Sandy Hook Tragedy: Gun Control Versus Game Control

Yet another mass murder by a deranged gunman. The tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut has rekindled the debate about bloody game controllerhow to prevent tragedies of this type from occurring again. There is no doubt that we all want to do something to stop this type of violence. Unfortunately, the simple minded view being espoused by many of the talking heads in the media is to control guns. Gun control is being positioned as the “obvious solution” despite the fact that there is no evidence that restricting private ownership of firearms has ever been effective in controlling violence. There is in fact evidence to the contrary.

Violent Video Games

As a survivalist, I have no intention of ever turning my guns in. However, I think there are effective answers that we may all agree on.

Improved access to adequate mental health services is certainly part of that answer. I am pleased to see this becoming part of the national dialogue.

However, there is one aspect of the solution that is conspicuously absent. That “piece of the puzzle” is about the types of video games that young children are allowed to play. In his book “On Killing”, Lt. Col. Dave Game WarningGrossman, a former U.S. Army Ranger and Professor of Psychology at West Point, discusses how military organizations train their soldiers how to overcome their natural human resistance to killing another human being. The techniques used have proven remarkably effective in modern warfare. Grossman goes on to outline how certain types of video games closely mirror the techniques used by armies to train their soldiers to kill. He makes a compelling case that children that play violent video games, particularly those which use a weapon shaped game controller, systematically breaks down an individuals natural reluctance to kill. This is an important factor that drives the “culture of violence” that plagues our country and leads to this type of meaningless violence.

Understanding the psychology of killing is something that every survivalist should grasp. There may be times in the future when we must kill and it will be just to do so. However, killing should never be a game. I hope it will make you look at the type of games that you allow your children and grandchildren play. In addition, I hope that after you have informed yourself, you can help make this part of the national dialogue.


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An Engineered Approach to Balancing Your Emergency Preparedness

“Amateurs talk about tactics, professionals talk about logistics.”

All guns and no grub, bad idea. All grub and no guns, bad idea. Some guns and some grub, good idea! Real preparedness  requires that we achieve a balance between the different elements of preparedness. It’s easy to fixate on only one aspect of preparedness we find interesting and neglect other aspects we find boring. This can lead to being over prepared in some area or areas and neglecting the very basics in others.

Many have observed that nobody is ever completely prepared. This is true. Most of us are working with limited resources. What we can do is allocate the resources we have in an intelligent way so that whatever happens, we have a few options for working through the problem.

Continue reading

Posted in Long Term Survival, Survival Planning, Techniques and Procedures Tagged

Grab and Go List

I was watching the news about hurricane Sandy.  It looks like a lot of people close to the coast will need to evacuate inland. It made me think about prioritizing what we should take if we ever had to evacuate. What you get to take would really depend upon how long you have before you need to go:

Here is the first draft of a grab and go list for our family:

One Minute:

  • Family Members
  • Pets
  • Clothes to wear
  • Car Keys
  • Cell Phone
  • Laptops
  • Briefcases / Purses

Continue reading

Posted in Survival Planning, Uncategorized Tagged

Three Non Survival Books that will make you a better Survivalist

Here are three books that you won’t see listed on most “Survival Bookshelf” lists but did make it into my “Project Liebowitz” box. Remember that not all of the survival skills we need involve knapping flint. These books will teach you how to keep your head on straight, use your resources wisely, and stay on task and get things done efficiently. While not directly related to traditional “Survival” skills, applying the knowledge from these books will absolutely make you a better Survivalist:

Getting Things Done by David Allen

A close friend of mine used to say “No field has ever been plowed by turning it over in your mind.” Our minds are continuously distracted by the thought of hundreds of things that “need to be done”. The “mental noise” created by all these things can feel overwhelming. These things will continue to cycle through our minds endlessly until they are either done or until they are captured in a fully reliable system that we trust and that we review regularly. To quiet our minds and turn thoughts into efficient action, Allen teaches how to develop an iron clad system to capture, categorize and prioritize all of your “things to do.” Then Allen teaches how to organize the things to do by “context” (e.g. things to do at your home office, workshop, garden, etc.). Having done that,  wherever you are you have a prioritized list of things you can do while you are there. Survivalists don’t lose time thinking about what needs to be done, they just get it done!

Your Money of Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

The modern debt based economy is a rigged game. Stop playing and get out of the rat race. Robin and Dominguez teach us to start thinking about your money in terms of “hours of life energy”. Figure out your current “cash flow”, all the money coming into and out of your life on a monthly basis. Create a table of income and expenses. Create a chart plotting total monthly income and total monthly expenses, and put it somewhere you will see it every day. Value your life energy by minimizing spending and by maximizing your real income. Post monthly investment income on the wall chart. As monthly investment income curves upward, at some point, it will cross over the monthly expenses line. This crossover point represents the time when you can stop working for pay. When you no longer need to work for pay, you are “Financially Independent.” Invest your capital to provide safe investment income, with 6 months of cash cushion.

Full Catastrophe Living by Jonathan Kabat Zinn

How can you manage your stress and keep moving forward despite pain, injury, illness, major life setbacks, loss and in some cases imminent death? How can you use your mind to heal your body? Zinn is the founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachussetts Medical Center or “MBSR”. MBSR teaches seriously ill patients to use simple meditation to control their stress and provide relief from pain that has not responded effectively to traditional medical treatment. Do not be put off by the word “meditation”. This is not about any type of mysticism or eastern religion. If it is more comfortable for you, substitute the word “awareness”. These  meditation techniques when learned and practiced on a daily basis allow us to control our stress, reducing our cortisol levels and thereby enhancing our immune system and allowing our bodies to heal. The same techniques also allow us to control our stress and pain while increasing our awareness of our bodies and the present moment. Zinn uses the phrase “We all have only moments to live.” Full Catastrophe Living teaches how we can be present and fully experience each and every moment that we have.

I hope you enjoy these and get as much from them as I have.










Posted in Survival Library, Survival Medicine, Survival Planning, Survival Skills, Techniques and Procedures, Uncategorized Tagged , , ,

Survival Poncho – The Swiss Army Knife of Clothing

A poncho is an indispensable tool for your survival kit. It can function as a: 1.) rain poncho and pack cover; 2.) tarp; 3.) tent; 4.) ground cloth; 5.) sleeping bag; 6.) hammock; 7.) litter; 8.) raft; 9.) collecting; 10.) storing water; 11.) Privacy screen; 12.) Sun Shade; 13.) Field expedient smoke house for preserving game; 14.) Camouflage cover; 15.) Field expedient rucksack; 16.) Cooking Pot (rock boil water); 17.) Solar Still; 18.) Pillow; 19.)padding for a splint and 20.) if you are ultimately unsuccessful in your efforts to survive, your body bag. Dave Canterbury has put some thought into the design of his poncho. The hood has been relocated slightly off center to assure it is not on the ridge line if the poncho is used as a tarp / tent. The grommets standard on most ponchos have been eliminated and replaced with loops.

The Pathfinder Tarp / Poncho

Here is a link to Dave Canturbury’s video on how the poncho can be used:

Here is the link to the Pathfinder Store if you want to get one:–fdsh-/Detail.bok

Practical Survivor did a nice article on different ways to use a poncho as a shelter. Here’s the link:

BTW, If you know of any other uses, let me know!!

Posted in B.O.B., Techniques and Procedures, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , ,

EMP Proof Emergency Lighting System

When we built our “off the grid” home, I wanted to make sure we would have lighting even if our power system was incapacitated. Since we use LP Gas for all of our appliances using LP gas lighting made sense. We installed Humphrey Gas Lanterns over the kitchen stove, in the bathrooms, etc. They are very bright. They are silent and odorless. They can use inexpensive Coleman lantern type mantles. They never fail. Be sure to have adequate ventilation as they use combustion. The only downside I have found is that they do produce a fair amount of heat. This is welcome in winter, less so in summer. Unlike the Aladdin lamps, they do not require constant trimming and tending of wicks and mantles.

Humphrey 9TRW 9T Rustic Walnut Tie-On Mantle Gas Light

Posted in Long Term Survival Tagged

Survival Hygiene, Sanitation and Prevention

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Basic hygiene, sanitation and prevention are critical under survival conditions. Failure to follow any of these simple rules can incapacitate you or under survival conditions, kill you:

  • Purify all of your drinking water.
  • Stay fully hydrated


  • Damaged feet can slow you down or immobilize you
  • Keep your feet clean and dry
  • Massage and powder feet twice per day
  • Keep at least one spare change of socks with you if possible. You can wash them and tie them to the outside of your pack to dry.
  • Change your socks daily or when they become wet
  • Keep socks and shoes clean, dry and in good repair
  • Clean socks provide better padding, wicking and insulation as well as reduce the risk of athlete’s foot, etc.


  • Keep toenails clipped short to prevent them from cutting through socks and to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Keep fingernails clipped short for improved hygiene and to reduce the risk of nails being torn or broken.
  • Keep your fingers out of your mouth. Never chew on your fingernails. These habits introduce bacteria into your digestive track and may cause sever illness.


  • Shower or bathe as often as possible to prevent skin disease
  • If not able to shower completely, wash face, underarms, groin, feet etc.
  • Wash with clean sand if no water is available
  • Change and wash undergarments
  • Use an ointment (Desitin, A&D) or cornstarch on groin and between buttocks to prevent chafe and rash
  • Do not scratch and pick scabs and sores. Clean them. Cover them. Allow them to heal. Continue reading

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Planning Your Survival Pantry – An Engineered Approach

Back in 1996 it was estimated that the US has a three to five day supply of food in warehouses on any given day. The government stopped publishing this type of estimate back in 2003. I presume, that the government thought these facts were just too scary for most folks to handle. It is reasonable to believe that as of this date the figure would be significantly lower due to the expansion of “just in time” supply chain planning. A transportation system failure, power grid failure, drought, labor strike, pandemic, bio-terrorist attack, crop failure, etc. could cause an extended interruption of our food supply chain. In less than a day the store shelves could be empty and would stay empty until the supply chain could be restored. Continue reading

Posted in Long Term Survival, Survival Planning Tagged , , ,

Making a Raft Out of a Tarp

Most of us are familiar with how to make a small raft using a poncho. These are useful for portaging equipment across a body of water. I just saw a great article on Perkele´s Blog on how to make a much larger raft using a tarp. This one will keep you and your equipment dry. The short version is: build a large “donut” out of brush, cover the donut with your tarp, happy sailing! Another good reason to pack a waterproof tarp in your BOB. Here is the link to the article:

Posted in Survival Skills Tagged

Seven Levels of Preparedness

All guns and no grub is not a good preparedness plan. Effective preparedness requires a balanced plan which covers all of your fundamental needs. Over time, try to increase your level of preparedness in all areas.

Where are you now? How far do you need to go?

Level O – Failing to Plan, Planning to Fail

  • Blissfully unaware and unprepared. Completely dependent upon the Nanny State system continuing to function perfectly.

Level I – Just the Basics

  • This very basic level of preparedness will allow you and your family to cope successfully with most minor emergencies. You are on your way. Continue reading

Posted in Survival Planning

Tornado Alley. It’s bigger than you think.

After watching a news piece about a recent tornado, Praxis asked me asked me where “Tornado Alley” was located. I was not sure. It is not a precise geographic area. Since I can’t stand not knowing, I went on line to research it. What I found was rather surprising. I did not think I was in a Tornado area. Wrong! I am in a low Tornado probability area. Tornado Alley is a LOT bigger than I thought: Continue reading

Posted in Techniques and Procedures, Threat Analysis Tagged , ,

Defending your Bug Out Location

If “WROL” (Without Rule Of Law) conditions exist, you will need to have plans and preparations in place that will enable you to defend your Bug Out Location. The best approach will utilize a combination of three tactics: Avoidance; Deterence, and Denial. Done effectively, these will avoid most problems and make any engagement a quick, one sided affair where you will have the advantage over the attackers.

Layer #1 General Area Selection:

Make sure you are not in the wrong place at the wrong time. A remote location and anonymity can provide more security than a gun can.

  • Away from primary and secondary military targets.
  • Away from major cities and highways. Preferably more than a full gas tank ride from any major city.
  • Off of major routes for individuals evacuating nearest cities. Continue reading

Posted in B.O.L., EDC (Every Day Carry), Survival Tactics Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Tsunami drives Japanese to become more self sufficient

While most Americans see emergency preparedness and self sufficiency as unusual or strange, the Tsunami and the ensuing Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disasters have made the Japanese acutely aware of the need for greater self-sufficiency and for more disaster resiliant infrastructure. Their industry is beginning to respond to these needs. New ideas and products coming to market include the following: 1.) Hybrid cars designed to serve as an emergency generator / battery charger / battery bank on wheels to provide emergency power for your home. (Converting my Prius to do this went on the “To Do” list for The Black Swan Workshop!) 2.) Window curtains made of transparent photovoltaic film which charge from light from both inside and outside. The curtains are also designed to protect occupants from windows shattering. Continue reading

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Staying at the Hotel Honda – How to Live in Your Car if you are Homeless

As part of my day job, I interview people for jobs with our company. From what I can see, “The Great Recession” is still alive and well. There are very few jobs out there. Many middle class Americans are falling into the abyss. A lot of people are really hurting. I frequently see well educated, experienced, hard working people that have been out of work for more than a year. Some of these people have lost almost everything that they had.

If you do the math you can easily calculate how many paychecks you would need to miss before your savings and investments are gone and you can’t make the payments on your home. Add perhaps six months to that and you could be on the street.

So, what happens then? For the fortunate, we move in with family or friends. If that is not an option, you may be living in your car. Here is the “short course” on how it’s done. Hopefully you will never have to use any of this information:


  • Be aware that sleeping in your car is illegal in some areas. Blend in with your environment so you do not draw any attention from law enforcement personnel or neighbors.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol or keep any drugs or alcohol when you are living in a vehicle. Being charged with DUI could make a very bad situation become much worse. Never assume that you will not be charged just because the key is not in the ignition.
  • Make sure you keep your license plates, registration, inspection, insurance and your drivers license up to date.
  • Never park illegally if you cannot afford to be fined or towed and impounded.


  • Keep the windows cleaned and the outside of the car washed to make sure you do not appear to be homeless. Continue reading

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Survival Theme Movies

In addition to providing some needed entertainment, they will also provide some food for thought:

  • Three Days of the Condor (My personal favorite)
  • The Fugitive  (My second favorite)
  • The Edge
  • Dersu Uzala (My vote for best foreign survival film)
  • Blast From The Past (Comedy – Hysterical. Fun for the whole family.)
  • The Postman
  • Enemy at the Gates
  • Jeremiah Johnson
  • Testament – PBS
  • Threads – BBC
  • The War Game – BBC
  • Jericho – TV Series
  • Threads
  • The Trigger Effect
  • The World, The Flesh, & The Devil
  • The Last Train (British miniseries)
  • Five (Arch Obelor)
  • The Day After
  • The Road Warrior
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
  • A Boy and His Dog
  • Red Dawn Continue reading

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Physical and Mental Fitness for Survival

“Mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body) – Juvenal

Survival conditions will make extraordinary physical and psychological demands. Get healthy while you still can, then stay that way:

Diet, Nutrition and Weight:

  • Be careful about what you eat.
  • Control how much you eat.
  • Control your weight.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Stop smoking or better yet, don’t start.
  • Get off of any recreational drugs you use.


  • Have a complete medical, dental, vision and hearing checkup every year.
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Keep your immunizations up to date.
  • Have your blood typed.
  • If you need elective surgery, have it done as soon as possible.
  • Discuss prophylactic surgery (appendix, tonsil removal, etc.) with your physician.

Prescription Drugs

  • Buy your prescription medications in bulk.
  • Rotate them to keep fresh supplies on hand.
  • Find out if there are substitutes or alternatives for these drugs


  • If you need corrective lenses (eyeglasses, contacts) get at least one spare set.
  • If you wear contacts, stock up on cleaning solution.
  • Save your old corrective lenses. Continue reading

Posted in Survival Psychology Tagged , ,

Survival Garden

It’s not possible to store enough food to feed you and your family forever. Sooner or later, the stores will run out. In a long term survival situation, it is critical to have the ability to produce enough of your own food to survive. If your local farm store no longer exists, the only sustainable method of doing this is organic gardening with non – hybrid seeds.

Seeds will need to be gathered from the best plants in your garden each year and used for the following year’s crop. Most seeds sold in stores are hybrids. Hybrid seeds are not suitable for survival gardening. They will generally produce a good crop during the first year. The seeds gathered from that first year crop will be subject to random genetic changes the next year, drastically reducing your yield. Only non hybrids reproduce correctly year after year.

Chemical fertilizers will not be available on sustained basis during an emergency either. Fortunately, they are not needed. By composting and using organic gardening techniques, you can obtain beautiful crops without any chemical fertilizer.

Survival gardens are a good thing on many different levels. They provide you with: safe exercise, fresh air, sunlight; low cost, nutritious, chemical free food while you improve your mental health. We have 19 raised bed gardens and two compost piles in our back yard. They are still beneath the snow, but Winter will not last forever. I just placed an order for some new varieties of non hybrid vegetable and herb seeds we want to grow this spring. Here is a good source of non hybrid seeds:

Posted in B.O.L., Long Term Survival Tagged , , , , ,

PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) Survival Planning

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”                    – Robert Burns

Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Having a “simple” plan that provides a single course action is only one step removed from having no plan at all.  With the onset of a single piece of bad luck, the wheels may come off of a simple plan. What if “X” does not work? What if conditions change? What if something goes wrong? In military circles, it is widely recognized that “most plans never survive the first contact with the enemy”.

Better survival plans incorporate a “Plan B” in case something goes wrong and “Plan A” is no longer a viable option. This is a much more robust plan. It recognizes that “bad things happen”. In most cases a “Plan B” will be sufficient.

However, if we are discussing planning to survive through some sort of catastrophe (a LOT of bad things will be happening over an extended period), we will need VERY robust plans.
PACE planning makes an extremely robust plan. PACE provides four alternative parallel solutions that can be applied effectively as circumstances change:

  • Primary: The normal or expected method or means used to achieve the objective. (e.g. “I will use my disposable butane lighter to start a fire.”)





Continue reading

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Survival Sleeping and EROEI

In a survival situation you must look at the return on investment from everything you do. Always consider EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested). EROEI is something the survivor needs to keep constantly in mind to guide his decision making. Do not expend an ounce of sweat to get a half ounce of water or 1000 calories to get 200 calories of food. In the long run, these are not sustainable investments. Survival requires that you conserve your energy and your water.

Needlessly forging ahead in cold, wet, windy weather or after dark may have a very high negative EROEI. If doing this does not kill you immediately, it will succeed eventually if you keep doing it. Sometimes it makes much more sense to take shelter, start a very small fire, brew a cup of tea, think about the problem a little bit and take a long nap till it blows over. Safely waiting out bad conditions and attacking the problem well rested during good conditions gives the survivor the optimum chance for success.

Posted in Survival Skills Tagged , , , , , ,

Tsunami Survival 101

This is the short course on how to improve your odds for surviving a Tsunami.

  • Determine if you live, work, study or play in an area that could be at risk from a tsunami. Typically, any coastal or estuarine area that is less than 10 meters above mean sea level should be considered to be at risk.
  • If you are in an “at risk” area, subscribe to the email or RSS warning service for your area (e.g. the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ( Any official warning for your area needs to be acted upon immediately.
  • Identify a safe area(s) to go to in your immediate proximity. A hill or coastal headland more than 10 meters high is good. Higher is better.
  • If no high geographic feature is available, look for a reinforced concrete building with a floor that is at least three floors above ground level. Again, higher is better.
  • Identify an evacuation route that you can quickly cover on foot to your safe area.
  • Avoid an evacuation route that requires that you use a vehicle. Vehicles are subject to gridlock. The earthquake that causes the Tsunami may also damage bridges, pavement, or create mudslides that could make a road impassable. If a Tsunami is on it’s way in, being stuck in gridlock could cost you your life.
  • If there is no suitable elevated point, you will have to move inland as far and as fast as possible and take your chances. Continue reading

Posted in Survival Skills, Threat Analysis Tagged , ,

Earthquake Survival – The Triangle of Life Survival Method

My son and his better half live and work in L.A. and asked me to write a piece on earthquake survival. The standard advice for surviving an earthquake is to “duck and cover”. Like a lot of advice people give you, it turns out it may not be very good advice.

What follows is a quick summary of some key points made by Doug Copp, a Search and Rescue professional that has been inside of more than 800 buildings that have collapsed during an earthquake. He has first hand knowledge of what worked and what didn’t.

  • Don’t “duck and cover”. People that get under objects, like desks or cars, are often found dead, crushed to the thickness of their bones.
  • Get small fast! Curl up in the fetal position on the floor. Get your back next to a “hard to crush” object (sofa, refrigerator, bathtub, bed, chest of drawers, etc.) that will not completely crush down, leaving a void next to it. Be in that void!
  • If you are in bed during an earthquake, just roll off the bed onto the floor, get in the fetal position with your back to the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed.
  • If you are watching television during an earthquake, and cannot escape out the door or window, Continue reading

Posted in Techniques and Procedures Tagged , ,

A Survival Tool They Cannot Take Away From You

The most important tool you have is also is the one they cannot take away from you.

I just read an article on one of my favorite survival websites (Sibi Totique) titled “An Education – The Most Important Tool For a Bug Out?”. I could immediately relate what was being said in the article to my own family’s story.

Before the revolution, my Father in Law’s brother was a wealthy and famous surgeon in Cuba. After the revolution, he lost everything. Since his wealth and fame made him an “enemy of the people”, he was sentenced to cut sugar cane out in the fields in order to help “re-educate” him. It took seven years, but he eventually escaped to the United States. He came here with nothing more than the clothes on his back. He did not speak a single word of English when he arrived. He was not licensed to practice medicine in this country. As a result, he worked as a male orderly in a city hospital for many years while he studied the language and studied for his medical license exam at night. He learned the language. He passed the test. He got his medical license. He eventually had a very successful private practice and completely rebuilt his life. His only asset was his education. He could not have rebuilt his life in a foreign country if he did not have an education. The communists would have stolen that too if they could have. They may be able to kill us, but nobody can steal our education, our experience or our skills. Other relatives with less education and skill are still living in poverty on “that imprisoned isle”.

I encourage you to read Westfalia’s article:

Posted in B.O.B., Survival Planning, Survival Skills Tagged , , , ,

Sound Discipline for Survival – How to Move Silently

Under some conditions, the survivor may need to move without being seen or heard. Some scenarios requiring stealth would include: include stalking game during a hunt; tracking enemy, escaping from captivity; removing a sentry; gathering intelligence, sabotage, etc.

Selection of Footwear:

  • Hard rubber soles are loud on a hard surface
  • Soft rubber soles are more quiet on hard surface
  • Bare feet if damp can cause your skin to stick to a smooth floor, resulting in ‘peeling’ sounds with every step.
  • Stocking feet are ideal unless you are outside in which case better protection may be required.

Selection of Clothing: Continue reading

Posted in Survival Skills Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Ratlines for Survival

A quick lesson from history: Ratlines (Rattenlinien) were a system of escape routes used by Nazis fleeing from Europe at the end of The Second World War. These escape routes generally led toward havens in Latin America where these people tried to rebuild their lives. It was highly successful. When I travel through Latin America I am amazed by the number of German surnames!
These ratlines were essentially a network of sympathetic individuals, (many fervent anti communist clergy members within the Catholic Church) who helped these Germans escape as the Third Reich imploded. (Note: Some of these Germans were clearly war criminals. This discussion is no way advocating Nazi philosophy which is completely antithetical to my own beliefs!). In another older (much nobler and more politically correct) example liberty minded individuals throughout the United States helped Slaves escape to freedom in the North. It was called the Underground Railroad.

So here is the question: If your world suddenly came apart and you wound up on the run, who could you count on to give you aid so you could escape to safety? Do you have a “Ratline” or an “Underground Railroad”? Stay connected with all of the good people that you know. They may be able to help you. You may be able to help them.

BTW. One ratline operated by ODESSA (Organization of Former SS Members) was made famous by Frederick Forsyth in his novel: The Odessa File

Posted in Survival Planning Tagged , ,

Caching 101

In the post apocalyptic novel “Lucifer’s Hammer”, the protagonist’s well stocked retreat was taken over by armed men before he could get to it, leaving him with nothing. A forest fire could also quickly destroy years of careful preparation. Survivors need to develop “PACE” (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency) plans which recognize that “bad things happen”. Remember the quote:

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray” – Robert Burns

Caching (pronounced “cash-ing”Smilie: ;) is the process of pre-positioning and hiding equipment or materials in a secure location for future recovery and use. Caching is typically used as a key element of the survivor’s alternate, contingency or emergency plans.

Having access to a hidden cache of food, weapons, ammo, medical supplies, and communications gear could prove to be the difference between life and death in specific survival scenarios. The success of any cache depends upon attention to operational security, careful preservation of the cached material, concealment, and properly recording the position of the cache to permit future recovery.

This article is intended to be “the short course” on small buried survival caches located outdoors as this is the type best suited for individual survivors and small survival teams.

