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Popular survival strategies that will get you killed… or worse.

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Scrolling through my Facebook feed and other social media platforms I see a lot of people discussing what they plan to do in the event of an SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation. These ideas simply expose the inexperience of most people about what it takes to survive in the wild, much less what life will be like should some event occur. Here are some of my favorites:

Bug out or die!

I6.PNGf you truly believe that something like an EMP or nuclear strike or whatever could happen to your city or to the country that would cause a long-term disruption of food/water or would cause people to go door to door pillaging supplies or killing anyone they find then you need to be honest with yourself and get out of the city now. Regardless of your situation or excuse, if you truly believe that such an event could occur within your lifetime or within the lifetime of your children you simply need to leave now and move to a less populated area where the threat would not occur or that if you needed to evacuate it would be easy for you to do so.

If you choose to stay within the city but are still concerned that “something” could happen but its effects wouldn’t necessarily be a long term or permanent, then the only sensible solution would be to bug in.

Personally, I believe that bugging in will be people’s natural reaction when they realize that it is dangerous to go outside. People’s typical reaction in these situations is to hide and they will likely do it where they feel safest. At home. This is probably the most sensible and affordable strategy for the most number of people. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of Americans have less than a three day supply of food and water at home. Get your food and water storage sorted out. You never know what is going to happen that may cause you to need to stay right where you are. Otherwise bug out now and start your new life now before the balloon goes up and the hammer falls.

You can survive as a lone wolf

7.jpgI am honestly surprised how popular this idea is. I think there must be something romantic about the idea of hunkering down or striking out on your own when the world is crumbling all around and you will do whatever it takes to survive. That you will have the skills and can find the resources you need to survive by using your wits, always staying ahead of danger and watching from afar through the scope of your rifle. Unfortunately, this Hollywood version of events will likely leave you dead and broken in a ditch somewhere in real life. Even the most seasoned and trained individuals need the support of a community of some kind to make sure that communications, supplies and security are maintained. Eventually due to bad weather, bad people or bad luck you will find yourself in a situation and will need help. Perhaps your supplies get stolen or damaged and you are out of food. Maybe you get injured or become ill and require medical attention that you can’t perform on yourself. Eventually someone will find your spider hole or knock on your door. Whether it be local law enforcement, UN troops or the neighbors… they found you and they aren’t going away. You will need a plan to interact with them initially, violence will only attract more attention. Support from others will be necessary to either maintain the stats quo or provide a means of reprieve.

Retreat to the woods and just live off the land by hunting and fishing.

9.jpgYup, you and everyone else. As cities become stressed for food and water, people will take to the hills thinking they contain a bounty of food and water. The immediate countryside will be devoid of all animal life as the inexperienced and hungry tromp through the country scaring any wildlife deeper and further into the wilderness. If the event that caused the influx of people to go into the hills has affected the whole country or a large area, then each population center will be driving out the animals and we will see something similar to what happened during the great depression when people were starving and many turned to hunting as a means to eat. Practically overnight the deer and elk populations (and just about every other kind of game animal) was driven to near extinction. The herds that managed to escape did so by migrating north into Canada’s vast forests. Maybe you will get lucky early on and land a deer, elk or other large game animal, where do you plan to store the hundreds of pounds of meat? You will need to stay on the move or you will eventually become overrun by others in the area. But that food will quickly run out and by then finding food will become scarce and a competition between you and other armed and hungry people will have started for not only the food, but for access to water and hunting grounds. You will be seen as a threat by others and should you wander into what someone else considers their hunting area they could already be in a tree stand or camouflaged allowing them to take out their competition before you ever hear the shot.

Same goes for fishing. Pole fishing is amazingly inefficient and people will resort to concussive fishing or nets easily cleaning out entire fish populations of lakes and rivers interrupting their reproduction cycle meaning the fish won’t be coming back next year. People will flock to lakes, rivers and streams and the water will quickly become contaminated because most people don’t understand how or don’t care to maintain sanitary conditions in the wild. This will ensure that the water will become unusable to drink causing widespread disease to an already bad situation.

Again, maintaining proper food and water storage would be far superior to to starving to death in the woods, or dying from Typhoid or Dysentery.

I will just kill a prepper and steal their stuff

This idea is so stupid that the first time I heard it I thought they were joking. When I realized that they were serious and had already identified who they would go after if times got tough the tone of the conversation changed and I was thankful that I didn’t live any near this person. But I have to assume that this mindset exists and there will be people in my neighborhood that will try and do me harm.

According to the Congressional Research Service it is estimated that there are more guns in the US than there are people. This alone should make anyone considering this method of survival choose another way. Especially when you consider that the majority of preppers are armed. If some event happens that would cause you to consider the murder of a prepper ,you should remember that they are likely armed and expecting an attack. This puts you at a severe disadvantage and would likely mean your death should you attempt such an action. But even if you were successful you would need to accomplish this task anomalously. If the community learned what you did, society still detests murders and you would not accept you among them. You would then be targeted by mob rule or vigilante justice. Even if you were lucky enough to be successful the first time you would not be able to maintain this method of survival. You would eventually get picked off by someone with even mild OPSEC experience.

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Why prep if you are saving the first bullet for yourself?

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9.PNGI hear it all the time and when I do I just want to pull my hair out. “If there ever was a nuclear war I wouldn’t want to survive” or “If we were ever attacked I hope I die in the first wave” among others are the kind of statements I hear even from other preppers.

These kinds of statements frustrate me to my core. I am always torn between disgust, disbelief and anger. I typically respond with some smart-aleck answer like “So if we were on a cruise ship and it started to take on water and they declared an emergency you wouldn’t want a life vest? You would prefer if someone just killed you quick?” They would then respond with a hesitant answer like “Well no… I guess if it looked like we weren’t going to get rescued I just don’t want to suffer.”

Well la-de-frickin-da! Imagine that, you don’t want to suffer. Welcome to the human condition. So what they are saying is that they are not willing to fight for survival. They would just rather die than try because it might be hard. I haven’t met someone yet who thinks this way that has been able to articulate their position to me in a way that I think makes sense. I understand there are different kinds of people in this world but some people have the will to live while others do not. Are their lives less important? No of course not. I just think they are either mentally weak or they have so much fear that they aren’t willing to deal with reality.

Of course the truth is that none of us knows what we are capable of or how we would respond until something actually happens. Perhaps some of these same people when placed in an impossible situation will rise to the occasion. I certainly have seen the opposite in some who have acted tough and talked a good game completely fold when the pressure when a bad situation came crashing down.

I aim to be one of those people that will fight tooth and nail to the bitter end to do everything I can to live and survive regardless of the situation but I understand that not everyone feels the same way. It was with one of these individuals that didn’t want to live in a post-apocalyptic world or hoped they didn’t survive to see one, that I got a chance to talk to recently. It was at a company picnic and the subject of politics came up and the claim was made that with the way things were going, the US would be in a nuclear war before the end of the year. It was at this point that a man named Steve made a comment about not wanting to live through a nuclear war. Of course, I’m the kind of person when I see a button I can’t help but want to press it. I just couldn’t help myself, so I asked him “What if you did? What if there was a big nasty nuclear war and you and your family found yourselves in a small but well stocked shelter. After a couple weeks when it was safe, you come out to find out that you have lost everything and there is no one coming to help you… ever. You were one of the lucky ones, you survived but you are now on your own. What then?”

Steve’s face went blank as he looked at the ground with a wide-eyed stare. “I don’t know” he responded after a few short moments. He then added “I don’t know what the point to surviving is if there is nothing left. It sounds like we would just be waiting to die.” Waiting to die. I suppose one could argue that we are all waiting to die. It is just some of us have longer to wait than others. How soft have we become as a society that if we were left to fend for ourselves that we no longer saw any point to living.

At this point, the conversation changed subjects but I couldn’t help but hear his response ‘waiting to die’ ring in my ears. I sincerely felt bad for Steve that he couldn’t see the value of living even if times would get tough, and I do believe that times will get tough. I then asked myself what I would do or how I would handle the situation if my family and I managed to survive some horrible event and someone with Steve’s attitude was there? I can’t help but think that this kind of person may be the most dangerous person in the group. On the surface, they would seem like they wanted help but in reality, they would just be a constant drain on everyone else, both mentally and on resources. They wouldn’t necessarily be suicidal but they wouldn’t be thinking of the good of the group and long term survival. Their decisions would likely seem benevolent on the surface but would actually be selfish and lazy. If they were in a group of survivors, they would likely split the group if a decision needed to be made that would cause them to be uncomfortable or require them to endure for a period of time. They would likely choose the easier of the two options assuming someone or something would come to their rescue which would cause a serious waste of life and resources.

Since the only way to know for sure what would happen in a situation like this is to actually go through one, the only way to prepare for it is to have a plan and decide now what I would do. Just like you need to have a plan of action and know your emergency exits and evacuation routes before there is an emergency, the only way to handle a situation like this is to plan ahead of time.

I do consider myself a religious man and believe that morals and standards are even more important in times of chaos and when there wouldn’t necessarily be a societal consequence. Rather than have someone argue with me what the right choice would be while in the situation I choose to know ahead of time, to have already decided and to stand by my convictions rather than be swayed in the confusion of the moment.

Are you like Steve or have someone like that in your family? What would you do if you were in a situation where you survived a collapse of the government or of a war? Perhaps an EMP hits and you are thrust back to the same technology era of the 1800’s. Could you survive? Would you want to? The will to live does not run as equally strong in everyone. How would you motivate yourself or others you care about to continue on?

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7 things you will kick yourself for not stocking up on before SHTF

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Any good prepper knows that you need to store food and water. Time and time again we see situations arise across our world where the government, the weather or any number of unforeseen (or even foreseen) events cause a disruption to basic services. These outages can last months or even years.

Regardless of the reasons why, when you are out of something you are just out and with no chance of resupply here are 20 things that you will wish you stocked up on that you’ll be kicking yourself for not thinking of before they were gone:

Alcohol

1.PNGMost of your basic liquors (e.g., brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey) don’t go bad since they do not contain any sugars. Unopened they can last indefinitely so many argue that this makes them a great barter item. While this will likely be true it’s use as a wound disinfectant or to sterilize medical tools, or cool the body topically in case of overheating the would make it an ideal asset to have in your preps.

Plastic Bags

I feel like plastic bags of all kinds ranging from zip top to grocery bags to garbage bags are so ubiquitous in our culture that we no longer see what an important role they play in our day to day lives. I’m sure that we would find a way to get by without them once they are gone but their presence will be sorely missed. Everything from food storage to travel to general organization to maintaining sanitary conditions. I don’t think you could ever have enough plastic bags. When purchasing your supply be sure to get the thickest kind you can without anything added like scents and be aware of the kind that are ‘landfill friendly.’ Despite what you have been told in the past, plastic in general as well as plastic bags deteriorate quickly if not stored correctly. Again, your best bet is in a cool, dry, dark space and if you have the luxury of storing them in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber it will allow them to remain fresh and be in top quality when you do need to use them.

Soap

2.PNGSome people think that since you can make soap from basic ingredients (lye, fat/oil and water) that stocking up on this most precious of resources is a waste of space. This just shows me that these are people who have never tried to make soap themselves in this manner. Not only is it hard to do but it is amazingly time consuming. Soap is cheap and the basic stuff doesn’t go bad if it is stored in a dark, cool, dry place. You will want to store plenty of bars and liquid soap. Since they are not going to make antibacterial soap anymore it might be worth getting a supply of that as well. It will be good to keep with your medical supplies.

Bleach

With an amazing assortment of uses bleach needs to be included in every preppers supply. The biggest trouble with bleach is that it has a shelf life of only about a year and that is assuming it was stored properly. This means that storing large quantities is probably out of the question because without just re purchasing your supply every year you will want to rotate your supply on a regular basis. It is possible to make bleach but again you are looking at storing the raw materials (Chlorine, caustic soda, soda ash, water) that if done incorrectly will go bad quite quickly.

Wool Blankets

3.PNGIf you are not already familiar with the many lifesaving properties wool has then you must be new to the prepping world. That’s ok, just know what most material if it gets wet will pull heat away from your body whereas wool will continue to stay warm. Most households have a closet or a spot in the home where old or unused blankets go to die unless you have company come over or the need to make a blanket fort arises. Having these kinds of blankets is great and nothing wrong with it. However, if you are looking at making a purchase to have some extra on hand for preparedness sake then there is no substitute for wool. You can’t have enough. If the power goes out or a natural disaster hits your area, these blankets will save your life.

Tarpaulin (Tarp)

I bet only half of you knew that tarp was actually short for Tarpaulin. Don’t skimp when purchasing your tarps. If you buy them at the dollar store you will be disappointed if you ever need to use them. The lower quality ones degrade very quickly in the sun and tear quite easily so don’t bother. A quality tarp can be used for 1001 different things so having a set of good quality tarps is fundamental. Common uses include: shelter, water barrier, water catchment, ground cover, dead body removal, harvesting, wind screen… like I said it has a lot of uses. Oh, you noticed the dead body removal? Yes no one thinks of that. In a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation there is going to be a lot of death and since bodies are heavy, unsightly and can spread disease a tarp can be a good solution.

Rubber Gloves

4.PNGI’m not talking about the latex or nitrile gloves but the thicker more durable and reusable rubber gloves. These come in all sorts of colors and flavors from Neoprene to PVC coated to actual rubber. Personally, I advocate for the Linemen’s Electrical Rubber Glove. I feel that if the glove is properly cared for, has a wide assortment of uses from working with animals, electricity, offers mild thermal protection as well as some chemical protection. Are there better gloves out there for each of the reasons listed? Absolutely, and if you have the money and space to purchase all these kinds of gloves then I say go for it. But if you are anything like me working on a very limited budget and space then you are going to need your supplies to be able to do a little multitasking.

Most of these items are very inexpensive and easy to store. Doing so now will ensure a more trouble free time in the event that systems and the supply chain goes down. Don’t kick yourself later for not buying this stuff now.

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An EMP will permanently destroy this nation’s greatest asset and we will all suffer.

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Congress has already acknowledged the very real concern regarding a likely type of attack on the US homeland called EMP or Electromagnetic Pulse.

empThe idea being that should such a device detonate in our atmosphere above our country, it could potentially destroy delicate circuitry found in almost all modern electronic devices ranging from phones, cars, thermostats, appliances to even hospital devices just to name a few. With estimates that place the mortality rate of such an attack upwards of 90% after the first year, few have stopped to consider the repercussions for those who have prepared for such an event or are left standing after such a massive die-off occurs.

It seems that even the most basic of tools now days have electronic components that would be permanently damaged rendering them useless which means those who survive must rebuild without their benefit.

People busy with their smartphones in New York cityFor the unprepared, obtaining resources of any kind will be particularly difficult. All our modern cities require that food, clothing and the other necessities of life be brought in. Since transportation will be limited to vehicles prior to the introduction of computer hardware, there are few kinds of vehicles left which makes this kind of travel very “expensive.”

You would think that since the majority of the U.S. population after the first year would be dead, that the competition for resources would be less. In truth, most all those resources will have been used up or hoarded in the immediate days, weeks and months following the attack so anyone left won’t likely have much to work with. But the most valuable resource isn’t money or gold or coffee (ok, maybe coffee) or gasoline. It won’t even be food or water or ammunition. With so many of our lives being ‘plugged-in,’ our photos, memories and ability to research and problem solve is dependent on an infrastructure that will no longer exist. It will be knowledge and experience that we will be most desperate for.

The survivors will need a way to provide for themselves the basics of shelter, food and water.  This means how to garden, the best time to plant and how to ensure you have a good crop and what to do if the plants get sick. Or what if you get sick? How will you heal yourself without appropriate training? Wasn’t there a Facebook post about some herbfbm that was considered a heal-all? Was it garlic or was it turmeric? Do you know if it is ok to drink water from pond? What if a fish died in the water? Could you build a shelter and do you know how to make it structurally safe to survive the elements? Could you make soap or know what parts of an animal are ok to eat should you find one? What if you or someone in your group got pregnant? Google is not available and the dwindling libraries of our childhood have been quietly disappearing and even if you found one they would no longer likely carry this kind of information like they once did.

The likelihood of you running into a farmer-hunter-doctor-mechanic-lumberjack-blacksmith would be pretty low. Even if you did they probably aren’t looking for another mouth to feed or for you to slow them down. Communities will of course play an important role in survival but there will be huge gaps and holes in knowledge and experience in any group that manages to survive since the majority of the population will have died. Those to make it past the one year mark after such an attack will be the young and physically fit, or the lucky, or the ruthless or those who took action to be prepared.

gcLearn skills and be as self-sufficient as you can. Build a library with real books on all sorts of subjects that were written for the layperson in mind… and read them. Diversify your skill set and be as well rounded as you can. Be useful and involved with your community. If you are a member of a survival group or live in a small community, work with them to learn as much as you can and be willing to share your knowledge and experience. If not, join a class on canning or survival gardening and make friends. These will be the connections and relationships that not only will enrich your life but will serve as your survival group because it will be your friends you turn to for help and at least you know these friend have skills.

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Armchair Prepping

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Armchair_prepperThere are a legitimate number of things you can do to advance your prepping efforts from the comfort of your recliner or sofa. Here are some things you will want to work on:

  1. Research

Prepping is such a wide and vast topic that encompasses so many subjects that narrowing down and identifying the specific areas you would want to research can take you some time. However, taking the time to think out these areas and to write them down will help keep you focused instead of getting lost to the many distractions the internet and YouTube have to offer. Here are just a few ideas to get the juices flowing:

  • First Aid
  • Gardening
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Outdoor equipment/gear
  • Bushcraft skills
  • Water Treatment/Filters
  • Food Storage
  • Security
  • Sanitation
  • Electricity
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Woodworking

 

  1. Action list

Everyone has preps they wish they could do. These include simple things like picking up food safe barrels for water storage or building a food dehydrator. They can be big and expensive like purchasing land for a bug out location, or small like learning to build a fire without matches. Take some time and for each of the subjects you came up with in the previous step, brainstorm the things you want to do to related to that subject, you should end up with a fairly lengthy list.

  1. Organize

Hopefully your action list is long and full of lots of to-do items. But looking over your list you may feel a bit overwhelmed and the amount of work you need to do and can feel daunting. Don’t worry, a preppers work is never done. Take joy in the process.

Review your to-do list and rank them in order of difficulty. Personally, I like to use a 5-star system. One star means it is easy and I should be able to knock it out in an afternoon if I can only find the time to dedicate to it. Something that rates 5 stars would be very difficult and may take months or years to complete.

Next go through the list again and give each item a cost rating. For example, I would mark an item with a single $ if there is little or no cost for me to complete this task. Perhaps you have already purchased the materials or supplies necessary to complete the task but you just haven’t completed it? Even though you already spent money on the task you do not need to spend any more money on it so I would still give it a single $. Something that would be cost enough that I would need to plan for it ahead of time but not necessarily strain my cashflow too much would get a double dollar sign $$. Tasks that would require a significant investment to complete them would be marked with three dollar sign symbols $$$. Of course, you can come up with your own way to do this since each of our situations is different.

Once all your items in your action list have been marked for difficulty and cost it is time to reorder your list. You can organize it however you feel it would be the most useful for you but I suggest ordering them from the least difficult and least expensive to more difficult and more expensive. Hopefully you will have discovered more than a few items that are easy and have little or no expense. These can be the first things you accomplish once it is time to get out of that armchair!

 

  1. Work out the details

Plenty of studies have shown that one of the top reasons people are prone to procrastinate on a project that they have never done before is because there is something unknown in the process that requires further clarification. Maybe you don’t know the store hours of the local cannery you want to pick up your bulk food storage from, or you don’t know if they make the thing you need to buy in your size. If you can create a detailed step by step plan to accomplish your task then you will find that getting around to being able to cross it off your list will come a lot faster for you.

Pick one of the items on your action list and work out all the steps you need to accomplish the goal. For example, if you wanted to set yourself up some gasoline storage but you don’t know the safest way to do it. The jugs or barrels sold nearby inexpensively but because you don’t know how safe it is to store lots of gasoline or if any special equipment is necessary you have put off the project. So, step one in the process is to identify who would know this information so you could ask them. Who stores gasoline in barrels? Mechanics might or maybe farmers or ranchers. Perhaps there is an implement store that sells gasoline storage containers. Maybe the local fire department could be a good source of information. Of course, you can see if that information is available on the internet but just consider the source before taking advice for something that is dangerous. Find the answer and then corroborate that answer with several sources.

It turns out that because you have a temperature controlled shop that you plan on storing the gasoline, doing so in a clean and undamaged steel drum is perfectly safe. There were some cautionary tales of using a grounding clamp when adding or removing gas from the barrel and proper treatment for storage but you feel confident about what you need. Next, identify who sells these items and check in on their address and hours of operation. You own a small pickup that will easily allow you to get everything home and you already have a corner of the garage cleaned up ready to have your steel drum placed there.  You plan on rolling the empty drum into position and with the help of a couple five-gallon plastic gas cans, you will fill those up every time you need to go to put gas in your vehicle. You estimate it will take you a couple of months before the drum is full but that is what works within your budget. At this point you have identified every step and there is nothing you are unsure of to cause you to procrastinate any longer.

You will find that after doing the research and planning out all the specific steps to a project that you begin to get excited about it and you will actually go out of your way to make time to complete the project. This is what prepping is all about.

 

  1. Take Inventory

If you are like me, you might have your preps squirreled away in closets, under beds, basements, crawlspaces, etc. Do you know everything you have? DClipboardo any of your items expire like food or medication? Take stock of all the supplies, food, water and gear your currently have and make an inventory. Be sure to mark the expiration dates or if an item needs to be maintained regularly like fire extinguishers or firearms. You may technically need to get up out of your armchair to complete this but it is something that is not difficult and doesn’t cost any money to do. Also, having a list such as this will be very useful for insurance purposes in the event of a fire or a break in.

 

  1. Shopping list

Now that you have taken inventory you may notice that your bug out bag had several packets of instant ramen and spam that as it turns out don’t last for nearly as long as you thought they did you originally packed the bag and they now need to be replaced. Create a shopping list of items that are necessary to replace things that have gone bad or are missing from your current inventory. Perhaps you need to expand your food storage from three months to six months?

What else do you need to purchase? These aren’t projects necessarily but you need more water filters, or winter clothing. Maybe you need food safe containers or shelves. Make a list!

 

 

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Amazon’s Alexa could land you in jail

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5In 2015 a Mr. James Bates was found to have a dead man in his hot tub. James also owned an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Prosecutors are trying to compel Amazon to release data collected from the speaker that they feel may help prove James’ guilt. Amazon briefly explained how the device worked in a brief statement it released that it does not record conversations or the ambient noise but rather it is looking to hear its name: “Alexa.” The device then tries to transcribe noises it hears into text and if one of those transcriptions matches its name, it will activate. If there is some sort of log or long term record of these transcriptions (what the prosecutors are hoping for) Amazon explains that it would be useless since it will attempt to transcribe all sounds, including sounds from the TV, or the loud stereo from a car passing by, or the dog barking or the kids playing outside and it doesn’t know the difference between them. We don’t know what this data actually looks like and if someone talking on the television could cause Alexa to think there is a person in another room, then that information could be misinterpreted by prosecutors as activity or a conversation in what may or may not be an empty house.
 
These types of devices and how they work are not completely understood by the general public. We all just more or less assume the worst that they are probably recording everything we say and it’s transmitting it somewhere. But because we don’t feel we have anything to hide many people don’t care if they are being recorded or not. It is because of this general assumption that the prosecutors are after this information, they assume it will be a goldmine of recordings. So when Amazon tries to briefly explain that this is not how the device works, the prosecutors don’t necessarily believe them. Perhaps Amazon is telling the truth, perhaps not, but in the end it doesn’t matter because this is just another example of how our individual privacy is being eroded and the general public doesn’t seem to care too much about it because again… “they have nothing to hide.”
 
At this point in the case we don’t know if James is guilty or innocent. Of course the idea of an innocent man going to prison because of a “smart device” providing data that was interpreted by a prosecutor’s expert should scare anyone. But perhaps we should consider a scenario where a guilty man would be let free because of this same data. What if he was your neighbor?
 
*The reality is that if the data exists, it will be used against you.*
 
Of course all this controversy about a device that seemingly records audio has overshadowed another “smart device” that could be just as open to be misrepresented. The home’s Smart Meter recorded that a lot of water was used the morning after the murder and prosecutors are arguing this is evidence that James was trying to clean up after the murder. But the defense argued that the time stamp was off by 12 hours and that the water usage corresponds with filling the hot tub the day prior.
 
As our society marches forward and more and more analog devices are turning digital, more and more data is created and the expectation of privacy or rather the definition of what privacy means changes with it. Overall who you are, what you do, when and maybe even how you do something will be a line of data somewhere. Answering the question of “why” or proving your intentions will remain to be something left to interpretation. But the more data there is, the easier it will be for someone to construct a very plausible story that someone will want to believe regardless of the truth because the story fits the data.
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Preppers are paranoid

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Why are you even prepping?

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what-are-you-prepping-forI have gotten the chance to meet a lot of preppers in these last few years and while we all agree that prepping is a good idea… as a group there is a wide range of thoughts as to WHY we are prepping.

So I thought I would just take a moment and see what everyone out there is prepping for and is there is anything special you are stocking up on that is specifically related to that?

Some of the more common reasons that people have shared with me is financial collapse, EMP, nuclear fallout, the Yellowstone super-volcano and martial law to name a few. I spoke with a lady a few months ago that is convinced that there will be a an engineered pandemic that will leave all large city centers empty like ghost towns. She lives just outside Fort Collins which is about an hour north of Denver proper and she has invested about $4000 in a fully encapsulated positive pressure hazmat suit and ventilation rig. Talk about your specialty prep! My conversation with her left me with more questions than answers since she only had the one suit and it was rated for a fairly limited time in its “mobile” configuration. While I can see the benefit of having one if you are prepping for a pandemic, I feel like you would need a lot more long term solutions than what a single suit would provide… At that point she was no longer comfortable getting any more specific. I of course respected her her decision to change the subject.

So what else are you prepping for? If you would, sound off in the comments for what scenario(s) we are most likely to see. I’d like to know what you think and what you are doing, or at least what you would like to do, to prepare for it.

Personally I believe that we will likely see a combination of things occur. Such as a financial collapse, that will lead to mass riots that could lead to martial law. I believe that it is also possible that our enemies (maybe foreign… maybe domestic) may feel that the timing is perfect and launch some sort of power grab or even an attack on the US that would leave large parts of the country without basic services such as electricity, water, and sewage treatment. Depending on the scale, I also think it is possible that we could go years before these services are restored. Can you prep for everything? Is that even realistic?

So tell me what you think. What are you prepping for and what specialty preps do you think will be necessary?

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All the grocery stores closed today

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How do you know when it is time to bug out?

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The term “bugging out” has become popular in prepper circles and is even starting to enter into the mainstream consciousness. The idea of everything around you reaching such a critical point that you have no choice but to grab a bag and leave everything behind is one that not enough people give proper respect to. Consider your home, your belongings, the life you have built, and everything you know…. gone, and probably forever. This concept is romanticized in the media; but anyone who has fell victim to a home fire, tornado or been ordered to evacuate and threatened arrest because of an impending hazard knows first hand just how difficult a moment to leave it all behind really is.

The problem is that we love our things and we haven’t admitted the emotional attachment we have to our stuff. I’m not saying it is a bad thing, I just don’t think that we appreciate this fact enough. You are going to need to prepare yourself for that moment. It won’t necessarily be easy, especially if the decision to stay or go isn’t as clear as you would like it. Those of you who have been prepping for a while need to ask yourself where you were on 9/11. Especially if you lived in or around the New York area, did you bug out when you saw the news? Why not?

What would it take for you to get to the point that you felt that you would need to bug out? Imagine the scenario in your mind. Is it during the day or is it in the middle of the night? What is going on around you, and what are your neighbors doing? Is there panic in the streets or are there lines out into the street at the gas stations? Most people won’t truly feel comfortable bugging out unless they know they have to, and the only time they will know that they have to is when they feel their life is in danger.

 raining_fireThe biggest problem with waiting to bug out when you feel your life is in danger is that everyone else is also feeling their lives are in danger and you all will be trying to leave at the same time. If you are one of the 80% of Americans that live in an urban setting then you should know that getting out of town will be impossible. I mean consider just how bad traffic is at the height of rush hour. Now think back to a time that there was a little fender bender on the road and just how badly it interrupted the already painfully slow flow of vehicles. Now imagine that everyone is in a hurry and some people are even willing to be reckless and try and drive past all the traffic and the road has dozens of accidents.

The reality is that traffic flow would go to zero and almost everyone would be on foot as soon as you left your neighborhood.

Obviously you would need to bug out sooner or you would need to survive in place, or bug-in. We will discuss bugging-in later, but for the purpose of this scenario let’s assume that you will die if you stay and your only choice is to leave. The specifics of why or your ability to survive are not in question here. Let’s just assume that you must leave.

At what point would you be able to leave it all behind? Are there any specific triggers that you would watch for that would serve as your signal that it is time to go? Would you wait and end up getting caught up with everyone else. Well… hopefully you would leave sooner so that you could have the benefit of clear roads and the use of a vehicle, gas stations, grocery stores and services. It is a lot easier to bug out when the lights still work.

Knowing when it is time to bug out is dependent not only on the warnings or triggers that are happening around you but also things like what kinds of supplies you have, how far away your bug out location is and the physical environment you are in. The more difficult it is to reach your bug-out location due to weather, limitation of supplies, health or distance, the more time you need to allow yourself which means leaving sooner. This means you may need to change what the trigger event is that will be the signal for you to hit the road.

Of course depending on what you are prepping for, you may or may not have any warning time. For example if you are prepping for an EMP, there is little chance you will have any warning at all. But luckily in this kind of scenario, panic will not likely set in right away. This should allow you valuable time to dust off your dirt bikes or EMP proof vehicle and get out of Dodge.

Perhaps you are prepping for a natural disaster like an earthquake. You won’t likely get any warning when “the big one” hits. But what you should have is a plan. Anyone who has a bug out bag should also have a plan. Practice that plan and do it often so that when the time comes you will be able to go into autopilot. You will already be distracted with the stress and emotion of the situation, being able to rely on your training and do something you are familiar with could save your life and give you a big advantage over others.

So what if you are afraid of financial collapse or peak oil or a pandemic? Will you wait for the stock market to crash before you leave? The banks will be open and life will be pretty much normal. Would you leave then or would you wait until the debit cards and ATMs stopped working or would you wait until the grocery stores were empty or all the gas stations had handwritten cardboard signs telling everyone Cash Only or Out of Gas?

In the end, how you know when it is time to leave is up to you and will be unique to your situation. My only recommendation is: Leave before everyone else. Have a plan and practice it. Better to leave too soon than too late. For my situation I don’t think I would have been able to get out in time. I can’t help but feel that whatever event is going to happen I won’t be prepared enough for it. I personally don’t like the idea of leaving it to chance which is why my family and I have decided to bug out early… real early. If you follow this blog or our YouTube channel you know we have already left. Our goal is that if we can create a self sufficient life out in the country away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, we will already be in position for almost anything. We are fortunate that we were able to come to this decision early and together as a family. If you are able, perhaps you could look into doing the same for yourself while you still can. Either way… good luck to you.

 

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