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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Big John tonight

Looks like I'll be on Big John's Lipscomb's show tonight to talk about one of my interests for the future: living on a houseboat or "shantyboat."

I'll be talking about the great book Shantyboat, by Harlan Hubbard.

Addendum: Big John erroneously thought that I was the only blogger here, and had written the essay below on "What to Wear." I corrected him, so I hope Shy Wolf doesn't think I was trying to take credit for it!

**Note: you can listen to the latest show on-demand (that is, not live) here:

And I guess I should promote my own personal blog on the economic collapse while I'm at it:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What the Well Dressed Prepper Wears

Finally we're getting to the post so many have requested the last couple of months: "What do I wear to a come-as-you-are Depression?" But first, a disclaimer, kind of.
I have to admit that quite often I am accused of a need to 'grow up'. Here, I am going to insist we all act like grown-ups. How do we do that? By accepting responsibility for our own actions is a good start. Do so now. I am not, do not nor will not accept responsibility for what actions others decide to follow. Let your own thinking be your guide. Also, what I say is not the ultimate authority. Every word that follows has been debated and argued, factified and falsified by too-numerous-to-mention authors in every venue available. Not only that, some of the people with whom one will speak with about these thoughts will still be wet behind the ears kids with little real world experience and, as I, have opinions that may be a bit prejudiced. However, their opinion will be predicated to aiding their employer through increasing a sale. I have no such agenda. I will mention names without endorsing those names as to being superior to any other, just that they are well-known and available.
Several actions we, acting in adult fashion, need to consider are:
1) Perceived needs should be the leading factor in decision making.
2) Do not- repeat: do not- allow yourself to be talked into something that does not fit your perceived need. All sales persons have their livelihood in mind, not yours. On other words, don't buy an accoutrement just because a sales person says you need it. Every weapon you buy should 'need' only one item to make it work: a box of bullets. Anything else is decorating the frosting.
3) Get the best you can afford, yet remember what is 'best' for one may not be 'best' for you.
4) No matter what tool you buy, get some training. Learn to use that tool to the best of your abilities.
5) No tool is fool proof and fools should not use them. Don't be a fool. Also, do not act like a child when handling tools.
Now we've cleared the legalese of this project, let's get to some meat.
Training is even more important than the tool. Without training, the tool is useless. The following tools have some basic training rules that must be followed to insure a lack of unintended consequences. (See #5 above.)
Rule number one: Treat every weapon as though it is loaded. Do not assume it is not until you have verified. The same goes for when you need it: don't assume it's loaded and discover it isn't when it should be.
Rule number two: Be very aware of where the muzzle is pointed.
Rule number three: Be aware of what is behind the target.
Rule number four: Keep all fingers away from the trigger until shooting.
The toys:
When it comes to hunting, I am an archer. Longbows and recurves predominately. I do have a compound, and like it, and for a nearly perfect long (read: decades) term weapon, I feel the bow cannot be beat. I can manufacture a bow and arrows from available materials where as a firearm needs components beyond my ability to hand make, other than reloading (which ability I recommend). That said...
My perceived need of weapons is predicated on the (oops!) assumption that I will be living my life 'normally' during the coming future. I do not feel the need to be armed with the latest 'black' rifle and a quadrillion rounds of ammo. I do see a need for some weapons of self defense, and do carry every waking moment and have firepower near to hand while sleeping. Following are my ideas and suggestions from that perspective. (Other perspectives will follow.)
Everyone should have a gun. Period. But what kind? May I be so bold?
Minimally, one should have a .22 Long Rifle caliber. Perfect as a forager for the kind of hunting that will dominate any survival, or sport, hunting: small game.
My favorite rifle is the Marlin 880, about 20 years old. Bolt action, seven shot, a 4.5-14 Mueller scope tops it. My son's favorite rifle is the Ruger 10/22 topped with a Pro-Point red dot. Accurate and fast out of the box, this is the most remodelled .22 available. More accessories are available than can be imagined to make this a very formidable weapon, even to resemble the dreaded 'black' rifles. My auto is a Remington 547. As good as the Ruger but not as customisable. Winchester, Marlin/Henry, and others, also make .22 lever guns. Fine weapons.
With either of these, I am comfortable knowing I am armed well enough to handle any situation short of a grizzly bear attack.
Final comment on .22's: any will be a good investment even if just for the enjoyment of shooting. Ammo is plentiful (well, getting scarce now) and cheap, allowing ample supplies for practicing weaponcraft. For every .22 you own, have 5000 (thousand) rounds. That's just ten bricks. About $200.
Pistols and revolvers (pistols are semi-auto firing, revolvers have cylinders) are an excellent addition and partner for a .22. My recommendation is the Ruger MK3, a Smith and Wesson 22A in semi-auto. Again, I am prejudiced in that these are the only two semi-autos I've shot. I like them both and their accuracy is all I can handle. I have no preference or experience with .22 revolvers other than a full-blown Iver Johnson competition model my dad had sixty years ago. Again, include the ammo as above.
If I'm going gun hunting, you can bet it's after birds. No hunting excites me so much as hunting partridge, ducks, geese, and pheasants. If I'm going to freeze my bunns off, it's going to be over a spread of deeks. And for reliability, power, accuracy and pure cussed toughness, the best of all is the 12 gauge pump.
Shotguns come in five flavors: single shot, double barrel, bolt, pump and semi-auto. Each of these comes in differing gauges: .410, 16, 20, 12 and 10. (There are oddball gauges, but stay away from them. Also, unless you like to torture yourself, stay away from the 10 gauge. It's a goose gun suitable for Cape Buffalo.)
My recommendation on shotguns is going to be a pump. Remington's 870 and Mossberg's 500 are the reputed best available. I have shot a Marlin 550 for thirty years with no malfunctions. Other makers are probably as good as, maybe even superior to, the Remington and Mossberg. Maybe. Military and law enforcement love the 870 and 500. Whatever you buy, get it in either 20 or 12 gauge. Sixteen gauge are becoming popular again, but ammo is not so easy to find as 20 and 12.
I love my over-under 12 gauge, too. But not as a SHTF weapon. Ditto on dad's single shot. They are great hunting weapons, however, and for the price, are well worth considering.
Rifles dominate the shooting market. They are also dominate in the gun control media. Reasons being, they are as accurate as the shooter can be, are powerful and appealing to the American mystique. Remington, Mossberg, Marlin/Henry, Winchester, are the more well known makers of guns for the 'common' man. Available in single shot, bolt, pump, lever and semi-auto configuration, high power rifles can be as expensive as one would want to spend on a gun. (Though I have seen $10,000 12 gauges as well. Seriously. They get even more.)
Let's be real: we aren't going to spend that kind of money on a survival gun.
If I am of limited funds, or want to go as cheaply as I can, I'd get a single shot rifle in either .223, or .308, caliber. Reason being: ammo availability. Probably the two most common calibers now. They come in any caliber desired, however.
For $10 more, a serviceable Mosin Nagent can be had. The M-N are military arms, very durable and accurate enough for big game hunting. The M-N is probably the most endorsed low-cost survival weapon to date. Not a beauty, it's a tough, reasonably accurate bolt action, cheap and every where. Ammo availability is great at the moment, but may be scarce in the near future. One will not go wrong buying this weapon. Other military weapons of great fame are the British Enfield .303 (British) round, and the Mauser, usually in 8mm. I have both and they are very fine shooters, mil-tough and accurate for hunting. Expensive to play with unless reloading, though. Even then, more expensive than the 30 calibers.
Savage, Marlin, Remington, Ruger, Winchester, Mossberg...all excellent makers of firearms. (Notice which brand is 'first' on my list? :-) ) Again, purchase in the very available loads of .223, .243, .308, 30-06, 270. My fave is the 30-06, but I like pain, too. (kidding.) I do like the 30-06 simply because it's a long time favorite. Savage has the Accu-trigger (tm) and their guns do shoot well, are very accurate and on the lower end of cost, the upper end of available.
"Automatics". Oh, yes- the bane of the anti-gunners and most dreaded of all weapons upon the face of the earth, bar none. Not even an atomic bomb frightens an anti-gunner so much as an "automatic" rifle. I have five words for those kind of people: "Grow up, get a life."
Semi-auto rifles available come from many makers. Remington, Winchester, Ruger, Springfield, to name a minimum. Available in calibers from .223 to the magnums, these are the rifles Everyman loves to shoot but is afraid to tell his wife he wants. Currently, the most popular of the lower cost semis is the SKS, a Chinese weapon in military configuration. (Incidentally, along with the AK, the SKS is the minimum- but not most desired- weapon most militia suggest.) It is a reasonably accurate, fast shooting, readily available rifle.
More well known, the AK clones are the second choice for cost/availability. Again, reasonably accurate, fast shooting, high-count magazine and fun to play with, they have the reputation of being the toughest military arm ever created. Even our military SpecOps people like using this weapon.
Going up the line, DPMS makes an AR-15 that is on the low cost end of military look-alikes that can come in whatever caliber one desires. Usually that is .223 (similar to M-16 military round) and .308 Winchester (M-14 military similarity). Other makers are Colt, Remington, Springfield...the list is endless, really. Google M15 and you will find hundreds of makers all claiming to have the best.
Probably the most sought-after semi auto today, for those with a few bucks to spend, is the FN1aL in .308 caliber. If you're 'into' getting what many consider to be the 'ultimate survival rifle', google Fabrique Nationale and you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know. (Not my cup of tea, obviously- but I'm a 'frugal prepper'.)
Assault and Black Rifles...
If you want one of these, join the Armed Forces or a Law Enforcement Agency because, contrary to popular myth espoused by the Brady Bunch and other anti-gun lie fabricating organisations, these weapons are not available on the Common Gun Show Market. Nor can you walk into any gun selling store and buy or order one. Ain't gonna happen, Jack.
One can buy a can of black paint and cover their M-N, SKS, M1A1, Ruger, Winchester, Savage, Marlin, Whatever brand rifle and paint it. Then I guess you've bought a 'black' rifle. Also, the M-N, SKS, Mauser, Enfield, M1 are actually surplus military arms, so I imagine they can be classified 'assault' weapons. You decide.
Cowboy Action shooting is the fastest growing shooting sport out there. They shoot the guns our 'cowboy' ancestors shot. .44/70, .38/70, 32-20, 45 Long Colt, etc. These are the configuration for the most popular deer cartridge ever- the 30-30. Lever action rifles, these can be bought almost anywhere and are probably the only repeating rifle that will be available if the new AWB comes into effect. Light weight, for the most part, accurate and mid-priced, they are very viable survival weapons. More on these in a minute.
Probably the most fun anyone can have an still be within the law is shooting handguns. For the moment, anyway.
From single shot Thompson Centers to semi-auto 'grease guns' such as Kel-Tec and Hi-Point 9mm's, pistols are the 'fun guns'. Everybody should own a handgun.
Easily concealable, these are what we carry for self defense today, what every cop has on his belt (and the reason they hitch their pants continually) and the most viable of guns to own, simply for self defense.
A .22 for practice/skill gaining and fun should be in everyones gun cabinet.
Minimal for honest self-defense/CCW, but a bit on the anemic end of performance, is the .380 caliber. It's an abbreviated 9mm, but it will cause some intense pain and no person killed by it has come back to tell the shooter it was not enough gun. Up the scale is the 9mm, by many deigned the minimal self defense caliber. Again, no one has come back to whine about being killed by a wimpy Nine-em-em.
For nearly a hundred years, policemen the nation over carried the .38 caliber. Even the military had adopted it in the 1800's, notably the Marine Corps. Again, we have no reports of dead people coming back to... However, historically speaking, the lack of 'stopping power' against the Moros by Marines using this arm lead to creation of the 1911 and .45 caliber semi-auto. A .38+P cartridge, pronounced "thirty-eight plus pee", has quite a fine reputation as a self defense round. A .38 Super is available in semi-auto pistols and are a bit more potent than the .38 Special.
Big brother to the .38, and using the same caliber bullet, is the .357. (As an aside, there are lever rifles chambered in .357 as well.) This is a man-stopper and beginning of the magnum cartridges for pistoleroes. Available only in revolvers, to my knowledge anyway.
Reasonably new on the market is the .40 caliber. (New being just catching on.) Many military and PDs are converting to this caliber and, as some gun gurus point out, the caliber does begin with a "4", so it's okay to shoot people with.
From the days of Yesteryear comes one of the oldest pistols made, certainly the most famous: the Colt 1911 in .45 flavor. This is a man-stopper. Period. Now manufactured in many calibers by many companies, the 1911 design is reliable and tough.
Made famous by Dirty Harry, the .44 Smith and Wesson magnum was the most powerful handgun cartridge made. It has probably also broken more wrists and eardrums than any handgun ever made. This is a two-handed gun. Of course, I'm going to get lots of letters from gargantuan wristed people who shoot it one handed (including from a brother-in-law), but for the common man (color me common),this gun requires two hands to shoot. But it will stop anything hit with it. And you'd better hit with the first shot 'cuz the second shot is going to take a while.
Monster handguns are now on the market making the .44 mag kind of the wimp of the Big Boy calibers. Among them, the .454 Casull. I have heard rumors of a .50 caliber Casull, as well. Wimps need not apply to use these weapons. That leaves me out.
Black powder...
My Hawken .50 caliber is fun to shoot. Nothing quite comes close in fun as popping heads off squirrels with a weapon that is nearly as old as firearms. Slow to load, using only black powder or the modern equivalents, these are the weapons used at Lexington and Concord Green, the Civil War and on all continents of the planet. Fun to shoot, a bitch to clean- and they gotta be cleaned after every use- these may qualify as survival weapons since the powder can be made from charcoal, salt peter and sulfur, the bullets can be manufactured from any lead type found and, in flintlock configuration, nearly any rock can be used to strike a spark. After all, these are the guns carried by Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Jim Bridger...
Answering the ultimate question...
So, James: what do you suggest for Common Man as survival weapon selection? My personal choice, and keeping cost to almost a bare minimum are:
.22 rifle, Marlin Model 60 with four power (4X) scope. This is "Americas Most Popular Rifle". Period. And for good reason. Accuracy, availability, durability. The Ruger 10/22 is my next choice.
Handgun: Springfield Armory XD (or XD-M) in any flavor: 9mm, .40 or .45. (I will also include a revolver here: a .38 or .357 Detective Special (type) snubby. With either handgun, find an Inside Waist Band (IWB) holster and carry it over your appendix. Sometimes referred to as AIWB holster, it's the most logical (to me and many others) place to carry a handgun for concealment.
Shotgun. 20 or 12 gauge. Cost effective single shot or a pump- I will not be brand specific here cuz they're really all good. One word about the Remington 870 and Mossy: they do come with a choice of second barrel. Called a 'slug' barrel, these have sights like a rifle. My opinion: don't get it. If you need a rifle, get a rifle. I know southern MN is shotgun only deer hunting, but we're talking survival gun, and a slug can be fired from a 'normal' shotgun barrel.
Rifle. A single shot break action in .223 is a good choice for the low-cost, good quality rifle. Beware that some do have plastic sights. Ignore these and find another gun. I do feel the smallest caliber one should go with is .243. Ammo availability for this will be good, I think, because it's not a military caliber as are the .223 and .308. Also, the .243 has a bit larger bullet than .223, therefore more stopping power. But not much.
Up the price range, a Savage bolt action in .243, .308 or 30-06.
Lever action 30-30 is an excellent survival gun, even for combat situations. Perhaps, in combat, a better choice than a bolt action for CQB (Close Quarters Combat).
Combat/militia or "Black" rifle. On the low cost end, SKS, rising in price to the AK or the clones of same. DPMS in .223 or .308. Get the basic rifle, use it, get used to it, then decide what accoutrements you need for it. Again, these are not "assault rifles", they are semi-auto (single shot) rifles of military origins.
What I'm going to be carrying...
Daily carry is either a S&W 9mm with 13 round clips or a Charter Arms Police Undercover in .38 (with +P).
My trusty old Marlin 12 gauge is plenty of gun. In a SHTF situation, I will hacksaw 12 inches or more off the barrel and carry it in a shoulder holster, similar to a back quiver.
For survival purposes, I will carry the Savage 30-06 until I run out of ammo. Then I'll reach into the pack, string the bow and live happily ever after.
Hopefully this has kind of given some ideas what to think about and look for. A complete arsenal can be had for less than $500 if one is not concerned with needing a warriors bag of tricks. The first rule to not break is "When going to a gunfight, bring a gun." If you're good with it and remember to get your bunns off the 'X', any gun will do. It may just take longer. If one trusts pawn shops, guns can often be bought for less than new prices. What's that expression? Caveat Emptor?
Whatever weapon you buy, it is useless without ammunition. That is a whole other post...egads...well, it could be.
Suggestions on ammo- and this ain't gonna be cheap!
For .22, have at least ten thousand rounds for them. You'll go through plenty fast. Small game will make up most of the hunting, so it makes sense. I like CCI Stingers.
For shotgun, get 250-500 rounds of various shot. A good mix would be five boxes each of number 6 shot, Double Ought buck and slugs. That is, figuring 25 rounds per box.
Rifle, my suggestion is as much as you can find, but a minimum of 500 rounds for each caliber. If you're looking at some sort of militia duty, even as a Lone Ranger, get five thousand rounds at least.
Cabella's, Sportsman's Guide, B.A.S.S. Pro Shops, others sell ammo at bulk prices and by the case in ammo boxes that are worth their weight in gold. If you can 'get in good' with a local store, you may be able to buy ammo at his cost and that will save a few bucks. Whatever caliber you decide, buy lots of ammo. Also, think of spare parts for the weapon. Things like firing pins, extractors, springs and guides do break or wear out. It never hurts to have spares.
Along with the ammo, if your weapon of choice uses a separate magazine, buy as many spare mags as possible. You'll never regret it.
Now, before you run off to the store...
Shy's "Dream" collection...
When the rubber meets the road and if I had all the money I wanted, these are my choices when asked, "If you could have only one choice of weapon, what would it be?"
I'm going to set the bow aside and stick to a gun, in this instance.
If I had all the money I wanted and could buy what I wanted, I buy two (ROFL) of these...
Lever action rifle in .357 or .44 mag caliber. And an accompanying revolver in same caliber.
God bless, happy hunting.

Rejoice and be glad

We interrupt our usual preparations to bring you some good news from the Minnesota Legislature.
Authored by Thomas Jefferson and ratified July 4, 1776, by a unanimous vote of the Continental Congress, signed and ratified by We the People, Minnesota has become one with 26 fellow Patriot States to declare its Sovereignty according to the Constitution of These United States.
It is now time to call all Minnesota State and Local officials and give them a huge Minnesota "Attaboy" and pat on the back.
Sponsored by Seifert ; Gottwalt ; Smith ; Urdahl ; Severson ; Dettmer ; Drazkowski ; Davids ; Lanning ; Anderson, B. ; Anderson, S. ; Shimanski ; Scott ; Torkelson ; Hamilton ; Loon ; Downey ; Beard ; Buesgens ; Kiffmeyer , HF 0997 reads, in part: (the Short Description)
"Federal government memorialized to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States and affirming Minnesota's sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."
Please be generous in lavishing your praise upon these (above) stalwarts of Liberty. Far too often they hear from constituents when those same people are displeased with their efforts. Now is the time to call, write and Email, even notify local press persons, and tell them how proud we are of them.
Prep on, however- this show ain't over yet!
We now return you to our currently running program... "What the well dressed Prepper Wears"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Forming Survival Groups

As an addendum to Shy Wolf's great post, I'd like to recommend the article below. (Click on the excerpt to get to the article). The writer is somewhat extreme, but who knows... maybe it will be that bad.

Trust cannot be bought in a survival sitatuation, before or afterwards. Trust is earned, the hard way through time, committment, loyalty and experience. Societal collapse will expose every lie, distortion and assumption you can possibly imagine. Trust will be suddenly of paramount importance, but the factors necessary (time) will be gone.

Get started now if you intend to do anything at all. You’ve little real time left and what remains needs to be used wisely.

Family has always been the core for groups and will remain so. Blood is thicker then water. For most families, the commitment is already there and the desire for the family to live will be there too.

Important reminder and a good code to live by. Watch what people actually do. Applies to absolutely everyone. Not what they say, but what they do. This reveals their true heart and intentions and why you can see right through them so easily. Lying, backstabbing and gossip in a survival situation will get you very dead. Pay attention to this now.

Survival groups will form, but I no longer believe that small groups will survive. I’m not suggesting that the commentary above is wrong, I’m stating that small, isolated survival groups will have a very hard time of it because of a lack of diverse skills, security, infighting, resources and even opportunities to ‘better’ then situation.

Community survival has many advantages to small groups and I think this is a far better solution then winging it on your own or with your family. But even with the community, there is still the core groups. Community survival will (probably) be built upon these core groups, made up of many families. This is in effect, what we have today in our small towns.

A community will have a better chance because of the diversification of skills, labor, land and resources. They will also receive and wield authority and recognition of that authority, whereas a rogue band of survivalist won’t. This is going to be pretty important as lawlessness will be very prevelant.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Here we goooooooo!

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The United States Constitution, Second Amendment.

This post was planned (mine, anyway) for a bit farther down the road. (Chuckling as I write it 'cuz it's a subject very dear to me and close to my heart.)

Publius brings to the fore some excellent points in his post, among which is self-preservation and that of loved ones and neighbors.

Not to detract from the most excellent job most Law Enforcement Officers do, but it should be common knowledge, if not understanding, that police forces are not here for 'protection', regardless what is written on their cars (To protect and to serve). Not totally, anyway.

They do serve as a deterrent to crime and violence, but not all. In some instances, such as at a street/bar brawl or fight in progress in a home, they may help to save a life by stopping the altercation. There's an adage in CCW that is simple and direct, completely covering this topic: "A gun in hand is better than a cop on the phone." That is where most peace officers are found when trouble strikes. Not at the scene stopping an intruder from breaking into your home. Not at the home when the drunken husband decides to beat on his wife or children. Not at the bridge when the mother decides to take her children to the bridge and drop them into the water below.

Also, if you ever make a 9-1-1 call and tell the police there is an armed intruder in your home, don't expect them to be 'right there', because they won't be. And when they do arrive, don't expect them to come charging in on white stallions to gather you in their arms and carry you safely away. Because they won't.

Most likely, they will set up around your home, or wherever you are, and cordon the area, take time to set up their SpecOps platoon and a few others, call in a shrink to talk to the intruder/hostage taker...you get the idea. None of them wants to, nor will they, come charging in to take the criminal element under fire. Nor should we, as citizens, expect them to. No one should have to die as part of their job, though in police circles it is an occupational hazard.

This would be a perfectly safe world if every person had a police officer at their side continually protecting them.

But we don't and this is where the Second Amendment of the Constitution comes in, one small section of it, anyway. (Other Amendments that protect our right to guns are the Ninth and Tenth.)

The Second Amendment is constantly under attack because some people who want all the marbles know that a civilian populace without weapons becomes a herd. When only the police and military have weapons, everyone else is a sheep. (For evidence of this, refer to what Hitler did in Germany and other parts of Europe, or what is happening in parts of Africa or South America today.) Our Founding Fathers knew this and gave us the power of their wisdom in the Second Amendment, and the others. All people, not just Americans, have the God given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are inalienable rights. Rights guaranteed Americans by our Constitution.

So it behooves every legal, law-abiding American to exercise their freedom, for a freedom not exercised is a freedom lost. "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Exercise that right. Buy a rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun. (I'll get to what kinds later, so be patient.) Check the facts about gun 'control' in any city or state or nation that restricts gun ownership and you will see that crime rises in every one when civilian gun ownership is taken away. Australia, England (especially), Washington D.C., etc. At the opposite end of that, states that allow concealed carry have reductions in crime. Prime example: Florida. Don't take my word for it, check the F.B.I. statistics.

Now, as to the remainder of the Second Amendment. The part that reads, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..."

We have to first answer the question, "Who is the militia?"

Succinctly put: The militia is any person who lives in the community/county/state/country and who is not part of the standing military.

In short: every able bodied man between the ages of 16 and 60, according to the Constitution. If the women want to be included, that is fine, there is no prohibition against it. I encourage it, even. Who better to know when they need defending than the person being attacked?

The Militia Act of 1903 enabled the National Guard, it did not abolish the militia. What it did was establish a reserve military component that was also instructed to aid its home state in times of emergency. At no time can a Guardsman/woman enter a private home uninvited if they are acting in their military capacity. That, too, is in the Constitution, Amendment Three. (There is a 'prescribed by law' clause there, but it's beyond this at the moment since the country is not under direct attack nor has martial law been established. But I can feel it coming.)

Militia units are still a very viable and active component of the Civilian Army as envisioned by our Fathers, verifiable in their correspondence. So, again I ask, "Who is the militia?"

When under attack by anyone, I am the militia. I am the one most responsible for my defense or demise. Therefore, it is in my best interests to be ready for that attack.

(Do you realise that Switzerland requires each citizen to not only be armed, but to practice regularly with that issued weapon? America should have the same law. Crime rates in Switzerland are among the lowest per capita in the world. Plus: No country has ever attacked Switzerland.)

So, we have settled 'who' the militia is. Let's examine 'unorganised' militia a little.

Let it be known, I am not in any militia. I want to be, but have got a little long in the tooth (those remaining) to be of much value to them regardless how young I think I am.

Minnesota has the 32nd Field Force Militia. It is part of the unorganised American Militia, so far as I have been able to discern. Not all states have an unorganised Civilian Militia, but they should. If they were following the Constitution they would have. A standing Civilian Militia is the only honest, real force to follow what the Fathers adhered to in the Constitution.

In part: "...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

And that is one part of the Constitution liberals and socialists would love to abolish. That is the sole aim of any person who wants to "change the Constitution to be a more forward, modern and understanding document" (Re: Mubarack Obama).

What that sentence in the Constitution says is that 'We, the People' - the actual employers of those in the Capitol- have the right to rebel against the government, even to the raising of arms.

(No, I am not advocating an insurrection, rebellion or take-over of anything. But if the need arises, so be it.)

The expression, "Freedom is earned, not given," is what the militia is about. Those people are taking their responsibilities to their loved country very seriously. As I believe we all should.

Is joining a militia for everyone? No, not at all. Some are just not cut out to defend themselves and will always need someone to do the dirty work for them. No offense meant by that, it's just life. Some people don't feel a need to defend their homes, their country, their lives or their loved ones. Some people do. More power to them. Here again, if you don't feel your rights are worth defending, you don't deserve those rights. Our Founding Fathers knew this. They pledged everything they had to it, that's why we are where we are today.

However you look at it, joining a militia is up to the individual- they don't 'draft' anyone. Nor do they send their emissaries overseas to fight foreign wars. They strictly defend the Homeland. That is their job. Your job. My job. Our job.

Now- will we need the militia one day?

If events keep on as they are, my opinion: yes we will.

If the government continues to corrupt itself, spend itself into bankruptcy, erode our rights and take what they have not earned from those who earned it, we most certainly will. I have no doubt of it.

But the militia will not be our police force. That will be up to the individuals of the community.

Consider this. Taking another page from history after the Civil War and the West was wild and woolly and hard to curry below the knees. Did you ever see a movie where the outlaw gang took over a community? Do you think it would have happened easily? I don't. Every man in the community had a gun and knew how to use it. They'd just fought a war. They fought Indians. They fought each other. No outlaw gang was going to ride into a town and take it away from the citizens unless the citizens wanted them to. Every window, door and rooftop would have been an opening for a marksman. Those outlaws would all have been worm food in Boot Hill.

That is going to become the responsibility of every citizen of every community if a worst-case scenario evolves. We will have some people 'hired' as 'town Marshall's' or lawmen, but total safety will be up to the individuals. A lawman's job is to give a semblance of peace, to patrol and prevent so much as possible. It is not to jump in front of a bullet to save anyone. It should not have to be, it will not be.

A neighborhood watch is a good idea. Neither militia nor police force, they are a deterrent to crime, even encouraged by Minnesota law. Drive around any community and you will see the rectangular sign with the blue eye, its caption: Neighborhood Crime Watch. Should these people be armed? Of course. Everyone should be armed. That is how peace is kept. Seriously- you don't think the blue uniform of a policeman stops attacks, do you? Of course not: it's the gun they carry, the ability to use it and the criminal's knowledge of this. That's what stops the crime. Imagine now if every honest citizen was armed. There's your police force, your crime deterrent, your militia. That is your Home Guard.

So there you have it, self defense, in a nutshell.

One further thought about the current police forces throughout the country. When the money stops coming in, where are these men going to stand? Are they going to continue their positions for little or no pay? Or will they be as the rest of us: trying to 'get by' ? Of course, we could barter for their services, if they were willing. Or if the community was willing. Here again, there are so many unanswered questions about what is going to happen that we all are playing this by ear. No one knows the music. Or else we can't read it.

As to answering another of Publius' questions: Yes, most certainly there are preppers who are militia members. I don't know any, wish I did, but they are among us. Thank God.

Now, a few links to militia matters, in case anyone is interested in getting to know them a bit more.

Here is the Militia Act of 1792:The Militia Act of 1792 and it's an excellent read.

Minnesota's 32nd Field Force website is: http://www.32ndff.net/ and it is an interesting read. They have the Standards for joining, equipage and regulations.

Overseeing many militia sites is the Well Regulated Militia. Their web address is: www.awrm.org/ and you can find all the standards and reasons to belong to any state militia there.

Again, consider how much your freedom means to you and yours before you decide to not join a militia group. But do understand, joining a militia will be tough work. Not hard, tough. It isn't something to do if you just want to bang guns on a week end or stroll through Como Zoo. It's going to be tough- worse than Basic Training. And rightly so because you're learning to defend your home. Also, militia do not provide the weapons or equipment: the individual does. A valid reason being, it's the individual's responsibility and if that person puts their own money into proper gear, they're not going to be wasting others' time and be more willing to do what needs doing- which is train.

Prep on, Folks. Thanks for stopping by. Up next: what the well dressed Prepper packs on his belt.


The chicken and the egg problem of security

Well, looks like the Black Monday I predicted happened today - the DOW down a whopping 3.5%. Not that I have any stocks, or can really afford to buy them despite their increasing cheapness.

The day is not far off when due to lack of resources (e.g. strong dollars), the government (local and national) will start to falter. The financial and economic bloodstreams are bleeding dry as I write. AIG is going to come back to the government soon for another $60 billion. The government is squandering limited precious resources on bailing out the Wall Street investor class.

When collapse of some kind happens in Minnesota, we the people will be forced to fend for ourselves. We will have to learn to barter, trade, and help each other.

A predator class more localized than Wall Street will soon arise: groups of armed men will steal from our farms and cottage industries, or will demand protection money. The government that remains will be too weak to do much about it - heck, it enabled the looting by Wall Street, why not enable looting by gun-toting warlords?

At some point, the people will be forced to rise up and form some kind of militia or police force to protect themselves. That leads to a chicken-and-egg problem. Right now, the official government would never allow such a force to exist. Oh, sure, you might get away with a neighborhood watch program, but even that is likely to get criticized for being a bunch of "vigilantes." However, at some point the need for protection will become so pressing that we will have to organize.

How do we know when it's time to reconstitute the militia of the people, like the ones that existed during the Revolutionary War? I realize that even broaching this right now would scare or anger most of our sheeple neighbors, but at some point they will be begging for protection.

Perhaps the future leaders of such an organization already exists in the blogosphere, among the preppers? I would say that pure survivalist types will not be very interested in the communal good to this extent. But most of us care enough about our neighbors, and realize that we ourselves need the strength of numbers and community, so that we will be willing to help organize and man a force that exists for the sole reason of protecting the lives and property of the people (that is, us).

John Locke pointed out that when the government ceases to protect the lives and property of the people, it ceases to be lawful. It has ceased to fulfill its function, and may be ignored or replaced.

It is also conceivable that the various state governments, or some of them, will continue to do the right thing and protect the citizens. I hope so. Minnesota should pull all of its National Guard forces out of Iraq, and bring them home to do what they were meant to do.

The history of the National Guard is interesting: the Militia act of 1903 in effect made what used to be the state militias into subservient units of the new National Guard.

It may be time to revisit the issue, because the individual states will likely soon need their militias back - to do what they were meant to do, protect the people, instead of occupying foreign lands.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stage One, Scene Two

Let's continue the discussion of city-country a few more sentences, then travel to the store for some preps...

When it comes to "who is better equipped to do what, where", I am reminded of Paul's explanation of the body. "Can the eye say to the ear that it is more important to the body?" In my thinking, each part is important to the survival of the other. No matter what time period we look at, cities and rural areas have co-existed, each relying upon the other for various needs. So as to which is a 'better' place to be in a SHTF scenario is a debate that will only be settled by experience. Regardless our locale or situation, we will all be coming to the party and will have to adjust to the kinds of entertainment the host provides.

Life in the city will surely be an experience in survival. Shopping centers will be more plentiful, if they can get products to sell, and providing one has the funds to purchase. And what kind(s) of store fronts will be open is certainly going to be up for debate. Will people be buying flat screen TVs or new cars or salad foods in January? So much depends on the availability of-- oil. If the product can't get from A to B, where one lives is going to become a moot point. If the cost of transporting products is exorbitant, who is going to be able to afford it?

Life in the rural/country will surely be an experience in survival. Finding parts to repair or equip machinery or fuels to operate them is going to be expensive, if even available. Who will make them, transport, stock them those products we can't grow or jury-rig? If the farmer can't sell his product, growing more than needed will be a waste of time, effort and seed. I don't see farmers or ranchers being that senseless.

Regardless where one lives, there are going to be problems with looters/freeloaders/et-al (these are the 'sheeple' who either did not prepare or prepared too late or too little). The dangers of living in small groups is certainly valid. How many neighbors can one trust to give aid when it's needed? How many will decide they 'need' what another has and do their best to take it? We live in a society of 'keeping up with the Joneses' and this leads to a mentality of 'share and share alike' (sound familiar? it should: it's the Dark Lords current policy). Those who have will always be prey to those who don't. Regardless where we live, it's going to be a challenge to keep what we have, or don't have. Abel had the blessing and Cain killed him because of it. Are we to think complete strangers will be more kind?

Scene Two

Eo-ipso, trade routes will be something that will be not only necessary, but mandatory for people living in either situation. Farmers will need to get products to a market, city folks will need to get the products. Both sides will need to get their noodles together and decide on how this is accomplished. Products produced in communities will need end-users, and rural folks will need a way to find them. The solution? Compromise and free enterprise. Living where I do and having the equipment I do, part of my 'plan' is to provide fuel for heat and cooking, building and repairs. How do I get paid for the product?
If our esteemed Uncle deflates the value of currency in his foolishness of printing more useless paper, why would anyone in their right mind want more of it? (Unless they didn't stock toilet paper or fire starters.) Rather than 'sell for cash', I barter for needs. Now I need a trade route. (DUH!)
Options for trade routes are limited only by our imagination: we can use the hiway system, rivers and lakes (in MN). Air and rail will probably be exorbitantly cost-prohibitive as well as, in my mind, useless for the 'common man'- which we will most all be. All our trading is going to be localised. So in trade routes, we have to travel back nearly a century for our examples.
(I'm 'thinking on the fly' here, so bear with me.)
Perishable garden produce will be certainly shipped shortest distance to market at the opportune time. I see opportunity for enterprising people creating 'canaries' in their homes and marketing these locally. Or groups- one 'cans' tomatoes, another corn or carrots, whatever. The barter system grows. This, of course, implies those people have several thousand reusable jars and lids on hand.
Some foods, such as cabbages, some fruits and spuds, carrots, onions, beets and 'begas, etc, will be able to survive longer periods with proper root cellars and people will be able to store them until needed- if they have the cellar. Those who have large areas to create the cellars will be able to barter throughout the year for such produce. My imagination tells me any people living north of California and Florida can pretty much eliminate oranges and grapefruit from our diet, as well as any other citric fruit. Unless someone can come up with a barter-trade route for them. And someone will, don't doubt it.
Ranchers will be capable of getting their product to market 'on the hoof'' as was done a century ago. Someone is going to open a neighborhood slaughterhouse. Of course, the Bambi/PETA crowd is going to raise a stink more irksome than the slaughterhouse, and keep it up til their bellies are screaming. (Just had a thought: is a society in such scenario going to tolerate those kind of people much longer, if at all?)
All this is considering that all neighborhoods will be relatively safe environs. In efforts to insure this, I see a growing need for 'neighborhood watch' groups. (Especially if the law enforcement agencies continue to cut back personnel and equipment.) Here is another opportunity for an enterprising group- so long as they are kept in check and don't become a criminal, graft, element. Here again, the neighborhood will have to be part of the solution, guarding each others interests.
Another aspect of the barter system is going to be money: either the lack there-of or those who desire to 'barter' in gold.
My personal opinion- and please, I am not an economist, have no aspirations to be, nor am I familiar with bullion other than experience in attempting to use it a couple of times- is that those who try dealing with 'common' people through use of gold or silver are going to be sorely disappointed. Having done some prospecting in the past, I know a little about gold, but not much. I know what it looks like in the wild, have held a couple gold coins and still am not sure I could tell the difference. For one, neither gold nor silver will be part of my barter system. I suspect the same will be true for the vast majority. Who is going to be set up with the tools to decide if 'this' is silver or 'this' is gold? (Especially those of us with store-bought teeth?) My opinion is that those who want to deal in gold or silver had better have some marketing tools and products to trade. (Does "a loaf of bread will buy a bag of gold" sound familiar?)
F-o-o-d is going to be the rule of barter in nearly all circumstances.
And how this food gets to market is going to be the big opportunity for an enterprising few who have already considered the problem and worked on solutions. Horse drawn wagons? Bicycle? Trade fairs/farmers markets?
Publius brings out some interesting questions.
Just some food for thought.
God bless, prep on!
(Apologies for the rambling.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peak oil - what do we do now?

by Robert Hirsch

The history of world peak oil production has been truly remarkable. Modern day concerns were rekindled in 1998 when Campbell and Laherrere published their peak oil thinking in Scientific American. Not surprisingly, they were largely ignored. Some in the establishment took the time to utter “Bah-humbug,” but a few independent souls decided to seriously consider the problem.

ASPO was formed soon thereafter and began annual meetings, fostering communication and helping to create increasing interest in the subject. Peak oil concernists began to form a community and momentum increased. Counter arguments buttressing the no-problem point of view came from OPEC, CERA, EIA, IEA, and some of the major oil companies. The denier proclamations grew in intensity, indicating that the serious consideration of peak oil was beginning to trouble parts of the establishment. Various new studies supporting the peak oil threat emanated from independent individuals and groups. Forecasts for the onset of peak oil went from being up to 20 years into the future, to roughly 15 years and then to less. The establishment continued to argue that the problem was so distant that people need not worry.

There were a number of significant milestones along the way - one of special note being Matt Simmons’ book, Twilight in the Desert. As time went on, IEA and some of the major oil companies began to join the list of those who were openly concerned. Momentum grew, influenced in large part by the remarkable increase in oil prices.

In mid-2008 the economic crisis struck. As world economies slowed, oil demand declined. To the surprise of almost everyone, oil prices dropped from near $150 per barrel to less than $40. With gasoline prices in the U.S. retreating to what was considered generally tolerable levels and economic threats avalanching, it’s no wonder that peak oil slid to the back burner of public consciousness.

The world is now in a period of epic economic chaos. People are disoriented and unsure of what it will take to restore their economies. Many serious economists, financiers, and executives are loath to even forecast when an economic recovery might begin. It’s easier for me now to understand how my parents and grandparents must have felt during the 1930s.

But the peak oil problem has not gone away. World liquid fuels production reached a plateau in mid-2004 and has fluctuated within a relatively narrow range in spite of mighty efforts to increase world production. In mid-2008, benefitting from the work of Campbell, Laherrere, Skrebowski, Aleklett, Simmons, Robelius, Gilbert, Bentley, Al Husseini, Deffeyes, Koppelaar, Birol, and others, I came to believe that world liquids production might stay on the existing plateau for the next 2-5 years and then go into a 3-5% per year decline

Recently, OPEC cut back oil production in an attempt to stem the oil price decline. How much might their cutbacks delay the onset of world liquid fuels production decline? Assuming the plateau model and five years to the onset of decline, each million barrels per day of oil production withholding buys roughly three weeks delay, so a steady, continuing reduction of say four million barrels per day over five years might result in a delay in the onset of world oil production decline by maybe three months. That’s not very much.

We’ve now in a period of major human disorientation, but geology does not become disoriented on the human timescale. The impending peak oil problem may now be generally absent from the media and the public consciousness, but it has not gone away. We would do well to continue meaningful studies of peak oil production and mitigation during this period of peak oil quiet. More studies of practical physical and administrative mitigation options are needed. Totally remaking our cities and transportation systems are wonderful goals but will require an extremely long time. In the meantime, we have relatively little in-depth thinking about what we can do when the will-to-act suddenly appears. We need better analyses on such options as rationing (how to do it), carpooling (how to force and police it), telecommuting (how to make it happen), rapidly switching to more fuel efficient vehicles during a deepening recession, rapidly implementing EOR, CTL, shale oil, etc (business-as-usual won’t do), etc. Between now and the wakeup, we can develop carefully thought-out mitigation options for when people are ready to begin to seriously mitigate peak oil. Working on practical solutions represents a high calling.

Robert L. Hirsch is Senior Energy Advisor at MISI. Previously he was Assistant Administrator of U.S. ERDA; EPRI VP; ARCO VP; and Chairman of the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems at the National Academies. He was lead author of “Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management” (Feb 2005).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why can't we believe in Doom?

It's kind of funny - even as a so-called "Doomer" (at least according to my wife), even I can't really believe in the reality of what is happening.

My reason tells me we are going downhill fast, but my emotions tell me that everything will be just fine.

Is it just human nature to not be able to fully comprehend reality until it is too late? I don't think so. We modern humans are all here because our ancestors were very good at predicting the future and adapting. They had to be paranoid and watchful to survive in a world of enemies and dangers, without the benefit of a police force or a central government.

Why, then, are most of our fellow citizens what some preppers and survivalists refer to contemptuously as "sheeple"?

I would wager that most Western World citizens have been brainwashed by the ideology of Progress. The Enlightenment gave birth to the idea that using reason and science, humanity would be able to take control of its own fate, a very different view of history than existed in the Ancient world, where history and fate were seen as cyclical. The idea of the Wheel of Fortune of the goddess Fortuna are examples of that world view.

Descartes and his ilk thought that by reducing the material world to atoms and equations, we could predict and control it. Well, it's worked out pretty good for a long run. The element left out by Descartes and the Enlightenment optimists, though, was the limited nature of the physical world. The Earth has limited resources. Darwin explained that all species tend to overpopulate to the point where there is a crash in the population. The crash tends to overshoot in the other direction, due to a depleted environment.

Peak Oil is a reality, and despite the currently low gas prices, the reality of Peak Oil is a rabid bitch that's going to soon bite humanity in the ass. Another reason to prep. Those who are prepared do not guarantee their survival, but they certainly increase their chances.

Monday, February 16, 2009

City and Country Partnerships

A lot of preppers either already live in the country, or they wish to escape there. I understand that - if necessary, I will relocate my family to the family spread up north.

Unless things become quite degenerate, however, cities are going to remain centers of commerce and sources of resources. Just think of how many junkyards and surplus stuff is lying around in the city. I was just in a store named Ax Man on University Avenue in St. Paul yesterday. I hadn't been there in years, and it was still a great place to go to find... well, just about anything. Old surplus electric motors, electronics parts, storage cases... even a Swedish stomach pump, whatever that is.

Those of you living in the countryside - do you REALLY think you will be able to get along without any help from the city? What if something in your country dwelling wears out? What if you need a solar cell, or you need your generator fixed?

The fact is that cities came about in human history, because when humans live together in a concentrated population center, synergy is possible. Synergy is the idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Change encounters and ideas discussed at the coffee shop or bar can turn into life-saving ideas or inventions. Something about just hanging out with other people and talking leads to a higher level of commerce and invention.

Thus, even in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, we might expect human commerce and markets to survive in some form, even if it requires barter or a new currency.

With that in mind, why not start to form the commercial alliances and marketplaces of the future NOW? Why not form a network of like-minded people in the city and the country who can trade with each other, even if it involves travel by horseback, canoe, or bicycle?

If you are at all interested in discussing this idea, or forming a future trade relationship with someone in Minneapolis, just leave a comment.

The time to start talking about these ideas is now, because our government seems hell-bent on destroying our currency and therefore the economy. We need to reinvent the meaning of "economy" now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Prep now, save later.

Optimism and "hope" may be an important part of prepping.

I say this, because as someone who thinks the system as it is has entered the terminal stage of systemic collapse, I often have gloomy thoughts. How will I support my family? Will there be civil unrest in my city? What about the danger of disease, or government repression?

If you start on a chain of collapse reasoning, you can easily find yourself in a Mad Max world. I doubt it will come to that. Minnesota Nice may take a hit, but I do believe that a good portion of society will find ways to adapt and cooperate.

However, the portion that does not adapt is certainly a worry. Crime is a problem in Minneapolis in the best of times. I am sure it is set to skyrocket. That means securing your home - metal bars should cover glass doors, basement windows should be secured with something more solid than the old-fashioned paned windows. An alarm system is not unwarranted.

Getting too gloomy, however, is bad for your state of preparedness. It can lead to a lack of energy, hopelessness, or even depression. That is certainly not going to help you get prepared.

If you have a religion, start going to church again. Join a community group. Start a new neighborhood group on preparedness. (With that in mind, if anyone living in South Minneapolis would like to start such a group, place a comment under this posting with your email address).

Furthermore, even after a systemic collapse, there will still be an economy of sorts, even if it uses the barter system or some kind of alternative currency. The barter system has recently seen a resurgence in Russia, due to the economic troubles there. Thus, it is important to learn skills that will be valuable in the coming economic environment. Skills and products that people need, as opposed to just want (luxuries), will be in high demand. The fact that the local governments will be far too overwhelmed by budget woes means that you will be able to get away with working as an unlicensed tradesman. Just learn the skill, and forget about the government's roadblocks.

However bad it gets, have faith in the good half of humanity's nature, while being vigilant to avoid being victimized by the evil half that is sure to manifest itself as times get tough.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Watering the Basics

We've covered some basic at-home preparedness and the time has come to broaden our horizons, step outside our boundaries and taste the freedom of a new wind blowing refreshingly against our faces.
Our homes are safe, ready for some minor (because we are prepared) inconveniences: we have food, water, heat, self-defense implements, a gennie for power and clothing to get us through what can best be described as common, ordinary, day-to-day preparedness. Consider it our insurance policy.
There are three or four general categories of 'prepping', all based on one's idea and world view of what could happen in the future.
First, the lowest common denominator is our homes, the lives of those closest to us and we've covered those in fairly general terms. These always should be our first priority. Get the basics squared away and the rest falls into place. Consider this kind of preps being for elemental/weather related, perhaps a temporary loss of income due to lay-off, firing/down-sizing, etc. Nothing serious, but inconvenient.
Second, and my personal preparedness plan/ideas, are the changes that will ensue due to economic collapse, with small societal changes that will be a direct result: job loss/no income per-se, increased numbers of vagrants/migrants trying to find employment, higher prices for store-bought items- if they're even available, and possibly some looting from these vagrants who are just trying to stay alive. This stage will be relatively peaceful, but due to the larger population today than during the 1930's, the crime will seem much more rampant. It will be a repeat of the Great Depression of last century and be named The Greatest Depression. Which leads us in ever growing stages to...
Three. Closely related to our second scenario but escalated a lot, is the complete societal breakdown, the rule of Martial Law and perhaps foreign invasion, of race riots and a general free-for-all/every man for himself situations. Only a complete idiot would want this to happen. This is the idea shared by most people who have an inaccurate view of preppers and survivalists. Not to say there cannot be such a breakdown of Rule of Law, loss of the Constitution, or (which is my nightmare) the United Nations sending troops here to maintain "peace". Hopefully the American populace will awaken before such as this occurs. I pray so. This, for me, is the ultimate scenario and we cannot ignore it in our thinking of preparedness. This is the point at which TSHTF and many 'preppers' will be in their Bug Out Location. The last, and most highly unlikely circumstances for which we prep are...
Four: green headed-knobby fingered-laser-bearing-mind reading-can't-kill'em-without-an atomic bomb-full-fledged-Zombie from Mars invasion. Truth be told, I love reading C.J. Cherryh and Heinlein (and Heineken labels) and Welles and...dadadadada... but so far as that kind of stuff actually happening. Don't lose your tinfoil. We won't be going there. For some, this is also the "Armageddon scenario"- but those people who predict that aren't up on the proper interpretation of The Scriptures. These "doomers" are living in a no-man's land of wishful thinking due to laziness, immorality, ignorance, whatever. For clarification, I understand Armageddon to be the Final Conflict in the Valley of Meggido- which is in Israel. We won't be going there, either. Not yet, anyway. The time may come, but not for our purposes here.
This post, we'll begin the breakdown of the various scenarios and what we do to prepare for them. As you learn, each tends to lead to or overlaps the next, but in varying degrees. It's your personal world view that dictates how far you will prepare, how much you will decide to defend- and prepare to- what you have, how charitable you will be and with whom (or is it 'who'?) you will be sharing the fruits of your preps, and where will you be living?
Stage two...
Again, this is the period following an economic collapse. If not that bad, then some serious unemployment, vast numbers of vagrants looking for work and food, a place to live. Here is where I believe the majority of our preparations should be viewed. It is in this world we are now extremely close to living.
For those living in large metro areas, or apartments, even to mid-size communities, this stage is going to be difficult for several reasons. Mainly, the extremely close proximity to vagrants (some term them as 'refugees'). Right on the heels of this is the 'no-land/property' factor. Gardens need some kind of land. True, we can grow small crops of veggies in planters on our decks and porches, our window sills or in raised gardens, but nothing on the scale we will need. If we're lucky, we can even keep some small live stock such as chickens and rabbits on personal property, if the Powers That Be will allow it. Community living tends to frown upon raising farm animals. I don't know why, they just do. But we won't be capable of keeping the numbers and kinds of animals we'll need. Think of this stage as being the "Victory Gardens" of the 1900's only today we call them "Liberty Gardens". For obvious reason: they give us liberty to live, which is what preparedness is about.
For this scenario, there will still be electricity, natural gas/propane, automotive gas available. But we'll need to be well-heeled to afford it or scrimp and scrounge very well. There will be food available in groceries, but at what cost? Again, those better off will be able to afford the 'better cuts' and the rest will do with less.
Having skills with which we can barter will be a prominent factor in how well we live, feed our families and continue trying to live in the 'style to which we are accustomed'. (I know: that's really going to become an oxymoron very soon!) Being able to grow sufficient crops and raise livestock will be invaluable. As will repairing a house (building skills: carpentry, electrical, plumbing, typical blue collar jobs), repairing mechanical equipment. Medical (doctor, nurse, veterinarian, dentist, EMT-type skills, which we should all have) skills with an eye to bartering on a more community level rather than insurance payments. Barter will become fashionable again as both a lifestyle and profession- the nomadic tradesman referred to as 'tinkers'. Neighborliness will once again be the rule of the day rather than far-flung acquaintances who will be useless when needed, for the most part.
Here we will need seeds for crops- the basics as a minimum: beans, peas, corn, potatoes, rutabagas, spinach, cabbages, carrots, spinach/char, tomatoes, some salad foods (I don't 'do' salads) such as lettuce and its family. Expect these seed's availability to become virtually nonexistent, so 'heirloom' varieties will be necessary (see suppliers on the sidebar). Learn to grow them ASAP because we really don't have much time. Having the tools and skills for canning our vegetables is a requirement for these coming days. (Google 'canning' for information on any aspect of this nearly 'lost art'.)
For those living in more rural areas, growing the gardens and raising livestock will be much less of a problem. Perhaps a more insidious problem for rural areas will be the 'horde/refugee' people who will have figured out there is likely more food and shelter in the country side than towns. I expect most crime to be located in such areas just because of this. People ignorant of farming and gardens will imagine being able to gather food all year round in the country. (It's amazing how many people think food grows in stores and money grows on trees. I even know people who believe brown cows produce chocolate milk.)
Heirloom seeds and animal husbandry skills will be mandatory, of course, and should be practiced or at least studied by everyone. Other rural skills will be the ability to harvest animal food- hay- in large quantities; having those old-tyme tools will be mandatory in some instances. Ability to use a scythe is nearly a lost art. As is felling trees for firewood, making lumber for home and out-building repairs. Culinary skills will include animal butchering, distasteful at times but necessary.
This is the stage of prepping that guns begin to enter for both survival hunting and self defense, a stage none of us wants to enter but may be forced upon.
Rural areas will be more in tune with the earlier days of our history, having root cellars and a population more attuned to 'work', people more prepared for hardship than city dwellers.
In all aspects, an economic breakdown will be a totally new world for the greater majority of us. We will be required to think and act in ways we really never imagined. New skill sets, ways of living, learning to accept those things we cannot change, being always watchful for those we can, will become a way of life for us. We will survive, however. Because we have prepared.
Prep on, keep your powder dry.
Coming next, Stage Three.
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