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31 December, 2012

A Primer on General Basic Emergency Preparedness: Food Storage

Other articles in this series include Water Safety and Storage and Basic Survival Gear

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FOOD STORAGE


Photo courtesy of The Urban Apocalypse Blog
With regard to food storage, there are, essentially, two ways to go, and once you've decided on which path you intend to take, then there are other options that will allow you to personalize your larder.  The two big choices one must decide between in the very beginning is whether to purchase foodstuffs that are more expensive, but have outrageously long shelf-lives; or, less expensive fair that won't last as long and will, therefore, have to be rotated through regular usage more quickly.

In my opinion, the first option is best, for the simple reason that the shelf-lives are so long that it allows you to fairly quickly build-up a decent supply without simply replacing what you and your family have eaten.

For this, of course, we're talking about either staple foods such as wheat, oats, beans, rice, etc. or entrees and sides that have been preserved by freeze-drying or dehydrating.  Regardless, all of it is packed in airtight, vacuum-sealed cans or food-grade plastic buckets.  Personally, I prefer a mixture of both.

I am an unabashed fan of storing oats as a primary staple food, along with a smattering of freeze-dried/dehydrated long-term storage foodsMountain House is a tried-and-true brand, but there are many other great ones out there.  Don't forget to add some odds 'n ends, such as peanut butter, salt, drink mixes, desserts, and sugar to round-out your pantry.

MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) are also an option.

Oh, and honey.  Honey stores for- damn near -ever and has many, many uses, not the least of which is to dress-up all the oatmeal you've stored, making it easier for finicky eaters to stomach for long periods.  Also, it can be used to make mead (honey wine).

If preparing on a restricted budget and/or your only worry is short-term emergencies, such as blizzards/power outages, etc., then you can probably get by on a lot less.  My advice, in this instance, would be for you to just get used to buying larger quantities of the items you already purchase at the grocery store.  Of course, you will need to keep shelf-stability without refrigeration in mind.  A freezer full of pork chops won't be doing you much good in an extended grid-down scenario like we here in the Appalachians experienced during the blizzard of 1993 or the derecho storms of last Summer.

Photo courtesy of TheSurvivalMom
If you know your family will willingly eat soup or chili or beef stew, get in the habit of buying several more cans each month then you know you'll use.  Buy them every month, even if you've already got a ton come grocery day, and don't stop buying them until you've got enough to feed your household for several weeks without leaving home.  Always be sure to clearly mark these cans, so that you can use them in a first-in-first-out approach, always ensuring that the oldest cans are being consumed first and replaced with newer, fresher ones.

Just for the record, though, canned foods will keep for a long, long time.

Spend a few days taking notice of the things you most frequently run out of, such as tea or coffee or even Kool-aid drink mix, and be sure to buy extras of those little odds 'n ends as well.  An old-style Percolator can be used to make great-tasting coffee without electricity (see off-grid stove options below).  Put a little money toward, at least, a small supply of canned or dehydrated milk and rotate it each month religiously; even if not for drinking, you may need it for cooking.  Never be caught at home without everyday items like sugar, salt and other spices, cooking oil, hot cocoa mix, zip-loc baggies, toilet paper, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products (these can double as wound dressings), tinfoil, shampoo, toothpaste, and soaps (personal and laundry).

If you have pets, don't forget about their needs.  They'll have to eat and drink as well.

And, for God's sake, make it your #1 priority to make sure you have a MANUAL CAN OPENER!

FEMAs preparedness guidelines make a very good point in that they advise that you should store foods that will give you proper balanced nutrition without making you thirsty.  They suggest things like salt-free crackers and canned foods with a high liquid content.  In my experience, a liquid-heavy diet can even reduce the amount of water you need to drink in a day, depending on how heavily salted the foods are (a lot of canned soups are heavily salted, for instance, in order to preserve them longer).  This can help in that it will help you ration your stored water for a longer period.

FEMA says that every American should have a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and a gallon of water stored for each member of the family, but I call that foolhardy.  You don't have to go all-out and stock enough food for months or years, like some of us more serious Preppers do, but 3 days isn't nearly enough.  My advice is to use that as your absolute minimum benchmark, then keep adding to it.  Three days might put you further ahead on the proverbial curve than some people, but that just means you'll start either starving or turn into a refugee a bit later than the rest.

In the derecho storms last Summer, me and mine fared pretty well, but there were those without power for weeks.  At least, it was Summer, though, and so they could get out to get assistance from aid organizations and local fire departments, etc. who trucked-in food and water.  In the Blizzard of '93, however, I remember being stranded on our mountain with snow above the windowsills and no power for more than 3 weeks.  We heated water on a kerosene heater that only kept running because my cousin was on leave from the Navy when the blizzard hit; he climbed out a window, dug a path around to the door so the dog could be let out, and walked a mile to purchase kerosene every few days.  Having only a 3-day supply of food would have been disastrous for us, so I urge you to take the FEMA recommendations as a base-point, not a definitive goal.

If you have a wood-burning stove, you can learn to cook on it very effectively will a little practice, and warming-up a pot of sour on one is idiot-proof.  Purchasing a Dutch Oven will allow for some great versatility in what you can make.  If you are without a woodstove, however, another option is to purchase a small camp stove and be sure to stockpile some fuel for it.  If you buy the kind that runs on propane, the small canisters they run off of will store indefinitely, so stock-up.  If you live in a wooded area, I would suggest a Solo Stove as the only fuel needed to run this unit is the tiny twig-sized wood that can be found all over the place with very little effort.

With all of that said, I further urge you to delve into starting your own vegetable garden and learning to can your own produce.

Also, it's not food but they do qualify as consumables, so I'm going to go ahead and mention them in this post: medications.  If anyone in your family is dependent on medications to survive, such as blood-pressure pills, insulin, or asthma inhalers, talk to the doctor and see if he/she would be willing to write you a prescription for more than the normal time-span.  That way, if caught unawares by a sudden storm or disaster, you'll be more likely to be good for a longer period.  Also, before doing this, you may need to check with your insurance carrier to see what they max is that they'll cover.

Don't forget OTC meds as well.  Painkillers such as Tylenol can come in very handy in stressful, headache-inducing situations as well as in easing achiness associated with illness or having to get off our collective fat arses to do things we're more accustomed to having fragile technology do for us.  Also, if you or a loved one falls ill at a point when getting to the ER isn't possible, a simple OTC anti-diarrhea medication could be the only thing that staves off serious dehydration and even death.  That's rare here in the West, but people die of dysentery in the Third World all the time.  Prepare accordingly.

As always, feel free to add to the discussion via the comments section.



MOVIE REVIEW: "Volcano" (1997)

Along with it's more intelligent cousin that came out in the same year, "Volcano" (1997) helped to make certain that 1997 is now officially remembered as the year of geological and geothermal instability on the big screen, at least until the disaster film genre has another resurgence.

First, let me say this film had a lot of potential.  The general idea really does have the makings of a great story and parts of it even show signs of being much smarter than the final result turns out to be.

The general concept, of course (for those who spent the late '90s somehow away from civilization), revolves around the idea that tectonic shifting causes a series of earthquakes and opens a fissure, allowing magma to rise to the surface, essentially creating a volcano where none previously existed (really happens, but only rarely).  The hook?  This new fissure opens directly beneath the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Avenue in the middle of the Miracle Mile district in the city of Los Angeles!

Oh, and it reeks of the unadulterated awesomeness that seeps from the pores of Mr. Tommy Lee Jones... the problem is that isn't all that reeks about it.

Basically, the filmmakers took a very cool concept, added just the right amount of stuff blowing-up, and then somehow managed to sour the finished product.  What could have been a really great film instead became a mediocre film; without Tommy Lee Jones, it may very well have been unwatchable.

There's a particularly stupid scene that is supposed to leave the viewer moved by one man's heroic self-sacrifice to save another, but it plays-out so absurdly that you're left wondering, for the briefest moment, if it was meant to be a really bad try at dark comedy instead of drama.  I don't want to spoil anything specific, but it involves a middle-aged guy who is in about average physical condition carrying a fatter guy on his shoulders "Fireman's Carry"-style; he can't save himself and the other guy too, so he sacrifices his life to save the wounded man.

The absurd part comes into play when he full body-press flings the much larger man (who is unconscious, so he's all dead weight) over his head like a pro wrestler, then sinks into the lava flow feet-first like some idiocy  straight out of the scene from "The Wizard of Oz" where the Wicked Witch melts.  It came off as so insanely stupid that it ruins what was clearly meant to be a solemn moment.

Also, there's a fairly pointless subplot that takes place between an apparently racist police officer and a young, stereotypically urban African American guy that was obviously meant to attempt to say something about race relations in the city in the years immediately following the riots.  There are some very cheesy racial undertones that made me groan near the end as well.

All in all, if you're a fan of the disaster film genre, this one is an okay entry; but it's nothing to write home about.  If you're a casual viewer, however, it could be that you might actually find more things to dislike about this film than you like.

What do you think?


Say Goodbye To The Good Life

Originally published back on Christmas Eve, so she's a few days old, but still timely enough to be worth a read.
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Say Goodbye To The Good Life: Will this be the last normal holiday season that Americans ever experience? To many Americans, such a notion would be absolutely inconceivable. After all, in the affluent areas of the country restaurants and malls are absolutely packed. Beautiful holiday decorations are seemingly everywhere this time of the year and children all over the United States are breathlessly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. Even though poverty is exploding to unprecedented levels, most families will still have mountains of presents under their Christmas trees. Of course a whole lot of those presents were purchased with credit cards, but people don't like to talk about that. It kind of spoils the illusion. Sadly, the truth is that our entire economy is a giant illusion. The extreme prosperity that we have been enjoying has been fueled by debt, and any future prosperity that we will experience is completely dependent on our ability to go into even more debt. The total amount of debt in our economy is almost 10 times larger than it was just 30 years ago, but we don't like to think about that too much. Most Americans are way too busy living the good life to be bothered with "doom and gloom". Well, get ready to say goodbye to normal. As history has shown us, no financial bubble lasts forever, and time is rapidly running out for us.

You know that the hour is late when even mainstream news sources start publishing articles with titles such as this: "Will 2013 Mark the Beginning of American Decline?"

That article appeared on Bloomberg.com the other day, and it was written by Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. He is convinced that a day of reckoning is coming for U.S. government finances, and he seems resigned to the fact that we will not be ready when that day arrives...



What is the Best Emergency Food for Survival Preparedness or Self-Reliance?



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Drugged Culture


Tiny House, Big Freedom

Tiny House, Big Freedom | Photo Gallery - Yahoo! Shine: Ella Jenkins has been living in a space about the size of a shipping container since October—and loving every minute of it. She built her own 130-square-foot house with the help of framing plans and her stepfather, and is now part of a growing trend of people who reside in “tiny houses,” miniature abodes that are modestly priced, eco-friendly and minimalistic...

[Follow Link Above to View Pics]



30 December, 2012

A Primer on General Basic Emergency Preparedness: Water Safety and Storage

Recently, a dear friend of mine since our undergraduate college days followed my recommendation and read the novel "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen (Kindle edition).  She loved the book, but it also terrified her to the point where, for the first time, she asked me to put together a list for her of some things she would be wise to sock-away in the basement in case of emergencies.  Rather than do this strictly in private (though I will be consulting with her privately), I decided to publish it here on the blog for others to read as well.

This is to represent a primer on basic general preparedness when it comes to a supply of clean drinking water.  Later posts will concentrate specifically on other aspects of preparedness and for specific scenarios, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.  It was originally my intention to write a post that would act as a list of general items needed for (in home, as opposed to "bug-out") preparedness that every family should have the foresight to procure, but it grew in the writing into what will now be a series of articles.  Together, these will describe an average family's survival preparedness supplies; a list that can be upgraded and augmented later, and that is the product of both the recommendations found in U.S. government FEMA guidelines as well as my own expertise and experience.

Other articles in this series include Food Storage and Survival Gear

WATER


Water is the cornerstone of all life on this planet, and therefore it should come as no surprise that it represents the most central part of all preparedness plans.  It is often heard repeated among survivalist and emergency preparedness circles that survival works, roughly, by the Rule of 3.  In harsh conditions, one will only survive around 3 hours without appropriate shelter; 3 weeks without nutritious food; or 3 days without clean drinking water.  For the purposes of this writing, we are assuming a scenario where the family will be "sheltering-in" inside their own home, therefore water is our prime concern.

The standard rule in preparedness circles is that you should store one gallon (128 fluid oz.) of water per day per member of your family.  This includes drinking water as well as allotments for cooking and hygiene.  That said, you can get by on less, if you're willing to play fast and loose with putting up with each other's stink and if you're food supplies are such that they do not require extra water i.e. canned soups, etc.  A typical, physically-active adult will require one half-gallon (64 fluid oz.) of water just for drinking in order to maintain optimum health.  This also can vary, depending on such criteria as age, physical condition, level of physical activity, diet, and climate.  Expect children, nursing mothers, and ill people to require more water.  Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed, and more might be required in the event of illness or a medical emergency.

If there is a source of water near your home, even if you are unsure how clean it is, this can make things much less complicated for you.  If readily available, even water of dubious origin is easy enough to make drinkable.  NOTE: We are not talking about water that could have been compromised/poisoned by chemicals, but rather a supply that could contain harmful protasoa, bacteria, and viruses i.e. a spring, lake, river, or pond.

