Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rural Homes being Attacked






This thread was on my favorite SHTF forum, dude. Check out the number 3 comment; you called it in your book!
W-
Click here: Please Stay Vigilant !!!!


The Thread post of reference:
Texas-Gun-Man said…
Quote Originally Posted by RoadWarrior
“Yes we had 3 houses robbed, all next door to eachother just 2 doors down. Luckily they broke the pattern and went somewhere else.”
I guess what worry’s me the most is that we live out of town 10 miles. I guess criminals are getting less lazy usually they’ll stay in town where it is easy pickens. That and the fact they came in on one of the homeowners and killed her. TGM
KINGCHIP says…
WOW!! That’s a rural area over there. I wouldn’t think of it happening there. Too far from an urban area.



That’s pretty unfortunate. I didn’t predict anything that wasn’t already happening in dangerous parts of the world, and has happened before. Just common sense actually.  Its only American survivalist folk to think that criminals are too stupid to get into a car and look for a nice profitable isolated target that can be picked clean without concerns of neighbors reporting it and authorities responding to the incident. As I said many times, the ubiquitous survival retreat half a gas tank away from town works very well when there’s NO real threat to worry about. Like that Simpsons episode, where Lisa ends up selling Homer a stone that repels lions. That stone works with great efficiency while on the streets of Springfield… :p

Argentine firearms author Alejandro Reynoso wrote about the different weaponry needed for home defense and in his experience while you may get away with one or two handguns in the city for home defense, in more isolated locations long arms are called for because the possibility of attacks that are more frontal and last more time are more likely. The isolation works in the attacker’s advantage, not yours.

Hope people realize these things and start preparing better instead on counting on distance to save their necks. It’s a terrible mistake and as things get worse, a mistake that will cost a growing number of people dearly.

If you live in an isolated area, where help won´t be coming your way if shots are fired and someone cries out for help, then you should have MORE security, not less.

FerFAL
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Long Arms for Survivalists


Handguns are awesome. You can take them places you can’t take a rifle or shotgun. A handgun is that thing you always have, always loaded, ready because you never know when you might need it.
However, a rifle, shotgun or carbine will stop people faster than a handgun will. It packs more punch and is more accurate. There are many good conventional hunting rifles that are great for self-defense. Any pump (or even semi-auto) shotgun is a conventional hunting tool that doubles as
Now that I own a pistol, I’ve been looking at a rifle or carbine to augment what I have. Most ‘hunting’ rifles are bolt-action, which is a hinderance to self-defense. I figure only semi-auto would do. I’m not a fan of .223 black tactical semi-auto rifles. I actually rather like the AK-47, which is carried by countless people in third-world countries who can’t devote much time or money to making their gun work. It just has to work. But as I see it, the problem with choosing an AK as a defense rifle is perception. Perception matters. Being perceived as a nut survivalist with an AK (or thousand-dollar tacticool rifle) is not a good thing. Shooting someone with an AK (or black rifle) and then seeing that weapon held up against you in a court of law is not a good thing. Perceptions do matter.
What’s your take on decent rifles/carbines for self-defense? Would a reliable AK be worth the attached stigma, or are there other ways to go?
Thank ya kindly, and take care,
Tin Man

Hi Tin man, thanks for your email. The first weapon you should own and the one you should be most proficient with from a realistic defensive point of view is your handgun, for the reasons you mentioned. As underpowered and inaccurate as a handgun may be compared to long arms, it can be carried with you at all times, and that outweights all its disadvantages. The 9mm in your hands is worth more than a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) at home.
In an ideal world we would all have unlimited time and funds, but that’s rarely the case. At least I put most of my effort into being proficient with the handgun, and the CQC that revolves around it. That doesn’t mean you don’t bother knowing how to run a long arm, but since time and funds are limited I don’t train as much as I do with the pistol.

Having said that, you should own a long arm and know how to use it well. Shooting cans in the back yard, or getting “lessons” by Uncle Joe, who’s neighbor was in the Army and gave him a couple pointers doesn’t cut it. Every round you fire without having received prior professional defensive training is wasted money. Think about that when pondering on the cost of the class you’re considering taking.

Few hunting rifles will fill the role intended here. Scoped bolt action rifles are ok for long range shooting, but what you want is fast follow up shots in case you miss or, like it will most likely be the case, you’re attacked by more than one bad guys.
Shotguns have lots of stopping power at short range, but while many firearm experts recommend pump shotguns because of its mechanic ruggedness, its not exactly a simple weapon to operate and requires some skill. Semi auto shotguns fire in semi auto, but then again reloading can be more trouble (expect Saiga style) and shotshells being more flexible, they aren’t as reliable as pump shotguns.
If you go for a long arm, I think the best call is a rifle caliber carbine instead.

Carbines and Rifles for Defensive Purposes



FAL Para Congo


I like the FAL because it fires the very respectable 7.62 NATO round, the design is proven and ergonomically sound. Unlike some modern rifles, the FAL was made to last longer than the person using it. As a very respectable and affordable alternative, the AK47 or AK74 is very hard to beat. You’re talking about AKs selling these days for Usd 500 or Usd 400. Maybe not pretty or incredibly accurate, but the AK works, shoots accurate enough and its simply the most rugged semi auto rifle in the planet. After getting a nice Glock pistol I’d skip the shotgun and get an AK47, a handful of mags and a few boxes of soft point ammo.
Image from warriortalk.com


These days given ammo prices, pistol caliber semi auto carbines are an interesting alternative. Variants like the MP5 in semi automatic may not have the firepower of a rifle, but it sure can afford cheap training as well as ammo logistic advantages. Still, with today’s AK and 5.45 ammo prices it makes sense to go for that.
The rifle will of course stay at home so that considerably reduces the chances of you having it at hand when needed. An option is having a pack in your car’s trunk, along with a rifle and a satchel with mags. An armored vest with load bearing attachments is also a good idea. It depends on your overall plan and what you can afford.

As for the stigma you mention, I don’t believe in that. A gun is a gun and the authorities wont go any lighter in you because your rounds are fired from a deer gun or a sniper rifle. Instead of worrying about such things its better to a) have the right tool for the job, in this case defense b) Only use it when the situation demands it. Shoot someone uncalled for an even if it’s a single shot 22LR Chipmunk you’ll go to prison none the less. Massad Ayoob can tell of hundreds of shooting incidents where the issue ended up in court. The gun does not matter. What you do with it does. Train so as to not make mistakes and only shoot when lethal force is called for.

Generally speaking and for realistic events in which it may be used, 9 out of 10 times you’ll use a handgun instead of the rifle even if you own it and know how to run it. None the less there’s still that 10% that makes it worth getting and having some basic notions on how to use it properly.

FerFAL
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Economic Collapse part 2: What could happen in USA




FerFAL
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Economic Collapse part 1:What happened in Argentina

This will be a two part video. First going through what happened in Argentina, then on what could possibly happen in USA if something similar occurs, the similarities and differences.



FerFAL

Monday, April 25, 2011

IMF, George Soros, the New World (Order) and why should you care.



1977 film Star Wars was on theaters before I was born, but I still remember some of the feelings when watching it for the first time in my life, several years later. I was a kid of course, about five or six, don’t remember, but I do remember Darth Sidious. Darth Vader had more screen time, a more visible character. To me he was evil but not as scary. He looked like a robot, cold and heartless, but a puppet in the end. On the other hand, the physical representation of evil was perfectly represented by Darth Sidious. He’s creepy, old and wise. He’s not heartless like the more robotic Darth Vader but his heart is black, full of hatred, a miserable old man, with extreme power so as to fulfill his desires of misery and suffering over billions of people across the known galaxy. Yes, Darth Sidious was the real villain, the evil old politician that smiles all the time, and its only because of George Lucas innocence during his younger years that Lord Sidious was a politician. Had Lucas written that script 20 years later he would have made him a banker. Why become a politician when you can just buy a handful?
Sorry for the off topic Star Wars pondering, let´s go back to this article’s issue.

Before Argentina collapsed financially in 2002 the IMF along with the help of corrupt local politicians including the ex-president Carlos Menem and former minister of economic( from Harvard), Domingo Cavallo, buried the country in public debt and then forced the selling of national assets including oil, airlines and other state owned companies. After the country was left in ruins a man named George Soros moved in and bought huge amounts of land and producing capital, becoming the largest holder of land for beef production, as well as soy bean plantation and the largest owner of processed daily production companies. George Soros was no stranger to Argentina and other emerging markets like Brazil, but his financial movements have always been… lets just call them, extremely well timed. Soros owned lots of real estate in Argentina during the 90’s some of the most significant buildings and shopping malls. He sold them right before the economic collapse and then moved back to buy land and property after the devaluation. Since he already knew where the country was going he also speculated with Argentine debt when it collapsed. Soros owns massive amounts of lands in Uruguay and Argentina as well. His objective? “Our mission is to become leading food and agricultural company in the planet”
Keep in mind Soros is called “The man than broke the Bank of England” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2773265/Billionaire-who-broke-the-Bank-of-England.html he made 1 billion dollars short selling UK pounds on what was later called “Black Wednesday”, forcing UK to devaluate.
Maybe this all seems like far away and little consequence to you. Probably sitting in front of the computer now, over in USA several thousand miles away. Well, then you probably should check this video.


In April 2005, after Bush's re-election, Soros got together in a secretive meeting (called “the Phoneix Group” ) with about 70 other like-minded elite rich left leaning Democrats. The purpose of this meeting was to see what they would do about the US political situation in the next 5 years. Soros had donated $23,581,000 to various “527” groups dedicated to defeating President Bush.( A 527 group is a type of American tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 527. This party within the Democratic party became known as the “Shadow Party”, these guys, billionaires in the financial and tech sector, support politicians of their choosing through direct donations (as large as legally possible) and through their foundations and non profit orgnaizations, such as moveon dot org. The rabbit hole goes on with implications on how to handle the media so as to change people’s opinion, get reporters, journalists and why not celebrities in their pockets.

When the anti-Bush campaign failed, Soros again secretively gathered with other like minded elite so as to decide what to do next. A young charismatic Obama was chosen as the focus of their new efforts. Not only with the largest possible legal donation but using other channels as well, including what may have been millions of $25 private donations. When you hear for example that 90% of the donations to the Clinton Foundation comes from $250 donors, these are the things you don’t see due to its lack of transparency. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98467642
People think its Bob and Jane selling pies to send 250 bucks to Hillary because they just like her, when in reality its 10.000 x250 donations by the same person, or 31 millions from a uranium mining company owner in Kazakhstan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Foundation
But what about the IMF? And the World Bank? What’s that got to do with all this?
Its all the same old buddies, scratching each other´s back, supporting one another’s foundations or charities or whatever legal structure they are using.

IMF bank lords & George Soros’ INET at Bretton Woods, what’s the diff?

By Arlen Williams

World Bank Flag

KAOS from "Get Smart" more innocent and less creepy.


If USA ever ends up like Argentina, it will be because its orchestrated that way, because that’s exactly what these men want. And they are saying so as clearly as possible.



Prepare as well as you can. Without panicking, without going nuts and hiding under your bed or running for the hills, but fully understanding that things have already changed and will keep changing, sometimes not for good.
Take care folks,
FerFAL
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Role of the knife for Self-Defense



The following knife attack video is the one mentioned previously, happened just a few days ago in a hospital in Buenos Aires. (the victim apparently robbed the wrong kind of person)


FerFAL
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Keysi Fighting Method

During a conversation someone mentioned Keysi Fighting Method. A fighting method originated in Spain during the 50’s? Didn’t think much about it until I saw some KFM video clips.
Looks kind of goofy at first but after looking into it a bit more you see how much sense many of the moves make.



Mostly the idea of hitting with your elbows as you cover your head, something that I’m sure came instinctively to the system´s creator during his street fights. Natural and instinctive is good. Hitting with the elbows while covering the head protecting from punches coming all around you, a few head butts thrown into it, seems like something worth checking out.
Apparently some KFM moves are being incorporated to MMA instruction and are being taught in some military forces for very close combat.
The stunt coordinator (Jujutsu world champion Buster Reeves) used some KFM in the fighting scenes of The Dark Night and Batman Begins. Its also used in that weird final fighting scene by Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III.
Never heard of it before and wanted to share it with you because it seems to incorporate some legitimate street fighting moves.
Take care and happy Easter!
FerFAL
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Run to the Hills!! Now!! Just Run!!


Apparently that’s what a survival expert is saying.

My opinion? Unless there’s a real threat to you, leaving your safe, stocked, defensible home, where you know your neighbors, where you have a job and means to support yourself in a complicated economic time, lets say its not the smartest thing to do.
When to bug out?
1) Imminent threat (fire, tsunami, some other disaster forcing you out) If there’s a natural disaster or man made one you may have no other choice but to leave. Maybe the authorities have no power over it due to war/invasion or the decision was made for some reason to abandon the area. In that case its better to play it safe and leave.
2)Political decision being made to go after a group of people based on ethnicality or religion. If you happen to belong to that group, you might want to play it it safe and avoid being a genocide victim. These things have happened before several times and will continue happening unfortunately. In this case a retreat in the hills will do you little good. When these things happen you’re better off leaving the country entirely. Learn from REAL event’s folks! Not some guy´s wet dream!


As a real “run for you life” scenario, I mention the siege of Sarajevo by the Serbian army, the longest siege in modern history that went on for years, the city being shelled almost daily at times and constant sniper fire killing civilians.
Many chapters of the Sarajevo Survival Guide can be read on line at :
http://www.famainternational.com/timeline/content-guide1-f.htm
Take care folks.
FerFAL

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Footwear Recommendations for Survivalists

Any advice on a quality everyday shoe to consider is ideal…Thanks for all the information you share.
B-
Hi! Like with any other piece of gear and clothing the survival minded person should analyze the issue beyond the basics ordinary needs.
Its not just about having comfortable shoes so as to walk without trouble during normal daily requiements. How will it perform if circumstances I dont control demand more of it? Can I walk greater distances with it without my fancy looking shoes falling appart? Can I walk through unneven terrain? Even in the city, think of what happens during disasters. After 9/11, NY was just littered with rubble and debris. You may need to scramble across rubble and collapsed buildings to save your life. Maybe there’s live wires and shock risks you dont even see as you walk. Think Japan’s recent earthquake, the place littered for miles with the scattered remians of the tsunamis destruction. Circumstances may deamand that you evacuate on foot with only what you’re wearing. A video posted in the forum thread I mentioned before of Japan over at the Modern Survivalist website shows precisely this, a person that runs away from his home as the wave approaches and hasn’t got a second to spare. After barely surviving those clothes you have are all you have, and that pair of shoes will be the only ones you have for only God knows how long, for walking, evacuating, etc.

Far less dramatic but still interesting is what happens during troubled economic times. No funds to spare means poor city maintenance. Those pool table sidewalks suddely start showing need of repair that doesn’t come. Even in Buenos Aires capital district sidewalks are far from perfectly even and it gets worse the further away you get. Sometimes after repairs they just fill it up with dirt (if they even bother doing that), leaving actual craters for pedestrians and drivers to deal with. Accidents of people tripping and getting hurt are common, and for the senior citizens this can mean a broken bone. Just twisting an ankle isn’t fun either. If you use a baby stroller you soon feel frustuated, getting it unstuck from holes or broken tiles several times per block.
There’s also the issue of actual foot protection. How well does your footwear protect your feet from falling objects or crowd stomping? Will a sharp object go right through your sole into your foot? May its rush hour in a ridiculously packed public transportation or an evacuation vehilce people will be stepping all over your feet.

Falling objects are also a possiblity and that’s why shoes with toe protection are mandatory in work sites and industrial plants. The survivalist or prepper should keep in mind these rules, and how many limbs they have saved. Why not apply this to your daily life? These things happen in nature too, watch Aaron Ralston’s movie of how a boulder caught his arm, forcing him to amputate it to survive with a dull cheapo multitool (oh! the importance of a quality knife) Today you have extremly comfortable safety shoe choices that are perfect for daily use, both light and sturdy. Some people like sinthetic toe caps instead of steel becuase they are lighter and dont feel as cold in cold weather. Unless dealing with extreme cold climate, steel toes are good to go. Not bad when kicking someone in a fight either!
Work shoes sometimes have purposely designed Electric Shock Resistant (ESR) soles to protect you from open circuits. That’s why electricians sometimes touch cables that would otherwise shock you. (DONT TOUCH OPEN CIRCUITS, NO MATTER WHAT SHOE YOU WEAR!) Its not smart to do it counting on the protection provided by the footwear since its not 100% safe and may be affected by factors such as humidity (wet shoes), but its still nice to know that your shoes are capable of it. (Check these websites for the different ISO http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Organization_for_Standardization and ANSI standards and other technical abreviations. http://www.oleyland.on.ca/images/product/glossary.htm)
How this applies to you? Again, general lack of proper mainteinance gets people killed. It happens often here, people getting electrocuted by poor electrical grid repairs. Not long ago a kid just died electrocuted while resting against a fence during a soccer game, a cable was left in contact. Sometimes you have to self evacuate yourself through less than ideal ground. It can be something as simple as walking along the side of a highway that is full of litter or after a train or subwaytrain technical problem.


Recommendations

I currently use Ombu brand mostly which is a localy produced work shoe. They have cheaper ones but I go for their high end mid-cut Neon model which offers the protections of work shoes but is also light and confortable, with a modern looking desing. When the weather is hot I go for lighter Timberland trail boots. Both are very comfortable, made of breathable material.
People in America and other 1st world countries have a lot more options. Just make sure to check the specifications and make sure its ANSI or ISO approved. That’s the difference between marketing blabla and actual capability of your footwear.
I used to wear Caterpillers but they are harder to find in Argentina these days, specially now with the importations being more restricted.
Caterpillar Men's Hydraulic Mid Cut Steel Toe Boot,Black,9.5 M US
Caterpillar Men’s Hydraulic Mid Cut Steel Toe Boot,Black,9.5 M US
Timberland PRO Men's Pitboss 6" Steel-Toe Boot,Black,12 M
Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6″ Steel-Toe Boot,Black,12 M
I like mid-cuts becuase they offer better footing in my opinion and a bit more ankle protection. Notice how during accidents people seem to lose their shoes so easily, they just fly away. Car accident footage general shows barefoot victims. I find mid cuts to still be comfortable like ordinary shoes but they cover more and are less likely to fly away during an accident or disaster.
Caterpillers and Timberlands, those are the brands I like and recommend but of course there are others that are excellent too.
So that’s basically my recommendation. As always its just food for thought and maybe a couple ideas to keep in mind next time you go shopping for shoes.
Take care!
FerFAL
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Shooting Video




This one took place in Flores, Buenos Aires. A cop doing extra hours as security for a China store sees two suspicious men but is surprised by a third coming from the opposite direction.
Notice how many rounds the bad guy fires,  pure brutality. The cop survived by the way, he took 6-8 shots in the torso and legs but was wearing body armor. As he falls he cries out for Lee, the owner of the store.
The bad guys? Killed later as they stole cars in a parking lot and shot it out with the police.
Get this: The bad guy that shoots the cop in  this  video, his family later sewed the police for killing a “good, hard working man”, and the city had to pay the family of this scumbag 25.000 USD!
The criminal gang had robbed over 50 similar chinese minimarts and even had  a clandestine clinic set up for their wounded.
FerFAL
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why you always carry with a round in the chamber and some other considerations


Hey Fer Fal, a friend forwarded this to me.  It shows why it is so important to carry your handgun with one round already in the chamber.
Mr. Carlo
http://www.ignatius-piazza-front-sight.com/2011/04/04/front-sights-monday-blog-why-you-carry-a-loaded-gun/

Front Sight’s Monday Blog: Why You Carry a Loaded Gun…

I am often asked if I think it is safe or smart to carry a gun with a live cartridge in the chamber.
My answer is, “Yes, a live round in the chamber of a modern handgun, coupled with strict adherence to the Four, Universal Safety Rules is safe and smart.”
Safe, because as long as you keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target, the gun will not fire the loaded round in the chamber.
Smart, because when you need a gun to save your life or the lives of your loved ones, FRACTIONS of seconds count. At that moment you need a loaded gun, RIGHT NOW!
Under the stress of a lethal encounter, you do not want to be hampered or slowed in your response to someone trying to kill you, by having to chamber a live round into your gun.
This week I have surveillance video that show exactly what can happen when you carry a gun with an empty chamber.
This is a disturbing video, but demonstrates better than any words I might convey, why you need to not only carry your weapon with a live round in the chamber, but also train to present it smoothly, quickly, and hit with your first shot(s).
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
(Click Here if the video doesn’t work, or you’re using an iPhone/iPad.)




Thanks Mr. Carlo for the link , the video clearly shows how things can go very wrong very fast and why its simply mandatory to train as you expect to fight in a gunfight.
Someone commented some time ago that civilians dont get into gunfights, that that’s for military. Well, depends on what you consider it to be a gunfight. In my opinion this is a good example of a robbery that ends up in a gunfight. A gunfight means people fighting with guns. There’s no minimum shot fired required. Pray that if it ever comes to that all you need is a single shot to stop your one and only armed attacker!

In this video’s case poor training had disastrous results. You must train with the weapon you will be carrying, chambered round, with the same holster you’ll carry and train using similar clothing to the ones you carry daily. You shoot with a tight fitting shooting shirt that never gets in the way? Then start using that every day, otherwise get real and adjust you daily clothing so that it does better during your shooting sessions and get used to wearing that wardrobe daily.
Unless you take shooting as a sport, dont seek unrealistic advantages during training only to score better and faster or to impress others. Ego, need to be quicker or better than the shooter next to you has nothing to do with the ultimate goal which is performing at your best during a real life threatening encounter.

As I watched this video I was reminded of the many incidents other people told me were an empty chamber got someone killed as well. Even when attached at close range with a knife, an empty chamber may be a fatal mistake.

You don’t feel comfortable carrying that way? Then you need to train more and be more consistent with your administrative handling of the firearm you own. Maybe even reconsider if you’re ready to accept the responsibility of owning a firearm at all. This is a serious decision and there’s no right and wrong answer. Some people simply will not have the risk of a negligent discharge. Could you live with yourself if your kids shoots himself accidentally with your weapon? It happens all the time and it even happens to responsible, trained people. Forget about thinking you’re perfect. There’s only two types of firearm owners out there: a) Those that had a negligent discharge b) Those that didn’t have a negligent discharge … yet. It will happen.

The only thing you can hope for is that when it does your firearm is aimed in a dirction where the projectilce wont cause the injure or death of innocent people. Deadly serious a gun is.
Then again, could you live with yourself if a situation occurs where your family is hurt, tortured, raped, killed and you failed to protect them? What’s the risk of one compared to another? How responsible are you? In spite of beign extremly careful and responsible are you still accepting the responsaiblity, knowing you’re human after all and just can’t assure 100% perfection on anthing, let alone a tool intended to incapacitate a peron as fast as posible? Its up to you and one way or another you have to live with the choice you make.
Take care folks, train and be responsible.
FerFAL
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Modern Survivalist Forum Japan Thread



In the Modern Survivalist Forum there’s a thread about the situation in Japan that I just have to recommend to everyone.
http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/?page_id=936/general-discussion/sirusblacks-updates-from-japan/

Its been updated since the earthquake hit but the updates of two of the forum members (Sirius Black and Kirima)  living in Japan just make it a terribly valuable source of real world experience. Not just about the quake itself, but of people coping with the blackouts, the daily life afterwards, the supplies that were harder to come by. Maybe it’s the aftermath that I find most interesting, so I greatly appreciate their effort and updates.
I just have to recommend reading through all 6 pages and check every now and them for more updates.

FerFAL

Thursday, April 14, 2011

‘Start Crying For Argentina’‏


Hello FerFAL,
I thought this article may be of interest.
http://dailycapitalist.com/2011/04/12/start-crying-for-argentina/
I’m a long-time reader of your blog, and I purchased and recently finished reading your excellent book.
Just curious, but are you still planning on moving to the US? We need more people like you!
Thank you for your great work,
Bryan

Good link, unfortunately so true, so many similarities with this  “new” communism.  Better to keep an eye on Latin America politics. Eventually it may become the new commie giant, but this time just south of the border.
Glad you liked my book, thanks  ;)
Still working on moving and thanks for the support. Given that millions just walk across the border or overstay their visa, I bet a lot of people would be surprised by how hard it is for those of us that want to move to USA doing it the right way.  So much talk about illegals, it would be nice to hear about at least a minimum care for those that dont want to do things the wrong way for a change.
FerFAL

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Safety Tips for expats in Argentina

My friend Rick Davis sent me this email, its safety tips from an expat forum. There’s good info here and valid no matter where you live.
FerFAL

Posted by: “Frances Perry”
Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:58 pm (PDT)
A good security note on tires and then reminder. This was sent out today.
Some unfortunate security incidents have happened to members of our community over the past few days; some of them have occurred on streets. So I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of certain preventive measures that can keep us safe. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:
· According to published statistics, tire thefts increased 30% this year. Most of them were imported tires. One of the reasons for this happening are the import restrictions that went into effect in March 2010.
- Use the parking lot
- Leave nothing in sight inside the car. In some cases, a person who wants to steal a tire will proceed to breaking a window or lock to get inside the car if he sees something inside the car that catches his attention. Have an alarm installed in the car and add safety locknuts for the 5 wheels. These locknuts have a special key that you should keep with you and not in the car.
- If you see a person or vehicle that looks suspicious, let the guard know. There have been cases where the victim said he/she was suspicious of someone but decided not to say anything.
While I am writing about a security topic, let me also add a few additional security tips that can be useful:
· If you need to withdraw money from an ATM, do so during banking hours, at the bank where there is security. ATMs in shopping malls or gas stations are not recommended.
· If you need to go shopping, try to estimate the money you will spend and do not carry much more cash than that with you. Whenever possible use debit and credit cards. A random thief will prefer to rob someone who has cash on them, not someone who is using debit or credit cards. It’s also a very good idea to keep your cash separate from your documents, so that if you are robbed, you only lose your money, and not hard to replace IDs or other documents that contain details about your life.
· When you are on the street, stay aware of what is happening around you. Otherwise, you become an easy target. Using your cell phone while you walk distracts you, and sends others a signal that you are distracted. Also, remember that women are many times involved in street crime—do not think a person or their movements are less suspicious just because it’s a woman.
· If for any reason you think you are going to be robbed, walk faster and try to go into a store or near a police officer, and alert him. If you don’t see a store with guards or a policeman, walk faster and change direction to see if the suspicious person is really following you. Always keep a good distance between yourself and other people– nobody can rob you from a distance. Shouting somebody’s name will make other people think you are not alone. Shouting fire, fire will alert other people and/or neighbors.
· There are cases of phone calls saying that one of your family members has been kidnapped. These are called “Virtual Kidnappings” (secuestro virtual).
There are a few excuses that these “kidnappers” use to engage you in conversation when you answer the phone so that they can demand a ransom for the “kidnapped” person, such as:
- Reporting an accident.
- Saying that they are the police and asking for details.
- Sometimes there is a tape saying the phone call is being made from jail.(Este es un llamado del servicio penitenciario)
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- Repair service from the phone company.
- Any other excuse to engage the person in conversation so they can threaten the victim.
It’s very important not to engage in conversation with someone you don’t know or whose number you don’t recognize. If someone is trying to get your attention like that on the phone, hang up immediately, no matter what their excuse is. If it is something truly important, they will most likely call back. They may also call back to try to get your attention again. If you are still not convinced that it’s a safe call, tell them that you are going to call the police. Do so even if the person who speaks to you speaks perfect English. In one of the incidents this week, the second person who spoke did so in English. If you leave your house, give the people who stay home a way to get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
· If you go downtown try to park in an indoor parking garage.
· When you return to your house, look around for suspicious people or activity. If you see something you don’t like, keep driving, and then call your house to let them know that you are around the block and ask them to call the police. Some people don’t want to bother the police if they are not sure but its better then getting robbed and its one of the ways to avoid becoming a victim.
· If you parked the car outside your house and it’s already dark outside, leave it outside. A family was robbed a year and a half ago because they tried to move the car off the street once it was dark.
· If you go to a restaurant or a bar, try to pick places located in busy areas and that have security guards or police.
· One of the most important points to remember is to not fight back if you are getting robbed. It is extremely risky to try to avoid a robbery once it has begun, and will most likely provoke a violent reaction from the robber(s). Preventive measures can keep us from becoming victims of urban crime, and the correct reaction once we are involved in an incident can save lives.
· Exchanging information and letting people know about incidents that happen to us can help other people stay alert These conversations are very important so that everyone can be aware of personal security issues, and perhaps avoid a difficult situation.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Saving money and austerity for surviving Hard times

Saving money is one of the things I mentioned as being underrated for survival during current turbulent times so I looked around a bit to see what useful tips I could find.
I came across this website with 101 tips to save money. Most of it is just common sense and I suppose most of my readers already do a lot of it, but I still found the tips refreshing to read even if I don’t agree with a couple of them. Here’s the link.
After reading the list I thought about it and some considerations that would be relevant for survivalists and people that want to be more self reliant during times like these:

1)Taking advantage of every discount and coupons you have available. Specially in USA, you save crazy amounts of money if you take advantage of these, especially on groceries. The only note on this would be buying products of respectable quality and being very careful about “mystery” products. One time there was a tomato sauce on sale in Argentina, turns out it was from China and of such poor (even dangerous) quality that was refused by every other country.

2)Pay your bills on time. Remember how we already see taxes going up and we know this trend will continue as a way of milking the middle class? That also means that the fees and interests for paying late will also go up, getting more bucks out of the middle class, so pay them on time. Then again there’s usually a breaking point when taxes go up TOO much. In that case such a large percentage of people can’t pay them that once a year they come up with plans to regularize your situation with important discounts. In that case (keep in mind this is 3rd world type situation) its better not to pay them on time and pay them once every year or two when the plans are offered. In this case, the guy that had the money to pay for the ridiculously high taxes every month and made the sacrifice to do so is being “punished” while the person that doesn’t pay in time is given chances to pay out of term and for a significant discount. You gotta love socialism.

3)Eat at home. Make your own pizza instead of delivery. Its stupid simple to do pizza and in no time you make one that tastes better, is healthier and much cheaper than the store bought one. For the office, make yourself a sandwich or leave a few yougurts in the office’s fridge. You save money and its healthier than getting a burger, hotdog or some other junk food.

4)I don’t agree with giving up your health center or gym membership. In my opinion it’s the first step to a less healthy life and you’ll regret it in the medium/long run. Its also a way of social interaction and being surrounded by a health conscious environment. You save on the membership but its absolutely not worth it if it will mean you now have a sedentary lifestyle with its health complications. Medical bills are MUCH more expensive than gym memberships.

5)Start reloading. With ammo prices going up its getting harder and harder to shoot. Around here most serious shooters reload. Get into it before the price of the equipment goes up. Don’t forget dry fire practices. Serious shooters do tons of dry fire and your skills significantly improve with it.

6)Review your monthly expenses carefully. Magazine subscriptions you don’t read, cell phone you don’t use? Hidden credit card services leaching money from you?

7) Shop around for a cheaper car/house insurance or maybe getting a plan more according to your budget.

 8)If you’re a hunter, its yet another way to put meat in the freezer for cheap. Get a used chest freezer that works well so as to stock up when you can (Craiglist, ebay )

9)Replace all lights with energy efficient light blubs. The warm ones do nicely and save a lot of energy. They also last much longer.

10) One thing we do is cook once and make enough leftovers for a second dinner as well. This also saves us time and you use less energy as well. If its meat we’re cooking what’s left can be used for stew.
Check the link above, I’m sure you’ll find a few good ideas.
Take care,
FerFAL

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Knife Review: Spyderco Resilience

I bought the Spyderco Resilience because I liked it, but I never expected to love it, and that’s exactly what happened.
If you remember the “The Incredible $99 EDC Kit”, you’ve seen the smaller version of the Spyderco  Resilience, the extremely popular Tenacious included in it. At that time I asked people to show me a better folder in the $30 range. It’s the same case here with the Resilience, only that I like it much better: You will be very hard pressed to find a better knife for that price, or a better knife for twice that money in fact. It’s that good.
Spyderco Tenacious G-10 Handle Folding Plain Edge Knife
Spyderco Tenacious G-10 Handle Folding Plain Edge Knife
Why so? Because you’re buying a top brand, the construction and materials are excellent, the design is proven and makes sense all around. Because it fits perfectly in your pocket and the clip (excellent clip) can be adjusted in all 4 possible positions. Finally, because of the perfectly designed blade shape that is a mixture of good things, thick like a spear point and the slope of a drop point. Just ideal for general purpose use including self defense. The size of the Tenacious was ok, just a bit under 4”. Keep in mind that most “bushcraft” knifes are around 4” give or take. The blade of the Resilience with its 4.25 inches has every bit of blade you want plus that little extra that makes it as good as it is. This knife will slice through tomatoes and filet Mignon thanks to its full flat ground, but also penetrate easily and deep on an attackers body and leave a wide wound channel. While full flat ground is weaker than saber ground, the generous proportions of the blade both on length and width compensates for the grind.
The steel may not be the latest one used by all the cool guys, but it is still excellent and especially with a generous sized blade, all you ask for is ease of sharpening, excellent edge retention and good rust resistance given its carbon content. You get all that with the 8Cr13Mov used to make the Resilience.
Maybe the liner lock isn’t your favorite mechanism, but in this knife is beefy and very well executed. The G10 handles are light and comfortable, with a light checkering.
What more could you possibly ask? As I said in my previous post about begin careful about spending money, the idea of these reviews is to give the reader the information to make the right decision. Let me put it this way: If you don’t have an EDC knife already, or if you’re planning on getting one, get the Spyderco Resilience while its still reasonably priced. I carry a specific fighting folder and a general purpose blade in my Leatherman Charge on daily basis as shown in my EDC gear video. If I would only carry one for all, it would be this knife here.
The Spyderco Resilience can be found on Amazon in the links above, but it can also be found $20 cheaper in one of our Sponsors,  EDC Depot.(only two left!)
Enjoy the video, take care.



FerFAL
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Comments

Hi guys,
I have to check every comment before aproving becuase otherwise it gets full of all sorts of spam, not only junk links but lots of porn links as well so I really dont have much of an option. The only problem is that sometimes real comments get caught too either becuase of links or some other reason, and I dont notice it for some time.
Just wanted to say that, in case someone had a comment that wasn't showing for several days. Other than those caught by the spam filter, I approve comments severla times a day.
Take care,
FerFAL

Monday, April 11, 2011

5 most underrated Survival Skills for Survivalists

This topic was suggested by fellow youtuber LordHumungus and I just finished recording the video clip. I think it’s a good exercise as a way of reviewing what’s important and what may deserve a bit more attention in our preparedness.
1) Realistic Security and Self Defense
By this I mean both planning for realistic events where your life is being threatened by criminals and how hard (or soft) your home may be to criminals.
For self defense since time and funds are limited your objective should be very clear. What are you preparing for? If its zombies just go for the sawed off 12 gage shotgun. You might as well be cool in your fantasy. But are you planning on you defending yourself from some of the worst our society has to offer, against criminals that would attack you during your daily routine when you happen to be most vulnerable? Then your weapon of choice will be reduced to what you can carry with you concealed, maybe a carbine or rifle at home or in the car trunk but not counting on it really. You’ll be outnumbered by armed criminals. “Oh FerFAL, if that happens you’re already dead”. Maybe, but then again you may survive, like the cop and his son that shot it out when attacked yesterday right in my neighborhood, outnumbered 2 to 1. (story, in Spanish ) During a car jack attempt, father and son, both police officers, killed two criminals, wounded a third and a fourth one escaped after trying to rob their vehicle. The car happens to be a popular Peugeot 206, favored by criminals because of the spare parts demand. Avoiding high priority car models is something I’ve covered before.
You can win, but to even have a chance you must have the will, the training, and consistency to carry a capable weapon with you at all times. LordHumungus mentions fitness and hand to hand training. Of course these must go along in your self defense capabilities, otherwise your weapon will be of little use. But when outnumbered by armed criminals you’re getting yourself into a gunfight, so that’s where you must excel at. Be ready for that. As for fitness, I think its underrated among survivalists too. Not physical fitness in a sissy esthetic manner. By being fit I mean being capable to walk distances carrying gear, run, fight, do physical work and not have a weight problem that brings along health complications. Either that or as fit as possible giving your age and personal circumstances.
When it comes to home defense you see post after post of how patrols would be carried out or what concertina wire brand is best to stop hordes of looters, yet at the same time the guys posting this on line have doors that can be kicked down, unlocked back yard doors, or sliding doors with locks that can be broken and opened by an angry Chihuahua . No alarm, no motion sensor lights. How hard a target is your house NOW? Its not as bad as in the 3rd world but Americans are already suffering terrible crimes, even in the “good” neighborhoods. Expect more of that to come.
2) Saving Money.
Working on your budget, and eliminating unnecessary expenses. Too often you hear of survivalists going through rough times selling gear and supplies they probably should have never bought in the first place. We all do that at some point, its just that some get worse at it than others. Make informed decisions and purchases, there’s TONS of reviews of gear out there, including this same blog. Writing down every cent you spend per day has helped me a lot when we had little money to get by. Write down every thing, no matter if it’s a power bill you just paid or a bus ticket, it brings a new perspective to how you spend money.
3) Making money.
The ability to increase your wealth should never be underestimated. Sometimes you read about survivalists wishful thinking that the rich will be ruined after the economy collapses because they lack skills, they don’t grow their own food, etc. Well, they do have money making skills, and that’s very important. Maybe they’re not ready for accidents and disasters, they don’t have bug out bags and kits, but they’ve learned to thrive economically in a society and that’s important when a large middle class segment is becoming poor. Money isn’t the most important thing but it does matter a lot in today’s world. Be careful of the person that says he doesn’t care about money. Through the years I’ve confirmed time and again, it’s the people that say that that are the most materialistic, and place money above everything else.
4) People’s Skills.
Knowing how to talk and interact with family, friends, neighbors, etc. I’ve said several times that you shouldn’t expect much from people in general, specially friends and neighbors , 9 out of 10 will let you down during tough times, but that also means there’s that 10% and you need people’s skills for that. Even when it comes to your own family, so as to be ready for harder times you family must be a tight unit, close to one another and as strong as possible to endure what’s coming.
5) Self Development.
The ability to cope mentally and physically, being able to solve problems, having the patience, even accepting what can’t be changed. Finding solutions to problems, being as positive as possible and not letting the problems you’ll be dealing with on daily basis get to you. If you’re easily depressed, the crisis will slowly consume you. You must be emotionally as strong as you can be, leaving behind you flaws of character, hysteria fits, childish attitudes. Maybe its things like drinking or drugs. Get rid of all that. The times to come will put you to test in all areas, including your personality and mindset.
Check the video, I’m sure I’ve mentioned a bunch of different things not covered here.
Take care and good luck.





FerFAL

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Preparedness for single Dad


              Mr. Fernando,
I appreciate the information I have been finding on your blog, amongst many, but you have actually “been there”.  I have a somewhat unique situation and wondered if you had any advice for me.
I am a single father.  I have custody of my now almost two year old son, his mother left when he was only 5 weeks old (long story….).  I am working and have been working as best I can with the limited time and resources I have to prepare and be prepared.  Obviously there are some things I am at disadvantages with, having a small child along for the ride and no second to watch my back.
I have the plus and minus of always being with a diaper bag when I’m not at work or at home.  It, like other possible shoulder bags (laptop type messenger bags come to mind) can possibly interfere with a drawstroke.  So can a 2 year old whether carried or walking beside you.
Being that you were a young father when it all got difficult, I wondered if you had any advice or thoughts from your past experiences, and I appreciate the information I have gotten from you over the years.
I will admit that I haven’t read all your posts, I got hooked on your blog while back while perusing Warrior Talk and found mention of you, then….. when I met somebody’s mother, I was limited in any preparation time or effort, again part of the long story.
Sincerely,
Andrew
Hi Andrew,
I have a 2 year old son too. My other boy is eight years old and he’s starting to be more help than trouble if you know what I mean, but kids are always a huge responsibility all your life. We went shooting today with my oldest son, good times. Mom and the little dude came along too but they stayed playing in the club’s playground swing. Being a single parent with a 2 year old must be tough. 

You have the advantage of having the diaper bag and I see how you could convert it into a “tactical” diaper bag, but then again you need to carry lots of baby stuff as well.  Google “tactical diaper bag” for a few laughs and some good tips as well. I’d get one big enough to carry the baby stuff plus your gear as well, all separated and within easy reach. For the baby, as you know already, you basically need a few diapers, baby wipes and spare set of clothes, some snacks and juice to drink. One thing you can do is put the spare set of clothes in a ziplock bag and press out all the air before closing. That package becomes surprisingly thin and you save a lot of space. All kids are different but one thing I’m never left without is pediatric ibuprofen and amoxcillin ( 200mg.) Other kids have sensitive ears so you want to have those ear drops with you, others are more prone to throwing up so something to stop vomits makes sense. I keep a well stocked medicine box keeping in mind the children. Solution for nebulizing and a good nebulizer and lots of spare syringes. These I use for measuring the ibuprofen solution when the little one has fever. Its also used a lot for babies that don’t want to drink it. You press carefully at the corner of the lip, dropping the soluting at the back of the tongue. This works very well since babies swallow it straight down but you have to be careful and fast. Few kids like this. Then again maybe your 2 year old is like mine and he eats the stuff as if it were candy. The older one is the one I used this on most often when he was a baby because he didn’t like the taste of the fever medicine.

As for firearms training you definitely want to keep in mind you son because chances are he will be there with you if  you need to use your gun. When carrying him you would draw single handed, keeping him pressed against your torso, canting your body to protect him as much as possible. If he’s walking and theres trouble, then you should be getting yourself between him and the bad guys, pushing him aside if you expect shooting. Better to fall on the ground and get a few scratches than catching a bullet in the crossfire. If you have someone to help, its good for the kids, eve babies to visit the gun club so they get used to gunshots (at a distance of course!) even when just staying in the park or playground, that way they aren’t as scared when they grow older and they shoot for the first time.
When it comes to the food you have stocked up, make sure its food your son could eat as well, preferably food you already know he likes. Go heavy on milk and protein (canned meats) which your son needs.
Being a single parent isn’t easy and I believe its even more complicated being a single dad. Kids, specially babies, they just need their mom a lot. I hope you have someone to help you out. I know I’d be lost without my wife helping with the kids.
One thing I remember from the book “Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s life in Sarajevo” was how important it is for children to have little treats such as chocolate and toys, books and magazines for a sense of normality. In the book, Zlata tells how much she misses school and want to go to classes (at the same time the city is being sieged, shelled and under sniper fire killing people every day) Still she would write in her diary how wonderful it was to receive candy, chocolate, some toys and books. Maybe adding a few educational school books too when old enough.
Kids just demand a lot of your time and resources. Of course they are worth it, but its not easy raising kids ( or including them in your preparedness) as a single parent in times like these. Just make sure to give him the tools he will need to be self thinking and self reliant. The world he will grow up into will most likely be a bit worse than the one you knew when little.
Take care Andrew, and good luck to both of you.

FerFAL
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mugging examples and what to do to avoid them



My wife went to the gym yesterday and some acquaintances told her of muggings they have recently suffered.
These occurred during daytime, the first during the morning and the second one about 4 PM. Keep in mind that this is my neighborhood, what is considered “very good” in local terms since we have private security in most of the street corners. These incidents occur usually in the blocks that still don’t have security, when the guard left momentarily for whatever reason (bathroom for example) or it just occurs in spite of the guards, the mugging being pretty fast.
In the first case this woman was walking calmly in the sidewalk. As she passed by a young kid walking the opposite direction, this kid about 14 or so simply turned around hit her in the back of the head, sending her to the floor. She was dizzy and had a hard time getting up. she said she started chasing this kid that took her purse before she realized she had a hard time keeping her balance. “ I can barely stand, what the heck am I doing chasing this mugger?” She said to my wife.
In the second case, a couple, man and woman, walking on the same sidewalk but opposite direction, both young, well dressed, fake surprise as they get near the victim “Oh! How are you doing!? Its been so long since we last saw you!”. Before the women even has a chance to figure out if she knows them, they both close in and hug her. As the couple hugs the surprised woman, she feels an object pressed against her side as someone whispers in her ear “If you move I shoot you”. She stays put, her purse is taken away from her, and the couple walks away. To the eyes of people just a few yards away, the scene is just a woman that happened to come across a couple old friends.

What to do?

These are probably the hardest type of crime to avoid. If the criminal acts normal, dresses well, you simply don’t have any warning signs because its just a person like everybody else. He’s not a dirty junky or gang member, but Average Joe and Soccer mom walking around.
When streets are fairly deserted and someone approaches, what I do is no matter what, if it’s people coming close I accept the possibility of them being up to no good. I just don’t like having people walk on my back, the sounds of footsteps coming from the blind spot feels uncomfortable. What I do is slow around, move towards the street (don’t do it in the other direction or you corner yourself) so as to leave enough space for the person to pass while I turn towards him. Usually it makes people feel uncomfortable when you do so but I try pretending I’m looking at something else or crossing the street. I’m not talking of hostile body language or anything, just moving to a side to leave space, stopping and turning toward them. Most people will think its strange but just hurry pass you. If it’s a criminal he may just be surprised and look for someone less aware, or if he goes for it at least you have more space to either run or fight. In any case you’re not caught by surprise and that’s good.
If its someone walking towards me I move so as to leave as much space as the sidewalk allows, and keep an eye on the person as he walks by, just turning your head and torso a bit allows you to keep an eye on the person as he or she walks five or six yards pass you. Also keep in mind the sound of the footsteps. Those usually give you some information. If as you keep walking and turn your head back to the direction you’re going you hear a fast pace of footsteps then turn back in case their moving against you. These are all very natural, basic instinctive things but as rational creatures we’ve been trying for generations to shut down this basic instinct because its considered impolite. Survival instincts may not be very polite at times but they have their reasons.
A woman who’s husband works for the local municipal government told my wife that they are going to implement “safe corridors” from schools to train stations and other points of public transportation. Seems that kids and parents are being attacked when picking the kids from school so they will post military personal (gendarmeria) to create safe corridors.
The rest of the neighborhood? Better stick to the blocks that are guarded.
Take care folks,
FerFAL
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

HOTEL SECURITY by Rick Davis



Another excellent article by my good friend, Rick Davis. Good security advice in general that applies to more than just hotels and traveling.
FerFAL

HOTEL SECURITY by Rick Davis

Your concerns about security in a hotel should begin when picking an area of town to stay in. Some of my industrial clients were in a less secure part of town than the central business district. I always stayed in the central business district, because of access to travel amenities and desirable meeting locations. In most cases, people were glad to come meet me in the central business district. If not, taxis, etc were available from my hotel, and I got the phone number to call for them to come back for me after the meeting. Remember to avoid taxis encountered on the street because they may take you to their criminal friend’s neighborhood to be robbed.
A lot of hotels will pretend to not have a reservation for you. I always got a reservation through a booking agent and prepaid the first night’s stay and got a receipt before leaving home for my trip. Only twice was I denied the stay… the first time in La Paz, Bolivia and another passenger offered to share his room so I accepted gratefully and used my receipt to pay for it. The desk clerk had clearly exceeded his authority to let another guest overstay his reservation and had probably already pocketed the overstaying guest’s money, since I had prepaid the room. He based his refusal to oust the overstaying guest due to the lateness of the hour, because our flight was 6 hours late in arrival, and it was 4am. Another time, in Caracas, another 6 hours late arrival caused the clerk to refuse to give me a room and offered to put me up 45 minutes away in an unsavory part of town. I explained that since I had prepaid, I would take my travel blanket and bed down on a couch in the lobby, because I had Asian and European visitors coming to a breakfast meeting (in less than 4 hours) and I didn’t know how to contact them. I proceeded to go to sleep on the couch and was awakened in 45 minutes as the clerk implored me to please go up to the room they had cleared for me at 4am. I requested clean sheets and towels and headed up to my room. Without my receipt in this case and the receipt PLUS a kind stranger in La Paz, I would have been seriously inconvenienced.

Once you have picked an area, it is a good idea to make a point of being on the first 3 – 5 residential floors of the building. It is possible to run downstairs to evacuate the building in the event of an emergency… or, upstairs if the power is out and the elevators don’t work. In the Mumbai attacks, hotel guests on the lower floors had a better survival rate, per my sources. Upper floors have less threat from crime, due to tougher access and escape facilities. A good, strong door is important… solid-core wood or metal doors are important considerations when picking a hotel, along with a way to lock out people with pass keys while you are in the room. You may prefer to stay in a high floor for special amenities… just be sure to play the “what if… ” game in your head to figure out what to do in the case of an earthquake, fire or other “lights out” situation.

