on the new editor!! You're right, his background is dazzling.

HJL Replies: Thank you for those kind words. SurvivalBlog has long been my favorite blog because of Jim's high editorial and content standards. You could always rely on information found here to be accurate and useful. It is my intention as the new Managing Editor to maintain those same high standards. SurvivalBlog is a success because readers like you care about it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am pleased to announce that following the review of more than 50 resumes, we have selected Hugh J. Latimer (a pen name) as our new Managing Editor. I consider him a perfect fit for the position. He will be taking over many of the day-to-day operations at SurvivalBlog, including editing letters and articles, compiling column items, writing some feature articles, creating and updating advertisement graphics, and posting the blog. Meanwhile, I will continue to be actively involved as Senior Editor. To distinguish between our posts and comments, they will either begin or end with our initials ("JWR" or "HJL.")

For those who are curious, his pen name was chosen to honor Hugh Latimer (1487-1555), a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555 under Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.

Here are a few details about Hugh:

  • A long-time reader of SurvivalBlog.
  • Has three college degrees (Engineering, Metallurgy, and Education), including one Master's Degree.
  • Worked as a Technical Editor for five international technical journals, where he edited contributed articles as well as wrote more than 100 feature articles.
  • Holds a gunsmithing certificate from the Colorado School of Trades.
  • Certified as a firefighter.
  • Certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT.)
  • An Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster.
  • A Libertarian, conservative Christian who attends regularly with two congregations.
  • Worked for a major astronautics company where he did engineering work on the Titan IV missile program and several NASA programs. (Yes, he really is a Rocket Scientist.)
  • Has several years of experience in RF, digital, and analog circuit design for both rocket flight hardware and ground support hardware. He has also designed custom magnetics for the space program.
  • Worked as a Technical Editor at a national laboratory.
  • Ran his own photography and graphics design business.
  • Created and managed his own rural high speed Internet access company, where he also developed solar-powered remote relay communications sites.
  • Has done web site design using native HTML and has used a variety CMS software.
  • Formerly worked at a high school teaching Honors Physics. He also wrote the curriculum for several science courses.
  • A former Unix Administrator and both a TCP/IP and Unix Instructor.
  • Many years of experience as a system manager for 14 different operating systems.
  • Computer system security expert.
  • Lives in a small town.
  • He was the owner-builder of four homes, including a large log home, and one that is geothermally heated.
  • His family gardens, cans their own food, raise chickens, make candles, and bind their own books.
  • He and his wife have homeschooled their children.

Welcome aboard, Hugh! - JWR

Monday, January 13, 2014

I am planning to hire a contracted Managing Editor for SurvivalBlog, sometime in the next two months. While I plan to continue on as Editor, I need some assistance with day-to-day editorial work. This position could be your ticket to living in the Boonies.

The locale for the new Managing Editor position will be "virtual", meaning that our new hire can live and work anywhere on the planet where there is a stable high speed Internet connection. The pay for this 30 hour per-week contracted position will be up to $40,000 per year, depending on the candidate's experience. Hiring preference will be given to disabled veterans. Good health, mental stability, an eye for detail, and a commitment to dedicate several years to this position are musts.


Work part-time on a flexible schedule, five days per week to:

1.) Schedule, assemble, edit, and post the majority of SurvivalBlog's daily blog content.

2.) Receive, evaluate, and edit reader submitted letters and articles.

3.) Write topical articles, as time permits.

4.) Perform general correspondence secretarial duties. (Tactfully answering reader and advertiser queries, et cetera.)

Note: The selected candidate must have the desire to maintain the established editorial viewpoint of SurvivalBlog, such as the philosophical, religious, political stance outlined in JWR's Precepts page and in my other writings.

Essential Skills, Knowledge, and Attributes

  • Strong editing skills. (This means at least two years of full-time editing experience or four years of part-time editing experience, preferably with an on-line publication.)
  • In-depth knowledge of survivalist/prepper topics and terminology.
  • English as your first language.
  • A keen eye for detail and wise discernment.
  • Excellent grammar, spelling, punctuation, and general journalistic knowledge.
  • Ability to edit writing that comes from amateurs to make it look professional, lucid, and even eloquent.
  • Several years of experience with writing and producing clean HTML-formatted content (either editing raw HTML, or via editing software.)
  • Familiarity with content management system (CMS) software, including Movable Type Pro.
  • Strong experience with Microsoft Word.
  • Willingness to meet daily deadlines.
  • Ability to work as part of a team, remotely. (You will be handing work back and forth to other editors.)
  • Ability to work on several small projects simultaneously.
  • Unfailing tact and discretion.
  • Keen ability to spot fluff, rants, self-promotion, seminar letters, paid link placement, and other attempted outside manipulation.
  • Willingness to conform to SurvivalBlog's writing and editorial style.
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule for five days a week and occasionally six days a week.

Desirable (But Not Crucial) Skills and Knowledge:

  • Familiarity with Dreamweaver software.
  • Familiarity with Fetch or other file transfer software.
  • Familiarity with database software such as SQL.
  • Familiarity with version control procedures and software.
  • A background in the medical field.
  • A background in electronics.
  • An interest in global politics and economics.
  • Solid knowledge of firearms and shooting terminology.
  • Some experience with spreadsheet software, such as Excel.
  • Familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Illustrator software.

This position will be a strictly "work for hire" contracted position with no health benefits, with employment "at will."
If you are presently available 30 hours a week and meet the qualifications described, then please send a cover letter and a detailed resume (with links to web pages that you have edited, in lieu of portfolio), via e-mail.

Note that because I'm likely to receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes and cover letters, I will probably not be able to send a personal reply to each.

Thanks in advance, to those who respond! - JWR

Monday, January 6, 2014

Not counting editorial salaries, SurvivalBlog has more than $22,000 per year in annual operating costs including our fully redundant servers in Colorado and Sweden. We need this redundancy because we've been attacked (DDOS ping flooding) by malicious hackers, on several occasions. Unlike most publications, our subscriptions are 100% voluntary. And we only make one annual post every January to remind our readers to subscribe or renew, and this is it. We are not like other organizations on the Internet that are endlessly begging, so you hear this this just once a year. We don't want to pester anyone.

Here is The Ten Cent Challenge: What is reading SurvivalBlog worth to you? I challenge every regular SurvivalBlog reader to donate just 10 cents per day to support the blog. (Which equals $3 per month, or $36.50 per year.)

We gladly accept subscriptions in a variety ways including "Forever" postage stamps, cash, checks, money orders and silver coins. You can see details here.

Our mail forwarding address (for mailing your subscription contributions and hard copy letters and small padded envelopes only) is:

James Wesley, Rawles
c/o P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845

Bitcoin account is: 1K7Gk6kqX6psSWDJaRV6pyDH7dwZuvqtUB
Payza address is:
PayPal address is:

Many thanks for your support of SurvivalBlog!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SurvivalBlog, a private information service, is obliged to post some disclaimers and provisos, annually. These notices are current as of January 1, 2014 and remain in force unless later specifically revoked or modified by the Editor.

Advertising and Reviews

Per FTC File No. P034520: SurvivalBlog accepts cash-paid advertising. To the best of my knowledge, as of the date of this posting, none of our advertisers that sell the products mentioned in this blog have solicited SurvivalBlog or our staff to write any reviews or endorsements, nor have they provided me any free or reduced-price gear in exchange for any reviews or endorsements. JWR is not a stock holder in any company. SurvivalBlog does, however, benefit from sales through the SurvivalBlog Amazon Store. If you click on one of our Amazon links and then "click through" to order ANY product from (not just the ones listed in our catalog), then we will earn a modest sales commission.

Several of our advertisers have overlapping product lines. We believe in competitive free market economics, so we do not offer any "exclusives", "non-compete" agreements, or "protected territories."

Letter Posting Policy

All writings that you send us must be original works and their copyright will become the property of SurvivalBlog. Anyone sending a letter or article grants the right for posting, reproduction, or any other use by SurvivalBlog. To differentiate: Any items that you send that are not intended for posting must include "NOT FOR POSTING" in the subject line.

I will post letters from readers that are topical. Please e-mail us your letters. OBTW, I will only post a letter writer's initials and location unless they specifically tell me otherwise. Anyone sending a letter or article grants the right for posting, reproduction, or any other use. Again, all writings must be original works and the copyright will become the property of SurvivalBlog.

I reserve the right to reject or edit letters for foul language, blasphemy, racism, anti-Christianity (or bad doctrine), anti-Semitism, and assorted off-topic tin foil hat rants about Gray Aliens. If you see "[Rant Snipped]" in a letter, then you'll know that someone crossed the line.

I also edit letters to conceal the identities of their writers, which might otherwise be compromised by the letter contents or contextual references. Please let me know how you'd like your letters or articles signed.

No Forums and No Autoposting

Why is there no SurvivalBlog forum and no “autoposting” or semi-automated moderated replies to blog posts? Because: A.) They are a security risk to my readers. B.) I don’t have to have the time to moderate the posts and C.) I know from past experience that if I were to allow autoposts, it would quickly degenerate into a venue for flame wars and foul language. So I will pick and choose the letters that will be posted. (It’s my ship, and I’m the Captain. Sorry.)

I am the sole "filter" for what is posted on SurvivalBlog. Just e-mail me what you'd like me to post. (There is no "Post" button, so don't look for it!)

Not a Financial Adviser

Per the SEC Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (as amended): I am not a paid investment counselor or adviser. I am not a stockholder of any company. I am not employed by any company. I receive no payment or benefit from any company in exchange for my investment recommendations. I do not make stock buying recommendations. Make all investments at your own risk.

Not a Public Accommodation

As a private subscription information service, SurvivalBlog is not a "public accommodation" and is therefore exempt from all Federal regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.)

Consulting Services

I am a paid consultant on survival-related topics including relocation, logistics, communications, firearms, privacy, communications security, food storage, caching, vehicles, field gear, signals intelligence, retreat architectural concepts, and retreat security. I provide my Vonage phone number or Skype name only to pre-paid consulting clients. Before hiring me for consulting, please first search the SurvivalBlog archives and FAQs. I also strongly recommend that you read my book "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It". That book answers a lot of questions that I typically get from consulting clients. (And buying a $14 book beats paying $100 for consulting.)

If you need my expertise about something that I haven't already published, then my fee is $100 per hour, with a one hour minimum. You can send pre-payment via Bitcoin, or to my Payza or PayPal account. I prefer Payza because they don't share PayPal's anti-gun political agenda.)

My Bitcoin account is: 1K7Gk6kqX6psSWDJaRV6pyDH7dwZuvqtUB
My Payza address is:
PayPal address is:

Be sure to include your e-mail address, phone number, and and the best time to schedule the call in your online payment instructions.

You can also send pre-payment for hours of consulting (in 30 minute increments) via U.S. Postal Service Money Orders, "Forever " postage stamps, or personal check.

On the advice of my attorney, I never have and will not ever discuss any potentially criminal activities such as bomb making, poaching, poisons/toxins, fully automatic firearms conversions, active insurrection, coups, or firearms suppressor ("silencer") construction. If you raise any such topics then I will immediately terminate the consulting call--no exceptions.

Not a Doctor or Attorney

I'm not a doctor, and I don't give medical advice. Advertisements for any medical device, treatment, drug, or food supplement is solely the responsibility of the advertiser and are in no way endorsed or accredited by, or its principals. is not responsible for the use or misuse of any product advertised on this blog site.

I'm not a lawyer, and I don't give legal advice. The laws, regulations, and case citations contained within this blog do not constitute legal advice. Laws change frequently. Consult a lawyer if you have legal questions. If you choose to act upon the details cited in the blog without doing your own research, then you do so at your own risk.

Many Voices

In part because SurvivalBlog has many contributing authors, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or reliability of what is published in the blog. Consider it only one of many sources of information that you must test against standard references and compare against your local climate and conditions, as well as your local laws. (See: "Accuracy, Safety, and Legality," below.)

No Social Networking Presence

Please refrain from trying to get me to join Twitter, LinkedIn, or any of the other social networks. I get more than 150 e-mails per day, and that is bad enough, but getting an extra 20 proclaiming that "John Smith is following you on Twitter" and "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn"is distracting. I consider these networks a security risk, so I don't respond to any of these requests.

Your Privacy

For your privacy, we do not compile or sell any lists of e-mail or snail mail addresses. Parenthetically, don't expect me to remember what pen name you use. If you want to continue with using one pen name, then please sign all of your e-mails that way.

Right of Non-Association is an entirely private information service that is my sole property made available to others as a form of free personal expression under my de jure Preamble Citizen's right as later guaranteed in the First Article in Amendment to the Constitution. is not a "public accommodation" and it is preemptively exempt from any forced or coerced accommodation, via legislation (or bureaucratic interpretation thereof) or any dictate, directive, or decree by any agency of government or by any NGO or by any individual under any future "Fairness Doctrine" or similar charade. I reserve the right to refuse service (to wit: to refuse posting, linking, or mention of anyone or anything, at my sole discretion) to any person, agency, corporation, or other entity. I make these reservations for the sake of maintaining sound business practices, competitiveness, and to maintain my moral and religious principles.

My Agent

My literary agent is Robert Gottlieb, the Chairman of Trident Media Group. He handles all inquiries on publishing, licensing, foreign translations, and motion picture rights.

Links and Quotes

Our links to articles at third party web sites are offered for informational purposes only. These links are most often at the suggestion of individual SurvivalBlog readers. Not every link is checked in detail. We are not responsible for updating links that have become obsolete at third party sites. The authenticity, political persuasion, morality, and religious standpoint of those articles and any other articles housed at those sites are not necessarily endorsed by the editors of SurvivalBlog. A link on SurvivalBlog does not constitute an endorsement!

At SurvivalBlog we err on the side of linking rather than quoting. Not only does this make SurvivalBlog quicker to read, but it also keeps us well within the standards of "Fair Use" for quotations. All articles that are quoted, re-posted or linked are done so with great discretion and out of genuine professional courtesy under the doctrine of Fair Use, with legal precedent dating to the Statute of Anne of 1709, and confirmed by the doctrine of "Fairness Abridgement" in Gyles v Wilcox (1740) and later codified under 17 U.S.C. § 107.

Accuracy, Safety, and Legality

The content of this blog site is not guaranteed for accuracy, reliability, safety, or legality in all jurisdictions. It is presented for educational purposes only. You are responsible for your own actions. This includes your stupidity or carelessness. Refer to manufacturer documentation for safety and dosing information. Consult a locally-licensed attorney to check on the legality of the devices, formulas and practices mentioned in SurvivalBlog in your locale. Do not write me to ask for legal advice!

SurvivalBlog is All Free, But Copyrighted

The content of this blog site is free to access, but copyrighted. Permission to use up to 800-word excerpts is summarily granted (no need to e-mail me for permission), but only if you include full attribution--most notably a link to the URL.

And if I forgot to mention something, I reserve that, too! ;-)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The fine folks at in Bozeman, Montana have announced that they will now sponsor the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest with an additional $333 prize bundle that will bring the combined value of the three prize packages to more than $9,700.

Starting with Round 50 et sequitur, the winner of the Second Prize package will receive Dri-Harvest foods gift certificates for:

One Mixed Case: Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Buttermilk Powder (2 of each) / Case of 6- #10 Cans  valued at  $68.86

One Montana Hard Red Wheat 5 Gallon food grade bucket, valued at  $44.95

A mixed case of Lemon, Peach and Orange Drink Mixes (2 of each) / This is a case of six #10 Cans,  valued at  $153.00

One White Rice 50 lb Bag / total valued at $47.99

Total value of their prize package: $333.60, plus free shipping to any prize winner in the U.S.

Dri-Harvest also offers 15% discount to all SurvivalBlog readers with the coupon code JWR011402 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The vast majority of readers voted in favor leaving SurvivalBlog the way its is--predominantly text, for minimum bandwidth. I did learn that man readers would like more links to off-site graphics and videos. I also learned that I need to warn folks when a link is to a video, so that their mobile devices aren't overwhelmed or "blow their budget" on bandwidth . So henceforth I will try to include the word "video" in those text links,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Today we are announcing the winners of Round 49 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

First Prize goes to TX ER DOC, for So, You Bought Fish Antibiotics. Now What?, posted on November 20, 2013. He will receive: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. H.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of The current value of this roll is at least $225, and I.) VPN tunnel, DigitalSafe and private e-mail annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad. They have a combined value of $265.

Second Prize goes to Stephanie M. for Your Retreat's Privy, posted on November 13, 2013. She will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 23 of the books published by This is more than a $210 value, and G.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to Michael B. for From Just Surviving Life to a Life of Survival Preparedness, posted on November 2, 2013. He will receive:A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), E.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., F.) A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises , and G.) A Nesco / American Harvest Gardenmaster Dehydrator with an extra set of trays, and the book The Dehydrator Bible, from Mayflower Trading. (A $210 value.)

Honorable mention prizes ($30 gift certificates) go to the authors of these 14 fine articles::

Note all prize winners: I will need updated e-mail addresses for the Honorable Mentions, and both e-mail and snail mail (UPS & USPS) for the top three prize winners.

To expand the already more than $8,400 worth of prizes, five more companies have very generously announced that they are donating prizes for Round 50 (et sequitur) of the writing contest:

1.) is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304.

2.) APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit.

3.) EP Lowers, makers of 80% complete fiber composite polymer lowers for the AR-15 rifles is donating a $250 gift certificate.

4.) Autrey's Armory -- specialists in AR-15, M4s, parts and accessories -- is donating a $250 gift certificate.

5.) Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies. This assortment has a a retail value of $208. Their bandages are made in Mexico, but use U.S.-grown cotton. For each contest round, they are providing:

20 rolls of 1” Heavy Elastic Tape: $24
1 box of 2” Midlastic Elastic Bandages (10/bx): $17.20
1 box of 3” Midlastic Elastic Bandages (10/bx): $21.20
1 case of 2” Roll Gauze (96/cs): $17.92
1 case of 3” Roll Gauze (96/cs): $24.40
1 case of 4” Roll Gauze (96/cs): $29.76
1 case of 6” Roll Gauze (48/cs): $24.64
1 box of 3” Supra-Grip Self-Closure Elastic Bandages (10/bx): $17.20
1 box of 4” Supra-Grip Self-Closure Elastic Bandages (10/bx): $21.20
1 pack of Extra Large Swab Applicators (50/pk): $10.39  

Total Retail Value: $207.91

Together, these new prizes bring the combined value of the top three prize packages to around $9,400!

All of the contest sponsors deserve your business. Please visit their web stores often!

I should also mention that one former prize has been dropped: The Commence Fire emergency stove. The owner of the company tells me that they are moving on to other projects. And by the way, the rights to produce this proprietary stove design, its web sites, and the tooling needed to make it are presently available, for anyone interested in launching a small business.

Round 50 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Monday, October 21, 2013

For my own use here at the ranch I'm looking to purchase a fresh and bright (less than three year old) original tritium Beta-Light map reader. I can use one with or without an integral compass.

If you are confused about what I'm seeking, see this photo. I'd also consider buying one or two Beta-Light Torches (flashlights).

They should be marked with any of these NSNs:

Map Readers:

NSN: 6605-99-186-9075
NSN: 6605-99-458-1598
NSN: 6605-99-593-2157

Torches (tritium flashlights): NSN: 6260-99-965-3582

I can pay cash (Bitcoin, PayPal, PMO, greenbacks, or whatever,) or I'm willing to work out some great trades from the hundreds of full capacity magazines that I've stocked up for barter in Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR.) - JWR

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1st is Book Bomb Day for my latest novel, Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse. The book is available from most major bookstores. It can also be ordered from,, and many other online sellers. There are also Kindle book and audio book editions now available.

By now, I suppose that everyone has heard about the printing error at E.P. Dutton that resulted in 50,000 copies of the First Edition, First Printing of Expatriates having the hardcover spines (underneath the dust jacket) printed: "John Wesley, Rawles." The news media will undoubtedly be reporting this glitch. (I've made the spine images available at my Media Page.) This is newsworthy because it is not a common occurrence!

Because of the print error, only the first 26,000 copies of the hardback edition will go on sale today (October 1st, 2013.) A rush print order of revised books should be available and shipping within two weeks. The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected, so their release is also proceeding, as scheduled.

The 26,000 copies already shipped to retailers with the printing error will probably become collector's items. (I'm assuming that the rest of the 50,000 copy First Press Run will be destroyed, or have new covers or labels applied.)

Free replacement copies will be available, if you'd prefer. (See the note from my publisher, below.) - J.W.R.

We've completed the judging for Round 48 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest, which ended yesterday.

First prize goes to Tennessean for his lengthy and detailed article Protection from Radioactive Fallout, posted on September 12, 2013.

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

Second prize goes to Anon, M.D. for The Constipated Hordes at TEOTWAWKI: A Pharmacologic Strategy, posted on Thursday, August 8, 2013

He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of D.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by This is more than a $200 value, and G.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third prize goes to Sheri W. for Self Defense for Women, posted on September 19, 2013.

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

Honorable Mention prizes ($30 gift cards) are being awarded for these 15 fine articles:

Selecting a Retreat, by M.D.L.

Water: PV-Powered Water Pumping and Storage, by A. Haggard H. Rider

Rabbits for a Stable (and Staple) Protein Source, by S.F.D. in West Virginia

Emergency Preparedness: 101, by Jennie From the Flats

Considerations for Gardening at the Retreat Farm, by Tony K.

A Family Bike Camping Experience Sheds Light on Bug Out Treks, by J.E. in St. Paul

Coping with Obstructive Sleep Apnea When There is No Grid Power, by Chris X.

Every Day Carry in Non-Permissive Work Environments, by D., Esq.

A Year of Starvation: My Experience, by K.S.

The Night I Became a Community Organizer, by Sergeant Dad

Prioritized Prepping, by Z.T.

Waterproofing and Long-Term Storage of Small Arms Ammunition, by Nebraska Farmer

3D Printing: Is it in Your Future?, by Kevin L.

Direction of Force: Working Safely Now and at TEOTWAWKI, by Arizona Slim

Stuff Hitting the Fan: A Position Paper, by R.L. (Posted in four parts)

Note to all prize winners: Please e-mail us. We need to confirm the current e-mail addresses for all of the Honorable Mention prize winners. We also need the USPS and UPS addresses for the top three prize winners. Thanks.

Monday, September 30, 2013

You might as well call me "James Wesley, Wrong", since a printing error at E.P. Dutton resulted in several thousand copies of the First Edition, First Printing of Expatriates having the hardcover spines (underneath the dust jacket) emblazoned: "John Wesley, Rawles."

Here is how the correct dust jacket spine looks:

Expatriates Dustjacket

And here is how the misprinted hardback spine (underneath the dust jacket) looks:

Expatriates Print Error Spine

This error wasn't discovered until Friday night (September 27th), when our family friend "Enola Gay" (the editor of the outstanding Paratus Familia blog) happened to look under the dust jacket of the copy that I'd given her.

The hardback edition will probably not be released as scheduled tomorrow (October 1st) because of the printing error. (The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected and will be released as scheduled.)

A bit of background, and some related examples:

Over the years, I've received dozens of "John"-addressed e-mails, and I've seen many Internet references to my writings that mention "John Wesley Rawles." This can be attributed to a subconscious connection to the famous Christian evangelist and hymn writer, John Wesley. So I find it perfectly understandable that this mistake was made. (I don't suspect any foul play by Red Lectroids from Planet 10.) The staff at E.P. Dutton sent me the full dust jacket layout for approval, but I never saw the hard copy spine markings. I suppose this is the first time that a major publisher has made this sort of mistake. I certainly don't want to see anyone lose their job over this.

This slip-up is reminiscent of the notorious destroyed Jonathan Franzen Freedom novels, in 2010. And in a way, this incident reminds me of a print error on the packaging of 100,000 Atlas Shrugged Part 1 DVDs, which had the back emblazoned: "Ayn Rand's timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life..." This of course was 180 degrees out of sync with Ayn Rand's philosophy, that focused on rational self-interest and rejected the concept of self-sacrifice. Those DVDs were recalled (at great expense), and the few that slipped out to the market are now collectible. This also brings to mind the famous US Postal Service's recall of the 1994 Legends of the West postage stamp sheets, because they had an inaccurate depiction of the face of Bill Pickett. (To me, it looked like they slipped in a simulacrum of Billy Dee Williams!)

This printing error may not be quite as famous as the 1631 Bible typesetting error that inadvertently had Exodus 20:14 read: "Thou shalt commit adultery," or the upside-down "Jenny" airplane print error postage stamp. But it certainly did give me a chuckle. And I suppose that it might make the 48 advance copies that I received worth more, in the long run. (However, I don't expect a full blown Willy Wonka Bar golden ticket hunt, as book buyers look under the dust jackets to see if they've found an example with the spine printing error.)

Only one thing is certain: Book collectors will definitely be able to easily distinguish the print error "First Edition, First Printing" of Expatriates!

The hardback edition will only have a limited release tomorrow (October 1st, 2013) because of this printing error. A rush print order of revised books should be available within two weeks. The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected, so their release will go on, as scheduled. I have not yet heard from the publisher whether they plan to destroy the misprinted books that they still have on hand, or re-cover them, or add an adhesive label to the spine with my correct given name.

I will post updates about how this will be rectified. Thanks for your patience.

Special Note to Brad Thor: Double check your next novel, to make sure that they don't print "Brad Pitt" on the spine. - J.W.R.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I'm planning to get the "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course." Does it have any details on the shelf lives of foods like beans, rice, canned goods, and vitamins?

Thanks So Much, - K.S.

JWR Replies: Yes, and in fact the shelf life appendix (in tabular format) is quite extensive, spanning 15 pages. You can of course print out a hard copy, for your reference binder.

Friday, August 23, 2013

On Monday, August 5, 2013, I posted a piece titled "Calling It Quits With Mulligan Mint." It was pointed out to me that it included a factual error, so I've truncated that post.

I'd like to give everyone an update on what has transpired since then.

First, the Good News:

1. I have been impressed that the staff of Mulligan Mint has overcome all of the hurdles of transitioning from a fledgling company that simply struck outside vendor-supplied .999 fine dimensioned blank planchets into a company that now consistently turns raw .999 fine silver into finished coins, in quantity. They have a dedicated and hard-working staff, and they have invested a lot of money into capital equipment to make all this happen.

2.) All of American Redoubt orders placed before August 1st have apparently been filled, as promised. A few new orders have been placed since then, and I've been told that all but 93 ounces have now been shipped. (In summary: Mulligan sold 11,009 1Troy ounce American Redoubt silver coins, Of the 11,009 coins sold, they have minted and shipped all but 93 pieces, the balance of which have been promised to ship by August 24th. So now 99.2% of all American Redoubt coins ordered have been minted and shipped.)

3. I have now been paid my commission. (In the form of 220 ounces of American Redoubt silver coins.)

4. To the best of my knowledge, the order shipping delay has never exceeded five weeks, despite the exceedingly high demand created when spot silver dipped below $20 per ounce.

Now, the Not So Good News:

1.) Rob Gray has never answered my repeated questions about the status of the return of the 71,400 ounces to Republic Metals Corporation. Three times, I've asked him point blank: Has Republic's court-ordered return demand been successfully met? (Either by return or the physical metals or delivery of a bond of equal dollar value.) He has never answered that question. All that I wanted was a yes or no answer.  I consider his repeated failure to respond a mark of intentional evasiveness.

2.)  Rob Gray has left me in the dark about the advent and status of the court-issued restraining orders against Mulligan Mint. The latest Temporary Restraining Order extension was dated August 15th. In my opinion this Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) casts great doubt on the ability of Mulligan Mint to continue to meet its many commitments.

While I am satisfied that the Mulligan Mint staff has fulfilled orders to the best of their ability, I find the company's ongoing legal problems with their key supplier quite troubling. I am also disturbed by Rob Gray's evasiveness and his lack of forthright communication about the company's continuing legal troubles.

With all of this in mind, I cannot do business with Rob Gray, nor can I in good conscience send any customers to him. 

Mulligan Mint has removed the American Redoubt coins from their web site.  I now consider this a closed issue.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We've completed the judging for Round 47 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

But first, I'd like to announce that two new prizes have been added to the prize package for Round 48, et sequitur. These are:

A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. This addition brings the value of just the First Prize package to $3,990!


A full set of all 22 of the books published by This is more than a $200 value. This addition brings the value of just the Second Prize package to $3,020!

Many thanks to these companies for their generosity. They deserve your patronage. When you contact them, please mention that you saw the link on SurvivalBlog. Thanks!

The prize winners for Round 47 are...

First Prize goes to Sophie for Prepping the Texas Cowboy Way, posted on July 12, 2013.

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

Second Prize goes to Seth T. for  Learning 52 Skills: Applying a Purchasing Plan Approach to Learning New Skills, posted on July 26, 2013.

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

Third Prize goes to L.D. for The K-9 Question, posted on June 30, 2013

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

Honorable Mention Awards ($30 Amazon gift cards) go to the writers of these 15 fine articles:

Note to all prize winners: Please e-mail us to confirm your current e-mail addresses. And the top three prize winners will also need to send us their UPS and USPS addresses. Thanks!

Today we begin Round 48 of the contest. This round will end on September 30th so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging. - J.W.R.

Mr. Rawles:
If I get the downloadable "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course" can I print out a copy for my reference binder? Is that considered okay? (I have a giant binder with 4" rings that my husband got in the Navy that we use for all our prepping references, except for recipes.)
With My Regards, - Sheila C.

JWR Replies: Yes, since you are legitimately downloading it, you are certainly welcome to print out a reference copy for your own use.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mr. Rawles:
If I get the downloadable "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course" can I print out a copy for my reference binder? Is that considered okay? (I have a giant binder with 4" rings that my husband got in the Navy that we use for all our prepping references, except for recipes.)
With My Regards, - Sheila C.

JWR Replies: Yes, since you are legitimately downloading it, you are welcome to print out a reference copy for your own use.

Monday, July 29, 2013

To follow up on my recently-posted list of field gear makers that have all American-made products, I'd like to compile a similar list of American tool makers. To qualify for inclusion, all of their tools must be American-made. Thanks! - J.W.R.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

First of all, I want to clear-up a misconception: Jim Rawles and I are not one in the same person - we are two different people. I hear from SurvivalBlog readers all the time, asking me if I'm really Jim Rawles - I am NOT! Jim had his blog site up and running for several years before I came on board, as the Field Gear Editor. I know this won't satisfy some of you, but you can believe what you want - Jim and I are not the same person. I live in Western Oregon, and Jim lives - well, I don't actually know where he lives, and it's none of my business. And, please stop asking me for his phone number!
I receive well over 200 e-mails each day, many are junk, however many are from SurvivalBlog readers with questions. Due to the number of e-mails I get, I have to keep my answers short. I hope I'm still helpful with my answers, though. So many of you ask me "what's the best......" and I can't give you a pat answer to that. The best handgun is the one I'm carrying at the time - ditto for knives. I can't pick a firearm or knife for you - it's a very subjective thing, I can only suggest what appeals to me. And, while I sincerely appreciate this, this is not the way I operate - many of you offer to pay me for my advice to you in your e-mails. If I can help, I'm happy to do so, so don't offer to pay me for my advice - I'm not in that business. I just hope I have the right answers to your questions most of the time.
As to the many vendors who send me their products to test and write about. Once again, don't offer to pay me to push your products ahead of someone else's products. We make every attempt to test products in the order they are received by me. The only exception to this is knives - I received so many knives, that I spread my reviews out quite a bit - no one wants to read half a dozen knife reviews in a row on SurvivalBlog. As the Editor, Jim Rawles decides when an article will appear in print, and he is a very ethical person, so I'm sure he's just as offended as I am by companies wanting us to push their products ahead of someone else's products. Right now, I'm working on review articles that will run in November, and I have enough products to test and write about, clear through January of 2014. If you can't wait for me to get to your products for testing and a review, then don't send them to me. Sorry! I write one article each week for SurvivalBlog, and I'm also writing one article each week for another web site , so I keep extremely busy!
I'm not any sort of celebrity and there is nothing special about me. I'm just a hard-working stiff like everyone else is. Many readers write and ask me if they can stop by and meet me. I simply don't have the time to do this, and I'm a very private person. I don't readily welcome unannounced guests onto my little homestead.
Thanks to everyone who e-mails me, I do sincerely appreciate hearing from all of you. And, even those few who are critical, at times of my reviews on gear, I still appreciate your e-mails. However, those few who send threatening e-mails to me: they are turned over the authorities. I had one fellow who went so far as to even threaten me and former President George Bush - for whatever reason. His e-mails were turned over to the US Secret Service.
SurvivalBlog is not some radical right-wing web site, as many Liberals believe it to be, especially the likes of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) who often target Jim Rawles, as some type of whacko survivalist who plans on taking over the country. This is not the case. Jim is running a very informative blog site, for those intelligent enough to realize that they need to prepare for disasters - many types of disasters. And, I have not seen any articles or suggestions on SurvivalBlog, that even come close to having the web site advocating over-throwing the government. And, for those agent provocateurs who e-mail me trying to get me to say I'm advocating over-throwing the government: Stop it - I can see right through your e-mails. Find someone else to set-up, neither myself nor Jim Rawles will fall for this.
Thanks again, to all the loyal and faithful readers SurvivalBlog has, Jim and I sincerely enjoy hearing from all of you. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is your "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course" currently available online the same course that was sold in print form in 2006, or is it an updated version?
Thanks, - Joe R.

JWR Replies: The course content is essentially unchanged from the 2006 edition. Only the price (dramatically less) and the delivery method (download only) have changed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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

Chapter 11: The Missing Umbrella

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

Surabaya, Indonesia, August, The Second Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o o o

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

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

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recently, I was falsely labeled "antigovernment" by the SPLC, and that prompts me to post some clarifying remarks: There is a huge difference between being "antigovernment" and being someone who insists that our government remain our government and that it abide by the law of the land. Constitutional rights are not negotiable.

In our system of government--a Constitutional Republic--we are a nation of laws, with the consent of the governed. In effect, we govern ourselves, through our elected representatives and our appointed officials. Or at least that is how it is supposed to work. I am not a "subject" of the state. I am not a serf. I'm not a vassal. Rather, I am a de jure part of the government, because I'm a Citizen and a part of "We, The People." I'm in fact a descendant of colonial Americans who pre-dated the Constitution. So, by definition I am not and cannot be "antigovernment." Yes, there are some current government policies that I oppose. Yes, there has been some legislation that I have opposed. Yes, there have been candidates for public office that I have opposed. And yes, there are some pressure groups (like Mayor Bloomberg's MAIG) that I oppose. But please don't call me--and folks like me--"antigovernment," because we are the government.

In recent years, some government officials (who had been called "public servants", in a gentler age) have lost sight of who they work for, and they've started to look upon the Citizenry as their subjects. Opposition to that view does not make me a rebel. Let me step back for a moment and explain what has happened: During my lifetime, some statist and collectivist insurgents have insidiously risen to positions of power within our government. So I'm what could best be called a counterinsurgent. I'm not trying to tear down the government. Instead, I'm doing my best to restore it.

There is an ongoing culture war in America. On one side are the statists, collectivists, and authoritarians of various stripes. On the other side is America's traditional freedom-loving and minimalist government-espousing bedrock culture. I represent the latter. Let freedom reign! - JWR

Monday, June 3, 2013

The smears and innuendos by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that I've noted before in SurvivalBlog are continuing. Take a few minutes to read this new article on the controversial Citadel project that appeared in the Summer issue of the SPLC's magazine, and at their web site, titled: Behind the Walls. It was written by Spokane region journalist Bill Morlin. The SPLC is famous for cleverly using loaded words, half-truths, and guilt by association to attempt to destroy the reputations of conservatives. This latest article is no exception.

Take note of the numerous conclusions that Morlin draws just from the "bizarre" comma in my name. The seven years of archives of SurvivalBlog (the equivalent of 7,000+ pages) don't back up his assertions. To characterize my blog as a “sovereign citizen” blog is patently false. I write a family preparedness blog, not a "sovereign citizen” blog. The Sovereignty movement has only been mentioned in passing in my blog, and even then that came in the form of a few articles and letters from readers, rather than articles that I wrote myself. In fact, my most recent refutation of the legal maneuverings by some in that movement (in a reply to an April, 2013 letter) included this warning on jurisdictional challenges: "So no matter where you go in the 50 States, you are likely to end up in the court system at some point in your life, and 99 times out of 100 you will lose, and this is regardless of how many precedent cases you cite." That hardly sounds like an enthusiastic supporter of Sovereign jurisdictional claims, does it?

Again, read the nearly eight years of archives of my blog. (They are full searchable, by keywords.) See for example, what articles and letters come up when you enter the search phrase "Sovereign and Citizen".) That handful of mentions is statistically insignificant, out of more than 18,150 SurvivalBlog posts. And those few mentions hardly constitute a ringing endorsement of the legal tactics or the leadership of the Sovereignty movement. It is abundantly clear that nearly all of my blog is concerned with practical preparedness. Granted, I do discuss the Right to Keep and Bear Arms regularly, but only because that right is fundamental and crucial to family preparedness. I am not known as someone who dwells on Sovereignty issues. Mr. Morlin's assertion on this count is downright libelous. (And, by the way, only the truth is a defense, in libel cases.)

Also take particular note of Mr. Morlin's outright lie in claiming that I advocate a "fortified" American Redoubt. Please show me, Mr. Morlin, anywhere in any of my blog posts where I have ever advocated "fortifying" the American Redoubt states. Quite on the contrary: I have written that the Redoubt movement has political and social goals, through a gradual demographic shift, via in-migration. Since it has no connection with my writings about the Redoubt relocation concept, I believe that the author's choice of word "fortified" was designed to subtly link me to Kerodin, et al.

The SPLC also uses the classic tactic of guilt by association. (Or in my case, guilt by lack of association, with Kerodin and the Citadel project planners.) Note that in this latest article, Morlin had the temerity to include a photo of rancher/homesteader/blogger Patrice Lewis. What was the crime or conspiracy that put her on Morlin's radar? It was in fact criticizing the Citadel concept, just as I did. And his photo caption referred to her as a "Far right blogger." Well, I suppose that from the gauche perspective of SPLC "activists", anyone to the right of the MSNBC Democrat cheering section would be considered "far right".

I'm hereby putting Bill Morlin on notice: You have 30 days to print a retraction. You have unfairly and dishonestly besmirched my name. You need to answer for that, either in the court of public opinion, or in a court of law.

An Update: Patrice Lewis just posted some commentary on Morlin's disparaging remarks.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

We've completed the judging for Round 46 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

First Prize goes to Steven in Alabama for When Bugging Out is Not an Option: Hunkering Down with a Quadriplegic, which was posted on May 24, 2013.

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

Second Prize goes to D.K., DVM, for Bad as a Bullet: Tick and Mosquito-Borne Diseases, which was posted on May 28, 2013.

He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300 and 10 TAPCO polymer magazines (5 AR and 5 AK) courtesy of Armageddon Armory, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to M.D.L. for The Secret Prepper, which was posted on May 25, 2013.

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

Honorable Mention prizes ($30 gift certificates) go to the authors of these 16 fine articles:

Note to all prize winners: Please e-mail us to confirm your current e-mail addresses. And the top three prize winners will also need to send us their UPS and USPS addresses. Thanks!

The generous sponsors of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest have helped make it a great success, and an ongoing source of tremendous knowledge for preparedness-minded families. My sincere thanks, both to the authors and the sponsors.

We are pleased to announce that starting with Round 47, we have added two new prizes to the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

The first is a couple of photovoltaic backpacks. (One of their "Level", and one "Atlas" model, both in black), with a combined value of $275. These two packs are now part of the First Prize package.

BirkSun makes a novel product that is more than just a gimmick. Their packs are both practical and durable. They can be used to charge a variety of electronic devices such as an iPhone 4 or 5, GoPro Camera, Amazon Kindle Reader, Samsung Galaxy, or Garmin GPS, and many more. Or, by simply connecting a battery charging tray, you can also charge size AA or CR-123 batteries for handie-talkies, flashlights, lasers, or night vision gear.

Before accepting the company as a writing contest sponsor I did my due diligence and learned that their most expensive components--the PV panels--are made in the U.S.A. by Sunpower. But both the battery and the backpack are made in China. The owner of the company (who, BTW, is an Austrian school economics devotee) mentioned that he would prefer that all aspects of production took place in the United States, but to be cost competitive they were forced to source their nylon packs overseas.

The other new prize is:

$300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions, in Montana. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers.) This is now part of the Second Prize package.

Patriot Firearms and Munitions is an unusual company. They state forthrightly that they do not sell to any government agencies. Because they make their own jacketed bullets they are not as dependent on third party suppliers as most other ammo makers. Not only do they sell re-manufactured and new ammo, they also have a program where clients send them their brass and they recondition, clean, process and reload it for them. This saves customers money because they do not have to pay for the brass (because it’s theirs) and it eliminates the 11% Federal Excise Tax (FET) that otherwise levied on ammunition at the manufacturer level and then passed on to end purchasers as a hidden tax.
So here is the updated list of prizes for Round 47, et sequitur:

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

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

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

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

My sincere thanks to the generous sponsors of the writing contest!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Please refrain from trying to get me to join Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or any of the other social network sites. I get more than 175 e-mails per day, and that is bad enough, but getting an extra 20 proclaiming that "John Smith is following you on Twitter" and "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" is distracting. I consider these networks a security risk, so I simply don't respond. Knowing that even "deleted " Facebook posts, profiles, and photos are stored indefinitely, and most recently learning that the IRS is actively mining Facebook posts to find new "suspects" also has me concerned. Count me out! - J.W.R.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The new American Redoubt .999 fine silver coin has been launched! These very attractive coins are produced by Mulligan Mint. They are one Troy ounce weight, and are being sold at a very competitive market price. (Spot silver was advantageously below $23.10 per ounce, when I last checked, and many dealers are charging a premium of $9 per ounce over spot!) Lord willing, this release will be followed in a few months by fractional 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and possibly 1/10th ounce coins of the same design. Note that we will earn a modest commission from each sale, to help support SurvivalBlog.

In addition to being useful for barter, carrying a Redoubt coin might be an important identifier that someday might be your ticket past a roadblock. (This is roughly analogous to the "challenge" coins carried by some current and former Special Forces Group members.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dear James,
To follow up on your comments to getting a printed version of the Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course binder/book, I would strongly recommend taking a memory stick (thumb drive) into one of these stores to retrieve a hard copy, if you don’t have a moderate capacity printer at home.  The Online Printing offered by FedEx Office, The UPS Store, and others put your request into a national database and relay your order to the store you choose – the store then accesses your print job on the national data base to print the project out. While you may use a fake name, they will require a valid email address, and can see your IP address.  Emailing the file direct to the Store you prefer also puts your contact onto a national database as the stores access their email through a corporate server.  You will leave a massive electronic footprint by choosing either option.  Having them ship the print job to you has additional OPSEC issues.  When you walk in with a memory stick your file is anonymously printed and you walk out the door with possibly an in-house video recording of the transaction (usually deleted every 30 to 60 days) and no online footprint.
I am a former UPS Store owner and know from personal experience how to best have an electronic file printed anonymously.  Most Stores have no video or very poor video surveillance, so your being there either never happened or is wiped from their in-house system every month or so. 
Be casual, pay cash, and you will be invisible.
Thanks for all you do.  May God continue to bless you and your family. - ExUPS

Monday, April 8, 2013

James Wesley;
Can I get the Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course in a paperback version or other printed version? I don't have a printer and don't want to depend on the computer to have lists and those appendix tables. I'm not really computer useful. Thank you very much. I read your blog every day, and have your books, - Bob L.

JWR Replies: Sorry, but the course is now available only via digital download. But keep in mind that the old binder copies sold for $120+ each, so the digital download--at less than $20--is a real bargain.

If you want a printed copy you can always have your local copy shop (such as a UPS Store) print out a hard copy and three-hole punch it for a binder or set it up in whatever binding you'd like, for around $20 to $25. Just bring them a copy of the file on a memory stick. Oh, by the way, FedEx/Kinko's even takes print orders online, and then you can pick them up the next day at your local shop, or they'll ship it to you. (via FedEx, of course.) In my experience, the "Wire-O" binding is a good choice, because it lays flat when open.

OBTW, although the entire SurvivalBlog archives are too large to print out (almost 8,000 pages!), you can select particular articles or categories of articles to to print out as a reference book, via the same method.

Monday, April 1, 2013

We've completed the judging for for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize goes to Lockstich for Industrial Sewing Machines for Prepared Families which was posted on February 8, 2013. He will receive: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize goes to AERC for Insulin Dependent Diabetics When TSHTF which was posted on March 13, 2013. He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to Mrs. Icebear for Staying Sane (and Happy) at Your Winter BOL which was posted on February 14, 2013. She will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Honorable Mention Prizes

Honorable mention prizes ($30 gift certificates) go to the talented writers of these 19 articles:

Special note to all prize winners: I will need both US Mail and UPS addresses for the top three prize winners and current e-mail addresses for the Honorable Mention prize winners. Please let me know, via e-mail.

New Prize, Starting in Round 46!

A new prize is being added to the First Prize package, starting with Round 46. This is a roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of The current value of this roll is at least $225. (It's value varies, depending on the spot price of silver.) Take a look at their web site with HTTPS secure ordering. You will find that they they have very competitive prices, quick delivery, and great customer service. They sell mint state PCGS and NGC encapsulated (slabbed) professionally graded coins as well as some "raw" (unencapsulated) Liberties, Saint Gaudens, Indians, Morgans and Peace Dollars, mostly in lower numismatic grades such as XF and EF40. They also arrange American Eagle precious metals IRAs for their clients. These can be set up from scratch, or rolled over from existing IRAs and some 401(k) plans. Our thanks to for their generous support of the writing contest.

Round 46 begins today and will run for the next two months. Please write an article that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers:
We are in the early stages of transitioning to new content management software for SurvivalBlog. I'd appreciate input from any of our readers who have experience in content design, on making the site even more useful. For our general readers, don't worry, there won't be any major changes in the blog. You will still have the same daily posts.

In the seven years that SurvivalBlog has been running, we have built a massive archive of nearly 17,300 posts. This includes many daily items, such as notes, odds 'n sods posts, and quotes of the day. Then we have the bulk of the blog's content--the articles by my father, our regular contributors, and our readers. Some of these items were time-sensitive (about then-current events) but a lot of the material can still be extremely useful.

My question for content management experts is this: How can we make the archives as useful as possible to our readers?

At present, we have a basic date and category-based system, and a pretty primitive search function. There's a lot of valuable content in the archives, but it's currently a bit hard to access. We need to make it easier to get to the "good stuff," the relevant, useful information. What strategies and methods might be most helpful?

We are looking at building the new site in Drupal 7. It would be great if I could get some recommendations and suggestions for specific modules and projects to look at.

You can contact me directly at We will really appreciate your experience! Thanks, - #1 Son

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The expanded SurvivalBlog 2005-2012 archive has been selling at a fast pace, via digital download. The DVD version of the archive has now been tested and is available to order! The DVD is priced $2 higher than the digital download.

This new archive collection has expanded bonus material (a digital copy of my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation--normally $28 in hard copy--12 Firearms Manuals, and 14 U.S. Military Manuals), an improved user interface (with the same look and feel of the SurvivalBlog web site), and of course one more year of the blog content. The digital download and DVD both include the archives in HTML (10,131 pages) and PDF (7,923 pages). The blog archive is fully keyword searchable. It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The archive provides you with all of the SurvivalBlog context since 2005, even when you are out in the hinterboonies without an Internet connection. - J.W.R.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The expanded SurvivalBlog 2005-2012 archive has been selling at a fast pace, via digital download. The DVD version of the archive should be available in another 6 or 7 days, after we've had time to test some prototypes. The DVD will be priced $2 higher than the digital download. Thanks for your patience.

This new archive collection has expanded bonus material (a digital copy of my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation--normally $28 in hard copy--12 Firearms Manuals, and 14 U.S. Military Manuals), an improved user interface (with the same look and feel of the SurvivalBlog web site), and of course one more year of the blog content. The digital download and DVD both include the archives in HTML (10,131 pages) and PDF (7,923 pages). The blog archive is fully keyword searchable. It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The archive provides you with all of the SurvivalBlog context since 2005, even when you are out in the hinterboonies without an Internet connection, or if all of the Internet--or parts of the Internet-- become, ahem, inaccessible.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It keeps getting bigger and better! The updated and expanded SurvivalBlog 2005-2012 archive now available via digital download.

This new edition has expanded bonus material (a digital copy of my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation--normally $28 in hard copy, 12 Firearms Manuals, and 14 U.S. Military Manuals), an improved user interface (with the same look and feel of the SurvivalBlog web site), and of course one more year of the blog content. The digital download and DVD both include the archives in HTML (10,131 pages) and PDF (7,923 pages). The blog archive is fully keyword searchable. It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The archive provides you with all of the SurvivalBlog context since 2005, even when you are out the hinterboonies without an Internet connection, or if all of the Internet--or parts of the Internet--are, ahem, inaccessible.

A more tangible DVD version of the archive should be available in a couple of weeks, after we've had time to test some prototypes. The DVD will be priced $2 higher than the digital download.

A less robust Kindle version of the archive should follow, in a few weeks. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I only post one reminder each year about beginning or renewing your Ten Cent Challenge subscription to SurvivalBlog, and this is it. These subscriptions cover our domain registration, web hosting, utilities, and ISP bandwidth costs. All of these costs are substantial, because we have to maintain servers in three countries. (To explain: We were subjected to a couple of vicious DDOS ("ping flood") hacker attacks last year. To be ready for any future attacks, we needed to establish automatic failover redundancy.) We don't subject our readers to endless whining pledge drives like PBS. This is the one and only annual reminder. For the less than 2% of SurvivalBlog readers who do subscribe: Thank you for your generous support of SurvivalBlog!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Here at the Rawles Ranch, we've resolved to get back into doing our daily stretching/calisthenics and thrice-weekly tactical hikes on the National Forest land that compasses our property. (We had let this practice slip away last Fall, as the cold weather set in.) Hence forth, no more lame excuses.

We've also begun supporting C.R.O.S.S. Ministries with weekly support. With automatic PayPal payments, this won't be overlooked. They deserve your support, too. Note that these are Christian missionaries who will train South Sudanese villagers with small arms, so that they can defend themselves. This is a Biblical concept! (Luke 22:36)

We've resolved to be vigilant for any encroachments on our God-given rights. Any proposed legislation that would diminish our rights will be met with a deluge of e-mails, FAXes, letters, and phone calls.

Ditto for institutional moral decline by our government. (Yes, it is OUR government, and we need to remind our public servants that they work for "We, The People.")

We resolved to more diligently memorize scripture.

Lastly, we've resolved to top off our supply of full capacity magazines, including some extras, for barter and charity. (We still need just a few. And even if Madame Feinstein's gun and magazine ban bill is DOA, we can still expect an import ban on magazines, via Executive Order.) I've been mentioning the importance of magazines in the blog since our early days, and have recommended them as an investment since 2007. Our little stack of silver didn't triple in value last year, but our PMAGs did!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We've completed the judging for Round 43 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest!

First Prize goes to D.A., DVM for: A Veterinarian's Perspective on Prepper Medicine, which was posted on November 6, 2012.

He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize goes to Eli in The Southwest for: Constructing and Finding Hiding Places, which was posted on November 29, 2012

He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. B.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, E.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Third Prize goes to Sarah in California for: Sourdough Bread Baking, which was posted on November 30, 2012.

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

Another 11 writers will each receive a $30 gift certificate (via e-mail), for these fine Honorable Mention articles:

The Family Cow, by Faith S.

Building a Super Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System, by Pretty in a Blue State

Family Continuity Planning, by John from Virginia

The Core Kit: First Aid and Beyond, by Jason J.

Quiet Rimfire Shooting Without a Suppressor, by M.B.

The Aesthetic Pantry: Trading Ornamentals for Edibles, by Matthew C.

Wilderness Survival in a Northern Climate, by F.D.

Starting From Nothing: Preparing Quickly, Efficiently and Cost-Consciously, by C.M.F.

From the Kitchen to the Garden, by G.T.

Dutch Oven Cooking, by Louie in Ohio

RVs and Camping Trailers Provide Multiple Backups on a Budget, by Judy C.

Note to Top Three prize winners: Please e-mail us your UPS and US Mail address as well as your current e-mail address.

Note to Honorable Mention prize winners: Please e-mail us your current e-mail address.

Round 44 starts today and ends on January 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. There are more than $5,600 in prizes. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging. The first few entries posted in Round 44 will be the overflow from Round 43. (We were deluged with entries in the last 10 days!)

Here is the first entry for Round 44:

Mr. Rawles,
I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now and I really wanted to tell you how informative and practical I found the article written by Eli in the Southwest about hiding and finding things. Sometimes living in a bigger city can feel so overwhelming, especially when all you want to do is get out! His article made me feel like there was something I could do in my house today that would improve the security of my preps. It's not our forever home but it's where we have to be for now and reading that article made me feel just a smidge better about protecting my assests.
Thanks for all you do. The impact you and your blog have on lives cannot be overstated. My husband has been interested in wilderness and emergency medicine (but not in prepping) so I will always point him to SurvivalBlog when the post is concerning those topics. Yesterday he said to me, "We need to look at getting you another pistol because two is one and one is none." I wanted to cry... I can see that he's finally hearing the truth about the future and I feel that it's because you are wise enough to post the most relevant items about so many subjects. He read the ones he was interested and kept on reading. So again, thanks. Sincerely, - Careylynn

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The preparedness movement in America just got a huge boost with Hurricane Sandy. In effect, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy vindicated America's once marginalized survivalists and preppers. It is one thing to talk about major disasters abstractly from a distance, but quite another to live through one yourself. Heretofore, mainstream media reporters have tended to ignore societal fragility and vulnerability issues. But now they've felt the impact personally. Our friend Tamara, over at the View From The Porch blog astutely observed that New York City is "the navel of the news media universe." And the greater New York City region was hit hard by Sandy. So, unlike Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast in 2005, I predict that the Hurricane Sandy experience will spur mass media reporters to cover preparedness topics with greater seriousness.

I was just interviewed by a USA Today reporter and I noticed a pleasant change. He showed no trace of the incredulity, snobbishness, and bemused detachment that I'd heard before from East Coast reporters when discussing preparedness. They have now seen the elephant.

In the coming weeks, I hope to see much more complete and earnest reporting on preparedness from news outlets like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. (See, for example, this recent piece: Dining Through Disaster.) And if you thought that National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers was popular before... Well, in my estimation they've just been handed assurance of a multi-season renewal.

While Hurricane Sandy didn't turn everyone on the East Coast into preppers, it has most assuredly reduced the the teasing and taunting of preppers. And if nothing else, it will raise America's preparedness quotient--at least for a little while. (There will probably be some bargains on "like new" backup generators in about a year, as Mr. and Mrs. Mundane lose interest in disaster readiness.)

Addenda: Just after writing this, a reader sent me a link to an editorial piece by Mike Adams of Natural News that echoes my observations: Liberal media, White House owes preppers and survivalists a massive apology in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy

Monday, October 1, 2012

We've completed the judging for Round 42 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

First Prize goes to Dan in Alabama for Make Your Own Retort Style Charcoal, which was posted on September 19, 2012. He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value), F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second prize goes to Dr. S.V. for When the Antidepressants Run Out, which was posted on September 2, 2012. She will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. B.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and E.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Third Prize goes to Sam D. for: From Timber to Lumber: A Beginner's Experience, which was posted on September 20, 2012. He will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and E.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

14 Honorable Mention Prizes ($30 gift certificates) are being awarded for these fine articles:

Let's Talk About Calories Per Dollar, by Mississippi Girl

Preserving The Harvest, by N.T.M. in Nevada

The Kamajors of Sierra Leone: A Model for Survival
, by CYA

Making Your Own Chest Rigs, by Jeff J. in Arizona

Alternative Treatments for Auto-Immune Disorders in the Absence of Traditional Health Care, by J.F., RN

Constructing a Triple-Strand Concertina Wire Obstacle, by CPT Blackfox

Fabric Choices in Survival Clothing, by Emma C.

A Guide to Load Carrying Equipment, by Tony X.

Lentils: The Super Food of the Prepper, by Brad H.

Camouflage Painting Firearms, by Kyrottimus

Do-It-Yourself Rocket Stoves, by E.B.

Aquaponic Gardening, by D.P.

Survival of the Un-Fittest -- What to Do for the Ill, Disabled and Elderly, by Echo A.

Severe Weather Vigilance, by Shawn J.

Note to the prize winners: I will need UPS and USPS addresses for the top three prize winners, and current e-mail addresses for all of the Honorable Mention prizes. Please let me know via e-mail.

Round 43 begins today, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

This is for those who have asked for more details on the release of my latest novel "Founders", particularly about the audio book and ebook:

The audio book edition of "Founders" was narrated by Phil Gigante. He is a former Shakespearean actor and an Audie award-winner with a great voice.

The cover artwork for Founders was done by Tony Mauro Jr., who is best known for his movie posters. He did a fantastic job of capturing the atmosphere of Ken & Terry Layton's trek.


Sources for "Founders" - Hardback, eBook and Audio Book Formats

eBook Sellers:
Kindle (Amazon)
iBook (iPods and iPhones)
Sony Reader Store (ePub)

Audio Book Sellers:

iTunes Store (Germany) (UK)


Saturday, September 15, 2012

I just discovered something today that I wanted to share.  I have zero time in life to spend stocking up. has a “subscribe and save” feature that provides additional savings on over 24,000 items under the grocery category.  You can choose to subscribe (meaning set up regular deliveries) when adding to the Amazon shopping cart, or just make a one time purchase.  I did some comparison shopping and found the subscribe price for coffee (whole bean or ground) to be even better than Wal-Mart or any of the big box stores in my area.  Go to and in the search bar type in “subscribe and save”.  If you type in “subscribe and save in grocery”, a list of categories within groceries will appear on the left hand side of the screen, which allows for easier searching.  I assume that for all categories a sidebar menu will appear. 
Using this method to stock up is certainly not private (you can’t use cash and Amazon keeps a record of all your purchases).  However, potentially one might set up an anonymous email account, and use a prepaid Visa to make purchases.  I have not tried an anonymous purchasing method with Amazon.  It is normal for the UPS truck to show up at my door to make deliveries, so I might as well take advantage of the UPS visits by purchasing supplies through Amazon.  This will save me time and money. - Marcia W.

JWR Adds: I would appreciate it if SurvivalBlog readers would "click through" from SurvivalBlog's Amazon Store page, whenever they make any purchase. This way we get a little "piece of the action" (a sales commission), to help support the blog's bandwidth costs. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm a long-time blog reader and occasional writer just dropping a note by you to say first of all that I love the blog. I read it everyday without fail. I support you by clicking through to your sponsors and purchasing items. One thing I would like to state for the record is my objection to the constant yammering on about the American Redoubt. [Some deleted, for brevity.] As one who has relocated from Florida to central Kentucky, I can tell you that there are more nice places to relocate to than just the Redoubt.

Once again, I love your mission, love the blog, and love the articles. Just stop mentioning the Redoubt so much. - Nickel Nick in Kentucky

JWR Replies: I now congregate nearly all of the articles that relate to the American Redoubt in a weekly column titled: "News From The American Redoubt", on Tuesdays.  So if you want to avoid most of the Redoubt mentions, then simply skip reading that weekly column.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We've completed the judging for Round 41 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

But first, I'd like to mention that starting with Round 42, we are adding a new prize to the First Prize package: a $200 gift certificate, kindly donated by Shelf Reliance. This certificate is good for the purchase of any of their products. (These include: top quality canned food rotation racks of their own manufacture, Thrive brand storage foods, pre-assembled bug out bags and first aid kits, water filters, tents, sleeping bags, various field gear, PV panels, flashlights, Esbit stoves, Aqua Mira, blast matches, sanitation gear, hatchets, backpacks, Gamma Seal lids, and much more.) Be sure to check out their web site. They are constantly adding new products and they are presently selling some slightly used demonstrator Cansolidator food rotation racks at closeout prices.

First Prize goes to Dr. Mountaintop, for The ABCs of Trauma, which was posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012. He will receive: A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo.

Second Prize goes to Tom Loomis DDS, for Field Dentistry Basics, which was posted on Friday, July 13, 2012. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. B.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and E.)Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Third Prize goes to Jodier, for TEOTWAWKI Blacksmithing for Beginners, which was posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. He will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and E.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

11 Honorable Mention Prizes ($30 gift certificates) are being awarded for these fine articles:

Living With Photovoltaic Power, by D.P.

Prepare to Share, by Mrs. T.J.

Extending Battery Life, by D.P.

Food Forest Gardens, by Jason T

Some Myths About Seeds, by M.J.E.

Emergency Water Treatment On The Move, by Tom K.

Food Storage on a Budget, by N.T.M. in Nevada

New England Gardening, by George H.

Coturnix (Japanese) Quail: The Biggest Little Homestead Bird, by Bigdtc in Maryland

Prep for Free, by George H.

Marksmanship Basics and Beyond, by Evan W.

Note to the prize winners: I need UPS and USPS addresses for the top three prize winners, and current e-mail addresses for all of teh Honorable mention prizes. Please let know via e-mail.

Round 42 begins today, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I am the owner of a small (but growing) family emergency preparedness web site,

I thought you might be interested in a web page I've been keeping updated for some time now that lists my selections for the Best Posts.

The page includes well over 400 links! I figured it might be useful to your new readers and help my readership as well.

I do appreciate your time and all that you do for us. Thank you, - D.B.

Monday, July 9, 2012

In just the first few hours after I posted my Volunteer Book Reviewer solicitation a week ago, I received more than 150 e-mails. The response was so overwhelming that I had to take down the post to avoid being deluged with additional volunteers. There were so many well-qualified candidates that it was difficult making the selection. I chose the new editors based primarily upon their education, experience, and time available to devote to editing. My sincere thanks to everyone who responded!

I anticipate that the new editors will periodically post detailed book and movie reviews. Most of them will probably post three of four per year.

For the privacy of the editors, I am announcing neither their names nor their street addresses. Each of them will select a nom de plume for their reviews.

Publishers and self-published authors should send review copies directly to the following addresses:

Farming, Ranching and Apiary Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 280
Briggs, TX 78608

Gardening, Aquaponics and Permaculture Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 408
Pomeroy, WA 99347

Food Storage Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 781546
San Antonio, TX  78278

Cooking and Recipe Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 140602
Garden City, ID 83714-0602

Economics and Investing Book Review Editor
Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 44
Hollidaysburg, PA  16648

Libertarian Book Review Editor

Selected, but P.O. Box not yet established

Firearms, Optics, and Retreat Security Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 264
Marengo IA 52301

Medical, Health and Wellness Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 101
Germantown, Ohio 45327

Outdoor Survival Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 378
McLouth, KS 66054

History Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
Boxholder 431 Kera Drive
Mountain View AR 72560-8761

Biography Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 10
Ponce de Leon, MO 65728

Military Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
223 West Bulldog Blvd.
Box 556
Provo, UT  84604

Amateur Radio Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 118223
Carrollton, TX  75011

Computing Technology and Encryption Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 970
Fortuna CA 95540

We also now have five new Fiction Book Review Editors. Fiction publishers should select any of the following addresses at random:

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 134
Dupont, Indiana 47231

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 26
Ravensdale, WA  98051

Book Review Editor
P.O.Box 872
Bethel, Alaska 99559

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 9671
San Diego, CA 92169-0671

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 659
Warner, NH 03278

Note: For e-book reviews, you can e-mail me a PDF of the book, or a link to the book's web address. I will then forward it to the appropriate book review editor.

Monday, June 4, 2012

On two recent occasions, readers have without my knowledge sent me articles for the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest that they had previously submitted elsewhere. In one of these cases, their article had already been posted. (At the new blog site Once I became aware of their prior copyright, I quickly removed that article. (On my site, the article was titled "Childbirth at Home, by J.C.")

I must remind readers that they are bound by the contest rules and should feel constrained by common courtesy: Simultaneous submissions are not accepted! I greatly appreciate you contributing to the collective knowledge at SurvivalBlog, but please respect the copyright ownership of third parties. Thanks!

Mr. Rawles:
I've noticed that you haven't mentioned many details about where you live, or much about your daily life, like most other blogs do. Just curious. - R.K. in Alabama

JWR Replies: I try not to clutter my blog with daily minutiae. Since SurvivalBlog is intended to be educational, I try to stick to the preparedness issues at hand, as much as possible. That means downplaying politics and minimizing posts with detailed descriptions of what I'm eating, the eccentricities of our pets, my favorite music, and so forth. There are plenty of other blogs out there in the blogosphere for that.

To maintain our family's privacy, we are forced to be very circumspect. For OPSEC reasons, I never post pictures of my family members, our vehicles, our house, our livestock, or our ranch. In past years, we had some undesirable contacts with stalkers, so we were forced to go "down periscope." Given the nature of my blog, this heightened privacy posture is a must, for our personal safety. But here is what I can tell you about our lives, in a nutshell:

We live year-round at a ranch west of the Rockies, inside the American Redoubt.

The ranch is less than 100 acres, but it is surrounded by public land. This provides the ultimate "big backyard" for hunting and cutting firewood. To heat our home, we burn mainly Red Fir and Western Larch. (The latter is commonly called Tamarack, although technically it isn't.) On the ranch and within just a couple of miles of it, there is truly a lifetime supply of both varieties--either dead-fallen or dead-standing.

The ranch is fully fenced and cross-fenced. About half of it is sub-irrigated and provides excellent pasture. We raise dairy cattle and small livestock, we keep poultry, we have dozens of fruit and nut trees, and we have a very large fenced garden with extra-tall posts for our deer fence. The majority of my time is spent writing, editing and ranch chores, but I assist my wife with her dairying, cheese, butter and yogurt making, as well as dehydrating, freezing, and canning the bounty from our land. The majority of my wife's time is spent homeschooling our kids. We homeschool using the classical model.

Our ranch is nearly 30 miles from the nearest town. That can be inconvenient, at times. The area is quite scenic, but we live at fairly low elevation so we enjoy a reasonably-long growing season. A river passes through the back end of the property.

We have a three year stored food supply that could easily be extended to serve us for much longer when supplemented with butchered livestock, wild game, wild huckleberries, and our garden produce.

We don't live in a bunker or in any sort of multi-family compound. Nor do we live at the idealized level of self-sufficiency and preparedness that is portrayed in my novels.

We faithfully attend a local Christian church that maintains Reformed distinctives. Our church supports a large number of missionaries. We also independently help support a Christian mission school in rural Zambia.

Two years ago, just a year after the untimely passing of my wife Linda ("The Memsahib"), I married a lovely young outdoorsy widow, who in the blog is called "Avalanche Lily." She had been widowed for several years, and already had children of her own. Our family is now quite large with children ranging from grade school age to college age. All of our children have been and will continue to be exclusively home schooled through the 12th grade.

We don't own a television, nor do we want one. We enjoy an eclectic mix of music, primarily via iTunes. We have a nearly a dozen shortwave radios, many of which are transformerless AC-DC All-American Five designs. (International shortwave listening has been one of my passions since I was in junior high school.) One nice thing about our locale is that we are in an electromagnetic quiet zone. This makes for outstanding shortwave and AM DXing.

At the ranch we primarily use MURS band radios for intrusion detection (with a Dakota Alert), our everyday chores, hiking, horseback riding, and hunting. We also have 2 meter, 6 meter, and HF rigs. Several family members are licensed ham radio operators, but you won't find us in any of the ham callsign databases like

For our privacy, I selected a Vonage telephone number with a 510 prefix. That is a prefix normally associated with Northern California. That phone prefix often confuses mass media reporters and my consulting clients. (We don't live in California.)

Also for our privacy, we have our mail forwarded from a post office box in Moyie Springs, Idaho. We don't live anywhere near there. This address is often a source of confusion. I regularly get e-mails from readers, mentioning that they will be "passing through" Moyie Springs, and saying that they'd like to meet me for lunch or dinner. That would be a very long drive for me!

We do our best to lead a quiet, humble, Christ-centered life. Living in the hinterboonies has its drawbacks, but we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. We are never moving back to the suburbs!

Friday, June 1, 2012

And the winner is...

First Prize goes to Barefoot Yankee Gal for Kitchen Cupboard Medicine, which was posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. She will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo.

Second Prize goes to W.B. for Lessons from Afghanistan which was posted on Tuesday, May 29, 201. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and E.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Third Prize goes to Marc P. goes for Change Your Mind, Save Your Life, which was posted on April 12, 2012 . He will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and E.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Honorable Mention Prizes

The following 19 articles have earned their writers Honorable Mention Prizes. The writers will each receive $30 gift certificates from, via e-mail:

Note to Top Three Prize Winners: Please e-mail us to let us know your mailing address and UPS shipping address.)

Note to Honorable Mention Prize Winners: Please e-mail us to let us know your the e-mail address where you'd like your $30 Amazon gift certificate directed.

A New Prize!

Starting with Round 41, there will be an additional prize included in the Second Prize package: A SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. This bolt carrier assembly is a true "drop in" training device. Not only does it provide excellent responsive training, but it also temporarily renders your AR-15 or M4gery completely safe for dry practice, even if you inadvertently insert a magazine of live ammunition. This bolt carrier enables your trigger to auto-reset. It is a $150 retail value.

Round 41 ends on July 31st, so get started writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Author's Notes: Founders is scheduled to be released in September, 2012. Please wait until the release date ("Book Bomb Day") to order your copy. That same day, there will be simultaneous releases of the e-book and audio book editions.

The cover art was created by Tony Mauro, Jr., who also created the cover for "Survivors." The Founders cover depicts Ken and Terry Layton on their cross-country journey.

Spoiler Alert: This chapter includes passages of the novel that you may not want to know about before reading the book from beginning to end. So skip reading this sample chapter if you are the sort that dislikes spoilers.


"There are certain principles that are inherent in man, that belong to man, and that were enunciated in an early day, before the United States government was formed, and they are principles that rightfully belong to all men everywhere. They are described in the Declaration of Independence as inalienable rights, one of which is that men have a right to live; another is that they have a right to pursue happiness; and another is that they have a right to be free and no man has authority to deprive them of those God-given rights, and none but tyrants would do it. "These principles, I say, are inalienable in man; they belong to him; they existed before any constitutions were framed or any laws made. Men have in various ages striven to strip their fellow-men of these rights, and dispossess them of them. And hence the wars, the bloodshed and carnage that have spread over the earth. We, therefore, are not indebted to the United States for these rights; we were free as men born into the world, having the right to do as we please, to act as we please, as long as we do not transgress constitutional law nor violate the rights of others... "Another thing God expects us to do, and that is to maintain the principle of human rights... We owe it to all liberty-loving men, to stand up for human rights and to protect human freedom, and in the name of God we will do it, and let the congregation say Amen." - John Taylor, 1882, Journal of Discourses, Volume 23, p. 263.

Muddy Pond, Tennessee – July, The Second Year

            Life in Overton County was just starting to get back to normal when the first Provisional Government units passed though. Since the town was within the four-hour drive-time local security radius of Fort Knox, Muddy Pond was in one of the first areas to be pacified by the ProvGov.  The new administration at first seemed well intentioned and benevolent, but people soon saw its sinister side.
             The nationalization programs and the Controls began gradually.  At first, the ProvGov seized only key industries and utilities.  But later, smaller companies were taken over, some seemingly on a whim. People wondered why would a padlock manufacturing company be nationalized?  And why would a silver refinery have to be nationalized?
             Likewise, the wage, price, currency, and credit controls started small, but gradually grew to gargantuan proportions.  Just a month after the ProvGov troops arrived, there was a dusk-to-dawn curfew, with shoot-on-sight orders for violators.  But even daylight hours weren’t safe, as Ben Fielding discovered.
            Early one afternoon, all of Ben’s family except Joseph was at home listening to some Messianic music on Rebecca’s iPod dock. They often gathered in the living room to do so, on the days that the power was on. The children liked to hear the music played loudly, and they sang along, and danced.  Their fun was interrupted when they heard some long bursts of automatic weapons fire, close by their house. They looked out their living room window and saw a convoy of UNPROFOR coalition vehicles strung out for a quarter mile on the county road.  The trucks and APCs had stopped and turned out onto either side of the road in a herringbone pattern.  The wild firing continued for thirty seconds. They heard a few shots hit the roof of their house. The firing finally stopped when the convoy commander in the lead Marder APC repeatedly honked his horn.
             Ben and his family fearfully watched as men ran back and forth between the vehicles.  They expected more trouble, so Ben took the precaution of running all the pages of his address book through his crosscut paper shredder.
            Five minutes later, a UNPROFOR patrol approached the front door. A German soldier shouted with a heavy accent, “Man of the house, come out!”
            Ben walked out with his hands on top of his head, and said, “The only others here are my wife and children.  Please leave them alone.”
            The patrol leader unslung a rifle from his shoulder and held it out.  Ben recognized it as his son’s .22, now missing its bolt.  The soldat asked, “Your gun, is this?”
            “Yes, I believe that is my rifle, but I’m not certain.  If that is mine, then it is registered in my name, in full accordance with the law.  Where did you find it?”
            “It was being carried by a young, err, man, now dead.”
            Rebecca began wailing.
             “Have you any other guns in the house?”
             The soldiers spent an hour noisily ransacking the house, while others held Ben and his terrified family at gunpoint, outside.  Their youngest daughter, just recently out of diapers, wet herself as they waited.  One team searched the house, while another searched the barn and outbuildings.  Ben alternated between intense feelings of fear and anger at the situation. They watched helplessly as the soldiers carried off Rebecca’s jewelry box, her iPod and dock, and many other small possessions.  This included nearly 200 rounds of .22 hollowpoints that were taken as “evidence.”
            Finding nothing actionable, the soldiers left without explanation or apology.
            Ben and Rebecca went inside to find the house was a shambles.  Several stretches of sheetrock in the hall and master bedroom had been kicked in and the upholstery on their couches and two of the mattresses had been slashed open. Two cabinets had been pried completely off the walls, and were left dumped on the floor, coated in sheetrock dust.  There were shattered dishes and plates littering the kitchen and dining room floors.  A broken pipe was spraying the front bathroom cabinet with water.  Ben soon turned off the well pump and shut the valve for the service line to the house. That stopped the water from further flooding the bathroom and hall.
             After a pair of honks, the UNPROFOR convoy left in a cloud of dust and diesel smoke.
             Ben and Rebecca walked out to the north end of their property, to look for Joseph.  After ten minutes of searching, they found his body 80 yards from the county road, and about 300 yards from the house.  He had been shot six times in the back and buttocks. Two gutted quail were still in his game bag. His white t-shirt was entirely stained red with blood, and his blue jeans were stained red down to the knees.
            For a half hour, Ben sat cradling the lifeless form of his eldest son, crying and rocking. Tears ran down his face. Nearby, Rebecca and their three surviving children sat hugging each other in a huddle, crying, moaning, and praying aloud.  Finally Ben stood up.  He looked down at his son’s corpse and said, “You wait here, I’m going to get a shovel, a sheet, some water, towels, and olive oil.”
            He was back a few minutes later and almost immediately began to dig.  As Ben dug just a few feet from his son’s body, he said forthrightly, “We’ll find no remedy or recourse in the courts, Rebecca.  These are tyrants, tyrants. I need to fight them.”
            He then continued working quietly, digging into the soil and small rocks with fervor. He didn’t stop until the grave was head-height deep.  Blisters were forming on his palms, but he hardly noticed.  As Ben dug the grave, Rebecca washed her son’s body, and rubbed olive oil onto his skin.
             They gently lowered Joseph’s body into the grave and Ben folded the boy’s arms across his chest.  They shrouded the body with a sheet. Rebecca helped Ben back up out of the grave. After saying prayers, each member of the family poured in a shovelful of earth. Rebecca then did most of the shoveling as they re-filled the grave, weeping yet again.
             After the grave was re-filled and mounded, each family member selected a stone to mark the site. Ben found one beside Joseph’s favorite fishing hole.
            They recited the Kaddish, a mourning ritual in Judaism, found in the Siddur, the Jewish liturgy book read in Jewish temples on the Sabbath and High Holy Days.
            Yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba. Be'alma di vra khir'uteh veyamlikh malkhuteh veyatzma purqaneh viqarev qetz meshiheh behayekhon uvyomekhon uvhaye dekhol bet yisrael be'agala uvizman qariv ve'imru amen. Yehe shmeh rabba mevarakh le'alam ul'alme 'almaya Yitbarakh veyishtabbah veyitpaar veyitromam veyitnasse veyithaddar veyit?alleh veyithallal shmeh dequdsha, brikh hu. Le'ella lella mikkol min kol birkhata veshirata tushbehata venehemata daamiran be'alma ve'imru amen.
            (May His great name be exalted and sanctified is God's great name in the world, which He created according to His will! May He establish His kingdom and may His salvation blossom and His anointed be near. During your lifetime and during your days and during the lifetimes of all the House of Israel, speedily and very soon! And say, Amen. May His great name be blessed forever, and to all eternity! Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, above and beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world! And say, Amen.)
As they walked away from the grave and back toward the house, Rebecca carried the shovel. With both sadness and anger, she spat, “Yes, go.  Fight them! You have my blessing. Don’t worry about us.  We will be safe and waiting here. The Lord will protect all of us, and provide for all of us.”
            That evening, with aching hands, Ben dug up the length of 8” diameter PVC pipe buried beneath their pair of grated trash-burning barrels.  The PVC cache tube contained Ben’s heavily-greased guns: a Galil .308 rifle, a Browning A-5 semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun, and a HK USP .45 Compact pistol. All three guns were considered contraband, so they hadn’t been registered under the recent edicts. Packed along with guns there were seven Galil magazines, three 200-round battle packs of Portuguese 7.62mm ball ammunition, and seven boxes of shotgun shells, each wrapped in separate Ziploc bags.  After he had cleaned and loaded the guns, Ben organized his backpacking gear. He put the Galil and magazines in a guitar case, padded by extra clothes.
            As Ben organized and packed his gear, Rebecca served the children some leftovers. They had to eat sitting on the couch, because the kitchen was still littered with broken glass. After they had eaten, Ben gave each of his children lengthy hugs. He told them to be brave and reverent, and to obey their mother.  He tucked them in bed and said prayers with each of them.
             Back in the living room, Ben spoke with Rebecca, who was busy sweeping up glass. “The chances that they’ll return our .22 rifle are about .001 percent, so I’ll leave you silver that you can use to buy another .22 rifle, for small game. And I’ll be leaving you the 12 gauge, for anything bigger, man or beast.  I think under the old chest freezer would be a good hiding place for it.  Did you notice that the soldiers didn’t touch that?  You can ask some of the neighbor men to help you patch up the house.”
            She set down the dustpan and came into the living room with Ben.  As he continued packing, he said, “I need to be on my way, tonight. It is easier to fight from outside of barbed wire, than from inside it. We’re lucky that I didn’t get arrested today.  I don’t want to give them another chance.  Now listen carefully: I want you to tell people that I was arrested and taken away tonight.  Otherwise, they’ll ask questions when they see that I’ve gone.  In addition to the Army, there are at least three agencies of the ProvGov and four security contracting companies that are independently arresting people and hauling them off to camps, or I suppose for immediate liquidation.  The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.  So by blaming them for my disappearance, you’ll put yourself in the clear.”
            “And also make the Hutchings government look even worse,” Rebecca added.
            Ben nodded and said, “That’s right. It’s a ‘win-win.’ They use psychological warfare on us, so it’s only fair that we return the favor.”
He let out a breath and went on, “Now I’ll be going to Nashville, to see some old friends.  Its safer for both of us if I don’t tell you exactly who.”
            Ben finished strapping his sleeping bag onto his pack. “I’m leaving you most of our silver.  I can’t be sure, but I’ll do my best to send you money from time to time.  Whenever I enclose a letter, you have to promise me that you’ll burn it, right after you read it.”
            “I promise.”
            Then he shouldered his pack and gave his wife a two-minute hug, and a kiss. Ben touched the Mezuzah on his way out the door.  On the porch he snapped closed his backpack’s bellyband clasp, and picked up his guitar case. He turned to face his wife again in the doorway.  “Trust in Adonai and May His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) comfort you during the days you sit Shivah for Joseph.  I will remember Joseph with you and will pray the Kaddish for him every day.  I will pray every day for peace, safety and that you would be comforted by the Lord, despite my absence from your side.  Remember that Joseph is ‘asleep’. He loved the Lord Yeshua and is with Him, at this very moment.  Ani meohev otach yoter Midai!”
            “I love you without measure, as well,’ she said, as he turned, and walked out into the darkness.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on started the morning of Saturday, May 26, 2012 and continued until the evening. This was a "ping flood" attack, which can be envisioned as someone ringing your telephone number, several times per second. The attack coincided with a holiday weekend in the United States. The domain name as well as the unique IP addresses for each of our servers were separately targeted at various times. For several hours at a time, SurvivalBlog was almost impossible to reach because the ping count was so high. We have identified hostile IP addresses on at least 25 servers in several states--mostly in Texas and several other southern states, that used a Yahoo proxy. A second attack was made on Sunday evening, but this lasted only 30 minutes, until it was detected and mitigated by our ISP in Utah. (We have dedicated servers in both Sweden and in Utah.)

This was definitely a coordinated attack. Although it might have been instigated by just one individual, it probably required the cooperation of several other hackers. The identity of the key attacker (most likely a Birch Telecom customer in Austin/Round Rock, Texas) and his motivation has not yet been confirmed, but an investigation is ongoing, and intervention by both Birch Telecom and the authorities has been requested. I will post further details as they become available.

Note to fellow bloggers: Be advised that your web sites might come under a similar attack as ours, so be prepared!

Rest assured that we are taking several key steps that will increase our security and our site's resiliency. We'd appreciate the donation of some backup server space (especially offshore), for mirroring the blog. (Each with at least 1GB of storage available, and the capacity to handle 20 Mbps. (A standard FTP server.) Why mirrors? The more bandwidth that we can handle, the better we can combat DDoS attacks. Additionally, this server capacity will also be useful on the occasions when we get sudden spurts of traffic, such as when is mentioned by major media outlets.

A reminder: As a precaution for any future disruption, please both bookmark and write down the four following URLs and IP addresses for the blog.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Here are some updates on my upcoming book release dates from Atria Books and its subsidiary Pocket Books division:

Founders Cover


To explain: "Founders" is the second sequel to "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse". It is set contemporaneously to the first two novels, but in different geography, with some crossover characters. This novel details the epic cross-country trek of Ken and Terry Layton that was just briefly described in "Patriots". There are also storylines at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and in the vicinity of Fort Knox, Kentucky.

I am presently drafting the non-fiction book "Rawles on Guns and Other Tools for Survival" for Penguin Books as well as two more novels in the "Patriots" series that will be published by E.P. Dutton. (Penguin is a subsidiary of E.P. Dutton.)

Special Note: Please wait until the actual release dates of each book to order, to give them the best position in the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sales rankings as well as on the New York Times bestsellers lists.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I am now writing the first draft my follow-on novel in the "Patriots-Survivors-Founders" series, under the working title "Expatriates." Tentatively, this novel will be set primarily in three locales:

A.) Darwin, Australia,

B.) Tavares, Florida, and

C.) Borongan, Samar Island, Philippines.

There will also be some mention of Bella Coola, British Columbia. If any SurvivalBlog readers have lived in or near any of those locales , I'd appreciate your input, via e-mail. I'd also appreciate hearing from anyone with experience and seismic oilfield exploration.

OBTW, my novel "Founders" should be released in October 2012, in hardback, as an audiobook, and as a Kindle e-book.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We've chosen the winners for Round 39 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest.

But first, I'd like to mention several new prizes that will be awarded starting with Round 40:

  • A new prize will be added to the First Prize package: a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear. You may remember seeing them mentioned in SurvivalBlog as suppliers of a variety of U.S. military surplus gear, including full military specification ALICE packs, at great prices.

  • Three new prizes will be added to to the Third Prize package: These include: a large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206. (BTW, I recently bought two of their large drying racks for our use here at the ranch and I can attest that they are very sturdy and well-made.)

These new prizes bring the combined value of the top three prizes to more than $5,600. I greatly appreciate the generosity of the prize donors!

And the winner is...

First Prize goes to Jim B. for The Extreme Solar Still Concept which was posted on March 31, 2012. He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), and E.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo.

Second Prize goes to The Gentleman Fahma in New Hamsha for A First-Timer's Cider Making which was posted on March 7, 2012. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A FloJak F-50 hand well pump (a $349 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and E.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Third Prize goes to Charles J. for Melting Lead for the Meltdown which was posted on February 3, 2012. He will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, C.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and D.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

There were also 24 honorable mention prizes. Each of these writers will each receive a $30 gift certificate. These go to:

Note to all prize winners: Please e-mail us and let us know your current e-mail address. (The Amazon gift certificates are delivered via e-mail.) And for the top three prize winners, we will also need your UPS and USPS addresses. Thanks!

Also note that the Honorable Mention prize winners are still eligible to be awarded any of the top three prizes, in subsequent rounds of the writing contest, so so keep up the good work!

Round 40 begins today and ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can you let your readers know what the names, identifying characteristics, and other information is that we can use to check and see if we have the FBI installed cookies on our machines? Thanks, - J.V.

Web Forensics Expert Mr. X. Replies: First let me explain how to look for cookies.  The easiest way IMHO (there is more than one way to skin a cat, my favorite method involves using high-pressure air...) because it is easy and anybody can do it with little or no chance of [accidentally] nuking their own machine:

In Internet Explorer, go into the File --> Import and Export setting.  You are given a choice of three actions - import from another browse, import from a file, or export to a file.  Choose export to a file and hit "next."  You are given three options to export -- favorites, feeds, and cookies.  Export cookies by selecting the box and clicking next.  Save the file in a location that you can then find.

When you open the file all of the cookies you've used will show up.  And since its a text file it is searchable.  You can do a search on "FBI" ... I did this and found:    TRUE    /    FALSE    1394696342    __utma    158289773.903355577.1331260742.1331260742.1331260742.1    TRUE    /    FALSE    1331626142    __utmb    158289773.3.10.1331260742    TRUE    /    FALSE    1347392342    __utmz|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/search/web

So what this tells you is that there is a tracking cookie from the FBI on your machine.  In this case this tracking cookie comes from (see the last line) which is a search engine that I use frequently.  The problem is that you never know what they will call their cookies.  The aforementioned example has nothing to do with your web site at all.  And I've picked up in the past few hours since its Monday here (I scrub down each weekend) just doing searches for topics at work.

There is a similar method in Firefox but given the number of add-ons for Firefox and the different platforms it is on putting directions for each possible combination in would just confuse most people. 

To eliminate the cookies and history you do that via the Tools --> Internet Options option and check off the "Delete Browsing History On Exit" box and/or hit the "Delete" button in the same space (should be on the opening tab of the Internet Options). 

Yes, the only reason I noticed this was because they have not done anything to try to hide what they are doing.  So the obvious stuff is well pretty darn obvious.

There are tools out there like Spybot Search and Destroy that will automatically eliminate the bulk of "bad" tracking cookies that are hidden as well.  There are a number of things you can do to scrub your machine and get very paranoid about your browsing but they are not things that most people should do simply because if you don't know what you are doing you have a good chance of [inadvertently] nuking your machine. 


I read your blog post about the FBI's cookie caper and it brought to mind an overview article about The Onion Router (Tor) that I came across a while back

Here is a quote from the Tor web site:

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor's hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.
Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they're in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they're working with that organization.
Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members' online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs, which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication. Which locations have employees working late? Which locations have employees consulting job-hunting websites? Which research divisions are communicating with the company's patent lawyers?
A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.
The variety of people who use Tor is actually part of what makes it so secure. Tor hides you among the other users on the network, so the more populous and diverse the user base for Tor is, the more your anonymity will be protected.

Regards, - D.D.


James Wesley:
Thanks for the post on the FBI cookie caper.  It is distressing, but enlightening about the times we live in.

I'm writing about your change of heart on posting the foresee-alive.js script.  The FBI posts this code on their site. It is available here.

I thought that link might be helpful to some.  I guess maybe those people that are savvy enough to read the script and interpret the code are probably already savvy enough to find it on their own, but I thought just in case I would send this on to you.

Also, I agree with your decision that it's probably wise to not post the code directly, but I believe that since they did not post any copyright information it is therefore public domain like any other government publication.  Otherwise, they would have to indicate it as a protected work from an outside party.  But that's my non-professional opinion, and "you're the doctor" as they say.

Thanks for keeping the flame of freedom burning! - B.C.


Dear Mr Rawles;
I read your announcement about "The FBI's Cookie Caper and the VPN Imperative". Thanks very much for your candor. However, I believe some of your information is mistaken or missing. Here are the most important points I saw:

Disabling cookies will not remove others' ability to track you. At best, disabling cookies only makes it a little harder. There are plenty of other ways to track you, including data collection and silent install of malware on your computer to record your keystrokes. Here is an example.

Using a paid VPN does not ensure your security. Here is a good explanation as to why this is true.
A better solution is to use The Onion Router (Tor) and/or Tails and their associated applications. There is also Orbot, an Android app to allow Tor Anonymity browsing on an Android phone. I have and use these. Granted, they are not always the simplest in terms of user friendliness, but once set up they should rarely need changes due to their structure. The Tor Browser, however, is about as simple as it gets on the web.

Not all of the listed browsers are safe to use. Some are outdated (Netscape), and others are inherently flawed from a security standpoint (such as Internet Explorer). More importantly, only two that I know of offer Anonymous Browsing - Firefox and Chrome. Please add the Tor Browser to this list, which is by far the best method for anonymous browsing available to the average user. [has a working encrypted https address, but] is not yet HTTPS Everywhere enabled. This means that even if the visitor is using the Tor network, traffic between a Tor server and is still unencrypted, and vulnerable to spying and/or attack. Please join the HTTPS Everywhere project.

Much of this may sound like an advertisement for the Tor Project, but the reason for that is that the Tor Project is the best method I have found to secure your privacy online, if used properly. (Never identify yourself on the Tor Network.)

Thanks for your consideration in these matters. Sincerely, - I Am John Galt   


Dear Mr. Rawles,
I just took your advice on setting up a VPN.  I have been using an anonymizing proxy for some time and living with the speed decrease, but it's just so easy to turn it off for something and then forget to turn it back on.  At any rate, I went looking for a VPN provider that is (A) domestic and (B) accepts bitcoin.  It's just one less way to be trackable since the payments won't show up on any bank or credit card statement.

At any rate, I found one: based in Chicago, I am now using CamoList VPN and have had a very nice conversation with the proprietor about bitcoin.  Service is $5 a month.  Bandwidth is up to 5 mbps, but that actually doesn't matter to me since I live in the boonies and have to make do with 1 mbps on my end.  Just thought I'd pass this along for anyone else who might be interested. - Buckaroo

Monday, March 19, 2012

It has come to my attention that from August of 2011 to November of 2011, the FBI secretly redirected the web traffic of more than 10% of SurvivalBlog's US visitors through CJIS, their sprawling data center situated on 900 acres, 10 miles from Clarksburg, West Virginia. There, the Feebees surreptitiously collected the IP addresses of my site visitors. In all, 4,906 of 35,494 selected connections ended up going to or through the FBI servers. (Note that this happened several months before we moved our primary server to Sweden.) Furthermore, we discovered that the FBI attached a long-lived cookie that allowed them to track the sites that readers subsequently visited. I suspect that the FBI has done the same to hundreds of other web sites. I find this situation totally abhorrent, and contrary to the letter of 4th Amendment as well as the intent of our Founding Fathers.

I recognize that I am making this announcement at the risk of losing some readers. So be it. But I felt compelled to tell my readers immediately, because it was the honorable and forthright course of action.

Working on my behalf, some volunteer web forensics experts dissected some cached version histories. (Just about everything is available on the Internet, and the footprints and cookie crumb trails that you leave are essentially there for a lifetime.) The volunteers found that the bulk of the FBI redirects were selected because of a reader's association with "Intellectual Property" infringing sites like the now defunct Megaupload.  But once redirected, you were assigned a cookie.  However, some of these were direct connections to the SurvivalBlog site (around 4% of the total.) So if they had kept this practice up long enough and if you visited us enough times then the FBI's computers would have given you a cookie. This has been verified with sniffer software.

Bad Cop, No Donuts Cookies

For your privacy, I strongly recommend that you disable cookies when web browsing. Here are some detailed instructions on how to do so for the most popular web browsers:

But beyond that, more must be done to protect your privacy. You need to be proactive.

Install and Use VPN!

I am now imploring all SurvivalBlog readers to immediately install and use Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their computers. This will allow you to surf the Internet anonymously. Anyone that tries to track web site visitors e-mails will see your visit as originating from one of dozens of anonymous URLs in Europe, or elsewhere in the United States. (With most VPN services, you may pick the city of your choice.) With VPN active, your connection to the Web is "tunneled", emerging at a far-distant IP address, and it it would be very difficult to track back to your home IP address. Setting up VPN takes just a few minute to accomplish. Once installed, you can set VPN to turn on automatically by default when you start your PC, Mac, or Linux computer. Most VPN providers charge $5 to $20 per month. You can toggle off VPN with the click of your mouse. (You will find this necessary if you visit any of the few web site that disallow overseas IP addresses, such as Netflix). But I recommend that you leave VPN turned on, as much as possible. Set it up to turn on each time that you start up your computer. It is crucial that you use VPN whenever you visit web sites, blogs, and forums that are deemed politically incorrect, or whenever you purchase storage food or firearms accessories on the Web. For those of you that are not tech savvy, ask a friend or relative under age 25 to set up VPN for you. It is not difficult.

Some recommended VPN service providers include:

  • StrongVPN ($55 to $240 per year. One of the most flexible in reassigning the far end of your tunnel on the fly. Superior speed.)
  • 12VPN ($79 per year.)
  • AceVPN ($55 per year. A bare bones service, but one of the least expensive.)
  • VPNHQ. ($84 per year.)
  • PureVPN. ($75 per year for their basic service.)

(Some reviews of the various services are available here. )

Note that some of the lower cost services might see your connection speed suffer. Your Internet connect will seem noticeably slower than using your original ISP, alone.

It is my hope that in the next two months SurvivalBlog's site visit map will shift substantially, giving the appearance that most of my readership has moved to Switzerland. Say "Ein Glück, dass wir den los sind" to the FBI's snooping! It would warm my heart to soon see SurvivalBlog ranked as one of the most popular web sites for readers with Swiss IP addresses.

Beyond VPN

Because government agencies have access to lots and lots of computing power, VPN is not completely impenetrable. It is vulnerable to penetration during the key exchange phase. With the resources available to a state actor, sniffing the entirety of the traffic into and out of a web site is trivial these days. (They can use massively scalable horizontally-scaled virtual sniffers -- i.e. using a visualization engine and a template they can keep adding more virtualized instances of a windows or Linux based sniffer program and not even impact the performance of the connections.) I believe that the next loop of the threat spiral in the privacy wars will be Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). But I must clarify that this will become important only for the most high profile media commentators, bloggers, and activists. This is because all the spook legions with all of the mainframe computers in the world simply cannot backtrack everyone's VPN tunnels. (And, as VPN becomes more and more popular, this supposed goal will become even more elusive.) And if you are high profile, don't worry. Some very bright people are already working on QKD. Stay tuned.

Our Liberty is Stake

I want apologize for the cost, inconvenience and time required in implementing the foregoing security measures. But you can sleep a little better, knowing that you've added a layer of anonymity to your Internet presence. We need to recognize that the early 21st Century is a delicate time for individual liberty. Technology is leapfrogging while at the same time databases are filling at an alarming rate. These databases could provide dossiers on demand, for nefarious purposes. How you vote and how you "vote with your feet" (physically or virtually) are both of tremendous importance. Pray hard. Choose wisely. Act accordingly.

P.S.: For those who are web software savvy, I had originally planned to post the latest version of the actual "foresee-alive.js" Javascript code that the FBI used to attach the cookies. But then it was pointed out to me that ironically, revealing this might constitute copyright infringement, opening me up to a intellectual property lawsuit. That has an odd sort of irony that got me thinking. This predicament somehow dovetails with two bits of history. The first instance is from the First World War: I have read that the U.S. Government paid patent license fees to Mauser before and during the hostilities of the Great War with Imperial Germany. This was because the M1903 Springfield rifle was correctly adjudged a patent infringement on the Mauser Model 1898. During the war, the patent payments continued, conveniently handled by Swiss bankers, acting as middlemen. The U.S. taxpayers paid Mauser of Germany about $1 per rifle plus additional penalties that would have eventually totaled $250,000 USD, up until the U.S. entered the war. It has also been rumored that some payments continued to arrive even after the U.S. Congress declared war on the Kaiser's Germany. (We'll have to wait for the release of Jon Speed's next Mauser book to read the details.) This historical tidbit is just once notch below what happened two decades later when Germany's Nazi regime had the temerity to sell full fare train tickets to some Jews, to cover the costs of their forced relocation to the designated ghettos before their planned extermination. Oh, but the Nazi bureaucrats were so conciliatory. They only charged children half fare to be sent to their deaths. (If you doubt this, then read the book Fathoming the Holocaust by Ronald J. Berger.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

I feel compelled to respond to some recent disinformation by David Chase Taylor, a fringe conspiracy theorist: Alex Jones Cancels Speaking Tour 3 Days After Exposure As Possible STRATFOR Double Agent. This is an atrocious hatchet piece and a good candidate for a libel or defamation lawsuit. Not only does it unfairly and inaccurately libel Alex Jones, but it attempts to put me in a bad light, as well.

To begin, Stratfor is not an "Israeli intelligence agency" nor a "private Zionist intelligence agency" as Taylor claims. It is simply a private intelligence analysis service that covers global events, run primarily for investors. Some government agencies around the world are indeed subscribers to Stratfor's reports, but that is typical of governments gathering open source intelligence.

Furthermore, just because Stratfor in headquartered in Austin, Texas and was started the same year that Alex Jones got his start in talk radio does not mean that they are part and parcel. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. 

And Alex Jones's announced decision to curtail his publicity tour a few days after Taylor released an unsubstantiated rant against him doesn't mean anything, either. In fact, his decision to cancel the later dates in his publicity tour was actually based upon his concern about a financial crisis precipitated by the upcoming Greek "credit event." He stated this forthrightly when he interviewed me last month. Again, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. 

In January, David Chase Taylor heralded his certainty that there would be a "Zionist" nuclear terrorist attack at Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011. Then, after that non-event, he then claimed that he personally "...did indeed stop, or at least postpone, a state-sponsored nuclear terror attack upon America." I think he deserves some sort of post facto Al Gore personal achievement award for that.

Lest there be any conjecture, I need to clarify some facts: Following completion of a special background investigation (SBI), I did indeed hold a top secret clearance (granted by Fort Meade on 16 May, 1983.) And I did indeed work as a U.S. Army intelligence officer. I was read on ("briefed") to several Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) codeword programs for six years. But I was read off ("debriefed") from access to all SCI compartments in 1990, and my security clearance lapsed a few years later. (I did have one Periodic Reinvestigation (PR) in the late 1980s, but that PR update to my clearance has long since lapsed.) I resigned my commission in January, 1993--just after William Jefferson Clinton was sworn in. I was then a Captain, pay grade O-3. My association with the U.S. Army began in September 1979 when I took my first ROTC courses, and ended in January, 1993 when I resigned. I have had no contact with the intelligence community since I left the Army. However, I did apply for an industrial secret clearance in 2005 (under an e-QIP Investigation Request), but I left the defense industry before a clearance was ever granted. At the time, clearance requests were moving at a snail's pace, so I was never granted another security clearance. (I quit my salaried job as a technical writer in the Spring of 2006 to become a full time blogger.)

For the record: I have never been an agent of a foreign government. I am presently not an employee, asset, operative, or contractor for any intelligence agency or law enforcement agency of any government, nor am I working as an employee or contractor for any firm operating on behalf of any agency in a proprietary relationship. I no longer hold a security clearance. Since 1990 I have not been tasked by any agency nor had access to compartmented codeword programs, and I was formally debriefed in 1990. My only remaining nexus to the intelligence community is that I'm still sworn to secrecy and that I'm still subject to travel restrictions to certain countries. That is all.

David Chase Taylor has some odd beliefs that I have great difficulty reconciling with reality. Among other things, he believes that the 9-11-2001 attacks were carried out by the Israeli Mossad. He believes that the July 22, 2011, bombings and shootings in Norway were perpetrated by the Israeli Mossad. Further, he believes that Alex Jones has Mossad "handlers" but also believes that Jones simultaneously works for the Obama Administration. Sorry, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. David Taylor has not provided any proof. I think that most neutral observers would call Taylor's web site a collection rambling rants and diatribes, with a marginal readership. (BTW, the Alexa Traffic Rank for Truther News is # 17,147,276. That speaks for itself.) His site is largely dedicated to far-fetched conspiracy theory attacks on Alex Jones and Israel. Just count the number of times the word "Zionist" occurs in this web page, for instance. Among other things, Taylor claims that Alex Jones has a net worth of $50 million. That is absurd conjecture. Taylor's request for asylum in Switzerland has apparently been ignored because it is groundless and unsubstantiated. His visa status in Switzerland is tenuous, at best.

Mr. Taylor is apparently lashing out at patriots, constitutionalists, and his fellow 9/11 "truthers." Please pray for him.

While I don't share some of Alex Jones's beliefs, I still have respect for what the man is doing, and I certainly don't think that he is a "Zionist Tool."

Oh, and let me make a preemptive statement, for those who might claim: "There's no such thing as a former intelligence officer." I'm in fact about as former as you can get. For many years, I've been on the outside, looking in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The migration of SurvivalBlog's web server to Sweden is complete. The new dedicated server is now humming along nicely with 5 Terabytes of available bandwidth, utilizing very fast dual-quad core processors. The kinks have nearly all been worked out. Now that the DNS propagation has been completed, SurvivalBlog is also back to a #1 ranking when you search "Survival Blog" in the major search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Google.

We are now down to just one sticky issue with McAfee anti-virus software displaying a false malware warning when SurvivalBlog is visited. This is because our server's IP address falls in the numeric range of our new web hosting company, IT-Staden AB (aka "Server Connect") in Hudiksvall, Gävleborg, Sweden. (They are located about 170 miles north of Stockholm.) It seems that there had been some past indiscretions by some Swedish or Russian hackers that had been customers of the same web hosting company. Rather than pinpointing the particular IP addresses of the "bad boys", McAfee's software takes the sledgehammer approach and displays the warning flag for anyone using servers in large blocks of IP address numbers. I will be contacting McAfee about getting this rectified. For now, you can just ignore McAfee's malware warning message, but only when you visit

Several readers have asked: "Why did you get a server in Sweden?"

In a nutshell, these were our reasons:

  1. First, and foremost, we needed to find web hosting in a country with a stable, neutral government that is not "Beholden to Holder." (Yes, SOPA/PIPA/ACTA--or something like it--is still a concern.)
  2. We needed a reliable server with high uptime. (Sweden has very reliable hydroelectric power, ane Hudiksvall is well removed from major European pupulation centers.)
  3. Lower cost for monthly bandwidth.

OBTW, for the sake of the integrity of our web statistics, please use our server IPv4 address ( only as a contingency access method, not as your primary bookmark. That should still be "". Thanks!

Friday, February 10, 2012

You may have already seen this article that ran in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, February 8, 2012: The American Redoubt, where survivalists plan to survive
When society collapses, they intend to be armed and well fed in the high country of the Northwest. James Wesley Rawles is their guru on the subject
. First, I must mention that this news story was run almost immediately before and with a link to a piece about a racist would-be parade bomber (the classic "guilt by association" editorial approach, but in this case, just guilt by geographical coincidence and a two-way hypertext link, to provide none-too-subtle nexus.)

In all, the article was better than most of the hatchet jobs that seem to prevail whenever the topic of survivalism is discussed. At least the reporter got her facts straight about the geography of The American Redoubt. One quibble is the semantics of a photo caption, that read: "Chuck Baldwin, speaking in Reno in 2011, is a conservative preacher and radio host who has bought into the survivalist message of James Wesley Rawles." The phrase "bought in" has some negative connotations, in modern usage. It is noteworthy that photo captions are often used by agenda-driven editors for shading, after reporters have turned in an otherwise objective article.

My other gripe is a misquote. I was inaccurately quoted as calling myself "non-racist". I actually said, in full: "I am non-racist and in fact an anti-racist", which is much more direct and forthright. For the record: I despise racism!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In reference to the recent change in Internet Protocol (IP) address for SurvivalBlog, I thought I'd describe a method to help people set up their computers to use it without DNS names.

How to add important internet addresses to your computer.
I'm using the new IPv4 address change as an example, I also recommend adding your mail server, and other important host names too.

Audience:  I'll try and keep the techno-babble to a minimum, so that the largest audience possible can use this.  Any Domain Name Server (DNS) experts or System Administrators out there will probably pull their hair out over the following technical generalizations, but giving instructions on setting up a DNS cache server,  secondary out of country DNS servers,  or your own DNS/NIS/YP server, would greatly restrict the number of people that can use this.

A little background:  

Computers really don't use names like, they use something called an IPv4 address (this was simply called called an IP address before IPv6 came around). You don't see this function take place because a component called DNS has looked up the host name e.g.  '' and converted it to an IP address for you.   Think of it as the world's biggest telephone book.  When you want to call a number you found in a telephone book, you type the number not the name of the company or person.  Your brain does this conversion; it sees the name, and looks at the number.  Computers use DNS to do this conversion for you.  By adding host names and their IP addresses directly to a text file on your computer, you can bypass the need for a DNS for those specific lookups.  So, if DNS goes down, your computer will still be able to look it up for you.

Why is having a local copy of the hostname to IP lookup important?  
This is where things get a little fuzzy. Instead of a technical outline,  I'll list what some possible issues would be, and whether or not this method would help.

• Congress or the FCC passes a law or institutes a rules change requiring some web sites be removed from US-owned DNS servers, and your favorite ones are on the list: YES 
• Your local ISP has blocked your favorite web site: NO (in most cases) - these blocks are usually by means of IP address or by entire DNS domains.
•An 'anonymous' hackers has corrupted or manipulated the DNS servers that you use, directing your connections to their favorite web site: YES (some variations exist, but in almost all cases your local lookup is prioritized over DNS)
• A powerful geomagnetic storm hits, your protected computer is fine: NO (in most cases all infrastructure would be impacted, although the file would still work, the connection to the other servers would not)
• Hyperinflation hits, no one at your ISP shows up for work, systems start going offline, starting with your DNS server: YES, for a little while.

Setting it up:

Most personal computers, regardless of whether they use Windows, Apple or UNIX operating systems use essentially the same method for storing hostname to IP mappings on the computer. It's called a 'hosts' file on Apple and UNIX, and  Windows XP.  This is a text file where you enter the IP address and the hostname into.  The file has to be in a text (ASCII) format, so you should use "Notepad" or "edit"  on Windows, or "vi" or "Textedit" on UNIX/Apple. 

Note that it is important to only add your new entries (or modify existing ones). Do not edit any line with: localhost, loghost, broadcasthost, or your computers hostname! And it is critical to keep in in a 'text' format. You should not use something like MS Word. (Exceptions? Yes, but making sure that you used MS Word correctly to save in ASCII format is beyond the scope of this simple how-to document.)

Opening the hosts file (varies, by platform):

Apple OS:


In the terminal window type:

sudo /Applications/ /etc/hosts

[enter your login password]

[add the file changes described below]

Save the file. Type: Command - S

Finally, either restart your computer or go back to the Terminal window and enter:

dscacheutil -flushcache [this clears your DNS cache)


UNIX/Linux OS:

su -

[enter your root password]

nano /etc/hosts

[add the file changes described below]

Control - O (overwrites the old file)

Control - X (exits the nano text editor)

Windows XP OS: 

Enter 'notepad'

In notepad open c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

[add the file changes described below]

Control - S

[Note: The hosts file has no extensions.  It will automatically add a ".txt" file name extension to the end of the file, so you will need to click on 'No extensions'.

Updating the file (all platforms):

[The following file change example is for an Apple computer--note that some operating systems won't have localhost/broadcasthost/loghost items]

[NOTE: It is critical not to change loghost, broadcast, localhost or your hostname]       localhost broadcasthost
::1             localhost.

[NOTE: Scroll down to the bottom of your localhost list and ADD any new entries. Again, it is critical not to change loghost, broadcast, localhost or your hostname.]

# Add SurvivalBlog survivalblog

Then Save the file, and you are done!

Now, if DNS goes down, or if it is hacked, or your favorite server is removed from it, then you can still do a lookup via the hostname.

I hope this helps. - Bob X.

JWR Adds: Before attempting this procedure for the first time, I would recommend first creating a backup of the hosts file, just in case it is deleted or corrupted due to fumble fingers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We've completed the judging for Round 38 of the SurvivalBlog Writing Contest!

1st Place: Barter, Post-TEOTWAWKI: The Micro Store by A.A.A. which was posted on December 22, 2011. He will receive: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), and E.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo.

2nd Place: Comprehensive Crisis Communications Planning for the Prepper, by Hammer posted on January 19, 2011

He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A FloJak F-50 hand well pump (a $349 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and E.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

3rd place: Profitable Homesteading: How to Thrive in a TEOTWAWKI World, by Dusty, January 24, 2012. Dusty will receive:A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, C.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and D.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

We've also selected an unprecedented 18 Honorable Mention Awards! (Each writer will receive a $30 Gift Certificate). The Honorable Mention prize winning articles are:

Canning Food in a Grid-Down World, by Christine C. posted Friday, January 31, 2012

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?, by Mr. White posted January 27, 2012

A Woman’s Journey Towards Firearms Acceptance, by The Little Woman posted January 26, 2012

Trauma School, by John M. posted January 25, 2012

The Overnighters: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You, by Frank C. in California posted January 22, 2012

Self-Sufficient Farming in East Prussia in the 1930s and 1940s, by Mrs. Icebear posted January 20, 2012

Post Collapse Barter: The Rest of the Story, by D.T.R. posted January 15, 2012

Candle Making For Preppers, by Jennifer L. posted January 14, 2012

Survival Fishing 101, by Captain T. posted January 12, 2012

Keeping Honey Bees for Survival, by Michael J. posted December 31, 2011

Horse and Rider, by D.O. posted December 27, 2011

How to Make Homemade Dog Food, by D.M.D. posted December 27, 2011

Childbirth at Home by Kelli S. posted December 25, 2011

Emergency Preparedness for the Frugal Beginner, by Paratrooper John posted December 18, 2011

Getting Prepared For a Disaster on a Tight Budget, by L.G.W. posted December 17, 2011

Sucking Chest Wounds and Exsanguinations, by Walker in the Woods posted December 14, 2011

Building an Armed Response Kit
, by Madduck posted December 9, 2011

How to Drain an Abscess, by Lonestar Doc posted December 8, 2011

Note to prize winners: We'll need e-mail addresses for each of the Honorable Mention prize winners (since your Amazon gift "cards" will arrive via e-mail.) We'll also need both UPS and USPS addresses for just the top three prize winners. Please e-mail us this info, so we can get your prizes to you. Congratulations!

Round 39 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. begins today. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), and E.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo.

Second Prize: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A FloJak F-50 hand well pump (a $349 value), courtesy of C.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, D.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and E.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value) and F.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, C.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and D.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 39 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I recently won the third prize for the survivalblog writing contest and I thought I would give back to the SurvivalBlog readers a review of the items I received as a way of saying thanks. The items I received were a Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21, expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy, and two Super Survival Pack seed collections, courtesy of Seed for Security. I received all the items quickly and with two of them I also received congratulations cards on winning which was a very nice touch in my opinion. I want to take the time to respond back to these, and all the survivalBlog prize donators with a big thank you. Your efforts are helping to drive one of the best collections of how to articles available on the net.

The first item I want to review is the Royal Berkey water filter. When I received the box I was impressed with how well packaged the item was. I then removed the filter from the box and I must tell you these look even better in person than it does in the pictures. I was also taken with how small it actually was. I had always imagined something the size of the tea dispensers you see in restaurants. Instead it was closer to the size of a coffee percolator, a large one, but still smaller than I expected, very impressive for something rated at four gallons of flow per hour.  The box contained everything I would need to get started except the water.

The filter housing is made of stainless steel and does not feel flimsy at all; it feels like it could handle being moved around a lot. You can really see why these are considered the gold standard for water purification. I would in no means call it bug out bag capable, but if you need to move it around your retreat local you would not have to worry about it coming apart. This would be a good item to put in a dedicated bug out vehicle that had some storage capacity to allow you to travel with it. I could actually see permanently installing this in an RV or other similar setup to provide safe drinking water on the road. As an emergency supply for those planning to bug in this would be invaluable, especially if you have a local source of water that might become contaminated once the SHTF. With no water, or questionable water, from the pipes this item will give you the flexibility you need to manage your drinking supply.  This would also provide an excellent long term camping solution to ensuring clean drinking water.
The next item I received was the item from Natural Cozy. Now this is a bit harder for me to review being a guy and not needing these regularly. They are very nicely made items, to the point that when I took them out of the package I started to think of other uses I could use them for. They are very soft and absorbent feeling, something I am going to have to assume is a good thing. I was also struck by the thought that they would make excellent bandages in an emergency.  They are strongly stitched and appear that they can take a lot of use.

I introduced these items to the wife and daughter and the reaction was interesting. At first I will admit they were a little hesitant about these items. Both of them are products of modern society and frankly tolerate my prepper ways, mainly because I have the last say in my house on these issues. They have been raised to think of disposable as clean and anything else as dirty. There perception changed a bit once I started to ask them what their plans in this area were once things went south and they could not pop over to the local store and grab a box of hygiene products whenever they wanted. I pointed out that the local stores supplies would most likely be gone in a week and that we simply did not have the space to store enough to last them more than a month. I did offer to help to help them to figure out the middle ages method of control involving a rag and dried moss. Once they realized I was serious they suddenly got a lot more interested in these items. Their impression seemed to be that while they were not interested in using them right now, that once SHTF they would be very interested in them. Since then my wife has commented a couple times she is actually glad that we have them.

From my point of view I am also glad to have them. While I don’t personally need them I have a sneaking suspicion that I am going to be real glad I have a supply once they get scarce. I may run my house and control things, I am not sure I could stand the insurrection caused by two of the ladies of the house with no midol, no chocolate, and no hygiene pads. I can at least plan to furnish to them one of these pieces and save myself a lot of headaches in the future! Until then I have put them in a long term storage bucket marked plumbing supplies.

Finally I want to talk about the seeds for security package I received. The package contained two sets of their super survival packs and I must say I was impressed. Each set contains multiple packages of heirloom seeds packaged in their own Mylar packs. I found this to be very desirable over the more common #10 can method of packaging as I only had to open the pack I needed to use, not the entire collection at once. The packs are also nice because great care was taken to package sets of seeds that have the same growth needs. The spring pack, for example, contains everything that should be planted together in the spring, followed by a summer pack, a fall pack, and a winter pack. Grain packs are also included so that you can keep you separate rotation of grains going at the same time as your main vegetable garden. Each set of seeds came with detailed planting instructions. Add a farmer’s almanac to this mix to find the proper starting times for each season in your area and you are golden. This set is as close to fool proof gardening as you can get.

Again I wish to express my gratitude to these sponsors for sending out these items. The water filter and seeds were next on my list for items I needed to stockpile. The hygiene products should have been on my list and were not. I am glad they got moved up and covered now that I have thought on them more. If you don’t have these items yet I strongly suggest you run out and get them after you have your initial stockpile of food started.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Safecastle has announced the winners of their video and writing contest. I was pleased to see that a SurvivalBlog writer won first prize and that second prize went to a piece that was originally posted at one of our favorite self-sufficiency blogs, Rural Revolution. (Edited by Patrice Lewis.)

Article Category:

1st prize: "What is a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit" by K.M., - Prize: Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

2nd prize: "Preparedness for Young People" by Maria S, - Prize: Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator

Video Category:

1st prize: "Survival and Prepping - The Basics" by Falcon15, - Prize: Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

2nd prize: "PSK Survival Exercise" by ia woodsman, - Prize: Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator

Friday, January 20, 2012

Because our e-mail box is now getting hammered with more than 100 pieces of spam mail per day, we are now reluctantly removing the direct e-mail links in SurvivalBlog. Henceforth, all of the "e-mail us" links will be directed to our Contact page. There, at the the top of the page, you will see a fractured e-mail address: james--AT (Change the "--AT SYMBOL--" to @). This formatting is designed to divert web spiders that harvest e-mail addressess for Nigerian scammers and those V*agra hucksters. Sorry for any inconvenience that this might cause you. Note that there is no need to update your e-mail address book. (Our e-mail address hasn't changed--only the way we show it on the site.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I only post one reminder each year about the voluntary Ten Cent Challenge SurvivalBlog subscriptions, and this is it. Unlike Jimmy Wales at Wikipedia and those whiners at PBS, I don't do endless pledge drives.

I depend on my readers to help pay the bills to keep SurvivalBlog up and running. Our web hosting on two dedicated servers (one in Sweden and one in the U.S.) cost $850 per month (including 3 Terabytes of bandwidth), and our local ISP bill is $129 per month. We also have other expenses including liability insurance, phone bills, computer hardware, software, a VPN tunneling service, accounting, subscriptions to periodicals, post office box rentals, writing contest prizes, and so forth.

The subscription appeal is simple: If you feel that you get more than 10 cents per day in value from reading SurvivalBlog, then please make a voluntary subscription payment, for just 10 cents a day. (This equates to $36.50 for a year.)

I don't keep any e-mail lists, which is why this annual post is necessary. (I never e-mail any solicitations for subscriptions or renewals. Subscriptions are purely on the honor system.)

The Silver Dimes Option: I also take payment for voluntary Ten Cent Challenge subscriptions in the form of pre-1965 U.S. silver dimes. The current multiplier for the value of pre-1965 silver coins is around 20-to-1. (20 times face value--so a silver dime is worth about $2.00.) But since mass inflation looks inevitable, I expect that the value of a silver dime will soon exceed $10. So just mail us two to five silver dimes for each year's subscription. OBTW, please tape them to a scrap 3"x5" card before placing them in an envelope, so that the coins don't rattle around. And of course check with your postal clerk for the correct postage on the envelope.

Our mail forwarding address is:

Attn: Jim Rawles
P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845

And for those that like to use Bitcoin, our address is: 1K7Gk6kqX6psSWDJaRV6pyDH7dwZuvqtUB

To those that have already subscribed, my most sincere thanks! You represent the less than 1/2 of 1% of the 250,000+ SurvivalBlog readers that subscribe. I greatly appreciate your loyal support! Again, subscriptions are entirely voluntary.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We've completed the judging for Round 37 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest:

First Prize goes to Paul B., for Staple Foods Storage By The Numbers, posted on November 10th. He will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo, and E.)A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Second Prize goes to J.M. for Rawhide and Brain Tanning, posted on November 23rd. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to Masquita for How to Make Lye Soap, posted on November 30th. She will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, C.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.), and D.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Honorable Mention Prizes ($30 gift certificates) go to the authors of these articles:

The Ultimate Altoids Tin Survival Kit, by J.C.R.

Gauze and Water: A Combat Medic's Guide to Preparedness Medicine, by Walker

Sleeping With the Friendlies, by Heidi C.

Experience Building a Missouri Masonry Stove, by Tiasabaki

First Aid: From Sprained Ankles to Gunshot Wounds, by Big Country

Field-Test Improvements to a Go Bag, by Todd S.

Homestead Food Production by Mary A.

How to Defend a Retreat Against Wheeled Vehicle Threats, by B.W. in Pennsylvania

Land of Plenty--Establishing or Reclaiming an Orchard, by D.V.

Some Seed Saving Advice, by Lydia S.

Note to all prize winners: Please e-mail me, so that I have your current contact information.

I also have some great news: Starting with the next round (Round 38) the top prize in the First Prize package will include a gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand. Also, JRH Enterprises has upgraded their medic kit prize to a Tactical Trauma Bag #3 -- a $200 value! (Also part of the First Prize package.) I greatly appreciate their generosity.

Round 38 begins today. As usual, we ran out of room for articles that were received in the last week of Round 37, so we we've begun posting those extra articles today.

Please start writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I've heard from several readers about the absolute hatchet job that was recently inflicted upon me. The statist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a wholesale smear against me, Pastor Chuck Baldwin, and Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers. This was well-documented here: Brandon Smith: SPLC Labels Montana Patriots as “Extremist”.

The SPLC is is famous for interspersing legitimate conservative public figures amidst lists of assorted racists, neo-Nazis, xenophobes, anti-Semites, criminals, and Grade A Whackamos. This is the classic "Guilt By Association" smear technique. In my case, it could better be called "Guilt By Non-Association", since I have no connection with them, whatsoever. The SPLC even tried to label me as some sort of anti-government malcontent, simply because I use a Common Law presentation of my given name and my family's surname. (With a comma betwixt, to distinguish between the two forms of appellation.)

Just read my Precepts page, any of my published books, or even my Wikipedia biography page. You will soon see that I am an anti-racist and pro-Israel. (And see for example, my American Redoubt page, where I posted: " I can also forthrightly state that I have more in common with Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews than I do with atheist Libertarians. I'm a white guy, but I have much more in common with black Baptists or Chinese Lutherans than I do with white Buddhists or white New Age crystal channelers."

The bottom line: Please take purported "intelligence" reports published by the SPLC (and parroted by their fellow travelers) for what they are: none-too-subtle gray propaganda.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

They are now blocking SurvivalBlog along with Zero Hedge and I Hate The Media from work where I work. Yes I'm on a government network. I assume that more of the alternative media sites are going to be blocked, shortly. I'll send you updates as they are blocked.  Thanks for your time. - C. in Northern Virginia.

I am a full-time National Guardsman. (Sorta a rarity.)   I just discovered a change when I tried to look at SurvivalBlog, as usual, on my lunch hour. It is now a blocked [by name] on our or computer network . I suspect that is because it has "blog" in its [domain] name. I was glad to read that your announcement that you are setting up a server offshore, and that you will also have a number of mirror sites with "dotted quad" addresses, available for alternatives.

I fear that some sort of crackdown on non-mainstream web sites is coming soon, in America. (You probably heard that there were another 150 sites blocked on Monday.) Thanks for setting up multiple ways to access [your blog]. My advice to fellow readers: Bookmark the dotted quad addresses of all your favorite news outlets and discussion forums, ASAP. Be vigilant. - The Non-Captain Kirk

Thursday, October 27, 2011

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

Houston, Texas – October, the First Year

Growing up on the streets of Houston had made Ignacio Garcia both wary and smart. He never used any drugs other than some occasional marijuana. And he never sold drugs. He realized that was sure to get him arrested, eventually, because customers always talked. His only contacts with heavy drug users were some that he hired, to work his burglaries. Garcia developed a reputation as a clever burglar who never got caught. His modus operandi was exacting: Hit between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, when nobody was home.  Avoid lower class neighborhoods, where the pickings weren’t worth bothering, and avoid the wealthy neighborhoods where they all had burglar alarms. Instead, he hit middle class neighborhoods, where there were still things worth stealing, but where they didn’t have their guard up.

Garcia started out by doing burglaries himself, but soon moved on to organizing and equipping teams to do the work for him. To approach middle class houses surreptitiously, he outfitted his teams to look like plumbers, carpet cleaners, or gardeners.  Their vehicles looked very convincing.  Garcia then fenced his goods though a network of pawn shops, flea market dealers, and coin dealers who could keep their mouths shut.  He had his teams concentrate on jewelry, guns, coin collections, cash, and high-end digital cameras. He made a point of never keeping any stolen merchandise at home.  He paid several little old ladies to rent storage spaces for him. Eventually, he had almost a dozen places to hide his stolen goods.

Garcia was never associated with any of the big gangs, although he did recruit a few members of MS-13. He kept his own gang—“the gang with no name” as quiet as possible, and discouraged them from antagonizing any other gangs.  Garcia often said, “Let them bicker and kill each other, while we hang back and just make lots of money.”

The stoners that worked for Garcia sometimes did stupid crack head stuff.  Even though he gave them explicit directions, they’d ignore him and bring back things like big screen HD televisions, bottles of various prescription medicines, and kitchen appliances.  One time, one of his men brought back plastic bags of live koi carp that they had stolen from a pond. This pond was in the backyard of a house that they had trouble entering. Some of the items had to be discarded, or took weeks to fence.

Three years before the Crunch, Ignacio realized that some upper-middle class people rarely let their guard down. For these targets, Garcia started to train and equip his home invasion team.  He selected his most ruthless yet most level-headed men.  He gave them some of his best guns, and carefully selected targets –mostly ones that he’d previously had to pass up.  He called this team “La Fuerza”—The Force.  Most of their home invasions took place at mid-day, when there would likely be just one adult at home.

The home invasions went remarkably well.  Because Garcia insisted on a strict six minute time limit inside a target house, La Fuerza never met the police face to face.  Eventually, he split La Fuerza into two teams of six men each.  Their take was so lucrative that he eventually stopped using his traditional burglary teams altogether.  He gave control and ownership of that whole operation to his cousin Simon.

Garcia grew up in Houston’s Second Ward, but after he built up capital from his burglaries, he bought a house in Greenspoint, on the north side.  This was a nice suburban neighborhood that was roughly half Hispanic.  He did his best to blend in. Ignacio told his neighbors that he was in the import/export business.  In a way, he was right.  He just exported things from people’s houses, and imported them into his own.

When the Crunch started, there were 16 full members of Garcia’s gang. As the economy cratered, Garcia realized that he had to switch gears quickly.  Previously, his goal had been converting stolen goods into cash.  But now cash was perishable and even undesirable.  The goods themselves were more valuable.  He also realized that once Houston became the target of rioting, that the whole city would be locked down, and he’d be just as at risk from burglary or robbery as anyone else.

Anahuac, Texas – October, the First Year

Garcia leased a large warehouse in Anahuac, a white bread community on the east side of Trinity Bay, in Chambers County, east of Houston. He rented a nearby apartment and moved his wife and children there. The warehouse had 35,000 square feet, and a pair of large roll-up doors in the back. He set all of his men to work, ferrying the best of his accumulated loot from his various storage spaces to the warehouse.  Then he had them start stealing late-model cargo vans and pickup trucks with camper shells. He didn’t ask them to stop until he had 17 of them parked in the warehouse.

Using his gang members as agents, Garcia scrambled to convert as much of his cash as possible into practical tangibles.  He had them buy 10 jerry cans for each van and truck, and set each vehicle up with roof racks.  They each also got water jugs, canned goods, camp stoves, sleeping bags, ammunition, tools, and freeze-dried foods. They bought or stole four spare tires mounted on rims for each vehicle, and strapped them down on the roof racks. After just three days at the warehouse, he asked his cousin Simon to join him, and to bring along his eight toughest men who were bachelors.

Garcia spent many hours, talking what ifs with Tony, his most trusted lieutenant.  Tony had three years of artillery experience in the army, with a tour in Iraq.  That was before his Article 15s and dishonorable discharge.  It was Tony who suggested putting CB radios in every vehicle.  It was also Tony who recommended buying up as many cans of flat tan and flat brown spray paint as they could find.  Tony was good at planning ahead.

They had everything almost ready at the warehouse by the time that the riots started in earnest.  He ordered the men and their families to get used to sleeping hard-- essentially camping, inside of their vehicles in the warehouse.  There were some complaints at first, but then once Houston started to burn, they thanked Ignacio for rescuing them from the chaos, and for getting them ready.

The entire gang eventually adopted the name La Fuerza.  Ignacio set them on a well-calculated campaign of night-time robberies of sporting goods stores, department stores, and recreational equipment stores. They were cautious though, so none of these stores were located in Chambers County. 

Once the gang was equipped for traveling and living independently, La Fuerza started stealing armored vehicles.  Their first targets were members of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA), a group that Garcia’s wife found with an Internet search. The MVPA members meticulously restored jeeps, trucks, and armored vehicles. Their roster—complete with the addresses of members--was there for the taking on the Internet. The gang’s goal was acquiring wheeled armored personnel carriers.  Their vehicles of choice were the Cadillac Gage V100 Commando—a four-wheeled APC, and the Alvis Saracen, a British 6-wheeled APC. Garcia sent out four-man teams in stolen cars to as far away as Oklahoma and Louisiana to steal them.

His men would arrive after midnight, batter down house doors, and force people from their beds at gunpoint. They marched them to their garages to show the gang members how to start and operate their vehicles. To give them more time to get away before an alarm was raised, the gang members killed the homeowners and their families. Over the course of three nights, they drove back to Anahuac with three Saracens and two V-100s.

Garcia was disappointed to find that most of the MVPA members had only non-firing dummy weapons mounted on their vehicles. Only one of the vehicles had a live gun. This was a semi-automatic-only Browning Model 1919. So their next targets were belt-fed machineguns, taken in storefront or home invasion robberies of Class 3 licensed full auto weapons dealers. These robberies netted six .30 caliber belt-feds, two Browning .50s, and 15 submachineguns of various types. They were surprised at the quantity of ammunition and extra magazines that the dealers had.  In all, there were 232 cans of ammunition, much of it already on linked belts. 

It was not until after they had the guns and Tony started reading their manuals that they realized they needed belt-linking machines to assemble belts of ammunition.  They then brazenly went back to a store that they had robbed just two days before, and took both .30 and .50 caliber hand-lever linking machines, and several 20mm ammo cams containing thousands of used links.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This is the release day for my novel "Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse". (October 4th, 2011.) Thank you for waiting to order your copies until today. Keep an eye on the book's Amazon Sales Rank, as the day progresses. This should be fun!

Survivors Cover

Here is some information on the novel, without any spoilers: Much of the novel is set in the Four Corners Region of the American Southwest. "Survivors" is unusual for a novel sequel. Unlike most sequels, instead of extending the "Patriots" saga further into the future, it is contemporaneous with the action in the first book. But it is set in different locales, with mostly different characters, with vastly different levels of preparedness. The novel begins from the perspective of a U.S. Army officer deployed in Afghanistan, just as "The Crunch" unfolds.

Unlike the protagonists in "Patriots", most of the characters in "Survivors" don't have a deep larder, so they are forced to scramble and improvise. There are just a few crossover characters between the two novels, such as Ian and Blanca Doyle (whom you will remember from "Patriots" as the husband and wife Laron Light Experimental airplane owners living near Luke Air Force Base.)

The cover art for the book was masterfully rendered by mixed-media artist Tony Mauro, Jr. of New York. He took my vague one-minute verbal description of what I had in mind for the art, and he nailed it. I am very happy with his design and his choice of color palette. It really captures the essence of the novel. (The lead character, Andy Laine, is depicted on horseback in Texas, in the midst of The Crunch. You'll see how closely Tony matched the storyline when you read the novel.

"Survivors" is being published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. This first released is in hardback. It retails for $24, but Amazon sells it at the deeply discounted price of $14.40.) It will be followed sometime in 2012 by a trade paperback. (The latter is the same binding format that was used with "Patriots".)

The publisher tells me that the first print run of hardbacks was 35,000 copies. This big initial printing was in part based upon Amazon's strong pre-order of 15,000 copies. I'd prefer that readers in the U.S., Canada, and the UK order through Amazon. (If your order is at least $25, you can qualify for Amazon's free "Super Saver" shipping. See our Catalog Page for ideas on other items that you might want to order, to bring your total over $25.)

I should also mention that Kindle, Nook, and iBook e-books as well as the audio book are also now orderable. The award-winning Dick Hill narrated the audio book. (He also narrated "Patriots".)

Where to Buy Your Copies of "Survivors"

Hardcover Book Sellers:
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound
Boomerang (Australia) (Germany)
Whitcoul's (New Zealand) (UK)

eBook Sellers:
Kindle (
iBook (iPods and iPhones)

Audio Book Sellers:
Boomerang (Australia) (Germany)
Whitcoul's (New Zealand) (UK)

The hardback will also soon be available to U.S. armed forces servicemembers, through the All Services Exchange Catalog.

If you've already read it, succinct, positive reviews at the Amazon and Barnes & Noble web sites are greatly appreciated. For example, here is one that was just posted:

"I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of Survivors and truly enjoyed reading it. If you liked Patriots you will love Survivors! While Patriots was about 50% technical manual and 50% novel, Survivors is much more a story but still has enough "technical" in it to keep a true Rawles fan happy. Survivors is a wide-ranging book that takes place with different groups in many locations who are much less prepared than the groups in Patriots. That makes it very interesting, coupled with the fact that Rawles dosen't mind killing off a character you like once in a while to keep you guessing. I especially like the "Kentucky Seed Lady", Sheila Randall, who shows that you just don't lay down and take it when things go bad but get to work instead. Also, who wouldn't like Andy Laine and his story of sacrifice and scrappiness to get home from Afganiston when things go bad. The world and timeline that Rawles has created will continue to support many new books in the future. Survivors (unlike Patriots) leaves you with some unfinished business which, I assume, will be tied up when [the second sequel] Deo volente comes out.

I also have to mention that even though I have read Survivors I ordered a new copy so I can get the great cover art on my bookshelf (the advance copy has a plain cover). The art fits the theme of Rawles world and the story itself perfectly. Great story, great read, educational, interesting and timely - just what you want in a book. Nice work James Wesley Rawles!" - Robert A. Jacobsen

Thanks for your help in making the Book Bomb Day a success!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We've completed the judging.

The winner of First Prize in Round 36 of the SurvivalBlog writing contest is being awarded to David J. for: Small Scale Alternative Energy in Suburbia which was posted on September 22, 2011. As his prizes, he will receive:

A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $300 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo, and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value).

Second Prize goes to Tamara for: Creating Hiding Places Without Handyman Skills, which was posted on September 7, 2011. She will receive:

A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to Gonzo for: Lessons in OPSEC: Hurricane Irene Versus Hurricane Isabel, which was posted on September 13, 2011. He will receive:
A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, and C.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Runner Up Prizes ($30 Amazon Gift Certificates for each) go to 16 skilled writers for these articles:

Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting by Ron B.

One Big BOV, by KC-4-JC

Do-It-Yourself Water Filtration, by Robert B.

Foraging: How To Make Yourself Starvation Proof, by Mike F.

Bitcoins: A Practical Primer, by Yishai

How To Butcher a Squirrel, by B.T.

Everyday Carry Items, by J.C.R.

A Folding Kayak as a Survival Vehicle, by Jann B.

The Ice Walking Survival Stick, by Carmen G.

Building a Fire in a Post-Collapse World, by Entropy

You Are At Your Retreat -- What Now?, by D.H.

Making Your Water Filter Last, by F.J.B.

Beans, Bullets, Band-Aids and Hygiene, by Jason L.

An Early Baby Boomer's Bug Out Bag, by Jen L.

Start Small, Plan Ahead, and Set a Realistic Timetable, by Christian Rebel

The Little Things, by D.M.L.


A New Prize: Starting with Round 37, there will be a prize added to the Third Prize package: A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value.) This prize was donated by To Build A Fire, in Davis, Illinois. We thank them for their generous support of the blog.

Note To Prize To The Top Three Prize Winners: Please e-mail us both your US Mail and UPS shipping addresses.

Note To Prize To Runner-Up Prize Winners: Please let us know the e-mail address where you want your Amazon gift certificate directed.

Round 37 begins today, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Monday, August 22, 2011

As editor of SurvivalBlog I've had a number of "Small World Department" coincidences occur in the past six years. Most of these have been chance meetings with blog readers and mutual acquaintances, everywhere from Reno, Nevada to as far away as Switzerland. But the latest coincidence is absolutely astounding: As you may already be aware, the Russian FSB produces some gray propaganda under the pen name "Sorcha Faal." Their department's most recent bit of hyperbolic dezinformatsaya was in an article over at the fairly wacky "What Does It Mean?" web site. (The web site uses the dotted quad address: -- which ironically is in McLean, Virginia!) There, they recently posted an article titled: "Obama Issues Secret Order For Military Raids On Civilians". It included an un-captioned photo showing some menacing-looking storm troopers in all black uniforms, sitting on the front of a military vehicle. Well, guess what: That was MY military vehicle -- a Ferret Mark 4 Scout Car that I bought in the late 1990s, as part of my Y2K preps. In late 2002, I sold that vehicle, shortly before I moved back to the boonies. The pictured "storm troopers" were in fact some friends and acquaintances that were journeymen-level science fiction convention costumers and prop builders. In the summer of 2002, they asked me for permission to pose in their Aliens Colonial Space Marines costumes and also their black Jin-Roh Panzer Cops costumes, and I gladly consented. The photos were shot in the side yard of my Fremont, California home. The photo shoot was all great fun and the group thought that my Ferret made a great backdrop for their sci-fi fan photos. Little did I know that one of those digital images would be slurped up from the Internet nine years later to be used for Russian gray propaganda. (FYI, Jin-Roh was a Japanese anime "alternate history" series, with the premise that the Axis powers won WWII and that Germany then conquered Japan. Hence, they wore German "coal scuttle" helmets.)

What a small world we live in! All this time I thought that I was a disharmonious reactionary Capitalist Rotor. But now it appears that I've unwittingly been used as a post-Soviet Rotor.

Special note to the "Sorcha" sisters: "Stoi, durakam. Ya znayu sekreti!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

I would like to say thanks to all the SurvivalBlog readers, who took the time to drop me an e-mail to thank me for my articles and efforts, writing for SurvivalBlog. I personally responded to every one of you who wrote. I'm sorry my responses couldn't have been longer, but I received more than 100 e-mails from SurvivalBloggers, and it took me quite a while to catch-up to them all. I sincerely appreciated hearing from each and every one of you.

I've learned that SurvivalBlog readers are usually a very intelligent bunch of folks, not your average run-of-the-mill, gun store nuts or mall ninjas. You are well-read and an educated bunch, to be sure. Many SurvivalBlog readers have written me asking questions about certain types of guns, and I hope I've been of some help with my answers. Some have written to me with gunsmithing questions, and once again, I hope I've been of some help as it's difficult to make a diagnoses without actually seeing the gun and the problems it may have been having.

A lot of SurvivalBlog readers have written asking me to do an article on a certain gun, and if I've owned that gun, I'll get around to writing about it sooner or later. I note one readers had a letter posted on SurvivalBlog August 16th, requesting that I do an article about the Draco pistol. While I would like to accommodate you all, if I don't own a particular firearm, or have owned it, it's difficult for me to obtain samples for test and evaluation. I can't just pick-up the phone or e-mail a gun company and ask them to send me whatever I want to test. There is a process, and part of that process is having the right connections, as well as usually having an assignment from one of my editors for a particular gun to test and evaluate.

Additionally, some gun companies send me guns for test and evaluation, and I end up paying shipping - both ways! As you all may be aware, I receive no pay from SurvivalBlog for doing my articles. So, it's hard for me to justify requesting a firearm to write about, if I have to pay shipping to get the firearm, and then pay return shipping - it is especially expensive when dealing with handguns, which must be shipped Next Day UPS or FedEx. I'm sure many readers think that gun writers make a lot of money from their articles - we don't! With many of us, it's simply a side job or a hobby - many gun writers hold other jobs. In my case, I work as a writer, doing firearm and knife articles, as well as teaching firearms classes, doing security consulting, writing books and when the economy permits, I breed and sell German Shepherds.

Some of you may have noticed, that I'm now only doing one article per week for SurvivalBlog. There's a reason for this. I thought I had developed Carpal Tunnel in my right wrist, making it extremely difficult to do a lot of typing - not good for a writer. However, my yearly visit to my doctor revealed osteo-arthritis in my right wrist, as well as my right hip and lower back - and that also makes it difficult for me to sit and type for very long. Thirty-five years in the martial arts takes a toll on a person's body, no doubt about that. So, for the time being, I'll just be doing one article per week for SurvivalBlog.

Once again, I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to write me, and saying thanks for my articles. I'll be doing more gun and knife articles, as well as reviewing some other survival related products, as well as some reloading articles - and if you're not into reloading, then you'd better start to think about getting into it.

Thanks again, to you all, and thanks to Jim Rawles, for giving me the editorial freedom to write about what interests me. -  SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I recently received an e-mail that perturbed me. In reply to my e-mail releasing the right to re-post an article from SurvivalBlog, a gent (who shall remain nameless) mentioned:

"Personally, I don't believe in copyrights because nobody can truly own ideas, thoughts or words..."

To which, I replied:

Do you really believe that?  Let me politely set you straight:  When I write a novel, that is my intellectual property.  Each book that I write represents the fruit of my intellect, and is the end result of thousands of hours of my work. 

Without a limited-term copyright, strangers could rob me of part or all of the livelihood that my books generate. Writing is not just a hobby for me. My novels are in fact my main source of income.  I cannot feed my family on just kind thoughts and repeated verses of Kumbaya! 

Further, what good is my current contract with Simon & Schuster to write two novels over the course of 25 months, if anyone could immediately circulate pirated copies (in either hard copy or soft copy), just after they are released? 

My intellectual property is just as much "mine" as the land that I own and live on--the same land where I grow my garden and where I raise my cattle. In essence, I look at book pirates the same way as I do cattle thieves.

You really think that I cannot hold the right to call my written works "mine", just because they are books, rather than your car, your house, your invention, or your factory?  Property is property, regardless!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Over the years, I've had a lot of folks ask me how I got into writing about guns and knives - I also wrote for American Survival Guide magazine for quite a few years, on survival-related topics. I also have folks ask me what my methods are for testing knives, guns, gear, etc. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to give you all the skinny on this. I'm no expert on anything - I only consider myself a serious student in many things, guns, knives and the martial arts come to mind. Remember, you are getting an opinion from me, and nothing more in my articles. We can agree to disagree at times on my findings, I don't have any problem with that.

I don't try to present myself as an expert in my articles, either. Nor do I make any attempt to write at a level that is more than required to get my point across. I hope my articles are informative, as well as entertaining. I just e-mailed a SurvivalBlog reader a little while ago, that I like to have fun in my articles, and when it stops being fun, I'll stop writing. As to my writing talent, or lack thereof, I don't claim any special skills. I quite high school when I was only 16 years old, and believe it or not, one of my worst subjects in high school was English literature. Today, I can claim a Doctorate Degree - in than the Divinity field. That took much hard study and is a long story in itself.

I didn't start out writing about guns and knives, rather, I was a reviewer (of books) for a trade publication, that sold Christian books to Christian book stores. They would send me the newest Christian books for review, I'd read 'em and give my thoughts on the books. It was a great way to build-up my Christian book library, I specialized in Youth Ministry books. My "pay" was, I got to keep all the books I reviewed fro my own reference collection.

I've always had a deep interest in guns and knives, and I still remember the first knife I ever got, and my first gun that I purchased. It has been a wonderful love affair for more years than I care to admit. Guns and knives, in and of themselves are not evil, as the Liberal press and politicians would have you believe. Instead, they are tools, and when used properly, they are great tools - they can provide fun as well as being used to defend yourself or your loved ones. So, don't let the left-leaning media and politicians try to make you believe one gun is "good" and another gun is "evil." It's a lie.

When I was working for Col. Rex Applegate about 20 years ago, on a full-time basis, I learned a lot from the good Colonel about guns and knives, and he was impressed with my knowledge on the subjects as well. It was at the insistence of Applegate, that I started writing magazine articles and books, and when the Colonel told you to do something, you did it! I made many contacts in the firearms and cutlery fields as a result of Applegate introducing me to them. One of my best contacts was Chuck Karwan, a fellow gun writer (now gone) who helped me tremendously with my writing. When I first started writing, I was too technical, and I couldn't sell an article. Karwan was my personal coach and editor, and he told me to just write the same way I spoke, easy-going. Chuck edited many of my articles before I sent them off to magazine editors. And, I will forever be thankful for all the help Chuck gave me, as well as the pushing and prodding that Rex Applegate gave me.

When it comes to testing firearms, I don't have a laundry list of things I go through. Instead, I look at the intended purpose of a firearm. First and foremost, in my book, a firearm has to be reliable - if the gun isn't reliable, I'm not interested in it. Secondly, a firearm has to be reasonable accurate - only accurate guns are interesting. Third, a gun has to be well-made - if they are junk, I have no interest. And, a firearm has to be a good value in my book.

There are custom firearms by any number of custom gun makers, and I've owned some custom guns in my life. Let's take a good old M1911 .45ACP as an example. I just recently wrote about the Springfield Armory Range Officer. The gun is more accurate than I can use, and it's been totally 100% reliable, too. The gun comes from a well-known gun company, and it's an excellent value. I've had custom 1911s from some of the big names in the 1911 field - and some of them cost two or three times more than my Range Officer retails for. The custom 1911s might have been finished a little better, and maybe they were a bit tighter and they have the "wow" factor because they come from a custom gun maker. However, the Springfield Armory Range Officer can do everything the custom 1911 can do, and maybe more - for half or a third of the price of a custom 1911 - that's value in my book. I have no fight against custom 1911 makers - they are great guns. I'm only using this as an example.

I heard from an industry insider, from a big-name ammo maker, that many gun writers fire an average of 64-rounds during their testing of a gun for an article. I don't question the statement from my source, he knows what he's talking about. However, the gun writers I know, are only getting warmed-up at 64-rounds. I don't torture test firearms for my articles - the factories have already done that for me, and I wouldn't have the time or ammo to torture the firearms I get for articles, compared to what the factories do to the guns before they put them on the market. I know, I know, there are some gun writers who are famous for doing 5,000 and 10,000 round torture tests. Guess it makes for good press and sells gun magazines. But what are they really accomplishing in their tests? They haven't done anything the gun company didn't already think of.

When it comes to accuracy, I like to think a good full-sized handgun, like the 1911, should be able to place 5-shots inside of 4" or so, at 25-yards on a good day - for self-defense use. Some folks will scoff at that - and think that if a gun can't put 5 rounds inside of an inch, the gun isn't worth having. You have to carefully read what some gun writers say about their accuracy testing - and you'll find many put their guns in a Ransom Rest for their accuracy tests. That's not a bad thing, however, when you buy the same gun, and stand on your two legs and only get 4" groups, you don't understand why your gun isn't as accurate as the one you read about in the gun magazines. I like to do two-legged testing, and when I want to squeeze a bit more accuracy out of a handgun, I'll rest if over a sleeping bag, across the hood of my car. When it comes to testing rifles at 100 yards for accuracy, I'll either go prone, or use the hood of my car again, with a sleeping bag.

I attempt to use different types of ammo for my testing, whenever possible. You'll read that I shoot a lot of Black Hills ammunition, Winchester ammunition and Buffalo Bore ammunition in my articles. Yes, I get a lot of promo ammo from them for my articles, and so do other gun writers. Without getting promo ammo, we honestly wouldn't be able to conduct the testing we do. It would be too expensive if we had to purchase ammo out of our own pockets. And, I've never given any ammo maker a free pass - I report my findings as they are - just the way the ammo worked in the guns I tested 'em in. The same goes for firearms - gun companies rarely give gun writers free guns - as most of you think they do. I've never had a gun company offer to give me a free gun, if I would only give their gun a good review - it's never happened to me, and I don't think it has happened to any other gun writer, either - you can believe it or not. Back in the day, I used to get a lot of gun companies allowing me to keep the samples they sent me - they just didn't have a use for a used gun back in their inventory. Today, it's a rare thing to get a freebie "keeper" firearm. Gun companies usually give us a discounted price on the sample if we want to purchase it after testing, and the prices we get usually aren't discounted as much as you might think.

Look, I'm not rich, so I can't afford to buy all the guns I want. Instead, I'm a habitual gun trader - I'm forever at the local gun shop trading guns for something else that catches my fancy at the time - and I'm sure a lot of you are like that, too. Sure wish I could buy all the guns I want - but I'm a middle class American, like most of you are - I have bills that have to be paid, and buying all the guns I'd like to buy just isn't in the budget. However, over the years, I've probably owned several thousand guns, so I've had the opportunity to test and evaluate a lot of shootin' irons in my lifetime.

Some readers of gun magazines are always saying that gun writers never say anything "bad" about the guns they test. Well, if you read my review articles closely, you'll see that they can usually find something they didn't like about a gun, or something they would prefer was different. And, let's be honest here, if gun magazines started publishing articles and they said all the guns they tested were junk - just how long do you think a gun magazine would stay in business?  I've never had an editor tell me to change anything in my articles - never! They accept them the way they are submitted. (Other than editing my poor grammar and spelling.) But what the heck, that's why we have editors, to make us wurthless gun 'riters look better than we are.

I'll be the first to admit, that no matter how great the quality control is at any gun or knife company is, some lemons slip through. I understand this, but many gun buyers don't. If I get what I believe to be a defective gun for an article, I like to give the gun company the benefit of the doubt. I return the gun and give the company the opportunity to either repair or replace the sample. Then, if the gun is still having problems, I'll report that in my article. I think that's being more than fair. I don't think it's fair when readers jump all over a gun company when they get a "bad" gun - without giving the gun company the chance to correct the problem. And, let's face facts, if gun companies intentionally put defective guns on the market, how long do you think they would be in business? No long, that's for sure. And, some gun companies have better warranties than others, and some have better customer service than others - it comes with the turf.

When I'm testing firearms for articles, I like to fire a reasonable amount of ammo through them whenever possible. Like I said, I don't torture test firearms, but I think running at least 200-500 rounds through a gun is a fair test of how the gun will perform. Oftentimes, depending on my ammo locker supply, I can fire more rounds through a gun simply because I have more of that particular caliber on hand. Other times, I might only have a few hundred rounds of ammo on-hand for my testing. I try to stay ahead of the ammo supplies whenever possible - oftentimes, I can't get all the ammo I'd like to shoot for an article because of an editor's deadline.

I actually carry the guns I write about - at least the handguns. I won't tell you that a 1911 from gun company "X" was easy to conceal and was comfortable - unless it actually was comfortable.This is where the holster makers come in - they send me samples of their products so I can report to my readers (and back to them) how a particular holster worked for its intended purpose.

Honestly, I make every attempt to be fair in my firearms testing, and I report my findings to my readers. There's no hype in my articles - I don't have to impress anyone. There was one gun writer, a couple years ago, who did an article on a custom 1911 - he was able to put five rounds inside of  1/4" at 25-yards, without using any sort of rest. Now, if you put pencil to paper, you know you can't place five .45" bullets inside of a 1/4" hole period! And, this Bozo continues to make these claims and his editors either don't read his articles, or just publish the lies. I don't have an ego, and I could care less if my name appears on an article - my editors can just put that my articles were written by "John Q. Public" if they want. All I care about is if, they spell my name halfway right on my paychecks - which, at times, are far and few between, but it comes with the job. [JWR Adds: Pat Cascio is a volunteer editor for SurvivalBlog, so he deserves even greater credit.]

When it comes to writing about knives - again I have a few things I look at. First and foremost is, is a knife sharp out-of-the-box? If it isn't, we have a real problem, as the number one thing a knife should do is - cut! Believe it or not, I've had quite a few custom knives come into my hands that would have a hard time cutting through warm butter. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I believe that Lynn Thompson, who operates Cold Steel Knives, set the standard for factory sharp knives with his introduction of the tanto - when Cold Steel did this, all the other factory knife companies had to jump on the super-sharp knife bandwagon or get left behind. Today, it's a rare thing to find a factory knife that isn't shaving sharp right out of the box. We're talking about big name knife companies like: Benchmade, Kershaw, SOG, CRKT, and others. The cheap, no-name Chinese imports from some companies are junk and you don't want to mess around with them.

I look at how well made a fixed or folding knife is made. Things have to fit together as intended - loose or sloppy tolerances don't make it with me. I also look at the blade steel being used in a knife, and all the big name knife companies are using top-notch steel in their knives their days. Some steels are better than other - and you pay a higher price for higher quality steels. One of my favorite knife steels is 8USA, it's a stainless steel, that holds an edge a good long time, and it's easy enough to re-sharpen, too - plus, it's an affordable steel to use - I like it. If you want a higher-quality stainless steel, like S30V, you are gonna pay a lot more for the knife.

A knife has to have value, if it's not a good deal, I'm not interested in writing about it. I used to collect custom knives, and you pay a lot more for a custom, hand made knife than you do for a factory made knife. You are paying the artist for his efforts, not just for the materials he uses. And, you are also paying a custom knife maker on the popularity of his knives. Some custom knife makers demand thousands of dollars for a single knife. I'm glad that they can get it and have a following. However, for most of us, a good factory made knife from one of the big name knife companies will get the job done for us. For others, the pure joy and investment of collecting custom knives is what sets their hearts to racing - I have no problem with that. Just don't think that Joe Schmo's custom $3,000 fixed blade knife is gonna cut any better than the factory knife from a big name knife company that sells for $150.

I actually carry and use the knives I write about, too. I like to carry a folder for a couple weeks in my pocket and use it for everyday cutting chores, as well as testing the cutting ability in meat from my freezer, too. Fixed blade knives - I used them around my small homestead for various chores. So, I don't just sit down and write about a knife without first using it. And, just like firearms, a knife has to have a good value in my eyes - remember, I'm not rich, I have to watch every penny I spend, so I'm careful how I spend my money.

I hope this gives SurvivalBlog readers a brief look at to how I test firearms and knives for my articles. And, how and why I got started doing this: I enjoy writing about guns and knives, and other gear. I hope I'm able to give you a leg-up on products, so that when you are looking at purchasing a particular gun or knife, you know what you're looking for and looking at. As I said, I don't consider myself an expert, but I hope my many years experience allows me to pass along my knowledge to you, perhaps making your next purchase easier, or at least well-informed.

So, you all know where I'm coming from, and where I've been when it comes to guns and knives. It hasn't always been an easy road, especially when I first started out - getting samples was a bit difficult, but I built-up my contacts over the years, and that has helped. However, just like most writers, I still have a difficult getting samples every now and then - it is frustrating at times, and you'd think I learn to live with it - but I haven't!

I have learned that SurvivalBlog readers are a very intelligent bunch, I hear from many of you all the time. I can't answer all the e-mails I get, however, I do read them all. On average, I get about 200 e-mails a day, so I can't answer them all. However, when you have a question, I do my best to give you an answer - and I hope I'm giving the right answers. When I don't have an answer, I will call one of my buddies in the industry or another writer and see if they have the answer to your questions.

I hope that you all continue to enjoy my articles on SurvivalBlog.   - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

JWR Adds: I'm honored to have a writer like Pat Cascio on our masthead. Please send him a word of encouragement, from time to time. Manufacturers, importers, and major wholesalers should keep him in mind, as a recipient of sample products. Pat receives no compensation from SurvivalBlog, beyond a few free books.

Monday, August 1, 2011

We've completed the judging! The winner of First Prize in Round 35 of the SurvivalBlog writing contest is R.B. for The Will to Act: Your Ultimate Bug-out Kit which was posted on July 30th. As his prizes, he will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and B.) Two cases of Alpine Aire freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $400 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo, and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value).

Second Prize goes to "Stone of Scone" for Aquaponic Food Production for Long Term Survival, which was posted on July 19th. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value, courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to A.L.T. for The Prepping Imperative, which was posted on July 27th. She will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), and B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value.

Runner Up Prizes ($30 Amazon Gift Certificates) go to these 17 writers:

A New Prize! Starting with Round 36, there will be a prize added to the Third Prize package: Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security. We thank them for their generous support of the blog.

Round 36 begins today, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two of the most frequent questions that I get from SurvivalBlog readers are why I assign pen names to writers even when not asked to do so, and why I don't have an official SurvivalBlog forum. I'll explain both:

Pen Names
I assign a nom de plume to protect your identity. This is standard practice with my blog, especially with controversial topics.  Please pick your own pen names that are unique. I suggest that you use random pen names each time that you send something to post that is controversial. Also, be advised that if you pick something common (like "Tanker") then keep in mind that others have likely used in other Internet venues. So it is possible that someone might make some inferences about you that are not deserved. (Based upon the content of their posts.) 

My quandary is striking a balance between privacy and handing out kudos.  Sadly, the Internet era is also the era of intrusive government, so I tend toward intentional obfuscation. I love giving credit where credit is due, but I dread the day that anyone's door ever get's knocked down at 3 a.m. because of something that was posted in SurvivalBlog. Please forgive me for erring on the side of caution.

The Lack of a SurvivalBlog Forum
I don't have a forum because I don't have the time to moderate it.  Even as it is, I get more than 200 e-mails per day. I pick just a few of those to post. If I were to open up a forum, I suspect that it would get 400+ posts per day.  That would necessitate having a staff of two to four moderators to handle that properly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I'm presently finishing up writing and editing two novels, so I simply don't have an extra six hours per day to be a forum moderator.

Lastly, two reminders: If you ever send something that you don't want posted, then prominently then please flag it "Not for posting." Also, please refrain from trying to get me to join Twitter, or any of the other social networks. When I get e-mails proclaiming that "John Smith is following you on Twitter", it drives me crazy. I don't respond to any of these because joining a social network is both a privacy risk and a time sink.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Letter Re: JWR's Books Available With Bitcoins?

I came across the Bitcoin Trade page and when I reached the Books category, I wondered if I would be able to purchase your future books with BitCoins? Thanks, - M.E.

JWR Replies: I don't sell copies of the books that I've authored directly. But I encourage my advertisers to start accepting Bitcoins, and some of them already stock my books.

BTW, I'd like to again express my thanks to the SurvivalBlog readers who have made their 10 Cent Challenge voluntary subscription payments via Bitcoin. (Our Bitcoin address is: 1K7Gk6kqX6psSWDJaRV6pyDH7dwZuvqtUB.) Please support the Bitcoin movement. You can see an introduction video at: If we can use mechanisms like Bitcoin and traditional barter instead of the banking system, then we will starve the banksters, encourage a reversion to sound currency, and regain some of our economic freedom.

Also BTW, there is a new, zero cost option for making voluntary 10 Cent Challenge donations. You can donate your computer's background processing power to mine Bitcoins for the Ten Cent Challenge. This is a Java applet that is NOT installed on your PC or Mac. It simply runs within a web browser session. Please keep that Bitcoin mining web page open while web browsing.That link is currently earning us about .1 BTC per day. Please remember to refresh it regularly while web browsing, so we can maintain a good rate for the Ten Cent Challenge. Many thanks!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest - Round 34 Winners Selected

First Prize goes to J.B. in Montana for Preparing Kids for Disasters, posted on May 28th. He will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate is for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and B.) Two cases of Alpine Aire freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $400 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo , and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value).

Second Prize goes to Bryan R. for A Guide to Chemical Warfare Preparation, posted on May 24th. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize: goes to "Notutopia" for How to Winnow, De-Hull, and Clean Your Own Home-Grown Grains, posted on May 6th. She will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.) , and B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value.

Honorable Mention Awards: The writers of the 14 following articles will each receive a $30 Amazo.comn gift certificate, via e-mail:

Note to the prize winners: Please let me know your e-mail addresses for the gift certificates. (Those will be sent via e-mail.) I'll also need both the USPS and UPS addresses for the top three prize winners.

Today we also present the first entry for Round 35 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round will be identical to those in Round 34.

Round 35 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Thank you very much for your help with my inquiry about storing grain and mylar bags. I have acquired some mylar bags from the US.  Your blog is a tremendous source of information but of course most the suppliers mentioned in the blogs and advertising on the blog are in America.

As stated in my original e-mail I am very new to prepping and have spent countless hours on the net trying to find a source of supply of items here in Australia.  No doubt countless preppers do the same thing attempting to find the things they need in their own country.  So I have a suggestion  -  if it is possible  -  to help preppers in other countries.  Would it be possible to set up a data base or a section on the blog where people in countries other than America could post where they can source things in their own country?
For example:  Taking Australia – which is pretty important to me personally  -  Where can you find Fuel stabilizer,  Food grade buckets,  Mylar bags, various grains in bulk,  anything in bulk even canned goods, grain mills  -  the list is endless.

If preppers in Australia for instance had a site where they could list the what, where, the cost (for comparison between suppliers)  and web site to obtain items, other people could find this information without trying to do it from scratch on their own.

Some things cannot be sourced locally.  I found for instance that there is not an agent for Country Living grain mills in Australia.  If you want one of their grain mills you have to bring it in from the US at around $120 to $140 postage. That sure adds to the price.

But many things are available if you know where to look. I sure need some help and I bet that readers of your blog all around the world could benefit greatly from a source of information for their own country.

Thanks again, - Warren

JWR Replies: To share information and to organize "group buys", I recommend using forums like these, which are extant:

And for any readers who live in countries that do not yet have a prepper forum, launch your own! Starting and moderating a forum isn't rocket science, and forum software is available free or at very low cost. You can be the first to set up forums anywhere in the world where there are a significant number of preppers. Based upon SurvivalBlog's visitor map, it is safe to assume that prepper forums are needed in many countries including South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Israel, India, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan. Again, I encourage you to take the initiative, and start them. Once you do, I'll be happy to give you some publicity in SurvivalBlog.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear James:
During the major winter storm here in Texas in January we experienced many hours without electricity. The power outages were caused by rolling blackouts and also by storm related damage. Our family made the decision to use the situation as an opportunity to "see what it would be like".

One major thing that we noticed that we were totally un-prepared for was the loss of the Internet. We quickly discovered how many times a day we use the Internet as a source of reference and information. Our thoughts were previously about e-mail and news updates. Those we could do without, what made the difference was the loss of being able to reference information, solve problems, and answer questions.

Your blog is a major reference source for our family. The archives of information are used daily to answer questions and provide valuable information. Without electricity, we were without Internet, and without Internet we were without our info references.

Our family got an Apple iPad for Christmas and we are amazed at what can be done with this small piece of electronics. It can run up to 12 hours between charges. Millions of people in this country have purchased the iPad and similar electronic "notebooks" since their introduction.

How about using some technology to provide preppers with info when the SHTF. Is there someway that you can make the archives available so they can be downloaded to iPad or similar notebook and be available to folks even if the grid is down and internet is not working or available? All the great store of information would be available at any time. Please consider someway that this information and service can be provided so that folks can have it on hand for immediate reference at any time.

Also, I wonder if you have any update on Anchor of Hope and what is going on with the Memsahib Memorial Fund?

Thanks, - Bryan E.

JWR Replies: A five-year compendium archive of SurvivalBlog on CD-ROM (in both HTML and PDF) optimized for laptops and iPads is now available on CD-ROM, for $19.95. Using a Mac with a CD-ROM drive, the entire contents can be loaded onto an iPad. There is also a Kindle-optimized archive of Archives 2005-2010 is also available for $9, via the store.

I'm pleased to report that the Memsahib Memorial Fund has thusfar raised more than $35,000 for the Anchor Institute mission and school in very rural Zambia. It is an outstanding charity, because it has hardly any overhead, and the recipients are very deserving. With enough funds, one future project there will be the installation of a photovoltaic power system.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A reader wrote to mention that my upcoming novel "Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse"  is already available for pre-order on Please wait to order until the planned Book Bomb Day, October 4th, 2011. Please mark your calendars. By concentrating most of the initial orders on that day, we are hoping to drive the novel's sales ranks up into the Top Ten, and thereby generate extra publicity. (That approach worked well with "Patriots".) Many Thanks!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dear Mr. Rawles:
Gibson Research Corporation offers a free [PC] utility called ID Serve that will quickly tell the user the IP address of any web site, as well as some other info.  It can also look up the domain name using the IP address.  This is useful to help SurvivalBlog readers find the numerical IP for their favorite web sites in case of domain name mischief at the hands of government or private hackers.  IP Serve can be downloaded here free of charge. (As a bonus, it is tiny--just 26 kbytes--and fast. It is not "bloatware"). - Sincerely, D.V.B.

Friday, April 1, 2011

We've completed the judging for Round 33 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest!

First prize goes to K.M. for What is a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit?, which was posted on March 15, 2011. K.M. will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and B.) Two cases of Alpine Aire freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $400 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A 250 round case of 12 Gauge Hornady TAP FPD 2-3/4" OO buckshot ammo, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo , and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value).

Second prize goes to Stefan M., for The Process of Preserving Meat by Curing: From Curing Salt to Finished Bacon, which was posted on February 12, 2011. He will receive: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value). Also, for this round only, we are adding a special Bonus Prize: One G5RV 80-10 Dipole antenna kit, kindly donated by Martronics. (A $50 value.)

Third prize goes to The Former South Aussteyralian for Strategic Relocation in Australia, which was posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. He will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.) , and B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value. (SurvivalBlog will cover the extra postage costs to get his prizes to him in Tasmania.)

Runner-up prizes go to an unprecedented 20 writers:

Each of these writers will receive a $30 gift certificate.

Note to all prize winners: Please let me know your e-mail addresses for the Amazon gift certificates. (Those will be sent via e-mail.) I'll also need both postal service and UPS addresses for the top three prize winners.

Today we begin Round 34 of the contest. Round 34 ends on May 31st. Here is the first entry:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The five-year compendium archive of SurvivalBlog articles and letters on CD-ROM (in both HTML and PDF) is now available! This CD-ROM, optimized to laptops, is now orderable through, for $19.95. Even if the Internet goes down, you will still have all of SurvivalBlog's archives at your fingertips, with all posts fully searchable. And if you are online while using the CD-ROM, the links to external web sites are fully functional. The blog's archives are immense. (If you were to print out the entire PDF, it would take 5,504 sheets of paper!) Order your copy today!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We were planning to release the SurvivalBlog 2005-2010 Archives CD in late January but this was seriously delayed. Unfortunately, the production team at Cafe Press inadvertently produced blank CD-ROMs and mailed them them to the 27 beta testers. It took more than three weeks and countless phone calls for Cafe Press to admit their mistake and to issue refunds. We are now in the process of starting another beta test, using a different company for production order and fulfillment, The production version (v.1.0) should be ready for ordering by late March. Many thanks for your patience! (In the meantime, the Kindle archive for 2005-2010 is available for $9, via the store.)

You will have soon received a flat rate Priority Mail box containing $150 in nickels (inside a thick cardboard reinforcement liner) that I sent you. I sent you those coins for two reasons:

One: I should have been a [voluntary] Ten Cent Challenge subscriber, starting from back when I began reading SurvivalBlog in 2008. The nickels cover not only the past three years, but also pre-pay my subscription for the next year, too.

Two: Last week my local bank finally cut me off (and other bank patrons, too), from buying more than one roll [of nickels] at a time. You were right: "The window of opportunity is closing." In the summer of 2008, shortly after I started reading your blog and your novel, I started buying $40 in nickels (rolled) every time I went to the bank. I work just two blocks from the bank, so it was real easy to do on my lunch hour. The tellers must have thought that I'm in the vending machine business. Now, about 200-odd trips to the bank later, I now have accumulated more than $8K face [value] in nickels. So that one small box of nickels (soon to arrive) is just my small way of saying "thanks" for the heads-up on nickels.

They are all now in ammo cans (following your advice), forming a very imposing wall in my "Hidey Room" that my wife teases me about. I also have about 30 cans of ammunition--assorted calibers, lined up on the opposite wall in there. She says that both [the nickels and the ammunition] will give us protection not just from the soon-coming hyperinflation, but also incoming small arms fire and gamma ray radiation! That stack of 42 ammo cans (holding $188 face [value of nickels] in each can) is so darn heavy that I only feel safe with it on a [concrete] slab floor. I estimate that it weighs about 1.5 tons! Without the advance warning on coming events that you provided, there is no way that I would have "beat the rush" on nickels.

I was born much too late (1966) to get any silver coins at face value. But thanks to you, I've been getting nickels with a built-in 40% return, but costing me just face value!

OBTW, I have no doubt that there will be a "by the bag" bullion market for nickels within a couple of years, regardless of any change in the current "no melting" law. People recognize true value, and they always price it, accordingly. Just like you, I'm amazed at the rapid and fluid reaction of a free market.

With My Thanks, - Karl H. (A Comfortable 70 Miles From Green Bay)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I was tickled to see that SurvivalBlog was named as a recipient of a Stylish Blogger award by Judy of the Consent of the Governed blog.

This is a great exercise in fun and mutual back-scratching. Of course, as with any of these blog awards, there are rules. The “rules” that come along with this award designation are (1) I must divulge seven things about myself, and then (2) pay the Stylish Blogger Award forward to fifteen other blogs.

So here are seven things about me…

1.) I'm so secretive about the location of the Rawles Ranch that many of my friends don't know where it is. Nor my literary agent. Nor my book editors. Nor the movie and television producers. They simply don't have a "need to know" unless they come to visit. (And if you are wondering, no, I don't make them wear blindfolds.)

2.) I have a mania for collecting and restoring 1930s to 1950s vintage All-American Five vacuum tube AM-Shortwave radios that can operate on both AC and DC.

3.) I no longer rent table space at gun shows. But I still prowl the aisles at shows as far away as the SAR show in southern Arizona.

4.) Our family has a morning Bible study six days a week. I have found that it is an edifying way to both educate my children Biblically, add to my own knowledge, solidify our relationships, and prepare ourselves for turbulent coming events.

5.) I watch the movies Big Trouble in Little China and Groundhog Day at least once a year.

6.) Many of the plot details and the dialogue in my novels come to me in dreams. When get to a point where I'm stuck in writing, I just suggest to myself that I dream it, that night.

7.) I cannot ice skate or roller skate. (Thankfully, that is rarely required as a survival skill.)

Here are my Stylish Blogger Award honorees (in no particular order):

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Archives 2005-2010 for Kindle has just been updated to be more user friendly.

New features include:

  • Table of Contents
  • 700+ broken links fixed
  • Search Function (Tested thusfar on a Kindle 3 running v3.1 -- not guaranteed to work with earlier Kindles)

Note: Those of you who have already purchased the Blog Archives ebook, send an e-mail to: with this info:

"KDP Team, Please update this ebook on my account. [insert the e-mail address of your Amazon account here] ASIN: B004OL2XQ0"

If the Search Function still doesn't work after you've updated to the new version then try the following:

  1. Update to the latest version of the system software on your Kindle.
  2. Wait for the Kindle to index the archive, which takes about one hour. (This is because the file is 21.2 MB.)

Anyone ordering the Archives for the first time (from February 25th onward) will get the improved version.


OBTW, you don't need a Kindle to use the mobile reader Archives. You can download one of Amazon's free Kindle ebook readers.

Want to buy a Kindle? There are several versions available.


Stay tuned for release of the HTML and PDF version on CD-ROM for PC and Mac laptops. After a brief glitch, it is back in Beta testing. Again, thanks for your patience.

We eventually plan to create another version for Sony, Nook, iPad and other readers in epub format. If any SurvivalBlog readers have personal experience and can recommend truly functional epub creator software, then we'd appreciate your advice. (Contact Sebastian Rawles via e-mail.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mr. Rawles:
I will be 75 years old in July. The enclosed check for $200 should cover my [Ten Cent Challenge] 10 cents per day for almost 5-1/2 years [$200 divided by $36.50 = 5.479 years]. Thus, I 've secured a lifetime membership to the age 80. If I do somehow live to age 80--unlikely due to my health condition--and the current Obama administration has not finalized the complete destruction of the United States and your SurvivalBlog still exists, then I will extend my lifetime membership. Regards, - Ralph T.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We've completed the judging for Round 32 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest!

First prize goes to J.E. for: Preparing for the Aftermath--Lessons from the 1930s, which was posted on December 24, 2010. J.E. will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A 250 round case of 12 Gauge Hornady TAP FPD 2-3/4" OO buckshot ammo, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo (a $240 value), and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value).

Second prize goes to Frank J., for TEOTWAWKI Home Dentistry, which was posted on January 27, 2011. Frank will receive: A.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $400, B.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and C.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third prize goes to C.J. in Montana for Returning to My Retreat After a Three Year Absence: Lessons Learned, which was posted on January 17, 2011. C.J. will receive: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.) , and B.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value.

Runner-up prizes go to eight writers:

Each of these writers will receive a $30 gift certificate.

Note to all prize winners: Please let me know your e-mail addresses for the Amazon gift certificates. (Those will be sent via e-mail.) I'll also need both the USPS and UPS addreses for the top thre prize winners.

A New Prize!

We are pleased to announce that an additional prize will now be included as part of the Second Prize package for the upcoming rounds (starting with Round 33) of the writing contest: a Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value. These are being kindly donated by the manufacturer, Next Level Training. We have one of these SIRTs here at the ranch, and it gets a lot of use. It is an excellent way to develop speed and accuracy with absolute safety. Not only does it save on ammo, but it helps keep you at a high level of training, even during inclement weather. It has also provided us a way to practice "force on force" training for our family. (That was something that I had never felt comfortable with, using "triple confirmed" unloaded functional guns.)

Today we begin Round 33 of the contest. Round 33 ends on March 31st. Here is the first entry:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Just a short note to provide feedback on your advertisers. First, as a retired engineer who always dealt with verifiable data, I am always initially skeptical of product claims and hype. However, since I have, over the years, started buying materiel, I have found that your advertisers provide not only great products, but also outstanding service.

I now have come to trust any company I see on SurvivalBlog. Looking back, I have spent approximate $14,000 in the last three years getting my family prepared. From your advertisers, I have purchased books, seeds, food, gear, water filters, barrels, grain mills, wheat berries, etc. I have never encountered any problems with any of your advertisers when I have had the need to call for additional information. I received nothing but outstanding customer service.

Today I purchased a Tri-Fuel conversion kit for my Generac generator from the company mentioned in a recent post. I had been looking for two years for the correct one.

Your site, while it has valuable information and hands on application data, is also a valuable source for saving time in finding the right material for specific uses and situations. As far as I and my family are concerned, has become a national asset ... so (tongue in cheek), be careful. The Feds have been known to take over national assets.

Warm Regards, - Marc N. in Alabama

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dear James,  
I read much of your blog site and started to get prepared two years ago when the financial crisis first hit.  Now, while staying dry enough, I am surrounded by flooded towns and washed out roads and bridges.  So much of what you have written is of value here right now.  I thought you would appreciate an on-the spot report.  Now my friends are scrambling and I don’t look like such a fool.     

We in Jandowae have potable water but our nearest neighbouring town, Dalby was trucking in a million litres a day.  Even locally I have seen some gastrointestinal infections and am grateful for good water filtration equipment.  We have needed our battery operated radio as there have been frequent blackouts, the bug out bags are ready in case we get more rain upstream and evacuation is needed, and it is a comfort to have sufficient food for a year and a good supply of heirloom seeds to plant as soon as the water goes down as they expect food prices to double in the coming months as more than half of the state has been underwater with massive stock and crop losses.  I even bought a spare house to have more land to cultivate and storage room, and I think we are going to be glad of that. (I live in the shop.)  

Everything that seemed common sense and intuitively correct is coming true – we are all so interconnected and interdependent that without a functioning road network, no one can get anything in or out.  Livestock cannot get to the slaughterhouse or meat or milk to market or processed and packaged goods back to the country.  Many large towns are out of fuel, and no one anywhere can get bread or milk. No one.  The bakeries are out of flour so can’t even bake any.  There has been panic buying and shop shelves are stripped bare, but you can still get the odd treat like chocolate at our local store.  There are only a few of us in my town who can go to work as most men I know are truck or transport drivers, farmers with paddocks and sheds under water or coal mine workers. (The mines have shut down as both rail and roads are washed out and there is no way to get the finished product to the ports or export. They are losing $100 million every day in exports, and Australia supplies half of the world’s supply of coking coal).  When the holiday pay runs out, many will be unable to meet their mortgage payments and with food costs about to go through the roof, there will be widespread hardship.  

I have enough issues with my store and looking after the unprepared that I am so glad all our personal needs are well looked after.   

I also look at the big picture, the months of recovery ahead, the isolation which will continue for a very long time and the huge inflation we will be dealing with and it has all happened just as you predicted.   It is still unfolding tonight as the capital city, Brisbane, loses 3,500 businesses, 20,000 homes and many kilometers of roads and bridges. You probably saw what happened to people in the Lockyer Valley when a wall of water went through the main street of Toowoomba, (where we do most of our shopping), and then down the mountainside, washing away houses.  Many were stuck on their roofs and no one could rescue them because it was too large a scale of disaster and torrential rain continued all the next day, which hampered rescue efforts.  We are pretty good at handling disasters here in Australia, but at the moment, the resources are stretched very thin. When things get this bad, we have to be able to take care of ourselves and each other.  

Thanks once again – the amount of stress that I don’t have on account of listening to you and acting on your advice is fantastic. - Karen in Queensland

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dear JWR,  
You have a great blog site. I must inform you that you may not receive a lot of the dimes sent the way that you described. I work for the USPS as a Maintenance Mechanic, Postal Equipment. In short, I work on the automated equipment that processes the incoming letter mail. I have seen the machines tear up large number of letters. The dimes will get vacuumed up during the course of preventive maintenance. Also, new machines heading our way will incorporate a metal detector before the letter is processed through the machine. I would hate to see monies heading your way side-tracked for one reason or another. With Kind Regards, - C.D.P.       

JWR Replies: Thanks! Based on your advice, I've just updated the Ten Cent Challenge page with the following: "Please tape the coins to a scrap 3"x5" piece of cardboard before placing them in an envelope (preferably a padded mailer), so that the coins don't rattle around and so the envelope does not get shredded."

I'd also like to express my thanks to the more than 30 people that have either renewed or sent in new subscriptions in the past 24 hours. A couple of folks sent $100 and one sent $150. Those multi-year subscriptions are greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I only post one reminder each year about Ten Cent Challenge subscriptions, and this is it. Unlike Jimmy Wales at Wikipedia and the whining leftist hand-wringers at PBS, I don't do endless pledge drives.

I depend on my readers to help pay the bills to keep SurvivalBlog up and running. Our web hosting on a dedicated server costs $650.00 per month, and our local ISP bill is $129.00 per month. We also have other expenses including liability insurance, phone bills, computer hardware, software, accounting, subscriptions, writing contest prizes, and so forth.

My appeal is simple: If you feel that you get more than 10 cents per day in value from reading SurvivalBlog, then please make a voluntary subscription payment, for 10 cents a day. ($36.50 for a year.)

I don't keep any e-mail lists, which is why this annual post is necessary. (I never e-mail any solicitations for subscriptions or renewals. Subscriptions are purely on the honor system.)

The Silver Dimes Option
Staring in 2011, I'm also seeking payment for subscriptions in the form of pre-1965 U.S. silver dimes. The current multiplier for silver is around 25-to-1. (25 times face value--so a silver dime is worth about $2.50.) But since mass inflation looks inevitable, I expect that the value of a silver dime will soon exceed $10. So just send two or three silver dimes for each year's subscription. OBTW, it is best to tape them to a scrap 3"x5" card before placing them in an envelope, so that the coins don't rattle around. And of course check with your postal clerk for the correct postage.

Our mailing address is:

P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845

To those that have already subscribed, my most sincere thanks! You represent the less than 1% of readers that pony up. I greatly appreciate your loyal support!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We post SurvivalBlog's IP address (also referred to as a "dotted quad" or IPv4 address) as a sort of insurance policy. Recent events have proven that a government agency or a malicious hacker can fairly easily seize or hijack a domain name. This has already happened to at least 75 U.S. web sites without due process of law. Their DNS records were changed, essentially erasing them from the "phone books of the Internet." To insure against this, we are distributing our IPv4 address. This can be pasted or typed into a web browser window in place of ""

What you need to do:

Take a pen and write down our dotted quad address:, and please carry that in your wallet.

If and when "" disappears, or if it is replaced by a graphic and a message from a bureaucrat or a hacker, then enter our dotted quad IP address into your web browser. That way you should still be able to to continue to access SurvivalBlog, as long as our server is still functional.

If "" doesn't work, but our dotted quad IP address does work, then please send an alert with the dotted quad notation IP address to all your friends and relatives via e-mails, IMs, forum posts, phone text messages, or social networking services. Be sure to include the full address: Do your best to then spread the word, far and wide!

In the months to come we plan to implement some additional Continuity of Web Service (COWS) insurance measures, including an offshore mirror site and perhaps even a darknet setup. We will post details as these features are developed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

By God's grace, there was a strong response to my late wife's July 2009 Bucket List post. One of the responses came from a lovely young widow. She is a committed Christian, a homeschooling mom, and very outdoorsy. (She is an avid gardener, target shooter, hiker and kayaker.) In SurvivalBlog posts, my new bride will be known as Avalanche Lily. She plans to chime in on various blog topics, and she has already started helping me edit articles and my book manuscripts.

It was abundantly clear that it was God's hand that put us together. We both stand amazed at the foresight and selflessness of my late wife ("The Memsahib") in writing the post that was instrumental in bringing us together.

Avalanche Lily is an amazingly energetic lady, and I'm thrilled to have her as my wife and joining me as co-editor of SurvivalBlog.  God is so wonderfully provident! I feel tremendously blessed.

Thanks for your prayers. My recent marriage is proof that prayers can be effectual!   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I've had several readers ask me about the status of my upcoming novels. Here is the news, in brief: I submitted the manuscript for the first sequel to "Patriots" in July. Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) plans to release it around October of 2011. It is currently being edited. OBTW, I had the chance to meet my editor, Emily Bestler, in person for the first time last month. She is a very skillful editor. After seeing how wonderfully she edited Glenn Beck's new novel "The Overton Window", I am convinced that she will do a great job with my novels.

I am meanwhile busily writing the second sequel, which is scheduled for release around October of 2012. I should mention that both of the sequels are contemporaneous with the action in "Patriots", but set in different locales. There is just minor overlap of characters that fill in some of the missing pieces in "Patriots". For example, in the second sequel there are more details about Ian and Blanca Doyle, and in the second sequel there are more details about Ken and Terry Layton.

My thanks to the many folks who volunteered to be subject matter experts on my latest novel. They provide a wealth of information that adds texture and authenticity. I will be corresponding with them in the coming weeks, as the new chapters take shape. Thank you!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We've complotted the judging for Round 29 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The winners are:

First prize goes to Old Dog in Wisconsin for Getting My Lists Together, posted on July 15th.

He will receive all of the following: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost between $500 and $600, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (a $275 value), D.) A 500 round case of Fiocchi 9mm Parabellum (Luger ) with 124gr. Hornady XTP/HP projectiles, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo (a $249 value), and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value).

Second prize goes to B.B. in California, for Riots and Civil Unrest in America, posted on July 21st. He will receive: A.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $400, and B.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third prize goes to Dr. Bones for A Doctor's Thoughts on Antibiotics, Expiration Dates, and TEOTWAWKI, posted on July 26th. He will receive A.) A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing, and B.) a Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.)

Because of the tremendous number of great entries in this round we've selected an unprecedented 20 "honorable mention" prize winning articles. Each of these writers will receive a $30 gift certificate. The prize winning articles are:

Note to prize winners: Please e-mail me your snail mail addresses (both UPS and US mail), and I'll get your prizes out, right away.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Noah may have questioned God about why he should build such a big boat.  To quote the comedian Bill Cosby, God might have asked: “How long can you tread water?”

In the event of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) burst 250 miles above Kansas or a super solar flare, the loss of the electrical grid would stop almost all food production and importation in the USA.  Some estimate there is, at any given time, more than 1,000 pounds per capita of food in consumable form available in the USA.  Unfortunately, it is very poorly distributed and will not be available to the populace in a “Grid Down” scenario.  So the question is then, if you personally have not stored at least a three years supply of food per person (and, no, a one year supply just won’t due), “How long can you live on a zero calorie diet”?   

Iran, as this is written, has a small satellite circling the earth 250 miles high.  They are building a satellite launching facility for larger rockets.  They have launched missiles from a barge in the Caspian Sea and detonated them at high altitude.  They have tested a sophisticated two point detonation method which allows a much smaller nuclear bomb (reduced payload on a rocket).  They have enough material right now, if further enriched, to build at least 2 nuclear bombs (although too heavy for missiles).  North Korea has enough plutonium for at least 10 bombs, they are making more every day, and they successfully detonated a small nuclear bomb (Hiroshima size) in 2009.  As well, they are developing missile and space technology.  Chavez just met with Putin to obtain nuclear energy and space technology.  Pakistan’s nuclear guru A.Q. Khan is known to have shared nuclear bomb technology throughout the Middle East.  According to Times Now, “Already Pakistan has 60 nuclear warheads, and now with two new plutonium reactors nearing completion in Khusab, its weapons grade plutonium production will jump seven-fold, according to latest figures released by Swedish institute SIPRI.”

North Korea needs money, a lot of money.  Plutonium is one of the most precious commodities on the planet.  Will Pakistan or Korea sell their plutonium or complete nukes?  It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.  Syria has transferred Scud [SS-1] missiles to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah (Jihadi terrorists).  North Korea is suspected of transferring nuclear technology to Syria, Iran and Myanmar (Burma).  In short, the nuclear genie is out of the bottle and it is all over the globe.  We have simply lost control and now it is only a matter of when, not if.

A super solar storm can do the same thing as an EMP and would have done so in 1859 and 1921 if our electronics had the sensitivity that they do today.  As reported by NASA Science  in May, 2010, “The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms….”  Such an event just recently took place.  On April 19, 2010, Science Daily Online observed one of the most massive solar eruptions in years. Earth was not in the line of fire ... this time.”    Again, it is only a matter of time.

A massive cyber attack to the Grid:  "The severity of what we're seeing is off the charts," said Tom Kellermann, vice president of security awareness for Core Security Technologies and a member of the Commission on Cyber Security that is advising President Obama. "Most of the critical infrastructure in the U.S. has been penetrated to the root by state actors." Joe Weiss, a security expert and managing partner of Applied Control Solutions, who has testified before Congress about such threats, said “The industry has failed to address these vulnerabilities.” He said “The long-term ramifications of such an attack would be severe: If electrical equipment were destroyed, power could be lost for six to nine months, because the replacement gear would take so long to manufacture.”   Note:  As you read the following, consider what that six to nine months without electricity and what the power grid really means to our society.

EMP is optimized by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at 25 to 250 miles above the Earth's surface.  An electromagnetic field radiates down to the earth, creating electrical currents.  These instantaneous currents accumulate and migrate on long electrical lines and overheat transformers, large and small.  Breakers are of no use due to the speed of the pulse which is 1,000 times faster than lightning. EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear burst.  A 40 mile high detonation over Virginia would black out the entire East Coast.  A 250 mile high detonation over Kansas would take out most, if not all, of the continental USA.  

The lead time for obtaining a single replacement of the very large “step-up or step down” type transformer is two to three years from overseas (Total worldwide production of these huge transformers is less than 100 per year); there are about 2,000 in the USA that would need to be replaced plus the millions of small transformers (frequently mounted on utility poles) in the distribution system.  There is a huge and perhaps insurmountable problem with almost all electrical power generation plants.  They must be shut down gradually according to carefully designed procedures.  A sudden shutdown from an EMP or super solar flare would cause the destruction of major components of most power plants and, in a grid down scenario, it would not be possible to repair them.  Further,most that survive must have outside power for start up and that outside power won’t exist.  

The point is Noah only had to contend with a boat ride and live off of stored food with no one coming to his door asking for a handout.  We, on the other hand, will be without electricity for many years, able to create very little new food, and will have to defend against a continuous onslaught of attackers.

Even a small nuclear weapon at 250 miles high would permanently take down the electrical grid by shorting out transformers, large and small, because they are all tied into long distribution lines which would pickup, magnify and transmit the surge.  Although cars, computers, televisions, generators, etc. may or may not continue to be operational, a regional or national grid failure would cause a cascade of failures throughout the broader infrastructure due to our highly interdependent systems and “just in time” delivery systems. Even if cars and trucks still ran there would be no new fuel supplies.  The disruption would include communications (radio, television, phones, GPS), banking (including ATM machines and credit cards), cash registers at stores, medical, police (911 dispatching), fire fighting support, fuel and energy (including gas stations), transportation, food production, processing and delivery systems (including farm equipment, fertilizer and insecticides), water for consumption and irrigation, emergency services, satellites and the Internet. The fundamental force behind any and all modern industrial societies is electricity.

A small nuclear weapon specifically designed to produce a very powerful EMP would take out virtually every electrical device that was not protected.  In either case, effectively, the U.S. would be thrown back to the pre-electrical age and 99% of US food production and processing would cease.  Such an event is frequently referred to as “The end of the world as we know it” (TEOTWAWKI) or “When the Schumer hits the fan” (WTSHTF).

There would be immediate loss of access to our money.  Under Martial Law, if communications existed to transmit the orders, there would be extreme limits on access to our money, they would allow maybe a maximum of 5% of funds on deposit to be withdrawn per month, but banks would run out of currency almost immediately, if they were open at all, and would not have access to more.  Currency itself would only have value as long as people believed the government could restore the electrical grid and get things back to normal.  Within a few weeks, when people realize the power will not be coming back on, currency would have no value.  Further, the rest of the world, seeing our hopeless condition, would realize we would have no ability to generate revenue and they would deem the US dollar worthless.  Investments in US stocks and bonds would be worthless.  The value of real estate would be at or near zero.  There would be no access to funds held off shore.  The loss of wealth as we know it today would be nearly total.  Wealth after TEOTWAWKI would have its basis in clean water (and the means to make it), food (and the means to grow and preserve it), fuel, tools and arms and in the knowledge and skills useful in a world without electricity.  Gold and silver may have their place, but “you can’t eat gold” e.g.  If I only have enough food for me and my family to survive, I won’t be trading it for gold or silver.

After an EMP or super solar flare, except for those on life support systems or perhaps in airplanes, there would be no immediate loss of life due to the burst(s). There would be no shock wave or radiation.  For awhile it would seem to be just an ordinary power outage, but gradually, hour by hour, the seriousness of the problem would be realized. Water from the tap would stop very soon if not immediately. Most emergency generators, if they worked, would run out of fuel within 72 hours.  Food in freezers would last a few days then spoil.   Grocery stores would be looted within a couple of days.  Most food in the USA is stored in regional warehouses, and some of it requires refrigeration.  Most people, probably 80%, would choose to stay in their homes for as long as the food in their pantry lasted and they had access to clean or treatable water.  They would be hoping, day by day, that the power would come back on and they could resume their everyday lives again.  When the water and/or food ran out or they were overrun by looters, they would have no choice but to hit the road in hopes of finding food somewhere.  Ninety percent of the US population will run out of food in their homes in less than two months, many in a week or two. They would become refugees.  A refugee is a person who is carrying with them all of their means for survival and cannot survive more than a few weeks without help since they cannot produce new food.  Many would loot, burn and destroy the cities and suburbs while most would hope to find survival in the country believing that farmers have an abundance of food.  Eventually virtually all must leave the cities because there will be nothing left to eat and the means to produce new food there will not exist. (Often referred to as the “Golden Horde” which would follow “Refugee Lines of Drift”. See:

Vladimir Lenin is often quoted as saying, "Where there is hunger, there is no law."  In their struggle to survive refugees would first be beggars, but very quickly, with the increase in hunger, they would become looters and spread out like locusts stripping the land of everything edible.  Remember, these people would not be on a simple weekend camping trip. Rather, they and their children would be starving, desperate and probably sick.  They would have lost everything.  They would face a horrific and uncertain future and they would pretty much do anything to survive.  A few may indeed maintain their moral integrity and quietly watch their children starve to death, but the vast majority of refugees will become looters, most of them violent?  Many would be in loosely formed bands for the purpose of overwhelming homes or retreats.  They will resent and hate those who have stored food in advance and feel it is not fair that preppers should “hoard” food while their families starve.  From the preppers point of view they may only have enough food for their own family to survive and to give it away would doom their own family. 

Some “Preppers” will have stored food, fuel and arms for themselves and their loved ones, but unfortunately most will have chosen to do so in their suburban or country home, hobby farm or cabin on the lake.  First, when WTSHTF, the neighbors that knew of your prepping will come to your door when they run low on food, first asking then demanding your food; see the Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter” by Rod Serling who understood human nature.   Second, looting attacks (violent home invasions) will take place again and again and again on every house, occupied or not, as the locust like hoard spreads across the land looking for that last morsel of food.  Remote homes/retreats will be least susceptible but eventually every home/retreat that can be found will be looted.  It may take some time for them to reach the mountain lake cabins, but they will reach them, and overwhelm them all.  The defenders of homes and retreats will be forced to repeatedly kill and dispose of the bodies of the attackers and deal with the heartbreak of their own dead and wounded until they themselves are eventually overwhelmed by a superior force.  No matter how well prepared, the retreat will be overrun.  Why?  There will be a great many attacks from random groups large and small, day and night, day after day, week after week for months.  Also, well organized and well armed groups may note your solid resistance and plan your demise over time since they know you are not going anywhere.  Eventually they will use tear gas, explosives, armored vehicles, etc.  When they want you, they will take you.  The other contingency is that the “attackers” may be the U.S. Military or a local government enforcing Martial Law for the confiscation of food and arms.  Frankly, I do not foresee long term survival unless the retreat remains unknown to all.

Typical homes and cabins cannot be defended well.  A high velocity .308 projectile will pass through the entire house unless it hits a wall stud or appliance and wall studs are typically spaced 16” apart.  Eventually a large enough group or gang will take the house, kill/rape/plunder, transport the goods to their lair and then move on to other targets.  They would systematically attack every home/retreat they can find.  Any surviving defenders will become refugees.  Even with a remote food/equipment cache, the defenders will still be refugees with insufficient food to survive until food could be grown and without the means to preserve it if they could grow it.   Almost everyone who becomes a refugee will surely die quickly from exposure, violent mobs, physical attack, starvation, disease, infection or dysentery (which would be epidemic due to fouled water). 

You may think this is an exaggeration about the vulnerability of your home and our society, but just take a minute here to step out of your house, walk to the street and study your home for a minute.  Imagine you, your brother, and your friend from down the street trying to defend your house at night with two deer rifles and a 12 gauge shotgun against 20 guys with semi-automatic assault rifles, night vision goggles and maybe tear gas and an armored vehicle.  You would be surrounded.  There would be no help from anywhere and you would not have a “snowball’s chance".   They will tell you that if you just give up your supplies they will leave you unharmed.  When you surrender they will have you haul your goods to their vehicles with smiling gratitude then they will tie you up and torture your wife or children in front of you until you tell them where your “secret supply caches” of food and gold are located, even if you do not have one. (For an example in fiction, see the movie Nevada Smith with Steve McQueen.)  The thing is they already know that many retreats have such caches so, until dead from torture, they will not believe that you do not.  They will kill the men, children and older women and take any young women with them.  Yes, in many cases it will be that horrific.  Throughout history it has always been such.

Your home was built completely dependent on services, including sewer, water, electricity, heating fuel and the fuel for your car to get you to and from work and stores.  Without electricity you have no heat, no air conditioning, inability to cook (a large propane tank is an exception), no lights, no water, no sewer (requires water for the toilet).  Without these services your home is a poorly located weatherproof shell that was built the way it was and where it was only because of the “absolute certainty” that there would always be electrical service.  Here is an eye opening weekend experiment:  Turn off all the electricity to your house (except the refrigerator and freezer which would be taped shut), turn off the gas and water and prohibit the use of your vehicles.  You will find out in a hurry about life without electricity.  Now look at your neighbor’s house, think about the houses across town, think of your parents or brother’s house across the country.  All across the nation homes are about the same (about 99%), they all depend upon services that will not be available after the loss of electricity.  And almost all will only have a few weeks to a few months of food on their kitchen shelves, pantry and refrigerator.  Translation, almost all of their occupants will become refugees when the food runs out or when they are overwhelmed by attackers and will die soon thereafter.  All of them.  Again, the fundamental force behind any and all industrial society is electricity.

Think about it:   When you are forced out of your home or run out of food and there is no new food to be had anywhere, what are you going to do, where are you going to go?  This won’t be like in the movies or books, there will be no cavalry, no supplies parachuted in, and no relief trucks arriving just in time.  There will be no help at all.  Over 310 million people in the U.S. will be on their own just like you with almost no new food being produced or imported.  Think of the total USA food supply like a giant hour glass being filled with food production and imports just as fast as it is being consumed.  After an EMP or super solar flare the consumption will continue at the same rate while food production and importation will essentially stop completely.  That means no more new food added to the hour glass!  Perhaps one third of total US food supply will rot due to the lack of refrigeration and 80% of the balance is somewhere in the production, storage or distribution system, none of which still function.  The balance available to the masses will be consumed as it is looted.  The hour glass will be essentially empty for the masses.  For anyone to survive they must have enough to eat until new food could be grown, perhaps the second summer after TEOTWAWKI, assuming you have the means and know how.

Hansel and Gretel were dumped in the forest to die or fend for themselves, probably so their parents could try to feed the then smaller family.  During severe famine in the middle ages this forced reduction in the size of families was not unheard of.  Most of us have no concept of real famine.  If we did, each and every one of us would have at least three years supply of food while obtaining it was so simple, so easy. The representation of the Witch as a cannibal is not a coincidence.  Cannibalism was widespread in the past among humans throughout the world; in many cultures it was an everyday thing even without famine.  Severe famine and cannibalism, however, go hand and hand, for example the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 57, the Donner Party, Siege of Leningrad, etc.  So, when the masses are starving, be careful, they may not look on you as either friend or foe; they may think of you as dinner.
New food cannot be grown until after the violent gangs are gone and those with seeds and know how are no longer afraid of having their gardens discovered.  The first new food probably could not be safely grown until the second summer.  The first crop by inexperienced gardeners without insecticides, fertilizer, equipment or pumped water will be a disaster.  You had better have enough food to get your family through at least until the third year and way more (non-hybrid) seeds than you think you need.  My mother was a teenager in the Great Depression.  She said they would plant one seed for the birds, one for the bugs and one for themselves, but since they could buy seeds, you should add one more category, production of the seeds for next year’s crops.  By the way, do you know how to avoid cross pollination and loss of the usefulness of the seeds?  Do you know how to collect and store the seeds? If you are not doing it now, you probably won’t be able to do it later when your lives depend on it.

After the burst, widespread looting would begin within a day or two in larger cities without containment due to limited communications and totally inadequate law enforcement.  Within a week there would be near total anarchy except in some small towns and military bases.  Well armed gangs and escaped prisoners, with the most brutal and ruthless taking leadership, would essentially take over and loot, rape, kill and plunder every house and food source within their territory no matter how well defended.  In only a couple of weeks these well armed gangs would become very proficient at taking homes and farms and all they could find would be overrun.  Over time, every farm animal of every description would be consumed.  Wildlife and fisheries would be wiped out.  The seed grains needed for next year’s crop would be consumed. Unspeakable atrocities, cannibalism, and torture would be rampant.   The desperate conditions will unleash the darkest side of human nature.  Throughout history, such atrocities consistently take place when there are no consequences in desperate times.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

As we go about our day to day lives it is very difficult to comprehend that any of the people we know or those that live down the street would do such things, but studies such as the “Stanford Prison Experiment” and others have shown perhaps one third of a random selection of emotionally stable individuals will, within a matter of a few days, show brutal tendencies.  Think of that!  One third of the “problem free, mentally stable” people!  Further, these guys were not trying to survive, they were merely placed in a position of near absolute power over others. In the anarchy after “Grid Down”, if the above is any indication, one third of the population (or much more considering the survival circumstances) would become violent predators plus virtually all of the neighborhood nut cases, criminals, perverts and those in prison.  It would be the worst nightmare of the zombie horror films.   The [Los Angeles] Lakers [basketball team] recently won their umpteenth season and there were riots, even with a huge law enforcement presence.  One news report read: “Despite a massive Los Angeles police presence Thursday night, sporadic violence broke out near Staples Center after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.  Crowds hurled bottles and other objects at police, smashed marquees, jumped on vehicles, broke windows, and set rubbish dumpsters and vehicles on fire…”  But, what if there had been no police presence?   This was a happy mob.

Eventually, over a year or so, these gangs would be killed off by a variety of means such as losses taking retreats, heavily armed organized communities, occasional army units, rival gangs trying to survive, fighting amongst themselves or, when there were no more places to loot or stored food to eat, they would starve to death.

In six months to a year 90% of the US population would be dead.   The higher the current population density of an area the higher percentage death rate since the density of looters and gangs would wipe out almost every prepper, farmer, or retreat no matter how well defended leaving nothing to survive on until food could be grown and leaving very few who have the supplies and know how to grow it.  A much higher percentage will survive in rural Kansas while almost no one would survive in densely populated areas.

What about help from overseas? The USA currently exports a great deal of food to feed a hungry world.  Without those exports the rest of the world will have food shortages.  Some countries may send aid over the short term of a month or two, but over the long term of a year or two, it would be very doubtful since what country is going to starve its own people so that food can be shipped to the USA?  Even if ships are sent, what captain will dock his ship amongst a mob of looters. Even if they docked, how do you unload a container ship with no operable cranes?  Even if you could unload ships, how could you move goods inland with no fuel for trucks or trains?  Even if food could be moved inland, what coastal community would export food when they need it desperately for their own survival?   

It would be far far worse for us now than it was in 1890 because then they had systems in place that worked without electricity such as steam locomotives, horse drawn wagons and plows and lots and lots of work horses and mules.  Most important, they had era farming tools and the knowledge of how to live their lives and store food without electricity.  Just as vital, they had a functioning society with on-going production capacity and supply lines for basic staples. Even the Amish buy staples, they do not produce everything themselves.  After TEOTWAWKI almost no one will have those tools, supplies, sources for staples or that knowledge.  Realistically, the USA could not even begin to support the 1890 population of about 64 million people.  Unfortunately our existence might be more like the Jamestown colony, circa 1609-10 or so with hostiles at the gate, starvation, disease, and massive die offs so severe they called it the “Starving Time”.  It could be like that for us without adequate food storage.

What about the military?  The nation’s military is largely unprotected from an EMP.   Since the early 1990s, “Essentially all our new weapon systems have been built with a waiver for EMP hardening,” says Bartlett, a scientist and inventor who is the ranking member of the House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces according to a NewsMax article.

The Military would be pretty much immobilized although they would have more stored fuel and supplies than most.  The good news is that if the soldiers who remained with their units could maintain order in the immediate area of their base, food could be grown the first summer.  Therefore, if you cannot afford to have a hidden retreat, relocating to be close to a military base in a farming area with good rainfall may save you.  The bad news is that while the military won’t rape and plunder, they will take your food, fuel and guns “for the common good”.  Since they could defeat gangs that had taken over regional food storage warehouses they may be able to accumulate a very large supply of food.  They would balance out the food supply and your only hope then is that enough food could be produced for everyone or else everyone would starve together.  Still, it is better than being a refugee with no future at all.

The consequences of an EMP burst are consistently understated. Writers of reports or articles don’t tell the whole story because they either worry about being accused of “Fear mongering” or they are in denial themselves, being unwilling to let their mind take them to the inevitable consequences of a modern society suddenly finding itself permanently without electricity.  Frequently there are articles about the possibility of an EMP and they state that the consequences would be “catastrophic” or “disastrous” or “devastating” without going into detail about what that really means.   What they don’t say is this:  Considering our limited ability to create, process and transport new food without electricity and doing so in a state of near total anarchy, the survival rate would be maybe 10%.  Even Dr. William R. Graham who is Chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack and who is intimately familiar will all aspects of EMP and the vulnerability of our infrastructure and the EMP effect on transformers, etc. has concluded that a 250 mile high burst over Kansas would cause the death of about 80% of the 310,000,000 US population.  The actual report to Congress, however, just says “Catastrophic”.

Who will survive?  Primarily those who use the "The Art of War" tactics of avoiding a direct conflict with superior forces by using deception and concealment  “The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth”.  Without electricity the majority of the population will either kill each other off or die from disease, exposure or starvation.  The survivors, for the most part, will be those who do not fight at all.  The Golden Hoard or a Government entity cannot fight you or take your supplies if they do not know you exist.  The key is to be well hidden during the six months to a year or so after TEOTWAWKI, then keep hidden as much as possible while you grow food but maintain a high level of surveillance and defense.  This tactic is completely contrary to the Rambo survivalist types with an arsenal at their disposal and an attitude of “Bring it on” for the Golden Horde and gangs.

“There are a few possible survival scenarios presented here in no particular order since each individual must adapt their skills, knowledge and resources to their situation. 
1.  Very remote, well hidden, well armed, well trained and well stocked retreats with enough people to guard and defend the retreat and the equipment and other resources to produce food. Food production could begin by the second summer but if it is far away from where you live, you might not be able to get to it.   ("Patriots"). 

2.  Very small towns that are cohesive enough to band together, consolidate resources and defend against gangs or refugee throngs (as in the novels One Second After and Lights Out).  This is a tactic that would allow food production to begin ASAP.  A defendable town on the coast or a large river would be best to allow fish to supplement the diet.  However, because it will be ruled by a government, they may also confiscate your supplies for the common good.  The Alaska panhandle would be ideal but you “gotta like the rain”. 

3.  Areas in the immediate proximity of military bases where good gardens could be grown.  You would still have to survive some home invasions and looting early on but the military presence could provide the security, technical knowledge, tools, equipment and fuel for food production to begin ASAP following TEOTWAWKI.  You will be under their “anal” direction and have few freedoms, but you and your family may survive.

4.  Those who have stored food and fuel, have access to good water and can stay completely out of sight for up to a year (undetectable fully serviced basement or bomb type shelter).  This would allow a family to live in quiet comfort while the rest of the world kills itself off.  It is much more doable than one might think, see the references section about “Basements”.

5.  Those very rare few who could survive in the wilderness well off any trails and undetectable by smoke, smell or sight for a year or more by placing a large cache of food and survival equipment at a wilderness hide.  While I could survive year around in the Alaska wilderness if I did not get sick or hurt and if properly prepared (having done so), here in Georgia, the forests would just be too “crowded” to keep hidden; the survivor in the woods here would simply be “The Last Man Standing”.

6.  Those who had a well stocked sailboat that could be sailed to the tropics (Watch out for Pirates).  This is a situation where having gold and silver would pay big dividends.

7.  The Amish are wonderfully equipped with tools and knowledge to survive and thrive in the long term without electricity, however, they will be wiped out and their food stocks taken since they do not have guns or knowledge of defensive tactics.  They do not have the ability to survive in the short term against armed gangs.  This is a classic example of the skill sets necessary to survive early in TEOTWAWKI are much different that those required much later in TEOTWAKI but that for anyone to survive in the long term, they must have both sets.  Since the Amish farms function without electricity, when they and the gangs are dead and gone, the tools and systems will still be in place if you know how to utilize them.  Of course, all of the animals will have been consumed.

Others who may survive are refugees with skills useful in a post TEOTWAWKI world who may find refuge in one of the above.  What skills?  Read books about life in 1890 (Lawyers, politicians and stock brokers need not apply but those who could fix a tooth or build a steam engine would be in high demand… a steam engine fired by wood or coal could power a generator to create electricity).  Travel tip:  have a map showing the nearest military base and be there very soon because even the military will have its limits of how many people they can handle.
WTSHTF, at some point each and every one of us must decide if we actually want to survive to a life that would be harder than any we have ever imagined.  But more than that we must decide if we are willing to kill other human beings to defend our food cache and loved ones?  Are we willing to kill others to take food so our loved ones could survive?  What about witnessing the killings, rapes, torture of our friends, neighbors and loved ones and enduring the smell of rotting bodies that goes on without end.  Are we strong enough to mentally go through all of that and keep our sanity and our will to live?  Will we survive the guilt of our own survival when the vast majority has died?  Further, the mental stress after an EMP burst would be monumental.  People would have to instantly transition from the availability of vast amounts of information at their fingertips and information overload to a near total information vacuum.  A great many will not be able to handle all or even part of it.  Even highly trained military personnel do not handle such events well, how can ordinary citizens hope to live through it and stay sane.

What about Mutual Assured Destruction that kept USA and USSR from war?  Maybe but MAD might not work.  There are some fanatics in Iran.  Ahmadinejad has said that he wants to bring about the coming of the 12th Imam: "Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi" – Ahmadinejad. (So what then are the conditions for the Mahdi's arrival? The destruction of Israel and world conflagration).  The threat of our retaliation and the destruction of Iran and the Middle East may not be much of a deterrent in Ahmadinejad’s belief system.  If Ahmadinejad could simultaneously detonate a bomb in Tel Aviv and 6 to 10 nuclear satellites around the globe at 250 miles high to cause the eventual death of the majority of the world’s infidel population and significantly level the playing field, do you think he would?  Are you kidding?  In a New York minute.  He can’t do it yet, but, even though it may take years, Iran is working feverishly on the satellite delivery system and in making bombs themselves.

Of course, our own Sun could beat Ahmadinejad to the punch.  Severe space weather events that we know about originating from the Sun with the Earth in the “line of fire” have occurred in 1989, 1921 and 1859 (geomagnetic solar super storms).  In 1989 only one of the very large difficult to replace step up/step down transformer was destroyed.  The 1921 event was 10 times stronger and if it happened today it would probably destroy all of the large transformers.  The 1859 event was much stronger than the one in 1921.  Such an event could easily destroy the huge transformers that would take years to replace (If the capacity to produce them still existed) which means years without electricity for most of the population.  The problem is, we can’t survive that long.  Scientists consider the recurrence of such a solar super storm as not just a possibility but as inevitable.  Indeed, if the Earth had been in the line of fire on April 19, 2010 we quite probably would be living “Grid Down” in TEOTWAWKI right now.  How prepared were you and your family on April 19? 

Can an EMP burst be prevented?  The Heritage Foundation has written extensively on the subject and it is well worth the read.  At present defensive missiles are in place in Alaska and California to take out intercontinental missiles in the atmosphere from N. Korea.  We must have defensive missiles around the entire USA that are capable of taking out long and short range missiles (such as a Scud  or Iran’s new 1,200 mile missile launched from a freighter like Iran did in the Caspian Sea).  When the “Star Wars” defense was proposed in the 1980’s there were those who said such a defense was not possible because “you can’t hit a bullet with another bullet”, but now the experts say “We can hit a spot on a bullet with another bullet”.  We have the technology to do this.

We should protect our transformers by requiring all new ones to be EMP and solar flare protected (it adds about 5% to the cost).  We could use that stimulus money to retrofit existing transformers, if possible and protect our railroad engines and systems, fuel production, transportation, and electrical generation systems. 

If we prepare now, quickly, two things will be accomplished:  First, there would be a good chance that the civilized world we know today would survive an EMP burst or super solar storm and, two, there would be far less incentive for an EMP strike.  But, as it stands now, if you wanted to destroy the USA whom you perceive to be the devil, you would be salivating at the prospect of launching a few missiles off a freighter in the Gulf of Mexico and causing the death of 90% of the US population.  For those who wish to destroy us it has to be positively orgasmic and we should absolutely not underestimate their resourcefulness.  Remember, they have access to all of the EMP information you and I do and probably much more.  They also have the ability to coordinate a massive cyber attack on the electrical grid which is extremely vulnerable.

That said, the nuclear genie is indeed out of the bottle.  Al-Qaeda is said to control 80 freighter ships.  It is only a matter of time before organized terrorist groups obtain a bomb that they can sail into one of our port cities.  A crude bomb from Iran’s uranium would weigh a few thousand pounds.   The fact is, we will have to accept the horrific reality that, from time to time, a major coastal city will be nuked from a freighter or small submarine, terrorists have both.  Such is the reality of the failure to contain the nuclear genie.  They have the desire to kill every man, woman and child in the USA and they have the means to deliver a nuke to our coastal cities; they just need the nuke.

What would be so difficult about having someone like “Jihad Jane” purchase a good sized boat with a dock slip at Gangplank Marina on the Potomac River in Wash. D.C., motor out through Chesapeake Bay to the ocean to pick up a nuke from a freighter at night then arrive at Gangplank Marina on a weekday afternoon and detonate it ?   

If one of our cities is nuked, the nation will be under martial law.  If your retreat is very far away, the police or military may prevent you from getting there.  If you live anywhere on either coast they will probably not let you exit inland.  Both politicians and the military have shown their propensity to confiscate guns at such times and most certainly will do so again.  Further, the “temporary” martial law may well become permanent.  Your stored food may be deemed “Hoarding” and be confiscated in an unconstitutional but nonetheless real house to house search performed by guys who are looking for secret hiding places.  You do not want these people to be able to find either your beans or your bullets because, even under permanent martial law, we may still be hit by an EMP burst or solar storm or another coastal nuke.   

The world is different today than ever before.  The basic problem in our psyche is that we have the “white hat” cowboy mentality; we never throw the first punch, we never draw the gun first; we wait for the bad guy to shoot or draw and only then do we react.  This time, if we wait for them to strike first with an EMP without being well prepared, this country, as we know it, will cease to exist.  Our military may well destroy their country in retaliation, if they knew where the nuke(s) came from, but the above EMP scenario will still take place here regardless of what happens to the other guy later.

During the cold war we lived with the fear in the back of our minds that one day there may be Global Thermonuclear War that would destroy the world.  However, while Global Thermonuclear War is still a possibility, a super solar storm, EMP burst and/or nuked coastal cities are eventual certainties.   Nuking a coastal city is easiest and most likely, of course, but our unconscionable lack of preparation makes an EMP burst so appealing they will do everything in their power to make it happen.

Noah knew he could not tread water for long and built the Ark.  Since people cannot live on a zero calorie diet for long and the Federal Government, who’s primary duty is to protect us, is doing nothing to prevent or prepare for an EMP, super solar flare or cyber attack, we all had better store at least three years of beans, band aids, bullets and benzin.  In other words, become a “Prepper”, but do so wisely, very well hidden and very very secretly.

“If you think the unthinkable and devise plans to survive, then when the unthinkable occurs, you are prepared and will make the correct choices automatically.” (   A basic rule of thumb in survival situations is that 10% will do the absolute wrong thing, 80% will do nothing and wait to be led, while 10% do the right thing. 

An EMP, a massive cyber attack, and a nuked coastal city are all possible but a super solar flare is inevitable.  Just a word of caution here, once you let yourself think about such threats and project the inevitable outcomes of life here in the USA without electricity, it is very difficult to get your mind back inside that “denial” box."- Tom  S.

About wood stoves:  Having lived in an Alaskan cabin with only wood heat for four years I know that the smoke makes it very difficult to keep your presence a secret.  Even a year or two after TEOTWAWKI you still will want to keep your existence as secret as possible, therefore do not use just any wood stove; use the 95% efficient and virtually smokeless wood stoves available that, with very dry wood, produce almost no smoke.  Further, use wood fuel that does not have a strong odor such as birch and avoid those that do such as cedar or some hardwoods.  For wilderness survival there is nothing better than a small fan forced wood stove such as the Sierra stove or similar.  I have used these on extended Alaska camp-outs with the Boy Scouts with great success and always unlimited fuel.  Because they are fan forced they are very good at burning any wood and producing almost no smoke.  This type of fan forced fire is very useful for surviving in the wilderness or, with larger versions and side feed, using outside your retreat to process food.

Basements:  Undetectable fully serviced basements/retreats:  A family or group in an undetectable basement or bomb shelter can survive in quiet comfort while the rest of the world kills itself off without the tear jerking confrontations from starving beggars, violent confrontations with gangs, looters or the military.  And yes, it is very possible. 

I once saw an article about a family who bought a house and after living there for two years discovered there was a full basement under the house.  The previous owner had sealed up the stairs going down and filled in the small windows that had previously been visible.  Why did he do that?  He was hiding a flooded basement.  So, if a basement can be invisible to someone who actually lives in a house for over two years, what would it take to make a basement invisible to looters and gangs who would be there for less than 30 minutes?   That will be the subject of a separate article.

Selected References:, numerous writings

Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons: Congress Must Understand the Risk” by Baker Spring, Heritage Foundation WebMemo #2822

"Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack," Volume 1: Executive Report, 2004

"Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack: Critical National Infrastructures," April 2008
Executive Report (See the EMP Commission web site.)

From the Executive Report Summary:  “However, now even a single, low-yield nuclear explosion high above the United States… can produce a large-scale EMP effect that could result in a widespread loss of electronics, but no direct fatalities, and may not necessarily evoke a large nuclear retaliatory strike by the U.S. military. This, coupled with published articles discussing the vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure control systems, and some U.S. military battlefield systems to the effects of EMP, may create a new incentive for other countries to rapidly develop or acquire a nuclear capability.”

“The electrical power system has become virtually fully dependent upon electronic systems working nearly flawlessly. The overall system reliability is testimony to the skill and effectiveness of the control systems. However, the lack of margin (combination of generation and transmission margins) results in making catastrophic cascading outages far more likely, and should the electronics be disrupted, the system is highly likely to fail on a broad scale. Thus, the small margin and reliance on electronics give rise to EMP vulnerability.”

“All production for these large transformers used in the United States is currently offshore.  Delivery time for these items under benign circumstances is typically one to two years.  There are about 2,000 such transformers rated at or above 345 kV in the United States with about 1 percent per year being replaced due to failure or by the addition of new ones. Worldwide production capacity is less than 100 units per year and serves a world market, one that is growing at a rapid rate in such countries as China and India. Delivery of a new large transformer ordered today is nearly 3 years, including both manufacturing and transportation. An event damaging several of these transformers at once means it may extend the delivery times to well beyond current time frames as production is taxed. The resulting impact on timing for restoration can be devastating. Lack of high voltage equipment manufacturing capacity represents a glaring weakness in our survival and recovery to the extent these transformers are vulnerable….”

“Many electric generating plants would be severely damaged by uncontrolled shut down.  Almost none, even if not damaged, would be able to restart without external power.”

“EMP is one event that may couple ultimately unmanageable currents and voltages into an electrical system routinely operated with little margin and cause the collapse of large portions of the electrical system. In fact, the Commission is deeply concerned that such impacts are certain in an EMP event unless practical steps are taken to provide protection for critical elements of the electric system and to provide for rapid restoration of service, particularly to essential loads.”

“The current strategy for recovering from such failures is based on the assumption of sporadic failures of small numbers of components, and for larger failures, drawing on resources from outside the affected area. This strategy leaves us ill-prepared to respond effectively to an EMP attack that would potentially result in damage to vast numbers of components nearly simultaneously over an unprecedented geographic scale.”

“The Commission has concluded that the electrical system within the NERC region so disrupted will collapse with near certainty. Thus one or more of the three integrated, frequency-independent NERC regions will be without electrical service. This loss is very large geographically and restoration is very likely to be beyond short-term emergency backup generators and batteries. Any reasonable EMP event would be much larger than the Texas region so basically the concern is the Eastern and Western regions with Texas either included or not depending upon the location of the weapon. The basic threat to U.S. society that moves an EMP event from a local or short-term adverse impact to a more prolonged and injurious event is the time it takes to restore electrical and other infrastructure service.

North American Electric Reliability Corporation three regions, Texas, West and East.  All of these collapse mechanisms acting simultaneously provide the unambiguous conclusion that electrical power system collapse for the NERC region largely impacted by the EMP weapon is inevitable in the event of attack using even a relatively low-yield device of particular characteristics.

EMP attack on the electrical power system is an extraordinarily serious problem but one that can be reduced below the level of a catastrophic national consequence through focused effort coordinated between industry and government.”

Independent Working Group, "Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century," 2009 Report, p. 130, at

Rawles, James Wesley, "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse", Ulysses Press, 2009           

Forstchen, William R., One Second After, Tom Doherty Assoc., 2009

Lights Out, by Half Fast (formerly an Internet e-novel, now being published)

CBS Twilight Zone episode The Shelter  “Spies compromised US electric grid”, Associated Press

Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts Workshop Report Committee on the Societal and Economic Impacts of Severe Space Weather Events: A Workshop, National Research Council

“EMP Attack Would Send America into a Dark Age”  “EMP Attack Would Wipe Out U.S. Military”, NewsMax, Monday, 28 Sep 200

Some key quotes:

“An estimated 80 percent of the population would die within a year of an EMP strike from starvation or disease or would freeze to death, according to William Graham, who was chairman of the congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack.”

“The nation’s military is largely unprotected in the event an enemy launches a nuclear bomb that would fry microchips and the power grid with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., tells Newsmax.”

“Since the early 1990s, “Essentially all our new weapon systems have been built with a waiver for EMP hardening,” says Bartlett, a scientist and inventor who is the ranking member of the House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces.
“If an enemy used an EMP enhanced weapon — and Russian generals told our EMP commission that they had developed weapons which emit 200 kilovolts per meter weapon — I’ve been assured by experts in the area that everything would be down,” says Bartlett, who has been the leading member of Congress fighting to recognize EMP as a threat.”

In fact, “One of the first things [an enemy] would do is an EMP laydown to deny you the use of all your equipment which is not EMP hardened, which is essentially all our equipment,” Bartlett says. “They don’t harden against EMP any more.”

The Stanford Prison Experiment:

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by Psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. Twenty-four undergraduates were selected out of 70 to play the roles of both guards and prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. Those selected were chosen for their lack of psychological issues, crime history, and medical disabilities, in order to obtain a representative sample. Roles were assigned based on a coin toss.

Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited “genuine” sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and two had to be removed from the experiment early. After a graduate student (prisoner #819) broke down from the inhumane conditions in the prison, and realizing that he had been passively allowing unethical acts to be performed under his direct supervision, Zimbardo concluded that both prisoners and guards had become too grossly absorbed in their roles and terminated the experiment after six days.

Milgram, Stanley, 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.  Milgram described experiments conducted at Yale University in 1961after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: "Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?" In other words, "Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?" Milgram's testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs.  He set up an experiment and showed that most ordinary people can become accomplices in killing totally innocent individuals. 
Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr wrote in 1981 that the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment were frightening in their implications about the danger which lurks in the darker side of human nature.

33 Minutes   Protecting America in the New Missile Age (2008) by The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002 Ph. (202) 546-4400

Food production and life styles in the USA in 1900 compared to life today:

In 1900, 39 percent of the U.S. population (about 30 million people) lived on farms; today that percentage has plummeted to less than 2 percent (only about 4.5 million people).  The transformation of the United States from a nation of farmers to a nation in which less than 2 percent of the population is able to feed the other 98 percent is made possible only by technology.

Human survival without food:

Physical condition, age, amount of fat, and air temperature are major factors but an absolute deprivation of food, on average, will greatly diminish a person’s capacity for physical work within a few days. After 4 to 5 days without food, the average person will suffer from impaired judgment and have difficulty performing simple intellectual tasks. After two weeks without food, the average person will be virtually incapacitated. Death typically results between 30 to 60 days with a few being able to last up to 70 days.  This is without any physical activity and plenty of good water.

Irish Hunger Strike of 1981

Monday, June 21, 2010

I get regularly deluged with more than 200 e-mails per day, and that's not counting spam e-mails. I regret that I simply don't have the time to respond to all of your e-mails. To save time, here are some answers to some frequently-asked questions (FAQs):

1.) "Can you recommend a retreat group in my region?"

See my static web page titled: Finding Like-Minded People in Your Area

2.) "Why do you have a comma in the middle of your name?"

I use the comma to make a distinction between my Christian name, and my family name. My Christian name (James Wesley) is my property. My family name (Rawles) is the common property of all those that share the Rawles bloodline, and our wives. This is a Common Law distinction that is only used by a few right wingers who poke around law libraries. Every novelist seems to have an idiosyncratic affectation. George Bernard Shaw had his iron-clad five page per day writing limit. Clive Cussler has his car collection, and he includes an obscure collectible car in each of his Dirk Pitt novels. Charles Dickens cried when he read his own novels. The comma is my own little idiosyncrasy!

3.) "I can't find your personal Twitter or Facebook page. Is it hidden under a pseudonym?"

I'm not a member, nor do I want to be! Please refrain from trying to get me to join Facebook, or any of the other social networks. Getting dozens of daily "John Smith is following you on Twitter" messages drives me crazy. I consider social networking a huge OPSEC risk, and I advise my readers to cancel their accounts.

4.) "Could we get together for a cup of coffee when I pass through Moyie Springs, Idaho next week?"

Sorry, but I don't live anywhere near there! That is simply a mail forwarding address that I use, to help keep the actual locale of the Rawles Ranch secret.

5.) "Can you please forward my e-mail to Mr. X., who recently posted a letter in SurvivalBlog?"

For the privacy of my readers, I forward e-mails only under rare, exceptional circumstances. Also, be advised that I regularly scrub my e-mail folders, so I don't have addressees that date back more than a few months.

6.) "How can I read SurvivalBlog on my cell phone?"

We have an RSS Feed available. Click on "RSS" in the left hand bar. That will bring you to: feed:// If you aren't familiar with how to configure an RSS feed, see this tutorial.

7.) When I try to bring up your blog page in Firefox, I get a message saying: "Content Encoding Error" What is wrong? Is there a problem with your site, or with my computer?"

The problem is with you computer's cache settings, not with the SurvivalBlog site. It is actually fairly common, with many web pages. Try re-starting you browser. If you still get the same error message, the workaround is to close tabs with SurvivalBlog, then go though these Firefox menus: Tools -> Options... -> Advanced -> Network -> Offline Storage -> Clear Now

8.) "Can you appear as a guest on my podcast?"

Because of my time constraints of writing, editing, and running a ranch, I only do interviews on network or "major market" talk radio shows. So unless your radio show has a very large listenership, I generally have to pass. Sorry!

9.) "I'm writing my own novel. Attached is my draft. Could you please edit it for me or read it and make some suggestions?"

I'd love to, but I don't have the time. Sorry, but there aren't enough hours in the day.

10.) "Can you put a link to my blog on your Links page?

I'm generally willing to put folks on my Links page. but only for blogs and web pages that I think would be of interest to a large number of SurvivalBlog readers, and only if they have no objectionable material. (Assorted ranters, racists, anti-Christians, anti-Semites, loose wing nuts, blasphemers, and folks with girlie pictures on their web pages need not apply.) Also, keep in mind that I don't put up links until a blog can provide the bona fides of a six month track record, with at least weekly postings. (I've seen far too many blogs die young.)

11.) "Can you recommend an online dating site where I can meet a survivalist spouse?"

See my static web page titled: Finding Like-Minded People in Your Area.

12.) "I can't find the "Post" button on your site."

I don't allow “autoposting” of comments from SurvivalBlog readers. This is because A.) I don’t want to have to have the time to moderate the posts and B.) I know from past experience that if I were to allow autoposts, it would quickly degenerate into a venue for flame wars and foul language. So I pick and choose the letters that will be posted. I am the sole "filter" for what is posted on SurvivalBlog. Just e-mail me what you'd like me to post. (There is no "Post" button, so don't look for it!)

13.) "How can I order autographed copies of your books?"

Sorry, but I no longer do any mail order sales, so autographed copies of my later books are very hard to find.

14.) "When do you think that a Crunch or "Cliff Event" will actually happen?"

As I state in my Provisos page: I'm not a guru. I'm not a prophet. I'm just a guy with an opinion and perhaps the ability to extrapolate some trends. Your mileage may vary. I don't know when, but I do know how the world will end, because I read the last chapter of the book. Come swiftly, Lord Jesus!

Monday, June 14, 2010

As I mentioned in SurvivalBlog once before, I'm involved with development of a preparedness television show for a major cable television network. I'll be doing voice-overs for the show, critiquing the participants. For fear of having the show's concept get hijacked by competitors, I can't mention many details. Suffice it to say that this is a legitimate project. I personally know two of the principals in the production company. I can assure you that they are sincere, and not out to do a "hatchet job." Rather, they are serious about preparedness, and want to show some "best practices" in the preparedness movement, to motivate others. They are preparedness minded, conservative, and pro-gun. Ditto for the actor that will be the host of the show. I'd love to be able to mention his name (preppers will recognize it!), the name of the production company and their lengthy list of credits, but I can't do so until after the production gets the final "green light" from the cable network. Rest assured that the producers have promised that identities and locations will be kept confidential.

For full disclosure: I am being paid modestly to work on this project. But I'm enthusiastic about it, because main goal is to get hundreds of thousands of American families motivated to prepare themselves substantively. If that happens, then I'll count this as a success.

Thusfar, more than 15 families have submitted anonymous biographies and/or video tapes. If you'd like to appear on the show, prepare yours, and send it in, soon.

For even greater privacy, I recommend that you make your submission under a pen name. You might even set up a special gmail account, created just for correspondence with the show producers.

Here is the latest revised "casting call" announcement, from the producer.


A “like-minded” Production Company is developing a television show about TEOTWAWKI.

They are looking for self-sustainers, survivalists and squared away preparedness families to appear on the show and instruct America how to survive the coming collapse.

Identities and locations will be kept confidential.

If you have a retreat, an underground bunker, or an organized self-sustaining community then you may submit a short bio of family members along with photos. You have the option of including a video showing your preparations.

If you are trained in weapons, hand-to-hand combat, medicine, agriculture or possess a set of survival skills please describe them in your submission. Send all submission materials to:


TEOTWAWKI Producer, P.O. Box 1848, Santa Monica CA 90401

For video submissions you can post them on your web site, or send them in by mail. Acceptable formats are VHS, Mini-DV and DVD. Tapes will not be returned unless a self-addressed stamped envelope is included.


Monday, June 7, 2010

I have been asked to be the primary on-air subject matter expert for a new reality/documentary television series that is now in development. This should be an awesome show! It will be a great way to get people not just thinking about family preparedness, but going that crucial step further and actually training and preparing.

My involvement in the show will be as its narrator/commentator, critiquing and making suggestions on how the families can improve their preparedness, in voice-overs.

Here is their preliminary "Casting Call" announcement:

Are you a self-sustainer, survivalist or a squared away preparedness family?
Do you have a retreat, an underground bunker, reinforcements, a militia or an organized self-sustaining community?
If so then you may be right for a new Television Series that instructs America how to survive the coming collapse.

Please submit a short bio of family members along with photos and a video showing your preparations. If you are trained in weapons, hand-to-hand combat, medical, agriculture or possess a set of survival skills please describe them in your submission. Send all submission materials to:
or, via U.S. Mail to:
Producer, P.O. Box 1848, Santa Monica CA 90401

For video submissions acceptable formats are VHS, Mini-DV and DVD--or just a link to a video already at your web site. Tapes will not be returned unless a self-addressed stamped envelope is included.

The producers have promised to do their utmost to protect your privacy. They won 't mention your real name, or your location.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We've completed the judging! And the winners are...

First Prize goes to C.F., for A Southwesterner's Experience in Family Preparedness, posted on April 2nd. He will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost between $500 and $600, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (A $275 value.), and D.) A 500 round case of Federal 5.56mm XM193 55 Grain FMJ ammo, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo. This is a $199 value, and includes free UPS shipping.

Second Prize goes to A&C.K., for their article Caring for Babies in TEOTWAWKI, posted on May 26th. They will receive: A.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $400, and B.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize goes to Vaerity, for her article The Broke Survivalist, A Learning Experience, posted on April 16th. She will receive: A.) A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing, and B.) a Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.)

Honorable mention prizes go to seven writers for these articles:

They will each receive a $30 gift certificate.

Note to prize winners: Please e-mail me your snail mail addresses (both UPS and US mail), and I'll get your prizes out, right away.

Today we begin Round 29 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. Get busy writing, and e-mail your entry!The prizes for this round will include:

First Prize: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost between $500 and $600, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from (A $275 value.), and D.) A 500 round case of Fiocchi 9mm Parabellum (Luger ) with 124gr. Hornady XTP/HP projectiles, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo. This is a $249 value, and includes free UPS shipping.

Second Prize: A.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $400, and B.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing, and B.) a Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.)

Round 29 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the preview to your new book. I am really looking forward to reading the entire book.

I also wanted to pass on two "observations of life", if you will, that I have made in the past few years.

First, in a post conversation that I had with a person I had worked with at the time, this person was laughing about a pre-Y2K conversation he had with an elderly neighbor. This person lives in a fairly rural area and his single, elderly female neighbor was asking if he was storing food in preparation for Y2K. Even though this person had plenty of land, other resources and ability to do so, he told her no. He told her he was only stocking guns and ammo. When she asked why he stated that with guns and ammo, then he would be able to take all the food he needed from her and people like her.

This person laughed when he said this and there were several others that laughed as well. I personally was horrified since I could tell that this guy was serious. This was his survival plan and unfortunately and I think that it's the plan for many like him.

I am thankful for your blog and the work you do. Hopefully, more people will be thoroughly prepared for long term survival should TSHTF in the future.

Second, I was recently speaking with a sergeant who works in a jail/prison setting. Somehow the conversation turned to a TEOTWAWKI-style event. This sergeant looked me in the eye and stated in a cold, calculated manner and told me that if the "lights go out" due to such an event and he's on duty, then he will make sure he's the last to leave. But, before he leaves, he's going to get his AR-15 from his car, go to the floor where the "worst of the worst" criminals are [housed] and "make the world just a little bit better."

When he said this, I had just read "Patriots" for the second time and remembered that happening in your book. I see that there are people out there thinking about this.

These are just thoughts/observations that I wanted to share with you.

Thank You and God Bless - Doug T.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just before they stepped out of the Mercedes, Ian straightened his borrowed silk tie.  Blanca whispered: “Bring your video camera. My papa will want to see pic-tu-ers.” After the maid ushered them in, they met Blanca’s father on the screened patio.  Haltingly, Ian made a formal introduction in Spanish. He did this fairly well, since he had practiced it with Consuela, but he was obviously nervous.

After shaking hands, Aurturo Araneta asked: “So, Lieutenant Doyle, My daughter tells me you are a pilot of F-16 fighting planes.”

“That’s right, sir. Pointing to the rucksack on his shoulder, he said:  “I brought my camcorder, with some movies of myself and some of my squadron-mates, flying F-16 Falcons, if you are interested.”

“Of, course, of course.  Let’s go to the library.”

Arturo Araneta asked as they walked: “You have this movie in your video camera?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then let’s watch it on my big screen.  It is the latest from Japan.”

The dimly-lit library was quite a contrast to the brightness of the patio.  It took a while for Doyle’s eyes to adjust to the lighting.

As they were getting the camera’s cable hooked up the television input jack, Aurturo Araneta quizzed Doyle about his education.  Ian answered:  “I did a double major, in Aeronautical Engineering and Industrial Engineering. I also got minor degrees in English Literature and Military History. I did all that course work in just five years, cum laude.”

“Not suma? Ah, well, to do all that in just five years, you must have been studying around the clock.  So graduating just cum laude is understandable.”  After taking an audible breath, he added:  “Engineering, engineering. Excellent! I am surprised that so many other young people waste their time in other trifling fields.”

With a wave of Arturo’s hand, the maid brought iced tea and they sipped it as they watched Ian’s video tape.  Doyle introduced it by just saying: “ These clips you’ll see were all shot by me from the back seat of a D-model F-16—that’s the version with two seats.”

The first clip showed some tight formation flying. The second showed take-offs, landings and touch-n-go’s.

Just before the third segment, Ian voiced the caveat: “Now, this part coming up, it wasn’t me at the controls and I had no warning that my friend was going to do this.  I was just along for the ride and to preserve the events, for posterity.”  The video then showed the plane doing slow rolls, high over San Francisco, passing through patchy clouds and then diving to line up west of the city.  It then flew under the Golden Gate Bridge and then under the San Francisco Bay Bridge, with pilot twice exclaiming “Yeee-haaaaaaw!”

Both of the Aranetas gasped and laughed. Ian then commented:  “I found out later that Fred had the crew chief disable the plane’s transponder, so there’d be no comebacks.”

Aurturo chuckled and said, “Very clever. And I’m glad this was not you flying, so illegally.”

The last segment of the video was several minutes of aerobatics, shot over the pilot’s shoulder. In one corner of the screen, the plane’s altimeter could be seen winding down from 30,000 feet, at an alarming rate. The significance of some of the maneuvers were lost on her father, but Blanca was clearly impressed.  She kept saying “Wow” and “Double wow!”

As Ian disconnected his camcorder, Aurturo exclaimed: “That was fantastic.  Simply fantastic.”

Next, the subject of tennis came up—as Blanca had warned it always did with her father. He started by saying, “You know, seeing San Francisco in that video tape reminds me…” He spent the next half hour in an animated description of how he had toured the United States playing tennis tournaments in the 1980s and how he had learned to disco dance. He ended by mentioning:  “You know, when I was there, I became so fascinated with your basketball.  Other than tennis, that is now the sport I watch the most, on the satellite television.”

“Really?”, Ian asked. “What is your favorite American team?”

The Honduran replied: “Oh, the Detroit Pistons. Most definitely.”

Ian laughed. “Did Blanca mention that I was raised near Detroit?”

Arturo Araneta put on a huge grin. 

Ian put in hesitantly, “Although I’ve gotta say, I’m just as much a Lakers fan as am a fan of the Pistons.”

“The Lakers, they are a fine team too, but sometimes, with all their physicality, they lack the ah, finesse and control of the Pistons.”

Just when Doyle thought that he could not have hit it off more perfectly, Arturo asked:  “So, what does a fighter joe-key like you do, for hobbies?”

“I like to run, swim and I do a lot of target shooting.”

Araneta chortled. “You are a shoo-ter?  Come with me, my boy and I will show you my little gun collection!”
As the three of them walked together toward the other wing of the house, Blanca laughed and muttered, “The lost-long son returns!”

As they walked, Ian glanced over his shoulder and noticed the maid following five paces back, dutifully carrying a tray with their drinks. He realized that this sort of life would take some getting used to.

They spent the next half hour chit-chatting and admiring guns pulled out of a climate-controlled walk-in-vault. Araneta had a huge collection of perhaps 200 guns and 50 swords and sabers. Sitting on a large wooden stand in the center of the vault room was an exquisitely-ornamented saddle, with a saber and a pair of holstered horse pistols.  The saddle was clearly the centerpiece of his collection. Aurturo explained: “This saddle belonged to a lieutenant of Simon de Bolivar.  I bought it by ‘private treaty’ from a collector before it could go to auction.”

Doyle noted that Arturo’s collection was eclectic, ranging from a 16th Century Chinese hand cannon, to one of the latest Colt Anaconda revolvers. But the collection mostly emphasized muzzleloaders and horse pistols, representing 400 years of development for the latter. In deference to the humid climate in Honduras, they all wore white cotton gloves as they handled the guns.

As they were examining, his modern guns, Araneta asked: “What do you think of Blanca’s Glock 19?”

“You have a Glock?,” Ian asked Blanca, surprised.

Blanca said with scorn: “Yes, the one I carry every day, in my flight bag.  It’s got night sights on it. I’m a very good shot.”

“I had no idea that you packed.”

Blanca laughed and said: “You Yanquis have no idea how many Hondurans carry guns every day of the week.  We just make no big deal about it.”

“Daddy bought me the Glock and also the Mercedes.  The car is intentionally old and ugly on the outside, but it has a brand new engine and transmission. Actually, the rust spots on the door panels are no really rust-they are jus’ painted on. It’s the perfecto anti-kidnapping car. Not like anything anyone would expect me to drive. Even then, it is built like a tank and could knock most other cars off of the road!

Ian stroked his chin and said, “The more I learn about you, señorita, the more there is to like about you. You’re the complete package: ‘She flies, she swims, she shoots, she dresses tastefully, she drives a stealth tank, she likes flamenco guitar…’”

“You left out that I’m great cook and an excellent dancer.”

All three of them laughed.

Finally, they sat down to a four-course dinner that was served by the cook and dutifully attended by the maid.  The conversation over dinner ranged from flying, to shooting, to duck hunting and to Arturo’s recollections of what Blanca was like, as a little girl. And of course, tennis.

Ian got to try out some of his new Spanish phrases. His fractured grammar and conjugational foul-ups earned him a lot of good-spirited laughter.  Arturo was gracious, saying only “You are learning quickly, my boy. And I’m glad to hear you use a good Castilian accent.  So many Americans I meet, even scientists and engineers, are educated only in the gutter Spanish of Mexico. They are such, as you say, ‘hicks’,”

After a long pause, Arturo glanced over the top of his glasses and asked gravely, “Are you Catholic?”

“Yes, sir.  Born and raised, Irish-Catholic. I still attend Mass faithfully.”  Realizing that he was taking a huge risk of offending his host, he added:  “But additionally, I have come to more of a personal faith, in Jesus Christ. Between him and me, I feel no need of a mediator. The Pope and the priests are fine for ceremony, but I truly feel that I’m saved personally, by Jesus, by faith in him alone, by his grace and with my sins paid by his sacrifice on the cross. I love Jesus with all mi corazon.”

Arturo brightened and clasped his hand on Ian’s shoulder. “I feel the same way, also.  It is refreshing to hear that from a fellow member of the church.”

Everything continued to go well, until it was time for cigars and brandy.  Aurturo was slightly miffed when Ian accepted a snifter, but refused a cigar, saying, “Lo siento mucho, señor, but I don’t smoke. Yo no fumo.”

As he trimmed and lit his cigar, Arturo tutt-tutted and then said resignedly: “Oh well, you pilots are such health nuts.  You don’t know what you’re missing. Honduran cigars are just as good as Cubanos. But I can say, I now smoke only about one of these a month.”

Blanca joked, “You know, daddy, I gave up cigars years ago, when I decided to follow in the goose-steps of Amelia Earhart.”

o  o  o

As Blanca gave Ian a ride back to the base, she went on and on about how well Ian had gotten along with her father, mentioning how unprecedented that was. After a couple of minutes of driving on, in silence, she said simply: “I think he really likes you E-an.”

“Yeah, pretty scary, isn’t it?”  Then he asked:  “Where’d you get that pearl necklace?”

“Before they were married, my father and mother went on a trip to La Bahia--those are our Bay Islands on the east coast. They were snorkeling and daddy dove to bring up an oyster. Inside of this oyster was this pearl.  Later on that same day, my father asked my mother to marry him.  The pearl it was too big and fragile for a ring, so it was placed on thees necklace.  Ever since then, my father nicknamed my mother conchita, which means ‘little oyster’.  And now he sometimes calls me that.”

After a long pause, she suffixed: “My mother gave me this, when she was dying of the cancer.”

Lo siento mucho, Blanca.”

“Ees okay.  That was a long time ago.”

“May I call you conchita?”

Blanca giggled,  “Yes E-an, you may, but not in public! You see, among the lower classes, conchita has a different—a very crude--meaning, so please don't you call me that around other people—or at least around any other people who speak Spanish.”

Si, mi conchita.”

She drove on in silence, obviously deep in thought,

After passing through the formalities with the air base’s gate guards, Blanca turned and her face to Ian and said: “You know, Meester Lieutenant Doyle, you were very clever, finding out all those theengs about me, from Consuela.”

“Yes, I must admit I do over-plan things.”

“So, why did you do all that--the orchids and the Almond Roca? I theenk also the flamenco music.” Her voice grew sharp: “Why?”

Doyle coughed nervously.  “Because I fell in love with your voice on the radio from the tower, even before I ever laid eyes on you.   And when someone like me loves someone as much as I love you, …well. I’m the kind of guy that will nearly warp space and time, just to make everything fall into place.  I am absolutely head-over-heels, crazy in love with you, Blanca.”

Just then, her car reached the driving circle in front of The White House.

She gave a coy smile.  “Perhaps I will see you again, E-an.”  She ushered him out with a wave and a smile.  He blew her a kiss. As her eyes lingered on him for a moment, he added, half-shouting:  “Encantado, Señorita!”  Her chin dropped and she put on a smile as she drove away.

As he approached the front steps of the White House, Ian Doyle stopped in his tracks. He realized why Blanca had worn the pearl necklace: That pearl had been a key part of her father’s marriage proposal to her mother. Wearing the pearl had been her way of telling her father, “This man is bona fide marriage material.”

The next few weeks were a blur.  The squadron’s operational tempo increased and Ian was flying a lot.  Most of his contact with Blanca was by correspondence. Their love letters began cordially, but became more familiar and gained a note of passion, as time went on.  Partly because two of the Hondo Expedition pilots fell ill with “traveler’s tummy”, Ian was flying as much as six days a week, a grueling pace.

Most of Ian’s missions were uneventful. The only real excitement came on a couple flights when his plane’s radar warning receiver went off, over hostile territory.  These were mainly Gun Dish radars, part of Russian-built ZSU 23-4s—four barrel 20 millimeter anti-aircraft cannons.  This caused a bit of angst for Ian and some lively discussion at the post-flight debriefings.

o o o

On a Sunday 40 days into his Honduras rotation, Blanca took Ian flying. Above his objection to split the cost, she treated him to a two-hour rental in her favorite plane, an Italian-built Pioneer P200.  It was a very small, sleek, low wing plane that had unusual dual sticks in a side-by-side cockpit.

As they approached the plane for their pre-flight, Doyle said: “I was expecting you to rent some zippy biplane, with seats fore and aft.”

She grinned:  “I think a side-by-side configuration like this is much more, ah, romantico, no? “ Quickly changing subjects, she said, “The dry weight of thees bird is only 260 kilos--light as a feather!”

“Oh, man, that is light!  Did you know that an F-16 weighs about twelve thousand kilos, fully-fueled?”

Blanca was wearing a very attractive white flight suit, with zippers everywhere.  As they walked around the plane, checking the fuel tanks, wiggling the wings and checking the flaps and rudder, Doyle’s eyes kept drifting back to Blanca. The flight suit certainly accentuated her trim figure.

They pulled the chocks and climbed aboard. Sitting in the tandem plane’s left seat, he admired Blanca’s finesse as she worked the radio and rolled out to the taxi strip, craning her head to do repeated 360 eyeballs of both the plane’s control surfaces and her surroundings. She didn’t miss a beat. After getting takeoff clearance, she punched in the throttle and took off after a surprisingly short roll. Climbing out at 700 feet per minute, she took the plane up to 10,000 feet and headed west, as they chatted about the plane’s characteristics.

“What’s this bird stressed for?,” Ian asked.

“Four gees pos and two gees neg-a-teev.”

Doyle nodded approvingly.

Blanca continued: “It’s been upgraded to a 110 horsepower plant. She’ll do 145 miles per hour, at altitude. Redline is 5,600 ara-pee-emms. Oh and watch your sink rate if you pull more than a 60 degrees bank. I theenk you’ll like flying it. It takes very light control forces. I love thees plane because you don’t have to muscle the stick.”

Glancing at the GPS, she declared: “Okay, hombre, now we are outside of the TCA and we can plaaay.  Banking sharply left and right to get a view under the plane’s wings and swiveling her head, she said: “I see empty skies”.

Doyle echoed: “Ditto, I confirm I see no traffic. Let’s play!”

Blanca snugged the straps on her X-harness and with no cue needed, Doyle did likewise. Blanca then immediately launched into a series of aerobatics that would have made most other passengers puke.  Doyle was whooping and laughing. She burned through 7,000 feet in less than a minute, doing rolls, loops and spins. At one point, Blanca’s flight bag levitated to the ceiling, as they pulled negative gees.  Doyle snatched it and tucked it under his arm.

After climbing back up to 10,000 feet, Blanca put on a devilish grin. She launched into another series of maneuvers, even more violent. At one point, Ian’s vision narrowed from the effect of pulling three gees. Doyle never once felt tempted to take the controls, even when she intentionally put the plane into flat spin.  She deftly recovered and they both laughed. She climbed once again and put the plane through a pair of Immelman turns and then a neat four-point roll.

“Now you show me something!” and she made a show of throwing her hands up, off the stick.

Quickly drying his palms on his pant legs, he grasped the other stick. Doyle then took a couple of tentative turns, getting a feel for the aircraft.  He throttled the engine up slightly and then adjusted the trim wheel, to counteract the propeller’s torque. This took a couple of tries to get just right, since he was unfamiliar with the gradation of the wheel.

 “¡Vale!  You just showed me a very nice four point roll. Now this is an eight-pointer!  After completing the roll, he continued:  “And this is a sixteen pointer.”

After completing the second roll, he said: “Sorry, that was a little sloppy.  I’m not used to a plane where I’m fighting prop torque like this. Flying jets spoils a man.” After a beat, he shouted: “Hands on stick!”

She obliged.

He then declared: “Its your aircraft!” and dropped his hands.

She was quizzical. “What? That’s all you show me?”

As she resumed control, he explained, “Look, Blanca, I didn’t come up here to show off my fighter jock stuff.  I came to see you do your thing.”

“And what you theenk?”

“I think you’re beautiful and I think that your flying is just as beautiful. Muy Linda.”

Blanca beamed a toothy smile and deftly banked to dive toward Lake Yojoa, visible in the distance.  In the dive, their ground speed got above 160.

He truly was impressed by her flying ability.  He recognized that she was a natural for stick and rudder, as well as situational awareness. The thing that impressed him the most was her gracefulness in both right and left hand turns. Most pilots were good at only one or the other, depending on their handedness. He commented to her on this and she explained: “Mi papa, he’s the tennis guy.  Since I was a little girl, he insist that I learn everything ambidextrous—no, ambidexterous-leee, even with the holding of a fork.”

La tenadore”, Doyle reminded himself aloud, from a recent lesson.

El tenadore”, she corrected.

“Sorry, I always get my masculines and feminines mixed up.”

She turned to give him another smile: “I think you are very masculine, E-an.”

With the aerobatic maneuvering over, they both loosened their harnesses. Back in level flight and approaching the lago, Blanca again pushed the stick forward to swoop down low over the water. The plane scared up a huge flock of ducks. Marveling at the size of the flock of multicolored brown and black ducks, Ian asked:  “What are those?”

“Here, we call them Suirirí Piquirrojo. In English they are called, I theenk the Black-Bellied Whistling Duck.”

They flew well above the flock, safe from any bird strikes.  Blanca repeatedly banked the plane to get a better view and then after circling back, she pulled the throttle out, transitioning to slow flight, to orbit the enormous flock.  It looked like a veritable cloud of ducks. Ian snapped pictures with his camera.  She then advanced the throttle to its mid-range and flew away from the lake, back toward Tegucigalpa.

Ian felt ecstatic. “Wow!  That was an incredible sight, Blanca! 

Ian reached over to place his hand on Blanca’s shoulder.  He realized that it was the second time he had ever touched her. He asked: “Will you marry me?”

She punched the throttle to the firewall and the acceleration threw Ian back against his seat. She looked straight ahead and then glanced down at the instruments. At first Ian thought that he had angered her.  Then she turned and smiled. “Of course I will marry you, E-an. But I gotta land thees plane first.”


[Author's Note: Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles. This material is not available for re-posting at other web sites. The novel is scheduled to be released by the Atria Books Division of Simon & Schuster in early 2011. Deo volente, my next contracted sequel novel will follow, in 2012. I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions via e-mail for improvement of this draft chapter.]

Hi Jim,
On Friday, Angus suggested downloading the different sections (Body Armor, Sanitation, etc) of SurvivalBlog for keeping on a USB drive. May I suggest that people download by the month instead of [by the topical] section. This way, when JWR has archived a months' worth of articles, you can easily update your archives on your USB by downloading the most recent month, rather than updating every different section.

I love the Blog! - Ryan in BC, Canada


When I make a backup of SurvivalBlog, I use the following command:

wget --recursive --no-clobber --page-requisites --html-extension --convert-links --restrict-file-names=windows --domains --no-parent

This will create a directory which contains everything linked on from the domain which is navigable per normal in a browser by opening the index.html file contained within.

You can get wget from

Your Mac users can then convert the directory into a compressed, mountable disk-image with the command: (Replace the YYYYMMDD with the appropriate year, month and day of the snapshot.)

hdiutil create -srcfolder -format UDZO YYYYMMDD-survivalblog.dmg

I can also convert this to a .iso if you're interested, which can be burned from most operating systems. If you have access to a Mac, the command is:

hdiutil convert YYYYMMDD-survivalblog.dmg -format UDTO -o YYYYMMDD-survivalblog.iso
gzip -9 YYYYMMDD-survivalblog.iso.cdr

Once you have the iso, you can burn it to a CD-ROM for ease of browsing if you can't mount it as a disk-image.

I only backup your site now about once every six months doing this. Please don't do so any more often, since it uses a lot of bandwidth. Regards, - Mike B.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chapter 24:  Down In Hondo

"We are steadily asked about the age at which to teach young people to shoot. The answer to this obviously depends upon the particular individual; not only his physical maturity but his desire. Apart from these considerations, however, I think it important to understand that it is the duty of the father to teach the son to shoot. Before the young man leaves home, there are certain things he should know and certain skills he should acquire, apart from any state-sponsored activity. Certainly the youngster should be taught to swim, strongly and safely, at distance. And young people of either sex should be taught to drive a motor vehicle, and if at all possible, how to fly a light airplane. I believe a youngster should be taught the rudiments of hand-to-hand combat, unarmed, together with basic survival skills. The list is long, but it is a parent's duty to make sure that the child does not go forth into the world helpless in the face of its perils. Shooting, of course, is our business, and shooting should not be left up to the state." - The Late Col. Jeff Cooper

The leader of the Hondo expedition was Major Alan Brennan, a quiet man who was the son of a retired Air Force Colonel.  Brennan’s leadership was competent but very laid back:  He made it clear that he expected his squadron members to be punctual for all meetings, and completely sober before each scheduled mission. He summed up his guidance by stating simply: “We’ve got excellent maintenance NCOs, and the civilian techs know the gear inside and out.  Stand back and let them do their jobs.  Just be at the briefings and be on flight line on time. ‘Kick the tire, light the fire’, and come home safe.”

Brennan, who had recently been married, was fascinated by pre-Columbian history, and spent a lot of his time off in a rented jeep, wandering around ancient ruins, taking pictures. Other than on his mission days, Doyle rarely saw him.

The Air Force terminated its tactical reconnaissance program for F-16s in 1993, with plans to shift most of those missions to UAVs.  But there was an interim program using US Navy-developed Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) mounted on F-16s.  Doyle’s squadron was one of the two fighter squadrons that got tapped for this “strap-on recon” test program, which only lasted 18 months.  While technically a success, from an operational and logistics standpoint, the results were mixed.  And since UAV technology was meanwhile maturing rapidly, the decision was made to mothball the TARPs pods and support gear.  It was during the TARPS test program that Ian Doyle was part of the Hondo Expedition.

By the time that the USAF got involved, the TARPs pods were a “well-matured technology”. Most of the technical support was supplied by civilian contractors from Grumman, the company that had originally developed the system. The 17-foot, 1,850-pound pods were essentially a “strap on” system, adaptable to many types of aircraft.  They could be mounted on standard hard points.  First developed for Navy F-14s and Marine Corps F/A-18s, the TARPS pods were, as one of the Grumman camera technicians put it: “fool proof and pilot proof, but then, I repeat myself.”

The expedition included four F-16s--two for missions, and two as spares—four mission pilots, and a C-130 to shuttle the support crew and umpteen spare parts—both for the planes and for the TARPS pods.  The TDY rotation was five months, making it just short of the six month threshold for a PCS.  This made the personnel paperwork easier, and reduced the overall cost of the program. 

All of the pilots were housed at the “White House” (La Casa Blanca), the guest quarters in Tegucigalpa which was run by the American embassy, in Colonia Loma Linda Norte district, on La Avenida FAO. The White House was a gathering place of myth and legend. It served as the catch-all for visiting company-grade military officers, CIA types on temporary assignment, and assorted contractors on government business. The atmosphere was jovial and there were even some fraternity-style bashes on weekends. The CIA officers called it a “safe house”, but its presence was hardly clandestine. Even the local newspaper mentioned it from time to time—often by its nicknames “Rick's Café Américain” or “Rick’s Place”, in honor of the Humphrey Bogart movie Casablanca.

Junior officers at La Casa Blanca were expected to share rooms. Ian Doyle’s roommate was Bryson Pitcher, an Air Force Intelligence First Lieutenant, who was permanent party with the Intel Cell at the American embassy.

Shortly after meeting Pitcher, Ian Doyle summed up The Expedition to him: “It’s an intense assignment, but a good one.  I’ll fly three, maybe four missions a week, all in daylight hours, and they are just six hours each. Other than some intel briefing dog and pony shows once every 10 or 12 days either here or down at Soto Cano, I get all the rest of my days off, to hike, swim, and see the sights. My only regret is that it’s only a five month TDY.  I wish it were a couple of years, to really soak up the local culture.”

Bryson has his curiosity piqued.  He asked: “Well, what are you doing, exactly?  This is the first time I’ve seen F-16s in Hondo. We haven’t heard squat about it, even in the Intel shop.”

“I could tell you, but then I’d have to shoot you.”

Bryson snorted.

Ian grinned, and said: “Just kidding. What’s your clearance?”

“TS-SBI, with a bunch of funny little letters after that, for compartments that I can’t tell you about.”

“Well, what do you do here Bryson, in a nutshell?”

“I task and receive reports from a bunch of over-educated NCOs, and we analyze them for liaison with the Honduran government, and for an un-specified strategic mission.”

“Stuff from aircraft?,”  Doyle asked.

“Nope.  Stuff from ahh… Non-air breathing platforms.”

“Ahhh, gotcha.”  Hearing the euphemism for spy satellites made in clear to Doyle that he could ask no further questions.

Okay, well, then I guess I can certainly talk about the basics, even though you’re in the strategic world, while my bailiwick is mostly tactical.  A little cross-over, I suppose.  You’ll probably get brief in a week or two, anyway.”

Bryson nodded.

Ian looked up at the slowly-rotating ceiling fan and asked: “Are you familiar with a system called TARPS?”

“Sure—it’s the Navy’s pod-mounted photo recon system. It’s pretty idiot-proof, as long as they remember to hook up the external power and use a squirt of Windex before they takeoff.”

“That’s the one. Were going to be using F-16s with TARPS pods flying recon over Colombia, keeping track of the, ahem, ‘opposition’s’ troop movements.  Meanwhile there are some Army Intelligence guys, using a system called Guardrail, flying out of Panama, to monitor the FARC’s radio transmissions. You piece all that intel together, along with what you guys up in “Echelons Above Reality” provide, and that gives a pretty complete picture for the theater command, most of which—after its properly sanitized—can get shared with the host country.”

Doyle sat up and turned to look at Pitcher, and continued; “It’s pretty straightforward stick and rudder stuff.  I just follow the pre-programmed flight profiles:  Fly to these coordinates, spiral down to this altitude and assume this heading and fly straight and level for x minutes until you at these coordinates, then turn to this heading, and fly x minutes, then climb out, suck some gas at a tanker, and return to base.”

Pitcher chided: “Ha!  One of the new UAVs could probably handle that, from a lot closer-in than Hondo.”

“No kidding. I’ve been told that it was more political than anything else, to show support for the Colombian and Honduran governments—you know, “show the flag.”  So they didn’t want just a “man in the loop”, but an actual “man on the stick.”  For reasons of physical security on the ground, they couldn’t base our planes in-country in Colombia, so they decided to base us at Tegucigalpa. 

“Wouldn’t it be safer for the planes to be at Soto Cano.”

“Yes, but El Presidente likes F-16s, so he insisted that since this is just a five month gig that we be here in the capitol, rather than at Soto Cano. I think he’s hoping to get a ‘dollar ride’ in a D-model.”

“Do you have any two-seaters down here?”

“No, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that magically get added to scope of the mission.”

Bryson summarized: “So basing at Colombia was out, and the political fix was in for Tegucigalpa. Better for you, anyway.  At Soto Cano, you’ d be living in some corrugated steel hooch with no running water.”

“Yeah, It would be muy malo  to have some FARC dude blow up a couple of F-16s on the ramp. Falcons were $19 million per copy, back when the last ones rolled off the assembly line. Now that production has shut down, the airframes are basically irreplaceable.  It would be very bad P.R. if we lost one.”

“So, you poor baby! You have three or four days a week on your hands for the next five months to chase skirts and sip Port Royal beer.  Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all the best places to go, and I have friends with cars that can take you there.”

“I’m not much of skirt chaser. You see I believe in courting ladies, not dating them.  But I have been known to enjoy a good beer.”

“In moderation, no doubt.”

Doyle echoed, “Yes, exactly: in moderation.”

Bryson, punched his shoulder.  “I think you’re gonna have a blast here.”

Doyle’s plans for the next five months changed radically the next day, when he heard what he later called “the voice of angel”, as he came in for a landing approach after a 40 minute operational test flight, with the newly-fitted TARPS pod. The voice on the radio from the control tower sounded enchanting, obviously that of a young woman.  Soon after hitting the tarmac, he asked the liaison crew chief who the voice belonged to. The E-7 replied:  “Oh, that’s Blanca Araneta. But I’ve gotta warn you: She’s single, maybe 21 or 22, and she’s a absolute doll. But she’s made of pure unobtanium. Many before you have tried and failed, young Jedi.”

Doyle immediately took that as a challenge.  He got his first glimpse of the young woman as he loitered outside the control tower during the evening shift change. He spotted Blanca Araneta just as she stepped into her car—a battered old Mercedes station wagon. Ian was surprised to see that, having heard she was from a wealthy family. She drove away before he had the chance to approach her and introduce himself.  She was indeed a beautiful woman, with expressive large eyes, a beautifully symmetrical face, and full lips. Her shoulder-length black hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Seeing her, Ian Doyle was smitten.

Ian immediately starting gathering intelligence, and planning a strategy. He first learned that Blanca was from a wealthy family that lived about an hour’s drive north of the air base, and that her father was a prominent mining engineer and investor. After much prying with other members of the control tower staff, Doyle found out that Blanca Araneta was a recent graduate of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras and was a licensed private pilot. To Ian this meant bonus points: finding a woman with whom he could talk aviation and not have her eyes glaze over.  She still lived in an apartment near the University.

Further inquiries garnered the married name of her college roommate: Consuela Dalgon, a linguistics major who now taught public school, living not too far from the airport.  Blanca still had a close friendship with Dalgon. After buying a few more beers, he was given Dalgon’s phone number. That same evening, Ian phoned her, explaining that he was TDY and was looking for a Spanish tutor.  Dalgon immediately answered affirmatively, explaining that she had married another recent graduate who was just getting started as a management trainee, so she could use the extra money. 

Ian’s lessons began the next Saturday, at the Dalgons’ apartment. Not only did he get a thorough immersion course in Spanish, but he also began to pick up tidbits about the mysterious Señorita Blanca Araneta.

He learned that Blanca was from a wealthy family in Talanga.  Her father, Arturo Araneta y Vasquez, was a semi-retired mining engineer, and a former member of the Honduran Olympic tennis team.

Consuela confided to Ian that Blanca had told her that she hated tennis. This was because she had been forced to take tennis lessons from an early age.  Doyle was also told that Blanca loved swimming, and aerobatic flying. He was also told that Blanca read and wrote English much better than she spoke it.

At his next Spanish tutoring session, he found out that Blanca loved Almond Roca candy. She also liked modern flamenco music--what she called “that folky jazz sound”.  She especially liked the Gipsy Kings, Armik, Paco de Lucia, and Ottmar Liebert.  Curious, Doyle bought several CDs at the local record store, and was instantly hooked. As he listened to this music he often daydreamed about Blanca, picturing her dancing in a traditional flamenco dress.

Ian met Blanca for the first time at the Plaza San Martin Hotel in Tegucigalpa.  Consuela and Blanca often went to the hotel to swim.  They had started going while they were in college.  Though the pool was  normally reserved for hotel guests, the hotel manager quietly let it be known that pretty college girls of good moral character were welcome to come swim at the pool as often as they’d like, just to provide some eye candy for the visiting businessmen. To the girls, it was a perfect arrangement. The hotel provided a safe place to park, and a safe place to swim. The only downside was that they often got to practice how to politely brush off the occasional lovelorn or just plain lusty business travelers.  Only the Japanese ones took pictures.

During his third evening lesson with Consuela, she and her husband Pablo invited Ian to come with them for a swim, following the next Saturday lesson.  Not wishing to be obvious, Ian didn’t ask if Blanca might be meeting them there, but he thought the chances were good.

At the Tegucigalpa. Multiplaza, Ian picked out a new swim suit—opting for the long “surfer suit” look--a dark beach towel, a lightweight windbreaker, and a pair of the best-quality leather huarache sandals that they sold.

o  o  o

A half hour after their swim session began, Ian emerged from the pool after a set of laps. He was thrilled to see Blanca Araneta had arrived, and was sitting on a lounge chair, chatting with Consuela.

Toweling himself dry, he walked toward them, doing his best to look nonchalant.  Consuela introduced him to Blanca, in Spanish. Señora Dalgon was, after all, strict believer in true Immersion Spanish.

Ignoring Consuela’s cue, Blanca switched to English.

“A pleasure to be meeting you, E-an.”

Hearing the cute way she pronounced his name—more like “Eon” than “Ian”--made him just melt.

Avoiding the open chair next to Blanca, he sat down on the lounge that was beyond Consuela’s and Pablo’s --he thought it best to talk to Blanca at first from a longer distance, rather than seem overly anxious, or intrusive of her space.

Speaking to Blanca, over the top of Consuela’s back, Ian said: “Señorita Araneta, I have heard your voice before, from the control tower.  I usually fly ‘Falcon 1-2-4’, and you’ve probably heard my callsign, ‘Subgunner’.”

“Oh, yes, I know your callsign.”

Doyle replied: “Yes, that me. I always wanted to put a face to your name.  I must say, you have a pretty voice, and a very pretty face to go with it.”

Blanca just smiled and laughed politely. 

Again trying to seem nonchalant, Ian added: “Well, enjoy your swim”, and he reclined on an unoccupied lounge chair and put on his sunglasses. Laying there, he wondered if he had botched the introduction.  His mind was racing.  He felt very self-conscious, and oh-so pale skinned, among so many people with olive complexions. He dare not speak.  Silently, he recited to himself Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool is counted wise, when he holds his peace. When he shuts his lips he is considered perceptive.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Blanca stand up and whip off the ankle-length swimming skirt-wrap that she had been wearing. She tossed it on top of her flight bag.  He noticed that she carried that bag everywhere. Beneath, she was wearing what by modern standards was a very conservative one-piece swimsuit with an integral skirt, but it couldn’t hide her traffic-stopping figure.  Ian Doyle gulped and whispered to himself: “Ay, ay, ay”.

Blanca spent almost 15 minutes in the pool, swimming lap after lap.  After she got out and returned to her chair, Ian rose, smiled, and took his own turn in the pool, swimming in a medley of strokes for about 10 minutes.  He thought that at this stage, it was best to seem slightly stand-offish and more interested in swimming than in chatting her up.

After he climbed up the pool’s ladder, he could see that Consuela and Blanca had turned on their chairs, and were applying sun screen to each-other’s noses.  Ian again toweled, but just slightly, and returned to his chaise, and put on his sunglasses.

Consuela asked, “Bloqueador de sol, Ian?”

He answered: “Si, muchas gracias por su amabilidad, señora”, and raised his hands as if ready to catch the bottle.”

But instead of tossing the bottle, Consuela pivoted to hand him the bottle directly.  Leaning forward, she whispered, “She has been very curious about you.”

Ian slathered the waterproof sun-block on, explaining: “With my skin, I don’t tan, I just burn. I’m feeling a little too white to fit in here.”

As Ian handed the bottle back to Consuela, Blanca said matter-of-factly: “You know, here in our country, many people would be jealous of your fair skin. The more fair, the more aristocratic.”

Doyle nodded, and said simply, “Oh.”  He realized that he had lot to learn about Honduras.

Blanca eyed Doyle for a minute, and speaking over Consuela’s back, asked, “Has Consuela been talking about me, to you?”

“A little.”  Disarmingly, he added, “I also told her about my college roommate.”

“So what did she say?”

“Something about your father, su papa, that he was un experto de tenis’.”

“Not actually a champion.  He was an bronze medaler--I mean medalist, in doubles of tennis.”

She cocked her head and asked with a hopeful lilt to her voice, “Do you like tennis?”

“I’ve played the game, but you know, I never really liked it. No le gusto el tenis.  It is just a whole lot of sweating, just to hit a ball back and forth, back and forth.  And it’s kind of an aggravating game. I found it a little too competitive: Even if you practice a lot and hit the ball just right, there is always someone who can hit it just a little bit better, or who is just a little bit faster, and they can ace you out.  So, no offense, but it’s not for me.  If I want to practice my hand-to-eye coordination, I’d rather be in a flight simulator, or better yet, up in the air, formation flying or doing aerobatics.”

Blanca smiled.  “Aerobatics?”

“Oh yeah. The F-16 is built for it—well, with a big turning radius that is.  Lot’s of power, great handling.  The controls are a dream.  Incredibly responsive.”

“Ay, that sounds wonderful.”

Consuela jumped in: “Ian, you should show Blanca those videos you shot from the back seat, that you showed me and Pablo.”

Si, señora, yo estoy feliz... uh…” At a loss for the right words in Spanish, he finished:  “…to do so.”  After a moment, he added, “That video may make you dizzy to watch, and there is not much narration, just me and the pilot grunting, you know, tightening our abdominal muscles, doing our best to pull the gees.”

“No, it won’t make me dizzy!”, Blanca said. She then just smiled, nodded dismissively, and lay back down, putting on sunglasses, and pulling her sun hat over her head.  But Doyle noticed that she was looking in his direction.  With her large dark sunglasses, he couldn’t be sure if she was sleeping, or staring at him.  He was having trouble reading her.  Was she genuinely interested, or just being polite and properly social? He decided that it was best to just give her more of the ‘silence and sunbathing treatment.’  He reached down and pulled out his Sony Discman portable CD-player and put the headphones on.  He closed his eyes and got lost in the music for a few minutes.  Then he noticed something had shaded his face.  He opened his eyes to see Blanca standing over him.

“Oh, hola, senorita Araneta”, he said casually.

Gesturing to his CD player, she asked: “What are you playing on that theeng?”

“Oh, this? Here, take a listen.”  Blanca perched on the edge of Consuela’s lounge chair, and Ian handed her the Discman. He leaned forward to put the headphones on her head. It was the first time that he had ever touched Blanca.  It gave him a tingle.

Blanca put on a huge grin the instant she heard the music.

“You like Ottmar Liebert? No way!  This is his first album, ‘Nouveau Flamneco’. You really like it?”

“Yeah, I sure do. I’m a recent convert to that music.  I’ve really gotten hooked on flamenco guitar, since I came down here.”

She nodded. “Well, E-an, then what is current-ally your favorite band?”

“I’d have to say, the Gipsy Kings. It’s almost hypnotic. From the first time I heard them sing ‘Bamboleo’, I just couldn’t get it out of my head.”

Blanca smiled and said softly, “Wow, I really like them too.”  Then she shook her head in disbelief, smiling. 

o  o  o

The next time that Ian met Blanca was at a weeknight dinner party, just three days later, hosted by Consuela and Pablo. The evening before, in halting Spanish, Doyle asked Consuela, “How should I dress for this?”

For the first time at one of his immersion class sessions, Consuela lapsed into English:  “Well, it is a dinner, you should wear a coat and a tie.”

“I’m just TDY down here, and I don’t have a suit with me. The only thing I have with a tie is my Service Dress Uniform.”

“That will be fine.  Wear that.”

Ian arrived early, carrying a clear plastic grocery bag with a bottle of Chilean white wine and a can of Almond Roca.  In the crook of his other arm were two large bouquets of white orchids.

Inviting him in, Pablo Dalgon said, “You can relax Ian.  We’re speaking all English tonight.  This is not a class night. Pure-ely social.”

Ian was taken aback to see that Blanca was already there, having arrived even earlier than Ian.  Doyle handed the flowers to Consuela, and said “ I brought a bunch for each of you.”  Pablo, who heretofore had hardly spoken to Ian, exclaimed, jokingly, “Oh how nice of you.  Flowers for both of us.”

Consuela gave Pablo a sharp look, and elbowed him in the ribs, chiding, “He means, flowers for both of the ladies.”

Pablo laughed and said, “I know. Jus’ kidding.”

As Blanca and Consuela each took their bouquets, Blanca glanced down to see what was in the bag.  She recognized the pink can.  Her jaw dropped a bit, and she gave Doyle a quizzical look.

In rapid damage-control mode, Doyle explained: “I heard from Consuela that you liked Almond Roca, so I bought a can. You know, to serve with dessert.”

As Consuela began serving dinner, Blanca’s eyes locked onto the can of candy sitting on the sideboard. Then she stared at Ian.

Blanca started laughing. “She pointed with a scolding finger at Doyle, and said, “E-an, I theenk you are trying to manip-o-late me.”

“Yes, I am, señorita. I freely admit that. But I’m doing so in a kind of nice, gentlemanly way.”

Through the rest of the dinner the talk was mainly about aviation, and differences between American and Honduran customs.  It was a very pleasant evening.  Pablo was quiet, as was his nature.  Ian and Blanca made plenty of eye contact. Consuela, clearly looking like a victorious matchmaker, steered the conversation. She often returned to topics where she gave Ian and Blanca opportunities to ask each other questions and talk about their accomplishments.

After dinner, Consuela served flan, with a piece of Almond Roca topping each piece of the gelatinous dessert. She was quite the diplomatic hostess.

Pablo and Consuela stepped out, to clear the dishes. In phrasing that he had practiced several times with Consuela’s coaching, Ian asked Blanca in Spanish:  “Señorita Araneta, I wish to ask your permission to court you in the coming days, with completely honorable intentions, if you would be so kind as to have me in your presence.”

Her answer was immediate: “You may call me Blanca, and yes, you may court me, with your promise to be a gentleman.”

                                                      o  o  o

Their next meeting was a lunch the following day, at the air base canteen.  But just as their conversation was starting, it was cut short:  One of Blanca’s co-workers rushed to their table, and exclaimed that the tower boss had fallen ill with a flu, and that Blanca was needed back at the control tower.  Then he turned and stepped away, just as quickly as he had arrived.

Blanca stood, and said, “I’m now in a hurry here, so this as you say is the ‘Reader’s Digest’ version:  I like you a lot, E-an.  I theenk you are fascinating. So now, it is the time I should take you up to the Estancia, so mi papa can give you the, uh, ‘Third Degree’.  You are seeming just way, way too good to be true… and my father, he is an expert at digging out the flaws of character in suit-ors.  We’ll see if he can scare you off.”  She raised her index finger and added: “He has, all the others, you know. I’ll schedule a dinner for next Saturday.”

Before he could answer, Blanca smiled, gave a little wave, and dashed away.

Ian sat dumbfounded at what he had just heard. Then he said a long silent prayer, and ate his lunch.

                                               o  o  o

To go meet Blanca’s father, Ian decided to wear a suit, instead of his Service Dress uniform.  But borrowing a suit that would fit him well took some scrambling, as did finding cufflinks and dress shoes. This turned into an evening-long scavenger hunt for many of the junior officers and GS-9s that lived on his floor of “Rick’s Place”.  Knocking on doors up and down the hall, Bryson Pitcher led Doyle and a “parade of suit beggars”.  This turned into movable party, with plenty of alcohol served.  Doyle heard repeatedly: “This deserves a toast!”  The lovely Blanca Araneta was a legendarily unreachable enigma for anyone that worked in flight operations, so the reactions were a mix of envy and awe.  The envy came mostly from the officers that were there on PCS assignments. They were miffed that a newly-arrived TDY O-2 could break the ice with Blanca, so quickly.

Blanca drove over from her apartment and picked Ian up at just after 3 p.m., for the hour-long drive to her family’s 90 hectare estancia, which was about three miles outside of Talanga. Blanca wore a simple black dress with a very modest neckline and hemmed below the knee. She wore very little makeup. Her hair was combed out and worn loosely.  This was the first time that Ian had seen it in anything but a simple ponytail. The only adornment she wore was a single large, teardrop-shaped pearl, on a gold chain.  Ian thought she looked gorgeous.  She definitely had the Grace Kelly vibe going: Understated, but stunning.

The drive north from Tegucigalpa was fairly quiet and revealed the nervousness they both felt.  There were just a few comments on the scenery, and a bit of travelogue from Blanca on the local history the age of certain buildings. Ian Doyle felt a new level of anxiety as she turned the car in the Estancia’s long driveway.  Even from a distance, Doyle could see that the house was huge, and that it had stables off to one side.

[Author's Note: The remainder of this sample chapter will be posted tomorrow. Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles. This material is not available for re-posting at other web sites. The novel is scheduled to be released by the Atria Division of Simon & Schuster in early 2011.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I would like to thank you for your excellent site. I have been steadily working my way through your archives for the past several months now. I have been a prepper for quite a while thanks to my upbringing. However, for me it is more of a serious hobby than anything else. Being in the military and changing duty stations fairly rapidly is not conducive to long term prepping, as has been mentioned before on your site. That does not mean that I cannot plan however. I have attached a “List of Lists” in MS-Excel spreadsheet format. The initial worksheet is a link page with each of the lists labeled. You should be able to click on the list you want and it will take you to it, if not then use the worksheet tabs at the bottom of the page.

I have included in these lists all the recommended material from the newbies page of your site with the exception of videos. I have also included material from your archives that I felt pertinent (and that I have covered so far), as well as some of my own wants. This list is not complete to say the least, but I would be comfortable calling it list "1.0". There is still a lot of work to be done on it but I will be on my way to Afghanistan soon and it will be unlikely I will have Internet or computer access for some time. Therefore I am sending it to you for you to do with as you will. Maybe some other individual can profit from the work I have completed thusfar, or perhaps there is a way to make it a community project that others can add to with their recommendations. Allowing anyone to pick and choose what works for them (It is modular!)

My basic format to date has been three simple columns: Item, Remarks about the item, and Web links associated with that item.

God Bless, - ZZP from Texas

JWR Replies: Thanks for your efforts! I've just added the spreadsheet to the blog site, where it will be permanently linked. (It is now linked in the left-hand menu.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You might have noticed that a CPA service advertising on SurvivalBlog. Her name is Mara Helland. Since it is now tax season, I thought that it would be appropriate to give my personal recommendation, and let you know what services she offers.

Like many other CPAs, Mara mainly does tax accounting. But what sets her apart from other CPA firms is absolute privacy. I know that this is crucial for a lot of people, especially fellow SurvivalBlog readers. I don’t know what privacy issues are like in the big cities, but I do know that in small towns, people who make a decent living want to be assured their personal financial information isn’t going to end up as fodder for gossip at the local bar.

I've learned that when new clients come to Mara Helland from another CPA, it is almost always because they have experienced poor service. She says that she rarely hears complaints about prior CPA fees, but she definitely hears about lack of attentiveness from other accountants. Of course, all CPAs will say that they value their clients and that they provide "excellent service", but that is not what happens in reality. A lot of times, CPAs or firm-partners will bring in the new clients, but the actual services and care for the clients are pushed off on staff members, with much less experience and fewer skills. Mara is now in her 20th year of working in public accounting. When clients come to her, they get top-notch service directly from Mara. As I have experienced personally, when a client calls her office, she answers the phone herself. She prides herself on taking good care of her clients, and I think that shows with the number of very long-term client relationships that she has developed.

Mara works with a wide clientele, including individuals, all types of businesses, estates, trusts and non-profit organizations. She has clients throughout the United States, so being in Montana does not limit her to only having Montana clients. She also works with military families and US citizens that work overseas.

March 15, 2010 is the tax-filing deadline for businesses that are corporations. And, of course April 15th is the big deadline for personal income tax returns, as well as partnership/LLC tax returns. If you need more time to gather your personal or business tax information, she can prepare and file a tax extension for you.

Mara noted in an e-mail: "I, too, am a SurvivalBlog follower. I came to your site first as a reader and then later chose to advertise with you. I can certainly relate to my SurvivalBlog clients."

I'm one of Mara's satisfied tax accounting clients, so I can highly recommend her!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mr. Rawles,
I just finished your novel "Patriots" a few days ago and I was compelled to send you a note. Your writing has changed my whole view of the "survivalist/ militia" culture and beliefs. You have truly opened my eyes and provided some answers to many questions I have had for years now.

First you opened my eyes to how fragile our world truly is. The parallels to what is happening today in our society will certainly force me to take personal action for my family and close friends. I will be having both my son and daughter, as well as their spouses read your book. As well I will be recommending it to as many friends as I possibly can. At 52 years of age, I hope I am not too late, for my children's sake.

I appreciate the technical detail and references you have provided. Who knows some of it may save one or more lives in the future.

I have always been a believer in our Second Amendment rights in America and your book has just solidified the understanding of why this should be so important to us, and most importantly our children. Thank you for providing an inspirational and thought provoking look into what we may face in the future. I do so hope you will land your screenplay sale and "Patriots" goes to the big screen. If it does please make sure to maintain the message you send to all Americans. I will make sure I am one of the first to see the film if it does come out.

Thank you again sir, from my heart, I say "Thank you," - Rodney W., Beaverton, Oregon

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mr . Rawles,
I'm a bit confused. There are no so many editions of your books out there--hard copy, e-books, and audio books, and now I hear that there is a British Edition of "How to Survive TEOTWAWKI". Can you please for me clarify exactly what the book options are, and your recommendations on the least expensive places to buy them? Are there autographed copies for sale? How many copies of each are in print? And what are you writing next? Thanks, - James Y., a Ten Cent Challenger

JWR Replies: Sure, here is a thumbnail list:


"Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse" (the latest edition, with index and glossary), from Ulysses Press. Not counting the earlier editions, there are now more than 52,000 copies in print.

There is also a Kindle e-book edition of the novel.

And there is an unabridged audiobook of the novel, narrated by Dick Hill. It is available through iTunes and (as a MP3 download) or on CD from many booksellers, such as

I'm presently writing two sequels to the novel, set contemporaneously to the storyline of "Patriots", but in different locales. Simon and Schuster plans to sequentially release the two sequels in 2011 and 2012.

I also wrote "Pulling Through", a feature length survivalist action/adventure movie screenplay that is very loosely based on "Patriots". The full screenplay text is available for free download. It is also available as a wire-o bound print-on demand book from CafePress.


"How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It", from Penguin Books, New York. There are now more than 60,000 copies in print.

The UK edition of the same book with a slightly different cover (but essentially the same text) was recently released by Penguin Books of England.

There is also a Kindle e-book edition.

And there is an unabridged audiobook, narrated by Dick Hill. It is available through iTunes and (as an MP3 download) or on CD from many booksellers, such as

A Spanish translation should soon be in development by Paidotribo S.L. of Barcelona, Spain. This should be released in early 2011.

"Rawles on Retreats and Relocation" is my book with details on selecting and stocking a self-sufficient survival retreat. It is published by Less than 3,000 copies are in print.

I co-authored the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, published by Arbogast Publishing. The course binder includes an hour-long audio CD with questions and answers on preparedness and suggestions on how to get family members and friends interested in preparedness.

Autographed Books:

Because of the time constraints of my writing and consulting schedule, I no longer do book tours or sell autographed copies of any of my books. However, at last report, Fred's M14 Stocks still has a few autographed copies of the older XLibris publishing edition of "Patriots" available. The very few autographed copies of my more recent books that are in circulation were gifts, or mailed out as prizes for SurvivalBlog's non-fiction writing contest.

To Save Money:

The best way to save money when buying any of my books is to look for used copies at places like Amazon .com. But my preference is that you enquire at your local independent bookseller first. (Please do a search through Indie Bound.) Local bookstores deserve your patronage!

Friday, January 1, 2010

I am offering a challenge for your readers. I will match dollar for dollar all donations made by your readers to Anchor of Hope up to a total of $20,000. If they will respond, we can raise $40,000 for Anchor of Hope Charities. So that you know that I am serious about this, I am sending my donation of $20,000 to them today. - An Anonymous Donor

JWR Replies: Thank you, Sir, very much for your tremendous generosity! The Anchor of Hope orphanage and school is a very worthy charity with hardly any overhead. I am hopeful that more SurvivalBlog readers will also make contributions! To get the ball rolling on your challenge offer, I just made another substantial donation.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your blog readers continue to be generous and devoted to efforts in Zambia through Anchor of Hope Charities. Your wife’s memorial fund continues to bring much prosperity to the children. [As of mid-December,] $12,692.43 has now been raised. There are several of your readers now making repeat donations. One generous check came recently for $1,000! This is amazing to me.

These donations continue to keep us busy! By us I mean two of us at Anchor of Hope Charities - and Ronnie and Kennedy Mvulo, the Zambian couple who run the orphanage. We are busy negotiating with local vendors, purchasing supplies, and coordinating the building efforts. We are also making plans for our next trip in May. Our hope is to have a medical team available to offer services to those in the surrounding communities. I would venture to say that 1,000 local people will end up camping out, waiting to see our US doctors and dentists. It should be an amazing experience for both Zambians and Americans.

It’s funny, Jim. Because of all the work that’s being done in the area, people are starting to take notice. They too want to be a part of the work. We are starting to see local donations of work and some supplies.

I cannot express to you what an impact we are making. But I’m truly grateful. My best to you and our readers. - Judy Kendall, Director, Anchor of Hope Charities

JWR Replies: I am most profoundly gratified to see such an outpouring of charity to such a worthy cause. I urge anyone that has not yet donated to go ahead and do so. For readers in the US: If you make a donation before December 31st, it will be deductible for the current tax year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

In the past few months, more than a dozen readers have reported a glitch in viewing SurvivalBlog with the Firefox web browser. Firefox is otherwise an excellent web browser and my recommendation as the best browser available.

If you receive a "Content Encoding Error", while trying to access SurvivalBlog, then there is a problem with Firefox's cache on your PC--not a problem with our web site. This cache is the local archive that it maintained to speed up loading commonly visited web sites. Occasionally, this archive can be corrupted by your browser, producing a "Content Encoding Error."

The easiest solution is to have Firefox reload SurvivalBlog entirely, and refresh its cache. When you get the "Content Encoding Error", press Control+Shift+R, to have Firefox reload the page from the source on our server, rather than your local cache. (If you are using a Mac it's "Command" key rather than "Control"). This will reload the page, and update the cache, replacing any corrupted data.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm writing this to thank you for your blog, novel and preparedness course. Reading those has revitalized my prepping efforts, which had gone dormant since Y2K fizzled. Since then, I had the nagging feeling that I should be preparing, but I wasn't--until I stumbled across your novel in a local bookstore. Then I got back on track. (BTW, it was mis-shelved in with the "how-to" books! Or maybe it wasn't mis-shelved, since its a novel that doesn't fit any mold!) And it wasn't until I read through your "Rawles Gets You Ready" course that I had any real sense of priorities. If I had to name just one thing that I found the most useful in all you've written, it would be your big "List of Lists", which you have as a part of your prepping course. Those lists really helped me to crystallize exactly what I had to do, and in what priority. Like you suggested, I'm custom tailoring my lists, to match up with my locale. (I live at 5,900-foot elevation, which makes gardening a huge challenge. I'm heavy into sprouting, these days.)

I'm now working my way back through your blog's archives. I'm amazed at how much is there, and all with the level of detail to do really concrete things to get ready. The thing I love about your blog and your prep course is that it is all hard facts, and tested ways of doing things by people that have "been there, done that"--not just vague generality and "this might work" sorts of guesses. Thank you, Jim, ever so much! - Stan in Colorado

Monday, November 9, 2009

Would you be kind enough to add me to your e-mailing list for your blog? I would appreciate it. Thanks, C.R. - Lebanon, Oklahoma

JWR Replies: For the privacy of my readers, I don't keep any e-mail lists. My blog is accessed by readers with a web browser either by clicking a bookmark, or by using our RSS feed. Just be sure to book mark our URL, or better yet, make it your browser's home page. SurvivalBlog has been updated daily, without fail, since its inception in 2005. All of the blog's content, including nearly 8,000 archived articles, letters, and quotes are available free of charge. We do ask for subscriptions to help keep the blog in the black (our "Ten Cent Challenge"), but that is entirely voluntary. I don't even keep a list of the people that have sent donations. Only about 1% of SurvivalBlog's 150,000+ regular readers are voluntary subscribers.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear Mr. Rawles,
With all the bad news reported every day and your personal heartbreaks I hope I can reassure you about our future just a little by sharing my story with you. I started reading your blog three years ago, during the good times. I'm a 23 year-old man from the liberal north east, some college under my belt, married, and willing to dig in and work to secure my family's future. I had a good job with a subsidiary of a major european telecom, I worked every hour of overtime I could and pushed myself to excel at any challenge thrown at me. I rose to the top of the EE techs at my former employer, but that still didn't stop my being laid off when production was shipped to China.

It's been a year since I've been able to find work, and in the intervening time my wife and I have struggled to stay afloat both financially and physically as my wife has Multiple Sclerosis. Thanks to what I had learned from your blog and Patriots, we've made it. When my wife and I were married two and a half years ago I made sure we paid off debt, were smart enough to skip buying an overpriced house, and built up our food stores.

Thanks to you when I watched over the past year the price of homes crash and energy skyrocket we were relatively secure in our apartment debt free and chopping up all the deadfall I could find out in the state owned land behind us to burn in our fireplace. I must have saved a thousand dollars last winter heating with wood and more importantly got myself into shape. Once again thanks to you when inflation hit food prices I dug into our larder to get us past the rise in prices. And thanks to you for getting me to take an interest in emergency medicine because I've been able to keep my wife stable during health scares a couple times now as we waited for the emts to arrive.

We made it through the rough times, thanks to you and the survivalist community. Today my wife is healthy, our persons secure, and my family while not rich will begin to prosper again. I've found a new job, I enlisted in the US Air Force and am shipping out in two weeks. I'll miss all the holidays this year but I'll know my family is celebrating safe and in peace.

Next to good planning, the most important lesson I've learned is to never quit. So through all your trials Mr. Rawles, I hope you can take heart knowing that you and the Memsahib have touched lives from afar for the better. Sincerely, - Brent S.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We've completed the judging! The first prize winner for Round 24 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is"Old Dog" , for his article "Grub and Gear--Lessons Learned from an Alaskan Trapper". He will receive: A.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost between $500 and $600, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.)

The second prize winner is Brad T. for his article Bug Out and Refugee Considerations. He will receive a "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $350.

The third prize winner is C. the Old Farmer , for her article The Disaster Garden--What's Not in the Can. She will receive a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing.

Runner-up prizes go to four writers:

T.W.P., for Camouflage: The Art of the "Liar"

Lisa L., for One Woman's View of Budget Preparedness

Prepared in Maine, for Prepare to Garden Like Your Life Depends on It.

KAF, for Squeezing Efficiency Out of Every Second of Your Workday to Provide Quality Relaxation Time

They will each receive a $30 gift certificate.

Note to prize winners: Please e-mail me your snail mail addresses (both UPS and US mail), and I'll get your prizes out, right away.

Today we begin Round 25 of the writing contest, which will end on November 30th. Get busy writing, and e-mail your entry!

Friday, September 25, 2009

It troubled me to read news reports about the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, S.773. If enacted, the US President could declare a "cybersecurity emergency" and then would have the power to shut down the Internet in the U.S. and the Secretary of Commerce would have access to data, regardless of privacy. Soon after, I read this headline: Obama Plans Internet Grab: FCC to Embrace 'Net Neutrality'. Needless to say, this could have some "negative implications."

As some one who values redundancy in contingency planning, I believe that the time has come for me to set up one or two mirror sites for SurvivalBlog, just in case my blog somehow gets "disappeared." Ideally, a mirror site would be housed on a server in a Second World country with few ties (economic or political) to the United States. I'd like to set up one or two full mirrors, each with unique domain names. This would be automagically backed up daily. We are currently housed using Apache on Linux, with a dedicated server. Once a mirror is established, I'd ask all SurvivalBlog readers to bookmark it, but not regularly use the mirror site, in order to limit the bandwidth, and to retain ease of click-through tracking for our advertisers . (They need to know that they are getting their money's worth, for their advertising dollars.) Does anyone have suggestions for a reliable high bandwidth offshore web host? (Our current bandwidth is over 1terabyte per month, and likely to double in the next year.) Or do you have any recommendations on automatic mirroring software? Thanks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Before her recent death, my wife Linda ("The Memsahib") asked that any memorial donations be made to her favorite charity, Anchor of Hope Charities, the main sponsor of the Anchor Institute, a Christian school and orphanage in rural Zambia. It is a very deserving charity, with hardly any overhead expenses. You can make a tax-deductible donation via PayPal, credit card, or by check. See the via PayPal/credit card page, or the mailing address for checks at the Anchor of Hope Charities Donation Page. Thanks for supporting this worthy charity! May God Bless You.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I am in a very unusual situation. I'm in my mid-40s, but I'm dying. My doctors have told me that I have less than two months to live. So I have been working on my "bucket list." One of the items therein is finding a new wife for my husband, to marry after I go to be with the Lord. I have always been a cautious shopper, carefully analyzing and deliberating the pros and cons of each acquisition, whether it is a horse, or a piece of land, or just a pair of boots. Finding a new wife for Jim will be a challenge for me.

First, about Jim:

  • 48 years old, normal weight, and very healthy, but prematurely gray.
  • Has a hard-charging "Type A" personality. He doesn't know how to relax.
  • Very punctual and neat, except for his desk.
  • Modest, loyal, and extremely devoted. (He has spent the past year by my bedside.)
  • Generous and tithes regularly.
  • A worrier. (SurvivalBlog is the professional manifestation of his worrying.)
  • Hates big cities, and will never move back to one.
  • Willing to dig lots of holes for my plants, but he is not much of a gardener.
  • Loves giving gifts but he dislikes spending money.
  • Has enough survival gear to equip a reinforced squad.

My replacement must meet these qualifications:

  • Be a devout, church-going Christian, preferably with Reformed/Calvinist doctrine. This is the first and foremost consideration. (No exceptions.)
  • Be healthy and of normal body weight. (Jim could not bear to lose another wife at a young age.)
  • Willing to put up with Jim's eccentricities including his emphasis on OPSEC.
  • Willing to assume my responsibility of caring for three teenagers. (They are godly homeschooled kids, and a great joy to us.)
  • Willing to live at the Rawles Ranch in a remote, yet very beautiful area. (Nearly a two hour drive to any decent shopping.)
  • Willing to live in a true "four season" climate, with up to six months of snow.
  • Enjoy the outdoors (canoeing, hunting, fishing, berry picking, gardening, et cetera.)
  • Have a good sense of humor.
  • Not want to have babies. (Jim can no longer have children.)
  • No interest in television. (We don't own a television, but we do have high speed Internet service.)
  • Be willing to visit your relatives only once or twice a year.
  • Not squeamish around slaughtering and butchering of livestock and wild game.
  • Hard working.
  • Thrifty. (Although Jim makes a very good living, shopaholics need not apply.)
  • Circumspect.
  • Loyal.

Things about you that do not matter:

  • Your age. You can be anywhere between 30 and 55 years old.
  • Your appearance. You can be ugly, maimed, deformed, scarred, or disfigured. (But you must be normal body weight and healthy!)
  • Your race.
  • Your height. (As long as you are least 5'2".)
  • Your taste in clothes, music, or art. (Jim has eclectic tastes, but prefers women that dress modestly in public.)
  • You have been previously married or already have children (as long as they have been raised to be respectful and well-mannered.)

Things that would be preferable, but not crucial:

  • You are omnivorous. (We eat a lot of elk, venison, and trout.)
  • You are fairly athletic and enjoy vigorous exercise.
  • You have a good traditional skill set (Cooking, sewing, gardening, et cetera.)
  • A background in a medical science (Doctor, nurse, veterinarian, EMT, Paramedic, etc.)
  • Your family lives west of the Rockies.
  • You like dogs and cats.
  • You would enjoy raising livestock.
  • You can play the piano.
  • You have acting experience.
  • You are handy with tools.
  • You are artistic and/or have a good eye for nature photography.
  • You enjoy traveling.

If you believe that you meet the aforementioned qualifications and are sincerely seeking a life-long commitment with a loving husband, then consider this prayerfully, and then e-mail me your brief biography. I'll be doing the vetting before you can talk with Jim. Needless, to say, I'm going to be very selective.

Sincerely, - The Memsahib

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Monday you noted reaching the 9 million unique visits mark. Congratulations! You also noted having readers on "every continent except Antarctica". As a former employee of Raytheon Polar Services working in the United States Antarctic Program, I was able to visit two of the three permanent U.S. stations on "the Ice". Whether the [SurvivalBlog] Clustmap will register it or not, you occasionally have had, and may continue to have people reading your blog in Antarctica.

Thanks for the great work that you do, and I am praying for your family. Regards, - J. in Texas

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just an update on your book from here behind enemy lines in Chicago.

I ride the "EL" [elevated railway] to work each day and on Monday saw a man reading your novel "Patriots" . I asked where he purchased it, expecting the answer to be Amazon, and was stunned when he said that he picked it up at Borders on State Street in downtown Chicago. I wandered over to the store at lunchtime and, lo and behold, there were two copies in the the new "Mystery and Thrillers" section right next to Ian Rankin's latest book. There were plenty of copies of Rankin's book but only two of yours remaining. I asked the clerk if there were any more copies available and she said that they had five that morning. Only two left. Wow! Unfortunately, they were asking $14.95 for the book. I have a new Kindle Reader (I love this thing) so I'm planning on buying the Kindle version of "Patriots" this time.

I bought my first copy of "Patriots" about four or five years ago (I got an autographed copy to boot) from a used book dealer on Amazon and have purchased that latest two editions. I can't wait for your [two planned] sequels. You've developed into a terrific writer. I once read a review that described "Patriots" as a "how-to manual disguised as a thriller."

My thoughts are with your wife and yourself during her difficult health situation and I hope that all things work out well for your family. Semper Paratus - Bill L.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


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

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In January, 2008, the outlook for people in the United States appeared bleak. I told my wife that we needed to stock-up on food because I felt that the supply lines were thin and vulnerable. I began my preparations by Internet search. I found JWR's SurvivalBlog and I bought a copy of his novel. In the meantime, I started buying cases of canned goods. I bought food that we generally ate. I looked at the expiration dates of every purchase. I tried to buy what would last through 2011. Not much would, so I bought with the idea of buying more later, looking for one year at a time.

The pantry was full. I had read Jim's book, and had found many links on the SurvivalBlog that helped me know how much of what to buy to be balanced. I bought a freezer at Sam’s Club and filled that also. I noticed that food prices were increasing at an alarming rate in August. They were up 18% on same item purchases, on average. Later that figure would reach 35%. I only talked about this to a trusted few. My wife was starting to wonder about me.

Soon thereafter, a Harbor Freight store opened in Jonesboro, Arkansas, my home base. There, I purchased several more items I saw as essential. I got a two burner propane stove with a center grill feature. I bought some LED flashlights, ropes, staple guns, and other miscellaneous items. Being a hunter and former U.S. Army officer, I had a lot of camping (survival equipment) on hand. Sleeping bags were there, polypropylene long johns, butane lighters, three 20 gallon and one 100 gallon propane tanks were filled. I use them for my barbeque grill. I told my wife that we should buy a generator. She said that if I thought we should buy it, that I should. I didn’t.

I found some water barrels at a local food processing plant. I now have eight 55 gallon drums. I found 4 red 35 gallon chemical barrels that were set aside for gasoline. I had about six 5 gallon gas cans to operate my 4 wheeler, fishing boat, and sundry other small engines like lawn equipment and field water pumps.

Day to day, I am an NRA certified training counselor/instructor. Starting in November 2008, my business started to boom. I had a 300% increase in Arkansas concealed carry classes. That hasn’t stopped to this day. I have a 35 acre facility that is a former bean field, surrounded by thousands of farmland acres and two liquor stores. I have a 1,200 square foot building for classroom and office space, a 52 foot trailer for storage. My plan for survival guns was simple. All guns were to be military calibers. Handguns would be .45 and .38 calibers. Rifles would be .22 rimfire, 7.62x39, .308 and .30-06 calibers. Shotguns would be 12 gauge. Stocks of ammunition were increased starting early in 2008.

Shelter, food, security. What is left? Communications. I bought a set of 25 mile range pair of Motorola hand held communicators with recharger on sale for $38. Stores of batteries were laid in. Cell phones. Transportation was what we already had. 2001 Dodge Durango 4x4 and a 2005 Chevrolet 4x4 extended cab pick-up.

The Storm

January 28, 2009. KAIT –TV weather in Jonesboro, Arkansas is forecasting a wet winter storm cold front with frigid weather following out of the Northwest. When it began, the outside temperature was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing rain collected on everything in near biblical quantity.

I was awakened in the early morning of January 29th and you could hear branches starting to snap with a sound like gunshots. Outside, you could see flashes of light as one by one, the transformers on the light poles blew out. The power was off. It was time to go to work. First, open the flue and light the gas logs in the fireplace. Inside the house, the temperature had quickly fallen to about 40 degrees. I thought to crack a window for ventilation draft to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. Then I set up a propane heater and went about blocking off all rooms except the den and kitchen, which were adjoining. I used 4 mil plastic to cover two entrances to the den. The temperature quickly found about 62 degrees. We placed a carbon monoxide detector in the room to keep us from being statistics. The propane stove was set up over the electric range for cooking and a 20 pound bottle of propane was connected to it. I started thinking about how I should have bought a generator.

By morning, we felt isolated in our home. Very few vehicles were moving. The world outside looked like a war zone with ice-laden limbs and the things they crushed. With no electricity, the phones didn’t work. We ate breakfast normally. The whole world became our refrigerator. No cable TV so we cranked up the radio and began to listen to the results. Reports of some break-ins started coming in as people abandoned all electric homes for the designated shelters in town. Outlying areas quickly ran out of gasoline and propane. Stores emptied out their goods and shelves became bare. Generators and flashlights were nonexistent. Batteries and power supplies followed suit. Many businesses were unable to sell anything as their computers were down and lights and heat were out. Sadly, no one has a backup plan for how to sell anything without electricity. Gas cans were a faint memory. I checked on our neighbors to make sure they were coping, and to exchange cell phone numbers. The telephone system actually works without outside electricity if the type of phone you use doesn’t need 110 volts from the grid. We had one emergency phone for that reason, and it was operational. I wondered how many people knew about that?

The day passed relatively uneventfully. We had everything we needed to exist in a minor disaster. Some people didn’t. A few died for their lack of preparedness.
After the passing of the first day of “survival,” tree limb removal became the priority, while everyone fought what southerners call severe cold. It was the 30th of January. The temperature was unrelenting with nighttime lows of 9 degrees and daytime highs of 20. I was able to venture out for things that would be nice to have, like a generator. You see, with a generator, our gas furnace would work. All you need it for is the electric blower. It was the only hole in the preparations. I went in to the local Lowe’s, after checking a couple of other stores. In the back of the store there was a line of about 13 people. I asked why they were there. There was a truck inbound with 75 generators. I got in line. Twenty minutes later I was in the electric department buying the necessary wire nuts and power cords needed to hook my [newly-purchased] generator to the power panel in my house.

When I got home, the first thing I did was to disconnect the house from the grid by turning off the main breaker, outside the house. You must do this before attempting to connect a generator to your power panel. Failure to do so could kill workmen repairing downed power lines and connecting transformers. To get things operational quickly, I used the cord provided with the generator, which used four grounded plug outlets. To operate the [selected] areas to connect, I bought 10 gauge wire. We turned off all appliances and I pulled out the circuit breaker for the selected rooms. I disconnected the wire from the circuit breaker and wired it directly to each wire with a male plug on the other end to mate with the wire from the generator. I did this for the heater circuit, the den wall circuit, the kitchen wall circuit, and the master bedroom wall circuit. The heater kicked on.

I offer one final note about using a generator. The operation book has a chart in it showing the watts used by each type of appliance. You must calculate the [load] amount used by your appliances. It has to add up to less than your generators running wattage rating.

We were on a main highway in town, and we had our electricity hooked to the grid after spending only a few nights without. Many in town were without electricity for three weeks. In outlying areas, some are still not connected. The line crews working to restore power were fantastic. Limbs still line the highways and yards a month after the event began.

Lessons Learned
It was nice to be confident in the preparations that we had made. It was also easy to see the holes in the plan. I now have the generator that I knew I would need when the grid goes down. After the fact, I also bought the connections necessary to hook up the generator just by turning off the main breaker, plugging the generator to an installed wall socket, and cranking it up. Cell phones go down after only a few days without a charge. I bought a portable power battery for that purpose. If we had been out of power long term, the generator would have had to have been used on a part time basis, at night. That means that daytime operations would have been using only one or two rooms, again. When power goes down, the best fallback is natural gas, if you have it. I am in the process of planning where to install additional natural gas stubs for appliances that can be added. The natural gas hot water heater was a blessing. It was on from the start. The warmest place in the house was the utility room where the water heater is located. Remember to have books and games for those evening hours when you would have been watching television. Make sure all of your gasoline cans stay filled and stabilized. Make sure all of your propane bottles stay charged. Make sure you have plenty of batteries for radios and flashlights. Make sure you have enough essential medicines. Roger’s Rangers rules #1 rule is "Don’t fergit nuthin!"

I may have missed a few issues, but I want to talk about future plans. I am going to install photovoltaic panels to run an emergency LED lighting system. This would be a small solar panel, probably 45-60 watts [and a deep cycle battery], as a precursor to getting a more comprehensive system. LED lights use very little electricity and they are very long lasting. More technology will be added as it becomes available. Reducing reliance on the grid is the ultimate goal.

Final Words
You can war game and "what if" emergency situations as much as you like. It is good to exercise your plan. The problem is that real situations have a way of waking you up to the holes in your plans. Do not wait to begin planning for the next disaster. People in tornado and earthquake zones know about being ready for these things, but Mother Nature will have a surprise for you no matter where you are. Prepare for the worst and pray to God that it doesn’t happen.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I wanted to thank you for what you are doing and your work. I think that the reality is that you are saving a lot of people's lives in addition to helping people to continue to be "in" the world but less and less "of" the world. I have been able, in turn, to pass along to other people a lot of things that I have learned from you and your readers, and I hope help them to focus and remain calm in their preparations. (I have also pointed them all to your web site).

Now three things that I have done/learned that I would pass along to your readers:

1) I did get some guns and ammunition recently following the information I learned from your web site and novel. Then I found a man that would teach me basic marksmanship - again as your advice suggested, learn the tools you could be relying on. After just one day of proper training I was shooting better than 90% of the yahoos at the range that had far better gear than I have. It cost me a little money But I am better equipped, more confident, and have a foundation to build upon - add each day I am at the range I am better and better. So I would tell your readers that if they just "think" they know what they are doing, then spend a little money and really learn what you are doing.

2) I bought and read "Patriots". It was a good read, but sobering. At the same time, it helped me frame better the "problem" I am trying to solve. And while I hope it never gets that bad, it sure allowed me to get some perspective and begin to work things out in a way that fits my scenario. My advice would be for others to get your book and read it.

3) I purchased the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. When I first started this process a few months ago, I was very overwhelmed. I noticed your course and its price and I thought - "Too much." However, after reading the blog for a month or so and after reading your your book, I felt you could be trusted and that your course was not "hokey." I have been very, very pleased. It is practical, well organized, and adaptable. There is a saying "How do you eat an elephant? - One bite at a time." And your course helped me to get things aligned so that I could eat things "One bite at a time."

I have been working on a one year preparedness program since the week after Christmas. I am probably 75% of the way toward where I want to be. The remaining 25% is probably one-half just finishing purchasing and storing some things and one-half understanding if my retreat location can handle some of my "plans" and if not, [then determining] what is Plan B.

My family and I would not be nearly so far along without your help. I wish we had started this process long, long ago, but c'est la vie. We are on our way now!
May God bless you and your family, Kind Regards, - Jay

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers:
I can't thank you all enough for the numerous responses to my earlier posting. It's a pleasure meeting you all and reading about your different approaches to survival and a preparedness mentality. I have been doing my best to respond to all of your emails, but wanted to let you know if you haven't heard back from me directly, it is not due to a lack of interest, but more the logistics of responding to the volume! I have read through all of the emails that have come my way and encourage those who haven't responded but might be interested to please don't hesitate to get in touch. I am quite encouraged by the number of people who have written with advice and/or an offer to participate in this project. I am more than ever convinced, after hearing from you all, that this is a subject whose film time has come, and I'm going to be making every effort to get funding and a green-light so that we can move ahead as soon as possible. Warm regards, - Amy Bucher, Engel Entertainment

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two notes about Some Call Me Tim's excellent recommendation of JanusVM:
1) Use to verify that you've done everything right. It uses a whole host of very strong tests to attempt to locate your computer and will find out if you've slipped up somewhere. The place you've slipped up is almost always DNS but cookies and other things can give you away too.

2) Be aware that this encrypts the traffic you're sending and receiving, it doesn't make it go away. Someone listening in can tell when you're sending/receiving and how much, they just can't read it. Timing and bulk are circumstantial evidence, true, but they are there. So it is best to keep your subtle browsing small and not be noticed. - PH .

As a network administrator. I generally find pleasure in "testing" networks. JanusVM works great when getting past firewalls, but its large size (~22mb) could be an issue. I have found UltraSurf works extremely well. It is fast, 50 times smaller than JanusVM, and most importantly, defeats web filtering and tracking software. It was developed to be used in a certain communist country with a rather large firewall, but is now used worldwide. Its small size and no need for an install make it ideal for quickly dropping onto a system in a cafe/library/school or just simply running in the background on your personal system. I personally have used it in each of those situations.
One drawback is that some network virus scanners have been notified to look for it and declare it a trojan to prevent its use on networks. I've encountered this once in an Indian Internet cafe (of all places) and once on a university network. To combat this you can do two things. First, keep up with the latest version, as their signatures aren't tagged by the scanners. Two, rename the file to something like "stamp_collection.exe" to prevent simple name recognition.

All of this is great, but what if the user can't download it in the first place? Many times the web site will be blocked, but the download itself is available, especially the ".exe" download as it is not linked from the front page. You can also find it on popular download sites (like this one), which will not all be blocked. Emailing it to yourself using a web mail account is an option, but the user will have to rename it to something like "file.txt" as .exe file extensions are usually not allowed attached to emails; just change it back to an .exe extension to use. Once downloaded, the clever user can simply carry it around on a USB ["thumb"] drive or floppy disk to pull out when needed.
Keep up the good work, - Blaze


In regards to SurvivalBlog, I am still able to access it via NMCI as of this morning. They have been pretty strict lately due to a Navy/DOD wide virus getting passed around via thumb drives (which have since been banned from use). On the matter of privacy, anyone should know better than to think they will have privacy while using anything that belongs to the government! Before you are granted access to a DOD information technology (IT) asset you sign an "end user agreement" which prohibits the use of third party proxies to bypass firewalls, as well as downloading anything like privacy software. I can say from my own negative experience that the computer types keep track of anything and everything, including attempts to circumvent firewalls by various means. I think the email update idea does have much merit in this regard, especially for the shipboard folks. Keep up the great work Jim! - O.E.


Mr. Rawles,
Thank you for your tireless work in educating the masses about the importance of preparedness. I discovered your writings and your Survival Blog a few months ago and have enjoyed the treasure trove of valuable information that both you and your audience contribute. Fortunately, it has reinforced most of the preparations I have made to date, but it is nonetheless a wonderful resource to be sure. "Patriots" was a great read, by the way, and I have given five copies away to friends, both preppers and non-preppers. The "nons" have since seen the light and are getting started on their way to complete independence and self-sufficiency. While I have been casually encouraging them to do that very thing for a while, it was your work that finally opened their eyes, hearts, and minds. Thank you.

The reason for my correspondence is to make you and your readers aware of one of the most important tools available for the computer user who wants to maintain complete privacy on both his own computer and public computers that he may use while traveling or evading.

Iron Key is a USB flash drive, but it is unlike any other flash drive on the market today. It uses an onboard browser and proprietary hardware and software encryption so information stored on the device or sent or received while online, including web traffic, cannot be intercepted by any else. I will let the folks at Iron Key do the rest of the selling. I am nothing more than a customer of theirs, but I believe wholeheartedly in their product and recommend them without equivocation. Godspeed, - Jason in Central Texas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Mr. Rawles
As a network administrator, I spend a fair amount of time making sure my end users cannot access certain web sites from company computers and data lines. I try to make sure we don't get too draconian in our filtering practices, I do my best to make sure that not streaming audio or video, social networking sites, or other time killers make their way through the network.

Recently, a friend of mine told me about a tool called JanusVM, a combination of Internet anonymity tools (TOR, PRIVoxy, Squid, and VPN) that runs in a virtual machine. You basically run the VM in a VMWare player, connect a VPN connection from your PC to the VM, and open your web browser. Like a lot of anonymity tools, it isn't very fast. It is, however, about as anonymous as you can get on the internet. I went to a web site that displayed my current IP address as well as your geographic location and found I was supposedly surfing from Paris, France. One page reload later and I was in Northern California, and then followed by Denmark, all without ever leaving my chair. According to the web site's very brief write up, the DNS requests are so scrambled that even your internet service provider can't tell where you're surfing. That made me wonder if I could use this tool to get around my web filtering firewall as well. I tested my machine to make sure I was blocked out by our firewall by trying to visit Facebook, which is a big no no site around here. Sure enough, it's blocked. Then I closed my web browser, established the VPN connection to the JanusVM, and re-launched my web browser. Bullseye! I had Facebook access. Not only was I anonymous, I'd also defeated my own web filtering software and firewall.

While this is a great tool, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. I haven't tested it on any other system, so YMMV.

2. You need a network with at least one available IP address for the VM. It can be an internal IP, but it still needs one. This keeps it from working with Verizon broadband cards. If someone out there gets it to work with one, I'd LOVE to hear about it!

3. Anonymity is not the same as privacy, or even security. Don't count on this tool to protect your internet logins and passwords. Hackers have been known to sniff incoming and outgoing traffic on TOR nodes for unencrypted passwords. They may not know where they came from, but they can still read them. If they can figure out where they were headed, you're in trouble.

4. Your workplace or branch of the military may frown on anyone trying to circumvent their firewalls and web filters, so use this information at your own risk.

- Some Call Me Tim


A couple of notes about your post on [SurvivalBlog being blocked by the US Navy and Marine Corps Internet system]:
* with varied duty hours and multiple shifts, there's no such thing as only blocking during "duty hours".
* Anonymizers are just about the first thing blocked by any organization that filters net access. :)
* If you have scripting capability on a web host, CGI Proxy and PHP Proxy are both good alternatives. Of course, they're going to be blocked, you still would have to find an unblocked site that has it or an alternate ISP long enough to download the scripts. People also run services with these or other types of scripts, but they come and go, and as mentioned previously, will most often be blocked. You also never know who's running them.
* An alternate site works for a while, but it will eventually get blocked, too. It also dilutes your "brand".
* The XML RSS feed option is probably the best, as it doesn't rely on working around the restrictions so obviously. I use Google Reader myself, through which I can read web sites blocked by the corporate firewall. It cuts you off from reading comments, but that's not a problem with your site. Some may be concerned at Google having too much information and choose some other feed reader, but I'm not too concerned with it. [JWR Adds: To avoid trails of "cookie crumbs", I've read that the best choices are the Avant Browser for PCs and the NewsFire Reader for Macs.]

The feed option is good for current reading and keeping up, but for searching on a topic or looking at items in a non-linear fashion a proxy of some sort is a better, more flexible, yet more complicated option. Hope this helps. - Robert

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What a surprise my wife and I received at work yesterday. My wife and I work for the same manufacturing company and after two banner years and a huge Christmas bonus the company is reducing everyone to 20 hours a week. The company we work for is a total "team oriented" place to work and if one person gets a bonus we all get a bonus and the same is true when it comes to layoffs. While our company sets and exceeds the world standard for what we do many of the companies we are dealing with are unable to now qualify for bank funding. What I find odd is the fact that the companies we deal with are the ones that bring food to tables around the world and are consistently profitable. I take pause when the profitable companies aren’t able to do business.

So my true purpose for contacting you is to thank you for blog and the focus it has toward preparation. My wife and I have been reading daily and are Ten Cent Challenge subscribers. Additionally, I have your SurvivalBlog banner on my MySpace page as well as all my outgoing (non-work) e-mail footers. I read your "Patriots" novel and then started reading your blog as well as the Mental Militia forums. Together, those have [motivated] us [to now be] sitting in a much better place than we wouldn’t be otherwise. We now have food supplies for ourselves and our children for six months as well as weapons and ammo cache.

I want to close by saying that my wife or I ever seen this coming and we are thankful to be as prepared as we are and hope that others step up while they can. Sincerely, - "Sharp Shepherd"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I'm very pleased to report that SurvivalBlog is now indisputably the most popular preparedness blog on the Internet, with an average 117,200 unique visits per week.

The phenomenal growth of SurvivalBlog's circulation (which has more than tripled in the past 16 months), has brought with it some growing pains. As I'm sure you recall, since November of 2005 we used a scrolling script to make all but one of the ads slowly scroll by. This worked fine back when we had just a dozen advertisers. But unfortunately we've found that it was a very inefficient solution: We've received several complaints from readers about the scrolling ad bar sucking up their CPU cycles --by as much as 98% of available processing power! This "CPU drain" has actually cost us some readership. To avoid this problem, we had no choice to but to make a change: Starting yesterday, we switched to a random order fixed ad stack. Here is how it will work: Each time that you visit SurvivalBlog, you will see the ad stack in a new random sequence. When you come back to the site the next day, or each time that you hit "reload", you will see the ads in a different random sequence. It is my hope that you will find this both easier on your eyes (no distracting scrolling going on), and much easier on your computer's CPU

The other change will be coming on December 31st, when our advertising rates will be increasing by an average of 33%. In the interim since our last rate increase, both our daily hit count and our unique visit count has more than doubled. Throughout the publishing world--both in print and online-- it is circulation that determines ad rates.

I hope that you enjoy the new look of the SurvivalBlog advertising stack. Please patronize our advertisers, and when you do, please mention where you saw their ad, and thank them for advertising.

Keep in mind that without advertising revenue, it would be impossible to provide SurvivalBlog as a free service, so please give your business to our paid advertisers first! Thanks!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mr Rawles:
For some time I was a lurker, reading SurvivalBlog on a more or less regular basis. Eventually I decided I needed to pay for what I was getting. I became a Ten Cent Challenge subscriber. Yesterday, you saved me more than the cost of my subscription with just one tip: I ordered a Foodsaver V2830 and paid just $59.99, postage paid. These originally sold for $169.99. I had wanted one for a long time and put off purchasing it because of the expense. Many thanks! And to the rest of the lurkers out there, it's time to pay your way! - Randy D. in Maine

JWR Replies: Many thanks for that compliment. A reminder to our readers that Ten Cent Challenge subscriptions are entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted.

Another way that you can help support the blog is by patronizing our advertisers. The FoodSaver offer is from one of our Affiliate advertisers, where we earn a small commission for the purchases that you make when you follow our links. For example, the FoodSaver vacuum sealer that Randy mentioned is a FoodSaver V2830 for $59.99 with free standard shipping, directly Use code L8FAV28 at checkout.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mister Rawles:
First off, I want to thank you for running SurvivalBlog. Its an awesome resource--sorta "one stop shopping" for folks like me that are getting prepared.

I first read your book three years ago, when I was on my second deployment in Iraq. Your novel ["Patriots"] was in a big pile of books in our unit's MWR [Morale, Welfare and Recreation] room. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I was following advice from my home-town librarian when I picked your book. She once advised me: "Look for books with 'broken' spines and that show lots of wear. Those are the ones that have been read a lot, and that 's usually for a good reason." Well, your book looked like it was about ready to fall apart, it was so worn out! I gotta admit that the first time I read your book, I was saying to myself: "Suuuure. Like an economic collapse will ever happen. Not in my lifetime." Well, the past three weeks of [reading the] newspapers have given me a whole new outlook on that subject. The first chapter of your book is practically prophecy. It is eerie how many things you got right. And you wrote it ten years ago? Word.

Thanks to you, I recently cashed out of my West Valley National Bank [of Arizona] savings account and will lose my checking account once the last few checks clear. That will save me some sleepless nights, I'm sure. Thank you for your repeated warnings to people about getting out of banks that are "under-capitalized" (broke)! I used the bank safety rating service that you recommended, and found out that my bank had a "D" rating! Well, I definitely now owe you a [10 Cent Challenge voluntary] subscription, and I'll do so A-SAP.

Next, I have a nit-picky complaint: There is way too much in the [SurvivalBlog] archives to be able to read through it all. Do you have any ideas on how I can access it better, to research [particular topics]? Oh, one funny thing I gotta mention: Whenever I start to research prep[aredness] things with Google, almost always it is SurvivalBlog posts that end up in the top 10 or 20 items found, whether is its "HK91 alloy magazines" or "paracord and LC-2 harness'", or "infrared cyalume trip flare". I can't think of a compliment better than being waaay "up there" in the Google rankings. SurvivalBlog is the Hotel Sierra blog!

Up until last week, I also had one other complaint, but I solved that one myself. It was distracting to have all the advertisements crawl by while I was reading the blog. But then I realized that all that I had to do was leave my [browser] cursor arrow on top of any ad, and they stopped moving. Simple, and it stops the eye strain. Thanks and Lord Bless You! - Ray V. in Arizona

JWR Replies: Thanks for your kind letter. There are now more than 5,300 archived SurvivalBlog articles, letters, and quotations. You are correct that there it is too much for the average reader to read through sequentially. To research particular topics, I recommend that you take full advantage of the article categories and blog database search feature available at the SurvivalBlog site. Say, for example, you want to learn more about how to secure your home. In the right hand bar, down below the scrolling advertisements there is a list of topic categories. By clicking on the "Retreat Security" category, only the articles and letters tagged with that topic will be displayed. Or, you can do a more detailed search, using the Search box at the top of the right hand bar. For example, if you enter "Security AND Infrared AND Starlight" only those posts that include all three of those words will be displayed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I am writing to ask for your advice and for your charity, and also because I think this subject may be of interest to many of your readers. I discovered your web site a week ago and have found it to be both very informative and also very alarming! It was major wake-up call for me.

In my opinion, I am not at all prepared for the upheavals that are already underway and that lie ahead of us.

I would very much like to change that situation, but it all (considered as a whole) seems so overwhelming. I don't know what to do, where to start and how to go about it. Also, I don't feel that I have the same resources and freedom as some of your other readers.

I also have the feeling that many, perhaps most, of your readers may be in exactly the same situation as me:

I am a 50 year old average guy with a wife and two young children to support. I work in a medium sized metropolitan area and live in an average house in the suburbs, about 10 miles out of town, on a 1/5th acre lot. My kids go to public school, my wife works part-time and I work full-time. We depend on the income from my job to support the family. It is not the kind of job that allows me to just uproot myself and live out in the sticks. My wife and I make just enough to pay the bills and set aside a little bit for my 401(k) [retirement savings account]and my kids' college education. We do not own any real estate aside from our home. We have about $50,000 in savings, $90,000 in home equity and about $190,000 in my 401(k) .

In my opinion, we are not prepared at all for any sort of natural, economic, social or political upheaval or disaster:
- We don't own a ranch or farm or remote property of any kind.
- We don't own gold or silver.
- We don't own any weapons and don't know how to use them.
- We don't have any food or emergency supplies stored up.
- Our house is not "hardened" or "secure".
- We don't have a generator, etc.
- We are not EMTs and don't know how to grow crops or butcher a hog.
- We don't have a G.O.O.D. plan or vehicle or provisions.

In short, we are probably just like most of the other average families in the USA (and perhaps like most of your readers) except for our awareness of the problems that may be coming and our desire to be prepared.

My wife and I both believe in being "prepared" but my idea and hers are different. My wife things that the problems we are facing are temporary, so she would like to be prepared too, but she doesn't want to rock the boat or uproot our family to do it. I am alarmed and would like to be very well prepared, but I don't want to wreck my marriage and family in the process.

Mr. Rawles, please tell us what we can do given the situation I've described. What specific steps should we take and in what order? What would you do if you were me in my shoes?

I know you get a lot of letters, but I sure hope you answer this one on your web site. For my sake, for my family's sake and for the sake of what may be hundreds or thousands of people just like me that read your web site and want to do something but don't know what to do, how to do it, where to start and what's most important to do first, second, third etc.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration. - Mike H.


Hello Jim,
I've been reading your blog off and on for several months, but I've yet to see anything substantial for us poorer citizens. When it comes to TEOTWAWKI, then it's all well and good if you were wealthy enough to be able to afford a nice out-of-the-way location to save yourself, but what of us who are stuck in an apartment in the city, like Denver? Or worse, people in metropolises like Chicago and New York? Where could millions of people all possibly go to get away from it all? All we can do is to arm ourselves to the teeth and wait it out? We'd like to get out of the city too, but we aren't able to buy property, which is why we're stuck in apartments, rather than homes. I'm afraid that if such a disaster should come our way, then we will be on our own. Even if we have a network of people, they are often driving distances that are impractical in a time of extreme crisis. Do you have any suggestions for those of us with extremely limited incomes? I've searched your site, but if you did have something, I may have missed it.
Thanks, - Ken R.

JWR Replies: I realize that buying a rural retreat is not within the means of most SurvivalBlog readers. There have been quite a few articles on both urban survival and budget conscious survival, and they are available in the archives, all of course free of charge. OBTW, a brief description of how to search the archives can be found here. Here are a few SurvivalBlog letters and articles that I found in just a few minutes of searches, using "urban" and "budget" in my search phrases. (There are many more available.):

Budget Preparedness--Survival Isn't About Stuff, It is About Skills

Letter Re: Hunkering Down in an Urban Apartment in a Worst Case Societal Collapse

Letter Re: An Urban/Suburban "Stay Put" Survival Strategy

Ten Things That Will Get You Killed While Bugging In, by Paul C.

Letter Re: Advice on a Budget Water Filter

Selecting a Rifle for a Budget-Constrained Prepper

Letter Re: Preparedness on a Very Tight Budget (Also see: Follow-up letter from J.F., and Follow-up letter from R.L.)

Letter Re: Advice for a Canadian with a "Just One Gun" Budget

Letter Re: Will Peasant Farmers Fare Better than the Rich in TEOTWAWKI?

SurvivalBlog is intended for people from all walks of life. One point of clarification: My own income is quite modest. In fact, if I still lived in a high cost region, then I wouldn't be able to afford a mortgage payment on a three bedroom house. It is only because I've been preparing very gradually and systematically for 30 years that I now have a squared-away retreat here in The Unnamed Western State. And it is only by God's grace that I have a wife that is agreeable to living in the boonies, and that I'm able to work from home.

Regardless of your income level, start with a list of lists. Tailor your procurement plan based on your personal circumstances and to match what you see as the most likely chain of events. Just be systematic, and set your priorities carefully. The smaller your budget, then the more important this is.

In answer to the question on 401(k) accounts: Many 401(k) accounts can be rolled over into IRAs. If that is the case, then I recommend doing a rollover into a Gold IRA, available through Swiss America Trading Company. I have had a gold coin IRA since 1998. Once established, these accounts are measured in an "ounce" value with a "Beginning Cost Basis" noted for when your dollars were first converted into U.S. Gold Eagles. In my case, most of the one ounce Gold Eagle bullion coins they put in storage for me cost $315 each (IIRC, this was when spot gold was $298 per ounce). Gold has nearly tripled since then. The coins are physically stored by Goldstar Trust, a bonded vault company in Texas. The annual storage and administration fee is now $90 per year, but in my opinion that is a small price to pay for knowing that when I eventually cash out my IRA it will be in tangible form, rather than an investment vehicle denominated in dollars. I have no way of knowing how much the US Dollar will depreciate in the next 15 years, but it is pretty safe to say that gold will still have the same--or nearly the same--buying power that it does today. I strongly recommend that if you have an IRA or 401(k) account that you conduct a fund rollover into a Gold IRA.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Thank you for all of the work that you put into your web site. I have been reading your site and preparing for the last couple of years. I thought you might be interested in the Bibliography to my [retreat] group’s operations guide.


Adams, John Joseph. Wastelands. San Francisco : Night Shade Books, 2008.
Alten, Steve. The Shell Game. Springville , Utah : Sweetwater Books, 2007.
Brin, David. The Postman. New York : Bantam Books, 1985.
Budrys, Algis. Some Will Not Die. New York : Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1961.
Card, Orson Scott. The Folk of the Fringe. New York : Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., 1989.
Carlson, Jeff. Plague War. New York : The Penguin Group, 2008.
Frank, Pat. Alas, Babylon . New York : Harper Perennial, 1959.
Heinlein, Robert A. Farmer in the Sky. New York : Ballantine Books, 1950.
________. Time Enough For Love. New York : The Berkley Publishing Group, 1973.
________. Tunnel In The Sky. New York : Ballantine Books, 1955.
Ing, Dean. Pulling Through. New York : Charter Communications, Inc., 1983.
Kunstler, James Howard. World Made By Hand. New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008.
McDevitt, Jack. Eternity Road. New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.
Niven, Larry and Jerry Pournelle. Lucifer’s Hammer. New York : The Random House Publishing Group, 1977.
Party, Boston T. Molon Labé! Ignacio , Colorado : Javelin Press, 2004.
Rawles, James Wesley. Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse. The Clearwater Press, 2006.
Sheffield, Charles. Aftermath. New York : Bantam Books, 1998.
Stewart, George R. Earth Abides. New York : Del Rey Books, 1949.
Stirling , S.M. Dies The Fire. New York : New American Library, 2004.
________. The Protector’s War. New York : New American Library, 2005.
________. A Meeting at Corvallis . New York : New American Library, 2006.

Food Storage
Layton, Peggy. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook. New York : Three Rivers Press, 2002.
Stafford , Jake and Jim Rawles. Rawles Gets You Ready: The Ultimate Emergency Preparedness Course. Genoa , NV : Arbogast
Publishing, LLC, 2006.
Boy Scouts of America , Fieldbook, 4th Edition. Irving , TX : Boy Scouts of America , 2004.
Clayton, Bruce D. Life After Terrorism. Boulder , CO : Paladin Press, 2002.
Deyo, Holly Drennan. Dare to Prepare, 2nd Edition. Pueblo West, Colorado : Deyo Enterprises LLC, 2004
Diamond, Jared. Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York : Penguin Books, 2005.
________. Guns, Germs, and Steel. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.
Emery, Carla. The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 9th Edition. Seattle : Sasquatch Books, 2003.
Kelly, Kate. Living Safe in an Unsafe World. New York : New American Library, 2000.
Kunstler, James Howard. The Geography of Nowhere. New York : Simon & Schuster, 1994.
________. The Long Emergency. New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005.
McGlashan, Charles F. History of the Donner Party. Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc., 2004.
Party, Boston T. Boston on Surviving Y2K and Other Lovely Disasters. Ignacio , CO : Javelin Press, 1998.
Rawles, James Wesley. Rawles on Retreats and Relocations. The Clearwater Press, 2007.
________. SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog Volume 1. Clearwater Press, 2007.
Ruff, Howard J. How To Prosper During The Coming Bad Years In The 21st Century. New York : The Penguin Group, 2008.
Starke, Linda. State of the World 2004. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.
United States Air Force. Search and Rescue Survival Training. New York : Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc., 2003.
United States Army , US Army Survival Manual. New York : Dorset Press, 2001.
United States Marine Corps. Guidebook For Marines, 14th Revised Edition. Quantico , VA : The Marine Corps Association, 1982.

Global Warming
Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth. New York : Rodale, 2006.
Knauer, Kelly. Global Warming. New York : Time Books, 2007.
Lynas, Mark. Six Degrees, Our Future on a Hotter Planet. London : Harper Perennial, 2007.
JWR Adds: For a contrapuntal viewpoint, see: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media, by Patrick J. Michaels

Bealer, Alex W. The Art of Blacksmithing. Edison , NJ : Castle Books, 1995.
Burbank , Nelson L. et al. House Construction Details, 7th Edition. New York : McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1986.
Davis , Thomas Bieber and Carl A. Nelson Sr. Audel Mechanical Trades Pocket Manual, 4th Edition. Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2004.
Finch, Richard. Welder’s Handbook, revised edition. New York : The Berkley Publishing Group, 1997.
Hauser, Walter. Introduction to the Principles of Mechanics. Reading , MA : Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1965.
Graf, Rudolf F. The Modern Power Supply and Battery Charger Circuit. New York : TAB Books, 1992.
Harper, Gavin D.J. Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius. New York : McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007.
Hornung, William J. Builders Vest Pocket Reference Book. New York : Prentice Hall Press, 1955.
Macauly, David. The Way Things Work. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988.
Oberg, Erik et al. 27th Edition Machinery’s Handbook. New York : Industrial Press, Inc., 2004.
Parmley, Robert O., P.E. Field Engineer’s Manual. New York : McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1981.
Peters, Rick. Plumbing Basics. New York : Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2000.
Proulx, Danny. The Pocket Hole Drilling Jig Project Book. Cincinnati , OH : Popular Woodworking Books, 2004.
Richter, H.P. et al. Wiring Simplified. Minneapolis : Park Publishing, Inc., 2002.
Schwarz, Max. Basic Engineering For Builders. Carlsbad , CA : Craftsman Book Company, 1993.
United States Navy. Basic Machines and How They Work. New York : Dover Publications, Inc., 1971.
Wing, Charlie. How Your House Works. Kingston , MA : Reed Construction Data, Inc., 2007.

Burns, A. August et al. Where Women Have No Doctor. Berkeley , CA : Hesperian, 1997.
Carline, Jan D., Ph.D. et al. Mountaineering First Aid, 4th Edition. Seattle , WA : The Mountaineers, 1996.
Dickson, Murray. Where There Is No Dentist. Berkeley , CA : Hesperian, 1983.
Forgey, William W., M.D. Wilderness Medicine, 5th Edition. Guilford , CT : The Globe Pequot Press, 2000.
Nato Handbook. Emergency War Surgery. El Dorado , AR : Desert Publications, 1988.
Werner, David et al. Where There Is No Doctor, revised edition. Berkeley , CA : Hesperian, 1992.

