Monday, June 29, 2009

Prepare: Top 10 SHTF Guns

There have been a number of posts like this elsewhere, but most have some high degree of technical bias which precludes them to choosing the best firearms for the post-shtf world.

Here is the real SHTF world..

- there are no Wally Worlds, gunshops or pawn shops open.
- your neighbor is not a gunsmith, Class 3 dealer or gunstore owner.
- you do not have unlimted funds to build the ultimate armory.
- you do not have access to an abandoned Army or National Guard base.
- you are not guaranteed to win every gun battle and discover caches of mouth watering hardware waiting to be plundered.

Nope, in the SHTF world its you, one or two firearms and a limited amount of ammo you must either resupply or reload.

That in mind, here are my choices for the ultimate SHTF guns, from best to worse.

Number one - Single barrel 12 gauge shotgun.

Simple, easy to operate, hard to break. Will shoot anything. Basically, a tube, stock (optional, but preferable), a hammer and trigger. You can load slugs, buckshot, bird shot, whatever. You can reload the shells and in a pinch, put anything in the hulls that will fit - glass, scrap metal, pebbles, etc. One moving part besides the hinge to break it open. Its the caveman club of the gun world.

Number two - The double barrel 12 gauge shotgun.

As above, times two.

Number three - The .22 single shot

Same concept as the shotgun, but available in the bolt action variety. With few moving parts and a cheap, low weight ammo, the .22 single shot is enough of a gun to keep one in squirrel meet and to keep busy bodies far enough away.

Number four - The bolt action center fire rifle

Best calibers, 30.06, .308. The .270 and .243 way down the list. Simple to operate, and reloading can be done with a simple press. Best range and stopping power. The only reason it is not ahead of the .22 is because the ammo and rifle cost more.

Number five - The single action revolver

Easy to operate and hard to break. The single action revolver makes up for slow firing with a simple mechanism which in adverse conditions, will leave the semi auto owners stuck in the mud. Only the most popular calibers need apply - .38, .357 and .45

"Do you really have enough food stocked when the SHTF?"

Number six - The 12 gauge pump

Whether it is the Remington 870, the Mossberg 500 or the even the Winchester Defender, the 12 gauge pump is versatile, hearty and respected. It can fire slugs, shot or bird and works where others don't. Plus the *rack* action is enough to send midnight callers the other direction pronto.

Number seven - the combo rifle

.22/410, 30-30/shotgun, what ever. The combo gun has two calibers on the same platform making it the perfect hunting/defense weapon in most situations. On the move and can't lug along an arsenal? Have two weapons in one with the combo rifle. SPR94, Savage24 and others are available in a variety of options.

Number eight - the lever action rifle

I would pick the .357 because it will work in my revolver, but 30-30 is popular. Why a lever gun? Fewer moving parts, no external magazine required, easy to load, decent range and accuracy.

Number nine - The standard double action revolver

.357 or .38 for me, but .45 is doable too. Few moving parts, good selection of brands available, low cost and high availability of ammunition. Less chance of jams over a semi auto as well.

Number ten - The .22 semi auto tube load only.

Why? There is no magazine, the tube is built into the rifle. As much as I hate to load these things (cannot be done quickly), they carry a decent amount of semi auto fire to pour rounds on a target. No, not much stopping power, but that is allowable because of the low weight and cost of ammunition. Plus can be used for hunting, short and distance.

OK. So why no AR, AK, Colt, etc?

First, the mechanisms can jam or break and most of us cannot fix one with basic tools or in low light.

Second, all require an extra piece of hardware - the spring fed magazine. Springs fail, magazine gets dented or lost and you have a single shot weapon which is a pain to load.

Third, too many of these semi rifles will not stand up to years or firing, dirt, wear and tear (well maybe an AK) that will come when carrying and shooting are the same as hammering, cutting and sawing in so far as tools go. I would no sooner depend upon a weedwacker, gas powered chain saw or skill saw after the SHTF than I would a firearm with multiple moving parts.

Well, what about the 30.06 M1 favored by so many other writers with the same, "less is more" philosophy? One word (or two) - en bloc, en bloc. That funky thing is not available at the hardware store or anywhere else. Same with stripper clips.

Sure, in a long, running gun battle, a single shot shotgun won't cut it. But in the real world of post-SHTF survival, it is going to be a place of keeping a low profile and avoiding large scale gun battles if one wants to stay alive.

Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prepare: SHTF Movies - 2012

I mentioned this film a few months ago.. Big budget doomer extravaganza, 2012, has a new trailer out with far more devastation then seen before.

