Civil disturbance

I’ll ignore the ‘why’s about whats going on in Missouri, and just go to the ‘what’.

What’s the proper recourse for when your neighborhood or town gets swamped with all sorts of civil unrest? Well, The First Rule Of Surviving A Disaster is paramount: Don’t Be There.

But, let’s be real….if there’s going to be a civil disturbance and the smart thing to do is leave town, would I do that? Wellllll….leave my house undefended and unprotected from rampaging mobs? Tough call.

The Israelis have interesting ways to break up large mob violence – they find the ringleaders and shoot them in the crotch with suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifles. That would certainly take the wind outta my sails. Seems nowadays the plans are to contain the mob with as small a perimeter as possible and let them work it outta their system. Thats great as long as your car and house isn’t within that perimeter.

And thats where you wind up with scenes like this:

58852252And, most recently:

xtattoo-parlor.jpg.pagespeed.ic.WOuyJnR8fB(And if you’re going to pose for the AP photographer at one of these affairs, at least have the decency to take a moment and carry a spare mag, less-lethal option, and some ancillary gear… professionalism, people!)

There are tremendous differences between protesting and rioting. A good baseline is that destruction of other peoples stuff is a riot. Protest all you want, but when you start flipping over cars and setting fire to stuff I’m going to suddenly become a huge fan of guys with helmets and nightsticks. (Or as NYPD calls them “hats n’ bats”.)

I’m a huge fan of civil liberties. Huge. I don’t care if you’re protesting to allow the legal recognition of same sex hamsters who want abortions while crossing the border to smoke medical marijuana with wealt redistributionists….as long as you’re not breaking the laws and are protesting peacefully, more power to ya. But, when you start blocking traffic, throwing things through windows and impacting other peoples lives, whether they want it or not…..well, thats when you lose my support.

 

Article – The eat of battle – how the world’s armies get fed

The Taliban might be just a few hundred metres away, but in the mess halls of the US bases in southern Afghanistan, there are more pressing dangers lurking: undercooked eggs. Signs placed above the breakfast fry-up station warn against asking for an egg sunny side up: it’s available over-easy only. The reason, as explained by patient cooks to bemused visitors, is that diseases might lurk in a runny yolk. Feeding soldiers in a warzone is one of the biggest challenges for any army. Generals want to keep their soldiers healthy, and food done well, both in the “d-facs” (dining faciliites) and MREs (“meals ready to eat”, in US army speak – or “ration packs”) can be a morale booster, a reminder of home in a hostile, alien place.

I never get tired of examining the rations of other military forces. The Italians and French have a rep for great rations (or, at least better than most) and I suspect the Russian rations are the worst. The Russian ones I’ve seen are little more than tins of grain-based gruels withcans of meat/congealed fat. Rough stuff.

What is interesting is to note what they all have in common. Drink mixes, on-the-move snacks, etc, etc. Modern food packaging has hit the stage where you can walk down the aisle at your supermarket and pick up a sealed foil pouch or small ‘tin’ of chicken, beef, ham, crab, tuna, pork, or virtually any other meat. Some of those scary looking ‘complete meals’ like you see from Dinty Moore and a few others might even look like a good deal when you’ve been laying in the woods for three days watching a trail junction and eating nothing but PopTarts and drinking Gatorade.

Some stuff is still kinda hard to find in the smaller ‘single serving’ sizes, but there are places that specialize in such things if you know where to look.

I used to keep a goodly amount of MRE’s on hand…couple dozen cases, actually. But when i sat down and thought about it, it didnt really make sense. If you’re a simple ‘prepared individual’ like me, your need for MRE’s is only to get you past, at most, maybe a week of living out of your car as you move from Point A to Point B. And even then, youre probably going to be in circumstances where you aren’t precluded from consuming better tasting, although more laborious to prepare, storage foods. The circumstances where things are chaotic enough that I have to eat MRE’s instead of simple backpacking freeze drieds are fairly rare, I think. Sure, for grab and go go go! the MRE is handy…throw one case per person in the truck and your good for almost a week. But if thats the case, a handful of cases is plenty. So I wound up trading off the dozens of cases of MRE’s and picked up more Mountain House stuff.

Given the tremendous variety available of long-term (1+ year) foodstuffs, it should be pretty easy to make up your own ‘ration packs’ if you’re inclined to forgo the military rations. Although, honestly, the military rations certainly are convenient.

Access

A dozen SureFire CR123 batts showed up the other day in the mail. No note, so I can’t say who the generous sould was but…thanks!

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Friend of the blog, Self Sufficient Mountain Living, has a post up about keeping his road private. In the comments was this:

I’m fortunate that I don’t have to take any other individuals into consideration when I make my plans. If I had to, it would be much more difficult and far less effective. My location makes this a fairly easy place to maintain security as long as you are methodical and do some minimal planning ahead.

Thats a problem for myself, as well as many other folks. How do you make something so secure, and the means of bypassing that security equally secure, when you have to share that information among several people?

There’s an excellent scene in Heinlein’s book ‘Friday’ where Friday needs to traverse a secured tunnel to safety. She was told there was a switch to deactivate the defense system but is not told where it is. From the minimal information given to her, and some very good deductive reasoning, she discovers the location of the switch and disarms the defenses….allowing her to travel through the tunnel to safety.

So it’s the age-old dilemma where the more you share the secret the less secure that secret becomes. We face this every day when we give someone our phone number, email address and that sort of thing. But how do you keep the right people ‘in the loop’ while maintaining the needed level of security? Tough call.

Personally, for most physical things I like ‘programmable’ locks. Any padlock can be defeated, but locks really are just to keep casual violators away…the truly determined will not be stopped by anything other than violent force. The gas cans we keep in the back of the truck, for example, use a ‘programmable’ lock. I know the number and the wife knows the number. Thats it. But if I needed someone to get the cans from the back of the truck I could simply give them the combination and theyd have access to the fuel cans. It is for this reason that I almost always prefer combination locks over keyed locks.

When you have to run out the door at 2am with whatever you can grab in five minutes, you may not have time to find the keys to the gun case, the keys to the ammo stash, the keys to the fuel bunker, or the keys to much of anything. But you can always carry the combination in your head. And when its time to have someone else do the work you can always give them the combination in a text message, phone call, or even in a code spraypainted on the side of a building…something you can’t really do with physical keys.

If I needed to have a trusted friend get some valuables from my house I could call them, give them the codes to the locks, the combination to the safe, and they’d have the information they need without the need for a physical key exchange.

If I had a miles-long diveway with a gate on the end I would probably have a combination lock of some type on it. Something where we and our friends knew the combination and no one else. But if something happened and we needed an ambulance or something like that, we could tell the person on the phone what the combination is rather than have to send someone down there with a key to let them in. (And if its just two people and one is laying on the floor gasping for air and the other is franticallyon the phone with 911, then you probably dont have the manpower to spare to send someone running down there with a key.)

Keyed locks do have their uses though. When I travel with guns, I only use keyed locks on my luggage and gun cases. Why? Because I’m not telling some worthless sack of crap TSA flunkie the combination to my locks so they can open the darn thing like they own it. They want in, they gotta come get me.

But don’t get wrapped up in locks, combination or otherwise. Anyone with a hammer, a crowbar, and a brief minute or two can pretty much open any padlock. BUT, for those times when a padlock makes good sense I go with the combination type for the convenience of not having to track keys, and the ability to grant access by simply telling someone the combo. And, especially nice, is that you can then reset the combination to something new once youre done letting others have that access.

 

Bodies in the woods

Few years ago, there was a bit of local excitement when this happened:

David Burgert: Missoula County fugitive still missing after 3 years

And then this headline today:

Human remains found in wilderness near Rock Creek exit

It’ll be interesting to see if this little mystery is put to bed. Of course, this could also be a zillion other things. Montana is a big place, and there’s plenty of room for a fella to walk off and never be heard from again. Aslo plenty of places to remain unseen as you take care of ‘nasty,  brutish business’. Local serial killer Wayne Nance probably left a few victims out in the sticks that have yet to be recovered.
But Im really curious if its Burgert. Every so often, one of these ‘anti-government militia’ types, as the media likes to call them, does something dramatic and runs off into the hills. Years go by and they are never seen again until some hunter sits down for a morning dump and finds himself squatting next to a skull and rusting AK-47. As best I can tell, the only one who actually ran off into the sticks and survived for a number of years was Eric Rudolph…. and even then it was a lifestyle that eventually wore so thin he finally gave up rather than keep living that way.
But there are plenty of homeless/transients, bad drug deals, looney crazy people, and assorted whackjobs to wind up fertilizing the forest. Years ago someone found a skull out in their field…turns out some industrious gopher had shoved it to the surface as he was doing his tunnel work. Turned out to be the skull of some pioneer woman who died a hundred years ago. Stuff like that turns up out here. There’s probably still a missing plane or two out there.
I’ll track this story and see what happens. It’d be interesting to see if its Burgert…my theory has been that he either killed himself out in the woods or made it to ‘safety’ and started over. But, the more I read about him the less inclined I am to believe that if he were alive he could stay off the radar. We shall see, I suppose.

Link – If Mopeds Had Never Caught Your Eyes, This One That’s Geared For Survival Might

I saw this a week ago but am just getting around to posting about it:

aptly called Motoped Survival Bike: Black Ops Edition, it has military written all-over it and while it may not stray much from the standard Motoped we saw last year, with power coming from a petite 49cc four-stroke engine and composing of stuff like custom frame and off-the-rack mountain bike components, but we are sure its military garb will have your attention. and if that doesn’t convince you to drop your money, then we are sure that its long list of gear survival gear will seal the deal and have you begging Motopeds to take your money. oh yeah, we are 100% sure they will.

If your version of the apocalypse includes a prolonged shortage of fuel and a requirement for a good bit of traveling, this might be an interesting choice.

Personally, strapping an engine onto a bicycle and then hoping bicycle brakes will stop you at motorized speeds sounds like a recipe for trouble. But once the go-juice has dried up its nice to know you can just pedal the thing. I see some folks around town with motorized bicycles and it seems like a solution to a non-existent problem. If you have fuel, drive your motorcycle. When you dont have fuel, drive your mountain bike. Of course, having both of those options in one vehicle does have a bit of appeal.

One thing that does interest me greatly are some of these electrically powered motorcycles and bicycles. I like the idea of plugging the thing into a PVfueled battery array and charging it up overnight. Of course, thats a non-road-warrior option since youo arent going to carry enough solar panels on your back to power something like that on the road.

Realistically, I think a really good quality mountain back and accessories would be just as good a choice for less money….but I can see some situations where this thing might be just the ticket.

FR-8

You can read a little about them here.

Really, like the M43 Nagant carbine, this is a short, brutal handful of wood and steel designed for poking with the front end and bashing with the back end.

fr8I was at the gun show last weekend and I saw this sitting in the rack. Like an idiot, I threw out what I thought was a lowball offer that would be rejected out of hand. They guy said “Sure”, and I wound up with it. (You’d think I would have learned by now. Several years ago I acquired a P35 the same way.)

The FR-8 is simply a Mauser 98 that was dolled up to be used as a trainer for folks transitioning to the Cetme/G3 rifle. CETME sights, CETME sling, CETME bayonet, CETME ammo, CETME grenade launcher muzzle device…..a good way to train the raw troops on the new rifle without having to issue them one of the new rifles. If they’d made ‘em take CETME magazines they’d probably have been much more popular than they were.

Years ago Century Arms had gazillions of bayonets for these things. They’d throw one or two in the box with whatever you ordered just so they could get rid of them. Fortuitously, I had one laying around to mount on the gun.

My use for it? Well, I’d probably rather have it than a Mosin Nagant. While a spam can of 7.62x54R is readily available its another cartridge I’d have to store and add to my logistics. This thing shoots .308 so its the same as my PTR, CZ 550, Ruger Scout, my buddy’s FAL, etc, etc. However, were I to come across a good Israeli 98k in .308….well! I’d happily sell this off in a heartbeat and get the Israeli gun. The Israeli 98 is a more traditional design with traditional sights and takes all the normal Mauser furniture. I used to have one years ago and had to sell it for quick cash…I’ve regretted it since.

The FR-8 has a front sight that is adjustable for elevation in the AK fashion, but the post is also slightly off-center to allow for a modest amount of windage correction. If youre going to be playing with the sights on one of these, do yourself a favor and pick up a CETME front sight tool. Or, in a pinch, take a section of shotgun cleaning rod, cut to length, and carve out enough metal from the end to provide the two prongs necessary to engage the recesses in the sight screw. (Speaking of which, dont forget to loosen/tighten the locking screw for that sight post.)

 

 

Old

How’d the birthday go? Glad you asked. Surprisingly (and pleasantly so), a few gifts did land in the PO box. Some burn jel, a very highly recommended flashlight, some emergency rations, a lightstick holder, and a speedloader.

ETA: Cool! A  couple more goodies arrived today (the 8th) as well! A LifeStraw, which I have been very curious about, and a rather generous supply of speedloaders for my GP-100′s. Bot gifts were also accompanied by very kind and thoughtful notes.

It makes creeping into late-middle middle-age a bit easier.

A big thank you to the kind and generous folks who sent gifts, as well as to those who emailed me their birthday greetings.

When I was a kid, I loved my birthday because it was all about presents and the whole day being pretty much about me…everywhere I go people wishing me happy birthday, etc. But, as I got older and older, birthdays kind of just were reminders of how much time was passing and how few goals and achievements I had accomplished. Every birthday was kind of like a little voice in my ear telling me that I hadn’t accomplished virtually any of the things my contemporaries had accomplished and that time was running out to do so. Kinda sad…but, gifts kind of took my mind off that and remind me of how I felt as a kid on my birthday…the elation at tearing open paper, getting ice cream cake, all the optimism and giddiness of wondering whats under the wrapping paper….that sort of thing. Being excited about, and looking forward to birthday gifts keeps me from from dwelling heavily on the plodding, soul-crushing nature of another birthday to remind me of what I haven’t done and haven’t achieved. Yeah. Issues.

BUT! Gifts make it allllllll better! At least until a couple days pass by and I can forget I even had a birthday. Then I can happily live in denial until the next summer when the birthday rolls around again to poke me in the eye.

So…thank you again for the gifts and well wishes!

Article – Two Is One and One Is None: How Redundancies Increase Your Antifragility

The common catchphrase is “Two is One, one is none” which is about having redundancies, backups, Plan B, alternate means, or whatever phrase you want to use for your secondary option.

Here’s an excellent article on the subject. RTWT.

How redundancies increase our antifragility is obvious: if you only have one of something, and it fails, you can be up the creek without a paddle. Members of the military have a maxim that neatly sums up Taleb’s philosophy: “Two is one and one is none.” If you bring one piece of gear on a mission, it’s bound to break, and when it does, you’ll find yourself in a real pinch. Far better to have not only a Plan A and a Plan B, but a Plan A, B, and C. Former Navy SEAL Richard J. Machowicz calls the intentional creation of strategic redundancies “advantage stacking” – “you want to stack so many of the advantages in your favor that, when the order comes, when the opportunity presents itself, you can’t help but win.”