Finding Your Prepper Homestead

Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat.  Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’  I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead.

That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family.  Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic.  No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events.

I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family.  This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.).  This doesn’t mean that you hunker down during a hurricane or wildfire and hope to survive, or that you don’t relocate to a safer area if you’re lucky enough to be independently wealthy or have ‘mailbox income’ and the time and willingness to develop new social networks… but it does mean that even if you’re not tied to a geographic area by family or financial requirements you should strongly consider setting up your retreat or homestead in the safest location with the best resources within own social geography.  This was the epiphany I had as I watched civil society in Iraq tear itself to shreds.

Even before I returned to the states I’d started researching prospective homestead sites and on my return we started looking in earnest.  Over the years I developed a network of real estate agents and bankers (for foreclosures) that tipped me off to new properties going up for sale, wrote absentee landowners to make unsolicited offers and set up standing queries on a number of real estate sales websites.

Over the years we refined our homestead evaluation tools and learned how to move quickly to avoid the day late, dollar short disappointments we experienced early on.  It’s important to note that until the last 18 months of our search we hadn’t developed our wish list sufficiently to effectively analyze, compare and decide if a prospective homestead was right for our needs.  I hope that by sharing our evaluation criteria we will help you find your homestead/retreat more quickly than we did.

Check back tomorrow for more on finding your Prepper homestead as we discuss the Homestead Evaluation Criteria that led us to find The Hermitage.

Finding Your Prepper Homestead

Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat.  Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’  I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead.

That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family.  Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic.  No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events.

I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family.  This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.).  This doesn’t mean that you hunker down during a hurricane or wildfire and hope to survive, or that you don’t relocate to a safer area if you’re lucky enough to be independently wealthy or have ‘mailbox income’ and the time and willingness to develop new social networks… but it does mean that even if you’re not tied to a geographic area by family or financial requirements you should strongly consider setting up your retreat or homestead in the safest location with the best resources within own social geography.  This was the epiphany I had as I watched civil society in Iraq tear itself to shreds.

Even before I returned to the states I’d started researching prospective homestead sites and on my return we started looking in earnest.  Over the years I developed a network of real estate agents and bankers (for foreclosures) that tipped me off to new properties going up for sale, wrote absentee landowners to make unsolicited offers and set up standing queries on a number of real estate sales websites.

Over the years we refined our homestead evaluation tools and learned how to move quickly to avoid the day late, dollar short disappointments we experienced early on.  It’s important to note that until the last 18 months of our search we hadn’t developed our wish list sufficiently to effectively analyze, compare and decide if a prospective homestead was right for our needs.  I hope that by sharing our evaluation criteria we will help you find your homestead/retreat more quickly than we did.

Check back tomorrow for more on finding your Prepper homestead as we discuss the Homestead Evaluation Criteria that led us to find The Hermitage.

The 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care

Author’s note: I was recently going through my survival library.  I was paging through a book entitled “Where There Is No Doctor”, by David Werner.  The ideas and skills in the book fit in to the FSP doctrine quite nicely.  I found a section that listed the tenets health care workers should remember.  Reading them, I thought that they would make a good article.  The tenets are direct quotes from the book.  The commentary for each is my expansion on them, explaining how they would apply in a post disaster world

Post SHTF the modern health care system we’ve come to rely on will not exist.  A black swan event doesn’t even need to take place to make the previous statement true.  Even a moderately severe event, like a national monetary collapse would disrupt society to the point that people may not be able to access their current health care provider.  The one thing that is true about any event is that people will be forced to look more locally for everything, including their health care.  People in third world countries and rural areas of the developed world already deal with this issue daily.  By mere statistical probability, most of Prepography‘s readers probably don’t live in those areas.  More and more of both the U.S. and the world’s population lives in, or relatively close to large urban areas.   Even then, their health care provider may be tens of miles away.  After a major event the “village”, if you will, will become more important to them than the large service/product provider that is 20, 30, 40 or even 50 miles away.  People will be forced to rely more heavily on what is in their immediate community rather than services we currently travel long distances to reach.  Read on to learn the 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care.

The 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care

If they are lucky, there will be someone trained to provide medical care post SHTF in their local community.  Someone who has made their home in the area that becomes the new village and is willing to help.   Even if there is someone like that; post SHTF health care is not just their responsiblity.  It is everyone who lives in this new village.  With that in mind, here are The 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care:

1. Health care is not only everyone’s right, but everyone’s responsibility.
The Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine (FSP) teaches that community is an important component to survival.  With that in mind, it is everyone in your group’s responsibility to look after the health of its members both individually and collectively.  One person thinking that they have the right to behave however they wish when it comes to health, hygiene and sanitation will endanger the entire group.  This is true whether your group is very small or is large enough in size to be considered a true village.

