Monthly Archives: July 2012

Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

From OffGridSurvival.com

While active shooter situations are still pretty rare, it’s a phenomenon that does seem to be increasing in regularity. From the recent shooting in Colorado, to terrorist attacks around the globe, these events do happen and they are something that we need to be prepared to respond to.

Preparing for Active Shooter Situations and Terrorist Attacks

situational awarenessSituational Awareness

Being able to protect yourself in an active shooter situation begins with having a good sense of what’s going on around you. As I suggested in a previous article, about protecting yourself during a flash mob situation, knowing your environment is one of the most important safety precautions that you can take in any situation.

Before entering any public place, you want to scope out the situation. If anything looks out of place, or your gut tells you something isn’t right; Listen to your instincts and leave.

Find your Exit Points

Part of being aware of your environment, means knowing how to get out when things go bad. Upon entering any new area, the first thing you want to do is look for every possible escape route and exit. This one thing could mean the difference between life and death, and isn’t something that should never be overlooked.

Always Give Yourself the Tactical Advantage

Call it paranoia, I call it always being prepared. When putting yourself in a target rich environment -  like a movie theater, public gathering or concert venue -  there are a couple of things you should do to maximize your ability to survive a deadly situation.

First, try to avoid situations that may turn violent.  While predicting one of these events is almost impossible, there are a number of things you can do that will put the odds in your favor.

AVOID HIGH PROFILE EVENTS

large crowdsThe madmen who commit these crimes are looking for attention. Lone shooters and terrorist organizations are both looking for media attention and high body counts. They are more likely to attack people during high profile events, so when possible:

  • Avoid opening night events
  • Avoid sold out shows and concerts
  • Avoid high profile events and politically charged rallies

DON’T BECOME AN EASY TARGET

If you do go to a large event such as a movie, a concert, or some sort of rally or sporting event; choose seats that are situated near an exit. The last place you want to be during a shooting is stuck in the middle of a crowd or in the middle of row of seats.  Placement is a hugely important factor in staying safe.

  • Choose seats near exits
  • Never choose seats in the middle of a crowd
  • Don’t make yourself stand out from the crowd in any way
  • Make sure there are no obstacles standing in your way of making a quick escape

TRUST YOUR GUT!

We have instincts for a reason. A number of people in the recent Colorado event had a bad feeling when they saw the shooter enter the building. Yet most of them brushed off their feelings and reasoned that it was probably some sort of publicity stunt for the movie.  Even after the shooting started, a number of people said “they still thought it had to be part of the show.”

If a situation seems odd, if something seems out of place, or your gut tells you something isn’t right; listen to your instincts and don’t wait around to find out what happened.

Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

Should the unthinkable happen, and you find yourself in the middle of an active shooter situation, there are a couple of things that you can do to help maximize your chances of survival.

targetESCAPE – YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

In my opinion, this is first and foremost on the list of options.  In an active shooter situation, the first thing you want to do is try to escape. This isn’t a movie or a video game, when the bullets start flying the last place you want to be is anywhere near the shooter.

Hopefully you took the time upon entering your location to scope out the exits. If you can safely make your way to an exit, do so without hesitation and without attracting unwanted attention from the shooter. Once you hit the exit, keep going. Distance is one of the keys to surviving the situation.

BARRICADE  – TAKING COVER

Taking cover means moving yourself away from any possible harm. If you can’t safely remove yourself from the situation; the next best option may be to take cover. When I say take cover, I don’t mean closing your eyes and hiding behind some tiny little object.

In the movies, you often see the hero of the story returning fire from behind some ridiculous object like a table or piece of furniture. In real life, these objects provide little if any actual protection from incoming fire. There’s a big difference between taking cover behind a solid barrier (like a concrete wall) and hiding behind a chair or table.

ATTACK

Critics of this option will probably argue that you should never try to attack a shooter. But if you’re in a situation where there’s no place to run and no place to seek cover; what other option do you have? Most critics fall silent when asked that question.

The fact is in an active shooter situation, you often have very few options. Lying frozen in fear does nothing to add to your chances of coming out alive. If you have no other options, you need to act quickly and decisively to try to take out the shooter.

If you have a weapon, then hopefully you have trained for this type of situation. I’m not going to go into tactics and proper response, because nothing I can write will properly prepare you for this situation. Only proper training, both physically and mentally, can help you prepare for this type of encounter. Please don’t underestimate the need to properly train yourself in the ways of self defense.

After the attack, get to safety.

Once you have exited the building, or removed yourself from the situation, DO NOT DROP YOUR GUARD. What if the shooter returns? What if there are other shooters waiting outside the exits?

I was stunned to see cell phone footage of people fleeing the scene of last week’s shooting. Why anyone would stay and film this tragedy is not only disgusting, it’s something  that could get you killed.  Hanging out at the scene of the incident is never a good idea, trying to film it on your cell phone is just plain stupid.

While these types of incidents are extremely rare, they do happen and they are something that we must be prepared to respond to. We live in a sick society that is constantly seeking fame and unfortunately there are a growing number of lunatics who will do anything it takes to receive that fame and notoriety. This is a problem that will probably only get worse with time.

This article was originally posted at http://offgridsurvival.com/survivingactiveshootersituationattacks/


DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the Author. Radical Survivalism Webzine and its staff will NOT be held responsible for harm or damages of any kind incurred when acting on the advise and opinions offered in this article.

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About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

UN Arms Treaty Takes Shape, Raising Alarm Among Gun Rights Advocates

By Steven Edwards | From FoxNews.com | On Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

A small number of members of the UN could change Americans' Second Amendment rights under a treaty being hammered out here. (Reuters)

A small number of members of the UN could change Americans' Second Amendment rights under a treaty being hammered out here. (Reuters)

UNITED NATIONS –  The arms trade treaty being hammered out by the United Nations is nearing completion, and the current draft shows it could lead to perpetual attacks on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and American foreign policy, critics say.

The document, which critics say has been framed by countries hostile to U.S. interests, allows for future amendments to be approved by just two-thirds of states showing up at an amendment conference. That means it could be agreed to by the U.S., put into effect and then changed over Washington’s objections. And even if the U.S. Senate refuses to ratify it, the deal could have a huge impact on the global arms trade, where the U.S. is the biggest player.

“The talks … are now being dominated by skeptical governments including Iran, Syria and Cuba.” – Statement from Control Arms, group seeking global arms control.

“This alone is grounds for rejection,” said Ted Bromund, senior research fellow with the Washington-based Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, as he pored over the text.

But even without amendments, there is plenty for the U.S. not to like in the draft, say critics. The treaty could set the stage for legal challenges to U.S. aid to allies like Israel and Taiwan, and it could also expose private information about U.S. gun owners.

“We have been making clear throughout our red lines, including that we will not accept any treaty that infringes on Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” said one U.S. official close to the talks, but who asked not to be identified.

But release of the draft so close to Friday’s deadline for a final text sends a strong signal that the treaty’s broad strokes are already set, observers say.

While critics say U.S. gun owners and interests would be left exposed by the draft, it has drawn criticism on other fronts. Activists on the political left say it is a gift to illicit gunrunners around the world, and the only group that seems to like it is the rogue states leading talks, say critics.

“The talks … are now being dominated by skeptical governments including Iran, Syria and Cuba, intent on having a weak treaty, or no treaty at all,” Control Arms, a global movement that says illicit gunrunning is fueling conflict, poverty and serious human rights violations worldwide, said in a statement. Other activists named North Korea, Egypt and Algeria as additional spoilers of the UN’s stated aims for the treaty: to keep conventional weapons out of the hands of rogue regimes, terrorists and criminals.

The draft treaty’s amendment provisions have become a new point of focus for campaigners keen to protect the integrity of U.S. Second Amendment rights to gun ownership and other U.S. interests.

Language stating that amendments are only legally binding on a country if “accepted” by its government is ambiguous, according to some experts. Past practice dictates acceptance is necessary if an amendment is to carry legal weight in a country, but the terms of this treaty have already veered from the norm with the UN General Assembly’s acceptance of the agreement-by-consensus provision.

The draft treaty’s amendment rules also fail to stipulate a quorum for an amendment vote.

“That could be done by just 10 states,” said Tom Mason, U.S. executive secretary of the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities, an association of hunting, shooting and industry organizations, including the National Rifle Association.

He said the U.S. Second Amendment is protected only by sovereignty and “lawful private ownership” references in the draft’s preamble – a part of a treaty that is not typically legally binding.

He also lamented that the draft fails to specifically exempt civilian arms from its “covered items.”

Critics say these shortfalls are an invitation for gun control activists to cite the treaty in their campaigning even as the treaty’s supporters say it is clearly about international arms transfers.

Mason said even hunters and sportsmen traveling over national borders with their firearms could find themselves at odds with the treaty if the current draft stands.

“U.S. law covers this activity,” he said.

Some provisions appear that critics have said may straitjacket U.S. foreign policy, including one that could facilitate opposition to U.S. arms sales to Israel or other states involved in conflict. The provision does this by citing human rights and humanitarian law as criteria for considering halting arms sales.

But while the so-called “automatic majority” of Arab and Muslim states and their allies at the UN paint Israel as one of the world’s worst human rights abuser states, Russia and China have balked most at the human rights and humanitarian rules, insiders say.

While declining to discuss specifics of a draft “under active negotiation,” the U.S. official close to the talks said the United States seeks a treaty that “improves global security by requiring countries to establish export controls to prevent illicit transfers of arms, including to terrorists, criminals, known human rights violators, and those subject to United Nations arms embargoes.”

But the draft falls short on even those goals, according to campaigners from across the political spectrum.

“It’s hard to see what difference this treaty will make, and in fact it could make things a lot worse by legitimizing a poor standard of practice,” said Roy Isbister, team leader on Arms Transfers at Safer World.

Activists on the political left are angry ammunition is not listed as within the treaty’s scope. The United States was among countries that sought the omission as U.S. gun lobbyists and their supporters said tracking ammunition was unworkable.

The draft that emerges will become international law for countries that ratify it once 65 of them have done so. But analysts say it could take 10 years to reach that number.

At least 58 U.S. senators have pledged to not ratify the measure “if it includes civilian firearms,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, told the UN treaty conference this month. For a treaty to become U.S. law, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to ratify it. Still, experts told FoxNews.com that if the Obama administration signs on and the Senate does not expressly reject it, the treaty may later be enforceable in the United States as international “customary law” – absent a successful challenge based on the Constitution.

This article was originally posted at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/25/un-treaty-takes-shape-and-takes-aim-at-gun-owners/

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About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Flags Of Our Forefathers: The Betsy Ross Flag

An accurate depiction of the Betsy Ross Flag

An accurate depiction of the Betsy Ross Flag

The Betsy Ross flag is an early design of the flag of the United States, popularly attributed to Betsy Ross, using the common motifs of alternating red-and-white striped field with five-pointed stars in a blue canton. The flag was designed during the American Revolution and features 13 stars to represent the original 13 colonies. The distinctive feature of the Ross flag is the arrangement of the stars in a circle.

Although the Betsy Ross story is accepted by most Americans, some flag historians and revisionists do not accept the Betsy Ross design as the first American flag. According to the traditional account, the original flag was made in June 1776, when a small committee— including George Washington, Robert Morris and relative George Ross— visited Betsy and discussed the need for a new American flag. Betsy accepted the job to manufacture the flag, altering the committee’s design by replacing the six-pointed stars with five-pointed stars.

While the Betsy Ross legend is questionable, the flag design is known to have been in use by 1777; Alfred B. Street described it at the surrender of General Burgoyne and understood the circle of stars to represent equality among the American states. It is one of the oldest versions of U.S. flags known to exist; while it is not the oldest surviving flag artifact in cloth form, its likeness appears on older physical relics, namely, the contemporary battlefield paintings by John Trumbull and Charles Willson Peale. They depict the circular star arrangement being flown from ship masts and many other places, and thus provide the first known historical documentation of the flag’s appearance.

The seal of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses the Betsy Ross flag to represent service to all veterans from the American Revolution to the present day.

The Betsy Ross design of 13-star US flags has been featured in many popular artworks (sometimes inaccurately, as in Washington Crossing the Delaware) and films, such as the 1960 version of Pollyanna. The flag continues to be one of the most popular symbols of the American Revolution.

Text source: Wikipedia.com

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About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Here it is: An Effective Plan to Convince Your Loved Ones to Prepare

By David Nash | From SHTFPlan.com | On June 22nd, 2012

Any person who has begun to seriously prepare has had to make compromises between current wants and future needs, how much to spend on preparations, and how many people to stock supplies for.  If you’re married, you need to have a spouse that shares your concerns or you’re going to fight over every #10 can the mailman delivers.  I don’t need to go into detail on how much you should store,  how to store it, or what makes the cut on your List of Lists.  The purpose of this article is to help communicate the need to prepare with those in your family that you want to help without alienating them or downgrading your own preparedness plans.

I am a professional firearms instructor and am also employed full time as an emergency management planner.  Due to my job, my hobbies, and my personal beliefs, my former mother-in-law delighted in trying to insult me by calling me “Sgt. Tackleberry”.  She was unreachable, and I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to convince her of the importance in prepping.  She would rather buy timeshares of vacation property than spend money on a basic 72 hour kit.  That works for her, and I cannot judge her, but she would not be invited to,“come live with me if it ever did happen,” as she believed.

Other members of my family have thought my preparations were a, “phase”, or some harmless idiosyncrasy.  Those family members did not have a negative view of my preparations.  They mostly looked at my preparations with amusement.  They tolerated my teenage experiments with wild foods or earthquake kits.  As I have grown older and they have seen things on the horizon that will personally impact  them, they have begun to ask me for my opinion on coming winter storms or whether they should buy gold or guns.

It’s like being a firearm instructor and people asking you which gun to buy.  If you do your homework and build credibility, people respect you more.  If you take the long view and work diligently. these members of your family might be “converted” with patience and work.  While I cannot assume responsibility for them and make them prepare for disasters, I can be a role model and sounding board to help them understand the issues at play so they can build a plan that works for them.

If the world as we know it collapses, it’s not only about survival.  Once your survival needs are met, you’re going to have to rebuild and continue with your life.  Having your loved ones with you makes that a lot easier.  The problem is that each person I add to my retreat lowers my safety margin IF MY SUPPLY AMOUNTS REMAIN FIXED, but if those people I add to my retreat bring their own supplies, it dramatically increases my safety margin.  To me it is definitely worth it to help your family prepare.

I have a few precepts that I use when dealing with family or friends on this subject.

  1. My first precept of dealing with family is not to preach.  My preparations are based on my needs and the things that I believe are important.  Each person has their own priorities, and preaching that you are right and they are wrong only pushes them away from the direction you need them to go.
  2. My second is never to prepare for a particular event.  I am sure there is still a lot of rotting food out there that was bought in bulk specifically for Y2K, and some of those that bought it are convinced it was a waste of money.  I tell my family that my food storage can be used for Y2K, Armageddon, TEOTWAWKI, Pandemic Flu, Nuclear Winter, Job loss, or when I just don’t feel like cooking.   By having an all-hazards approach and building capability and skills rather than building for specific events, my planning work gets more bang for the buck.  The first time I read of the “Deep Larder” was an “ah-ha!” moment for me, and changing my terminology has worked well in changing the response I get from my close loved ones.
  3. My last precept of helping my loved ones see the need to prepare is to foster an appropriate mindset instead of concentrating on gear acquisition.  I could buy my mom a Springfield Armory M-14 and 10,000 rounds of match ammo, but it would be much more effective to get her to go with me to the range a couple times and practice with a .22.  This would likely foster a desire to shoot, andthen I could help her choose a firearm that fits her needs and desires.

Whenever the family conversation gets around to disaster preparation I bring up concepts like:

  • “Buying car insurance is considered a responsible action, but you don’t have any tangible benefit from buying it, if you never get into an accident.”
  • “With having a deep larder, even if zombies never attack, I still have the food.”
  • Or as Dave Grossman has said, “You never hear of elementary schools burning down but they all have fire extinguishers.”
  • My favorite is, “Noah built the Ark BEFORE the flood”.

I try to break everything down into manageable bites rather than cram it in and have them tune me out.

The best case scenario is that your loved ones will see the need to prepare for themselves and begin planning and preparing on their own, therefore augmenting your plan.  You cannot out-argue someone into adopting your position.  As Dale Carnegie said, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.”  What has worked for me is a quiet and consistent approach.

I love my family and want what is best for them.  The best way I know to do that is to help them become more aware of the need to prepare.  My goal is to foster a sense of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, and to help mentor them through the beginning steps of basic preparedness.

Think about how overwhelming it was when you first began to prepare.  There is a LOT to learn and even more skills and equipment to acquire.  We know that we cannot stock everything needed or prepare too much.  The process of preparing is every bit as important as the items you acquire.

Researching and prioritizing is mental prep work so that when a large disaster occurs we are not comatose with emotional overload.  If I coddle my loved ones and try to remove their responsibility to prepare by doing it for them, then I am doing them a disservice.  When hard times come, they may not be emotionally ready to deal with the collapse.  What’s worse is that making them dependent on my charity would cause strain on otherwise healthy family relationships.  Because of this, I feel it is worth supreme effort to work with my loved ones to prepare so that we can grow together in adversity and make our family bonds stronger.

This year I had my breakthrough.  My parents asked me what they could do to prepare.  We had a very long discussion and came away with a workable plan.  At the time of our discussion their location was more favorable for a long-term retreat than my own, and they are going to provide the location and storage space for most of my preps.  We both win in the end.  Shortly after that discussion our town had an unusually long cold spell.  In the days before it we talked more about our short term plans and communication protocols and procedures.  While we did not have to evacuate to my parents, it was nice having all the details ironed out in the event we had to.

Disaster preparedness is not a fad or a short term race to buy a lot of cool gear.  It’s a lifestyle choice, and one that has a lot of benefits.  However, it comes the necessity of taking off the rose colored glasses.  Not everyone is ready to do this, but if you want to set an example and truly influence others, you must understand what you do is much louder than what you say.

