Final Report?

Editor’s Note: When I first started DestinySurvival in late 2007, I wrote a number of posts as creative fiction with the aim of making thought provoking points to nudge readers toward preparedness. Below is one such piece, slightly revised and brought forward for your consideration. – John

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It was a Saturday afternoon at a local fast food joint where Survival Sam, Duane and I were having lunch.

“I saw a headline that made me laugh,” said Duane. “It said ‘Experts to Complete Final Climate Report.’ Now, in my humble, but usually correct opinion, it should have read ‘Experts to Complete Final Draft of Report on Climate.’”

“What was it about,” I asked.

“Oh, some committee was working on a U.N. report about global warming,” Duane said.

“What made you laugh,” Sam asked.

“Well, guys, think about it. I mean, really! Final report? Are they serious? Did the author of that headline know what he or she was saying? Then it dawned on me. What if he does, and it really is the final climate report.”

Duane’s voice was going up in volume and pitch as he waved his burger around. “I mean the very last one ever? It just made me laugh, that’s all. The absurdity of it all..”

“But nobody could really know that the report they were writing was absolutely the last one, unless they knew for sure when the world would end,” I said.

“That’s what I mean,” said Duane. “Nobody but God knows that, in spite of the claims of some to the contrary over the years.”

“That’s just the problem, isn’t it?” asked Sam, setting down his cup of coffee. “We live in uncertain times.”

“Yeah, but people have been saying that for decades, even centuries, Sam,” Duane said. “Still, things go on.”

“These days though it’s truer than ever,” Sam said. Nothing is final. So many things go unresolved. Take former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, for example. Remember him? Look how many years he lay in a coma before he was officially declared dead.”

Duane and I both just shrugged.

“Here’s another one. Will the U.S. ever attack Iran? They’ve contrived excuses to do so for years, deals notwithstanding. Nothing is conclusive.”

“I see what you mean,” I said. “It makes me think of how it is that scientists and economists always need more data.”

“You’re right on, guys,” said duane. “But where is this going?”

“It goes even further,” Sam continued. “Political correctness rules these days. So many people are afraid to take a stand for fear of being labeled extremists, so they prefer the extreme center.” He smiled at his own joke.

“You’re painting yourself in a corner here, Sam,” said Duane. “You talk like there will never be certainty. What do we do to prepare for anything if everything’s so uncertain?”

“None of us knows what’s going to happen from day to day,” Sam said. “The older we each get, the more we should grow to appreciate what it means to live one day at a time.”

“Now there’s an old cliche I’ve heard since I was knee high to a grasshopper.” Duane shoved a French fry into his mouth.

“But it’s true,” Sam continued. “If we’re wise at all, we operate on a certain set of assumptions about our daily lives. For instance, we buy a certain amount of groceries to last a week or a month. We put money in savings or retirement accounts. We fill up the gas tank of whatever vehicle we drive. We make doctor’s appointments. On and on it goes. We take certain action in the midst of uncertainty.”

“Yeah, so?” said Duane. “That’s just life.”

“That’s exactly my point. When it comes to preparedness, all I’m urging you to do is to start developing skills and buying the goods geared toward survival for you and your loved ones. There is a future, regardless of what it may hold. Face that future, and take certain meaningful action in the midst of today’s uncertainty. Your tomorrow may depend on it. And that’s for certain.”

Not Enough Jobs to Survive On?

Perhaps you’ve mulled over the notion that globalization and cut-throat corporatism has led to loss of jobs, and those jobs aren’t coming back. Whether you agree with it or not, get used to it because this is the new norm.

No amount of promises from politicians can undo what’s been done for decades to America’s job prospects.

As if this isn’t pessimistic enough, maybe you’ve also heard the idea that there aren’t enough jobs to go around.

Who says? Are jobs a finite quantity? Only so many, and that’s it?

To overuse a worn out cliché, can’t we think outside the box? Why can’t we create our own jobs? Am I being idealistic or naive?

