Notes for Sunday – April 26, 2015

On April 26, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire in the No. 4 reactor sent radioactivity into the atmosphere; at least 31 Soviets died immediately.

Street Combat – This Ain’t No Game! – Part 5a of 9, by Pat Cascio

[Street Combat - This Ain't No Game is a SurvivalBlog exclusive.]

Chapter Three – GUNS & KNIVES

When we get into the topic of guns and knives, it holds a special place in my heart. I have carried a handgun since I was 18 years old and some sort of pocket knife even longer.

Deadly weapons don’t necessarily have to be used in the way they are generally intended for them to make an impact. Sometimes, the mere presence of one of these deadly implements is enough to stop an attack. The following is a true story. I know, I know; usually when someone starts out with the words “true story”, it’s not exactly true. Well, this one is!

CASE STUDY: Armed Robbery Admission

It was January 1975 at Chicago, Illinois Police Headquarters, which also houses various court rooms. I was present in one of these courts for a number of shoplifting arrests I had made while working temporary, plain clothes, store security detail.

While awaiting one of my court cases, I heard an elderly black man (probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s) explain to the judge the circumstances leading up to his arrest. The following is almost verbatim what this man said.

“Yore honors, I admits to going into that store. I admits that I had me this gun. I also admits that I wuz gonna rob that store. But, this here man (the elderly black man was pointing at a plain clothes police officer standing next to him) never told me he wuz no police man. He only pointed his gun at my head and said ‘Bye-bye mother f- – – er.'”

At this point the entire court room was laughing hysterically, including the judge. Court had to be recessed for 15 minutes while the court regained its composure.

LESSON LEARNED:

Never admit to attempting an armed robbery. The old gent above received a fairly stiff jail sentence. Silent hold-up alarms work, at least sometimes!

TECHNIQUE USED:

The plain clothes (tactical) officer didn’t need to fire his weapon. However, his judicious choice of words caused the elderly robber to cease and desists his actions IMMEDIATELY!

The elderly hold-up man wasn’t all that upset about being caught for his crime, but he sure enough was upset with the way the police officer identified himself as well as his carefully chosen challenge. Intimidation worked. Enough said?

Over the years, while working as a police officer, private investigator, or security officer, I had several occasions in which I drew my gun. There have also been occasions when I would have been justified (under the law) in firing.

CASE STUDY: Equalizing the Hefty Shoplifter

While working for one particular detective agency in Chicago, I was assigned to work a plain clothes store security detail for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. The store was Alden’s, a mail order outlet store. This was a fairly small outlet store with probably less than 5,000 square feet.

I worked with my partner, Dave Guritz, and four other security officers at this store, plus Alden’s had two off-duty Chicago Police Officers also working the store. That was plenty of security for a store so small in size, or so we thought.

The two Chicago Police Officer wore security guard uniforms and worked near the front door and cash registers. The rest of us either worked the floor or observed the store’s patrons from behind two-way mirrors in a specially built booth. We averaged 25 shoplifting arrests per day! Yes, you read that right; we had 25 shoplifting cases per day!

For some now forgotten reason everyone had gone to lunch and I was working alone. While observing a rather tall and heavily-built Puerto Rican “shopper” from behind the two-way mirror, it soon became obvious that this was no ordinary shoplifter. This fellow had on a long dress coat with “booster” pockets built into it. This is a sure sign of a professional shoplifter.

The two-way mirrors we worked behind were built onto a special platform that was raised several feet off the floor. I was looking down on this shoplifter when he carefully folded two men’s suits up and hid them inside his booster-pocketed coat.

I knew the character was big, but I had no idea just how big he was until I hurried down from my hiding place and met him at the front stairwell. He stood 6′ 7″ tall and weighed around 225lbs. I knew this was going to be trouble!

I identified myself as store security and had my badge in my left hand. I politely (really!) asked this pro to please turn around and accompany me back to the store’s security office.

I was told in no uncertain terms that he was “going to walk all over” me. He was big enough to do it, too. I looked hopelessly for help, but none was to be found. I drew my Smith & Wesson Model 39-2, 9mm pistol from my shoulder holster and placed in square in this monster’s face. He came along quietly.

LESSON LEARNED:

It’s simply amazing how much a person learns as they grow older. Such is my case. I should have followed this pro out the door and got a license plate number from his car. We could have called the police and caught him driving away or at home. My only excuse is that I was young, dumb, overly enthusiastic, and inexperienced.

I could have looked the other way when I saw the size of this guy and let him “walk”. No one would have been any wiser. The odds are that he would have returned later for some more “shopping” at a time when the rest of the store’s security staff had returned.

Under Illinois statute, I was justified in drawing my weapon. The “disparity in size” and his threat aimed at me (“I’m going to walk all over you”) gave me legal grounds to equalize the disparity in size. This guy was capable of carrying out his threat, even with my martial arts training. I don’t know if I would have been the victor in a fight.

