Showing posts with label riots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label riots. Show all posts

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Terrorism, Urban Unrest and You

With the recent events in Europe I have been a bit worried. Our borders are not secure and there are almost surely some bad people inside American. Also the potential for some sort of 'black lives matter' type flash riot is there. Who knows.

So what am I tangibly doing differently?

In my sleepy little small town western central Louisiana life I am not doing anything differently.  Terrorism or whatever is not a concern here. My risk of being involved in something beyond normal crime is very low.

However when I travel to a bigger town I am doing things a bit differently. For Thanksgiving I went to visit my sister in greater Houston. Like always I had my trusty get home bag and Glock 19. I did intentionally fill up (Houston is a half talk away) before going to my sisters place. I also brought my fighting load and  my AR-15 with 7 magazines.

In the not so distant future I would like to get a dedicated vehicle gun. A budget AR or AK would fit the bill. I think an AK with a folding stock would be ideal as it would fit in a gym bag for discrete transportation. Also 7.62x39 does better with vehicles which is a consideration. That being said an M4 style AR will fit in a tennis racket bag. Paul Howe has a set up like that which is pretty handy. I will probably get whichever I can find a deal on.

What changes have you made based on recent events?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Grain alcohol, baby! Whenever there's a potential riot, I'm getting blasted on grain alcohol."

It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Repost: How To Not Get Killed In a Riot

 In light of the rioting in Ferguson MO after the grand jury failed to indite the officer in the shooting of Michael Brown it seems like a good time to recycle this post. So here we go......

I have posted a bunch of videos of the LA Riots and talked a bit about how to be safe in a vehicle. Here are some thoughts on how to survive a riot. Check out this article and this for background. To be blunt riots tend to occur in urban areas with high percentages of lower income people. Riots happen in or near the Ghetto. Think I am being judgmental? When there is a riot in Beverly Hills I will formally apologize to everyone. Of course someone will invariably mention that there are no riots in Wyoming or something like that. While that is true lots of folks are in places with higher then desired riot potential because of work, family, a home they can't sell, etc. I am mainly speaking about dealing with a riot in the area where you live.

The biggest thing is to be aware of what is going on. Watch the local news or listen to local radio shows that have some news, reading a local paper is another alternative. We don't get networks ( dish network) so I listen to local radio show in the morning on my way to and from work. If nothing else just having the radio on a local station is a good idea. If things go completely nuts most stations will give out warning and such. Reginald Denny definitely would not have taken that route if he knew what was going on. Hindsight being 20/20 taking a sick day (even without pay) would have been a good idea. [Updated 1/25/14 to include: for a sick day go with something embarrassing and gross. Explosive diarrhea is a good one.]

Another cautionary tale. A guy I know was driving across the country from Oregon to Ft. Benning during the LA riots. His car didn't have a radio so he listened to The Clash on a boombox the whole time. He pulled into Atlanta to sleep for the night. Luckily nothing happened but he was completely clueless to the rioting in Atlanta. The 1911 under his seat would probably have been sufficient but had he been informed discretion would have been the better part of valor and he would have been wise to take an alternate route.

Now that we have spoken about staying informed the simple and logical reaction to a riot in your area is to leave. If you watch the news for powderkeg situations (cops using arguably excessive force on a minority seems to be the biggest one here) there should be some warning. Throw everything irreplaceable and high value compact items into the car and go somewhere else for a few days. Unless your livelihood and life savings is in a store I would get the heck out. This is not quite as much of a BS non answer as telling you to live in Wyoming. For whatever reason lets say that things happen so fast leaving isn't an option.

Here is what to do to be prepared for a riot in the Ghetto where you live. This is what you need to get ready now. Most of this stuff is pretty basic for anyone who spends much time on this site or others like it.

1. Have enough food and water to stay in your residence for at least a week, two is better. Most riots don't last that long but lets play it safe. Having a plan for cooking and sanitation if the power goes out is also a good idea. A radio which works when the electric is off would be a good idea. Options are numerous but picking up a couple extra sets of batteries for the cheap boom box that seems to live in every home would be a simple solution. At least one fire extinguisher is essential, two is better.

The great thing about this is that you now have the basis for dealing with natural disasters, blackouts, winter storms, or whatever else comes along. Some stuff is different for every scenario but regardless of what is happening you will need to drink water, eat food, go to the bathroom and stay informed as much as possible. Our basic life needs stay the same no matter what is going on.

2. Have a plan for getting yourself (and all loved ones) home that keeps you off public transportation and main roads. Have plans to stay away from choke points and such. Obviously children under a certain age will need to be picked up from child care or school. Depending on the circumstances kids 16 and over might be able to get themselves home. Route planning and maybe some sort of a GHB would be a good idea. At absolute minimum for a short trip home comfortable clothes, walking shoes and a bottle of water are a good idea. If work requires you to wear something else just stash some stuff in your car or at work. I could write a whole lot more about this subject also.

Getting home and the plan to do so is probably the piece of this whole thing that will change the most for different scenarios. In any case having comfortable seasonally appropriate clothes, walking shoes/ boots, some water and a snack is a pretty darn good start.

3. Have a reasonable stash of defensive firearms and ammunition. This is not the place for me to write 1,000 words about guns so I will sum it up. Have at least a centerfire pistol and a repeating shotgun with a couple hundred rounds of ammo for each. A basic four (shotgun, centerfire rifle, centerfire pistol, .22) would be better. Every competent adult having a pistol and a long gun would be the best scenario. Unless your kids are old enough to handle firearms in a crisis (far different than plinking with the .22) this would just mean picking up a spare pistol [to make logistics and compatibility easier stick with one caliber of wheelguns (example .38/.357, etc) or one model of auto's(1911, Glock 19, etc all)].

Having some defensive firearms is essential for hurricanes, riots and such is essential. Even for a blackout having some guns is comforting as the peaceable fabric of society gets stretched a little bit. Get some guns and a reasonable stash of ammo is just good advice for life.

Now that you've got chow, a plan to get home from work and weapons to defend yourselves once you get there, that is a great start. Here is what to do a day or so after some cops beat or kill a guy and people get all mad then proceed to hurt, rob, burn and rape the heck out of their own neighborhood which you happen to live in or around. Things are going nuts in your immediate area and it is too late to leave.

1. If you are at home with your loved ones stay there. Call in to work and say whatever you need to; the bottom line is that you aren't coming in until things cool down. If you and all your loved ones are not home then do the following:

A) Tell the boss you need to get home. Help batten down the hatches at work but get out of there pretty quickly. If your boss is such an a hole that he wants to keep the store/ office open when you can hear gunshots and see fire then flip him the bird and walk out.

B) If you have kids beat feet (or whatever else the plan is) to them and then strait home.


Now you are home so more then half the battle is won. Here is where there are two options depending on your scenario.

2. If teaming up with some neighbors (Korean merchants and the You loot we shoot guys come to mind) for localized (think very small scale on this one) security is possible that would be a good course of action. You and a couple neighbors are not going to be able to win a fight with every looting a hole. However if they see guys with rifles and shotguns on the roofs on the western side of the street and no one with guns on the eastern side of the street where do you think they will go?

2B.Your neighbors are hiding in their closets in the fetal position or are out burning down liquor stores. In any case you are on your own. Broadly speaking you are in a house/ duplex or an apartment.

If you are in a house/ duplex either sit on the porch with a shotgun in your lap or stay inside with the blinds down. If people are mainly just looting being on the porch with a glass of ice tea and a pump shotgun will dissuade them from coming in your yard. That being said if the crowd is intent on committing violence to whatever race you happen to be (usually this is white people or whatever the minority in the neighborhood is, Koreans were also targeted in the LA Riots) then stay inside. Maybe keep a sign like this in the garage to put out front.

If you are in an apartment and the neighbors are not capable or willing to help then stay the heck inside. There are too many ways someone could easily get up close to you and too many people (neighbors) have the right to be walking around for you to stand around and try to defend the place. Hopefully you do not live on the first floor. Looking out the window through a lifted mini blind while playing spades with your significant other is probably the best thing you can do. Having something to bar the door that can be readily moved should you need to would be a good idea.

3. Now that you are home and more or less safe STAY THERE. You have food, water and life's other essentials so don't frickin leave. It is boring and mundane but you are safer then anywhere in the immediate area. STAY PUT. If you smoke keep a carton in the house. If you drink (drinking to any excess would be a very poor idea in this situation) then keep some around. Whatever stuff you would leave home in search of have a few spares at home.

To the best of my knowledge most people who have got into problems in riots were out and about. IMHO aside from being at a family members house or a motel 300 miles away watching the neighborhood burn on TV the safest place you can be is your residence. The only reason I would leave my residence in a riot is if it was on fire. If someone was moving toward my residence with the clear intent to set it on fire (ie Molotov cocktail, etc) they would die of acute lead poisoning.


Friday, January 24, 2014

RE: Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon

Max Velocity wrote  Debate: The Handgun as the Primary Weapon.

Personally I think the conversation got too bogged down in the term "primary". The comments section was disjointed with people talking apples and oranges because they were all using generic terms like SHTF to describe different scenarios. I do not plan to weigh in on whether a handgun can be "the primary weapon". Instead I plan to discuss the times and circumstances where one might choose, if only by process of elimination, a handgun vs when they might choose a rifle.

Before we go any further it is worth noting that any firearms battery that is smaller than a basic 4 of handgun, shotgun, .22 rifle and a centerfire rifle is a compromise that is inevitably missing some important capability. One could take that a level further and include the next logical 3guns (dedicated CCW pistol like a 642 (presuming the first pistol is larger) or a baby Glock, a bolt gun if your first rifle is a semi auto or opposite if rifle #1 is a bolt gun and a .22 pistol) in that argument. Anyway this isn't a what to buy first discussion though I am on the record about that. Also a lot of that sort of discussion is touched on in my basic guns series.

For a home defense gun Chris Costa makes an interesting case for the utility of handguns.  Personally in our Sentry Safe Home Defender I keep a Glock 9mm with a light and a Project AR which has a light as well as Wifey's .38. Next to the safe sits my plate carrier and battle belt. In any case for home defense use whatever you prefer.

So when does a handgun make sense? A handgun makes sense all the time. I carry one as much as I am functionally and more or less legally able to do so.

To further define that question. So in what SHTF/ disaster type situations does being armed solely with a handgun make sense? Basically being out and about in any sort of situation on the continuum between normal everyday and Mad Max thunder dome time. This could include riots, natural disasters including large regional ones, economic collapses, etc all.  While my default answer to most problems is to avoid them by staying home that is not quite realistic. Say the figurative drunk driver that is our current economy takes a turn a bit slow then over corrects and ends up in the ditch. I am almost surely still going to work and will be seeking to continue purchasing food, etc all. In this case I might upgrade from the S&W 642 to a Glock with a light. Might add a couple extra mags to my belt or even stash a couple of those big 33rder's in a cargo pocket. I might even choose to wear soft body armor or a stripped plate carrier. However I'm not going to get away with walking into the store to buy $20 milk and $5 banana's with an AR-15. I'll keep the AR handy at home and might even start keeping a long gun in our vehicle but when I part and go to do errand's it is going to be the pistol that I'm relying on to defend myself.

Conversely when is a rifle useful during a SHTF type scenario? Well they are always handy things to have around the house. For fun shooting as well as a handy capability to throw accurate hate down on somebody multiple football fields away nothing beats a rifle.

Having one at home is handy. Having one in a vehicle can be quite comforting. I like my odds against the EBT deprived hordes much better if my AR and battle belt are sitting under an old blanket in the floor of the back seat. 

When would a person carry a rifle around? I have heard of people doing it during various Hurricanes. Folks doing neighborhood watch type patrols armed with long guns during Katrina and the like. We all know the Korean grocers found rifles and shotguns pretty handy during the LA Riots.

Obviously in your Red Dawn/ Mad Max/ Civil War type scenarios rifles are pretty darn important. If you are in a fight with a person who has a rifle and have anything less capable you are at a real disadvantage. Also a rifles range is pretty darn handy. At this point the odds are you won't be going many places anyhow. The issue of taking my AR to the grocery store is moot if the store is empty and closed down if not burned. Also if things genuinely got that bad folks would probably carrying guns a lot more anyhow.

In conclusion.

1)You genuinely need a pistol. Right now the hard truth is that it is the weapon you are most likely to defend yourself with given that it can be readily carried outside of your home/ property.

2)There are many realistic situations where even though you might WANT to carry a rifle you will not be able to do so. One could argue these numerous realistic situations are more likely and more of a concern than the largely apocalypse porn fiction based  'Mad Max without rule of law shit hit the fan time'.

3) All of that being said you do need a rifle. Look at it like this. Most of us probably carry a folding type knife to do normal everyday tasks. However sometimes that knife will not cut it and we need a big butcher knife. The butcher knife is the rifle. You don't need it very often but when you need it you really need it. However while you do need to own the butcher knife you don't need to carry it around all the time to open envelopes and cut string, that is what your folder is for.

You need a rifle to TRAIN now while you still have the chance. If the day comes when you need to grab a rifle and a chest rig/ battle belt to go protect home and hearth then no other gun will substitute and the pistol takes a much less important role.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

George Zimmerman Not Guilty

I think justice was served. Now lets hope things don't get crazy. Depending on where you live it might not be a bad idea to spend a boring weekend at home with a good shotgun inside arms reach.

Zimmerman Trial Update

Panthers: “This Time We’re Going Out To Whitey’s Suburbs and Burning Down HIS Community”

 As Wifey said "I think Zimmerman is going to get off, as he should because being stupid is not illegal, and there are going to be problems."

 Am I worried? Personally I am not at all. That being said I currently reside in Southern Arizona. It would probably take us and 2 neighboring counties to get enough angry black teenagers "Urban Youth" to make a decent rap video, let alone have a full on riot. Not to mention that Arizona is a pretty well armed state. People tend to look at the prospect of robbery/ breaking stuff/ hurting people and generally playing Grand theft auto in real life when their potential victims might be carrying guns and almost surely have guns in their homes and small businesses.

Now if I lived in LA, Chicago, Detroit or all but the most rural parts of Florida I would be paying attention to this case. I hesitate to make any predictions but this just might get ugly. Also apparently the mighty New Black Panthers plan to go riot in suburbs. So if you live near Philly it might be a good idea to pay attention.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Egypt and Brazil: Crazy Stuff Going On Around The World

Egypt is a huge mess right now. To briefly recap. Recently as part of the Arab Spring Hosnu Mubarak the longtime dictator was deposed. The military chose not to get involved on his side, avoiding a Syria like protracted conflict. There were elections and the Muslim Brotherhoods candidate Mohamad Morsi won. President Morsi immediately set forth on an agenda towards a variety of goals including changing the constitution and generally cracking down on dissent as well as other political groups. It was the traditional African/ Middle East "One Man, One Vote, One Time" agenda.

The Egyptian economy, which has a large tourism component, has not been doing well. Death spiral might be too strong but it certainly has not been doing well. People started gathering in Tahrir to protest. They called for President Morisi to step down and were ignored.

The Army then got involved and pulled off a soft coup. The chief Justice of their equivalent of the supreme court was put in charge and elections will be held on a date to be announced later. Much of the Muslim Brotherhood key leadership has been arrested or is still being sought for arrest.

This is not good. The Muslim Brotherhood are not going to take this lying down. Violence has already started. Don't know exactly where it is going to go but probably no place good. Violence may or may not break out into full on conflict or civil war. My guy says the Army can probably hold them down; after all suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood is something they have decades of practice at.

If this is a good thing or not I am uncertain. Honestly Morsi setting up a Muslim Brotherhood totalitarian Islamic state wasn't exactly a good path for world stability anyway. May just be a different branch of the bad tree. While possible that peaceful and fair (well by Middle East standards anyway) election in a reasonable timeframe with this turning out to be a one time thing is possible I doubt that will happen. An alternating combination of military leadership and weak civilian governments a la Pakistan may be the future.

Our government is intentionally not calling this a Coup which it clearly was. Maybe it's just that saying this was a preventative Coup to reinstate lawful civilian leadership is a bit complicated.

Fundamentally this brings up a weak point in American foreign policy. We say that we want democratic governments but in practice we want folks who do not rock the proverbial internatonal boat too much and generally can be dealt with. At least as often as not this means a strong man of some sort.

Aside from communicating with both sides and using soft power to try avoiding a complete blood bath I do not think we should do anything.

The riots in Brazil seems to have tappered out yet it is a bit too early to be sure.

Who knows what will happen next week. In particular I am paying attention to Egypt but who knows what else is going to happen.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How To Not Get Killed In a Riot- Random Repost

For whatever reason this post has gotten a ton of hits lately. Maybe folks are getting scared or it got into a forum/ email type chain. Anyway it is a pretty awesome post if I do say so myself so you should check it out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How To Not Get Reginald Denny'ed

I saw a pretty neat picture over at Oleg Volk's place. It is my opinion that for a person driving a car a pistol is the only viable (well a sawed off shotgun or some sort of an SMG but those have legal hoops/ issues) weapon. Seriously if you have ever maneuvered a rifle in a vehicle you would know why. Unless you are driving with the muzzle hanging out the window there is no way you could get it onto target in time. At close ranges you can hit targets while moving slowly but it is probably not the best way to go.

Getting to your piece quickly is important. I would seriously look at the Universal Vehicle Handgun Mount. One of these is on my short list when we get back to the states. I wouldn't store a gun in one of these as it is visible but putting it in the vehicle mounted holster for long drives and locking it up or putting it on your person when you leave the car is probably a darn good way to go.

For this very narrow scenario I am not convinced that kind of pistol really matters much. Especially if your concerns are somebody trying to hit you with an impact weapon or pull you out of the car it would almost be a contact shot. You probably don't need that many bullets and the target is going to be aweful close. Even the uber common but rather unimpressive snubby .38 might just be fine for this job.
Beyond having a piece......

Pay attention to what is around you. You might not watch the local news in every place you could end up on a long drive and may miss the national news for a few days now and then. However you can look at what is going on in the area you are driving in. If there are large unhappy seeming groups of people on the sidewalks and in the street it is a sign that you need to consider another route. If there is an angry mob yelling and throwing stuff and burning things then haul butt to someplace else.
Lock your doors. Obviously this is not a cure all because cars have windows. Speaking of windows you might want to keep them rolled up in populated areas, admittedly a hard thing to do in a car without AC in the South during the summer. However it will prevent someone from just grabbing or hitting you. That split second will let you grab a piece or hit the gas or both.

Speed is security. I have never heard of somebody driving 40 miles an hour getting pulled out of their car and whooped on. DO NOT STOP. I certainly wouldn't advise you to hit somebody with your vehicle or drive on the sidewalk under normal circumstance; however some circumstances are not normal and you will have to use your best judgement.
One might look at the kind of areas (Watts, Detroit, LA, etc) that had significant riots in the past and see some commonalities. You can look at these events as well as others and draw your own conclusions.

Anyway that pretty much sums up my thoughts on that.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Fun

Well I can't say kido knows anything about Easter but he has sure figured out that plastic colored eggs have candy inside. We did the egg hunt thing and dyed some eggs and that is was about it. Kiddo was pretty good considering his sugar consumption was way above the norm. Tomorrow we will have egg salad which I am excited for.

On an unrelated note I saw a cool video over at Zombie hunters. I am over there with my same name theotherryan.

I also saw an interesting thread over on another blog. It is (and you know how these internet things where a guy knew a guy who wrote something and then another person posted it, evaluate the accuracy and merit for yourself) about a guy's experiences during the LA Riots. I am linking to the series of posts. One nuance of the way they published a series of post one after the other is that you have to start at the bottom, go up to the top of the first post, read it all the way down and then scroll up to the beginning of the second one and read it scrolling down then repeat. Anyway while I can't vouch for it's authenticity or lessons learned but it was interesting to read. Anyway those are a couple things you might want to check out. I hope you all have a very nice Easter.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Interesting Times

The Chinese saying “May you live in interesting times” has stuck in my head over the past year or two. There is a lot going on and not much of it is positive. I see a lot of things coming and none of them are good. I see violence and riots coming, maybe soon or the cold weather might keep a lid on things for awhile. I am not sure, being over here I am pretty out of touch.

This doesn’t worry me in a personal security sense. Mostly because I don’t go to big cities very often, let alone to big cities to hang out at protests. What worries me is that after these folks get too far out of line the hammer will come down. I’m not worried about them personally.  Maybe they are right and maybe they are wrong and maybe neither of those things matter. They are adults making decisions.  If the sort of thing I envision actually happens people and politicians get scared. When folks get scared who knows what can happen. I could be keeping my head down and in the span of a few months face radical changes. Have I mentioned these changes are almost never a good thing? That is what worries me.

What can I do about this? Well I started a new more ambitious running program recently. I need to be fast and able to go for a long time and this should help with that. Right now I am not where I want to be with running and am working to fix it. I have been making real inroads with strength training recently. I am approaching and in some cases breaking lifetime PRs which is pretty exciting. I don’t know what I may need to do but as Jim Wendler says “If you are strong and in shape the chips always fall in your favor.”

I would like to be more in touch with the news, particularly for the area I happen to be living in when I return to the states. As noted before, that will be easier when I am not in Afghanistan. I can read articles and stuff but I don’t hear what people are saying in the grocery store or in idle chat at a bar after work. If I was more of a hippie I would call it vibes.

I need to spend energy and time with my tribe. I am pleased to say there has been recent progress in our overall level of preparedness in the last year or two but I need to redouble my efforts. Also I need to have some serious conversations with people. Sort of “what if’s” which could lead to new topics or discussions. It is like trying to herd cats but that is what I’ve got to work with.

On the bright side we are at the point where things are really starting to move for us in terms of finances and preparedness. Hard work over the past couple years is definitely paying off. Sure it is always better if you have a few more years but I am starting to feel OK about a lot of things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy This, The Future, Family

This whole "Occupy" movement may have something too it. [Honestly my first inclination of seeing peacable protesters is that they are hippy idiots and if they break the law then are then rioters and should be treated as such. Not saying it is right or wrong, just my base instincts on the whole protesting thing.] It is so easy for the media to skew things, at least for awhile, should they want to. More and more folks who are a part of this movement are coming out complaining about corruption, crony capitalism, the federal reserve and elected officials bringing this mess on. Over the next few weeks if this thing gathers momentum and gets a cohesive message I will be able to evaluate it further.

A couple folks have recently said somethin gto the effect of " if somebody doesn't do something nothing will change for the better".  I don't see us magically pulling out of this or some sort of fantasy small government awakening happening. To be honest I don't see things getting better, at least by any broad measure. The best case mid term scenario I see is that we somehow manage to (likely through modest inflation, some spending cuts and some tax/ fee increases) kick the can down the road a decade. I genuinely hope that I am wrong but it will take new information to convice me that is the case.

I have been able to catch up with a lot of family and friends since I have been back. That has been great. Modern communications are far better than even 10-15 years ago but I am just not one to sit on the telephone or chatting for a long time. I get distracted and stuff. Sitting down for a cup of coffee or a meal at the kitchen table or drinks in the family room makes for a much better venue. Obviously it is nice to see everybody. The reason I am mentioning this is not to say that I saw friends and family and it was nice.

I can't say if it is my great example, positive modeling, my peer group getting real jobs (hard to prep at minimum wage) and just growing up or what but people are getting prepared. They are stashing cash as well as storing food and ammo. Those who do not own guns are planning to get them. I found myself answering some questions but positively folks were already on the right path (though possibly due to previous conversations we have had) which was great news. I do everything I can to advise, assist and encourage their efforts.

The phrase "May you live in interesting times" comes to mind.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Letter to my sister- Communication and Bug Out Plans

I got to talk to my little sister for awhile today. Not doing a great job of keeping up with them in general, and especially since I have been here is a failure of mine. Anyway she is doing pretty well. Also making some good progress in preparedness. She has a loaner pistol, a modest on hand stash of cash, a growing stash of food and a coleman stove as well and camping gear. Her next plan is to stock up on fuel for the stove. I suggested some more staple food (pancake mix, rice, etc) because it can feed you for a long time for not a lot of money and is good to have around in general. She asked me about communication today. After talking a bit I realized what she really meant was communication and plans. Without getting into too much detail if things get hairy she is going to travel approximately 25 miles to a place with a better setup. She would have 1 child and 1 adult coming along. I told her I would think on it a bit and then write a post. So here we are. Obviously if cell phones, the internet and landlines are all functioning it is pretty easy to make a plan. If you need my help with that one I don't think there is anything I can do for you. Obviously we are talking about times when modern communications such as we know and come to rely on them are not working at optimal levels. There are numerous reasons this may be but the end results are the same so no point in discussing them. Interestingly my little sister is young enough that by the time she was self mobile and active with a part time job, friends, etc she had a cell phone and pretty much everyone else did also. Being able to call anybody, from anywhere, at any time is basically a given for probably everybody below the 35-27 year old (depending on exact location, socio economic status, etc) range. There is a reason that my sister said communications and I am focusing in on plans. Communications for if power/ cell phones/ the net are not working is pretty doable if you are willing to work at it AND THE OTHER PEOPLE YOU PLAN TO TALK TO ARE ALSO. First of all a simple land line with an old corded phone solves most problems as phone companies have batteries that will run the length of most power outages. So for the cost of keeping a land line you can typically make calls to other land lines. Personally I don't have many plans at this time that rely on being able to talk to anybody so it is not worth the expense. However that is different for everyone. The more complicated question is how to talk when you and the person you want to talk to are not both at places with a land line, and know where the other person is to call that line.

FRS (family band, the motorolla type you see families with camping, etc) radios are line of sight. I say again these radios are line of sight. I have personally used them for over 10 miles but it was ridge to ridge in the mountains with nothing but air in between. In the woods, flats or town a range measured in hundreds of meters is probably realistic. These you will have to test in your AO but they do not have the range to be useful outside of your farm or neighborhood in any case. The next options is CB radios, yes like the kind that truckers use. I do not know a ton about these other than that you can buy them at radio shack or on the internet and that everyone has a cool name called a handle. These are nice because also like FRS you do not need a license to operate them, at least IIRC correctly. These are far more powerful than FRS and have a much longer range. I'm not positive but I think several miles is quite realistic. I've heard you can boost the power and thus the range drastically but that is not legal. These are probably good for talking across town or to the next town a couple miles down the road and a good part of the county. For most families these would probably be a good solution. Modest cost and modest hassle for a pretty good range. To get further there are two viable options that I can think of ham radio and satphones. Ham radio is more of a hassle than CB but not overwhelming I don't think. It is on my list of things to do. Satelite phones are a great option but at great expense.

Sometimes I answer a question in a very different way because I know what people mean. My sister said communication but MEANT PLANS. Her, BF and whomever else could get CB's for less than the price of a one night getaway to a large regional city and be able to communicate easily if they so choose. Of course it should be noted that these radios are not secure and are in fact the equivalent of yelling in a large dark room full of people. Everyone listening might not know who is talking but they hear the message. However for this type of scenario assuming you keep conversation relatively vague and do not mention your super secret bunker or convenient to access huge stash of Krudgerrand's it is all good. Most of the desired communication is so generic it would not matter. Useful conversation like "I am near X so it is more convenient for me to pick up the kids, see you at home" would be just fine. The root issue however is plans.

Plans are a very broad topic which would be impossible to address fully in a post. IIRC another guy did a great post on this topic once but I cannot remember or find it to link to. Simply put you need a plan on how you are going to go from a variety of everyday situations (at home, at work, running errands, kids at a friends/ school/ daycare, etc) to wherever you are planning to go (home, a relatives house, a bunker in the woods, etc) with whatever stuff you think would be useful under a variety of circumstances including closed roads, downed bridges, possible riots/ security issues. Travel through dense urban areas, areas with numerous choke points such as bridges or tunnels and just plain long distances substantially complicate planning and decrease the odds of a successful trip under bad circumstances. Driving through the burbs out of town to your uncles farm 50 miles away is probably a strait forward plan, unless there are 2 sets of projects and 6 bridges along the way. The good news is that if you had to rate the complication of these trips from 1 being super easy and 10 being cross country starting in NYC the trip my sister plans would be about a 1.5 as there are a few areas which are denser than I would like and a choke point or two.

Since the route is not an issue the big thing is getting everyone consolidated and ready to go in a quick orderly fashion. Numerous questions must be thought through in advance. Do you leave work or finish the shift (what is the decision point between the two)? Who picks up the kids? What vehicle(s) are you taking? What stuff is getting packed? Where is it? If someone does not make it home right away how long do you wait or do you go without them? If you go without them what supplies do you leave behind? What stuff is most important for you to take? These questions cover a lot of ground which is why it is best that you do not decide this stuff on the fly, or even worse on the fly when you and an important family member (spouse, adult child, etc) are not together. The consequences for you zigging and them zagging could be significant ranging from unpleasant (them sitting in a cold dark house eating uncooked food) to downright disasterous. Having the ability to communicate helps a lot but radios fail when you need them most so it is better to figure this stuff out. You need to know that if there is a terrorist attack or a riot your husband is coming home but if there is a bad snowstorm he might have to finish the shift. Maybe the plan for one scenario is for the fam to wait a little while to link up at home and for another (snow storm comes to mind) they will head out separately. This is where having a plan for packing is key. Obviously every adult would need their defensive weapons (a pistol is enough for most of these scenarios and that is just because you should carry one anyway), their 72 hour bag and standard car emergency stuff. Combat loading is probably a good idea for the rest of your stuff. Simply put combat loading divides stuff into smaller groups based upon suppying a sub group, instead of all like items. That way if a boat/ plane or truck goes down it does not have all the ammo, fuel, food, etc. This would be most important if you plan to leave separately and or take multiple vehicles. One car having all the clothes and shelter stuff, another the food and a third the ammo and fuel would be a bad plan.

I know this covered a lot of ground and I am not sure where else to take it. Any questions?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Random Thoughts: Tunisia, Egypt, Revolutions and Stuff

There is sure some interesting stuff going on in Tunesia, Egypt and Yemen (and the broader Arab world) right now. Not really suprising. All those despotic dictatorships with lots of young unemployed or marginally employed teens and 20 something who are growingly educated or at least exposed to the outside world via technology are a recipe for disaster. Hopefully if they are successful they will be able to break the 'One man, one vote, one time' and military dictatorship back and forth that have rules the Arab world since it became free from it's colonial rulers 60 years or so ago.

In Thailand not so long ago some folks really tried to get a revolution going. They succeeded in shutting down the capital for awhile but were eventually foiled. Some said it was because they were not armed which has some merit. If security forces crack down you can't do much to resist without guns. However I would say that: A) while they had a vocal minority there was not sufficient backing among the population and B) the willingness of the security forces to put down a rebellion are more important than a few dozen or even hundred guns. We saw this with Eastern Europe. The combination of the desire for regime change reaching critical mass AND the refusal of tactical level Army and police units to crush the protesters is essential for this sort of grass roots reasonably peaceful revolution/ regime change under the model of the fall of the USSR and more recently Tunisia. If you have even a fairly big protest and the security apparatus is still down with the regime you get the massacres of the USSR in the 50's and 60's (there were a couple I can't recall of the top of my head and don't feel like looking up) or Tiannamen Square. A government that doesn't pull any punches or care what the international community thinks can crush a pretty determined uprising and use the secret/ political police to keep it crushed. Anyway onto other stuff.

I have had a heck of a week. My schedule was early, late and generally erratic. So ready for the weekend. No real big plans here. Just going to try to rest and relax, do some packing and take care of a few little things. Got a bunch of new gear which I will write more about soon. Also there are a few other interesting things floating in my head.

Anyway I hope you all have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Valid Question

Blogger Chief Instructor said...Question: What's the deal with the chest rigs? I honestly have not even considered them as part of my preps. If I'm on foot, I'll have a backpack. Is the idea of the chest rigs that you can have easier access to magazines? Is that it or am I missing something? They seem like they'd be used if you had a bug-out location and were patrolling the grounds. Are there other uses?
Answer: Chief Instructor,  Look at it this way.  I know you do some defensive pistol shooting type competitions. Would you consider keeping the spare mags you need during a course somewhere in a back pack? I don't think so. You almost surely have them in a mag pouch so you know where they are and can get at them in a hurry. Makes sense right? 
I think every pistol should have a holster, a belt and a mag/ speed loader pouch in addition to a cleaning kit, mags and ammo. With that pistol you need a place to carry it except your hand which means a holster and then you need a belt to put it on. Don't want to have to try and stuff it in your pants awkwardly. You also need something to hold spare ammo in lest you find yourself riffling through a backpack. For each pistol a holster, belt, mag/ speed loader pouch as well as mags/ ammo are ancillary equipment.
Why is a rifle any different? You need a hands free way to carry it as well as something to store spare ammo and whatever else you may need. I would say chest rigs or an LBE or whatever sort of setup you prefer is part of the basic ancillary gear for a rifle (along with a sling, cleaning kit, mags, ammo, etc).
As for my preference for chest rigs in particular. They are what modern professionals use for a lot of reasons. Sort of how quite a few police departments use Glocks and not many  use 1970's era Ruger or Smith and Wesson semi automatics. Chest rigs are very ergonomic and you can wear them and run or whatever. Very hard to change mags at more than a snails pace if they are buried in a backpack while given a little bit of practice a chest rig is really fast. So part of it is that they are a necessary piece of equipment to get the most out of whatever rifle you have. As for their exact niche as a prep....

Does a chest rig fall into the Blackhawk Down/ Red Dawn category? Maybe. Admittedly it would have to be a pretty dark scenario for you to need a chest rig and a rifle. However like so many low probability high impact events when you need it you really need it. I bet there were a few average Joe's in the LA Riots or Katrina who would have liked a convenient and quick way to carry spare ammo. If things are so screwed up that you are grabbing a rifle or a shotgun you need a good way to carry ammo (and other stuff) for it.

Also as criminals operate in more larger more organized and violent manners the need to prepare for a nasty and prolonged gunfight is there. Truly this is probably the most realistic niche for this type of gear. Yeah at 10 feet in the living room it will not take long for an outcome but if people get behind concealment/ cover or there are multiple tango's you might shoot a lot more than you imagine. If you consider the possibility of having 3-4 armed tango's a couple spare mags would be awful nice.

For whatever my advice is worth I think you should have a chest rig or an LBE or a set of whatever type web gear suits you as part of the ancillary gear for each defensive rifle you own.

Chief, I hope that answers your question.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting Past Panic Mode

Sometimes in life you have to just focus on the minute you are in and the next couple. Hours and days do not matter because you have to move through this to get there. It could be a fight fight or skidding on black ice mid turn in a mountain pass. Sometimes instead of minutes it is days or weeks but the principle remains the same. For instance a family struggling to pay their bills with no savings after a sudden job loss is surely in panic mode. The panic mode I want to talk about today is preparedness panic mode. It starts at that initial realization that life is fragile and stops; well that is kinda why I am writing this.

First lets talk about the good part of panic mode. You are highly motivated which is great. This motivation will help you put lots of time, money and energy into getting ready. You will accomplish a lot more in a couple months of panic mode preparation than several months of normally paced preparations.

Now we can talk about the bad parts of panic mode. In panic mode you aren't thinking entirely clearly because you are panicked. Also since you are concerned with where you will be next week or month instead of where you will be in 6 months, a year or 5 years you will make some less than ideal decisions. Case in point the cheapest way to buy ammunition is almost always in bulk (say half case and up) from a dedicated ammunition dealer. However this requires that you save up reasonably large (especially for average budgets) amounts of cash and then wait a period of time for delivery. This doesn't work well with the panic mode mentality where you are worried about what would happen if tomorrow was the Night of the Living Dead. You can easily pay 50-100% more for the same ammunition by getting it a box or two at a time from a local vendor. So either twice the money or half the ammo neither of which are desirable. Also you will not be able to pursue all sorts of realistic and desirable options because they involve planning longer than the next pay period. Getting a solid emergency fund or a travel trailer or a little piece of land doesn't mesh with this pay period level of planning.

While panic mode has some value in getting your situation jump started its downsides eventually start to outweigh the mentalities usefulness. So back to the question of when to get out of panic mode. I think the way forward is coming up with realistic benchmarks for when you feel you can stop panicking. Basically plan an end to the panic. I hesitate to tell you what these should be but here are a couple of examples. Lets say you are panicked about finances. Stashing a few hundred bucks or a grand then a months worth of expenses in some kind of an account is probably a reasonable place to take a breather and see where you want to go next.

If more generic preparedness is your concern. I would say that 2 months worth of food for your family plus the means to cook it, some water and the ability to filter more, some very basic emergency lighting/ sanitation/ heating plans plus 2 or 3 guns with a few hundred rounds of ammo each is sufficient to deal with the realistic riot/ civil unrest/ terrorism/ hurricane type scenarios. At that point you can take a deep breath. Preparedness is a long term effort so you need to put some time/ energy/ resources into other parts of your life. Also you can start thinking longer term. Save up for the case of ammo or wait until dehydrated food goes on sale. Pursue larger longer term plans like stashing a few bucks for a camping spot in a quiet area or a travel trailer to take to your parents farm if things get weird.

Go crazy until you get to a spot where you can sleep soundly at night. Figuring out where that place is in advance will help you get there and realize that you are there. After that settle in for the long haul.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Modern Survival Manual Surviving the Economic Collapse IPR #1

I am most of the way through FerFal's book. This is going to be quick because I realized I just have a minutes before it's time to go to work. Anyway this book makes one big point.

The thing is that it is realistic. Things aren't going to be going perfectly normal and then one day it will be all Mad Max killing your neighbors to protect your cereal times. Well maybe if there is an EMP that could happen but it is also possible that Lindsay Lohan will get cleaned up and the Israelis and Palestinians will make a lasting peace.

Government is not entirely going to go away. It will offer fewer services and become more authoritarian/ intrusive. The last things on earth after a nuclear war will be one guy in a bunker in Idaho, cockroaches and government. Your bills will not go away though your job/ income might. In particular if you think the bank will forget about that mortgage or the government will stop collecting property taxes you have got to be high. That just isn't going to happen.

The idea of going to a little cabin in the middle of nowhere is great but you still have to pay some bills and thus need income. Sure if you live in a large city being able to go out to a cabin for the weekend or if it looks like a riot is coming is nice. However after you take a few days off work you will start to lose your job or income from the business. Your wife and kids will get bored of playing apocalypse and you will all take the mini van home to whatever remains.
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