Friday, December 14, 2012

Shooting At Sandy Hook School

I just have a quick comment about today's shooting. I feel for the victims and their families. But I notice that Obama hasn't wasted any time in using this shooting as an excuse to call for a renewal of the federal Assault Weapon Ban.
I would just like to point out a couple of facts.

  • The original AWB did nothing whatsoever to reduce violent crime during the ten years it was in effect.
  • Connecticut has its own "assault weapon ban" which is currently in effect. It did not prevent this tragedy.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, a Bushmaster rifle was found in a vehicle at the scene. It did not say who the vehicle and the rifle belonged to. Bushmaster makes AR-15 type rifles.
  • Obviously, the CT AWB did not prevent this Bushmaster rifle being in a car at the scene.
  • Nevertheless, the Bushmaster does not seem to have been used in the shooting. The shooter used two pistols.

OPSEC: Think About What You Post!

"What did you do today to prep?" Probably everyone who frequents a self-sufficiency forum has seen, and perhaps contributed to threads like this. Even on sites that often discuss NDAA and other government intrusions into our freedom and privacy, there is no lack of activity on threads that ask for a running account of how members prep.
It would seem that people like to rant about government intrusion, but don't actually believe it exists in their little corner of the world. A guy posts about how Obama is going to reinstitute the AWB and federal shock troops will kick in doors of suspected non-compliers to seize guns and ammunition, kill the dog, etc. Then the same day, he will post in the "what did you do..." thread to say that he bought another case of 7.62x39 ammo. But not to worry; at the end of that post our illustrious patriot adds something like, "Too bad I can only use it for barter, since I lost all of my guns except an old single-shot shotgun in that boat accident last year!"
Don't be that guy. Seriously.
I know a lot of people buy guns through face-to-face sales rather than leave a paper trail at the gun dealer, for fear that the ATF will start watching them because they bought three AR-15 lowers and a Glock. Or they  go shopping in a town 50 miles away and pay cash when they stock up on food and/or canning supplies, so they won't be on the FEMA raid-dar (see what I did, there?) when the next hurricane comes to town. But the thing about those federal agencies is that they don't have the manpower to waste on every person who buys a case of ammo. There are three hundred million people in the USA, and an awful lot of them buy guns, ammo and food.
You have a lot more to worry about from your local sheriff's department. They don't have the resources to keep up with who bought three guns at the local gunshop last month or had a couple cases of ammo dropped off by UPS yesterday, either. But think about this hypothetical scenario: you are a sheriff or police chief, and you have the opportunity to receive a hundred thousand dollars in federal funding for your department next year, earmarked for fighting domestic terrorism. But to qualify for the funds, you must have at least one (or five, or ten) DT case(s) this year. What would you do? What some of them would do is put a guy on the Internet to join every possible prepper forum, and find members who are in his jurisdiction. Then just log all posts from those members, get to know them through hometown subforums, face-to-face barter exchange, etc. That way they can create a ready-made pool of potential subjects for DT investigation.
Now don't take this the wrong way. I am absolutely not saying that just because a member of a preparedness forum happens to work for your local sheriff's department, he is automatically your enemy. In fact, he is very likely to be a friend and an asset to the community. Also, cops have a right to prepare their families for rough times, too.
What I am saying is that any thread that gleans information from people is almost certain to be watched, even if the person who created the thread had good intentions. I can think of few more likely ways to end up on somebody's watch list.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Public Water Outage

I have written before about the frequent electrical outages here, and how my experience in living offgrid help me to deal with them. Today we have something new: no public water. Turn on the tap and nothing happens. It has been that way since sometime after midnight. No one seems to know why, either. The water utility spokesman says it is widespread and that they are searching for the break. If I were to drive to Walmart, I would probably find no bottled or jugged water on the shelves. Fortunately, I don't have to.
I don't have a lot of water on hand, but I do have some; about 100 gallons is my best estimate. Also, it is raining. I have all kinds of buckets under the gutters to catch rainwater. That water can be used as-is to flush the toilet (just pour it directly into the bowl to flush) and in cooking, as long as the water comes to a boil at least briefly. It can also be made potable by adding a few drops of bleach per gallon. The CDC says this: "Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of (clear) water, stir it well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers."
This is an example of why it doesn't take a terrorist attack or wide scale event to create major problems for a segment of the population. It is also an example of why it is up to you to prepare for things like this, because you really never know what you will wake to on any given morning. I am certain that there are some people who do not even have any way of catching some rainwater, nor the means to purify it if they did catch it. Since all their neighbors are in a similar predicament, what will they do? Even worse is if there is a structural fire. The fire hydrants won't work either. I have no doubt that the fire department is taking steps to ensure that they have water on hand, but their efficiency in dealing with a major fire is certainly reduced.
How well are you prepared for a potential water outage?
Here is an affordable filter and storage combo for drinking water. Kinda' like the Berkey, without the high price tag: Here are some more options for water storage: