Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog. I have a mixed bag of odds and ends for you this week. So let’s get right to it.
First off, a month or so back I was asked whether those inexpensive collapsible water bottles leak. I finally got around to testing one so I could report back to you. So does it leak? Yes and no.
Here is the deal. The bottle holds 16 ounces of water and for the most part, stands up to quite a bit of abuse without leaking. Although you can’t tell from the photo, you can clip it onto the outside of a pack by attaching a carabiner clip through the hole on the side of the pouch and have water without the bulk of a regular bottle.
On the other hand, if you squeeze hard enough, it will leak through the top spout. There was no leakage around the cap, though. See what I mean? A mixed bag. To get a collapsible water bottle? That is totally up to you. Personally, I prefer a more traditional water bottle such as this one.
I did add another piece of gear to my preps this week. This time it was the Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight. I plan to have a “Flashlight Faceoff” the UltraFire Mini Cree I love so much. Is it worth the extra cost? There are BDS readers that swear by the Coast HP1 so I am anxious to try it.
The Survival Buzz #178: Mixed Results with a Collapsible Water Bottle
Home Medicine 101
This week I started an online course in herbal remedies. The title is Home Medicine 101. The way it works is that you go through one online lesson a week followed by homework and a simple quiz. In week one I learned about burns, stings, and rashes and how to treat then. Hint? Aloe or cactus plus clay mixed into a poultice is a powerful remedy!
To many of you it may seem obvious but for me, learning that juice from a live aloe plant was tons better than packaged and bottled stuff was new information. In addition, backyard clay is just as effective a the fancy store-bought stuff. Who would have thought it.
The first lesson went fast and although the material was pretty basic, it was information I did not know. As much as I love my essential oils, I need to learn more about herbal remedies and backyard first aid. This is good stuff and for me at least, it is nice to sit back, watch and listen rather than read.
Free Emergency Water Webinar – July 22nd, 7PM CDT
Coming up on July 22nd is another Emergency Water Webinar featuring water expert Glenn Meder. I was lucky enough to convince Glenn that we needed to hold this event a second time so that those of you that missed it can catch it.
A lot of good information, including some new material, will be shared. In the one hour presentation, you will learn:
· How to properly purify water for long periods of time
· How to ensure our safety in an emergency
· How to treat any water — even ocean water and pool water — and make it safe to drink.
Even if you attended this webinar the first time around, I encourage you to see it again. There will be a question an interactive answer period and if it is anything like last time, the Q&As will be as informative as the webinar itself.
Here is a link for more information: Five Things You Must Know to Provide Your Family With Safe Drinking Water In an Emergency.
What’s Up with Jade Helm
Curious about Jade Helm? Enter “Jade Helm” into your browser search engine and you will be confronted everything from denials by the PTB to conspiracy theories from the alternative media. As with much that is going on in the world today, my opinion is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Mind you, I do not trust the ‘gubment’ and the main stream media much these days but on the other hand, many in the alternative press spout doomsday theories and fear-mongering so they can sell you stuff. Like I said, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Yesterday, my BFF George Ure posted his take on Jade Helm. Since he lives in east Texas, the speculation is close to home and he is paying attention. He gave me permission to share his article and so I do so, for your discernment. Note that I have made minor edits for brevity and readability.
George Ure Weighs In on Jade Helm
So far, none of our citizen-journalists have reported anything unsavory having to do with Jade Helm – that military operation down here in Texas and surrounding states.
Yes, people do tend to get worked up over things like Jade Helm, but so far – at least in my circle of friends, there’s been no sightings, no massive convoys, no suspension of civil rights, and so far as I know, there’s been no one trying to take over the local airport.
On the other hand, I am deeply suspicious of what it means, like everyone. Yes, we have concern, especially because there are plenty of places where war games can be played without focusing so much on getting off the (military) reservations.
Of course, as you’d expect, the largest military base in the US is Fort Hood here in Texas. It weighs in at 158,706 acres. Being 640 acres per square mile. This pencils out to 248-square miles.
You can get a lot of people into that much land before spilling into the countryside.
For Left Coasty types, Manhattan is under 34 square miles and boasts a population of 1.6 million, plus or minus the transients.
What the Helm?
We are pretty much where we were previously on the matter of WHY Jade Helm is sited where it is.
The leading choices include:
1. It’s really a warm-up for a coming border war with Mexico. You saw the other day yet-another drug lord was sprung from a Mexico prison? We have a good Border Patrol and ICE force, but they are mis-directed from the top and that’s why home invasions, murders, rapes, and so on by the worst of Mexico’s low-life just throng to the land of opportunity.
A lot of people don’t know how abusive the Mexican government is, but in a knowledge-based world, Mexico plain sucks.
As was explained to me, everyone born in Mexico is entitled to a free public education.
Sounds good, right?
But when you drill down into the “born in Mexico” part, you find that people who are not “papered” (as in having a doctor-signed birth certificate that has been registered) are not included.
Just as the U.S. once upon a time had institutional discrimination, so does Mexico. So from the standpoint of parents, do you want your kids growing up in the exploited slave class?
Or, do you pack them some sandwiches and point them at the US border?
