Category Archives: Mama’s Got A Gun

Drop The Rose Colored Glasses

I find some of the ideas people have of a post-SHTF world as an idyllic pastoral life quite worrisome. Although basically an optimist myself, I am also a realist. While I do believe that a rebuilding of society will occur once the worst is over, I do not have any illusions about how bad it can get first. At best it will take many months to reach the point of restoring civilization. Depending upon exactly what happens, it may take a decade or more to reach that point. We must not deceive ourselves about this.

The thought really hit home with me tonight after reading a guest post on another blog regarding WSHTF birth control and the comments that followed. Many of the commenters negated the author’s intent to get women thinking of this subject and extolled the virtues of large families working together in agricultural settings. They envision a world like “The Waltons” meets “Little House on the Prairie.” They sound like historical revisionists who likely believe in the portrayal of happy slaves singing while they worked the plantations of their beloved masters. One said WSHTF, he will head off to the nearest ER to volunteer. What will he do when he discovers it no longer exists?

Primitive rural life is no picnic. If you think it is, read historical narratives or journals. Look around an old cemetary at all the children’s tombstones, many whose birth and death dates are the same. Many are next to that of a mother who died the same day. Theirs was not an easy life.

More to the point, it could take years before we even reach the point of a colonial type society again. In the meantime, the Stuff will be continually Hitting the Fan. No matter what the precipitating event, we will likely deal for at least some time, with a world Without Rule Of Law. Survival will be of the fittest, smartest, best prepared. Any region plunged into insurrection and war is extremely dangerous. The same people who will kill now for a pair of sneakers will be out there wanting what you have. There are a good many people who plan to survive by stealing and looting. The world will always be filled with those who will destroy what others have just for fun.

One of the worst things that happens in WROL situations is rape. Rape of old women, young women, children and even men occur during war. Developing self defense skills now, with and without weapons, are vital to avoiding this. Man’s inhumanity to man (and woman) knows no boundaries. Be certain that if you fail to learn and practice defensive skills, you will be the victim of rape, torture, and murder. If others are depending upon you, your lack of ability to protect them may lead to a horrific fate for them. Every member of a group or family must learn defensive skills suited to their abilities.

Yes, I am storing seeds and tools in hope of ensuring my long term survival. However, I don’t look forward to what lies ahead. IF I make it through the WROL stage, life will still be no paradise. Hard work, probable malnutrition, lack of advanced medical care and resurgence of diseases that have disappeared from the developed world will all be challenges to be overcome. The male population is usually greatly reduced by war. Without proper care and nutrition, more women die from childbirth. Infant and child mortality increase, for they are the most vulnerable. More primitive, rural societies have more children because a smaller percentage will survive to adulthood. True, if all survive and their land is able to sustain them, there may be large happy families. But, this sort of pretty picture is unlikely for quite some time after SHTF.

So, do yourself and everyone who depends upon you a huge favor and take off the rose-colored glasses. Once SHTF, life is going to be hard and dangerous for quite some time. Those who think that they will have their big happy family farming their nice little country acreage without nasty constraints of big government and the evils of modern life will be in for a terrible surprise. This is not going to be like somebody hit the reset button and magically transported us back to a (romaticized) simpler time. This will be the remnants of humanity pulling themselves upward from near annhilation. We will have to be prepared to fight and claw our way to a new life. Many will die trying. If you are not realistic, you will surely be one of them.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Prepping: It’s About Responsibility

Responsibility is a value which has been severely eroded in modern life. Our society has moved from the ideals of self determination that settlers treasured to an abdication of all pretense of responsibility for the self. When something bad happens to us, we blame everyone but ourselves. Struck by natural disaster? Blame the government for sending too little help, too late. Injured? Sue somebody. Sick? Blame the doctor. Kids cannot read? Blame the teachers. Took a pill and had side effects? Sue the manufacturer.

When an area in Connecticut was hit by the freak October snowstorm in 2011, people blamed the electric company for leaving them without power for up to two weeks. Who did the electric company blame? The weathermen. The CEO of our utility actually said on television that the fault lay with the weathermen who didn’t warn him. Of course, everyone else knew the storm was coming days ahead with wet, heavy snow and high winds. The governor declared a state of emergency before the first snowflake fell. Unfortunately, no one “told” the utility to prepare. Of course the other political party blamed the governor. As you all know, politicians do control the weather. Most residents had at least minimal preparations. But, there was still an outpouring of blame and anger at everyone from the electric company to the fire department.

Preppers know not to expect help from the government, the utility companies or for that matter, anyone else. We recognize that even with good intentions, help won’t necessarily arrive when we need it. We see our neighborhoods becoming more crime-ridden and realize that there is no way for police to be everywhere, at all times, to prevent crime. Our faith in our government diminishes everyday as we see corrupt and power hungry leaders stealing our freedoms. We see the direction our world is headed and conclude that the situation is likely to get worse.

No matter what, there will always be crisis or disaster in one form or another. Rather than leaving our fate and our loved ones’ fates in the unreliable hands of others, preppers choose to take responsibility for ourselves. This was the natural order of human life until the most recent decades. Independence and self reliance were simply fact for previous generations. We choose now to take back those values that made modern civilization possible. We don’t take for granted that the comforts we are accustomed to will always be there. Electricity, fuel, automobiles, computers, cell phones and more have become things people believe they cannot live without. We know that people can survive without these comforts as they did for centuries.

