Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daily Briefing For Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Caleb's Kids

Back in August, Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics and I traveled to my high school alma mater, The Webb School, to teach student leaders the basics of trauma first aid and dealing with active shooters.

I wondered what that training would have done for those poor individuals affected by the Sandy Hook shooting.  A properly applied tourniquet or bandage could have saved some lives.  Knowing the difference between cover and concealment could have enhanced their odds.  Having some understanding of basic self defense strategies might have helped as well.

I don't know what the students, faculty and administration knew about these topics.  I am willing to bet they knew precious little.  That's not to say they weren't capable of understanding them - they most certainly are.  It is to say that the conventional wisdom in education management holds that we should not teach those skills to our educators or students.

Consider this quarter's magazine for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  Themed "Safer Schools For A Safer World" for this issue, the publication goes into detail about how to deal with the psychological impact of school violence.  It does very little in the way of discussing what students and faculty can do before and during an event to minimize the harm.

Tonight, I'm suggesting we challenge the conventional wisdom and begin training our educators and even our students on what to do during an emergency.  Caleb proved this summer, from the course he provided at Webb, that it can be done effectively.  (The school contacted me on Monday to request we get Caleb lined up for the beginning of the next fall semester to provide the training again, given how much the kids liked it and how pertinent it is.)

The skills we'll be teaching in the fall are applicable anywhere - a mall, at the scene of a car wreck, or in your house after a tornado.  They aren't limited to school hours.  Aside from the coming gun debate and mental health debate, we need to have another discussion: How do we train our kids to survive the perils that face us? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Daily Briefing For Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 The Dating Resume

It's been years since I've been on the dating scene.  Like many single people in the 21st century, I leveraged technology to help increase the dating experience.

Atlanta Jeff recently posted on Facebook that someone referenced their "dating resume" in a conversation.  He was unfamiliar with that term (as was I), so I quickly researched it and found this link describing what makes for a good dating resume.  You can imagine how I felt when I saw "survival skills" made the list:

At another time, "art appreciation" or "other languages" might have filled this space. But today, when recession, pandemics, and Nancy Grace threaten our very way of life, it's a facility with a Swiss army knife that counts. Now is the time to drop references about your Boy or Girl Scout experience into the conversation; to mention that fallout shelter you're building, and that earthquake preparedness seminar you've signed up for. Do you know CPR? Do you have a basement full of canned goods? Can you build a fire? Yes? Congratulations. How soon can you start?
While this may seem funny to a lot of people, it does reflect a change in the conventional thinking of our fellow citizens - being more prepared and less reliant on others - continues to be in style.
You'll Need Those Skills On Your Dating Resume If You Live In Michigan.
As state legislators in Michigan make various threats, including one prediction of blood in the streets, from the state's passage of right to work legislation, it brings more scrutiny to places like Detroit.  The birthplace of my father has become Exhibit A in what is wrong with America.   Public school teachers there, who are protesting the recent right to work law by calling in sick, have posted some impressive stats indeed:  a U.S. Department of Education report finds a whopping 7 percent of eighth graders in Detroit read at or above their grade level.
What's a bigger problem in Detroit than the dumpster fire that is their education system?  According to residents there, it's the crime problem.  One survey ranks Detroit as the second most dangerous city in America...losing out in a close contest to nearby Flint.
Why all the criticism of Detroit?  Because what's happening there is a prime example of what happens when people become too dependent on government and unions.  It is a great tragedy that this once iconic city has been reduced to its current state. 
Remember - it's the unions who are getting violent when they don't get their way.  Not the tea party.
From Big Brian - Obamacare Taxes Your Gold And Silver Purchases!
You read that correctly.  What health care and gold and silver coins have to do with each other is beyond me.  Brian shared this story with me, which spells out a couple of interesting theories.  And because it's not official unless Larry Kudlow weighs in on it:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daily Briefing For Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Coffin As Soap Box

I hadn't planned on weighing in on the recent controversy surrounding Bob Costas' comments on gun control.  But after seeing a number of posts on Facebook about this, I felt compelled to address a few issues.

  1. Calling for Costas' removal from the air isn't censorship.  Censorship is when the government restricts the content of public discourse.  If market pressures and public opinion are brought to bear to remove a commentator from the airwaves, that's a voluntary decision of the commentator's employer.  Just ask Don Imus.
  2. Guns aren't the problem.  Karl Rehn at KR Training provided this catalog of stories from a variety of news sources, evidencing a clear case that in the face of more people owning firearms than ever, crime rates are actually down.  To wit:

    Self Reported Gun Ownership At Highest Level Since 1993

    Forbes: What The Left Won't Tell You About U.S. Gun Sales

    NPR: Violent Crime Down Five Straight Years

    NBC News: FBI Reports Violent Crimes Now At Historic Lows
  3. Costas' comments were a diversion from a different and much more likely problem.  The NFL Players Association has filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL regarding the failure to warn over the concussion risks players face.  The Suburban Dad Survivalist brought this to your attention eight months ago.  The NFL is facing problems with off the field behavior of a number of its players, including acts of domestic violence, substance abuse and suicides.  By blaming guns, the NFL and its proxies (that would be Bob Costas) divert attention away from the real problems facing players and onto an instrumentality that's been a part of American culture and history far longer than football.
I'm not calling for Costas to be fired or punished.  I've never been a big fan of his, perceiving him to be only a sligtly more cerebral version of Brent Musburger.  He is certainly entitled to his own opinion on guns and anything else.  I'd prefer he not share those opinions - even if his opinions were congruent with mine - on a sports show.  Stick to football.  If you want to be a political commentator, go on Meet the Press.

This event serves as a great reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to educate the public on the benefits of self sufficiency in the self defense realm.  Use the data above to bolster your arguments.

Detroit In Free Fall

Back in the late 1930s and early 1940s, a number of people from rural areas moved from their farms and into urban areas for work.  My grandparents on my father's side did just that, relocating from their rural Tennessee home to move to Detroit to find work.  Dad was even born there.

Once known as a working shrine to modern industrialism, Detroit is now in free fall.  Today, a Detroit city councilwoman called on President Obama to bail out Detroit, since Detroit residents voted for him in the recent election. 

The answer to what ails our cities isn't in Washington.  It's in our own cities, with our own people.  That's the crux of what I've been trying to convey for years now.  The Suburban Dad Survivalist nation needs to be prepared to be leaders in our various communities to find solutions amongst ourselves, rather than looking to another governmental agency for a bailout.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daily Briefing For Monday, December 3, 2012

Suburban Dad Survivalist Preparedness Conference Update

I'm pleased to announce the roster for our first annual Preparedness Conference, slated for Saturday, January 5, 2013 at the Cabela's in Buda. 

Firearms, Ammunition and Training Options for Preppers.  Karl Rehn of KR Training lends his decades of expertise on this subject.  Many people make critical mistakes when selecting firearms to defend their homes and families during extended emergencies.  Karl will draw upon his experience and the lessons learned in previous disasters to provide a coherent plan for acquiring the right kinds of weapons, ammunition and training for the grid down environment.  I'm pleased that KR Training is an official sponsor of this event.

Psychological Aspects of Use of Force and Preparedness.  Glenn Meyer, Ph.D. and Professor of Psychology at Trinity University will present on psychological considerations those who are preparing for short to long term emergencies.  His talk will focus primarily one of his areas of expertise - the psychology of firearms usage.

