Saturday, December 29, 2018

Soft Skills Preppers Need to Develop

Soft skills are general skills that are often seen as part of our personality, and as such are typically self-learned without realizing it while we are growing up. Examples include listening skills and getting along with others. Hard skills, on the other hand, are technical skills that are intentionally taught to us by others, usually in the classroom or on-the-job. An example would be computer skills.

In prepper and survivalist circles, most talk centers around the hard skills we need: first aid, water purification, bushcraft skills, shooting & self-defense skills and so forth. But soft skills can also be very important, and fortunately they can be developed if we realize the need.

Communication and Listening Skills

More than just the ability to talk, good communications skills include both active listening and the ability to explain ideas to others in a way they can understand.

Social Skills / Networking 

A huge complaint I often hear in the prepper community is the difficulty in finding or forming community. Networking and social skills are about finding, meeting, and getting along with others. (Related Article: Why Preppers Have a Hard Time Building Community)

Teamwork

Are you a team player, or a lone wolf? Do you follow the rules, or do you insist on doing things your way and only your way? Is cooperation and compromise in your vocabulary, or do you see them strictly as "dirty words?" Working together with others to achieve goals, such as security and survival, is important.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is very different from just being the boss.  And it has nothing to do with forcing others to do what you tell them to do. (Related article: There's a Major Difference Between Being a Leader and Just a Boss)

Creativity / Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is especially valuable during the chaos and confusion of a disaster or crisis. Disasters are unpredictable in both their nature and their consequences. The ability to think outside the box and to come up with solutions for unexpected problems could easily be the difference between life and death.

Logic / Critical Thinking 

Disasters cause confusion and panic that can lead to purely emotional responses, which are usually not the best responses. The ability to remain calm, think clearly, and use reason in responding to the disaster is critical. (Related article: How To Not Panic In An Emergency)

Organization / Time Management

There's so much to do in terms of planning and logistics that it can be easy to get overwhelmed and let things "fall through the cracks." The ability to manage your time and to be organized is a highly underrated skill. (Personal note: This is one of the soft skills I most need to work on myself.)

Adaptability

Adaptability, the ability to recognize, accept and deal with change in a positive way, doesn't come easy for most of us, but fortunately it is a skill that can be learned. (Related article: Adaptability - The Key to Urban Survival)

Responsibility / Work Ethic

Taking responsibility for your own life and having a strong work ethic are closely related. The single most important thing you can do to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now. Having a strong work ethic is a major key to success in life in any situation, not just in survival situations.

Learning and developing these soft skills can be done. Start by realizing the importance of these skills, then make an honest assessment about your own skill level for each of these categories. Decide which skills you need to develop and start researching those skills. There are lots of articles and videos about these skills on the Internet, and entire books have been written on each. You might even be able to find courses on soft skills being taught at your local community college. Most importantly, soft skills are best learned the same way hard skills are - through practice.
---------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble  

Friday, December 21, 2018

Major Guangzhou House Church Shut Down by Authorities

Government Crackdown on Influential Churches Across China Continues

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that on the morning of December 15, more than 100 police and government officials raided a children’s Bible class at Guangzhou’s Rongguili Church.

They registered the names of the students, interrogated their parents and staff, confiscated their cell phones, and copied contact information from the church’s computers to prevent members from documenting and reporting the raid.

According to South China Morning Post, officials from the education and religious affairs departments stayed until 8:00 p.m. and confiscated church property, including more than 4,000 books. Entry and exit points for the roads leading to the church have been cordoned off by police.

When the worshippers went to their church the next day for Sunday service, more than 30 police officers were present to prevent members from entering. A notice issued by the Yuexiu Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau shows that the church is now disbanded and Christians should instead worship at other state-sanctioned churches nearby.

Rongguili Church was founded by the late Lin Xiangao, an iconic leader in the Chinese house church known for his resistance against the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Thousands attend the church every week and it is widely seen as the beacon of faith in southern China.

This incident makes Rongguili Church the third victim in the latest clampdown on influential house churches in China, following Beijing’s Zion Church and Sichuan’s Autumn Rain Covenant Church.

Father Francis Liu shared the church’s prayer request on Twitter. The church asked people to “pray for the Lord’s mercy on the copied file as it contains personal information of preachers and other churches. May God bless them as local authorities have already taken turns to visit the home of one of the listed.”

A house church member in Beijing who has closely followed the latest crackdown against house churches told ICC, “It seems like the government has been deliberately targeting several influential house churches in China… What might be the reason behind their action at this particular moment we don’t know, but God knows! May God’s will be done.”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “From Beijing to Sichuan to Guangzhou, the carefully planned crackdown against house churches shows that the Chinese government has sought to take house churches out of the Christian landscape and force believers to join state-sanctioned churches instead. By doing so, Christians will be subjected to indoctrination through party ideology. This is a clear violation of religious liberty and should be condemned by the international community.”  

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

---------------- 

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble  

 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Egyptian Police Officer Murders Two Christian Men

Christians’ Confidence in Police Further Plunges Following Yet Another Attack

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that on the evening of December 12, Egyptian police officer Rabi Mustapha Khalifa shot and killed Coptic Christian Emad Kmal Sadeq and his son David. The police officer was stationed as a security guard at the Nahded al-Qadasa Church in Minya City, Upper Egypt. He has since been detained in custody pending an investigation. At the time of writing, no charges are believed to have been filed.

The police have claimed that “the victims tried to take his (Mustapha’s) gun during a fight.” 

However, Christians familiar with the situation say that the incident was the outcome of a dispute that originated a few days prior. Video footage also further calls the police’s narrative into question.

