Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Incidents & Hazards

Andrew’s Note:  For today’s lesson in preparedness we return to our U.S. military manuals, notably the MULTI-SERVICE DOCTRINE FOR CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL, AND NUCLEAR OPERATIONS , FM 3-11, MCWP 3-37.1, NWP 3-11, AFTTP 3-2.42 dated July 2011, Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.  Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear is abbreviated as CBRN.  Today we introduce the types of incidents and the introduce the hazards.  Check back later this week as we go into more detail on those hazards.

INCIDENTS

1-19. A CBRN incident is any occurrence involving the emergence of CBRN hazards resulting from the use of CBRN weapons or devices, the emergence of secondary hazards arising from counterforce targeting,  or the release of toxic industrial material into the environment. A CBRN incident is characterized on the basis of the intent, opportunity, and capability of the occurrence. There are three basic reasons why a CBRN incident happens, regardless of the type and nature: (more…)

Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament?

Our nuclear deterrent and those of our closest allies appear to be under attack by our own Executive Branch of Government again…but this time we’re flirting with unilateral nuclear disarmament…

First it was accusations in 2011 that President Obama had sold out our British cousins’ nuclear secrets to the Russians…I’m not sure of the truth of these allegations but the British sure seem convinced.

Then in early 2012 the President was caught on camera and microphone privately promising (more…)

Surviving A Nuclear Accident Infographic

Nuclear AccidentSource: BestHealthDegrees.com

Andrew’s Note:  Don’t dismiss this information on surviving a nuclear accident as farfetched…I was serving in Egypt months after and thousands of miles away from the Chernobyl, Ukraine meltdown in 1986 and we had a radiation injury in our public affairs office (PAO) when our PAO team (Military journalists) went out to cover a story on a migratory bird die off…guess where the birds had just migrated through.

How far do you live from a facility that’s the next Chernobyl, Fukushima or Three Mile Island?  Nuclear proponents argue that nuclear energy is safe and it mostly is but human and (multiple) mechanical errors occur and for some reason we build these plants on rivers that flood, coasts that receive tsunamis and right on top of earthquake faults.

A Nuclear Axis of Evil

As I listened to the President’s State of the Union address last night I couldn’t help but remember the same speech eleven years ago when another President described the ‘Axis of Evil.’  If you’ll recall the Axis included Iraq, Iran and North Korea.  The only thing worse than an Axis of Evil is a Nuclear Axis of Evil.

In case you’ve been on a low information diet this week… North Korea apparently detonated another nuclear weapon amid a blitz of anti-U.S. rhetoric.

(more…)

Hagel on Nuclear Superiority and Ploughshares

Chuck Hagel, Board Member Ploughshares FundIt looks like former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel may become our next Secretary of Defense. 

Whenever I hire anyone at the office I do a little research into their background including an internet search. 

The U.S. Secretary of Defense is intrusted with securing and maintaining our country’s nuclear arsenal and nuclear superiority…so I was a little curious when an internet search for Chuck Hagel turned up board membership in an organization called Ploughshares.

Hagel appears to still be a member of the Board of Directors of Ploughshares Fund Partners.  Here’s how Ploughshares Fund describes it’s funding priorities on their website:

(more…)

Zappa on Beer and Nuclear Weapons – Today’s Quote

You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.

Frank Zappa

Prepping For Political Risk

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Prepping For Political Risk

I’ve said often enough that my close friends are starting to quote me that ‘I refuse to be a refugee.’  That’s easy for me to say as I live far from hurricane and wildfire country, nowhere near a nuclear plant and in a part of the country with a relatively low population density (by coastal standards) but as I read James Wesley Rawles‘ book, The Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse a few months ago I began thinking again about prepping for political risk.

In the novel, the fifth book in Rawles’ post-crunch, ‘Patriots‘ world the characters find themselves living in territory that was both formerly part of both the U.S. and Canada but the respective national governments have since fallen.  Each character must make their own decision about how to react to the advance of foreign armies and the creation of a new nation…one with radically different values than many of the residents hold.

