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30 October, 2014

Guest Post: 10 Tools to Bring With You on a Hunt

Whether hunting for food or as a form of outdoor entertainment, hunting is a wonderful sport. However, hunting is also very dangerous on so many levels. The best way for hunters to avoid serious problems and accidents is through preparedness. Here are 10 tools every hunter should take with them on the hunt.

1. First-Aid Kit

If nothing else is taken, a first-aid kit is a must. The handling of guns and bows is extremely dangerous. The environment is fraught with danger. Wild animals are also dangerous to pursue. If all of these factors are combined, the possibility of injury becomes infinitely higher. Complete first aid kits have saved many a life. The quicker an injury is administered to in some fashion, the more likely an individual is to survive.

2. Reliable Guns and Ammunition

Hunters need to take good care of their tools. This is especially true with weapons. Guns should always be checked, cleaned and properly stored in order to assure optimum functionality. The hunter also needs to make sure they are using the right ammunition. If hunting big game such as bears, it is recommended that the hunter also take a side arm just in case issues arise with their rifle/shotgun/bow.

3. Communication Device

Most hunting is done in remote areas. The access to roads and hospital is usually limited. A fully charged cell phone or two-way radio is essential in order to contact others for help in emergency situations.

4. GPS Device

Thanks to modern technology, the ability to locate people, places and things has been greatly enhanced. Hunters going into rough and remote terrains should always take some type of GPS locator to help others find them should they come up missing.

5. Fresh Water

Humans can survive a long time without food. Besides, most hunting destinations usually have some type of species or vegetation that is acceptable as a food source. The real problem comes when humans are unable to find a safe water source causing dehydration. Always take fresh water.

6. Flashlight and Batteries

Even though an outing might be schedule for daytime only, things happen and the last thing someone wants is to be lost in the woods with no light. A flashlight improves the chances of finding food, shelter and a way out when it's dark outside.

7. Toilet Paper

When you have to go, you have to go. The last thing someone wants is to use leaves that will create problems in a place humans don't want a problem.

8. Rope or Cord

Survivalists will tell you that a rope is the most important tool. It has so many practical uses that it's hard to imagine going out into the wilderness without it.

9. A Knife

A knife can be used for protection, to dig, to cut, to saw, to prepare/eat food, to build and the list goes on and on.

10. Hunting License

Nothing will ruin an excellent hunting adventure faster than claiming a prize kill only to run into a game warden without a valid hunting license. The possible fines/penalties are enough to make a grown man cry.

Tyler Sims is the owner of tylersims.com, a premier outfitter in Wyoming elk and antelope hunting.

29 October, 2014

Even If the World As We Know It Ends, I'm Still Keeping My Smart Phone – Here's Why

I can imagine that my inbox will probably be flooded with those of you who disagree with me, but even if we find ourselves in the middle of an all-out TEOTWAWKI societal collapse scenario, I'm still not throwing away my smart phone. There are those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist subculture who are hell-bent on preparing for a life where we are thrown back to 17th century technology, but unless every electronic component around gets fried in some sort of solar geomagnetic storm, I can still find value in this amazing little piece of technology.

Obviously, I have to have a way to keep the battery charged for at least limited use, but my plans have never been to abandon electricity completely. Even someone without a lot of money can afford a small solar energy setup. A few hundred dollars more (no more than $2000, depending on your amperage needs) and you've got yourself a bank of deep-cycle batteries and even a small wind turbine. I've also spent a lot of time researching the possibility of a Micro-(Pico-) Hydroelectric setup. My emergency preparedness plans have always included a small alternate energy system like the one I am describing here that will allow for the charging of small electronics, such as two-way radios, rechargeable batteries, and any kind of rechargeable LED lanterns, etc. A smart phone falls nicely in that same category.

For that matter, you could charge it in your vehicle even in a complete blackout. My advice, however, would be to practice proper noise disciple in the event of the civil unrest that would likely accompany an extended darkening of the power grid.

Currently, I carry a Samsung Galaxy S4 (the same kind pictured above, except black for tactical reasons) and I intend to upgrade to the S6 model when it becomes available next spring. I like it, because it is a fairly versatile piece of equipment: big-screen, fast processor, comes in models with either 8 or 16 GB of memory onboard, and – best of all – that memory can be expanded pretty much limitlessly as the phone accepts up to 64 GB MicroSD cards. If you manage to actually fill up an entire microSD card, all you have to do is pop it out and put a new one in, storing the full one somewhere where you will still have access to it for later. That's a fair bit of computing power and a lot of storage for something you can carry in your pocket.

But what use would I have for such a thing in the midst of a societal collapse? Well, obviously, you couldn't use it as a phone or even to send text messages once the infrastructure for the cellular network is no longer running, but there are many other uses that I believe make this – or some other smart phone models and tablets – a rather powerful part of your survival gear. As I've mentioned already, it isn't bulky like an actual computer or even a laptop. It is exceedingly easy to carry in your pocket, even in a "bug-out" situation where you are moving quickly. And, it provides you with a lot of space upon which to save PDFs and documents pertaining to emergency preparedness and survival training with a decent-sized screen that will make it easier to read them. You don't need all of that stuff in a binder, except as a backup. Keeping your smart phone means it all remains at your fingertips at all times.

Other possible uses that I can envision include the fact that it has a built-in calculator as well as a built-in system that allows you to make notes of things, so that you don't forget them. If you were to find yourself away from your retreat on a scouting or foraging mission and made note of something important, you could quickly type out details on the phone, rather than having to depend on your own memory. And, for that matter, the built-in camera on the phone would allow you to save pictures, so that you could actually show people what you saw as opposed to only being able to describe it to them.

The handset also has a built in Gyro and magnetic sensor for use with compass apps. No idea how this would work once the phone had no service, but it doesn't appear to be using GPS. As I said, there is a Gyro and magnetic sensor built into the phone that have to be calibrated, so it might even be able to act as a backup to your compass in a pinch. I calibrated mine and it is giving the same exact reading as the one on the dashboard of my car, but how close that is to being accurate I'm not sure. I doubt that I would depend on it as my primary means of judging direction, but it could be a backup like I said. Redundancy is always important.

On a sentimental note, being able to save family moments like pictures and videos will be just as important for morale as those things are in this day and age. We won't be living in a world where people can post things to social media for you to see them and you won't be able to look back through your own posted photos and videos to relive precious moments or have physical pictures developed to save in bulky, difficult to carry albums. Keeping your phone, even in the midst of the hardships, could be very useful, and things that you save on the microSD cards would remain safe for a very long time – possibly indefinitely as long as you keep them dry.

So, those are some of the reasons why I won't be throwing my phone out the window the moment TSHTF. Rather, I'll be holding onto it as a useful tool. The only way I can see myself dumping mine would be in the event of an operational and tyrannical government by which I was trying to avoid being tracked. Otherwise, I won't be letting it go. Even in the event that it breaks, there should be plenty of new ones available for foraging as well as tons of the microSD cards. What do you all think?


28 October, 2014

There Are Still Some Sheepdogs Left Amongst the Flock

Recently, two stories caught my attention, both of which are accounts of amazing bravery and valor that would make me proud to meet either of the individuals involved. One got some attention in the media and the other was largely ignored, but I wanted to take this opportunity to shine a light on the kind of behavior that all of us should be exhibiting.

First, there was one name mentioned in the flurry of news reports about the recent school shooting in Seattle that got lost in the chaff a bit and deserves to be spoken aloud vigorously and often in remembrance of her actions: Megan Silberberger, a first year social studies teacher, is credited with acting boldly in a situation which would make most people freeze. She apparently engaged the young, troubled teenage gunman by grabbing his arm, and the kids witnessing what she did say that she saved lives that day. School shootings are always a terrible affair, but it is good to know that at least there are people like Megan who are willing to do their best to safeguard the lives of others. By the way, such events always lead the gun grabbers right back up onto their soapboxes about gun control, but it is interesting to note that the weapon used in this tragic shooting wasn't an assault rifle or anything similar, but rather a legally purchased handgun.

The second story I wish to highlight got almost no mention in the news media, which is sadly something we have all come to expect in these days where the once proud American media are nothing more than political pundits and corporate lackeys. A West Virginia (my home state!) Air National Guardsman, 2nd Lt. Joshua Nelson,was making a quick stop at a Walmart to pick up hooks for a family fishing trip when his day took an unexpected turn that led to him saving at least two lives. It seems that a man was holding a knife to his own mother over a dispute where she refused to buy him a gun. Second Lt. Nelson, who joins his wife in also carrying a weapon anytime they are in public, sent his family to the front of the store with instructions to call 911 as he interceded by allowing the assailant to see that he was armed but never actually drawing the weapon. After allowing his captive mother to go, the obviously deranged man then turned the knife on himself, and second Lt. Nelson successfully talked him down from what could have been a bloody and public suicide, eventually leaving him disarmed and sitting on the floor when police arrived.

Pundits and political zealots can squawk and mewl until they turn blue in the face, but the fact is that 2nd Lt. Nelson being armed led to the bloodless ending of what could have been a terrible incident. Both of the individuals I have written about in this article deserve the thanks of a grateful public. We would be better off immeasurably if more people had this sort of valor present in their character.


What Do You Reach for When You Hear a Strange Sound in the Middle of the Night?


27 October, 2014

Zombie-Proof Cabin

How's that for an eye-catching title, eh? Well, first off it's real; and secondly, I don't know whether to be utterly impressed or roll my eyes at the absurdity. The folks at Tiger Log Cabins are actually selling a kit for a Zombie Fortification Cabin, and I've got to admit that I kind of like it. It's a two-bedroom, beautifully-finished, log cabin with a built-in garage and storage space (armory/pantry?) in addition to the perfunctory living and sleeping areas you would expect with any kind of kit, and it even has a large observation deck on the roof and a small, secure courtyard for gardening. In addition, all of the entryways are reinforced, and it comes with a barbed-wire surround and an escape hatch.

What I don't much care for is the price tag, however: The kit alone runs $113,000 with an additional $21,000 charge if you want them to set it up for you. Add to that $5600 for solar panels (note that there is no mention of a battery bank, generator, etc.) and another $3000 for security cameras. In their defense, though, it's okay that a full set up would bring you north of $140,000+, because it does come with a microwave in the kitchen and the living room area is decked out with a TV, Xbox, and a sound system. You know, because there won't be much else to do in a Zombie Apocalypse other than play Xbox.

Also, on top of nothing being said about a battery bank or a generator or a wind turbine, for that matter, to back up the solar panels, I can't see where they tell you the wattage on what panels you get for the $5600 charge. And, as for the protected courtyard for gardening, it looks to me as though the space is awfully narrow. Unless I'm missing something, it looks to only be between 6-10 feet wide. The only way your plants are going to get any sun is in the brief part of the day when the sun is directly overhead. In other words, what plants you are able to grow will produce a pitiful amount of food, and we all know that the space they've allotted isn't enough to grow sufficient food to feed a family anyway.

Despite the problems, though, I do still kind of like it, and I'll bet an enterprising Prepper / Survivalist could fix all of those problems and build something similar – using the pictures on their website as a guide – for a whole lot less than $140,000+. Because, you never know what might happen.

What do you think?


26 October, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 3 "Four Walls and a Roof"

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 week's episode picks up right where last week left off, but, in the interest of not spoiling anything for anyone who may not have seen it yet, I won't talk about the specific plot anymore than I absolutely must. Instead, let's jump right into what we can learn from this episode. Some may disagree, but I find great value in Doomer Fiction as the writers can often put us in specific scenarios that we may never think of ourselves, and – by doing so – we can take things from the experience other than simply entertainment.

For instance, one thing mentioned recently and expounded upon in this episode was those odd markings on trees that we have been seeing. Turns out, the folks who came from Terminus have been using those during their evacuation, in order to be able to find their way back. This would be an interesting option for us in the real world in the event of a possible societal collapse situation where we were forced to evacuate a retreat or stronghold. The only issue I can see is that others could use it to lead them along the trail as well, so I would suggest sitting down to come up with some sort of code, a system known only to those in your group or family.

