Notes from JWR:

Please continue keep all of the folks in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and surrounding states in your prayers! Please donate generously to your local church relief agency or to the American Red Cross. Charity is our Christian duty!

You can use the current Hurricane Katrina situation to emphasize to your relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers just how fragile our society is. Do your best to convince them that it is prudent to stock up. I’d appreciate it if you could also tell them about SurvivalBlog.

Hurricane Katrina Update (SAs: Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Relief, Lessons from Katrina)

Things have gone from bad to worse on the Gulf Coast. Here are some tidbits that were phoned to me on Wednesday by a regular SurvivalBlog reader who is currently in close proximity to New Orleans. (He cannot currently send e-mail.):

1.) In New Orleans, looters are shooting at police stations, in one instance with a semi-auto AK-47. The looting is completely out of hand, and spreading.

2.) Jefferson Parish Louisiana Sheriff Harry Lee has issued a “shoot to kill” order.

3.) At the Super Dome (cum Relocation Center) there have been countless armed robberies, suicides, rapes, and three murders in the past 72 hours. Conditions are intolerable there (with no running water and no sanitation, so it has been ordered evacuated. Several thousand Super Dome evacuees are being bussed/trucked to the Houston Astro Dome. At least the electricity is working there…

4.) The level of the 13th Street has now essentially equalized with Lake Ponchartrain. Huge 7,000 pound sand bags are being lowered from Chinook helicopters into the levee breaches, but no success yet.

5.) New Orleans residents are caravanning in large numbers to Baton Rogue, and are now putting a tremendous stress on that city.

6.) A local radio reporter that was airlifted to safety from a badly flooded region reported that he saw “hundreds of bodies” floating the water when his helicopter was en route.

7.) Locals in have cleared the roads of fallen trees in many areas around New Orleans (using chainsaws), but no normal commerce has resumed.

7.) All of the local television stations are off the air.

Letter from B.D.B. in Baton Rouge

Well, I was lucky enough to be outside the edge of Katrina’s rampage here in Baton Rouge. I can attest that is was no picnic here and the devastation is widespread and intense.

Beginning on Sunday morning refugees came pouring into town fleeing New Orleans and by mid-day traffic westbound on I-10 was crawling. People were swarming the stores buying supplies and fuel. Gasoline disappeared very quickly but diesel fuel seemed readily available (no surprise there.) Many people were buying useless supplies though, things such as dairy products, meats, vegetables, and such. There was a distinct tension and sense of near panic in the shopping centers in this area. As the day progressed, the clouds started picking up and the wind began blowing, and refugees clogged the major roadways. Many of them had no plan of action; they were just driving west away from the storm but had no plans on where they would go or stay. Many of them had no clue that there were other roads besides the interstate or other major highways.

As of today, there are at least 100,000 refugees in shelters here in Baton Rouge, and probably that many staying with friends and family here in town. There are refugees in every other southern city within driving distance of the coast. Anywhere within say 300 miles of the affected area will have large numbers of refugees–some with with nothing but the clothes on their backs–and nothing to return home to. We have power and water here, but communications channels are choked. Fuel is in short supply but holding out. There is a definite tension in the air, and it’s going to happen soon…refugees will get frustrated and hungry to the point that they may riot or begin looting. There is widespread looting and lawlessness in affected areas of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Looters are firing on the police, police officers trying to help them are getting hit, helicopters and planes are coming under small arms fire. Areas of New Orleans are now under martial law and I’m fully expecting that case to be expanded to other areas such as Gulfport and Biloxi. This disaster will directly impact not only our local economy, but the economy of the rest of the nation. Oil production is shut down not only offshore, but in the refineries as well; transportation systems are damaged; businesses are under water and their employees are out of a job for an unknown duration; the Ports of New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile are not functional; and the list goes on. If this isn’t a SHTF situation, I don’t know what is.

From John & Abigail Adams in Ohio

Here is a quick update on the gasoline and diesel fuel supply situation in Ohio. As I write this there are 15 oil refineries down in the US, either from storm damage or
lack of power. There are 3 pipelines down due to lack of power, limiting the flow of crude oil to the north. One refinery in Canton, Ohio, our main supplier of gasoline and diesel fuel in this area, has been closed since Monday, because there was no crude oil to refine.

