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There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Growing Culture of Confrontation

A few days ago, I read an interesting and insightful essay entitled "Culture of Fear - Dealing with Cultural Panic Attacks," by Ronald Bailey. In the essay, he talks of Sociologist Frank Furedi's identified trends fueling the West's aversion to risk. One excerpt:
First, Furedi argued that there has been a shift in moral reaction to harm. People no longer believe in natural disasters or acts of God. Today, people suspect that someone is behind a disaster—an irresponsible corporation or a cowardly bureaucrat. Indeed, accidents don't happen anymore; they have been redefined as preventable injuries.

Furedi argued that many of us now assume that every negative experience has some inner meaning. For example, when a teenager dies in a car crash, grieving parents regularly tell television reporters, "There is lesson to be learned from Johnny's death." The lesson usually is not that bad things randomly happen to good people, but that our roads don't have enough guard rails, or that we should enact laws to prevent teenagers from driving with friends and so forth.

Furedi sees this kind of thinking as a return to pre-modern days of higher superstition, where every event has a deeper meaning. In the medieval era, the hand of God or the malevolent influence of Satan explained why people suffered misfortunes. Today the malevolent hand of government or corporate America is to blame for every catastrophe.

A second factor that Furedi sees contributing to our culture of risk aversion is that the nature of harms is represented in increasingly dramatic fashion. People are no longer expected to rise above adversity or encouraged to get on with their lives after they experience a hard knock. They are instead victims who are "scarred for life" and perpetually "haunted" by their misfortunes. Even the timescale of disaster has expanded. Anything that happens now produces consequences that you can never predict. Thus you have to be very careful about what you do today and worry about what might happen decades down the road. Treating people as permanent victims and constantly speculating about possible future harms is a recipe for social and economic paralysis.

It's really an excellent essay and seems to ring true in most regards. Certainly, a strong case for a safety-centric, risk-averse culture in America can be made coming from a number of different directions. I'll leave it to Bailey and Furedi to present that argument.

Culture of Confrontation

A perspective just as true, though seemingly at odds with the development of a risk-averse society, is one in which confrontation, animosity, and even violence is increasingly celebrated and treated as the basis for popular entertainment programs, not to mention news coverage, evolving political and business ethics, dwindling acceptable standards of juvenile behavior, and on and on.

Destructive criticism, confrontation, and exploding clashes between friends and foes all around the world are becoming the norm.

Civility and decency is increasingly viewed as being archaic and symptomatic of a weak character--a vulnerability. But I just refuse to understand or accept that. Not that I shrink away from a just fight, but for God's sake--what virtues do we fancy ourselves representing or carrying forward for our children's and our nation's future?

I'm not going into any more detail on this disintegration of values, as I am sure you know exactly what I'm talking about, and you need no further reminder from me on the sorry state of our collective identity these days. The trend is definitely downward, so it's hard to be optimistic that we can turn the corner on this anytime soon.

Consider It in Your Planning

The best way I can frame this without just letting my frustration all hang out ... try to use your understanding of the new reality in your planning and preparing.

Confrontational dynamics pervading our lives at all levels require mental and spiritual strength in the healthy individual today--that much should be clear. Keep that faith and balance in knowing that there IS a better way.

Yet, looking to the future, one must consider the possibility that we are headed for some dramatic outbreak of unrest and perhaps anarchy. It's happening within and between cultures all over the world today. The potential for it here in America seems to be simmering just below the surface, waiting to erupt unbidden if our enemies don't succeed in importing their own brand of societal disruption first.

What that means is you need to personally have some means of dealing with an increasingly violent and malevolent environment. If chaos breaks out for whatever reason in your neck of the woods, what will you do? Will you try to escape? Will you hunker down? Are you adequately armed to provide your household with some reasonable defense and/or deterrent from assault?

Think supplies and defensive strategies. Can you dig in and hold out for a length of time until the cavalry arrives? Do you have food, water, ammunition? Medications, first aid, trustworthy community bonds and support? How about such things as sandbags, body armor, and an adequately fortified shelter structure?

This IS the stuff of extremist dreams and nightmares for most others. But pay attention ... reality itself might be taking an extreme, sharp turn in the near future.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Interesting Essay - "The Coming of Deindustrial Society: A Practical Response"

Personally, the whole Peak Oil debate is on the periphery of my radar screen. I certainly accept that future energy demands vs. available resources is an issue of concern ... major concern, as time goes on. But I do cling to the notion that mankind and society will adapt to our changing environs and in fact we will continue to innovate brilliant solutions.

That is not to say, a lot of people won't feel pain along the way. After all, that IS the proven way of the human condition throughout history. Whether it is progress or regress, there is always a price paid by someone.

I came across a very interesting essay by John Michael Greer that is worthy of your time:

Some excerpts (bear in mind the author has some very strong views on the matter):

... it may be appealing to fantasize about vast government programs bailing us out of the present predicament, such fantasies are not a practical way of responding to the situation. We have to start with the recognition that the most likely outcome of the current situation is collapse: to borrow the Club of Rome's formulation, sustained, simultaneous, uncontrolled and irreversible declines in population, industrial production, and capital stock.

... Now as soon as this is said, most people who don't reject it out of hand slip off at once into apocalyptic ideas of one sort or another. These should be rejected; history is a better guide. Civilizations collapse. As Joseph Tainter pointed out in his useful book The Collapse of Complex Societies, it's one of the most predictable things about them. Ours is not that different from hundreds of previous civilizations that overshot their natural resource base and crashed to ruin. What we face is a natural process, and like most natural processes, much of it can be predicted by comparison with past situations.
But fantasy is often more palatable than reality, and most of the apocalyptic notions in circulation these days are sheer fantasy.

... the Hollywood notion of an overnight collapse is just as much of a fantasy; it makes for great screenplays but has nothing to do with the realities of how civilizations fall. The disintegration of a complex society takes decades, not days. Since fossil fuel production will decline gradually, not simply come to a screeching halt, the likely course of things is gradual descent rather than freefall. Civilizations go under in a rolling collapse punctuated by localized disasters, taking anything from one to four centuries to complete the process. It's not a steady decline, either; between sudden crises come intervals of relative stability, even moderate improvement; different regions decline at different paces; existing social, economic and political structures are replaced, not with complete chaos, but with transitional structures that may develop pretty fair institutional strength themselves.
Does this model apply to the current situation? Almost certainly. As oil and natural gas run short, economies will come unglued and political systems disintegrate under the strain. But there's still oil to be had - the Hubbert Curve is a bell-shaped curve, after all. The world in 2020 may still be producing about as much oil as it was producing in 1980. It's just that with other fossil fuels gone or badly depleted, nearly twice as many people in the world, and the global economy in shreds, the gap between production and demand will be vast. The result will be poverty, spiralling shortages, rising death rates, plummeting birth rates, and epidemic violence and warfare. Not a pretty picture - but it's not an instant reversion to the Stone Age either.
Equally imaginary is the notion that the best strategy for would-be survivors is to hole up in some isolated rural area with enough firepower to stock a Panzer division, and wait things out. I can think of no better proof that people nowadays pay no attention to history. One of the more common phenomena of collapse is the breakdown of public order in rural areas, and the rise of a brigand culture preying on rural communities and travelers. Isolated survivalist enclaves with stockpiles of food and ammunition would be a tempting prize and could count on being targeted.
Equally inaccurate is the notion that stockpiling precious metals will somehow make the stockpilers exempt from the consequences of industrial collapse. This strategy has been tried over and over again in recorded history, and it doesn't work. Every few years, for example, archeologists in Britain dig up another cache of gold and silver hidden away by some wealthy landowner in Roman Britain as the empire fell apart. They're usually close to the ruins of the owner's rural villa, which shows the signs of being looted and burned to the ground by the Saxons. As a working rule, if your value consists of what you've stockpiled, there will be an unlimited number of other people interested in removing you from the stockpile and enjoying it themselves. However many you kill, there will always be more - and eventually the ammo will run out.

... So what does work? The key to making sense of constructive action in a situation of impending industrial collapse is to look at the community, rather than the individual or society as a whole, as the basic unit. We know from history that local communities can continue to flourish while empires fall around them. There are, however, three things a community needs to do that, and all three of them are in short supply these days.
First, a community needs some degree of local organization. Our present culture here in America has discarded most of the local organizations it once had, in favor of a mass society where individuals deal directly with huge government and corporate institutions. This has to be reversed. The recent move to reinvigorate civil society is a step in the right direction. Joining or creating a local community group, and helping to revive local civil society, will help provide your community with voluntary networks of cooperation and mutual aid in difficult times.

... The second thing a community needs in the twilight of industrial society is a core of people who know how to do without fossil fuel inputs. An astonishing number of people, especially in the educated middle class, have no practical skills whatsoever when it comes to growing and preparing food, making clothing, and providing other basic necessities. An equally astonishing number are unable to go any distance at all by any means that doesn't involve burning fossil fuels - and almost no one in the developed world can light a fire without matches or a lighter from some distant factory. Survival skills such as organic gardening, low-tech medicine, basic hand crafts, and the like need to be learned and practiced now, while there's time to do so. Similarly, those people who cut their fossil fuel consumption drastically now - for example, by getting rid of their cars and using public transit or bicycles for commuting - will be better prepared for the inevitable shortages.

... Those people who can use their own hands and minds to make tools, grow food, brew beer, treat illnesses, generate modest amounts of electricity from sun and wind, and the like, will have a survival advantage over those who can't. In a violent age, practical knowledge is a life insurance policy; if you're more useful alive than dead, you're likely to stay that way. The pirate enclaves of the seventeenth-century Carribbean were among the most lawless societies in history, but physicians, navigators, shipwrights, and other skilled craftsmen were safe from the pervasive violence, since it was in everyone's best interests to keep them alive.

... The third thing a community needs is access to basic human requirements, and above all food. Very large cities are going to become difficult places to be in the course of the approaching collapse, precisely because there isn't enough farmland within easy transport range to feed the people now living there. On the other hand, most American cities of half a million or less are fairly close to agricultural land that could, in a pinch, be used to grow food intensively and feed the somewhat reduced population that's likely to be left after the first stages of the collapse. What's needed is the framework of a production and distribution system around which this can take shape.
The good news is that this framework already exists; it's called the farmers market movement. The last two decades have seen an astonishing growth in farmers markets across the country - the latest figures I've seen, and they're some years out of date, indicate that farmers markets are a $16 billion a year industry, with most of that money going to small local farmers. I personally know organic farmers who are able to stay in business, and support their families on quite small acreages, because they work the farmers markets. Every dollar spent on locally grown produce from a farmers market, instead of supermarket fare shipped halfway around the world, is thus an investment in local sustainability and survival.
There are a good many other, similar steps that can be taken. Anything that provides functional alternatives to energy-wasting lifestyles lays foundations for the transitional societies of the late 21st century, and ultimately for the sustainable successor cultures that will begin to emerge in North America in the 22nd and 23rd centuries. The important point, it seems to me, is to do something constructive now, rather than presenting plans to the government in the perfect knowledge that they will be ignored until it's far too late to do anything.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ideology of Intolerance and Mass Destruction

At some point soon, Western leaders will have to drop the foolish insistence that the war we are engaged in is an ethereal long-term war on "terror." It is completely plain to see that, instead, our fate is to either endure or fall in a blunt-force clash of civilizations.

The aggressor in this mushrooming reality is an archaic religious ideology, Islam, founded in the 7th century by the prophet Muhammad. Attitudes instilled in its one billion followers demand their submission to the will of Allah. Religion and social or political realms are inseparable, and theological leaders hold tremendous power in their own proclamations, interpretations, and exhortations.

There are multiple Islamic theologies, but today, the most intolerant and violent forms are multiplying unchallenged globally, leading millions of Muslims headlong into direct confrontation with modern cultures of the "infidels."

Ideologies of Aggression

Iran's nuclear ambitions and their unabashed Islamic-justified desire to wipe Israel from the map are front and center in the world's consciousness today. So are the recurring and spreading riots in Europe and elsewhere arising out of Muslims being whipped into a frenzy over western cartoons that depict their holy prophet.

This of course does not even consider the longer-term realities of suicide terrorism and criminal aggression on innocent civilians throughout the world in the name of Allah and in opposition to America, Israel, and anything not endorsed in Islamic tradition.

The threat to our way of life from the passionate opposition and anger nourished in the Muslim world is unprecedented today and is fast reaching explosive levels. The Middle East, and Europe are the front lines today, but America, Indonesia, and Asia are also in the middle of the fight, and there is no neutral ground in this ideological war.

Lines drawn between combatants are not as much along international boundaries as they are along and among intermingled populations everywhere. To-date, few opposing cultures have been able to match the passion and fire of the most radical Muslim warriors. The West has long ago turned in its own motivating faith and moral value sets for soft, self-centered individualistic pursuits that are not only a focus of Islam's wrath, but also our own undoing in being able to mount a defense equal in reason and strength.

By denying the nature of our true enemy in this struggle and confronting our weaknesses in truthfulness, we will not have a chance of holding the line against the enemy.

How to Prepare

On a personal level, the question here is, what should we do?

If you are looking to prepare your family and household for a clash of civilizations, potential dangers that come to mind are almost too overwhelming to consider. But like with any other threat, taking it a piece at a time is probably the way to go. A very brief summary follows ...

First, this type of threat is as much about personal belief and philosophy as about physical survival. Start there by deciding where your most basic loyalties lie. Do you believe in God? Do you pray for guidance in your day to day activities? Do you feel a bond with others in your community and nation? Are you and your family your first and only priority? The questions would be many and only you can create the necessary definition for your philosophical foundation. I suggest devoting time to this now and then building on your answers going forward.

With that understanding established, you might consider that a full-blown lifestyle-threatening clash of civilizations will have obvious impact on the lives of your family. Hardships and challenges may take the form of economic downturns, supply shortages, emotional difficulty and confusion, community strife, and possibly local violence that could take a toll right where you live.

Assuming you are spiritually grounded in your faith, I might suggest that your next important steps to take would be to ensure that your household security against reasonably expected aggression is in place. That can mean a lot of different things, such as hardened shelters, air filtration, employment of your legal right to arm yourself and provide for your own self-defense, home security systems, watchdogs, and on and on. What we are talking about in this regard is as much about peace of mind as anything else.

Last, as with most any other threat we try to prepare for, we want to have in place the ability to provide for the needs of our family for at least a short-term period without having to leave our home. For this threat, stocking up on food, water, medical needs, and supplies for a longer period of time would seem to be prudent--perhaps at least a month's worth, and as much as a year or more. And don't forget to prepare to engage in an economy potentially lacking in the ability to process credit cards or checks for a time in the event basic infrastructure is compromised.

No Limits

Ideologies today know no geographic boundaries. And some ideologies know no limits or fears in terms of their attempts to achieve their goals.

Now is the time to come to grips with that and to start establishing your own personal resolve to do what may become necessary in a world going mad.

Friday, February 03, 2006

New Logo, More New Products, Same Focus ... Your Needs are Our Needs

Been pretty busy lately, and I don't expect things will slow down much anytime soon. We're building the Safecastle business brick by brick, customer by customer and product by product. Our number one priority is to make sure our customers are 100% satisfied. If we can continue to deliver on that, the business will take care of itself.

Our flagship product line is the best-in-class prefab steel NBC shelters, storm shelters, and saferooms that are protecting thousands around the country. We are moving ahead with plans to systematically take this business to the masses.

The time is right for personal security and unparallelled peace of mind as offered in our shelters to go mainstream. It'll be a slow process, but with time, we think America will once again embrace civil defense--on a personal level.

A promising art student helped us out with the new logo ... what thinkest thou, fair readers?

Be sure to check us out regularly for the latest new gear you just might need someday:

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Study: Bird Flu Biggest Current Worry

Some snippets from a summary article on the "Global Risks 2006" report ...

By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS, Associated Press Writer Thu Jan 26, 5:43 PM ET

DAVOS, Switzerland - The global threat that most preoccupies the world's business leaders is the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, according to a study released Thursday at the
World Economic Forum.

Other global risks, such as terrorist attacks and the possibility of an even bigger oil price shock, were deemed just as dangerous, but less likely to happen in the coming year, said the "Global Risks 2006" report ...

... "If the avian flu H5N1 virus mutates to enable human-to-human transmission, it may disrupt our global society and economy in an unprecedented way," said the 22-page risk study, which was released by a panel of companies and experts.

While the report predicted a number of small-scale terrorist attacks in 2006, it said large-scale simultaneous attacks were less likely, primarily because the capability of terrorists to coordinate their activities had diminished. ...

... "Terrorist attacks involving aircraft and high explosives have already had a massive global impact," the study said, but added, "The capacity of terrorist organizations to act globally in a coordinated way has diminished."

The risk of a major attack will rise in coming years, however, it said.

The report warned of other possible severe shocks, such as an oil price spike to $100 a barrel or an earthquake hitting Tokyo, but said those risks had a low likelihood of occurring.

"The world suffered an oil-price spike above $70 in 2005," the study said. "The world's reliance on hydrocarbons and growing concerns about the geopolitics of supply mean that oil prices will inevitably be an issue of concern in 2006 and beyond."

But even if oil prices should rise above $100, it is "relatively unlikely" that they would remain so high for an extended period, it said. ...

... The Forum study was based primarily on contributions from Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., Merrill Lynch and Swiss Reinsurance Co. and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nabarro: "The moment the pandemic starts it's too late to get prepared"

No reason to panic, but certainly, folks should have this front and center on their radar screens if they are preparedness oriented.

Excerpt from ...

World must act as if flu pandemic imminent: UN official

GENEVA (AFP) - The world must brace for a human influenza pandemic, acting as if it will strike "tomorrow," the UN official preparing the battle said.

Many people appeared to be under the impression that they would have time to prepare for the widely feared pandemic but that was wrongheaded, said Dr. David Nabarro.

"It's very hard to get people prepared for something that is as uncertain and unclear as this problem," Nabarro told reporters.

"So many people, when I talk to them about getting prepared, seem to imply that we've got months in which to get prepared but I say to them: 'It may not be months.'

"It could be that we're going to get human-to-human transmission tomorrow so please act as though it's going to start tomorrow. Dont keep putting off the difficult issues'."

The H5N1 bird flu virus has affected poultry flocks in the Far East and Turkey, and has claimed some 80 human lives after spreading from birds to people.

But experts fear the virus could mutate almost overnight and unobserved into a new form that would spread easily between humans and spark a repeat of the global influenza pandemics that killed tens of millions of people in the past century.

"There is a sensation for all of us who are working on this of standing on the edge of a really deep precipice and not knowing how far we're going to fall," said Nabarro.

"The moment the pandemic starts it's too late to get prepared." ...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reserve Your Sense of Urgency for When It's Required

Preparedness, by nature, is about anticipating (and getting ready for) significant trials and challenges. So it's no surprise when those of us who choose to incorporate crisis planning into our lives occasionally become wrapped up in ominous threats that seem to be barreling down on us ... though their actual position and course over the horizon is much more remote than what we believe.

Put another way, there are many who, after investing some time and money into being prepared for whatever may come, actually start to overextend themselves in finding daily justification for their preparedness activities. And taken to the extreme, they even start to hope for realized doom and gloom.

Is that a problem? Well, I say that yes, it can be a problem when the quest for new urgent scenarios becomes all-consuming and balance is lost in being able to actually comprehend the more benign side of our reality equation.

"Fear Du Jour" Planted by the Media

The media sells advertising and product by trying to connect emotionally with an audience. The only way to do that with many today is via fear and violence. Thus, among all the other ramifications of that, the news media must regularly come up with scary and appalling stories--"potential" stories will do when reality falls short--but they must be made "real" if they are to touch a nerve.

