Kalispell armed march and the freedom to hate

There’s been much ado in the media lately about some white supremacists/separatists (they’re never clear on which, and there is quite a distinction between the two) north of here who have been putting out leaflets and making threats against a particular demographic (in this case, Jews).

For whatever reason, these kinds of people do pop up in preparedness circles from time to time. A wise man once said [religion/race] is a stupid reason to hate someone..if you take the time to get to know them, really know them, you can find a much better reason to hate them.

I subscribe to that old libertarian axiom about how your right to throw a punch ends at the tip of my nose. In other words, I think you should be able to hate whomever you want, for any reason, as long as you don’t act out against that group. For example, if you don’t like Group X, thats fine…you and your buddies can sit around hating those damn X’ers all day long. Go put on some linens and march around your back forty burning crosses. Choose to hang out with people who aren’t X. More power to ya. You’re free to associate (or not associate) with whomever you like. BUT..the minute you throw a rock through an X’ers window, spit in their face when you see them on the sidewalk, or make threatening phone calls in the middle of the night..well….then you’ve crossed a line and now your business is everyone’s business.

These ‘neo-Nazis’ or ‘White supremacists’ or whatever have every right to not like any group they want…and I won’t tell them they can’t or they shouldn’t. But the minute they start throwing firebombs or shooting up someone’s house…then I’ll be there happily handing AR15s and ammo to the X’ers. And, yes, even the groups that hate me should be allowed to. Shoot, man….you can hate me all you want. Just don’t threaten or try to hurt me. You don’t want me living next door to you? Great..build a fence or put up a wall on the property line. But don’t attack me or my property…then it’s gone past freedom of thought.

Some folks think that if we jump on top of those ‘bad thoughts’ we’ll be able to prevent ‘bad actions’. After all, they’ll say, if someone had shut down Hitler’s rhetoric there wouldn’t have been crematoriums filled with human ashes. May be. But for every person who has hateful thoughts about someone and acts on them there are probably thousands (or tens of thousands) who don’t…and those people usually outnumber the ‘haters’ by a Custer-esque margin. And I don’t subscribe to the belief that ‘if it saves just one life’ justifies thought policing. Additionally, we then get into the philosophical Vietnam of whose thought are ‘hateful’ and whose aren’t. And that is a conversation that is far too prone to end in violence.

Now, having said that, I’ve been blogging for going on fifteen years now. In that time I’ve only had a handful of people come through here and say something that *I* thought was offensive enough to delete. And it wasn’t the content that did it, it was the way it was expressed. My policy since day one has been pretty simple – no profanity (oh, sure, ‘hell’, ‘damn’, and even an infrequent ‘bitch’ [when used as a verb] is okay) and no religion. Other than that, anything goes. And over the years this whole race/religion silliness has pretty much been absent. I like to think that’s because the demographics of the people who pass though this blog tend to be people of good intelligence who realize that something as trivial as race/religion/gender are pretty stupid reasons to want to hate someone. Politics, on the other hand, is a different story…….although I’m fine with people having different political beliefs as long as they don’t try to impose them on me.

In conclusion, I have less of a problem with people ‘hating’ other people than I do with people who want to control or channel who I do or don’t hate. With the former, they’re at least upfront and honest about it…the latter are far more insidious and, when it comes down to it, just as hate-filled, they just cloak it in self-righteousness.

Just my $0.02 on this whole Kalispell ‘hate speech’ nonsense.



Article – Latest: Man walking in woods found missing NJ woman, child

Not a lot of information here, but it appears they stayed with the vehicle .

A sheriff’s office official says a man walking in a wooded area in rural Virginia stumbled across a missing New Jersey woman and her great-granddaughter.

Maj. William Knott of the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office says 71-year-old Barbara Briley and 5-year-old La’Myra Briley were still inside their vehicle when the man found them Wednesday. The two had been missing for days.

Knott says the man called 911 and the sheriff’s office responded. He says he has “absolutely no clue” how the Brileys ended up in the secluded area.

State police said earlier that Barbara Briley was flown from the scene to a Richmond hospital.

Knott says La’Myra has been reunited with her family.

The two left New Jersey on Christmas Eve to visit relatives in North Carolina but never arrived. They had last been seen at a gas station north of Richmond.

Could have been the elderly woman was driving and suffered a stroke or heart attack, and that’s why everyone was still in the vehicle. Would also explain why she had to be flown out. Regardless, staying with the vehicle is usually the best choice.

ETA: A slightly clearer description here

Winter vehicle stuff – Pt. I

I’m fond of saying that if you wind up stranded in your vehicle in any climatic extreme, cold winter or hot desert summer, that you are better off staying with the vehicle than you are trekking off, ill-equipped, to get help. From what I’ve read in the news, I’d say that nine out of ten times staying with the vehicle is the smart choice. I’ve posted plenty of news reports about people who wandered off ‘to get help’ and were never seen alive again. But the key to staying with the vehicle and surviving is to have a certain base level amount of gear to make such a stay more conducive to your survival.

In the land o’ preparedness, we often talk about bugout bags, get home bags, and a handful of other such things. No one really gets too into their ‘stranded in the vehicle’ kits. Maybe they aren’t sexy. The notion of the rugged individualist donning his bulging backpack and setting off to find help is far more exciting than that same rugged individualist wrapping himself up in a blanket, reclining his seat, and reading a copy of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ while waiting for the Highway Patrol to find him.

Since it’s the winter season and this sort of topic is the low hanging fruit of the survival blogging world, I figured I’d go on a bit about what I usually tote around in the winter. Sure, there’s always the usual winter get-me-unstuck gear like a shovel (or two), traction sand, etc. but for actually staying in the vehicle and waiting for help gear…well, here you go:

20161209_111854The container in question is a Pelican 1650. It’s large enough to hold a complete military sleep system and a buncha other gear. The problem with listing the contents of a kit of any kind is that invariably someone will chime in with ‘what about…’ or ‘do you really need….’. So, let’s forestall that by saying that this is an incomplete list of whats in there: sleep system, food ration bars, water packets, complete change of clothes vacuum sealed, candle lantern and accessories, toilet paper, parachute and hand flares, flashlights, spare batteries, knife, pen and paper, a couple thick paperbacks, poncho, water filter, portable radio (takes same batts as flashlight), first aid kit, entrenching tool, backpack, Esbit stove and tabs, canteen and cup, and a few other niceties.

The Pelican case keeps everything protected, tidy, and in one place. I can simply roll it out to the vehicle, toss it in the back, and we’re good to go. The case is rugged, waterproof, crushproof, and because of this I can either leave it in the vehicle or outside the vehicle exposed to the elements and the contents will remain safe and dry. But…suspenders and a belt: any piece of critical gear (warm clothing, electronics, etc.) gets vacuum sealed anyway as an extra layer of weatherproofing. (And this is why having a vacuum sealer is a smart idea even if you never plan on using it to put away bulk pork chops you bought at CostCo.)

Why the backpack? Because, if for some reason you do have to leave the vehicle it would be nice to take as much of that gear with you as possible. When you read about the people who left the vehicle and died, invariably the cause of death was one of two things: hypothermia or dehydration. Being able to take your gear with you lowers that risk factor tremendously.

The logistically-minded of you will think “Hmmm…why not just keep everything in the backpack and that way you’re ready for anything”. Great idea, but unfortunately it wont fit in the Pelican case loaded up, and I very much want the convenience and protection of my gear that is afforded by using the case.

Keep in mind, also, that the things in this case are in addition to the usual stuff-kept-in-the-vehicle…things like road flares, water, flashlight, USB charger, batteries, first aid kit, pioneer tools, etc. (And, yes, there’s a few redundancies.)

In a perfect world, I’d be sitting by the side of the road, after the blizzard has shut down the interstate, tucked safely far enough off the side to avoid crash trajectories from soccer moms in their four-wheel-drive SUVs, sitting in my sleeping bag, reading a book, listening to the radio, awaiting notice that the roads have re-opened and are safe to travel. Worst case, I pull further off the road, fold down the seats, roll out the sleeping bag, and spend a quiet night asleep or playing games on my phone.

I’ll pull some of the stuff outta the case and show you what I carry around in the winter. Your mileage may vary, of course, but it should be entertaining nonetheless.


Normalcy bias

I was trotting over to some preparedness forum and someone there asked the question “Will this forum slow down now that Trump is elected president?”. The implication, it seemed, was that because Trump won the election we’re all able to slide back to Defcon 4 (or D5 if you’re feeling particularly confident). Where is this coming from? Yes, Hillary didn’t win so the certain doom was avoided, but that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily better off. Let me use an analogy..

You’re walking down the street late at night and a mugger holds you up at gunpoint. As he’s pointing the gun at you and you’re fishing around for your wallet someone steps up behind the mugger and hits him over the head. Now, can you relax and feel that everything is going to be okay? No, of course not…you have no idea if that guy is going to try and mug you as well or if he’s just a good samaritan. All you know is that the immediate threat is gone. Same thing with the election.

I spent far more money than I wanted to in the leadup to the election. But I regret nothing. When the next election rolls around I’ll be buying because I want to, not because I have to.

So, while we’re on the topic, what’s my shopping list for 2017 look like? Well, in terms of thundertoys I’m wanting a few odds n ends. Most notable:

One thing about preparedness, man….there is never a shortage of things to spend money on.


Article – Lehigh Valley woman ate twigs, drank urine to survive

The Northampton Community College professor who survived more than a day exposed to Grand Canyon snow and freezing temperatures made it in part by eating pine tree twigs and drinking her urine, her twin sister said Sunday.


Karen Klein, who will turn 47 on New Year’s Eve, was in stable condition in an intensive care unit at a Utah hospital, her sibling, Kristen Haase, said Sunday.

Haase, who lives in Narberth, Montgomery County, and also teaches at Northampton, said her sister has taken wilderness survival training. But all the preparation undoubtedly couldn’t have prepared Klein, her husband Eric, 47, and their 10-year-old son Isaac for the rigors of a vacation out West that turned nearly deadly. The Palmer Township family’s rescue took place in a remote area of the Grand Canyon’s north rim, near the Utah-Arizona border.

Hiked 30 miles in the snow, got lucky, and stumbled across a cabin. Note that she’s in intensive care but the people who stayed in the car were treated and released. On the other hand, you might argue that the folks in the car would have suffered worse if rescuers didnt know where to find them without the womans input.

But, the takeaways: Gear in the vehicle and Stay with the vehicle.


Seasons beatings

americans-willing-to-cross-a-frozen-river-to-kill-you-in-your-sleep-on-christmasTrue fact: if you look at the numbers, in terms of victory/losses, during the Revolutionary War you see that Washington only decisively won a few battles. All the rest were either losses or a draw. Washington realized that beating the British in a stand-up fight was not in the cards, so he avoided engagements that he knew would wipe out his army. How is that a recipe for victory? Washington didn’t have to win…he just had to not lose. As long as he still had an army the British would have to keep fighting. And all Washington had to do was ‘prolong the war’ until the British finally got tired of it. It’s the now-standard way of smaller and inferior forces. The technique was best exemplified in Vietnam – the North didn’t have to win…they just had to drag things out long enough that we got sick of the whole thing and quit.

It’s a good thing to remember that, despite it sounding like a cliche, sometimes surviving is a victory. And ‘he who fights and runs away’ really does live to fight another day. So, next time you’re feeling up against the wall try to remember that you don’t necessarily have to win, you just have to survive.

But..uhm….post some really good perimeter sentries on Christmas Eve just in case.

Seasons greetings

I don’t celebrate Christmas these days, although since there’s at least three or four denominational gift-giving holidays this month I do give a small gift or card to a few close friends. It’s my way of fitting in among the humans.

Anyway, for those of you celebrating Chrismahanakwanzakah (or Festivus) this month, have a happy. I hope Hanukah Harry, Voodoo Man, Santa Claus, or whomever, brings you cool preparedness themed gifts.

Article – “Why Did it Have to be … Guns?”

Once in a blue moon, people ask me how I vote and what the hot-button issues are for me. People assume I’m a single-issue voter..I vote for people based on how they stand on my gun ownership. This is true to a degree, but not in the way most people think. Yes, I am a single-issue voter and the issue is guns. But not because I want to keep unfettered access to guns, but because many times the candidate who sees eye-to-eye with me on guns will probably (but not always) be on the same page as me on a lot of the other issues. So, by and large, if I see a candidate is feeling the same way about guns as I do, then I can be reasonably confident he’ll feel the same as me on many other important topics as well.

It’s hard for me to articulate that principle and explain it to people. Fortunately, someone else already has. L. Neil Smith, author of some fame and staunch ‘big L’ Libertarian has this interesting litmus test that sums it up.

Again, I’ve yet to find a candidate that is 100% on the issues same as me, but often how they stand on the gun issue tells me how they’ll stand on several other issues that are important to me.


ETS Glock happysticks

I try to avoid potential problems when I can. I try to use factory mags whenever possible.However, in some cases, a non-factory or non-OEM mag can work just as well. A good example would be contract AR-15 GI mags. By and large, every Okay magazine is…well, okay. On the other hand, some non-facotry mags are outrageous failures – like USA Brand magazines. When the election was a-brewing, and I was planning on President Hillary, it seemed prudent to stock up on more happysticks. Now, Glock mags were about $30, and the MagPuls, though cheaper, were not available yet. I wanted to stock up on some happysticks for speculative purposes and I wanted ’em cheap(ish).

Cruising over at Tams blog, I noticed the ETS magazines. Now, I don’t normally mess with non-factory mags for pistols…but…these aren’t for me. These are strictly for tucking away for resale after the next ban. So, at a sale price of about $12.95 ea. (and after asking Tam about her opinion on them) I went ahead and bought ‘a bunch’. And this is where we segue….

Customer service, man. Those geeks at Palmetto State Armory took their sweet time. I ordered these things on the 28th of November, they didn’t even ship ’em until December 5th, and the bloody things didn’t even get here until the 13th. Annoying.

Back to topic……

20161217_124744I really prefer metal feed lips in magazines. The reason is that I feel that if I leave a magazine loaded for a length of time, the constant pressure against the non-metal-reinforced feedlips will eventually splay them out a bit and cause problems. Glock has metal liners in their mags and this is the main reason that all of my kept-loaded-and-waiting magazines are Glock factory mags. However, Magpul’s mags seem pretty dang good even without the metal liner. But Magpul uses some pretty solid plastic..it doesn’t have as much give as other plastic mags. These ETS mags, which are transparent..a fun novelty, seem to be of a thinner, less rigid plastic. This has me curious about the feed lips. But…not really my problem since these are for Deep Sleep and eventual resale. I suppose f I were going to use them in practice or competition, where I would load them at the range, shoot em off, and then leave them unloaded in storage, it wouldnt make a difference.

But…this is all speculation. For all I know these things will store loaded just fine. I’ll pull a couple out, load em up, and let ’em sit for a few weeks or months and then mike ’em out against their unloaded brethren.


Winter water

A few post sback I was talking about how with winter here it was time to swap out the gear that’s kept in the vehicle. A couple people asked how you keep water from freezing in the winter. Short answer: you don’t. What you do is figure out a way around the problem.

Get a 5-gallon jerrycan full of water and let it freeze. Now get a cup of water and let it freeze. Put both frozen containers of water side by side in a warm room and wait. Which one is going to completely thaw first? The cup of water, right?  The smaller the size of the frozen mass of water, the faster it will thaw. To that end, I store those little 4-oz. “lifeboat rations” of drinking water in the vehicle during the winter. They’re about the size, shape, and thickness of a Pop-Tart. As a result, they thaw quickly if you just sit on them or hold them between your hands for any length of time. And, yes, four ounces of water isn’t much..that’s why you pack a couple dozen in your emergency box. What would you normally carry…two gallons? Thas 256 ounces. To get the same effect, you’d need 64 pouches.

I usually just grab mine off eBay or Amazon for convenience’s sake but you can sometimes get better deals at gun shows. If you really want to be a clever lad, you’d buy a case of pocket warmers and a couple insulative foil bags. Throw the heaters in the bag with a couple pouches of water and you can keep a steady rotation of thawed water available during whatever roadside mishap you wind up in.

The pouches are just as good for the summer, but I usually just go with 20 oz. plastic bottles during the warmer weather.