Some folks just Will Not Learn

The world is populated by idiots.

Im in the bank this morning and the teller and the woman next to me are talking about the power outages that continue in many areas around here. This woman is saying how she hasn’t been able to charge her laptop, that she has no water (well pump), that she’s going to lose the food in her freezer, and how she hates being in the dark.

I gently steered the conversation to ask her if, when this is over, if it will change her behaviors and perhaps she’ll keep some battery-powered chargers around for her cell phone. “Oh, no..this almost never happens.”

You know, your house almost never burns down, you almost never have your car stolen, you almost never get cancer, and you almost never get disabled from your job….yet you have insurance in place for that, so why not this?

For these… clueless idiots…. it appears it truly is better to curse the darkness than buy generator.

My buddy on the other side of town is still without power after a transmission tower (not a power pole, mind you…a transmission tower) decided to go horizontal not far from him. Is he inconvenienced? Yes. He has no internet. Is he still in the game? Absolutely. He has not one but two of the Honda generators. He’s got his freezer, fridge, lights, cell phone charger, and all the other accoutrements of civilization up and running. And he has some stored gas on hand to keep it that way. As his neighbors live out the lifestyle of “Home & Garden: North Korea Edition”, my buddy drinks hot coffee, has lights, has communication, and can continue to run his business. (And also the means to keep it if someone decides his bit of civilization needs to become their bit of civilization.)

I still need to do some after action things… I need to top off the tank on the generator, get all the cords in one place, put some emergency lighting in that one place, log the run time for the generator, pick up some accessories for the extension cords, etc. But, all in all, the generator did the trick.

The EU2000 is too small to run the entire house, but Im thinking of picking one circuit in the house and seeing if I can’t have an electrician come in and set that one circuit up with a transfer switch. That way, I can have one room of the house with the outlets running. The alternative, which I’m also seriously considering, is an entirely new circuit throughout the house of emergency ‘red outlets’ that are completely independent of the house panel and would solely be connected to the generator.

The Honda EU2000 usually runs right around a grand. Worth it.

Panic buying

It occurred to me, as I was talking to someone about the still-present situation regarding .22 ammo, that any lulls that we’ve experienced in the panic buying over the last year or so are going to be pretty much wiped out by the fact that next year is an election year.

The Clintons, Slick Willy or/and Hillary, are hardly friends of gun rights. They aren’t even friends of friends of gun rights. And as you hear Clintons name bandied about more and more as the nomination process approaches you’re going to see more and more panic buying going on.

Then, once the nomination process is on, it’ll continue as the election comes closer closer. Finally, depending on who is elected, it might start to calm down around March or April of 2017.

This stuff is actually highly predictable. The four stages of gun panics, as far as elections go, are:

  • Right before the election
  • Right after the election
  • Right before the inauguration
  • Right after the inauguration

Don’t take my word for it, your own life experiences should confirm what I’m telling you.

thNow, I’m not nearly as stupid as I look (I couldn’t possibly be), but even I learned a long time ago to buy what I needed as soon as possible, as much as possible, so I could ignore this sort of thing.

“But, Zero”, I hear you cry, “I am a survivalist of limited resources. I can’t possibly get all my guns, ammo, and magazines before the election. I need both those kidneys!”

Well, that’s true. It’s a pretty intimidating list. That’s why you need to prioritize that mofo like no one’s business. Let’s look at it from a historical and hysterical standpoint – in the last, oh, say thirty years, what’s been regulated out of the realm of ownership by us simple peons? Chinese guns, Chinese ammo, steel core 5.54×39, steel core 7.62×39, imported rifle barrels for ‘assault weapons’, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds*, pistol grip stocks on semi-auto rifles*, bayonet lugs*, etc.

What else could come down the pike from the twisted gnomes in Washington? Well, almost certainly a magazine ban, assault weapons ban, and some restrictions on ammo. That whole wrist brace issue is living on borrowed time, IMHO. I expect there’ll be some fundamental changes to the DIY/80% receiver market and possibly some restrictions on mail ordering the other parts you need to complete your AR. (And before you say that ATF can’t regulate gun parts that aren’t serialized receivers, go try to import some AK barrels and let me know what happens.) And I fully expect there to be some restrictions on body armour coming along as well.

So, man of limited resources, where do you put your money to get the most bang for your buck in a world where political expediency directly challenges your ability to own thundertoys? Guns, mags, ammo, in that order. Since it is reasonable to expect that as we slide further and further down the timeline prices will go up and availability will go down, it would seem to make the most sense to purchase the most expensive and least available items first. Actual guns are outnumbered by magazines and ammo, so get the guns first. After that, get the magazines. After that, ammo. For every AR, there are probably hundred of AR mags, and thousands of rounds of .223….so get the guns first.

Stripped lowers? Sure, if you can’t afford the actual complete gun I’d grab as many stripped lowers as I can. I suspect that at some point the upper receivers and what not will be regulated as well but until that time you’ll at least have the serial numbered part sitting away waiting for you to complete it…or use it as trade for other stuff.

Magazines are simply a buy-as-many-as-you-can item. For those of us who remember the ’94-’04 ban, we can tell you youngsters stories about $750 BetaMags, $100 Glock mags, and $30 AR mags. It was a time of great chaos, and great(!) profit making. Even if you don’t have the gun, get the mags.

Unless you’re on fire or swimming, you can’t have too much ammo. Any surplus ammo still coming into the country, as well as the Russian stuff, is probably first in the crosshairs of those who would do evil to us. While we all have a magic number in our head about how much ammo is the recommended amount per gun, the truth is that you really can’t go wrong with buying as much as you can afford. If you don’t think so, look at the the folks who are sitting on thousands and thousands of rounds of .22LR right now. Or cases of old Chinese 7.62×39 when it was nine cents per round.

At this point I’m sure there is some genius hitting the comment button about to say something deeply profound like “It’s because of idiots like you encouraging all this hoarding that I can’t find .22LR ammo, and when I can find it it’s at ten cents a round!” Actually, it’s not because of me..it’s because of basic economics, laws of scarcity and demand, and federal asshattery. (How many ‘t’s in asshattery, anyway?)

Having been to this dance before, I’m pretty much immune to a bunch of it. I already have a goodly amount of guns and mags stashed away, and ammo is always on the shopping list anyway. But it is my opinion that if you’ve been waiting for prices to ‘return to normal’ or for ‘availability to return to normal’ you’re going to be left with a full wallet and empty shopping cart. As the political season heats up prices are going to go up, availability will go down, and today is going to be looked back upon as the day you’ll wish you had started shopping.

* = yes, that law sunset and we can now enjoy normal-capacity magazines and ‘evil features’. But do you really think they’re gonna make that mistake again?

First aid kit foibles

Years back,I used to have a bicycle that would, at irregular intervals, try and kill me by locking up the chain for no particular reason. I eventually got a newer, better, bicycle but the old Death Machine taught me to keep a first aid kit handy. On my bike I have one of these mounted. I find it very useful, and keep my first aid kit in there. The first aid kit is one of these (Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch) loaded with what I feel is necessary gear. Now, if you’re keeping track, that is a first aid kit contained in a cordura pouch, which is itself contained within a cordura bicycle bag. What could go wrong?

Well, here’s the lesson for today… I left my bike chained up in the yard over the winter. As a result, the rain and snowmelt made its way through the bicycle bag and through the first aid pouch. Check this out:

20150308_164940Thats not dirt, kids….thats mold. Most first aid stuff is packaged in sterilized paper envelopes and those are less waterproof. So, virtually everything was moist/damp/moldy and had to be discarded. However, some things were not damaged. Observe:

20150308_165152Basically, anything packed in foil or sealed in plastic weathered it just fine.

So, by now, you’re thinking “No problemo, just seal up all the individual contents and you’ll be good to go.” A reasonable way of thinking, but it overlooks a big issue – when you need a first aid kit, theres a pretty good chance you’re under stress, your hands might be a little shaky, and you may only have one hand to work with since your other arm/hand might be injured. So, sealing things up in a manner that required two hands to open (or requires several repeated pouch-opening-procedures) might not be conducive to effective use of your gear.

Now, I rather like the Maxpedition FR pouch. It’s reasonably compact, fairly easy to organize, and has several methods for attachment to other gear. I’d hate to give it up. So, to me, the choices are two: a) individually seal the contents of the kit or b) put the whole kit into a waterproof container of some sort.

