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21 October, 2014

Some People Are Actually Listening

I've spoken many times, here on Backwoods Survival Blog, about the importance of making emergency preparedness part of how you live your life. I am the same in my everyday life. Like I'm sure a lot of you have also experienced, some people listen while others ignore you, but I am happy to say that I have reached a handful of people.

Recently, I mentioned an email conversation I'd had with a friend who was asking for advice on what he needed to go out and purchase by way of being prepared in case the Ebola outbreak becomes an all-out pandemic and either martial law is declared or if he simply wants to isolate his family and "bug in" for a 30 day period to cut down on the chances of any of them being exposed. Well, he actually isn't the only individual I know in everyday life who has approached me on a similar subject, and I wanted to share with you a few of the pictures I have received from folks who are taking emergency preparedness seriously, even if only because of the current situation.

See a few of the pictures below:

Are you ready?


20 October, 2014

Ebola Preparedness: Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself and Those You Love (Also Applies to the Future Threats of Other Possible Futue Pandemics)

As I promised you readers in a previous post a few days back, this article will attempt to take a more in-depth look and outline a few things that all of us can easily accomplish in order to better prepare ourselves for and severely limit the odds of our contracting Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.

As it stands, we currently find ourselves in what can only be thought of as a holding pattern. To date, individuals here in the United States who are confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus were healthcare workers, who who got it by treating a patient. As for everyone else who worked in the care of that patient or any of the others, the CDC has stated that if a person doesn't show symptoms within 21 days it means they are clear. So, it will be a few weeks before we can be sure the disease hasn't spread any further, and each new confirmed case that may or may not pop up restarts that clock.

In all honesty, that doesn't sound particularly terrible, but one must factor in other possibilities. For instance, any of the people who were on the plane that the second nurse flew on after becoming infected could pop up as cases, and any of them might have passed it on to other people. So, we truly are in a waiting game. And then, there was also the little situation with one of the individuals seen on television as the 29-year-old nurse was being loaded onto the plane to be transferred from Dallas to Atlanta who was not wearing a hazmat suit. The airline provided an explanation for this, stating that his role was to act as the protocol supervisor. Essentially, because the people in the protective suits have limited visibility, etc., this guy is there to give them verbal cues and things like that. Okay. So, does his clipboard make him immune to the Ebola virus or am I missing something? Is anyone out there keeping an eye on him and with everyone he is shaking hands? Checking his temperature every few hours? Because... if not, then it doesn't seem safe to me, regardless of what they say. If that poor girl happened to cough while being loaded on the plane, then that dude could very well be infected.He probably isn't, but it's that kind of stupidity and recklessness that could turn this into a true pandemic. Hell, the whole reason these two nurses were infected in the first place is because this patient should have been sent to another hospital, and even the World Health Organization is now coming to realize that they dropped the ball.

So, in accordance with all of this nonsense going on and while we hope for the best, let's also talk about how to prepare for the worst in case this thing becomes more widespread. Below you will find the things you need to know.

1. Isolate:

I don't care what anyone else tells you, the most effective way to protect yourself from contracting any illness is to stay away from other people. If Ebola becomes a more serious pandemic, that is the worst time possible for you to be doing the emergency preparations that you should be doing right now. Rather, that will be the time to avoid public places (especially indoors), public transportation, and anybody who appears to be sick, whether you think they may have Ebola or not. This will be the time to hunker down and spend a good 30 days at home with your family.If the UPS man comes to my door during that sort of a lockdown, he's quite simply crap out of luck. He's welcome to leave the package on the porch, and I'll retrieve it and disinfectant hours later when any viral particles are likely dormant.

2. Disinfect:

Wash your hands with soap and water and be sure you're doing it for at least 20 seconds. Do your best to get in the habit of avoiding touching your own eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you haven't washed your hands or sanitized them in a while or if you are in a public place where you might have picked something up. Use hand sanitizer, being sure that you have purchased the kind that is at least 60% alcohol. This is especially true whenever handling anything that has gone through exposure to a lot of people, such as doorknobs and handles in public places as well as money. Don't forget just how many hands a $5 bill passes through in its lifetime. Wipe down surfaces with disposable antiviral wipes.