Preppers look at their lives and their surroundings differently than mainstream society. We prepare for short term and for long term loss of the trappings of modern civilization. We take responsibility for our own safety, knowing that even in the best of times, the police aren’t always able to help us in time. And, these are certainly not the best of times. We make certain that we will have food, water, and shelter for ourselves even if disaster strikes. These are considerations no sane person would have thought odd a century ago.

We choose to break free of the cycle of dependence on systems that can fail. Taking the credit or the blame for the consequences of our own actions is not revolutionary thinking. In a world where government has run amok and the people have become dependent and complacent, this ideal does set preppers apart from the rest. Anyone can be prepared. The first step is taking personal responsibility.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Thoughts On Gun Stories In The News

There have been many stories in the news recently involving the use of a firearm by civilians. Some have resulted in praise of knowledgeable citizens employing their firearms in emergency situations. Others have resulted in arrests of the citizens for various firearm-related crimes, thus sparking outrage among other pro-gun folks. Just as it is difficult to  believe that all of these arrests were necessarily wrong, it is equally difficult to think  that all of those praised in the news for their actions were fully in the right. Let us examine some of the legalities and practical aspects of using a firearm in self defense.

First and foremost, a private citizen who legally owns and carries a firearm is allowed to use it in defense of himself or another person where there is reason to believe there is imminent risk of death or grave bodily injury. At all times, the firearm operator is expected to consider the possible risks to other innocent people from missed shots, over-penetration and ricochets. In a high pressure situation such as an armed robbery, this information has to be evaluated and processed instantaneously. It is because of these risks that discharging a weapon in a residential area is illegal unless dire circumstances require it. (Check your local firearms laws.) The lawful gun owning citizen is not a police officer. It is not our job to prevent crime, apprehend suspects, nor hold them for police. We neither have an obligation nor a right to defend physical property with lethal force.

An article of  concern was in regards to the first Wisconsin resident to use a gun since the new concealed carry law took effect in that state. The local media hailed this man as heroic and the incident was treated as a lawful shooting. This may have not been considered lawful in every jurisdiction. The man was inside a supermarket as armed robbers entered waving guns around. There had apparently been a string of such robberies. However, the robbers had not shot anyone or pointed a gun at them. The gunmen were relying on the intimidation factor of waving their guns around. In other jurisdictions, the fact that the guns were not being pointed at anyone thereby posing immediate threat may have counted against the armed citizen. What is troubling in this situation is that there were several other people in the store who were at more risk from shots being fired so close by and the possibility of an actual gunfight if the robbers returned fire. Fortunately, the cowardly criminals did not fight back and no innocent bystanders were harmed. It is possible that while under the stress of the situation the armed citizen may not have given enough thought to the potentially negative consequences of his actions.

The 2011 Tuscon shooting that injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords has been fodder for the anti-gun lobby. One rather ridiculous point that was brought up was that a man in the crowd was lawfully carrying a handgun but did not act. The argument on the anti-gun side is that we “allow” people to carry guns for situations like this one, and this incident proves lawful guns are useless. It is a waste of time to engage in a rant about “allowing” gun ownership and carry because it is our right as citizens. The rest of the reasoning cited by the anti-gun proponents is just as flawed. The responsible citizen carrying a firearm was not close enough to be sure he could hit only the shooter rather than hurting more innocents in the crowd. He was also smart enough to know that when the police arrive at the scene of a shooting like this, anyone with a gun may be presumed to be the perpetrator. It was unfortunate that there was nothing the bystander could do in this situation, but it appears he made the responsible choice.

Recently, a store owner was charged in the death of an armed robber. Two armed men held-up the man at gunpoint. He fired at them, hitting one and bringing him down. Gun in hand, he chased the other robber down the street. Unsuccessful at catching the bad guy, the man returned to the store where the first robber lay on the floor, wounded but alive. The owner then shot him again, killing him. Police arrested the store owner for this killing. Why? Because he knew that he had stopped the threat and incapacitated the robber. Had he kept shooting initially, he probably would not have been charged even if he kept shooting after an incapacitating shot was fired. Having left and then returning to find the robber was too injured to move, the store owner was no longer defending himself from a threat. We all should know that chasing a criminal down the street with your gun drawn is illegal. That of course, is the least of the store owner’s problems now. He may or may not find some sympathy from a jury on this.

Another story involved a man in New Hampshire who discovered his home had been robbed at which point he witnessed the burglar climbing out of his neighbor’s window. The gentleman then confronted the burglar. He fired a warning shot into the ground to let the criminal know he meant business. He then held the robber at gunpoint until police arrived. There was great outrage that the good citizen was arrested for reckless discharge of a firearm in a residential neighborhood. The charges have subsequently been dropped by the prosecutor after a flurry of outraged calls and emails. This appears to be a fair outcome, especially as no one was injured. The man who stopped the burglar also happened to be a senior citizen which gave the victim good reason to believe he needed to make a point. This should serve as a reminder to all of us that we should not be firing warning shots. If there is such imminent risk and fear of bodily harm that we are entitled to use a gun, there is no reason for a warning of any kind, more specifically a warning shot.