Financial Planning For 2013.  Amit Agrawal, Associate Vice President and Investment Officer of Wells Fargo, is a first generation Indian American, attorney, and good friend of mine.  He will share his expertise on what we might see in 2013.

Alternative Energy Options.  Vern Williams, an electrical engineer, will present on the various options available to urban and suburban residents, along with the pros and cons of each system.

Food Storage Strategies.  Presented by yours truly, I will share with you lessons learned from my many experiences with storeable foods over the years. 

True Stories From Search and Rescue.  Brian Brown, an operator with Team Rubicon, draws from his vast experience of working in grid down, post-disaster environments to share lessons of what strategies worked for people - and which ones didn't.

Investing in Precious Metals.  Jerid Colwell of Stonewall Constructors has created a very simple strategy to understand the intricacies of investing in physical metals; he will share his system with us.

What EMS Wants You To Know.  Justin Moore, a paramedic from the Bryan/College Station area, will provide guidance on what we should have in our first aid kits and what to do until EMS arrives.

Situation Report for 2013.  I will be providing my thoughts and analysis on what things we should monitor in the coming year.

Building Community With Preppers.  Vern Williams will pull double duty and share lessons learned from the Preparedness Peace project offered in many churches and civic groups.

In addition, there will be various door prizes awarded throughout the presentation - and you must be present to win!

Click here to make your reservation.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Daily Briefing For Sunday, December 2, 2012

The World Won't End December 21.  Y'all Know That, Right?

I think this goes without saying, but we will still be here on December 22 and beyond.  NASA has gone as far as setting up its own website to deal with the flood of calls and emails of people freaking over this Mayan 2012 business.  There are many perils we face.  This is not one of them.

And while I am at it, I would also like to remind you that zombies aren't real.  There won't be a zombie apocalypse.  Ever.  If you're prepping for that, it's my hope that your supplies and efforts will help prepare you for a real threat.

FEMA Fails Again.  Why Are People Surprised?

For all of you who think the single payer health care system is the way to go, I want you to take a good, hard look at how FEMA handles disasters. 

FEMA is supposed to be the agency with expertise in handling disasters.  And it's not like Sandy was some new type of catastrophe.  You would have thought the ass kicking that agency got from Katrina would have been enough to have set them straight and become more efficient at helping communities recover.

On Thursday, over 1,000 New Yorkers attended a FEMA-sponsored town hall meeting to complain that the Obama Administration hasn't cut the red tape as promised to help them. 

Sound familiar?  FEMA's response to Katrina wasn't much better.  Bear in mind this is the same agency that tell you to have a mere three days of food and water in case of an emergency. 

Meanwhile, San Bernadino, CA Tells Residents To "Lock Their Doors And Load Their Guns."

A city official in bankrupt San Bernadino recently advised residents to gun up and start preparing to protect themselves.  In an effort to shore up city finances, the city of roughly 200,000 residents 60 miles east of Los Angeles has laid off 80 police officers. 

Note the city isn't calling FEMA or telling its citizens the government will help you.  It's being realistic in its advice, stressing to the citizens that their well being is the citizen's responsibility, and not the local government's. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Daily Briefing For Saturday, December 1, 2012

Is FEMA Wrong?

I get a tremendous amount of emails from various prepper blogs and sites.  Most of these usually encourage me to buy some product or book that will keep me out of the FEMA Camp or from starving when the stores go empty.  Fear sells, of course (Don't I know it!), and so I suspect these vendors have a fair amount of success in pitching their wares.

Today, I received an email from one vendor with the subject line "FEMA Was Wrong."  According to the email:

FEMA suggests that every citizen be prepared and have the supplies to survive for at least 72 hours after a disaster. FEMA is wrong. Here’s why:


So many factors can cause a massive delay before help arrives, if it does at all. My family was trapped for 7 days without power or any basic utilities, before any help arrived and even then all they were able to do was drop off a few cases of water before returning to areas left in even worse condition.

It was a full two weeks before the crews arrived to clear the debris and life was able to get back to normal.

According to the FEMA website, the government encourages you to have three days worth of food and water in the event of an emergency

Yet a month later, some affected by Hurricane Sandy are still without power, water and food.  If those folks were completely prepared by FEMA's three day standards, they would still be suffering now.

Given that, just how long should people be prepared to live without assistance?  I have to think 90 days worth of food and water, per person, needs to be a minimum for anyone serious about wanting to be prepared for the typical calamity.  This is especially true for those living in high risk areas for hurricanes and earthquakes.

What do you think?  How much food and water should the average person have?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily Briefing For Friday, November 30, 2012

Eleven For Twelve

Tonight, we wrap up the eleventh month of the year.  As we enter December, we often become reflective and make goals on what we're going to do to improve ourselves next year.

I'm working on my list.  One thing I want to continue to focus on is being more willing to challenge the conventional wisdom.  I will tell you from past experience that doing so often puts you in a lonely place.  Most times, I don't mind it - just because few agree with me doesn't mean I ought to change my position or that I'm not correct.

And so along those lines, I'd like to share an article with you that I shared with a couple of friends earlier this year.  This piece from the Miami Herald ran in 1987 and describes a government program known as Rex 84.  Until this year, I'd never heard of this.  In essence, top officials in the Reagan Administration created a shadow government, parallel to one created by the Constitution, which had essentially no oversight from any governmental agency except from those who ran it.

The fifth page of the article is the most troubling.  The idea that our government would plan on building "assembly centers or relocation camps" for 21 million "American Negros" (their words, not mine) blew me away.  If you do the math from data about that era, you realize quickly this shadow government intended to inter every black American in the event of "violent and widespread internal dissent."

Think about that.  An entire race put into a prison camp, presumably with no trial or hearing, because of the threat of civil unrest they might cause.

Friends, I know this sounds crazy.  But I am just sharing with you a story the Miami Herald covered. 

If this sort of thing is happening - where unaccountable government agencies, of which we know nothing, run free of the Constitution, what else do we not know?

Do you care?  Do you want to know?  Does this bother you?

My hope is that in 2013, I will be more open to having my beliefs challenged.  I hope you will be as well.

Vodka Loaded Apocalypse Kits

In Siberia, these are selling well it seems.  This brings us to a good point - what use is alcohol to a prepper?

I'm thinking alcohol would be a great thing to stock up on.  Aside from its traditional usage, alcohol such as Everclear north of 100 proof will burn, making it:
  • a great fire starter.
  • a great anti sceptic.
  • a great barter item (for all of the above reasons)
Of course, over consumption can cause people to mistake you for a zombie:

Usual after-effects of underestimating Everclear. Never again.

The guy on the left is literally blowing chunks out of his nose he's puking so hard.  And don't any of you judge him.  You have done similar things.

Not Deterred By A No Guns On Campus Policy, The Perp Kills Three With A Bow And Arrow.

Brian shared this tragic story earlier today.  Note that the school's security team was unarmed. 

Wake up, America.  Crime and nut jobs are everywhere.  And they don't need guns to go on a rampage. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daily Briefing For Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Forecast Has Changed.

I should have been a weatherman.  Seriously.  I wanted to be one when I was a little kid.  I obsessed about the weather.  I even had a weather station in my bedroom, complete with a five foot tall weather map of CONUS, a wind speed indicator, barometer and weather radio.  (You can see I was into preparedness at an early age.)  Back about 14 years ago, I even enrolled in the Broadcast Meteorology program at Mississippi State and started to take two courses via long distance learning.  My 60+ hour work schedule in the law firm made me drop my studies mid-semester. 