TECHNIQUE USED:

The threat of deadly force and my clear intention of using it against this professional thief, turned his attention to doing the right thing. Many times, I’ve heard people say that they are only buying a handgun to scare someone away. They say they wouldn’t (or couldn’t?) ever shoot someone. This is a poor approach to self-protection. A seasoned professional criminal can detect if you’re serious in your threat. If they know you are only bluffing, they’ll take your gun away from you and use it on you.

I had every intention of using my 9mm (for self-defense,) against this monster of a thief, and he knew it! Oh, I wouldn’t have shot him for his shoplifting, even though it was a felony theft, but had he tried to “walk all over” me, as he claimed he would do and I believe he meant those words, he would have met my great equalizer– the 9mm!

CASE STUDY: The Young Bully

Knives have always held a special place in my life. I can still recall the very first knife I received. My grandfather got a hunting knife and hatchet set for me when I was about six or seven years old. I thought it was the best knife in the world. Today, you can probably buy the same knife for about $5. Nevertheless, I thought I had a real bear-killing knife.

Long before Spyderco came out with their easy one-handed opening knife, we were pretty limited to knives that were fixed blade or pocket knives that required two hands to open. That is until my cousin Tony devised a way to make a standard pocket a one-handed affair.

All the gang members in the area were carrying a certain type of pocket knife during the 60’s. It wasn’t anything special, but I do recall these knives had something akin to a clip point blade, which was about 3″ long. A “genuine” simulated bone handle accompanied the entire affair.

When the knife was closed, the back of the blade stuck out of the handle just enough so you could readily grasp it. You still couldn’t use one hand to open it though. This was easily corrected with a flat file and about 15 minutes of your time. About two-thirds of the way toward the front of the knife, the file was used to remove about a 1/3″ of the handle material. The file made a nice little, squared cut into the handle. It short order, you had a one-handed opening knife. With a little practice, you could flick the blade open almost as fast as you can with today’s one-handed openers.

Before I was old enough to carry a gun, I carried a pocket knife, similar to the one described above. I got pretty good at flicking it open.

Jack K was one of the slower kids in our 6th grade class. If I recall correctly, Jack K was probably about 15 or 16 years old and still in the 6th grade. Jack K was also a bully!

One evening my friend, Andy Silva, and I were in Knapps Pool Hall having a Coke or Pepsi. We weren’t old enough to shoot pool yet, but Jack K was always in the pool hall usually shooting pool with someone. This evening found Jack K sitting all alone at a table.

Jack K thought this was a good opportunity to shake Andy and me down for some money; maybe he needed it for a game of Eight Ball. Anyway, we both refused to give up what precious little pocket change we had with us. Jack K threatened to beat us up if we didn’t come across with the money, but we held firm.

After we finished our drinks, we went outside with Jack K right behind us. I had already gotten my neat little one-handed opening pocket knife, and it was in my hand yet unseen by Jack K because it was pretty dark outside. When Jack K grabbed me and told me what he was going to do to me, I let loose with the knife.

LESSON LEARNED:

First of all, we should NOT have been in the pool hall; we weren’t old enough, and there were usually some local “toughs” who occupied the place. Had we been a bit smarter, we would have gone to the bowling alley for our sodas instead of the attached pool hall.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this book, no matter how big a person is (and Jack K was pretty big compared to me), if you can catch ‘em by surprise you’ve got a fighting chance.

TECHNIQUE USED:

Plain and simple, I cut Jack K right across the top of his hand. He immediately let loose of me and told me what he was going to do to me later, but nothing ever happened.

I believe most people have a real fear of someone with a knife. I know this was true in my case, because of the times I faced knife-wielding attackers. However, I overcame my fears and fought back.

In the above incident, I caught Jack K by complete surprise, and the sight of his own blood was enough for him. The attempted theft of our money ended right then and there.

CASE STUDY: Shoot Out at Traffic Light

The early 1970’s still echoed the violence and demonstrations against the Vietnam War. I found myself working full-time for the Illinois National Guard. I enlisted in the Guard when I was 17 years old; my folks wouldn’t sign the necessary parental consent papers for my enlistment in the Regular Army. During my stint with the Guard, I saw my share of riots and demonstrations against the war. However, on this one particular evening the events had nothing to do with the Vietnam War or race riots.

I was working late one summer evening at the armory on Madison Street, on the west side of Chicago, which is a predominately black neighborhood. Our armory was located just a few short blocks from the (then) infamous black Panthers Headquarters.

It was approximately 7:00pm when I left the armory, and as is the case during the summer months in Chicago it was hot and humid. My car didn’t have an air conditioner, so I drove with the windows rolled all the way down.

While stopped at an intersection, waiting for the light to turn green, I noticed three black men standing in front of a tavern across the street from me. They hurled all sorts of racial remarks at me. I urged the light to change green, yet it didn’t! A shot rang out. I felt the bullet whiz past me. It struck the front passenger side door, shattering the rolled down window inside the door frame. My heart was pumping at this point. In all honesty, I didn’t know if I had been shot or not. I looked down at my uniform and saw no trace of blood.

I drew my Browning .32 acp auto, and without looking (or aiming) I emptied the magazine in the direction of my attackers. They took off running down the street. I ran the red light and headed home. It wasn’t until I arrived safely at home that I called the police and made a report. Nothing ever came of this incident to my knowledge.

LESSON LEARNED:

First of all, I should have left the armory at my usual time. The west side of Chicago was no place for a white man during the turbulent late 1960’s and early 1970’s. There had been a number of race riots in this area in the preceeding years (and months).

Secondly, I should have simply ran the red light. There were no other cars in front of me, and traffic was extremely light. Our battalion commander had instructed all of the full-time Guard employees about such matters and had given all of us some additional escape and evasion driving lessons.

Lastly, I should have looked where I was shooting. I was justified in returning gun fire to defend myself. While in uniform, we were authorized to carry concealed or openly.

TECHNIQUE USED:

This is an easy one. It was pure terror and sheer luck! I was driven by my youth and inexperience in these matters, as I was only 18 years old! Although I had been thoroughly trained in the use of all sorts of handguns (and long guns), I didn’t have the street sense to look where I was shooting. I simply drew my handgun and instinctively fired in the general direction of the threat. Luckily, no innocent bystanders were hit.

Thus far, I’ve only discussed the incidents that did not result in anyone getting shot. Lest anyone reading this believe that the mere presence of a gun will always work, you are sadly mistaken! If you purchase a firearm for self-defense or the defense of others, you’d better be prepared to use it. I made my mind up long ago that I would not hesitate using deadly force to save my own life or the lives of those in my charge. The following case illustrates this.

CASE STUDY: Shooting the Home Burglar

The fall of 1970 brought about a series of burglaries in our middle class neighborhood (in Chicago). Most of these burglaries took place during the evening hours, which is unusual. Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries take place during the day, when folks are at work or school.

I had abandoned my little Browning .32 acp by this time and laid claim to a neat little Smith & Wesson Model 36 Chief Special revolver. There’s a certain mentality in Chicago that exists to this day. It’s that most people who own handguns for self-defense carry (illegally) either a .38 Snubby or a totally under-powered .25 acp autoloader. I was caught up in the thinking of the day and had to have a little .38 for everyday carry to and from the National Guard Armory. I had two Colt Government Model .45’s at home; one of these should have been my carry gun in those days. Hind sight is wonderful, isn’t it?

I made a habit of keeping my revolver under the pillow on my bed when I came home from work. I couldn’t legally carry if I was out of uniform or off duty, but that’s another story.

My two oldest sisters were still in high school at the time. They were both on the volleyball team and asked me to drive them to a game (or maybe it was a practice) that evening.

I distinctly remember locking the front door as we left. As a matter our routine, someone was always coming or going, and the front door was usually left unlocked.

The roundtrip to the school and back only took about 10-12 minutes. When I returned home, I found ajar the front door, which I knew I had closed locked when I left. The only lights on in the house were in the living room. I left all the rest of the lights off and proceeded to creep up the stairs to my bedroom to retrieve my little .38 snubby from under my pillow. Like most people, I knew my house in the dark. There was no need to turn on any light switches to find my room, bed, and gun!

Just as I reached under my pillow and had my hand on my gun, someone shoved me and started to run down the steps to the main floor. I was right behind him. I fired two shots using point shooting techniques, and I heard the burglar scream out an obscenity. He ran out the back door, with me in hot pursuit. I never did catch him or fire any more shoots.

I called the Chicago Police. When they arrived, they discovered that there was one bullet hole in the wall along side the stairwell. Obviously, the other shot hit the burglar, and that’s why he cried out. The police made a search of the area and never found this creep. We did find that this character had broken out one of the panes of glass in the back door, reached in, and unlocked the door. Why he had opened the front door still remains a mystery. Perhaps, he opened it to look out to see if anyone was walking by.

LESSON LEARNED:

I should have gone next door to a neighbor’s house and called the police when I realized that someone had broken in. This would have been the smart thing to do. My excuse (and it’s a good one) is that I was only 18 years old (almost 19) at the time.

Secondly, after making the decision to retrieve a gun, I should have grabbed one of the guns my father kept downstairs in his room. It was foolish to insist upon following my own desire and taking the chance of getting attacked (which did happen) and going to my own room to get my own gun.

As an aside, I was an avid knife collector at the time. I had quite a collection of bayonets, Bowie knives, and hunting knives on the wall in my room. The burglar could have easily armed himself with one of those knives; instead of pushing me, he could have stabbed me in the back.

TECHNIQUE USED:

My cousins, Leroy Moe Laneve and Abner Leneve, taught me how to point shoot when I was 15 years old. I made my first visit down to Kentucky with my grandmother and purchased my very first gun during that trip. It was my country cousins– Moe and Abner– who really taught me how to shoot rifles and pistols. Abner was good enough to be an exhibition shooter for one of the ammo or firearms companies. Sadly, the day of the exhibition shooter was long gone by this time.

Moe was confined to a wheelchair because of an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Regardless, he could shoot the eye out of a crow at 75 yards without much trouble. Abner was a better shot and could toss rocks into the air and hit them (with a rifle or pistol), without aiming, nine times out of ten. Abner taught me how to point shoot, and I quickly applied this method to all my close quarters combat shooting. It wasn’t until 1990 that I met the legendary Col. Rex Applegate, who is recognized at the master of point shooting. Since that time, the good Colonel has taught me even more about close quarters combat shooting and the art of point shooting.

When I fired the double-tap at the burglar, who was running down the stairs, I used point shooting. It was too dark to see the sights, and there was no time to aim, even if I could see the sights. The distance involved was only about five feet.

The hole remains in the wall after all these years. My parents recently sold that house to a Chicago Police Officer!

Not all my encounters were deadly or potentially deadly. Like a lot of people, I still needed to be delivered from a little bit of a mean streak that I had. So much time has passed since this next incident took place, I think I’m safe to “fess-up” about it.

CASE STUDY: Who’s Boss in My House

Remember my friend, Andy Silva, who I mentioned earlier? Well, Andy was a bit bigger than me and about a year or so older. When you’re 10-13 years old, age and size make a difference. Remember, I was a skinny kid in those days, too.

I don’t recall the exact circumstances that led up to this case study, but I do recall that Andy and I were horsing around in my bedroom. I recall that my grandmother had told us to put an end to things, but Andy was persistent.

I was pinned on my bed and in pain. I don’t recall exactly what Andy was doing to me, but I believe he was applying a pressure point. (Andy was deeply involved in judo and karate in those days.) I remember telling him that I’d had enough and to stop, but he didn’t. I fought back and retrieved one of the many knives I had in my knife collection (on my desk).

LESSON LEARNED:

Never trust anyone (completely), not even your best friend. For some reason, Andy was determined to show me who the “boss” was that evening. I wasn’t about to submit to that, not in my own house and my own bed room.

TECHNIQUE USED:

It was very simple. I grabbed the first knife I could lay my hands on, which in this case was a Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Dagger. These babies have a point on them like a needle; they’re real sharp!

I stabbed Andy in the arm, and the “who was going to be ‘boss’ battle” was over immediately. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t stab Andy all that deeply, just enough to draw blood and let him know I wasn’t about to put up with his behavior that night.

Needless to say, Andy didn’t come around for quite some time after that. I do recall him saying something to the effect that I was crazy or something like that. I was making a reputation for myself.

Letter: Disinfecting Drinking Water

Hi,

Your articles have mentioned calcium hypochlorite. I went to the pool store today, and they had sodium dichloride.

Should I ask specifically for the first? I’m not sure if the girl behind the counter is going to know how to help me on this one. Thanks – D.

HJL Responds: We only recommend calcium hypochlorite, even though sodium dichloride is also used as a disinfecting agent. The pool shop should be able to order it for you. You are basically looking for a chlorine bleach solution to stabilize and disinfect your water. Liquid bleach has a very short shelf life, and the powdered calcium hypochlorite will get you that bleach solution with a harmless calcium sediment as a byproduct. When you mix a batch up, just let the sediment settle out. It is important to look at the label of the product that you are buying. Managing pool chemicals is a different process than disinfecting drinking water. You need to make sure that you are not getting any harmful additives in the product you purchase.

Economics and Investing:

Negative Interest Rates: It Is Like A Black Hole That Sucks In More And More Matter – Read: Capital – And Never Lets Go. This Financial Black Hole Story Will Also End With A Sudden Implosion, A Flash Of Light And A Big Bang, Just Like In Space…

o o o

What Will Happen to You When the Dollar Collapses?. – G.G

o o o

Deutsche Bank unit pleads guilty in U.S. Libor-rigging case. – G.G.

o o o

The Mystery Of China’s Gold Holdings Is Coming To An End

Odds ‘n Sods:

Nets Skip Wisconsin Police Raids Against Conservatives; Fox Exposes. – RBS

o o o

Constitution Revolution: How Does Washington Justify Its Unconstitutional Behavior?. – JBG

o o o

Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying . – JBG

o o o

New Way the U.S. Projects Power Around the Globe: Commandos . – T.P. A good read but requires a subscription.

o o o

Al Qaeda Hostage’s Family Paid $250,000 For Release, Obama Regime Didn’t Tell Them He’d Been Killed In January So They Continued To Negotiate . – B.B.

Notes for Saturday – April 25, 2015

Today, we present another entry for Round 58 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 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 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 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,
  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. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  8. 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), 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 58 ends on May 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.

“Internet” Without Infrastructure – Part 5, by R.H.

The Postmaster network

Postmasters, of course, will be able to communicate through this network between themselves and share information. In this way, they will know the health of the network in various areas. They will be the first ones with the most knowledgeable about encryption and programs that are available. At first, many Postmasters may not know much about encryption or how to use the tools, but they can learn about it and even share copies of the software through the network. As soon as most Postmasters have mastered it, they can start providing encryption as a service across the network.

If the network gets overloaded, they can set up subnetworks to take some of the load. They can help set up private networks for groups that need them, using separate pouches if necessary but sharing the same protocols, transfer routes, and personnel. As with almost anything, there is always a danger of politicization, which much be guarded against.

Sabotage

An important duty of all Postmasters, and actually anyone using the network, is to be alert for sabotage and do everything possible to prevent it and minimize any damage.

One simple way for the system to be sabotaged would be for some “Evil Postmaster” to intentionally make some alteration on the contents of all files in his pouch, rendering them useless, and then to transfer the pouch to other Postmasters. Any of the files that had already existed in their unaltered state on other Postmasters’ pouches would be okay, because existing files are not overwritten during the swapping protocol, but any files that were only in the “Evil Postmaster’s” pouch and any that are new to the other Postmasters would be passed on in their corrupted state. This could be detected quickly by other Postmasters, if they were in the habit of sending encrypted messages between themselves, because they would discover the corruption of their messages. Once detected, they could make an effort to quarantine the corrupted files by not passing them on.

In a more advanced scenario, once Postmasters have become more experienced, they would be able to proactively detect corrupted files by using specialized software to compare the contents of messages with the same filename. Unless files have been intentionally corrupted, the contents will be identical except in very unusual cases. In this case, it may be possible to detect that the files have been corrupted but not possible to tell which of the two copies is the “real one”. In this case, both the good one and the bad one can be passed on if the postmaster adds an additional character to the end of the filename. The receiver will then have to determine which one is right. If he has used encryption, this will be easy, because only the real one will decrypt successfully.

In general, Postmasters should have a good understanding of how the network operates and be on the lookout for problems. When a pouch comes in from another community, he should know what to expect in terms of the quantity of new messages. If it’s a lot more than what he expected, he should at least be curious about it and try to understand what’s going on. He might want to ask the other postmaster if he knows why there were so many. This will help him better understand the workings of the network and puts him in a much better position to notice suspicious activity. He needs to be and act much more like a sentry than a post office employee.

Even in the face of some sabotage, however, most messages are likely to get through. This is because of the redundancy of the system. The more postmasters there are in the network, the less damage that a saboteur is likely able to accomplish. If senders send multiple messages, and preferably send them through multiple postmasters, most are likely to get through.

There are other ways that the network can be harmed, such as attempting to flood the system with large numbers of false messages, or sending very large files by breaking them up into many little files. These things can be detected and thwarted using methods such as those described above.

A basic kit of software tools and instructions that any Postmaster may need should be included on each pouch or in a separate pouch. This should include (but not be limited to) the following:

Postmaster Toolkit:

  • This document and text copies of the linked material as well as additional information on encryption and security.
  • PGP tools
  • ZIP tools
  • VeraCrypt (another advanced encryption tool)
  • File shredding tools
  • File search tools
  • File directory comparison tools
  • File management tools
  • Custom Postmaster tools (yet to be developed)
  • All of the above for as many platforms as possible, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, IoS (Apple Mac, iPhone, and iPad).

Note that although a toolkit would be a great boon to the Postmaster network, it also opens us up to one of the most dangerous forms of sabotage that could occur. The tools themselves could be sabotaged or replaced with counterfeits, which would appear to be operating normally while actually leaving “back doors” open. This would not be easily done, but it could be, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that certain government agencies or even some advanced terror networks already have counterfeit versions of these tools at their disposal. Viruses could easily be placed in any of the tools, which could be devastating. There are solutions to all of this, both highly technical and otherwise, but it is something that Postmasters need to be constantly aware of.

The above toolkit, once standardized, should be packaged in an encrypted file (possibly using VeraCrypt) and signed with a known public key to help ensure its authenticity. However, even this could be faked, unless some method of certifying public keys (without the Internet) is used. See the document referenced above on how PGP works for more information on certification. There are certainly challenges ahead, but until the Postmaster network has become knowledgeable enough about encryption and skilled enough to use the tools effectively, we don’t want to make things so complicated that we discourage the growth of the network in the first place. It needs to be simple to begin with.

The level of security discussed here may or may not be something we actually need today, but it may possibly mean the difference between life and death in the future. Especially in a time of war, we will need to stay two steps ahead of our enemy. These are extremely powerful tools and, combined with good operational security, they should be an important part of our arsenal.