Andrew’s Note:  I think the term ‘right’ is used in too cavalier a manner these day.  It abrogates the responsibility of the individual to the group.  In a health care context this belief has also brought us dangerously close to socialized medicine.  I do wholeheartedly agree with the second part of this tenet, though.  It emphasizes the shared responsibility and shared consequences for health and hygiene within communities.  That said, I do feel a moral obligation to assist and treat others within the limits of my humble first aid training.

2. Informed self-care should be the main goal of any health program or activity.
Old wives tales, untested remedies, and such are not the basis of a good health program.  Teaching the group time-tested health and hygiene practices is paramount.  Any activity geared towards post apocalypse health care that doesn’t work towards that goal is a waste of time and effort.

3. Ordinary people provided with clear, simple information can prevent and treat most common health problems in their own homes—earlier, cheaper, and often better than doctors.
It is relatively simple to keep healthy, even in the harshest condition.  All it takes is knowledge and action.  The problem is most people don’t have the basic knowledge necessary or fail to act on that knowledge.  Any program that provides post apocalypse health care must be geared towards education.  People with formal training need to teach those without.

4. Medical knowledge should not be the guarded secret of a select few, but should be freely shared by everyone.
In primitive cultures, the witch doctor held sway over the village.  They held their secrets, many of which are now commonly know cures and remedies, close to the vest.  It is what gave them their power.  It is foolish to think that in modern times, especially in a stressful breakdown of society, that people would not revert back to such self-centered thinking.  Also, by spreading skills around redundancy and protection is provided against the loss of people with essential skill sets. It is the group’s responsibility to ensure that any knowledge about post SHTF health care is spread as widely as possible.

5. People with little formal education can be trusted as much as those with a lot. And they are just as smart.
Chances are that someone providing post apocalypse health care will not have been formally trained.  Even if they have been, chances are that they will be dealing with community health problems that reach beyond their pre collapse training and education.  That does not mean that they are incapable.  The new village must make the best with who they have on hand.

6. Basic health care should not be delivered, but encouraged.
Those providing post apocalypse health care should not look at themselves as end point providers.  They should have the heart of a teacher, and encourage the “village” to take an active part in the health of the group.

Where-There-Is-No-Doctor-smHealth Care Post SHTF – Conclusion

It is a reoccurring theme throughout FSP that your brain is the most important tool you have in your survival kit.  “6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care” does not deal with the practical application of health care but the tenants do define a starting point on which to build the foundation for a comprehensive program for post apocalypse health care within your family, group or community.

First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat – The Army Way

The Army does a good job of breaking down complex procedures into digestible tasks but the Army doesn’t always call things by the same name as civilians…civilians would call this the Heimlich Maneuver but the Army calls it First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat.  Links have been added to facilitate further reading or research.

Task Number: 081-COM-1003
Task Title: Perform First Aid to Clear an Object Stuck in the Throat of a Conscious Casualty
Task Type: Individual
Proponent:
Task Data
Conditions: You see a conscious casualty who is having difficulty breathing because something is stuck in his throat. This iteration should NOT be performed in MOPP.
Standards: Clear the object from the casualty’s throat by giving abdominal or chest thrusts until the casualty can talk and breathe normally, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious requiring mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Safety Notes: In a training environment, leaders must perform a risk assessment in accordance with FM 5-19, Composite Risk Management. Leaders will complete a DA Form 7566 COMPOSITE RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHEET during the planning and completion of each task and sub-task by assessing mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time available and civil considerations, (METT-TC). Note: During MOPP training, leaders must ensure personnel are monitored for potential heat injury. Local policies and procedures must be followed during times of increased heat category in order to avoid heat related injury. Consider the MOPP work/rest cycles and water replacement guidelines IAW FM 3-11.4, NBC Protection, FM 3-11.5, CBRN Decontamination.
Environment: Environmental protection is not just the law but the right thing to do. It is a continual process and starts with deliberate planning. Always be alert to ways to protect our environment during training and missions. In doing so, you will contribute to the sustainment of our training resources while protecting people and the environment from harmful effects. Refer to FM 3-34.5 Environmental Considerations and GTA 05-08-002 ENVIRONMENTAL-RELATED RISK ASSESSMENT.
PERFORMANCE STEPS
1Determine if the casualty needs help.
aIf the casualty has a mild airway obstruction (able to speak or cough forcefully, may be wheezing between coughs), do not interfere except to encourage the casualty to cough.
bIf the casualty has a severe airway obstruction (poor air exchange and increased breathing difficulty, a silent cough, cyanosis, or inability to speak or breathe), continue with step 2. 
NOTE: You can ask the casualty one question, “Are you choking?” If the casualty nods yes, help is needed.
CAUTION: Do not slap a choking casualty on the back. This may cause the object to go down the airway instead of out.
 
2Perform abdominal or chest thrusts.
NOTE: Abdominal thrusts should be used unless the victim is in the advanced stages of pregnancy, is very obese, or has a significant abdominal wound.
Note: Clearing a conscious casualty’s airway obstruction can be performed with the casualty either standing or sitting.
 
aAbdominal thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms around the casualty’s waist.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist against the abdomen slightly above the navel and well below the tip of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give quick backward and upward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be a separate, distinct movement. Thrusts should be continued until the obstruction is expelled or the casualty becomes unconscious.
 
bChest thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms under the casualty’s armpits and around the chest.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist on the middle of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give backward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be performed slowly and distinctly with the intent of relieving the obstruction.
 
3Continue to give abdominal or chest thrusts, as required. Give abdominal or chest thrusts until the obstruction is clear, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious.
NOTE: If the casualty becomes unconscious, lay him down and then start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation procedures.
 
4If the obstruction is cleared, watch the casualty closely and check for other injuries, if necessary.

State Hunting & Fishing License & Regulation Information

Hunting and FishingFall has me thinking of hunting and even the government regulations covering hunting are getting so complex that they are confusing… so today we added another resource to Prepography‘s Online Preparedness Tools & Resources Page covering U.S. State Hunting & Fishing License & Regulation Information.

Hope this helps you keep your hunting & fishing safe, legal and sane!

U.S. State Hunting & Fishing License & Regulation Information

Hunting and FishingEven living off the land is regulated these days.  Make sure to keep your hunting and fishing legal and these links to the State Hunting & Fishing License & Regulation websites will help you keep it legal.  Thanks to Bass Pro Shop for compiling this information!

STATE LICENSING REGULATIONS
State Web Site Phone Licensing Hunting Fishing
Alabama (AL) Web Site 888-848-6887 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Alaska (AK) Web Site 907-465-4100 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Arizona (AZ) Web Site 866-462-0433 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Arkansas (AR) Web Site 800-364-4263 Licensing Hunting Fishing
California (CA) Web Site 916-227-2245 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Colorado (CO) Web Site 800-244-5613 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Connecticut (CT) Web Site 860-424-3700 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Delaware (DE) Web Site 302-739-5841 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Florida (FL) Web Site 888-347-4356 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Georgia (GA) Web Site 800-366-2661 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Hawaii (HI) Web Site 808-587-0100 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Idaho (ID) Web Site 800-554-8685 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Illinois (IL) Web Site 217-782-6302 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Indiana (IN) Web Site 317-232-4080 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Iowa (IA) Web Site 800-367-1188 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Kansas (KS) Web Site 620-672-5911 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Kentucky (KY) Web Site 877-598-2401 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Louisiana (LA) Web Site 888-765-2602 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Maine (ME) Web Site 207-287-8000 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Maryland (MD) Web Site 410-260-3220 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Massachusetts (MA) Web Site 617-626-1500 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Michigan (MI) Web Site 906-353-6651 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Minnesota (MN) Web Site 888-646-6367 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Mississippi (MS) Web Site 800-546-4868 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Missouri (MO) Web Site 800-392-4115 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Montana (MT) Web Site 406-444-2535 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Nebraska (NE) Web Site 402-471-0641 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Nevada (NV) Web Site 775-688-1500 Licensing Hunting Fishing
New Hampshire (NH) Web Site 603-271-2461 Licensing Hunting Fishing
New Jersey (NJ) Web Site 609-292-2965 Licensing Hunting Fishing
New Mexico (NM) Web Site 800-862-9310 Licensing Hunting Fishing
New York (NY) Web Site 866-933-2257 Licensing Hunting Fishing
North Carolina (NC) Web Site 888-248-6834 Licensing Hunting Fishing
North Dakota (ND) Web Site 800-406-6409 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Ohio (OH) Web Site 800-945-3543 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Oklahoma (OK) Web Site 405-521-3852 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Oregon (OR) Web Site 503-947-6100 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Pennsylvania (PA) Web Site 717-787-4250 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Rhode Island (RI) Web Site 401-222-6800 Licensing Hunting Fishing
South Carolina (SC) Web Site 803-734-3833 Licensing Hunting Fishing
South Dakota (SD) Web Site 605-773-3485 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Tennessee (TN) Web Site 888-814-8972 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Texas (TX) Web Site 800-895-4248 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Utah (UT) Web Site 801-538-4700 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Vermont (VE) Web Site 802-241-3700 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Virginia (VA) Web Site 866-721-6911 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Washington (WA) Web Site 866-246-9453 Licensing Hunting Fishing
West Virginia (WV) Web Site 304-558-2771 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Wisconsin (WI) Web Site 877-945-4236 Licensing Hunting Fishing
Wyoming (WY) Web Site 307-777-4600 Licensing Hunting Fishing

