Category Archives: Community

Happy Father’s Day!

I just wanted to say Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow dad’s out there. My hope is that all of you have a great day and are provided the opportunity to spend time with those who you love. I would be remiss if I did not mention my own father.

Dad, I am extremely grateful for molding me into the man and father that I am today. You were a great example for me and have never failed to take an opportunity to help me become a better person, even if it was by showing me where you fell short. I love you.

If you are still looking for a last minute gift for dear old dad, consider checking out the survival and preparedness items from the Prepared Ninja’s partner sites:

Black River Outpost

Ready Made Resources

CB Mint

Safeguard Armor

Pulse Firearms Training

 

Medical Kit Purchase Opportunity

I have recently had some individuals express interest in possibly coming together as a community and putting a group buy together for a medical emergency response kit. After doing some research and sketching out a plan, this is what I have come up with:

  1. The requirement for making the purchase happen will be to determine that there is enough interest.
  2. Payment will have to be received up front. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to, I cannot afford to finance this project alone. 
  3. From what I have been able to source, here is what the kit will look like:

Trauma Response Kit – $150 + Shipping (U.S. Domestic Flat Rate is less than $20)

Airway/Breathing

  • HALO Occlusive Chest Seal (2 Per Package) – 1 Each

Bleeding/Circulation

  • SOF Tactical Tourniquet – 1 Each
  • Emergency Trauma Dressing (6”) – 2 Each
  • QuikClot (25G) – 2 Each

Splint/Disability

  • ACE Wrap (6”) – 1 Each
  • SAM Splint, Flat (4.25” x 36”) – 1 Each
  • Cravat (Triangular Bandage) – 1 Each

Wound Care

  • Slip Tip Syringe (10 cc) – 1 Each
  • Steri-Strips Adhesive Skin Closure (1/8” x 3”, 5 Per Package) – 1 Each
  • Stretch Roller Gauze, Sterile (4”) – 1 Each
  • 2 x 2 Gauze Pads, Sterile – 10 Each
  • 4 x 4 Gauze Pads, Sterile – 5 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (3/8” x 1.5”) – 6 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (3/4” x 3”) – 8 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (1” x 3”) – 8 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (2” x 4.5”) – 4 Each

Miscellaneous

  • Black Nitrile Exam Gloves, Large – 5 Pair
  • Cloth Medical Tape (1”) – 1 Roll
  • Alcohol Pads – 10 Each
  • Trauma Shears – 1 Each
  • Moleskin (3” x 5”) – 1 Sheet
  • Casualty Space Blanket – 1 Each
  • Splinter Forcep – 1 Each
  • Cyalume Light Stick – 2 Each

OTC Medications

  • Antibiotic Ointment (.9GR Foil Pack) – 5 Each
  • Extra-Strength Acetaminophen (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Ibuprofen (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Antacid (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Antidiarrheal – 5 Each
  • Hydrocortisone Cream (.9GR Foil Pack) – 5 Each
  • Electrolyte Tablets (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Cold & Cough (2 Pack) – 5 Each
Please let me know if this is an opportunity that you are interested in pursuing or if you have any additional questions by emailing me at tom@thepreparedninja.com.

Madness and Mayhem

The news over the last few days seems to be filled with chaos and mayhem. Whether it is the abandonment of vehicles in Atlanta or cryptic statements being made by journalists, it seems as though we are experiencing interesting times in America. To me, this further reinforces the need to be prepared and have a plan. Here are a few of my thoughts on recent events:

1. The gridlocked traffic in Georgia, Alabama, and other southern states reinforces the need to have a bag packed with appropriate items to help sustain your life in the event of an emergency. What if the businesses like Home Depot were not willing to harbor refugees from the weather? What would you do? Where would you go? It is possible to remain in your vehicle and protect yourself from the elements with the right equipment. Make sure to go out with a plan and not blindly hope that other will look out for you. Even if you do nothing else, put the following items in a bag in your car at the minimum:

  • A blanket for each person in the vehicle.
  • A one quart bottle of water for each seat in the vehicle. (Wrap these up in the blankets to keep them from freezing.
  • Food – Stable food that does not require special treatment (refrigeration) and that needs no resources to prepare. Think about items like jerky, granola bars, MRE’s, etc.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Hand Warmers
  • A light source (flashlight w/ batteries or chemical lightsticks).
  • Hat & gloves for each person.
  • A roll of toilet paper.
  • A disposable poncho for each person.

This is just a short list of the minimum items. These are all items that can be purchased at the dollar store. Put all this stuff in a plastic tote and keep it in the trunk. It could save your life!

2. Matt Drudge recently made a cryptic statement on Twitter about needing an exit plan. His exact tweet was, “Have an exit plan…” Many have taken this to the extreme and speculated about economic and stock crashes as well as other ideas. I take it as another reminder that we should all be preparing for the tough times that are likely ahead of us. It is not a bad idea to have an exit plan about how we would live our lives if we only had ourselves to rely on. (FYI-In the end, you can only count on yourself anyway.) Think about these points to assist you in your exit strategy:

  • Get out of debt.
  • Store enough food and water to sustain you and your loved ones for a predetermined amount of time (a MINIMUM of 7 days).
  • Have a plan on how you would acquire more food and water once you run out.
  • Establish a way to secure yourself and your property. Have a gun and know how to use it!
  • Always be able to provide yourself shelter, even if it means just having a tent and a plan on where it can be safely set up.
  • Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors about what you would all do if something were to happen. The solution to difficult times is to band together, pooling your resources and planning the path to recovery.
  • Pray, meditate, or do whatever you have to in order to seek wisdom and guidance as to how to deal with challenges. This is a daily task and does not have to only apply to an end of the world scenario.

These are a few of my thoughts. Take them for what they are. Remember that it is better to have something and not need it, then to need something and not have it!

Book Review: Staying Home by Alex Smith

Alex Smith has a new book out titled, Staying Home: Protecting Your Home After Disaster Strikes. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Staying Home to read and I immediately knew it was a great companion guide to his previous release, Getting Home: Making It Back To Your Family After Disaster Strikes.

It is important to note that this book is written with the novice to moderate skill leveled prepper in mind. If your interpretation of your survival skills is the equivalent of a hybrid Jason Bourne, Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer, and Rambo…this book may not be for you. However, I feel confident that almost anyone could benefit from reading Staying Home.

There are some key points to be considered when making the decision to “bug in” during a disaster and Alex does a great job of covering these points. Staying Home reviews:

  • Selecting A Location – General Considerations
  • Selecting A Location – Property Characteristics
  • Sustainability
  • Hardening A Property
  • Hardening A Home
  • Home Preparations
  • Skills For Hard Times
  • Community
  • Surviving A Disaster

It is not just these key points that create value for the reader of Staying Home. Some important reminders that Alex includes; the fact that making your home a “hard” target will make it less likely to be bothered with in comparison to “softer” targets as well as the fact that the tools are not enough, you must be trained to properly use them, add even more value to this great read.

There is entirely too much information that is included in the book to outline here but it is abundantly clear to me that Alex Smith has hit another home run. Staying Home has something for everyone and at the Kindle price of $3.99 and print price of $12.99 it is worth every penny.

Buy it here before it is too late to benefit from the information!

An Apology to the Next Generation – Guest Post

Can repairing the moral fiber of our nation lead to the survival of America?

An Apology to the Next Generation

by J.V.