If you do not have a source of water available to you, you may skip the next section and go on to the discussion of water storage.

Questionable water can be treated and made safe to drink through the following:

1.) Filtering.  The best option is to purchase any of the Berkey filter models and a bunch of extra filtering elements (these can be stockpiled a bit at a time over the months following the purchase of the filter itself).  Kits are available to test city water for eight common contaminants and well water for 10 harmful contaminants.

Also, I have seen people with basic knowledge of plumbing create a similar apparatus by stacking two food-grade plastic buckets and adding a real Berkey filter element between them; you pour the questionable water into the top bucket and it passes through the filter element into the bottom bucket, where you then access the clean water via an installed spigot that is available at any hardware store.  I suppose a siphon would also work.  You basically end-up with a filter that does the same thing as a real Berkey unit, but it is decidedly less attractive and requires DIY knowledge on your part.

A cheaper option for a filter would be to purchase one or more of the filters that are made for backpacking/hiking.  Katadyn makes good models.  Still more affordable is a model made by Coghlan (and it's extra filter replacements).  Be advised, however, that the Coghlan rig is only good for 400 quarts i.e. 100 gallons before the filter needs replaced, whereas the ceramic filters in the Katadyn's are good for thousands of gallons if you keep them clean.
In addition, Katadyn is trusted by millions worldwide: they are used extensively by the U.S. military (their hand-held desalinators are standard equipment in Navy life-rafts and fighter aircraft ejection seats have Katadyn units included in their attached survival gear).  Likewise, they are utilized by the militaries of Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, and Switzerland; the Red Cross and many other relief agencies use Katadyn products in challenging conditions, including tsunami relief efforts; and, hikers, campers, and backpackers around the globe rely on Katadyn to provide safe drinking water. 
Still other filtering options include individual straw-type filters, such as the LifeStraw, Frontier, and Survival Straw brands.
2.) Treating.  Questionable water can be made safe to drink via treating with special chemical solutions, such as Purification Tabs / Tablets / Pills or through the use of a product like the PurifiCup.
3.) Ultraviolet purification.  Ultraviolet light destroys harmful bacteria.  Products that are available for this process are marketed under the SteriPen brand.
4.) Disinfecting.  A tried-and-true method of disinfecting scummy water is achieved simply by bringing it to a good, rolling boil for about 10 minutes.  By and large, this will kill *MOST* of the bad stuff, but has the disadvantage of requiring you to use fuel that you have set aside for cooking.  A better option is to disinfect any water that comes from a source that hasn't already been treated with a tiny bit of bleach, as this is the same method used by municipal utilities.  Simply use eight (8) drops of *UNSCENTED* liquid household chlorine bleach per 1 gallon of water, and allow 30 minutes or so for the chlorine taste/smell to subside.  Many folks say 2-3 drops is enough, but the Clorox company, themselves advise 8 drops per gallon of clear water and 16 drops per gallon of cloudy or suspect water.


If you have no access to natural sources of water, then storing a supply is your only alternative.  All stored water must be kept in food-grade plastic containers.  Avoid glass containers as they break too easily.  One option utilized by many is to simply purchase cases of commercially-bottled water and rotate their supply.  You may, likewise, store your own water in clear plastic 2 or 3-liter soda bottles.  Stay away from milk-type jugs as these are not meant for long-term storage and will break-down over time, leaching chemicals into your water.

If using the clear plastic bottles, you need to thoroughly clean them with dish-washing soap and rinse them out really well to get rid of all the soap.  Then, sanitize them with a solution made by adding one (1) teaspoon of *UNSCENTED* liquid household chlorine bleach to about a quart of water -- swish the sanitizing solution around, so that it touches all surfaces inside the bottle, then rinse thoroughly again with clean water.

Any stored water that originally comes from a municipal source i.e. "tap" water can be stored in the bottles after they are cleaned without any further treatment.  Fill the bottles completely and seal them tightly, using the bottle's original cap (this is to ensure a tight fit).  Be careful not to touch the inside of the cap or mouth of the bottle with your fingers in order to be sure bacteria present on your hands does not contaminate the bottle you just disinfected.  Date the outside of the container, so that you are aware of when it was filled, then store in a cool, dark place.

Do not use a typical garden hose to fill your containers, as this can result in both bacteria and trace amounts of lead being introduced to your water storage.

It is best to rotate your water supply to keep it fresh, but water never really goes "bad."  Water that has been stored for long periods can have a bit of a stale taste, but this can often be rectified by re-oxygenating it.  All you need to do is pour it back and forth between different containers, and this will solve that issue.  Treating with bleach before using is always a good idea, just to be safe.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not inform you that FEMA suggests that you rotate it every six (6) months.  Also, if I decided to store water beyond the FEMA suggestion, I would consider treating it with the bleach disinfecting process described above before drinking, just in case any bacteria made its way into my supply.

The large, 5+ gallon water cooler-type bottles are a decent option for long-term storage as well.  Granted, they're bulky and they don't stack, so they will take-up more room than some other options might, but they should keep well.  Wal-mart sells them pre-filled with Polar Spring or other brand bottled water, and they should be good as-is for as long as 2 years (in my experience) without you doing anything other than keeping them in a cool, dark place protected from possible freezing.  I can't speak to how well they'll last after the 2 year mark, but it would be easy enough to rotate them at that point or to treat them as you would other water with 8 or so drops of *UNSCENTED* bleach per gallon.  Obviously, if you buy them empty and fill them yourself from the tap, it wouldn't hurt to do the same before you seal them.

FEMA guidelines say it's okay to store tap water with no further treatment, but you aren't going to poison yourself if you add a few drops just to be safe.  By the time you get around to using any of it, the bleach will have dissipated.  This is also true of the 2- or 3-liter bottles.  You can do this before you store it or before you use it.  In fact, the latter is probably the best idea.  READ: You need to store some *UNSCENTED* chlorine bleach.  Another good idea is to cover your stored water with a couple of layers of black trash bags, so that it's in total darkness; this will retard any algae/bacteria growth.

Also, it is often overlooked, but the fact is that most of the people reading this are already storing water, where they are aware of it or not.  To be succinct, most hot water heaters and toilet tanks represent readily-available sources of water you can utilize in an emergency.  In the case of the hot water heater, we're talking about a supply that could top 40-50 gallons and which is just as clean as what comes from the tap.  Be advised, however, that the water from your toilet tank may not be drinkable if you use one of those in-tank cleaners, due to the chemicals involved.

If you aren't going to store water regularly, one needs to keep their ear to the grindstone and not be caught unawares in an emergency.  At the first sign of trouble, it will be important to fill all bathtubs and available containers as quickly as possible.  Even in a situation as severe as an EMP attack, where we won't get any warning and the power for the pumps fails, all of the water that's already in the pipes is there; you just need to acquire and store it before others use it up on frivolous things like long showers and watering lawns.  I won't kid you, this method won't save you in a long-term emergency, but it could easily help you to weather a short-term disaster or even buy you time in a long-term one.

As always, feel free to add to the discussion via the comments section.



25 Facts That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Really Want To Talk About Right Now

25 Facts That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Really Want To Talk About Right Now: For decades, the mainstream media in the United States was accustomed to being able to tell the American people what to think. Unfortunately for them, a whole lot of Americans are starting to break free from that paradigm and think for themselves. A Gallup survey from earlier this year found that 60 percent of all Americans “have little or no trust” in the mainstream media. More people than ever are realizing that the mainstream media is giving them a very distorted version of “the truth” and they are increasingly seeking out alternative sources of information. In the United States today, just six giant media corporations control the mainstream media. Those giant media corporations own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many prominent websites. But now thanks to the Internet the mainstream media no longer has a complete monopoly on the news. In recent years the “alternative media” has exploded in popularity. People want to hear about the things that the mainstream media doesn’t really want to talk about. They want to hear news that is not filtered by corporate bosses and government censors. They want “the truth” and they know that they are not getting it from the mainstream media...

... Anyone that does not acknowledge that the mainstream media has an agenda is not being honest with themselves. The mainstream media presents a view of the world that is very favorable to their big corporate owners and the big corporations that spend billions of dollars to advertise on their networks. The mainstream media is the mouthpiece of the establishment, and the worldview being pushed on the big networks is going to be consistent with the economic, financial, political and social goals of the establishment. The mainstream media loves to talk about things that fit with that agenda, and they don’t like to talk about things that suggest that there is something wrong with that agenda.

The following are 25 facts that the mainstream media doesn’t really want to talk about right now...


[As Always, Follow the Link Above]


Let's Let Facts Guide the Gun Control Debate for a Change

Let's Let Facts Guide the Gun Control Debate for a Change - Facts - Gun Owners of America: With the recent horrible shootings around the nation, the left-wing -- led by President Obama, some members of the Senate and House, and most of today’s media -- are screaming for new gun control laws.

But what would the consequences of such laws be?

A study done by the Justice Department in 1999 analyzed the 1994 "Assault Weapons" ban and concluded it did nothing to reduce crime or shootings. The Justice Department stated, “The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun-murder incident or multiple-gunshot wound victims.”

No wonder the Congress allowed the useless gun ban to “sunset” after ten years -- it didn't work, period!

Despite the fact we have these new incidents where innocents were murdered, gun murders themselves have drastically dropped over the last two decades. Why?

Noted gun-crime author and statistician, Dr. John R. Lott, attributes much of this to the increase in “concealed carry” permits issued nationwide to ordinary citizens, which now allow them to carry weapons for personal protection and the protection of others. These laws have reduced crime because potential perpetrators don't know who's carrying for personal protection. In fact, according to FBI data, U.S. murders dropped nearly 40% to 14,478 in 2010 -- a significant drop from 23,440 in 1990 -- even as the overall population grew by 24 percent!...


Jesse Ventura on Gun Control

Police State Rolled Out in Arkansas Town: Cops with AR-15s to Patrol Town, Harass People on the Street

Police state rolled out in Arkansas town: Cops with AR-15s to patrol town, harass people on the street: In a tactic that would have made Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Hugo Chavez proud, city officials in one Arkansas town are deploying police dressed in combat gear and carrying AR-15 assault rifles on foot patrol as a crime control measure, with permission to stop every citizen and ask them their business, even if they are not suspected of committing any crime.

According to the Paragould Daily Press, Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall told about 40 residents attending a town hall meeting recently that because of a recent spike in crime, they were essentially militarizing the city.

"[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck," Stovall told residents. "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID."

'We're going to do this to everybody'

In justifying this civil rights outrage, Stovall said residents who aren't doing anything wrong should save their indignation...


29 December, 2012

More Examples of Society's Thin Veneer Beginning to Wane

Photo courtesy of http://www.anomalousmaterial.com
More and more these days we're seeing glimpses through the ever-weakening veneer of polite, ordered society as the stability of our social order becomes more and more compromised.  We've talked about this many times before, even recently, but it seems every few weeks something new hits the news that warrants mentioning.

Recently in Macon, Georgia, a 73-year-old disabled man shot and killed a 65-year-old woman at a gas station with a .38 caliber pistol in the middle of the afternoon.   According to witnesses, whatever encounter (read: argument) the two might have had was very brief, because the victim had only just pulled-up a few moments before the shooting and onlookers weren't even immediately aware that anything was even goin on.  Apparently, the victim accidentally bumped the shooter's wheelchair with her car when pulling in, and he killed her for it.

After bumping him, one witness described a situation that makes it sound as though the victim got out to go check on her soon-to-be-murderer and was shot in the chest for her trouble.  Meanwhile, another report states that it was he who ran into her car with his wheelchair, then shot her when she got out to confront him.  The same witness above, however, is quoted as saying that, as onlookers were attempting to save her life by performing CPR, the shooter claimed the woman had tried to run him over.

Meanwhile, there were also several other much less serious, yet likewise bizarre, examples of criminally antisocial behavior.  In one of these, a California couple kidnapped a handyman and held him hostage for six hours as they forced him to do remodeling work on their home.  The victim was lured to the house, then assaulted and threatened with murder.  He escaped when they attempted to transport him to another location that they claimed was a relative's home, where he would be forced to do some more repairs.

They left him alone when they went to pay for gas and snacks at a filling station and he wisely booked it when he saw his chance.  I say wisely because, at that point, he had no way of knowing if they were telling the truth and taking him somewhere else to do more slave labor or if it was a lie and they were transporting him to a murder/body dump site.  You get the impression that these two morons were, most likely, too stupid to be that organized in their criminal planning, but you just can't be sure about folks these days.

Then, back to the Peach State for more insanity as two parents have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  It seems that their seventh-grade daughter was being bullied at school, so their idea of resolving the situation was to pick-up their daughter, follow a school bus until the girl she was having issues with got off, then encourage their daughter to attack the other girl.  Oh, and they filmed it for Youtube, all the while encouraging their middle-school child to hit the other girl.  A neighbor who lived near the bus stop had to break it up.

I don't know about you, but when I was coming up, we were told that a day might come when we had no choice but to fight a bully to defend ourselves or somebody else; but the idea of a parent aiding and abetting a planned assault was never even within the realm of possibility.  What is going through these people's heads?



