Note from JWR:

Please continue to pray for the folks who suffered damage from Hurricane Rita. OBTW, your support of efficient (low-overhead) Christian charities providing relief to the area would also be greatly appreciated.

Warning: Today’s blog posts will exceed your recommended daily allowance of Gloom ‘n Doom.

The Big Picture — Grid Up Versus Grid Down–Oil, Soil, and Water

Before selecting retreat locale, It is crucial that you decide on your own worst case scenario. A location that is well-suited to surviving a “slow-slide” grid up scenario (a la the deflationary depression of the 1930s) might not necessarily be well suited to a grid down situations. As stated in my post on August 15, 2005, a grid down situation will likely cause a sudden onset variation of TEOTWAWKI with a concomitant mass exodus from the big cities resulting in chaos on a scale heretofore never seen in modern memory. (See below.)

My own personal “best case” scenario is an economic depression, with the grid still up, and still some semblance of law and order. Things would be bad, but the vast majority of the population would live through it. Living in a rural agricultural area won’t ensure that you’ll always have a job, but probably will ensure that you won’t starve.

My personal “worst case” scenario takes a lot more description: A rogue nation state launches three or four MIRVed ICBMs with high yield warheads simultaneously detonating at 100,000 feet over America’s population center, preferably in October or November, to maximize the extent of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects. With only six warheads arriving “time on target” (synchronized for simultaneous detonation) over, for example, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, and Los Angeles, more than 90% of the U.S. population would fall within the footprint of EMP. With such an attack there would be hardly any initial casualties aside for a few thousand people unlucky enough to be traveling on that day. (Since EMP would disable electric flight controls, causing any modern aircraft to go out of control and crash, and the sudden loss of engine power in automobiles at the same time as a blinding flash would likely cause thousands of high speed car crashes.) A high altitude air burst would impart no blast or radiation effects on the ground. Nothing other than just EMP. But what an effect! Think of the full implications.

As previously stated, the higher an nuclear air burst is detonated, the wider the line of sight (LOS), and hence the larger the footprint of EMP effects. With an EMP-optimized attack, as I just posited, EMP would be coupled to nearly all of the installed microcircuit chips in the U.S., southern Canada, and northern Mexico. In a enormous cascade this would take down all of the north American power grids, and cripple virtually every vital industry and utility: Natural gas production and piping, municipal water systems, telephone systems (hardwire and cellular), refining, trucking, banking, Internet services, agricultural machinery, electrically-pumped irrigation systems, you name it! 95% of cars and trucks would be inoperative. With the dependence of the power utilities on computers, I have my doubts that they would be able to restore the power grid for weeks, or months, or perhaps years. And with the chaos of society disintegrating around them, they might not have the time or opportunity to restore the grid, even if they would otherwise have the means to do so. This would mean TEOTWAWKI on a grand scale. The words “dog eat dog” do not even begin to describe how things would become in the cities and suburbs. Soon after, as the cities became unlivable (without power, heat, water, sanitation, or transportation of foodstuffs) this would cause a massive, involuntary exodus from the cities and suburbs, almost entirely on foot, comprised of countless millions of starving people. With winter coming on, this would result in a massive die-off, perhaps as much as 70% of the American population. It would not be until after that die-off that some semblance of order could be restored.

This crush of humanity will of course head for any agricultural regions that are within 50 to 75 miles of the major cities. Hence, I would not want to be a farmer living in Pennsylvania’s farmlands, California’s central or Imperial valleys or Oregon’s Willamette valley. They will simply get swarmed and overwhelmed.

Surviving a Long Term a Grid Down WTSHTF Situation
Even in the absence of EMP, any set of circumstances that would bring down the power grids (for example a major war, a fuel embargo, a cyber attack on power utility Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software, etc.) would be devastating, and have a similar result. The biggest difference would be that the Golden Horde would have functional cars available–at least as long as their gas lasted. This would and Lets say that you’ve already moved to a lightly populated agricultural region that is more than 150 miles from any major city.
Assuming that you can avoid the ravages of the Golden Horde by virtue of geographic isolation, you will then have to contend with producing food. If the region that you selected is dependent on electrically-pumped irrigation water, then you’ll be out of luck. That is why I emphasize the importance “dry land farming” regions. (Regions where consistent seasonal rains are sufficient to produce crops.) A small scale “truck” farmer in such as region, producing a wide variety of vegetables will be sitting pretty. Even with horse drawn or hand cultivation, he will have large quantities of excess crops available for barter and charity. By teaming up with neighbors and hired hands (paid in barter) for “strength in numbers” he will be able to defend what he owns. With copious produce available, he will be able to barter for harvesting manpower, horses, tools, and so forth. IMO, a man in this position and locale is the most likely survivor of TEOTWAWKI.

With the aforementioned in mind, you can see than importance of finding the right retreat locale. Ideally, it will be far removed from metropolitan regions, have a fairly long growing season, plentiful rainfall, rich topsoil, a reliable domestic water supply that us not dependent on grid power (preferably spring-fed), nearby sources of firewood or coal, and a light ambient population density. If you combine all of these factors–visualize them as map overlays–you will end up with only a few regions in north America that are wholly suitable for “worst case” retreats. Start with a photocopy of a climate book with maps of America’s farming regions. Mask out any farming regions that are depending on grid-power pumped irrigation water. Then take a compass and start drawing radiuses around all of the cities with a population greater than 200,000 and shade them in. Depending on your level of pessimism about the scenario and/or your estimation of the depravity of human nature, you may be drawing some pretty large circles!

Hurricane Katrina was a wake up call. I cannot imagine how anyone could watch the television coverage of the aftermath of Katrina and not come to the conclusion that we live in a highly interdependent technological society with enormously long lines of supply and just a thin veneer of civilization, as documented in countless newspaper stories. It doesn’t take much to disrupt those interdependencies, nor to expose what lies just beneath that thin veneer. Like an onion, what lies beneath is not very pretty smelling.

Get to Know the NRCS Man!
You will note that I specifically mentioned topsoil in the preceding discussion. The importance of soil quality in the event of a true “worst case” must be emphasized. As S.M. Stirling so aptly described it in his science fiction novel “Dies The Fire“, soil quality is not crucial in modern mechanized agriculture. If an acre of ground produces 5 bushels of wheat versus 12 bushels of wheat it is not of great consequence when you are cultivating hundreds or even thousands of acres from inside the cab of an air conditioned $40,000 tractor, or a $70,000 combine. However, if someday you are reduced to traditional pre-industrial manpower or horsepower, where cultivating just a few acres will require monumental exertion, then the soil quality will make a tremendous difference between feeding a community, and starvation. Therefore, have the soil analyzed before you buy a retreat property! Determining the soil types within a region should be your first step–in fact even before you talk to the first real estate agent. Buying lunch for the soils specialist at the local Agricultural Extension office might be a valuable investment. On your first scouting trip to your proposed retreat region, call the USDA Agricultural Extension Office, and ask to talk to a soils specialist at the NRCS (National Resources Conservation Service) desk. (The NRCS was formerly called the Soil Conservation Service.)

Letter Re: Utah and LDS Church Members, Post-TEOTWAWKI (SAs: Retreat Selection, Relocation, Demographics, Charity, Utah)

James Wesley–
I admire and deeply appreciate the detailed counsel you have been giving about self-sufficiency and defense. After I borrowed “Patriots” from the library, I went ahead and paid $50 for a used copy. We became “First Family” members at Front Sight on your say-so, even though we are in Hawaii and can’t even attend Front Sight until 8/2006. So I think I merit being heard with respect to your musing that being a non-Mormon in a Mormon community might make you “expendable”.

To the contrary, the unbelievably magnificent efforts in time, people and materiel of the LDS Church in the Katrina disaster and the pre-positioning by the LDS Church of additional goods and resources for the impending Rita disaster give the lie to your insinuation that the Mormons look after themselves first.

In fact, I think you have the situation backwards–American history shows that when “push comes to shove” it’s the Mormons who have been expendable. In fact, the first Americans to suffer for defending the rights of “free men of color” were the Mormons. For their defense of civil rights in Missouri, the Mormons were burned out, many beaten, some raped, and a number murdered. Finally, the shameful Missouri Governor’s Extermination Order threatening that if the Mormons didn’t leave the state at once the state militia would kill them makes it abundantly clear who considers whom to be “expendable”. [JWR Comments: Out of fairness, one should distinguish between the mid-19th Century and the early 21st Century. As a “gentile” I cannot be blamed for those atrocities any more than I can be blamed for the institution of slavery in America. We are several generations removed from those events and all of those involved in them.]