It is possible Castle Doctrine laws are misunderstood by some to mean that you can defend your property from burglars with your gun. This is not really the meaning or intent of the legislation. These laws are common sense rules of law against those in the legal system who on occasion argued that a victim always has a duty to retreat from a threat rather than stand and confront it, even if that meant jumping out the window of their own home. These laws, which now exist in many states, give the legal presumption that if someone unlawfully enters your home with you in it, they do intend bodily harm to you. It seems like simple common sense that if you wake up in the dark to find a stranger in your home that you would believe he has bad intentions. There are still many places where the presumption of innocence for criminals trumps the right of a person to be secure from threats of harm or death in their own home. It is not, in legal terms, that Castle Doctrine allows you to defend your actual property when you encounter a criminal in your home. It is rather, the legal right that you should be able to be safe from assault or murder in your own home. It is this same presumption that a criminal must be planning an act of violence if he breaks into an occupied home that is behind new tougher laws that differentiate home invasion from simple burglary to that of a vacant residence.

We must remember at all times that, as lawfully armed citizens, we are not police. We may suffer severe repercussions if we use a firearm to defend property or to prevent property crime. We do not warn or threaten use of lethal force. If the situation is sufficiently dangerous that a citizen may defend himself with lethal force, the time for warnings is past. Know the laws in your jurisdiction. Also, know the practices of local law enforcement regarding firearms. Occasionally, the normal practices and procedures are not what you might expect when reading the law. While it is true that you will likely not face prosecution if you were arrested under these circumstances, most would not have the time, money or inclination to go that route.  You would be well advised that when you see these stories in the news that you carefully consider what you would do in the same situation. You can run scenarios in your head, but sometimes real life is more complicated than what our imagination can conjure. If you use your firearm responsibly, legally and appropriately, you should have no fears of prosecution. The time to think it through is before it happens.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are the thoughts and opinions of the author. With respect to firearms, in all cases, it is the reader’s responsibility to know, understand, and follow all applicable laws regarding the ownership and use of firearms. The author, nor Radical Survivalism Webzine will be liable for the information contained in this article.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Preppers As Parents

Have you watched a television show or a report on the internet about the people prepping for “Doomsday,” “The End Of The World As We Know It,” or some terrible catastrophe and asked yourself how these crazies can be allowed to raise kids? It has to bad for children to be raised in this kind of environment, right? Well, hold on now, is it really bad for children to be raised in a prepper family?

The first thing you must understand is that it is because of the children that many people are trying to be more prepared for whatever may come. Every new parent remembers the moment when you brought your baby home from the hospital and it suddenly registers what a immense responsibility you have. There you were holding this innoocent little life in your arms and that life depended upon YOU, the parent, for everything. You had to feed, shelter and love that little bundle and protect him or her from all the perils of life. You thought of many things: car accidents, house fires and household dangers. You baby proofed your home and checked your smoke detectors and bought life insurance. You had put the baby in a car seat to go for even a short ride. You took her when she was sick to the doctor and for checkups when she was well.

Prepper parents take a step, or maybe many steps, beyond what others do. We plan for what to do when the power goes out. We plan for making sure our families are cared for if a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, blizzard or whatever other disaster may happen. We know where the flashlights are when the lights go out. We have plenty of food and supplies so that if something happens that the store is closed or we can’t get to it, our children won’t suffer. The more you think along these lines, the more you see potential problems you want your family to be prepared for.

Every new parent has a diaper bag. In it we keep diapers, ointment, milk or juice, a pacifier, extra clothes and whatever else baby may need. Most parents I know keep the diaper bag ready to go. We change out the perishables and replace what we have used.  As the child gets older, a backpack replaces the diaper bag and the contents change.

A Bug Out Bag (often referred to as a BOB in the preparedness community) is the identical idea at a higher level of planning. It brings peace of mind to know that if there’s a chemical spill on the highway or a flood coming and we need to get out of our home fast, everything is there, in the bag, ready to grab and go.

Prepper families focus on having the skills to survive if everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Family preparedness involves a lot of family time together. Time for camping, fishing, hiking, swimming and other pursuits that build self sufficiency are also family bonding time. We want our children to grow up strong, confident and self-reliant. Helping them master skills they will need takes a lot more time than doing everything for them. However, we believe the rewards are well worth it.

It is understandable that some people are concerned about the firearms that many preppers keep for personal defense as well as hunting. Our society is generally disapproving of firearms and fears them, especially around children. All of us must realize that preparedness is about responsibility. Responsible parents have had children and firearms safely in their homes for generations. As parents, we teach children the dangers of firearms and the safety rules for handling them. We realize the consequences of improper storage and keep firearms safely stored. We have no tolerance for the irresponsible or criminal adults who allow children unsupervised access to firearms.

It is obvious that some of the possible disasters that some preppers worry about seem far-fetched to some. Having odd ideas does not, in and of itself, make a person a bad parent. Our goal is not to make our children fearful of disasters that may never occur. The goal is for our children to know that they are safe and that we will take care of them no matter what. It gives a parent incredible peace of mind to know their family is provided for even if the unexpected happens. This, in turn, allows us to relax and truly enjoy every minute that we spend with the ones we love.

So, we all ask (we the Prepper Parents) that before you judge prepper families negatively, that you consider how much love and care we put into making every provision we can for our families’ well being. Consider how happy and secure it makes a child to be certain his parents will be able to take care of him. More importantly, consider the positives of raising children who will be independent, self-sufficient adults ready to take their place in the world someday. These are the ideas that are things of value to prepper parents.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

You Don’t Have To Be Crazy To Be A Prepper

If your first exposure to prepping is through the media, you are probably thinking all preppers are extreme or kooks. I once thought of preppers and survivalists were some kind of crazy Rambo-Grizzly Adams hybrids. At best, I thought they were like Woody Harrelson’s character “Charlie Frost” the doomsday radio DJ in the movie “2012.” I believe you will find, as I did, that the majority of preppers are actually pretty sane, even ordinary.

There are two major details to keep in mind regarding media portrayals. One, ‘ordinary’ doesn’t make for good entertainment. Second, hours of film are shot which are then edited to fit the time frame and entertain the audience. Explanations of the “why” and the “how” are often edited, and sometimes (well, a lot of the time) taken out of context. Try not to place blame on the editors for doing this.

My personal goal, and that of the people who let themselves be filmed, is to educate. Just as many who are far less extreme recognized something in the shows they watched about hoarders and sought help, I hope that some will recognize the value of prepping. If even a handful of people are inspired to give more consideration to their own preparedness, then a worthy goal has been achieved.

Believe it or not, most preppers started small with modest worries. At this time, local and federal agencies are encouraging preparedness. Everyone from FEMA to the CDC is urging people to prepare a 72 hour kit for emergencies. Every part of the world is prone to some type of disruption in daily life. Depending upon where you live, you may be at risk from wildfire, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, blizzard, flood, or other hazard. Some of these disasters may require you to evacuate your home quickly, while others may leave you trapped at home without power or unable to get more supplies.

Rehearsing a preparedness plan will spare you panic, or worse, when an emergency does occur. Having supplies in your home to get by for a few days, if needed, is simply good common sense. An emergency bag on hand and ready to go for each family member will save you valuable minutes if you must evacuate your home in a hurry. I long for the day that everyone will do at least this much. The life you save may be your own, or that of someone you love.

I have discovered that the more I experienced emergencies and considered the consequences, the more it becomes apparent that these basic preparations may not be enough. Frequently, electricity is out for much longer than three days. Some disasters can completely destroy your home. If you look at recent catastrophes this is all too clear. In the last year, we have seen devastating tornadoes, the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan, a hurricane headed for major metropolitan areas of the eastern seaboard, wildfires ravaging the Southwest and a freak October snowstorm that left hundreds of thousands in the Northeast without power for over a week. To me, it is the epitome of rational thought to prepare as best we can for these events.

The fears that some preppers express of governmental collapse, martial law or complete end of life as we know it may seem extreme. These fears, however, are typically based in part on events that have actually happened in the past or in other parts of the world. We only have to watch the news to see a country such as Greece where the economy is now collapsing, or Syria, which is currently being ripped apart by internal war. If a pandemic like the 1918 flu happened today, with more population and faster travel, it would be far more devastating. Some wonder, how long can we be so fortunate as to avoid this kind of life changing event? It is a simple question, really: Is it not more advantageous to an individual to be over-equipped than under-prepared?

Hurricane Katrina was a turning point for many of those who have been considering preparedness. We all watched in disgust and dismay as people who trusted authorities and followed directions experienced tragedy. They died waiting for evacuation and those who made it to SuperDome suffered without adequate food, water, or sanitation. There were assaults, rapes, and murders. Looters ran wild while police either abandoned the city or turned on the residents. Patients could not be evacuated from flooded hospitals because the helicopters were being fired upon by gunmen. Authorities seized guns from registered owners leaving the law abiding citizen defenseless. The horrors went on and on.

That this could happen in modern America was unthinkable to most. The people who suffered in the path of the hurricane trusted in the authorities that they believed would direct, protect, and assist them. For many, this was a wakeup call. We realized that we, ordinary people, must take responsibility for our own survival. If any large scale disaster occurs, our government may provide too little, too late. Or worse yet, those we expect to help us may abandon us or turn against us.

Being a prepper is about taking responsibility for ourselves. Some of the catastrophic scenarios you see people preparing for may seem farfetched. What we prepare for is not the important component of the message. The critical concept to assimilate into your daily dialog is that people must take responsibility for themselves. Even in a best case scenario where authorities do come to the rescue, if there are greater numbers of the population who are prepared, the fewer resources the government will have to allocate to rescue us.

We can all take pride in our ability to provide for our loved ones. We can all feel confident in our ability to weather whatever storm may be ahead. These are the values and concerns we “preppers” all share. It will never be “crazy” in any way to want the best outcome for our families no matter what challenges we may face in an uncertain future.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Washing hands well with good old fashioned soap and water is the best preventative there is against infection. But hand washing  is not always convenient. Enter hand sanitizers. They are available in stores everywhere and just about everybody has some of the handy little bottles. When SHTF, water may be scarce for some time, so folks are stocking up. Have you ever considered making your own?

Besides cost savings, you will have control over ingredients when you make it yourself. Most commercially manufactured hand sanitizers are alcohol based. Some are 99.9% alcohol. For killing germs, alcohol is great. However, applying it frequently can irritate the skin and can cause drying and cracking. Those little cracks are a great portal for germs to enter directly into your body, possibly resulting in illness. Some sanitizers are available with moisturizer which can help alleviate dryness. You can also apply moisturizer regularly. Or you can make your own!

You will need a bottle for your sanitizer. If you prefer to make gel, reusing the little plastic containers the commercial stuff comes in will work well. For the spray type, you can re-purpose any small bottle with a non-aerosol pump. A fantastic recommendation is to recycle the 2 ounce bottles of “trial size” hairsprays and the like.

