Notes for Saturday – January 31, 2015

Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three 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 then 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 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) 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 $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. 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. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis 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,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

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,
  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 Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, 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 Hidden Weakness In Your Defense Plans, by T.S. -Part 1

The mental and emotional considerations of using lethal force to protect your home and loved ones after TEOTWAWKI is not going to be as easy, as you have imagined it.

By way of introduction, I am a retired street cop who spent his entire career on the streets of a gang-infested neighborhood in a large, inner city. I have shot people, though none died. On several occasions, I was myself shot at, and I was hit once. I want to share my thoughts and experiences with you, lest you have naïve and unrealistic ideas, which will prove counterproductive, at best, and possibly fatal.

I am not going to address a shooting incident today, when and where there is effective law and order. The venue we will address here will be strictly for a time and place where society has broken down and the rule of law no longer exists. This is only intended to address a post-apocalyptic scenario.

I know. I know. You readily say, “I won’t have any trouble at all shooting riffraff that’s coming after my food or family.” Really? Let’s explore that thought, because here’s the thing– I know you think that, and I know you believe it with all your heart, but may I suggest that a critical component that is necessarily involved in the act of shooting a human being may have been left out of your thought process? This is the potentially fatal flaw for the majority of preppers in a self-defense scenario.

First, let me say up front that while this is based on my first-hand experiences, it is also covered in much more detail in Colonel Dave Grossman’s excellent books On Combat and On Killing and also Warrior’s Mindset by Asken. All of these are MUST reading for anyone who is prepped up on guns, ammo, and attitude. Unless you have been personally involved in shootouts as a cop or firefights as a soldier, you must read these books, but I will condense some of what’s in them and add my own experiences for those who can’t or won’t read three more books.

We think and believe that we live in our conscious world; that’s wrong. We are more what our unconscious mind thinks than who we consciously think we are. Have you ever tried to break a bad habit? Have you ever tried to lose weight or get into better shape? How about making New Year’s resolutions? How did that work out for you? You lose those battles because your unconscious mind is much stronger than your conscious mind, and the unconscious one usually wins. You can make all the conscious decisions you want, but no matter how much determination and willpower you add to that if you don’t get your unconscious mind on board you will likely fail.

So when it comes to shooting another human being, you need to understand the mental and emotional dynamics involved. When cops are on the line at the range, they will consistently hit a man-sized target every time without fail. Yet, statistically on the street, they will miss 75%-80% of the time, and they will miss a target that poses a clear and present danger when they would never miss a piece of paper. Why is that? S.L.A. Marshall did extensive studies and found that during WW II, 90% of the Japanese and German soldiers that were shot by small arms fire, were shot by less than 20% of our soldiers. Please look that up if you don’t believe it, but it’s documented and indisputable. That doesn’t mean the others were cowards, because many were capable of extraordinary acts of bravery, such as running out into the face of enemy gunfire to get to an injured man, for instance. So, if they weren’t cowards and were good shots, why didn’t they shoot an enemy soldier? The now-defunct Rhodesian army pioneered the system of charging directly into the enemy when being ambushed because they took fewer casualties doing that. At the time, they had no idea why it worked, but they knew it worked. What they did figure out was that when you look into a man’s face, it’s harder to shoot him, even if he’s shooting at you. On the world’s battle fields, strewn with casualties even in ancient times, the vast majority of the slaughter came only after the enemy turned and ran. This is counter intuitive if you bought into what Hollywood has taught us, but the truth is that it’s much easier to shoot an enemy in the back than it is to shoot a man at close range in the chest or face, and fear does not change this dynamic. Most of you reading this article are going to think it’s all wrong, so I’m going to burden you with some statistics, because you need to buy into this documented phenomenon, even though Hollywood has poisoned our reasoning and our true history.

Even back to the time of Alexander the Great, in all his massive battles during which he conquered the known civilized world, he lost less than 700 men. Of the slaughter and carnage that followed, the vast majority of the enemy were smitten from behind after the battle was won. During the battle of Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu wars, the English soldiers fired continuously into the packed ranks of Zulus, literally at point blank range knowing that Zulus never take prisoners. Even a 50% hit rate would seem impossible under those circumstances, but when the bodies and the number of separate wounds were counted and the ammo used was checked, the hit rate was 13%! At the battle of Wissembourg in 1870, the dug-in French fired over 48,000 rounds into the German troops, who were advancing packed shoulder to shoulder at a slow walk in an open area, and hit 404 of them. After the battle of Gettysburg 27,574 muskets were recovered from the battlefield. Over 24,000 of those, more than 90%, were fully loaded. Over 12,000 were loaded more than once and over 6,000 were loaded between 3 and 10 times, with one being loaded 23 times. On the black powder field, a loaded weapon is the most precious of commodities, because 95% of a soldier’s time was taken up with the reloading process and only 5% actually firing. Logic and math would require that if those soldiers wanted to kill the enemy, then 95% of the those who were killed would be found with an empty weapon in some stage of being reloaded. Any weapon found fully loaded and ready to fire would have been pure gold on a battlefield, picked up, and used, which further exacerbates the evidence. What happened was that individual soldiers, who couldn’t shoot the enemy, didn’t want to be seen by their comrades doing absolutely nothing, so they occupied themselves loading over and over. During the civil war, the generals on both sides realized there was a serious problem and saw that their men were shooting too high, over the heads of the enemy. Orders went out to shoot at the knees, but that didn’t help, because poor aim was not the problem.

Sociopaths aside, your subconscious mind abhors the idea of taking a human life, for any reason. This is true, even though your conscious mind has fully grasped the need to take a life in order to save yourself or a loved one. Until I studied this, it always amazed me how many armed women were robbed, assaulted, and raped in their own homes by an intruder who took their gun and had his way with her because she couldn’t shoot. Pointing the gun straight at him, they were unable to pull the trigger. That was their unconscious mind at work. Your conscious mind may clearly see a criminal and imminent danger, but your unconscious mind sees a human being.

However, we don’t want to just shut down the unconscious mind, because in fact it can be a life saver. Any man that has been in a life-threatening situation knows about “trusting your gut”, and many women are alive today because of “women’s intuition”. Both are the same documented phenomena with gender-specific names, but these phenomena are actually easy to explain. What they are, pure and simple, is our unconscious mind picking up on cues from our environment that we did not notice consciously, but it’s what the unconscious mind did notice. So we don’t want to shut down that valuable asset, but we do want to be able to act consciously.

There’s no purpose pointing all this out if there is no solution for the problem. However, in this case, there are. While it’s not quick or easy, the unconscious mind can be reprogrammed. If you’ve tried to lose weight chances are you either failed outright or you succeeded for a time but then gained it back. I’m talking about simply eating less. How can we fail so consistently when we want it so badly? The answer is that if your unconscious mind has a picture of you being a certain weight, it will fight to maintain stasis, because “that is you”. Your unconscious mind always wants to feel comfortable and will fight for that comfort.

Letter Re: Lessons Learned While Living in San Francisco

HJL,

After reading this article, I was terribly, terribly incensed at SFPD/OPD. I am a former law enforcement officer from Southern California, and I now work in insurance, handling claims from the Bay Area. Stories like these are unfortunately very common (except for the heroic and dynamic recovery by the author). Hit and run, non-injury accidents, vandalism, and theft from vehicles are basically ignored. My professional advise is not to bother with calling the police unless a suspect is known. The fact that I have to give that advise upsets me to no end.

It’s not hard to have good police; it’s really not. I’m from a medium-sized sheriff’s office that took every traffic accident on city streets, took basically any report you wanted, responded to every call, and would come to you to take the report. On top of all this, we maintained a very safe county and had the public’s respect.

I fail to understand why Oakland PD, SFPD, and their counterparts have just “given up”. They have the money, they have the resources, yet they simply choose not to police well. They ignore the minor quality of life stuff that adds up to big crime later on. I’m just baffled that they don’t bother to even try. The police in these places now are mainly just enforcing the status quo and interested in only major crimes or serious emergencies.

Living in Las Vegas now, our last sheriff chose to stop responding to minor traffic accidents because of cost reasons, but really it was retaliation for not approving his sales tax increase. My point is that it’s a choice of the police executives to, frankly, stink at policing. New York, under Mayor Guliani, cleaned up pretty well (to an extreme) by a conscious choice to improve policing.

Good for our intrepid author for taking the law into his own hands, and it’s a shame he couldn’t be armed to protect himself. My advice as a former cop and insurance adjuster: don’t bother with lame police departments. Again, I’ll reiterate: it’s not hard to have good police; it’s really not.

The worst part is that a lot of cops feel “sold out” by their departments who do this kind of non-sense. It’s easy for them to get burned out and stop caring.

I guess working in customer service gave me a new perspective what you can do for people and how going the extra mile really does change stuff. Cops are in such a good position to be great ambassadors and a wonderful resource for the public, but bad leadership, poor policies, and “that’s not my job” syndrome hampers it. Or maybe the fault is mine; I should have worked for an agency that shot more dogs and unarmed suspects. Silly me and my high expectations! Signed, – G.C.

Hugh Adds: Judging by the responses SurvivalBlog received, I think it’s also important to point out a couple of things as well. As the great pistol masters have often opined in their teaching for concealed carry, awareness of your surroundings is critically important. We tend to think that that simple pane of glass is a security deterrent, but it only keeps honest people out, not the real criminals. Think of it as more of a suggestion than a deterrent. We shouldn’t place valuables within sight, and we should be more observant of our surroundings. It’s also important to point out that chasing down the perpetrator is a personal decision. Some people run out of a building on fire, and some of us run into them. If you are not comfortable chasing the perp down and reasonably confident of your safety, let it go. Your life is worth more than a couple thousand dollars.

Economics and Investing:

60% Of Retail Sales Growth In Hong Kong Was Due To The iPhone 6 – H.L.

o o o

BIG TROUBLE FOR U.S. GOLD MARKET: No Available Supply When Price Skyrockets

o o o

Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Video: Marc Faber – Gold is Now Inexpensive

Russia Credit Rating Is Cut to Junk by S&P for the First Time in a Decade

The Shrinking American Middle Class

When Once Is Not Enough: Obama 3% Down Plan Setting Up Next Mortgage Meltdown

Odds ‘n Sods:

Sociologists Warn of ‘Christianophobia’ Among Progressive Activists. – B.B.

o o o

You would really have to want to work at this office: Office puts chips under staff’s skin. – D.S.

o o o

New Bill Would Let Cops Enter Your Home without a Warrant and Kill Your Dog. – H.L.

Hugh adds: While unlikely to pass, the bill is a strong indicator of the relationship between the average members of the populace and the law enforcement world.

o o o

For those who like foraging or are learning about it, Kristina Seleshanko’s book The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook is available free for kindle on Amazon until February 3, 2015.

o o o

You can currently save $108 on The Freeze Dry Guy’s sale on Mountain House foods. They are selling 3 #10 cans of Diced Turkey and 3 #10 cans of Diced Ham for $251.94.

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 (KJV)

Notes for Friday – January 30, 2015

January 30th is the birthday of historian Barbara Tuchman (born 1912, died February 6, 1989). She wrote some of the most engaging history books JWR ever read.

January 30th is also the anniversary of the 1945 Great Raid on Cabanatuan Prison Camp where US Army Rangers and Filipino Guerrillas liberated Allied prisoners. See Rescue At Los Baños, by historian and bestselling author Bruce Henderson.

o o o

SurvivalBlog is looking for a second Economics Editor to supplement the submissions of Mr. Econocobas due to his travel schedule. If you are interested, please contact us. The ideal candidate already works for a brokerage firm, securities firm, investment firm or management, mutual fund, or other such financial entity.

o o o

Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three 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 then 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 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) 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 $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. 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. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis 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,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

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,
  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 Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, 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.

What Happens When A Spouse Dies? by JEH

In prepping, I never thought about my wife not being by my side. We have both come to believe that the world, as we know it, will evolve into a world where we do not belong. We both work to make our home happy and educate our child. We are paying for braces on her teeth, and we want the best for her. However, nine months ago, a close friend of ours was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. We saw a lady go from being a loving and caring wife, mother, and school teacher to a woman who fought for her life and lost.

Now comes a time when we address this situation between ourselves. First, do you want your spouse to remarry quickly? If you have a child, do you want your spouse to devote as much time to them before they remarry?

As for the friend I am talking about, he has met a lady and is engaged just six months after his wife died. His boys are both of college age and practically raised already. Some say that my friend is not mourning long enough and he did not properly mourn his wife. However, mourning is something we all do differently, and we do not need to express our thoughts on mourning onto someone else. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, it is said there is a time to mourn and time to rejoice. I rejoice that he found a lady whose husband died from an inoperable brain tumor also. I was in his office this week and saw a picture of his deceased wife. It made me think about her, as I am sure he does often, but the main thing I can do is support him and elevate him and his boys on my prayer list. I also let him know that I am here if he needs to talk.

Now what would I want my wife to do? Just today, a person died in front of the local grocery store in an automobile accident. In an instant, that person’s spouse, if they are married, has their life drastically changed. Having a plan in place will help ease the problems. Just like many preppers have a plan in place to defend their homes and have caches and other items, you must be prepared to help your family’s emotions. By having a written plan, you, your spouse, and/or children can carry on easier.

First Things First

Talk to your spouse and agree on these things:

  1. Do you want to be on life support?
  2. Do you want the State to determine who gets custody of your children or who will get custody?
  3. Do you want the State to determine how your estate will be divided or do you want the final instruction regarding who gets what?
  4. Who will watch over the money you have for minor children?
  5. Do you need life insurance?

Now understand, if the world ends today, don’t worry about any of this. The game changes, but for right now these are legitimate concerns we should prepare for.

Get a Will

Having a will is very important. The possessions of your spouse and yourself will be preserved by the will. Say you aren’t married, you still need a will to transfer your ownership to the person you choose. If you have minor children, you need to plan for if both of you die. Who do you want to take care of your child(ren)? If you name nobody, the courts get to decide. Do you want to take that chance?

I recommend that you consider competent legal advice from an attorney who is up to date on the laws of your state. You can use a “do-it-yourself” kit, but it could be contested as not being valid at the time you signed it. Also, if you have a minor child or children, you will get to name who controls the children and who controls the money. They don’t have to be the same person.

You can name an older child as the executor/executrix. You also can name anyone you choose as the executor/executrix. If you do not, the courts will do it for you and will usually appoint an attorney who will charge your estate a lot of money, leaving less for your spouse or children. Choose this person wisely. I like certified public accountants for this. They know the laws and tax code. Regardless, choose wisely.

A will can be done for less than a $1,000 and usually for a few hundred dollars. The more complicated the will, the more the cost. Everyone who has anything should have a will. This will should include cars, homes, retirement accounts, and other stuff.

Have a Healthcare Directive

Some people call these a living will. It allows you to decide if you want lifesaving treatment, even though you might be a burden to your family. I do not want to be a burden to my family. If I cannot sustain daily functions, I have made it a priority to walk with the Prince of Peace, so I might have eternal peace. My wife and child know this, and we all have talked about what each of us wants.

The attorney will need to do this for you. Hospitals have to follow it. You need to choose someone who is strong enough to give this form to your doctors or nurses.

Write a Letter to Your Spouse

Let your spouse know, in writing, what you want for them to do after your body is buried, burned, or dumped. I have a letter that addresses where to find my life insurance policies, my stashed stuff, and how I would like for her to take care of our daughter through each phase of life.

Write a Letter to Your Children

Just in case you and your spouse die together, let the children know where to find your life insurance policies. Let them know about the IRAs, the coins, the education accounts, and at which banks you have money. If you have a minor child, address this letter to the person that will handle the money in your will. This will help, and if the kid(s) know where all the money is located, it will help an unscrupulous attorney be sued for malpractice if they to keep any of the money.

Life Insurance

Term life insurance is relatively cheap. Does everyone need term life insurance? “No!” If you don’t have a mortgage and a pot full of gold, silver, and cash, then do not get any. If you have a mortgage, consider it. If you have a mortgage and some other secured debt, get it. This will pay off your debts and allow your spouse and/or children to continue on with no debt. Also, if you are the only earner in the family, you might need some. This will provide a source of money to live on until your spouse or children can live on their own.

Prepaid Funeral

My father has prepaid for his funeral. It saved him a boat load of money. He paid $6,000 for a funeral in 1998. The same funeral he prepaid for would now cost $10,000. That’s not a bad investment. Also, it provides peace of mind to me. He gets the funeral he wanted, rather than the funeral I want for him. I do not have to make decisions that should be his. This works great in all occasions. I am considering doing the same for my wife and child. During the time of death and mourning, spouses have to make some tough decisions. Doing this funeral planning helps take a big burden off their shoulders.

I know there was an article on Odds & Sods about a company selling a burial plot out from under her. Be careful of where you choose to be your final resting place. Many municipalities operate graveyards. Consider this.

Decisions, Decisions

If you have investments, you need a list of those investments on-hand for your spouse or child. A good certified public accountant will help you make logical decisions for your situation. For example, if you have a term life insurance policy and die, your spouse will get to decide to take a lump sum payment or a structured series of payments over a number of years. There are companies who will make money buying structured payments at a fraction of their value because someone made a bad decision on what to do with the money. You can also take a partial lump-sum payment and then take the annuity on the remaining amount. A good certified public accountant should be able to meet with you, discuss your needs, and formulate a plan. I like certified public accountants because they work for you rather than for the insurance company.

Also, you will have to choose what to do with retirement accounts. There again, a competent certified public accountant should help you. You will have to understand the tax implications of what to do with rollovers, including taking the money out and considering the cost of investing. Beware of a certified public accountant who tries to sell you anything other than their knowledge. At this point, they become a salesperson and not your advocate.

Finally

If we are prepared for the end-of-the-world, why wouldn’t we be prepared for when our life ends? It could be after a post-apocalypse situation, a full assault of zombies, a brain tumor with Obamacare, or a freak car accident.

Anyway, when you are prepared, the outcome is more certain than when rash decisions are made. This is true in death, whether it’s a result of your house is being burglarized or an assault upon you by a thug. It will not cost much to do the things I have laid out. It will primarily take time and understanding. You need to talk these things out prior to penning them down.

I encourage you to seek competent legal, accounting, and personal knowledge. By developing a relationship with professionals, you can feel better about your decisions. It will also give time to make new relationships, if you need to.

I have done all of these things out of love for my wife and daughter. I want their mourning time to be minimal, and I want my wife and daughter to remember me as a husband and father who cared enough to make sure they could enjoy their lives after my life ends. Finally, I have asked our pastor and his wife to check in on my wife if I die or my daughter if we both die. I want them to keep a source of connection to me until they can end the mourning process. I think a person can end the mourning process a lot easier when they are not stressed about money. Also, I want them to appreciate the things I did to help them even after I am no longer on this earth. As one buddy stated, “I would rather them thank God I was their husband and/or father instead of curse me for leaving them destitute”.

Two Letters Re: Canned Food

Hello,

In response to a recent article on expired food, I just want to say that not all foods are the same. Recently I decided to take an expired case of Chef Boyardee Meat Ravioli on a extended road trip. The case expired in 2012, which was about 2.5 years past its “use by” date. I’ve eaten these plenty of times, so the food was as palatable as could be expected. However within two hours of eating one can I developed a headache. Headaches are very rare for me, so I didn’t pay any attention. The next day after eating another can, the same thing occurred– a mild headache. I took note and decided to experiment. On the third day, I didn’t eat any of the cans, and I had no headaches. On the fourth day, both I and my wife ate a can, and both of us got mild headaches. I did some research once I got home and discovered that the lining of the metal can may deteriorate after a while, so my unscientific assumption is that the headaches can be blamed on that fact. It’s something to keep in mind. On the other hand, last week I tried baking bread using a Costco-bought 2-lb package of yeast that expired in November of 2012, and it worked very well. – B.

o o o

Good morning, Hugh,

In today’s blog there was a post titled “Canned Food Alternatives” from “JM”. It’s a good piece, and I’d like to add to it, if I may.

I, too, use multiple food storage practices. For canned food, I never return from the supermarket without some extra cans, and I prefer units of 24 cans if the budget (and market shelf supplies) permit, and I always buy brand names on sale. In my area, most supermarket chains start their sales on Wednesday, and their ads are online.

Approximately 500 individual cans are in the pantry to meet daily needs, along with what’s in the freezer. For “pantry overflow”, I use what I term “food units” as the base: eight 15.5 ounce cans of protein (chili, with and without beans; hash, corned beef, roast beef, sausage; tuna; and so forth), eight 15.5 ounce cans of vegetables (corn, green beans, lima beans, baked beans, beets, and so on), eight 15.5 ounce cans of fruit (fruit cocktail, pears, peaches, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and so forth). Since 15.5 ounce cans are 4.5 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter, 24 cans fit perfectly in a box 12″L X 9″W X 9″ high. (Tuna cans are a different size and have to “squeeze” in on the edge.) The box weighs about 27 pounds. A 25-pack of these cardboard boxes can be had for about $20 on a “ship to store free” basis at Staples, the last time I bought some. Pro tip on canned food: buy what your family likes and will eat, not necessarily what a nutritionist might recommend they eat. The goal in times of high stress will be calories and especially, calories from protein, which frequently comes with some fat.

If all components of a “food unit” aren’t on sale, I’ll buy what is and set it aside for a couple weeks to wait for sales on the rest. A local chain recently advertised a sale on Del Monte fruit at 10 cans for $8. I came home with 100 cans. I always check the manufacturer’s date on each can; I’m currently buying all three types of canned food with mid- to late-2017 “sell by” dates, but I’ve seen lots of shorter dates and a number of expired dates. I’m confident that brand name canned food will still be good 2-3 years past the “sell by” date if properly stored, but I’ve never had any stored much past a couple months beyond the date; it usually gets eaten long before its expiration in the “first in, first consumed” rotation scheme. I also write the purchase month and year on the top of each can with a permanent marker when I bring it home. It’s a bit OCD, perhaps, but there’s no confusion that way as to what on the shelf is oldest.

Each box is sealed with shipping tape, top and bottom, and before the box is sealed four can openers are included. I buy P38 and P51 military openers in quantities of 100 and tape two of each to the underside of the top. I also insert several plastic spoons, forks, and knives in between the cans. (A local restaurant supply house has them available in boxes of 1000 each; the total cost for a thousand of each type of utensil was about $38. Split among a few families, it’s cheap.) The box is then marked on both ends with the purchase date; “54”, for example, indicates that everything in the box was purchased in May 2014. The box is also marked with what it contains– “FU” (a food unit with eight cans each of protein, vegetables, and fruit), “V” indicating 24 cans of all types of vegetables, or “F” indicating 24 cans of all types of fruit. A large black dot indicates that the box also has openers and utensils. So a box might be marked FU54(dot), V103(dot), or F93(dot). It’s not a secret code, but it’s not necessarily obvious as to contents either.

This configuration allows “grab and go” of food, with the knowledge that the food is both accessible (openers), usable (utensils), and current (purchase date), and there is easy rotation from the storage closet to the pantry shelf as pantry supplies are consumed. I can also confidently share or barter these boxes if necessary (although I consider sharing or bartering with food a very hazardous undertaking unless it’s within the circle of those whom one knows personally and can trust; public knowledge of surplus food availabilty can easily generate very unpleasant consequences if not conducted under well-controlled circumstances. For that reason, should I share, I will do it as anonymously as possible through local churches.) Giving someone a box of canned food is useless unless they also have the means to open the cans and consume the contents. Canned food is cooked before canning, so unpalatable as cold hash may be, it’s still completely edible and nutritious. The 15.5 ounce can size allows for breakfast and dinner of protein, vegetable, and fruit for two people. While refrigeration, or at least some form of cooling or temperature control, is certainly desirable, an open can in a well-insulated container (small cooler) unaccessible to insects or vermin should keep for 6-10 hours without refrigeration, assuming moderate temperatures, if necessity dictates, to allow for two meals. When camping, we’ve used the evaporative cooling effect of wet canvas or burlap to lower storage temperatures several degrees.

The other side of the food equation is, as JM pointed out, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. I have a substantial quantity of each and add to that stock monthly as budget (and Internet deals) permit. I concentrate on protein, as I believe that type of food will be the most difficult to obtain and be the most needed, should social and economic conditions deteriorate substantially. I try to purchase a couple # 2 1/2 size cans for trial, to see what tastes good. Then I buy cases of larger #10 cans for economy. Just as with canned food, I tape several P38 and P52 openers to the underside of the box lid of each case. As with canned goods, don’t buy what your family doesn’t like. I also have a few Mountain House “72 hour packs”, which I have modified into “96 hour packs” by putting the contents of five boxes into three boxes. To each box is added utensils, a cheap metal cup, a sandwich bag of fire tinder, a P38 opener, an inexpensive knife, matches in a waterproof pill bottle, a pill bottle containing Vaseline-impregnated cotton balls, and a cheap flashlight. (Home Depot had 6-packs of cheap LED flashlights for $9; I got three.) Pro tip: don’t put the batteries in the flashlight; put the batteries, including spares, in a separate plastic bag with painter’s tape over each end to prevent shorting. Replace batteries annually, and reserve the expensive, good flashlights (Surefire, Streamlight, and the like) for daily on-body carry. I am never without a tube of Dark Repellant in my pocket.

I also have a couple of 12X9X9 “accessory boxes” with toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, vitamins, bar soap, shampoo, a couple rolls of toilet paper, an inexpensive headlamp, more utensils and can openers, a few spare batteries, and more, including the usual civil necessities my camping experience has shown necessary and valuable. I don’t intend to “run for the hills” when stress rises, but conditions may dictate a change in plans, and it pays to stay flexible. As the Marines say, “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.” It’s a good motto.

Water is always a concern, and a 36″W X 14″D X 84″H wire rack shelving unit from the restaurant supply house currently holds fifteen 5-gallon jugs of drinking water, along with several FU boxes. Jugs are dated, of course, and used and replaced in rotation, with preference given to jugs with built-in side handles to allow carrying two at once. The plan is for “utility water”, should it be required (toilets, bathing) to come from a neighbor’s pool, but I’m looking into other storage options. Your correspondent, N.K.

Economics and Investing:

Reagan’s OMB head: Wealth inequality is a problem. – G.P.

o o o

Oil Wars: Teetering On The Edge Of Economic Disaster

o o o

Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Japan’s Retail Sales Unexpectedly Slump in Challenge to Abe – Unexpectedly? You devalue your currency, prices rise, and “unexpectedly” sales fall? Do they live in a parallel universe where the basic laws of economics are suspended?

Greek Bond Yields Spike as Syriza Scraps Austerity

Subprime Bonds Are Back Seven Years After U.S. Crisis- Cause this worked so good the first time…

David Stockman Trashes The Fed

Notes for Thursday – January 29, 2015

Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three 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 then 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 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) 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 $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. 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. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis 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,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

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,
  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 Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, 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.

Early Literacy for Children, by C.L.

I have read many articles on preparing for TEOTWAWKI that deal with valuable information on caring for our needs and those of our family. These have been full of important information and should be noted. However, I feel there is another skill that each of us needs– teaching our young children to read. I am a teacher, and I love being part of a child’s early literacy experiences. I want to share some things that have worked for my own children and my students.

Background:

I am a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and prepper. I have a B.S. in Special Education, an M.S. in Education-Curriculum and Instruction, and an M.A. in Education-Reading. I just finished my degree in reading last year. I teach in a small, rural school in the Midwest. My school is so small that I literally know every student and staff member. We are a family and care for each other. I am currently teaching K-3 special education and junior high resource study hall. My school is so small that the staff members each wear many hats, in order to make it function. In the past, I have taught junior high and senior high special education as well as general education kindergarten. Most of my teaching career has been in the primary grades though.

I do not pretend to know everything about education, but I have learned a few things that I feel need to be shared with others. We all know that beginning literacy is important. These basic skills are the foundation on which later reading and learning are built. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” I want my grandchildren to have a long list of wonderful literature they can say they have read. This list includes more than the classics; it should also include books that interest them.

Those who are planning for the uncertain times ahead should also be planning for the restructuring of our world. In the future there will be leaders, and I want them to be our children. I want them to be prepared for the task. However, they will not be our country’s future leaders unless they know how to read.

When TEOTWAWKI occurs, you may be responsible for teaching your children or other children in your group. Learning to read is critical to all teaching and learning. Without the knowledge to decode text and put meaning to that text, we are at a loss to learn other areas of curriculum. Every subject area involves reading.

Even after successfully helping many students to read, I am still amazed at how this is possible. Think about it. This very moment, you are looking at a bunch of lines, curves, and dots. At one time they were meaningless to you, but now you are able to make sense of them. You know that these lines, curves, and dots are letters of the alphabet. These letters are put in a specific order to make words. These words are put in a specific order to make sentences. These sentences are put in a specific order to make paragraphs, and these paragraphs have made an article about teaching children to read. I have used punctuation to tell you when to pause or stop as you read. I have used other text features to further help organize this article, enabling you to understand it more easily. A lot is going on as you read.

Basic Information:

Reading involves the following areas:

  • Phonological Awareness. This is the identifying and manipulating of oral language. Phonological awareness involves identifying and making rhymes, clapping out the syllables in word, and recognizing words that have the same beginning or ending sounds.
  • Phonics. This is the understanding that there is a predictable connection between the sounds of our spoken language and the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language.
  • Fluency. Fluency is being able to read text correctly and at an appropriate rate.
  • Vocabulary. Vocabulary refers to the words or terms an individual needs in order to communicate effectively.
  • Comprehension. “Comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read. To be able to accurately understand written material, children need to be able to (1) decode what they read; (2) make connections between what they read and what they already know; and (3) think deeply about what they have read. One big part of comprehension is having a sufficient vocabulary or knowing the meanings of enough words,” according to the Reading Rocket website.

(The definitions for each of the above-mentioned areas of literacy came from the Reading Rockets website. Each specific web page is referenced in parentheses after the definition, and full credit is given to the authors for this information.)

Infants and Toddlers:

What are the first things you need to do to teach your child to read? Most parents and caregivers already do these things, and they’re completely unaware they are teaching literacy. It just seems a natural part of parenting and care giving. However, this natural means of parenting is no longer being practiced by some. When TEOTWAWKI occurs, we will be focused on survival and may neglect to give attention to early literacy. We must not fail in this area. You need to remember to:

  • Get into the habit of talking to your child. Make eye contact, and talk to him from the time he is a newborn.
  • Explain what you are doing as you go about daily tasks. Once again, start this when your child is a newborn. For example, you can name your child’s body parts as you give him a bath.
  • When your baby is hungry, talk about it. Ask him how hungry he is, what he wants to eat, what is in the food, and so forth.
  • Talk about how your child is feeling. Discuss why he may be feeling this way.
  • Use an increasingly rich vocabulary, as your child gets older.
  • Read or recite nursery rhymes to your child, and have him recite them to you.
  • Last but not least…read, read, read to your child every day.

Your infant or toddler may not understand what you are saying, but we learn through personal interactions with others. Point to the illustrations, and name the objects in the pictures. Also, use adjectives when describing the objects illustrated.

Preschoolers:

As your child grows, you will change the way you interact with her. She will increase communication and interactions with others. There will be an increased curiosity about the world in which she lives.

  • You will hear “why” more times than you care to count. Try to be patient, and answer as many of these questions as you can.
  • Continue talking to her, explaining what you are doing and why.
  • Use an increasingly rich vocabulary with your preschooler. She needs to hear more than “baby talk” at this stage of her life.
  • Show your child any directions you are reading, and discuss them. This may include manuals you use when servicing tools or machinery, directions on planting your garden, recipes, and more.
  • Write for your child, and have her write for you. Start with her name, the names of family and friends, and items that are of interest. These may include favorite foods, toys, or items in the house or yard.
  • Continue reading nursery rhymes.
  • Once again…read, read, read to your child every day. Sit beside her, and put your finger under the text as you are reading. Discuss the illustrations. Stop to predict what might happen in the story. Ask questions about the story. Have her retell the story to you. Point out letters that are in your child’s name and simple words in the text.

Primary School-Aged Children:

Each child develops at his own pace. Do not expect him to follow an exact timeframe to attain reading. Some children are reading by age three or four, and others learn to read at age six or seven. This is due to many factors, including life circumstances. When TEOTWAWKI occurs, your child may be under a great deal of stress. This could affect learning and other developmental areas. Do not let this trouble you. Just keep teaching, and watch for continued increases in skills. As long as this is occurring, let him develop at his own rate.

  • Continue answering his many questions.
  • Give your child as many life experiences as you can. This may be through direct experiences, reading, hearing stories from others, pretending, or watching movies. When TEOTWAWKI occurs this will not be an issue, but before TEOTWAWKI technology should be limited.
  • Continue rhyming.
  • Give direct instruction on identifying and naming letters of the alphabet, and give the sound or sounds for those letters. Do not use the schwa sound when teaching letter sounds. The schwa is the “uh” many people use after consonant sounds. For example, saying “buh” for the ‘b’ sound, “cuh” for ‘c’ sound, and “duh” for ‘d,’ can make reading more difficult for some children.
  • Have your child name items that begin with specific letters/sounds, blends, and digraphs. Have pictures of items that begin with specific sounds, and have your child sort these pictures by sound. (Included in Bev Tyner resources listed below.)
  • Teach your child basic phonics rules.
  • Teach your child the 100 most frequently occurring words in children’s books and basic sight words. (Included in Bev Tyner resources listed below.)
  • Put letters and sounds together to make words. Have your child write these words and read them to you. This may be done on paper or chalkboards, or with alphabet magnets on a cookie sheet. It is acceptable for your child to use “brave spelling.” He may write “is krem” for “ice cream.” This is actually a wonderful use of phonics skills for beginning readers and writers.
  • Have your child tap or clap individual sounds in words. Tap or clap the syllables in words too.
  • Teach him to construct simple sentences.
  • Have him read books at his reading level, neither too difficult nor too easy. You want to provide success but not bore or frustrate him. This can be achieved by providing both fiction and nonfiction books at your child’s level. I compare reading to sports. When one is first learning to play baseball, it would not be advisable to have Adam Wainwright or Michael Wacha from the St. Louis Cardinals pitch to you. Also, the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday would not want me to pitch to them. Just as we need to play sports at our skill level, we also need to read at our reading level. An exception to this is a child who has an interest in a book or subject matter that is outside their reading level. Let him read the book if he is interested, and give him support as needed. You may be surprised at how well he does when motivated by his interests.
  • Read for your own pleasure or for information. Do this daily, if possible. When your child sees you read, he knows that you place an importance on reading, and he will want to emulate your actions.
  • Every day…read books aloud to your child, and have him read to you. In addition to reading books with your child that are at his reading level, read books to him that are about two years above his independent reading level. This will expand his vocabulary, as well as give him a greater knowledge base to understand what he reads.

Resources:

Small-Group Reading Instruction: A Differentiated Teaching Model for Beginning and Struggling Readers by Beverly Tyrone is a helpful resource and can purchased on Amazon. The book explains how to teach beginning literacy, and a compact disc is included with all of the picture cards, flash cards, and writing resources you will need to begin reading instruction. These can be printed and used to teach your child.

Other helpful resources are the phonemic awareness curricula by Michael Heggerty. If they are not currently available on Amazon, they may also be purchased at http://www.literacyresourcesinc.com/store/curriculum/. These are quick lessons, which can be completed in no more than fifteen minutes. The Internet site for Reading Rockets also has many, helpful, no-cost resources.

I am not affiliated with any of these resources or their publishers in any way, and I do not receive any reimbursement from any parties involved. I have simply found all to be proven, successful ways to teach beginning literacy. They have saved me many hours in lesson preparation, and I believe they will do the same for you.

Instructional Materials:

I would advise having the following instructional materials in a large, plastic tote.

  • Pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, and pens
  • Linedand unlined paper
  • Small chalkboards and chalk, or small dry erase boards and dry erase markers. You can get erasers for these or just use rags.
  • Alphabet cardsand picture cards (The Tyrone book and CD are an easy way to get these. I would make at least two copies. Then, cut, laminate (or print on card stock), and sort one copy, while leaving the other on whole sheets. The extra copy could be used if any cards get lost or destroyed, or they could be put at a bug-out location.)
  • Alphabet magnets(These may be used on cookie sheets or baking pans.)
  • You will need a library of books. Include both fiction and nonfiction books, covering a wide variety of subjects and at primary to adult reading levels. You may purchase these books individually or in sets of leveled readers. Sets are available from a variety of sources on the Internet, and some are reasonably priced. I would also include magazines in subject areas that are of interest to your group members. Some children enjoy reading magazines more than books.

Closing:

I have written an article containing about two thousand, four hundred words telling you how to teach the beginnings of literacy. This has been an extremely abbreviated summary. However, it is my hope that it will give you the confidence and some of the information you will need for the task.

I believe that anyone can teach. Receiving a degree in education does not make one a teacher. Be patient, and share your knowledge with the next generation. Do this now. Do not wait for TEOTWAWKI. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” Through educating your children, they will change the world.

Keeping Lawmen at Fishbowl Distance

In recent years, some members of American law enforcement have developed a knack for talking motorists into vehicle searches that would otherwise not be justifiable under the Plain View, Probable Cause, or Reasonable Suspicion doctrines. Their goal is often to smell your breath or to go on a “fishing expedition” looking for illicit drugs, in order to seize assets. My advice is to NOT talk with law enforcement officers, and NEVER consent to any searches. To simplify this, I prepared the following lines for you to print out in large bold type, on an 8-1/2″x11″ sheet of paper, that you should carry in your car:

I am exercising my right to remain silent. (See: Miranda v. Arizona)

Do not attempt to question me. I will not respond. (See: 5th Amendment)

I will show you my driver’s license and proof of insurance, upon demand.

However, I do not consent to any searches whatsoever. (See: 4th Amendment and Fruit of The Poisonous Tree Doctrine, in Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. U.S.)

Do not detain or delay me when you lack Plain View, Probable Cause, or Reasonable Suspicion grounds. Let me know when I am free to go.

If you are pulled over for the ubiquitous “routine traffic stop” or roll into an INS inland checkpoint (now often up to 80 miles from the border), leave your windows up and simply hold this page up to your car window for the officer to read, and then do not say a word. If they ask you for your driver’s license and proof of insurance, then go ahead and provide them. (Just crack your window slightly to hand them out, if they are not willing to read them through the glass.)

If they issue you a traffic ticket, then sign it, and be on your way.

Again, there is no need for you to ever speak a word. If they persist in quizzing you, just keep pointing to the sheet of paper. If they lack Plain View, Probable Cause, or Reasonable Suspicion grounds for a search and if you do not consent, then any evidence that they might find in a subsequent unconstitutional search will not be admissible in court (under the Fruit of The Poisonous Tree Doctrine.)

Odds are, they will soon realize that these aren’t the droids they’re looking for, and say “You’re free to go.”
Addendum (on 29 January): One notable exception to the foregoing guidance is that if you are the holder of a CCW permit, some states require you to inform a law enforcement officer that you are carrying a gun immediately after you come into contact with them. And in many states CCW permit holders also give implied consent to be personally searched or have their vehicles searched, just because you have a permit. – JWR