Saturday, December 14, 2013

Daily Briefing For Saturday, December 14, 2013

Man Up.

This is going to upset some folks.  If you're wanting some feel good news today, here's the Duck Dynasty crew singing Silent Night.  I ain't doing inspirational today. 

We are a weak people.  And yes, I include myself in that criticism.  For too long, we've allowed ourselves to become complacent and apathetic.  We're out of shape physically.  We complain about the slightest inconveniences, which if compared to those endured by our grandparents would pale in comparison.  The phrase "first world problems" often used to describe situations where those in modern societies cannot experience immediate gratification isn't just a funny hash tag on social media.  It's a legitimate description.

In a nation where 84 percent of the poor have air conditioning and 60 percent have a personal computer, people across the economic spectrum have become accustomed to having modern conveniences.  Let me be clear about this:  I am not lamenting the fact that poor people have stuff or that we need to cut off food stamps.  In fact, I celebrate it, because it means capitalism is working - our poor can benefit from modern technologies unavailable to the poor of other nations. 

This relative wealth and technology has caused us - and again, when I use the first person plural in this blog, I am including myself - to get soft in the middle.  As a result, we've lost a valuable quality humans need, which is fortitude.  We no idea where our food comes from, yet alone how to grow or process it ourselves.  We are losing the ability to do basic repairsWe can't even change our own tires or jump start a car.  And when people do try to be more versatile and live off the grid, the government tries to condemn their property as uninhabitable, with no good faith basis to do so.  How can this bode well for our nation?

Glenn Beck did a great monologue on this which will certainly upset some people, but it stirred me into writing this section of today's blog.  I encourage you to read or watch it

I don't do much in the way of yearly resolutions, but in planning the upcoming preparedness conference on January 4, I did make this promise to myself: This year is about acquiring skills, not stuff.  I'm pretty good on gear.  What I'm not good on is learning how to do the most basic repairs and using tools. 

I need to man up in 2014.  I suspect many others do as well.

Homelessness And Food Demand Increase, While Congress Cuts Military Pensions

Good news keeps rolling in! 

This week's bi-partisan budget deal in Congress significantly cuts military pensions, according to CNN.  I'm pretty sure this isn't the deal our military service people signed up for.

And it looks like the need for housing and emergency food assistance continues to increase, despite the fact we're told unemployment has fallen to 7%, a 5 year low.  Buried in that last story is the fact that "only about 63% of Americans over the age of 16 participate in the job market -- meaning they either have a job or are looking for one. That's nearly the lowest level since 1978, driven partly by Baby Boomers retiring, but also by workers who had simply given up hope after long and fruitless job searches."

What do these stories have in common?  Our nation's finances and economy are in shambles if not in some sort of alternative universe.  When we're having to cut military pensions for those currently receiving them while simultaneously being told how great the job market is, you have to wonder if anyone truly understands the forces at work in our economy. 

This is not a Blame Bush/Blame Obama situation.  We can go back decades to see how this all began and how it's continued to worsen over time. 

While the fix to all of this is certainly complicated, we need to take steps on an individual basis to make sure we're not caught in any upcoming economic downdraft.

Are People Beginning To Get It?

On some levels, I think so.  Business Week ran this piece outlining why gun control efforts are languishing in the United States - people realize that despite the vast increases of gun sales in the last few years, crime continues to trend downward.  The article makes many of the same points I made in January on this very subject:

If we've learned anything from Sandy Hook and subsequent events, it's:
  • We need to do a better job educating people about firearms.
  • We need to improve our mental health system.
  • We need to improve the data sharing functions for the background check system.
  • We need to do a better job of training educators on how to handle emergencies, both man-made and natural.
Solving the challenges that face us won't be done by putting on a Red State or Blue State jersey.  They will be solved only when we are intellectually honest enough to look at the data and apply solutions that are compliant with the Constitution. 

I still believe there is time to turn the ship around and put our country back on a track of liberty and prosperity for everyone.  It will require that more of us take an interest in news, politics, and helping one another. 

Good Book Recommendation For Skeptical Preppers

Stansberry Research, a financial research firm, has put out this book on simple steps you can do to make you reasonably well prepared for a number of things.  It's written by a medical doctor and contains some good advice (with the usual caveat of skipping over what he says about firearm recommendations).  I ran the medical supply part of the book by my father who agreed with his recommendations.  Easy and quick to read - if there's someone you know who could use a short book on a painless way to start getting better prepared, this is a good one to try. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Daily Briefing For Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Random Thoughts About Not-So-Random Things

I hope you are checking out the videos on my YouTube channel. I am learning more about making them with each video.  Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't already - it's free! 

