Showing posts with label paranoia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paranoia. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

RE: Military Vehicles on Roads.

Got a comment to yesterdays post that seemed worth addressing here. My replies are in italics


 Yogi Berra was famous for his highly intellectual quotes, one of which was "You can see a lot just by looking around."I'm all for looking around. Anonymous is right on

How many convoy serials have you bloggers commanded?

I am in Officer in the US Army. Enough to know what I am talking about. 

DOD Regulations require convoy serials to be marked clearly with signs "Convoy ahead" and other safety related equipment to conform to State and Federal Transportation regulations. (not just wide load banners with no escort.)

Every time I have done a convoy we have the stupid Convoy signs.  As to other safety gear we have all sorts of stuff but  I am not sure what you are talking about or how it relates to the conversation we are having.

Military Vehicles in CONUS must have their unit stenciled on the front and rear bumpers for easy ID with convoy serials written in chalk that is why they are referred to as chalks when they are assembled for deployment. Mainly so the MPs can write them a ticket for speeding.

Typically I have seen unit info spray painted with stencils on vehicles but 1) the exact locations vary and 2) While customary I would be interested in seeing the exact, current, regulation that specifically says that is required. 


The video was poor quality but it is clear to this old guardsman that it was not a Guard unit heading for AT or crew eval and qual.

Don't know where you are going here at all. 


It appears to be an RA road trip but it isn't headed for the border with Mexico.

What?Don't know where this is going man.


The key question is are the really knowledgeable people always vigilant?

 This is an interesting point. If you saw a bunch of vehicles loaded up with ammo boxes and live rounds fed into their crew served weapons in blocking positions on dominant terrain at key intersections one could justifiably go to condition red. On the other hand some guys driving by from here to there is almost surely nothing.

I don't have a tinfoil hat but may get one if this S#@* keeps up.

What S*&T? What specifically is the US Military doing that is giving you concern? If you were worried about the general state of our government or some federal law enforcement agency that might be a different discussion. 


I'm curious though as to where they came from and where they went? The truckers would know.
My 8 year old grandson would have asked them where they were headed at the Rest Stop when they had to take a pee and then quizzed them about how their equipment stacks up against Bradleys, BTRs, BMPs and Barretts.

Soldiers, much to their leaders disappointment have almost 0 awareness of operational security. Honestly if you ask and are not a complete dick they will probably tell you exactly where they came from, where they are going and what they are doing. 


Are these strikers part of the Ready Brigades brought back from Iraq and deployed through out the U.S.A.?

I am an Officer on active duty in the US Army and would bet a goodly sum that I currently hold a higher security clearance than you do. I genuinely do not know WTF you are talking about with this. 


Is one of these Brigades assigned to Ft Knox or Blue Grass AD?

I dunno? You talked about Mexico earlier. This is all over the place man. 


Were they on a deployment exercise or just out for a Sunday drive perhaps?

 It is possible the individuals we are talking about were doing a short local test drive but otherwise they were headed somewhere for a purpose. They definitely were not just driving around for the sake of it, especially on a weekend.


Where were they going to play?

 Probably a local place with more ranges to train on.


Garand & Lawson say in their great book "The End of Civility" that "There is no such thing as a false alarm."

I have not read that book though it does seem interesting. They seem like fine people but I am honestly not sure what to make of the quote. Seems to me like false alarms happen all the time.


Its good quick reaction drill practice. Never forget that friends.

Having a plan is always a fine thing.

Note: Sorry if I came across too harshly here. I have my fair share of integrity and have not embellished my bona fides in any way. Given that everything cool these days is SOF I would be a lot better off here in terms of this little business to stretch the truth and infer or imply having qualifications, tabs or experience I do not have. Honestly like many folks I am smart enough at something I understand to talk a little bit more than my actual ability level in a way that only a few folks might catch.

Also I try not to talk about things I am not reasonably well informed on. 

Suppose that while I am not all in your face waving a flag and yelling about my accomplishmments  I do have a healthy dose of pride in what I have done, am doing and likely will do.  As such, especially given my aforementioned honestly at the expense of my own best interest, I probably do not handle folks questioning my background or knowledge of this type stuff very well.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Military Vehicles on Roads. A Nonevent with Common Explanations

About every few months somebody in the survivalist (though more lately 'patriot' community) sees a few military vehicles on the road then takes a picture. They talk about how it is a clear sign that the Federal Gubmint is coming to put them in FEMA Death Camps or the UN is invading or at the very least it is a clear breach of Posse Comitatus and or conditioning in preparation for one of the aforementioned operations in the future.

Let's take a deep breath and remove our tin foil hats. Also we might want to remove our body armor and loosen any pistol belts. A drink of water is not a bad idea either.

This is a classic Ocams Razor scenario. There are reasons military vehicles might be moving around on the open roadway that are far more likely than any of the above mentioned scenarios.

The simplest explanation is that a group of service members and or their vehicles need to get from point A to point B. Despite what you heard on midnight SW radio or some forums we do not have magical underground tunnels with roads inside. If we need to get 40 people and their vehicles to a place to train, turn in vehicles for upgrades, maintenance, etc we usually just drive there like anybody else.

At all but the biggest bases we may need to go to other areas for training. Example: while Fort Lewis is a huge base the amount and type of ranges there are limited. If we want to shoot larger weapons or conduct bigger scenarios we have to go to Yakima Training Center in central Washington. Yakima is a huge largely open training area. Think of it like the equivalent of a gravel pit where you can shoot however you want for the Army. In many other areas there are similar needs to go to a different area to train.

Sometimes loading vehicles onto trains and sending the soldiers in buses is an option, other times it does not make sense or the option is entirely unavailable. Maybe there is not a rail line right by where we need to go or the timelines do not work. Maybe due to obscure government budgeting stuff we can buy fuel and spare parts but not pay for buses.

In particular during the summer months reserve and national guard units will conduct their 2 week annual training. These groups are often located in small enclaves all over the place. This is especially true of the guard which might have 1 platoon in a town, a company in the next town, etc. All of these groups will need to gather into larger groups and travel to some sort of base to conduct their normal annual training which is typically split between knocking out various requirements (weapons qual, various mandatory tasks, etc) and some sort of scenario based exercise or war game. These things happen every year. The guard in particular tend to do 1 big scheduled event very year at the Brigade or even state level. If you looked carefully through the local news it would probably not be too hard to learn that the XX Brigade which is the XX State's guard unit is conducting their AT at Fort Whatever from 1-15 August.

These groups stop at various points along their routes for the same boring reasons you stop on a long drive. Mostly soldiers need to pee, get another giant monster and more chew or maybe pick up some snacks.

Look is you see armed soldiers (or marines) setting up check points [not to be confused with directing traffic if a vehicle breaks down, etc] or machine gunning people it is time to worry. Actually at that point it is probably too late but you get the idea. 

The comments section here could be interesting. By all means chime in with your opinion.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Link Dump

Why Won't The Single Shot Shotgun Die? Probably millions in circulation, affordably priced, generally quite reliable, can take sub caliber insert/ adapters to fire a variety of calibers including .22lr. That these guns hold a single shot and have a slow rate of fire is certainly a limitation but for use other than defense a negligible one. I'm in the market for a break action single shot 12 gauge myself.

Free online topographic maps

Off no longer means off when it comes to cell phones. If you don't want to be vulnerable to cell phone shenannigans either physically take the battery out of the phone or leave it elsewhere.


Friday, May 17, 2013

DHS Eleventy Gazillion Rounds of Ammo

I had an interesting conversation today that merited sharing here. Met a guy socially and we got to talking. Somehow the whole 'DHS is buying every bullet in the world' thing came up. (A gal mentioned it was why she couldn't find 9mm [which DHS isn't buying anyway but she is a nice lady so I didn't want to sharp shoot] ammo) He started shaking his head. I should mention this guy works for customs. Pretty common down here around the border. You are far more likely to run into one  here than if you were in Kansas or something.

Dude shared 2 interesting things that I thought were worth mentioning. First he shoots 4,000 rounds a year of pistol ammo (currently .40). Second and more importantly it is all hollow point's. Dude's been working that job for twenty years and has been shooting all HP the whole time. Between being very blunt on other topics and having no reason whatsoever to lie I'm pretty sure he was above board.

Anyway that's something to think about when you read stuff on the internet.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Midway is Pushing Partial Back Orders Out The Door

 I ordered a bunch of different AR parts from Midway a couple weeks back. A full BCG, a spare bolt, a couple receiver extensions and some other stuff. The stuff that was in stock shipped and the rest was on back order. I wasn't worried about exactly when it showed up as it was just spare stuff anyway. This morning I got an email. It is unchanged except that obviously my last name is not XXXXXXX.

-Email follows-

Dear Ryan XXXXXXX,

We have been holding some products for you, waiting for other items to arrive so we could ship your order complete.  However, we believe an Executive Order could be released any day prohibiting the sale of certain products such as high-capacity magazines and AR-15 parts and accessories.  Therefore we have done a partial release of your backorders to ensure that any of these items and other items we had in inventory waiting to ship complete are all on their way, in case such an Order is forthcoming.  You will receive a shipping notification shortly.  Other items on backorder, that we have not yet received, are not affected by this partial release.

We appreciate your understanding and your business.  We always put Customer Satisfaction first and believe this action is in the very best interest of our Customers.

Sincerely,

MidwayUSA Customer Service

-End-

Maybe they are just doing this to appease customer concerns or do they know something I do not? Thoughts?
 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Worth Reading: The Gentlepersons Guide to Forum Spies

The Gentlepersons Guide to Forum Spies

Selected passages:
One way to neutralize a potential activist is to get them to be in a group that does all the wrong things. Why?

1) The message doesn't get out.
2) A lot of time is wasted
3) The activist is frustrated and discouraged
4) Nothing good is accomplished.

Some agents take on a pushy, arrogant, or defensive manner:

1) To disrupt the agenda
2) To side-track the discussion
3) To interrupt repeatedly
4) To feign ignorance
5) To make an unfounded accusation against a person.

Calling someone a racist, for example. This tactic is used to discredit a person in the eyes of all other group members.

Saboteurs

Some saboteurs pretend to be activists. She or he will ....

1) Write encyclopedic flyers (in the present day, websites)
2) Print flyers in English only.
3) Have demonstrations in places where no one cares.
4) Solicit funding from rich people instead of grass roots support
5) Display banners with too many words that are confusing.
6) Confuse issues.
7) Make the wrong demands.
Cool Compromise the goal.
9) Have endless discussions that waste everyone's time. The agent may accompany the endless discussions with drinking, pot smoking or other amusement to slow down the activist's work.

Provocateurs

1) Want to establish "leaders" to set them up for a fall in order to stop the movement.
2) Suggest doing foolish, illegal things to get the activists in trouble.
3) Encourage militancy.

4) Want to taunt the authorities.
5) Attempt to make the activist compromise their values.
6) Attempt to instigate violence. Activisim ought to always be non-violent.
7) Attempt to provoke revolt among people who are ill-prepared to deal with the reaction of the authorities to such violence.
 (The emphasis is mine, Ryan)


Informants

1) Want everyone to sign up and sing in and sign everything.
2) Ask a lot of questions (gathering data).
3) Want to know what events the activist is planning to attend.
4) Attempt to make the activist defend him or herself to identify his or her beliefs, goals, and level of committment.

Recruiting

Legitimate activists do not subject people to hours of persuasive dialog. Their actions, beliefs, and goals speak for themselves.

Groups that DO recruit are missionaries, military, and fake political parties or movements set up by agents.

Surveillance

ALWAYS assume that you are under surveillance.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paranoia, Paranoia, Everybody is Coming to Get Me

Paranoia came up again recently. I talked about this some a long time back. Also again it is worth noting that every large, somewhat empty building with a fence around it is not in fact a FEMA concentration camp. For heavens sake Glenn Beck debunked this years ago. The more recent discussion has been about military vehicles moving around on highways or trains.

Look folks, there are no special secret hidden roads, train tracks, rail yards, ports and the like for the military. If a bunch of vehicles need to go someplace for whatever reasons the reasonable options are usually to drive our vehicles or put them on flat bed trucks/ trains. We travel in convoys so folks don't get lost and so there is support if a vehicle has problems. Also these sort of things tend to deal with fairly large groups of dozens of vehicles anyway. Convoys will pull over at a rest stop to take a break or on the side of the road for a quick map check/ bathroom break/ whatever.

These sort of normal movements do not mean that the military is conducting recon operations to take over your neighborhood or whatever. Losen up the tin foil hat a little bit. I will let you in on a super special secret. Our Army is about as subtle as a sledge hammer between the eyes. Think shock and awe, or Desert Storm or for that matter the (Re) Invasion of Iraq. If the Army wanted you a few armored vehicles (or helo's) would show up outside of your house at 3am and a dozen guys would storm the place to grab you. If they wanted to control your town dozens of vehicles and hundreds of armed men would show up and do just that.


Basically my point is that if you see some vehicles driving around or some soldiers in line at a store or doing basically anything except A) kicking in your door at 3AM or B) setting up traffic control points to shut an area down they are just going from one place to another for some boring reason and there is not a need to lose any sleep over it.

If I am missing something please tell me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It Isn’t Useful For X

This is something that has bothered me in the past. I will be talking about how it is a good idea to have some cash around and someone will inevitably say “that cash would be worthless in a hyperinflationary economic collapse” or talking about PM’s and they would say “you can’t barter with PM’s during the Mad Max end of the world scenario I envision”. The implication is that since a given thing is not useful during that one specific event it isn’t useful at all. I am just coming to see this train of though clearly today.

The issue is simple. That something is not useful for X scenario does not mean it isn’t useful overall which is the implication of the above mentioned paraphrased quotes. Look at it like this. A Glock 17 is a poor substitute for toilet paper but that doesn’t mean it is not useful. Does the ridiculousness of that sentence explain the foolishness of this train of thought? You get a thing or learn a skill not for what it doesn’t do, but what it does.

Part of the problem is folks getting tunnel vision on one scenario. For some reason it is usually a very specific one and unlikely one. The guy who is worried that $500 in small bills would lose their value if hyperinflation hit is so fixated on that one thing that he discounts numerous, far more likely, scenarios where having some cash would be useful. Also he fails to see that there is a far higher chance that he will be able to use that cash to buy goods and services in numerous other situations than that it will go up in proverbial hyperinflationary smoke.

My point isn’t that you need to think or do like I do. Different folks have different concerns and at the end of the day we all pays our money and takes our chances. My point is that you need to look at the big picture, not just one possible scenario.

Don’t get tunnel vision.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Invisible Friends

My Mother In Law is pretty active in an online community, which one doesn’t matter. She calls the people she knows there “Invisible friends”. I like the term. Invisible friends are a big part of the fun of being involved in an online community. Invisible friends are people who have a lot in common with you if in a narrow sense that can give advice and encouragement.

I have found that in places where people gather to discuss a specific range of interests (could be firearms, survivalism, fitness, a hobby or whatever) people are on the whole quite honest. I take folks at face value and their word until given a reason to do otherwise. Every once in awhile there is a troll or somebody who wants to push things in the direction of their alternate agenda. Only one time that I can recall have I stumbled into a total liar.

That being said I do take some precautions. I quite intentionally don’t go into detail about parts of my life, show pictures, etc. Giving anybody you hardly know actionable intelligence to rob or harm you is just not smart. Somebody I have been talking to for regularly for months could, given an iron trap memory or good data management, probably have pieced together a whole lot about me but I don’t worry about that too much. It is one of the risks of getting to know people and has been more than worth the payoff of some interesting and rewarding friendships.

There is one thing I am particularly careful about. I try very hard not to say anything on the computer (blog, email, etc) which I would not want read back to me in a court room. I am even more careful about what I say to folks I don’t know well. 

In the Sopranos there is a young female FBI Agent who was tasked with going under cover to get close to the delightful Adrianna Laserva. This gal changed her appearance and her voice and happened to bump into Ade. They liked the exact same things and had the same hobbies and interests and totally clicked. Over time through idle conversations and observation the agent got some dirt on young Adriana. You get where this is going and it wasn’t pretty.

