Letter Re: Advice on Retreat Locales–Former Microwave Sites?

Dear Mr. & Mrs Rawles,
I want to thank both of you for what you are doing and for SurvivalBlog.com. I’m a 55 year old US-born male currently living in Mexico. I came back here a little over a year ago thinking that I would be here ’til further notice. The last 12 months have changed that and for a number of reasons, the majority of which are how things are changing here, have me seriously considering either moving back to the US or much further south.
Survival and self sufficiency are qualities I admire and know a little about. I’ve crossed both the Atlantic and the Pacific on my own and others’ boats, small to medium sized sailboats. At sea as in the wilderness, you d better prepare because help can be a long way off. For that matter you d better prepare anywhere you live, ocean, … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Survivalism and Personality Types–Pessimists and Optimists

Dear James:
Here is a link to an outstanding essay that I’m sure you and your wife will enjoy. It is a perfect corollary to your wife’s essay. Print it out and pass it around to your friends.
Here is the host site in case you are interested: http://www.textfiles.com/ Best Regards, – Donald


There is another kind of personality-at least in these parts: people who think it’s a sin to prepare. They think God will provide for their needs (Matt.6). When the subject comes up-the only thing that I can counter with, is that I know deep down, that I’m supposed to be getting ready for something and point to the wise and foolish virgins parable (Matt 25). I don’t argue when it comes to person’s faith. – Lynne B.

Letter Re: Laser Pointer Pistol Sights Versus Tritium Sights

Shalom Jim:
Recently I’ve been doing some research on laser sighting systems (primarily for pistols). Two of the companies I have looked at are Crimson Trace and LaserMax.
1.) Do you like or recommend laser sights for pistols? If so, which is your favorite company or system?

2.) How do laser sights compare to tritium sights? Are there any significant advantages to either?

BTW I am planning on attending an Appleseed shoot sponsored by the RWVA in March of ’07. Have you ever attended one of these shoots? What is your opinion?
Thanx for your most excellent input. – Dr. Sidney Zweibel

JWR Replies: I do not recommend laser pointer “sights”–aside for a few very specialized applications, such as nighttime pest shooting and nighttime building entry/clearing. (The latter is not usually a concern for preppers like us.) Most laser pointer sights are essentially useless in … Continue reading

From #1 Son: Farm Bill Comment Deadline

Today is the last day before the comment period form the Farm Bill closes. Please put your comments, particularly anti-NAIS ones, in right away! Something like this would probably be good:

I am in opposition to the National Animal Identification System. It should not be forced on small farms and individuals, just to create more profits for large companies. If there is to be any NAIS-like program, it should be a truly voluntary system. Currently it is worded to allow for changes if necessary, and its goals include 100% participation. It would be “necessary” to make the system mandatory to achieve these goals. I request that the NAIS be stopped and have its funding removed until it can be made clear that the National Animal Identification System is truly voluntary, and will remain so, in perpetuity.

This is a great oppurtunity to contact the people that are making … Continue reading

Letter Re: Doubling Up on a SurvivalBlog 10 Cent Challenge Subscription

I’m enjoying the blog so much that I want to double my contribution. How would I do that? An additional PayPal subscription? I wish that more folks would join on.
Best Regards, – MP in Seattle

JWR Replies: I’m glad to hear that you find the blog useful and informative. A double subscription would be greatly appreciated, but that would be above and beyond the call of duty. The easiest method is simply to start a second subscription, via the link at our Ten Cent Challenge page. A second subscription won’t cause any paperwork confusion, since I don’t send out any renewal reminders. (The $3 monthly PayPal subscription system is set up on a “subscribed until cancelled” basis.)

Subscriptions are of course entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted. Your offer of two subscriptions is above and beyond my expectations. Many thanks for the extra support.
Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

“John Adams” mentioned this: For those of you with high speed Internet connections: Basic Urban Skills Training: Concealment Does Not Equal Cover. (A very interesting 20 minute USMC training film showing extensive live fire building penetration tests, produced by Dahlgren Laboratories.)

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Rob at MURS Radios reports: “Response to the $98 SurvivalBlog.com MURS Radio [pair of handheld transceivers] special has been terrific! I sold out 25 pairs in one day but I am happy to report that I was able to negotiate the same discount ($98 a pair and free shipping) on another batch of these radios. These radios will be available on or about January 5, 2007 and I am accepting pre-orders for these radios now (see the update on my SurvivalBlog.com special web page).”

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Yorie in Pennsylvania mentioned this piece from the Hebrew language a7.orgContinue reading

Two Letters Re: Recommended Versatile Dog Breeds for Retreat Security

One of the biggest problems with the largest dog breeds is that they don’t live very long. We have three Irish Wolfhounds, all males, they are great dogs, very friendly and outgoing. Not good guard dogs, I think, but their size will scare most people. One of them would make a great hunter if we let him (we live in the city). However, the average life expectancy of an Irish Wolfhound is 6.5 years, and this is the same for Great Danes, Mastiffs etc. The belief is that their hearts just give out, since they have been bred to large for a dogs heart to support. So one of the problems would be that when you finally got them trained, and they are stubborn, you would only have a couple of years before you would have to start over.

They don’t eat as much as you would expect, … Continue reading

Letter Re: Minimum Safe Distance From The Big City for Retreat Locales

Mr. Rawles,
If one takes the Rawles Ranch criteria for minimum safe distance from large metropolitan areas – 400 miles from an area of 1 million or more, then one has eliminated all of the west except Montana north of Helena and North Dakota west of Bismarck (With a small piece of South Dakota northwest of Pierre too). Indeed, all of Idaho (the state mentioned in your novel “Patriots”) is excluded by circles drawn on Seattle and Salt Lake. My area of interest (when I’ve paid off the land and can afford to move) in the Big Horn area of Wyoming is excluded by the circle on Denver. Most points south are excluded by circles centered on Phoenix and Fort Worth. (I haven’t even considered the impact of Juarez.)
Even 300 mile circles on cities of 1 million or more only adds small parts … Continue reading

Letter Re: Manpower Requirements for Defending a Retreat in a Worst Case, and the Jealous Neighbor Factor


The “Mr. and Mrs. Oscar” profile was most interesting. For a lot of us, probably the epitome of “If I had the money, my retreat would be…” On the downside, I would be concerned with:

1. The problem of defending/patrolling the property. A quarter section translates to a full mile of frontier. In a full SHTF situation, I’d want a trustworthy, commo equipped, well-armed loyal soul every 100 yards or so. If those folks put in 12 hour shifts, you’d need about 35 hands for perimeter security. That doesn’t take into account the roving patrols on the interior of the compound, nor the rapid response fire team(s).

2. The “jealous neighbor” factor. Human nature being what it is, you can bet that there’s a few locals who figure that when the balloon goes up, “Those rich people with that big house should have grub to spare.”

3. … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

The Werewolf, our correspondent in Brazil, noticed an Amazon Shorts downloadable e-book “Peak Oil and Personal Preparation for It” by Steven Woeste available for just 49 cents.

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The Rude Awakening notes that pre-1983 U.S. pennies “contain about 3 grams of copper and about .1 grams of zinc. Current metallic value: 2.4 cents per penny.” Post-1982 pennies, which contain almost no copper whatsoever (they are just copper flashed zinc tokens), are “rapidly approaching metallic parity, thanks to the soaring price of zinc. These later pennies contain 97.6% zinc and 2.4% copper. Current metallic value: .89 cents per penny.” OBTW, don’t miss the interesting thread over at The Claire Files on this same topic.

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Christopher Laird of PrudentSquirrel.com has a great piece titled: “USD – 2007 A Final Year?” posted over at the Gold-Eagle site.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Western values are superior to all others. Why? The indispensable achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. It’s the idea that individuals have certain inalienable rights and individuals do not exist to serve government but governments exist to protect these inalienable rights. It took until the 17th century for that idea to arrive on the scene and mostly through the works of English philosophers such as John Locke and David Hume. While Western values are superior to all others, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values. It’s no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person. There’s an indisputable positive relationship between liberty and standards of living. Western values are by no means secure. They’re under … Continue reading