Story - Ancient Mayan calendar predicts "something" will happen in 2012. Sure enough, the world literally tumps on its side and mayhem ensues. Lots of faceless people get killed, cars get thrown like toys, buildings fall, heroes rise, and so on and so on.

Here is the trailer..

So we get the world falling apart. Not much any of us can do to prepare for this sort of disaster. As you can tell from the trailer, a handful of people will survive by boarding some kind of "ship" and going somewhere, (Antarctica, I have heard) as this will be the new nice place to live. Of course, there will be a selection process from the survivors to make sure the right sort of people get to live which will cause a brief moral dilemma for who ever is in charge.

Here is my sidebar not to be found in other pre-2012 movie reviews - the director Roland Emmerich.

There are a number of scenes in the trailer which caught my attention. The destruction of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil followed by the destruction of Saint Peters (and thousands of men, women and children) in Rome.

I read a little about the background of director Emmerich on Wiki and found these tidbits..

Emmerich's extensive collection of artwork includes a painting of Jesus Christ wearing a Katharine Hamnett-styled t-shirt during his crucifixion.. a wax sculpture of Pope John Paul II laughing as he reads his own obituary..

To be fair, the trailer shows many other things being destroyed in the 2012 including a Buddhist temple. However, it appears that Emmerich has a little bone to pick with Christianity.

Also, from the trailer, this is the first disaster movie which actively shows the deaths of children. Normally, they do the opposite. Remember Independence Day? That movie came from the same people. There were several families and children prominently featured and all survived. Who wants to watch any movie where kids get offed by a disaster? Real or not its disturbing when the feature is supposed to be "entertainment". Having some hero or heroine dramatically sacrifice themselves is expected. But kids? C'mon. (I know in SHTF, kids, cute animals and sweet old people are at risk - but again this is a movie).

This film looks like it will cause some nightmares in the kiddos so leave them at home (or take them to the Transformers).

We got The Road coming out around the same time, Fall 2009 so it sounds like a doomer movie autumn. The only problem is, the U.S. is living a doomer movie right now. Have you seen the economic news lately?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prepare: No Peak Oil

Sometimes I think of something to write about that I know is going to make a fuss around here. Peak Oil. Peak Oil is what I call the Green Survivalist buzz word of the decade. Peak Oil is a new chapter in the world of preppers and survivalists as the PO crowd now joins the rest of us preparing for what may be the worse just around the corner.

Here is the deal: Peak Oil is the concept that the world has discovered, extracted and used all the cheap oil easily available based upon our current demand. That in the past few years, we have hit the Peak - oil available both in and out of the ground vs. the world's growing thirst for the stuff.

And, if we have hit Peak Oil, as its adherents say, then we are on a downward slope as a civilization as our entire world is based upon cheap, readily available oil. Not only for fueling vehicles, but for fertilizers, plastics, heating oil and powering stuff like coal mining which also produces energy.

What's worse say the Peak Oilers, is our demand is not going down or even flat lining - its going up. Look at India and China; they want cars and cheap energy too.

And like our concern with pandemics, nuclear war, and financial collapse, the PO crowd thinks their collapse will happen just as fast as in, one day, there will be no oil. The lines will start at the gas stations, the trucks will stop running and the power will go off everywhere. Hold on there...

Here's my beef with Peak Oil and I welcome any comments and debate - just keep it civil.

First, we have not drilled everywhere. There are lots of places all over the world which are not hard to get to, but are deemed hands off by regulations. My bet is when push comes to shove, .gov is going to push and shove those rules aside if they need the juice and there is a source off the coast of California or Florida. Agree or disagree?

Next, we base demand on current numbers which, as of last year, showed a deficit. But cheap oil is based upon lots of cheap cash to buy that oil with. Right now we have a recession on. Demand has fallen and prices have dropped in half since last year. Demand drops and supply goes up and the Peak gets pushed back a few more years. Yes or no?

Further, demand is based upon now. I don't think China is going to build an electric crane anytime soon. If they want to build the worlds largest bridge, dam or skyscraper, they will use 1000 diesel cranes which use a gallon a second. Who is going to question them?

But in much of the rest of the world, the demand is for better fuel efficiency from vehicles. Demand will go down as more and more people (and governments) push for vehicles which require less fuel which means - lower demand. Another curve ball for the Peak of Oil.

Also, people adapt. If gasoline hits $5.00 a gallon, people will start walking, riding bikes, driving more fuel efficient cars, taking mass transit. They move closer to work or school. We saw that last year, yes or no?

We have not seen any mass lines for gasoline yet, only price spikes which are often due to demands on a fragile system of delivery, not available oil in the ground. A revolution in Nigeria. A storm in the Gulf Coast. A fire at a refinery. These the the problems which have led to higher prices in the past few years, not a shortage of crude in the ground. True?

For that matter, let's consider where so much oil comes from: OPEC. A cartel (read government run monopoly) which limits supply to keep the price high. Who knows actually how much oil they have which they are not revealing for fear it will further drive the price down. Right or wrong?

Changing gears...

Regarding Peak Oil followers who are in to prepping, I only have good things to say - well sort of.

PO's believe in paying down debt in the event a cheap oil financed economy collapses. I am there with them.

PO's believe in alternate energy for the house. Amen, bring on the solar panels and windmill.

PO's believe in having alternate transportation like a good bike. Love bikes, I am there too.

PO's believe in home gardening, buy and eat local foods. Preaching to the congregation here. Bring it on!

PO's believe in living closer to the city center, near mass transportation like publicly financed bus and train lines.

Bzzzt! That changes everything. You can't build a self sufficient life, grow your own food, power your own house and live in the city and expect your "less fortunate neighbors" now doing without cheap gas and heat to smile at your planning and go quietly into the night. Your little nest will get overrun and the invaders will travel on that nice train right outside your front door.

That is my problem with Peak Oilers. It almost sounds like they long for an urban life with everyone crammed into the cities, cars banned and everyone contentedly growing bean sprouts for dinner in the front yard.

You may be a Peak Oiler and say, "None of this applies to me. I think the age of Peak Oil is coming, but it will be gradual and we need to rethink our systems as gas prices creep higher". Fine, but most of what I read online from the Peak Oil crowd sounds like what I have presented.

My Peak Oil post is a rant. Please feel free to chime in, but keep it civil. I would like to hear your opinion so keep it rational.

Prepare: Survivalism Grows Popular

This article from Arizona..

Article Here.

I am sure there are more articles like this out there. Fox News, on the Hannity show, did a segment on it last week titled "Urban Survival". Nightline did one last month about a woman who dropped out of society and setup home in upper state New York.

Let's dissect the problems, good and bad, here.

First, in all cases, it is good to see people of all walks of life becoming concerned and willing and ready to "do something" about preparedness. That is one less person coming to your house after things get bad.

That's the only bright spot. Here are the numerous cons..

- In the broadcast segments, they pretty much tore apart any of these survivalists from being fringe loonies to having deep seated emotional problems. It has always been that way in spite of all the problems we are having right now with our economy, world, food and energy supplies.

- How can any of these survivalists agree to be part of these interviews so openly? "Here is my home. Here is how much grain I have. Here is my garden. I have this many guns and this much ammo". Hello! Billboard for the government, neighbors and crooks to come on over and help themselves. I know why they do this. So many of survivalists 1) can't wait to brag to the world about how ready they are and 2) crave attention and acceptance from the survival community on how well prepared they are.

- Wanting and planning to do something are not the same as doing it. How many times have you read survivalists lists on line where they say things like "looking at water systems" or "planning on installing some shelves in the basement". That is not prepping, that is a Christmas wish list.

Preparedness is what you HAVE done not what you dream about doing. Paid off home. Now have one year supply of food on hand. Purchased another water barrel and filled two more buckets of rice. So many of these people do sound like nuts because they are all plan and no do.

- Location is everything. The guy who sold the house, bought the RV and is heading back to Iowa is light years ahead of everyone else, (he better get off his planning butt and start stocking the farm in Iowa though).

Living in urban anywhere will be a death trap afterwards. No matter how much ammo you have, it takes only one Molotov cocktail from the neighbors house at three AM to ruin your day. You can have all the support groups you want before things fall apart, but the day after it will be every man (or family) for themselves.

Best bet is to get out of Dodge now. Sell the suburban house if you can. Buy a piece of remote rural property. Put up a sturdy, well insulated practical home. Plant a large garden. Get chickens, goats and a pond for fish. Stock up on long term food storage. Buy plenty of irreplaceable hard goods like tools, nails, sewing supplies, hand operated machines and so on. It is too late to build a network of like minded neighbors so be prepared to go it alone and only with trusted immediate family. Learn skills, acquire knowledge now. Start printing and downloading all of those preparedness guides your hoarded online. They won't do you any good when the power goes out.

There will be more survivalist stories like this in the media as they prep us for the inevitable. The government and others know our system cannot continue the direction we are going much longer. You still have time, so put it to good use now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prepare: Costco THRIVE Long Term Storage Foods

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Family Emergency Food Kit at Costco which many readers did not know was available. I recently came across something even more interesting from Costco's website.

Costco now carries on their online store and perhaps in some retail stores, long term storage foods in bulk. These products are comparable to what Mountain House produces and what is sold by well known and respected outfits like Emergency Essentials and Nitro-Pak.

The brand name at Costco must be a store brand, THRIVE. It looks like many of the products we have heard or tried before. Here are the units and prices:

Shelf Reliance Thrive 6-month, 4 person food supply
Price - $1999.99 shipping and handling included.

Compare this to Nitro-Pak, 6-month food supply for ONE
Price - 1699.99

and Emergency Essentials, Premium One Year supply for ONE
Price - 1549.95

The pricing is better than these established companies for the most comparable products. Note that the Nitro-Pak products contain greater variety and often contain other accessories like water equipment not available from other suppliers.

Here's what is in the Costco THRIVE six-month food supply:


6 Cans of Instant White Rice (48 servings per can)
18 Cans of Hard White Winter Wheat (44 servings per can)
1 Wheat Grinder
6 Cans of Spaghetti (32 servings per can)


12 Cans of Potato Chunks (42 servings per can)
6 Cans of Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn (54 servings per can)
6 Cans of Freeze-Dried Peas (41 servings per can)
6 Cans of Freeze-Dried Onions (50 servings per can)
3 Cans of Freeze-Dried Cauliflower (43 servings per can)
3 Cans of Freeze-Dried Broccoli (47 servings per can)


6 Cans of Organic Apple Slices (17 servings per can)
6 Cans of Freeze-Dried Strawberries (43 servings per can)
3 Cans of Freeze-Dried Blueberries (50 servings per can)
3 Cans of Freeze-Dried Raspberries (48 servings per can)


6 Cans of Instant Milk (65 servings per can)
6 Cans of Chocolate Drink Mix (65 servings per can)
6 Cans of Cheese Blend (36 servings per can)


The taste and texture of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) is consistent with real meat, making it a great addition to vegetarian diets
12 Cans of Bacon TVP (54 servings per can)
6 Cans of Beef TVP (44 servings per can)
6 Cans of Chicken TVP (45 servings per can)
6 Cans of Pinto Beans (49 servings per can)
6 Cans of Lentils (52 servings per can)
6 Cans of Taco TVP (42 servings per can)
* 12 Cans of Whole Eggs (236 servings per can)

That is a lot of food and it includes a grain grinder (looks to be an upright, counter lock, plastic grinder of unknown manufacture).

There are smaller food blocks available as well with very reasonable prices.

Protein and Wheat pack, 273 servings, 6 #10 cans - 54.99
Vegetable Variety Pack, 277 servings, 6 #10 cans - 89.99
Starter Pack, 477 servings, 6 #10 cans - 84.99
Freeze Dried Fruit pack, 185 servings, - 129.99

All include shipping and handling.

Freeze-dried products have up to 20 year shelf life if unopened
Dehydrated products have up to 10 year shelf life if unopened

Here is my opinion:

Costco has many retail outlets, is a recognized and trusted name with millions of club members.
Club members and shoppers have demanded this type of product (that should be a sign to all).
The prices are very affordable.
I have not tried any of these yet, and there are no reviews, but if they are available in one of my nearby retail outlets, I know I am going to try them.
Finally, a cost affective way to get Long Term Storage foods, with shipping and handling included, and they look pretty good.

Also take a look at Nitro Pak long term storage foods - Ultimate Family Preparedness Pak

Friday, June 12, 2009

Prepare: Job Survival

To me, prepping is the real world and it is what I have been working on for years now. It started when I read Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson that the bug got me. Then I moved on to Alas Babylon, Lucifer's Hammer, the original Stand (1976?), Damnation Alley (the book of course), a bunch of John Christopher books (remember those?) and it has been downhill since.

Until I had a family and children, I never took prepping really serious. I figured if it was just me I could live off a backpack and scavenging. But with kids you realize its a different ball game. They call it avoidance - not avoiding a problem but trying to avoid the effects of a problem, financial depression, civil war, nuclear attack, terrorism, etc.

One thing I rarely talk about is what I do for a living. I have some very strong opinions on work and whenever I talk with someone else who "preps" or is into surviving the worse, I find that their view of work and employment is the most glaring contradiction to the whole prepping mentality.

Here you have a person who on one hand has carefully managed his or her finances and lives frugally. He has purchased extra food and supplies and carefully put them away for an emergency. He has thoughtfully made plans for his and his family's personal protection. He has made the best decisions knowing that if the poop hits the fan, he will neither have nor count on the government stepping in and bring help. He is ready and willing to be the first on his block to "tell FEMA and every other alphabet agency to take a hike he does not need their help".

But the second this same person thinks his livelihood, his profession, job or position at work is threatened, he goes into "Big Government Mode".

"The government needs to stop our jobs from going overseas! The government needs to guarantee jobs and security for working people! The government needs to provide money, aid, jobs, unemployment benefits, retraining and other programs because our jobs are going away! We had lots of good jobs here in (Michigan, Rhode Island, Maine, California, etc). The government needs to step in and make sure we get those kinds of jobs back here again!".

Where is the survivor, independent, tough it out, individual now? Forget the word jobs, and replace it with food, safety, security, water, power, heat and other material comforts. Instead of "forcing companies to keep jobs here", how about we "force those who have food to give some of it to those who failed to plan"? Any difference there? Who is the "sheeple" now?

If a person is truly into surviving and prepping, that includes work, career and backup plans for both. There is no job security or "secure jobs". Start thinking about Peak Employment if that helps. That maybe the U.S. economy has already hit Peak Employment and it will only get worse, work wise. What are you going to do now?

I don't want to sound heartless, but part of the survivor mentality and preparedness comes from being prepared for economic downturn and depression. It can happen. Blabbing about a lost job and demanding "someone" do something sounds like the whining of one who did not truly prepare.

I work two jobs and do a bunch of other things part time to make money on the side. Nobody owes me anything. The government, my employers, nothing. I have to make it on my own. I am my own job security. If I don't work 60 or 70 hours a week, we may lose everything.

Again, I don't want to sound mean or heartless. I know what it is like to have a wife, kids, a mortgage, bills and learn your job is going away. I know what it is like to get laid off and have no idea what in the world you are going to do the next day to put food on the table. Believe me, I know all too well.

But the idea around here is to improvise, adapt and overcome. That is survival and preparedness rolled into one. Whining and asking the government to fix your problems only invites a bigger problem into your life.

Have a good weekend,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Prepare: Swine Flu Now Pandemic

The World Health Organization finally got around to it and declared the swine flu to be pandemic. Maybe they were waiting for school to get out. But we knew this already didn't we?

This flu bug is not as serious as the famous 1918 outbreak was. For instance, we bathe more frequently, have access to anti-biotics, know more about hygeine than we did then as well as some common sense things like "stay away from sick people".

But at the same time, we are dumber than we were then..

- We are so afraid of offending someone these days, we no longer make mandatory health checks part of our immigration policy like we used to. Fact is, we have no immigration policy other than "Come on in, the back and front doors are wide open". Facts are facts. Other countries have different health care standards than we do in the U.S. and sometimes that means a history of infrequent or no immunizations. This puts our population at risk. Other countries carefully screen visitors and immigrants for health risks - we should too. [Note for the politically correct in the audience: My wife is from another country, immigrated here as a young woman and English her second language. Stuff your multi-cultural nonsense, I gave at the office].

- We gently react to health risks rather than prepare for the worse. Our schools and places of work send out "Head Lice Awareness" and "Swine Flu Outbreak" notices rather than have mandatory and enforced policies of "No sick children at school or sick employees at work at any time". Having volunteered at kid's school how some brain dead parent can send their Johnny with green snot all over his face and a fever of 101 is beyond me. Take a sick day at work, call grandma, hire a sitter, do anything but try thinking about other people instead of your tennis game, OK?

- We have plenty of money in both the public and private sector for stupid programs and non-educational training, but half the time the restrooms in our schools, businesses or public buildings have neither soap or paper towels. No wonder we are so sick.

- We have loaded our food products up with antibiotics and growth hormones and now our children are becoming drugged out freaks of nature immune to proper medications. I am no tree hugging hippee, but I know to eat foods as natural as possible and avoid the factory processed garbage found in most restaurants and grocery stores.

You can tell I am fired up about the swine flu. Hey, I have young children and make lots of sacrifices so they are healthy, fed and well prepared for life. A pandemic can be avoided, I just wish people would wise up and quit making things worse for the rest of us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prepare: Cycling for Survival

Cars run on gas.

Horses run on oats.

Bikes run on you.

That's the beauty of the bicycle. It is people powered meaning as long as you can pedal, you have the fuel needed to run the bike.

Now how does a bike work in to your emergency preparedness plans?

We have a working bicycle for each member of my family as well as one bike trailer. The trailer can hold an infant or toddler or supplies. We also have a jogging stroller with bike tires which can be attached to a bike as well.

With that in mind, we have an alternate form of transportation we can use just in case. For instance, we can take the bike and trailers along in and on the truck. If the road is blocked or we run out of gas, we can still move much faster with more gear than on foot. If vehicles have been disabled by an EMP burst, again, we have a viable form of transportation.

Some things to bear in mind. Learn how to fix your bike yourself. My bike store offers an "emergency bike repair and maintenance" course for $20.00 or free with the purchase of a bike. Great deal if you ask me.

Also, stock up on spare parts. Sure it would be nice to have everything, but just having a couple of extra tubes, a good quality pump and a patch kit is a good start. Don't forget the tools specific to bikes - they have those multi tools which are handy.

Get a mirror for at least one bike so you can see if anyone comes up behind you. All bikes should have a light, but the ability to disconnect them is a plus. The lights which can run off a generator on the wheel are handy for saving batteries.

Panniers are those special bags and racks which fit over the rear and front tires. Long range cyclists say these are a godsend along with a small handle bar bag for odds and ends. A backpack should not be worn while cycling.

A good bike can be found at yard and garage sales so you don't have to get a new one. But good deals one bikes can be found at big box retailers at the end of summer but before Christmas when sales heat up again.

I have a Trek which I purchased at a bike store. But good bikes can be found at big retailers as well so there is no reason to be a bike snob. Get the bike which works best for you. I ride my bike occasionally to work so I get some long distance (about 7 miles) riding in regularly. Take a long ride once a week to stay in shape and get used to riding.

A bike comes in handy even if you don't have to bug out. Consider a low gasoline situation or simply the ability to travel quietly from place to place. Plus a bike can go places a car or truck cannot go.

Get food, water, and guns/ammo first. But a bike, along with your current bug out vehicle and a plan is a good part of a complete survival situation.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Prepare: North Korean Nukes and You

"North Korea said Tuesday it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked"

OK - so what does this mean to You?

First, let's set something straight; North Korea does not have the ability to fire a missile at the continental U.S. and hit Los Angeles, Seattle, New York or Houston yet. But they do have the ability to hit Alaska, Tokyo, several targets in China and of course South Korea.

So, if you live in Indiana, New York or Florida, how will that really affect you.

Here's a scenario for your Tuesday afternoon:

North Korea keeps making noise and South Korea, realizing they have the military edge on the North and knowing that each day means the North will be developing more nukes and the means to deliver them, invades the North.

Within hours, the 38th parallel is overrun by the South and Pyong Pang is in danger of falling to ground troops. The mighty nutjob running the North not only pulls the nuclear option by nuking two or three targets in the South, he also fires a few missiles at neighboring states China, Japan and Russia to spread the pain around.

China drops a few back on the North and Russia does as well. Japan officially does not have any so the U.S., after taking a poll and checking with a focus group, decides to fire a tiny nuke at the already smoldering ruins of the North.

Suddenly, without any further escalation, we have a dozen or so nukes being detonated in a tiny area of the world. Guess what happens then?

We have fallout spreading from the east and drifting to the west from the Korean peninsula towards the U.S. Guess what happens then?

After the news media reports fallout is on the way (and not having any understanding of the subject) panic spreads across the U.S. and every unprepared, ignoramus runs out to the store and starts piling Spam and Campbell's soup into their grocery cart.

Or loads up the car and heads "to the country".

Or flocks to the nearest official looking government building and asks "Where is the fallout shelter?".

And then Mr. Unprepared looks over at your house and says, "That nutjob next door was always buying big bags of rice at Costco and he has all those guns and that funny thing for radiation on his keyring. I am heading to his house!".

And then the Federal Government, already in the process of commandeering food and fuel for the Korean Cleanup and Mobilization, decides that too many Americans running around and panicking are a nuisance and distraction from their real job of "governing". Ta-Da! Martial Law is declared, (temporarily of course) nationwide to bring order to the country.

Naturally that order includes making sure everything from housing, food, fuel and money is equitably distributed for the "common good". Suddenly, that stash of Mountain House and Emergency Essentials food at your house is declared to be a community asset and you are arrested for hoarding.

Those with foresight have already headed to their "Bug Out" location, but under martial law, they find themselves at a temporary address and not at their permanent address which is required to receive food and fuel allotments. The Bug Outers may then change their job description to Raider and Looter (temporarily of course) and begin resource allocation.

In the cities, the urban elite decry the lack of shelters, food and other preparations for their comfort at the expense of others and begin to vocalize their discontent. Destruction ensues.

Meanwhile, some leaders in the world, upon seeing that a nuclear weapons can indeed be used for "limited" warfare, decide to drop a few more just to "finish up the job". Soon all the members of the World Nuke Club decide to hurry up and use their stored weapons before the other guy does.

And so begins the great decline across the whole world all because of a few nukes in another country. Could this happen? Sure, why not? But what matters more in the above scenario is what will you do?

Wouldn't it be nice to have ..

- a supply of food carefully obtained over time far from the probing eyes and curiosity of neighbors?

- a secret location off the beaten path to wait things out?

- some basic protection and detection gear?

- lots of basic knowledge such as where to get water, grow food and repair things?

You can. By taking a single nuclear weapon serious and making some plans and getting prepared now. Wouldn't you agree?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Prepare: Fall 2009 End Of The World TV Shows

In the world of television, (don't ask me how I know so much about this - that's for another blog), there are a number of important calendar events. Sweeps weeks (actually there are months, four of 'em to be exact}, numbers (when Nielsen and other release their latest official ratings) and seasons - Fall, Spring and to a lesser extent, Summer schedule.

Fall is a bigger release time than Spring. Spring only means that the holiday schedule {Thanksgiving to New Years) is finally over. Fall is larger because that is when the real, high dollar budget shows are debuted.

Fall 2009 brings a host of new shows with an Apocalyptic bent to them. I have a theory why which I will cover later in the post.

Day One (NBC) - Here is the take from the network..

Day One is planned as a limited "event series." The new series from Jesse Alexander and Alex Graves involves what happens to a band of survivors after a global catastrophe devastates the world's infrastructures. The series stars Adam Campbell, Catherine Dent, Julie Gonzalo, David Lyons, Derek Mio, Carly Pope, Thekla Reuten and Addison Timlin. Day One will be held until midseason to be launched out of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games at the end of February, NBC announced.

Here is a "Behind the Scenes" which told me very little..

A writer online suggested that James Rawles (yes that one) had something to do with Day One, but I have found nothing yet to substantiate the rumor. If so, that would be interesting.

Flash Forward (ABC) - What the network has to say about it.

Everyone in the world blacks out for two minutes and has a vision of their future. Chaos ensues.

Flash Forward is based upon a book of the same name by Robert Sawyer. Wikipedia gives a very detailed and technical explanation of the story. My bet is ABC will stray as far away from the storyline as possible in order to have lots of good looking young people as the stars and attention spans fixated on the series between commercial breaks.

V (ABC) - What the network has to say

Based on the 1983 miniseries, "V" chronicles human resistance fighters battling aliens.

Remember this from the 1980's? I seem to remember the unlikely shooting of a flying saucer with a LAW rocket for some reason or another.

V, 2009, has been updated with today's news events in mind. Don't be surprised to see certain political parties and candidates parodied as already being infiltrated by the aliens.

For us, Jericho was the best hope for a real post-apocalyptic television show. Unfortunately, it died a painful death after a great start.

There is a desire for end of the world programming, both on TV and the movies. Look at some of the films coming out this fall like the adaption of "The Road". Why would Hollywood be making this type of movie? I mean c'mon - they just elected the candidate who most personified "Hope and Change", didn't they? Isn't the world just a breath away from a new utopia here on Earth?

Happy thoughts and positive feelings aside, the real world is a different story for millions of movie goers and television watchers..

- The highest unemployment rate in nearly 30 years.
- North Korea (has nukes) and Iran (nearly there) saber rattling with fissionable swords.
- The U.S. economy in free fall with no end in sight.
- Swine flu and other diseases on the uptick.
- Global warming/cooling threats every other second.

My own theory is people want to watch end of the world movies and shows because they want to know the world could be worse and the secretly want some ideas what to do when the SHTF. Sort of a "how to" guide.

Expect more of this type of "entertainment" in the coming months. Things unfortunately will only get worse and reality can be stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Prepare: Costco 72 Hour Family Emergency Kit

Anytime I hear that preparedness has gone mainstream I have to admit I am a bit happier. This means that more and more people are getting it. I wrote a bit about Costco, (the nirvana of preparedness shopping) and a new product they are featuring, the Emergency Food Kit.

Today, I take a look at a product which is not so good, the 72 Hour Family Emergency Kit. This is a one bag solution to most emergency problems, such as hurricane, earthquake, etc. Let's take a look at the product first before criticizing.

The 72 Hour Kit claims to be "First Aid & Essential Supplies For 4 People". There is a graph for the product online which shows that the supplies contained within are enough for 4 people for 3 days, for 2 for 6 and 1 for 12 days.