If I worked at it, I could write an analytical article describing how we’re being enslaved, forced into serfdom, etc., but what good would it do?

Why complain about the state of our sick world? If you’re prepping, you’re already at some level of awareness and are taking steps to improve your own situation.

It could be you want to get prepared, but you don’t have money to get the storage food or other survival supplies you’d really like to have. Maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet. Maybe you’re out of a job already.

Don’t give up. Tiptoe toward preparedness.

Many people have started their own businesses. Perhaps you’re among them.

More and more sites have popped up about living a more frugal and self reliant lifestyle. Swapping and bartering are on the rise. I suspect the underground economy is growing. Those in power know that, too, and are pushing us toward a cashless society to keep better control over us.

Some communities are doing innovative things, such as creating local money and putting their own value on goods and services. Ithaca Hours is one example. If you’re curious, search online for info about time banks.

I applaud these efforts. Wisely, we’re rethinking the work we do and what is of value. Let’s keep at it.

How can we pave the way for survival in the new norm? Why should we believe there aren’t enough jobs to go around?

 

Thoughts on Prepping, Procrastination and Perfectionism

I don’t like to think of myself as a procrastinator, but I do it more than I’m comfortable with. A friend calls my procrastination dithering because I’m indecisive and I put off what I know I should do.

There is a connection to prepping, so bear with me for a minute.

I’ve heard writers say they can stare at their computer screen for hours before writing anything. I can’t do that. After a few minutes I get up and do something else.

What I’m contemplating may roll around in my head for a while. Or maybe I divert myself and put it out of mental reach. I can come back later with fresh perspective.

Then later I realize I didn’t get a blog post written. But it’s easy to justify it because I can say, “Well, I was gardening, and that has to be done sometime.” Or maybe I was messing with computer code to update an ad here at DestinySurvival, and that needs to be done, too.

The point is, it’s easy to rationalize why I haven’t done something, while staying busy and seemingly productive at the same time.

Someone has called this tactic productive procrastination.

Can you relate to this, particularly as it relates to preparedness? Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be done or how much money it will cost to buy a year’s supply of storage food. So you do other things and put it out of your mind.

Would you believe it if I said you might be a perfectionist? At least in this one area. But if you’re waiting for X amount of dollars or enough time to devote to a given task, it will never happen.

An Internet marketing mentor I once knew said “Perfectionism kills.” When it comes to prepping, he may be right–literally.

Perfectionism can lead to procrastination, and procrastination can lead to paralysis. And if you do nothing…

It’s time to let yourself be imperfect and take one little step at a time. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Anything you do now is better than nothing.

OK, so you can’t afford a year’s supply of long term storage food right now. Can you add a few small items and slowly build your survival pantry? Can you buy a couple packages of dry soup mix or a bag of navy beans when you go grocery shopping next time?

Sure you can.

What about finances? If you’re digging out of debt, you don’t think you have any money to spare. Believe me, I know the feeling. But can you focus in on something as small as putting $10 in a savings account each paycheck? Don’t have ice cream cones at McDonald’s as often with the kids.

In a few weeks you’ll have enough set aside to buy a good LED flashlight or a weather radio to put with your survival supplies.

You can do this. Set aside your anxiety and self doubt. Take baby steps. Keep your goals small and attainable. Don’t worry if you don’t reach even a small goal. Try again or focus on something else within reach. This means changing or lowering your expectations. That’s OK.

Our lives must be lived in less than perfect circumstances. It may be hard to accept, but it’s true. If there’s a disaster or major disruption to life as we know it, you’ll look back longingly and wish for today with all its present imperfections.

That’s why you’re better off taking small actions now. It’s the way to add a little stability to an uncertain tomorrow.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16, words of the Apostle Paul, Holy Bible, King James Version

 

A Few General Reflections on Preparedness in an Insane World

Have you noticed how many things reported in the news don’t directly affect you and me? Does what’s going on in the Middle East today affect what you’re doing now? What about what goes on in Congress or with political candidates?

Sure, the fallout from weightier matters could have an impact on us. That’s why it’s a good idea to know what’s going on in the world. I’m not suggesting we ignore current events.

On the other hand, gardener and author Ruth Stout didn’t mind missing the newspaper for a few days. What did it report which had anything to do with what she grew in her heavily mulched garden? The plants didn’t care.

If much of what we’re told matters doesn’t matter, then those who are big into sports and the latest iPhone app aren’t so bad off are they? Ignorance is bliss, right?

Of course, unlike you, such people aren’t into preparedness and won’t survive when things collapse. There will be lots of them, and they’ll find out too late what should have mattered.

OK, let’s say you’re fired up about a given issue or two. If you’re tempted to be an activist, when push comes to shove, you’d be better off if you set aside storage food and extra supplies than you would if you write your Congressman in an attempt to straighten out the country.

An old saying says charity begins at home. If your cupboards are bare, you’re no good to yourself and those around you, let alone the country.

When I write these posts on DestinySurvival, I don’t focus much on current events. I think of the late Paul Harvey who started his “Rest of the Story” broadcasts by saying, “You know what the news is…”

I figure you know enough about what’s going on to know it’s time to prepare for survival. You know it’s time to be ready, whether it’s for a deepening economic crisis or natural disasters.

When you’re preparing, you’re not playing games. You believe you have a purpose in life and a will to live and beat the odds against you.

Keep in mind that, no matter what happens, you and I can’t function in a perpetually heightened state of fear. Our state of emotion must be tempered with wisdom and action. Stay the course. Think survival.

One more thought. Since I first started this site in late 2007, it’s been my belief that nothing happens by coincidence. It’s our destiny to meet here about preparedness and survival. Thus, the name DestinySurvival.

Whether you’re new or have been reading these posts a while, thank you for being here. Thanks to those of you who have purchased products and services through DestinySurvival. It keeps this site–and DestinySurvival Radio–going.

And it’s my hope that what you find here will literally keep you going.

Have a great day. And keepp prepping.

 

Life After the Generator

Powerful storms prompt many of us to think about getting a generator, if we don’t already have one. But is that enough? What if the power is out for weeks or months?

In “Backwoods Home Magazine” for January/February, 2016 (Issue #157), Jeff Yago offers good advice on solar power alternatives. Check out the article exerpt below, then click on the link to read the entire piece.

Generators alone are not enough

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM

When talking to fellow preppers at self-reliance expos across the country, I am always impressed by how many already have long-term food supplies, stored water, medical supplies, an emergency radio, guns, ammunition, alternative cook stove, fire starting materials, and bug-out bags. However, as soon as the conversation turns to emergency power it’s apparent they are totally relying on a backup generator.

Most believe their portable generator solves the problem — end of story. But what happens if the generator fails or the power outage lasts longer than their fuel supply? Most residential-size generators are not designed for an extended power outage and their warranty usually indicates a runtime in hours per year, not months. Even larger whole-house generators have runtime limitations, not to mention the ability to drain a 500-gallon tank of propane in a week of continuous operation. Parts of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and Long Island after Hurricane Sandy were without power for months, not weeks. Can your emergency backup plan meet a utility outage lasting this long? Perhaps it’s time to reassess.


Read the whole article here:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/generators-alone-are-not-enough-by-jeff-yago-p-e-cem/

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.
http://www.backwoodshome.com 1-800-835-2418.

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A Few Thoughts on Preparedness Goal Setting

An article about setting short-term goals on Gaye Levy’s site a few days ago prompts my thoughts today on the general subject of goal setting. It’s something we’re faced with as we make plans to be prepared.

It’s also a topic we think about as one year winds down and another is on the horizon.

I’m not into pep talks or motivational diatribes, so this will be brief.

Prepping can become overwhelming in a hurry. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I want to do everything all at once, 10 minutes ago. Have you ever felt that way?

If so, take a deep breath. Relax.

Consider how to set small, manageable goals within the framework of your overall goal. You do have a big picture goal, don’t you? If not, start there and work down from general to specific.

Let’s say you want to set aside a year’s supply of food. OK, how will you go about that?

Invest in a ready-made package? Can you afford it now? Do you need to save money for it?

Or will you buy a few extra nonperishable grocery items each week until you have a year’s supply stashed away?

What about doing a combination of the two?

Here are a few guidelines to help you sort things out, regardless of your preparedness goal.

  • Keep goals simple and manageable.
  • Goals should be specific and measurable. For example, start seedlings indoors for the garden during the last week in February.
  • You may wish to prioritize your goals, but don’t worry if you decide to accomplish them out of the order you’ve written down.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t accomplish what you think you should have accomplished. Keep moving forward.
  • If you’re prone to procrastination, handle the tasks you most enjoy first. Then deal with the one you’ve been putting off.
  • Others say to do the harder, less desirable tasks first. Then it’s out of the way, and you can move on to the things you enjoy. I say it’s up to you as to which approach works best for you. Don’t beat yourself up over it. The main thing is to deal with your goals in a way you can manage.
  • It may happen that you reevaluate your goals and change them to some degree. That’s fine, too. Just keep the bigger picture in mind as you check off the smaller projects.
How do you go about goal setting? I’m sure others would be glad to know your thoughts. Don’t be shy about leaving a comment below.

 

Oathkeeper – How Should We Prepare to Live in Today’s America?

Every now and then we hear about local governments that don’t get along well with their state or federal government.

If you’re a farmer or homesteader, you probably have a better idea about that than most of us. Perhaps you recall the events that took place on a certain Nevada ranch in April of 2014.

On this week’s DestinySurvival Radio, I talk with Troy Grice about his latest novel called Oathkeeper. It portrays a situation that pits locals versus the feds. A county sheriff in Colorado finds himself at odds with the big boys from DEA. Broadly speaking, it raises the question, “How should we prepare to live in today’s America?”

 

The Author

Troy Grice has been on DestinySurvival Radio with me before to talk about a couple of his previous books and to give his perspective on the shape of our economy. But the last time we visited was three years ago.

I heard from him recently with info about his latest novel, and I decided to read the book. I invited him to be a guest once again. He agreed, and we had a good discussion.

Here’s author info for you.

Troy Grice has been an avid reader of dystopian novels and science fiction since his teens. He describes his own writing as “abrasive satire” and “counter-propaganda.” His fiction questions the legitimacy and motives of authority, attacks establishment corruption and hypocrisy, and decries the semi-lucid majority that enables it. For Troy, no institution is beyond reproach.

When he’s not working or writing, Troy enjoys the outdoors, playing his Gibson Les Paul, and spending time with his family in the foothills near Evergreen, Colorado.

 

Oathkeeper

 

The Story

A small Colorado town sees a rise in drug use and crime. An alert, armed veteran, Monte Turcot, intervenes to prevent a mass shooting from escalating further. He becomes a hero in the town’s eyes.

In a DEA raid Monte is wounded, and his wife is killed. Supposedly the DEA raided the wrong place.

Later Monte is accused of shooting a DEA agent and is tried for murder. But the DEA wasn’t happy with the result of Monte’s trial.

Tension rises as Sheriff Ellison stands his ground against the feds. He protects Monte, believing the DEA has overstepped its reach by going after him.

As you can probably guess, Oathkeeper isn’t a postapocalyptic story. And it’s not about preparedness. But it depicts a scenario that could happen at any time as our federal government assumes more power for itself. Doesn’t it make sense that we should consider how we ought to be prepared for that?

What would happen if you or I were victims of the kind of federal overreach portrayed in the story?

This is the kind of world we live in now. How ready are we for it? How should we be ready?

But back to the book.

Oathkeeper is a story for our day. In the onset of recent terror attacks, we’ll see our federal government seeking to assume more power. But rather than focus on the aftermath of terrorism, Troy chose to depict a scenario featuring tension between the local sheriff and the DEA.

The novel shows us what looks like the proverbial picture of good cops versus bad cops as Sheriff Ellison takes his stand. But Troy Grice isn’t trying to cast stones at law enforcement altogether. He could have picked any federal agency to write about because his aim is to illustrate the aggressive growth of centralized government and its use of force.

Troy’s writing exhibits a cutting attitude, which I think will resonate with many readers. Plus, if you have libertarian leanings at all, you’ll appreciate the points of view expressed in the diatribes from Turcot’s lawyer at the murder trial, a pep talk Frenchie gives to Ellison, and Ellison’s speech to reporters.

To me, the novel’s narrative breezes too quickly through the shooting of the DEA agent, the search for a key witness, and the subsequent trial. But Troy gave a reasonable explanation in our conversation as to why we don’t get more details.

The book starts with violence and ends with violence. But I believe you’ll find the result satisfying.

 

The Characters

I’ll mention three of the story’s characters because we discover the most about them.

Monte Turcot is the veteran who took justice into his own hands to take down an active shooter at an Alco store. That must surely be a fantasy for some of us.

Though Monte becomes a popular man, he suffers a good deal of self doubt and inner turmoil. I suspect this illustrates what many veterans must experience when they come back home.

The champion of the novel is Sheriff Bear Ellison. We get a glimpse into the kind of man he is when he finds an unsolicited MRAP vehicle has been given to his department. It’s like a tank the military would use, and Ellison isn’t pleased.

We get another glimpse of who he is near the end of the novel when we find out how a broken watch made him the man he became.

We also learn about the former sheriff, who goes by the nickname Frenchie when he disarms a bomb in a pickup near the library. A considerable police presence had gathered to deal with the presumed threat.

I can imagine that doing what Frenchie did is the fantasy of some of us who think too much is made of the fuss and commotion that surrounds unknown packages and powders. In spite of the events in recent weeks–and even years–the police and federal authorities overreact to the point of becoming ridiculous.

As for the DEA’s actions in the novel, there’s no question the feds are made to look bad. On the other hand, the good guys resort to their own irregularities, which go against protocol. As Troy pointed out in our conversation, these are flawed human beings with various aspects of self interest in mind.

 

The Issues

Do you know how your county sheriff will react in the event a federal agency muscles its way into local affairs? Will he go along unquestioningly, or will he buck the system and stand up for what’s right according to the Constitution?

The vast majority of our law enforcement officials are good people with good intentions. But we all know, thanks to our sensationalist media, that there are some bad apples. And stuff happens.

That said, the increasing abundance of regulations makes us all law breakers at one time or other. That’s even more likely to be the case when police and federal officials overstep their bounds.

We hear much about how we live by the rule of law, which supposedly makes us noble and good. But the law is applied inconsistently. These days we have to ask ourselves, where is equality of rights under the law? What became of limited government?

We’re being conditioned to fear. As a result we surrender our freedoms, presumably to be safe and secure.

But what have we become as a country?

What should be our response to the growth of government power and the loss of our freedoms? Troy and I talked about what not to do as well as a possible solution or two. How much are we able to part company with the present system?

I’m reminded of those who live in northern California and southern Oregon who call their area the State of Jefferson. They’ve banded together to stand against governmental intrusion into local matters.

 

The Conversation

It’s plain from my conversation with Troy Grice that he holds strong libertarian views. I agreed with him on nearly everything he said. And I’ll bet you’ll find it hard to argue against his points as well when you hear them.

But you won’t know for sure unless you hear what we discussed. Do that by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for December 3, 2015. (Right click to download.) Troy’s Web site is TroyGrice.com.

I enjoyed Oathkeeper and encourage you to get a copy for yourself by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where you can place your order.

Do you enjoy stories like this one?

What would you do if your home was raided by a SWAT team? How do you think we should prepare for the ongoing rise of power exhibited by the government?