Another important lesson that should be drilled into all of our heads by now is that one should always beware of strangers, especially in a world where law and order no longer keeps things nice and polite. Some people you meet may be exactly who they present themselves to be, while others could be monsters in disguise. Likely, however, most will simply be imperfect individuals who have done things that would have landed them in prison in today's world. It is highly doubtful that anyone will be innocent, and therefore you must look at everyone with a healthy suspicion until they have proven to you what kind of person they are. You never know what someone could be hiding.

Remaining open to the idea of bringing in outsiders, however, can serve more purposes than just the obvious. Helping other people when possible will help to retain your humanity, but – if you choose the right people – it also means those people will become your allies and everyone will be stronger together. The trick will be simply taking great care as to who these people are that you accept into your group.

Also, when attempting to survive TEOTWAWKI with a group of any size, it is highly important to do everything in your power to solve internal squabbles before they get out of hand. Survival can be accomplished in solitude, but being part of a diverse group can make things easier. There is strength in numbers, and everyone has certain skills from which the entire group can benefit. That is assuming that you can keep everyone together.

There may come a time, however, when your particular group may split due to necessity, rather than as the result of a dispute. It could come down to a simple issue of space, which becomes more likely if you accept allies from outside as they come to you. The characters in the show haven't had to deal with this type of situation as yet. They have mostly been on the run with only Hershel's farmhouse and the prison standing out as places where they were able to sort of put down roots for a time. And, with respect to the prison where they were seen to take in a good number of people, space to house such people was not an issue for them.

If you are following my advice, on the other hand, you will be surviving in some sort of stronghold, a retreat somewhere out of the way. In that instance, it behooves everyone involved to have the entire group under one roof. As your group grows over time, though, it may be necessary to split your people in half and house them in two separate locations. If you recall, this occurred in the novel "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse" by James Wesley Rawles, and I can see where it would have very distinct advantages. Some of these advantages include a more comfortable living situation, where people aren't always piled on top of one another and getting underfoot; the ability to both grow and forage for more food and supplies and to cover far more ground in such foraging efforts; and the ability for each to be able to respond if the other is threatened.

And finally, never forget that hard times can (and undoubtedly will) breed hard people. As I said before, few people surviving in that type of the world will be completely innocent. That includes all of us, and we will all need to become hardened in order to make it. In the episode, we see Rick and company take drastic measures to essentially rid the entire world of a threat that is even worse than the Walkers. People are always the real monsters. Even after the danger to them has passed, they feel the need to act decisively. The hard truth is that some people will simply continue to victimize others if they are able. I've talked a lot here on Backwoods Survival Blog about presenting a hardened target, so that would-be aggressors move on to softer prey and leave you be; but there may come a time when it is your responsibility to act as the characters on the show did in this episode in order to put down an undue threat and save the lives of people down the line whom you will never meet.

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:

25 October, 2014

Project Prophesy and the Misery Index: Dark Days Could Be Looming

It seems as though every few months some new financial guru pops on to the scene and gives us dire warnings of an impending collapse of the economic system. All of them are convincing and all of them predict their particular catastrophe to occur in just a few months, so allow me to say up front that I am not necessarily endorsing the claims being made here. Rather, I'm only passing on information that I believe could be pertinent, because it did set my teeth on edge just a bit hearing it myself.

I think the thing that causes this particular prediction to get under my skin a little more than they normally do is because of the gravitas of the individual who is pulling the proverbial alarm. His name is Jim Rickards. He was a member of the team who negotiated the release of the hostages from Iran. Combined, he has spent three decades on Wall Street as an influential international investment banker and hedge fund manager. He was a influential player in the creation of the technology often referred to as the "brains of the NASDAQ." Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency tasked him with attempting to ferret out financial trading with ties to terrorism. And, he is apparently the Financial Threat and Asymmetric Warfare Advisor for both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon. I'm not vouching for his credentials; I don't know the man from Adam. But, needless to say, a resume like that garnered my attention.