So we of course, are extremely well informed today about every bad turn our world takes and could possibly take, and some of us lose a grip on the probabilites for a relatively non-eventful future vs. the various long odds out there for any of those pumped-up worst-case scenarios to actually come a calling.

As the World Turns

My point--that every single day of my life, I would bet the mortgage on the fact that the sun will rise and fall as it always does for almost all of us on the planet. Most of our lives will probably be lived out in relative peace and tranquility, and few of us will ever be seriously challenged to survive in unusual fashion by a calamity. (No, I do not at all minimize the threat of war or great disasters, and I am ready, but those threats must remain in context of the world as it is at the moment if one wants to have a healthy life reflecting some level of normalcy.)

Understanding the odds allows me to keep on keeping on with my day-to-day existence. Enjoying it. Appreciating it.

If you can keep your approach to preparedness in balance, preparing for possibilities, but not becoming consumed by them, then you'll actually be best situated for not only your day to day life, but also for any eventuality that might arise.

That is because your easy mental stance will allow you to recognize and react when a threat actually materializes as being imminent. Believe me, swinging and missing over and over again does no good in helping you to connect when the game is on the line.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nyquist Lays Out Fundamental Flaws that Make Us Vulnerable

Last essential dose of J.R. Nyquist for now ...

- "Since authority has broken down, personality takes its place."

- "The 'last man' is led by peer group pressures. He always compromises and retreats. He expertly maintains the lies put into his custody and congratulates himself on being 'practical.' As a coward and subjectivist, he secretly thrills to the notion that truth doesn't anywhere exist and that if it did exist it would remain forever unknowable."

- "American culture is 'economic' in nature. Our system of government was organized so that economic activity, perhaps at the expense of other activities, might thrive. This was a proper orientation for a developing frontier society where life was at first primitive, harsh, and unsettled. But somehow we never managed to evolve beyond these humble beginnings; and as we grew in affluence, we retained our economic fixation, failing to open up other cultural horizons. Today the growth of the economy has become the end-all and be-all. Even our basic view of man is tainted by economism. What defines us now, more than anything else, is our continuing reduction of everything to economics, which we imagine is an entirely rational thing to do. We talk in terms of supply and demand, but we forget that demand is a mystical thing, with its roots going down into the soul.

"Our economism also leads us to forget that there are human crises outside the locus of mutual profitability, in which one man's gain is amother man's loss (i.e., as the fundamental social problem). Question marks seem to mount. Can economics swallow art, religion, and politics without digestive calamity? Does the multiplication of wants through commercial advertising bring us happiness or have we merely reestablished misery by other means? What happens to the virtues of self-denial and self-control under a regime that sustains itself by breaking these virtues down and by cultivating (especially through television) a regime of self-indulgence?"

- "When 'success' became a measure of moral worth in our society, the 'honest poor' had no leg of self-esteem on which to stand. And this is the origin of our modern rabble."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

More from Nyquist's "Origins of the Fourth World War"

More Chapter One excerpts from J.R. Nyquist's must-read "Origins of the Fourth World War" ...

- "Moral relativism begins with the premise that there isn't any truth. But is this really true?"

- "Today, there is no interest in conversing with one's neighbors; diversity hemmed-in and foredoomed; a flurry of unneeded face-lifts, butt-lifts, nose jobs, cheek implants, youthful images, diets, suctions, fastings, and purgings--the world falsified according to the rules of sex-appeal. This makes for a new society and a new escapism: an escapism detached from the religious impulses of old; an escapism by way of lowest common denominators. Ergo, an increase in sloth and fat; an increase in reactivity versus activity; a weakening of the moral muscle; a decline in originality coinciding with a thirst for novelty. Mind-set? Jaded. A need arises for the bizarre, the sick, the increasingly hysterical and emotional. We have come to expect a presentation of the world better than the world: more interesting, intense, and engaging--which leads to entertainment instead of church as the path to paradise; eclipsing the whole of real existence, even to the point of undercutting the human imagination. Enter television."

- "The essence of our society's connecting fabric is an idiot box. Type of shows? Comedy and drama; especially drama with 'happy' endings, non-tragic, without any sense of the inevitable--therefore, no sociological sense either. We now have an entire nation with the same vocabulary of vicarious experiences, with the same unrealistic expectations. Emphasis is on images rather than concepts; therefore, a lessening of mental agility; a shrinking of our vocabulary; the end of eloquence; a decline in reading; also an increased tendency to characterize one's adversary as evil; violence, terror, bloodshed as a stimulant suggestive of a 'snuff' movie."

- "War without loss is an immorality. That we have imagined otherwise merely demonstrates that our thinking has become inverted."

- "Today, as never before, the pariah is the only man with the chance to think for himself. Everyone else is relentlessly compelled by peer pressures. Everyone constantly blackmails everyone. The threat of ostracism easily molds the soft democratic soul into fashionable shapes.

- "The out-of-fashion individual, the outcast (perhaps the only real human being remaining) eats out of some dumpster on the edge of town."

- "Our law-abiding citizen of today--not moral, but tame, domesticated, lazy, comfortable."

- "The most commonplace psychiatric pathology of the last twenty-five years is something called 'character disorder.' This is merely another way of talking about moral decline without using the word morality."

Still a bit more next time.

"Safecastle & Son"

Just wanted to share a photo of a couple of hard-working guys in their new, personalized (note the monogrammed sleeves) Safecastle sweatshirts.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Nyquist Insights on America and Decadence

I'm slowly working through J.R. Nyquist's "Origins of the Fourth Wold War" again. Chapter one is titled Decadence, and it consists of a series of separate notes that reflect his view of where America is today (actually the book was published in 1999, but they certainly still ring true).

Here and perhaps in my next post or two, I intend to provide some interesting, selected quotes from that first chapter in a fascinating book, in which he sets the stage, providing context for what is in the wings.

  • "Patriotism and paranoia are two words that have been creeping, ever so slowly, even mysteriously, toward one another. We ought to wonder why these two words are becoming one single and discreditable whole. Perhaps this shows more than anything, the indirect effects of an intellectual culture that is hostile to patriotism, and a patriotism that feels an encirclement progressing against it. It may also be something orchestrated, something induced, by play-acting paranoids rendering suspicion as a form of illness."

  • "What we need is an honest critique of Utilitarian Civilization; in other words: a critique of the rationalizing, liberal-democratic type of social order in all its aspects; especially with regard to its decadence of form, its declining standards, its contempt for traditions; and today's ultimate tendency towards a breakdown of order altogether. We must come to terms with our general and increasing rudeness, our predilection for anti-aesthetic judgments, our ignorance of history, our inability to introspect, our 'education to make stupid,' our pacifism with which to bring about our greatest wars, our careerism, our obliviousness; and last but not least, our shallow and feeble optimism."

  • "The illiberal supports of liberalism are gone. The foundations of the capitalist order have been weakened or destroyed by capitalist prosperity. Only one thing can save us from utter degradation, and that is--utter catastrophe."

  • "We live as if in a dream. Our sense of self-preservation has nearly left us. All moral limits are gone. Work and play absorb our every moment. Silent time is impossible to bear, while the music remains very loud. The new sin, of course, (besides self-restraint) is thinking. For the first time in history it is possible the 'think too much,' because thinking, if taken too far, leads to uncomfortableness; and above all, we are the Comfortable Ones."

  • "Necessity was once the backdrop of human politics. Today, a new condition has come about: sensual pleasure as backdrop. No longer do we have a government fearful of bread riots, but a government concerned with smoking, drunk driving, and drug addiction; a government involved in problems of malconsumption and over-consumption. Because of this, another ethic rises to dominance--non-fat, non-smoking, and caffeine-free ..."

More next time.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

ScramKit ChowHauls--Come and Git It!

The brand new ScramKit ChowHauls are available today for the first time ever. Initial quantities are limited, so if you want immediate delivery, act now. (Email me at for your best deal.)

ChowHaul 14.2
(shelf life of 5 years)

list price: $675 plus $21.99 flat rate shipping

14 days of delicious nutrition for two people in one transportable bag (approximately 40 pounds). Includes everything needed (except a water source) for hot meals, including the means for water purification. Provides three full meals a day for two adults for 14 days, or one adult for 28 days. Contents include:

- 112 Mountain House freeze-dried entree pouches (four Just in Case units)

- 1 Jetboil PCS with Companion Cup unit (cutting edge integrated burner and cookware w/ built-in igniter)

- 4 Jetboil fuel cannisters

- 120 Katadyn
MicroPur MP1 Purification Tablets

- 2 Renais AB Camp-a-Box Mess Kits (each includes collapse-a-cup, soup bowl, two entree trays, cutting board, salt/pepper/sugar dispenser, stainless steel knife/fork/spoon set)

- 1 folding pocket knife, 3” stainless steel blade

- 1 600 Denier polyester cargo duffel bag, 36"x16"x16", includes removable shoulder strap

ChowHaul 7.2
(shelf life of 5 years)

list price: $435 plus $17.99 flat rate shipping

7 days of delicious nutrition for two people in one transportable bag (approximately 25 pounds). Includes everything needed (except a water source) for hot meals, including the means for water purification. Provides three full meals a day for two adults for 7 days, or one adult for 14 days. Contents include:

- 56 Mountain House freeze-dried entree pouches (two Just in Case units)

- 1 Jetboil PCS with Companion Cup unit (cutting edge integrated burner and cookware w/ built-in igniter)

- 2 Jetboil fuel cannisters

- 60 Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Purification Tablets

- 2 Renais AB Camp-a-Box Mess Kits (each includes collapse-a-cup, soup bowl, two entree trays, cutting board, salt/pepper/sugar dispenser, stainless steel knife/fork/spoon set)

- 1 folding pocket knife, 3” stainless steel blade

- 1 600 Denier polyester cargo duffel bag w/ waterproof PVC back, 30"x15"x14"

Add-on Options

A ScramKit Responder - belt-worn, comprehensive preparedness resource, normally $239 plus shipping, only $189 with the purchase of a ChowHaul

A Katadyn Mini - the lightest, most compact water filter on the market--a complementary addition to the ChowHaul contents ... fits nicely in the ChowHaul bags. Normally $89.95 plus shipping, only $79 with the purchase of a ChowHaul.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Evacuate or Defend?

There's a basic, all-important decision that often has to be made in the face of impending crisis. That is, flight or fight ... bug out or dig in ... run or stay put.

We need to be prepared for either side of that equation. It's great to have all your stored food, tools, supplies, etc. that fill up your basement, because there are plenty of scenarios where all those resources will serve you well. But there are also a myriad of cases where the smart money picks up and gets out of Dodge. In that kind of situation, it's often going to need to be done on a moment's notice, so we need to have some resources packed and ready to go.


It's not always easy to make the right decision. Some folks have a hard time leaving their homes and possessions behind if there is a danger they will be destroyed.

One memorable example was an old fellow named Harry Truman who, in 1980, refused to leave his lodge on Spirit Lake in the shadow of the building eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. He had run the lodge since 1928, and his stubborn refusal to abide by evacuation orders was given much media attention at the time. Of course he and his beloved lodge were lost in the catastrophic eruption ... his body was never found.

It's not at all unusual for stubbornness or ignorance to prevent folks from recognizing the nature of impending risks and to accurately assess their options. Paralysis is far easier to give in to than to leave it all behind. How many folks lost their lives to Hurricane Katrina because they chose not to evacuate, in spite of the most urgent warnings given by authorities? Certainly many hundreds ... perhaps thousands.

Sometimes, warnings do not leave any time for thought or regret. I suspect that immediate-threat situations leave less time for people to decide to stay put and instead demand their logical, instinctive responses to rule.

For example, there were some who recognized the coming tsunami a year ago and took immediate action that saved their lives. Wildfires or forest fires often provide some small window of opportunity for evacuation for those in their path. People who see an approaching tornado do not dally and over-think their options--they either get into their available shelters or they flee if none are available, depending upon their proximity to the funnel cloud.

The list of potential threats would be endless. Sometimes, we are given days to mull over our course of action. Sometimes only minutes.

And of course, there are plenty of events where no warning is given ... such as major earthquakes, industrial accidents, terror attacks, and on and on. In those events, survival can be affected by instantaneous reactions ... but of course in some cases, nothing can prevent the worst from happening.

The bottom line is, when we are given fair warning of impending disaster, we must be physically and mentally prepared to make the right moves.

Basic Choices

I'm going to condense and simplify our choices to try to apply them to most situations, though of course you will be best served by keeping a clear head and calm demeanor in order to think through what must be done when you are faced with a potentially life-threatening situation. In most cases, your options would fall into one of these categories:

1. Dig-in. If you are at home or work or on other familiar ground and you know your available resources and shelter will provide you with what you need, this is often the wisest choice to make (and the one we often spend the most time building up in our preparedness activities). If you have a hardened, storm-proof shelter with supplies in stock, and you do not face a flooding or fire risk, or there is not an air quality situation that makes staying put a losing proposition, then you may very well opt to "stay home." After all, if most others are having to evacuate the area, you could find yourself in a dangerous gridlock or panic situation out there secondary to the major risk, but just as dangerous. So, if you are well postioned to stay right where you are and the risk is appropriate to your preparations, then stay put.

2. Bug-out. If you have no decent shelter and supplies available where you are, or the threatening situation will overcome your position (as in fire, flood, toxic gas), then you must pick up and go. If you are adequately prepared for this kind of event, you will have some needed resources packed and ready to go--in your closet, under your desk, and/or in your vehicle. Commonly called a bug-out bag, you'll want to have at a minimum, some drinking water, food, a change of clothing, cash, credit card, ID, a contact list, flashlight, first aid kit, needed medications, a surgical mask to filter airborne particles, a multitool, and cell phone. This list can be greatly expanded depending on your situation. (In the north, smart folks have blizzard bags in their vehicles that include blankets, food, matches, hand warmers, etc. in case we are ever stranded in our cars in the cold.) Figure that everyone should have at least a 24-hour emergency bag with them wherever they are. Many have a few bags ready to go that provide care and sustenance for a week or more. The Katrina aftermath was a good example of the wisdom in that approach.

3. React. No-warning disasters or threats require some mental acuity more than anything else. If there are adequate physical preparations on hand, that can often be of great use as well. I am thinking here in terms of a violent assault, a home intrusion, or a sudden geophysical act of God. Other potential scenarios could include a major transportation or industrial accident that releases toxicity or radiation into your area ... or an act of war that would include a chemical, biological, or nuclear event. If you have previously trained or prepared or thought through your options, you will be ahead of the game. If you are surprised with a situation that you have no ability to deal with, good luck. Don't obsess, but give some thought to your potential risks and figure out now what you might be able to do.

Above all, try to stay calm and within your capabilities as you try to deal with a situation. A human's heart rate reaches a certain level usually seen in "panic situations" when normal brain activity is impossible. (Think mass crowd panic.) Do not assume that you will always think or react rationally. Preparation, mental and physical, can help and will often mean the difference between life and death.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Next ScramKit Launching--the "ChowHaul"

You may recall that a few weeks ago, the first product in the ScramKit line was unveiled--the Responder Personal. It is a comprehensive, belt-worn resource kit, helpful in just about any crisis situation you could find yourself in.

We are now about to launch the next ScramKit product that really has no peer and that most everyone ought to have on hand. We call it the ChowHaul and it will be available after the first of the year.

When it is available, product images and prices will be posted here and the store links will of course also be provided.

In the meantime, be advised that this is what is coming, and if you would like to be sure you get yours promptly, you'll want to be among the first to respond:

ChowHaul 14.2
(shelf life of 5 years)

14 days of delicious nutrition for two people in one transportable bag (approximately 40 pounds). Includes everything needed (except a water source) for hot meals, including the means for water purification. Provides three full meals a day for two adults for 14 days, or one adult for 28 days.

Contents include:
  • 112 Mountain House freeze-dried entree pouches (four Just in Case units)
  • 1 Jetboil PCS with Companion Cup unit (cutting edge integrated burner and cookware w/ built-in igniter)
  • 4 Jetboil fuel cannisters
  • 120 Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Purification Tablets
  • 2 Renais AB Camp-a-Box Mess Kits (each includes collapse-a-cup, soup bowl, two entree trays, cutting board, salt/pepper/sugar dispenser, stainless steel knife/fork/spoon set)
  • 1 folding pocket knife, 3” stainless steel blade
  • 1 600 Denier polyester cargo duffel bag, 36"x16"x16", includes removable shoulder strap

ChowHaul 7.2
(shelf life of 5 years)

7 days of delicious nutrition for two people in one transportable bag (approximately 25 pounds). Includes everything needed (except a water source) for hot meals, including the means for water purification. Provides three full meals a day for two adults for 7 days, or one adult for 14 days.

Contents include:

  • 56 Mountain House freeze-dried entree pouches (two Just in Case units)
  • 1 Jetboil PCS with Companion Cup unit (cutting edge integrated burner and cookware w/ built-in igniter)
  • 2 Jetboil fuel cannisters
  • 60 Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Purification Tablets
  • 2 Renais AB Camp-a-Box Mess Kits (each includes collapse-a-cup, soup bowl, two entree trays, cutting board, salt/pepper/sugar dispenser, stainless steel knife/fork/spoon set)
  • 1 folding pocket knife, 3” stainless steel blade
  • 1 600 Denier polyester cargo duffel bag w/ waterproof PVC back, 30"x15"x14"
Package Deals

FYI, we will be offering package deals whereby a ScramKit Responder can be purchased in addition to a ChowHaul at discounted prices. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Rumors of Wars

I'm 48 years old. From the very point of my coming of age at 18, I was trained in the military ways of waging war ... not so much in terms of venturing out with a Bowie knife between my teeth, but as in how to surreptitiously gain a decided advantage over the enemy using cutting-edge intelligence technologies and insights.

Back in the day, the enemy was clear and well-defined. We were nose to nose with the Warsaw Pact, and during the days of the Cold War, intell was the primary theater for hostilities. Engagement with the enemy was all about dealing with the knowledge that the stakes were as high as humanly possible ... daily, with every weave, duck, and feint.

Today, most say the free ideologies of western society won that war. That communism and the Soviet Union backed down and turned over a new leaf. That we the victors were able to triumphantly beat swords into ploughshares. That mankind somehow crossed over into a higher plane where major hostilities betweeen global powers and subsequent devastation are no longer to be feared.

Well ... count me a cynic on this one ... but I choose not to turn my back, even today, on those who once held me steady in the crosshairs. But my intention here is not to try to convince anyone of the ongoing threat from marxist powers, but rather to address 21st-century warfare risks of all types for Americans at home today.

We all know deep down that we are vulnerable in America, as 9/11 brought front and center. But if you are inclined to prepare for reasonable risks to your household's safety and well-being, then you ought to give credence to the possibility of modern full-scale warfare making a sudden, destructive visitation upon us right where we live--and not just in New York City and Washington, D.C.

War Happens

The nature of men and nations has remained true to form throughout history. Ambition for power drives confrontations. Occasionally, back-channel safety nets collapse and all hell breaks loose.

Today, the mostly long-distance War on Terror passes as the framework for our understanding of hostile threats to our way of life. Yet already, many have forgotten the World Trade Center and the seizing of four airliners that stunned the world. Remembered or not, the world has not quite been the same since.

There was a time in late 2001 and throughout 2002 when media discussions and public service advisories had US citizens considering how to protect themselves from biological, chemical, and radiological terror threats, particularly in large cities. Eventually, fear gave way to suspicious cynicism and political opportunism, until now when any such risk awareness has receded to the bottom of the deck for most Americans still playing the game at all.

Without going there, I will just state, it is common sense to have on hand some basic knowledge and capabilities to deal with NBC (nuclear, bio, chem) exposures to yourself or to your area of operations. Such dangers can come at the hands of terrorists, but they can just as easily be the result of industrial or transportation accidents most anywhere in the country. Consider how you can take a few simple steps to mitigate these risks--the proverbial plastic sheeting and duct tape are a good start. Gas masks, rubber suits and gloves, N95 surgical masks, radiation detectors, and potassium iodide represent next steps worth taking for many.

Combat on American Soil

I'd propose that it is not at all crazy for smart, historically aware people to make some concessions in their crisis preparedness planning for the possibility of violent conflict within our own borders.

Historically speaking, one might say it is inevitable. Whether it is or not, common sense says that we are not immune from violent conflict or from outright warfare breaking out close to home or right on our doorstep.

International strife continues to simmer in many parts of the world, stoked by those intent on creating mayhem and anarchy for their own gain. Ethnic violence rages and in fact is spreading in spite of progressive global enlightenment and liberal sophistication. The USA remains objective number one for those exporting death and fear. We also are the only obstacle in the way of another rising power from becoming top dog on the planet.

I'd suggest that the single greatest deterrent to widespread anarchy in America is our right to bear arms and the exercise of that right by millions of actively conscientious and principled Americans. Got ammo?

Nuclear Sword of Damocles

Finally, there's the everpresent ICBM nuclear weapons that have made modern existence as precarious as a spinning toy gyroscope on a wire. Think those days are history? If you actually ever thought so, you better reconsider. For only the latest eye-opener, see "Putin's Show of Strength Triggers Fear of Fresh Nuclear Arms Race."

It's the granddaddy of all threats and it remains unthinkable for many out there. But don't let that difficult-to-envision scenario stop you from taking at least remedial steps toward preparedness in this regard. Even an all-out nuclear war IS survivable, and that is what war planners in China and Russia count on in their doomsday gaming and planning--to include elaborate measures taken to ensure the protection of millions of their own citizens.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Civil Defense program is ancient history, and if you are thinking that we can intercept ANY incoming missiles, guess again.

So unless you believe slow agonizing death by massive radiation poisoning is preferable to giving you and yours a shot at pulling through in reasonable shape, then you should look into what first steps make sense for you as you start planning your family's shelter.

War Sucks

For all the ribbons and glory, all the parades and USO tours, warfare is something every one of us should be so blessed as to never have to experience firsthand. Indeed that is one of mankind's worthiest prayers to the Almighty.

However, if you fancy your crisis preparedness program to be in any way comprehensive in scope, then you must account for hostile scenarios of all kinds. You need not obsess over wars and rumors of wars, but as with any other threat, to prepare well is to aspire to greater peace of mind.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is Cynicism a Prerequisite to Preparedness?

Those on the outside looking in to the online world of preparedness-related forums, resource sites, and blogs could easily come to the conclusion that many preparedness advocates are cynical, despondent, angry, and/or bitter ... and that the rest seem to just be running scared from something.

Unfortunately, there ARE a lot of vocal and visible characters online out there who fit these descriptions.

The good news is that the healthy, happy, largely optimistic types vastly outnumber the others in reality ... bottom line, they have better things to do with their time than to outspokenly troll the web with their views of the world.

Simple Stereotyping

I'm being impossibly simple in my generalizations about people who prepare for potential disaster. But it is a pet peeve of mine that there are a relative few out there who become inordinately representative of crisis readiness. The plain and simple truth is that most of us who choose to be materially ready for crisis, are completely normal, gentle, contented folks who simply want to look out for our families the best way we can.

We understand that bad things happen to good people and that the world is a dangerous and unpredictable place. Most of us have no interest in putting our time and energy into trying to predict the unpredictable. And we know that to go very far down the path of contingency planning too fast is to risk being overtaken by obsessive behaviors. To be aware of those dangers is to be forewarned. It's easy to avoid ... one just needs to take care not to get sucked into any particular doom-of-the-month or the feeling that you must get it all done today.

Effective preparedness is just logical, systematic activity aimed at positioning your household to be able to withstand some of the likeliest crisis scenarios.

Some would characterize the goal of preparedness as being "safe and protected." I would quibble with that a bit and argue that the greatest common tangible benefit is peace of mind. IF the time comes when your preparations are called into service, then obviously we would hope the end result is your family's well-being.

Take It a Day at a Time

"Peace of mind" is an attainable goal for anyone who wants to prepare. It should be realized little by little right from the first logical action you take in that direction. You might equate contentment with that state, as well as balance and strength. It's really a worthy ambition and one that millions of good Americans partake in.

Cynicism or pessimism about the world's future, about our country, about authority figures, etc., are not productive or satisfying avenues to travel in your journey. But you must make that decision for yourself--I suggest you enjoy every day the sun shines on you.

Sure ... know that things can become suddenly bleak for anyone anywhere at anytime ... but since you are positioning yourself and your loved ones for those times, there is no point in further dwelling on the danger today beyond the planning and actions you take to reduce the danger.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back in the Saddle

Be sure to click on the image of the painting shown here. You will be taken to a site where you can see a wide array of Martin Grelle's beautiful original artworks, available for sale.

For those of you who are loyal readers, I want to say thank you for your patience these last couple of weeks. I've been on travel ... a working vacation actually. We spent some time on the beach in Florida and took the kids to see Mickey's kingdom down there as well.

In the interim, we missed some significant snowfall back home here in Minnesiberia, but unfortunately, the sub-zero temps waited patiently for our return home.

Are You Alone?

While traveling, I was on the phone with a very good customer of mine. We were talking about how, for her, readiness is a difficult and lonely avocation. Her husband doesn't buy into the idea that crisis preparedness is worth their time and money and apparently they have some pretty emotional "discussions" about it. In fact, she admitted that she has wondered if divorce would be the result.

When I mentioned that most folks who are into preparing for what may come are actually in it without the support of their spouse or other loved ones, she was surprised. She believed she was somehow one of a very few out there rowing solo.

It's true ... the majority of folks who find some peace of mind in being prepared, are doing it alone. By choice, most would love to have the endorsement of those close to them, but when systematic risk management still fails to show up on the radar screen of the majority of people, odds are, a lot of the rest of us are going to need to choose--be true to oneself and do what we know is in the best interests of our families ... or give in and not rock the boat. (Or do what untold multitudes do ... find the middle ground by "prepping" in secret.)

About a month ago, I blogged, "How to Convince Others." I'd encourage any of you in this situation to read through that entry again. If you are frustrated by your inability to get the message across to those around you that crisis preparedness is smart and it is a perfectly reasonable and logical approach to modern life, then maybe a slight alteration in your "aura" would help.

Regardless, be assured that you are not truly alone. Millions of intelligent thinkers out there have understood the vulnerability of Americans who aren't personally ready to deal with personal or far-reaching catastrophe. Recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have opened the eyes of millions more across the country.

My most succinct advice would be to do what you know is necessary in a gradual, low-key way. Remove the emotion--don't argue or fight about it if you can help it. Just do what you can do, and eventually your peace of mind and satisfaction will grow, and just maybe, others will come around when they recognize your calm confidence even when things start to alarm everyone else.

Merry Christmas

I suspect I'll get another entry or two in before Christmas, but nonetheless, I want to be sure to wish you all a blessed holiday with your loved ones. Remember:

Peace on earth.
It does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Preparedness Books for Gift-Giving or Personal Edification

It's a busy time for all of us these days, I'm sure. So I'm going to keep this entry short and to the point ...

If you're scratching your head trying to come up with a gift for that special thinker on your list, maybe a book would fill the bill. There are some great fiction and non-fiction books out there that folks with a preparedness bent would appreciate:


Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse - an excellent, well-researched book with a strong survivalist theme, by my friend James Wesley Rawles. Many folks take notes as they read the book the first, second, or third time through. Unfortunately, this 1999 book is out of print and increasingly difficult to get a copy of. If you find one at a reasonable price--grab it!

The Last Ship - by William Brinkley ... quite simply, a great book!

Alas Babylon - a classic, must-read by Pat Frank.

Earth Abides - by George Stewart ... maybe the first in the genre, one of my personal favorites.


Crisis Preparedness Handbook - a Complete Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival - by Jack Spigarelli. A great informational resource. Get a copy before you actually need it, when it will be too late.

Origins of the Fourth World War: and the Coming Wars of Mass Destruction - by J.R. Nyquist ... this may be the most important read you'll ever have. I had the opportunity to speak with J.R. at some length recently and was happy to have been able to offer him whatever support I could in his ongoing struggle to get the word out to America that there is something evil afoot. No, this isn't what you might think it is about. Our enemy is real and is deceptively strong. History, intelligence, and headlines prove that we may not be looking in the right direction anymore for the greatest threat to America.

The Pentagon's New Map - by Thomas P.M. Barnett ... an excellent and fascinating read that sheds light on how current government leaders in the west view the world and its future. Regardless of your political perspective, you need to have an understanding of what is driving America today.

We could go on and on--there certainly are a wide range of preparedness-related books out there. Please feel free to post a comment here with your own recommendations.

For a few more titles listed in my store ... stroll on in.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ScramKit Gets 'er Done

As promised, the brand new ScramKit product line is born. The Responder Personal is the first comprehensive survival resource kit that actually allows you to have on hand all basic emergency necessities, wherever you are.

It's a full load in a little package:

  • Soft yet tough exterior - Maxpedition™ M5 waistbag in your choice of black, green, or khaki (as available)
  • Personal-size first aid kit (in separately-removable bag)
  • Pocket Survival Pack™ (in waterproof bag), from Adventure Medical Kits, which containing ...
    Rescue Howler™ whistle
    Emergency signal mirror
    Fluid-filled magnetic compass
    Firestarter kit
    Duct tape (2" x 26")
    Scalpel blade
    Stainless steel utility wire (6 feet long)
    Nylon thread
    Nylon braided "paracord"
    Fishing gear: hooks, sinkers, swivel, nylon line
    Heavy-duty aluminum foil (1 sq. yard)
    Large sewing needle & safety pins
    Waterproof paper and pencil
  • Tool Logic SL3™ folding knife with integral whistle and firestarter rod
  • Tool Logic Ice Card II™ credit-card multitool system
  • Tool Logic T1 Tech Light™ LED clip-on flashlight
  • Emergency mylar "space" blanket
  • 2 earloop face masks (surgical grade) in separate ziplock bags
  • 2 pairs of nitrile exam gloves (non-sterile) paired up into separate ziplock bags
  • GP4L digital shortwave radio with built-in regulated LED flashlight (includes earbuds) in a crush-resistant plastic case
  • 16-foot windup antenna for the GP4L radio.

Available for immediate shipping: (Turn up your speakers to hear the intro.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas Shopping for Preparedness Products

We're into the heart of the holiday-shopping season--no, actually I shall bravely proclaim it, the "CHRISTMAS" shopping season.

For those of us involved in crisis preparedness sales, being tossed into the frothy stir of mall-churned humanity is not as scary as it could be. You see, there's a certain familiarity in the chaotic spirit of it all, since we've been slogging through our own rush of frenzied buyers for months already.

We get busy when folks out there startle to the lateness of the hour, realizing they've been letting their household readiness slip to seriously vulnerable levels. Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the biggest wake-up call of many lately.

Our sales tend to ebb and flow a bit, but they are not so much determined by the calendar as by unexpected developments piercing the collective human experience.

Hurricanes, terror strikes, disease outbreaks, geo-political upheavals ... those are the types of triggers for OUR long hours as we work to provide customers with some sorely needed peace of mind. Believe me, business has been good lately ... and unfortunately that means, a lot of folks out there have been losing sleep over their tiny place in the world.

Practical Gift-buying

Scary times or not, I'm always the guy who buys the most practical gifts under the tree. I CAN do the romantic and whimsical shopping when it's called for, but I really excell at the stuff that will actually get used ... OK, or might get used in the right situation.

Example--the Christmas of '99 is memorable for some reason by those in my family because they every year remind me that I purchased EVERYONE some top-quality long underwear that year--and heavy wool socks. I still think they were well-considered gifts, but I guess that is yet lost on some of these people. (Y2K DID have the imminent potential to invite Minnesota winter into our homes, you'll recall.)

Another family favorite was the jumpstart/emergency power units I gave those with cars a couple of years ago. OK, so the smiles and hugs were not the most enthusiastic ... but at least I'm true to myself. I tell you, I love giving "practical." And I always hope to get it in return.

At least, they all know by now not to be expecting bling and zing from me ... it's going to always be fine and solid contributions to the goal of maintaining a productive environment where "the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

Seriously, if you're reading this, you're probably hoping you'll get something useful this year. You're the type who appreciates sensibility all around you, since you strive to develop that in yourself and in your household. So you might also be wanting to give sensible gifts.

I say, go for it. You never know when that gift, even if it's shoved into a drawer and almost forgotten at first, could turn out to be the most important gift ever received ... under the right circumstances.

Or what the heck, say the circumstances never warrant your genius for anticipating disaster, and life continues to deal you aces ... that can't be a bad thing.