Next, you will need a base. If you want an alcohol base, you can use rubbing alcohol or grain alcohol. Even liquor such as vodka will work. Witch Hazel makes for a wonderful natural antiseptic base. To make gel hand sanitizer, purchase pure aloe vera gel. Not the stuff that is sold for sunburns; make sure you have the type that is 100% natural.

To increase the effectiveness of your base, use essential oils. Many essential oils have scientifically proven antiseptic properties. As a bonus, most smell wonderful. Consequently, you also get a little aromatherapy! Tea tree oil can be used “straight,”  but it has a strong smell which some may find unpleasant. Tea tree oil has antiseptic and anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal properties. Add about a teaspoon ( 5 ml) to a 2 ounce bottle then use other oils to cover the smell. A popular favorite is lavender oil. Use about 10 to 20 drops. Other antiseptic essential oil choices are eucalyptus, pine, thyme, peppermint, lemon and rose. You can add one or more of these a few drops at a time to achieve a desirable fragrance. Be sure you purchase 100% pure essential oils, not fragrance oils. Fragrance oils do not have the healthful properties that essential oils do.

You may add water to a witch hazel or alcohol base to conserve or to mellow it a bit. With witch hazel, as much as 50% water is fine as long as you have the added essential oils to boost the antiseptic action. With alcohol solutions, you must have at least 60% alcohol for best results. If using vodka or other liquor, remember that “proof” is two times the percentage of alcohol. So 100 proof equals 50% alcohol content. If you use aloe vera gel, you can thin the consistency with witch hazel.

Be careful that children don’t ingest your hand sanitizer. This can happen by children putting fingers or hands in the mouth or by thumb sucking. This is also true of commercially made products. Non-alcohol based mixtures may freeze, so store indoors.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

What About Psych Patients When SHTF?

As a professional, I have often come in contact with people in my medical career as well as my personal life that have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. Fears abound in the general public regarding people “coming off their meds.” Fictional representations are even more disturbing and tend to fuel this fear. As the fear that some have related to psychiatric patients in a SHTF scenario are somewhat disproportionate, I feel it necessary to offer some balance to the subject.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that only a small minority of mentally ill people are dangerous to others. The vast majority of people who have a diagnosed mental illness have mood disorders or anxiety disorders. These disorders can be very difficult for the individual and may require medication or even hospitalization. When hospitalized, these people are typically dangerous only to themselves. That means they may be suicidal or engaging in negative behaviors. Most seek treatment because they do not feel they have a good quality of life. Medications can make symptoms more manageable so that a person can lead a more productive and happier life.

Stopping these medications suddenly may make the person irritable, nervous, depressed or sleepless. Some may have physical symptoms like high blood pressure, heart palpitations, nausea or dizziness. These will pass in a short time. These people will not “go psycho” and start chopping up other people. In a SHTF scenario, these people may not have the inner strength that it takes to survive. Rather than interfere with others, it is more probable that these individuals will simply withdraw and die. A common complaint of depressed patients is that life doesn’t seem to have a purpose and they feel unfulfilled. With survival at stake, it is entirely possible that these individuals may find a purpose and a strength they never knew they possessed.

Other patients have the more serious thought disorders characterized by hallucinations or delusions. Without medication, they are likely to be so far removed from reality that they can’t function. However, depending upon the exact nature and extent of their illness, some could potentially be able to survive and even to thrive. For example, those with severe paranoia may be particularly adept at survival. To reiterate, these people are unlikely to pose a threat to any but their closest associates.

Bipolar Disorder has captured a lot of attention in recent years. This is a disorder characterized by mood swings that are greatly exaggerated from what “normal” people have. The depressed phase is identical to what those with [major depression] experience. (Emphasis added.) The difference is that the manic phase is characterized by elated or angry mood, decreased sleep, increased energy and racing thoughts. Similar to some types of schizophrenia, those with severe mania may hear voices or have delusions, especially of being omnipotent or immortal. Although this disorder is believed to have a genetic component, it is also closely connected to the environment. The fast pace of modern life is believed to be a major contributor to the increase in this problem. Lack of electricity’s artificial sleep cycle combined with decreased stimulation of constant media, computers, music, and et cetera may help to decrease manic episodes. Those with slight to moderate mania can be an asset with their abundance of energy. Individuals who are severely affected with this disorder may be too unaware of risks that may result in death. Those plunged into depression, such as those with regular depression, may lose the will to live. In either phase, the only potential danger to others I could foresee in grid down situation would be that an extremely manic person may inadvertently give away the location of their group to marauders. They may be hard to live with, but unlikely to pose a threat.

Those who are most likely to be a danger to others are the least likely to be found in a psychiatric ward. It is more probable that they will be found in prisons or hospitals for the criminally insane. These are the people who have no conscience, no morals, no respect for life. Their diagnosis may be psycopath, sociopath, anti-social personality disorder, malignant narcissist among others. They can’t be helped by medication or therapy. More importantly, they do not want nor do they feel they need any help. Access to unregulated drugs or alcohol may further incite such individuals to violence. Currently, there are no accurate counts available of how many of these people exist since they are typically without diagnosis until they have been apprehended by law enforcement, charged, and then convicted for some unspeakable crime. Some go to prison while others plead insanity and are remanded to hospitals for the criminally insane. Countless others are cunning enough to hide their true nature and blend in with the rest of humanity. They obey laws only because they fear loss of their freedom. Without legal authority, commonly known in the preparedness community as WROL or “without rule of law,” their true selves will emerge.

We all know we may face danger from dangerous felons who are able to escape when the collapse occurs. They will be no more or less dangerous if they escape prison or a hospital for criminally insane. The other major danger is not the hapless mental patient or the housewife on Prozac; it’s the monsters that have blended in with us until all societal restraints are removed. They will take joy in killing, raping, and otherwise terrorizing anyone they encounter. Many have charismatic personalities and may become leaders of criminal gangs. What makes them most dangerous is that they are rational, logical, even methodical. They are not hampered by mood disturbances, anxieties, phobias or obsessions as are those whom we count among the mentally ill now.

So, do not fear the pathetic schizophrenics who can’t function because of the voices or the chronically depressed. In a world where survival of the fittest is the rule, it is most likely they will not survive. Be forewarned, however:  if you know anyone who seems cruel, sadistic or amoral, be certain to keep them out of your circle. Be prepared for the monsters that live among us to come out of the shadows. There may be only one thing you can do to protect yourself from them.

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About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Diabetes Prep: What Every Diabetic Needs To Know

One segment of the population that is extremely vulnerable in a disaster is those who have insulin dependent diabetes. One thing that was gravely concerning in William Forschen’s book “One Second After” was the prominence diabetes was given in the plot with an apparent lack of research into this disease. Hopefully, this information will give some comfort and inspiration to those who live with this disease as well as those who reside with individuals or meet those who face these specific set of medical challenges.

Diabetics fall into two main categories. Type I diabetics produce no insulin at all in the body and are completely dependent upon manufactured insulin. Such people often develop diabetic symptoms in infancy or childhood. Type II diabetes produce insulin but it is either not enough or the body’s ability to use it is impaired. These people are usually diagnosed in middle age. Sadly, due to obesity and bad nutritional habits, adolescents are now being found to have this type of diabetes, too. Type II diabetics can sometimes control blood sugar levels with diet. They often need medications that improve insulin production. Many do use manufactured insulin to achieve the best control.

There have been many advances in treatment for diabetics in recent years, especially for those who depend upon insulin. Insulin may be injected with a syringe or delivered by a continuous pump. Currently, researchers are working to develop an insulin spray that can be inhaled through the nose and also a pill. Surgical options are also being researched.

For now, we have the problems of storing and handling manufactured insulin. Most insulin now in use is synthetic human insulin as opposed to the older insulins that were processed from pork or beef pancreas. There are various brand names and formulations. There are short and rapid acting insulins that are used at mealtime and if the blood sugar is very high that rapidly peaks in the body and is metabolized away. Very long acting (basal) insulins are released slowly over 12 to 24 hours providing a constant baseline insulin level and blood sugar control. Often, these two types are paired together for best control. There are also intermediate acting insulins which are usually taken in the morning and have their peak action 6 to 8 hours later that some patients benefit from. These are also usually combined with the short or rapid acting insulin.

Consequently, most insulin dependent diabetics will have two different insulins. In an emergency, other brands from the same group (short, long, intermediate) can be interchanged with only minor difficulties. If only one of the three categories is available, dosage adjustments may be needed. In a local or regional disaster such as hurricane, there are generally health providers available to assist with this. In a situation where such help is not available, dosage adjustments will need to be approached very carefully and in slow increments. A glucometer should be stored in a shielded container (Faraday cage) as well as extra batteries and test strips. Most Type I diabetics are fairly aware of how their body feels when blood sugar is up or down. Trust these feelings especially when testing is not available.

A useful strategy for Type I diabetics is “carb counting.” Many use this method to determine what their mealtime insulin dose should be. With the popularity of Low Carb Diets for weight loss, books are easily now available that provide the carbohydrate values for foods. This type of insulin dosing may require adjustment, but many diabetics feel it is worthwhile because it frees them to eat a wider variety of foods without anxiety. The “diabetic” category of foods is no longer necessary in diabetic treatment. This can make it much easier to plan your food storage. Diabetics can eat the same wholesome foods as others. It should be noted that diabetics have more reason than others to avoid large amounts of concentrated sweets and overly processed foods.

Storage of insulin is the next issue of concern. Most people believe that insulin must be refrigerated at all times. This is outdated information. Once a bottle of insulin or (insulin pen) is opened it should be stored at reasonable room temperature (59 to 86 degrees F). The manufacturer provides information regarding how long the insulin maintains potency after opening. For most insulins that is about thirty days. After that, the potency gradually deteriorates. If you had no choice but to continue using it, you would likely need more to maintain control as time went by. Refrigerating it makes no difference to this deterioration of open insulin. Insulin that freezes is generally not useable, it clumps. If your only insulin supply is exposed to temperatures above 85 degrees (F) it’s potency will degrade but it can be used safely.

Unopened insulin is best stored in a refrigerator. If you are able to prepare an alternate power source such as generator or solar array, this would be the preferred way to store insulin. If you don’t have this ability, a cool place underground area such as a root cellar is best. Even a place in your basement, protected from light will do. The temperature at depths of about four to twenty feet are constant at 50 to 55 degrees (F). “Refrigerature temperature” as defined by insulin manufacturers is up to 49 degrees (F). This difference of a few degrees between cellar and refrigerator temperatures will not cause the insulin to degrade at an extremely accelerated rate as portrayed in fiction.

