Saturday, November 26, 2011

Prepping 101: The Survival Triangle

Today I would like to introduce you basic prepping principles starting with the survival triangle, I don't know who invented the original "survival triangle" I suspect it was adapted from an old military manual and has evolved from there. As you can see in the image it's pretty straight forward. There are three essentials in life that we need to survive whether it be in a SHTF or not.
Food/Water is the obvious first. The human body can survive (on average) 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. (This is called the rule of 3) Now consider that the average grocery store only has 3-4 days worth of inventory on its selves on any given day. In the modern world we follow JIT (Just In Time) inventory which is a complicated web of technology and logistics. The computer in the stores sends a message back to the home office saying that the registers has sold x number of "stuff". A message is then sent to the distribution center and a work order is produced to pull more "stuff" and load it on a truck. The "stuff" is then sent it to the originating store and the store shelves are stocked to full again. It's perfect! Well, almost perfect. In the event of a disaster there is no back inventory to put on shelves in case of a run on a certain product. This is why people who prep keep food stocked in their own home. Because when the authorities get on the TV/radio and say "A blizzard is coming, we are shutting down the interstate." the prepper is already thinking of how there is already enough food stored to hold them over. Thus avoiding the danger in not having enough or even being caught on dangerous roads.

Shelter is perhaps the most over looked of the three main essentials. You have your house, condo, or apartment so you're good right? As long as the rent is paid or the mortgage is up to date no problems. Well have you considered the "what ifs"? Lets start with the big one, electricity. If you are like me and live in an apartment (Get out soon!) you more than likely have electric heat, I do. Now if the electric goes out what's your back up heat source? Do you have camp heater or something you can use inside? If you own your own home what about a generator? Do you have enough fuel for it stored to keep your house heated? Is your home protected from possible break-in? Is your shelter really a shelter or is where all your stuff is and you sleep there at night?

Protection is the most important of the three. Why you might ask? When SHTF for more than a few days impending WROL is always present. During Hurricane Katrina a person dialed 911 and reported that his neighbors house was being robbed. The operator told him there was nothing they could do, there was no one to send. Now imagine that was you. Only once the gang of thieves gets done with your neighbors house they start eyeing yours, the police aren't coming and there is no one coming to save you. What are you going to do? The answer is simple give up you possessions and maybe your life or defend you and yours. So, can you shoot a gun? Can you strip that gun and clean it? Do you have ammunition stored up for it, because I promise you that is first thing after food to go off the shelves when the sheople start feeling insecure. If you have a gun, is it a powerful enough one to stop someone in the first shot? If it's semi-auto how many mags do you have? The difference in a shootout might be who can keep shooting the longest.

Energy. While this isn't essential it deserves honorable mention. Consider all the things in your life that run on electric or gas. If those get turned off do you have a back up plan for the refrigerator? Or to power your TV/Radio to hear those messages telling you to take cover before a storm hits? Things to consider.

I plan to cover all these topics in further detail in the coming weeks. And more importantly start showing somethings you can actually start doing to prepare for emergency.

*Note: Special thanks to TJ for the graphic.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soft Apocalypse (Book Review)

Disclaimer, I originally wrote this for a forum at Check them out, I recommend their site. The book is of course titled Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh.

I found this book on Amazon one day looking at other SHTF books. The title caught my eye and I started reading reviews. Most were positive so I thought: "what the heck, I'm intrigued".

Let me first say that this book is dark, very dark. I wouldn't be surprised at all (in fact I strongly suspect) that the author, Will McIntosh, used Argentina as his backdrop even though it is set 20+ years into the future of the US.

The economy has crashed, there are hints of peak oil and some climate change but we're mostly left in the dark as to what happened in the past and what the real details are to circumstances going on around the main character, named Jasper (I don't think we ever learn his last name).

Instead of the typical "crash, society ends, now pick up the pieces" type of plot this book is like being forced to watch your pet drown in the swimming pool. It is not a story of some hero who saves the locals and defeats the bad guys. Most of the time no one knows who the bad guys really are and (as in a real SHTF) it all depends on who you are and what your status is. At one point we are told that unemployment rate is 40% and we are constantly bombarded with poor, homeless, and destitute people.

Jasper's story is like a collection of short stories spread out over ten years. We start in 2023 and end in 2033. Each chapter skips a few months or years so as not to bore us with the little life details. When we first meet Jasper he is homeless; interestingly enough that is how he ends the book as well. Throughout the book he and his "tribe" find homes and work that hardly pays the bills. Jasper is an interesting case study as a character. I am sure one of my old college English prof's would have enjoyed torturing a bunch of freshmen with all the ups and downs of his character. He wants stability, love, acceptance, and most of all a chance at a better life. Despite his somewhat left world view Jasper is a true Capitalist. By the middle of the book he starts selling various herbs (medicine is expensive) in the little convenient store he works at, making a little extra for his boss and himself. Jasper's biggest downfall is women. He dates many and likes more but he seems to have a hard time finding "the one"... for most of the book.

There are a lot of tough topics covered in this book, rape, murder, and ethnic cleansing, to name a few. I often found myself hoping the book would brighten up more. I waited for Jasper to find a way to make his own little part of the world better but at the same time knew in the back of my mind the author wasn't trying for a warm and fuzzy story. Will McIntosh keeps you suspended in a slow meat grinder of despair hanging to the very end and still left me wondering a little when the story ended.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but with reservations. It was meant to portray what a slow economical decline would look like in the US and many people would dismiss this as pure fiction. Those of us that study history will recognize the subtle truths and maybe even warnings sewn through the story.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PrepperBro's Picks

This posting is something I hope to do regularly here on the blog. As you start to see the need to prep in your life you will come to a point where you think "gosh this is going to cost me a fortune!" not to worry. We all hit that wall and as a prepper I'd like to share with you some places you can get great deals on good things to stock up on.

I plan to add several different companies to my list to check through but today I'll just be showing you five awesome preps from The Sportsman's Guide. (And for you trolls and morons, I am not affiliated with this company and not responsible for price changes or shortages.)

Like ammo you can never have to many small flash lights. Even in everyday life it's just nice to have some extras to keep in the car, bathroom cabinet, or other strategic places throughout the house.

They look like a cross between moving and refugee blankets. But hey if you live in the North having 12 extra blankets could be a life saver. Again stash one in the car, box the others up and save them for when those relatives you don't like show up.

Ok, ok, so it's technically a toy. However if you are on a poor mans budget and want to beef up your defensive strategy with night vision this might be a diamond in the rough. It only goes out to 50 feet but that's still 50 feet farther than the guy without. And when you can finally afford a nice set give this to the kids and they'll love it.

This is dual solar/crank operated radio. Receiving both FM/AM, NOAH, and a few other frequencies. It's got a few extra lights and bells and whistles on it. Definitely another addition to the car.

This is the best find of the whole catalog. It's small, breaks down easily and has a nice dual flip out rack to accommodate different size pan/pots. It has a small smoke stack that, with a little creativity and a trip to the local hardware store, could easily be adjusted by adding two 90 degree elbows for inside use by running the smokestack out a window.

Number 5 is without a doubt my favorite find of all. It is more than another knife or case of Campbell's soup. It brings lasting value and a multitude of functions with it. This is going on my personal need to get list.

Shades of Gray

Recently in the news and in the mainstream talk radio there has been some talk of a protester at Occupy Oakland that was hit by a man in his Mercedes. You can see the video and decide for yourself as to what happened. According to some other sources some of the protesters started targeting this car because it was a luxury car (go figure) and started banging on the hood. The driver began yelling out the window and a verbal fight got underway and rather than get jumped by a dozen occutard zombies he reved the engine and got out of there. In the process he clipped one of the protesters and now they are upset that he is not being charged with hit and run.
This brings up a great survival philosophy that is disgust in one of my favorite SHTF books is "The Gray Man" principle.

The Gray Man is a cammelion of sorts, he believes in being as "invisible" as possible by not standing out. No jewelry or fancy clothes, no fancy car (dude sell that $60k car and get a 4x4, you're going to need it more than a sedan when SHTF) or other signs of prosperity. If the economy doesn't pick with the next election or (God Forbid) if our current, eh, (I hate to call him president because he doesn't act like one) Executive Office gets another term, then expect to see more of this. People who appear "better" off will be targeted by the "needy" for their unfair accumulation of wealth.
By blending in as much as possible by wearing your old jeans and that old T-shirt with all the stains on it (You know the one your wife hates and wants you to through out but it's just SO comfortable.) with a pair of old work boots makes you look "normal"and lessens your chances of being mugged for your appeared wealth. Avoiding logo items and obviously brand specific clothing is the first step in hiding in plain sight.
Another step is to look at your house. What does the yard look like? Does it look the similar to the rest of the neighborhood? Or do you have a very manicured lawn with various little garden gnomes and other little yard decorations that say this person has money to spend on the outside, what they got on the inside? I'll address this topic more in the coming posts. Hopefully I have planted some seeds in your mind to mull over.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Acronyms

Yesterday was the beginning of something I am a little hesitant about and that, that is this blog. I feel as if perhaps I am no the best qualified person to tackle many of these topics that I will write about in the coming weeks but I have been asked by different people, prodded, and almost blackmailed into it. Ok blackmail is a little strong, maybe. But in my life I have found that multiple people (People who's opinions I highly value and respect. They are few and far between.) start saying I should do something, it generally means I should stop making excuses and just shut and do it. So here we are!
This blog is something I hope will become more than just my own thoughts and rants. From time to time maybe I will find guest authors and link to other informative sites or blogs that you might not have time to find, searching through the digital cesspool of the Internet. Or perhaps (And this what I hope is really why you might come back and read this again.) you never thought of that particular subject before.
Before we begin our journey down the rabbit hole (There is still time to take the blue pill) let me introduce you to some acronyms and phrases that you will need to know.

SHTF - Shit Hits The Fan, it is the most common phrase in the prepping world. It simply means anything that can disrupt your life significantly. Unofficially the term has two "camps" Macro: Hurricane, Nuclear Bombs, Economic depression, and Micro: getting laid off at your job, foreclosure/eviction etc.

WROL - Without Rule of Law, this is normally a consequence of a SHTF situation. The veneer of society is stripped away and it become dog eat dog everybody for themselves. This is for most Urban/Suburban preppers a worst case scenario. Hurricane Katrina caused this type of disorder in parts of LA.

BOB - Bug Out Bag, this means different things to different people. For some it is a 24 - 72 hour survival bag filled with all the cool survival gear you could ever think of. For others its just a suitcase with a couple changes of clothes in case of overnight evacuation.

BOV - Bug Out Vehicle, for most people it's whatever is sitting in your driveway. For others its the converted 4x4 that can go 500 miles and climb 6.4 inch straight vertical with run flat tires in case of a shootout on your break from the urban death trap.

BOL - Bug Out Location. Where you plan to "ride out" the SHTF. Maybe Grandma's place maybe your cabin in the woods.

TEOTWAWKI - The End Of The World As We Know It. This was coined by Mike Medintz, a survivalist author and is not used that often. It is the king of acronyms, not just because it's so long, but because in almost all cases an SHTF situation will end. This one does not end and you never return to "normal" or at least not in your life time.

GOOD - Get Out Of Dodge. It means leave, leave now. You're life is endangered (or very soon could be) by staying.

So at some point in the future we might experience SHTF and have to GOOD because of the impending WROL. So we'll grab our BOB's and throw them in the back of the BOV and drive to the BOL and hope it's not TEOTWAWKI.
Some additional phrases, some you probably won't see here but I'll include them in case you should run into them letter.

Running and Gunning - This is another phrase that means different things to different people. In some cases it is a type of firearms practice where you "run" a course mimicking targets in real life scenarios. For others it's this mythical utopia where they will run through the chaos following SHTF and loot and shoot all who stand in their way.

Spray and Pray - Spray the target and pray one round hits it. This is what happens when you give an untrained person a fully automatic weapon and tell them to go fight the enemy. They point and pull the trigger. More people die from the bullets falling from the sky than anything else. Think African rebels with AK-47s here.

Sheople/Zombies - Sheople or Sheeple are the masses of people who follow the crowd. In some circles these people are referred to as "zombies" because they mimic the same kind of destructive behavior. While in real life these people may not be out to eat you they may well still take everything you own and shoot you to get it. This term is often used to describe welfare and addicts as well as other "dependent" types of people.

Bugging In - Staying put. Sometimes not moving is safer than moving. This could be riding out the storm by putting plywood over the windows or maybe you've got the perfect bunker under your house and can survive the apocalypse in style.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Red pill or Blue pill?

If you have ever seen the movie the Matrix you understand the title and even more understand that this is a question with in a question. If you haven't seen it you can watch the short clip here. The underlying question is, do you want the truth? And if you choose the truth are you willing to accept that things you have taken for granted all your life may not be as they seem?
I was faced with this question not long ago and began my decent "down the rabbit hole" well over a year ago. The question started out as many, small and fragmented. They mostly started out "what if...". What if America takes on more debt? What if the inflation rate is as low as reported? What are the unseen forces in this world that seem to be driving us toward some financial meltdown? Could there be a meltdown, and if so how bad would it be?
My brother and I often talked about the economy and how things seemed so gloomy. We often pondered the questions I raised of economic instability. Then one day he said showed me a video he found. It seemed to make sense what these people were saying but I didn't want to accept anything at face value. I spent the next two months reading and researching everything I could find on the problem of inflation. My conclusion is that it is not only a very real possibility it is already here and beginning to snowball. This will leave us in a depression far worse than 1929 because most of the people in the era had the skills needed to fall on to survive.
It was as if i had taken the "red pill" and had awoken to a world I had never seen before at least not in this condition. As began to study I found many authors of various articles saying we should use this time to prepare and buffer ourselves against tough times ahead. Now this wasn't "run for the hills and live in a cave" type survivalism but rather new emerging trend I found called "prepping".
The truth is prepping is not new. In fact the principles of it are very old. Keep extra on hand for emergencies is something I grew up with in the blizzard prone Northeast but keeping a years worth of food, and stocking toilet paper seemed a little excessive, at first. As I continued to research I saw that even the simple things are going up in price. (last week peanut butter went up in price 40%, expect to see more of this). I started to also study Argentina which in the late 90s went from a thriving first world nation to pitiful near third world country in less than 20 years. In part to hyperinflation and government corruption, sound familiar? Could it happen to us? Could the US the greatest country the world has know to date be slipping down the same slope?
The more I studied the more the more question I created than answered and the more upset I became until I became obsessed with looking for answers. Obviously I alone can not undo years of bad fiscal and monetary policy but can I do to save me? I felt like I was standing on the deck of the Titanic and the iceberg was there in site and no one even cared. This is the Titanic, dang it! It can't sink! This is the United States of America, dang it! It can't fail! Oh the pride that goes before the fall.
This, this is my story of looking, and in many ways, building my own life boat. I hope sharing my findings with might help you if you are also considering which pill to take.