David Nash is the owner of the Shepherd School and the author of Understanding the USE of Handguns for Self-Defense , a great book for new shooters, people who are thinking about becoming a new shooter, or just about anyone that wants to know about handguns in a no-nonsense, professional, but entertaining and non-stressful way.

This article was originally posted at http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/here-it-is-an-effective-plan-to-convince-your-loved-ones-to-prepare_06222012

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About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

10 Things the Recent D.C. Power Outage Taught Us…

From NaturalNews.com | By Mike Adams (The Health Ranger) | On Sunday, July 8th, 2012

D.C. storm damage. Image: Washington Post

D.C. storm damage. Image: Washington Post

(NaturalNews) In the wake of violent storms, the power went out for millions of Americans across several U.S. states. Governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio declared a state of emergency. Over twenty people were confirmed dead, and millions sweltered in blistering temperatures while having no air conditioning or refrigeration. As their frozen foods melted into processed goo, some were waking up to a few lessons that we would all be wise to remember.

Here are 10 hard lessons we’re all learning (or re-learning, as the case may be) from this situation:

#1) The power grid is ridiculously vulnerable to disruptions and failure

All it takes is Mother Nature unleashing a little wind storm, and entire human cities are cut off from their power grid. Wind and trees, in other words, can destroy in seconds what takes humans years to construct. As Newt Gingrich even quipped about the situation, what we witnessed was just a small taste of what a high-altitude EMP weapon attack could unleash across all of North America. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpuyPfAZRTU)

#2) Without electricity, acquiring food and water in a major U.S. city can become a difficult task

During the outage, masses of people across the Eastern U.S. scrambled to get squared away on food and water. Fortunately for them, malls and gas stations were open, providing (processed) food, water and air conditioning. That’s because the power outages were fragmented, affecting some neighborhoods but not others.

In a total grid down scenario, food and water supplies in a given U.S. city will disappear almost overnight. It’s much the same for gasoline, batteries and even ammunition. All these supplies (and many more) will simply be stripped from the shelves.

#3) Most people are simply not prepared and therefore worsen any crisis

The average American citizen practices zero preparedness. They are 100% dependent on the power grid, the city water supply, 911 services for protection and long-distance food deliveries to their grocery store. They have no backup plans, no stored food, no emergency mindset and no practical skills for surviving a real crisis.

As a result, their lack of preparedness worsens any crisis. Instead of being part of the solution, they become a burden on all the emergency services and supplies available in the area.

Hilariously, today’s city goers actually consider malls and movie theaters to be places of refuge. As FoxNews reported last weekend, “On Saturday, many people flocked to places like malls and movie theaters in the hope the lights would be on again when they returned home.” (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/01/millions-without-power-brace-for…)

#4) Cell phones are a fragile technology that can’t be counted on in an emergency

One of the more interesting observations about the current crisis is that many cell phone towers are out of service. That’s because they have no electricity and / or they have been damaged by wind or debris.

As a result, people who depend on cell phones for their lifeline to friends, relatives and 911 emergency services were suddenly left with non-functioning devices. Even in areas where the cell phone towers were still operating, many people had no place to charge their phones because their own homes were cut off from electricity.

When the grid is up, and there are no storms, solar flares or disruptions, cell phones are truly amazing devices, but they are vulnerable to even small-scale natural events, and they therefore cannot be relied on when you need them most.

#5) The internet is wildly vulnerable to natural disasters

According to news reports, these storms took down a portion of the Amazon Cloud, and this in turn shut down Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram. Those services have now been restored, but they were offline for several hours during which many of their users no doubt thought the world was coming to an end.

#6) Many people have no clue what to do in an emergency

Consider this quote about the CDC telling people what to do:

“The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention was among many government agencies trying to keep people informed — from knowing when the food in your suddenly inoperable freezer can’t be eaten to taking a cool bath if you don’t have AC.” (http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/30/us/extreme-heat/index.html)

Seriously? Does the government have to tell people to take a cool bath in order to avoid overheating? Do people not know when food has spoiled? And even more strangely, is it now the role of the U.S. government to tell everybody what to do in every emergency?

Whatever happened to common sense? I can tell you what: It moved out to the country!

Out in the country of Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and just about everywhere else, ranchers and farmers still have common sense. They know about backup water supplies, and they can figure things out for themselves. It seems to be city people who need the most instructions from Washington D.C. because they’ve forgotten the fundamental skills of human survival.

#7) 911 and other emergency services are quickly overwhelmed or completely offline

According to MSNBC:

In Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Huge trees toppled across streets in the nation’s capital, crumpling cars. Cellphone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water.
(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48032427/ns/weather/)

#8) A national grid-down situation would be far more complex to repair

The recent storms that caused this “grid down” situation for millions of Americans was a local event, and its repair and restoration was aided by workers arriving from outside the affected regions. In a national grid down scenario, however, there will be no excess human capital to lend to the situation. Every worker will be busy trying to restore the power grid in their own home regions.

This means repairs will take significantly longer, and according to some experts like David Chalk and James Wesley Rawles, a national grid down scenario has the potential of being unable to be repaired at all, resulting in years of no power grid which would obviously cause a mass die-off across the U.S. population.

#9) Modern cities are built on systems that have little redundancy

When the power goes out to a local hospital, there might be a temporary backup generator, but even that generator relies on the delivery of fuel. The delivery of generator fuel, in turn, relies on the availability of diesel truck fuel, which depends on petroleum refineries functioning, which in turn depends on the power grid staying up and highways remaining navigable. This is a complex chain of dependencies which can suffer disruptions or even total failure without warning.

There are surprisingly few redundancies in modern cities: Power, water, 911 services, natural gas and even sewage systems are all vulnerable to single points of failure. Even the evacuation infrastructure of modern cities is ripe for total failure. The city of Los Angeles, for example, simply cannot — under any circumstances — be evacuated. The highways simply do not have the capacity to handle the mass of vehicles attempting to leave, and in less than 72 hours, the whole thing would turn into a giant parking lot of stranded vehicles and desperate people, ripe for the picking off by armed gangs riding motorcycles.

When 911 fails, most people have no backup plan. Most people have no skills to defend themselves against acts of violence. They have no mindset for dealing with difficulty, so they call others to solve their problems for them: the police, the plumber, the fireman, the ambulance and so on. In a collapse scenario, individuals whose specialty skills are currently shared across a broad population will suddenly be difficult or impossible to locate. Why? Because they’ll be at home protecting their families!

#10) Mother Nature will humble humanity

Any time human beings get too arrogant and too big-headed about all their amazing cell phone technology, hi-rise cities and nuclear power plants, Mother Nature just shrugs and sends forth a tsunami of water or wind. All of humanity’s greatest constructs are but fragile toys compared to the truly awesome power of Mother Nature and the resilience of planet Earth.

If the power grid goes down across planet Earth for just one year, 90% of human civilization will perish, and along with it all the DVDs, Nike shoes and designer bling as well. Even the entire fictional construct of society’s laws and banking system will cease to exist.

Mother Nature is real. Consciousness is real. Seeds are real. But much of what humanity has so far created is paper-thin and temporary. It can all cease to exist in the blink of a cosmic eye.

We are fragile beings exploring a sea of such greatness and scale that our own lives seem silly by comparison. What humans think of as a natural “disaster” is but a tiny expression of natural patterns to Mother Nature. If we truly hope to survive as a species, we would be wise to remember how insignificant we really are in the greater scope of things… and why we must learn to respect nature and the universe rather than arrogantly thinking we have conquered it with GMOs, nuclear power and a supercollider.

About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies’ products. In 2010, Adams launched TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video site featuring videos on holistic health and green living. He’s also the CEO of a highly successful email newsletter software company that develops software used to send permission email campaigns to subscribers. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and martial arts training. Known as the ‘Health Ranger,’ Adams’ personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org

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About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Global Economy’s Cure is Worse Than the Disease

Commentary: Take two aspirin and call Bernanke in the morning

By Satyajit Das | From SYDNEY (MarketWatch) | On Tuesday, July 25th, 2012

Dear Doctor: Thank you for referring Mr. Global Economy to me.

The patient’s history includes a seizure in 2007/2008 — financial losses, banking problems, a major recession. Liberal injections of taxpayer cash avoided catastrophic multiple organ failure, assisting a modest recovery.

Fed sees action if growth stays sluggish. Federal Reserve officials, impatient with the economy's disappointing performance, are moving closer to taking new actions to spur growth and employment if they don't see evidence soon that activity is picking up. Jon Hilsenrath has details on The News Hub.

Fed sees action if growth stays sluggish. Federal Reserve officials, impatient with the economy's disappointing performance, are moving closer to taking new actions to spur growth and employment if they don't see evidence soon that activity is picking up.

Fed sees action if growth stays sluggish

Federal Reserve officials, impatient with the economy’s disappointing performance, are moving closer to taking new actions to spur growth and employment if they don’t see evidence soon that activity is picking up. Jon Hilsenrath has details on The News Hub.

Governments ran large budget deficits in the period after the crisis. Interest rates around the world were reduced to historic lows, zero or negative in many developed countries. Balance sheets of major central banks have increased to $18 trillion from around $6 trillion, reflecting an unprecedented 30% of global gross domestic product.

Mr. Economy is now addicted to monetary heroin. Increasing doses are necessary for the patient to function at all.

Mr. Economy has not made the changes necessary for a return to full health. He seems to have taken rock star Steven Tyler’s advice: “Fake it until you make it.”

Borrowing levels remain unsustainable. Debt levels for 11 major nations have increased to 417% of GDP in 2012 from 381% of GDP in 2007. Debt has increased in Canada, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Portugal, the U.K. and the U.S.

Global imbalances — major current account surpluses and deficits — remain. Little progress has been made in bringing the banking system under control.

Critical diagnosis

Physical examination of Mr. Economy reveals serious problems. The U.S. is in marginally better condition than other organs — the “cleanest dirty shirt” is the commonly given expression. Despite a $1 trillion annual budget deficit (6% of GDP) and expansionary monetary policy, U.S. growth is a tepid 2%.

The U.S. housing market’s rate of descent has slowed but prices remain 30%-60% below highs. New housing starts have stabilized, at around 50% below peak levels. Benefiting from a weaker dollar, manufacturing has improved. Lower oil and natural gas prices have benefited the economy.

Employment remains weak. If discouraged workers who have left the workforce and part-time workers seeking full-time employment are included, then unemployment is above 15%, far higher than the headline 8% rate. The total number of Americans now employed is around 140 million — well-below the peak level above 146 million.

Consumer spending remains patchy. Job insecurity, lack of earnings and wealth losses are causing households to reducing spending and repay debt.

Record corporate profits have been achieved mainly through cost reductions and minimal revenue growth. Investment is weak due to the lack of demand.

Bank lending is sluggish due to lower demand for credit and problems of financial institutions.

Federal public finances remain unsustainable. Cuts in spending, mandated under the 2011 increase in the national debt ceiling, would improve deficits but adversely affect growth. State and municipal finances are under severe stress, with an increasing number of borrowers filing for bankruptcy.

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Why the U.S. Is in an Invisible Depression

From TheWallStreetJournal.com | On Monday, July 16th, 2012

According to Al Lewis on The News Hub, we’re actually in a depression right now, but most people don’t see it. One out of seven Americans are on food stamps – if they weren’t getting cards in the mail every month, you’d see them in soup lines. Photo: AP.

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About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Euro Crisis Brings World to Brink of Depression

By Darrell Delamaide | From Marketwatch.com | On Monday, July 24th, 2012

Europe is a tinderbox waiting for a spark.

The financial volatility in Europe may have created a situation that is now beyond the capacity of policy makers to control or curb.

When an accomplished fixer like Pascal Lamy, the head of the World Trade Organization and the longtime chief of staff for former European Commission President Jacques Delors, describes the situation in Europe as “difficult, very difficult, very difficult, very difficult,” you know it is time to run for cover.

The Great Depression was worsened by bank runs.

The crisis has now gone well beyond the prospect of breaking up the euro to the threat of a full-fledged financial and economic collapse in Europe that could plunge the world into a second Great Depression.

Few Americans are aware that a worldwide banking crisis started by cascading bank failures in Austria and Germany was one of the major causes of that earlier Depression.

It was in the summer of 1931 that the collapse of Creditanstalt in Vienna forced one of Germany’s big banks, Danatbank, to fail, leading to a credit crisis that prompted bank holidays around the world and exacerbating an already severe economic crisis.

The spark in the current crisis could come from a bank failure, and not necessarily in Spain. It could be a bank in Italy — or Austria, or Germany. German banks are notoriously undercapitalized and poorly supervised and have created a number of mini-crises in the past few decades since the collapse of the Herstatt Bank in 1974.

German economist Fabian Lindner drew the parallel to 1931 in an op-ed last fall when he compared his country’s intransigence toward southern Europe now to the misguided harshness of the U.S. and France toward Germany in the earlier crisis.

Hough: Now is the time to buy Spain

Spain has led headlines following its surging bond yields but investors who plunk money into a broad basket of Spanish shares today could see average returns of 20% a year over the next several years. Jack Hough discusses on Markets Hub.

“Both the German public and politicians should learn from history,” Lindner wrote in a commentary for Die Zeit that was also published in The Guardian. “Solidarity with the crisis countries is in Germany’s long-run interest. The German government should stop abusing its power to dictate economic decline to other nations. The alternative is economic stagnation and increased tensions between European nations.”

The situation has deteriorated since Lindner hoped in vain for some enlightenment on the German side. Instead, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann have held to the prescription Lindner saw leading to disaster: “Germany and the German central bankers demand drastic austerity and only give piecemeal and insufficient help in return — too little, too late.”

The latest austerity measures in Spain, approved by the national Parliament last week even as the economy continues to contract, has led to new riots in the streets, pushing the yields on Spanish bonds above the 7% level deemed manageable, and increasing the likelihood of contagion to Italy.

Meanwhile, German Economics Minister Philipp Roesler whistles in the wind, saying the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro has “lost its horror,” and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble says Greece must try harder to meet its austerity commitments.

The problem, meine Herren, is not poor little Greece, long since written off by a smug German officialdom. The problem is the growing possibility of defaults in Spain and Italy that will lead to bank failures across the continent and incalculable consequences.

Paul Krugman quipped at the beginning of the current crisis that someone will be able to write a sequel to Liaquat Ahamed’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Lords of Finance” — which chronicles how the four leading central bankers of that era plunged the world into the Great Depression with their wrong-headed policies — and call it “Lords of Finance: The Next Generation.”

The target of Krugman’s barb was Jean-Claude Trichet, then president of the European Central Bank. But his successor, Mario Draghi, has proven equally clueless in his public statements and actions.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, an avowed admirer of Ahamed’s book, has nonetheless been relatively timid in recent months, keeping his distance from the European crisis and failing to make a convincing case for the Fed’s inaction in following its own mandate to promote employment in the U.S.

History is not likely to be any kinder to Bernanke and his cohorts than to the European policy makers who collectively have not been equal to the task.

The worst may still be averted but the challenge is indeed very, very, very difficult, and it is hard to see at this point where salvation could come from.

The article was originally posted at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-crisis-brings-world-to-brink-of-depression-2012-07-24

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Corn Belt Drought Worsens

By Jon Erdman |  From Weather.com | On Jul 13, 2012

The drought in the nation’s Corn Belt continues to worsen, according to a just-released report.

Roughly 61% of the contiguous United States is now officially in drought, or roughly 3.1 million square miles, according to the July 10 release of the Drought Monitor from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Drought covers parts of 42 states, with only Alaska, New Jersey and the New England states completely drought-free.

Growth in U.S. drought from May 8 through July 10, 2012. Most dire drought conditions indicated by darker red and brown shadings.

Conditions continue to deteriorate across the nation’s heartland, with drought expanding into the Great Lakes, and becoming “exceptional” in parts of Arkansas and the Lower Ohio Valley.

The late June/early July heat wave, coupled with persistent dry weather has taken it toll on the corn crop.  Thirty percent of the corn crop in 18 primary corn-producing states is now either in poor or very poor condition.  Half the country’s pastures and ranges are now in either poor or very poor condition, up from 28% rated as such in June.

According to the National Weather Service, Indianapolis, Ind. is suffering the longest dry spell in 104 years.  From June 1 through July 12, a scant 0.09″ of rain has fallen, there.  Average rainfall through that period is just over 6 inches!

Precipitation rankings from April through June 2011 (record wettest states) vs. same period in 2012 (among driest on record).

This is a stunning turn of events compared to a year ago.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, last April through June was the record wettest in four states:  Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan.  It was also the second wettest in Illinois, and among the top 10 wettest such periods in Arkansas and Tennessee.

This April through June was the record driest in Arkansas, second driest in Indiana, and among the top 10 driest in Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Through July 12, Paducah, Ky. has picked up about 34″ of rain less this year-to-date compared to last year-to-date!  Last spring…the second highest crest on the Ohio River in Paducah.  This spring/summer…a rainfall deficit of over 14 inches.

Rain Next 2 Days:

Rain Next 2 Days

Any Relief Ahead?

The best chance for drought-relieving rainfall over the next week will lie from South Texas to the Ohio Valley.  Over the next 5-7 days, rainfall amounts of over 1 inch are possible in these areas.

Having said that, summer’s thunderstorms are of a hit-or-miss nature, so while one area may get soaked with several inches of rain in just a few hours, other nearby locations may not pick up a drop of rain.

Unfortunately, parts of the Plains from the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and Kansas potentially eastward into Illinois and Indiana may see little significant rainfall over the next 5-7 days.

Coupled with building heat, drought conditions may continue to deteriorate in these areas as we head toward what is, climatologically speaking, the hottest time of the year.

This article was originally posted at http://www.weather.com/news/weather-forecast/drought-worsens-corn-belt-20120712

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.