 

Poor Is A Choice – 25 Ways To Choose A Rich Life

I’ve written previously about The Top 10 Symptoms of Poor Man’s Disease and about how I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and once lived in such a rough neighborhood I counted prostitutes on my way home from work each night…but I never chose to be poor and I do believe that poor is a choice.

I never went hungry growing up or did without anything I needed (and by my high school years had just about everything I wanted) but there was a time when I was very young when my folks would search through the couch cushions at the end of the month to scrape together enough money to have a treat at McDonalds.  As an adult I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and I once lived in such a bad neighborhood that I made a game of counting how many prostitutes I passed on my way home from work.

I now live in a small town and one of the benefits of living in a small town is that you get to know many different types of people.  Folks with varied economic and educational backgrounds…folks with  different definitions of success who define ‘the good life’ in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine.  I know lots of folks who don’t have a lot of financial resources but I don’t know a whole lot of ‘poor’ people…and most of the folks I know who are ‘poor’ live a life to be envied by most folks…and I’m not talking about people like Hillary Clinton talking about being broke when she and President Clinton left the White House.

Even those that are members of the lucky sperm club and grow up with all the benefits that family wealth provides have been known to choose poverty… then there are guys like Donald Trump who’s failed and gone bankrupt multiple times, but never let it keep him down.

‘Poor’ is a combination of:

  • Expenses equaling or exceeding income
  • Not making changes to bring income up and/or expenses down
  • Having a poor attitude about it because you ‘deserve more’ or ‘aren’t getting your fair share’

Being poor really is a choice, or more appropriately a series of choices made and choices not made.  If you accept my assertion that poor is a choice, why not choose rich.  Below are a number of choices to make…or avoid to choose rich.  I’ve written this guide as advice for the young…who have opportunities that those of us a little more seasoned might not have…but even if you’ve made some poor choices in the past, it’s never too late to choose rich!

Poor is a choice so:

  1. Choose an education:  I don’t care whether it’s an advanced degree, a bachelor’s degree, a certificate from a trade school, or a journeyman trade…just make sure that you get an education or skills that are marketable.  The most prestigious degree in the world isn’t worth getting if you can’t earn a living.
  2. Choose to start in the Military:  What’s better than getting job training, work experience and college money…how about earning an income and serving your country while you do so.  Oh, and it’s the best resume material in the world… what other career entrusts those under 25 with millions of dollars worth of equipment and human lives…  There are even part time options called the Reserves and the National Guard.  Did you know that less than a quarter of the young people today qualify for military service because of medical conditions or the choices they’ve made (convictions, drug use, obesity, mental health medications, etc.).
  3. Choose to take an entry level job:  The current movement to raise the minimum wage is endangering entry level jobs.  No job is beneath you that’s legal and moral.  Take that first job that’s unsavory to prove yourself so that you can eventually have the job you want.
  4. Choose to volunteer:  Volunteer for more responsibility, accept the unpleasant tasks and prove yourself so that you can move up in the organization or on to the better job or into a career.  Volunteer in your community to help others, build your reputation and expand your personal network.
  5. Choose to work:  Work even if you don’t have to because that’s how you’ll create more opportunities.  I’ve known folks who work until they have enough money to last themselves a few days, weeks or months and then fail to show up or quit to knock around for a while.  Don’t lose the gig you have until you already have the one you want and never burn bridges that you might need again.
  6. Choose to treat your employer’s business as if it’s yours:  The best employees approach every job as if they’re the business owner.  They give 100%, don’t cut corners and look for ways to improve profitability.  If you take ownership of your job you will either be rewarded with more opportunities, benefits and pay or will learn that you want to work for another employer.
  7. Choose to be patient:  Employers look for and reward loyal employees that perform well over time.  Doing a good job is a marathon, not a sprint so don’t expect rewards for working hard for hours or days…think in terms of weeks, months or years depending on your chosen career.
  8. Choose to improve your skills:  The smartest guy I ever worked with didn’t rely on his intelligence to get ahead…he spent every spare moment developing skills to become more attractive to potential employers.  While the rest of our deployed group went out to dinner or a night on the town he’d stay in and study and practice for IT certifications and work hard learning new software development skills.
  9. Choose to network:  You may be the best widget servicer in the world but if you don’t develop a reputation within a group of people who are involved with widgets then you’ll be hard pressed to get that first job.
  10. Choose multigenerational wealth creation:  Traditionally, new immigrants to the U.S. expected to work hard for low wages their entire lives in order to improve the opportunities for their children.  With all the opportunities available these days, I don’t think that this is necessary any more, but you have to admire the stamina and determination of these immigrants to refuse to think ‘poor.’
  11. Choose a second job:  Maybe you need extra experience to achieve your dream job…maybe you just need extra money to make up for some temporary setback or poor financial decisions.  Don’t be too proud to take a second job.  I’ve had second and often third jobs most of my adult life…often that third job is something that’s mostly fun or gives me a discount for things I enjoy doing.  Consider taking a second job that gives back to your community as well as developing your skills…military Reservist, National Guardsman, or reserve law enforcement are such options.
  12. Choose frugality:  Spend less money than you make and you’ll be less likely to choose to be ‘poor.’  Especially beware those monthly recurring charges that add up quickly.
  13. Choose to stay out of debt:  There are good reasons to take on debt but the only two I can think of are to purchase a business (or equipment) that will bring in much more income each month that you pay our in payments and to buy a house…but a modest house for your income in a good neighborhood.
  14. Choose to stay away from drugs:  Drug use doesn’t just slow down your reflexes, it slows down your opportunities.  There are a number of jobs, opportunities and promotions that will be denied to you if you choose drugs.
  15. Choose to stay away from crime:  I don’t just mean ‘don’t do crime’ I also mean that you should stay away from those who do.  Ask any law enforcement officer and they’ll tell you that there is such a thing as guilt by association.  Background checks don’t care if you were ever convicted.
  16. Choose to look employable:  If you’re going to be a tattoo artist than it’s OK to have tattoos all over your neck and forearms but if you want to go into the Army or become a nurse than such tattoos will make it more difficult to find employment.  The same goes with tattoos, purple hair, mohawks and all similar types of expression.  Look like what you want to be…dress for the job you want as well.
  17. Choose to act the part:  Don’t just look like what you want to be…act like it as well.  Those who get the opportunity most likely looked and acted like they already had it.
  18. Choose to take care of yourself:  You have to be and look physically fit enough to do the job and healthy enough that they expect you to be able to work.
  19. Choose good hygiene:  I know a woman who is competent, experienced, dependable, loyal and attractive…but she’s been unexpectedly fired twice recently…she lives in a house with several dogs and she’s let them make her house smell like a urinal which means that any clothes that she puts on that aren’t straight out of the dryer…smell like a urinal.  Keep yourself and your environment clean so that nothing distracts from you competence.
  20. Choose how you define ‘rich:’  I know a guy who lives check-to-check but he wants to fix cars and work from his farm so he does.  He’s had good paying jobs but he always comes back to the farm because that’s what he wants and I’ve never once heard him complain about being ‘poor.’
  21. Choose continuous self development:  From time to time I’ve found myself resting on my laurels…I’m never happy again until I start working on myself again…mentally, physically, career skills, personal networks…whatever…and once I start growing again…I’m always happier and seem to make more money.
  22. Choose to start a business:  You must take risks to seek rewards.
  23. Choose to pick yourself up after your failures and begin again:  Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.  Learn from your mistakes, don’t let them cripple you emotionally, and have the strength try again
  24. Choose not to quit:  Don’t like what you’re doing, keep doing it anyway until you find the next thing.  Finish the semester, stay at the job until you find the next one and for heavens sake don’t give up on your marriage or kids.
  25. Choose to ignore the poverty industry:  There are a whole lot of people out there making a living off of keeping other people poor.  Don’t buy into their philosophies of division, grow a chip on your shoulder or fall into the trap of ‘managing’ your income so you don’t loose your disability payments, EBT card, or now healthcare.  By all means use the social safety net if you don’t have any other alternatives until you can transition to self sufficiency but beware because they are designed to trap you into dependence by penalizing you as you begin earning your own way.  In other words, choose to earn your way, not fight for your fair share.  Fighting for your fair share is just another way of choosing poverty.

What’s this have to do with preparedness?  A lot actually, by choosing to live rich you’ll be happier, deal with setbacks more effectively, be more self sufficient and perhaps have more money for preps.  Survival is an attitude…so is choosing to live richly.

Bonus Choice:  Choose to vote for politicians that will leave you and your pocketbook alone:  Compliance takes up so much of any business owner’s time and the penalties for non-compliance can be crippling…don’t let these obstacles keep you from trying but do your best to vote out the bastards that punish entrepreneurs and those who create our GNP.

Empowering – Today’s Quote

When you rob someone of their incentive to go out there and improve themselves, you are not doing them any favors…  When you take somebody and pat them on the head and say, ‘There there, you poor little thing… Let me give you housing subsidies, let me give you free health care because you can’t do that.’”

“What would be much more empowering is to use our intellect and our resources to give those people a way up and out…

Dr. Ben Carson via Hollywood Actor Couldn’t Help But Start Clapping After Hearing Dr. Ben Carson’s Take on Welfare During ‘The View’Dr. Ben Carson

Challenge & Password For Preppers

Here on Prepography we regularly learn to be better Preppers by adapting military skills to preparedness uses… or as we refer to it, Military Pedagogy.  Today we’re adapting the Skill Level 1 Army Task of ‘Challenge & Password’ to the needs of the prepper.

Scenario:  About six weeks ago it finally happened, the currency collapsed and since then the security situation has rapidly deteriorated. Over the weeks since the precipitating event crime has begun to run rampant as people grow more and more desperate to fill their and their family’s bellies. At some point the majority of the police officers realized that their entire paycheck couldn’t even buy their family a single loaf of bread and every minute they spent protecting your family was one that put their own family at risk. Now the few police that are reporting for duty can’t adequately keep the security situation from spiraling out of control. You’ve been up the last 20 hours warning strangers away from your home and watching for a couple of friends you’re expecting to come shelter with you and your family. You sure hope they arrive soon because you’re not sure you can stay awake much longer and the moon will soon set… dropping the neighborhood into total darkness now that the power’s out. Finally, you see the outline of three people headed directly for your home…your friends must have picked up another on the way. It sure looks like Jim and Carol walking in and all you need to do to confirm it is hear their voice so you call out. “Who’s there?” and receive the expected reply “It’s me.” With great relief you step out from your hide and walk up to meet three people that you suddenly realize are strangers as they grab you and take away your rifle.

Challenge & Password is a technique used by military forces to recognize friendly forces in hostile environments or while guarding resources.  While the need for such a technique when encountering a soldier from an adjacent unit that you haven’t met before is apparent this technique also assists service members in recognizing friendlies in low light and no light situations.  As a Prepper you may believe that you will always recognize those you should let in…in reality it’s very easy for a tired and hopeful mind to ‘see’ what you hope or expect to see when the reality is something else entirely… even in good lighting.  Challenge & Password and the other recognition techniques we’ll explore today are meant to double-check what your eyes and ears are telling you to ensure that those really are friendlies walking up on your position.

Challenge & Password

Challenge & Password is nothing more than a sign and countersign that let’s two parties recognize each other as friendlies.  Here’s how it works:

  1. The stationary party sees and/or hears the traveling party walking up on his/her position and observes until the other party is vulnerable in the open and within voice range then calls out “HALT”  just loud enough to be heard by that party and hopefully no one else.  This command should be called out from a position of safety where you can cover the other party with any weapons you may have.  If you think that this might be your party or friendlies that know the procedure continue, otherwise send them on their way. At this point the other party takes one of several actions that telegraph their intentions but the most likely results are that they run, they fight or they halt.
  2. Assuming that the other party halts you should command the party to lower their weapons or take other actions as required to assure your safety before directing one member to “ADVANCE AND BE RECOGNIZED.”  During this entire procedure make sure to continually observe the other party and your surroundings for your own and your family or party’s safety.  Additionally, make sure to use a clear, commanding voice when giving these instructions…do not show weakness or hesitancy.
  3. Once the indicated person has advanced far enough that you can easily talk with him or her in a low tone that doesn’t carry to hidden watchers you once again command “HALT.”
  4. At this point you present the Challenge in a low voice.  For this example we’ll use the Challenge, ‘Thrifty’ and the Password, ‘Flower.’  As mentioned, in a low voice you clearly Challenge, “THRIFTY” and wait for the response.  Any response but ‘Flower’ indicates that this is not your party and should be sent on their way.  A proper response allows you to bring the person in.
  5. If there are multiple members of the party entering your area then have the person you have vetted individually identify and bring in each person to make sure that there are no straphangers.
Note: that a Challenge & Password should be two words that are unrelated and form an unusual phrase as in you’d be unlikely to use them together. ‘Thrifty Flower’ is a great example of how a Challenge & Password should work but ‘World Series.’ ‘Puddle Jumper’ or ‘Fig Newtons’ are examples of poor choices because there is a chance that an unknown party could actually guess the proper password response. At the end of this article is a series of words that could be combined to form properly unusual phrases for your Challenge & Password.
Challenge & Password combinations should be changed on a set schedule once usage becomes commonplace and necessary. Determine the schedule based on the security situation in your area.

The Running Password

As you can guess by the description of the Challenge & Password procedure above…it takes a while to do it right.  If you’re being chased and need to get to safety quickly you use the ‘Running Password.’  There is no time for subtleties when you are running for your life so as you run across the security perimeter you shout the Running Password to make sure that the friendlies know you’re coming and know that you’re a ‘good guy.’

Needless to say make sure keep an eye out for tailgaters following and mimicking your guy yelling the Running Password.  Additionally, make sure to change the Running Password as soon as it’s used.

Other Recognition Codes

Now that we’ve discussed the use of both Challenge & Password and the Running Password let’s explore some other potential recognition codes for use in a security compromised environment.

Noise or Knock Signals

Knock CodeIn Matthew Bracken’s near future novel, Enemies Foreign And Domestic the protagonists gain entry to the bad guy’s rec room by mimicking the distinctive knock that the bad guys were using as a recognition code to gain entry.  Needless to say, loudly knocking out ‘shave and a haircut’ wasn’t very effective for the bad guys.  However, I can foresee certain situations where a noise or knock code would be an appropriate recognition signal.

Two places I can imagine a knock code being useful are if you are forced to shelter in an apartment or an industrial area.  In an apartment where multiple groups and families have access to common areas like hallways, your security perimeter by necessity, may have to be your own four walls and door.  In an industrial area you may also have to limit your security perimeter to the four walls if there’s not a more appropriate perimeter like a security fence or you have limited personnel to secure your building.

In designing a recognition code from knocks, make sure to knock as lightly as practical so as to reduce the chance of being overheard.  Additionally, I recommend using a mathematical code to reduce the likelihood of the bad guys figuring out how to get in and allow each party to recognize that the other is the desired party.  Here’s how it works:

  1. The party outside knocks in four knock increments by prior arrangement.  Think of this as announcing the outside party’s presence.
  2. The inside party responds with 2-5 knocks (randomly chosen)…let’s say 2 knocks in our example.  This is the Challenge.
  3. The outside party responds with one less knock than the inside party used.  For instance if the inside party knocked three times than the outside party responds with (3-1) 2 knocks.  This is the Response.
  4. If you want to make sure that the inside party is as expected you could add another Response by adding or subtracting one knock from the previous Response.
It’s important to keep in mind while telegraphing your location by knocking that most walls and virtually every door are permeable to shots fired of sufficient caliber.

Panels or Flags

An interesting recognition system that we tested while I was in the 82nd Airborne Division (we used them for reconstitution after a jump) were panels.  By using placards or flags you can signal a simple message like “friendlies here,” “DANGER,” “meet here” or “meet at X.”

Panels used in this manner do lack the Challenge and Response mechanism of the other techniques we’re discussing but may serve a useful purpose and maritime military units have historically used flags for Sign and Countersign (Challenge & Password) at sea.

Lights

One if by land and two if by sea may be familiar to you from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride” and demonstrates the successful use of lights for signaling but lights present problems when used as recognition codes because they can be seen so well over great distances at night.  If you do determine that you must use lights for recognition codes I recommend using a mathematical code as described in Knock Signals above or perhaps the use of distinctive colored lenses to make mimicry less likely or successful.

Duress Codes

An interesting addendum and safety mechanism that can be added to any of the techniques discussed above is the addition of a Duress Code.  A Duress Code signals to the other party that the person signaling is under duress and being forced to make the contact under threat.  A Duress Code signals the other party to be wary and set a trap for the bad actors forcing the hand of the signaler.  A Duress Code could be a word, a phrase, a series of knocks, ‘body language,’ a series of knocks or a particular color of light.  Duress Codes could also be outgoing to warn a party coming into a presumed safe area and could be signaled by a light in a particular window, a flag or panel or some other noticeable change in the environment that will only have meaning to those parties ‘read into’ the code.

We’ve used the concept of the Duress Code with all of my daughters whereby they could call us and utter an innocuous code phrase and we would drop everything and come retrieve them from whatever mischief their friends had in mind.  My daughters could extract themselves from unsavory or dangerous situations without losing face and they could blame their desertion on their pesky parents.

Conclusion

Listed above are some of the considerations and mechanisms of practical implementation of a Challenge & Password system.  Proper implementation of a Challenge & Password system may not only save your life but may also save the lives of those closest to you.  Take some time to think about how you would implement such a system now so that you could rapidly transition to using a system if you needed one… better yet, discuss the system with your family or group and practice it’s use.  Just remember as you develop your system that there’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel if you take these lessons from what has worked for military forces for thousands of years.  Let me know how it goes!


 

Sample Challenges & Passwords

Listed below are some sample Challenge and Password phrases to serve as examples and get you started developing your own system.

CHALLENGE PASSWORD
Lofty Snakeskin
Scramble Proof
Baggage Quality
Daughter Interest
Calorie European
Picture Staircase
Dandelion Sky
Eyesight Elbow
Temporary Scrubby
Regular Salmon
Firewood Ceiling
Beautiful Newspaper

 

Prepping As A Moral Imperative

“Prepping As A Moral Imperative” is going to be a little “evangelical prepping”.  That is a phrase coined by AJ. No, this isn’t a sermon on Christianity.  I do believe the Bible is very clear on being prepared and self-sufficient.  I am going to look at the matter in a more secular manner. The evangelical portion comes through my apologist’s attempt to draw more people in to “prepping”.  This essay frames the argument in a way that tries to appeal to the “rational being” in the non-prepper.

What is a Moral Imperative?

An imperative is a principal that a person is unable to resist.  Reason is what makes an imperative a moral choice. It becomes a moral “law” that must be followed. To act against this law is seen as self-defeating and against reason. We can test moral imperatives by applying a series of tests that German philosopher Immanuel Kant (below right) created in the mid-1700s. These tests either verify, or debunk the validity of a moral/ethical idea. Kant’s ultimate goal was to establish how much sway a moral argument should hold in a society.

Kant’s Formulas

Prepping As A Moral Imperative The first test is called “The Maxim Test”. A maxim is a statement of truth. A very simple and easily understood maxim is, “water is wet”.  A philosophical maxim is one that states a moral truth. This type of maxim is one that all should follow. Take lying, for instance. If the act of lying is morally right, then that morality must extend to everyone. Chaos would reign, if everyone lied all the time. This chaos would be self-defeating. Thus, as a rule, lying is bad. The second test is the “Individual As An End” test. This test is meant to determine if the imperative is benefiting the individual alone or others, as well. The greater good is served, if it passes the test; even if the individual benefits. A good example would the white lie. You are serving your own self interest of “being kind” when you tell a white lie. This is done at the cost of sacrificing the honesty being asked for. Only one person benefits from the white lie; you.  The third and final test is called the “Kingdom of Ends”. It combines the first two tests and applies it to the group. basically, a moral imperative is true, if the group can set down moral laws which apply to everyone equally. No specific sub-group, or individual gains from the application of this new moral “law”.

Putting Prepping As A Moral Imperative To The Test

Let’s apply Kant’s formulas to prepping as a moral imperative. The maxim of prepping as a moral imperative proposes that being prepared for an emergency is beneficial.  Not being so would be self-defeating. It reasons that a person who is concerned about their well being would take steps to protect against foreseeable emergencies. Even the US government promotes individual preparedness on its Ready.Gov site.   The maxim passes the first test, even by government standards.  The next test determines whether the individual is using prepping to benefit themselves alone, or if the whole of society is served by the act. The person who prepares is acting in a self-preserving manner. In the event of an emergency, they would no doubt benefit. Society also reaps rewards during a time of crisis from the prepared. The person who preps needs less help during a crisis. They use less communal resources and are better placed to help with recovery. In fact, the well prepared can give aid to others in need, when called upon.  Again, the idea of prepping passes philosophical muster. The last test helps us determine whether the morality of prepping benefits across the whole of society, when applied to every individual. If every individual in society applied the principles of “prepping”, then in times of crisis, society would benefit from the maxim. During the crisis, no one group benefits, to the detriment of another. No individual is better, or worse off than another, except to the extent in which they had prepared for said crisis. In the end, though, society is much better off should everyone be prepared to some extent, rather than some being prepared, while others are not. Prepography Logo; Prepping As A Moral Imperative

Prepping As A Moral Imperative, An The Appeal To Reason

I realize that I am most likely preaching to the choir. Chances are if you visit Prepography regularly you already feel that prepping is a moral imperative. Your take away from “Prepping As A Moral Imperative” can be a new tool to work on the hesitant.  If you don’t buy in to the whole prepping mentality, ask yourself this one thing, “Is what has been put forth in favor of prepping as a moral imperative reasoned, rational and logical?”   If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, “Why am I not becoming more prepared and self-sufficient?”

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