Peak Oil
Simmons, Matthew R. Twilight in the Desert. Hoboken , NJ : John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005.
Tertzakian, Peter. A Thousand Barrels A Second. New York : McGraw-Hill, 2006.

Weapons and Combat
Ayoob, Massad. The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery 6th Edition. Iola , WI : F + W Publications, 2007.
Clausewitz, Carl Von. On War. London : Penguin Books, 1968.
Cooper, Jeff. Principles of Personal Defense. Boulder , CO : Paladin Press, 2006.
________. To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth. Boulder , CO : Paladin Press, 1998.
Party, Boston T. Boston’s Gun Bible. Ignacio , CO : Javelin Press, 2002.
Perkins, John et al. Attack Proof. Champaign , IL : Human Kinetics, 2000.
Plaster, Maj. John L., USAR (Ret.). The Ultimate Sniper. Boulder , CO : Paladin Press, 2006.
United States Marine Corps. Essential Subjects. Arlington , VA : Marine Corps Institute, 1986.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I would like to sign up to get your blogs [via e-mail]; but I can't see where I do that; Could you please help me. Thanks, - Dianne M.

JWR Replies: For the privacy of my readers, I don't have a digest of my blog that is e-mailed. (I don't like to keep lists. I don't even keep records of anyone that makes a voluntary subscription donation.) Just direct your web browser whenever you'd like to read SurvivalBlog. It is updated daily (and I haven't missed a day since the blog was started three years ago), so you might want to make it your browser's "home" page, so that you'll be able to read all of the useful articles, letters, and quotes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This is a note to follow up on the envelope that I mailed you last week, for my first year of 10 Cent Challenge subscription. (I'm the guy that sent you a stack of 'bout $70 worth of Liberty [Bell "Forever" US] postage stamps and the newspaper clipping on the IndyMac bank run. You were right in your prediction about bank runs!) I just want to let you know how much your blog means to me. I read it almost every day. It is amazing how much practical knowledge you have passed on to us readers. I am very grateful! You've raised my awareness by a mile, and what I've read [in SurvivalBlog] has saved me from making some mega-costly mistakes in my preparedness. Those two things by themselves are more than enough justification for pitching in my ten cents a day.

Your economic predictions have been spot on--almost eerie! I like your blog so much that I put a graphical link to SurvivalBlog down at the bottom of my e-mail template, so I can be an Ambassador for SurvivalBlog. I think that your blog is "just right"as a mix of education, motivation, practical and old-time skills, tactical goodies, news summaries, and inspiration. Don't change a thing sir, just keep it coming!

Please let the Memsahib know--she is in our prayers for a quick and complete recovery. I know that hospital bills can be insane these days. I hope my subscription helps a bit.- T.G., in northwestern Nevada

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The following is a transcript of an interview that will soon be run at the popular left-of-center AlterNet web site:

AlterNet: Is survivalism a failure of community? A celebration of it?

JWR: I'd say that survivalism is indeed a celebration of community. It is the embodiment of America's traditional "can do" spirit of self-reliance that settled the frontier.

AlterNet: Is it engineered by personal issues? Is it a racial, or economic phenomenon, in your opinion? Or both?

JWR: Survivalism [is a movement that] crosses all racial and religious lines. It is essentially color blind. For 99% of us, we could care less about the color of someone's skin, but we care a lot about about including people with valuable skill sets. The preparedness movement is simply a rational quest for family and community level self-sufficiency in an increasingly dangerous world. There is unfortunately a very small but very vocal minority that are disgustingly racist idiots. I'm sad to say that they also call themselves survivalists. They get an inordinate amount of press coverage, making that 1% look much larger than it really is. In my opinion they should be ignored and shunned, and I certainly don't give them a platform on SurvivalBlog.

The economic cross section of SurvivalBlog readers is also amazing. We have working class readers that a worried about how they are going to make their next car payment posting alongside surgeons and entrepreneurs. We have both starving students and Little Old Lady pensioners. The readership is also global. We have regular readers in more than 90 countries. But even with this diversity, we all get along. [I didn't mention that I also edit out a lot of rants and foul language from the readers' letters that I post.] Part of this is the realization that the next Great Depression will be a tremendous "leveler".

AlterNet: Do you think survivalism is a rational response to our current crises?

JWR: Absolutely.

AlterNet: After all, we have an administration with minority support that is ruining the economy and world without a care for what its majority thinks. Do you think the unilateral policies of America over the last several years has contributed to the mindset? Or is it just gun nuts going too far?

JWR: There is greater interest in preparedness these days because the fragility of our economy, the lengthening chains of supply, and the complexity of the technological infrastructure have become apparent to a broader cross-section of the populous. All parties concerned may not realize it, but the left-of-center Greens that are calling for "local economy" and encouraging farmer's markets actually have a tremendous amount in common with John Birchers that are decrying globalist bankers, and likewise with gun owners that complain about their constitutional rights being trampled. At the core, for all of them, is the recognition that big, entrenched, centralized power structures are not the answer. They are, in fact, the problem.

AlterNet: What do survivalists get right?

JWR: They recognize that smaller scale economies and older technologies are appropriate. They also recognize that meaningful solutions are found at the community level--not from top-down, command-driven bureaucracies.

AlterNet: What do they get wrong?

JWR: A minority of SurvivalBlog readers are over-enamored with gadgets. I call these folks "Mall Ninjas." They live in a fantasy world. In the real world, skills beat gadgets every time. But in our "big box" consumerist economy, some people mistakenly think that they can buy happiness, or--in this case--buy preparedness. A big, expensive pile of "tacticool" gear without the hard-earned skills to know how to use it is essentially useless. It takes time and a requisite expenditure of sweat to really know how to tend a garden, hang a gate, cut a cord of firewood, or field dress a deer. Some people have simply never done something so basic as digging a post hole in rocky ground, and they will break down in tears if they ever have to. Their fancy gear can't do everything for them.

AlterNet: Do you think Peak Oil and climate crisis will team up to smack the American Dream down?

JWR: I think that Peak Oil is already upon us, but I'm reserving my opinion on climate change, since there is so much conflicting evidence.

AlterNet: Do you think technology can save us?

JWR: I don't think that technology--in and of itself--can save us. Again, it is practical skills, not gadgets that will help us to pull through tough times. This not to say that I don't recommend some high tech items like photovoltaic panels. Life without them in a "grid down" situation would be very uncomfortable. I'm also a great fan of hydrogen fuel cell, alcohol gas, and biodigester technologies. But those will likely be a case of "too little, too late." If anything, life in the 22nd Century will more closely resemble the 19th Century than it will the 20th Century. I predict that it will be a century of steam and horse power. And between now and then? Sadly, the 21st Century will probably be remembered as the time of the Great Die-Off.

AlterNet: Are Americans too spoiled to change their ways before it is too late?

JWR: For some Americans, yes. But others are clearly showing the wisdom to "Get Out of Dodge" while the getting is good, by moving to lightly-populated "retreat" regions to genuinely pursue self-sufficiency. Again, these people come from all across the political spectrum. I think that in the the next couple of decades we will witness the formation of some remarkable intentional communities (a.k.a "gulches") that will feature some unlikely bedfellows: Anarchists and Ayn Rand readers, Mennonites and gun enthusiasts, Luddites and techno-geeks, fundamentalist Christians and Gaia worshippers, tree huggers and horse wranglers. We welcome them all. I have been pleasantly surprised to see SurvivalBlog readers set aside some very sharp differences for the sake of a common goal. That consensus is one of the things that gives me the most pride about SurvivalBlog. I'm a conservative Christian but that doesn't mean that I'm not willing to listen to a leftist agnostic, if he has something useful and productive to say about practical preparedness and self-sufficiency.

AlterNet: And what do you see as the chief threats legitimizing a survivalist defense?

JWR: The threats are clearly manifold: Peak Oil, a derivatives meltdown, pandemics, economic instability, food shortages, stock market and currency collapses, terrorism, bank runs, state sponsored global war, rationing, and more. In a situation this precarious I believe that it is remarkably naive to think that mere geographical isolation will be sufficient to shelter communities from the predation of evildoers. I strongly believe in turning the other cheek, but as a realist, I also believe in Rule 308. (See the SurvivalBlog Glossary.)

AlterNet: What are you [personally] preparing for?

JWR: All of the above. I read Psalm 91 regularly. I encourage AlterNet readers to take a look at the SurvivalBlog "Precepts" page for the details of my philosophy and envisioned scenarios. Again, I believe that we have more in common than we have differences.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mr. Rawles,
Over the past few months some relatives and I have been reading However, we have been "SurvivalBlog Voyeurs", lurking in the cyber-shadows, benefiting from usable information while failing to contribute to the 10 Cent Challenge [voluntary subscription program]. Well, we shall lurk no more! The next time I am in town, I pledge to mail you my contribution, and my son-in-law says that he will do the same. Thank you for your generous site, and I would encourage others who benefit from the information here to do the same: Support SurvivalBlog. It is the site that brings the world a uniquely critical link to helpful information. - KMA

Thursday, May 8, 2008

We've tallied the 75+ reader responses to our recent poll on your favorite music with a survival or preparedness theme. Based on the responses, I can see that a large number of our readers are rock-'n-roll fans. The Top 10 tunes mentioned were (in descending order of popularity):

1.) "Silent Running", by Mike and The Mechanics

2.) "Its The End Of The World As We Know It", by R.E.M.

3.) "A Country Boy Can Survive" by Hank Williams, Jr.

4.) "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (Buffalo Springfield 's rendition of the same song was also mentioned.)

5.) "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult

6.) "Riding the Storm Out" by REO Speedwagon

7.) "Bad Moon Rising" by Credence Clearwater Revival

8.) "Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon

9.) "The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash

10.) "We Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who

Other songs not in the top 10, but still mentioned by more than one reader included: "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty, "Thank God for the Renegades" by Steve Vaus, "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen (a cover by The Duhks was also mentioned), "Going by the Book", by Johnny Cash, "Political Science" by Randy Newman, "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earl, "March of Cambreadth" by Heather McDonald, and "You Do Your Thing" by Montgomery Gentry.

Just to cheer you up after all this Gloom und Doom, listen to this song that was mentioned by three SurvivalBlog readers: "Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?", by Merle Haggard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In the past week I've had three newcomers to write and ask me to summarize my world view. One of them asked: "I could spend days looking through [the] archives of your [many months of] blog posts. But there are hundreds of them. Can you tell me where you stand, in just a page? What distinguishes the "Rawlesian" philosophy from other [schools of] survivalist thought?"

I'll likely add a few items to this list as time goes on, but here is a general summary of my precepts:

Modern Society is Increasingly Complex, Interdependent, and Fragile. With each passing year, technology progresses and chains of interdependency lengthen. In the past 30 years, chains of retail supply have grown longer and longer. The food on your supermarket shelf does not come from local farmers. It often comes from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This has created an alarming vulnerability to disruption. Simultaneously, global population is still increasing in a near geometrical progression. At some point that must end, most likely with a sudden and sharp drop in population. The lynchpin is the grid. Without functioning power grids, modern industrial societies will collapse within weeks.

Civilization is Just a Thin Veneer. In the absence of law an order, men quickly revert to savagery. As was illustrated by the rioting and looting that accompanied disasters in the past three decades, the transition from tranquility to absolute barbarism can occur overnight. People expect tomorrow to be just like today, and they act accordingly. But then comes a unpredictable disaster that catches the vast majority unprepared. The average American family has four days worth of food on hand. When that food is gone, we'll soon see the thin veneer stripped away.

People Run in Herds and Packs, but Both Follow Natural Lines of Drift. Most people are sheep ("sheeple"). A few are wolves that prey on others. But just a few of us are more like sheepdogs--we think independently, and instead of predation, we are geared toward protecting and helping others. People naturally follow natural lines of drift--the path of least resistance. When the Schumer hits the fan, 99% of urbanites will try to leave the cities on freeways. The highways and freeways will soon resemble parking lots. This means that you need to be prepared to both get out of town ahead of the rush and to use lightly-traveled back roads. Plan, study and practice.

Lightly Populated Areas are Safer than High Density Areas. With a few exceptions, less population means fewer problems. WTSHTF, there will be a mass exodus from the cities. Think of it as an army that is spreading out across a battlefield: The wider that they are spread, the less effective that they are. The inverse square law hasn't been repealed.

Show Restraint, But Always Have Recourse to Lethal Force. My father often told me, "It is better to have a gun and not need it, than need a gun, and not have it." I urge readers to use less than lethal means when safe and practicable, but at times there is not a satisfactory substitute for well-aimed lead going down range at high velocity.

There is Strength in Numbers. Rugged individualism is all well and good, but it takes ore than one man to defend a retreat. Effective retreat defense necessitates having at least two families to provide 24/7 perimeter security. But of course every individual added means having another mouth to feed. Absent having an unlimited budget and an infinite larder, this necessitates striking a balance when deciding the size of a retreat group.

There are Moral Absolutes. The foundational morality of the civilized world is best summarized in the Ten Commandments. Moral relativism and secular humanism are slippery slopes. The terminal moraine at the base of these slopes is a rubble pile consisting of either despotism and pillage, or anarchy and the depths of depravity. I believe that it takes both faith and friends to survive perilous times. For more background on that, see my Prayer page.

Racism Ignores Reason. People should be judged as individuals. Anyone that make blanket statements about other races is ignorant that there are both good and bad individuals in all groups. I have accepted The Great Commission with sincerity."Go forth into all nations" means exactly that: all nations. OBTW, I feel grateful that SurvivalBlog is now read in more than 100 countries. I have been given a bully pulpit, and I intend to use it for good and edifying purposes.

Skills Beat Gadgets and Practicality Beats Style. The modern world is full of pundits, poseurs, and Mall Ninjas. Preparedness is not just about accumulating a pile of stuff. You need practical skills, and those only come with study, training, and practice. Any armchair survivalist can buy a set of stylish camouflage fatigues and an M4gery Carbine encrusted with umpteen accessories. Style points should not be mistaken for genuine skills and practicality.

Plentiful Water and Good Soil are Crucial. Modern mechanized farming, electrically pumped irrigation, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides can make deserts bloom. But when the grid goes down, deserts and marginal farmland will revert to their natural states. In my estimation, the most viable places to survive in the midst of a long term societal collapse will be those with reliable summer rains and rich topsoil.

Tangibles Trump Conceptuals. Modern fiat currencies are generally accepted, but have essentially no backing. Because they are largely a byproduct of interest bearing debt, modern currencies are destined to inflation. In the long run, inflation dooms fiat currencies to collapse. The majority of your assets should be invested in productive farm land and other tangibles such as useful hand tools. Only after you have your key logistics squared away, anything extra should be invested in silver and gold.

Governments Tend to Expand their Power to the Point that They Do Harm. In SurvivalBlog, I often warn of the insidious tyranny of the Nanny State. If the state where you live becomes oppressive, then don't hesitate to relocate. Vote with your feet!

There is Value in Redundancy. A common saying of my readers is: "Two is one, and one is none." You must be prepared to provide for your family in a protracted period of societal disruption. That means storing up all of the essential "beans, bullets, and Band-Aids" in quantity. If commerce is disrupted by a disaster, at least in the short term you will only have your own logistics to fall back on. The more that you have stored, the more that you will have available for barter and charity.

A Deep Larder is Essential. Food storage is one of the key preparations that I recommend. Even if you have a fantastic self-sufficient garden and pasture ground, you must always have food storage that you can fall back on in the event that your crops fail due to drought, disease, or infestation.

Tools Without Training Are Almost Useless. Owning a gun doesn't make someone a "shooter" any more than owning a surfboard makes someone a surfer. With proper training and practice, you will be miles ahead of the average citizen. Get advanced medical training. Get the best firearms training that you can afford. Learn about amateur radio from your local affiliated ARRL club. Practice raising a vegetable garden each summer. Some skills are only perfected over a period of years.

Old Technologies are Appropriate Technologies. In the event of a societal collapse, 19th Century (or earlier) technologies such as a the blacksmith's forge, the treadle sewing machine, and the horse-drawn plow will be far easier to re-construct than modern technologies.

Charity is a Moral Imperative. As a Christian, I feel morally obligated to assist others that are less fortunate. Following the Old Testament laws of Tzedakah (charity and tithing), I believe that my responsibility begins with my immediate family and expands in successive rings to supporting my immediate neighborhood and church, to my community, and beyond, as resources allow. In short, my philosophy is to "give until it hurts" in times of disaster.

Buy Life Assurance, not Life Insurance. Self-sufficiency and self-reliance are many-faceted. You need to systematically provide for Water, Food, Shelter, Fuel, First Aid, Commo, and, if need be, the tools to enforce Rule 308.

Live at Your Retreat Year-Round. If your financial and family circumstances allow it, I strongly recommend that you relocate to a safe area and live there year-round. This has several advantages, most notably that will prevent burglary of your retreat logistics and allow you to regularly tend to gardens, orchards, and livestock. It will also remove the stress of timing a "Get Out of Dodge" trip at the11th hour. If circumstances dictate that you can't live at your retreat year round, then at least have a caretaker and stock the vast majority of your logistics in advance, since you may only have one trip there before roads are impassable.

Exploit Force Multipliers. Night vision gear, intrusion detection sensors, and radio communications equipment are key force multipliers. Because these use high technology they cannot be depended upon in a long term collapse, but in the short term, they can provide a big advantage. Some low technologies like barbed wire and defensive road cables also provide advantages and can last for several decades.

Invest Your Sweat Equity. Even if some of you have a millionaire's budget, you need to learn how to do things for yourself, and be willing to get your hands dirty. In a societal collapse, the division of labor will be reduced tremendously. Odds are that the only "skilled craftsmen" available to build a shed, mend a fence, shuck corn, repair an engine, or pitch manure will be you.and your family. A byproduct of sweat equity is muscle tone and proper body weight. Hiring someone to deliver three cords of firewood is a far cry from felling, cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking it yourself.

Choose Your Friends Wisely. Associate yourself with skilled doers, not "talkers." Seek out people that share your outlook and morality. Living in close confines with other families is sure to cause friction but that will be minimized if you share a common religion and norms of behavior.You can't learn every skill yourself. Assemble a team that includes members with medical knowledge, tactical skills, electronics experience, and traditional practical skills.

There is No Substitute for Mass. Mass stops bullets. Mass stops gamma radiation. Mass stops (or at least slows down ) bad guys from entering a home and depriving its residents of life and property. Sandbags are cheap, so buy plenty of them. When planning your retreat house, think: medieval castle. (See the SurvivalBlog Archives for the many articles and letters on Retreat Architecture.)

Always Have a Plan B and a Plan C. Regardless of your pet scenario and your personal grand plan of survival, you need to be flexible and adaptable. Situations and circumstances change. Always keep a G.O.O.D. kit handy, even if you are fortunate enough to live at your retreat year-round.

Be Frugal. I grew up in a family that still remembered both our pioneer history and the more recent lessons of the Great Depression. One of our family mottos is: "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without."

Some Things are Worth Fighting For. I encourage my readers to avoid trouble, most importantly via relocation to safe areas where trouble is unlikely to come to visit. But there may come an unavoidable day that you have to make a stand to defend your own family or your neighbors. Further, if you value your liberty, then be prepared to fight for it, both for yourself and for the sake of your progeny.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hello Jim,
I’ve been lurking since last November after I re-read [your novel] "Patriots". On a whim I tried a web search looking for any newer books you may have published and found your blog. What a tremendous surprise. I had several questions when I first started reading your blog and decided to go back through the archives. Glad I did. Thus far all of my questions have been answered (I just finished [reading the archives of] December 2006). I feel being a recent contributor to the 10 Cent Challenge is dirt cheap for the knowledge I’ve gained, and I’ve been preparedness conscious and actively preparing for most any scenario ever since I was in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the P.R.K.. Okay, the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course has been pretty helpful too and back in December when it was 33% off it was a sweet deal I couldn’t pass up. It really helped me “fill in the blanks”.

I've noticed from time to time that readers ask about preparedness groups or how to meet others that are like-minded. I find that wearing my SurvivalBlog [logo] baseball cap to gun shows and similar social and sporting events has prompted some interesting conversations. Well it’s worked for me and others, but YMMV. Did I remember to tell you what a great blog you have? Thanks for all you do and may God bless you and yours. - East of ABQ

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dear Jim,
I've been following your web-site for a while now and am amazed how you and your members chime in with very news worthy items sometimes weeks before the mainstream media starts covering them. One latest point would be the CountryWide Equity Line suspension finally made our local evening news last night.[It was mentioned in SurvivalBlog on February 5th.]

I was stunned to read today in The Wall Street Journal that coal prices, which once were steadily priced in the $20 per metric ton range began trading in the $40 to $60 range from mid-2003 to mid- 2007, then with the sudden shift of China becoming a net importer of coal, the price has shot up to over $120. per metric ton this week (source: WSJ cites: globalCOAL; 'The price per metric ton for coal out of Newcastle, Australia, is a key benchmark for the Asian market'). When a country the size of China suddenly becomes a consumer in a global market where they once were a provider - this will have huge far reaching consequences. Our already taxed energy system, which relies heavily on coal for electricity, will only go up in price because they have to compete in this global market. We have a country that has not added infrastructure to our oil refineries, natural gas extraction, or nuclear power in decades. Our country is not in a position to simply shift our consumption to a different resource.

How do you see these realities of the international coal markets affecting the United States? The price for electricity must follow in tandem with these resource price increases.

Thanks for the great web-site! - Dennis

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thanks for SurvivalBlog. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but this old dog learned the following new tricks from the SurvivalBlog articles and letters.

1. I got fired up after reading the "commo comments" and finally got my Ham radio license.

2. I bought a number of galvanized trash cans and that's where I now store shelled corn, etc. (Hint! Don't buy the made-in-China-from-tinfoil cans. [Instead,] get the good ones which are made right here at home.)

3. As a coffee drinker, I now stockpile green coffee beans, which I vacuum pack and store in those galvanized trash cans.)

I could go on, but just those three items more than justify my dime-a-day contribution.

I still live a stone's throw from the Yellowstone caldera, but I've also learned that we can't eliminate all risks. Some we just have to live with. Stay warm, - Dutch in Wyoming

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hello SurvivalBlog Readers,
In reflecting on the past year I can honestly say that I have enjoyed reading the SurvivalBlog every day. While I do not always agree with everything said, this blog will make one seriously think about all
their survival preparations. It is my opinion that if the readers of this blog prepare to the best of our individual ability we will be among those who, after the SHTF event, and those events that follow the initial event, we will be among those who will return our nation to its Constitutional greatness in the society of nations.
I have enjoyed this blog immensely. My wife of 42 years is reading daily posts over my shoulder. My sons read it, though not as frequently as their dad. But they are coming around. There is something here for everyone regardless of how you see events shaping up. The blog is well assembled. I have managed an Internet business since 1993 and I can tell you from first hand experience there is a fantastic amount of time, energy and thought put into maintaining this service.
It is the Christmas season. A time for remembering and a time for giving. I challenge all SurvivalBlog readers to say "Thank You Jim", by remembering Jim and his family this Christmas. I challenge all blog readers to match my small Christmas gift of $25.00. Do it now before you forget it. BTW, I have never met Jim and his family but we have corresponded, from time to time, for more than ten years. I know him by the Spirit. - Martin in Montana

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dear Mr. Rawles:
I am a newly-minted reader and fan of SurvivalBlog. I stumbled upon [SurvivalBlog] by doing a web search on what turned out to be one of your "Quote of the Days" from [the late] Jeff Cooper. All that I can say is that I am mega-overwhelmed at what you and the readers have put on-line. I started out by going back through your current threads, and that seemed like a lot. But then I started clicking on the monthly archive links [in the right hand column] and then I started doing searched on particular topics. Wow! I am blown away. There is so much there. It is like a comprehensive encyclopedia on preparations for survival. Along with my research at other web sites about the present-day political and economic slide, now everything is starting to click. It all makes sense. We are living in a very fragile world and it would be insane not to prepare. I am starting to build my "list of lists." (Water is at the very top of my list. I'll be soon ordering a Big Berkey filter--no doubt it'll be from one of your advertisers.)

I have visited a lot of preparedness and survival sites. They all seem to either be amateurish or have big axes to grind. But yours is a breath of fresh air: No whacko rants, no diatribes, no flame wars, no "I think it could work this way" conjecture (that clown Dakin at the Bison Blog drives me crazy with his un-tested "this might work" ideas), no foul-mouth childishness, no political bickering, no racism, no anti-Semitism, none of that!

I also just read your "Pulling Through" movie script. They have got to make that into a movie! I just wish I knew where the Rawles Ranch was. I'd like to be your next door neighbor! I'm sure lots of other people would too, so I guess its a good thing that you keep your "Bat Cave" [location] a secret.

I heard about your site just before I started a week of vacation for Thanksgiving. Good timing! Otherwise I would have had to call in sick! I spent 10+ hours a day digging through the archives and taking notes. I have so much to do to get ready!

So again, thank you for putting this huge resource on the net for free! I'm heading out to the post office tomorrow to get a money order for a two year 10 Cent Challenge [subscription]. That's the least that I can do. (I'm doubtful that anyone that reads SurvivalBlog more than once a week could live with their guilty conscience for not doing the same.) I'm also going to order a copy of your prepper's course and your books.

God Bless You! - Aaron, "Somewhere East of the Rockies"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dear James and SurvivalBlog Family:
Thank you for this tremendously vital preparedness forum. It has been the direct impetus for me to seriously prepare to survive various natural disasters that could assail the New England area, but more importantly, to be prepared for the inevitable TEOTWAWKI situation, which I expect, we will face within a decade, as soon as the oft-predicted Winter Solstice of 2012--Which still leaves us plenty of time to prepare, if we only make that crucial decision to begin (or to enhance) our preparations and remain steadfast in our intentions to survive whatever may come our way.
For the newer SurvivalBlog readers, and those just becoming interested in survival and preparedness activities, I say, do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of that which you feel you need to do to be get yourself reasonably “prepared” or anywhere near as prepared as others that have been preparing for a long time. Make the decision to prepare for survival and methodically acquire the basic food, water and equipment you will need to handle any emergency situation, short or long-term.

I am a charter 10 Cent Challenge SurvivalBlog subscriber and I enclose two $5 rolls of silver dimes to cover years two and three of my subscriptions (2007 and 2008). In addition, I have enclosed a boxed silver round medallion that commemorates the 1975 Bicentennial of the Battles of Lexington and Concord . Paul Revere is featured on the medal’s obverse with the words “American Revolution Bicentennial” and “The Shot Heard Round the World”. Please accept this coin as a token of my appreciation for all you have done for me and your other readers, in the name of survival and preparedness—for your tireless, Christian efforts as a true American Patriot--an honorific you have so justly earned. Keep up the good work and may God bless you and your family!
I have been an avid reader of SurvivalBlog for over a year and a half and have learned a tremendous amount of valuable insight from [Mr. Rawles] and the many outstanding contributors to SurvivalBlog. Not a week goes by that I do not receive valuable preparedness advice and tips to add to my store of knowledge.
I am proud to say that I have made a deep, personal commitment to change my life’s focus from a wasteful, spendthrift mode, bent on acquiring so many useless things and squandering cash on drinks, gambling and other frivolous entertainment, to a conservative mode, investing the bulk of my discretionary income in durable goods, firearms, ammo, long-term bulk food, silver and gold coins, a generator, and the like.

At the beginning of 2007, I resolved to eliminate all discretionary purchases that were patently unnecessary. Socks and underwear are okay, no CDs or movie rentals. Less fast food and daily coffee’s, and no impulse eBay buys, etc… Rather, I have been earmarking (budgeting) a substantial portion of my discretionary income for stocking my “pantry” and procuring key survival supplies and equipment. Having recently finalized my child support and alimony commitments (ensuring that my ex-wife could keep the house), I have had been fortunate to have a significantly larger amount of money to “invest” the past six months and now going forward.

Each month, I buy at least $200 worth of silver or gold coins (mostly silver). I have amassed nearly $750 in face value junk silver coins (although I do not consider them “junk” by any means) and nearly 5 ounces of [fractional] gold coins (mostly American Eagles, Maples Leafs and Krugerrands).
Each pay period I add another $100 in reserve food stores and other basic survival gear. I have a half dozen cases of #10 Mountain House cans and will continuously add to that store a few cases a month with a goal of two dozen cases by the end of 2008.

I am pleased to have finally exercised my 2nd Amendment constitutional right to purchase and own firearms. I had never been a gun owner before 2006 as my father was never a sportsman and would not (still does not) allow guns in his house. Since I do not hunt, there was never a need for a gun or guns. That 20th century mindset has changed and I now know just how crucial firearms are in this present age of uncertainly and fear. I keep the knowledge of my guns to myself (and to my two adult sons) and am now fully comfortable to own several guns and will be buying more on a regular basis.
I have respect for my firearms and keep them safely stored (but strategically loaded). If fact, I keep a loaded .40 caliber Glock in my laptop computer bag in a secure, zippered pocket. No laptop, just files and the Glock. My bag is always with me, either in my car, office or at home ensuring that I will always be close to a weapon in the event of an emergency. While I have no concealed carry permit (and am leery to obtain one), I think I will continue to look askance at my state’s laws that prohibit one from having a loaded handgun in their immediate possession without a concealed carry permit. I’ll just risk the consequences. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
I have been averaging a firearm purchase every two months or so to include two (2) Glock 23 .40 pistols, four (4) .22 pistols, six shotguns (a Remington 870) for home defense and five Mossberg 500s for home defense/target/game, and two new Ruger .22 rifles (since I must have accumulated some 20,000 rounds of that ammo so far). I will continue to buy shotguns on a regular basis so that I am able to arm as many able bodied sons, daughters and other family members as possible (with two guns each).

Here are a few of my SurvivalBlog“Pearls”:

1. Stock up on: beans, bullets, and band-aids!
2. Live by the Golden Rule, Treat others as you would like to be treated…
3. Buy two or more of everything!
4. Pray for peace and thanksgiving
5. Buy silver (pre-1965 [US 90%]) and gold coins; an excellent way to preserve wealth for the recovery period); Take physical possession of all precious metals
6. Stock that pantry! You can never have enough food! Check those expirations dates! Rotate your stock! Donate almost expired food items to the local food pantry.
7. Buy guns, ammo and multiple magazines for every firearm! You can never have too many guns, ammo, or magazines. Try to standardize weapons and ammo.
8. Pack several bug out bags (one for each person)
9. Buy “survival” presents for your family and friends (flashlights, batteries, first-aid kits, camping equipment, sporting goods (guns) bugout bags, etc…)
10. Buy a (bio) diesel pickup truck and a small SUV for a G.O.O.D. vehicle (and consider a used U-Haul (or the like) too; also buy a bicycle for everyone)
11. Exercise, get fit, go for long walks (also food for the soul)
12. As the Boy Scouts say, “Do a Good Turn Daily” and it goes without saying, “BE PREPARED”.
13. Life is unforgivingly short! Live for each moment; get the most out of life,
14. Don’t hold grudges. Forgive everybody and give thanks to God!
15. Oh yeah, please give blood!

I plan on buying several more firearms and the next several purchases will be a mix of shotguns and a series of 9mm weapons: four 9mm pistols (Glocks) and two (or three) KelTec 2000 folding rifles (super-sweet) that use the 33 round Glock magazines (which are available for a bargain at $25.99 each at Natchez Shooters Supply). I figure a dozen 33-round mags will be a good start to outfit this part of my arsenal. Those high capacity mags work in the Glock 9mm pistols too.

[Since originally writing this letter in July, I’ve bought one KelTec 2000, one Glock 19 (9mm) and one 20 gauge shotgun]

Finally, I will look to acquire two AK-47s and two then two long-range rifles. I figure this part of my plan should take another two years to accomplish, one gun per month or two.
I consider my cache of firearms as an extremely valuable store of wealth in the face of the inevitable economic collapse. These guns and ammo will be worth as much as I paid for them, or likely even more in the future. Guns and ammo are like money in the bank (except better) and will make tremendous items for barter in a post TEOTWAWKI society.
I have stocked several "But Out” bags (for my two sons, dad and I), thousands of rounds of ammunition ($100/per month at WalMart) and many other suggested items. I have been chipping away at my extensive list and ply eBay and yard sales for many of the items that I deem essential. At present, I am prepared to withstand a month or so without power, and am primed to protect my investments, but I am not so confident about surviving a really long-term societal collapse as predicted by so many learned prognosticators. My next level of preparedness will be to survive fully three months off grid, with an eye towards a more complete ability to survive any SHTF circumstance by 2012.

I live (rent-free) with my elderly dad and am committed to staying with him in a quite pleasant coastal New England town. I work for the state in a good-paying civil service position. I have no monetary resources to relocate to a tsunami resistant, easily defensible retreat in the mid west (or abroad) and am committed to my dad who was born in this community, owns his home outright, and has absolutely no inclination of moving. Further, I run into an elderly parental mindset when I suggest basic survival activities such as drilling a simple well or installing a wood stove (forget about voice mail or a dishwasher).
I have gotten away with my ostensible preparations for a hurricane (high New England possibility) but when I expound on the potential collapse of the US economy (due to any of several likely scenarios), dad disregards my exhortations. Since I am the “baby” of the family (even though I’m 50) and am the only family within 400 miles, he accepts my advice as if I were a teenager. Therein lies the actual predicament for me.

Retreat Considerations
I need to prepare for a short, medium, and long-term siege in my existing locale. I expect that most SurvivalBlog readers find themselves in a similar, structurally restricted situation. All of my family, and my fiancé’s family reside along the East coast from New Hampshire down to South Carolina . As a result, I hope to secure a farmland retreat that will be strategically located such that immediate family members could get to the retreat by bicycle or on foot in a worst case scenario. I’ve been thinking about northern New Hampshire or the northwestern quadrant of Pennsylvania .
A topic that I have yet to see discussed in SurvivalBlog is the bugout in the Atlantic region of the country. I understand that there is nowhere along the East Coast that one can escape the fallout from a nuclear detonation in the New England or middle Atlantic region but there will many people stuck along the Atlantic coast in the event of some type of cataclysmic event. I would greatly appreciate hearing from other readers about places in rural New York/New England or anywhere along the Atlantic coast that would be suitable in the occurrence of TEOTWAWKI.

I know that the world is headed for a day of reckoning and that the United States is teetering on collapse due to decades of financial and administrative malfeasance. As a student of history and social sciences, I have always been an ardent patriot but as of late, I have come to the tragic understanding why most people in the rest of the world distrust us, and in many instances, hate us. The current administration’s brainless deficit (and mostly pork-barrel) spending, the spiraling national debt, our sole world super-power mindset, insatiable consumer demand and burgeoning trade deficit will surely land this once great nation in the scrap heap of history’s supercilious, bankrupt empires. I’ll be ready, however. Thanks, JWR and loyal SurvivalBlog contributors!

At least our forefathers were insightful when they insisted that our (appropriately silver and gold-backed) monetary instruments be inscribed with the dictum, “In God We Trust”. My one suggestion would be to go back to silver and gold coins and add the alliterative phrase “…Glocks and Gold” after the word “God” to aptly symbolize our current plight.
As it was in the story of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the (preparedness) race.May peace be with you all. - David J. (in a blue New England state)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Let me start with a thank you for such an awesome resource! I've finally sent my 10 Cent Challenge [voluntary subscription payment.] I didn't feel right e-mailing you with this until I got it out. Since finding your site (from the link at] Captain Dave's Survival Center), I've been devouring the info here, as well as "Patriots" (read twice, and I'm starting it for the third time) and the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. I've also just finished reading "The Alpha Strategy"--that you recommended in both the blog and in the preparedness course. Tremendously eye opening stuff. You've radically changed my view on things like firearms ownership, preparedness, and charity. I can't express with words how much my world view has changed since finding this. Again, thank you.

Anyway, down to business: I'm a computer guy by trade, and while perusing I found two books titled:"Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things" (ISBN: 0740738593) and "Sneakier Uses for Everyday Things" (ISBN: 0740754963). While most of the info contained within is of marginal use, I found "making plastic (and glue) from milk (using vinegar)", and "making a metal detector from a calculator (using a radio)". There are other things like adjusting a FM radio to get airline [aviation band] frequencies, and powering a LED with coins, cotton, and salt water. They are fun for the tinkering types, but also give glimpses into how some other things work. There are also sections on emergency survival. Not much new [in those sections], but good info nonetheless.

Thanks for coordinating all this, and keep up the good work! - Nick in Wisconsin

Friday, August 24, 2007

Geographically distinct units were formed from the Northwest Militia, as planned, late in the April of the fifth year. To avoid confusion amongst the local citizenry that they protected, they designated those at the original retreat as “Todd Gray’s Company” and those at Kevin Lendel’s house as “Michael Nelson’s Company.” The responsibility for patrolling was divided along a line east-west between the retreats.
Todd Gray’s Company was to patrol the northern half of the sector, while Michael Nelson’s Company patrolled the southern half. Separate CB channels were assigned to each Company for locals to use to contact either Company.

On the 5th of May, Mary was in the garden plot transplanting some young tomato plants that had been started in the greenhouse a few weeks earlier. As she was methodically digging holes for each of the plants, she heard a strange engine noise in the distance. Just moments after she first heard the noise, she was astonished to look up and see two light aircraft approaching from the south. She dropped her trowel, snatched up her AR-15, and ran to the house. By the time she was in the house, the Mallory Sonalerts were wailing, and everyone at the house was at their “stand-to” positions, scanning their assigned sectors of fire.
“Does anybody have any idea where those planes came from?” Mary asked. Sitting at the C.Q. desk, Jeff shrugged his shoulders, and reached over to turn off the “panic button”, silencing the piercing alarm.

The engine noise was clearly louder now. From the LP/OP, Terry called in on the TA-1: “They’re pusher prop jobs, twin seat, tandem style. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like there’s just one pilot in each. They’re definitely circling us. Everybody stay put.” The planes circled the house a second time, just a hundred yards above the ground.
From the front of the house, Todd declared: “Hey, wait a minute, it looks like they’re getting ready to land. Yep, they are landing down on the county road.” The two planes landed in rapid succession on the straight stretch of county road below the house. Todd was surprised by how short a distance it took for the planes to land and come to a full stop. The planes looked identical, except for their color. One was painted dark green. The other was tan. He heard their engines roar up in tempo as the planes turned and taxied back to the front gate. The planes came to a stop at the front gate, and their engines shut down.
Both pilots lifted their canopies and took off their headphones, almost in unison. Two figures, one tall and one short, hopped out of the planes, wearing BDUs and tan boots.
Todd shouted loud enough for everyone at the house to hear: “They are painted drab, but those sure don’t look military. Have any of you heard of anyone in the area that owns an ultralight?” There was no reply. Todd pondered for a moment. “Hey, you know, Dan told me that Ian Doyle was in an ultralight club.
I sure wish Fong was still here. He’s probably seen pictures of Ian’s plane. He said that it was a zippy little thing, and I think he said that it was a two-seater.”
“Who is this Ian fellow?,” Rose asked.
Mary answered, “An old college buddy of Todd and Dan’s. He has a wife and daughter. That might be him in one of those planes down on the road.”

Ten minutes later, after a cautious squad-sized approach by the bounding overwatch method, Todd and Ian Doyle were sharing hugs. “Wow! Long time no see. What brings you here?”
“It’s a long story, Todd. Suffice it to say that we left town in a hurry when a very large number of muy malo hombres took over. It was muy peligroso there. So we did some Van-dammage--just to whittle them down, you understand--and then we took off. It took a few inquiries in Bovill, but we found your place here easily enough.”
Todd took a long look at the plane behind Doyle, staring at just below the wing root, where it was stenciled EXPERIMENTAL. He said insistently, “You can tell me the whole story later. First tell me about these ultralights. They are really a sight to behold.”
Ian turned to caress the fuselage of the flat forest green-painted plane behind him. “To begin with, technically, they aren’t ultralights, although they use a lot of the same design features. Legally, these birds are classed as light experimentals. These birds are both Laron Star Streaks. I paid just under $30K for mine, when I picked it up new from the factory in Borger, Texas, back in ‘98. We towed it home in it’s trailer behind our Suburban. The Star Streak comes with a lot of standard goodies like dual controls, an ICOM radio, electric start, electric brakes, three position half span flaps, electric trim, and a pretty complete set of VFR instruments. I added a GPS navigation box and active noise reduction headphones to this one. It’s essentially a poor man’s general aviation plane, but legally it’s a light ‘experimental’. But it’s too heavy to be classed as an “ultralight” under the FAA regs.”
“With its enclosed canopy, it’s one of the best light experimentals for long range flying. In fact, one guy flew a similar model Laron from London to Beijing and wrote a book about it. As I’m sure you know, the main advantages of ultralights and light experimentals is that they are so thrifty on gas, and have a super short take-off roll--usually under 200 feet--and very low stall speeds. The Star Streak only weighs about 400 pounds, empty. The other neat thing about our Larons and most similar light experimentals and ultralights is that they are not restricted to av-gas. In ours here, for example, you can burn any grade of gas down to about 85 octane. If I adjusted the carb jets, I suppose they would even burn ethanol or methanol. Luckily, I haven’t had to try that yet.”
Doyle turned to the trim woman with an olive complexion standing beside him. She appeared to be around 35 years old. “I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. This is my wife Blanca. I’ve written to you about her, but we haven’t seen each other face to face since college, so you’ve never had a chance to meet.”
The attractive woman in BDUs extended her hand, and Todd shook it firmly. Gray said quietly, “Encantado.” She replied in a soft accent, “A pleasure finally meeting you, Meester Gray.”
“As you probably recall from my e-mail, I met Blanca when I was stationed down in Hondo,” Doyle continued. “That was back in my ‘Terry and the Pirates’ days, when I was a lieutenant--not too long out of transition training. She was a civilian working in flight ops at Tegucigalpa. Blanca was already a qualified single engine pilot when I met her. Talk about love at first sight, eh conchita?” Blanca smiled and blushed, nodding her chin to her shoulder.
Gesturing to the other plane, Ian said, “We swapped for Blanca’s Laron just after the stock market tanked. I got it from an old fart civilian who was in the Phoenix Metro ultralight club. He bought this one as a kit. He said that it took him almost two years to build it in his spare time. He finished building it in ‘99. It had very low hours clocked on the engine. His was stored in the same style enclosed trailer that we had for mine. I traded him my Sten gun, a suppressor with nomex cover, a whole bunch of magazines, and 1,000 rounds of nine millimeter ball for it. Fair enough swap, I suppose, since unregistered and suppressed submachineguns don’t grow on trees. We could both see the handwriting on the wall by then. He knew what I needed, and I knew what he needed: I needed some more transportation, and he needed some more firepower. I asked him why he wasn’t planning to bail out of Phoenix. He said that his wife refused to budge an inch. They had their whole life wrapped up in their house. Since he was stuck there, he didn’t need the plane, but he certainly needed a serious self-defense gun.”
Doyle stepped toward the back of the fuselage, deftly ducking under the wing, and went on: “The Star Streaks cruise at just over 120 miles an hour at 80 percent power, which is pretty fast for a light experimental. Of course, that seems like crawling when you are used to wearing an F-16, but I like ‘em. The cockpit layout is even similar to a Falcon. Not exactly fly-by-wire controls, though. This model uses a 85 horse Hirth F-30 engine. It’s a great little plant. It just hums along and sips gas--only about five gallons an hour at 80% power. Both of these planes are identical except for the propellers. Mine uses a four blade composite, but the prop on Blanca’s is the older composite three blade. The Hirth is a powerful little engine. It will make the Larons climb at 2,500 feet per minute when it is in normal configuration with just one man on board, but of course a lot slower the way we have them loaded down right now. The planes have a rated useful load of 500 pounds. I’m afraid that we exceeded that limit when we took off from Prescott. Between the heavy load and the high elevation of the airport, our takeoff distances were outrageously long--at least, that is, for a light experimental. But luckily, we had a long straight stretch of road to take off from.”
Blanca looked around anxiously. “Ees there anywhere where we can put theeese birds where they whon’t get stolen?”
Mary answered, “We’ll put them both in the Andersen’s big hay barn, just down the road. It’s a nice dry barn. The wings should hopefully fit through the front. It was left open on that side to let the big New Holland harvester in. It’s a three-sided affair. The farm is deserted, and the barn is almost empty now. They gave us permission to use the place. Don’t worry--when the planes are pushed to the back of the barn, no one will see them there. And, as further insurance, it’s just within line of sight of our LP/OP, up on the hill.”
“Ell-Pee-Oh-Pee?”, Blanca asked, quizzically.
“Sorry, Blanca. I’m afraid that we are used to talking in ‘acronese’ around here, and not the Air Force acronym dialect you’re probably used to. LP/OP is a ground pounder acronym for listening post/observation post.” Pointing to the nearby hill, Mary explained, “Basically it’s a glorified hole in the ground. If you look very closely, you can see it up on the hill there. It has a good view of the area. It’s for observation in daylight, and for listening at night.”
Moving the planes into the barn took only a few minutes. They were able to taxi the planes under power to within 20 feet of the barn. From there, they were pushed in by hand. Going in, the planes’ 30 foot long wingspans cleared the entrance with just a foot to spare on each side. As they were pushing the first plane in, Mary asked, “How many gas cans have you got in there, and how far can you fly without refueling?”
Doyle pointed through the canopy at the rear seat area, and cited, “Originally, the Star Streaks only had a range of around 320 miles at 80% power. The main tank is 14 and-a-half gallons. But I added some big bladder tanks to both planes. They aren’t connected directly to the primary fuel system. I cheated and installed a couple of little Black and Decker Jackrabbit hand pumps along side the front seats, with extra long hoses. To transfer fuel from the bladder to the main tank, you just put the Jackrabbit in your lap and crank away. The bladder tanks extend our range to about 480 miles without landing to refuel, when we are at max takeoff weight. If we were in a light configuration, they could maybe even go 550 miles.”
Ian’s plane came to a rest with the tip of its nose less than a foot from the rear wall of the barn. He inched past the nose and walked around to the other side of the plane, talking as he walked. “They are both quite a bit lighter right now, since we have less gas and we had to barter some of our stuff for fuel.” He tapped on the Plexiglas with his index finger and said, “I have these five gallon gas cans strapped into the back seats of both birds, but they are nearly empty, too. Aside from some clothes, sleeping bags, tools, and aeronautical charts; most of the weight on board is fuel, oil, guns, ammo, water, and MREs. You know, just the essentials in life. At present we’re down to less than 8 gallons of fuel between the two planes...”
Mary interjected, “Don’t worry about that. We still have over four hundred gallons of stabilized unleaded premium in the tank here. It will only be good for another year or two, so we might as well use it up. I think that it’s 92 octane, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask Terry--she’s our logistics honcho. But she’s up at the LP/OP right now.”
After they had pushed the second plane in, Todd declared, “Don’t worry about all your gear, we’ll come down with the pickup truck later this afternoon and take it up to the house.”
Before they left the planes, Doyle used a socket wrench to remove the nose wheels from both planes, and buried them under some loose hay near the front of the big barn. “They won’t be going far without these,” he said. As they walked out of the barn, Ian slung his suppressed MAC-10 over his shoulder. Blanca did likewise with a stainless steel folding-stock Mini-14 GB. Todd was disappointed to see that they didn’t carry any extra magazines. He made a mental note to correct that glaring deficiency.
As they walked, Blanca was bemused at the way the militia members walked at 5 yard intervals. “Why are you walking so far apart?,” she asked with a laugh.
“Force of habit,” Mary explained. “In case of an ambush, you are at much greater risk if you are bunched together.”
They chatted amiably as they hiked back to the Gray’s house. Once they were inside, Rose served up an early lunch of raw carrots, apple slices spread with reconstituted peanut butter, and freshly baked bread. It was over lunch that Ian and Blanca started to recount their story. Mary set a TRC-500 to the “VOX” setting, so that Terry Layton, who was still up at the LP/OP, didn’t feel left out.
Munching on some bread, Ian began, “The 56th Fighter Wing had just started a rotation to Saudi. It was just two years before the Crash that we switched back from a tactical training wing to a tactical fighter wing. I came on board just a few months into the transition. Anyway, when all the trouble started, since I was the wing maintenance officer, I was stuck back at Luke, catching up on paperwork. I was also taking a idiotic mandatory ‘Diversity, Sensitivity, and Sexual Harassment’ class. The frickin’ class lasted a whole week. I had orders to catch up with the wing in late November. But then, when the riots got going in earnest, they planned an emergency redeployment of virtually all of the close air support aircraft in the Air Force inventory back to the States. Some weenie at the White House must have dreamed that one up. Our wing was going to deploy to Hurlburt Field, down in Florida. Criminy! Could you imagine F-16s and A-10s versus rioters? Talk about over-kill! I never heard what happened to our squadrons after that. I was too busy with problems of my own--like finding drinking water for Blanca and myself.”
“And your daughter?,” Mary asked.
Doyle’s face clouded with emotion. Stiffening, he replied, “Linda didn’t make it, ma’am. She died five years ago. She was in Detroit, doing her annual six week long ‘Grandmom and Grandpop’ visit with my folks. It was the first time that she was old enough to go on a commercial plane by herself. Blanca wanted to stay home to relax, do some pastels, and a bit of surfing the Internet. We were home-schooling her, so Linda wasn’t on a normal school year schedule. Blanca and Linda liked to go up to Michigan in the Fall. They get some nice Fall colors up there.”
Ian paused and looked at the ground. “By the time we realized the magnitude of the situation, most of the flights had been canceled, and the few that were still flying were booked solid. In retrospect, what I should have done was played “you bet your bars” and commandeered a D-model Falcon to zip up there to get her. Instead, I took the conservative route and just hoped that the riots wouldn’t last long or spread outside the downtown area of Detroit. I also figured that if worse came to worse, my dad’s gun collection could handle any rioters that came down their block. I was wrong. I got a call from one of their close neighbors who managed to make it out of Detroit alive. She said that looters got really pissed when my dad shot some of them. They torched my dad’s house. Killed them all. I still feel like such a fool. I could have saved my folks and my daughter’s life.”
Blanca squeezed Ian’s hand and said softly, “Don’t do thees, E-an. We can-no change history.”
Mary’s eyes were wet with tears. “I’m so sorry, Ian. I’m so sorry, Blanca. ”
Doyle shook his head from side to side and muttered, “Dwelling on it won’t do any good. In times like these, you just have to suck it up and drive on.”
Todd said a silent prayer. Then he looked up and asked, “So what happened to everybody at Luke?”
Doyle snapped out of his reverie and recounted, “To call it mass desertion would be to put it mildly. The mess halls only had limited food supplies, and we only had enough MREs on hand for short-term contingencies. I’m sure some of the overseas air bases had better stocks, but nobody ever expected a disruption of re-supply of food in CONUS! When it became clear that the food wasn’t going to last long, virtually everybody started to disappear. And when they went, they took a lot of equipment, fuel, and nearly every scrap of food on base with them. The Base Exchange, the commissary, and the mess halls were stripped clean. When I say everybody, I mean everybody. There wasn’t a soul from 56th Log or 56th Medical left on base. Even the whole Support Group basically vanished in about three days time. By the time I decided to pack it in, Luke was a ghost town. There were only seven pilots and about 20 ground crew guys left on the post. Most of them were young bachelors. By that point, I was the senior ranking officer on the base, so I could do pretty much anything I wanted. I was the de facto base commander. I just called a formation and released the remaining personnel on base on ‘indefinite leave.’
Unfortunately, my options were pretty limited. You see, there wasn’t a single aircraft left on the ramp, or a single military vehicle left on post. By then, there were just a few POVs. Even the fuel trucks had disappeared. Now you’ve got to understand that they had 217 birds on the property books, mainly F-16 Cs and D models. Of those, they were all either out on the Saudi Arabia rotation, or off on “emergency” flights that all mysteriously ended up being one-way missions. At least three F-16s, and the general staff Lear were out-and-out stolen. No flight plans were filed. The guys who took them just figured that they could get away with it. They just taxied out at O-dark-early and took off. And there was nobody left in the tower to say ‘boo’ about it. Those four had been the last airworthy planes on the base. The few planes that were left were just some stripped hangar queens.”
“After that ‘gentlemen, you are released’ speech, I spent the rest of that day looking for fuel containers. Every gas can available had already walked off base. The only good sized containers I could find were some hydraulic fluid drums. But I was afraid that the fluid left in them would contaminate the gas. So I ended up scrounging a bunch of empty 2 liter pop bottles from dumpsters around the BX. I drove home that evening with almost 140 gallons of av gas in the back of the Suburban. I never went back to Luke after that.
We were living off base in a rental flat-top in Buckeye. It’s basically a retirement community. When I got home, I talked things over with Blanca. We decided to hang tight for a few days. We packed up, but packed light. It was like one of those life boat games--’Now if you could only take five items, which five would they be?’ The end result was that Blanca and I had to leave a lot behind. We spent a lot of that time listening to the radio for reports on the rioting. Only a couple of AM stations were on the air by then, and the news they were handing out was pretty sketchy. None of it sounded good. They spent half the time repeating the same FEMA ‘Stay calm, remain in your homes, order will be restored shortly’ tape. What a pile of bull. The tape even recommend calling 911 if we saw any looting in progress. I laughed and said, ‘Oh yes sir, will do.’ The phones had all been dead for several days.”
“Our next-door neighbors had a police scanner. That was the best thing for monitoring where there was trouble happening. This was at the time when Phoenix and Tucson were burning down. Major chaos, let me tell ya. Once the looting started spreading out into the suburbs, we agreed that it would be bad news to stay in the Phoenix area much longer. Bright and early on a Tuesday morning, we wheeled the Larons out of their trailers, and bolted on the wings and tails, right there on our front lawn. It only took about fifteen minutes each to assemble and pre-flight them, since we’d had plenty of practice before, putting my bird together for weekend jaunts.”
“While we were loading our gear, most of the neighbors just stood there and gawked. A few helped out with the fueling process. We handed our next-door neighbors the keys and title to our Suburban, and the keys to the house. I told them that anything inside was free for the taking. By then, we knew that we weren’t ever coming back. Then we taxied off the lawn, down the driveway, and out the court. We hung a left, throttled up, and took off from Hastings Avenue. Some of the neighbors stood at the ends to block car traffic for us. Must have been quite a sight for the retirees. We flew from there straight to Prescott--that’s in northern Arizona. We planned to stay at my cousin’s place.”
“My cousin Alex was a senior salesman with J&G Sales, a big gun distributor up in Prescott. With that job, I figured that he would be pretty well squared away, at least in terms of guns and ammo to barter for anything he could possibly want. Prescott is partly a resort community, and kind of a haven for gun nuts. J&G was there, Ruger had a factory there, and there were lots of custom gun makers, barrel makers, and stock makers. One little outfit there made elephant guns on custom magnum Mauser actions before the Crash. Big .416 Rigbys and that sort of thing. The last I saw of them, they were still producing some smaller caliber long range guns in H-S Precision Kevlar-Graphite stocks. They sold them on a barter basis. Real tack drivers.”
“Prescott is not a big town, but it took us a while to locate Alex, since the phones were out there by that time, too. I hitched a ride from the airport, while Blanca stayed behind to guard the planes. From talking with Alex’s neighbors, we discovered that he had hired out as a security man for some Tucson banking fat-cats. They had a pretty elaborate hidey hole set up just north of Prescott. There were four families living at the compound. At first they didn’t want to take us in. Then they saw the firepower that we had with us, and they changed their minds. Officially, we were “security”, just like my cousin. We had it pretty soft there, compared to most folks. We had plenty of water, and enough food to get by. We were in no hurry to leave.”
“Things were pretty quiet there for four full years. A little local trouble, but nothing worth mentioning. Then we started hearing about this gang of escaped convicts and assorted riff-raff that was slowly working its way up from New Mexico. Refugees told us that it was originally two gangs that combined into one big super gang. They would hit a town, linger a week or two, strip it clean, and then move on to the next one. They were like a swarm of locusts. There were over 300 of them by the time they made it up to the Prescott area. Rumor had it that at least one of the two gangs had been doing this town-to-town hopping all the way from south Texas. By then they were getting pretty good at it.”
“I took a recon flight in my Star Streak down to Wickenburg when they hit there, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. They just swept through the town in one big mass of vehicles. Many of the houses were abandoned, ‘cause folks had heard they were coming and didn’t want to be around when they did. Basically, they burned down any house that anyone was shooting from. Then they went from house to house, taking anything of value. Even from the air, I could see them dragging some women out of houses and raping them on the sidewalks. We’re talking total scum of the Earth. It made me wish I was flying a fully armed Fighting Falcon instead of my little Laron. I could have really kicked some tail. These guys were absolute savages, Todd.” Doyle stopped for a few moments, and then added, “I got shot at some when I was on that flight, but I didn’t find any bullet holes in my bird when I got back.”
“Just three weeks ago, the gang was making their way up the Agua Fria, and hit the little town of Mayer. About 80 of us from town, mainly men, went on a little preemptive strike when we heard that the gang had moved into the town of Humboldt. Blanca, Alex, and I were all on the raiding party. We knew that Prescott would be next, because we were just 12 miles up the road. A Navajo kid about 13 years old, who escaped from Humboldt just after they arrived, gave us the layout. He even volunteered to go back in to town to scout which buildings the looters were in. That was a real help in planning the operation.”
“Our little raid didn’t have much in the way of military precision, but we sure did some damage. We knew that we couldn’t kill them all, so we decided that the thing to do was to concentrate on their vehicles, especially their armored cars and APCs. We hit them at just after three in the morning. Since we were all on foot or horseback the last two miles in, they didn’t know we were coming until we were already in their midst. They had the buildings that they were occupying lit up like Christmas trees. Our little Navajo scout had told us in advance which buildings they’d be in. We were only fully engaged for about five minutes. It was fast and furious, but like I said before, we did some serious Van-dammage.”
“In the first couple of minutes, we had the advantage, because most of the looters were asleep. They made me the point man, since I had the only suppressed weapon in the raiding party. When I shoot Winchester Q-Loads--those are special low velocity subsonic rounds--this thing doesn’t make much more noise than a loud hand clap.” Doyle held up the stubby Ingram M10 for a brief display, unscrewing the nomex-covered suppressor. “The term ‘silencer’ is really a misnomer. A ‘can’ like this is really just an elaborate sound muffler. Again, you can still hear the shot--sounds like a loud hand-clap. The normal sound is reduced so much that you can even hear the clack of the bolt going forward with each shot.”
Doyle screwed the suppressor back on the M10 and set it down on the window seat. “Sorry, I digress. Getting back to what happened in Humboldt... I got the chance to personally drop three of their sentries, shooting my MAC in the semi-auto mode. I don’t mind saying that it felt real good, after what I’d seen them do in Wickenburg. At first, we were the only ones shooting. Once the looters rolled out of bed and started shooting back, it was another story They had a lot of fully automatic weapons, grenades, and rocket launchers of some sort. They really started hosing us down. Before they did though, we had torched more than 40 vehicles with Molotov cocktails. Apparently, we got every one of their APCs and armored cars.”
“Our retreat out of Humboldt was let’s say ‘less than organized.’ Only 29 of us made it back to Prescott alive by noon. Two more guys straggled in the next evening. Of the 31 that made it back, only three had been wounded, and those were all minor grazing wounds. Oddly enough, all five of the men and women who were on horseback were among those to make it back without a scratch. Not even any of the horses were hit. Either they were real lucky, or cavalry is making a comeback. My cousin Alex never made it back from the Humboldt raid.” Ian skipped a beat, and then went on: “The looters didn’t show up the next day or even the day after. Blanca and I waited at the compound, with the Larons loaded, fueled, and ready to go.”
“Three days after our raid, they came into Prescott, and they must have been plenty pissed. The gang rolled in just after dawn. They didn’t seem to care how many losses they were taking, and they immediately started to torch every building they got to. Blanca and I didn’t wait until they made it to the north side of town. Everyone at the compound was by then either in town manning the barricades, or had headed for the hills. Most of the remaining stuff at the retreat went with two families that had a pair of GMC motor homes. They were headed for Flagstaff.”
“At that point, we realized that discretion was the better part of valor, so we took off, too. We used a nice long straight stretch of road that started a quarter mile north of the compound. I had taken off and landed there many times before during the five years we were there. When we wheeled around after take-off, we could see that almost half the buildings in the downtown area were on fire. We didn’t stick around to see how things ended, but I’m afraid that the looters must have taken the town. Even though they didn’t have any armored vehicles left, they had superior numbers and superior firepower.”