The more diligent, innovative, and coordinated the Postmasters are the better the system will work. If the network of Postmasters were to become power hungry or corrupt, they would likely find the current system too “loose and unstructured” for them, or they would start describing it as dangerous. Soon it would start to look like some sort of government bureaucracy. When this happens, it may be better to just start building and using a separate network.

Summary

As I said early on in this article, it is inevitable that people, faced with a collapsed infrastructure, will start transferring messages using SneakerNet. It is also certain that people will collaborate on the transfer of files in some way. Some type of network will come into existence. By using the key points of this article, a much, much simpler and more effective network can exist. One last time, the key points are:

  1. Each message is stored in a separate file.
  2. The filename of each message is the unique identifier for that particular message.
  3. The first part of each filename contains a unique identifier for the recipient of the message or the name of a site or blog, while the remainder of the filename consists of additional characters to ensure that the message filename itself is unique.
  4. Messages, named as described above, can then be combined, recombined, copied, and shared over and over again, without the need for special tools.
  5. Using very small, inexpensive, portable storage devices with very large capacity (stock up now!), these messages are easily spread far and wide.
  6. When the network eventually fills up in any given area, large files are purged first. When there are no more large files, old files are purged. Both of these operations can be performed without special tools.
  7. If problems occur, sub-networks, separate private networks, trusted networks, and whole new networks can be set up almost instantly using these same techniques, allowing the system to be partitioned or “reset” in any way and at any time that people see fit. Nobody owns it.
  8. Encryption of one sort or another is the only way to prevent others from reading your messages, to verify the authenticity of a received message, and to ensure that it has not been altered. Everyone is in charge of their own security; ignore this fact at your peril!

There is much more to be said about how this system can be used, ways it could be sabotaged, and how to prevent that from occurring or fixing it when it does. Additional techniques, methods, and protocols will be developed and improved over time. Software applications and tools could simplify the work of a Postmaster enormously, but this will be easier if they are written and distributed before TEOTWAWKI. With fairly simple, specialized software, pouches could be merged with the click of a button. However, all of the basics of how to handle files have been covered here. Prepare, stock up, spread the word, and practice! If the infrastructure comes down before you are ready, at least keep these principles in mind and start finding a way to create, gather, and transfer files as described.

One more note: If this type of communication ever becomes “illegal”, know that you are already living under martial law, and if you start hearing a lot of talk about how the network is being used by “terrorist groups” (either the ISIS type, or the Constitutionalist type), and so it needs to be “clamped down” or “regulated” or “controlled”, just realize that just means that someone doesn’t like free communication for their own reasons. This is potentially a very powerful medium, and that power could be used for good or evil. Naturally, we will do everything we can to prevent it from being used to forward evil, but that’s the best that can be done. I think we can do a better job of keeping it in the right hands than some faceless government agency would be able to do. We can do it without completely destroying the power and freedom of the medium; I very much doubt that “they” can. Even if they were to try, this medium really can’t be controlled. All you would have to do is start fresh and learn from what happened before.

To free communication!

Two Letters Re: “Internet” Without Infrastructure

HJL,

Almost precisely this concept was described by the New York Times back in 2004, except instead of exchanging files on USB keys, they were exchanged via a small computer on a moped that connected to an access point in each village as the moped drove through. From a technical perspective, the solutions are nearly identical and the two could easily be combined, not to mention combining with amateur radio VHF and/or HF links for high-priority or long distance communications. – J.F.

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Hugh,

The “Internet” Without Infrastructure article by R. H. is very intriguing. It makes sense that part of our preps should be to create part of the system that R.H. proposes, in order to allow that system to be used as quickly as possible after the regular Internet fails.

I believe we should exercise this alternate infrastructure in parallel with the current system. Maybe a web site should be setup where practitioners of the alternate internet could perfect the operating rules and exercise it. Regards – C.R.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Cops Go Car To Car In Traffic Jam, Issue $18,000 in Fines for Cellphone Use at a Near Dead Stop

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Colorado businessman blames ‘stoned’ workers for move to SC

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Is The U.S. Food Supply Cursed? Cursed or is it simply 50 years of bad management. Everything from GMOs to inhumane, crowded conditions and even overuse/preventative use of medications are contributing to a crisis in our food supply.

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Christians Will Soon Be the Pariah to Eradicate. – T.P.

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America’s Soft Police State. – B.B.

Notes for Friday – April 24, 2015

April 24th is the birthday of Carolyn Cole (born 1961), a well-known staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times. For a few years in the late 1960s, the Cole family lived next door to JWR’s parents’ house in Livermore, California. That little girl with whom he played hide-and-seek would grow up to earn a Pulitzer Prize, two World Press Photo awards, and be named Photojournalist Of The Year. Congrats and Happy Birthday, Carolyn!

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SurvivalBlog would like to welcome Pika Energy as a new advertiser. They specialize in innovative off-grid power solutions and have U.S.-made hybrid wind and solar solutions.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 58 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 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 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 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,
  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. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  8. 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), 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 58 ends on May 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.

“Internet” Without Infrastructure – Part 4, by R.H.

Protocol Refinements

There are many refinements that can be used to improve efficiency and reduce the number of files to be processed, when dealing with local communication. However, these must always remain discretionary, so that they can be dropped at any time if situations change, or they are found to be unworkable.

For example, directories (or folders) can be used to separate messages into different destination areas, organized by State. This reduces anonymity somewhat, but it can help organize messages and keep traffic down within local areas. If you know for certain that the recipient is in California, create a folder called California and put the message in there. If you know the zip code, it can be added within the California folder. Even when there are state and zip code folders, messages will still exist in the main folder, outside of any state folders, and messages will exist within the state folders, outside of any particular zip code folder. Another level can exist within the zip code folder for a well-defined and understood community. Less precise regions, such as counties and cities, could possibly be used, but these are open to ambiguities and are less likely to be known for certain.

When working within a local network, a Postmaster could use both a local pouch and a master pouch. The local pouch would contain all messages from the main directory, state directory, zip code directory, and community directory, but all other directories would be missing. This makes the pouch easier to work with. To send a message within the local community, it is put into the community folder. To send a message outside of the local community but within the state, the message goes in the state folder. New state and zip code folders are added to the local pouch as needed for outgoing messages.

Later, the Postmaster combines the local pouch into the national pouch. The community folder, however, is not transferred to the national pouch; it is retained on the local pouch. The local pouch is temporary and must be recreated whenever updates are received for the national pouch. This is done by saving the community folder, creating a new local pouch from the main, state, and zip code folders from the master pouch, and then adding the community folder back in.

With care, similar protocols could be used and developed at the zip code and state levels, but this also opens the system up to misuse of various sorts. It would be a very bad idea for people to start getting the idea that a state or even a zip code is “under the control of” one particular entity. It would be much better to have several different people independently managing the same regions simultaneously. This network is about freedom and anonymity, not “guarantees” (which somehow never seem to work out very well anyway).

Another use for region descriptions, similar to what is described above, would be for Postmasters, or really anyone for that matter, to include nationwide, state, or regional news and network status in a message that is not to anyone in particular. For example, a message with a filename of “California-94302-2017-06-03-PO45UR” might say “Mostly quiet here this week. There were some large explosions some 50 miles to the north, but we don’t know exactly where. The usual sporadic gunfire, of course. People are catching on to using the Sneakernet and sending out lots of messages, but only a few people have received messages from outside of the community so far. Joe the Postmaster”. This sort of message, or news, is not really a change in the protocol, except for the standardized use of the state, zip code, and date. It follows the general rule that the message starts with a “destination”, but it’s not necessarily a real destination. It’s actually more like a blog entry. Note that the date is in the format YYYY-MM-DD. This is important because it allows the news files for a particular area to be easily sorted by date. Also, dashes are used to make it more readable. This is acceptable, because anonymity is not important in this case. This type of file could serve several purposes:

  • It gives the Postmaster an idea of what geographical areas and time periods are covered by this particular pouch.
  • It gives the Postmaster vital information about the network in general.
  • It provides general news to people who are interested in that particular region, or in general, even if they have not received messages from anyone in particular.
  • It provides people with a way to broadcast news in their area, even if they don’t have anyone in particular to whom they want to report it.
  • It could greatly increase interest in and use of the network, especially initially or before they have received specific messages from friends or family.

This also brings up some interesting ethical and moral points. I am personally against censorship by Postmasters. However, what should a Postmaster do if he sees that someone in his area has posted a particularly alarming and blatantly false report? He might choose to delete it to stop it from going further, but this is censorship, plain and simple. Who is the Postmaster to say that the report is false? Maybe it really is true, but he just doesn’t believe it. Also, if the report has already gone to other Postmasters, deleting it may not have any real effect; the message may reappear from another pouch and continue to spread. This network is almost impossible to censor! A more effective choice would be add his own separate message, explaining his opinion or observations on the matter. The filename of his message would be the same as the filename of the original message but with some additional characters added to the end of it. For example:

Kansas-64113-2017-02-03-YRET87f “Hundreds of murders daily! Help! – Bill Smith”

Kansas-64113-2017-02-03-YRET87fXX “Hundreds of murders is an exaggeration. I know of only two last night. – Sam Jones”

Kansas-64113-2017-02-03-YRET87fXYY “I agree with Sam. A couple last night, but none for a week before that – Becky Holt”

Notice that it’s almost like a blog. You can add comments to another’s post by choosing the address carefully. However, it is completely unmoderated, and it’s not really possible to delete an entry once posted, so the reader has to decide for himself. This brings us back to the fact that if you want reliable information, you need an encrypted or “signed” message from a particular person you know and trust.

Emergency Services

Whenever there is a natural disaster or terrorist attack, you see pictures on the news of those bulletin boards and lists that people (or FEMA) set up to help loved ones find each other or discover who has survived, who has not, or who is missing. Add a network like this to the mix, and those systems could be far more effective. In this case, email addresses or even a person’s name and other information could be used (e.g. “SmithJoeRutheford, Address:87PleasantAve,NewOrleans”). Even though the normal use of the “destination address” is the destination of the message, it doesn’t have to be. If an emergency worker finds a body with identification, they could simply post a message with a “destination address” of the person’s name and any known information. Anyone looking for the person would have a chance of discovering them. If the disaster is local to some area such as with a hurricane or large terrorist attack, once the messages make it outside of the affected area the messages can be posted on the Internet or even emailed directly to the destination (if an email address was used). Once the message is on the Internet, or in an unaffected area, it becomes much easier to search for information within the pouches.

Ham radio is already a vital force in situations like these. With the addition of a network that allowed Hams to send and receive information to and from people without radios, or who are out of reach by radio, they could be even more effective. With “Packet radio”, which makes it possible to send digital information directly over Ham radio, it is possible that some messages could be relayed directly. This technology already has the capability of bridging directly into regular email, opening up all sorts of possibilities. In spite of restrictions about sending encrypted communications over Ham radio bands, there is much that could be done. If nothing else, the activities and policies of Postmasters could be coordinated and some important messages could be relayed. Network messages can be sent between radio operators and relayed by voice. Radio “call signs” are unique identifiers for specific operators and are already used in email addresses to supplement radio communication.

Other data transfer methods

Any time another network or method of transferring data is available, it can be used in conjunction with this one. Until TEOTWAWKI, mail pouches could be stored in DropBox or a similar service. As long as some sort of postal service is available, a pouch can simply be mailed from one Postmaster to another.

If the Internet, or some form of it, is available in some area, pouches can be passed through it. Anonymity is still mostly retained, especially for encrypted messages. It is possible that, even with the Internet down, some communities could set up Broadband Hamnet networks, which use regular routers with special antennas to connect computers that can be miles apart. Although these networks will not necessarily be able to connect to the Internet, they could certainly be used to transfer files between Postmasters.

If the Internet outage is just local, it might make sense to automatically forward any messages that are using email addresses directly on to an email server. This could certainly be overdone, resulting in spam, but when a pouch of messages makes its way outside of a disaster area to a place where regular email is available, it would be sensible to take advantage of the opportunity to get messages onto normal channels. Mail pouches could also be posted on a website, where they can be downloaded by people who want to search for missing people, find messages intended for them, or read any news they may find there.

It may sound funny, but carrier pigeons have actually been used to carry electronic devices larger than micro SD cards. Micro SD cards and USB keys are so small and light that they can easily travel (undetected if needed) on all sorts of vehicles, including cars, boats, trains, or balloons. Once the Postmaster system is generally known, any pouch that is found by almost anyone can end up back on the network. When I was a kid, I launched an 8-foot diameter tissue paper hot air balloon with a postcard attached. It came back to me from 40 miles away!

Any group of people who don’t have working computers can still write out their messages on slips of paper with the destination address on top and their message below (including a return address) and just pass them on to a Postmaster willing to enter them. Passwords could even be provided and used by the Postmaster to encrypt the message.

Letter: Cash at KFC

HJL,

My family and I (all seven of us) went to our local KFC in Southern KS this past Wednesday. As it costs a little more for a family of seven to eat out, I tend to carry some extra cash on me. When I pulled out a $100 bill to pay, the cashier took me to the side and requested I print out my name and drivers license number on a pre-printed sheet he had next to the register. He indicated this was corporate policy when dealing with $100 bills.

I’m not sure this is newsworthy, but the more I thought about it the more it bothered me. I do not particularly want my name on a list of persons who pay bills by cash. Although my spending patterns can be tracked just as easily by credit card, I think I would prefer using the old credit card or smaller bills rather than corporations, such as Yum Brands, knowing I may keep larger denominations of cash on hand. – J in KS

HJL Responds: This probably has more to do with the fact that the $100 bill is the most counterfeited bill in the world than any monetary policy on a cashless society. However, keeping your contact information on file is a rather poor administrative policy compared to training personnel to recognize the counterfeit bills in the first place. Where there are very good counterfeits in circulation, they are not common. Most are poor quality, and some are ridiculously poor quality. I tend to believe that this policy says more about the failure of our culture and education than anything else. The thing to watch for is that this is the type of policy that can be used to push for a cashless society. Anytime you use a representation of value as an exchange medium, you face a risk of counterfeiting. TPTB will suggest that you let them take the risk of the counterfeiting by you going cashless. You might also call corporate KFC. I have found it is often only the local office policy that causes concern, but they blame corporate. Shining the light on such poor policies to upper management often has the effect of eradicating them.