Friday, June 6, 2008

Fridays: A Collection of Previous Posts - 2015

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by

The Deal
Y'all know the deal, by now

I have been doing a 'major' clean up of the blog because ...

* Google limits blogs to 1000 posts

* The place was getting disorganized and messy

* The end of the world hasn't happened, yet.

So, ...

2 January 2015 (Three Firearms, Part Five)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
 Andrew Filer

You? What? Are You Crazy?
There is going to come a time when you will part from your guns, either to purchase a better firearm or you have died.

So, ...

Let us look at some options.

If you are going to sell you firearms for money to upgrade your weapons to a better firearm or to acquire a group standard firearm, you will want to do a private party sell. A private party sell is a private exchange between a legal seller and legal buyer.

Just like selling a used car, you can advertise through your friends, family, coworkers, and any other legal means, such as newspaper advertisements, bulletin boards, or .... at gun shows.

Since most people have sold something through their friends, family, coworkers, and ex cetera, I will discuss gun shows.

If you have a lot of guns, you rent a table, display the guns, and sell them, no paperwork. If you have one or two that you would like to sell, you put a sling on the weapon (if it's a rifle), a big sign that says: "For Sale" with your price or "FSBO" (For Sale, Best Offer), and walk around the show. Of course, depending on the rules of the show's organizers!

Now, depending on your state, you may or may not have to do a background check. If you don't, good. If you do, you will need to find a firearms dealer willing to do the check, usually $25 to $50, ouch.

Before I continue, you and the buyer need to know the law for your state.

So, ... My information might send you to prison.

Private Party
In a private party sell, the seller and purchaser live in the same state, so the firearm will not cross states lines. Thankfully, these United States still considers a private party sell, in your state, as an unregulated transaction, so you don't have to go through a Federal Firearms Dealer (FFL) to buy or sell a firearm. Of course, it can and will be different in the state. Take Colorado, a recent law requires all transactions to be handled through a FFL, including one at the range.

Like selling any other item, the buyer and seller meet, exchange cash and the item (in this case a firearms), and part ways.

Needless to say, like bartering, you want to do business with someone you know (or a friend of a friend) away from your home, usually in a public place (don't want villains coming back to rob you) for cash. If you take a check, you might want to hold on to the gun until the check clears.

But, ... What happens if you want a bigger pool of buyers?

GunsAmerica, GunBroker, and ???
Next, you can advertise on GunsAmerica or Gun Broker. Both companies charge a fee, so do your research.

"If" someone from you state wants to purchase your firearm, that they found on GunsAmerica or GunBroker, you do a legal private party purchase then pay your fee to these advertisers. "If" they are in another state, you will have to transfer the firearm between FFLs.

My understanding, the seller, sending a firearm, doesn't have to use a FFL's services. They can send the gun directly to the receiving FFL, so the buyer will pay for the FFL's services, usually receiving the firearm, recording the firearm in their 'bound book,' and doing the background check.

Of course, the purchaser sends you a check or money order before you send the firearm to the FFL ; - )

As you can see, a face to face private party sell is less hassle and gets you the most money for your firearm because no one is paying a FFL for services. Plus, private party purchases are unregulated, so no one knows "If" you have any weapons!

That's if you don't purchase magazines, ammunition, holsters, slings, gun club memberships, and all the other items folks could use to determine your ownership of a firearm, with a credit card ; - )

Gun Stores and Pawn Shops
Another place to sell your firearms is at the local gun dealers or pawn shops. You walk in, place your firearm on the counter and ask; "How Much?" Needless to say, they are going to resale it, so you will get the wholesale price, unless they're ripping you off.

You can also trade your firearm for something the gun store carries or can order for you. Of course, you trade at 'wholesale' prices and buy at 'retail' prices, usually taking a hit in the wallet both ways.

Hey, ... The gun store has to make a profit, right?

Speaking of trading, you can do the same thing with your family, friends, and coworkers. Trade one gun for another, just remember your objectives. Standard firearms for you and your family, so you're prepared to defend yourselves during an event.

So far, I have spoken about getting cash for your guns to purchase a family or group standard firearm.

But, ... What happens when you die?

First, hopefully, you live a long and fruitful life, so you can 'give' your children and grandchildren 'their' guns as they leave home to start their families.

But, ... If that doesn't happen, I want you to remember one thing.

No Paperwork
As far as I know, you don't have to list firearms on any will or other paperwork when you die (Remember, it might be different for your state of residency), so your family could receive paperless firearms from you.

All you need to do is make sure your partner and children know who gets what.

Simple! Right?

Of course, you'll have to divide the ammunition, cleaning supplies, kit, and other assorted firearms related stuff, too ; - )

Potential Problems
Some of us have unsupportive spouses or we have a gun hobby, so our family doesn't know the retail value of our firearms. Because of this, we will need to leave information for them. It can be as simple as a tag, tied to the weapon, with the purchase price and an estimated value or as complicated as a 'bound book' like the FFL with serial numbers, location, make, model, purchase price, estimated value with a date, and other information.

So, ... when the weapons are sold, our families have a general idea of their value.

You might also want to include, in pen, a note for who gets what in your book, so there is no question when you die.

Trust me, I have gone through the inheritance dance a couple of times; it can be chaotic to say the least, and down right medieval at the worst.

I thought Shakespeare was bad.

My dad's will was a mess. Add four brothers and sisters, a 'Trophy' wife, and a few step-kids, I was lucky to get out of it with what I already had, the .22 rifle my dad taught me to shoot with and a few pictures.

Mapquest - Cache, Utah

GunsAmerica - General Selling Terms and Conditions

GunBroker - Seller Tutorial

If you were wondering, Cache, UT is my hometown ; - )

9 January 2015 (Three Firearms, Part Six)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
J.C.H. Grabill

One Cartridge, Two Firearms
For most preppers and their family, you need to purchase a handgun then a rifle. The handgun (I suggest a .357 magnum revolver) is one caliber, usually .357 magnum, 9mm, .40 caliber, or .45ACP while the rifle is another caliber (I suggest a SKS rifle) like 5.56mm, 7.62X39, or 7.62 NATO.

But, ... For some preppers, usually urban preppers, you might want to save money and purchase a rifle or carbine (short rifle) in the same caliber as your family's handgun. I call this "The Cowboy" option.

In this option, you and your family purchase a .357 magnum revolver. Your second gun is a lever-action carbine in ... you guessed it, .357 magnum.

Of course, in this option, you're going to be looking for something like a Marlin 1894C that shoots .357 magnum/.38 special and a revolver, say a Ruger SP 101.

For other families, you have already settled on using a 9mm pistol, deciding to purchase a Glock or other semi-auto pistol. Since pistols use specific magazine, you and your family are going to be limited in your carbine choices.

The first carbine is the Kel-Tec SUB-2000. The 9mm version can use either Glock 17 or Glock 19, Smith &Wesson 59, the Beretta 92,  or the Sig Sauer 226 magazines. The .40 caliber version can use either the Glock 22 or Glock 23, the Beretta 96, Smith &Wesson 4006 or the Sig Sauer 226 in .40 caliber magazines.

If you're going to do this, my suggestion is to purchase a Glock 19 and a SUB-2000 that uses Glock 19 magazines. This will give you the option of also using Glock 17 magazines, Glock 19 magazines, and the 33 round Glock 'Happy Stick' magazine.

If you screw up and purchase a SUB-2000 that uses Glock 17 magazines, you won't be able to use the Glock 19 magazines. It's the same principles as the pistol magazines.

For other families, especially on a budget, another option is the Hi-Point pistol and carbine. Yes, they are ugly, but the pistol and carbine are inexpensive. Plus, the full-size 9mm (not C9) pistol, .40 caliber, and .45 ACP magazines will work in the carbine of the same caliber.

Another similar option is from Beretta. The PX 4 Storm pistol and the CX 4 Storm carbine can use the same of magazines. Needless to say, it's a more expensive option.

As always, my brothers and I talked about these options, and we discounted a lot of them because we live out in the suburbs. First, the pistol caliber carbine has limited range. Yes, it's a longer range then the pistol, but not as long as a rifle caliber. Second, when you start pricing them, only the lever-action rifle and the Kel-Tec SUB-200 make financial sense when compared to a SKS rifle and revolver combination. Lastly, only the revolver and lever-action carbine get around the 'evil' black rifle look that might prevent you and your family from owning an AR-15, SKS, or AK-47.

Lastly, ... For you folks living in distant lands, you might look into purchasing a lever-action carbine and a revolver in 45 Long Colt. The cartridge was developed and used by these United States military around 1873, so it is no longer a modern round. Possibly legal in your home country and the 45 Long Colt is still a man stopper.

Link: Winchester Model 94 Ranger Compact .357 magnum

The Survivalist Blog: JSW - Taurus .357 Magnum Lever-Action Rifle Review: What You Should Know, Before You Buy

Best Nines - 9mm Carbines and Grease Guns

16 January 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Love Krittaya

Sorry folks. I am visiting my family, so you will have to settle for the archives.

GSIEP - Fridays: A Collection of Previous Posts 2013

GSIEP - Fridays: A Collection of Previous Posts 2012

There is a lot of information in these two collections.

So, ... Make sure you have a notebook handy.

23 January 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Steve Evans

I hate the National Rifle Association, too.
I hate how over 4,000,000 people have come together to prevent Liberals, Nazis, Communists, Socialists, Democrats, Statists, Republicans, and other Do-Gooders from prohibiting people like Gays, Blacks, Women, Latinos, Irish, Domestic Violence victims, Jews, Slavs, and many others from exercising their rights protected under the Constitution of these United States.

I  hate how the N.R.A doesn't lose sight that firearms are tools, used by police officers, soldiers, citizens, and documented visitors to this country to protect themselves and their families from criminals.

I hate how the N.R.A. helps to protect hunters, target shooters, collectors, and others from unnecessary and burdensome regulations.

I hate how the N.R.A promotes large, medium, and small business that provide hundreds, if not thousands, of skilled and unskilled jobs nationally and internationally.

Lastly, I hate how the N.R.A has spawn hundreds of organizations that help protect our rights locally and nationally, teach our children, partners, and ourselves how to safely use firearms, and has become a model for our international brothers and sisters to expand their god-given rights under oppressive regimes.

Everybody in these United States has the right to their views, but they don't need to be supported for them.

So, ... If you disagree with Mr. Bryant Gumble, you might want to contact his employer and the employer's sponsors and let them know your views.

Lastly, ... Ignore Micheal Moore. He's just trying to stay relevant.

24 January 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

provided by
Wilhelmina von Hallwyl

Getting Dressed
Katniss and I have been considering obtaining our concealed carry permits for a couple of years. We never got them, usually because we live in a safe place, don't have violent acquaintances, and other reasons (financial). With the recent difficulties in Ferguson, Missouri; Paris, France; and others, Katniss and I have been seriously considering it again.

So, ... That has led to some thoughts about wardrobe.

Before I continue, I need for you to understand. We don't have a lot of money, so we aren't going to have a pistol or revolver for every occasion. We have other priorities (have to enjoy life as we, you and your family, are getting prepared) new mattresses, short trips, school tuition, saving for retirement, and ... You know because your family is doing the same thing.

With that said, there are folks out there that advocate for not dressing for your concealed carry weapon (CCW). According to them, you and your family choose a CCW depending on what you wear. Like I said, I don't have the money for three different pistols or revolvers.

Needless to say, cooler weather makes it easy to wear your concealed carry weapon. A light jacket easily covers a 2 to 4 inch barreled .357 magnum revolver, Glock 19, or similar weapon in a holster.

Cold weather has it's drawback though. Zippers, buttons, and long coats or jackets will slow drawing the CCW. Let's not get started on hot weather. Unless, you like Hawaiian shirts.

Of course, more research is needed by both me and Katniss.

Atomic Bombs, Close Air Support, Artillery, Mortars, Machine Guns, Rifles, Pistols, Knives, Improvised Weapons, then Hand-to-Hand, in That Order
Uncle, over at Say Uncle, brought up a point about the recent assault of a person legally carrying a concealed weapon that I would like you to consider.

The advice: also carry a small folding knife that you can open one-handed because if you're in a scuffle because you might not be able to get to your gun.

30 January 2015 (Selecting a Water Container)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograpg by
Tom Dawson

I apologize
We had a shift change at work, and I have been doing something else.

So, ... If you see this message, I am working on it, right now.

Selecting Water Container

photograph by
Lynn B
The ultimate water storage container is a stainless steel tank. These containers are rugged, light-resistant, and easy to clean in larger sizes. Plus, stainless steel is inert (it won't react with the water)

The downside?

It is heavy and expensive, and stainless steel will rust.

The next best container is the aluminum tank. Like stainless steel, aluminum is rugged, light-resistant, and easy to clean. Aluminum tanks are also lightweight, compared to stainless steel tanks.

But, ... There is one or two problems with aluminum tanks. First, they are expensive. Second, some folks believe (no science yet. it's hard to feed a human a lot of aluminum then cut their brain out, while the person is alive) using aluminum pots and pans causes Alzheimer or other types of onset dementia.

photograph by
SSG Carol A. Lehman
There is good news. These tanks are available on the commercial and military surplus market. These surplus tanks come in various sizes (a few hundred to a couple of thousands of gallons) Lastly, these tanks are cheap, compared to new prices.

But, ... There are some problems with these surplus tanks.

First, these tanks, usually from the military, may use a nonstandard or unique fitting to connect discharge holes or multiple tanks together. Second, you truly don't know what has been stored in a surplus tank and how the tank has been handled. Lastly, some of these surplus military tanks are made out of fiberglass.

Now, fiberglass is a great material to use to manufacture tanks. Fiberglass tanks are rugged, protect the water from sunlight, and are lightweight, similar to metal tanks.

But, ... Fiberglass tanks will degrade when exposed to sunlight (it takes a few years or decades, especially when the tank is painted) Not a big deal, if your family has a covered and protected spot for the fiberglass tank.

I have to go, but you can come back tomorrow (really today) and I talk more about the 'less than prefect' water storage containers.

Someone You Know is the author of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead, also at Barnes and Nobles

31 January 2015 (Selecting a Water Container)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by

Yesterday, I talked about surplus commercial and military water tanks; you and your family may be able to purchase. Needless to say, these stainless steel, aluminum, and fiberglass water tanks are perfect for water storage, if they are protected from the elements, especially sunlight for the fiberglass tanks.


photograph by
Photographer’s Mate Airman Jeremy L. Grisham
Another type of surplus military water storage container, you and your family may encounter are large water bladders. These former military bladders are made of rubber with a tough (canvas) outer cover. They run in size from about 500 gallons to thousands of gallons.