3. Stuff You'll Need:

– Nonperishable food, but be sure to buy things that you know you and your family will actually eat. If you stockpile 30 days worth of food and nothing happens, all you have is a full pantry. Just like all that stuff into your regular meal plans, and you aren't out anything. Buy a bunch of crazy stuff that is just going to sit on your shelf forever, and the next time something happens you will look back the money you spent, seeing it as a waste, and you may be less likely to get prepared for something that really does occur.

– Bottled water. Personally, I prefer to buy in gallon jugs, which are readily available all over the place including Walmart for almost no money at all.

Batteries. If the power were to go out, you don't want to be stuck between the choice of sitting in the dark or having to go out in the middle of a pandemic and expose yourself to get what you need. Rather, have it readily available.

– Something to put the batteries in. I prefer lanterns with a hand-crank that take a battery backup, but most people can make do with just flashlights. Also, here is another low-cost option.

Hand sanitizer with at least a 60% alcohol content

Disposable antiviral wipes

Medical-grade rubber gloves, but keep in mind that any set of rubber gloves is better than not having any at all.

– An antiviral disinfecting cleaner, either of the commercial variety or you can simply mix nine parts water to one part bleach.

Disposable Thermometers

Heavy-duty trash bags. Be sure to mark anything hazardous as such to protect others.

– If there's any chance you'll be taking in mail or packages that need to be disinfected, be sure to have protective gear. Personally, I'm not going all out and purchasing a full hazmat suit, but N95 HEPA masks, protective goggles, heavy-duty trash bags, and some sheet plastic could definitely come in handy.

I'm sure after publishing this I'll come up with 100 other things I would've liked to have added (and I may very well come back here and add them to this article as needed), but that should give you a very good start toward being prepared for Ebola as well as any other viral pandemic that could be a future threat to us.


19 October, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 2 "Strangers"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

This episode picks up with the group of survivors traveling through the wilderness on foot, following the destruction of the cannibal enclave known as Terminus. And, as one might easily glean from the title of the episode, the major theme throughout is trust – specifically, the dangers inherent in trusting the wrong people and even in one's own natural sense of complacency. Those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist community often talk about the need of observing proper operational security when it comes to using discretion regarding the subject of sharing the details of our emergency preparedness efforts with those whom we might consider to be outsiders. It is good policy to always be careful, because one can never be sure which of these people could prove to be a problem in the future.

Best case scenario: at the onset of any emergency, you might find yourself beset by droves of people who haven't bothered to do any preparing on their own. And, in the worst-case scenario: there are those out there who do see the wisdom in preparing, only they are too lazy to do it for themselves and are instead content to wait around, knowing there are better prepared people from whom they can simply take what they need when the time arises. That may sound crazy, but believe me that I have met a few of these type. Also, there is simply the threat of violence that could arise from the first set of people who come to you, seeking aid, but aren't willing to leave when they find out that you only have enough for yourself and your loved ones or they aren't content with whatever charity you have prepared ahead of time to be able to distribute.

Needless to say, it's better simply to prepare "on the down low," trusting only those who you are sure you can trust and for whom you are willing to accept responsibility if needed in an emergency.

The truth is that, especially in a societal collapse / TSHTF sort of situation where it will be difficult to double check the stories that people give you, you can simply never know what someone you meet may be hiding. You have no way to know what they have done in the past, or what they are capable of doing again, so trust is something that should be held in a strict reserve until such time that it is earned. And, to be honest, that is a policy that we should all be practicing even right now. I have personally learned the hard way to maintain a healthy skepticism regarding human nature and pretty much everyone I meet, until such time that they prove to me what they are made of.

With regards to trusting in one's own sense of complacency, Rick does his best in this episode to make his son understand that he should keep himself in the perpetual mindset that he is never truly safe. Of course, there are times when the level of danger is lessened to the point where the characters can relax even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but what Rick is trying to impress upon Carl is that allowing yourself to feel completely safe is dangerous. Feelings of safety lead to one letting their guard down, and, in a situation where danger can arise at any second and from any direction, letting your guard down can get you killed. Even though it is highly doubtful any of us will find ourselves in the midst of this kind of zombie apocalypse, there will be danger in the event of a societal collapse. Daryl states implicitly in this very episode that people are more dangerous than Walkers, and it is that sort of people that you and I could one day find ourselves faced with. Therefore, the lesson Rick is trying to teach his son is something we should all try to learn.

