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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back Doors, Rabbit Trails and Losing Tails

There are small things that you can do every day, wherever you go, to help ensure your safety.  I am especially cognizant when my family or others under my stewardship are with me.  Simply by being aware and keeping your eyes open, instead of glued to your smart device, you can minimize potential dangers all around you.

Ask any of my kids what I mean by a 'back door' and they'll tell you.  We don't always take the obvious and most accessible route wherever we go.  Say, for example, we are going to get groceries.  There is usually a back way to get where we are going other than by the main entrance where most of the traffic is.  This mostly applies when driving but can also include, for example, using the lawn and garden or automotive shop entrance at the Wal-Mart.  Staying away from large groups of people can reduce your exposure to dangerous possibilities.  Having alternate escape routes can also give you the advantage if you need to exit quickly should anything happen.  The route may take longer but we generally encounter less traffic and fewer people which makes the trip more pleasing or at least less aggravating.

When in public areas you can be an unsuspecting target whether you're at a farmers market, the mall or a sporting event.  As a fiercely protective father of my teenage daughters I suspect everyone of having bad intentions. Laying down a rabbit trail can help to identify those who could be a danger to us.  This is really just about being alert and observant.  I am a very efficient shopper.  Being efficient with my time and travel takes me directly from the produce to the dairy to the bread isle and then exactly where I need to go next to get only what is on my list without doubling back for something missed.  Being this focused can make it easy to be targeted.  To employ a rabbit trail is completely the opposite of being efficient.  It is more like being the casual shopper doing lots of window shopping.  If you suspect that someone is following you take time to 'window shop'  while casually surveying your surroundings.  This will give you the ability to observe others without making it obvious to whomever may by targeting you.  Repeat this several times, jumping around to different spots while noticing the people around you.  Thus, we call it a rabbit trail.  This may make someone stand out to you who could be more interested in what's in your or your wife's purse than 25% off ground beef.

I do my best to be a hard target.  To be the gray man.  Standing out by wearing 'loud' clothing is just the opposite.  Wearing the color gray, and other muted colors, is an effective way not to attract attention.  It is necessary to have the training and tools to protect yourself but it is better to stay unnoticed and un-targeted.  The guaranteed way to survive a gun fight is avoid one altogether.  I'm not saying that there will never be a time or a need to stand up and fight.  You should train and be prepared for as many possibilities as you are able but you're going to be better off by avoiding trouble.

Here is a link to a short article about what to do if you are being followed.  Good, simple and effective techniques.  Guys, make sure the women in your life read this too!

http://survivallife.com/2014/10/02/being-followed/?utm_source=wrapup&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10-5-2014-wrapup#





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Economic Understanding

Over the past few years I have been doing my best to educate myself and to understand where we are right now as to the economy and why.  There are a lot of great videos out there but I recently found these two very easy to understand and enlightening.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5JcmpN2mrA&list=UUThv5tYUVaG4ZPA3p6EXZbQ


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2uiAeGqRK4&list=UUThv5tYUVaG4ZPA3p6EXZbQ


My advise to you is to take some time to review more of Mike Maloney's videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/whygoldandsilver/videos


I am not, nor have I every been, very interested or involved in the stock market or the financial world for that matter.  Several years ago I opened an E-trade account and gave it a go because I saw plenty of people making plenty of money at it, but I had no passion for it.  There was always something that held me back and I remained skeptical.  Back then I was very much in the dark about... well, most everything economical and political.  Now, because of what I have learned, I see that everything is being manipulated; stocks, bonds, gold, silver, politics, banking, lending, etc, etc.  I had been brainwashed as to how to live my life; in debt and in the dark.  Without debt the wheel that is the US economy does not turn.  Without the light of knowledge we get stuck in the debt paradigm.    

There are many that would tell you that it is a good time to be in the stock market; that there is a lot of money to be made.  They are probably right but there are no more free markets, only manipulations.  

If you take the time to learn about what is really happening in the financial world you will better understand my position.  I didn't truly understand my stance on avoiding the stock market until my eyes were opened as to the truly awful state our nation is in.  Now I get it.  Now I understand that my intuition was right.  Maybe there is money to be made but at what cost?  Will you compromise your integrity for the chance to make a quick buck in an immoral and corrupt system?

If you don't hold it you don't own it!  Even if you hold a stock certificate it is only paper.  Real money is only gold and silver.  Real wealth only exists in physical assets.

Although I have learned a wealth of knowledge concerning the US economy and how the US and world financial systems work over the last few years I do not pretend to be an expert so I will end my advice here.  There are plenty of other resources for you to consult for this kind of information.   Mike Maloney is a great place to start.  If you feel, like I did, that there was and is something just not right with the financial world, I am here to tell you and confirm to you that your feelings are correct.

Work hard, stay out of debt, save a 10th and give away a 10th and you will become financially successful.  You don't have to gamble with your money by putting it in risky investments.  Look for low risk investments that pay a fair return and let your savings work for you.
   

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EDC

Here are some things I have with me every day.  Only some of these things I carry on my person and others items I have in the bag I carry for my work.  Other bags stay in my vehicle.  I say that these things are my EDC (Every Day Carry) items because there are always close enough to me that I have access to them at any moment I may need them.  For me EDC does not necessarily mean only what I can carry in my pockets and on my belt.

First, the 'traditional' or basic EDC items that you may also carry with you all day every day.  XD-9 sub-compact handgun, additional magazine, small swiss tool, spiderco Manix knife, Fenix PD-20 (single CR123) flashlight, paracord bracelet, wallet with some cash, smart phone, watch.


From there my EDC expands to my 'briefcase' which holds a swiss card, light stick, pens, sharpie, Fenix E-11 (single AA) LED flashlight, a little more cash, one ounce silver coin, power bars or other energy bars, small fixed blade knife (Tops FDX), Essential oils, Excedrin Migraine, duct tape, AA batteries, notepad.

A 'get-home' bag stays in the back of my vehicle and has additional supplies and tools I may need in case I have to abandon my vehicle including: water filter and pouch, purification tablets, emergency blanket, 100' paracord, small first-aid kit, 50rds of 9mm ammo, fire starting supplies including tinder and fuel tablets, signal mirror, work gloves, heavy duty garbage bag, light sticks, power bars, large swiss tool, small socket set, additional flashlight and batteries, pen and notebook, cash.


A fully equipped medical 'jump kit' also stays in my vehicle along with 2.5 gallons of water, 8000 lb winch (on the front of my vehicle), CO2 tank (for airing up tires, etc.), extraction gear including snatch block, shackles and straps, hatchet, folding shovel, jumper cables, small socket set and other basic tools as well as a tire repair kit for patching holes made by screws or nails.  Other gear also includes a 400 watt inverter, fire extinguisher, wool blanket, tarp, hand saw, gloves, empty stow-able bag, 1 gallon gas can, complete maps of the areas I travel, phone charging cords and tire pressure gauge, A good gore-tex jacket is also an essential item any time of the year.


I have been doing this a long time.  Everything I carry has a purpose and is not more or less than I need to be prepared for myself alone or to assist others. For my work I do plenty of driving by myself.  When as a family we go on any kind of extended driving trip this list of items grows significantly mainly because of the needs of my 4 daughters and wife.  :-)  When fall and winter hit an additional bag of cold weather gear gets added to my rig that includes winter gloves, socks, baklava, glove liners, winter hat and additional warm layers.  I may also even throw in my snow boots, snowshoes and gaiters depending upon where I am going.  When my kids go on a trip without me I always tell them to be prepared to walk home if they have to.  

Additional gear that I take with me on extended excursions includes:  additional loaded magazines, AR-15 or shotgun & ammo, weather appropriate gear, additional batteries and solar battery charger,          

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Choose to Be Prepared.

With the anniversary of 9/11 very near the propaganda concerning a possible terrorist attack in the USA is obvious and blatant from the mainstream media.  While the possibility of another major terrorist attack similar to or larger than that of 9/11 is real and most definitely possible those who are prepared do not need to fear.  Here are my recommendations as to what you should do to prepare for this possibility as well as any other incident.

1.  Have some cash on hand and out of the bank.  I recommend that you have at least a few weeks worth of cash on hand for necessities.  Events like the 9/11 attacks can interrupt banking and make it difficult or impossible to make basic purchases.

2.  Keep your gas tanks full on all your vehicles. At the very least don't let them get below a half tank.  Have a few 5 gallon gas cans filled and stored in a safe place.  Rotate this fuel regularly or use a stabilizer so that it does not become stale.

3.  Get your grocery shopping done early.  Stock up on your daily supplies so that you can hunker down at home if you really need to.  Staying out of public places decreases your exposure and vulnerability.

4..  Stay close to home.  If you are a business professional and find yourself traveling a lot I recommend that you don't schedule meetings requiring you to travel.  Plan on working at the office or even take a few days off before and after the 11th.  Take this time to enjoy being with your family at home.  Stay out of public places; especially high profile locations or other events with large crowds such as sporting events.

5.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep the radio on to your favorite news channel and be observant.
 
6.  Make sure your vehicle is stocked up on essential items.  Take a look at my EDC (Every day carry) blog post and adjust it for your needs and area you live.

7.  Be prepared to help others.  Since you are reading this i'm pretty sure that you can take care of yourself and do not depend on others for your safety and well being.  The opportunity for you to help others will be greatest in an emergency.  There is little more fulfilling in life then helping others who can not help themselves.  We find ourselves at our best and learn the most about our life, our earthly existence and about ourselves when we are in the service of others!  Be ready!  To some this advice may sound selfish, to help others for our own benefit, but I assure you that it is not.  Service to others can help heal wounds caused by traumatic events.

I don't feel that any of these recommendations are extreme precautions but rather common sense solutions to everyday situations that may arise with a few extra steps for extenuating circumstances.  I'm sure that many would say to carry on with life as normal; to not let the threat of danger effect our lifestyle, and that if we don't continue on as normal then the terrorists have achieved their purposes.  This may all be true.  However, it does not hurt anything to be prepared nor does it give power to our enemies but rather takes it away.

If you choose to go to an event, be prepared to know how to get you and your family out quickly and safely.
If you choose to travel a long way from home, be prepared to get yourself back.
If you choose to live with your tank and cupboards near empty be prepared to deal with the effects.

The beauty of this life is that you get to choose for yourself what you will do.  My advice to you: choose to be prepared.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Warning shot

Today I watched the morning post by Suspicious0bservers on YouTube as I usually do.  You can find the link below.  There was a massive solar eruption on the back side of the sun yesterday.  Even though this solar flare was not aimed toward earth it was so large that it weakened our magnetosphere and bombarded us with protons.  I am taking this was a warning sign; a shot across the bow.  Be prepared and watchful.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWXYLH44T7U&list=UUTiL1q9YbrVam5nP2xzFTWQ  


Monday, August 25, 2014

Scrounging, The art of

Ok, maybe it's not an art.  But it's definitely an acquired skill.  I don't hear much if anything about this topic yet I consider it to be an important skill or trait of a prepper.

For those of you whom are experienced preppers the art of scrounging is already second nature.  You always have your eyes open for things of value that others probably don't readily recognize.  Those of you who don't really know what i'm referring to allow me to shed some light on the subject.

What I mean by scrounging is to acquire something from any available source by salvaging or foraging through items that are discarded or unwanted.  What I don't mean by scrounging is stealing or looting.

A part of my bug-out or bug-home bag is an additional bag that is durable and stowable to be used to collect other items that you may come across that would be of value when SHTF.

Here is a short list of items that would be plentiful that I would keep my eyes open for when making my way back home or to a bug-out location.

Tinder. (dry grass, bark, paper, rags, etc.) - Add a large heavy duty zip-lock bag to your pack to collect fire making materials as you go.
Lead tire weights.  Depending highly upon the situation, you can easily salvage many things from abandoned automobiles as you go.  Lead tire weights can be melted and used to cast bullets for those of you who reload or if you know someone who reloads it can be a good asset to barter with.
Car batteries.  Although these are much too heavy to carry long distances you should think about salvaging car batteries. You can use them in conjunction with an inverter to recharge other batteries, power small appliances, lights, etc.  You should have a solar panel and charge controller or other generator to charge a car battery.  Be careful!  Car batteries are very dangerous if shorted out between the positive and negative posts.  Try to protect/insulate at least one of them to minimize the danger.  Keep a small folding dolly and a wrench in the back of your vehicle so you can take your own battery with you if you should become stranded.
Water bottles.  Pretty much every where I go, even in remote places where it seems like no one has ever been, I find empty plastic bottles.  Use these to collect water that you may find along the way.  They can be filled up and left in the sun to allow the suns UV rays to purify contaminated water.  Keep your eyes open for other kinds of containers that would be useful for carrying water or other wild edible plants that you may find along your way.
Rope/Cord.  A myriad of uses.  Carry as much as you can.  Learn some good knots if you don't already.
Plastic bags.  Easy to carry and have lots of uses.

The next time you see a homeless person carrying a large backpack or pushing a shopping cart notice the items that they have collected.  These items would be useful to you as well.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When in doubt, BUG-OUT.*

This is a very serious topic that each of you should be thinking about and planning for.  When the SHTF are you going to bug-in or bug-out?  It is the quintessential part of being prepared; of being a prepper.  It is potentially the life or death decision that you'll have to make at some point.  Have you already made your decision as to what you'll do and where you'll go?  I don't have all the answers myself yet and I can't tell you exactly what is best for you and your situation.  You'll need to seriously consider what I've outlined below and with some inspiration make the right decision for your family.  This all depends specifically and personally on your situation, location, level of preparedness as well as other conditions.

Here are some of my thoughts on when you should as well as should not bug-in/out.

BUG-IN if you already live in a rural community and have your garden and other resources all around you.  In my opinion, this is the ideal situation in an SHTF scenario.  This acceptable rural area must be far enough away from a major metropolitan area so as to eliminate or minimize the possibility of refugees spilling over into your community and ravaging its resources.  This means 200 or more miles away and should include some kind of natural barrier such as a mountain range, major river or deep canyon between you and most of the closest population.  A small rural community will be a valuable resource when you are trying to be self sufficient but make sure that you have something to contribute and/or barter with that will benefit the community.

BUG-IN if you live in a suburb and you live at the edge of it, near a rural area or wilderness boundary and if you are prepared.  If you are going to bug-in you should already have your food and water storage and a practical plan on how to obtain more resources once yours run out.  Hopefully you have a larger lot where you have planted a garden and have years of experience growing it, have a rainwater collection system as well as some solar panels on your roof with at least a basic battery system or other provisions for your most basic power needs.  You'll need to keep a low profile and have some luck with staying unnoticed.  Your home must be secure and you must be able to adequately defend it.  You should have a plan to cooperate with your neighbors on how to help support each other and combine your talents, efforts and resources to ensure everyone's needs are taken care of.  This, I believe, is the most critical part of your preparedness.  Your supplies will eventually run out and it is virtually impossible to prepare for every scenario unless you have limitless funds.  Having good relationships, and a preparedness plan with your neighborhood, can make the difference between comfortable survival and chaos.

On the other edge of the sword your neighbors can also be a detriment to your survival if they have not previously prepared adequately.  This will be entirely up to you to determine.  If you find that it will not be possible or feasible to work with your neighbors in a crisis you may determine that bugging-out is your best option.  If you have amazing neighbors that are currently a great support system to your family you may want to think very hard about leaving them.

When in doubt, BUG-OUT. *  The asterisks indicates the caveat.  *If you are not prepared to bug-out then don't.  If you don't have anywhere to go you shouldn't just bug-out without a plan.  Because you are reading this you are way ahead of most people who we all know are oblivious to the immediate dangers that currently face us.  If you haven't already you need to lay plans and determine your course of action now.  It is a fact that if you can live in a remote rural area with resources including water and crops as well as a supportive community you WILL be more successful at surviving difficult times.  This is why I say: When in doubt, prepare to bug-out.

BUG-OUT if you are not fully prepared to bug-in, BUT you must be prepared to bug-out.  It's a conundrum, I know.  It can be a confusing and tough decision to make!  If you don't already live in a rural area and you run out of resources you'll be forced to bug-out anyway.  Unless you get lucky you're gonna end up dead.  Don't count on luck.  Get prepared and have a plan.

Do NOT bug-in if you live in a densely populated city.  In an SHTF situation you could eventually lose both power and water.  (Let me clarify; SHTF could mean any number of various situations including: grid failure, financial system collapse, natural disasters, social chaos, pandemic, etc.)  Your access to water is likely dependent upon electric water pumps.  River or streams are possibly nowhere nearby.  Collecting rainwater may not be consistent enough to supply your needs.  A reliable source of water will be your most important resource for both drinking and sanitation.  As the storage space in an apartment is typically very small your ability to store enough supplies to outlast an extended emergency event will be limited.  When grocery store shelves are empty don't expect that they'll be replenished any time soon.  In large cities your biggest danger will be the population.  Unlike you and me most people only have 3 days worth of food in their cupboards.  This means only 9 meals until anarchy if the food supply is cutoff even if it's only for a relatively short period.  When people need food to feed their children they get desperate.  Desperate people can be dangerous.  Keep yourself out of this situation and bug-the-heck-out.      

Do NOT bug-in if you are not prepared to bug-in.  That's kind of a stupid obvious statement.  What i'm trying to communicate is if you only have enough supplies for two weeks you need to get out early.  In all cases, if you plan on bugging out, you need to get out early.  Don't wait until you are down to your last can of chili and then realize that you are unable to get more.  Make a plan to go to a friends or families place as far away from a major population center as possible.  Take all of your supplies with you so that you won't be as much of a burden on your hosts.  This will hopefully give you some time to prove yourself an asset and not a liability as a guest in someone else's home.  Have some tools and skills that will contribute to everyone's self-sufficiency and you will be appreciated and not unwelcome.  Always keep your gas tanks full and leave early.  If the emergency gets resolved you can always go back home.  You've got to watch what is happening in the world and anticipate.  If you are trying to get out of a densely populated area during an emergency you are likely to get permanently stuck in traffic which would be a really bad scenario for anyone! Plan your route as well as alternate routes but know exactly where you are going first.  Have a way to carry as many supplies as possible with you such as an enclosed trailer.  

Plan to BUG-OUT if you live in a densely populated area.
Plan to BUG-OUT if you have friends or family who live away from dense population centers who are willing to take you in.

One thing that I see often are videos on YouTube from preppers that plan on bugging out with only what they can carry and plan to live off the land.  This may be possible for them but it is not for me and my family in our situation.  As a family of 5 children we would never make it that way.  That is a hard way of life and would be our last option as it would not be a very successful option.  In this situation do NOT bug out unless you already have a bug-out location ready for you that is already prepared and stocked with supplies.  Leaving your home where you have resourceful and prepared neighbors to a place where you are all by yourselves may not be your best option.

Make an arrangement with a farmer in a rural community to work their land in exchange for a place to pitch your tent or park your trailer.  If you have friends or family nearby you could plan on consolidating resources and moving in together.  There is safety in numbers.

When is it time to bug-out?  Your answer is as good as mine.  If you are prepared to bug-in that makes the answer much easier.  If your bug-out location is 250 miles away that's a different story.  When the banks say they will be closed on a Friday but will be back open on Monday that may be a good indication of when to head to the hills.

You must also consider your method of transportation to get to your bug-out location.  Do you need an EMP resistant vehicle in order to get you, your family and additional supplies to your bug-out location? Personally I feel that this is a low percentage possibility.  But, if this did happen, for me to move my family hundreds of miles to a bug-out location would be impossible to do if we did not have a vehicle that could get us there.  Having a vehicle that is appropriate should be an essential part of your bug-out plans.

When in doubt, bug-out.  Again, this is a very personal decision which should not be taken lightly.  If you can get prepared to bug-out your chance of comfortable survival in an SHTF scenario will be much more likely in a remote rural area.  Decide what is best for you and get to it.

The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a prepared guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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