Notes for Monday – July 28, 2014

28 July 1914 – The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I– the war that irreparably changed geopolitics. Officially, the war lasted until November 11, 1918, but American troops were still running around shooting Russians well into 1919.

Guest Article: July In Precious Metals, by Steven Cochran of Gainesville Coins.

Welcome to SurvivalBlog’s Precious Metals Month in Review, where we take a look at “the month that was” in precious metals. Each month, we cover the price action of gold and silver, and we examine the “what” and “why” behind those numbers.

The summer months are slow times for both stocks and commodities, with thin volume as many investors and traders taking summer vacation. Because of this, large orders can sometimes make big ripples. We saw this again in July, just like we did in June.

The June closing prices for precious metals were: Gold: $1325 Silver: $20.96 Platinum: $1482 Palladium: $840

July started with a bang for the PGMs, with both of them breaking through resistance levels. Platinum gained $22 an ounce to $1504, and palladium jumped $11 to $851. Gold closed the first day of trading near a three-month high, at $1326, and silver was only two cents from the $21 mark.

The highs for the month were hit on July 13, sparked by a banking crisis in Portugal. Gold closed at $1339, silver at $21.45, and platinum at $1508. Palladium waited until July 17, when new sanctions were announced by the U.S. against Russia, for arming and supporting rebels in Eastern Ukraine. The high closing price for palladium was $883, a price level last seen in 2001.

The second half of the month saw some unwinding of safe haven positions, as the stock markets decided they were more afraid of the Fed hiking interest rates than they were of World War III possibly starting.

Precious Metals Market Drivers in July

European Banking System

On July 10, the parent company of Portugal’s second-largest bank defaulted on a corporate bond payment, frightening the markets that the bank would be on the hook for the bad debt. Stocks tumbled, and gold saw a heavy rush of buying that shot the price up over $1,334.

Malaysian Airliner Shot Down By Ukrainian Rebels

On July 17, only hours after the U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia for its support of rebels in Eastern Ukraine, those same rebels shot down a civilian airliner cruising at an altitude of over 30,000 feet, killing all 298 people aboard. The rebels had previously boasted about having sophisticated long range SA 11 “Buk” surface to air missiles, which they had been using to shoot down Ukrainian Air Force planes.

The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 threw the markets into turmoil. Europe is pretty much held hostage by its dependence on Russian natural gas, the way the U.S. was dependent on OPEC oil in the 1970s. The thought of that supply being disrupted by Russia in retaliation for any sanctions is painful. France is going ahead with delivery of the aircraft carrier that they have built for Russia, and when Britain complained, the French Foreign Minister said maybe the UK should remove the log from its own eye, and clear up all the Russian billions hiding in London banks.

Israel Invasion Of Gaza

Deciding that airstrikes weren’t convincing the terrorist group Hamas to stop shooting unguided rockets at Israeli cities, the IDF rolled into the Gaza Strip to root them out. The day that they picked to start operations was the same day the Ukrainian rebels shot down the Malaysian airliner, making traders wonder if the whole world was about to catch fire.

Israel has been catching heat for the deaths of Palestinian civilians, but after finding rockets in UN-built schools, the Israeli army has to consider every building a possible target. U.S. and European airlines stopped flying into Tel Aviv for a couple of days, after a Hamas rocket landed a mile from the runway. No one was willing to be the next “MH17” and gamble the lives of their crews and passengers until it was proven Hamas had been driven out of rocket range of the airport.

Yellen/Fed

Janet Yellen, in testimony before Congress, refused to admit that the “too big to fail” banks, like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, were larger than they were before the 2008 financial crisis and refused calls to use Fed interest rate policy to fight asset bubbles that these same policies have created. The same day, one or more of those banks decided to sell over three million ounces of “paper gold” (contracts) on the COMEX to hammer gold lower. Unfortunately for them, the result by the end of the day was gold closing only $7 lower.

Platinum Mining

The world’s largest platinum company, Anglo American Platinum, is putting several of its mines in South Africa up for sale. The mines account for 1/3 of the company’s global production but are far more expensive to run than their newer mines. Any sale would doubtlessly mean layoffs, which has the labor unions throwing a fit. The unions were warned that if they forced the companies to agree to a 140% pay raise, that this was going to happen.

In related news, the largest platinum mine in Zimbabwe suffered a major cave-in, closing off half of the deposits. Zimplats, the operators of the mine, said it will take over four years to safely tunnel around the dangerous area to get to those deposits. This means 45,000 fewer ounces of platinum will hit the market for the next four years, worsening the shortage.

On The Retail Front

Underwater salvage company Odyssey Marine released the first inventory of treasure recovered from the wreck of the SS Central America, the famous “Ship of Gold.” Efforts had halted temporarily when the old company of fugitive treasure hunter Tommy Thompson sued, claiming that they still owned the wreck. A federal judge threw the case out of court, saying that the investors who were bilked by Thompson before he disappeared were the proper owners of the treasure.