I’m leaning towards ‘A’. Best method? Well, there’s this:

IMG_1863Those are heavy-duty mylar bags with ‘tear away’ tops and zip-seals, and a 6″ heat sealer that I picked up off Amazon. The bags, in various sizes and thicknesses, are from Sorbent Systems. I got them expressly for the purpose of making small, weatherproof, resealable, firs-aid kits for my hunting and outdoors gear. For example:

IMG_1865That pouch contains most of the important stuff…gauze, non-stick pads, compress bandage, antibiotic ointment, bandaids, aspirin, tape, etc, etc. Not enough to do surgery or fix a detached aorta, but for the cuts, burns, scrapes and bloody messes that sometimes happen from bicycle accidents, knife slips, falls in blowdown snag, etc, its pretty good. And, it is now completely waterproof. Tear open at the upper corner there with your teeth and open it like a bag of chips. When done, you can reseal it with the ziploc-type closure. When the crisis is over, since I have a stack of these bags, I can simply transfer the contents to a new bag to seal. I’ll wind up getting a larger back, drop the Maxpedition FR into it, throw in a few oxygen absorbers to snug it up tight, and tuck it into my bike bag.

Now, if you have a vacuum sealer, you can very much accomplish a similar setup using your sealer and bags. Two big differences though: the mylar pouches pictured have a ‘tear notch’ to allow easy access (which a vacuum sealed bag does not); and the mylar pouch, in this heavy thickness, is much more puncture resistant than a vacuum seal bag (however, you can always wrap the vacuum seal bag in something to protect its integrity).

I have learned my lesson and won’t be leaving this gear outside over the winter again, but walking around in a solid rain for a few hours would have probably induced the same amount of moisture into things. Waterproofing/weatherproofing an important bit of gear like this makes sense. Fortunately, today I noticed it because I was thinking I should probably check to see how the gear fared over the winter…it would have been a different story if I was a couple miles down the road, sitting on a rock, trying to bandage a gash in my leg with wet and moldy 4″ gauze and pads.

Folks you meet at CrossFit..or..How To Survive In The Woods

More CrossFit. Behold, a sweat angel:

20150109_184915This is what happens when after the workout you flop down on your back on the floor to try and get your breath back. This is also what it looks like, I would imagine, after the paramedics peel you off the floor and ship your carcass to the hospital.

But, more interestingly, the fella instructing the class had his own ‘lost in the woods’ survival experience that I was curious about. He got turned around while out hunting and wound up having to spend the night in the sticks as it dumped 13″ of snow on his position and the temperature clocked in around 0 degrees. He survived with no apparent injuries and was helicoptered out the next day. I asked him what happened:

Him and his hunting buddy drove up a forest service road way back into the boonies, they then parked and rode their mountain bikes further in, they then parked the bikes and hiked in on foot. They then split up, one guy heading up one ridge and one guy heading up the other. After a while he broke for lunch and as he was eating he spied a mule deer out of the corner of his eye. He chased after it and by the time he came up for air he realized he had gotten turned around. He wandered for a while, back tracking, climbing up and down the hills, before realizing he was well and thoroughly turned around.

The weather was starting to change and daylight was fading fast. He built himself a big fire , broke out his mylar blanket, and settled in for the night. He would alternate between getting wood for the fire and sitting on heated rocks to stay warm. His cellphone was dead and had minimal signal. At one point he tried it and it had just enough charge for him to get a GPS coord and to text those coords to his wife. But…he would have to make it through the night before help could get to him. The next morning he tried wandering towards what he thought was a road and as he did so the rescue ‘copter flew right over him on its way to the coords of his campsite. He was sure he’d screwed the pooch but they circled around again and he waved ’em down with his space blanket. The recovered him and got him to safety.

1383305_10203834820924062_7193706435147102802_nI asked if he had carried any special survival gear and he said it was just the mylar, nalgene bottle, celphone, firestarter, and the usual hunting gear….no extra clothes. He said he normally would have carried a spare cellphone charger with him but it was in his truck and they had taken his buddys rig to go hunting. What he did do, which made all the difference in the world, was once he realized he was well and truly lost he made camp while there was still light to see what he was doing and got a big fire going. He did mention that he will make sure to take his GPS along next time. (I’d go with map-n-compass as a backup, but Im not going to armchair quarterback this guy to his face.)

As you know, even when cell reception is too spotty for voice, text messages can often get through. In his case it made all the difference.

It was an interesting conversation, mostly because this is the first time I’ve actually gotten to talk to someone who had one of these experiences and it was quite interesting to hear the first-hand account. He also says, by the way, his subsequent hunting trips have not been as deep into the sticks as that one. His wife keeps him ‘on a short leash’, as he says.

My own experiences hunting and getting caught in bad weather tell me that while it is very easy to go overboard and encumber yourself with too much gear, there’s definitely a possibility of undergearing yourself as well. Its a tough balancing act to keep things light enough for tromping up and down mountains all day and having the gear you need when things go sideways. Something to think about.

 

When bellyguns go bad……..

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

So I’m sitting in front of the missus’ Mac, watching a movie (Dredd…way bloodier than I expected), and I see her little KelTec 32 sitting next to the keyboard. I pick it up and examine it. Pull the mag, rack the slide to eject the cartridge and…hey..is that a spot of rust on the breechface? Hmmmm. I stop the movie, Google up some disassembly directions and….

photo-31Someone is going to get a spanking. And not the fun-Friday-night kind. And it ain’t gonna be me and it ain’t gonna be Nuke.

A half hour later I’ve cleaned it up and mitigated as much damage as I can. Mostly cosmetic but…some barrel pitting. How does this happen? Well, really, a maintenance routine would be nice. (Like, maybe every time we switch to/from Daylight Savings Time we should detail strip our carry guns?) But, mouseguns like these are especially prone to this sort of thing.

Here’s a S&W 36 that I carry sometimes when I’m just too lazy to carry the Glock. Please observe it from two sides:

IMG_0608

Not a bad little gun. It’s a former NYPD gun that I got for a good deal years ago. Why so good? Well, lets flip it over and see…….:

IMG_0609Oh! Thats..thats not right! I know, I know…I probably should have warned the weak-stomached S&W fans that there was some gun-gore coming. In my defense, this is how I got the damn thing. I take much better care of my thundertoys than to have that sort of thing happen. As an aside, the Smith works flawlessly…it’s just damn ugly on that one side.

Here’s the skinny – mouseguns and other hideout firearms are usually carried in a manner that is not terrbily conducive towards gun health. Take the case of the Smith shown above…why is all the pitting and funk on one side of the gun? Heck, even only one side of the cylinder has it. The reason is simple – the cop who carried it carried it with the pitted side facing his body. Moisture and corrosive sweat, combined with typical cop gun maintenance, slowly started defacing that side of the gun over time. The other side, which was free to ‘breathe’ didnt suffer as bad. Same story on the KelTec..she carries it in the ‘appendix carry‘ style, which puts it close to her…uhm…well, let’s just say that I bet I could get a lot of money from her fans for that KelTec. But seriously folks….when you carry any small gun tightly against your body you are asking for this sort of trouble. That doesn’t mean you shouldnt do it, it just means you need to have an accelerated rmaintenance shedule for these and other guns that are in the ‘elevated risk’ category.

I carry a Glock, normally, which is fairly difficult to damage. Oh, you can do it, but it’ll take damage that would kill lesser guns. I usually fully disassemble and clean my EDC gun every other month or so. My little pocket guns, like my 640 or 21A, get cleaned and oiled more frequently.

Don’t think that stainless steel is going to get you off the hook, either. It’s stainless..not rustless. I use TetraLube on most of my guns and I’ll wipe it on with my fingers, getting it into every nook and cranny on the gun, and then wipe it all off with a paper towel. This leaves plenty of lube behind but doesn’t leave a gooey mess that can attract pocket lint and become gun-jamming sludge. Use whatever lube you want, but use your head in the selection and application.

Moral of the story: even with the use of a holster (especially with the use of a holster, since if you just leave the gun in it all the time youre leaving it in there trapped with whatever moisture and body funk youve generated) you need to take these things and air ‘em out and clean ‘em once in a while. To quote Michael Ironside from the unfathomably bad ‘Highlander II’ sequel: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if you dont take it out and use it, it’s going to rust”.

 

 

2008 Redux

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

I have a would-be customer who wants me to hook him up with a Stag #2 (with the Plus Package) or a Rock River Entry AR. He asked me about this a day or two after the election and it was about all I could do to keep from laughing into the phone. You want to buy an AR a couple days after Carter The Second wins the presidential election? Why not try buying lifejackets once the iceberg hits the hull? Availability will be similar.

Stag Arms is not only not answering their phones but the voicemail option tersely says “we are not taking any messages at this time.” Rock River at least had a human answer the phone who told me the wait on an AR outta there is currently at four months.

I have been to this dance before and know all the steps. Put your left foot in, put your right foot out, reach for your wallet and wave it all about…..

Oh, and before I forget:

I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so.

Now I feel better……

 

Spot the OPSEC fail

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Sold a pistol to a fella today. He counted out a buncha ten dollar bills to pay for it. Take a look at this picture and tell me where (or if) you see an OPSEC fail:

Notice anything, oh, I dunno….unusual….about this pile of currency? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

The obvious answer is that the gentleman apparently paid for his new acquisition using ‘old style’ currency. One or two bills wouldn’t have been suspicious but the entire stack was all old currency. This, of course, would make any reasonable person raise an eyebrow and wonder “Did he have all this stuffed into a mattress somewhere?”. This is an excellent example of something simple that draws attention you really don’t need.

Sure, we all stockpile a certain amount of cash to keep on hand. And, once that’s done, it’s entirely possible that as the years go by the currency will change and you’ll be sitting on a safe full of money that, while still accepted and honored, is going to raise some questions from certain corners. Banks already are told to consider cash deposits or transactions involving large amounts of old,dirty or soiled bills as suspicious. I wish I could find it, but a year or two back there was a news article about a fella who would, periodically, go to his local banks and exchange old money that was sometimes dirty, musty or smelled funny, for new currency. The fact that he was doing this fairly often and in large amounts raised suspicions and the cops were called in to investigate. Maybe he found the skeletal remains of a drug courier in the desert..or maybe his grandmother kept all her cash in the basement since her bad experiences in the First Great Depression…regardless, although no apparent crime had been committed, handing over large amounts of old-style money tripped some flags.

On a more local level, paying a bill with several hundred dollars worth of old currency is going to do nothing but make someone ask “Hey, cool! Where’d you get all the old money?” And that’s really attention that you don’t need…especially when buying guns and ammo. Not only that, the blatantly obvious assumption someone might make is “This guy is hoarding cash at home somewhere” and the next thing you know you come home to a kicked in door and ripped up floorboards. So..if you’ve got a stockpile of cash it might be a good idea to ‘keep it current’ in terms of what the current currency is. Now, having said that, I will admit that I’m going to keep some of these bills just for nostalgia’s sake…but if I ever use them to pay for something I’m not going to use them exclusively.

Article – Alaska militia member receives 5-years prison term

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska militia group member found guilty of weapons charges was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison in a case involving others convicted of conspiring to kill government officials.

Coleman Barney of North Pole held his head in his hands and sniffled loudly while he waited for U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan to impose the sentence Monday in Anchorage.

“I think you got into some real bad stuff here, and this sentence reflects it,” Bryan said.

Pretty standard stuff except that this particular article seems to veer a little off the usual course.

Before he was sentenced, Barney apologized for making poor choices and decisions. A member of the Mormon church, he said he loved his country and that the militia started out as a group of “wonderful Christian men” who wanted to protect their families in case of a collapse. He said he got caught up in the hype and said things he didn’t mean.

Whats different here is that in virtually every article about ‘militias’ there is no mention of how the group started. Was it a rabid, anti-government group from the start? Or was it something benign that gradually shifted focus into something else?

In this case, from the phrasing in the article, it sounds like a bunch of guys who had a common interest and a common concern and somehow got ‘carried away’. This is worth thinking about because ‘conspiracy’ is one of those great catch-alls that is used to nail people to the wall in cases like this. You don’t have to have done anything, and you may not even have to take real material steps, but as long as you and your buddies agreed to do it someday….well, seems like thats as good as doing it in some folks’ eyes.

So…you, your buddy at work, the guy down the block, and another guy from the gun range…….you guys get together once a week or so to shoot guns or watch football. One day a semi-serious discussion about politics turns into a serious discussion about ‘what are we gonna do if TSHTF?’. And the conversation goes on for a couple hours and when its done you’ve got an informal ‘group’. Thats the organic way these things happen.

You and your buddies, you go to gun shows together, check out military surplus stuff, maybe hit the cannery once a month, go in on group purchases to save money, maybe help each other on little projects like setting up radio towers or helping to move a new freezer into a basement…so far youre all a happy little group of like-minded individuals.

One day, after range practice, Steve pipes up and says “Man, you see all that looting in Haiti? You’re outnumbered, like, a million to one in a scenario like that. Check out what I picked up to help even those odds” and he reaches into his range bag and pulls out….what? A homemade silencer? An auto sear? Unpapered SBR or SBS? Maybe a grenade? And that’s right about the moment that your band of buddies who were nothing more than a bunucha guys with a common interest on being prepared suddenly turned into  ‘persons of interest’. And at that same moment, every single thing youve done…the stored food, the piles of ammo, the rack of guns, the gold in the safe, the tweaked out BOV, those new solar panels on the roof….becomes threatened, Now, rather than ‘preps’ those things have become ‘supporting evidence’ when you get accused of being part of some end-of-the-world extremist fringe that was bent on overthrowing the government (or whatever).

Maybe everyone looks at Steve and says “Are you nuts? Put that crap away!”. Or maybe they say “Steve, if youre into that sorta stuff we cant have you hanging around us.” Maybe someone goes as far to say “Steve, it was nice knowing ya, but I can’t afford to be mixed up with that kinda stuff. Don’t ever come by my house again.” Or, more likely, everyone says “wow, cool!” and they pass it around like a party favor. And a week later someone tries to one-up Steve by acquiring something even more questionable.

Or, another likely scenario…..Steve never pulls anything ungood out of his range bag. But one day as theyre all driving back from the gun show he mentions that he thinks someone with a rifle ‘oughtta do something’ about ……and he starts naming politicians. Or local government officials. Or just people he doesn’t like for whatever reason. And someone in the back seat pipes in with “Yeah! And that other guy too! Someone oughtta take it to both of them!”

And this is how that fine line between conspiracy and harmless group of like-minded buddies gets blurred. A casual conversation about what to do about looters in a world ‘without rule of law’ turns into ‘and when those cops or feds show up and start violating their oath we need to……’. I know he didnt mean it. You know he didnt mean it. He probably doesnt even really mean it. But it’s not our opinion about it that matters in these things, sadly. There’s plenty of folks who’ll take what he said at full face value because thats their job.

I almost want to say that the secret to keeping any group of LMI from turning into a ‘ant-government militia that was planning on killing elected officials’ or a ‘group of extremists who were conspiring to blow up the…’ is to simply never talk politics at any of your little get-togethers.

I’ve met quite a few people over the years who would be in the red folder in some federal agencies ‘watch’ files. Usually they are so over-the-top that they’re unable to be taken seriously enough as a threat. But why take chances? When you and a couple buddies are getting together at the cannery and the discussion turns towards questionable things you have one of two choices – put an end to it politely, maybe even obtusely so the person talking doesn’t even notice you’ve changed the topic so abruptly…or…let him go on and be prepared to face the unpleasant possibilities that might happend when someone “hears something, says something” about your conversation.

Me, I’m the biggest advocate of free speech youre ever going to meet. I think you should be able to burn flags, bibles, korans, effigies, and all that stuff.  Nothing gets my ire up like censorship and the notion that you cant express yourself however you like (as long as youre respecting other peoples rights…maybe not respecting their beliefs, or their opinion, but always their rights ). But the sad fact is that there are somethings you just have to keep to yourself if you want to stay out of trouble.

If you’ve got a loosely knit group of friends that you include in your preparations and stockpiling it is important to make sure that you don’t fall into that trap of someone going a little off the reservation and getting the whole group shot down.I hate the notion of guilt by association but thats how it plays out. Four guys are just stocking their shelves with canned goods and building solar battery chargers and one guy is doing that and building auto sears in his garage…or smuggling antibiotics over the border from Mexico…or mouthing off about how the local police chief is gonna ‘get it’ someday. And because of that one guy, four other guys who weren’t doing anything more extreme than building can organizers and working on their ham radio licenses are now caught up in a legal mess that’ll bankrupt them if theyre lucky, or send the to jail if theyre unlucky.

I like the idea of having a close little knot of friends who are on the same page as myself. It makes things easier, it gives me a chance to be myself, and the camaraderie and validation is quite nice. But if someone starts talking about something they shouldn’t, it gets tamped down…fast. It sucks to have to step on someone’s ideas and desire to express them but at this point in the game who needs the hassle of getting pinched for ‘conspiracy to….’?

So….moral of the story: nothing wrong with living a ‘secret life” as a survivalist. The trick is to make sure that things stay ‘survivalisty’ and don’t drift into something that others could, rightly or wrongly, construe as ‘dangerous extremist’. This article about the guys in Alaska sounds like a good example of a buncha guys that started out with noble intentions and somehow got sidetracked into becoming something they now wish they hadn’t. Don’t be those guys.

Article – Wildlife agents kill black bear after attack on camper in Bob Marshall

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Satterfield said a team of wildlife agents flew into the remote area by helicopter to track down the animal, which they spotted 30 yards from the injured man’s campsite. The bear had pepper spray on its fur and blood in its claws, he said.

 

Pepper spray is not the panacea that some would have you think it is. Then again, neither are bullets. I’ve only come across bears a couple times when I’ve been out fishing or hunting. Once, I came across a cub standing in the middle of the logging road at which point every sense went on alert asking “where’s momma bear?”. I was a bit undergunned that time since all I had was my P35 with me. Second time was when I was quietly sitting on the side of a hill and saw a black bear come running across my field of view, follower a few moments later by my hunting buddy running after it. Apparently he liked to chase black bears because if you got the running downhill, their butt end would eventually flip over their head and they’d go cartwheeling down the hill. Whatever. I was a little better armed that time with a FAL.

Sometimes bear spray works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes bullets work, sometimes they don’t. Play it safe and cover all the bases.

True story: I met the guy who developed the Counter Assault bear spray. He’s the guy in the promotional literature with blood all over his head from being mauled only moments before the picture was taken. Back then the stuff was sold as ‘pepper spray’ and the words ‘bear repellent’ on the can had been crossed out. I asked why and was told that to sell it as pepper spray for use against people was perfectly cool, but to market it as bear repllenet you had to do studies to show that it gave no lasting injuries to the bear. Go figure.

 

Link – Company Selling Zombie Preparedness Kit For $24,000

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Preparing for a zombie apocalypse does pay off, but it’s hard work. Although battling the hordes of eBay bidders and gathering everything piecemeal could be one preferred method, an Illinois-based company has created an easier way.

Optics Planet created a one-stop solution for zombie battlers everywhere called Z.E.R.O.

Z.E.R.O., short for Zombie Extermination, Research and Operations, is a kit that contains everything someone would need to keep alive in the end times. Initially priced at $31,375, the kit has been discounted to $23,999 with delivery available to the customer’s home or armed complex.

 

Okay, I wanna say two things about this…neither of which is directly related to zombies (sorry).

1) I’ve had some dealings with Optics Planet. Neither dealing resulted in a completed transaction. Problem? Well, let’s put it this way: call them to make sure that when they say they have something available and ready to ship they really, actually, honest-to-Crom have physical possession of that item at that time and at that location.

2) There is virtually no kit of anything….first aid, ‘survial kit’, whatever….that is as well thought out and as economical as anything you could put together on your own from stuff you sourced on your own. The trick in putting a kit of any type together is to have the knowledge and information to put the kit together properly. In my experience, especially with the internet, knowledge and information is pretty much free these days.

Now, I can understand the appeal of just writing a check and being done with something, but if you put your own kits together you have a better idea of what you can and can’t do because in the process of putting together that kit you have to weigh the merit, value, and utility of every piece of gear. That, my friend, is how you gain knowledge. Sure, you can start off with someone elses recommended list and that works fine, but there really is no cookie-cutter solution to your needs. So while a pre-made kit of anything is a great place to start, it should never be the end of the equippage process but rather a beginning.