Other interesting tidbits in this episode included the idea of foraging both at your local firearms retailers for weapons and ammunition, as well as the option of your local food bank for obvious reasons. The character Gabriel, introduced for the first time in this episode, tells the group that the food collected in his church's canned food drive (upon which he has survived, locked inside his church all this time) was originally destined for such a food bank that served the entire county.

Might be a good idea to locate these locations on a map and mark them. If you do this now, it would be easy enough to use Google Maps and simply print them out. Either way, be sure to place these inside two layers of Ziploc baggies to keep them from being destroyed in the event of rain or other moisture while in storage. Laminating them would be awesome, but Ziplocs will do the trick on a budget. Another lesson to glean from this episode is that, if you find yourself surviving on the road, use local phone books to get the addresses for these kinds of places, so that you can hit them and forage for supplies on your way through an area.

And, lastly, this episode includes some rumination regarding the need to think about something greater than simply surviving. In the world in which these characters exist, they're going to try to make the trip to Washington, DC in the belief that there will be infrastructure there and that one of the characters may know a cure. In the real world, however, and in my own preparations, it is simply a desire to turn my plans for survival into plans that will allow for the building of a community. I'm sure those plans are different for all of us, but we all need something for which to strive.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

18 October, 2014

Brief Email Conversation with a Friend about Ebola Preparedness

Recently, I received an email from a friend of mine with whom I have had extensive conversations about emergency preparedness and who is – thankfully – not one of the Sheeple. This guy gets it and has already started down the path of getting better prepared, but he wanted me to give him some advice about what would be needed in order for he and his family to "Bug-In" and quarantines themselves at home for a period of 30 days in the event the current Ebola outbreak escalates into a full-blown pandemic and we see martial law instituted, etc..

I'm going to write a much more extensive pandemic preparedness article in the coming week, but I wanted to share this very toned-down version that I spit out to him in a series of short emails. I think it may be important, because it mostly includes fairly inexpensive items one could pick up in a single trip out to Walmart and Lowes. As I said, it wasn't meant to be extensive, but rather a beginning that he could get started on quickly. I also haven't really edited it at all, so please excuse the issues of grammar and things like that, remembering that these were actually emails shot back and forth between two friends who have known each other nearly 20 years:

My friend's emails appear in italics and centered with my responses directly below in bold


... what do we need to make it on a month long lockdown in the house?

Can't get to what I need right now, but I'll send you a few links this evening. If you're gonna be home with power and water, though, it's mostly just food. Gotta figure out what you consume in a given month.

Have to plan for the power going out though. If this thing goes airborne, then you're looking at martial law. Locked in house. Food and water are not an issue. We started stock piling that yesterday

I'll send you some links this evening, but quick and dirty: go to Lowes this evening and buy a couple of the $16 Utilitech lanterns and a slew of batteries. I have 2 and gonna buy a third for here.

Stock up on hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, maybe 2 bottles of bleach. Those surgical masks from Walmart that people with compromised immune systems wear during flu season. Bottled water, cheap by the gallon at Walmart. If there's a chance the plumbing could go out, hit the camping section for a camp toilet. It's basically a bucket with a toilet seat for a lid. Trash bags and air freshener. A battery-powered or hand-crank (or both) radio. *BATTERIES*. Lots of them. Food that won't spoil without refrigeration. A camp stove and a bunch of little propane canisters for it. It'll be turning much colder soon: think about a propane heater like the Big Buddy and canisters for it (you can buy an adapter separately that let's you use the big propane canisters made for grills). You could conceivably keep your phones charged by using the car, but you can also get hand-crank radios and lanterns that have USB ports for a phone to be charged.

and playing cards. You forgot the playing cards

Lol. Good call. And maybe a boardgame or two. Also, while buying cans of Pork N Beans, soup, and Spaghetti Os, don't forget comfort food for a pick me up. Lunch cakes, chocolate. You get the idea.