A list of the contents of the Kit:

# 1 High Visibility Red Heavy Duty Backpack
# 1 Deluxe 42-pc First Aid Kit
# 1 Dynamo Crank Flashlight/Radio/Cell Phone Charger/Locator Beacon (no batteries needed)
# 36 Water Pouches (4.227 oz. each)
# 4 Mainstay Food Bars (2400 calories each)
# 5-pk Emergency Candles
# 4 Emergency Mylar Blankets
# 1 Utility Knife

A high visibility red backpack is useful if one is lost in the woods, but out if one is attempting to evade others in a post-SHTF world. Just an observation..

The 42 pc First Aid Kit includes each item, such as a band aid, as a "pc." There is a selection of bandages, alcohol wipes, and a compress of some sort, but nothing for serious injuries. Also, I am not sure of the medicine selections.

There are some Mylar Blankets and a strange looking utility knife (plastic).

There are some high energy/calorie food bars and a bunch of 4 oz pouches of water.

Here is my beef with the 72 Hour Kit - Most of this can be assembled from individual pieces of higher quality. For instance, the multi tool could be a Gerber or a Leatherman. A better equipped first aid kit could come from the drug store or grocers. The Mylar blankets are available from the sporting goods store for a dollar or less in some cases.

The water containers, while "neat" because of the official lettering and containers, only contain 4 oz of water. I would rather have a number of reusable liter bottles and a good water filtration system.

While Mainstay bars are good, high calorie protein bars, dried fruits, nuts, vitamins, candy and jerky cost less and have more variety.

Is this 72 Hour Family Emergency Kit worth the $69.99 price? If you don't have anything and want something so you feel more secure, it is better than nothing. However, with a little thought, you can put together a better kit yourself with some careful shopping at most retailers.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Prepare: Costco Emergency Food Kit

I shop at Costco monthly and it has to be one of my favorite stores. If you are into preparing for the worse, Costco gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when you see all those stacks of canned goods, big bags of rice and multipacks of batteries.

For a review of Long Term Storage (LTS) food companies, click here

I have not seen this particular product at my Costco and I think I know the reason. We don't have hurricanes or earthquakes where I live and this product probably would not appeal to many who shop at my Costco - or so the management thinks. I believe they would be a big seller because so many unprepared people want to do "something".

So what is the Emergency Food Kit? Actually, it is a "Food for Health Emergency Food Kit" as Costco markets it. Inside the weatherproof bucket are 270 servings of food. Like what you ask?

# 25 Servings - Potato Soup
# 30 Servings - Corn Chowder
# 25 Servings - Cacciatore
# 25 Servings - Western Stew
# 30 Servings - Country Noodle
# 25 Servings - Rice Lentil
# 45 Servings - Whey Milk
# 40 Servings - Blueberry Pancake
# 30 Servings - Barley Vegetable

This sounds good, right? The only complaints I have seen online have come from people who have not purchased the actual product. Rather, they either read about it online or examined the product at the store. Reviews from buyers however, say plenty of good things about the food.

The Emergency Food Kit says it has a shelf life of 20 years when stored at optimal temperatures. This puts it along the same lines as Mountain House or Military meals.

The meal sizes are small (1 cup dry) and the calories are low. Most of the dishes have about 140 calories per serving with the pancakes having the highest caloric value of 220 calories. Please note that the product claim is 275 "servings" not days worth of food or even meals, but simply a serving. If you have a family, you know that growing child can eat two or more servings of a dish at a meal. Keep that in mind for reference with the Emergency Food Kit.

Buyers say the food quality is actually very good. Like most survival foods, they say the sodium content is higher than normal foods they eat, but that they enjoyed most of the food selections.

Also, with most long term storage foods, be aware of appetite fatigue. Buyers say the Emergency Food Kit combined with other long term storage foods would make a good meal plan.

Others suggest that buyers purchase multiple food kits rather than a single bucket for a family. Also, be warned that the food must be stored at a constant temperature. I would not store this in the back of the car during the summer for instance. Exposure to extreme temperatures lowers the shelf life of the food and may cause it to become inedible.

What is funny, is the manufacturers of the Food Kit or Costco have not suggested that the bucket can be reused as a toilet. They must not have had a survivalist designing the product.

How about cost? Costco has this bucket of food, with a shelf life of 20 years for the low price of $84.99. That's a good price for some LTS food which may be a good start for a food supply. If anything, the food can be used for camping or hunting trips.

Positives - affordable long term storage foods available at a mainstream retail store. That's pretty good in my book. I just wish they carried it at one of my Costco locations.

For more information about LTS foods, click here

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