Now I am not saying this has happened or will happen to anybody like boring old you or me. First this is probably tin foil hat stuff. Secondly I seriously hope our government can manage its time and resources better. Third I don’t really do anything interesting.

That being said if an invisible friend ever once talked about committing a felony, especially if it involved illegal firearms or explosives I would run, not walk away. (I am excluding morbid but obvious jokes like, “and that makes me want to start burning down liquor stores.”) There is a saying that if you are at a group/ political type meeting and 3 people are advocating criminal behavior or violence they are all probably undercover agents for somebody or another has some truth to it. Some folks have different concepts of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘entrapment’ and I do not feel like having my life ruined. The best case is that my invisible friend has a couple of screws loose and is planning something bad. That is still really not a situation where I want to be involved.
Aside from a little bit of caution for the sake of OPSEC and being careful about what sort of conversations you get involved in there is no reason not to interact with and enjoy invisible friends.

Beside, you aren’t going to make any real friends sitting at your computer all day wearing a with a tin foil hat so you might as well make some invisible friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tribal Thoughts

The concept of intentional survivalist groups has always kind of bothered me. First it makes me wonder about people. Why is this person’s primary plan to abandon everyone they know to go live with strangers? Also furthermore I am paranoid and distrustful. The idea to have your plans for a worst case scenario be to come together with a bunch of people who supposedly have stuff in common with you that you met on the internet does not sit well with me. Some folks have end of the world plans with people that are not, to me, sufficient to let them watch the cats over a long weekend. Personally I find trust way more important than skills or whatnot. My father or friend might not be the perfect end of the world survivalist type but I’m not going to wake up to my throat being slit.

In any case I find the concept of a tribe a lot more natural. A tribe is, in this context as coined (IIRC) by the good folks at Western Rifle shooters a sort of clumping of people based upon family, pre existing friendships and maybe some intentional choices. It is more a selection of people already in your life than a group of random strangers. The downside of tribes is that they are, on average, probably a lot less paranoid than you are. This means they are less likely to take preparedness seriously and put in serious energy and resources. Not a big deal if there is a Doomer Daddy Warbucks but that scenario is few and far between and does not apply in my case.

Here are some effective ways I have influenced my tribe:
-Positive modeling has worked well. It works well especially when it comes to people who look up to you and or respect you. Showing a way other than living on credit, getting your financial house in order, using food storage as a way to take advantage of sales and decrease your food costs as well as for emergencies, etc. I have done surprisingly well with this one.

-Teachable moments. When it comes up naturally you can give some advice or share experiences you have had/ techniques you use that are relevant. My folks went to pick up a few things (primarily a ham I believe) at the store during one of our annual PNW ice storms. They were not taking cards and luckily somebody had a checkbook. I mentioned that it is prudent to keep a couple of hundred bucks in small bills on hand for these eventualities. Also that lead naturally into talking about how wonderful a well stocked pantry is.

-Teach/ expose people to things. Take someone shooting. Teach someone how to use hand tools or do auto maintenance. Whatever it is that you know and they want to know teach them. This is also a very effective one because it helps build relationships and credibility in that area and others. It is also a good way to lead to new teachable moments.

What does not work:
-Paranoid ramblings or rants. These just do not work. Best case you are preaching to the converted and worst case you look like a loon and lose credibility.

-Being pushy. Nobody likes being told what to do. If somebody asks your thoughts on how to survive the zombie apocalypse then tell them, otherwise stick to the topic being discussed.

How have you been successful (or not successful) in influencing your tribe?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Conspiracy Busters Military Patrols

Like a lot of folks I read the Drudge Report. When I saw a link to "Military Patrols in Columbus, GA" http://www2.wrbl.com/news/2011/apr/22/military-patrols-start-friday-night-ar-1752061/ I had to check it out. I am sure some conspiracy hounds are sure this is the start of a military occupation of some kind. However that just does not mesh with reality. I can speak from a bit of experience as I have lived in Columbus, GA and also done Courtesy Patrol albeit in a different location. The way CP (as it is so affectionately called) actually works is as follows. Senior NCO's and sometimes junior Officers walk around busy bar/ club areas and try to keep soldiers from doing stupid stuff and getting into trouble. Typically it consists of getting soldiers who have had too much (even by a Charlie Sheen definition, like puking, falling over and passing out) to drink home and breaking up dangerous situations. With the totalitarian nature of the military and our laws orders to "get in the van" are in fact lawful. Nobody gets into any trouble for that sort of stuff, just a safe ride back to the Barracks or on post housing. Breaking up fights is pretty common and keeping bouncers from stomping some dumb poorly behaved soldier is not unheard of. Really it is just us looking out for our own. Other than making a phone call (which anybody can do) these folks have no authority and will not bother civilians and yes we can tell the difference. Hint, the group of skinny bald 21-23 year old guys wearing t shirts and dog tags are in the military. If anything CP is a stabilizing influence that can remind soldiers that they will be held accountable for ridiculously stupid actions (breaking stuff and hurting people, etc).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays

As a blogger every now and then I have the idea for my next post fully formed and the thing practically written in my head when I see a post elsewhere that says exactly what I was going to say better than I could. This morning was sort of one of those days. SHTF Blog's post Prepper Burnout- Identify and combat it really struck a cord with me. 

I've been feeling sort of burned out recently. Since I got back last Friday it has been evident enough that people I talk to are noticing it during conversation. I got to really thinking about why this was last night. I laid there for about 3 hours just thinking.

A bit of it is just life. Work has recently (last 2-3 months or so) been busy, not particularly rewarding and more stressful than in the past. That is definitely a factor. I am pretty ready to take a break for the holidays.

I got to thinking that a lot of it however is what SHTF Blog keenly identified as Prepper Burnout. Right now our big push is to become debt free by paying off my school loan. We are putting an almost rediculous percentage of our income toward that goal. Things are working but it isn't fun. While we have decent reserves our general operating budget is tight. This is creating a lot of stress in our finances that would not otherwise exist. The payoff date is pretty darn close so it isn't really worth tweeking things. However if we had it to do over again a slightly less aggressive (about 10-15% less a month) repayment plan would have given us most of the benefit with a lot less stress.

Also not being colocated with a lot of my preps stresses me. Not so much in a worring about if things happen and I am not there sort of way as I am comfortable with our situation here. More that I got a lot of joy in seeing my stocks and watching stuff accumulate. It makes the work and effort I put into stuff worthwhile and also has a real calming effect on me. The work is still there but the calming effects are not.

It probably doesn't help that we are currently living through a preparedness scenario. Just because it isn't a fun, quick or sexy scenario doesn't make it any less real. Employment is bad, the economy is at best uncertain, crime is up, there is inflation in normal purchases and all kinds of other bad stuff. That you can't carry a rifle everywhere and there is still electricity doesn't mean real stuff isn't going down.

Anyway enough with the pitty party. The real question is what am I going to do about it. Today I started making a couple conscious efforts and made a bit of progress. The day sucked especially bad and my mood is, at least relatively speaking pretty good. The first thing I decided was to do at least a couple things in a day just because I enjoy them. Today I had a doughnut for breakfast on a work day. Also I had a little time with no TV/ computer or other noise just hanging out with Walker. That was nice and took my mind off things.

Really wanted to get back into the gym today but it just didn't work with my schedule. Tomorrow I think it will. Lifting once in a blue moon or a couple times in a row randomly won't do much for my body but I enjoy it and it gets those good endorphins going. Lastly I am just trying to enjoy the little things and force myself to be happier. Remember, fake it until you make it. Going home, seeing friends and family, shooting my own guns, repacking all my new awesome stuff and just plain taking a break will hopefully help a lot.

See you all tomorrow

Saturday, November 20, 2010

When Are You Done Preparing?

FerFAL was recently asked the interesting question "When Are You Done Preparing?". I found the question interesting and it sort of stuck in my head. I don't disagree with FerFAL's answer but I do see it from a different perspective. Here is how I see it.

It is worth discussing the difference between maintenance and growth (though not strictly money, also time, energy, etc) of your preps. Maintenance of your preps would be stuff like rotating foodstuffs, practicing to keep your skills fresh, etc. Growth would be stuff like increasing your food storage, learning a new skill, taking a class, buying guns, gear, etc.

I think a certain amount of maintenance is necessary lest your food goes bad, your equipment degrades and your skills atrophy. You've got to rotate food and clean weapons. Car kits and GHB's need to be periodically inventoried and have perishable contents rotated. Even the best shot will get rusty if he doesn't touch a handgun for a year. Personally I wouldn't classify this kind of maintenance as continual preparations. Now that we have that covered.

To the fundamental question "when are you done preparing?" I would reply "preparing for what?" Everyone has different concerns and worst case scenarios they are preparing for. If we imagine white being a very limited power outage and black being a full on genuine One Second After/ Mad Max/ Jericho TEOTWAWKI scenario there are almost infinite shades of grey in between. What you are preparing for has a lot to do with when/ if you can ever be done.

Lets say you are an average guy who lives on the Gulf or southern Atlantic coast. You are justifiably concerned about a hurricane. You know it can be difficult to get fuel in the run up to evacuation time so you keep a half dozen 5 gallon cans in the shed and make sure your vehicle is topped off during hurricane season. You know that the smart thing to do is to leave and you've got a plan with your Uncle who lives a few hundred miles inland to come crash there. You have maps and alternate routes planned out just in case.

Since Katrina showed you that it can be weeks before help can arrive and services are restored you keep 90 days of shelf stable, easy to cook foodstuffs around. A couple extra propane cans will let you cook just about forever on the Coleman stove you use for camping. Keeping a few extra big boxes of batteries will let you run the various flashlights in your house for some time. For water you picked up a filter at the local camping store. After seeing the madness of Katrina you ordered 500 rounds of buckshot for your 12 gauge in addition to whatever hunting loads you have lying around. You also purchased a handgun with a few spare mags and a couple extra 100 rd white boxes from Walmart. Last year you stashed a few hundred dollars in the gun cabinet just in case. Could this guy say that he is done preparing? I think so. Of course there might be a small hole here or there but the broad strokes are covered and he is in a decent spot for the scenario he is concerned with.

Someone worried about a genuine full on Jericho style collapse is probably never going to be done. They will just move from more likely and immediate concerns such as 'how will we eat next winter' to the more obscure and unlikely 'how will my grandchildren make metal tools to replace those which wear out'. A person worried about this kind of scenario is always going to be thinking of something new and trying to deal with progressively more unlikely scenarios.

Personally I do not think I am every going to be done preparing. I am going to have times where the growth slows or stops until I get to another stage (buying a home, having more space, getting some land, etc) over time. However in the big picture over time I am going to progressively work from likely situations to more unlikely ones. It is more likely that we will have to ride out a short to mid term disaster then that we will suffer an EMP or a super aids bird flu pandemic. Assuming the world doesn't end in a few more years I will likely be focused almost exclusively on relatively unlikely scenarios. It is just my nature to want to improve my situation.

It is the very last day to enter our Awesome Ammo Giveaway Contest. Hurry up and enter now so you can get a whole bunch of free ammo.

When are YOU going to be done preparing?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Getting Real, Thinking Basic and Realistic 2

This sort of flows from a post I did awhile back. I read some more of FerFal's book yesterday. It has gotten me thinking. In particular folks so often think that by preparing for a super end of the world fit for a survivalist novel they are prepared for far more mundane and likely stuff. I hate to say it but one doesn't totally cover the other.

Case in point. Having a super whiz banger rifle with a 27 power scope and armor piercing bullets is great if the Illuminati/ Bildenberg/ NWO Army of foreign troops invades. However instead of working on hitting an evil invading foreign soldier in the face at 500 meters it might be better to work with your concealed carry pistol. Most interesting to me are people who have racks of rifles and cases of ammo sufficient to arm an Infantry Platoon but don't see fit to carry a handgun during the course of their normal affairs.

Also it amazes me that people skip over very likely financial problems or the need for an emergency fund in favor of some fishing hooks, sewing needles and such to barter if the world ends. Sorry but you can't pay next months electricity or insurance bill in fish hooks or sewing needles so you better save some damn money.

There is an interesting workout theory that says the less you like something the more you should focus on it. People like a certain workout for whatever reason so they do it more often and with greater enthusiasm. Then they get better at it so it makes them more fulfilled so they do it more, sort of a self fulfilling prophecy. Often for guys it is what I call "the bar workout". This workout is a sound scientific plan based entirely around working your chest and biceps, usually by doing lots of bench press and bicep curls. The entire point is to look muscular in that $50 Affliction T Shirt while flexing and drinking light beer at the bar. Men will be intimidated and women will swoon or at least that is their theory. The point is that if you hate running it is probably what you should focus on. If you hate doing body weight stuff then do it more.

Anyway in terms of preparedness I would say that there is an inverse relationship between how "sexy" and fantasy inspiring an item/ idea is and how much you should focus on it. For example soap is boring and not cool at all. The hero never saves the day in the survival novel with a bar of dial soap.  However you definitely want some soap. There are numerous legitimate and likely worst case scenarios where you won't need to fire a single shot or even have a gun but a spare bar of soap (or 200) are sure good to have. There isn't such a thing as a tactical can opener employment course but having a couple hand operated can openers lying around is sure smart.

Getting real will let you better allocate your limited resources and otherwise focus your efforts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Diversification

One repeating comment that drives me nuts is when I talk about savings or cash on hand and somebody says "but when hyperinflation happens those savings will become worthless.... and that is why I only buy X instead". The reason this repeat comment has slowly started to drive me nuts is that the person centers their plans on ONE SCENARIO and ONE SCENARIO ONLY.

They are worried about hyperinflation or a full on One Second After collapse or whatever. It is not so significant to me that they are worried about a given scenario but that they are seemingly worried only about that scenario. I do not know what is going to happen.

Essentially the entire basis for my paranoia is that I do not know what is going to happen. If I knew exactly and with total confidence what was going to happen preparedness would be easy. The point is that we do not know what is going to happen.

Maybe (it seems to be getting more likely) we will face serious or even hyperinflation. In that scenario having put almost every dime you have into silver and gold would make sense. Then again maybe we won't. Maybe things will go all One Second After. In that case having a basement full of 5 years worth of food and hundreds of gallons of fuel would be real nice. Then again maybe they won't. Maybe foreign mercenaries will invade to put America under the Bildenberg/ Trilateral Commission/ Illuminati rule once and for all. In that scenario having several military pattern rifles and cases upon cases of ammo would be nice. Then again maybe they won't invade.

When it comes to dividing up our limited resources looking at the financial principle of diversification makes sense. I can not see any financial adviser worth their business cards suggesting a person put all of their money into one single stock or instrument. The reason that mutual funds are so popular is that they let people manage risk in a fairly easy way. Instead of having 5 grand (or 50 or 500 or whatever) in one stock (or bond or whatever) you have a hundred bucks worth of that one and two hundred bucks of another and fifty of a third, etc. While all of these stocks can take a downturn at once (a la 2007-2008); it is quite unlikely that they will all completely fail simultaneously. This way you will of course still have risk the odds of being totally wiped out are greatly decreased.

I sort of take that principle and expand it into my preparedness efforts. I have money set away for an emergency and invested so if the world doesn't end (odds are it won't) I can hopefully retire with dignity. In case things go pretty crazy I put some of my resources into silver and gold. I store and rotate food in case of prolonged interruptions of normal commerce. Heck I also have guns which could fight off the evil Bildenberg/ Trilateral Commission/ Illuminati thugs.

It does make sense to put more time/ energy/ resources into what seem to be more likely scenarios. I put more into saving than I do into ammunition (though I am in a fairly ok place there too). This is because the odds are far higher that I will find myself needing quick access to several thousand dollars than the equivalent in ammo. Just don't get too carried away with this because the world changes very rapidly and we don't know what is going to happen. 

If a certain scenario happens will I wish that I had put more time/ energy/ resources into preparing for it, yes. However I hope that whatever happens I will not be caught entirely unprepared. Since I do not know what is going to happen this seems like the best plan to me. I am truly putting my money (and time and energy) where my mouth is on this one.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Risk Assessment

Discussion on my post a couple days ago made me feel like expounding on something. At work we do risk assessments. [To be honest they are almost always a bunch of BS. For example lots of people die in vehicle accidents, mostly because they are tired and have been driving for too long. Instead we create "controls" like radio checks and assistant drivers instead of actually making sure the drivers get a good nights sleep and have them switch out or split real long non mission essential (say 3rd ID's march to Baghdad) drives into more realistic and manageable sections. Anyway tangent finished.] Anyway what is important is to consider not just how severe the impact of a certain scenario would be, but HOW LIKELY IT IS. The chart below is a good visual for this.

The values for likelihood are pretty easy to conceptualize. You could define the values for severity/ impact in pretty much any logical way. In terms of physical injuries I would say minimal would be something that could be fully treated by a normal person with a modest first aid kit. Minor might be something requiring medical attention, say a few stitches or a sprained ankle. Major could be needing hospitalization. Serious might be limb or eyesight and catastrophic would be death. Follow where I am going.

So lets get back to that hurricane. If you live in the coastal south east a hurricane is a highly likely scenario. If you live in Colorado a hurricane is extremely improbable.

A flat tire is probably a minimal impact (unless you are ill equipped and on a lonely road during a blizzard) but it is a near certainty. I imagine over the course of most peoples lives they will have at least a few flat tires. Thus to that guy living in Colorado it makes sense to prepare more for a flat tire than a hurricane even though the impact of a hurricane would be major (of course it would vary by hurricane and how those individuals fare in it but just go with me) and the impact of the flat tire would be minimal.

Getting struck by lightning would really suck. Unless you make a habit of standing on top of really tall stuff or waving around metal poles in open fields during lightning storms the likelihood of getting struck by lightning is extremely improbable. Thus there isn't much reason to worry about getting struck by lightning.

To me it makes sense to look at how likely a situation is and how severe the impact would be when figuring out what scenarios to allocate our time and resources towards preparing for. This is why I see something like say, a financial emergency or a robbery/ home invasion as more pressing than Zimbabwe style hyperinflation or those Russian troops the UN has secretly been sneaking into the US coming to your neighborhood to enforce the edicts of the UN/ Trilateral Commission/ Illuminati/ Bildenberg's.

Thoughts?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Question of the Day

What is the most irrational scenario you have prepared for?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

For The Spouses, Another Perspective.

Yesterday I had nothing to say. Not writers block parse just that I didn't really have anything to say. Maybe the week is grating on me. When I was coming home from work on Monday a neighbor asked me how things were going. I said "they will be better when the week is over" and she laughed while pointing out that it in fact just started. In any case something I meant to write about came back into my head today. I had other intentions but this just seemed like a good one.

I sort of want to look at something from another perspective today. From time to time we hear about how somebody is having big problems trying to get their spouse on board. More often than not it is a man having problems getting his wife on board. Maybe it is that somewhat more men are interested in survivalism/ preparedness or maybe it is that they tend to have a more extreme version of it than women. Or maybe male/ female relationships being what they are men of that inclination are more likely to end up with women not of that inclination than visa versa. I do not know but for the sake of this discussion lets just be gender neutral.

Sometimes this comes when the survivalist spouse wants to spend a bunch of money on something or another, typically big ticket items like guns or their ancillary kit. The straw that seems to break the most camels backs is wanting to move to a more rural or off situation. The regular spouse might come along begrudgingly or give some sort of ultimatum. Then typically either survivalist spouse goes without the regular spouse or stays with them.

Mostly this situation seems to come about when survivalist spouse becomes survivalist spouse awhile after their marriage (or long term cohabitation relationship with shared resources/ whatever) to regular spouse. In that regard I was lucky. When Wifey and I started dating I was a pretty average guy, albeit a veteran, gun enthusiast with a CCW permit. Somewhere between when we started dating and got hitched I developed my paranoia. In any case she (thankfully!) chose to marry me, paranoia and all. She made that decision knowing I had an expensive hobby that would be a big part of our lifestyle.

It is pretty hard to un see something. Once someone sees just how fragile our modern world really is it's not practical to keep on living an average life. If a person becomes paranoid after 10 years of marriage and an otherwise normal life there are often tumultuous results. To be honest I really feel for the spouses.

Look at it from their angle. They have been living a pretty normal existence and all of a sudden their spouse is all crazy and wants to make huge changes. We might tend not to look at it from their angle because the 'crazy' makes sense to us. Look at it like this. What if tomorrow at the dinner table your spouse said you two need to sell all your worldly goods and join a cult. They come home and start talking what seems to be nonsense and want to change your life drastically. Doesn't sound so nice, does it?

I do not have a magical answer to make your spouse as paranoid as you are. If there was a magic pill that would make a spouse think all of your ideas and decisions were awesome it would outsell Viagra 30 fold. Husbands would be slipping it to wives in a cocktail and wives would be slipping it to husbands in desert. There would be so much agreeing going on that nothing would actually be decided.

One interesting thing I realized in writing this is that neither Wifey or I have ever really said no to each other. Of course sometimes one of us really doesn't feel like eating Italian food or going for a walk in the rain or seeing that movie, I am talking about big stuff. If something is important to one of us we try and get it done. Sometimes we have to wait a bit until we can afford X or until there is time to do Y or we compromise on Q but I can not think of an instant where the flat our answer is no. Once or twice we have had a conversation about something that didn't go the way somebody wanted it to. The partner who brought the thing up will then say "this is really important to me" and then we will talk some and eventually figure out some sort of a compromise.

To me that is kind of a respect issue. If something is really important to Wifey even if I do not get it I respect her enough to accommodate her. Maybe it is a trip or a purchase or a lifestyle change but if it is really important to her it is worth time, energy and resources. She sees it the same way. The big part of this is that it is a TWO WAY STREET.

A spouse totally blowing off your concerns about preparedness is just as wrong as you blowing off their desire to have indoor plumbing or the like. To say they are wrong for blowing you off while you totally ignore them is missing the point.

So you ask, well how do we make this all work out? I do not think there is a single answer that will work for everyone. [Begin tangent: I once took a class on negotiations for work. It emphasized two basic concepts best expressed as acronyms. ZOPA is Zone Of Possible Agreement. Lets say a guy will absolutely not take less than $400 for the Glock he is selling and you have $427.31 in your wallet, ZOPA would be between $400 and $427.31. The issue is that you rarely have perfect information about the other persons half. The other is BETWA which stands for Better To Walk Away Alternative. If a guy at the pawn shop was trying to sell me a used Glock 17 for $590 I would go to another shop knowing a better deal was out there. If it was the only shop in town and I was unarmed and an Ax Murdered was on the loose my better to walk away alternative isn't so good so I would probably buy it. Tangent ended]. You may or may not care about either of those but there are two big limiting factors we need to be concerned with in any potential solution. The first is resources and the second is that it should be mutually agreeable. Simply put your goal is to find an agreement that will keep you and the spouse BOTH content and is realistic. Easy to say but potentially difficult to do.

However difficult this task might be IMO having an understanding of your spouses perspective and trying to find a mutually agreeable solution are probably a darn good start.

Thoughts?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Groups


Yesterdays Post brought this up. Lots of people here and there say talk about putting a group together based solely on the common interest of preparadness. I sincerely wish these folks the best in their endevors. Matter of fact I am paranoid and distrustful of strangers, heck I barely trust the people I know.

I personally consider trust far more important than skills or stuff or really anything else they can bring to the table. Training and skills can be acquired if a person is willing to learn, doubly so if they can invest some time and money in the right places like medical and firearms training. You can't train trust and to me it is very hard to build, particularly in a short period of time and an artificial relationship. I would rather have my lifelong friend with no real training pulling watch at night than  a Navy Seal who we met online going from room to room slitting throats. Whatever sort of motley crew I will assemble is going to be made up of family and lifelong friends. Not saying I talk with everyone in these groups about all of my plans but I rather selectively cherry pick the like minded individuals. On the bright side given my background I can go a reasonable way towards getting the firearms/ fighting/ small unit tactics training up to a decent standard until (ideally some day) more professional training can be sought out.

When it comes to OPSEC we have a pretty good control mechanism called paranoia. Somehow I probably ended up with the most isolationist paranoid group of friends a fellow could have.  We talk about this stuff with each other but that is pretty much it.

When emergency preparedness and such come up in conversations with others (using the Lost term of everyone that isn't in the group) I stick to pretty generic advice. "It is probably a good idea to have a couple weeks worth of food around" or "Having a couple hundred bucks in small bills is probably smart" and the like. Making generic suggestions can be done without saying that you have three dozen where you hid them Krugerrands or that you have enough food for 12 people for 3 years stored at your 'hunting cabin'. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Paranoia Should You Be?

I got to thinking about this today. I read a lot of blogs and you folk's stuff on Facebook and such. Some of the stuff I see on various sites and such completely baffles me. I don't get how people can take this stuff seriously. I remember once a few months ago there was a video floating around of a couple black SUV's driving down a highway, like a 30 second youtube style video. The folks who posted it were sure this was clear resounding evidence that the Army/FEMA was about to invade Texas. This and a dozen other random "facts" and "news stories" have lead me to see that some of you truly believe and are worried about all sorts of conspiracies and such which I don't buy into at all. Then again some of my views/ beliefs would seem a bit off to some folks.

Of course the  correct level of paranoia is the level that I currently have. The people who are less paranoid than I am are foolish sheeple and those who are more paranoid are tin foil hat wearing nut jobs who should probably get mental help.

Commander Zero wrote a great post on this some time ago. Here is a teaser  "never attribute to conspiracy what is more likey to be attributable to a simple screw up"which I think sums up his point well.

To a certain degree there is an interestingly conflicting theory among some paranoid folks, particularly of the survivalist variety. They are completely sure that the government is not capable of helping or protecting them but sure that same government is working on very complicated intricate multi agency conspiracy plans. For example they will (factually) point out that FEMA could not get water into NO during Katrina. I certainly understand this point of view. However where they loose me is when they discribe the detailed multi level multi agency FEMA/ Military/LEO/.Gov plan for black helicopters full of elite ruthless killers to show up at their house if there is any sort of disaster or the like. Seriously if these guys can't get a few trucks full of potable water to a regional disaster that has been going on for days I doubt that a FEMA SWAT team is going to hit your house immediately following the same sort of disaster. Also I would like to think they are smart enough not to sent their plans out to JIMBO308liberty on your favorite forum.

When it comes to an event or something not done I am inclined to favor a screw up over an intentional move/ evil conspiracy. Matter of fact screwups are pretty common in all areas and things while conspiracies are rare. Also any time an event can be explained in a simple and plausible way that is probably the truth. Very complicated explanations are almost always made up either to fit the views of the person making them up or to try and cover something, in any case they are generally not reliable. If a simple and plausible explanation that someone messed something up is weighed against a complicated explanation about how FEMA is working with Canadian Park Rangers and Nabisco to trick Americans into liking Canadian Bacon on sandwiches the simple explanation is probably far closer to the truth.



 

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