It might be enlightening for you to know that the first people to defend themselves against an illegal and immoral invasion by the United States Army were the Mormons. Self-serving politicians sought to gain votes by sending the Army to put down a so-called “rebellion” by the Mormons in Deseret. Thank God, the military leadership refused to be used in such a way and entered an abandoned Salt Lake City peacefully, their commander riding through the streets at the head of his troops with his head uncovered honoring the people he knew to be maligned. I truly believe that, unless you are like the heroes in “Patriots” and are taking care of yourself, the absolutely best place to be in a crunch will be in a rural community with a heavy Mormon majority. And that is true, not insignificantly, because the Mormons believe the Constitution of the United States of America to be a divinely inspired document–and have shed blood defending its principles.

Now on perhaps a lighter note about “who is my neighbor”: When we moved to a little island in Washington state some years ago, a neighbor, getting acquainted, said, “Oh, Mormons! Good. I’ll know where to come when I need food.” I answered (and I meant it): “Yes Ma’am, I don’t have food for one family for 24 months; I have food for four families for six months.”

Now you’ve got me on a roll. This same family: husband an attorney, wife an elementary school teacher, her dad an MD were stuck, like us, in an ice storm on Thanksgiving day some years ago. Everybody’s turkeys were cooling in the ovens. The phones weren’t affected so the neighbor called over to borrow my Coleman stove to heat up some water for coffee. Why not, we had our free-standing iron stove doing its job for us. I sent a daughter over with the, admittedly, ancient white-gas stove. After a quarter hour, the neighbor called back to say the stove didn’t seem to work and could I help. I was embarrassed: here I am the local “how-to-hack it” guru and my dumb stove is DOA. So I went over to apologize, and beat a retreat with my Coleman antique. There they were in their family room huddled around the stove in blankets with burnt out matches on the floor–and with the gas canister still undeployed inside the stove! I realized that had these folks got their fingers on the red knob and opened it, they might well have burnt their home down–and maybe mine too!
It never occurred to me that they were expendable.

I hope you will take the opportunity in your blog to “lighten up” on your castigation of Mormons. I have never checked out my neighborhood to see if any non-Mormons were around that I could get rid of in a crisis. I have held important positions in LDS Church administration in Salt Lake City, California, New Zealand, Washington, and Hawaii, and have never heard any such notions from any of my brothers and sisters in the Church. – B.B. in Hawaii

Letter Re: Washington

Just a few nits to pick (grin), RE: “A draconian business gross receipts tax of 2-to-3%. Marginal gun laws. Very high sales tax. (8.8%)”
Can’t disagree with draconian. Can disagree with the B&O rates, slightly. They depend completely on the type of business. My business is taxed at 1.5%.
Sales taxes vary per county over a very wide range.
Gas tax is $0.28 per gallon.
Just for fun, check out this link for “major” taxes in the Evergreen state. Yikes.
There are also more than a few badges (not obvious, but there nonetheless if you know what to look for) at our local gun shows at the County fairgrounds. Keeping an eye on who, what, and how much. Not particularly comfortable about that one. Best Regards, and keep up the good work. – T.S.

Letter Re: Iowa

Greetings Jim,

I’m writing to give you more information on Iowa. While it’s true we’re too close to Chicago there are only a few handfuls of bridges to cross the Mississippi. These can be blocked by backing semi-trailers onto the spans and abandoning the trailers in rows. Crossing a bridge blockaded in such a fashion, guarded by a few dedicated snipers, makes removal of the barricades a more than interesting proposition! No mob is hard-core enough to attempt removal, or crossing on foot for more than a few minutes, before moving on to a new path of lesser resistance. Field implements with folding hydraulic “wings” can also be used in such instances. Once in place, without the proper equipment, their tonnages are impossible to move, easily or quickly. As for food production, their are many farmers markets during the growing season, that sell everything from fruits & vegetables, to pastry’s & pies, to homemade crafts, (quilts to cupboards). These can be roadside stands to county courthouse parking lots. Usually every Saturday till they sell out of goods. We have good wells with fresh water, most have been tested for contaminants and have passed. We have a good work ethic and have lately been adding solar & wind farms to the economy, plus the expansion of the ethanol industry is helping to get Iowa energy independent. Corn turned into ethanol can still be fed as mash to cattle, the cobs burned to heat the distillers, soybeans turned into bio-diesel for the fleets of semi’s to move grain & goods also improve grain prices, i.e., local economies. Plus we’re far enough away to avoid the problems of the Yellowstone caldera [JWR Comments: I beg to differ! According to geologists, the last time that a super-caldera blew up in the same area, locations as far down wind as what is now Virginia ended up under 15 feet of ashfall!] , and the recently developing 4 Sisters,(soon to be 5?), bulge. Whatever that may entail. The hunting season this year for the first time will also add rifles to the already legal shotgun, handgun, & bow hunting deer hunts. A bonanza of deer & trophy deer being available. Also we are now finding that we have feral pigs in numbers & weights up to 400 lbs. in some timbered areas of the state. I’ve probably missed some other highlights, and hopefully others can fill you in on the price and performance of corn burning stoves, etc., that I have glaringly left out from ignorance. Thanks Jim! Best wishes on this exciting new blog. A fervent devotee, – K.H.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

Harry: Look sweetheart, for the next few weeks survival is going
to have to be on an individual level.
Ann: What do you want to do, write off the rest of the world?
Harry: When civilization gets civilized again, I’ll rejoin.”
– Ray Milland, Panic in the Year Zero

Note from JWR:

Today’s SurvivalBlog post has been put up 24 hours early, due to the communications disruptions that are expected to be caused by Hurricane Rita.

Hurricane Rita–Oil Refinery Plant Closures Will Likely Mean Fuel Shortages

I’m glad that most of the SurvivalBlog readers stocked up on liquid fuels long ago. Here are some details on the wholesale oil supply reductions. This comes from an oil industry insider newsletter report (dated 22 September):


Recent forecasts place Hurricane Rita directly over Galveston [now OBE], threatening the Houston area, home to almost 25 percent of U.S. refining capacity. OPIS estimates that by noon on Friday (9/23), refinery closures could impact as much as 3.8 million bbl/d of refining capacity. Current confirmed closures will affect approximately 2.7 million bbl/d of refining capacity.
Information is still being gathered on other potential affects of the storm, such as disruption of tanker shipments of crude oil and refined product barges.
The following is the latest information from OPIS on refinery closures:

Flint Hills, Corpus Christi, 305,000 bbl/d
ExxonMobil, Baytown, 580,000 bbl/d
BP, Texas City, 460,000 bbl/d
ConocoPhillips, Sweeny, 228,000 bbl/d
Marathon, Texas City, 76,000 bbl/d (anticipated)

Valero, Texas City, 215,000 bbl/d
Valero, Houston, 85,000 bbl/d
Astra, Pasadena, 103,000 bbl/d
Lyondell-Citgo, 283,000 bbl/d
Shell Deer Park, 340,000 bbl/d

Teppco is shutting down its Seaway crude pipeline, Baytown terminal operations and four pipelines from Texas City, Houston, Red Bluff and Baytown.
Dixie – Mont Belvieu facility shut down.
Port of Houston – closed as of 5 p.m. today.

ExxonMobil, Chalmette, LA,190,000 bbl/d
ConocoPhillips, Belle Chasse, LA, 260,000 bbl/d
Murphy, Meraux, LA, 125,000 bbl/d
Chevron, Pascagoula, Miss., 350,000 bbl/d
There is no way to estimate how long refineries will be offline due to Hurricane Rita. Fortunately some of the refineries are on higher ground than those affected by Hurricane Katrina, although storm surges of 20 feet resulting from Rita are currently predicted. Also, electricity outages could hinder the refineries’ ability to get back online, as well as personnel issues. Some 800,000 bbl/d have been lost due to Hurricane Katrina.

Offshore companies are continuing to evacuate facilities in Gulf of Mexico. MMS reports 469 platforms and 69 rigs have been evacuated. This represents 1,097,357 bbl/d of crude oil, which is 73.16 percent of daily Gulf Coast oil production.

Areas served by these three major pipelines:
Colonial/Plantation (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
Teppco (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio)
Explorer (Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois)

Letter Re: Multi-Fuel Carburetor Kits

Excellent blog, sir. I read it every day. I’ve also read Patriots several times, I’m on my second copy.
I live in Illinois. (I know, I know, I’m working on it.) I wouldn’t even ask how low Illinois was rated, if it were me doing the rating it would be near the bottom for many reasons; gun laws, high taxes, corrupt politicians, terrible roads, and overcrowding anywhere near Chicago. High insurance rates of all kinds, high crime rate, and the weather stinks. There is a pretty long growing season, more than some of the western states you discuss, and there used to be plenty of work here. That’s not the case anymore, due to many reasons you’re no doubt aware of from your research. On to the main reason for my post: In regards to the dual fuel letter from The Army Aviator, these kits are still available from several dealers. I just bought and installed a tri-fuel kit for my 5 KW genny. I can now run it on gasoline, natural gas, and propane–either the large tanks or 20 pound tanks. Total cost was about $220 shipped. The conversion took about 1 hour, but could probably be done a little quicker. I took my time and made sure I didn’t miss anything. The conversion can be done with gasoline in the tank, no problem. I tried it on propane from a 20 pound tank, and it works great! The genny runs smoother on propane than it did on gasoline. And of course propane stores much safer and longer [than gasoline]. I bought my kit from U. S. Carburetion, but there are several other suppliers. Google or other search engines will find them.

From David in Israel Re: Disease and Disease Vectors

The flu of 1918 killed more people than World War I. The Black Death (bubonic plague) was a leading cause of death during the middle ages. The ban on DDT and the resultant rebound of malaria has caused more death than Stalin and Mao and the Austrian corporal (may their memory and name be erased). History is filled with the tragedy caused by intentional and unintentional microorganism-caused deaths. Plans need to be made for dealing with disease vectors that can carry these microbes. Rodents can carry plague and many other pathogens, cats are good but may carry the pathogen from their prey into your home. Traps and poisons may get domestic animals or children. Mosquitoes may carry malaria and West Nile. Acquire mosquito netting, repellents, and bug lights (low power versions are available even battery powered.) People infected with any type of malaria other than P falciparum most likely can be treated with chloroquine (Aralen) or mefloquine (Lariam). Most people can tolerate these oral drugs. Or you may initially be treated with quinidine (Quinalan, Quinidex, Cardioquin, Duraquin), a related heart medication that also kills malarial parasites. P falciparum drug resistance to chloroquine is widespread, especially in Southeast Asia, South America, and East Africa (the latter spreading westward). Those infected with P falciparum malaria, or if the doctor does not know the specific type of malaria, are likely to be treated with IV quinine (Formula Q). Quinine bitters were initially popularized as a treatment for malaria last century, now quinine has become a prescription only medication in the last few years. The quinine levels in modern tonic water is below therapeutic values. Malaria was a scourge in both the southern and western USA. Wetlands laws have allowed mosquito breeding areas to remain but mass planting of eucalyptus can dry up some swamps.

Fleas, ticks, and lice carry Lyme disease, Bubonic plague and other diseases as well as opening the skin to infection. Pet dips, soaps, and repellents may be considered but watch for reactions or allergies. Massive consumption of garlic has been known to repel these parasites as well as mosquitoes in many humans and animals. Reductions in infrastructure and public health work from natural or man made disasters could cause a return of pestilence to first world nations. Be prepared!

JWR Adds: “David” is the pseudonym of SurvivalBlog’s volunteer correspondent in Israel. He is a former EMT, now a rabbinical student. Living in that troubled land gives him a a particularly insightful perspective. I greatly appreciate his posts!

Letter Re: “Patriots” and Retreat Locales in the Eastern States?

Jim, I am enjoying your blog site a lot. I am a big fan of your work, and I especially enjoyed your novel, Patriots. I appreciate the advantages of the western states when the balloon goes up; but some of your readers are going to be tied to the populated east coast and mid-western states. Please take some time after your western state series to give some advice to those of us who will (or must) stay for family, as well as other reasons in the less advantageous areas of the country. Sincerely, – C.G. in Ohio

JWR Replies: I’m glad that you enjoyed my novel. Most folks find it both exciting to read and a useful reference to keep around. I will do my best to cover retreat regions in eastern states, but as a westerner I will be depending on the expertise of SurvivalBlog readers. Please e-mail me your suggestions!

Letter From Dave Martin Re: Communications Infrastructure Rebuilding in Louisiana

Hi Jim,
Your novel Patriots was revisited in New Orleans! I thought I would fill you and your blog in on the Blessings For Obedience ministries mission to Mississippi, and Louisiana this past week, It all started with a question to Kelly Coleman our president like… “Are we going to do anything for the stricken area?” Kelly and Tina were fishing in central Texas at the time, and having a nice time I shouldn’t have disturbed them with such a question. Sorry Tina. After about twelve hours of communications with the FCC, the head of the FCC decided it would be a good thing to issue an emergency FM Broadcast license for New Orleans. I think the FCC deserves a big kudos for what they did, and the heroic work to approve the license in such a short period of time, this is definitely un heard of in normal times, Our call sign is (KS5XAE) It took one week from the day of the approval to get funding, plane tickets, tools and equipment. Canada paid for and shipped 800 Gal-Com go-ye radios for 107.9 FM and a 250 watt transmitter. We filled the bill with a mixer, mikes, CD, and tape player, antennas coax[ial cable], et cetera.
Next was to get a location to install the station, FEMA tried to help us get a location on top of some big hotel in New Orleans but it didn’t work out, after much prayer after we dropped off food and supplies at the Salvation Army distribution point in Biloxi MS and getting a real education of the death and destruction. Destruction I might add would not be equaled by a hundred tactical nukes or more, I watched the Salvation Army do most of the serious work, and the “Red Curse” get a lot of their credit. I have no love for the Red Curse, in case you hadn’t noticed.
We traveled west on I-10 toward New Orleans, only to have The Lord open every door. When we got to the major check point our little convoy went right through without even being asked what we were doing. We drove over a huge bridge down into the big lake area and Slidell, such devastation I have never seen, even in Viet Nam. Those poor people, rich and poor alike lost everything. there was the smell of decaying bodies all along the way. Going over the causeway bridge, the power lines were normally about 80 feet above the lake water. About three places I saw where boats had caught the power wire and pulled it into the water, just holding on by something on the boat. There must have been either flying boats, or really high water. At the end of the bridge thing we came into a village probably fishing and arts crafts place buildings, (totalllllly destrooooyed), stench of body decay all the way through. Then further from the lake, was less and less destruction. We needed directions so we stopped at a girls’ school where the Army had taken up residence, they told us how to get over a huge bridge on I-10 into New Orleans so off we went over the river and through the (woods) flooded, but not as much destruction we were on the elevated I-10 all the way through New Orleans no people cars, etc just some police, army and a few semi trucks bring supplies. You could drive any lane you wanted without using a blinker light. It was really weird. I listened to AM radio in the way into the area, and the N.O. station being what it is was cursing the military, FEMA, and everyone who was there to help, I got sick of their tripe, and tuned to a station in Gretna, where we wound up going to a pier and huge warehouse. That radio station was praising their Mayor, police chief Lawson, the Army, etc, and all the helpers who came in. What a change, we got to the pier, and who was the first person I met (the Mayor). He seemed like a person who really cared for his community and its people. He ask what we were going to do, and I told him we were going to give him an emergency FM broadcast station. Which we did, we linked up with FRIEND SHIPS ministries, and the ship HOPE where we installed the first FCC licensed emergency FM broadcast station ever licensed in the United States. God sent a young man named Lynnie to volunteer to run the station, and God couldn’t have made a better match, He had not only the right loving, caring spirit, but some fine skills, He had never been on radio before. God don’t make no junk. The station plays Christian music, to sooth and comfort, news, location announcements, “help me find” messages, and praise for the people, the military, police, etc. The police and military are being fed at the same location, along with a huge distribution center being located there. God owns Gretna, and the signal is covering 22 miles across the river to N.O., and 14 miles into the Gretna.
We saw a lot of sad things, but most of all we walked with our LORD JESUS CHRIST through the valley of the shadow of death, and feared NO evil. HE was with us. and with His eye guided us every step of the way, Oh ! The ship HOPE is just across the river from the IWO JIMA where the rescue HQ is. I might add that a MARS message email I got passed on to me from the Captain, reflects his close walk and dependence on our LORD JESUS too. God is taking back something that satan took.
My report to the LORD is: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, LORD! I am convinced that He only sends people who will accomplish the mission and when he provides all the funds and opens every door in one week, it is very obvious that His hand is on you an will be with you, We did carry one weapon. It was never even opened up. But then the Lord said the night he was betrayed that the disciples only need two for twelve men, who never had to use them either. Just the devil needs a little convincing now and then, He the Lord sent in the ARMY and police to do that.
Some other observations: I noticed while on my mission trip to install the Radio Station in N.O. were that generators dried up almost immediately, even from stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were we combined our team before deployment. We did find a 5.5 KW at Sears for half the price of Home Depot, and lots of gas cans at smaller hardware stores, around the area. On the way down the middle of Mississippi on the inter state, about a third of the piney trees had blown over or were broken in half, making them harder to cut down, the road for about 150 miles had been cleared in 4 days to allow convoys to get south, there was a good reason it took a while to get help into the area, the road was being cleared by every logger, chain saw handler in the country, what a massive undertaking. You sure don’t hear much praise of them and the power crews restoring power, so people can get electricity back , and re-start commerce.
The American people are resilient and strong. Rich and poor, they want commerce, and as soon as possible they got back up and running.
Ham radio was the only communication in or out of the area for days, GET YOUR HAM LICENSES, AND LEARN TO USE THE RADIOS YOU BUY, I can’t say this loud or long enough. Learn who your friends are. Most people are very civil, and thankful that your there to help. Americans don’t tolerate criminal disobedience, looting. etc. There were signs everywhere: “LOOTERS WILL BE SHOT”, and people carrying guns to do it with.

I am proud to say we live in a strong country, but we are woefully ill-prepared. We must get our neighbors up and running before the Big One here where I live in California. It will devastate major metro areas, and small towns alike. We must get ready and prepare like never before. Encourage people to get prepared! Blessings to all who read this. Our ministry is located at – David Martin e-mail:

JWR Adds: The Blessings For Obedience ministry deserves your support, folks! Like most small Christian charities, it operates with minimal overhead, so virtually all of your contributions will go directly to radio gear and direct travel expenses for the volunteer radion station installers.

Letter Re: Retreat Architecture Options

I noticed that one of your readers requested information on retreat architecture. I’m off the grid and in the process of building a house. Before designing it, I investigated several different types of architecture, including straw bale, insulated concreted form (ICF), adobe, corn cob, concrete and earth-bermed. All of these have wonderful advantages, but one major drawback: nearly all literature and materials available to novices are dedicated to mainstream stick-built homes.

I’ve found few books or other resources that give step-by-step instructions on building in alternative materials, although I’ve found many for stick-built. Home Depot carries lumber, insulation, windows, etc designed to be used in stick-built homes. Even sub-contractors for concrete, electrical, and plumbing look askance when asked about alternative building.

End result: I’m building a standard frame house, despite its many drawbacks. Those who wish to pursue alternative building designs should be aware that they’ll need to be either very experienced, or very stubborn in the face of obstacles. 🙂 – JD

Letter Re: Optimism, Survival Mindset, and Television

Regarding your statement: “A lot of people are starting to wake up and recognize the fragility of our society.” I really wish I had your optimism. I’m afraid I don’t give the sheeple any credit any more. By sheeple I mean the general public. I just don’t have any respect for the sheeple left at all. They could cry that they “didn’t know” before 9/11 but they have no excuse in my book now a days. I think Paul describes today’s people pretty well in his epistles. To be honest, I fear for our Country.

One of the biggest problems IMO is TV. People were starting to prepare, store a little food, buy gas masks, etc. after 9/11. Then a month later the TV was bashing them for it. Once it was “out of the norm” again, the sheeple gave up. I can’t imagine living my life based on TV influences. We stopped watching TV when we moved in 99 and it has been great. We selectively watch movies, that’s it.

Freeing oneself of the mental chains put on by TV/media is one of the biggest problems I see with survivalists now a days. Whether they realize it or not, a lot of “there” opinions come directly from the talking heads, “opinion polls” and the news. You see it all the time on the message boards. People who say they are conservatives but espouse liberal thinking and attitudes.

Survivalists need to re-learn how to think for themselves. I’ve met so many who were good people, motivated, etc. but just could not think outside the box to solve any problem. Survival situations are going to require outside the box type thinking. One of my favorite movie lines is: “Improvise, overcome, adapt!”, from Heartbreak Ridge.

I think every survivalist should go one year without watching regular TV and note the change in his attitude, mental and physical abilities (hard to sit on your butt drinking beer and watching TV if their’s nothing to watch!). It tends to bring the Family closer also.
Long rant, sorry. Once again, thanks for your efforts! – R.H.