Know Your Enemy

More Library Resources

2009 California Crime Weapons Report
This report shows how they manipulate data to show what they want.  I quick glance makes it appear that there is a huge number of handguns used in violent crimes.  But really, they are not looking at very many guns and the percentages don't matter.  The evil AR15 and AK47 only make up 5 of the 147 firearms they examined.  The .22, .25 and .380 make up far more of them. 

California Assault Weapons ID Guide
Some of you may not be old enough to remember what an extreme pain in the backside the Clinton '93 "assault weapon" ban was.  A basic Glock magazine that went for about $15 in 1992 went for $75 the next year.  A $79 SKS became a felony charge if you stuck a folding stock on it.  A $5 M-16 mag went for $25, but if it was newly manufactured, it was marked with the date and "For Law Enforcement/Government Use Only" and was a felony for mere possession by a non-cop. 

Luckily, the House and Senate saw the writing on the wall and allowed the ban to expire in 2003.  However, they got the idea for the original ban from our friends on the left coast, and subjects of the People's Republic of Kalifornia are still under the ban... in fact, their ban is even deeper.

A look through this guide will show the rest of us how fortunate we are to not live in California.  For those in California, see what you could have if you moved.  My brother recently asked me why I wouldn't look for a job in California.  One of the major reasons is that at least half of my gun safe would be illegal out there and I'd be a felon many times over for trying to import it.

Brady Campaign: Gun Violence in America - Proposals for the Obama Administration
The clowns over at the Brady Bunch came into 2009 thinking that they had Obama in their back pocket and that by now we'd be a gun-free society.  He ain't stupid, and pretty much avoided gun control so far.  But watch out.  He has disdain for gun owners.  Remember the comment about the "bitter clingers" with their guns and bibles?  He told a Brady leader that he had to be discreet on gun issues.  He recently told a Russian leader that he could not do much now, but to wait until after the election.  If he gets reelected, it is Katie bar the door for gun control.  He may not be able to get much done legislatively, but watch all the executive orders on imports and regulations.  Reading this booklet will give you an idea about what the anti-gunners are trying to achieve and how they want to trample on the Constitution.


The .44 Magnum for Survival?

It's Good Enough for Dirty Harry

"This is the .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and it can blow your head clean off."  "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

I've always been a fan of the .44 magnum.  Some would argue that it is too powerful for defense use by most folks.  Others might say the guns are too big to carry concealed or that the ammo is too heavy.

In the classic novel series, The Survivalist, by Jerry Ahern, one of the heroes, Michael Rourke, is a .44 magnum man, carrying a long barrel Ruger Redhawk with a scope and sling and a custom short barreled model as well.

My first .44 magnum was a blue steel Ruger Redhawk with a 5.5 inch barrel that I got for Christmas in 1984 or 85.  Over several years, I put a couple hundred rounds of full house loads through it and carried it in a Bianchi shoulder holster as I traipsed through the woods.  I put Pachmayer grips on it to help make it more controllable with the hot loads and had a handful of HKS speedloaders for it as well.  I even had a "Tackleberry" moment when I carried it to the range for my private security armed guard license training when I was 18 or 19.  At some point in my misspent mid-20s, I sold it and bought something else.  One of many guns I regret selling over the years.

A few years later I picked up my next .44, a 5.5 inch Ruger Super Blackhawk.  The Super Blackhawk is a large frame single action revolver with adjustable sights.  I picked up a western holster and belt rig for it with about 20 bullet loops along the belt and wore that on many camping and hiking trips, again putting several hundred 240 grain semi-jacketed hollow point rounds through it over time.  I realized it needed a mate, so I picked up a used Winchester Model 94 Trapper lever action carbine.  With the two, I had a stylish, old West combo that could be used to take any game in the eastern US, an amazing round that is more than capable against man or machine, accuracy out to about 125 yards, a fast 9 rounds from the carbine, and with the right holster and jacket - a relatively concealable sidearm.

That was my woods setup for a couple of years and then I got into Cowboy Action Shooting.  I eventually sold the Super Blackhawk and bought a pair of Ruger Bisley Vaqueros.  They are single action revolvers with fixed sights and a more traditional old West look than the Blackhawk.  I still use the 94 Trapper, but I shortened the magazine spring so that it would take 10 rounds of the .44 special rounds that I load for competition.  I have to replace the spring every couple of years.  I switched out the hammer and trigger springs in the Vaqueros to make them lighter and crisper.  I shoot "gunfighter" style (both guns simultaneously) and the Wolf springs really make it nicer to shoot.  With this setup, I use the lighter, slower .44 special rounds that I handload, I'm ready for competition.  With a change of ammo to my 240 grain SJHP, I have capable hunting and defensive rounds.  Plus, with my competition shooting, my skill with the lever action rifle and single action revolvers has risen dramatically. 

I still would not plan to carry the revolvers for defensive use on purpose, but I would certainly not feel undergunned with one of them.  The carbine is not as effective as my "black rifles" but would more than do the trick in a pinch.  Under all but the worst case gun control scenario such weapons would likely never be outlawed.

There are numerous other .44 magnums that are available and of use in a homesteading or survival scenario.  The Smith & Wesson 29/629 series is a classic double action revolver.  The Redhawk is available in a wide variety of barrel lengths and style ranging from scoped hunting weapons to short barreled small run "sheriff's" models.  In rifles, the 92 Winchester clones from EMF are probably a better choice than my 94 Trapper, and a fellow named Steve Young in Texas is the premier 92 gunsmith to get it running smooth and reliable.  The H&R HandiRifle is available in a number of different calibers including the .44.  There are even derringers in .44 if you are "man enough."  The round itself is available in a wide range.  You start with low powered and slow but hard hitting "cowboy" .44 special loads, the standard 240 grain SJHP defense round and hot, hard cast 300 grain bear rounds.

Consider the .44 magnum for your arsenal.  "Go ahead, make my day."


News Notes

Earthquake Prepping

On SurvivalBlog Wednesday, Jim Rawles has a very thorough guest post on earthquake prepping.  I don't know about wrapping my glass jars with socks, but it might not be a bad idea for some parts of the country.

"Say the Secret Woid"

If you said the "secret woid" on Groucho Marx's game show, a duck flew down and you won some money.  If you type one of several hundred secret woids on your blog, you get on the homeland security watch list.  I'm guessing I've already covered at least 2/3 of them.

My Governor, The Totalitarian

Good old Bob McDonnell, up and coming poster boy of the Republican party, has shown his true color as a big government abuser of the Constitution.  In a monthly interview show on WTOP radio, he praised the idea of using aerial drones in Virginia for law enforcement.  Equating the streets of Virginia with a back alley in Iraq or a stone age village in Afghanistan, "increased safety and reduced manpower are among the reasons the U.S. military and intelligence community use drones on the battlefield, which is why it should be considered in Virginia, he says."   Not that he had my vote, but he has certainly lost it.

The Reason for Tin Foil Hats

Twenty years ago, if you spoke about the Bilderbergers, you were assumed to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist.  Nowadays, if you speak about the Bilderbergers, you are assumed to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist, BUT they actually exist and they go to show that conspiracy theories usually have basis in fact.  They are meeting right now here in Virginia and are going to extreme security measures for their convention.


Memorial Day

I think the meaning of Memorial Day has been diluted.  It is not a day for cookouts and beer.  It's not a great time to buy sheets and towels on sale at Sears.  It's not the day to celebrate the military and veterans - Armed Forces Day was last week and Veterans' Day is Nov. 11.  Memorial Day is the day established to remember and honor those who gave their lives in battle to help protect our country.

From Wikipedia:

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from "Decoration Day" to "Memorial Day", which was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) advocate returning to the original date, although the significance of the date is tenuous.

The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address: Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.

Since 1987, Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, has introduced a measure to return Memorial Day to its traditional date.

After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all 50 states adopted Congress's change of date within a few years. Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe because it marks the unofficial beginning of summer.

In times of war, my family has always made men available to go and serve.  None of my family members have made a career of the military and thankfully, none have made the ultimate sacrifice.  I've only known two men who have.  Today I'll lift a toast to them.

LCpl. Troy Gregory, USMC

From YellowFootprints.com: In December 1990, Troy Gregory answered his country’s call and deployed to Saudi Arabia with Battery H, 3/14 which was mobilized and then attached to 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. Gregory served with the Headquarters Battery during 1st Marine Division’s assault in Kuwait. On the night of 25 February, the Battalion CP occupied a new position in support of Task Force Papa Bear. A security patrol, which included Lance Corporal Gregory, was organized to investigate an enemy bunker adjacent to the new CP position. While conducting this patrol, Gregory stepped on an Iraqi land mine and was critically wounded. Despite quick evacuation to a Naval Hospital, he died the following day of his wounded. LCpl Gregory received the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon for his services during Desert Storm.

I did not know LCpl. Gregory well.  I was on the gun line and he was in our headquarters platoon.  He was the only loss of our unit and affected us all.  His daughter was born about 6 months after his death. 

2nd Lieutenant Almar Fitzgerald, USMC

From MilitaryTimes.com: Died February 21, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Lexington, S.C.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; attached to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); died Feb. 21 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds sustained Feb. 18 when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq.

Almar worked with me for a couple of his summers off from being a cadet at The Citadel.  He had a small stature, but a huge personality.  I know I raised a few eyebrows at The Citadel when my girlfriend (now wife) and I rolled up in the middle of the campus on my Harley looking for him one Spring afternoon when we were cruising around South Carolina, but I imagine that it surprised none of his friends.  I had lost track of Almar and didn't know that he had deployed to Iraq when I heard about his death.

Rest in Peace, Marines.  Semper Fidelis!


Too Much, Too Fast?

Stop, Slow Down, Or Keep On Truckin'?

I was talking to an acquaintance the other day.  This guy began prepping in earnest within the past two years.  Numerous guns, thousands of rounds of ammo (along with training and practice), Berkey filters, Mylar lined buckets of wheat and rice, cases of freeze dried #10 cans, communications gear, precious metals, water storage, hygiene items, fishing equipment, generator, stored fuel, all stored up and ready to go.  He is currently looking for a CONEX box to keep a car and electronic equipment stored in as mitigation for an EMP attack or solar storm.

If he would listen to my advice, I'd offer three things...
  1. Move-or at least get a BOL a couple of hours outside of town.  This guy lives with his family in a very densely populated, mega subdivision.  It is the "right" address for the young up-and-comers in this area.  In a social breakdown, it will be near the top of the list for every thug, gang, and general ne'er-do-well for a 30 mile radius.  If/when a serious pandemic hits, there is no way that he and his family could be self sustaining in that location for more a week or two, and I know that a microscopic number of his neighbors are prepared, so separation from the diseased and infected will be nearly impossible.
  2. Start eating the stored food.  He has cases of long-term storage food, and several weeks worth of "regular" canned and dried goods in the pantry.  The family eats and rotates the pantry foods, but to my knowledge they don't ever use any of the LTS foods.  I would encourage him to use it for a couple of reasons... first, to know how to cook with it and what foods they like and don't like; second, because they have three young children who I doubt will be easy to satisfy with the "new" and "unusual" LTS foods in a highly stressful SHTF situation.
  3. Slow down.  He reminds me of where I was in 1998-1999 getting ready for Y2K.  Except he is a successful businessman with a family.  Financially, I'm not concerned if he wants to spend as much money as he does, because doing so is not driving him into debt or taking food out of his childrens' mouths.  But I am concerned about him losing focus or motivation.  If he keeps prepping full speed ahead, and "the big one" doesn't come, he's likely to turn his energy elsewhere and lose interest in prepping.  When that day comes, I hope I am standing by with a wad of cash, because I bet I can take a lot of it off of his hands for a whole lot less than what he bought it for.
Sometimes, you just need to slow down, go for a Sunday drive, and turn off the worry.

Tropical Storm Beryl

She's getting ready to make landfall near the Florida/Georgia border.  She'll then likely hug the coast up past the Outer Banks of North Carolina before heading out to see.  If you are in or near her path, please keep your NOAA Weather Alert radio turned on and heed the warnings

Zombie Apocalypse

Did you catch this story out of Miami?  Wow!


Prepper FAIL

Forgot My Wallet

I usually fill up every other day.  I use almost a third of a tank a day and just can't make myself fill up every day.  Yesterday I got to work as usual, planning to fill up before I left for home in the afternoon.  I realized about halfway through the morning that I had left my wallet at home.  But, I'd be OK, I could make it home on what I had in the tank.  A little later, I took a drive out to a couple of spots in the city, completely forgetting I had to conserve my gas.  I drove past a restaurant that had a sign out front claiming the best fish sandwich in town. 

As I contemplated a tasty fish sandwich I remembered that I had no wallet and whoops, I need to save my gas.  But then I thought, no, I'll be fine, I'll just use my debit card... no, that is in my wallet.  I started heading back to the office and as I passed a credit union, I thought, oh, here's my solution, I'll write a check for cash at the CU to buy gas... nope, I keep my extra check in my wallet.  Oh, good!  Here comes one of the pawn shops that are all over town.  I always carry a Silver Eagle coin, I'll just pawn it for $15 or so, and come back Tuesday and get it out of pawn.  Durn it, I carry my Silver Eagle in my wallet.  I used to carry $100 cash in my BOB in the back of the Element.  Unfortunately, at some point I had dug into it but never replaced it.

As I pulled back in the office parking lot, I realized that at the end of the day I had to go to the far eastern end of the city for meeting before heading home (adding about 30 miles to my already 56 mile trip home).  I would "probably" have enough gas to get home.  Leaving my meeting and heading west on the interstate, I ran into the worst westbound traffic I had seen in several years.  I was at a complete stop in about a 6 mile backup.  After about 20 minutes of creeping along, I was able to take an exit and get back in town.

Back on the city streets, traffic was still horrible.  It was taking 5 to 6  cycles to get through each stop light.  Time and gas were both slipping away.  I was able to take some side streets and save about 15 minutes.  As I finally made it out of town and hit the interstate where I normally get on, I had been on the road for an hour already and my low fuel light came on.  I was pretty doubtful of making it home.

I got off about 20 miles from my exit at a 7-11 right off the interstate.  I knew I had some change stashed in my ashtray, but didn't know how much.  I was hoping for about $3.50 so I could get a full gallon, and it would more than likely get me home.  I was going to count of karma and the kindness of strangers if I didn't have enough. 

Turns out I had $5.42 and was able to get 1.505 gallons.  Hooray!  I could make it all the way home without panhandling!

So, how do I keep this from happening again?  First thing, put some cash back in the BOB.  Next, replenish my spare change ashtray.  Finally, stick an extra Silver Eagle or two in the Element, hidden somewhere that I won't forget.


Homestead Truck

The Adventures of Mighty Mits

Today on The Survival Podcast, Jack interviewed a young man who had a great deal of knowledge to share about ATVs and UTVs for survival or homestead use.  They also delved into other off road rigs like military vehicles and 6x6 amphibious things.  But they didn't mention one of my favorites.

Back in the early 90's, at work we bought a couple of Mitsubishi Mighty Mits trucks.  They were 4x4, tilt/dump beds, with fully enclosed cabs.  Those little things would go anywhere, and haul several hundred pounds in the bed.

Here's some detail from a DOT application response:

The submission describes the vehicle as a lightweight work vehicle, which consists of a frame construction and a cargo bed. Its overall length is 125.8 inches. The cargo bed measures 52.4 inches wide and 76.4 inches long. The vehicle has a curb weight of 1,300 pounds and is powered by a 30 h.p. gasoline-powered, 3-cylinder internal combustion engine. Its tires measure 5.00-10.00 (standard), or 20 x 8.0-10 (optional) and has a top speed of 21.7 mph (35 km/h).

The Mighty Mits is available in three models. The first model is equipped with a full cab with top, doors and full glass, (windshield, rear glass and side windows). The second model has a cab with top, partial glass (windshield and rear glass), and side bars, but no doors. The third model has a cab with top, no glass or doors and only side bars. The submission states that each cab version of the vehicle may be available in a two or four wheel drive and may be equipped with a tilt bed, which gives the vehicle dumper capability.

Brochures describing the vehicles state that they are rugged, dependable multipurpose vehicles that cover a variety of general work needs. They also state that these vehicles are designed with rugged construction to handle heavy loads and easy maneuverability to negotiate varying terrain.

One of the great things about the Mits is the top speed of 21.7 mph.  Seems they had governors on them, but if you were cruising along at top speed, you could put in the clutch, turn the ignition quickly off and then on again, and release the clutch to jump the governor.  You could do this at least twice after topping out, bringing the speed up to about 60 or so.  Quite a thrill in such a tiny rig!

Here's what one looks like:

As cool as these things were, they have not been available new for quite a while.  There seem to be some Internet groups dedicated to preserving and rebuilding them.  I could not find any for sale, however... not even on EBay.  I did find a recently closed GSA auction for one that was all beat to heck and did not run.  It sold for a mere $110, I'd assume to someone who had one and wanted some spare parts.

Anyway, if you have a need for a rugged, yet small off-road utility vehicle, see if you can track down a Mighty Mits.


Homeland Security?

As G. Gordon Liddy would say, here is my review of and comment upon the news...

From the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center - Open Source Report

(U) Got Internet?

For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer. Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. After July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet. Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. In November, The FBI arrested 5 Estonians who were running a part of the scam. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet's domain name system. Basically, the virus is inflicted on a computer through advertisements which customers were tricked into visiting; the fake website reprogrammed victim computers so that they must rely on rogue, hacker servers for Internet service. This means that hackers can redirect victims‟ computers to fraudulent versions of almost any website. The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing.

Analysis Note: Most of the victims are probably individual home users, rather than corporations that have technology staffs who routinely check the computers. The malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems. The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org/ that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem. The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, initially the FBI believed that at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. As of this March, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The U.S. has the most, about 85,000. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.

If It Hits The Fan's Note:  In the overall scheme of things, it is pretty unlikely that you have been affected by this virus, but it might be worth it to visit the FBI partner site.  Then again, I don't know that I want to invite the FBI's partner into my computer.

(U) Planning Traffic Routing in No-Notice Disasters

Spontaneous evacuations of New York City and Washington, D.C. following the 9/11 terrorist attacks demonstrated that U.S. cities are not prepared to manage the sudden influx of traffic into roads and highways following a no-notice disaster. The Mineta Transportation Institute has released its newest peer-reviewed research report, A Framework for Developing and Integrating Effective Routing Strategies within the Emergency Management Decision-Support System. It describes the modeling, calibration, and validation of a multi-modal traffic-flow simulation of the San Jose, California, downtown network. It also examines various evacuation scenarios and first-responder routings to assess strategies that would be effective during a no-notice disaster. Other cities can use the models to plan their own emergency traffic routings.
“Spontaneous evacuations of New York City and Washington, D.C. following the 9/11 terrorist attacks demonstrated that U.S. cities are not prepared to manage the sudden influx of traffic into roads and highways following a no-notice disaster,” said Dr. Anurag Pande, one of the study‟s authors. “For many years, anticipated events such as hurricanes have been the basis for evacuation planning. Now we see increasing interest in evacuation planning based on hypothetical no-notice events.” Pande noted that advances in computing technologies have made it possible to simulate urban transportation networks in great detail with programs such as VISSIM, which was used in this study. These traffic simulation models can be used to devise strategies for evacuation and emergency response in the event of a disaster.

The modeled network required a large amount of data on network geometry, signal timings, signal coordination schemes, and turning-movement volumes. Turning-movement counts at intersections were used to validate the network with the empirical formula-based measure known as the GEH statistic. This measure is used in traffic engineering and traffic modeling to compare two sets of traffic volumes. Once the base network was tested and validated, various scenarios were modeled to estimate evacuation and emergency vehicle arrival times. Based on these scenarios, a variety of emergency plans for San Jose's downtown traffic circulation were tested and validated.

The study's authors say that by entering their local data, other communities can leverage this framework to evaluate their own emergency scenarios. The models also can be used to help train emergency responders, who can see the immediate results of specific decisions. They can also help communities plan traffic flow for road closures, construction, major events, and other situations that affect mobility.

Analysis Note: Evacuating major municipal areas efficiently and effectively during emergencies and disasters is a critical task for public safety planners and emergency response leaders. A 2011 study by Texas A&M University finds that the DC metropolitan area is number one in traffic congestion. Last week the INTRIX Traffic Scorecard ranked the DC area as number six in traffic congestion.
If It Hits The Fan's Note:  Here in Va. there are preinstalled roadblock gates on the I-64E entrance and exit ramps between the beach and Richmond, about 100 miles.  If an evacuation of the coast is ordered, it needs to be decided a couple of days out, and the lane reversal will stop 8 hours before the hurricane makes landfall.  That will leave miles of bumper to bumper traffic stopped and stranded on the highway.
Just another example of why it is so important to have your own multiple escape routes rather then depend on official detours.

(U) New Law Allows Mobilizing Reservists to Respond to Natural Disasters

New authority in this year's Defense Department authorization act allows reservists in Air Force Reserve Command and other reserve components to be called to duty in response to natural disasters or emergencies in the homeland. The law also permits mobilizations for extended periods to support theater security missions around the world. An Air Force Reserve Commands release reports that except for a crisis involving a weapon of mass destruction, the reserves historically have been prohibited from providing a homeland disaster response.

State governors can call up the National Guard if a natural disaster is too large for civil authorities to handle. If more forces are needed - as when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005 — active-duty service members became the federal default force. “Our reservists have been asked and often volunteer to assist after disasters hit the homeland,” said Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., chief of Air Force Reserve and AFRC commander. “Mobilizing needed reservists will help sustain their support for longer periods and make operations more efficient. We mobilize reservists to handle contingencies overseas, so it makes sense that we do that to take care of our own country.”

Air Force reservists possess special skill sets to deal with disasters. For example, Hurricane Hunters from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., fly WC-130 reconnaissance missions into tropical storms before the destruction strikes land. After areas are swamped by storms, specially equipped AFRC C-130s can spray for harmful insects that thrive in stagnant waters. C-130 airborne firefighters from Peterson AFB, Colo., in conjunction with three Guard C-130 units, battle wildfires when commercial resources are overwhelmed. In addition to these units, the Air Force Reserve has other reservists and aircraft to shuttle response personnel, supplies and equipment into disaster areas as well as take victims out of harm‟s way. “With this new authority, we will be able to make greater contributions to our nation in times of need,” Stenner said.
The release notes that the inability to help communities has frustrated the chiefs of the reserve components, who see no sense in bypassing local reservists simply because they operate under federal “Title 10” authority and not state “Title 32” authority. “In a lot of cases, there were reserve-component Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who were close at hand with the capabilities needed, but they didn‟t have the authority to act,” said Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of Army Reserve. “Finally, we got the law changed. This new legislation says that now we can use Title 10 reserves.” For these forces to be used, the law specifies that the president must declare an emergency or disaster, and a state governor must request the assistance. Under the new law, some aspects of disaster relief will not change. Civil authorities will remain the first responders. Moreover, if military support is needed, National Guard forces will be the first to step in when called by their state governor. However, if a situation also demands a federal response, reserve forces can step in to assist for up to 120 days.

In order for this new authority to work, “We just have to make sure we have the procedures and processes worked out,” Stultz said. Now, before the authority is actually needed, is the time to get that resolved, he said. “Let‟s not wait until a hurricane hits to say, „How do we do it?‟” he said. Another change in the 2012 authorization act allows Title 10 reservists to be called to duty to support unnamed overseas contingencies. The reserve components have a long history of deploying members for medical, engineering and other missions to support theater engagement and security cooperation efforts. Typically, they perform these missions as part of their annual tour and on a rotational basis with reservists from other units. “With this new authority, now we can send them down for much longer periods of time,” Stultz said. As operations wind down in Afghanistan, Stultz said, he hopes reservists will be more available to support combatant commanders‟ theater engagement campaigns. A hospital unit, for example, could potentially spend three months rather than a few weeks supporting a medical mission in Central or South America, Africa or Asia. In addition, at the end of that three-month period, another reserve unit could rotate in to replace them. This additional capability, Stultz said, would give combatant commanders far more assets to support their engagement strategies across their areas of responsibility, even at a time of dwindling resources. SOURCE

Analysis Note: Civil authorities will remain the first responders. When they need military support, National Guard forces will be the first to step in when called by their state governor. When a situation also demands a federal response, reserve forces can step in to assist for up to 120 days.
If It Hits The Fan's Note: This gives me concern.  I am very proud of my service as a U.S. Marine Corps reservist.  My unit was activated and served with distinction in combat operations during Desert Storm.  Quite a few of us were cops or firefighters for our civilian jobs.  We would have been much more useful to our communities during a disaster by staying in service with our local agencies.  This article does not mention anything about how reservists will be used in disasters.  I see this as an end run around Posse Commitatus, which prohibits U.S. military personnel from being used for civilian law enforcement.  It seems to be conveniently left out.


Troubling Times

Flesh Eating Bacteria

There have been three cases lately of people falling victim to the flesh eating bacteria in Georgia.  Most of us have heard about the young woman who cut her leg while on a zip line over a river.  She has been in intensive care, and had a leg, other foot, and both hands amputated. Another woman got it in the hospital after giving birth to twins.  The most recent is a man who probably got it from using a string trimmer and got a small cut on his leg from flying debris.  He has had two pounds of diseased flesh removed from his groin area.

There is really no way to prevent it.  Treatment includes powerful intravenous antibiotics and aggressive removal of diseased tissue, often including amputation.

Signs and symptoms from Wikipedia:

Over 70% of cases are recorded in patients with one of the following clinical situations: immunosuppression, diabetes, alcoholism/drug abuse, malignancies, and chronic systemic diseases. It occasionally occurs in people with an apparently normal general condition.

The infection begins locally at a site of trauma, which may be severe (such as the result of surgery), minor, or even non-apparent. Patients usually complain of intense pain that may seem excessive given the external appearance of the skin. With progression of the disease, often within hours, tissue becomes swollen. Diarrhea and vomiting are also common symptoms.

In the early stages, signs of inflammation may not be apparent if the bacteria are deep within the tissue. If they are not deep, signs of inflammation, such as redness and swollen or hot skin, develop very quickly. Skin color may progress to violet, and blisters may form, with subsequent necrosis (death) of the subcutaneous tissues.

Furthermore, patients with necrotizing fasciitis typically have a fever and appear very ill. Mortality rates have been noted as high as 73 percent if left untreated. Without surgery and medical assistance, such as antibiotics, the infection will rapidly progress and will eventually lead to death.

The Wikipedia page also shows some horrific photographs.

If you have the slightest thought that you may have been exposed to Necrotizing Fasciitis, please, please, please seek immediate ER attention and tell them of your suspicions.  This stuff is nothing to mess around with.

Racial Turmoil

As the Zimmerman/Martin case goes on, there seems to be an increase in "random" attacks on whites by blacks around the country.  Two reporters in nearby Norfolk, Va. were attacked by a mob at a stoplight.  A man in Baltimore was attacked, stripped and robbed as a crowd laughed and cheered on his attackers.  This week in Denver a woman was attacked at the McDonald's drive through and one of them said, "this is for you, you white b****."  A 78 year old man in Toledo was brutally beaten by several youths yelling "this is for Trayvon."

This is obviously not done or condoned by the vast majority of black people.  I truly hope that it won't lead to white mob attacks on random blacks, but there are people who have that as their goal.  I think that what the rest of us can do is practice situational awareness and don't get lured in to a confrontation.  Of course, that is just good common sense no matter your race.

Institutional Corruption

Asset forfeiture laws can be used effectively and properly.  When organized crime results in illegally gained wealth, forfeiture can be used to bring them down and to continue fighting such crime.  However, some law enforcement agencies misuse it to pad their coffers at the expense of innocent citizens and the trampling of the Constitution.  Here's a recent example out of Tennessee:

But There Is Some Good News!

The good folks at Emergency Essentials are having a great sale on long term storage foods and other survival gear going through May 31.  I am an affiliate, so if you go to their website through my link in the upper right corner, I'll get a small commission on any purchases you make, and it won't cost you anything extra.  Thanks!


Updates From Friends

Ek Commando Knives

I was chatting with an old family friend the other day.  Bob Buerlein is the owner and president of Ek Commando Knives.  Ek started in WWII and their handmade knives have been carried in every engagement since.  Today Bob sent me his latest President's Club newsletter which revealed that he is releasing a very limited edition Historical Edition Model 1, a copy of the original Model 1, sheath and box that John Ek made for the troops of the greatest generation.  He's only making 300 of these and the knife itself is going for a VERY reasonable $289.  Display case and sheath are extra, but still reasonable.  This is a really good looking knife, and it's design is combat proven.  If you are in the market for a fighting knife, check out the Ek HE1, or one of the other great designs.

The Berkey Guy

The Berkey Guy, Jeff Gleason, was the first sponsor of If It Hits The Fan.  He just completed a complete redesign of his website at http://www.directive21.com/ that makes it much more user friendly.  He doesn't just have Berkey Water Filter Systems, he has long term storage foods, seed vaults, and other great (and sometimes hard to find) survival needs.  I've been using our Big Berkey for all of our drinking water since our well went a little funky a few weeks ago and will keep it in use from here on out.  Check out Jeff's new site design and if you don't have a Berkey, consider ordering one from him.


I shot a video product review this afternoon of the FloodSax sandbag replacement.  This is a cool product that has lots of potential.  I'll get it edited and posted to the YouTube channel soon.

Boot Reviews

Got the new Boy's Life magazine today and they have a good article on a review of several different brands of hiking boots.  The information is pretty good... the reader comments after the reviews were obviously written by young teen boys.  If you are in the market for new hiking boots, give this article a looksee.


Updates From The Homestead

What Have I Done To Prep Lately?

The Garden - Well, my greenhouse experiment didn't go as well as I had hoped.  None of my peppers sprouted.  I did get 17 tomato plants to come up, though.  The Gorilla Tape that I used to attach all the plastic sheeting on the greenhouse ended up not sticking too great.  The stuff is amazing if you wrap it, but simply holding a flat piece of plastic to another one or to a PVC pipe just didn't last.  Part of the roof collapsed, so I ended up cutting away part of the plastic roof so that rain and partial direct sunlight could hit the plants to help harden them.  I'll get the 17 plants in the garden box this week.  The soil is nicely prepped with some fresh topsoil and kitchen waste compost.

Project BOV Jeep - I replaced a couple of hoses and clamps in the engine, got most of my exterior lights working (still need to fix the brake and backup lights), put on a new fan belt, and ordered new dash lamp "thingamabobs" (that's the technical term for them).  I'm putting together a small emergency kit to mount in the rear of it.

Workshop Storage - I had let my shelves and cabinets in the shop get a little disorganized, so I spend some quality time out there reorganizing and straightening up in there.  I can now easily put my hands on items ranging from holsters to tools to toiletries to canned goods.

Pantry - We've been adding to our food stores on a regular and gradual basis.  Rotation, FIFO, eat what your store, store what you eat, copy canning... it is always ongoing

Weapons - I've got my eye on a Colt Trooper MkIII .357 revolver that a guy I know is looking to get rid of.  Also, my wife took a skeet shooting lesson and was not only pretty good, but really enjoyed it.  We'll be looking for a new shotgun for her soon.

There is always something going on and work to be done.

News You Can Use

This month's Women's Health magazine (I read Survival Mom over vacation this week... do I need to be concerned?) has a quick blurb about the numbers used on produce labels.  If it has five digits, starting with an 8, it was genetically modified.  If it has four digits, it was grown conventionally.  If it has five digits, starting with a 9, it was grown organically.  Actually, thanks to my wife for noticing this and passing it on.


Book Review: Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford

Are You A Survival Mom?

Lisa Bedford was kind enough to have her publisher send me a copy of her new book, Survival Mom, to review.  Who is Lisa Bedford?  A couple of years ago, she was a blogger, plugging along on http://www.thesurvivalmom.com/.  A guest appearance on Glenn Beck's Fox News show got her a huge boost.  Last year she was on the pilot episode of Doomsday Preppers, and is one of the few folks they've featured who did not come across as a loon.  Now, she has her first book out, Survival Mom, from  Harper Collins Publishers.

Now, obviously, I am not her target demographic, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  The short review: This is a great book!

Here's some more detail...

Lisa did a great job writing this book.  It's easy to read without being aimed at the lowest common denominator.  Her sense of humor and her personality come through in her writing, and she gets some very serious points across as well.  The information that she presents is accurate, well reasoned, and thorough.  I really like the many charts and checklists that she includes, and I appreciated the many sayings and quotes that she gathered to use as margin notes.

The book is named Survival Mom for a reason.  It is very clearly aimed at women in general and mothers in particular.  The prepper guys out there who are trying to get their wives on board should give them a copy.  A single mom or a prepper wife whose husband is not on board will also benefit.  If you are trying to encourage a family member to prep, this is the book you should give or recommend to them.  It would also make a good wedding or baby shower gift.  The book has tons of information for the novice prepper, but also plenty that an experienced prepper can learn from.

These are my views as a male experienced prepper.  To try and get a better perspective on the book, I'm going to ask a couple non-prepping moms to read it and write reviews for you as well.


Small, But Loud

Small Watch Dogs

When we think about a dog for a retreat location or for home security, thoughts turn to German Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, or, like my neighbors a few lots down, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.  All of these are large, protective, fierce looking and loud.  They also eat a lot, need to be well trained and disciplined, and can be intimidating to guests.

There are other, smaller options.  The Lhasa Apso is one such breed.  The Lhasa Apso originated in Tibet, and was developed as a household sentinel for Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monks.  The first Lhasa Apsos in the US were given as a gift in 1933 from the 13th Dalai Lama.  Among the many fans of the breed have been Bob & Delores Hope, Elizabeth Taylor, and your's truly.

Our dog, Louis (pronounced Louie), is nearly nine years old, yet still has a lot of puppy activity in him.  As is typical of the breed, he is very loyal and loving to us, very sociable with welcome guests, and very alert and territorial.  If someone pulls in our driveway, he lets us know it.  If we are out back, and someone drives down the neighbor's driveway past our yard, he will run and bark along the fence until they are long gone.  He also defends our airspace from crows and vultures, keeps rabbits and squirrels out of the garden, and will monitor the undersink cabinet for hours on end if he detects a mouse under there.  He has even adopted the practice of conducting a scan of the backyard perimeter from the porch as the last thing he does before going to bed each night.  If we try to go to bed without him doing it, he is very antsy and will not let me go to sleep until I get out of bed and he herds me down the hall and I open the back door for him to make his check.

If you want a pet that can function as a watchdog, without the trouble and feeding expenses of a large, traditional one, check out the Lhasa Apso.

Louis says Lhasa Apsos rule!


Dream Prepping

Can You Survive On The Beach?

We just got back from a relaxing short vacation in Duck, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We typically spend a few days there each spring, and as I sit on the beach, watching the dolphins and pelicans while I enjoy a cigar, my thoughts sometimes wander to what it would be like to use a place like Duck as a BOL or permanent retreat.

I'm sure that many of us have dreamt of hitting the lotto jackpot and buying 1,000 acre spread in the mountains of Montana with a bunker, several years of food, small livestock, and a completely off-grid 5,000 square foot log cabin... but what other options are there for the lottery millionaire survivalist?

If you are not familiar with the Outer Banks, they are the barrier islands blocking the North Carolina coastline from the ravages of tides, waves and even hurricanes.  Among the islands and communities are Roanoke (where "the Lost Colony" was before disappearing, Ocracoke (where Blackbeard based his pirate operations), Hatteras (home of one of the iconic East Coast lighthouses), Nags Head (where the Wright brothers first achieved powered flight), Duck (former home of a munitions impact area) and Corolla (known for wild horses descended from those left behind by shipwrecked Spanish treasure hunters in the 17th century). 

So, would it work?  First the negatives: small lot size, no ground fresh water, limited wildlife, extremely crowded during "the season," and very susceptible to hurricanes and tropical weather systems.  But let's take a look at how it could work if you had a giant jackpot at your disposal.  I'll use Duck as the location.

First, access: After crossing from the mainland on the Rt. 158 bridge to Southern Shores, you take a left and head up highway 12.  It is the only way to go north through Duck, into Corolla and it ends at a beach access point where there are no roads for the last few miles of NC beach to the Virgina border.  There a person would find a very inhospitable state park facility with a beach/desert/wilderness.  Essentially, other than by boat, there is only one way in and one way out of Duck.  It is between a couple hundred yards and about a half mile wide from the Atlantic beach to the sound shore.  Were a SHTF scenario happen, it would be a simple matter to barricade the highway and only allow in those who own property. A "neighborhood watch" of sorts could be established for a coastal boat patrol.  At the Army Corps of Engineers facility on the impact area, they have a very long pier and a very tall watch tower.

I'd construct an elevated home on the beach front.  The dune system is well established and provides good protection.  I'd have the home engineered to be much more durable than the typical beach house, with concrete pillars, hardyplank siding, steel framing, and shatter-resistant windows covered by roll-down steel hurricane shutters.  The roofs there usually have a number of angles and profiles.  I'd use that as a fresh water collection source during rain, feeding to a cistern for use when municipal water sources fail.  The roof itself would be covered in solar panels and a small wind turbine would combine to be the primary power source (I'd stay grid tied, but have battery power storage).  I'd naturally include a safe room, along with storage for weapons, equipment and food.

You'd think that a coastal island would not be suitable for growing food, but you'd be surprised.  The area is surprisingly covered in brush and trees, and many restaurants have their own gardens.  I think you'd have to really build up the soil, and incorporate huglekultur methods, but food production could definitely be done at least on a limited or supplemental level.  With proper shelter, you could also raise rabbits and chickens.  For food gathering, fish from either the sound or the ocean are likely, along with crabs, seabirds, and small mammals like squirrels and opossum being abundant.  We even saw a white tail deer doe in the brush on the leeward side of the beach dunes at the resort where we stayed.  The wildlife is evidence that fresh water can be harvested or contained.  The wild horses of Coralla get their water mostly from the plants they eat, but are also known to use their hooves to dig holes 2-4 feet deep which then fill with fresh water during rains.  Of course, with the large amount of wood, a small population for a relatively short (6 months or so) duration event, could do desalination from a still.

Speaking of population, the year-round residential population of Duck is about 500.  During "the season" that grows to about 20,000 transients.  If SHTF in the summer, most of these people would leave for home.  During the winter, the residents would most likely be prepared for a longer time than an average person on the mainland simply because so many stores and restaurants are closed and folks need to plan ahead.

If you had the money to build the right kind of home, I think that a place in Duck (or a similarly remote beach location like Key West, Hilton Head, Chincoteague, etc... could be a viable full-time retreat location for many events other than a hurricane.  It would be ideal for a pandemic situation with a long quarantine (either ordered or self-imposed).


Coke Is It

More Than A Tasty Soft Drink?

Have you ever seen that email that goes around periodically talking about all the cleaning miracles that Coke can do?  It claims that police always carry Coke in the trunk to clean up blood on the highway after a wreck.

I always kind of took these with a grain of salt, figuring they were more urban legend than effective cleaning solution.  I've known and worked with thousands of police officers over the years and have never known one to carry Coke in the patrol car for anything more than refreshment.

Today I had to put a new battery in my wife's car.  It had been starting sluggishly for the past few days, and last time that happened a couple years ago, the battery completely died in a Wal Mart parking lot (talk about convenient.  Today, I went ahead and bought a new battery before it died.  Opening the hood, I saw that the terminals and clamps were horribly corroded.  I looked on the internet and saw baking soda and water, scrubbed with a toothbrush, to be suggested, so that is what I planned to do.  I saw a few that suggested Coke to clean them, but the suggestions came across as being from people who had received the aforementioned email.

We stopped at my in-laws' house so I could change the battery out while my wife visited her mother.  When I asked for a plastic cup to mix up my baking soda and water, my MIL said to pour Coke on and it would clean right up.  I was skeptical, but I had half a Diet Coke in the car that had gotten warm, so I figured I'd go ahead and try it. 

It instantly foamed up and dissolved the corrosion, leaving the terminals and clamps nearly new looking.  A squirt with the hose and all the Coke was gone and they were spotless.

I still doubt the whole Coke dissolves blood on the pavement thing, but for cleaning up acidic battery corrosion, it is just the ticket.  Super fast, super easy, and a good "tool" to have on standby.  However, Coke will not dissolve teeth, nails or T-bone steaks overnight.


Urban Driving Survival

Getting Around Dodge

When we talk of driving, we often think of SHTF... getting to the BOL after the main roads are blocked... driving cross country outrunning the tornado... driving through the wilderness in a Jeep... but what about just getting safely through heavy traffic in an urban area?  That's what many of us do on a regular basis.

As a commuter, it is easy to slip into normalcy bias.  The same route to work, the same people at the bus stops, the same stop lights.  It can all change in a split second... Just ask Reginald Denny.

I've got a few ideas to keep in mind to help you not fall into the slumber of normalcy bias.

  • Keep your rig ready
    • keep your maintenance up to date
      • check oil, tire pressure, essential fluids, belts and hoses regularly - at least once a month
      • keep your washer fluid topped off and your windshield wipers effective
      • ensure lights, brakes and steering are all working as they should
    • stay fueled up
      • don't let your gas get below a half tank
      • fuel up strategically and tactically
        • plan your fuel stops and known and busy locations
        • fill up during daylight if possible
        • angle your vehicle to minimize your exposure while pumping
  • Maintain an escape route
    • on multi-lane roads, stay to the outside if there is a wide sidewalk or inside if there is a wide median or the road is undivided
    • keep plenty of room between you and the car in front of you - don't allow yourself to get boxed in
    • at stop lights, try to time it so you are at the front of the line - if you can't be at the front, then leave enough room in front of you and to the side to escape - using the sidewalk or a quick U-turn if needed
  • Be situationally aware
    • Watch out for wreck set ups
      • pedestrians hovering close to a curb may be planning to jump out in front of your car
      • beat up cars at stop lights may jerk forward slightly hoping for you to rear end them
      • a bump from behind may be a set up for a robbery or car jacking
      • if a crowd is in the street turn around - attempting to go through them will result in you being attacked - you will not be justified using your car as a weapon until it is too late to use it as a weapon - it is unbelievable how easy a mob can stop a car
    • Know where you are and multiple ways to get where you want to be
These are just some basic reminders of ways to be prepared and stay safer while driving in an urban environment.  I base the information on my experience.  I've driven close to 750,000 miles, been endorsed as a driver training teacher, completed tactical and pursuit driving in the police academy, been trained in escape and evasive driving techniques by U.S. State Dept. instructors, and took emergency vehicle operators course (EVOC) for the rescue squad.


Tin Foil Hat Time... Or Is It?

I try to stay away from the conspiracy theories and black helicopters on here.  It's not that I don't lend any credence toward them, it is just that there are far better places to get that info.  Today, a couple of things popped up that got me thinking and I wanted to share them in case you missed them.

Un-Civil War

Alex Jones put this up today, along with a lot of other folks.  DHS Informant Says Government is Preparing for Massive Civil War.  Essentially, the writer's source has proven reliability and is in place to know such things.  He says that DHS believes that civil unrest and even war is on the horizon.  Look at the recent 450 million rounds of ammo that they recently contracted for and the urban military exercises going on in Florida.  I've seen military exercises in urban areas before, but always publicised ahead of time, on vacant buildings, and the police were only there for traffic control.  In this case, it was a joint exercise with the local PD and people in the area were surprised by it at 1 a.m.  Why is the military training with the police?  Military use in civilian law enforcement is outlawed under Posse Commitatus.

Prepping for the Wealthy

One of my oldest and closest friends is an ex-pat living in New Zealand.  He sent me this column from the ZeroHedge website that is primarily aimed at savvy investors on the world markets.  The author offers up a prepping plan for those with more money than time and outlines a way to spend $25,000 that will get a person equipped and trained (and training is a key activity that most "prep this way" lists often neglect.  If a respected investment website is pushing this information, then SHTF is definitely on the radar for those with money.

Don't Forget...

to enter the guest writing contest!  We've got about $60 worth of prizes lined up just waiting for great guest posts!


Here's To Health


We all know that dental health is crucial component of overall good health, and in a long-term SHTF situation, it can be the difference between thriving and misery.

I've been going to the dentist for over 40 years.  In my 20s and early 30s I probably didn't go nearly as often as I should have, but never had troubles with cavities and such.  A few years ago, I had to get my gum lines scraped...  it took four visits and was pretty painful.  There was too much space between my gums and my teeth.  I changed dentists last year.  The new dentist was still a little concerned about the gum lines.  I honestly told him that I probably flossed a few times a month.

That's when I learned something.  All my life, I've been under the impression that flossing was to get food out from between the teeth and to "toughen up" the gums.  Turns out that is not the case.  The purpose of flossing is to scrape bacteria from between the teeth so that the gums will adhere to the teeth like they are supposed to.  I've probably been to 7-8 dentists over my lifetime, and I've never heard that before my current dentist.  Well, after he told me that, I've been diligent about my flossing.  I went back earlier this week, and almost all of my gum line gaps were where they were supposed to be.  A few were slightly deeper than normal, but still an improvement over my last visit.  Flossing works.  I'd really encourage folks to include plenty of floss in their prep storage, and the free samples from the dentist's office are good additions to the barter larder.


I try to make a habit of wearing eye protection whenever I am out working in the yard, and always when I am shooting.  My wife is going this week for a shotgun lesson at the local trap field.  She wears prescription glasses, which are OK for yard work and plinking out back, but she wanted some real shooting glasses for her lesson.  We first went to Green Top Sporting Goods, the area's best gun and fishing store and a local landmark (it even appeared in one of Patricia Cornwall's Dr. Kay Scarpetta novels).  They had several varieties of shooting glasses, but none that would fit over her glasses.  We did pick up 20 gauge club rounds with the help of George, a salesman that I used to work with years ago.

Next, we went around the corner to the Bass Pro Shops where they had a larger variety of shooting glasses, but none that would go over glasses.  We finally went to Home Depot and found some safety glasses specifically designed to go over glasses, but they are clear and not very attractive.  But they will do for her class.

Amazon actually has a pretty good selection of shooting glasses that go over glasses and look pretty decent.  Even if you are like me, and normally wear contact lenses, you ought to pick up a pair or two of over-glasses safety glasses... just in case.


Prepper Ponderings Redux


Did you catch this in today's funny papers?  Seems like even cartoon cats are fans of survival television.  Do you think he prefers Cody or Dave?


Bee Biz

Remember a couple years ago all the talk about colony collapse disorder causing bees to die by the billions around the country?  It looks like they are making a slow comeback.  I found an article today from various small papers in western Virginia that talks about the increase in bee keepers in the Shenandoah Valley lately.  In 2001, Virginia produced 468,000 pounds of honey.  In 2011 it was 160,000 pounds.  The average price has gone from $1.73/pound to $4/pound.

While a lot of beekeepers got out of the business with the collapse disorder, the increased prices have brought new people in.  Valley Bee Supply opened last August and business is booming, with about half of their customers are new to bee keeping.

If you have access to local honey, buying it helps farmers, keeps money local, can be great for easing allergies, and it tastes delicious!

Survival Mom

I just got a review copy of Lisa Bedford's new book, Survival Mom.  While I am not the demographic at which it is aimed, I'm going to read it, then recruit a nearby mother to give it a try, then compare our assessments.  Lisa has done a ton to get moms into being prepared for their families, and I'm really looking forward to reading her work.


Prepper Ponderings

World Weirdness

Does it seem like there is a lot of weird and disturbing news going on out there lately?  A Socialist elected president of France...  a 14-year-old girl stabbing to death her 4-year-old niece...  Nazis elected to the Greek parliament...  Chinese counterfeit pills containing human baby flesh...  whole families either disappearing or being murdered... 

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs..." Rudyard Kipling

Local Preparedness Efforts

I stopped at the Ashland, Va. police department building this afternoon to say hi to a couple of old friends.  While I was waiting for them in the lobby, I perused the brochure rack.  Mixed in among the "wear a bike helmet" and domestic abuse pamphlets, I found the APD brochure about emergency preparedness.  It's good, basic information, but one thing I particularly like is this statement:

Look Out For Your Neighbors
The best time to plan for an emergency is well before the crisis strikes.  In that light, get to know your neighbors so you can help one another in times of need.

You don't often see that push for community from "the authorities."  Kudos to APD!

Epic Failure to Prep

Have you ever heard of The Lost Colony?  It is the longest running play in America and tells the story of the settlement on Roanoke Island, North Carolina who completely disappeared between 1588 and 1590, leaving the word CROATOAN carved in a tree as their only sign.  The play was where Andy Griffith got his first paid acting gig (way before he was Sheriff Andy Taylor).  There have been countless theories of what happened to the settlers, ranging from Indian massacre to going crazy and fleeing to complete integration with an inland tribe.

An article today on Fox News discusses a new discovery of some very old evidence.  An ancient map in the British Museum has been discovered to have a small patch covering a hand-drawn fort about 50 miles inland from Roanoke Island that has never been reported.  It gives new leads for researchers to possibly one day determine what happened.

For those who think that when SHTF, they will go off to the wilderness and live off the land, they should read the stories of the early European settlers who came over with a year or two of provisions on the ship, but then had crop failures, disease, and attack. 


Another Contest Prize Added

Deadline Extension

Between work, school, and a short vacation, I need a little help in May. Here's where you can come in... Do you have something that you think others would be interested in? Would you be willing to write it up for us?

How did you get involved in prepping? Did you have a survival situation on a camping trip or in a dark, urban alley? Have you gotten a new gun recently and want to tell everyone how great (or not so great) it is? What about a skill that you have that other people should know about?

Some more ideas - A canning how-to, a review of a great survival book you just read, how you dealt with medical needs overseas, what you learned about hunting or gardening, a hidden gun or food cabinet you built... the ideas are endless, but they need to get written and sent in.

Here are the rules:

Write a guest post on some survival topic of 750 or more words - it must be your own work and not posted or published anywhere else

Email it to me here before May 31

Here's the contest:

I'll post the entries starting in mid-May

I'll choose a winner - that person will win an If It Hits The Fan T-shirt, an If It Hits The Fan paracord wristband, a copy of Joel Salatin's Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, a Bend-A-Bottle roll up water bottle, an emergency space blanket, a Magpul 30-rnd E-mag for your AR varient or H&K416 - (the list keeps growing!) - perhaps a couple more items that might develop between now and then

That's all there is to it! Send in those entries!


News Notes

Get The Flock Out

Thanks to reader VT Paladin for sending me this article from the UK Telegraph.  Seems that in Italy, many young men are abandoning hopes of finding white collar or professional jobs in their areas of training and education and are pursuing jobs as shepherds.  The article noted that they are bringing new ideas and practices to the ancient tradition that are starting to result in better quality meat, mild and wool from the sheep.

Kind of makes me think of the movie, The Wooly Boys, starring Kris Kristopherson, Peter Fonda and Keith Carradine.  Long story, short, Fonda and Kristopherson are sheep ranchers in North Dakota, and they bring Peter's grandson out from inner-city Chicago where he was a computer nerd kid and he learns that there is much more to life than a mouse and a keyboard.

Gold Bubble Coming?

From Moneynews comes this interview with a financial guru who supposedly has called a number of recent events pretty accurately.  He sees some sort of "trigger event" in the coming year that will push gold to an amazing $10,000 per ounce, followed by a huge sell off and a plummeting to $50 an ounce.  Now would be a great time to have Doc's Delorean... go back to 2001 and buy a big pile of gold at $300 an ounce, then sell it for $10,000, then bank the profit and reinvest the initial amount at $50.  This is NOT financial advice... although if you do have access to a time machine, please shoot me an email...

Civilized People Don't Buy Gold?

Are you familiar with Berkshire-Hathaway?  It is Warren Buffett's company with a stock price of $122,000 a share (?!?!?!).  Buffett's #2 guy recently discussed gold with CNBC.  According to him, if you are buying gold, you are must be either a savage or a Jew.  Read his own words:
"Gold is a great thing to sew into your garments if you’re a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939," the Berkshire vice chairman said, "but I think civilized people don’t buy gold, they invest in productive businesses."
I'm sorry, I try not to use foul language on here, but to quote Schoolmarm Johnson in Blazing Saddles, this guy is, "the leading asshole in the state."

I'm surprised he bothered to speak to a cable news station.  After all, nobody watches TV except we little people, the peons.  Maybe the great Charles Munger would toss me a shiny new quarter if I would throw myself into a mud puddle so he doesn't soil his bespoke shoes.

Raw Milk Preventing Allergies?

In this article from Yahoo News of Canada, researchers looked at rates of allergies in Amish children compared to Swiss farm children and Swiss non-farm children.  Apparently the Swiss have a long history of being less susceptible to allergies and researchers wanted to see if that applied to the Amish in America as well since they descended from Swiss.  What they found is that Amish farm kids are way less likely to develop allergies.  The researchers did not identify a reason, but a couple of their theories included, increased activity and exposure to animals and crops, less processed foods, and more raw milk rather than pasteurized. 

Wait a minute... Raw milk is evil and will cause all of us to die horrible, painful deaths.  That's what the federal government (funded by big Ag.) wants us to believe.  Yet right here are indicators that it could contribute to fewer allergies in children.  With the way that kids today are hypersensitive to foods and anything other than a sterile environment, and the drastic increases in the numbers and severity of childhood asthma, you'd think someone might want to find out if something as simple as raw milk would help reduce it.  But that just wouldn't be profitable to big Pharma or big Ag.

Guest Post Contest

Time is running out!  Don't miss entering the If It Hits The Fan guest post contest.  Entries must be emailed by May 7th.


Guest Writer Contest

More Prizes Added

Between work, school, and a short vacation, I need a little help in May. Here's where you can come in... Do you have something that you think others would be interested in? Would you be willing to write it up for us?

How did you get involved in prepping? Did you have a survival situation on a camping trip or in a dark, urban alley? Have you gotten a new gun recently and want to tell everyone how great (or not so great) it is? What about a skill that you have that other people should know about?

Some more ideas - A canning how-to, a review of a great survival book you just read, how you dealt with medical needs overseas, what you learned about hunting or gardening, a hidden gun or food cabinet you built... the ideas are endless, but they need to get written and sent in.

Here are the rules:

Write a guest post on some survival topic of 750 or more words - it must be your own work and not posted or published anywhere else

Email it to me here no later than May 7th

Here's the contest:

I'll post the entries over the rest of May

I'll choose a winner - that person will win an If It Hits The Fan T-shirt, an If It Hits The Fan paracord wristband and a copy of Joel Salatin's Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, a Bend-A-Bottle roll up water bottle, an emergency space blanket - (the list keeps growing!) -  perhaps a couple more items that might develop between now and then

That's all there is to it! Send in those entries!

The New Issue of Survivalist Magazine Is In

I got my latest issue in the mail today.  I've just skimmed it, but it looks to be another good one.  Christopher Nyerges has a nice prepping 101 article.  He was a regular writer to the old American Survival Guide that I was a big fan of in the 80s and 90s.  Dr. Bones has a good one on wound treatment.  Chance Sanders, who was one of my instructors at Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder School, has two articles.  One is on a new method of accurizing rifles from TTI (this TTI seems to be in North Carolina and not related to TTI in Ashland, Va. where Trapper made some amazing ARs and 1911s) and one on go bags.

If you don't already subscribe to Survivalist Magazine and want to, please use the link in the upper right corner of this blog.  I'll get a small commission if you do.


Prepping Pays Off

Snakes In The Wires

About 10:30 last night, we were in the bed, lights off, fans circulating, my CPAP humming along, when... nothing.  We lost power.  First thing, I go to the wall phone in the kitchen where we always have the number to the power company posted.  I call and report the outage.  I gave it a few minutes to see if it was something that would come back on quick, but nothing.

Here's where being prepped came in handy.  On went the headlamp.  I went out back and uncovered the smaller generator.  I had used it last weekend to power my leaf blower, so I had got a can of gas out of the shed and filled it up.  I fired it up with one pull of the cord, plugged it in, and about a minute later we had power to the house.  I flipped the breakers to power the refrigerator, well pump, our bedroom and our bathroom.  Fans are going again, my CPAP is humming along, and sleep is good.

The power came back on at 12:45 and I went out and shut down the generator, turned on the rest of the breakers and went back to sleep.

If we did not have a generator set up and ready to go, neither one of us would have gotten any sleep.  No CPAP and no fans going make for an unbearable night at the homestead.

So why did I title this Snakes in the Wires?  On the radio news this morning, it turns out that two different transformers, one on the east side of town and one on the west, had snakes crawl in to them and short them out.  Over 40,000 lost power.  Bet they all wish they had generators ready to go.


Monthly Tasks

I realized a couple days ago that I have been neglecting to post monthly reminders of chores and tasks.  If you are a newer reader, I used to put these up on the first of each month, not just as a reminder to my readers, but also as a reminder to my self.  If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please let me know.

It's the first of the month, have you...

Test run your generator?
Rotated you gasoline stores?
Tested your smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors?
Checked your household and vehicle fire extinguishers?
Given your dog his heart worm pill and flea/tick treatment?
Changed your HVAC filters?
Test run all your small engine equipment?
Checked your tires, belts, hoses and filters on your vehicles?

Water Woes

Last week my wife noticed that the water in the house was smelling kind of "swampy."  I broke out our Big Berkey water filter system that I bought some time ago from my very first sponsor, The Berkey Guy.  The Berkey works really great.  If you don't have one, I'd really suggest everyone should.  Whether on city water and a malfunction in the treatment causes a "boil water" order, on a well that goes funky, or in a grid down situation and you have to cart in water from a nearby farm pond, the Berkey is effective, efficient, and much more inexpensive than bottled water on a per ounce basis.  When you put it together the first time, be sure you tighten the inside nut on the spigot.  If it is a little loose, you'll end up with a big puddle on the floor overnight... trust me on that one.

Anyway, I called the local extension service and asked for advice on getting my water tested.  They referred me to a lab in a nearby county.  I went Friday and picked up the sterile vial.  Sunday night I followed the detailed instructions to ensure no cross-contamination and collected 100ml of tap water.  Monday I dropped it off and today I got the results...  We have coliform bacteria at a higher level than the health department allows.  We do not have e. coli so in reality, our water is still pretty safe, it just won't pass an inspection.  We've probably had the coliform for years and just never knew it.

Our next step is to shock the well with bleach.   We'll need to run the bleached water through all of the faucets until the flow smells of bleach, then turn them off.   The bleached water then sits in the pipes and faucets for 12 hours before we can run them again.

When I took the sample for the lab it cost $50.  Searching today I found a test to buy for $20.90, including shipping from Amazon.  Near as I can tell, it is the same test that the lab did.  I ordered one using Amazon commissions earned from readers using my Amazon links to make any purchases - Thanks!  Simply from a time standpoint, we won't be able to do the shocking until weekend after this coming one.  I'll share details after we do it.