Sunday, July 31, 2011

The next 72hs: What last minute preps to take?

Lets say the US economy crashes in a day. What kind of specific things should we expect in the first 72 hours? How can we best stay safe and out of harms way? 
 What quick last minute preps should someone who has followed your advice for years now take? 
Hi Burt,
The worst case scenario would be one in which the debt ceiling isn’t raised by August 02. Even if that happens an actual default could take a few more days or weeks. In any case if you look at a worst case scenario it could be similar to what we saw in December 2001. Looks scary? Sure does. Can it be dangerous? Sure, even more so if you don’t know how to act in such cases. Is it the end of the world as Americans know it? No, and eventually order would be restored, but the political and economic reality in USA would be permanently crippled if it happens. Then again many of the things that concern people are already happening, even if it’s not as dramatic as an outspoken default.

What you would be looking at would be civil unrest in most mayor US cities and thousands of minor ones as well. Once the images of people looting and getting away with it hit the TV you’re looking at thousands of bums thinking of doing the same thing and rushing out the door to the nearest store. That gets bad pretty fast. You’re talking about looting, fires, closed stores, destruction of vehicles and private property, and given US context some gang related activity taking advantage of the lawless situation as well to settle scores. While invasion of residential properties wont be as common as the looting of commercial property, it can happen in several cases.
In this context the worst thing you can do is getting on a vehicle and travel to wherever you think might be safer. Traveling and being out there is exactly what you want to avoid. For thousands if not millions of people staying put back during the 2001 collapse was the best choice, even if they saw all this pandemonium happening through the window and right across the street. For that reason that’s exactly what I’d recommend. Lock the doors, have a flashlight in case the power goes down and a weapon in case some two-legged vermin gets any ideas.

This anarchic situation can last a few days but it eventually calms down. After that you may see sporadic cases of rioting and looting starting again, an overall sense of greater danger and criminal activity in general, but other than that things go back to “normal”.
Of course the economy being purely a psychological matter the stock market will fall like a ton of bricks, the dollar will fall, and the economic scenario will be dire to say the least. You’re looking at decades worth of recovery if something this serious happens in USA. When Argentina collapsed it was just another country, if a giant like USA collapses it may never get back on its feet and simply be a shadow of what it once used to be from that moment onwards.

What to do tomorrow?

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now you already know the points I constantly insist on such as having food and water, weapons for protection and some cash and precious metals.
Lets say I’m in USA and looking to round up my preps in case of a worst case scenario. What I would do first thing tomorrow would be to drop by my bank and get some of my money out of the account. How much? It depends. If you only have a few thousand bucks or so I’d close my account, then look for a PM dealer near buy and put half of it in gold and silver, keep the rest in cash. If you have more money then maybe just extract 40% or 30% of my money and do the same thing.

Being able to defend yourself being a priority, I’d already have a gun. This would be the time though to get a few more boxes of ammo if the amount you have isn’t adequate. After that I’d fill up my gas tank, take any jerry cans I have and fill those up if they aren’t already full. I’d go to the supermarket and stock up on canned food and water if you haven’t done so already for some reason. I would also buy a good amount of fresh meat and vegetables to consume in the following days. If you don’t have any extra fuel for emergencies, tomorrow would be the day to buy some jerry cans (the equivalent of an extra gas tank) and get those filled up too so as to have two full gas tanks worth of fuel. Use your credit card for buying all this and keep as much cash as possible. It may come in handy later. Drop by the pharmacy and stock up on medications you may need.
If a trip to the bank isn’t possible, at least get as much money as you can out of the ATM. If there’s trouble expect the ATMS to run dry within hours.

Once I’m home again I’d prepare everything security wise in case there’s trouble: No tools left around the house that can be used to break in, lock any exterior buildings like sheds and such, lock any windows that don’t need to be open and in general prepare for the possibility of trouble.
Finally, I’d call my family and loved ones to check on them, tell them what I’ll be doing and ask them what they’ll be doing the next couple of days. You do this so as to have more info in advance, in case there’s civil unrest, you call them to check that they are ok and you don’t find them, when in reality they had planned to be out of town for some other reason.
Basically I’d make the common preparations we talk about and simply stay put if there’s any degree of civil unrest.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Glock 17 gen4

Hi guys, this is my review on the Glock 17 gen 4.

Not many changes, but most of the ones made are indeed an improvement. The improvements are:
1) New and improved recoil spring.
2) Smaller grip size with a different texture and two extra adapters.
3) Less reflective Tennifer finish
4) Larger magazine catch that can be placed either right or left (gen 4 mags)
5) Front sight that is actually screwed into place (still plastic though)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interesting Times Magazine

Hey Fer,
I saw someone using you name. Thought u want to know.

Hi DaShui, that’s an article that I wrote about clothing and gear modifications (issue #07) for A.H.A., editor of “Interesting Times” Magazine over at Sweden.
Hard to explain, but it’s a self-help/survival/lifestyle magazine with a cyberpunk approach. A.H.A. is a very likeable guy.
You can download that issue and others at that link for free.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

5 Tips to avoid becoming a Victim as Crime gets Worse

As I was finishing with this article my wife comes in and tells me someone tried to mug her. At around 4 PM today she dropped my son by a friend´s house and since it was just a couple blocks away she walked back. A car pulls next to her and a guy with a baseball cap comes out of the passenger’s seat and hurries walking in her direction. We don’t play baseball here and baseball caps are mostly used by people that want to cover their faces. White baseball caps are “gangsta” for some reason and criminals or criminal wannabe’s favor them. She sees that this person is walking straight towards her instead of the more normal thing to do which would have been to keep a distance given that the wide sidewalk allows it. As he gets within a couple feet of her she runs across the street, nearly gets run over by a car, but when she looks back the would-be mugger has already turned around and quickly walks back to his car. Other than some cold sweat and a bit of palpitations she’s ok.

By pure coincidence I was writing now about avoiding exactly this type of crime, everyday crime in a society that is far more dangerous than the one we used to know not that long ago.
My wife has been robbed and kept at gun point several times. She instinctively knows these things by now. Women, children and elders are favorite victims chosen by predators. This same scumbag that was looking for an easier victim probably wouldn’t have gone after me. Now my 100 pound wife, hitting her and snatching her purse is not much of a challenge for one of these animals.
As the economic crisis continues, it’s a given that this sort of thing will become more and more common even in places and countries where it didn’t happen before. That’s where people that aren’t used to it get caught off guard. This is not about egos or being the biggest, meanest son of a gun, its about applying a common sense approach to problems people may not have  a lot of experience with. This goes for everyone, tactical guys that pack heat on daily basis, ladies that don’t carry a gun or any other weapon, or my 87 year old grandmother.

I’m making this clear because the internet commandos are quick to remark that they would have shot the guy at least ten times, then do a ritual to enslave their undying souls. Truth is that even people that have been into dozens of gunfights will tell you the same thing: Avoid the conflict whenever you can. Its only in movies where people get into senseless gunfights all the time.  Lethal Weapon would have been a very boring movie if after killing the first guy the weapons are taken away from the lead characters, they are suspended until the shooting is cleared, then they get sued by the “victims” family, and then you spend the rest of the movie watchin Mel Gibson and Danny Glover going through their accounts seeing how they will afford the legal expenses after getting fired from the police department. Even in “good” self-defense shootings you may spend a night or two in jail and that’s only the fun part, the real nightmare begins when you have to pay for your legal defense. Avoiding the use of force and escaping is always the best alternative when such a thing is possible.
If my wife was Anne Oakley and she had shot everyone that every tried to rob her, we’d be broke by now. By this I don’t mean that you shouldn’t fight when you must. Your life is priceless and indeed its better to be judged by twelve than carried by 6, when you had no other choice that is. We talk plenty about fighting, for a change lets talk about not making any mistakes and learning how to avoid the problems in the first place.

1) Not looking rich. This is clear enough but there’s more to it than it seems. Of course having all the gold all over you is an open invitation for criminals but there are more subtle considerations too. You shouldn’t dress like a dirt bag, but you can still dress like ordinary Joe or Jane that is making a honest effort to make it to the end of the month like most people these days. For ladies other things come into play. My grandmother and my wife, they usually don’t take their purses when they are going out to buy something, just the money in a pocket. This removes the purse from the equation in the criminal’s mind: Nothing to snatch. The plan has to be different, gets more complicated. Maybe the victim has money in a pocket, maybe not. Better to just go for one with a purse so as to be sure.  Today my wife took her purse, she says this wasn’t a good idea.

2) Minimizing exposure. How often do people go willingly into “bad parts of town”, dark streets, places they don’t know well enough? How many times people confess they knew they were walking into the mouth of the wolf? Avoid these situations whenever you can, try getting home while there’s daylight. 4pm seems safe, but there’s no one on the street here at that time. People are working and kids are still in school here. At 5PM though the kids go out and parents pick them up, there’s more people on the street. If there’s a route where you know there’s cops or security, chose that route to your destination instead of others, even if it’s a longer drive or walk. This also applies to other strategies. For example parking close to the buildings you’re going to so as to minimize that parking walk and being closer from help. As noted in a previous post, the time it takes you to enter or exit your home or garage is a window of opportunity for criminals. While not going nuts about it and living life, still try to minimize this sort of situation as much as possible.

3) Being aware of your surroundings. This is probably the most important trait. Shooting 3 bad guys in 5 seconds is a nice ability to have, but its better to avoid them entirely in the first place. Your chances of getting hurt or killed drop to zero, so does the financial cost of your little anecdote. That’s clearly the best possible outcome. My wife she’s good at this part. She noticed this person and avoided him, ran. If she hadn’t noticed him all she would have felt was an explosion of getting hit, “a flash of white” as a lady that got hit the back of the head when mugged once described.

4) Assessing people around you. So you notice people in your surroundings, could they be a threat to you? In my wife’s case, he was dressing a way that, in our social and cultural environment it clearly has a negative implication. If self-claimed bad guys and criminals wear white caps, then you react to such a garment. The actions and body language often speak more than clothing. Criminals are known to dress well, even wear suits to look less conspicuous. You cannot dismiss females either. More and more women are seen committing crimes, either on their own or with other partners.

5) AAA:  Assess, Analyze  & take Action You can´t remember everything you read, but this would be a good way to assimilate all of the above in an easy to remember rule of thumb. Assess your situation. Who’s around you? Analyze. Are any of these individuals a possible threat to me?  Most of all and much faster and easier to assimilate, is any of this out of place? If your gut feeling tells you something is wrong, then you probably instinctively picked up something you didn’t register on a conscious level. If the little red light in your brain is blinking, then pay more attention. Take action, DO something. My wife told me of a time when, while in a store, a suspicious looking person walked in. Since she makes sure to stay near the door when in a store, as he walked in she walked out before even noticing what she was doing. Such fast reaction to situations your gut instinct tells you they are wrong is the kind of reaction you want to achieve. One time while waiting to cross the street I heard a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot. Without thinking I took a step forward, putting a large cement column between myself and the source of the sound. This part is important, all of the above means nothing if you don’t DO something. Freezing is the only thing you’re not allowed to do here. Freeze and you are game. Run, fight, cry out for help but do something.
It is not my intention to scare anyone with all this. Life just goes on, and an ounce of prevention has always been a great investment.
Take care everyone.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Victorinox Secure USB Flash Drive

FerFal, I though you might be interested in the latest Swiss Army Knife. It contains a secure thumb drive. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388761,00.asp

Thanks Dave,
Victorinox knives come in so handy that they have rightfully earned a place in our pockets.
I never stop recommending the Midnight Minichamp which is one of the most useful, if not the most useful tool I carry daily. Everything about it is so well designed that it always seems to be appropriate for the task at hand. Everything from signing for the mail package received (usually something nifty to review J  ) to opening the box it comes in, the Minichamp is there to make things easier. Where the bigger Leatherman Charge just doesn’t fit with its bigger screwdriver bits, the Minichamp just manages to reach it with its Phillips or flat screwdriver.

This new Victorinox Secure has the basic blade, nail file with screwdriver, scissor, and some of the models include the retractable pen, an improved (brighter) LED white light or a laser pointer and Bluetooth connection for presentations.
What’s probably most interesting about all this and that I just learned is the cool security suite these USB Flash drives provide, packed with useful features. The Biometric USB 2 isn’t just encrypted, it also has a fingerprint detection feature. “What if someone cuts off my hand like in the movies”? Victorinox says you need to be alive for it to work because the Biometric USB also detects your oxygen level. Pretty neat, right? Even if someone tried to dismantle the plastic case and solder connections to bypass the security, the Flash Drive will self-destruct. During the presentation of the Secure Flash Drive a $250.000 reward was presented to various hackers. None managed to crack the flash drive.
Victorinox Swiss Army 8GB Secure (Ruby)
Victorinox Swiss Army 8GB Secure (Ruby) $89.99
All this security may seem a bit excessive but for people with certain type of mindset it’s exactly what we are looking for. The greatest disadvantage of carrying a USB with our important data, personal information and copies of our passports, birth certificate, insurance number, etc was the fear of it getting lost or falling in the wrong hands, so I happen to find this pretty interesting. Reading the reviews in Amazon I read about people that forgot it in a pocket and had it go into the washing machine, someone lost it in the front yard for a about a week, accidentally ran over it with their car, and the USB still worked.
The software being as practical as anything you can expect from Victorinox, can be used to secure your computer and syncs with your PC files. When traveling it leaves no trace behind when used in other computers (zero footprint capability) but takes along with you your Explorer or Firefox favorites.
There’s different models and some come without the blades so as to be taken onboard planes. If you want the one with the knife you can still remove the USB so as to take it on board and send the rest with your luggage.
Victorinox Presentation Master 8GB USB Fingerprint (Secure)
Victorinox Presentation Master 8GB USB Fingerprint (Secure) $109.99
There’s a Victorinox Presentation Master model that has a laser and bluetooth which combined with the USB allows you to remotely control presentations with forward and backward buttons found on the tool. The price of these varies depending on the model and storage capacity.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Crime on the Rise: Three simple Tips to keep in Mind

Just an FYI, locally, Topeka KS, we are starting to see the same kind of robberies you wrote about some time ago.
The bad guys are following the victims home and jacking them in their driveway, or as they try to go to the front door.  A recent case had the bad guy actually run into the garage behind the car as the victims pulled inside to park, they were robbed inside their own garage.
I have been steering friends towards reading your site as there is so much good information.

Hi Chuck, this is exactly why I mention security and crime so much. It’s going to keep being a problem, very likely get worse all across. Soon enough it’s not going to be just a problem in bigger cities or the known bad parts of town, but a generalized problem where either people adapt or suffer the consequences.

At first those consequences are simple material loss. As crime gets worse the price to pay for your lack of preparation in this field will be higher, and ultimately if it gets really bad you end up paying the ultimate price.

It´s much better to instead take sensible measures now, be a bit more careful and aware of your personal and home security. Prevention in this area is a great investment.
The typical American garage is ideal for criminals. As you describe they just have to hide or pretend to just walk by minding their business, then rush as you drive into your garage. A gun to your face and you are forced out of the vehicle and into the house.

Some advice based on living with exactly that sort of crime for decades:

1) Understand that the times when you are entering or leaving the house they are the window of opportunity for criminals. Be extra aware during them. Look out the window before opening the garage to leave, and if you see suspicious people OR vehicles nearby when you approach your home just keep driving and turn around the block. If the suspicious individuals are still around, call your house to warn them about what’s going on and call 911. Eventually this is how you end up avoiding being a victim. In many occasions where such calls were made cops later found out that the stalking suspects where in fact armed and waiting to commit a crime. Don’t be self-conscious when it comes to the well-being of your family and yourself.

2)Don’t make it easy for them. Clear bush or objects that provide cover for would-be attackers near to the entry points of your house such as the main entrance or the garage. There should be no place for them to hide near by. Again, criminals are clever and all they may need is to walk by and hurry their pace as you open the garage, so be aware of your surroundings. A motion activated light installed over your garage door will make sure the area is illuminated if anyone happens to lurk around location.

3) If you fail at the above and end up having to use a concealed carry firearm, you will need it as fast as possible. This means it should be carried in a way that is accessible for you when seated. This we’ve trained in the “Fighting in and around Vehicles” class. Usually a 3 or 4 oclock carry works, but it depends on the holster used, the type of body you have and the car seat shape. How will you access your firearm if you are suddenly attacked? Try drawing it a few times to check for yourself from the seated position. Finally, you’re sitting on 5000 pounds of steel powered by a 200HP engine, that has much greater stopping power than a 124 gr piece of led pushed by a few grains of gun powder.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Your Pal during the Recession: The Pressure Cooker and other reflections.

The economic crisis brought countless different lifestyle changes when our own economy collapsed. It changes every aspect of how you get by, socially, culturally, economically and on daily life in general. The way we process food is a good example and this topic is something that I believe most of you will find interesting. 

Pressure Cookers

Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker 
Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker $39.90
Pressure cookers are well known within the preparedness and self-reliance community. Because of the sealed, high pressure and temperature conditions, it’s a favorite way of both cooking and sterilizing both food and containers. But for some reason this wasn’t my immediate reason of interest for this particular product. 

When going into finer detail of what changes after an economic collapse or a severe economic crisis, food, its price and the way you process it is one part of the spectrum of how life changes that can be discussed in length, and here I’ll take a few minutes to explain more in depth why I believe this type of cooking process to be important.

Argentina is (or at least used to be) the land of beef, those that know a bit about this country know that much, those that travel here usually compliment the food, especially the meat.
What most foreigners don’t know is that this has changed considerably since the economic collapse. First of all the price of meat has gone up considerably. The producer is much more inclined to sell to the European market that pays in Euros than the local one that pays in pesos and seems to have even less of those as time goes by and poverty spreads in the country, in spite of what official statistics may say. The simple truth is that as time goes by, Argentineans can afford to eat less and less meat. That might not seem like much of a deal except for the fact that cow meat is our main source of protein. 

While other countries diversify their meat production more, including chicken, pork and fish, in the land of beef, beef is by far the most common meat. Fish is terribly expensive. Pork and chicken are less common, still expensive and sometimes of dubious quality. I’ve given up on buying chicken in the large chain stores when I was sold frozen (and rotten ) chicken for the 3rd time.

Tip here: When buying chicken or other meats, a good way of knowing if its fresh or not is by looking at the inside of the bone where the marrow is. This is common in chickens where the feet are cut off and the marrow is exposed, some beef with bone also have the marrow visible. The marrow should be bright red. If its looking less bright and more brown then it means that meat is old, even going bad. 

The second reason why we’re finding less beef and what we find is increasingly expensive and of less quality is that there’s less of it. With current soy prices local producers have switched to producing the more profitable grain. So on one side we have less meat being produced, and of that being made the good, youngers calves are sold abroad. All we have left is the one of less quality and that’s where the pressure cooker comes in.

The Advantages of the Pressure cooker.

Presto 1781 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner 

Since the beef available is usually or older, bigger cows and the price is still expensive, the quality of the meat you can afford these days isn’t what it used to be. Its not as tender or as tasty.
In the good old days you didn’t even eat beef, stores mostly sold veal instead, and a few minutes in the oven or on the cast iron grill was enough to enjoy tasty meat.

The pressure cooker allows you to tenderize some of this harder beef and that’s just one of the advantages it has for the post-economic crisis family:

*Makes cheaper and harder meats more tender. This makes dinner time more enjoyable and the morale boost alone of not being reminded of what has happened every time you chew is priceless. 

*Pressure cookers require less fuel to heat because its all sealed, heat and vapor isn’t lost as in a ordinary pot. This is important both for saving money in gas and electricity and in case the power goes down so as to save and use less of the emergency fuel you have stored.

*Pressure cookers cook faster. The time saved allows you to do other things and its not a minor advantage in a family where probably both parents will have to leave the house to bring an income in order for the family to survive. 

*Pressure cookers use less water. Water is essential for survival, even more precious when there’s no tap water and you have to use your stored water or work hard brining buckets of it from the outside. This is one of the greatest advantages I see after a disaster situation.

*Pressure cookers allow you to use little water which means you can cook with the steam alone, and not simply boil and then throw the water where most of the nutrients of the food you just cooked go to waste. Cooking mostly with the steam means the food retains the minerals, vitamins and nutrients, taking more advantage of the food you have. This is another big advantage when food is either scarce or expensive.

*Pressure cookers work at much higher temperatures, effectively killing most of the undesirable bugs often found in food. Especially in 3rd world countries or first world ones that are going through 3rd world situations, this is another advantage. As the economy gets worse, so do sanitary conditions in general. Food poisoning is no joke, I’ve gone through it a couple times when buying food to take from places that looked very clean. Diarrea, ecoli, some of these critters can kill you, so this is another significant advantage of this cooking method.

*The right pressure cooker can be used for canning as well. Making your own food preserves is an art of its own, and one you can put to good use as food prices keep going up in the future.

Disadvantages? Pressure cookers aren’t cheap. They work at high pressure which used to be dangerous. Today most good ones have safety valves and mechanisms that won’t open unless the pressure drops.  In this case you don’t want to go with the cheapo brands that may fail. Pressure cookers aren’t exactly light so its not something for camping or bugging out in a hurry, but more for bugging in.
Take care everyone,
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Monday, July 18, 2011

What would it be like if the United States goes into default?

In case you haven’t kept up with the latest news, there’s been a lot of talk about such a possibility these last few weeks.
It’s almost as if they are testing the waters, seeing the people’s reaction, but most of all making sure they are completely terrified of such a possibility so as to make sure the mass goes along with them in their decision.
Investors protect against U.S. default
Why Wall Street doesn’t seem worried about default
Bernanke: U.S. default would cause ‘major crisis’

What would it be like if US Defaults?

For one second lets suppose the mad debt race is halted in August 02. What really happens?
From our own experience we know that defaulting on your countries debt is indeed catastrophic as Wall Street and the politicians that work for them predict. What happens is that the US would fall into the feared 3rd world economy status Americans never want to experience. Worst of all, credibility is lost in a way people just don’t comprehend. When that sort of trust shatters, it’s like trying to put together a crystal cup: You can glue it back together but it will never be the same, the illusion is lost. Make no mistake, defaulting would cause poverty and a significant decrease in the American lifestyle for decades to come.

But on the other hand you can’t avoid asking yourself, why do the creators of the greatest economic crisis known to man kind want to continue rising the debt level? What’s in it for them? Well my dear friends, it’s the mechanism they have been using to grow rich beyond their wildest dreams and doing so on by sending that debt to the American’s middle class through inflation and higher taxes, while the bailout money goes straight into their pockets.

You may think billionaires are done for,t hey don’t care about money, and you’d be wrong. Few billionaires retire and spend the rest of their lives with their families in some far away beach paradise. The nature that made them rich in the first place makes them keep going for more and more money in spite of not needing it.

Continue doing what has caused the economic crisis in the first place could hardly be called a solution. Would you fix your own debt situation by getting yet another credit card to burn and go further into debt? Of course not, we all know the hard choice that must be made. Cut down your expenses, save money and get out of debt. We all know thats the solution on an individual case and it’s the same thing here.

If America puts an end to its ever growing debt not everything would be bad.
First of all, on an elemental level it would stop the vicious debt cycle, both on an economic and political level. The greedy criminals that have caused this would have to find other ways of getting richer. The political cost would likely end the current administration in the next elections. That is if social unrest can be controlled and they don’t take the easy way out by resigning, forcing anticipated elections like it happened here.

Second, a cheaper dollar would mean that America is at another level compared to foreign economies. A more competitive dollar would mean that “Made in USA” is viable on a broader spectrum, small and medium companies could be started and strive.
The horizon looks bad either way. The decisions to be made aren’t easy and none offers a good, let alone ideal solution, but you still have to ask yourself if going further into debt is the right choice.
I never knew anyone that got out of a hole by digging down even more or stopped a fire by throwing gasoline at it.

What should you do to prepare?

These clearly are times to speed up your preparedness if you have been slacking.  On an economic level I’d keep even more of my money out of the banks and put it into precious metals which will keep going up in price either way.
After writing this post I did some googling, wondering “what does Ron Paul think about all this?” As usual the man doesn’t let you down. Ah, what a president he would have been.
Read here “Ron Paul: U.S. Government Is Defaulting on the Average American All the Time
so as to know why Dr. Ron Paul will vote NO on raising the ceiling and going further into debt.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Does it make sense to carry a pocket gun?

I want the opinion of you guys for this awesome idea I have.
A conceal carry gun. Wait, I know the market is saturated but bear with me for a second.
It’s a tiny auto, chambered in .32 (there will be an even smaller version in .25 ACP at some point, best of all it only has a 4+1 capacity. Wait guys! Don’t leave, there’s more!
It’s really small. Like, it fits in your shirt’s front pocket. You can get a pretty nice one finger grip on it. Truth is you can’t hit the broad side of a Football stadium, let alone a barn.
Spare magazines will be impossible to get and cost as much as five Glock magazines if you ever find one. Reliable? No, it’s not that kind of gun. This will be marketed as a compact gun, little capacity and the type of gun you hopefully will never need to actually use, but at least you have one with you.

The comfortable mouse gun?

If the above writing sounds ridiculous then you haven’t kept up with the latest tendency. No power, accuracy, ease of shooting or firepower, what people seem to need is a gun that is so small they can just drop it in a pocket and forget about it.
It seems that lately all you see is compacts and subcompacts. The subcompact Glocks are bad enough with theitr two finger grip, but there’s even worse numbers out there, single stacks  chambered for 380 ACP or (I can’t even type it 32 ACP. Small, with little capacity and worst of all, guns which you wont be as accurate with. If you go to shooting classes you will seldom see any of these mini guns or subcompacts. Its beyond my understanding when you see these folks take classes with their Glocks 17 or 19, only to put it away and drop a Keltec 380ACP in their pocket. I don’t know about these folks, but I sure never wished for less gun, less capacity or a less powerful rounds when I needed a gun.

It seems that today its all about carrying something that is comfortable. Comfortable? It’s supposed to be used for life or death situations, maybe with your family involved in it. Such reasoning makes as much sense as getting a subcompact fire extinguisher (because you don’t want your family caught in one of those large, lethal house fires) or having a couple bandaids instead of a real first aid kit (God forbid you ever have to deal with serious wounds!)
I don’t know guys. If you are lucky enough to live in a country where its legal for you to carry a firearm, you owe it to the rest of the world to carry a real one, and if its not as comfortable as your favorite set of panties, whenever you feel its more than confortable weight on your side simply remember how lucky you are an say a little prayer for your Founding Fathers.
Take care folks and have a nice weekend.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fighting in and Around Vehicles

Yesterday I took the last of the two-day class,  “Fighting in and Around Vehicles” offered by Jorge Biagorria.

As always the classes are top-notch and I’m glad to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to learn more about defensive shooting. While there are many good instructors around the world, it is a rare opportunity to find one that teaches techniques that are constantly put to test in the real world within that same environment. Every shooting technique is presented with a recent case in which either an instructor present or student of the academy used it himself.

Its hard to argue with an unaimed backward shooting stance when it happened to be used successfully by at least two people within the group of acquaintances that year alone. “When Carlitos was getting pistol-whipped in the back of the head, this is how he drew his weapon, and this is how he shot his attacker. Daniel did this same thing when he was robbed” Another instructor interrupts Jorge. “Daniel actually shot from the left, Carlitos did it to the right”. “Oh right, in any case we’re practicing on both sides”. A student interrupts the explanation with a question “What if you get shot in the back of the head?”. The reply is obvious. “Then you get shot in the head. There’s no guarantee during this sort of attack”.

Later when talking about the parts of your body that are likely to get shot: “You need to be skilled with both hands because your arms are likely to get shot. The natural defensive stance brings your arms up into the line of fire, so your arms and forearms get shot in the fight, see?” He points to a 38 special gun shot wound in his forearm.

Everything you do and learn is done so for a reason. It has worked for enough people enough times that it was decided to include it in the class. For every shooting stance and technique such events of how it happened are described. It’s truly a unique opportunity to lean in such a way. The current crime problem in Argentina is unfortunate, but it’s a field test for defensive shooting and an opportunity for you to learn from other’s experience. It’s not about how it was done in the good old days, but the gunfight that took place that same week a mile away from where you’re training and with the people that were involved. Yesterday I saw a group of Australian cops taking classes as well, and there were a couple French checking out our class too.

After the different drills of shooting in all directions from a seated position, we practiced some kneeling and shooting from the floor. A good amount of time was spend learning to work in pairs, providing covering fire and communicating with our partner so as to keep a constant rate of fire with a one second interval to keep the bad guys at bay (the capacity of your handgun and fast reload if of great importance here) Then we moved to the vehicles, practicing how to carry your firearm, how to get out of the vehicle, how to move for cover, then working in pairs covering each other as we went around the vehicle. Finally we did a force on force exercise where you drive with your partner into an unknown situation. Two where robberies, the other was a fight among two strangers (you were not supposed to get involved “its not your fight”)I got ambushed from both sides as I got out of the vehicle, got shot in the arm with a wax bullet that left a red mark and small bruise as a reminder.
The class was well worth it and its more information to process and keep in mind while driving.

If you have the opportunity to come this way and take a few classes, maybe organize a trip with a couple other like-minded people and get some training organized for your needs, it’s a one of a kind opportunity. The atmosphere is friendly and the camaraderie after the classes is very good. No gun guru egos or Grand Masters in their pedestals like it happens with some American instructors, yet at the same time you won’t find people with more street experience regarding what they preach, just people that train and many times had to use what they teach and learn in these classes, both as police officers and civilians. I have no commercial relationship whatsoever with Jorge’s school but I’d help with the communication if anyone wants to come here for training, simply because I know the kind of opportunity it represents. His contact info can be found here http://www.jorgebaigorria.com.ar

The Importance of Training

Nine of us paid and signed in for the class. Five minutes later the class only had eight people left. Someone had brought a friend of his to the class and clearly overestimated his friend’s skill with a firearm. Problems with his gear, a lack of fluidity in his weapon handling showed he wasn’t ready for advanced training.

It was very politely explained to him that he simply lacked the degree of skill required for an advanced shooting class and he would be putting himself and others at risk when shooting on the move and 360º. He was invited to stay and watch the class, but that he would be much better served with Defensive Pistol Module 1.

As for the rest of us, only once are you warned about a mistake you may have made regarding safety, the second time you are asked to leave. Shooting from a seated position and doing so with people by your side means that you sometimes break the gun safety rules and cover with your muzzle parts of your body or others you don’t want to shoot, so a level of training is required to take this sort of class safely.

The importance of training becomes even more obvious when these things happen for real. Last year a father received a phone call from his son that had problems with his vehicle on the road. Knowing that this can be dangerous in some parts of Argentina, the father picked a gun “just in case” and went to help his son with the car. Sure enough, as he approached his son’s vehicle he saw that he was being mugged. With no training he used the weapon, sending the bad guys away but effectively shooting and killing his own son in the process. I know of a similar case where a son shot his own mother in the hip with a 357 magnum instead of shooting the mental patient that had broken into her house.
If you need experience to even practice and train these things in a safe, controlled environment, then what can you expect when doing it for the first time, for real with your loved ones around you? Its up to each one of us to assume the responsibility of owning a firearm for self-defense and acquiring the skill to use it properly.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Networking to Survive Disasters?

This NPR article on research about disasters struck me as similar to
the message you often carry on your site.
It seems like a good reason to be open to “joining” in the community.
For some reason I am reminded of HAM radio operators and the community
(of preparedness) they tend to foster. We recently had a storm with
sheer winds that put out power across the area. I found myself
thinking, “I bet the HAMs are all on talking to each other and
figuring out what’s going on.” Because that’s the kind of community
they are.

Hi Don, thanks for the link. The article brings up many good points.

While you are mostly on your own and you should prepare so as to get by without exterior help, your network of friends and neighbors is of great importance on many levels. Dont think just about help after a tsumani, something as simple as high unemployment means that the people you know are your only hope of finding a job any time soon. It happened in Argentina after 2001, its happening in Greece, even in Spain. The people you know and who’s willing to help makes all the difference.

About HAM radios, Jonas Parker asked me a couple days ago to open a Communications forum over at The Modern Survivalist Forums . HAM radios are often used after disasters when telephones are down and would be one possible mean of communication.

If you’re into HAM radios, you might want to get in touch with like minded people.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

People “Flee to Larger Cities” for Security

(Thanks to Russell1200 for the heads up)
Preparedness popular folklore says refugees will abandon the larger cities which will be burned to the ground, seeking shelter in the smaller, safer communities. While that’s what most people believe, it’s not always the case. The article below is yet another example of how fiction and wishful thinking clashes against the much more complex reality:

Deserted Villages Left to Become Ghost Towns

Photo by Michel Marizco
Story by Michel Marizco
Fronteras, NPR
A sparse crowd gathers for a festival in the Mexican town of Tubutama. Many residents have been driven away by that country’s drug war. Photo by Michel Marizco
In northern Mexico’s smallest towns, cartel violence has led to a diaspora as people flee to larger cities. Along the U.S.-Mexico border, villages in the Mexican states of Sonora, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas are emptying out, leaving lawless ghost towns.
In some of those towns in Sonora, residents say the government can no longer protect them.
The long ribbon of highway outside of town stretches for miles. Desert scrub grows out onto the cheaply paved road in the mountains of Northern Sonora. Locals warn don’t go too far up into the hills. Even the Sinaloa Cartel stays out. So does the Mexican Army. They circle them instead.
In the hills, their target is a narco-trafficker who has successfully fought both the Army and the cartels off for the past year. He goes by the name “El Gilo”. Mexican federal law enforcement sources identify him as Arnoldo del Cid Buelna; he’s a holdover of the Beltrán Leyva cartel and has been in the mountains south of Arizona for years.
In 2010, the Sinaloa Cartel, the most powerful cartel in the Western Hemisphere, moved against him, trying to roust him from the hills. He ambushed their convoy. Officially, he murdered 21 cartel gunmen. Unofficially, local reporters say there were so many dead that police used bread trucks to haul the bodies down. Since then, both the government and the cartel stay at a respectful distance.
The largest of the towns in these hills is Tubutama. A 300 year old mission town. Father Anastasio Franco Gómez gives the Mass on this day.
“The last census counted 1,750 people; right now, I doubt there are 500 left,” Gomez said in Spanish.
The town’s last local cop was shot dead in mid June. The police station, closed down. Companies stopped delivering goods to the local stores. School teachers have left; businesses locked up.
Empty roads, empty houses sit in the middle of town, their windows shattered out. Maria Luisa Galvach has been the mission’s keeper for 18 years.
“There are no medics. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing,” Galvach said. “The health clinic that served the region is closed down.”
Travel further into the hills and closer to the U.S. border in Arizona. The last Army checkpoint is miles behind now. Pull into the pueblo of Cerro Prieto. This is Gilo’s territory. The town is nearly deserted.
Leonardo, 11, is helping his dad work on a house. He grew up in Phoenix where they lived illegally before returning to Mexico. He hoses the sweat off on this hot day and goes to stand shyly behind his father. “They come with guns here. Like … people. Scary,” he said, quietly.
Like the other towns here, there is no gas station or large grocery store. For those, one must drive down into the cities. But people have been killed by the cartel for trying to bring fuel or food back up. The assumption is it will go to Gilo. The Mexican Army? It stands back and watches.
It leaves Leonardo’s father angry, frustrated. “They don’t allow us to bring provisions, fresh vegetables, nor gasoline,” he said in Spanish.
The boy Leonardo has clear instructions for when the gunmen come. “Just go to … like inside the house and stay there,” the boy said.
And then, Gilo comes.
“Who are you looking for? Gilo? I’m Gilo,” the man says as he approaches.
He’s a large man; huge. Blonde hair clipped short, wearing a black button-down and strings of bright yellow and orange plastic beads. He’s driving a beat-up maroon pickup truck with five men inside. Six men sit in the bed, staring like cats. Their hands grasp the rails of the truck as if they’re ready to leap out. His eyes are blue and he’s angry. At the government, he says.
“The government brought in mercenaries,” Gilo said in Spanish. “They’re arming a war.” He’s prepared, he says.
Back down the lawless road into the main town, the few children left are warming up for San Pablo Day: A historic festival that’s always drawn a crowd from both sides of the border. The crowd is supposed to spill out from the mission and onto the church square for the celebration.
This year, it barely filled the pews.
While cities and the greater amount of population that comes along with them present several inconveniences to deal with during troubled times, that doesn’t mean that during widespread violence small towns would be spared. As the article clearly explains, its people from these smaller, scattered towns with not enough law enforcement manpower that are leaving and moving to big cities for protection.
When violence is out of control across an entire nation, resources must be concentrated where they are the most productive. An X amount of resources (money, supplies, manpower, etc…) may be put to better use and benefit more people in a 50.000 population city, than spreading them in 5 smaller towns with 1000 inhabitants each.
The truth is that no nation (not even USA) has the ability to secure every town and city across the entire country from a generalized wave of crime. If that ever occurs, tough decisions such as the one I just exemplified will have to be made.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Jumpbox" Jump Start System

If a car or truck is part of your survival plan or for every day use in a post disaster area, then you would be smart to acquire a "jumpbox".
This is a small car battery sealed in a plastic case with jumper cables and 12V outlets that will jump start a vehicle.  You might have to get going in a hurry, or be stuck in a bad neighborhood with little time or safety to call an emergency service or get help from a stranger, so having your own jumpbox could be a lifesaver.  It can also double as an emergency power source (with an inverter) or a cel phone charger) with an Igo car adapter.  They can be charged at home with an adapter, or kept topped up through your vehicle's cigarette lighter.

Love your site.  Hope you find this useful.

Hi Marvin, that’s a pretty neat recommendation, thanks.
I can tell you that having car problems in most of the suburbs of Buenos Aires is a bad idea. Even in the main arteries such as highways and avenues you don’t want to be left on foot when you’re out of the safer capital district.
I like this Energizer All-in One model that, besides the jump starter itself, pretty much has all other things you could wish for: Two 12V cigarette sockets, a compressor, flex-neck work light and even a DC/AC Power inverter with a fan to prevent overheating. 
Energizer 84020 12V All-In-One Jump-Start System with Built-In Air Compressor and Power Inverter 

Take care guys, 

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