And, apparently, even Canadians aren't immune. Just weeks ago, a Saskatoon woman was jailed for using her own 11-year-old daughter to shoplift. Oh, and she's only 31, yet she has eight other kids with another one on the way, for a grand total of 10, the last of which will be born behind bars. The saddest thing, though, is what they were caught stealing: $118.07 in groceries. Now, we all know that Canada is famed for their social programs, so I'm sure she was already getting public assistance to help feed her gaggle of poor youngins. Why would she need to steal? A hint to that particular conundrum, which also helps to explain why she has so many children at such a young age herself, might be found in the fact that she is addicted to both cocaine and booze and has been for years. Very, very sad.

Take heed, people.  Only one of the incidents I described in this article ended in deadly violence, but they all spotlight that something is clearly wrong with our civilization.  There is every indication that violence as well as other outlandish behavior is increasing and will continue to do so exponentially.  Now is the time to prepare.



Guest Post: Are the Police Using Tasers Too Much?

Editor's Note: Before I publish the following article, allow me to reiterate my heartfelt support for law enforcement personnel everywhere.  Like the author of this piece, I too hold a degree in Criminal Justice; in fact, I'm currently enrolled in a Master's program in that field with goals of perhaps pursuing a doctorate and a professorship in the coming years.  As a lover of liberty and individual rights, however, I cannot turn a blind eye to the abuses that are occurring out there, and to do so would be a great disservice to the majority of brave men and women who go out on the job every day and do it right.   Police are, first and foremost, people, and, in any sizable grouping of people, there will always be "bad apples."   It is, therefore, our sacred responsibility to shine a light on any misconduct to keep those "bad apples" from spoiling the bunch.
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The use of tasers by police has become a hot topic in recent times.  Not a week goes by where a story doesn't appear in a local paper about a police officer tasering someone, and the public outrage it caused.  While some people argue that police officers use tasers only when they are necessary, many citizens believe that are being overused.

So if so many citizens are showing concern and outrage over police misuse of tasers, why do police agencies continue to believe that their officers are using tasers in a responsible manner?

To answer this question you must know that when a police officer is thought to have been abusing his taser, the police agency involved cannot simply look at the numbers alone to determine if there is a pattern of abuse.  They rely on highly trained individuals to examine the notes and details of each case in order to determine if the use of a taser was necessary, and in if the officer was acting in defense of himself or others.

Almost all cases are eventually found to be reasonable and defensible by investigators.  This should calm the debate about taser overuse in the eyes of many, but for many it only adds fuel to the fire.  If the police are the ones using the tasers in the first place, then why is the same group of people in charge of telling us if it was used correctly or not.  Many people believe that these incidents should be investigated by independent third parties, and not by the police agencies themselves.

So what is the solution to the Taser issue?

Police agencies are very cautious about even suggesting that there is a problem in the first place, since to do so would cause officers to think twice before using the weapon instead of acting on instinct and training.  However, as many critics would point out, this is exactly the outcome that needs to happen in order to curb the rising trend of taser abuse amongst police officers.

Police, they argue, should be trained more in talking down suspects instead of relying on force right away.  Some feel that this is still not enough of a step in the right direction, and would rather that officers were not allowed to carry tasers at all.  Police, they feel, are much less likely to try other techniques to calm a situation when they can just, "Light them up anyway."  When this less than lethal option is removed, officers will be forced to use safer methods of diffusing a situation before resorting to force.

Although no one can come up with a clear answer to the problem of taser overuse by police officers, or even agree that there is a problem at all, much more investigation of incidents must take place every time a taser is used.

Only when the public and the police themselves are presented with non-partisan facts about the use of tasers can a proper course of action be determined.  However, with more than 16,000 new officers being issued tasers each year in the United States alone, many people feel the problem is only going to get worse before serious talks on the matter can even begin.


Brian P. is an author from Portland and is currently an editor at how2become.com.  With a degree in criminal justice, police abuse is a topic very close to his heart.


Agenda 21 Is Being Rammed Down The Throats Of Local Communities All Over America

Agenda 21 Is Being Rammed Down The Throats Of Local Communities All Over America: Have you ever heard of Agenda 21? If not, don't feel bad, because most Americans haven't. It is essentially a blueprint for a "sustainable world" that was introduced at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Since then, it has been adopted by more than 200 counties and it has been modified and updated at other UN environmental summits. The philosophy behind Agenda 21 is that our environmental problems are the number one problem that we are facing, and that those problems are being caused by human activity. Therefore, according to Agenda 21 human activity needs to be tightly monitored, regulated and controlled for the greater good. Individual liberties and freedoms must be sacrificed for the good of the planet. If you are thinking that this sounds like it is exactly the opposite of what our founding fathers intended when they established this nation, you would be on the right track. Those that promote the philosophy underlying Agenda 21 believe that human activity must be "managed" and that letting people make their own decisions is "destructive" and "dangerous". Sadly, the principles behind Agenda 21 are being rammed down the throats of local communities all over America, and most of the people living in those communities don't even realize it...


The (Future) Slave Masters


Covert Hypnosis, Mind Control Techniques, PSYOPs Used Daily to Manipulate You

Covert hypnosis, mind control techniques, PSYOPs used daily to manipulate you. Wake up and protect your mind from bondage: The average American is oblivious to the fact that since Sigmund Freud's groundbreaking discoveries about the human psyche, modern governments and corporations have been engaged in heightened psychological warfare and PSYOPs to take control of your mind and create the culture of sheeple we now live in.

This has been quite a feat, given the rugged individualism that was the hallmark of early America. But it is obviously working. Americans are largely sheeple, cooperatively allowing the mass media, government propaganda and corporate marketing machines to determine what is right, true and fashionable.

The only defense is education. If you are not aware of the covert processes used to infiltrate your subconscious mind, then you are much more likely to fall prey to them...


28 December, 2012

A Moment of Clarity

Here's a thought to ponder: most, if not nearly all, opponents of further oversight and regulation of firearms are opposed to it, not because of a dislike of "sensible" restrictions (though my Libertarian reflex cringes when I type that word), but, rather, because we are aware of the concept (and danger) of legal precedents.

Simply stated, in a society ruled by laws, a precedent on the books makes it easier to push the envelope further the next time around.  Say we give in to more strict background checks; five years down the line, they'll use that precedent to argue for even stricter ones.  Or we agree that the ATF probably ought to get a call when someone buys 5 or more weapons in the same week; a few years down the line, Bloomberg and Feinstein and all of those cretins will invariably dredge-up an incident where some whackjob bought 3 and then went on a rampage and use the precedent to try to reduce the number allowed even further.  That isn't paranoia; that's how legal precedents work.

That doesn't mean we think that every whackadoo out there ought to be free to stroll out and buy a semi-auto AR-15; it just means we're playing the long game in defense of liberty and the individual rights of law-abiding Americans.


 So, how about this: both sides sit down and a hammer-out a set of sensible restrictions to be written into an actual Constitutional Amendment that also clearly precludes any further gun control legislation beyond what is expressly spelled-out in the Amendment itself?

That way, the gun-hating crowd get their more restrictive regulations (or, at least, closer to what they want), but our individual rights are better protected; if someone wants further gun control measures somewhere down the line, it would require that the new Amendment be repealed.

Repealing the Amendment through the passage of a new Amendment would require a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Congress to even get it to the people, and would then require that a three-fourths majority of the states approved it, either through their legislatures or a popular vote.  No state would have precedence over another; plainly stated, 38 of the 50 states would have to agree, designating it what the Founders would have referred to as "Fundamental law" and all but guaranteeing that the gun control debate would end forever.

Your thoughts?




Asteroid to Miss Earth in 2040, NASA Says


A lot of stuff could happen to nudge its path toward us in 28 years. Current estimates are utterly useless as far as saying it will or won't hit. Tell me that in 2039, and maybe I'll buy it.

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Phew! Asteroid to miss Earth in 2040, NASA says - CNN.com: On a day when global doomsday predictions failed to pan out, NASA had more good news for the Earth: An asteroid feared to be on a collision course with our planet no longer poses a threat.

Uncertainties about the orbit of the asteroid, known as 2011 AG5, previously allowed for a less than a 1% chance it would hit the Earth in February 2040, NASA said.

To narrow down the asteroid's future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October.

"An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated," NASA declared Friday...




75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe: What a year 2012 has been! The mainstream media continues to tell us what a "great job" the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class. It is imperative that we educate the American people about the true condition of our economy and about why all of this is happening. If nothing is done, our debt problems will continue to get worse, millions of jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be suffocated, the middle class will continue to collapse, and poverty in the United States will continue to explode. Just "tweaking" things slightly is not going to fix our economy. We need a fundamental change in direction. Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic "adjustment" that America has ever gone through. We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year. Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones. Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion. So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be "just fine", just show them these numbers. They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing...

Making a Gallon of Red Wine from Welch's Grape Juice Concentrate

The recipe (also at end of video):

4 11.5oz cans of Welch's Grape Juice Concentrate
82 oz of distilled water
1/2 tsp of bentonite clay (for clarifying) [optional]
1 tsp of yeast nutrient [optional]
1/2 tsp of pectic enzyme [optional]
1/2 packet of Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast

It takes around 30 minutes to clean, sanitize and put everything together the first day.  A week later racking the wine to a second container takes about the same.

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Numerous School Massacres Stopped by Gun Owners Wielding Weapons in Defense of Children

Numerous school massacres stopped by gun owners who wielded their weapons in defense of children: In the midst of all the anti-gun hysteria following the senseless murder of 26 people - 20 of them first graders - at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one story that is repeatedly overlooked is how often a firearm has been used to save lives and stop senseless murders.

... Natural News believe[s] the mainstream media, which so often overlooks these kinds of stories because they don't fit into the statist government worldview held by the majority of news editors, has done a disservice to the public by ignoring these acts of selflessness and heroism.

With that in mind, we bring just some of the most recent high-profile incidents - including what could have been additional school massacres - that were stopped by law-abiding citizens using their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and others. Scores of individual uses that never get reported are not included here...

[Be sure to follow link above]



Chinese State Media Demands US Citizens Be Disarmed

It appears that the Chinese, holder of most of our debt and soon to be our landlords if we don't wisen up, would like a say about how they believe Americans individual rights and liberties ought to be curtailed..
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Chinese State Media Demands US Citizens Be Disarmed: The official Chinese government news agency, Xinhua, has demanded the US immediately adopt stricter gun control measures to reduce the number of firearms the US populace is permitted to possess...

... In an apparent effort to restrict information to their populace, the Chinese government wrote of a number of US mass shootings but failed to mention they were either stopped by a citizen legally carrying a firearm or otherwise only occurred in the controversial gun-free zones that critics say make prime targets for madmen...



27 December, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden" by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer

The truth is that I should have reviewed "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden" by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer (Kindle edition) quite a while ago.  I purchased this book for my Kindle reader on the first day it became available on Amazon and read it over a 3-day period.  It is, perhaps, a sign of my premature and encroaching senility that I somehow forgot to add it among my book reviews before now.

First off, since the book was published, the author Mark Owen (a pseudonym) has been outed by the media as being 36-year old Matt Bissonnette of Wrangell, Alaska.  Also, as you might have heard, he caused a bit of a stir by publishing the book without first getting approval from the Pentagon.  There was even, for a time, talk that he might be prosecuted, but that seems to have died-down.  In all truth, I think it was mostly bluster; in reading the book, it quickly becomes clear that he took great pains to make sure not to reveal any sensitive information, even inadvertently.

There seems to be a subset of folks who are upset about the books publication because, in their view, he did it to draw attention to himself as a hero.  However, the fact remains that he published it under a pseudonym and committed to donating some of the proceeds to various charities that benefit military vets and their families.  Also, he wasn't the one who revealed his true identity; that honor goes to, of all entities Fox News.  By and large, he seemed rather worried about confidentiality.  For instance, there's a section in the book where all of the personnel from the raid were asked to sign a flag that was to be presented to President Obama, and Bissonnette was uneasy: "How many hands does it pass through before it gets hung on the wall?" he asked. "Don't they have tours of the White House?"

Anyway, I know that there were other current and former SEALs who were upset as well, but, having read the book, I just cannot pinpoint anything in it that warrants the level of outrage that was being flung at him.  I think that most of the quotes floating around were from the time between when the project was announced and when it hit shelves, which might explain little has been said recently.

It's also striking just how humble the guy is, for someone who is supposedly thirsting after accolades.  He makes it very clear that he and his comrades in DevGru (once called SEAL Team Six) are not military supermen, but rather simply well-trained and well-equipped professionals, whose successes rely largely on a highly-competent support staff of analysts, etc.  He even speaks of training exercises that he initially failed, only to eventually succeed through drive and perseverance.

In fact, he even makes it a point to pinpoint things that went wrong during the raid on Bin Laden's compound itself, despite the mission being planned-out to the gills; up to and including a helicopter crash that had the potential to kill a number of them before the mission even really got started.  And, through it all, he and all of his comrades (also referred to with pseudonyms) come off as very relatable, everyday guys, despite the mystique that their job brings with it.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it.



What If You Could 'Print' A Real Firearm In Your Own Home?

The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World | Danger Room | Wired.com: Cody Wilson, a 24-year-old law student at the University of Texas, didn't invent the concept of printable, downloadable guns. He's only created the first platform devoted to sharing the blueprints online for free to anyone who wants one, anywhere in the world, at any time. Wilson and his group of amateur gunsmiths, known as Defense Distributed, are also currently working on producing what may become the world's first fully 3-D printed gun, which they call the "Wiki Weapon." If it's successful, and on a long enough timeline, it could change the way we look at guns — and make them...





Guest Post: Disaster Preparedness: Is Your Business Ready To Face The Blow?

There is nothing worse for a flourishing business than to be caught unprepared for a disaster.  And businesses which have endured the impact of Hurricane Sandy can swear by this!  Underwater ground floors, important documents drenched, and non-working phone lines can be a stark reminder of how everything can change overnight.

A study conducted recently claimed that 90% of the companies that are struck by any geographical disaster never rise up again.  And, if in such a scenario, you do not have a plan to effectively tackle any kind of disaster, then it’s high time that you make one.  Therefore, this article discusses essential key elements that should be included in your plan:

Set up a team: You need a separate disaster management committee with a team leader.  The leader would be responsible for implementing the actions for disaster preparedness and discussing it with the rest of the members.  Moreover, this team would be responsible for scanning and keeping all essential documents as back up.  Also, there is a need to keep a up-to-date and secure backup of all the essential information on the main server, in case it incurs either a major or minor fault .

Set goals: Apart from document security, disaster preparedness includes protection of manpower i.e. officials, staff, visitors, customers, etc.  In addition, the biggest issue that arises for any company recovering from a disaster is to protect its brand name and assets.  These essential goals should be charted down and contemplated seriously. 

Assess risk: You need to have some prior idea about the type of disaster you are mostly exposed to.  For example, if you are living in Japan, then an earthquake is your biggest risk.  Similarly, if your business is on the Eastern seaboard of the U.S., then your biggest risk would be from hurricanes.  Thus, you can assess the amount of damage such calamities can pose to your business and what essential steps can decrease it. 

Move to the cloud: Cloud computing is not called the biggest invention of 21st Century without a good reason!  It is your most reliable storage where you can securely keep all the data on-line.  In addition, it is a lot more beneficial to store a copy of all passwords in the cloud.  This way, you do not run into a trouble if you forget it or the hardware device that you stored it in gets misplaced.

Find an alternate storage: Many amongst us rely on storage services to store household items.  Moreover, many also wisely store the basic necessities of life to ensure that they do not run out of food or clothing in the midst of a disaster.  Similarly, companies should use their warehousing and distribution units to store the necessary documents, credentials etc.  However, these warehouses should be located in a different geographical location. 

By following the above mentioned steps, you can pacify the blow of a disaster to a great extent.  These tips can also be useful if your company suffers from a catastrophic damage such as a fire.  Having a back up and being prepared for a disaster is a battle half won.



Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest

20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest: The mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is "getting better", but the poverty numbers for children and young people just continue to explode. For example, did you know that the poverty rate for families with a head of household under the age of 30 is a whopping 37 percent? Children and young people sure didn't cause our recent economic downturn, but they sure are getting hit the hardest by it. According to the U.S. Department of Education, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. public school students are homeless. That seems like an impossible number, but it is actually true. How in the world could the "wealthiest nation on earth" get to the point where more than a million children can't count on a warm bed to sleep in at night? Sadly, a huge number of American children can't count on a warm dinner either. About a fourth of them are enrolled in the food stamp program. What do you do if you are a parent in that kind of situation? How do you explain to your kids that you can't afford a nice home like everybody else has or that you can't afford to go to the grocery store and buy them some dinner?

Young people are experiencing very rough times right now as well. If you are under the age of 30, it is really, really difficult to get a job in America today. The competition for the few decent jobs that seem to be available is absolutely crazy. Unemployment among young people is at a level that we have not seen since World War II, and this is causing major problems...

Firearm Choices for Home Defense

Acorns As Survival Food

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Bug Out Rifle (Things to Consider)

23 December, 2012

Christmas Vacation

Unless something very pressing occurs in the interim, this will be the final post on Backwoods Survival Blog until Thursday, 27 December, in order to observe the Christmas Holiday.

Most of us will be busy with family for the next few days anyway, so I've decided to take the 24th, 25th, and 26th off.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, folks!

Moonshine as a TEOTWAWKI Barter Item

I've been thinking for quite a while about acquiring the knowledge necessary to produce moonshine in order to use it as a barter currency WTSHTF.  I'm sharing the following video *FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY*.  As the guy in the video says, *MAKING MOONSHINE IS ILLEGAL IN THE U.S.*, so don't do it.

Instead, do what I'm doing: grab a pen and paper and take notes, so that you can gather the equipment you'll need *POST-COLLAPSE* (not now) to apply this knowledge and be able to create a barter commodity for yourself in the event of a protracted TEOTWAWKI societal collapse situation where our current system of law and order is no longer a concern.

Also, the following videos are just to give you an idea.  A couple of the setups you'll see below are, at best, rickety and, at worst, unsafe.  Do your own research.  There are many books on the subject, and you can also visit Homedistiller org.



He should be using a stainless steel or copper pressure cooker; if that thing is made of aluminum, he's eventually going to poison himself.  Also, I would toss out more than just the first shot glass full -- several ounces, at minimum, I would think would be safest.
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Awesome, except for spilling a good deal of his Wash. Siphon pumps are available online very cheap.


Guest Post: Essential Bug-Out Bag Contents

Bug out bags are becoming more prevalent nowadays because of the possibility of encountering hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. However, many people who want to make sure that they have what it takes to thrive during the said circumstances fail to focus on the right bug out bag contents that can help them survive natural disasters and other calamities.

It should be remembered that there are a couple of things that should be prioritized by those who want to become really prepared in times of turmoil. The bug out bag checklist that is explained on the succeeding paragraphs can be essential with regard to this matter.

Food and Water


Food and water are the most important commodities during times of survival and getting a hold of them can be close to impossible during emergency situations. For this reason, it would be best to invest in lightweight water pouches or have the ability to treat or filter water on the go as well as a supply of nutritious, easy to prepare food for your bug out bag. Also, a small, portable camp stove could definitely come in handy.

Lighting and Communication Equipment


Two way radios, satellite cellular phones, and other communication equipment are important because they can be used to communicate to the outside world. In addition to the said commodities, durable and weather proof flashlights should also be at hand.

The said accessories will not only provide proper lighting, they can also be for self defense, construction, and other life-saving activities. When purchasing flashlights, survival preppers should turn to units that are built to withstand impact and the test of time.

Also, when on the road, never underestimate the usefulness of a small, collapsible rifle for light defense and small-game hunting.

Tent and Fire Starters


During survival times, quality tents and fire starters are essential commodities as they can be exceedingly handy during camp out situations. The good thing about them is survival tube tents, waterproof matches, and lighters can also be bought at very affordable rates.

With regard to fire, it should be remembered that it can be used for cooking and warmth as such, no bug out bag is complete without fire starters.