His work with the government post-9/11 led him into a cooperative situation referred to as "Project Prophecy," the purpose of which reportedly was to analyze trends in financial markets in order to be able to predict threats such as terrorism or other internal factors. And, it is apparently that same system that has led him to the conclusions he is making now: that this coming April 2015 will likely begin what is being referred to as a 25 year Second Great Depression for the United States.

You can view the interview for yourself, but the long and short of it involves the Misery Index. This is a system that adds the true inflation rate with the true unemployment rate as a measure of just how close society is to a social collapse, and Mr. Rickards says that we are in a very bad spot on that index – worse than we were prior to the first Great Depression. He also claims that the Federal Reserve has tinkered with this system often and it is rarely spoken of when pundits talk in front of the American public, specifically in an effort to keep things under wraps about just how bad it is. Essentially, they don't want to start a panic; and I imagine that is exactly what would occur, because – assuming he is correct – this occurrence is unavoidable. All that can be done now is to prepare and attempt to mitigate the effects.

What affects? Well, aside from talking about a Second Great Depression, he is predicting that the U.S. dollar will fall from its spot as the world's reserve currency. He is expecting it to begin with an almost instantaneous 70% crash in the stock market, leading to what could end up being a $100 trillion collapse over the next few decades that will cause global anarchy.

Again, who knows if this guy has any idea what he's talking about, but – as I stated previously – his resume made me at least sit up and pay attention. As always, my advice is to pray for the best, while fastidiously preparing for the worst. Let's all get our ducks in a row, folks. Could be a wild ride.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed reading this article, please take a few moments and browse the rest of the site and consider subscribing via email using the link in the right-hand sidebar. Thank you so much.


24 October, 2014

There's More to Be Afraid of in a Pandemic Than Just the Disease Itself, Part 2

Part One of this article can be read by clicking the link provided.

Before I go any further, please understand that what I am going to write here should not in any way indicate my belief that the current Ebola outbreak will actually amount to a full-blown pandemic. It is something I believe bears watching, however, and it is useful to us in that – Ebola or no Ebola – thinking about what could occur during a fully realized disease pandemic and attempting to prepare for it is something we should all strive toward. Even the most conservative epidemiologists agree that it is not a matter of "if" a terrible pandemic equal to or worse than the influenza plague that rocked the world in the early part of the 20th century will occur, but rather "when." Refusing to prepare for something that is a virtual guarantee eventually is tantamount to stupidity, in my opinion.

Yesterday, here on Backwoods Survival Blog, we talked about the future threat of a pandemic leading to a halting or slow down of the disastrous "just in time" method of shipment utilized by Western societies and its potential to lead to shortages of food and other necessities, resulting in rioting and other violence and what could amount to some very tough times for anyone attempting to make it through to the other side of the disaster. But, unfortunately, that isn't the only thing to fear.

In the midst of a particularly terrible pandemic, it is possible and – in fact – completely legal for the government to essentially ignore our individual rights. Federal statute 42 U.S.C. 264(d) is quite clear on this subject:

"(1) Regulations prescribed under this section may provide for the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease in a qualifying stage and (A) to be moving or about to move from a State to another State; or (B) to be a probable source of infection to individuals who, while infected with such disease in a qualifying stage, will be moving from a State to another State. Such regulations may provide that if upon examination any such individual is found to be infected, he may be detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary. For purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes, in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term “qualifying stage”, with respect to a communicable disease, means that such disease—

(A) is in a communicable stage; or

(B) is in a precommunicable stage, if the disease would be likely to cause a public health emergency if transmitted to other individuals."

Now, let me say that this is a particularly muddy issue and it is very easy to see things from multiple perspectives. As for myself, I don't like the idea of an infected person running around free with the potential of spreading the disease to anyone with whom they come in contact. Forcibly mandating that that person be quarantined sounds rather reasonable, but who decides just what is to be considered "reasonable" in a given situation?

We are at the stage with respect to the current Ebola outbreak where it is a relatively simple proposition to quarantine an individual or even a family inside their homes. Plenty of support is available from outside, both medical and logistical, for us to be able to see this through. But what about in a larger, more virulent, and more deadly pandemic, in which larger and larger numbers of people are sick? Four years ago, a study was published in which fully 32% of hospital workers responded that they would likely be “unwilling to respond in the event of a more severe pandemic influenza scenario.” So, who exactly do you think it is going to be taking care of people as they are quarantined in their homes? Never minding the fact that the numbers of people ill with the contagion may very well far outstrip the staffing numbers of healthcare workers anyway.