According to Ezzat Ibrahim, manager of the al-Kalma Center for Human Rights, “On the day of the incident, the policeman extended the number of his work hours for the reason to kill the two Christians.”  

Two days before the incident, a dispute arose between the police officer and the Christians over the police officer’s motorbike. “The two Christians were demolishing their own home; they asked him to move his motorbike away from the dust and house. He refused to take his motorbike away and menaced them, saying, ‘If you don’t give me some pieces of wood, I’m going to shoot fire at your son!’” 

Video footage of the December 12 incident posted on social media shows that the police officer walked over to the Christians’ home with his weapon pulled. After what appears to be a brief conversation, the two Christian men were shot in the street. The father, Emad, was 49 years old and his son David was 21 years old.

The incident is reminiscent of an incident that took place in August, when a policeman tasked with guarding a church in Beni Suef attempted to incite violence against Christians during a service. Christians gathered yesterday in Minya to protest the latest incitement of violence encouraged by the police toward Christians.

One Minya Christian told ICC, “That’s [a] very horrible situation. Maybe the local media can consider the killer as psycho, then he will not be punished. Now, when I meet a policeman, I will not show him my ID… I’m sure that he intentionally killed them; I think he threatened them before.”
“A day before the incident, the killer had threatened them,” another Christian told ICC. “Their family is now ruined (homeless).” 

“I think that the police supported this killing of the two Copts. The two Christians were very widespread religious, so I think that this killing is intentional,” added another local Christian.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report ranks Egypt as a Tier 2 country, where religious freedom continues to be regularly violated and suppressed.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “It is extremely worrying that a police officer, one specifically tasked with the security of a church, would be the perpetrator of such a violent act of persecution against Christians. Historically, the authorities are rarely held accountable for using their position to harass, intimidate, and even attack Christians. Tensions in Minya remain high as Christians are extremely concerned that they will be further singled out by the local authorities. We must keep Egypt’s Christians, and specifically the victims’ family, in our prayers.” 

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

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble  

 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Arrested Sichuan, China, House Church Members Criminally Charged

NOTE: This is a vivid reminder that in many parts of the world merely being a follower of Jesus is dangerous. Please take a few moments to pray for these brothers and sisters in Christ.
 
Chinese Church Leaders Officially Charged with Various Crimes

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that after more than 100 members were arrested during the December 9 crackdown on Sichuan’s Autumn Rain Covenant Church in China, several detained leaders have been criminally charged.

Both Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong have been detained for allegedly inciting subversion of state power, a crime that can result in imprisonment of five years, but up to 15 years in extreme cases. Wang has not yet been allowed to meet with lawyers or family members. Jiang was issued “residential surveillance at a designated location,” where she could be held for as long as six months in facilities commonly known as secret prisons, subject to torture and abuse.

Elder Li Yingqiang who was responsible for posting updates and prayer requests online for the church, has been detained for allegedly picking a quarrel and inciting trouble on the internet. Additionally, deacon Ge Yingfeng and Lu Jinheng were detained for alleged illegal operations, according to South China Morning Post.

In the meantime, more than 50 seminary students from the church were sent to a “re-education camp.” However, they were released and sent home, accompanied by local officials after praying and worshipping for more than 48 hours under surveillance.

The church’s Facebook page was last updated on December 10 with prayer requests. Due to security concerns, the official prayer request updates are now shared through other social media channels to prevent local police from targeting more members.

In spite of the turmoil, many members continue to gather in homes for their weekly small groups. Videos and photos shared by Brent Pinkall on Facebook yesterday demonstrate the perseverance of these Christians as they sing praises and read the Bible together.

Although still under house arrest, Pastor Jin Tianming of Beijing’s heavily persecuted Shouwang church issued a statement in support of Pastor Wang Yi and Autumn Rain Covenant Church. He said, “When I read Pastor Wang Yi’s statement on his faith [issued 48 hours after his arrest], my heart was touched. I will say honestly in the Lord, his stance with respect to the church-state relations, is also my stance.”

He continued to call on Christians to “lift up our hands for Pastor Wang Yi and remember Autumn Rain Covenant Church [in prayers]!”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “While trumped up charges against Christians can land them in prison, the faith they live out will never be extinguished by the evil schemes of the communist government. We are closely following the plight and pleas of these Chinese Christians and will continue to raise awareness in order for the international community to rally behind them.”

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

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Egyptian Christian Receives Three-Year Prison Sentence for Insulting Islam

Note: Islam is NOT a tolerant religion. 

Village Atmosphere Remains Tense Following July Mob Attack Against Christians Over Facebook Post 

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that on November 27, Coptic Christian Abd Adel Bebawy was sentenced by an Egyptian court to three years in prison for “insulting Islam in the first degree.” His lawyer was granted access to the verdict on December 6 and has opened an appeal which is expected to be heard at the end of December.

Bebawy was originally arrested in Minbal, a village located in Upper Egypt’s Minya Governorate on July 6, 2018. He had posted on Facebook an image of God, the angel Gabriel, and a verse from the Quran. The day after he was arrested and charged by the police, a mob gathered in Minbal and attacked several Christian homes. It is common for Islamic extremists in Egypt to collectively punish the Christian community for the perceived wrongs of one individual.

One Christian woman, Mariam, shared with ICC shortly following the July attack, “The mob stoned the houses of all the Christians (in Minbal). The Christians were afraid and all locked themselves in their houses and closed the wooden shutters of the windows.”

The attackers have continued to make it clear that Bebawy and his family would not be welcomed back into the village. He has remained imprisoned since July. Regarding the recent verdict, a close relative shared with ICC how she “was expecting this to happen in the first degree. But what I hope is that he will be freed in the appeal.” 

