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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Revolver Failure



One of the things covered frequently in this blog is the issue of self defense and of course firearms are a topic I often bring up.
Today during my instructor’s class we covered revolvers. We have to know how to use and train others in the use of revolvers and pump shotguns because due to our legislation, these are commonly the firearms used by security company personnel. Generally they are issued some of the worst revolvers in the market just to cut costs, so that makes matters even worse.
Today we shot with two revolvers, a 5-shot Taurus model 85, 38 special snubby (2” barrel) and a nice Smith & Wesson 686 with a 2 1/2” inch barrel.
The Taurus was having problems from the beginning. Sometimes you would pull the trigger and it would lock up. Maybe the hand was worn out, maybe it was some other problem. An important amount of patience was needed to shoot it and projectiles would keyhole (hit the target sideways instead of flying straight) Accuracy was non existent even at 7 yards. You would aim to the head and hit 10 inches away in any given direction.
The Smith and Wesson 686 is of course a much better firearm. It had been customized a bit for competition shooting and soon we where experiencing miss fires because the hammer wasn’t falling with enough force to ignite the primers. Of course people that read a lot but have little hands on experience will tell you that’s not a problem because one of the nice things about revolvers is that you just keep pulling the trigger and go to the next round in line. Let me tell you though, its not fun to go through the cylinder 3 times and still not get half of the rounds left to fire. I had to remove the cartridges, put them in the gun again and that time it did fire the rounds I had left. I wouldn’t want that happening to me in a gunfight. After tightening it up a bit with a screwdriver it fired ok, VERY accurate too. After 50 rounds it started having problem as well. You pulled the trigger and nothing, it just locked up. Some manipulation of the cylinder was required to fire a shot, maybe two, but soon enough it would fail again, the double action mechanism not working. The star was in good shape and the gun was tight, but I noticed the hand was chipped. The problem kept getting worse until it was just impossible to shoot it consistently.
Taurus are junk, no secret there. I’ve owned 3 and got rid of all of them and so has everyone I know that has shot them more than average. Not saying there aren’t exceptions out there, just saying that’s what I see occurring most often.
Taurus? I'm sure your life is worth more than that. I would not recommend a Taurus for Self Defense.

A S&W 686, on the other hand, that’s a well made gun, made by a reliable manufacturer. The model 686 is tough pretty tough, you’d have to go for a Ruger if you want something even more solid, yet this gun failed as well.
The Lesson of today’s blog? GUNS FAIL PEOPLE, AND REVOLVERS DO SO AS WELL. In fact, for anyone that does a moderate amount of training, revolvers are more likely to fail than service autos, specially autos such as Glocks that are at another level of ruggedness. Another thing to consider is that in spite of its simple users interface, the revolver is MORE complex than autos mechanically speaking and a failure with a revolver will most likely be complex and hard to solve, usually requiring a visit to the gunsmith.
Meantime a round that didn’t fire in a pistol gets cleared in a fraction of a second by a trained operator.
Revolvers do have a place, but a) they do have failures b) they are more fragile than modern service autos c) When they fail, the failure is not easily resolved.
For anyone choosing a handgun and willing to put the amount of training they should so as to master their weapon, a pistol is the way to go.
Take care folks,

FerFAL

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meeting with People From South Africa




Today I met in Buenos Aires with a blog reader and his friends. They come from South Africa and we spent a while talking about the problems our countries have.
It was surprising to notice all the similarities, even if our countries seem to be so different.
Among the similarities, there’s a government that  supports criminals more than the victims. Criminals hardly do any time at all. People are encouraged not to defend themselves. The majority of the population being poor and corrupt, they support governments of similar characteristics. In South Africa the problem is government sponsored hatred against white people, here the problem is government sponsored hatred against the middle class, “poor” vs “rich”.

In both cases, we just don’t know what its like to live without serious home security. Over there in south Africa guarded communities are the way to go if you want to live safely and even that isn’t enough. They told me of a home invasion hear their home in SA where a 15 year old girl got raped by the attackers.
The same thing happens here, attacks to home within these guarded communities occur often.  At first, a wall around the community and a few guards, mostly for show was enough. As crime gets worse the security is put to test and often found to be insufficient. You need a walled perimeter, preferably a second fence for protecting the perimeter. Guards going around it and posted inside the community. 

We also talked about how people that have a good education, professionals such as doctors and scientists end up leaving the country. It was surprising to hear that over there in South Africa they have similar programs to avoid the “brain” emigration and programs to bring people back. How can blame them for leaving?
Another coincidence was that the SA government is trying to control the media through new laws. I explained to them that such a thing already happened here with the “K Media Law”. In both countries, the government promotes these laws claiming they will bring more freedom of speech, that these are measures against the monopolies running the media groups. The truth is that these laws only ensure that the government has greater control over the population and public opinion by controlling the press, TV and printed media.
I told them how after this law was passed, we saw journalists, actors and actresses all of a sudden siding with the government, fiercely attacking anyone has anything other than a official point of view. Its pathetic what people will do for a political position or to have their own TV show or productions in the public, government run channel. 

Piquetero thugs carrying long batons block the avenue in front of us as we talk about the situaiton in Argentina and South Africa.


As we talked, “piqueteros” carrying batons started to cut the Cordoba Avenue right in front of us. Thugs in the government payroll protesting for some reason or another, mostly to show that they can get away with anything. Apparently the same thing happens in South Africa.
I love meeting with blog readers. These are great opportunities to learn from what other’s experiences.
Take car folks

FerFAL


Last days for book offer at $14.99

Hi guys, I just changed the price of my book, "The modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse"
to $24.95. Just like before, it will take a couple days before the price change shows up on Amazon. Take advantage of this while you can.
Take care folks.


FerFAL

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spiritual Preparedness




I just received a warm email regarding this very subject (Thanks Charlie) and I thought it would be an interesting topic to cover, specially since its Sunday and right after thanksgiving, when time was spent with our family, friends and loved ones.
In my case I’m Catholic, I believe in and accepted Jesus Christ and follow the traditions of the Catholic Church. I don’t go to church every Sunday, as a matter of fact its been months since I last went to mass but in spite of this I know my faith is strong and that’s what really matter in the end. There’s enough self glorified, bible thumpers that have dry and brittle souls in spite of their words. Do they even believe what they read in the Bible? Do they put any of that into practice? You don’t TALK about being charitable, you ARE charitable with others. You don’t TALK about loving thy neighbor, you DO that through actions. The spiritual relation each of us has with God shouldn’t be published in a billboard. Its the silent prayers that maters the most.

During these years things have been tough for people in this country. Resignation has often been the coping mechanism for the majority of the population. It is an extremely effective preservation instinct, but in my opinion it may save the body but it also kills the soul. I’m of the opinion that you should never give up, never surrender, specially not when it comes to spiritual terms. Maybe there very little you can do about it, but oh my is there a difference between a little and nothing. Can you stop your country from falling all around you? Economically, morally, in cultural terms? I don’t know, but I know you can do your part by not going down along with it, by keeping yourself, your family and loved ones in the right track. That’s the little grain of sand so often mentioned.
During times like these its understandable that people just give up. They give up their expectations, their standards, their ideas of what’s acceptable or not. For some people its become acceptable that you may go out to the grocery store and get shot in your way back home, just as its become acceptable that you are powerless to change what your children will become, if they’ll chose to fall into drugs, promiscuity and the moral blur we see in today’s society.

By now you may be asking yourself what’s all this got to do with survival and preparedness. Its got everything to do with it! These are the challenges you will be facing as the global situation evolves. The core of society, the family, will be facing challenges from all fronts. Not only will you have to protect yourself and your loved ones, you’ll have to keep them safe from crime and provide for them in an ever challenging economy, you’ll have to make sure your children (and yourself) have the spiritual power to face all this.
I see it here in Argentina all the time. People that are beaten, they are defeated, they have just left themselves go. Their bodies sometimes are reflection of what they’ve become: Poorly groomed, dirty, poor physical condition and no manners. The daughter had its first kid before the age fourteen, probably doesn’t even know who the father is. The son doesn’t even know who he is and just replicates what he sees on TV or on the streets, trying to be part of some urban tribe, compensating for a lack of true identity.

This is important because to deal with all these challenges you’ll need to be strong. Your soul, your backbone must be pure forged steel. The determination you’ll have to keep yourself (and maybe your family as well ) afloat will determine if you fail or succeed.
A family with poor spiritual preparation will not do well in times like these.
As the situation gets worse on all fronts your core and the core of your family will be put to test. There’s going to be times of doubt, there’s going to be arguments with your spouse, your children will come up with problems and decisions will have to be made. Are you too old fashion? Is this the way it is now with kids, so then its ok? Am I being to strict?
 Iron resolution, strictness along with loving parenting will give the roots your kids will need as they become adults in a tougher world. Talking and being understandable about you wife’s or husband’s needs will help the couple grow strong. There will be challenges, they will exploit every little crack there is but talking and being patient, and most of all being selfless and sometimes putting the needs and desires of others before yours will be a key factor of your spiritual preparedness. Be patient, be firm but kind, learn to listen and be adamant when it comes to defending the positions you believe to be important.
We life in a selfish society, where even parents put themselves before their own kids. “I don’t want to stay home taking care of the brats, its your turn today. I’ll go drink a few beers with the guys. Don’t stay up waiting for me”.  Despise that sort of behavior.
Altruism even in the little things in life will slowly make it become a habit for you, polishing your personality.

For those of us that believe in Jesus Christ, the New Testament is basic reference material. Dig into it when in doubt. God will speak to you through it.
Personally I really enjoy reading “The Way”, by St. Josémaría Escrivá de Balaguer. Although I was never a member, I did assist to many of Opus Dai lectures and found their perspective of how to apply Christianity to work, family and daily life refreshing. The book “The Way” has some of the best aphorisms I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it to any Christian that is looking for good reading material. Read it even if you dont believe in God, its a guide to a good solid personality.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend guys,
Take care and God bless you all,

FerFAL

Saturday, November 27, 2010

America, worst place on Earth to live in ? Really?... ... Really?

Anonymous said...Please refer to Orlov's recent:
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/11/americathe-grim-truth.html
A letter from an expat.
As Dmitri says in the preface, he hasn't had a dissenting response to this comment.
To those of you from other countries that wish to come here, come! It is entirely possible it will be far better than where you are right now.
But for those of us who have lived our lives here through countless sellouts that brought this country to its knees, this country in no way resembles what it was.
Maybe the foreign dreamers can make a purse out this sow's shit.
Best uh luck.
November 26, 2010 10:15 PM



 No Anon, its not easy to move to USA, not by a long shot.

I understand lots of things. I understand making mistakes. Do many myself, I’m not perfect. But what I don’t understand is bashing a country you live in and profit from. No, I’m not blind and I’m not in the US government payroll but I just call it as I see it.

Maybe I can understand those that lived in US most of their lives, were born there, and want to move elsewhere. The grass sometimes seems greener on the other side of the hill, so I won’t judge people that move out looking for other lifestyles, other experiences. Its after all natural to do so. What I don’t understand is MOVING from Russia or any other country, TO the United States, taking advantage of everything it has to offer, and THEN bash the US, its lifestyle, its culture and what it represents. I read the link above and would like to address some of the topics mentioned there.