Anyway, that was pretty much the conversation. Just thought I would share it here as a quick and dirty option for some folks looking to get a jump on pandemic preparedness for not a lot of money. As always, your comments are welcome, and please be looking out for my much more detailed pandemic preparedness article this coming week.


17 October, 2014

The Whole Ebola Situation Just Got Worse

Apparently now there is some corroborating evidence coming to light that makes it sound as though the current Ebola virus strain might actually be airborne at this point. You can ignore this information because of the website that published it if you still haven't caught on to the fact that network news media is a tool of corporations seeking profit and that alternative media is the only *REAL* news left to us. But what I would suggest is that you concentrate instead on the direct quotations contained within the text where medical experts and even the CDC's own documents and criteria are quoted.

Basically, they're playing fast and loose with the wording. Technically, it's not airborne... unless you happen to be in the same room with somebody who's infected and they cough or sneeze. Then, you might be screwed, which sounds awfully close to being airborne to me. Also, the nurse in Spain was the first person outside Africa to contract it. She hadn't been to Africa. It is surmised that she must have contracted the disease when she was helping to treat two missionaries who had returned from Africa and have since died from Ebola. The scary thing is that she walked around with this infection for a while, experiencing a fever as her only symptom. How many people did she infect during the period before she was properly diagnosed? Then, consider that there is evidence of transmission between pigs and monkeys that were kept separate, no contact. And you're hosed if you happen to shake an infected person's hand they sneezed or coughed into and didn't disinfect. Ditto when it comes to doorknobs or any other surface they might have touched right before you.

The fact is, and despite what individuals in positions of power would like us all to believe, it boldly is a much more serious pathogen then how they are making it sound. There is a reason that this bug is classified as a biosafety-level 4 (BSL-4) pathogen. It is no joke. Previously, the CDC had stated that any hospital with isolation capability would be capable of treating Ebola patients, but they quickly had to backtrack. It seems that the recently deceased Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas was the only one so far to be treated in a normal facility, rather than a specialized unit following BSL-4 protocols. And so it shouldn't surprise us that it was at this facility where mistakes were made, resulting in the infection of a healthcare worker caring for that patient.

So, what happens if things go badly and this does turn into an all-out pandemic? Because, apparently, running down to your local ER is going to do you very little good and will probably just result in you infecting other people. But, then again, I suppose you could then be shipped to a hospital with the proper gear, training, and facilities to handle Ebola patients... but you probably shouldn't count on it. Another very scary thing about this outbreak and its chance to develop into a full-blown pandemic is that there is exactly one facility set up to handle things the way they should be, and they can do a pretty good job of taking care of a whopping 10 people.

Still feel good about the things that the CDC are telling you? Well, good for you. But remember, it is their job to do everything in their power *NOT* to cause a panic. And what that really means is that by the time they would ever tell you things are bad, it will already be too late.


16 October, 2014

The Very Idea of a Pandemic Is Terrifying

I'll be honest with you: the idea of pandemic disease is the one possible future threat that frightens me the most. There's just something about the idea of something that can invade your body without your knowledge, wreak havoc, and ultimately be your demise, while – even worse – using your bodily systems as the Petri dish it needs to possibly mutate and become even more dangerous, and use you as the vehicle through which it spreads itself to the people you love and have sworn to protect. In the long list of things that are often talked about in the Prepper / Survivalist community, I can't think of anything scarier than a particularly virulent pandemic plague loose in the world like a wild brushfire. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time might remember that the impetus of my awakening to the need to be prepared was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but it has been the threat of pandemic disease that has always gnawed at me, kept me awake at night, and kept me on the track of emergency preparedness.

With all that being said, it should be no surprise that I have been voraciously digesting all of the coverage of the recent Ebola outbreak. And I have to say, despite all of their reassurances that the situation is not serious, I still keep hearing about things that make me very uneasy. For instance, Congress apparently set aside money for the Department of Homeland Security to stock supplies that will be needed in the event of a pandemic, so they've got a bunch of things like hand sanitizer, antiviral medications, respirators, etc. sitting in warehouses somewhere in the event that it is needed. Sounds great, right? Well, not exactly: it seems that a lot of the perishable items in that stockpile have either expired or will be expiring very soon.

