Notes for Sunday – August 30, 2015

August 30, 2014 is the 95th birthday of Joachim Rønneberg, a hero of the Norwegian resistance during World War II. His exploits earned him the War Cross Wtth Sword, Norway’s highest military honor. In April 2013, Rønneberg was presented with a Union Jack during a ceremony at the Special Operations Executive (SOE) monument in London to mark 70 years since the successful Gunnerside heavy water plant sabotage mission.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 60 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $10,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools, and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul pmags 30rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. (An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  9. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  4. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  5. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 Lifestraws (a $200 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 60 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Forecasting Disaster Part 2, by ShepherdFarmerGeek

The Unfolding Disaster

There is another category of crisis that can be forecast in a sense, and that is the “unfolding disaster”.

Some crises don’t just strike out of the blue one day; they begin and gather steam. Keeping an eye on national and global news, we can spot events that are clearly going to worsen and spread. We won’t be able to predict the exact day of the turning point or the milestones as they unfold, but it becomes obvious that something bad is dead ahead and there’s no getting out of it. Others may be in denial and frozen up by normalcy bias, but the studious prepper sees what is happening.

Hurricanes are a good example. We watch the news. We see one forming in the ocean. We know it might come our way, or it might not. We get ready for a hurricane, implementing the more disruptive protective measures only once it looks like it’s going to go through the neighborhood. When we first see the news, we might check our water and gasoline supply, and by the time it’s about to come ashore we’ve nailed the plywood over our windows. The closer it gets, the clearer the danger becomes.

Another example of this is our now-collapsing national economy. Simple mathematics says that accumulating enormous debts can’t go on forever. (“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,” Herbert Stein’s Law) Some trends are unsustainable. Some can continue for far longer than anyone ever dreamed possible.

Sooner or later, so it seems, a turning point will be reached beyond which our economy will cease to function. That will be bad. We can see it coming. We just don’t really know when. However, the closer it gets, the clearer the danger will become, and the more specific our protective measures will be.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see that undermining Constitutional government, the rule of law, and Biblical morality will eventually turn our country into a third-world powder keg of crises and breakdowns, ending in martial law or Civil War, unless of course some Black Swan event (or divine intervention) turns things in an unforeseen direction.

You and I know well that our country cannot murder 50,000,000+ babies, approve and promote sodomite rights and perversions (LGBTQXYZ… whatever…), and endanger Israel, empower and support their enemies, and attempt to divide the land and Jerusalem without incurring some divine judgment. This is an unfolding disaster and something bad is plainly coming.

The Sudden Disaster

Just this week I saw a headline that said if there were to be a huge solar EMP, we Earthlings might have as little as 12 hours’ notice to brace for impact.It makes me wonder how long a warning message might wend its way through the bowels of our federal bureaucracies before depositing a tepid warning before the American people? Regardless, I check on solar activity regularly and get email alerts. So, if something pops off, I’ve got a huge head start on the sheeple, time to circle the wagons, gas everything up, and gather the family.

This is a special case of the unfolding disaster. It’s one where you can see the avalanche has been triggered and you know you have just seconds before the snow arrives. It’s a Black Swan whose impact is delayed enough to give you a useful amount of time. The prepper here has a critical advantage: We learn something has popped off and, unlike most of the American population, we leap into knowledgeable, focused, functional action. We don’t freeze. We don’t panic. We don’t flail or stampede or pout. We have a plan for situations like this, and we coolly put that plan into action.

You’ve seen photos of refugees wading through floodwater, balancing a case of beer on something that floats or carrying off a pillowcase full of photos and memorabilia. That’s not going to be us!

To make use of the short interval provided by this type of incident, we need to keep a “weather eye” on the events of the day. We need to have most of our preps ready and done (so we’re generally ready for whatever may come). We need to have a clear, written step-by-step plan that everyone involved knows about. The more chaotic the situation, the more structured your plan must be.

What We CAN Do

  1. We can identify general “high threat” periods, when the likelihood of a disaster or crisis seems higher to us, based on observable factors. (These may be still highly subjective.) National holidays are good examples. We can take additional precautions during that time, and take the opportunity to review our preparations.
  2. We can identify the unfolding disaster– the slow-motion calamity that has already begun and is gathering steam. The closer it gets, the more detail can be seen (a photography metaphor!), and the better we’ll be able to prepare for the impact.
  3. We can identify the sudden disaster when something has snapped and is rapidly triggering other problems, giving us critical minutes or hours to respond ahead of the panicked masses.

We can not predict the future. Black Swans can take us by surprise. But, still, we have some hopeful and helpful strategies.

Is there anything else we can do? Yes. Definitely, yes!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him…” (Proverbs 3:5-6) means consulting God, including God, inviting God into every decision and every part of our lives as each day unfolds, “practicing the presence of God” as advocated by Brother Lawrence.

The corresponding promise of God is that when we include God in our day, not just once a day but in “all (our) ways”, He will “direct our path”. Think of it; the only person who actually knows in detail what is going to happen today, tomorrow, next month, and next year is offering to guide us through the maze of choices and challenges ahead. His providential hand will even anticipate our inevitable failures, bad choices, and shortcomings as He guides us from behind the scenes, if we will trust Him completely.

It doesn’t mean that nothing hard or bad will happen. We might still suffer and struggle, but God will be with us and guide us, and He will use it for good.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ” (Romans 8:28) and

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

Certainly we must do what is wise; we must do our part to anticipate what seems likely, what seems needed, but we also seek and trust the hand of God more than own wisdom. (“…lean not on your own understanding…”) Its humility time; God knows best!

He wants us to de-stress, to focus on Him, to rest, to find our calm center of the storm in Him. We can be prepared and should be working diligently toward becoming better prepared, but it must happen at the same time we are trusting God. If you’ve never yet begun a relationship with Jesus, now’s the time! He loved you enough to die your death on the cross so that you could be reconciled to God. Trust him! Read Colossians 1:19-22 and John 3:16.

Preparations do not protect. Practically everything we’ve collected can disappear in a house fire or a brazen theft. A decade of prepping can be undone in a heartbeat, literally. A dozen things could steal our health without warning. We do have our part to do. We are responsible to make reasonable and wise preparations, and to build resilience into our lives. However, we cannot and should not depend on those provisions.

The only sane approach is this: trust God, and be prepared. They’re not mutually exclusive, you know. Believe me; keeping our eyes on Jesus is the harder of the two tasks, and it is the most important. We can have all the stuff, skills, and community, but if our minds and marriages and relationship with God fall apart we will be forfeiting the most valuable survival asset of all!

So diligently make your preparations, build resiliency, and flexibility and depth to your resources. The times are bad. There’s no denying that, and September bears watching, but how will it affect you? No one knows! However, there is One who does know, and He is making you an amazing offer– to guide you through.

You’d be crazy to pass up an offer like that! Trust God. Be Prepared. We can do both.

“…for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” – 2 Chronicles 20:12

Letter Re: Scot’s Product Review: Burris 2-7xx32mm Handgun Scope on the Mexican Mauser

Good morning, Hugh,

In reading Scot’s excellent review of the Burris 2-7X Extended Eye Relief rifle scope he mentioned using a ballistics program to determine a 200 yard zero which would also allow hits within four inches of point of aim at 250 yards. Inadvertently, I think, Scot broached the topic of Point Blank Range with that sentence.

If one watches movies and television dramas, one probably believes Point Blank Range to be several inches to a few feet in front of a firearm’s muzzle. It is not. The definition of Point Blank Range is:

“The maximum distance at which a center sighting hold on a target of specified size will produce a strike on that target from the muzzle to that maximum distance.”

It is, of course, dependent upon bullet trajectory and will vary based on the firearm and/or ammunition employed and the target. Determining point blank range is simple using ballistics software, an ammunition manufacturer’s trajectory chart, or it can be determined by actual measurement on the range.

Regarding trajectory, here’s a question: If a rifleman is standing on a perfectly flat plane not subject to curvature of the earth holding a firearm parallel to that flat plane, accompanied by an observer who holds a bullet at muzzle height identical to the one being fired, and the observer releases the bullet at the same instant the fired bullet exits the muzzle, which bullet strikes the ground first?

They will both strike the ground simultaneously because gravity is a constant and acts on both bullets identically. The only difference is one bullet contacts the earth at the observer’s feet and the other at a distance down range. Where the fired bullet strikes the ground is determined solely by velocity – gravity begins acting on it immediately after it leaves the muzzle, dragging it downward at an acceleration rate of 32 feet per second for each second it falls, and it will continue to accelerate downward until it either reaches terminal velocity (gravitational acceleration is balanced out by air resistance) or it reaches the ground and stops falling. The faster the bullet moves , velocity allows bullet to travel horizontally farther before the downward acceleration of gravity brings it into contact with the ground; it’s completely a function of horizontal distance traveled per unit of time because gravity is a constant force exerted over time.

To move point of impact farther away than several hundred feet requires the firearm’s muzzle be elevated to release the bullet at an upward angle to counteract the effect of gravity. Since gravity is a constant force it still begins acting on the bullet as soon as it leaves the muzzle, so the upward angle of the bullet’s path soon begins to turn downward, eventually reaching the ground. The path is usually depicted as an arc, but with one significant difference: past the trajectory midpoint – the highest point of the bullet’s arc– the downward arc steepens because bullets slow due to air resistance the farther they travel, requiring more time to cover a particular distance, and gravity is a constant force. The slower the bullet travels the steeper the downward trajectory curve.

For my example I’ll use a common 8.5X11.0 inch sheet of copy or printer paper as a target, which allows shots 5.5 inches high or low to strike the paper, and generic 5.56X45 ammunition. With 55 grain projectiles and a 20 inch barrel length, published velocity from one ammunition manufacturer is 3240 feet per second. Bullets have a ballistic coefficient – labeled “BC” in the trajectory tables – which references the shape of each particular bullet and the associated air resistance, necessary for precise trajectory computation but for now we can ignore it.

According to the manufacturer’s data tables, this bullet and velocity allows the convenience of a “dual zero”, in this particular case a point-of-aim zero at 40 yards produces another point-of-aim zero at 200 yards, with a trajectory midpoint of 1.4 inches above the point-of-aim zero point occuring at 125 yards. The usual “line of sight above bore distance” for iron sights or scopes is about 1.5 inches, so we’ll use that. A 1.4 inch midpoint height means the bullet not quite reaches line of sight at its trajectory midpoint.

Using the same ballistic data and our 8.5X11.0 inch paper as a target, a 310 yard point-of-aim zero produces a midpoint high of 5.2 inches above point-of-aim zero, which occurs at 175 yards. At 370 yards the bullet is 5.5 inches below point-of-aim zero. That means if this rifle and ammunition combination is zeroed at 310 yards and aimed at the center of our 11-inch high paper the bullet will strike somewhere on the paper at any distance from the muzzle to 370 yards, so 370 yards is the Point Blank Range for this particular rifle/ammunition combination. To hit a target 11 inches in height at any distance from the muzzle out to 370 yards with this rifle/ammunition combination one needs only to aim at the center of the 11 inch target.

Given the energy level of 55 grain projectiles, and the effect of crosswind, 370 yards is probably a bit too far. Most users of 5.56X45 ammunition would select a 250 yard point-of-aim zero, which produces a point blank range of 320 yards on our 11 inch paper target, and a trajectory midpoint of just under 3 inches above point-of-aim. At 300 yards this combination is 3.6 inches below point-of-aim, which shows how quickly the trajectory drops as the bullet slows – in the 20 yards between 300 and 320 it falls just over two inches, and that two inches puts it at the very bottom edge of the 11-inch paper target.

Another point – many misunderstand the mechanics of shooting uphill or downhill. It is often assumed that a rifle zeroed at a horizontal distance needs to be aimed higher if the target is uphill, or lower if it’s downhill. Remember, gravity is a constant – what matters most is not the distance uphill or downhill but the horizontal distance the bullet travels. An uphill target 300 yards away by rangefinder and 100 yards higher in elevation is only 282 yards distant horizontally, meaning gravity acts on the bullet for 282 yards, not 300; “holding over” to compensate for “shooting uphill” will result in a miss. To score a center hit one would need to aim slightly lower. The same gravity rules apply when shooting downhill. (On mild inclines and/or at close distances the effect is negligible, but on smaller targets or at greater distances the difference is enough to determine whether your dinner plate is full or empty).

Selecting a target size different from our 8.5X11.0 inch paper would result in a different point blank range, and requiring a different point-of-aim zero distance as well. With deer, for example, a common game animal, the vital area in which to place a heart/lung shot is usually described as an 8-inch circle. This would require a point-of-aim zero at a closer distance since the radius of an 8-inch circle is 4 inches; using the same rifle/ammunition combination as above (not that 55 grain 5.56 ammunition is suitable for deer), a 230 yard POA zero produces a 288 yard point blank range with a trajectory midpoint of 2.3 inches occuring at 140 yards. Allowing for normal error would suggest a closer point blank range – approximately 265 yards would produce a drop below point-of-aim of about 2.4 inches, nearly matching the trajectory high point of 2.3 inches, keeping all shots well within the critical 8-inch circle all the way out to 265 yards.

Point blank range works the same on every firearm/ammunition combination, from .22 rimfires to cannons. The advantage of knowing the point blank range of one’s firearm and ammunition combination allows successful shooting at unknown range targets without guessing at distance or the “hold over” required to score a hit. Competitive shooters compute the trajectory of their loads precisely because points scores are at stake, and winners are often decided by small fractions of an inch. Those of us who go afield don’t need that level of precision, but knowing where your bullets will strike at distance could be the difference between meat for the pot and opening another can of beans.

N.K.

Odds ‘n Sods:

‘Production Versus Plunder’ Part 22 – The Code of Production

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A nap a day could save your life, research suggests – D.S.

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Smith & Wesson investors are celebrating today – D.S.
How is it that S&W can be doing so well and Colt is in bankruptcy?

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Though the author of this piece isn’t as resourceful as many preppers I know: Food items you should never buy in bulk – K.C.

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Cattle rustling Marion County style – T.J.

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:” Luke 23:13-14 (KJV)

Notes for Saturday – August 29, 2015

August 29th is a mournful day, as we remember the anniversary of the death of “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” – Isaiah 40:3. John, the Baptist, who heralded the first coming of our Lord and stood true to his belief in the face of death, was beheaded on this day in 29AD.

In 1862, the Battle of Bull Run in Virginia began, along with the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 60 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $10,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools, and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul pmags 30rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. (An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  9. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  4. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  5. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 Lifestraws (a $200 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 60 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Forecasting Disaster Part 1, by ShepherdFarmerGeek

Have you heard? There’s a lot of speculation lately that we might see downright apocalyptic events in mid-to-late September. I have to admit; it’s an impressive list of events, prophecies, and trends, and I’ve been encouraging my family and friends to top off their preparations in anticipation of what might happen. My “threat level” assessment is high.

However, this is also an opportunity to revisit this whole idea of “projecting” trends and “forecasting” events, so that we are not tripped up or misled by the limitations of that process. Rather, we should focus on what truly is important, especially if we think something dramatic really is about to happen. Let’s take a look.

Wheel of Doom

Disasters are, by very definition, events that catastrophically impact one or more of the four basic categories of provision– security, shelter, water, and food. We are highly motivated to predict them. Depending on the event, it could be critical to have an hour’s notice, a day’s notice, or a year’s heads-up that something very bad is about to happen.

Regardless, no matter how much we study and analyze, our ability to actually “foresee” the future is pretty much zero. We can’t see even one second into the future, much less one week or one year. I’ve been prepping for 15+ years, and in those years I have seen many very disturbing predictions come and go, most of them based on patterns of events, or convergences of events, or trends, or political threats and warnings.

NONE of those things came to pass, thank God! (So, I’ve had many more years to be prepared for the huge crises that I’m p-r-e-t-t-y sure are coming, I just don’t know when.) Well, what went wrong?

The Black Swan

Why aren’t we more successful in predicting disasters or crises in the U.S.? How is it that “Black Swans” (the term popularized by Nassim Taleb in his book and articles) keep catching us by surprise?

1. The Dilution Effect

A trend may look influential, but for it to affect our country is a huge undertaking.

  • There are more than 360,000,000 people in the U.S., with every language and culture under heaven represented.
  • The U.S. covers 379,000,000 square miles.
  • It boasts a $15+ trillion GDP in an incredibly diverse variety of businesses and industries.

2. The Law of Unforeseen Consequences

The Law of Unforeseen Consequences is produced by factors such as:

  • Systems of systems. There is a high level of complexity in our world these days. (“Engineers will tell you complexity increases as the square of the subsystems involved…” – Ol’ Remus)
  • Chaotic connections, where connections between industries, persons, economies, and organizations are disproportionate, exponential, or synergistic, irregular, or modified by factors we are unaware of. Alternatively, connections we expected from a convergence don’t happen because there actually isn’t any overlap. Unexpected dependencies, leverage points.
  • A seemingly small event that triggers a cascade, or branching cascade, of numerous low-probability events whose connections may have been completely unknown, resulting in an unforeseen high-impact net effect. Invisible connections we aren’t aware of that trigger unexpected events.
  • Events that unfold faster than we anticipated or even thought possible.
  • Some trends cannot be extrapolated because they only look like trends, but may actually be truly random events, or only a small part of a more complex, longer-term process (as in longer than a human lifespan).
  • Illusion of control, where persons, leaders, and organizations fall for the deception that “control” is possible when it often is not.
  • Transformative, game-changing inventions that alter the balance, timing, or direction of a trend in positive or negative ways. These include “sci-fi”-type inventions that have actually been fielded or are about to be fielded. We don’t know what we don’t know.
  • High-impact, low-frequency risks that were either accidentally overlooked or dismissed without consideration because they did not fit into our tidy model or expectations.

3. Limitations of Humanity

The limitations of humanity include the following:

  • Fickle human nature in wide variations (some not immediately obvious) in upbringing, education, mood, experiences, resistance to change, tradition, et cetera. Even bad people disagree with each other, resist cooperating, and have their own agendas. There are no perfect conspiracies.
  • Bureaucratic inertia that slows, delays, and resists directives from above simply as a function of the bureaucracy’s size and (lack of streamlined) organization.
  • Our unfortunate dependence on statistics (or public opinion polls) without understanding or realization of how easily statistics can be manipulated or skewed. Probability assessments vary from person to person and are more subjective than we’d like to believe.
  • It’s human nature to generally focus on the wrong threats and incorrectly assess personal and national risks. Part of this is due to poor mathematical and statistical education these days (as evidenced by the popularity of gambling). This is like the preppers who buy all the awesome firearm toys but who have no reliable way to purify water, underestimating the damage and disruption that simple waterborne illness can cause in an emergency situation.
  • Propaganda from insiders with ulterior motives or undisclosed incentives who present themselves as authorities. (They’re forgetting “No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority.” – Robert Heinlein) We naturally want to trust others, but the others can lie. If you haven’t read the little book How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, you really need to buy this book. (Hint: You lie. Lies are that powerful.)
  • We get gamed or stampeded into making choices we otherwise wouldn’t, because of psychological manipulation in the press and advertising. They have it down to a science. Never underestimate human stupidity, or malice.
  • Linguistic imprecision between people discussing issues or making decisions, disagreement among experts, elements that are in fact unmeasurable– these and more make predicting the future foggy if not completely impossible!

4. Our Incomplete Understanding of Physical Processes

Our incomplete understanding, especially about the initial conditions and physical processes of weather, tectonics, volcanism, ecosystem dynamics, solar processes, human mass psychology, economics and more, prevent us from having the ability to forecast future behavior. Yes, even after all these years, science doesn’t know everything. What disasters/crises do we think are impossible? Are they really impossible? (“All things are possible until they are proved impossible – and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.” – Pearl S. Buck)

5. The Unseen Hand of Satan and Those Participating in His Conspiratorial Multi-generational Plotting

I’m sorry, but there really is an evil plan to destroy the world. The plan encompasses diverse persons and organizations, many of whom are completely unaware they are being co-opted in a demonic conspiracy, unaware of the invisible connections coordinating their actions.

6. The Unseen Hand of Our Sovereign God

Our sovereign God will have the last say and always gets His way. Remember that. Few are the prepper novels, disaster movies, and survival reality shows that ever include or anticipate that God has a plan for our individual lives and the course of human history. I call it the “God Factor”; it’s an idea we espoused during our college Risk board game marathons that referred to the unpredictable, uncontrollable, unstoppable intervention of the only living, sovereign, almighty Creator God of the Bible.

Evil people will make their little plans with grandiose expectations for world government, a world economy, and the suppression of human freedom. They can plan all they want, but God gets the last word. (We should never fear the machinations of the world, no matter how dark the day.) This is vital to remember.

So, sure, we try hard to get a glimpse of what’s coming, but it seems we can only recognize “precursor events” in retrospect. (Hindsight is 20/20.) To our frustration, mankind gets blindsided again and again.

These “precursor” events and apparently significant “convergences” are happening all the time in our highly complex, mobile, and violent world. Coincidences happen. What they mean is the big question. After many years of seeing coincidences and convergences come and go, some of them quite dramatic, I can say they clearly don’t always imply disaster is imminent!

However, instead of accurately foretelling a disaster’s character and timing, we’ve been able to do something nearly as useful! By playing out the scenarios for the myriad different disasters, we have come to an encouraging and useful conclusion: the preparations for one scenario have a lot of overlap with the preparations for other disasters. Being prepared for the factors that overlap gives us a good foundation for virtually any foreseeable event. This is the basic premise behind prepping.

The Basic Premise Behind Prepping

Prepping is simply a practical, wise response to the uncertainties and contingencies of life. We can imagine which scenarios are possible or even likely (i.e., the “Wheel of Doom”). Also, we can accumulate supplies and knowledge to cover those. We are prepping based on extrapolations of our current knowledge, trends, historical record, and our knowledge of basic human needs. Unless we receive a divine heads up, we’re not going to know about an impending Black Swan, but we can use the general principles of prepping to be reasonably prepared.

Short of having an angel with a flaming sword suddenly appear at the foot of our bed and deliver a prophetic message from God (and there may actually be some authentic divine warnings relevant to this very September that I mentioned), we have huge limitations on knowing what’s going to happen next.

Read on about the disaster and what we can do in Part 2.

Letter Re: A Year’s Supply of Food on a Budget by J. H.

HJL,

Regarding your question regarding cooking oil that doesn’t stand out like sunflowers, I researched oil seeds for producing biodiesel. Canola rapeseed oil was the highest yielding and some varieties are grown for cooking oil. Some are genetically engineered so you need to find the right variety, but it grows well in Washington and British Columbia. It’s a brassicus with a yellow blossom so can be mistaken for wild mustard by passersby. – M.W.

Economics and Investing:

Bank system outage This will be interesting when the system really is closed, won’t it ? – A.S.

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Fed Up Investors Yank Cash From Almost Everything Just Like 2008 – JBG

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Eliminating Physical Currency Necessary To Give Central Banks More Power

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Why Stocks Could Fall 50% If The Fed Makes The Wrong Move

Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Fed Up Investors Yank Cash From Almost Everything Just Like 2008

The Financial Times Demands End Of Cash, Calls It A “Barbarous Relic”

Odds ‘n Sods:

Mexico warns Texas not to refuse its immigrants’ babies U.S. birth certificates Why is it that the descendants of Southern European, imperialist, colonialist, slave-owning, conquistadors who settled in the southern half of North America, after enslaving, raping, pillaging, murdering, and effectively exterminating much of the indigenous peoples of that land area have such a hatred for the descendants of Northern European, protestant Pilgrims who built the northern half of the North American land mass into the most prosperous, democratic, freedom-loving and defending, ethnically and religiously diverse, God fearing nation on earth, without whom much of the free world would now be enslaved by Nazi-ism, Communism, Dictatorships, or tribal and ethnic warfare? Sadly, the Protestant work ethic never had a chance to take root in Mexico– a statist, corporatist, imperial dictatorship for much of its life and now a narco state. How is it that the leaders of a failed, foreign-dominated state have anything at all to say to the world’s greatest protector of freedom? How is it that Mexico, whose so called “border guards” on its southern border frequently rob, beat, rape, and murder central and southern indigenous peoples trying to cross Mexico to reach these United States, lectures us on anything at all. – M.N.

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An interesting way to teach your kids preparedness: Playful Preparedness – J.R.

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DEA: Mexican Cartel influence in the U.S. 2015 – B.B.

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SurvivalBlog reader J.C. wanted us to remind people – Now is a good time to stock up on seeds for next year. He just bought seed packets from Dollar General for two cents (originally 4 for $1.00). It’s hard to beat that price, even if some don’t germinate. Look for places liquidating their stock in preparation for the holiday sales.

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Secretary of State John Kerry Signs United Nations Gun Ban Treaty Against Wishes of U.S. Senate – B.B.

Notes for Friday – August 28, 2015

August 28, 1883 is the anniversary of the abolishment of slavery throughout the British Empire.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 60 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $10,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools, and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul pmags 30rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. (An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  9. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  4. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  5. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 Lifestraws (a $200 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 60 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Least Expensive Way Out – Part 2, by L.J.

5. Tools

Tools are a great help in a lot of situations, like building or bartering, they can even be used as weapons! If you do end up buying tools, make sure you know how to use them so you don’t injure yourself. First, get basic hand tools, like a hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, scissors, saw and a hacksaw, different sizes of wrenches, and files. Keep these in a safe place but not out of reach. Then there are the bigger tools, which are hard to forget because they are really useful, like shovels, spades, rakes, and hoes. Be sure to check brands for good quality tools. Tool maintenance keeps your tools from rusting or wearing out. For this job, you’ll need sandpaper, rust cleaner, and old rags, so don’t throw any away. Axes and hatchets are amazingly useful tools when used correctly. They are helpful in clearing brush and getting firewood. They can also be effective weapons. When selecting an axe or a knife, check the reviews to find information on the tool. There isn’t much more to say about tools, other than keep them in good condition and keep them in a safe place so they won’t get stolen.

6. Weapons

Weapons are probably the most expensive topic, so it makes it a little harder to say. Firearms are the most effective (and expensive) weapon to buy; they can spit lead from a distance with little risk of you being injured. So you should at least have one firearm in your home at all times. The type you get is entirely up to your taste and ability. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be hunting with it as well as defending your property with it. Rifles are the best option for hunting, but pistols are easier to use in defending yourself. Since we can only pick one firearm due to budget constraints, then I think the best all-around is the .243 Winchester, because it can be used on small game but also is strong enough to take out a deer. I think firearms are one of the things that you just must be willing to pay the price for, but you’ll be thankful later. However, if you don’t want a rifle or can’t afford one and you’d rather just go with a pistol, then you should probably get a revolver, because they don’t jam and they’re easier to learn how to use, but they don’t have very many shots. Make sure to take a safety course on proper gun use and go to the gun range and shoot the gun a couple times to get the feel of how to use it properly. Ammunition is a problem, because it’s so expensive. What you need to do is find a proper budget set aside specifically for ammo. Store it in a very dry place with no humidity. Guns aren’t the only things on the weapons list; knives and axes are pretty important, too. Before you get a bunch of machetes and hatchets, get a multi-tool. I have a Leatherman OHT, which is really a tactical knife, but it’s really nice to have on hand. Go online and look at multi-tools until you find one that you like. Now, we can move on to the bigger blades, like a machete. A really nice one that I have is a Gerber Gator Jr. The only problem with it is it gets dull really quick, so you have to sharpen it every once in a while. Then there’s the Kershaw Camp 10. It’s more like a kukri than a machete, but it is wicked sharp, and it holds its edge for a long time. Make sure to pick up a sharpening stone to keep your weapons in good shape. You can use the sharpening stone on the tools, too.

7. Homesteading

This can be a problem if you live in the city, but it’s not impossible. There are a lot of ways you can do most of the homesteading stuff in the city. Unless you have an unusually large back yard, you probably won’t be able to keep livestock in the city, but there are some alternatives, like chickens or rabbits. Now, depending on the type and the quantity, you could probably feed these animals with just scraps from your dinner table. Make sure not to get more than you can handle, and keep a close eye on them to see if one of them is sick or wounded. Take careful thought when getting rabbits; otherwise, your next problem will be getting rid of them. For chickens, you’ll need a little more than a cage. You’re going to need sunshine, water, grass, roosts, laying crates, and chicken wire. (You can use five-gallon buckets cut in half filled with straw for laying crates.) With chickens you have to check for eggs often or else they might end up eating their own eggs. Gardening is a much simpler process. All you need is sunshine, water, dirt, and seeds. All are very inexpensive items, and all are easy to use. Just get some old milk jugs, cut them in half, fill them with dirt, water them when needed, and watch your plants grow! The easiest types of plants to grow varies in what type of climate you live in. Just check online to see the easiest types of plants to grow for your climate. Don’t forget a compost pile. You can put that in your makeshift garden.

Budgeting from the Shopping List

I’ve come up with a list of items, most of which I’ve mentioned, with their prices listed next to them. The list is solely for the purpose of starting your list of tools and equipment wanted for preparation. Some of the prices show typical prices of USED weapons and tools. Keep in mind that these are all rough estimates and prices change. The first price listed will probably be the lowest you can get for that item with good quality. The prices of course will vary depending on the state/area you’re in, but the prices should be pretty close to the realistic price, but may not be exactly the correct price. Remember, that I have put these items in what I believe is priority with water, food, and fire at the top of the list for short-term emergencies, followed by medical, tools, weapons, and then long-term homesteading supplies. You will have to decide what your budget and priorities are. Here’s the list and pricing I’ve put together as a reference to help you in planning:

  • Water:
    • Water Jugs (empty milk jugs) $2-$4
  • Water Filters:
    • Life Straws $20
    • Bottle Filters $25
    • Water Purification Tablets $7-$15
  • Food:
    • MREs $4$-$50
    • Freeze-dried Foods $10-$50
    • Canned Goods $3-$10
    • Plastic Totes $7 (Walmart pricing)
  • Fire Starters:
    • Lighters $5
    • Matches $4-$40
    • Fire Pistons $15-$20
    • Flint and Steel $7-$13
    • Lighter Fluid $8-$15
  • Medical Equipment:
    • Band-Aids $6-$10
    • Neosporin $5-$8
    • Rubbing Alcohol $3-$6
    • Prescriptive Meds (varies)
    • Non-Prescriptive Meds (varies)
    • Toothpaste $4-$20
    • Toothbrushes $2-$10
    • Floss $5-$10
    • Bandages $4-$8
  • Tools:
    • Rakes $12-$20
    • Shovels $10-$20
    • Hammers $5-$20
    • Wrenches (Set) $7-$120
    • Screws (Pack) $6-$20
    • Nails (Pack) $6-$20
    • Hoes $9-$30
    • Axes $12-$80
    • Hatchets $10-$60
    • Wedges $13-$20
  • Weapons:
    • Rifles $100-$400
    • Pistols $100-$500
    • Knives (Everyone has different tastes and there’s a large variety, but you could probably get a good one for between $30 and $60.)
    • Machetes $20-$60
  • Homesteading:
    • Seeds (Heirloom) $40-$50
    • Gardening Pots $7-$20
    • Gardening Soil (in bags)$5-$15

I hope you learned something from this, because it is hard to deal with the lack of funds for preparing for a major collapse. The key to inexpensive prepping is to spread out your buys, not just buying the cheapest stuff, but by getting the correct tools that will not fail you when you need them. There are many more categories that I could have written about, but I just wrote down the ones that I felt were most important. One last thing, getting prepared in your mind is almost as, if not more, important than getting ready with buying things. Your mind is probably what’s going to keep you alive in a major disaster, even without the tools. You should have most of the information in your head. The ultimate goal is to be able to live in a self-sufficient way without having to rely on electricity and unstable energy. The whole point of this essay is to help the people who don’t have a ton of money and still want to prepare for the inevitable major disaster. Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts concerning this topic.

Letter Re: The Least Expensive Way Out

Hugh,

The article reminds me of a fellow I met on an American Heritage Girls camp out. He melts down his wife’s defunct candles placing the wax in Dixie cups that are half full of chain saw shavings from fire wood cutting. He just covers the saw dust and lets it solidify. Top half of the cup serves as a wick now that I think a little more. It provides the little extra that the fire needs to get going without the danger of accelerants. They are small and light.

RV