Sunday, October 23, 2016

Typical Prepper versus Gypsy Survivalist...

What the Gypsy Survival Strategy Might Actually Look Like

In my recent article, Gypsy Survival - A Different Prepper Strategy, I introduced an idea I've been thinking about for a number of years. It is a prepper strategy based on disconnecting from the system and extreme mobility, rather than stockpiling or homesteading. In  this article, I want to consider what the Gypsy Survival Strategy might actually look like by comparing it to typical prepper ideas on several points. 

Typical Prepper: Home is your physical address. Perhaps an apartment or house. Maybe a homestead or farm. Probably have a mortgage and property taxes. Costs money, time, and effort to maintain. Still, it is yours (at least until the government or bank decides otherwise). Requires furniture and other stuff, which costs money/time/effort to buy and maintain.

Gypsy Survivalist: Home is wherever you are with family and friends. Not a physical address, which would only be temporary anyway. Most likely sleep in a tent, camper, trailer, RV, or mobile home of some sort. All your stuff fits inside your vehicle and/or mobile home. Little, probably no, furniture or large other items.

Typical Prepper: Bugging-in at your current location, or bugging-out to a prearranged location, such as a retreat that would then likely become your permanent location if you could not return to the original location. 

Gypsy Survivalist: No permanent location or home. Constantly moving away from danger or towards opportunity as conditions warrant. 

Typical Prepper: Probably have "roots" where you live. Friends & family that permanently live nearby. A particular church you attend. A job/career/employer for which you feel some loyalty or responsibility. Organizations that you are a part of... Things that may make you reluctant/slow to leave a location if things suddendly go bad. 

Gypsy Survivalist: No roots in the local community, thus nothing holding you back. Your roots are with the community of like-minded family & friends you travel with... (Interestingly, Roma and other "gypsies" never marry, date, or even have strong friendships with non-Roma; all that is done within the larger Roma/Gypsy community.)

Typical Prepper: Unless they are making money homesteading, farming, or from their own small business, most preppers have regular jobs/careers working for someone else. Could be anything from blue collar workers to professionals. The need for such employment is a limiting factor for many preppers (including me).

Gypsy Survivalist: Typically self-employed or take temporary/part-time work for which they feel no loyalty towards employer. Easy to just leave whenever. Traditionally, gypsies tend to be entertainers of some sort (singers, musicians, actors, storytellers, fortune tellers, etc.). Think vaudeville. This seems to hold true today, although to a somewhat lesser extent. Other common gypsy employment is as animal trainers, artisans, craftsmen, tinkers, handymen, and similar professions. Gypsies can be professionals, and some are, but their lifestyle often makes for a difficult career path in terms of advancement, though their is always some need for temporary nurses, accountants, etc.

Typical Prepper: Stockpiling food, water,  and supplies in quantity. Lots of redundancy. This requires space to store, money to buy, time to organize/maintain. Decreases mobility.

Gypsy Survivalist: Goods and other stuff kept on-hand would have to be minimal. A few days to a couple of weeks worth of food & supplies at most. Emphasis would have to be on collecting & providing as needed, rather than storing. Example: Instead of storing lots of water in jugs or tanks, the Gypsy Survivalist would depend on their ability to collect/treat water using tools like the Lifestraw Family Water Filter or Lifestraw Go Bottles. Food is obtained by buying or trading with locals, by hunting, fishing, & collecting wild edibles, and possibly by having small gardens when camped at a suitable location for a period of time. I've also heard tale of some gypsies traveling with a few goats or chickens.

Typical Prepper: Lots of tools and other gear. Lots of redundancy. Requires money to buy, room to store, time/effort to maintain. Probably lots of big tools, especially if homesteading is part of the plan. Again, cost & need for room to store are factors.

Gypsy Survivalist: Minimal tools and gear with little redundancy. Would have to emphasize quality, usefulness, and practicality, over quantity. Would require a certain amount of ingenuity and creative thinking. Get the most "bang for your buck," so to speak. No need to have yard or garden tools (other than maybe a shovel). No need for power tools (maybe a gas-powered chain saw?). Would have at least a good set of basic tools and skill to use them, and a few tools of the trade for tinkers/metalworkers, handymen types.

Typical Prepper: Large library of books on prepping, homesteading, gardening, country skills, survival medicine, and a variety of other potentially useful topics. I've seen preppers/survivalists brag about their libraries of thousands of books. My own is in the hundreds. Again, cost and room to store are issues. Besides, in reality most of those books will go unread.

Gypsy Survivalist: No room for a large library. Maybe one or two 3-foot shelves worth of books. Will force you to be choosy about what books you keep on-hand. Only the most important, useful, and often-used will make the cut. Again, quality over quantity. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Minimum Pre-Crisis Preparations for a Nuclear Event

The following is Chapter 16 of the 1987 edition of Cresson H. Kearny's Nuclear War Survival Skills. These points are expanded upon throughout the book. The entire book is available for free download at http://www.oism.org/nwss/


Chapter 16: Minimum Pre-Crisis Preparations


Your chances of surviving a nuclear attack will be improved if you make the following low-cost preparations before a serious crisis arises. Once many Americans become convinced that a nuclear attack is a near certainty, they will rush to stores and buy all available survival supplies. If you wait to prepare until a crisis does arise, you are likely to be among the majority who will have to make-do with inadequate supplies of water containers, food, and materials. Furthermore, even if you have the necessary materials and instructions to make the most needed survival items, you and your family are not likely to have time to make all of them during a few days of tense crisis.

The following recommendations are intended primarily for the majority who live in areas likely to be subjected to blast, fire, or extremely heavy fallout. These people should plan to evacuate to a safer area. (Many citizens living outside high-risk areas, especially homeowners with yards, can and should make better pre-crisis preparations. These would include building high-protection-factor permanent shelters covered with earth.)

SHELTER

Keep on hand the tools and materials your family or group will need to build or improve a high- protection-factor expedient shelter: One or more shovels, a pick (if in a hard-soil area), a bow-saw with an extra blade, a hammer, and 4-mil polyethylene film for rainproofing your planned shelter. Also store the necessary nails, wire, etc. needed for the kind of shelter you plan to build.


Keep instructions for shelter-building and other survival essentials in a safe and convenient place.

VENTILATION-COOLING

Make a homemade shelter-ventilating pump, a KAP, of the size required for the shelter you plan to build or use.


WATER

Keep on hand water containers (including at least four 30-gallon untreated polyethylene trash bags and two sacks or pillowcases for each person), a pliable garden hose or other tube for siphoning, and a plastic bottle of sodium hypochlorite bleach (such as Clorox) for disinfecting water and utensils.


FALLOUT METER

Make one or two KFMs and learn how to use this simple instrument.


FOOD

Store at least a 2-week supply of compact, nonperishable food. The balanced ration of basic dry foods described in Chapter 9, Food, satisfies requirements for adults and larger children at minimum cost. If your family includes babies or small children, be sure to store more milk powder, vegetable oil, and sugar.


Continuing to breast-feed babies born during an impending crisis would greatly simplify their care should the crisis develop and worsen

For preparing and cooking basic foods:




° Make a 3-Pipe Grain Mill like the one described in Chapter 9, Food, or buy a small hand-cranked grain mill, which grinds more efficiently than other expedient devices. Book Page: 133
° Make a Bucket-Stove as described in Chapter 9. During evacuation, the stove can be used as a container. Store some kitchen-type wooden matches in a waterproof container.
° Keep essential containers and utensils on hand for storing and transporting food and for cooking and serving in a shelter.
SANITATION

Insect screen or mosquito netting, and fly bait. See Chapter 12.




A hose-vented 5-gallon can, with heavy plastic bags for liners, for use as a toilet. Include some smaller plastic bags and toilet paper with these supplies. Tampons.
MEDICINES




° Any special medications needed by family members.
° Potassium iodide, a 2-oz bottle, and a medicine- dropper, for prophylactic protection of the thyroid gland against radioactive iodines. (Described in the last section of Chapter 13, Survival Without Doctors.)
° A first-aid kit and a tube of antibiotic ointment.
LIGHT
° Long-burning candles (with small wicks) sufficient for at least 14 nights.
° An expedient lamp, with extra cotton-string, wicks, and cooking oil as described in Chapter 11.
° A flashlight and extra batteries.
RADIO 
A transistor radio with extra batteries and a metal box in which to protect it.

OTHER ESSENTIALS

Review the EVACUATION CHECKLIST (developed primarily for persons who make no preparations before a crisis) and add items that are special requirements of your family.

 
Book Page: 134

Friday, October 7, 2016

Gypsy Survival - A Different Prepper Strategy



Many survival strategies involve hunkering down in place, homesteading, rural retreats and survival communities, or "bugging out" to those locations, where, through a combination of self-reliance and stockpiles of food & supplies, any future hard times can be survived. But I've long been intrigued by another possibility, which I call Gypsy Survival.

Gypsy Survival is a strategy that is loosely based on current and historical groups of highly nomadic peoples often referred to as "gypsies." This includes the Romani people, the Sinti, Irish Travellers, Scottish Tinkers, and Indigenous Norwegian Travellers, as well as other groups. In addition to these real-life examples, the concept of gypsies has been heavily fictionalized over the years. The Gypsy Survival Strategy I present here is a conglomeration of lessons and ideas from all these groups, as well as some of my own thoughts. My use of the term "gypsy" throughout this article refers to this conglomeration of ideas, not any one particular group, and is intended in a completely non-pejorative way.


Three Distinctive Features

I see three distinctive features of the gypsy lifestyle that could be adapted into a very successful survival strategy.

1) Gypsies lead a highly nomadic, very mobile lifestyle. Gypsies don't set down roots in any specific location. Home is not a place, but rather is being with family.  Where the "being with" actually takes place is irrelevant. Community, too, isn't a particular place, such as a neighborhood or town, but rather is the larger group of fellow gypsies.

Survival Advantage: Because there is nothing to hold them to a particular place, such as property owned or personal ties to local people, gypsies have the ability to quickly pack up and flee from danger. Or to quickly move to where there is more opportunity. This ability is more than just bugging out. Gypsies, because they have no roots and few possessions, can immediately leave one location and set up home in a new location, without any reluctance to leave or "stuff" holding them back.

2) Gypsies are NOT part of the worldly system, and have no desire to "fit in" or conform to the standards of modern society.  Rather than being swayed by the world around them, and the opinions of others, gypsies hold firm to their own language, culture, beliefs, and traditions. They have no need to "Get Out of Babylon," because they are already mostly out of the worldly system.

Survival Advantage: By being less dependent on the worldly system, gypsies have a considerable amount of flexibility in responding to threats and danger. They are not dependent on government or the established social order. Nor are they dependent on their employers or careers. They also make less compromises in maintaining their way of life, including religious beliefs, traditions, and other aspects of their culture that are very important to them.

3) Gypsies are loyal to the family/clan/tribe, NOT to a place (country, state, community), a government, or even to a company, career, or job. Privacy is of high importance. What happens within the gypsy community stays within their community. Disputes are handled internally, without bringing in any outside authorities. The preservation of their way of life, culture, beliefs, and traditions is of utmost importance.

Survival Advantage: Loyalty within families, and even within the larger gypsy community, means that they are there for each other. Gypsies help and protect their own. They are also better able to maintain their way of life and culture without compromising with the outside world. 

Possible Disadvantages

There are, of course, disadvantages to the gypsy lifestyle. Lack of property means that they typically cannot produce their own food. Instead, they must depend on what they can hunt, gather, and buy or trade for with outsiders. 

The gypsy refusal to assimilate into the outside world, and to conform with outside societal norms, means that they are typically the object of suspicion and distrust. This often leads to official discrimination, persecution, and even attempts at genocide against them. 


Other Hallmarks of the Gypsy Survival Strategy

Gypsies have developed the ability to vanish into the background. Did you know that there are over a million gypsies estimated to be living in the United States? Chances are that there are some living near you, and you don't even know it. This ability to go unnoticed, and to quickly vanish in the face of trouble, serves them quite well.

Gypsies prefer to avoid trouble rather than face it head on. As the saying goes, the surest way to survive a fight is to not get in a fight in the first place. They flee first, and only fight when it is unavoidable. Yes, gypsies will defend themselves when necessary, but they prefer to avoid danger if at all possible.

Gypsies typically don't own real estate. The days of living in their horse-drawn wagons (called vardos by some) are long gone, of course. Today most gypsies live in campers, trailers, or mobile homes. Occasionally, some my rent or lease apartments or houses, but even this is uncommon. This means that leaving an area is relatively a simple, and quick, driving away, with little packing up required. 

Gypsies live simple lifestyles, with relatively few possessions. This saves them time, space, and money. It also enables them to pack up and flee quickly when necessary. Unlike possessions, knowledge and skills cannot be lost, stolen, or broken

Gypsies work for themselves. Sometimes this means being self-employed (examples: artisans, craftsmen, animal trainers, entertainers, etc.)  Sometimes this means hiring themselves out to do part-time or temporary work. Gypsies can and do work in almost every career field imaginable. The point is that they don't tie themselves down to a particular company or career field.

Privacy is of utmost importance. What happens within the gypsy community stays within the gypsy community. Disputes are handled internally. They hold their language, rules, customs, and traditions closely, rarely sharing them with outsiders. Outsiders are rarely, if ever, brought into the gypsy community, and marriages with outsiders are highly discouraged. When dealing with outsiders, gypsies are notoriously vague in giving names and other bits of personal information, and never give specifics about the larger gypsy community. 


Check out the follow-up to this article, "Typical Prepper versus Gypsy Survivalist...  What the Gypsy Survival Strategy Might Actually Look Like."