She continued to say that she “didn’t care if [they] had to leave their village or the country, [I] just want his freedom.”

It is believed by those familiar with the case that the judge issued the three-year prison sentence so that the local community would not again form a mob. Hakem, a lawyer familiar with the case, said, “Usually the judge gives the maximum penalty in the first degree to secure himself that he applied the law knowing that the other judge in the second degree will reduce or set him free.” 

Egypt is designated by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom as a Tier 2 Country. According to the constitution, Islam is the official state religion and Sharia is the principal source of legislation.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Egypt’s record on religious freedom has fluctuated greatly throughout the years. While the constitution guarantees freedom of religion to Christians, this does not necessarily exist in practice. 

The situation in Minbal shows how delicate the atmosphere is. We must not only pray for the release of Abd Adel Bebawy from prison, but also that any potential progress made toward securing his release would not incite further violence against Christians living in Minbal.”

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

More Than 100 Sichuan, China, House Church Members Arrested

NOTE: Merely being a follower of Jesus is very dangerous in most parts of the world.

Leaders, Members of Autumn Rain Covenant Church Unaccounted For

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that more than 100 members and leaders of Autumn Rain Covenant Church in China’s Sichuan province have been arrested. The arrests took place on December 9 after local authorities raided the homes of many church members.

According to a statement from the church, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, the police raided and surrounded the church, arresting a church staff member. Around 9:00 p.m., members’ WeChat accounts and cellphone group discussions were blocked, while the church’s telephone line was also shut down. In the meantime, the police ambushed dozens of homes, arresting numerous church members and leaders, including Pastor Wang Yi and his wife. Some were forced to sign a document stating that they will no longer attend the house church.

A member requesting anonymity told Associated French Press, “Most church members were taken from their homes, and some were grabbed off the street. Some were found via their smartphone’s location and were taken away.”

“The police had the whole neighborhood under control, as well as the surrounding area,” he continued. “They didn’t let anyone get close.”

Radio Free Asia noted that the officers refused to provide legal documentation or provide a reason for the arrests. A video shared by the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness confirmed the illegal procedure, documenting the process in which the authorities snatched a Christian from his home, while his wife pursued and questioned their motives.

Elder Lee Yingqiang wrote letters to encourage fellow church members to stand strong in their faith. Despite the persecution, he said, “We will never change our statement of faith shared publicly earlier and our push for house churches to gather in public; we will also not change our stance insisting on the separation of church and state, and the wonderful inheritance of the path to cross of Chinese house churches – we will neither register with the Religious Affairs Bureau, nor join the state-sanctioned churches.”

In the latest updates shared by the church’s Facebook page, photos have surfaced, showing that several members released today were tortured during their detention. One brother shared that during the 24 hours he was detained, he received no food or water, while he was tied to a chair with little sleep. The administrator commented that “these criminal acts are just horrendous.” 

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Chinese authorities seek to intimidate the house church leaders and members by persistently threatening, harassing, and detaining them. They have the mindset that by doing so, Christianity in China will submit to the government’s control. What they don’t know is that Christians often grow stronger and more united after they experience persecution. 

Beijing’s scheme will never prevail, and its distorted view of religious freedom and human rights will continue to be condemned by the international community.” 

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Preparing for Big Tech Censorship

You realize by now that there is a building wave of censorship by Big Tech companies against viewpoints that they deem hateful or politically incorrect. Of course, they define what that might be, in any way they wish, which basically means any viewpoint other than a politically-correct progressive (leftist) point-of-view. Hold to traditional, conservative, libertarian, or populist views, and they have you in their cross-hairs.

I won't waste your time or mine trying to prove it to you. If you've been paying attention, you already know what's going on. Instead, I am going to give you three ideas of how to prepare for ever-increasing censorship by Big Tech.

First, get yourself am external (portable) hard drive as soon as possible. Make it a big one. They are relatively cheap. A basic plug-and-play (meaning ready and easy-to-use right out of the box, with no special software required) 1TB external hard drive is only about $50, with each additional TB running about $20 more. Mine is a Toshiba Canvio Basics. It works with Windows right out of the box, and can be easily reformatted to work with a Mac.

Now, connect it to your PC or laptop and start filling that up with your favorite content (videos, podcasts, articles, blog posts, news stories, etc.) that might get banned in the growing purge of free speech on the Internet. You are creating an off-line archive for yourself of the content you may want in the future, but might no longer be available. 

An added bonus of doing this is you can also back-up all your personal files onto the external hard drive. If you ever need to bug-out, just slip the hard drive into your bug-out bag. It is only about the size of a man's hand and weighs less than 6 ounces. 

Second, protect yourself from being censored by Big Tech. Don't cease being yourself, or proclaiming facts and truth, but don't give them an easy excuse for banning your social media accounts or deplatforming your blog, website, podcast, or video channel. This means NEVER make a threat of physical violence against any person, politician, journalist, celebrity, or group of people.  Not even in jest. Threats of physical violence are both illegal and against the terms of service of every Internet platform.  Also, avoid the use of certain "trigger" words like the N word or the F word. Most folks don't out of common decency, but there are a few folks who relish seeing how far they can push things. All you are really doing is giving them an easy excuse to ban you. 

Third, make back-up accounts and start using Alt Tech and Alt Media. Get a second Twitter account or a second Facebook account (or a second whatever) if you don't want to lose access to those platforms if your main account is ever restricted or banned. For example, I have a backup Twitter account (its @ShadowTLG) for when Twitter finally bans my main account, @TimGamble, which they've already restricted twice that I know of over this year. Avoid posting political or controversial content to your back-up account so it doesn't get banned at the same time. 