Want to know one of the many things that's cool about being a weatherman?  You can be wrong and no one cares.  None of my legal clients has ever said to me, "Don't worry if you're wrong or screw up.  We'll still pay you anyway."  Weathermen can totally biff a call and keep their jobs.  Awesome work if you can get it.

The long term forecast for CONUS has changed, and it's not good.  Instead of the above average rainfall we were supposed to get this winter, we're back down to average.  And temperatures, instead of being below average, will now likely be above average.  I'm not complaining about the prospects of a warm winter....but I would like for us to get some rain.  We need it.

So do with this data what you will.  As for me, I think we're safe from any serious winter weather.  Provided they don't change the forecast again.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Preppers

I ran across this article - you may find some ideas on what to get your friends and family for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily Briefing For Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Shameless Plug For the SDS Conference - January 5, 2013

Karl is the ticket taker.  Read more about the conference in his newsletter, and sign up for the conference here.  Later this week, I will be able to announce the roster of speakers and their topics.

I will be giving door prizes away.  Must be present to win!

My Trip To OKC Yesterday

I had extra time in Oklahoma City yesterday before a meeting, and so I took in the OKC Memorial and Museum.  You may recall that in April 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a Ryder truck full of explosives in front of the Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. 

I highly recommend the museum.  It's very well done.  To see the personal belongings - toys, shoes, watches - of the victims was quite emotional. 

The museum and memorial serve as a grim reminder that we are not guaranteed security in this life.  It's up to us to be as ready as possible to withstand hardships and to help others enduring them. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Daily Briefing For Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So Things Are Getting Better, Right?

One of the challenges I face in encouraging others to be better prepared is that of optimism.  Optimism is a great quality, except when it acts to discourage you from taking action to become more self-sufficient. 

We see this phenomenon often.  When the economy improves, people lose their fear of an economic set back.  When we go several years without a hurricane or severe weather, people pay less attention to the risk such weather hazards create. 

I suspect some folks out there are reading the news and drawing the conclusion that since there are signs things are getting better, they can let their guard down.  It's easy to see why:

Given the fact our economy seems to be rebounding, does this mean we're okay to slack off?

I'd like to give you a couple of things to consider.  First, there are still a number of reasons to believe our economic recovery remains fragile.  U.S. News reports that more Americans will use food stamps this Thanksgiving than ever before.  And at one food bank, demand for food is up 400% from last year. 

And second, even if the first point wasn't true (or if you disagree with it), the peril you face may not be the one you're preparing for.  Lots of people prepared for Y2K - a huge non-event - and yet some twenty months later, we were facing the shock of the 9/11 attacks.  And think about New Orleans - years between major hurricanes certainly lulled many there into a false sense of security, only to get a tutorial on how bad things can get if you're not prepared for a large hurricane.

Don't get fixated on this crisis or that threat.  Life is a series of challenges, and even a few disasters every now and then.  We prepare for them the best we can, not getting fixated on the looming crisis nor letting our guard down when it doesn't happen.

I Have It On Good Authority There's No Crime In My Neighborhood.

A few years ago, I took on the (thankless) role of Traffic and Safety Chairman for our HOA.  Failing to heed the old adage that nothing good ever comes from a HOA, I jumped in with both feet in an effort to raise awareness of the various crimes that were being committed in our hood and surrounding hoods.

My efforts were met with ridicule and scorn.  One person disdainfully emailed me to say "we live in a crime free neighborhood" after I shared reports from other residents about a suspicious vehicle that had been seen driving around.  (A few months later, a break in occurred in the very cul de sac where this same complainer lives.) 

On another evening, when the spouse of a frequent reader of this blog called me to say someone attempted a home invasion at her home moments earlier, I emailed the HOA members to let them know what happened.  The reaction was fierce - I was accused by many of "fear mongering."  (The suspect went into one backyard, took a chair from the patio, used that to crawl over the fence into the second backyard where the caller lived, and tried to make entry into the back door of the house, at night, with all the lights on inside.  I'm pretty sure that's a home invasion by definition.)

And so today, I chucked when I read a story in our local newspaper that local deputies had run down a car jacker from another part of town roughly 1,000 yards from where my wife works.  The deputy had opened fire on the suspect vehicle in an effort to get it to stop. 

Just because you live in a "safe" neighborhood doesn't mean you are immune from crime.  In today's instance, law enforcement opened fire on a vehicle less than two miles from our house. 

These things happen.  Prepare accordingly.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Daily Briefing For Monday, November 19, 2012

I Tell You Things.  And On Occasion, I Am Correct.

Back in April, I warned you about an increase in demand for preparedness food supplies.  This evening, 12 of 25 bulk food items sold by Emergency Essentials are on back order.  Check it out for yourself. 

It's hard to discern the precise reason for the uptick in demand.  I can speculate that it's driven by a number of factors.  Let me take this opportunity to once again ask you to start working towards some level of self sufficiency - where you can take care of yourself and your family for a period of time after a major storm, power outage, loss of a job, or some sort of market collapse.

Revamping How We Train

I had a great CHL class yesterday.  Everyone passed, which is always nice. 

I used the class as an opportunity to use a training technique known as force on force.  In its simplest form, it's role playing.  Each student is given an individual script. Some are innocent bystanders who freak out when the action starts, others are CHL holders minding their own business.  Of course, there's a bad guy or two thrown in to see how people react.

In yesterday's class, we had three different scenarios - a convenience store, a restaurant, and at a gas station.  We used my pick up truck in the driveway as the scene for the third one; my neighbors walking up and down the sidewalks added a sense of realism. 

It was interesting to see the decision making process evolve for the students as we went through the scenarios.  Initially, the actor playing the role of the CHL holder wants to pull out their toy gun and shoot the bad guy.  As we debrief each session, we discuss why that's most often the wrong answer: unless your life is in danger, it's best to pull back, take a defensive position, call 911 and be a good witness.   By the end of the force on force training, the CHL holders were making good decisions - utilizing cover, calling 911, defusing situations with nonviolent means.

I don't know how many CHL instructors are utilizing force on force in their classes.  I found it to be a very effective tool, and the students appreciated the opportunity to get more involved in the training rather than listen to me in a classroom setting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daily Briefing For Thursday, November 14, 2012

Stop Complaining.  Keep Preparing.

We're now eight days post election.  Like many of you, I'm still processing what can be learned from the results.

In the last several days, I've written at least three drafts for a blog entry.  All of them were quite verbose.  So tonight, I will be more succinct.

First, if you're a Romney supporter, your guy lost.  If you haven't come to grips with that, please do so quickly.  This secession nonsense hurts the conservative movement.  It makes us look like crybabies.  Stop it and man up.  Your guy failed to garner as many votes as McCain did in 2008.  No amount of voter fraud could make up the difference.  And even if he had won, a number of us would have let our guard down and dialed down our efforts to become more self sufficient.  So in a way, his loss is good motivation for many to keep focusing on reducing their personal debt, getting their affairs squared away, taking better care of our health, and having the necessities in quantity to get through the next Hurricane Sandy or economic meltdown in the financial markets.

For my Obama supporting friends, please don't think by returning your man to the White House we're "out of the woods" by any stretch.  Our debt continues to grow, the EU continues to crater, and Bengazi-gate continues to get more convoluted by the hour it seems.  We're growing food stamp rolls seventy five times faster than we're creating jobs.  I don't care who is in the White House - this cannot be a good thing for America.  And simply taxing the rich at higher rates won't fix the problem

The same issues that faced us on November 6 face us today.  There will always be pressures to infringe upon our rights to own guns.  There will always be efforts to expand government intrusion into our lives - be it through taxes, regulations, or elimination of civil liberties.  And guess what?   Romney would not have eliminated any of those concerns. 

It's time to emphasize the prepare in preparedness.  Yes, it's fine to be disappointed that your candidate didn't win - at least for most of you, your candidate had a chance.  My candidate - Gary Johnson - didn't.  It's also fine to encourage our friends in the GOP to start choosing more conservative candidates who are more libertarian in their thinking.  But don't lose sight of what we need to be doing to be better able to care for our families in a time of crisis. 

I know many of you are upset.  Channel that emotion into something positive.

Taking Reservations For The January 5 Preparedness Conference!

I'm excited to formally announce KR Training will be my marketing partner for the First Annual Suburban Dad Survivalist Preparedness Conference on Saturday, January 5 at Cabela's in Buda, Texas.  The conference runs from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Click here to make your reservation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Daily Briefing For Sunday, November 4, 2012

Going Up Tempo

Sports commentators often say that when a team begins to play at a faster pace, it's calling going "up tempo."  This weekend, I went up tempo on my preparedness efforts.

The time change weekend has traditionally marked the beginning of my personal winter weather preparedness protocols.  This weekend was no exception.  Propane bottles were refilled.  The truck received its major dealership service.  New Rain X windshield wipers were installed (and by the way - they totally kick ass - I cannot tell you how impressed I am with them.  WOW.)  Pantry and fridge were cleaned out and reorganized to make more room for the long term food stores.  I am delaying the replacement of back up batteries in the smoke detectors and weather radios until I make a run to the grocery store to replenish our stores.

I'd be lying to you if I said this week's election didn't play a role in motivating me.  That's not to say one candidate will rescue us from the brink.  But as I type this, we are just under 47 hours from having polls close on the east coast.  And that's when the fun begins.

Today in Sunday School, I led week two of a three week series I created from scratch entitled, "God, Politics and the Economy."  When we were finished for the day, I closed in prayer, thanking God that no matter who wins on Tuesday, we take great comfort knowing the Lord is still in control. 

We are not going to change our efforts based upon who is in the White House.  There is still much to be done.

More On Those Who Are Unprepared

The New England Journal of Medicine reports this sad statistic: "A recent study from a group of medical researchers found that blacks and Hispanics are about 30 percent less likely to be aided by CPR than white people, with the odds being the worst when it involves a black victim in a low-income black neighborhood." 

Couple that with the ongoing tragedy from Sandy.  FEMA ran out of drinking water and won't have any until Monday at the earliest.  Queens residents arm themselves in the post storm blackout from looters.  It's a complete goat rodeo there. 

This goat rodeo could have been mitigated in large part by people preparing themselves.  This is why it's so important that we study the aftermath of disasters like this - they are tragic laboratories of what we should expect in a similar situation. 

Pray for those folks tonight.  And learn from their experiences.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Daily Briefing For Friday, November 2, 2012

Two Emails.  Two Different People.  Two Different States.  Same Message.

You people email me from time to time, which is great, because it reminds me I am not the only brother out there collecting rainwater and canned goods in preparation for some sort of disruption to society. 

Both emails today basically said the same thing.  I'm going to amalgamate them into one email below (I'm not referring to either of the senders by name, but they know who they are):

It's interesting to watch how all these people affected by Sandy expect the government to come in and help them. I am thinking that we are being a bit generous when we say that folks will last 30 days... after the reports that are coming out of NYC and dumpster diving.  How can anyone not have made some preparations for the coming storm - it was all over the news with stories of the Frankenstorm.  Perhaps they believe that the Government should have went door to door with supplies BEFORE the storm hit so that they would be taken care of.....

The heartbreaking headlines are not without precedent.  We see this regularly when a major storm or disaster hits a large urban area. This story repeats itself.  People fail to prepare.  And  they wonder why they are eating food out of a dumpster and why the government isn't waving a magic wand to make everything better again.

Because the government can't.  That's not a knock on the government.  It's just a fact.  Neither the government nor the private sector can feed, clothe, and house everyone affected in just a few hours.  It's impossible.  And yet to hear some of the stories, many storm victims remain incredulous that the Red Cross or Obama or Oprah doesn't drop manna from helicopters.

This storm and its effects are a great case study in what will happen the next time we have a regional emergency.  Please don't be one of those people. 

Falling Back

This weekend, I will be replacing batteries in smoke detectors and weather radios.  We'll also be moving our clocks back one hour on Saturday night.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Daily Briefing For Thursday, November 1, 2012

New York and New Jersey Get To Experience The Grid Down Environment

The stories from tonight's Drudge Report on the situation in the storm ravaged Northeast:

The headline tonight, however, is this:


Here we are, the richest nation on Earth, with the most powerful military on Earth, with people  dumpster diving and living without gasoline for days, dodging fake ConEd employees and people with guns. 

This is our America.

I don't mean to come across as mean spirited - note that just last night I told you I'd lived in a grid down environment for days after Hurricane Andrew.  Yet to this day I still struggle to comprehend how so many people in America could be so ill-prepared for a storm they knew was coming towards them. 

Don't be these people.  Please.  Prepare yourself and your family, if for no other reason you're not the one dumpster diving when the TV crew shows up.

Here's One Way To Help Get You Started

Our friends at Emergency Essentials have put together some great information on preparedness fundamentals.  Quick reading with examples of situations you may encounter - good resource for yourself or others.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Daily Briefing for Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy And Candy

Tonight, we hand out candy as the New Jersey/New York area begins to piece together their belongings after Sandy came ashore.  As sewage, gasoline and bacteria permeate the New York flood waters,  people struggle to get gasoline for their cars and deal with looting.  Which, once again, serves as ample evidence that we need to be prepared by having our own food, water, gasoline, sanitary supplies and self defense tools to live life off the grid for an extended time so we don't have to drink poo water, ride a bike to the store or get our stuff jacked by looters.

I spent time in Miami post-Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  The post storm environment is not fun.  It sucks.  Bad.  Those people suffering right now really are suffering - make no mistake. 

Much of the political talk surrounding the storm stems from whether Romney wants to abolish FEMA.  As a Libertarian, I take a dim view of most government agencies and programs these days.  I do however believe there is a role for government in public safety.  In past disasters, we struggled to determine who that should be (Hurricane Katrina comes to mind), as well as the degree of help the federal government should provide.

A number of people have chided former FEMA director Michael "Brownie" Brown for his comments about President Obama's response to Sandy.  Given his history with FEMA, I'm not sure he's the best critic of any President's response to a disaster.

But for a moment, I'm going to take up for Brownie.  Not because he was a Bush appointee or because he took a shot at Obama.  Brown's tenure as FEMA's director came at a challenging time within the organization, having been once a stand alone agency, then incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security.  DHS circa 2005 was focused primarily on defending the country against terrorism.  Hurricane preparedness, it seems, didn't rank too far up the disaster depth chart.  During Congressional hearings, then-Secretary for DHS Michael Chertoff aptly testified FEMA's response demonstrated the agency was utterly dysfunctional.  This dysfunction has its roots in the politics of Washington - not Democrat or Republican politics, but that of turf, budgets and misplaced priorities.  I would submit the dysfunction is far greater than any one person.  To be sure, Brown had a hand in all of this.  But to lay the brunt of the blame on him, given the facts, I think is unfortunate and unfair.

If we are going to have FEMA, then we need to have a discussion about its proper role in a disaster.  And once that role is established, it needs to train relentlessly for various scenarios that might affect the United States - just as law enforcement, fire departments and EMS do on a regular basis.

Speaking Of FEMA, Are They Authorized To Take Our Food?

Remember the South Park episode where the people come back from the future to get employment in the present?  The workers who are displaced are often heard saying "they took our jobs!"  Awesome episode.

That episode reminds me of the question you read on prepper boards every now and then - can the government come and "take your food" during a crisis?

I wrote an article about this several years ago, which unfortunately I cannot find.  I will share this statutory authority (meaning it's a law passed by Congress, as opposed to the Executive Orders we often read about) with you.  I'm of the opinion this statute does in fact authorize the government to come and "take your stuff."

Before you freak about this, relax.  As a practical matter, I don't see how a government agency is going to confiscate enough supplies from preppers so as to make it worth their while to do.  Further, many preppers will probably resist such government takings without due process, further complicating matters.

I hope this helps those of you who are concerned.

Update On Preparedness Conference

We have a date - put it on your calendar.  On Saturday, January 5, 2013, the first annual Suburban Dad Survivalist Preparedness Conference will be in the Austin area.  I've confirmed some of our speakers, and the agenda continues to develop.  More details will follow in the coming days.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Daily Briefing for Monday, October 29, 2012

The Adrenaline Dump - A Cautionary Tale

In case any lawyer ever asks me about this blog entry, what you are about to read is a subsequent remedial measure.  If you're not a lawyer, don't worry about what I just said.  If you are, you will understand why I said it shortly.

So I'm trying to go to sleep last night.  I'm skimming through YouTube looking for Bob Ross videos (who would have turned 70 years old today, by the way) to help me sleep.  Instead, I stumbled upon the Gentleman's Rant channel, also on YouTube (which, by the way, is absolutely hilarious, despite its anti-gun bias).

As I lay in bed around 12:15 AM, chuckling at the irreverent humor, I heard a very loud pounding outside, so loud and rapid that it sounded as if someone was banging on our back door.  My endocrine system dumped a massive load of juice into my system.  It was go time.

Just as a side note, don't ever knock on some one's back door in the middle of the night.  Unless their house is on fire and you're trying to get them out of it, it's just not a good idea.  I had no idea why someone would be knocking on my back door.  I speculated that perhaps our dogs had gotten out and that one of my neighbors knew that they belonged back inside the back of the house, but even then, DON'T KNOCK ON SOME ONE'S BACK DOOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.  You will learn why that's a bad idea momentarily.

Since switching to the V Line safe for my Glocks, I've had to learn a new system for getting my gun out of the safe.  Not that the system if difficult to use - quite the contrary - but nonetheless it works differently than my other gun safe.  The buttons are smaller and closer together, which means that under stressful conditions, it's hard to open.

Here's why.  When your body releases a large amount of adrenaline into your system, a number of physical changes happen right away.  One of those changes includes the degradation of fine motor skills.  Pushing little buttons in the right sequence when you think someone is pounding on your back door in the middle of the night is much, much more difficult than you can imagine.  I found that out last night, when it took me two attempts to get the safe to open.

I realized at that moment, Glock in hand, that I wasn't dressed appropriately.  In hind sight, I shouldn't have worried about it - whoever is pounding on my back door will be far more focused on the Glock 34 in my hand than the Under Armor logo stitched in the waistband of my boxer briefs. 

I finally pull on a pair of shorts, sprint to the stairs, and try to hit the light switch.  On this particular switch plate, there are three switches.  I manipulate these switches at least once if not several times a day.  For the life of me, I struggled to get the light I wanted on to come on.  I ended up just taking my hand and in one motion, throwing every switch into the up position so that enough lights would come on so as to allow me to get down the stairs without falling down.

Let me digress here for a minute.  I've left the bedroom at this point.  When I did, I left the flashlight I keep in my gun safe for emergencies.  I also left the iPhone I was using to watch videos moments earlier lying on the bed.  Think about that - two hugely important tools, just lying there, because I didn't think to grab them on the way out of the room.  "All  you have on you is all you have," to quote the great Tom Givens.  I'd unnecessarily deprived myself of two things I could really use.

Back to the story.  I got down stairs, quickly walked down the hall to the back door where I thought I heard the banging.  I went through the laundry room, where our dogs are put up every night.  Interestingly, the dogs were not alarmed at all, which should have been my first clue that everything was okay - had someone been banging on that door, their heads would have been exploding at that point.  I disarmed the alarm system so I could start opening doors without setting off the alarm.

I stepped into the garage where the back door was.  I hit the flood lights right above the back door, which gave me a sense of comfort, knowing now that if there's someone out there, they will be illuminated.

Dropping the muzzle of the gun to low ready, I opened the door, staying back inside the garage.  I immediately noticed that my next door neighbor's back yard flood lights were on, and I heard someone talking back in his yard.  I immediately surmised he was the one doing the banging (their pool pump is on the side of their house nearest ours) and concluded that it wasn't on our back door after all but rather on the privacy fence adjoining us. 

I stepped out onto the back step and yelled out my neighbor's name.  No response.  I did it a second time.  Still no response.  (The pool pump is quite loud).  The back yard flood lights from his house went off.  I heard a door close.  I went back inside, locked the doors, armed the alarm system, and went back upstairs.

My pulse was racing once I got back upstairs - well over 150 BPM, if I had to guess.  It took well over 30 minutes for me to calm down enough that I thought I could go to sleep.

Admittedly, there were a lot of things I didn't do well last night.

  • I lacked clarity of mind when I decided to get out of bed.  That in turn slowed me down in getting out of the bedroom.  I should have had the safe set up to make it easier to access the guns quickly.  I should have practiced getting the flashlight out first thing, and then taking the gun out.  I should have also practiced getting my phone into my waistband before leaving the room.  Fail.
  • There was no need for me to turn on the hall light to go down the stairs.  I don't always do it anyway.  I've even counted the steps so I will know where I am.  Last night, I completely forgot all of that.  Keeping the house dark would have provided me with a lot of protection from someone trying to break in.  They can't shoot or stab someone they can't see in the dark.  Fail.
  • I should not have opened the exterior door.  There was absolutely no need to do that.  The alarm was on; the dogs weren't upset.  After checking to see if the dogs were still inside and not snuck out (as they are prone to do from time to time) I should have taken up a defensive position downstairs, in the dark, and waited.  If the dogs started to bark or the alarm system went off, that would have been the time to act.  I could have even turned on the flood lights from inside quite safely.  There was zero reason for me to go poke my head out there.  Looking back on it, I did experience a degree of tunnel vision (a normal response during an adrenaline dump), which means there were probably things outside I was missing when I stepped out of the doorway - things that could have killed me had they been there.  Fail.

Now I know all of you are perfect and none of you would have ever made those mistakes.  Nor would any of you had an adrenaline rush in those circumstances.  And I can hear you right now: "why don't you practice for those types of scenarios?"

The truth is - I do.  However, I'd not practiced that particular scenario.  I'd not practiced getting the right gear on me before leaving the bedroom.  I haven't practiced going down the stairs in the dark in some time. 

