Monday, December 30, 2013

List of Lists - First Aid and Medical

The first aid and medical portion of your list of lists is obviously an important one. The first thing I need to mention is that without knowledge, not only are the items in your medical bag basically useless, but they can sometimes become downright dangerous in untrained hands. I put some medical books on the book list I posted a while back. I advise you to also take some first aid classes. The American Heart Association is absolutely the number one place to go for CPR and first aid training. Their training is constantly being updated to the latest standards of medical care. This knowledge, coupled with the knowledge in the books I have listed in past postings, should get you through the large majority of medical problems that come up.

Needless to say, having professional medical personnel in your survival group (assuming you have a group) is a huge plus. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, military medics and corpsmen would be an extremely valuable asset to any group when the SHTF.

Below is a generalized listing of items to stock in a medical kit. Note that this is not a list for a small, quick use first aid kit that you toss in the trunk of your car containing a few band-aids and a CPR mask. This is a bit more in depth.

15 Adhesive bandages, 1"x 3"
10 Adhesive bandages, 3/4"x 3"
4 Adhesive pads, 2"x 3 1/2"
4 3M Tegaderm dressings, 2 3/8"x 2 3/4"
2 Eye pads
20 Gauze pads, 2"x 2"
20 Gauze pads, 4"x 4"
Adhedive tape
2 Gauze roll bandages
4 compress bandage
Betadine swabs
Cotton tip applicators
Alcohol swabs
Wound closure strips
Bandage scissors
Tirple antibiotic ointment
Maalox Plus tablets
Aloe Vera gel
Afrin nasal spray
Eye drops
Single edge razors
Syringes of various sizes
Hypodermic needles to fit syringes
Insulin needles
Peri bottle
CPR mask

The above list should also allow you to do MINOR surgery, if it becomes absolutely necessary to save a life or prevent someone from living with an imbedded bullet or piece of shrapnel.

Monday, December 23, 2013

List of Lists - Bug Out Bag

I am going to go ahead and tackle the sometimes lengthy and complicated subject of the Bug Out Bag (BOB). The BOB, also known as the Get Out Of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) bag, is a backpack or rucksack meant to carry the necessary gear to enable you to move from wherever you are to wherever your Bug Out Location (BOL) is located. Generally, it should be able to sustain you for up to 72 hours. Having a good BOB is NOT a substitute for long term preparations and it is NOT a substitute for a good BOL. It is just meant to be your emergency "go bag" when you're faced with a "I have to get out of here NOW" type of situation and you only have time to grab one or a few items. The BOB should be the first thing you grab in such a situation.

The subject of the BOB can get lengthy and complicated, as I already stated. In fact, I have placed a book on the subject on my List of Lists in recent posts. I'll try to keep this post as basic and concise as possible.

Each person in your family or group needs to have their own BOB. In the case of infants, this isn't necessary, but even a small backpack can be thrown together for a toddler or small child. Each person will need to carry all of the things that will be used by them. There will be one "main" BOB that the strongest person in the group will need to carry. It will carry everything that person needs, plus some community items that the group as a whole will need. If there is time, grab every BOB before you "bug out". If there isn't time to grab all of them, at least make sure you grab the main BOB. It will be the most important one. Below is a list of items that should go in the main BOB. Keep in mind what kind of terrain you are likely to encounter in your home area and your BOL. Also keep your area and your BOL's weather patterns in mind. You can take this BOB list and tweak it so it fits your group needs and your weather and terrain needs. If you know you have no need of gloves tailored for cold weather or a fleece jacket or cap (during Summer months, for instance) then you'd leave those out of the bag. Also, remember to review your bags every Winter and Summer at least. The items you need will not be the same from season to season in most areas of the world.

Drinking water (3 liters)
Collapsible water bottle (1 liter)
Nalgene water bottle (1 liter)
Military style canteen (1 liter)
Metal canteen cup for boiling
Water purification tablets (3 per person)
Purification filtration system
Energy bars (6)
MRE (2)
Can opener
Lightweight, long sleeve shirt
Sturdy pants
Underwear (2 pairs)
Socks (2 pairs)
Brimmed hat
Work gloves
Military style poncho
Fleece Jacket
Cold weather gloves
Small dome tent
Sleeping bag
550 cord (Minimum 225 feet)
Magnesium block
Steel wool
Waterproof fire kit container
First-Aid Kit
Bug spray
Mylar survival blanket
Tampons (12)
Travel size bar of soap
Signal mirror
Small towel
Toilet paper
Diapers (20)
Diaper wipes (40 wipes)
Survival knife with sheath
Ammunition (Minimum 20 rounds)
Cell phone
Cell phone charger (Hand crank preferred)
Document folder (weatherproof preferred)
Emergency radio with batteries and handcrank
Cash ($100-$500 minimum, small denominations preferred)
Quarters ($5-$10)
Map of local area (Topographical map preferred)
Small note pad and pencil
Emergency whistle
Two way radios
Duct tape (25 feet minimum)
55 gallon, container grade garbage bag
Reuseable bags (4, in various sizes)
Fishing kit (Line, hook, lure)
Inspirational item

As you can see, whatever backpack or rucksack you choose, it'll need to be fairly sizable. The main BOB will need to carry more equipment than any of the other BOBs in your group.

The other BOBs in your group will fall into one of two categories. They will either be an additional adult BOB or they will be a child's BOB. Below is a list for an additional adult BOB.

3 liters of drinking water
Collapsible water bottle (1 liter)
Nalgene water bottle (1 liter)
Military style canteen (1 liter)
Metal canteen cup for boiling
Energy bars (6)
MRE (1)
Lightweight, longsleeve shirt
Sturdy pants
Underwear (2 pairs)
Socks (2 pairs)
Brimmed hat
Work gloves
Fleece jacket
Cold weather gloves
Military style poncho
Sleeping bag
Mylar survival blanket
Tampons (12)
Small towel
Survival knife with sheath
Cell phone
Emergency Whistle
Inspirational item

The pack used for the additional adult BOBs doesn't need to be as large as the main BOB. Each individual should tailor their BOB to their own needs without compromising their survivability. For instance, a male could look at this list and remove the tampons, while a female would be better off leaving them in the BOB. Also, whether you are carrying an additional adult BOB or the main BOB, if you need any special items, such as prescription medication, don't forget to keep at least 72 hours worth of it in the BOB you're carrying. Rotate the medication so you know you'll always have recently prescribed pills.

A child's BOB is not nearly as large or complex as the adult bags. If you have children in the group, it's a good idea to place some of the items they need in some of the adult BOBs. The child's list is below.

1 liter of drinking water
Collapsible water bottle (1 liter)
Lightweight, longsleeve shirt
Underwear (2 pairs)
Socks (2 pairs)
Brimmed hat
Simple rain poncho
Cold weather jacket
Wool/Fleece hat or balaclava
Cold weather gloves
Comfort item

In the case of an infant, they will be able to share the water or food from the adult BOBs without compromising the survivability of the members of the group.

You'll notice that there isn't much of anything in the way of hygiene in any of these BOBs. Hygiene is important in a long term survival scenario, but in a 72 hour kit, there isn't much room for it. You'll notice there isn't a ton of food either. It's likely that your belly won't be full if you arrive at your BOL after a 72 hour trip, but you won't be left starving or thirsty when you get there either, thanks to the stuff that IS in your BOB.

Often, people will place much more focus on putting together a good BOB than they will on preparing a BOL or on stocking up on food or water. It's important to remember that a BOB is NOT what you create in order to run away and live in the woods for the next 20 years. That would be referred to as an I'm Never Coming Home (INCH) bag. The BOB is simply made to get you from point A to point B.

For a great guide to putting together a BOB, check out the book ""How to Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag" by Creek Stewart. It's a great read, very informative and even has checklists in the back. I used it to compile what I feel is a good beginner's list for putting together your group's BOBs.

Friday, December 20, 2013

On "Duck Dynasty", Phil Robertson and the Progressive movement in America.

With freedom of speech comes consequences for what you say, I understand that. However, I'm tired of  seeing conservatives, gun owners, white people and Christians being the only ones who have to pay those consequences. Did President Obama pay any consequences when he made a derogatory statement about "small town" people and how we apparently "cling to their guns and religion" because we don't like people who are different from us? Did Oprah pay any consequences when she said that racism would never end until all racists had died?

This issue with Phil Robertson isn't about the 1st Amendment. He didn't get thrown in jail for saying what he said. It's about the fact that a public figure will be labeled and punished if they dare to insult one of the three liberal-progressive pillars of homosexuality, abortion or racism. Phil Roberts made his personal opinion based on his religious belief and because it hit on one of the big three issues of progressivism, he is being punished. They will not stop until he is totally destroyed. If A&E reverses any part of their decision, the minority groups like GLAAD will harass, threaten and bully the network into doing exactly what they tell them to. 

The ultimate goal of the progressive movement all along was to wait for an opportunity to attack the Robertson family and have them removed from mainstream TV. Such a conservative, Christian show with good old Southern values, hunting, guns, patriotism, a Vietnam vet, regular prayer and a traditional family unit is viewed as a dangerous affront to a progressive movement that aims to erode the authority of God and the bonds of the family unit so that it can replaced with "enlightened" communist professors, socialist politicians and a caring nanny state that will ultimately tell you what is best for you in every aspect of your life.

The Robertson family are duck call makers and reality TV actors. I understand this. However, they have become a symbol of exactly what the progressive movement is trying to snuff out for good. If this family is eventually removed from mainstream media by the progressives then the message they are carrying about living for God and having strong family values will be silenced.

Welcome to progressive America.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

List of Lists - Firefighting

This is going to be a pretty short section of the list of lists. A fire is something that can completely bring down everything you've worked for. One day, you and your family of five could be living in a nice cabin in the woods, away from the destruction in the cities and along the highways and interstates. You could have all the preps you need and food and clean water for the next five or ten years. Then a fire starts one night, and you lose everything in hours. You're all no longer survivors. You're refugees at best, if you can find a place to go.

Prevention is key. Keep all fires outdoors with the exception of well protected candles. If you have something like cigarettes, smoke outdoors. Campfires should be guarded at all times. Any fires you start outside, try to start them on dirt rather than grassy areas. Beware of embers that burn after the fires are "out". Beware of flying ash that could travel and catch fire somewhere else. The list is short, because there is a saying about an "ounce of prevention"...

- Type ABC fire extinguisher
- Fire resistant blankets

Baking soda is something many people will point out, but I've already got that on a food storage list for later discussion.

List of Lists - Books

The book list is an area that I had previously skipped because frankly, it wasn't completed when it came time to discuss it. The book list is meant to be your resource for all the knowledge you could need in a SHTF scenario. Of course, there is an infinite amount of knowledge that one would benefit by having, but I've attempted to make a list of books that contain potentially vital knowledge.

Some of these books are focused on medical skills for obvious reasons. Others, for similarly obvious reasons, are focused on survival skills, such as gardening. Others are focused on combat type skills. Some people may be tempted to omit the military manuals and combat skills books, but that may not be wise. It's important to be ready for all scenarios, including the ones where you may be required to defend what's yours in a combat type of situation.

The titles of the books and the contents within speak for themselves. Needless to say, with all the information one could potentially need, this list could turn out to be one of the longest parts of the list of lists.

- "Holy Bible" by God
- "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It" by James Wesley, Rawles
- "How to Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag" by Creek Stewart
- "Wilderness Medicine, Beyond First Aid" by William Forgey, MD
- "Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook" by David Werner
- "Mosby's Outdoor Emergency Medical Guide" by David Manhoff
- "Emergency War Surgery (NATO Handbook:-Third United States Revision, 2004) by Dr. Martin Fackler, et al.
- "Where There Is No Dentist" by Marray Dickson
- "Where There Is No Vet" by Bill Forse
- "The Encyclopedia of Country Living (Tenth Edition)" by Carla Emery
- "Making the Best of Basics - Family Preparedness Handbook" by James Talmage Stevens
- "Survival Guns" by Mel Tappan
- "Tappan on Survival" by Mel Tappan
- "A Failure of Civility" by Mike Garand and Jack Lawson
- "Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition" Abigail R. Gehring
- "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" by Smith
- "Ranger Handbook" by Ranger Training Brigade, US Army Infantry School
- FM 2-22.3 HUMINT Collector Operations
- FM 3-3 Chemical and Biological Contamination Avoidance
- FM 3-3-1 Nuclear Contamination Avoidance
- FM 3-4 NBC Protection
- FM 5-31 Boobytraps
- FM 7-8 Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad
- FM 7-93 Long-Range surveillance Unit Operations
- FM 19-15 Civil Disturbances
- FM 19-30 Physical Security
- FM 20-3 Camouflage
- FM 21-11 First Aid for Soldiers
- FM 21-26 Map Reading and Land Navigation
- FM 21-75 Combat Skills of the Soldier
- FM 21-76 Survival
- FM 21-150 Combatives
- FM 23-10 Sniper Training
- FM 31-21 Guerilla Warfare and Special Forces Operations
- FM 31-20-5 Special Recon Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces
- FM 31-70 Basic Cold Weather Manual
- FM 31-71 Northern Operations
- FM 34-60 Counterintelligence
- FM 90-3 Desert Operations
- FM 90-5 Jungle Operations
- Local phone book

Keep in mind that your situation may vary enough that it's feasible to remove some of these items from your list. Someone attempting to survive in Alaska will likely have no use of FM 90-5, while someone with no pets or animals at all may not need "Where There is No Vet". Make you own evaluations, but try not to omit too much of the material. For instance, FM 19-15 is on this list to clue you in on what sort of things to expect from "authorities" in the instance that a civil disturbance takes place near your location. Another example is FM 31-70 on cold weather training. Even in the Deep South of the US, the weather can become very cold in the Winter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

List of Lists - Firearms

Here is the list I think people have the most fun with. Firearms is obviously an important part of any preparation list. Their uses are numerous, with hunting and personal defense being the obvious two. Since the list I am putting together is made primarily for a beginning prepper with a modest budget, this list is probably going to be surprisingly short to a lot of people. The truth is, to cover all your bases on the firearms list, you actually don't have to have an arsenal that rivals Bert Gummer from the movie "Tremors".

When choosing which firearms to include on your list, there are some variables to think about. You want to make firearms choices that include weapons that are reliable and easy to maintain and use. Just because you are a war veteran who carried an AR-15 and can break it down and put it back together in 30 seconds, doesn't mean your wife or parents who are bugging out with you can do the same thing. You have to understand that everyone's life might depend on someone who isn't an expert using that weapon. You might say something like "then I'll train them to be!" Well, good. Train them. But that doesn't mean you go out and buy the most complicated weapon platform available and then train your family on it. You still need to choose something that has simplicity and reliability.

Each firearm out there is specialized for a certain set of tasks. Sure, there are some that are very versatile and can handle a wider range of jobs than other firearms, but most have a particular job that they handle better than most. For right now, let's look at this list and then discuss each entry. I'm not going to put any specific brands or models on the list, because each person has their own abilities and budget and preferences. I'll talk about a few brands later. For now, I'll be very general.

- .22LR caliber rifle (2,000 rounds)
- 12 gauge shotgun (500 shells)
- Handgun, 9mm or larger in caliber (1,000 rounds)
- Weapon cleaning kit and gun oil
- Magazines for each firearm

See? Short and simple. This list is not designed to break anyone's bank or turn someone into an arsenal-toting Mad Max character. If you have the spare funds and desire, there are plenty of other options to add to this list, and I encourage you to do that. But for right now, I'm trying to get someone started with the minimum they need to make it.

A rifle chambered in .22LR is probably the most important firearm to have in a survival situation. The ammo is light. It's not hard on the ears (you might not have hearing protection at all times in an emergency, so this is a plus at least). It's highly effective for hunting small game, which is the most likely type of game you're going to run across when you're out and need food. I know, the TV likes to show survivalists hunting and gutting and cooking a big moose or a ten-point buck after an eight hour trek through the woods. But they don't show the 500 birds and squirrels and rabbits that person walked past that would have been easier to find and kill and clean and cook! It's entirely possible to take down a deer with a small caliber rifle, but why expend the energy hunting for a deer with a small caliber rifle when you can bag ten squirrels in an hour without moving far from camp? Plus, a few dead squirrels is less likely to attract a hungry predator than a dead deer.

Small caliber rifles are light and very simple to use. Light recoil makes them easy to fire. Often they are easy to maintain. Their simple mechanisms make them reliable in poor weather. When they do malfunction, it's often a simple fix. A couple of top quality choices here are the Ruger 10/22 carbine and the Savage .22 bolt action rifle. Both are lightweight and reliable. I prefer the Ruger because it's semi-automatic, but the bolt-action Savage is a high quality and accurate weapon. To have either one in an emergency is a big force-multiplier for you. They'll both cost you about $200.

In a pinch, a small caliber rifle can serve as a decent defense weapon. It might not be ideal, but when threatened, it's small size and ease of operation will allow you to quickly and effectively put some well-aimed lead downrange at a high velocity, even if that lead isn't very big around.

The 12 gauge shotgun is a big plus on anyone's list. Great for home defense, great for hunting, great for scaring your daughter's boyfriends. I'm just kidding! Not every 12 gauge is great for hunting and home defense. We'll talk about that.

A long barreled shotgun will be very suited for hunting large fowl and mid-sized game. Turkeys, ducks and wild pigs would be some good targets here. I wouldn't want to have to shoot a squirrel with a 12 gauge and then try to eat that torn up mess, but I suppose you could salvage rabbits easily. Overall, a long barreled 12 gauge will open up a lot of hunting opportunities. It can also be an effective defensive weapon. One great choice would be the Mossberg 500 pump action 12 gauge shotgun. This one will cost you around $500. Just be aware that a long barreled shotgun like that one will be more difficult to maneuver around tight corners and walls inside buildings.

That is where the short barrel comes in. A shorter barreled shotgun may not be quite as accurate, so that might make hunting a little trickier. If you can overcome that disadvantage, then you should be all good. The short barreled shotgun may very well be king in close range self protection. The short barrel is easier to maneuver around corners inside buildings and it's lighter weight makes aiming and hitting a target with the first shot easier. A good option for a short barreled shotgun is the Mossberg 88 pump action 12 gauge shotgun. The normal cost is around $200.

When choosing a shotgun, you have to take into consideration what you'll be doing with it. If you know you're going to be using it for hunting, you may want to choose a longer barrel. If you think defense is more of a concern for you, the short barrel might be for you. Personally, I prefer the Remington 870 tactical 12 gauge shotgun. If I need to hunt with it, I can. But if it comes time to protect myself or my family, the Remington will do well for that too. That model will cost approximately $650, but the additions and options available for it may cause the price to move up or down..

A handgun is a big choice. There are so many options out there and one size certainly does not fit all. Let's try to establish some foundations. The handgun on this list is mainly there for personal protection and carrying on your person at all times if practical to defend yourself from a two-legged predator (that would be humans). Therefore I am not going to suggest a small caliber such as a .22LR for your handgun. The smallest caliber I would consider would be the 9mm, .38 or .380. Anything smaller might leave you needing to fire an entire magazine for an effect, and that is not the goal. Let's talk a little about semi-automatics and revolvers.

A semi-automatic is going to allow you to fire rapidly if necessary. No cocking needed after each shot and typically you will have more available ammo than in a revolver. There is a slight danger of a "jam", so you're going to need to be proficient with your chosen semi-auto in order to maintain the ability to clear the problem and get back in the fight. With a revolver, you have significantly less chance of any type of malfunction ever occurring. However, you probably will have more limited ammo in your firearm and reload time is a good bit longer than in a semi-auto. Also, if you choose a single-action (SA) revolver, you'll have to cock the hammer on every shot. I don't recommend choosing a SA. A double-action (DA) revolver does not require this cocking. The trigger pull will do that itself, though the trigger pull may be a bit harder than you'd like it to be in a fight.

Choosing a handgun is all on you. You have to ensure the weapon fits your hand and you can fire it comfortably. I feel comfortable carrying a Beretta 92FS 9mm semi-auto. My hand fits it decently and the recoil is easy on me. But my wife's hand is not made for that weapon. The recoil may not be hard, but if the weapon is a little too big, the recoil effect is going to be even worse than normal. My ideal carry weapon might be a Glock 19 9mm or a Colt Government 1911 .45ACP. For my wife, a Ruger LC380 (.380 caliber) would be a better fit and the recoil is manageable for her. The 1911 feels comfortable in her hand, but the recoil is a bit much. So, my point is that you need to ensure that the weapon fits well in your hand and that the recoil is manageable for you when firing. You also need to make sure you understand how to operate the weapon like an expert and maintain it properly.

My recommendation for a handgun won't go any further than me saying that I prefer a semi-automatic over a revolver. Revolvers are excellent weapons, but in a fight, I want to be able to fire quickly and reload quickly. I do understand that with a semi-auto I will need to be able to clear a possible malfunction (however unlikely) quickly. As far as recommending a model, I can't do that. It all depends on you. Some good brands (there are many others) to check out are Colt, Beretta, FN, Walther, Smith and Wesson, Glock and Ruger.

It's obvious that you will need magazines for any weapons you have. It's advisable to have several for each weapon in case you lose one or one is damaged. Cleaning kits are also obvious needs. It's important to have a good oil for cleaning and lubricating your guns. CLP (Cleaner, lubricant and protectant) is what the US military generally uses. RemOil by Remington is an excellent choice.

Ammunition for each firearm needs to be collected in abundance. 1,000 rounds per firearm is an excellent start. Notice that I say "per firearm". That means if you have two 9mm handguns, you should acquire 2,000 rounds of 9mm ammo. Being short on ammo means your weapons will do you no good. Shotgun shells take up a lot of room and aren't made to go around "spraying and praying", so 500 shells should be good to start.

During times of gun control pushes ammunition, magazine and firearms themselves can be difficult to find. When the Sandy Hook school shooting occurred in 2012, left-leaning politicians like President Obama and Kalifornia Senator Diane Feinstein (who had been telling everyone that this was "no time for politics") started their push against everything gun related. They pushed for bans on common sporting rifles, on ammunition, on magazines, on firearm features like pistol grips and collapsible stocks. What ensued was a run on ammo, magazines and firearms. In the late part of 2012, all kinds of common ammo disappeared from the shelves and common sporting rifles like the AR-15 vanished. Even 30 rounds magazines were all bought out. Things have returned back to normal somewhat, but it only takes one event and a bunch of gun grabbing politicians to start the panic again. Luckily, freedom loving Americans defeated almost every single anti-gun bill presented throughout the land. Only in the most liberal areas did the anti-gun crowd make any progress. In most areas in the US, the anti-gun crowd has been soundly defeated and our 2nd Amendment freedoms have been strengthened. We have to continue to the fight to maintain our God given rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights, or our children and grandchildren will live under the boots of tyrants.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

List of Lists - Finance

Today I'm going to be talking about money and finances post-SHTF. It's very important to maintain some sort of ability to operate in an environment in which there is an economy based on money. While the economy in a post-SHTF world might not be solely based on money, such as a barter economy, it is likely that many people will still hold some value for "old world" money and be willing to accept it in trade for goods or services. While this is a short list, it may very well end up being the most expensive part of you list of lists.

- Cash ($1, $5, $10 and $20 bills)
- Coins (May still retain full value if currency has a full crash)
- Gold
- Silver

It is important to remember that all dimes, quarters and half-dollars made in 1964 or prior are 90% silver. $1 face value of these coins equals approximately .715 ounces of silver. These coins are often referred to as "junk silver", though the term is not meant in a negative way. I recommend focusing on silver if you are thinking of entering the precious metal market, unless you have an unlimited budget. The current price of one ounce of silver is approximately $22. The price of one ounce of gold, however, is approximately $1,400. Some other precious metals to consider are platinum and palladium, though these are similar in price to gold.

In a post-SHTF world, junk silver may be an excellent way to acquire needed supplies. These are much easier to sell and trade than a full one ounce silver coin, or any amount of gold for that matter. When you have silver that can be broken down into small amounts like a dime or quarter size, you have a much higher chance of actually getting your money's worth.

Considering that every single economy on earth that has ever been based on "fiat" currency has failed throughout history, and considering the fact that our economy and the economy of every developed nation on earth is based on fiat currency, it stands to reason that we should all be prepared for the day when the economic collapse arrives. Basing an entire economy on IOU bills is obviously not sustainable. Additionally, every time a problem arises, our leaders simply implement a fix that is only temporary and unsustainable itself. Once that temporary fix is no longer working, they simply put another temporary fix on that!

I am certainly not an expert on economics, but it doesn't take an expert on economics to see that this system will eventually fail. Once the large system fails, small, local economies will begin to pop up in towns and cities and counties. This short finance list will help you begin participating in these new economies.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More from Afghanistan.

So, I'm still here in Afghanistan, having worked at tiny COP and now working at a mid-sized FOB. It's interesting to say the least.

Going "outside the wire" on missions is the most fun and the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever had. I've learned a lot and worked with some good people. I've been in some dangerous situations. 

Overall this has been a great experience, and I look forward to doing it again in the future. Maybe in a different country next time. The experience you gain being in a combat zone can't be found anywhere else.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From the other side.

I do apologize for the long time since my last post. As this is still a very young blog of mine, I know that frequent posting will be one of the best ways to gain new readers. The reason it's been such a long time since I last posted here is that the US government has deployed me to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Without going into the details of what I'm doing or where I am, I'll just say that it's been interesting already. I'd just like to go over a few basic points and then I'll end this post and start putting together my next one.

- Despite what the media is telling the American people, this war, conflict, whatever you want to call it, can be chalked up in the US military's win column. Yes, I fully understand that the Taliban still exists. Yes, I fully understand that ISAF still receives occasional attacks from insurgents in the country. Yes, I am fully aware that we are still losing personnel in this theater. But if your standard for "winning" a conflict is killing or capturing 100% of the enemy fighters, stopping 100% of enemy attacks before they happen and eliminating 100% occurrence of our own casualties, then I see that your standards are unreasonable and impossible from the start. Al Qaeda (AQ) has little to no presence inside Afghanistan today, and the general population, even the ones who still support the Taliban, have no love for foreign AQ operatives. Even in 2001, Afghans viewed AQ foreign fighters with suspicion and mistrust. The Taliban fighters who are left are almost all part-time fighters with minimal training and are some of the poorest equipped fighters in the world. Yes, I know they still launch attacks and I know they still occasionally have some effect. But the saying about a blind squirrel comes to mind. I'm not trying to be nonchalant and uncaring about losses we are currently taking, but in a war this long, the low number of casualties we've taken is both a testament to US military skills and to just how weak our enemy really is over here.

- Despite what happens after the US military leaves Afghanistan, our guys have done EVERYTHING humanly possible to give the people of Afghanistan whatever level of freedom they wish to have on a silver platter. Another saying comes to mind however, about leading a horse to water. If Afghanistan collapses into chaos then that will be no fault of the US military. We came in, we pushed the core of the Taliban out, we killed the core of AQ in Afghanistan, we installed a stable government and have propped it up throughout the war. We have trained their military and police. We have fed their people. Built roads and power lines and wells. We have set up Afghanistan for success. If they fail, then it is on them. If they fail, that does not mean we "lost" the war. The above also applies to Iraq.

- Don't let anyone tell you Afghanistan deployments in 2013 are cakewalks. Yes, Kandahar Airfield has a boardwalk with food and shopping and recreation. That's because when the US goes to war, we bring America with us. But outside of the "super-FOBs", it's a different world. We still have a lot of our people eating MREs (I have at least one per day, sometimes two). We still have people staying "outside the wire" on missions for three or more days at a time in dangerous locations. We do still have people getting hurt and dying. So don't get complacent thinking that it's just "garbage time" here. It's not. This might not be the same place it was in 2001 or 2003 or 2005, but it's still the wild West, and we are still here. Don't forget that.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Words on Syria.

The Syrian civil war has become increasingly complicated since it began more than 30 months ago. The Syrian people saw the "Arab Spring" sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa and finally decided that they were tired of the decades long, oppressive rule of the Assad family. The people began to demonstrate and Assad responded with gunfire from attack helicopters he had received from Russia. This threw Syria into a revolt, a full scale civil war.

At first glance, this matter seems simple. However, today there are more than 1,200 rebel groups fighting against the Syrian regime, totaling between 70,000 and 100,000 fighters. By US federal government estimates, between 15% and 25% of those groups are considered to be militant jihadist organizations. Other estimates go as high as 80%, with some so called "experts" stating that the non-extremist fighter groups have been completely annihilated. Some of these extremist groups have aligned themselves with Al Qaeda, a major Syrian rebel group called "Al Nusra" being just one example.

Russia has been involved in this conflict on the side of the Assad regime since day one. They've been supplying weapons, equipment, training and advice from the start. The US government has only recently decided to get involved in this conflict on the side of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), whoever that is. The FSA is fragmented and the fighters fall under many different flags. Once again, one of those flags is the flag of Al Qaeda. The US government has reluctantly agreed to get involved by sending weapons to the rebels, though no one is really sure if those weapons have been sent yet.

Months ago, President Obama made a statement during which he stated that he was drawing a "red line" for Assad, saying that the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people would bring "consequences". He has since claimed that he did not draw any line, but that "the world" drew the red line instead. The first time Assad used chemical weapons, Obama seemed to deny, or perhaps ignore, this crossing of his "red line". When Assad crossed this line again on a larger scale, Obama was forced to take action to save his ego.

Now we see members of Congress debating each other on what action to take against Syria. Obama first stated that he didn't need Congress for him to take action, but he has now asked Congress for approval. It's my opinion that Obama has basically painted himself into a corner with his "red line" comment, and asking Congressional approval is his last resort for getting himself out of that corner. If Congress disapproves, Obama will certainly blame Congress for inaction and will certainly lay most of that blame on the Republican Party, as he has done every time one of his actions yields poor results. If Congress approves military action, Obama will not have to go down alone with his ship, and he can displace blame for any negative effects.

I don't see what military action is supposed to achieve. It has already been decided that regime change is not the goal, nor will strikes against chemical weapon storage sites be the goal.

One option, firing Tomahawk cruise missiles against select targets in Syria for a short, predetermined time period, will have little to no effect on the ground situation in Syria. Another option is "boots on the ground". This option has been ruled out, however. Air strikes are another option on the table, but unless these air strikes are conducted on a large scale, this option won't yield results any different than Tomahawk missile strikes.

I simply don't understand the goal of military action against Syria. We simply have not been given a goal. The only thing we are told is that it will be "limited" and "narrow" and that it will take place for only a short period of time and target only a few specific locations, not include locations where Assad or major regime members will be and not to target places where chemical weapons may be located. Given this information, it is obvious that an attack of this nature will have no effect whatsoever on the situation in Syria.

While I do not support the Assad regime, I also do not support the militant jihadist rebel groups either. We fought against many of these Syrian rebels in Iraq in recent years.

It's clear to me that the goal of the White House is to protect Obama from criticism. Every move they make on the Syria situation shows that everything they do is a show to gain support for Obama in order for the Democratic Party to do well in the next round of elections.

Education indoctrination.

Americans often complain about the state of our education system. While I understand the disappointment in the falling education of the American youth, sometimes I think the complaints are misplaced. It's true that our education system is not always preparing students well to compete with foreign trained students in various job fields, but generally speaking, American students are still highly competitive and dominate many fields of work requiring advance training. When it comes to patents on new technology, Americans still dominate many fields. Nanotechnology is just one example.

The reason I think that the complaints are misplaced is because while our education system is still generally among the best in the world, it also has a high degree of political and philosophical indoctrination involved in it.

"Education is a weapon whose effect depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." - J. Stalin

So called "progressives" have nearly complete control of our universities in the United States and Europe. You'd be hard pressed to find conservative or libertarian minded political science, international studies, economics, education, history, cultural studies, sociology or psychology professors in any of our major educational institutions. Our universities have become havens where the likes of people such as Bill Ayers can hold a position of great influence. If you want to find the worst example of a university that is totally infiltrated and dominated by "progressive" influence, look no further than the University of California, Berkeley.

The infiltration and influence of the same "progressive" ideals has filtered down into our childrens' public school system. These ideals can rightfully be labeled as progressive, collectivist, socialist or communist. The attempts in our public school system to attack individual liberties and the governmental system of the constitutional republic are well documented, but that documentation is also well suppressed.

Examples of this are frequent. In one elementary school, students were asked to write down which of the rights on the Bill of Rights they would be willing to give up. In another elementary school, students were recently instructed that the "government is like our family" and that the government "takes care" of us and "punishes" us like our family does.

History is one of the most prominent examples of anti-American and collectivist bias in our school system. Today, young students are taught that America's power was won only through destruction of indiginous peoples worldwide, theft of property, imperialist wars and policies of slavery. There is little to no mention of the early struggle for religious freedom (religion is also often taught to have a strictly negative effect on America), freedom from taxation without representation, the hard work of pioneers who built our country and the Founding Fathers who fought a war against an empire for a free land.

Let me give one example. The Mexican-American War is taught in such a way that states that the US attacked and invaded Mexico in order to seize previously Mexican land for American expansion. Something that is completely ignored is that all three developing nations on the continent (US, Canada and Mexico) knew for a fact that anyone who controlled the port city of New Orleans would control the Mississippi River Basin. Anyone who controlled that basin would undoubtedly become the sole power on the continent. The US maintained control over New Orleans and Mexico had well known plans to mobilize, march across Texas and seize New Orleans from US control. The US mobilized and invaded preemptively and pushed Mexican forces Southward. This attack ended the conflict between Mexico and Texas and ended all future possibilities of an attempt by Mexico to seize New Orleans.

If these kinds of facts were properly taught in our schools, anti-American and communist ideals would not be able to take hold so easily among our youth. The example above is just one example of how kids in America are being lulled to sleep while the ideals of communism creep into society.