Abigail and I work for a company that is a bulk supplier of gasoline and diesel fuel. Today (8/31) we are out of "On road" diesel fuel and have feet of "off road" diesel fuel in our tank. I have had several semi loads on order since Tuesday morning, but none have been delivered. We are rationing out the remaining product, as our supplier has no idea when he will be able to deliver us any product. I have contacted other suppliers and received the same answer

The industry “word” is that supply interruptions can be expected to last from one to six weeks. If this continues for more than a few days then stations will be running dry.

Our cost on 87-octane gasoline today is in excess of $3.00 per gallon. I do not want to raise a panic here; however I think your readers should be making whatever arrangements they can to get their tanks topped off.

This may not, and should not last very long, and I certainly hope not, but one thing is for certain…for now the fertilizer has struck the ventilation system.

As always if there are any questions feel free to send them our way. – John & Abigail Adams.

Letter From B.H. in Spokane

I’m a big fan–I have read your novel (Patriots) several times and consider it vital to every home library. I have extensive family in the south. I gave a copy of your book to my cousin T. in Pensacola. They have weathered the last two hurricanes and have come out on the financial up side-they specialize in commercial garage doors. They’ve made a killing after each storm. They have several generators and months of MRE’s for employees, family and neighbors. They used swimming pool water to flush toilets after Ivan.

I also have two cousins in central Mississippi. No word yet but they are both armed well and quite survival minded. One manages a Wal-Mart Supercenter-if it’s still there and stocked. I’ll get some intel on central Mississippi later today.

My father is in Birmingham and they are running out of diesel fuel. He is a long haul driver who has been summoned to Huntsville, Alabama because their power is down and a large food distribution center is out. They need him to get there ASAP so they can transfer frozen food to Nashville before it thaws and spoils. Power is out intermittently over most of Alabama and parts of North Georgia. Cell phones are also sporadic.

We have cousins in Louisiana who have evacuated to Kalifornia to be with family. One cousin is a school counselor-word is no school until after Thanksgiving, if they are lucky. One cousin returned home to Eastern Louisiana and the flood waters had receded but their Acura was gone-floated away. My great aunt’s small town is still under water-a total loss.

Just spoke to my cousin in Madison, Mississippi. Power is back on and phones are down. Cell phone on but some towers are down. Things getting back to normal pretty quickly- he called me from work. Most of the damage is downed trees and every ‘good ol boy’ with a chain saw got busy as soon as the storm passed. But the coast line is a completely different story. No access or economy for months.

As if you needed any more proof what you wrote in Patriots is correct, consider these snippets from Fox News:

New Orleans’ homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, said looters were breaking into stores all over town and stealing guns.
He said there are gangs of armed men moving around the city. At one point, officers stranded on the roof of a hotel were
fired at by criminals on the street. The Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart had been cleaned out by looters.
Authorities said an officer was shot in the head and a looter was wounded in a shootout. The officer was expected to

The Schumer has hit the fan in the South. – B.H. in Spokane

Letter Re: The Texas City, Texas Port Explosion in 1947

I have read you blog for a couple of weeks now. Since shortly after you started it, I believe. In any case I do enjoy it. I noticed that you listed some Natural gas explosions from the past. There was a large explosion of another sort in 1947 in Texas City, Texas. It was caused by a fire on a ship filled with Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer. It killed almost 600 people and pretty much leveled the town. It is an interesting story and shows just how devastating even accidents can be, let alone deliberate acts!

Thanks for keeping us all on our toes. – T.P

Letter From G.G. In Mississippi

The Mississippi Militia just went to Defcon 2. I am from the devastated area in South Mississippi. I am E&Eing back there tomorrow to the house. I have been preaching and preaching about TSHTF scenarios and using your book as the guide.

The real story has not been told. Hancock County still has not been surveyed and bodies are in trees. This will surpass 9/11 in death toll. Pray and prepare. We will keep up the good fight. Pray for us! – G.G.

Letter From The Army Aviator Re: Polar Pure (Iodine Crystals) Water Purification Bottles

I checked and REI was cheapest @ $10.50 ea. Called my local REI and they had none, but they checked and found that they had 244 in their one and only distribution center. They quoted two weeks for delivery. I ordered my six. But assuming perhaps 2 in stock at each store [JWR adds: Unlikely, given recent events] that’s less than 500 available nationwide. That’s less than 1 for every 12 SurvivalBlog readers… I wonder which future ransacked city their distribution center is in? Hope it wasn’t New Orleans. Kind of unsettling how some things are really pretty scarce already.

Oh, I also have a Product Report: The MSR Chlorine Maker is GREAT as long as you have 6 VDC or a good supply of 3 volt lithium batteries. It came to mind while thinking of “Mr. Coffee” in Costa Rica. The MSR MIOX Water Purifier

Still the “old reliable” is what I have the most faith in, since I’ve used one since 1976 and that is: The Katadyn Pocket Filter with Output Hose
Regards, – The Army Aviator

Letter From “F1” Re: A Great Source for Survival and Self-Sufficiency Tools

Hi Jim and Memsahib:
Have you ever wished you could go back in time to a hardware store circa the late Forties, early Fifties? Imagine finding almost any style of kerosene or oil lamp including Aladdin (creates 60 watts of light using either kerosene or lamp oil) and the fuel for the lamps sold right in the store! Looking for hand powered tools? There are here! Crosscut saws? Yep, they got them. What about timber framing, logsmithing and wood carving tools? Look no further. Looking for self-sufficient dairy supplies? Come and get them! There are many garden tools to choose from too. Some tools you may never heard of before. Have you planned gas for mowing the lawn at the retreat? Forget it! Use one of those old fashion push mowers, except this one is brand new! Exercise and save fuel at the same time. When I was a kid, I liked to watch the grass fly as I mowed the lawn using one of these babies. Maybe yours will too. They have many other hand tools for lawn care available. Wouldn’t be nice to have highly efficient electric washing machines and refrigerators? There are here too. Imagine having an old fashion kitchen fully supplied just like great grandma’s. Everything you need to make it happen is here. Looking for wood heating stoves? There are several to choose from. Wondering what toys the children can play with when there is no electricity? Here are some old fashion ones that will bring back memories. Have you thought of a composting toilet? Read about the benefits and you might purchase one. There are about 14 types to choose from including a 1 pint flusher. Wondering which propane stove and or refrigerator to purchase? Check out what the Amish use for possibilities. If you are planning your retreat with antique flare, check out Heartland and Elmira kitchen appliances. They are awesome! There are books on every subject. Some are blacksmithing, canning, herbs used by the Amish, the secrets of starting a homestead or farm and the list goes on and on. If you are looking for something for self-sufficient living, chances are you will find it. No matter where you live it can be shipped right to your door. International orders are a specialty. There are so many items not listed many people plan a stop at the store while vacationing. This is a must check out Web site and store for all interested in self-sufficiency. I have made three trips and I am going back again! A scenic vacation can be planned by traveling the Old Lincoln Highway (US Route 250) to the store. It is in Kidron, Ohio. The store? Lehman’s -Products for Simple, Self-Sufficient Living – F1

JWR’s Reply: I have been doing business with Lehman’s for 20+ years. They have a sterling reputation. They are our kind of people. OBTW, they should be advertising here! (Hint, hint.)

Letter Re: SKS Rifle Advice and 7.62×39 Ballistics

Dear James:
I have read in your book and in the blog site that you do not recommend the .223 round for a battle rifle. What do you think about the effectiveness of the 7.62 X 39 cartridge? I own an SKS and would like your opinion on the 7.62 compared to the .223 and also the .308. Also what is your opinion of the SKS as a battle rifle? As always, I appreciate your valued input. – Dr. Sidney Zweibel, Columbia P&S

JWR’s Reply: Ballistically, the Soviet 7.62×39 (the standard cartridge for the SKS, AK-47, and clones) is almost identical to .30-30 Winchester. So it is better than .30 Carbine or .223, but not by very much. .308 Winchester is in whole ‘nother class, ballistically. I only recommend SKS rifles as an interim rifle for someone that is on a very tight budget. The biggest limitation of the standard SKS is its top-loaded 10 round (stripper clip filled) fixed magazine. If you opt for an SKS then you should take some extra time shopping around to find one of the thumbhole stock models that were imported in the late 1980s–these are the SKS variants that use standard detachable 30 round AK-47 magazines. These are scarce but can sometimes be found (used) for around $225 to $275.

If you can afford a .308–even just a $300 to $400 CETME, then you should forget about getting a SKS or other semi-auto chambered in 7.62×39! remember that .308 Winchester / 7.62 mm NATO is a flat shooting man killer with 500+ meter range. In comparison, 7.62×39 is a barely capable man stopper with a rainbow trajectory and an effective range of only about 250 meters. For anyone that can afford $600 to $2,000 for their MBR, see my previous blog posts about FALs and L1A1s. Those are my preferred tools for serious social work.

Letter Re: MotoMail for Deployed Service Members

Hello sir. My name is John [Surname deleted for OPSEC], and I’m an 0351 in the U.S. Marine Corps. I’m about to deploy with [unit designation deleted for OPSEC] to Ar Ramadi, and I wanted to open a line of communication before going. I read Patriots several years ago, and it truly changed my life. I only recently became aware of your blog, and having a lot of training [going on] and limited access to the Internet I was unable to contact you. However, I do wish to thank you. It introduced me to an entirely new mindset, and has helped shape my plans for the future.

I have a small favor to ask. If you feel it is unreasonable please don’t feel bad about refusing. There is a free service called MotoMail that allows emails sent to the troops to be printed in-country and delivered in a sealed, bank type envelope within 24-to-48 hours. I would be greatly obliged if you could send periodic updates of your blog to me in this fashion. I’ll have very limited computer usage time over there, and I intend to spend as much of this as humanly possible communicating with my wife. If you could send me your blog I wouldn’t be tempted to spend time looking at it. 🙂 The website for this is Any letters over 1K words will merely arrive in multiple envelopes.

Thank you again, and I’ll be writing you from in-country. – John

Hurricane Katrina Update:

You’ve all read the news stories, so I’ll be brief: Things are very Schumeresque in New Orleans and Biloxi. The damage is much more severe than was experienced with Hurricane Camille back in 1969. Perhaps as many as one million people will become refugees. The Lake Pontchartrain levee breach (currently 200 feet wide) may mean that there will be 20+ feet of water in much of Nah-Lens. Hopefully the breach can be repaired before that happens. There won’t be a full death count for several weeks. One official said that the death toll will be “much higher than Camille” (which claimed 200 lives.)

As of Monday night, more than 37,000 people were in American Red Cross shelters, and that number is rising as people are plucked off their rooftops. Nearly 5 million people, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are without utility power, and power won’t be restored in some areas for more than a month. (Hmmm…. I guess its time to crank up those generators that people “wasted” their money on in anticipation of Y2K.)

Most of the oil refineries and LNG terminals on the Gulf Coast are offline, so some pundits are predicting gasoline prices to spike over $3.00 per gallon. For some detailed news stories, see World Net Daily

There is currently no effective law enforcement and hence beau coup looting, despite the fact that there is hip-deep water to wade through to get to most stores. Even a few police officers were seen engaged in looting. Officials are predicting a “worst case” situation vis-a-vis sanitation. Gee, this situation sounds like something out of one of those paranoid whacko survivalist novels.

Apparently many families were trapped in their attics and had to chop their way out to their roofs with axes. One clever gent didn’t have an axe but did have a shotgun, so he blasted his way out of his attic. (I award him bonus points for creativity.)

Again, I’d appreciate hearing some brief first hand accounts from SurvivalBlog readers that are in the affected area.

Please continue keep all of the folks in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and surrounding states in your prayers!

National Forest Inholdings–Another Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale

Like being inside a tribal reservation, owning land that is within a National Forest is another problem. An “inholder” of property within a National Forest or other government land may find himself subject to seasonal road restrictions. “De-roading” contracts started with the Clinton administration, but sadly the process is continuing. There might also be restrictions on land use, agriculture, pasturing, hunting, shooting and so forth. My recommendation is to avoid buying land that inside of a National Forest, or that is in vulnerable a strip of land between National Forest tracts–land that might be designated a "wildlife corridor" and hence either seized un Eminent Domain, or made subject to restrictions.

Tomorrow’s Terrorism Headlines

The following piece of fiction that I penned is just one of example of what might happen sometime in the near future:

At 8:15 A.M. on May 1st, an 18-wheel tractor/trailer backed up to one of the hundreds of roll-up doors at the primary Wal-Mart merchandise distribution center in Benton, Arkansas. (It is the largest of Wal-Mart’s 40 distribution centers.) On the trailer was a typical 53-foot long steel transoceanic shipping “continental express” (CONEX) container. It arrived scarcely unnoticed because hundreds of them arrived at the distribution center every day. Inside the CONEX, a 1,800-gallon tank that formerly held propane was welded to the floor. Just seconds after the container’s double doors were swung open; there were a pair of powerful explosions. First, nine hundred linear feet of Primacord PETN detonating cord glued together in six thicknesses along the upper edges of the CONEX peeled back the top of the container as if it had been opened by an enormous can opener. Two seconds later, a low-order explosive ruptured a main seam on the propane tank. The tank was filled with liquid GD nerve gas (Soviet Army surplus) with the consistency of motor oil. More than half of the liquid GD nerve gas was thrown into a vapor cloud by the explosion. A small part of the cloud was blown into the building. The rest was pushed up into a brownish-tinged mushroom cloud that towered 250 feet high.

Within a minute, everyone in the 380,000 square foot Wal-Mart distribution center was either dead or dying. The cloud expanded horizontally, and was carried by the spring breeze through residential sections of eastern Benton and then to the Little Rock suburbs of Bauxite, Bryant, and Sardis. The wind was traveling due east that day, so the nerve gas cloud headed toward the small town of East End, Arkansas rather than downtown Little Rock, where the death toll would have been an order of magnitude greater. Almost everyone in the path of the cloud died within minutes of exposure.

The GD solution is semi-persistent, meaning that several days of exposure to sunlight will cause it to break down and become harmless. Just one droplet the size of the head of a pin on exposed skin is enough to cause violent convulsions. Two or three droplets are enough to cause death. Parts of the vapor cloud made it all the way to Stuttgart, Arkansas, 60 miles east of Benton, and caused 155 deaths there. Before the first day is over, 12,000 people are dead.

At the time of the explosion, hundreds of cars were passing through Benton, primarily folks on their daily commute to Little Rock. Most of these cars made it to their destinations, or upon hearing the news of the explosion, the drivers took alternate routes home. The contaminated exteriors of these cars eventually ended up in six different Arkansas counties. For the next three days, they caused more than 300 additional deaths, as drivers and passengers touched contaminated body panels, gas tank lids, and door handles.

Central Arkansas was immediately declared a disaster zone by the Governor. Full-scale panic swept through Little Rock and all of the cities east of Benton, then to the Mississippi River, and beyond. Thousands tried to flee the area. This caused a massive traffic snarl that lasted for a full week. Hundreds of cars were stuck in traffic for so long that they ran out of gas. The drivers abandoned their cars, with many still left standing in the freeway lanes. This made the traffic even worse.

A small fire was started by the original explosion. With nobody left alive in the building to fight it, the fire slowly grew and eventually burned the entire Wal-Mart distribution center to the ground.

Five days after the initial explosion, while U.S. Army Chemical Decontamination teams from Fort McClellan, Alabama were picking through the charred rubble, a time delayed explosive at the front end of the cargo container threw a fresh cloud of GD vapor–one-third as large as the first–into the air. The winds had by now shifted to the northeast, directly toward Little Rock. This time it killed less than 400 people–mostly looters in Little Rock, which was still evacuated.

Wal-Mart had been the world’s largest retailer. Two months later the corporation no longer existed. More than one million direct employees were put out of work, as well as 600,000 additional people that were indirectly dependent on Wal-Mart. This included employees of manufacturers of products sold primarily through Wal-Marts as well as contract truck drivers, mechanics, jobbers, box makers, and so forth. The day after the explosion, the price of Wal-Mart stock dropped to $1.27 per share. Within three weeks, virtually every Wal-Mart store in North America had empty shelves. And within another week they all locked their doors. Wal-Mart stock had dropped to 2 cents per share and was de-listed. Nearly all the corporate management had nearly all been killed and the inventory coming into the country available to sell had slowed to a trickle.

The total loss of life was 13,942, with an additional 22,000 people hospitalized. Some were hospitalized as far east as coastal North Carolina, suffering from hysterical reactions.
Initially, all containerized cargo traffic crossing the U.S. borders was halted. This caused the idling of the Big Three auto manufacturers due to lack of parts, since more than 20% or more of the parts for “American” cars were actually sourced abroad. A few weeks later, container traffic resumed when it was assumed that the Benton attack was an isolated terrorist incident. The flow of containers was greatly slowed, due to elaborate chemical agent detection procedures, which began with chemical agent reconnaissance teams inserted by helicopter onto cargo ships when they were more than 50 miles offshore. With added security restrictions, container cargo terminals developed huge backlogs. Perishable cargoes were ruined, costing additional hundreds of millions of dollars.

On June 20th, just as commerce was starting to get back to normal, another explosion occurred; this time, at the sprawling China Overseas Shipping Company (COSCO) terminal in Long Beach California. A “dirty bomb”, consisting of 800-pounds of powdered spent nuclear reactor fuel rods and seven cubic yards of powdered talc propelled by a 650 pound low-order explosive, shredded a 40-foot CONEX container, and sent a large uranium/talc dust cloud into the air. (It was preceded moments before by a “roof ripper”, just like the previous Benton blast.) Initial news reports assumed that it was another chemical agent attack. But after no deaths were reported, it was quickly termed a dud. Hours later, when a FEMA disaster response team leader noticed that his radiation exposure film badge had turned black, it was realized that a “dirty bomb” had been detonated. As this news flashed through the media, a huge panic ensued.

The prevailing winds carried the dust cloud across Lakewood, Bellflower, Downey, and East Los Angeles. Measurable concentrations went as far as Alhambra and Pasadena. Almost two million people were in its path. The vast majority of the heavy uranium dust settled in Long Beach and Lakewood, but the psychological impact of the much lighter talc was tremendous, since it was carried as far as the San Gabriel Mountains. Like the Benton event, the COSCO container explosion caused mass panic–this time all through Southern California and even adjoining western Arizona. With the far greater population density of the L.A. Basin, the panic was monumental. The traffic gridlock extended through 24 California counties. More than 300 motorists stranded without gasoline or water died of exposure in the deserts of California, southern Nevada, and Arizona.

An estimated 212 people in Southern California died of stress-induced heart attacks. The total loss of life in the second attack was 3,000 in the first year (2,500 from radiation sickness), with 38,000 people hospitalized. (Far more hospitalized with hysteria than from actual radiation sickness.) An estimated 5,000 people died in the next three years due to long-term health effects, such as complications of radiation sickness, cancer, leukemia, eating disorders, and various infections exacerbated by weakened immune systems.

The initial economic cost of the two container explosions was at least $650 billion. Long-term costs were incalculable: international trade was disrupted for decades and a large urban region was rendered uninhabitable.

No terrorist group ever took credit for the pair of CONEX explosions. An aging White House defense affairs adviser (an off-and-on veteran inside the Beltway since the Nixon era) ordered tersely: “Round up the usual suspects.” That set the wheels in motion. More than 40,000 people were killed and 65,000 injured during the next two years in a massive campaign of “retaliatory” heavy bomber and cruise missile strikes in Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, and scattered targets in North Africa…


Potential Terrorist Targets (SAs: Emerging Threats, Retreat Location Selection)

In the stark reality of this new Century, two distinct target structures must be considered when considering retreat locales: ”World War Three” targets and terrorist targets. Some of these target lists overlap. You will have to decide for yourself which of these is the more likely–or any substantial risk at all–as you evaluate your relocation priorities.
I authored a feature article entitled: “High Technology Terrorism” which was published in Defense Electronics magazine. (January 1990 issue, page 74.) It is one of more than 30 of my feature articles for that magazine. In it, I surmised that international terrorist groups can and eventually will use high technology weapons. These include everything from build-it-yourself nuclear weapons, to EMP generators, or even liquid metal embrittlement chemicals to sabotage structures or commercial aircraft.

Potential Terrorist Targets

It is difficult to accurately predict potential terrorist targets in North America, much less to rank them. But it is possible to make some logical assumptions. While it is difficult to apply traditional logic to analyses of a terrorist’s illogical and irrational thought processes, some fairly safe assumptions are possible. Some potential targets are almost purely symbolic, like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. Others would certainly be envisioned as having the “Biggest Bang for the Dinar.” These would include seaports and major population centers.

Certainly the most vulnerable targets are New York City and Washington, D.C. Al Qaeda has hit them before, and they’ll surely try to hit them again if they can. Just before this book was readied for press, Al Qaeda’s Number Two man bragged to the media that the organization possesses “several” suitcase-size nuclear weapons. Other large American cities must surely be likely targets. If you are living in a metropolitan area with more than 500,000 people, it is at risk. Weighing the odds is an interesting armchair academic exercise today. From an actuarial standpoint, the odds of staying in Dallas, Phoenix, or Seattle are fairly good. But what if you are wrong? Even if you are outside the blast radius and survive, what are your chances of “Getting out of Dodge”, ex post facto? Also, consider what will happen to the value of real estate in a radioactively contaminated area. The losses will run in the billions of dollars, even with just a low yield nuclear ground burst. Think about it. Then pray about it. If you then feel convicted to mitigate the risk, then move to a relatively safe lightly populated area that isn’t down wind, and do it soon.

In my opinion, the targets at the greatest risk of terrorist attacks in North America are liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminals, situated primarily on the Gulf Coast. Most are located right on sea coasts and have tremendous explosive potential. Take a little time to do some web research on the two biggest natural gas explosions in the past 60 years:

Cleveland, Ohio in 1944 (128 killed, 435 injured)
Skikda LNG Complex, Algeria in 2004 (30 killed, 70 injured)

Consider that the cargo capacity of a typical LNG tanker is 23 times the volume that was stored in Cleveland, and that the capacity of a typical LNG terminal is 75 to 100 times that stored in Cleveland! You don’t want to live anywhere near them. And even if you live far away, you will still feel the effect. The destruction of two major terminals would reduce natural gas capacity to the extent that it would cripple our national economy for perhaps a decade.

If just two U.S. LNG or LPG terminals were destroyed by terrorists within the span of year it would surely cripple our nation’s gas supply system. This is just one of several reasons that you should buy the biggest propane tank that you can afford, (and allowed by local zoning), and always keep it at least 60% filled.

Water Supplies
Municipal water supplies are another “big bang for the Dinar” target. Many of these water supply system have multiple points of entry for contamination, most of which are not adequately guarded. This is just another reason to avoid living in a major municipal region.

Psychological Targets
In addition to physical infrastructure, terrorists might concentrate on psychological targets, for mass media attention and a heightened sense of terror. You can compile your own list of potential psychological targets in your region. This list should include nuclear power plants and medical isotope reactors. (The risk of an actual containment breach by a terrorist bomb is minimal, but they remain potent psychological targets, nonetheless.) Also include soft targets such as major universities, hospitals, sports stadiums, and major tourist attractions such as Seattle’s Space Needle.

The preceding are my predictions. In March of 2005, a disaster preparedness office in Hawaii inadvertently released a hush-hush “what if” terrorism scenario list that had been recently published by the Department of Homeland Security. It was surprisingly frank and very frightening.