Experience is often the best teacher.  Despite a fair amount of advanced training, last night's event will certainly make me more diligent about training for a wider spectrum of situations.  Some changes in the training curriculum and nightly procedures, effective immediately, include:

  • Getting the safe ready to open without a lot of drama.  This is an easy fix.
  • Practicing to take the flashlight out of the safe first, along with grabbing the cell phone, before leaving the room.  This is easy to train for.
  • Looking and listening for clues, like the dogs barking or the alarm system going off.  If either of those things happen, we are dealing with a completely different scenario.  This will take some practice.
I share this with you in an effort to get you to be more purposeful in your training.  Don't go easy on yourself.  Have a friend come over and walk you through scenarios and challenge your response to them. 

Speaking Of Training, This Is A Good Idea.  I Think.

Doyle sent me a link to this article entitled "Marines, police prep for mock zombie invasion."  I pooh-pooh a lot of this zombie nonsense, because it's just that - nonsense.  Dead people aren't going to walk around eating brains of non-dead people.  It's just not going to happen.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

The article however makes some very good points about training and using zombies as the bad guys.  It's worth the time reading it if you're done overdosing on Hurricane Sandy coverage. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Daily Briefing for Friday, October 26, 2012

Seven Out Of Eight

I travel a lot with the new job.  I spent seven out of the last eight nights on the road in five different cities (not including Austin). 

One of my trips took me to Salt Lake City.  I met a client there who was gracious enough to give me a tour of downtown Salt Lake.  He is a bishop in his church, which is LDS.  I asked him why Mormons put such an emphasis on preparedness.  His response, without hesitation: "we believe we should be self-sufficient." 

Since there are so many LDS members in Salt Lake City (SLC), it's no wonder that preparedness supply providers have retail stores there.  While I was in town, I had an opportunity to visit on of the Emergency Essentials retail locations.  It was a great opportunity to not only see some of the catalog items in person, but it gave me an opportunity to talk to the staff there about trends they are seeing in the store.

The young lady who waited on me in the store was more than happy to talk about the company and the typical customers.  She was an enthusastic supporter of preparedness products and her employer - something you don't see every day in the retail world.  I asked her what trends she had seen over the last year.  Here are some of her observations:

  • Sales have exploded in 2012.
  • A large part of their business comes from LDS members getting their one year food supply assembled.
  • The other parts of their business come from preppers getting ready for any and every perceived peril, including the Mayan 2012 crowd, the zombie crowd, and the economic collapse crowd.
  • One group she singled out for special recognition are those preparing for earthquakes in the Utah area. 

Looking Into The Crystal Ball

What would an Obama re-election mean for preppers?  What would a Romney election mean for them?

Given the fact we are only days away from the election, I thought I'd give you some thoughts as to what we might expect within the movement under each of them.

Obama:  If he is re-elected, the movement picks up steam the first year of his presidency.  I am getting emails from people I never thought would be interested in preparedness, and they all say the same thing - they fear what might happen in an Obama second term. 

This fear stems from a few things.  First, any American president has more flexibility in his or her second term.  Obama said so himself; in fact, it's the exchange documented in that link which worries a number of people.  Rightfully so, in my opinion.

In the second presidential debate, Obama expressed interest in renewing the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.  If re-elected, look for gun sales and demand for gun training classes to remain strong. 

Finally, our economy continues to show symptoms of ill health - stagnant GDP growth, stagnant unemployment numbers, a Federal Reserve that is running out of effective stimulus options.  To date, the president's record doesn't give me or other preppers any comfort that things will get better in 2013 or 2014.  This, in turn, will lead to more worry among average Americans.  People will continue to prepare, most likely in larger numbers than the past.

Romney:  A Romney win presents something of an irony.  People voting for Romney do so in large part because Romney will supposedly make it a priority to decrease government dependence and emphasize self reliance.  And yet many preppers - maybe even a majority of them, for all I know - will slow down dramatically in their preparedness efforts if Romney is elected.

The rationale here is that preppers will believe Romney will fix the economy and thus avert whatever financial disaster awaits us if we don't get our finances in order.  Many preppers will let their guard down.  Gun sales will drop, along with the demand for ammunition and concealed handgun licenses.  Demand for storeable foods will decrease as well.

Of course, the problems we face have been developing for fifty years.  Romney hasn't put any plan forward, at least not to my knowledge, that explains how he will right the nation's finances.  Thus, the community lowers its guard at its own peril.

The Preparedness Conference

I mentioned last week I am conceptualizing a conference here in Austin to discuss preparedness issues from a suburban perspective.  I'm pleased to report this is coming along nicely.  I hope to have a date to share with you in the coming weeks - it will be a Saturday in January or February.  Stay tuned.  And if you have suggestions on topics you'd like to have covered, please email me

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daily Briefing for Sunday, October 21, 2012

Killing Time By Shooting Things

This past weekend, Kendel and I spent a few days in Memphis for her college reunion.  I've lived in Memphis a couple of times in my adult life.  I really enjoy the city.

Whenever I am there, I try to take a class out at Rangemaster, one of the best gun schools in the country.  This weekend, they were offering their Level 2 class.  It's for students who have passed their CHL test and are looking to learn more about concealment and drawing from a holster.  While the material was a little basic for me, I enjoy taking classes like this from Rangemaster as it gives me ideas on ways to improve my own CHL instruction.

I'm going to share some random notes and thoughts I compiled during the class this weekend:

  • One goal the CHL holder should strive to meet is to get one good hit 1.5 seconds on a target at three yards, starting with the gun being concealed.  Rangemaster staff estimates it takes a normal person who trains regularly about one year to acquire this skill.
  • Speaking of timing, one fun fact - the FBI reports (again, according to Rangemaster staff) that for citizens using a gun in self defense, 92% of those gun fights occur between six to ten feet.  The fights usually involve the citizen firing just over three shots, and the entire fight is over in 3.5 seconds.  As Tom Givens, the boss man at Rangemaster often says, "you will run out of time before you run out of ammo."
  • Something I stress to all of my CHL students, although Tom said is much more succinctly than I do: "You must be able to articulate why you used deadly force."  I would only add the words "a legitimate reason"  right after the word "articulate."  It's not enough to think someone deserves shooting - you have to have a reasonable belief of an imminent threat of serious bodily injury in order to justify using deadly force.  (Note as a general rule, I do not advocate using deadly force to protect property, although Texas law does allow for it in certain circumstances.)
  • Two ideas on how to desensitize yourself from the noise of the gun.  First, you need to shoot a lot.  That will help.  Second, Tom recommends doing what he calls a mental "misdirection" by playing a loop of audio in your head while shooting which says "front sight, press the trigger" over and over.  I didn't try that on the range this weekend.  I may plug my iPhone into my hearing protectors on my next trip to the range just to see how Godsmack or Pearl Jam played at high volume affects my shooting accuracy.
Finally, and this should go without saying - all of you out there with crappy guns - get rid of them.  Go get a Glock, an M&P, or an XD.  Your daddy's Browning or Uncle Joe Bob's 1911 from the Vietnam War aren't guns you want to take to a gun fight.  We had two students in the class who had less than modern guns.  If you're going to bet your life on a tool, make sure that tool is well made and reliable.

Check Out This Here Chart

Here's a chart of the Dow over the last six months.  Notice how the bar graph at the bottom measures volume of shares traded?  See Friday's stock action - the market closed down 205 on substantially higher than average trade volume.  That's twice in about a month where we've had a down day on sizeable volume.  I keep waiting for someone to explain to me how this market is healthy.

Does The Idea Of A Preparedness Conference Appeal To You?

Let's say Paul were to find us a nice conference room in the Austin area and have a preparedness conference with speakers on a Saturday, from 10am to 2pm.  And since Paul doesn't feel the need to underwrite this, he charges a small fee to attendees (I'm thinking about $10)  to cover the expenses with the room rental and other items that would come up.  Ideally, this would be sometime between the election and Thanksgiving.

Would you attend?  If so, what subjects would you want covered?  Holla at me at suburbandadsurvivalist@gmail.com with your thoughts.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Daily Briefing for Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Food Storage Unit

I have a friend who has taken to storing part of their food stores in a local storage unit.  I'd like to tell you about it.

He picked the storage unit based upon a number of criteria: 
  • Locality to his house.
  • EMP protection. (this particular unit is essentially a concrete bunker in a climate controlled building)
  • Ability to get access most hours of the day without a lot of hassle.
In his unit, he's left a small walkway all around the food he's storing in the unit.  The walkway is essentially a mine field of rat bait and glue traps, regularly sprayed for bugs.  The glue traps are changed out as needed; he says he visits the unit at least once a week to keep tabs on it.

To help secure the food, my friend stores only food grade buckets and number 10 cans in the unit. 

There's a lot of down sides to having food kept off premises.  Getting it out of the unit can be tricky, especially if there's a lot of it.  I'm pretty sure the owner of the storage unit probably doesn't want food stored in there, although I suspect the way it's being stored prevents it from attracting vermin.  And there's the rental fee every month - money that could be spent on other things.

Overall, I think it's a good concept.  Just make sure you've got as much food stored at home as you can before storing off site.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily Briefing for Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Your Debate Prep For Tonight

Before you settle onto your favorite chair or couch, laptop or smart phone in hand to track all the witty things I will unlikely say on Facebook during the debate, spend a few minutes and review two things:

First, Brian shared this video about the NYPD's stop and frisk policy.  It's one of the more disturbing things I've watched in a while.  In a nutshell, the NYPD sets quotas for its officers to do what are known as "stop and frisks" of suspicious people.  In the link, you get to hear the only known recording of one of these stop and frisk incidents.  It is bone chilling to hear what these cops did and said.  And to hear the NYPD officers talk anonymously about the practices of their department - where one supervisor told his subordinates to go out and "violate some rights" - should disturb all of us.

And then there's this piece from the New York Times.  It's not often I link to an article in the Times, but even Jayson Blair got a few things right from time to time.  The article conclusively states that our CIA is arming Islamic militants (that's code for Al Qaeda) in Syria.

So on the eve of debate number two, where Team Blue and Team Red will roll out their guys to regurgitate the usual talking points ascribed to them, remember what you've learned from the links above:  We have to take our shoes off at the airport screening because a) Al Qaeda b) who we're arming in Syria with our tax dollars might c) blow up the airplane we're on allegedly because they despise the freedoms we have guaranteed in our Constitution which d) a major law enforcement agency in the United States routinely violates anyway.

Friends, that is the debate we should be having tonight.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Daily Briefing for Monday, October 15, 2012

Quiet Riot

I first heard of the band Quiet Riot as I began my eighth grade year.  Eventually, I owned one of their tapes (that's what we had back in the 80s...it was the media du jour between the waning of the 8 track and the genesis of the compact disc) because their music was so awesome.  At least it was back then.

I'm picking up a lot stories and hearing from some of you about the possibilities of post-election riots.  Most of these stories suggest some folks will riot if Romney is elected or if there's a perception that the election is being "stolen" by Republicans.  In a related note, as more states implement Voter ID laws, CNN reports we could experience some delays in getting election returns back in certain precincts, setting up another scenario like the 2000 presidential election.  Such an event certainly would not help things.

Think I'm kidding?  Consider this aggregation of data, with each example well sourced by the author, with a number of examples of people calling for civil unrest if Romney wins.  Some examples (WARNING - graphic language to follow):

  • Thomas Sowell, one of the brightest people on the planet, predicts race riots if Romney wins.
  • “If obama dont get re-elected & romney wins .. on life every white persons getting pistol whipped and im startin a riot.” (SOURCE)
  • “If Obama don’t win lets start a riot so Romney know what he’s getting himself into.” (SOURCE)
  • “You know you ain’t shit if you gotta “MAKE” Mafukas vote for ROMNEY ! …. Mannnn OBAMA better get back in office . Or BLACK FOLKS will riot.” (SOURCE)
  • “If Romney wins im goin on a rampage.” (SOURCE)
  • “If Mitt Romney wins the election I think its our duties as Black folks to riot and fuck shit up.” (SOURCE)
  • “If every action IS met with an equal and opposite reaction ..what should workers do to employers if Romney’s elected? #Riot in the streets!!” (SOURCE)
  • “If Romney becomes president let’s all start a riot.” (SOURCE)
  • “I Heard Mitt Romney , Tryna Take Away Food Stamps , If He Do .”IMA START A RIOT , IMA START A RIOT.” (SOURCE)
  • “If romney wins, imma start a mf’n riot! Rns.” (SOURCE)

How serious are these folks?  Beats me.  I'd like to think they are just running their mouths and trying to be cute.  The 1992 riots in Los Angeles proved we are not immune to such tragedies.  Scenes from Europe over the last year depicting civil unrest stemming from economic hardship further confirms that despite how civilized we think we are, our society is quite capable of rioting over perceived injustices and NBA championship celebrations.

I don't know that there's anything for us to do specifically to protect ourselves from such a threat that we aren't already doing.  Just be aware of the possibility.  And pray it doesn't happen.

Game Ball to Midland Radio

We had some severe weather roll through here around 2 AM on Sunday.  My new Midland WX-100 sounded the alarm, which woke up everyone in the house.  The next morning, Kendel laid down the law - either get the volume of that alarm turned down, or turn the radio off.

I really like this particular model, and so I wasn't about to just shut it off.  I read the owner's manual but couldn't determine how to adjust the volume.

In an off chance that Midland checked their email, I sent them a quick note to ask if they had a solution.  Within four business hours, the Midland folks had emailed me back to discuss my problem.  In the end, it turns out you cannot adjust the volume on the alert feature on the WX-100.  While that's disappointing, it was refreshing to see Midland respond so quickly to my inquiry.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Daily Briefing For Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Suburban Dad Survivalist Politics Edition
When I first started this blog, I made the conscious decision not to discuss politics here.  I did that for the simple reason that I wanted to focus on things we could be doing to better ourselves and become better prepared for the possibility of a wide spectrum of perils.  Besides, it's no secret to the vast majority of you how I roll politically (uber Libertarian), so nothing I will say will shock any of you.
I want to share a few thoughts on how I arrived at my decision on whom to support for president.  I'm not trying to change your mind or call you a moron if you disagree with me (if that's what you want, get a Facebook account).  I do hope this will be instructive to many of you who don't fully understand the preparedness community or gun community as to how we think and vote. 
Why I'm Not Voting For Mitt Romney

Whenever I've expressed deep reservations about voting for Romney, a number of my conservative friends have tried to sway me to Team Red using arguments such as "you have to vote for Romney" or "A vote for anyone other than Romney is a vote for Obama."  If this is the best the GOP can do, they need to work on their messaging.

I supported Ron Paul in the primaries.  I'd never donated to a presidential candidate in my life until this year, when I donated to his campaign.  His message of freedom, respect for civil liberties, and a track record of voting for smaller government is what we need.  I was heartened to see so many young people gravitating towards his campaign.

Interestingly, he was dismissed by many as too extreme.  The Republican faithful complained Paul wasn't "pro-military" despite the fact that as of February (when the primaries were at full speed) he received more contributions from active duty military personnel than all of the other GOP candidates combined, and more contributions than President Obama.  Others claimed Paul was "anti-Israel."  When I quizzed those folks on what Paul's position was on Israel, the usual answer I got back was "well, I don't know, but I hear he is anti-Israel."  (If you care to read one objective assessment of Paul's position on Israel, you can spend about two minutes and do so here.)  In short, Ron Paul is perhaps the most pro-Israel of anyone who ran in the 2012 primaries.

Paul failed to garner the nomination for a number of reasons.  To be sure, he is not the most articulate when it comes to stating his positions in a soundbite-suitable format.  It was his ideas, not his style, that drew so many of us to him.

And so normally the default candidate in this situation would be the GOP nominee.  (Obama's track record over the last four years disqualifies him, in my mind, from any consideration.)  This would naturally mean I would support Romney if I "wanted my vote to count" here in redder-than-hell Texas, where Rick Perry beat the living daylights out of his Democratic challenger back in the 2010 gubernatorial race, despite the fact Perry refused to even debate him.  Voting for someone other than Romney in Texas is like singing off key in a large church service; the only people who will know will be those immediately around you.

Instead of supporting the establishment candidate, I will be voting for Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and Libertarian Party nominee.  Most people have no idea who Johnson is, which is disappointing.  Rather than extol the virtues of his candidacy, I'd like to share why people like me - preppers, gun owners, people who value liberty - aren't getting on the Romney train.

It's not all about the economy.

As I have chronicled here for some time now, our economy sucks.  Unemployment remains painfully high; the stock market gains come only from repetitive rounds of quantitative easing (and certainly not from increasing volume of shares traded).  We need good jobs, and a lot of them.  And there's no doubt Mitt Romney could move the needle in that direction.

Yet we cannot simply vote our pocketbooks.  Our ability to express ourselves, and live as free Americans, continues to deteriorate.  Just yesterday, the Washington Post ran this piece decrying the loss of free speech in the Western world.  Meanwhile, the Denver Post reports a 55 year old disabled veteran was deemed a "terrorist" by local officials for complaining about the cost of a municipal security system

These are not one off, anecdotal stories.  These stories run every day in main stream media.  And what position does Romney take on protecting our liberties and freedoms?

There are other issues I could stress, but when you couple these alone, along with the fact his running mate voted for TARP raises serious issues in my mind and in the minds of people who share my desire for individuals to be better prepared.  I fear Romney will be, on balance, more of the same thing that we've had in the last 50 years.

The GOP is about to have an identity crisis.

I'm not the one saying this, but I do agree with it.  And I would submit it's necessary and a good thing. 

The GOP establishment has utterly failed to understand the tea party.  The tea party is, in essence, a bunch of pissed off, highly motivated Americans who are tired of the status quo from both parties and are willing to get out and mobilize.  They are willing to do so inexpensively.  They are willing to be generous to candidates who support their ideals.  They are willing to get themselves and their friends to the polls, no matter the date, the weather, or what's on TV that day.

In short, they are the establishment's worst nightmare.

Many on the left like to ridicule the tea party, which is ironic, since it's that very criticism that fuels them.  The tea party runs on instincts, emotions, and the ability to assemble a fantastic ground game come election time.

The GOP must find a way to inculcate the libertarian values of the tea party into its platform.  It must be willing to get behind liberty minded candidates - like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul - if it is to be successful long term.


The gun community and prepper community have changed their focus over the years, shifting allegiance away from the GOP and towards more libertarian type candidates.  It's not uncommon to see some of the well known firearms instructors in the country espouse pro-drug legalization, pro-gay marriage positions.  Many in the preparedness community share those ideals.  The GOP can no longer count on this group as a reliable source of votes. 

It's my hope that as people support Gary Johnson and other liberty oriented candidates, both parties will take note and begin to re-evaluate their positions on the core beliefs upon which the country was founded.  Voting for the best candidate is never throwing your vote away.  Voting for one guy because you dislike the other more is, I would submit, the true throw away vote.  That kind of voting never leads to significant change in how we conduct ourselves as a nation.

Our liberty is what makes America exceptional.  It will continue to do so.  If we let it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Daily Briefing for Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lots of Stuff

I've been busy as of late, much of it on the road for business.  So I will try to catch y'all up on a few things.

Whose Money Is It Anyway, Part 2

You may recall from a previous blog I shared how a family member of a friend had much difficulty withdrawing his own money from his own account.  Here's an update on that story:

So, I owe you an update about our experience yesterday at Wells Fargo.  We decided to go 'under the radar' with our withdrawals, and we took out 5k each.  The bank was empty, and the same teller provided service to both of us.  Overall, we didn't have any problems - she was bubbly and polite, and went through procedures we've all come to expect regarding our own money. 
However, whether or not it was just her being friendly, or tellers have actually been instructed to ask a few questions of their customers, she did say something that is absolutely worth mentioning.  She asked: "are you by any chance buying a car today?"  Of course, our only answer was no, without elaborating.  She stated that she was just wondering, because "a lot of customers have been doing the same thing."  In other words, she has noticed a significant pickup in cash withdrawals over the past several weeks.  It didn't appear that she had yet put 2 and 2 together. 
We are going to make the same type of smaller withdrawals over the next few weekends to see if any 'red flags' surface.  I just have a feeling that we may get questions at some point when a pattern of withdrawals is obvious.

 On a second note, the coin exchange business we went to on Saturday was completely packed out.

In addition, my friend reports the bank did in fact have the remainder of his brother's money ready when he went back to collect the rest.

72 Hours Sober

I have been hiding a serious chemical dependency problem from all of you for many years now.  I'm pleased to report I'm changing my life for the better.

Last Wednesday, I consumed my very last soda.  I've been able to play through the caffeine withdrawals and the other side effects of getting diet soda out of your system in large part because of the hectic schedule I've had since Wednesday.

I've been on and off the wagon (mostly off) for years now.  Some of the detoxification side effects I've noticed every time I do this include:

  • Intense stomach pains.  As in "bend over your desk and lie there because it hurts so bad" kind of pain.
  • Mental fogginess.  Some would say I suffer from this constantly.  I will tell you it's very noticeable for me as I detox.
  • Vivid bad dreams.  This was a first for me.  Thursday night/Friday morning was a long night for me, as I woke up various times disturbed by the various dreams I was having. 

So why give up sodas?  Here are a few of my reasons.

  1. Price.  As food prices go up, soda moves up with them.  I am literally being priced out of the market.  I estimate I will be able to save a lot of money now (I won't say how much, lest you get an idea of just how addicted I am.  And yes, I am still an addict - once an addict, always an addict.)
  2. The need to be less reliant on chemicals.  I can't feasibly store thousands of gallons of Diet Mountain Dew.  I'd rather detox now rather than during an emergency.
  3. Overall health.  I hope I will see a decrease in inflammation in the various parts of my body that stay inflamed, like my knee and shoulder joints, as well as my digestive track. 

The Elections Are Coming.  Should We Care?

I think the answer is "yes," although Reason magazine did a cover story in this month's issue claiming we were better off not voting.  Tomorrow, I will share with you my thoughts on the coming elections and what it means for the preparedness community.