Conclusion


In addition to the above mentioned items, there are several other bug out bag contents that should be prioritized by those who want to make sure that they will survive any natural disaster. Those who want to become acquainted with them are encouraged to visit online resources.

During emergency times, the most important thing to do is to make sure that everything that needs to survive is at hand. Also, it should be noted that bug out bags are not for comfort or style; they are built for one thing: survival.



Guest Post: Tips for Staying Safe When Vacationing


For many, vacationing is their favorite part of the year. Between not working, enjoying cocktails, spending time with family and friends, and exploring a new city, it can be easy to forget about safety -- considering you feel like you’ve just died and gone to heaven. Traveling can still be dangerous; in fact, it can be more dangerous since you’re out of your comfort zone.

For your next trip, take extra precautions with these tips to ensure you’ll stay safe.

Keep Your Home Safe


Coming back from a vacation to find out your house was robbed would a nightmare. Prevent it from happening with the following tips:

• Don’t let everyone know you’ll be gone. In other words, tell a select few that you’ll be out of town, but avoid broadcasting it all over social media like Twitter and Facebook. You never know who could be reading.

• Keep lights on. Avoid people thinking you’re not home by leaving on a few lights. One outdoor and two indoor lights will do just fine.

• Stop mail delivery or have someone check it for you. This prevents your box from overflowing and criminals knowing you’re not home.


Leave Electronics and Expensive Jewelry at Home


It’s best to avoid bringing laptops or any other electronic device (other than a cell phone) with you on vacation. There’s a greater chance they’ll be stolen out of your car or hotel room than if they are simply left at home. Same goes for valuable jewelry such as necklaces, diamond earrings, and watches.

Bring an Emergency Road Kit


If going on a road trip, make sure to bring an emergency road kit in case something happens to the car. Jumper cables, flares, a first aid kit, and some tools will come in handy if your car dies in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you have bottled water and food, as well.


Have a Current Photo of Your Children


If traveling with kids, have an up-to-date photo of each of them at your disposal. If you get separated from them, a current picture will be needed. Also, have a “meeting spot” each day so if someone happens to get lost, you will have an easier time finding them.

Familiarize Yourself with Your Surroundings


Before leaving, research the city you will be visiting online and get to know the area. Find out which neighborhoods and activities are safer and which ones you might want to avoid. Knowing your surroundings prevents you from looking like a tourist or an easy target to rob.

Don’t Carry a Lot of Cash


If you do need to carry some cash, keep it tucked away and never “flash” your money. Consider using the hotel safe to store extra cash in, if available. Keep your money in a money belt as opposed to a purse if you’re going to be in a crowded, unfamiliar area.

Stay Alert


Remember, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re immune to something going wrong. Always be aware of your surroundings and stay alert.

Have fun, but don’t make safety a sacrifice.


Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer covering a wide variety of topics from travel and Hawaii hotels to personal finance and budgeting.



The Ring Of Fire Is Waking Up As We Head Into 2013

15 Signs That The Ring Of Fire Is Waking Up As We Head Into 2013: While most of the world has been focused on other things, the Ring of Fire has been quietly waking up. Over the past couple of months, there has been a steady string of noteworthy volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that have occurred along the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean. But because none of them have happened near a highly populated area, we really haven’t heard much about them in the news. But if activity along the Ring of Fire continues to increase, it is inevitable that a major event will happen near a major city at some point. When that happens, the entire world will be focused on the Ring of Fire once again. Most people don’t realize that approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur along the Ring of Fire. The entire west coast of the United States sits along the Ring of Fire and a massive network of faults runs underneath California, Oregon and Washington. Fortunately, the west coast has not experienced any devastating seismic events in recent years, but scientists assure us that will change at some point. So it is important to sit up and take notice when there are reports of increasing activity along the Ring of Fire...

Is Arming Teachers The Answer?

Gun Expert Lott: Let Teachers Carry Arms, Ban Gun-Free Zones to Halt Mass Shootings: Banning gun-free zones and allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons could help eliminate mass shootings at schools, John R. Lott, one of the nation's leading gun experts, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview Saturday.

Lott, an author and college professor, told Newsmax that gun-free zones become “a magnet” for deranged killers who hope to burn their names into the history books by running up a big body count.

Lott’s landmark book "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws" (Kindle edition) is in its 3rd edition. He told Newsmax there is a “very good chance” the Connecticut school shooting could have been averted, if teachers there were permitted to carry concealed handguns.

It is no accident, he said, that mass shootings repeatedly have occurred in designated gun-free zones, which attract lunatics looking to murder as many souls as possible before they turn their guns on themselves...

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Tennessee Considers Training And Arming Schoolteachers To Protect Against Shootings - Yahoo! News: Tennessee has emerged this week as a center of the "the answer is more guns in schools" sentiment following the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting.  

A member of the Republican-controlled legislature plans during its upcoming session to introduce a bill that would allow the state to pay for secretly armed teachers in classrooms so, the sponsor told TPM, potential shooters don't know who has a gun and who doesn't.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has said the idea will be part of his discussions about how to prevent a shooting like the one in Newtown from happening in the Volunteer State.  

As has been seen following other mass shootings, there's a strong segment of the gun rights lobby that says the answer to events like the one in Newtown is more guns in more places. But they've said the recent massacre shows how important it is to put guns into elementary schools, where even gun-friendly states like Tennessee don't currently allow them...


What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking?

What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking?: Barack Obama and John Boehner both seem absolutely determined to drive U.S. government finances off a cliff. The mainstream media would have you believe that there are vast ideological differences between the two of them and that they are bitter enemies, but that is simply not the case. Both of them say that tax increases are "necessary", but they disagree over the details. Both are seeking about a trillion dollars of spending cuts and about a trillion dollars of new "revenue", but they don't see eye to eye on how to get there. But overall, they are both definitely playing in the same ballpark. And those numbers certainly do sound impressive until you realize that they are talking about a time span of ten years. Personally, I would love to see federal spending cut by a trillion dollars this year. But that will never happen. A trillion dollars over the course of a decade breaks down to about 100 billion dollars per year. That still sounds like a lot of money until you put it up next to the trillion dollar deficits that we have been running for four years in a row. Even if somehow those spending cuts turned out to be real (which they aren't), they would still only put a very small dent in our yearly budget deficits. Obama and Boehner both want to continue to have a gigantic federal government that showers people with government money, and both of them want to continue to pass much of the burden for paying for this gigantic government on to future generations. And both of them want to continue to steal more than 100 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren in order to maintain the false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying right now. This is incredibly foolish and they are leading us down a path that will lead to national ruin.

Sadly, even the pathetically small "budget cut" and "new revenue" figures that they are floating around turn out to be quite hollow when you inspect them more closely...