Having a plan in place for Communication in a disaster or survival situation is important to your preparations. This may be a plan for communicating with your family if you are away. It could entail group communications at a retreat or neighborhood watch scenario or it could be as simple as letting family members know where you are if you are forced to separate? Taking the time to plan your communications now can save someone’s life and make any other plans you have function more smoothly.
Communications also encompass staying aware of news and information. If you are in the middle of a natural weather event and you need to know what if anything else is coming your way or which parts of town are the most impacted, you will want to stay in touch with the outside world. If there are traffic snarls that are blocking your retreat route or rioters or vigilantes have cordoned off a section of town you need to go through, you need to know this well in advance of trying to lead your family through there and adjust your plans accordingly.

Know your neighbors

This has certainly been discussed at great length but it bears repeating. The simplest and closest forms of communication you have are the people who live right next to you. During hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, neighborhoods banded together quickly after both of these tragedies for support and protection. This is another reason to stay focused on your surroundings and practice good Situational Awareness. You as well as your neighbors should know who lives in the houses around you. They may know if one of your neighbors is on vacation and someone strange is lurking around their house. Neighbors can check on people who may be older or need special assistance when regular service isn’t possible.

It is highly likely that after a disaster you may not have the ability to call the police or paramedics to assist people who are injured. Your job in this case would be to join up with your neighbors to take care of the injured and help anyone who needed assistance. The power of the group will make you all much more successful at staying alive, fed and sheltered as much as possible.

Special Family Signals

If you are forced to leave your home for whatever reason and a member of your group isn’t able to leave with you a predetermined symbol comes in handy to pass the unspoken message of where you have gone. Some of you may recall in one of the Doomsday Prepper episodes, Johnny O had a secret communication plan for his family. I think in Johnny’s case there was a wooden bear on his front porch with a fish lying in its lap. His family was taught that if the fish was turned a different way or was not “normal” that was a signal for his family to immediately head to their bugout rendezvous location.

Having a similar signal like this could be beneficial for you. I would caution that the secret signal should be a little harder to accidentally trigger. In my case, it would be easy for one of the neighborhood kids to knock the fish over and I would come home and think everyone had left me. Less obvious signals can be devised that can alert family members to your status and what is to be done next.

Another aspect of this type of survival communication is simply leaving a detailed record or note for someone. If you are a backpacker and plan to go into the woods on a multi-day hike, it is always a good idea to leave a note with your plans and expected arrival date with two people. I would leave one note with a close friend or family member who would contact the police if you didn’t show up at the appointed time. I would also leave another note face down on the dash of my car. The information should let anyone who is looking for you, have a really strong idea of where to start looking.

Solar Powered/Hand Crank Radio

Ambient Weather WR-111B Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio

Ambient Weather WR-111B Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio

In any emergency situation, staying informed not only gives you information but it can be reassuring or even motivating to you and your family. I would recommend that everyone have at least one emergency or weather radio at any of your locations. I keep one stored with my emergency supplies and only have to walk into the other room to grab it out of its box. You do want a radio that is powered by batteries in case the power is out and a nice option is to have either a solar panel or hand crank to power the radio in case you don’t have batteries.

There are tons of options on radios but The Adventurer is currently the highest rated according to Amazon. It runs off batteries, crank or solar and has an optional USB port to plug your phones in when they run down. Additionally it has a light to shine around while you are listening to either weather/AM/FM or NOAA broadcasts.

 

Cell Phones

Cell phones are the first thing you would think to grab in an emergency scenario and actually, having a fully charged phone and spare battery are great contents of any Bug Out or Get Home Bag, but they might not be in use in a major catastrophe. If you remember 9/11 cell phone traffic was knocked offline. Even during the relatively minor earthquake in Virgina in 2011, cell phone service was interrupted. Imagine if a real catastrophe or earthquake happened.

This problem isn’t limited to cities either. If you are too far off the map, your cell reception may not be sufficient to make a call. For example, you can look at just AT&Ts coverage map and see that there are giant portions of the western US that are completely uncovered by AT&T’s towers. You don’t want to depend on your cell phone in an emergency.

Internet

Can the internet be useful for communications? Of course it can, but like cell phones I wouldn’t rely on that for my disaster plan. In most emergency situations there isn’t power. You could take another route and say that the communications on the internet may compromise you. There are ways to stay anonymous on the internet, but they do require some level of work and every day more systems are designed to snoop on you regardless of the safeguards you have in place. Now if your entire family is a bunch of hackers with backup power generators, have at it! The common person shouldn’t rely on this method in most disasters.

CB Radios

Cobra® 29 LTD BT CB Radio with Bluetooth

Cobra® 29 LTD BT CB Radio with Bluetooth

CB or Citizens Band radios have been around for a long time. I remember my father had one in his old Mercury Capri and we would turn it on every once in a while and listen to the truckers talk while we were on a drive. I would try to come up with a clever handle, but it usually just revolved around whoever my favorite TV show hero was at the time.

CB Radios generally have a range of 5-20 miles depending on the terrain. Each channel is a different frequency and channel 9 is the emergency channel. You can listen to channel 9 for news updates and stay in touch with friends or family well away from your home. Some models like the Cobra® 29 LTD BT even have Bluetooth now so you can take calls on your CB. You just need a CB and an antenna and you are in business. Installation is simple and you can talk to anyone who is within your range.

 

Scanners

pRS1C-4320299w345

PRO-164 1000-Channel Handheld Scanner

A great companion to a CB Radio is a scanner, sometimes called a Police scanner that randomly scans all of the radio frequency channels. It surfs for you and when it finds traffic, it will stay on that channel during the broadcast. Some scanners hold thousands of frequencies and you can use this to hear what emergency service personnel are saying. You can also hear news before it makes it to the TV. If the scanners are still working and your police department isn’t blocking the frequency somehow you can hear what is happening in other parts of your town and make plans to bugout if necessary.

Two-Way FRS radios

FRS Band Radios

FRS Band Radios

Everyone who has ever been to WalMart has seen the FRS radios or walkie talkies. These are great on car trips when you want to stay in contact with another driver in a different vehicle. They are also good for camping trips when one group wants to separate from another group. They do have a much smaller range and this is highly impacted by line of sight. I think on the pair I bought, the range says “up to 23 miles”. Yeah, right! Maybe if you are standing the in middle of the desert and you can see the person 10 miles away. And you have a tail wind…

These radios are better than nothing, but the communication (as with CB’s) isn’t secure so don’t think you can purchase two of these and set up a foolproof command center at your bugout location. They would be great if your communication didn’t need to be secure though and most models now have sub channels so you can set your main frequency to channel 12 and your sub or “privacy” code to 110. This way, without a scanner someone would have to be dialed into the exact same frequency to hear you.

Military Surplus

TA-312/PT Military Telephone

TA-312/PT Military Telephone

Once again, one of my favorite options (for certain scenarios) is a good old field telephone (TA-312/PT). These are pretty simple. You have two phones and they are connected by a line. Communication line, it’s really just a two strand line. When you want to talk to someone you crank the arm and the other phone rings. I think you need two D batteries also to power them, but since this is really low voltage, they will last a long time. This is as secure as the phone line and may work at a retreat area with one phone out in an OP and the other inside the house as long as the line is buried.

Regardless of the method you choose (we have several) it is wise to think about different scenarios and the communication plan you would use to keep in contact with your family. What other ideas do you have for communicating with your group?

What about Short Wave or Ham Radio? Good question. I think Ham Radio is an excellent option, but it is a complicated topic with a higher entry cost, learning curve and commitment which means its worthy of its own post. I will be discussing Ham radio in the future.

Having a plan in place for Communication in a disaster or survival situation is important to your preparations. This may be a plan for communicating with your family if you

One of the hardest cords to cut for homesteaders is dependence on commercial feeds. Our modern livestock – even a lot of the dual-purpose homesteading breeds – are accustomed to certain types of feeds, heavy on mass-production monoculture grains and hay. Sometimes planting options seem limited, sometimes storage space is at a premium, and sometimes we struggle to figure out what folks did before Buy’N’Large made kibble and meal mix cheap and accessible. There is no one way to do anything, and no solution is going to work for everyone. However, I’ve put together some ideas for root vegetables and their tops that can cut some of our feed bills and feed dependency and alternative or “forgotten” ways of storing and using grains, legumes that might help cut feed costs and increase resiliency and self-sufficiency.

The methods here can be applied from sprawling homesteads to suburban homes and lots. Some of the tips actually apply to humans, too, especially the storage tidbits. There will be another article on alternative livestock feeds that will have even more help for smaller lots with livestock like rabbits and a couple of ducks or goats, and will also include some alternatives that are feeding people and animals on a larger scale in other parts of the world.

Corn Storage

Corn can be collected sweet or allowed to dry on the stalk for grinding and feed types, and an awful lot of livestock is happy with rough-grind “cracked” corn. Dry corn can also be soaked overnight to become more palatable and attractive to livestock. Natives used to dry corn on mats, both shucked and rubbed from the cobs or still attached to cobs, and colonists regularly had stacked racks that allowed good airflow beneath a roof for further drying before corn is transferred to a bin. Corn will keep better (stay dryer) if it’s left on the cob. Leaving the cob on can be space consuming, however. White folks have traditionally used large silos and smaller cribs for dry corn. Once it’s dried on the stalks, husks that have been left on can also be braided into ropes or wider bands, then suspended from ceilings in barns, cellars or homes. Birds and rats are still a risk, but it can be a space-saving way to store corn compared to old-style cribs, since it can go right over our heads, livestock heads, or additional storage areas.

Common grass grains

For households that are putting in limited amounts of grass grains like wheat, barley and oats, each square foot is precious. When there are small amounts, such as turning one or a few 5’x20’ plots and 5-10 pounds of seed into 40-65 pounds of grain or next-year’s planting-for-consumption stock, it’s incredibly important for that seed to dry properly. On a small scale, the cost of specialty machinery may not be available, especially at first, despite the time it can save.

Old-school stooking of stalks helps get them up into the air and at least somewhat away from some pests. However, if a corn bin has drying racks, or there’s a shed with wide doors and enough power to run a box fan, heads can also be cut from the stalks after bundling into stooks, and the bundles hung upside down in tiers, similar to old tobacco barns or even overhead in homes and barn walkways. Doing so cuts down on the amount of floor space needed while protecting the grains from rain, and increases protection against pests.

Old tobacco shed (braided corn or inverted grain bundles can be stored from racks and chains as tobacco once was)

Old tobacco shed (braided corn or inverted grain bundles can be stored from racks and chains as tobacco once was)

Storing corn and other grains overhead, even once bagged, can save space on the floor and shelves for harvests of apples or* potatoes, autumn and winter squashes, yams, and sweet potatoes, or for jarred and dehydrated produce.

* Potatoes and apples in the same space will make each other ripen/rot faster, but pears, yams and sweet potatoes get along like white on rice with pretty much all other crops once they’ve had their cure period. Since grain storage is ideally drydry, crops that like bins of damp sawdust and sand like carrots and turnips aren’t really great sharing space with corn, oats, barley, teff, buckwheat, or any other grain.

African grains

Millet and teff are incredibly difficult and time consuming to mill, but poultry can handle them easily without that step. Teff also makes a good hay and an excellent straw. The major advantage to the relatively rare teff is that this African crop is accustomed to some pretty harsh conditions, nutrient-depleted soils, and hand- and low-mech harvest. Millet is largely seen in game plots and songbird feed, but has plenty of nutritional value and some of the millets can handle pretty much any conditions. Both millet and teff are available in varieties can be had for serious clays, droughts, flood-drought, and saturated field tolerances, which can make them a huge asset for small homesteaders trying to cut feed-store cords.

Millet and corn kernels can also be turned into a type of silage for storage, or the entire still-green plant can be used – as can other grains, legumes, and leafy plants.

Silage

Silage is basically a type of fermentation that produces a high-moisture feed. Haylage and oatlege are basically just specialty types of silage. Brits produce a version called balage. In World War II, farmers sometimes used silage made from turnip and rutabaga tops to help get their breeding pigs and cattle through spring.

It can be created small-scale in heavy-duty contractor or special-purpose bags, in kegs and casks, by round-bale equipment and covers, or in bins from 5-10’ stock tanks to pits and shelters measured in meters. The green matter is chopped, packed down in layers, and covered. Sometimes something absorbent and lightweight like finished straw or chaff is added on top or a sweetener like honey or molasses or tree syrup is used in the layers. The important part of any silage process is to press out the oxygen, and to cover it against reintroduction of oxygen and precipitation.

Silage

Cows munching on silage.

Silage can be beneficial in that the starting moisture content is very high. A hay harvest that would be ruined by dews and rains can still become safe animal feed by converting it to silage instead.

It’s not pretty, but just like it got some of our heritage and rare breeds through World War II, in a disaster, the waste-not, want-not aspect of using the tops of storable feed and food crop, “ruined” hay crop, or a grain crop that isn’t going to get all the way to our frosts and freezes to feed our livestock may make it worthwhile for some raisers.

There are naysayers on the topic of silage as animal feed, so do research about the nutrients of various components and methods. Ducks and turkeys can’t have it and I haven’t seen a horse willing to chomp in, but most goats, cattle, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and donkeys could have at least part of their diets replaced, putting that much less pressure on hay and grains for winter and spring.

Roots & Tubers – Swedes, Beets, Sweets, Yams, Radishes and Turnips

Along with pea hay and straw, something farmers haven’t done in a while is maintain big stacks of root veggies along with their tall stacks of hay and straw, or keep tubers in big cellars to haul to their calves, rams, and steers. Forking forage turnips and swedes to cattle and pigs used to be just part of daily life, especially early in winter, and it wasn’t uncommon even up until the 1950s for British farmers to shred or grate swedes to a consistency we’d use for drying apples or potatoes, then use it for weanling cattle and goats, or “slop” them for their meat chickens and pigs.

Turnip Slicer

Image – Turnip slicer from WWII

Britain’s farming directives in response to World War II offers us a fair number of clues for hard-times livestock feeding, and one of the other fabulous nuggets that came out of it was the cooking of slop for pigs. Cooking makes things like potato and sweets and yams safe to eat, skin to “meat”, and boiling allows things like junk meat from pest animals to be included.

Although they aren’t as traditional, most of the cellar- or pit-worthy long-storage root crops like African yams, Chinese yams, and sweet potatoes can be used the same way for our vegan livestock (oca can be used for some livestock in low quantity, but those New Zealand and South American “yam” is a gas-producer capable of twisting up even goats and pigs). They tend to be low on protein, they aren’t the calorie powerhouses of grains, but they work well for stud stock, meat stock, un-bred stock, and things like rabbits and chickens that convert leafy foods efficiently.

Forage and sugar beets and turnips can be had relatively inexpensively as deer plot and pasture-improvement seed. Daikon-type radishes are available in the same genres, but some of the field-improving radishes are bred to produce a spongy biomass and then dissolve in a pretty short amount of time, so we need to pay attention to what we purchase.

BeetFodder

Image – Dairy cattle on forage beets.

Some livestock will eat a daikon radish as-is, but some will pass it unless it’s been boiled – and it’s as much animal-to-animal as it is species or breed. Introducing new foods should progress slowly, but livestock that is regularly exposed to a variety of foods is more likely to nibble something new when it’s mixed in with the old favorites.

Things like sweet potatoes, radishes, turnips and beets are double winners, because both the tops and the roots are edible – for us and for livestock. They can either be grazed early and allowed to develop roots later with pasture rotation, pigs can be rotated in after goats and cattle to dig up tubers (not sweets), tops can be culled and delivered to livestock as green food a little at a time to avoid serious stunting where climates are less forgiving and then the roots can be harvested, or tops can be removed and fed or added to silage when the tubers are being harvested.

Some of the root veggies are ideal to grow in spring, others in the heat of the year. With yams and sweets on the Southern summer end of the spectrum and swedes and Daikons on the shake-off-frosts end, there’s a livestock augmentation in the root crops for pretty much everything but ducks, horses and turkeys. Even donkeys can chomp into some cooked radishes, yams and sweets along with their hay.

*Ducks can nibble some, but they aren’t really supposed to be grazers; they really need grain seeds and more proteins than root veggies provide.

Apples and Pears as Fodder

Images – Hogs on apples

Images – Hogs on apples

 

Chickens and hogs have historically been scrap compactors, turning odd ends and wilted produce into nummy bacon and eggs, but, again, evolution means they’re not quite as good as it as they used to be. Look for foraging-capability in breed and lineage descriptions (sometimes in percentages and sometimes a rating system), and try to buy from people who at least partly pasture raise their livestock.

Goats, sheep and cattle will chomp into apples, pears and plums as well as the chickens and pigs that go ga-ga for them, but chickens and hogs can handle a higher amount of sweet fruit in their diet. Chickens can also easily handle crabapples and wild plums. Using even just windfall and wormy fruit from existing trees or planting some storage and needs-to-cure apples to our tree fruit can help increase the amount of nutrients and calories we produce on our property, especially if we’re able to situate chickens and rabbits under the canopy – stacking our food production into an even smaller footprint.

Extra bonus: Most meat stock that is finished on apples, pears or beets ends up with really excellent flavor once it’s in the pot. At least a week, but up to a month with a diet supplement or change in those directions can make a huge difference. They still need access to hays while finishing. In Southern climes where sweet potatoes will grow in abundance between traditional crabapple and wild plum hedges, they can have the same effect on hogs, lambs, kids and chickens, making for some seriously succulent eats.

Growing & Storing Livestock Feed

Another article is in the works looking at alternative livestock feeds, things that go even further out on a limb than turnip-top silage and researching African grains and tubers (like tree hay and tree fodder options, and boosting protein for game birds and young chicks).

Even with more traditional foods and feeds, we can start impacting our livestock costs by looking back at history to see what was used – and how – before we depended on fuels and electricity for delivering kibble. We can learn a great deal especially looking at hard times when farmers and small raisers had to make due with limited feed options, such as in Great Britain during World War II and Cuba during the initial months and years of the oil embargo. Those methods can help us figure out how to cut costs and how to develop a sustainable plan for our modern livestock should we ever need it.

As mentioned, modern livestock – even the heritage breeds to some degree – has half a century or more of the Green Revolution under its belt. They are accustomed to pressed and formed feeds in large part, the condensed calories of grains. Modern livestock is largely built for enormous feed conversion, which may be slowed or delayed with certain types of feed, and in many cases, they won’t have correct gut microflora to immediately switch to something new. Always keep good stock records of production and feed, and always transition feeds slowly for livestock, especially small and young livestock.

One of the hardest cords to cut for homesteaders is dependence on commercial feeds. Our modern livestock – even a lot of the dual-purpose homesteading breeds – are accustomed to

To the concealed carry permit holder, you have a very important responsibility. The responsibility to carry a handgun is not one that you should take lightly, it is a key factor in deciding whether or not you or your family will be safe and at the same time whether or not you will take a life. Guarding your family and ending the life of a bad guy is not a choice you should make with the same amount of thought as to what you are going to watch on TV tonight. This should be something that you are clear in your mind of the reasons why, and the possible ramifications of your choices.

Why Carry Concealed?

There are a lot of reasons why an individual would choose to carry a concealed handgun but they almost all boil down to personal security or protection. Why else would you carry a firearm that is capable of killing someone unless you were prepared to use that amount of force to do just that? If you weren’t willing or able to pull the trigger, there would be no need to carry would there?

Carrying a concealed firearm should be done with the full intention that one day you may need to draw your weapon, point it at the threat and pull the trigger. If you don’t understand this basic fundamental and more importantly, are prepared to do just that, you should not be carrying concealed in the first place.

For me, the motivation behind carrying concealed was not because of a threat on me or my family. I had no out of the ordinary experiences in my past that made me fearful for my safety or the safety of my loved ones. I look at this from a practical standpoint. I think Wayne LaPierre summed it up nicely in response to the outcry over the Newton School shootings when he said, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I agree completely.

It wasn’t a school shooting that convinced me to carry either, but Wayne’s comment resonates perfectly with my own philosophy. As a legal carrier of firearms, it may come down to me standing in front of a “bad guy” with a gun. I don’t view this as a preordained destiny from God that I would be placed in any situation like this, but if I am, I want to make sure I am prepared. If I am in that situation, I will accept the responsibility of being the good guy who potentially stops the bad guy.

Obviously my family’s safety was first and foremost in my mind, but like school shootings, or church shootings or mall shootings, I believe that the more legal, responsible people we have with firearms, the safer everyone else would be if a bad guy got it in his head to harm people.

Never leave home without it.

I know a couple of people who have their concealed carry permits, but they never have their weapon on them. When I ask why, it is usually one of two responses. Either they laugh and say, “I don’t have to worry about anything here do I?” or that the firearm is bulky, doesn’t go with their outfit, not easily concealed, etc.

If you have a permit, you should carry your firearm everywhere you go. I have mine with me even sitting around the house in my sweatpants. Why? Because you will almost never foresee the time and place you will need it. Leave it at home one day and the church you are attending may be paid a visit by a lunatic who wants to meet God, really. Have that firearm in your bedroom and someone may kick down the door while you are watching American Idol. You never know, so it is your duty and obligation to carry your firearm with you at all times. How are you going to protect yourself or anyone else if your concealed carry is under the bed?

When should you use your weapon?

Carrying concealed, as I explained above, is not to be taken lightly. If you are carrying, you must think through the possibilities and potential threats, escalation and your actions.

Let’s say you are a woman and you are work evenings at a retail store. When you leave at night, you may have to go out into a dark parking lot or a dark alley. Maybe this isn’t in the best part of town, maybe it is. Regardless, there is a chance someone could approach you on your way to your car, but you are carrying a concealed handgun. Out of the corner of your eye you see a man walking towards you. He is mumbling something that you can’t quite make out and he is closing the distance between you and your car. As he gets closer he is still mumbling and you see a knife in his hand. What do you do?

Every situation that you could possibly face is different so there is no one size fits all answer to using lethal force. As we saw with the George Zimmerman case, there was much arguing and heated debate over the “Stand your Ground” law in Florida. First, you should know the laws of the state you are carrying in, but a general guideline is that your life must be in jeopardy before you can justifiably kill someone. You can’t kill someone who is being rude or talking too loudly in a movie theater, or who stole your parking spot. This is life and death we are talking about so there can’t be any grey area.

If you do have to use your firearm, the police will be involved and they will be scrutinizing you very carefully to ascertain whether or not the person you shot (just like George Zimmerman) was a real threat. If they decide that you killed someone who didn’t deserve to die, guess who goes to jail?

One fallback you have is that the simple fact you are carrying, may be a deterrent. Without shooting anyone you can let them know that you will, if need be. Drawing your firearm and having it pointed down at the ready position (down) is a first step. Forcefully warning your attacker that you have a gun and you will use it may defuse the situation. They leave, you are both alive and you don’t go to jail.

You must play out scenarios in your mind and make sure you understand what you will do in various situations. You want to clearly deal with the threat if you are ever forced into that reality.

Why does all of this matter?

In order to be prepared, we look at a lot of different aspects of our lives, possible threats that could impact us and make plans for how to mitigate the pain or suffering we would go through in the event that any of those threats come to pass. Carrying a concealed firearm, just like storing food for an emergency is one type of survival preparation. You carry survival kits for when your car breaks down in an emergency. You carry a Get Home Bag if something happens and you need to make it back home, right?

Carrying a concealed firearm is what you do if you are planning to survive a bad guy trying to kill you or someone else. If you have foresight to get your permit, carry a weapon and have thought through the ramifications of deadly force, you have a duty to yourself and the other good guys around you to have this with you and be prepared to use it.


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

To the concealed carry permit holder, you have a very important responsibility. The responsibility to carry a handgun is not one that you should take lightly, it is a key

I have not been following the news of the Boston tragedy hyper closely because I didn’t want to get bogged down in the details. That may sound foolish or naïve, but I had a feeling as this was unraveling that something seemed very odd about the events portrayed in the news and TV. I continue to feel that way after the two suspects have now died or been captured. Time or circumstances has made me a little more skeptical to believe everything I see on TV at first blush. I don’t know whether or not this is a good thing but I started to wonder how we as a society will change going forward.

After every terror attack since 9/11 we have lost some of our liberties in the name of fighting terrorism and I don’t expect this event to be any different.  I still believe that the Boston Marathon bombing event will be more significant for how society will change as a result than the actual event that took the lives of 3 people and injured over 100 others. In consideration of that belief I started to think about the precedents that have been set in the wake of this tragedy and how they might change our world tomorrow now that the dust appears to be settling.

Coming to a town near you?

Coming to a town near you?

Martial Law declared over 2 people?

As soon as the “authorities” were on the trail of the suspects, they ordered everyone off the streets and into their homes. People willingly hid in their homes to stay away from the boogie man who was running around with a bomb apparently.  Several communities were under Martial law as armored vehicles, Humvees and troops combed their streets in full battle gear. Was all this necessary? In retrospect, was this conditioning for getting us used to hiding in our homes while the military roams the streets? Why were all of these troops necessary to catch 2 men? Aren’t the Boston police capable of catching someone when the entire world knows who they are and what they look like?

No fly zone Declared

Immediately after the bombing a no fly zone was declared with a 3.5-mile radius over 811 Boylston Street. The zone was later reduced in a subsequent notice to a 2.3-mile radius. The zone is limited to flights under 3,000 feet in altitude, which is lower than most airliners would fly except when taking off or landing. The only people who would have been able to fly that low are helicopters and small planes. Why this restriction? Perhaps it was for public safety but maybe it was to keep someone in the sky from seeing something on the ground that the media wasn’t showing.

Door to Door searches

Door to Door searches

Door to door searches without a warrant

Police were hunting for a suspect door to door in several neighborhoods in Boston so they were going from each home, one by one, searching homes and cars with complete impunity. I heard reports that some people, scared that the bombing suspects might actually be in their home were welcoming the police in with open arms. Why doesn’t this seem odd to anyone? On another level, could this additionally be conditioning or practice for gun confiscations?

Miranda Rights? We don’t need no stinkin Miranda

A Justice Department official says the Boston Marathon bombing suspect will not be read his Miranda rights because the government is invoking a public safety exception.

That official and a second person briefed on the investigation says 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be questioned by a special interrogation team for high-value suspects. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information publicly.

The public safety exception permits law enforcement officials to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation of a suspect and allows the government to introduce the statement as evidence in court. The public safety exception is triggered when police officers have an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger.

This just means they can torture anyone they want in the name of “public safety”. Again, a precedent is being set here that is really dangerous. Why, when he is in custody does this person still present a public safety threat? What is a definition of public safety? Can someone who is just really pissed off be a threat to public safety so we don’t need to Mirandize him anymore? This seems to give too much power to law enforcement when they can arbitrarily throw our legal rights out of the window whenever they declare a “public safety” threat.

Who stands to gain from this tragedy?

That seems like a horrible question to ask doesn’t it? If you believe in the problem-solution paradigm, then you could easily see how this event would allow some in power to push for more limitations on our freedom. If the solution is that you need a way to have more TSA agents on the streets, we need a threat (problem) to warrant their presence. Voila! Everyone in the US could now be a part of a new threat of Islamic terrorism. Do you want to be able to search anyone’s home and have them gladly let you in? Lock down the city because of a lone crazy person on the loose. Do we need to control access to the media? Lock them out of a big section of the city and close the air space! This is too easy.

I know some of you will say that I am not looking at this the right way. There were dangerous men on the loose and we had to find them before they blew up something else or hurt another person. I disagree. When have we ever been free of bad people? When have we ever been completely safe in any situation in our lives? Giving up our freedoms and liberty is not a fair trade for the illusion of safety. My fear is that this tragedy is going to be the springboard for another round of calls for just that, another erosion of our freedoms. I hope I am wrong, but I got money that says I’m not.

I have not been following the news of the Boston tragedy hyper closely because I didn’t want to get bogged down in the details. That may sound foolish or naïve,

There is always a very healthy dialog on all sides of any issue when it comes to Survival or the Preparedness movement. From Bug Out Bags to firearm recommendations and caliber pros/cons. What an individual should be Prepping for, or more precisely how they should start prepping themselves is no different.

If you take everything we could cover on the subject of prepping and list all of the permutations for each scenario, the list would be rather lengthy. Actually thinking about this list and everything you need to do can start to hurt your brain. Everything that needs to be done and purchased and planned for can be overwhelming. I have personally spoken to people who begin to wake up to the idea that they need to prepare and they feel a sense of urgency and then one thing leads to another and they shut down. “Why Bother”? There is no way they can do everything that needs to be done.

It is at this time I like to recall one of my families favorite movies, “What about Bob?” and the mantra that the main character is coached to say over and over again is “Baby Steps”. If you have never seen the movie, here is a clip below.

So, how to start? You can never have every tool, skill, weapon, supply or retreat option that you will ever need and most people won’t have the resources to buy everything they need before they may need it. You have to start somewhere.

Start with a Plan. – A plan is what gets you thinking about everything you need to do. I personally scoured websites for a lot of information, read several books and watched a ton of YouTube movies on the subject. Then I wrote down everything I thought I would need to get me to “Phase 1”. What was Phase 1? That was my imaginary line in the sand of the basics. Just the minimal supplies and equipment that I thought I would need to be marginally better off than 90 percent of my neighbors. Think about who you are prepping for. Are you only looking out for yourself or do you have others in your family? Do you have kids younger than teenagers who may not be able to carry their own load? Do you have older parents or grandparents you need to care for? Knowing the scope of people you will be responsible for, or who you think may count on you when the SHTF is important for a couple of reasons. First, you can begin planning based on numbers (6 people plus 2 pets for example) and second you can start thinking about what you will need to do when people you haven’t planned for come knocking.

Establish a priority – If I were to take everything I need or think I need to be 100 percent prepared it would be that long list we talked about. Now, if you are anything like me you aren’t a billionaire with money to burn so I have to pick and choose what my family is going to purchase and when. There is no secret formula for this and every situation is different but here is how I would prioritize things. Water, Security, Shelter, Food, Money.

Water – If you haven’t heard of the rule of 3’s it goes something like this. “A person can survive for three minutes without air,three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food.” Now you may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t you put air first”? And if you are, it’s because I think that if you don’t have any air, we have bigger problems. Nobody should be worried about lugging around oxygen tanks. OK, so lets take the most likely scenario and deal with shelter next. You don’t have water. A normal person needs 1 gallon of water per day to survive that counts hygiene also. I think that you can skip a few showers and it wouldn’t be that much provided you aren’t sweating a lot but lets stay with 1 gallon. If you have 4 people in your family and a couple of pets lets say 5 gallons of water gets you one day. You can buy 55 gallon jugs, fill them up and start that way or you can buy 5 5-gallon jugs and that gets your family 5 days without any water. Is it enough to last you for the entire zombie apocalypse? No, but its a good start. If you are near water, buy a good water filtration system or install rain barrels to really increase your supply.  Baby Steps.

Security – This category will be worth a hundred other posts but for this one, lets just say you need a way to protect yourself and your family. Again, every person’s situation is different. You may live in New York or Chicago where firearms are basically illegal. Maybe you have a baseball bat. That isn’t ideal, but its something. You need to think in terms of how you can defend yourself. It may be that all you can do is carry a taser or mace. That’s a start. Maybe you get the Crovel? For others I would say ideally you need for each adult member of your family a handgun, shotgun and AR or AK. That can quickly add up, so if you are starting from scratch I would recommend a shotgun before you purchase anything else. Why? Because they are relatively cheap (less than $200), you don’t need a permit to buy and can not only scare people but they can do a lot of damage. After that you have to consider your options. An AR would be the best bet, but since the latest flurry of government threats to take them all, the prices are off the chart and supply is very low. You can probably still score a good deal at a gun show, but time is running out I think. Get your shotgun while you can and then move on to a pistol. I won’t debate pistol caliber’s but a 12 gauge shotgun is a great start. Baby Steps.

Shelter – For most people you have a house, apartment or somewhere to live so why do you need to worry about Shelter? Just look at Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. What if you couldn’t live in your house or had to evacuate for some reason. Shelter would be nice to have.  A tent that you can carry (think backpacking) is great. A tarp and means to support it (para cord works great) will suffice. If you have or are in cold weather, I also count as shelter sleeping bags and plenty of warm out-door gear to include great footwear. You may be walking. Or, the power or heat may be out. Do you have a heater that doesn’t use electricity? Barring all else, to you have warm clothes and blankets? Baby Steps.

Food – This is one area that I think we initially make over complicated. The average family doesn’t have more than 3 days worth of food in their pantry according to some experts. I think it would more likely be that people could make it a week. Again, they wouldn’t be eating well, but they could exhaust everything they have. You can think about this in terms of how long you want to go without being hungry. You can run out and buy boxes of freeze-dried food or you can simply buy some more items that you normally eat. Ideally it would be both, but we are starting here. It is pretty easy to take your one week supply and build that up to two weeks, then a month if you put your mind to it. It does take discipline and remember this isn’t like Christmas. You shouldn’t go put another month’s worth of groceries on the credit card. Build your supplies slowly, rotate your stock and you will begin to be more ready for any supply disruptions that happen.  Baby Steps.

Money – There are a lot of ways you can do this depending on what you believe is the most likely scenario. Even if we are talking about $20 a month you have to start saving and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the bank. I personally think each person should have cash on hand and some precious metals like Gold or Silver stashed away. The first thing to happen would be that you can’t get your money out of the bank. It does you no good to have $10,000 in the bank if they won’t let you take it out. We will discuss later why this is a very real possibility. So buy some Silver; its cheaper than gold, keep some cash on hand and this will give you some security if it all heads south before you can make it to the ATM.

Is that all you need to do? No! I don’t want you to think this is an all-encompassing post either, but it is a start for people who don’t have the first clue where to begin. My personal list was probably a whole page of notes and included a lot of things I don’t yet have, and in all honesty may never acquire but that’s OK. I am not going to sweat what I don’t have (too much) but I will keep striving to be better prepared. I am still working on my preps too, but I have most of the basics covered and I feel more comfortable about building on the preps I have. You will too, if you start with Baby Steps.


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There is always a very healthy dialog on all sides of any issue when it comes to Survival or the Preparedness movement. From Bug Out Bags to firearm recommendations and

I’m sure both you and I have come to realize by now, a properly prepared bug out bag can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. A quick search in Google however will bring back numerous results, all with varying articles and suggestions. So what’s a beginner to do?

Simple. I went to the experts.

“What is the one thing every good bug out bag can’t be without?”

I asked them all this very basic question. What you’ll find below are the answers from experts behind some of the biggest and best survival and prepper sites online.

Now while a true bug out bag list might never be complete, I was simply looking for a place to start – a foundation to build upon. I believe this list provides a great jumping off point. I think we can both agree that if it is important enough to be listed as “the one thing” every bug out bag can’t be without, it should be in yours. Check it out:

Water. You need to have some and have the ability to treat water for drinking, cleaning wounds, cooking and maintaining proper hygiene.  You have two days of survival time without water, less if it’s hot out. Water borne illness are insidious and if infected, your survival time goes down to less than a day without clean water to maintain hydration.” – Mike from The Redneck Survivalist

The Leatherman Charge TTi available here or just about any other quality multi-tool.” – MD Creekmore from The Survivalist Blog

“For its size, weight and usefulness a must have is Duct Tape. I prefer Gorilla Tape brand because it is so much stronger and can be used for repairs, makeshift bandage or millions of other creative uses. Duct tape is a must have for any respectable Bug Out Bag.”

“The one item that I think has to always be included in a bug out bag is a solid knife. Preferably a fixed blade, at least six inches in length. This can be used for security, to help build shelter, start fire, and to gather food to name a few uses for a good knife. If size or legal considerations are a problem, a suitable secondary option is a locking folder.” – Tom from The Prepared Ninja

“I think the obvious answer is that every bug-out bag should include a means of protection, such as a gun. If a given bug-out situation is just a short-term emergency such as fleeing a natural disaster, then the gun is useless, though comforting to have. In a long-term bug-out situation, without a gun, you are at the mercy of unprepared, and desperate folks who NEED your stuff. All your prepping is for naught, if anyone can come along and take it from you.” – Spencer from All About Preppers

“The best “can’t be without” item is the proper survival mindset.  Recognize that bugging out is not going to be a lark nor is it going to be a cool way to test all of your gear.  Grab onto a positive attitude to get you through the rough spots and you will do just fine.” – Gaye from Backdoor Survival

“My number one bug out bag list item is a protein source. Carbohydrates and fat are easy to find and store but protein spoils and deficiency for any of the amino acids is nasty. My personal favourite right now is SurvivAMINO by Vitality Sciences (vitalitysci.com/products/survivamino).” – JP from Bug Out Nutrition

“My answer would have to be knowledge. This item weighs nothing and makes all the other stuff in your kit and environment useful. The more you know, the less you need.” -Todd from The Survival Sherpa

“The one thing that every bug out bag should have is a good quality water filter.  The importance of clean drinking water is self evident, but having a good filter has definite advantages over other purification methods.  There is no need to stop and make a fire or use a camp stove to boil, and there is no waiting time as is the case with chemical purification systems.  With a personal water filter, one can simply fill a bottle with stream or pond water and consume as needed, keeping you on the move to  your destination and without the need for fuel or lost time.” – Denob from The Canadian Preppers Network

“In my opinion, the number one thing in any bugout bag is the person carrying it. If that person has the knowledge, and has taken the time to prepare and practice his skills, that person is worth 1,000 time what any piece of gear is worth. Gear is great, and it sure can make things easier, but remember when everything else fails the one piece of gear that you can count on is yourself.” – Robert from Off Grid Survival

Now that you’ve heard from the experts make sure your bag is stocked with those items. If you’ve stuffed your bag full and come back for more, some other items to consider including are:

 

Image Credits: Apocalypsepack.com

I’m sure both you and I have come to realize by now, a properly prepared bug out bag can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.