Unfortunately, these measures will only carry you for a period of time. Type II diabetics are not likely to experience severe symptoms of high blood sugar. Some may even be cured of it with the weight loss likely to occur in a longer term disaster situation. Most of the consequences of Type II diabetes develop slowly due to the constant high blood sugar. Some of these are: decreased resistance to disease, eyesight deterioration to blindness, kidney failure, as well as sores on the feet and legs that may become infected resulting in sepsis.

Deprived of insulin completely, Type I diabetics may quickly become comatose and die. The only hope for these particular individuals is that some kind of order can be restored before supplies run out. The more supplies you have and the better your storage arrangements, the longer those with diabetes will live and be healthy. Insulin is one of the first supplies brought into disaster areas. Although we avoid depending on others, stockpiles of a relatively fragile necessity such as insulin are finite. We must do the best we can and hope that we can hold on for long enough.

Another type of diabetes we should plan for is Gestational Diabetes. This is high blood sugar levels during pregnancy in a woman who did not have diabetes prior to pregnancy. This type of diabetes usually ends when the baby is born. The main problem with this is that the baby is essentially ‘overfed’ while in utero by the high circulating blood glucose. This produces a larger than normal baby which is immature in its physical development. There is an increased probability of premature birth. Even if full-term, the baby may have under developed lungs which can cause significant challenges for the newborn or death if hospital care is unavailable. The large size of the baby presents an obvious problem for home birth.

Gestational diabetes most commonly occurs in women who have a family member with diabetes, are overweight, or over thirty. Women with this condition can be given insulin but not the currently available diabetes pills as the pills will harm the fetus. Gestational diabetes can often be controlled with diet. Since screening would be difficult in primitive conditions, all pregnant women should be cautious of diet during pregnancy. Do not use artificial sweeteners during pregnancy. Pregnant women will usually tolerate the higher blood sugar levels fairly well. Diabetic coma is highly unusual for pregnant women The greatest risk is primarily to the baby. For more information regarding Gestational diabetes testing, see below.

The biggest difficulty with insulin, as with any other prescription, is ability to stockpile. My first suggestion is to enroll in a 90 day supply option, now offered by most insurance plans often included with a mail in option. Refill as often as allowed, don’t wait until you run out. This can help with stocking up on medications such as asthma inhalers, too. If you are able to talk frankly with your doctor, explain that you would like to have a prescription for an extra supply to have on hand “just in case”. If you have prescription drug insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket for any extra supply. This is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Information regarding Gestational diabetes testing with a glucometer:

Although glucometers are considered to be highly accurate, the test values may not conform exactly to the standards in use now because it would be difficult to measure an exact amount of grams of glucose being given. On the initial glucometer reading, fasting (eight to twelve hours without food or drink prior to test) blood sugar should be less than 100. One hour after drinking a sugary drink, such as a can of coke or big glass of orange juice, the reading should not be more than 200. By four hours after the test, the blood sugar reading should be back down to around 100. If the reading is abnormal, then the woman should be on a low carbohydrate, no concentrated sweets diet. Testing can be repeated to check if the adjustments in diet are helping to lower the blood sugar. Calories should be restricted enough to prevent the mother from gaining more than 35-40 pounds to try to keep the baby healthy and properly sized. Hopefully insulin will not be required since locating the drug during a disaster scenario could create even more serious challenges.

DISCLAIMER: Although this article has been written on a medical topic, no warranty whatsoever is made regarding the accuracy of the content. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in this article touching on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. Even when an accurate statement has been made about medicine, it may not apply to you or your symptoms.

The medical information provided here is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional. Neither the author of this article or the editors of Radical Survivalism Webzine are doctors. No one connected to Radical Survivalism Webzine can take any responsibility, or assume any liability, for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented in this article. Further, nothing on RadicalSurvivalism.com should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion, or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.

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About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Teaching Kids Preparedness Without Fear

Every prepper parent thinks first and foremost of their children. We want them to be prepared, But, we don’t want to terrify them. The nightmares of what may be ahead is a burden for parents to carry for their children. If we raise them with too much fear, they will lack the confidence and optimism to meet life’s challenges.

We need to look at the goal rather than the reasons. As children grow older, we can gradually introduce the topics that give us cause to worry for our future. Young children are amazingly resilient. Part of this comes from a general acceptance of things as they are. This, of course, can be bad if the circumstances they encounter are negative. Thus, kids who grow up abused think this is normal and kids who grow up tethered to government welfare programs think that’s normal. A child’s first, most important role models are teachers and parents.

As a parent, you can set an example by living a prepared and self-sufficient lifestyle. Your children will accept that it’s right to have plenty of essentials on hand “just in case”. You can use events that may occur such as storms or blackouts as teaching opportunities. At these times, even a child can see that it’s good to have what is needed on hand. Your children will grow up more secure knowing that no matter what happens, you will be ready and able to take care of them.

As they grow up, you can gradually accustom them to being responsible for themselves. At age appropriate times, let them learn how to prepare their own food. Starting with easy things like sandwiches working your way through using the toaster, microwave and stove. If you garden, let them participate as they are able. Nothing will make a child love vegetables more than growing his or her own. Family chores are out of fashion these days. But, they are a key to learning responsibility. It is my opinion that chores should not be tied to money. Children need to learn that in any group, responsibilities must be shared. Again, being age appropriate and reasonable matters, we are not aiming to raise slaves.

Participation in “old fashioned” family activities can be extremely valuable. Camping trips are a great way to learn, teach and practice skills. Try different cooking methods and ways of starting fires. Fishing can usually be introduced at a fairly young age. Hunting when they are older. If you keep guns, be certain to teach safety rules from the beginning. Children can learn many important lessons in the context of family fun.

As they are old enough to understand and be interested in news, discuss what they see and hear. Take the opportunity to explain that they can’t believe everything they hear. Let them know which things you are concerned about. At the same time, always reassure them that you are there for them. Especially when it comes to discussing crime, they need to know that you will protect them. As they grow more independent, teach them situational awareness and ways to keep themselves safe. Encourage them to discuss fears with you as well as hopes and dreams. Strong families produce strong young people.

These are the basics. In the future, I will write in more detail about various preparedness measures and how to introduce these to children. I believe it is essential to avoid scaring children with potential scenarios. However, no matter whether the future is better or worse than we believe, raising confident, responsible, self-sufficient young citizens is our duty as parents.

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About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Disease: What You Don’t Know Really Can Kill You

Among the hazards we try to prepare for is epidemic/pandemic disease. I would like to offer a little information from my perspective as a healthcare professional.

First, you must understand a little about how disease spreads. Many diseases are spread chiefly by contact with an infected person or with infected bodily fluids. These are the easiest to protect yourself from by use of gloves and hand washing along with simply avoiding contact. Some examples of these infections are HIV, Hepatitis, Skin infections (fungal or bacterial), Conjunctivitis and many gastrointestinal illnesses.

Others are vector-borne which means that they basically hitchhike on some other host which isn’t sick but will make the next person encountered sick. These are often transmitted by insect bites from mosquitoes or fleas. Well known diseases of this type are Malaria, Lyme Disease, Bubonic Plague and West Nile Virus. The best protection against these are environmental cleanliness to avoid rodent infestations and protection against the bites by using insect repellents.

The method of transmission we are most concerned about is airborne. The virus/bacteria itself may be aerosolized into the air or may be contained in small droplets. These are technically two different routes but are very similar in preventive measures. Common colds and flu are droplet spread while TB is actually airborne. Chickenpox, Smallpox and Measles are airborne diseases which are very easily spread. Other diseases can become airborne. For example when Plague becomes airborne it is often referred to as Pneumonic Plague. Anthrax also has an airborne form. Airborne germs can travel further from the infected person than those that are spread by the larger droplets. Droplets can still be too small to see.

Airborne diseases are most problematic in crowded, poorly ventilated areas. Areas of concern are elevators, airplanes, schools, hospitals (especially ER areas) and crowded offices. Even in these areas, you will be better off further from others who may be exhaling or coughing out pathogens. Frequent handwashing will help. Avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated. Doorknobs and telephones are frequent sources of infection. Cover your own coughs and sneezes. Cover your face if near someone who seems ill. Even holding a tissue to your mouth/nose or covering with hand helps somewhat. A woman can wear a scarf and use it to cover the mouth and nose area somewhat unobtrusively. Simple medical masks which doctor offices commonly have at the desk are effective for droplet spread diseases like colds and flu. For smaller particles, such as TB, an N95 respirator mask is recommended if you will be in close contact. TB isn’t as easily spread as once believed, but it remains a danger. You may think of it in relation to urban areas but remember that many immigrants who carry the disease are farmworkers.

Areas that are larger, airier like supermarkets and “box” stores are less risky as there is more air to dissipate the germs. During flu season and any other time there is reason to be suspicious, try to shop at less busy times. Avoid standing very close to others while waiting on line. Put the cart between you and turn away if you must be in a line. Wait for a less crowded elevator. Avoid public transportation if you can. Carry hand sanitizer and wipes and use religiously. If you need a doctor, avoid the Emergency Room. When an illness is known to be “going around”, many doctors will treat their regular patients who have symptoms based on a phone call. Try that first. If you must go to the office or clinic, try to maintain some distance. Use a mask. You will help protect others from your illness and at the same time avoid possibly getting another illness while your immunity is low.

As you are exposed to various diseases, especially the viral ones, your body develops antibodies that give you immunity or increased resistance when the same or similar disease is encountered again. As diseases circulate, many who did not actually get sick, or had a very mild resultant illness will develop antibodies from the exposure as well as those who actually have the disease. An immune response developed this way is very strong and usually lifelong. It is this response that vaccines are designed to artificially stimulate. Even in the most optimistic view, vaccine induced immunity is not as strong or lasting as that which occurs from having the disease. One reason that few senior citizens suffered in the H1N1 epidemic a few years ago is that a similar strain had circulated when they were younger and their immune response was still strong enough to fight off the new similar strain.

Although I am not against vaccines, influenza vaccine has been shown to be fairly ineffective. It may be worth considering for a person who has an impaired immune system and is likely to develop complications if they do get the flu. This is, of course, a personal matter. Other vaccines have shown better effectiveness and/or the diseases they are designed to protect against are more serious. It would take far too much space to debate vaccines here. I simply share my personal opinion that there are vaccines that are useful and that people should research and consider.

Keeping your immune system healthy is the key to avoiding disease or, at least, getting a milder, uncomplicated case. Eat well, exercise and maintain approrpiate body weight. Vitamins may be needed. Vitamin C and Zinc are both believed to bolster immunity. New studies are showing that Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system. Most people who don’t live in the tropics are deficient in Vitamin D. Getting enough rest is also vital. If you are getting that “run down” feeling, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Correct whatever the problem is before you get sick. Maintaining good health and hygiene habits will pay off in better health.

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About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.