Throwback Preparedness Play of the Day

I don't know why I was thinking about this, but something reminded me of the Apollo 13 mission recently.  Here's a somewhat lengthy video about what happened and the efforts to rescue the crew.  You'll note the laser-like focus the crew and the ground control teams put on managing the basics. 

Free Subscription To Emergency Management Magazine!

I read their stuff on Facebook from time to time.  It's worth getting this free magazine and "liking" them on Facebook if you're a user.  Here's an interesting article on how nursing homes can be better prepared for disasters. 

Some Ideas On Getting Women Into Preparedness

Most of us can relate - our spouses (usually the female ones) don't get into this as much as we'd like.  (If yours does, you're doing well.  Buy her something nice at Christmas this year.  Like an AR-10.)  Here's what one lady did to get her girlfriends to start thinking about getting on board the prepper train.  We actually did something similar several years ago.  I don't think it stuck, but it was a fun exercise. 

A Few More Preparedness Tips Thrown In For Good Measure

You'll like this - guaranteed.  41 Camping Hacks that are quick and easy ideas to help you get better prepared for living off grid.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Daily Briefing For Sunday, December 1, 2013

And This Is What Gives Me Hope

As we enter the last 30 days of 2013, we in the preparedness community often take stock of our efforts to see what we did well and where we can improve.  Sadly, it takes little to be better prepared than most people.  Consider last year's Adelphi University study on the level American preparedness.

Below is a summary of some of the striking findings from our 2012 poll of U.S. adults:
  • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits 
  • 48 percent lack emergency supplies 
  • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
  • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
  • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
  • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
  • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
  • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
  • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

And yet, I am hopeful.

I'm hopeful not because only 53 percent of Americans don't have enough food on hand to survive a three day emergency (that's an ice storm in the Deep South, a hurricane making landfall in New England, or a significant earthquake on the West coast), but because we continue to see more evidence that private sector innovation - and not government disaster or entitlement programs - will be the deciding factor in how well we extract ourselves from emergencies.

This innovation by our friends at IKEA - known for their shelving systems, quirky stores and cryptic assembly instructions - demonstrates once again that when the private sector is able to innovate, it can change lives dramatically.  Consider their newest invention:  a completely foldable, solar powered disaster shelter for refugees.

Technology for preparedness applications continues to improve in quality and affordability.  Twenty years ago, having a portable solar power system to recharge wireless devices and energy efficient lighting was little more than an article in Popular Mechanics.  These technological improvements - from the private sector - will no doubt improve the lives of people around the globe and give preppers here at home access to some incredible tools for being better prepared.

When we are better able to meet the basic needs of disaster victims, a nation rebounds quicker and with less societal costs.  Innovations like this are critical to a community's ability to recover.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Daily Briefing For Friday, November 29, 2013

Black And Blue Friday

In our consumer oriented economy (which makes up 70 percent of national spending), Black Friday is a critical day for us, like it or not.  It comes with a price, however, in many ways.  Consider the Drudge headlines from today:

Mall mayhem...
Suspected shoplifter shot after dragging cop through KOHL's parking lot...
Woman uses stun gun in shopping fight...
Man stabbed over parking spot...
Shopper Kicked Out Of WALMART For Filming Fight...
Man shot walking home with big screen...
Shoppers Trampled In Race For $49 Tablet...
SALVATION ARMY kettles stolen...

And tonight, Sandi tagged me in a Facebook post with this highlight reel of past Black Fridays:


No doubt many will blame capitalism for things like this (since nothing bad ever happens in economic systems which embrace socialism or communism).  Capitalism has nothing to do with it.  A lack of respect for others combined with an unhealthy fixation with material possessions has everything to do with it.

As I told Sandi, part of being prepared for contingencies is avoiding risky environments in the first instance.  Black Friday events where the crowds seem a bit too willing to risk injury for a freaking video game or flat screen television are the kind of retail opportunities we can all afford to skip. 

Practice risk avoidance as part of your daily preparedness activities.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Daily Briefing For Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chickens as Patriotism

Jerid posted this to my Facebook page this evening:

I should probably be blogging about being thankful for the many blessings we have.  And we in America certainly have plenty for which to be thankful.  But this seemed more appropriate.  Part of being thankful means we are good stewards of our blessings.  And being self-sufficient is an exercise in stewardship.

It's interesting to think that in 1918 - almost 100 years ago - our government encouraged people to contribute to the economy and to be more self sufficient.  Now dependency on the government is growing at astonishing rates.  Some would argue the government actually encourages dependency on it - an about face of its efforts just 100 years ago. 

