040310_0154_TheSOGPower1.jpgTo begin with today’s post, I will repeat the last paragraph of my last post: The bottom line here is that if your roots are not healthy and strong, neither will your tree of life be. Make sure the roots of your preparedness planning are strong, and diverse enough to withstand any potentially devastating event.

As we look at the illustration of the tree of life and survivalism, we find that there are several ingredients that  allow a tree to become big and strong, living life to its fullest expectancy. One of those criteria requires that the tree have a strong and healthy root system, so too must our preparedness and survival planning also have a strong root system.

One of the trends I have witnessed over the last few years in this arena is the marketing of gimmickry and neat gadgets to the prepper community. They may be cool items and we are all too frequently drawn to them because of what we think they may provide us in terms of disaster readiness, but they do not replace good old fashioned common sense preparedness.

For instance, one company is promoting a combo-tool type of product that will supposedly allow you to survive any disaster, against all odds. At least that is what the advertising leads you to believe. However, reality says that while it is a neat gadget, it does not do anything better than the tools you probably already have at hand, and in fact will most likely be less than able to compete with what you already have when the crap hits the fan.

Why is that? Well, one of the things i have learned about multi-tool gadgets is that while they may look cool, and perform a lot of tasks, it cannot perform any one task better than a tool that was specifically designed to do that task. In other words, while the gadget might be able to get you out of a quick bind, will it do the job better, and will it do the job longer that a tool that was designed for the job? The answer is simply; of course not.

Don’t get me wrong here, i am not against using multi-tools, and in fact own a few myself. Nevertheless, I do not rely upon them as my main survival tools. I use them as quick fixers in a situation where i just do not feel like getting out the big guns. When I want the job done right, I use the right tool. They might get you out of a jamb, but they will not carry you through a long-term survival situation.

Imagine if you will a widespread devastation and the world goes dark. No power, no fuel, no job, no cash, and even if there was, no place to buy anything. You can cook food and sterilize water by boiling it over a fire. Imagine cutting enough wood to live by with one of those little muti-tool  saw blades. See what I mean about planning? Do not get caught up in the gimmickry of today’s marketing and expect these quick fix items to be you main solution in any preparedness and survival situation.

Collect an ample assortment of real tools to do the job with for when the unexpected actually happens. Use your workshop as one of your roots to grow your tree of survival.

Roots, the base of all life

071011_2337_Survivingth6.jpgIn my last post, I touched upon new beginnings and the differences/similarities between preparedness and survivalism. Today, I want to look at some of the base concepts that fuel each stage of reaction that we take in this process we call preparedness.

Many years ago, I came to realize that while much of what we see and hear through various media outlets is just plain fruitcake talk. Nevertheless, I also realized there is indeed an aura of “conspiracy” that attaches itself to at least a small portion of this rhetoric. Moreover, upon investigation, we can see that there is indeed something going on behind closed doors, and we do have cause to fear for our futures.

Whether you believe in any one of the seemingly endless theories floating around or not, the world around us is indeed involved in what seems to be a slow speed crash and burn cycle. It has happened before, in various stages of extent, and if we are smart, we will examine these prior crashes and learn from them as we prepare for the coming times.

Let us take the last “great depression” as it has been named. In fact, there have been times when the economy has been worse for this nation, but this long standing event can teach us the most recent lessons to be learned.  Take a moment and consider who survived this era the best.

There were actually two groups of people who came out as last best survivors of that economic collapse, and these groups were millionaires, and those who had land and business interests that were of a sustainable nature. By using the term sustainable here, I am not talking about the corrupted definition that the enviro-worshipers use today, but the classic definition which simply means; able to be maintained. For instance, many of today’s businesses are wildly successful, but in the event of a collapse, can those businesses continue on in a successful manner?

For example, telemarketing call centers are good places to make a quick buck, and they can provide you with a good income, but look into their history and see how many of them enjoy a well grounded platform that they can use to continue on from should some major event bring the world to a halt. There are none that I am aware of that could continue to provide you with an income should something cause an environment to occur where they would not be able to function.

Telemarketing relies upon telephone service, but if we get hit with a large-scale and widespread EMP event, manmade or otherwise, would these companies be able to continue operations? The answer is of course, no. No telephones, no telemarketing. It is a simple concept, and yet many people fail to see the significance of this concept in real terms.

For us to rely upon one single source of income leaves us in a situation whereby we have nothing, should that source of income suddenly become interrupted. Therefore, part of our preparedness planning needs to include an ability to have a secondary source of income.  This does not mean that we need to have two jobs, but that we need to have skill sets that allow us to have alternative means of income production  that will allow us to pay our bills and put food on the table when things go belly up.

No matter what the financial condition is, some means of transfer of wealth needs to used if we are to survive, long-term.  We are used to the presence of cash for that wealth exchange, and many are foolish enough to pretend that credit can be used for that exchange. If we need a pound of flour to make a loaf of bread to feeds our hungry family, where do we get that flour? We have to buy it, or we have to
grow and process our own wheat to obtain that pound of flour.

To buy it, we need money, and if the government fails, there is no money, since money today is merely a promissory note based upon the government’s good word, and nothing more. We call that fiat currency, and many of us believe that this fiat currency may well be soon coming to an end. The alternative is to barter some tangible goods or service we have for that flour.

Herein lays the rub of survivalism, those who have, survive, those who have not merely exist, and are destined to fail. If we study the last great depression, we learn that the only people who survived with any degree of self-respect were millionaires, simply because they had enough tangible wealth whereby they were able to buy themselves survival with extremely debased currency.  And there were those who had land and businesses that provided necessary commodities that everyone else had to have, i.e. food clothing, shelter and other absolute needs for survival. Everyone else had to make do with what they had, and for far too many, this was nothing.

The bottom line here is that if your roots are not healthy and strong, neither will your tree of life be. Make sure the roots of your preparedness planning are strong, and diverse enough to withstand any potentially devastating event.

071011_2337_Survivingth1.jpgSurviving the times, these end times, can be very difficult, and in many ways, that difficulty may well create a scenario of failure instead of success for us.

I have not written a great deal of late regarding survivalism and preparedness, for many reasons, but I believe now is the time to get serious, and for us all to get down to “the business at hand”. What is “the business at hand”? That would be getting ready for the coming times, of course.

So, I guess the best way would be for me to return to the beginnings of my prepper activities and look at the changes that have occurred over the years, and maybe help at least a few of my readers learn a thing or two about prepping and survivalism.

First of all, what is survivalism and preparedness? Many people believe them to be the same thing, but they are not. Preparedness is a proactive action that allows us to survive in the future, whereas the survivalism aspect is simply reacting to the environment at hand. Preparedness is what happens before an event, survivalism is what happens after the event, whatever that event may be.

Skills and knowledge gained at any stage of the game can be used interchangeably, of course, but we must bear one fact in mind at all times: once an event occurs, we can no longer prepare for that event.

The bottom line here is that if you fail to prepare to survive after whatever event you expect occurs, when that event occurs, you are all out of planning time. Everybody gets old and retires, and many people plan for those years when we live without employment and a paycheck. But some people fail to plan ahead. Once you retire, there is no retirement planning available, only surviving retirement. And how you prepare for retirement dictates how well you are going to survive retirement. Simple enough?

To start with your preparedness planning, we need to look at where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. You need to know what you have for assets, and what your goals are, if you will. As goals change, so won’t our assets, and part of planning for the inevitable catastrophe is to acquire the assets you need to achieve your goals, and to prepare for the possible loss of those assets.

When I talk about assets here, I am not just talking about money and financial instruments. I include things such as food, water, property, tools and the like, and especially about knowledge. Believe it or not, knowledge can be one of your greatest assets. However, there may be occasions where some of these things may be lost, with or without our consent.

Over the years, I have sustained several life-altering events that came along unexpectedly, but because of the knowledge I have gained, I have been able to survive the aftermath, even though I have lost valuable tangible assets, including several years worth of storage food and other property.

I survived because I developed a mindset that provokes me forward, in spite of the obstacles. Sure, I could have given in and become just another welfare puppet licking the boots of my government, but I didn’t, and I will not, no matter what happens. After a few years of struggling, I am climbing back into the driver’s seat of my own wagon, and intend to direct this wagon in the direction I want it to go.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be sharing some ways that you too can climb into the drivers seat and direct your own wagon in the direction you want it to go, in spite of all the distractions and obstacles you may have to face along the journey.

Surviving The Times is available through my Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0056SXP3K

gun crimeAs we are all aware, the fairly recent mass shooting at a school in Newtown Connecticut has placed the nation into an uproar over the issue of gun rights verses gun controls. As usual, instead of addressing the core issues at hand, the socialist minded leftist politicians, democrat and republican both, have decided to glam onto the anti-gun bandwagon and push for stricter gun laws.

Is this really what we should be doing in response to such an horrific act as a mass shooting?

The issue at hand should not be addressed as gun control, but more properly as an issue of crime control. The problem is not that a gun or guns were used to kill a bunch of innocent people, but that a person decided to commit that shooting. Why is no one addressing the problem of the person, instead of the tool used to commit the crime?

Why was the crime committed? At this point, I really have no idea, and neither does the majority of America, but is the weapon of choice really the problem? In a word, no it is not the problem. The problem is that a crime was committed.

Look at the issue of assault in this manner:

Let us say a person, man or woman, gets angry and wants to assault their partner in life. There is no gun in the house, so what does the person do? Does this person simply walk away because they cannot succumb to their emotional need to attack someone and cause injury? Of course not. If this were true, then we would have no issues of domestic abuse and the resulting crime rate from that ill named crime.

The person would either use their hands to attack, or grab whatever is handy. Let us say that a vacuum cleaner was nearby, and the person grabbed an extension wand to beat the crap out of their partner. Should we then ban vacuum cleaners because the extension wand was used to beat someone?

Maybe we should just ban vacuum cleaners that have extension wands? Alternatively, we could ban vacuum cleaners with multiple extension wands. That way the victim might have a chance to escape while the perpetrator reloads. Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?

Of course it is stupid, and so is the argument over gun control. We do not need gun control, and neither do we need people control, but the end result is that people control is the only possible end result of gun control.

Banning high capacity magazines, or clips holding more than ten rounds will not eliminate the potential for gun crime. In fact, in some ways it retains the probability of an increase in gun crime, especially as time goes by.

More and more people will simply comply with the rules, and eschew their constitutionally endowed right of self-defense, thus exposing themselves, and their property to those who wouldn’t give a rats ass for the lawful requirements of gun owners.

Further, surrendering our right of self-defense also decreases the possibility of defending ourselves against a corrupt political establishment, should the right parties attempt to subjugate us to a certain form of dictatorial regime, which may well happen given the current trend of affairs.

The question we have to ask here is; is gun control really meant to control gun related crime, or is it really intended to control the larger part of the law abiding gun owning population through a series of bans on certain firearms, clips and ammunition, registrations, and publicly administered oversight of gun owners?

The newspapers and television stations we get our current news from have a propensity to label every storm that comes down the road the greatest disaster since whenever. It is true that we have some terrific storms, but how do we really classify them as disasters? Many of the so-called greatest disasters of today become minuscule in tragedy compared to disasters of yesterday.

Hurricane Katrina was called the worst disaster since whenever, but the reality is that the hurricane that wiped out 1,836 people back in 2005. But the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane  caused more real damage, taking many more lives than Katrina did. The damage was just as extensive, but because costs have risen so much over the decades due to the decline in the value of currency worldwide, Katrina cost much more in cash to recover from.

Do not take me the wrong way here, Katrina was a tragedy, but in real terms, it was in fact a tragedy that really might have been prevented. However, that was then, Sandy Hook has come and gone and we wait with tingling buttocks the next media fed disaster of the century.

Let us look at our own disaster levels, and prepare for them by creating plans for each of the different levels of disaster. I have developed a personal tiered system of five levels of disaster/preparedness that we should be ready for. You can develop your own system as you see fit, but please develop prepping goals that help you achieve a permanent survival plan in case the worst does come to pass.

Here are my five stages:

  • Stage 1; Stage 1 is the simplest, and least stressful of prepping events. This would include any situation involving no more than one night without your usual or normal infrastructure in place. This could involve a thunderstorm creating a blackout of just a few minutes to a 24-48 hour time frame. At this point, you will be consuming the food in your refrigerator first, as it is likely to thaw and spoil in just a couple of days.

 

  • Stage 2; Stage 2 is a little more complex, with your infrastructure being interrupted for up to one week to a month. By day three you should have cleaned out your refrigerator, and begun to consume the contents of a deep freeze if you have one. Store bought canned and dry food in your pantry will be consumed at this point. You will want to save MRE’s and long-term food supplies for stage three and beyond. Batteries will likely have been used up by this point, and you would be on alternative lighting such as oil lamps, etc. cooking will be done with camp stoves, so you would need plenty of fuel on hand for this stage.

 

  • Stage 3; Stage 3 is a duration of from one month to a six months or so. You would have consumed all fresh foods long before the beginning of this stage, and would be utilizing your short-term storage foods such as canned goods and may have begun your MRE  program. Availability of foods and fuels in the marketplace is no longer an option, as there likely is no marketplace to speak of. Your fuel may be gone, and you would be utilizing wood for heating and cooking. The smart prepper would have developed a solar lighting scheme to recharge batteries for lighting and other needs.

 

  • Stage 4; Stage 4 is a period of from six months to one year. This is the time frame in which you would have mentally sat back and taken stock of the fact that we are really screwed, it is not just a bad dream. Short-term food supplies will be running low, and you will begin consuming your long-term food supply. A good prepper would have seen this coming and realized early on that your short and mid-term supplies would need to be rationed to avoid running out too quickly. By now you will be at the barter stage to obtain needed supplies as the government is obviously  dumber than we gave them credit for being.

 

  • Stage 5; Stage 5 is a period of survival lasting from one year to two years out from the initial disaster. You finally figured out that you were right all along, and there is no going back to the way things were. You will be on your long-term food supply, and will by springtime have planted that survival garden you thought you would never need. There are no jobs, no money, and transportation is now 100% people powered. Bicycles and animals provide the means of getting anyplace faster than walking. Your long term food is holding out, and in the fall, you will harvest and prepare for storage your food needs for the entire following year.

 

  • Stage 6;  Stage 6 is no longer a survival stage. If you have made it this far, you will find that this is the new normal. It had been over two years since the disaster that created the situation you are in, the government, the economy, and society have all crumbled into a sort of 18th century mentality. Roving gangs have moved from the depleted urban areas and are now roaming the countryside to take what they want. You have banned together with your neighbors to form militia groups for protection from these marauding gangs. You have found that life truly sucks, but that is OK, you will weather the storm.

 

That is a brief rundown of the stages of disaster preparedness. Most of us only have to put up with an occasional stage 1 setting, and a few of us go on to a stage 2 setting. Very few people ever come close to a stage three in these days, but it could happen. We owe it to our families to prepare for the worst, but pray that it never happens.

Happy prepping folks!