Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lessons from the History of Famines


During famines more people die from violence and disease than from actual starvation. This surprising fact has been noted by Economic Historian Cormac Ó Gráda and others who have studied the history of famines. 

Without getting into the causes and outcomes of famines (Ó Gráda and others have written many scholarly papers and books on the subject), I want to examine what this means for preppers and survivalists:

Disease prevention and medical readiness, along with security and self-defense, are equal to food and water as areas of concern.  

The need to address food and water is ubiquitous within the prepper and survivalist community. It is usually the first bit of advice offered to newbies, and it is probably the most discussed area of preparedness. Many articles and books have been written on the subject, covering everything from food storage, to raising and preserving food, to providing food through hunting, fishing, and gathering wild edibles. 

Taking care of this area to ensure you and your family won't die from lack of food isn't enough. During a famine, you will still be vulnerable to the violence and sickness of those in your area who aren't prepared food-wise. 

Threats from violence during a feminine are obvious.  Folks desperate from a lack of food will turn to stealing, looting, and rioting. But it is more than just the desperate masses you need to fear. Famines are often accompanied by wars and/or political collapse. Local warlords and strongmen often rise up attempting to take advantage of the situation.  These folks typically come from the ranks of the police, military, or criminal gangs, meaning they are surprising well-armed and well-trained, disciplined, with an already established chain-of-command and operating procedures. In other words, they will be much more dangerous than your average group of looters. 

Thus security and self-defense needs to be a major area of concern and preparation on your part. This includes not only hardening your home, as well as guns and ammo, but also training and developing standard operating procedures. Situational awareness is also a crucial skill to learn. First aid is a skill everyone in your family or group should have, including the ability to apply a tourniquet and dress a major wound (such as from a knife or gunshot).

I recommend the book Retreat Security and Small Unit Tactics by David Kobler (Southern Prepper 1) and Mark Goodwin for more information on security planning, training, and tactics.

Medical preparations for a famine include developing good health beforehand, practicing good hygiene and sanitation during the crisis (which includes stockpiling hygiene, sanitation, and cleaning supplies), learning and taking preventative measures, and learning how to deal with common medical conditions that may occur. This last suggestion includes stockpiling what medical supplies and medicine you may need, and knowing possible alternatives such as wild medicinals and foods, herbs, & spices with anti-bacterial or other curative properties. Having a medical professional or two in your group would be a tremendous blessing, of course, but even if you don't, someone needs to be made the group "doctor." This person should be given the primary responsibility to learn both advanced first aid and as much medical knowledge as they can before the crisis ensues.

A great medical resource all preppers and survivalists should have, in my opinion, is The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joe Alton, MD, and Amy Alton, ARNP.

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Religiously Motivated Acid Attack Killed Pakistani Christian


International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that Faraz Badar, a 26-year old Christian resident of Gujranwala, Pakistan, died in a Lahore hospital on September 15, 2018. He succumbed to burn injuries that he received when unidentified attackers sprayed acid on him during the early hours of September 5, 2018 in Gujranwala. Faraz was brought to Meo Hospital in Lahore when his condition deteriorated.

Badar Masih, Faraz’s father, informed ICC that, “Faraz was a young graduate and serving as Assistant Admin Officer in a local hospital for about two years. On September 5th at around 2 a.m, when he was going home from the hospital, some unknown assailants sprayed acid upon him.” This is not the first time Faraz has been attacked.

Masih continued, “A few months back, Faraz was beaten by some men who were covering their faces. However, we did not report it to the police, as Christians are often not heard in police stations.

Talking to ICC over the telephone, Faraz’s mother shared that “Faraz often complained that some of his Muslim staff members were unhappy with his excellent performance and they disliked Faraz for his honesty and Christian background.” While she admitted that they had no evidence of the allegations, it is not an uncommon occurrence.

While reflecting on her son’s life, Faraz’s mother added “My son was running my kitchen. He was very gentle to everyone in the vicinity. He had no enmity. He was an active member of the Church. However, he was usually not given a day off to go to Church for Sunday prayer service.”

Masih claimed, “My son was targeted for his Christian faith. I don’t think we, the Christians, are safe in Pakistan. However, it is our country and we love it with our soul and spirit. We won’t seek refuge.”

We [still] want justice from the government,” pleaded the mother. Masih’s family is unfortunately not alone in their experience.
In April a Christian girl named Asma Yaqoob was attacked by a Rizwan, a Muslim man, for refusing his marriage proposal. She later died during treatment on April 22, 2018.

Social activist Ayube Qaiser told ICC that, “It is sad to note that increasing religious hatred and intolerance manifesting in different incidents is making life unbearable for religious minorities in the country. Their trust in the state as a protected citizen is being damaged badly. Often Christians are not accepted by their Muslim colleagues. They face different false allegations until they are removed from their post…This particular case is simply target killing on account of religious motivation.”

----- This article is from a press release by International Christian Concern (ICC), You can visit their website at  https://www.persecution.org/ 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Spread Consitutional Literacy!

https://amzn.to/2OgaatY
Spread Constitutional Literacy by giving away pocket copies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  It's an idea that I've been promoting during the Fall for the past several years. 

Autumn is an especially good time of year for this project because of all the extra opportunities that it presents to give-away small tokens to people: Halloween, fall festivals, campaign events and political rallies, among many other opportunities.

Pocket Constitutions are available from Amazon (currently for $1 each with free shipping for both prime members or when ordering 25 or more).  You may also be able to order them from political and educational organizations that occasional offer them for sale.  I am an Amazon Affiliate, so ordering them through my links to Amazon help to support this site in a small way. 

Pocket Constitutions  make great giveaways for:
  • Back-to-School 
  • History and Social Studies Classes
  • Halloween
  • Fall Festivals
  • Campaign Events and Political Rallies
  • Scout Troops
  • Churches and Sunday School Classes
  • Bible Study and Prayer Groups
  • Clubs and Civic Organizations
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Monday, September 17, 2018

18 Easy Ways to Save Money

Money Mondays continues (see index at bottom)...

Looking to save money to pay off debt, build savings, or buy prepper supplies?  Here are 18 Easy Ways to Save Money:

1- Avoid impulse purchases by shopping with checklists, and sticking to the lists.

(Many folks don't pay attention to impulse purchases because they tend to be quite small - only a few bucks -  but those small individual purchase add up to big money fast. Averaging just three dollars a day will add up to over $1,000 in just a year.)

2- See something you want that isn't on your list? Don't buy it. Write it down and add it to your list for next time. Chances are good that after you have had a day or two to think about it, the impulse to buy it will go away.

3- Avoid impulse purchases by paying with cash, not credit or debit cards. This way you will immediately see & feel the pain of the purchase.

(I'm harping on impulse purchases because I'm convinced most people greatly underestimate how much they really spend on these typically small purchases. This is an easy category to save money on IF you are willing to take an honest look at your spending habits.)

4- Avoid shopping for fun or entertainment. Don't go to the mall or shopping center just to have something to do.

5- Avoid social shopping with friends. People tend to talk each other into things, not out of them.

6- Do not watch infomercials or home shopping channels.

7- Do not catalog shop unless you are looking for something specific.

8- Shop for quality not quantity. Something that costs more because it is of better quality and therefore will last longer, will be cheaper in the long run than something that initially costs less, but will wear out or break much quicker. 

(I've bought cheap clothes at Walmart that literally started to unravel and even get holes in them after the very first washing. They may cheaper than better clothes, but that are NOT less expensive in the long run.)

9- Stick with classic styles and colors, rather than styles that are "in" at the moment. Avoid fads.

10- Consider renting something instead of buying it if you will only use it once or very occasionally.

(Examples may include things like carpet cleaners and pressure washers.) 

11- Cancel newspapers and magazines that you don't read thoroughly or truly need professionally. Most will even refund the unused portion of your subscription.

12- Make use of your local library for newspapers, magazines, books, DVDs and CDs. Only buy those that you cannot get for free at the library or that you will use repeatedly.

13- Use coupons whenever possible, but only for items you would buy anyway.

(I've found that generic and store brands are often cheaper than the name brand even when using a coupon. Example: on a recent trip to Walmart, I had a coupon for 50¢ off two cans of Barbasol Saving cream. The regular price of the Equate brand of saving cream was still cheaper.)
 
14- Use sales fliers and the Internet to comparison shop. Prices can vary widely from store to store on the same item.

15- Warehouse stores (Sam's Club, Costco, etc.)  are good ways to save money, but don't assume they are always the cheapest option.  Often times a generic or store brand elsewhere will be just as good and less expensive than a name brand at the warehouse store.

16- Avoid the use of credit cards, charge accounts, rent-to-own, and other forms of debt. You will not only save on interest and other fees, you will most likely buy less in the first place.

17- If you have credit card debt, be extra diligent to make payments on time. The late fees and higher interest rates due to missed or late payments add up fast.

18- Hang out your clothes to dry. Dryers are among the most expensive appliances to run in terms of energy cost.
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This article is part of an ongoing Prepper Financial Series. Here are the other articles in that series:

*** Foundational Advice: Eliminate Debt and Build Savings 
*** Quick Financial Tips for Preppers (and Everyone Else)
*** How To Raise Money For Your Prepping Activities
*** Precious Metals and the Prepper

*** Taming the Family Budget
*** Prepper's Guide to Junk Silver (article from 2014)


Future articles in the Prepper Financial Series will come out on an almost weekly basis, typically on Mondays.
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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Planning Your Escape: Considerations for Bugging Out



Most people's Plan A should be to "bug in" or "hunker down" during an emergency. But, things may become dangerous in your area (wild fires, power plant accidents, rioters & looters, government actions, etc.), so plan now for your possible escape, should it become necessary. When will you bug-out? Where you will go? How will you get there? What happens if your primary path is blocked? Do you know alternative routes? What should you take with you?  

Here are some considerations for planning your escape:

1- Know when to Bug-Out. This is probably the hardest part of your planning.  The best advice for most people in most situations is to stay put as long as possible. Hunker down where you are, unless and until it becomes too dangerous to do so. You don't want to face the open road during a highly chaotic and dangerous time unless you absolutely have to leave for your own safety.

To put it in simple terms:  Bug-out when doing so is less dangerous than staying where you are.  But, how to know when that is? How do you strike the balance between leaving too early and leaving too late? 

The key is applying situational awareness and the OODA loop (link to my January article) to the developing situation. Pay attention to what's happening, not just on the national level, but especially what's happening on the local level. Local news & talk radio will be more useful to monitor during a crisis than national broadcast and cable news channels. Having the ability to monitor local police and emergency dispatch will also be very useful. Check out Broadcastify for a way to monitor local dispatch via the Internet. Other apps and websites are available. You can also get a hand-held or desktop radio scanners for when the Internet is out.

Use commonsense and rational thinking (don't be overly emotional) to analyze what is going on in your area. The goal is to bug-out when things are obviously going south, but haven't yet spiraled completely out-of-control.

"But what if my Plan A is to bug-out?"  Okay. I get it. Many people feel they have to (or want to) live in a big city or other unsuitable location for riding out TEOTWAWKI.  If your Plan A is bugging-out, then do so as early as possible to avoid the traffic jams, limited fuel supplies, and chaos of the last minute escape.  In your case, it is etter to bug-out too early, then to bug-out too late. You can always return home after you realize it wasn't SHTF after all.

2- Plan a Bug-Out location. Obviously, the best bug-out location is one which you already own and have developed for your needs. But for most of us, that is difficult to do. The next best choice is probably a friend or relative's place. 

Maybe your Uncle George has a fishing cabin in the mountains. Or Great Aunt Ida lives alone in that huge old house on the outskirts of a  small town in the Ozarks. Or Cousin Eddie has a small farm in Kentucky. Talk to them about using their place as a bug-out location. You could even stockpile some food, clothes, and other supplies there ahead of time. You don't even have to move into the house with them. Perhaps you could park a camper or RV in their driveway or backyard.  

Other potential bug-out locations include national or state parks, church retreats, and for-profit campgrounds. 

3- Know how to get to your bug-out location. This means knowing how to get there using at least two different routes (in case one is blocked for some reason) without using GPS or google maps. Practice driving all routes before you need to bug-out for real. Keep directions, maps and a road atlas in your vehicle.

You should also learn the potential "hot spots" in your local area, and along the routes to your bug-out locations. By hot spots, I mean areas that are more likely than others to be dangerous. Examples include heavily urban areas and college campuses which will likely see looting and/or rioting early on. Bad neighborhoods, already dangerous high crime areas, will only be worse during SHTF. Areas with a heavy Muslim population, or near mosques, will be dangerous for non-Muslims (forgive my political incorrectness).  Busy intersections and areas where traffic already snarls during normal rush hours, will likely be impassable during SHTF. Road construction is another potential hot spot, as one or more lanes may be blocked by equipment and materials. 


4- Make sure your vehicle is in good shape, and fueled up.  You're bug-out plans will fail if your vehicle breaks down, or if you run out of gas. Keep your oil changed on a regular basis, and quickly make any necessary repair. Make sure your tires, including spares, are in good shape. Check out my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule for more on this topic.

5- Put together a small emergency kit for your vehicle. Include things to keep your vehicle running (extra oil, transmission fluid, jumper cables, fix-a-flat, etc.). Include a good flashlight with extra batteries. If you can do basic auto repairs (a great skill to learn), keep some useful tools and spare parts in vehicle. Also include things you might need in an emergency (a first aid kit, a warm blanket, bottles of water, power bars or other food, etc.)

6- Have a Bug Out or Evacuation Bag already packed for each member of your family. Include a change of clothes, some food, water, personal hygiene supplies, individual first aid kit, a compact New Testament or prayer book, flashlight and extra batteries, emergency poncho, and whistle in each bag. Adults and teens should have additional items such as a knife, multi-tool, matches or lighters, duct tape, outdoor survival gear, sewing kits, etc. In the bags of children, be sure to include written information such as name & age of the child, family contact info, and lists of any allergies, medications & health conditions, should the child become separated from the rest of the family. Also include a favorite toy, coloring books, crayons, and/or a few other distractions for the kids. In your bag, be sure to include copies of insurance policies, deeds, birth certificates, vaccination records, medical records, bank numbers, passports, and other personal records (ideally in a small notebook or envelope, and possibly on a USB stick or other digital storage). 

7- Decide what to pack. You may only have time to grab your bug-out bags and go. But, should you have more time to pack your vehicle, decide beforehand what you want to take with you. Possibilities include extra food, water, and clothes, cleaning and hygiene supplies, tools (hand and/or gardening), reference books, camping gear, and even sentimental items such as family photos and heirlooms. Thinking about where you will bug-out to will help you determine what extra items you should take if there is time.
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