Can we change the trend?  Or are we stuck in an inescapable vortex, in which we can only slow down the rate at which we lose our economic and personal freedoms? 

Who knows.  Regardless, we are called to be thankful and to be good stewards of what we have.  The change we seek will not come from the government.  It will come only when we take the lead, set the example, and encourage others to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Conference Update: Speaking Roster Finalized; Five Days of Early Bird Pricing Left

FINAL Speaking Roster For 2014 SDS Preparedness Conference

Great news!  We have finalized the speaker's list for the upcoming conference.  I'm very pleased with the caliber of speakers we've been able to secure, as well as the diversity of topics to be covered.

The conference will be on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at the Cabela's located at 15570 IH-35 in Buda, Texas.  We'll start with registration beginning at 9:30 AM and begin with speakers at 10 AM.  We'll conclude at 5 PM.

For those of you who wish to have dinner with some of the other attendees, we'll be meeting at the Logan's Steakhouse in front of Cabela's at 6 PM on Friday, January 3.  Let me know if you'd like to attend so I can make reservations for us.

Here's this year's speakers list:

Rosina Newton of the Natural Gardener fame and a horticultural expert in her own right kicks off the 2014 conference.  You can see her in action in this KLRU clip.  She'll be speaking on the basics of backyard gardening - growing herbs and vegetables in a suburban setting.

Karl Rehn will share some ideas on developing a personal training curriculum to be your own first responder.  Karl's work at TEEX and at his own company, KR Training, has been instrumental in training countless shooters and first responders.

Brian Brown just returned from the Philippines serving a stint with Team Rubicon and their disaster recovery efforts.  A leader with Travis County Search and Rescue, Brian will be talking about bug out bags and strategies.

John Daub will expand on his writings in the area of establishing minimum standards.  While his writings have been primarily in the areas of firearms training, the concepts here can be applied to a wide variety of disciplines.

Leslie Buck is the founder and chief instructor of Tactical Arts Academy.  If you've ever wondered how you can defend yourself using ordinary items, he will provide you with some guidance on improvised weapons and tactics.

Linda Wall is The Redneck Hippie and an avid garden consultant as well.  She'll be speaking on "The Basics of Canning" to fill us in on how to get started in our food preservation efforts. 

In addition, staff from Cabela's will be doing a presentation on the latest survival gear on the market.  And we'll conclude with a panel discussion featuring the speakers from the conference discussing current issues important to the prepper community.

Please note early bird pricing ends this Saturday, November 30!  It's $40 per person or $70 for two (and yes, you can partner up with a friend to take advantage of the better don't have to be on a date).  On December 1, pricing goes up to $60 per person.

You can register three ways:

  1. PayPal me at
  2. Sign up at KR Training.  After you've signed up, you'll still need to pay via the KR Training payment pagePlease note that your sign up is incomplete without payment and will not entitle you to early bird pricing beyond November 30.
  3. Mail me a check at 8905 Marybank Drive, Austin, TX 78750. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Daily Briefing For Tuesday, November 19, 2013

300 Americans

I was reading through a paper written by the folks at Emergency Essentials this evening, entitled "Confronting Common Food Storage Myths."  The first myth touched on the belief that Americans don't need to have a food storage plan.  To rebut this, the company quotes Richard Gist, a psychologist for the Kansas City Fire Department as saying:

"Do not put off the improbable for the unthinkable....If there is a one in a million chance of something happening to you, then it's happening to 300 people in this country right now."

There are two goals we can infer from this quote.  The first goal is to not be one of the 300.  Prevention - from theft, assault, job loss, fire, storm damage, you name it - is often cheaper and easier than dealing with the aftermath.  The second goal is to be ready to mitigate the situation if we are one of the 300.  If you have a food plan, a cash reserve, fire extinguishers, a weather radio, a first aid kit, and other necessities, you greatly reduce your chances that you'll be dependent on relief efforts in the time of emergency. 

....And The Head of Interpol Says One Way to Be Prepared Is To Be Armed!

Somebody needs to tell Ronald Noble - the secretary general of Interpol - that he needs to get back on the official message that an armed citizenry is bad and that only the government should have guns.  Because he clearly deviated from that, as you can read for yourself in this report from ABC News.  Here's what he had to say, in part:

"Ask yourself: If [the Nairobi shopping mall terrorist attack in September] was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?" Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. "What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, 'Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?' This is something that has to be discussed."

 Good question, Mr. Secretary.  It's good to see leaders in law enforcement asking this question and challenging the thinking of those who believe citizens cannot be a part of the solution.

Meanwhile, Patriots In Mexico Are Doing What Patriots Do

The unspeakable violence in Mexico has pushed some of its citizens to do what those who love their country and their family do: pick up a rifle and defend themselves and their communities from the forces of evil.  And that's precisely what's happening, according to CBS news.

No doubt many here in the U.S. will criticize this effort as lawless and vigilante.  I suppose it's easy to criticize others when it's not your kids and neighbors being brutally attacked and murdered.  When you see it every day, it's hard to not take action. 

This is why so many of us are passionate about defending our Second Amendment rights.  Giving citizens the ability to defend themselves from enemies foreign and domestic isn't just about preventing invasions from foreign armies or even tyrannical government.  It's about giving people the right to protect themselves from lawlessness from those who refuse to adhere to the social contract.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Daily Briefing For Friday, November 15, 2013

Getting Hurt Getting First Aid ASAP

You know how in the movies where there's a gun fight or other violent encounter, and right after the good guy has won and freed the hottie chick from whatever goat rodeo she's found herself, the ambulance immediately arrives to tape him and other casualties up?  Reality check:  that doesn't happen in the real world.  Because a) there aren't that many hotties getting into gun fights and b) your EMS heroes aren't going to go in until the cops have completely secured the scene.

Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics today shared this article on the recent shooting at LAX via the miracle that is Facebook.  From the article:

"When somebody is shot and they're bleeding to death, lifesaving skills need to be implemented immediately, in a couple minutes, and they're very simple, pressure dressings, tourniquets, adequate bandages to stop the bleeding," said Dr. Lawrence E. Heiskell, an emergency physician for 27 years and a reserve police officer for 24 years who founded the state and federally approved International School of Tactical Medicine.

Let that sink in.  You're at the mall this holiday season picking up fine quality products made in China to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, and some nut job starts shooting the place up, hitting you or your child.  If you can't deal with the problem on your own, the wait for help is going to take a long, long time.  How long, you ask?  The headline in that article to which I link above will give you some idea: "LAX security officer bled for 33 minutes as help stood by."  Thirty three minutes.  For a security officer.  (I can assure you, the first responder community takes care of their own, first and foremost.  And I don't blame them.)

Forget about shootings for a moment.  You're far more likely to be in a car wreck or have some other accident which could cause serious bleeding.  Say it only takes half that time for help to arrive.  Now we're down to 16 minutes while you bleed out.  Still think that's acceptable?

I can hear you now: "Paul, you're being alarmist and a Debbie Downer.  Shut up already and talk about more uplifting stuff like MREs and the economy."  I will keep saying this until I am blue in the face or until the NSA pulls the plug on my blog: Be ready to execute the basics really well.  If you can do that, you are prepared for a wide spectrum of perils.  Get some basic gear and training and know what to do.  Help may not be around the corner.

Speaking of Being Prepared...

My two high school alma maters had a rough day to day.  The Webb School lost in the NACA national football championship this afternoon (proud of our kids and coaches...three years ago, the school didn't even have a football program).  And Shelbyville Central High School dealt with a prank caller claiming a student entered the school with a gun.

Fortunately it was a prank and no one was hurt.  A dear friend of mine who teaches at that school remarked:

Events from last spring's implementation of a "code white" label made me think "what would I do with my kids if that happened?" I had to execute that plan this morning. I have changed my opinion about always keeping my phone and keys on me after today. I am thankful for this event today as I hope it helps us be a safer place and serves as a reminder to be alert to all situations....Even though it was scary and tense until we had information - I felt safe and that they had it under control...I hope our administration takes this "exercise" and improves our emergency plan.

If you're an educator, you have a tough job in this situation - taking care not only of yourself but the kids placed in your care.  I know many schools are proactively discussing how to handle these situations.  Let me encourage those of you who do work in school environments to regularly play the "What If" game in your head.  "What if" today is the you have your cell phone on you?  Keys?  How quickly can you get your classroom locked down or secured as best you can?  Think through now what you will to then.

Indie Go Go Goes Prepper

As a world renown blogger on the issue of preparedness, I get emails regularly asking me to pitch products and services to you folks.  Namely it's Viagra, debt consolidation, and Nigerian stock market investments.  (This is how I know I am "world renown."  Because if I weren't, I'm sure these folks would not be emailing me.) 

I received one today that seemed more normal, and I thought I'd share it with you.  These survival kits look interesting.  I will curious to see how this takes off.  Check it out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Daily Briefing For Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eleven Hours Later...

I sat through the CHL instructor renewal class yesterday.  It was a long day to say the least.

A few observations from the class:

  • DPS continues to raise the qualifications of instructors.  This has received mix reviews among CHL instructors.  Having heard some of the horror stories, and having seen some of the instructors in class and on the range, there needs to be more scrutiny in certifying instructors.
  • Instructors will continue to struggle to get the necessary material covered in the new 4 to 6 hour format. 
  • NO VIDEOS MAY BE SHOWN IN CLASS, unless they are on the DPS-approved YouTube channel.  This is a big disappointment, as there is a lot of great material out there on DVD and YouTube from which students could learn.
  • The paperwork requirements for instructors has been reduced slightly.  We'll take it anyway we can get it.
  • DPS emphasized that the CHL class is not a basic handgun class.  I get that.  But here's the reality that any CHL instructor who teaches courses on even a semi-regular basis will tell you: you will have a lot of inexperienced shooters - some of whom have never fired a handgun - in your classes.  I've had brand new shooters take my Glock 34 and shoot well above the instructor certification level during the proficiency test.  I've had experienced shooters struggle to keep their guns working or to break above 200. 

    The reality is that CHL classes will often continue to be an introductory level class for new shooters.  While some will object to that, I'm of the mindset that my novice shooters in my CHL class are leaving with more knowledge about handgun safety and use, the law of self defense, and situational awareness than before the class.  I have to think that's a good thing.

First Steps In Building a Bug Out Bag

Here's an excellent video for you to review. 

Summer Workshop Ideas

I mentioned in my last blog that I working to develop a day long workshop on preparedness.  Unlike the upcoming conference, this would be a more hands-on event whereby attendees could build simple projects and play with the gear to give them some ideas of what aspect of their plan they might want to work on next.

Some subjects I'm considering include:

  • Ham radio demonstration
  • Solar power demonstration
  • Solar cooking demonstration
  • Spreadsheet for creating a food storage plan
  • Building a Berkey water filtration clone
  • Basics of reloading ammo
If you have suggestions, I'd like to hear them

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Daily Briefing For Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Latest 2014 SDS Preparedness Conference News:


·         Conference speaker currently serving in Philippines on disaster recovery mission

·         Well-known horticulturalist leads off this year’s conference

·         Planning underway for disaster preparedness workshop in Summer 2014

·         Many taking advantage of this year’s early bird pricing for registration



Conference speaker currently serving in Philippines on disaster recovery mission

Brian Brown, who will be speaking on bug out gear and strategies, is getting some intensive experience in this subject matter.  He’ll spend two weeks living out of a backpack in the Philippines while serving with Team Rubicon, helping that nation recover from one of the worst typhoons to ever hit the island nation. 

Prior to leaving the U.S., Brian messaged me to say “Living out of a bag for the next two weeks should give me some good material for the conference.”  We wish Brian and his team well, and we look forward to hearing the lessons he’s learned from his extensive disaster recovery experiences.

Well-known horticulturalist leads off this year’s conference

I’m pleased to let you know that Rosina Newton, a fixture in the Austin gardening community, will be our first speaker at this year’s conference.  She’ll be presenting on the basics of backyard gardening.  Last year’s attendees scored this subject matter as the most desired presentation for this year’s conference. 

An Aggie (Class of 1984), Rosina serves as Horticulturalist and Education Coordinator at the award-winning Natural Gardener in Austin.  In addition to her work at the Natural Gardener, she started bioMUNDO ( to further serve the gardening community. 

You may have seen Rosina on KLRU’s
Central Texas Gardener.  I’m pleased she’s able to join us.

Planning underway for disaster preparedness workshop in Summer 2014

I’m working with Karl Rehn of KR Training to develop a hands-on workshop in disaster preparedness next summer.  We’ll be polling the January attendees about what they’d like to learn in a summertime workshop.  We expect to put on demonstrations of utilizing solar cooking, communicating with ham radio, building rainwater collection and filtration systems, and designing food storage plans to be among some of the topics covered. 

Many taking advantage of this year’s early bird pricing for registration

We’ve had a very good early response for registrations.  Early bird pricing - $40 per person or $70 for two – runs through November 30.  After that, registration goes up to $60. 

You can sign up by PayPal using as the PayPal address or by going to KR Training’s class sign up page.  NOTE WELL – FOR THOSE OF YOU REGISTERING FOR THE CONFERENCE AT THE KR TRAINING PAGE, YOUR REGISTRATION IS NOT CONFIRMED UNTIL YOU HAVE PAID THE REGISTRATION FEES.  If you register but don’t pay your fees by November 30, the fee will go up to $60 per person. 

Save money by registering early! 

And if you’re interested in a Friday night dinner at Logan’s with me and other attendees, please email me so I can get your name on the list.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Daily Briefing For Friday, November 8, 2013

And Then There Are Days That Make Me Think We Are Winning

It seems more people are realizing the perils that face us.  Perhaps more importantly, people are showing courage in dealing with them.

The creator of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad franchise, Robert Kiyosaki, weighed in recently on the need to prepare for the possibility of economic uncertainty:


And now that we are four months post-verdict from the George Zimmerman trial, we see key legislators in Florida not only refusing to repeal or water down the Stand Your Ground law, they are looking to expand the rights of citizens to defend themselves

Even when there are horror stories like these - where a man was forced to undergo multiple rectal exams and colonoscopy to look for drugs (there were none) when pulled over for a minor traffic violation and another man was assaulted during an alleged DUI stop (watch the cop kick the citizen in the face while the citizen is lying on the ground) - the outcry becomes deafening.  If only we were as hell bent on financing efforts to train law enforcement on the limitations of their authority as we are on militarizing their departments.

And then there's the mother of wake up calls that's currently being heard across the country.  Turns out you can't mandate increased health insurance coverage without cancelling or non-renewing tens of millions of otherwise good policies and raising the premiums and deductibles on the policies left.  That's not a political statement, friends.  That's Actuary 101.  ACA supporters seem surprised by this.  I'm hoping they will start to reconsider not only their support of the legislation, but their broader support of government intervention (and spending) which has done nothing to promote freedom, liberty and financial stability of the typical American family over the last 50 years.  Don't chastise these people.  Many of them may become our partners in righting the ship.

I sense the tide is turning.  Time for all of us to do our part to keep the momentum going.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Second Annual Suburban Dad Survivalist Preparedness Conference Information

Second Annual Suburban Dad Survivalist Preparedness Conference

We are looking forward to having you to the conference!  This year’s speakers list reflects much of the feedback from last year’s attendees.  Please take a few moments to review the particulars of this year’s event.


Date, Time and Location

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  We’ll be meeting in the conference rooms at Cabela’s, located at 15570 Interstate 35, Buda, Texas.

Take Exit 220 on Interstate 35.  Cabela’s is located on the west side of the interstate.

Hotel Information

For those coming in from out of town, there are two hotels within a very short distance of Cabela’s:

·        Hampton Inn:

·        Microtel Inn: 512-295-5444

Friday Night Dinner

There will be an informal dinner Friday night, January 3, at the Logan’s Roadhouse located in the northeast parking lot of Cabela’s.  We’ll plan to be seated at 6 PM.  Please contact Paul if you would like to join the group.  You will be responsible for your paying for your own meal.

Saturday’s Schedule

We have a diverse list of speakers for this year’s event:

9:30 AM - !0:00 AM          Registration

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM      Welcome and Introductions

10:10 AM – 11:00 AM      “Raising Food In Your Backyard.” - Speaker TBA

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM      “Developing a Preparedness Training Plan” by KR Training owner Karl Rehn.

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM      Lunch (own your own; Cabela’s has on site dining)

12:15 PM – 1:05 PM         “Bug Out Bags, Vehicles and Strategies” by Brian Brown

1:05 PM – 1:15 PM           Break

1:15 PM – 2:05 PM           “Minimum Standards in Training” by John Daub

2:05 PM – 2:55 PM           “Improvised Weapons and Tactics” by Leslie Buck

2:55 PM – 3:05 PM           Break

3:05 PM – 3:35 PM           “New Gear For 2014” by Cabela’s staff

3:35 PM – 4:25 PM           Speaker TBA

4:25 PM – 5:00 PM           Panel Discussion

Lunch on Saturday

Cabela’s has a cafeteria on site.  You may bring in your own lunch if you wish.


Handouts will be distributed via email.  No handouts will be available on site; feel free to print and bring them to the conference. 

Classroom setting

This year, attendees will be seated at tables.  Feel free to bring a laptop or tablet.  Please note there is no wifi at Cabela’s.  Access to AC outlets will be very limited.


Registration is done on a first come, first serve basis.  You do not have a reservation until you have received a confirmation email. 

Pricing for the event is as follows:

Early Bird Pricing (valid through Nov. 30):       $40/person; $70/two people

            Regular Pricing (effective Dec. 1):                     $60/person

There are several ways to register:

·        PayPal your registration funds.  Please use as the email address for payment via PayPal.  Per PayPal: “There's no fee to send money when you link a bank account or use your PayPal balance. When you use a debit or credit card, there is a flat fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.”

·        You can mail me a check to Paul Martin, 8905 Marybank Drive, Austin, TX 78750. 

·        You may register for the conference at 

Regardless of the method of payment, it is very important to provide the full name or names of the individuals for whom you are paying, as well as your email address for confirmation and handouts.

Also, please note we will not be taking reservations or accepting payments at the door. 

For Further Information

Updates will be posted at the KR Training site and at the Suburban Dad Survivalist site.  You may also reach Paul at 512-267-4817.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Daily Briefing For Saturday, November 2, 2013


Weekend Reading Assignments

This weekend's required reading is light, giving all of you ample time to cheer on America's Team as they take on Florida State tonight at 7:00 PM Central.

  1. I'm learning Morse Code, and you should too.  Here's a great piece on the subject as to why.  I've already learned nine letters.  - - .  .  .  -.-  I'm using the "Your Introduction to Morse Code" from the Amateur Radio Relay League narrated by none other than my college classmate and fellow intramural referee Brennan Price.  He works for the ARRL in fact.  His bio is most impressive.
  2. For those of you looking to blend your Christian beliefs with prepping, here's a website with a lot of good, down to earth information.  Even if you aren't a Christian, you will find this site a nice reference source.
  3. And thanks to new reader Josh who shared this website with me today on apartment prepping.  There's a lot of good information here on prepping in small living spaces and on a budget.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Daily Briefing For Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Foray Into The Other Side Of The Paradigm

Earlier this week, we learned from that the head of the Food Bank for New York City raised the specter of riots stemming from the upcoming cuts to the food stamp program, set to go into effect on Friday.  I bring up the Salon story because a) Salon is not your typical purveyor of doom news, and b) the article reflects my belief that a nation with so many on public assistance will face tremendous challenge for economic growth and for its well being.  In response to this threat, the Department of Homeland Security is spending $80 million dollars to prepare for the possibility of food stamp riots in New York:


Couple that with this piece in the New York Times, cheering on, of all things, inflation:

“Weighed against the political, social and economic risks of continued slow growth after a once-in-a-century financial crisis, a sustained burst of moderate inflation is not something to worry about,” Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist, wrote recently. “It should be embraced.”       

Juxtapose those stories - and their implications for society - to the other branch of the "Should I Be Concerned About What's Going On In American And Getting Prepared For Same?" flowchart.  I've spent a lot of mental bandwidth the last couple of days on this subject, after a lengthy discussion with my wife about the articles to which I linked here on Monday.  Her comments have really helped shape my thoughts on the reasons why people don't buy into the argument that our nation faces significant challenges and our need to be prepared for them.

I'd like to share with you three distinct mindsets I believe permeate the collective thinking of those on the other side of this issue.  Before I get into this, I should disclose I've never taken a psychology course in my life.  I hold no special training or skill set to speak with authority on matters of the mind.  I'm sharing my observations, and nothing more.

First, there's the I have no idea what you're talking about crowd.  Many in this crowd are just clueless or apathetic.  Others are very bright but lack any interest in following the news or current events for whatever reason.  Many times, these people can tell you who is on American Idol or the current win/loss record of their favorite sports team.  They can't name their U.S. Senators or provide insight to any current news story beyond something they saw on TMZ. 

Next, there's the I don't trust the media; I only trust what people whom I know and respect have seen with their own eyes crowd.  This section of the Venn diagram puts MSNBC, Fox News, the New York Times, Breitbart, Bill Moyers and Rush Limbaugh into the same Jeopardy trivia category of "What are news sources that lie constantly and thus should not be trusted?"  This amalgamation of skeptics consumes little to no news, other than to be on the lookout for possible trends and discussion topics at work. 

That brings us to our third category: Yeah, I know things are troublesome but I don't want to think about it team.  These folks consume a fair amount of news and information from a variety of sources, but the prospect of our society declining keeps them from focusing on the issues and making any meaningful preparations for that possibility.

At this point in my mental gymnastics on this subject, I have two questions with which I am wrestling:

  1. How do we convince these people they should be more concerned about the issues we've identified?
  2. Should we even spend our time doing so?

Let's start with the first question.  I've addressed this in the past, but just as a refresher, there are some strategies you can use when urging others to prepare.  Some of these include:

  • Sharing news stories with them from the main stream media.  The strategy I like to employ is to share an article and then ask the person "What do you make of this?" or "I'm seeing more articles like this lately; are you?"  By asking the person a question, rather than telling them what you think, you are a) giving them permission to share their opinions with you, b) demonstrating to them that you value their insights, and c) encouraging them to read a news article they might not have read on their own. 

    In order to get someone thinking about this stuff, it's imperative that the individual be the one to connect the dots on their own, at their own speed, and in their own way.  I can't tell you how many times people have dismissed news stories I've shared with them, only to have those same people come back to me a year later and ask me questions about the same exact subject matter.  You telling them the news often won't work; you sharing news articles with them and asking them to draw their own inferences and conclusions allows the individual to come to terms with what is admittedly disturbing information in their own way.

    On a side note, I tend to shy away from sharing alternative media reports.  Many times they are not well written or sourced.  That's not so say they aren't accurate (they often are), but if you have the opportunity to use a household name media outlet, by all means do it.
  • Using social media to report what you're seeing and experiencing.  If a friend I trusted told me they'd experienced something troubling, I would tend to believe them.  You need to be reporting what you're seeing and hearing.  Media such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter enable you to share your experiences widely and quickly.  You never know when your observation or experience confirms something a friend heard or motivates them to take action.
  • Work your preparedness efforts - and your reasons for preparing - into your daily conversation.  Right now, there are many of you shaking your head or even talking into your monitor, telling me what a horrible idea this is.  If you're not comfortable doing this, then don't.  I make it no secret (obviously) that I am doing this; I do so in large part because I feel called to share my experiences with the hope that it helps someone else who is thinking along the same lines.

    Many of you are change leaders, whether you know it or not.  There are folks who respect you, your family, and your opinions.  If they hear that you're concerned and are taking steps to address the possible perils we face, they may take that as validation of their own concerns and decide to take action, too.  Never underestimate the sphere of your own influence.  (The corollary to that is never overestimate your own importance.)

The second question above is more difficult for me.  I must admit there are many days I think I should stop blogging, stop Facebooking about this stuff, and just prepare on my own, giving nothing back to the body of prepper knowledge.  There's plenty of information out there for you.  You don't need me telling you what or where it is.

I don't have any good answers for this question.  I do, however, have some thoughts for those of you (or your spouses) who think my concern about the future is unwarranted.

For starters, don't be fooled into thinking things will always turn out well for our country.  Yes, we survived the Great Depression and a Civil War and World Wars 1 and 2.  But there are two interesting phenomena that applied to all of those milestones in our nation's history.

Notice that GDP growth preceded these events Look how unemployment can be really low before an event (the Great Depression) or really high (World War 2).  In other words, the current economic conditions we're experiencing may or may not be good indicators of what's to come.  Simply because we are in a period of relative peace, improving unemployment figures, and climbing stock market does not mean we'll remain on that course or avoid future world wars, depressions or civil unrest.

Perhaps more importantly is the human toll these events had on our nation.  How many died during:

These events from which we "recovered" came at a extraordinarily high human cost.  And so I don't know that it's wise for us to look back and say "Well, we overcame X, Y and Z, so anything we face in the future is manageable as well."  While the U.S. may very well survive such events in the future, the financial and human cost will be astronomical.  Just for some scale, note that 2.7% of our current population - the same percentage of people who died during the Civil War - is 8.5 million people (using today's Census numbers).  That's roughly the entire population of New Jersey. 

In short, just because we will eventually recover doesn't mean we shouldn't take steps now to help soften the blow we might face in the future. 

I may look back one day and say my blogging and preparing were a colossal waste of time and money.  I freely admit I am taking that risk, and that the fear of being wrong about all of this isn't squelched by even the most dire predictions of doom and gloom in the main stream media. 

Yet when I look at the data - not each point individually - but as a whole, I see:

  • A powerful nation with an ever growing debt to GDP ratio;
  • Which relies on a fiat currency;
  • To fund massive entitlement programs which are unsustainable by any calculation;
  • Resulting in class warfare;
  • Fueled by an ever encroaching government telling those who shoulder the lion's share of the tax burden that "they aren't paying their fair share;"
  • Prompting our law enforcement agencies to purchase massive amounts of ammunition and military-style equipment;
  • In order to provide public safety of citizens whose civil liberties continue to erode at alarming rates;
  • Leading to a movement to brand Christian evangelicals, Libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, and the nation's founding fathers as terrorists.

I don't know how anyone looks at this and doesn't walk away saying "what the hell?"  And yet that's the situation in which we find ourselves.

Here's the good news.  And yes, I mean that sincerely.  Do you know how this story turns out in the end?  No, you don't. And nor do I.  Because we are writing the story's ending every day.  The pages of the Book of The Future remain blank.  We get to decide how this ends.  It's not pre-determined for us. 

And that, friends, is why we must push on.  We must continue to alarm others and equip them with the information and knowledge they need to join us in our efforts.  We must continue to prepare for hard times with the hope they never come.  We must continue to engage our political leaders and insist they set us on a better course than the one we're on now - a course that maximizes freedom and liberty.  And dare I say it - we must continue to seek God's wisdom and guidance in our efforts to do so.

Be the leader you want others to read about in the future.  That is our calling.