We may not like the reality on the ground, and certainly the clowns on the hill and fearless leader hisself aren’t doing dickus about the problem: They have other issues like who will work in the poultry operations and who will we use as an underclass to fill up all those for-profit prisons?
Add to the mix that the US has turned down water deliveries to parts of northern Mexico (as is totally within bounds to do because of the drought) and we have an unpleasant situation that keeps sliding from bad to worse.
Yet the silver lining to all this is that it means the prison corporations will continue hiring, the law enforcement equipment sales will keep rising, and drones are coming to save us all.
And if you believe it’s not a conspiracy at the highest levels, you need counseling.
Another possibility for the Jade Helm operational testing is to see how well the military could respond to massive civil emergencies that aren’t yet on the public horizon.
Two examples spring to mind:
One was that New Yorker article about what the impacts of a major rip of the Cascadia subduction zone would entail. There, Yellowstone, or a major mess around the Mississippi – like New Madrid – could leave over 10-million homeless and needing water overnight.
Another would be the impacts of the California and West Coast drought.
There’s a glimmer of hope today as Time reports that there is some possible precipitation on the way. But that expectation is based on a minor change in the El Nino cycle and its only in computer models. None of the wet stuff is hitting the ground yet. In Washington, the fools on the Hill are still playing dances with lobbyists on funding for drought relief. Everyone has their hand out. Some for favors, others offering them.
Taken together, massive earthquake damage – of continuing drought – has the potential for mass dislocation of the civilian population which would be ironic. Years ago, someone forecast a global coastal event and had visions of huge displacements of people as a result. But the call was massively premature and we still don’t see it.
Timely matters, though, or predictions are of little value. Knowing when in a half billion years the sun blinks out in a supernova is not exactly actionable intel.
The Other Helm Options
Obviously military. There are plenty of contested hunks of real estate in the world where a climate (and heat) similar to the Jade Helm theater could be encountered.
Many of these tracts are being swarmed by Islamic extremists who will kill or convert anyone who gets in their way.
Passage of the Iran deal is up in the air, too. So if it comes to it, Iran territory looks a lot like Texas in some regarded: Hot, rocky and barren in places and with a lot of oil infrastructure.
Is Jade Helm a kind of “all-purpose” operation?
It’s a chance for the FedCorp to ignore the prohibitions against the use of American military on home soil…get out and show the people who’s in charge.
But as to actually suborning theft of rights? Maybe not. We’ll have to await reports.
But could it turn into a takeover by the FedCorp of the Republic of Texas? No, not hardly.
But in the age of alarmist and ratings driven “news” we’ll keep to the longer view unless reports from the field justify our less paranoid views.
Remember, even with no abrogation’s of civil liberties in the target states, there is still much to be learned of what’s going on at the organizational military-mind level from calmly observing and looking for signs and portents.
Like reading tea leaves, the details of this exercise may be far more revealing that the overall perspective. And there’s been precious little data collection of the detail level, so far.
Here is a link to the complete article: Coping: With Jade Helm.
American Experience: Blackout
I am not sure how long it will be available but for now, PBS is broadcasting “American Experience: Blackout” online for free. Here is a description:
First responders, journalists, shop owners, those inside the pressure-packed control center of Con Edison on West End Avenue, and other New Yorkers tell about what happened when the lights went out on July 13, 1977.
As bad as things were then, you can only imagine what they will be like if something similar happens now. This is definitely worth watching even though, as I think about it, we may be preaching the choir.
Note: If you prefer, American Experience: Blackout is also available for streaming and on a Roku if you have one.
Backdoor Survival Mail Bag
This was a comment left by Dan E. on the Minutemen Concealed Storage article. I know it is impossible to keep up with all of the comments (unless you are me and then you have to read them!) so I am sharing it here.
If this does not give you something to think about, nothing will.
Why I wish I had concealed my guns.
When I was in basic training, one of the things Drill Sergeant Wireman pounded into my head was that I personally responsible for my weapon at all times. Losing your weapon is literally a court martial offense. However, the military would rather have the weapon back than court martial someone; so standard procedure when a weapon is lost is to immediately cancel everything and have the entire unit search for the weapon until it is found, even if that takes several days. Losing a weapon is a very serious matter.
In civilian life, the responsibility of owning a weapon and safely securing it is no less serious. My Dad taught me that the first rule of being a responsible gun owner is keeping your guns away from people who might use them in irresponsible or unsafe ways. We’ve all seen the stories on the news about a child getting their hands on a weapon and killing themselves or someone else. Since there were six kids in my family, I was taught early that safely storing your firearms is no laughing matter.
So imagine what it feels like to have your guns stolen.
This has happened to me twice. The first time was when I was in college.
The gun was a Lee–Enfield No. 5 Mk 1 “Jungle Carbine” that my father had bought surplus in the early 1950s. He had taught me how to shoot with it when I was a kid, and had given it to me as a present when I left for school. Since my apartment was in bad neighborhood, and I didn’t have any kids, I had decided to keep the carbine rolled up in a blanket under my bed.
One afternoon, while I was in English class, someone kicked in the front door of my apartment and helped themselves to my stuff; including the carbine.
The second time I had a gun stolen I was on a trip to South Florida. I was visiting a friend, and after a ten-hour drive, I was tired. I found my friend’s apartment complex, and when I carried my bags into his apartment, I got sloppy and didn’t properly conceal my pistol case in my bag. Someone must have seen because when we got back from dinner a maintenance ladder had been placed up against his balcony, his back door had been forced, and my new .357 revolver was gone. Nothing else, just some cash, a couple boxes of ammo, and my gun.
When I filed the police report, the officer acted professionally, but he was obvious he was frustrated and angry with me. After all, I had brought my gun into Florida from another State, and within three hours of my arrival, it was in the hands of criminals. Thanks to my negligence another high-powered pistol was out on the streets he patrolled every day. To say he had a low opinion of me was an understatement. What was worse, I knew he was right. I had failed to be a responsible gun owner. I had allowed my weapon to fall into the hands of criminals. What they chose to do with my gun is their responsibility, but the fact they had my gun… well that’s my fault.
In the years since, the question of what happened to my stolen guns has troubled me. A couple of times I checked with my insurance company, but I had never written down the serial numbers, so they don’t have any way of tracing them, much less getting them back.
Bolt action carbines are generally not a criminal’s weapon of choice, so I have hopes that my father’s carbine may have found its’ way into a pawnshop or a gun show. With luck it may be in hands of a collector, or a hunter.
Then again, I went to college in Houston. It’s not impossible that my Dad’s carbine wound up in Mexico, and Lord alone knows what it may have been used for if that happened.
The .357 concerns me more. A few years ago my friend in Florida got call from the police. They had recovered a gun similar to mine, and wanted to check if the serial number matched the one for my gun. There was no mention of what crime or crimes the gun may have been involved in, and without the serial number I couldn’t be certain it was my gun. In any case, I’m told the police eventually destroyed that gun.
I had worked hard to be able to buy my .357. It was the first gun I had purchased with my own money, and I had enjoyed many an afternoon practicing with it at the range. That was MY gun. The thought of it being traded for drugs, or shoved into the face of some innocent convenience store clerk makes me angry and frustrated, even though it was stolen almost 20 years ago.
The worst part is that if I had taken the time to properly store my guns, they probably wouldn’t have been stolen. If I had bothered to put my pistol case inside my bag properly, nobody would have known it was there, and my friend’s apartment wouldn’t have been burglarized. If I had locked up my carbine, or at least hidden it, the thieves might not have found it when they broke into my college apartment.
I know this is not all my fault. The criminals who stole my guns bear the responsibility for their actions. They chose to break in and steal my guns.
Likewise, whomever finally wound up with my guns chose to do whatever they did with them. I’m not responsible for their choices.
What I am responsible for is not properly taking care of my guns. I failed to properly secure them, and I failed to properly conceal them. Because of that failure my guns literally wound up the hands of criminals.
Knowing that really stinks. So does the fact that there isn’t a bloody thing I can do to fix the situation. What’s done is done.
So make sure your firearms are always properly stored. It’s worth the extra effort and expense.
Trust me on that.
Do you have a list serial numbers for all of your firearms? Is that list in a safe place?
Before you answer let me confess that I didn’t so don’t feel bad. Being prepared is a journey and we all are open to learning from the mistakes of others. And isn’t learning why we are here in the first place?
The Final Word
I get a lot of requests for my opinion on this or that. Last week I was asked by another blogger to provide my favorite survival tip. Here was my response. Do you agree?
If I had to boil it down, however, I would say that the very best tool a person has to survive is the gray matter between their ears. Use common sense and become a critical thinker. In most situations skills will trump stuff, so learn as much as you can and practice what you learn.
That about wraps things up for this week. So what about you – what did you do to prep this week?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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10 Pack Mini LED Flashlights: What a great deal on 10 mini flashlights on a key ring - button batteries included. I happen to like a more sturdy ring so I remove the one that comes with and use a small bit of tie-wrap (zip tie) instead. The included battery seemingly lasts forever and at this price, you can stash them in the car, purse, pocket, tool box and by the circuit breaker box, and still have some left over for other uses.
As of this writing, all 10 are under $4.00 in black although from time to time they are available in colors as well.
Portable Foldable Water Bottle: If you want to try out one of these collapsible water bottles. Jury is out on this one.
Nalgene BPA Free Tritan Narrow Mouth 16 Oz Water Bottle: I much prefer these narrow mouth Nalgene bottles. I have two in purple and one in blue. I love these bottles and can personally recommend them.
Carabiner Screw Lock D-ring Clip: Quality varies so be sure to read the reviews before making a purchase of carabiner clips. Cheaper is not always better.
Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight: This week I added this flashlight to my collection. I am going to run it through its paces and have a “flashlight faceoff” with the UltraFire Mini Cree Led Flashlight I love so much. Is it worth the extra cost? There are BDS readers that swear by the Coast HP1 so I am anxious to try it.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
Home Medicine 101: So far so good with the video course. It is offered by Marjory Wildcraft who has a reputation for featuring quality material without the hype. If you have her Grow Your Own Groceries series you know what I mean.
Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!
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