Article – The Latest: Couple who survived 6 days in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on couple who survived six days in a remote part of southern Utah (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

A Texas couple who narrowly survived after being stranded for six days on a desolate dirt road in southern Utah says they realized too late their GPS app was guiding them to the wrong spot.

KSL-TV reports that 78-year-old Helena Byler of Houston, Texas, said Friday that she sensed they were on the wrong road, but that her husband insisted on continuing.

“I told Gerry, ‘Sweetheart, this doesn’t sound right.’ And he said, ‘No it’s OK’ … He wanted to continue. See, us women know better,” she said, chuckling.

After popping a tire in their rental car and getting stuck, she says they realized the GPS app was leading them to Lake Powell trail, not the lake.

Helena Byler spoke at a hospital in St. George where her 76-year-old husband Gerald Byler is being treated in the neuro specialty rehabilitation unit.

They were found Oct. 2 by a rancher checking his cattle Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

GPS is not the navigational panacea that the advertisements would have you believe.

Article is a bit thin, but it appears she went for help and got lucky.

My policy is ‘stay with the vehicle’ but that’s because the vehicle is also where my gear is going to  be. And…you need to have gear. A case of bottled water is less than $5 at WalMart.

Hard to believe this sort of ting happens in this age of tech and population density, but………

ETA: More detail

Link – Great-grandmother survives 5 days stranded in mountains with her cat

AKRON, Colo. — An 85-year-old Colorado great-grandmother is safe at home after she was stranded for five days in her car in the mountains.

Ruby Stein was in Gypsum visiting family last week and she and her cat, Nikki, were just starting the 200-mile trip back to her home in Akron.

“I’d been stuck at Eisenhower tunnel before, and I thought, ‘I want to get out of here before that snow comes in.’ Well, I took a wrong turn,” said Stein.

Instead of going to I-70, she accidentally drove deep into a rural mountainous area, getting her 2007 Nissan Sentra stuck at the end of a muddy dirt road.

Her cell phone didn’t have a signal, and by Wednesday her car battery had died, drained by the lights she kept flashing to bring help.

But Ruby says she didn’t panic.

Stayed with the car and survived. She accidentally had food and ‘blanket’ materials with her. Even without a dedicated survival kit she had one thing that every person who is going to survive a disaster must have: presence of mind.

“I keep myself very calm, which surprised me. Of course, if you raise 5 kids, you know,” she said with a smile. “What will be, will be. You just got to accept it.”

That resourcefulness helped her survive, as she fashioned a makeshift blanket from clothes her granddaughter had given her for donations.

She also melted snow in a can on her dashboard during the day, and she rationed sweet rolls and Rice Krispie treats to two bites a day, wondering if she would have to eat her cat’s food to keep from starving.

It is hoped that she will have learned a lesson and think twice about deviating from her planned route and will have a better stash of food/water and blankets in her car. Spring is kinda sorta here in the mountains, although there’s still plenty of snow higher up….but you can still get stuck pretty easily if you wander too far off the asphalt and think “I’ve got all-wheel-drive…this thing can go anywhere.”

Moral of the story: Stay with the vehicle. Have gear.

Article – Getting ready: Pentagon to protect electric grid from massive attack

Amid warnings that North Korea and Iran have plans to take out parts of the U.S. electric grid through a cyber attack or atmospheric nuclear blast, the Pentagon is taking steps to both protect the nation’s communications and power lifeline.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has charged BAE Systems to map a system that can detect a cyber attack and gin up an alternative communications network for military and civilian use if the grid is fried, according to Defense Systems, the online newsletter.

Interesting article. A lot of people forget that the internet was originally envisioned for exactly this sort of scenario – a resilient communications system that could operate even with chunks of it destroyed. It’s decentralized nature increased survivability and resiliency.

I find it interesting that the focus is on the East Coast which has gotta be a lot tougher for the NorKs than getting a warhead to the West Coast. But, here in Montana we’d be relatively insulated from either coast getting whomped on.

War on the horizon? Nope. I’m putting it right up there with the return of Xenu or Planet X. But, remember, there doesn’t have to be a war to screw up your plans…all that has to happen is for enough people to believe that there’s one on the way and it becomes virtually self-fulfilling. Don’t be surprised if gas prices go up and the metals market does some weird shimmying.

I liked the emphasis on EMP in the article. It’s something that has still never really been done, as far as I know, on any researchable large scale….kinda hard to set off a high altitude nuke these days without someone getting their panties in a twist. I think EMP is a tad overrated in terms of potential damage. Fiction would have us believe that planes will fall from the sky and even your Casio G-Shock will stop working. I suspect that smaller, simpler, electrical systems will probably work just fine. The planes? Mmmmm…(waggles hand).

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but I think this is such a non-event that I’m not really doing anything special…but then again, life is always a “DOUBLE TAKE” around here anyway.

Article – The Two Americas of 2016

Check out this article from the NYT.

This seems, on its face, to be a pretty good example of why there is an electoral college. If the the places that voted for Clinton were geographically separated and condensed into one state, it would be the size of Alaska. So, think about this…49 states would have no say in government since they would all be overridden by one state.

Interesting map. And, yes, I’m in the Montana Archipelago… it’s a college town, whaddya expect.

Gun Ban Bingo

And now the talking heads on the TV are blathering on about ‘military grade body armour’… know what that means…

Time for GunBanBingo! Here’s your card…go crank up NPR/MSNBC and let’s play…



When hospitals are BYOB

At some point in your journey into preparedness, you wind up starting to stock up on medical supplies. Not just first aid stuff, although that gets piled high too, but ‘medical supplies’…things like gloves, sutures, forceps, drapes, irrigation tools, scalpels, etc, etc….things that really go beyond izzy bandages and SAM splints. When it comes up in discussion there is invariably some wag who opines that storing medical stuff that you have no idea how to use is foolish and even dangerous, since it may encourage you to use it when you have no idea how to use it correctly.

I heartily disagree. First of all, I’m a fairly intelligent guy…if I don’t know how to use something, I can always learn. (And you should always be learning…) But here is the main reason I  think that storing medical supplies that you don’t know how to use isn’t a bad thing: just because you don’t know how to use it doesn’t mean there won’t be someone else around who does.

How often do we read about car accidents where one of the first people on the scene was an EMT, nurse, or doctor, on their way to work that morning? If you’re in a crisis situation and you don’t know how to help somebody, there’s a good chance that there is someone with the talent, but not the tools, nearby. Provide them the tools.

Another good reason is evidenced in Venezuela right now. In many parts of the world, hospital care is dependent on the patient providing their own supplies. Oh, you may luck out and find a hospital that isn’t re-using syringes, isn’t using medicine that was stored improperly, isn’t using medicines of questionable origin and purity, but to be perfectly safe…you bring your own. Check this out:

As her 3-month-old daughter was recovering from heart surgery at one of the leading public hospitals in Caracas, Venezuela, doctors told Yamila she needed to go out and buy basic medical supplies for her baby that the hospital had run out of. They gave her a list that included catheters, needles for administering IV fluids, antibiotics and other medications, the mother told a Human Rights Watch researcher in November.

Leaving her daughter’s side, Yamila went on a frantic search for medical supplies so basic that no hospital — let alone one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals — should ever run out of them. But none of the hospitals or pharmacies she visited had them in stock. In the end, despite concerns about the quality of the supplies, and unsure whether she had the correct catheters and needles for a newborn, Yamila had no option but to buy whatever she could find on the black market — with no quality guarantees.

(Here’s another article on Venezuela’s medical crisis.)

In this country, it’s not that difficult to stock up on that sort of thing. In fact, you can get an amazing amount of first aid and medical supplies (and equipment) off eBay if you know what you’re looking for. I think I bought a case of 4800 bandaids for something like twenty bucks. But, there’s also sutures, scalpels, lights, drapes, forceps, retractors, braces, crutches, portable x-ray machines, etc, etc. You can create a very passable medical clinic/station using nothing but your laptop, a debit card, and UPS.

When ‘The Big One’, or whatever your particular flavor of apocalypse is, occurs it will stretch your local hospitals stores to the limit. The .gov, occasionally showing some good decision-making skills, has the Strategic National Stockpile. (More here.) The notion here is that when Mayberry Hospital gets virtually stripped to the walls as patients flood in and are laid out in makeshift wards in the parking lot, the feds can swoop in with whatever passes for a Packaged Disaster Hospital these days. (The PDH’s are still out there, in some cases…like lost Cold War time capsules. This one was discovered in the base of the Brooklyn Bridge a few years back.)

My point is that it is not unreasonable to stock medical supplies that may be beyond your ability to use. However, just because you don’t know how to use something now is no excuse not to perhaps learn how to use it for a later time. When things go sideways it’s a safe bet your local medical facilities will be crowded, understaffed, overworked, overwhelmed, and probably underequipped. You’re future is a lot brighter when your neighbor, the retired doctor or nurse, says “Yeah, I can fix that but we need some…” and you trot to your supply locker and produce it.

Recommended reading:

Even if you’re not doing DIY surgery, books like these give you excellent ‘shopping lists’ for things to keep on hand.


Article – U.S. eyes ways to toughen fight against domestic extremists

Here’s a civil liberties can-of-worms waiting to happen:

But federal prosecutors tackling domestic extremists still lack an important legal tool they have used extensively in dozens of prosecutions against Islamic State-inspired suspects: a law that prohibits supporting designated terrorist groups.

While foreign groups can be classified as ‘terrorist groups’ and any support given to them be considered criminal, it hasn’t applied to US groups.

So..who is to say what a domestic terrorist group is? The Klan? The Black Panthers? Greenpeace? Earth First? The JDL? The NRA?

This sort of thing will run smack into the wall of Amendment One, but by the time that makes it way to the Supreme Court there’ll be plenty of folks cooling their heels in a federal cell somewhere.

It’s a slippery slope to try and say whats a terrorist group and what isn’t. The easy definition would be any group that goes beyond theory and gets into practice. Or, put another way, when the talkers become doers. But…that ol’ bugaboo of ‘conspiracy’ comes into play. Get three guys sitting around a table who drink a few beers and talk about how they’d ‘straighten out those guys’ and -whammo- conspiracy. Nevermind that they couldn’t get past the warm-up levels in Call Of Duty.

Certainly, this sort of demonization fits into the current practice of marginalizing particular groups to make their persecution, usually through the legal system, more palatable to the rest of us.

This is definitely something to keep an eye on.


Article – Americans stock up on weapons after California shooting

Many Americans agree and are stocking up on weapons after the country’s worst mass shooting in three years. Gun retailers are reporting surging sales, with customers saying they want to keep handguns and rifles at hand for self-defense in the event of another attack.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, nor should it come as a surprise to anyone who can think critically. After the 9/11 episode, we were introduced to the ‘security mom’…a Linda Hamiltonized version of the Soccer Mom. Her concerns about getting her kids to soccer practice and keeping the up with Cub Scouts was supplanted with concerns over Homeland Security Threat Levels, bottled water, flashlights, and, in some cases, firearm proficiency.

Time-750821Now that we have people wandering into crowded areas and whipping out guns/knives, it seems rather reasonable to expect that a large part of the population is going to arm themselves ‘just in case’ regardless of the overwhelming odds against them ever being caught in such a situation. But…PowerBall is still a couple hundred million to one against winning, and, as they say, someone has to win. Same story here…you may not be the victim of terrorists, but someone will be. It doesn’t hurt to have your .38 tucked in your pocket when you head to the mall, football game, or WalMart.

Living here in tropical Montana, the likelihood of Sudden Jihadi Syndrome (h/t Tam) is pretty slim. Oh, we have a university here and a fairly reasonably sized group of foreign students from other countries, but whenever they cause problems it usually involves alcohol and stupid coeds…and it is often resolved by the foreign exchange student quickly grabbing his passport and suddenly finding a reason to return home where Montana law can’t get ahold of him. The notion of one of them shooting up the concerts in the park…well, thats pretty unlikely.

Now, with the sudden, and misdirected, focus on ‘gun-control’ (which is just the warm up act for gun-registration and gun-ban, usually in that order), folks are thinking it’s high time to buy that AR, AK, and case of magazines before the .gov does it’s usual trick of screwing with the gun rights of people who had nothing to do with the event.

So it appears there are plenty of folks out there that are making their purchases now, rather than later, because they believe there may not be a later. This is good, but they really should have had this sewn up back in 2004 when the ban expired. Better late than never, though…until it gets to be too late.

Hypocrisy in action

I am amused that the mainstream media is aghast at Trumps suggestion to ban all Muslims from entering the the country. Unconstitutional actions taken against an entire group is the wrong response to the action of a miniscule portion of that group, they argue.

And then in the same breath the want to take guns away from the people who didn’t shoot anybody.

Hypocrisy much?

Article – ‘This is the month it will all happen’: Some Mormons are cleaning out Utah stores in preparation for a September Doomsday

Fasten your seatbelts, if some Mormons are right, it’s going to be a bumpy September.

A perfect storm of Bible prophecies, the Hebrew calendar, the stock market jitters, a blood moon, and an author who claims to have had a near-death experience are all convincing plenty of Utah Mormons that the end is near, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

A store in American Fork, Utah that sells freeze-dried goods says that business has skyrocketed in the past couple of months.

Dude, any month could be the month the world comes to an end. Doesn’t matter whether its the bible, chicken bones, a magic 8-ball, or Miss Cleo….unless you’re the guy with your finger on the Big Red Button no one can really predict the end of the world. Oh, you can predict some lesser problems…hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and even some wars and famines….but Ragnarok? Nope.

And this is why it’s just good sense to be as prepared as possible. The end of the world wasn’t yesterday, and it’s probably not today, but it is certainly sometime tomorrow or later.