There are also smaller, personal sized bladders, usually made from plastic or rubber.

But, ... These surplus tanks and water bladders are kind'a hit or miss. Sometimes, these tanks and bladders are easily found. Sometimes, they are impossible to find : - (

Less Than Perfect Containers
For new water storage containers, you and your family will need to look at the containers manufactured from plastic, #1 (PETE) and #2 (HDPE) recycle code. Water storage containers made from these plastics will need to be protected from freezing, sunlight, and vermin such as rats and mice. You can find them online and at your local Farm and Home store.

photograph by
E. Dusingizumuremyi
Large tanks will come in a variety of sizes and colors. The translucent tanks, kind'a easy to see into, are easy to determine, if they are full. Sometimes the darker plastic tanks will have a long vertical, translucent spot to see the water level. You can also determine how full a large container is by tapping on it. A deeper thud is water while a hollow sound is air.

Cost wise? You're talking about 75¢ a gallon, more or less. Don't forget shipping, if you're not purchasing locally.

At $300 to $750, these large tanks may be out of reach, financially and logistically, for most preppers, so let's look at smaller barrels.

5, 15, 30, and 55 Gallons
New and used #2 plastic barrels are available from several sources, locally and on the internet. Locally, the used barrels have usually held various liquids, such as soda syrup, alcohol, or chemicals. Needless to say, you will want to avoid barrels that have held a dangerous or unknown chemical.

New barrels can be found in various colors, usually blue or a translucent white. I have bought my family's barrels from US Plastic, in Lima, Ohio. They have 5 gallon, 15 gallon, 30 gallon, and 55 gallon. Needless to say prices have increased since I purchased our barrels. Emergency Essentials is having a sale, don't know how long it will last, on their water barrels, 55 gallon, 30 gallon, 15 gallon, and 5 gallon.

Either way, all of these methods are expensive, increasing your family's cost for water. Tomorrow, I will write about the most inexpensive method of storing water, and probably the best method too.

Someone You Know is the author of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead, also at Barnes and Nobles, a practical book on prepping.

1 February 2015 (Selecting a Water Container)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
MCCS Spike Call

Yesterday, I wrote about some of the most expensive methods of storing water, water barrels.

Today, I will cover probably the best method for preppers to store water.

But, ... Before I begin, I would like to cover another expensive water storage container and a unique emergency water storage bladder.

Water Bricks
These containers arrived on the prepper scene a few years ago. They were touted as the ultimate method of storing water for you and your family.

Needless to say, ... Ouch!!! At almost $190 to store 35 gallons of water, they are expensive.

Jodi and Julie, at Food Storage Made Easy, might have the cheapest prices on these products.

AquaPod Emergency Water Storage Kit
The concept for this product has been around as long as bathtubs. Heck, my father (a nuclear war survivalist) taught me this trick when we lived on the east coast and a hurricane was headed our way.

He washed the bathtub, disinfected with a wipe down using a paper towel soaked with bleach, filled the bathtub with water, added a little bit more than a 1/4 cup of bleach to the water, then closed the shower curtain to protect the water.

At about $20, it's a little expensive for a one-time use product, but I believe, the AquaPod kit is a reasonable method of quickly storing water for an emergency, if you and your family don't have storage space for ....

The 'Best' Method for Storing Water
Probably the best method for storing water is reusing empty one and two liter soda (pop for you Northerners and coke for y'all in the South ; - ) bottles.

To use this method, have friends, family, and coworkers save one and two liter plastic soda bottles and their screw tops. Take the plastic bottles home, strip off the labels, and remove the bottles' screw top. Next, you're going to rinse the bottle and cap with tap water.

I do this by filling the bottle, about quarter way, with water, put the cap on and shake. Next, I remove the cap, turn the bottle upside down (over the sink) and shake some more. I do this a couple of times. Next, I rinse the screw cap with running tap water. Lastly, I place the bottle, upside down, in the dish rack and let drip dry. I place the screw cap upside down in the utensil basket to also drip dry.

After the bottles are dry, I rinse again (I'm weird like that) and fill with tap water. Cap the bottle and store in a cool, dry place like under a bed, in a hall closet, or in the basement.

I Respectfully Disagree
Needless to say, some folks are going to disagree with me about the 'best' method of storing water, so I'm going to explain.

First, most folks don't have the land, storage building, or space to store a 500 to 2,000 gallon stainless steel, aluminum, or fiberglass tank, much less the money.

Second,  a 55 gallon barrel, even at $80, cost you $1.45 per gallon and you haven't even stored any water. Don't forget shipping.

Third, a 55 gallon barrel weights more than 450 pounds when it is full. On the other hand, a small chld, not too small, can carry a one or two liter bottle full of water.

Lastly, some folks will disagree about using tap water for storage. They will say you and your family must add chlorine to the water for proper storage.

Since most municipalities chlorinate their water, there is little need to add chlorine, in the form of chlorine bleach, to your family's stored water.

But, ... What ever you do, make storing water a top priority in your preps.

Someone You Know is the author of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead, also at Barnes and Nobles, a practical book on prepping.

6 February 2015 (Apartment Prepping)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by

Since I live in an apartment, away from my family, I will be sharing some of my thought on apartment prepping.

First Things, First
Folks, if you live in an apartment, you're not going to survive the apocalypse. There is not enough room for all the supplies and other 'stuff' you and your family are going to need.

But, ... You will be able to survive a short term event.

With that out of the way, let us talk about insurance, renter's insurance.

Renter's Insurance
I don't carry renter's insurance because all of my stuff is from the local charity stores or I have minimal amounts of stuff. If the apartment building was to be totally gutted, I would probably lose less than $1.000 worth of stuff.

O.K. $1.500 worth of stuff. Plus, I keep a cache of stuff at work, like clothes, warm coat, polypro long johns, socks, water and food.

Now, some folks are going to have more stuff or expensive stuff, like televisions, multiple firearms, and newer furniture, so renter's insurance will help recoup a loss from a fire.

But, ... You need to have an inventory.

Trust me. When we had the barn fire, a couple years ago, the insurance company wanted a list of the stuff. We didn't have a good list, so we lost out on some of the insurance money.

Plus, if it gets bad enough, I'll hightail it back home with my ...

Emergency Evacuation Kit
After mounting fire/smoke detectors, probably the best single thing (after an emergency fund) a prepper can do is build an emergency evacuation kit (Bug Out Bag, BOB; I'm Not Coming Home, INCH; Get Home Bag, GHB; and ad nauseum). There are many resources out there; some unrealistic, some not.

Whatever you pack, pack a kit; warm clothes (stocking cap, gloves, coat, long johns, socks, walking shoes, extra clothes, and ...), a little bit of cash to pay for fuel (gas station may not take debit/credit cards), a source of heat (candle heater, warm blankets, or a quality sleeping bag), and ...

I can't say it enough. You and your family need to focus on storing water in your apartment. It only takes three to five days to die from dehydration.

So, ... How do I do it?

I don't have a lot of cash, so I use recycled one liter water bottles. The water bottles are delabeled, cleaned, and sanitized.

Once that's done, I fill with city tap water, cap, and place them in a nifty milk crate that I bought on sale.

You may notice: I saved the clear plastic protective caps, so the sippy part of the bottle stays clean.

You can also see that I only had eleven bottles, at the time of this picture. Since then, I have added the twelfth bottle to the water stash. Remember, prepping is a journey.

By now, some of y'all have done the math. twelve liters divided by 4 liters a day gives me ... That's right, three days worth of stored water.  I can easily store more by running down to the local grocery and buying a few cases.

But, ... My work would require me to show up, and they have lots of water. Plus, don't forget my work cache, another three days. (More about that later)

Of course, most new preppers make the mistake of focusing on 'Food and Water.'

Remember, most folks can survive weeks without food except for the old, young, nursing, pregnant, and ... everything I'm not.

But, ... I like eating, so I have a stash of food.

As you can see in this picture, I purchased medium-term food storage, canned foods. I am a 'food is food' kind'a guy, so I saved money buying store-brand foods.

Some of the cans have pull off tops, but some don't. So, ... I have an inexpensive can opener, too.

Next, all the canned food and the can opener goes in a box. That's it.

To rotate the food, I have a semi-planned food buying program. To do this, once every few months, I buy replacement food then take the 'old' food and replace it with the recently purchased food. I do this for a couple of reasons.

First, I have fresh food, if you can call canned food 'fresh,' for the longest shelf life. Next, I am able to rotate any food that I don't like. (come to find out, I don't like the store brand of stew. the potatoes are too mushy) Lastly, I can experiment to make sure that I really have enough food for three days.

When it comes to being prepared medically, I feel sort of prepared. I have band-aids, moleskin, triple antibiotic, and other first-aid supplies. The knowledge to improvise other equipment, as needed. Plus, I know where the local hospital is located.

But, ... I still feel only partially prepared, so more practice using techniques from the U.S. Army First-Aid Manual, FM 4-25.11

If you don't know by now, I have a .357 revolver with a couple of speed loaders beside the bed. I live in the unfree State of OPSEC, so I can't carry outside the apartment. (really, I'm saving up for a nice holster for the revolver, so I can carry it, concealed)

Of course, depending on where you live will determine what you can have.

After buying a smoke detector and installing it, I purchased a weather alert radio, new. Next, I followed up with a portable radio from the local charity store with a couple of backup batteries for each radio. These two radios provide all of the local, some national, and a little international news that I would need during an event.

As a side note: I recently got rid of the internet at the apartment. It was costing me $50 a month (really $25, since I have a roommate) that could be better spent on something else.

I found a 'free' bicycle. It needs two inner tubes to be good to go. To make it a get home bike, I need to purchase two tires and two foam inner tires. The bike will allow me to get to work, if the car takes a dive or is crushed during an earthquake.

By the way, the bicycle is stored by the front door, for a fast get away. 

I have an excess amount of clothing. I have four work 'uniforms' and about five pairs of regular clothes. I also have about four lightweight jackets, two or three serious coats, and some ploypro long johns.  Except for the polypro, socks, and my work uniforms, all of it is from the local charity stores.

To illustrate some of the deals, at the charity stores. I recently bought a L.L. Bean coat with wool liner for $10. I get jeans for $7, shirts for $4 to $5, and polypro jackets, usually 1/4 zip pullovers, for $6.

As you can see, I try to purchase rugged clothing. This insures I have clothes that will last a few days of hard work and no washing.

Now, some folks would say I'm crazy for buying cotton. It's rugged and warm when layered over polypro long johns (on sale at Cabela's).

Just Remember: Avoid Getting Wet.

Oooh, ... And wear a rain suit or surplus gortex jacket and pants with gortex sock, if it's going to rain.

The amount of information that I need is limited. I have a couple of maps from surrounding states, a battery operated radio, and the local library for the internet. Plus, a cellphone to call Katniss for any updates about an event.

Don't forget texting, too.

Needless to say, if you're living full time in an apartment, you're going to need account information, social security card, wills, your insurance agent's phone number, and a lot more.

Emergency Cash, Emergency Fund (in a local credit union), and a high limit credit card, just in case.

Power Production
My Landlady would be upset if I had ten gallons of kerosene and a heater with its spare wick in my room, so I plan to use an improvised flower pot heater for emergencies. For light? The old stand by, candles in an appropriate holder.

You did read this week's linkfest about candles? Didn't you?

I don't plan to get in a firefight, but I am planning to purchase a nice holster for my revolver. Plus, during longer-term events. I'm leaving for home.

Lastly, ...
For most event, you and your family are going to be fine because using a couple of techniques (I'll talk about next Friday), you will be able to easily stock two weeks worth of supplies for an event.

If you would like to learn more about prepping, you will be interested in the book Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead by yours truly ; - )

13 February 2015 (Apartment Prepping, Part Two)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photgraph by

Last week, I talked about approximately ten general areas; you and your family need to think about for apartment prepping and some of my solutions. Today, I'm going to discuss storing all of that stuff.

One of the first places, you may think about using for storing your family's supplies, are your family's closets. It's a good idea; however, you need be 'practical.'

First, don't go crazy, filling the closet. Remember, your family needs space for their clothes.

Second, place the supplies in boxes then label the boxes. This will allow your family to stack and track the supplies.

Of course, boxes of heavy canned food go on the bottom with lightweight and easily damaged items go on top.

Third, have a plan to rotate the items that will go 'bad,' such as canned food, bottled water, and triple antibiotic cream because, most of the time, these items are going to have a shelf life of a couple of years.

Yes, the can of food might say 'Expires by 8/2015' but we know that most food will last one or two years, beyond that date, if the can is kept in good shape. Yes, the water may taste 'flat.' But, ... if the bottled water is protected from sunlight and strong odors (bet you didn't know that ; - ), it will be good to drink (to get rid of the 'flat' taste, open the bottle, let a little air in, close the top and "Shake It, Shake it like a Polaroid Picture." ; - )

But, ... Tetracycline (Expired tetracycline can cause a dangerous syndrome resulting in damage to the kidneys) and other medical items will need to be disposed of after the expiration date.. Of course, you and your family will need to do some research.

Under the Bed
Depending on your resources, will determine how much space you and your family have under your beds. Let me explain.

I made a bed frame for the apartment. I built it using 2X12 and some plywood. This would allow a large quantity of boxes to be stored under the bed.

Of course, I added a 'secret' compartment to hold some money and guns; however, the secret compartment limits how much supplies I can store under the bed : - (

For folks that don't want to go through the hassle of building a bed (with a secret compartment) you can use a regular metal bed frame with short plastic boxes placed under the bed. Katniss and I do that at home for extra shoes, bedding, and other stuff.

You can find these plastic boxes at the local China-Mart. Just make sure to measure under the bed first. We ended up making two trips, one for the initial purchase and the second to return the first set of boxes and purchase another, different, set.

Of course, I'm trying to do this a cheaply as possible, so I have re-purposed some appropriately sized cardboard boxes. These boxes hold excess beauty items, like bodywash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dental floss, and what ever your family uses.

I also made two boxes out of excess plywood from the bed frame build. These wooden boxes hold candles (heat and light) and some sentimental items. (love notes from Katniss ; - )

Around the Apartment
Of course, there are other areas in the apartment to store your family's supplies. One of these is under tables.

When I moved into town, I sought out the local charity stores. I knew, if I waited long enough, I would find all kinds of useful stuff. Two of these items were matching side tables.

The side tables (end tables) allow me to store supplies, in plastic boxes. The plastic boxes can hold all types of supplies for your family, bulk food in mylar bags, medical supplies, or winter clothes when cold weather is over.

Speaking of winter.

Another method of storing supplies around the house is to use storage containers as furniture. I use this method to store winter blankets during warmer weather.

I do this by using a metal box, about the size of a coffee table. This metal box is covered by a floral pattern curtain used as a table cloth. It acts as camouflage, to hide the green box.

I am thinking about repainting to look like a wooden trunk. I'll see.

Add Storage Space
Another method is to add storage space.

An example is this picture of some shelves; someone else added to a closet. The shelves allow us to organize miscellaneous stuff. I would suggest, if you have the money, to place smaller items in baskets. Placing them in baskets helps to organize the items and increases the amount of stuff you can store on the shelves.

Another method is using existing storage spaces.

Usually, the 'nicer' apartments will have these storage lockers, in the the form of cages, in the basements or garages. If your family's apartment doesn't have these, you might be able to talk to the landlady about using part of the garage or basement.

Either way, try to be organized.

Oooh, ... Remember, OPSEC, OPSEC, and OPSEC

What Others Have Done
Now, some of y'all are going to try and prepare for a medium or longer term event, despite my warnings, and that's o.k.. You're thinking for yourself and that's good ; - )

Under the Bed
Some other folks have suggested using 5-gallon plastic buckets as the base for a bed. Add a properly sized sheet of plywood (to cover and protect the buckets) with a bed skirt to hide the buckets, and place the mattress on top of the plywood. Voilà, you and your family have enough storage space for about thirty buckets, under a queen sized bed. That is 750 to 1.050 pounds of food.

Be warned, check with your landlord because the apartment's floor may not be designed to hold all that weight in one place.

As Furniture
Some folks have suggested doing something like the metal box but using plastic buckets as furniture. Your family would take two or three buckets, stack them on top of each other, place a round or square piece of plywood on top the bucket, then cover with a large cloth. The cover should just barely touch the ground.

This stack would act as a corner table holding a decorative vase or other item, maybe a weather alert radio ; - )

Another, as furniture, method is using similarly sized and stacked boxes, covered with a table cloth. Just like the buckets. This 'table' could be used as a coffee table, side table, or as a table behind the couch (between the wall and couch). All you would need to do is add a piece of appropriately sized plywood to cover the top of the boxes to safely place items on the stacked boxes.

Furniture as Storage

photograph by
Lastly, I was looking for a picture, and I found this.

Needless to say, you and your partner need to talk about the style of these storage solutions, the compromises you're willing to make, and other family issues.

P.S. You may need to go to the link to see the items, under the kitchen table.

Lastly, ...
That's it. If you would like to know more about preparing for a wide range of potential disasters, you will be interested in purchasing a copy of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead

20 Febraury 2015 (Apartment Prepping, Part Three)

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Lewis Hine

Last week, I showed you some of the solutions that I have used to store supplies for an event, in my apartment. I even suggested some ideas from other preppers.

Today, I am going to talk about some issues with apartment prepping.

I Was Wrong
As I said earlier, you and your family can't survive a long-term event in an apartment. There is just too much stuff you need to survive, one, two, or five years.

If, ... it is a rare and extreme event similar to the events in Walking Dead.

Now, ... If we (you and your family) are more realistic and you're planning for an economic collapse, then surviving in an apartment might be doable. You will just have to be realistic.

First, your landlord may increase the rent, so you need an emergency fund. Or, ... Be prepared to move when lease renewal time comes around.

Second, have a quality water filter such as the Berkey or Katadyn. You can save money by buying several replacement filters and improvising a "Home-Made Filter" either brand of filter will work.

Because, cities and towns will have to cut their budget, and one way to do that might be water quality.

Third, have an extensive food supply, using buckets for furniture, that you only used during an emergency such as a labor strike, civil disturbance, or other disruption. Your family also needs to start your own garden and make contact with other folks that produce food.

Why? Folks need food and food will be scarce or the money to buy food will be scarce.

Fourth, have an extra supply of needed medication like blood pressure, blood thinner, and insulin. This 'extra' medication is used just like your stored food, only during an emergency.

Fifth, you guessed it. Have a handgun, holster, and some speed strips or speed loaders. Don't forget the ammo, semi-jacketed hollow points.

For you folks with pistols, you need extra magazines, too

I could go on listing the needed supplies, but that's the reason why you bought the e-book Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead ; - )     (Smashwords) (Barnes and Nobles), so you and your family could make informed decisions about your preps.

Lastly, during an economic event, especially living in an apartment, you and your family are going to adapt the strategy of always maintaining enough money, water, food, medicine, and other items, so when the event happens, you have a full pantry.

Real quick, let me explain.

Say you have decided to store 150 pounds of various dried beans and 500 pounds of long grain white rice in plastic buckets. This stored food is never eaten. Your family always eats what is available from the local market or grocery store. This stored food is only used when no other food is available giving you and your family the maximum amount of food for the event.

I made a Mistake
You don't hear this from many folks writing about prepping, but I made a mistake. I didn't mention storing items 'offsite' in storage lockers. These lockers are used by most families to hold excess furniture, clothing, and ... broken, worn out, wasting money paying storage fees, junk.

Needless to say, you can use this to your advantage by piling useless, worn out stuff in front of your extra blankets, extra clothing, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene supplies, and ... long-term food storage (If it's a climate controlled facility)

Remember, the landlords creed: If you can't drive by the rental property every day, don't buy it. 'Cause, the tenants will trash the place and skip out on the rent.

Or, ... In this case, someone may steal your stuff.

Next Up
You need a place to run to, preferably a place with more land, so you can plant a garden, have a wood stove (heating and cooking), and other things you can't have in your apartment.

This place doesn't need to be owned by your family. It could be owned by a friend or a group of families, such as a club. It could be something similar to Great Britain's allotments or Russia's dachas, allowing you and your family the ability to grow some of your family's food.

Another idea, you and your family could 'double up' or 'triple up' by moving in with your brother-in-law, mom and dad, or close friend. Yes, it would be difficult, but you're trying to survive.

It's Been Done
Many families have and are currently surviving living in an apartment..

So, ... Don't feel like you and your family have to own a rural retreat.

Lastly, ...
I have to go, so come back for more suggestion on how to survive the coming tough times.

Oh, ... purchase a copy of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead (Smashwords) (Barnes and Nobles)

27 February 2015 (Firearm's Magazines)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Joan E. Kretschmer

Magazines for semiautomatic pistols and rifles are fragile, so you and your family will need at least five magazines for a pistol and ten magazines for a semiautomatic rifle.

It would be better to have ten magazines for each of your family's pistols and twenty for each semiautomatic rifle.

At $20 per pistol magazine and at least $10 for an AR-15 rifle magazine, now you know one of the reasons why I suggest a .357 magnum revolver and the SKS rifle in Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead for your family.

With that said.

Parts of a Magazine
There are basically four parts to a magazine.

From top to bottom, the magazine follower, the magazine spring, and the magazine floor plate.

The magazine follower and the magazine spring insert into the magazine body (left) and the magazine floor plate slides onto the bottom of the magazine holding all of the magazine's parts together.

The magazine follower supports the cartridge while the magazine spring provides tension to hold the cartridge in place and push another cartridge 'up.'

The magazine floor plate holds everything in the magazine body.

Simple. Yes?

But, ... Then there is ...

The Law
Depending on where you live will determine the capacity of magazines you may legally purchase and possess. There are serious penalties for failing to comply with these laws.

But, ... You may be able to legally own 'repair parts' for magazines; you can't legally own.

Let me explain.

If you go to Brownells and search for "magazine body" (30 round) (20 round), you can purchase a repair magazine body. The same goes for replacement magazine springs (30 round), repair magazine floor plates (both capacities), and replacement magazine followers (both capacities). These repair and replacement parts would be used to repair your existing magazines, increasing their service life.

Now, let me warn you. If you live in a state that prohibits your freedom to own standard capacity magazines, you can't assembly these repair parts into a magazine, depending on the law. You may even have to store the repair parts in separate containers.

Needless to say, if you go this route, you, your partner, friends, and other family members need to be registered to vote.Talking to others about these repressive laws and the politicians that support them. Making sure you vote on election day.

And, ...

Supporting groups that are challenging these oppressive laws, such as the Second Amendment Foundation.

Lastly, ...
Tomorrow, I have another article about ... Magazines

28 February 2015 (AR-15 Magazines)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
United States Military

Before I begin today's article, I need to remind you: Without magazines, a semi-automatic rifle is a single shot rifle.

So, ... Stock up!

With that said, .. Let us begin.

photograph by
The M-16 rifle has been produced for over fifty years, same for the magazine. At first, the rifle was introduced with a 20-round magazine manufactured from stamped aluminum with a metal follower. A 30-round magazine with a plastic follower was later manufactured to provide higher capacity for the rifle.

Both sizes of magazine are still available from several sources.

But, ...  There were problems with the early magazines' reliability. It seemed the original follower would 'jam' or 'tilt' causing the rifle to malfunction.

These United States military developed a solution. They added a front 'leg' to the follower.

Like any good improvement, more followed.

These United States' military quickly learned that one 'leg' wasn't enough, so they added a second rear leg and improved the spring by making it heavier and more corrosion resistant. Needless to say, you can quickly tell each improvement by looking at the color of the magazine follower.

Black, Green, Tan, and ... Yellow
Originally, I was going to highlight each magazine follower with individual pictures. As you can see, it didn't happen.

So, ...

From left to right, a black magazine follower from an Adventureline magazine purchased around 1985. Center is a green magazine follower from a Parsons Precision Products magazine purchased early 2000s. Right is a yellow Magpul magazine follower purchased around 2012.

As you can see from the picture, I don't have an example of the military's 'new' tan magazine follower because I'm not in the military anymore ; - )

With that gleefully said, ... Here is a picture with different views of the various magazine followers.

As you can see, again, the magazine follower has been improved over the years increasing its reliability for combat.

But, ...What about for you, the prepper?

First, the black magazine followers should be replaced immediately with improved followers.

 Second, magazines with green followers are still serviceable (usable). They should still be used by you and your family.

Lastly, 20 and 30-round magazines with tan military or yellow (now in 'foliage green,' too) aftermarket magazine followers should be purchased in the future.

If you're like me, and bought a lot of magazines when they were inexpensive, you can purchase Magpul followers from several sources. (Brownells) (Midway USA)

Wikipedia - M-16 Rifle: Magazine

PEO Soldier Live - Army’s Improved Magazine Increases Weapons Reliability: “Tan is the Plan” for the New Magazine

Triangle - AR-15 Magazine Followers: Magpul vs. Brownells' USGI Tan

Midway USA - MagPul Enhanced Self Leveling Magazine Follower AR-15 Polymer Package of 3

Not Part of the Narrative
As always, some of the pictures didn't fit the articles.

Three sets of magazines with each color of follower installed in the magazines.

As you can see, the color of the magazine follower is easy to identify while it is still installed in the magazine.

Magazines with magazine spring and magazine follower removed. The magazine floor plate is to the right of each magazine.

Approximately 24 obsolete black magazine followers removed from magazines I purchased in the mid-80s.

They were replaced with yellow Magpul enhanced self-leveling magazine followers that I received as Christ's Mass gifts.

After replacement, these obsolete followers were thrown in the trash because they are less then useless. They are dangerous.

O.K. That's a little hyperbole, but you get the point. Right?

I forgot to mention, yesterday. You might want to stock up on a few extra magazine springs "If" you're planning for a longer-term event.

Say, ... one spare magazine spring per magazine that you own and one magazine floor plate for every five magazines you own.

Almost lastly, if you plan to buy magazine bodies, you might as well buy complete magazines with spare springs and floor plates.

Lastly, if you replace the improved green followers with the 'new' improved enhanced anti-tilt follower, you might want to save the green followers as spares ; - )

1 March 2015 (AR-15 Magazines, Part Two)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Photographer's Mate 3rd Class
John E. Woods

One Video
First up is a quick and informative video on disassembling a magazine. I would like to point out two things. First, the gentleman does a great job of removing the floor plate. Second, as you can see removing a green magazine follower is a pain.

My suggestion: don't replace a green magazine follower. They are still 'good.'

YouTube: John Miron - How to Disassemble Ar15 M16 Magazines.

Two Videos
The second video is also quick and informative with a little more detail then the first one.

Now, ... I have two problems with this video. First, use a bigger tool like a screwdriver, cleaning rod, or a rifle cartridge to remove the floor plate. It's safer. Second, try not to bend the floor plate.

YouTube: Anidac Productions - AR-15 Magazine Disassembly

Three Videos
A little longer video then the first two. Like the others, a very good video. The presenter also illustrates the tilting problem with the older followers

YouTube: NeverEnuffAmmo - AR15 Magazine Maintenance & Disassembly

One More Video
This is a great video. Plus, it illustrates how to clean your firearms' magazines.

Needless to say, you don't want to dry your polymer magazines in the oven. I also suggest you don't wrap the magazines in a paper towel when you're drying them, in the oven.

Lastly, the dry film is sprayed on the inside of the magazine and the magazine body is painted in a camouflage pattern that blends in with your area of the world.

nsz85 - USGI Mag Refinish to LIKE NEW!

6 March 2015 (Learning From the Comics Section)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists, 

Anti-Freedom (Gun Control)

There are people that believe they have the solutions to all of our problems. All we have to do is give them the power to implement their ideas.

But, ... These people forget that they only disarm the law abiding. The criminals will keep their firearms or steal them from the police and military.

Then there are people that believe they must eliminate others to have their ideal society.

Remember! Whether they're ideas are benevolent or malevolent, it is always about control.

It Happen There

Germany, Russia, China, Rwanda, Cambodia, The Republic of Congo, Mexico, Armenia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and ... many others 

It Can't Happen Here

But, ... It has

More than once, so we must ...

Resist as a Country

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, ..

Is necessary to defeat enemies, ... Foreign

And, ... Domestic

Resist as an Individual

... the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

First, the soap box, ballot box, jury box then the ...

Bullet Box

Always Remember

13 March 2015 (Harvesting Rain)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists

photograph by
Petty Officer 1st Class
Jonathan Carmichael, U.S. Navy

These last few weeks, I have been focusing on firearms for you and your family, while important, they aren't as important as water for your family's survival.

Short Term
Water is easy to obtain, here in these United States. You drive down to the local grocery store and purchase a case of bottled water for everyone in the family.

If you need to save money, your family can use former soda bottles filled with tap water. Just rinse with tap water then fill.

Another short-term method for storing water is purchasing commercial water containers. These can be found at local retailers, like the China-Marts, sporting goods, or farm and home stores.

A third, or is the fourth, method is purchasing water barrels. They range in size from five gallons (similar to water containers) to Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC totes) that hold up to 550 gallons.

Just like the former soda bottles, these containers can be pre-owned.

A word of warning before I continue. All of these containers need to be protected from sunlight, to prevent degrading the container or allowing algae to grow in the stored water. Your family also needs to protect the stored water from strong odors. Lastly, pre-owned containers need to have had only contained food grade items like soda syrup, water, or ... something humans can ingest.

All of the previously mentioned methods will last as long as your stored water does. But, ... once the water runs out, it will need to be replaced.

Your family can do this several ways. First, you and your family can refill your containers using tap water "If" it comes back on. You may need to purchase a base camp filter (Katadyn, Berkey, AquaRain, or others) to filter the tap water because the city is producing less than adequate water.

Second, your family can collect water from surface features such as lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and even pools of water (not swimming pools). This water will need to be treated with a base camp or portable water filter and treated with chlorine; more about that, much later.

Third, you can take the replacement water out of the ground, but water wells need to be dug before the event or crisis. To do this, you can hand dig a well, use a machine, have someone else drill the well, or ... some other method I don't know about ; - )

Another method is getting water from the sky. Yes, rain!

And, ... That's what this article is really about.

University of Hawaii - Brochures: Rainwater Catchment Solutions Series

University of Hawaii - Guidelines on Rainwater Catchment Systems for Hawai`i

University of Hawaii - Other Guidelines & Rainwater Information

There are a lot of resources in the last link (but, ... don't ignore the first two). One I would like to highlight is ...

University of Hawaii - The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting, 3rd edition

If you would like to learn more about storing water and other needed items for an event, I suggest purchasing Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead (Smashwords) (Barnes and Nobles)

14 March 2015 (The Fallacy of the Sheep Dog)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

Queensland State Archives

Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves
According to the story, sheep are soft, cuddly, gentle, cute, productive animals that can not hurt anyone, not even children. They graze in fertile fields unaware of the dangers facing them.

Sheepdogs are the protectors of the flock. They patrol the field, sniff around its border, and protect the sheep, sometimes with their lives.

Wolves, to put it simply, prey on the sheep.

The Truth
In reality, sheep are fighters. Rams (male sheep) can and will kill wolves. They are adequately armed with massive horns, quick reflexes, and tough hooves.

Ewes (adult female sheep) will herd their young into the middle of a protective circle with the ewes on the outside, when threatened. The ewes will use their quick reflexes and tough hooves to injure or kill the attackers, driving them off.

Both, ewes and rams, will sacrifice themselves for their young and the flock, if necessary.

Lastly, the flock has been altered. The ram has been eliminated, or his responsibilities have been reduced. The ewes have been breed for compliance and herded together in large groups making natural defense difficult.

The reality of the sheepdog is also slightly different. A working sheepdog looks like he or she is working independently, but they are under constant supervision and correction.

Sheepdogs also take years of training, and the training failures are sent to nice homes to be admired by young children and families. If a sheepdog ever injures or kills a member of the flock, they are immediately put down before they can do it again.

Wolves are maligned in this story. They are portrayed as vicious killers of the flock. Though true, wolves are also protectors of their young. Older wolves will bring food to their young, sometimes doing without, so the pups will survive during lean times.

Wolves will also protect each other. In some instances, an individual wolf may give its life to protect another member of the pack, when the pack is attacked.

Wolf packs will also take care of their old and weak, to a certain degree.

Lastly, wolves serve a function in the wilderness. They eliminate the slow, weak, critically injured, untended old, deformed animals, and ... insuring a thriving ecosystem.

The Story's Real Lessons
As you can see the reality of the sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves is more complicated then the story.

The story's first lesson is that each of us, all men and women, need to have the most effective means available to protect ourselves, our families, and others if needed. In other words, handguns with defensive ammunition, standard capacity magazines, and holsters to carry them concealed, everywhere.

It also means rifles with ammunition that will defeat body armour, standard capacity magazines (appropriate for the rifle), and convenient shooting ranges to practice our skills.

The second lesson, we (the flock, pack, herd, or family) are responsible for our defense. This task can not be contracted out because the sheepdogs may turn on us, with deadly consequences.

Its last lesson? We, as a people, need to look past the one-liners, the feel good stories, and the simple explanations to determine the situation's reality because they are usually just ... stories.

Killology Research Group - On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs (from the book, On Combat, by Dave Grossman)

If you and your family want to look past the simple story of surviving the uncertain events ahead, you might be interested in the e-book Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead. (Smashwords) (Barnes and Noble)

20 March 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

Library of Congress

Data Breach
It seems my social security number was compromised in a recent data breach.

I found out from the Internal Revenue Service when they sent me a letter asking for more information. A Form 1040, I haven't sent yet.

So, ...

Telephone calls, letters, and police reports, and other things to do, instead of write.

So, ... Come back in a few days.

21 March 2015

The Fallacy of Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Dave Page

I Apologize
Originally, I was going to lay out what I thought was wrong with the book, but I decided to see "if" I could write some fiction for you from each chapter.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse
A group of college friends form a group that over the years purchases a rural retreat and stocks it with supplies to survive an event. After many years, the collapse happens causing the friends to implement their plans.

After the collapse, other world governments invade these United States. The group resists these efforts by leaving their retreat (after an attack) and fighting the invaders and their quislings.

The Truth

'The Crunch'

As the banking situation worsen, each state reacted differently. In Missouri, the Governor knew rioting might start because of the recent troubles in Ferguson, so he quickly activated the National Guard.

E Company, 5th Battalion 138th Infantry Regiment
(Missouri National Guard) 

Knock, knock "Excuse me, captain."

"What is it First Sargent?"

"It seems, we have a couple men missing, ma'am"

"How many?"

"About two dozen, captain"

"How many local and how many out of state, First Sargent?"

"Sixteen are local, within the four counties, another six are within Missouri's borders, and three are out of state, ma'am"

"O.K. First Sargent. I want you to round up the platoon leaders and the platoon sergeants for a meeting in thirty minutes, then tell the armorer to get the arms room open. After that, have the supply Sargent go get us two cans of 9mm and a case of 5.56. Hooah?"

"Hooah, Captain!"

"Next, First Sargent. I want you to get the missing men's phone numbers, including their emergency contact info for the meeting. Hooah?

"Hooah, ma'am."

"Lastly, do you know if we're the only ones with this 'situation,' First Sargent?"

"No, ma'am." ... "I mean yes, ma'am. We're not the only ones with missing soldiers. We just happen to have the least amount gone off the reservation."

"Thanks, First Sargent. That will be all."

Twenty-Five Minutes Later

Knock, knock "Excuse me, Captain. The LTs and Platoon Sergeants are here"

"Tell 'em to come in First Sargent."

As the crowd entered her office, Captain Alisha Smith nodded to her Lieutenants and Platoon Sergeants. When the last one entered, the company's First Sargent closed the door.

Glaring at her leadership team, she shouted "What the fuck?"

Everybody jumped and her Lieutenants started trying to answer her all at once.

Talking over each other, with the NCOs smiling, she heard:

"Some are having trouble getting fuel for the trip, ma'am"

"A couple of them want to bring their wives and kids, Captain"

"One soldier's boss won't let him go, or he'll be fired, ma'am"

And, on it went for another minute.

Raising her hand to silence the LTs, she asked "Did any of you explain to them their commitment? How they're letting down their squad, platoon, and ... the Company?"

Looking dejected, all of her Platoon Leaders looked at their shoes while the Platoon Sergeants looked towards the First Sargent.

"O.K, guys and gals. We are going to have to do better. First, Platoon Sergeants, I want you to get your squad leaders to call their men. I don't care what it takes to get them in here. If you have to provide some cash for gas, do it.  If you have to tell them to bring their wives and kids, do that too. Same goes for threats, tell them anything you want just get their asses in here! And, if you have to, you can tell them, I will hunt them down and shot their asses for deserting us!"

Calming herself, Captain Smith said "Next, I want the LTs to get directions to the local soldiers homes. You know the deal, two routes in and three routes out."

Next, Platoon Sergeants, get four pickups from your troops, big ones, crew cabs would be best then have the owner, if they're calm enough, get dressed in civies. If they're not, find another driver. Now, here's going to be the hard part.

I want you to find their 'best' friend in the unit. This person is going to go with the LTs to their house. These folks are going to convince them to come with you. Like I said earlier, no matter what you say to them; get their asses here."

"Hooah?" She asked.

They all said "Hooah" back.

Then the First Sargent raised his hand. "Ma'am, I have a couple questions."

"Yes, First Sargent?"

"Fuel for the trucks?"

Looking at the First Sargent, she smiled "Thanks. I forgot about that." Pausing, she then said "Have the supply Sergeant get the paperwork to draw 100 gallons of mogas for the trucks. Hooah?"

"Hooah, ma'am."

"Next question, what about the ammo?"

The room got quiet as she looked around the room, then their Captain replied "That's for the pistols, you'll be taking with you"

That was when, they knew she was serious about getting everyone to report for the call up assignment.

Smiling to relieve the seriousness, she said "O.K, everybody out of my office and get to work getting our soldiers in here. If you have any questions, just like always, see the First Sargent and Executive Officer 'cause I'll be busy"

As everyone filed out, the last one to leave was the First Sargent. Looking at her, the First Sargent asked "Last question. What about the families?"

"I don't know First Sargent. Me, you and the XO are going to have to talk about that."

"O.K., Captain" he replied as he left the room.

Two hours later

Another knock with the First Sargent saying "Ma'am, battalion called. They said the Colonel is back from the Brigade Commander's briefing. It will start in 20 minutes"

"Thanks, First Sargent" she replied then motioned for him to enter her office.

After closing the door, he sat down.

"O.K., how's it going?"

"Well, ... we have had three soldiers show up, so far. Another five local-area soldiers have promised to be here in another hour or two. One out-of-stater is trying to make it in now with another out-of-stater signing in with a local unit, to her, so she won't be AWOL."

Interrupting him, she asked "What's up with that?"

Shrugging his shoulders "We just found out. It seems, according to regulations, she can sign in to a local National Guard unit to protect herself from 'official' action if there's a travel emergency."

Raising her eyebrows, she asked "Sounds kind of suspicious, don't you think?"

"No, she's a good soldier. She just ran out of fuel on the way here. Plus, the local unit is 200 miles away from her home."

"O.K. First Sargent. What about the others?"

"It looks like we're going to have to send the LTs out to get the other soldiers from their homes."

Thinking, Captain Smith replied "O.K. Let's get the LTs out the gate before I go to the Battalion Commander's meeting. Just in case, the Colonel doesn't like the idea."

"Trust me ma'am. He likes the idea!"

"How do you know, First Sargent?"

"I talked to the Battalion Sargent Major, and he recommended it to the other company First Sergeants. It seems every company has the same idea, ... now"

Smiling, "You're one good First Sargent. You know that, right?

"Hell, yes, ma'am. But, ... enough about me. You need to be moving, or the BC will be pissed at you and the XO, .. again." smiling as she walked out the door shouting

"Let's go XO. Battalion awaits!"

Battalion Commander Briefing

"Group, ... Attention" the Battalion Executive Officer shouted as Battalion Commander, Joesph Hernandez entered the briefing room.

"At ease, soldiers. Everyone take your seats." Colonel Hernandez ordered.

"As you know, the shit has hit the fan" the Battalion Commander started


"Lastly, about family members coming in with your soldiers." the Colonel paused.

"It has been decided by Division, Brigade, and me that we will provide housing, water, and food for immediate family, spouses and children only, that show up."

The rational is that we will have less problems with desertion and other discipline issues, if the families are here.

The families will be quartered next to each company area, in tents, sleeping on cots. Of course, we'll have blankets and sheets issued by the supply sergeants, and what not.

The Battalion Executive Officer will brief you on the plans for sanitation, chew times, security, and other details about the soldiers' families.

But, ... In a nut shell, we're going to take care of them. It just might not be in the way they think they deserve.

Any questions?"

A lot of people think these United States military will melt away during an extreme event. I don't think so. There are too many dedicated men and women serving our country. They will show up to do their duty for this country and for their comrades.

28 March 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Michael D. Beckwith

Last week, I started a short series of stories based on a popular prepper book. Here is another one.

"Lawyers, Guns, and Money"

As Matt Keane continued his soliloquy about federal laws, the two special agents looked at one another.

"Damn, he knows some shit!" the younger agent noted.

Smiling "Yeah, ... But, he made a mistake. In all those cases, someone was arrested first." the older agent replied.

When Matt was finished talking, both agents left to complete their coordination with the local law enforcement.

30 Minutes Later
"Remember, no drawn guns, The Keanes are basically misguided 'good' guys. They should be cooperative once we have them."

Smiling, "That's right. Plus, me and my partner will be the ones making the arrest, so we will be the ones getting shot." the younger reminded everyone.

A Few Hours Later
As Matt and Chase left the gun show; a slightly built older gentleman with a younger man beside him, approached the two brothers.

In a mild southern accent "Excuse me gentlemen, I noticed y'all were selling an AR-15 back there. I was wondering if y'all would be interested in selling it?" the older man asked.

Suspicious, Matt replied, "Maybe. Why do you ask?"

"I heard what you said back there, and I'm like you. I don't think the federales should know whether  we have protection or not. You know what I mean."

Brightening, Matt replied, "Yeah, I totally agree."

"So how much do you want?" the younger man asked.

"$1,100 cash"

As the two strangers looked at each other, the younger one started to haggle.

"How about $900?"

"$1,100" replied Chase

"How about $1,000 and five magazines?" the younger one replied back.

Matt sighed then said "Magazines are going for $20 a piece. There is no way. So, ... Unless you have a better offer, no deal!"

"O.K., O.K., How about 10 magazines and the rifle for $1,250?" the younger stranger offered.

The two brothers looked at each other then nodded their heads in agreement.

"But, may we have 'new' magazines in the wrapper?" the older man asked as the younger man pulled out a wad of cash and started counting hundred dollar bills.

"Sure, let me put these guns away, and I'll get you the best ones we have." as Chase Keane walked around to the van's side door, the old man followed.

As he placed the guns under a blanket, Chase looked up and heard the younger agent say, "Matthew Keane, you're under arrest!" as he flipped his wallet up displaying a badge from the BATFE.

Then Chase heard, "Son, I would suggest you don't do anything stupid. So, ... just back out of the van with empty hands, O.K.?"

Having faith in his brother, Chase Keane replied, "Sure. Am I also under arrest? as he backed out of the van.

The older agent replied, "Yes" then firmly maneuvered Chase's arms behind him and cuffed Chase's hands behind his back.

City of Charlotte Police Interrogation Room
Against local policy, the two brothers sat side by side as the federal agent interrogated them.

"Before we begin, please listen carefully." the younger agent said then started reading from a card.

"You have the right to remain silent and the right refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?"

Both brothers nodded their heads

"Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?"

Again, the brothers nodded their heads.

"You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand?"

A third time, the brothers nodded their heads.

"If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Do you understand?"

A fourth time the brothers nodded their head

"If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Do you understand?"

For the last time, the two brothers nodded their heads.

"Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?"

After looking at each other, Matt Keane replied, "No! And we want a lawyer."

A few seconds later, there was a slight knock on the door and in walked a young woman with a briefcase.

"Hello, gentleman. My name is Stacy O'Brien. I'm from the Office of the Federal Public Defender. I am here to represent you."

"That was pretty fast." Chase said.

The interrogator replied, "We figured you would want a  lawyer, so we had a federal judge assign you one."

"What happens if you don't want you Ms. O'Brien?" Matt asked

"It's very simple. You will be arraigned tomorrow morning. Your bond will be set at about $1,000,000, and you will sit in a federal jail until a new public defender can be found, in about a month." the interrogator observed.

"I wasn't asking you? I was asking Ms. O'Brien."

"I hate to say it, but that is about the way it will go."

The brothers looked at each other and Matt said "O.K., for now."

Walking around the table Ms. Stacy O'Brien dismissed the interrogator with a wave of her hand.

"What are they charging us with?" Matt asked

"Well, you gentlemen are facing several difficulties. First are the various firearms charges. It seems you have broken several federal laws dealing with transportation of firearms across state lines, failure to have the proper licences to sale firearms, and ... But, you already know that"

"We haven't broken any laws. They don't apply to us, and ..."

Raising her hand, the lawyer stopped Matt and said "It doesn't matter whether they apply to you or not. You have been charged and that alone will keep us tied up for months. But, there is more.

It seems, you both are also charged with tax evasion, failure to file an income tax return for over five years, failure to collect sales tax, and a host of other financial crimes."

"Those laws don't apply to us!" Matt explained.

"Like I said, It doesn't matter; you have been charged with these crimes. Now we have to figure out how to get you out of here"

"We could ..."

United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
One month later, the two brothers and a host of onlookers stood as Judge Gail Jackson walked into her court room and sat in her chair.

"I understand you and the government have reached an agreement?"

"Yes, ma'am. We have" Chase and Matt Keane replied simultaneously

"I also understand that you and the defendants believe there is a Constitutional issue in this case?"

"Yes, ma'am. We do" Ms Stacy O'Brien replied

"Then you are ready?"

"Yes, ma'am. We are." Both brothers said as they arose to stand side by side.

"Matthew Keane and Chase Keane, I find you guilty of transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to sell these firearms for commercial purposes. I find you, Matthew Keane guilty of failing to obtain a federal firearms license to sale firearms commercially, as per your agreement with the federal prosecutor.

Because of this same agreement, I sentence Chase Keane to 18 months imprisonment and Matthew Keane to 36 months of imprisonment at the low security federal prison at FCI Butner, in North Carolina.

Also, per your agreement, I instruct the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house both brothers in the same unit."

With that the court room's bailiff announced "All Rise for her honorable justice Gail Jackson." as the judge stood and left the court room.

"What's next?" Chase asked

"We're going to have a few minutes then you will be taken to the holding cells and transported to FCI Butner." the assistant lawyer replied.

"No, not that. When are we going to appeal our sentence?"

"It's already happening." Ms O'Brien replied

Federal Correctional Institution Butner (Low)
"You two want to get outside for some fresh air?" one of the Correctional Officers asked.

"Yes, sir!" both brother exclaimed

"Head over in the direction of SO Butler." the officer pointed across the day room.

Walking across the room, the brothers could hear Senior Officer Butler telling four men to report to supply to pick up hand tools.

When Chase and Matt arrived, SO Butler looked at them and asked, "You two know how to handle a chainsaw, safely?"

"Yes, sir; Senior Officer. We both did forestry work in Washington state" Matt answered

"Good." smiling because he already knew that fact about the brothers, SO Butler continued, "that means you can keep the others from killing themselves. Right?"

"I guess so, senior officer" Chase said

Looking at the two brothers, "I figure, we'll find out." as he glanced at two more inmates headed his way.

30 Minutes Later
With a deep southern accent, Senior Officer Butler shouted "Gather around."

This was unusual, normally the SOs disliked having more than one inmate standing next to them. Plus, there was only two correctional officers, with riot guns, for a group of about twenty inmates.

"First off. You know me. I'm a fair guy, and the COs with me are fair too. Right?"

Most of the inmates replied "Yes, sir, senior officer." as they nodded their heads.

"Plus, you know that I'm truthful with y'all."

"Yes, sir, senior officer" the men said again.

"Here's the truth. Because of the troubles in Durham-Raleigh, the warden is worried that folks are going to come here and bust out inmates from FCI Butner (High). Your task is to help build defenses to stop this."

Some of the men looked around. One even raised his hand then when recognized asked "Senior Officer, may I be relieved of this duty?"

"You may, but it will be remembered. Plus, before you others decide. I want to remind you. Over at Butner (High) we house murders, kiddy rapers, and a lot of other nasty folks. Inmates, you wouldn't want running on the streets with your family"

Some of the men looked down, but none of them asked to leave when the SO asked "Anyone else?"

"Alright, let's get to work"

A Day Later
The outside appearance of Federal Correctional Institution Butner (High) had changed in a short time, thanks to efforts by the Keane brothers and several of the other inmates, some military veterans. The group had been so efficient; they were even able to start working on strengthening  FCI Butner (Medium) before the first hostile group arrived.

Using chain saws, tow ropes, and pick-up trucks, the group was able to build expedient obstacles such as log cribs, log hurdles, and move several cars to prevent the prison fence from being rammed. Using the prisons heavy equipment, a skid steer and tractors with backhoes, the group was also able to build several berms and anti-tank ditches around the correctional complex.

There's more. (The link will be active, after next week)

But, ... I'm hungry. I'm going to dinner.

4 April 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

FM 3-21.71
United States Army


"Hey, man. I see some lights coming!" shouted the sentry

"Is it the cops?" the leader asked

"No, it's two cars with a trailer!"

Running from person to person, the group's leader shook everyone awake as he told them, "Just like we practiced. Wait for the first car to pass the white line then four shots into the windows then empty the magazine into the car doors!"

As the first car crossed the white line, one side of the street erupted in fire. The car occupants didn't stand a chance, as the five gang members shot out the windows then concentrated on the driver side door of each car.

After they run out of cartridges, the gang leader sent two hardened teens out the door to shoot everyone in the two vehicles, point blank range, with pistols.

As that was happening, the gang reloaded and made ready to return fire, if the two teens met any resistant. They didn't because the two adults were dead.

Next, six female gang members rushed out to drag any bodies out of the cars and into a vacant building across the street. Once that was finished, the two teens with pistols jumped in the cars and drove them down a short alley. Then three of the five 'shooters' ran to the back of the building and started unloading the cars. When the girls were finished, they rushed across the street to help move anything from the cars to higher floors.

Ambushes are easy to implement especially in an urban environment. The ranges are close, and the folks being attacked don't have many options.

But, ...Let us say that the Laytons survived the ambush.

photograph by
Sgt. Jon Soles

Just Outside the Kill Zone

"Darling, I've been hit."

"Is it bad?"

"Yeah, a bullet went through my calf and I'm having a hard time walking."

"O.K. let's find some concealment and look at that leg!"

After moving another fifty meters to an abandoned building, the Laytons looked at the wounded leg using a small single AA battery flashlight with its homemade red filter removed.

"Do you have your combat dressing?"

"Yes. Here it is."

Ripping the plastic cover off the combat dressing, they applied the dressing to the leg wound.

"Do you think you can walk?"

"Yeah, but you're going to have to help me. It hurts too much to put weight on it."

The Laytons were able to make one mile the first day, after the ambush.

As they laid together, they looked at each other, as one said "At this rate, it's going to take us over four years to get to the retreat."

"Don't worry, we'll make it"

Our bodies are amazing but delicate. They are able to heal from horrific wounds, but the slightest nick can kill someone in minutes.

But, ... Let us say the Laytons survive the initial wound and the possible resulting infection without any major damage to the leg.

photograph by
Kluger Zoltan

Along the Route
The various state governors had activated their National Guard units and quickly deployed them to contain the violence in the major metropolitan areas. In many instances, the violence quickly died down. In others, like the Chicago area, violence continued for weeks, so the National Guard pulled back, set up check points, and provided assistance to refugees as they left the cities.

If the National Guard encountered anyone, their 'Rules of Engagement' required the patrol to determine if the group was hostile, provide assistance to non-hostile groups, and call for transportation, while providing security, for groups that needed help to reach the refugee camps.

If a group was hostile, they would be taken into custody, disarmed, interrogated, and interned as needed. If a group was considered non-hostile, basic information was collected and recorded about the group, such as names, ages, date of birth, relationships, where they were coming from, and destination. The group would also be offered a chance to fill any water containers and given food.

If any group members needed medical treatment and were mobile, they were provided the location of the nearest aid station. Groups unable to continue, needing major medical care, or deciding to enter a refugee camp would be provided transportation to the nearest camp.

If a group decided to enter a refugee camp, they had to surrender their weapons; rifles, shotguns, handguns, and knives with blades over four inches. If a group didn't want to surrender their weapons, they were prohibited from entering a refugee camp and sent along a prearranged route with checkpoints to the groups finial destination.

This weapons policy was implemented after Congress prohibited weapons confiscation because of the lawlessness and political backlash after Hurricane Katherina hit the Gulf Coast.

Like the Laytons, the refugees were a ragtag bunch, usually with just the clothes on their back and a few possession. To make their burdens easier to move, many refugees had re-purposed anything with wheels to make travel easier such as shopping cart, wheelbarrows, hand trucks, and .. in other words anything with functional wheels.

The Laytons where slightly different. They had firearms, and this got them special notice.

"We have two coming our way. Both are armed with rifles. One is riding in a shopping cart and the other is pushing." said the soldier with the binoculars.

"Do you want to go get them, or do you want to wait for them?"

"I say wait, sarge was pissed the last time she came by and saw one of us too far from the position"

"Yeah, plus they're 'mobile."

After tens of minutes, the couple reached a point where they could talk to the soldiers.

"O.K. folks, I need for you to stop right there. O.K.?" one of the soldiers said from a covered position.


"Now, I need for you to clear your rifles and put them on the ground, barrel pointing away from us. O.K.?

"I'm not sure; I want to do that. You might not be friendly" one of the Laytons replied.

"That's O.K. with us, but you'll have to head back the way you came. Cause if you take any steps closer we'll shot you both." one of the soldiers replied back in a serious manner.

"No need to be hostile." relied Terry Layton "I am just checking my options."

"Whatever, but it's your choice." quipped the sentry

"We're going to clear our rifles." stressed Ken Layton looking at his wife.

"Next, if you have any other weapons; you know like shotguns, handguns, knives, and clubs, I need you to place them next to your rifles, then step back about five feet."

"O.K then what?" The Laytons asked

"That's easy." replied the soldier with the binoculars. "I'm going to come out, do a quick search and ask you two some questions.

When they were searched, the Laytons basically had nothing from their cars, except the clothes on their back and their rifles in the shopping cart. However, ... They had scavenged numerous plastic bottles, for water storage; a sheet of plastic and baling twine, for shelter and collecting rain water; a steak knife, for cutting things; some matches, from a gasoline station, for fire; and other similar items.

After the sentry searched them, he thanked the Laytons.

"O.K. know for the questions. There is about ten of them. I need you to answer them truthfully, so we can help you and determine what's going on from where you came. ... Ready?

"Go ahead." Ken Layton replied

Back and forth the sentries asked questions and the Laytons answered them.

As the last question was answered, another soldier asked if the Laytons wanted any water and an Meal-Ready-to-Eat..

"Hell, ya" The both replied.

"Now, here comes the hard part" one of the soldiers said. "Do you want to stop here and enter a refugee camp, or do you two want to continue on the way to your destination, on foot.

By now, you probably know what your family's answer would be with a wounded partner, minimal supplies, the weather getting worst, and a few hundred miles still to go.

But, ... Let us say, the Laytons make a different choice

photograph by
Poole Photographic Studios

As the Laytons entered the food producing region of these United States, they saw military patrols, both regular military and National Guard. They also saw civilians (police officers, sheriff deputies, and other law enforcement) patrolling, but they always had at least two members of the military with them.

"Damn, those ideas we had about finding 'security' work; didn't work out. Did they?" Terry noted.

"No, between the locals and National Guard, there are very few problems." Ken observed

"Plus, the refugee camps give an easily accessible labor force, so there is no work for day labor, either." Terry replied back.

"Luckily, we can get a few MREs and fill up our water containers every twenty miles." Ken said smiling.

"I just wish they wouldn't try to convince us of going into a refugee camp, every time we stop for food and water." Terry remarked

"Hey, it's their job!" Ken said, winking at her.

For another two months, the Laytons were on the road before reaching the border of Iowa/Nebraska border.

11 April 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

over Sicily Drop Zone (ca 2009)
photograph by
United States Army

Much has happened, in these United States, since the Keane brothers were 'released' from prison.


As the over-worked C-130 left Ft. Lewis-McChord Joint Base; 30 of the 36 airborne soldiers slept as their supplies gentle rocked on the container delivery system's pallets. The other six, team leaders and assist team leaders, talked about the mission above the roar of the engines.

"It's been about three years since this area has had any contact with the World. Do you think they'll be pissed?" one of the team leaders asked

"Being abandoned, you mean?" replied another

"Yeah, being abandoned." he replied

"Ooooh, yeah. They're going to be pissed, but they're going to love us in about three to six months as the airhead is secured and established. With what other teams have been able to do and bring in like antibiotics, med teams, and fuel; these folks will be chopping at the bit to get the roads cleared so the semis can start running again." one of the assistant team leaders noted.

"So, why did we wait to send in an airborne team. Why didn't we send in a ground team like Virgina, Tennessee, and other out of the way places?" someone asked

"It seems this area received too much snow the second and third year, after we got our act together. Plus, the mountain passes had too many bridges taken out by stupid civies thinking they would stop 'them" from stealing their food and seducing their women" another replied smiling.

The conversation went on for a few more minutes until one of the leaders suggested they get some sleep since the flight would take a few more hours before the first team and their equipment went out the door at 1000 feet.

The First Step
According to the operations order, the National Guard C-130 would circle each designated regional airport to insure the drop zone was clear for the tons of supplies that would be dropped before the soldiers jumped out of the aircraft. Once that was completed the Cargo Master would drop the ramp and release the soldiers' relief supplies then the airborne team would make a not exactly training jump at 1000 feet to prevent being shot at by the locals.

After circling Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, the last airborne team checked their equipment for the second, third, or was it the fifth time, as the Cargo Master started her way back, by walking on the paratroopers seat backs to lower the ramp.

By now, the soldiers and leaders knew it was almost their turn to see the green light flash for them, as the ramp was lowered.

Why We're Here
The C-130 flying overhead, circling the city and airport caused quite a stir in the area, so by the time the airborne soldiers had landed and set up security, there was a small crowd slowly forming.

Walking over to the group and removing his helmet, the assistant team leader said with a warming smile, "Good morning, folks. My name is Danial Robertson. I'm with these United States Army out of Ft. Lewis-McChord Joint Base in Washington state. I was wondering if anyone would like to lend a hand moving some supplies?" before anyone could start asking questions

A few in the group offered to help. SFC Robertson instructed them to see the team leader. Who was currently directing the team in building a 'defensible' positions with the supplies.

Once that was taken care of, he waited for the barge of question to begin.

"What's been going on?"

"I thought all the planes had stopped flying?"

"Are you here to help us?"

What took you so long?"

And many others!

To all the questions, SFC Robertson replied "Let's wait for the team leader to get finished, so he can answer your questions as a group. O.K.?"

Almost everyone was agreeable with that.

With that decided (and checked off the list) SFC Robertson started to ask questions to access the local situation.

"Who's the Mayor, Chief of Police? Do you have a town council?"

"Where are they at?"

"What happened to them?" if he received a 'fuzzy' answer.

 And, many, many more!

As he asked his question, the well trained reconstruction team assistant team leader started making suggestions such as "Has anyone told the folks outside of town we're having a meeting, later on this afternoon?"

"Is there a good spot for a large meeting to answer questions?"

As he worked his 'magic,' SFC Robertson determined the group was at least neutral to friendly with a few potentially slightly hostile, in relatively fair health, a mix of ages from curious youngsters to older adults, about an even ratio between the sexes, and ... well-armed. He also determined they had a small informal government organization with little formal law enforcement capabilities.

As the crowd grew larger and the morning started to turn into afternoon, he suggested they move to the spot suggested earlier to start getting ready for the meeting.

What's Been Happening

Two other team members and the leader of the team approached SFC Robertson.

"We about ready Sargent First Class?" the leader of the team asked.

"Yes sir! The city's population and a few from the outlaying areas have assembled at the other end of the runway and they are waiting for us."

"O.K. Let's go."

A few moments later, climbing the platforms stairs, the Reconstruction Team Leader looked out at the crowd and smiled as he laid his weapon on the seat behind him.

"Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Samuel Calhoun. I am a captain in these United States Army. I am the leader of this reconstruction team.

Some of you have already met the team's assistant team leader SFC Robertson. To my right is Staff Sargent Angela Ramirez; she is one of our medical sergeants. To my left is Sergeant First Class Zachary Lewis; he is our senior communications team member.
We are here to make contact with you and your families to offer assistance in rebuilding your community." stated Captain Calhoun.

Before he could continue, an older man, in the crowd, asked "What's been going on in the rest of the country?"

Smiling, the captain replied "Some pretty ugly stuff" as he started explaining

"In the bigger cities, we had riots that quickly got out of control. Sadly, the National Guard and regular army didn't have enough manpower to stop these riots, so we pulled back and let them burn out.

In the smaller cites, we established control and started providing aid to the population. At the same time our strategic forces maintained our deterrence to prevent any attack, as we got our country back to work.

In the hard to reach areas, like your town, we had to wait to reestablish contact.

The first year, after the event, we were able to only feed half the population. A great many people died that year.

The second year, the country was able to plant and harvest enough food to feed the country. We were also able to reclaim the bigger cities, with only a few gangs still resisting the government's efforts.

The country saw some political troubles, here and aboard. We had some folks try and establish their own governments. One famous example was Maynard Hutchings. He was executed after trying to seize control of Kentucky with help from rogue elements from the German and French military.

Speaking of Europe. They are still having a rough time with various governments fighting over past ethnic and regional grievances.

In the Middle East, Islamists tried to attack Israel. As always, the Israelis protected their country from invasion.

China was devastated. With the world's economy hard hit, they had several revolutions. As of right now, there are about six different groups fighting for control of the country."

Another member of the group, a young women asked, "Is there any good news?"

"Oh yeah! There is a lot of great news." said SFC Robertson. As he continued, ...

"All of the major cities have been reclaimed. The electrical grid is up and running. We are in direct contact with Europe, Africa, China, Australia, Mexico, and many other countries.

"Even though they haven't done as well as us, we are helping each other.

Our country's transportation grid is being rebuilt. Rebuilt enough that places like you town will be able to start getting resupplied with food, medicine, and other critical supplies, with your help."

With that the crowd cheered, as planned.

The Future
Over the next few months, the military team worked with the civilian population to rebuild the local area's support network. The community worked hard rebuilding roads, establishing local power production facilities, building regional manufacturing capabilities, planting crops, and many other tasks.

At the end of the fourth year, after the event, Moscow, Idaho welcomed the first tractor trailer convoy from the Midwest.

Nationally, the country learned from its mistake. The next national election neither the Republicans or Democrats were elected to any major office. The Libertarians and a party called the Rational Socialists took control of the country, compromising on such topics as a national flat-tax (20% instead of 15%), weapons (mandatory military rifle ownership but no artillery in civilian hands), repeal of social security, medicare, and other social programs (replaced by community organizations, religious and secular), and many others.

The civilian courts tried and convicted many former national leaders, financial managers, and others for their roles before, during, and after the event. Many are still serving life sentences. Some, like military deserters, insurrectionists, and mass murders were hung or shot, after lengthy military or civilians trails.

Lastly, these United States sent Reconstruction Assistance teams around the world to help each region of the world rebuild.

18 April 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
United States Army Photographer

Even though realistic events would have prevented the next two stories from happening, I had to write them, being a former soldier.

"Dan's War"

Potlatch, Idaho

With his first shot, and missing, with the McMillan .50 caliber bolt-action rifle, Dan realized he had made a mistake not zeroing the rifle but he wasn't concerned. He knew, he could always change the 'hold' on future targets.

"Sir, the lead element is receiving fire." the major's RTO reported as he handed the radio mike to the column's commander.

"Captain, have the lead platoon seek cover and hold in place." ordered the major into the offered microphone

"Next, try and identify the shooters' positions."

Waving to a small group of soldiers, one with a radio, the major motioned them forward. When the FO and his RTO arrived, he ordered "We have a group of soldiers engaging our lead elements, work up some grid coordinates, so ..."

Before the major could finish, the Forward Observer was orienting his map as the RTO was speaking into his radio's microphone.

A few minutes later, the major's RTO said "The lead company reports the shooters are on a ridge about 1,000 meters from their position."

Without looking up, the FO raised his hand towards his RTO and said into the mike that was handed to him "Fire mission, over"

The major couldn't hear what was said, but he knew the artillery battery covering the columns approach into Potlatch was repeating the FO's words.

As the FO said "Grid; Niner, One, Tree, Fife, Tree, Niner, Niner, Eight, over" the FO's Radio Telephone Operator wrote in a small book, recording the coordinates for an after action review, later in the day.

After waiting patiently for the artillery's fire control center to reply, the FO said "Troops in the open and dug in, over" describing the target then "Fire for effect, over." as he handed the radio's microphone back to his RTO then looked up to observe the artillery rounds falling on the reported location.

After watching the earth erupt, the column's commander motioned for the mike and ordered the lead company commander "Have your lead platoon recover our dead and wounded, and the following platoon take the lead into Potlatch."

Listening, the major replied "Have the motorcycle loaded into one of the following trucks, unless we have a scout that can safely ride it."

Listening again, he replied "No, don't send anyone into the hills. If we take fire again, we'll stop, take cover, and call for fire, just as we practiced."

With that, the column restarted its march to secure Potlatch, Idaho.

"Keane Team"

The 'Hunter-Killer' teams were organized as a five man team. One sniper, one sniper's spotter, one radio telephone operator, one Forward Observer, and a team leader. All members of the team could do the other team members' task, but it was more efficient to have a highly skilled soldier doing what he did best.

The teams would insert into hostile territory a few weeks in advance of a column moving forward. They would set up 'hides' in areas where they could cover likely enemy patrol bases, meeting points, and other key areas.

Their mission ... to kill the enemy.

HK Team Epsilon

"Dude, I tell you, the insurgents are a three man team organization. They have males and females intermixed on their teams"

"Are you saying, they can have sex with another person on patrol."

Quietly laughing, the team leader replied "What! You don't like kissing a scruffy face?"

The sniper laughingly replied, "Only if it's you sarge. Only if it's your's"

About then, the TA-1 silently clicked, signally an incoming call from the observation post fifty yards from the hunter-killer team's hide.

"Yo, yo, yo" the RTO said into the sound powered telephone as he pressed the talk button then releasing it.

The voice on the TA-1 said "We have a small patrol of nine moving in the valley. They have rifles and appear moving towards the west."

"Roger, a small patrol moving towards the west" the RTO said back into the telephone.

Listening to the short conversation, the team leader said "Ask the OP team the small patrol's sexes."

The RTO spoke into the TA-1, listened then replied "They're not sure, but it seem there are at least three females and six males, sarge"

"O.K., have them keep watching for other patrols." the team leader replied

Looking at the team's sniper, he ordered "Get on the radio and report to HQ about this patrol"

HK Team Zantra

Nudging the man next to him awake, the RTO reported "Sarge, we just got a call from higher. It seems there is increased activity of insurgents in larger groups."

Instantly awake, the team leader replied 'Sure. ... Call the LP/OP and tell 'em I'm on my way to them. Cool?"


After getting dressed, which involved lacing his boots, grabbing his rifle, and taking a swig of water from his canteen, Hunter-Killer Zantra's team leader sneaked seventy-five meters to the team's observation post.

As he approached the LP/OP, the team leader heard a very soft "Hurbert?"

The team leader stopped and replied "Donuts" then proceeded to the LP/OP.

Entering the LP/OP, he heard the same complaint for the millionth time "Who thinks up these signs and counter signs?"

Ignoring the FO, he asked "Seen anything?"

"Yeah, we saw a small group doing a recon on a hilltop about three clicks from here."

"What did it look like?"

"There was a team of five with a lot of gesturing by two of the group. They looked like part of a 'leadership' team." the sniper's spotter replied

"You sure they weren't looking for us?" the team leader asked

"No, definitely looked like a recon mission for something like a practice area or patrol base." replied the spotter.

"O.K. ... keep an eye out for larger groups, cool?"

"Cool" the FO said

After BSing with them, the team leader left the LP/OP and made his way back to the hide to shit, shower, shave, and think a little bit.

Early the next day, the TA-1 from the LP/OP buzzed indicating an incoming call.

Picking up the sound-powered phone, the team leader heard "We got a very large group on hilltop Delta. Looks to be about fifty fighters"

"O.K. prepare to hunker down. I'm calling in a fire mission."

"Roger that, sarge." the LP/OP replied

Removing a map from his cargo pocket and turning on the radio, the team leader didn't know he was getting ready to destroy the Keane Team and the Moscow Marquis, effectively removing organized resistance in the Moscow, Troy, and Potlatch area of operations.

24 April 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

of a poem about the Labors of Heracles (ca 2005)
photograph by

Books - Nonfiction
There are many books covering a variety of subjects you and your family may be interested in for your survival. Depending on your family's interested will determine the books, you and your family will want to read, such as ...

Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H Kearny

Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner

Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson

The Firefox book series (volume one, two, three, four, and five)

Books - Fiction

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

World Made By Hand by James Horward Kunstler

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Postman by David Brin

Warday by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka

I'm going to stop because someone else has collected a huge list at Post Apocalyptic Book List


Backwoods Home

Mother Earth News

Countryside  (formerly Countryside and Small Stock Journal)


Where to Find
All of these materials are available at your local library. They will be on the shelf or available through an inter-library loan program. All you have to do is use the card catalog, a computer now-a-days, or ask a librarian for assistance.

For FREE!!!

What to Purchase
I personally wouldn't buy any of the 'prepper' fiction books. I think reading fiction about an event that your family is going through wouldn't help reduce stress.

But, I would stock science fiction, detective fiction, action novels, and other books that your family would like to read to 'escape' for a few hours. Depending on your family, this might include poetry, romance novels, collections of war stories, and other age appropriate reading material for the whole family.

As far as the non-fiction works, I would concentrate on the things you're going to do such as small stock care (rabbits, chickens, rodents), gardening (making compost, organic planting techniques, seed saving), medical care (first-aid, making hygiene products, medicinal plants), and military skills (patrolling, guard duty, fortifications), and many others. You may also want to include books on things you might do such as home repair, car maintenance, card and kid games, and other skills.

Needless to say, you will want to check out a book, at the library, before buying it, to save money. Plus, your local library will probably be in operation during a crisis.

But, ... libraries have been sacked, burned to the ground, or destroyed during artillery shelling, earthquakes, and hurricanes ; - )

Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead
If you're looking for a no nonsense guide for getting started, you might be interested in purchasing a copy of my e-book Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead (Smashwords) (Barnes and Noble)

If you're like me, your local library can purchase a copy for $4.95, to save your family some cash.

25 April 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
LCpl Justin Updegraff

"Semper Paratus"

... as the professor removed his coat displaying his Glock 19 in a hybrid leather and kydex inside the waist band holster, on his left hip, with two standard capacity magazines in a belt carrier, on his right hip.

