The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “JWR”.  Today, we focus on the Yellow Vest Protests.

My First Ever “At The Ranch” F2F Interview

A few months back, I agreed to a podcast interview by Eugene Robinson of Ozy Confidential. Since I’ve known Eugene for 30 years and genuinely trust him, he was the first journalist that I’ve ever invited to conduct a face-to-face interview with me here at the Rawles Ranch. For OPSEC reasons, the interview is of course audio only. The photos that he posted in the accompanying article were cropped tightly, by prior agreement, for OPSEC reasons. Oh, and for the record: The photo of Eugene shooting a short-barreled AR off my back porch: That is a 100% legal, BATF-approved AR pistol. It is equipped with an ATF-approved Maxin CQB arm brace. Also: No chickens were harmed in that target shooting session. Although a few cows and horses–that were in a closer pasture than usual–were briefly frightened and inconvenienced.

Yellow Vest Protests in Paris

I took a couple of hours on Saturday to watch a live feed of the Mouvement des gilets jaunes (Yellow Vests) protests in Paris, France. I would estimate the crowd at 30,000+ people. Mostly middle class Blancs, but a scattering of Noirs et Arabes. The crowd had both young and old. But I only saw a couple of baby strollers. One of those moms put her toddler in a tiny yellow vest. A nice touch. Estimated ratio of protestors to police: About 50-to-1.

These protests are now in their 14th successive week. They occur like clockwork on Saturdays–since the protestors are largely employed, productive people who don’t have their weekdays free for playing cat and mouse with the gendarmes.

This has evolved into its own stylized, and fairly civil Kabuki Theater: The police line up in full riot gear, and start launching CS grenades whenever a crowd approaches. On this particular Saturday, the winds were not favorable, and they ended up tear-gassing themselves. I saw one protestor hobbling after being hit in the leg by a launched tear gas grenade. Ouch!

I noticed that the few young men who were breaking up paving stones and chucking the shards at the police were all wearing black hoodies (and about half wearing yellow vests over those sweatshirts). Many of them appeared to be of Arab descent. (Agent provocateurs?)

A Side Note:  If you are wondering where people obtained their thousands of matching-color vests: Every French motorist is required by law to purchase and carry two vests in their car, or otherwise face a fine. (Part of the nationally mandated annual car inspection.) This is the Law of Unintended Consequences, writ large.

Je Suis Désolé Mais Mon Observation: I believe that the French protestors would have made a more immediate and productive change in reversing government’s heavy taxes if everyone attending would have brought themselves both a yellow vest and a FAMAS.

CFAPA Free Press Credentials Site Updated

With the help of my #1 Son, we’ve just updated one of our spin-off sites. It is the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA) web site. There, we offer absolutely free press credentials to any literate adult citizen. Part of this site update was linking to a number of instructional videos for Citizen Journalists. They are very enlightening to watch.

Kettler Case Challenge to the NFA

Video: GOA Funds Challenge to the NFA with Kettler Case.

A Lost Skill

H.L. suggested this at Mankind Has Lost the Art of Map Reading, Says the Man Who Invented GPS.  Here is a quotation:

“The inventor of GPS has lamented that people are unable to read maps because they are now ‘too dependent’ on using their smartphones or sat-nav devices.

Bradford Parkinson, the pioneer inventor of the navigation system relied upon by billions of people, said that he ‘worries’ about what impact its failure could have.

Professor Parkinson received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in London last night for his key role in developing the Global Positioning System or GPS, along with the rest of his team: Professor James Spilker, Jr, Hugo Fruehauf, and Richard Schwartz.”


You can send your news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. I can verify that GPS point. A friend of my son is an over the road truck driver and occasionally rides shotgun for new CDL trainees. He said they could not read a Rand McNally map if their life depended on it. And then there was that news article a while back where the GPS told the driver to turn and he wound up on a Florida beach. As I recall it cost about $5000 to get that 18 wheeler out of the sand.

  2. There is nothing wrong with using a GPS, but you must understand map coordinates. People confuse the term GPS which only gives you your position with a bunch of Bogus direction programs, some of them even causing deaths of people who rely on them. I have used MapQuest and a few others and they can definitely get you into some real trouble or at least cause you heart burn. I do not know of any “how to read a map Programs” but I am sure they are out there. This lack of rudimentary knowledge is a sad thing in our society. I am amazed that our government has quite publishing the USGS maps that were a mainstay of those of us that travel in the back country. The wealth of information on them has been life saving for many with their locations of water sources and the topographic information. Why is there always plenty of government money for failed programs, but never enough for actual programs that work? We might want to think about the high schools spending a few hours teaching basic map reading instead of feel good issues. For me my safe space is knowing where I am and how to get to where I want to be without relying on questionable directions. I have decided to give my grandkids a few lessons in map reading as well as how and when to read a compass. Perhaps they will save their life some day.

    1. I agree, Joe. As a back country archery elk hunter, I have more than once erroneously relied on a GPS and once found myself literally 7 miles from where I needed to be. That was stubbornness on my part. I knew from the lay of the land that the GPS was wrong but I decided to follow it to the waypoint (Camp) just out of curiosity as to where I would end up. I always carry topo maps and a compass as well as a GPS. A straight line compass reading on the GPS doesn’t recognize canyons or other land impediments that must be traversed, either. I recognize that technology has a part to play in outdoor activities, and I guess I’m just too old school to keep updating to the latest and greatest. Keep it simple and go primitive.

  3. A few yrs back, before my grandson could afford his own smart phone, he printed out directions to his destination from the home computer.

    When he was ready to return home, he called and asked for directions, saying he forgot to print out the return directions from the computer.

    I know, I know. It was a teachable moment.

    Thankfully, he has matured and thinks for himself better now 🙂

  4. As regards to map reading, When traveling about with no apparent direction in the great American West the highlight of the day was a look at the map over morning coffee and figurin’ where the days adventures would lead. Sometimes while on the move I had to resort to a “Give me that D### Map!” I can’t wait to get on the road again.

  5. RE: yellow vests
    I have always preferred ballots over bullets, and the Bible to the bayonet, but I’m afraid that if we (Americans) are pushed to far, it will not be yellow vests here, but black rifles.

  6. Inability to read maps is not at all new.

    I learned to read topo maps as a Boy Scout. I went through Basic Training at Fort Bliss (El Paso) in 1954. We had a night exercise; topo map, compass and flashlight. Eight squads. Go to Point A, then Point B and then finish at Point C.

    I thought that it was very easy. Howsomever, we had seven squads stumbling around the desert all night long, lost as Hogan’s goat.

  7. It continually amazes me how pathetic people are on reading maps and directions, especially commercial drivers. Some cannot even put on chains in the winter, cause they don’t know how, and are traveling over snowbound passes. Years ago, when I was still driving commercial, I had to back a truck up because the driver didn’t know how, yet had the commercial license, and yes he was an illegal alien in kalifornica. Also worked with a guy that had the commercial license that could not drive a standard transmission. Yeah, how did they even get a license is beyond my thought process. Finally quit keeping track after 3.5 million. For those of you distance challenged, thats 7-1/2 times to the moon and back….. And yet I have little trouble reading GPS or maps….. Which way is North again?

  8. I cannot understand how anyone could not read a map, assuming of course that they can 1) read, 2) count, and 3) know what North is.

    All the squiggly lines are numbered or named… I just don’t get it.

    Quad maps are a different animal, and I can understand the need for some training, but road maps???

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