Cached supplies can meet the emergency needs of personnel who:

  • Are barred from their normal supply sources by sudden developments.
  • Need travel documents and extra funds for escape.
  • Encounter supply problems during long-term operations conducted away from a secure base.
  • Are involved in wartime operations in areas which may be overrun by the enemy. Continue reading

Posted in Survival Planning, Survival Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , , ,

On Liberty

“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – Morpheus (The Matrix)

Do you know that they don’t have a grip on reality when you talk with people, but it’s almost impossible to clearly articulate your point within their thirty second soundbite attention span? This is an awesome animation which explains the philosophy behind personal liberty. Like reading “Atlas Shrugged”, this is life changing. Your brain will not go back to it’s original size or shape. Your world will be altered. This is the blue pill.


Posted in Survival Psychology Tagged , ,

COMSEC – Communication Security 101 (This message will self destruct! )

This message will self destruct! Some survival scenarios may make it necessary for the survivor to be able to communicate with other members of his team through secure or encrypted means. There are many elements to COMSEC or communication security.

There is a website that allows you to send a message that will erase itself immediately after it has been read. It cannot be electronically saved (except by the recipient intentionally copying and pasting it). Having messages self destruct helps to assure there is little useable intelligence left behind for an opposing force to analyze. Here is the link for the “This Message Will Self Destruct” website:

Be aware, this is only one useful piece of the COMSEC puzzle. Depending upon the message self destructing alone is an open invitation for disaster! COMSEC applies to Telephone, Internet, Cellular Telephone, Radio, Face to Face, and Hand to Hand Delivery of information. Survivors need to develop an in depth understanding of COMSEC if they are to have meaningful communication security.

COMSEC (communications security) is the term that describes the array of measures and controls used to deny unauthorized persons information derived from telecommunications. It also encompasses the measures taken to ensure the authenticity of such telecommunications. The primary elements of effective COMSEC include the following:

  • Cryptosecurity: The acquisition and deployment of technically sound cryptosystems as well as training operators in their correct use. Crytography prevents (or at least greatly delays) the opposing force from reading the communication without having the correct key. Basic elements of cryptosecurity include but are not limited to the following:
  • Strictly follow operating instructions and procedures.
  • Never transmit in both clear and encrypted modes at the same time, nor should the same information be transmitted in both the clear and encrypted modes over the same lines. Continue reading

Posted in Privacy, Survival Planning, Survival Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , , , ,

Break Free CLP Lubricant

It was bitter cold this morning. I topped off the windshield washer fluid reservoirs on all of the vehicles with low temperature “ice melt” windshield washer fluid. This afternoon I went to fill up my truck with fuel. As soon as I got on the highway, I saw that the front hood had not closed properly. I pulled over to check it out.  It appeared that the mechanism had frozen in the locked position. I was not able to pull it open. I pulled my BOB out of the back of my truck and took out the “MRO” (Maintenance Repair and Operating) Bag. It had a tiny bottle of Break Free CLP that I keep for weapons cleaning. I put a few drops on the locking mechanism. I retried closing the hood. PROBLEM SOLVED. This is great stuff! The tiny 2/3 ounce bottle like I have are overpriced. It also looks like I’d have to get a case of 20.  I’m going to fill up some Nalgene Dropper Bottles from the large bottle in my workshop, seal the closed with self fusing silicone tape (that goes without saying, I use it for everything!) and put those in the kits for the rest of the family.

Break Free is available from Amazon: Break-Free CLP-4 Cleaner Lubricant Preservative Squeeze Bottle (4 -Fluid Ounce)

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged ,

International Ground to Air Signal Codes

In order to communicate with search and rescue aircraft overhead, lay out these symbols using cloth, wood, stone, dirt, potassium permanganate dye (on snow), or any other available material. Try to use material that will provide the greatest color contrast between your symbol(s) and the surrounding terrain. Each symbols should be at least 8 or more feet high. Larger is better. Take care when constructing these symbols so that they can’t be confused.

The ground to air signal codes do not work if the pilot does not look down to see them. Use any means possible to try and attract an aircraft’s attention: radio, flames, smoke, flares etc.

An aircraft will indicate that ground signals have been understood by rocking from side to side or by making green flashes with a signal lamp.

An aircraft will indicate that ground signals are not understood by making a complete right-hand circuit or by making red flashes with a signal lamp.


Require doctor serious injuries
Require map and compass
All well Continue reading

Posted in Techniques and Procedures Tagged ,

Rifle Chamber Adapters

Rifle Chamber Adapters allow you to fire a smaller round of ammunition than your rifle was designed for. The major constraint is that the smaller round must have the same bullet diameter as the round your weapon is designed for.

Having Rifle Chamber Adapters available provides you with the ability to:

  • Carry more rounds with you.
  • Use rounds in your weapon when your round is not available of is in short supply.
  • Practice with less expensive ammunition.
  • Reduce felt recoil.
  • Hunt small game with less meat destruction. (A .308 round would not leave a lot of squirrel for you to eat.)
  • Reduce sound signature from your weapon.

Rifle Chamber Adapters may also provide the opportunity to the same round you use in your handgun through your rifle. Continue reading

Posted in B.O.B., Long Term Survival Tagged , , ,

Welcome to Barter Town (Part 1 – What to Bring)

Good morning, the dollar (and the Euro) died last night. Welcome to Barter Town! How will you be paying today?

The best Barter Goods to store will:

  • Have a very low initial cost.
  • Be resistant to the elements and time.
  • Be resistant to damage during transit.
  • Be useful to you even if you do not exchange them.
  • Be easily divisible into small quantities.
  • Be easily and universally verifiable as being non-counterfeit.
  • Be light enough and small enough to take to market easily.
  • Be things that one cannot easily or comfortably live without.
  • Be things that are very easy to obtain now and difficult or impossible to obtain later due to the level of technology required to produce them.
  • Be items others will not typically stockpile.

Some items to consider storing for barter might include:


  • Canned Meat: Tuna, Spam,
  • Canned Fruit: Pineapple, Peaches, Pears
  • Soups, Bullion
  • Dry Food: Rice, Beans, Corn, Wheat, Flour, Pasta, Crackers, Biscuits
  • Sugar, Honey, Molasses
  • Milk, Powdered
  • Peanut Butter Continue reading

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Carry On Fire Making Capability – Fire Pen II

I occasionally need to travel for my work. I used to enjoy travel. Thanks to the TSA, that is no longer true. Going through the TSA checkpoint at each airport does not make me feel any safer. Instead, it is an oppressive reminder that I am no longer a free citizen within limited constitutional republic. Now I do everything I can to avoid commercial air travel. Unfortunately, it is not always practical.

In addition to violating my constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure (my interpretation, not Washington’s) the TSA strip search also precludes me from carrying on basic every day carry items that are real life assurance. One of these TSA “verboten” EDC items is a lighter. While it is unclear to me exactly how many planes have been turned into fireballs with a Bic, I do not expect these regulations will change at any time in our near future.

The beauty of the Fire Pen is that it does not contain any flammable material, thus making it unlikely that I will immolate either myself or my fellow passengers. Since fire pistons are a “primitive” fire making technique, not too many people are aware of it. As a result, there is a decent chance it could pass through TSA unmolested in your brief case next to your other writing implements. Continue reading

Posted in EDC (Every Day Carry) Tagged ,

The “Sergeant York” Option – The Scout Rifle

The “Sergeant York” option is to have only one rifle and know how to use it exceptionally well. If you can only have or only carry one weapon, it should probably be a “Scout Rifle”.

The late Jeff Cooper described a “Scout Rifle” as follows:

“A general purpose rifle is a conveniently portable, individually operated firearm, capable of striking a single decisive blow, on a live target of up to 200 kilos in weight, at any distance at which the operator can shoot with the precision necessary to place a shot in a vital area of the target.” – Jeff Cooper

It appears that Ruger and Gunsite definitely got that memo!

Ruger Gunsite Bolt Action Rifle

A Scout Rifle is a bolt action rifle that would have many of the following features:

  • A standard chambering of .308 Winchester/7.62 mm caliber;
  • A maximum unloaded weight, with accessories, of 3.5 kilograms.
  • An overall length of 1 meter or less. Continue reading

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Better Living Through Chemistry: Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4)

Here is a handy, inexpensive item that I have packed into the kits for every member of my family.  Potassium Permanganate  (a.k.a Condy’s Crystal’s in the former British Empire) is a powerful chemical oxidizer. Mixed with water, Potassium Permanganate allows the Survivor to do the following things:

  1. At a very low concentration (very slight pink tinge) it will disinfect water to make it safe for drinking.
  2. At a slightly higher concentration (light translucent pink) it will disinfect wounds and skin infections such as athletes foot, canker sores, thrush, yeast infections, etc.
  3. At a higher concentration (deep magenta) it can be used as a dye to mark snow with ground to air signals.

Water with different concentrations of KMnO4

In addition:

  • Mixed with a long chain carbon such as sugar, glycerine or ethylene glycol it produces an exothermic reaction which can be used to light a fire! Continue reading

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Thermos Cooking – How to cook a hot meal while You are “Bugging Out”!

Thermos cooking has many advantages for the survivor on the go.   Thermos cooked meals are tasty, nutritious, fast, easy, stealthy, fuel efficient, lightweight, healthy, and remarkably inexpensive!

Like a crock pot meal, the slow cooking method brings out the best flavors from your food and makes it easily digestible. The slow cooking minimizes the nutrient loss from cooking. By drinking the broth, all nutrients are used! No odor is emitted while you the meal is cooking inside the thermos. This provides improved stealth helps avoid unwanted attention by four legged or two legged predators. A complete meal can easily be prepared in under ten minutes of cooking over a fire. The short “active” cooking time drastically reduces your stoves fuel consumption extends your range. Dry whole grains and legumes are among the cheapest foods available and also offer excellent nutrition to weight ratios. Continue reading

Posted in B.O.B., EDC (Every Day Carry), Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , ,

Can you recharge batteries over a hot fire while you cook your dinner?

Hacker just sent me an interesting link about a thermo electric generator for charging iPhones, batteries and running LED lights and small radios. I liked the concept but I was not at all comfortable with the execution. However, I was intrigued. In my part of Northern New England I can count on starting a fire and finding water. I can not always count on enough sunlight for a solar panel. It really got me thinking. I started shopping around on the web. I found a company called TES New Energy. They have a product that almost fits the bill. Unfortunately, at 850 grams it’s just too heavy for my BOB. You can check it out at Their thermoelectric generator pot uses the temperature differential between the hot (550°C) bottom of the pan and the “cold” (100°C) boiling water inside the pan to generate electricity. The downside here appears to be the weight, form factor and the relative susceptibility of the output cord to damage from an exposed flame. I’m thinking this is another home engineering project for the Black Swan Workshop! Here are two good videos so that you can see it work: Continue reading

Posted in B.O.B., Survival Planning Tagged ,

Solid State “SCRAM Drive”

“Grab your data, throw it in your Bug Out Bag and let’s go!”

“A SCRAM Drive is an external hard drive or other

data storage device containing sensitive information and stored in a convenient location, which is easily removable and transportable in case of a rapid evacuation.”



The plus side:

Solid State External Hard Drives have no moving parts making them highly shock resistant (1500 G’s – Your data will survive even if you don’t!). They are much faster, Continue reading

Posted in B.O.B., EDC (Every Day Carry) Tagged , , , ,

Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

♥♥♥Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery  

  • If you need to know something about self sufficient living, it’s in here.

To put it simply, I have two copies of this book. One for reference and one is kept in a safe place. There are not too many books that I can make that statement about. Once you read it, you will know why. Carla is gone now but she left a tremendous gift behind for us.

Posted in B.O.L., Long Term Survival, Survival Planning, Survival Skills Tagged , , , ,


Whistle, Fox 40 Micro – Black

A whistle can be used to assist others in finding you or to signal other members of your party. The limit with a whistle is it’s range. However, it is far more likely to be heard than you are by yelling, particularly after the first ten minutes of yelling. You can also hail a cab or referee a soccer game. It makes a handy zipper pull.

International Whistle Code:


  • One Blast: “Where are you?”
  • Two Blasts: “Come to me.”
  • Three Blasts: “I need help.”


  • One Blast:

Each blast should last 3 seconds.

Posted in B.O.B., EDC (Every Day Carry) Tagged ,

Why does Mexican food taste so damn good?

♥  Diet for a Small Planet by  Frances Moore Lappé   Diet for a Small Planet

Question: Why does Mexican food taste so damn good? 

Many survivalists talk about the importance of long term grain and legume storage. I completely agree. However, a serious discussion about balanced nutrition using a diet based primarily on legumes and grains is curiously absent. The risk of becoming an “accidental  vegetarian” during an emergency is that we may not get the balanced proteins necessary for good health in our diet. Most of us assume that beans and peas will provide us with the protein which is needed. This is not true. Beans and peas are deficient in lysine, one of the essential proteins we typically obtain from meat. This book explains how to balance proteins from grains and legumes so that we get ALL of the proteins that we need to survive. Lappé does this concisely and in terms that non technical people can easily understand.This book is definitely worth a read!

Answer: Corn is loaded with lysine. Make sure to incorporate corn into your emergency diet. Corn Tortillas with No Beans – Muy Malo. Beans with No Corn Tortilla – Muy Malo. Beans with a Corn Tortilla – Muy Bueno!! And with a COLD Beer – Buenissimo!

Posted in Long Term Survival, Survival Library, Survival Planning Tagged , , ,


Splitting wood using field knife by "batoning"

Under survival conditions we may not have a wood splitter or slitting maul with us when we need one. However, the survivor that has a properly built survival knife with him can still get the job done.

“Batoning” is the fieldcraft technique used to split wood with only a (VERY sturdy) field knife or machete.

A green stick or “baton” is located. The knife is positioned over the piece of wood to be split. The baton is repeatedly struck against the back (“spine”Smilie: ;) of the knife, driving the blade through the wood, causing it to split.

Continue reading

Posted in Survival Skills, Techniques and Procedures, Uncategorized Tagged , , ,

Totobobo Filter Masks

The Totobobo filter mask is exceptionally well designed for the needs of the survivalist. The totobobo mask uses an elastomeric material for the body of the mask to assure a tight seal to the users face. The filters are small, flat and quickly replaceable. This allows the survivor to carry many more filter changes than with traditional N-95 masks. Furthermore, the mask folds down flat so it can be stored compactly and kept with you so that you will have it with you when you need it. The transparent body calls out much less attention than conventional N-95 masks. Check out the YouTube Videos below on how to don the mask and how to change the filters. Brilliant!

Used / Fresh Filter Comparison

The Totobobo Filter Mask

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged , ,

Folding Survival Saw

Saw, Folding – Pull to Cut

This is a professional grade cutting tool. It is fast and efficient for producing shelter, firewood, traps. It is much more efficient, quiet and safe than an ax or a hatchet. Pull to cut saws allows precision cutting for the rapid construction of traps, shelter, firewood, etc. It folds up to conceal the cutting edge allowing you to drop it inside your BOB.

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged ,

Disaster Communication

A Small Radio Transceiver from Hell, for Hell.

If you are 100% serious about emergency communication, consider the VX-8DR. This is a small, lightweight, waterproof, shock resistant transceiver built for emergency communication use.

As a receiver, this unit allows you to listen to AM and FM radio broadcasts as well as Emergency Weather Broadcasts. It will also pick up Analog TV Broadcasts and Aircraft communications. (The models made for use outside the United States also work on the frequencies used for cellular telephone traffic.)

The VX-8DR also works as a GPS and Digital Compass. The unit and can broadcast your position speed and heading as an EPIRB would.

The VX-8DR even provides temperature and barometric pressure.

You can send and receive messages using APRS as well as broadcast and receive on HAM bands.

For tactical communication, it has bluetooth capability so you can use it hands free.

You must pass a simple test to obtain a license in order to transmit on this equipment legally.

If you and your team are scattered over a wide area, this could be the communication solution that you need.

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged , ,

You are never completely unarmed

Once you become aware of all of the expedient and improvised weapons around you, you are never completely disarmed against a perpetrator.

The following actions are extremely violent, and have a very high probability of fatally injuring or permanently crippling another human being.
These actions can only be justified if you know that your life is in danger.

Expedient and Improvised Weapons

Weapons increase your combat effectiveness by:

  • Increasing the distance from which we can engage the perpetrator
  • Increasing the mass of the blow
  • Increasing the velocity of the blow
  • Increasing the hardness of the striking surface
  • Concentrating the force of the blow over a small area.

Murphy’s Law suggests that we will not have our weapon of choice with us when we need it.

Learn how to use commonly available objects in order to survive and win in a fight.

“Improvised Weapons” is a term used to represent common everyday objects that can be used in a defensive application.
These objects are not physically altered in any way to make them more functional as weapons.

Recognize everyday objects as potential improvised weapons.
Once you start to look at everyday objects as potential improvised weapons, you will realize that you are never unarmed.

Common improvised weapons include: Continue reading

Posted in Survival Skills, Survival Tactics Tagged , , , , ,


Disappearing in Plain View:

We live in a surveillance society. Digital technology makes it extremely easy to monitor our activities. This enables others to use our own information against us. To protect ourselves, we need to take countermeasures so that we reduce our “digital footprint” to a point where we effectively cease to exist to the surveillance systems. I refer to this as “Going Gray”. (It’s not just about hair color anymore! Smilie: :) )

Personal Appearance and Behavior:

  • Exercise the golden rule of good operational security: “Shut up!!!”
  • Keep a low-profile.
  • Be discreet about what you do and how you do it.
  • Avoid any unnecessary attention.
  • Don’t dress, speak or behave in a way that will give other people a reason to think about you, remember you or talk about you.
  • Keep your intentions to yourself.
  • Never discuss your activities and preparations with people that are not directly involved.
  • Fully consider the possible ramifications of drawing any attention to your self.
  • Make sure that you do not accidentally become famous with a nationally syndicated sound bite. Never speak to the media.


  • Shop as far away from your home as you can.
  • Use cash instead of a credit or debit card for all purchases.
  • Never use your real name or address when purchasing supplies.
  • Never use a discount card. They are used to track purchases.


  • Keep a large quantity of cash on hand in a secure place for use in an emergency.
  • If you need to pay with a check and do not have an account, use a cashiers check or money order. Continue reading

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OPSEC (Operational Security)

“Bene qui latuit, bene vixit.” (He who hides well, lives well) – Ovid

“The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” – Japanese Proverb

Operational Security, Privacy and Identity:
Severely restrict how much others know about your level of preparedness. The more others know, the more others will know. In an emergency, if people know or even suspect you have supplies, they will beat a path to your door. If you do not voluntarily give them what they need, they will try to take it from you. This type of problem should be handled by avoidance.

The first line of defense is to avoid drawing any attention:

  • Do not talk about any preparations you are making to anyone outside of your family/group.
  • Shop far enough away from home that no one there knows you.
  • Travel to different stores and break up purchases.
  • Buy online.
  • Use Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s, etc. for bulk food purchases. Everyone that shops there buys a lot of things there. No one will notice when a large amount is being purchased.
  • Husbands and wives can take two shopping carts and split the shopping list, using different checkout stations. If necessary, one sits in the car while the other shops, and then switch.
  • Use self-checkout lanes to avoid talking to a cashier.
  • Feign deafness. Continue reading

Posted in Survival Planning, Survival Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , ,

Surviving as a Member of a Team

Planning to do everything by ourselves during an emergency is not a good plan.

Survival Team: Who will be watching your 6 when SHTF?

We will be  much better off if we are a member of a well trained, cohesive, motivated survival team with well defined roles and responsibilities. For the most fortunate among us, that team will be our family, friends and neighbors. Here is a general outline of what a team might look like. Who is on your survival team?


  • Plan ahead
  • Keep all team members focused on their key tasks.
  • Conducts regular team meetings to keep everyone informed of the current situation and what needs to be done.
  • Makes all final decisions.
  • Make sure everyone is properly trained, has best available tools and materials to work with.
  • Rotates team members to effectively cross train them in all areas and put resources where they are most needed.
  • Manages funds, hard currency and barter goods
  • Barters for needed items.
  • Organizes, plans and leads any trips outside of compound


  • Checks to assure all team members:
  • All injuries no matter how minor must be reported.
  • Minor injuries to be examined, washed and bandaged immediately to prevent Continue reading

Posted in Long Term Survival, Survival Planning Tagged ,

Old Cellar Holes and Stone Walls

There are seven old cellar holes along the old trail that runs behind our home. One still has a well that is intact. Each one of these cellar holes was both a working farm and a home to a family.

Old Cellar Hole in the Woods

At one time almost all of the forest that surrounds us had been cleared and the land was being used for pasture. It’s hard to believe now but the stone walls that run through the woods give clear evidence of this. They were not placed there by accident. I live surrounded by the remnants of a civilization that completely vanished just after the civil war. A local historian once told me that the men who fought in the civil war saw how much better the soil and climate was further south. Many never came back. Other men came back and moved their families in the hope of a better life because the life here was too hard. In a hundred years, will our suburbs be cellar holes in the woods? How long does our civilization have? What could happen that would turn our homes into “cellar holes”? See Threat Analysis for a discussion of some of the possibilities.

Posted in Survival Planning, Threat Analysis Tagged ,

Be a Hard Target

Perpetrators choose soft targets over hard targets.

Be a Hard Target

To be a hard target you must:

Stay Alert

  • Be aware of what is happening around you and be prepared to react at the first sign off danger.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Learn to immediately identify questionable people and activities.
  • Learn to trust and to follow you instincts about people. Your first impression is generally the best.
  • Be on the look out for anyone watching your activities.
  • Be alert to unfamiliar people in your neighborhood. This could be strangers walking around, sitting in vehicles, or other activity. It could be vendors who do not appear to have any specific business.
  • Note all pertinent information possible without exposing yourself.
  • Report unusual incidents or persons to the proper authorities. Give police a chance to disrupt an adversary’s intent.

Stay Unpredictable

  • Make it difficult for an adversary to plan an attack against you.
  • Avoid following an established routine so that perpetrators cannot predict what you will do. Continue reading

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Survival Physiology

Physical stresses under survival conditions:

Under survival conditions it is critical that you understand the potential physical stresses present and avoid or mitigate these stresses. Stress already inflicted needs to be effectively treated in a timely manner.
Physical Trauma:

  • Severe physical trauma can kill in less than a minute.


  • Asphyxia can kill within six minutes at normal temperatures.
  • Asphyxia can take as long as an hour or more to kill at extremely low temperatures.


Posted in Uncategorized Tagged ,

Survival Training

“If you train people properly, they won’t be able to tell a drill from the real thing. If anything, the real thing will be easier.”  “We all knew there was just one way to improve our odds for survival: train, train, train. Sometimes, if your training is properly intense it will kill you. More often – much, much more often – it will save your life.” – Richard Marcinko

Theory versus Practice

  • “Book” knowledge about survival techniques is highly valuable.
  • “Book” knowledge combined with real world experience is infinitely more valuable than “book” knowledge alone.

    Get the right training

  • Train with the techniques, equipment, supplies and personnel, plans and in the area of operation you actually intend to use during an emergency.
  • Training provides you with real world experience.
  • Through training, you learn “what works and what doesn’t. This filters out any incorrect assumptions you may have about your survival techniques, how long it takes to perform tasks, your own capability, the capability and true character of other team members, your equipment’s capability, the quality of your supplies, how long the supplies you are carrying will last, things that you needed but forgot to take with you, the nature of your intended area of operation and the practicality of you emergency plans. ” Continue reading

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Pantheon of Survivalism

I just ran across an interesting article on the fifteen most influential survivalists. Yup. I’ve read ‘em all! Every one of these individuals has his own different camera angle on survivalism. All are worth listening to. After you do, make up your own mind!

Posted in Survival Library Tagged ,

Threat analysis

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” – Bill Watterson – Calvin and Hobbes.

What? Me worry? – Alfred E. Newman

Survivalism really starts with threat analysis. What are we concerned about surviving?

A cursory study of history makes a compelling case that bad things happen.
They always have.
Perhaps they always will.
A deeper study of history also makes a compelling case that awareness, preparedness and determination quickly tips the odds of survival in ones favor.

A quick survey of some of the potential threats you might face could include one or more of the following:

Continue reading

Posted in Survival Planning, Threat Analysis Tagged ,

Cold Steel Trail Hawk

I just watched a really impressive video by iawoodsman showing how to use this light hatchet out in the field. I normally never carry a hatchet with me out in the field but this video has me rethinking that! This guy is a real woodsman and has a bunch of really good videos on line.

Check it out at

Maybe I just have to get one and try it!

Cold Steel Trail Hawk American Hickory Handle

And of course, Hollywood’s contribution to Tomahawk usage:

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged , , ,

Massive data dump on Tracking and Countertracking

As I promised this morning, I posted a lot of my notes on tracking and countertracking for you in one big long post. Please leave a comment if there is anything missing! This is supposed to be a living document!! Check it out at: I hope you enjoy.

Posted in Survival Skills, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , ,

Tracking exercise

This morning’s routine of feeding the dogs and letting them out turned into a woodland tracking exercise. My wife’s little Scottish Terrier (A.K.A Resident Evil) decided to go walkabout on me. Fortunately, the tracking was made much easier by a dusting of new fallen snow! Unfortunately, I did find the damn dog. I need to post my tracking info!

Posted in Survival Skills, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , ,

It can happen anytime, anywhere.

Black Ice

This morning’s commute to work was one of the slowest I have ever had. The weather was mild and sunny. Unfortunately, a light rain had fallen on cold pavement and created patches of black ice. I went past five severe crashes just driving to work. Everything slowed down to a crawl. It makes you think. Darwin said ““It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Obviously, our environment can change very quickly. If we do not respond quickly, (e.g. slowing down below 80mph) bad things happen. It makes you think….


Posted in B.O.V., Survival Tactics, Threat Analysis, Uncategorized Tagged ,

Evacuation 101

“Should I stay or should I go now?” The Clash

The decision to evacuate or to shelter in place

Advantages of sheltering in place:

  • You have shelter against most elements.
  • You can use the food in your refrigerator and pantry.
  • You have access to your clothing, bedding, etc.
  • You’ll may be able to protect your property from damage (board up windows, etc.).
  • You can protect your property from looters.
  • You may be able to evacuate later if needed.

Continue reading

Posted in B.O.L., B.O.V. Tagged , ,

Resisting Violence

The people are not your enemy,
but your enemy hides among the people.
Treat everyone you meet with respect.
Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.  – USMC

If it bleeds, I can kill it. – Schwartzenegger (Predator)

Violent encounters are an unfortunate part of life.
Fighting is always an absolute last resort.
Always walk away from a fight if you can.
If you cannot walk away from the fight, try to talk your way out.
If you cannot talk your way out of the fight, there is only one rule: win and survive.
Apply all weapons you have at your disposal as quickly, violently and repeatedly as required to completely incapacitate or kill the perpetrator so you can escape.

Continue reading

Posted in Survival Skills, Survival Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , , ,

Dressing for Survival (Instead of “Dressing for Success”)

My children were told all of these things by their mother again and again until it was burnt into their souls. For those of you who did not get that particular memo…..


  • Remember that weather changes unexpectedly.
  • Dress appropriately for the full potential range of weather at all times.
  • Carry a pair of sturdy, comfortable, broken-in boots that are in excellent repair.
  • Carry extra socks and underwear.
  • Carry a season appropriate jacket, gloves and hat.

Continue reading

Posted in B.O.B., EDC (Every Day Carry) Tagged , , ,

Tactical Penmanship

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Tactical Pens

Tuff-Writer Operator Series Tactical Pen Sterile Black

The beauty of a Tactical Pen is the extremely high probability that you will have it with you when you need it. Use it as an elegant pen to communicate with other people. It also allows you to effectively “communicate” with a perpetrator by repeatedly driving it into his occipital parietal sulcus, eyes, xiphoid process, trachea, as a last ditch close quarters defensive weapon. “Don’t leave home without it”

Posted in EDC (Every Day Carry), Survival Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , ,

Life without toilet paper – Thinking about the unthinkable

Stock a lot of toilet paper. In my opinion, there is no fully acceptable substitute.

In anticipation of eventually running out of toilet tissue, stock:

We must think about the unthinkable

  • Three pairs of oversize latex gloves for each member of the family. To prevent cross contamination, these will be marked with each persons initials using an indelible marker.
  • Six soft color coded sponges for each family member for each family member.
  • Two trigger spray bottle filled with clean water for each family member.
  • One small wide mouthed container for each family member. The container must be large enough to fit your fist into and which can hold at least three or four inches of soapy water.
  • Sponge drying rack for each family member.
  • Glove drying rack for each family member.
  • Soap and soap dish designated for toilet use ONLY

Procedure: Continue reading

Posted in Long Term Survival, Survival Planning, Techniques and Procedures Tagged , , ,

Use your instincts

Listening to your instincts and intuition

  • Pay attention to what your instincts tell you.
  • Survival situations generate an enormous flow of information to and through your brain.
  • Most of this information is processed below the conscious mind.
  • In extreme circumstances your mind will tell you what you must do, even if the reasons for that action may not be immediately apparent.
  • If there is any question what to do, follow your instincts.

Posted in Survival Psychology Tagged

Fire Bed 101

Stay warm without a tent

  • A fire bed is cold weather survival technique.

    FAIL. Wrong type of Fire Bed. Keep Reading!

  • The technique is critical for survival in areas lacking enough material to build adequate shelter (high deserts, etc.).
  • An area of ground is heated by fire and then used as a bed. Continue reading

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Boiling water without a pot

Boiling water on a camp fire under primitive conditions

Boiling water without a pot

  • Dig a small hole and fill with water.
  • Gather suitable sized stones.
  • Make a fire tong.
  • Build a fire.
  • Heat the stones.
  • Drop the hot stones into the pit in order to boil the water.
  • Use tongs to remove stones from water after they have cooled off.
  • The hole can be done in a plastic bag as the water will cool the exterior of the bag to prevent it from burning through the plastic.
  • This method has evolved into an art form in refugee camps around the world.
  • Mylar turkey roasting bags are extremely compact, light and work very well (better than tin foil which has a propensity for leaking and putting out the fire!)

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Firecraft 101

Making and using fire under survival conditions

  • Fires can provide lifesaving warmth, dry wet clothes, heat and sterilize water, cook food, preserve food, illuminate the darkness and signal for help.
  • Fires are also the easiest way to give away your position. Fires produce light at night, smoke by day and a strong combustion odor day and night.
  • Consider the need for the fire against the time available, the materials and tools available and the proximity of the enemy. Continue reading

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Is it safe to eat? (Universal Edibility Test)

Is this safe to eat?

Universal Edibility Test:

There are many edible plants throughout the world. However, tasting or swallowing even a small portion of them may cause severe discomfort, extreme intestinal disorders, or death. Therefore if you have the slightest doubt as to the edibility of a plant, apply the universal edibility test described  below before eating any part of it.

  1. Before testing a plant for edibility, make sure there are a sufficient number of plants to make testing worth your time and effort. You need more than 24 hours to apply the edibility test outlined below:
  2. Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
  3. Break the plant into basic components, leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers. Continue reading

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Hard Times Resume

Robert Heinlein

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance Accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate. Act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” Robert Heinlein

When things get tough, they will be tougher yet for people without any “real world” skills.
In a crisis, there will not be a significant demand for day traders or pet psychotherapists.
Develop some hobbies and skills that are useful in the real world.
Who knows? You may enjoy yourself.
You are better off if you can say: “I know how to”: Continue reading

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Water 101


  • Your body uses three liters of water per day, more when the weather is hot.
  • If you urinate only one time or less per day and / or your urine is dark yellow, you are dehydrated.
  • Drink more water if it is available.
  • Keep your water intake constant.
  • If you are dehydrated, be aware that drinking a large amount of water all at once can make you vomit and or make you unconscious. Sip the water slowly until you are fully hydrated.
  • If you do not have an abundant source of potable water, ration your sweat, not your water.

Water conservation

  • Avoid any unnecessary exertion. Rest.
  • Stay in shade. Make shade if needed.
  • If you must do anything, do it at night after it has cooled off.
  • Stay off of hot ground. Continue reading

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Life Saving Action


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

  • Always save yourself first. You cannot help anyone else if you are dead. Nobody else can help you once you are dead either.
  • Once you are out of further harm’s immediate way, you can try to save the other survivors that are with you.

Mental Preparedness

  • Your mind is you most effective tool and your most lethal weapon.
  • Believing “it cannot happen to you” is an extremely dangerous attitude. This belief prevents you from rapidly accepting a survival situation as it really is and reacting to it immediately.
  • You must have the will to survive. If you want to survive, you probably will. If you don’t, you almost certainly won’t.

Physical Preparedness

  • The more physically fit you are, the better your chance of survival.
  • Develop the strength and stamina to cope with fatigue and loss of sleep.


  • Develop excellent safety habits.
  • Always inform a responsible person as to where you’re going and when you will return before going. If you fail to return or report in within a reasonable time, they can make sure that help will be on the way.
  • Learn basic knowledge of fieldcraft: Continue reading

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Heat Conservation – It takes more than just a fire to stay warm


It takes more than just a fire to stay warm

Heat energy moves from hot to cold. Your body’s ability to replace the heat is limited. If it cannot replace what you lose, you die. You must conserve your body heat.  Clothing, Shelter, Common Sense and Fire are the tools used to conserve  your body heat.

Remember the acronym BRACE to remember how the body loses heat:
Air Convection

Breathing – You lose body heat warming the cold air that you breath in. So…..

  • Preheat the air you breathe.
  • Breathe through your nose, not through your mouth.
  • Wear a scarf over your mouth.
  • Hold a cup of hot tea under your nose as you breath in.

Radiation – You lose body heat not reflected back to you by your clothing. So…..

  • Body heat radiates away from your body if it is not insulated. Trapped pockets of air is the best insulator. Wear multiple layers of clothing which will absorb and reflect back some of the heat you have lost.
  • If you are not dressed warmly enough, stuff dry leaves, grass, vegetation, newspaper etc. into clothing to add insulation.
  • Most heat escapes from head, hands feet. Insulate these areas first.
  • Reduce your surface area. Curl up. Huddle together. Think “Ranger Pile”.

Air Convection – You lose body heat to the cold air blowing around you. So…..

  • Get out of the wind.
  • Get behind a tree or a rock. Lie in a hollow.
  • Use any material available to construct an expedient shelter. Continue reading

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The Liebowitz Project – Knowledge Preservation – Your Gift to Future Generations

Your gift to a future generation?

Liebowitz Project Box -
Please give close consideration to the following from Life after Doomsday, by     Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.:
“There is a recurrent theme in survival fiction in which someone carefully selects and preserves an assortment of books to help civilization rebuild after the disaster. This theme appears in A Canticle for Liebowitz, Lucifer’s Hammer, and The Time Machine, to name only three examples. It is also an important theme in medieval history. We are familiar with the ancient Greek and Roman classics only because the books were deliberately preserved through the Dark Ages by monks and others who recognized their worth.
The Liebowitz project is my informal attempt to see that the knowledge essential to civilization’s recovery will be available when it is needed. To this end I propose that you select three books as a legacy to the future. The first two books should be a reference book and a textbook relating to your profession; that way you can pass on knowledge of the field that you know best. The third book might be anything. The third book might be anything. It could be a book about history, art, religion, science, poetry, philosophy, or even fiction. When you have selected your three books, buy a new hardback copy of each, treat each book with insecticide, wrap it in several layers of foil and plastic, and seal it airtight. Label the package well. Then store it in a safe place. Maybe, someday, we’ll all be glad you did.”

  • A waterproof, air tight ammo box capable of holding three brand new, hardcover books:
  • The best textbook about your field of expertise
  • The best reference dictionary on your area of expertise
  • Your favorite work of literature.
  • Carefully treat each book with an insecticide such as diatomaceous earth.
  • Carefully wrap each book in plastic
  • Carefully wrap each book in heavy aluminum foil
  • Place books in ammo box.
  • Place oversized desiccant packs and oxygen absorbers in the box.
  • Seal the box tightly.
  • Wire tie handle yo prevent it from being opened accidently.
  • Store in a safe place.
  • Every adult member of your family should do this.
  • This is a your gift to a future generation.

Posted in Survival Library Tagged

The Alexandria Project – The “Post Internet” Internet

Alexandria Project Box

The "post internet" internet

The internet is today’s version of the ancient Library of Alexandria, once the greatest library in the world. History tells us that the library of Alexandria was burnt down. We may not always have access to the web. The web could be down due to an EMP event or access restrictions imposed by a tyrannical government . Continue reading

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The Attitude Necessary for Survival

"What one man can do, another can do."

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. – Nietsche

“The Survivor’s Creed”
My mind is the most effective tool and the most deadly weapon I have.
I know that my mental attitude determines my outcome.
I control my attitude, even when I do not control my circumstances.
I am aware of the potential threats to my survival.
I will get away and stay away from threats I can avoid.
I know that not all threats can be avoided.
I know I will feel fear when I cannot avoid a real threat to my survival.
Only a fool has no fear of a real threat to his survival.
I am not a fool.
My fear will not stop me from doing what I need to do to survive.
I will not panic.
Panic stops me from thinking.
I will continue to think in order to continue to survive.
Pain is OK.
The dead do not feel pain.
Pain is my body telling me I am still alive.
Pain is what I feel as weakness leaves my body forever.
I accept and move through my pain.
My pain will not stop me from doing what I need to do in order to survive.
I do not have to like doing something in order to do it.
I will do what I need to do to survive whether I like it or not.
What another man can do, I can do.
I will endure.
I will never give up, never quit, while I can still draw my next breath.
I will do everything I can do and God will help to see me through everything else.
I will survive, I will adapt, and I will overcome.

Posted in Survival Psychology Tagged

LED Flashlight

Flashlight, LED Princeton TEC, Attitude AAA x 4

Attitude Translucent Black

This is a small, lightweight, bright, waterproof, explosion proof, fairly indestructible LED flashlight. The rotary switch design resists accidental turning on by accident yet can reliably be turned on with one hand. The shape prevents the flashlight from rolling off a table when it is set down. The small size allows it to be clenched between teeth when you need to use both of your hands. LED bulbs are more impact resistant than standard bulbs. LED Flashlights have superior battery life. AAA batteries are common, inexpensive, lightweight and compact. Tape, fishing line, etc. can be wound around the exterior of the flashlight. Use with low self discharge rate NiMH AAA battery.

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged , ,

Bring a Shovel

“Don’t Leave Home Without It”


Shovel, Entrenching

Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel with Hardwood Handle

(Cold Steel “Spetnatz” Shovel)
26.6 oz 19-11/16” Long 5/64” Thick 6” Wide 754 g
Having a shovel is critical for efficient preparation of a campfire, firebed, or latrine. Bury or dig up caches. Dig a fighting position. Remove sentries. Bury the dead. It will also allow you to dig up roots, dig traps, or cut a hole in ice for drawing water or for fishing. This small shovel can also be used as a hatchet, hammer, pry bar, paddle, club for finishing off wounded game. It can, with practice, be thrown as a weapon.

The shovel is among the oldest tools developed by man and is a tool that remains in common use to this day.
The small “entrenching tool” type shovel is carried in the field by modern day soldiers with good reason.

Common uses for a shovel under survival conditions: Continue reading

Posted in B.O.B. Tagged

The “Peanut” Lighter – A better solution

A better solution

The fuel evaporates out of the Zippo type lighter over time and must be refilled at regular intervals in order for it to function properly. This can be slowed down by wrapping the seam between the base and lid with electrical tape and / or keeping it secured in an air tight container. There is a better solution. “Peanut” lighters are sealed with an O-ring. If you need to have a completely bomb proof solution, overfill the lighter, secure the lid tightly and wrap the seal with some self fusing silicone tape. The lighter will stay filled a long, long time. As with the Zippo lighter, an empty Peanut Lighter will still provide sparks to start a fire. It can also be set down on any flat surface and used as a candle. The split ring on the cap also makes this item easy to idiot cord or to attach to your key ring. Consider storing several replacement flints and wicks on the inside before you seal it up.


Posted in EDC (Every Day Carry) Tagged , ,

“A knifeless man is a lifeless man” – Nordic Proverb


"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"

SRK, Kraton Handle, Black Blade, Concealex Sheath

Knife, Field with Sheath (ColdSteel “SRK” Survival Rescue Knife) 232 g

This is an exceptionally well made, heavy duty sheath knife can be used for preparing shelter, cutting firewood, making tinder, starting fires, preparing traps, skinning game, digging up roots, as a close quarter weapon, escape tool, digging, clearing, cutting holes through ice to draw water, etc. The SRK is well designed, moderately priced and almost indestructible. Attach this knife to shoulder strap of pack for immediate access.

Knife selection, usage, safety and sharpening

“The knife is the balance point for survival in the bush. Without it, you have to stay on the move. With it, you create the opportunity to rest.”- Mors Kochanski

It’s not the knife. It’s the man wielding it. Continue reading

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Data Survival – The Survivalist’s Jump Drive

The Survivalist's Jump Drive


Jump Drive – Ironkey Really secure data storage. After ten consecutive wrong tries, the data is gone and the drive internally self destructs making the data non recoverable and the drive unusable. In addition, the Ironkey jump drive provides you with means for secure, anonymous private communication over the internet. Securely hold digital copies of critical documents: Continue reading

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The Things We Carry – The Bug Out Bag

Call it a BOB or “Bug Out Bag”, or a GHB or “Get Home Bag” or an INCH “I’m Never Coming Home” Bag. It’s your Survival Kit.

Most survival kits are designed to keep us alive for a 72 hour period. This is based on the theory that 72 hours would be the maximum amount of time that would go by before the government comes to the rescue. While these 72 hour kits are much better than nothing, the government’s handling of the Katrina disaster clearly demonstrated that in the event of any major disaster, it could be weeks before any meaningful help arrives. As realists, we must plan, equip and train to survive for weeks or months, not just hours or days. Continue reading

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EDC – The Leatherman Wave Multitool

Man is a tool using animal. In a survival situation, the only tools that will matter are the tools you have with you. What’s in your pocket?



Leatherman Wave – Black, with Nylon Case: 241 g
The Wave dramatically improves your ability to repair and improvise from material at hand as it provides you with: Continue reading

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