In March, 2013, the always-reliable CNS News reported that, per the most recent data available (2008) by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the U.S., which brought the number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. to 110,197,000. To put this in perspective, those 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. By way of contrast, there were 1,524,092 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the 2007-2008 school year, per the National Center for Education Statistics (this is ratio of STIs to bachelor’s degrees of 13:1, or 6:1 in the 15 – 24 year old age group); meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the number of people employed in the country actually declined by 2.9 million during that year. The report noted the number of workers that year dropped approximately a million (146,273,000 to 143,369), while the average in the post WWII era is an employment increase of 1.3 million per  year. In other words, the number of STIs for the most recent data far outstrips both the university degrees and the average job increase the US has historically seen.   While gun crime is down (much to the chagrin of the gun grabbers) – apparently bad people would rather steal your money via computer than via a gunpoint robbery –  the US prison population is now the largest in the world, both in absolute terms, as well as a percentage of overall population, with approximately one out of every 30 U.S. citizens somewhere in the penal system, if you include probation and similar in the totals.  According to the New York Times, with 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners, with 2.3 million behind bars; totalitarian China, which has four times the population, has 1.6 million in jail. There are 751 people in prison per 100,000 in population. No other nation comes close.

In fact, according to The Daily Crux, there are more black people in prison as a result of the drug war today than there were slaves in 1850.

I needn’t continue the litany of woes – you already have the broad outline, most likely, before even reading this. This real issue is the etiology of the problem. And despite the liberal handwringers who come up with yet more control-freak solutions as a “resolution”  such as having the police stop 10 year old girls selling lemonaide on the street corner (yes, literally), we were told the solution over 200 years ago, by someone who founded the whole system, John Adams, who simply wrote “Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Of course, this analysis is too simplistic and common-sensical for the average, “sophisticated” MSNBC viewer. But of course, history is replete with cultures that experienced systemic failure, due to ignoring the obvious. The fall of Rome, or the defeat of Montezuma by Cortez, are just two examples that litter history.

The decline of the American republic (no, not democracy) has a lineage that goes back to the very beginning  – writers will discuss the Whiskey Rebellion, the First Bank of the United States soon after that, some of Lincoln’s abuses, some wars of expansion, etc.,  but special un-merit goes to the 20th Century, with such un-luminaries as Woodrow Wilson and FDR. However, superceding them all, the top vote-getter for the Apollyon Award (this word, from the Greek Ἀπολλύων, meaning “the destroyer”) has to clearly be my own generation, the Saul Alinsky worshipping Baby Boomers – those who venerate safety over liberty, money over morals, and expedience over ethics.  It is our generation that, as CS Lewis put it, made “… men (and now boys) without chests (hearts, morals) and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate, then bid the geldings be fruitful.”  My Boomer generation is the one that maintains there are no absolutes, and then – in the words of Captain Louis Renault to Rick Blaine in the movie Casablanca –  they are “…shocked – SHOCKED – to find that gambling is going on in here.”

Is it any wonder that my generation is the generation where Jon Corzine “lost” $1.6 billion dollars? Where a Bernie Madoff could operate, undetected, for years? Where people simply wink at the utter scam/tragedy of Fast and Furious or BenghaziGate?

The declension in our society has – in my mind at least – a very specific time and date: Specifically, Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall show when he was first running for president – you can watch it here:

Lost to antiquity now, but this – for lack of a better word, antic – was a major turning point in his campaign at the time.  And here is the key point: Why in tarnation would people vote for someone just because he was (and I use this word sardonically) “groovy?”  That is a reason to vote for someone as the leader of a country?  But perhaps more importantly, the Bill Clinton era, when the Baby Boomers were in their prime, exemplifies the exact period when the very common retort to all the corruption in the Clinton administration was “ethics don’t matter anymore.”  I remember this phrase being repeated by leftists like a yogic mantra. And in fact, perhaps it was. You are now seeing the result of why ethics do, in fact, matter.

As a matter of fact, the answer to “ethics don’t matter anymore” is yes, they do (as opposed to the polar opposite, “Yes we can.”) This is not to minimize the very real failings of the first President Bush. That isn’t the point. The point is that my generation had no problems voting the future direction of their country based primarily on image. I am clearly not saying that image was not a factor in other elections; I am saying there was, in my observation, a sea change in the very basis whereby society conducted itself – and specifically, this period was where ethics became something just short of a parlour joke that the intellectual snobs (the same ones now living in gated communities) could sneer at.  I doubt George Washington could have won with the rabble you see on this YouTube video of the Arsenio Hall show. The sad fact is that mine is the same generation that said “It’s only sex” about Monica Lewinsky, when in fact it was about perjury by the highest lawgiver in the land. My generation is the one that said “It’s the economy, stupid,” when in fact the economy – as we are finding out now – is something that has at its very core trust (and if you don’t believe that, just go ask some Cypriot who had his bank savings “confiscated,” or perhaps someone who had their saving “re-hypothecated” by the Jon Corzine run MF Global….or perhaps you could go talk to someone who had their life savings evaporated by Enron’s lead financial whiz, Jeffery Skilling, whom Eric Holder is now attempting to let out of prison early). The rule of law, which was horribly damaged during the Clinton presidency, is the very basis on which we are able to conduct business.  As a matter of fact, the Baby Boomer generation, with their relative ethics, their self-absorption, their me-firstism, has – if I may put it graphically – urinated in the very well they – and the succeeding generations – have to drink out of.

The issue is not lack of morals, or the red herring of hypocrisy. I struggle myself, as do you – and every other human being on the planet. Rather, the real issue is that my generation refuses to admit that there is even a rational basis for ethics at all. Rather than admit we are – dare I even say it? – sinful (maybe I had better use “imperfect” than use such a linguistically anachronistic term), my generation has made an art of denying there even exists a yardstick by which to measure. We are indeed a generation that goes all-in for situational ethics (except, of course, for those occasions when it affects my pocketbook!) CS Lewis covered this whole issue admirably in his short book, The Abolition of Man, but unfortunately, this book today is little read, though that needn’t be true for you.

In sum, this is my apology to the next generation. It will no doubt be lost down the digital drain in which our culture is swirling.  It is my corporate admission that my generation, above all others perhaps, has illustrated exactly what the Bible warned about, “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature,” (Galations 6:8 in the perhaps soon-to-be-banned-as-hate-literature New Testament ), with the predictable result, as the Old Testament warned, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up ( Hosea 8:7).

Metanoia (you’ll have to look that word up, but I’ll help – see the definition here) is possible for you, the next generation. Don’t let it slip by – the hour is late.

Guest Post: Selfishness and Preparedness

A big thank you to J. Vanne for writing this post.

Selfishness and Preparedness

by J. Vanne

Picture Credit: mentalhelp.net

Recently, a small firestorm was ignited by Valerie Lucus-McEwen, a government Emergency Management employee,  who had the temerity to accuse preparedness types of “selfishness.” While your immediate reaction may be – as mine certainly was – “Are people really and truly this thoughtless?” – this question does deserve a proper answer, particularly as those who are easily influenced by the leftist media, or who believe the state really and actually is the omniscient, omnipotent savior of  our personal and corporate lives, are actually asking this question. So, let’s examine the issue:

First, many preparedness types have, as part of their goal, the intent of helping neighbors and family who were unable – or unwilling – to prepare. In my own case, part of what I have in mind is assisting a large group of mentally retarded and Down’s syndrome children that my church has taken under its wing. (A group the state would do no more than “warehouse” if it were under their direction!). Not all preppers feel this way, but I would bet my bottom can of stored tuna fish there is an exceedingly large percentage of preparedness types who feel similarly.

One significant point of observation – that has significant ramifications relative to preparedness – is that, in my experience, the non-prepper type is generally of a socialist orientation. Of course, as most of you know, this approach was tried – and found wanting – all the way back in the Pilgrim era. Many of you are aware that when the Pilgrims first arrived, they worked out of a communal system. The result was starvation and death. As this approach did not work, they then “privatized” their system – and of course flourished. You can easily research this history yourself, but if one has any experience with human nature, it is immediately apparent why this didn’t – and has never in history – worked. The issue is that human nature is imperfect and selfish, just as Adam Smith wrote about in the Wealth of Nations. A simple recognition of this basic aspect of human nature – and finding a way to work with this reality, rather than against it, provides the most good for the largest number of people – exactly as Smith wrote, and exactly as history has shown for anyone who has eyes to see. To do otherwise impoverishes people, and in times of crisis, will lead to otherwise avoidable deaths. Working with this reality of human nature, rather than against it, has brought the greatest good for people overall in both good periods of history, as well as difficult. And for those of you with Judeo-Christian worldviews, this issue is why Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called Communism “a Christian heresy” – viz., the Communist assumptions about human nature were completely off-base. Long story short, the question is: Is man perfectible (particularly with the best and brightest, such as Hilary, George Soros, Al Gore and Obama telling – nay, forcing – us what to do!), or are all men fallible, and the dictum of Lord Acton correct that absolute power corrupts absolutely correct. There is an unbridgeable divide between these two assumptions, and this divide makes itself manifest in the Hamlet-like “to prep or not to prep” debate.

The Fleet Street Letter put this matter perspicaciously a number of years ago, and is worth quoting at length:

There are two major traditions in Western political thought. The first is Aristotelian, logical, rational, centrist, mechanistic. You concentrate power and truth in the centre and apply it outward, shaping the world according to plan. This was the guiding principle of the Roman Empire. It evolved into the Holy Roman Empire and the Church of Rome. Except for Switzerland, it has dominated politics on the continent ever since. Most recently, it has morphed into the European Union. The principle is simple – smart people can figure out how to run things, and should be allowed to do so. This was the idea behind Hillary Clinton’s health care task force (and now ObamaCare), as well as Japan, Inc. and even Adolph Hitler’s National Socialist Germany. It has animated nearly every politician (each one  of whom, as Garrison Keilor notes about Lake Woebegone children, are above average) in this century. But there is another tradition that is much less well understood. It is the tradition of the Roman Republic… of English common law… of Adam Smith and Emmanuel Kant… of Austrian School economists such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek and of pre-Rooseveltian American. It is organic, rather than mechanistic – the tradition of tradition, based on the recognition that people, no matter how smart, cannot replace thousands of years of accumulated experience. Experience is embodied in the evolved systems of values, customs, rules and traditions that people use to order and give meaning to their lives. A free market and a free society allow people to express these preferences, as well as allowing the process of social and civil evolution to continue. This tradition, in other words, is neither liberal nor conservative in the modern sense, but anti-political. Indeed, it is often seen as “anti-intellectual” because it denies the authority of intellectuals to tell the rest of us what to do (through the political process).

Perhaps you, like I do, remember the “best and the brightest” who led the Vietnam war? How did that one work out? Or, if that news is too stale, perhaps you care to visit present day Detroit – which was the first city to adopt the socialist “Model Cities Program” in under Mayor Coleman Young a number of decades ago. Similarly, Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” was a quasi- socialist endeavour, which was intended to end poverty. You can judge for yourself what all those $9 trillion dollars spent on this “war” resulted in (hint: we now have just under 48 million on food stamps, up from 32 million when Obama took office, and with more poverty than ever).

The basic misunderstanding is, as Frederic Bastiat wrote in The Law,

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

There is yet another misunderstanding to clear up for those of Christian persuasion, as exemplified in the Book of Acts, 2:24, in the New Testament, which states about the early believers “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common.”  Dr. Jay Richards addresses this superbly in his book Money, Greed andf God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem by simply noting that the early Christians held things in common privately, voluntarily and without compulsion. This is light years away from the state forcing sharing, and under compulsion.

And one more important observation, that is applicable to the prepping community: When I donate my own money at present, I watch like a hawk where it is going, and what it is doing. When my money goes for taxes to “help” others –  for the few dollars that actually make it past the money sucking gauntlet of bureaucrats –  how much actually reaches its destination? Some research shows as little as 10% or so. As the saying goes, it is much better to teach someone to fish, rather than just gives them a fish for a day. And I can do a thousand times more, with a million times more love, for 1% of the money, that the government could ever dream of doing, if I were left with my own money to donate as I wish. Similarly, preparedness is most optimally left to the individual, not the state. I am clearly not saying there is no place at all for the state to assist. However, it should be ancillary and very secondary in function. To do otherwise is to set expectations that can only be dashed – exactly as was seen during hurricanes Katrina or Sandy.

So, how does this relate to preparedness with potential future catastrophic disasters?  In a collapse – whether it be Argentinian/Greek/Zimbabwe style, or EMP, or a global war, compassion must be personal and voluntary. Not only is it more effective, it is more ethical. And it is more ethical because it is more caring, more direct, and more efficient  In a collapse, there should be a voluntary exchange, and for those that are not prepared, there should be some type of assistance rendered by the one who has not prepared (it could be cooking, gardening; perhaps doing guard duty or carpentry). Where this is not possible, simple humanity and compassion should – and undoubtedly will be – the hallmark of many preppers.

In a serious collapse, there may well be a need to choose whom one would help, or not, but that is a decision that will be very personal. For myself – in contrast to the government representatives who so condescendingly accuse preppers such myself of being self-centred, I will indeed (as noted above) look to help the weak and helpless. You may object by saying  “A lot of good that will do – we should, as per people like Dr. Peter Singer, just let the weak die.” To which I reply “A society that only values those of utility is not a society worth keeping – and in fact, is precisely the type of society – with its abortions, euthanasia, etc. – that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Another point: I would be remiss not to mention in the context of this article is the very self-apparent fact that for every person who is prepared, that is one less mouth to feed in a real crisis. This needn’t be addressed further, as it is patently obvious, but is yet another reality that the debunkers always seem, somehow, to neglect to address, though it is staring them right in the face.  The regular silence by these debunkers is a stark testimony to what is either a lack of critical thinking, or a purposeful lack of honesty is examining the relative merits of preparedness.

God – or for the non-believer, nature herself – has written self-preservation into our very DNA.  Certainly, from a Judeo Christian perspective, each individual person has the right to self-preservation. The Bible is replete with laws allowing for self-defense in the Old Testament, and even in the New Testament – while unequivocally admonishing believers to be irenic and forgiving, also quotes Christ telling the disciples, for example in Luke 22:36, in preparation for when He is gone, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” There are historically several approaches to defense in the Bible – complete pacifism, the use of “police” force, and just war, but that is beyond the scope of this paper. Suffice to say, self-defense is well within the historical understanding of options for Christians in a violent world, although admittedly this can be a difficult issue to navigate, and there is a range of conclusions which sensible people can come to within the pale of faith. Similarly, I extend this self-defense conception into that of realm of preparedness. I think the extension is fair and reasonable, about which reasonable people can disagree in some areas.

Also, relative to preparedness and faith, clearly Proverbs 27:12 explicitly states  – and which passage many preparedness types are familiar with – A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”  In a world where well-regarded individuals like Dr. Lawrence Kotlikoff of Boston University state the total amount of unfunded liabilities – federal, state, municipal and corporate – are now a staggering $222 trillion, where the amount of derivatives (which Warren Buffet famously once called “financial weapons of mass destruction”) world-wide makes that amount look like a molehill, in a nation where people like Jon Corzine can “lose” $1.6 billion and simply walk away without a day in jail, where lives are lost during Fast and Furious and people just shrug their shoulders, or a in nation about which Billy Graham’s wife Ruth once said “If God doesn’t’ judge America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah,” is preparedness unwise?  Leftists may object, and that is their prerogative. However, if they wish not to prepare, then perhaps they ought to take to their own hearts and written commentary the one thing they forcefully invoke for everyone else in every other situation – tolerance. What business of theirs is it?

With all due respect to them, why is it our non-prepper friends, as exemplified by the written commentary of Ms. Lucus-McEwen noted above, why cannot they practice what they presumably preach about tolerance? Why must people like this actively vilify those with whom they disagree? (But of course, the answer is obvious – just as in the days of Imperial Rome, everyone but everyone must bow to the all-encompassing supremacy of the state. To do otherwise means crucifixion – 2,000 years ago, this was in the arena; today, it is the high tech lynching of a Clarence Thomas, the fashion execution of a Sarah Palin, or the just the “mere” thuggery against those of us who beg to disagree with big government by modern day Kristalnacht Alinsky ruffians.

The whole area of faith and preparedness admittedly needs much further and deeper exegesis – but hopefully this scratches the surface of the subject, and opens up additional conversation.

But even for the non-believer, one’s body is wired for self-preservation. And if nature is all that exists, logically one has no basis to “backtalk against one’s DNA,” which has written self-preservation into the body. From either a biblical or non-biblical perspective, self-preservation is an intrinsic “good.”  Why should preppers then be castigated?

One final – and extremely telling – point about “selfish preppers.” The woman who wrote this disparagingly of preppers was a government worker. This means she makes a good living off of private sector people such as myself. As a matter of fact, I cannot currently make adequate preparations for my family and I because I have to provide a “princessly” salary and retirement package for her (the average government worker may make a third more in salary than a private sector worker, and retires much, much earlier). But here is the kicker: If there is a disaster – it will mostly likely brought about by yet another miscalculation by the self-proclaimed “best and brightest,” (think Vietnam, the internet bubble, Long Term Capital Management, Jon Corzine, the housing bust, etc.). Do you know where these “important” people will go? To continuity of government shelters! In other words, if there is a miscalculation, and a nuclear war starts, or an EMP or biological attack starts, they are all set to retreat to specially built giant, lavishly equipped caverns – while you and I fend for ourselves, due to  a mess of their creation!  Any word from our “preppers are selfish” commentariat on that? Why not?. If nothing else in this article sinks home to you, this should make crystal clear the hypocrisy behind the prepper criticism. The truth is, just as we see with today’s cronyism in high places, as George Orwell so aptly noted, “In the socialist workers’ paradise, we’ll all be equal… only some of us (usually them!) will be ‘more equal’ than the others.” Just ask Nancy Pelosi why her Congress exempted themselves, their cronies and their districts from ObamaCare if you don’t believe that.

In sum, I prepare the same reason my all my forebears did each fall: I don’t know what the winter (of this this case, the future) will bring. While for believers, God has promised to be with us and sustain us, as the old saying goes, we can’t ask God to direct our steps if we are unwilling to move our feet.  I trust, and my feet move.

If you would like to write a guest post for The Prepared Ninja,

email: tom@thepreparedninja.com

A Serious Gated Community!

Nothing says, “Parking Permit Required!” like two giant stone walls with gates around your neighborhood. This is exactly what is planned though for The Citadel, a concept community conceived by patriots and financed by the III Arms Company. Current plans have the community slated to be built in the mountains of Idaho or somewhere else in the region that James Wesley Rawles has dubbed, The American Redoubt. Stemming from an idea bounced around the liberty focused blogosphere in 2012, this community has quickly come to fruition with 20 acres already purchased in Benewah County, Idaho to house the relocated headquarters and factory of the III Arms Company.

A concept sketch of The Citadel community.

For many, this scenario makes a lot of sense while others are concerned that this type of community creates a giant target for the government. I see both sides of the argument but think that The Citadel will catch on. Especially if the federal government continues to move in the direction of current travel. While such communities may not be a perfect solution, at least there are groups looking for a solution. Below are some of the details about The Citadel…

What can I expect to find within the walls of The Citadel community?

The Citadel expects to offer the following features:

  • III Arms Factory
  • Curtain Walls & Towers, Main Gate
  • John Parker Town Green
  • Town Hall
  • Community Armory
  • Citadel Firearms Museum
  • Town Center – Retail/Commercial
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Medical Center
  • Retirement Facility
  • Citadel Schools/Boarding School
  • Library
  • Tourist Visitor Center
  • Houses/Townhomes/Condos
  • Canals/Lake/Ponds
  • Firearms/Archery Ranges
  • Sports Fields
  • Hotel
  • III Bank
  • Churches
  • Power/Biomass/Water Plant
  • Underground Shelter
  • Post Office
  • Fire House
  • Stockade/Jail
  • Grounds Building
  • Walking Trails
  • Orchards/Gardens/Parks
  • Outdoor Pavilions/Amphitheatre
  • Command & Control Center
  • Media Center
  • Airstrip/Helipad
  • Shuttle System/Parking Center

Who can live in this community?

Anyone who is willing to agree to the Patriot Agreement as outlined by the community’s organizers. In addition, the concept of the Citadel holds dear to the idea of Rightful Liberty, allowing for free practices without limit of race or religion.

How does this idea of Patriot communal living work?

Each home will be a lifetime lease instead of owned as personal property. The Citadel spells it out as a Patriot Disneyland:

One of the primary reasons for a lease paradigm versus private property inside the walls is our desire to make the community for Patriots only.

The model will be similar in many ways to that of Disneyland. It is walled, gated, private property with controlled access. People pay to enter and agree to the rules because they see value in doing so. It is all based on a voluntary agreement between the owners of the property and those who want to come inside. Millions of people visit Disneyland and interact peacefully. It’s exceptionally rare to hear of any serious problems. The key is that those people want to be there and understand what is expected of them. Surprisingly similar to what we are doing.

According to the Citadel website, each home will include:

Every Citadel home will come with a 2,500 gallon water tank, a one year supply of food for either 1 or 2 adults, 1 or 2 AR15-variant rifles and 1,000 rounds of ammunition per rifle, a generator, a composting toilet, a vault, a protective Safe Room.

The threats that the Citadel will be designed to combat are:

The Citadel is primarily designed to defend against a grid-down, economic collapse scenario. When most people ask this question they are thinking in terms of defending against violent action but there are other aspects to defending ourselves. Self-sufficiency in terms of food, water and energy are also a form of defense against a collapse scenario, so these are a major part of our plan.

The Citadel is not designed to withstand any direct .Mil or .Gov attack. Nor is the Citadel, in any manner, attempting to provoke any government entity.

What does living in The Citadel community cost?

According to the official Citadel Housing Cost Calculator, housing will run anywhere from $347 for a 600 square foot house on one acre outside of the walls all the way up to $6,998 for a 10,000 square foot house on one acre inside the walls. There are other options available such as a 300 square foot emergency micro-suite inside the walls for an additional cost of $250 a month.

The folks of the Citadel and III Arms Company have also come up with an answer for why this project will succeed while other similar concepts have failed previously:

Why Do You Think You Will Succeed Where Others Have Failed?

An effort such as this can have philosophical, social, economic, political and religious aspects that must be considered. Previous attempts have either ignored one or more of those aspects or not understood the consequences of the decisions that were made that affect them.

Our effort is based on Rightful Liberty which, as a live-and-let-live philosophy, makes us good neighbors. We feel no need to convert anyone to our way of thinking or try to control anyone else’s behavior, except to the extent needed to defend our Rightful Liberty. We have a base economic engine for the Citadel in the form of the III Arms Company that should provide initial financial support. We have the Patriot Agreement, a contract that clearly spells out our expectations of one another. We believe in the rule of law and have no interest in creating conflict with anyone. We will be an open community that encourages visitors and tourists. Most importantly, our efforts are based on voluntary action and voluntary association.

These factors should let us build a physical and social structure that will let us pursue our goal of a sustainable and defensible living space without the usual negative reactions that efforts like this often create.

It will be interesting to see how this Patriot community develops…

If you think living among fellow Patriots in the Citadel is for you, apply here.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that your holiday is filled with happiness, fun, food, and memories. 2012 has been a remarkable year with no shortage of things to complain about, but try to recall the good things that have come along as well. God bless you all on this day of giving thanks for all that we have been blessed with!

Rain Or Knee Pain? Predict The Weather!

A key driver of activity in life is weather. A baseball game, a military mission, the space shuttle launch, and school days throughout the country are all things that are impacted both negatively and positively every year by different weather factors. If there were to be a break down in communications from an EMP or some other catastrophic event that prevented weather forecasts from being disseminated to the general public, weather prediction skills will become invaluable. So what are some of the things to look for when trying to predict what the weather has in store? Clouds, geographical features, barometric pressure, animal behaviors, and folklore/traditional sayings can all be reliable guidelines to use to predict the weather in the absence of professional meteorological outlooks.

Clouds

Clouds can be a good indicator of what the weather may be doing. If you can learn to identify the different types of clouds, you may be able to accurately predict specific types of weather that may be rolling your way soon. Different categories of clouds include:

AGL = Above Ground Level

Low Clouds (Under 6,500 Feet of Altitude)

Cumulus – Meaning heap in Latin, these clouds are typically the easiest to identify and are usually associated with fair weather but cumulus clouds are known to produce precipitation if they are very tall. If these clouds get bunched and large, it can result in heavy showers particularly when the weather is warm.

Stratus – The Latin word for blanket or layer, stratus clouds are low hanging clouds that are known for covering the entire sky like a blanket. Stratus clouds often produce rain and drizzle. Usually if they lift quickly in the morning it indicates that a decent day of weather is ahead.

Nimbostratus – These clouds are classified by the dark sheets that blot out the sun and are usually followed by extended precipitation (several hours) within a couple of hours.

Stratocumulus – Clouds that may produce light precipitation but usually dissipate by the end of the day and are identified by the low, rolling mass of thin, lumpy white to grey clouds that may cover the entire sky. 

Middle Clouds (6,500 to 20,000 Feet of Altitude)

Altocumulus – These clouds are patterned white to grey clouds that often appear in waves or are rippled and are larger than cirrocumulus clouds. Altocumulus are considered to be fair weather clouds and usually occur after storms.

Altostratus – Formless grey to bluish clouds, they will form a thin veil over the sun and moon. If they gradually darken and blot out the sun or moon, it is a sign that precipitation is on the way.

High Clouds (Over 20,000 Feet of Altitude)

Cirrus – Meaning curl in Latin, cirrus clouds reside high in the atmosphere in the very cold air because these clouds are made of ice crystals. Cirrus clouds are usually associated with fair weather but occasionally may also be an indicator that storms may be on their way.

Cirrocumulus – Clouds that appear in layers that look like either fish scales or rippled sand. Sometimes cirrocumulus also appear to look like rippled surface water on a pond or lake. These clouds are considered a sign of good weather and often clear out to blue sky.

Cirrostratus – These clouds are composed of ice particles and form a halo around the sun. When a sky filled with cirrus clouds darkens and the clouds turn to cirrostratus it is likely a sign of rain or snow to come depending on the temperature.

Towering Clouds (Up To 60,000 Feet of Altitude)

Swelling Cumulus – These flat-bottomed clouds with growing, cauliflower-like towers often form in the middle of the day and precede cumulonimbus clouds.

Cumulonimbus – Towering storm clouds that produce hail, thunder, strong winds, sleet, rain, lightning, and tornadoes. These clouds are characterized by a top that is often shaped like an anvil. If these clouds form early in the day it can mean that there are greater chances of severe weather.

Geographical Impact on Weather

  • Coastal regions typically have more moderate temperatures that inland regions, meaning that they generally are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • The air above urban areas is often warmer than in less developed/lower population dense areas. This can sometimes result in an artificial low pressure system.
  • Hilly regions generally have temperature shifts where warm air will move uphill during the day and downhill at night.
Barometric Pressure
  • The Nose Knows – The strength of scents often increase or decrease along with changes in barometric pressure. Plants will release their waste products in a low pressure atmosphere which generates a compost-like smell, indicating upcoming precipitation. Swamp gasses (marked by their unpleasant smells) are also released just before a storm as a result of low pressure in the atmosphere. The scents of some flowers are also very strong just before a rain.
  • The air bubbles in your coffee cup will ring to the outside of your cup when a low pressure system sets in. This is an indicator that rain is on the way.
  • Smoke from the campfire indicates approximate barometric pressure. If the smoke from the campfire hangs low to the ground (an indicator of low barometric pressure) than rain is likely to fall soon. If smoke from the campfire rises high (an indicator of high barometric pressure) then good weather is in the future.
  • While there is no scientific reasoning that I could find, it has been shown through various studies that people who suffer from joint and muscle pain can sense (usually through pain) when the barometric pressure is dropping. This is a sign of precipitation.
Animal Behaviors
  • Crickets can help you determine the temperature! Count the number of cricket chirps you hear in fourteen seconds and then add 40 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit. Example: 40 Chirps + 40 = 80 Degrees F / To determine the temperature in Celsius, count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by three, then add four to get the temperature.
  • Many animals ears are sensitive to low pressure systems. Wolves and dogs will become nervous before a storm and emit whines or howl-like sounds.
  • Seagulls and geese won’t often fly just prior to a storm. The thinner air associated with low pressure systems makes it harder for these birds to get airborne. Seagulls also will not fly typically fly at the coast if a storm is coming.
  • Birds flying high in the sky indicate fair weather (high pressure system).
  • Cows tend to group together when poor weather is on the way and they will typically lie down before a thunderstorm.
  • Ants will steepen the sides of their hills just before it rains.
Folklore/Traditional Sayings
  • “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morn, sailor’s take warn.” – A red sky at night during sunset (when looking toward the West) indicates a high pressure system with dry air that has stirred dust particles into the air which causes the sky to appear red. Typically the jet stream and prevailing front movements go from West to East meaning that the dry weather is headed toward you. A red sky in the morning (in the East with the rising sun) means that the dry air has already moved past you and a low pressure system is behind it (moving your way) bringing moisture with it.
  • “Long notice, expect it to last. Short notice, expect it to pass.” – If clouds take several days to build, extended rain is likely in the cards. If a storm system builds quickly, it is likely to dissipate quickly as well.
  • “Clear moon, frost soon.” – If the night sky is clear enough to see the moon as a result of no cloud cover, heat will be allowed to escape and the temperature could drop enough for frost to form in the morning.
Other Indicators
  • Lightning strike distance can be estimated by counting the number of seconds between the sight of the lightning and the sound of the thunder and then divide this number by five. This will give you the distance in miles that you are from the lightning strike. To determine the distance in kilometers, the process is the same except you divide the number of seconds by three instead of five.
  • Check the grass at sunrise. Dry grass at sunrise indicates clouds and/or strong breezes which can mean rain. Dew on the grass means that it probably won’t rain that day. (If it rained the night before, this method will not be reliable.)
  • Cloud cover on a Winter night translates to warmer weather because the cloud cover prevents heat radiation that would ordinarily occur and lower the temperature on a clear night.
  • The low cloud cover that is typically present right before rainfall also results in louder and more vibrant sounds as they are reflected and amplified off of the low clouds.
  • Wind Direction – Winds blowing from the East indicate an approaching storm front where winds out of the West generally indicate good weather. Strong winds from any direction indicate high pressure difference which can mean a possible storm front approaching.
  • If the sharp points on a half-moon are not clear, rain may be on the way (haze/low clouds distort images).
  • Humidity is most often felt when it is high but indicators of high humidity include frizzy hair, curled leaves on oak and maple trees, swollen wood doors, and salt in the shaker that is clumped together.
*Most of the weather prediction methods in this post are only tested/known/suspected to be effective in North America.
If there is anything that I missed or if there is something that you would like to add, please leave a comment in the comments section.
Sources for this post include: The United States Search and Rescue Task Force, The Happy Camper by Kevin Callan, Camping’s Top Secrets (2nd Ed.) by Cliff Jacobsen, and the University of Hawaii

DISCLAIMER: Nothing contained here should be taken as a replacement for professional meteorological weather prediction and should be done at your own risk. Predicting the weather for yourself is not an exact science and should be done for entertainment and the end of the world purposes only. The Prepared Ninja, its writers, staff, and affiliates strictly deny any endorsement of use of the methods outlined above.

Are You Prepared To Help Others?

I am a fan of M.D. Creekmore and receive his regular updates from The Survivalist Blog via email. One of the emails that I look forward to getting from him the most is his, ‘What did you do to prep this week?‘ blog post. This past week I was especially intrigued by one of the things that M.D. said was a part of his weekly prep activities. Mr. Creekmore said that he put together five care packages for the unprepared that consisted of some canned food, a small bag of rice, a small bag of pinto beans, and a wool blanket. I thought this was an incredible idea. It addresses the fact that there is always people in need following disasters whether they be from a natural cause or man-made.

Photo Credit: RedCross.org

There is a contingent of people who believe when those in need show up at their gate or on their door step that they will just shoot them instead of help them. These are many of the same people who think community building is not necessary and that they will face societal collapse and widespread disaster by themselves. Let’s just say for a moment that there is a person that could look their neighbor of many years straight in the eye while their children look on and shoot them square in the chest. I am sure there are people out there like this but my hope is that they are few and far between. Even if these folks exist, where are they going to stack up all the bodies? The bottom line is…and the whole point of this blabbing on and on is that the average person is not capable of killing another human in cold blood.

The reality is that the few cannot prepare for the masses, but there are a few preparations that can be made such as those that M.D. Creekmore have been making that will make a difficult situation easier.

An example of the contents of a community assistance kit might include:

  • One half-dozen cups of ramen noodles ($2 at any supermarket)
  • A water bottle (this can be obtained for free from many conferences, fairs, and community events)
  • Sewing kit (this is another item that can be obtained for free, often times from a hotel stay)
  • Hygiene kit consisting of hotel shampoo, conditioner, and lotion as well as a dollar store tooth-brush and a trial size toothpaste and trial size deodorant (estimated cost of $3 or less if frugal shopping practices are put to use)
  • Roll of toilet paper (snag the extra roll the next time you stay at a hotel or use one out of the super-duper jumbo pack that you bought at the membership outlet store)
  • Selection of Band-Aids, Alcohol Pads, and Sterile Gauze (something that can also be obtained at the local dollar store and should cost about $1 for each kit if putting together multiple kits)
  • Instead of donating all of your old clothes to the thrift store, sweat pants, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and ski caps are some great items that could be held on to and placed in these assistance kits to offer those in need a change of clothes or additional warmth.
  • All of these items should fit nicely in one of those reusable shopping bags. (this is another item that is commonly obtained for free at community events and conferences)

This is a very basic kit but still comes in with a price tag of about $6 when a little planning is used. Now I am sure there are at least some readers that are thinking…what is this dude’s obsession with hotel stuff? Well, I spend my fair share of time staying in hotels for business purposes which gives me the chance to notice all of the items that are available at hotels. These items are free for the taking and are built-in to the cost of the rooms so you might as well take advantage of this opportunity to add to your preps or create these community assistance kits. Another great resource that could be utilized for stocking these kits is the free section on the local Craigslist website.

Please add your ideas on how to make the best community assistance kits possible for the lowest expose possible in the comments section. Thanks for checking out The Prepared Ninja!

Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em…Fish That Is!

Life is full of opportunities, it is just a matter of finding them…at least that is what I have been told. When I saw the plans for this smokehouse recently, I saw an opportunity.

Opportunity #1

If there ever was to be a societal collapse, it is reasoned by many that opportunities to harvest meat are likely to become few and far between. Once the reality of the situation sets in, fish and game regulations and even the concept of private property will likely have little to no meaning as the “every man for himself” mentality takes hold. Individuals will only be concerned with providing for themselves and their families/loved ones and will begin killing whatever protein they can find, even going onto other people’s property to go after cattle, chickens, etc. However, if there is a collapse, will there be damage to the infrastructure? Will it be temporary or permanent? If there is a lack of power there will not be refrigeration or electricity to use to preserve food for any length of time. A perfect solution for preserving proteins in a situation like this is a smoker or smokehouse!

What happens if society manages to hold itself together? You will still have an awesome smokehouse that you can use to make your Thanksgiving turkey, homemade jerky, smoked sausage, ribs, brisket, pork butt, fish, or whatever else you can possibly think of.

Opportunity #2

Thousands upon thousands of smokers are sold in the U.S. every year and this could be your chance to cash in! If you are a handy person, there is a definite opportunity to make money here. I believe the key is to make a superior product that will not fall apart. This particular smokehouse already has a far greater capacity than any readily available commercial smoker. The gentleman that published the article and plans state that they built their smokehouse for $170 which includes the propane burner. It is conceivable that a profit margin of 50% or greater could easily be obtained for this product, especially if the customer is required to provide their own burner or heat source.

Photo Credit: Dexter Bar-B-QueThe business model that comes to mind for me would be to make one of the smokers and take it to local farmer’s markets, co-ops, feed stores, and maybe even the local sporting goods or hardware store to set up as a display. It is possible that a scaled-down model could be constructed for this same purpose. In addition to the display smokehouse, you of course would need to place your contact information, prices, how to place an order, etc. so that a potential customer could get in touch with you. As the manufacturer of this smokehouse, you would have the obligation to ensure that all the materials that you use are safe to be utilized in this application but that seems to be the biggest liability of this project.

Opportunity #3

Using a model that is almost, if not exactly identical as opportunity #2, smokehouse kits could be manufactured that are designed to be put together by the purchaser. This would allow for a lower purchase price which would make the smokehouse more affordable for the consumer but at the same time would result in a lower production cost. The end product is one that more consumers could afford while maintaining profit margins over 50%. The downside to this opportunity is that you have the potential to lose some of your market as a result of buyers that have no interest in completing any of the assembly themselves.

Opportunity #4

Use the smoker as part of community building by preparing great meals for the neighborhood at your block parties! It can even be part of your survival groups preparations for long term planning.

The plans for this smokehouse are free, where other smokehouse plans and designs can cost up to almost $50! On top of the many uses for this smokehouse, it can run off a variety of fuels from propane to charcoal all the way to wood that can be scavenged from local sources. If you like smoked meats and have preparedness in mind, this smokehouse could be the answer to all of your desires and potential problems.

8 Lessons Learned From A Recent Disaster

It is easy to think about disasters and have things like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, riots and financial collapse come to mind. I will readily admit that events such as those are what come to my own mind when I think about disasters. This last week though my family had the opportunity to experience a different type of disaster. One that was far less malignant.

It was about 3:30 in the morning the other day and I noticed that the wind outside had picked up a little bit and there was a hint of lightning but no thunder. No big deal, we had been having some fairly hot weather and when it cools down at night it is common for the weather to act up a bit. All of the sudden the power cut out. It was not the usual flicker on and off a couple of times and then it goes out. The power popped off like someone had turned off the breaker to the entire subdivision. No big deal, go back to sleep and figure it out in the morning.

To make a long story short, the power was out for just over 36 hours and only because a property owner failed to take care of a dead tree that a gust of wind blew over straight onto a power line.

1 Gust of Wind + 1 Dead Tree = Power Outage for 8,000 Local Residents

Life is good though because we have a gas-powered generator, right? I only wish. My failure to make sure that my generator was properly maintained resulted in an inoperable generator when I needed it the most. This was a fairly big issue at this point because we were experiencing the same triple digit temperatures that many places in the country were. Heat wave! Luckily I was able to troubleshoot the generator engine problems to a certain degree and my neighbor came over and helped me through the rest of the troubleshooting process. In a more widespread state of emergency where the store was not open to allow me to buy the parts I needed or if my relationship with my neighbor were not established, the outcome could have been very different. This led me to look at the events that happened and what parts of the events I did right as well as what I did poorly or looking back at my military training, this is what we would call an After Action Review (AAR).

The following are the lessons that I learned from our recent power outage:

Check Your Gear, Check Your Gear, & Check Your Gear – Some of this part went fairly well because we do maintain a fairly comprehensive blackout kit (see tomorrow’s post for in-depth info on blackout kits) in our master bedroom and each of our kid’s have their own flashlights in case of an emergency. (Sometimes those are used to play with though and are not always in their appropriate locations!) So this was good, but the fact that our generator was not running was bad. Had periodic checks been established and utilized, such as running the generator every 3-4 weeks as the manufacturer recommends, then this could likely have been avoided. The takeaway point from all of this is to know what you need to have on hand to deal with any disaster that you may face and make sure that periodic checks and maintenance are performed on all pieces of equipment.

Community Is Not Important, It Is Vital – The only reason that my family was able to have power through our recent outage was because of a neighbor who I had established a good relationship with and who was willing to help. Sure, I could have taken it to a small engine repair shop to get it running but it likely would not have been fixed when I needed it and even if I was able to work something out it surely would have cost me a pretty penny. The bottom line is that through establishing relationships in my neighborhood and community building, I was able to use one of these relationships to get fast and free help to get my generator running. I have helped this particular neighbor before and he has helped me. The lone wolf survival scenario I don’t believe will ever really pan out. Those who will likely survive the longest will have a tight-knit community who rely on each other and capitalize on everyone’s strengths.

Maintain Fuel Stores – A proper running piece of equipment doesn’t do any good without fuel for it to run. Once my generator was back in good running order I put the fuel that I had on hand into the tank but it was not nearly enough. I was lucky enough that it kept the generator going long enough for me to get to the gas station and back but I don’t think that it would have lasted five minutes longer. This was shortsighted on my behalf. I had been using my fuel stores for yard equipment which resulted in the fuel shortage. The right answer would be to calculate my fuel needs for a predetermined period of time (likely a seven to ten-day period) and keep that on hand, stabilized with fuel stabilizer.

Redundant Supplies Are Necessary – Spark Plugs, Oil, Fuel Filters, Fuel Lines, Carb Cleaner, and Fuel Stabilizer are examples of items that should be kept on hand in excess quantities to ensure proper and continuous operation of back up life support systems like a generator in an emergency or disaster. If our 36 hour power outage had lasted longer, it may have been necessary to conduct additional maintenance on the generator. These additional parts would be useful in doing my part in the community if one of my neighbors was one having a difficult time with their generator instead of me.

Prioritize Items to Power & Know Your Limits – The key items that we needed electricity for during the outage included our refrigerator, chest freezer, a couple of fans, and my work computer as needed. With a continuous capacity on our generator of 4500 watts and a surge capacity of 5500 watts, we were well within our limits. The items that we powered required a maximum draw of less than 2000 watts at all times which kept us under 50% of capacity. This equated to fuel consumption of about 1/2 gallon an hour. With a 6 1/2 gallon tank, the generator will run on one tank for a twelve-hour period with a little left for fluctuation. This means that for a 10 day fuel supply that I should have 65 gallons of fuel on hand for 12 hours a day of generator operation or 130 gallons of fuel on hand if I want to have the option to run 24 hours a day for the 10 day period.

See, Do, & Teach – One of the things that we always practiced in the Army was the philosophy of see one, do  one, and teach one. The idea is to learn something, practice it, and then teach it to others. Now that our generator is running well and I saw what my neighbor did to help me fix it, I will practice good maintenance, and it is my responsibility to teach those capable in my home, how to maintain and properly run our family’s generator.

Some Things Are Preventable – Had our generator been properly maintained in the first place, it is likely that the difficulties my family experienced from the delay in power while the generator was repaired could have been avoided. Also, proper levels of fuel storage could have been maintained which would have resulted in not have to make a midnight express run to the gas station. This also would have protected my family in the event of a broader impact by the power outage where the local gas stations were without power as well and therefore not open.

Don’t Forget What You Learn – This is fairly self-explanatory. By remembering these things that I learned from this most recent disaster that my family experienced, I can make sure that we do not have the same problems again.

The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett

Please don’t hesitate to chime in and add any lessons that you may have learned from a disaster that you or your loved ones have experienced in the comments below.

TOMORROW’S BLOG POST: Blackout Kits

101 Reasons to Live Free or Die

I am a pretty big fan of Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast. Earlier this year one of the podcasts that Jack put out was a recording of a presentation that he did for the Free State Project. This was the first time that I had heard of the Free State Project (FSP) and led me to look into what the FSP was all about. A quick summary of the Free State Project’s mission from their website states that,

“The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government, to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.”

My initial check into the FSP generated a high level of intrigue in my mind and motivated me to look further into not only the Free State Project but New Hampshire as well. This investigation led to, among other things, following @FreeStateNH on Twitter who tweeted a link a couple of days ago that led to a list of 101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire. While certainly only some of the reasons that a person might be interested in relocating, I felt that this particular list by the FSP encompassed a wide variety of issues that would be important to a relocating person or family. These issues include government, politics, economy, geography & environment, and quality of life. The full list can be seen at the link of above but some of my favorites include the following:

- New Hampshire has no general sales tax.

- New Hampshire is the only state with no laws restricting knife ownership.

- The NH Underground is an active, peaceful civil disobedience network. This group has organized activities such as conducting an open-carry litter pickup after curfew, filming police encounters, producing radio, television, and internet broadcasts.

- New Hampshire has a large, politically active, and rapidly growing homeschooling population.

- Communication with the NH liberty community is a phone call away. Through Porcupine 411, reports of speed traps and check points, political events, and news as-it-happens are recorded and broadcast via email as audio file attachments.

- New Hampshire rejected the Real ID (national identification card) program. Free State Project participants were crucial in securing this outcome.

- New Hampshire’s median household income of $63,942 is the highest in the country.

- The Manchester-Nashua metro area ranks 1st on the Forbes List of America’s 100 Cheapest Places To Live.

- New Hampshire offers abundant water resources. The potential for water shortages in NH is insignificant.

- New Hampshire is considered at very low risk for hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and forest fires.

- New Hampshire has been ranked #1 in the nation for quality of life and livability five years in a row.

- New Hampshire is the safest state in the country.

If you are interested in listening to Jack Spirko’s presentation that he gave to the Free State Project, it is The Survival Podcast, Episode 848 and covers Jack’s Tenets of Modern Survival Philosophy. The same presentation is available to be viewed on YouTube. Another good listen about the FSP is The Survival Podcast, Episode 888 and is an interview of Carla Gericke (Queen Quill) of New Hampshire, President of the Free State Project. This is a great interview and gives a first hand account of what the FSP is doing in New Hampshire and what someone can do if they are interested in joining the movement. If nothing else, at least look at what this great organization is doing and share this vision with others that you care about.
Feel free to chime in with comments, recommendations, concerns, etc. in the comments area below!
-The Prepared Ninja

An Education About The Education System

 

Today my son came home from school and not to my surprise told me that something stupid had happened at school. There would have been a time in America where this may have come as a shock or surprise to the parent of a child in the public school system, but not these days. My son’s class had an opportunity today to take an educational field trip to go to the local courthouse and observe a mock trial where they would be able to learn about the legal system in America and see what a trial is like. Less than two weeks ago, his teachers sent home a notification that if any child was behind on their assignments that they would be ineligible to participate in the educational field trip unless they got caught up.

I could understand this if it were a field trip to the zoo or to a pizza parlor but to the courthouse? Due to some medical issues my son was behind on some assignments so he has spent his lunch time every day for the last two weeks working on getting caught up. Today came and he wore slacks and a polo shirt so that he would be presentable for court. It turns out that he was not able to go because he was still missing one assignment. Because of this he stayed at the school. Ok, I got it. He didn’t meet the requirements so he had to stay. Well when I asked him what he did while everyone else was at the court he told me that he read a book and drew pictures for the 3 1/2 hours that his class was gone. Really?!?! My son missed an educational experience about our nation’s legal system so that he could read goofy kid’s fiction and draw pictures? When I looked into the reason as to why he had to stay it was because the field trip was considered an extracurricular activity. Well why is the school planning an extracurricular activity during regular school hours? If a class trip is during the regular hours that the state mandates that my child be in school shouldn’t he participate in the class trip, especially if it is educational? Apparently not. Drawing pictures and reading comic books has more to offer.

My final loss of faith in the modern education system comes from the fact that children today that attend traditional schools are required in most areas to attend 180, roughly 8 hour days in the school year. Several of these days are filled with assemblies, book fairs, field trips, movies, holiday parties, and who knows what else. If I was to home school my sons then I would be able to meet all the requirements of most states that set a minimum number of hours for home schooled children by establishing a 180 day school “schedule” that included only 4 hour school days. Some states don’t even set any minimum standard for home schoolers. There are also a number of alternate ways that are becoming available for kids today to earn their education as well that includes the new k12.com online schooling. If my sons can stay home and put in half the time or do everything on the computer at their own leisure then why is the school so wrapped up about certain things. Oh yeah! Last thing, shouldn’t it be up to me to punish my child if he is not performing in school? The teacher’s job is to teach my child, give and grade assignments, and provide feedback to me as the parent of one of their students. This sure seems like another system that is set up to provide for tenured teachers, bureaucrats, and liberals. Not for America’s children.

I only see things getting stupider worse from here.

How To Save 50% On Grocery Expenses

The opportunity to save literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year on your grocery costs can be accomplished through the power of community. The amount that you can save is only limited to the strategic relationships that you can develop and maintain. So what is the secret handshake that you have to know in order to take advantage of these great savings? Well the first step is just a simple handshake that transitions to…ok so I am just kidding about the handshake.

The key to saving this magical 50% figure on your grocery bill is to talk to your family, friends, neighbors, and community members. Sharing resources such as warehouse store memberships or access to a restaurant supply store will allow those in your inner circle to maximize the amount that can be saved without incurring the exorbitant cost of spending the money to gain access to all of these different stores. I will say that while I can think of hundreds of times that I have saved tons of money at these stores, if you don’t know what the local prices are in your area you can greatly overpay as well. Many of the box stores will sell items at a loss to earn your business on other items where most of the discount stores operate on set margins and will not always have the best price on certain items. The following four options offer the greatest opportunity for savings.

Warehouse Stores - Sam’s Club and Costco can be a great resource for food as well as many other items. Not only is there an opportunity to pick up items at a reduced cost but these are places that you can get items in large quantities as well. To get into warehouse stores there is an annual membership fee that must be paid. Some individuals have these memberships but some also have these memberships for their businesses which not only allows for the savings but the membership cost can be covered as a business expense. In addition to food items, I like to pick up clothing and other seasonal type items at these type of stores because towards the end of the season you can save a ton of money. Right now there are coats that sell for $100 new that are on clearance for $10 at our Sam’s Club. It is still snowing outside! Take advantage of the savings people and shop at the end of the season for next year.

Restaurant Supply Stores - There are some restaurant supply stores that are open to the public but it seems that the true stores that supply restaurants are not open to the public and knowing someone in the food industry can help you gain access to these stores. This does not mean that you have to be best friends with the owner of the local buffet. If you know someone who has a coffee shop that could be your way in. You can always check with the store and see what their policies are as well. Some may let you in if you are shopping for the high school concession stand or for your organizations fundraiser. It never hurts to ask. Of course there is always the option of starting up a hotdog cart so that you can take advantage of this opportunity!

Military Commissaries - If you live in a community that has a military installation, there is a good chance that there is a commissary there. For those that may not be familiar with military jargon, a commissary is a grocery store. You will find just about everything there that you can find at your local Kroger, Albertson’s, Safeway, or other local grocery store. Now military commissaries are not open to the public so unless you are a member of a military family you will have to know someone who is. This is where the community connections come in. So what if you do not live in a military community? Well, military retirees are entitled to commissary privileges and many will travel to the nearest military base at periodic intervals to stock up on items. If you know a retiree then you may be able to tag along and take advantage of some of the savings that are available at the military commissaries!

LDS Canneries – I am not a subject matter expert on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints faith or the services that are offered through the LDS canneries but I do know that there are many bulk foods that are offered for sale. From what I have seen on the internet it seems as though the restrictions on who can use the cannery depends on the local rules. If you know a member of the LDS church this is probably the best way to obtain access to your local cannery. The bulk foods available through the LDS cannery are prepackaged as well as cannable by the consumer and fall into the short and long-term storage food categories.

Anyone know how to increase these savings even more? You guessed it…coupons! Obviously coupons cannot be used in every situation but if the chance to use them is there then by all means take advantage of it. I have saved most of my money shopping at the military commissary where I can say that I have saved a ton of money. With coupons that amount has increased even more. One example that I can think of is a coupon that came out in the Sunday paper and was for $1.00 off of an Oral-B dental floss. The commissary has the dental floss for $0.95 and after taking the $1.00 off for the coupon I had a credit of $0.05 plus a roll of free dental floss! Not a bad deal at all.

The bottom line is that through family and community relationships you have the opportunity to greatly stretch your grocery dollars. There is nothing to lose other than your hard-earned money.

If you can think of any other great ways to save on the grocery budget, chime in and share them with the other Ninja’s in the community!

Being Prepared Is a Team Sport

FamilyBeing prepared for any level of disaster or emergency is definitely something that should be a family, group,or team effort. This point was driven home to me as I was sick over the Christmas holiday. I had nothing left in me and if something had happened I would have been worthless. It is safe to say that I was actually a liability in my state and would have taken away from any efforts instead of helping. So what does this mean from a preparedness perspective for you?

1. GET YOUR FAMILY, GROUP, OR TEAM ON BOARD

In my family I am the primary prepper and until recently my wife has not really been all that thrilled with much of the ideas and practices of prepping. In fact it would be fair to say that she is not entirely on board. She is more like a person that is being towed in a boat behind mine, but at least she is not frantically rowing in the opposite direction!  So how do you get others on board with preparedness planning?  There is certainly no one answer to this question but from my experience the best approach to take is to be open and honest and help those who are important to you see how preparedness matters so much to you, your family, and inner circle.  If you are truly important to your family, friends, and community members then they will seriously consider what you have to say.

If you are a lone wolf type then seriously consider finding some like-minded people who are in close proximity to you so that if there is an emergency or disaster situation you are not forced to go at it alone.

2. DETERMINE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Each person in the group should have a primary and secondary responsibility when possible. If your group is two people then the situation may dictate otherwise but in a normal family size unit of 2 adults and 2.5 children this should be feasible and if you are part of a larger group of families then this is definitely doable. In fact in these larger groups, once primary and secondary roles have been mastered then the group should work on cross training in each other’s roles as well as taking on the responsibility of learning new skills.

Examples of potential individual roles/responsibilities include:

-Security
-Power
-Water
-Food
-Medical
-Communications
-Maintenance

This is of course not an all-inclusive list.  It does cover some of the major areas and systems of support that are an area of concern.  What roles need to be assumed will of course depend on the capabilities and systems that are available to your group.

3. DISCUSS WHAT TO DO IF SOMETHING DOES GO WRONG

If my role within the group is to be in charge of the generator and emergency power systems and I am ill then what will the group do? These types of situations need to be discussed and alternate plans need to be made to address such problems. This is where secondary responsibilities and cross training come into play. The subject matter expert in each area will assist the group by taking on an apprentice to teach their craft to.  If the size of your family/group makes taking on every responsibility that may need to be taken on then this is where strategic partnerships and community building comes into play.  No one person can do everything and sometimes it is better to rely on a trustworthy member of your community or inner circle than to try to be the jack of all trades.  A prime example that I can think of is knowing how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw is a valuable skill to have but is not on the same level as trying to remove a tree that has fallen on top of your garage.  Taking on this task without the specialized skill necessary could easily wind up getting someone seriously injured or even killed.

4. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT…

As roles are determined then update the group documentation.  This is a great way to get your survival documentation updated and not put the burden all on one person.  Each person takes a folder, binder, journal, or whatever and compiles all the information that they can about their responsibilities and how it fits into the group.  This binder should include manuals/operator guides for any pertinent equipment, standard operating procedures, decision points for bugging out or other key events, expansion plans and ways to deal with changes in group size or locations, etc. 

There is certainly much more that goes into making sure that your family or group is prepared to appropriately react to an emergency or disaster but hopefully this serves as grease to help get the wheels turning.  The team approach is a must in my opinion and certainly relieves the burden of preparing on the group leader or head of household.