Health care- No its not perfect. Probably the issue that needs to be improved the most. Can you get better hotel service in private hospitals of third world countries for less money? Yes that, you can. Better and more advanced health service? No. And that goes for Singapore or any other rat hole. Anyone that believes you get better health treatment in Singapore than in USA probably has a parasite nesting in his brain and isn’t thinking right. European health care? Free, glorious, wonderful, the coolest thing socialism has to offer. My family is in Spain where health care is supposedly free, yet for some reason they come over to Argentina to get their teeth fixed and do other treatments. Is Argentina’s private health care system better than the free one in Spain? Not so much, its just that the paid dentist in Argentina is less expensive that the “free” health service in Spain. Not everything that shines is gold guys. Having a tooth fixed in Spain will cost you, a LOT, and its the same story in all these wonderful places in Europe.
Food- This is probably the thing that surprised me the most about the post. USA food is bad? Hmm... no its not. No one is forcing you to eat McDonalds for breakfast, KFC for lunch, coffee at Starbucks with a dozen donuts and pork chops with fries at Friday’s for dinner. You eat whatever you want, no one forces you to do anything. The difference is that in USA, you have OPTIONS. That little thing called freedom. In USA you can eat yourself to death in a matter of weeks or you can buy (for cheap) some of the healthiest food in the planet. Better yet you can go to an American supermarket that has a broad variety of absolutely everything, like no other country on Earth, and cook yourself whatever you want. No other country in this planet offer such a variety, and at such low prices. Food is NOT healthier in crappy third world countries with lax regulations and corrupt enforcers. As a matter of fact and this may be something these guys ignore, food grown in third world countries is in fact much WORSE. The reason for this is that crappy countries don’t have the tight regulations first world countries like the US has. Example, Argentina is making its money now thanks to soy plantation. Yet here we use pesticides and drugs for animals that are banned in US and most of Europe. France buys soy from Argentina, but its only accepted for animal feeding because of the amount of pesticides it has. That same soy bean is sold here for human consumption because we don’t have such tight regulations.
Vacationing- Are you kidding? You seriously think Americans work more and have less vacation time than Japanese? In every city in the world where there are tourists, you’ll always find that a fair share of them are Americans. One other reason to consider though, that isn’t mentioned in the article linked: There’s SO much to do in USA, its so big, there’s so many different climates, different locations, from mountains, deserts, lakes, forests, beaches, etc. You can do absolutely everything you want there. From surfing to skiing, rafting, mountain climbing, camping, hunting, every single darn thing you can think of USA offers it, in both quality and quantity. Sports? Come on. I spent over a month in Barcelona looking for a Rugby ball for my son, I couldn’t find a single one (Rugby or American Football ball) after  visiting over a dozen sport centers. The reply? “No we don’t play that here”.
Whatever it is you want to do with your spare time, whatever it is you want to do with your life professionally speaking as well, you can do it in USA. No other country offers you that many options. Texas is larger than France and UK put together… no wonder you have so much stuff to do in USA. Its going to take most of your life to visit the different US states anyway, so its understandable that a person that lives in a country smaller than some Texas ranches travel abroad more.
Media- It’s the same everywhere you go my friend. Russia, France or Italy , maybe media corporations there are owned by Jesus Christ and the board of directors is composed of the virgin Mary, St. Peter and St. Paul. In the rest of the world media companies, TV radio and printed, are owned one way or another by conglomerates that have other capital and strong connections with the government. Its terribly naïve to think that such a thing only happens in USA.
A young American is better of leaving USA and go teach English to the Philippines??? Whatever drugs you are doing my friend, they must be very potent… talk with an American pharmaceutical company and sell them the patent for whatever it is you’re smoking. Sounds like good stuff, you’ll make a fortune and live like a millionaire (in Philippines of course)
Freedom and Nanny state- Every country in the world has this problem. They ALL scan your emails, they ALL tap your phones illegally and they ALL meddle in your private business. The difference? While in USA you may get your door busted by SWAT completely uncalled for, in Argentina (and those other wonderful countries recommended) you get your door busted by GEOF or Halcon group, you get thrown in a jail cell, you may get beaten to death and thrown in a river. In USA you have more rights than in crappy 3rd world countries. When it comes to freedom don’t fool yourself, no other countries guarantees both the right of free speech AND the TOOLS for the population to defend itself from tyranny. No other country has anything like the Second Amendment. Its easy to forget that through out history people have always had to fight tyrants from time to time. Right now in almost every state of US people have the right to carry a firearm concealed. Not a privilege but the right. Meanwhile in UK you don’t even have the right to try to protect your life, even with pepper spray.
Wrapping this up now. You don’t like USA? OK, perfect. Don’t MOVE there, make your money there, enjoy it, and at the same time have the nerve to criticize every single thing about it. For those that are Americans and want to leave, be 100% sure of what you’re doing. Ever asked yourself why Mexicans, Asians, south Americans even Europeans, millions want to move to USA? Millions even live there illegally, spend most of their lives with the fear of being deported. Why, for common sense’s sake, WHY on earth would they all do that if they could easily live in their 3rd world crapholes or socialist or communist paradises? Guys, move to Cuba, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Singapore or China. I honestly hope you find happiness in such places. But please, don’t trash USA as if it were the worst country in the world. There millions of us that would love to live there and call it home.

Take care guys, have a nice weekend and hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving.

FerFAL

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Price: “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” for $14.99



Hi Guys, I just saw that the price change is already in effect and you can buy my book, “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” for $14.99. 
I’ll only keep this price for a few days so that people can buy it for the holydays, specially those that mentioned an interest in getting copies as gifts. After that its back to the old price so take advantage while you can! The current edition has been proof read and edited,  most of the old typos have been fixed.


The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse 

Gordon From Canada tells me that he received my book there after buying it on Amazon, and there was no extra fee charged.

Take care guys and have a nice weekend.

FerFAL

Cash and precious metals? Their role after a collapse.





A person recently asked in Glcoktalk about the role of cash and precious metals after a collapse. There’s still people that think there’s no place for any of this. Paper money is just poor tinder and you can’t eat gold. This was my reply trying to explain things better.

This isn’t research but my own experience. Note that its not one isolated case alone since everyone else in this country went through the same regarding this subject. My research on other collapsed nations shows a similar pattern though: The country’s economy collapses along with it currency and a parallel black market economy starts operating with stronger currencies. In all of these cases, gold retained its value in relation to the previously mentioned stronger currencies. The book “Blue Helmets, Black Market” has a good example. During the Bosnian war not that long ago, the local currency became junk and you dealt with Deutsche Marks if you had a good economic position. You wanted out of the sieged city of Sarajevo? 10.000  Deutsche Marks (about a years salary at the time before the war started)  bought you the papers needed and you got your family escorted out of the city in a UN APC vehicle. What happens when these stronger economies are the ones that fail? What you are seeing now. The price of gold and silver goes up. Truth is the dollar is going down against gold.
So, country/location: Argentina Time: December 2001-January 2002. Extent: Sociopolitical collapse with anarchy on the street which lasted a few days across the entire country but situations of lawlessness and looting went on for months. President flees in a chopper, five other presidents take its place and then resign in a week. Economic situation: Halts completely. People didn’t even invest in a can of paint to paint a fence (actually so that). Banks closed and ATMs ran dry. We’d default on our debt, the greatest default ever in history. The currency devaluates to 1 dollar = 1.4 pesos,  a couple days later its 1 dollar 2 pesos, the 3 then 4. The official price tried to keep up with the black market price to avoid “cyclic” schemes where they bought dollars at the cheap “official” price and sold it around the corner at “street” prices. Some people made small fortunes this way.
So, what does all this mean? That from a survival point of view you need one, maybe two months worth of expenses in cash in case ATMs run dry and bank holydays are declared. People will operate in cash mostly, and while some will still use plastic, specially DEBIT cards, don’t count on it. Specially small stores, they will prefer cash and till this day 90% of small stores here operate with cash. (Oh, bribes are made in cash of course, but gold and silver are nice too)
But soon enough that paper money starts loosing value as I explained above, and prices go up accordingly. The purchase value of your cash stash melting like snow in the Sahara desert and it depending on how bad it gets, it may go from buying you a car and a trunk full of supplies to buying you a candybar in a matter of weeks. It’s important to stay aware, not have a ton of cash in the first place, but also use it up if you see this happening.
In my case we had dollars stashed not gold but the principle of how you’ll be using it is the same. You sell whatever amount you need for that weeks expenses at the current exchange rate and you pay for whatever you must with the local, devaluated currency. Sometimes dealers are interested in getting the US dollars directly so you may do that if the exchange rate is fair. Its all about knowing the price of your currency or precious metals that day.
During the worst days, the price would change within the hour, so its important to keep up to date. Even today, almost 10 years later, when you turn on the TV you’re mostly waiting for the important day’s news, maybe weather, traffic, and dollar-peso price.
That’s exactly what you’ll be doing with your gold or silver after an economic collapse. Sell what you need to get by, maybe if you have a specific purchase going on the dealer would give you a discount if you deal directly with the precious metal.
It doesn’t matter if laws are made to try to control this, there’s always going to be a black market, and the more ridiculous the laws get, the worst it gets, the black market becomes stronger.

FerFAL

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A peek behind the Economic Collapse‏

Ferfal,

I'm proud to say I have been a faithful reader from long before your book
came out, and happily watch your growing success. More power to you, man!

Perhaps you would like to review these two articles and make a comment or
two. The first is from this week:

http://www.tribune.ie/news/article/2010/nov/21/ireland-warned-it-will-have-to-stump-up-state-asse/

And the other is from 2002:
http://www.dunwalke.com/gideon/privatization030402.html

These debts don't really need to be repaid at all, whether calculated at
70% interest or even deeply discounted. Since the money loaned is simply
the effluence of a printing press run by the lenders (or even less
valuable, a digital account entry with absolutely nothing behind it), at
best the repayment should be in kind -- that is, something equally
intrinsically worthless and not national infrastructure.

Sadly, I'm afraid the good people of the world will undoubtably suffer a
great deal more before these long ongoing wrongs are righted. The best
(peaceful) solution I've seen offered is the building of local "financial
permacultures" and disengaging our connections to the money powers. I
recommend reading virtually everything Catherine Austin Fitts has to say
(solari.com) to your readers who want to know exactly what (most often)
causes their need to be "survivalists" and ways to address that.

The best to you, my friend.

Regards,
Robert

Hi Robert, thanks for your support.
The IMF is evil, who can say that’s a surprise?
We do know they ruined this country, and others, but politicians here were corrupt and went along with it as well. They deal with drug lords too, why not with the IMF? They lend beyond the country’s possibility, suggest the rules of how you should run things, then they tell you how to run things once they own you. Keep tightening the belt on a country that already has a population suffering the austerity imposed by the IMF.
Can you live without the IMF? Without getting into debt, making deals with the devil? We did for several years, keep doing in spite of the economical and political disaster this country is, but you can do that when you’re practically growing and exporting green gold (soy) in a world that is paying top prices for such a commodity, and even that isn’t enough, they had to steal people’s retirement funds. That’s what happens when socialists run things, and you support yourself politically through handout: Sooner or later you run out of money.
So here we are making deals with the devil again, the IMF with its hands all over Argentina not a decade later, the president an all its minions swallowing their own words they said just months ago about never dealing with the IMF ever again.
The first link, there’s not more to add to it. Its the way it is with the IMF. They are the ones that cause these things, then they own you for the misery they themselves caused. Same old story.
I feel the second link had enough truth about it, with Enron and Argentina, yet look what happened with Chavez… still alive, still running things over there, but he’s a petty dictator that steals for himself, not some people’s hero fighting the IMF like that interview somehow made it look.
Good stuff and I hope people read it.
Not much that can be done about it, just helps understand. No, the IMF isn’t out there to help “developing nations” or any other nation, that joke isn’t even funny.

FerFAL

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Leaving the USA‏


Ferfal,
I have read your wonderful survival book and read many months of your truly great survival blog site. They cover so many meaningful subjects—thank you, you are doing a great service educating people on pending events and surviving through them. One topic that I could not find is any coverage regarding expatriating from the States.

There are many concerns of pending major events that are staring us in the face, which I think could/will happen within the next 24 months:
·                         major devaluation of the dollar/hyperinflation
·                         peak oil
·                         more government control of our lives
·                         more taxes including mega-taxation starting in 2011 and especially in 2013
·                         potential bank holiday and/or martial law/police state
·                         world wide depression
·                         currency controls both into and flowing out of the US
·                         world wide food shortages

 
Any of the above can and will cause severe major civilian unrest, riots and increased crime around the world. I could easily see indefinite martial law in the US and a prolonged bank holiday like you had in Argentina.

I feel I’m somewhat prepared for a SHTF scenario. I have enough physical gold to make it worthwhile to ship and store some of it (using ViaMat) in Switzerland. I have guns, ammo, silver--mostly US coinage, electric generator and a year’s supply of freeze dried food for 2 people, some smaller denomination US currency etc. I’m retired military so I have some experience in using firearms and jungle survival, and we have been stationed overseas and still travel to foreign countries.

I receive ample government pensions but that, of course, could stop at any time or become essentially worthless in the future with hyperinflation. Our house is paid for. However, I envision that even with all the preparation as stated above may not be enough to survive.

I would like to leave the US for greener pastures where there is more privacy, less government intrusion, less taxes and no Bama. Mentioning our thoughts of relocating to a foreign country has been met with stiff opposition from contacts and friends that when TSHTF we would be treated as outsiders in a foreign country and be subject to more problems there than remaining in the States. I’ve read in forums people stating it would be safer to stay put in our home country. Moving and living in a foreign country supposedly you’d be treated as a second class group of immigrants (where the natives would turn against gringos who are using up precious food, fuel etc) and have limited means of owning weapons to defend yourself
 
My wife and I are in our early to mid 60’s and in good health. I’m eager to leave the US but my wife has several concerns. The 2 big ones are us not knowing Spanish and our older age. She said if we were in our 40’s she would be more receptive to doing a move.

My primary choice is Panama. My question to you is would moving to Panama be of any advantage to me and my wife prior to the SHTF? What do you suggest we do, sit tight, head for the hills or move overseas? Also constructive criticism of what we have done, have not done, acquired or not acquired will be most welcome.

Thanks,
Roy


Hi Roy,
First allow me to apologize for not replying sooner, it keeps getting harder to reply to everyone but I do my best.
Its understandable that given the current economic situation world wide, people want to leave their country looking for greener pastures as you said.
I’ve talked a bit before about relocating, try using the search function here and look up “Uruguay”. Its probably the only Latin American country that doesn’t feel 3rd worldly. Chile is solid but you have a serious problem with earthquakes. Brazil has some nice parts but the social difference between rich and poor is terrible there and that’s a can of worms you don’t want to open. Then you have Uruguay. Uruguay is cheap to live in because of the currency exchange rate but there’s a feeling about the people there of dignity and education, you don’t get that in the rest of Latin America. The current president of Uruguay wasn’t much of my liking but I recently heard him talk about not artificially protecting the country’s industry like Argentina did, letting the free market find its own way and wanting to turn Uruguay into a country that exports technology and knowledge to the neighboring countries. Uruguay is the only country in south America where every single kid in school was issued a laptop. I’d prefer it to Panama. Look up the article if you‘re interested, check the "reolcating" topic on the Topic Archive, lower left column.

Back to leaving USA, I see why a lot of people are considering it right now. Things aren’t looking good and they won’t BE good for a long time. The crisis will go on, maybe get worse, but is it going to be better in other places? What are you giving up for that cheap exchange rate? In most countries (Uruguay being one of the few exceptions in the world) you’re giving up security, and you’re getting yourself involved in a society Americans know very little about: Societies were there’s extreme poverty and a small, powerful elite.
Places like Panama, they are corrupt beyond what Americans are used to. Everyone is used to corrupt politicians, but not everyone is used to bribing cops and official authorities as an everyday fact of live.
And its not just about security. I simply do not like walking around the streets of a city and having people begging on the floor every 3 yards. Some people dig that, I don’t. I’ve read Doug Casey mentioning how people would work almost for food here in Argentina as if that were a bonus to a location. I suppose people have different opinions of what quality of life means.
I did a bit of research on Panama and it sounds good in many ways: cheap exchange rate, good gun laws, you can carry and own a broad variety of firearms. Small with excellent tropical climate… yet its still a 3rd world country and those of us that have lived in one for some time know what it means. Rest assured that for every American wanting to leave USA, there’s 100 that want to move in, often people that come from those same countries Americans consider relocating too.

Finally, its simply not home for you, and it will never be. Do you really want to live in a place you just don’t fit? Some lefty tree-hugging liberal may love living in Colombia, the province of Chaco here in Argentina or some other rat hole, but a conservative American wont. Your friends are right, you’ll always be a second class citizen. They’ll smile at you, most people will be nice, mostly those you do business with (no surprise there) but you’ll always be the rich gringo (even if you’re not rich ) that thinks he owns the world. If there’s ever a problem and they have to back someone up, you’ll always be in second place. Finally, you already have friends in USA, you wont be making good ones in Latin America any time soon. Not knowing Spanish will just make all of this worse, huge dissadvantage. Think about that before making a decision.

In America you can wake up every morning not worrying about a noise you’re not used to being someone trying to break into your house. You can walk or drive to the closest dinner without watching over your back every 10 seconds. You have the right to carry a firearm for self defense and if you ever use your gun in such a way, some filthy judge wont be asking you for some exorbitant bribe or even worse, throwing you in jail.
You have stores of every type, whatever hobby you have, you’ll find everything you need. That simply doesn’t happen in other countries. You like books? Even a small US city has huge book stores like nothing you’ll ever find in Latin America. You want to drive a car you like? You wont have to pay 5 times the price you pay for it in USA like you do in most 3rd world countries. Big brother is all over the world and in most other countries you don’t even have the right to privacy you have in USA. It just doesn’t compute in people’s head that a government sticking its nose into your business isn’t right.  Big brother is accepted  in the 3rd world with opened arms, it always has. Don’t think you’re getting free of that by moving elsewhere.
I understand downsizing, maybe moving to a cheaper state, but leaving USA? Not really, not unless some mayor event forces you out of it and what’s happening now occurs all over the world to a  greater or lesser degree. All in all, USA is a good place to be in during this storm.
You have taxes in other countries as well, and even worse, in 3rd world countries you have corruption that will bite you when you least expect it. Give me taxes over corruption any day, specially when those taxes aren’t being entirely stolen and going to the president’s pocket like it occur in 3rd world countries.
In spite of everything wrong with it, America is still a bastion of freedom. Anyone doubting that just hasn’t spent enough time in other places and sure hasn’t suffered 3rd world countries.
I agree with your wife, I think you should stay in USA. Maybe make a few changes but stay in America unless you’re 100% sure of what you want to do.

If you want my advice, this is it: Stay in America, you’re already in the best country in the world, don’t give that up. You already have contacts, gear and friends in your location. You know the country and how it works. If you’re not happy with your current location, try moving somewhere else, preferably close to friends. Those are priceless. Weather you stay or move, get involved in your community, see how you can help out, try looking at it from a different angle. This helps a lot. It sure has helped me. Just as an example, I’m trying to find a place so that an acquaintance of mine can give self defense lessons. I’ve been asking around my neighborhood, local gyms and such.  I’m helping him out by finding him a place for the classes and maybe a few more students, and I’m benefiting from it too by having a good place to train near by. He’s also a police officer and I know he would gladly help if I ever need it. I also offered to review the security of my kids school. Don’t underestimate the power of getting involved and talking to people. Your community is one of your most important assets, even if when the chips are down 9 out of 10 people wont be there, there’s still that one guy you can count on.
Hope that helped some.
Take care,

FerFAL

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sugar




It tripled in price here in Argentina this year alone, and even at almost 2 USD per Kilo you are limited to three packs per family in most supermarkets. This year, at times there simply wasn’t any to be had.
Just had a phone call with a friend in USA, he’s got good info that sugar prices will be going up soon even more in USA.
Sugar has unlimited shelf life if stored moist free, its one of those staple foods you’re always using, no matter how much you have you’ll end up using it eventually.
Do yourself a favor and buy a good amount of it next time you go to the supermarket.
You’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling when you see the prices go up and you already have a couple of years of it stashed.

FerFAL

SHTF video games/movies...‏

Hello Fernando,

First, I want to compliment you on having such an excellent and useful blog. I have purchased and enjoyed your book, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others who are interested in truly surviving and thriving in a world becoming more unstable on a daily basis. I discovered your site during the whole 'Coast to Coast JWR controversy', and if there's one positive thing which can be said about that incident, it's that you now have one more avid fan. Thank you for promoting a realistic presentation of survivalism rather than one that's not grounded in reality - as is the majority of survivalism currently being peddled in America.

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching and video games and DVD movies being pretty much a staple of modern day gift giving, do you know of any which you feel accurately reflect a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario to a reasonable degree? While there are a TON of post-apocalyptic movies and video games out there to choose from, which do you feel comes the closest to representing what really happens in a societal collapse similar to what happened in Argentina? Or are there any out there at all?

It seems that SHTF would be a great topic to develop - especially for a video game, given the current world situation and exploding interest in survivalism . One can almost imagine the possibilities: it could be an RPG scenario with preparedness as its primary objective, or maybe a shooter with staying alive as the main focus - or of course some combination of the two. The possibilities are endless, and it could serve both as individual entertainment and of course, as training.

I hope I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel here, as there may be some games/films out there which already represent what I've described. I don't mind a little SciFi, but I'm pretty well saturated to the point of madness with games/films of buxom Amazons kickboxing and blasting their way through hordes of post-apocalyptic zombies. I've seen you mention and advertise the Fallout series of games on your blog, and they look interesting. I don't have much experience with them, although I have recently picked up Fallout New Vegas. Haven't had a chance to really get into it yet.

Thanks for all the hard work that you do, Fernando, in putting together your book and maintaining your blog, and good luck in your plans on immigrating to the United States. I hope you are eventually successful in your endeavor, as such talented and resourceful individuals such as yourself should be welcomed here with open arms.

Hasta Luego

Rodrigo


Hi Rodrigo, nice to have you on board. Actions speak lauder than words and people that have met me have a pretty good idea of who I am.
 Lets just say that if, for example, you boast about how charitable you will be after the end of the world, yet you claim not to have enough money to pay those that you refer to as your “correspondents” for their work, then those words are empty indeed.
Its like we always say guys, if you just talk about how great (or generous, or brave, etc)  you’ll be “after SHTF”, that means nothing. Its what you do NOW that matters. That goes for training, personal and home security, working out, getting rid of debt, sorting out your life, your finances, your job, your relationship with your family and loved ones, taking care of things now, not later. Its specially pointless when you make all these plans for after the end of the world, specially since the world isn’t ending any time soon. Pretty convenient. Survival reality vs Survival Fantasy is topic that I’ll cover in another post. I’ve written about it before but its worth revising, specially these days where everything on TV  is “Survival” “Apocalypse”, “End of the world” and such. Unfortunately this confuses people who honestly want to prepare for real world events, yet end up wasting time, money and energy in things that aren’t useful, preparing for events that occur in movies rather than the real world.

Holydays are just around the corner indeed. Before I forget I’d like to mention something. I’ve received several emails about dropping the price of my book for a few days. Readers such as yourself have read it, liked it and want to give it away as a gift for loved ones for Christmas. The book has been selling beyond my own expectations for over a year now in spite of the high price, (Thank you SO much, all of you!) so I’ve decided to drop the price 40% ($10 drop in price) so that those interested can buy more to give away. This will not be permanent, just a couple days, after that I’ll go back to the 24.95 price which is the price that allows me to keep writing and blogging.

Back to your email, can’t say I find much practical info in most end of the world movies. Mad Max is fun but other than the fun factor what are you learning? Fun is good enough though, so I highly recommend it! :-)
Alive is a good movie and most of you have seen it already I guess. Makes it painfully clear how important it is to have food, water, shelter and means of signaling/communication. A little planning goes a long way, specially when traveling in the Andes.
I liked The Road, actually liked the movie better than the book. Didn’t like the writing style, no matter what critics say.
Savior and Empire of the Sun are both good movies that show what happens to people that get caught in a war. Savior was pretty accurate in terms of how unrealistic it was regarding facing superior forces, when hiding and evading is your only option. The Empire of the Sun has lots of good stuff in it. I’ve watched it as a kid a long time ago, saw it again this year a couple times and always found new bits of food for thought. Its based on the personal experiences of the novel author, so its realistic enough to learn one or two things from it.
If you want something from Argentina, there’s “The Take” which is a Canadian documentary, workers reopening the factory that broke, leaving them without jobs, turning it into a worker cooperative.
“Bombon: The Dog”, is about a 50 something year old knife seller that doesn’t find anyone that can afford his knives in the post 2000 Argentina, at 50 he’s not likely to find a job either. His luck start to change for better after a good Samaritan action gets him a Dogo Argentino. Haven’t seen this movie but its on my short list since I’ve heard good comments.
Regarding videogames, similar to Argentina’s 2000 crisis? I don’t think that would be a fun videogame to play. :-) Bored, jobless and worried about being mugged or shot isn’t good videogame material. Maybe they could do a free roam game with some of those elements, a bit of bartering, job hunting and shooting, but soon enough it would get unrealistic because otherwise it wouldn’t be fun. Starts to sound like GTA, and its true that criminals here get away with that kind of stuff.  I just don’t think there’s nothing you’ll be learning from them regarding real survival, but hey, as long as its fun that’s all I ask of a video game. 

I’ve been playing Fallout: New Vegas these days. It’s been several months since I turned the xbox on, not much free time to play with a family, training, writing and other activities. Maybe its missing that coolness found in the old Fallouts, I and II, but if you liked Fallout III you’ll sure enjoy Fallout: New Vegas.  Fallout New Vegas mentions that you can shoot 38 Special and 44 special out of 357 magnum and 44 magnum guns so that’s a bit of real info there. The character also uses reloading benches he finds occasionally and can put together ammo if he has the cases, primers, powder and lead. That’s as far as it goes in terms of reality.
If anyone has other recommendations, both movies and videogames, I’d like to hear them so please comment.
Take care Rodrigo,

FerFAL

PS: Just changed the price to 14.95 but it said it may take up to 5 days until the price is updated.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Swords for Self Defense



If you look at it in historic terms, swords and blades in general have killed far more people than guns, so its understandable that people may contemplate them as alternatives to firearms when these are not available. Before we go any further into this, I’d like to remind everyone just in case that while blades have a place, something like a sword shouldn’t even be considered in countries where you can legally own firearms. Even a double barrel shotgun would be a MUCH better alternative. If you live in USA, the alternatives you have  in firearms makes even thinking about swords for self defense a ridiculous idea. Get a Glock my friend. If you’re worried about stopping power get one in 357 SIG or 10mm. A sword shouldn’t even be in the picture. 

Having said that, lets just suppose you can’t own firearms. Blades are your second best option. I’ve mentioned often enough that even if you carry a firearm, you should definitely have a folding fighting knife as well. The reason for this is that at contact range or when struggling with your attacker, the knife is more useful than any firearm. The "don’t bring a knife to a gunfight" line is only true when you have a certain range. At sidewalk range you will get cut, and if the knife wielder has the slightest idea of how to us it and you have no h2h training you will get killed, gun or no gun. Also, if your gun isn’t working anymore for whatever reason) the knife can still be used as a weapon. 

But what about swords? The first problem we see with them is that you of course can’t carry it with you at all times. Getting a big folder means you have a tool for self defense with you at all times, but the sword will stay home or maybe get carried in the car.
Second, and this is of particular concern for people that live in countries where firearms are available, lets just suppose you do use it to kill or even worse in legal terms, injure a home invader. The first question everyone (including the judge and jury) is going to ask is, Why the heck do you have a sword for defense when you can buy a gun? Playing the devils advocate, the strategy I would use would be that you wheren’t concerned that much about self defense as you where about playing your Nippon manga fantasy, you wanted to be Akira, you’re sick in the head and believe you are Higlander the Inmortal.

Having said all this, lets say guns aren’t available and you go for a large blade, a sword of some kind. The world of blades is huge and tomes have been written about it, I don’t intend to summarize all of that in this simple article, yet I’d make a couple distinctions. First, there are blades for war and blades for defensive use. Cavalry uses a saber that cuts heads like water melons, mostly while on horse, but what about turning it against a would be killer in a narrow corridor, using only one hand, while keeping his own knife or gun away from your body with the other? Long narrow blades like rapiers and dueling blades are out of the equation as well. The second distinction worth mentioning is, the kind swords that proved most effective in combat. While many have interesting characteristics,  for the purpose of self defense I believe the short roman sword, the gladius, holds the key of what to look for. The gladius along with outstanding military tactics and discipline was a main factor of the roman’s effectivenss in combat. The galdius is short, so it didn’t tangle with people or equipment around during the fight, it has a narrow tip, perfect for stabbing, and that’s how it was most often used, and finally it is broad enough to chop with the strength of a machete. A short, broad sword with a penetrating tip fits the bill in my opinion. Machetes have these same characteristics, except for the penetrating tip in the tipical latin machete, but a clip point is easy to make. The clip point can be found in  Cold Steel Cutlass mentioned earlier. 
1917 Cutlass, Leather Scabbard 

For self defense I’d prefer something even shorter though, around 12-14 inches is more than enough, and is more handy at close quarters. Even A big butcher’s knife or chef knife should suffice. 
Victorinox 10-Inch Straight Butcher Knife, Rosewood Handle 
Wenger Swibo 14-1/10-Inch Butcher Knife, Large Blade 
Wenger Swibo 14-1/10-Inch Butcher Knife, Large Blade  (otherwise known as the "please shoot me instead knife")
As an added bonus, its cheap, readily available and isn’t out of place in a houses kitchen. “I just grabbed the first thing I found…”
When it comes to machetes, I’ve often recommended the Cold Steel machetes for these same reasons. These days there are more machetes out there and many have more narrow tips than the typical latin machete.
Just some more food for thought, take care and enjoy your weekend.

FerFAL

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reply: What to do if guns are not allowed?

Unbreakable Umbrella

Regarding this post a few days ago 
(What to do if guns are not allowed?
this looks like an interesting alternative.
 
 Its not a weapon at all, just a very rugged 
umbrella that will keep you dry, don’t go out 
for a stroll in UK without it!
Unbreakable Umbrella Auto-Open 
Unbreakable Umbrella Auto-Open 
 
 
 
FerFAL

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When are you done preparing?




Hi Ferfal,

I heard you on a podcast recently (2beers w/steve) and from that discovered your blog which I've been reading through. I have ordered your book.



This might be a strange question, but when is one done preparing, or is one ever really done?



I've been into prepping for the last couple years, I have

Many months of emergency food, bug out bag, emergency kits of various types some weapons, etc. I dont have much money at this point but i am out of debt and whenever i have a few extra dollars i buy a little more silver.



There are some things I can't do at the moment for various reasons such as a garden. But it seems like I've done what I can and am pretty well set other than continuing to get more training, get into better shape etc. So other than just waiting for the SHTF, stay up on the latest news etc what do you recommend for someone to do to maintain their preparedness edge so that they really are ready when something happens? I do find myself getting complacent sometimes which could bite me in the ass.



Thanks for any suggestions from a new follower of your blog!



Eric



Hi Eric, that’s a pretty interesting question and I’m sure others have asked themselves similar questions at some point.

You read about survival and preparedness, you see the wisdom in it, and you get involved. You then buy a certain amount of gear, camping gear, flashlights, a knife, maybe a gun, some will put together a few kits for the house and car. Some will see the wisdom in stocking up food so they’ll have several months worth of it stocked, forget about it and throw it away after a few years when they rediscover it lost in the basement. Hopefully the person will rotate the food next time so it doesn’t happen again. Some people will go beyond the buying stuff and rotating food stage and sign up for a self defense shooting class, but eventually everyone gets to the point where you are: Now what? Am I done?

Short answer is no, you’re not. You’re never done because survivalism, at least my take on it, isn’t only about buying things, organizing kits, and taking a couple classes on shooting or bushcraft. Survivalism is lifestyle and it affect every single aspect of the decisions you make and the way you life in general. The survival lifestyle goes beyond mindset, since it’s backed up by the actions you perform. The so often mentioned” couch commando” is the person that talks about survival but doesn’t actually do anything, also sometimes referred to as “practicing what you preach”. Specially when it comes to survivalism or its more politically correct term “preparedness”, unless you actually DO what you preach, the theory alone will be of very limited use, because the essence of survival and preparedness is purely physical. You can’t theorize your way out of a car accident, your can’t use your willpower to stop bullets or perform in a gunfight in a way you’ve never trained before. While mindset is important and will be the foundation of everything else , the physical and practical element is essential.

Consider the mindset the starting point. The person’s brain clicks and sees things for what they are. After understanding and seeing wisdom in the logical approach of planning for problematic events of different nature, the new survivalist is set on a path that will involve different aspects of survival. This will vary depending on each individual’s personal experience. I see the wisdom in knowing how to handle a violent encounter with criminals because it is a reality close to me. For the person living in cold weather regions, what sets his trigger off may be some particularly bad snow storm he remembers. The person that had a tough time recuperating after losing his job will slap his forehead at seeing how a year food supply and a little emergency cash and precious metal stash would have made things so much easier. These different points of view combined with the right piece of information triggers an understanding. “ I can prepare for this”.


 You’re Never Done
And after putting together the bug out bags, food, guns, the questions inevitably slides into the picture…”Now What?”. And the true survivalist is the one that knows the answer to that.

Once the understanding of why its wise to prepare triggers a chain of events that leads the person, it will come to a point where it either ends there, with the bags and kits, or it changes the person forever, and the true survivalist will never be able to think otherwise. Before buying a car, the true survivalist will not just go for looks and price, he will check the vehicles record, parts availability, desirability for criminal, the topography of his location and the vehicles capabilities, things we’ve covered here before. Buying brand x or y food? Price alone wont be the only thing to consider, calories? Protein? Fat? shelf live is considered too. Staying at a hotel? Preferably rooms in the first or second floor please. Traveling somewhere? Can I take my kit with me? I can’t have a knife with me? I might as well be butt naked. Parking the car? Close to the exit and looking forward, preferably in that direction. A bunch of survivalists get together for dinner? The one sitting with his back towards the door feels awkward, but at least is covering his buddy’s 6. Buying a pair of running shoes? For some reason ruggedness starts mattering more than looks. You realize your mind is rigged in a certain way and every logical process is affected by it, after a while even the unconscious behavior changes as well.

Then you have the activities you just must keep doing the rest of your life if you expect to retain proper levels of preparedness. After getting into shape, working out two or three times a week will be necessary. You’ll never stop doing that. Firearms and fighting training isn’t just limited to taking a class, you have to train what you learned or you’ll eventually lose that skill. Backpacking and camping too. If your particular situation dictates that wilderness survival is important to you (backwoods guide, pilot in Alaska, forest ranger ) then you need to practice those skills as well.

Hands down being in good physical shape will be a priority no matter what. If you have to walk yourself out of the Andes, fight with a criminal over the control of a weapon or just avoid the most common cause of death such as cardiovascular diseases, you simply have to work out.


It must be Fun


And that’s why you must enjoy doing all this. Getting your butt kicked when sparring, getting shouted at while you’re soaking wet because the shooting training wasn’t canceled because of bad weather, doing pushups in the mud, these are all things you must enjoy doing. Its no wonder that people like us have so much in common.

Last weekend we had an “asado” with the guys from the Instructors class. I used the knife I made a few weeks ago and showed it around. Everyone in the table was a knife nut too, a couple even knew what different types of steel meant and asked what I had used. (5160, before anyone asks). After that we went shooting, the farm owner had a shooting range with poppers and we did a few drills, his son timing each of us in friendly competition. Remember that its also important to get the family involved in this. Kids like shooting stuff, maybe your wife isn’t much of a shooter but enjoys gardening. Survival and preparedness is broad enough it sure will include some activity your family enjoys. Maybe for other people, what they enjoy the most is camping so they do that more often. Others may particularly enjoy gardening, wood/metal working, as long as the priorities are covered as well all practical skills are useful, but its important to have fun for two good reasons.

First of all, if you don’t have fun you wont be doing it for long. If your brain associates these activities with pain or unpleasant feelings it will eventually wear you out, while if it associates it with pleasure and fun you’ll look forward to them. Second, having fun is important on its own. It reduces stress, fights a number of diseases by boosting your immune system and most important,  It means your life is spent doing what you want.

No, you’re never done prepping. Besides, why would you want to stop? :-)

Take care!


FerFAL