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mr. Rawles:
About noon on Friday, I was starting to write a mean e-mail, because y'all were late in the putting up the blog posts for the day. You see, I've been a daily reader of SurvivalBlog since about April of 2006, and I'd gotten used to you putting the posts up like clockwork, right around (or before) midnight for the next day. It has become my habit to read the blog while having my morning coffee and waiting for my employees to arrive. (I run a lawnmower and power tool shop in a fair-sized city in Georgia, and I'm an early riser.) Then a thought struck me: What cotton-pickin' right do I have to complain about late blog posts, when I haven't done hardly anything to support the blog, other than just buy a copy of your novel? It wasn't until your new daily posts weren't there for a few hours later than usual that I started to think just what my day would be like without reading those posts. Now I'm now sorta glad y'all were late [in posting] on Friday. It made me appreciate what what I've been getting free every day for more than a year. And up until that glitch on Friday, you were very consistent. Please accept my apology, and my two-year 10 Cent Challenge subscription payment. (I'm mailing a check before the P.O. closes today.) Sincerely, - Parker

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The liberal do-gooders at eBay have turned the screws even tighter on gun owners. First they banned the sale of guns, receivers, and ammunition. Then they banned the sale of 11+ round magazines, barrels, and gun parts kits. They've also banned any auction for knives with "fighting" or "throwing" in the title or description. (But they still allow box cutter knives. Hmmmm...) Now they've announced that they are banning auction listings for all gun clips/magazines and most gun parts. They are now using the standard of "any part required for firing of a gun" for their new restriction. So I presume that all they will now allow is merely gun slings, holsters, grips, and stocks. I'm not sure how they'll treat bayonets. They'll probably ban those too. (That might help reduce the recent wave of drive-by bayonetings.)

This sort of pansy liberal feel-goodism typifies both politics and the way they do business in the Nanny States. It is no wonder that eBay is headquartered in California. (where the majority elected Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.) EBay of course is a private firm and has the right to run their business as they see fit. But SurvivalBlog is a private business, too. So I've decided drop eBay (including eBay France, eBay Australia, and as SurvivalBlog affiliate advertisers. I'm also encouraging SurvivalBlog readers to boycott them. My recommendations: When you want to buy a book or DVD, buy it from Amazon. When you want sporting goods, buy them at fixed price from US Cavalry Store or at auction from or I hardly expect these actions to bankrupt eBay. Its the principle of the matter.

Since eBay owns PayPal, you can expect to soon see PayPal adopt an almost identical restrictive policy. When you transfer funds, try to avoid using PayPal. Instead, please use AlertPay or GearPay -- because they don't share PayPal's anti-gun political agenda.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We just got a batch of 50 of your preparedness courses from the printer, and they screwed up the shrink-wrapping on many of them. Instead of fighting it out with the printer, we will knock 1/3rd off the regular price for your SurvivalBlog readers. But we're gonna offer that discount for only a week, because we don't want to fuss with double inventory. Please note that our main web site will still stay the same, showing the normal price, even on the order page. But when your readers check out, the discounted price [of $99.95 plus normal shipping and handling] will show up. And if anyone wants guaranteed perfect shrink wrap they should wait until after the sale ends, when the price will return to normal. But you can tell folks to not worry, because every other aspect of the course is in perfect condition. But when they sell out --around August 8th--we will raise the prices back to normal without notice, so anyone who has been sitting on the fence should act fast if they want to save some bucks.
Hope you're having a great summer in the hinterboonies! Cheers, - Jake

JWR Adds: This is the first time that the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. course with accompanying audio CD has ever been sold for 1/3 off the regular price. The sale ends on Wednesday, August 8th, so place your order soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I have been reading SurvivalBlog most every day for nearly a year now. I'm a 10 Cent Challenge subscriber. I had long ago read most of those "button" web pages up at the top [of the SurvivalBlog main page], but it wasn't until yesterday that I read your new page on Peak Oil, and I took the time to read all the way through the Glossary page. That thing has gotten huge. Not only was it interesting and educating to read, but it was also a laugh riot. You snuck some very funny stuff in there, like your definitions for "BS", "Contrapreneur", "JASBORR", "RV", "Schumer" and "UA 571-C". (That [last item] was from the movie Aliens, right?) ROTFLMAO!, - Phil in Arkansas

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mr Rawles:
I was shocked to see that only 1% of readers have gotten a [voluntary] 10 Cent Challenge subscription. I signed up after the second week that I began reading.your blog. There is no other site on the Internet that has the same amount of in-depth info on preparedness. Nothing even comes close. I am blown away by how much knowledge is piled up in your archives. I could spend two or three hours a day searching through news sites, financial advisory websites, backpacking websites, EMT websites, gun websites, food storage websites, and so forth, and still not glean what is contained in SurvivalBlog. Ten cents a day is tiny pittance compared to what I get out of it.

Because of you and SurvivalBlog, my family is now much, much, much better prepared than it was a year ago. SurvivalBlog has tons of useful info. Anyone that can't see that is either a fool or an idiot. I figure that SurvivalBlog has saved me hundreds [of dollars] by giving wise advice that has kept me from making some expensive mistakes in prepping. What I learned from your blog allowed my to package my own storage food (in [food grade plastic] pails) instead of buying over-priced [commercially] canned food for storage. SurvivalBlog also steered me away from radio gear that had short range and pitiful security. ([Instead,] I bought MURS band [transceivers].) The blog also directed me to some outstanding firearms training that cost very little. (The [RWVA] Appleseed range days and "clinics".) The blog convinced me to re-prioritize my life and cut out fast food. (Which did good things for both my budget and my waistline. I'm now down two full belt notches and about ready for my third notch.) The blog also motivated me to sell off some of my guns in odd calibers (like I had a 280 Remington, a .35 Remington, and a .41 AE [Action Express]) and get standard calibers. Now that ammunition has zoomed way up in price, I have a lot more options on where to buy and what to buy. Now I have all.308 [Winchester], .30-06, .30-30, 7.62mm (AK), .223 Rem., 12 ga., .45 Auto, .357 Mag., 9mm, .22LR and .22 Mag. guns. Like another guy that wrote a few months back, SurvivalBlog also set me straight on generators. (Now I plan to get a low RPM diesel, not gas!) So I figure that in the long run SurvivalBlog will save me thousands. Ten cents a day, by comparison, is a real bargain. So here's my personal challenge to anyone that reads this: What is SurvivalBlog really worth to you? If SurvivalBlog were to disappear, would you miss it? If you value it, then support it! - Phillip G.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

  • Actor
  • Machinist / Gunsmith / Aerospace engineer
  • Petroleum engineer / Alternative energy designer
  • Police sergeant / Small Arms and Tactics Instructor
  • Academic anesthesiologist / Engineer
  • Air Force Contractor
  • Airport manager
  • Alternative Energy R&D / Intelligence analyst
  • Army Officer (PSYOP)
  • Army Officer Instructor / Firearms Instructor
  • Physician assistant
  • Associate Dean
  • Attorney, Personal injury
  • Audio engineer / Compact disc mastering
  • Auto mechanic
  • Beekeeper
  • Business & PoliSci student
  • Business consultant
  • Elderly caretaker
  • Cell phone technician
  • 2 CEOs
  • CFO
  • CIO
  • COO
  • Building contractor / Mine / Butcher / Lumberjack
  • Chairman / Economist
  • Chef
  • Chief systems engineer
  • Chimney sweep (retired)
  • Christian CPA / Reserve deputy / Sunday school teacher
  • Civil Engineer / Gunsmith
  • Civil and structural engineer
  • PR practitioner / Writer-editor
  • Clinical engineer
  • Clinical nurse / college professor / herbalist
  • College student
  • Commercial construction manager / Residential builder
  • Computer hardware engineer
  • Computer systems technologist / Police officer / Machinist / Cabinetmaker / MP Investigator / Yardman / Truck Driver / Roofer / EMT
  • Corporate jet pilot
  • First aid instructor / Sound engineer
  • Criminal defense lawyer / Special ops reserve officer
  • Critical infrastructure protection specialist
  • Currency trader
  • Database administrator
  • Dental technician
  • Dentist / anthropologist
  • Deputy Sheriff-Detective / Gunsmith
  • Design engineer / electric car manufacturer
  • Desk-clerk / assistant-bookkeeper / college student
  • Diesel mechanic / fleet manager
  • Educational book designer
  • 8 Electrical/electronic engineers
  • Musician
  • Sign contractor / Military history author.
  • 3 Electricians
  • Emergency Physician / Communications
  • 4 EMTs
  • Engineer
  • Environmental, Safety, and Health Manager
  • Ex-British Special Forces / consultant
  • Family law / estate planning attorney
  • 4 Farmers (including 1 organic, 1 mushroom), many secondary farmers
  • Federal agent / investigator
  • 5 Firefighters
  • Fire captain / EMT / Fire service instructor
  • Fire Marshal
  • Fish Farmer
  • Forensic anthropologist.
  • Insurance customer service rep (retired)
  • Marine Corps sergeant (retired) / CFO
  • Forward observer / NCO.
  • Furniture maker
  • Gemologist / Jewelry appraiser
  • Government bureaucrat
  • Graduate student
  • Green housing / Construction manager
  • Hacker
  • Hedge fund manager
  • Horse farm owner
  • Hospital pharmacist
  • Hunting Guide (Alaska)
  • HVACR business owner
  • ICU RN / Die maker / Mechanic
  • Insurance agent.
  • Investment manager
  • 5 Intelligence Analysts
  • IT consultant
  • IT Telecommuter
  • Pastor
  • Jack of all trades
  • Power plant operator
  • Laboratory technician
  • Landscape architect
  • Law enforcement
  • Lean manufacturing / Automotive.
  • LEO / Tactical instructor
  • Liquor salesman
  • Logistics manager
  • Lutheran pastor
  • Machinist
  • Maintenance engineer
  • Maintenance supervisor forest service / National guard utility man
  • Sign language interpreting agency manager
  • Manager / Manufacturer / Firearms teacher / Machinist / Intelligence analyst
  • Manager of Contracts and Pricing
  • Manufacturing jeweler / watchmaker
  • Massage therapist
  • Master plumber
  • Master plumber / Carpenter / AC tech / Electrician / Mechanic
  • 5 MDs (Emergency Medicine, Anesthesia, ER, and GP)
  • Mechanic
  • Airline mechanic / ER Nurse
  • Mechanic / Rocket engine builder / Heat treater / Tax Accountant
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Medical transport / Deputy sheriff / Fireman
  • Microbiology student
  • Motion designer / Cinematographer
  • Museum director
  • 2 Navy SEALs
  • Notary public
  • 3 Novelists
  • NRA field rep
  • Nuclear work and safety planning
  • Nuclear security officer
  • Psychiatric and Primary Nurse
  • Commercial truck sales operation owner
  • Painting contractor
  • Paper engineer / graphic designer
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Petroleum landman / farm owner
  • 5 Pharmacists
  • Pharmacist / Intelligence Analyst / Health and Safety Specialist
  • Pharmacy Recruiter
  • 3 Physicists
  • 4 Pilots (including 1 Canadian military)
  • Pipefitter / Welder
  • 4 Police officers
  • College student
  • Private investigator
  • Private mailbox / Packing & shipping store / Musician
  • Production control analyst
  • Professor of ancient Near Eastern archaeology
  • Property manager / Business continuity planner
  • Property tax consultant.
  • Prototype automobile modeler
  • Internet Purchasing Specialist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Radiologic technologist
  • Real estate appraiser
  • 5 Realtors
  • Region loss prevention manager
  • Registered investment adviser owner / CPA
  • 3 Registered nurses
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Retail manager / Salesperson
  • Retail operations / Small business consultant
  • Retail store manager, retired
  • Retired electrical contractor
  • Retired policeman / Park ranger
  • Safety manager for construction company / landlord
  • 2 Sales representatives/agents
  • Sales agent
  • Security dispatcher
  • Security officer / Writer / Actor / Designer
  • Security representative
  • Electronics technician.
  • Network security engineer
  • Small business owner / barber
  • Machine operator
  • 2 Software developers
  • Software engineer
  • Special Forces Vietnam Vet / Firefighter(Retired) / Rancher
  • 2 Submariners
  • Systems engineer
  • 2 Teachers
  • Telecommunications design engineer
  • Television producer / writer
  • Power company lineman
  • Truck mechanic
  • 4 Truckers
  • U.S. Treasury bond broker
  • USDOE Security Police Officer
  • Veterinarian / Dog Breeder / Farmer
  • Veterinarian / Attorney
  • Vice President of Finance
  • Wastewater treatment plant manager / Computer consultant
  • Welder
  • Welder / Chef / Blacksmith / Martial arts instructor / Gunsmith
  • Welder, Underwater
  • Writer / Secretary

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mr. Rawles,
I've talked to you a few times via e-mail and once in person. Recently you said you would like a photo of one of your hats being worn in Afghanistan or Iraq. I am headed back over again in a few weeks and would be glad to do that. I didn't see a link to your hats etc. on the web so I thought I'd drop you a line and see how to buy one. Take care. - W.

JWR Replies: May God grant you safety on you next trip to The Big Sandbox. In answer to your question, SurvivalBlog hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers, tote bags, mouse pads, mugs, and so forth are available from Cafe Press, which is also the print-on-demand publisher of several of my non-fiction books sw well as my "Pulling Through" screenplay.

Hello Jim,
I have purchased four SurvivalBlog shirts from Cafe Press and have had the same results in public. Once in awhile someone will ask what the [quote on the] back of the shirt means, or makes a positive comment,... however, no one has commented about your blog as the blog name is only printed on the front. Since 50% of the shirt [surface area] is on the back side, I think it would be a huge value to your readership if you would put "" on the rear. We wore ours out to Front Sight over the weekend and struck up some great conversations after going prone. Since we can't always engage conversation with everyone, I think the change would be monumental on expanded readership and hopefully sponsorship/donations.
One of the range masters commented on how it took him several times to "get" everything on the rear of the shirt, it may be important to use a different font, size of letters, color, (which obviously adds cost therefore not as productive), or location on the shirt. Since shirts get tucked in many times, I feel readership would be best just below the neck, (i.e.- above the current text). This may still be visible if one was to wear to a college class just above their backpack as well. Of course, longer hair may impair some readability, but FFTAGFFR.
We had a great time in some crazy "combat conditions", but an excellent result nonetheless.
Please do not consider this as chastising, rather desire to expand your success! Thanks Jim, - The Wanderer

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mr. Rawles:
I discovered SurvivalBlog just by accident about two months ago, when I was doing a Google search on "FN-FAL" [rifles]. I pretty soon discovered your blog was a treasure trove. Not only am I totally addicted to reading the new postings every day (I read it on my lunch hour at work), but I've also started working my way back through the archives. (It was just two weeks ago that I discovered the little "Search Posts on SurvivalBlog" window down under your rotating ads. Maybe you should put that up at the top, so people can spot it easier.) Wow! I just can't believe how much practical no-BS info that you have put together in your blog postings, and in the permanent [button bar] pages at the top (like your Retreat [Areas] page and your Survival Guns page), plus all your FAQs. Also, thanks for your big glossary, which is great for a newbie like me. (I'm a served as a Air Force mechanic and I know a lot about vehicles and guns, but the rest of preparedness is pretty new to me.) I had always felt the need to be ready for more than just high water and hurricanes, but couldn't put my finger on why. But now, after reading your blog and your books, I'm connecting all the dots. Everything you write rings true with me. We do live in a very fragile world. I saw that up close and personal, right after Hurricane Katrina. And that was just a regional disaster. Something nationwide will be horrendous. An you were right when you said: "The power grid is the lynchpin." Once that grid goes down past a few days, people are going to come unglued.

So now, I'm selling off some of my "Big Boy Toys" (like our ski boat, our his-and-hers matched set of jet skis, my Army Air Corps and early Air Force flight instrument collection, and my commemorative guns.) I'm spending all that cash on getting prepared, big time. Example: Right now, the Mrs. and I are getting our long term food stocks and heirloom garden seeds squared away. I just recently got your Rawles on Retreats and Relocation book, plus your Best of the Blog book. They are both some Hotel Sierra reference books. I tore through those books! Now the Mrs. is reading them. And I just ordered your novel ["Patriots"], too, and we can't wait to read it.

But the main reason I'm writing this is to say that just last week I decided that I was being a freeloader, so I signed up for The Ten Cent Challenge. I challenge everyone else out there reading this to do it, too. Come on you clowns, if you think that SurvivalBlog ain't worth 10 cents a day, y'all are kidding yourself. Fact is, I'd be happy to pay ten times that--a dollar a day--for what I learn on SurvivalBlog. Example: Just what I learned about generators by itself saved me about $500, last month. (On Mr. Rawles's advice, I bought a diesel engine low-RPM genset instead of the "bargain" gasoline-powered high-RPM genset that I had originally wanted to buy. It [the diesel generator] will last 2X or 3X longer [than the gasoline-powered model.] Plus, until I had read through SurvivalBlog, I hadn't even thought about common fuel for [the generator and] my [diesel] tractor and my Dodge pickup, which is also a diesel. That's just one small example of what I'm talking about. Knowledge is power, and knowledge prevents us making expensive mistakes. Like I said, SurvivalBlog is a treasure trove of knowledge and worth every freakin' penny to me, and it should be to you, too. It is a disgrace that only 1% of the SurvivalBlog readers have bought a subscription. For you that are freeloading, shame on you. Quit freeloading, and pony up! - Gus in Alabama.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Mr. Rawles:
I just wanted to send you a thank you note for your novel "Patriots", your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course and for We've been having a winter weather adventure, which I've chronicled in this thread at The Claire Files. If I hadn't found some time back in late 2005, it might have been a very different story than the mainly humorous tale I was able to relate. Catching up on some of your entries that I missed over time, I found one that was particularly pertinent to our situation. On February 14, you did a post titled "State and Federal Lands - Poor Choices for short term retreat locales". The first item of concern that you stated was access, with the following specific quote: "There is also no guarantee that once you get in to public lands that you can get out. Many roads inside forest lands are not maintained in winter. Depending on the latitude and elevation, this could mean getting truly "snowed in" for the winter."
Our retreat is on private land at 8500' elevation, but is totally surrounded by National Forest. Our only access is via non-maintained forest service roads. These roads are never maintained, not just a case of no winter maintenance. And snowed in we did get. Fortunately our larder was deep.
So I just wanted to let you know that I've gratefully renewed my annual subscription to the Ten Cent Challenge. As I said, without, the story might have had a very different outcome. Thanks, - Karen, aka Coloradohermit

Sunday, February 18, 2007

On the Yahoo discussion group survivalretreat, the other two moderators and I recently posted a very boiled down and simple philosophy: “The more who prepare, and the better they each prepare, the better off we all are. We welcome people to join us as survivalists.” I hope this is your attitude as a survivalist, and if you think about it, wouldn’t this be an incredibly wise policy for any government to take. It would make its citizenship stronger, less needy, and more resilient to against any catastrophe or hard times. The best part is, it’s free. This is merely information, advice, and encouragement for people to ready themselves with some realistic advice as to how to do so., to a significant extent does this for all of us through the continued posting of and debate of ideas, for free. Advertisers here make this financially possible, and offer the products and services that allow you to expand and improve upon your preparations. I hope you consider patronizing them first for this reason. I have.

Special thanks to James Rawles for the continuing level of quality and fresh material on the site. Is there financial self-interest for the advertisers? Of course there is. But don’t kid yourself about them becoming rich off this. Survivalism is unfortunately a very small market, and thus we should all take special appreciation as to how this blog site brings so many of us together internationally. I see that it is now been a year since I took the Ten Cent Challenge , and is time for me to renew. I encourage you to as well, as you are able.- Rourke

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'd just like to exhort readers to invest whatever modest sum they can in helping to keep SurvivalBlog up and running--stepping up to the Ten Cent Challenge or whatever other means of providing support they feel up to.

There's nothing else of this type and quality out there on the web, and if folks think that anyone can live on the paltry ad fees you collect for the site, then they are obviously not aware of the details.

It's to all of our benefit that you have given this your best shot--committing your full attention to making sure your readers get the best advice in survival available. I know well what it must take for you--I am, in similar fashion, trying to keep Safecastle LLC moving forward. It's a load and a half, and if you don't have a similarly dedicated and understanding client/reader base to help you with your vision, then ultimately, it can all disappear.

Yes, I'm an advertiser here. You could say I have my own reasons for wanting SurvivalBlog to succeed. But that would be a bit too cynical. My own view is that all of us with a mind to help others prepare are on the same team. There's a lot of work to do out there, and none of us can make a dent in it by ourselves.
Stay strong and on the path! - Vic at Safecastle

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The folks that sell preparedness products have reported a sales slump for the past several months, as Americans have gone into "cocooning" mode and curtailed their discretionary spending. (On everything, it seems, except big screen televisions.) Consequently, that has meant that several of our advertisers have scaled back their advertising budgets. We presently have room for several more advertisers, including a special "nailed up" top of the ad stack position--that is, an ad that will stay fixed above all of the scrolling ads. If you contact any potential advertisers, please ask them to get a SurvivalBlog banner ad. My advertising rates are absurdly low, especially compared to magazine ads. The small ads are just $55 per month. If my ad revenues don't recover soon, I will be forced to go back to a full-time job and I would therefore have to sharply curtail or perhaps even shut down SurvivalBlog. (My other sources of income--mostly from book sales and subscriptions--are not enough to pay even our most essential monthly bills here at the ranch.) We have just 79 loyal Ten Cent Challenge subscribers, representing the nearly 14,000 people that read SurvivalBlog every week. (Subscriptions are entirely voluntary.) I want to specially thank you folks. You know who you are. Thank you very much!

Monday, January 29, 2007

In response to a request to Matthew from Indiana, who wanted to know what my novel was like before ordering it, the following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the expanded (33 chapter) edition of my novel "Patriots":

On the last day of October, the Grays found that their phone was still working, but only for local calls. When they tried making long-distance calls, they got an “All circuits are busy now” recording, at all hours of the day or night. The next day, there was message advising that “All circuits will be restored shortly.” Two days later, there was no dial tone.

By early November, there was almost continuous rioting and looting in every major city in the U.S. Due to the financial panic and rioting, the November election was “postponed” to January, but it never took place. Rioting grew so commonplace that riot locations were read off in a list—much like traffic reports—by news broadcasters. The police could not even begin to handle the
situation. The National Guard was called out in most States, but less than half of the Guardsmen reported for duty. With law and order breaking down, most of them were too busy protecting their own families to respond to the call-up. An emergency call up of the Army Reserve three days later had an even smaller response. All over America, entire inner-city areas burned to the ground, block
after block. No one and nothing could stop it. On the few occasions that the National Guard was able to respond to the riots, there were some massacres that made Kent State seem insignificant.

Many factories in proximity to the riots closed “temporarily” in concern for the safety of their workers, but never reopened. Most others carried on with their normal operation for several more days, only to be idled due to lack of transport. Shipping goods in the United States in most cases meant one thing: 18 wheel diesel trucks traveling on the interstate highway system. The trucks stopped rolling for several reasons. First was a fuel shortage. Then came the flood of refugees from the cities that jammed the highways. Then people that ran out of gas disrupted traffic. As cars ran out of gas, they blocked many critical junctions, bridges and overpasses. Some highway corridors in urban areas turned into gridlocked parking lots. Traffic came to a stop, motionless cars began to run out of gas, and the forward movement of traffic was never resumed. In some places, cars were able to back up and turn around. In most others, people were not so lucky. There, the traffic was so densely packed that drivers were forced to just get out of their cars and walk away.

Every major city in the United States was soon gripped in a continual orgy of robbery, murder, looting, rape, and arson. Older inner city areas were among the hardest hit. Unfortunately, the design of the interstate freeway system put most freeways in close proximity to inner city areas. The men who had planned the interstate highway system in the 1940s and 1950s could not be blamed. At that time,
downtown areas were still flourishing. They were the heart of industry, population, commerce, and wealth. Thus, it was only logical that the highways should be routed as close to them as possible, and preferably through them. These planners could not then have predicted that in 50 years the term “inner city” would become synonymous with poverty, squalor, welfare, drugs, disease, and rampant crime.
America’s once proud and efficient railroad system, long the victim of government ineptitude, was unable to make any appreciable difference in the transportation crisis. Most of the factories that had been built in the past 30 years had been positioned near highways, not railroad tracks. Also, like the highways, most rail lines passed through urbanized areas, placing trains at the same risk as trucks. Gangs of looters found that it did not take large obstructions to cause train derailments. Within a few hours of each derailment they stripped the trains of anything of value.

A few factories managed to stay in operation until early November. Most had already closed, however, due to failing markets, failing transportation, failing communications, or the failing dollar. In some instances, workers were paid through barter, rather than cash. They were paid with the company’s product. Chevron Oil paid its workers in gasoline. Winchester-Olin paid its workers in ammunition.
The last straw was the power grid. When the current stopped flowing, the few factories and businesses still in operation closed their doors. Virtually every industry in America was dependent on electric power. The power outages forced even the oil refineries to shut down. Up until then, the refineries had been operating around the clock trying to meet the increased demand for liquid fuels.
Ironically, even though refineries processed fuel containing billions of BTUs of energy, most of them did not have the ability to produce enough electric power to supply all of their own needs. Like so many other industries, oil refiners had made the mistaken assumption that they could always depend on the grid. They needed a stable supply of electricity from the power for their computers and operate the solenoids for their valves.

The power outages caused a few dramatic effects. At a Kaiser Aluminum plant near Spokane, Washington, the power went out during the middle of a production shift. With the plant’s electric heating elements inactive, the molten aluminum running through the hot process end of the plant began to cool. Workers scrambled to clear as much of the system as possible, but the metal hardened in many places, effectively ruining the factory. If the plant were ever to be re-opened, the hardened aluminum would have to be removed with cutting torches or jackhammers. Electricity also proved to be the undoing of prisons all over America. For a while, officials maintained order in the prisons. Then the fuel for the backup generators ran out. Prison officials had never anticipated a power outage
that would last more than two weeks. Without power, security cameras did not function, lights did not operate, and electrically operated doors jammed. As the power went out, prison riots soon followed.
Prison officials hastened to secure their institutions. Under “lock down” conditions, most inmates were confined to their cells, with only a few let out to cook and deliver meals in the cell blocks. At many prisons the guard forces could not gain control of the prison population, and there were mass escapes. At several others, guards realized that the overall situation was not going to improve, and
they took the initiative to do something about it. They walked from cell to cell, shooting convicts. Scores of other prisoners died at the hands of fellow convicts. Many more died in their cells due to other causes; mainly dehydration, starvation, and smoke inhalation.

Despite the best efforts of prison officials, 80 percent of the country’s more than 1,500,000 state and federal prisoners escaped. A small fraction of the escaped prisoners were shot on sight by civilians. Those that survived quickly shed their prison garb and found their way into the vicious wolf packs that soon roamed the countryside...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I just had to scan through tons of e-mails to see when I last contributed [to the10 Cent Challenge]. I just wanted to stay current because I sincerely appreciate the information you convey. It would be very helpful if you would just send out a little reminder as my year anniversary approaches so I can stay up to date. Once again, thanks for your wonderful blog! - Andy

JWR Replies: Thank you for your continued support. It is very much appreciated. But as much as I value it, I don't e-mail our 10 Cent Challenge subscribers, bugging/begging them to renew. Our subscriptions are entirely voluntary. If you realize that it has been more than a year since you sent in your last annual subscription payment and you think that what you get out of reading SurvivalBlog is still worth 10 cents a day to you, then please just send another subscription payment via AlertPay, PayPal, check, cash, or money order. I don't do any arm twisting to get a voluntary payment from anyone. In my estimation, sending a "subscription renewal" e-mail is contrary to the spirit of a truly voluntary support network. Please just mark your calendar to remind yourself about your renewal next year. Thank you so very much!

Monday, January 15, 2007

I recently received the updated version of "Patriots" a couple days ago. At first I was just going to read the new chapters, but after seeing that you gave it an overall update, I decided to just read the whole thing. So far I have been very impressed. (The two new chapters alone were worth the price of the book.) Not to mention the way everything else was updated. Way to go! You have done a very good job with this new edition, and I have already ordered a few more copies to have on hand as gifts.

I have also just received the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Both look very good at first glance, and I’m looking forward to delving into them soon. BTW, I’m also looking forward to the release of the "Best of the Blog" book. - Gung Ho


Mr. Rawles:
I read your book in two breathtaking and exciting days, it was impossible to put down. It was as if you took my worst nightmares, and word for word put them into a novel. I had been talking politics with a friend, as is normal for me, when he asked me just what I thought was going to happen in the future of our country. My friend had heard of your book, and when he realized that the vision of my future and your book were one in the same, he told me to go out and pick it up. I couldn't find it at any of my local book stores, so I ordered it on Amazon. Like I said, two days later... I'm sitting here in awe. Being from New Jersey, most people I talk with are totally clueless to the situation, and just refer to me as a "paranoid nut", an "extremist" or an "idiot". Especially if they ever catch wind of the cache I have in my trunk for a "rainy day" as you put it. I just want to say "Thank you!" for such an incredible job of being able to see into the future, and doing your best to help warn people of it in the best way you can. May G-D bless you, - BDB

Sunday, December 31, 2006

I’m enjoying the blog so much that I want to double my contribution. How would I do that? An additional PayPal subscription? I wish that more folks would join on.
Best Regards, - MP in Seattle

JWR Replies: I'm glad to hear that you find the blog useful and informative. A double subscription would be greatly appreciated, but that would be above and beyond the call of duty. The easiest method is simply to start a second subscription, via the link at our Ten Cent Challenge page. A second subscription won't cause any paperwork confusion, since I don't send out any renewal reminders. (The $3 monthly PayPal subscription system is set up on a "subscribed until cancelled" basis.)

Subscriptions are of course entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted. Your offer of two subscriptions is above and beyond my expectations. Many thanks for the extra support.
May God Bless You and Yours in the New Year!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

For a few months now, I've been thinking about sending you a note along the lines of Redmist's recent post. His post inspired me to get off my hands and start typing.
I discovered SurvivalBlog in September of 2005--just a week or two after Katrina knocked the stew out of the Gulf coast. Around the same time I was blessed to work at a relief distribution center in Gulf Port, Mississippi for five days. In March of this year, my wife and I accompanied my son on another five-day trip with the church youth group to do reconstructive work on a storm-surge damaged house in Pass Christian, Mississippi. What I saw on those two trips encouraged me to do something, i.e., to get prepared. SurvivalBlog has provided the needed direction.
Here's what I've accomplished in the last 14 months:
* I've invested about a third of my portfolio in silver bullion and an ETF.
* Not wanting my wife to extract my wisdom teeth with a razor blade and flashlight one dark, post-TEOTWAWKI night, I had them removed by a qualified individual in a well lit room
* I acquired a Yugoslavian SKS rifle for myself and just purchased one for my son as a Christmas gift. (I hope he's not reading this)
* I attended an Appleseed Shoot with my son in June (and we have plans to attend another in January)
* I acquired a pellet rifle and trap so we could practice what we learned at the Appleseed Shoot in our back yard (and we have)
* I had my 12 gauge shotgun barrel reduced to 19" and acquired some 00 [buckshot] and bird shot
* I acquired a .308 [Winchester] sporting rifle, a second .22 [rimfire] rifle and some ammo for both
* I learned a bunch from reading Patriots, Alas, Babylon, and Lights Out
* I began CERT training (but have not yet completed it)
* I expanded and grew my second vegetable garden, learned a lot and will be expanding it again next year
* I lost more than 20 pounds through responsible eating and regular exercise; the weight loss allowed me to discontinue use of medication to control hypertension and to avoid beginning additional medication to reduce my triglyceride level; I am currently not taking any prescription medication
* I began laying up beans, band aids, and other supplies
* I am actively seeking property with two other families from our church; in fact, we currently have a contract on 16 acres
I fully realize these are baby steps--I have a long way to go. But I'm way ahead of where I was 14 months ago.
Thank you Jim for all you provide directly in the way of valuable information through SurvivalBlog and indirectly through allowing others to contribute and do the same. Since that information is indeed valuable I've put my money where my mouth is and have taken the 10 Cent Challenge. I hope more will do the same. Warm Regards, - d'Heat


Mr. Rawles:
I stumbled upon your site right at the beginning and have never missed a day since. I just wanted to thank you for what you do. I am not a book reader at all, but read Patriots in five days the first time, and have also read through your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. During this time I have been very pleased to do business with The Pre-1899 Specialist; MURS Radios; Best Price Storable Foods; Walton Feed; The Freeze Dry Guy; Inirgee; and Ready Made Resources. They are all top notch vendors, and I will be doing more business with most, if not all of them. I am also renewing my 10 Cent Challenge pledge. Thank you, - RT in Texas

Friday, December 15, 2006

I stumbled across your Survival Blog today. Wonderful service you provide! Read some of archives...excellent! Question: It looks like the SurvivalBlog archives start in August of 2005 but cut off in April of 2006. Are there any more recent posts that I can access? Thank you. - J.U., COL, US Army (Ret.)

JWR Replies: Welcome! Yes, all of the posts that are more recent are now fully searchable by key word, or can be browsed by categories, or can be browsed in monthly Archives. (See the categories, monthly archive links, and Search window, down under the ads, in the right hand scrolling bar.) Our long term goal its to eventually duplicate all of the earlier posts into Movable Type, so that the entire site contents will be searchable.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The following are some things has prompted me to do since I began reading it:
I've had no debt for 20 years, but my meager holdings are now about 1/3 precious metals. Is lead considered a precious metal? :-)
My freezer is full of elk, whitetail deer, and caribou. I added to my long-term foods during your Safecastle special, but I'm now reviewing the viability of my existing stocks. Like the realtor's mantra of "location, location, location", a survivalist's creed should be "Rotate, rotate, rotate. "
A 10 KW Generac generator is ready to be wired to my primary residence.
My primary heat source is now a shelled corn burner
My wife and I just finished a first aid course refresher and bought a couple of family-sized first aid kits from the American Red Cross.
I upgraded my firearms battery to include a third .308 Winchester rifle--a DPMS Panther LR-308 [AR-10.] An accurate load for the Sierra 168-grain HPBT has been found and loading on the Dillon press commences soon.
During this year's whitetail deer hunt, our group adhered to the hunting laws but still kept in contact with our MURS Radios.
And thanks to your blog, I'm practicing preparedness more. I've never learned how to take a deer apart other than simple de-boning. So with instructions at the ready, the wife and I will skin this year's buck and carve the meat into steaks, roasts, stew meat and burger. But with a full freezer, I'll be practicing charity by giving it to my friend Mike, a less fortunate carnivore.
Now it's time to renew the 10 Cent Challenge subscription. There is much more to do and learn. Merry Christmas to you and yours, - Redmist

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hi Jim,
I've been a sometime reader of your blog since last year, and wanted to invite you to submit an article for the first issue of the Carnival of Preparedness & Survival. If you are willing, you can also extend the invitation to your readers. I can't promise to use everything that's submitted, but some of your readers have had interesting things to say, and I'd like to have as much variety as possible in this Carnival. Best Regards, - D.S.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hello James,
Last week you mentioned publishing content in the MobiReader format so that it is accessible to readers using PDAs or cellular phones with text windows. I have not used that software specifically, but would like to bring pRSS Reader to your attention. pRSS Reader is a free RSS reader that runs on Windows Mobile devices, and is the software I use to read SurvivalBlog daily. You may want to suggest this option to your readers who prefer to read the blog on a mobile device. The software will automatically check for updates to the blog at a configurable interval, and even has a handy "Today-Screen" plugin so that you can quickly look at your device's main screen to see if there are any updates to the blogs you've subscribed to. pRSS reader can be downloaded at:
Regards, - DLF

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just the other day, on the thread concerning watches, another SurvivalBlog reader posted a link to a Japanese firm [] that sold watches. I took a look around their site, and found, to my surprise, that the watch I had been pining for was 1/3 the cost of the same watch purchased from a USA dealer, shipping included. Needless to say I whipped out my debit card and did the deed. But it occurred to me, over the short existence of SurvivalBlog I have run into bargains for items that I would normally purchase - unrelated to survival or preparedness, and I have discovered some products that I now regularly use. It has enhanced my family's lifestyle and saved us money - Jim's policy of posting little blurbs from folks who are trying to provide advice or the like has worked pretty well for me - LDM

JWR Replies: I hope that folks appreciate the value of what they read at SurvivalBlog--both the tangibles and the intangibles. If you find that what you read here is worth ten cents a day or more to you, then please become a Ten Cent Challenge subscriber to SurvivalBlog. Also, when you patronize any of our paid advertisers of affiliate advertisers, please mention that you heard their name on SurvivalBlog. Thanks!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I have been reading SurvivalBlog from the beginning. I have made several contributions early on, and signed up for the 10 Cent Challenge some time ago. The real reason I am sending this email is to publicly ask everyone who is a regular reader of your blog to sign up now for the Ten Cent Challenge, if you have not already done so. I cannot imagine the huge empty hole that would be left if for some reason you discontinued your blog due to lack of support. I sincerely believe our country at some time will face one or more major disasters. For those of us who sense this, It is our God-given duty to both prepare ourselves, and try to influence others who will listen, to prepare themselves. In my opinion, the single best way to keep focused on this is to regularly read your survival blog and act accordingly on the information it contains.
I cringe when I read in some of the articles that are submitted when the writer says he will sign up for the Ten Cent Challenge as soon as he can afford it. Although I am usually slow to offer other people advice, I believe that if a person in the USA at this time cannot afford ten cents a day then they need to either upgrade their present employment, or get a second job. One aspect of being prepared is to also prepare ourselves to be valuable in the job market. This will enable us to earn an adequate amount to prepare and provide for ourselves now, set some aside for the future, and have some flexibility in our budget to contribute to worthy projects.
Actually, I believe that someone who says he cannot afford ten cents a day really means it is not a high enough priority in his life to pay it. If that is the case, I believe those writers should just leave out any reference to not being able to afford the Ten Cent Challenge rather than make up some excuse.
Sorry for the diversion there, and back to the point, I again ask everyone who is a regular reader and has not already signed up, to sign up now for the 10 Cent Challenge. Thank you. - Joe.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

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

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

Monday, December 5, 2005

We are seeking additional overseas correspondents and/or Profiles for SurvivalBlog, particularly in dangerous locales, countries with religious persecution, and/or countries with recent insurgencies or economic troubles such as: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Haiti, India (preferably someone living in or near the Kashmir), Indonesia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Pakistan, The Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

Our readers would benefit from your "lessons learned" and even just hearing about your day-to-day experiences. (How you survived hyperinflation, how you avoided kidnapping, your countermeasures for street crime, et cetera.) I'd also appreciate hearing from anyone that has recently lived in a high crime inner-city area in the United States.

The pay for your writing: zero.  (Well, perhaps the occasional free book or sample merchandise.) The rewards: tremendous.  You'll know that you are helping many thousands of people gain valuable knowledge and motivation to be able to survive, if and when the First World starts to resemble the Third World. Don't worry about your spelling or grammar. We'd like your input, even if English is not your first language.  I'll handle the editing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A good frequency for two-way radio communications is the little-used [amateur] FM radio band on 220 MHz. (See:  Very few scanners cover it--only the most expensive scanners do which most people won't buy. The reason scanners don't cover 200 - 300 MHz is because its [mainly] used by the military. For example, the control tower at Moffett Field Naval Air Station is on 301.something MHz.
In my research, I noticed that there are only two repeaters in Idaho that are on 220 and they are both in Boise. Outside of the big cities 220 is hardly used.  One exception is the Condor Net (, which covers Nevada, California and Arizona. It is the only repeater network of its kind in the US. And it's only available on 220MHz. I used 223.480 MHz simplex for many years. The comment from the guys that used [this band] was that it was like their private "intercom" because it was so quiet until someone got on and started talking. The user community on 220 is so small that everyone knows everyone on a first name basis. The range is as good as 2 meters and the noise floor is very low. Sparking electrical equipment does not effect 220 like it does 2 meters. There are still plenty of good radios are around for 220. Kenwood, Icom, Alinco, ADI, Midland and even Cobra made a few.

Right now there are two Midland cyrstal-controlled 220 radios on eBay ready to go. Excellent radios and there are plenty of parts [like custom crystals] available. (Hint, hint) They last forever.

If you are looking for almost secure communications and excellent range, then 220 is the way to go. It is not uncommon to make contacts to Donner Summit [of the Sierra Nevada mountains] with only 25 watts from the [San Francisco] Bay Area. A few 220 radios were made all-mode, including single sideband (SSB) and they are still around and still used. BTW, most of the people who own this scarce variety refuse to part with them. - Fred the Valmet-meister

JWR Replies: I wonder how difficult it would be to set up a dedicated 220 MHz repeater network in the western states, preferably all with net stations that use photovoltaic power. If the infrastructure would be too expensive, perhaps it would be best to just stick to HF .

I think the proposal by David in Israel is like a dream come true for us that are new to the preparation meditation. I would love to be a part of the "frequency" network whether it be in using, or somehow helping out with the development, (albeit mostly inept experience in "radioing") I for one would feel so much less alone if something were to happen and I knew that I could search for some sort of consortium in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.  Take Care, and a Sincere Thank You!,  - The Wanderer

Monday, November 21, 2005

It might be worthwhile to have a dedicated SurvivalBlog radio network. We could set up something on several HF bands. I am thinking it would be nice to have a way for SurvivalBlog readers to contact one another, even if and when the Internet and/or the phone system goes down. I think that there may be some interesting news will be coming from here [in Israel].  OBTW, the new year is 5766 from the creation of the world, the world is being closely judged for the next few days as Hashem re-coronates himself as the true King over kings. - David

JWR Replies:  Okay readers, to get this net "off the ground" please e-mail me with some suggested HF frequencies.  It is probably also apropos to pre-designate a sideband CB channel (or two), and some FRS, GMRS and 2 Meter frequencies. Please don't just send me a random list of frequencies. Rather, I'm looking for your real world expertise on un-crowded frequencies, particularly east of the Mississippi, where spectrum occupancy is more dense.

>RE: Note from JWR: Many thanks for your support Thusfar, we've had seven responses
>to the SurvivalBlog Ten Cent Challenge. Special thanks to David M., who pledged $100.

Come on people!!! Pony up for a valuable resource like this! Seven people? On a site with over three million hits? I've been a lifelong survival/self-sufficiency buff, thanks to my upbringing. I felt that I was totally s**t-together and was operating in a fairly low level maintenance mode with my preparedness supplies. Since finding I have:
1. Heard about, found and ordered Jim's book Patriots.
2. Heard about, found and obtained Sambucol for fighting Avian flu WTSHTF.
3. Heard about, found and obtained fresh antibiotics from a vet supply site for TEOTWAWKI.
4. Heard about, found and obtained canned meats and canned butter from a wonderful site.
5. Heard about and joined the linked discussion forums (The Claire Files) where there are many like-minded individuals sharing experience, strength and hope.
And all of this took place in just under two weeks since discovering SurvivalBlog!  For those out there who read this site regularly and are out stocking up and preparing, don't forget that information is your most valuable resource. Thanks for your time and attention. Sincerely, - Mrs. Victor (in the retreat owner profiles) and "colordohermit" at The Claire Files

JWR Adds: We've now had 14 donations since I first announced the Ten Cent Challenge, including seven that were for the full $36.50.  Many thanks for your support, folks.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Today, I'm starting the SurvivalBlog "Ten Cent Challenge."  If you value what you read on SurvivalBlog, then please help support our efforts, and help pay for our ever-growing bandwidth costs. (We recently had to upgrade our ISP account again, this time from a "Gold" to a Platinum" bandwidth plan.)  I challenge every regular reader to donate just 10 cents per day to support the blog. ($36.50 per year.)  If you don't feel that you don't get 10 cents worth of  information and entertainment out of the blog each day, then you can pass and forget that we ever asked--donations are purely voluntary.  But I have hopes that at least 5% of readers will pony up. (Statistically, the average sponsorship for free Internet sites like this one is just 2% of readers. I hope that SurvivalBlog readers defy that statistic. Your donations are gratefully accepted via PayPal, YowCow, cash, PMOs, or checks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A lengthy letter from Fernando in Buenos Aires was originally posted on SurvivalBlog back on November 8th, but I just removed it.  Why?  Because Fernando just confirmed in an e-mail to me that the copyright to his article has been purchased by John, who operates Frugal Squirrel's Forum. The letter is still available there. (See:;f=1;t=044387;p=0) OBTW, I highly recommend Frugal's site and forums. Since I have deep respect for copyrights there are no hard feelings on my part. I trust that the folks at Frugal's will forgive me if I in some way infringed unknowingly by posting what I was sent.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

I have just updated my free FAQ on Pre-1899 guns. By popular demand, it now includes links for free downloadin JPEG format my query letter to the BATF, as well as the BATF's reply. See:  Several of my other FAQs are available at the same web site.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

For two successive weekends, I was interviewed by Dr. Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute on her shortwave/webcast radio show. The topic of both of these two hour interviews was family preparedness for a potential influenza pandemic. These interviews are available for free download from Republic Radio in a variety of audio streaming formats at:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm interested in discussing topics with like-minded folks. If this can't be done, do you have any favorite forums? - C.D.R.

JWR Replies: I'm sorry to report that I have neither the time nor the patience to moderate a forum. (I moderated one for Dr. Gary North back in the late 1990s, and it quickly degenerated into a "flame war", with far more flame posts than serious posts on preparedness.)

I recommend that anyone who is interested sign up at The Claire Files and start frequenting the "Gulching/Self-Sufficiency" Forum. You might start out with a thread titled: "SurvivalBlog Readers--Check In!"

Yes, I know that there are lots of other forums out there, but the biggest advantage of The Claire Files is that you can sign up anonymously.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Excellent Survival Blog T-Shirt! It arrived in the mail the other day and I wore it to work and my fellow employees wanted to read the quote on the back. My boss said he always wanted to see if he could survive on a remote State of Maine island with just some parachute cord, a fish hook, a tin can, matches, fire starter and space blanket for a few days. I said why not try something a lot easier, and just shut the electricity off on some Friday night at your house, and turn it on again on Monday morning and see how you can manage two small children, wife, food preparation, entertainment, etc... He sighed and said, "Now that would be tough!" - Mr. Sierra

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The first topics that come to mind are European survival and poverty, and Arab/Jewish poverty survival. We must work down to the basics of the survival pyramid and forego the
night vision goggle and satellite phone fantasies until we cover our basics... staying fed and housed! Not so romantic, but I don't know how to to stir fry an image converter tube.

I suppose I should first enlighten you to my personal survivalist philosophy. I started out as a survivalist while living in a rural area outside Portland, Oregon in high school spending summers and weekends either working at the Army/Navy store or out shooting at the range or backpacking into the woods. I went to college part time and was a camping, fishing, and hunting salesman taking off summers to work for forest service fire crew and volunteering for fire department the rest of the year. After four years I went to firefighting and paramedic school in Bend [Oregon] and lived in Sisters [Oregon] working as a Firefighter/EMT to pay for school. After 3-1/2 years there I married my wife and returned to the Willamette Valley, wasting 2 years as a telco DSL NetOps center manager then quitting to be a Portland firefighter/paramedic. It was there that I really started to figure out my Jewish identity which I had dropped out of after Bar Mitzvah at age 13. After about a year I took a job running the EMS system of most of an eastern Oregon county, I finally bought my real survival retreat in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, had all of my gear and a budget to support more. Once there, I realized a major miscalculation--my wife and I are Jewish...

This is a major complication in a survival scenario. I was spending every third week (worked 2 weeks on 1 off) in Portland to be around my Orthodox Jewish community. The real problem was I didn't fit in. Making the move to a rural community with no outsiders sounds fine to somebody who has lived there forever but often outsiders have one possible social "in" in a small town, namely the church. Without any kind of "in" and maybe even a big "out" (we keep kosher which precludes eating food from non kosher sources except in starvation situations) being unable to dine at the homes of our neighbors; our survival chances once the neighbors became stressed by trouble was just not as good. Never any anti-Semitism; just that without belonging to the social fabric we would need to be much more of an island than others when it came to neighborly favors in tough times. Our first experience with having a practical retreat had failed miserably and we returned to Portland for this as well as work-related issues. After trying to set up a .com during the bust and finish a Economics degree we decided partly for religious reasons and partly because of survivalist motivation that it was time to move to Israel.

Our first move was to an absorption center, basically a government cheap apartment complex subsidized until we found a place to live. After three months of bad ventilation and mold (in a stone structure mold can cause serious respiratory problems) we moved to our current residence in the west bank. The average response I would expect after reading the foregoing is how could a survivalist move to the West Bank? To survive you need a community. (Being a lone survivalist is dangerous and difficult.) I currently live with the cream of the Israeli crop, motivated and serious about their own survival as well as the survival of Jews everywhere.

The first settlers of Israel were said to be farmers with rifles on their backs, turning a desert into green, the future produce and flower grower for most of Europe. Sadly the grandchildren of these pioneers have lost much of this drive and have been weakened by their taste of American style greed and prosperity when they profited from the 1990's tech boom (Israel's economy is mostly high tech, military, and aerospace). Affluence after many rough years often leads to a spoiled generation. A spoiled pampered younger generation has trouble dealing with difficulty. The West Bank and Gaza were slightly different re-conquered after 19 years of Egyptian and Jordanian occupation these lands were much less settled than the northern coastal areas near Tel-Aviv or Haifa. Being unsettled weeds out the timid who moved to larger cities and left the more motivated--both Zionist and/or religious.

Back to survival: Live in a community which has your values and ideals this is one way to help you have a happier and simpler life. Choosing a community is almost as careful a selection as choosing your spouse. Choose wrong and prepare to lose a fortune and be miserable for many years. We chose a community for its high percentage of Americans as well as for its involvement in protecting itself through volunteer rescue and anti-terror teams but most importantly because we felt at home and accepted by the community. A community takes care of its own members first.

Depending on what happens with Gaza and Shomron (Samaria) which is on top of my priorities, I may be able to generate a few posts for you in the next three weeks until the Elul Zman where I will be back in Yeshiva.

All the Best,

Kol Tov

Monday, August 8, 2005

I've been amazed and gratified that this blog has already has already had 1,960+ unique blog accesses and a total of 29,395 page hits. That's not bad for a site that is just three days old... I'm asking a favor: Please send a brief and informal announcement to all of of your family, friends, or co-workers that have an interest in preparedness, self-sufficiency or related survival issues. Let them know about Please help spread the word! Just remember, if they get motivated and squared away, they will be one less person knocking on your door in need of charity on TEOTWAWKI+1.

Friday, August 5, 2005

This is the first daily issue of SurvivalBlog. To understand why this blog exists, read the About page.

All Content on This Web Site Copyright 2005-2014 All Rights Reserved - James Wesley, Rawles -

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