Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prepare: Bicycle Bug Out

Everything I have read online has different people preparing for getting out of dodge by using a variety of means; vehicle, motorbike, boat, plane and eventually foot or bike. Bikes figure prominently in many evacuation plans.

Here's the deal, unless you ride currently and ride often, picking up a bike and counting on it for a quick and simple evacuation plan is harder than you think. Here's an exercise you can try and which I did this past weekend.

We decided to go for a day long ride this weekend. We had three adult riders with one hauling a bike trailer containing a thirty five pound child, which would be similar to the amount of weight we might carry in gear and supplies.

Each rider had two large bottles of water on their bike frame and there were several backups in the trailer along with an air pump, one towel and a couple of other odds and ends. Basically, not a heavy load out.

Each of the riders considered themselves in decent shape and none had any major health problems such as asthma, heart, circulation or respiratory problems.  

The day was warm, as in the upper 80's low 90's. The terrain was not particularly rough, but suburban streets, alleys and a bike paths. There was one decent upward incline we tackled early in the ride.

The results:

The hill killed us. The rider with the trailer had to dismount halfway up and push the bike on foot.
We went through water due to the heat faster than we thought originally. The water got warm as well.
We were forced to take two breaks in the first hour.
Our legs went out after an hour or so requiring us to go slower.
One rider lagged constantly behind the other two.
We were able to communicate and decided at the onset that one person would lead with the route, but he did not share it with the others from the beginning of the ride.

Now imagine if the three of us (+child) had to carry at minimum a 72 hour BOB as well as personal gear like firearms? Imagine if we had to go 40-50 mules in a day? Imagine if we had a time limit such as X number of hours to get Y distance? Imagine if the weather was really bad, or hotter or colder?

If you plan on having a bike as part of your evacuation plans, better start riding now and regularly. Also, make sure others in your group know what is expected for physical performance on the bike. It is more difficult than you think.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Prepare: Bug Out Bag Spices

First, have a 72 hour (minimum) Bug Out Bag (BOB) and keep it handy at all times.

Second, have the right food packed inside. Sure, Mainstay or Lifeboat ration bars are handy, but I prefer to have those as retort food only. My bag has plenty of regular protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit and chocolate as short term "go to" food for times when movement matters and cooking is out.

However, I also keep plenty of cooking food in my BOB as well. Rice, packets of tuna, noodles, and so on are lightweight, last long and pack plenty of energy and protein.

At some point, the food in my BOB is going to be gone or run low and I will have to find more which includes hunting, fishing, and foraging. When that happens, taste is going to matter big time.

For that reason, I also include a variety of spices and condiments in my BOB all of which are cheap and easy to obtain now. Here's a quick list:

- Packets of catchup, soy sauce, salt, pepper and pepper flakes all of which come with meals at fast food and other restaurants. Put these in a zip lock bag and avoid crushing the catchup packets!

- Salt. I prefer kosher salt and have a small zip lock bag with about 5 or 6 ounces.

- Garlic powder. Can make anything, even a gamey old squirrel, taste better.

- Tony Cachere's Original Seasoning. Makes anything edible.

- Tabasco sauce. They have it in small bottles which can fit in any pocket or pouch.

- Dried onion and garlic. Add to the pot.

- Bullion cubes. They make a base for soup or can be eaten alone with hot water for a short term fix.

Remember to repackage everything into zip lock bags as the original containers might break or get wet. Also, most of these spices and condiments will last months without rotation as long as they are kept dry.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SHTF: Matching caliber rifle and handgun

I have to admit, I am not the complete firearms expert, but I do see the value of having a rifle and handgun chambered in the same caliber. Having a setup like this, especially in a bug out situation, would be ideal.

In the old US West, cowhands would carry a single action pistol and rifle in the same caliber. It made sense as brass ammunition was heavy and carrying to many loads would be a pain. A popular shooting sport, Cowboy Action Shooting, has the standing rule that all participants must use a rifle in a pistol caliber and generally, the same as their competitive handguns.

Having same calibers makes sense in a bug out situation. Having two 50 round boxes of ammunition in a bugout bag (BOB) weighs less than having two boxes of shotguns shells or multiple magazines for two different caliber weapons.

There are some good combinations out there. For instance, a .357 lever action carbine along with a six shot revolver can also chamber .38 ammo making this a fierce combination. A .357 cartridge from a carbine is effective for short distance game hunting and both weapons are effective against two legged predators as well. There are similar combos in .44 caliber which many are quite pleased with.

I have a couple of caveats about my choices. I prefer a rifle and handgun which do no require magazines. I also prefer weapons which do not attract attention from LEO such as military style rifles might. Further, I intend on avoiding as many confrontations as possible as part of my "lay low" strategy so a lever action or revolver fit into my plans.

 The other attraction to the pistol caliber carbine is weight (less) and size. Having a rifle that can fit, unbroken, into a backpack has it's advantages. Lugging a 10lb + FAL along with ammo has its disadvantages especially when travelling on foot in rough country.

Now some will mention the advantages of having the rifle/pistol combo in .22 which is true and it lends to carrying much more ammo than any other situation. I agree, however, I prefer to have a heavier caliber for greater diversity in targets and effectiveness in results. YMMV.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Prepare: Tornado Preparedness

We live in the area effected by this week's storms and had to put our own tornado preparedness plans into action last night.

If you have a basement or storm shelter outside, you are in good shape to ride out a tornado. However, many don't have a basement or the outside storm shelter may be too far away when seconds count. If you don't have an outside shelter, than having a makeshift tornado plan is mandatory.

We have an inside hallway with a full bathroom in the center of the house. Why a bathroom? The walls contain pipes which can provide extra protection from wind borne debris. The bathroom is where we sheltered late last night when the tornado sirens sounded. I stocked it ahead of time with the following:

- A portable transistor radio, pre-set to a local news station. The radio was plugged into the wall, but can run on batteries and had a fresh set inside.

- A portable weather radio. This set cost less than $10 at Radio Shack and every family should have one. 24 a day instant weather information with a built in alarm for emergency alerts. This too runs on batteries and always has a fresh set.

- Shoes. There is a pair for everyone in the family in the cabinet. Even inexpensive flip flops will work and they are needed after a tornado hits and the ground is littered with glass, splinters and other objects dangerous to bare feet.

- Helmets. Sounds silly, right? A boy in the Joplin tornado was saved when he took refuge in the bathtub with his bike helmet on. A flying piece of debris hit his head, but the helmet prevented him from injury. We have a ski, bike or baseball batting helmet for each family member in the saferoom.

- Padding. A futon mattress, pillows, blankets. Anything that can be put over people while they lay on the floor or in  the bathroom and which will protect them from debris.

- Flashlights. Tornadoes and big storms mean power outages. We have several flashlights with fresh batteries on hand. Make sure you have more than one flashlight. One person may need to leave the shelter area to check the house or turn off the gas and it's not good to leave everyone else in the dark. Don't count on candles! They are a fire hazard!

Unlike some of our neighboring states, we were fortunate and made it through last night without any problem. But as always, it is better to be prepared for tornadoes than be a statistic later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SHTF: Mandatory Birth Control

When resource depletion, war, global weather changes, natural disasters or mass casualty events occur, some observer suggests that having fewer people on earth would make things better for all. While nobody ever openly admits offing the excess population (but many of them salivate secretly at the possibility), they have no problem tossing out the concept of Mandatory Birth Control.

MBC advocates call for a one or two child limit per household or couple or some similar scheme. Their reasoning is that with fewer children being born, the population will gray naturally and over a few generations, limit the human footprint upon the globe.

For Mandatory Birth Control to work, however, a few conditions have to be met.

- The government must, through law enforcement, force everyone to take part in the program.
- The medical community must be 100% compliant with the law - no underground doctors assisting in births for families wanting more children than the law allows.
- Religious influences must be altered or eliminated. Many of the world's religions forbid the use of contraception or allow abortions.
- Abortions have to be mandatory for persons on whom traditional birth control has not worked. Thus, the state has to accept the liability of medical and psychological issues which may arise.
- Everyone in the world has to go along with the plan and give it their unconditional support.

Therein lies the problem.

Most of the world is considered "developing". Developing cultures have a greater dependence on physical labor for agriculture and manufacturing. Fewer children mean less available labor so that won't fly.

Further, many nations will never go along with mass birth control, sterilization or abortion on demand.

Many national leaders are poster children for corruption. They will comply with the law on the surface, but then go home and continue to sire more children with spouses and concubines and offer the same privilege to their inner circle and supporters.

Finally, some nations will embrace this wholeheartedly and these are the same nations who have adherence to rule of law and societal structures which will help prepare and train the population for compliance. Most of these nations, however, are western developed nations which are already racing to zero population growth.

In the end, the developing nations will ignore mandatory birth control laws and will continue to have more children. Developed western nations will non-repoduce themselves to extinction.

The end result will be worse than the original problem. No, mandatory birth control will not work.

Here's a creepy 70's movie called ZPG about the subject:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Prepare: End of the World May 21! That's tomorrow!

You have read the news and learned that May 21 is going to be the end of the world. That according to a church pastor and quite a bit of media attention.

If the world is going to end tomorrow, there is nothing you can do to prepare because there will be nothing to prepare for. If the world does not end, then it's back to business as usual.

This particular end of the world warning is based upon Bible interpretation with some interesting math and hypothesis  behind it. I leave it to readers and believers to make their own conclusion.

However, note that as this post is being written and published, it is already May 21 on the other side of the world and we are still here.  So, does the world end one second after midnight, May 21 or when it is officially May 21 in the USA where this end of the world theory originated?

What happens if the world does not end today/tomorrow? Will the date be reset based upon another mathematical computation?

Either way, the best suggestion is to stop looking for dates and signs and live each day as if the master is coming home. Isn't that what the Bible said to do?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SHTF: 1970's End of the World Movies

Roll back the Way Back Machine to the era between the late 20's and 1950's and "The Future" as epitomized in pulps and film was a glorious and wonder filled imaginary place of flying cars, finned rocket ships, moderne cities interspersed with aeroplanes, steam powered super trains and massive moving sidewalks.  The future was bright, exciting and we couldn't wait to get there.

Then, society changed and with it came a new skepticism. Between the late 60's and mid 1970's, most science fiction films represented the viewpoint of many in society: things were going to get worse, not better in the future. A number of movies were produced which reflected this viewpoint and which also fit into our blog's theme. Perhaps you might have missed some of these gems over the years (and with five hundred cable/satellite systems unable to show anything more than reality shows), you will have to dig deep to find them.

Soylent Green. The future is overpopulated and hungry. The Soylent Corporation makes New York City's most popular food, but also holds a dark secret.

Rollerball. The world of the future is bleak and run by souless corporations who distract the masses with an insane ultra violet game called RollerBall.

Logans Run. You are young, beautiful and can have anything you want. There's only one catch - You must die at 30.

A Boy and his Dog. After World War 4 has ended, the world is sparsely populated with gangs of wild boys, telepathic dogs and a hive of underground hidden fallout shelters.

Planet Of The Apes. Astronaut Taylor leaves earth and crash lands on a planet entirely run by apes.

The Omega Man! Chuck Heston again as possibly the last man on earth fighting vampires in the ruins of LA.

In 1977, science fiction movies found their happy spot again with the release of Star Wars. Later, we would have hopeful flicks like ET and Close Encounters. While bleak future movies continue to come out, nothing matched the negativity of the wonderful 1970's science fiction scene.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prepare: Logan's Run

When I was a little kid in the 1970's, I went to the neighborhood two screen theatre and saw Logan's Run for the first time. As we exited the movie, young people dressed as characters from the movie handed out free copies of the book the movie was based upon. It was pretty cool at the time and I have liked that movie ever since.

The book, Logan's Run is far different than the film and if you have read/watched both, you know why. Logan's Run is science fiction story set in the 23rd century where the world has pragmatically and harshly dealt with the spectre of overpopulation by limiting the oldest a person can live. At the end of their state approved lifespan, most people voluntarily commit suicide. Others, wanting to live longer, decide to run, and that is where Logan comes in.

Logan is a police officer called a Sandman who hunts down and executes people who have exceeded the approved age. The state is able to keep track of people's age by a lifeclock installed at birth in the palm of their hand which changes colors as they age. Once the clock goes black, the person is now a runner who can be tracked electronically by Logan and other Sandmen like him.

There were many variances between the book and the movie.

- In the book, life ended at age 21, whereas in the movie, people could live to the age of 30. The rationale for this allowed for established actors like Richard Jordan and Michael York who were in their late 20's at the time, to play the lead rolls.

- In the book, the future world comprised the entire globe whereas the movie only had people living in a single location called "The City", a domed and climate controlled metropolis with no knowledge of the outside world.

- In the book, people who followed the law, ended their life in a state run Sleep Shop where robot attendants euthanized them. In the movie, people attempt to find afterlife by going through some ritual called Carousel where their bodies are suspended in midair and blown up as part of a spectator sport in the City.

- In the book, there were only four palm flower colors; green, blue, red, and black. In the movie, an additional color was added, yellow, to extend the lifespan by 9 years.  

- In the book, Logan decided to run when he was 24 hours away from turning 21. In the movie, the master computer "stole" four years from his crystal to make it easier for him to infiltrate the runner's network and further, allow him to destroy their ultimate destination called Sanctuary.

- In the book, Logan's Sandman partner, Francis, is secretly 42 years old and is the leader of a the network spiriting runners to safety. As a Sandman, Francis was always on duty and rarely took any time off. In the movie, he is a zealous Sandman only concerned with killing runners as sadistically as possible while engaging in as much pleasurable activity while off duty.

- In the book, the Sandman's primary weapon, the Gun, was modeled after the 19th century Colt Peacemaker and only carried six different and purposed rounds with the Homer cartridge used to kill runners. In the movie, Sandmen carry an elongated futuristic flame pistol which is not very accurate, appears to have unlimited ammunition and is better used for shooting fireballs pell mell. Further, the book states that the Gun was programmed for the Sandman's lifeclock in the palm of his hand and picking up another's gun would burn an arm off. In the movie, Logan grabs and uses other guns without a problem.

- In the book, the lifeclock embedded in the palm of everyone's hand was referred to as a "flower". In the movie, the lifeclock was called a "crystal".

- In the movie, Sanctuary, the final destination for runners, did not exist. All runners died in route or were ultimately killed by Box the insane robot in the basement bowels if the City. In the book, Sanctuary was on the planet Mars and was home to hundreds of runners who had escaped over the years.

For those new to Logan's Run, I suggest they read the book and then catch the movie. The book is far more detailed about how the system came about whereas the movie is rather mindless eye candy. The movie now has cult status and has a legion of die hard fans, but be warned, the uncut version is not for children! It has several scenes of nudity, sexual activity and violence. The book, released in 1967, has some scenes which were considered quite provocative for their time, but now are tame by today's standards.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Prepare: Barren

What would happen if people could not get pregnant and have children any longer? This idea crossed my mind after recalling the movie, "Children of Men" during the recent Blogger outage. Only now could I put this completely hypothetical scenario up here.


The government and medical community reveal that no women anywhere in the civilized world are reporting conception in the past month. Only women who were pregnant before the past month and who are currently still pregnant will deliver children. Authorities are asking people not to panic and that the problem is probably temporary and must be related to some unknown condition.

Scientists will carefully examine women and their partners who created the last generation for some genetic anomaly, but will come up shorthanded. The end of procreation was sudden and without reason.

Within a few days of this event, the talking heads and parade of experts blame the problem on diet, pollution, chemicals, global warming, drugs, the wrath of God, genetic experimentation and planetary evolution. Eventually, the various national governments admit they don't know what caused the problem and do not have a cure.

Several step forward and claim the inability for humans to conceive is part of an evolutionary event as the human population has exceeded the carrying capacity of the earth. Basically, nature has pulled an emergency stop on human reproduction. Simultaneously, a number of experts offer alarming opinions as to what will happen long term as the population ages and older people are not replaced with a new generation. Social systems, industries, and welfare will start to break down as contributors drop and recipients increase.

What happens right away? Those who are carrying the foreseeable last generation, will be under strict scrutiny and soon, protection. Their progeny may be the last hope for humanity and thus will be considered the property of all mankind. Further, many who cannot reproduce will be consumed by envy and rage for those who can and that puts their lives, and the lives of their children, at risk.

Governments will pass new laws protecting existing children up to the point of taking custody if parents are not providing a healthy environment according to a formula designed by the government. Some laws will be more libertarian while others, far more authoritarian. Protests and civil disturbances will occur in response to governments alleged intrusiveness in parental rights.

An international effort will come about which will propose that all unborn children and their birth mothers be relocated to central facilities to provide the best possible care as to prevent the loss of a single unborn child. The initial programs call for these birth protection facilities to be located in developed nations which leads to a virulent reaction from most of the world. Shortly afterwards, an international "Baby Race" begins with various nations rushing to protect their unborn children from relocation to other nations. Worried government leaders raise the alarm as to what would happen to their national identity if all of "their" babies were taken from their shores.

International ad campaigns which offer cash rewards, citizenship, housing and lifetime compensation for pregnant mothers to migrate to different nations. The first reports of "mother kidnapping" occurs when pregnant women are snatched for their unborn children and taken forcibly. Some actions are taken by criminals who hope to broker the baby once born, but most are the actions of governments seeking to bolster their nation's future population. Ironically, a number of people are killed trying to obtain a birth mother or recently born baby.

Another related, but smaller symptom will occur as rich, powerful and connected individuals are able to use the government to obtain, through dubious legal means, newborns from their birth mothers.

But for those who want and have no children and who further realize they never will, a dramatic societal change will take place. Divorce and infidelity will skyrocket. Suicide, extreme and destructive behavior will rise across nations. Traditional institutions such as marriage and religion will be disregarded and tossed aside by many. The change will be slight in some developed aging nations and dramatic in developing nations with previously high birth rates tied to cultural norms.

At the same time, a number of individuals and groups will consider the end of reproduction as a sign of the end times long prophesied in many cultures. Again, many will take their lives while others will encourage their followers to prepare for the end and withdraw from society. Some will be compelled to widespread violence.

Shortly after the event takes place, many countries start to report the results. They being to release calculations and predictions of their "End of Life"date: the point where a nation will not have enough young people to support the elderly, maintain production and keep society functioning. Plans are made to consolidate several countries to delay the inevitable.

One evening, various leaders from around the world gather and make an announcement declaring an approximate day in the future mankind can expect the last human to perish from purportedly old age and at which point we, as a race, will go extinct......

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prepare: End Of The World Movies From The Past

 It's funny. When I was a kid, our TV had three or four VHF channels and maybe two UHF channels. But I could stay up late on a Friday or Saturday night and watch dozens of "B" movies from the 40's and 50's every weekend without fail. Now, I have cable with five billion channels and most of these great (and some very bad movies) never see the light of day anymore. Instead, it's a steady stream of reality shows and made for TV movies.

Thankfully, we have YouTube to solve another of our many problems. During the 40's, 50's and 60's, hundreds of "end of the world" movies were made. Most were forgettable (and forgotten) while a few became classics. Here's a sample of some of the long and forgotten:

The 27th Day! (Yep, that's the same guy from War of the Worlds, Gene Barry!)

The Day the World Ended! (This movie was so "great" they made two versions and I was fortunate enough as a kid to see both. Check out this version with a young Mannix, Mike Connors, as the bad guy)

Invasion USA! (Not the Chuck Norris remake!).

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