How The San Bernardino Terrorist Attack Changed Security In the US

San Bernardino Attack Security

The attacks on 9/11 had of course, changed the landscape as well. The number of deaths in just a matter of moments was staggering, never again we swore as a country. We went to war because of the attacks, and we heard the government recommend we stock up on duct tape and plastic. Now almost a decade and a half later we are attacked again, and thus, things have changed once again.

What Makes the Most Recent Terrorist Attack Different?

It could be anyone. The government is talking about the so-called lone wolf attacks. About the person that gets it in his or her head to attack people. To attack a way of life, our way of life based on an ideology, which is hard to fathom. The lone wolf scenario is more than likely a fallacy in most cases, a term given, for well, lack of a better term.

The couple in San Bernardino if you think about likely had help, and of course, there were two of them. Once there is more than one attacker then the lone wolf theory goes out the window.

This means that the couple pushing a stroller through the park with a six month old child nestled inside could be plotting an attack, the neighbors next door with the crib and toys scattered about the apartment could be plotting an attack. It could be anyone, or any group of people. We don’t know, and people are hesitant, due to civil liberties, to even wonder if it is possible that it could be a neighbor, a coworker, or a stranger loitering at the bus stop or on the subway platform.

As stated in previous articles the police usually show up after the fact. This is not the fault of the police of course. You don’t know what you don’t know, and so until someone makes their intentions known in such a way as to be considered a viable threat the police have no role, and we don’t judge anyone in this country until they have done something, or express in such a way that they plan to do something.

Once someone acts out then everyone comes forward. Yes he or she seemed quiet, didn’t socialize much, greeted occasionally, but didn’t stop to chat with their neighbors. They seemed aloof at times. They worked late into the night in their garage, and men stopped by and they huddled in the workshop. What was just stated could apply to anyone of us. It could be anyone, any group of people plotting the next attack. This is how things have changed in this country.

So How Do You Protect Yourself

The politicians and others tell us we cannot change the way we live. We must go on, go to parties, go to sporting events, and go to concert halls. Go to a company party in the middle of the day when the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping just outside the windows.

Yes, we all have to carry on with our lives, but we have already changed the way we live, how we see things and how we react to terror even though we may not think we have. Survival is always at the individual level. Even when in a room full of people and there is an active shooter, it is you and the shooter in competition, who will win the game.

When it comes right down to it, sometimes living or dying is all about being in the right or wrong place at the time. How close will you be sitting to the door in which the shooter comes through?

Whom did the shooter first spot as they burst through the door? How close to an exit are you, is there a desk close by, a file cabinet, or wall to get behind. It is about your place, your location in time that often times dictate life or death. You have to change the odds so they are in your favor.

Look for the exits and evaluate the distance as you walk into any room or building. Look for objects that could offer protection and choose one or two. You can no longer spot an attacker. It could be the women with the baby stroller. It could be the man in the expensive suit reading the paper. Remember some of the Paris attackers had purchased expensive suits to blend into their surroundings. It could be your neighbor, who you say hi to as you both head out to work in the morning.

Go over the steps to take in your head, be ready to drop if you hear sounds that are not right. What is the first thing many people say when asked to describe what happened. I thought it was firecrackers going off. Not many assume it was gunfire.

Always assume it is gunfire first, and then after you find out it was firecrackers, then you can dust yourself off, have a good chuckle, and go on. Really though, it has never been firecrackers, if it sounds like firecrackers it is likely gunshots. If it sounds like thunder on a sunny day, then it is likely an explosion of some sort.

Remember situational awareness. Do not try to analyze the sounds or start looking for the source of the sounds. Drop, and move away and if you had previously noted the exits or places of cover then you would move toward them.

Your life may depend on where you are standing or sitting when an attack happens, so make sure to put the odds in your favor. There is no magic solution. Some online may tout they know, and they will try to put out articles and information about what you should do, but it really all comes down to you. Comes down to where you are and what actions you take when the SHTF.

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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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What Not To Do As a Prepper

What Not To Do As a Prepper

Headlines August 2015:

Feds charge 3 men in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are accused of prepping for martial law as reported by the Associated Press (John Moritz, AP, 2015).

If you did not read any further than the headlines, you would walk away with the wrong impression. Obviously the author wanted people to believe at first blush that the government is arresting people for prepping, and in particular for prepping for martial law and for Jade Helm.

The author also mentioned stockpiling guns, ammo, and tactical gear, and did so in such a way as to make anyone not reading the full story believe the three were arrested for gathering firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear, arrested for prepping in other words.

However, this is not the case. It is how the men were prepping that prompted an investigation, because they, according to the report, conspired to commit criminal acts of violence. The investigation ultimately lead to charges being brought by the FBI. The men also bragged about what they were doing apparently to anyone that would listen. 

They conspired among themselves to commit crimes, and they ultimately talked to someone that tipped off the authorities about their criminal conspiracies.

The article mentions a number of times that the men were stockpiling weapons, ammunition, and tactical gear. None of which is illegal except for the firearms if you cannot legally own a firearm. One of the men however, had past convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine, which prevented him from possessing a firearm, according to the report. One of the other men is accused of trying to buy an assault rifle and ammunition for the man who could not legally own a firearm. It is of course illegal to make straw purchases.

The article states the men had planned on making explosive devices using tennis balls, and dummy hand grenades. They are also accused of attempting to make pipe bombs.

It is unclear if the three had actually made any explosive devices, but they may have been gathering the materials with the intentions of doing so. They talked and they had planned with others, and the authorities apparently moved in before any of the three could make or test out their explosives. The three had stated they had planned on testing the devices in the area (John Moritz, AP, 2015).

Did the Men Plan On Using the Explosive Devices as Booby Traps?

It’s not clear if they were planning this or not, but if they were concerned about Jade Helm and Martial law, then they may have been planning to fortify their homes and/or encampments to avoid being carted off to some so-called FEMA camp by special operation teams.

There are numerous articles about booby traps, what the best ones are, how to make them, and where to set them and so forth on the Internet and the articles seem to be directed at Preppers. Booby Traps are designed to maim, kill, and to slow the advancement of enemy forces, and they are used as simple harassment device in some cases as well.

If you set out deadly traps around your home, what are the chances an innocent civilian or yourself or even a member of your own family will be maimed or killed before a special operations team coming to haul you off to a converted Wal-Mart store trips the traps. The chances are very high, so booby traps are not a good idea, unless you are in a combat situation against a defined enemy force. Early alarms systems however, are a good idea, but people tend to get the two confused for some reason.

Obviously None of Us Know the Full Story Yet but There Is a Lesson Here

Regardless of what your preparations are, you need to keep them to yourself. It is perplexing why people insist on telling others all of their plans. People post online all the time what their plans are, whom they want to hurt, what house they have robbed or plan to rob and so on. However, they are criminals and you really do not expect much from them.

However, Preppers that simply want to be prepared, and not break the law are getting a bad name, because of the three idiots in the report. Being a braggart means you lack self-confidence and need validation, so there is no need to brag, or to tell anyone, unless there is a well defined reason someone needs to know.

It is legal and well within your rights to gather supplies and stockpile weapons and ammunition if you can legally own a firearm. You can buy all of the canned goods, flashlights, beans bullets, and blankets you want, who is stopping you, unless you for some reason cannot own a firearm, but that does not mean, you cannot gather everything else up. Gather up as much as you want.

Idiots who build or attempt to build explosive devices are breaking the law plain and simple. They are a menace to everyone one of us. They are not Preppers. They are idiots that read too many headlines without reading the full story. They fall for every conspiracy theory put forth on the Internet. They do not do their own research, because they want to believe, and do not want to listen to anyone that may make sense and that might upset their world views. They only talk to those that believe what they believe, so it is no wonder they are now behind bars.

John Moritz, AP. (2015, August). Retrieved 2015, from https://news.yahoo.com/feds-charge-3-men-accused-prepping-martial-law-203411849.html

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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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The Incredible Tale of the North Pond Hermit

north pond hermit

“One man had actually lived in the woods of Maine for twenty-seven years, in an unheated nylon tent” (Finkel, n.d.).

Christopher Thomas Knight walked into the woods of Maine in 1986 at the age of 20, and for 27 years he lived in a tent and under tarps and slipped through the dark of night, prowling the area looking for items to steal.

He stated he never built a campfire even during the coldest months for fear of detection. He used a propane heater to stay warm that is if he had managed to steal a full tank of propane somewhere.

He was a myth, a legend, and boogie man that scared little children and left adults wondering about their very sanity. Propane tanks would mysteriously empty themselves because the North Pond hermit would swap empty tanks for full ones, and candy, breads, and meats disappeared with no apparent signs of a break-in, leaving owners scratching their heads and biting their nails.

Mr. Knight stated he had never sent an email, talked on the phone, nor did he spend any money during his time in the woods. His only verbal exchange was in 1990 when he passed a supposed hiker and simply said “hi”.

He had confessed to 40 robberies a year totaling over one thousand break-ins over 27 years, and everything he had ever possessed for the past 27 years was stolen. When caught he was wearing the same glasses that he wore for his high school graduation picture. His eyesight was so poor that objects were blurred at arms length.

He confessed to have never seen a doctor during his time in the wilds. He was never sick he claimed. According to him, people only get sick when they are around other people.

Knight had a so-called permanent camp, but also had caches buried close by. Plastic tubs with lids were buried close, so if someone were to come upon his camp he could bolt, gather some supplies and start over somewhere else. He stole full propane tanks, radios, batteries, and of course food, laundry soap, body soaps, and clothing of all sorts. He had sleeping bags, and even a bed frame nestled in under his camouflaged tarps. His camp was well camouflaged, and not even detectable from just a few feet away. He has spray painted tarps, gear, and equipment to match the colors in his environment.

The so-called hermit spent his days preparing for the long cold Maine winters. Knight stated that he was near death many times because of the cold. At some point his instinct took over and he trained his body to sleep for short periods in cold weather. He knew that staying too long under the blankets or in his sleeping bag would cause moisture to collect on his skin, so he made a habit of waking every few hours to get out of his blankets or sleeping bag to prevent sweating, which he knew would be the death of him. Humans cannot hibernate in cold weather they must move around more than in warmer weather.

While he claims to have never been sick his teeth were rotted away because of his poor diet and lack of proper oral hygiene practices. Those that saw him immediately after his arrest commented on how pale his skin appeared. It is hard to believe that he never became sick, because the authorities and others discovered food wrappers, discarded waste, and other evidence that indicated his diet was high in sugar, fats, and sodium. He claimed he was a poor cook and ate essentiality out of cans and packages. He did not hunt for food. He had tried to forage at one point but nearly starved until he started stealing food from homes in the area.

Obviously, this is not the way to live off grid, it is not living at all, but for Knight after the first few years it was all he knew.

Some people want to live off grid, escape to the wilds, and live free and alone, but it is not as easy as some might imagine. You simply cannot become a hermit. Of course sustaining yourself daily is a full time job, so you are not free in this sense, but you can be free of many government regulations, free from certain people and free from the hustle and bustle of cities, but you are not always free to do as you please.

You will need other people, need communications and in some cases you will need a bank account and a source of income. You will need a way to generate money, because as hard as you might try, you will not be able to produce everything you need. You will have to go into town with cash to buy certain things, and to seek medical and dental care and medicines.

This is not to say that you cannot go off grid and make it work. You can with planning, skills, and practical knowledge. What you cannot do is park your car, grab a backpack, and head off to the woods unprepared. Not many people could walk off and never look back. It would be difficult if not impossible for most people to sever all ties with others.

People are still pondering how Knight managed to go undetected for nearly three decades. Even Mr. Knight could not stay away from civilization however. He needed others if for nothing more than to steal from them.

Some may envy Mr. Knight, others call him a fool, a criminal, and of course a hermit that could barely speak after so many years of not communicating with others. Mr. Knight spent time in jail and as part of his release he had to find a job and get “respectable” as one put it. Living in the woods and stealing all that he needed was no longer an option.

Finkel, M. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.gq.com/story/the-last-true-hermit?src=longreads

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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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