While I refuse to be a refugee during tough times, an economic downturn or following a natural disaster…what about political change?  If I find myself living in a secessionist State promoting morally repugnant policies do I flee to parts unknown?  This is the very situation a number of our ancestors found themselves in a century and a half ago as the secessionist movement tore our country apart.  What if the policies and values of the good old U.S.A. become unrecognizable and morally repugnant to you…how does one prepare for that?

I have friends that think our nation is on the road to ruin and have become expatriates and if recent polls are to be believed the majority of our country agrees that we’re on the wrong track so prepping for political risk isn’t just a good idea it’s potentially a matter of life and death?

Ten Ways To Prepare For Political Risk

  1. Relocate to an area less susceptible to political risk:  The preparedness writer FerFal, who writes at Surviving In Argentina, did this when he moved from Argentina to Northern Ireland…think about that for a minute…Northern Ireland is safer than Argentina…I guess centuries of religious strife is safer than what a few years of socialism have done to the once great country of Argentina.  Rawles promotes moving to the inland West of the U.S., what he describes as the American Redoubt, for a number of reasons including the political climate.
  2. Become a dual citizen:  More and more wealthy U.S. citizens are hedging their bets by becoming dual citizens…and not just former U.S. Representative Michelle Bachman who has since given up her Swiss citizenship.  Dual citizenship doesn’t just make it safer to travel in some parts of the world it also gives you another place that you can call home without the threat of deportation.  There are a number of ways to obtain dual citizenship without moving to the other country including reclaiming citizenship for the country of your birth, through marriage, through lineage, and even through investment.
  3. Give up your citizenship:  The number of U.S. citizens surrendering their citizenship is at an all time high…more due to U.S. tax policies than to political risk but it’s becoming more popular and can be quite lucrative like Facebook‘s cofounder of Eduardo Saverin discovered when he resigned his naturalized U.S. citizenship on the eve of cashing out of Facebook’s for their IPO.  Can you imagine anyone giving up their hard won U.S. citizenship for tax savings…it’s happening more and more as the idea of American exceptionalism wanes.
  4. Vote:  Help select officials that support freedom and liberty so as to reduce political risk.  Don’t tolerate the election of those bent on abusing power even at the local level as local successes spur the bastards on to seek larger offices.  Note:  When you do vote, just vote one time (in each and every election) and make sure to doublecheck your voting machine as it’s recently been discovered that some voting machines are actually robotic party operatives.
  5. Donate:  Contribute to politicians that support freedom, liberty and our founding values.  Like it or not… money is the fuel that powers political campaigns and does effect whether the forces of freedom or the forces of tyranny get to make the rules until the next election.
  6. Stand for election:  Stand for election…unless of course you feel that you are better at making decisions for folks than they can make for themselves…then stay home, don’t vote and spend your money buying lots of liquor, Twinkies and Matt Damon movies.
  7. Be a voice of reason:  Call out the statists you encounter day-to-day when they start blabbering Newspeak or saying things like ‘businesses don’t create jobs’.  Learn to do it with confidence and finesse.  I don’t like direct confrontation because it shuts people down instead of opening their minds…try asking questions (the Socratic method) like ‘then who do you think creates jobs…’ and ‘how are jobs created then?’
  8. Write:  One of the ways I support freedom and liberty is by writing about tyranny and freedom issues from time to time.  Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, write a blog, comment on a blog, write a freedom living e-mail and see if you can get it to go viral (hint…kittens and soldier/sailor/airmen/Marine stories are always good viral e-mail topics).
  9. Rules For RadicalsCultivate optimism:  Cultivate optimism in yourself and others.  It’s easy to get discouraged as we see statist and devotees of Saul Alinski elected and running for the nation’s highest office but our founders built a resilient system replete with checks and balances…we just have to refocus our efforts and dismantle as much as the anti-liberty constitutional ‘interpretations’ and dial back as much government over-reach as possible.
  10. Never give up, never surrender:  To steal a catchphrase from the Tim Allen space comedy Galaxy Quest, never give up, never surrender!  The fight is too important to our country, our future and to future generations to roll over and accept tyranny.  For nearly 240 years the United States has served as a beacon of hope to the entire world, a place where a peasant could build a new life for him and maybe end up living like a king.  Freedom is liberating and generates opportunities like no cast system, aristocracy or oligarchy ever could.

The U.S. is still a freedom loving country…even with recent shifts in the political climate but we must maintain our vigilance, promote liberty and bring up future generations to view/fight tyranny as our forefathers and mothers did as part of our own prepping for political risk.

The Dangers of Illegitimacy

A more proper title for this article would have been “The Dangers of Perceived Illegitimacy” as often it’s the perception that matters even more than the reality of legitimacy.  An illegitimate government that is perceived as legitimate will wield power as peacefully if not as effectively as a government that is truly legitimate and perceived as such.  Conversely a legitimate government that is perceived as illegitimate will create an atmosphere of civil discord and strife.

legitimate: adjective le·git·i·mate \li-ˈji-tə-mət\ : allowed according to rules or laws : real, accepted, or official : fair or reasonable per merriam-webster.com

Today in much of the U.S. we find ourselves in a position where there is a camp that increasingly believes our federal government is exercising unconstitutional powers through a variety of mechanisms including executive orders, legislative shenanigans (like the White House failing to submit the Iran Nuclear capitulation ‘Deal’ to the Senate for approval as the Constitution requires for treaties), an activist judiciary, kill lists that include the names of U.S. citizens…likely bad people yet still U.S. Citizens who are assassinated without ‘due process.’  There’s even a subset of this camp that believes that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and is therefore not eligible to lead the nation.  As to that latter allegation that same camp never alleges that the President’s mother wasn’t a U.S. Citizen which would make him eligible in any case.  Not hearing the same outcry against Senator Ted Cruse who was born in Canada to U.S. Citizens either.

As if the perception of federal illegitimacy wasn’t bad enough there’s a different, sizable camp that believes that their state and local governments are illegitimate due to racism, the legacy of slavery or because minority interests are merely protected and not promoted at the expense of other minorities and the majority populace.  In fact as George Will so eloquently puts it there are so many things to be offended by, and so little time to agonize about each.  The dangers of illegitimacy were put brutally on display recently when a uniformed official of the high school football variety was brazenly attacked on the field by two high school students who perceived him as racist.

The dangers of illegitimacy, perceived or correct do have the power to destroy our nation.  I’d argue that the various perceptions of illegitimacy have already greatly weakened us.  When a first lady of the United States says that ‘for the first time in my adult life I’m proud of my country‘ because it elected her husband she was expressing her perception of our entire nation being illegitimate.  When a leading presidential candidate states that our country was founded on ‘racist principals‘ instead of properly stating that our great nation was founded on the concept that all men are created equal in spite of the human failings of some of our founders he’s questioning our legitimacy.  When the race baiters and extremists highlights our differences instead of our commonalities then we enter dangerous territory where those with communications platforms or even just a social media account begin calling for the execution of police officers for the ‘crime’ of keeping the peace or for outright class war or ‘race war‘  When our unelected two party officials craft debate participation rules so as to assure their desired range of outcomes they add to this perception of illegitimacy.  When congress passes tax laws so Byzantine and clearly targeted at the producers and entrepreneurs that the IRS becomes a symbol of oppression and illegitimacy we are in danger of inciting a tax revolt.

To make matters worse our federal government now regularly sues our State and local governments to force the States to stop enforcing the very laws that the federal government itself is sworn to uphold while our States regularly, in turn sue our federal government for abridging the rights of the States and her citizens.

Only by once again embracing the principals of transparency, fair play and rule of law can we hope to recapture the perception of legitimacy at the State and federal level.  Those willing to commit government overreach on the left and the right would do well to remember both the words of President Jefferson and the legend of Robin Hood that so many generations were raised on.  Even if we do everything right…perceptions are fickle things and people will believe what they want in spite of the facts but if we don’t try then the dangers of illegitimacy may prove fatal to our Republic and many of our fellow citizens.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure. Thomas Jefferson writing to William Stephens Smith from Paris. Aug. 30. 1787.

Prepping for Riots & Civil Unrest – 10 Tips

Ferguson Response NetworkAs the mainstream media positively salivates over the anticipated civil unrest and rioting that’s expected following the release of the dual Grand Jury investigation and Department of Justice investigations that are expected to exonerate Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a teenager of African decent we thought it might be a good idea to review tips on prepping for riots and civil unrest.  According to a knowledgeable multi-juristictional law enforcement analyst the law enforcement community is more concerned about the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting information release than any event since 9/11.

A riot or period of riots/civil unrest is best avoided and the Prepping for Riots and Civil Unrest tips below should help you avoid or if necessary safely escape a dangerous situation.

  1. Avoid:  Riots and protests that could easily become riots are often organized on social media including sites like this one currently being used to organize protests and riots following the release of the results of the Grand Jury investigation into the acts of Officer Wilson.  Sites like these tell you where and in some cases when ‘actions’ will occur.  They tell me what parts of town to avoid like the plague.  If you find yourself in a mob, avoid confrontation…don’t argue, verbally engage or negotiate.
  2. Know What Time It Is:  Many planned riots and protests that could easily become riots happen in the first few hours and days after the precipitating event.  Keep an eye on breaking news that could trigger a riot and go out of your way to return to safe areas or stay out of danger areas entirely if there is a potential precipitating event or planned release of information like the Officer Wilson Grand Jury and Department of Justice investigation results.
  3. Stay Calm:  Keep a calm, clear head and don’t get emotionally involved and compromise your decision making skills.  Mob mentality really exists but you must its lure even if you are sympathetic to the precipitating cause or excuse for the violence.
  4. Move Carefully but Decisively:  By staying calm you’ll be less likely to move quickly or rashly.  You want to keep your footing and avoid falling to the ground at all costs where you are in danger of being trampled, kicked or worse.  Move with intention through the crowd with a stern look on your face…don’t stop just continue moving and gently force your way through to safety.  One technique that works well with crowds that haven’t turned violent yet is shouting “make a hole, coming through…” as if you own the place…people will just move out of your way and continue on their business.
  5. Fade Away:  If you find yourself in the middle of a crowd that might get ugly get away immediately and quietly before a problem starts.  Move to the outer edge of the mob and fade away into a side street.  I was backpacking through Europe in the mid 1980s and stopped over in West Berlin (when there was such a place) for a few days and found myself drawn to what I thought was a street fair and parade.  After just a few short minutes I realized that I’d walked right into the middle of an anti-American protest complete with effigies of President Reagan being burned and lots of anti-nuclear propaganda being given out (it later came out that the Soviets organized and financed these types of protests in West Germany for decades)…anyway, as soon as I realized what was going on I silently pointed it out to my buddy so no one could hear my language and accent and we moved our bluejean (not something Europeans wore in those days) wearing asses down the nearest side street and outside of the danger area.  I didn’t know that it would turn violent but I wasn’t going to take the chance and the riot police on hand were conscripts from the same population that generated the protesters.  Reports I’ve read over the years indicate that if just 1-2% of a crowd turns violent then there is a potential for mob mentality to set in…become the grey man and fade away.  Don’t overlook the possibility of moving through a building if necessary but be very careful to avoid getting cornered or stuck.
  6. Strategic Relocation:  One thing I quickly noticed while living in Baghdad in 2006-2007 was that the same neighborhoods seemed to erupt in violence over and over…and I’m talking about Iraqi on Iraqi violence…turns out these were the neighborhoods on where Sunni and Shia neighborhoods met.  If you find yourself living in an area that’s a demographic fractional divide…find a way to move someplace safer.
  7. Don’t Lose Your Life With Your Property:  There are wonderful stories of business owners of Korean descent putting on a show of force outside and on the roofs of their stores to deter looting during the 1992 LA Riots but I’d be very cautious about trading my life for my property because in the end you may lose both.  This caution assumes that the property you lose only represents a financial loss and doesn’t represent you or your family’s best chances of survival.
  8. Be a Voice Of Reason:  The best way to keep riots from starting in the first place is to multiply those willing to act as the voice of reason.  Become that voice of reason in your community by encouraging adherence to the rule of law and oppose extra-jurisdictional killings, lynchings, ‘payback’ activities and post sports championship winning car burnings.
  9. Employ Camouflage:  If possible look like the group you find yourself within until you escape the immediate area at which point your camouflage might make you a target for rival groups or police.  When I found myself in that situation in West Berlin I really stood out in my American blue jeans.  Rearrange your clothing, add or remove a cap or pick up discarded items in order to look as much like the folks you want to ignore you as possible.
  10. Keep Together:  Don’t allow your group to get separated.  In dense crowds one technique to stay together is to hold hands or place a hand on the person in front’s shoulder and follow the leader very closely until you’ve reached safety.

I hope you never find yourself in a riot but if you do…I hope Prepping For Riots & Civil Unrest helps get you out safely.

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel – Book Review

Sanctuary: Introduction

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” by G. Michael Hopf is the third in his “The New World” series. After purchasing and powering through the first two novels in the series; “The End” and The “The Long Road,” I was anxious to crack open my publisher provided review copy of Sanctuary and see what happened next..

Andrew’s Note:  You can read Grumpy G’s reviews of The End HERE and The Long Road HERE if you haven’t already. 

Sanctuary: A Brief Synopsis

Surviving the attack proved to be more than they could have imagined… “Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” takes place months after a devastating Super  EMP attack, and nuclear strikes which crippled the US, Europe and parts of Russia and the Far East. The country has slid further into chaos, as millions starve and gangs and lawlessness stalk the cities and country-side. The main characters, Gordon, Samantha, Sebastian, Barone, Connor and Pablo all set upon their own paths to seek vengeance, try to rebuild and consolidate, or simply survive.

Sanctuary: A Bit More

“Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” takes on a more epic tone. The main characters are all in search for some sort of sanctuary. Vengeance is dealt out by several characters. Allies gained in “The Long Road” are lost and new ones created. The overall tragedy of the story increases on all levels. Some try to build empires and brutal methods are often employed.  The morality of some characters’ choices are brought in to question, while others gain clarity after suffering untold hardships. Friends and family are reunited and new alliances formed.

Sanctuary: The Critique

I am just gonna come out and say it. Out of the three books so far published in the “The New World” series, “Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” is probably the weakest. Now, don’t take this to mean I did not enjoy the book. I really did. G. Michael Hopf has crafted a very engaging story for those that enjoy end of the world type fiction. The story in this book just feels a bit rushed. There are several scenes that come off as contrived, simply to speed the story up, and several story arcs come crashing together in the last bit of the book in a fashion that just seemed too convenient for me.

With that said, “Sanctuary” takes the series to a place where its vistas truly open up. While “The End” focused on the characters on a more personal level, and “The Long Road” started to open up the character’s stories more to the larger events going on around them, “Sanctuary” sees them starting to take center stage in the larger drama that is taking place after the fall of the US. In the canon of “The New World”, “Sanctuary” lays the ground work for the characters to attain the epic status that the story hints at.

Sanctuary: Final Thoughts

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” is another fine addition to the “The New World” series. While I don’t think it is as strong an outing as the first two books, it is a jamming good read. Final judgment on ‘Sanctuary,” at least for me, will most likely come with the addition of the next installment in the series.

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel

Product Details 

  • Series: The New World Series (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014218151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142181515
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces

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