Wednesday, January 31, 2018

WROL in Mexico: What it’s like when people self-govern

José Santos at a checkpoint near the entrance to Tancítaro. Fed up with both the cartels and the government, the people of Tancítaro pushed out both. Credit Brett Gundlock for The New York Times
A very interesting article about how people are running their own cities and territories as the central government of Mexico fails to deal with the drug cartels and widespread corruption.
Losing Faith in the State, Some Mexican Towns Quietly Break Away
The article is well worth your time but what I take from it is how complex these situations can be. At the end of the day when the government leaves a void regarding safety people have to defend themselves any way they can. Even then, it is not the safe utopia many survivalists often envision in their fantasies:
Monterrey: ‘They Destroyed the Whole Thing’
If Tancítaro seceded with a gun, then the city of Monterrey, home to many top Mexican corporations, did it with a Rolodex and a handshake.
Rather than ejecting institutions, Monterrey’s business elite quietly took them over — all with the blessing of their friends and golf partners in public office.
But their once-remarkable progress is now collapsing. Crime is returning.
“I’m telling you, I have a long career in these matters, and the project I am more proud of than anything is this one in Monterrey,” said Jorge Tello, a security consultant and former head of the national intelligence agency.
“It’s very easy to lose it,” he warned, adding that it may already be too late.
Monterrey’s experiment began over a lunch. Mr. Tello was dining with the governor, who received a call from José Antonio Fernández, the head of Femsa, one of Mexico’s largest companies.
Femsa’s private security guards, while ferrying employees’ children to school, had been attacked by cartel gunmen, he said. Two had died repelling what was most likely a kidnapping attempt.
In many cases the already existing socio-political structures can be used at a local level, but self-governing rather than taking orders from an incompetent and corrupt central government.
It also helps if the region is economically self-sustainable.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Why you want short hair in a fight

So I was messing around with my oldest son today. As I suppose most dads do, we do these “fights”, just to practice a bit of grappling without punching (ok, just light contact ones). I do let it get a bit rough here and there so as to make it more realistic.

Well, today I was reminded of something. As I was going for his arm he managed to grab my hair and pull me to the side, quickly moved his legs for an arm bar. I must say I’m pretty proud that he thought of that. There’s no “dirty fighting” in a street fight and when training you have to keep it as real as possible while keeping it safe.

Still, the lesson remains that hair long enough to be grabbed can work against you in a fight and its better to keep it rather short.

I’ll be dropping by the barber tomorrow to get a haircut.
When asked how do I want it I’ll just tell them I want it short enough so that it can’t be grabbed. :-)
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Monday, January 29, 2018

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA: Triple Fuel Flashlight

Streamlight is a company that produces some interesting high value flashlights. They are often found in use by military, police, EMT and firefighters, people that put their gear through some hard, honest use.

This isn’t some generic Made in China flashlight manufacturer. Streamlight products are well tested and they are durable, offering a ton of flashlight for the money. This is a flashlight that would do well as EDC, kept in kits for emergencies or for use in your line of work where a reliable flashlight is required.

 The most interesting feature this flashlight has is that in can run on a single cell of CR123A or AA. Officially speaking it’s a “Dual Fuel” flashlight. Unofficially speaking though, this flashlight can also run on AAA batteries as well. You just place them in there, carefully screw the cap and it does work. The ability to run on the most common batteries available out there is a huge capability for a survival oriented flashlight.

The Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA feels solid in the hand. It is made of anodized aluminium and has a tail cap clicky button which is capable of momentary on when pressing without clicking. One click turns the light on in high (350 lumens for the CR123A or 150 lumens for AA), tapping the tail button twice activates the strobe mode. This can be used for defensive use, along with the flashlight itself given that is has a strike bezel to use as an impact weapon. Tapping on the tail 3 times engages the low mode which is 40 lumens on either battery. This is the pre-set program the flashlight comes in. You can access two other settings by tapping on the button 10 times. There’s another setting that works just on High, and another that has both High-Low. This works well for people that want a simple light that just turns on an off when they click it and nothing else or for folks that want to do without the strobe mode. I do feel that a Low or even Moonlight mode is missing in this flashlight. That would have made it just about perfect in my opinion, if at least one of the three programs offered such an option.

I do like the Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA . I think it offers a lot of flashlight for the money and I think the “Triple Fuel” capability makes it an ideal choice for any Modern Survivalist. As of right now at 36 bucks it’s a bargain. Get yourself a couple and put them in your kits. You’ll be glad you did.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What the hell happened to Argentina?

Image result for Buenos aires

I've been told that the 20th century was a "lost century" for Argentina, it began the century as one of the richest and most developed countries in the world. But by the end of the century, it regressed into what could be described as a third-world shithole.
But why such an extreme regression occur?  Did Peron and the military coups play a major role in this?
Also, another thing I've been wondering is why Argentina doesn't have such a bad reputation for being violent/corrupt like Mexico, Brazil, and so many other countries in Latin America. I considered Argentina to be the "good part of South America" (a common belief among many Americans) until I started to read your and a few other experiences of living in Argentina, which have massively flipped my opinions of the country.
And on an unrelated note: do you have any experiences with the Galil/Galil ACE rifles, and if you did, what is your opinion of those rifles?

Hello Scott,
What happened in Argentina? Man, if we only knew.
An (energy) nuclear power already in the 70’s, an education system that was the envy of our neighbours, relatively low population with no ethnic or religious divide. Even today after everything that happened, it’s a country that produces enough food to feed its population ten times over. And yet you have 30% poverty and thousands of kids go to bed hungry every day, thousands still eating out of the garbage.

Argentina has a very serious crime and violence problem. Its something people live with every day and it’s the main reason why I ultimately left Argentina. For millions they just don’t know any better. I do. I’ve lived in other countries, I had lived in USA and from an early age I knew there are other ways in which people live. I knew that what was going on in my country was not “normal” and hell no, it does NOT “happen in every big city”.  Right now with President Mauricio Macri there’s hope, but the change the country needs will take decades. You ask about Mexico and Brazil. These two would be countries in which violent crime is even worse than Argentina so they do have a rightfully earned poor reputation in that regard. I wouldn’t live in those two countries either.

Indeed, the military coups shattered the democratic order and that did terrible damage.  But Juan Domingo Perón was the ruin of Argentina and “Peronism” still is even today. What is “Peronism” you may ask. Is it socialism? is it the left? No wait! It’s the right then, the right is to blame? That’s an American way of thinking. I love you guys but when it comes to politics your bipartisan nature betrays you into thinking it has to be one or the other.

Peronism has been both. It’s been far right with peronist president Carlos Menem who famously said “Nothing that belongs to the State will stay in the hands of the State” and went on a privatisation spree, sold the most valuable assets the country had to companies that pillaged them like a fox in a henhouse. He pegged the Peso to the US Dollar and destroyed the national industry. And then we had Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, self-claimed leftists revolutionaries who were in fact working for banks during the Junta, making sure people lost their homes so they could buy them for pennies when they went up for auction (the kind of auction no one else can bid in). Then they got into politics and saw how good that could be for business. The Kirchners saw in the Venezuela the model that would give them absolute power and that’s what they tried to turn the country into. So if its not right and if its not left, what is Peronism?

Peronism is populism. It is pure demagogy, claiming to represent the poor, the needy, the abandoned and disenchanted, the “people,” but both using and feeding the ignorance and resentment of the mob to ensure its power over the population.

It’s the kind of controlled mass behaviour that allows you to be both far right and far left or whatever else you feel like being at any given time because the mob will not question any of it, because with populism there’s no reason, no critical thinking, the fanatic crowd just follows the leader and anyone that criticises or even just questions the movement becomes an enemy. Not a political adversary, but an enemy. As Peron said, “for my friends, everything. For my enemies, not even justice”. This is something Peronists believed in. They think that the law is just a tool to be used when convenient but it doesn’t really apply to them.

Populists are essentially corrupt and evil because they can only exist in an environment of ignorance and resentment. They need to ensure an enemy-friend dichotomy. Enemies of course need to be destroyed by any and all means and friends need to remain loyal, weak and submissive, so that they adore the hand that feeds them. This is why Peronists, like all other populist movements, they need to ensure a poor and most of all ignorant population. In 30 years of nearly continuous Peronist/populist government in Argentina, the party that was supposed to represent the poor, hard working class, only made sure poverty never stopped growing in the country.

Anyway, that’s what happened in Argentina and this is why in spite of the good president we now have we need another 10 or 20 years for an entire generation of people to know something other than populism and corruption as a way of life.

As for the Galil I know there’s people that like them and there’s nothing wrong with them as fun guns. Personally I like other designs better, certainly not a fan of bullpups myself, and for practical use you may want guns that are more commonly available. Think about accessories, spare parts and such.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Deus Vult!: Zippo Crusade Victory

Sword vs Knife fight Video

Here’s something you don’t see every day: Two guys fighting, one armed with a knife, the other one with a sword.
WARNING: Very Graphic content
Common sense would dictate that the man with the much larger blade, fighting out in the open with room to move around, would have a clear advantage. We don’t see the complete incident but we see the knife wielder cleverly closing the distance to negate the reach advantage of the sword and use his knife. We also hear what appears to be a parry so the knife wielder is probably skilled in its use too.
But the video also shows how important mindset is. We talk about mindset often and we understand its importance, but here you see it live. The swordsman was unsure about using his weapon after they get up. The man armed with the knife didn’t have such reservations and was far more committed to the fight.
Something else that comes to mind, the importance of an hemostatic agent such as Celox in an EDC bag. A knife wound, gun shot wound, terror attack or accident on the street, any of these can leave you bleeding to death and the tool to stop that from happening can save your life.
Take care folks.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Friday, January 19, 2018

In Venezuela, money has stopped working

I saw this article today, and it really made an impact on me regarding the hyperinflation occurring in Venezuela.
- How 20-bolivar bills are left behind by looters because they are worthless.
- How the official exchange rate has nothing to do with real world costs.
- That prices are roughly doubling every month, and wages can't keep up.
- that, "Tuna holds its value. Money doesn’t."
I remember the school lessons on the crash of the Deutschmark after W.W. II, but this is much more real because it is happening now. In the aftermath of war, there is reconstruction; what can be done about the devastation caused by governmental corruption and mismanagement on a massive scale? This is tragic.
Best regards,
Hello Deen,
The situation in Venezuela is just terrible.
Very similar to Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe where paper currency pretty much lost all its value and you needed carts full of the stuff to buy a loaf of bread.
I can sure relate to the value of a can of tuna. In countries like Venezuela, and even in Argentina during the worst period after 2001, a can of tuna is something pretty special.
No, hold on, don’t laugh! ;-)
You have to go through it to understand it. Do you have any idea what it means to buy something that you know will go up in price %500 or more before it expires?
That little can of tuna is practically magic.
It’s meat you can store meat without refrigeration. Something very important with rolling blackouts.
It lasts for years.
It’s precious meat protein.
It goes very well along with most other staples like rice or pasta.
It may not be available next time you’re at the grocery store…
You end up treasuring those things. Believe me.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What's the Best Gun for Home Defense?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Leatherman Rebar: A Hard-Use Classic with Great Tools

The Leatherman Rebar is a classic, hard use multi-tool.

You don’t have a pocket clip or one-hand open for the blade like in the Leatherman Charge Tti or Leatherman Wave, but you get a better set of screwdrivers with longer shafts, better plier with 154CM removable wire cutters and an all around solid multi-tool.

The saw in the Rebar went through this 2 inch dry hardwood without a problem.

The Leatherman Rebar is intended to be carried either in the sheath provided on your belt, maybe in a pack or kit. I see it well suited for outdoors use or for construction or DIY projects, would do nicely in a BOB or other kits.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Experts are predicting the worst flu season in history

So many medical experts are predicting that this season’s flu will be the worst in history.
This is because the main flu strain for 2017-18, known as the H3N2 virus, is more deadly than the swine flu of 2009. To make things even more complicated, traditional flu vaccine is not very effective because of the virus mutation.

All this taken into consideration, its better to remember some effective, common sense advice from the CDC for dealing with flu.

1)Avoid catching flu in the first place by avoiding crowds and keeping your distance from people as much as you can. Careful with touching surfaces in public places, offices, schools, etc.
2)Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
3)Wash your hands often, especially before eating. My wife and I (and our kids) we keep  alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy.
4)If you’re sick, stay home so as to avoid spreading the disease to others.
5)Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
Also, even if not very effective for this season’s flu, consider getting flu shots, especially if you are in a High Risk Group:
Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
Adults 65 years of age and older
Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
American Indians and Alaskan Natives

People who have medical conditions including asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental, chronic lung disease, heart disease, weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids). Check the link from the CDC for more information.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rodney King Riots After Action Repot

Fer Fal could you critique this guy's actions? I think it would be better to stay inside the theater.
Hi Tom, sure thing.
Long story short, the link above is about a guy’s experience during the Rodney King Riots of 1992 in LA. The author called Robert, wife Karen and their children are in a theater in a Hollywood premiere when the riots start outside on the street on April 29. The security guard in the theater locks the doors, kills the lights so that rioters cant see inside an eventually Robert, Karen and the kids go to the underground parking, get in their car and drive home.
In a nutshell, that’s the story.

As for lessons learned, first we must understand we’re talking about a self-confessed “Hollywood liberal” movie screenwriter and the entire story reeks of such mentality, very different from a prepper or survivalist.

His wife clearly wears the pants and Robert sounds like the typical liberal beta male. His wife is the hero of the story at one point because she’s the one with a flashlight in her purse…
When rioters start throwing stones at the building, his wife Karen doesn’t even flinch. Robert believes his wife’s face has the determined expression of a “seventeenth-century general” with nerves of steel. In reality what he’s describing is anything but and is in fact resignation and being frozen by fear. This is not to be confused with determination, but it’s a very typical reaction among those that aren’t prepared and simply “cant believe this is happening”. Its basically good old denial. 

Lessons learned? Well, getting caught in Sunset Boulevard the day of the verdict would be a big one. You need to be aware of the world around you, of what’s going through those “inner city youths” mind. If they had done that they would have realized that specific day could get complicated fast and they would have let this socializing event pass.
Of course not even having a flashlight (or a CCW which the author later regrets) that’s another big fail. You need to have a few basic EDC tools with you and a flashlight is one you should never be without.

Now maybe the biggest questions is, should they have bugged in and waited inside the theatre or did they do well in going to the parking, getting into their car and escaping while they could?
In general, the standard reply for the best course of action when there’s civil unrest is bugging in and sheltering in place. Now that is particularly good advice when you have a known, secured location such as your home. A more exposed place like a theatre were rioters can break in any moment may be a different story.

Personally, if I have the chance and I see I have the room to do so, I would get into my vehicle and evacuate unless I gather more intel about the situation that convinces me otherwise.
These people, they easily could have been cornered, make a wrong turn and get pulled out of their vehicle and beaten to death.
In a defendable home, armed, then experience tells us that you are far more exposed and likely to get pulled out of your vehicle and attacked if leave the shelter. 

As for driving during riots and civil unrest. It’s a bad idea to speed and just crash against anyone standing in front of you. I’ve honestly been caught in more riots, crowds and protests than I could possible remember. For years after 2001 it was practically a weekly occurrence for me, maybe even more often than that at times. What I can tell you is that you don’t want to floor the gas pedal, you want to move slowly but surely. Don’t stop, keep moving at slow speed pushing people out of the way and letting those that can, move out of the way themselves. Make no eye contact, stay calm and under no circumstances get off the vehicle, even if people start hitting your car.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Friday, January 5, 2018

American Tourist Stabbed in Argentina: 10 Lessons learned

This is an interview with Joe Wolek, the American stabbed during a robbery in La Boca, Buenos Aires. The man got stabbed ten times, twice in the heart, but miraculously survived. (mostly thanks to the surgeon also being interviewed who he later befriend)

The interview starts at about 32:10. The TV show is in Spanish but Joe speaks in English and the questions are translated if anyone wants to check it out.

1)Wrong time
Joe says: “I was there in the early morning to avoid the crowds that happen in places that are for tourists”
When you avoid crowds in dagenrous places you are therefore left alone in those dangerous places. Bad idea.

2)Wrong place
Joe says “I was walking along the train tracks, photographing the various graffiti.”
La Boca is already a high crime area. The train tracks is probably the worst place you could think of.

3) Joe says he started feeling “punches” in his chest, he thought he was being punched. He says “ I didn’t feel the knife until I looked down and saw the blood. “
Punches often get confused with getting stabbed. With smaller blades and especially with poor light (night) this happens often. Many survivors mention this exact same thing, confusing stabs with punches and not realizing there’s a blade used in the attack.

4) Nothing is worth getting stabbed over. Or getting shot. When caught off guard, let go of your stuff. Joe says “When I saw I was being stabbed I let go of the camera. I was holding on.”

5)Never chase after to attackers that just stabbed you through the heart.
Joe started running in the same direction the attackers went. This is again, a very common reaction, to chase after who attacked you or stole your property. Again, not worth it. It is common for criminals to stop and shoot your way if you follow them.

6)Not much blood was showing. Although Joe saw blood, bystanders he tried to ask for help didn’t realize how badly wounded he was because there wasn’t a lot of blood.
Puncture stab wounds may bleed internally or not bleed much at all, or it may bleed a lot. Its all about what gets cut.

7)Joe was not aware of the specifics of the crime rate in Argentina. He says “I was warned about La Boca. I’ve been to a lot of places in the world, some dangerous places, so I took my chances. “
The specifics matter a LOT. As they say, the devil is in the details. A dangerous “touristy” place like La Boca, it’s one thing when full of people and it’s another when deserted. You may get your bag snatched when there’s a crowd around you, but being there when there’s no one around just isn’t the smart thing to do.

8) Bad advice. Minute 46:53 this woman talked to Joe before the incident and when asked about crime in Argentina, she told Joe that he could get his camera stolen, but nothing would happen to him, that his life wouldn’t be at risk. This is in fact BAD advice. People get killed during crimes DAILY in Buenos Aires so saying it’s just crime like in any big city is in fact incorrect.  Important lesson right there: know your sources, know who you’re getting your advice from. An airhead model/tv presenter may not be the best person to consult about crime and security.

9)Joe does say that after his attack he is more aware of people walking behind him a bit more and lets tem pass, what we would call watching your six.

10) Besides the obvious, avoiding dangerous countries and dangerous places, my advice for anyone traveling to areas where crime is a serious problem is to prepare accordingly. Avoid when possible, but if that’s not an option get an actual guide, either individual or along with a group. Its money well spent. Keep your plane ticket, passport and cash in a travel money belt, well hidden under your clothes.

Criminals will not strip you naked when attacking. They’ll just take your handbag or wallet. As for camera, don’t bring anything you’re not willing to part with in a split second. You may want to leave your fancy cell phone behind and get around with a cheap one too.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Survival Medicine Book (Great Free PDF!)

We have corresponded slightly in the past but nothing of importance. However, I would like to draw your attention now to a new medical book put out by myself and others, basically a significantly updated version of our original book. Updated as in over 400 pages more.
The book is titled Survival and Austere Medicine: An Introduction 3rd Edition, and it is available for FREE as a pdf document. We also have planned actual printed copies which will be sold royalty-free. In other words no payment to the author team, only the printer. We make absolutely zero profit from this book.
We have one download site up and running and plans for at least 3 more. The 2nd one is due up tonight if all goes well.
Please check this out when you have a chance, and if you like it we can forward the other download sites, and information on the print edition when it is available.
This not some half-baked manual that claims to be 'the ultimate' on survival medicine. The authors are all experienced medical people, including doctors and nurses with real world experience outside of the hospital or clinic. The authors represent 3 continents as well. You will find material within that you will not find anywhere else.
Reasonable Rascal
Thank you so much RR!
This is a fantastic resource everyone should download and keep a couple copies of.
Please let us know when you have the hard copy version ready as well.
Congratulations on a great job.
Happy New Year everyone!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”