The kingdom of Dubai, fighting one of the world’s highest obesity rates, is paying its citizens in gold to lose weight. People who register for the two month challenge will get one gram of gold for every kilogram of weight they lose, if they lose at least two kg (4.4 lb). Those families with children under 13 who sign up for the event will be double the gold reward, if the child loses two kg or more.

This might work out cheaper per person than Obamacare!

Ed Steer at Casey Research talks about how the Russian Central Bank bought 500,000 ounces of gold last month, following the 300,000 ounces in May that we reported. The Russians have bought a total of 1.5 million ounces of gold in the last three months.

Market Buzz

Gold manipulation is getting more mainstream traction. A committee in Britain’s House of Commons asked the nation’s top financial regulator to investigate manipulation of the gold market. The Chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority said that his agency lacked the authority to do so, and that there wasn’t any manipulation anyway. He must have forgotten his own agency fining Barclays $44 million over gold fix manipulation by one of their traders last month.

THE SILVER FIX IS DEAD: The London Bullion Market Association has awarded the contract for a new silver fix to CME Group and Thomson Reuters. CME Group will supply the data and the algorithms to decide the benchmark price, while TR will administer and audit the system. Personally, I’m not sold on the idea. CME Group controls the COMEX, Nymex, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade, which makes them the world’s largest marketplace for futures contracts and derivatives. I’m thinking physical gold isn’t going to get much attention.

China’s outlook on gold is the subject of a couple of more articles this week. Jeff Clark of Casey Research talks about “Western Delusions vs Chinese Realities” when it comes to gold. He sums it up pretty clearly when he notes “[Chinese] buy in preparation for a new monetary order – not as a trade they hope earns them a profit.” An article at Equities.com talks about “Why China Is Really Buying All That Gold.”

Back at home, Rick Rule of Sprott Asset Management reminds us that these pullbacks on gold are perfectly normal, as the price grinds higher. Every pullback ends at a higher point than the one previous, as we stair-step higher.

Peter Schiff talks about the stock market and how more and more experts believe it is set up for a crash.

Jim Grant tells Fox Business Network that the Fed is behind the curve on inflation, and its policy of reacting to situations instead of taking preventative measures means that we are going to see a “thunderclap” of a crisis. The Fed being behind on inflation means that real interest rates (interest rates minus inflation) will stay negative. This is good news for gold and bad news for bonds.

Looking Ahead

The markets will start picking up near the end of next month, as the wedding and festival season in India starts cranking up. Even though the Indian government hasn’t relaxed the restrictions on gold imports, that gold is still getting into the country. Smuggling is still increasing, and the police can’t stop even 1/10th of it. That gold is still being bought somewhere before being smuggled in, which means physical gold demand is still holding up.

Let’s end this month’s column with some words of wisdom from the former director of the U.S. Mint, Philip Diehl, with his article “Three Gold Myths That Confuse Buyers.”

Scot’s Product Review: DRD Tactical CDR-15-556

AR-15’s are pretty common these days. I like them a lot, though they aren’t perfect by any means. We can quibble about the caliber and gas systems all day, but they have good ergonomics and are widespread and popular. Good ones are reliable. I hadn’t really planned on reviewing factory-made AR-15’s, as they such a generic, well-known commodity, but when DRD Tactical offered one, they put a word in the subject header that made me interested. The word was “takedown”. Takedowns are something that I have always found fascinating, and DRD builds a takedown version of the AR.

The idea of being able to make something smaller for storage and travel appeals to me a lot. Long arm cases are bulky and attract attention. Being able to travel with a smaller case has real advantages. Portability and stealth are the obvious ones, but another thought that crossed my mind is that this system makes it easy and less expensive to have a multi-purpose, multi-cartridge AR. You could have a long, heavy barrel for precision and a short, light one for close, fast work. All you need to do is add a barrel as opposed to a whole new upper receiver. There are several interesting cartridges, such as .300 AAC based on the .223 case, and all you need for them is another barrel. There are some other cartridges, such as 6.5mm Grendel or 6.8mm SPC, that do require another bolt and more magazines, but even so, that’s less money than a whole upper. These calibers are often more effective on larger game, and I believe some states still ban the use of any .22 caliber weapon on deer, so it expands the use of your AR. This could also be very helpful for shooters in states with restrictive laws. They could have one gun (the lower receiver) and many variants.

Besides carbines, DRD has a very nice case. The carbine I tested arrived in one, and although I knew it was going to be compact, I was still impressed by how small it seemed. It is only 13.5×18.5×7 inches on the outside. The inside, of course, is smaller, but it is long enough on the diagonal to hold the longest component– the 16 inch barrel, which with flash suppressor and barrel extension is about 18 inches. The case is made of a heavy duty polymer and lined with shock absorbing foam. It is very unlikely anyone would guess it could hold a rifle.

There are three levels in the case with custom cutouts. The lid holds a barrel and hand guard, and a space that could hold magazines came filled with a pair of safety glasses and ear plugs. The top level in the bottom of the case holds the lower receiver with attached stock. There is also room for a sight and another magazine. The bottom level holds another barrel that can be a different caliber and two more magazines for a total of four. The case also has room for a suppressor, if one has that sort of thing, and some other odds and ends. The spare barrel insert can be replaced with one that holds a pistol with seven magazines and other accessories. The foam inserts for the case are backed with a thick piece of plastic sheeting that has been cut on a bevel to prevent sharp edges. That’s a nice detail for all products and one often missed. My 1911, though, felt snubbed by the pistol insert which clearly shows the outline of a Glock, but I reassured it that about 30 seconds with an X-ACTO knife would make it very 1911 friendly.

The whole setup would make a wonderful prop for a spy movie, and you can get a Walter Mitty rush as you open the case and start assembling the rifle. Walter Mitty aside, it is easy to appreciate how nice this would be for low profile travel at any time and especially during a bug out situation. The case looks like something that should carry camera or computer equipment rather than an AR-15. It provides excellent protection for the rifle and gear to boot. These features also appeal to DRD’s law enforcement customers, who find them advantageous in today’s downsized cruisers as well as for motor officers.

The carbine I got is the CRD-15-556. I am also going to be able to test the .300 AAC Blackout version but will write that as an update at another time, as I have been having trouble laying in a sufficient supply of ammunition in that caliber.

My first response after popping open the case was to start putting things together. It is very obvious how to do it. You need to make sure the bolt is locked back so the barrel can seat, then line up the gas tube with the hole in the upper receiver, and slip the barrel on. There is a knurled barrel nut that you tighten. It was pretty stiff and hard to turn the first few times I tried. It was actually hard enough that I double checked the instructions just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything, but it was just the fact that it was new. After a few dozen assemblies, it goes together easily.

After securing the barrel with the nut, you slip the hand guard on over the barrel. It seats against the upper receiver, and there is a dovetail on it that lines up with a matching cut on the receiver. This assures that the hand guard is properly lined up and also keeps the hand guard from rotating the barrel nut, which could be a bad thing. There is a cross pin that snaps through the hand guard and engages in a slot on the barrel nut. Finally, you close a lever clamp on the hand guard that tightly secures everything together. It is adjustable, so should there be any wear down the road, you can make up for it. DRD says you can assemble the carbine in a minute or less, and I found that to be easily doable.

They warn not to let the bolt slam forward without a barrel installed, which seems pretty obvious to me, but it might not to some. The bolt seats in the barrel extension; when that isn’t mounted, you are slamming hardened steel into the aluminum charging handle and receiver. I decided to leave a short five-round magazine in the carbine just to be sure the bolt stayed back.

I was impressed with how solidly the carbine came together. The quality of finish is very high. The pistol grip and collapsible stock came from Magpul and show the expected Magpul quality. The pistol grip has a storage compartment, which is something I really appreciate. I like to stuff a few spare parts in it. The carbine I received to test included three Magpul magazines and two additional rails for the hand guard.

The hand guard is 13 inches long, made of aluminum and marked DRD Tactical. It free floats the barrel, which is a good thing as accessories and slings mounted on the hand guard can affect accuracy, if the barrel isn’t free floated. It takes Magpul MOE accessories, so you can festoon the carbine with all sorts of stuff or leave it slick. There is a full length rail on the top of the hand guard that has plenty of room to mount a front sight and other accessories along with a backup rear sight and scope or red dot sight. The Magpul accessories are a lightweight polymer, so they aren’t going to make it much heavier, thankfully. If you want, you can get covers for the rails to form a more conventional hand guard.

The upper and lower receivers are billet receivers. I’ve seen a lot of squabbling over which is better, billet or forged, and have concluded that, in the end, as long as they are made by competent manufacturers, you can get a great AR with either. DRD feels that since they can make a billet upper receiver thicker, it is more rigid which makes for a better carbine. One clear difference is that billet receivers usually look better and the process allows for some additional tweaks. DRD’s lower, for example, has a fixed trigger guard that is machined as an integral part of the lower receiver. Besides reduced complexity, I think it could make the receiver a bit stronger. It is probably easier to incorporate the dovetail that aligns the hand guard and upper receiver on a billet receiver. DRD makes their receivers in house on CNC equipment.

I noticed that the DRD upper uses the same threads as a standard upper, so you could use it for a conventional build if you wanted to. They sell the upper in a kit form, to allow you to build your own takedown rifle, as well as complete rifles and complete uppers.

I found that the upper and lower fit together quite well. You sometimes handle AR’s that have a lot of slop, which people correct with rubber wedges that fit in the lower. It is much nicer when that you don’t need that sort of thing, and the DRD receivers won’t.

The 5.56mm barrel is chrome lined and of the so-called “government” profile, which means it lacks the extra cuts ahead of the front sight base used for a grenade launcher. It is thinner under the hand guard than it is in front of the sight to save weight. It has a 1-7 twist, which is preferred by many, as it stabilizes the heavier bullets that have become more and more popular over the years. It is 16 inches long and fitted with what appears to be a standard A2 style flash hider. These are very effective, and when I’ve shot in night classes, seemed to work as well as some of the trendy, expensive models. The barrel is made for DRD by a major defense contractor I can’t name but one you would trust and respect.

The trigger on the DRD is pretty typical AR-15 with some creep, and it breaks at about 7.5 pounds. The various small parts all appear to be of high quality and well finished. No backup sights were provided. DRD says most of their customers prefer to select their own. The controls are for right-handed shooters.

It weighs just under seven pounds on my postal scale, which isn’t bad for a carbine with a 13-inch hand guard. My LMT M4 clone weighs in at 6.8 pounds with the lighter issue hand guards that don’t float the barrel or allow for attachment of accessories.

The bolt carrier group, a very critical component on the AR, is finished in nickel boron– a silver material that makes the parts slippery and longer lasting. It also makes them easier to clean. The extractor, ejector pins, and firing pin retainer pin are the only parts that don’t get this finish, as they are too small for the process. They are Parkerized, instead. The bolt is made of the military-specified Carpenter 158 alloy. The carrier key screws are staked, so they won’t come loose. It has the M16-style carrier, which is a good thing. The M16 carrier weighs more than the semi-auto version, which helps promote slower and more consistent cycling. The assembly is made for DRD by a major AR supplier.

I was pleased that DRD shipped the carbine with the bolt well lubricated. AR’s need lube in the action to function properly. Some argue that coatings like nickel boron don’t need lube, but I remain convinced that it is better to be safe and lube.

The carbine has a mid-length gas system. When AR’s with carbine length barrels first came out, the military wanted them to use the standard M16 bayonet. They were, therefore, fitted with the M16-style, front sight base that incorporates a bayonet lug. To use the standard M16 bayonet, the front sight base has to be rather far back from the muzzle. Since the front sight base also serves as part of the channel for the gas that operates the action, it forced the gas port to be located in what turned out not to be the optimal location. By moving the port about two inches forward with a mid-length system, the speed of operation is reduced, which improves functioning. It helps a lot in preventing the extraction issues that trouble some AR carbines. Most AR carbines on the civilian market use the carbine length gas system rather than the better mid-length one, despite the fact that very few of us even own a bayonet. Adding insult to injury, the civilian ones generally have 16-inch barrels, while the military ones have a 14.5-inch barrel. This means the bayonet doesn’t even fit properly. By relocating the sight base and adding a half inch to the barrel, there would be plenty of room for these civilian carbines to have the better mid-length gas system and properly fit a bayonet, as if that mattered one whit.

The DRD has a standard weight carbine buffer. Some argue that a heavier buffer is better, but the proof is in the function. If it works smoothly all the time and ejects cartridge cases into a relatively neat pile, then life is good and you don’t fret. The use of the mid-length system, in my view, reduces the need for a heavier buffer, which is intended to slow the operation of the action, the same thing the mid-length gas system does.

Overall then, the DRD looks like a pretty typical high-quality AR, save for that takedown lever on the right side of the hand guard, which reveals that there is, indeed, something different about it. The key question for me is “Does this takedown feature compromise the carbine in any way?” My biggest concern was how well the carbine would hold zero when the barrel is removed and reinstalled. My second was reliability and longevity, and the third was accuracy.

My first step was to simply fire a few rounds to give the parts a chance to settle in. The first 60 rounds were fired at a 15-yard indoor range, and there were no problems. I did note that the recoil seemed slightly milder and had a smoother impulse than my almost identically configured carbine with the carbine length gas system. My nine-year-old son mentioned the same thing without any prompting, so it wasn’t just me. I attribute this to the mid-length gas system.

I wanted to keep this barrel clean, since I’m evaluating accuracy and a clean barrel allows for more consistent testing. One perk of this system is that it makes cleaning easier. Since the upper becomes a much smaller part, it is easy to dunk it in solvent for cleaning. The barrel extension is hard to get spotless in a regular AR, but when you can just pop off the barrel, it is easy to get to the lugs and make sure they are perfectly clean. It also occurs to me to look for a small solvent tank that I could drop the barrel in for a good soak before cleaning.

The bolt cleaned easily, something I credit to the nickel boron coating. It is very slick, and dirt has trouble adhering to it. Since it is silver, it is easy to see if it is clean or not. Even the bolt tail came completely clean after applying some carbon solvent and doing a small bit of brushing. I did not have to resort to a scraper.

I decided to check the headspace while I had the bolt a part, as you have to remove the extractor and ejector to do it. It came out just about perfect. The Go gages for both .223 and 5.56 allowed the bolt to close, while the Field .223 and 5.56 maximum ones would not.

My next range trips were to longer facilities– one indoor and the other outdoor. I wanted to see what it could do at 100 yards. Again, there were no functioning issues. Like almost every AR with a 1-7 twist barrel, it liked Federal Gold Medal Match with the Sierra 69 grain MatchKing bullet. I got groups averaging about ¾ inches with a flier spreading each group to 1 to 1 ½ inches. I was using a Leupold 3.5-10x VXIII scope set at 10x. This was the most accurate load in this carbine, and the groups were quite good considering the shooter. Accuracy with an assortment of 55 grain soft point and full metal jacket loads ran from 2-3 inches which is typical for me shooting this style carbine. Remember that a better shooter than I am would cut these group sizes. I also think a match trigger would help.

I really wanted to see how well the rifle retained its zero when the barrel was removed and reinstalled, as there would be a real problem if you couldn’t count on it staying close. I was pleased to see that the zero didn’t change. One of the smallest groups I shot was when I was making this test. I had expected the hits to wander a bit, so I was surprised when it actually put them on top of the prior group shot without messing with the barrel.

Another concern I had about the takedown feature was the barrel nut loosening. A spokesperson for DRD says that it can loosen very slightly if you run a lot of rounds through the carbine, but the hand guard clamp keeps it from loosening enough to affect functioning. This appeared to be the case. I initially checked it between each five round group, and it stayed tight, but after sixty rounds without checking, I was able to snug it very slightly. It never seemed to get any looser than that during my shooting. I didn’t see any problems that arose from this. Something I would be tempted to do, however, is put a wrench in the kit to tighten the nut. It takes the same wrench as the castle nut, and if you wanted to be really fussy, you could include a torque wrench. DRD feels this isn’t necessary, and I have to agree with them despite my inherent fussiness.

Speaking of the castle nut, which holds on the buffer tube, it isn’t staked. DRD says they haven’t had problems with them coming loose and many of their customers prefer being able to take things apart without having to remove the stake.

Another thing I fretted over a bit (worrying is my hobby) was the gas tube on a disassembled barrel. DRD says that yes, they have had people bend them, but it sounded as if it was serious negligence on the users part. AR gas tubes are very rigid, and I decided that with reasonable care, this isn’t a problem.

DRD is going to let me keep this for a bit to do some more testing, so I plan to report back on it in both 5.56 and .300 AAC. I want to see how long it can go without cleaning (I’m hoping the bolt remains as easy to clean) and try a wider variety of ammunition in it, particularly some of the 62-64 grain bonded bullets and 77 grain match loads in .223.

I have enjoyed my experience with this carbine and am looking forward to spending more time with it. If it were mine, I would add ambidextrous controls, as my son and I are left-handed. I would also upgrade the trigger. I am not a great shooter and have found that a really good trigger helps me a lot. I am impressed enough to be looking for funds to buy one of their upper build kits. I think a .300 AAC might be the ticket for my son’s first hog hunting trip, and this would be a good way to build one.

DRD Tactical makes their rifles in Dallas, Georgia. The CDR-15-556 has an MSRP of $2091, but I noticed that you can find them on Gun Broker for around 20% less. The price may seem high, but when you compare it to similarly equipped premium AR’s (and add in the case) the price is in line. You also need to consider that it has billet receivers, which cost more to make. Add in the takedown feature, and you have a pretty good value.

DRD also has a similar line of rifles in .308 Winchester, as well as a new design takedown rifle with a folding stock that they are submitting for consideration to the U.S. Joint and Special Operations Program. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor, Scot Frank Erie

Recipe of the Week: Honey Lemonade, by T.C.

This is a recipe that I got from a local beekeeper for honey lemonade. It is delicious and simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups water

Directions:

  • Mix all together in a blender.
  • Let chill and then enjoy.

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Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Letter Re: Our Struggle With Survivalism

Hi Hugh,

I think it’s necessary to add a #10 to R.B.’s factors for experiencing pessimism:

10. A lot of people out there are waiting for some trigger event that will signal the start of a collapse. In reality, it has already occurred. That event has been the collapse of our government. We no longer have a government that upholds the rule of law. We are seeing epic lawlessness displayed by all of the government institutions. Our representatives and senators are truly ineffective against the growing power of a very, very small group of individuals who have control over very, very large government organizations. The DOJ has been completely corrupted at all levels. The NSA has taken what could be considered the culmination of human technology, the Computer Age, along with the once noble ability to find the “bad guys” out there and has churned it into a cesspool of corrupt political motives, blackmail, extortion, etc., etc., etc., that puts the East German Stasi to shame.

We are seeing one manufactured crisis after another. They are deadly, and someone is spending billions to get this all accomplished. The data coming in from all over the world which debunks the propaganda, the lies, lies, and more lies is constantly attacked by the NSA by scrubbing the data from the Internet and attacking/hacking truth sites. We see data, links, and evidence constantly tampered with by those that control the workings of the Internet. We now know that the high tech companies have been strong armed into engineering back doors into everything electronic for the purpose of NSA access. They CAN get into your computer. The only way to stop them would be to nuke them out of their caverns and have hi-tech companies rebuild the Internet with technology that would never allow this type of single-point control again. I don’t see that happening.

If you take a stand and expose political corruption, your computer is hacked, and your electronic communications are interfered with (trust me on this one). I believe we are at a point of no return. There is no curing the disease this country is infected with. It is too strong, too inaccessible, and too widespread. A country simply cannot exist under these circumstances. You cannot maintain a lawful country under an unlawful government. The citizens are SLOWLY waking up, and I believe this is why we are seeing an increase in events to create an environment where the government can clamp down and why we see a government hell-bent on building a domestic military and staging for an internal war.

THAT, and the ensuing fallout, is what I am preparing for. – P.B.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Here is a very important story for SurvivalBlog readers. A recent California court decision has stripped water rights from well owners, and the management of underground water supplies could now be regulated, if this court case is upheld. Expect meters and limits on water pumping “in the name of fairness” and to “protect this endangered species”. Court ends Private Property Rights: Lawsuit could expand state control of groundwater. – C.K.

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The District of Columbia Loses a key Handgun Control Federal Court Decision Tonight. – H.L.

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Nanny-State of the Week: Wisconsin Towns Fight Repeal of Bow Ban. – G.S.

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Man Says Police Wouldn’t Let Him Help His Dog After They Shot It. – B.B.

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NYPD Officer Loses Badge and Gun After Stomping on a Man’s Head . – T.P.

Notes for Sunday – July 27, 2014

July 27th is the birthday of Captain Samuel Whittemore(born, 1694 – died February 3, 1793.) He was an English-born American farmer and soldier. He was eighty years of age when he became the oldest known colonial combatant in the American War of Independence.

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Today we present another entry for Round 53 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $11,000+ 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. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  5. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  9. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  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. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  12. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

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. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis 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. A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.

Round 53 ends on July 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.

Killing, Dying, and Death – Part I, by M.H.

This article will be on something that is rarely talked about but nevertheless is a fact of life and certainly a major fact in a TEOTWAWKI type situation. It’s the combat mindset of killing, dying, and death. This includes getting a handle on killing bad people; you dying; your wife, husband, or kids dying; and the fear of death. Most importantly, it also includes the fear of killing. It will hopefully shatter all the theories and misconceptions people have from Hollywood, or from “experts” who have never killed or risked being killed. While not particularly thought of as a skill set by most, without a combat mindset and acceptance of the horrors of war, all of the other skills will render themselves useless the moment one is confronted with a horrific event, such as watching one’s spouse get shot in the head.

Everyone is an expert these days. A young teenager I had hired to help me build some fence and I were discussing ballistics and he was arguing for this caliber and that, based on what he had been told by others. I asked him how many of those people had killed people before. He stated that they were all in the military; I repeated my question, to which the answer was “I don’t know”. Remember folks, if your veteran buddy was a grunt, it does not necessarily mean he EVER saw any action, let alone was in close combat.

I will use actual events I have experienced to demonstrate the reality of some of the points I want you to grasp. Are the examples I use the standard all the time? Of course not, but it should make you think!

Death and Dying.

Most people are scared of dying. From young to old, we fear death or the thought of its occurrence in one way or another. Some family of mine never want to talk about what will happen when they die, nor choose to make a will, thereby they are leaving a mess for their children, because they won’t handle this “stressful” topic. My mother-in-law asked me one day about what she should do if somebody came into her house. I told her my opinion. She decided it best to just go out the back door. Then I asked, “What if my kids are spending the night in the other bedroom?” Oh boy, it’s no longer a simple option. Well, that resulted in her ending the conversation with “I don’t want to think about it”. I fear getting burned to death. That has just got to stink. I don’t fear other common forms of death, nor the thought of dying. I do fear what could happen to my family after my death, which was a variable I did not have while in the military. That variable is scary to think about, since a social collapse could result in very unfriendly conditions for my wife and two kiddos after my demise. However, I cannot let that fear hold me back, or it will consume me. I accept that I will die and so will my family. Personally, I believe that if I endure till the end (as stated repeatedly by Jesus) in the way of righteousness, I will go to heaven after death. Regardless of faith or lack thereof, accept the fact of death and focus on making sure it is not in vain.

Having seen charcoaled bodies and bloated bodies laying out in the sun, having shot a man in the head and watched the top of his skull disappear and his brains spill all over the floor, having walked through pools of blood, having seen dead men and women (thankfully no children) laying in the streets of Fallujah, I will tell you it is not a glorious sight as portrayed in the movies. Is it something I sit at home and cry over or even dwell over? No. Though, having seen it and knowing the ignorance of the masses regarding the horrors of war or whatever you may call it, I want you the reader– the man, woman, or teen reading this– to recognize and accept that there will be horror, dead bodies in the streets, mobs that will tear people to pieces, bombs dropping on YOUR house, blowing your little girl to pieces. Oh, no? You say, “I have a bunker and my kids will be safe.” They may; they may not. If not, and your fantasy prepper world goes to hell in a hand basket because you did not have time to get to your bunker, and you watch your child bleed out, you may potentially render yourself utterly useless to the rest of your family, since you’re likely to be so emotionally distraught that you cannot even think, while the post-bombing team is lining up at your door to clean up the survivors. Accept it now. It will not be easy, nor pleasant to think about, but I beg of you not to deny reality and risk more losses by your denial.

Killing.

It seems that some folks have a huge issue with killing people. If you are truly convicted in your mind that you will not kill anyone for whatever reason, it does save you the cost and trouble of weapons. For those who don’t have a specific conviction, remember that life is not to be taken lightly. It is one man fighting for his cause against another fighting for his, however good or evil those causes may be. Yet, if you know in your heart that your cause is just and right, the man who comes against you should not be thought of more than the time it takes to eliminate him. Why? Because you are the good guy, and he is the evil guy. If you want to think about the decisions he made in life that resulted in him being a bad guy, give it a few days, or until hostilities are over before you lend yourself to doubt.

Easy enough you say? No problem killing all the bad guys that come along? You are just going to pretend they are all zombies and never bat an eye. Fair enough, but let’s take it a few steps further: Let’s pretend we are in Nazi-controlled Holland at the moment; the Nazi party has been established and is recruiting young men and women into the ranks in what starts out as harmless roles. A year later these young people are committing atrocities. Your nephew had joined the Nazi party. You know he has knowledge of your family’s beliefs, which will likely result in your death, as well as the deaths of your wife and two other children and the eight Jews you have hiding on your farm. Would you kill your nephew to protect the other lives? What if we replace your nephew with your son? Killing bad guys just got real in your mind, I hope. I’m not going to tell you what I would do, or what you should do, other than that you should think about it, because that type of situation has happened many times in the last 100 years and will happen again someday. Tribes are formed, people band together for both good and evil, and sometimes people you know and care about may join up with the evil.

Getting killed

Everybody is a tough guy while standing around their buddies. Few are tough when their buddies have been killed or the odds are not in their favor anymore. While a grunt in the “Battle of Fallujah”, I saw this repeatedly. Another young Marine was with me on the roof of a mosque one night posting security, and he said “I just want to go home; I am scared.” Not without reason, mind you, the closest the average American has gotten to that level of chaos is fireworks on the 4th of July. Another Marine crapped his pants. Yet, another crawled under a Humvee rather than use his machine gun for suppressive fire. One of our E-4s, a big ‘roided up dude, kicked in a door for me one time; I ran into the dark room with my gun light on to find a man hiding in the far corner with his AK still pointing at the ground. Mine was up and ready, and therefore he lost his life instead of me. After about six rounds rapidly sent into his chest, two other guys started coming up from behind a bed. Do you think the big, tough, smack talking, steroid-using powerlifter came in to help me out? No, he did not. The same Marine Corporal was very tough and aggressive when there was 10 of us shooting at one unlucky insurgent, who had no chance off inflicting damage on him. Another time our squad was split into two teams, each team would take a side of the street, and we just went down the road clearing houses. Seeing my counterpart point man, SS, who has since passed from an IED, getting ready to go into a courtyard, I waited to make sure they got in “okay” before going into my house. SS went through the door, followed by two other Marines, when SS started shooting. I cannot recall if I was heading across the road to assist the moment the shooting started or after I saw the first Marine run out, since it happened rather quickly, but I literally RAN INTO the second Marine as he ran out of the courtyard. SS was fine, even though he was quite irate that the two left him. Also, I was the only one who ran into the courtyard out of the entire squad. I hope I have portrayed the scenario well enough to help the reader grasp what happened. Two trained Marines ran out of a courtyard leaving one of their own! One Marine out of what I recall to be about 10 at the time took immediate action! Those two cowards sure told a lot of good stories when they got stateside though. ( I will come back to this at the end of this article for a side note to the main theme). These are young men who went through a rather specific indoctrination in boot camp, two months of infantry-specific training, followed by unit training before a deployment, complete with live fire, sim rounds, et cetera. So, if you think that just because you went to a Gunsite class and read a few books that you are good to go, you may want to take things a step further. One senior Marine was especially motivating while doing MOUT training with sim rounds on an old Air Force base. I thought that for sure this guy is going to be good to go to war with! The moment we went into Fallujah that all changed. He was a coward, to put it bluntly. What were these Marines lacking? In my opinion, acceptance of death and mental training.

The moral of the story is well summarized in the quote commonly attributed to Heraclitus: “Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn’t be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

Part two of this article will discuss the training to make yourself the fighter!

Three Letters Re: Prepping with an Unsupportive Spouse

Hugh,

I appreciate this discussion, but it also frustrates me, because the head of my household thinks preparing beyond a few day’s worth is all hype and hysteria. I have put up a number of provisions but am unable to make many of the prudent improvements to our home for physical and energy security. I take my vows seriously, but this tears at me because I know we will likely suffer needlessly when, not if, it all comes apart. (Money is not an issue for us.) I would truly appreciate your wisdom on this “opposite” issue that I’ve never seen addressed. – Mrs Southern AZ

o o o

Dear S.R.

In Genesis 20 (Abimelech in Gerar) Abraham asked his wife to say she was his sister and allowed her to wind up in a harem. God protected her from the man of the harem, and she was never touched by him. She is commended in 1 Peter 3:6. So how does the lesson here apply to modern times? When a husband and wife are in disagreement on an issue and she feels he is wrong (especially if he really is) I call that situation a “Sarah’s Harem.” My husband and I have the blessing of us both being Christians and preppers. He is a good man and a good husband. My “Sarah’s Harem” was financial. I have always been a debt-averse saver. My husband was not. Our start into credit card debt was small and “floatable.” Eventually, we had a large credit card debt and a mortgage. We were usually in disagreement on how our money should be handled. I made sure he knew where I stood on each purchase and on debt in general (trying hard not to nag) and left the decisions in his hands, right or wrong. Being in debt was stressful to me, and seeing it grow with no end in sight was terrifying to me. I strove to show him respect (Eph. 5:33) and to be submissive (Eph. 5, 1 Pet. 3, Col. 3); but I didn’t take it sitting down. I went to my knees and took it to my heavenly Father. Being in submission to and respecting my husband in the financial area were difficult, and the only way I succeeded was through prayer and fasting. God showed me many of my own flaws, and I worked on those as he did. Eventually, a coworker of my husband took a financial class and began working his way out of debt. My husband signed up for one also. We are now debt free, and he is committed to staying that way. God did a work in both of us during our 15 year debt journey. I recommend two books. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs; I personally found this book to be very helpful. The other is Beloved Unbeliever by Jo Berry; I haven’t read it, but formerly “unequally yoked” (now equally) women I have known have spoken very highly of it.

o o o

Dear HJL,

I can’t say I have an unsupportive spouse, since I don’t have any spouse, but I’ve been prepping on a poverty line budget for years. I have this to offer: see if your husband would support some of the more traditional feminine hobbies. Don’t say they are for prepping; instead say they are for helping out the household budget. Mending would be my first choice. Then, look at sewing your own clothes or knitting your family’s sweaters. You are learning a skill that will be in limited supply after SHTF. You can grow your own vegetables. Do you live in a Homeowners Association? You can still learn to garden; tuck a few decorative veggies into your landscape. You will be learning about soil, weather, pests, et cetera. Many fruit trees bloom in beautiful profusion in the spring and would be acceptable to your HOA. If you’re not in an HOA, maybe the kids would like a pet rabbit. 4H and FFA teach the kids a lot of skills they can pass on to you. If you can afford the time away from home, volunteer at Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together. They will teach you the skills you are asking about. Learn, learn, learn. Reading is free. Yes, it’s best to have hard copies, but if your husband complains about space, then get books on DVDs with all the skills you can ask for. Watch YouTube, too. There are thousands of how-to videos. The knowledge will pay off eventually. Finally, follow Mrs. Latimer’s advice– pray for him and praise him. Be the wife he wants you to be. I wouldn’t hide any of the above, and I certainly wouldn’t let it interfere with the time he expects you to devote to him and your family.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Parched West is using up underground water: Study points to grave implications for Western U.S. water supply. – H.L.

This is a major concern for those prepping in the west. With many city and agricultural wells pulling water from over 1000ft deep, how will your well hold up in the long run if it is only the average 250ft deep? Spend some time studying water at the county extension office to know how you will fare.

o o o

No more Rem Oil: Gun Lubricant Corrosion Tests. – M.M.

I recognize that this test was about commercial lubricant/protectors, but I feel that there was a glaring omission: Ed’s Red Homebrew cleaner/lubricant, or perhaps a modern synthetic like mobile 1.

o o o

The End Of Immigration Enforcement In America. – B.B.

o o o

Boston Top Cop: City Residents Do Not ‘Need’ to Own Shotguns, Rifles – J.C.

o o o

Doctor shoots armed patient in Philly hospital: A gun rights case is born (+video). – G.G.

Notes for Saturday – July 26, 2014

Today we present another entry for Round 53 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $11,000+ 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. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  5. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  7. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  9. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  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. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  12. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

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. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis 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. A MURS Dakota Alert Base Station Kit with a retail value of $240 from JRH Enterprises,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.

Round 53 ends on July 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.