Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dog/Park Safety

I'm a longtime follower of your blog... good stuff my friend, keep it coming!
I lived in Portland Oregon around 2004 and there was a vicious dog attack
where a young child was being attacked (I believe there were 2-3 dogs) and
then an older woman tried to help her and she was attacked as well. If I
recall correctly it took several other people to finally chase off these
dogs.  Both the child and woman sustained serious injuries, hers taking a
long time to heal.
Since then I've kept a can of bear spray in the glove box for just such an
occurrence. This kind of pepper spray shoots about 30 feet and has the
capacity to address multiple threats.  It's available at most sporting
goods stores.  I carry this when hiking on my waist belt and keep it handy
when camping.
Parks that have fenced in dog areas for people to use will still have
people who think it's okay for their dog to be unleashed elsewhere.  My
two boys are naturally fearful of dogs that come right up to them and I
always keep in mind that animals can be excited by fear.
With this in mind, I have stood between them and dogs off the leash
several times without it escalating by using this method:   We usually
stop in our tracks, I step in front of the boys and I give the owner a
look that if they don't get their dog back it's going to get hurt.  One
hand is holding my boys back behind me and the other hand is near my
pocket knife.  This stance shows the owner that I'm concerned and ready to
react.  If the dog gets near I would do exactly as you did, especially if
it's ignoring a command from its owner.
Dogs are a threat and so are strangers hanging around playgrounds watching
kids.  I always take an assessment of who is there and if they have kids
associated with them or if they are just watching other people's children
which makes me a little suspicious.  There are often homeless people
sleeping in parks and camping there too, usually a short distance away
from facilities but out of site.  It's surprising where they are able to
set up unnoticed.  These things can't be controlled so being aware and
ready to react is all a person can do.
When I go to the park/playground with my family in summer months I carry
my Glock 23 in a little red fanny pack that also holds a water bottle(half
full or empty to keep weight down.)  This never gets a second look.  It
holds the gun and 2 spare mags and I can climb all around without issue.
When it's not so hot I go IWB or OWB with jacket.  Spare mags are handy in
a pocket.  Quick enough for me and keeps weight off the waist.  I totally
agree with you that it's imperative to have a gun large enough to shoot
accurately and with significant capacity.  Learn to shoot AND carry the
same gun you use for home defense!
Hope this info is helpful for other people like myself who frequent parks
with their children.  Many people live in condos or apartments and don't
have play space available without going into public where there are
unknown people and animals around.  These things I mentioned are just some
of the basics that I follow to keep my family safe.
You're welcome to share any portion of this with whomever you'd like but
please exclude my name if doing so publicly.
Thanks again for all your hard work in sharing your important messages.


Hi R, thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
I think the same way as you do. Unfortunately it’s the people that are the true problem, not the dog, but we have to sometimes act a certain way to protect ourselves and our family because of their lack of respect. 

I have a dog, in fact I just walked it not 30 minutes ago. I kept it on a short leash and even crossed the street when I saw two young girls coming my way and my English Bull Terrier showing too much interest. If I put myself in their position I wouldn´t want a strange animal that is almost as big as I am, definitely stronger and with big teeth jumping and pulling towards me. Out of respect for others, I keep a good distance, keep the leash short or even cross the street if I feel its called for. These people that simply let their animals run loose, not worrying if the dog bites someone or not, let along worrying if it scares a  kid or even a person that just happens to not like dogs as much as them. The way I see it there’s just no excuse for that, and a half rational person knows its simply disrespectful to others, even dangerous.

I’ve heard different reports about spray for dogs. In general it does work very well. Dogs having such a sensitive nose, it will react to OC spray. In some cases with certain terrier blood breeds like Staffys, English Bull Terriers,  American pit bull terrier and Dogos Argentinos, when blinded by the rage of the fight they don’t react to OC at all. In fact I know of many cases where even shooting the animal wasn’t enough and entire mags where shot into them. I know of a Dogo that took all 7+1 rounds of 45 ACP before dyeing (still killed the person, in this case a carjacker) and similar cases with Pitt bulls. It seems that terriers with a fighting instinct are very tough when driven like that.
You’re right about strange people in the park. Sometimes a homeless person is just that, but others its people with mental problems and it wouldn’t be the first time  a person living on the street pushes someone into the bushes of a park to abuse them. 

People that look out of place too, maybe adults looking at the kids play but don’t seem to have kids of their own that justify their interest would be another sign to watch for. Perverts can be founds everywhere in the world, there’s really no place safe from that sort of crime.
I like your choice of gun too, cant go wrong with Glock. I carry a bottle of water as well. My kids often need a drink so its one of the things I clearly use the most of my EDC bag.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dog Attacks

There was this thread over at glocktalk about kids, the joys of having or not having them, and somehow we ended up talking about dogs and dog owners.
I mentioned the following story. A few days ago I was walking around a beautiful park here with my wife and kids. Several yards ahead of us I see this dog running towards us. The middle age lady that seemed to be the owner called out the dog´s name but the animal didn’t even register the command. Now I have my 3 year old walking next to me and this is a medium size dog more than capable of hurting him. As the dog charges I kick him in the face with a frontal kick. Nothing too hard just a solid kick to turn the dog away, and that’s what he does, he turns and runs back to this woman who walks away giving me this mean look. She can shove the look for all I care, you’re supposed to keep dogs on a leash there at all times. There’s signs telling people to do so all over the park. I’m not letting a strange animal charge my 3 year old and risk him get bitten. So that’s that and we continue to enjoy our day.

Now the strange thing is, when I mention this little incident some people seem to take offense, that you shouldn’t kick a dog, that dogs don’t bite and that there’s nothing wrong with strange dogs sniffing you and your kids as you walk by.
It seems that some people just aren’t aware of how dangerous a dog can actually be. In most cases its dogs that have owners with little or no experience (at least not the right one) in handling large animals and don’t know how to teach them properly. In others its people that simply let them run unleashed, not caring if they upset or even attack other people.
This is what happens when you let aggressive animals run wild unleashed or when you fail to teach them their proper place in the family “pack”.
“WARNING” These links, they are very graphic but clearly show what a dog can do to a person in just seconds:
Now, the problem with dogs only gets worse during bad economic times, suddenly you see tons of pitts and rotties and other large or strong dogs running wild. No dog is bad on its own, but they can be dangerous and that’s the case of powerful animals that start running like a pack.

Again, its not the dog, it’s the people that mess things up. I have a dog, I like dogs and own a great one right now. My English Bull Terrier, he can chew on a cow bone, snapping it in half while my 3 year old pulls its ears and pokes his eyes. Heck, the other day I saw him put his hand in the dog´s mouth while eating, the dog just stood still until my son got tired of playing with its wet tongue. But its my dog, I educated it and know what to expect, and I’m always around when he’s playing with it. Its still an animal that may react the wrong way, you never know 100%. When I take my dog for a walk, I make sure to keep it on a leash, no one has to tolerate my dog sniffing anyone that doesn’t want to be sniffed or touched by it in any way, and besides, its not an inanimate object like a gun. A dog, no matter how good he is, is still a living individual and to a certain degree, unpredictable.
Dog attacks will continue to become more common as people beome less respectful of others and as more and more people keep turning them loose due to cost.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cash and “Digital” money during a Collapse

Hi Ferfal,
I have read a lot about bank holidays, limits on withdrawals and the like in Argentina. And I know that the financial collapse in Argentina happened over a decade ago when perhaps debit cards and online banking were not as prevalent. Having said that, can you tell me what method you and others used to pay for your rent/mortgage and utilities? There has been a lot written on paying for food and other physical purchases at the market, but not so much about basic housing expenses.
Our paychecks arrive in our accounts via direct deposit and we pay our mortgage and utilities using online banking. Very little of our money actually touches our hands. We rarely even visit our bank unless we need cash or have a check to deposit. In fact we hardly use cash at all but favor making purchases with our debit cards.
Please help me to wrap my mind around how financial conditions will most likely change in this regard. Will we not be able to pay or mortgage using online banking? Do you think there will be limits or problems with that? What about paying for utilities such as power, water and heating gas? Are financial limits limited to just cash withdrawals? Will online banking continue to function as it does now?
Thank you for your insight

Hi Stephen, even though the Argentine collapse took place a decade ago credit cards and online payments where much in use. Most people had credit cards as they do now and well, used them a lot too!
The problem is that they stopped being accepted as things went down. With bank accounts frozen the economy falling apart within minutes you saw “Cash only” signs going up everywhere. Even now you can see those signs in many stores, especially gas stations.
How did you get by? Using cash. You looked for it, tried to find a more secluded ATM that wasn’t out of money or waited in line early in the morning to get you money allowance, what little they allowed you to get of your own money per day.

This is why “cash is king” is especially true sometimes during the first stages of a collapse when credit cards are no longer accepted by many stores. If people are hungry for cash you can even land a few good deals taking advantage of the scarcity of cash. I landed a pretty good deal on a queen size bed because I had the cash for it at a time when most people didn’t. (I was getting married and needed to buy it anyway).

Helping you wrap your mind around this, a possible scenario would be:

*Accounts are frozen. You are no longer allowed to move your money around, especially not out of the country.

*You are allowed to make on line payments for mortgages and other bills, but theres a limit to how much cash you can get out.

*Some companies may not accept online payments and there may be problem on a per case basis. Maybe a guy can pay his power bill online or with his debit card, but another power company may demand cash only.

*You may still use your cards on certain brick and mortar stores too, but many stores may prefer to go for a cash only policy. In this scenario you’ll see clear discounts for paying in cash, money that can be kept out of the frozen banking system.

*Check in general may not be accepted due to a general fear of bouncing checks. Most banks will probably freeze those too.

*The basic idea here is, find a way of stopping the bank run, keep the money in the system and stop the flight, especially out of the country. Under these circumstances, inflation will increase significantly as the economy becomes weakened and the trust in the value of money decreases.
Join the forum discussion on this post!

Friday, August 24, 2012

What if you cant have guns?

Hi Fernando, I have been reading your blog for over a year, and just
bought your book. I really loved it!
You strongly promote gun ownership in your book and blog, and
unfortunately that doesn’t work for me… I live in a first world
country where gun ownership is restricted to begin with. And, I live
in a small and isolated community of about 2000 people that has a
strict bylaw stating no one is allowed to have a gun in the community
of any sort, period. People have had their guns confiscated and never
got them back. If I had $100k, I might be able to launch a
constitutional challenge, but I don’t. And, there hasn’t been a gun
crime here in 30+ years at least, so most people here strongly support
the rule. It’s a small island with no animal predators, so there is no
issue with wolves or bears or anything.
Anyways, long story short, in absence of guns, do you recommend any
other range weapons such as a bow or crossbow for home defense
(obviously not EDC)? Or just sticking to some good knives?
Would appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

Hi Craig, your question is the reason why I wrote so much about using a knife for defense in my book, “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse”. Everyone has a 10” “Chef” knife in their kitchen and its legal everywhere.
Now, before I answer your question: ANY gun is better than no gun at all. Double barrel shotgun? Legal nearly everywhere and heck, until very recent times it was favored by police officers as the go gun for entry before going to their sidearms. Of course, today you have better options, but still, any gun, a 12ga shotgun, a 22LR carbine, anything is better than no firearm at all, and the case where no gun is available is very rare. Remember there’s a world of a difference between banned and “restricted”. Restricted means there’s hope, it shouldn’t stop you. Join a hunting club, shoot skeet for a year, if there’s ways of doing it that should be your goal. If guns are simply out of the question then a crossbow would be better than a bow. It requires less skill to use and has the more simple point/shoot user interface.

80 Lbs Self Cocking Crossbow Pistol Cross Bow 15 Arrows

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver , 3 – 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)

The problem here is that they cant be left loaded so you’ll need time to get a bolt set, they tend to be bulky (at least the powerful ones are) and you only have one shot that will be of limited efficiency compared to say, a shotgun. I would complement the crossbow with edged weapons. A Cold Steel spear would give you great range, they are used for boar hunting and would mess up a home intruder nicely. Finally machetes and other big knives are pretty effective as well, but you have to get very close to use them.
Cold Steel Boar Spear, Ash Wood Handle 95BOA
Cold Steel Boar Spear, Ash Wood Handle 95BOA
I try to be careful about these questions because too often people get the wrong idea, and they start talking about bows, knives, swords and ninja stars when firearms are perfectly legal to buy.
This lady that called during a certain radio interview I did, she said she was practicing with her crossbow for defense because it was more silent and the bolts could be used again… Lady, you’re not a 17th century ninja . And why do you need stealth for self defense? The louder the better when someone breaks into you property and you want everyone and their uncle to know about it so that they call the cops or come in your aid. She sounded as if she lived in Louisiana, get a freaking gun for crying out loud!
Having to get by without firearms is bad, but while you always have some option for defense, don’t forget that “hard to get” is a world of a difference from “impossible to get”.
Finally, I leave you with this thought. You mention people getting their guns confiscated and never getting them back. You have to ask yourself this question and make up your mind about this. Is that all you’re risking? If my choices are being armed and risking losing a 500 USD gun if I ever have to use it, to me that’s 500 USD well spent. Even if it means a fine, 10.000 bucks worth of fine if I ever end up using it, my life is worth that and much more. You mentioned 30 years without a crime. That’s great, hopefully you have it and never have to use it and no one will ever now. Most important, you never TELL anyone about it unless they end up knowing because you use it to save your live. If a gated community has policies like that, I’d just risk it none the less. My life and the life of my family is worth much more even if chances of needing it are unlikely. That being said if that’s not the case and you really cant have a firearm the above applies.
Good luck!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with a Burglar

The burglar who uses taxis to collect him from break-ins

CONOR LALLY, Crime Correspondent
“I think I must have a bit of the kleptos in me; I’d rob anything,” says Ronny, a drug addict and by his own admission a serial burglar and robber in his late 30s, whose name has been changed for this piece.
He first got into trouble with the Garda before the age of 10, and more than 200 convictions and nearly three decades later he’s still “on the rob”. He says it’s common for people to leave substantial quantities of cash in their homes.
“You find it [cash] anywhere; under the bed, in a biscuit tin, a coffee jar. I got a roll of notes once in an ice cream box in the freezer; no ice cream in the f***ing thing, just cash. Sometimes they even leave it out on a counter . . . I don’t do old people’s gaffs, but if you do the money is always under the bed.”

Modern security features are not a major hindrance to breaking in, he says.
There’s no door or window you can’t get past with the tools; a Philips screwdriver, a jemmy bar, a hammer. When you get in, if the alarm goes off you’ve two or three minutes [to] fly around the gaff looking for the money. If you have a car with you and if the gaff is not in an estate, you might stay a bit longer; get the plasma , the PlayStation, Xbox, all the games and all that. If you don’t leave prints forget about it, the Garda’ll never get you.

If the gaff is a bit out in the country and the Garda station is miles away or closed down you have loads of time to load up the car if you have one. You just go up to a gaff, knock on the front door and if someone answers say you want a drink of water or water for the car. If nobody answers, just go round the back and get in.
“A couple of times . . . I called a taxi and got them to collect me at the gaff. You tell them you’re moving and you want to put a bit of gear in the car, the plasma and that. And when they come you put the gear in and they drive you off. They have to know what you’re up to; they’re not thick. But you pay them the fare; you might give them a few quid extra to keep their mouth shut.”
Ronny spoke to The Irish Times last week at a facility for homeless, drug addicted and alcoholic men. He says he needs to keep stealing to feed his drug habit. He describes himself as “a creeper as well as a burglar”.

You go into a cafe or a shop, whatever it is, looking for [shoppers’] bags for the purses, wallets or the iPhones. If you get one of the iPhones in a burglary or in a handbag, that’s €100 you’ll get for that. If you do a gaff and you get an iPad, you’re looking at €200. You can sell them in dodgy little phone shops cos they’ll clean them up and get even more for them. Sometimes if they know you’re really strung out they’ll offer you less money. They’re bastards they are.”
Ronny insists he is not without some sympathy for those who houses he breaks into, adding that at present burglary is a big lure for petty criminals. “Course I’d have a bit of sympathy – you’re robbing their stuff, man. You’re going into their gaff and just taking it so, yeah, you might think of them a bit. But you just get in and out.
You’re looking for money and jewellery; just get the cash . . . You can sell the jewellery, you’d sell it anywhere. Moorcroft bowls are a big seller as well. Just go up to Ballymun or somewhere. There’s loads of people up there owe money to the credit union or the loan sharks. You bring something up there that they know they’ll never be able to get unless they buy it from you at a knock-down price and they’ll give you money for it, f***ing sure they will.”
While he says organised criminals and those who work in groups will plan burglaries and carefully select targets, his crimes are more opportunistic and spur-of-the-moment.
“You know the places; Foxrock, Blackrock, Monkstown, DĂșn Laoghaire, all over there. You never rob in your own area. You never rob from the working class area you’re from; no way. If they catch you doing it they’ll break you up or they’ll cut you up.

“Take Ballymun, even. It’s right beside Santry; it’s only a wall between the two of them. The burglars do be saying, ‘Come on, they’re all bleedin’ loaded in Santry.’ But they’re probably not, man. But you go up there anyway to try and get a bit of money.
“If it’s old windows in a house you just pop them open. If it’s new windows it’s harder, but you just use a jemmy bar and get the door or the window popped open, you’ll do it if you pull hard enough. The sliding patio doors around the back, you just bust the lock with a screwdriver, something like that. And once it moves you just lift the sliding door off the rails. You lift it and lean it against the wall beside you, real quiet. ‘Thank you very much, in ya go.’”

Ronny began thieving when he was “five or six”, he says. “Me Ma left me with her best friend to look after me, then her best friend was stabbed to death – I seen it happening. Then I stayed in that house with the other people from the family. They’d have me wheeling shopping out of the shopping centre without paying, food and all that stuff. I was about five or six.
“Then when I got a bit older, you’d go into the shops and have a competition; see who can rob the most cans of Impulse. You’d be putting them down your tracksuit legs, up your sleeves, everywhere. You’d come out and everyone would count them all up to see who won. The winner got, well the winner got nothing, but you could say ‘I got the most cans of Impulse’. Stupid when you think about it.”

He says despite spending time in prison many times for crimes including burglary and dealing drugs, he has never reformed. “Since I seen my Ma’s mate getting stabbed to death my life has been a disaster, chaos . . . One place after another as a kid, all over the place.
“The people who help me in court now, some of them were around when I was only 10 or less, more than 20 or 30 years ago; they were in the Children’s Court then trying to look after you. I was JLO’d hundreds of times.
“I never knew me Da, never seen him, don’t know who he is. At first I used to be robbing for the people I was living with, then for drink for meself, for a long time for drink. Now it’s the drugs, this ages; burgling for it, ya know?”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

“But Glocks are too big/fat/just don’t fit my hand well…”

To that common complain when I recommend Glocks, I reply:


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bug out and Relocating: Destination Criteria

Hi, I am a recent visitor to your blog. I have been researching a bug
out location (I'm in the US, formerly in Los Angeles, but relocated to
Montana for obvious reasons). I have seen many like Doug Casey touting
Argentina, and others touting other places in South America/Panama. I
have been skeptical, which is what brought me to your website. I was
very interested to know that you picked Ireland. I am of Irish decent,
and have considered Ireland, except that they are notoriously
socialistic. I would really be interested to read more about your
decision to move there, all the criteria you considered before making
the move, and all the pros and cons you have discovered since moving
there. Also keeping us updated on Ireland as you learn more over time
would be great. If you would do this I would be eternally grateful,
Thanks a ton! -Jim-

Hi Jim,
If socialism isn’t what you want, then South America in general is a bad idea. You have strong authoritarian socialism, leaning towards tinpot dictatorship in many cases. Argentina was already a bad choice 12 months ago, today only a fool would voluntarily move there. With a Chavez-like authoritarian government, you might as well go to Venezuela and get over it. Extreme corruption, restriction on transferring funds, a ban on foreign currencies and a rip off  “official” exchange rate (about 40% less than the real USD to Peso rate) that makes it very expensive for foreigners. The latest news is official government indoctrination in schools and preschools! How about what I wrote in a recent article, about the government recruiting  from within prisons themselves and assassins, murderers and rapists getting an out of jail pass not a year after their conviction? The president´s words? “Its for purposes of social reinsertion”…
Our close friends and family tell us two things very often. The first one is “Don’t come back”, the second one is “you left just in time”.

About my relocation criteria, I’ve written and made videos about it before but here’s the general idea:

1)Your relocation and especially your international bug out location (fancy word for relocating in a hurry!) should be a country in which you can hold a legal status as a resident. Some people take this for granted or underestimate it, but unless you’re pretty wealthy you may only be welcomed as a tourist for a short period of time. With money you can claim to have the funds to start a company of some sort which most countries will welcome. In certain countries retired people are welcomed as well if they show sufficient income. Either this or you get a job visa, which of course would be hard to do in short notice. Family or good friends in the country of destination may help though.
 Another option is going to a place where you hold second citizenship. Thanks to having dual citizenship, I could choose from any Mercosur South American country or anywhere within the European Union, so that narrowed down my criteria for a place to move to when needing to do so in a hurry. For many years I had been trying to move to USA instead, but with the tough immigration laws and us having to leave fast after seeing the rapid deterioration after Kirchners reelection we had to go with plan B.

2)First world life and stability. I had enough of 3rd world life experience. Maybe to some it sounds exotic and exciting, to me it brings memories of corruption, poverty, decadence and foul smells on the streets. If at all possible, I want to live in a first world country. 

3)Climate. Not too cold, not too warm and with a good supply of water. Extreme temps cost money during good times and can cost your life during SHTF events, and water isnt that far behind in importance. This basically means to avoid deserted locations, the northwest of Argentina is a good example of a place to avoid due to desert climate alone. Many parts of Australia being desert have this same problem.  It would seem that simply living close to a river takes care of this aspect, but in a desert climate rivers may run low or even dry up entirely. On the other hand, if you need water in Ireland you just pull a cup through the window and wait for a minute or two… The negative side here is that the general cloudy and rainy climate may be too much for some, especially those easily depressed. 

4)Safety. A place where people walk around without being worried about kidnappings and armed robberies 24/7. Having that safety means the world of a difference to us, and we see that people used to living safe just take it for granted. While crime can be found everywhere not all places are the same. In some places you live caged up, I lived that way most of my life, so much that a window without burglar bars seems ridiculously unsafe to me, I’m still getting used to the idea. While theres places of the world where most homes will have them, there’s others that no matter how much you drive around there’s none to be seen. Northern Ireland would be such a place. Its safer than England, even Scotland.  

5)Cost of living. You may like a place a lot but maybe cant afford to life there. The cost of living was an important factor as well, but we had made up our minds about paying more if we had to just to live better. If I wanted to save money I would have just stayed in Buenos Aires in some gated community. I could have moved to an Argentine province and live a more opulent lifestyle. Having lived in the province of Cordoba for two years before, you could say I’ve already been there and done that. I much rather live a normal middle class life in a first world country than live in a 3rd world one surrounded my poverty while I sip wine and feel good about myself. Different people want different things I guess. But to me the freedom of living in a truly safe part of the world is just priceless, and only those that are ignorant regarding how bad it is when you don’t have such freedom can take it for granted.  A good guideline to go by is looking at the medium income per household for the country that gives you a basic idea of the cost of living. There’s people making less or more but at least you know you can live there. The medium income also has to be taken into account with the general status of the country itself. The medium income of Bolivia, Paraguay or Argentina for that matter will not get you a middle class quality of living by first world standards. In developing nations the society is usually very polarized, with a majority of poor, a small rich elite and a relatively small number of middle class society. 

6)Economic Stability. Already looking towards Europe I wanted as stable an economy as possible. While Ireland appealed to me in many ways, its recent economic crisis was hitting to close to home. Then I started looking toward Northern Ireland, which while still Ireland Island its part of UK, therefore has a different economy, even a different currency (British pounds instead of Euros)

7)Culture and language. We wanted to be in a place where we knew the language. Huge Point: Moving somewhere where you cant speak the local language is a bad idea, makes everything 10 times worse. In Europe, Spain would be the only country where they speak Spanish but first its limited to most of the country but not all of it. They speak other dialects in some of Spain´s biggest cities. Besides that, Spain has been going through a big crisis for the last few years and the situation isn’t getting any better. That left us with UK and Ireland. For anyone making any plans of possible relocation, its important to know a second language, hopefully of the country you consider bugging out to.  For Americans, I’d say that Spanish is a smart choice as a second language. 

8)Narrow it down. After looking for a specific place I had a certain criteria that I’ve mentioned before. I wanted a safe middle class town, with good hospitals, schools etc. While not within a mayor city I did want to be close enough in case I need to go there, maybe start going often. The specific town you end up in is as much of a call as it is choosing the country itself. Moving in to one place or another may make a world of a difference so choose wisely.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Folder Size?

Dear Fernando

Is easy to find a Cold Steel Rajah II in Bs. Aires? Cold you please inform me some stores where I can find this knife?
I want 2 CS folding knives, with 6" blades: the Rajah II and the Voyager.
Thanks in advance.

Hi Eduardo, your best bet is to go to fullaventura.com and then go to “comercios”, and check out each store on their online catalogue to see if they have Cold Steels and give them a call. “Armeria Miranda”, located in capital and found under “comercios”, seems to have some available. The prices though, because of the exchange rate and importation blockage, will be pretty high. Usually a brand name knife costs three to four times as much in Argentina compared to US prices.

To the rest of my readers, notice how our friend Eduardo here is looking for big knives, clearly going for larger folders for carry just like I do myself where and when legal to do so. Many people recommend smaller blades believing that a five or six inch blade is too big, too uncomfortable. That’s because they don’t feel an imminent risk, its more about comfort than true concern for self-defense. When things get heated up, when danger feels close because it actually is and people around you are getting hurt, then “comfort” take a second, very distant place. Keep that in mind and if you carry a folder that may end up using for defense get the most capable one, at least four inches long is a good number to go by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tactical Pens

Hi Ferfal, I really appreciate your advice, because it’s so practical.
I travel by air a lot, and I can’t carry a knife if I have no checked
luggage, so I recently bought a Tao Tactical Pen by CRKT. I can take
it with my other pens, in my satchel, through security and onto a
plane. A number of other knifemakers now offer these self-defense pens
- Benchmade, Uzi, S&W, etc.
Twice in my life I have bluffed attackers into leaving me alone, by
threatening them with a “weapon” that I pulled out of my pocket. Now
I’ll have something that will give me a bit more confidence in a
dangerous situation in another city. (In my home city I can carry a
more serious self-defense weapon with me.)
Personally, I think some of the tactical pens available have too sharp
a point, so they look like a weapon and could be confiscated by
airport security.
Your thoughts?

“Weapon” is anything that increases your efficiency for defense or attack. By this definition a gun is a weapon but so is a knife, a baseball bat, a screwdriver or in this case a pen. Of course some weapons are more efficient than others, but sometimes as in the situation you explain we have to cope as best as we can.

I agree with you, some tactical pens may be too tactical for their own good. :-)
There’s several steel non-tactical pens that can be used as stabbing or impact weapons. The classic Cross goes with me on planes often. The brushed steel Parker can be used to do some damage too.
The advantage I see in dedicated tactical pens is that a)they are usually very solid given their intended use b)Many have more or less efficient slip proof designs that allow different grips and more control.
Avoid aggressive looking designs or very obvious narrow tips because there’s a greater chance of them being confiscated at security checkpoints, especially airports.

I think that of the most well known designs, I like S&W pens the best, especially their  M&P gen2.
Smith and Wesson SWPENMP2BK M and P 2nd Generation Tactical Pen, Black

Smith and Wesson  M and P 2nd Generation Tactical Pen, Black
If you use the pen often, it does make sense to me to have a tough pen that can be used for defense as well. It goes along the Modern Survival philosophy of multiple uses per item.

Don’t forget that there are other politically correct defensive tools as well. I’ve boarded planes with a MTE MC-G33 tactical fashlight with a strike bezel that is more than capable of causing deep lacerations as well as being used as impact weapon and stunning attackers with 1000 lumens.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

US 100 Year Drought?‏

1) The New York Times has an interesting article re how some scientists think the USA may have severe droughts over the next 100 years:
2) Our maize crop is  being severely hurt by our existing heat wave and drought in the Midwest:
3) But what is interesting is that the American West has been hit by severe decades-long droughts in the past centuries.   (That is believed to have been one of the primary causes for the collapse of the Anasazi civilization in New Mexico circa 1200 AD.)
4) Here is what things looked like in the 1930s when drought  caused the US Dust Bowl:
5) In the longer term, however, the USA has a significant problem.   Much of our food is grown in the western Plains State and those places dealt with water shortages by extending electrical power lines across the area and drilling deep wells to tap into the huge Ogallala aquifer which runs from South Dakota to west Texas.
However, that aquifer has steadily shrunk over the past decades and some towns in
west Texas are now dying because their wells are going dry.   Scientist say that it will take 6000 years to replenish the Ogallala if it is sucked dry:

6) This is what makes a retreat in a remote location so questionable  -- those marginal places have low population density for a reason and are very vulnerable to climate shifts extending over a decade or more.  Obviously food prices in cities on the Eastern Seaboard are going to soar (which will not affect someone who has saved money).
But there is much to be said for having a port with access to the world's oceans (giving access both to alternative food supplies and to escape routes.)
Don Williams

Hi Don,
Water is of great importance and I would avoid living in places where there’s lack of it, especially deserted locations far from natural water sources that simply exist thanks to artificial water provision. There’s many of those all across western US, many live in them and don’t even realize it!
Anyone serious about survival and preparedness should study the Dust Bowl. There’s plenty of information on line.
When making up your mind on where to live certainly avoid deserts and make water availability a primary concern.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Does Gun Control Reduce Crime and Mass Shootings?

Guest post by blog reader J. Vanne. Thanks J for the well written article!
I'll discuss some of the videos in our next post, pointing out some things you guys should keep in mind.

The utterly horrific Colorado shooting is still being processed, as I write, into the collective conscience of America. First, clearly the care for the wounded and survivors must be paramount for everyone. Let us all labor with one goal to that end at present. Once this is over, however, there will be time for reflection on what has caused this tragedy. Here are some preliminary thoughts – that join my thoughts and prayers for the victims - that may be worth reflecting on in the months ahead:

Is it guns, or people, that kill? As the old saying goes, Teddy Kennedy’s cars have killed more people than all the guns of 99% of all gun owners in America.  And this true around the world.  My brother lived in ultra-safe Switzerland for years. Why is Switzerland so safe? Is it because guns are outlawed?
Wikipedia notes: “If you were a Swiss man, you would be a soldier as well. Every able-bodied Swiss man must go to the army in Switzerland for 90 days (Rekrutenschule-Ecole de recrue) and then every 2 years until the age of 42, he must return for practice for 19 days. This allows the government to raise an army of 400,000 men, fully armed, within 24 hours, as every soldier has an assault gun in his house, complete with ammunition. But there is more to this than a picturesque democratic institution.” http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/swiss-business-guide/swiss-army.html “; moreover, “Each individual is required to keep his army issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm SIG 550 rifle for enlisted personnel or the SIG 510 rifle and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified personal retention quantity of government issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56/48 rounds 9mm…)http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/gun_politics_in_switzerland.” Meanwhile, in gun-control happy Chicago – which has banned guns for all practical purposes - the city has become the leading “alpha” city for gun murders in the world. For comparison, drug war ridden Mexico City 8.0 murders a year per 100,000, Moscow 9.6, Sao Paolo 15.6 and Chicago 19.4Similarly, Washington DC, which has banned concealed carry since 1975, has one of the highest rates of murder in the U.S.

Could it be, as former gun control advocate turned gun rights supporter Dr. John Lott of Univ. of Chicago maintains, in his eponymous book More Guns, Less Crime, that we are safer with more guns? Certainly, a single trained concealed carry theatre-goer in Colorado would have put an end to the rampage much earlier, with significantly less loss of life. As Exhibit A: scarcely one week before the Colorado tragedy, a similar situation had an opposite ending in Florida, where 71 year old Samuel Williams stopped an armed robbery when two masked men entered the Palms Internet Cafe around 10 p.m. Friday, July 13, 2012. Make your own conclusion from the the surveillance camera, which captures it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZNC2VwyaPU&feature=player_embedded#t=0s. Exhibit B: Scarcely a month after the Colorado theatre shooting, on the opposite side of the country, an Orange County, CA. jewelry and coin dealer thwarted and armed robbery – and possible employee deaths – by defending herself with her pistol. Video surveillance footage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjXJBpV9YRI  Dr. Lott documents many thousands of similar situations, but here is one woman, in her own words, discussing after the fact how her gun saved her life: http://bcove.me/zgbghtxu. As a matter of fact, Gun Owners of America, at http://gunowners.org/sk0802.htm, cites statistics indicating guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense, or around 80 times a day (other statistics estimate this number could range as low as 1.5 million, but either number is a lot!). This includes 200,000 women a year using guns to defend themselves against sexual abuse. As a matter of fact, as of 2008, armed citizens killed more violent bad guys than the police (1,527 vs. 606).

The unfortunate thing about the Colorado shooting is that, while Colorado has concealed carry laws, the theatre where the shooting occurred was a gun free zone - despite what Roger Ebert fallaciously stated in the New York Times (as a matter of fact, Warner Houston at Breitbart.com wrote in 2009 that an Alaskan member of a gun owner’s message board had wanted to enter a Cinemark theatre, but was refused entry because it was gun free zone). So, what about other locales in Colorado where concealed carry is allowed, and a shooter began a rampage?  We have exact, historical records: In Dec., 2007, five people were shot (two killed) when gunman Matthew Murray, packing a semi-automatic rifle and two pistols, attacked the New Life Church in Colorado Springs (he had gone to another site previously, killing two, while wounding others). This might have been a tragedy similar in scope to the recent Batman movie shooting – except that the gunman was shot by church security office Jeanne Assam with here personally owned concealed weapon.  Similarly, on April 22nd – scant months before this tragedy, and also in Aurora, CO. – a convicted felon shot and killed the mother of the Pastor, Delano Stephan of New Destiny Christian Center as the service was ending. We don’t know how far this could have escalated – as the shooter was shot and killed by someone with a concealed gun. (See http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/04/22/2-shot-outside-aurora-church/
Incidentally, Aurora, CO., where the tragic Holmes shooting occurred, has some of the most strict gun laws in the state, including:
  • “Dangerous weapons” including firearms prohibited.
  • Revocation of license for furnishing a firearm to a minor or someone under the influence.
  • Window displays cannot include firearms with barrels less than 12 inches long.
  • Unlawful to carry concealed “dangerous weapon.”
  • Unlawful to discharge firearms, unless by law enforcement on duty or on shooting range.
  • Unlawful to possess firearm while under the influence of intoxicant.
  • Unlawful to have loaded firearm in motor vehicle.
  • Unlawful for a juvenile to possess a firearm.
Of course, all the explosives in Holmes’ apartment were “illegal,” too.
One state to the west, Utah, saw a similar situation where on Feb. 12, 2007, Muslim Sulejman Talovic, who told his girlfriend the day before his rampage that his martyrdom would be “the happiest day of his life,” opened fire in the crowded Trolley Square mall, killing five.  Unfortunately for Sulejman, there was was an armed bystander, off-duty Ogden policeman Ken Hammond. Officer Hammond pinned down Talovic – preventing futher deaths - until a SWAT team arrived and provided the martyrdom Talovic wanted. Hammond was credited with saving “countless lives” – something, unfortunately, the gun free zone in Aurora, CO. did not experience.
It appears George Washington had it right, when he said “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” Thomas Jefferson  certainly felt the same way, saying "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

What about concealed carry? Statistics from the recent past show states that passed concealed carry reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5% and robbery by 3%. Florida, which passed concealed carry in 1987, saw its higher than average homicide rate drop 52% during the following 15 years after passage, to below the national average.  And no, concealed carry does not result in chaos, as the average Floridian is more likely to be attacked by an alligator than by a concealed carry holder.
As a matter of fact, the US. Dept. of Justice, in its (admittedly dated) publication, “The Armed Criminal in America: A Survey of Incarcerated Felons, Research Report July, 1985,” stated that 60% of felons they surveyed agreed that “a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun”; 74% agreed with the statement “one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime”;  and finally, 57% of felons agreed that “criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into police.”

Meanwhile as gun sales climb to record highs - 47% of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property, and given that many gun owners have multiple guns, there may be more guns now than Americans -  2010 FBI data shows violent crime continuing to fall (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010 ) in the United States, with homicides dropping out of the top 15 causes of death in the country. The statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups that “more guns equal more crime.”  The reverse is true. As Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.  Noted, “These statistics vividly demonstrate that the lawful possession and use of firearms by law-abiding Americans does not cause crime…There have never been more firearms in civilian possession in the history of the United States, and crime, including homicide, continues to decline throughout the country.”

The truth is, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. The truth is, that the Colorado shooter would still have found ways to get, or make weapons, even if they had been made illegal (certainly, Timothy McVeigh and the leftist Unibomber found a way!). The truth is if guns kill people, then pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk, and spoons made Oprah fat. The truth is that one never sees gun murders at gun shows, where guns are seemingly every two steps one takes. And finally, the truth is that, as Stephen Dubner wrote, “far more children die each year in swimming pool accidents than in gun incidents.”
And the truth is practically illustrated in Kennesaw, GA – where gun ownership is mandatory for every head of household, per ordinance [Sec 34-21], which states: (a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore, and (b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.”

Kennesaw – contrary to what the gun grabbers would have you believe - is not the Wild West, but rather was voted by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation’s “10 best towns for families.” (http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/money/10-best-towns-for-families/?page=4) The city website also claims Kennesaw ““has the lowest crime rate in Cobb County” – this in one of the most populated counties in Georgia. In fact, from 1982 through 2009, Kennesaw, with a population of just under 25,000, had only one murder, in 2007. Compare this to gun-free New York City,  which in a recent 25-year period had more than 15,000 murders – 2, 245 in 1990 alone (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NYC_murders.PNG) – while Kennesaw, Georgia, had 1. Yes, these are different cities – but twenty five thousand to one?? I, for one, am not going to even bother with doing the math for this.  The truth is that it is the inter-generational socio-pathology that the left has created that has created this society of killers and psychopaths (see http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2936).

Moreover, if we are to ban guns, may I humbly suggest that we also ban hands and feet, as well as butterknives? As http://personalliberty.com/2012/08/01/time-to-ban-hands-feet-and-the-fda/?eiid= notes, in 2010 alone, 742 people were killed by hands or feet, with 540 people killed by blunt objects. (and let’s not forget the 82,724 people who died as a result of FDA approved drugs). In contrast, only 0.1% of all homicides involved five or more victims. Even the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence admits that, since 2010, a grand total of 35 people have been killed in 9 separate incidents in which an assault weapon was involved (even if the gun was not the murder weapon). Perhaps, it the gun grabbers really want to keep us safe, perhaps they could ban the FDA?  Similarly, within a month of the Colorado tragedy, nine people were killed and others wounded in a knife attack in China (see http://news.yahoo.com/chinese-teen-kills-eight-knife-attack-reports-102629246.html)
On a broader level, guns also have historically ensured American freedom. Bill Bonner wrote “When King George sent troops to put down the revolution a letter appeared in the London paper. It came from a man who had lived in the colonies. He told his countrymen that if they were shipping out to fight the Americans they should be sure to write their Last Wills and Testaments before they left. Because the Americans all had guns and knew how to use them.
And King George wasn’t alone: Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief, Imperial Japanese Navy, killed in action, April 1943, said “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
But what about other countries? I’m glad you asked!

For England, as the article Barbarians Within the Gates, Part III, Schwarz Report, Oct. 2011, p. 5 noted, “The UK’s ban on handguns in  1997  “did not stop actual crimes committed with handguns. Those crimes rose nearly 40% according to a 2001 study by King’s College London’s Centre for Defense Studies, and doubled by a decade later, according to government statistics reported in the London Telegraph in October 2009.”   Just for good measure, England has a 10 year sentence for possession of “any knife with a blade more than three inches long” (I literally have no idea if this includes butterknives!). No word yet if England has banned running with scissors or people using pencils with sharp points.
Across the English Channel, Holland’s draconian gun laws certainly haven’t helped – witness the recent report at http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-202_162-20052416.html , entitled 7 Killed 15 Wounded in Dutch Mall, while across the border Nazi guns laws against Jewish firearm owners 60 years ago, as Stephen Halbrook has written, “played a major role in laying the groundwork for the eradication of German Jewry in the Holocaust. Disarming political opponents was a categorical imperative of the Nazi regime” (a full rendering of Nazi gun control laws, including ones against the Jews, is found at http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/hitler-leftist/id14.html). The experience with Hitler was anticipated by the Second Amendment, which declares: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This right reflects a universal and historical power of the people in a republic to resist tyranny, was not recognized in the German Reich – and led to disaster.
Perhaps one might care to examine Russia, which also has relatively strict gun control laws, under their Federal Weapons Act of 1996 (see http://www.gunlab.com.ru/excerpts.html). Did their laws prevent the 2002 theatre siege by Chechen militants, which saw killed 118? See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/oct/28/chechnya.russia6 or YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbvKhdVGOoo if you need to refresh your memory
In Australia after they banned guns recently, armed robberies were up 69%; assaults with guns up 28%, gun murders up 19% and home invasions up 21% (except the Australian government still refuses to define what a “home invasion” is (no word if they have defined what the meaning of “is” is, either). Full details at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p8RDWltHxRc

Closer to home, as a dual US/Canadian citizen, who has spent half my life in both countries, Canada has some of the strictest gun control legislation in the world. From having a very close friend having a neighbor murdered right outside her front door, to my brother in law telling me about a knife murder at a mall down the street, to the week we moved from Canada, when someone with an illegal gun committed murder on Elgin St. in Ottawa, the whole gun grabber thing is a disaster in Canada. The results of strict Canadian gun control laws?
On Jan. 13, 2011 the Ottawa Citizen, even acknowledged that Canadian gun legislation is an abject failure:
“As strict as Canadian gun laws appear, they do not prevent the movement of illegal firearms in or out of this country, nor their possession, and only cover those firearms that have been registered. Last year, Canadian police services reported some 8,000 victims of violent gun crime, ranging from assault to robbery and homicide — a rate of almost one person per hour victimized by violent gun crime. On average, more than 1,200 Canadians are killed and more than 1,000 injured with firearms each year.” 
And if you thought the Giffords shooting in Arizona was bad (and it was!) in 2006 a Canadian gunman uploaded pictures of himself posing with a rifle. He bragged on his blog that he loved the Internet game based on the Columbine shootings. One day he decided to stop playing. He went to a Montreal college and, when all was said and done, he killed one person and seriously wounded another 19 before he shot himself. Less than 10 days after the Colorado theatre shootings, Toronto had a shooting that killed two and wounded 21 (http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/17/one-dead-several-injured-in-scarborough-shooting); in turn, this had been preceded a month  earlier by a Toronto mall shooting at the Eaton Centre, which killed one and injured seven (http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/02/world/americas/canada-mall-shooting/index.html). The stories in Canada go on, but I won’t
Canada’s stringent gun laws, in the form of Bill C-68, apply to handguns and rifles. This has been universally acknowledged as an abject failure, including over $1 billion dollars lost on something that didn’t work. Here’s the details for those of you that aren’t aware:
There are nearly 7 million registered long guns in Canada. Since 2003, when mandatory long gun registration was introduced, of the 2,441 homicides in Canada, less than 2% (47 to be exact) have been committed by those registered guns (figures cited from Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics). According to Statistics Canada, in 2008 there were around 23,500 victims of violent crime committed with a knife, with homicides and attempted murders about 1/3rd of such incidents (cited from Lawyers Weekly, 21 May, 2010). No word yet whether leftists will introduce a “long butterknife” bill -  you know, you can never be too careful about those doggoned table settings, including possible strangulation by napkins!! 
Let me conclude with an anecdotal story to help reify the matter.  Canadian John Myers writes about a personal experience in Alberta (and which is borne out by Dr. John Lott’s aforementioned book, “More Guns, Less Crime”: at http://www.personalliberty.com/conservative-politics/civil-liberty/with-gun-control-canadian-criminals-are-making-a-killing/?eiid=&rmid=2011_01_26_PLA_[PIZ0411C]&rrid=238494331.   Myers writes:
“I never imagined that a time would come where I would have to level my shotgun at a person; that I would take deadly aim with it. But that happened when I as a senior at the University of Calgary and was cramming for a final. Around midnight I heard a car screech to a stop outside my parent’s home which sat on an isolated street. I was home alone with the family dog, Elsa, a Great Dane with a gentle disposition.

In the news had been reports that two men were terrorizing women on Calgary streets. Two young women, Laurie Boyd and Debbie Stevens, had been dragged from their cars at night and murdered. I heard pounding at the front door. I knew something was seriously wrong when I opened the door to find my girlfriend Angela standing before me crying. Before I could even ask her what was happening a second car pulled into our driveway with the high-beams on.
I took Angela inside and went outside to see what the commotion was about. I brought the family dog with me and kept her leash wrapped tightly around my hand. Two men were walking straight towards the door; neither one saying a word and neither showing any regard for me or our dog which was growling and barking.

I dragged the dog back inside and gave her to Angela. I remembered the Remington that I kept in the front closet. I found it and then fumbled for the single target load shell that I kept in the corner of the hat shelf. It was all the ammunition I had, but I was damn happy to have it.
I was shaking, but I loaded the shell. I slipped back outside. I was surprised at how close these strangers were to me; perhaps fewer than 20 paces. I remember the taller of the two had his hand reached inside his coat.

It was dark so at first I don’t think they noticed my shotgun. But they knew it was there when I raised it to my shoulder and pumped the fore-end, chambering the shell. In a split second they spun and ran to their car, roaring off into the darkness.
More than a year later two men, Jim Peters and Rob Brown, were charged and convicted on multiple charges of murder. My girlfriend Angela later became my wife. To this day we don’t know if those men were the Calgary serial killers. All these years later we remain certain of two things: These men had evil intentions and we were damned lucky to have that shotgun.”
There’s more to gun ownership in America than meets the eye. Don’t let the leftists take the moral high ground on this one -  that belongs one hundred percent to the gun owners.
J. Vanne