A far more likely scenario would indicate that, as the population of the ill increases, so does the likelihood that those infected would need to forcibly be moved to quarantine camps. But never doubt that Big Brother won't call them "camps," because of the negative feelings and fear that such wording would engender in a populous that would very likely be on the naked edge already, due to stress and worry. So, they can simply come and take you away against your will to a camp full of other sick people.  This is a difficult pill to swallow, but in order to contain the disease I can see where it could become necessary, despite the poor taste it would leave in my proverbial mouth.

And what if an entire town or city becomes potentially exposed? Well, obviously, that entire locality would be quarantined with no one allowed in or out, except for military and medical personnel. Imagine for an instant that you could wake up one morning to find your town ringed by a barbed wire military blockade, an edict enforced that every family must shelter in place in their homes under curfew as medical personnel in full protective gear go door to door testing individuals and being escorted by men with guns. Sound like a Police State under Martial Law to you? That's because it pretty much would be. And those found to be infected would necessarily be pulled from their homes (forcibly if necessary) and quarantined along with all of the other infected citizens.

Sounds like something out of the film "Outbreak," doesn't it?

What worries me further, though, is that CDC regulations make it clear that that agency has the power to detain people who may not even be sick, in order to observe them and see if they do become sick. I don't know about you, but I don't particularly relish the idea of being dumped into a FEMA Quarantine Camp with a bunch of sick, dying, and contagious people simply as a result of me being suspected of *MAYBE* being sick myself. That would tantamount to a death sentence, because I can't imagine the odds would be in your favor to come out of a place like that free from the illness even if you weren't infected when you went in.

Needless to say, those of us with eyes to see are watching the situation very closely. Even if the current Ebola outbreak fizzles (as we all hope and pray it does), though, there will come another contagion at some point that will become a very real and deadly future threat of a pandemic that could bring what I have written in this article uncomfortably into each and every one of our homes. My advice is to make sure all of your ducks are in a row with respect to pandemic emergency preparedness, and be ready to preventatively "bug in" and shelter in place inside your home if the disease somehow pops its proverbial head up in your area.


23 October, 2014

There's More to Be Afraid of in a Pandemic Than Just the Disease Itself, Part 1

Picture this: a disease is ravaging the entire country and perhaps even the world. It could be Ebola or influenza or something we haven't even seen yet. None of that really matters. Regardless of just exactly which microscopic killer we are talking about, what really matters is that the results will likely be the same, depending only on the level of seriousness of the pandemic rather than which disease causes it.

What I intend to impress upon you in these articles is that, no matter how virulent or deadly the disease in question happens to be, there is a real chance you could lose your life (and/or the lives of your loved ones) without ever getting sick. And, even if death isn't in the cards, things could get very rough for everyone whether they are sick or not.

The average person has no idea just how intricate the infrastructure of daily life has to be in order for all of us to go about our business and live our lives the way we are accustomed. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to sit and realize just how infinitesimal the strings happen to be from which our modern society dangles precariously, how many things have to occur every day like clockwork for things to continue on without any problems, and just what would occur were some hitch to be thrown into the system, halting it utterly or – at minimum – delaying it by such a margin that the impact is felt greatly.

Virtually everything the average American eats and drinks is trucked to their local supermarkets from an unbelievably long distance away, and everything is computerized. When you purchase a head of lettuce from the grocery store, the computer contacts another computer and makes note that the store needs another shipped to them, so they don't simply run out. So, what happens if things become so bad that the drivers of those supply trucks as well as the workers who load and unload them are either homesick themselves or taking care of family, or they are simply unwilling to make the trip? There could be civil unrest in their city, resulting in them feeling as though they need to stay home to protect their family, or they may simply be fearing a long trip on the open road when things are going in a very bad direction all over the place. We are dependent upon a system of "just in time" delivery, where items are shipped to arrive just in time to go on sale as the previous stock dwindles, and it is a recipe for disaster.

In this scenario, civil unrest is very likely. In 2010, British security services issued a warning to staff members that modern western societies are just 48 hours – or four meals – from anarchy. Others disagree and claim it is nine meals, but you get the picture. Granted, they are referring to Great Britain, but it is comparable to us here in the U.S. In other words, if food shipments do not roll or are delayed it is likely that there will be violence in the streets. Food riots did occur in other countries across the globe in both 2008 and 2011. And in 2012, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, millions of Americans experienced days with little or no food, gas shortages, etc.

We should have taken these experiences as a lesson, but we didn't, and so things could get quite a bit worse were a pandemic to burn through the population like a brush fire. You had better believe that it will go on for a lot more than 72 hours. Now is when you should be putting aside nonperishable food and other essentials to provide for your family in the event of a worst-case scenario. Preparing for the worst doesn't mean you can't hope for the best; it only means you have insurance against other eventualities.

Please keep an eye out for Part Two of this article being published tomorrow.


22 October, 2014

Ebola: Are They Afraid to Admit That They Are Still Learning Themselves or Is There a Wider Conspiracy to Placate the Public Being Played Out Before Us?

The Blaze ran an interesting article early Monday morning that touched on a subject I have been thinking about a lot recently, namely the subtle changes in language when it comes to how the CDC talks about the Ebola virus in their efforts to keep people informed. I am well aware that some folks may not read that publication or put much faith in it as a result of the source, but this particular article includes actual screenshots of tweets sent out by the CDC and other health officials through official channels that clearly show a discrepancy in what the American public has been told over the past few weeks.

You can read the article yourself at the link I have provided above, but it basically boils down to one of two possibilities: the CDC and other health officials don't really know as much about this disease as they would like us to believe, and they are actually learning themselves as we go along; or, they are being forced to scramble to save face when it comes to public relations, and are essentially changing what they are saying every time a reassurance they have provided proves to be false.

Is the disease spread through the air? For weeks and weeks, the consistent answer was a strict and unequivocal no, but testimony given before Congress on 16 October – in the wake of a second nurse contracting the disease – waffled by changing that to a rather shaky "evidence does not suggest" the disease is spread through the air. I won't dwell on this for too long, seeing as how I have already given my views on this particular subject, but suffice it to say that there is some evidence of viral particles essentially hanging in the air for some time following an infected person coughing or sneezing. They may not refer to that as an airborne disease, but if I can contracted by being next to a person on the bus who sneezes then that is close enough to airborne to meet most people's definition and to make me very uncomfortable. So, take that for what it's worth.

On 8 October, the idea of contracting the disease through an infected person's sweat was something we were told we shouldn't worry about, yet sweat was listed among the bodily fluids through which the disease could pass by the CDC themselves on 16 October. So, which is it? These are the sort of inconsistencies that are steadily putting my already shaky faith in the powers that be in their long-awaited grave.

Again, I can see only two possible explanations: either they don't know what they're talking about and desperately want us to think that they do, or they are purposefully misleading people in an effort to prevent or delay a mass panic that would likely be very destructive. Interestingly enough, if you are a conspiracy-minded tinfoil hat person, you might be interested in the fact that – while all of this is going on – the United States military is forming what is being referred to as a "quick strike team" of five doctors, 20 nurses, and five trainers, who are being made ready to deploy to any location in under 72 hours at anytime during the next month. This, of course, comes to us as the afterthought of a story published by CNN, but it proves that Big Brother is taking the threat of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever very seriously, while quietly assuring all of us plebes that there is nothing to be afraid of and calling us crazy. Also, officials in Guam are updating their pandemic plans – previously geared toward influenza – to include Ebola.

If you haven't already, please read my article about pandemic preparedness from earlier this week and take action to make sure that you and yours are better off, just in case things do go down a dark road and Ebola develops into a full-blown pandemic. Also, tomorrow I'll be publishing an article about what to expect if things really do get bad in the weeks and months to come... there are more dangers than simply the virus itself.


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 & Pandemic Emergency 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: