The Doomsday Seed Vault: The Syrian War Prompts First Withdrawal

Doomsday Seed Vault

There is a “doomsday” vault built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global food supplies. Now for the first time since the vault was established on the Svalbard archipelago in 2008, seeds have been withdrawn. The original intent or charter if you will was designed to protect crop seeds such as beans, rice, and wheat against the worst cataclysms of nuclear war or disease (Doyle, 2015).

Once you crack the seal, or pop the cork as the case maybe, it is easier to go back to the wine for a sip or two, and sooner than imagined the bottle is empty. The vault has more than 860,000 samples, from almost all nations and of course the seeds are stored so the world or a particular nation can recover from a catastrophe, a catastrophe that threatens the food supply.

The Middle East as a whole could probably qualify as a catastrophe, where disease and starvation account for many deaths, not to mention war. With the refugee crisis and millions leaving the area is there anyone left to plant the crops and harvest them, process them, and then distribute them?

It won’t take long for the terrorist organizations who are trying to take over certain countries to realize they too need to eat and have a reliable food source, so what happens when, because of their actions the seed vault is tapped again, and again, and how long can it sustain itself. Maybe it’s time you started your own seed vault.

The doomsday seed vault is for countries to secure their future food supply, and while you live in a country, you would not be able to call up and order up your tomato seeds from the vault, if disaster strikes. It would take years after a calamity for nations to get the seeds in the ground. It requires people with skills to plant, tend to, and then to harvest the crops, not to mention once you have all this how to distribute the crops. Once again, you realize you are on your own.

We are not going to get into the debate about GMO’s, heirloom, hybrid, and all that. That is for you to decide what is best for you and yours. However, when the SHTF your choices may be limited, so if you want perfection and will not settle for less than perfect, then it is up to you to make it happen now, because no one will do it for you once a crisis is upon us.

Droughts, floods, a volcano, war, or even a major earthquake could ruin crops and crop land for years, and it would take years to recover. This means you would need several years’ worth of food stockpiled, or a sustainable and renewable source of food, your own private source in other words.

What Do You Need

Gathering up seeds is the easy part, and relatively inexpensive. If you only plant heirloom seeds then the plant itself will produce seeds ensuring a renewable source of seeds for every season. However, many heirloom varieties have inherent weaknesses. They are not drought tolerant, pest resistant and in some cases the growing conditions need to be near perfect for a decent harvest. Hybrid plants cannot produce seeds for an identical plant. However, the plant itself has had the best qualities bred into it and so hybrids are more suited for problem soil, and in many cases require less water. This is something to consider as you begin your stockpile, think about a combination of both.

Aside from the seeds, you will need certain skill sets, materials, and above all knowledge of the growing seasons, and of the plants themselves. Knowing how to compost properly will ensure you have fertilizer and the tools needed are not complicated, or all that expensive, but needed nonetheless.

The biggest problem is space and soil. If you live in a suburban area, vacant lots and other areas of the city could be contaminated after years of vehicular traffic and factories discharging contaminates into the soil. One solution is to stockpile your own soil, which would be a monumental task and you could use raised beds virtually anywhere. If you have a backyard suitable in size then that problem is solved, but consider the need to expand when calculating size of area versus harvest.

It takes planning and it can take months if not years to reach the level where your garden could supply you with daily sustenance during the growing season. Keep in mind you need to grow enough so there is a surplus that can be preserved for the off seasons.

Doyle, A. (2015, September 22). Retrieved 2015, from https://news.yahoo.com/syrian-war-spurs-first-withdrawal-doomsday-arctic-seed-143300148.html

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Will It Affect You

Syrian Refugee Crisis

President Barack Obama has directed his administration to prepare to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, the White House said on Thursday September10, 2015 (Edwards, 2015).

National security is of course a major concern when considering Syria refugees and others from neighboring countries. The areas in question are rife with anti-American sentiment and with people that seek to do us and other western countries harm. The screening process as the refugees arrive can take up to 18 months according to the report.

There is no guarantee any screening process would be effective however. U.S. Intelligence Agencies simply do not have the human and signal intelligence assets on the ground in many of the areas from which the refugees are arriving.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing, and how many will there be, no one knows. No doubt many of not most of the refugees are families looking to escape war and persecution, but it doesn’t take many bent on destruction to create a catastrophe. We would likely see small attacks against soft targets, malls, schools and other institutions that do not traditionally have any measurable security in place.

The United States and the President are under pressure from various humanitarian groups and from members of the President’s own party to do more to help. However, we as a country need to consider the security nightmare this would cause.

What Can You Do To Stay Safe

The short answer is not much. It not as this is a piece of machinery that needs new brakes or hydraulic lines to make it safe, there is no clear solution, no fix that can be pinpointed.

The only thing you can do is to reduce your risk, and unfortunately this means you will have to change some of your habits. You will have to adapt to the new normal. You would have to avoid certain public holiday events, large crowds, and prominent symbolic events, because they can become targets, but as recent events have shown, anyone, anywhere can become a target.

It would be difficult, if not impossible to predict when a person might go on a rampage and shoot up a recruitment center or military base. However, once the dust settles people come out of the woodwork to proclaim that they thought that person was odd or that he or she dropped a comment or had made threats against this country or particular people, and the list of attention seekers goes on and on as people seek the limelight.

Any social media sites that a person that commits an act had used are gone over with a fine toothed comb, and there are clues there many times, if not outright proclamations stating that person planned on something. Who is responsible for keeping track?

In some sense we all are, but if we responded to every comment, every word written or shouted in anger we would be speed dialing 911 24/7. It is nearly impossible, and that is why it is difficult to predict anything. As stated earlier all you can do is to reduce your risk by avoidance.

People use the Internet to vent frustrations, to say things without reprisal and this can be a good thing, but there is a darker side as well, and then there is our constitutional right to free speech.

You have to be alert, and you simply cannot let yourself be trapped anywhere. Exits and places that provide cover must be noted wherever you go. Defending yourself from an active shooter in a public place, is far different than defending yourself in your own home, so going out well armed may not provide much protection if any at all in a crowded area, especially if terrorists use explosive devices.

You have to consider different routes, and plan when to go shopping and when to take trips out of town.

We all have to assume that there will be terrorist mingling with the refugees, and without a doubt some will arrive here. Once here they will melt into the shadows to plot their acts.

Edwards, J. (2015, September). Retrieved 2015, from https://news.yahoo.com/obama-wants-u-prepare-10-000-syrian-refugees-172337928.html

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Open Carry and Swatting

Open Carry and Swatting

The gun control lobby and certain citizens at large who do not believe that anyone should own, or carry a firearm are putting legal gun owners, police and citizens in danger (Chiaramonte, 2015).

It is called “swatting” when people see you carrying a firearm or even suspect you are concealing one, and then call the police (911). People with an agenda in most cases, falsely report you are doing something illegal just to get the police to show up, and hope they drag you off to jail. In some instances a person is reported as a “suspicious person” and is acting in a threatening manner and of course has a gun on them.

Most of the time the reports have been exaggerated to inflame the situation. For example, stating a person is brandishing a firearm or a person has threatened another with a gun when this is simply not the case. Some do this in hopes there is a confrontation (a violent one possibly?) between the police and the gun owner.

This of course puts the police on high alert and can get the gun owner, the police or citizens in the area injured or killed. Any confrontation would be tense to say the least, because the police are responding to, in many cases, a 911 call about someone with a firearm, a so-called emergency, so the only information they have is what the caller wants them to have. The anti-gun lobby is doing this to incite the police to essentially harass gun owners who are doing nothing wrong.

Should You Open Carry If It Is Allowed In Your State

First, just because your state does allow open carry per the constitution does not mean that those that cannot legally own a firearm can carry one openly or otherwise.

Police unless they ask for and check your identification do not know if you can legally own a firearm or not just by looking at you. Like it or not there are laws that prohibit certain individuals from owning a firearm. Everyone has an opinion on who should be able to own one, and we will leave it at that for now, that is an argument for another day.

Of course there are those people that openly carry just to incite a response from others. They want to provoke others, to make a point, a statement, or whatever the case may be, and this is their right to do so if your state allows open carry, but also expect the police may want to check whether you can legally carry a firearm, if you draw enough attention to yourself.

Unfortunately, there are citizens that simply do not know the laws in their state concerning the carrying and possession of firearms. As often is the case, if they see a person who cannot be identified as a police officer carrying a firearm then the overly concerned citizen may call the police.

Openly carrying a firearm could in some instances deter crime. If someone, who plans on robbing a convenience store, sees an armed citizen, that person may think twice about robbing the store. However, those on drugs may not notice, nor care, they are not in control of their actions, and so may forge ahead with their robbery plans. In some rare cases a person may be targeted simply because someone wants his or her firearm.

It is a personal choice. However, if you know that the police in your area routinely stop those that open carry to check identification, then you have a decision to make. You can stand on principle, or blend in so you do not become a target every time you step out.

The reality is that those not trained in the use of a firearm are scared of them. They do not want to see them and they immediately judge those that carry or own a firearm, usually in a negative way. There are groups so radical that they believe that even sworn law enforcement should not be allowed to carry firearms.

Chiaramonte, P. (2015, September 1). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/01/gun-control-groups-accused-swatting-open-carry-permit-holders-putting-lives-at/

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Did You Reassess Your Preparedness Level after the New Yorker Story?

West Coast Map Earthquake

The New Yorker published a story July 20th, 2015, in which they detailed the destruction a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami would cause in areas of the Pacific Northwest. The story is called The Really Big One (Schulz, 2015).

The danger zone that the article is referring to lies just north of the San Andreas Fault line. It is known as the Cascadia subduction zone, and it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and ends near Vancouver Island Canada.

There are a lot of technical details in the article and it is easy to get lost in the weeds when reading it, but the take away is that essentially experts predict that a massive quake could happen along the fault line any day now.

According to FEMA everything west of Interstate 5 would be toast if what has been described were to occur. Well if it were to occur there would of course be massive destruction and likely any estimation made before the quake would be a conservative estimation, because no one knows for sure.

The story had a visceral impact and some people panicked. The New Yorker is considered a reputable magazine in many quarters, and not some doom and gloom website that is always predicting the sky will fall tomorrow. When tomorrow comes there is always another tomorrow in which the sky will fall. This article resonated with people and according to some retailers emergency kits are flying off the shelves, because of the news story.

Sales of emergency-preparedness kits have skyrocketed after The New Yorker last week published a story about how an earthquake would destroy the Pacific Northwest (Lacitis, 2015).

American Preparedness CEO Steve O’Donnell was quoted as saying that his company sold an average month’s worth of emergency kits in a single day right after the story was published (Lacitis, 2015).

Another company that retrofits homes for earthquakes stated the waiting list for clients went from 3.5 months to six months after the story came out. People wanted on the waiting list for the services the company provides.

Experts reveal what most of us already know and that is that things go in cycles. People will be hyper vigilant and eager to prepare for a period, and then it wears off. Emergency kits will be hot items for a time and then taper off.

However, according to a survey conducted by the city of Seattle only 25 percent of the citizens are prepared. This is good news to some extent because the national average is only four percent, only four percent of the population is ready for a crisis. That leaves far too many not prepared, and those unprepared may be as big of a problem as the crisis itself in the days after.

Kits prepackaged for you and ready to use right off the shelf are apparently popular, because people will spend money so they do not have to worry about gathering the items here and there themselves.

The kits however could be put together at home, and it might be cheaper to do it yourself, and you can control the quality of the items as well. It is the convenience factor for some, so the kits are popular.

Those that buy the kits, and then stick them in a closet without inventorying the items are only buying the kits based on the emotions at the time. Everyone is buying them so “I better get one too” is how some see things. A few do not even know why they need to prepare, but they get caught up in the rush. The city of Seattle is now recommending that everyone have 10 to 14 days worth of supplies so why not just buy one that is ready to use may be the thinking of some people.

Preparedness Has To Be Taken Seriously

Earthquakes are not a new development, but the story reminded people that live in earthquake prone areas that the big one could come at anytime. If the so-called big one did strike, then ten days or even 14 days worth of supplies would probably not be enough.

You do not prepare because someone else says it is the thing to do. You have to know why you must be prepared, and then know what you need to be prepared. You may very well survive the event, but can you survive the days and weeks after.

It really is unfortunate that it takes a glaring news headline to spurn people into action and yet given all of the alarm generated only 25 percent of the people living in Seattle have prepared for such an event.

Experts have been predicting the big one for years and it could in theory happen any day now, and the fact that no one knows, means you do have to be prepared for it to happen any day now.

Lacitis, E. (2015, July). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/ready-or-not-earthquake-kits-flying-off-the-shelves/

Schulz, K. (2015, July). The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015, from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

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Have We Learned Anything from the Greek Tragedy

Greeec Tragedy

You are wondering, what Greece has to do with Preppers. It’s complicated to say the least, but Greece and its citizens are experiencing a crisis, a crisis in which not many of the citizens were prepared for. There is plenty of blame to go around however.

The Greek government, the citizens, and the European Union in general all played a role. The disaster did not strike out of the blue. It was like a steam roller that is 100 miles away creeping along inches per day, no hurry, nothing to instill panic yet, because the speed of the rolling crisis can be managed. No one pays it any mind because, “we have time to correct our course”.

Occam’s Razor while it can appear to be a complicated problem solving formula can be boiled down to one simple statement and that is “the simplest answer is usually the right answer”. Take away all of the assumptions, the theories, and all of the back and forth about what ifs and you end up with the most obvious, which turns out to be the right or simply the best answer.

The most obvious answer is the hardest, so this is why many problems within governments, communities and even within families do not get resolved. The right answer is too hard to contemplate. People dance around it, convinced there has to be another way. The answer is too simple, and yet much too hard to sell to the citizens, who by the way played a role in the crisis. Citizens simply cannot understand the complexities’ they need to be nurtured and guided.

The citizens played along because they were told they would get guaranteed work weeks, vacation days, sick days, and could retire with a full pension, and access to socialized medical care, and oh by the way, access to ATMs day and night, well that is until now. To earn a full pension in Greece a person only has to work 35 years while in comparison it is 45 years if a person lives and works in Germany.

You see everyone knew or should have known the policies were not sustainable, because no one asked the most obvious questions, who pays for all of this. However, when it’s your pension, and your life, your health care, you keep quiet, well that is until it goes away, but now you do not have a voice because you kept quiet and played along.

Here in America

Whether you are a Prepper or not, you can see that disasters come in many forms, and some can be predicted. What difference does it make if you can see a disaster coming if you refuse the obvious answer, and then fail to prepare however.

Anyone that is honest with his or her self realizes that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to survive without a government. Some may think they can and some might be able to, but have you really sat down and studied what role the government plays in your life. Granted, right now it is intrusive in many cases, but food inspections, law enforcement, fire departments, child safety rules and other regulations and services do save lives, but again there is a limit to how much we want the government in our lives.

Greece should be a wakeup call. We as citizens need to evaluate what role the government plays in our lives, and how would a Greek like tragedy here affect us as individuals, and can we, as individuals and families prepare for such a crisis.

For governments, and this includes our very own here in the United States, it is easier to give out benefits than it is to institute policies that reward hard work versus rewarding not working. Millions of citizens legitimately need help for various reasons, but not everyone needs help. Some find it easy to simply ask for help instead of taking the initiative to find or create work. People in this country can often get government assistance just by asking. It becomes a game for some, but the game is almost played out according to some, and what happens then.

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An EMP Attack Has Gone From Slightly Possible To Probable in the U.S.

EMP Attack-USA

It is no surprise that there is a joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing electromagnetic pulse weapon, capable of targeting and destroying electrical systems referred to as the “Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project” (CHAMP) (Chang, 2015).

Really, this is no surprise, what is surprising however, is the fact the project is plastered all over the news. Whatever happened to keeping your enemies in the dark? We have more than our share or enemies or “Frenemies” as the case may be, enemies that would love nothing better than to see us living in the dark, so a weapon such as this would be used.

If the United States Military has one then other countries/organizations have a similar device, or have the plans for one, or are actively trying to buy or steal the plans for one. We all know cyber espionage is ongoing, so it is just a matter of time before some hacker is scrolling at will through so-called secure servers taking notes.

The plans were either hacked as they were being developed, or someone on the inside leaked them, sold them, or the government just decided to share the project with the world for humanitarian reasons (sarcasm is so hard to portray with words).

The point being, the bad guys can eventually get their hands on one and then use it. The device described above can apparently target small areas, so this means a city block can be shut down, or even a single structure without interrupting the area as a whole.

It could be used to isolate areas under siege and other areas like airports, train stations, communication hubs, even servers for the NSA, Pentagon, and military units on the ground, for example.

You would assume that certain sensitive equipment like NSA servers would be shielded, but as we have been finding out logic and common sense is not sprinkled liberally throughout governmental agencies.

We have to assume the worst, because we never assumed someone like Snowden, for example, could walk out the front door of the NSA with classified information tucked under his arm. Once out the front door he casually gets on a plane with his bag of goodies and jets off across the big pond.

Hong Kong welcomed him with loving arms, food, and lodging and then immediately transferred all the information from the NSA hard drives on to their very own well protected systems. The Russians were giddy with anticipation as they waited to swaddle him in their loving arms as well.

Is It Just Imagination, Or A Coincidence?

The Chinese and the Russians it seems have ramped up their aggression towards the United States and other countries as Snowden plays the so-called whistleblower that just had to reveal NSA secrets to the Chinese and the Russians.

One has to ask themselves what made the two countries believe they could get away with what they were, and are currently doing. Do they know something we don’t? What did Snowden actually share?

Well they are getting away with it, so there is the likely answer to the question as to what Snowden shared. Is the Sword of Damocles hanging over all our heads?

The point is you have to assume an EMP attack will happen, and the way we as a country respond lately to any crisis would lead any country to believe they could get away with it.

It could happen at any time, and the average citizen would not know it until the Internet went dark, your cell phone stopped working, and only after hours of sitting on the tarmac wondering why your flight is delayed.

A previous article talked about “What Should You Keep in a Faraday Cage” so we will not get into that here, suffice to say virtually everything today is controlled by electronics, and some things you may not even realize rely on computers and electronic components that would likely be damaged or destroyed due to an EMP.

Live Like Its 1850

If you knew how to live as if it was 1850 you could survive without electricity. However, for most of us we can only speculate at this point whether we could or not in fact live without electricity. No one knows, or knows if they would even need to. No one has lived through a targeted EMP attack on this country, so it is conjecture, educated guesses, if you will, as to what the damage would be.

Essentially you would prepare for an EMP attack as you would any crisis, with a few caveats however. An EMP according to most experts will disable or destroy most electronic components. Planes, trains, and automobiles for the most part will be rendered useless.

Freezers and refrigerators will cease working, for example, so even if you managed to protect a generator or wind turbine to produce electricity, you would have nothing that would operate presumably unless it too was protected.

You probably could not build a Faraday cage big enough to protect everything you have, so you would have to decide what is vital to your survival. Once again, you may not have any means of generating electricity on your own, because the components needed to generate electricity could be damaged by an EMP.

The obvious answer is to learn to live without electricity all together, but that is much easier said than done. Some people may believe they can, when in fact they could not for any number of reasons. Medical care would be limited to what could be done without electricity, life support systems would not work, and dialysis machines could not operate.

A simple cut can become deadly in an era without electricity. In 1850 people had to treat themselves and family members and hope for the best. Keep in mind the life expectancy in 1850 was dramatically lower than it is today. The point is it would be very difficult to live without electricity for an extended period.

The warning signs are there and dare we say it is no longer a matter of if but of when.

Chang, L. (2015, May 27). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/05/27/us-air-force-confirms-boeing-electromagnetic-pulse-weapon/?intcmp=features

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Russia Doesn’t Need To Invade the United States

Russia

Russia is like the neighbor from hell. You know the kind. The type of neighbor that builds a tool shed 12 inches over your property line, and then dares you to do something about it, or the type that blows all their leaves onto your property and just smiles and says so sorry my mistake and does nothing to fix the mistake.

A neighbor that is always probing, looking for weakness, and waiting for your reaction and a lack of a response from you, is in their mind submission, in other words you are ok with whatever they do, and they will continue.

Russia is good at nibbling away at their neighbor’s property lines, but keep in mind the land Russia wants is accessible by land, where they can drive tanks and armored vehicles right up to the front door. It is a different story when they would have to put their resources for an invasion on aircraft and ships and transport them thousands of miles.

Who exactly would occupy the United States? Would Russia citizens migrate to the new land of milk and honey, because Russia certainly does not have enough soldiers to even hold one state let alone all of them? Russia today is a regional player only, with possible aspirations of going international, but they simply do not have the military capability.

An invasion is not likely, but Russia would taunt us to see if they could pull us, America, into a conflict in Europe possibly by trying to take over a NATO ally, and if the response is weak then that is all Russia needs to see. There are treaties in place that require NATO countries to respond militarily if another NATO ally is invaded militarily.

Treaties however, are like contracts, and so the United States and other NATO allies may choose to ignore the treaty, and if so, what are the repercussions. Russia has considered all this and based on previous actions or lack of action by the Western powers has decided they can essentially nibble away as long as they want.

For the Russian government to work they have to deny and stop the deadly pervasion of western influence in Russia. Perverted things like free speech, free press, private industry and grocery stores where anything is available at a price. When your food, your television, your news, water, housing, wages, and even the vehicles you drive are controlled by the political class there is no advancement, no career moves, there is only pride in the Motherland, which must be kept alive.

In Russia the government dictates what is available to the commoners. For the Russian form of government to survive they need to do the occasional land grab along with some chest thumping to keep nationalism front and center, but an all out invasion of the United States would reveal the weakened underbelly of the Russia government and its military.

The Russian government controls the media, and they control all of the industry and thus control information. If a war was started with the United States Russia would lose control of the information, and once lost there is no going back once the people get a peek behind the curtain.

Russia Is However Extremely Dangerous

Just because they would not invade America in the traditional sense does not mean they could not weaken the U.S. considerably. They play both sides against the middle when it comes to other countries not aligned with the U.S. and Russia may very well shrug if a terrorist organization backed by a Middle Eastern country managed to detonate a nuclear device on American soil.

Russia does not want the United States supplying Europe with oil or gas. Russia’s main income is oil and gas, they have nothing else really. You will not see anything in Wal-Mart that says made in Russia. 

However Russia does manufacture certain things that are sold to other governments to include the United States. and they do have business interests in America. Without all this however, Russia would suffer more than the United States. 

Russia’s game is to keep the U.S. out of the game, so America does not get cute and tell Europe, Ukraine in particular not to worry about natural gas because we in the United States have you covered when it comes to gas, oil, and other materials, mainly military hardware. Russia wants weak neighbors and does not want us; the United States interfering by propping up the weak neighbors of Russia, so that’s the game Russia is playing.

Russia can cause us pain by cyber attacks, and by thumbing their nose at NATO, but Russia needs to trot out the United States to keep nationalism alive, of course Russia needs us for much more than that.

Russia while they may play games is not likely to invade because Russia knows what the United States is capable of, and even under the current administration, the pressure to react would be overwhelming so the U.S. would bite back and hard.

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You Think You Can Live Without Internet? Think Again!

Cut Internet Connection

People living in Flagstaff and other parts of Northern Arizona discovered just how much they depend on technology. A fiber optic cable was cut, supposedly cut by vandals leaving close to 70,000 residents without Internet, ATM services, cell service, cable television and not to mention the disruptions in 911 services, transactions at supermarkets, gas stations and the list goes on.

Stores immediately posted signs saying cash only, but people could not withdraw cash from ATM machines, and banks suffered as well because nearly every institution today relies on communication technology, which by the stroke of an ax or shovel was severed in the small town. It ended up a vicious circle of disruption that lasted for hours.

Students could not access online college courses and the so-called Internet Cafes suffered financial losses because people could not access free Wi-Fi, so why stick around and just drink coffee. It is not just about the coffee anymore.

Joseph Hobbs, an information technology consultant and contractor in the area explained why cell phone customers were experiencing problems as well.

“The information from a cell phone call is collected by cell towers and concentrated from low speed to high speed fiber optic carriers at various points” (Associated Press, 2015).

A person familiar with the situation stated that typically fiber optic cable is buried just two to four feet underground. Anyone knowing where to dig, and with a few rudimentary tools could uncover the cable and create an outage without much effort at all.

There seems to be no doubt in most people’s minds that this was an intentional act.

Next time it could be a larger city and regardless of size, disruptions in certain services such as 911 could create a life or death situation.

Questions

Was this situation a dry run, a test to gauge the response by the authorities, to see how long the services were disrupted? Did someone think that by cutting the services to the city that they could then waltz in and rob a bank or store and not have police respond, or was this a prelude to something bigger.

Did whoever cut the cable have a grudge against the provider or the city, was it an employee of the service provider, or was it an employee of the city for that matter. Was someone’s bill too high so they decided to cut the cord so to speak, or was this just a random act of vandalism.

It is hard to imagine someone or more than one person were out driving around and just decided to start digging, and then come upon a buried cable, and then deciding just hack it in two while they are at it, very hard to imagine. Someone had to know where to dig and had to know it was not a high voltage line before cutting it, it seems some planning went into this. Someone had prior knowledge and planned to cut the cable, someone set out that day to create havoc.

What is apparent is that we all are much too dependent upon technology. Store clerks are so accustomed to their machines that they may not have been able to do the simple math required to count change back when people pay with cash. People were literally in tears because of the disruption.

In today’s age of technology it defies logic that a person with a shovel and/or ax or even with a large knife could create such havoc for 70,000 plus people. It makes one wonder what could be next and will it be my town or your town, will it be my place of employment or my child’s school.

You Have To Be Prepared For Anything

Of course this will not be the last time. Until service providers whether they provide gas, water, electric or high speed Internet decides to step up their security it will happen again and possibly on a much larger scale with deadly consequences.

Next time it could be water main break, or someone could poison a water reservoir or decide to shoot up a power station and turn the lights out.

You cannot put all of your eggs in one basket. Even though debit cards are widely used as you can see they are no good however, when there is a disruption in communications. You cannot pump gasoline, cannot buy anything anywhere, and if you do not have cash then you go without until, and if the problem is fixed. Next time it could be days or even weeks.

Have enough supplies on hand so you do not have to rush to the bank or ATM machine to try and get cash only to find out they have failed as well. Make sure your vehicle is always topped off with fuel, and that you have enough food and water for short and long-term outages.

Some people if not many people simply cannot communicate without cellular service because they do not have landline service in their homes. People do their banking on smart phones, control their home security with smart phones and many alarm systems for homes and businesses today rely on cellular networks to alert the authorities when an alarm is triggered. Some people even control their entire businesses over the Internet and with cell phones and tablets. Even a short disruption creates major headaches for many people.

Be prepared to get along without the Internet, and cell service, and learn to carry some cash so when debit card transactions cannot be processed you can still put fuel in your car, and put food on the table. You know how to do it, but everyone is so accustomed to reaching for their phones, tablets and debit cards they have forgotten how to do without them, but you can, and you may have to in the very near future.

Associated Press. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://azdailysun.com/news/local/cut-cable-downs-internet-service-for-northern-arizona/article_904b4c69-c3d7-59ca-bc72-f8cb64313a29.html

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Ebola Is Here: Was There Ever Any Doubt It Would Arrive

Ebloa in the USA

It Is Here and Likely Here To Stay

Headlines: “Health officials on Tuesday announced the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. A man is now isolated in the intensive care unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Texas” (MARCHIONE, 2014).

Now that it is here, however officials state, “no doubt… we will stop it here”. Seems we had heard this same statement about stopping it in Africa. It is accelerating at a rapid pace instead of being contained in Africa (Lupkin, 2014).

The number infected according to most experts is under reported so the actual number of infections is considerably higher than what is being officially reported. Many people in the countries where the outbreaks are occurring have a mistrust of their government, and doctors, so many are simply not coming forward to seek care. Additionally, in some if not many cases when they do seek care in some areas they are turned away because of a lack of medical staffing and other means of treating the patients.

Anyone paying attention would have realized it was just a matter of time before it did arrive in the United States. What is disturbing is the high percentage of health care workers in Africa being infected. They supposedly have the training, equipment and support structure to prevent infection, and yet they are still contracting the disease. This does not bode well for the average person that does not have the training, support structure or “medical gear” needed.

Even more alarming is the fact that the individual in Dallas apparently went to the hospital showing symptoms of Ebola on Friday, and was sent home only to return Sunday September 28 2014 by ambulance when the disease had worsened. He was admitted and isolated on Sunday.

Literally, nothing is known of this person other than the fact the patient is a male. Privacy for the patient is preventing the hospital from revealing the name, age, and nationality to the public at large. This means that those that may have had contact with the patient will not be aware of it. What restaurants he ate at, did he attend any churches, public gatherings, and where did he stay at are all questions many people want answers too so they can determine their own risk.

Obviously, the question is why he was not admitted on Friday, and whom did he have contact with at the hospital once he showed up with symptoms on Friday. They did not realize he had Ebola because they did not test for it on Friday. This means that any health care workers that might be infected could in turn possibly pass it to other patients, to their own families and to their friends.

The workers treated other patients for two days before they realized that they might have been exposed to the virus. The patients of course would have had contact with others as well. The number of contacts originating from just one person infected entering a hospital could be in the hundreds if not thousands.

Will the health care workers be put into isolation for 21 days? The health care system in this country will collapse if every nurse, doctor or paramedic has to be quarantined for 21 days when it is suspected or known there has been contact with an infected person. What about all those in the hospital waiting room what is their risk?

The experts tell us that the disease is not communicable until symptoms appear, but no one should stake their life on this. Remember he did have symptoms on Friday when he went to the hospital, but he was sent home with antibiotics.

Did the patient himself not stop and think, “Hey I was in Liberia, maybe I have Ebola because it is out of control there”. What were the medical professionals thinking when he walked in with symptoms. Did they not initially ask his travel itinerary, did he refuse to answer, did they not inquire of his nationality, and if they did, did he lie or refuse to answer.

What does it tell us if the hospital did receive the correct answers, the truth in other words, and they still sent him home? The public does not know the answers yet, so this is all conjecture, but they are reasonable questions that need to be answered.

It is troubling, how a person with Ebola is sent home with antibiotics only to be rushed back two days later in an ambulance. Do you really think the health care system in this country is ready for Ebola?

The Fallout

It is here and it has to be dealt with. How does it affect you however, is the big question? Your risk of contracting the virus is low, but not impossible. You do have to take precautions especially if you live in the community in and around Dallas or any community where there is a known or suspected risk. You simply do not know at this point whom the patient may have had contact with.

He was showing symptoms for days and was presumably in public during this time. Public restrooms, apartment buildings, restaurants, malls, grocery stores and the lists are endless of the places he could have been in contact with the public.

Basic precautions include washing/sanitizing your hands after touching any surface while out in public. Carry hand sanitizer with you wherever you go, and do not mingle in crowds or use public restrooms unless you absolutely have to.

Do not let children use the restrooms by themselves to prevent them from touching all the surfaces like children are apt to do, and to make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before they leave. Then after touching the restroom door handles as they exit you may want to consider using sanitizer on their hands as well.

You may want to curtail or stop having your children sleep over at others’ homes and not let sleepovers occur at your home. Draconian maybe, but you simply have to do what you have to do to protect everyone in your family.

Do not get engrossed with all of the conspiracy theories and focus on the reality. The virus is here, and how do you protect yourself. You can expect a slow dribble of information from the government. They like to dole out information in small doses so people have time to absorb the bad news. Expect this and do your own research so you can be ahead of the curve.

You may have to change the way you live for awhile. Concerts and malls may have to wait. You can expect quarantines and you have to be prepared for them. Your children may not be able to go to school and certain businesses may shut down for short or even for extended periods. Certain business may shut down for a few days to decontaminate their business if they suspect an infected person visited their establishment. Expect to see some stores closed when you try to go shopping.

You may be required to stay in your home or community for short or extended periods. You need enough emergency supplies on hand to see you through this period. Personal hygiene is paramount in combating the spread of the deadly virus, so make sure you have the essentials on hand, such as bar soap, paper towels, alcohol wipes or liquid, and hand sanitizer.

The bar/social scene may become a death scene for some, so think about this as you plan a night out on the town, especially in places where you would expect international travelers, Bars, hotels and restaurants near major airports will have travelers in them from all over the world.

You can only react to the information on hand and react you must, but stay calm and think your way through the problem. Paying attention to the information being put out is important.

Lupkin, S. (2014, September 30th). Retrieved 2014, from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ebola-case-us-cdc-vows-stop/story?id=25873850

MARCHIONE, M. (2014). Retrieved 2014, from http://news.yahoo.com/us-ebola-case-5-things-know-232923318.html

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Ebola Reaching the U.S. It’s Not Just a Matter of If Anymore

Ebola Reaching United States

Taking the temperature of travelers is not controlling anything and doing so at airports certainly will not stop anyone infected with the virus from traveling. The incubation period can be up to 21 days, with no symptoms appearing during this time.

Taking temperatures is doing something, however ineffective it may be, and the authorities must look like they are at least responding, but a person can be infected and not have a temperature so where does that leave us all.

Seventy-Five Thousand patients die each year in U.S. hospitals from infections spread patient- to-patient, this according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This lack of proper hygiene in American hospitals will allow the Ebola virus to spread to others once it reaches America (CDC, 2014).

No one it seems bats an eye at the number of deaths caused by the spread of infections in hospitals. What would the reaction be if the CDC announced 75,000 people are now infected with Ebola in the United States however? Panic would ensue is what would happen.

Do you think that health care workers are purposely-letting people die from infections spread from patient to patient? No of course not, but a lack of procedures, incompetency and bureaucratic red tape allows it, and things will not change just because Ebola is on the loose. If they wanted to change, if they had the ability to change, they would have already.

Health care workers will be the ones infected first, and will likely be the ones to die first once the virus spreads to the U.S. because they would have some of the first contacts with the disease. Yet, health care workers would supposedly be the ones most prepared not to contract the disease. In West Africa health care workers in the outbreak areas are becoming infected, and are dying from the disease.

It is not so much you have to worry about becoming infected, but what it means when there is an outbreak in a large city in your state. How will this affect you and your community? Just the fear alone will cause many businesses to come to a grinding halt, maybe even the business you work at.

One of the things not talked about that much in Prepper circles is what to do about unemployment during a crisis. Of course, some may believe the entire country would collapse and everyone would be out of work, but this is not the likely scenario. The Ebola virus will not only kill over 50 percent of those infected it will also kill certain jobs and businesses once there is an outbreak in this country.

There would be pockets of unemployment due to the outbreak, large pockets in all likelihood, but there would still be a substantial number of people still working and drawing wages somewhere. This in and of itself would create a crisis. This is something you would have to prepare for.

Truck drivers may not deliver goods to restaurants and grocery stores in any town where there is an outbreak. Airlines may stop flights in and out of infected areas. Buses and other forms of public transportation may cease to operate for the time being. People will not leave their homes, schools will shut down and law enforcement along with other first responders may not respond as quickly, and if they do, they may show up with a thermometer and a questionnaire. They may demand to know where you have been, with whom have you had contact with, all before they even begin to render help of any sort.

Local responders may not be equipped or are unwilling to handle any suspected cases of Ebola and may very well call in federal experts, and thus, you will have to wait for medical care even if you dialed 911 for a broken limb.

You Cannot Depend On the Government

Friday evening an intruder scaled the north fence, at the White House, darted across the lawn and into the presidential residence (Associated Press, 2014).

Probably one of the most heavily guarded residents in the world, and apparently, the gatekeepers were asleep at the switch. This is not a swipe at the security detail, but when the most heavily guarded residents in the world apparently leaves its doors wide open, how well do you think the average citizen will be looked after during a crisis.

If they cannot keep someone from rushing into the presidential residents then who or what do you imagine is entering this country without anyone noticing.

This incident is merely presented to show that bureaucracy can get in the way of common sense, and when an organization gets too big it cannot be controlled and people’s lives are put at risk because of it. When it literally takes an act of Congress to get anything done, this country is in trouble, and its leaders are ill equipped to handle any crisis of any magnitude.

It is up to you, to prepare, to make plans and understand the ramifications of any crisis. Think about how it will affect you. The crisis itself may not kill you. It may be the days after and the response to the crisis, the response from other citizens and the government that does the most damage.

Associated Press. (2014). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/20/white-house-fence-jumper-sparks-evacuation/

CDC. (2014). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/

McCaughey, B. (2014). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/09/19/ebola-crisis-yes-need-to-help-but-is-obama-ready-to-keep-americans-safe/

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