Home schooling is looked upon in society as backwards and old fashioned, a relic of a bygone era when so called "organized" school was not always an option for everyone. But in my opinion, homeschooling is one of the two best ways (growing most or all of your own food is the other) to pull yourself and your family out from under the control of "the powers that be" (TPTB). It isn't difficult to find a Christian or libertarian-minded curriculum for your kids. They have the opportunity to learn in a safe environment (the "gun free" public school systems often deny your children that safety) about the truth that TPTB have been suppressing for years.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

List of Lists - Documents

For the next category on the list of lists we will talk about documents. Even post SHTF, keeping track of your personal documents is important. Having your lease handy may convince authorities to allow you to continue past a checkpoint toward your home when most others are being turned away. Your social security card will provide proof that you are an American citizen, which is obviously useful during a nationwide disaster. Your marriage license may prevent you from being forcefully separated from your spouse during martial law. It's important to keep these documents and extra copies of them (in appropriate cases) protected and easily accessible. A fireproof lockbox and waterproof case is advisable. Some documents to keep safe and secure are:

- Marriage license
- Power of Attorney
- Insurance forms
- Car titles and registration
- Last Will and Testament
- DD 214
- 401(k) forms
- List of usernames, account numbers, passwords, lock combinations, PINs and ID numbers
- Birth certificates
- Social Security cards
- Debit and credit cards
- Proof of residency, lease agreement
- Other IDs and licenses
- Membership cards
- Pet tags
- Military dog tags

Some people will not have some of these documents. Only former military will have a DD 214, for instance.

It is up to you to make judgments on what documents to keep within easy reach. Just because a document isn't on this list, doesn't mean it isn't important. Take this document list and tailor it to your needs. Do you have a persistent medical condition? Maybe your medical records would be useful to keep around. Have a rare blood type? A blood type card in your wallet may assist medical professionals during your care. Look at your unique situation and make your own judgments regarding important documentation.

Friday, August 23, 2013

List of Lists - Communication

Work has been very hectic lately for me and getting home exhausted at the end of the day has me posting less often. I am hoping to pick up again with more frequent posts.

So now we continue on our list of lists to talk about the subject of communication. Communication is a more complex subject the deeper you try to go into it. Some people will see communication during TEOTWAWKI as little more than a couple of walkie talkies for family members to use when walking around. For others, communication might mean something like a ham radio setup. Obviously, your budget, available space, desires, needs and abilities will dictate what kind of communications setup you have.

In an ideal SHTF situation (is there such a thing?) cell phone networks would still be at least somewhat functional. But you have to expect that the conventional lines of communication will be down for an extended period of time while still remembering that a recovery will mean their restoration. This means we have to be able to communicate without cell phones but still have those phones charged and ready for when they do become useful again.

A good communications list should at least contain these assets:

- Ham Radio setup
- CB Radio setup
- Two way radios
- Police Scanner
- Cell phones
- Cell phone chargers, hand-crank preferred

Ham radio (also called amateur radio) is represented and coordinated by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). Amateur radio is divided into three regions. IARU region one includes Europe, West Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Region two includes North, South and Central America. IARU region 3 includes South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Amateur radio allows you to communicate with people all over the world. Amateur radio requires licensing, so it's a good idea to research and begin the process of licensing as soon as you are able. Purchasing used equipment, you can have a basic, effective ham setup for as little as $300 for a radio, $100 for an antenna and $100 for peripherals.

CB (Citizen's Band) radio is a shorter distance radio communications setup. There are 40 channels available on CB. CB is a great way to communicate quickly and easily with other CB users near you.

Two ways radios are extremely valuable after the SHTF. Anytime a member of your group puts any distance between them and the rest of the group, you should maintain radio communication. The reasons for this are obvious. You never know what type of situation could arise.

A police scanner will be extremely helpful if the rile law is maintained in any way post-SHTF. Any type of local law enforcement will know that communication with officers or deputies is a priority. Having a scanner can help you avoid trouble spots, or even help you avoid the law enforcement officers themselves if the local police is not acting in the best interests of the citizenry.

Even if the power grid goes down, you should try to keep cell phones charged and ready for use. As soon as cell phone communications are restored, cell phones will likely immediately become your primary means of communication with the outside world. One way of keeping cell phones charged and ready is with a hand-crank cell phone charger. Needless to say, you won't be able to charge your phone on a wall outlet if the power grid goes down. Keep those traditional cell phone chargers around, but go out and pick up a couple of hand-crank ones as well.

In a long term grid-down scenario, some kind of courier mail system may come about. Don't forget the communication methods of the old days. There is a reason the old Pony Express is still famous today.

Communications in a post-SHTF world is something that shouldn't be overlooked. Once something goes down, one of the first thoughts in most people's minds will be to wonder if family and friends are safe. This stress can be alleviated with an adequate communications plan.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Everyday carry items.

Everyday carry (EDC) is a tenet that runs throughout the survivalism community. EDC is a term that describes the items that you carry on your person on a daily basis, especially when you're out of your house. The average American male will EDC a wallet, a cell phone and car keys. The average American female will EDC several additional items inside a purse. A cell phone, wallet or change purse, car keys, small hygiene items and a few bits of makeup are about all. This is generally the extent of EDC for the average person.

The survivalist is likely to have a unique EDC set at all times. This is the entire point of being a survivalist, being ready to make it through any situation that arises. EDC is not, however, a full get out of dodge kit (G.O.O.D.) or bug out bag (BOB). EDC is simply items that can be comfortable and discreetly carried at all times in pockets, on a belt or even on a string around the neck. Some common and advisable EDC items include:

- Concealed carry weapon (CCW) and ammo magazine(s) in accordance with local, state and federal laws
- Survival knife in accordance with local, state and federal laws
- Multi-tool
- Wallet with $20-$50 cash, identification, driver license, blood type card and required permits for CCW
- Car keys
- Flashlight
- 550 paracord bracelet

This might sound like a bit much to carry around, but with some research and practice, you can make it easy and comfortable.

Choose a compact firearm for EDC. Even a compact .45ACP handgun can be easily concealed. Try not to carry any caliber weapon smaller than a 9mm if possible. Use an in-the-waistband (IWB) holster to make your CCW less conspicuous when you're wearing Summer clothes. An outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster is a bit more comfortable and is sufficient to use with loose or layered clothing. Make sure you learn the laws in your state to ensure that you avoid trouble with local law enforcement.

A knife is something that can be easily carried in a pocket or on a belt clip. A multi-tool has a knife blade on it and can also be easily carried on a belt clip. Most people who carry a multi-tool will not also carry a knife, since the multi-tool has a knife blade.

A 550 paracord bracelet should contain approximately 10 feet of cordage.

A small flashlight, like a "Mini-Maglite", fits easily on a keychain.

Another idea is to take a small plastic card and wrap several feet of duct tape around it. This gives you an easy way to carry a little bit of duct tape with you in your wallet or in a pocket without even feeling it. The uses for duct tape are endless.

EDC is just "level one" readiness, if you will. The next level would consist of a BOB to get you from your current location to a bug out location (BOL). The BOB is made to get you through a 72 hour move to you BOL. The next level of readiness would be a deep larder and stored supplies at a BOL. With all that in mind, readiness starts with the items you carry with you on a day to day basis.

Four basic survival needs.

Many people talk about the basic needs of survival. In a survival situation, it's important to remember the four essentials. These are water, food, shelter and security.

WATER - It's generally accepted that a person can live for three or four days without water. When you factor in the kinds of things you'll have in a survival situation such as adverse weather or terrain, you begin to shorten that period of time. In arid environments, you sweat out a lot of water. In a cold environment, you might sweat less, but you'll sweat without even knowing or feeling it. This can be equally as dangerous as sweating profusely in a hot location. Look for low lying areas and green vegetation. Upon finding water, observe for signs of use by local wildlife. Needless to say, mosquito larvae or animal carcasses in or beside the water are signs that the water may not be safe for drinking. Animal tracks can be an indication of use, signaling that the water is at least useable. Boiling is still needed. Be observant of any tracks as they can clue you in on what wildlife is nearby, be it predators or prey. Digging several feet into the soil can also yield amounts of drinking water, though it will need to be filtered if possible before the usual boiling.

Many people believe that you must allow water to boil for a bit of time to be safe. This is not necessary. Once the water begins to form bubbles from the heat, it has already passed the point of killing all bacteria present. Another thing to remember is that it is possible to boil water in a plastic bottle, as long as the bottle has enough water in it to absorb the heat. Otherwise, the bottle will melt.

Water from plants is generally safe to be used for drinking. Some thick vines can hold large amounts of water. Beware of any milky discharge. This means the plant is not producing safe water to drink. Coconuts can be a valuable source of fluids. The younger the coconut, the more water it will have before it turns into "coconut milk". That milk is still good for drinking and it contains electrolytes and sugar for energy. The meat is good for food as well. If you crack the coconut carefully, it can be used as a bowl for catching rainwater.

FOOD - Food can sometimes be harder to find than water. It can be difficult to know which plants can be eaten. A good way to test if a plant is edible is to take a part of the plant and chew a tiny bit once or twice, making sure to get it on the tongue. An itchy, extremely bitter or slight burning sensation means that the plant is not safe to eat.

Local wildlife is another source of food. However, it is often advisable to use more energy to escape to civilization than to hunt for food that you have to chase or kill. If you can manage to catch prey, ensure that you do not rupture the intestines during the skinning process. This will contaminate the meat of the catch and make it unsafe to eat. Cut into the skin along the front mid-line of the body with a knife or a sharp edge of a chipped rock. Peel the fur or skin back. You should be left with a thin membrane holding the guts in. Carefully slice through this without rupturing the intestines.

Fishing can be a low energy method of finding food. Finding a small stream allows you to block it off with sticks or a makeshift net. Fish are easy to clean and relatively fast to cook. Be aware of other abundant sources of food native to the area you're in. If you find yourself in a Louisiana swamp, boil crawfish over a fire. If you find yourself near a rocky shore, look for crabs, clams and small fish.

SHELTER - Building a shelter is often overlooked. The problem with this thinking is that the weather can turn on you at anytime, and if you aren't protected at all from the elements, all the food and water in the world may not save you. Rain and wind can give you hypothermia, even in the Summer. The ambient air temperature can rise rapidly even when there is snow on the ground, causing you to sweat without even knowing it. Shelter can lift the spirits of those in a survival situation and provide additional comfort and protection from dangerous wildlife. When on the move, leave you nightly shelters intact as a sign that you have been there. Rescuers have found lost hikers after coming across their abandoned stick shelters.

A simple and effective shelter can built between two thin trees using nothing more than three long sticks and some large leaves. Don't have large leaves? Gather some extra sticks for "cross beams" and pile some grass or pine needles on for a roof. Keeping yourself out of the sun, rain and wind is important. Don't overlook it. Beware of creatures that live in caves when choosing one for a shelter. They make great shelters, but be careful. Caves can quickly flood even in light rain. Fallen trees can provide quick protection from weather as well.

If possible, gather some strong sticks with a split at one end, stick them strongly into the ground and place cross branches over them to make a bed that keeps you off the ground. Use leaves, pine needless or grass to soften it. This will keep the ground from sapping your body heat and keep you away from bugs and snakes.

SECURITY - This is probably the most overlooked essential. Local wildlife has a food chain system, and in many places, you drop several spots on that chain when you find yourself in a survival situation. A long, heavy ended stick can be used as a basic club. Sharpen the end on a rock for a spear type of weapon. Using a knife to whittle a sharp point is even better. A firearm, when in trained hands, is an ideal security tool. If I had to choose one of my personal weapons to take into a survival situation, I'd choose my Ruger 10/22 carbine rifle. .22LR is an ideal survival caliber. A survival knife has a million uses and self defense against predators is certainly one. Be aware of the predators in your area. In Florida, you'll need to watch for alligators. In Montana, cougars pose a threat. In Texas, the Javelina (a type of wild boar) can seriously injure a grown man. Every region of the world has different threats. It would behoove you (If I can use an Army term) to be educated on the local threats.

It is worth mentioning that in some parts of the world, guerrillas, pirates, criminals, armed rebels or terrorists pose as big of a threat as any wildlife out there. If you must find yourself in these areas, be knowledgeable, well armed and always have an escape plan from any location you go to. Even when staying in a big city hotel, there are factors to keep in mind. Staying on the first or second floors makes you one of the first targets in a terrorist attack or room break-in, but staying above the third or fourth floors makes escape from the building for any reason (Fire, for example) problematic.

I don't mention fire as one of these essentials because it is a major part of every one of the four "must haves" I just went over. Fire is required for boiling water, cooking food, warming your shelter and keeping predators away from your camp. It goes without saying that fire is a necessity, and it is such a necessity that it deserves a separate discussion altogether. I'll talk about fire soon.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

List of Lists - General Clothing

The next category on the list of lists is the general clothing category. The importance of this particular category is obvious. This category also has the potential to be the most customized category because people live in such diverse areas and find many different types of clothing to fit their needs. Due to this category being subject to such a high degree of customization, it's a very generalized list. Rather than seeing items listed such as "4 pairs of earth-tone, tactical cargo pants in differing colors", you're more likely to see it listed simply as "cargo pants". I'll leave it up to you to decide what's best for you.

Some of the items that should be included on the general clothing list are:

- Undergarments
- Regular socks
- Wool socks (Breathes, dries quickly, wicks away sweat and retains warmth even when wet or dirty)
- Short sleeve tee-shirts
- Long sleeve tee-shirts (Sun protection, but stays cool)
- Cold weather coats and jackets
- Shorts
- Long pants (A mix of cargo pants and jeans will be my personal choice)
- Sturdy tennis shoes
- Hiking boots
- Hats
- Sunglasses

I know that some might be thinking "I live in Southern Arizona!" I don't have any need for any cold weather clothing!". Others might be thinking "I live in Alaska. I can do without putting shorts on the list."

The truth is, you never know what kind of weather will be thrown at you. People have gotten heat stroke in snowy weather. People have gotten hypothermia in the desert. This is a "general clothing" list because it includes a good general supply of clothing to keep you ready for any type of weather.

Another thought many people may have is about wearing fatigues when the SHTF. Fatigues certainly have their place on a list, but the general clothing list is not the one. The clothing on this list will help you to blend in with other people. This is the "gray man" method. It's a good idea to look like you're not well prepared, well armed survivalist. That makes you a target of looters and a person of interest to everyone from your neighbors to the police to government agents when a crisis occurs.

More specialized items of clothing such as prescription glasses or fatigues are covered by other categories.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Be vigilant...

Americans today need to be more and more vigilant of the overreach by the federal government in our daily lives. The fed continues to seek out new ways to be intrusive and gain increasing levels control. One of the ways they seek control, possibly the most dangerous way, is through gun control. Whatever they choose to call it, be it "common sense gun safety legislation" or "gun violence prevention measures", it is not about safety or reducing violence. Gun violence has been steadily decreasing since 1984, according to FBI statistics. The real focus of these measures is gaining another degree of control over the American populace.

The gun control debate should be a very simple discussion, open and closed. However, the goal of the "anti-gunners" is to muddy the debate and make it as complex and confusing as possible. Looking at only a few things can show that when law abiding gun owners are empowered to maintain arms and defend themselves, the result is a positive one.

One thing to look at is violent crime rates in places where gun ownership is rare or non-existent. For instance, in Great Britain the violent crime rate is significantly higher than the violent crime rate in the US. The US in 2010 reported 403 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In Great Britain, the rate was over 2,000 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people. In Australia, an almost total ban on gun ownership has resulted in almost no change in violent crime or even firearm related crime.

Another thing to pay attention to is the violent crime rate in the so called "gun control Meccas" in the US. President Obama once stated that Chicago is a model for America on the gun control issue. Today, Chicago is among the most dangerous cities in America due to their high rate of firearm related crime, gang related crime and overall violent crime. Other cities with strict gun control coupled with high crime rates are Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri, New Orleans, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Stockton, California and Los Angeles, California.

The issue of mass shootings needs to be touched on. Every time there is a mass shooting, the gun control advocates seize on it to push their agenda. Chicago governor Rahm Emanuel, one of America's biggest gun control advocates, spelled it out for us when he said "never let a crisis go to waste". These advocates ignore the fact that mass shootings actually occur less frequently than in past decades. They also ignore that when a mass shooting does occur, almost every single one occurs in a location where law abiding citizens are prohibited from legally carrying a firearm, the shooter rarely uses a so called "high powered, military style assault weapon" and the shooter rarely carries "high capacity magazine clips".

The last point I want to make on the issue of gun control, or "common sense gun violence prevention legislation" as the fed wants to call it, is that the people who are being demonized the most are not the ones who are committing the crimes. The ones who are committing the vast majority of firearm related crimes are criminal to begin with who are already supposed to be prohibited from possessing a gun. The fed already does not properly enforce laws we have on the books. Instead, they seek to enact new strict laws that will only affect people who are not committing crimes. NRA members are not robbing banks or conducting drive by shootings in Chicago. The nearly insignificant number of guns purchased without background checks at gun shows are not being used against police in Detroit. The Ruger 10/22 given to a boy by his dad for Christmas is not ending up in the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. Therefore, there is no reason to enact to laws that will infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding Americans.

Unless of course, the real goal isn't about reducing crime, but rather increasing the control the fed has over the American people...

Podcast appearance on 02 August, 2013.

I was recently invited to do an interview on a libertarian-based podcast. It went well and we discussed a broad range of topics. Here is the interview. I really enjoyed the discussion and hope to make more appearances in the future.

List of Lists - Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear (CBRN)

Sorry for the slow posting, life has been busier lately and I've thought about what I was going to do for the next post in the "List of Lists" subject. I've decided to skip the bug out bag and book lists for now. The bug out bag concept certainly deserves a post completely separate from these other subjects. You'll see why later, as a bug out bag is a highly personalized and detailed animal. The subject of books is being skipped for right now simply because I need to do more research on the matter. The book list has the potential to be the longest part of your list of lists because while you can always be stocked on beans, bullets and Band-Aids, you can never be stocked well enough on knowledge and skills. So I will discuss bug out bags and books at a later time.

Therefore, the next subject on the list is the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) preparation list.

History has seen the use of biological warfare dating back as far as the dark ages. In WWI, chemical warfare was conducted with mustard gas. In WWII, the atomic bomb was the first use of nuclear warfare. While many people view a CBRN type of event as one of the less likely events to bring on TEOTWAWKI, one should be prepared for such an event. The alternative can be painful.

True, in the worst case scenario there may be no way to survive a CBRN event. If such an event occurs right where you're located, it may be the end for you. But in other circumstances, there are some things you can do to maximize your odds of survival. Some of the items that should be included on the CBRN list are:

- Gas mask and filters
- Heavy rubber gloves
- Heavy rubber boots
- Visqueen 10 mil sheet plastic
- Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) suit

The uses of these items are obvious. There are also resources for obtaining the full MOPP suit from military surplus stores and online surplus stores. Ensure that all items you receive are sealed in the original protective packaging.

Duct tape is an obviously beneficial item for securing the sheet plastic over doors and windows, but since it has so many other uses, I'll have it listed in a separate section of the list of lists.

The CBRN threat is admittedly one of the less likely events to happen. However, the entire point of preparing for TEOTWAWKI is to be ready for events that we don't foresee.

Friday, July 26, 2013

List of Lists - Barter & Charity

Many people may not think that barter in a post-SHTF situation is very important. Many people surely believe that charity is a non-factor. They see whatever may happen as an "every man for himself" type of society, or they see no society at all. However, this type of scenario is unlikely and unless you are surrounded by impassable terrain for many miles, you are likely to come across other people, possibly on a regular basis.

It times like that, it's important to protect yourself and your supplies. It's important to stay out of a situation in which you can be taken advantage of. But it is also arguably equally important to remember your humanity, and remember that part of our reason for being here is to help our fellow man.

Barter is likely to be a large part of the economic system in many types of SHTF scenarios. Charity, if conducted on a large enough scale, can have such a positive effect on a community post-SHTF that it may add a large degree of stability and cohesiveness. God tells us to be compassionate toward others in their time of need. It is possible and advisable to give to others when you can while simultaneously ensuring your own safety and security.

Some items that should be included on a good barter and charity list are:

- Cans of iodized salt
- Small bottles of alcohol for human consumption
- Matches
- Chocolate and candy
- 550 cord
- Duct tape
- Fishing line
- Playing cards
- Cooking spices
- Over the counter (OTC) medications

These are not the only items that can go on a barter and charity list, so tailor your list to what items you feel others may need or want, items you have in excess or items you can easily bear to part with. Additionally, you always have the choice to trade or give items that you have but aren't on this list. You never know when someone in need will return a favor to you, and friends in a survival situation are the best friends to have.

Skills can also be bartered. Some people may be willing to trade supplies if you will teach them how to build a fire with sticks, assemble a shelter, filter water, grow a garden or hunt small game. Everyone knows the adage "if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime". People will remember this sort of thing when the time comes.

Coins and currency are obvious options for barter if the receiving party feels there is value in it and if the monetary system is still in place. I'll wait to discuss coins and other currency for the "finance" category of the "list of lists". It is likely that our current monetary system will retain some degree of relevance in many types of scenarios, but depending on the needs of the people you come across, it may not be relevant at the time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your "List of Lists".

Yesterday I talked about the first step of preparing for a SHTF scenario. That first step is waking up and realizing that a SHTF scenario is a real threat. I also talked about doing research to set a good foundation for learning what it takes to be prepared. Right now I am going to talk about another important part of prepping. That is your "list of lists".

The term "list of lists" is something widely used by J.W. Rawles on SurvivalBlog. The list contains the many categories of supplies that someone would need during a SHTF scenario. The categories are:

- Barter & Charity
- Bug Out Bag (Main)
- Bug Out Bag (Additional Adults)
- Bug Out Bag (Children)
- Books
- Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN)
- Clothing (General)
- Communications
- Documents
- Finance
- Firearms
- Firefighting
- First Aid & Medical
- Food Preparation
- Food Storage
- Fuels
- Heirloom or Non-Hybrid Seeds
- Home
- Hunting, Fishing & Trapping
- Hygiene
- General Security
- Personal
- Tactical Living
- Tools
- Vehicles
- Water Filtration, Purification & Storage
- Websites

Each category will have items pertaining to that category. There is a 100% ideal "list of lists" posted on the left edge of the SurvivalBlog website by J.W. Rawles. I strongly recommend looking over his list carefully. That list is where I started when I began creating my own list that meets my needs, skill level and budget. For the more experienced and financially secure preppers and survivalists, the SurvivalBlog list is practical and doable. But for someone new to the game or someone who may not be making six figures a year, I have broken it down into a simpler, cheaper and easier to obtain "list of lists" until you are able to gather the items on J.W. Rawles more detailed and ideal list. Most of the items on my "list of lists" can be found at Walmart or easily online. Most of the items are very affordable. Everyday I will discuss a category of the list and the items in that category. I will start with the "Barter & Charity" section. For now, begin deciding how you would like to have your own list set up. I encourage everyone who makes a list to continue to update and refine your list as your needs, skill level and situation change. I also encourage you to print out a hardcopy of your list and keep it somewhere secure. Keeping a copy saved on your computer and yet another copy saved on a thumb drive is also recommended. Just remember that when one list gets updated, the other copies need to be updated in the same way. That way items don't get left off of any list.

Your "list of lists" is an extremely important step in becoming better prepared for any situation that arises. Please keep in mind, however, that acquiring a big pile of gear and supplies is not going to save you or your family. Skills are important, and they should be practiced and perfected. In the days ahead, I'll also be discussing important skills to have when the SHTF. For right now, we will focus on the importance of each category of your "list of lists".

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Where do I start?"

For someone just waking up to the need for preparation for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), the question "where do I start?" is a tough one. First of all, let me just say that simply waking up puts you ahead of at least 90% of the general public. But that alone is only step one and it won't keep you or your family alive. The most that will do is give you a little awareness of WHY you are dying beyond the obvious lack of food, water, shelter and security. The next step is to do some research. Getting a good baseline and foundation to learn from is key. Here are some of the resources that got me on the path after I woke up: - This is the world's most popular survivalism website. It's run by James Wesley, Rawles and is one of the best sources of information on the subject. J.W. Rawles is the real deal.

How to Survive The End of The World As We Know It - This book is written by J.W. Rawles and is a generalized, simple and well laid out guide for new people looking to get into the culture.

How to Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag - This book is written by Creek Stewart. It's a great guide on how to put together your bag that will help you get out of dodge (G.O.O.D.) when the stuff hits the fan (SHTF). A good bug out bag (BOB) is very important. - A large and very active forum for survivalists, preppers, hunters, gun and knife enthusiasts and everyone in between. They have thousands of members from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and many other locations and the members there have enlightened me more than any other resource I've found yet.

Needless to say, there are many other resources out there, but these are excellent to get you started on the path.

A political awakening.

Yesterday I talked about waking up to the reality that TEOTWAWKI is happening everyday somewhere. I also talked a little about the fact that it can and someday probably WILL happen on a national or worldwide scale. Now I want to talk about a different kind of awakening. A political awakening. There is something going on in our federal government today that almost all Americans are unaware of and many are unwittingly supporting. To understand what is happening, we have to first understand what our government was meant to be.

The founders of America intended for our government to set up in a very precise order of power. In their intentions, God is to be recognized as the supreme power, giving rights to the people. Those rights are natural rights. The right to defend yourself (the 2nd Amendment), the right to say what you want and practice your religion as you wish (the 1st Amendment), the right to maintain privacy (the 4th Amendment) and so on. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even if you're a non-believer, these natural rights are simply common sense, whoever or whatever they come from.

The people receive these rights and in turn delegate certain powers to city, county and other municipal governments. These small governments then delegate certain powers to their respective state governments. The state governments then delegate limited powers to the federal government. The federal government is supposed to be primarily responsible for protecting the people from foreign coercion (invasion or some other type of aggressive action) and to promote an environment where these unalienable rights will not be infringed.

"That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." - Declaration of Independence

In America today, the federal government is becoming increasingly destructive to these means. We see textbook violations of the 1st Amendment when we look at the Department of Justice investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen and seizure of emails of AP reporters. We see obvious attempts at violation of the 2nd Amendment by Kalifornia senator Diane Feinstein and Vice President Joe Biden. We see the largest violation of the 4th Amendment in history when we look at the NSA's "data mining" programs. The George Zimmerman trial conjures fears of violations of the 5th Amendment (He was found not guilty, but the DoJ has decided to investigate him for possible civil rights violations even though the FBI's own investigation stated that there were none).

The federal government has become too large and it's daily reach into our lives too intrusive.

The most unfortunate part of this is that a large number of Americans are all too willing to accept the federal government's explanation of all of these power grabs. They're all too willing to trade freedom for theoretical security.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin

Our liberties are slowly being eroded away in front of our eyes by an ever enlarging federal government. Democrats are doing everything they can to increase government control over as many sectors of public life as possible under the guise of taking care of people and providing safety and security. Republicans, who were SUPPOSED to be in favor of a smaller federal government, have not opposed the democrats on these measures. Instead, they have debated and then proposed alternate measures that still increase the size and scope of the federal government in other ways.

The federal government has become increasingly opaque, as opposed to the Obama Administration's vow to make it "the most transparent administration in history". In fact, the Obama Administration may be one of the most corrupt and secretive administrations in history. It is undeniable and verifiable that the Obama Administration is connected to a long list of scandals. The list includes but is not limited to;

- Fast and Furious gun running operation
- The Benghazi consulate terror attack
- The NSA PRISM program
- Solyndra and 123 Technologies companies
- The IRS targeting of conservative groups
- The sequester
- The largest federal deficit in history

The democrats and republicans in Congress have stepped on the individual states' rights to sovereignty by attempting to impose amnesty for illegal aliens. The fact that it is amnesty is undeniable, since an estimated 11 million people living illegally inside the US will immediately be given a type of legal status upon the passage of the immigration reform bill. I pray that it is defeated in the House of Representatives, but I expect that republicans will simply present changes to the bill to placate their voters, while leaving the most effective parts intact.

I could sit here and list dozens if not hundreds of other examples of federal government overreach, power grabs, intrusion, violations of the Bill of Rights and scandal cover ups. The Obama Administration is the primary source of most of these examples, but democrats and republicans in Congress are largely standing idle and either allowing it or enabling it.

I am certainly not advocating armed rebellion against the federal government, nor do I even yet believe that our federal government needs a full replacement, but it is time to start holding the government accountable and demand that they reduce their power and control over the people. We are not their subjects. They work for us.

If we allow this to continue, we will wake up one day and realize there is nothing left of our freedom. Our children will not know the free America we did.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why prepare?

When I open conversation with people regarding survivalism and prepping (I actually don't like that word) I often get one of a few types of responses:

- Jokes. The person starts joking around and talking about zombies and I know there isn't much I can do to get them to take it seriously.

- Unrealistic expectations. They think that they've got it all under control. They have an old 12 gauge their dad gave them and 6 or 7 shells in a drawer. They have a 4WD pickup and about a week of food in the house. They have matches and a camping lantern with a small bottle of propane. They have a couple flashlights and spare batteries. They honestly think they're good to go. When asked what they'll do when it all runs out, they always say they'll loot a grocery store or something.

- Dependence on others. Some people I talk to about it have someone else that they're leaving it all up to. Someone they know or are related to who lives in what they think is a great Bug Out Location (BOL) and has it all set up and ready to go. They're content to leave their survival to someone else. They're content to know little about survivalism because someone they know out in "the sticks" is going to take care of them. Well, go for it. It sure ain't me.

- The non-believers. The biggest group. These are the ones who simply don't think there is any need to prepare for "The End of the World as We know It" (TEOTWAWKI). They think the government agencies have it all under control. Someone in a black helicopter will swoop in and drop food and water and it'll be like a big camping trip. They're in complete denial. These people can often get a little rude and condescending about it.

The truth is, a lot of people in America don't even know what TEOTWAWKI really is. They think it means zombie hordes. They think it means a nuclear holocaust with few survivors. They think it means a nationwide earthquake. They don't understand that Hurricane Katrina was the end of the world as SOMEONE knew it, being trapped in the Lower 9th Ward for weeks without supplies. They don't realize that the LA riots were the end of the world as SOMEONE knew it, being trapped inside their business for days because it wasn't safe to leave. They don't realize that the tornados in Oklahoma were the end of the world as SOMEONE knew it, with their house blown away and nowhere to go. What about the hikers who get lost for a week in the Rockies? What about the fisherman who's boat breaks down somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico? What about the skydiver who gets blown off course into a swamp? What about the guy who gets laid off and goes a year with no income?

People need to wake up and realize that TEOTWAWKI is happening to people everyday. Sure, events like the polar ice caps melting or nationwide martial law after a terror attack or an economic collapse are a little less likely, but those types of things aren't going to be avoided forever. And even if they are, what about the "small" things? Do you want to take that chance?

If you do, then go back to sleep.

A great wealth of information.

For anyone interested in what survivalism and prepping is about and doesn't want to find out by watching the weirdos on "Doomsday Preppers", visit It's the most visited Survivalism webpage in the world for a reason.

A basic run down.

This blog is going to be a little of everything. I'll give a basic overview and then follow it up with more detail about what you can expect. Mostly this is my attempt to get used to "blogging" so I can give my FB friends a rest and so I can hopefully reach a larger audience one day. I'm also using this time to get accustomed to blogging via my iPhone app for Blogger. I'll start by giving some random blurbs about myself and my thoughts in no particular order of importance.

- I am a Christian. I won't try to force anything on anyone, but I'm also unapologetic about my faith.

- I am not politically correct, though I am also not racist, sexist, homophobic or any of those other words some people like to label those they disagree with, and I have no time for people who are.

- I am registered "no party affiliation" (NPA) on my voter registration card.

- The rules in my home are the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights.

- Even if you aren't a believer, you have to admit that the Ten Commandments are pretty good rules. They'll keep you out of jail!

- I plan to post pictures, articles, my own comments and stories, facts and figures, etc. I will try my best to post things that are verifiable, unless it's an opinion type of post. If I can't verify that's its credible, then I either won't post it or I will tell you that I can't verify it.

- I am politically libertarian with a conservative lean. Keep in mind that libertarian doesn't mean "Libertarian Party" and conservative doesn't mean "Republican Party". I would refer to myself as a "Constitutionalist".

- I support the 2nd Amendment and I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon for the state of Texas.

- I am from the Panhandle of Florida, born and raised. I've had Southern culture and values ingrained into me from birth.

- I guess I should say that I am part of the "survivalism" or "prepper" culture. Spare me the eye rolling and simply read on. I am somewhat new in the culture compared to some but I have a solid foundation of knowledge thanks to the likes of people like J.W. Rawles and members of As I learn more, I'll post more on it.

- I am not a conspiracy theorist. I have no time for people who go out of their way o deny all evidence so they can invent their own reality.

- My previous career was registered nursing. I am licensed in the state of Florida. My current career I choose not to elaborate on for right now for my own security. I will only go so far as to say that I have been blessed to learn of the world through it.

- I'm in my late-twenties. I have a wife and one child.

- I am very focused on freedom for Americans from tyranny. I am not anti-government. I am for small government, the way our Founders intended.

- I encourage self sufficiency. Through self sufficiency, there is freedom from control.

- I like 1970's and 1980's rock. Stuff like Peter Frampton, Kiss, ZZ Top, Poison, Mötley Crüe, etc. I like country. I also like "weird" stuff, like Flogging Molly.

More later. The app works alright.

New to this...

Well, here I am. I've been talking and rambling and preaching about what I see happening in America on FB and I don't think it's really reaching anyone except the choir. So I've started this blog to spill my thoughts and ideas and to relay facts to as many people as I can. Let's see how this goes...