Saturday, May 19, 2018

Some Thoughts on Self-Defense

It is a dangerous world out there, and likely to get more dangerous as society continues to break down. As someone said on GAB yesterday about the recent school shootings: "When a society becomes godless, you will get more godless acts." Add in the open borders maddness of the globalists, and you have a situation which will only get worse in the coming years. 

Self-Defense - Yes, this is the "guns and ammo" skill set for preppers and survivalists, but it is so much more than just that. Guns are just one tool in your personal security arsenal, and not the most important one. The first and most important tool for personal security is awareness. Awareness of your surroundings and the potential risks of your situation is essential. Situational awareness isn't just paying attention, as I explained in my article Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop. It also means knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings.

I do recommend that most folks own and learn how to use guns, and to carry on an everyday basis if possible (know and follow the laws in your area, of course). If you do have guns, don't just target shoot at the range. You need to take a good self-defense firearms training course. Consult with your local gun dealer - they will be able to guide you to appropriate courses, and make you aware of local gun laws.

In addition to all gun-owners taking firearms training courses, everyone in your family/group/church should take a regular self-defense course. A good self-defense course won't just cover the physical aspects of self-defense, but also give tips and advice on avoiding dangerous situations in the first place.

Learning a martial art such as karate can be a fun hobby, provide considerable health and fitness benefits. improve self-confidence, and give you a life-long self-defense skill set. I especially urge parents to get their kids involved in martial arts at a young age. 

We must be concerned for the physical safety of ourselves and our families, as well as the protection of our personal property. Today, this includes protecting against identity theft which can be as devastating to its victims as any mugging or home robbery. Identity theft has become a $16 billion dollar idustry in the US alone.

Be sure to guard your personal records - driver's license & Social Security numbers, banking & financial information, medical records, etc. - as carefully and diligently as you guard your gold & silver. Be especially vigilant with your computer. At a minimum, always use a firewall, maintain an up-to-date anti-virus program, and regularly scrub your computer with one or more anti-spyware programs. Only do business online with well-established companies you know and trust. 

Home Security - Both the situational awareness skills and personal security skills discussed above can and do fit into this category. However, here I am particularly talking about making your home safe - "hardening" it against criminals, looters, and other thugs, as well as protecting it against fire and other disasters. Items that fit under this skill set include anti-burglary measures such as alarm systems, cameras, steel security exterior doors, fences, burglar bars, etc. It also means performing home safety inspections on a regular basis, having fire & smoke detectors (with fresh batteries), fire extinguishers, first aid supplies (and knowledge), flashlights with fresh batteries, and other safety equipment and supplies on hand.  

Obviously, home secutrity and and self-defense is a huge topic with a wide scope of considerations.  Start thinking through these issues now.  The protection of yourself & your family will be - IS - your responsibility.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Problem with Customer Loyalty Cards

For those of us concerned with privacy (and we should all be), I recommend that we limit the use of affinity or customer loyalty cards. These cards are used by companies to "reward" loyal customers with special deals.

Why limit our use of these cards? Although affinity/loyalty cards can be great ways to get special deals, these deals do come at the cost of allowing the company to collect information on you, such as your shopping habits, purchase history, product preferences, days/times you prefer to shop, and which store locations you frequent. They tie this information to your name, address, phone numbers, and email accounts, along with any other information they can find out about you. If you use credit or debit cards to make your purchases with, those accounts are tied to your affinity card file, which in turn gives the company access to your credit history and all the information contained therein. You would be stunned how much personal and private information companies acquire from you through those affinity cards.  

All this information is used by the company to both build customer loyalty, and to market products to you (in other words, to manipulate you into buying more stuff from them). This data may also be shared with its vendors and affiliated businesses, sold to other companies, or potentially stolen by company employees or outside hackers. It could also be obtained by law enforcement and other government agencies, often without the need for a warrant (depends on the individual company - ALL companies will comply with a warrant-backed request, some will comply even with requests without a warrant). 

The personal data companies mine on you is worth far more money to them than any profit lost from the special deals they offer you. You must decide for yourself if the money you save with these deals is worth giving up a portion of your privacy. Its an individual decision, but one you should make with full knowledge of the potential consequences.

I got rid of most of my affinity cards years ago. Today, I only have one, and it does not have my real name or address attached to it (and I only pay with cash so there is no credit/debit card attached to it either). This allows me to get the in-store specials. But since they don't have my mailing address, I don't get any of their flyers or coupons by mail, so I probably miss out on a few deals. 

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Trees for Long-Term Survival

I found this poster, promoting the usefulness of trees for long-term sustainability and survival, on a UK website/blog more than 10 years ago.  The website went dark soon after, and I have no further information on its origins.

I love this poster because it reflects the usefulness and neccessity of trees. It has been said that trees can provide everything that human civilization needs (except for minerals/metals that must be derived from the Earth) to survive indefinately. Watch Patrick Moore's five-minute Prager Univesity video Trees Are The Answer for more on the usefulness of trees. Even though I am far from a liberal "tree-hugger," I've long promoted within the survivalist community the usefullness of trees. 

My Forest Gardening series of articles published on my website have been quite well-received. If you don't know what Forest Gardening is, check out my Introduction to Forest Gardening. Its a concept for preppers, survivalists, and homesteaders to seriously consider.  Even if you don't want to get into Forest Gardening (it does take a lot of work and time to set-up), I hope you will at least plant a few fruit or nut trees on your property.  My receent article Tips For Planting Fruit Trres & Common Mistakes will help guide you through this process.  

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