Granted, most of you reading this blog know just as well as I do the falsity of expiration dates. Odds are nothing in those supplies are completely useless, but even the medications that are still safe to consume after their expiration date tend to lose potency and effectiveness over time. So, there's a good chance that if things turn ugly we might at least have a chance at getting some antiviral drugs into our system, but there's no way to know if the dose we receive will do anything for us. I don't know about you, but it irks me pretty badly and frightens me a bit that the Department of Homeland Security hasn't been more on top of that sort of thing.

But it seems they have a difficult time prioritizing their threats. We all know that terrorism and the like are very serious issues that require the attention of the department, but pandemic disease has the potential to kill far more Americans. Even as bad as the attacks on 9/11 were, we lost over 3000 souls... if a pandemic hits this country, we will lose far more than that even in the best case scenario and many of those will be very young children whose immune systems are unable to fight off the disease effectively. Yet, when it is time to dole out funding, pandemic preparedness takes a backseat to the other threats. It is mind numbingly stupid.

And, as if we didn't already have enough to worry about: if this thing develops into a bigger crisis it will also create a terrible strain on the already beleaguered economy as well. Pay close attention to how this thing unfolds, folks. The next few months could be very interesting.


15 October, 2014

A Terrifying Example of the True Idiocracy in Which We Live

A recent quote from one of my Professors:

"Sadly, a high percentage of Americans do not know basic information about the Constitution.

Here are some examples:

'What is the supreme law of the land?' Seventy-percent of the 1,000 citizens polled by Newsweek could not answer the 'Constitution.'

Sixty-one percent didn't know that the length of a U.S. senator's term is six years, 63 percent couldn't name the number of Supreme Court justices on the bench (nine), and 86 percent didn't know that 435 members fill the U.S. House of Representatives.

And finally, fifty percent could not name an amendment to the Constitution, and twenty percent said the Constitution has never been amended."

I may weep for our future. A culture this stupid is destined for extinction..


14 October, 2014

The "Everyman" Every-Day Carry (EDC) Survival Kit

I must say that, of all the aspects of emergency preparedness, coming up with an everyday-carry (or EDC) kit for myself is something that I have never given a great deal of thought toward, but that is about to change. Have a look at the following very informative article below. I will personally be using it as a guidework for a DIY kit that I'm going to create for myself in the next few weeks and months. And, needless to say, I will document my assembling of his kit here on Backwoods Survival Blog.

The "Everyman" Every-Day Carry (EDC) Survival Kit: "I've seen dozens of Altoid Tin and similar survival kits here on Instructables and elsewhere. Many of them are quite good, while others--both home built and off-the-shelf--are left lacking some key components. EDC kits are as varied as the people who create them, but there are some key features and "must have" items they have in common...no matter if you're traversing the urban wilderness or truly miles from civilization..."


13 October, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 Premiere - Episode 1 "No Sanctuary"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

Tonight's episode was the much anticipated season five premiere, and it was full of action. In fact, it may represent an example of one of the most action-packed episodes in the series, which was a refreshing change from the sedate atmosphere of last season. With all of that said, here are my thoughts:

We last left Rick and company as prisoners of the people at the compound known as Terminus, and that's where this episode picks up. As we saw before, Terminus is not the hopeful paradise these characters were looking for, and we find them imprisoned in an abandoned railway car, improvising weapons to use against their captors at their first opportunity (i.e. weapons they have fashioned from their belts, earrings, etc.). As it turns out, however, their captors are accustomed to dealing with prisoners and handling them, so not only do their weapons do them little good (initially), but we also see a terrifying side of the people at Terminus which has only been hinted at previously.

I do my very best not to end up simply describing everything that occurred in the episode, since it is preferable by most people to see it for themselves and not be spoiled on the Internet, so I won't say what exactly occurs to get them out of the mess they find themselves in. Rather, as a member of the Prepper / Survivalist community, I find it more useful to center on a discussion about Terminus. It isn't hard to figure out, from the clues we were shown in the closing moments of season four, that the people of Terminus are cannibals. This is a tried and true plot device of virtually all Doomer Fiction. The cannibals always seem to show up eventually. And, to be honest, it's a particular aspect of the things that we discuss, read, and write about that I would really like to believe to be impossible... but, then, I remember everything I know about human nature, and I am disheartened in my faith that in a truly apocalyptic / societal collapse situation, such behavior would occur. In fact, we know that it has been practiced throughout human history in times of great hardship, so we would be fools not to believe it could (and very likely would) happen again.

Somehow, though, the behavior being practiced by the people of Terminus is even more terrifying in how they go about things. One thing I truly enjoy about "The Walking Dead" is that a running theme throughout the entire storyline of, basically, every season has been and the writers of the show have never shied away from the basic truth that we were all taught as children, watching "Scooby Doo" - the real monsters are always other people. Terminus is a perfect example of that, but it's so much more as well. They go about their particular brand of cannibalism in such a way that it is almost clinical in its utter lack of passion. They have essentially adopted the mindset that, since the collapse of society, each person must either choose to be the cattle or the butcher, and they go about their evil deeds much in the same fashion that a butcher would deal with livestock. In my mind, this makes their actions even more disturbing.

The writers of the show also utilized some interesting time jumps in this episode to give us enough background to understand just exactly how Terminus became the slaughterhouse we see it to be. Sadly, it seems it really did start out as a refuge for survivors. The only problem with that plan occurred when untrustworthy people accepted their invitation and took over the place, raping and killing at will. Eventually, the people of Terminus escaped, fought them, and retook their haven, but it is obvious from what they have become now that they would have been better off had they died. They allowed the things that happened to them to completely steal their humanity, turning them into something not entirely unlike a cult which lures in unsuspecting people in order to rob and consume them like livestock. Needless to say, the lesson we each need to learn from this type of subject matter is one that I have preached many, many times, and that is the importance of operational security. These people advertised their safe refuge in an effort to bring in other survivors and build a community. A lofty and commendable goal, in truth. But, in return for their humanitarian efforts, they saw their haven taken from them and their people raped and murdered; and, in the end, it destroyed them. Be very careful who you allow into your circle when it comes to your efforts toward being prepared, and, even if you have a mind toward charity in emergency situations (as I do), be smart and use proper discretion with regard to how you choose to dole out that charity. Always be cognizant of the dangers posed by outsiders. In a societal collapse situation, the threat represented by other people will be the greatest threat we all face.

Another very important theme that plays out throughout this episode is that one must be willing to do what is necessary in order to survive. Needless to say, the people of Terminus are a shining example of taking this ideal in a very bad direction. The difference being, of course, that the only people they were justified in killing were those individuals that victimized them, not the countless others they have murdered and eaten since. The flip side of this ideal, however, is presented to us in the person of Tyreese, who is still traveling with Carol and the baby, but seems initially unable to bring himself to kill even a Walker. Carol basically tells him he has to get over it in order to survive, but it isn't until one of the people from Terminus threatens the baby that he can bring himself to kill again. The moral we must all take from this is that it doesn't have to involve violence, but the fact is that in any type of true societal collapse / TSHTF situation there are going to be things we will have to do in order to survive that we may not be able to imagine ourselves doing right now. And that's okay. But, if you have the foresight to be preparing (which should describe most of the readers of this blog), then I would say that your preparations are lacking if they do not also include the mental preparations required to bring your self to do what is necessary for you and your family and friends to survive.

One nitpicky complaint: no matter how much fun it might be to show it as a plot device in Doomer Fiction, the scene where Carol shoots a hole in the large propane tank - from a pretty great distance, no less - is *NOT* indicative of reality. The gentleman on MythBusters proved quite a while ago that putting a hole in one of these tanks is damn near impossible. I won't speak to caliber and whether or not that could make a difference, because I do not remember the calibers they tested on MythBusters, but the best they were able to get was a pretty big dent in the metal, if memory serves.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

12 October, 2014

I Just Can't Trust Them

I don't care how hard I try, I simply cannot bring myself to feel anywhere near as safe regarding Ebola as these people so desperately want me to. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm just a conspiracy-minded maniac, thinking tinfoil hat thoughts, but even the CDC admits that Ebola could very well become "the worst pandemic the world has seen since aids."

Yet, they seem to be spending a lot of time and effort in the attempt to make sure we all know that it isn't an easy disease to contract. And, on the surface, that might very well be true. As it stands right now (and barring a mutation of the disease, which – by the way – becomes ever more likely with each patient infected), the only way to contract the disease is through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. That doesn't sound so bad. Unlike healthcare workers, I don't spend a great deal of my time handling other people's blood, etc. But, do you know what I do handle on a regular basis? Doorknobs.

As disconcerting as it may sound, all it would take is for an infected person to sneeze into their hand without properly disinfecting it afterwards and then use the door in a public place. Sure, it may be that the disease can't live long on an artificial surface, but who's to say how far behind that person any of us could be as we unknowingly expose ourselves to a deadly disease.

And one thing we should always remember in the interests of fomenting a healthy skepticism is that, even if things were much worse than they are letting on, there's simply no way they would tell us. It is the job of those in positions of authority to keep from creating a mass panic. I, for one, don't believe very much of what I am told by these people, and so I am preparing for the worst even as I hope and pray for the best.

My prescription is that all of you reading this should prepare accordingly.

Ebola survivor speaks out about how Ebola can escalate

28 September, 2014

Sad But True

It's a real shame that things have come to so sad a state over the years, until now finally this statement couldn't be more true. That's what happens when the media, once a service provided in return for free use of the airwaves, becomes a profit-seeking venture that contains more entertainment news than *REAL* news, and when the majority of major mainstream media outlets are owned by a cabal of conglomerate corporations eager to push their own agendas and hide inconvenient truths from the public.

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 9 "After"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

This episode, of course, deals with the aftermath of the disastrous attack on the prison that led to the fences failing and a full evacuation becoming necessary as the place was overrun with Walkers. For our purposes, we can deal with the prison stronghold as we would with any other fortified survival retreat, and one thing is for certain: just as the show portrays, the time directly following such a hasty evacuation will be chaos with loved ones and friends becoming separated from one another.

As I stated in the previous review, much of the consternation that will no doubt follow the evacuation could have been mitigated by simply setting a rally point a few miles down the road, where any survivors of a rout like the one we witnessed at the prison could meet, regroup, and form up once again together. In the absence of such a plan, the best thing that one can do is to attempt to watch for tracks or other signs of egress in order to reconnect with the group members from which you find themselves separated.

There will likely pass some time before it is possible (if it does prove to be possible at all) to regroup with friends or family, so it is important to keep one's own survival skills honed and to always be on the lookout for possible shelter and supplies. Abandoned homes and even cars would be good places to search. Again, these writings don't refer to a natural disaster when this sort of foraging could teach you in deep trouble because it is considered looting, but rather we are discussing how to handle things in an all-out SHTF / TEOTWAWKI / societal collapse. In that sort of environment, abandoned homes and cars could both contain supplies one might find useful as well as guarantee protection from the elements. If in an automobile, try to choose one in an out-of-the-way spot or move it there yourself, so that you are less easily detected. In a residential dwelling, be sure to secure the door, pull all shades, observe light discipline after dark, and be as quiet as possible. This should help you lay low until such time as you are able to move on.

If possible, try to group together with at least one other survivor in your attempts to reconnect with your group. Surviving alone adds a higher level of difficulty to the entire situation. Not only is there no one to watch her back, but even something as simple as falling asleep would be very dangerous without someone to keep watch. Such situations are far more easily endured when two or more people can sleep in shifts with at least one of them keeping watch at all times.

And, lastly, with respect to a survival situation where children or adolescents are involved, it becomes your responsibility to help them build confidence in their own instincts. Teach them how to survive, including having your children join in on the things you are doing right now, so long as they are old enough as to not frighten them. Even as you help them gain their feet as young men and women in an uncertain world, however, always understand that they need you for emotional support.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

27 September, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 4 - Episode 8 "Too Far Gone"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

The greatest lesson you and I can learn from watching this episode is that, whether you are a determined Prepper with a fully stocked-survival retreat or simply someone who possesses the skills needed to thrive and find a home among a group of like-minded survivors in the event of a societal collapse, someone out there is inevitably going to want what you have. In the aftermath of a true TEOTWAWKI event, every person who has managed to keep themselves alive is going to be looking for a place that affords them a greater level of safety than being on the open road or in a soft target situation like your average residential tract home. And, you better believe, the blood, sweat, and tears you and yours have poured into carving out your little spot for survival is going to look pretty good to them.

While I have always rejected the idea that being a Prepper or even an old-style Survivalist is all about weapons and running around in the woods, dressed in camouflage, the truth of the matter is that you are wasting your time and effort working on emergency preparedness if you aren't also willing and capable of defending what is yours after TSHTF. The other option is to simply try your best to stay invisible and slink around the edges, so that you don't draw an attack. That is a fools game in my mind, however, unless it is your only choice. A single-family unit of only a few people can survive this way, but it won't be easy and there is no guarantee you won't be found in any way, no matter how good you think you are at hide and seek. If you live in a climate where it gets cold in the winter, give a few moments of thought to just how far the smoke from your woodstove travels into the sky and what a stark contrast it makes from miles and miles away. Being completely out of sight will be almost impossible for most of us, so I favor surviving in some sort of stronghold instead. If that interests you, you might take a moment and read some of my articles about Medieval Survivalism.

But, as I said, you need to be willing and able to do what is necessary to defend the infrastructure that helps you and the people you love to survive. For the record, though, if the people attacking you have a tank, you might want to speak to them very, very politely and try to work something out. Just sayin'.

It turns out that The Governor has changed somewhat, but in many ways he is still the same man we saw wreaking havoc during season three of the show. He is still, obviously, something of a cold, calculating psychopath. This is a state of mind and personality that doesn't simply go away, and it isn't even always dangerous in a murdery sort of way. There's a lot of research, for instance, that says many successful business people have tendencies that might sometimes verge on psychopathy or sociopathy. But, in the event of an all-out pseudo-Apocalypse where TS has HTF and society has collapsed taking with it the structure of law and order that keeps people in check, society's thin veneer is stripped away and someone like this becomes very dangerous indeed.

Yet, he also truly loves his new adopted family and simply wants to make sure that they are safe, no matter what he has to do to achieve that safety. He knows (and he is correct) that the way their group has been surviving is a temporary situation, wherein they will continue to be steadily picked-off, needled down, and kept weak until finally a herd of Walkers passes through and simply wipes them out in one fell stroke. It could happen next week or next year, but the odds are that it is going to happen eventually. He knows that they need a stronghold in order to thrive. He was previously instrumental in building Woodbury as a bulwark of civilization, behind the walls of which people lived in a state of almost peace and normalcy, and he knows that is key. If you recall, he had originally wanted the prison in the first place but was assured that it was far too overrun with Walkers, and so the town was taken and fortified as a second choice.

Well, now he wants the prison again.

I'm sure there is an element of revenge present, but it is obviously secondary to his wanting to keep his new family safe. He could have killed Michonne immediately, instead of using her as a bargaining chip, but he let her live because – as much as he might like to see her dead – the goal of getting his adopted family inside the safety of those walls is paramount in his mind. And, despite all the bad he is done, there is a certain nobility in what he is doing. He is willing to do whatever it takes, including setting aside his own anger, in order to do what must be done to achieve the safety of those for whom he has accepted responsibility.

Another really important thing this episode demonstrates is that the group at the prison has a plan in place in case it becomes necessary to evacuate. That is an awesome thing for us to all keep in mind. Rick and company basically have a running prison bus parked out back and pre-stocked with supplies to act as an escape vehicle in the event that things go terribly wrong. That one is definitely going into my retreat planning.

Unfortunately, it seems the one forward thinking thing they failed to do was to set a rally point somewhere a few miles distant where all survivors are supposed to meet and regroup in the event of an evacuation... also now a part of my personal survival retreat planning.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below: