May 29, 2015

8 Easy Ways to Start a Fire

This article was written by Dan Sullivan from Survival Sullivan. Check out Dan’s blog, I think you’ll enjoy it.
 
 
8 Easy Ways to Start a Fire

How many ways of starting a fire do you know? No matter how many you answered, I’m sure you can learn a few more after reading this article. You never know when you’re out in the wild, desperately needing a fire and you realize your primary and secondary means of starting a one aren’t working.

Accidents will happen… your bug out bag could fall into a body of water, possibly compromising some of your stuff and, as you’re desperately trying to start a fire using your soaking wet matches, you begin to realize the severity of the situation.

Before we discuss all the different ways to start a fire, it’s worth mentioning you need have tinder readily available to quickly catch those sparks. Bark, dry glass, small sticks, cotton balls and even paper will do the trick. So, without further ado, let’s see all the various ways to start a fire.
 
 
Using an Obvious Fire-Starting Device

I’m not going to spend too much time talking about Bic lighters and waterproof matches. You probably have them in your bug-out bag (BOB) or your get home bag (GHB) already. Bic lighters are great but at some point, they will fail you, so be sure to check that they’re working from time to time. You can do this, for instance, right when you’re rotating your food stockpile, for instance.
 
 
Using the Bow Drill Method

When I think about starting a fire without matches, the thing that always comes to mind is the bow drill method. The reason it’s so popular is that it’s very effective. Not as good as striking a match, obviously, but works really well when all else fails. Under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to get it going.

The most important thing is to have the right wood. You need dry wood and, ideally, you’ll want to make the spindle and the floorboard from the same tree, even from the same log for best results. Here’s a quick list of types of wood that work well with this method: white cedar, willow, alder, and maple. Willow will work best, particularly if you’re new at this.
 
 
Using the Hand Drill Method

If you don’t have the time or the right items to use the bow drill method, how about just using your bare hands to rotate the stick? It’s hard work but, with the right wood, tinder and your tireless hands, you will eventually get that spark.
 
 
Using a Pocket Knife, a Piece of Flint and Char Cloth

Char cloth ignites with the smallest spark and you can help starting it with your pocket knife and flint.
 
 
Using a Lens

There are a wide variety of lens available to help you start a fire. For example, a Fresnel lens is small, cheap, lightweight and fits just about anywhere in your bug-out bag or get home bag. Of course, if you don’t have one, you can use a magnifying glass, binoculars and even your eyeglasses to achieve the same result.

And if you’re really feeling lucky, you can use unconventional items such as a condom filled with water or even an ice cube. These can both focus the sun rays into a single point, raising the temperature and causing whatever tinder you have there to ignite.
 
 
Using Batteries

Batteries alone can’t do the job but, with the help of some fine grade steel wool or gum paper, it’s totally possible. You’re gonna need a 9V battery and the really good news is, this will work on all weather conditions… and it is fast. The moment the battery makes contact with the wool, sparks start showing up so make sure you have that tinder ready.
 
 
Starting a Fire with Water

First of all, I should say that the water needs to be contained in either a plastic bottle or a lightbulb. You will use them as makeshift magnifying glasses to focus the sun rays on one (or multiple) pieces of paper. If you have paper written in black ink, that’s even better, it’s going to ignite faster.
 
 
Mixing Chlorine and Break Fluid

When it comes to using chemical reactions to start a fire, one of the most popular ways is to use chlorine and break fluid. The reaction doesn’t happen instantly, it takes about 20 to 30 seconds and the flame doesn’t last for more than a few seconds. Use small quantities of each and, whatever you do, do NOT get too close during those first 30 seconds when nothing seems to be happening. Also, wearing a face shield mask is even better to decrease your chances of getting injured.
What’s next?

Practicing all the ways to start a fire is very important as you don’t want your first attempt to be during an SHTF situation, when your life is on the line. Make sure you have everything you need and keep trying if it doesn’t work the first time.

Now that you’ve got that fire going… how about learning how to cook? I’ve put together a comprehensive list of outdoor cooking methods, you can check it out right here and… I have a feeling you might like it!

Stay safe,
Dan F. Sullivan
 
 
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Sheep Dog Seminar for Churches

Sheep Dog Seminar for Churches

As I mentioned in the article Should a Christian Carry a Firearm I recently attended the Sheep Dog Seminar for Churches and thought it important enough that I wanted to share my thoughts on it with all of you. I am not affiliated with them in any way, so when I say, “if you have the opportunity to go to one of their seminars, I believe you should go”, it comes from me knowing that it will open your eyes, and bless you; and not because I get a kickback! Oh, they are offering a 2 for 1 for the rest of the year, though!

I’m not someone who gushes over celebrities or public figures, but I am very glad I got the opportunity to shake the hands of three modern day Nehemiah’s; Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Carl Chin and Jimmy Meeks. These men spend much of their time attempting to wake the Body of Christ to the violence that is exploding at our places of worship; over 1000% since 2006! I join them in their belief that it will continue and will get worse! They are teaching us to keep our eyes open, to work with one hand and keep our sword (firearm) at the ready.
 
 

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

I have read his books On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace and On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society and I believe that if you are someone who carries a firearm for self-defense and believes there is a chance you may have to use it, these books are required reading. They will help you prepare your mind for combat. That’s what the brief extremely violent encounter with Joe Dirtbag will be if you need to draw your firearm and use it for self-defense; COMBAT!

You can send thousands of rounds down range, but if you do not prepare your mind, and know what to expect from your body under extreme duress, you very well could be training against how your body will actually act under duress.

Lt. Col. Grossman also has a seminar called The Bullet Proof Mind. He covers some of the content from that seminar in the “Sheep Dog for Churches Seminars”. I purchased the DVD at the seminar and can’t wait to watch it! In the seminar he covered some of the physiological changes (which I wrote about in this article) that take place under extreme stress.

There was so much information covered, I can’t possibly mention everything, so I will just mention two things now.

Col. Grossman said that if our enemies obtain the ability to use an EMP, they absolutely will. More likely, an attack will be Beslan style, which I covered in Terrorism: Beslan Style Attack At Our Schools Please read the article for more information, here is the first paragraph:

“On September 1, 2004, Chechen Islamic terrorists stormed a school taking over 1,100 people hostage for three days. The terrorists were brutal, killing men and boys old enough to resist their attempts. Hostages were forced to stay in a sweltering hot auditorium with little to no food or water. Russian forces eventually stormed the school. In the end there were over 385 dead, including 31 dead terrorists. Wikipedia has a very detailed write up called Beslan school hostage crisis.

In the article I point out that muslim clerics have said “We have the right to kill four million Americans — 2 million of them children — and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.” Information has been recovered that indicated Beslan was training for American schools.

The second thing I want to mention that the Col. covered is when he thinks the next attack will come. I can’t remember the conflicts he listed, but he mentioned times when we have fought them, and withdrawn from conflict. It is when we withdraw that they strike us at home. He believes that we are keeping them busy in Afghanistan and once we pull out from there, they will be emboldened and attack us here.

My thought on this is that all it would take is a handful of monsters willing to slaughter innocent children to walk into a daycare center or elementary schools over a few days and massacre as many children as they can, to bring our way of life to a screeching halt.

If parents don’t feel safe sending their kids to school, they have to stay home from work to stay with them. How many people do you work with who have kids that might stay home?

This doesn’t even take into account the emotional damage that would be caused by such an event. The impact would be far greater than that of 9-11, as we mourned for all the children killed.
 
 
Carl Chinn

I first discovered Carl’s site when I was researching my first article on the Rise of Crime at Churches. Carl records every fatality that happens at a church, or faith based center. He was involved in a hostage situation some years ago at Focus on the Family, and was one of the church security members that responded to the shooter at New Life Church in Colorado. While he was not the one who shot the murderer, he was within seconds of engaging him before another security team member did from another direction.

Carl has a book called Evil Invades the Sanctuary, which I read shortly after its release. You can purchase the book from his site. In it, he goes into the details of both incidents and gives some good information for church security teams. He delves into this in the seminar as well and gives some very good tips on church security.

If you are a part of a church security team or someone concerned with it, I recommend this book.
 
 
Jimmy Meeks

Jimmy might not be the most popular guy with some people and churches because while he does say church violence is a big problem, he also says that the biggest issue we face isn’t violence in the church, but sexual sin. There are 23 sexual crimes reported at Protestant Churches every day. We have just as many people calling themselves Christians addicted to porn as we do non-believers.

Jimmy does talk a fair bit about church violence as well. Some of the stories he gives are heart-breaking. He points out that:
There have been over 549 violent deaths at churches since 1999! In the 36 months of 2012 (75), 2013 (45), 2014 (74), there were more deaths at churches than at schools! Remember that this was the time period for one of the bloodiest, most horrific school massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary.
(Chris Says: “Since 2006 the rate of deaths at churches or at church functions or buildings has skyrocketed over 1000%! That is NOT a typo!”)
Jimmy saw that I mentioned him in Should a Christian Carry a Firearm and asked me to call him. We spoke for a few minutes, and on the chance that you see this Jimmy, thanks again! I really enjoyed the seminar! Keep up the much needed, and great work!

 
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Ten Foods to Include in Your Emergency Food Storage Supply

This article was guest written by Lee Flynn.

 

Keeping your body fueled in an emergency isn’t the same thing as eating a typical daily diet. In an emergency type situation, you’ll probably be using a great deal more energy than normal, which is why you’ll need more high-protein, high-energy type foods. Furthermore, because your food storage supply is limited, you need to eat better quality foods overall. In an emergency or disaster, those extra calories will come in handy. Eat foods high in nutrients as well as fiber to keep your system running smoothly.

 

  1. Whole-Wheat Crackers

Crackers are not only a comfort food, but make a great replacement for bread as well as good substitute for making a quick sandwich. Because whole-grain/wheat crackers have more fat content, their shelf life isn’t particularly long. But, the extra dose of fiber is appreciated if you’re really hungry. Store any opened crackers in an airtight, food-safe container after opening the box.

 

  1. Bulk Nuts

On your next visit to your local grocery store, look for bulk nuts/seeds, especially for the un-shelled, un-salted varieties. It’s best to pick emergency foods low in sodium since salt will only make you thirstier. Sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and many other seeds and nuts generally sold in grocery stores are very high in vitamins, minerals, protein, and essential fatty acids.

 

  1. Dried Beans

Pinto beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, and other beans have a high calorie content, contain a good amount of protein, and also have many essential vitamins overall. Dried beans are available in packages that are bigger than canned beans but weigh a great deal less for the amount you actually get.

 

  1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is known for packing essential fatty acids and proteins as well as several key vital minerals including iron and copper. For ideal health, choose ‘natural’ peanut butter. Just a few tablespoons a day of natural peanut butter can help someone adequately survive a relatively long period without any ‘normal’ food.

 

  1. Trail Mix

A classic favorite among hikers, tasty trail mix has various ingredients, including peanuts, raisins, and other nutritious nuts along with dried fruit and sometimes chocolate. The simple sugars the dried fruits, chocolate, and raisins provide are a short-term energy and mood booster that tend to satisfy in a crisis situation.

 

  1. Power Bars

Filling and nutritious, portable power bars and granola bars usually retain their freshness for six months or more. They’re a superb source of energy-boosting carbohydrates. Foods high in carbohydrates provide more energy than eating foods with none.

 

  1. Instant Coffee

Instant coffee may not seem like a survival food, but try telling that to someone who’s been drinking it for years throughout the day. Not only is coffee good for your morale, but helps boost your energy level as well. In an emergency situation, it could be considered a “godsend” to some people.

 

  1. Powdered Super Greens/ Sea Vegetables

Some of the most popular items found in health stores today are the pill or powdered form of sea vegetables. In times of disaster, it’s likely that fresh produce will be nowhere to be found. Sea vegetables are considered a ‘superfood’, chock-full of nutrients, vitamins, and offer incredible health benefits that boost your immune system, provide wound healing and tissue repair, and even have key anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

 

  1. Beef Jerky

Natural varieties of beef and turkey jerky no longer contain any or at least as much of the harmful ingredients they add while processing it. Basically, jerky is a kind of dried meat. And, dried meat has long been a survival food used by American pioneers and Native Americans alike.

 

  1. Canned Tuna, Turkey, Salmon, or Chicken

Various canned meats have vital protein and can last as long as two years on the shelf, although the vacuum-packed pouches only last about six months. They’re the ideal food in an emergency situation since they pack a lot of punch in terms of nutrition for such a small, inexpensive, convenient food.

Overall, when choosing which foods to incorporate into your emergency food storage supply, think about the ease of preparation, calorie count, shelf life, and of course the taste of the food before you buy it. Consider these 10 best survival foods to get you started building your emergency food stockpile.

Review of Valley Food Storage; Irish Pub Style Cheddar Potato

I was offered the chance to sample and review Irish Pub Style Cheddar Potato Soup, and it’s unlike me to turn down free food (lol) so I said, “yes”.

Valley Food Storage started in 2005 after they purchased some LTS food. Upon checking it a few short years later, they discovered it was all rancid. Bear in mind this was food claiming to have a 25 year shelf life. They teamed up with food scientists and worked to come up with a viable solution to this problem.

What they found was that other companies had included ingredients that wouldn’t last more than a few years. It also seemed that every company out there packed their food with preservatives and hydrogenated oils.

They vowed to only use ingredients with a long shelf life, and do not use GMO’s or MSG.

I also appreciate that they put their entrees into a Mylar pouch instead of a #10 can.
 
 
Irish Pub Style Cheddar Potato Soup

Pub-Style-Ched-Potato

I was presented with a few options. This one sounded really good. As you can see in the image on the left (click to enlarge), none of the ingredients need a PhD to pronounce. Also, the directions are easy enough for me to prepare!

I got the water to a boil and added the mix. I stirred it in and walked away for a bit. What I didn’t expect was the smell when I came back. I didn’t care for it. I actually planned on eating this for lunch and told my wife I would taste it, eat enough to review, but that if it wasn’t good, I was finding something else.

Soup boiling

I like thicker soups and was a little concerned about how watery it was about half way through. I figured it would thicken up and it did, as you can see in this photo.

I was blown away by how good it tasted, as was my son, who can be picky at times. He actually finished it off! I don’t like the taste of cooked peppers, and was a little leery, but could hardly taste them!

Spoonful

The consistency of freeze dried foods might be an issue for some people, as they are often mushy. The texture of the potato was interesting, and not like I had expected. It was firmer than what I thought it would be. It reminded me of what a hard marshmallow might be like biting into; not hard, but not squishy either. I didn’t mind it, but thought it was worth mentioning.

I had two scoops with a punch bowl sized ladle. I ate two dinner rolls with my bowl of soup and was full. I would guess that I ate two of the five servings.

The price for one pouch is $11.95 or $203 for a case of 20.

All in all I was very impressed with the company. I don’t do many affiliates on this site, but like what I see with this company and have applied for their affiliate program, and was accepted, so if you click on one of the images and purchase anything, I will get a small commission. I am also impressed with the food, and when I add more freeze dried foods to my pantry, they will most likely be coming from Valley Food Storage!

Click here to see a chart comparing many of the top food storage companies to Valley Foods; look into this before you make a purchase from another company.

 
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Should a Christian Carry a Firearm?

Should a Christian Carry a Firearm
 
 
I was originally going to write about whether a Christian should carry at church, but the issue is broader than that, so I decided to expand it, and discuss carrying at church as a part of this topic.
 
 

Should a Christian Use Self-Defense?

I covered this topic thoroughly in Should Christians Practice Self-Defense. In an attempt to keep this article slightly less than a novel, I am only going to bring up a couple issues here about Christians and self-defense.

I have been accused of twisting God’s Word and told that I should be ashamed for telling people that God is in favor of people using self-defense. First, I have come to my belief based on what scripture says and the use of common sense. I have not twisted scripture to fit my already held belief. If you are of that opinion, do me a favor and show me where I am wrong in scripture. We’re both entitled to our opinions about the use of violence. However, we are not entitled to making scripture say something it doesn’t say. I can show you several verses where God either used violence, or mandated it.
 
 
The Lord Abhors Violence

“The Lord hates violence” is a saying I have heard a few times in my life. It never really made sense to me, because of how He used violence to defeat His enemies throughout the Old Testament and will in Revelation.

I have a hunch that the person who came up with that saying and those who espouse it now, are actually the ones that hate violence! Doing a search for the word violence at Blue Letter Bible brings up over 50 verses and not one of them includes “The Lord hates violence”.

There are several verses decrying the use of violence, but what these people either don’t see, or leave out is that these verses decry the use of violence by those who clothe themselves in it and love it. Not one mention is made of never using violence to defend oneself.

Here are some examples:

Psalms 11:5 “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”

Psalms 7:9 “Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.”

Proverbs 21:7 “The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.“

Now one might say that doesn’t say we’re permitted to use violence. There are several verses where God commands the use of force to destroy His enemies or uses it Himself.

Where is the line; when are we permitted to use violence then? Let’s take a look at David.
As a very young man, he stood before an entire army and condemned them for their blasphemy against God. He then proceeded to kill Goliath and cut off his head. He entered into many wars and smaller conflicts throughout his life. It wasn’t until David turned away from God, murdered Uriah and let his bloodlust take over that he got into trouble with the Lord. David’s love of violence and unrighteous use of it, is what almost led to his being eternally separated from God.
 
 
Jesus is a Pacifist

No, no He is not. He was non-violent. There is a big difference! A non-violent person is non-violent until they need to be. A pacifist refrains from it even at the cost of their own or a loved one’s welfare.

Jesus practiced avoidance and de-escalation at various times; when they went to get stones to kill Him and again when He said “he who is without sin cast the first stone” are two examples that come to mind.

I have read a few articles that say that the angel referred to as the Angel of the Lord, was actually Jesus, before He was born of the flesh. I don’t know if this is true or not and is something I have wanted to look into, but have not yet. If this is true, then read the Old Testament again and look at the different accounts the Angel of the Lord using violence. One would be killing 185,000 Assyrians for example.

Even if that is not true, it does not change His use of violence in the end of days. He kills with the very word of His mouth:

Revelations 19:15 “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.”

Revelations 19:21 “The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
 
 
Turn the Other Cheek

There are so many people who think this verse means, offer the other cheek to be slapped, to not only not defend yourself, but to ask for more. The trouble with this is that context is important. I have done a fair bit of research and I have found four theories that take the verse in context of the Jewish people at the time of Christ.

The following are some things to keep in mind.

Many cultures have used the left hand for “unclean” tasks and I believe some still do. I remember my father, who is left handed, telling me that when he was a child his parents tried to force him to use his right hand for writing and other tasks. I mention this only to give some example of how widespread this practice was. Because the left hand was used for unclean tasks you would not use it, not even to strike someone you deemed less honorable than yourself.

Honor is something else that is lost on western culture. In many cultures, even today, honor is valued higher than life. This is why there are honor killings in some religions and cultures. Honor was also very important in the days when Jesus walked the earth. He condemned the Pharisees for always wanting to sit in the place of honor. He also rebuked the disciples, telling them in Mark 9:35 “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” One would only slap someone they considered less honorable than themselves and Jesus states, “If your right cheek is slapped.” Since the left hand would not be used, one would have to use their right hand for a backhand slap. A backhanded slap carries more dishonor than a palm.

To see the full list of theories please see Should Christians Practice Self-Defense

After my research, I believe that what was meant was to not react to insults, not that we should offer the other check to be slapped.
 
 
Sheep, Wolves and Sheep Dogs

Here is an excellent excerpt from the book, On Combat, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. More can be read from this excerpt on his website Killology Research Group.

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another….

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. However, the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it! There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial!

“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, “We intimidate those who intimidate others.”

I only have a few things to add to this. The Sheep Dog Mottos is “Only a predator can stop a predator.” This is absolute fact. Watch any place with a bully in action. People may tell the bully to stop picking on the lamb, but the young wolf ignores them. That is until a sheepdog steps in front of the sheep to confront the wolf.

I was a sheep during my childhood. Back then Autism and Asperger’s wasn’t well known, so I was looked at as being quiet and, well, a little odd. Because of this, I was picked on horrifically from 1st grade until 10th grade. The summer after 9th grade, I made a decision not to be bullied any more and hit the weights. God blessed me with a growth spurt as well. Oh there were still insults, but the violence had stopped, and I was now mostly ignored, which was fine with me.

Civilization continues on because of sheep dogs; in uniform, wearing a badge or civilian. The choice must be made to stop being a sheep, and anyone can make that choice. A 4’, 90lb woman with the mindset and will to use a firearm is just as capable as a 6’, 200lb man is of stopping a wolf!

I’m sure many of you will agree with this; I don’t ever want to use violence. I will try to deescalate, and avoid violence if possible, only using it as a last resort. However, if the wolf comes and tries to hurt my family or myself, I don’t care if it’s bigger, stronger or if there are more of them; I will be a danger to my enemy. Trust me, the cost they will pay in pain and blood is not worth whatever benefit they were after. I may not go unscathed, but “baa” is not in my vocabulary, and it is not in my nature to allow my loved ones or myself to be victimized.
 
 
Violence at Church

“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.”
~Mathew 10:17

This is a subject I have covered before in Rising Church Crime and Security back in 2011. Things have only gotten worse. I recently attended the Sheep Dog for Churches Seminar with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Carl Chin and Jimmy Meeks.

While I knew some of what was covered from my past research, I learned a lot and was blessed by listening to these men of God and sheepdog trainers. I will cover the seminar in more detail in a future post, but will just cover some high points now.

Since 2006 the rate of deaths at churches or at church functions or buildings has skyrocketed over 1000%! That is NOT a typo! There have been over 549 violent deaths at churches since 1999!

In the 36 months of 2012 (75), 2013 (45), 2014 (74), there were more deaths at churches than at schools! Remember that this was the time period for one of the bloodiest, most horrific school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

I’m not trying to diminish the problem of school violence, I’m simply trying to make you more aware of the problem of violence at faith-based centers.
 
 
Should a Christian Carry a Firearm?

If you have read everything thus far, you would think my answer is “yes”. However, my answer is, “actually, it depends”. If you cannot get your mind ready to take the life of another, do not carry, as you would be a liability.

If you have a prepared mind, then yes, I do believe, if you are legally able, you should carry. I support law enforcement but it is not possible for an officer to be everywhere at all times. If they are there, they will try to protect and serve. If they are not, they will document the crime scene.

God has called us each to serve Him in some manner that no one else could do like we do. Not to toot my own horn, but when I started this site, there were two other sites that looked at some of the same issues but they were posted to and updated infrequently. I have heard from scores of people who thank me for putting a Christian perspective on preparedness topics. If I had decided I wasn’t up to the task, would there be a Christian voice on these topics? It’s possible, but they wouldn’t have covered them the way I have.

Now, we all have a calling. However, because He gave us free will, it is possible that Joe Dirtbag may come along and interrupt God’s plan. Is it not our duty to defend ourselves and protect God’s plan so we can further work for His glory?

I believe that if we see a wrong being done to another person and choose to do nothing we then bare some guilt for that wrong. Not only that, but for future wrongs the evildoer will accomplish as a result of not being stopped. Because Joe Dirtbag doesn’t like being stopped and doesn’t want to possibly go to jail, he sometimes uses force to stop the Sheepdog. “A predator is the only thing that can stop a predator” and a gun is what gives that predator, the sheepdog, teeth.
 
 
Should We Carry at Church?

In some states, carrying a gun in places of worship is illegal. In states where it is not, whether or not to carry is a debated issue. With everything I have listed here and what I will cover soon in my review of the Sheep Dog for Church Seminar, I absolutely will carry in every church I attend.

I believe it was LT. Col. Grossman who said that “if we love the people we worship with, we should carry the tools to protect them.”

Again, Jesus Himself said violence would be done to believers in our places of worship. History, over the last 2,000 years, has shown Him to be correct. I believe the future will continue to prove so as well.

 
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Disabling an Attacker’s Sight, Wind or Mobility

In the Navy, I had to take a firefighting class. One of the things we were told is that a fire needs three things; oxygen, heat and combustible material. Take one away and you put out the fire.

Similarly, an attacker needs three things to attack you. They are; sight, wind and mobility. Sight to see you and by wind I mean breath. Cut off someone’s ability to take a breath and the fight flees from them quickly. If they are immobilized, you can easily escape.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. If you see any holes, please let me know. Before I continue, let me explain my take on self-defense. Violence should be used as a last resort. When it is used, you should use as little force as is necessary (meaning you don’t shoot someone making verbal threats). You do, however, use as much force as is needed to stop the forward movement of the threat. Once you have stopped the threat, you stop the use of force and escape as quickly as possible. Not stopping and continuing the attack is no longer acting in self-defense, and I would say is acting in vengeance. Both God and the state take issue with this, albeit for different reasons.

One thing to keep in mind about self-defense is that some people are not as affected by pain as others. This could be from adrenaline surge, or from being chemically altered, among other reasons. Someone’s ability to be unaffected by pain won’t matter for the majority of the items I will list. If you can’t see, breath or move, you can’t see, breath or move, your ability to bypass pain doesn’t matter. Many of these items can also easily be used from a smaller statured person on a larger attacker.
 
 

Sight

There are several ways to disable an attacker’s sight, ranging from inflicting tears, to severely damaging the eyeball with a gouge for instance. Here are just some of the ways I can think of, along with my thoughts on each.
 
 
Eye Gouge

I wrote an article called If You’re in a Fair Fight, Your Tactics Suck where I explain several methods of “fighting dirty”. In it, I say this about the eye gouge:

“I have seen this tactic mentioned several times over the years and it is often explained as pushing your thumbs deep into the eye sockets of the attacker. There is a problem with this explanation however; doing so is repellent to human behavior. In his book “On Killing,” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman explains the following:

“The single most effective mechanically easiest way to inflict significant damage on a human being with one’s hand, is to punch the thumb through his eye and on into the brain.”

He goes on to explain that even though this attack would be extremely effective, it goes against human nature. He also says that during the filming of a movie that was rated X because of it’s violent content, an actress who was to portray stabbing a man in the eye with a rat tail comb, passed out twice during filming.

“This is a professional actress, she can portray killing, lying and sex on the screen with relative ease, but even the pretense of stabbing someone in the eye seems to have touched a resistance so powerful and deep seeded that her body and emotions, the tools of the professional actress literally refuse to cooperate. In fact I cannot find any references of anyone in the history of human combat ever having used this simple technique.”
 
 
Eye Poke, Flick and Rake

If you gouge out someone’s eyes, I think it is probably going to be very easy to escape. But since people shy away from the eye gouge, I think an eye poke or flick would be a more popular choice. Neither cause as much damage and, in some cases, might only cause tearing or a temporary distraction. Because of this, I would follow it up with another attack listed here.

Eye poke is just like it sounds; give them the Ol’ Three Stooges poke in each eye. The difference between this and the gouge is the amount of pressure before you stop.

The Eye flick is, to me, much easier to deliver as you don’t really need to aim as much as you do with a gouge or poke because you flick your wrist, aiming all of your fingers at their eyes. I was taught to do this followed up with a right cross or elbow strike to the chin.

Raking the eyes means scratching. This could cause damage to the eyes or it could just cause pain. If you do this, I would follow it up with another attack.
 
 
Punch in the Nose

Getting hit in the nose will cause the eyes to tear; this should be quickly followed by another attack as it alone isn’t guaranteed to stop the threat.
 
 
Pepper Spray

There is a lot of misinformation about pepper spray out there. I have seen people say it’s all worthless because they watched someone spray it into their mouth like breath spray, or put it on a sandwich and eat it. You can read my full thoughts on it in the article Self-Defense: Pepper Spray. For now I will just say that these people fail to understand that there are three types of pepper spray and they are not all equal.

CS (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile),
CN (alphachloroacetaphenone)
OC (Oleoresin Capsicum).

CS and CN are considered irritants and will cause stinging and tearing. They can take from five to thirty seconds to be effective and may have little to no effect on someone who is chemically altered or in a psychotic state.

OC on the other hand is an inflammatory agent. When sprayed with it, your eyes immediately slam shut. People most often become temporarily blind due to the capillaries in the eyes dilating. From breathing in the agent, there is also coughing and possibly some choking.
 
 
Other Irritants

Spraying or throwing other things into the eyes could cause temporary blindness. I know this first hand. As a kid in seventh grade, a guy from school blew a handful of powdered dry soap into my eyes. I don’t think I actually went blind for any length of time (thank you Jesus), but because of the pain and watering I could not open my eyes. Hot liquids would work as well.
 
 

Wind

Wind, breath, air; without it one is not going to be fighting for long.
 
 
Pepper spray

I have seen people gasp, cough, choke and vomit from having been sprayed with pepper spray. Again OC spray causes a biological reaction. It cannot be trained against as some of the other types of pepper spray or mace can be.
 
 
Throat Strike

Collapsing the airway is another way to stop an attacker. One way is to keep the fingers together, forming a Y with the thumb and aim for the throat. On a man I would aim just below the Adams apple.
 
 
Midsection Strike

I hesitate to put this in because it can be defended against by flexing the abdominal muscles. But, as I found from sparring, even people who are expecting to get hit, get caught off guard. I only hit them with maybe 40% force, and while it didn’t knock the wind out of them completely, it did cause them spew what air they had and then gasp for more. If you use this attack on your attacker, your goal should be to hit their stomach hard enough that you could hit their spine. If you don’t knock the wind out of them, then this alone might not take them out of the fight. If not, quickly follow up with something to stop their mobility or hinder their vision.
 
 

Mobility

By either causing so much pain as to immobilize someone, or causing enough damage to a part of the leg; well if you cannot be chased you can simply escape. There are nerves and arteries that can be struck, but that takes some practice, so I am not going to list them here. The attacks I list are things most people should be able to do.
 
 
Striking the Knee

Striking the knee from either the front, or side with enough force can cause all kinds of damage. This can be done with a kick, or tackling, though I don’t recommend tackling unless there is no other option. The type of kick I am talking about would strike their knee with the bottom of your foot.
 
 
Foot Stomp

Stomping or otherwise striking the top of someone’s foot, I suppose, could cause them to be unable to bear weight on it. If nothing else, it can distract them and give you the opportunity to go for a KO.
 
 
Knock Out

This is by no means a guarantee, but an unconscious person makes for a really bad attacker. Forget the standing toe to toe trading haymakers with your fists. Elbows are far better suited than your fist for this task. Most likely, you will have more power behind it and elbows are less likely to break after a strike than a hand.

Your goal is to get as much of your elbow on as much of their lower jaw/chin as possible.
 
 
Breaking the Ankle

Standing firm on someone’s foot and pushing them could cause them to break an ankle. However, don’t remove your foot until they are on the ground.
 
 
Groin strikes

I think all men have been hit hard enough in the groin to make them immobile. It’s not a guarantee though. Some hits will cause nausea and can also still cause pain, but usually not enough to immobilize.

The optimal way to strike would be going upward from knees to groin, not just a direct hit. You should also strike with enough force that to kick them in the chin if it were possible.

Hopefully you will never need to use any of these attacks. But if you are ever the victim of violence and get the opportunity to, fight to take away their sight, wind or mobility so you can escape!

 
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Methods of Water Purification

Methods of water purification

It has been some time since I covered water purification, so I thought it was due. Water is probably the most important of the five basic human needs (water, food, shelter, energy and security) that will be taxed in a disaster scenario.

After the earthquake in Haiti, far too many people died from Cholera because of dirty water supplies. You might be thinking that their supply wasn’t the greatest to begin with. Think back to Katrina. The flooding was so bad that the water supply wasn’t safe. I believe it was Budweiser who shut down a plant and started bottling water to send to victims.

I’ll list all of the ways I know of, with their pluses and minuses, to purify water. If you can think of others, please add them to the comment section.
 
 
Purifiers

Out of all other methods, a water purifier is the only method that will not only kill bacteria and viruses, but will remove chemicals as well.

There are several styles of purifiers, and they are not all created equal. I cover many of them in Types of Water Purifiers and Their Applications. There are some filters that are marketed as purifiers. The difference is that filters filter out bacteria and cysts but not viruses. Purifiers filter out bacteria, cysts and viruses, as well as chemicals, prescription meds and on and on.

I recommend a ceramic water purifier and believe them to be the top of the line in terms of purification. Homespun Filters sells these types of filters at a far reduced cost ($33 for a US made filter kit) than you will find anywhere else. They’re able to do so because they sell kits so you can make your own water purifier.

I personally believe that a purifier should be the primary means of water purification. But as the motto states; “Two is one, and one is none”, knowing other methods, and having redundant purification is a good idea.
 
 
Bleach

Bleach is cheap, easy to store and will leave your insides whiter! If you use this method, make sure to use unscented bleach. Bleach will kill pathogens, but doesn’t filter out debris or chemicals.
1. Use bleach that does not have an added scent (like lemon).
2. Add 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops or about 0.75 milliliters) of household liquid bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.
3. Mix well and wait 30 minutes or more before drinking.

If water is cloudy:
1. Use bleach that does not have an added scent (like lemon).
2. Add 1/4 teaspoon (16 drops or 1.5 milliliters) of household liquid bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.
3. Mix well and wait 30 minutes or more before drinking.
My biggest problem with this method is that you’re drinking bleach. I know it is diluted, but it is still bleach. Don’t get me wrong, in an emergency if the only water source was a river and my only option was bleach, I would put a pillow case over a pot, and pour water through the pillow case into the pot, then treat the water with bleach. But God gave me the foresight to prepare ahead of time, so I can have another primary method. Bleach also degrades over time, so I would only consider it effective for six months to a year.

Where I can see this method being very useful is if large amounts of water needed to be purified for a large group of people.
 
 
Chlorine

Chlorine has been used by municipalities for a very long time for water treatment. Chlorine, like bleach, is a toxin, but diluted enough to be “safe” to drink. I feel the same about chlorine as I do about bleach, with the exception that I have been drinking tap water from a municipality all my life and haven’t keeled over yet. Seriously though, I do wonder what effect the chemicals used to make our water safe have on us long term.

I got an email recently about using pool shock for water purification and had to say I didn’t know anything about it. I did a little research and found this article on the topic.

The article goes over High Test Hypochlorite (HTH) (pool shock) as well as some other forms of chlorine. The positives of HTH are that, stored correctly, it will last longer than you and it is cheap. The down side is that if it gets wet it will off gas chlorine and can corrode metal.

Not all HTH is usable. Buy pool shock without algaecides and fungicides. More safety precautions have to be taken with this method than any other. See the linked article for more information and suggestions.

Because of the shelf life, I would consider this before bleach as a means to purify lots of water fast. I would probably want to let it sit for a day or two and let the chlorine off gas from the water some as well.
 
 

Purification tablets

The active ingredient in water purification tablets is often chlorine dioxide. These tablets are effective against bacteria, viruses and cysts, such as Cryptosporidium. Depending on brand, one or two tablets treat one quart of water. I don’t know if they leave an after taste. These should be a short-term solution and would be a good addition to a BOB.
 
 
UV
Using an ultraviolet purifier will kill viruses and bacteria but will not remove any chemicals or other contaminants. To use this method you will need a container to hold the water and place the UV source directly into the water. The water in that container will then be free of bacteria and viruses. A downside to these is that they require outside power, either from batteries or electricity.
In my opinion this is a great option for backup purification.
Steripen and TrojanUV are two companies that produce this type of purification technology.
 
 
Iodine

Iodine tablets are effective at killing many things except Cryptosporidium. Some people are allergic to iodine and cannot use it for water purification. Iodine tablets will also leave a chemical aftertaste and should be a short-term solution. With the drawbacks of iodine tablets, they’re not my first pick. If it’s a good fit for you then they might be a good addition to your BOB.
 
 
Boiling

This is another one that I have seen a lot of misinformation on. Some people say that water needs to boil for x amount of time. However, according to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude. In other words once water starts to boil, the baddies are dead.

Boiling is the cheapest way to purify water. You need a pot and a flame. It will suffice to do in small amounts, but doing this on an ongoing basis for all consumed water for a family would get old fast.

 
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Building Food Storage

Building Food Storage

In terms of cost and scope, food storage is probably the biggest branch of preparedness. The larger your family and the more food you want to store, the costlier and more complex planning how to build your food storage can get. Having been at this a while, I thought I would give some advice that some of you might find useful. I’m also hoping some of you who have been at this a while as well, will chime in with your $.02.

Food storage might not be the most exciting topic but it is an important one. The stuff hit the fan for us when I lost my job a couple years back. Because of our food storage, we were able to get by on $50 some weeks at the grocery store.
 
 
How Much Food Should I Store?

Because of family size, budget, space and other concerns, this is completely subjective. Please forgive this lame answer but; as much as you can! I used to set goals; 90 days, 6 months, a year and so on, but have changed my thinking since then. I still think those goals are great and, if possible, we should strive for them, but why stop when you reach one goal?

If you’re following the “golden rule of food storage”; eat what you store, store what you eat, the majority of food you store will be consumed on rotation, so it is not money wasted.

You will also have the added comfort of knowing you can provide for one of your family’s five basic human needs for an extended period of time. If you choose to share, it will give you that much more to assist those you choose to bless.
 
 
Expiration Dates

Most expiration dates you see on packaging is a marketing ploy. Pay heed if it is perishable food, but my research has shown that the dates listed for canned goods, most dry goods and bulk staples are, as I said, marketing ploy. I wrote two articles touching more on this. Feel free to read Expiration Dates; Fact or Fiction? and Shelf Life of Comfort Foods for more information.
 
 
Getting Started

Getting started with food storage can seem overwhelming, but if you keep the “golden rule of food storage” in mind, it becomes much more manageable a task. What I recommend is that you start a food log. Any time any shelf stable food is used in the kitchen, you enter it in the log. A shelf stable food is one that can last for months without refrigeration. After a couple weeks, you will have a good idea of the storable foods that your family eats on a regular basis.

I recommend setting a low, very achievable goal to start with. Go for two weeks of shelf stable food on top of what you’re consuming regularly. For example, if you eat green beans for meals twice a week, you would want four cans total; the two for normal use, and two for storage. You’ll lump them all together and rotate through them.

Once you have two weeks of food stored, aim for a month, then two and so on. A great tip for building food storage is called “copy canning”. When you take one can of green beans for a meal, buy two instead of one when you go to the store next. Remember to put it at the back of the row in the pantry!
 
 
Adding Bulk Staples

Once you’ve got two to three months of the foods you normally eat stored, you can really increase your food storage by adding bulk staples. Things like the various kinds of rice, beans, wheat and so on. Rice and beans are a prepper staple, but if the stuff hits the fan and your food storage is primarily rice and beans, well let’s just say I hope you stocked up on the Pepto and the BeanO! However, if you have three months of foods that you normally eat, and add in beans and rice or other meals made from bulk foods once or twice a week, you’ve now greatly extended that food.

One other thing you can do is see if there are long term substitutes for meals you regularly eat. For example, a favorite here is Trudee’s chicken stir fry. She used to buy fresh chicken breast, but once decided to try it with canned chicken and we actually liked it better. That is a meal we enjoy, and is primarily from our LTS (long term storage) foods.

I think continuing to add to your stockpile of foods you normally eat is a good idea, but adding in bulk staples can help you reach up to six months or more of food stored easily.
 
 
Long Term Food Storage

By this I mean freeze dried or commercially dehydrated food. These types of foods replace the oxygen in the food with nitrogen, thus giving the food a very long shelf life. Many manufacturers claim 20+ years.

Because this food isn’t consumed on a regular basis, it can seem quite expensive. However, it isn’t that much more than if you were to prepare the dish fresh.

I don’t recommend buying a #10 can of something you haven’t tried. Many manufacturers offer pouches that are 1-3 servings and are far cheaper.

Depending on the entrée, many #10 cans have 10 or so servings in them. Once opened, the can must be consumed relatively quickly. This isn’t something you would eat every day, but would add once or twice a week, again extending the “eat what you store” foods.

I know various manufacturers have sales throughout the year. Mountain House, for example, allows vendors to have a 25% off sale once a year. If you plan to buy cases, I would recommend saving up and taking advantage of a sale of this kind.
 
 
Storage Examples

Finding room to store everything can be a challenge. A very common way to store bulk foods is in Mylar, and then in food grade buckets. However, Mylar is food grade, so you can store it in other containers. I have some in buckets, but I wrote a post about storing food in 31 Gallon Garbage Cans. I can fit roughly the same amount of food in them, but they are a heck of a lot easier to find and are far more rodent resistant.

If you have any other tips or ideas please post a comment.

 
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Challenging Commonly Held Firearms Beliefs

Challenging Commonly Held Firearms Beliefs

I was looking over some of my older posts and noticed I haven’t written an article on using a firearm to CCW or for self-defense in quite some time. So I want to take the opportunity to give you information that I believe is important, and doesn’t necessarily fit into its own article.

I’ll start off by saying that when it comes to the use of firearms for self-defense, there are some people who are so married to their belief, that they’re almost offended when presented with opposing information. If you have a belief that I say something against, please let me know why you think I am wrong. Some of what I will say today is my opinion, but much of it is backed up by science.
 
 
The History of Firearms Training

Until recently, most of the information trainers passed on about the use of handguns for self-defense was gleaned second hand, or information they read from a book, which at the time was cutting edge. In the last fifteen years though there has been a wealth of data coming in from the video cameras that are everywhere. From police dash cams, CCTV, cell phone cameras and even from the wars overseas. There have also been several studies done by neuroscientists that have made it so we have a better understanding of how the brain works in training and in critical incidents.

Many people have learned from a friend who was a cop or in the military back in the day. I’ll go back to saying that their training was probably top notch when they got it, but it very well could be outdated.
 
 
You’ll Default to Your Highest Level of Training

Uh no you won’t. Let’s say you take an expensive 2-day handgun course and learn all kinds of great information. If you never practice those things, you will not do them when in a critical incident. You may have heard the term “muscle memory”, which is a little misleading. Your muscles don’t have a memory, your brain just learns to do things by repetition.

For example, do you need to look at your hands or the shoestrings when you tie your shoes? If you’re just learning how you might, but if you have done it for years it is now second nature. Now let’s say you buy a new pair of shoes and the salesperson shows you a new knot that performs better than the standard knot, and you only practiced it at the store. Now if we added some form of critical stress, such as a burning house, a home invasion or zombie attack and you had to put on your shoes and tie them, your brain is trained to tie them the standard way, so that is how it will respond under critical incident, your body defaults to what the brain has done most often. You can retrain it over time, but that requires repetition to build that “muscle memory”.
 
 
Training For the Worst of the Worst

Needing to defend yourself with a firearm is a worse case self-defense scenario. Criminals don’t let you know they’re going to attack or how they’ll attack. Because of this, you can’t know how things will unfold, so practicing for the worst of a worst case scenario is a good idea. If you only ever train to shoot one round at one attacker, what will you do when faced with multiple attackers and your first shot misses? With this in mind, here are my thoughts on a few related topics.
 
 
Revolvers for Self-Defense

I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard people recommend revolvers for self-defense, usually recommended because they don’t fail as semi-autos do. While this is true, it doesn’t take into consideration the entire picture. Police switched from revolvers to semi-autos many years ago for several reasons. Magazine capacity and ease of reloading are just two.

Since we’re talking about the worst of the worst, you don’t know how many attackers or how many rounds you’ll need to fire. A revolver holds six rounds, and it is very easy to fire six rounds in under 2 seconds. You might think that is overkill, but we’re talking about worst case, and there have been several police shootings where the officer emptied their magazine before the attacker went down. I’ll wager that this is often due to missed shots caused by physiological changes in the body.

If you only have those six rounds and are in need of more, while you can reload with a speed loader, unless you have practiced using it heavily, you might not to be able to do it quickly or at all under stress, due to the physiological changes in the body. Under critical stress, blood is taken from the extremities and pooled into the body’s core. This means fine motor function is highly reduced in the hands, limiting dexterity.

Yes, semi-autos fail, but one can quickly learn how to clear the three types of failures in seconds, and get back in the fight. These are much easier to manipulate with loss of fine motor skills and can be learned quickly. The vast majority of the three types of failures can be cleared with “tap and rack”; hitting the bottom of the magazine and racking a new round into the chamber, which can be done in 1-2 seconds.

If you use a revolver for strength issue, by all means use it. But get proficient at changing speed loaders just in case.
 
 
Double Tap

Double Tapping has been a standard in self-defense for decades. Often, practice is to draw from the holster, fire two rounds into center mass and holster. Since we’re talking about the worst of the worst case scenarios and we know that people fall back to their most frequent level of practice, what do you think will happen when rounds miss or don’t bring the attacker down? There have been reported cases where an officer fired his two shots and holstered his firearm, only to have the attacker continue the attack.

Studies have also been done on the accuracy under critical incidents, which show that as many as 70% of rounds fired are misses. Now, I graduated before common core math, but I am still pretty sure 70% of 2 means either one or both rounds missed.

Instead, I recommend that you practice firing varied rounds each time when training, sometimes firing twice and other times three, five or six rounds. If you are ever involved in a critical incident and must shoot, continue to fire until forward movement of the attacker has stopped.
 
 
Does Size Matter?

This is one of the oldest arguments in the realm of firearms for self-defense; does the caliber of the round matter (I can feel the heated comments already lol)? I think that before modern self-defense ammunition, designed to expand upon contact, the size of the round may have been important. However, with the advances of modern ammo, I am of the belief that 9mm is a better choice than .45 for a few reasons.

One shot stop (or two shot) is often recited, but the stopping power of one round does not take into account the physiological changes involved in a critical incident and is irrelevant if it is missed or does not hit a vital organ.

Modern day self defense ammo expands upon contact dumping its kinetic energy into the flesh. As it expands it leave a much bigger hole then the ammo of the past.

The recoil with 9mm is significantly less than .45, making recoil management much easier so you can get back on target faster to fire again and again. It is also less expensive, and if your training budget is an area of concern, you will be able to practice more.

I don’t recommend anything smaller than a .32 or .380 for self-defense, but the bottom line is: carry what you have and are proficient with. If you like a .45, practice and carry one. I personally carry and practice with a 9mm.
 
 
Distance of Attack

Tom Givens is a self-defense trainer out of Memphis Tennessee. He collected information from over 60 self-defense shootings and found that 86.2% of these shootings occurred at the ranges of 9 to 15 feet. If you are practicing for self-defense, it is great if you can hit a bulls-eye at 50 feet, but being able to hit it multiple times in rapid succession at 9 to 15 feet is better.
 
 
I Won’t Hesitate to Pull the Trigger

It is a common belief for people to think that if they are in a life and death critical incident, they will not hesitate to stop the threat with lethal force. However, statistics show that throughout history, people who have been trained to kill often hesitate.

The book “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman helped firm up my understanding of humans and their capacity and willingness to use violence. In short, the vast majority of human beings are not wired to use violence on one another.

Lt. Col. Grossman goes into great detail to explain how, through the earliest of American wars; the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the World Wars, the majority of the men fighting would purposely miss what they were shooting at. He explained how the aversion to killing another human was so strong that a trained soldier often times would not shoot another, even if it meant losing his own life.

I have also heard that there is a large percentage of police killed that either never fire their weapon, or made no attempt to. I did a little digging and found this according to the FBI in the 2013 Law Officers Killed and Assaulted Report.

Leading up to the Vietnam War, great effort went into figuring out how to train men, not only to kill but to do so without hesitation. Today’s military are some of the most efficient warriors in the world’s history. In 2013 there were 27 officers killed in the line of duty which, on a side note, was a far lower number than previous years. Of those 27, 18 either did not use or attempt to use their sidearm. You may think that they must have been jumped, but the report shows that only 5 were ambushed.

I am not criticizing these officers or the veterans that chose not to fire either. I am simply asking if these people, who’s job it was to step into danger every day, knowing there was a chance they may need to use deadly force in the course of their career, failed to respond with deadly force, how can you be so sure you will?

Setting my machismo aside, I hope I respond without hesitation. I have done everything I can reasonably do to make sure I act, but I haven’t been tested, so I don’t know. I hope I never have to find out, I do not relish the idea of taking another’s life, not because I don’t want to hurt someone, no, I believe if someone threatens deadly force, they have written you an invitation to use it against them. There is still a lot of legal, personal, spiritual, mental and emotional baggage that goes with it.

If you’re interested, I list a few ways to raise the odds you’ll be able to pull the trigger in Are You Prepared To Use Violence to Stop Violence?

 
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Review of the SmartCharge™ LED Bulbs

Review of the SmartCharge™ LED Bulbs

I was recently asked if I wanted to review a LINK SmartCharge™ light bulb. It is an LED light bulb that contains a 4 hour battery backup. I said “yes,” as I think this could fill a role in power loss preparations for many of us. A flashlight is great, but unless you have them scattered around the house, you need to go looking for one. Flashlights are great for providing direct light, but not great for lighting up a room. Preparedness Club members, make sure to see the bottom for special pricing!

The LINK SmartCharge™ turns on as soon as a loss of power is detected. The following are some features provided by the manufacturer.

SmartCharge™ Features:
• Works with a Standard Light Fixture
• 4 hours of Light During a Power Outage
• Built in Rechargeable Battery / Charges during normal use
• Turns On/Off from the Switch During Power Outages
• Energy Efficient, ROHS Compliant
• Instant On
• Rated to last for 40,000 hours, 25 years

– Brightness – Minimum 350 lumen
-Annual Energy cost – .72¢ USD
-Color Temperature – 5000K
-Wattage – 5.5 Watt
-40 Watts equivalent
-Bulb Voltage – 110-240V
-UL, CE, FCC, & ROHS certified certifications

It fits in a standard light socket, and acts as a normal light bulb until the internal circuitry detects a loss of power, then it switches to the battery backup power. As you can see from the pictures, there is less light in “grid down,” running on batteries mode.

I see this as a good fit in a few situations.

If you have a battery backup UPS on your computer, you know that if power is lost, your system and any peripherals attached to it stay on. Though some units have a long charge, the purpose of a UPS isn’t to keep you up and running until power is restored. The purpose is to let you finish your work, save it and shutdown, thus making sure you finish your task. I see the LINK SmartCharge™ as a product that can let you finish what you were doing. That is, unless it was something that required electricity of course. It then provides a light source for you to get your Lights Out Kit and get ready, just in case the outage is a bit longer than 4 hours. It will also provide that 4 hours of constant light, more if used sparingly.

While our grid is fragile, in that it takes little to bring it down, it is pretty reliable in the amount of time it is up. The founder of the LINK SmartCharge™ is from India, where there are a lot of power outages. If you live in a place where the grid isn’t reliable, the LINK SmartCharge™ could be a very effective tool to provide light in between outages, as well as during.
 
 
My Take

Normal Bulb

Normal Bulb

Please forgive the quality of the images. They were taken with my iPhone, and I am just pretty happy my thumb isn’t in them. I’ll start by saying that I prefer a softer light bulb. The 40 Watt is what I normally use in the office. So, for me, the LINK SmartCharge™is a great fit. If you prefer a very well lit room, this might not be the best option, unless there are other lights on as well.
 
 
SmartCharge on grid power.

SmartCharge on grid power.

The LINK SmartCharge™ gave off a whiter, cleaner light than the yellowish tint the regular 40Watt put out. Now, if you watch any of the videos, I really think they do themselves a disservice. To simulate a blackout you need to do more than just unplug the lamp. Simply unplugging it from the wall does not simulate a power outage. In a power outage, there are still things connected to the circuit in your house, such as the stove, etc., that are plugged into the outlets. The bulb needs to detect something else to complete the circuit to stay on.
 
SmartCharge on battery power.

SmartCharge on battery power.

To get by this, they seem to use another light as the other electronic device drawing power. This makes the room look very bright while power is on, and very dark; darker than it really is, when power is “out”. I used a fan as the other device, and the difference in the light provided between modes is very minimal. I was surprised how much darker the picture was in the after picture, because I thought it was almost the same level of brightness while I had it on in battery power mode.

Size comparison

As you can see, the LINK SmartCharge™ is bigger than a standard bulb. It doesn’t bother me, but if you have an enclosed fixture, it might be very tight, or not fit at all.

The price is $34.95, which isn’t too bad when the average LED bulb goes for around $20.00. Pay an extra $15 and you get one that will sense when the grid is down, and run off of the battery for another four hours.

I’m going to give this item 4 stars. I think it is a very clever idea, and designed well. If they would have changed the design so that power just needed to be lost from the source, and the bulb would stay on, I would give it 5 stars. That would allow for one to charge it with a small solar panel, and have 4 hours of off grid light at night.

The folks at LINK SmartCharge™ have agreed to give Preparedness Club members a 25% discount until January 5th 2015! Log into your account to find the coupon code.

 
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