Turning toward the interactive smart board, to start the lesson, he heard a commotion, as three quarters of the students 'physically' in class and most of the 'remote' students stood up to display their concealed firearms, some new, some worn but all well cared for.

Looking at the young lady that started the commotion, the professor said "It seems, half the class has volunteered to help you learn how to shoot a handgun." as he smiled at the class.

The Beginning

That's It
I enjoyed exploring realistic alternatives to the events in the Patriots universe. It was a fun diversion, for me, from the non-fictional articles; I normally write for you and your family. Plus, I hoped you enjoyed the stories, too.

If you didn't, tough sh*t!

Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse is a fun book. It gives you some ideas to think about, such as how does your family handle extreme medical emergencies from accidents, what do you do with unexpected guests, and other questions your family may have to answer. The book also covers some of the more popular supplies like guns, ammo, and military gear, but it neglects others like personal hygiene supplies (don't forget feminine hygiene products), bedding (sheets, pillow cases, blankets, and ... pillows), cooking during an event, and many others.

Another book, you might want to read, is Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. The book's events take place in Florida immediately after a nuclear war. Like Patriots: ... it has some good points and some bad. Plus, I believe, it is a better book for you to introduce survivalism to your partner.

Of course, there are many others such as One Second After by William R. Forstchen, World Made By Hand by James Horward Kunstler, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, World War Z by Max Brooks, and many others for young and old.

The last book, that I recommend you read (and only you!!!!) is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I warn you. Do not let your partner read this book. It is so depressing; they will never want to prepare for the coming tough times. Neither may you!

Lastly, I have provided a link to a book titled When Autumn Leaves Fall by Andrew Zarowny. It was written in response to criticism about "The Gray Nighties" the original version of Patriots: ... (I bet you didn't know Patriots: ... was over 30 years old). This serialized book, I believe, provides a better depiction of preparing for possible coming tough times.

You're going to hate the popups, but the story is worth it.

Ooooh, yeah. You can find all of these books at your local library or through an inter-library loan program for free or a small fee.

Tripod: Andrew Zarowny - Home

Tripod: Andrew Zarowny - Chapter One: When the Leaves Fall

Tripod: Andrew Zarowny - Chapter Two: A Serf is Born!

1  May 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

Israeli Defense Forces

A few days ago, I linked to a Lifehacker article about "The 'Best' Four Kitchen Knives.' In the article, Alan Henry suggests purchasing an 8 to 10 inch chef knife, a 3 to 4 inch paring knife, a long, serrated bread knife, and a Santoku for your kitchen. He feels these are all the knives a typical home would need.

I agree with Mr. Henry because Katniss and I are able to process most of our store-bought food using these four knives. (really three, we don't have a Santoku ; - )

However, ... You and your family aren't the typical family; you're preppers. You may need other cutting instruments to process your family's food especially if you're raising chickens, swine, fish, beef, or other livestock. For this, Mr. Henry suggests adding four other cutting instruments, a carving knife, a meat cleaver, a fillet knife, and a pair of kitchen shears, as needed.

For the typical prepper family, these eight cutting instruments would be enough to process most of your food.

But, ... Your family is going to need other knives, too.

Yes, yes, yes, I know that you disagree with me, but your family is going to need 'bushcraft' knives, such as an inexpensive stainless steel Mora knive because there is the possibility you will have to evacuate. (remember, the easiest method of dealing with disasters is to evacuate)

Now, some folks are going to suggest you and your family purchase more expensive knives like Fallkniven's F1, Cold Steel's SRK San Mai III, ESEE Knives' ESEE-5, and many others.

I disagree. Let me explain.

First, most families are going to need knives for everyone in the family, just like firearms. This means $60 for four Mora knife or $500 for four F1s.

But, ... If you're single, with lots of excess money, you might want to purchase the F1.

Second, a six to ten inch blade knife is intimidating. Evacuation centers are probably going to confiscate longer knifes. (plus, a longer knife is harder to conceal ; - )

But, ... If you're headed to family or friends, you might want to purchase Becker's BK9.

Lastly, a stainless steel Mora knife is rust-resistant. You can place it in your emergency evacuation kit and forget about it, until needed.

But, ... If you carry and use your knife all the time, you might want to purchase Cold Steel's SRK San Mai III.

Needless to say, if you're going to carry a knife, you're going to need a method of sharpening the blade.

The most inexpensive method is using a rock. Yes, a rock. It's free, but, ... You might destroy your knife.

The next inexpensive method is using a simple, low-cost pocket sharpener from Gerber or Fisker.

O.K. I have to go, so here are a few links with differing opinions, additional information, and a funny.

YouTube: Willow Haven Outdoor  - Top 6 Survival Knife Features

YouTube: Survival On Purpose - What Kind of Idiot Would Baton a Knife?

YouTube: Survival On Purpose - Four Good Low Priced Survival Knives

YouTube: PreparedMind101 - Awesome review of the 80's Hollow Handled Survival Knife!!

Smoky Mountain Knife Works - Gerber® Pocket Sharpener

8 May 2015 (You'll Look at these Pictures Differently)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

engraving by
Radclyffe after Sargent

Link Bait
If you have been on the internet for any length of time, you have seen those posts such as '20 Incredible Pictures,' 'Pictures From the Past, You Won't Believe,' and many others.

Well, ... I had insomnia a few nights ago, so I finally took the (link) bait.

A Preppers' View

"Bombs Being Dropped on Koby, Japan"

The most important rule of prepping, 'Don't Be There'

"Moving Day"

We have to be thoughtful because bugging out isn't always a good idea.

"The Last Photograph of the Titanic"

The most advance survival technology may not work, in an event

"Circus Hippopotamus Pulling a Cart"

Improvisation may look funny. But, ... If it works, it works.

"Annie Edison Taylor"

But, ... You need  to consider what you're planning to do; even though, the internet might advocate the technique.

Two Men with a ‘Punt’ Gun

As preppers, we don't need the latest firearms. We only need reliable weapons such as a .357 magnum revolver, the SKS rifle, and a Mora knife.

WW II German Soldier Receiving First-Aid

If, ... You're going to survive, bring your friends and family

The Eiffel Tower

The San Francisco Bay Bridge

Like all long-term projects, prepping is a work in progress

"Soldiers Execute a Communist"

"The Last Jew of Vinnitsa"

Lastly, as preppers, we know that the government isn't always there to help.

I went back and finished "Volume One Number Eighteen"

15 May 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

ca (2009)
Nashville Tea Party

A lot of stuff is going on in our lives. My mother-in-law passed away, just over a month ago. I have been heading back home (I work about 400 miles from home and rent an apartment) every weekend, as you can probably tell ; - ). That has been a challenge, but Katniss appreciates the support.

We are planning to sell our home (Home is where the retreat is ; - ) then move into mother-in-law's home. We will update the house, storage shelves, fresh paint, add insulation, and ... lots more. At the same time, we while be culling all our stuff.

A good family friend's mother went into long-term care. Plus, his father passed away, from an acute illness, this week, so it has been a mental roller coaster ride dealing with all the issues such as, funeral, transferring titles, power of attorneys, and ... the sadness, heart ache, and joy! (Hey, I'm a Christian)

High school graduations are also taking place (I'll be missing one because of work : - (

So, ... We have been talking about what to take to college, like an emergency evacuation kit, one week worth of water and food, warm clothing, inexpensive smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and all the other stuff young men and women take to far away places.

Work is going well. We have one worker retiring, so there is a chance to pick up some overtime. The last time we were short one person, most of us picked up over 300 hours of overtime.

That 'extra' money will go to preps (in this order) such as Berkey water filters, food storage from the Latter-day Saints' (wheat, white rice, beans, and quick oats), 500 rounds of pistol ammo, and much more because preparing to survive is never ending, until the end.

And, ... In the end, I will be writing about 'Getting Started in Emergency Preparedness'

Slowing Down
One of my brothers (you know who) enjoys going to those Prepper Expos. He gets a kick from seeing all the 'new' prepper stuff.

Well, ... He was talking to the promoter and found out some interesting information.

First, it seems, the promoter lost money on the last show because folks weren't coming to the show.

Second, Spartan noticed some of the regular participants weren't there. It seems, they stayed home becasue they weren't making enough money to justify traveling expenses.

Third, some of the vendors were bringing less 'stuff' to sale.

Lastly, Spartan's partner didn't notice the 'panic' feel from previous expos.

I guess, folks are suffering from burnout. Plus, everything seems to be doing fine.

Speaking of Prepper Expos
According to Katniss, the self tapping beehives are junk. It seems, they remove too much honey from the bee hive, starving the bees.

Oh well, ... As you and I already knew. Stick with the proven technology when it comes to prepping and let the early adapters determine what's going to really work, what's too expensive, and what's junk.

Price Increase
I have been hesitant to write about this, but it seems, some folks are predicting prices for ammunition and firearms will be increasing as the elections get closer.

So, ... You may want to advance you time frame for ammunition purchases. Plus, those so-called 'assault' rifles. You know those AK-47s and AR-15s 'cause I'm predicting a Democrat win for the presidency.

Price Decrease
I made a mistake, last year when I was pricing my book Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead. I made the price too high compared to other e-books.

So, ... I have lowered the price, a lot.

I Can't Help It
You know what's wrong with the Republican Party?

All the candidates are Old, White and Rich ...

Just like Hillary Rodham-Clinton

Ha, Ha, Ha!!!

22 May 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

U.S. Army Ordnance Manual

I'm Traveling
Please accept my apologizes for not having anything for you, for today.

I am traveling, earning some overtime at work, and ...

There may or may not be something here by Monday.

So, ... Come on back, y'all.

29 May 2015 (Socks)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

poster by
Donia Nachshen
printed by
W. R. Royle and Son, Ltd

Your feet are important. They carry you everywhere. Plus, your feet are the ultimate, though slow, emergency evacuation method.

Choosing Socks
Like any firearm, socks are tools to protect your feet, so you have to choose your family's socks for their use. A family living in a warm, wet climate will want a different sock then a family living in a cold, dry environment.

For warm conditions, you will want a lightweight sock with sufficient padding to protect the toes, bottom of the foot, heel, and back of the heel and Achilles tendon area of the lower ankle.

Cooler conditions will require a sock with heavier or thicker insulation. These socks may also provide more padding for the feet than a lightweight sock.

Your family may also want to store socks for sleeping, to provide warmth for your feet. These socks will be extremely thick with little to no elastic material to hold the socks up to prevent reducing blood circulation to your feet while you sleep.

All of these socks comfort and insulation ability can be increased by adding a liner. Liners are usually a thin, human-made material (polypropylene, nylon, and ... silk*). These sock liners will 'wick away' sweat from you feet, to the outer sock, creating a dry environment for your feet. Sock liners will also help reduce blisters.

* Yes, I know. Silk is a natural material.   ; - )

Once you have determined on the temperature range of the socks, you will need to determine the type of material best for your family. Most families will immediately choose wool-blend socks. They offer a good compromise between an all wool sock and an all synthetic material sock.

All wool socks 'feel' better but can be slower drying, depending on the the sock's thickness while an all synthetic material sock will be quick drying but will feel 'icky' to some family members.

A word of caution: Wool and wool-blend socks can be 'itchy,' so your family may need to purchase merino wool socks or all synthetic material socks.

Now that you and your family have determined which type of socks you're going to buy (lightweight, medium weight, or mountaineering), the material you want (all wool, wool-blend, or all synthetic), and whether you will use a sock liner or not. You need to determine which brand and model you will purchase.

The best way to determine which brand and model is to go for a sock test drive. There are two ways to do this. First, head on down to your local farm and home, sporting goods, or big-box recreational retailer like Cabela's, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro, REI, or ... and try on the socks in the store. With your shoes off walk around, a little bit, and ask yourself:

Are the socks too tight or too loose?

Are they too hot or too cold?

Do the socks 'bite' into the tops of your toes?

Lastly, do they feel good?

Next, put your shoes on and do a little walking, just a little bit though. You don't want the storekeeper to think you're ripping off the socks.

Needless to say, you ask the same questions.

If the socks work, you purchase one pair for a more extensive test drive. Or you just skip to this part. if you don't want to go through the hassle of putting on socks at the store.

So, ... The next method of testing your family's socks are to purchase a pair of socks and go for a walk around the neighborhood. I can tell you from experience; you will know in about a few hundred yards if the test socks are good or bad.

If they are 'bad,' you need to start all over. If they are 'good,' you and your family will need to purchase a few pairs.

Now, ... Here is some bad news.

First, quality socks can set you back $15 to $30, a pair. Second, you and your family are going to need about six to eight pairs of socks, just for everyday, if you're walking a lot. Third, your feet and everybody else in the family will grow over time. So, ... those size small socks you put away for your partner; may not fit 10, 15, 20 years from now.

But, ... There is some good news.

You and your family don't need to purchase high-quality socks for everyday use. Those inexpensive socks from the discount retailers, membership stores, and military surplus stores will work for most situations.

Now, some of these socks are going to made from cotton. Some folks will say to stay away from cotton socks.

I agree and disagree.

First, cotton doesn't wick moisture away from your feet. This will cause your feet to feel colder and increase your risk of blisters.

You can mitigate this by wearing a sock liner next to your skin, underneath your socks.

Second, if you and your family are able to maintain a warm environment to dry and change your socks, you might be able to ignore the popular saying "Cotton Kills"

Lastly, ... Do you really need $20 socks to go to work or school, everyday?

I''m an old school survivalist. I like carrying a M1911A1 pistol and a M1 Garand while wearing wool socks, so I suggest purchasing socks with a higher wool content because of wool's natural insulating ability.

I also suggest looking for these United States military surplus wool socks. They are inexpensive and still slightly plentiful. (You have to be careful. It seems cotton knock-offs and irregular socks are more common, now a days) With a synthetic liner, they provide protection for a wide temperature range, padding for the toes, bottom of the feet, and heels.

Lastly, as I stated earlier, you and your partner need to be thoughtful (but, don't over-think it) about your family's sock needs. A family, with grown children, living on a working farm will have different sock needs then a family, partner and partner, living in the city planning to bugout, or a family with small children living in the suburbs planning to stay in place. Oh, ... And don't forget that whole financial collapse thingy with your family still going to work and school, everyday ; - )

O.K. I wouldn't be a survivalist, if I didn't mention this. You and your family can improvise socks by cutting squares of cloth to act as socks. Your foot is placed in the center of the cloth square and the material is folded or wrapped covering the foot. Then your covered foot is carefully place in your shoes or boots.

REI - Socks for Hiking: How to Choose

We Be - Socks

Fox - Sock Technology

30 May 2015 (Socks)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Peter van der Sluijs

Before the industrial revolution, people made their own clothes, including ... socks

If all you do is download these pages and print them off, for your survival bible, you will be able to use this information after an event.

Ooooh, ... You might want to buy some knitting needles, too ; - )

Winwick Mum: Sockalong -Yarns

Winwick Mum: Sockalong -Needles

Winwick Mum: Sockalong -Tension Squares

Winwick Mum: Sockalong - Accessories and Matching Yarn

Winwick Mum: Sockalong - Anatomy of a Sock

Winwick Mum: Sockalong - Week 1: Cast On, Cuff, and Leg

Winwick Mum: Sockalong - Week 2: Heel Flap, Heel Turn and Gusset

Winwick Mum: Sockalong - Week 3: Foot, Toe, and Grafting the Toes

5 June 2015 (Hats)

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Daventry (F/O), Royal Air Force official photographer

Last week, I mentioned socks for your feet. This week, ...

Head covers are used for many different purposes. Some identify people for special recognition such as military officers, priests, and college graduates. Others provide protection from rain, cold, and the sun.

Baseball Caps

New Zealand Defence Force

Baseball caps are great for shading your eyes during sunny weather. The cap offers some heat retention, keeping the head warm during cold weather, but they are terrible for protecting your ears, neck, and cheeks from the sun, even in cloudy conditions

Boonie Hat

on patrol with U.S. Forces (ca 2005)
photograph by
Peter Rimar

A boonie hat offers better protection from the effects of the sun because of the wide, complete brim of the hat. It also provides some heat retention for cold days.

But, ... The boonie hat's brim is very floppy. The brim has a tendency to fall down. Plus, in camouflage, the boonie hat screams ... Survialist!!!

Cowboy Hat

wearing a cowboy (ca 1976)
National Archives and Records Administration

The cowboy hat is an unique United States' head cover, known throughout the world. It offers good protection from the sun and heat retention during cold weather.

But, ... Flipping the brim up reduces its sun protection for the face.

Needless to say, there are other unique hats that appear all over the world, such as the ...

Ecuadoian Straw Hat

selling hand-made straw hats (ca 2013)
photograph by
Cancillería Ecuador

Australian Slouch Hat

State Library of Queensland

And, ... Many others that would offer your family protection from the sun; however, there are modern hats that would provide, probably, the best sun protection such as this one from these United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

photograph by
Bonnie Strawser, U.S. FWS

As you can see, it has a wide brim, probably, with a wire insert around the brim, that doesn't flop around. The hat also has a chin strap to prevent losing the hat when it's windy. Plus, it doesn't scream ... Survivalist!!!

Of course, these hats offer very little protection from the cold.

Taksakravi (I think)

photograph by
Dimitri Nikitin

One type of cold weather hat is from Georgia, the country. It is a piece of material worn over the head, protecting the head, neck, and ears. In winter, the material is thicker with a tight weave to retain the body's warmth


Ion Chibzii
Another unique cold weather hat is the fur hat with ear flaps. The insulated ear flaps that can be worn tied at the top (like the boy on the left) or untied and worn down (like the boy on the right) to protect the ears.

Of course, most people think ushankas are made just from fur. Nope, the insulating material can be fur, wool, or other material; it just needs to be warm to insulate the ears and head.

Needless to say, Ushanka is just Russian for ... fur hat with flaps, I think ; - )

 Knit Cap

photograph by
Glenn Francis

Another traditional hat is the 'Watch' cap worn by thousands of sailors and soldiers to keep their head and ears protected from the cold. It is traditionally knitted from wool, for warmth. Some folks are allergic to wool, so manufactures have been making the knit cap out of acrylic or other synthetic fiber.

photograph by
Helene Jutras

A few years ago, these United States military switched to a synthetic fleece for its 'watch' caps.

Of course, this improvement works for folks that have to wear a helmet and want a thin, warm cap under their helmet.

But, ... For folks with big heads, the standard fleece cap doesn't fit very well. Plus, the military fleece cap doesn't cover the same as a traditional knit cap.


photograph by
Tobias ToMar’ Maier

A variation of the knit 'watch' cap is the balaclava. It covers the whole head except a few holes for the eyes, and mouth. A long enough balaclava would also cover the neck.

Needless to say, walking into a bank or other financial institution while wearing a balaclava would make folks nervous ; - )

Protective Hats

photograph by
Alfred T. Palmer

The last hat I'm going to mention, is the protective hat or hard hat. These hats protect your head from bumps and brusies.

If you work around stuff that might fall on your head, you need a hard hat.

Photograph by
Airman 1st Class Ashley Wood

Or, ... You're a fighter pilot then you need a helmet.

Needless to say, this wouldn't be a preparedness blog, if I didn't offer some suggestions for improvising a hat.

First, the lowly towel can be used to insulate your head. A large towel can be wrapped to cover your head then a paper bag is placed over the towel. Read Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearny, I thinks it's in Chapter Fifteen: Improvised Clothing and Protective Items to see a picture and get a better explanation.

Second, a flap of material, like a scarf, can be placed around the bottom of a baseball cap to provide protection from the sun. This flap of material can be pinned, using safety pins, or just stuffed between the baseball cap and the head to make something similar to the French Foreign Legion in 1863.


Lastly, you can always make a hat from palm fronds (part one and part two)

io9 - 10 Silly Hats That People Used To Take Incredibly Seriously

YouTube: nievenegro - How to Make a Palm Hat (Part 1)

YouTube: nievenegro - How to Make a Palm Hat (Part 2)

12 June 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Sgt. Vesser

Later, Folks
No, I'm not stopping writing, but I will be late with today's blurb.

So, ... You'll have to come back (probably around 11 o'clock)

With that said, let's go.

These United States Military
As y'all know, we have some family members that have joined or will be joining the military, this year. We expect each person to learn a technical skill, such as welding, nursing, and many others. They will also be learning other skills like discipline, teamwork, and other less tangible skills that are also important.

But, ...The most important skill some of them will learn is ...

To me, this is a two-edged sword. First, you can use this knowledge to protect your family. Secondly, this knowledge can be used to subjugate other families.

So, ... Let's begin.

You are most vulnerable when you are alone because you can't see behind you. When you're asleep, no one is watching to protect you. So, ... The only way to protect yourself is to have ...

A Partner
Someone to watch over you; as you sleep. Someone to watch your back; as you do the same for them.

But, ... Even this isn't ideal because you and your partner are pulling security (watching while the other works on a task) twelve hours a day, just for sleeping!

So, ... You need a bigger ...

You're going to have to be truthful to yourself. Do you have three to five people that you can trust, with your life? If you don't, you need new friends, seriously!

And, ... I am deadly serious when it comes to certain events, like banditry, social chaos, and a few others.

Now, these friends and family don't need to be Special Forces or even former military, but they need to be trustworthy that they will stay awake on watch and sound the alarm when a threat is present.

They also need to be physically fit. Once again, they don't need to be Rangers but they need to be able to carry their weight and get around on a patrol of your neighborhood.

They also need to be smart; smart enough not to get in a fight because a team isn't big enough for a real fight.

So, ... You need a ...

For most preppers and their families, you're not going to have a squad (ten to twelve folks) before an event. It takes too much time and effort to plan, prepare, and practice. Plus, there probably not that many people that think things could get that bad and are willing to do something about it.

But, ... Folks will come around as times get tougher (hopefully, not that tough), so you need some resources (I'm working on this part : - (

You will need ...

FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad

TC  3-21.75: The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills

FM 3-55.93: Long-Range Surveillance Unit Operations

Besides knowledge, you're going to need ...

If you purchase Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead (or search for "GSIEP-16 Weeks"), I talk about some of the things you need, if you're going to run combat operations.

The first, is a ...

A handgun is for personal defense. A rifle is to defend the country. Plus, it's harder hitting than a handgun.

After a rifle, you're going to need magazines (unless, you take my suggestion and purchase a SKS rifle), lots of them.

Oooh, ... And ammunition, a lot of it!

Combat Gear
Next, you're going to need what's called 'battle rattle' (I call it ... "Kit"). It's the web gear, fighting vest, or other stuff that carries your ammunition, canteens full of water, magazines full of ammo, first-aid kit, and everything else you need to survive a firefight.

Buy the surplus military stuff; it lasts a long time. Or, ... you can buy the expensive stuff because the cheap stuff is ... not as rugged.

Body Armour
If you're going to do this, run combat operations, you're going to need protection from rifle bullets. That means rifle plates, either steel or ceramic.

And, ...
By now, you will have spent about $500 to $750 for just the kit and body armour. A rifle will have set you back another $500, for an SKS while an AR-15 would set you back $1.000 per firearm!

Think of all the food you can purchase, with that money

So, ...

Think About It
Yes, it's very sexy to say that you and your family are going to run combat operations, like these United States military, but it is a very unlikely event. Plus, it is expensive and time consuming because you have to practice, practice, and practice some more.

Money and time that could be better spent buying water filters, storing food, obtaining knowledge, and acquiring medical supplies.

Either way, it's up to you and your partner.

Next week, (the link doesn't work until the 19th) I talk about some more warfare issues.

19 June 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalis,

photograph by
Laura Lartigue

Last week, I talked about some of the considerations of warfare. In the article, I wrote about how many people you need, some of the equipment required for warfare, and suggested some military manuals to read.

Well, ... Today, I'm going to write about ...

The Reality
"If" these United States citizens and our guests started fighting each other, like we have in the past (Revolution, Civil War, and Race Riots); folks would either join one side or flee. The same would be true for the scenario involving an invader.

If you look at similar situations, the same is true in other countries.

In other words, preppers are delusional, if they think they're running around the woods, playing soldier. Let me explain.

First, prepping is about surviving an event. During warfare, most people are scrambling to survive because warfare reduce the amount of available food, destroy water treatment plants, kills people, and ... generally makes life a living hell

Second, preppers probably don't pick sides, so they are caught between two sides, just not one. That means the villains (both sides) are going to confiscate your food, your weapons, your men (I bet you haven't thought about surviving a Forced Labor Camp), rape the women, girls, boys, men, transgender, lesbians, and bisexuals (rape happens to every sex), and ... kill your family.

Third, as we have seen in recent conflicts, (Yugoslavia, Crimea, Iraq, Syria, and ...) civilians are, to put it simply, fucked because the combatants will come down hard and heavy on dissenters. Which an armed prepper group is.

Why do you think the current administration thinks 'survivalists' are potential terrorists?

Trust me, you and your family aren't hiding behind the 'Prepper' moniker when the government clamps down on dissenters. You'll be rounded up like all the other 'anti-government' terrorists.

I Apologize
As you know, I'm usually pretty upbeat about getting prepared for the tough times ahead. I truly think you and your family could easily survive a short and medium term event with a minimal amount of preparations.

But, ... Being a soldier is hard work, long before the event happens. Being a member of a team is even harder work, especially a volunteer team.

With that said, you, your family, and friends can become an effective defensive force with a minimum amount of training and equipment. Just don't think you'll be able to hold off a better trained force like these United States military.

Before I go, training is more important than equipment (to a certain extent) so purchasing a set of TA-50 from Old Grouch's Military Surplus, adding another canteen with a canteen cup, and a IFAK (Improved First Aid Kit) would make an inexpensive combat kit.

Add a knock-off butt pack, from Charlie's Surplus to add some carrying capacity, you would have a decent kit. (Hey, these United States military used A.L.I.C.E gear for 30+ years)

For you bigger folks, like me, Charlie's Surplus has extra-large and extra, extra-large pistol belts ; - )

Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead
Needless to say, "If" you're interested in learning about the many techniques and items you and your family might need to survive, you can purchase my first book for $4.95 from Barnes and Noble or Smashwords

26 June 2015

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

French Resistance Fighters (ca 1944-1945)
photograph by

A couple of weeks ago, I started talking about warfare for preppers

All by yourself, you're at an advantage and a disadvantage The advantages? You don't have to worry about anyone. You only have to feed, cloth, shelter and defend one person.

One of the disadvantages? You have to pull security, by yourself, 24 hours a day.

So, ... Let me change this category to ...

As an individual, you need to learn many skills to be an effective member of a combat team. You need to be able to effectively shoot your rifle, reduce stoppages (S.P.O.R.T.S.), read a map, move across the terrain, provide first-aid for yourself, and  ...

Transcend Adversity.

There is hardship after an event and in warfare. You have to deal with insects, rain, snow, cold, heat, being dirty, sweaty, tired, and ...

You get the point because this list is endless

You can learn to deal with adversity (better known as 'suckage') by practicing in the rain, in the cold, in the heat, in the sand, and everywhere and anywhere it sucks!

Needless to say, ... Here are a few military manuals for you to read and study.

STP 21-1 - SMCT: Warrior Skills, Level 1,%20Warrior%20Skills,%20Level%201.pdf

FM 3-21.75: The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills

FM 4-25.11: First-Aid with Change 1

FM 3-25.26: Map Reading and Land Navigation

FM 3-05.70: Survival

TC 21-3: Soldier's Handbook for Individual Operations and Survival in Cold Weather Areas

STP 7-11B1-SM-TG: Soldier's Manual and Trainer's Guide for MOS 11B, Infantry, Skill Level 1

I have to stop because I need to move on to ...

A Partner (Battle Buddy)
Once you add another person, your logistical needs double. Now you're going to need twice the equipment, twice the food, twice the ammo, and ... everything else. Plus, you're going to have to learn to operate as a buddy team.

This takes practice because you have to train on providing buddy aid (first-aid to your buddy), quietly communicate across short distances, move tactically, and so much more.

FM 21-60: Visual Signals

The Team
Once you have three to five people, you're going to have to pick a leader. This leader is responsible for the team, probably the hardest position on a team.

The team leader has to motivate people to practice their skills, make sure they're cleaning up after pooping, eating right, and ... In other words, if it isn't checked, it wasn't done.

You are also going to need common equipment. No more one person having an AR-15 rifle, another person carries a Ruger Mini 14, and another person has no rifle. Same goes for food, too.

The Squad
If you're able to get nine to twelve people together to train, you're lucky. To get nine to twelve people to agree, it's going to be a miracle. Plus, you're going to be a ... Target.

This level of organization might be noticed by the government, so be prepared to be investigated.

FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad

I have to go.

So, ... More later

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