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“Grey Man” vs “Hard Target”

It’s been brought up before in several discussions already but I figured it would be good to have an entire thread dedicated to it. So let’s hear your thoughts on Grey Man vs Hard Target strategies and when each should apply.

My personal opinion is that they are entirely subjective and depend on your scenario and surroundings as to which will be more effective. I will say I believe that whichever you choose to do in the moment you need to go all the way to one side or the other. If you’re trying to go Grey Man, you need to completely blend, nothing that will stick out in the slightest. I personally think the molle on backpacks is a pointless argument for anything over a typical school sized backpack, anything bigger than that is likely to draw attention no matter what it looks like. People are used to seeing small to mid size backpacks every day, they are not used to seeing full size rucks, no matter what kind. My personal “Grey Man” loadout if I had to do any sort of urban evasion (which hopefully I wouldn’t) would be jeans, a hoody, nondescript ball cap, sunglasses, and my Swiss gear mid size backpack. No visible weaponry or other gear whatsoever.

Curious to hear what everyone else’s thoughts and ideal loadouts would be.

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Thought I’d post two articles I had published by FMG several years back. “Knives for the Field” and BMBG “Bare Minimum Go Bag”

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How to prevent and treat heat exhaustion

Yesterday I attended an outdoor graduation ceremony and was outside in 80+ (27C)degree weather for 2-3 hours. I sunblocked up, wore long jeans, a cotton t shirt, and a baseball cap. I had brought plenty of snacks and drank so much water during those few hours and it wasn’t until I went to the bathroom and got out of the direct sunlight that I realized how hot I was. I hung out in the shade for about 30 minutes to cool down before heading back out there.

Now I am more prone to heat exhaustion because of my spinal cord injury. I guess when ½ of your body isn’t functioning properly, it can’t regulate temperature as well as an able bodied person. If you are younger than 4, older than 65, obese, or are on certain medications you can be more prone to heat exhaustion as well.

I felt fine all day and came home and felt fine when I went to bed. It’s during the night that the heat exhaustion finally kicked in. I wore a hoodie, slept under the sheets and comforter, and was still freezing cold. I woke up around 4:30am and felt like I had a fever of 105! My entire body was so hot, I could have cooked an egg on my leg. I stripped down to just a sheet and after a while was able to get to bed again once my body wasn’t cooking itself.

This morning I feel achy, cold, shivering, dizzy, fatigued, and have a headache.

Here’s what I’m going to be doing today to try and feel better:

Took some ibuprofen to lower my fever and help with the aches Drinking a ton of water Drinking coconut water (not as processed as Gatorade, natural sugars, tons of electrolytes) Apples are so delicious with how juicy they are and the sugars inside Taking some magnesium supplements to replenish those electrolytes. Wearing cool and loose clothes. Although I am shivering pretty badly so I am wearing a hoodie again.

Here’s what I am going to do next time to be more prepared and prevent this from happening:

Wear white or lighter colored clothing Bring a small umbrella for shade Wear a better hat with 360 degree protection instead of just protecting the front like a baseball hat does Bring a bandanna and wet it and apply that to my skin to promote evaporation Wear shorts and some sandals

In Argentina they have a tradition of taking a siesta during the hottest part of the day. All businesses shut down from like 12:00-2:00 or 3:00pm and everyone goes home and they take a nap, watch TV, and just conserve their energy. They then go back to work and reopen for a couple more hours. They have things down and understand to take it easy during the hottest parts of the day.

Be careful out there with the temperatures increasing as summer comes.

Did I miss anything? What do you do to stay cool during the summer?

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Heat wave vs my food/water stores

It’s gonna be real darn warm in Seattle/Puget Sound. The water storage article says that heat is one of the main enemies of water storage, and I can’t find the spec right now but remember reading that upgrade pick for food supply is best stored between something like 50 and 65 degrees F.

My home, like many in Seattle, has no A/C — should I expect my food & water stores to go bad? The water I can change out post-heatwave (a hassle, but possible), but the food stores can only be replaced by re-purchasing. As climate change continues, I expect temperature changes to become more extreme, and I don’t know how to mitigate the effect of these temperature changes against my food/water stores without a full HVAC system.

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Fun ways to teach kids outdoor/survival skills

I have three kids ages 7(female), 10(male), and 12(female). I grew up in boy scouts and loved learning different skills such as tying knots, camping, starting fires, cooking, etc…

What are some fun activities that I can do to get these kids off the couch and teach them a skill that can maybe save their life someday, create memories, and get their little brains working?

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Fall gardening – great food + great practice for survival gardens

I love to garden & especially love growing food in the fall.  Seems like all the fall crops are just super nutritious and so easy to grow, such as kale, collards, turnip greens, broccoli, peas, etc.  I find them easy due to the fall weather.  You plant them early in the fall, when it is still a bit warm out.  The seeds quickly germinate in the warm soil.  Then as it cools, the cool loving plants thrive as the warm loving weeds, disease & insects go away.  You can grow the same crops in the spring, but I find them harder to grow because the timing is opposite.  In the spring, the seeds might struggle germinating in the cool soil and as the plant matures, it warms up and the weeds, disease & insects attack.

As a prepper, I think it vital to practice growing what might be essential during a severe crisis.  In such a crisis, growing food during the ENTIRE growing season will be necessary… thus the need to produce nutritious food in the cool weather.

Curious what others here are currently growing?  Right now I’m growing Tuscan (Lacinato) kale and collards.  In the past have grown turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli & snow peas.  The most mature kale leaves are about a foot long & ready to be picked.  Tonight will cook them like an Italian creamed spinach with parmesan cheese.

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You are stranded on a deserted island, you can choose four items…

First post here. Wanted to share something I saw on Facebook that I thought would be fun.

I took out that spot near the hunting rifle because it had weed in there. I don’t think that’s a very good survival item so lets place an ax there instead as an option.

Don’t just list four items that you would take though, tell why you would choose those over something else and how you would use those items to keep yourself alive.

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A question for Californians with electric stoves/ranges

This is another version of my question from last year (?) about cooking in a disaster scenario, but now the scenario I have in mind is much more frequently occurring. I’m currently shopping for a new (to me) gas range, or oven, whatever you call those things that have burners on top and an oven underneath. I love having a gas stove, but I know that they will be being phased out in the next few years. Here in California and probably in some other parts of the West, it’s pretty common now during fire season for the electricity to be turned off to prevent fires. This is also exactly the time when we are supposed to avoid generating sparks outside, so it’s not safe to cook on the porch with your camping stove. 

This has been occurring so frequently lately that it’s hardly even a disaster scenario. I’m usually unaffected by this problem because I can always light my gas range manually. (Plus I like the control a gas range gives me much more than electric). But if we are all going to be using electric ranges soon, how are we supposed to cook during fire season electrical outages? Many of you no doubt already face this problem. Would you share how you’ve dealt with it?

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When the crisis becomes prolonged, how do you survive?

Come with me again and let’s look at a different scene. It is late September 2023. The trees are wrapped in warm golds, oranges and browns. Leaves are beginning to reach for the earth. The air is scented with a spicy decay.

The world is a different place in September 2023. 

Covid-19 never went away because transmission between humans continued. Each time the virus transmitted from person to person, it copied itself between 10,000 and 1,000,000 times. Each time, those copies carried a risk of variant creation. 

The emerging variants became the wild cards in a new and deadly game of survival.

In 2021, during the third wave, everyone saw how younger people were now being infected. No one could have imagined what life in 2023, less than two years away, would become.

Vaccines had been developed and at one point, people relaxed and thought it was over and that life as they had known it would soon get back to normal.

That was before two variants quietly merged to form the first recorded ‘recombinant’ virus. The event was reported in the media on February 17, 2021. Two variants, B.1.1.7 from the U.K. and B.1.429 from California combined.

B.1.1.7 was more transmissible and B.1.429 was able to resist some antibodies. It had researchers worried but not panicking. They felt that the future might focus on booster shots to workaround any pesky new variants.

But, the last paragraph was one that contained the warning that was buried at the end of the article:

“There are a variety of factors that impact the transmissibility of a virus, including human behavior, population structure and immunity levels, if some deadlier recombinant strain spreads or not.” 

The world played the wrong hand by not changing the one thing they had control over: their behavior. 

Two more variants again quietly merged in the winter of 2022, only this time both variants were highly transmissible and both antibody resistant. The event was a biological marriage made in hell. 

Their union unleashed a variant that was highly lethal and easily transmitted upon a world that was exhausted from coping with a pandemic since 2019.

Leaders from the civic through to the national level all struggled to find solutions and ways of navigating through a situation that had become much worse and more taxing of their already strained resources.

Researchers, who had so quickly developed vaccines in 2020 for SARS-Cov-2 now labored fruitlessly to arrive at an effective vaccine. 

Control of the new variant was just beyond their reach, and more variants were occurring because a pandemic fatigued world had tired of mask wearing and social distancing.

Those who had been doing what they could do to stop the spread of Covid grew tired and fatalistic. Those who refused to do anything to help stop the spread, said “I told you what you were doing wouldn’t work.” 

Many people were beginning to show signs of mental instability from the ongoing and worsening stress. Homelessness was increasing. Murder suicide, domestic violence, addiction and child neglect skyrocketed.

Theft, vandalism and acts of violence further drove the crime statistics up.

People wanted to wake up from the nightmare or escape it. It was a groundhog day, endlessly repeating and from which there was no escape.

As the death rate climbed, health care was over run. People died alone and suffering badly for a lack of drugs and other supplies that would have helped them have an easier passing. Mass graves became commonplace as they had in the Spanish flu and other disasters.

Those who could still work, worked from home. Children were home schooled. Still others lost their jobs and relied on their wits. Start up businesses failed for the most part because no one had any money.

Gardens became gold. People tilled their entire yard and planted everything. Elaborate security systems were devised to protect these precious crops. Hungry people were shot at for reaching into a yard to pick a tomato. The lucky gardeners could electrify their fences.

Hunters hoping to use venison as a food source discovered a chronic wasting disease in deer that also affected other animals such as bovine and sheep, a form of mad cow disease. Eating the meat was not recommended.

People began to fish instead, but instead of setting up fish farms, most of them over fished and soon the fish populations were decimated.

People who didn’t understand safe stewardship of rabbits contracted diseases that required treatment and medical intervention such as pasteurellosis, ringworm, mycobacteriosis, cryptosporidiosis and external parasites through scratches and bites. 

Unfortunately, medical intervention and treatment now consisted of field hospitals where the ill and dying are laid on cots and administered what little medications are now available. There isn’t enough equipment to go around.

The factories that produced ppe’s, sanitizer and other items fell to the economic tsunami caused by the prolonged and worsening effect of Covid and the new variant. There weren’t enough people to run the factories, or to supply them with raw materials, or to ship and transport what they needed.

Many people adopted a vegetarian diet and sought protein in increased legume crops.

We are preppers. We were ready for this, at least in the beginning we were, or so we believed. Were we as prepared as we thought? 

Now, we are all only one bad gardening season away from starvation.

It feels like the world we knew is being de-constructed.

Look around you. This is our world as we stand here on a crisp autumn day in September 2023. There is no one outside. Many are ill, some are too afraid to come out even if they have a mask. In the distance we can hear coughing, crying and death rattles.

We look at the road ahead of us on the street where we are standing. Where do we go from here? Do we bug out and go back to nature and throw ourselves on her mercy? 

What do we do now to survive?

Here are the links for factual references in this scenario:,and%20even%20plants%20and%20soil

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Complete preparedness and the importance of inspection, maintenance, repair and replacement of items

Here’s a few examples of what can happen if preppers don’t practice routine inspection, maintenance, repair and replacement of their items.

An emergency alert is issued. You and your family, which includes two young children under seven years of age and a six month old infant are ordered to evacuate immediately.

You are prepared and grab your BOB’s and other gear and load the family into the vehicle in record time. You don’t make it out of the driveway because you have a flat tire. When you attempt to change your flat tire, you discover that your spare is also flat. 

A spare tire should be checked for inflation at least twice a year.

I do the “trucker’s walk” around my vehicle each and every time I drive it. I walk around my vehicle and check for fluid leaks, anything hanging down or situated below the vehicle, the tires and their condition. 

I also visually check for small animals or children crouched down behind the vehicle who may be playing or hurt. This happened to someone I knew. There was a child behind his truck and he didn’t check. The two year old boy died when he backed over him. The child was in his blind spot.

Lights and their function are checked regularly, at least once per month. It would be more often, once a week, if I drove more frequently. 

If you are alone, you can check the lights yourself by aiming them at night against your house or other building. You should be able to see if your head lights are on or off, the high beams work, and if the turn signals, hazard lights and brake lights function properly.

I keep a couple of spare headlights in case one burns out and fuses for other vehicle function.

Here’s another example of not paying attention to routine maintenance.

You go to work one day in late August and find out that your company is downsizing. You are now unemployed. You have a mortgage and other bills to pay.

When you relay the news to your family, you discover that all your children have dental problems, require dental appointments and will need dental work done. You are also told that the children require footwear before school starts in a few weeks. Additionally, your oldest needs a new winter coat and glasses.

All of this happens just after you bought new living room furniture. You have less than three hundred dollars in a savings account and no emergency fund to handle these urgent family expenses in a time of reduced income.

Preparedness can seem like the pursuit and acquisition of a long list of items. 

Becoming prepared is much more than acquiring the items. It is about how you look after them once you get them and how you manage the replacement of them.

It extends further into the care of possessions that we don’t consider as prep items, but are items we need or want as part of our quality of life.

In order to care properly for your possessions, it helps to have a routine for inspection. It helps more if you develop the habit of noticing signs of wear or need for repair or replacement of your items.

You need to know what to look for that could be sign of a problem and that takes all your senses. 

Visually, it can be icicles hanging off your roof, signalling an ice dam that needs to be addressed. It can be something dripping beneath your vehicle’s front end that needs to be checked.

I routinely check my canned goods for signs of bulging cans or rusting cans.

Sometimes, it can be a sound of a fridge motor not running right or the noise your brake pads make when they begin to wear.

I check the plumbing under my kitchen sink and bathroom vanity every time I open the cabinet doors.

You also check by touch. If the walls in the house feel tacky or damp, then you need a dehumidifier to prevent mould. 

If you run your hands along the inside of your tires and feel a bulge, then you know the tire is failing, can blow out and needs to be replaced immediately.

Smell can tell us if there is mould in the house or a gas leak. Certain smells can indicate failing electrical wiring.

I have a routine for repair and maintenance and a trained eye that notices issues outside of my routine inspections. 

I also plan for the replacement of items by understanding the usual life span of each of them.

This part of preparedness is applicable to everyone who preps regardless of whether you live in an apartment or own a home on an acreage.

Recently, I made another list of things in and around my home and property that need to be addressed. This list includes clothing and footwear. Those items were put on the list as I noticed them while I worked on chores in and around the house.

Some of the items that made the list weren’t that old, but they were what I refer to as “bad buys.” For example, I purchased an expensive pair of winter boots for my husband. They are a very well known brand and had excellent reviews. A good fit in footwear is a challenge for his feet and these boots fit great and were comfortable.

The boots started to fail after the first year he wore them. The boots failed just after the warranty ended. When I searched for information, I was shocked to find that this company had customers with similar complaints. Of more concern, was the poor response from the company. So much for relying on glowing reviews.

Their product was failing due to shoddy third party outsourcing. The chance to fix the problem failed at the front lines of their customer service and their poorly designed software. 

Complaints containing certain key words or with time lines indicating an early failure of their product should have triggered a referral and further action higher up the corporate ladder. They could have dealt swiftly with a supplier issue and salvaged their reputation and customer base.

I used Shoo-goo to repair them, and he can wear them as a pair of chore boots. But now, I have to research and replace them with a new pair of winter boots suitable for our extreme climate, his size 15 feet and our budget. 

What if the SHTF and that was all he had for a long period of time? He would be entering a crisis without sound footwear and perhaps no chance of replacing the boots for some time. Many of our parts or actual products in North America are outsourced. It doesn’t take much to throttle that supply chain.

Footwear is a major necessity and an equally important prep item. This is an example of how we may think we have a certain amount of time before the new item will need to be replaced, but in reality the time frame is much shorter.

I have had the same experience with a brand new washer and dryer set. I still have the dryer, but the washer failed just after the one year warranty expired.

I knew someone who worked in an agricultural machine production plant. The parts on those very expensive pieces of equipment were engineered to fail after a certain time, often in three years.

Deliberately engineering the premature failure of items, in whole or in part, is unfair considering what we pay for these items. It is now a part of life that we need to be aware of, especially as preppers who organize and put items away for future need.

It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when items were built to last.

My parent’s were strict about the care and maintenance of our property, possessions and personal items. I was raised to understand that everything would last longer if you treated it properly and with care. 

I was also taught the importance of organization and to be aware of items would be outgrown or worn out. I grew up in a household where certain items were stored in anticipation of replacement.

We were able to farm with old equipment because Dad practised routine inspection and maintenance of his equipment. 

As in the fable of the ants and the grasshopper, other farmers played the role of the grasshopper at the end of harvest as they lingered over coffee and pie at the local coffee shop. 

Dad played the role of ant, and continued to labor long after harvest to ensure that the equipment was maintained, in good repair and ready for next spring. Even in winter, he repaired anything that wasn’t working correctly.

His care extended to every part of our farm and home. He examined the house and outbuildings to see if something needed repair. He walked endless miles on our land to check fence lines. This was in addition to twice daily milking and care and cleaning of our cows, barn and dairy equipment.

Routine repair and maintenance can seem like boring chores and mundane tasks. Let’s face it, checking, cleaning and repairing things aren’t generally considered fun. Now, with early failure to consider, this aspect of prepping has become even more important.

New living room furniture doesn’t happen without an emergency fund. Throw a blanket or a slip cover on the sofa and teach your family to treat items more gently.

Dental, optical and any other medical needs should be written out and organized. If you know that the family has dental checks done in August, then you also know that is a month for potential dental expenses. 

If you are putting money away each month to cover possible dental expenses, then you are prepared for them.

Expenses such as clothing and footwear for children should never be a “surprise.” It is understood children need footwear and clothing replaced more rapidly due to their growth.

A smart shopper and prepper recognizes the opportunity for thrift store shopping. You can find clothing and footwear in excellent condition for all ages. 

I have seen teens happily shop at thrift stores. There is always some kind of retro fad happening. They also seem to enjoy the originality of thrift store shopping, as well as the social and environmental contribution that comes with it. Good causes are supported and perfectly good clothing doesn’t end up in landfill.

In a financial crisis such as job loss, pride is a vulnerability. When the tags are off the garment who really knows how old a garment is or where you bought it from unless you tell them?

A budget binder is a must for routine financial management and maintenance. For privacy and security reasons, there is no way I will ever rely on computerized record keeping again. 

A binder is tangible and can’t be ignored. I see it on my desk as I write. I can grab it for a family finance meeting if there is something that needs to be addressed.

I write out budget sheets for two future years and I keep two years of past monthly financial data. The loose leaf sheets are enclosed in page protectors for longevity and also hold additional information that is relevant to future expenses. 

The monthly budget sheets itemize income, savings and regular monthly expenses. Amounts that are variable like utility bills are forecast in pencil and then entered in ink once the amounts are confirmed.

Based on forecasted income and expenses, I have a reasonable understanding of our disposable income. Annual expenses can easily be repeated in the future year sheets. I can slot projects or swap them on the fly if necessary because the budget information is well organized and accessible.

Beneath the financial information is a record of medical appointments and vehicle or home repair and maintenance and any associated costs.

A budget is a guide. On the back of each monthly budget sheet, I record every cent spent in this household. I balance to the penny because hackers will test bank accounts by taking small amounts to see if you pay attention.

I note the amount, where it was purchased, a short list of the item(s) and any important sale information for future reference when planning future shopping. I can look back at each month and see exactly where our money went for groceries, clothing, personal items and spot trends or problems. 

This process may seem involved and time consuming. It isn’t. It takes little time to keep an ongoing record. I refer to these records frequently for a variety of reasons. They are invaluable to the inspection, repair, replacement and maintenance of a huge number of items in my household and property.

Other items must be factored for replacement. What about shingles? Roofs must be re-shingled every so many years. That includes underlay, ice guard (if you are in a cold climate) and installation.

Most communities only allow a certain number of shingle layers before the roof has to be stripped completely of shingles before it can be re-shingled. This makes sense because after a while the roof would not be sound if shingles just continued to pile up in layers.

When I did my roof five years ago, I paid extra to have it stripped clean of shingles. I didn’t need to do it that way. I wasn’t at the limit for layers. But I chose to do the best maintenance by having the roof done from the base up.

The roofers checked for any pieces of plywood that need to be replaced. There was one small piece. Then they re-shingled with the latest materials to prevent water infiltration and also ice-guard. I chose excellent quality shingles and made sure the roofers were certified to install that type of shingle. They did an excellent job and now, I have a roof that will last much longer before needing more maintenance.

I could have gone a cheaper route, but a roof is a huge part of the protection of a home. There is no way I will skimp on that cost or the quality of materials and workmanship. 

I find it amazing that people see their roofs every day and tolerate the condition of them. Imagine a shoddy roof in a major storm. How long might it last in a natural or financial disaster? There could be a chain reaction of damage done that will cost more than if the roof was properly done in the first place.

A fully prepared household doesn’t just buy preparedness related items and stash them away. They routinely inspect, maintain, replace and repair the items that they will need to count on in a disaster.

They do the same thing for their home, property and other items that are not prep specific, but are also part of their ability to survive.

It can be overwhelming for those who don’t currently practice this, but with a bit of organization and time invested, it can become easy to do and just another aspect of prepping.

When was the last time you checked your tires for wear or if they were properly inflated? Did you get the brakes fixed when you heard the sound of brake shoes starting to squeal as you braked?

Have you organized regular replacement of your children’s clothing and footwear?

How old is the food and water in your bug out bag? 

What about those loose boards in the fence or the unreliable security camera that needs replacement?

The time to notice and do something about it is now and like other aspects of prepping, it is time well invested.

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Prepping for economic collapse

What does economic collapse mean to you?

To me, economic collapse isn’t the stock exchange disaster of the 1930’s. It is the slow decay and crumbling of our independence and self-sufficiency.

I used to move money. It could be a fifty-dollar transaction bound for Vietnam or a boat in Indonesia or a fifty million settlement heading to another bank. It was a very high stress position with zero margin for error. 

There was a bank of clocks on the wall that represented cities like San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris and New York, who were all part of a routing system to move money globally. The clocks acted as a reminder of international cut off times for payment traffic.

I processed telexed and trader payments that landed in my in basket, took payments from branches and other banks over the phone, and ensured that what I processed was delivered correctly and on time.

This involved a series of intricate fail safes and verifications. It was an area of banking that was a target for fraud and required high degrees of vigilance.

I used to wake up with nightmares from the stress of my job. The first thing I did when I left that job was to take off the watch I wore as part of the time critical component of my work. To this day, I don’t wear a watch.

My time in that position came on the heels of three years spent in the letters of credit department. The orders were shipped to other countries because of their less expensive labor costs.

The point of telling you about this experience as the lead in for prepping for economic collapse is simple. Everything money related is moving around you all the time, quietly in the background. Deals are made. Money is bought and sold. Trade happens. 

Meanwhile, you go to work, earn a pay check and live your life. You spend money and contribute to the trade and commerce around you. If you save money your bank gets the use of your money and pays interest to you for that use.

Everything is interconnected now because of trade and international lending. This is not a case of you have something and I have something and let’s trade. It is a case of competition, trade quotas and trade sanctions, and of maintaining a complex balance.

International trade is not symbiotic, meaning that the relationship is not mutually beneficial.

We trade now because we have to do it. We are not sustainable. We gutted our jobs in North America.

My Dad and I used to spend hours in debate and discourse. This subject was one of them.

Dad’s position was that we had priced ourselves out of the labor market due to unions and that manufacturers went for the cheap labor elsewhere.

My position was that our labor costs were being undercut by countries with an entirely different standard and cost of living. How were we ever going to compete with that?

The end result is that container after container of manufacturing equipment, some hundreds of years old and highly specialized were disassembled, and shipped elsewhere, and our jobs left with it.

The finished product was shipped back to the company who then sold it to us at the same price as if it had been made here. It was a version of enterprise that destroyed jobs, manufacturing and charged us more to shop while they did it.

I remember some companies hung on as did some consumers who refused to buy anything not “made in Canada” or “made in the USA.” Now, those labels are deceptive because they aren’t entirely made in either country. Parts come from elsewhere or something is partially assembled elsewhere.

Which brings me to economic collapse. Have any of you ever wondered about how easily this whole thing could go off the rails? I do and probably not for the reasons that other people do. I don’t get caught up in economic jargon or theory. It’s simple and straightforward.

I look at our countries as preppers who were capable of self-sufficiency. We joined with a group of other prepper countries to trade and barter. We made a bad choice and put ourselves in a bad position.

We can’t make the items we used to make and are now dependent upon other countries for items we need. We are no longer self-sufficient.

If there is a disaster in the other preppers’ country or we have a dispute with the other preppers or one of their friends’ countries, then we get cut off from the items we need.

That doesn’t sound like solid preparedness to me.

Our goods used to be closer to home. 

To make our arrangement work, we need to ship goods over long and sometimes difficult routes. The grounded container ship in the Suez Canal was a good example of how easily the arrangement can grind to a halt.

The current pandemic could easily run us aground in a different way. We have no idea when this pandemic will be over or if it will ever be over. The mutations carry the possibility of antibody resistance which is a big concern.

India is being overwhelmed by the pandemic. They, like China, may have a huge population, but their workers dying or unable to work will impact their production. 

We also can’t forget the long term effects of Covid-19 upon people who survive it. Some are dead six months later. Others are left with permanent lung or other debilitation.

I can’t change history. I have no control over other people. What I can do is adjust how I prepare in the face of the potential for economic collapse.

I have started researching which items such as medicines are made in other countries. I am also researching which items are made entirely in North America and making a list of suppliers and manufacturers.

Part of my search is for local and regional suppliers because in an economic collapse, shipping long distances may not be viable. It is also a way to foster mutually beneficial relationships for long term survival.

I am making a list for stocking more of certain items that could be impossible to get if a supplier country halts or reduces production.

I am also looking at what skills or items I could make if necessary and getting the knowledge or instructions hard copied and in place now.

What do you think economic collapse will look like? What are you doing to prepare for it?

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An analysis of the movie Red Dawn

I love the movie Red Dawn. There is the 1984 original and then a 2012 remake under the same idea but with updated modern day action. 

Here’s a quick summary of the plot. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it:

Kids are attending school when all the sudden enemy paratroopers begin landing outside of their school and attacking. A small group of students are able to escape and flee to the mountains to their summer cabin. They then enact guerrilla warfare on the town below where all the adults and their fellow students are held as prisoners of war under the name of their high school mascot the Wolverines!

I’ve always enjoyed this movie because of the idea of a WWIII event happening here in your local home town. (would dread this if it ever happened, but its a fun scenario to think about)

What would you do if you were in the position of these kids who have evacuated to the mountains? Would you bunker down or fight back and save your family?

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Colonial Pipeline Attack -The rise of cyberware attacks and the future of prepping

Another cyberware attack in the news, affecting fuel. This kind of crime is on the rise for business and personal users. What does this mean for the future of prepping?

None of us can control the methods or security used by business, so how safe are we? What do we need to do as individuals to prevent personal devices from being shut down?

In the early days of computer use in business, I was taught: the computer you are using is nothing more than an electronic filing cabinet. It is not infalliable. Print hard (paper) copy of anything important.

So for anyone relying soley on external drive backup or thumb drive, if all the computers/phones are shut down, how will you read your data? For any important prep info or instructions: hard copy on paper.

Here’s the article:

Colonial Pipeline Cyberware Ransom Attack

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Urban / Suburban EXTRA prepping tools , What have YOU got

Ok so we all know the general EDC/ GHB/BOB contents and its assorted permutations, but what EXTRA items have you got to help you survive OUTDOORS in an Urban or Suburban area.

What extra tools, devices or EXTRA equippment have you decided to carry with you when you venture out during a crisis that is OUTSIDE of the normal list of prepping kit?

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Why a preventable mishap led to “is my tetanus shot up to date?”

The weather has been cantankerous. It just won’t give in to the arrival of Spring.

On Saturday, the weather finally improved. I raced around the yard like a calf just out of the barn, with 60 lb bales of soil to top up my raised beds. Everything was going great until I stopped being mindful of what I was doing. 

I turned my focus toward calculating how many more bales I would need for the last five planters that are back ordered. That was when I mis-stepped, tripped and did a three point landing onto a piece of rusty rebar.

The rebar is part of what pins my 4×16′ pre-fabbed planters. It was supposed to be countersunk and the caps placed on the connections. But I wanted to get that soil distributed so I could get a list together for the next round of soil and other garden supplies. 

That short cut is why I am writing this with my leg propped up. I’m okay and lucky it wasn’t worse. My right knee is wrenched and it will heal. 

However, the side of my right knee got sliced on the rusty and very sharp rebar that had been cut to fit the planters, which brings me to why I am writing this post.

I cleaned and dressed my knee, but for my life, I couldn’t remember when my last tetanus shot had happened. Lock jaw isn’t fun.

I have medical files for both of us, but my budget binder contains a fast referral section on key medical info. At a glance, I can tell when the next colonoscopy or blood work is due. For some reason, I had no information on tetanus shots for either of us. I found out this morning it was 2018, so in 9 years I will make the arrangement to have another before the 10 year expiry on it.

We need to know this information and keep it current and in print format because if the SHTF something as simple as falling could end up in lock jaw for the lack of a simple tetanus shot.

Medical conditions, recurring tests and blood work, vaccine record and current medications, including any and all allergies and adverse reactions need to be on hard printed copy. Don’t forget any anaesthetic problems or prior surgeries.

My haste and carelessness were a reminder of what an infection and an expired tetanus shot could become in a crisis. Even without the wrenched knee, I plan to move more thoughtfully in the future.

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Are you a prepper or are you practicing prepper?

Have you actually done “it” yet? Practiced that skill you’ve read about, but have never actually done.

Half-measure prepping is like running a race and not crossing the finish line.

It is one thing to read, research, debate and buy items. It is another aspect of prepping to learn and ingrain new skills

Untried and untested items in a prepper storehouse could be a dangerous discovery when the SHTF and you need to rely upon them. That isn’t the time to find out you have forgotten a key part needed for another item to work, or that the item in storage isn’t appropriate for your climate or location.

There is a lot to learn and it can be overwhelming. But, what you learn today and every day before some disaster strikes can help you.

You can learn by reading to a point, but actual experience is needed for many prepping skills. A day or two course is great, but you need to practice in order to retain those skills.

The practice component of prepping is important in that it also helps us to keep our preps simple and not get overblown on items that are unnecessary. 

Let’s take hunting for an example. Once the stored food runs out, hunting is going to be a fact of life. Those who survived The Great Depression and other long term disasters quickly found that out. Back then, there were more people who knew how to hunt properly because we had more smaller family farms and a denser rural population with those skills.

You have a gun and bullets. Great, but have you actually hunted and if so, for how many seasons? One season is not enough to learn everything.

In any crisis, but especially a long term crisis, it is important to know how to practice good animal stewardship. You don’t kill the pregnant does or the does with fawns. Fawns stay with the mother for two years.

Be honorable in your hunt and grateful for the animal who gives its life to feed you. Night hunters are not honorable nor are those who take more than what they will use. Animal populations can be decimated very quickly and those who do this will starve in the end. 

If you wound it, track it. Hunting is not about letting any animal suffer because you missed the shot. Do you know how to track an animal?

Do you know how to dress for a hunt? Do you know how to stay safe around an animal that you think is dead? A kick from a not quite dead deer can cost you a limb if they break the skin and you get infected without antibiotics in a disaster.

Hunting is a skill that must be mastered over time and preferably taught to you by an excellent hunter so that you learn the right way to hunt and harvest your kill in the environment you will be hunting in.

Have you learned how to properly and safely harvest your kill? Did you buy the proper saws and knives need to butcher the animal? Do you have freezer wrap and freezer tape or some other method of preserving the kill? Do you know how to use the entire animal including the hide? 

Do you know to trim all the fat off a deer because it affects the taste of the meat and makes it gamey tasting? Do you know how to properly cook venison so that it tastes really good?

I could have substituted so many other skills: fishing, baking with a solar oven, repair and maintenance of your home and property, gardening, repair and sewing of clothes, evacuation drills, op/sec drills in and out of the home.

The list goes on and on for a reason. It is because each of us comes here with a different background and different skills. Some will have a longer list to learn, while others may want to reconsider their prepping plans.

It is only through careful consideration of what you will need to actually do in a crisis that you will know if it is for you or if you need to do something else.

For example, if hunting seems like too much to take on, then learn to fish.

Harvesting a fish isn’t difficult. For pickerel (walleye) we cut off the head behind the gills, slit the belly and eviscerate. Take the split fish and very carefully take your sharp boning knife and run it between the skin and flesh of the fish. Carefully cut out the flesh from the spine area. Feel with your fingers for any bones you missed.

I haven’t cleaned a fish for years but my “hands remembered” the skill as I typed this. I might have missed a point but if I had a fish in front of me, I am confident that it would come back to me.

The Indigenous people in Northern Canada make a fish head soup that is a delicacy. Also, get a good boning knife. Mine was from a fish processing plant and designed to be extremely well made.

A final point about practicing, you will also find out what you are physically and mentally capable of doing. Knowing our limitations is a very important part of prepping.

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The Get Home Bag Guide (GHB, Car Kit)

Here’s a link to what is currently in my EDC & GHB/CarKit (one tab for each). There’s also a Behaviors tab, and a To-Do tab with finds from the links Gideon shared.

Relevant threads, thanks Gideon!

Car supplies What’s the best get home bag to keep in your car? Winter survival kits, extreme cold weather gear, and winterizing your home and car What preparedness items do you keep in your vehicle? Get home bag for harsh winter conditions BOB plus Get Home Bag?

Original title: “Where’s the Get Home Bag / Car Kit article?”

Original post body:

Is there a main article or forum post for this?

I’ve seen bits and pieces mentioned in other articles, but not centralized place for this.

For example, I’ve got a NOCO Boost so that I can jump start my car without another car nearby, and I’ve got resqme window breaker / seat belt cutters zip-tied to each of the four “grab handles”. (The *sheath* is zip tied, so you just pull the tool out of the sheath without having to cut the tie.)

Other stuff: “roadside emergency kit“, bivy, “emergency radio“, poncho, wool socks, liner socks, headlamp, tire inflator, snow scraper

What all do you carry?

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Unnatural disaster: Methamphetamine violence and crime

A family of seven that I knew was on vacation and traveling by car. A semi tractor and trailer came up behind them at a high rate of speed and he wasn’t slowing down. He bore down upon their station wagon. There was no way that the driver of that semi couldn’t have seen the children in the back of that vehicle.

The terrified family was forced to speed through a very dangerous stretch of winding Ontario highway that had been built through the rocky terrain. An accident there was usually bad. The driver finally managed to find a way to egress the highway and got his family out of harms way.

Some years later, I had an opportunity to listen to a former trucker who told me about how he used to carry an attache case full of pills, mostly speed that kept him awake and hurtling down the highway.

As I listened to him, I thought of the family who had almost been run off the highway. It all made sense. That driver had to have been high to do what he did to them.

Fast forward again, a person I know is murdered. I worked with him through an organization where I was his sponsor and helped to guide him. The last time we spoke, he was going back to school. I never heard from him after that and thought it was because he was busy with school and a new chapter in his life. This was not an uncommon event when sponsoring people.

I read the regional news one day and there was a sentencing report briefly noted. For some reason, I thought of my sponsee and ran a search on his name.

Around sixteen months earlier, he had been murdered by a couple of meth heads. Because of how I knew him and the anonymity involved, no one knew to call me. I read the account of his death and cried for days.

He had survived a beating as a youth that left him near dead and with permanent disability. He was brain injured. One side of his body was severely impaired. He walked with a pronounced limp.

He was also determined to be better. He was known by his smile and positive nature. What he survived as a youth didn’t beat the goodness out of him.

He lived independently in a rooming house. He opened his door that day because he still trusted the world.

His teacher had to call the police and tell them that the body they found was of a disabled man. He had been beaten so badly that they couldn’t recognize his condition prior to the attack. A male and a female inflicted those injuries.

I remember biker crank in the 60’s. We used to shake our heads at the fools who used that garbage. We called them “tweakers.”

Today, meth has become the new “zombie apocalypse.” 

Heroin addicts will try to steal your purse. One of my aunts was accosted and beaten about the head in Vancouver, BC by a couple of heroin addicts, but not so severely that she couldn’t gain control the situation and tell them, “I will give you some money, but you may not have my hand bag.”

This is not the case with meth users. There was a case in Winnipeg MB where a man was abducted off the street at 9:00 p.m., held and tortured for twelve hours. He managed to escape the house where he was being held when his kidnappers left him alone in order to raid his bank account using his information.

There is an extreme level of violence associated with meth use.

Meth users will attack you because they are in a state of psychoses. Their thoughts and emotions have become so impaired that they have lost touch with reality. 

Psychosis is characterized by hallucinations and paranoia. This state of mind can be present in paranoid schizophrenia.  However, a meth psychosis co-occurs with meth usage and usually abates once the user is withdrawn off the drug. That process can take hours or up to a week, unless there are other underlying conditions involved that have been triggered by the meth usage.

Meth users can become psychotic if they have used a lot of meth or if they are in a withdrawal stage and just about anything in between. They are unstable and unpredictable. There is no way for any of us to know when a meth user is going to break with reality and become psychotic.

As with other reasons for being prepared, I wanted to stay prepared and safe in view of this new threat and that meant educating myself about the threat.

To do that, I first wanted to understand why meth use had become popular again. I read a six-part series in The Oregonian which was a very thorough investigative report on the methamphetamine crisis.

I reviewed Faces of Meth which was started by a member of the Multnomah Country Sheriffs’ office so that I could recognize the physical characteristics of meth users. 

I read medical information on how meth affects people so that I could recognize a meth addict faster.

There is not one singular demographic that applies. Meth users can be educated, young or old and from any walk of life.

A person in a meth induced state of psychosis can speak rapidly and ramble from one topic to the next. Their conversation may be very hard to follow. They may be restless, agitated and very jumpy.

They may be up for days and then crash hard. When they are coming down off a meth binge, meth users can be particularly dangerous.

Their beliefs may be very odd or unusual with a paranoid belief that others are out to get them.

They like to take things apart and their yards may be scattered with disassembled items. Inside their homes, they may have dug through walls to “trace” the electrical or to follow some other bizarre train of thought.

Meth users may pick at or scratch at their skin because they feel like there are bugs crawling on them.

Many but not all meth users are thin. They may have sores on their faces or limbs from picking at the skin.

They may have plucked their eyebrows and eyelashes out or sections of their hair. They may have shaved parts of their head or done other bizarre things to their appearance.

Their facial skin becomes prematurely lined and aged in appearance and their eyes take on a “crazed” appearance.

Dental issues are common with many users missing teeth or displaying rotted teeth. It is unknown why jaw deterioration continues in some users long after they have ceased using this drug.

Meth users are extremely hard to take down. Police can deploy their tasers multiple times while grappling with a meth user and it has little to no effect. It takes multiple officers to restrain and control the psychotic meth user and often police are injured in the process.

Medical personnel who must cope with them are also often injured and it is a real problem in hospital emergency wards.

I looked into the existence of meth users in my small town and found that we were not immune. We had them living among us and I wanted to be proactive about protecting myself.

My home security was bumped up to prevent home invasion by fortifying my doors.

My husband and I ran drills over how to react in various situations inside and outside our home, as well as at various times of day, including being awakened. We use each other’s second name as a code word that means 911 now, no questions asked. 

I ensured that I had access to items that could be rapidly deployed to inflict a knock out strike. This is one situation where there is no way I am getting in close to someone in combat. I am keeping something between me and them.

Aside from carrying knives, meth users have a preternatural strength borne of their altered state. This meant I had to mentally prepare to use extreme force on someone of any age or gender who might outwardly appear to be physically frail and thin.

I am working on arranging legal access to a gun for protection.

In the case of the man who was abducted at 9:00 p.m. referenced above, Constable Tammy Skrabek, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg police “called the case unique and said the “regular safety messages” police give, like being aware of your surroundings, wouldn’t have made a difference for the victim.”

“In this case, he was paying attention; it was just not expected that these people were going to grab him,” she said.”

I respectfully disagree with Constable Skrabek’s conclusion. I lived in Winnipeg for many years and no one wanders around certain areas on foot and alone at 9:00 p.m. if they possess any situational awareness or common sense. Winnipeg was called “murder capital of Canada” for a reason.

Secondly, situational awareness would have prevented those two men getting anywhere near the victim. 

The abductors had to pull up and then pull him in off the street. That meant parking their vehicle and both of them exiting the vehicle. This wasn’t a six person abduction. A person with street smarts who was paying attention to his environment would have been gone as soon as that vehicle angled towards him and before they had a chance to park.

I ramped up my situational awareness whether in my small town or in an urban area over and above my regular vigilance. I watch closely for signs of meth users around me by their appearance and behavior.

I check my yard for any drug paraphernalia. 

Meth users were paid to piece shredded documents together so the data could be used or sold in the criminal marketplace. They have the ability to fixate and do this under the influence of meth.

I purchased a new shredder. Now any paper with any information including shipping and receiving is shredded on a high quality shredder that prevents the pieces from being restored. I also shred any medication labels or any prescription bags or information.

I put new protocols in place for picking up medication after my husband was almost assaulted in the drug store parking lot. They two people involved are confirmed meth users.

I also hold the local police accountable and have used my security cameras to report meth distribution activity at a house in my neighborhood. They are aware of it, but it is being handled through their drug enforcement channels.

Drug enforcement operates on a work your way up the ladder methodology. They catch the small time addicts, get three names, and keep climbing until they get the big fish higher up.

This is understandable, but it does take time, sometime years, for change to trickle back down to the community level. Some drug houses are left to operate for that reason.

In the interim, all of us need to approach the threats associated with meth usage as we do any other threat: we educate and prepare ourselves.

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How to stay safe when traveling at home or abroad

Long or short journeys, domestic or abroad require preparedness.

Despite the current situation, it is worthwhile to understand how to stay safe when we do travel away from home. It is another aspect of preparedness.

I would like to begin with a story about a former co-worker. Jane back packed her way across Europe with a friend in the 1960’s.

The journey was going well until they arrived in Spain. At the time Spain was under the control of the notorious dictator, Franco.

The train on which they traveled was stopped by the Spanish military. The heavily armed soldiers boarded the train and demanded to see passports. Jane got out her information and although she was afraid, calmly sat and waited.

When the soldiers arrived at their seat, her friend decided to tell the soldiers in very colorful and easily translated expletives what they could do to themselves. They weren’t going to order her around and actually started to rise in her seat as she ranted at them.

Jane had the presence of mind to grab her friend and pull her back down into her seat. She told her “shut up, you’re going to get us killed, give them your passport and not another word.” Then Jane apologized to the soldiers in Spanish for her friend who had misunderstood and to please forgive her.

This regime was ruthless. They could have been dragged off the train and shot. After the train incident, Jane split from traveling with her friend and completed the rest of her journey alone.

Know the person you are traveling with and discuss reactions to situations such as this in advance. You are a guest in someone’s Country and an understanding of the cultural and social mores there will make you a welcome guest who is less likely to get into trouble. You don’t want to get into trouble or land in jail because of someone else.

These are the basics for safe international travel:

Do your research and understand the cultural differences. For example, in Egypt an unmarried female who travels alone is considered a prostitute. 

Learn about any hand gestures that may be considered offensive. I believe it is in Thailand or Indonesia where crossing one’s legs and exposing the soles of the shoe or foot is considered very offensive. In Singapore littering can land you a punishment by caning.

Never consume drugs in a foreign Country and watch the rules regarding alcohol. Never get intoxicated. You want to be lucid at all times.

Find out if there is civil unrest in the Country or if tourists are being targeted as was the case in Egypt.

Never leave your luggage unattended. Never agree to carry someone else’s luggage.

Ensure your family or friends back home have a full itinerary of where you will be staying and a copy of your passport, and other identification, including recent photos and bank information. 

If something happens to you, they will be able to work with authorities using recent information. If you need help financially, they can deposit money to your bank account. Ensure that they are authorized to handle any banking needs, such as bill payment while you are away. International cell rates can be very high.

Set up agreed upon contact points and times and keep them. This way your family will know if something has gone wrong sooner and what your whereabouts where when you disappeared.

Practice situational awareness especially when traveling. 

Women are frequently targeted at airports and kidnaped. Human trafficking is a very real danger. Ensure that the people you interact with, including taxi drivers are who they purport to be. It is safer to use your hotel shuttle service as transport from the airport to your hotel.

In your hotel, ensure that the door is locked and bolted with security lock while in your room. Check the room thoroughly upon possession of it to ensure no on is lurking and also to ensure that nothing illegal was left behind. Never open the door to anyone who is not expected. It takes seconds to call the main desk and confirm who is at your door and why.

If you intend to visit tourist areas, be aware that is also the place where criminals will congregate. Predators go where the prey is located.

If you choose to go to Amsterdam’s red light district, be aware that tourists can have very bad experiences there. There are people who are criminals who have immigrated to The Netherlands. The problem is that as a tourist, you might think they are tourists. They are not. You may be dealing with one at an ATM and suddenly find yourself surrounded by fifteen more men.

These gangs of thieves rig the ATM so that your cash won’t dispense properly. Then they come behind after you give up and fish your money out. Pick pockets are especially bad in tourist areas. They can work alone or in a tandem. One bumps into you and the other steals your wallet while you are distracted.

Deal with the banks in the daytime in the branch. Ensure you wear a hidden money and passport carrier. A zippered money and passport carrier that sits flat under the waistband of your pants is not easily accessible and stay out of sight. Forget purses. Try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. 

Look like you mean business, don’t look like a victim. Tourists very often have a distracted and vague look on their faces because they are preoccupied with the new environment. That is a giveaway and makes you a target.

Jane, the woman in the story who carried on traveling alone finally landed in a small village in Greece only to discover that her American Express traveler’s checks were lost.

She spoke no Greek, but was able to use the telephone of a kindly Greek couple. Jane called her Dad who arranged the Am Ex check replacement which would be there in about two weeks. Meanwhile, she had no money. The check replacement wasn’t as rapid as she believed. 

The kindly Greek couple took pity on Jane and gave her a free room and food in their small room to let hotel while she waited for the money.

Jane was alone and unable to communicate with anyone. She was sitting on her bed, feeling very dejected and then she heard it. It was English! Someone, a male voice was singing “Some Enchanted Evening” quite loudly.

Jane flew through the door overjoyed to have someone to talk with and met the man. She said to him “Oh. You speak English?”

He shook his head and began to sing the song again. It was the only English he knew.

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How to survive and avoid incidents of civil unrest

Three friends were hanging out at an amusement park in Vancouver, BC. They decided to leave the park and drive over to the Sea Festival about ten miles away. 

They had to park and walk about a mile to get to the festival. As the three of them walked toward the festival, they heard yelling and laughter. They thought that what they had heard was true and that people were having a lot of fun at this festival.

The yelling and laughter drew closer and finally a stream of youths ran past them. Then they saw riot police coming toward them.

Two of them wanted to turn and run away because they were afraid. The other friend told them, “No, don’t move, face toward the police and put your hands in the air.”

The three friends stood facing police, hands in the air.

A riot policeman approached them and before he could say anything, the young man who told his friends to stand still, told the police officer, “We just got here. We don’t know what’s going on.”

The policeman then summoned fellow officers who helped escort the three young men back to their vehicle. They were told what route to take to get out of the area.

They found out that a riot had broken out at the Sea Festival. The laughing and yelling youths who had ran past them were actually rioters who had smashed storefronts and caused a lot of damage.

If the three unsuspecting friends had turned and ran, they would have considered part of the rioting group.

How you react when suddenly confronted with a situation like this can make or break your survival of it.

This was a relatively benign example from an actual incident that took place in Canada in the 1970’s. However, we are not all fluffy little teddy bears up here. In Vancouver BC, the riots after a hockey game are legendary.

Civil unrest and encounters with mobs are a more common threat today, so it is worthwhile to understand the risk and how to prepare for it.

The term “mob mentality” conveys the single minded and unpredictable mind set of a mob. When it overtakes a group of people for any reason, the situation devolves and becomes dangerous rapidly.

The first consideration is not to become exposed to such a threat. Avoidance is the first and most important practice for managing risk.

Don’t go where the trouble is located and that includes online sites.

There are some preparedness people who advocate following the social media of groups who engage in civil unrest. This is a bad suggestion. 

You are known by your associations. These groups are heavily monitored by government security and law enforcement agencies. 

Your electronic footprint does not want to be stepping anywhere near these kinds of groups. In other words, don’t go dancing in the barnyard, if you don’t want to end up with cow manure on your boots.

It makes better sense to monitor and set an alert through legitimate news media or local civic alert systems.

If you are caught in a mob unawares as the three men in the opening story, then take measures to get out of it as fast as you can.

Don’t resemble the people in the mob. Remove anything that is similar to their clothing, if possible and within reason. For example, if they are all wearing hats, remove your hat or ball cap. You will be less likely to be identified as one of them on security cameras or by law enforcement.

Don’t talk to people in the mob and watch your nonverbal communication. 

Stay calm, head down and keep moving at a steady pace. Don’t run or draw attention to yourself. Spawning salmon behavior will be counterproductive and can get you noticed. 

Go with the flow and calmly move toward the outer edges of the mob at a steady pace. Avoid any areas or bottlenecks where you could be crushed.

This is where situational awareness can’t be stressed enough. Always know the area that you are in and how to navigate it. You need to know how to exit the mob at the first safe and accessible place. 

That could be a side street or an alley. There may be a safe building or even a safe doorway that you can take shelter in. If you take shelter in a building, know where the exits are located in case it becomes an unsafe place in which to shelter.

If you are concerned that you could be crushed or thrown off balance because of a crowd surge, lock your elbows in a bent position and use them to push down on the crowd so that they propel you forward. Stay on your feet.

If you are in your vehicle, you have options. You can turn around if possible and get out of there or make your way to a safer street. 

Some advocate to drive forward if there are only a few people in the situation and your vehicle is not a target. I would still turn around and avoid the situation. How do you know hundreds of people aren’t going to come pouring around a corner? 

Regardless of the number of people involved, your vehicle could be targeted in an instant. Then you will be faced with the possibility of hitting someone with your vehicle. You may also find your vehicle rendered inoperable because it is suddenly surrounded and damaged. It’s your choice.

If at home during periods of civil unrest, stay away from windows, keep your doors locked. Do not go outside to see what’s going on. Use your security cameras to monitor the situation outside.

Move away from walls where bullets or rocks could penetrate and injure you.

Watch for fires and the smell of smoke. Fires can begin in riots, so keep watch until it is over.

Continue to monitor the situation at home to ensure you are certain that it is over.     

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How to synthesize/prioritize preparing for scenarios based on likelihood, severity, and other factors?

Some scenarios must happen, in general, more often than others. I imagine people use CPR more often than they evacuate their home and survive out of their GB/BOB. I imagine people restart their car battery more often than they use a firearm.

Does anyone know of a ranking of preparedness scenarios, ordered by how statistically likely they are to happen?

An additional level would be to factor in eventuality and severity. For example, saving enough funds for when you can no longer work for pay is important, but the “average” person has several years to work towards this. Being able to stop severe bleeding is something you may never need, but is extremely important if you do need it, and doesn’t take as much time or money to prepare for as other things.

And of course there’s the community aspect as well. If I’m built out enough to survive a multi year emergency, but all of my neighbors are food insecure week-to-week and I don’t even have their phone numbers, that seems like a bad prep. 

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Here comes the sun – When a massive solar flare, grid loss and overheated nuclear reactors change the world. [Edited to include what the prepper in the story did wrong.]

Solution for what the prepper did wrong at the end of the post.

This morning, you watch as the sun shoves the sky aside and plants itself in your line of vision. Sunrise. No one cares much for sunrise these days.

Thirteen months have passed since your world went silent and dark.

The massive solar storm stopped the world dead in its tracks. It destroyed the vulnerable electric power grid transformers. There had been a committee back in 2011 that had examined the risks and warned action was needed. It was too late now.

You listen. Nothing. At one time the sound of traffic and horns honking was an annoyance. Now, you would give today’s ration of food to hear a car or sip a warm beverage, or linger with a good book while sitting on a gleaming white porcelain toilet that actually flushed. When the grid was destroyed, it took sewage, sanitation and potable water along with it. 

At first, they said restoration would happen in months, then months became “foreseeable future.” There was some irony for you in that phrase. No one was seeing much of anything these nights. It was pitch black at night now.

You try to remember the smell of coffee in the morning. You haven’t made coffee for three months since your supply of fuel ran out. You should have stocked more fuel or searched for better alternatives while you had the chance to do so.

Has it only been 13 months? It feels like an eternity has passed since the sun threw a massive solar tantrum larger than the Carrington Event of 1859. 

The event was the solar flare equivalent of the big earthquake on the San Andreas fault predicted by seismologists. 

Some reports said a solar storm wouldn’t have the deleterious effects upon communications and electronics that everyone feared. 

The misinformation about solar flares and the electro magnetic pulses were fed partly by the entertainment industry. 

People mocked those who doggedly prepared for a solar storm event because they didn’t understand how a solar storm would affect the power grid.

Severe solar storms only produce an E3 element that takes out the power grid transformers, and initiates DC like currents in extremely long electrical conductors.

Solar storms don’t produce the rapid E1 element that damages electronics. It was the loss of power that rendered electronics useless.

No one considered the threat that would result from long term power loss and it’s effect upon nuclear power plants. When those effects became apparent, everyone suddenly remembered Chernobyl and Fukashima.

The early days of blackout conditions and the subsequent looting and rioting was nothing compared to the long term effects of grid loss and the reactions of the nuclear power plants.

Then the psychological illness started, people who hadn’t prepared couldn’t cope with the utter devastation of their electronic world. They were overwhelmed by the disruption to all the modern conveniences integrated into their lives. You could see it in their eyes. They were not just hungry and dirty. They were lost also. Some of them became fatalistic and murderous in their insanity and very dangerous.

You need to forage. Maybe someone missed something in the mosaic of abandoned cars that litter the roadways and streets. But, you need to go further away from home to do so. It’s a big risk taking the bicycle out. Bicycles are like gold now and people have been killed for them.

You lace your boots up and whisper “thank you” to a prepper on The Prepared who taught you about FLC: feet, leather, covered. 

You made sure to have the best boots you could afford. After testing them, you bought two extra pairs of those boots plus repair materials and learned how to repair them to extend their life.  It wasn’t just a prep for a long duration event. You knew that sometimes really good quality items stopped being made or began to be made with inferior materials or workmanship.

Footwear was an important prep and the limping, poorly shod people roaming about were grim reminders. Some people with bad footwear were getting infected feet. Gangrene was nothing to fool with.

Save the bicycle for when it’s time to bug out. On The Prepared, you learned about The Monowalker from a UK prepper. It was carefully stored and ready to be used for bug out. Another “thank you.” 

You wondered if the people from The Prepared were alive, if they and their families were okay. You hoped that however they prepared, that it was enough. You hoped that an experimental gardener with the dogs and gardens was picking ju-jubes and that there was a pound cake on their table.

It had become tougher to forage as more and more desperate people scavenged, while predator survivors waited in the shadows to take what they found. 

Gun fights were common and avoiding stray bullets was a new pastime. When bullets hit your home, you moved your bed away from the outer walls and slept in a room lined with bookcases for protection.

Today, you could assemble a travois to carry larger or heavier items as close as possible, then “cache and carry” under cover of darkness. You needed to assemble more barter items to get the supplies you lacked for the long bug out journey ahead.

It was almost “bug-out o’clock.” Your personal doomsday clock was ticking louder. Bug out was your last resort, but survival is and always will be your first resort.

The bug out option became more complicated after the reactors overheated. It was a part of prepping that many preppers hadn’t factored. 

There were now fewer options unless you wanted to glow in the dark. You had heard the radiation wasn’t as bad at the West Coast. “Heard!” How could you have forgotten to print the map for predicted reactor drift? You printed all your other important prep info! 

The chorus of regret began to rise and flow toward your amygdala where it would soon become panic. NO!

Focus. Stay focused and aware. Get through today. Do it thirty seconds at a time if necessary, but get through today alive. You can do this. You can make it.

Internal pep talk concluded, you sling your dummy pack over one shoulder and do a final pat down and run a mental check list from head to feet of everything stashed on your person. The dummy pack was just some crumpled paper, empty tin cans, and a couple of rocks in a bag, but it was a way to blend in, foil robbers and useful as an improvised weapon.

What’s left of your guns and ammo is reserved for the long road ahead.

You think of The Prepared and everyone there who became an online community of preppers. You whisper the words into the air, “wherever you are, I hope you survived and if I make it, it will be because of all of you.”

Go time. You step out into the sun and begin to walk.

How could you become better prepared for a severe solar storm, long term loss of the power grid and the potential impact upon the nuclear power plants? travois

Here’s what the prepper in the story did wrong.

This scenario was meant to illustrate the power grid loss and reactor issues, but there was another message left in clues throughout the story.

The story is set thirteen months after the event in an urban area based on the number of people roaming about.

The person in the story is alone without any community established either before or after the event occurred. We’ll call this person the prepper.

The prepper claims to have not made coffee for three months which would place their last coffee ten months after the event happened. Making coffee with its distinct aroma was a mistake from the beginning.

The coffee should have been saved to drink cold if in need of caffeine to stay alert. This prepper was low on fuel, yet they still wasted fuel on a cup of coffee. That fuel might have been needed to boil water and sterilized equipment for first aid purposes.

Next, the prepper admits not prepping enough fuel or alternates which are part of needs, not wants in prepping. Water, food, shelter, defense, clothing, warmth, and first aid are needs, not “nice to haves.”

The prepper clearly describes the psychological condition of the population, yet is still sheltering in place without adequate community or resources.

The prepper describes needing to forage and having to go further away because vehicles in close proximity have been picked clean. This is now done on foot and without the bicycle. How does he plan to get that bicycle and Monowalker out of there without being noticed at this late stage?

Bicycles may be considered gold in the scenario, but so are boots according to the story with people needing them. He should have been “public” in an old pair that he could afford to lose.

The pepper refers to The Prepared and people that he learned from, yet has failed to see that the need for bug out happened long ago. Would this have happened with other people/family around? Is the isolation affecting this person’s judgement? Is there a lesson for all of us regarding isolation?

The prepper refers to “predator survivors” stealing from other survivors. No one should remain in that environment, nor in an environment with “gun fights” that are “common.” “Avoiding stray bullets” should not be a preppers “pastime.”

The prepper in the story wants to scavenge and possibly “cache and carry” items with which to barter to get supplies he “lacks” for the long bug out journey ahead. If he was prepared, why is he lacking important items?

Whom does he plan to barter with? It doesn’t sound like people around him are doing very well and barely surviving. If they did have what he needed, he could have bartered the boots he was wearing and worn his brand new back up pair without risking a foraging trip.

There are survivor predators and he thinks that he can just breeze past them with his foraged items? They would be out a night also and he will have trouble seeing them until it is too late.

The prepper is wasting more time and energy and running more risk in this fruitless exercise that he is mistaking for survival.

It no longer matters that bug out was a “last resort.” Now it should be his first resort if he wants to survive.

The prepper doesn’t have any maps.

The reference at the end to “what’s left of your guns and ammo” is troubling. How much shooting was this prepper doing? If you are alone and have to shoot that much, you shouldn’t be there. Why waste ammo when the solution is to exit a no win situation.

We assemble items, information, plan and prepare, but in an actual disaster we need to be careful of our judgement. 

Hanging onto preconceived ideas that are clearly no longer working for us in a disaster, is a dangerous strategy, especially if we are alone and there is no one else to challenge our thinking.

Sometimes, our judgement can be faulty. We may, like the person in the story, remain far too long SIP, when we should have been long gone.

We may also place priority on having items that are not necessary or wasting resources in order to have “the comforts of home.”

Bugging out is not a camping trip. It is becoming a refugee to save your life, so take with you what will actually help you to survive.

One final note on the cars, the prepper in the story did not check the mass of vehicles for one made in an era (80’s) which from my newly formed understanding, would not have sustained damage during the solar flare. A bit of siphoning, stash bug out items, and if no keys, hot wire and go.

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Why I wrote: The year the crops failed and famine began in North America

Please see the bottom of this original post for an edit which explains why I wrote this scenario:

It is early evening and you have settled in to relax after this evening’s rations.

Rations. No one used the words “meal” or “breakfast” any more. “Lunch” and “supper” were long gone out of everyone’s vocabulary as well.

The word “snack” was considered vulgar and unthinkable considering the situation. People were hungry all the time now. Some people were even starving.

No one in North America ever envisioned the lands of big sky and bountiful prairie fields to become massive tracts of unproductive wastelands. They were now ugly reminders of a time when bellies were full, so full in fact, that people had to exercise and diet.

No one said the “diet” word anymore either.

Food security was assumed, expected, like a tap that delivered when it was turned on. There was food in the fields, food in the store and food in the cupboard. Then in 2024, a series of events pushed most of the world’s nations into famine.

Climate oscillations triggered climate variability which triggered yield variability.

Climate change had become the tortoise of the fable and it was slowly crossing the finish line first in the battle against environmental disaster.

Bees were on their knees in the fight for their survival and the world had the low yields and harvest failures to prove it. Many countries followed China’s methods and were now reliant upon hand pollination.

Developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America were homes to the vast tracts of monocultures grown to feed the global market, including soy for livestock.

It was an unprecedented alignment of events that became the dominos that fell, one by one, colliding into each other and finally ended with a massive global famine.

You are one of the prepared who accounted for this risk in your planning and preparations.

You learned to garden and save seeds many years before this event. You also created indoor garden space in your garage and home and practiced growing in those conditions in case it wasn’t safe to grow outdoors.

You created a secret garden to supplement your meager food supply. You venture into the parks and back country to forage for food.

The rations supplied by the government provide some nutrition, but your stored food items, plus the indoor and secret gardens give you hope that you and your family can survive this disaster.

Your reverie is interrupted by the commotion outside. You grab your gun and check the security cameras.

There is a man, roughly late 20’s who has breached your fence. He is agitated and yelling something about food. Another desperate one, you think. Were we sloppy with ration handling? Did this guy smell something?

You key the mic. “You are trespassing. Get off this property now.” Your voice booms through the air.

It has no effect on the man who continues yelling. He is saying “Help, please help me. I need a bit of food. Anything, please, I’m begging you.”

Again, you key the mic. “I’m not telling you again. Get off this property now or I will shoot you.

This agitates the man even more and he moves closer to your back door. “No, no, no. Please, you don’t understand, I need help, please, just a bit of food.”

You take aim through your gun port and squeeze the trigger. The man crumples to the ground. You didn’t want to do it, but there are so many of them roaming and looking for food. They are becoming more aggressive and there have been reports of increased violence.

You are getting ready go out and drag the body off your property, when suddenly, there is a shrill cry and a little girl around five years old comes running into the yard. She runs straight toward the man’s body and throws herself upon him. She is crying and wailing.

“Daddy?” “Daddy, wake up!” “Wake up, Daddy.” “Daddy?”

Then little girl suddenly stops and sits silent, still and in shock.

What do you do now?

How would you have handled the situation?


Crop failure risks

Monocropping and harvest failures

Secret garden – growing food in plain sight

The reason for writing this scenario is buried in a response and I would like to clarify that this was not intended in any way for shock value. It is to outline a very real aspect of prepping under conditions when we have prepared and others have not prepared.

It was also written as a commentary on the fragility of our food security. Here is the piece extracted from the replies:

“I posed a similar scenario to some people many years ago, but did it in two stages and under different conditions. It took place in a pandemic. I was truly surprised back then by the answers I received. I did do it a bit differently.

In the first part, I didn’t disclose the child, only the adult male. Some people shot the guy. A few people social distanced and threw him a takeaway bag of food.

Then I posted the second part about the child. I had made reference to increasing violence in that scenario as well as this one. Now this vulnerable child appears and she is at risk of violence.

In the pandemic scenario, some people were prepared to shoot her also.

Others said they would just go out in ppe’s and take the child in, put her in quarantine in case she was a carrier, and then have her stay with them until things could be sorted out.

Back then, I responded, “You just shot her Dad in front of her. Do you think she will want to go with you?”

The responses that were the most chilling, were from people who stated that they would leave her out there to fend for herself alone, amidst the violence.

Those responses came from people who didn’t seem like the kind of folks who would ever respond that way. It was an eye opener.

It got me thinking about building prepping community. When we build prepper community, we are looking at a criteria. I realized back then, that we have to look deeper into how people will react under various conditions.”

In the replies is a link about my friend’s father who was a Hong Kong Vet. The long term starvation aspect was the reason I mentioned it in the replies and then decided to include his story from the Hong Kong Vets Association. It is a riveting account of how a group of young men used guts and ingenuity to survive as POW’s in the notorious Chinese and Japanese POW camps. 

These men were starving and maltreated and yet they found ways to eat, improvise medical equipment and endure the brutality of the camps. Ultimately, you will see an incredible story of survival and courage with lessons relevant to this day for anyone who prepares. May we all be as strong.

William Bell Hong Kong Vet POW and Survivor

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Home Invasion – Preparation that could have prevented or changed the outcome

Re first post:

Let’s look now at what could have been done to prevent or change the outcome of this scene.

The home did not have a security system to alert that four men had approached the property and split into two groups, each heading for an exterior door.

Security cameras wrapped around the house, set with perimeter alarms, infrared and enabled with facial recognition would have alerted the wife who was in the kitchen and possibly the sleeping husband.

She then could have pressed a 911 panic button while simultaneously alerting her husband. He would have been on his feet with a side arm drawn. His wife would have her side arm drawn and ready to defend instead of leaving it upstairs in her purse.

The husband would not have weak core muscles. The family would be healthy, fit and ready to defend with good cardiovascular conditioning.

The front and back doors and their respective door jambs were easily breached. It isn’t difficult to use a pry bar on a wooden door jamb, bypass poor door locks and make entrance through a wood door. Window inserts and sidelight panels that are installed into doors make it that much easier.

Steel door jambs bolted properly into the house with solid steel doors secured by properly fitted and installed dead bolt locks would have been a major deterrent.

Four unmasked men entering your home when it is obvious that the inhabitants of the home are present is a huge red flag that you have now entered a life and death experience.

Thieves usually go out of their way to avoid the inhabitants of a place that they rob. A home invasion may have robbery as part of the motive, but it also implies violence.

The German Shepherd is a protective breed, however, no dog is ever immune to harm. A dog can be a wonderful companion animal or early warning alarm. Any breed can try to defend their human pack, but they are too easily killed. Don’t rely on it as a source of protection.

The husband can hear commotion in the kitchen while he is being overcome. He should know by now that there have been multiple breaches and his wife is also in trouble.

He also knows that there are no guns used to control him, only a knife, gag and zip ties.

As his wife is dragged past him, he notes that she is injured, but lucid and restrained in the same way.

There is only one man watching the two of them. Immediately, he and his wife enact their prepared home invasion response.

She distracts the male guarding them with a fit of coughing while he removes a bobby pin from the waistband of his pants. He removes the coated tip from the bobby pin and wedges it between the interlocking teeth and ratchet of the zip tie.

He learned this technique and others by reading Clint Emerson’s books “100 Deadly Skills” and “100 Deadly Skills The Survival Edition.”

Because they have prepared, his wife can reasonably anticipate what her husband will do and jumps up to further distract the man who is watching them. This allows her husband time to respond and disable the intruder from behind and neutralize him. 

There are three men upstairs who are able to attack the unsuspecting children because both children used noise cancelling headphones. Anything that disables part of your senses creates an opportunity for an intruder or assailant to attack you. If worn, headphones need to allow for hearing.

In a prepared family, the children would not be wearing headphones, they would have both heard their mother yelling “Dave,” their family code word for intruder in the house, get out now, no questions asked, leave your BOB, get to the neighbors and call for help. They would have had a chance to open their bedroom windows selected for a rapid open and egress design and exit the upstairs via their individual fire escape ladders. 

The children would have known to escape at the first sound of trouble even without the family code word for an intruder because they were prepared.

The wallet and purse were easy to find and should have been put away out of sight. It could have bought them more time to react.

In the scenario, the unprepared husband and wife know their children have been harmed because of the commotion upstairs. The children are not with the three men who come downstairs.

The husband was given a pen to write down his info. His hands were zip tied in front of him. He could have used a ploy of saying something in a very low tone to encourage the man closest to him to bend lower. They were gagged so it would involve removing the gag to understand him.

Once the man was positioned, the husband had the option of stabbing him in the throat at the soft part above the v notch that marks the windpipe or in the eye with the pen. A swift upper cut to the jaw with his elbow or double palm strike upwards below the nose would neutralize that one long enough to go for the next man.

Zip tied arms in front of him could become a weapon simply by capturing the next man over the head from behind. A choke would take too long, but rapidly sawing back and forth, with a focus on the carotid artery would ensure a five minute departure for the second man as he bled out.

Once his wife saw him attacking the second man and using him as a barrier against the third man, she could go after the fourth man.

When he moved to restrain her, she jumped on his feet and threw her body weight against him, knocking him on the ground. Once down, she reverted to a feral response and used her teeth as a weapon and tore into the soft tissue of his carotid artery in order to stop him. The fourth man must now keep pressure on his artery or he dies faster.

She runs to the fireplace and rubs the zip tie back and forth across the sharp stone in order to free her hands. Then she grabs a heavy dining room chair and bashes it over the head of the third man who is fighting with her husband. Together they overpower him and run out of the house to find their children at the pre-arranged safe houses with their neighbors.

In the distance, the sound of sirens draw closer.

A prepared family avoids trouble through good interior and exterior security enhancements. They have a code word and plan for trouble in the home. The know how to overcome restraints. They have weapons throughout the house that can be deployed if they are caught unawares. Their preparedness allows them to always work as a team. The children know what to do and do it according to the plan. They know that in a matter of life or death, feral action is warranted.

They knew to recognize the severity of unmasked intruders who entered their home while they were at home. The unmasked aren’t trying to hide their identity, which means they intend to kill you.

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