When approaching your hotel room… keep your head on a swivel to note anyone paying special attention to you. As you get to your floor, if any suspicious person entered the elevator with you, consider going past your floor and walking down the stairs one flight. ALWAYS check a stairwell door to make sure it can be opened from the stairwell, because some stairwells are locked from the stairwell side so you cannot exit until you arrive at the lobby level. Please don’t be concerned if you appear a bit goofy, walking around in the hallway, checking stairwell doors and re-entering the elevator.
Also, if you notice you are being stalked on your floor, consider going past your room to the end of the hall… turn and face the other person and ask them if they are a guest of the hotel , since they have not entered any room on that floor. It is best not to open your hotel room door with a possible attacker near… it is easier to defend yourself in an open hallway where the criminal may be too leery of the noise factor to attack
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VALUABLES are best stored at the front desk lock boxes when you leave the room for more than a few minutes. The room lockbox is of limited use. Not all deposits in the front desk lock boxes are covered with loss insurance… NONE of the room lock boxes are covered of which I am aware.
ONCE YOU ARE IN YOUR ROOM consider never opening the door unless the party trying to enter has been properly identified. You can always ask a hotel employee to wait while you check with the operator/front desk/security office to verify the visit is legitimate… unless, of course, you requested a visit by hotel staff. Still, if you do not personally know the person, put the security short chain or other device on the door while you check them out. Beware that there are peephole reversers that allow one to be viewed from outside the room, so carrying some tape product that will help you secure the peephole from exterior view is a good idea. A lady sports reporter was recently filmed through such a device recently in a famous stalking case.

Once a thug is in your hotel room with you, they no longer have to worry about security. They quickly take control and can torture you or your loved ones without mercy until everyone opens the safe, discloses the hidden goodies, coughs up the car keys, ATM cards, credit cards and PIN numbers. They may force someone to go downstairs with them to get the really good stuff hidden in the lock box at the front desk, or to the bank to withdraw a large sum of cash. They take all your personal electronics which can be mined for online account info, the names of your friends and family that they call on the phone threatening to kill you unless they receive $50,000 or more cash in a couple of hours… know as an “express kidnapping” in Latin America. So, try to not scoff at this advice. You have the right to refuse to allow access to your hotel room until the visitor has been identified beyond a shadow of a doubt as to their official need to enter your room. Don’t enter a potential nightmare situation where you are beaten and robbed and your loved ones terrorized, your private property loaded into your car and driven off by thieves leaving you sobbing and bleeding tied up and immobilized on the rug in a hotel room with the blinds closed, the “do not disturb” sign on the locked door, and the phone rendered inoperative… all because you are trying to be a nice person and help the “hotel employee” who is just trying to do his job.

KEEPING SAFE in a hotel room is often taken for granted by many travelers. While some people make fun of my apparent paranoia, I have never been awakened in the middle of the night with a knife at my throat as has happened to people I know. There are small battery powered door alarms available inexpensively on the net, Amazon, eBay etc. It is a good idea to carry several of them with you to apply at all doors and large windows. Therre are small battery powered security alarms that look like a pager that fit on your belt, and I know people who were attacked and escaped by means of an ear-splitting shriek of a personal protection alarm. My fav is a simulated cell phone with a flashlight, an alarm and electrodes that can impart 100,000 volts with enough amperage to drop a steer. A cop friend said he would pretend to be talking on the cell phone as a threat approached and when the thief said “gimme your cell phone” the natural actions of a person in compliance would get you close enough to drop the thief. Warning… not legal in some jurisdictions, so I carry large plastic tie wraps with me in my hat sweatband so I can cuff the bad guy to an inanimate object after incapacitating him and escape. If you are worried about the guy suffering from extreme weather, call the 911 equivalent and be sure NOT to leave them my name as the mystery caller. It sounds funny, but my business card has been used by other people for nefarious reasons.

TRICKSTERS AND CON ARTISTS take hundreds of millions of dollars away from travelers every year. Some hotels use electronic key cards that are used to open the door, then are used to insert into a control box to operate the lights, tv, etc in the room. There is a scam where a guy wearing khakis shows up claiming to be from maintenance and needing to come into the room to check out the keybox. They enter the room and request the guest’s security keycard, which they palm, and substitute another key card that is NOT for this room, as all key cards for that hotel work in all keyboxes… but, will not open the guest’s room door. So, the thieves wait for the occupants to leave, use the guest’s own room keycard to enter the room, and load up all the valuables, including the contents of the lock box in the room. They have lots of time and privacy to pick the lock. Some crooks target high-end hotels wherein they know the swag will include lots of high-end electronics and possibly cash and jewelry easily fenced. At these hotels, they can afford to send by a cute young lady to offer discount coupons at a local eatery or even a prepaid meal coupon that will keep the guests out of the room at a set time of day for a long period of time to guarantee their long time availability to the guest’s personal property with a higher degree of safety and surety. This means of theft may be circumvented by using the previously described phone verifications with hotel desk, maintenance or security staff. Bad guys disappear fast when you say…”Hold on… I’m checking with your boss to assure this maintenance check is officially authorized.”

WHAT THE HOTEL CROOKS ARE LOOKING FOR.

The number one thing they seek is an easy mark. Try to appear to not be an easy mark. A family with small children will not usually initiate aggressive action against a hotel room invader, but kids are hard to hide. There are limits to what we can do to keep from appearing to be potential victims, but the risk can be mitigated by just staying in a higher level hotel where site security and on-site security staff give most criminals pause about targeting their clients. Seeing guys in blazers, ties and slacks with a beefy profile, a communications earbud and a vigilant appearance is a good clue.

Many thugs hang around shopping areas for high end purchases. On many occasions, they followed the victim from the store parking lot to the hotel, and can target the vehicle or the hotel room, based on what they think may be available to steal. Being especially well dressed or exhibiting large quantities of expensive jewelry will make a thug mark you for a victim.
When you leave the room, try to remember to place the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. This is not possible on some doors with electronic locks, so I have 2 DO NOT DISTURB signs I have stolen (Hmmmm!) from previous hotel stays. One fits in the electronic key card slot and the other has a hook to hang off the door handle. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would I turn the sign around to the MAKE UP THE ROOM side unless I was checking out. If you want to get the room cleaned, call housekeeping and advise them.

Also, it’s a good idea to leave the TV and one light on so crooks looking under the door will see light and hear activity in the vacant room.
Avoid the parking lot if possible. Use the valet service, if available. If you have to enter the parking lot, be aware that thugs\hang out there looking for targets of opportunity. Use your normal situational awareness techniques, keep your head on a swivel, keeping your distance from large vehicles and people in the lot. Check the back seat floorboard before putting your key in the lock. Be prepared to reverse your course and return to a secure area if you sense danger at any point. There is a lot of crime in parking lots all over the world.
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