Practical Prepping Blog

Preparations for a very uncertain future. . .

‘Conservative Enemies of the State’

I was recently perusing my favorite internet sites when I came across a link to the above titled article on the FrontPageMag website.  From openly courting Muslim recruits, to chaplains getting the OK to perform Gay marriages, to women soon being allowed in ALL combat roles, to calling the Fort Hood massacre by an islamist terrorist ‘work place violence’, the US military has certainly undergone a ‘Fundamental Transformation’ (hey, where have I heard that phrase before………) in that past 5 years.  And that transformation is continuing unabated.

This short article has more information on a theme I have proffered often here on this blog – that being that YOU, not some bogey-man AL-Qaeda terrorist, is in the cross-hairs of the DHS and the rest of the Fed alphabet soup.  YOU, the conservative, gun-loving, liberty-loving, limited government wanting, God-loving, Gadsden Flag waving, preppers are now classified as being members of ‘Neo-Confederate’ hate groups and must be closely scrutinized.

Don’t believe me?  Read the article.

Lee Greenwood was unavailable for comment.

Be safe.  Be prepared.

Practical Prepper 2013

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September 2, 2013 Posted by | General, My Opinion, Security and Situational Awareness | , , | 4 Comments

Kel-Tec Sub 2000 Project Complete!

A few posts back, I posted a picture of my Kel-Tec Sub-2000 carbine and extolled its virtues as a ‘trunk gun’.  Well, it’s an even better trunk gun now.

keltec1

Voila!  Gone is the boxy stock plastic fore-end and goofy plastic front sight post in favor of a light weight, aluminum Red Lion Precision railed fore-end and a Bushnell TRS-25 red-dot sight.  A Limb-Saver recoil pad has also been added along with a rubber cheek pad on the buffer spring assembly and a 33 rnd factory Glock 9mm magazine.

Below is a closer shot of the fore-end and Bushnell red-dot.

keltec2

Sure looks cool, PP, but hold up a second.  You said that one of the advantages of the Kel-Tec sub 2000 was that it folded in half for storage.  How can you fold your modified Sub 2000 with that red-dot sight sitting on the rail?

Oh, I forgot to mention the best thing about the Red Lion Precision fore-end: it rotates!  In the above picture, note the two knurled rings.  A quick turn of the forward ring loosens the rail and allows the user to rotate it to any number of indexed positions.  Reversing the procedure returns the fore-end to its indexed position and a perfect hold on zero!  Although the picture below is slightly blurry, you can see the fore-end rotated 90 degrees clockwise and locked.  How cool is that?

keltec3

The final pic shows the rotated fore-end, Bushnell still mounted and perfectly zeroed, now folded in half!

keltec4

How awesome is that?

The red Lion Precision fore-end was approx $140 and well worth the money.  I’ll probably add a flip-up front sight for peace of mind in case the Bushnell goes south or runs out of juice.  This carbine now fits in an inconspicuous normal sized laptop case or carry bag.  The mind just boggles at the possibilities.

Be Safe.  Be Prepared.

PP 2013

July 2, 2013 Posted by | Firearms, Security and Situational Awareness | , , , | 5 Comments

On the ‘Normalcy Bias’ and Other Dangerous Illusions.

I watched a video the other evening.  A video that really disturbed me.  It was called simply, “Dissatisfaction With Government”, and it was found in the archives at GBTV.com, Glenn Beck’s TV network website.  I’ll share some interesting facts from the video with you, then tell you why they disturbed me so.

The video was about a recent Gallop Poll on public satisfaction with government.  This particular Gallop poll has been taken yearly since the early 1970s, so it has nearly four decades of data with which to examine trends.  It stated that around 2003, 59% of the country was generally satisfied with the way they were being governed with only 39% dissatisfied.  Mind you, this number is actually quite remarkable considering the partisan rancor that existed in the wake of the contested 2000 presidential election results.  Congressional approval was well over 50% in the same time period.  So what, you may say what’s so dangerous about those numbers?  Nothing.  But let’s fast-forward to 2011, shall we?

Today, that same poll, taken in October 2011, reveals that only 19% of those surveyed are satisfied with the way they are being governed, and a whopping 81% are dissatisfied.  I repeat:  81% of American are dissatisfied with the way they are being governed.  Those dissatisfied consist of 92% of polled Republicans and a surprising 65% of polled Democrats.  Dissatisfaction with Congress is similarly skewed with only 18% of those polled having any confidence at all of Congress’ ability to solve our problems – this month’s number is an incredible 9% approval rating for congress.  All this years’ numbers are record lows for the poll.  A revealing and chilling comparison shows that even during the height of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, BP’s disapproval rating never dipped below 16%.

This dissatisfaction gave birth to the Tea Party movement a few years back and has, more recently, spawned the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Now I know that Tea Party folks tend to feel they occupy the moral high-ground of anti-government sentiment, and in many ways, they do, but I would advise the TPers not to look down their noses too haughtily at the drum-beating, fist-hoisting rabble that is OWS.  They are a little late to the game, but they too, are part of that 81% that are dissatisfied with government and want to do something about it – just like the TPers.  Unfortunately, a significant number of them, assisted by outside forces, would replace this government with, at best, a Euro-Socialist nanny-state, or at worst, a dictatorship of the proletariat, ala Marx and Engels.  And therein, dear readers, is the source of my unease.

You see, while the Patriot movement and the OWS movement want many of the same things: an end to bank bailouts, corporate corruption, and do-nothing, lying politicians, but the means they choose to achieve those things and the ends they wish to achieve are diametrically opposite.  Patriots seek to re-establish a Constitutional Republic envisioned by our Founders, while a large segment of the OWS crowd look upon the US Constitution as an outdated document written by ancient, rich, privileged, white, slave owners, and want Social Justice via Socialism.  The two visions of our future are incompatible and irreconcilable.  Throw in an economic whirlwind precipitated by the imminent fall of the Euro as a viable currency and the inevitable spread of that economic contaigen here to the US, you have a recipe for an extremely volatile situation, to say the least.  And a possibilty of the unthinkable – conflict in the streets of America between proponents of the two disparate and polar opposite visions of America’s future.

To make matters worse, events in Iran (mysterious explosions at nuke and missile sites, murders of their nuke and missile scientists, the sacking of the British embassy in Tehran with the tacit blessing of the regime), Israel’s posturing about striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, the ascendency of anti-west Islamist parties in the countries participating in the ‘Arab Spring’, adding to the chaos.

Enter our enemy, the Normalcy Bias.  this is the dangerous part of our conscious mind that shelters our tender sensibilities, by ignoring the possibility of some horrendous event, like an economic collapse, loss of utilities, martial law and/or discounting the severity of its effects once it has occurred.  “Aw, you’re crazy,” they’ll say.  “That’ll never happen in a million years.”  It is a paralytic.  An opiate that prevents people from facing the possibility that such events have actually become likely in the very near future.  It is a dangerous thing in times like these.  Don’t fall victim to its seductive, siren song.  In this environment, it could lead to the endangerment of your self, your home, and, most importantly,  your family.

The very fact that you are a reader of the Practical Prepping Blog means that you, at least, have a curiosity about the prepper lifestyle (gosh, I hate that word, but am typing too hurriedly to find a suitable replacement) or are participating in it.  Good for you.  For I truly believe it is time to double down on your preps.  Make sure as much is in order as can be done in the next few weeks.  I don’t know about you, but I feel something evil this way comes.

I pray I’m wrong, but I prep in case I’m right.

Be Safe.  Be Prepared.  Pray for our country.

PP

November 29, 2011 Posted by | My Opinion, Security and Situational Awareness | , , | 5 Comments

Know Thy Neighbors – They’re Your Left and Right Flank!

Well, Thanksgiving 2010 is now history and the wife and I sat down this evening to plan our yearly Christmas ‘House Party’.  Every year for the past 5 years (not coincidentally, exactly how long I’ve been ‘awake’ and prepping) we have invited our neighbors and family into our home for some food, drink, music, conversation and holiday cheer.  I’m especially looking forward to this years’ party as we have invited two new neighbors and their families – both of which have moved onto our block in the past few months.  Why, you might well ask, would I be looking forward to spending money on something as trivial as a Christmas Party for neighbors?  Regular readers of this blog will know the answer to that question, but I will answer it for you new readers:

Hosting a Christmas/Channukah party is an excellent way to, in the course of casual conversation, determine the state of ‘awareness’ of newcomers to the neighborhood.  As I have written before, conversations at my previous Christmas parties have allowed me to form unofficial ‘mutual defense pacts’ with four like-minded neighbors within 1oo ft. of my house.   And I would have never known they were preppers at all had we not shared a few libations on the back porch.  Do I know all there is to know about them?  No.  Did I share all my prep info with them?  No.  OPSEC  is still very important, but we know enough about each other’s intentions and commitment to stick together if the SHTF to be able to count on each other for support if times get rough.

So, if you can, I would implore you to have a similar gathering at your home or apartment.  To keep the expense down, you can ask each person to bring a dish or drinks or chips, etc. – in fact, that’s what we’re doing this year.  If nothing else, it will bring neighbors together where they can talk and laugh and maybe, just maybe, you can obliquely start a conversation about the dangerous state of the economy and just sit back and listen.  You, like I was a few years back, might be pleasantly surprised by what your neighbors think.

Be Safe.  Be Prepared.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | General, Security and Situational Awareness | Leave a comment

Preps Dry Run: After Action Review (Part 2)

As the sunlight started to wane after dinner, Sheila and I retrieved some candles from the Bug-In Bin (BiB) and deployed them to areas of the house that did not have illumination from the few GFL lamps I ran off my solar power system, like the bathroom and living room.  I then stepped outside and restarted the genny after relocating it within the range of one of the motion detectors I have deployed in my backyard.  With my perimeter security system running all night on stored solar power, no  one was going to get within 10 feet of my little Honda without giving us ample warning.  I decided that I would keep the generator running on the ECO setting until it ran out of fuel.  To determine when that would occur, I plugged my computer’s battery backup into the current supplied by the Honda.  This will charge the batteries as well as tell me when the charging current stops with an annoying buzzer.

While we still had a little light left, Sheila said that we should each take a hot shower while the sun-heated water was still warm.  And a great idea it was!  Each of us armed with a towel and a small bottle of biodegradable ‘Camping Soap’ (green liquid soap available at Walmart, Bass Pro, et al.  Cheap, but very good stuff.), we hung our showers from a tall sea grape tree near the pool with steel ‘S – hooks’ from the garage and enjoyed a wonderful, warm shower (in our shorts and or bathing suits, of course).  Little luxuries like a warm shower in emergency situations helps to keep your sanity and break the monotony of living meagerly on your preps.  Had this been an actual emergency, though, I would have let Sheila have the first shower while I stood watch, then reversed the roles when she was done.  She’s a good shot and can hear better than me, so I would have no worries about being in the shower if trouble starts.

After drying off, we came inside and plugged a box fan into one of the genny outlets and let it blow on us as we watched some tv until Mark Levin came on the radio at 9PM.  I opened the fridge real quick and retrieved 2 bottles of water for us.  We discussed the evening’s sleeping arrangements and decided that we would sleep down in the ‘Florida Room’ – a kind of solidly enclosed patio with windows on three sides to allow the flow of breezes through the room.  Although I always feel kind of vulnerable sleeping in a room that only has solid walls (CBS) to about thigh-height and awning windows the rest of the way around the tree walls, the perimeter and home alarm provided enough security along with our yappy little Yorkie to allay my fears and bed down there.  A quick trip around the house to check the doors and blow out the candles, and soon we were lying in the fold-out bed of the Florida Room sofa listening to ‘The Great One’ as the fan kept us comfortably cool.  On the coffee table beside the bed, were my glasses, my 1911 and SureFire LED light.  I set my phone alarm for 7:00 AM and laid down.  Somewhere around 10:30, I reached over and shut the radio, kissed the wife, and set out to fall asleep.  Through the open windows I could hear the soft hum of the Honda as it purred away on ECO setting, sipping on the 1st gallon of gas I poured into it twelve hours ago.

Around 3:35 in the morning, Sheila nudged me because she heard the buzzer on the battery backup in the den.  I got up and pressed the switch that kills the audible alarm and marveled on my way back to bed that the generator had run nearly 14 hours on a single gallon of gasoline.  Day-um!  A peek into the dark garage with the SureFire showed the upright freezer was at -12 F on the battery powered thermometer I have mounted to the side facing the door from the garage to the Florida Room.  It should hold out the heat until we get up in the morning, I thought, then went back to bed.  A cat passing near the now-silent generator set off the perimeter alarm at about 5:20.  After calling an ‘all-clear’ we went back to sleep for another hour and a half until my cell phone alarm jarred us awake.

Although the Dry Run was about over, we decided to make coffee using the camping stove again.  After clinking our cups together in a coffee toast to a successful conclusion of the simulated emergency, I went out to the backyard and turned the power back on again – until next summer when we do it again.

Be safe.  Be prepared.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Food, Water, etc, Security and Situational Awareness | , , | Leave a comment

No Man Is An Island – Know Your Neighbors

The other day, while mowing the grass in my backyard, I watched my neighbor, Dave, who lives two doors north of me start building the fence along the back of his property he had been threatening to build for a few years now.  I admired his skill as I dutifully lead my mower up and back across my backyard grass and had to smile when I noticed he was building the wooden fence with eight-foot slats rather than the more conventional six foot variety.  Knowing Dave as I do, the additional height had a lot less to do with privacy than security.  After I finished the lawn and had a quick dip in the pool, I went over to Dave’s house to get a closer look at the fence, talk about the upcoming hurricane season and chat about how ‘ready’ we were if we we hit by a storm this year.  That’s when he told me that it wasn’t the weather-type storm he was worried about this year.  We both agreed that an economic storm was at least as likely to occur, then agreed that we would be there for each other if the financial SHTF.

Dave is a an Army vet.  He was a motor pool mechanic and welder in an Army base in Germany during the cold war and can fix anything that rolls (or doesn’t).  I not-so-jokingly refer to him as my ‘Left Flank ‘ and bought him 2 boxes of .30 cal for his M-1 carbine last Christmas to bolster his ammo cache.  How did I know he was a vet, and had an M-1 carbine, and was a ‘prepper’ like me?  I asked.  And that, dear reader, is the point of this blog post.

If things go south and, God forbid, we are forced to protect our families and possessions from those who wish us harm, your chances of success are greatly multiplied if you team-up with like minded neighbors willing to share the watch/patrol responsibilities.  But that cannot happen unless you first get to know enough of your neighbors and are lucky enough to have a few who have the foresight to see the wisdom in teaming-up with you.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got to meet a lot of my neighbors that I had only previously just waved at, at a Christmas party I threw a few years back.   My wife and I opened our house to our neighbors by inviting them to bring a dish to a very informal party.  We had a great time, got to really  talk with several neighbors for the first time.  It was at that party that I discovered 4 other men on our block that were, to varying degrees, preppers and, shall we say, believers in the second amendment.

With summer coming, allow me to suggest that you hold a block BBQ or 4th of July party for your neighbors with an eye towards making connections necessary to organize like-minded neighbors, or, at the very least, to identify others on your block who own guns or like to shoot or visit the same blogs that you do.  It will be worth the time and expense incurred if you can connect up with a few people on your block if things get bad.

Be Safe.  Be Prepared.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | General, Security and Situational Awareness | | Leave a comment

Electronic Perimeter Security In Emergency Situations

It was shortly after hurricane Wilma struck South Florida in 2005 (the same hurricane season that spawned Katrina, which was actually weaker than Wilma – for the record) that I started to think about seriously prepping for emergencies.  In the aftermath of that storm, my neighborhood was without electrical power for almost three weeks.  I vividly remember having to drive to get ice to keep our food from spoiling and waiting in line for bottled water as the water treatment plant was off-line for a period of time, necessitating a ‘boil water’ order..  I remember not having enough food or means to heat water for a shower or even batteries for my radios and flashlights, but the worst part of the lack of electricity was having no working  home burglar alarm system as we went to bed each night.  We would sleep with the windows wide open for ventilation (remember, I live in hot, muggy So. Florida where the nights are almost unbearable, even in October, without power or A/C) and feeling totally vulnerable to any hoodlum who would seek to sneak up to my 1st floor bedroom window, or that of my children, and poke a Glock (sideways, of course) through the screen at my wife and I asleep and oblivious to his approach.

I have since made several changes and upgrades to the electronic means I employ to increase my Situational Awareness (SA), that is, my ability to monitor what is happening around the perimeter of my home – even when the neighborhood’s power is out.  What follows is my description of what I have done.  Is my system the best or the only solution to the perimeter security dilemma?  Of course not, but you can use my ideas as a starting point to devise your own home security plan.

1.  Powering The System When the SHTF!

No planning session regarding electronic means of perimeter security and intrusion alarms should begin without a well-thought-out plan for how you will power those systems in the WCS (Worst Case Scenario) – a grid-down situation.  As I described in the introduction, So. Fla. has its share of power outages due to hurricanes or severe thunderstorms.  Like many folks who choose to live down here, I have a generator (2 actually) that will supply about 45 days of electricity for approx. 12 hours/day – enough to keep my meat freezers running as well as a small emergency wall mounted air conditioner to make those August nights bearable, on my present supply of stored fuel.

I do not, however, plan on using the generator to power my security equipment.  The main reasons being that 1.  I do not plan to run my generator 24/7 in order to save fuel, and 2.  What would I do when (not if) the fuel eventually runs out?  The answer:  Solar PowerI needed a reliable supply of electricity for my security systems if the SHTF, not a temporary one like a generator.  The solar-electric system I cobbled together has worked flawlessly for me for several years now.  It consists of 1 Kyocera 64 watt solar panel (now mounted on a pole), 4 deep-cycle 6V Energizer golf cart batteries (from Sam’s Club) wired together in series and parallel to produce an output of 12V, a BZ-Products Solar Charge Controller and a Sunforce pure sine wave 1000watt power inverter.  Now, before you say, “That sounds too complicated for me.  I know nothing about electricity.”  Proof that it can be done easily by someone who knows little to nothing about electricity is that I cobbled this system together by myself.  Plans for wiring the panel and the batteries as well as tools for figuring out how much power you will be needing based on what you wish to run can be found all over the internet.  I made good use of them as I researched my system.

Here, briefly, is how it works:  The solar panel, on a sunny day,  puts out about 4 amps of power through a device called a charge controller and into the storage batteries.  The controller is there to make sure that the batteries are not overcharged and damaged.  The power inverter converts the 12V DC power to 120V, in other words, wall voltage.  The ‘pure sine wave’ part of the inverter description refers to the shape of the wave generated by the inverter.  Some devices, like my laptop, need pure sine waves to run properly, while others like lights and fans do not.  While more expensive than regular inverters, a sine wave inverter is a good investment if you plan on running more than just lights and fans – like me.  While the sun is out, your devices will pull power directly from the solar panel through the inverter.  During the night, the charge controller switches the power source to the batteries.  My batteries have enough to power my entire security system, a few compact fluorescent lights, and other important items.  Will it run my A/C and HD tv?  No.  I designed it to fit my budget and to keep my perimeter security up and running if the grid goes down, and it does that very well.

2.  Perimeter Intrusion Detection

“OK, so I’ve got a fail-safe means of supplying emergency electrical power.  What should I get next?”

Well, before you hear that boot trying to kick your front door down in the middle of the night, it would have been nice to have had ample warning of the ‘guest’s’ approach, so that you might have time to prepare an ample reception for him – perhaps the 12-gauge variety.  That’s what a perimeter alarm affords you – TIME. Mine is on all the time, especially when my wife is home alone so she is always aware when someone is approaching the house.  It consists of 6 wireless motion detectors and a base unit powered by the solar power system.  The system I selected can be programmed to play a short message you record associated with each of the six zone sensors.  For example: when a car pulls in my driveway or a person approaches the front of my house, the Zone 1 alarm says: “Front door.  Someone’s approaching the front door.”  At the present time I’m using the Voice Alert system with 6 zone sensors and I’m very pleased with it.

Voice Alert Base Station

Zone 1 Motion Sensor

I consider this system to be indispensable in that it warns us when anyone gets within a certain distance from our house.  On a normal day, it tells my wife that I’ve pulled in the driveway, or the mailman has come, or any number of innocuous arrivals of family and/or neighbors.  But, it really shines at night, when you’re laying in your bed and the aforementioned dirtbag is sneaking up to your back door or bedroom window.  It eliminates the element of surprise for anyone who would approach your house to do you harm.  And having it running off the solar power system means you’re protected, even if the power should go out when you’re asleep – again, something that happens often in So. Florida, especially during the rainy season.

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March 28, 2010 Posted by | Security and Situational Awareness | , , , | 1 Comment

How Quickly Could Things Go Downhill?

AThe answer:  Very Quickly!

If the massive 8.8 earthquake in Chile this weekend teaches us anything, it should be that our comfortable urban or suburban lifestyles depend of a thin fabric of civilization holding society together and that once that fabric starts to unravel, things go to hell in a hurry.

The dust had barely begun to settle in the wake of the first series of temblars in Concepcion, Chile’s 2nd largest city, than looters began doing what it is they do best – hastily unraveling that carefully woven fabric of society thread by thread.  They immediately set to the task of cleaning out grocery, clothing, and electronics stores, leaving the more civilized residents of the city without any hope of replenishing their own food supplies before aid could arrive.  But, this is certainly not exclusively a Chilean phenomenon.

Anyone remember the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans?  Looters were converging on flooded stores like vultures to carrion as soon as the winds died down.  In a mere twenty four hours, downtown New Orleans had descended into chaos.  What police officers actually did show up for work the next day (no value judgment here, just a statement of fact) were terribly outmanned and overmatched by the hordes of looters applying their ‘trade’ in waist-high water.

Same for Hurricane Andrew here in South Florida in 1992.  One of the abiding visual images I have retained of the post-storm days is that of the countless ‘Looters Will Be Shot’ signs hastily scrawled by shotgun toting home owners fearful of looters who, with shopping carts filled with booty, strode with arrogant impunity past pimple-faced National guard soldiers with no magazines in their weapons.

Could it happen in your neighborhood? Sure.  A better question to as is:  Are you prepared if it does?

March 2, 2010 Posted by | Security and Situational Awareness | , | Leave a comment

   

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