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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Yin and Yang of preparedness




These days I find myself contemplating survival, preparedness and life in general. As I said several times already, the correct mind-set and awareness are “always on” mods to your brain. If the right mentality regarding survival is embraced its never turned off, it never goes away, but it filters your perception and influences your actions. But this “always on” mode must never be mistaken with being paranoid, and even worse, it should never make you fall for the doom and gloom so common among the survival and preparedness community.
Where does common sense stop and where does depression and doom worshiping begin? The purpose of this article is to analyze just that and maybe make some soul searching to make sure we’re going in the right direction.


Extremes in survival and preparedness

As all things in life, there should be a balance in your survival mindset and emergency preparations. As an example, for those of us that have been into this for a while now, there are things that dont compute in our brains anymore. Not being able to defend yourself and your family in your own home is one of them. Yet there’s millions of folks that are just counting on dialing 911 ( and using their mutant X men type powers to freeze time until help actually arrives, say 15 to 30 minutes in the best case) On the other hand never setting foot on the street out of fear isn’t reasonable either.
Sometimes there’s a disconnection between what you think you’re doing and how effective that will actually be in the real world. Having 25 guns doesn’t make you safer that having 20, so just adding more weapons and gear may be just a matter of hoarding, rather than real security. This is a common problem these days. Difference between hoarding and collecting? A collection is guided based on country of origin, period, or some other topic in common. Hoarding is just buying stuff randomly. Maybe the guy that invested five hundred dollars in a used Glock, some ammo, holster and concealed weapon license and another 500 bucks in a defensive shooting class is better prepared for trouble than the guy with a safe full of guns but no weapon on him when he actually needs it.
You can be capable of defending yourself yet lead a normal life, that includes a social life as well. I often read about survivalists having problems interacting with people they consider (and probably are) sheeply. In my opinion, this is a negative attitude since being capable of blending in and not only that, also being tolerant of other people’s choices, no matter how misguided we consider them, is an important trait for survivalists. A real survivalist should be just as comfortable doing fighting training soaking wet and covered in mud or in a social reunion with people that can spend four hours talking about topics we may consider superficial. Adapting means this too, being capable of interacting in other social circles, and feeling comfortable while doing so. Next time you find yourself in such a situation, try doing your best to fit and mentally take note of how successful you manage to be.


Paranoid doom and gloomer

Its so easy to get caught in all the doom and gloom. Especially during trying times such as these, with an ongoing economic crisis world wide and un uncertain future ahead. But you know what, doomers have been promising the end of the world for centuries. Just like there’s people that believe in bigfoot theres people that will swear to you the world will end next year, and when it doesn’t they’ll say its going to happen the next one. Dont worry, they have no shame in keep doing this their entire natural lives. Who knows? sometimes they “get lucky”, at least in their minds, and some event does take place. Truth is you should prepare no matter what simply out of common sense. And during the good times you just enjoy them as much as you can while you keep prepping. The way I see it preparedness is all about happiness and quality of life. Preparing means problems, accidents or unfortunate events, life threatening or not, will be overcome or solved better and faster and I can go back to enjoying life quicker. Preparing as an excuse to be sad, miserable and angry or as a way to justify depression or character problems, that’s of no use.
Make no mistake, during hard times, specially during periods of recession, unemployment and crime, you need to be one peppy, happy son of a gun to make it. If you’re already depressed before things really get bad I promise, you wont stand it when it gets worse. A positive attitude is essential to survival, and economic collapse survival will put this to test for years to come, maybe the rest of your life.


Weekened or Theoretical “preppers”

Taking a few classes (self defense, food storage, first aid, just to name a few) an then going back to being your old self wont work either. Being all tactical during a shooting class only to store everything and spending the rest of your week completely unarmed because concealed carrying isn’t comfortable or convenient means you wont be ready when you need it the most.
Your company doesn’t allow you to carry? Leave your gun in the car then but put it back on when you get inside, and by all means, find other ways to have tools for defense on the meantime, even if its just a folding knife. Sometimes I really dont feel like carrying a bag with the stuff I often post about here, but I do it anyway. It has all come in handy in enough situations to remind me how important it is to carry a minimum amount of gear at all times as your daily EDC. The epitome of this are “theoretical" survivalists and preppers, spending hours on line talking about survival but no actual preps. Gun? Not yet, still putting the money together. BOB? Go bag? car kit? EDC gear and kit? Nope. Food stored? No, I’ve been “thinking about it" but still nada. Guys, reading hundreds of gear threads and reviews wont do you any good if you dont get up and actually put a kit together, actually bother to carry the minimum gear often mentioned. Trust me, eventually you end up using it so you learn to appreciate it.


Selective preparedness

It usually happens that guys just love guns and concentrate on that, buying lots of guns, maybe knifes, but completely ignoring other areas of preparedness.
For the ladies, its usually that they feel more comfortable with food preps and storage, also gardening, but the idea of training for self defense isn’t as appealing.
Folks, you have to cover the basics on all regards no matter if you personally happen to like some better than others. We’re human and its very hard to be objective, but we must do our best to be as logical as possible about preparedness and survival and cover all areas, starting with the essential ones such as security, both personal and at home, food and water, shelter, health and finances.

Like everything else in life, a balance to your preparedness is crucial. Do your best to get all the family involved too. Dont force it and try starting with the areas that you believe will be of more appeal to each family member.
Take care folks and have fun!

FerFAL

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hidden inflation and the incredible shrinking toilet paper roll.

 Not all TP is equal any more, even if you think you’re buying the same product.
Check out this clip:

This type of thing happened here after 2001 and I remember mentioning it to people. Its sad how a few years later its happening over there as well.
Its a neat trick because you feel you’re paying the same, but truth is you’re getting less product. Basically the price has gone up.
There are other ways in which the companies manage to increase the price by giving you less product:

1) Check the cans, they may be the same size but there may be less actual food. When buying tuna for example, they put more oil into it than before. Sometimes you open it and see that it´s only 3/4 full or less.
2) The shape of the bottle or container changes, more curvacious, those convex curves on the sides (also check the bottom) are ways of tricking the eye into thinking that the shape is about the same, but there’s really less volume.
3)For products that come sealed in bags and placed inside boxes like some cereals, the box may be the same, as well as the bag, but the net weight and content is less than before.

Sometimes they just lower the quality of the product without you knowing.
1)Adding more water into it. This happens a lot here with juices and milk. Do you check the actual orange juice content in your orange juice? In Argentina most brands have gone from 70%, to 50% and in some cases you buy “orange juice" with less than 30% of real orange juice. All this works nicely for the government as well, since they can claim that the price of milk or juice hasn’t gone up per gallon.
2)By adding more starch to food in general. Cookies dont taste as good as they did, chocolate seems to have less flavor. They are cheapening the quality of the food sold but keeping the same price. Sometimes they pull this by changing both the package and the name. “New Super cereal Plus! Much better than our old super cereal! more tasty!" Maybe they add a bit more flavoring or market it as having extra vitamin C, but it has less fiber or other ingredient that has gone up in price, or maybe they switched to a cheaper ingredient supplier.
For example, here’s an American Oreo (left) compared to an Argentine post economic collapse oreo (right). The Argentine oreo doesn’t taste nearly as good as the American one, and its smaller too!:

3) This same thing will be applied to products in general, from gasoline to cleaning products. Over the years, the ammunition produced locally has less and less powder in it. Soon it will barely leave the barrel! Just an example of how they cut costs, yet keep the same old price.

Take care folks, and don´t let them fool you!

FerFAL

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sugar rationed in Argentina


This has been going on for some time now. There's usually limits to how much you can buy. I remember for a long time after 2001, milk was sometimes rationed as well. I usually see the limit being 2 or 3 kg. packs, but this time its just 1.
Of course, I've already build up a good supply but still buy whenever I go to the supermarket.
Also, check the price, 6.19 pesos at a 1 dollar: 4 pesos exchange rate. Remember this isn't USA folks, we earn pesos here, and we have loads of sugar cane fileds up north. 

FerFAL

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Modern Survivalist Website almost finished

Hi everyone, The Modern Survivalist Website is almost finished, I just have to organize the categories better, complete the FAQ page and a couple other things but I’m already reposting the posts over there and the website automatically reposts it over facebook and twitter.

Something I´m sure many of you will like, each post also starts a threat over at the Modern Survivalist’s forum (check the menu at the very top where it says “forum”) This is something I really wanted because some posts grow on their own with excellent comments. This way you guys can start discussing and sharing ideas, developing lines of thought much further like in ordinary boards and forums.
Check out the website and remember to sign up to the different social networks.
Take care!

FerFAL

Rope, wire and ductape

One thing I realized over the years is that the more gear you have, it doesn’t mean you’re better prepared. This is in some way similar to backpacking. When I see people on the road with these huge backpacks I tend to doubt about how much experience they have. Truth is, unless you’re climbing some of the most important mountains in the world or some other extreme trip, you dont need that much stuff. Its common knowledge that the more you backpack, the more you start leaving gear behind rather than adding to the stuff you carry.
But there’s a few items that are so functional that you’d be clever to have some with you always. Rope, wire and ductape are such items.
Improvising a shoulder strap and handle, patching mosquito net holes, I even used ductape recently to make a knife sheath (knife sheath on the way :-)  )
Improvised Duct Tape knife Sheath

Wire is another terrific product. From temporarily fixing a loose car’s exhaust, making a hook, fixing the grills mechanism, its just so convenient to have a small roll of wire around.
Rope, specially good one like paracord can have countless uses.
Recently I found this new stuff, at least new to me, this is Technora cord. Its .008“ thick and tolerates 450lbs .
 Technora Ultra Composite Survival Cord Rope (50', 450lbs Breaking Strength)
Technora Ultra Composite Survival Cord Rope (50', 450lbs Breaking Strength)
I dont think this replaces the practicality of 550 paracord. With Paracord you have 7 individual strands on the inside and I find that to be very practical.
None the less this cord is incredibly strong for its thickness. I first saw technora rope in the City of Arts and Science in Valencia, Spain. A technora rope on exposition there could hold the weight of 4 persons. That thing was 6mm thick and breaks at 4400lbs. Pretty impressive. Again, still holding onto the good old 550 paracord, but I’ll write about about this cord once I try it out.
As for ductape, hands down Gorilla Tape is the best tape I’ve come across. If anyone tried something better please comment on it.
Gorilla Tape 1.88-Inch by 35-Yard Tape Roll
Gorilla Tape 1.88-Inch by 35-Yard Tape Roll
As for wire, ordinary wire, not too thin, not too thick is what has been working best for me for most situations over the years.
Take care folks!

FerFAL

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Power, water and utilities never being restored

Hi
I live in a upper middle class suburb of a large city in the southwest. If SHTF economically, will the city likely be able to keep the water, gas and power going, even with higher rates, and maybe with rolling blackouts? Even though I have a 2000W generator and a 20,000 gallon pool in my backyard for backups, I'd rather pay more to keep the standard utilities going.
Al
Hi Al,
Think about it for a second. If tin-pot dictators around the world manage to keep basic services working, so can USA. Cuba “somewhat” (everything is somewhat during extended SHTF) manages to have power, running water, even commie filtered Internet. That means that in the long run, no matter if there’s a disaster these services will be restored. Evo Morales manages to have these working in his country, that means a bipolar kangaroo can eventually figure it out too. Again, expect serious problems and poor service, but you’ll have them. That middle ground is where a lot of preppers get lost. I dont even have a generator, but I do have a voltage elevator, something I posted about before and few survivalists would have thought about. That right there is the perfect example of the “somewhat” problem. Thankfully that gadget saves me a lot of headaches and money in appliances that would otherwise be ruined by now. Does this machine make sense in current USA? No, you get 110V delivered or you dont get any at all during a blackout. The situation hsn’t reached the point where they have to start delivering 90V or 70V instead of 110V because the grid can’t handle it due to decades of poor maintenance. May happen one day? Who knows? but its not an immediate concern in USA.
Same thing with tap water. I pay for my water bill, it works (most of the time) but even tap water must be filtered here to get most of the heavy metals and chemicals out of it due to its 3rd worldly water treatment.
Security is again another example of this “in between” situation. The survivalist wet dream dictates that “after SHTF” you literally get away with murder. You shoot the bad guys and everything works out great for you, but around here and most countries that have inefficient police or (even worse) liberal agendas, the bad guy is the victim, you’re the capitalist pig shooting unprivileged minorities and if they catch you they will send you o jail.
A few weeks ago here in Argentina, a man brought out his gun to defend himself from a would be home invader. Bad guys surrenders and the cops arrive. what happens? Mr. bad guy is released right away but the honest citizen is accused of threatening the criminal with the gun and stays in jail. No kidding , that’s how things are these days.
Mark my words folks, their selling the liberal socialist dream as the solution to every problem currently being experienced in every country round the world. We’re all going to be seeing much more of this sort of injustice in the coming years. Preparedness will revolve heavily around protecting our rights, knowing how to use the new rules to protect ourselves for big brother , sorry , make that “big comrade”.
You are right about expecting the cost of utilities going up. Not Hollywood material, but one of the greatest challenges people will face in the coming years will be being able to pay the bills and buying food to get by.

FerFAL

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reply: Superglue for Small Wounds

Hi Ferfal, really enjoy your blog and your book as well; currently my dad has my copy. I'm a registered nurse working in an OR up here in America, so I deal with wound closures every day. I would suggest to you and your readers that you not glue wounds any deeper than 1/4", rather than the 3/4" recommended in the post (maybe a typo?). There's just too much risk for infection or for uncontrolled bleeding. Your circumstances will dictate, but generally the shallower and cleaner the wound the more appropriate for gluing.

Your point about leaving an opening for drainage is spot on. As you said, if you start to see any significant drainage, warmth, discoloration, or discolored streaks from the wound, it's past time for a professional. Supergluing things yourself is a good option if you're desperate, but if you have access to formal medical care that's of course your best option for treating whatever injury.

Keep up the great work, and take care,

Graham

Hi Graham. Thanks for the correction. I was actually thinking of some of the head cuts ERs around here fix with superglue. You're right, that's around 1/4 inch, not half an inch. Sorry for that, we use metric around here. :-)
The lip that I saw pictures of glued together though, that was a serious wound and the doctor still used superglue. Guess the lesson is that while it can be done, when used so extensively you need a doc. When doing it yourself just stick to smaller wounds.

Mr Aguirre
 
About 15 years ago I had inner ear surgery. 
The way they get to the inner ear is to cut the outside of the ear almost all of the way off and then tape it to
your nose to get it out of the way....then drill (or moto-tool) a hole in your skull above the ear canal to reach the inner ear.
After doing the repair, they used medical super glue to glue my ear back on.  There was  a large compression dressing over the ear that I had to leave on for 24 hours...and had to be carefull for several
more days, but it healed perfectly.
For a few months little pieces of the cyanacrolate would work their way out of the incision area if I scratched or washed it.  No pain, very little swelling---overall excellent result--and (unfortunately) my ears are no small piece of flesh and cartilage.  Super glue is good stuff.
 
Mark    Dayton, Oh
Thanks Mark for your email. Seems that its used a lot for soft tissues.
This is the PDF document I referred to beofre: Lip suture with isobutyl cianoacrylate (Graphic Warning!:shows actual wounds)
Click on it, its worth reading  and it  shows how isobutyl cianoacrylate is actually used. Notice Dr. Blanco actually puts the glue INSIDE the wound, THEN presses the sides together. Of course the wound shouldn't be bleeding much so as to achieve this correctly. Again, for this type of larger wound, go to the doctor. Its still interesting to understand how this works.
Take care,


 FerFAL

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Superglue for Small Wounds

Ross's email reminded me of superglue. I’ve used it this week as well to fix a small cut. My nephew had a cut in his head a few weeks ago fixed at the local ER with ordinary hardware store superglue.
Superglue is ethyl-cyanoacrylate. While  butyl-cyanoacrylate is the improved, proper use medical superglue, ordinary superglue (ethyl-cyanoacrylate) works for small cuts and its used here in third world hospitals. I know lots of doctors and nurses that use it so its safe to say that in spite of being a bit irritant its ok for small wounds.





How to use it


When I first heard of superglue being used for cuts I thought it was interesting but didn’t quite understand how you’re supposed to use it. Since then I’ve done a bit or reading, including a very interesting piece of research by an orthodontists that used superglue to fix a severely injured lip. I’ve also been using it myself when I got cut so this is how I’ve been using it:

1) It must be a small/moderate wound, less than an 3/4 inch deep and no longer than two inches. We’re closing the skin here, anything deeper and more serious requires medical attention.
2)Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water. You dont want to leave dirt inside the wound you’re about to close.
3) Dry and make sure you’ve stopped the bleeding. I’ve had good results (specially with fingers) by rasing the wound over my head. A bit of pressure helps too. Apply pressure for a couple minutes. A small amount of bleeding is ok, but you can’t have blood streaming out of the wound you’re trying to fix.
4)Use your fingers to bring the two sides of the wound together and place glue along the cut. Try to be as neat as possible and don´t use more glue than needed. I found out that the cleaner the cut, the easier it is to glue shut and it leaves almost no scar. Some glue will come into contact with the exposed wound even when  bringing both sides together. Its not a problem. As the wound closes it will expel that bit of glue and it eventually peals off.
5) Once glue is placed all along the wound, keep both sides together for 3 minutes until the glue dries.

Note: If during an emergency you’re forced to do something like this with a larger wound, you want to leave one end not completely glued shut. This is because large wounds will have some infection and puss, and you want a way to drain it. During an accident my son had in his leg, we drained puss for at least two weeks until the wound healed. Of course you need a doctor for such a wound but I’m just telling you what to expect.
Note II: Keep an eye on the wound for any signs of infection. A bit of redness is acceptable, but if it gets warm to touch and the red color spreads you know the infection is getting worse and you need antibiotics and medical help as soon as possible.

None of this is medical advice, just a household tip or two on how you may deal with a small cut during an emergency.

Take care!

FerFAL

Kids and Knives

Hey Ferfal,
     What a great article on the SAK and kids!  It's awesome that you remember what its like as a kid, too many people forget and get wrapped up in fear of the child hurting himself.  I recently gave my two daughters a couple of folding knives to introduce them to the responsibility of weapons.  About 6 months later my oldest (7yrs) came and told me that my youngest (6 yrs) needed me.  She had cut a large slice in her hand, looking to require stitches.  I am a medic and had returned from Iraq about a year prior, so I took out my aid bag and stitched her up, 7 stitches.  It was a great learning experience for her, reference knife safety and the reality of sharp edges, and it was a great bonding experience for the both of us.  The wound has since healed but the lesson will live on.  I've read your book and appreciate the knowledge and insight you have, keep up the good work!---Ross

Hi Ross, thanks for your email and thank you for your service.
I think that a sharp but small blade is an ok compromise between a sharp tool and something that isn’t that large. Making the typical mistakes is safer with a small knife.
Take care,
FerFAL

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thomas Jefferson’s Pockets: Jefferson’s “Swiss Army knife”

Anonymous said...

    Thought you and the kids would enjoy seeing Thomas Jefferson's SAK!

    February 18, 2011 10:05 AM

Nice find, thanks!
Incredible that Jefferson would carry something so similar to what we’re talking about.
By the way, does anyone recognize the rest of the tools? Is that a silver lighter?
Check out his multi-tool. These where high quality, apparently made by Kippax:


This is VERY similar to the Huntsman II. Its like the one I bought for my son and nephew, but with a saw instead of the magnifying glass. Yes, I think this one is better since the saw can be more handy than the glass, but they didn’t have this one in the store.
Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman Pocket Knife (Red)
Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman Pocket Knife (Red) $27.63

Check the website linked above in the comment. The tool is part of Jefferson’s EDC, his “pockets", but apparently those in charge ... lets say... “decided” ... not to show Jefferson’s most controversial EDC, his handgun.

"Before they built this new visitors center, the old visitors center contained what I remember to be this set of items, and the set was called "Jefferson's pockets."  In the old visitors center - this display set contained an additional item:  A pistol with a removable barrel.  The pistol is no longer on display with this set.  When I inquired as to why it was no longer there - I was told that "it was taken off display."  Since I could already see that - I asked about the decision process.  They told me it could have been removed for any number of reasons.  I didn't inquire any further."

Is it possible that they have a liberal agenda and dont want people to see that the founding father packed steel daily as the most ordinary thing? I hope they had a good excuse to remove the gun from the “Thomas Jefferson pockets" display, and weren’t driven by some politically correct agenda.


FerFAL

Thursday, February 17, 2011

“A tool for life"

My son's Victorinox Explorer


I still remember that, for a kid, having a Swiss Army Knife was something special. A SAK invokes adventure, camping , carving wood, making holes, opening cans, and cutting some stuff to see what’s on the inside.
The first Swiss Army knife I ever owned only lasted me a few minutes. I was actually living in Boston at that time and happened to find it in the playground. Metal? bright read plastic? I must have been 5 or 6 years old and those things are hard to resist. Of course my wonderful possession was taken away from me as soon as the break ended and I innocently showed my treasure around. The kindergarten teacher took it away and actually threw it in a large trash-can. A child remembers those things, as that nice red knife fell into the trash, lost to me forever... That !#&!%*!, she could have given it to my mother at least, don’t you think? :-)

Anyway, back in those days I remember it was just cool to have a pocket knife, and if it was a real deal, original Victorinox Swiss Army knife and not one of the cheapo Chinese imitations then even better. What’s so special about it? Hard to say. I guess that for a kid, the color is a bonus. The blade is razor sharp right out of the box. The tools are numerous and at that age you think there’s nothing you can’t do with your SAK. Its an invitation to adventure and afternoons of exploration, unlimited possibilities for any kid with a bit of imagination.

Introducing kids to the Survival Mindset


Being responsible for a sharp tool is a good first step regarding dangerous tools. I see it as an introduction to later being responsible for larger knives and then guns. Along with the bushcraft skills in which it can be used, the SAK is a must, a first step into the survival and preparedness mindset. It helps that most survival manuals and books picture SAK of some sort. Kids feel they have THAT knife, the one in the book or magazines. The steel in the SAK is easy to sharpen the tool is easy to maintain and it can be sent for repair if it breaks.
In a way, the SAK is a symbol of independence and self reliance, the first steps into the path that will separate your kid from the rest of the sheep once they grow up.

A Kid’s first Swiss Army Knife

For as long as I remember I promised myself I would be a cool dad. I sure wish my dad had lots of guns, knifes, tools an gear in general. As I grew older though, I understood things must come at the right time so as to be appreciated and work their magic. Giving a child a USD400  Chris Reeve Sebenza makes no sense to me. You must start with the basics, learn and then the good stuff comes when you appreciate it. Following philosophy, up until now my son’s knife had been a cheap little plier mutitool. He loves that thing and he uses it for everything. He carries it in his pocket and offers it to me when I need a knife or some other tool. We’ve been sharpening it and the small blade does cut, but the rest of the tools are poorly made.
This week I decided it was time to get him a real knife. I also got one for my nephew who is 11 years old. My nephew is staying with us for a few days so I took this opportunity to work on that special relationship between cousins and cousin-uncle. I’m not close with my own cousins and know I’m missing something. I want my kids to have a better relationship with theirs. Its family after all, and if you have a good relationship then life is just better. Someone to share the good times and help during the bad ones. It’s also my duty as an uncle so I make sure they have the best possible time with uncle “Fer”.
After a quick visit to a local store I ended up with two Victorinox Explorers. These cost a bit over 50 bucks each. Amazon has them for $31.56.
Victorinox Swiss Army Explorer Multi-Tool Knife
That same day I gave the kids their brand new Swiss Army knives.
The results? Even better than I could possibly dream of. Its wasn’t just the expressions in their faces, or the continuous “Thanks Dad!" and “Thanks uncle Fer!"but the entire day was just full of wonderful, priceless moments. Giving kids their first knife is also a perfect moment to teach them lessons that will stay with them their entire lives, talking to them about the responsibility the gift comes along with. Never use it to play or hurt their brothers. Not leave it un supervised where his little brother could reach it. I also explained both of them how to use it, cutting away from their body and never towards it, mindful of their fingers. Never throw it. Never use force with the tools. Never cut over concrete or stone, but to use a wooden table or log instead. I explained that the tools are fragile and will snap if used improperly such as using the tip of the blade for prying. The boys listened to everything I had to say with unusual attention.
After the explanation, we did some feathersticks and I took the opportunity to teach them how to start a fire. They used it to cut plants, aloe vera leafs (they did some for of skin unguent with it), they used the magnifying glass to burn stuff and basically just spent the rest of the day in the garden playing with their new knives.
In the afernoon, they were reading some books with their knives next to them. As my wife walked by their room she said she overheard my nephew telling my son “ When we’re grown up, we’ll get together to have a beer and we’ll open them with the bottle opener in  our knives”. Man, you can’t imagine how hard I wished that would come true some day.
 During the entire day the boys kept saying thank you. At one point both of them came to me looking very serious and my son asked, “is it true that these knives are used by Swiss soldiers?”. I told them that yes ( actually its the Soldier model that is issued, but well, close enough...) and they looked at the knives in their hands with even more awe.
During dinner my niece (13 year old girl) asked her brother and my son what was the big deal about the knife, and what was it for.
My nephew thought for a second and said “Well, its a tool”. “A tool for what?” asked his sister.
“Its a tool for life” he said. I got goosebumps on my arms at hearing such an eloquent reply.
When the time is right, a Swiss Army knife is an important part of the initial transition stage between childhood and adulthood. That moment when you’re first trusted with some serious responsibilities (such as handling sharp tools) but still young enough to be full of dreams and an a rich imagination.
If the kid is lucky enough and the SAK survives without getting lost, it becomes one of his most prized possessions.
Take care folks.

FerFAL

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Illegal Gun Confiscation

During the Egypt Post there’s been comments on how a gun confiscation may affect people.
This is something covered in a more advanced stage of preparedness but its relevant none the less.
Is it realistic to go around burying guns and survival caches in the back yard? What would the neighbors and family think? Try telling them. “Hey mom, I’m burying some guns in the backyard in case he government comes after them". 9 out of 10, your relative/friend will think you are nuts...
Then again why would you care what others have to say? Folks, this is the type of preparedness that must be kept private. We discuss it here with like minded people but the rest simply wont understand, for the same reason they are not already here reading about preparedness to begin with. Its not their thing, its uncomfortable for them to even consider these possibilities so they avoid it. Mention these thoughts and they’ll think you are nuts, but are you?

The Second Amendment, that wonderful declaration that I think is significantly responsible for making USA what it is, it matters very little when SWAT is at your door asking for your guns. “Oh, Lord, I’m an outstanding citizen. God fearing, go to church every Sunday, sell pie for charity, this would never happen to me”.
Remember what I said several times in the past. SHTF isn’t supposed to be fair. Its not a matter of IF it will happen, its a matter of WHEN will it happen again.
You only have to look back to Katrina to see how law abiding citizens, even nice elder ladies got brutally attacked by cops and stripped of their right to defend themselves when they needed it the most. I know cops and military personnel that swear they would never follow such orders. Don’t worry, thousands of others will. Just think about that for a second. Katrina hits, your preparedness, your guns and money invested in training are all about to pay for themselves. That situation you hoped never to face but still prepared for if happening. But then cops and the national guard comes to your door and demands your guns while keeping you at gun point. Illegal? Unconstitutional? Sure, but they do it anyways. You either comply or what, die shot full of holes in front of your family? maybe get them killed too? Makes no sense. If you already have your basic preparedness covered, then there’s a thing or two you might want to consider.

  What to do?: The Survival Cache


The first step is acquiring guns that, if kept out of sight, wont be showing up in any list the goons showing at your door may have. In most states (check if it applies to yours) this is perfectly legal as a private sale, no FFL needed. It’s one person selling his property to another. This could take place at gun shows, paper adds, among friends, gun clubs, etc.
Some people recommend getting antique guns that dont require a FFL instead. This isn’t very smart given the much cheaper private sale alternative that can be done with modern firearms. People suggesting antiques to avoid gun grabs yet choosing not to mention this mostly because they get a cut on the antique gun sales, that’s just unscrupulous.
I would get a couple handguns and a long arm. Something in the lines of a couple Hi Powers, CZ 75, or some cheap police “trade-in" Glocks. Make sure to test these guns well, if you’re digging them out then you’ll be really needing them. For long arms I’d get an SKS or better yet an AK47, avoid the shotgun for this type of scenario.
A PVC pipe makes a good burial vault. Remember to use lots of cement and grease up the piece with the screw that will be cemented to the end that can be opened. Wrap the tube in plastic such as trash bags. A piece of rope like in Mossberg’s “just in case” kit will make he tube easy to carry.
Pelican cases are a bit on the expensive end but are terrific cases and some are waterproof, built like a tank.
You might want to bury other objects with your guns, specially ammo. Check this post for more ideas on what to bury along with your gun.
Take care everyone,

FerFAL

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Golden Hour

Ferfal,

I just received your book yesterday and have been devouring the
information. So far, I have a question:

People often talk about the "golden hour" when the meltdown begins, but
not everyone is aware of the implications. What did you do during this
time? Did you realize what was occuring? You mentioned that your
family had already withdrawn its savings from the banks. Did you use
that cash to run to the store to begin stocking up on food at that
point? Or, did you just buckle down? In retrospect, what do you recommend?

Thanks,

Kathryn

Hi Kathryn, thanks for buying my book. I hope you learn from it and find ways of applying it to your own situation and preparations.
As always, emails and questions are welcomed. It may take some time but I do my best to reply to every email. Please use the search function too. Sometimes a question has already been answered and it saves time. If a month or so has gone by without reply don´t hesitate in asking again in case I missed it during a particular email intensive week. Sorry guys but it happens sometimes. On occasions an email received is pertinent to a recently covered topic so I answer that or write about that subject so as to somewhat continue that line of thought further. All I can promise is that I’ll do my best to reply as soon as possible.
About your question, I know its something a lot of people think about, that golden hour when the majority of the population realizes that something has gone down and life as they once knew it may have changed forever.
Sometimes its less dramatic: A storm being announced and everyone hitting the supermarket at the same time, leaving them empty of the typical basic supplies in a matter of minutes. Or maybe its an evacuation, where everyone tries to leave town at the same time and people may end up caught in traffic for hour even days.
On the other hand events that may involve changes even more significant and long term may not have a “golden hour” per se. Banks freezing accounts, bank runs, sudden devaluation of the currency, those qualify as “golden hour” moments where a difference of a day or an hour may have mean the difference for you between losing your life savings (or %80 of them) or not.
Things like president’s speeches sometimes have this kind of effect as well.
The recent events in Egypt reminded me a lot of the De la Rua speeches. Oh! you just want to grab the guy by the neck and choke him! I saw that same infuriation when the protesters in Egypt mentioned their ex president’s speech, just like we felt back them. Makes you wonder how come they dont realize that what they are about to say is like throwing gasoline to a fire. No one advises these people? Maybe they are so drunk with power they think they are godlike.
When riots started I was home. I remember that morning well because I woke up hearing drums. It was a group of looters, about 20 yards from my home. The mass of people and the sound they made was pretty intimidating. “What on Earth do I do if they turn left and head my way?” Its impossible not to wonder that with looters so close, and later I learned that at different points of the city homes were indeed looted. Not as much as stores and supermarkets were, but it did happen and I dont remember seeing the media report that. What do I do? At that time I already had some firearms training and a good amount of guns, including a 9mm subrifle and a bunch of 40-round magazines. If people turn your way and try to break in can you open fire on them? Legally you’re allowed to defend your life from such an obvious attack, but thinking you may just do that in a matter of minutes, it makes you feel sick, as if your stomach is trying to go up your throat, when you drop in a rollercoaster. Am I going to mow them down in my front lawn, or will they all leave when I fire the first couple shots? Again, these considerations with looters already within sight, that changes things significantly.
This mob was heading to a supermarket a few blocks away and thankfully they didn’t go for the houses. That day I just stayed put and followed the events on TV.

Since my parents are accountants and my father had worked in banking for many yeas before, we already had an idea that things where getting ugly before they froze the accounts, My sister and I, we had some money in the bank and just before the accounts got frozen we went to close them with my mother. “Sorry, we dont have that kind of money in the bank right now” said the bank employee. It wasn‘t a lot of money, about 2000 bucks. “You dont have 2000 USD in the entire bank?” She said no. That same day we went down town to the main branch and closed the accounts. The following day banks closed their doors and “pesified” people’s savings in dollars, losing 75% of its value due to the new exchange rate. My folks weren´t stupid and they already had their money off shore, that account was just a bit of money my sister and I had.
We didn’t run to the store to get food. I didn’t had large quantities of food but had enough to get by. After that we just went and bought what we needed but there was a couple problems 1) The ever increasing inflation making everything (including food) more and more expensive each passing day 2) The constant threat of looters. At any time they could show up and ransack the place or peacefully demand food, you never knew, but it was a possibility of violence.

A few days after the rioting started military law and curfew were enacted with the loss of constitutional rights. You had to be home after 8PM , you couldn’t gather in groups of more than three, that kind of thing.
In retrospective I’d basically advice 3 things.
1)Have food, water and emergency supplies already in place. Specially food, water, fuel too if you need it to get around as its often the case in most US towns. You can never have enough food and you must overcome the idea that you’re “spending” money on food. Food is like air, you need it to live, you’re not spending money on it, its just not negotiable any more than you can put a price to air when it comes to using it to stay alive. Buy 6 to 12 months worth of food. Plan it right and you’re not spending money by buying it in advance, economically speaking you’re even saving money by buying at pre inflation prices.
2) In financial terms, the equivalent to my parents off shore account at that time would be having precious metals, silver and gold. You can give the bankers the finger as they freeze accounts, and your money is safe from devaluation too. Its in your hands as everything goes to hell and its price goes up directly as the economy collapses. In financial terms for socioeconomic collapse preparedness, precious metals is your best bet.
3) Sometimes few people will recommend it directly, but I cant recommend enough and always mention it: Have means of defending yourself. Have a Glock 9mm and learn how to use it. Have a powerful flashlight, some body armor. Add an AK 47 or some other long gun after that. Take a defensive shooting class so you know how to use this gear. Its not politically correct to recommend this but I couldn’t care less. I have no doubt that when things get ugly you want to be the guy with the gun and the knowledge to use it proficiently. Check the recent post regarding preparedness in Egypt. Dont be the guy with the kitchen knife or hatchet a weapon. Be the one with the gun, holster, spare mags, light and armor.
Take care Kathryn,

FerFAL

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lessons from Egypt‏

Here are lesson on manliness learned from someone in the protests of Egypt. I found it to be motivational and educational and think you'll resonate with it. An excerpt: 

"A man is practical, not showy. I was armed with a hatchet and hunting knife, since I had read earlier that anything that couldn’t be used as a tool was dead weight. I used the hatchet to cut firewood to keep us warm at night and the hunting knife, well, cut things. Others were armed with butcher knives, clubs, sticks and swords. Some took it too far to look bad-ass: a man tied two butcher knives together, nunchaku style and hung them round his neck to look threatening. The man just made his neck an easy target. Another point, and I know many will not like to hear this, but a man who owns a gun who knows how to use it is a better man, period. Three men in our neighborhood had guns, and whenever we were on alert, we looked to them, since their reactions determined how the rest of us would respond."

 
J-
 
Thanks for the link J. Getting rid of a dictator is empowering,  but the hardest part is to get things put together afterwards.
In many aspects we went through something similar: You feel you achieved something as a population when you get rid of the big fish, but you dont realize until months or years later how much the image of our country has suffered. It's not about visiting the pyramids, I'm talking about funds and investment rushing out of the country and waiting for years before cautiously approaching little by little.

Notice how this young man clearly realizes how poorly armed he is. He doesn't even realize that besides not having a firearm, he just wouldn't know how to use it efficiently if he had it. Its like owning a car and no knowing how to drive. When facing trained attackers, even with the gun you'll have little chance of success. Get the gun AND the training now.

His view is a bit naive too. Muslims and Christians all holding hands and singing cubmaya wont last a snowball in hell. Especially during such times, there's going to be tensions and the neighbor he loves today will soon become the guy that breaks into your home when you're out. 
Expect 9 out of 10 people to let you down, specially when you dont even know them. The lesson here guys? Get to know your neighbors today, that will give you a better idea of what to expect from each during hard times.

FerFAL

Reply: MTE M3-2I 740 Lumen Tactical Flashlight

Jay Dee said...
Thank you very much for this great post and Anonymous for good comment.
Could you please let me know where to buy or what type of equipment to buy to attach this flashlight to the gun / rifle (AK).
Hi Jay, any gunstore should have a simple clamp to attach it really.
A quick Amazon search turned out a couple alternatives.


I'd get these two so as to have something affordable yet solid.

UTG Universal Single-Rail Barrel Mount with 5 Picatinny Slots 

UTG Universal Single-Rail Barrel Mount  $8.50

 OFF SET TACTICAL Weapon Mount For Olight M20/M21/M30, Fenix TK11, TK12, TA21, JETBeam M1X/M2S/JET-III M/RRT-1/RRT-2 and many more 1" Diameter size Flashlight 

OFF SET TACTICAL Weapon Mount For Olight M20/M21/M30, Fenix TK11, TK12, TA21, JETBeam M1X/M2S/JET-III M/RRT-1/RRT-2 and many more 1" Diameter size Flashlight $13.79

FerFAL

 

 

Friday, February 11, 2011

"The Modern Survival Manual" Review in Survival Cache

Joel from Survival Cache did a review of my book. LINK
Pretty neat website by the way, nice and easy to navigate. I checked some of the articles and they are interesting and well written.
Thanks Joel fo the positive review!

FerFAL

Thursday, February 10, 2011

MTE M3-2I 740 Lumen Tactical Flashlight


 A few months ago I contacted Greg Mcgee from Greg Mcgee Engineering. I came across him in one of the survival boards I visit, practicalpreparedness.com.
The first thing I noticed about the MTE flashlights Greg sells is that they are very affordable.
Greg specifically asked me to tell everyone that he’s the MTE brand name owner and only importer in USA. If you’re buying MTE from anyone else you’re not getting the original product even if it says MTE. I've seen some on DealExtreme marked as MTE and the quality is totally different.

The second thing I noticed was the interesting type of lights he has. LED lights look all alike these days, but that doesn’t mean that they are all equal. MTE uses top of the line Cree LED just like the best brands do. Sometimes cheapo flashlights use Cree LEDs as well, I have many myself, but Cree makes batches and not all LEDs are alike. Actually, due to LED technology not two LEDs are alike, there’s always slight variations of color and performance and its only after making them that Cree separates them depending on the resulting product.

But what I liked about Greg the most an the reason I’m reviewing his product and supporting him is the customer relationship and quality control he stands by. Over at Practicalpreparedness he actively participated in the flashlight thread, when I email him he’s always kind and quick to reply. You don’t get this type of customer service often, where you directly deal with the person that says “yes, I’m the owner of MTE, I back up my product 100%”. This is the greatest advantage in my opinion. Not only buying a product at very affordable prices, but having it quality assured by someone easy to reach within USA.
If you buy at China Stores like DealExtreme, a website I’ve mentioned before (and recommended in the past, not any more) maybe you save 5 bucks, but if there’s a problem with it and there usually is, no one backs it up. DX claims to offer a guarantee, ever tried to use it? I have half a dozen DX lights that are dead in my drawer. Some still work after a couple years, but other died, usually in the worst possible moment. That’s why I don´t mention it much anymore. It really is a hit and miss purchase. When you buy Greg’s product, you know he tested it before shipping and he backs up the quality of his merchandise.

M3-2I Tactical








This is the light that caught my attention right away because I was looking for a handy, extremely bright (I wanted at least 500 lumens)and rugged tactical light. Man, am I happy with it. I’ve been using it for a couple months now and fully recommend it if that what you’re looking for.
 The MTE M3-2I costs $65 but I knew this was still a bargain because of the LED used and general top notch quality. Of course there’s other manufacturers that offer MC-E 10 Watt LEDs, but they don´t come cheap. Fenix’s TK30 uses it too, but then again it costs $140.
For less than half that price MTE M3-2I has a maximum output of 740lumens, has a solid, unbreakable “bullet-proof” lens made in Finland (That thing must be an inch thick, no kidding) and a nicely finished strike bezel to be used as an impact weapon. If you even have to use this thing to crack someone’s skull, you’ll appreciate the bomb-proof lens.


The flashlights has a bunch of different modes including, strobe and a practical 10 lumen low mode for general purpose use, but thankfully it remembers the last one used. This is useful because in my case I’m mostly interested in that maximum 740 lumens output.
740 lumens is no joke. You’re getting close to HID performance, flashlights that cost several hundred bucks. With 700 lumens pointed directly at someone’s eyes, specially in the dark with the pupils wide open, you’re not just ruining his night vision, you’re causing permanent damage to his vision. Definitely not a toy and it must be kept out of the reach of children. I keep it close to my gun, for easy access but because of this reason too. This light is for tactical/defensive use and throws a wall of light with an intermediate balance between flood and throw. Greg has great throwers which I’ll be buying and reviewing as funds allow, but lots of throw also means you have to aim directly at your attacker’s face. I’m more than comfortable with the balance this flashlight offers.
The light uses  2x 3.0V CR123 batteries or a single 18650 rechargeable. Of course you get the best brightness with the 18650 rechargeable Li-ion batteries.
For an extra $27 Greg offers this same light with a 1000lumen (!) Cree XM-L and reinforced glass lens. Talk about burning the eyes of a would-be home invader with this thing!
Here’s the link to the flashlight, remember to mention me if buying. If you want the one with 1000 lumens (Cree XM-L) you can choose it before adding it to the cart on the lens and LED type option.
http://shop.gregmcgeeengineering.com/M3-2I-Tactical-740-Lumen-1000-Lumen-option-on-checkout-007.htm
I’ll be doing a video of the flashlight soon so you can all see how bright it is.
Take care folks.

FerFAL

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Window Security Film How-To



This email by Mark covers the topic of window security films. Thanks Mark for the well written article. 

Burglar bars are what we use here and provide the most protection, but these security films are MUCH better than having nothing at all. As Mark himself relates, the extra layer of protection surprises bad guys and even avoids certain crimes. At the very least, it makes your home a harder target, giving you extra time when defending it, time that you can put to good use.
These films are used also for storms, since it prevents the window from shattering completely and falling apart, wounding people and leaving the entrance point opened.
Please read the article and see one of the many things you can do to make your home a bit safer. 


Tip: If doing it yourself, read the manual completely first, have all the material ready before you start, and start with a small window first. These things take practice. If possible, remove the glass from the window. This way the film goes all the way into the frame and its also easier to install. Take care folks.

FerFAL



Hi Ferfal,


First, I would like to thank you for all the time, effort, and money you put into your blog.  I've been reading it for a while now, and I bought your book.  The book is getting a little dog-eared from lots of use, as well as bookmarks and Post-it notes throughout!


I would like to comment about Window Security Film.  I live in a smallish town near St. Louis, and for various reasons I cannot install bars on my windows.  Upon further investigation (I actually got the idea out of your book) I checked into Security Film.  I decided to try it on a few windows around my house, just to see how well it installed.  Over the years, I've become a do-it-yourselfer through necessity (too cheap to pay anyone to do what I can do for myself - long story).  Anyway, installing security film is actually very simple.    Since the film I used was 9 mil, it was too thick to put in the window and cut, so you need to measure and cut, then attach it to the window. 


The actual process is not difficult, just a little time consuming because of the measuring.  At this point, I'd like to say that the film is not cheap, and you will want to get a high quality film right from the start.  Along with the 60" roll of film, I bought the "Installation Kit".  The kit consisted of a box cutter, a stiff 6" squeegee, a plastic "Multi-tool" which was basicly a rectangular plastic squeegee, a razor scraper, some lint-free paper towels, a spray bottle, and some baby shampoo.  Definetly NOT worth the $45 I spent for it, but live and learn.  You will also need distilled water.  Some things I learned through the School of Hard Knocks is to have a large work area that you are not afraid of cutting with a box knife.  I used a spare piece of plywood that I set on a table in my garage.  A long T-square is also advisable, along with a fine point permananet marker.  The bonding solution consists of a teaspoon of baby shampoo per pint of distilled water.


I would suggest starting on a small window because your are learning as you go, and you will make mistakes.  Start by thouroghly cleaning the window, using the spray bottle with solution, then scrape the window with the razor scaper.  The winow must be completly clean, any dust or dirt will create bubbles that are very noticable.   Its a good idea to put a towel under the window to keep things dry.  Measure your window, leaving about 1/8 of an inch around the edge for the film to expand when it gets warm.  Mark and cut your film.  Spray your windows with solution (again make sure it is COMPLETLY CLEAN), also spray your fingers so you leave no fingerprints on the film.  Peel off the protective face of the film, spraying it down as you remove the protected film.  Place the film on the window, then, using your 6" stiff squeegee gently start removing the water from behind the film.  I suggest starting from the top center and working your way out and down.  Once the film is fixed in place, use the rectagular plastic squeegee to get the rest of the water out.  Make sure you wrap the edged of the plastic sqweegee with a lint-less pager towel, or you will scratch wht plastic film.  The more effort you put into getting the solution out from behind the film, the faster your film will cure.  According to the manufacterer, it takes about 30 days to cure.  However, once it it applied, it already has about 70% of it strength.


The manufacturer also recommends using Dow 995 Silicone Cauk around the edges for large windows and/or tempered glass, to provide more protection.


It took me about a weekend to install the film on all the windows on the lower level of my house.  I have not done the upper windows; thats a project for another day.


Now for some real-world experience:  during the spring last year, someone tried to break into my house through one of my basement windows.  My basement windows are just single-pane sliding windows that are 12"x31".  My subdivision does not have fences, and there are no bushes next to my house.  While the window did get broken, the film kept all the glass shards in place and no one entered my house.  Needless to say, I'm glad that I took the time to apply the film, or there's no telling what might have happened.  My neighborhood is a relatively nice one, and robberies do not normally happen there.  Just goes to show that crime can happen anywhere.  It cost me $11 to have the window fixed, and I immediatly applied the film to it.  I also built thick plywood plugs to go behind the basement windows incase someone decides to come back.


Total cost:  $491


Estimated contractor cost:  $2500


So in a nutshell, thank you for opening my eyes to what a real SHTF scenario is really like.  Before I found your site, all everyone talked about was Mad Max, Zombie Apacalypse, etc.  Now I am more focused on real world events.  Hope this little how-to will help someone else avoid a potential breakin.  As an aside, Rich in Canada could potentially make some extra money by installing security film to other people's houses.  I have helped other people with hardening thier houses, and I have looked at this as a potential income stream for myself should I loose my job.  Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading your site for many years to come.


Cheers,
Mark

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

Excellent email by Matt on observations and hurricane preparedness.
I really appreciate these type of emails where you share your experiences and lessons learned. If you have gone through some disaster or emergency situation, dealing with anything from storms, rioting, crime, earthquakes, social or political unrest in your country, stranded on the road, surprised by unemployment, etc and you'd like to share your experiences, email me with your story and lessons learned. 
After reading it I emailed him and asked Matt some of the typical questions. 
Enjoy and take notes.  ;-)
FerFAL
Hey FerFal,

Love your blog and the book. I have been meaning to write this for some time but wanted to finish reading everything on the blog. Thought I could provide some info on what I have seen as I live in Louisiana and have gone through several hurricanes that have caused massive disruption to everyday life.
For Katrina I only lost power for 5 days, but the population of my city doubled from all the refugees fleeing from New Orleans. (That was very interesting with all the traffic going nowhere for hours). I had filled up my gas tank before the storm hit so it wasn't a problem in the beginning. After power had largely been restored in my area life pretty much returned to usual except that my city was at least twice as big and that it was hard to find gas. The petrochemical facilities had been damaged or were still without power so gasoline was not being refined at the rate it was before the storm.
Now that I have to compete with twice as many people for gasoline, almost every gas station is empty. (I did have 10 gallons in my shed if I would ever get that desperate but didn't really want to tap into it). I found that if I woke up around 5:30 in the morning I could find a gas station that had been restocked earlier and could top off my tank. Even then I had to wait in line to get the gas! Another reason why gas was so hard to find was that people from New Orleans would come up to my city and fill multiple 55 gallon drums to bring back down because there were no working gas stations any closer. (I am 60 to 70 miles from New Orleans). Gas stations can be a scary place when everyone is trying to get gas. 
Once when I was filling up my tank, people were getting impatient and revving their engines, blowing their horns, cursing each other out, and some even made threats to others. During the aftermath of Gustav which cut power to most of the city for at least a week (I was out for 1 week and 1 day), I pretty much stayed at home because there was no power anywhere and driving around would be a waste of gas. My family and I had plenty of food stocked, so that wouldn't be a problem. We have a little propane stove used for camping that we used to cook our meals on. Definitely recommend getting one. Of course being Louisiana, it's hot and humid so with no air conditioning I mainly spent the days in shorts only. We at least had running water and I loved taking an ice cold shower at night (no hot water) because it would cool you down and help you fall asleep because you would feel more comfortable.
Only once did I go out in the car and that was with my dad to get a few roofing shingles to repair the minor damage to our roof because it was still raining lightly from the storm. A trip that would have normally taken 25-30 minutes round trip took two and a half hours because the traffic lights were out and it's supposed to be treated as a four way stop. The traffic was terrible, and I saw several accidents that happened right in front of my eyes because there were some geniuses who decided to blow through the traffic lights without stopping. There were power lines down in the roads(had to drive over some), downed trees sometimes blocked entire roads and we had to find alternate routes, and too many people out on the roads joyriding wasting gas. With power out to almost 100% of the city, it was the darkest I had ever seen it. Couldn't see my hand in front of my face. 
The local government also declared a curfew for 6 at night to 6 in the morning if I remember correctly. I heard on the radio about people who weren't bright enough to plan ahead to fill up their gas tanks or their food supplies and were panicking because they couldn't get them now. Also, something I forgot to mention about guns and ammo after Katrina (not sure if it happened for Gustav) is that many stores that sold guns and ammo stopped. I'm not sure if all did, just remember hearing about it because someone stole a gun and that sent everyone(stores and local government) into panic mode. I think ammo sales were stopped all together for a few weeks, someone might want to correct me on that but a large portion of stores did stop for some time. 
If you didn't have the guns or ammo already, then you weren't going to get it until the government said it was ok. A good book describing the gun confiscation in New Orleans is The Great New Orleans Gun Grab: Descent Into Anarchy. The only problem I have with the book is that it is about half good gun stories and half useless filler to make the book bigger. I forgot to mention that after Katrina I have never seen so many Blackhawk helicopters ever in my life. If you have any questions feel free to ask because I'm sure I left things out.

Thanks,
    Matt

What preparations do you do to protect your home during these storms?(plywood shutters, etc)
Do you have a prearanged plan for the family so everyone knows what to do if caught by surprise?

The benefit of being able to prepare for hurricanes is the fact that I can start preparing for it for about a week before it hits. (I already have my food, water, weapons, and other preps ready year round. I am just talking about hurricane specific preps.) I pick up all loose objects on my property like flower pots, wind chimes, kids' toys, and other similar items and put them in the shed. I remove dead branches from the trees in my yard. I am about 80 miles from the coast and don't have to board up my windows like someone in New Orleans or closer to the coast would, but I do tape my windows in case they do break. I also make sure to have plenty of plastic tarps around to protect my house from rain if something were to be damaged. I do keep a few plywood boards around just in case more serious damage occurs. After Gustav I went to my friends house and saw that his neighbor's house was cut in half by a tall oak tree that fell down. Luckily no one was hurt, but when the family went to stay in a hotel until their home could be repaired, their house was looted by someone who saw an easy target. As for a prearranged plan, my family knows to go straight home if something happens, and if that is not possible then we have another meeting place.

What 10 things would you not go through a storm without?

The 10 things I would not go through a storm without would be: 1. Water, 2. Food, 3. Guns and healthy supply of ammo, 4. Flashlights and plenty of batteries, 5. Radio(battery powered and hand cranked), 6. Extra supply of gasoline, 7. Generator for keeping my fridge running to prolong my frozen goods, 8. Spare parts or even replacement items like your 3 is 2, 2 is 1 idea, 9. Board games/books(It gets really boring when there is no power or work for a week.) and 10. First aid kit/Medical supplies.

If you could go back in time, what prep would you have done differently?

If I could go back in time, I would have bought another 8 gallon container of gas because it goes faster than you think it would. The only thing I used the generator for was for the fridge and two lamps, and I would turn it off at night to save gas. The fridge kept cold enough at night to keep the food cold until morning. I also did not like leaving it on because it would make it harder to hear if someone was breaking into my house at night. Also I would have a chainsaw and more heavy duty garbage bags because clean up took two full days. Lots of downed trees, branches, and debris. I found a Molotov cocktail in my ditch after the water subsided (must have been the neighbor kids).

Did you use you weapons, when were you glad to be armed? Any particular incident or story you'd like to share?

I never had to use my weapons but there were several times I was glad that I was armed. At the gas stations it could get a little hairy because some people were acting a little crazy. During Katrina's aftermath, there were alot of government vehicles, tents, and temporary offices setup across the street from my house.(about 1 mile as the crow flies). I tried to contact several governmental agencies to see what was going to be there, but they would not tell me anything. My family and I figured it might be a refugee staging area for people from New Orleans. I had a Glock 19 and a shotgun at the time and was glad I did because I had heard about the looting in New Orleans over the radio. It turned out to not be for refugees but as an operational base for New Orleans rescue missions. There was an increase in crime in my city because many gang members fled before the storm and stayed in the area. Every hotel room was booked in my city and even others farther away were booked up as well. I talked to someone at a local drugstore that said he was driving to Shreveport(all the way in north Louisiana) because every hotel was booked already. I know I mentioned it already but the book The Great New Orleans Gun Grab is a good insight into how law enforcement and government can act after a disaster. Scary stuff.

Top two or three pieces of advice you'd like to share with someone that would go through the same thing you did soon?

Some advice I would give would be to have supplies(food, water, guns, etc.) because you can't get it easily or at all after the storm. Also, having the proper mindset will help you overcome what crosses your path.(A friend of mine, who is addicted to the internet, thought the world was over because she couldn't access her facebook. I don't think she could have made it if things really got bad. We only lost power for a week or so, not like the people on the coast and New Orleans who lost everything.) One thing I did forget to mention was that even though we had cell phones they didn't work at times either because of power loss to the cell towers or an overload of the system by everyone calling at once. I did have a land line(not cordless) at home that allowed me to make calls because it drew its power from the phone line.

Matt

Thanks a lot for your email!
FerFAL

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Reply: Home Invasion in USA‏

Hola Ferfal,

Thank you so very much for your blog and book. It has helped me tremendously.

According to my husband, I became an "obsessive compulsive and amateur expert"
on the Petit case. He was right about this. I would mention this case everytime
that I found out some new detail about it, often during dinnertime. What can I
say, other than that I will use any tactic to prepare my family for what is
slowly but surely going to happen. I was trying to use all of the horrific
details in order to attempt to convince him that at the very least we should
prepare to make our home safer. Since we live in a very "good neighborhood," he
hasn't been much interested in securing our home.

Please don't think that I am in any way placing any blame on the Petit family.
I am not. They are the tragic victims without blame and the convicted criminals
bear all the responsibility and blame for their acts. Personally I believe that
their execution should be swift and not some twenty years from now after they
have exhausted a tremendous amount of appeals at taxpayer expense. And their
executions, as far as I am concerned, should be death by being burned alive in
gasoline.


Regarding the Petit case, you are absolutely right on all your points. Although
this a horrific tragedy for the entire family, there are somethings that we can
all learn from this case. First, the two alleged criminals entered through the
unlocked door of the attached garage. (Make sure that all your doors and windows
are locked every day and night.) They came across a refrigerator that had,
among other things, lots of beer. They sat down and drank about 6 cans of beer
while waiting a few hours so that the entire family would be in their deep
sleep. I'm amazed that they didn't fall asleep themselves in the garage. There
are police crime scene pictures of the beer cans and DNA evidence that they had
the beers. Second, from the garage entry into the house was as simple as
opening another door. Third, the criminals bought fake plastic guns, although
they were realistic enough to fool the victims into thinking that they were
real. Apparently, they had no idea of what realistic fake guns look like. I
believe that most people that have been around guns can tell the difference
between the real and fake ones. Even if people choose to not own guns, and that
is their right to do, they should at least know what the fake ones look like.(
Check out places that sell these realistic guns, Walmart, Dunham's, Dollar
Stores, etc. You'll be surprised at the variety.) The victims didn't have
anything to defend themselves with, such as bats, golf clubs, metal flashlights,
etc at their disposal. (Alot of us have many things lying around in our homes
that can be put in strategic and discrete locations in each of our rooms. Not
every room has to have a hidden Glock with several magazines.) I can only
imagine that when one is awaken in the middle of the night by armed intruders,
the horror and stress level must be unimaginable, however, the family had no
alternative plans of what to do in case of a home invasion. (Even if only one
member escapes immediately after the invasion, they can get help faster.)
Unfortunately it does not appear that they had any back-up systems in place.
(Simple alarms can be installed by homeowners that will trigger a loud sound
outside your home, so that your neighbors can call the cops on you. Even having
your car keys next to you when you go to sleep can help because you can trigger
the car alarm. Alot of people do not park all of their cars in their large
garages.) Mrs Petit was followed home. (Always make sure that you look back
once for every two blocks that you travel. I find that doing this breaks up the
monotony of driving and I can keep an eye on my kids when they think that I'm
simply paranoid about other drivers. Since I am not used to doing this, I have a
small index car on the front passenger seat that says "Look back!" I hope that
someday I can remember to do this automatically without any reminders, just like
a use my seatbelt all the time. I am also driving around using different
roads. This has really helped me to get to know my surrounding neighborhoods.
My children call this "paranoid gas guzzling driving." And always when leaving
any business, I stop, turn around and look to see who is behind me. I also do
the same thing in the parking lot. It it happens that someone is leaving at the
same time that I am, I make sure thay they are not following me.) All of this
is a bit too much of paranoia for my family, however, I continue practicing this
because it want it to be second nature when things get bad and I need to behave
with intelligent and practical paranoia.

If you are ever visiting the Midwest, please email me.It would be great to
meet you in person.

Unfortunately, I am the only prepper in the family. My husband doesn't object
to me prepping, nor does he help me. Sometimes we have arguments because of all
the "stuff" that I have bought. However, I explain to him my reasoning behind
the purchases and no matter how heated the arguments get, I do not back down on
the purchases and goals of prepping. I can only thank God that neither of us
believes in divorce. Unfortunately I am the only member of my family at the gun
range. I practice with a S&W 357 magnum revolver (own), Glocks 17, 19, 34
(rentals) I have a small hand and haven't decided which one is best for me, a
Remington 870 20 gauge pump shotgun (own) and a S&W M&P 15 rifle (rental).
Hopefully, I'll be able to purchase the Glock and S&W M&P 15 with a good scope,
magazines and ammo soon. I have a concealed carry permit from my state. I have
also conditioned myself to stay up until dawn, on some evenings. This is in
case we find ourselves in the situation where it might be necessary. I know
that one family cannot possibly keep a 24 hour surveillance. However, I do
believe that you do what you can. I am also working on a substantial food
storage, have water barrels and filters. My goal is to continue prepping until
there is some kind of a trigger that starts bringing things down. Right now, I
am preparing to purchase some window bars for my home. Needless to say my family
does not approve, however, I remind them that I am the interior and exterior
decorator of our home. From what I have seen on the internet, there are two
types of bars, outside and indoor bars. I would prefer outside bars but no one
in my neighborhood has bars and I'm concerned that they would attract unwanted
attention. Because of this, I am leaning towards buying the indoor window bars.
(Look up goodbarsecurity.com) If you know anything about them, please let me
know. I value your opinion highly. I am not prepared in the area of
prescription medicines. Do you know of any doctors in America who would
prescribe antibiotics, to store, in case they are needed during a collapse or
pandemic? "Will travel for antibiotics." I'm not looking for any pain meds,
only antibiotics.


Once again, thanks for all that you have done for so many of us. I have no
doubt that when you come to America, you will eventually find many of us that
are very grateful for all your advice. I believe that you and your family
already have many friends here.

M in the Midwest

Hi M. Thanks for your email. Experience is the best way to learn, and if its other people´s experience then in my opinion it means we can at least learn from it and avoid it from happening to us, at least improve our odds a bit. Nothing good comes from these horrific events, all smart people can do is learn what they can from them and after taking some action, then yes, hope it never happens to us. Just preferring to look the other way because these events are too painful wont reduce our chances of being next.
You should do what you can to get the family on board, don´t stop trying. A family is a team, and a team is only as strong as its weakest link (group member). Keep trying and you'll eventually see results.
The topic of home security is important and I'll keep posting about it so that people can prepare better and get more ideas.
Search this blog for "antibiotics". Other than a friend doctor or a visit to Mexico, at least until you find a better solution you might want to check out Veterinarian Amoxicilin (for fish) th short story is that its amoxicilin (as well as other anitbiotics) but its legally sold on line if its for veterinarian use. Fish Mox Forte (Amoxicillin) - 500mg 100 Capsules The comments over at Amazon are pretty informative.
Add me to your tweeter and facebook. Its the best way to know if I'm ever near by next time I visit USA and a meeting/dinner/lunch is organized.
Take care!

FerFAL