Alt Tech are the new tech companies that are rising up to challenge Big Tech. Examples: GAB is the Alt Tech alternative to Twitter. Minds is an Alt Tech alternative to Facebook. BitChute is an Alt Tech alternative to You Tube. There are many others. 

Be aware that Alt Tech has many problems of their own, ranging from technology issues, to financial issues, to public relations issues. Some of these companies will make it as viable alternatives to Big Tech. Others will simply disappear. Only time will tell which is which. 

Alt Media is the alternative to Corporate Media (aka Main Stream Media). There are simply too many to name, but check out Whatfinger News at https://www.whatfinger.com/ which is a great news aggregator site for Alt Media. You will find plenty of links to various Alt Media sources. Bookmark your favorites (including Whatfinger) and consider subscribing to their email lists so you can still find their content if they get deplatformed from social media.
----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble    

Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble   Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pastor and Five Evangelists Arrested for Preaching in Uganda


This news is a stark reminder that in many parts of the world proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still illegal and can lead to imprisonment or even worse. 

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that on Saturday, November 24, Pastor Tom Palapande and his team of five evangelists were arrested in eastern Uganda. Local Muslims reported to the Ugandan police that the Christians were using the Quran to undermine the prophet Mohammed and people of the Islamic faith.

“The Muslims came in the company of their Sheikhs and disrupted our open-air market preaching as the police watched. We were then arrested and taken to Soronko district police headquarters for questioning. We were charged with causing public disturbance and inciting violence, offenses [to which] we responded not guilty. The police locked us up from Saturday to Monday so as to investigate the matter,” Pastor Tom told ICC following his release.

He added,  “We were not causing any violence. We are evangelists known across eastern Uganda for…answering questions on Islam and Christianity. When the Sheikhs fail to answer questions, they usually turn their disappointment to us because we know how to handle the Quran and the Bible. We also hold public debates with them and they hate us because, through our ministry, many Muslims have converted to Christianity.” 

On Sunday, members of Pastor Tom’s church were praying for him and the other evangelists. “We missed church service for the first time this year. The church was praying for us, and on Monday we were released, but with conditions: not to hold and discuss the Quran,” Pastor Tom continued.

The arrest and resulting detention have not discouraged Pastor Tom from preaching the Gospel.  Pastor Tom stated, “We keep doing this because it is a command from our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas risked their lives for the name of Jesus; so do we. The danger will not keep us quiet because how shall they hear unless someone preaches to them?

This past June, Pastor Tom was attacked in a stoning while preaching in Kuwait, where the population is approximately 95% Muslim. As a result, he sustained an injury to his forehead. “The injury almost blinded me, but [I was saved] thanks to my small local church that contributed some little money for me to seek treatment,” the pastor remarked.

Pastor Tom concluded, “The biggest challenge is having evangelical churches and pastors partnering with us. Many pastors watch from a distance due to the threat of being killed or their churches burnt.”

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “These kind of attacks on Christians in East Africa are becoming increasingly common. The Ugandan government must ensure that these men have the right to spread their message to anyone. The government must ensure that the rights of Christians are protected equally.”

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

Saturday, December 1, 2018

There's a Major Difference Between Being a Leader and Just a Boss

This article is a response of sorts to several articles I've read recently on leadership and survival. My concern is that those particular authors don't seem to understand the important difference between being a leader and being a boss. What they describe isn't actual leadership, but rather ways of establishing themselves as the boss of their survival group or post-SHTF community. 

First, let me say this: If you want to be your group's or community's leader, you should be a leader now. Not just in your eyes, but also in the eyes of those you lead. You will not magically turn into a leader once SHTF happens, no matter how you plan to exert your dominance. If folks don't already see you as a leader, you have a lot of work to do before you actually become one. The good news is that leadership skills can be developed. Start by understanding the difference between being a leader and just a boss. 

A leader and a boss have the same starting point. They both have a purpose, goal, or mission that they want to accomplish. They both set about accomplishing their mission by utilizing others. That is where the differences start.
 
A boss drives others by depending on his position (authority) to make them obey his orders. This is often accomplished through fear and intimidation. It is Do as I say or face repercussions. At work, the repercussion might be public chastisement, a bad evaluation, the withholding of a pay raise or promotion, or even being fired.. In a survival situation, the repercussions may range from public criticism  to being thrown out of the group. Worse are those who seem to want to maintain their "leadership" by showing favoritism to "good" followers and disfavor to "bad" followers. Establishing your dominance by withholding food & supplies from "bad" followers while doling out favors to your preferred followers will keep people in line. Sure...  More likely, it will cause resentment and an eventual uprising against your tyranny.  

By contrast, a real leader depends on the goodwill he generates in others to get them to join him in his mission.  He develops this goodwill by inspiring others with his example and generating enthusiasm in them for his vision. People follow a leader not out of fear of the consequences, but rather because of their respect for him and their belief in his vision. Rather than punishing "bad" followers, he works with others to develop them and to find the best way to use each individual. Even in large organizations like a multinational corporation or an army, the top leader does this to the next rung of leadership under him, who in turn develop the next rung of leaders, who in turn develop... and so on until even those at the very bottom are being developed and utilized according to their individual abilities. 

I once worked for a man who was a truly great  leader. He reluctantly had to fire someone not just because of their incompetence, but actual criminal activity on the job. It was how he handled the firing that demonstrated true leadership. The firing was a last resort after trying hard to help this individual. The day after he fired the person, he called the rest of the staff together and apologized to us for having to do so.  He accounted for it as his failure - first for hiring the wrong person, then for being unable to successfully develop him. He also took the opportunity to express his vision for the company, using words like "we" and "us" much more than words like "I" and "me."

A boss would never have apologized or taken the blame upon himself. Instead, most bosses would have used the fired worker as an example to the rest staff as to what could happen to "problem" employees. It is the Do as I say or face repercussions method of establishing their authority and dominance

In early 2017, I wrote a well-received article entitled How To Be a Survival Group Leader. If you are interested in this topic, please read (or reread) it. It goes into a lot of detail on how to be a good leader, as opposed to just a boss.
----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble   
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble  
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Book Review: Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal

https://amzn.to/2QpFVVX
Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, is a popular health advice book from the editors of Reader's Digest, that is now in its Third Edition (released in April 2018). I have all three editions, which is an indicator of how much I like this book.  This book takes the approach of connecting the foods we eat to the ailments that they cause/worsen or help heal. This food-health connection is extremely important, and is a natural way to deal with our health issues. 

The book is set up like an encyclopedia, with alphabetical entries for various foods, ailments, and conditions. The third edition has 170+ foods entries, 100+ ailments, 50+ healthy recipes (the first edition lacks these recipes), and a number of special features covering topics like GMOs, pesticides, high-fructose corn syrup, and food & drug interactions, among others. 

Each food entry starts with a summary of how that particular food may cause harm, and how it may heal. For example, the entry for grapefruits list possible harms as allergies, canker-sores, and drug interactions, and with healing benefits to high cholesterol, cancer, inflammation, and for weight control.  The remainder of the article fills in the details. It also gives tips for eating, buying, and storing the foods.

The enteries for ailments follows a similar format. For example, under Eye Problems, the summary list foods that harm as those with high saturated fats, and foods that heal as carrots, corn, leafy greens, and fish. The rest of the article then fills in the details. Ailment entries close with a section called Beyond the Diet. In the Case of eye problems, this section mentions shading your eyes from the sun, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, not smoking, and controlling your blood pressure as important steps to take to protect/heal your eyes.

Our healthcare system will only continue to get more expensive, and government intervention will likely lead to problems such as rationing and doctor shortages. Taking care of our health so that we minimize our need for professional medical care is the best solution to an expensive and increasingly dysfunctional system. This book will help you accomplish that goal. 

Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal is available on Amazon for about $14. It is well worth that price, in my opinion.
----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble   

Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Advanced Urban Survival

This article is a follow-up to my recent Urban Survival: Twenty-Two Practical Tips. Please read that article if you haven't already.

Discussing advanced urban survival should start with an examination of the main differences between rural/small town areas and the big cities and urban centers. There are a lot of differences, but in this article, I want to discuss two in particular - Population Density and Space Availability.
Both of these categories presents urban preppers and survivalists with problems and opportunities different from those in small towns and rural areas. 

Population Density

Big cities have many more people concentrated in a relatively small area. This much greater population density means a much greater threat that city folks will have to deal with crime, violence, looting, and riots, especially after the infrastructure starts to break down after any long-term (or even short-term) grid-down situation. Pollution and sanitation will typically be bigger issues, as will the potential spread of disease. Resources such as food, water, and gasoline will quickly be depleted by the sheer numbers of people using those resources.  These facts suggest that urban survival needs to place particular emphasis on sanitation and disease prevention/treatment, security and self-dense, and stockpiling/caching supplies likely to run out quickly post-SHTF. 

On the other hand, being around more people can have its advantages. More people can mean more hands-on-deck in an emergency, as well as safety-in-numbers. More people probably means more available skill sets. More people may mean a greater opportunity to find and build relationships with like-minded people. 

In order to turn these possibilities into reality, urban survival requires you to build community now, before any SHTF crisis. Learn to get along and work with other people, particularly those with different backgrounds from yours. Befriend your neighbors. Get to know them, their attitudes and beliefs, and their skills. Form a neighborhood watch. This can official (working with your local police, posting signs, etc.) or informal (exchanging phone numbers and agreeing to keep an eye out for strangers or anything else suspicious in the neighborhood). The point is you and your neighbors will begin getting to know one another and watching out for each other. You can build from there. Perhaps you will even find some nearby good friends with which you can form a survival group or mutual aid group (MAG). 

I've written a number of articles on building community that might interest you. They are listed at the bottom of this article.


Space Availability

Limited space, both outdoor and indoor, is a major obstacle for urban preppers. Most apartment and condo dwellers have no space for gardening, raising chickens, or other homesteading activities (thus their frustration with a lot of typical prepper advice). Even home owners in the city typically have very small yards without much room for those type activities. Additionally, limited storage space inside apartments and condos creates a real limitation on how much food, water, gear, and other stuff you can store. 

However, it is possible to overcame these space limitations. My suggestions for doing so can be summed up in three words - minimalism, prioritization, and creativity

Minimalism - The minimalist lifestyle is about eliminating the unnecessary and superfluous, and doing more with less. This will ultimately free up both space and time (and probably money). Declutter you life. Hold a garage sale. Sell it on eBay. Donate stuff to the Salvation Army. Fill up the dumpster. Doing so will free up an amazing amount of storage space. But where to start? There are lots of articles on the web that you can look up, but here are some of the best suggestions I've seen: 
  • Reduce your wardrobe, shoes, belts, ties, handbags, etc. Chances are you have a lot of stuff in your closet (an your kids') that you no longer wear or need. Clean it out.
  • Reduce your collections of books, DVDs, and CDs. Decide what you really want or need, and get rid of the rest.
  • Throw out clutter, such as old magazines, catalogs, as well as all those receipts and warranties from 10 years ago.
  • Get rid of toys, games, books, puzzles, stuffed animals and other junk that your kids have outgrown, broken, or otherwise don't play with anymore. 
Prioritization - This is crucial for the urban prepper and survivalist. You can't afford to waste space or money on non-essentials. Figure out what is really important and focus your time, efforts, and money on those things. Make lists based on those priorities and stick to those lists. This will also help you in your minimization activities. Once you figure out what is important, get rid of the rest.  Prioritized lists will also help you avoid impulse buying,  saving you both space and money.

Creativity - Do container gardening on your porch or balcony. Find out if there are any community gardens in your area you can join. See if your church could start a community garden. Store stuff under the bed. Put your bed on risers to create more storage space. Use flat storage boxes to store stuff under the sofa. Create overhead storage areas. Use water bricks to store water, dry foods (beans, rice, pasta, dog food), or even small supplies (batteries, first aid supplies, ammo, etc.). They are made to stack easily, and can even be turned into tables, nightstands, and other pieces of furniture (thereby serving a dual purpose).  Another possibility is to rent a nearby storage unit. A final suggestion, watch little house videos on You Tube. They have come up with some amazingly creative ways to use space and create storage.

Articles of Interest:

----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Gear Review: The Pocket Chainsaw

We've all seen the wire saw (sometimes called a commando saw), which is that small, lightweight wire saw included in survival kits and bug-out bags. But I remember a survival show host (Les Stroud?) using one in an episode of his show, and the wire ring on one side pulled off with the first tug or two. #EpicFail
 
After seeing that show, I decide to test my wire saw out. Although the wire ring did stay on mine, after only cutting two small (about 1/3 inch diameter) pine branches, the wire became so bent, twisted, and kinked up that I could not cut completely through a third branch with it.  My conclusion: the wire saw is a good idea in theory, but doesn't really work in reality. A useless piece of gear that I threw away.

So, I traded up to a survival pocket chain saw. Its a chain saw blade with two nylon hand straps, and comes with a pouch that can be worn on your belt. Its too big for a Altoids survival kit, of course, but small & light enough (less than one pound including the pouch) to easily carry in a bug-out bag, tackle box, or keep in the glove compartment of your vehicle. For small limbs, the wood saw on my Swiss Army Knife works very well.

https://amzn.to/2zqYyiGAfter the failure of my wire saw, I decided I need to test out the pocket chain saw. I cut down a dead cherry tree in my yard with it (see the pictures in this article of that tree and the pocket chainsaw I used). 




https://amzn.to/2zqYyiGThe pocket chainsaw worked extremely well. I was able to cut down and cut up a 9+ inch diameter cherry tree with nothing but my pocket chainsaw and my own muscle power. I did learn a few things: 1) A gas-powered chainsaw would have been much easier and faster, of course, but a real chainsaw and a can of gas won't fit in your bug-out  bag. The pocket chainsaw is a viable alternative. 2) You need to have a lot of strength and stamina to really use this - fitness matters. By the way, using a pocket chainsaw is a GREAT upper body workout! 3) Wear gloves (you should include a pair of work gloves in your bug-out bag anyway), otherwise the hand straps will eat into your hands.   

Since then, I've also successfully used the pocket chainsaw to cut up several smaller trees and large branches. The handles have not ripped off, and the chain hasn't knotted up. Using it is hard work - again, fitness matters - but it is definitely a better option than the useless wire saw. I keep my pocket chainsaw in my bug-out bag. 

The pocket chainsaw is on Amazon for about $16, and currently comes with a free fire starter.

----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble  

Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble 
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble   

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Survival 101: Going Old School


In any future long-term grid-down scenario, we will be living in a new world. Excuse me, I mean an old world. We will loose most of the modern conveniences we've grown accustomed to in this age of high tech, the Internet, Amazon, and a throw-away economy of disposable goods. We will suddenly be thrust back into a world in which our grandparents and great grandparents lived. For most of us this will be a hard adjustment to make.We need to start thinking now about how people used to live back in the "Olden Times." And to start planning how we can live there ourselves.

For example, take something as simple as entertainment and recreation. Modern entertainment typically revolves around screen time: TV, movies, video games, e-readers, smart phones, and so forth. But our grandparents, and definitely our great grandparents, didn't have these options. They had to entertain themselves. Shocking, right? I mean, how on earth did they do that? Well, they read books made of paper (barbaric, right?). They played card games and board games, told stories, made their own music, and got together with neighbors to celebrate holidays and special occasions.To go old school, maybe pick up some classic board games (you know, the ones that don't require electricity or batteries) and a few decks of cards. Or maybe learn a (non-electric) musical instrument (I want to learn to play the harmonica). Many other possibilities exist.

Another example: In today's modern times, there are plenty of readily available doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical options for when we get sick. In Olden Times, doctors were scarce, especially in rural areas and small towns. When folks got sick, they usually had to rely on Mom's chicken soup, or Grandma's home remedies. In other words, do-it-yourself healthcare was the first line of defense. To go old school, start figuring out how to take care of your and your family's health yourself. Pick up a few good books on home remedies and herbal medicine  

More Examples

Modern: Riding lawn mower for cutting grass.
Old School: Reel Mower (no gas required).

Modern: Computer/printer.
Old School: Manual typewriter.

Modern: Washing machine and dryer.
Old School: Hand washing and clotheslines.

Modern: Electric mixer.
Old School: Hand mixer.

Modern: Electric can opener.
Old School: Manual can opener.

Modern: Take-out, microwaves.
Old-School: Cooking from scratch, cast-iron cookware (gas stoves, wood stoves, outdoor cooking).

Modern: The Internet, Wikipedia.
Old School: Reference books (paper!), the library.

Modern: GPS, Google Maps.
Old School: Road atlas, folding maps.

Modern: Credit & debit cards, ETFs.
Old School: Cash, silver coins, barter.

Modern: Debt, installment plans, rent-to-own.
Old School: Delay purchase until you can save the money (modern folks are going to have a real hard time with this one). 

Modern: Baby formula, store-bought baby food in tiny jars.
Old School: Breast feeding, making baby food at home.

Modern: Disposable diapers.
Old School: Cloth diapers.

This is, of course, only a very limited list - merely some examples to get you thinking.  There are lots and lots that can be added to this list. The point is to start thinking through how your world will change if and when the grid goes down. Then, start taking steps to prepare.

P.S. You might want to read my article Understanding Preparedness - Loss of Comforts of Civilization for more on how the world will change, post grid-down.
----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble
 

Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Knife Review: Cold Steel Finn Hawk

https://amzn.to/2P19rwu
I love Cold Steel knives. They make well-designed, high quality knives at an affordable price. My latest Cold Steel acquisition is the Finn Hawk - a full-tang, fixed blade knife with a 4-inch blade. The Finn Hawk has quickly become my "go to" knife for general use. I give it 5 out of 5 stars, because I literally have nothing to complain about with this knife. I cannot find a single negative thing to say about it.

Here are the specs:
  • Over-all Length: 8¾ inches
  • Blade Length: 4 inches
  • Grind: Scandi 
  • Spine: 1/8-inch thickness, 90-degree (can be used to spark a ferro rod)
  • Weight: 5.1 ounces (not including sheath)
  • Handle/Grip: Dual Injection Mold, outer layer is TPR rubber
  • Steel: German 4116 Stainless
  • Sheath: secure-ex polymer sheath with belt loop
  • Price: currently under $20 on Amazon, so its affordable
The Finn Hawk comes quite sharp right out of the box, and seems to hold its sharpness well. It is a Scandi grind, so its fairly easy to sharpen when needed. Ir is a full-tang knife, except for the very-back tip which sweeps upwards to allow for a lanyard hole, so maybe technically it could be argued not full-tang, but its definitely more than a three-quarters tang, so I let others argue the technicality.

The Finn Hawk has proven to be a great general-purpose field knife for me. Frankly, I like it better than my Swiss Moras. An all-around great knife for work around the homestead or campsite. Priced at under $20, it is an amazing deal for its quality and usefulness (find it on Amazon). I like this knife so much, I've decided to order a second one to have as a back-up.
----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 
Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Urban Survival: Twenty-Two Practical Tips

Many people live in cities, obviously. This is a choice for some, a necessity for others. Regardless of why you are in the city, here are some tips to help you survive whatever the future may being.

1) Live as near to where you work as possible. There are many advantages to living near your workplace - you can save time, gas money, and wear & tear on your car. In an emergency, you can "get home" quicker and more safely. You might even get a discount on your auto insurance, saving money you can spend on your preps, paying off debt, or building an emergency fund. Walking distance from work is ideal. Or only minutes via car or public transport.

2) Practice OPSEC regarding your preparations. You don't want a bunch of neighbors and co-workers showing up at you apartment demanding food in a crisis because they know you are a prepper. I've written a three part series on OPSEC (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) you might want to read.

3) Know your way around your city, particularly the areas in which you live, work, shop, worship, and go to school. Also, know where the bad neighborhoods and high crime areas of your city are, and how to avoid them.

4) Know several escape routes from your city should bugging-out ever become necessary or even mandatory. Have paper copies of directions and maps, in case GPS & Google Maps are down when you need them. If you are bugging-out on foot, abandoned train tracks may be your best option. Most cities have many of these, and some have already been turned into greenways and walking/jogging trails. Learn these now. Acquire or make maps, especially of the ones leading out of town.

5) Maintain a vehicle in very good condition, should you ever need to bug-out. Keep the gas tank topped off, and if possible to safely do so, keep at least one 5-gallon can of gas on hand for emergencies (rotate it on a regular basis). Even if you can't store the gas safely, keep an empty can on hand just-in-case. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including items such as some food and water, first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, extra oil, and jumper cables or battery starter. For winter, include extra gloves and head/neck coverings. A warm blanket is also a good idea, as is a power bar for your phone.


6) Know how to be a "Gray Man." The gray man knows how to fit in with his city, especially among his neighbors and co-workers. He doesn't stand out as anything particularly special or noticeable. He and his house, vehicle, and family blend in with their community. They look and act like they belong, and don't draw unnecessary or unwanted attention. 


7) Know how to not look like a victim. This is somewhat similar to being the gray man, but not exactly. Don't make yourself a target by wearing expensive, flashy clothes & accessories, or driving an expensive car.  Don't make yourself a target by appearing easy prey - wear practical clothes and shoes, pay attention to your surroundings, and walk confidently, head up.  Don't bury yourself in your smart phone or IPod. Practice situational awareness. 

https://amzn.to/2S9zLGH
I use Aqua-Tainers.
8) Stockpile water. Water takes up a lot of space, but try to keep at least one weeks' worth on hand at all times. Two weeks is even better. At the first sign of trouble - a blackout, riots, a major storm or whatever - start hoarding water any way you can. Fill up your sinks, tubs, pots, pitchers, bottles, etc.

9) Have a way to filter/treat water.  Tap water may still be available, but not safe. You may also need find other sources of water, and will want to filter/treat that water, too. Rain water, and local streams and ponds, may also be source for water after your supplies run out. Another source is water sitting in hot water heaters (learn how to access that water now, before you need it). A sillcock key, also known as a water key, may allow you to access water spigots on commercial buildings, and at parks and golf courses.

10) Avoid trouble, especially after the trouble starts. What I mean by this is don't go looking for trouble. Don't join in the riots or looting. Don't even go watch out of curiosity. Don't "cowboy up" and start patrolling the streets during a riot (you'll be outnumbered and out gunned). If at all possible, avoid entirely the areas experiencing trouble. Hide, keep quiet, and stay invisible. Be prepared to use self-defense, but remember self-defense is a last resort. Avoiding the trouble in the first place is always you safest option.

11) Take commonsense precautions to secure your home and vehicle. Find ways to harden your home and vehicle. Keep doors
https://amzn.to/2SaQ5Hx
Wedge Door Alarm
and windows locked. Make use of steering wheel bars and door alarms. Have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Install a steel security door. Consider a security system or a doorbell with camera and monitor. Consider owning a handgun or home defense shotgun (legally and safely, of course, and get well-trained!). The Shooter's Bible Guide to Home Defense may provide more information.      

12) You can grow food in the city. In fact, I've written an article on that you should read:  Urban Survival: Apartment & City Gardening.

13) Keep some cash around the house. Hide it well, and don't tell anyone except your spouse about it. ATMs may be down and banks closed during an emergency. Some junk silver may also be good to hide at home. If you ever have to bug-out, don't forget these stashes!

 
14) Stockpile as much food, water, and other supplies as possible.  Need room to put all those supplies? Get creative. Raise
https://amzn.to/2TAMWSO
Water Bricks
your bed on blocks to get extra storage room under it. Create overhead storage areas. Use water bricks to store water, dry foods (beans, rice, pasta, dog food), or even small supplies (batteries, first aid supplies, ammo, etc.). They are made to stack easily, and can even be turned into tables, nightstands, and other pieces of furniture (thereby serving a dual purpose).  Another possibility is to rent a nearby storage unit.

 
15) Be smart when out in public. Pay attention to your surroundings. Be wary of people who look out-of-place, are loitering, seem to be paying close attention to you, or who act nervous. Shop in groups. Let people know where you are going and when to expect you back. Keep your phone fully charged. Use well-light and highly visible parking spaces. Before getting out of a car or walking out of a building, look out a window first to identify possible dangers. Don't get so involved with your smart phone or IPod that you ignore your surroundings. Always be alert.

16) Yip-yip dogs are great for city dwellers. Yip-yip dogs are the small breeds of dogs that tend to be very nervous and bark (yip) quite readily. These make great early warning systems for people trying to break in your home, or messing around your property or vehicles.

17) Bug-out bags and get home bags are a must for city dwellers.
You never know when an emergency will rise, and you probably won't have time to pack. A bug-out bag already packed and ready to go may be the only thing you have time to grab on your way out of the city. It should be designed for three-days use at a minimum, but longer is better. A get home bag is one you can keep in your vehicle to help you get home in an emergency should you have to go on foot, and should contain things such as a flashlight or headlamp, extra batteries, bottled water, and practical walking shoes, especially you you normally wear dress shoes or heels at work.


18) Sanitation & hygiene are especially important considerations for city dwellers. High population density means cities are breeding grounds for all sorts of disease and pestilence. This situation will only be worse during and after a SHTF situation as the city's infrastructure breaks down (sewer system problems, no trash pick-up, lack of running water, and so forth). Plan on dealing with sanitation and hygiene, and stock up on supplies such as large trash bags, cleaning solutions, soap, detergent, bleach, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and even disposable earloop face masks. Have a way to wash clothes and bed sheets, such as a washing wand, even if the power is off. Also, consider pest control for after SHTF (rat poison, roach motels, mouse and rat traps, etc.). 

19) Have a communications plan, and designate a contact outside the city. See my article Do you have a Family Communications Plan? for more details. 

20) Take a good non-lethal.self-defense course. A good self-defense course won't just cover self-defense, but also give info on avoiding dangerous situations. These 

21) If you can carry a gun legally, do so. Know and obey the laws, get all the proper licenses and permits, get well-trained, and practice gun safety, of course. But carry if you can.

22) Have plenty of batteries, and go solar. The power grid may go down completely, or it just may be weak, unreliable, and inconsistent. Be prepared to power your gadgets (phones, radios, flashlights, headlamps) with batteries and/or solar power. 

------------------

http://amzn.to/2h6IWci

Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio. This one has is all: AM/FM/SW/NOAA (weather alert) bands; powered five ways (electrical cord, USB port, AA batteries, solar, and hand-crank); plus flashlight, reading lamp, and cellphone charger.


----------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble 

Follow me on Minds at https://www.minds.com/TimGamble
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Gear Review: The Laplander Folding Saw

The Laplander Folding Saw
 One of the most useful tools I own is my Bacho Laplander Folding  Saw. I use it around the home for various yard work and gardening tasks, take it camping with me, and have given it a permanent place in my survival bag (bug-out bag). 

Very sharp and tough, this folding saw's blade is 7½  inches long. I've used it to easily handle branches up to 3 inches in diameter, and am sure it could handle bigger with a little effort. It is designed to cut wood, plastic, and bone. The teeth are arranged so that the saw cuts both ways - on the push and the pull.

The Laplander saw has a good locking mechanism that locks the blade in place in either the open or folded position (so it doesn't accidentally open up in your pack or tool box). I've never had the locking mechanism fail. Folded, it measures 9 inches long, so it easily fits in my survival bag.

This is a very high quality folding saw made in Sweden. It is currently on sale at Amazon for 45% off as of 11-22-2018 (price subject to change at Amazon's whim, of course).  Others love this folding saw, too, as it maintains a 4½ star rating on Amazon with over 2,000 customer reviews.

http://amzn.to/2wnn0SN


------------------

Please subscribe to this website using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

Follow me on GAB at  https://gab.ai/TimGamble

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble