Showing posts with label Jim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jim. Show all posts

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Privacy and Data Mining

There has been some weird stuff going on lately. I have heard the words written by bloggers read on the news while their pictures are shown and their area of residence is mentioned. Privacy, open source information and data mining are becoming concerns for me.  I have no delusion that somebody with a super computer or just the cooperation of a big company or two could track me down on a coffee break.

I am not particularly worried. Long ago I decided not to say anything on here that I would not want read back to me in a court of law. However this has gotten me thinking about what companies I choose to deal with. I got a new email for the blog. It should pop up if you try to email me but for those who would just open an old email to write me I want you to be advised. Please contact me in the future at theotherryan@yahoo.com. I will be checking my google email for awhile during what I imagine to be a couple month transition.

I deleted the blogs various social networking pages. I only regularly talked to two people on there anyway and I made sure to get their emails so we could keep up. It was a nice idea but didn't really blossom. I have a busy life and it was just another thing to do anyway. Also I have been taking a look at my personal social networking stuff. Balancing privacy concerns versus having a fulfilling life and keeping up with friends/ family around the world leads to some compromise on both sides.

I have also been thinking about the various internet personalities and sites I choose to associate with. In the last year or so the world has been pretty crazy and it seems to me like the blogosphere is really radicalizing. I am not saying it is right or wrong or justified or not justified. Just that I have found myself becoming less and less comfortable with some things I have been floating around. This is a shame because I can really enjoy 80% of what is on a given site and the rest makes me want to disassociate myself.

Quite frankly this whole thing sucks. I don't like it much at all. I am reacting in ways I see as reasonable to the world I live in. Maybe this wouldn't be a concern if I was an insurance adjuster in Omaha or an auto mechanic in Missoula but I am not.

Looking for the clouds silver lining I see two good parts to this whole thing. First I am not going away. I have had a couple of moments where I seriously considered it recently but after reflection this path seems to make more sense. I derive a lot of happiness from writing and reading the writing of others. There would be a real hole in my life without it. Secondly and more significantly this whole unpleasant thing has lead to serious reconsideration about what this blog is and where it is going. By ditching unproductive spin offs the blog is leaner and meaner. My available time will be more focused on the core mission instead of sifting through announcements about somebody's frickin Mafia Wars or Farmville. My core mission here is that I want to chronicle and otherwise talk about getting into better shape, becoming more financially secure and all around better prepared. I would like you guys to do the same thing with me so we are all more prepared for a very uncertain future.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Disappearing For A Bit: A Guest Post By The VP of Awesomeness

[ TOR here real quick. Today's post is brought to you by the VP of Awesomeness. He was a bail bondsman for a long time so I solicited his thoughts on this topic. My comments will be at the end in italics.]

Ok, let's face it, bad things happen to good people. I learned that shortly after I started by Bail Bonds business... I've seen people get in trouble and have to "disappear" for a short time. Just a couple points to cover in case this ever happens to you.

Always try to be the "Grey Man". Avoid the lifestyle bumper stickers at all costs. The ones that were successful at hiding, all drove average vehicles, wore nothing that would stand out and did nothing to draw attention to themselves.

Cash is king, while I do have some gold & silver put back, on the run or short term bugging out, use only cash. Split it up in your gear, don't keep it all on your person. Now the only exception to this that I've seen, that actually worked, was a Money Card. The woman was running from a violent relationship, her sister was putting money on a Walmart prepaid card, which works like a Visa for the most part, but you really have to trust the person applying the funds as they may have access to the card history.

IF you decide to travel with a firearm, I would keep it limited to something compact and easily hidden. While I would MUCH rather have an M4 and a chest rack full of mags, I keep it to a quality handgun & mags VERY well hidden.

Prepaid cell phone. If you find yourself in need of communicating, this is the ONLY way to go. Even then, use it enough and "they" can track it. Keep it short and sweet.

It really helps to have some sort of GPS in your vehicle, getting lost can lead to all kinds of problems. Follow the traffic laws, more people are found by your average traffic cop doing his job than by Hi speed warrant teams.

Unless you a have very deep pockets, you're going to need a source of income, and having a job on the books will not cut it, if you plan on staying free for any amount of time. So it's more often than not, it's going to be something in the building trades. Now, with the Job Market being what it is, unless you have usable skills, you may have some trouble finding something.

Find out where the Day Labor's hang out, you will be with a bunch of Hispanics, but if you are Legal & speak English, you should have a better chance at finding something. Something else that has worked, find a construction site and offer to do clean up afterwords. Salvaging cans and scrap metal is an option too. Just keep in mind you're trying to stay alive and free, not trying to compete with Donald Trump.

Keeping your expenses low. Living in your vehicle can be done and is being done a lot more than most people realize. Staying in a hotel will eat up funds and assist in getting you found. The successful one's I've spoke with, most were Van Dwellers, shopped as places like Aldi's and live cheap. I've added a link to a guy who lived successfully in his little Toyota Pickup for quite awhile to give you some idea's..

Use common sense, keep your head low and be the GreyMan...


cheaprvliving.com
Use common sense, keep your head low and be the Grey Man..



There really isn't much else to say. One significant point I just want to rehash is to think about who is looking for you. The implications are significant because who is looking for you (how they look) plus their motivation and resources/ reach will dictate how you need to act. 

I can not help but reiterate that having a functional vehicle with up to date tabs  (registration) is essential. Nothing flashy but the turn signals/ lights/ etc need to work. Also it is worth noting that having a valid license and insurance card is essential. Unless there is a warrant for your arrest if you have the right basic paperwork all but the worst traffic violation (driving 100 in a school zone or hitting someone) is handled with a simple ticket. Don't have that stuff and your likely going to face arrest and have your vehicle impounded and things will likely go downhill from there. 

Personally I think everyone should keep some cash around. For an average person a months worth of cash expenses is a good start and not a bad finish. If something weird is going on that is plenty to take a sudden 10 day vacation, particularly if you keep expenses down. Lets face it some lifestyles and jobs are a bit more prone to potential problems than others are. For a person with more risk having a higher percentage of their total assets on hand in physical cash would be prudent. 


When it comes to guns a good pistol with some mags is probably the way to go. Keep in mind that you are worried about basic self protection, not fighting off zombies. In a case extreme enough that your disappearance is going to be lengthy having a cache with some firepower would be wise. In many areas of the US even if a cop asks if you have a gun saying "Yeah I have a Glock/ 1911in my  backpack/ trunk (depending on the region)" will not raise suspicion. However having 2 semi automatic rifles, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and a carbine sitting on the back seat might cause problems. 


When it comes to communicating with friends and family it really depends so much on who is looking for you. If anything short of a widespread law enforcement search or  heaven forbid men who have  split their adult lives between the back woods of FT Bragg and the 3rd world then a quick pre paid call to tell Momma that you will be away for awhile but are safe would be fine. 


I like the van/ truck idea. 

Edited to include: Three more things jumped out at me while pondering this through the day. 

First is about essential prescription medications.  I am not highly informed on this topic but between meth maggots/ the abuse of prescription drugs in general, insurance and computers I do not think it is not so easy to discretely purchase meds these days. This is yet another reason to have some extra lying around, at least a 30 day (and ideally 90-180 days) supply. 

The last two are really just a bit more explanation of my thoughts on the "Grey Man" concept. I am sorry but aside from loitering around alleys and other obvious non typical behavior the biggest thing cops seem to profile is appearance.  While certainly not always the case often scum bags dress like scum bags. Having a normal average appearance with decent clean clothes helps a lot. If you want to avoid police scrutiny instead of looking like a member of Pantera or somebody on the Discovery Channels gang special look like a normal clean cut guy. The sort of boring guy you won't look twice at or remember seeing. 

Going along with the "Grey Man" theme DO NOT BREAK ANY LAWS YOU ABSOLUTELY DON'T HAVE TO! Think about it. You have gone to great lengths to disappear for awhile.  This is not the time to enjoy a nice cold roadbeer or punch the loudmouth jerk at the next table or try and get some weed. in a strange town or whatever. The "Grey Man" follows the rules, all of them, all the time, or at least it seems like he does. This is part of why he is so boring and nobody is interested in him.



Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Please give the VP some kudos for being nice enough to share his knowledge with us.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun With Books

This is brought to you by our VP of Awesomeness who awhile back was kind enough to send me a few books as well as a Glock mag. Today I will be talking about the book Home Security: How to select Reliable Locks and Alarms for Your Home, Office or Car by Carl Hammer.

I want to start by saying that I did not read this book cover to cover. There are some books (novels, etc) that you almost inherently need to read cover to cover. There are others that probably fall more into the reference category from which you read the parts you want. No reason to read 10 pages of super detailed directions  on canning stewed tomatoes unless you have a pressure canner, ample jars and a whole bunch of tomatoes lying around.

I guess lets stick with the normal book review format.

The good: I really liked that this book was realistic. Don't get me wrong, harder homes and gardens is a nice idea. It is just that unless you are looking at some sort of underground structure or very thick reinforced concrete walls it is not very realistic. Even then unless you have an almost unlimited budget anything beyond trying to find or building a brick home is probably a miss allocation of resources. There is a reason that people stopped building Castles when cannons were invented!

This book focuses on hardening entry ways, windows, locks and doors against discrete covert entry and slowing overt entry to give residents time to react. On this topic I recall something. For a long period of my life I occasionally spent time waiting outside of a particular arms room. That arms room had an official like sign on it. It said the arms room was rated to be secure for 400 hours (or something like that) against covert entry. It was only rated to be secure for 20 minutes against forced entry. Basically it would be impossible to ninja sneak into the darn thing but if you show up with a tools to destroy cement and metal or just strait up explosives it won't take long. The thing is to focus on reality, I know it is hard for us sometimes. However if somebody with a Browning .50 cal and plenty of ammo or even a small amount of explosives and the know how wants to get in they will. However you don't (if you do then think seriously re evaluate your lifestyle;) need to worry about that. You need to worry about 3-5 armed criminals either conning you to open the door or doing some sort of a forced entry. Ignore the books and people in forums and look at what you see on the news and read about in the paper. Following the advice in this book will take you a long way toward having a secure home.

The Bad: Being written in 2001 the book is a bit dated. In particular the relatively new do it yourself glass lamination film is a real cool product for realistic home security on a normal budget. I imagine security systems have improved some since then also.

The Ugly: No serious ugly though some stuff did bother me. However the vague hints at somehow having inside knowledge of para military and covert government activities that is often present in Paladin Press books was there. Also it was a bit needlessly redundant. When it comes to locks and stuff the guy could have gotten a camera and taken some pictures instead of only doing cheesy windows paint drawings.

I got some stuff out of this book and if you are looking to make your home more secure it is well worth reading. The copy I have is going to the shelf where it will stay until I purchase a home and want to secure it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: The Modern Survival Retreat by Ragnar Benson

First of all I would like to thank the VP of Awesomeness for giving me the opportunity to read and review The Modern Survival Retreat by Ragnar Benson now, instead of at some future date when I got around to buying it.

I am going to start with the bottom line up front. I would not suggest paying full price for this book. Not that I think it is a waste of time to read it. Just that for the money you could get a more useful book or some gear or scrape around your couch cushions until you find about three more bucks in change and get a pint of Crown Royal. If you can borrow a friends or swap for one or something then it could be worthwhile but you could do better for the $12 or so it costs to get this book delivered. It had some interesting ideas but also some redundant fluff and utterly ludicrous advice. It is worth pointing out that this book was written in 1998. It is almost entirely focused on preparing to be attacked by some sort of an alphabet agency. I suppose given its time frame and audience that was good marketing.

Might as well use the good, bad and ugly format for the rest.

The Good: I really like that this book emphasized planning for whatever situation you are concerned about in your retreat plans. An ideal location for someone who is concerned about a nuclear strike is different from that of one who really wants a low tax profile which is probably different from someone who wants to home school their kids in peace. Also I like that it doesn't entirely ignore the possibilities of living in a city. A lot of goals that people 'retreat' to can be accomplished by moving to a city in the right part of the right state.

Also I liked that it was (for a Paladin Press book focused on retreating and defending yourself from the government) relatively non tin foil hat oriented. Ragnar Benson astutely points out that you probably need to worry far more about (my example not his) what is going on at say, the county planning commission than about some obscure UN resolutions. Worry about people and agencies that can really effect your life, not obscure stuff that can't. Figuring out what agencies or groups you feel impede on something important to you then take steps to create the best situation possible is mentioned as a big point of the book.

It was somewhat unique and cool that this book went through the fairly standard advice (have multiple sources of food, water, fuel, etc) in a way that wasn't just, buy all this stuff (from companies the author works with) and you will be prepared for anything. If anything it was surprisingly light in this subject and I didn't really feel like I got Ragnar's take on it. No worries though.

The Bad:

I am coming to see that in addition to the rule that you can't publish a Paladin Press book that is more than about 150 pages long; their books must at some point mention the author doing obscure, vaguely covert/ paramilitary work on at least two continents other than North America. Not sure what is up with that but it seems sort of Soldier of Fortune style ploy to armchair commandos.

Also (and maybe this is just me writing 12 years later) the book talks a lot about how to hide your retreat from various groups including the government. My limited observation is that it is basically impossible to own and develop real property anonymously without insane resources. However since Mel Gibson could not pull off having a secret island  I question if it is possible at all. One guy living like a hybrid mountain man/ hobo in a cave deep inside a remote inaccessible region could likely be unnoticed for a long time. However the idea that you could build anything approaching a modern home that is accessible by vehicle with a well, propane heating, etc and keep it totally secret is almost laughable to me.

I would furthermore wager that a lot of the standard and illegal (so this is for academic study only blah, blah, blah) stuff about getting a new identity to be totally hidden and thus live secretly in plain sight stuff is probably dated and dangerously inaccurate. There are too many computers and too much inner connectivity these days for that to work. If modern computers didn't do it then 9/11 probably did. Maybe getting ones hands on a a drivers license that would pass the most basic scrutiny (traffic stops, buying a bus ticket, etc) could be possible but I have doubts about banking, buying real property, paying taxes, etc. Anyway.....

Also the book had a bit too much fluff for my tastes. Maybe the intent was for it to be reinforcing key points but they just didn't quite pull it off.Then again maybe they were stuck at 112 pages and wanted to get to 120.

The Ugly:

It is suggested that a person could use a bulldozer to take out a tank by flipping it over. It may be possible that some bulldozers could move something of the size of a modern main battle tank. That however misses the incredibly obvious point that tanks have lots of guns. Even using the very convenient train of thought that said guy in bulldozer could get so close the main gun is useless (a dangerous assumption as research says that the M1 Abrams can engage targets with the main gun at under 50 meters, close to point blank range) the M2 .50cal and pair of M240 7.62x51 machine guns would cut a bulldozer to shreds. Even a guy on top with a rifle would be able to stop that by shooting dozer guy in the head. 

Guess in conclusion this is the sort of book I would suggest reading if you can get your hands on a copy for little to no cost and have some free time. I am curious about what others who read this book thought.

The End

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Breakin The Law, Breakin The Law

One of the interesting and thought provoking parts of the book I am reading is that it discussed breaking the law. It is too tempting and easy to think that in any situation worse than a weekend power outage you will just saw the barrel of your Remington 870 flush with the tube and carry it around all the time shooting people who do things you do not like or otherwise doing whatever you want. Matter of fact almost every serious worst case scenario worth considering will have law and order and LEO's in some form or another. Making difficult choices in an environment which is probably more harsh and restrictive isn't a pleasant idea but it is a realistic one. Both Matthew Bracken's "Enemies" series and the recent and enjoyable "John Galt" blovel show that things can get really bad AND you will still have cops and laws to worry about.

This book discussed breaking the law in an interesting and dispassionate manner. Look at what you can lose or gain from breaking a law. Look at the cost to benefit of both sides. For example I firmly believe anybody who does not keep a valid drivers license, have a vehicle that is properly registered and maintain the necessary auto insurance is seriously asking for a ton of trouble. You can get pulled over and provided you have the previously mentioned basic stuff you can go on your way without a hassle. If you want to argue about the legality of drivers licenses or whatever you could well end up like the brothers in Patriots. A drivers license costs a few bucks and they are good for several years. Vehicle registration sucks but if you drive an older and modest vehicle it isn't that bad. Assuming your driving record is halfway decent and you drive an older vehicle the bare minimum liability insurance should not hurt your pocket that nuch. For the cost of being able to drive wherever you want carrying whatever you feel like and getting out of a police stop with just a modest fine to me this is well worth it. Often the alternative means real problems when getting pulled over, even for what would surely be a warning like a dead tail light. Getting pulled over and not having these simple documents (Papers Please!) will almost surely mean your vehicle is going to get towed. In order to be towed it needs to be 'inventoried' and depending on what you have in it that day things could degenerate significantly from there. At a minimum it will cost money, take time and inconvenience you significantly.

What law would it be an easy decision to break? Well ones that are not actively enforced and do not carry significant penalties come to mind.

To me this isn't about saying "I am a free American and I can do whatever I want". For instance breaking federal firearm laws will almost surely bring a serious penalty. Mr. "The Constitution gives me the right to saw off this shotgun barrel" could well find himself in prison. One who was a bit more pragmatic might note that the difference between an 18 1/4 inch barrel and a 17 3/4 inch barrel is a half inch OR a few years in the pen. It is about taking an objective look at how breaking certain laws could make you more free as well as the risk of legal consequences and the severity of those consequences.

Just think about it.

Ryan

Monday, February 8, 2010

Invisible Resistance to Tyranny In Progress Review

Thanks to the VP of Awesomeness I have a nice stack of books to read. The one I am reading right now is Invisible Resistance To Tyranny: How to Lead a Secret Lift of Insurgency in an Increasingly Unfree World by Jefferson Mack.

First of all I have a suspicion that Paladin Press got a discount on some printing presses that can only publish books with less than 160 pages. In any case that doesn't really matter. Onto the book.

This book is different than most Paladin Press books I have read. Most of them are pretty concrete and split between some guys advice on something and interesting little anecdotes that reinforce the aforementioned advice. This one is much more conceptual and at least to me much more valuable. Hearing some supposed expert who eludes to a vague and mysterious background give his slightly different take on some old advice is cool and all. For the usual price of $10-15 it only takes a few new hints or ideas and a couple entertaining anecdotes to make a book worthwhile. This book has been more valuable than that because it has changed the way I think by exposing me to new ideas.

First of all it starts by talking about the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. Basically the idea was that someone who is pursuing legitimate military type targets and trying to minimize collateral and civilian damage is a freedom fighter regardless of if you like their ideas. Conversely someone who is willing to target civilians and non military type targets is a terrorist. The extreme sides of this sliding scale are easy to identify. A person or group who kill a chief of police who has been running a death squad or an occupying force being identified as a freedom fighter is easy. A person or group that firebomb a preschool are obviously terrorists. There is a lot of gray in between black and white in this situation.

In the gray area we are likely to give benefit of doubt to people whose causes or beliefs we support. A 10 person cell can not expect success in attacking a fortified location where hundreds of armed personnel reside but they can get a good effect by attacking a place those people frequent. Lets say a bomb was placed in a 'soft target' like a restaurant or bar frequented by the targeted group. That bomb explodes at a peak time (say 10PM on a Friday night for a bar or lunchtime at a popular restaurant. It kills several of the targeted group and wounds 20 more. Also the bomb kills the establishments owner, a couple employees, a few random unlucky people and wounds another dozen of the same. If you hate the targeted group this was a legitimate target and the actions were just. If your brother who just needed to earn a living was unlucky enough to be working the kitchen that day the outlook will be different. The middle is very murky indeed.

The most valuable idea I have gotten from this book is that being a good person or a bad person is entirely different from being a good citizen or a bad citizen. We can divide good people and bad people however we want, it isn't that difficult. Good people do not rob, rape or murder. They are fairly hardworking and industrious in whatever they choose to do. They act in a generally honorable manner and are respectful of others. They tend to make good neighbors.

Obviously bad people tend to have characteristics that are opposite those of good people. They are generally difficult and unpleasant to be around. They may be randomly violent or predatory or dishonest. They are often not hardworking or able to harness their natural talents in a way that is useful for themselves or anybody else. They recreate and generally act in ways that are inconsiderate or outright dangerous to others. Probably not somebody you would want as a neighbor.

Good citizens obey laws without questioning them and follow the vast majority of 'the rules'. They pay their taxes in full. If told to do something by a government official or LEO they do it without question or complaint. Bad citizens ignore laws that do not make sense to them. They seek to get around what they feel are needless or restrictive rules. They do not report some or all of their income for tax purposes. They might buy and sell whatever they like without regards to the law. They recreate how they want to and figure as long as they don't bother others it is nobody's business but their own.

The idea that you can be a good person and a bad citizen is very intriguing to me. A person can be a great neighbor or a pillar of the community and never harm another person but just be a horrible citizen. They might keep a nice neat yard and pay their bills and work hard. At the same time that person might recreate (discretely and without harming anyone) however they please. They also may fail to report some of their income which is earned through various under the table transactions. They could barter to avoid taxation. They might even own a weapon that is not legal or grow a little bit of pot for personal use. (Of course I pay my taxes in full and only own legal weapons and would never get near illegal substances and suggest you do the same.)

Interesting real life story which illustrates this. As I have mentioned in the past we have a family friend who is a Doctor. When I was 19 I did some work for him off and on. One time we had to load up, deliver and unload a truck and trailer full of stuff to a town a half days drive away. On the way back we grabbed a late lunch and he got a 6 pack of Bud Light. We got back on the road and I was working on my sandwich when he passed me a beer. After we got back to their house we had dinner where I had another beer before heading home.

This fellow is certainly not a bad person. He is involved in community affairs and donates money and time to causes and charities he believes in. He is a great neighbor and always willing to help out or loan a tool or piece of equipment. In the event in question or any other similar one nobody drove drunk or did anything reckless. However in some ways he is not a particularly good citizen. He thinks open container laws are stupid so he ignores them. He also figures that a responsible adult can have a drink regardless of if they have reached some magic legal age so he serves alcohol to whomever he pleases.

I can not speak for anyone else but when it comes to people I choose to deal with I care if they are a fundamentally good person and are generally enjoyable to be around. I nice person who you can trust and have some fun around is usually a good friend/ acquaintance/ neighbor. I do not care if they fail to report some cash income or turned their garage into an office without the necessary permits or occasionally recreate in a manner that is legally frowned upon.

Very interesting stuff. It has been making me think a lot about many different things. Great book!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This was a busy week at work but some stuff got done all the same. Thankfully now that EIB is done I can resume a more normal schedule which will be very nice. Waking up a bit before 6 is a lot better than 4:30.

We got our usual $ amount of extra food this week. Rice, pancake mix, syrup, pasta with sauce, cans of baked and re fried beans, canned green beans and peaches as well as some treats like chocolate chips to make cookies and cake mix with frosting.

Our Royal Berkey water filter arrived this week but I will talk about that more later.

Also made an order I have been meaning to for awhile: Got a copy of Atlas Shrugged, a Kaito AN-03L antenna for the Grundig, a 2008 copy of Passport to World Band Radio, Farnam's Freehold which sounded entertaining when JWR quoted it not too long ago.

I had wanted to get a Cold Steel Latin Machete just because as Haiti reminded me recently you can never have too many good machetes. Also as Haiti reminded me you need a sheath for your machete lest you have to carry it around in your hand all the time. Unfortunately the machete selling folks didn't want to play with an APO so I will get that on the next order. Finding another amazon vendor isn't a big deal but if you have to do it a lot as we do it gets to be a pain.

Lastly I am reading Invisible Resistance To Tyranny: How To Lead A Secret Life Of Insurgency In An Increasingly Unfree World by Jefferson Mack. This is another book I got from the VP of Awesomeness. Very good and thought provoking book.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

quote of the day and thoughts on cops, law enforcement and its recent militarization

"If you don't like cops, next time you need help, try calling a crackhead"

I believe this comes from a bumper sticker or something. In any case I saw it on the Facebook page of the VP of Awesomeness. Like many of the quotes of the day I posted it is thought provoking. Personally I am not against the existence of cops. Some folks who read this are and we have debated that point in the past (rated R for language). I have a very hard time envisioning a place without some form of organized law enforcement as anything but a lawless hell hole.

I am however not so much a fan of a lot of laws we have or the way some cops enforce said laws. I think it is simplistic though tempting to blame street cops for thuggish laws created by the legislators and public officials we elect and continue to re elect. Saying a cop is a jack boot thug for giving you a ticket for a burned out tail light (or whatever minor infraction) but ignoring that we voted for the officials who made that illegal in the first place doesn't make a bunch of sense to me.

Of course some are just jerks but there are some jerks everywhere. Coffee shops have jerks, gun shops have jerks, etc. Some agencies do have climates that get far too many Lon Horiuchi's and nowhere near enough Andy Griffith's. I do not have any great answers to this. The best I can say is that we need to specifically target bad laws to be changed. If you think there shouldn't be a fine for something or that the fine is too high work to get it changed. This is probably most practical at the local level where rallying a few neighbors and getting the word out can exert real pressure. Also insisting on legitimate accountability in elected LEO's is a darn good start. Again it would take some organization and numbers but it wouldn't take that many phone calls to the Chief of police or Sheriff saying that Patrolman/ Deputy Andersen's actions at a traffic stop last Wednesday were not acceptable and he needs to be severely censured or fired, especially in a smaller precinct. If the head honcho is not directly elected putting pressure on the person who appoints him might work similarly.

As for the militarization of law enforcement. It is an unfortunate reality that our modern criminal element is increasingly well armed which makes it necessary that we have at least some heavily armed law enforcement officers specially equipped and trained in paramilitary tactics. Shootouts from Miami back in '86 through North Hollywood show that sending cops into some situations with anything less than magazine fed semi automatic center fire rifles and body armor with SAPI plates is putting their lives needlessly at risk.

That being said I do think we should demand at least as much accountability from them as we demand from an Army or Marine Private fresh out of basic training. If that Private kills the wrong person (or otherwise gets far out of line) there is a high probability that they will be investigated and potentially face serious consequences. If an 18 year old kid can be held  to those standards expecting the same from law enforcement is reasonable.

This covered a lot of ground.

Thoughts?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tools

Various circumstances this weekend lead me to seeing some real shortcomings in my tool box. [Jim who deals with tools by trade wrote a great post on tools awhile back which is worth looking at. ] For someone who does not deal with tools by trade or current hobbies I have a reasonable collection of tools. I have: a nice Craftsmen socket set, assorted box end wrenches, a Stanley set of screwdrivers, framing hammer,a smaller hammer, and some more stuff. Last Christmas Dad got me a bunch of misc harbor freight tools, they are far from the best but fill some niche spaces I wouldn't have picked up a tool for. If I find myself using these tools often I will go pick up higher quality replacements.

Begin tangent. Cheap tools are better then no tools. Especially since tools are something where you can't get away without buying a pretty decent amount of items. An expensive Snap On Philips screw driver will not turn a flat tip screw. The finest framing hammer will not be good for roofing. If your budget is low get a decent set of cheap tools and over time replace them with higher quality tools. End tangent. Anyway back to my current situation.

I realized I do not have a drill or a saw. I have a bow saw somewhere, probably still in the bunker. These days I do not find myself cutting down any trees and am more concerned with assorted household stuff. So here is my plan.

First I want to get powerless hand tools: something like this with a box of drill bits and one of these. I figure getting stuff which runs on muscle first makes sense financially and for preparedness.

Next I am going to get power tools. I currently have none. I figure it until I get a home and start doing specific remodeling kind of stuff a skil saw and a cordless drill of some sort will take care of my needs for awhile.

I will need to look at things and see what sort of a schedule I can purchase those tools on. Getting the hand powered stuff next payday should not be an issue. I will probably start looking at drills first because we could definitely use one around here and a skil saw can be purchased down the road a little ways.

Thoughts?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend In Review

We didn't do a whole lot yesterday. Wifey and I ran some errands. She got beautification stuff and I got 2 more Glock 19 mags and 15 rounds of #4 Buck. Including the 3 that will come with the gun that will give me 10 mags. How many mags to get is an intensely personal question without a really clear cut answer. I know a guy who swears there is no reason to own more then 3 mags for a handgun. Commander Zero likes to have around 20 mags for a pistol. Personally 10 mags is my magic number for pistols. I figure that is enough to keep a couple loaded, rotate them with some others and still have a few left over to loose/ break/ trade/ give away. As a closing though I don't think you can have too many but I do think you can spend a dispurportionate amount of your finite resources on mags.

The rest of the day was spent watching Mama Mia and the Sopranos. I had a couple beers and some desert then went to bed.

Today I woke up kind of tired and feeling a bit blah. Not a whole bunch has happened today which is OK because not a whole lot needed to happen. I packed up my stuff for next week this afternoon. Still got to shave but other then that it is just going to sleep then waking up real early and heading to work.

I have been plodding through Power, Faith and Fantasy. I am a bit more then 1/3rd of the way into it and am officially giving up. The book is just too long and too dry for me to continue at this point in time. A copy of the book may accompany me on a deployment some time. I learned some good stuff but the ratio of good stuff to pages is not great. I tend to read to kill down time at work. I have found myself choosing to stare at the wall/ sky/ whatever instead of opening this book. I am going to start another book a friend sent me this week. Since I am going to be at ranges a lot in the near future I should go through the book rapidly.

How do you keep track of amounts of ammo (or I suppose anything else)? I like doing it so lists only need to be updated periodically. I have the stash of ammo placed as desired and then the pile for recent purchases. The stashed ammo has already been inventoried. The recent purchases pile has not been inventoried. The purpose of this is to avoid needing to update the list every time I pick up a box of ammo. Wait till the recent purchases pile gets somewhat substantial it gets inventoried and placed into the stash.

Next weeks schedule is up in the air but is supposed to be busy. On the bright side I had a bunch of guest post stuff in my email. So even if I can't get to the computer all week long (very unlikely) there will be something new up here every day. Thanks a ton to Steve and Steven. On a side note I heard from Jim recently and he is alive and kicking. Got an email from him with a funny pic but it didn't play well with blogger.

The subject of nationalization of banks is poping up again. It is pretty bad when even republicans (Lindsay Graham) are mentioning nationalization as an almost foregone conclusion. To put it nicely that is an idea which I think is bad and really scares me a lot. That got me to thinking about how I would react to such a thing.

In short I think I would greatly limit the amount of my money that was in banks. The checking account might still be used to conduct normal business but would not put money into savings. In fact we would probably not have a savings account. I imagine we would keep some more cash on hand. Probably instead of saving in cash in the bank we would purchase a lot more precious metals. We might start to look at purchasing a little piece of land. We talked about this a little bit and I am not sure what exactly we would do. Thoughts?

Apparantly Venezuela got rid of term limits for their socialist leader (think the title is still president) Hugo Chavez. That probably spells a lot of trouble. Think Robert Mugabe sort of trouble. There is a reason that lots of functional countries have term limits.

With the rest of my weekend (I work in 11.5 hours) not much is going to happen. I will watch a bit more tv, probably have some kind of dinner and maybe dessert. After that it will be time for bed.
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